Category Archives: Words I Love

Words I Love #7


Slothful.  What a great word.  It’s such a mouthful, and sort of swirls around in there, the air and your tongue and teeth falling all over each other.  Sunday mornings are made for being slothful, getting all tangled in your sheets because you just can’t seem to make the giant move out of your bed.  Kids when sick are inherently slothful.  Unless, of course, they are hurling.  Which is a lovely word choice when you don’t want to say vomit.

But I digress.

Very few times in your life do you get the chance to meet the inspiration behind a word. While in Panama recently, I met this little childish-looking creature.  It was a baby sloth, unceremoniously snatched out of a tree by our intrepid tour guide.  He had parked the boat, taken off his shoes, and only armed with a small machete, had taken off into the mangroves.  “If I don’t return in an hour, see if you can find your way back to the hotel.”

This of course was a joke in more than one way.

He returned close to an hour later with his treasure behind his back.  We got to see just how slothful a sloth is, when our guide returned him/her to a lower mangrove branch. For an animal who comes down out of a tree only once every seven days to poop, I would have expected the flee impulse to be quite strong after what must have been a kind of harrowing half-hour.  But true to sloth-y form, he/she moved in slow-motion, one 3-toed foot/arm at a time.  In no hurry whatsoever.


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Words I Love: #6

Lamprocapnos spectabilis, known as the Bleeding Heart flower

I don’t really fancy labels.  I’m not speaking of the paper kind, but of the kind we affix to each other.  I don’t much like them because they have a tendency to be overly general.  Yes, we can be crazy one day, but then so grounded the next. Conservative when it comes to running around naked, but liberal when it comes to eating chocolate.  Labels are often so sweeping, they ruthlessly gather up people who might not really deserve them.  And then they keep us from really understanding each other.

Let’s consider the label cancer “survivor.”  What bugs me is the implied message that those who don’t get the label, those who have succumbed to the disease, didn’t triumph. Perhaps didn’t try hard enough.  There’s also something in there for me about a race that never ends, which happens to be true but I don’t really want to be reminded of it, thanks.

Cancer “thriver” is also now bandied about.  (And how is that for a great word?  Bandied.  So light and flirty and easy to pass around, which happens to be what it means.)  Thriver is better, because it doesn’t have any of the end-game feeling about it, but it seems weird to be affixing the concept of thriving next to a word that is so ugly and sapping.

So because as of late I’m being asked to provide short, pithy titles for myself, I’d like to share what label I will be using.

Aficionado.  Oooh, so foreign sounding.  And flamboyant.  Lots of great vowels involved.  It’s also close to impossible to spell correctly the first time, which makes it feel a skosh more important.  I am knowledgeable (another component of being an aficionado) about breast cancer.  Usually an aficionado is also enthusiastic.  While I’m not enthusiastic about having had breast cancer, or that breast cancer exists in the world, I am enthusiastic about my involvement with the cancer community and how my work is helping others.

Over and out.

Sue Glader. Breast cancer aficionado.


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Words I Love: #5

This week it shall be words of gluttony, in homage to the recent holidays and the damage done to waistlines across America.

To wit, the word glop.  It just sits up there, all jello-y and slightly wiggling.  A glop of mashed potatoes is what everyone gets at the Glader house, because a spoonful just doesn’t convey the message.  And honestly, it’s more like 4 spoonfuls.  Which is equal to one glop, if you must know.

Sop is a cousin of glop.  Sop comes in and cleans up the mess that glop leaves.  Damn glop, can’t take him anywhere …  Sop is often found near a thick slice of bread, or, actually more precisely, sop is IN the slice of bread, because sop is what you do with your bread and that last drizzle of gravy smooshed all over your plate.  When I think of the word sop, I see glistening lips and hear lots of slurping sounds.

Now, we all need to make way for plop, who is the superstar of the family, forever known for her role in the Alka Seltzer commercial.  Ah, the days when advertising copywriters would use words that evoke sound!  Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, OH!  What a relief it is!   The “p” on the end of plop sounds like a beautiful bubble bursting, and it’s so fitting.  When you plop a few ice cubes into your cocktail, there is a satisfying tiny splash.

