Total Pageviews

Sunday, April 29, 2012


zwie·back   [zwahy-bak, -bahk, zwee-, swahy-, swee-;Ger. tsvee-bahk]
a special egg bread made into rusks.

Congrats to Big Momma for correctly guessing today's word!  Have you ever heard of Zwieback?

It's a German bread that's very crisp and great for teething children.  How do I know this? Especially since I'm not German, nor do I have any teething children.

I know about Zwieback from one of my all time favorite books, Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink. Ever read this 1937 classic?

It's very probable that you didn't unless you had a mother who loved it and was able to find a copy. It's been out of print forever, but my mom managed to snag one at a library sale when I was about six years old. I think I read Baby Island about 127 times as a child. It's about two sisters on a ship bound for Australia to stay with their father. They love babies and watch the ones on the ship while their parents have fun. The ship goes into distress and the sisters are put on board a lifeboat with 4 babies, then land on an island. Aren't you intrigued already?  It's a wonderful book and Zwieback has a very prominent role.  Please check it out if you are lucky enough to find a copy!

The A to Z challenge is officially over!  It was a great experience, and I really enjoyed the challenge.  But my next blog post probably won't be till Christmas.  ;)

Welcome May, the people are tired of reading about stupid random words on my blog.  Oh wait, aren't all my blog posts just stupid random words?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


yet  [yet]adverb the present time; now: Don't go yet. Are they here yet?
2.up to a particular time; thus far: They had not yet come. the time still remaining; before all is done: There is yet time.
4.from the preceding time; as previously; still: He came here ona vacation 20 years ago, and he is here yet. addition; again: The mail brought yet another reply.

It's like the dictionary Gods knew... the word I chose for the second to last day of the challenge is YET.

Are we there yet?

Tomorrow is the last day, last word, last time I will ever blog again... ummm, I mean, last time I will have the privilege of devoting my free time to writing about random words.  And actually it's my favorite word on the list, no really it actually is!  Always save the best for last right?  The Z word I chose randomly has 8 letters and starts with ZW.  Come on, I know you can get this one!


1. Trademark . a brand name for a copying machine for reproducing printed, written, or pictorial matter by xerography.

We had a copy queen at my old school.  No really, she had a crown and everything.  Her job was to make all the copies for the 60+ staff working at our school.  And she was amazing, because the machines she used were cantankerous old beasts, not sleek shiny thoroughbreds like the picture I found.  

I always wondered what it must be like to have such a close personal relationship with a machine that had no personality.  And yes, in case you are wondering, my computer has a lot of personality.

Have you noticed these posts are getting more and more forced.... I'm struggling here.  It's the last mile of the marathon and my legs are hurtin man!  I promise I won't pee all over myself at the finish line!

Tomorrow's letter is Y and the word I chose randomly is the shortest of the list, only 3 letters, so you have a 1/26 chance of guessing the word correctly, if you just choose a letter to tack onto the end!  YE?


wind  [n. wind, Literary wahynd; v. wind]
1. air in natural motion, as that moving horizontally at any velocity along the earth's surface: A gentle wind blew through the valley. High winds were forecast.
2. a gale; storm; hurricane.
3. any stream of air, as that produced by a bellows or fan.
4. air that is blown or forced to produce a musical sound in singing or playing an instrument.
5. wind instrument.

Wind is cathartic.  It makes me feel alive and more present.  The best kind of day always has a breeze.  Now I've never been to Chicago, so I've never really experienced the horrible side of wind.  I've been through some extremely chilly, forceful windstorms, but it hasn't been a part of my daily life. So I still think fondly of the word wind and the way a breeze coming through the curtains makes everything seem a bit better.

Tomorrow's letter is X and the word I chose has 5 letters, starts with XE.  And if you can't get it you should be flicked in the nose.  Seriously, this one is super easy.  :)


vet·er·i·nar·i·an   [vet-er-uh-nair-ee-uhn, ve-truh-]
a person who practices veterinary medicine or surgery.

