Essential oils are awfully popular these days, don’t you think?
My question is twofold: If they’re so essential, then how have I managed to make it all this time without them? And what is an essential oil?
I suppose one answer to the first question is that I’m a lady but I’m not exactly girly. I like wearing dresses and skirts, but I don’t care for spending all of my spare time shopping for them. I didn’t get my first pedicure until I was 31 years old and I was reluctant to ever get another one after I left about half of the skin on my right heel on a nail technician’s cheese (foot) grater.
I’m also the skinniest person you’ll ever meet who subsists on a steady diet of pizza and hamburgers. I have a multivitamin in my medicine cabinet, so I assumed I was covered in the “essentials” department. (From A to Zinc.) Therefore, a health-nut or fashionista-type trend probably would go unnoticed in my world until it was about to go out of style.
I figured it was time to bring Webster into the equation for some good ol’ definitions.
The definition of an essential oil (from what I could find on the internets) is an oil that that smells like the plant it comes from. The “essence” is the characteristic fragrance of the plant from whence it came.
I’m not satisfied with that, though. Being a words person (and self-proclaimed Meticulously Observant Observer), I decided to break down the nomenclature (ooh, a big word–thanks, Noah Webster) and determine exactly what an essential oil is. I’ve taken what I have deemed as the most appropriate definition for each word (where multiple examples are provided) and listed them below:
essential (adj.): extremely important and necessary
oil (n.): a thick, black liquid that comes from the ground and that is used in making various products (such as gasoline)
Well, then. According to these definitions, the most essential oil in my life appears to be motor oil. It gets me to and fro each day…in an indirect manner, but, still…it’s much more essential to my day-to-day routine than smelling like a botanical garden.
Not that smelling like a botanical garden is a bad thing. Quite the contrary–I really like the idea. I just don’t think it’s as “essential” as the word suggests it is.
Painting parties have recently gained popularity, and I’ve gladly surrendered to the trend. You say someone with no painting skills whatsoever can create art on a canvas without the use of numbers? Sign me up!
Granted, I was a gifted finger painting artist in my toddler years. I could write my name beautifully into brightly-colored paint on a large sheet of butcher paper. (I guess I’ve always been a “words” person.) However, once we graduated to watercolors and paintbrushes in kindergarten, I failed to paint anything that even the most sympathetic abstract artist could recognize.
I take that back. I did once paint a watercolor picture of an Ag Cat to settle a backyard basketball game tie. (Yeah, kid rules make no sense. Painting to settle a basketball game? The other kid asked me to do it because he didn’t think I knew what an Ag Cat was. Well, one of the upsides of being a news junkie from birth is that I was always awake early enough to watch the farm reports. I used all the yellow paint and I won the “game.”)
I now have two paintings from two trips to painting parties. And they closely resemble the model paintings, I’m proud to say. I just listened carefully and followed their step-by-step instructions.
However, I’m not naive enough to believe that I can call myself a painter. I’m just good at following directions. Heaven forbid I’m asked to paint an actual model or a portrait by memory.
I may not be a real painter, but I’m sure I’ll go to more painting parties because they’re fun. After all, Bob Ross didn’t call it “The Joy of Painting” for nothing.
The mark of an excellent (marvelous, fine, wonderful, superior) publication (book, manual, treatise) has a great deal to do with the compelling anecdote (story, tale) contained within its covers.
With that in mind, I’m not thoroughly (entirely, totally, completely) certain (sure, assured) why or how “Webster’s Thesaurus” has attained (achieved, acquired, reached) the level of popularity–in terms of sales–that it has.
Here’s a fair warning to anyone looking for a quick (swift, speedy, brisk) read–it’s a tedious, burdensome task with no clear plot line or structure (framework, arrangement). While you will likely notice (observe, perceive, recognize) an immediate expansion (broadening, inflation) of your vocabulary, your social circle might dwindle (wane, decrease, diminish) under the increasingly frustrating weight of trying to decipher (determine, translate) your most basic conversational language.
