Fun With Google Translate

I have a word problem. I really, really like words. A lot.

It should come as a surprise to nobody that on my trip to the Balkans I took pictures of words to look up later.

Nor should it come as a surprise that I can spend hours playing with Google Translate.

Forget squirrels or shiny things — these are the rabbit trails I follow for amusement.

For instance, this photograph was taken of the tray back on my Croatian Air flight.

I recognized molimo vas from the language app I used before the trip. It means please. However, I wanted to figure out the rest of the words even though the translation was right below it.

Vežite se dok sjedite means Sit while you are sitting. (Google Translate: Croatian to English) But vežite, by itself, get translated tiePerhaps the literal translation is something about tying yourself in your seat?


The one time I was brave enough to use Croatian was in the Franciscan monastery in the Old City Dubrovnik. “Dvije,” I said to the man at the ticket table, indicating that I wanted two tickets.

“For that you get in free,” he said, in perfect English. He was delighted that I attempted Croatian.

Inside, we visited a beautiful garden and an art gallery. A war scar was framed on the wall.

Udar granate means A missile shot according to the sign below.  Google Translate (GT) says it means grenade attack. Close, I guess, but different.


This one is a mystery.

GT translates ĆIVU FRANA CUNDULIĆA NAROD means THE LIVING OF FRANCA CUNDULIĆA NAROD so maybe it’s a person’s name.

But if I drop the capitalization, the same words mean  a living shroud of crowds of people.

If I drop the “narod” because it’s on a separate line, and just look at the first line in all small letters, it means (according to GT) some cranium brake or the black break crank.

I kind of thought our guide said it was a music hall, but who knows?


I used the public restroom at The Tunnel of Hope Museum outside Sarajevo. There I encountered my first squatty potty. It caught me by surprise, especially when my phone fell out of my pocket. Ew. Thank goodness it didn’t fall in. I took a picture of the toilet itself to show my children, and then this one of the sign on the tank to see how it translated out.

Molimo ne bacajte papir u wc šolju, već u kantu za smeće translates to Please do not throw paper in the toilet, already in a garbage can (GT: Bosnian to English) Not bad, really.


Last, a tee shirt.

I have no idea what the guy thought when I snapped this picture. This was after the soccer game (fudbalski) — and it looked like one of those “I’m with Stupid” shirts.

GT defaulted to German for Er heiratet, translating them he marries.

We were in Bosnia at the time, so I tried to force a Bosnian translation — but GT said it meant Er hieratet.

The other team was from Croatia, so I checked the Croatian translation, and GT said, That’s a heir. I thought GT would know that it should be an, not a. But I’ll forgive GT because the words were, after all, German.

GT couldn’t translate Wir sind nur sum saufen hier from Bosnian or Croatian. In German, however, the words meant we’re just drinking here.

A groomsmen shirt. Wedding humor.

When words are playthings, and Google Translate is available, fun is all around. I found that on my trip.

A is for Appetite (Or, 5 Things About Zombies)

Please forgive this post. I blame it on my brother and the fact that I’ve been struggling to write.

“Why don’t you write ’10 Things About Zombies’?” my brother suggested.

“I don’t know ten things about zombies,” I said.

“Make them up,” he said, but I couldn’t think of anything.

“Zombies are dead,” I told him.

“You need to come up with something more interesting,” he replied.

Exactly.

So I tried.

I came up with five facts, but the first one is really a correction.

Zombie Fact #1: Zombies are not dead; they are undead.

Cee Neuner is starting a weekly photo challenge called “Alphabet with a Twist.”  For the next 26 weeks, she’ll feature a different letter ~~ with a twist ~~ for her Fun Foto Challenge.

Maybe it’s because I’m a little twisted myself — but, I felt like I could commit to this challenge.

A (with a twist) is Ap. The photo needs to feature something that begins with the letters “Ap.”

I’m adding my own second requirement for this challenge. I’m going to use old family pictures.

Zombie Fact #2: Zombies don’t like to be photographed. Most zombie photos are staged and not real.

A few years ago, I started scanning my father’s slides to get them into a digital format. All of the photographs in this post were taken by my father before I was even born. Not staged. 100% real. No zombies.

So…. A is for Appetite.

Zombie Fact #3: Zombies like watermelon.

Watermelon is red and juicy. If you look at zombie pictures (which I know are staged) they often have red juicy stuff running down their chin. Watermelon, while not the consistency of brains or flesh, looks appetizing enough to fool your average zombie.

