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Four Diary Entries

Barb Chamberlain is the Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Washington State University in Spokane. She was also the youngest Representative and (later) Senator elected to the Idaho State Legislature–which I didn’t know until she tagged me in a post she wrote on her blog: Five things you don’t know about me. But I’m glad I know now.

In blog-speak, being “tagged” means that Barb challenged me to reveal five little-known things about myself, as well. I’ve done that before, with a giant dollop of discomfort. But since I’m a soft touch for people I like, I’m complying here. Well, sort of. Instead of giving you more little-known facts about me, I randomly opened my diary and transcribed a few entries.

April 23, 2008

Strapped into a seat, tended to by uniformed attendants, I can’t help but compare airline travel to a stay in a nursing home. In coach travel, that’s a vaguely depressing thing: It’s like quarantine in a cramped institution with inadequate funding. But here, in First Class, it makes me look forward to growing oldĀ  more than I already do.

The Serbian flight attendant assigned to the handful of us here looks blocky and sturdy, like she is carved with a chainsaw out of a tree trunk. She seems formidable, yet kind. When she bends to whisper to me, her voice is soft as butter on warm toast. “Would you like a blanket?” she coos in my ear, in a tone that suggests she is used to cajoling folks to finish what’s on their plates. I nod, and she lifts a burly forearm to drape the blanket gently over my lap.

A little while later, she wheels the food cart down the wide aisle as easily as a doll carriage. When I ask for tea, she offers me a china cup and saucer, and a real metal spoon.

This might be just a morning flight to LA. But sitting upright and fixed, surrounded by the softly muted clinks of china and attended to by someone with strong and capable forearms, I think that First Class comes pretty close to the dining hall at a better-funded facility. I fill my lungs with the stale, too-warm air, lean back, and drift off.

August 29, 2008

We had a fly problem at our house in Maine, so we hung two fly strips from the kitchen ceiling, six to eight feet apart. In a few days, the strip on the left was coated thick with shiny black fly bodies. Curiously, the strip on the right attracted only a few, and on it one fly–writhing–seemed to be signaling frantically for rescue.

“That’s the kind of party I’d be invited to,” said a teenage houseguest, Ian, gesturing toward the strip on the right, as he sat at the table eating a bowl of cereal.

“I never get invited to the really good parties,” Ian said, “and I get stuck at the loser parties where only a few people show, so it’s really tough to leave.”

September 14, 2008

Overheard in a doctor’s waiting room, a conversation between two middle-aged nurses who chatted companionably while they pushed papers back and forth and paused to answer the ringing phone.

Nurse 1: “Where did you go on vacation?”
Nurse 2: “The USA Motel.”
Nurse 1: “On Route 1?”
Nurse 2: “Yeah, that’s it. You know the one–next to the pancake house…?”
Nurse 1: “Ah… right. That place always looks so… clean.”

September 28, 2008

Additions to the running list of words I hate:
beige, slacks, pregnant, paradigm, orientated, workshop (used as a verb), panties, guesstimate, blouse, soil, and corps (in part because I can’t say it without wondering what to do with the “p” and the “s”)

* * *

And now, I’m calling on…

Laura P. Thomas
Steve Woodruff
Karen Swim
Joel Libava
Shelley Ryan

Total Annarchy

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77 Responses to Four Diary Entries

  1. Gwen Darling says:

    So relieved you have a list of words to hate, too. I guess word misery loves company. . .

    At the top of my list: nipple (not the body part, just the way it sounds when it trips out of your mouth), precious (no explanation needed), and frothy (just…yucky). Oh, and ………. phlegm. I can barely even type that one…

  2. Gwen Darling says:

    So relieved you have a list of words to hate, too. I guess word misery loves company. . .

