November 20, 2017Read More


1 : very hot : burning

2 : marked by often extreme intensity of feeling

The Latin verb fervēre can mean “to boil” or “to glow,” and by extension, “to seethe” or “to be roused.” We can be fervid fans of a football team, or have fervent political beliefs, or tack the prefix per- (“thoroughly”) on and take it to the next level with perfervid patriotism.
We tend to get riled up about the things we care about. Hot button issues bring us to a boil, and projects we are excited about make us glow when we talk about them. My SAT vocabulary association for fervent is fever – “not like sick fever, like excited fever, like my mom loves Saturday Night Fever!” This morning, my first thought was a high temperature, which led me to search my old photos for one of a high reading on my temperature gauge. Some only make sense when you see it was in the seventies in February or something out of character like that. What gets you all fired up?


November 19, 2017Read More


: to praise usually to excess

Laud is “to praise or extol,” and the prefix be- denotes “to a greater degree” and “excessively or ostentatiously,” so this word, unsurprisingly points to undeserved or overinflated praise.
Funny, my spell check wants to morph it into belied…….which is kinda awesome when you consider that too much praise probably is lying! I have never heard belaud before, but I know the word laud, and teach it to my students. Applaud has laud in it. When you graduate from college at the top of your class it is : Suma Cum Laude. A good thing is good, but too much of a good thing is bad. This word would be an action of a toady (which spell check wants to make roadie – which is my association for someone who follows a band around kissing up) or sycophant (who I refer to as a psycho fan). When people’s egos get inflated to the point that they expect a sold out arena level of applause for minor things, then they are going to run into problems. We hold certain people up on pedestals. Some deservedly so, but many undeservedly so. At the end of the day, we are all just people – flawed human beings. Most people, if put in a certain position, would do the same things. Some have greater advantages and opportunities to shine and attract our praise. Other heroes are more of the unsung variety.


November 18, 2017Read More


1 : a blind with adjustable horizontal slats for admitting light and air while excluding direct sun and rain

2 : a window made of adjustable glass louvers that control ventilation

Jalousie is French for “jealousy” – but the connection between a window treatment. Are we more jealous of those we see outside, when we peer out of our windows….or of those who are inside when we try to catch of glimpse of a world kept behind closed doors?


November 17, 2017Read More


: to spend time idly, aimlessly, or foolishly : dawdle

This word originated with some naughtier connotations…but I prefer not to loiter there.
We just had shilly-shally the other day – in fact my squirrel with my timepiece is still hanging out on my dresser. Haha! When searching for quotes, I kept running into this one: “I hate it when people accuse me of lollygagging when I am clearly dillydallying.” My spell check wants to make it lallygag – yet lollygag is the heading that appears when I look it up? Foolish lollygagging perhaps? I don’t know. They say time spent doing nothing is not time wasted. We need to clear our heads and meditate, instead of being in perpetual motion. I defined the word for Synonym. I asked her what aim meant. She said, “I take aim at something with my camera.” Yes! So if you are aimless – you have nothing to shoot for or focus on. People without set goals are aimless. We do a lot of things that seem pointless at the time, but wind up having a deeper purpose. So next time you are lallygagging around – who knows, you might be day dreaming up the next big thing. My other favorite quote:


November 16, 2017Read More


: the quality or state of being
proximate : closeness

Proximity is all about location, location, location: closeness, both physically and metaphorically. The word came from Middle French, which took it from Latin proximitat-, proximitas, forms of the adjective proximus, meaning “nearest” or “next”

I always say that friendships and most other relationships rest on proximity. Things are much easier when you are with the person on a regular basis. Distance makes you work harder…yet we will always find a way to be near those we care about.

