Monthly Archives: October 2017

Pelf

October 24, 2017Read More

pelf
\PELF\
noun

: money, riches

The Anglo-French word pelfre, meaning “booty” or “stolen goods,” was borrowed into English as pelf with the added meaning of “property.” Pelfre is also a relative of pilfer, meaning “to steal.” In some areas of Britain it took on a trashy good-for-nothing meaning.

Ah money and riches. Treasure – we are all on a hunt for it. Be it winning the lotto or taking a prize winning photo or hitting viral pay dirt. Don’t we all want to be rich and famous and live the good life? Our country was discovered mainly by others who were seeking their fortune so they set out to explore the world in the hopes of striking it rich. Times have changed. Most of the globe has been discovered and claimed and casino slot machines used to rain coins, but now they just print out a barcoded slip.

I am forever scheming ideas to make myself more comfortable. I haven’t found one that hit yet. I won’t quit though. I saw a quote on my favorite billboard the other day that said that education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. I just looked it up and it is credited to none other than Albert Einstein. I just tried to find out if Albert Einstein was rich, and what I found was that he was asked to come up with a salary and requested $3,000 a year, which inflates to $53,000 nowadays. He had a large bank account when he died because he lived very modestly. That is how I aspire to live, but I struggle to get there because I feel unnecessarily overextended. I want to have less, but the universe gives me more. Maybe, someday I won’t feel like I have to second guess every expenditure. Though I did just get a discount on my auto insurance by asking, but the bill went up so I had to ask about it. Inflation was the biggest thing my Dad was worried about. I didn’t understand it, though it is making more sense. Everything keeps going up. How do we keep up? Do we have to beg, borrow and steal our way to pelf?

Burke

October 23, 2017Read More

burke
\BERK\
verb

1 : to suppress quietly or indirectly

2 : bypass, avoid

Ok the origin story here is pretty disturbing. It traces to the 1827 sale of a body to a local anatomy school by the Edinburgh boarding house owner William Hare and his friend William Burke.
The sale was so lucrative that they decided to find a way to duplicate it, so they began luring nameless wanderers (who were not likely to be missed) into the house, getting them drunk, then smothering or strangling them and selling the bodies. The two disposed of at least 15 victims before murdering a local woman whose disappearance led to their arrest. At Burke’s execution (by hanging), irate crowds shouted “Burke him!” As a result of the case, the word burke became a byword first for death by suffocation or strangulation and eventually for any cover-up.

Ummmm I don’t even know what to do with this…but I think in life, we smother what we want right now in an attempt to shoot for a larger, further off goal. We do what we think is best. Impulse control – something we practice and think makes us act like grown-ups. We are so busy looking for the past to inform the present and wishing to change the future so we don’t know how to live in the now. We have long suppressed that ability. Who is the voice of reason in your head that burkes your bright ideas?

Nuncupative

October 23, 2017Read More

nuncupative
\NUN-kyoo-pay-tiv\
adjective

: spoken rather than written : oral

Nuncupative is from Latin nuncupare, meaning “to name” and has been part of the English language since the 15th century, mostly in legal contexts as a modifier of the noun will. It originated in Roman law, where it was an oral declaration in the presence of seven witnesses.

We get different things out of written versus spoken communications. Interesting that you need the presence of seven witnesses. This made me think of the Telephone Game and how messages get distorted. I wonder how many different versions of things get heard when you say something in front of seven people. There are definitely things that shouldn’t be written down – though I wonder who is overhearing our conversations or phone calls. Is anything private? Surely we think it is but it isn’t. Oral traditions are how we attempt to preserve our stories when we lose the physical packaging of books and paper and computer files. I keep finding old floppy discs and even CDs that soon I wont be able to read anymore. Everyone says how storage is cheap, but I feel that storage is tenuous. Mental memory is too. So I guess the moral of the story is to tell seven people. I need to expand my readership quickly!

Adversity

October 22, 2017Read More

adversity
\ad-VER-suh-tee\
noun

: a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune

So this is a word that most of us are very familiar with. We grow up with so many phrases about overcoming adversity and being brave in the face of difficulty. Most novels and movies center around a protagonist who somehow overcomes adversity. It is pretty much the staple element of most stories.

Benjamin Disraeli said “There is no education like adversity.”
Albert Einstein said that “Adversity introduces man to himself.”
Walt Disney said “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

We all will face times when we will be tested. We look at others and make so many assumptions from where we stand, never knowing the weight of the burdens they have to carry. We all battle so many silent illnesses and even common things that we are just too scared to speak up about. We just assume that these things are normal…or that others wouldn’t understand. We fear being singled out, or viewed as weak or stupid. So we just soldier on. But by doing so we miss out on a potential solution to our troubles. I wish we could help build each other up instead of tearing each other down. I wish that we could help others reach their dreams instead of telling them the ways in which they are destined to fail. I wish that we could help fix each others problems instead of standing by as they suffer needlessly. All most of us need is just a little compassion and understanding, which doesn’t cost anything. Sadly, we are all so caught up with insignificant things that we miss the bigger picture.