    At the top of my list: nipple (not the body part, just the way it sounds when it trips out of your mouth), precious (no explanation needed), and frothy (just…yucky). Oh, and ………. phlegm. I can barely even type that one…

  3. Shannon Paul says:

    I hate the word ointment. It gives me the shivers. That is all — I’m supposed to be working right now. : )

  4. Shannon Paul says:

    I hate the word ointment. It gives me the shivers. That is all — I’m supposed to be working right now. : )

  5. Karen Swim says:

    ROFL! I’ll play! Your journal entries are much more coherent and eloquent than mine. I loved reading this and the fly story aw got me right here, it would make a great scene in a book. I hate orientated and yes I know it’s a word in the UK but ugh, it ranks right up there with my strong dislike to Times New Roman font. This will be fun!

  6. Karen Swim says:

    ROFL! I’ll play! Your journal entries are much more coherent and eloquent than mine. I loved reading this and the fly story aw got me right here, it would make a great scene in a book. I hate orientated and yes I know it’s a word in the UK but ugh, it ranks right up there with my strong dislike to Times New Roman font. This will be fun!

  7. Burbanked says:

    I’m always confused over “oriented” and “orientated”. People seem to very often say that they’re “disorientated” when I think they should be saying “disoriented”.

    I also giggle to myself whenever someone says that they’re going to add more detail and “flush this out” rather than “flesh this out”. They’re both dopey sayings, but they certainly don’t mean the same thing.

    And I have a hard time wrapping my mouth around the word “hemorrhaging”.

  8. Burbanked says:

    I’m always confused over “oriented” and “orientated”. People seem to very often say that they’re “disorientated” when I think they should be saying “disoriented”.

    I also giggle to myself whenever someone says that they’re going to add more detail and “flush this out” rather than “flesh this out”. They’re both dopey sayings, but they certainly don’t mean the same thing.

    And I have a hard time wrapping my mouth around the word “hemorrhaging”.

  9. This is so amazingly good. You’ve set the bar at a novelistic level for diary entries, that’s for sure! (and I haven’t written in mine for a while either, so now it will be really hard to start up :D)

    That fly strip story–wow. Thank you for sharing these.

    I’ll have to start writing down the words that drive me crazy so I don’t forget them. I know I don’t like: eczema, pox, wart, hooters (had a skin condition theme going for a second there).

    I’m another one driven crazy by use of “orientated,” which to me is an unnecessary backformation from “orientation.” In a similar vein, “administrate” used as a verb! An unnecessary and fairly abominable backformation.

    Now I’m off to read the blogs you tagged. What a fun chase.

    @BarbChamberlain

  10. This is so amazingly good. You’ve set the bar at a novelistic level for diary entries, that’s for sure! (and I haven’t written in mine for a while either, so now it will be really hard to start up :D)

    That fly strip story–wow. Thank you for sharing these.

    I’ll have to start writing down the words that drive me crazy so I don’t forget them. I know I don’t like: eczema, pox, wart, hooters (had a skin condition theme going for a second there).

    I’m another one driven crazy by use of “orientated,” which to me is an unnecessary backformation from “orientation.” In a similar vein, “administrate” used as a verb! An unnecessary and fairly abominable backformation.

    Now I’m off to read the blogs you tagged. What a fun chase.

    @BarbChamberlain

  11. Ann, you big showoff.

    My journal entries are usually something like this:

    “Ate like a giant oinker today. Lord I feel bloated. INSERT NAME is just BUGGING me again. His laugh is like a million fingernails down a very large chalkboard. He thinks he is so great – the big climber. I accidently spiked his coffee with a little Visene this morning and got 2 hours of quiet. Who’s laughin’ now, chump!? Lord, please forgive me for my sin and evilness, and help me get unstuck in my life.”

    Okay – maybe my journal is not as novelistic as that… ;-)

    As I mentioned, I hate it when people “AXE ” me questions, spell your “YOU’RE” and pronounce “ITalian” as “EYEtalian”.

    And don’t get me started on ORIENTATED. WAAAHHHH.

    XO ANNIE!

