Hat Trick

  I love this phrase, even though I didn’t fully understand its proper usage until I looked it up just now. It’s just so evocative. I picture bowler hats being juggled in the air by a tuxedoed man on a vaudeville stage, his cane hanging by its crook over his arm while he tosses the … Continue reading

Jangly

I love this word. Two images come to mind when I hear jangly. First, I picture a dozen silver and gold bracelets on a woman’s arm, clanging musically against each other as she talks animatedly, moving her hands about. The bracelets sound all jangly. Second, I think of jangly nerves. As in, “Marilyn was on … Continue reading

Schmaltzy

It was a Saturday morning in May of 2013. We were seated around a table in the meeting room at Lackman Library discussing The Tea Rose  by Jennifer Donnelly, when one of our members pronounced, “I thought it was schmaltzy.” Ding! I grabbed my phone (sorry, I know my book club pals would probably prefer … Continue reading

Convivial

I recently received a text from my mom which read, “I really liked her when we met. I knew she’d be so convivial about Natalie.” Mom was referring to my long-time friend, Mary, who recently moved to Washington, DC and who we had a lovely brunch with when mom and I visited my daughter (in … Continue reading

Tootling

Some words just make me smile. Tootling is one of them. We were just tootling down the road with the dog, taking a spin around the neighborhood. You really can’t be grumpy or down or anything but smiling when you’re tootling. We should all tootle more often. I think of tootling as a cousin to … Continue reading

Moxie

“Moxie originated as a patent medicine called ‘Moxie Nerve Food,’” Really? That’s what wikipedia says about the word moxie. Maybe you knew that, but I sure didn’t. I thought moxie meant courage or spunk. I thought it was similar to gumption. And that’s also correct. But I wasn’t prepared to learn that according to the … Continue reading

Calamity

Earlier this week my daughter was driving to LA with a small group of fellow students for a week-long service project, learning about and working with Homeboy Industries. She’s busy. She’s got a lot going on. I don’t get a lot of texts from her. But I do read her tweets, including this one: What … Continue reading

Kibosh

The morning was so gorgeous, we were thinking we might have a picnic on the front lawn in the afternoon. Sadly, the rain put the kibosh on that plan. Kibosh. What a great word to use when you want to say something was cut short in a dramatic fashion. This one has been sitting on … Continue reading

Gumption

That gal’s got gumption! It’s curious to me that I only ever connect this word to females. There’s nothing in it’s meaning to suggest the feminine. The Oxford Dictionary tells us gumption is shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness. It’s from the Scottish, and was first used in the 1700’s. When I hear that definition I … Continue reading

Simpatico

I love this word. Okay, okay, I say that about nearly all of these bon mots. But simpatico just has that roll-off-the-tongue quality. It’s hard to mispronounce. And to me, it’s so very evocative. The first image that comes to mind is Ben Stiller and Edward Norton, sauntering (or maybe sashaying) down the streets of … Continue reading