Grammar lesson #22: chord or cord

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Grammar lesson

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

The other day while I was copy editing a magazine proof, I ran across the use of the word chord.  The article was talking about moving some chords out of the way during a construction project.  Here is yet another example of a homophone (a word that sounds the same but is spelled differently and has a different meaning).  At first glance it may seem that all is well in the copy because the word chord sounds like a kind of cable or thread that may be running across a wall or a floor, but the correct spelling is cord.  The kind the author was talking about refers to musical tones; i.e., harmony or triad as in a major or minor chord.  If you want to illustrate how a particular event struck a chord in the observer — the type that resonates a deep feeling within (something that a body of music is apt to do) — it’s also spelled as noted.

Do you ever accidentally substitute chord for cord?

When in doubt, choose change

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When in doubt, choose change

[Image credit: vichie81]

By changing nothing, nothing changes. ~ Tony Robbins

Although the squeaky wheel gets the grease is a commonly repeated adage, it typically only works if you complain to the powers that be.  When it relates to our own lives, however, complaining about something does little (to nothing) to resolve a situation.  For instance, I’ve been noticing a change in how my clothes are fitting and I recently complained to a friend about it.  And then I added: it’s called chips and salsa.  I know what’s causing the thicker waistline.  For someone in a dead-end relationship or job or just not happy with their lives for one reason or another, complaining won’t change anything, either.  Only change will.  So I’m adding this to my 2013 list of guidelines for living: no complaining allowed as long as I’m not working toward change — meaning no lamenting my ill-fitting skinny jeans if I continue to snack on chips and salsa every night.

What do you keeping complaining about that never changes?

Your mountain is waiting

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Your mountain is waiting

You’re off to Great Places! … Your mountain is waiting,
So … get on your way!
~ Dr. Seuss

I love Dr. Seuss and the simple way he approaches life and its challenges.  There’s a mountain, go climb it.  But then there are the planners, like me, who need to put together the gear necessary to make the hike.  Calculate the time it’ll take to get there and wonder if it’s simply safer to stay where I’m at.  What if I’m afraid of heights?  What if the view from the top isn’t worth the effort involved to get there?  What if it isn’t so great after all?  And what if you prefer the ocean?  Of course, there are no guarantees, but even if we stumble on the way, at least we’re moving forward.  Up and over.  Because we don’t have to stay on the top if it wasn’t what we were hoping for.  There’s always the other side, and other mountains.

What is the mountain waiting for you?

In due season

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In due season

[Image credit: nuttakit]

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
~ Maria Robinson

Seasons come and seasons go.  In my own life, I’ve noticed this holds true in friendships and close relationships.  Sometimes we’re on the same page, traveling a similar journey along the same path.  We share a connection that defies logic.  And then at other times we couldn’t be more polar opposites.  No matter what season we’re in, however — a dormant winter, dark and lacking growth, or the spring of new potential — each one provides us with another chance to take an inventory of our lives and re-evaluate where we are and where we’re going (and if these are the people who will make the trek with us).  But if we take too long to think on it, we may miss that window of opportunity when we can either leap into the next season, or patiently prepare for what’s to come.

What keeps you from starting today?

When bad things happen


When bad things happen

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

After the horrific tragedy in our country on the 14th, the thought of celebrating my birthday was low on the priority list.  I opted to cancel my party — both the train park and the live entertainment.  Once I got home from work, I threw a load of laundry in the washer and contemplated how I wanted to spend the remainder of “my” day.  Deciding on a quiet dinner out with my little family, I mentioned to a close friend that she and her fiancé were welcome to join us if they were in the area.  It turned out to be a night to cherish my blessings: family.  Friends.  Another year of life.  Later on when I mentioned to another friend my feelings of guilt at enjoying myself, he reminded me that even though bad things happen in the world, it’s still okay to celebrate our own good things.  And that’s exactly what I did.

When bad things happen, are you able to embrace the blessings in your life?

