Which Word is It?

Is it Etymology or Entomology?

I love words. I always have. I was just telling a friend the other day, “Communication and collaboration are the cornerstones of human civilization since we’ve existed.”

I know, I know. I sound like an armchair-quarterback anthropologist (anthologist?).

Or just a histrionic word-nerd windbag.

Regardless, words are important. They convey (contrive?) thoughts, feeling and ideas. Sometimes they challenge me because it is not always easy to string together a series of words coherently or eloquently (elegantly?).

Russ often accuses me of making up words, or using a colloquialism (collegialism?) inappropriately. Sometimes he’s right, but sometimes it is my perfect chosen word or colloquialism to describe the situation at hand. I’m me after all, and have no desire whatsoever to fit into a conventional (convectional?) box.

He just shakes his head.

In light (lieu?) of that, for fun, I’ve added the wrong word in red behind a few key words in this story.

Just for kicks (shticks?).

How often have you heard someone say something like, “He insured me it wouldn’t happen again” or, “That was his advise”? I hear bloopers on the news almost every morning. For realzz……

No harm, no foul (fowl?), right?

This is just meant to be added extra fun to what I hope is already a fun story in itself.

Book Club

Russ peeled a sticky note off of the fridge the other morning and inspecting it, he looked up and asked, “So what’s a ‘darty’ and a ‘wagbag’ and why are they on our fridge?”

I said, “Well, a wagbag is a bag for your shit.”

Russ looked at me and rolled his eyes. “Of course it is. You love anything to do with shit, don’t you, you weirdo? And why do you need a bag for your shit?”

Upon further contemplation he said, “Wait. Why were you talking about shit at book club?”

I had, in fact, been invited to a friend’s book club the night before.

Wait a second,” he said. “Was this book club like your mom’s where it’s really just a wine club??”

Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner….

But I didn’t know that until I got there. The only caveat (cravat?) I received in advance was that one of the women didn’t actually read any of the books. She was there for the conversation (conversion?) and the wine and that’s it.

Fair(dinkum?) enough.

(Ok, that one actually works. Still fun.)

I said to Russ, “Well, one of them just returned from a big hiking trip and when they were at the last camp before summiting (summoning?), everyone had to shit in a bag and carry it out because it was too close to the water source.”

Russ said, “Well what do all the birds and animals do? Aren’t they shitting in the water source?”

This exchange between Russ and me is pretty indicative of most of our conversations…I say something, he questions it, and then he proceeds to sum up the reality and the ridiculousness in equal measure.

Well anyway, I found wagbag hilarious.


So. Many. Reasons!

Only one letter separates “wag bag” from “swag bag,” yet their contents are diabolically (anabolically?) opposed. I’d say they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum (speculum?).

Also, just the concept of shitting in a bag! Seriously?!

It reminded me I had taught my boss earlier this year what “swag bag” meant. He had never heard the term. He calls it “marketing merchandise.”

(Swagbag is better!)

Another time, I told him I was getting “blood pulled tomorrow.” He looked at me funny and said, “What?

What I thought he didn’t understand was the why.

You know?” I said. “I have to give a blood sample. It’s a pre-surgical requirement.”

A grin spread across his face.  He said, “Well…I’ve never heard it called that before. Don’t you ‘give’ blood,’ or have blood ‘drawn’???”

Then it dawned on me. No one says they’re having blood “pulled,” except horse people. How many times have we all said, “The vet is coming to pull blood tomorrow”?

I digressed (repressed?). Even having been a horse person, surrounded by shit all day, I’m not sure I could poop in a bag like a trained seal, and then throw it in my pack and carry it out. Props to my friend, and all the other people, who do it in order to summit a prestigious mountain peak.

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “shit sandwich,” which is the shit you have to do, or endure, to get to the other side of something really great.

Just goes to show, sometimes it’s a bag and not a sandwich, depending on who you’re talking to.

