Surcee or Surcie — we love it!

My beautiful collar from Juliette’s Couture was a “surcee” from our friend Edwina.

We’re sharing a previous blog post because we were reminded of a special word just the other day and thought that some of our readers may want to add this to their vocabulary.

This is a word that many people associate with the South. It is one that the Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, uses from time to time. She says that it’s a word that she learned from her Mother.

The word is surcee, but also is spelled surcie. It’s pronounced “Sir-See.

Regardless of the spelling, a surcee (or surcie) is an unexpected gift or treat given just for the fun of it or because someone wants to give you something to cheer you up or to recognize you for something special that you have done or accomplished.

The etymology of the word seems to be unknown, although a likely source could be the Scots verb “sussie,” meaning “to take trouble, to care, to bother oneself.” And the Scots verb may even have had its origins from the French “souci,” meaning “care, trouble.”

So, from “souci” to “sussie” to “surcee or surcie” and into our language, take time to give someone an unexpected treat. They will love you for it!

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What are you fixin’ to do?

Many people living in the American South are familiar with the expression fixin’ to, meaning that a person is getting ready to do something or making preparations for some type of action. And, yes, many of us are guilty of using these words, which some people consider to be substandard English. For those unfamiliar with our Southern speech,  here is an example: “Our family is fixin’ to go on vacation.”

An interesting post in the blog “Words Going Wild” tells us that fixing has an interesting history and actually dates back to the 14th century. At that time, the word fix was used to “set one’s eye or mind on something.” Someone might have said, “Although she is a employed as a laundress at the castle, Miss Cole is fixed on marrying the duke.”

Words Going Wild also states that using  fixin’ to to mean “getting ready” or “preparing” is from 18th century America.  “The Oxford English Dictionary has a citation from 1716: ‘He fixes for another expedition.’  In 1871 Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote, ‘He was fixin’ out for the voyage.’ ”

From there, Southerners adapted fix as “fixin’ to.”

With such a lofty history,  fixin’ to is hardly “substandard” and may be one of those colloquial expressions that can be charming, even if bewildering at first to those not living below the Mason-Dixon line.

 

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Me, Myself — and Selfie!

Lady Louise does not take selfies. She graciously allows others to photograph her!

A question on this week’s “Jeopardy! College Championship” led us to look up the history of a word that became the Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2013 and sent many who love the English language into despair.

The word selfie is used around the world and is part of our daily vocabulary. We discovered that it was an Australian named Nathan Hope who first used the word in an online forum in 2002.

After celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday, Hope took a tumble down some steps and landed face first. The fall caused an injury requiring stitches in his lip. We didn’t know that eating birthday cake could lead to such pain! Or, maybe it was the punch that led to his tumble.

In an online forum, he discussed his stitches. When a friend ask what happened, Hope posted a photograph of his injured lip and wrote, ”  … sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

It was the first written use of the word selfie. The rest is language history.

 

 

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Are you under the weather?

Winter seems to be the season when we are most likely to suffer from a variety of illnesses — flu, cold and stomach viruses. Even if we are not sick enough to visit a doctor, we may feel under the weather.

The phrase, meaning to feel unwell or sick, sounds odd when used in relation to health.

Under the weather almost sounds as though a person has been caught outside in the rain or a storm.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, however, the phrase has its origins with those traveling on ships. Rough seas and winds would send travelers and sailors below deck to prevent them from becoming seasick. Therefore, people were seeking safe refuge in a place that was under the weather.

The complete phrase is “under the weather bow,” which referred to the side of the ship assaulted by the bad weather.

(Illustration by Sira Anamwong, freedigitalphotos,net)

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Words on Writing

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 Your dog sitting on your computer is not a valid excuse for not writing!

The Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, often is asked about how to go about writing. The question usually comes from people who want to write a book but don’t know how. She says that the answer is simple: You put fingers to keyboard or take a pen or pencil to paper and just write. It is the only way to achieve your goal, whether it’s writing a book, a short story, a poem or an essay — or whatever your written goal is.

Being prepared is important, of course. Maybe you’ll want to take a class or classes in creative writing or conduct research on your subject or brush up on your grammar.

However, the Editorial Assistant believes that too many people get caught up in “a process” of writing and ignore the obvious — taking action and writing. Even if it’s awful writing at first, writing only gets better by doing more. The “process” won’t do it for you. But a delete button to remove unwanted words or sentences will. That’s the “just get writing” advice we’re giving you.

Some of the best-known writers agree. At www.dictionary.com, you’ll find an interesting slideshow featuring quotes from well-known writers on how to write. Take their advice to heart and go!

Here’s the link — https://goo.gl/TH8Mxo — for words of inspiration.

 

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Ready for Paris!

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I’m going to Paris. Get your TKT and come with me!

“Lady Louise, Adventures in Paris” is nearing its official launch, and we are making the book available for pre-order online at www.louiseadventures.com.

Our Paris adventure features delightful color illustrations by Maureen Broussalian, America’s Favorite Poodle Artist.

And thanks to Mary Plumstead of Creative Sidekicks in Atlanta, the book is being formatted and will be printed at the end of the month.

However, we have an important announcement to make. Along with your pre-order, you will receive a special addition to the series — a passport-type book known as “The Ticket.” It is abbreviated as TKT and stands for “The Kindness Tour.” It is free with the pre-order through March 31. After that, it will have a nominal fee.

The TKT’s inside pages will feature a signature sticker for each book, along with space for readers to write about their experiences on their travels with Lady Louise.

Doesn’t this sound like so much fun!

On the Lady Louise adventures, readers will have the opportunity to learn about the manners and the history of other countries and famous cities. You will become an ambassador for kindness with me. And if there’s one thing that the world needs more of, it’s kindness!

We invite you to get The TKT and travel the world with me, Lady Louise.  It’s as easy as a quick click away.

Visit my Web page at www.louiseadventures.com to know how you can order Book 2 and begin the adventure of a lifetime! Or, if you are already a Lady Louise fan and want to pre-order your book now, just click the link below. The price of $25.99 includes shipping and handling!

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