Word-of-the-month: peregrination (noun)

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Since I started my word-of-the-month with March’s contribution (perspicacity), I’ve run across several words that have required me to look up their definitions.  I can’t say I will start using this new vocabulary in conversation or my writing on a regular basis, but the knowledge may come in handy sometime (for a guest appearance on Jeopardy, for instance, or maybe in a rousing game of Words With Friends).  With that said, my contribution for April is the word peregrination, which I stumbled upon in The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.  According to bing.com, peregrination is a literary term that means a journey or voyage.  Synonyms include: passage, traversing, crossing, trip, expedition, excursion, pilgrimage and safari.  Used in a sentence, it may read: The couple’s peregrination toward a future together included many obstacles to overcome.  As for me, the peregrination en route for my own Someday is filled with dips and detours — but mostly hope for smooth sailing ahead.

What does your life’s peregrination look like?

Grammar lesson #7: there/their/they’re (it’s okay)

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Here’s another one for the road, short and sweet:

There is an eyelash stuck in my eye.  Here the writer is explaining where an object (my eyelash) is located: there.
Their plans are coming together for the trip.  This is a possessive pronoun meaning his plans, her plans or belonging to both.
They’re going shelling on the beach.  In this case, we’re using the shortened version of they are.

These words are not interchangeable.  But if you remember: where equals there, their is spelled with an “i” (possessive) and they’re is short for they are, you should be good to go.

Do you have an easier way to remember the proper use of there, their and they’re?

*Grammar Nazi image borrowed from funkyjunk.com

Something’s gotta give

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This week I said yes to more things than I should have.  I’ve been trying to take care of a couple different health issues, while at the same time working full-time, serving as secretary to our association homeowners’ board of directors, attending a support group with a close acquaintance and accepting a writing opportunity that is a bit ambitious (with an even more ambitious deadline).  I’ve also been running on minimum sleep and when I came home from work yesterday, I crashed.  My half-hour  nap turned into an hour and a half snooze and I was pretty worthless the rest of the evening.  This morning I planned to hit the gym first thing as my typical MO, but I was invited out to breakfast with girlfriends and realized if I don’t take this time out — this  opportunity to slow down for a couple of hours — something is going to give.  I still feel exhausted after seven solid hours of shut-eye.  And  I could have said no to breakfast out to sleep in a tad longer.  But then I may be looking at picking up the pieces of my sanity.

Are you good at prioritizing the stuff your life is made of, or do you wait until something’s gotta give first?

Talking — or writing — it out

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I tend to talk too much.  Some would say I simply like to hear myself talk, although I prefer to call it thinking out loud.  Thankfully, writing fills the gap when there’s no one to talk to or no one who wants to listen.  According to Carlos Fuentes, writing is a struggle against silence.  And when I find myself dealing with things I have little control over, writing frequently helps me make sense of my thoughts and feelings better than when I talk it out.  I think it’s because there are no rules to follow (except for grammar and spelling because I just can’t help it); the ideas can just flow in their sometimes jumbled, other times orderly fashion.  Whether it’s an email, letter, blog post or is not meant to be shared at all, in the words of Isaac Asimov, writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.  And it’s a lot quieter, too.

Do you prefer verbal — or written communications — for “working it out?”

Think before you speak … or write

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My mom used to call it Hoof in Mouth Disease — when you figuratively open your mouth and insert your foot.  Even as an adult, I still nurse a case of this illness from time to time.  It also happens when I write.  Because I’m a writer, and writing is the act of putting thoughts on paper, I find it’s just as easy — if not more so — to screw up through my written communications.  Yesterday I had a lot on my mind, stuff I had planned to include in today’s post.  But as I tried to put something together, I realized I needed to chew on the content for a day or two.  Mull it over.  (Many of my emails are like this too.)  Otherwise, I often overanalyze, overreact and, consequently, open mouth, insert foot.  Maybe I’ll post my thoughts eventually — after fine-tuning them however many times necessary before my inner writer’s voice whispers, Okay, it’s ready.  Or maybe I’ll keep them to myself this time.  In any event, some things are simply better left unsaid … or unwritten.

Do you usually say what’s on your mind “write” away, or think before speaking?

