The giving heart...

By Vichara

Today begins the final days of the year and with these days a number of altruistic activities become more abundant. We are asked, with the sub-text nature of this month, to be a little more mindful of those less fortunate. We are asked in the spirit of giving that has become mutated to donate time, money and various items to various groups and individuals that will somehow make up for the other 11 months of the year. While it is good to applaud any efforts to shift our self-indulgent mind to be cognizant of others it is always good to remind yourself that the same people that you help this single month of the year still need our empathy and help the other 11 months. One activity may provide a temporary salve in this month of giving but it may be good to remember the wound of need will always need assistance and not only in December.

wassail • \WAH-sul\ • verb

1 : to indulge in riotous drinking

2 dialect England : to sing carols from house to house at Christmas

3 : to drink to the health or thriving of

Example Sentence:

The farmer and his revelers wassailed the apple orchard, hoping for another fruitful season, and then merrily poured cider around the trees.

Did you know?

The salutation "wassail," from the Old Norse toast "ves heill" ("be well"), has accompanied English toast-making since the 12th century. By the 13th century, "wassail" was being used for the drink itself, and it eventually came to be used especially of a hot drink (of wine, beer, or cider with spices, sugar, and usually baked apples) drunk around Christmastime. This beverage warmed the stomachs and hearts of many Christmas revelers and was often shared with Christmas carolers. The verb "wassail" was first used in the 14th century to describe the carousing associated with indulgence in the drink; later, it was used of other activities associated with wassail and the holiday season, like caroling. Seventeenth-century farmers added cattle and trees to the wassail tradition by drinking to their health or vitality during wintertime festivities.

The Sycamore...

By Vichara

Outside my window where I “sit” is a very tall sycamore tree. It stands perhaps close to 100 feet tall and when its leaves are full it provides a welcome cool canopy in the summers heat. At this time of the year with it’s branches thinned with the winter months it has become a meeting place for several bird species on their way to wherever their feeding needs take them. Each morning for the past few days an impressive group of Mitred and Red-Masked Parakeets, perhaps around 75 have been confabbing in the sycamore, squawking away in the early hours. Along with this noisy group I have seen 2 beautiful Bridled Titmouse swooping from branch to branch. Finches stop by as well, Western Wood Pee-Wee flycatchers too and a host of others like Berwicks, sparrows, morning doves and occasionally I will see the massive wingspan of the Cooper’s hawk. Even though there are many breeds the sycamore tree provides a haven for them all. Perhaps we as humans need a sycamore for our daily journey.

baptism of fire • \BAP-tiz-um-uv-FYRE\ • noun

1 : an introductory or initial experience that is a severe ordeal; especially : a soldier's first exposure to enemy fire

2 : a spiritual baptism by a gift of the Holy Spirit

Example Sentence:

Sandra got her baptism of fire as a babysitter when she spent the weekend taking care of her sister’s three rambunctious children.

Did you know?

In the 1981 volume Airmobility in Vietnam, Lt. General John Tolson used the military sense of "baptism of fire," writing, "Major George D. Hardesty, Jr. of the 8th Transportation Company and Major Robert J. Dillard of the 57th could report that their units performed outstandingly under their first baptism of fire." Tolson and other users of the phrase allude (knowingly or unknowingly) to a Biblical passage: "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me . . . will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Matthew 3:11, RSV). Since at least 1857, "baptism of fire" has been used metaphorically in English for any initiation, especially a difficult one.

Steps forward...

By Vichara

It seems even more so these days we need to reach out farther with our hearts. Perhaps it’s that the images and TV news can go deeper and retrieve that which has never been seen before or our cognitive abilities have grown more sensitive. Regardless of how it’s presence is brought to our attention it is there and we need to make a choice. We can process what we see through the lens of indignation and see the injustices but just be reactionary without results. Look through the lens of indifference and remain in a state of apathy and on the fence of indecision or process through the lens of inspiration “see” what is there and needed and make steps forward to help change happen for the good. Even if they are small steps of assistance at least they are steps forward…with a clearer vision.

veracity • \vuh-RASS-uh-tee\ • noun

1 : devotion to the truth : truthfulness

2 : conformity with truth or fact : accuracy

3 : something true

Example Sentence:

English poet Thomas Gray wrote, "Any fool may write a most valuable book by chance, if he will only tell us what he heard and saw with veracity."

