A Mind Needs Books

“My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind…and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read so much Jon Snow.”

Tyrion Lannister, A Game of Thrones

One should always strive for self-improvement, and reading is, dare I say, fundamental to that cause. Unfortunately, over the last six years as I’ve gotten further along this crazy journey of life and parenting, I’ve found myself reading less than I ever have before averaging maybe two or three books every year. I’ve recently set-out to rectify this situation, lest my mind lose its edge, by dedicating myself to reading a biography of Winston Churchill Hero of the Empire. I got the book as a gift over a year ago, and it has sat on my bookshelf gathering dust ever since!

I started in early December, making slow progress here and there, but this week I’ve made sure to sit down to read at least 10-12 pages each night, and it just so happens that each chapter is about that length!. I’m currently on page 66 and the book is listed at 400 pages, but that includes the acknowledgements, index, and sourcing etc starting on page 321. That leaves me with 254 pages to go, which should put me on pace to finish by the end of January. A book a month over the course of this year would be a huge improvement over my recent average, even though ol’ Winston might scoff at such a pedestrian goal!

I’ll lay out some of my other goals in future posts, and hopefully keep all five of you who read this blog updated along the way.

Also, don’t forget to like/follow the Trails and Tributaries Facebook page as well since I often share interesting articles and videos there that don’t make it into a blog post.





Jelling Thoughts

It’s important to learn new things. I can’t say that I learn something new every day, but I always enjoy learning something new. So in that vein, I share something I learned this morning.

I was reading a news article about a football team’s lack of cohesion. It quoted a player as saying “we have to jell as a team,” and I immediately seized upon that in a fit of self-righteousness thinking “That’s not a word! It should be ‘gel’ not ‘jell’.” I found myself quickly humbled to discover that jell is indeed a word, and that the two have distinct meanings.

From grammarist.com:

  • Gel is a substance that has a consistency similar to jelly. A gel may be a cosmetic, a hair product, a medicinal product or other substance. Gel may be used as a noun or a verb, when used as a verb gel means to form something into a gel. Related words are gels, gelled, gelling. Thomas Graham coined the word gel around 1900, as a back-formation from the word gelatin.
  • Jell is a verb that means to become a consistency similar to jelly. Related words are jells, jelled, jelling, the noun form is jelly. Jellmay also be used to mean that something is growing firmer or is becoming set. Last of all, jell is sometimes used to describe the process of a project taking shape or the process of a group of people coming together in harmony, especially when working on a project together. Jell is a back-formation from jelly, coming into the language in the latter 1800s.

Go forth now, share your newfound knowledge, and feel good that you learned something new today.

What’s that? You already knew everything I just told you?!


A New Year

It’s a cold start to 2018 here in Round Hill. We’ve had a few dustings of snow in the last few days that are still sticking around, and I can safely say that this is the longest I’ve ever seen an inch of snow last here.

Despite the below-freezing temperatures I’m hoping to get outside today to walk along the lake and see what the beavers have been up to. They’ve apparently done quite the number on the trees down there and our HOA has contracted with a trapper to evict them before they completely decimate the woods. Maybe I’ll be able to convince one of the kids to accompany me on this mini-adventure. Maybe.

Hopefully the New Year finds you all well!

(I’m not going to call it a resolution, but I am hoping that this is the first of what will be many posts written this year!)