Tag Archives: Scotland

Todays Wonder Word and Other News

WALLYDRAIGLEHand-made dolls.

OMG, I am in love with this word.  Must be my Scottish roots popping up – they do that every once in a while and some silly Scotlandish thing will make me smile.

wallydraigle (a former word of the day on wordnik) (noun) The youngest of a family; a bird in the nest; hence, any feeble, ill-grown creature.

‘Wallydraigle’ is Scottish in origin, and comes from ‘wally,’ a term of endearment, plus ‘dragle,’ to drag or draw along on damp ground or mud, or on wet grass.

Here’s the picture it puts in my head.

In a long, pale yellow nightgown, a waif of a child with wispy fine hair tightly clutches her rag dolls arm in her tiny fist. The rest of the doll flops across the hard floor, bumping off a chair leg here and a shelf corner there,  resigned to the constant dragging and strangely happy with its fate.  Better to be the misused plaything of this sweet wallydraigle than to languish in some dark abandoned toy box, forgotten and alone.

The word can also be shortened to wallydrag (a feeble, dwarfed, animal or person.)  Sounds so much better than ‘runt of the litter’, doesn’t it?

In other exciting news – Canada has won an Olympic bronze medal in women’s three metre synchronized diving.  We never have big expectations for high medal counts in the summer games.  Have you seen our summers?  Our official medal count is now at one.  We will joyfully celebrate all of our athletes in their endeavours, whatever the outcome.

It is also day four of dog sitting for me.  We’re doing well, and this is the reason why.

Both of us are in perfect synchronized agreement as to the proper method of spending a day off.
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Questionable Answers to Unanswerable Questions

Of course no question is unanswerable because you can always say I don’t know.  Or answer it with another question, such as “why in the world would you need to know that?”   I’ve also found ‘get away from me you weirdo’ can get you off the hook at least temporarily, giving you some time to think up a more intelligent response.

There are so many plinky prompts I’ve missed!  Where the hell have I been and what have I been thinking, letting them all gang up on me like this?  I’m going to pretend that there are people out there just dieing to know what I think about random things.  So here are my answers.  Some of them considerably less well thought out than others.

What’s your favourite place to grab a cup of coffee?  That would be in my kitchen, in my housecoat, in a state of semi-consciousness.  Next favourite – McDonalds.  Their coffee here is that good.

What was the last thing you got really excited about? I tend not to be a very excitable person.  Or exciting either if you want to get all personal.  Getting ready to go on a trip with my sister to Scotland was pretty thrilling.  That was five years ago.  I’m kind of seriously overdue for hysteria of some sort or other.

Make a list of things you’ve accomplished so far this year. I have lived through yet another dreaded month of January without going mad.  I have managed to stay gainfully employed.  I have used up every last millisecond of my holidays until mid September.  I’ve reconnected with my brother.  Visited family.  Got rid of a closet door.  Eaten enough salad to choke a very large rabbit.

Have you ever written your own music or song lyrics?  Sort of, but not really.  I have been known to make up my own lyrics for tunes that are already out there.  I’m the only person I know who can sing along to instrumentals.

What famous monument do you hope to see one day? The Eiffel Tower, at night, by elevator, with all of Paris at my feet.  But if I never get there, that’s okay too.  Probably couldn’t stand the excitement anyway.

Do you have a favourite work of art?   No.  All works created by skill and imagination are beautiful to someone.  Even if it’s simply a mom in love with her childs crayon scribbles.  There’s no such thing as the best beautiful thing.

Pick a new pet to take home for free.  I think I’m done with pets for this lifetime.  It’s hard enough to tend to the care and feeding and grooming of me.  I’ll just enjoy other peoples pets and go home to my own lint roller when the day is done.

How many books do you read each year?  Since I got my Kindle, I sometimes average one a week.  So over fifty would be a reasonable estimate.  Because I still buy real books too.  I don’t really know.  I’m too busy reading to add them all up.

If you were going to open a shop, what would you sell?  Coffee beans, cups, creams, pots, filters, cakes, grinders, makers and machines and presses, and many different types of the brewed stuff.  Perhaps I should just go work for Starbucks.

