As Our Summer Begins, A Dazzle Of Zebras

Last week was the unofficial beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.  We were on staycation so we had to go to the zoo.

Had to, I tell you.

On the day we went to the zoo the weather was hazy and humid, drizzly, so most of my zoo photos weren’t amazeballs.  As I’d hoped they’d be.

In fact this photo of the zebras is the only one I kept from our visit. I kept it because it’s not half bad, from an artsy point of view, and because it lends itself to a good question of the day: how many zebras do you see in this photo?

I ask because I snapped the picture not realizing that there were three zebras standing together.  All I saw were two black and white zebra rumps.

That photographed beautifully.

Especially, I suppose, because the animals, known collectively as a dazzle, were standing still having a little nosh.

[Unlike the flamingoes who weren’t at their best, having been dipped in Pepto-Bismol then rolled in dirt, looking drab and confused by the weather.  Or the totally uncooperative gorilla who was a lovely shade of bricky orange, but wouldn’t stop moving for me to get a pic.]

Whatever.

Anyhoo, getting to a point here– I’m back from our staycation.

We had a nice time. We went to the zoo, and we went to an art festival, and we went to an English pub, and we did some much-needed pruning + weeding in the flower beds, and we read books.

Nothing too exciting happened.  Nothing too dull happened.  It was a staycation that was, to quote Goldilocks, just right.

And I do believe, if I might be paradoxical and pithy here, a perfect way to gear up for the summer… by slowing down. 😎

Don’t Harsh My Mellow, I’m Only Doing What Mom Taught Me To Do

Mom was a proponent of a good lollygag and fritter.

To be clear she accomplished things in her life, but she also took the time to not be focused on her To Do List, allowing herself to let go of the need to accomplish things all hours of the day.

To wit, yesterday afternoon her daughter, moi, was out running important errands when it dawned on moi that spring had finally arrived.

The sky was medium blue with gorgeous white clouds floating across the it.  The trees were sporting bright green leaves again.  The temps were in the 70s so that I was wearing capris + sandals.

Thus, channeling my mother + remembering her admonishment to lollygag and fritter, I decided to toss my To Do List aside and stop at Home Depot to wander aimlessly through their garden nursery department.

I half-filled a shopping cart with herbs and annuals.  Nothing exotic, just tasty and pretty plants.  Then I went to pay for them at the checkout counter where the sales clerk, dispensing with your traditional “hello,” asked me:

Are you having a productive day?

And you know what, my gentle readers?  Her question about productivity, asked in that moment, peeved me in a way that surprised me.

She was, I believe, harshing my mellow.

Was I not, I ask you, paying tribute to my mother’s memory by lollygaging and frittering in the garden nursery department, not bothering a soul with my mellowness?

Why yes, Ally Bean, you were paying tribute to your mother’s memory by doing that which she taught you to do.

However, putting my snitification aside, I also believe that, knowing Mom’s sense of humor, she was laughing from heaven above about my irritation over a small thing in life on earth.

Yep, she was probably lollygaging and frittering on a beautiful white fluffy cloud– like the ones I could see floating overhead while I mumbled something to the sales clerk about being productive enough… for today.

Throwing It Out There In A Kick-ass Kind Of Way

  FOR A PROJECT I was working on I looked up the meaning of kick-ass*.  I found the following words used to describe kick-ass:

impressive • powerful • cool • effective • hip • vigorous • interesting • extremely good • forceful

In the process of this research I also discovered that kick-ass is sometimes considered vulgar slang.

[News to me.]

  I WAS SURPRISED BECAUSE: 1) I use the word in casual conversation– and as we all know I’m anything but vulgar;  and 2) I occasionally describe myself as kick-ass… because you know I am… in certain situations.

However, from the foregoing word research I’ve concluded that despite my good intentions and a desire to communicate clearly, in today’s world it doesn’t matter how I say something because someone will find a way to misconstrue what I have said.

Even when what I’m saying is truthful.

[Maybe especially when what I’m saying is truthful?]

  AND ON THAT OBVIOUS, yet annoying, note of writerly despair, I’ll end this post, my gentle readers, with what has become my latest favorite saying.

In fact, if you’ll forgive my vulgarity here, I’ll even suggest that this saying is a kick-ass way to add a bit of levity to your day– not that I’m suggesting that you should do this in your real life when your choice of word seems to get people all snitified.

But you could.

[But don’t.]

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* Alternative spelling of kick-ass is kickass.  There does not seem to be agreement on how to spell it. 🙄 I went with Merriam-Webster’s spelling because I majored in English in undergrad and I have a fond spot in my heart for this dictionary.

Parsing A Trending Word, Thinking About My Dad

IF I OFFEND YOU, my gentle readers, by mentioning this charmingly old-fashioned word, please forgive me.  But you see, “pissant” was one of my father’s favorite words.

