Monday, November 30, 2015

Kleenex versus Tissue

Do you know the difference between Kleenex® and tissue. And don't say "tissue is the cheaper one." 

Kleenex® is the registered trademarked brand, while tissue is the generic term. Our everyday language is peppered with brand names used as regular verbs and common nouns. 

Ever hear someone say "hoover the rug" to mean vacuum? Of course, that came from the Hoover® vacuum company. 

To "google" something is becoming synonymous with to search for something online. Actually, Google® is a trademark owned by Google Inc., which registered it on Jan. 20, 2004. 

Here are some other trademarked names that have fallen into generic usage. 

  • Bubble Wrap® was trademarked on Aug. 2, 1983 by the Sealed Air Corporation. 
  • Crock-Pot® was trademarked on Feb. 8, 1972 by the Sunbeam Corporation.
  • Taser® was trademarked by Taser® International, Inc. on April 1, 2008. 
  • Vaseline® was trademarked on November 13, 1934 by CONOPCO, Inc. 
  • Velcro® was trademarked on December 16, 1975 by Velcro Industries. 
Other terms include Jet Ski®, ChapStick®, Realtor®, and Band-Aid®. I'm sure you can think of some, too. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jack O'Lantern and His Amazing Apostrophe

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Improve your writing, improve your life - Improv

One of my favorite ways to improve my writing ... is improv! 

And, the next session at the Plaza Playhouse Theater will begin its next 8-week session on Tuesday, Sept. 15. The workshop’s new director is Tom Mueller, co-founder of Ventura Improv Company, Incorporated and its former artistic director and president.
Tom Mueller

Here's some of the small print: Best suited for those 17 and older, the Improv Workshop is open to all interested parties and will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. through Nov. 10 (no class on Oct. 13). There will be an improv performance on Friday, Nov. 13, at the Plaza Playhouse Theater.

Enrollment is limited to 20 participants and is on a first come, first served basis. The workshop fee is $100. 

Registration may be completed online at or by sending a check to Plaza Playhouse Theater, ATTN: Improv Workshop, 4916 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013. Sorry, no drop-ins allowed. For more information call Amy Orozco (that's me!) at (805) 284-2622.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Five Beautiful Non-English Sayings

I'm happy to introduce guest blogger Jessica Kane. My love of words has gone international. I even have practiced saying the words and phrases aloud. Enjoy! And, thank you Jessica. 

Five Beautiful Non-English Sayings

Some languages crystallize joy in a single word or phrase. They capture the essence of happiness in verse that explodes with bliss. They're poignant in their native tongue but have no English match. Still, you can enjoy employing them to condense your speech. Below are happy foreign words that aren't found in English.

I'm in Love!
Forelsket - Norwegian

This word sparkles with the thrill of falling in love for the first
time. It sings with exhilaration and dancing anticipation. It embodies the bubbly feeling that bounces inside. Your emotions are skipping. Your heart is doing cartwheels.

This verb for being swept off your feet should have an English counterpart. Though it doesn't, you can glimpse an image of it here.

To hear the word pronounced, go to:, or click here.

It's Heaven Being Here With You
Hyggelig - Danish

This word conveys a cozy ambiance. It portrays a homey scene with your honey. You're snuggling in your sweetie's arms before a glowing fireplace. You're supremely content. Nothing could enhance the ease of the moment.

There is no English equivalent for the exquisiteness of hyggelig. However, you can see and feel what it's like by clicking here.

For the way to say this perky word, go to:, or click here.

Something Tells Me You're The One
Koi No Yokan - Japanese

It's not quite love at first sight. Still, when you look at this person, you sense they may be "the one." There's a hint of recognition in their eyes. There's an inner knowing in their smile. The direct connect may not occur just yet. It's bound to happen in time.

This phrase is depicted in the "Sound of Music" movie. When Captain von Trapp and Maria have their first dance, you see it in their faces. To view this example of Koi No Yokan, click here.

For the pronunciation of Koi No Yokan, go to:, or click here.

Gosh, It's Great to See You!
Retrouvailles - French

This word connotes the surge of joy in reuniting after a long time. There's a rush of glee, a flush of excitement. The jubilation is tremendous. You hug each other with heartfelt delight. This word is epitomized in the embrace of a wife and returning soldier. For a close-up of such a reunion, click here.