And…I still haven’t figured out how it ends. “Zoom” seems an like odd last word for a book (see also publication).
I’ve come up with a very short list of words that I like and dislike for various reasons.
*Disclaimer: As always, the views I write are just my opinion and should not be taken as the gospel. This post is intended for entertainment purposes…nothing more, nothing less. Void where prohibited. No refunds after 30 days. Play ball.
Words I Can Do Without:
1) Diminutive. Why should a word to describe something small be so large? Suggested alternatives: teeny, tiny, little. See also “petite.”
2) Tort. I took one whole business law class in college. I read a lot of John Grisham. I have no problem with the word itself, per se, but I’d rather see it with “-illa” attached to the end. That sounds good. Suggested alternatives: tortilla. (Nothing so right can possibly be a wrong.)
3) Fabulous. I’m blaming, oh, say, the turn of the millennium for this one. It appeared in so many different television shows at the time that I’ve lost count. It’s somewhat…aloof, perhaps? (This is, of course, assuming that words have personalities.) Suggested alternatives: wonderful, terrific.
Words I Can Live With:
1) Petite. It’s such a perky little word, don’t you think? As a petite person, I approve.
2) Amazing. Although this one does tend to conjure up images of childhood magic shows, it’s a handy adjective to keep in your arsenal.
3) Pleasant. Speaks for itself. Reminds me of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Aww.
Yes, I like words. I guess I even like the ones I don’t.
In the fall, at least every other house on your street is required to proudly display the flag of their favorite college football team.
In the early days of winter, you expect to have at least one neighbor that will go completely overboard with Christmas decorations a full two months before December 25.
In the springtime, everyone puts their yards on sale. Sometimes, they even sell their garages…or rummage. (Wait a sec…perhaps I’m misinterpreting the nature of the sales.)
Okay, so no one is actually selling their yard…they just put all of their old stuff on display in their yard and hope someone will come take it off their hands.
And we all know that you can mark and label prices all you want, but someone–usually a retiree who wakes up at five a.m. on a Saturday for the express purpose of practicing their haggling skills–will talk you into selling that glass goldfish figurine you bought in 1987 at a 90 percent discount off your asking price of seventy-five cents.
Due to an interesting set of circumstances, I spent roughly one-fourth of my thirtieth year of existence living at my mother’s house. (Relax. I had a “real” job, but I needed a place to live temporarily. No “living-in-my-mother’s-basement” cliches here. She’s never even had a basement anyway.)
As the springtime came, I was preparing to move out of town into my own place again, so we decided to have a yard sale. We dug through closets and piled up old clothes and knick-knacks and advertised an early Saturday morning clearance blowout.
Mom had a few old plastic tarps that we used to set out our merchandise. Whatever we didn’t sell, we would simply fold up into the tarps, drag them off the front lawn, and store them in the garage for another attempt on another day. She didn’t think she had enough tarps, so–unbeknownst to me–she went out and bought a box of large plastic drop cloths…just in case. We used some of our yard sale items to weigh down the corners of the tarps because the wind was blowing just enough to cause problems.
One of our makeshift paperweights was the box of drop cloths.
(Pay attention. That little detail is important to the story later.)
We lived a little bit off the beaten path, but it was a nice, quiet subdivision nonetheless, so we didn’t think attracting potential buyers would be too difficult. Besides, yard sale people in rural Arkansas can sniff out a bargaining opportunity from at least fifty miles away.
As the morning started, traffic was slow, to say the least. A household much closer to the main highway had also chosen that particular morning to sell their wares, diverting some of our expected customers. Still, we did see a few people, but no one was particularly interested in my old paperback of Rudyard Kipling’s “Captains Courageous” or the answering machine I used in college.
During the incredible lull that was our morning, Mom went into the house to take care of something, leaving me to handle all potential negotiations. I was beginning to think we should give up and just start giving our stuff away door-to-door when an older gentleman pulled up to the house and stopped his car. He wore a plaid shirt and blue jeans that were being held up by bright red suspenders–the most interesting (translation: only) suspenders I had seen all day. I figured he was worth some colorful conversation even if he didn’t buy anything.
