Tag Archives: vocabulary

I think I can

1 Mar

This has been the boy’s practice for a while: he brings graded papers home from school, hands over a giant tattered pile of them and says: “I think I did bad on my math test” to which I reply: “you think, or you know?”

Because I’ll tell you what I know: Mom does not tolerate imprecise language.

Besides, Bambi eyes, dulcet tones and disorganization garner only so much sympathy before I become mad and frustrated at his ability to stall and his inability to be direct.

Haven’t I raised him steadfastly enough to know that if there’s a problem, I’m going to out it and address it?  For example, if he gets off the school bus with clouds of stink billowing around him and the little kindergarteners are straining their heads out the windows gasping for air, I’m going to say: “you reek, go put on deodorant,” and if he snarls back at me (he will) I will add: “and drink a glass of water too, you’re acting like a dehydrated idiot.”  Problem recognized and resolved.

So if you failed the math test, tell me you failed the math test.  I will ask (stupidly) why you failed the math test and you will answer (sincerely) that you failed the math test because you didn’t get enough right to pass the math test.

Then we can settle down and do all the proper, nurturing parenting stuff and maybe have a cookie (if one us made cookies.  Hint: not me.)

So when you came home on Monday and mentioned the math test, I should have looked at your paper because your grade was given as a fraction.  You hate fractions.  You struggled through an entire unit on fractions, made everyone around you hate fractions and there was no way you were going to decipher a fraction just to learn that you should hate algebraic equations now too.

You were completely within your rights when you gave me the Bambi eyes.

Son, I hope that one of your English vocab words for this week is “chagrin.”  I can help with that.

P.S. 15/20=75.

Got a minute?

17 Nov

A former boss once sent a memo stating that, among other things, and so on, projections, graphs, etc., we need to “air on the side of caution,” and, in addition, more stuff, so on and so forth and, third quarter words, more words, etc. and once, during a power point presentation, she ended with a final slide that read: “Wallah!”

As in, there you have it!

As in voila.

Now, she was my boss and I didn’t care because I can be a happy little cog when in worker mode but I am a happier, more productive, cog when I am not simmering over a misspelled word so I let it go.

Still, even the most content queen of worker bees, can take only so much before telling the emperor that she has no writing skills.

I ignored the misuse of ensure vs. insure and even agreed with her that the CEO would certainly find an “amenicable” fix for disgruntled middle management.  Then she crossed the line: she sent an email indicating that the amount of time employees spent on “personnel” matters had become “disconcerning.”

So on Friday, just before 5:00, I stopped in her office with a “What are your plans for the weekend and do you think that we should hire a proofreader before you mess up so horribly that our stock value plummets?” on my lips when she opened with “Got a minute?”

Always a bad sign, the “got a minute?” at 5:00 on a Friday.  The only thing worse is the “quick minute.”  The “quick minute” means that your desk is being cleared out and Edwardo from security will be walking you to your car.

Instead, she asked me to read over the letter of resignation she had prepared as she had accepted a promotion and would be leaving our department.  Yes, she was moving “onward and upward” without ever knowing that it’s possible to move onward or upward independently.  (Like vim and vigor.  While you rarely see vim on its own, I can shake a martini using only vigor.  Just an observation.)

And so the emperor left.  We had a nice party, there was cake and punch and best wishes, et al.

I did not get the emperor a farewell gift but I distributed her farewell letter, as requested, without reading it first.  It was difficult, but it was what she wanted.  In the letter she explained that while she “would miss us, [she] is excited to pursue this opportunity in the South where the people are more gentile.”

Note: I did not get her a gift.  That does not mean that I didn’t give her a gift.

Words I enjoy

23 Oct

dollop: who doesn’t love the dollop?  Wonderfully precise and fun.  Limited in use, but in a wonderfully precise and fun way.

thrift: as a clothing store but, more so, a way life.  Blessed with a stomach that enables me to eat any food regardless of expiration date, I often will.  Like the song says, “you say potato” and my husband says, “you didn’t eat that did you?  That wasn’t a potato, that was a rotten apple.”  Thrifty living made me do it.

tardy: by simply saying “I’m sorry; I’m tardy” you look like a responsible grownup but really, there’s a tiny David Lee Roth in your head and he’s got it bad.

beverage: so vast, it’s the opposite of dollop.  Best of all, when you offer someone a “beverage,” they almost always request water and I have a faucet so the only obstacle between my guest and hydration is a clean glass.

roil: as the kid who got carsick on every Thanksgiving trip to Pennsylvania, I have a special place in my heart (and stomach) for this word.  Plus, with a big enough breath, you can draw out the vowels for as long as you want and end up with a very dramatic onomatopoeia.

even: it adds a childlike sense of wonder to Chicken ala King, even.

perhaps: the ultimate in diplomacy.  As Daniella, while fitting me for a bridesmaid dress asked, “it looks nice; perhaps you want to get something?”  Now, Daniella spoke only Spanish so I just assumed that she was complementing me.  It wasn’t until later, when I tried on the dress for my spouse, and he noted that “perhaps you want to research what Daniella said,” that I realized that “ceñidor que rodea la cintura” means “control top.”  Very diplomatic, that Daniella.

uvula: my son automatically assumed that the uvula has to do with lady parts and for that reason alone, I adore the dangler.

cabinetto:  when you are responsible for a little kid, his entire vocabulary is up to you.  You can teach him that a dog is a “great googly moogly” or that balloons are “pork butts.”  It’s very amusing watching your two-year old have a tantrum at the outdoor concert because he wants the purple pork butt and mommy forgot to bring money.  Cabinetto was our made up word.  It kept the cookies fresh and let me believe that I was raising a bilingual kid.

outen: to shut off.  It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch word I was raised with- “outen the radio and go to bed.”  The quote is from a sister I was raised with.

this’n, that’n, them’s and git: again, Pennsylvania Dutch.  As in: “tell this’n here to go git that’n there so’s we can eat them’s fried tomatoes.

YES: because no means no and yes means everything.


Summer Vocabulary List

30 Aug

The best souvenirs are free and timeless.

I came home from last week’s trip to the Jersey shore with the following:

“creamify”: to pour heavy cream over fresh peach slices and then freeze.  Useful for those who are no longer able to have sugary ice cream due to recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes, Dad.

“appeasiate”: between appease and abate.  A useful reply to husband yelling “what the hell are you doing?!”  Used when one is driving in Rt. 17 traffic with a crazed BMW on her rear and a kid in the backseat insisting that the only acceptable lunch is Panera Bread which isn’t even good and will later make his stomach queasy, so driver cuts off the BMW with a sharp right turn in an attempt to make everyone happy, thereby “appeasiating” the entire family.  For a folksy, down- home twist, substitute “appeasiatin’.”

“hain’t?”: classic Mom.  Used at the end of sentences when one is attempting to garner support or jog Dad’s memory.  Often combined with “hain’t no?” when an extra syllable is required.

“pownie”: a one pound brownie.  See also: self-medicate, the way the food pyramid ought to look, bliss and guilt.

P.S. We had an earthquake on Tuesday and a mandatory evacuation due to hurricane Irene on Friday- also free and the stories are timeless.

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