When was the last time you visited a library?  My library card expired a decade ago.  I honestly don’t remember.

Make a list of all the countries you have visited.  It’s a short list.  U.S. and U.K.

Have you ever tried to grow your own fruits and vegetables?  I grow tomatoes every summer.  They flourish and thrive in spite of me.

What’s the coolest airport you’ve been in?  Can’t even imagine what would make an airport cool.  It’s a necessary evil on the way to somewhere else.

Should coffee shops limit the amount of time that lap top users can occupy tables?  Yes.  No longer than 48 hours at a time seems reasonable to me.

What’s your favourite foreign film?  I love all foreign films as long as they have subtitles.  I like subtitles for films in English too.  Actors mumble.  It’s SO annoying.  Especially for the people I’m watching the film with when I’m constantly asking ‘what did he say??’

Should the U.S. get rid of the penny?  Yes, please.  Canada is phasing it out and American pennies showing up in our country would just piss us off.

Would you ever visit a psychic or palm reader?  Been there, done that.  Will live to be 93.

Do you ever purchase lottery tickets?  No.  W does.  If he wins I’m hoping he’ll share.

Have you ever had something stolen from you?  My prescription sunglasses.  I hope the person who took them goes cross-eyed with migraines.

Do you ever listen to the radio anymore?  Well, funny you should ask.  Since W got satelite radio I’ve been listening to it non-stop.  He has found a station he likes that plays about 90% Carole King 24/7 and that’s what we’ve had playing for two days straight.  I have tried to convince him to look for other stations because to me that seems to be the whole point of having a satelite working for you. I read the list.  I made suggestions.  But Carole King it is. He will be taking it with him soon to the island and I hope he and Carole King have a very nice summer together.

Do you need coffee to wake up in the morning?  Not really, but if I don’t have any at all I’ll never last through an entire afternoon without a nap.

What type of hat suits your personality?  A tall black pointy one with a wide brim and a silver buckle and lots of stars.

Living in Other Countries

Since W refuses to get himself even such a simple thing as a passport, I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever leave Canada for a holiday, never mind actually move away and live in a different country.

My one experience going across the ocean and travelling for a couple of weeks in England and Scotland doesn’t make me much of an expert on what it’s like to live there year round. Scotland in the fall was beautiful, but I expect their winters might be just as drab as the ones we have here. Good thing our other three seasons are delightful.

Even living in another part of this country is a stretch, although both of us are from Ontario and our siblings are there. Now our kids and grandkids are Albertans and it would be very hard to go off and leave them behind. Living two or three days drive away from them makes 6 hours sound like nothing.

And if we moved away I would miss the jackrabbits. Tonight on the way home I was stopped at a red light and watched one of them dart up the lane to my right and then zip left across to the far sidewalk (with the green light) in front of six lanes of traffic. Crazy rabbit.

I have no idea why there are so many of them around, but there’s one that periodically visits our backyard. He’s no cute little bunny. Kind of homely actually, with his long face and long legs and mottled grey-brown fur. He’ll look a bit better in the winter when he turns white, but then he’s harder to see. Which is the whole point of course.

Too bad I don’t seem to have any real point for even bringing up the subject of hares in the discussion of living in another country. I was just kidding about missing them. But I felt like posting a white-tailed jack-rabbit picture, so I did and there it is.

These topics are just suggestions to get us talking, right? Tomorrow maybe I’ll work cloudberries into whatever we’re supposed to be going on about. I’d sure hate to move somewhere and never see another one of those.

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What Will You Remember?

“What do you want to be remembered for, Ainslee?” Lara asks the countryside flying by the bus window.

“Why, am I dying or something?” Ainslee pouts and frowns at her sister. “Why are you asking me that?”

“We’re all going to be gone someday, I was just wondering what memories you’d like your girls to carry with them for the rest of their lives. What kind of mothers you’ve inspired them to be. What things about you Matt would cherish forever.”

“Pfffft. Matt is NOT going to outlive me, so that’s nothing to waste my time worrying about, how he’ll pine away missing me. He’s got so damned much life insurance it would be a crying shame if I didn’t end up collecting it. And the girls becoming mothers? Man, I can’t even picture that. Dani is so headstrong and bossy and independent, who could live with her? And Allie with her portable medicine chest. A hypochondriac mother is just wrong on so many levels. She worries herself to distraction about her silly cats. Maybe that’s all the responsibility she can handle.”

