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Got a good reason For taking the easy way out

Thursday, December 5th
12:01 A. M.

How do Chihuahua's say Merry Christmas?

-edition #84
...continued from a few week's ago - thirteen previous 'wonderings'.

More English expressions' trivia:

I was doing research on Google for an expression and how it came about in its usage, but wasn't successful. Tho, I did come upon this site that had Olde English terminology and found it somewhat interesting.

The use of:

1] GIVING SOMEONE THE COLD SHOULDER [for today: it means to ignore or to turn away from] When a guest would over stay their welcome as house guests, the hosts would (instead of feeding them good, warm meals) give their too-long staying guests the worst part of the animal, not warmed, but the COLD SHOULDER.

2] FROG IN YOUR THROAT [for today: a scratchy, sore throat making 'rattling sounds] Medieval physicians believed that the secretions of a frog could cure a cough if they were coated on the throat of the patient. The frog was placed in the mouth of the sufferer and remained there until the physician decided that the treatment was complete.

3] UPPER CRUST [for today, the pristine area...the richer folk] Visitors to the Anne Hathaway's cottage (near Stratford upon Avon) are given this explanation while looking at the bread oven beside the fireplace in the kitchen: "The bread was put, as a raw lump of dough, straight into the bread oven. No bread tin, it just sits on the floor of the oven. The oven is heated by the fire and is very hot at the bottom. When the bread is done baking and taken out to cool, the base of the loaf is overcooked black and also dirty. The top of the loaf is done just right, and still clean. The bottom of the loaf is for the servants to eat, while the upper crust is for the master of the house.

4] RULE OF THUMB [for today: usually routine or a fixed action, law] An old English law declared that a man could not beat his wife with a stick any larger than the diameter of his thumb.

5] SAVING FACE OR LOSING FACE [for today: keeping yourself truthful or proven worthy] The noble ladies and gentlemen of the late 1700s wore much makeup to impress each other. Since they rarely bathed, the makeup would get thicker and thicker. If they sat too close to the heat of the fireplace, the makeup would start to melt. If that happened, a servant would move the screen in front of the fireplace to block the heat, so they wouldn't "lose face."

6] MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX [for today: mind your own business, less snoopy] This came from the days when smallpox was a regular disfigurement. Fine ladies would fill in the pocks with beeswax. However when the weather was very warm the wax might melt. But it was not the thing to do for one lady to tell another that her makeup needed attention. Hence the sharp rebuke to "mind your own beeswax!"

7] BON(e) FIRE [for today: usually a ritual of celebration and fun by building a huge fire of logs and anything burnable] The discarded "bones" from winter meals were piled outside and a bonefire would be set to get rid of them.

8] TIE THE KNOT [for today: marrying] Tying the knot of the ropes in the marriage bed.

9] HONEYMOON [for today: a trip of romance for newlyweds] It was the accepted practice in Babylonia 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what we know today as the "honeymoon".

10] NOT FIT TO HOLD A CANDLE TO [for today: nearly indentical as in Olde English terms] A menial household task was holding a candle for someone while they completed some type of activity. Some people were not held in much esteem, therefore they were "not fit to hold a candle to."

11] CHEW THE FAT [for today: to talk, converse] A host would offer his guests a piece of bacon, which was stored above the fireplace in the parlor, so they could chew the fat during their visit.

12] THRESHOLD [for today: the entry opening where the door hangs] The raised door entrance held back the straw (called thresh) on the floor.

13] THE CLINK [for today: general term for jail] The name of a prison which was on Clink Street in the Southwark area of London.

BONUS: PATENT LEATHER [for today: a high glossy leather] After the Patten shoe which the young women wore in the buttery. When the cream spilled on their shoes, the fat would tend to make the leather shiny.

~...end Thursday Thirteen
[comment HERE if you'd like to skip the rest of my day's blog entry.]


I took a trip to the Post Office yesterday morning. It was late in the morning. I have a simple question tho, doesn't anyone work any more? I thought since it was nearing midday that it would be a small line. WRONG!! And this was an annex, not the main post office. I had some packages and some international Christmas cards to go out. It took nearly an hour to get up to the counter. I was contemplating on leaving and coming back another day, then...I said to myself "Self? Just stay put, gitter done!!" I hung tough. Got that part of the holidays done. My grandsons will thank me for sticking to it. Who knows if they'd get their gift cards from Grannie Hootin' if I had left.

