Friday, April 18, 2014

You Want Me to Be What?

Neither Jeffe nor I can recall what it was we were grinning at in this photo. That it was the FF&P costume party in NYC - that we remember. Jeffe came as Catwoman, while I was cleverly disguised as a responsible adult. Hey. I wore a damn dress. That's a major disguise for me.

Sad to say it, but the other disguise is me grinning. I very nearly slunk away into the shadows this week. Ebullience is as difficult for me as 'decrepit' followed closely by 'disease' was for some of my fellow Word Whores. Run of the mill happy? No problem. Brief, heady rushes of elation and joy? Yep. But in general, no one's going to apply the words 'effervescent' or 'bubbly' to my personality. My mother used to describe me as a kid by saying I was five going on ninety. Serious streak. I have one. It appears to be more than a mile wide.

However. There have been rare, very rare, occasions wherein the feels DO bubble up and it's possible I approach ebullient. Every single time, it has been in the company of friends. Like this gentleman. Ebullient because that's a Pangalactic Gargleblaster in his hand and it's his fifth (and last) drink of the night. A bunch of us were celebrating. He was the guest of honor. It was a hell of a party. *I* remember because I can't drink alcohol - and what I remember is laughing so hard that night I nearly peed my pants. Does that qualify for ebullient?

Thursday, April 17, 2014


by Allison Pang

I used to ride a horse named Ebullience - she was a gold color, not quite palomino, but a shaggy, good-natured thing, nonetheless. Not that I've ridden in quite a while, but I did take lessons from about age 7 to 12 - that included dressage and show jumping and various horse camps. At one point we nearly moved to the countryside and my parents were strongly considering buying me a horse of my own.

Not entirely sure what happened there because that line of thought eventually dried up and then I moved away from riding and that was that.

But Lucy is 7 now and the horse bug has bitten her fairly bad. (It's almost a trope really - little girls and their ponies/unicorns/pegasi.) And I was going to get her some lessons, but I didn't want to do it in the winter. Barns can be cold and I didn't want her to decide she didn't like riding simply because of the weather. (Her decision either way, of course - but I wanted her to get the experience without too many extraneous issues.)

So I put it off until this week - we're up in Vermont (part of this week has actually been spent with my friend Danielle is a writing retreat, nestled away in an old farm house with broadband and gourmet 4 course meals, yo. Bliss.) But my uncle owns a horse farm and it's where I spent a fair amount of my riding time, so it only made sense to give Lucy a chance to see what it was like in this place.

And she loved it. 

Loved it so that she's been begging to go back to the barn every day since then. (And yes, we are going back tomorrow - have to fit it in around the barn's schedule.) I suspect there will be lessons as home, as soon as I can find a place locally. 

I don't know how long it will last - but as ebullience goes, I'll take it. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why does pasta induce ebullience?

Ebullient. It might mean ‘excited, overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement” but it also means “bubbling up like a boiling liquid.” Or...boiling over.

My first thought runs to the kitchen. Why does pasta boil over?

Just a little science to explain:

According to

Heat and proteins are the cause of water boiling over when cooking pasta and other starchy foods, such as potatoes. Organic materials in the pasta in the form of proteins and starches are released into the water, increasing its surface tension and making the surface bubbles stretchy and pliable. This increases the amount of time it takes for a bubble to burst.

As the water boils, foam starts to form on the surface, where the bubbles stack under more bubbles that take too long to burst (soap makes suds in a similar way).This is known as a “foaming boil”, and eventually the stack of foaming bubbles rise and overflow.

Now you know.

How to stop it?

How can you avoid this happening? Well if you add oil to the water, tiny oil droplets are formed with a different surface tension to the bubbles, causing them to pop when they encounter each other. 

Now you know that too.

It's not literary. It's not bookish. For this word, though, it's what I've got. :) Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy: It's Ebullient Week!

Blame it on the Blood Moon, but all I can think of regarding Jeffe's beloved word "Ebullient" is...

 Ren & Stimpy: Happy, Happy; Joy, Joy.

