Thesaurus

Those of us who write sometime find a thesaurus to be useful for suggesting synonyms, euphemisms or similar alternatives to words that we are trying to avoid the use of. Synonyms might be useful to avert the redundancy of using a particular prominent word a few times in a single paragraph. Euphemisms might be less objectionable synonymous options to unpleasant words.

A thesaurus does not directly define words like a dictionary does, but by providing words of similar meanings, a thesaurus indirectly demonstrates how words are perceived by society. Such perceptions may be significantly different from actual definitions. Some may be completely inaccurate. Some synonyms, whether accurate or not, are potentially objectionable dysphemisms.

A comment in one of the newspapers I work for in Southern California described those who lived in homes destroyed by the Getty Fire as ‘outside the gates’. It took me a while to determine that this is a polite way of saying that they are homeless. To me, it seems to be more exclusionary than polite, but I have never tried the phrase. It prompted me to inquire with a thesaurus.

‘Homeless’ was the basic word I inquired the thesaurus about. Some alternatives are actually phrases that are too cumbersome to substitute for a single word.

“houseless, unhoused, displaced, unplaced, unestablished, unsettled” are simple euphemisms. Some of us are familiar with the first few.

“wandering, itinerant, vagabond, vagrant” are words that describe those who are transient, so do not apply to any of us who live here.

“destitute, estranged, desolate” could be accurate for some of us, although not contingent of homelessness. The last one seems . . . odd.

“derelict” seems to be more relevant to a carcass of an old Pontiac.

“disinherited, dispossessed” are more relevant to relationships with family and friends than a domestic situation.

“exiled, banished, outcast”?! We are not political refugees! (Okay, one of us is.)

“unwelcome, forsaken, friendless, uncared-for”?! How are these words even relevant to our respective domestic situations? Furthermore, how can any homeless (or houseless or unhoused or displaced or . . . ) person experience any of this here in our remarkably welcoming and caring Community of friends in Felton?!

Chili Cook Off

The Sixth Annual San Lorenzo Valley Chili Cook Off yesterday at Felton Covered Bridge Park was a fund raiser hosted by Felton Library Friends to benefit the new Felton Library and Nature Discovery Park. That is why tasting kits that were needed to participate were sold for $5. All of those $5 charges were collectively the funds that the fund raiser raised.

Of course, there was much more to it than that. No one would have attended if it was just about collecting funds. It was about a good time, with food, beverages and live music. A dozen or so chili chefs competed for prizes. Local business donated even more prizes for a raffle later in the day.

Contestants, volunteers and just about everyone who attends such events knows how to have a good time. $5 is a trivial charge to participate. Not many who pay put much though into it as contribution to fund raising. Procurement of resources for the Felton Library and Nature Discovery Park is very important, but so is doing the event right.

For several, doing the event right entailed including those who had neither the intention of participating, nor the minimal resources to do so. They delivered several and various bowls of chili to a few of us who were gathered at the picnic table closest to the parking lot. That is being seriously Community oriented!

I know this is not the best picture of a bunch of empty bowls and a few that I snatched from those who were still eating out of them, but it shows the variety of the chili. These were not contributed by one chef who wanted to lighten his load of leftovers, but from at least six different chefs. There were more empty bowls that had already been discarded.

Workday Update from October 19

Finally! The flowering crabapple in front of Felton Presbyterian Church is properly pruned! It is a bit early in autumn for such pruning, and the pruning is a bit more severe than it should have been, but it is finally done! The tree should bloom well in spring, and grow normally through summer. It is what I concentrated on, but is really only one of several workday projects.

Most of the work involved maintenance and cleaning of the facilities, which must be done even when all goes well in the minimal landscape. A big refrigerator from Taylor Hall was brought outside where it was defrosted and cleaned. Cobwebs were brought down. Debris from the trees was blown and removed. A skylight was repaired. There were quite a few chores on the list.

The most unusual task, which was added to the original list, was the cleaning of the darkened dusty spots on the insulated ceiling of Taylor Hall. No one really knows how they got there, or what to do about them, or even what the strange insulation of the ceiling consists of. Ultimately, after washing was found to be impractical, a distinctly dusty patch was effectively vacuumed.

The few remaining cypress trees between the north boundary of the parking lot and A&W still need significant work. It would not be practical to prune them completely, since they will likely be removed as they succumb to disease within the next few years. However, lower growth that is either obtrusive to adjacent parking spaces, or just plain unsightly, should be pruned away.