Then you can do some gulping, which certainly isn’t recommended if you are drinking my husband’s margaritas.  But gulp is so lusty and big.  There is bravado in gulp.

And I bet you have never realized that gulp spelled backwards is another fantastic word?  Plug.  Plug is not a word of gluttony.  It’s a word of control.  Which is what you need to do here in the new year to fit back into your jeans.

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What Pablo Neruda Said

People say things all the time.  Others write a whole hell of a lot of words.  Pablo Neruda, the poet, loves words as much as I do.  Probably more, I’d reckon.  From his Memoir, the last sentence has stayed with me since the moment I read it close to 20 years ago.

Savor this morsel:

“You can say anything you want, yessir, but it’s the words that sing, they soar and descend … I bow to them … I love them, I cling to them, I fun them down, I bite into them, I melt them down … I love words so much … The unexpected ones … The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop … Vowels I love … They glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish, they are foam, thread, metal, dew … I run after certain words … They are so beautiful that I want to fit them all into my poem. … I catch them in mid-flight, as they buzz past, I trap them, clean them, peel them, I set myself in front of the dish, they have a crystalline texture to me, vibrant, ivory, vegetable, oily, like fruit, like algae, like agates, like olives… And then I stir them, I shake them, I drink them, I gulp them down, I mash them, I garnish them, I let them go … I leave them in my poem like stalactites, like slivers of polished wood, like coals, pickings from a shipwreck, gifts from the waves … Everything exists in the word …  An idea goes through a compete change because one word shifted its place, or because another settled down like a spoiled little thing inside a phrase that was not expected her but obeys her.”


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Words I Love: Fourth in a Series

Wobble.  It’s what happens when you attempt to move too quickly laterally with luggage on wheels stuffed to the brim with children’s books.  Similar woobles happen to skateboarders when they hit a certain velocity whilst traveling downhill.   Thankfully this wonderful word is not just used to describe a physical sensation, but a state of mind sometimes.  Like when you have to talk about something hard, you feel wobbly about the conversation.  To tell you the truth, this words sounds mildly Elizabethan to me.  The Forest of Wobble.

The opposite of wobble seems to be slit.  This is a word that doesn’t fool around.  It does what it needs to do.  Quickly.  It’s red hot and sizzles with intensity.  When a newscaster describes a throat being slit (or more likely on some CSI re-run), my stomach always does a little turn.

For those brutes who go can’t for for something as subtle and cloaked as slit, why not pull out a wad of clobber?  Thump someone real good with clobber.  It’s big and bumbling, and very WWF.  Oh, and effective.

Clobber someone today with a really really great idea.  I dare you!


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Words I Love: Third in a Series

Ogle.  Now there’s a great word.  With everyone now knowing how to pronounce Google, you might think that ogle is pronounced as if you simply chopped off the first bit of Google.  But, alas, it is not.  It sounds like “hog”.  Ogle is a strange looking word, as if it should be about something ugly or weird.  It does have a kind of Jekyl and Mr. Hyde nature, in that you can ogle someone in a nice way (flirtatiously) or in a super creepy stalker way (think that dead eye stare that fighters give one another when they are sizing each other up before the match.)  Either way, I love it.

My other word I love that I used a lot this weekend is goggle.  It sounds just like what it is.  Funny looking and mildly Germanic (in both the tone and how the item is highly functional).

Which brings me to agog, the love child of oogle and goggle.  To be agog means you are in a “state of eager desire.”  Oooh, yummy.   Sort of half off your rocker with excitement being curious about something.  It’s a good one, folks.

Be agog today.


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Words I Love: Second in a Series

Glob is a great word.  It sounds like what it is.  And there is something very special about words that do that.   You really can’t say “glob” quickly.  I mean, you can of course, but it sounds forced.

Glob needs to take its time coming out of your mouth.  It slows you down.  It’s brilliant.

Blob is right next to glob in my book.  Although for some reason, possibly because people use it more, glob seems cooler.  Blob did get its own movie, however, and not very words can say that.

What about tubby?  Now that’s a nice word.  Kinda like plump.  Instead of calling something fat, which seems so biting and angry, try tubby.  It’s pleasant.  Like a cartoon character.

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