I sought today’s image at the zoo. I had quite a few contenders. Sad lions in captivity, gorillas clinging to legs, horses biting each others bridles. Sometimes it just feels like you are a ring-tailed lemur with a baby on your back. (I kept thinking of the concept of carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders…This fits that description.) And sometimes you are just like this other ring-tailed lemur who got locked out and desperately needs someone to open the door!

Knee-jerk

October 20, 2017Read More

knee-jerk
\NEE-jerk\
adjective

: readily predictable : automatic; also : reacting in a readily predictable way

In the 1870s the patellar reflex gave rise to this word. In the 1950s it became an adjective and adopted its figurative sense. Today knee-jerk has a negative connotation because it usually applies to things that are hasty or irrational responses based on preconceived notions.

So Homonym came home with a BOO bag today…some sort of faculty fun halloween initiative of trading holiday treats. In his bag was some candy, those silly plastic glasses with the big nose and eyebrows, and a gargantuan black fake spider. Already that spider has been showing up all over the house. I want NOTHING to do with that. So when I needed an image, I was trying to shoot my knees, and they just looked all sorts of awkward, then Synonym went to draw on her board, but she decided to put the spider on Daddy’s knees instead. Typical! But perfect! Readily predictable behavior. 11 days until Halloween.

Hew

October 20, 2017Read More

hew
\HYOO\
verb

1 : to cut or fell with blows (as of an ax)

2 : to give form or shape to with or as with an ax

3 : conform, adhere

Ugh this word was grating on me today. I am busy picturing axes and then Merriam-Webster posts a pic of a bunch of ducks in a row. How can this mean to chop something in half yet it is also to conform? I am so confused. I also can’t stop thinking of the word hue as in color. So I am pretty darn confounded. I finally got to the Apple Store to get my new iPhone. I have been living my life at full capacity for quite sometime. It hasn’t been fun. My phone pitched a full out fit this afternoon so that pretty much forced my hand. I was fearing all the potentially undelivered messages. I tried to do a back up to my computer and it kept failing. Finally one worked, but then when it dragged me along a 20 minute restoration process it said it wouldn’t work because it was corrupted. I couldn’t restore – so I restored to a prior backup that was from 11/21/16. LOSING A WHOLE YEAR from Third Eye Blind started running through my head – competing with Halsey’s Bad at Love. I have no idea how I am going to fall asleep now. And I need to do that quickly. Heading to an early morning photography course at Longwood Gardens. My image is from Longwood when it was under construction.

Very little conforms to our expectations anymore.

It is hard to conform to the rules that were made to be broken.

I was so close to breaking my streak……but I had to follow through with hew! I couldn’t hew the line!

Malign

October 19, 2017Read More

malign
\muh-LYNE\
verb

: to utter injuriously misleading or false reports about : speak evil of

The Latin prefix mal- traces to the word malus, meaning “bad.”

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil….these frogs are aligned in an interesting manner, facing off and stacking up. We need to watch our words, as they have power to injure others and come back to haunt us as well.

Euphony

October 18, 2017Read More

euphony
\YOO-fuh-nee\
noun

1 : pleasing or sweet sound; especially : the acoustic effect produced by words so formed or combined as to please the ear

2 : a harmonious succession of words having a pleasing sound

Euphony comes from the French word (euphonie), which derives from the Late Latin euphonia, which traces back to the Greek adjective euphōnos, meaning “sweet-voiced” or “musical.” Euphōnos was formed by combining the prefix eu- (“good”) and phōnē (“voice”). Euphony also has a specialized meaning in the field of linguistics, where it can refer to the preference for words that are easy to pronounce. This preference may be the reason why people tend to adjust the pronunciation of certain words in a way that favors sound combinations that are easier to say aloud.