Cultivating the connection

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A good friend is a connection to life — a tie to the past, a road to the future,
the key to sanity in a totally insane world. ~ Lois Wyse

Just like a garden doesn’t grow without tender-loving care, a relationship wilts without proper attention such as kind deeds and the time necessary to nurture the connection.  And without the appropriate care, weeds like misunderstandings, thoughtless words, etc. can unravel the ties which bind us together.  Of course, there are those who are like thorns among the wild flowers and may not be worth the extra effort.  However, there are the rare few who are extensions of ourselves — the friend who finishes our sentences, reads us like a book, challenges us to be better human beings, loves us unconditionally and, in a sense, completes us (at the risk of sounding sappy).  These are the ones who undoubtedly keep me grounded, because whenever I feel a divide between us, I am a little bit lost, unbalanced, off-kilter.  But when we expose our hearts (it doesn’t matter who goes first), the friendship is enriched and bears much fruit.  Life is still insane.  But when the connection is thriving, all is right in my world.

Do you have a friendship that requires a little extra TLC today?

Take the pain out of change

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When you resist change, you experience emotional pain and physical pain.
When you welcome change, you relax and open to new possibilities.
Resistance is an experience of fear and doubt,
and openness is an experience of love and trust. ~ Gary Zukav

Last week, a close friend pointed out my dislike of change.  Along this same vein, another accused me of being fearful.  I wouldn’t say it’s fear, per se, just that my fondness for routine tends to be rather overpowering.  I’ve rambled about change in the past — how it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, to live the status quo.  Shortly after the conversation about my aversion to change, I ran across the above quote.  Talk about the error of my ways practically biting me in the butt.  Not only have I been dealing with emotional pain, but it’s manifested itself in physical discomfort.  Because the truth is: I’ve been resisting change … not sure I “have the guts.”  But I want to be the person who welcomes change.  I want to relax and be open to new possibilities.  I don’t want fear or doubt to keep me in chains.  And when I come right down to it, change isn’t the painful part (for me, anyway).  It’s resisting, rather than welcoming, what is truly an inevitable in life.  From this day forward, I choose love and trust.

Is change something you typically resist, or welcome?

Explore, dream, discover

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20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do
than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain

One of my friends was told she was crazy to pursue her dreams.  That her aspirations would likely fail as so many who have gone before her.  She posted this on Facebook and received an outpouring of support in response, several mirroring the words of Mark Twain.  As for me, I don’t want to look back Someday and regret not: losing my heart, taking a chance, following my goals.  Because Someday, it will be too late.  A few months ago, I was faced with a choice between one of two things.  Before making the decision,  I asked myself which one I would regret.  I didn’t have to think twice, made my commitment and never looked back.  Thanks to another friend, I’ve heard this is the key: once the choice has been made, no second-guessing or disappointments are allowed.  Sometimes this philosophy is hard to stick to.  But as life continues to move forward at warp speed, I realize more and more that I would rather take the risk of falling, than never leave the starter’s box.  I figure that skinned knees are a lot easier to fix than unrealized dreams.

How are you going to explore, dream and discover today?

Allowing your past to dictate your future

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

During a recent conversation with a friend, I mentioned a mutual acquaintance had recently married for the third time.  Do you think it will work out this time? he asked me.  Ever the romantic, I responded in the affirmative.  Do you? I asked.  His response was negative, with his reasoning that: History repeats itself.  Of course, this isn’t a new concept, especially when reviewing much of our country’s history.  It can also be seen in my college grades (summa cum laude), my employment reviews (good ones!) and the list goes on, which is added proof that positive or negative, history oftentimes lends itself to repeated behaviors and events.  I’d like to think, however, that if we learn from both our poor, as well as our wise choices — and take that knowledge with us as we move forward — then to me, this is the best way for history to repeat itself.  And possibly to have the last laugh.

Do you allow your past to dictate your future?

Grammar lesson #6: neither/nor, either/or

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

After my last grammar lesson (who or whom), I heard there was still a lot of confusion.  Hopefully, either this lesson is a lot easier, or at least it makes more sense.  Because neither you nor I need any more confusion added to our lives.  Can you figure it out from these two sentences?  First, either cannot be paired with nor and neither cannot be paired with or.  Secondly, when using neither in a sentence, you are saying that the first and second objects are not behaving in a particular way.  In other words, the nouns/pronouns are in agreement with each other.  Whereas, either indicates that one noun/pronoun is doing one thing, while the other noun/pronoun is doing another.  In the case of my above examples: either/or is the correct combination to use in the first sentence because I hope this grammar lesson is one of two things: easier, or that it makes more sense.  In the second sentence, I believe both of us don’t need more confusion added to our lives, so neither is the right adjective to pair with nor.  Get it?

Do either you or someone you know mistake these grammar combinations?  Hopefully neither you nor anyone else find them confusing.

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