Did you know?

"Veracity" has been a part of English since at least 1623, and we can honestly tell you that it derives from the Latin adjective "verax" ("true" or "truthful"), which in turn comes from the earlier adjective "verus" ("true"). "Verus" also gives us "verity" ("the quality of being true"), "verify" ("to establish the truth of"), and "verisimilitude" ("the appearance of truth"), among other words. In addition, "verax" is the root of the word "veraciousness," a somewhat rarer synonym and cousin of "veracity."

A new approach...

By Vichara

We can judge a person for the past but they are already different in the present. Like a river ever moving forward individuals meld and change according to circumstances. Some of these changes can be profound and dramatically change a person’s life. So by having preconceived judgments of others only keeps yourself back. Instead try to approach each situation and each individual in the moment. Listen with new ears and process with love, compassion and patience.

finesse • \fuh-NESS\ • verb

1 : to make a finesse in playing cards : to play (a card) in a finesse

2 : to bring about, direct, or manage by adroit maneuvering b : evade, skirt

Example Sentence:

"A surer hand behind the camera might've finessed the jokes more effectively, or established a consistent and satisfying tone." (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, November 6, 2009)

Did you know?

"Finesse" was a noun for more than 200 years before it became a verb. In the early 16th century the noun "finesse" was used to refer to refinement or delicacy of workmanship, structure, or texture. Soon thereafter it developed the "skillful handling of a situation" meaning most common today. The first use of the verb "finesse," however, was not as a corollary of one of these meanings. Instead, its meaning had to do with cards: if you finesse in a game like bridge or whist, you withhold your highest card or trump in the hope that a lower card will take the trick because the only opposing higher card is in the hand of an opponent who has already played. The other verb meanings of "finesse" developed within a few decades of this one.

Shedding the trivial...

By Vichara

The body regenerates 50 trillion cells everyday. Your body therefore in this process has changed into virtually a new person. Given this fact we all have an opportunity to use this similar process to shed those things unimportant and trivial just as our bodies shed unnecessary cells in it’s natural process of change. Change happens…it’s a good thing, embrace it.

intransigent • \in-TRAN-suh-junt\ • adjective

: characterized by refusal to compromise or to abandon an extreme position or attitude : uncompromising

Example Sentence:

Ms. Baxter was intransigent about her most famous rule: no gum or candy in her classroom unless you’d brought enough to share with everybody.

Did you know?

English speakers borrowed "intransigent" in the 19th century from Spanish "intransigente" ("uncompromising"), itself a combination of the familiar prefix "in-" ("not") and "transigente" ("willing to compromise"). "Transigente" comes from the Spanish verb "transigir" ("to compromise"), which in turn comes from Latin "transigere" ("to come to an agreement"). The French have a similar verb, "transiger," which also means "to compromise." You may wonder if the word "transigent" exists in English, and the answer is "not really." It has seen occasional use, but it is not well established. There is, however, one other common English word that traces from Latin "transigere": "transact," meaning "to conduct (business)."

Our "footprint" in the world...

By Vichara

These days there is a great deal of emphasis in recognizing our “carbon footprint” in this world and trying to reduce it. I think the same kind of principles can be applied to increase our “compassion footprint” in the world. As we do little things to lesson the carbon footprint (i.e. using reusable water bottles, florescent light bulbs, etc.) likewise we can do little things to increase our “compassion footprint”. Be more forgiving of yourself and others. Tell someone you love and care about him or her for no apparent reason. Help someone that looks lost and discover the answer together. Hold the door for one more person. Make a phone call to someone just to tell him or her how much they mean to you…you get the picture. Reduce carbon, increase compassion.

sastruga • \SAS-truh-guh\ • noun

: a wavelike ridge of hard snow formed by the wind -- usually used in plural

Example Sentence:

"Over the sastrugi it is all up and down hill, and the covering of ice crystals prevents the sledge from gliding even on the down-grade." (Robert Falcon Scott, Journals: Captain Scott’s Last Expedition)

Did you know?