I figured wrong.
He barely said a word. He poked around our collection of desk lamps and baskets and VHS tapes and looked as though he was ready to head back to the car when he saw something that caught his attention.
“Ma’am?” he asked me.
“Yes, sir!” I said, eager to finally have something off my hands.
“How much you want for that box of plastic right there? Don’t see no tag.”
I saw the box of plastic drop cloths sitting on the edge of one of the tarps.
I don’t remember putting these out here, I thought.
“Oh, those. I…didn’t get to ask Mom about that one. Umm…”
“I’ll give fifty cents for ’em.”
I made a very quick executive decision in the name of starting some kind of selling momentum.
“Sold!” I said, smiling as he dropped the two quarters into my hand.
In retrospect, I think I heard him chuckle as he went to his car.
Meanwhile, Mom was making her way back out to the yard.
“Mom! I sold something!” I told her.
“Oh, good! What’d you get rid of?”
“That box of plastic drop cloths.”
“I bought those last night. In case we needed more.”
I looked at the sad little pair of quarters in my hand, then held them up in front of my face and looked at Mom.
We both burst into hysterics.
“You mean to tell me that the only thing we’ve sold all morning was something that wasn’t for sale?!? I paid at least three times that much for those things!” she said, laughing.
(Oh, yeah. I’m a genius.)
The afternoon improved somewhat; in true “Field Of Dreams” fashion, if you build it, they will come. More people made their way down our road, and although word had not gotten out about our extreme discount on brand new plastic drop cloths, other patrons bought a few more of our items to make the sale worthwhile. One lady left with my old Furby, a move I compare to the old man taking Gizmo the Mogwai away from the Peltzers at the end of the movie “Gremlins.”
I haven’t hosted a yard sale since then. I probably would accidentally sell the yard…
Dreams can be incredibly strange. Since I don’t have Sigmund Freud around to help me analyze a few of them, I guess I’m on my own.
As a child, I had a recurring dream about a monster that lived in the television set. It only seemed to appear when the set was turned off. I think my brother tried to humor me by agreeing that he had a similar dream…although he could have just been messing with my head, trying to make me believe that everyone had that dream.
As an adult, I don’t have any specific recurring nightmares, although I usually have central thematic material to work with.
The biggest one?
I’m running terribly late for something and no matter what I do, I never quite make it where I’m supposed to be. Oddly, I’m never late for anything in the “awake” world.
In college, the dream usually jolted me out of my evening slumber during finals week. I would wake up–heart pounding–and check the clock obsessively. They usually ended with me desperately trying to run to an exam I couldn’t find because I had trouble interpreting the finals grid the university sent out about a week before testing.
My stress level had gone through the roof one semester. I was working long hours on a research project. One Sunday afternoon, I drifted off with a pile of books within my reach. (Although this little anecdote isn’t about a dream, it does demonstrate how your mind can play tricks on you.) I woke up and panicked when the clock said it was 2:30. In my mental fog, I thought I had slept straight through that afternoon and the next one, missing my class altogether.
(Oh, it gets better.)
I freaked out even further when I realized that I hadn’t pulled a Rip Van Winkle…but that sleeping until 2:30 a.m. was within the realm of possibility. So why was the sun out at 2:30 a.m.? Yep, only a few parts of my brain had woken up, and not in any kind of sequential order. Once I realized it was 2:30 p.m. on the same afternoon in which I had fallen asleep, I calmed down and kept sifting through the books.
(I got a 4.0 that semester. I think it was worth it.)
Last night’s dream, however, takes the cake on “weird.” The central theme remained the same: I’m running late for something and I won’t make it on time no matter how hard I try.
This time, it was a concert.
Oh, and I was trying to find the performance venue on a continent upon which I’ve never set foot. (I figured this one out by my “dream-style” logic reasoning skills.)
Oh, and I was trying to chase down one of the performers who was supposed to stay right by my side for some reason.
