Saturday, December 31, 2005

Thumpity Thump Thump

(subtitled - All You Ever Wanted To Know About Lays of Ind But Were Afraid If You Asked, I'd Type Through Supper. Yours and Mine. And even supper in Newfoundland. Which will only make sense to Canadians who watched TV in the '60s.)

Lays of Ind. First published in England in 1875, at which time it was likely already in its' 3rd Edition in Bombay. In its' 9th Edition in England by 1893, since that's when the copy my dear friend C purchased for me on eBay while I was driving home from Christmas was published. In its' 13th Edition in 1917, according to the copy I purchased from Doreen Stephens Books in Toronto.

That's the one I've laid eyes on. And hands. The one that lives on my bedside table. The one whose cover I sneak upstairs to caress, every now and then. It's not just a book. It's the music of Yorkshire in my grandfather's voice, the twinkle in his eye as he pronounced "Twas nothing but a hencoop with a bearded man astride!" It's reading the Preface over the phone to my mother a few days ago, wishing I could be telling my Dad instead. It's my Dad and me shutting ourselves away in TechnoBoy's parents bedroom, on a visit to the farm, recording Two Thumpers and other bits of poetry so we can have a tape recording of 5 generations of us reciting poetry. It's history, my personal family history, and as both my father and my grandfather are gone, leaving me sole custodian of the love of language in my family, it is returning something immeasurably precious to me.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Almost too much to process

On B's 4th birthday, we gave him the bike he had been begging for for several months. When he saw the bike, he leaned back against the garage door and casually said "I know what that is. It's a bike." He then sauntered over to it, taking his own sweet time.

Even though he was beyond thrilled with it, it was at least ten minutes before he allowed a small smile to sneak out.

Today I got a copy of the "Lays of Ind" in the mail, one I ordered from a bookseller in Toronto last week.

I opened, and read, all the other mail first.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Walter Yeldham is my new favourite name. I may even go put flowers on his grave, if I can find it, the next time I'm in England.

Dear Anonymous

I love you. I love your parents, for having you. I love your siblings, if you have any. I love whoever has provided you with the means to have a computer, so you could be up reading blogs and googling at 4 o'clock in my morning. I love you for liking my rambling bits, and I love whatever dogged personality trait made you persistent enough to find this treasure for me. I love you for giving me an anonymous Christmas present that has had me sitting at my computer staring at my screen in rapt delight for at least an hour. I have googled and googled and found more places to buy that precious book than I had previously imagined possible.
Thank you thank you thank you. I am completely unfit for the real world today, but I can live with that. Walking on air has its own delights.

Okay if the rest of you want to know what I am talking about, first go here. Then go here. Then go read the comments on the blog entry just before this one, entitled "Thanks for clearing that up."

Anonymous - thanks for clearing that up. Do you need babysitting? A poem written in celebration of the kindness of strangers? A public reading in which I quote "that best part of a good man's life/his little, nameless unremembered acts/of kindness and of love" and tell this story? And I will tell this story, over and over again, and behind it all, in my voice, you will always hear an underlying astonishment that you, whoever you are, you wonderful human being, would do this for me.

I've run out of words. Asante sana, merci beaucoup, gracias.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Thanks for clearing that up

Me : B, could you please whateverwhateverwhatever?

B, sitting in a cardboard box: Yes but uh, Mom? I'm in this airplane and I'm way up in space and I can't hear you.

Me: So how are we talking?

B: We're on phones. And I just said "Look out your window at those clouds" and you did and you saw me!

A few recent domestic triumphs

1) yesterday I made sure I had all the ingredients for hamburger soup to put in the crockpot for tonight. And then I lost the recipe.

2) Thursday I put porkchops in the microwave to defrost. I punched in all the right things, what they were and how thick and how much they all weighed - I even hit START - and they didn't defrost. Did I think "Well there must be something wrong with the microwave."? No, with my usual clear-thinking cause-and-effect approach I thought "Huh. Guess the defrost option only works for hamburger."

3) Just now, unloading the dishwasher, I found a ...teabag. My carpets may need vacuuming, but I have the cleanest teabags in town! And also, I know where the expression "this tea tastes like dishwater comes from."

Friday, December 16, 2005

just for Rachel in sunny Vancouver

(What? the sun was out last week! or so I heard ...)