  12. Ann, you big showoff.

    My journal entries are usually something like this:

    “Ate like a giant oinker today. Lord I feel bloated. INSERT NAME is just BUGGING me again. His laugh is like a million fingernails down a very large chalkboard. He thinks he is so great – the big climber. I accidently spiked his coffee with a little Visene this morning and got 2 hours of quiet. Who’s laughin’ now, chump!? Lord, please forgive me for my sin and evilness, and help me get unstuck in my life.”

    Okay – maybe my journal is not as novelistic as that… ;-)

    As I mentioned, I hate it when people “AXE ” me questions, spell your “YOU’RE” and pronounce “ITalian” as “EYEtalian”.

    And don’t get me started on ORIENTATED. WAAAHHHH.

    XO ANNIE!

  13. (PS) My journal entry said (insert name) is just bugging me right now…. But I used HTML carrots and it got hidden.

  14. (PS) My journal entry said (insert name) is just bugging me right now…. But I used HTML carrots and it got hidden.

  15. I thought I was the only one who knew about the USA Motel on Route 1. So much for that undiscovered gem.

  16. I thought I was the only one who knew about the USA Motel on Route 1. So much for that undiscovered gem.

  17. Ann,
    Thanx. { I Think]
    So, I am assuming that you want me to write a post on “Five Things You Don’t Know About Me?”
    Great.
    You are soooo sneaky.
    JL

  18. Joel Libava says:

    Ann,
    Thanx. { I Think]
    So, I am assuming that you want me to write a post on “Five Things You Don’t Know About Me?”
    Great.
    You are soooo sneaky.
    JL

  19. Ann Handley says:

    Phlegm. Ointment. Axe. EYEtalian…. More words to add.. ! Thanks, all. I added another phrase last night, which I loathe/love: “swim trunks.”

    @leigh – Can I read your diary?

  20. Ann Handley says:

    Phlegm. Ointment. Axe. EYEtalian…. More words to add.. ! Thanks, all. I added another phrase last night, which I loathe/love: “swim trunks.”

    @leigh – Can I read your diary?

  21. My favorite word to hate is “presently.” People think it means “now,” but historically it meant “soon.” Solution: Never use “presently” under any circumstances.

  22. My favorite word to hate is “presently.” People think it means “now,” but historically it meant “soon.” Solution: Never use “presently” under any circumstances.

  23. It’s great to see this, as I’ve always been an English fanatic and have a bunch of “cringe words” myself:

    - “orientated” is definitely one!
    - “irregardless” — totally redundant, and makes me think the person using it is pompous and trying to make themselves sound more important
    - “NUCULAR” instead of nuclear — I get NUTS watching GW when he talks about nuclear arms, because that’s the way he says it. (BTW, I noticed that Sarah Pallin says it, too… could it be a Republican thing???)
    - “myself” when it’s used incorrectly in place of me or I. That’s another thing that to me makes a person sound like they’re trying to be pompous and self important
    - “Norfork” for the city Norfolk in VA (where all the military bases are) — I had to endure that suffrage more often than you’d think when my husband was stationed there 12-14 years ago!
    - The addition of “and what not” on the end of a sentence.

    I could go on, but I can’t think of any more off the top of my head…

  24. It’s great to see this, as I’ve always been an English fanatic and have a bunch of “cringe words” myself:

    - “orientated” is definitely one!
    - “irregardless” — totally redundant, and makes me think the person using it is pompous and trying to make themselves sound more important
    - “NUCULAR” instead of nuclear — I get NUTS watching GW when he talks about nuclear arms, because that’s the way he says it. (BTW, I noticed that Sarah Pallin says it, too… could it be a Republican thing???)
    - “myself” when it’s used incorrectly in place of me or I. That’s another thing that to me makes a person sound like they’re trying to be pompous and self important
    - “Norfork” for the city Norfolk in VA (where all the military bases are) — I had to endure that suffrage more often than you’d think when my husband was stationed there 12-14 years ago!
    - The addition of “and what not” on the end of a sentence.

