Humorous words to make us sit up and take notice

Delores E. Topliff Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, and frequently humorous. (Winston Churchill loved them). Instead of predictable words we might tune out, they snap us awake and make us sit up to take notice. There are plenty, and here are fun…

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History lives just down the street and around the corner

Delores E. Topliff – September 27, 2016 I grew up in the town around Fort Vancouver, Washington, the end of the Oregon Trail, and that connection to history had impact. Built in 1825, the fort also has the oldest apple tree in the Pacific Northwest from seeds brought by an English sea captain a year…

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What the gift says about the giver

As we prepare for Christmas, you, like me, probably choose gifts hoping to bring maximum delight to the faces of those you are shopping for–whether its kids, grandkids, friends, neighbors, students, co-workers, or shut-ins. And we’re careful to give what we believe our recipients will enjoy most whether it’s movie tickets, a restaurant meal, or…

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Timing is everything, or how I once sang a live solo across all of Canada

Years back, I sang a hearty alto in our Baptist church choir during competitions that advanced us to top standing in British Columbia, Canada. After achieving that rank, we headed to the downtown broadcast studio of CBC Canada (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) in Vancouver, B.C. and sang our hearts out in a show live from the…

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Spell marriage proposals correctly if “you care enough to send the very best”

Proverbs calls words in due season apples of gold in settings of silver. Whether we’re creating real-life conversations or dialogue in books, only well-chosen words convey emotion and build successful character portraits. Omitting names, I remember years ago when a nice-enough graduating college senior I hardly knew mailed me, a freshman English major, a marriage proposal tucked…

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How to maximize European tours, Part 2

Taking a computer along saves travelers money. Buying train and bus tickets online was 33-50% cheaper than standing in line at the depot. Our hotel’s main desk printed tickets for us free with a smile. We made one mistake by unwittingly buying a return trip from Venice for 8:06 (which turned out to be a.m.),…

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How to maximize European tours, Part I

On the European trip I enjoyed this summer, thanks to longstanding relationships with exchange students or guests who’ve lived in my home for up to a year or longer, I visited caves, castles, cathedrals, and locations dating as far back as Irish churchman St. Columba landing in Scotland in the late 500s to build a…

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People Watching—Stored Memories

Traveling teaches me that nations, like people, have personalities. Italy and Spain are warm and hospitable. In both if you even attempt to speak (slaughter) the language, it’s enough—they smile appreciatively. Other countries, like France and Austria, can seem less friendly and appear to feel put upon. Even our well-meaning but fast-paced goal-oriented nation can fail…

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Thank you, Cora Nolan, for the world of books

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” I do not know George R. R. Martin, who is credited with this quote, but he is/was a very wise man. From my 6th birthday on, we lived across the street from a community library. I know now it…

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Divine Romance–full disclosure

I would read few Christian romance or romantic suspense novels if some of my best friends didn’t write them. As a single woman who appreciates marriage, reading fairy tale romances can grate like fingernails across blackboards. But a divine appointment March 30th in Indonesia changed my outlook as 6,000 formal guests and I attended the most…

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