A Place to Laugh at Life…or Not!

Archive for June, 2015

ARGH! It’s a Real Word

Copy of Copy of IMG_20150606_234349_215ARGH!

It’s a Real Word

Language says a lot about a culture.

My sister and I were talking about this the other day.

“Did you know there are over a hundred Norwegian words for ’snow?’” We searched Google to make sure the rumor is true. Sure enough, it was all right there in a huge list. Some examples:

Tine (it’s melting)

Slatter (it’s wet)

Fana (it’s heavy)

And that’s where we noticed Scotland’s enormous list of ‘rain’ words, such as:

Spindrift (spraying rain)


Smue (thick drizzle)

Our observation?  They spend a LOT of time analyzing the weather!

And what about the English language?  Emotions!  Incredibly, there are over 3000 English words to describe how a person is feeling. Think we spend a lot of time trying to feel understood??

You’d assume these words would be evenly distributed! Half for negative emotions and half for positive emotions.   But there’s no 50-50 here:


Negative words 2000                                                Positive words   1000

The math isn’t hard. Two-thirds of our words for emotions are DOWNERS.

That’s a majority, folks.  It appears most of our conversations focus on the LOW moods.

Ya think?? You know how it is…We sit around talking to our friends and co-workers. What’s going wrong, what we’d change if we could but feel powerless to do so. What (and who) gets on our last nerve. Usually we share a laugh or two about it. Then we walk away feeling connected, normalized, validated.

And dialogue finished, the chatter remains in our heads. Ruminating on our negative feelings, our brains want to scan for the precise combination. We’ll feel better when we get a handle on it.

“Frustrated and confused.”

“Restless and lost.”

“Ignored, isolated, alone.”

Man, just writing those words made me depressed!

Of course we need to talk about this stuff.  So, it’s all well and good. How can we process it if we don’t lean into it??   But in all fairness to the Health and Sanity Department (I just made that up) shouldn’t we also give some  focus to our celebrations and joys?

At least half the time, anyway…

That’s when my sister and I got laughing about a nice short word that perfectly describes a negative emotion—


Such a rich word, isn’t it?  In one quick burst of sound, one can express the precise feeling, knowing that everyone understands somehow.

“I feel so….argh!”

We noticed this in comic books. It’s a well-used word! Comic characters don’t spend a lot of time mulling over their inner feelings. They just say “Argh!” and get it out all at once.  They have a way of getting right to the point.  Like that guy who gushes steam from his ears. No explanation necessary. You just know he’s mad!!

Like a giant purge.

“Argh” has versatile spellings, too. Stretched out with lots of rrrr’s and ggg’s and hhh’s, it can be hollered out loud or softly muttered. It all depends on the degree of exasperation.

Like this:   “Arrrggghhh!”

So here are some real-life situations that didn’t seem so funny at the time, where this wonderful word comes in handy:

  • After three gloriously uninterrupted shopping hours at The Mall, you emerge into the parking lot to a sea of shining vehicles. Your car is among them. You’re pretty sure.
  •  You pour Lean Kashi into your cereal bowl, feeling rather proud to have passed on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. That’s when you discover there’s no milk in the refrigerator. But there’s donuts.
  • Approaching airport security, hoping the rumor is true that Shoe Removal is no longer mandatory, you spot your brand new 3.6 oz bottle of Hazelnut Hand Lotion lying inside your handbag.
  • Sitting in the car waiting for the stop SIGN to turn green.

Yes, it’s true. It’s my life!!

Now if my readers think I’m advocating changing human anguish into comic strip efficiency (or worse, pirate lingo), I’ve given the wrong impression. We need thousands of words to describe our complexity! It’s vital that we process our feelings, to identify and discuss and ponder the troublesome and disturbing. It just seems like we could all help each other intensify The Happy Times, too. Maybe we could start asking each other, “What’s going right in your world today?”

Maybe our own culture could use a little change. Not snow or rain.  Just a few more positive words.

And for those occasions when you or someone else needs a shoulder to cry on?   Check this out:


R eal

G enuine

H uman

is having a moment!    Go ahead and embrace it.

