For The Love of Words

It’s ‘learn a new word day’ today, and yes, I did just make that up.  I have no idea what day it really is.  Although tomorrow is the longest day of the year, and that’s pretty exciting for us people who love summer.

At Wordnik the word of the day is ESTIVATION – the act of passing the summer.  It’s a new one to me.  The opposite of HIBERNATION.  Both these activities greatly appeal to me.

The first random word that came up (also clickable under Et Cetera, bottom right) is AMBULANT – moving or walking about.  So let’s all get out there and be ambulant during our estivation.  Or not, depending on the temperature and the humidity.

Great site, hey?  Can’t believe I missed yesterday’s word – PHANSIGAR which means thug.  Although I’m not sure how I might have worked that one into casual conversation.

I’ve also just subscribed to Chorus –  (because also under Et Cetera I clicked on “have a word press blog?”) –

Be inspired while you blog and help your readers discover great content.

Chorus is a new tool for bloggers that helps make your awesome content even more relevant, interesting, and serendipitous.

I’d settle for relevant, interesting and serendipitous without the “even more” bit. 

All I was doing was looking for a great F word for the Alphabet Soup category and all this garble is the result because I didn’t find one any better than the one I’d already thought of, which is what I’ll be going on about tomorrow.  Or not, depending on the temperature and the humidity, how long the day ends up being, and the number of phansigars I encounter ambulating their way through their own personal estivation.

I think I’m a word-aholic, with no great desire to recover.

God Loves Chickweed

The reason I know this is because He grows it everywhere.  What I don’t know is who gets to decide what is a weed and what isn’t.  We’re conditioned from childhood to abhor dandelions on the lawn, and to love roses in the flowerbed.  But what child, left to his own devices, would not prefer those bright little low-to-the-ground yellow flowers that are everywhere and can be picked with ease, to something that has vicious thorns?

When my sister was last here to visit me we spent time and money putting a gigantic flower-pot where the fire pit used to be, and filling it with lovely little plants.  It looked quite beautiful and very promising, until the rains came down – day after day after day.  At first I thought this was a great thing, because I never remember to water anything.  But it turns out the pot had no drainage holes in the bottom, and the little plants were drowning in the mud.  I couldn’t save them.  If she reads this she will want to shake me.  This spring W tipped the pot up (that sucker is HEAVY) and drilled some holes in the bottom so that we wouldn’t have the same problem again.

The next logical step would have been for me to get some plants and put them in there, but logical steps are not my forte.  It’s in the backyard, so who sees it but me?  Nobody, except now that I’m posting a picture of it here there could be a couple other people rolling their eyes at it.  But there’s all these green things in it growing away, voluntarily, with no input from me whatsoever.  Definitely my kind of gardening.   I was going to pull them all out, because that’s what a normal person would do with weeds, but then I thought – who do I think I am – some kind of all powerful plant Queen who gets to decide what grows where?  Plus my hands would get dirty and then there’d be just this big pot of dirt sitting there waiting for me to get my butt to a green house and that just might never happen.  So I’ve decided to leave them alone and see what happens.  Perhaps I’ll grow to love them.  They appear to be safely contained and unlikely to spread, so what harm can come of it?  Except maybe for the lawn people having a less than ideal opinion of my horticultural prowess.  And speaking of lawn, that little patch in the top left corner is where the meter moving guys dug a huge hole, filled it up and put down sod.  It’s starting to look a little less dead these days, also without any effort on my part.

This one is looking pretty interesting too, guarded by a sun bleached lamb not found in nature.

All of this should give you a huge clue as to why we decided to give up our garden plot and grow grass there instead.  Before the neighbors came over and torched it in the middle of the night.

Just think of all the money we could save, and what glorious things we could do with all the time we save by giving up the heartless practice of weeding.  All the green houses we could collectively put out of business, if this catches on.

I don’t know if I should be trying to get away with this right under the noses of the Alberta Invasive Plants Council but it’s not like I’m growing that other kind of WEED and selling it on the street.  This is purely for my own amusement.  And because I’m the laziest gardener on the face of God’s green earth.

Our Town Circa 1928

In my mother’s scribbler is an eleven year old’s version of her home town.  She starts off with some enthusiasm and then peters out by the end.  No doubt it was an assignment (No.9) by a teacher attempting to instill some civic pride in her students.