So of course this post is going to lead to our dog, Cleo.  One of the most badass things about living in Cairo is how cheap it is to have our dog see a vet. In the states, going to a vet can be a bankrupting experience, and I have several friends who have gone into debt when their pets got seriously sick and needed surgery. Here in Cairo things are different. A typical vet visit, with shots/examination/and the take home meds is maybe 200LE, which is about $33.  And that's an expensive visit.  Most visits are closer to $50LE, which is about $8.

So yay for cheap veterinarian services in Egypt... Now let's talk about the price of imported dog food and you won't be jealous anymore, believe me!

Here's the most recent shot of our pup, She's 10 months old and almost fully grown we think.  I took this yesterday morning as Ryan and Cleo snuggled on the bed. Neither of them wanted to get up!

Tomorrow's letter is W and the word I chose randomly has 4 letters and starts with WI.


un·nerve  [uhn-nurv]
verb (used with object), -nerved, -nerv·ing.
to deprive of courage, strength, determination, or confidence;upset: Fear unnerved him.

There are only 5 days left in the A through Z blog challenge.  And it's been tricky. Mainly because of internet issues on the weekends.  I've met a lot of new, amazing people. Found some awesome blogs that I will continue to follow, and been amazed at the wide variety of people that participated in this challenge.  Thank you to everyone that's visited my blog, or posted a comment!

I like the word unnerve. Not the meaning, but the word itself. I especially like the fact that it's so specific. It would be easy to choose "scared" as a synonym for unnerve, but I think that would be incorrect. To unnerve someone is to strip them of their courage. The event has to be so terrifying or utterly horrible that they are left without the will to go on.  Has anything ever unnerved you before?

Tomorrow's letter is V and the word I chose at random has 12 letters and starts with VE.  Happy guessing!

Monday, April 23, 2012


to·tal  [toht-l]  adjective, noun, verb, -taled, -tal·ing or ( especially British ) -talled, -tal·ling.
1. constituting or comprising the whole; entire; whole: the total expenditure.
2. of or pertaining to the whole of something: the total effect of a play.
3. complete in extent or degree; absolute; unqualified; utter: a total failure.
4. involving all aspects, elements, participants, resources, etc.;unqualified; all-out: total war.

I know this is going to seem random, but when I think of the word total, the first thing that pops into my head is...

It was a total eclipse of the heart!

Are you familiar with this 1983 classic by Bonnie Tyler? It came out the year I was born so maybe my mom played it a lot while I was a wee little tyke, because I've always loved this song.  Here it is in case you can't remember.

Tomorrow's letter is U (Thank God, we're almost finished!) and the word I chose randomly has 7 letters and starts with UN.  Any guesses?

Thursday, April 19, 2012


stub·born  [stuhb-ern]
1. unreasonably obstinate; obstinately unmoving: a stubbornchild.
2. fixed or set in purpose or opinion; resolute: a stubborn opponent of foreign aid.
3. obstinately maintained, as a course of action: a stubborn resistance.
4. difficult to manage or suppress: a stubborn horse; a stubborn pain.
5. hard, tough, or stiff, as stone or wood; difficult to shape or work.

Ryan says I'm stubborn.  And I say Ryan is more stubborn. Oddly neither of us is willing to budge on this. :)

Before I got married, my Grandma (who shares the same birthday with my husband) pulled me aside to give me some advice.  She said "Ryan is a Taurus like me, so he's gonna be stubborn as hell and you can't plan on changing his mind once he's set on something. But don't tell your grandfather I admitted that."  

I've never thought of myself as stubborn, but the more I self analyze I realize there are definitely moments where I won't give in, and probably should.  Why do we get stubborn about things? Is it a control issue, emotional baggage, ego?

