Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zooted and Zozzled

Way back in my early college days I had two over indulgences with alcohol. And yes, only two because that’s all it took for me to learn that while I could hold my liquor fairly well (as in there was never any puking afterward and I always remembered everything that happened) I disliked the feeling of being out of control.

The first time I was inebriated isn’t a fun story – nothing overly exciting happened, there were no lampshades, no strip poker, no naughtiness at all. Just me being silly.

The second time, however, that’s one of my favorite stories.

I was working at a tourist trap and one of the guys that worked there invited Scott and me to a housewarming party. I didn’t get off work until after ten so by the time Scott and I got there, the party was in full swing. The guy hosting apologized that there wasn’t much left in way of drinks…unless of course we wanted to do some shots. Of course I agreed that this would be a great thing to do. Scott, the designated driver, chuckled and muttered something about me not being able to do shots.

What I heard was a challenge.

We’d only been dating a few months at that point and I was out to make an impression. And boy did I!

Ten to fifteen shots of varying alcohol later – I’ll admit, I lost count – I felt pretty good. Except for the fact that I hadn’t had dinner and my stomach was now grumbling everything was peachy. The party kicked into high gear, but within a few minutes, it became clear that Scott and I only knew a handful of people and so we decided to book out to the beach. A few others joined us and with Scott behind the wheel, we backed out of the driveway.

I was fine.

Scott drove down the street.

I was fine.

Scott stopped at the stop sign.

I was drunk.

I went from slightly hungry and fine to holy crap why is the car spinning in the span of three seconds.

Long story short (because really, let’s get to the good part) I decided that going swimming in the middle of the night in January was the best idea ever. Thankfully, I had some very sober shoulder angels who convinced me that getting in the car and heading back to the dorm was a better idea – although they had to lock me in the car to convince me of that!

Now Flagler has a tough policy regarding alcohol and drug use. As in if you are caught drinking, drunk or high on campus you get kicked off of the campus and put on academic probation. So now, imagine if you will, a very drunk me with a few friends trying to quietly sneak up to my dorm room while avoiding security and the RA.

It was beyond hilarious and amazingly we didn’t get caught (or people chose to look the other way). Once I got back into my very tilty dorm room, I went to my wardrobe to get my pajamas on. Did I mention the tilt-a-whirl way the room was spinning? I required more stability at that point than my own feet and went to lean up against the closed door of the wardrobe. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that door that I always kept closed was wide open! I fell into to wardrobe with a loud crash, upended my laundry basket all over the place and managed to crawl out sporting a bruise that ran from my butt to my hip to my knee.

The next morning Scott came to drop off my car and shook his head in amazement when I demanded a huge breakfast at Shoney’s. He was also slightly irritated at how zooted and out of control I had been. 

But I had learned my own lesson: Never do mixed shots on an empty stomach.

Zooted and Zozzled are both adjectives from the 1990s and 1920s respectively that mean drunk or intoxicated. 

Example: Zinia stumbled and tripped along the sidewalk. A bicycle cop watching her laughed, "That woman is so zozzled right now, it's amazing she can even stand!"

This post has been brought to you by the Letter Z and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yokel

I'm trying to keep my choices for the A to Z words as non-mainstream as possible. My whole plan was to try to renew interest in unused and archaic words so when it came time to pick out a Y word I was kind-of stuck. Many of the slang I found that started with Y is still in use: Yo!, You know?, Yikes!, Yeah, and Yahoo! And, well...those are boring. But I also wanted to be able to relate the word I chose to some story or experience.

And I really can't with this one. Mostly.

You see way back when I taught, there was a teacher I worked with who would call the kids yokels. I always felt uncomfortable with it. Not because the person said it but because they said it to the students. Now, I'm fairly certain that the kids didn't know the exact meaning, but an insult is an insult and they understood that.

I've also heard it refer to locals in a college town, like the one I grew up in and the one I live in now, but there the term was a local yokel.

Although I'm certain that yokel has a place in our vocabulary it is probably the most insulty of the slang words I've picked out and as much as I am a fan for bringing back out of date words, this is one I think I'll pass on.

Yokel is a noun from the early 1800s which means a clumsy, unsophisticated person from the country.

Example: When Luke landed on Degobah, he thought Yoda was a yokel at first.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

X is for X-tremely Naughty Slang

Okay, Friends, this is a little bit of a cheat but, there really isn't any slang for X that I felt comfortable using. Most had to do with drugs or sex neither of which I'm going to talk about here.

So instead let's talk about the use of the letter X as an unknown factor. And by "let's" I mean "Hey! I found this funny video on Ted Talks the other day that explains the whole thing." Of course, it's really no surprise I found this video since I am currently obsessed with watching Ted videos. I must have gone through about a hundred of them in the past two weeks.

No example today. Please tune in Monday for more!