    I could go on, but I can’t think of any more off the top of my head…

  25. Love it! I’m serving up a few more words/phrases to dislike: wheels up, facilitate, committed to ____, utilize, Five Day Weather Alert Forecast, save 50% off, passion, Tom Brady.

  26. This post gave me a GREAT idea: airborne nursing homes, like giant sky ships!

    Whenever I start thinking about words I hate, I get worried. What if words start to hate us back?

  27. Love it! I’m serving up a few more words/phrases to dislike: wheels up, facilitate, committed to ____, utilize, Five Day Weather Alert Forecast, save 50% off, passion, Tom Brady.

  28. This post gave me a GREAT idea: airborne nursing homes, like giant sky ships!

    Whenever I start thinking about words I hate, I get worried. What if words start to hate us back?

  29. Annie Too says:

    The word I cannot stand is “ping”….. seems here at work we don’t call people or email them, we ping them.
    One other thing that truly bugged me here at work is… there is a sign attached to a cart that says “for use of this cart, please contact the “insert acronym here” administers.” Thank you Barb for reminding me I don’t like that word either.

  30. Annie Too says:

    The word I cannot stand is “ping”….. seems here at work we don’t call people or email them, we ping them.
    One other thing that truly bugged me here at work is… there is a sign attached to a cart that says “for use of this cart, please contact the “insert acronym here” administers.” Thank you Barb for reminding me I don’t like that word either.

  31. Paul Chaney says:

    So, the entomology social anthropologist (:->) in me wants to know why all the flies congregated on one piece of fly paper and not the other? Are flies social in that respect? Was that one fly(or the few) a renegade, or social outcast? Maybe it had bad eyesight or something. :)

  32. Paul Chaney says:

    So, the entomology social anthropologist (:->) in me wants to know why all the flies congregated on one piece of fly paper and not the other? Are flies social in that respect? Was that one fly(or the few) a renegade, or social outcast? Maybe it had bad eyesight or something. :)

  33. Bdot says:

    a word….or is it sentence?…… I HATE is whatever….

    @ Leigh: As my departed Aunt Grace said about her trip…when we were in ITaly, we had some excellent EYEtalian food……still cracks me up when I hear either.

  34. Bdot says:

    a word….or is it sentence?…… I HATE is whatever….

    @ Leigh: As my departed Aunt Grace said about her trip…when we were in ITaly, we had some excellent EYEtalian food……still cracks me up when I hear either.

  35. Dana Ironside says:

    Ann! What can I say? I’m even more impressed with you now that your darn reading journal is as eloquent as your blog posts. I’m truly amazed that your brain can think like this when you are writing journal entries! Clearly, this is a serious talent. Get on writing that book already! Enough with the excuses like NO TIME. Yea Yea Yea.

    PS. I never thought to literally hate words. I think I’m going to have to start trying now. It’s clearly an issue for so many of you!

  36. Dana Ironside says:

    Ann! What can I say? I’m even more impressed with you now that your darn reading journal is as eloquent as your blog posts. I’m truly amazed that your brain can think like this when you are writing journal entries! Clearly, this is a serious talent. Get on writing that book already! Enough with the excuses like NO TIME. Yea Yea Yea.

    PS. I never thought to literally hate words. I think I’m going to have to start trying now. It’s clearly an issue for so many of you!

  37. I hate you for your writing skills. Now that that’s over…words I hate.

    Orientated. Any noun that’s made into a verb. Synergy (or it’s evil plural twin). Moist. Vagina. (Look, the boys have hundreds of great euphemisms and all of ours have to do with animals. WTF?).

    And I hate comma splices. And the best way to learn how to do them, is to read lots of shitty blogs. :)

  38. I hate you for your writing skills. Now that that’s over…words I hate.

    Orientated. Any noun that’s made into a verb. Synergy (or it’s evil plural twin). Moist. Vagina. (Look, the boys have hundreds of great euphemisms and all of ours have to do with animals. WTF?).

