Making Up Words

Like most people who work with words for a living, I relish in making up my own words, and in using my friends’ made-up words.

Take, for instance, my friend Michael. He is of a mind that if you add -ocity to the ending of nearly any word, you’ll have a measure of the initial word. When I used the made-up word buffidity today, quick as a lick, he changed it into buffocity, a much better word which I can now use to measure how buff I’m going to get after working out all summer long. As in, my buffocity is pretty low right now, but once I start lifting again, it’ll shoot through the roof.

Try it, it’s easy:

Dorkocity: See: the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. Screech from Saved by the Bell. Both have high dorkocity.
Barfocity: A hot dog from the street vendor causes more barfocity than does a cheesesteak from Pat’s. Or it might be the other way around.
Shedocity. How much is your dog/cat/partner shedding these days?

And so on…

Another of my favorite made-up words is AFOG. Now, I’m not sure if acronyms count in the whole realm of made-up words, but humor me and pretend that they do. See, a while ago, I spent a bit of time working through some particularly challenging life issues with a therapist. She was a pretty hilarious woman, and at one point when I was lamenting having to go through yet ANOTHER learning experience, she whipped out a piece of paper are wrote this on it:


I looked at her quizzically. She said, “Another fucking opportunity for growth.” After I stopped laughing, I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it. Later, I shared it with my family. When my dad had heart surgery recently, we put his AFOG score on the whiteboard in his hospital room. “Hey Dad, on a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your AFOG today?” “Oh, about a 9.” We’re all convinced that the nurses in the CICU recorded that in his chart, not knowing quite what it was, but not wanting to NOT write it down either.

Now, whenever I do one of those things that isn’t so bright, but I learn something from the experience, I call it an afog.

The word snarky is one that has moved from the realm of made-up into common speech. It won’t be long before that one ends up in the OED, to be sure. I’ve been using it since the late 90s, when I was a librarian at a university in Iowa. My friend Beth and I would go out for Friday night beers every week and generally complain about our jobs (we’ve both since moved to new jobs that we are much better suited for). It was sometime during one of those Boulevard Wheat-induced hazes when she first used the word “snark” to describe what we were doing. I also use the word to describe my dog’s personality. In that context, it means something like “willfull disobedience, with no regard to the consequences.” Just this morning at the dog park, I called her Ms. Snarky-Barky.

Only recently have I heard other people using it. Now it’s been adopted in the vernacular, and I am happy for it.

What words have you all made up that I should start using? Do share in the comments section, please.

more on the weekend warrior

i’ve finished the front and the back of my weekend warrior! unfortunately, the photos i took don’t make me very happy, so you can’t see it tonight. last night i started the sleeves too. i realize that they’re just sleeves and not complex at all, but can i just say that i HATE counting rows? man, what a paiin in the butt. i made it through the first of the increase patterns – 8 rows – and have about 5 left to do. i’m making the sleeves at the same time, from 2 different skeins. this seems like a good way to make sure both sleeves are the same length.

i spent the night reading my personal diary from the past 14 months or so. imagine that i could have fit all that stuff into such a short time! imagine that i could learn so much in such strange ways. imagine that i’m more ME than i was 2 years ago. imagine….

imagine missing my bumps and my granny. i can do that. i don’t have to imagine it.
imagine learning how to live with a dog. i can do that. i don’t have to imagine it.
imagine learning to love a home that used to be a house. i can do that. i don’t have to imagine it.
imagine making new friends, saying goodbye to old ones, saying no more to former ones. i can do that. i don’t have to imagine it.
imagine that there is beauty and joy in our souls, that we live and laugh and learn and love through this whole crazy thing called life. i can do that. i don’t have to imagine it.
imagine all sorts of things that a person can pack into a life… that’s where i’ve been.
what can you imagine?

g’night. i’m off to bed.

urban living

living in west philadelphia has its high points and its low points. today, unfortunately, i experienced one of the low points.

after getting up much too early, i threw on some clothes, poked in my contacts, and put the dog on her leash. we left the house and headed south for the park. the first intersection we have to cross is 45th and pine streets – a sporadically busy cross-street. when we got there, a few cars were in the process of trying to scamper off to places unknown. after my foot-spraining incident of december 1, i knew better than to argue with the cars, and just let them go. when the coast was clear, so to speak, the dog and i stepped off the curb, into the crosswalk, and began going through the intersection.

about halfway through, i looked to my right and noticed a dark green minivan bearing down on us. i figured to myself, “well, self, we’re almost through the intersection and they have a stopsign. all is fine.” self is sometimes not very bright. because the woman driving that car (late 60s, with daughter and grandkids in carseats) barely slowed down before gunning it again.