That’s an adventure that hasn’t made it onto my bucket list yet, and after that conversation, it has moved further down the non-list that exists below the list.

I guess I’m still a sandwich, not a bag, kind of girl.

The women in the book club all had daughters starting college. It was fun to hear their stories and what their girls were up to at school. One woman said her daughter went to a “darty” the other day, at which point we all interrupted her mid-story.

What’s a darty?” we asked.

She stopped for a second like “You don’t know?”

Seeing our curious (curios?) faces staring back at her, she said, “Well, it’s a party in the middle of the day.”


My first thought, was “So it’s like the phrase ‘afternoon delight.’ Also something you do in the middle of the day that’s fun.” Fortunately (Fortnightly?), I kept that one to myself.

Then I thought, “Wait. I’ve been doing that for years and had no idea there was a word for it.”

Unanimously, we all chimed, “That’s fabulous!! We all love to DARTY!”

It reminded me of the last word/phrase an adolescent taught me recently—“U-hauling.”

The kid inserted (inverted?) the phrase into our otherwise benign, adult conversation. Sometimes I’m amazed kids know what they know, but I shouldn’t be. We live in the Information Age, and if they are inquisitive (exquisitive?), they can get their hands on pretty much anything, good or bad.

Back to darty.

I have a new word, and knowing myself, I will try to insert it into conversation as much as possible, just like when I hunt for an appropriate occasion to wear a new pair of shoes. It becomes a little bit of a mission (omission?).

But seriously, who doesn’t love to darty?

Bringing it full circle, I would just like to point out that a swag bag often accompanies a darty, unlike a wagbag, which doesn’t. Or at the very least, I don’t want to go to that kind of party….

Getting The Finger

Speaking of words (pun intended, booyah!), I shared a gem (jam?) with old friends the other day. One of them is taking a few lessons with Silvio Mazzoni. Silvio helped me exorbitantly (absorbently?) with my horses and my riding. He is a crazy good teacher, despite using few words in his lessons.

Seems ironic (erratic?) considering the subject matter, right?

I loved it. Part of the reason is because English is his second language, so sometimes he can’t say the word or phrase to the student quickly enough, because the moment happens and passes so quickly when riding. Instead, he has whittled (whetted?) it down to the core of the matter. He would sometimes cluck, or I would hear him say “woah” when necessary.  Sometimes I’d catch a gesticulation (gentrification?) out of the corner of my eye and see him with one leg stuck out in front of him, his hands pressed down, chin shining up in exaggeration (aggregation?).

His point was clear.

Boom, do this.

So I did.

Then there was that one time when I pulled up from jumping around a course and I saw the index finger, high in the air, rolling backwards in quick succession, the universal code for “Get your ass over here.”


When riding, this is the equivalent to getting called into the principal’s office.

I trotted over.

In his heavy accent, Silvio said, “Jenn.”

Then silence.

He asked me, “What was your stragetory?”

More silence.

He registered my blank expression.

He continued, “You must have a stragetory before you go out there to jump.”

I thought about this for a bit and asked quizzically, “Do you mean strategy??”

Now I registered his blank expression.

In all seriousness and with a straight face, he said, “Yes, yes, a stragetory.”


Then I doubled over sitting on my horse, howling with laughter.

Eventually, Silvio did too.

Stragetory is a great word.

It’s Silvio’s word.

The rest of that winter, everyone in the barn started each day and each lesson with “So what’s your stragetory??”

And I still use that word. 

All the Words

My dad recently told me my writing was “spicy.” This also made me howl. He toned it down to “colorful,” later in the conversation. This was his way of complimenting my style which often contains slang and profanity. He threw me a bone and I appreciated it. Just like riding, writing is a work in progress, constantly evolving and changing. Sometimes I do it well and sometimes I don’t. Just like finding an occasion to wear a new pair of shoes, I keep trying to find an occasion to use all of the words.

My journey is like a never-ending darty.

That’s my stragetory and I’m sticking to it.


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