Monday's letter is T and the word I chose at random has 5 letters and starts with TO. 


rep·tile   [rep-til, -tahyl]
1. any cold-blooded vertebrate of the class Reptilia, comprising the turtles, snakes, lizards, crocodilians, amphisbaenians,tuatara, and various extinct members including the dinosaurs.
2. (loosely) any of various animals that crawl or creep.
3. a groveling, mean, or despicable person.

Reptiles freak me out... anyone else? Lizards aren't so bad, but snakes make me want to curl up in a ball and die. It's probably a mix of nature and nurture, because my mom is terrified of snakes too. Living in Florida makes that a bit of an issue, since it's snake central.

She once told me that if she ever came into the house and there was a snake chilling somewhere, she'd move and never come back. As wild and crazy as that sounds I really understand what she means. How would you ever really know that it was gone, and didn't have babies in your closet? The thought of something slithering across my skin as I sleep makes my whole body clench.

So what's the deal? Why are reptiles so exciting and amazing for some and complete panic attack subjects for others?

Tomorrow's letter is S and the word I chose at random is 8 letters and starts with ST.  


qui·et  [kwahy-it]  adjective, -er, -est,verb
1. making no noise or sound, especially no disturbing sound:quiet neighbors.
2. free, or comparatively free, from noise: a quiet street.
3. silent: Be quiet!
4. restrained in speech, manner, etc.; saying little: a quiet person.
5. free from disturbance or tumult; tranquil; peaceful: a quiet life.

I really love quiet. I'm a bit of a loner/introvert/thoughtful type person and while noise and bustle can be really exciting at times, it's probably one of the main ways that I get overly stimulated, which is a nice way of saying cranky. 

Repetitive noises, like someone tapping a pencil on a table absolutely kill me. I go from a nice person to turbo angry lady in about 6 seconds. I don't know why exactly, just something in my brain says "kill them now so that noise will go away!"

Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite poems that discusses the beauty of quiet perfectly.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

Desiderata, Max Ehrmann 1927

 Tomorrow's letter is R and the word I chose randomly has 7 letters and starts with RE.  Any guesses?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pinball Machine

pinball machine
the table like, usually coin-operated machine on which pinball is played.

Have you ever played pinball? It belongs to that exciting atmosphere of an arcade. I can still taste the air and feel the cool metal of the machines under my fingers. Arcades were a a big memory for me as a kid. Not because I went alot, probably because of the opposite reason. We didn't usually spend money frivolously and arcades definitely went into that category. But at birthday parties and the occasional weekend I would get lost in an arcade with my friends. Skeeball, pinball, the dreaded claw that hardly ever picked up a toy. Ah the joys of childhood. I wonder if it would be as much fun now? I think it probably would.  :)

Tomorrow's letter is Q and the word I chose randomly has 5 letters and starts with Qu.  I guarantee you can guess it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


oph·thal·mic [of-thal-mik, op-]
of or pertaining to the eye; ocular.

Kinda funny that this is the second post this month with a picture of an eye.

They say eyes are the windows to the soul. And as cheesy and cliche as it sounds, I'm going to have to agree. I've found that the biggest way we disconnect from other people is by avoiding eye contact. And vice versa, the biggest way we stay connected is by taking the time to really look at each other.

It's hard sometimes, takes more effort. And it can even be a bit uncomfortable at times to break out of our little shells and put our thoughts and souls into our eyes, then let other people steal a peek.

Tomorrow's letter is P and the word I randomly chose has 14 letters!  Starts with PI. Any guesses?

Monday, April 16, 2012


1    [nag]  verb, nagged, nag·ging, noun
verb (used with object)
1. to annoy by persistent faultfinding, complaints, or demands.
2. to keep in a state of troubled awareness or anxiety, as are current pain or problem: She had certain misgivings that nagged her.

I never wanted it to happen, but I think I've become a bit of a nagging wife. I'd like to defend myself and explain that it's been hard not to nag, but it bugs me just the same.

Why do we nag? Why can't we let things go? And at the same time, is it better to let things slide all the time, or is a little nagging now and then in order?

