Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cupboards, Cabinets and Closets

I was talking to someone recently, and the word 'cupboard' was used.  This wasn't a big deal, as cupboard is one of those words that many people use.  But it was suggested to me that the distinction between cupboards and cabinets was a regional one...  with those of a British background being more likely to use 'cupboard', while the word 'cabinet' was the more common word in the U.S.

Hmmm...  That came as a surprise to me, so I decided to look it up - and of course share my findings!

My initial search for 'cupboard' revealed that there is a kitchen store in Fort Collins known as The Cupboard.  I found this amusing because ...  well, the person I was talking to will know why it was amusing, and I'll just leave the rest of you guessing!!!

Continuing my search, I found that a cupboard is a closet with doors on the front, and shelves inside.
But wait -- I found something else that said a cupboard is a piece of furniture and a cabinet is more like a closet.
So -- is a cupboard a closet, or is a cabinet a closet?

Oh dear... now I have to look up cupboards, cabinets AND closets!  Well at least they're near each other alphabetically, although it turns out that they're near each other in meaning, as well.  Digging a bit deeper, I found the following:

Cabinets are typically considered general-purpose storage, while cupboards are more for food and dishes.  

All right, that makes sense to me.  Except that now I see that:

A cupboard is the more general-purpose receptacle, whereas a cabinet is more specific (e.g. medicine cabinet)

So -- is a cabinet general purpose, or is a cupboard general purpose???

Well.  This is getting worse and worse.  I decided that perhaps I needed to attack this from a different angle, so I decided to explore this from the regional/US/British standpoint.  And I found an article online that discussed British and American English... and focused on the words 'cupboards' and 'closets'.  Just what I was looking for... surely there will be answers here.

Sadly, this wasn't very helpful, as the article mostly talked about closets - which in England were initially private rooms, and then morphed into small rooms...  and so you have water closets (ie bathrooms).. and besides, the British most commonly used wardrobes to hang their clothes, and so closets are rarely discussed.. and then of course you have broom cupboards and broom closets, which are the same thing.. which gets me absolutely nowhere.

So I checked out Wikipedia... and according to whoever wrote the page I was looking at (you do know that those are mostly ordinary people, right?  They're not experts or anything) said that originally cupboards were open shelved storage cabinets, but now the word refers to a closed piece of furniture.

Ok...  so a cupboard is a type of cabinet....  what does Wiki say a cabinet is?
According to Wiki, a cabinet is a body of high-ranking officials.
Actually, this makes more sense than anything else I've read today.  Let's call the governmental bodies Cabinets.  At a quick count, there are over 100 countries that have a Cabinet as part of their government.

All right.. We've got that settled... now, what about Closets?  Oops... Wiki says closets are cabinets or cupboards.
And I'm back where I started.

So, just for the record...  anytime I use the word Closet.. I mean the thing with a rod where I hang my clothes.

A Cabinet is a governmental body.

And of course the Cupboard is where I keep my tea!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Taking the time to send a note

We all know that we're supposed to say thank you when we get presents.  Depending on the circumstances, a verbal 'Thank you' might be appropriate... at other times a written thank you might be called for.  Not only does the thank you reflect your appreciation of the gift, but it lets the sender know that the gift was received.
In the old days, we labored over thank you cards, trying to think of something different and unique to say to each sender; today, thank you's are just as likely to arrive by email, as by post office delivery. There are some who insist that an emailed thank you is rude, but frankly I love receiving little emails from nieces and nephews, recent newlyweds, new parents, etc.  The email doesn't take much effort, and I like the idea that for at least a moment, the person was thinking about me as they typed the email, and then hit Send.   So -- for me - an email is more than enough.

.. which is why I was so touched the other day, to receive a note from one of my neighbors.

You see - when we moved into our house, nearly two decades ago, the lawn was beautifully manicured, and the property was full of large, mature trees.  There were evergreens, and oak trees, and even a few birch trees. Unfortunately, these large mature trees continued to grow, as trees often do... and we found ourselves with nary a ray of sunshine coming through our windows, and even our roof was growing mold from a lack of sunshine.  So a couple years ago we had a vast number of trees cut down.  This increased our sunshine factor, but did nothing for the look of the house.  Yet none of the neighbors complained, and when we'd apologize, they'd politely respond that they knew it was a lengthy process.

(where IS Laurie going with this, you wonder.... have patience... it's a hot Friday afternoon.  Have a sip of iced tea and relax a moment, while I get to my point.)

This year, we finally had all the old stumps removed, we did some major landscaping, we built a couple of stone walls -- well, you get the idea -- and at last, we felt like we were no longer the neighborhood eyesore that we had been.  Yessiree, we were feeling pretty darned pleased with ourselves.

And then the other day, we received a notecard in the mail.

Not a postcard, not a folded slip of paper -- although those would have been fine - but a notecard.  The notecard was from a neighbor.  The message was brief...just a sentence or two... they just wanted to let us know how much they liked the work we'd done on the house, and how wonderful it looked.

Wow.  We'd been feeling pretty good anyway.  But the fact that a neighbor noticed... well, that was silly, of course the neighbors had noticed.. the work was fairly extensive.  But the fact that a neighbor took it upon themselves to write us a little note and leave it in our mailbox...  Well.  That was really something, and it made us feel REALLY good.

Sometimes I think it's pretty easy to focus on the effort it takes for us to do things, and we don't think about the impact that even just a little bit of effort can have on someone else.  And it's ok for the effort to indeed be 'just a little bit'... it doesn't have to take a huge amount of effort in order for it to count.

Just like tea.  It doesn't have to take a huge amount of effort to make a really good cup of tea.  Even just a small effort is well worth the result.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Happy Middle Child Day...

....   a day late!

Yesterday (August 12) was National Middle Child Day... and I missed it.  I'm one of three children, and I'm not the middle child, so by definition one of my siblings is.  And I'm afraid I didn't call, or send a card, or even an email.

But that's not because I didn't care, it's merely that I didn't realize it was National Middle Child Day. That designation did not appear on any of my calendars, I didn't see any adds on TV, and I didn't see any special sections in the card aisle at the drugstore.

Today -- the day after National Middle Child Day -- I'm seeing all sorts of postings that people have ignored Middle Child Day, just as they ignore middle children.

Wait -- WHAT???

Talk about being ignored -- there is no such thing as an Oldest Child Day... or a Youngest Child Day. And what of the families with more than 3 children??? Are they considered to have multiple middle children?  Well as it happens, this situation is covered by Siblings Day - which is April 10.

Oh.  Darn.  Siblings Day.   Looks like I missed that one as well.  But so did my siblings, so I guess that's ok.

And before you ask .. I looked it up, and yes, there is an Only Child Day.  Only Child Day is April 12, and I guess you have to count on your parents to remember that one.

I've commented on this before -- I'm not sure who establishes all of these different day, or why, or even how...and with regard to National Middle Child's Day I wasn't even able to determine when it was established.  And as long as people don't take them seriously, I guess it doesn't matter.

But just in case it does matter, I noticed that today is International Left-Handers' Day.  And it just so happens that both of my siblings are lefties.. so to the two of you (you know who you are!)... and to all other lefties out there -- I say.......uhm.....   Happy International Left-Handers' Day!

Whew... having dodged that bullet, I think it's time for a cup of tea!