You're welcome.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Ebullience is an interesting word. Until this article it has never to the best of my knowledge, been a word typed, written down or spoken by me.

And while it shouldn't, the word immediately makes my mind leap to the word Ebola, which is, of course a very radically different sort of word that involved bleeding from every orifice, skin that softens and splits and, of course, a slow, miserable death.

See? This is why I can never have nice things.

I'm just too freaking morbid.

Perhaps I will have better luck with next week's word.

Time will tell.

In the meantime the closest I have been to Ebullience of late is either while I was watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier, or when I was flirting with the really cute girl and work. Probably the latter because yes, I AM a geek, but I am also a heterosexual male and she was darned cute.

But that's a story for another time.

Keep smiling,


PS. here's a picture from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, because I don't have any pictures of the cute girl.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Feel the Ebullience!

Ebullient is totally one of my words. I know it without looking because I put in on my list of good words when I first made one, at around 12.

It means all sorts of lovely things: bubbling, effervescent (which is next week's word - also mine, also went on that adolescent list. detect a pattern here?), boiling over, overflowing with enthusiasm, high spirits, showing much exuberance or exhilaration.

I don't think I need to explain why I like it.

It's also apropos of this mid-April Sunday morning here in Santa Fe. The weather is warming and the desert is springing into green life. A wren has a nest outside my office window and she sings the loveliest trilling song. Yesterday I bought hanging baskets of flowers and their bright colors bring out the blue in the sky.

I associate "ebullient" with that adolescent time of life, too, when I felt full of high spirits and the world held infinite possibilities. On my best days, I reconnect with that, with that sensation of burgeoning sexuality and creativity. Like the flowers, I blossom in the sunshine, showing off my best and brightest colors.

Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spooky Urban Legend about Disease "But Madam You Arrived Alone"

First of all, I'm not really in the mood to talk about disease (the word of the week) as my brother has been in the hospital for a week, extremely ill with a drug resistant bacteria. So the topic hits too close to home for me right now.

BUT, I'm a loyal  Word Whore and while researching something else, I remembered a spooky urban legend about disease. There are many variations of the tale and I urge you to go visit the Snopes website to read the full discussion. (It wasn't a Twilight Zone episode to my knowledge but it could sure have been...)

The way I remember hearing it, a young English woman is traveling abroad with her mother in 1889. They go to Paris for the Great Exposition (or they're in Paris accidentally at that time) so there aren't many hotel rooms available. The girl and her mother end up in separate rooms, and the mother's is really lovely, with special floral wall paper and a beautiful rug, etc. In other words, memorable. Later in the day, the mother is taken quite ill. The daughter summons the hotel manager and a local physician to her bedside. They confer and the doctor sends the girl across town to fetch a specific medicine from his private stock, at his home office.

The hotel provides a driver and a horse-drawn cab for her trip, but the driver seems to get lost and the drive takes hours. Then the doctor's wife tries to detain the girl further, offering her tea, etc. Getting back to the hotel takes more time. Our heroine rushes to her mother's room...only to find the room occupied by someone else. No trace of the mother or her luggage.

Naturally hysterical, the girl summons the hotel manager, who (depending on the version of the tale) either says she arrived alone or insists she herself was never a guest at the hotel. The hotel doctor likewise disclaims all knowledge of ever meeting her.

No one remembers the mother. The other guest swears the room in question has been his for several days. When they finally allow her into the room for a moment, the girl is horrified to see totally different wall paper, carpet and furnishings. She thinks she might smell fresh paint but they hustle her out. In some versions she goes to the British Embassy for help but what can they do when everyone denies ever seeing her mother?

The payoff seems to be that the mother had some exotic disease, maybe smallpox or the plague - some versions of the story say that the pair had been traveling extensively - and her death was hushed completely up to avoid ruining the Great Exposition.

In most versions of the story, the girl ends up in an insane asylum until she dies of old age.

OK, so I get it, urban legend. BUT, I do wonder what kernel of truth this story might be built around, don't you?  Cue the "Twilight Zone" theme song and my work is done here...