Packing Boxes and Unpacking A Choice Tidbit or Two

Oceans Aplenty, Sofas Divine, and A Spooky Urn!

Here in Berkeley, Ca., we’re busy packing for the move to the Biggest Little City in the World — Reno, Nv. And since it feels like I’m organizing my entire life around this move, I even cleared out my overflowing inbox. The reward? a clean desk for me AND a choice tidbit or two to share with you. Enjoy!

Tidbit One: Oceanic Happenings

Earlier this month, the National Geographic Society recognized a fifth ocean — the Southern Ocean.

Our “newest” ocean surrounds the Antarctic, stretching from that icy region’s coastline to 60 degrees south latitude, excluding the Drake Passage and the Scotia Sea, according to National Geographic. These places are so exotic and unknown, they give new meaning to the phrase “brain freeze.”

The newbie the Southern Ocean is tiny by oceanic standards, the second smallest after the Artic Ocean.

And even you non-geographic geeks should be impressed by this fact: this is the first time in more than a century that the National Geo has redrawn its maps to include a new ocean.

Personally, as an almost oldster, I find it just thrilling. Something new under the sun — and in our lifetime! Doesn’t it make you feel that the Age of Exploration has somehow touched our lives right here on planet Earth?

But even though Nat Geo’s onboard in naming the Southern, there is some dissension about it from the International Hydrographic Organization, which standardizes sea mapping and official names. You can read more about the brouhaha here. Talk about throwing cold water on some fun news!

Now, quick! Can you name the other four oceans? Answer at the end of this week’s blog. (Hint: I named one above.)

Tidbit Two: I Say Sofa. You Say Couch. Ouch!

Apparently, it’s the latest “culture” divide — or dare I say it— “divan” divide? Experts say couches and sofas are different.

The word couch, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, comes from the French verb “coucher,” which means “to lie down.” Historically, a couch refers to a piece of furniture that has one or no arms. Nowadays, if you can nap on it, it’s considered a couch. If it’s a sectional, it’s a couch. If it’s a loveseat, it’s a couch. And if you can fit the entire family on it, it’s likely to be a couch.

Sofas, on the other hand (cheek?), are smaller. Think trendy upholstered bench. The word itself, sofa comes from the Arabic word “suffa,” meaning wooden bench covered in cushions and blankets.

Unlike couches, which are most likely found in a comfy TV space, sofas are more the stuff of stuffy sitting rooms of our grandmothers’ era or of Bridgerton TV fame.

But to these distinctions, I say, “Pshaw and boulder dash.” I say, “pocketbook, purse, handbag!” Potato, potahto. Tomato, tomahto.” My point? Whatever word works for you, go for it!

Although, on second thought, now that we’re moving into a new house and will soon be furniture shopping, I certainly don’t want to sound déclassé to the storekeepers! Maybe I should keep my sofas and my couches straight!

Egads and alas! Now my head really is spinning! Because truth be told, I still don’t really “get” the difference!

Calgon, take me away. Specifically, take me to a spa!

Tidbit Three: You’ve Heard of “Elf on a Shelf?”

I previously wrote about the making of diamonds from a deceased loved one’s ashes. I thought that was as creepy as it got. But I was wrong.

Here’s a beyond-the-grave idea that goes one step beyond. Now you can have your cremated remains stuffed, I mean placed — inside a 3D-printed bust of the deceased person’s head!

Just imagine what a conversation starter that would be at family gatherings! What nightmares for the little ones. “Yes, Grandma’s on the shelf! It’s a tremendous likeness of her, isn’t it? Wrinkles and all!”

The urns don’t come with “hair,” but it can be digitally applied, or a wig can be added. I always wanted to live my life as a blond but lacked the courage. Perhaps the afterlife will provide a second chance. (Note to self: put that stipulation in my will.)

And the cost? Prices range from $600 to $2,600 depending on the size. Therapy (and wig) not included!

Well, that’s it for now. Handsome Hubby is howling for me to help seal a box. If our marriage survives this move, it will be a wonder. Otherwise, you might be seeing a 3D-printed bust of one of us gracing the mantel of our new home. I’m just saying!

🌎 🌎 🌎

Answer to oceanic quiz:

The names of the five oceans are Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and, of course, newbie Southern.


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