To hear retrouvailles spoken in silky French, go to:, or click here.

You're Just So Cute!
Gigil - Tagalog

Someone is so adorable, you have to pinch their cheeks. You have an irresistible urge to express your affection. You can't refrain from seizing their face with a loving squeeze. Children often elicit this impulse. If a baby accrued a dollar for every stolen pinch, they'd be rich. To see a pinch-worthy angel, click here.

To hear gigil pronounced, go to:, or click here.

Short and Sweet
Now you have five gems to add to your verbal repertoire:

       koi no yokan

Teach your new words to your loved ones and have fun speaking in code!

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Bureau Translations, a leading company that provide translation services for businesses.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The ology of ology

Google etymology and this definition is front and center: the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed through history; the origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning.

And the etymology of etymology? According to, there's the Greek etumos, which means real or true, plus ology, which means the science or study of something — you know, like genealogy. 

Genealogy is from the Greek genea, which means race and generations, and ology, and, well, you know what that means. 

Here's a fun part of my job — I get to learn something new every day. Not that the above is all new to me, but that I had a very interesting assignment helping to launch
If you've thought about how deep the roots of your family tree go, I suggest checking out the Web site. You never know who you'll find. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Keyboard Can Be a Lonely Place

Libby, the golden retriever, and Nella, the calico. 
Feels kind of funny to be at the computer without a cat trying to use the keyboard for a nap or a dog nudging her black wet nose against my arm for some petting.

Feels so funny, in fact, that I've been avoiding any writing for a while.

Our cat, Nella, died about a month ago, and our dog, Libby, died about two months ago. It's been a difficult transition. Lots of sadness. Learning new ways of doing things.

For example, sleeping in was never a possibility because those two took their jobs as alarm clocks very seriously. Plus, they didn't have snooze buttons. They HAD to be fed and let outside (well, Libby did, anyway).

There was no getting around exercise. Libby got three walks a day. Minimum. Do you know how much easier it is to blow off the gym than to not walk a dog? Tons easier.

Grief doesn't go away. It stays as part of us. Just as all the happy memories and experiences make up who we are, so do the sad and difficult ones.

Writing helps the transition, even though it's lonely at this keyboard.

Nella, my fur stole. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Carpinteria Magazine is here!

Carpinteria Magazine hit the streets on Wednesday. Once again, I'm forced to say, "It's the best yet!"

You can find it around town or here

For those of you wondering, the winter issue is due out in November. 

Enjoy the read.

Monday, May 11, 2015

One space after a period, please

I came across this really good blog post about double spacing after a period, or question mark and quotation mark by Jennifer Gonzalez. Her blog is Cult of Pedagogy.

It was the headline Nothing Says Over 40 Like Two Spaces after a Period! that got me. Pretty clever, eh?

When wearing my editor's hat, the two spaces at the end of a sentence create extra work. I'm the one who gets to go and delete the extra spaces. It's a tedious chore. (If anyone knows of a command on Word to do the deleting, please share.) So, I was really glad someone was spreading the gospel about needing only one space.

The post is well written and very interesting, if you find things like typesetting and printing interesting, which I do. I was surprised that Jennifer left out "the rivers of white" reason. That is when the double spaces coincidentally line up to create a column, or river, of white space.

Here's another interesting thing: Jennifer's blog post received enough criticism and negative attention she felt compelled to write another post to apologize. Seems the post was taken as ageist and unkind.

I didn't take it that way at all. But after reading her apology post, I can see how some people took umbrage.

Still, I hope the offended will subscribe to the one-space-after-a-period rule.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Making Creativity Abundantly Clear

Julia Cameron, creator of The Artist's Way, has had a profound influence on my writing career. She's probably the closet thing to a guru or mentor I have. So it was with great pleasure I found her featured in the recent issue of The Writer magazine.

The article, The Abundant Life, is about her newest book, Prosperity Every Day: A Daily Companion on Your Journey to Greater Wealth and Happiness. Prosperity isn't about money, Cameron contends in The Artist's Way. Though she certainly understands how money pays the rent and puts food on the table.

Prosperity is about one's sense of abundance.

Some people, and myself included but I'm working on it, feel once they have enough money they can live the creative life. Not true. Creativity is an act of faith. It's that leap of faith that allows creativity to flow.

And in that flow is the abundance. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Checking in and catching up

Here's where I've been of late. 

