Learning Languages

At the time of writing, I just finished watching a fascinating three-part video series about North American Accents. It’s definitely meant for linguists or language enthusiasts, referencing multiple terms I didn’t quite understand.

However, it got me thinking on a topic I’ve pondered before.

In order to speak a language, you must make the correct mouth and tongue movements. You have to be sure that your lips and jaw form the correct shapes, and that your tongue is in the right location to make authentic sounds.

Somehow, as children, we pick this up easily, without needing explicit tuition, for the most part. However, as adults, that seems to elude us. Dialect coaches teach, even focus on, these movements with — from my point of view — a better success rate than traditional language education.

Why then, are these movements and positions not explicitly taught in school, especially when language is taught later, as it is in much of the USA? I don’t have an answer, it’s just something that’s been buzzing around in my brain for a while.

Monday Munchies: Beef and Salsa Skillet

I found this recipe online years ago, and I no longer remember where it’s from. It’s another fairly cheap, and super easy meal. Plus there are A LOT of leftovers for lunch the next couple of days.

Beef and Salsa Skillet

What You Need (Serves up to 4)

  • 1 lb ground beef (I prefer 92/8% fat distribution, but go with whatever you like best)
  • 1 16oz Jar Old El Paso Thick ‘n Chunky Salsa (This is getting harder and harder to find. My second choice is Pace Chunky Salsa) in the spiciness level of your choice
  • 1 15/16oz can of Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 15/16oz can of Whole Kernel Sweet Corn
  • 1 8oz can of Tomato Sauce
  • Cayenne and/or Chile Arbol powder (optional)
  • Sargento 4 Cheese Mexican Shredded Cheese
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Large pan
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2021 Triangle Pen Show

Jim brought up going to the Triangle Pen Show (TPS) a couple weeks ago but we dithered for a while, only deciding to go on the Thursday before. The drive wasn’t too bad, we were lucky to not hit traffic on the way down — we hit all the traffic on the way back up, though.

We made it to the show around 11:30 am. Finding out masks weren’t required surprised me. Being fully vaccinated, we decided to try going maskless and see how we felt. I’m not going to lie, it felt a bit naughty. I felt almost naked. But it was nice to breath freely. And since the room wasn’t packed, I was OK without a mask and enjoyed the taste of pre-COVID life.

The best part for me was just being at a pen show again. Getting to see Carey from Kenro, Damien of All in the Nib, Bert of Bertram’s Inkwell — although we see him often — and some pen friends was great. I’ve missed the pen camaraderie. It’s such a social battery recharge to see people, talk pens, and be able to see/handle things in person before buying them.

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Monday Munchies: Pastel de Tres Leches

I found this one on Cooking Con Claudia’s YouTube channel as well. The recipe is slightly modified from her video Easy and Delicious Tres Leches Cake. Pastel de Tres Leches literally translates to cake of three milks. It’s one of my favorite desserts.

What You Need

  • 1 Box vanilla cake mix (+ required ingredients to make cake and 1 tbsp Mexican Vanilla Blend. You can substitute regular vanilla extract)
  • 1 16oz container of half and half
  • 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 16oz (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
  • 1½ tbsps sugar
  • 1 tbsp Mexican Vanilla Blend (You can substitute regular vanilla extract)
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cake pan
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Hand or stand mixer
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Review – A Case of Some Delicacy

A Case of Some Delicacy

by KC Kahler

A Case of Some Delicacy

Genres: Regency, Historical Romance, Pride and Prejudice, Adult
Release Date: September 22, 2019
Pages: 420
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★☆☆

A secret alliance grows from an unwelcomed olive branch…

When rumours of Jane Bennet’s impending betrothal to Mr. Collins begin spreading at the Meryton Assembly, Elizabeth Bennet vows to save her dearest sister’s happiness from being sacrificed in marriage. She finds an unlikely ally in Mr Darcy, the taciturn man whose heroics on the cricket field have made him the target for Lydia’s affections.