Saturday, April 14, 2012


mel·ton  [mel-tn]
noun - a heavily fulled cloth, often of wool, tightly constructed and finished with a smooth face concealing the weave, used for overcoats, hunting jackets, etc.

Internet was super crappy this weekend, so I'm playing a bit of catch up.

Melton was a word I'd never heard of before, but I knew what to write about as soon as I read the definition....

So, when I met my husband Ryan, he was working at the fort in St. Augustine. We're talking full old fashioned military uniform. And as my historically genius husband taught me in my first lesson to the fort, since they didn't have air conditioning back then, in order to keep cool the soldiers wore heavy wool melton type jacket. This made them sweat, and with the sweat insulated under the wool, they actually kept surprisingly cool.

The interesting downside to this novel invention is that sweat steeped in wool for 10 hours a day is absolutely disgusting. It got so bad that I started to make Ryan strip in my garage before I'd let him come into my house after a day working at the fort. 

Melton, great for clothing, but you're gonna need a shower.

Friday, April 13, 2012



a limiting  condition; restrictive weakness; lack of capacity;inability or handicap: He knows his limitations as a writer.
something that limits a limit  or bound; restriction: an armslimitation; a limitation on imports.
the act of limiting.
the state of being limited.
Law the assignment, as by statute, of a period of timewithin which an action must be brought, or the period oftime assigned: a statute of limitations.

Limited Internet this weekend, so my blogs will be very short and sweet since I'm doing this from my phone.

When I think of limitations, that can be a hindrance or a help. Knowing our limitations is a good thing, helps us stay focused and achieve goals. But focusing too much on limitations isn't good either, it can really bring you down and make you forget about your other abilities.

Limitations, friend or foe?

Tomorrows letter is M and the word I randomly chose us yet another new vocab for me. It's 6 letters and starts with ME.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


knout   [nout]
1. a whip with a lash of leather thongs, formerly used in Russia for flogging criminals.

That's right, the word for today is a type of whip. Pretty kinky huh? Actually I think it only feels kinky because I just finished reading the 50 shades of Grey trilogy. Can't you see the characters from the book in this picture.

"Hold on Miss. Steele, this one's gonna sting."  

Ooh la la. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, then come out of the hole you've been living in and join the world of bondage erotica.  :)

Tomorrow's word is the letter L and it's 10 letters, starts with LI.  I promise you won't be whipped with a knout if you get it wrong.  ;)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


ju·bi·lant [joo-buh-luhnt]
showing great joy, satisfaction, or triumph; rejoicing; exultant: the cheers of the jubilant victors; the jubilant climax of his symphony.

I'm trying to think of times in my life where I felt jubilant. I'm talking heart pounding, crazy smile, jumping up and down happy. Here are a few that stuck out.

- My mom surprising me with a dog in middle school.

- Those random friday nights when she would call me on her way home from work and ask if I wanted a date night. It meant just the two of us, dinner and a movie and they were my favorite nights.

- Finding out I made the softball team in high school.

- Getting my college acceptance letter to JMU.

- Being surprised by my grandmother showing up in NYC for a girls weekend.

- Going backpacking through Europe.

- Getting my first teaching job.

- Ryan proposing

- Hearing my grandfather was ok after open heart surgery.

- Moving to Egypt.

What have been some of your jubilant moments?

Tomorrow's letter is K and the word I chose randomly is another that I had never heard before. It's 5 letters and begins with KN. Any guesses?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


in·ter·est·ing  [in-ter-uh-sting, -truh-sting, -tuh-res-ting]
1.engaging or exciting and holding the attention or curiosity:an interesting book.
2.arousing a feeling of interest: an interesting face.

This is one of those words that can mean so many things. It's one that the kids in my third grade class would have had trouble defining without using the original word.

"Interesting means that you are interested in something."

I had a fun weekend scuba diving in Dahab. But I got sick the last day, so right now all I'm really interested in is the location of my next box of tissue.