If "sastruga" and its plural "sastrugi" seem like unusual English words, that may be because in some ways they are. Many of the words we use in English can be traced to one of two sources: about one-quarter of our vocabulary can be traced back to English's Germanic origins, and another two-thirds comes from Latinate sources (most such words come by way of French or from Latin directly, but Spanish and Italian have made their contributions as well). "Sastruga" was borrowed from German, but is not Germanic in origin. It’s originally from "zastruga," a word that comes from a dialect of Russian and means "groove," "small ridge," or "furrow." "Sastruga" is not widely used in English, and when it is used, it often takes the plural form, as in our example sentence.

This day...

By Vichara

We all assume tat when we lay down to sleep that we will reach the other shore and wake to a new day. What if this was not guaranteed? How would you approach the day that you just met? The coffee that you are drinking will be your last. The round of early morning bird singing will never be heard again. The warmth of the shower you had, never felt again. The embrace from your partner never will happen again. How will your eyes see this that has been given to you? Will, if you knew this fact, spend the day frenetically screaming and running around or would you breathe in, breathe out consume the moments with equanimity and reverence? This is not a “thought” created to scare you but to remind us all that this impermanence is a basic truth. Be conscious that this treadmill that can sometimes distract us and remember the importance of our lives we share together.

whimsical • \WIM-zih-kul\ • adjective

1 : full of, actuated by, or exhibiting whims

2 a : resulting from or characterized by whim or caprice; especially : lightly fanciful b : subject to erratic behavior or unpredictable change

Example Sentence:

The whimsical decor of Mary’s home reflects her playful personality.

Did you know?

As you may have guessed, the words "whimsical," "whim," and "whimsy" are related. All three ultimately derive from the word "whim-wham" ("a whimsical object" or "a whim"), which is of unknown origin and dates to at least 1500. "Whimsy" was the first of the three to spin off from "whim-wham," debuting in print in 1605. English speakers then added the adjective suffix "-ical" to "whimsy" to create "whimsical," dating from 1653. "Whim," which came about as a shortened version of "whim-wham," appeared as early as 1641 in a sense that is now obsolete, but its current sense of "a sudden wish, desire, or change of mind" didn't appear in print until 1686.

Koan #20...

By Vichara

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

depredate • \DEP-ruh-dayt\ • verb

1 : to lay waste : plunder, ravage

2 : to engage in plunder

Example Sentence:

“[O]ne of our party, after being asked by the owner to help depredate a few of the green, squawky birds at a feedlot, took 4 shots and killed over one hundred.” (The Bakersfield Californian, August 16, 2008)

Did you know?

"Depredate" derives primarily from the Latin verb "praedari," meaning "to plunder," an ancestor to our words "predator" and "prey." First appearing in English in the 17th century, the word most commonly appears in contexts relating to nature and ecology, where it is often used to describe the methodical, almost automatic destruction of life. That’s how the film critic Stanley Kauffman, for example, summarized the plot of the famous horror movie Jaws (1975): “A killer shark depredates the beach of an island summer resort. Several people are killed. Finally, the shark is killed. That's the story.”

Searching for answers...

By Vichara

We are all searching for “answers”. What if there are none to be found? What if what we find is merely the “bread crumbs” on a path that is put there just to keep us moving forward. Moving forward to what? The answer? To some form of understanding? Some peace? I don’t know but I believe for the sake of keeping ones sanity it may be beneficial to have the faith to believe. Faith that this journey that has led us to this physical being of skin & bones that we inhabit was created for a reason. We may not be put here to find the perceived big answers but perhaps to help others to find it.

namby-pamby • \nam-bee-PAM-bee\ • adjective

1 : lacking in character or substance : insipid

2 : weak, indecisive

Example Sentence:

The candidate criticized her opponent during the debate, calling him a namby-pamby flip-flopper who could not stand up for what he believed in.

Did you know?