I knew I was in a race against the clock. I was on a train but I had no idea how I ended up on the train. All I knew was that it was supposed to take me where I needed to go. It was dark outside, but I could make out the outlines of trees against the moonlight. They were types of trees I’d never seen in person, so that was my “dream-style” reasoning clue that I was in foreign territory.
Now, when you know you’re running terribly late for something, the last thing you need to do is stop for a leisurely lunch. In my “dream-style” mode of thinking, however, I did just that. I found myself in a nice little cafe. My companion hadn’t materialized yet, so I was alone…but then I noticed the celebrity couple seated at the table behind me.
I have no idea why these two were anywhere in the same ZIP and/or area code of my mind, but when you see The Crocodile Hunter and his wife eating lunch six feet away, you get a little curious. (Especially considering one pretty big detail that would negate the possibility of this little outing ever occurring in 2016.) Never mind that I was running late…I had to say hello and gush a little bit about how wonderful their daughter was on “Dancing With The Stars” and whatnot. (I really think they just wanted to be left alone, because they said they wanted to be left alone. I should have known that, even with this being a dream and all.)
It was only then that I realized just how late I was running and that I had to be somewhere…I just didn’t know where. I ended up back on the train again, but it was daylight. Somehow, I ended up off the train shortly thereafter, and I was on foot running through muddy fields and gravel parking lots while trying to keep up with the companion that had finally materialized.
I woke up when I found myself trapped in a small room in a nuclear power plant. I guess my companion made it to the concert. (Way to go.) I’m curious as to how it went. And what we were supposed to be playing. And–oh, yeah–where it actually was.
Why can a dream leave you with such specific details as a slightly tense conversation with a departed wildlife expert but NOT let you know where you were supposed to be going by a certain unspecified time? I mean, I couldn’t really find anything about any of these scenarios in my ten-dollar dream dictionary, so it must be an unsolvable mystery for the ages. The only part of it that makes any sense is “concert,” because I just finished with one last week.
If I ever have that dream again about running late for finals, though, I may have to see if I can get Dr. Freud to materialize.
If I had a dollar for every penny I have, I could buy an awful lot of gumballs.
Of course, I could also take the money I would have spent exacerbating my temporomandibular joint issues and sink it into a nice vacation spot on a remote tropical island.
They say a dollar isn’t worth much these days. It’s true. It’s probably worth a lot more now than it will be in another decade or so, though. Today’s dollars are tomorrow’s cents.
That’s why I think it’s way past time to update the expression “a penny for your thoughts.” (I really should properly phrase this well-known idiom in the form of a question, but I’m not on Jeopardy! yet, so I think I can get away with making it more of a declaration.)
Given historical inflation rates and current trends, I think my thoughts are worth at least a buck…maybe two, but only if they’re good ones.
Yes, I’m proposing a raise in the minimum wage on thoughts. A penny is about as minimum as it gets, folks.
Anyone else out there have any thoughts on the subject?
Maybe I shouldn’t ask that question. I’m not prepared to pay for those thoughts. Not even at their current rate.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to plan my May Day celebration. However, each year I celebrate in a small way by recalling a quote from the movie “Airplane!”. Ted Striker, a passenger piloting a stricken airliner, sends out a distress call to air traffic controller McCrosky…who immediately–and rhetorically–questions his “mayday.” McCrosky (played by Lloyd Bridges) receives an answer from Johnny (played by Stephen Stucker), a person you might not want working an emergency situation.
“May Day? Why, that’s the Russian New Year! You know, we’ll have a big parade and serve hot hors d’oeuvres…”
I know that there are people out there who do celebrate May Day. However, I was looking at my calendar and I know for certain that I can’t take time for every single designated holiday in existence.
Upon doing a simple internet search–although I’ve likely found some unreliable sources–I’ve determined that every day has at least one holiday attached to it. (In some cases, more than one. That’s just an exact estimate, though.)
