warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/savethee/jocelynrish/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

Highly Hysterical

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
 
Chloe with the letter H
For the letter H, I’m featuring the contronym hysterical, a word that conveys opposite ends of the emotional spectrum.
 
Hysterical – causing unrestrained laughter; very funny
 
~ or ~
 
Hysterical – irrational from fear, emotion, or an emotional shock
 
I thought I’d try something a little different today to illustrate the two facets of hysterical. If you have arachnophobia, I warn you, do not press play! Here's the direct link if the embedded version isn't working.
 

Apologies if I traumatized anyone with that spider picture. I’m still twitchy just thinking about it. I’ll also offer up apologies for my terrible “voice acting.” If I had to make a living doing voice acting, it would be a race to see whether I starved to death or died of embarrassment first – I hate being behind the mic as much as I hate being in front of the camera
 
Are you familiar with contronyms? There are other ‘H’ contronyms out there, can you think of any? Doesn’t Chloe look Heroic with her letter H?
 
cat image courtesy of Nick Reffitt/lolcats.com 
spider image courtesy of documentingreality.com
 
I’m trying a new spam solution, so if you have any issues posting a comment, please let me know using the Contact form. Thank you!    

Glorious Garnish

Bailey with the letter GMy theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
 
We start the second week of the A to Z Challenge with the letter G. There weren’t many G contronyms to choose from, but garnish was a clear winner to me. 
 
Garnish – to enhance by adding decorative touches
Garnish the food
 
~ or ~
 
Garnish – to take a debtor’s wages
Garnish the wages
 
Although one is usually used for food and the other for money, the meanings boil down to the opposites ‘to add to’ and ‘to take away from.’
 
The manager garnished the chef’s wages because he ate all the strawberries and instead garnished the desserts with cherry tomatoes.
 
Are you familiar with contronyms? Can you think of the other ‘G’ contronyms out there? Doesn’t Bailey look Gorgeous with her letter G?
 

Chef image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Money image courtesy of jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
I’m trying a new spam solution, so if you have any issues posting a comment, please let me know using the Contact form. Thank you!    

Fantastically Fast

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
 
Freya with the letter FAfter having so few options yesterday, I was happy to find plenty of F contronyms to choose from for today. I’ve decided to feature fast because I wish I could move fast but am mostly stuck fast to the couch.
 
Fast – able to move quickly, swift
 
~ or ~
 
Fast – not easily moved, firmly fixed in place
 
How about a picture montage to illustrate the opposing meanings of fast?
 
These cuties are running extremely fast:
Running Dogs
But these cuties are stuck fast in the mud:
Buffalo in the mud
 
This car makes your eyes water because it’s so fast:
Fast Car
But this car is going nowhere fast because it’s trapped fast in the snow:
Car stuck in snow
 
This kid is making a fast getaway:
Boy Running
While this kid is held fast in her mother’s arms:
Mom hugging daughter
 
Are you familiar with contronyms? There are other ‘F’ contronyms out there, can you think of any? How Fabulous is Freya with her letter F?
 
Images courtesy of:
Running dogs - Rosen Georgiev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Buffalo - think4photop/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Fast car - M - Pics/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Snow car - WDRdesign
Boy running - chrisroll/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Hugging - David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
I’m trying a new spam solution, so if you have any issues posting a comment, please let me know using the Contact form. Thank you!    

Evidently Enjoin

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
 
Lily with the letter E
It's slim pickings out there for an E contronym. In all my searching, I only found two. One was effectively, but I think it feels like a bit of a stretch. Here is how it was explained: "In effect (Doing the equivalent of the action but not the real thing) ~or~ With effect (Doing the action and doing it well) [Contrast 'He is effectively lying' with 'He is lying effectively']." Since this doesn't feel like a straightforward contronym to me, evidently I'm stuck using enjoin as today's example.
 
EnjoinEnjoin - to order to do something, prescribe 
 
~ or ~ 
 
Enjoin - to stop someone from doing something, prohibit (such as in law by an injunction)
 
Both definitions of enjoin are basically about being bossy - it's just that one is ordering a person TO DO something, whereas the other is ordering a person TO NOT DO something.
 
The doctor enjoined the trendy new drug for his patients because they were overwhelmed with so many worries about the world. Meanwhile, the judge enjoined production of the miracle pill because he feared for a world overrun by apathetic citizens. 
 
Blerg. What a boring contronym. If today is your first time stopping my blog for the A to Z challenge, then my apologies for such a blah day.
 