Eighteenth-century poets Alexander Pope and Henry Carey didn't think much of their contemporary Ambrose Philips. His sentimental, singsong verses were too childish and simple for their palates. In 1726, Carey came up with the rhyming nickname "Namby-Pamby" (playing on "Ambrose") to parody Philips: "Namby-Pamby's doubly mild / Once a man and twice a child . . . / Now he pumps his little wits / All by little tiny bits." In 1733, Pope borrowed the nickname to take his own satirical jab at Philips in the poem "The Dunciad." Before long, "namby-pamby" was being applied to any piece of writing that was insipidly precious, simple, or sentimental, and later to anyone considered pathetically weak or indecisive.

Flow with change...

By Vichara

If there were ways to reassure ourselves that things on a daily basis would be ok I am confident most of us would seize the opportunity. However the undercurrent impermanence of everything has domain over every aspect of every moment of every day and creates challenges. For those of us who do not like things challenging we can choose an erratic existence and be troubled by everything or we can be strong like water and flow along and embrace change and learn from change. Meld as changes happens.

provender • \PRAH-vun-der\ • noun

1 : dry food for domestic animals : feed

2 : food, victuals

Example Sentence:

"The ambrosial and essential part of the [huckleberry] fruit is lost with the bloom which is rubbed off in the market cart, and they become mere provender." (Henry David Thoreau, Walden)

Did you know?

When English speakers first chewed on the word "provender" around 1300, it referred to a stipend that a clergyman received from his cathedral or collegiate church, something also known as a "prebend." A mere 25 years later, though, the word’s current meanings had developed. These days you’re most likely to encounter "provender" in articles written by food and travel writers. A few such writers confuse "provender" with "purveyor," meaning "a person or business that sells or provides something," but most of them keep the words straight, as Deidre Schipani does in this quote: "The kitchen remains true to its local roots. Buying from island farmers, fisherman, shrimpers, butchers and small local artisans keeps the provender and purveyors in alignment." (The Post and Courier, September 3, 2009)

Is this all there is?...

By Vichara

Are there days where it feels like you get up, push “play” and repeat? You get up, push “play” and repeat? You get up push “play” and repeat? It may seem that way which can raise questions and anxieties and is “this” all there is? While it may seem to have this repetitive nature to it there are fine subtleties that occur every moment that we may not recognize. When there is some feeling of the “same old” you have already raised your cognitive awareness, which brings you to the next step. Turn left, turn right, stop and take a moment to shift things. Take some time away from the conveyer belt of things…even for a few moments. This shift could break the repetitive nature and open the door to new discoveries. Open the door to new discoveries. Open the door to new discoveries.

ukase • \yoo-KAYSS\ • noun

1 : a proclamation by a Russian emperor or government having the force of law

2 a : a proclamation having the force of law * b : order, command

Example Sentence:

"The professor's first instruction to the [playwriting] class was a ukase: Never begin a play with a telephone ringing." (Bruce McCabe, The Boston Globe, June 23, 2000)

Did you know?

English speakers adopted "ukase" more or less simultaneously from French ("ukase") and Russian ("ukaz") in the early 18th century. The word can be traced further back to the Russian verb "ukazat'," meaning "to show" or "to order," and its ultimate source is an ancient root that led to similar words in Latin, Sanskrit, and Old Church Slavic. A Russian ukase was a command from the highest levels of government that could not be disobeyed. But by the early 19th century, English speakers were also using "ukase" generally for any command that seemed to come from a higher authority, particularly one that was final or arbitrary.

Something to keep in mind...

By Vichara

Don’t wait until you are 90 to understand how life itself is the path.

fiery • \FYE-uh-ree\ • adjective

1 a : consisting of or marked by fire b : using or carried out with fire c: flammable

2 : hot or glowing like a fire

3 : red

4 a : full of emotion or spirit b : easily provoked : irritable

Example Sentence:

"As the game ended, he gave a fiery pep talk to his linemen, and on a brutally tough day, they appreciated it." (Bob Wojnowski, The Detroit News, November 16, 2009)

Did you know?

If you find yourself tempted to spell today's word "firey," you're relying on sound logic. "Fiery" was formed by combining the word "fire" and the "-y" suffix, so it is reasonable to expect that the result would be spelled "firey." At the time that the adjective was coined in the 13th century, however, the spelling of the noun had not yet become standardized. One alternate spelling was "fier." Presumably, it was this spelling that eventually led to English speakers settling on "fiery," even as the lone surviving spelling of the noun turned out to be "fire."