Dad’s been a long time gone from my life, so I’d forgotten about his use of this word.  However when I saw  “pissant” listed as Trending Now on the Merriam-Webster website, I immediately remembered Dad using the word.

OF COURSE WHEN DADDY, a physician, used the word “pissant” it didn’t stand alone.  Oh, no, no, no.  He’d further explain that the “pissant” in question was EITHER “in need of a high colonic” OR “in need of a frontal lobotomy.”

The first phrase, with the enema reference, was for those people who didn’t tell the truth– full of sh!t, ‘ya know?

The second phrase, the brain surgery reference, was for those people who were speaking illogically, making no sense– perhaps crazy.

DAD HAD A WAY WITH WORDS, I’ll give him that.  And because he was never one to not opine about events, people, &/or ideas–  many of his words have stuck with me in one way or another.

Don’t quite know what more to tell you here, my gentle readers.  Just a passing thought, from a blogging wordsmith who came by her love of words + writing early in life.

Listening to her elders [one in particular] go on & on about things. 🙄

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you ever hear a word and immediately think of someone who uses, or used, that word because the person and the word are inextricably linked together in your mind?

If so, what’s the word and who’s the person? If not, what prompts you to recall someone? Photos? Music? Food? Scent? 

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In Which I Explain That I’m Not A Cornflake

I like Janet. She knows things. She is encouraging. She is her own style muse. And her name? So easy to remember. { image source }

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Having reached Level 1000 in Candy Crush Soda Saga, I decided to give it up and download a new game onto my smart phone.  To play the new game I had to create a user name, a nickname as the game called it.

Anyone who knows me knows that wordsmith-ery and problem-solving are my strengths in life.  Thus, you’d think that I’d be a wiz at creating nicknames, wouldn’t you?

But in this case I became frustrated because I couldn’t find one that was not already in use.  I mean I tried basic ones, then I tried what I thought were unique names for moi and to a one, these names were all were taken.

Teal Flower? GONE.

BeeBeeBee? GONE.

One Fine Gamegirl? GONE.

So eventually, being a woman with a large vocabulary who prides herself on perseverance & perspicacity, I decided to turn this problem on its head and do the opposite of what I thought made sense. Hence, instead of describing myself as I am, I chose to describe myself as I am not.

And guess what?  Using this shrewd reverse-thinking approach I found a nickname that wasn’t taken.

Yes, my gentle readers, please share in my amazement that NOT A CORNFLAKE was an available nickname, that is now mine.

So on that rather absurd note, with joy in my heart about life’s funny moments, I’m back to blogging.

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How ‘ya been? What’s new with you? Got a nickname that you care to share? 

Just say something in the comments below. Talk to me.

I missed all of you. 

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No, No, No. Your House Did Not “Got Bought!”

I’m not a fussbudget about your word choice.  I prefer that your words be nuanced and precise, but if they aren’t most of the time I let it go.  ‘Cuz I’m a kindhearted English major, you know?

I didn’t used to be like this, but I’ve mellowed over the years because, ironically, people have disappointed me so many times that I’ve become charmingly cynical, with incredibly low expectations about what people do or how they do it.

And it’s from this jaded point of view that I’m going to tell you, my gentle readers, about a local realtor who upon selling a house, puts a sign out in front of it that says:

GOT BOUGHT!

Apparently the time-honored SOLD will not work.  Nope, this realtor goes with what I can only assume is a play on the “Got Milk?” marketing campaign, combined with a good old-fashioned rhyme.

I get that this is a clever + seemingly harmless use of the English language.

And I also admit, openly and freely, that what I’m going to write in the next paragraph contradicts one of my favorite sayings: “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

But in this particular case I’m going to declare that I. Want. To. Be. Right.  I want to see SOLD signs.  Now tell me, my gentle readers, is that asking too much?

5 Unique Words Presented For Your Edification + 1 Nice Quote

I don’t have much to talk about today, but I believe that one of my strengths as a personal blogger is the fact that I show up to my blog consistently regardless of what is, or isn’t, going on in my life.

Therefore, adhering to my own self-imposed blogging principle, I shall share with you, my gentle readers, 5 unique words that I’ve stumbled across in my research and reading.

I had to look them up in the dictionary because I hadn’t a clue about what they meant.

So far I haven’t found a way to slip any of these words into everyday conversation, but I’m working on it.  Because a wordy girl has to use the words, you know?

  1. WEBQOOF –  someone who believes everything they read and see on social media
  2. SOCKEROO – a notable success
  3. OPSIMATH –  someone who begins to learn or study late in life
  4. ZEMBLANITY – predictable unpleasantries [the opposite of serendipity]
  5. PLUVIOPHILE –  someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

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A gold star for any commenter who can weave these words into one coherent sentence… that’s not a list of these words. The use of semicolons is encouraged.  

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