For example, tomorrow (May 2) is Baby Day AND Brothers and Sisters Day. (Look it up. They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.) I don’t have a baby, and I doubt very many babies would realize people are celebrating a holiday in their honor, but I do have a brother, so I could celebrate by giving him a quick call. That one really doesn’t take too much time out of my day. However, I didn’t know it existed until about fifteen minutes ago. Now that I know, am I required to plan ahead for next year’s “celebration?”
Eh, I’ll just let the Pinterest virtuosos take care of it.
Moving ahead…May 3. I found three holidays listed for May 3. World Press Freedom Day, National Teachers Day (which is designated for the Tuesday of the first full week of May), and–get this–Lumpy Rug Day.
Lumpy Rug Day. (I’m not making this up.) How do you celebrate that one?!? More importantly…WHY?!?
In the past few years, May the Fourth has gained tremendous popularity among “Star Wars” fans, so I doubt that National Candied Orange Peel Day will get quite as much attention. (May 4 is also host to Bird Day and Renewal Day…whatever that one is.) May 5 is, of course, Cinco de Mayo, which also tends to overshadow such treasured holidays as National Hoagie Day or Oyster Day.
May 6 includes–but is not limited to–International Tuba Day this year, which falls on the first Friday in May. (Actually, I need to remember that one. Tuba players usually don’t receive enough recognition for their work. And it sure is heavy work.)
I could go on for…well, a year. It’s not practical to expect everyone to celebrate all of these holidays, so I suppose you should just pick and choose your favorites. The month of May has plenty of options.
(On that note…Happy early Mother’s Day, Mom! I promise I won’t make that one “optional.” That one’s kind of important.)
You’d probably think today would be my Christmas, New Year’s, and Fourth of July rolled into one.
Alas, the best I could come up with today was adding yet another day to a leap year.
I sat down for a few minutes this evening and started thinking about all of the elements that would have to converge to create the perfect prank. I’ve come up with three. Now, I said nothing about it being an April Fools’ Day prank–just a perfect prank.
Here we go…
Element No. 1: The Element of Surprise.
Most people with a healthy sense of self-preservation and a slight touch of paranoia will be on the lookout for pranks occurring on April 1. This heightened level of awareness creates more suspicion. More suspicion leads to more questioning. More questioning leads to more thwarted plans. Even the most methodical prankster can stumble when someone asks a few too many questions. In order to pull off the perfect prank, you must have the element of surprise on your side.
On April 1, people are expecting a prank.
I contend that the pranksters among us choose a date in which people have become complacent. Think about it. April 1 passes…and nothing happens.
“No one got me this year! Ha!”
April 8, 9, 10…nothing…and you’re starting to believe that you will escape April without falling victim to a prank from a friend.
“Golly, it’s April 11 and no one has tried to play a joke on me this month. I’m really not sure why I was thinking of this in the first place since April Fools’ Day was way back at the beginning of the month. I should probably be thinking of other more pressing matters in my life right now. How obscure of me.”
For the perfect prank, I’d like to suggest April 15.
Well, why not? It’s still April, so you could (very) technically call it an “April Fools'” joke. And everyone’s paranoia is focused elsewhere on April 15…for a different reason. That, in turn, brings me to…
Element No. 2: The Element of Realism.
Ladies and gentlemen, what happens on April 15? Yup, you got it. The taxman cometh. April 15 is a day just begging for a little lighthearted humor which could easily be set in situations realistic enough to make for a great prank.
Just one note of warning, though. Make sure the friend on the receiving end of the prank is healthy enough to withstand a joke of financial proportions.
And that leads to…
Element No. 3: The Element of Being Fun Without Crossing The Line Into Cruelty.
Honestly, does this one really need to be discussed? Be funny, be creative, but, in the words of Elvis Presley, “Don’t be cruel.”
Of course, now that I’ve put this in writing, I’ve probably rendered the “Element of Surprise” obsolete. So, I suppose it’s back to the drawing board.
Therefore, I bid you a good day, and my wish for all you pranksters out there is that your future pranks are perfectly crafted in good fun.