This post has been brought to you by the Letter X and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wicked

Although I grew up in upstate New York, my family is originally from New England - just outside of Boston to be a bit more specific. Aside from a few Midwestern hiccups (and I have no idea where those came from), my accent is almost neutral. 

And I hated it. 

During the summers we'd gather with my grandparents in Maine for a few glorious weeks of fun and freedom playing capture the flag in the street, swimming in the frigid Atlantic, crabbing, and hunting salamanders in the woods. The best of all times was when my cousins trips coincided with ours. I loved listening to them talk. The dropped Rs, the long drawn out vowels. It was a beautiful thing, perhaps even the start of my love affair with accents (although as I got older I grew more and more fascinated with European accents over American ones). 

I idolized my cousin Mike. Out of all my cousins he was my favorite growing up. He never ignored me, never talked down to me, and he always made time to play with me even though he was six years older. Of course, rosy glasses being what they are, I'm sure my siblings and Mike could list hundreds of times when he joined in teasing me or, you know, locking me and his other female cousins in the bunkhouse.

I loved the Muppet Show - I still do actually - and when Mike would visit he would have be practice my Miss Piggy karate chops of rolls of paper towels and he'd sing, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" while I hi-yah'd away at the paper towels. Best of all, he'd tell me I was wicked cool in that awesome accent.

Is it any wonder why I adored him so much?

Wicked, from the 1980s, can be used as both and adjective and a adverb. As an adjective it means excellent or outstanding, when used as an adverb it means very.

Example: Wilson wandered down a wide woody path, "Wow! Those weeping willows are wicked!"

This post has been brought to you by the Letter W and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vamoose

So we’re getting to the letters that are somewhat limited in slang selections. I feel bad for the last five letters of the alphabet sometimes. You know, they don’t get the the lion’s share of words like S and T. Y gets some vowel love occasionally, but nowhere close to the amount E gets. I scoured through the sites I bookmarked for American slang. Heck! I even looked at British and Australian slang and I was still hard pressed to find words or phrases that I really loved.

So once again, I settled. But the words I settled for work for me.

I can’t tell you how many times this month I’ve gone through the slang list and found words that I use all the time. Today’s word falls under that coincidence. When I was in high school my mom ran a daycare out of our house. So many little feet pitter-pattering up and down the hall, through the kitchen, around the dining room, back to the kitchen and then with a loud voice (to be heard over the rugrats) my mom would tell them all to, “Vamoose-a-boose!” as she was making their lunches.

When my daughter was born, vamoose-a-boose became part of my regular lingo. It’s shortened a bit over the years to just vamoose. More specifically, “Come on, let’s vamoose!” is my regular cry in the morning as I’m trying to get the girls out of the house for school.

Vamoose is a verb from the 1830s that means to leave. In an interesting side note, how cool is it that slang from the 1800s is still part of my normal everyday vocabulary? Pretty cool, right?

Example: Victoria vented violently to Vincent, “We’ve got to vamoose, Vincent, we’re late for our Voyeurs Anonymous meeting!”

This post has been brought to you by the Letter V and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Unmentionables

I’ve seen a number of bloggers around the block in the past year post about hated words and the one that comes up the most is, are you ready for this? Panties.

What do all these people have against panties, I wonder. Sure, it’s kind of an awkward phrase. It makes some people uncomfortable to think about a woman’s undergarments. Private parts, are well, private and therefore the coverings of said private parts should be private as well. Except, we don’t get a squinchy, uncomfortable, awkward silence when we mention boxers, briefs, or long johns. So what is it about panties?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make some assumptions because I totally don’t feel like doing any research right now and say that the reason we don’t like panties is because women are supposed to be modest.

Okay, so guess what happened? In my quest to refuse to research, I had to go and research because I’m geeky and nerdy and slightly OCD about things like that. So, the original use of “panties” comes from 1845, in which is was a derogatory slur against a man as a diminutive form of pants. The first use of “panties“ being used to refer to a woman‘s undergarments comes from 1908.

And OMG people! The amount of history regarding underwear out there is astonishing!! I’ll leave it at this video and this article and heck! I’ll even throw in a Wikipedia article too because I don’t think I can handle all the panty talk anymore!

Unmentionables is a noun from the 1940s that means women’s underwear.

Example: Ursula undulated in her unique unitard. “At least I don’t have any unmentionables ruining the line,” she said.

This post has been brought to you by the Letter U and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here

T is for Thingamabob and Thingamajig

Sometimes my brain works far faster then my mouth does. I think a lot of people have this problem. There is actually a word for it…a condition so to speak…that essentially means that your brain searches for a word so quickly that it lands on an incorrect on. Often call Freudian Slips, these mishaps often end in hilarity.

Once, talking to Sara about one of my kittens, I made the statement, “Wouldn’t it be cool if cats had reprehensible tails?”

Clearly, I meant prehensile. Like monkeys. My brain, though, landed upon the first word that sounded like the word I wanted. Sara still gets a good chuckle out of that.