First, I've been writing a shitty first draft. And, you can thank the wonderful writer Anne Lamott for that. Check out #6 on this Facebook post of hers

 The wonderful writer Anne Lamott. 
It's not even the first draft of a novel. Though for the time spent on it, it should be. It's a stinkin' 750-word piece. Those are the most difficult, you know. The small word count is a killer. Filling up pages and pages with words, that's child play. 

Second, I just finished "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins. And, I'm still catching my breath. 

A "must read."
What a wild ride. A real thriller. I highly recommend it. The actual reading time was short because I couldn't put the thing down. 

Funny, I rarely treat myself to a hardback book, but when I read the reviews for "The Girl on the Train," I knew I would love it. Clever structure with the three narrators. Characters rang true. 

I'm one of those who can never figure out who in a whodunnit. This one really had me reeling. 

That's where I've been. Now, on to revising that first draft. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Doggone good!

The Inquisitive Canine is a great Web site and its Doggie Blog is chockablock full of dog training tips, techniques and knowledge. The Inquisitive Canine. Certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant Joan Mayer really knows her stuff and loves seeing her students succeed.

Full disclosure: I get to help out with some of the writing and editing. I'm learning lots. My Golden Retriever, Libby, is the beneficiary of all my newfound insight to canine psyche. Our bond has grown stronger, thanks to my job. I've found Joan's approach to training – focus on the positive, reinforce the behavior you want – helpful in all aspects of my life.

The dogs in the picture are a friend's. They are, from left, Gavyn, Bryce, Cyrano, and Zephyr. Photo by Elizabeth Tuz. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Laughing Workout

The Plaza Playhouse Theater is where the action is come Friday night at 8 p.m. March 6 is First Friday in ol' Carp. That means there will be tons of dining and shopping specials in town. After wining and dining, come over to the theater for some laughs courtesy of the Plaza Improv Players. Laughing is good for the abs, and so much more fun than sit-ups. 

Rumored to be the best show in town. Laughing is believing.
Hope to see you there. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Show, Don't Tell

Raise your hand if you have a physical reaction when you hear "Show, don't tell." If you raised your hand, I'm betting you took at least one writing class in college and/or worked at a print publication.

The editor, or whoever, may as well be saying "back to the drawing board." Grrrrr...

Talking up the Improv Workshop at the Plaza Playhouse Theater is an excellent example of me showing and not telling. To remedy that, allow me to share an improv exercise/game with you. This is from, a wonderful Web site for all things improv.

Dubbed Movie
Two or more actors play a scene, but they don't speak, although they can move their mouths is if they are speaking. Two or more players sit in front of the action and provide the speech. The effect is (or should be) like watching a dubbed movie. 

And while we're at it, here's a example of "showing, not telling." Check out the following press release. You'll get the info on the Improv Workshop and see the important elements of a press release.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Amy Marie Orozco
(805) 284-2622

Improv Workshop begins on Jan. 12

Plaza Playhouse Theater’s popular Improv Workshop marks its fourth year on Jan. 12 with a move to Monday nights. Best suited to the 17-and-over crowd, the class is open to all interested parties and will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for eight Mondays. Sessions are held on the theater’s stage and include theater games and scene work. Enrollment is limited to 20 participants and is on a first come, first served basis. The workshop fee is $125 for new participants and $96 for returnees. Registration may be completed online at or by sending a check to Plaza Playhouse Theater, ATTN: Improv Class, 4916 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013. Sorry, no drop-ins allowed. For more information call Amy Orozco at (805) 284-2622.


Improv Workshop begins Jan. 12_1: Plaza Playhouse Players improv troupe members Judy Sirianni, left, and Sherri Mendenhall perform in the holiday show last November.

Improv Workshop begins Jan. 12_2: John Pagano, left, and Judy Sirianni of the Plaza Playhouse Players create a skit from audience suggestions at the troupe’s holiday show last November.


It is the mission of the Plaza Playhouse Theater to be a venue that is the center of arts and entertainment for the entire Carpinteria Valley community. A place where young and old can express their artistic talent in music, dance and theatre and also to enjoy what the world of entertainment has to offer. We endeavor to be a place that Carpinterians can proudly call their own. The theater is located at 4916 Carpinteria Ave. in downtown Carpinteria. The phone number is (805) 684-6380, and the Web site is