The truth hurts

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I would bet I learn something new every day—whether it’s a different vocabulary expression from my word-of-the-day calendar my daughter gave me for Christmas (“because you’re a writer”), or something I gained during my yoga practice or while working on the job, or something I read online or in print or something a friend or acquaintance passed along. In these examples, it’s a good idea to double check the source or get a second opinion. But when I really learn something new is when I screw up. And I’m not referring to a simple faux pas. I’m talking about the OMG-you-said-or-did-what!? mistake. Those are the best kind of learning opportunities, in my opinion. Although painful, most times (at least in my experience), they require us to take a deep look at ourselves. We might not like what we see, but the old adage, “the truth hurts” is truer than we’d like to think. Hopefully, then, what we learn will stick.

What new thing did you learn today?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Word-of-the-month: tangential (adj.)

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[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

I had something else I wanted to ramble about this morning, but then I realized that over the course of 2012, the last Monday of each month unofficially became my “word-of-the-month” day.  And I also noted we’re nearly 1/12th of the way through the New Year.  With a slight stretch, these two topics may be somewhat tangential, and serve as a segue into this month’s vocabulary booster (compliments to one of my Words With Friends opponents).  Tangential is an adjective — pronounced \tan-ˈjen(t)-shəl\ — and describes something only partially related to a main point, or something that verges slightly off-course.  Synonyms include digressive, divergent or diverging, extraneous and unrelated.  A sample sentence includes: The characters’ relationship is tangential to the book’s main plot.  Another example of tangential is when you’re discussing a topic like government spending and you veer off into a conversation about other political matters that aren’t directly related to government spending.

Are you the type to keep the conversation on course, or do you favor tangential tendencies?

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

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[Image credit: Master isolated images]

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, 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?