Once, way back when I first started playing D&D with my best friend’s little brother, I made a comment about fighting a Cthulhu-like creature, “I hate all those testicles.”

I really meant tentacles.

So you see my problem. My existential words often get me into trouble or at the very least an awkward, albeit humorous, situation.

I have since utilized a variety of replacement filler words that allow my mouth to catch up to my brain. I use the word “thingy” a lot. As in, “Scott, I need that thingy in the fridge.” Scott, to his credit has gotten to the point of being able to quickly decipher my filler word with a real, tangible object. I use “thingy” like the Smurfs use “smurf.”

Thingamabob and Thingamajig from the 1940s and 1930s, respectively, are both nouns used to name an object for which the name is unavailable or forgotten. Thingy, my go to word, is a derivative of either or both of these old words.

Example: Trudy dug around in the toolbox, becoming more and more troubled. Tristan, trapped under the the Toyota, tried to explain what tool he needed again. “It’s the thingamabob on the tray to the left of that tri-colored thingamajig!” Trudy slammed the toolbox shut. “You’ll need to get it your self if you won’t tell me what you need!”

This post has been brought to you by the Letter T and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Scadoodle

This whole month has been a learning process for me: learning at work, learning time management again, learning to let go (as in letting the girls and Scott get chores done in their way not mine), learning new words, and even more than that learning the original definitions of words that I’ve used for as long as I can remember.

Today’s delay in posting sprung out of exhaustion, as did the post for R. Sleeping is not working out well for me and I find that I am up at odd hours, tired when I should be up, and incomprehensible far more than I like to be.

During the summer when I was little, unless it was raining, I was outside. If I lingered too long in the house I was told to scadoodle. I tell the girls to scadoodle all the time. In the kitchen while I’m trying to cook dinner? Scadoodle! Running up and down the hallway while I’m trying to get laundry done? Scadoodle! Shooting me with their water guns or the hose? I scadoodle as fast as I can!

Scadoodle, aside from being a mega-fun word to say is a noun from the 1860s that originally meant a heap or a large amount, today though, I’ve only heard it used as a verb meaning to move or to get lost.

Example: Samuel scampered straight out the side door when his mom screamed, “Scadoodle!” and threw a soda cap at him when he dropped the salad.

This post has been brought to you by the Letter S and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here

R is for Rugrat

So, I’m a bum or I was exceedingly busy this weekend. Either way, I’m late with my R and I might be late with my S.

Way back when I was a teenager we all doted on my nephew. He was the first grandchild, the first (and only boy), the first nephew. I loved that kid like crazy mad. Still do. He’s a great kid…young man…crap! Seriously, he’s an adult now, but I still see him as a kid. I can’t help it.

The 90s was the decade of Nickelodeon. All the very best shows from that network are firmly placed in the 90s (Double Dare and You Can’t Do That On Television excluded). The 90s saw Clarissa Explains It All, Blue’s Clues, Doug and of course, Rugrats.

Kyle and I loved Rugrats and made a big event each week watching the new episodes. I couldn’t tell you who was more excited about Tommy’s antics or Chuckie’s OCD. Rugrats was our thing. Sure Kirsten and Mom would watch occasionally, but they didn’t understand the appeal and wonder that was Rugrats.

For Kyle, I image the appeal might have been a sense of independence, taking charge of his childhood like Tommy and escaping the nursery. For me, Rugrats reminded me of the wonderful way children view the world, they way I still wanted to view the world…Heck! I still view the world like that sometimes where a sandy playground becomes a desert; a staircase becomes a Mount Everest waiting to be scaled.

Rugrats, at its heart, should remind us that adventure is always waiting sometimes it’s just a matter of how we see things.

Rugrat is a noun from the 1970s that means small child.

Example: Roger ran through the rain to the rodeo hoping that the rugrats would still be riding the sheep, easily the creepiest and entertaining portion of the rodeo. 

This post has been brought to you by the Letter R and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quack

I’ve had a hard time this week with my theme. I struggled with N, settled for an O, went with P, and now, I’ve searched for a Q slang that wasn’t a derogatory slam against a group of people.

I found one in an 19th century term. From a time when medicine was progressing and people looking for the miracle cures that science could provide, a class of con men erupted into society. Nobby men with carpet bags selling vials full of snake oil to an uneducated lower class desperate for quick and easy fixes to common problems.

Actually, I made most of that up. I think. I have a vague recollection from history about something like the above happening. Maybe I saw it in a movie…

I like calling people quacks. Of course, I don’t use it the way it originated. I use quack to mean a crazy person. Ashleigh, in an interesting turn of phrase, calls me a goose when I’m being silly and I wonder if she got that from me calling crazy people quacks. You know, geese quackquacks are crazy…geese then are crazy…goose=quack. There might be some kind of mathematical logical proof going on there.

Quack is a noun from the 1880s that describes a person who cheats people by claiming to have some kind of knowledge, especially medical knowledge.