Koan #19...

By Vichara

Koan Monday #19 – “The fearless hero is a loving child”. Are there things right now in your life that is making you scared? Out of this fear you are projecting is there an exterior that is hard like armor? If we adapt, as the Koan suggests, a loving heart we will find the powers to overcome these changes. It is almost like if instead of you stand rigid and get bombarded by “life”, virtually being ground down, you become more fluid and resilient by being not motivated into action by love. You have heard of the extraordinary power people get being motivated by love? If you use powers of compassion and love the resources you need become more readily available to you. By having the ability to be more vulnerable you become stronger not motivated by fear but by love.

Nimrod • \NIM-rahd\ • noun

1 : a descendant of Ham represented in Genesis as a mighty hunter and a king of Shinar

2 not capitalized : hunter

3 not capitalized, slang : idiot, jerk

Example Sentence:

Dad fancied himself a mighty nimrod after he captured the rabbit who had been eating our garden.

Did you know?

Nimrod is described in Genesis as "the first on earth to be a mighty man" and "a mighty hunter before the Lord." It's easy to see how people made the leap from one mighty hunter in the Bible to calling any hunter a "nimrod." A lesser-known fact is that "nimrod" has seen some use in English as a noun meaning "tyrant" (apparently, the mighty Nimrod was not reputed to be an especially benevolent king), although that sense is now essentially obsolete. The legendary Nimrod is also sometimes associated with the attempt to build the Tower of Babel. Because the tower resulted in the wrath of the Lord and proved a disastrous idea, "nimrod" is sometimes used with yet another meaning: "a stupid person."

Try to remember...

By Vichara

There are others that feel just the way you do. Remember yesterday when you were waiting for the light to turn green or making your coffee at work. Or just before you drifted off to sleep and that good feeling came over you. Then there was last week and you remembered that person that you once thought you knew. With variances we share so many feelings but we sometimes don’t see them. While yes we are all unique individuals with unique life stories there are many commonalities that we do share that we may forget to remember through all of our frenetic activities. Try to remember as we approach this last part of the year and the holiday season that golden rule to treat others how you wish to be treated.

leviathan • \luh-VYE-uh-thun\ • noun

1 : the political state; especially : a totalitarian state having a vast bureaucracy

2 : something large or formidable

Example Sentence:

Towering leviathans of the forest, these giant sequoias often reach heights of more than 200 feet.

Did you know?

Old Testament references to a huge sea monster, "Leviathan" (in Hebrew, "Liwyāthān"), are thought to spring from an ancient myth in which the god Baal slays a multiheaded sea monster. Leviathan appears in the book of Psalms, as a sea serpent that is killed by God and then given as food to the Hebrews in the wilderness, and it is referred to in the book of Job as well. We began equating "Leviathan" with the political state after the philosopher Thomas Hobbes used the word in (and as the title of) his 1651 political treatise on government. Today, "Leviathan" often suggests a crushing political bureaucracy. "Leviathan" can also be immensely useful as a general term meaning "something monstrous or of enormous size."

A reminder...

By Vichara

I heard an artist yesterday talk about creativity. He said there is a need to be reminded that big things come from small beginnings. There are some that possibly believe that of Beethoven’s symphonies just magically appeared fully realized and he just wrote them down. When of course as with most things there is great toiling to reach the finished end. It is something just to remind ourselves when we feel overwhelmed and discouraged the we all, and I repeat this, we all have the potential to realize that what which we dream. Be it big or small, nurture the “spark” and be patient with it’ journey. The spark of creativity comes in many different forms but you can make it happen.

winnow • \WIN-oh\ • verb

1 : to remove (as chaff) by a current of air; also : to free (as grain) from waste in this manner

2 : to remove, separate, or select as if by winnowing

3 : to narrow or reduce

4 : to blow on or fan

Example Sentence:

The search committee is finding it extremely difficult to winnow the list of job candidates down to five; many of them are highly qualified and very desirable.

Did you know?