Port Elgin Ontario is situated on the beautiful shores of one of our Great Lakes called Lake Huron.  This small town has a very small population.  On the west of it is Lake Huron and on the south is a large hill which we call “The Mountain.”  From here, in the evenings, we can see a pretty sight of our town.  On the east is a large mill creek running into the Saugeen River which runs one of our mills.  On the north is a nice road leading to Southampton, five miles away.  A little farther on is the Electric Light Plant which supplies our town with lights.

Electric Light Plant, 1905

Electric Light Plant, 1905 (Photo credit: OSU Special Collections & Archives)

Port Elgin has a very large factory which employs men and women.  They make many brooms and brushes and they export them to other places.  It belongs to the Stevens, Hepner & Comapny.  There is a railway station on the east which is visited each day by many trains.  Many cattle, horses, pigs, sheep and other animals are exported from here to Toronto and other places.  Beside it is an elevator where farmers bring their grain to be stored.Our town has many streets.  Some are Emma, Gustavus and Goderich.  There is a public library, theatre and town hall.  In front of the library are two monuments in memory of our heroes.

There are nine churches.  There are two schools, public and high.  There is also a large park where there are benches and other things.  There are many sports in Port Elgin.  There is skating on the ice and playing ball and other games.

There is a row of maple trees leading to the park and many on the side of the road and flower beds have been planted here and there.

And what else is there to say about your town, which is just your boring old town.  This site goes into considerably more detail than could be contained in a child’s notebook.  Yay for real historians who write these things down making records for the curious. 

My parents never lived far from this town, and for awhile lived in it, not far from the Stevens Hepner factory and right beside what used to be the railroad tracks and is now the Rail Trail.  I think those were very happy years for them, freed from the hard work of living on the farm, and still in good health and independent. 

The library is still there, looking remarkably unchanged.  The main street is a little busier, fewer horses, more cars. 

Like my mother, I’ve started off with some enthusiasm and petered out at the end.

Father’s Day Close Up

The photo challenge this week is “Close”.  And it’s Father’s Day.  So I’m combining these two themes and giving you this.

My beautiful granddaughter and my handsome son.  It’s from a few years ago, and one of my most favourite Father-Daughter shots ever.  You can never be too close to your dad and it’s impossible to love your kids too much.

What’s In The Bag?

The other day I was wondering why my handbag was so heavy and threatening to break my arm and dislocate my shoulder.  So I emptied the contents onto the kitchen table.

Everyone lugs around eight pens and a fork, right?  That thing on the right is NOT a fork, its’ a back scratcher with a collapsible telescopic handle that I apparently decided one day I should never leave home without.  And I need two flashlights because….you never know when you might need two flashlights.

I’ve since lightened the load considerably.  And don’t worry, I threw away the gum.  Ewwww.

This has been kind of like baring my soul.  Hope it didn’t ruin your Saturday.

I Like It Like That

I went for a walk this morning in the misty drizzle.  Older neighborhoods with all their huge trees are delightful, as is walking in the rain.  Except your camera gets wet.  This is the tree in our backyard that W tried to kill a few years back, but it was having none of that.  He had it cut back so low we thought it would die (his marker slipped and the tree trimmers cut it there anyway, probably rolling their eyes in confusion while they did it.)  It’s gone kind of crazy since then, in a magnificent sort of way.  I like it.

This is my street when I’m almost home.  Every time I’m driving it I think I should walk back there and take a picture of it, so today I did.  Even on a cloudy dull day it’s rather beautiful.

Nope, this is not a park, it’s the side yard of the house across the street.  This is what I see when I look out my living room window.  This guy is NOT a tree trimmer.  I like that.

I decided to update my timeline picture on Facebook and this is it, a strange angled shot of the front of our house.

Yes, I have entirely too much time on my hands today.  And speaking of the timeline, I like it.  I have never NOT liked it and in fact I think it’s one of the most likable things they’ve done there.

I like that I’ve got absolutely nothing interesting to say today and filled up some blog space anyway.

Ask Me No Questions, I’ll Tell You No Lies

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting (Photo credit: Andrew Albertson)

What new hobby would you like to try out?  Wine tasting sounds like fun. And also Astral Projection, where your astral body separates from your physical body to travel in an astral plane.  I think I could probably combine those two with a bit of practice.