Example: Quint quietly crept into the back of the crowd and listened Doc. Quillston praise the small bottle of clear liquid he held in his hand. What a quack, thought Quint, I bet it’s just flavored water he’s got!

This post has been brought to you by the Letter Q and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Put a Bee in your Bonnet

When I was little I can remember running to my grandmother in conniptions of excitement, jumping up and down by her side, tugging on her hand or sleeve until I got her devoted attention. With 15+ grandchildren gaining undivided attention especially during summer vacations was tricky. I may have even used manners in interrupting, but I somehow doubt that. Impulsiveness and a serious lack of patience has always plagued me.

Inevitably, once attention was gained, I was scolded for interrupting.

“Who put a bee in your bonnet?” my grandmother would ask with a soft smile.

I would laugh because the thought of wearing a bonnet was absurd enough without having a bee shoved in one. But I never really much thought about the saying beyond it was something that my grandmother said. In the years since her death I’ve often spent time recalling my memories of her and wished that I had more. I wonder sometimes what she might think of my life now and my children. As much as I’d love to have my children know her, I know that in fact they do, a little because I see so much of my grandmother in my mom. Her smile and the twinkle in her eyes when she talks to her grandchildren are so very much my grandmother.

I know many women never want to hear that they have turned into their mothers but our mothers are our very first teachers, our cheerleaders, our greatest supporters and I can think of no higher compliment to my mom to tell her the million little ways she reminds me of grandma.

Put a bee in your bonnet is a phrase from the 1930s that means you have something interesting to tell; however, I think my grandmother used it more to mean “what the heck has gotten into you, Heather!”

Example: “Please, Penelope, stop jumping and tell us who put a bee in your bonnet?” Pansy asked. Penelope preened with pride, “I’ve practiced piccolo pretty much all day and now have Puccini’s Madame Butterfly practically perfect!”

This post has been brought to you by the Letter P and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Out to Lunch

Much like yesterday’s term, I had a hard time with O. I’m making the deliberate choice to stay away from offensive or suggestive slang. I run a cleanish blog and I’d like to try to keep it that way.

Although I had heard this phrase growing up, it wasn’t something that I used. I’ve known quite a few people, at some time or another, who could be considered “out to lunch.”

I don’t really have a story to go with today’s post, so I’m going to leave it as is, the middle of the challenge and all. I think those of us who haven’t preplanned our posts are, you know, out to lunch! I know I am!

Out to lunch
is a prepositional phrase from the 1970s that means a person has no idea what is going on.

Example: Olivia laughed as a woman across walked into a mailbox. “She’s really out to lunch,” Olivia announced.

This post has been brought to you by the Letter O and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for Nobby

I had a tough time with a slang term for N. I was unimpressed with some of the words and phrases I found and so I settled for nobby. It’s one of the few words on the list so far that I have never used personally and can’t recall ever having heard it used before either.

I am not a fashionable person. My sister threatens me all the time about submitting my name to that make-over show. I wear things that are comfortable, clean, maybe wrinkled, but decent. I wore professional style clothes when I taught but I was able to keep it to a business casual level: khakis, polos, and a few skirts and blouses.

Since I’ve been unemployed, my wardrobe shrank quite a bit and I tended towards my comfort clothes: jeans and tee shirts. Looking decent is different to me than looking fashionable and for as long as I can remember decent won over fashion any day of the week.

When I was hired a few weeks back, I had a quite the panic attack because I really didn’t have anything left in my closet that could pass muster for professional. The polos and khakis I wore in my last years of teacher are what I wore to run around town in, to pick up bags of potting soil at Home Depot, to bake in – do I need to even say how grungy they have become?

Dragging Ashleigh and Cyra with me to the mall to pick out a few outfits to get me through the first few months of the new job was critical. I know what I am comfortable in, but I have no clue as to what might go together – and have you seen the spring colors? Neon pink and orange, lime greens and Caribbean blues. And what happened to just plain solids? Everything is patterned; everything has doo-dads and froo-froo on them. I can’t stand the stuff!! I wanted to find plain things that would easily mix and match. Ashleigh and Cyra insisted on pops of color and no khakis!

An hour later, with Ashleigh and Cyra by my side, I managed to pick out a number of interchangeable outfits. And I kept within my limited budget. I won’t claim to be nobby yet.

Now if only I could find out where Ashleigh hid my khakis.

Nobby is an adjective from the 1850s that means fashionable.

Example: Nora wasn’t especially nobby, but nearly everyone noticed when she started wearing shoes from Nine West.
This post has been brought to you by the Letter N and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Malarkey

I tell stories. Frivolous stories full of unapologetic malarkey and hyperbole. I have been doing this all my life.

When I was little, as my family would sit down to dinner, I would be asked one simple, almost insignificant question: What did you do today, Heather.