“But Katie is the most like you used to be. Wild and a little crazy now, but she’ll get over that, just like you did. Someday she’ll have children her grandma will love to distraction. What kind of legacy would you like to leave for all of them?”

Ainslee frowns and sighs and forces herself to consider. Lara is always trying to make her think about stuff and it just goes so completely against her impulsive nature to sit down and thoughtfully consider things for no reason that she can fathom. Unfortunately, at this particular moment she must remain in her bus tour seat and is at Lara’s inquisitive mercy.

“I would like them to remember that I was fair, and giving and happy and that I loved them. I was a good mother. But that I was a person first, with an interesting life quite apart from them. That I went off to Scotland with my sister and sat in a bus and hardly thought about them at all except when I was forced to agonize over my imminent death and their uncertain futures.”

Lara laughs and nudges Ainslee with her elbow. It’s a good answer, she thinks. And now Ainslee insists on hearing her answer, which is only fair.

“I guess I just would like my sons to remember how much I loved them. I think that would be enough.”

“Loved them?” Ainslee snorts. “You spoiled the little buggers rotten is what you did. It’s a miracle they turned out so close to normal. I bet their wives curse you daily though, for what those boys must have come to expect from the women in their lives.”

Lara looks stricken and Ainslee laughs at her and tells her she was only kidding her. Lara knows how true it is though. She always felt Stan overdid it with the discipline, needing to be seen as the strong and stern parent so that she felt bound to offset his harshness with her own softness. And yes they got away with a lot behind their father’s back.

“And what about Stan?” Ainslee prods her.

“What about him?” Lara rolls her eyes. “He’ll have a couple of rums and tell a couple of stories and then he’ll forget about me and get on with his work and his life.”

“Are you kidding? You are Stanley’s ROCK Lara. He’ll be positively adrift without you!”

It’s Lara’s turn to snort. “I’m more like a boulder around his neck I think. My gravestone will read ‘here lies Stan’s Albatross’. The woman who spoiled his sons and didn’t like to dance.”

“I think that’s entirely too much information to be putting on a headstone, unless it’s ten feet tall. And you just couldn’t be that ostentatious if you tried. Oh My God Lara!” Ainslee practically screeches as she leans around Lara to peer out the window, her eyes like saucers. “SHEEP!”

And indeed, there they are, hundreds of them, more than they could have imagined all standing around looking bored with their little black feet planted firmly on a rolling green field. Although they have been on the lookout for sheep ever since they crossed the border into Scotland it’s still an amazing sight to see all those cottony white dots scattered everywhere.

Ainslee sits back in her seat and announces that they look like maggots from this distance. Crawling maggots on a dark green lettuce leaf. The image makes Lara laugh and she makes a mental note to pass that one on to Ainslee’s daughters for posterity.

“I was so excited to see them and then there they are looking positively gruesome. Let’s get some pictures!”

They snap a few blurred shots through the window as the bus speeds away. In a few days the sight of sheep will be so completely ordinary and repetitive to them that they will not feel bad at all when they sit down on their hotel beds one evening to begin the arduous task of deleting them from their memory sticks. Getting the images out of their heads is another thing altogether.

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A Place in the World

Just seeing the word “favorite” on my computer screen is suddenly making me want to spit. Or gag, or some such unlady-like thing. Sorry, but I don’t know what my favorite place in the world is, because I haven’t been everywhere yet.

So here’s where home is at the moment. Nicely far away from huge bodies of water. Not too close to the equator or the north pole. Mountains on one side, prairies on the other. Sky above and earth below.

For one insane moment this morning I contemplated putting a post-it note face up on the floor and rolling a globe down the hallway to see on which part of the world it would choose to stick itself. And then that could have been my new all time favorite place in the world. But with my luck it might have ended up somewhere in the North Atlantic, making my ‘choice’ difficult to justify.

So I’ll just be vague and say Canada would be on my list of nice places in the world to be. I’ve been to Scotland, and it’s nice too.

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