What annoying word or phrase are you tired of hearing?  First and foremost, in any way, shape, or form, last time I checked, think outside the box.  It is what it is.  Just sayin’.  Nuff said.

Name the most expensive personal item you’ve ever purchased. My second family ring.  I don’t have two families, just two rings.  Because the family got bigger and I needed more stones.  The sad thing is, I don’t wear it, because of all the hand washing I have to do at work and all the lotion I have to apply, and it gets in the way when I’m adjusting and repairing glasses and I don’t want it to get damaged or lost.  I don’t wear my wedding ring either for the same reasons.  So my rings are in really pristine condition.  Wherever they are.  Somewhere safe.


Radiohead (Photo credit: basietrane)

If you eventually break up with someone, was it ever true love?   Sounds to me like an annoying brain teaser on a philosophy final.  You would first have to properly define what true love is, and then what breaking up with someone means.  A simple Yes or No is not going to get you top marks on this one even though it’s tempting to just pick one and move on.  I googled it and found out True love is a moment in time that lasts forever.  Cole Porter says there’s a guardian angel on high with nothing to do, but to give to me and to give to you, love forever true.  So it’s perfectly acceptable to say the angels made you do it.  Radiohead puts an even better twist on things –  “true love waits in haunted attics and true love lives on lollipops and crisps.”  So I’m going to conclude that true love is all in your head.  Or in the collective heads of the true lovers.  What you do with it is up to you.  But if, by definition, it’s supposed to last forever, breaking up is not an option. True love means loving each other even when you’re both being idiots. Through good times and bad.  Until one of you strangles the other one in his sleep   death do us part.

Have you ever broken a bone? Only those Y shaped wishbones from chickens when we were kids and wished for miraculous things like hulahoops and boyfriends.

Do you remember your favourite book from childhood?  I remember my dad reading to us, even when we were old enough to read on our own.  What he read didn’t matter as much as the sound of his voice, and having him spend that time with us, and being able to close our eyes and see the story in our heads.  Those are memories that will stay with me forever.  Once when I was sick he sat down and read a couple of chapters of “Honey Bunch” to me.  I expect he thought it was complete drivel, but that’s what I wanted to hear, so that’s what he read.  My love of books began with him.

What energizes you?  A good night’s sleep. Coffee. Repeat.

Describe the last time you got really lost.  What’s the difference between lost and really lost?  Obviously I’ve never been so lost that I never got found, or I wouldn’t be here to tell you about it.  My I-Phone gets me un-lost when I take wrong turns.  Street signs are wonderful things.  As are landmarks.  If I’ve gone west to the big city, all I have to do is head east to get home.  Eventually something will look familiar.  I’m a good navigator.  I like maps, and rarely leave home without one.  Lost in thought is an entirely different story.  Every time I pick up a book and start to read I’m lost.

List your top five strengths.  That sounds like a work related question.  I work well on my own.  I work well with others. I like to learn new things.  I adapt well to change.  Some days I’m so organized it will drive you insane.

Where do you hope to be in five years?  Right here, doing this.  My ambition knows no bounds.  There’s only a couple more years to go until I’m finally smart enough to retire, I hope.  Four tops.  Even then it may be a semi retirement kind of thing, unless I’ve become totally incompetent and senile.  In which case I hope someone will point that out to me and I’ll not be so far gone that I don’t believe it.  Or off on some astral projection trip and out of hearing range.  Or passed out from wine tasting.  Who can predict anything that far into the future?  Who knows what might happen tomorrow?  Today is what I have.  I’ll live for that.

Why Unholy Night Kept Me Up All Night

It’s a book I picked up on a whim and as often happens when I do that, I had a really hard time putting it down again.

This is definitely not the story the way you learned it in Sunday School. But here’s the thing – it’s strangely much more believable when it’s told like this.     

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith reveals the identity of those mystifying three wisemen who were present at the Nativity.

It explains how it is possible that three fugitives from justice could have ended up in a stable in Bethlehem bearing strange gifts.