Beginning as "windwian" in Old English, "winnow" first referred to the removal of chaff from grain by a current of air. This use was soon extended to describe the removal of anything undesirable or unwanted (a current example of this sense would be "winnowing out outdated information"). People then began using the word for the selection of the most desirable elements (as in "winnowing out the qualified applicants"). The association of "winnow" with the movement of air led to the meanings "to brandish" and "to beat with or as if with wings," but those uses are now rare. The last meanings blew in at the turn of the 19th century. They are "to blow on" and "to blow in gusts."

The step forward...

By Vichara

You can begin again. This could be the day, the hour, the minute, the right moment where, if you believe, the planets and stars align for you to make that decision you need, desire and is necessary. What is it your soul needs to make? That shift to get up and step forward. What will be the catalyst you need? You know you have been waiting for that sign for so very long and it is so needed you will recognize it in a heartbeat. Because it is in that one heartbeat is where the vista will rise up to meet you. What will you do with this moment when it arrives? Will you give it a casual glance and turn away? Will you hand over your ticket of acceptance and get on board for the ride? It is up to you. In this democracy of the heart, mind & spirit it will be your decision because it will you that will face the sunrise of tomorrow by making the decision of today.

pundit • \PUN-dit\ • noun

1 : a learned person : teacher

2 : authority, critic

Example Sentence:

Grandpa likes watching liberal and conservative pundits spar about the issues of the day on the Sunday morning talk shows.

Did you know?

The original pundits were highly respected teachers and leaders in India. Their title was taken from the Hindi word "pandit," a term of respect for a wise person that itself derives from the Sanskrit "pandita," meaning "learned." English speakers began using the form "pundit" specifically to refer to those Hindu sages as long ago as the 1600s. By the 1800s, they had also extended the term to refer to other sagacious individuals, and now "pundit" is often used with a hint of sarcasm to refer to informed opinion makers (such as political commentators, financial analysts, and newspaper columnists) who boldly share their views (sometimes at great length) on just about any subject that lies within their areas of expertise.

The question of giving...

By Vichara

Today begins the final days of this year and with these days a number of altruistic activities become more abundant. We are asked, with the sub textual nature of this month, to be a little more mindful of those less fortunate. We are asked in the spirit of giving that has become mutated to donate time, money and various items to various groups and individuals that will somehow make up for the other 11 months of the year. While it is good to applaud any efforts to shift our self-indulgent mind to be cognizant of others it is always good to remind yourself that the same people that you help in this single month of the year will still need our empathy and help the other 11 months. One activity may provide a temporary salve in this month of giving but it may be good to remember the wound of need will always need assistance and not only in December.

disputatious • \dis-pyuh-TAY-shus\ • adjective

1 : inclined to dispute b: marked by disputation

2 : provoking debate : controversial

Example Sentence:

The radio host's disputatious opinions and discussions have drawn legions of listeners, and now he is moving his show to network television.

Did you know?

"Disputatious" can be used of both people and things. Disputatious people like to provoke arguments or find something to disagree about. In the "things" category, the word can apply to both situations and issues. For example, court trials are disputatious; that is, they are marked by disputation, or verbal controversy. An issue or matter is disputatious if it provokes controversy. However, if a matter, such as an assertion made by someone, is open to question rather than downright controversial, it's merely "disputable." In any case, there's no arguing that both "disputatious" and its synonym "disputative" have changed their connotation somewhat from their Latin source, the verb "disputare." That word means simply "to discuss."

Koan #18...

By Vichara

Koan #18 “Don’t search for truth, simply stop having opinions”. Think of how many opinions we have in one day. Too many to really recall I would speculate. When there are to many they can obscure the intuitive insight that we all have. Our consciousness is like a vast and limitless clear blue sky and our ideas and opinions are like clouds passing by. When we focus on the clouds we miss out on the empty vastness and the ability to gain insight. Sometimes you may want to stop frantically trying to have an opinion about what is going on and simply say, “don’t know”. By embracing the “don’t know” confusion will dissipate and your intuitive nature grows stronger. In Zen wisdom is not found by having ideas but experiencing life directly through not knowing.

tristful • \TRIST-ful\ • adjective

: sad, melancholy

Example Sentence:

"And, come four o'clock, the Winter Garden is packed with tea parties gobbling cucumber sandwiches …, while a tristful harpist completes recollections of rainy afternoons trapped in British seaside palm courts…." (Simon Schama, The New Yorker, May 31, 2004)

Did you know?

