“Straw met camel’s back. Breaking commenced.”

You might think since I’ve called this “a grateful life” and try to make a point of finding the more positive topics in my life to share that I’m some sort of Pollyanna.   yeah, well, not so much.  I’m really not out there on a cloudy day looking for silver linings and I’m definitely not in the kitchen squeezing lemons when the bad times roll.   While it doesn’t take much to make me happy as a clam, e.g., good coffee, books and cookies work pretty well, I can go off my game when the storm hits.

And if you’re growing tired wading through idioms, take heart.  I’m going to write about them but we’ll take them on directly.  I have a sort of love/hate feeling about idioms.  You know, those colorful figures of speech that pepper the paragraph above.   They’re real trouble to anyone trying to learn English as another language.    It’s not enough that you’re laboring over how to distinguish scent, sent, and cent…..or pare, pair, and pear.  Just when you’re gaining traction, someone says something about letting the cat out of the bag or letting sleeping dogs lie, and you’re looking around for the critters in the room, thoroughly confused.

Being a native speaker, it’s not the meaning of idioms that get to me.  Rather, it’s the image that they spark in my mind’s eye.  Most of the time, it’s fun.   Hold your tongue!  Really, can you think about someone doing that?  Or when you’re lost in thought and a friend puts a penny in front of you to bring you back to the conversation.  (with inflation, you could ask for at least a quarter–a dollar even.)

When someone approaches me and says that they want to pick my brain, however, I shudder.  Eeew, no no no. brainI mean it, I really hate that.  People at work know this and try to accommodate me.  (Fortunately, I’m not so brilliant that they need to consult me all that much.)

There are a few more examples I want to put out here (get off my chest, as it were, heh heh.)  As a long time home sharer with cats, curiosity killed the cat is not a favorite in our house.    And beating a dead horse is just beyond grizzly.  Who wants that image popping up in their head?  (sorry)  Likewise, killing two birds with one stone.  Awful.  I don’t want to envision one dead bird, let alone two, and a stone as the weapon is bound to have made a huge yucky mess.  Bleh.  Finally, while jumping down someone’s throat isn’t very nice, the image of it is way worse.

2 birdsthroat


Before closing, I need to attribute the quote I used to title of  piece: ― Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Raised by Wolves .  And I’d like to share one rewrite I’ve seen of the “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” tripe.  I much prefer: when life gives you lemons, give them back if they’re not what you want.


......former public defender/legal aid lawyer, Teach For America teacher, and always running....

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Marathoner, Detroit native, Red Sox Nation member, lover of all things "all singing/all dancing" and glad you're here. Friends with Coco, Caroline and Simon (2 cats & the Eclectus Parrot).

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