My mother told me that watermelon was sometimes soothing for a child that was teething. I like to think that’s why she was feeding it to Stewart in this picture, but she may have kept watermelon on hand in case of zombie attack.

Stewart eating watermelon

Zombie Fact #4: Zombies are delighted when they see a baby with food on his or her face.

Zombies really aren’t so different from the rest of us. What parent hasn’t taken a picture of junior with spaghetti on his head or chocolate ice cream smeared all over his face?

For zombies, though, they find it attractive because they identify with it. Most zombies have lost their swallow reflex. Remember the zombie pictures with red liquid dripping down their chin? Well, they can’t help it. Their swallow reflex died with them and didn’t come back to life. That’s why they talk the way they do. That’s why they eat the way they do. When they see a baby with food all over his face, they think he’s one of them. They feel a kinship.

Stewart with food on his face

This can actually be used to a family’s advantage when under attack. Hold the food-covered baby in plain view while the rest of the family slowly backs out of a room invaded by zombies. The zombies will be so enamored that they won’t attack. Once everyone is out the room. Shut the door and run.

This is a picture of my mother feeding Stewart.

He doesn’t have anywhere near enough food on his face to distract zombies. It’s okay. He lived his whole life without a single zombie attack.

My mother and my oldest brother have both passed away but they will never be zombies, because —

Zombie Fact #5: A person who lives a life of service to others can never become a zombie.

My mother and my brother both gave freely and generously of themselves. It’s like a zombie vaccine.

This should serve as a reminder to all.

We should be kind.

We should be generous.

We should put others first.

— if for no other reason than it will keep us from being zombies.

 

 

There’s No Place Like Home

*click* *click* *click*… There’s no place like home… There’s no place like home…. *click* *click* *click*

Dorothy, in the “The Wizard of Oz”

Cattails and sunset — August 10, 2017

Dahlias and sunset — August 10, 2017

The neighbors slowly heading off to bed — August 10, 2017

Evening walk — August 12, 2017

Enjoying a summer evening — August 12, 2016

Home doesn’t usually happen in a jiffy. It can take years — even decades — for the roots to go down so deep that no matter where a person goes in the world, he or she can feel the call of home.

Truly, there is no place like home.


Day #7 of a nature photo challenge. It’s my home.

If this is a challenge you would like to do, it’s pretty easy — 7 days of nature photographs taken by you.

Flower Power

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.

Georgia O’Keefe

The summer of 2014 was the Summer of Flowers.

Owen and Emily were getting married in September and I filled my garden in Greene with flowers that we might be able to use for the wedding.

Emily is incredibly organized. She planned everything so well. She probably didn’t need me to grow flowers, but it was a gift to me — to choose flower plants, and watch them grow and bloom.

These are all flowers grown in my garden in Greene for Day #6 of a nature photography challenge.

The Elements

One of my favorite family trips was in June 2015 when we all traveled to British Columbia for Sam and Donna’s wedding.

The Pacific Northwest is God’s country. It’s wild and beautiful.

Sam drove us to an amazing vantage point, looking down on the city of Vancouver.

Sky (and earth and water)

It made me feel small and big at the same time.

That same day we visited Whytecliff Park where we climbed around on rocks and skipped stones in Horseshoe Bay.

Earth and Water

My Facebook profile picture is from there that day.

Earth and Water (and me in between)

Everything about that trip was wonderful. My family was all there. A dear friend joined us. The wedding was beautiful.

Since we had to fly out of Seattle, we spent a day there on the tail end of the trip.

We walked all around Seattle. Through Pike’s Market. Though the Olympic Sculpture Park. To the Space Needle.

We didn’t go up in the Space Needle, but instead went to Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum which is near the base. The intermingling of glass sculptures and native plants is stunning.

I sat for a while at the base of the “Sun”  in the heart of the garden —

Fire

A robin sang its familiar song. I could hear him long before I found him, perched on one of the rays of the sun.

I’m sure there’s an object lesson somewhere in that — but I’m not going to try to find it.

Rather than try to tie all these random thoughts together, I’ll leave with a quote:

I don’t ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun on a misty morning. There they are, and they are beautiful.

Pete Hamill


In response to this week’s Photography Challenge: Elemental


My friend, Renee, tagged me in a photography challenge that involves posting nature photos (taken by me) for seven days. She did it on Facebook, but I’m going to do mine here, starting with far away places and moving closer to home every day.