Today is the Ides of November. Halfway through the 11th month. There are 46 more days of 2017. Looking at things from a numbers standpoint – I tallied the number of images for the words that I have made this year. I counted 187. If I get my last entries done, that will bring me to 233 out of 365….which is roughly 64%. Does that mean I failed if 65% is a passing grade? (Though in some schools it is higher – Homonym said it is 59% phew so i did pass.) My mind is driven by numbers, dollars and cents. Today I should be hitting 25,000 words in my quest for 50,000 words by 11/30. I was ahead of my mark for the beginning of the month….but this weekend slowed me down. It was a four day weekend for Synonym, so I spent more time with her and less time writing. But really, what is the ultimate measurement here? The commitment to NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words in 30 days….but that is just an average. No one said a book has to be 50,000 words to be considered a book. It is just an average…an approximation. Close enough can be good enough. I am in proximity to greatness.


November 14, 2017Read More


1 a : of or relating to the stars : astral

b : composed of stars

2 : of or relating to a theatrical or film star

3 a : principal, leading

b : outstanding

Stella is the Latin word for “star,” and can be found in words like constellation, but stella can also describe earthly things just as much as heavenly bodies. Stellar once meant “star-shaped.”

YAY! A normal word! Back in say 1994-ish when the internet was “dawning” and I had to create my very first email address, I chose stellar522@aol.com! This was back in the day when you had to pay for your monthly dial up access to the internet. Oh those were the days. Hang up the phone because I am trying to go online! Anyway….I have always loved all things sun-moon-stars. My eighth grade Earth Science teacher said I had a very lunar name: Diana is the goddess of the moon, the hunt and childbirth, and Waxman – the moon waxes! It was a fitting choice, and I still have the address, though I really only get junk mail from a few retail stores on it….and I don’t know the password so I only see it on my phone. (Don’t ask! Nothing is simple!) My favorite quote of all time (and I am a quotes girl if you haven’t already figured that out) is “Shoot for the moon, for if you miss you will land among the stars.” Wishing you a stellar day!


November 14, 2017Read More


: a man devoted to a life of sensual pleasure : rake

(I always just thought of a rake as an implement to remove leaves – but apparently it is also the overhang of a ships bough, an inclination from the horizontal and (wait for it) a dissolute person!)

Unsurprisingly, this word originated as a French word and gained momentum when it began to be used in reference to the libertine companions of Philippe II, France’s regent from 1715-1723. Roué means “broken on the wheel” in French and derives from Latin rota, meaning “wheel.” Since the wheel in this case was an instrument of punishment, the French were implying that such dissolute beings deserved this punishment. By the end of the 18th century, English-speakers added roué to its list of synonyms for a rake, libertine, debaucher, lecher, etc.

Wowie Wow Wow (Synonym and I have been reading way too much Junie B. Jones)! Not really sure what to do with this word. I have heard of being raked over the coals, and tarred and feathered in the stocks, but nothing about the wheel. Sounds a little whips and chains to me. My mind boggled at what possibilities I had when it came to an image. I had to go to the Lego collection…and ask Homonym to collect all the villainous mini figures. I was laughing as he pulled each one out. Some were rejected by Synonym….guy in a hot dog costume…..Mr Celery and the Hershey’s Kit Kat Bar (custom made by Homonym)…Ghost Vitruvious….Some I reinserted after she tossed them aside. So here you go…my Lego villains. Make of this what you will. I don’t know if this word will ever come up for me – but if it does….I will be ready! I just read a recent SAT reading passage about women’s rights to education and how they related to men in the 1830s and one phrase that just stuck out was “Sensuous egotists!” Perfect!


November 13, 2017Read More


1 : to show hesitation or lack of decisiveness or resolution

2 : dawdle

Shall I? Shall I? When you don’t know what to do, it may feel as if asking that question twice will help you decide. I know Synonym resorts to “Mo-ing it” (ala Eenie Meenie Miney Mo!) The 17th century saw the use of the phrase “stand shall I, shall I” to describe vacillation or indecision (two wonderful words. My Dad always said, “Indecision is a decision.” This is something I have devoted an awful lot of time to – as I am faced with many important decisions daily and I tend to get boggled down or frozen by the implications.). By that century’s end, the phrase had been altered to “shill I, shall I,” most likely because people just liked the vowel alteration (as we have recently discussed – with dillydally and wishy-washy). Soon after, the adverbial shilly-shally made the jump from slang to literature and writers began applying it as an adjective, a noun, and a verb as well.