Anyway, while in line, I got a call from my primary care doctor. I had a blood test on cholesterol and long term meds plus the rest of the crap list of stuff like liver and kidneys and sodium and know metabolic and all that. She said "Anni? I got your blood work back from the lab, and I must say girl, you are impressing me to no end." "Seriously?" I say. She chuckled through the line and said "Yes ma'am. You got your cholesterol done the last time and it's gone down even more from the previous blood work. Excellent work, keep it up!" I'm so pleased. Bud and I will splurge and get a pepperoni pizza one of these days. Oh yes indeed. I promise tho, just one. They won't mail the results to me by snail mail, so I must go pick up a copy from her office personnel, but I want to see just how low it went.


  1. Thanks for the mind expanding etymologies!

  2. Hey Anni!

    Congratulations on your great blood work! It's always comforting to hear news like that when it concerns your health. Okay and the whole frog in the throat thing...I never knew it was LITERAL lifetimes ago. YUCK! Still, thanks..I learned a lot from these I never knew. :)

  3. very clever topic, love the #9..thanks for sharing ! Happy TT! :)

  4. Anonymous12/04/2008

    What a fun and interesting list. I can't believe nr. 4!!!!
    Well done on your own health :)
    ::thumbs up::

  5. a frog in the mouth???? you have GOT to be kidding me....

    and i'm happy to hear you're healthy and well!

  6. Anonymous12/04/2008

    That was an interesting list. I learned quite a bit.

    I'm glad to hear you are healthy and well. Keep it up!

  7. Very interesting list - I love finding the origins of words and phrases. Now I can explain a few of these better when my students ask what they mean!


    Happy TT!

  8. Hi Anni
    Hurrah for your Blood-test results !!!
    "I knew you would"
    As for the waiting in the postoffice, you know what I often think =
    Many people quit looking for work when they find a job.!!!
    Have merci on them, they need their coffee-break, poor souls.HAHA
    Have a terrific day, you deserve it
    Because 'Du er den bedste'
    Knus Mutti

  9. I love your Thursday Thirteen! Interesting!

  10. I think I've said it before but I just love these old sayings.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this.

  11. I always love finding out more about how certain language phrases came about. You learn a lot about language and culture. =) Great list!

  12. You know these old english expressions are the same in other languages too, only the Frenchs don't have a frog in their throat but a cat !!
    When I go to the post office (which happens once in a blue moon) I arm myself with a book in case ... but then I meet people I know and we chat and chat until they almost have to push me to the counter ! Now they also give numbered tickets so if there is n° 1 and you have n° 30 you can shop elsewhere, lol !
    All the same over the world !

  13. Those were all really interesting. I think I would rather have a throat problem than have frog secretion left in my throat. YUck!!

    Isn't it funny how time changes things.

  14. Loves the chihuahua joke and the 13 fun facts, but am most impressed with your 'healthy progress' ... have an extra slice of pizza for me ;--)
    I can't remember whether or not you checked out the hilarious holiday video I shared at Sacred Ruminations yesterday, but I guarantee a laugh or two if/when you watch.
    Hugs and blessings,

  15. "Not fit to hold a candle to" is one of those I'd wondered about. I'd already heard the origin of "cold shoulder." Before that I always visualized someone with an ice block on their shoulder - a chip on their shoulder? :) Great list.

  16. Here's to good Health and being able to stand in line!

  17. Thanks for enlightening me today on many of these phrases - very intresting! The frog secretion about had me gagging, though!!

    I'm with the other person who brings a book to the P.O, or anywhere else for that matter! I can't stand waiting in line, so have to have a distraction.

    Congrats on the cholesterol lowering!

    Wow, it must feel REALLY cold down there today - it's snowing this morning and is just beautiful.

    Yes, the little ones are really getting around now and gravitate toward anything they can get into, of course!

  18. Loved your TT! Wonderful! Glad your blood work is looking good! That means a lot!

  19. Anni,

    What an interesting post. I especially wonder about #2. No doctor on earth would ever get a frog into my mouth. lol

    What a wait you had at the post office. I probably would have left. Kudos to you for sticking in there. That took a lot of patience.

