Saturday, July 24, 2010


One of the tops I purchased yesterday. Today marks the day that I officially retired the wig last year as I finally had an inch of hair. I've had several haircuts since and have changed the color several times. The chemo curls have morphed into waves which are becoming looser as time goes by.

There was a very interesting (to me) article in the WSJ today about how differences in languages influence differences in thinking (or visa versa). For instance, we'd say John broke the vase but in Spanish and in Japanese, the reflexive is used and they say: The vase broke itself. Causality isn't as important in their cultures but we English speakers, think it is. Now there is no mention of whether this was an accident.(of course if you ask a child what happened, they would say, The vase broke. All by itself? Yep.)Some languages have only the present tense for verbs and their cultures reflect that. It doesn't matter what has happened in the past or the future. Other cultures have no use for the concept of left and right but are very big on north, south ,east, west. (It is south, south west in a very long time). Different language speakers were shown Janet Jackson's infamous 'waredrobe misfunction' and asked to assess blame..whose fault, Janet's, Justin's or none of the above. The answers varying greatly depending on how the event was put into their language's words. Also it stressed that people who learn a new language learn to think differently.

So if ones language is based on one's culture and how things are perceived, then people speaking the same language have this commonality. So are Americans so similar to our English speaking relatives in England? I really think we have quite different cultures: their concept of class whereas we have some hope for upward mobility. It's true how we have different meanings for words (like the clerk in the Canterbury Hotel asking me if I would like to be 'knocked up'.) but sometimes we put different value for the same word. My favorite example is the word scrappy. The chairman of the board of our company was described as such and we were told that therefore, we should all aspire to be scrappy ourselves. So the word scrappy means the same on both sides of the Atlantic: a scrappy fighter has very little skills but wins due to persistence and spirit. Americans admire the spirit; the English note the lack of art and skills.
We will NOT be scrappy, our English colleagues said.
But look who is signing your check: an American company. If they tell you to be scrappy, you will be scrappy.
So being scrappy is good here but not so good in England.

Here in Ann Arbor, we are not big fans of said chairman, scrappy or not. We can come up with some different words. Short sighted anyone?

It was a good thing I left the Art Fair when I did as thunderstorms hit shortly after I left along with another round of tornado warnings and sirens. The heat drained my energy. I was able to run in the cooler drizzle this morning. I went to the survivor lunch and a 'after cancer' group mainly because I really liked one of the women I met there and wanted to talk to her more. Some of the participants are very much still in cancerland. Although my chance of recurrence has not dropped, my thinking about it has really diminished quite a bit due to so many other things to deal with.

Mom's group tonight. Sorry ladies..I couldn't  get my act together to make a homemade dessert but hopefully what I'll bring will be tasty. One of the moms bought a farm recently so we'll all get to see that for the first time.

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