Are you familiar with contronyms? Even though I could not find any other E words on the various contronym lists, can you think of any? How Elegant is Lily with her letter E?
Bossy image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
I use Mollum to help control spam in the comments, and it's only supposed to challenge with a CAPTCHA if it suspects a comment might be spam. Comments make me happy, so if you happen to encounter a rare CAPTCHA, please persevere through the slight annoyance. Thank you!    

A Drove of Draws

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
 
Molly with the letter DThe featured contronym for the letter D is draw. I thought buckle and clip had a lot of definitions, but draw blows them all away. With so many definitions for one small word, I’m sure there are several meanings that could be considered opposites.
 
When I was searching for contronyms, one place listed draw with the definitions ‘to open’ or ‘to shut,’ as in drawing the curtains can mean to open them or to shut them. After reading the various definitions for draw, however, I think both of those fall under the definition ‘to cause to move in a particular direction by or as if by a pulling force; pull; drag.' You might pull the drapes open or you might pull them shut, but that doesn’t really make this context of draw have opposite meanings because you are pulling regardless of the direction.
 
But going down the list I did find a few meanings I thought were opposites:
 
To contract, shrink
~ or ~
to pull out, stretch
 
~ and ~
 
To bring together
~ or ~
To pull apart
 
Essentially both these meaning pairs have to do with movement – moving inward or moving outward – it’s just that the perspectives are slightly different. Here is a color-coded super-short kind-of-gruesome story to illustrate various meanings of draw:
 
The advertisement offering free iPads draws a huge crowd abuzz with excitement about their good fortune. But their excitement turns to fear when aliens surround the prey caught by their trap. As the slimy green creatures draw closer, the crowd draws together for protection. The aliens reach in, drawing members from out the huddle. They play with their food like little kids. Who knew the human body could be drawn so far until it rips? The screams soon subside as this tale of greed draws to a close.
 
Hmmm... not really a prize-winning story there, but it does draw attention to the word draw. And since there are so many meanings for draw, I threw in a few extras that have nothing to do with the contronym connotations.
 
Are you familiar with contronyms? There are other ‘D’ contronyms out there, can you think of any? How Darling is Molly with her letter D?
 
 
I use Mollum to help control spam in the comments, and it's only supposed to challenge with a CAPTCHA if it suspects a comment might be spam. Comments make me happy, so if you happen to encounter a rare CAPTCHA, please persevere through the slight annoyance. Thank you!    

Crazy Clips

Chloe with the letter CMy theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
 

For the letter C, I’m featuring the contronym clip. Clip has even more definitions than yesterday’s buckle, but many of them boil down to one set of opposing meanings:

To fasten, attach

~ or ~

To cut off, detach

To show today’s contronym in action, I’m going to use clips from Youtube. Ha, see what I did there?

Rebecca was forced to clip on the flowing locks from some stranger’s head…

… after her sister clipped her hair while sleeping because their mother always loved Rebecca best.

Does anyone know what show the second clip is from? I have no idea, since I just stumbled on it while searching, but I do know that it looks bonkers. My favorite part was when she oh so dramatically fell asleep, but the dramatic pissed-off hair brushing was pretty entertaining, too.

Are you familiar with contronyms? There are other ‘C’ contronyms out there, can you think of any? How Cuddly is Chloe with her letter C?

 

I use Mollum to help control spam in the comments, and it's only supposed to challenge with a CAPTCHA if it suspects a comment might be spam. Comments make me happy, so if you happen to encounter a rare CAPTCHA, please persevere through the slight annoyance. Thank you!    

Bedazzling Buckles

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with multiple meanings that are opposites, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
 
Today’s contronym is buckle, which turns out to have several definitions and more than one pair of opposites.
Bedazzled Belt
Photo credit: Brano Hudak
 
Buckle - to fasten, hold together, connect
Every time Jimmy’s mom caught him with his pants hanging past his butt, she made him buckle them with her bedazzled belt as punishment.
~ or ~
Buckle - to collapse, fall apart, break
Simone sat in Blake’s lap to seduce him, but the chair buckled underneath them – emergency room visits were not sexy.
 
~ and ~
 
Buckle - to apply oneself with vigor
Emma’s dad made a flippant promise to buy her a car if she got straight A’s her senior year, so she buckled down and studied for the first time in her life, completely shocking him and his bank account.
~ or ~

Bailey with the letter B

Buckle - to give way, yield
When the crisis started, the boss buckled and hid under his desk, leaving his assistant to prove she was always the brains behind his success.
 