Without a second of hesitation I would launch into a detailed description about my day interspersing actual occurrence with snippets of malarkey just to see how far I could take the tale. Nine times out of ten, I was encouraged to spin the tale out further beyond what I could have readily imagined. 

Oh how I wish I had a record of the stories I told. Looking back, I’m sure not a single one of them made sense and my siblings only tolerated my shenanigans because I was the baby of the family.  My childhood was fantasy wrapped in delusion filled to the brim with malarkey.

Today, I still tell wild stories full of malarkey. Just ask the girls about the orangutans that I blame for everything. Or Scott. Poor Scott. Last night while we sat at dinner, a thunderstorm rolled overhead with flashes of lightening and great booms of thunder that shook the windows in their frames. As we ate, I bemoaned the fact that we left my newly purchased bags of soil – the ones for the raised garden bed I’m building – out on the lawn. Unprotected. Scott and the girls looked at me incredulously.

“It’s dirt,” Scott said.

“Yeah,” I sighed, “But it’s my dirt now and I should take better care of it.”

“What are you going to do once you put it in the garden?” He asked.

I looked at him like he was the crazy one, “Put umbrellas over it, obviously.”

Like I said. Malarkey.

Malarkey is a noun from the 1930s that means nonsense.

Example: Marty the Magnificent managed to mumble the magic word making Melvin the Mouse move. “What malarkey!” Marcus moaned at the meager maneuver. 

This post has been brought to you by the Letter M and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 566. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Louse

Back in my day, one of the worst things to call someone on the playground was a louse. To kids, there is a stigma attached to having lice. A stigma, that to this day has not been broken. Dirty kids, poor kids, kids that were different always had a better chance of being infested than you did.

Until the day, you actually came home, digging and scratching in your hair and suddenly, you were ashamed.

I've had lice twice in my life. Once as a child and I don't really remember much about it except I insisted on looking at one through a magnifying glass. And once a few years ago when the girls and I bought some beach hats. Ashleigh noticed them first on her head and I asked her if there was a notice from her school - because the schools will do that - and sure enough, there wasn't. We racked our brains trying to figure out where she could have picked them up, when Cyra came to me complaining that her head was itchy. 

We traced the outbreak to the hats and by then, I was starting to itch.

Everyone and everything got treated: all the stuffed animals, bedding, clothes. I put chemicals on the carpet, sprayed so much Rid everywhere, I might as well have called pest control.

Just writing about it makes my head itch!!

Louse has been around for ages as the singular name for lice. As a slang though, it can be traced to the early 1900s where it was a noun used to describe a mean person. Today, I think we use it to mean a jerk or a low-life.

Example: Larry lurked low in the lilacs lying in wait for Lenny the Louse to leave Leona's love nest. Larry laughed thinking about how he was going to lob a loogie at Lenny.

This post has been brought to you by the Letter L and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 744. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kibosh and Kosher

I have discovered something about my new work schedule: Thursdays are rough. The work itself isn’t difficult, but my hours? Those are killers. I work a third shift on Wednesday, get home around 7:20 am Thursday morning and have to be back at work by 3pm. This is called the turn around shift and it’s working me over something fierce.

I don’t sleep well during the day when I work graveyard. The phone rings and I have to get it because what if it’s the girls calling? The dog barks and I need to figure out why since she only really barks if a stranger approaches the house. The amount of caffeine I consume during the night works it way out of my system while I’m trying to sleep and I end up getting up two and three times to use the bathroom. The eastern sunlight cascades through my window and though I have blinds, it probably wouldn’t hurt to throw up some light blocking curtains.

So, Thursdays? Yeah. They’ve got it out for me. Something about the T days, I guess, because Tuesday always throws me too.

That said, I haven’t got a story for today’s words. And I feel like a complete heel because of it. Not because I’m disappointing my admiring fans (you guys are admiring, right?) but because I really wanted to have a story to share and I just…can’t today.

It’s 10 am Friday as I’m writing this and I’m ready for a nap. I want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up over my head.

Jeesh. I’m surely pitiful! But I’m gonna put the kibosh on that right now! That kosher with you guys?

Kibosh is a noun from the 1940s meaning to put a stop to something and kosher an adjective from the 1920s meaning fair (or a term that describes food prepared according to Jewish dietary law found in the Torah). 

Example: Kelly was keen to kibosh Kevin’s kidney knickknack collection. But Kevin’s counselor claimed that the whole thing was kosher.   

This post has been brought to you by the Letter K and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 1418. Check out more A to Z blogs here

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jalopy

This is the first word on my list so far that I have no specific memories for nor can I recall ever using it. Which is a travesty because we’ve all owned a jalopy.

My jalopy was an old Chevy Celebrity station wagon that my sister bought off of a co-worker for me. Well, I say she bought it for me, but it is just as likely that she bought it so that we could have an extra car - specifically so that I’d stop asking to borrow the car. It was love at first sight. I named him Rembrandt and had visions of giving him a paint job akin to the one that Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem gave Fozzie’s Studebaker.