For Day #4, I used pictures from Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA. I was just under 3000 miles from home!

I’m going to tag some of my favorite bloggers to take up the challenge too. If you’re tagged and don’t want to do it, that 110% fine with me. I totally understand.

…Relax (Sorry, I realized that I don’t even know your name!) — I’m tagging you. I know you don’t post many pictures, but maybe you can use 1,000 words instead. You do have a way with words. 🙂

 

Beautiful and Terrible

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.

Frederick Buechner

Looking down at the beach from Pointe du Hoc in Normandy. Of the 225+ Rangers that attacked, only 90 survived.

On my little journey of beautiful places drawing ever nearer to my home, today’s stop is Normandy.

Normandy itself was beautiful. I didn’t know I could so readily fall in love with a place that wasn’t my home. Even Wyoming took its time to grow on me.

But with Normandy, it was love at first sight.

Lush green farmland. Cows. Old stone buildings. History. Friendly people. Patisseries. Beaches.

The beaches are beautiful.

And terrible.

I couldn’t look at them without feeling a pit in my stomach and a lump in my throat.

Beach view from the walkway at the American Cemetery in Normandy

This is a place where brave men sacrificed themselves for others. It doesn’t get more beautiful and terrible than that.

We’ve talked about taking a family trip to Normandy. I want my children to see and know what happened there.

“Do they have regular beaches there?” one of my children asked.

“Yes,” I said, because I had seen them — stretches of sand and ocean.

But I’m not sure I could play there, on these beaches where men died.

Imagine, if you will, that our soldiers hadn’t done what they did there. What a different world we would live in. It almost compels me to play there — and enjoy the freedom purchased with their sacrifice.


A friend tagged me in a photography challenge that involves posting nature photos (taken by me) for seven days. She did it on Facebook, but I’m going to do mine here, starting with far away places and moving closer to home every day.

Today, Day #3, is from Normandy, over 3400 miles from Cooperstown!

I’m going to tag some of my favorite bloggers to take up the challenge too. If you’re tagged and don’t want to do it, that 110% fine with me. I totally understand.

Vanessa — I’m tagging you because I love your garden pictures. Flowers always make me smile.

Little Things in Dubrovnik

“I suspect many of us walk past true gems every day without considering where they came from and what journeys they have endured.”

Richard LaMotte, Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature’s Vanishing Gems

After our morning swim in the Adriatic Sea, Leah set about collecting sea glass. She gathered quite a few pieces in her hand and then left them in a little pile on the beach. The fun for her was in the finding.

Sea glass from the Adriatic

I imagined some child coming to the beach after we left and being delighted by the little collection of green, white, and amber bits. The pieces had lost the smooth shimmer of new glass,  but they had a better beauty given to them by the Adriatic Sea.

For me the lesson was in leaving it behind. I am a saver from a long line of savers. We save everything. In fact, I took a few pebbles from the beach home that day. They were so pretty and I wanted to remember that morning.

They’re still in my bag, though.

And the snapshot of the sea glass is enough to help me remember.

I need to learn to let go — of stuff.

On the sea glass morning, when we got back to our apartment, a small turtle poked his head out in the garden.

A little turtle in the garden at our Airbnb

One of the biggest lessons from my European travels is that Americans need to slow down. We’re always in a hurry, always watching the clock. So much of the world takes life at a more leisurely pace — and it’s wonderful.

It’s good for the body.

It’s good for the soul.

Take a walk with a turtle and behold the world in pause.

Bruce Feiler


My friend, Renee, tagged me in a photography challenge that involves posting nature photos (taken by me) for seven days. She did it on Facebook, but I’m going to do mine here, starting with far away places and moving closer to home every day.

Today, Day #1, is from Dubrovnik, where I was 4500 miles from home!

I’m going to tag some of my favorite bloggers to take up the challenge too. If you’re tagged and don’t want to do it, that 110% fine with me. I totally understand.

Anna Brown — I’m tagging you first for three reasons.

One — because when I first discovered you, you were in MONGOLIA. Talk about the farthest reaches of the world. Plus, I think you’re still pretty far away — somewhere in the wilds of Canada.

Two — you’re somewhere in the wilds of Canada (did I already say that?) and I think Canada is absolutely beautiful.

Three — I love when you write, and you haven’t written much lately, my friend. (nudge, nudge)