3 Life Lessons I Learned from Lawns

IMG_20150524_212053_654                                 3  Life Lessons I Learned from Lawns

                                                     Call me crazy.

Ever noticed how Mother Nature smacks of parallels with human nature?

For starters, I’m no lawn care guru.  Not even close.  I just kind of admire lawns from afar.  Driving past a gorgeous yard, I’m in the “Look-at-that-beautiful-lawn-dear” category.

My hubby’s in the “Don’t-get-your-hopes-up-dear” category.

Which is what led me to attend a two-hour class called “Best Practices of Lawn Maintenance.”  The room was filled mostly with men, apparently assigned by their employers to learn the fine art of yard care.  Judging by their slumped over sitting positions, none were very enthusiastic.  Come to think of it, they were pretty grass-stained and sweaty looking.  I know the guy next to me took one look at my poised Sharpie and tuned me out on-the-spot.

“I have a hard time,” the presenter began, “convincing my customers of a few facts.  Maybe you all can help me get the word spread around.  For one thing,” he continued, “people seem to want their lawn growing right up next to the tree trunks in their yards.  They have no idea how tough it is for tiny white grass roots to compete with giant tree roots.”

“So what should we do, besides charge extra?” asked one of the scruffier men amid laughter.

“It CAN be done,” smiled the speaker.  “But on top of the problem of the grass struggling for a share of water and nutrients, you’ll have to use a different grass seed that grows in shade.”

My mind went racing in another direction.  I was envisioning tender white grass roots in a never-ending battle with tree roots a thousand times bigger.  Note to self:  If I’m ever a grass root, know when to stand my ground and know when to bow out and let nature take its course. Work harder or just give up?  I don’t have to be everywhere.

“Next,” said the man with the microphone, “you could explain to your customers the importance of keeping air beneath the grass.  Compacted soil is not conducive to a healthy lawn.  About 25% of lawn soil should be plain old air.”

“We’re all just like that!” I voiced for the first time.  “We all need our space.”

“Very true,” said the speaker, peering at me curiously from over the top of his glasses. He went on. “The third item we’ll be talking about today is crabgrass.  Crabgrass cannot take root among healthy grass blades. It won’t even germinate!  It’s got to have some bare ground to get started.”

“So if the lawn is growing in thickly, it keeps out the crabgrass?” someone wanted to know.

“If it looks like a carpet of green, you’re in good shape.  But you need to emphasize to your customer how important that is.  A single crabgrass plant can generate 50,000 seeds. Don’t let it get started!”

Again, my brain went adrift.  What a fascinating parallel to real life!  Emptiness will always fill up with something.  Nature hates a vacuum.  I can do better, I reflected, to fill my mind with higher thoughts; a lush carpet of green so I can avoid being negative and, well…crabby.

The guy sitting next to me watched my hand as I recorded my ideas.  “You’re taking a lot of notes!” he observed.  “You going into the lawn care business?”

“Not really,” I answered, wondering if everyone was noticing the same life connections I was.  Taking advantage of a quick break, I whispered, “But can I ask you a question?  It’s more like…an experiment!”

I took his shrug as affirmative and launched in.  “Whatever you do,” I said, “do NOT think about that one thing that you hate to think about.  Whatever it is!  Avoid it!  Don’t go there!”

“Lady, you’re crazy,” said the man, but he kind of smiled.

“See what I mean?  50,000 crabgrass seeds just infested your head!”

The speaker adjusted his microphone and returned to our presentation. By now I was happily thinking of the many things I’d already learned that day.  I thought, maybe I’ll have a nicer lawn, and maybe not.  But here’s what I really learned:  Respect the laws of nature, know my place, stay grounded, choose my battles carefully, prioritize, know when to fight to the finish and when to surrender, give myself space, give other people space, keep positive thoughts in my head… My mind was a million miles away!  I looked up at the guy I’d just been talking to. That’s when I noticed he’d scooted off about a million miles away, too,

Don’t you just LOVE human nature??