Rembrandt saw my through my first summer after graduation and took me on my first camping trip. My first real make-out session happened in the back underneath a beautiful starry sky on my favorite back road.

I don’t remember the cause of Rembrandt’s death, but by the autumn of 95, he’d had enough and was put out to pasture.

Jalopy is a noun from the 1920s that means a beat up old car.

Example: Jack jumped into the jeep and jolted in surprise. “This jalopy just jabbed me in the Johnson!”

This post has been brought to you by the Letter J and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 1166. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Itchy Feet

I’ve written about my itchy feet before. And no, I do not have a rash or a fungus. What I have is an innate desire to travel and see the world. If I could, I’d buy an RV, a boat, a plane and I would never stay in one spot for too long.

Maybe it’s a habit formed from a childhood of relocation. We weren’t a military family yet it seemed every few years or so we’d pack and go. Granted, for the most part all the moves were in the same town, but when I finally moved out on my own I continued the tradition. Every three years we’d rent a truck and take off to the next house.

The longest we stayed in one place was six years and by the end of that time my feet were so itchy I could barely stand still! One of my favorite lines from any song goes” It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going, cause under my feet, the grass is growing.” This Tom Petty song captures exactly how I feel.

I like having a place to call my own, don’t get me wrong, but I’d be just as happy to call an RV or a boat home as I would a house.

Itchy Feet is an idiom/slang term used to express a strong desire to move or travel.

Example: Ivan and Ivanna’s interest in islands intrigued them and invoked intense itchy feet.

This post has been brought to you by the Letter I and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 492. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Heebie Jeebie

When we first moved into our house we discovered that living in the country had some distinct advantages and some creepy disadvantages. I grew up in the country so bugs and creepy-crawlies in the house was nothing to me. But after spending so many years living in homes that had monthly pest service, I found that I had forgotten my country roots.

One night shortly after we moved in, I was curled up next to Scott, softly snoring* when I felt a tickle scuttle across my forehead and down my cheek. I reached up to scratch at the offending tickle and came away with a large spider (I am trying to curb my tendency for hyperbole otherwise I’d say something like “ginormous” or “monstrous”). I flung it and myself out of bed screeching with all the power of 100 banshees.

Scott rolled to his feet and clicked the light on in one smooth motion (proving that at least in an emergency his dexterity isn’t all that bad) and looked around wild-eyed for the serial killer that was clearly invading the house.

“Spider!!” I screamed pointing at the floor my body convulsed into a fit of shakes. “It crawled. Across. My. Face. Kill it!”

Now let me be clear, Friends, I am no more afraid of spiders than I am of cats. That is to say, I’m not at all afraid of them. However, I certainly do not want them crawling across me while I sleep. I’m more than happy to provide shelter to a spider; they eat mosquitoes and flies and therefore will typically leave them alone. And it isn’t like I live in Australia where every creepy crawly is out to get you. My spiders, usually, aren’t venomous – just big, hairy common brown crevice spiders (Mom: don’t click that link).

I had major Heebie-Jeebies that night trying to fall back asleep.

Heebie-Jeebie is noun used in the from the 1920s used to indicate nervousness although today I think we tend to mean it more as a case of the creeps or getting skived out.

Example: Heather had the heebie-jeebies when she heard a horrendous hungry howl and hurried home to hide.

*ha! Softly snoring! Does anyone actually snore softly?

This post has been brought to you by the Letter H and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 965. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Grody and Gag Me

Like, totally, I’m like a child of the 80s, fer sure.

I grew up with, like, Cabbage Patch Kids, Barbie and the Rockers, and a whole slew of bitchen sit-coms, in, like, the decade of the Valley Girl! It was a time of Moon Unit Zappa (she’s fer sure super super nice), Cyndi Lauper, and arcades. The early days of the Brat Pack. Leg warmers, head bands, Swatch watches!

It was, like, fer sure, totally tubular!

The 80s also affected our language and slang. Grody to the Max and Gag Me with a Spoon were common phrases at school.

Let me be clear, I was not a Valley Girl. Not even close. I grew up in upstate New York as far from the Valley as I could be, but we, my friends and I, loved mimicking the accent, that shrill squeal, and the bratty air-head attitude that we saw on TV and in movies. We twirled our hair and tossed our heads, hip cocked out to the side.

Like, fer sure.


It was done in fun, a blatant parody of a group of people who may or may not have been depicted accurately. 

Both Grody to the Max and Gag Me with a Spoon mean something that is disgusting and are both from the 1980s. Although grody by itself was used in the 1970s, I prefer the 1980s version.

Example: Gavin gave Gabby a growler of Guinness that gushed out engulfing Gabby in goo. “Grody to the max!” Gabby gasped emphatically while Gwen glared at Gavin, “Gag me with a spoon!”