Tomorrow's word is the letter J, it has 8 letters and starts with JU.

Hot Shot

Not quite sure what happened to my posts, things got a little kerfunkefied over the weekend since I was posting with my iPhone. And then yesterday I was home sick... so here's yesterday's word and today's at the same time!

hot·shot  [hot-shot]  Slang .
1.highly successful and aggressive: a hotshot lawyer; a hotshotaccount exec.
2.displaying skill flamboyantly: a hotshot ballplayer.
3.moving, going, or operating without a stop; fast: a hotshotexpress.

Did you ever see the movie Hot Shots? It's one of those comedy parodies that makes fun of a popular film.  This one is about Top Gun and it's hilarious. My favorite scene is where he fries an egg on the girl's stomach.  Needless to say it's a comedy legend and if you haven't seen it, add it to your netflix list immediately!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


glance  [glans, glahns]
verb (used without object)
1. to look quickly or briefly.
2. to gleam or flash: a silver brooch glancing in the sunlight.
3. to strike a surface or object obliquely, especially so as to bounce off at an angle (often followed by off ): The arrow glanced off his shield.
4. to allude briefly to a topic or subject in passing (usually followed by at ).

A glance is provocative and powerful, it can mean everything and nothing at all at the same time. Your whole life can be changed with a glance. Meet someone new, see something amazing, show that you care.

Did anything interesting ever happen to you because of a glance?

Tomorrows letter is H, the word I chose randomly has 7 letters! Can you guess?


fen·ny  [fen-ee]
1. marshy.
2. inhabiting or growing in fens.

Fenny sounds like a name to me. A quirky imaginative boy who doesn't have a lot of friends and probably enjoys model trains far more than he should. what do you think?

Tomorrows letter is G and the word I chose randomly has 6 letters, starts with GL! Happy guessing!

Electric Eye

electric eye
photoelectric cell , Also called: electric eye
noun Electronics .
a solid-state device that converts light into electrical energy byproducing a voltage, as in a photovoltaic cell,  or uses light toregulate the flow of current, as in a photoconductive cell:  used inautomatic control systems for doors, lighting, etc.

This picture actually has nothing to do with what electric eye actually means, but I freakin love it! I'm getting story ideas from this picture! I especially like how even the eye lashes are electrified.

Today unfortunately won't be that interesting, because I don't have a lot to say about an electric eye. It sounds like pretty cool technology, and I am a techy kinda girl. Quite frankly I'm more excited about what it would be like to be able to have electricity come out of your eye. In a Storm from X-men kind of way. Would your entire body be electrified? Would other people be able to touch you? How would that change your vision?

Tomorrow's letter is F and the word I chose randomly is 5 letters and starts with FE.  Any guesses?


de·glu·ti·tion  [dee-gloo-tish-uhn]
noun Physiology .
the act or process of swallowing.

And yes that is a picture of a snake swallowing a sheep.

Who knew right?

I'm quite familiar with the deglutition process. We all are. But it's one of those involuntary processes that we don't think about very often. That is until we get sick.

One year I went to the doctor with a horrible sore throat, fever, chills, the whole works. I expected to leave the office with a diagnosis of the flu. Instead I left with mono and strep. Even the doctor was a little impressed.

So I had two of the worst throat illnesses at the same time. Let me just tell you, deglutition was not fun. It got so bad at one point that I had to go to the hospital for steroid injections to take down the swelling in my throat. I imagine it felt similar to trying to swallow a sheep. Though I'll never try and replicate the experiment.

