Monthly Archives: November 2008

Word of the Day: Performance Anxiety

Can appliances smell fear? Do they somehow know that in two days they will be expected to perform at their absolute peak? Does the pressure cause them to break down within 24-hours of showtime?  I think so.


The only turkey in my kitchen is the dishwasher.

Last year, two days before Thanksgiving, my oven died. I bought a new one – a floor model – so I wouldn’t have to wait for delivery.  Last night, my dishwasher groaned, emitted a noxious burning odor and gave up. The repair guy says it needs a new pump and a  new engine. It’s a premature  demise for a six-year old Kitchen-Aid.  “Most last eight to twelve years. Are you sure that you are rinsing the  dishes before you load them?”  he asked.

Frankly, if you have to rinse the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, what’s the point?



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Word of the Day: Meh

“How was school?”


“Do you want oatmeal for breakfast?”


Little did I know that my kids’ mono-sylabic responses were on the cutting edge of English linguistics. That’s right. “Meh” is now in the dictionary.  Harper Collins has announced that for the 30th anniversary edition, they are including “meh ” – right between megaton and meiosis.

Collins has been aware for some time of the growing use of meh in written and spoken language. The word is widely used on the internet and is appearing in British spoken English as well as in print media.

Cormac McKeown, head of content at Collins Dictionaries, said: “This is a new interjection from the US that seems to have inveigled its way into common speech over here.

It’s only logical that the apex of American culture, The Simpsons (specifically, Lisa) is credited for coining the word. Duh! lisa-simpson3


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Word of the Day: Acceptance

Last night I went to Parent/Teacher conferences at the high school. While I waited in the hallway for my five minutes with Lewis’ teachers, I chatted with other parents and realized that even though my son is only a sophomore, I am woefully behind in the whole college-prep thing.

“Did he take the PSAT’s? We hired a tutor and Ashley scored a perfect 2400.”

“Has he done his community service hours? Jason is going to Namibia to cure cholera during February break.”

“How many AP classes is he taking? Emily’s taking four. Right now, she’s home splicing DNA for AP Bio.”

Lewis didn’t take the PSAT’s, he hasn’t done any community service and he’s not taking any AP classes.

But, he’s a good kid. His teachers all said so. He’s got a terrific sense of humor, he does his homework (mostly) and he participates in class. I know that there’s a college somewhere that will take him. The key will be finding it.

When I got home from the teacher conferences, I had a bad case of college-prep jitters. I went on-line and looked at a few university websites. Then I found CampusCompare – a site where you can plug in your kid’s SAT scores, grade point average – even their extracurricular activities and find out their odds of being accepted at any college.  I’m pretty sure that once Lewis has test scores, a GPA and some community service under his belt, that he’ll find a school that’s the right match.

The trick will be finding a way to pay for it.columbia


This morning, I was stuck at a red light behind a Volvo with decals from Harvard and Columbia. I wanted to jump out of my car, pound on the window and demand “What were your kid’s SAT scores, what was their GPA?  Were they in the Latin Club?” Fortunately, the light turned green.

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Word of the Day: Dogged



My husband wanted to name our son Chester. “It sounds like a dog’s name,” I said. So we named our son Lewis. Of course there’s a dachshund down the street named Lewis, so what do I know?

Then, seven years ago, we went to the pound and fell in love with a fuzzy little mutt.  Again, Harris immediately offered up the name Chester. This time I had no argument. Chester it was.

I love the dog. I do.  I have bought the requisite chew toys, a fleecy bed and an assortment of collars. He is registered with the town, vaccinated against rabies, medicated to prevent heart worm and trained to sit and stay. I feed him high-priced dog food, dose him with glucosamine for his joints, bathe him, brush him and scoop his poop. But now he has developed arthritis and the veterinary professionals at Angell Memorial Hospital in Boston are asking me to do more. Way more.

Now,  – in addition to glucosamine – Chester has fish oil chews, a syringe of Metacam and gabapentin mixed in with his dinner.  But that’s not all. Once a week, Chester goes for acupuncture. The lights are low, there is soft music and a mattress on the floor. It’s very relaxing – for me.  For Chester, the vet offers up an array of tempting chicken balls and liver cookies to keep him distracted while the needles are going in. After four treatments, there has been no discernible difference in his condition. But a very discernible difference in my checking account. Results, says the doctor, are not immediate. For me, she prescribes patience.

Chester gets acupuncture

Chester gets acupuncture

Chester also has a Physical Therapist who comes to the house and leaves me with sheets of exercises to do with the dog. These involve stretching, massaging and applying heat and cold. I bought a pad that heats up in the microwave and gets cold in the freezer. Chester flees to the basement whenever he sees it. This is a problem because he is not supposed to be climbing stairs. That’s because has recently injured his ACL. Until he can go for surgery, next week, I am supposed to carry him. Which I do – even though he weighs 40 pounds and is as stiff as a sheep.

Now, Chester’s team of healthcare professionals are recommending AquaDog. AquaDog is not a canine superhero, it’s a water therapy facility just for dogs.


I was joking about the goggles but they actually make them!

I am wondering when the madness will end. But I am packing Chester’s Speedo and his goggles and heading to AquaDog to test the waters.


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Word of the Day: Caffiend

Like much of America, I stayed up late watching the election returns, weeping at Obama’s moving acceptance speech and wondering what campaign official decided that the McCains should all wear yellow.

As a result of my addiction to the campaign coverage, I was up until after 1am and got up at 6am. (Call me a bad mom, but I let Lewis stay up, until 1am, too. Some things are more important than being well-rested at school.)  Anyhow, simple subtraction (which I find challenging even under ideal conditions) reveals that I only got about 5 hours of sleep. So, I was really looking forward to my morning coffee.  But there wasn’t any. We were out. coffee_filter_2006_09_09

In our house, the coffee is my job. I shop for it, I grind the beans, I brew it. That’s because I am the one who has the full-blown caffeine addiction.  I wake up every morning with a headache that can only be quelled by three cups of coffee consumed in rapid succession.  So, when I discovered that the coffee canister was empty, I rummaged through the cabinets and the recesses of the freezer hoping to unearth a few ancient coffee beans stashed and forgotten -even flavored coffee beans stashed and forgotten. No luck.

At 6:15, it was too early to call my next-door neighbor to borrow coffee and 45 minutes until the grocery store opened. I was desperate – but not proud. So, I dug  the coffee filter from yesterday’s pot out of the kitchen garbage, scraped the grounds into a fresh filter, measured out four cups of water and fired that Mr. Coffee up.  Ugh.

Yesterday Starbucks gave out free cups of coffee to anyone who said that they voted. I voted. Now, I want my cup of coffee.

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