It is a significant project that I could use some help with during the next workday.

The next work day has not yet been scheduled. I hope to be informed about it soon enough to write about it here.

Workday – October 19, 2019

Saturday – October 19 – 9:00 a.m. to noon – Felton Presbyterian Church – WORKDAY

This is no venue for social networking, and it is unlikely that more than a few of us will see this post prior to Saturday anyway, but I want to at least briefly mention the workday cited above. I would have mentioned it sooner, but was just informed of it a few hours ago. It is only for three hours, but we always get quite a bit done before noon.

Although it is still early in the season, I intend to FINALLY prune the flowering crabapple out front, so could use some help to drag brush. Otherwise, the big cypress trees north of the parking lot, near A&W, need some major grooming. That is a big job that can not be finished before noon, but it would be nice to remove the lower growth that is encroaching into parking spaces. Of course, there is plenty of other work that needs to be done.

Audience

Why is someone in Ecuador reading about us? What about France? Did they just come here expecting to find information about Tom Felton who acted as Draco Malfoy of those creepy Harry Potter movies? There is certainly no problem with anyone reading what they want to on the internet. It just seems odd that there are others outside our Community who take interest in us.

Do any of us know much, or anything at all, about others like us in the Philippines? What about those in Nigeria? Do we read about others like us in other regions of California? How are they like us? How are they different? There are many variables, such as culture, climate, resources and government. Some may be in better situations than we are in. It is likely worse for most.

Ironically, we become less interesting as our situations improve. Those coming here for insight into our unique lifestyles will find less to read about as our individual lifestyles become less . . . unique. So many of us have regained domestic lifestyles and gainful employment during the past few years that there are only a few of us who still need to do so. That is not very interesting.

What is almost as good as a lack of interesting issues within our own group, is a lack of drama from outside. Hate groups are being recognized for what they are, and are alienating associates.

In this regard, boring is good. We know that things change, and that there will always be new issues developing. For now, we should just appreciate the slow but steady improvement, while new issues develop slightly slower than old issues get resolved. Perhaps our episodic improvements and good news are rare commodities that some of our audience come here to read about.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Generosity is a good thing. There happens to be an abundance of it here. In conjunction with the many other good things about our Community, the abundant generosity is what keeps a few of us from going hungry. Those who might happen to get into a bad situation several days before food distribution can easily find other meal and food programs nearby to stay well fed.

Sometimes, food even gets left for us at the picnic table near the parking lot at Felton Covered Bridge Park. Some of it is surplus from earlier events in the park, such as a birthday party or a picnic. On rare occasion, surplus food is delivered from events somewhere else, such as a wedding reception or a staff meeting. People actually go ‘that’ out of their way to share surplus food!

Generosity is certainly nothing new here. I wrote about it not too long ago. It sometimes involves other minor resources besides food, including clothing, bedding, tents, kitchen utensils, fuel, pet supplies, tarps, and on rare occasion, employment and housing opportunities. If too abundant, some of the non-perishable items can be stored until until someone has need for them.

Surplus perishable food that is not consumed in a timely manner is not so easy to accommodate. If we get to it quickly enough, some can be taken by those who can freeze or refrigerate it for later. Regardless of what happens to it, perishable food left in Felton Covered Bridge Park must be taken before wildlife makes a mess of it. Fortunately, so far, that has not been a problem.

However, there is slight but well founded concern that with such generosity and abundance of surplus, but fewer of us to benefit from it, there might eventually be potential for contributions of perishable food to attract undesirable wildlife. Ravens are notorious for taking unattended food, and leaving the wrappings strewn about. Raccoons and rats take what remains overnight.

Within the context of the collective ecosystem, scavenging surplus food is probably not a problem for the wildlife. The remaining mess of wrappings, and the waste of such graciously shared surplus, are the potential problems. Since the surplus food is being left for us, we must be attentive to how it might affect the environment, and not allow it to become a problem for others.

There certainly was no problem with this surplus food that was left early today. The fancy dried apricots and shelled walnuts to the right were quite a score. The sandwiches to the upper left were timely for lunch. Someone later brought salami and cheese to go with the remaining mixed crackers that were snacked on by many. Generosity and abundance go a long way in Felton.