The Middle English word "trist," from which "tristful" is derived, means "sad." Today, we spell this word "triste" (echoing the spelling of a French ancestor), whereas "tristful" has continued to be spelled without the "e." Is there a connection between "triste" ("sad") and "tryst" ("a secret rendezvous of lovers")? Not exactly. "Tryst" can be traced back to a Middle English "trist," but it is a different word, one that was a synonym of "trust." This word eventually fell into disuse, but before doing so, it may have given rise to a word for a station used by hunters, which is in turn believed to have led to "tryst."

The waves of emotions...

By Vichara

Emotions and thoughts can be like large waves crashing in succession all around you. A wave of worry followed by a wave of remorse followed by a wave of obligation and concern. It never seems to stop, they gather strength from what is churning in our heads and perpetually keep rolling one after another after another until you feel that the storm never seems to stop. While it may seem that there is no way to stop these waves there may be ways to quell the intensity of them. After all, your mind is creating these waves so our mind should be able to control them, right?

Anyone wishing to know one type of methodology to quell these waves e-mail me ( and I will send simple instructions to you.

inoculate • \ih-NAHK-yuh-layt\ • verb

1 a : to introduce a microorganism into b : to introduce (as a microorganism) into a suitable situation for growth * c : to introduce immunologically active material (as an antibody or antigen) into especially in order to treat or prevent a disease

2 : to introduce something into the mind of

3 : to protect as if by inoculation

Example Sentence:

In 1796, the English physician Edward Jenner discovered that inoculating people with cowpox could provide immunity against smallpox.

Did you know?

If you think you see a connection between "inoculate" and "ocular" ("of or relating to the eye"), you are not mistaken -- both words look back to "oculus," the Latin word for "eye." But what does the eye have to do with inoculation? Our answer lies in the original use in English of "inoculate" in Middle English: "to insert a bud in a plant." Latin "oculus" was sometimes applied to things that were seen to resemble eyes, and one such thing was the bud of a plant. "Inoculate" was later applied to other forms of engrafting or implanting, including the introduction of vaccines as a preventative against disease.

Thanksgiving 2009...

By Vichara

What are you thankful for? This is the day we are to set aside to give thanks for what we have. To put aside the frenetic daily activities, stop and reflect with those around us of the gratitude we have for the things we have and can share. The family that has gathered physically and in our hearts and all the wonderful opportunities we have had and what will be. Whatever stories we have heard as children about Indians, pilgrims, the cold, the hardships and corn at the core of this day we put aside. This month is the transitions of the seasons. The rural celebration of having completed the harvesting of foodstuffs for the winter months and gathering our families and friends who toiled together with the collective harvest no being represented on the table. While for the most of us that type of lifestyle barely exists personally so try to take a moment away from the mutated gorging, excessive football watching, tryptophan coma afternoon to find one thing to be thankful of and one thing you could do to make things better for you and those around. Think about it like planting a “seed of potentiality” that could reap a harvest of blessings for you and those around you at this time next year.

scrumptious • \SKRUMP-shus\ • adjective

: delightful, excellent; especially : delicious

Example Sentence:

To celebrate their first Thanksgiving in their new home, Ilene and Paul prepared a scrumptious feast for 12 guests.

Did you know?

First appearing in English in 1830, "scrumptious" is a mouth-watering word that is used to describe what is delightful and delectable. It probably originated as an alteration of "sumptuous," and it carries the elegant and wonderful connotations of its parent. ("Sumptuous" derives via Middle English from the Latin verb "sumere," meaning "to take or spend.") British author Roald Dahl had some fun with “scrumptious,” and created a delightful coinage, when he inserted the infix “-diddly-” into the word to make “scrumdiddlyumptious,” the word that chocolate magnate Willy Wonka uses to name his best-selling treats in his novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964).