This word struck a chord with me, and the words just started flowing. EU is positivity, and phone is sound. What is the soundtrack of my life? If you ask me about my favorite things, I can’t always give an answer – except when it comes to music. Although I have a lot of favorites, my reply will instantly be Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20. For me, they are at the top of them all. I have been drawn to them from their very beginning over twenty years ago. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, or the first time, but they have been running through my head for as long as I can remember. I have seen them in concert in multiple states and venues, even on a cruise. When I see them live, their influences overtake mine and everything else fades into the background. Music is an extremely powerful medium. It provides an escape from the difficulties of daily life. Something in the combination of words and sound has the power to stick in your brain the way plainly spoken words just cannot. It even can be a vehicle to transport you to a different place and time. What else has that kind of power? There is nothing better than cranking up a song and lowering the car windows and driving an open road. I don’t know about you, but it is hard not to feel “invincible with my headphones on.” Music speaks to us in its own special language. Shakespeare said, “When words fail, music speaks.” Music is a form of art that enters through the ears and goes straight to the heart. It strikes chords that echo long after they finish reverberating. “When the music’s over, but the song stays in your head.” Twenty years is a long time. I have listened to a CD for countless insomniatic hours spent trying to fall asleep because, “tomorrow might be good for something.” I have listened in my car for innumerable hours spent stuck in traffic belting out, “Just three miles from the rest stop.” Becoming an adult “I dont know if I’ve ever been good enough. I’m a little bit rusty” and learning to cope with loss and grief, “I was in a daze, I was losing my place, I was screaming out at everything, Waiting for the walls to come down, Before my moment starts to fade, But everything that’s perfect falls away.” Wondering “who will save me from all I’m up against out in this world”? Because at the end of a “Long Day” we are all “just a little Unwell.” And if “It’s 3 AM, I must be lonely.”

I started a thread in a Facebook fan page and before long I had almost 700 entries for favorite lyric. Clearly the chords struck weren’t just my own. This is evident in the sold out arenas full of screaming fans who can sing along with each line. Music has a universal appeal. You may not even have the lyrics right, but it still makes you lift your voice and join the chorus.

This morning, Synonym commented on a song on the radio that I told her was a Les Mills Body Pump track (Fallout Boy’s Centuries) she remarked “That’s definitely not a lullaby – it would wake the baby. It makes you want to work out and lift weights and do more reps!” Right on sister!

Music is a mantra. It is an anthem. It is a sad song that helps you cry it out and move on. It is a slow dance with your crush. It is a reminder of what you are fighting for. It is exactly what you need right now. It can be a few bars of a song, but technically it doesn’t have to be musical at all. It can also be the sound of a loved one’s voice, or the bark of your dog or meow of your cat. It could be silence. It could be the thoughts in your head. What does your playlist say about you? What is euphony to you? What is music to your ears?

Chary

October 17, 2017Read More

chary
\CHAIR-ee\
adjective

1 : hesitant and vigilant about danger and risks

2 : slow to grant, accept, or expend

In Middle English, chary meant “sorrowful,” in Old English care was an early form of care, and it also meant “sorrow” or “grief.” In Modern English it most often means careful or sparing.

Chary rhymes with wary. Be careful…full of care. How did it shift from care to careful? I just realized that the word scared has care in the middle of it. We have to care about something, or someone, to fear losing it. When we love someone, we don’t want anything bad to happen to them, so we worry about them and hope they are safe. I have always had these kinds of fears, but motherhood has taken them to a whole other level. Being careful is something I say all day long to Synonym….but it is something that really is hard to do. Being careful can limit the risks you take in life. As with all these things, there are fine lines we cross. We need to care and be careful, but then if we take it too far, we run into problems.

Razzmatazz

October 16, 2017Read More

razzmatazz
\raz-muh-TAZ\
noun

1 : a confusing or colorful often gaudy action or display : razzle-dazzle

2 : inflated, involved, and often deliberately ambiguous language : double-talk

3 : vim, zing

English speakers love to make words by reduplicating a base word with a slight adjustment of the sound: okie-dokie, super-duper, fuddy-duddy, dillydally. Razzle-dazzle, “a state of confusion or hilarity” seemed to have inspired razzmatazz, and may have played off of jazz. Synonym wanted to do my picture today. It is very flashy and attention-grabby!

I realized the other day, when I was drowning in stuff in my kitchen, that most of our trash is packaging…and most of our packaging is designed to make a sale. I wish we were more sincere with each other, but it seems like many people are out to sell you something. They make their sale and then they are gone. We are wooed by flashy promises that appeal to our current weakness or seem like a fix to our current problems. We are overwhelmed by too many options and not enough time, so we have to make a choice and move along. We aren’t mindful enough and we pay the price. I keep trying to stop getting myself in these situations, yet I keep finding myself in them and berating myself. How come? Is that just how life is? Is that just what it is to be human? To live this modern life? To have first world problems? I don’t understand. I was questioning Synonym about something tonight and she’s like, “I know you don’t understand. Please go with it.” We work all the time at how we package ourselves, with the clothes we wear and the walks we walk and the talks we talk. We put ourselves through courses and gain certifications and experience, all in the name of dazzling potential clients. Our brand is ourself. Skip the double talk and stick with straight talk.