 This post has been brought to you by the Letter F and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 303. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Fink and Floozy

This is the first of at least four posts where I couldn’t decide on a word so I took two! I can do things like that because I’m awesome and also, occasionally indecisive. It’s okay. It’s endearing.

Fink is a noun from the 1950s used to describe a tattle tale. Fink was possible one of the worst things to be called in elementary school.

Floozy is a noun from the 1910s that describes a loose woman. Not a prostitute mind you, just easy.

Man that felt a little awkward to write.

I’m not sure when I first heard floozy but fink was something I remember from elementary school. Cries of “You fink,” could be heard around the playground every once in a while and when it was shouted out, you knew that there was going to be trouble. Nowadays, people use the word “snitch” or “rat” to describe a tattle tale. And in middle school anyway no one wants to be the fink. There is an unspoken rule amongst the teenagers - you don’t tell on people. End of story.

Ashleigh is fond of using floozy to describe women she thinks dress a little too provocative or act too suggestive. Mostly I hear her apply this term to actresses and models. I’ve never heard her use it in reference to a person she knows. Ashleigh is very modest in dress and behavior and, honestly, is a bit old fashioned (like me). And I’m okay with it.

Example: Fancy that fink, Fred, Frenching Florence from the fifth floor! Frankly, she’s a floozy; fortunately, Fabio fired them both!

This post has been brought to you by the Letter F and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 44. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Egad

 Back in high school one of my favorite cartoons was Animaniacs. Who am I kidding? It still is one of my favorite cartoons. So much so that I’ve introduced it to my daughters who also now love it! I love the pop culture references, the hijinks, the pure unadulterated chaos caused by the Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister. It is a show that is entertaining and intelligent, introducing kids to concepts like the theory of relativity, our small place in the universe, and thematic movies like the Godfather.

And of course most of these concepts were introduced by song. Best way to learn, right? Give a shout out if you can remember the Preamble because of School House Rocks! Seriously, Friends, the only reason I know all the state capitals is because of Animaniacs.

But by far my favorite part of the Animaniacs was Pinky and The Brain. They must have been popular because they landed themselves a short lived spin off. I giggled uncontrollably every time Pinky screwed up or “narffed” and I loved it when he would exclaim, “Egad, Brain!” marveling at Brain’s plans for world domination.

This might just be the oldest word on my list. I’m not 100 percent sure though as I still have a few words left to pick.

Egad is an interjection dating from the late 1600s used to express shock or surprise.

Example: Egad, Evelyn! Every earthworm we’ve enjoyed exposing to excrement enthusiastically endures endless episodes of Entourage, Eureka, and as expected, Ed, Edd, ‘n Eddie

This post has been brought to you by the Letter E and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 584. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog reading for some minor announcements:

1) Holy Moly People! Working is ruining my life of lesuire! I am finding that adjusting to a new schedule at 36 is not nearly as easy as adjusting to a new schedule at 22. That being said, I'm trying, but I am going to have to prioritize my time here. So for the duration of the challenge, I will be focused on making comments on other people's blogs. I love your comments and I read every one of them. Twice. I do! Really! Once in my inbox and then again on the blog. So for Goodness sake keep them coming because you're all awesome like that but I probably won't get around to replying to them until my days off. 

2) I am going to disallow anonymous comments. Blogger is pretty good about filtering for me, but the amount of spam is increasing exponentially and I think I'd rather be a bit more proactive with my blog management.

3) I'm not sure if you noticed but at the end of each post, I've been giving a shout out to a fellow A to Z-er. For this first week I'm linking to people I already know and follow, but for the rest of the challenge I'm going to link to people I don't know all that well but have been intrigued by their posts. 

4) I have been blessed with a gaggle of new followers and I want to take a second and acknowledge them! The A to Z Challenge is a great way to discover new blogs and people who might just be crazier than me and I am grateful for everyone who has stopped by on a whim (and if you are like me you click a link because the name intrigues you) and then stuck around. Thank you!

Happy A to Z-ing!!

D is for Duck Soup

The first I ever heard this phrase was through one of my favorite TV shows: The Gilmore Girls. It’s just in a minor scene: Rory and a boy, who is interested in her, make plans to watch the Marx Brother’s Duck Soup, and it is never really mentioned again. I’ll admit, watching the movie intrigued me as did most of the references on the show. But I never actually got around to watching the movie. Sure, it sits in my Netflix queue along with a good two dozen or more classic movies that I’ve never seen but I find that those classics always get pushed down the list in favor of cartoons from the 80s and TV shows that I want to check out now that I don’t have cable.

My dad, a classic movie…collector…aficionado…geek…probably has copies of all the Marx Brother’s movies on VHS and I could have borrowed them last time he came to visit but aside from the fact that I don’t have a VCR anymore, I’ve never been overly fond of comedies so I never made a concerted effort with them. Sure there a few that I love…Spaceballs and Monty Python come to mind, but for the most part I avoid slapstick like I do a rabid Tasmanian Devil on meth and cocaine. 

