Can you think of a word in modern English that rhymes with ‘bulb?’ I’ll wait. Can you think of one? No?

Well—-surprise—surprise! You’re struggling because there isn’t one! Bulb is a word with a long history: Greek–>Latin–>French–>English…but it doesn’t have a rhyming partner.

Book #19–The Dictionary of Difficult Words

Yesterday, I finished a week-long training in Arlington, VA. and two of my participants approached me at the end of the day to chat with me, and to give me a gift.

They gave me a book called, ‘The Dictionary of Difficult Words,’ because they thought I would love it—they were right! Even more lovely was the hand-written thank you card that accompanied it. Their words really touched me—it’s nice being thanked and appreciated!

Marsha & Maria–thank you so much for thinking of me!

I read the book cover-to-cover this morning and I really enjoyed it! As promised, it’s filled with lots & lots of difficult words. I can tell this will be a book that I revisit many times!

Kenspeckle (adjective)–

“If something is kenspeckle, it’s easy to recognize or easy to see.”


This popped up on my Facebook memory wall today—

I never knew that there was such a thing called, Ambergris, but now I want to find some! Floating gold! I just read a story about a man in England who found a mass of Ambergris on his local beach. Well, his dog found it, but who’s going to argue that part.

Ambergris is whale vomit, specifically from a Sperm Whale, that has floated around the sea for years in the sun. The resulting product looks like a rock but has a more waxy feel to it. The find is extremely rare and very valuable. Although somewhat disgusting in nature, a chemical change happens that produces a very desirable aroma when aged over time. Ambergris is used in expensive perfume, such as Channel No. 5.

Can you imagine the following exchange: “Darling what are you wearing? It smells delightful!” The woman smiles and replies, “Whale vomit. Isn’t it divine?”

The man’s walk on the beach will produce a huge financial pay off for him–it is worth tens of thousands of dollars per pound! The next time you’re walking the surf, be on the look out for a yellowish-gray “rock” with a funky smell. It will pay for for your child to go to college or if your past that stage, the dream car you’ve always wanted!


I’m heading to Boston today, and I’m finally back on a plane again! I had a rental car for the last three weeks, and I drove to NY, VA, and NJ for my trainings.

New Jersey has increasingly become the recipient of unfair press over the years and has earned the moniker, ‘The Armpit of the Nation,’ as well as several other unsavory barbs. I grew up in New Jersey, so I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the ‘Garden State.’ My hotel room had a beautiful view. I recently learned a new word from a friend of mine—bucolic. Have you ever heard this word before?

Here’s my challenge—use the word bucolic to describe the view from my room last week. Armpit? I should say not!

Can you do it?

Here were some of the responses from when I originally posted this on my Facebook feed—

Debbie—The farm in the distance surrounded by the bucolic fields and clear blue skies gave me a sense of peace amidst all the crazy things going on in the world.

Cathy—This peaceful tableau takes me back to childhood memories of my grandparent’s bucolic farm.

Lisa—The bucolic setting in this photo makes me think of our farm and how much we enjoy our peaceful space and privacy.

Tom—The scene at Cunningham Falls Lake is resplendent in its bucolic regalia.

And the bucaholic is addicted to bucolic surroundings.

Mary—Is this the same Tom that is also the fellow traveler addicted to bucolic experiences in Spain?

Raquel—If one seeks a bucolic state, one need look no further than the beautiful Garden state!

Please keep the bucolic qualities of NJ under your hat.

New Jersey Haiku
Splitting sky from fields,
Silos on the horizon;
Bucolic Jersey.

Haiku Wars—
The view from my room-
A bucolic dream come true,
Bathed in warm sunlight.

Slumgullion Stew—

I think most of you know that I’m a logophile, which is just a fancy way of saying that I’m a lover of words. Earlier today, I was looking something up online, when I stumbled across a term that I had never heard before—slumgullion. It sounds like an awful word, right? It has three main definitions—

  1. A thin stew of meat, vegetables, & potatoes
  2. A weak, thin, or watery beverage like coffee or tea
  3. The leftover gunk from processing whale blubber—ugh, seriously?

The etymology of the word, doesn’t do it any favors because loosely translated, the meaning of slumgullion is a combination of slime & mud or cesspool. Mark Twain used the term in 1872 when referring to watery coffee. When thinking about a stew, many people think of it as a “throw everything in the refrigerator into a pot” type of dish. Historically speaking, stews have been around for centuries, but the term slumgullion appears to have been coined in the mid-1800’s.

Since it’s a “leftover” sort of dish, most sources say that there isn’t one specific recipe, but agree that it contains meat, vegetables, and potatoes. After searching around, I stumbled across a recipe for slumgullion stew that sounded good…so, guess what I did this afternoon? Yup—the word nerd got cookin’! The name doesn’t hold much appeal, but the stew was quite tasty!

Bon Appétit! —(I wish you) a hearty appetite (French)