So, didya? I’m sorry I’ve been so neglectful of my beloved readers this past week, but life and blogging consistently don’t always go hand in hand. By way of apology, please accept this post that has photos AND a bonus etymology at the end.
Last week, instead of writing, I traveled to Maine to help out with the annual TechMaine gala. My primary reason for driving up there was to deliver a piece of art that the board had commissioned from me. Their theme this year was “A Spectacular Spectacle.” Do you think the table art lived up to its name?
John helped me design and create these foamcore beauties so they were modular. They could be set up with the earpieces, as shown here, or mounted onto the white and blue board underneath them, like this:
Tres bien, n’est-ce pas? The TechMaine folks appreciated them anyway…
I had a few other work-related things to do in Portland, but I could easily be persuaded to drive to Portland for less. I got a chance to catch up in person with several of the loveliest human beings I know and meander aimlessly around my old college stomping grounds. I didn’t realize this until I was wandering around the farmers’ market waiting for a text from a friend, but I had barely set foot in Portland since John and I got married, almost three years ago. That is not an acceptable state of affairs. Portland is too close to my heart and too full of people I adore for me to stay away that long again.
Case in point: I stayed with one of my closest friends, who unintentionally reminded me of something about friendship. She’s been traveling around since last we kept company and has been picking up little elephant tchotchkes for me here and there.
Cute, right? I was a little baffled by the elephants when she first mentioned she had them for me until she reminded me of a conversation we had a while back. Sometime in college, I had a little epiphany about why elephants strike a resonant chord with me. Elephants are, in a way, my personal totem, but that’s not a fact I’ve made a habit of trumpeting to the world. It’s just a little piece of me that sits in the back of my brain in a place as dusty as the shelf I ended up putting this little guy on. (It’s not dusty from lack of use. Dusting just isn’t usually a priority for me.) The gift of the little elephants was a lovely reminder of how friends keep important bits of us alive in their memories and help us remember who we are.
In amidst catching up with friends and family, getting a pedicure, working, eating out (another reason to love Portland), and shopping (I would put up a picture of the dress my mom found for me, but that might make this post NSFW ; ), I also did a fair amount of driving. When I got back Friday night, I crashed hard and then had to get up in the morning to drive to a four-hour training in Boston. When I finally got home to stay Saturday afternoon, I didn’t really feel like doing much. My Sunday and Monday were dedicated to cooking some duck (with sweet potatoes, swiss chard and strawberry empanadas, yum) and sitting on the couch like a lump working on my new knitting project bag (that is, my new bag for holding knitting projects):
The sewing machine I have barely works, so you are looking at bag and a lining that were pieced together entirely by hand. Oh yes, my friends, home-ec has its usefulness. And that is what I have been doing instead of writing. In case that’s not enough, here’s the long-awaited conclusion to my two-part etymology series on 19th-century fashion…
“Corset” is one of those fun words that came from Old French even though it had a counterpart in Middle English: “Bodice.” As with the difference between “beef” and “cow,” the French word quickly came to have a more specialized meaning, but the roots of the words are almost identical. “Bodice” is simply an alteration of the plural of “body.” “Corset” is a diminutive form of the Old French cors, which means body and comes from the Latin corpus, which means, you guessed it, “body.”
Would it surprise you to learn that corpus is also the root word for “corpse”? No, I didn’t think so. I’ll leave you to fill in your own snarky commentary about the fashion industry, as long as you promise to twist the connotative history without mercy.