The phrase “Duck Soup” has been around since the early 1900s and has undergone a few revitalizations. But when I first heard it I took it at a literal meaning: soup made with duck. I figured that it was probably the greasiest soup in existence, but hey! some people eat bull testicles so who am I to judge. Imagine my surprise then when I was researching my slang terms and came across duck soup. 

Duck Soup is a noun that in 1910 meant something easy, but in 1970, it came to mean excellent and then in 1990s it took on a new definition: crazy. 

This evolution of a word’s denotation and connotation is one of the things I love about language. That a factory worker in the early 1900s, a hippie in the 70s and flannel wearing grunge rocker could all use the same phrase and mean complete different things is also one of the reasons why English is a wickedly hard language to learn. 

As a child of the 80s and 90s I can honestly say I have no recollection if duck soup was every used this way. If it was, it certainly never had the same impact as “cowabunga” or “loco” to me. Personally, I like the 1910 meaning and that’s what I’ll use in my example. 

Example: “Dang! Danny!” David declared dropping his duffel of demolition devices down on the dingy deck, “This deal is definitely duck soup!”

This post has been brought to you by the Letter D and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 1169. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Canoodle

I’ve stated before that Scott and I are very affectionate. I make it a point to be affectionate with him in front of the girls. Not only do I do it because they get slightly embarrassed (I swear it’s all G-rated affection) but I do it to show them that affection is acceptable. It isn’t something to sequester away behind the bedroom door. I show them that couples should hold hands, kiss, and snuggle and that there isn’t anything wrong with it. Our affection lets them know that even when we disagree, yell, or argue we still love each other. And ninety percent of the time if the girls see us argue, they see us apologize and make-up as well.

Typically, I tell the girls that we are smooching but this week I discovered an even better word:

Canoodle is a verb from the 1850s that means to hug and kiss.

Example: Clarissa caught her cousin Charity canoodling with Clyde, the city’s chaste clerk of courts, in a clumsily concealed covered carriage close to a cobblestone curb.

This post has been brought to you by the Letter C and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 75. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Boondoggle

My town is planning a ridiculous bypass that cuts through residential neighborhoods and a state preserve all to eliminate the congestion on US1. This congestion mind you, is only there during rush hour when people are trying to get to and from work. Guess where a lot of people work? Downtown.

This bypass? Bypasses the entire downtown.

Pointless. Millions of pointless dollars spent to alleviate a problem that only lasts for about two hours a day total. Locals know how to avoid it. We know the short cuts and the hours to stay away from US1. Personally, I have never spent more than 15 minutes sitting in traffic and that was because of an accident.

What will the bypass accomplish? Not much aside from directing tourists away from the historic downtown and away from the US1 business district. Guess what kind of town this is. A tourist town. It's the biggest industry and employer (in general, mind you not as a single employer).

In a story published in the local paper an elderly resident (whose home is in the residential district that will be affected) claimed that the local developers and state officials had “boondoggled” the town residents. In the comments section for the article, one very…shall we say illiterate…person claimed that he couldn’t take the complaint or the issue seriously because the elderly man used the word, “boondoggle.”

This, my Friends, is the word that led me to this year’s A to Z theme.

Boondoggle is a verb from the 1930s meaning to cheat or swindle. Interestingly, Boondoggle is also found in the 1850s as a noun meaning a gadget. I like it as a verb.

Example: Benny and Billy, the Blarton Boys, boondoggled Betty into banning Bobby from her birthday bash by boldly braying that Bobby’s bollocks were blanketed in bleeding blemishes.

This post has been brought to you by the Letter B and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 20. Check out more A to Z blogs here!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Applesauce

I don’t like to curse. I do. But I don’t like it at all so I try my hardest not to. Back when I taught I made a point, despite all of the cussing from the students around me, despite being inundated with the Big Bad Seven curses near daily, to not use curse words.
But I knew, even back then, that it isn’t the word itself that is bad, it is the connotation – the meaning that we give the word when we use it – that matters. That’s why, when going to a foreign country, one has to really think about their words before they use them.

I use the phrase “Boogersnot and Applesauce” all the time. Granted, I mean it as a curse. When asked by my students why I would say this, I told them elusively, that the meaning behind a word is just as important as the definition. And when they stared at me blankly, I would tell them to go look up “connotation” in their notes. Those that did would reward me with a sly smile and a nod.

Words are that powerful.

Today’s slang term is actually one I used a lot even though I didn’t know it was slang:

Applesauce, an interjection from the 1920s meaning “nonsense.”

As in: “Arlee Bird! Are you announcing that an angry armada of aardvarks attacked your abode and averted you from accomplishing the arithmetic assignment?  Applesauce!

As an aside, an ample acknowledgement of appreciation to the architect of April's A to Z adventure, Arlee Bird!

This post has been brought to you by the Letter A and the fine folks at Blogging A to Z. And by the number 19. Check out more A to Z blogs here!