mind you, i was IN FRONT OF the car at this point. DIRECTLY in front of the car.

i screamed a guttural “AHHHHHHHHHH!” at her, and she finally noticed me and slammed on her brakes. it was then that i noticed the sun visor hanging in front of the entire driver’s side of the windshield. all the windows were rolled down, so i screamed a string of curses at her for about 10 seconds – those of you who live in large urban areas know the curses i’m talking about. they involve the f-word, the phrase, “i’m a damn pedestrian and have the f-ing right of way,” and “blind people ought NOT to be driving!”

do you know what she had the nerve to scream to me? do you know?

i didn’t even see you, girl!

um, excuse me, but that’s what the STOP SIGNS are for. i don’t care if you are late taking your daughter to work or your grandkids to daycare or if there is a large piece of car interior hanging in front of your face. if there is a stopsign and there is a pedestrian legally crossing the street WELL BEFORE YOU GET THERE, you had better stop or suffer the wrath of my pre-caffienated, adrenaline-rushed, pissed-off tongue.

of course, i burst into tears about a half block further on, because i was so stressed out. the last time someone did that to me, it was dark out, he was TOTALLY apologetic, and offered to drive me to the hospital (i ended up spraining my foot pretty bad.) this lady just made me so angry – she was so ENTITLED to her road, and screw me for getting in her way.

and then we made it to the park, and the dog sniffed a bunch, and then she played and chased oh-so-nicely with the cute new pup chelsea. and i went to work, and the day got a lot better.

stash enhancement plus some

ooooh! my order from WEBS Yarn showed up today. the shetland i ordered for the felted bag i want to make is back-ordered (grumble) BUT i got the most scrumptious berocco plush and a great berocco mosaic.

berocco plush

i think i’m going to make something for my co-worker’s impending baby. (speaking of, what is UP with all the babies this spring?) i’m not sure if i’ll make a blanket or a sweater – probably a sweater for a toddler, so it doesn’t need to be done by the time the kid’s born!

berocco mosaic

this is the mosaic. i was thinking of making a couple more sassy scarves for gifts this year, but depending on what stella tells me about the tank she’s working on, i may try my hand at a tank top instead.


no, this isn’t part of the stash enhancement. instead, this is some barkcloth that i ordered from reprodepot so i can recover a small bench that lives in my living room. i’m VERY pleased with the color and the weight of the material. they only sell by the yard at reprodepot, so i’ve got a lot of excess. i think i’ll make some pillow covers to sit on the sofa and be all springy/summery, rather than the cranberry wool ones on there now. and then i can get those dry-cleaned (i.e. remove all the dog fur – yuck!)

i’ve had good days with the mail lately.

a challenge

earlier today, someone mentioned to me that i really ought to update my blog more often. i wrote back, offering excuses for my lack of verbosity, and asked for inspiration. the response to that request? write about the heat and humidity.

so here i am. and it is HOT out there! and humid too. this is weird to me, since the time around my birthday isn’t a time i normally connect to those words or concepts. i mean, this is the first year of my life (all 33 years strong of it!) where i turned on the air conditioning the day after my brithday. harrumph. other years, the weather has played different tricks – those tricks haven’t been any kinder than this one, but at least they were tricks i could understand.

when i was a freshman in college, my birthday weekend was 2 weeks before finals. the week leading up to my birthday that year had been unseasonably warm – there’s nothing quite like walking past corona and aurora halls at st. ben’s, seeing all those pasty white minnesotan girls laying out in their bikinis and swimsuits, desperately trying to soak up the first rays of summer sun. at any rate, that was the weather leading up to the weekend, and six of us (me, kirky, sara, tonya, kara, and jeannie) decided to make a weekend of it at my cabin in northern minnesota. we packed up our swimsuits, the sunscreen, our books and papers, and headed north for the weekend.

you know where this is going, don’t you?

we got to the cabin (in the town where i grew up) on friday night and promptly called all my friends who were still in high school up there, inviting them over for a night with six college women. as i recall, jesse, mike the tall guy who went to my church, and ben from next door were the only ones who could come out. ben was still a freshman, and i’m sure that his mom has never forgiven me for what we did to him that night. let’s just say that it was probably his first and last experience with blue hawaiians.

the next morning – er – afternoon, the six of us girls rolled out of bed ready to put on our swimsuits, head out to the deck, and study in the sun. imagine our surprise at seeing the six inches of beautiful, white, wet snow on the ground!

for posterity, we did put on our bikini tops and shorts and made ben come back over to take our photos in the snow. that picture – of the six of us, so optimistic in the face of minnesotan weather in the spring – is one of my favorites from my four years in college.

girls in the snow