With a little help from my friends


Help from my friends

[Image credit: Master isolated images]

Friends are the mirror reflecting the truth of who we are.
~ Unknown

Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing.
There is a time for silence.
A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny.
And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.
~ Gloria Naylor

I’ve written about my friends in past posts.  They truly are the mirror that reveals many of my flaws, but one that also magnifies those qualities which drew us to together in the first place.  Naylor’s quote goes beyond reflection into the hard core stuff — when we need a chance to flounder as we think and weigh and try again.  We don’t need judgment or “I told you so.”  We need someone who stands back and allows us to live and make mistakes.  But who will also be there to apply glue when it’s broken.

Are you the kind of friend who’s mastered the art of timing?

Carpe diem (life’s dos and don’ts)

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Don’t wait for time. Make it.
Don’t wait for love. Feel it.
Don’t wait for money. Earn it.
Don’t wait for the path. Find it.
Don’t wait for opportunity. Create it.
Don’t go for less. Get the best.
Don’t compare. Be unique.
Don’t fight your misfortune. Transform it.
Don’t avoid failure. Use it.
Don’t dwell on [mistakes]. Learn from [them].
Don’t back down. Go around.
Don’t close your eyes. Open your mind.
Don’t run [from] life. Embrace it.
~ Bigvai Volcy

This post is more for me than anyone else.  Another reminder of how I desire to live actively, rather than passively.  How I want to take control over my own circumstances.  But I’m more likely to spend time beating myself up over missed opportunities instead of pursuing the life I desire for myself.  Sometimes I feel selfish adopting this attitude.  However, if I want something, I can’t wait for it to drop in my lap.  I can’t wait … period.  Carpe diem.

What are you waiting for?

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It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to. Or not.

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It's my birthday

[Image credit: digitalart]

I had prepared two posts for today.  My first one talked about how my best friend and I used to play make-believe, with me as the “princess.”  We were always trying to escape the “bad guys” who wanted to kidnap me for my fortune of precious stones.  Then I wrote about the fun plans I’d made for my birthday: the annual tree lighting at a local train station and a ride on the kiddie train for our inner child; live music, drinks and appetizers at a nearby restaurant for the grown-up in each of us.  But my second post lamented the rain forecasted for today, and my decision to cancel the party, opting for sweatpants and a movie from Redbox.  However, I’ve decided not to let the weather ruin my plans (even if the first half of my party gets rained out).  Because today I’m a true princess (complete with tiara), only the precious gems are those who I share my life with.

What’s your fondest birthday memory?

Just what the doctor ordered

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Just what the doctor ordered

[Image credit: David Castillo]

This past weekend I traveled to the Midwest to surprise my dad for his 87th birthday.  A few days prior to leaving, I learned of family illness, so plan A for the party locale changed to plan B.  Then, my dad started to come down with a cold, so we switched to plan C.  Which made the most sense because we were now smack dab in the middle of a snow advisory.  My dad’s party was a success, but throughout that night, the white stuff came down.  Hard.  Admittedly, twelve years of living in the Southwest has turned me into “one of those drivers” and, although I made it to breakfast with a friend that morning, the rest of the day found me holed up in the hotel, the remainder of my plans derailed.  All was not lost, however.  I spent my last few hours of vacation resting and regrouping.  Perhaps that’s just what the doctor ordered.

When your plans change, do the revised plans turn out better?

This too shall pass


This too shall pass

[Image credit: Vlado]

I think the phrase This too shall pass requires an active, rather than a passive, approach.  For instance, my daughter’s change of residence (see Empty nests are for the birds) is not going as well as we’d hoped.  Granted, it’s only been five nights, but she’s spent 60 percent of those nights at “home,” in my nest.  Not that I’m complaining, but I know that wasn’t her intent when she made the decision to fly the coop.  I can’t be sure if she’ll be back, or if these are simply growing pains while she learns to spread her wings.  But without action, her circumstances will remain the same.  In other words, she can’t continue to keep one foot in each door indefinitely.  She either needs to stay put, confront her concerns and see if it works out.  Or she needs to accept that it’s not right for her.  Even if that means temporarily returning to the nest.

Do you believe this too shall pass with, or without effort?

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