When life hands you lemons, toss them in the trash and eat cake

Holidays on Eggshells, Day 4

A Vocabulary Lesson

5:22 p.m. (December 23) — Again, in my childhood bedroom trying to ignore the crucifixes on the walls

I received this most excellent quote from my friend K, via text, as I was was watching “The Help” with my mom last night. The timing couldn’t have been more serendipitous: I was in the midst of trying to extend the proverbial olive branch by renting this movie for my mom’s enjoyment. I think the branch worked, at least for the 2-hour-long movie, during which we didn’t talk. It was nice, but not quite paradise.

Paradise is exactly like where you are right now, only much, much better.
Laurie Anderson

Ms. Anderson got my insomniac self thinking at 3 a.m. this morning about the definition of things, and how definitions are defined by each individual’s perspective. For instance, the official definition of paradise is:

1. a : eden; 2 b : an intermediate place or state where the souls of the righteous await resurrection and the final judgment;
c : heaven

2: a place or state of bliss, felicity, or delight

I like Laurie’s definition better. Take note Merriam-Webster.

I also realized I’ve picked up a few “new” definitions after spending the last 3 days in my childhood home. For your reading pleasure, I’ve compiled the following dictionary:

Animal Worship

  • Merriam-Webster’s Definition: N/A
  • Anna’s Definition: Probably how I treat my dog and cat; bite me, Mavis
  • Mavis’ Definition Following a News Segment Involving the Rescue of a Kitten from a Tree*: the horror of what our world is coming to; animals are treated more importantly than human life and they make top news, while abortion is still legal**

NOTE FROM AUTHOR: *The kitten climbed up the tree after her owners’ house was burned to the ground (with Xmas gifts inside) and the kitten was all they had left from the ashes. **No mention that nearly half of this country’s population is living in low-income bracket or at/below poverty line (although some media outlets are reporting that it’s closer to 1/3 of the population, which is still utterly disturbing) or that currently 1.4 million children are homeless in the United States. (source: U.S. Census Bureau)


  • Merriam-Webster’s Definition: used or tending to relieve or prevent psychic depression
  • Anna’s Definition: medication that’s vastly improving the quality of my life right now, along with talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Mavis’ Definition: a crutch


  • Merriam-Webster’s Definition: low in spirits, sad; affected by psychological depression
  • Anna’s Definition: illness (like diabetes and heart disease) caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, often triggered (for me at least) by traumatic life events/environmental factors
  • Mavis’ Definition: (1) an excuse to use the crutch of anti-depressants mentioned above; (2) an “emotion” that one can just “snap out of” by being grateful for what one has and/or by praying to God


  • Merriam-Webster’s Definition: a (1) refusal to admit the truth or reality (as of a statement or charge); (2) a: assertion that an allegation is false; (2) b: refusal to acknowledge a person or a thing
  • Anna’s Definition: the sun around which my family orbits
  • Dick and Mavis’ Definition: a river in Egypt


FOX News Channel

  • Wikipedia’s Definition: cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Fox cable
  • Anna’s Definition: comedy channel that I watch when I’m feeling low and need a hearty chuckle
  • Dick’s Definition: news channel that must be watched to appease Mavis
  • Mavis’ Definition: (1) news channel that is watched with wide-eyed delight from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. every night, at 1 gazillion decibels; (2) bastion of fair and balanced reporting


  • Merriam-Webster’s Definition: feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy
  • Anna: an island that sits in the middle of the Denial River
  • Dick and Mavis’ Definition: a tool to be utilized liberally to make adult children feel like shit when they don’t think like their parents or do as said parents command them to do (e.g., Christmas Eve at SIL’s house)


  • Merriam-Webster’s Definition: (1) of, relating to, or involving judgment; (2) characterized by a tendency to judge harshly
  • Anna’s Definition: Mavis
  • Mavis’ Definition: a mother’s attitude every time her overweight daughter puts food in her mouth


  • Merriam-Webster’s Definition: an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome
  • Anna’s Definition: what I feel as I approach 2012, which will be a new and wonderful beginning for me
  • Dick’s Definition: always, always expect the very worst, that way you won’t be disappointed if things turn out better

Unconditional Love

  • Wikipedia’s Definition: to love someone regardless of the loved one’s qualities or actions; the paradigm of unconditional love is a mother’s love for her newborn
  • Anna’s Definition: Unconditional love? What’s that?
  • Mavis’ Definition: What a mother withholds from an adult child if she doesn’t agree with the mother’s ultra-conservative views or follow her Godly advice 100% of the time


  • Merriam-Webster’s Definition: a respite or a time of respite from something; intermission
  • Anna’s Definition: (1) a trip to Ireland in the Spring; (2) the antithesis of spending a week at home in Florida
  • Mavis’ Definition: daughter’s trip to a monastery to pray with the monks

There might be a vocabulary pop quiz tomorrow, so study hard!


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