I just came across a quote to use in my book:
The road is paved with many flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision. Not a pretty visual, but surely one you have witnessed. Squirrels are notorious for freezing in the middle of the street as a car approaches and then changing their mind. If they are quick about it, they will narrowly escape harm. Some are not so lucky. My image is a beanie baby squirrel with my old dead batteried watch around his neck, sitting on a Lego road. I hope he decided where to go before traffic came around the corner. The act of making up ones mind is quite difficult. In life, we are presented with too many options most of the time. I know that I, for one, am often plagued by FOMO (Fear of Missing Out!) As for right now, I hit my 20,000 word mark in my book and I have fear of missing out on sleep…so off I go shilly-shally!


November 12, 2017Read More


: marked by fearless resolution : valiant

In Old English, doughty showed up as dohtig, which was probably an alteration of dyhtig which resulted from the influence of the Old English dohte, meaning “had worth.” By the 13th century, the spelling doughty began to appear. The expected pronunciation would be \DAW-tee\, paralleling other similarly spelled old words like bought and sought. Over the centuries, the spelling was sometimes confused with that of the now-obsolete word doubty, meaning “full of doubt,” and thus, so it is conjectured, we have the pronunciation we use today. So, as I fear, we really don’t know what this word is – there are doubts!

Fear. Something I think an awful lot about. Conquering your fear is a difficult thing to do. It is something I have searched repeatedly in a feeble attempt to learn how to do it myself. It sounds good on paper. Everyone basically tells you to live fearlessly… If you can do it, life will become a lot more fun. Fears are False Evidence Appearing Real. What would you do if you had no fear? Great question. As a lifetime sufferer of anxiety, it is very real and can be very all-consuming. SO here is what I can say: Don’t fear failure – fear being in the same place next year as you are today. YES! This aligns perfectly with the Gratitude Project that I am participating – yet again. Today’s prompt was: What is different today from a year ago and how are you grateful for it? The only constant is change and the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The new things become old things and the unknown things become known quantities. What doest kill you makes you stronger…and a bit more brave!


November 10, 2017Read More


1 : an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion

2 : an emotion of sympathetic pity

Pathos comes from Greek and means “suffering,” “experience,” or “emotion.” I always told my SAT students that it meant feeling. It was borrowed into English in the 16th century, and for English speakers, the term usually refers to the emotions produced by tragedy or a depiction of tragedy. Pathos has quite a few relatives in English. Though pathology is not literally “the study of suffering,” it is “the study of diseases.” Pathetic describes things that cause us to feel pity. Apathy is a lack of feeling. Sympathy is what we express when we know something must be difficult, even if we have never experienced it ourselves, our heart goes out to the other person. Empathy is an even deeper level of sympathy – it means we have been through the same thing and we know exactly how it feels. Being able to show compassion is what sets humans apart from machines.

How can you capture an emotion or a feeling? This is something that I grapple with fairly often when I am presented with some of these words of the day. We attempt to find words to express feelings and to move others and provide them with calls to action or cues for how to relate to each other. The tricky thing is that we are all different, and will experience things to varying degrees. (“You show your pain like it really hurts. I can’t even start to feel mine.” ~ Could I Be You ~ MB20) This is why I totally dislike the pain scale that they often ask. When we minimize the feelings of others, we lose points of connection. It becomes harder to relate. Those who have not been through certain events will lack the background experience to be able to know how it feels. Everyone is in pain to a varying degree. Some have learned to manage it better than others, so be kind and cautious with your words. They act as trigger points. Use them to soothe rather than to incite. Sometimes we just need someone to hold our hand and be there without judgement or instructions of how to fix things. Just be there.