Yes, Rachel, if you melt chocolate in the microwave too aggressively, you can burn it. In fact, here's something that might happen:

You might be living in California and have a group of friends who think nothing of making enough almond bark for everyone at a 400 person convention, individually packaged. You might have someone figure out that if X # of people volunteer to make bark, each person would only need to make one pan. So the mythical you might think "well how hard can one pan of almond bark be?" and go buy some almonds and white chocolate. Knowing yourself, you might be forward thinking enough to buy twice as much as you need, just in case, but REALLY - how hard can it be?

You might burn the white chocolate to a stinking charred mass the first time. With your next set of ingredients, you MIGHT try to make a double boiler out of a Pyrex measuring cup and a pan of water, and manage to get a few drops of the boiling water in the chocolate. While this will not burn the chocolate, it WILL make the chocolate runny. For Ever.

So you might have to call the lovely retired woman next door to come and look after your children while you run to the store for more chocolate chips. You might try the double boiler thing MUCH MORE CAREFULLY with the third bag of chocolate but you will leave the chocolate on the heat too long and before your disbelieving eyes, the chocolate will suddenly harden and stick its tongue out at you. No amount of threatening to send it to its room will make it pourable. You might be so embarrassed at the thought of going to the Great Bagging of the Bark party without any bark that you will sneak the children into the van and slink off down the street in search of more chocolate.

The fourth time you might get lucky. But that luck might have something to do with trying the microwave again, ten seconds at at time. And your bark might be warm when you get to the party, but you will at least have avoided showing up at a Bark bagging party without any bark because you couldn't handle a TWO INGREDIENT recipe.

And you might never, ever, ever make bark again.


Hearing beneath the lines

"You should come for tea with me", she said "to where I used to work. You'd love my old boss. You'll see why I found it so hard to quit."

And I smiled because what I heard was "I really like my old boss and I really like you."

I like you too ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Make a note of it.

so I got this early Christmas present, since the new car gets the garage - I got a remote starter for the van. Here's what I found out today -

If you start the van with the remote starter, and get in in a big freaking hurry, and turn the key in the ignition at the EXACT SAME TIME you hit the brakes (you're supposed to the former, then the latter, and then the van takes over from the remote starter), the van goes "I don't know who is supposed to be in control here!" and crosses its arms and pouts until you get out of the van, lock it with the remote, and then restart it with the remote starter. You will NOT be able to start without doing this, no matter how you fuss and mutter.

And as you get back in the van, more methodically this time, you will hear your mother saying sagely "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."

Monday, December 12, 2005


Go read Karen Connelly's The Lizard Cage - Ms Hartman, you're up to it! - I want to discuss it with someone!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Why I like Angela Hunt's books

so this morning I read The Island of Heavenly Daze, by Lori Copeland and Angela Hunt - what great fun. They had me at "He's got a squirrel on his head!" Without giving you any more of the plot or the story, which is just such great fun, let me say this:

I love Angela's mind. And the reason is this - so many of her books make me think she was sitting there one day and thought "What if ..?" What if a plane crashed and someone had time to scribble a note? What if faith could cure a neurological disease in a remote rainforest? What if you could clone humans? What if animals could tell us what the plane they exist on is like? What if angels lived among us?

I'm not saying I think any of this could happen or would happen or did happen. The question is the heart of it - what if? We serve a big God with a big imagination - the possibilities are endless. And Angela's books, will, without fail, take you to that place where anything might happen.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The perks of married life

Last night, I was dreaming that the children were having a farting contest. I was battling rising frustration at the same time as I was trying to figure out how on earth they were managing to produce so many long, robust farts one right after the other.

and then I woke up and realized TechnoBoy was snoring.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Last night I snuck away to watch ER at 8 o'clock, instead of staying up till 11 to watch it (the joys of cable) so that I could a) stay awake for the whole thing and b) get to work on time today. I heard B ask TechnoBoy "Where did Mom go?" and the next thing I knew, the world's sweetest six year old boy was marching into my room with a glass of ice and a can of Coke which he produced with a flourish and the announcement "And while you're watching TV, you can drink this!" I thanked him profusely and he grew about six feet and stood there tall and proud and gravely told me "I thinked of it all by myself."

Little sweetheart.