    And I hate comma splices. And the best way to learn how to do them, is to read lots of shitty blogs. :)

  39. Sonny Gill says:

    With your hatred for the word ‘panties’, would you be ok with ‘boy shorts’?

  40. Sonny Gill says:

    With your hatred for the word ‘panties’, would you be ok with ‘boy shorts’?

  41. Angela, it’s not just a Republican thing. President Carter, who trained as a nuclear engineer in the Navy, also went nucular.

  42. Angela, it’s not just a Republican thing. President Carter, who trained as a nuclear engineer in the Navy, also went nucular.

  43. Leigh Durst says:

    This is frigging HILAROUS. I just wiped mascara RIGHT into my eye.

    Annie- you can read my diary but afterward, I will have to kill you. I don’t think the readers would approve, my dear.

    BDot – I lived in Italy with some Texas family many moons ago. We went to a Baptist (YES) Preacher church in Piazza Navona led by a Pastor from the VERY DEEEEEEP SOUTH (Worse than Deputy Dog) who spoke EXACTLY like that. That poor man just BUTCHERED that beautiful EYETalian language. His redemption was that he was an unmistakably beautiful, sweet and kind man. You brought me back a decade. (or so) LOL.

    Sonny – How about “MANTIES” ! :-D

  44. Leigh Durst says:

    This is frigging HILAROUS. I just wiped mascara RIGHT into my eye.

    Annie- you can read my diary but afterward, I will have to kill you. I don’t think the readers would approve, my dear.

    BDot – I lived in Italy with some Texas family many moons ago. We went to a Baptist (YES) Preacher church in Piazza Navona led by a Pastor from the VERY DEEEEEEP SOUTH (Worse than Deputy Dog) who spoke EXACTLY like that. That poor man just BUTCHERED that beautiful EYETalian language. His redemption was that he was an unmistakably beautiful, sweet and kind man. You brought me back a decade. (or so) LOL.

    Sonny – How about “MANTIES” ! :-D

  45. Julie Roads says:

    I also can’t stand ‘slacks’ – the entry with the teen quote is so priceless. I just got tagged myself – but I’ve been putting it off – thanks for the inspiration.

  46. Julie Roads says:

    I also can’t stand ‘slacks’ – the entry with the teen quote is so priceless. I just got tagged myself – but I’ve been putting it off – thanks for the inspiration.

  47. Ann Handley says:

    I kinda like manties. But only when eating EYEtalian food in Norfork… well, wheels up! I’ll ping you from It-lee presently (while I’m wearing beige slacks and what not), to give you the 5-Day Forecast, via Tom Brady, irrespective of the fact that you won’t go all nucular on me…..

  48. Ann Handley says:

    I kinda like manties. But only when eating EYEtalian food in Norfork… well, wheels up! I’ll ping you from It-lee presently (while I’m wearing beige slacks and what not), to give you the 5-Day Forecast, via Tom Brady, irrespective of the fact that you won’t go all nucular on me…..

  49. @Ann Ha! Sounds like something straight from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

  50. @Ann Ha! Sounds like something straight from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

  51. Shelley says:

    You keep a diary? A journal? Of course, that makes total sense to me as a stifled writer. Maybe if I did that, I would feel a wee bit more sane.

    Regarding the love/hate thing with words… I’ve been watching the Chef Jeff Project on Food Network, and I giggled each time one of the street kids said he was “flustrated” about a kitchen challenge. Funny thing is, the more he said it, the more I liked the word.

    Big fat thanks for the tag, Annster, I’m hyperventilating now as I mentally compose my own five secrets. Please stand by. Getting over my flustration, wondering who else to tag in revenge. Uh… I mean, appreciation.

  52. Shelley says:

    You keep a diary? A journal? Of course, that makes total sense to me as a stifled writer. Maybe if I did that, I would feel a wee bit more sane.