In both of these pairs, one definition is about strength and one is about weakness. In the first pair, it’s about physical power, whereas the second pair is about internal fortitude. I wonder if there’s a term for a contronym with multiple opposing definitions. I say we make up our own – how about über-contronymy or extra-contronymized?
 
Are you familiar with contronyms? There are other ‘B’ contronyms out there, can you think of any? Any naming suggestions for contronyms with multiple opposing pairs? How Beautiful is Bailey with her letter B?
 
 
I use Mollum to help control spam in the comments, and it's only supposed to challenge with a CAPTCHA if it suspects a comment might be spam. Comments make me happy, so if you happen to encounter a rare CAPTCHA, please persevere through the slight annoyance. Thank you!    

Absolutely Anxious

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.

Freya with the letter AIt's April 1st, so the A to Z challenge is now officially started! Over the past few weeks, the approaching kickoff made me feel anxious. But what does that mean?  
 
Was I greatly worried or full of mental distress because of apprehension of danger or misfortune?
 
Or was I eager or looking forward to something?
 
I could be either one of those because anxious is a contronym. Saying I'm anxious could mean I'm excited about something, or it could mean I'm apprehensive about something. Both meanings for anxious usually produce a sensation in the gut, but one is a happy flutter and the other is a sad churning.
 
As for me being anxious for the start of the A to Z challenge, it's actually a little bit of both definitions. I've been looking forward to meeting lots of new blogging friends, but I've also been very worried about keeping up with the posts.
 
I also discovered that like a glass with water to the halfway mark, the way anxious is used might give a clue to the speaker's outlook on life. I almost always use anxious to mean I'm nervous (and assumed that's the way everyone else used it), and I'm definitely a glass half empty kind of gal. But while talking with my brother, who sees the glass as half full, he said he always uses anxious to mean he's excited. Granted this is only a two person sample, but I thought it was interesting that we mostly use anxious in different contexts.
 
And because visuals are always more fun:
 
Sarah was anxious to see her father...
Anxious - eager
 
 
... but she was anxious about meeting her stepmother.
Anxious - nervous
 
Since today's letter is A, I'd also like to say thank you to Arlee Bird for creating this crazy blogging challenge. It's such a great way to meet new people and to discover new things about the way we blog. Thanks, Arlee! 
 
Are you familiar with contronyms? Do you usually use anxious in the positive or negative sense and does that correlate with a half-full/half-empty outlook on life? How Adorable is Freya with her letter A?
 
 
I use Mollum to help control spam in the comments, and it's only supposed to challenge with a CAPTCHA if it's unsure whether a comment is spam or not. Comments make me happy, so if you get a CAPTCHA, please persevere through the slight annoyance. Thank you!    

The Big Reveal Bloghop

The Big Reveal Blog HopMina and David are hosting The Big Reveal blog hop today so that folks participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge can share their themes together. I was already planning a post about my theme and why I picked it, so finding this hop-within-a-hop was perfect timing.

Last year was my first A to Z, and like most things that challenge me, I had a love-hate relationship with it. It was amazing meeting so many new blogger friends, many of whom I still chat with regularly in the blogosphere, but writing new blog posts every day nearly put me down for the count. If I was going to participate again, I had to do things differently this time.
 
Well, Jocelyn, why don’t you write your posts in advance like the sane people do? *falls to the ground laughing hysterically* Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.
 
Besides the rampant and appalling procrastination, I think my biggest issue last year was I made things too complicated. My theme was actually six different themes, one for each day of the week. The variety was supposed to keep things fresh for both my readers and me, but it ended up keeping me from finding a blogging groove. I also put a lot of unrealistic pressure on myself that every post had to be hysterically funny and deeply insightful at the same time. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen either. 
 
So I needed a simple theme, but the clock was ticking and I couldn’t think of anything. Then a few weeks ago the 15 Minute Tweet Tales word of the day was contronym, which is a word with multiple definitions that are the opposite of each other. For example: dust can mean to remove fine particles (dust the furniture) or to add fine particles (dust the cookies with sugar). 
 