Overhearing a heated exchange between Elizabeth and Mr Bennet, Darcy is stunned not only by her devotion to her sister, but also by her defiant words to her father. An inexplicable desire to help Elizabeth draws Darcy into the match-breaking scheme, despite knowing that he should want nothing to do with a family like the Bennets.

As the new allies work together, they begin to understand and admire each other. But they must navigate a complicated web of sisters, parents, friends, cousins, aunts, and new acquaintances, all of whom seem contrary to being manipulated. A few of them may even be attempting their own manipulations and romantic schemes. Eavesdropping and jealousy abound, cricket balls go astray, and love blooms in spite of Mrs. Bennet’s mismatched matchmaking.

This humorous Pride and Prejudice re-imagining is novel length and pays homage to the wit of Jane Austen.

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Monday Munchies: Watermelon & Cucumber Agua Fresca

I found this one on Cooking Con Claudia’s YouTube channel as well. The recipe is slightly modified from her video How To Make The Best Watermelon and Cucumber Agua Fresca.

For those unfamiliar with Agua Fresca, think of it like lemonade but with other fruits. You mix the fruit juice(s) with water to get a refreshing drink.

What You Need

  • 1 Ripe Seedless Watermelon
  • 1 Large English Cucumber
  • 2-3 Lemons
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • Blender
  • Pitcher or container for storage
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My Pen Collection

I’m a data hoarder. I keep track of my pen collection in an extensive AirTable database, full of delicious data. For fun, I put together this infographic of my collection from the day I bought my first pen through May 1, 2021. It’s interesting seeing the trends. To view larger, click on any section of the image.

Pen Collection as of May 1, 2021. 177 Pens. 2 Not Yet Arrived. 5 Decommissioned. 1 Out for Repair. 6 Returned. 5 For Sale. 45 Sold. 14 Gifted. 1 Lost.
Overview. In 2016 and 2017, all pens purchased were from mainstream brands and brand new. In 2018-2021, pens purchased were between 5% and 25% from Indie brands and purchased secondhand.
Collection contains pens from 56 brands purchased from 25 locations.
Currently Owned. 106 Pens. 98 in Regular Use. 2 Not Yet Arrived. 5 Decommissioned. 1 Out for Repair. Pens come from 7 different countries, with most coming from the USA and Italy. Year Purchased: 2016 - 1; 2017 - 3; 2018 - 18; 2019 - 38; 2020 - 35; 2021 - 11. Edition Type: Special - 34.9%; Normal - 33%; Limited - 21.7%; Custom - 472%; Vintage - 2.83%; Numbered - .95%; Prototype - .95%; Unknown - .95%. Purchase Condition: 71% New, 29% Secondhand. Company Size: Indie - 23; Mainstream - 83. Pen color is divided over 17 colors, with the majority being Black, Multicolor, Red, and Gray. Nib Width: Nib widths vary from EF to Stub, Flex, Unknown, and Non Fountain Pen (Rollerball); the majority by far ar F. Nib materials include Steel; 14K, 18K, and 21K gold, Palladium, and Titanium. Over half of the nibs are steel.

Review – Pride & Perception

Pride & Perception

by Sue Barr

Pride and Perception

Genres: Regency, Historical Romance, Pride and Prejudice, Adult
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Pages: 363
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

What if…

The entail on Longbourn had been broken?

The Bennets owned Netherfield Park?

Jane Bennet had firm opinions?

Lizzy overheard the second derogatory comment Darcy made about her beauty? After the Bennets had dined at Netherfield Park, he said, “Her a beauty? I should as soon call her mother a wit.”

Yeah – that one.

This is a story where we explore all these beautiful what-ifs.

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Bumbledore: A Continuous Joy

Two years ago, we adopted our rescue cat, Bumbledore. Last year, I shared his story, including how far he’d come, especially since the start of pandemic telework. Now, another year later, he’s continued to improve by leaps and bounds.

Any of you who follow me on Instagram already know he’s become a cuddle monster. Every morning, he sits on my lap anywhere from 10-30 minutes, just enjoying my company and some pets. I make sure to post a photo to my story each day. I often joke that Bumbledore pays rent through cuddles and social media content.

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