    Regarding the love/hate thing with words… I’ve been watching the Chef Jeff Project on Food Network, and I giggled each time one of the street kids said he was “flustrated” about a kitchen challenge. Funny thing is, the more he said it, the more I liked the word.

    Big fat thanks for the tag, Annster, I’m hyperventilating now as I mentally compose my own five secrets. Please stand by. Getting over my flustration, wondering who else to tag in revenge. Uh… I mean, appreciation.

  53. Roshan says:

    You’re bit about the air hostess reminded me of Indian Airlines. They have 50 year old matrons who give the look of death if you so much as ask them for a drink!

  54. Roshan says:

    You’re bit about the air hostess reminded me of Indian Airlines. They have 50 year old matrons who give the look of death if you so much as ask them for a drink!

  55. I’m going to have to check out that USA Motel…rave review.:-)

  56. I’m going to have to check out that USA Motel…rave review.:-)

  57. Julie says:

    Ann, I do not know any women that use the word “panties ” well, except Nancy Grace. It reeks of Jon Benet Ramsey. What is the French word for underwear?

  58. Julie says:

    Ann, I do not know any women that use the word “panties ” well, except Nancy Grace. It reeks of Jon Benet Ramsey. What is the French word for underwear?

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  61. Lewis butler says:

    Presently and Momentarily, which are nearly always used incorrectly (and mean practically the opposite time), especially in ad-speak. we have soon, presently, shortly, in a little while, in a minute, anon, in a bit, any minute now — why must THEY try and bastardize momentarily?

  62. Lewis butler says:

    Presently and Momentarily, which are nearly always used incorrectly (and mean practically the opposite time), especially in ad-speak. we have soon, presently, shortly, in a little while, in a minute, anon, in a bit, any minute now — why must THEY try and bastardize momentarily?

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  64. Mary says:

    So late to the party, but I hate when people add an ‘s’ to everything. They love to go shopping at Wal-Marts.

    Also: secrete or secretion.

  65. Mary says:

    So late to the party, but I hate when people add an ‘s’ to everything. They love to go shopping at Wal-Marts.

    Also: secrete or secretion.

  66. Mary says:

    Oh, and two words commonly used in asinine business meetings: scalable and granular. HATE.

  67. Mary says:

    Oh, and two words commonly used in asinine business meetings: scalable and granular. HATE.

  68. Does David Sedaris AND Truman Capote know their long-lost twin diarist is in DA HOUSE??? You KILL me.
    Here’s my tweak word: “supposably”– it seems to be an New England favorite. Along with the word, “pattin” which is a noun meaning something one uses to cut out a homemade dress. TWEAK

  69. Does David Sedaris AND Truman Capote know their long-lost twin diarist is in DA HOUSE??? You KILL me.
    Here’s my tweak word: “supposably”– it seems to be an New England favorite. Along with the word, “pattin” which is a noun meaning something one uses to cut out a homemade dress. TWEAK

  70. Ian’s comment made me laugh loudly, which is probably not a good idea, seeing as almost midnight. I fully appreciate his teenage humor.

    Kudos to both you and your houseguest.

  71. Ian’s comment made me laugh loudly, which is probably not a good idea, seeing as almost midnight. I fully appreciate his teenage humor.

    Kudos to both you and your houseguest.

  72. Mary Anne Shew says:

    Every post I’ve read of yours so far makes me laugh AND cry (or at least swallow back tears). The comments do too (at least one or the other). You have very funny, poignant friends.

    Anyway, words I hate:
    preventative. moreover. reelahter (should be Realtor–reeltor). using it’s and its interchangeably.

  73. Mary Anne Shew says:

    Every post I’ve read of yours so far makes me laugh AND cry (or at least swallow back tears). The comments do too (at least one or the other). You have very funny, poignant friends.

    Anyway, words I hate:
    preventative. moreover. reelahter (should be Realtor–reeltor). using it’s and its interchangeably.

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  75. Margarita14 says:

    wow thats some enter there omg this wat i ant to do befor i die

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