Sunday, June 7, 2015

Unique words

Recently, I came across a list of words in various languages that have no good one-word equivalent in other languages.  There weren't any examples from English, but I imagine that ours would be Kardashian.
Being a wordsmith--a guardian of the language, if you will--I feel it my duty and privilege to share my favorites.
Torschlusspanik: from German, it literally means "gate-closing panic." It's the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages, which evidently is a problem with some people. Or so I've read.
Wabi-sabi: from Japanese, it's the flip side of Torschlusspanik. It's a way of living that emphasizes finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycles of growth and decay. Well, OK then.
Hyggelig: from the land of my heritage, this Danish word translates as "good friends, cold beer, warm fire."
Aren't words wonderful?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day week

It's two days after Mother's Day and I'm still smiling.

On Sunday, my daughter Miranda and her boyfriend, Tony, treated me to brunch at Hash House a Go Go, one crazy Chicago restaurant. The conversation, rapport, the unusual menu (a BLT Bloody Mary?)--all gifts to this grateful mom. And later that day, my daughter Dana called me from California for a great chat.

Many are the gifts and challenges of motherhood, and I thank God for them all. (I can't honestly say I was real thankful in the midst of the challenges, but such is my perspective now.)

This week I'm also thankful for my mother, Ethelyn Heitman Rossen, who would have been 85 last Saturday. I cherish the 12 Mother's Days we shared as moms together.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The word for 2015

Last month--which I think of as, say, November--one of my favorite columnists in the Chicago Tribune encouraged readers to do a different take on New Year's resolutions. Mary Schmich passed along an idea from one of her readers to adopt a word for the year. And you have until January 31 to change your mind and pick a different word.

Being a wordsmith, I was naturally taken with the challenge.

My first idea was confidence, my supply of which I sometimes let get depleted. I also thought of cherish, loving and appreciating my family and friends (my husband, by the way, shows me every day that he cherishes me, and I'm so grateful).

I chose instead the word order, which has a remarkable number of definitions. Bringing order to cluttered parts of my home. Putting my affairs in order, not before imminent death but so that I can live better. Doing things in the proper order--at work, in building relationships, in setting priorities, in tackling projects. Being a more active and prayerful member of Daughters of the King, a lay order in the Episcopal Church.

A couple of weeks later, I participated in a workshop on basic presentation skills. We had the delightful experience of watching ourselves on video, and I could not believe how serious I came across. Yikes. It became a priority to remedy that during the balance of the workshop.

The next day, Ernie Banks died. He was my childhood--and now adulthood--idol. Mr. Cub was my favorite, with his positive outlook, delicate but strong grip on the baseball bat, and fancy footwork at first base. My dad and I would always sit in the section directly in line with first base because of him. He was sunshine on a warm summer's day at Wrigley Field.

So I changed my word for 2015. It is smile.