It is the story of Balthazar (the Ghost of Antioch), a master thief with his own agenda and quest for revenge, who forms an accidental but necessary alliance with two other criminals along with Joseph and Mary and their newborn baby, when all six of them are being ruthlessly hunted down by King Herod’s men.

There is some real insight into the twisted minds of ancient emperors and kings with mythology and the occult thrown in to add to the thrill of the chase and the flight and the fight for survival.  There’s also a lot of violence and sword fighting and blood and guts.  But bibilcal times were violent and bloody, weren’t they? There’s much history here, however twisted and revised, but that’s what we do with history.  And this is an interpretation that pulled me in and swept me away and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

By taking this very familiar story and filling in the missing bits and making the characters come vibrantly alive, Grahame-Smith has written an epic adventure that’s impossible to put down until the very last page.  Really.  Read it, and see if I’m right.

Rain and Lilacs


Lilacs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it too late to be bothered fixing up flower beds for this year?  (Please say yes.) The tiger lilies and the dogwood thrive despite my neglect but some other plants are looking dejected and thirsty and mostly dead.  In a previous life I must have had gardeners.  My ambition gets stuck in neutral and all I want to do is big fat nothing when I get home from work and just looking at the yard makes me tired.

But it’s a mercifully short work day today and I’m hoping to get more accomplished than sleeping through the entire afternoon, tempting as that might sound.

The rain has rained itself out for now, the lilacs next door are blooming and the breeze is blowing their delightful scent through my window.  Now there’s something you can’t buy in a spray bottle.

This song has been rolling around in my head this morning and I can’t seem to get rid of it.  Don’t you kind of hate it when that happens?  There’s no real cure, but sharing seems to ease the pain.

So there you go – it’s all yours now. Complete with lyrics so you can sing along.  You’re welcome.

Future Cast

It’s been awhile since I made fun of the stars predictions.  I read way too many astrological forecasts (and laugh way too much at how seriously they appear to be taking themselves) but I figure its cheap entertainment.  Free if you don’t count what the time it takes you to read them is worth.

Secrets aren’t your favorite state of affairs, so being asked to keep one isn’t easy for you. When need be, however, there’s no one who can hold on to a secret with more tenacity. Like now, for example.

Isn’t that bad English or grammar or does it not break some obscure language law when someone says secrets are a state of affairs?  A current condition?  A frame of mind? How things are?  If somebody asked me what’s happening I can’t imagine “secrets” being my first response.  It isn’t easy for me to keep a secret but no one can keep one better than me.  That’s exactly what it said.  I think.  And YES, the secret I’m keeping right now is certainly safe since I don’t have a clue what it is.

You may be considering going back to school or taking a lecture or class together with a friend or companion who shares your interests. You could learn something that will allow you to improve your productivity, or to start a business of your own.

You may….you could….change those to “you certainly are not……” and “it’s highly unlikely that you will….” and suddenly this one makes sense.

You have an opportunity to empower the future of your love life. If you are still single, you may meet someone promising today. If you are dating, you may be thinking about the next stage in your relationship. If you are already married, it will be an incredibly romantic day.

They’ve certainly given it a good shot to cover all the possibilities – single, dating, already married.  But since there was nothing in there about having been married forever and being thousands of miles apart at the moment I couldn’t make it fit my life. Having an incredibly romantic day on your own is not as easy as you might think.

Your mental energy is stronger today, but you find it easier to focus on social obligations than on the demands of your career. You will be getting a lot of pleasant calls from friends and companions. You could be invited to a sporting event this evening.    

My demanding career had me seeing a lot of contact lens patients yesterday, two of whom paid money to learn how to shove little bits of silicone onto their eyeballs.  I was quite focused on teaching them how to do that, so it’s a good thing there were no social obligations to distract me.  When I got home there were three missed calls on my phone, all from unknown numbers.  I guess all my friends and companions have changed their phone numbers and forgotten how to leave messages.  So I missed the sporting event, unless a two hour nap on the couch qualifies.  There, that one was pretty bang on, wasn’t it?

It’s Monday, and day three in my five days of work in a row.  Yeah, I used to do the five day thing all the time, but it’s amazing how fast I got used to just two days at a time with a day or two off to recover in between.  With enough coffee I should make it to five o’clock alive, but more importantly, awake and still coherent.  I notice that’s not predicted anywhere, but I’ll try to stay optimistic.