A couple of months ago, I engaged in conversation with a new food bank client. He told me about his life and his education. He shared his love of grammar and communication. He told me that he was so proud of his granddaughter, who at the age of 3, correctly used the word “ubiquitous” in a sentence.
Hard to believe, right? He may have been lying about this. Though who in their right mind would lie about this type of thing?
Either way, it matters not. This conversation, however, did get me thinking, as a former English major, about this basic fact: I love words. Especially unique ones. Ones that are fun to say. Words that have a super special ability to convey precisely the right sentiment at the right moment.
And of course, I was prompted to look up the actual definition of the word “ubiquitous”. You know, just to double check my understanding of it’s meaning. It’s been a few years since I was an English major.
According to good old Merriam-Webster:
Definition of ubiquitous
: existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered:
Allow me to use this beautiful word in a sentence:
One could say that the smell of weed on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado was ubiquitous.
Here’s a few more lovely words to nerd out on:
Definition of compunction
1a: anxiety arising from awareness of guilt compunctions of conscience
b: distress of mind over an anticipated action or result… showed no compunction in planning devilish engines of … destruction.— Havelock Ellis
2: a twinge of misgiving : SCRUPLE cheated without compunction… he had no compunction about brushing aside legal technicalities.— Robert Penn Warren
Used in a sentence:
Attorney General William Barr summarized the Mueller report without compunction.
Definition of kerfuffle
: a disturbance or commotion typically caused by a dispute or conflict In all the kerfuffle, nobody seemed to have noticed Harry, which suited him perfectly.— J. K. RowlingIt’s not the only school with dress code issues; almost every week there’s a local story about some kerfuffle over what kids wear to school.— Belinda Luscombe
In a sentence: Despite all the kerfuffle made by the Chicago police and the media at large, the case against Jussie Smollett has been thrown out.
Definition of vociferous
: marked by or given to vehement insistent outcry
What a great word, that vociferous.
In sentence form:
I vociferously disagree with climate change deniers.
As a person who delights in the English language, I particularly enjoy a good acronym. With the exception of the times when I’ve begun a new job. Co-workers fling acronyms around like our President lies, and until I’m there for a decent chunk of time, I’ve no idea what they mean.
Just for fun, here’s my commentary on my acronyms:
NOAA: Someone I know and love very much works for NOAA (clue: he’s a scientist). He has been known to refer to this acronym as the “National Organization for the Advancement of Acronyms”. Because of course in his field, acronyms abound.
MIAT: This one was created by the great comedic writer, Sarah Silverman. It stands for “Make it a Treat”. I know from personal experience, however, that this one can be overused, especially when the “treats” are the edible kind. I truly need to utilize this one sparsely. Or perhaps I ought to create myself a list of what qualifies under the MIAT acronym that doesn’t involve food.
FEPP: Focused. Engaged. Patient. Positive. This one is my own creation and I pull it out whenever I feel like my brain is all over the place. Like now.
AF: I learned what this one meant shortly after I began using Twitter. It seemed to punctuate so many tweets and I was simply clueless as to what it meant. So I asked other folks in Twitterland what it meant. I eventually got the correct answer: As Fuck. I believe some of my fellow tweeters enjoyed my naivete as the first response (from the Bloggess, no less) was Air Force.
FYI and ETA: these are ones I commonly use, especially via text. FYI is an attention grabber; it emphasizes the importance of the forthcoming information to the textee. ETA is straightforward and requires a specific response, which is especially appreciated if the texter is anxiously awaiting your arrival.
YOLO: While admittedly overused in our society, this remains a favorite of mine. It speaks the truth: that at least as far as we all know, you only live once. So make it an interesting ride by saying yes to adventure in the here and now.
KISS: A very versatile acronym/mantra I use very liberally. I wrote about it here.
FML: This is actually one I despise, because it’s typically used in the context of someone complaining about a first world problem. It’s negative and hopeless. A total downer. I am so turned off when people use this one on Facebook.
WIP: What does it mean? This one was used by another blogger in a comment she made on a recent post of mine. I asked her what it meant and I am honestly still awaiting a response. Perhaps she thought it a dumb question, unworthy of an answer. If that’s the case, so be it. I suspect it is one of those special acronyms specific to the blogging world. But I like to think it means “Work in Progress”. Seems appropriate, right?
Thinking forward to an upcoming visit with our friends, couple #1, and their two young daughters recently prompted me to peruse the library at work. This library is chock full of donated books for the seniors we serve to take home and enjoy. There is no requirement that the books taken be returned, which I love. Included in this library is a shelf full of children’s books.
That is where I found this little gem, written by Minnesota native and creator of the iconic Peanuts cartoons Charles Schultz, in the year of my birth, 1967.
The colors and graphics in this little book are quite gorgeous to my eye. But what most tripped my trigger was the words written in the pages. The sentiments. One especially.
The message that “happiness is having something to look forward to” resonates with me. I believe that all of us, even on our worst days, if we pause to think about it, can imagine something on the horizon to personally look forward to. It doesn’t have to be anything major. In fact, the simpler the better. Because really, isn’t it the simple joys in life that make it enjoyable? Worth continuing?
Maybe it’s the fancy mocha-choca-latte you’re going to buy on your way to work today. Maybe it’s payday. Perhaps it’s the juicy burgers you’re going to grill tonight for supper. Or the book you can’t wait to read. Or the summer vacation you’ve got planned with your family or friends.
In the spirit of keeping things simple, let me share what I am currently looking forward to: visiting the Denver Zoo this weekend with our friends and their sweet, funny, smart little girls (one soon to be 6 and the other soon to be 3). Witnessing their reactions to the animals they see and interact with. Hearing their giggles. Capturing some sweet photos along the way.
How about you all? What are you looking forward to? Surely there’s something.
Since I don’t happen to own any livestock, this word has a different meaning for me.
Fodder is indeed raw material for my creative writing.
It’s kind of like Kettle corn, hot and fresh, right out of that big black pot, for me anyway. I can’t ever have enough of it.
My goal every day is to keep my fodder radar at the highest level possible. This requires me to be present, in the moment which is a gift unto itself. Sometimes the fodder is crap, when I start thinking about how I can use it to pen a great post. Other times it will spark a new idea, something unexpected. That’s when writing is especially enjoyable.