Here's where I toss out my words - like words in the wind. Sometimes putting stuff out on the internet can feel like that. Hope you can catch the breeze once in awhile.

Monday, July 24, 2006

These things called words

I’ve been pondering words. Not important words like transubstantion. No. Simple words. Like cushion. At first glance, or first sound, the word creates a picture in your mind. Soft, square, or round, thingy stuffed with foam or fibres. A decorative item carefully selected as accent pieces to enhance the d├ęcor or tie in the Ikea print and the couch, then nicely fluffed and artfully arranged and on couches or beds until some guy comes along and decides he needs every square inch of space that the bed or couch can provide and immediately tosses onto the floor every pretty cushion. Guys, as a rule, don’t treat cushions with respect. And how can they, really. Just say cushion a couple of times and see how you feel about the things afterward. Go ahead. With me now, on three, one, two, three . . . Cushion. Cushion. Cushion. Cushion. Keep saying it and the word loses it meaning. It becomes similar to the noise you would make when you’re trying to chase the neighbor's cat that is using your flower bed as a litter box. Cushion sounds silly and it doesn’t even sound like a word after awhile. I’ve been pondering the word cushion because I’ve been checking out the Ikea web site for said cushions. After navigating through seventeen cushion menu choices the word starts to sound silly. Cushion. Cushion. Cushion. I mean, who decided that those particular letters in that particular order should represent stuffed pieces of material? Of course there is latin antecedents with some Greek and Hebrew and French thrown in, but how did THEY decide? And why the letter U instead of the letter A. And that I and O business? Why didn’t we get to vote on that? Very undiplomatic. Maybe I’ll launch a protest. Maybe I won’t use the word cushion anymore! Maybe I’ll just call it a pillow.

Pillow. Pillow. Pillow.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Some Like it Hot

I don't do hot well up here in Northern Alberta. For one thing, very few homes have air conditioning. Usually we get a spell of 32 - 34 degree weather (which is about 98 - 100) for about four days in the mid summer. But this year, we've had two spells and are heading into a third. I'm hoping this isn't going to be an ongoing condition. When I'm hot I'm not motivated. All I do is mope around the house whining about the heat and how it's draining me and I can't sleep and on and on. There's something about cold that energizes. You come in from the cold and you slap your mittens together and ask, with a sparkle in your eye, 'cold enough for you?'. You don't get that kind of energy when it's hot outside. I love the summer and look forward to it but I enjoy the winter as well. I'm thankful for the weather and the changes. The other day I was bringing some stuff away on the quad, wearing shorts and a tank top and sandals, I remembered driving over the self-same terrain five months previous wearing Sorel boots (good to minus 40), fur lined mittens (some beaver sacrificed his life so I could have warm hands), four layers of clothing, a fur lined hat (rabbit this time) and a scarf covering any possible exposed skin on my face, leaving a slit for my eyes. Some contrast. I think it's the variety that keeps us going up here. For now I'm just going to drag myself through these dog days and hope we get a good cracking thunderstorm to break the heat wave. Then I can enjoy summer again.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


The grad season is over now. We had two nephews graduate - one from Grade Nine the other from Grade Twelve. I attended the Grade Nine grad and got to hear one of the young graduates introduce a fellow classmate by telling us about a poem she had 'wroten'. I'm thinking a few more English classes might be in order. I'm thinking his teachers might either be shaking their heads or squirming. I'm thinking this is funny.

The play by play of Grade Twelve Grad will have to wait until my husband returns from a horse packing slash hiking trip he took to the mountains. I'll find out then because my husband picked up a number of celebrating graduates, including two nephews, at about 4:00 a.m.,the morning after Grad. He and his brother (father of said nephews) packed the boys and assorted friends who were also celebrating, into trucks and headed to the mountains where they would unload the horses, unload the boys, saddle up and head down the trail. No mercy shown to celebrants, I am sure.

But this grad season made me think of my favourite grad story. It has drama, tears, conflict, dilemma's, disasters - and that was just picking out the dress pattern. You see, I made both my daughter's grad dresses. (In Canada, at least western Canada - we call it Grad - Americans would call it Prom). The first one went without a hitch. The second one. . . . cue the drums.

We bought the pattern, measured, decided which size, bought the three layers of material - lining, shiny layer, sparkly layer - I boldy started cutting, then sewed up the lining, then tried said lining on my daughter and - - - the dress was too small. All the material had been cut and sewn. The nearest material shop was 140 klicks away. I sighed, then told my daughter we had two options. Buy a dress, or she could try to lose weight. Being Dutch, she chose the cheaper option. Back to the sewing machine while daughter walked and dieted and was quite proud of her new physique. Then I had to tell her to stop because the dress was now getting too big.

Finally the dress was done, it looked perfectly shiny and spangly and lovely. The day had arrived as days like this usually do. With minor panic. My husband and I were in a hurry, daughter was in a hurry to get to the hairdresser, son was wandering around asking dumb questions like 'where is my shirt?'. Daughter wantd the dress ironed before she left. So I turned on the iron, ran back to the bathroom to deal with my dripping hair, ran back to the ironing board, picked up the iron - can you guess where this is going? - put the iron down on the dress and screamed as the iron melted the dress. Hole 4 x 5 , left flank.

I said some bad words, my daughter's face looked like someone had knocked the wind out of her. Then I cried and my dear daughter who should have been the one crying, put her arm around my shoulder and told me it was all right. I was so proud of her in that moment.

The only saving grace was that I had melted the shiny layer of the three layers. I patched it with trembling fingers as I tried not to let the clock's relentless ticking make me make yet another drastic mistake. The spangly layer went over top and, huge relief. You could only see the patch if you looked very close.

Of course, my daughter, having a sense of humour as well as a sense of grace, had to show her classmates the patch and tell the story. It made a good grad story and she told it with zeal.

And I'm telling it now.