Tomorrow's word is the letter E. It has 11 letters and begins with EL.  Will you be the one to make the correct guess?  I've been really impressed with the guesses given so far, so keep it up!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


clus·ter  [kluhs-ter]
1.a number of things of the same kind, growing or held together; a bunch: a cluster of grapes.
2. a group of things or persons close together: There was a cluster of tourists at the gate.
3. U.S. Army . a small metal design placed on a ribbon representing an awarded medal to indicate that the same medal has been awarded again: oak-leaf cluster.
4. Phonetics . a succession of two or more contiguous consonants in an utterance, as the str-  cluster of strap.
5. Astronomy . a group of neighboring stars, held together by mutual gravitation, that have essentially the same age and composition and thus supposedly a common origin. Compare globular cluster, open cluster, stellar association.

When I think of the word Cluster I think of 2 things...

Grapes and Cluster F@ck. Please Anita, don't pass this word along to your son. I don't want an angry call from a Kiwi teacher in the middle of the night.

I really miss grapes. We can find them in Egypt, but they're either gross or ridiculously expensive. I miss the good ole days of going into a Publix and always finding beautiful, crisp produce all year long. Those grapes in the picture... that amazing cluster of tart, sweet deliciousness.  Sighhhhh, my mouth is watering at the prospect. I'd be very lucky to get some of those right now. Don't think it's going to happen! But hey if you need some tomatoes or oranges, I got you covered in Egypt. Wanna trade? My cluster for yours?

Almost forgot! Tomorrow is the letter D! My word is 11 letters and starts with DE.  This was one of the words I picked that I'd never heard before. Can you guess it?

Monday, April 2, 2012


blitz·krieg  [blits-kreeg]
— n
a swift intensive military attack, esp using tanks supported by aircraft, designed to defeat the opposition quickly

Isn't this the coolest word for me to have chosen randomly out of the dictionary? My favorite part of the definition is the "designed to defeat the opposition quickly". Were previous military strategies aimed at prolonging battle?

Anyway, I actually have a story about this word... crazy huh? As soon as I saw it, I knew what I had to write about.

So I used to teach 3rd grade, and I had some very interesting kids in my classes over the years. If you've never spent a lot of time around 9 year olds, let me fill you in. They are curious, energetic, developing their own interests, and best of all, they can wipe all their own body parts.  :) I loved teaching 3rd grade.

One year I had this boy in my class, for the sake of anonymity let's call him Zorg. Well, Zorg didn't care about anything that happened in my class except history, and only when we talked about wars. One day, we were having a class discussion about the American Revolution. We were way off topic (we started the discussion with the Arapahos). I was trying to draw them back to the original discussion, but they were so into talking about the war. All of a sudden, Zorg gets out of his seat and walks up beside me. The whole class hushes, wondering what this normally quiet kid is going to say.

He turns to them with a dramatic pause and says  "if you guys don't stop interrupting we'll never get to the blitzkrieg!" Then he went back and sat down and of course, the rest of the day all I got questions about was blitzkrieg.

Tomorrow's letter is 7 letters and starts with CL, happy guessing!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


It's here, it's here! The A through Z blog challenge is here! I skimmed through the dictionary and chose a random word for every letter in the alphabet. Every post I'll put the definition of the word I'm writing about. We're starting off with...

1.the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind.
2.the study of human beings' similarity to and divergence from other animals.
3.the science of humans and their works.
4.Also called philosophical anthropology. the study of the nature and essence of humankind.

First of all, one of the things I love about a definition is that there are multiple answers for the same word. I'm gonna go with #1 on this one, because that's what I want to blog about.

Like most college freshmen I took an intro course in Anthropology. It was an elective, and my first homework assignment was to read about the NACIREMA, a tribe of people from the north american continent. It was an eye opening assignment, reading about how strange these people were. Their weird beliefs and rituals were so foreign.

Then I got to class and we started talking about the culture. Many people had similar views and repulsions to the article we were given.

Then our professor told us to read the name of the tribe backwards and it all came into focus. One of the best early lessons I had in college and I'll never forget it. If you'd like to learn more about the NACIREMA, here's a link to the article he gave us!  :)

Tomorrow's word is 10 letters, and begins with BL, any guesses? It's going to be a great one, can't believe this is the word my finger landed on!