    Congratulations on your good cholesterol count. I'm just getting ready to go and have my lab work done now. The same things that you had done.

    Take care, my friend. Enjoyed my visit. Now I'd better get to the lab so I can have my morning coffee.


  20. Hi Anni -- I like your dog FleasNavidad! Of course I like dogs, who doesn't. Mrs. Jim had a Chihuahua when we got married. That dog sure did keep me in line, she wouldn't even let me in on the wrong side of the bed!

    I never say Rule of Thumb, we learned that old law in law school. It is still part of our common law if there are no wife beating laws here to contradict it. Probably Roe v. Wade would cancel it out.
    At one time I tried a campaign to stop its usage but gave up on that one. Maybe now with blogs and a little help with some good education posts we could do it.

    Congratulations on your Chloresteral report. Mine was good this time, it usually is with all the meds I take to keep it low. I can't take statins so I have to take nine other pills a day instead.
    I have an appointment with my cardiologist 12-15 for pretty much 'the works'. Without that guy I probably would be dead today.
    Search my blog for "stent" to read about it as I mention it quite a bit. Towards the end of them is a graphic one on the 'My Nine Lives' post.
    [My counts;
    total 59,
    HDL 62,
    LDL 78,
    VLDL calculation 19, and triglycerides 95.]

    Keep on keepin' on,

  21. This is very interesting. Rule of thumb! Who knew?

  22. Hey now..that was informative and very interesting. I love trivia like that.
    Congrats on your good bloodwork. We're donating blood next week, so that should make us healthier too.

  23. Glad to hear that you had great results from your doctor..Good health is the MOST important thing that we can have!! I am very happy for you..keep it up!!

  24. How do sheep say Merry Christmas? Fleece Navidad!

    If your P.O. has evening hours, try going around 6:00pm on at day but Monday. They've cut back on staff while raising the rates for "better service"! I also find it helps to bring them a big basket of homemade brownies and cookies around this time of year!:-)

  25. What an awesome idea for a TT! I'll never look at someone who says Rule of Thumb the same way. :p

    You did remind me that I do need to get some blood work done as well.

    All the best!

    ~ Popin

  26. Great topic!

    Your post office experience was drastically different from mine. I was there at 11am on a Friday. There were four windows open and I only had one person in front of me when I stepped into line. I was quite impressed. I'm sure my next trip back will be another experience altogether.

  27. Thanks for visiting our T13 (worthy causes). Funny - we were just talking over Thanksgiving how fun it would be to find a book about phrase origins - and here you go posting some! How kind of them in #4 - I think my hubby would have been just fine with #9!

  28. That's an interesting TT - I enjoyed it.

  29. Ok, that frog in the mouth to cure a sore throat had me gagging! lol How interesting it was to read where a lot of the terms we use came from. I love stuff like this:-)

    I know what you mean about the post office being so busy...the worst part is it's just going to get worse as it gets closer to Christmas!

    Woohoo, good for you for getting such a good blood test result! Whatever you're doing, just keep doing it:-) xoxo

  30. Congrats on your blood test results. And thanks for sharing the derivations of these phrases. I didn't know any of them! (thanks for visiting my TT)

  31. Great list with some interesting info. I learned about "rule of thumb" about ten years ago and haven't used the phrase since then.

  32. Extraordinary. Loved all of these. I grew up in Canada, and many of the expressions are common vernacular there. :~D

  33. Awesome! I love stuff like this! Happy TT!

  34. Very interesting! I had no idea where some of those phrases came from.

    Great TT!

  35. Interesting 13. Things sure have changed haven't they? Mine is up here.

  36. Great TT. I put up pictures from Thanksgiving. A spattering of my family.

  37. Great list. Its interesting how these sayings mean something so different. #2...ewwww!

  38. Great idea for a Thursday 13! I've often wondered about the meanings of some of our popular expressions. That "rule of thumb" is a crazy one :)

  39. Hi Anni. Congratulations on the great doctor's report. I think you're probably doing a little better than I am...

    Loved the "fleas Navidad" and the Thursday 13 was interesting. Some I had read before, but I love trivia like that.

  40. This was a fun post.