Despite my love of words, I’d never heard this term before, and it kind of blew my mind. I mean, how weird is English that we have words (turns out quite a lot of them) with meanings that are complete opposites AND we actually have a word to describe that illogical phenomenon? Fascinating! Well, at least it is to this word nerd. Speaking of word nerd, here’s my tweet tale using the word contronym: Tiger was excited to hear he was being fixed, thinking his stolen claws were being replaced. Poor kitty didn't know about contronyms.
 
As I hit up my old friend Google for more info about this new-to-me word, I found several lists with example contronyms. A whisper at the back of my brain pointed out that the words seemed to be covering a considerable span of the alphabet. I felt a thrill – could this be it? Had I finally found my theme? With more research, I found a contronym for every letter but two. Close enough! I’ll just have to be creative on those two days. 
 
I’m really excited about my contronym theme. I’ll get to explore more about this concept that has captivated me, and the posts should be relatively simple. Each day I’ll post a contronym and its contradicting definitions plus something fun to illustrate them – it might be pictures, maybe a tweet tale, perhaps a very short story, or any other ways I find to get creative. I hope you’ll drop by during A to Z to revel in word nerdiness with me.
 
But if that’s not enough to entice you back, then how about cute doggie pictures? Like last year, each day I’ll feature one of the Rish family dogs displaying the letter of the day. They’re too cute to miss! To give you a sneak peek, here’s the video I put together last year for the A to Z Video Challenge:
 
 
 
The Blogging from A to Z challenge is tough but rewarding, so if you’ve never participated before, you really should try it. Click here to sign up. Hope to see you around the alphabet in April!
 
Are you participating in the A to Z Challenge this year? If so, are you going with or without a theme? Care to share your theme? Have you already written your posts?

 

26 Acts of Kindness

After the horrific tragedy in Newtown, I wanted to do something. Something to offset that evil act, even if only in a small way. Something to feel a little less powerless in such a scary world. Then I heard about the 26 Acts of Kindness movement born from a tweet in which Ann Curry said, "Imagine if we all committed to 20 acts of kindness for each child lost in Newtown? I’m in. RT #20Acts if YOU R in." It started trending on Twitter under the hashtags #20Acts, #26ActsofKindness, and #26Acts. I read examples of people giving and receiving acts of kindness, and I knew participating was exactly the something I had been looking for.

While trying to decide what to do for my acts, I remembered the container of holiday cards at the top of the closet. Every year I buy cute cards to send out, but never use them all, so I had a random assortment of holiday cheer I would never mail because my OCD nature refuses to repeat cards. I counted the leftovers and had exactly 26, which gave me chills and confirmed this was what my acts should be.
 
Inside the cards, I wrote a message explaining the 26 Acts of Kindness, and then I dedicated each card to the memory of one of the victims by adding his/her name and age. While it was appalling to see the news reports with the number and ages of the victims, the act of writing each one down really drove home the heartbreaking nature of it all. I had to use quite a few tissues before making it to the last card. 
 
26 Acts of KindnessBut while I wanted to honor the victims, I didn’t want the cards to be depressing, so I also included holiday wishes and a small gift in each one. Then on Christmas Eve morning, I put on a fun Christmas shirt and a Santa hat and took my brother and sister with me to deliver them. 
 
We gave them out to random people in parking lots. We took a few to the administrative offices of senior care facilities in the area. Then we went to Main Street of our small-ish town and delivered them to people stuck running the shops on Christmas Eve. A lot of people seemed wary when we first walked up, probably thinking we were soliciting, but as soon as we said we just wanted to wish them Happy Holidays and handed them a card, their faces lit up with delight. It was awesome. 
 
As we drove home, I practically felt drunk with the power of it. Power doesn’t come from picking up a weapon and hurting someone – that’s cowardice. True power comes from changing someone’s life for the better, even if only for a moment, and even with something so small and silly as an unexpected holiday treat. 
 
I hope to maintain the buzz of this experience by being mindful of ways to be kinder in my everyday life: holding a door for someone whose hands are full, even if they’re farther away than is comfortable to wait; stopping to let someone make that impossible left turn, even though I’m anxious to get home; helping a mother overwhelmed by young kids get her groceries to her car. They don’t have to be big – just little acts to remind us we are all in this together. 
 
I wasn’t sure if I should blog about this, since I worried it might cheapen the intention by “bragging” about it; but participating brought me so much joy that I hope sharing my experience will inspire others to participate in their own Acts of Kindness. Pay it forward!
 
Have you received an Act of Kindness inspired by Newtown? Have you given any? Do you have any suggestions for Acts that don’t cost money for people with limited budgets?