Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A day for special birthdays

It's not anything too special to have a celebrity born on your birthday. After all, every day is somebody else's special day too. Well-known people born on this day include Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Beatrix Potter and Terry Fox.

But aside from those familiar names, a few others were born this day -- my niece, also named Jacqueline, and a stranger who came in and out of my life 43 years ago.

Tonight I was part of an important celebration, an observation of a different kind of birthday. The gathering coincided with a meeting of NA and was in honour of a friend who's now gone a year being drug-free. Considering he'd spent a lifetime ingesting drugs and booze, this is a major accomplishment and a step further into the new life he's established. I was proud that I got to meet his mum and his brother and to be included as part of his family.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beyond language

When I used the website, Babylon, to translate the phrase above into Hungarian, it came out as TĂșl nyelv. But when I pasted that phrase into the Hungarian-to-English form, it came back as too language.

And really, 'too language' is about how I feel when I try to learn (or even hear and repeat) almost anything in the subtle sounds of Hungarian. To my western ear, it sounds like a series of swishes and other vocalizations that are impossible for my mouth to wrap itself around.

When I travel, I try to learn enough of a language to at least say thank you and hello. But when I travelled in Hungary, I was hard-pressed to acquire even that much. I found myself pretty well stuck with English only.

This summer, friends from Hungary have been visiting nearby. Yesterday, we took them on an excursion to the city. Five-year-old Hunor proved that English isn’t always necessary to enjoy an outing with a couple of Canadians. Science World with its many interactive attractions kept him (and the rest of us) happily occupied for the entire two hours we’d plugged the parking meter for. Who ever said science wasn’t any fun?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Outdoor pantry

Sometimes I laugh about the depth of our pantry -- the one that's indoors, just a few steps off the kitchen. It's usually so well-stocked, I even call it 'the store'. If we're out of mustard, I stroll over to the store, and most of the time, I'll find what I'm looking for.

This summer, we've expanded the little kitchen garden from its usual crop of herbs. This year it's grown to include the 'salad bar' -- an assortment of greens that have been providing fresh salads for quite a few weeks now.

There are enough individual lettuce plants (and of interesting enough varieties) that there are plenty of outer leaves, and those are all I've needed to pinch to make our evening salads.

Best of all, the hanging baskets are perfect for confounding the slugs. Until those creatures learn to fly, our greens should be safe. The wagon in the photo above works much the same way, too high for the creepy crawlers to make their way up to our leafy paradise.

Maybe it's just the laziness of summer, but I like not having to drive -- or even walk more than a few steps -- to go to the store.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Meanings and meanderings

I've written before about daisies and their meanings, both what they mean to me, and what they mean in the world of floriology.

I'm thinking of daisies today, not only because they seem to be at their peak out in the garden, but because they make me think of two different men, one who's too young to have really started his life, the other who's much older, but who's played an oddly important role in mine.

Even though I'm sure it's nothing but a waste of time, I've written to Steve Harper again. But no, Steve's not one of the men I'm thinking about. The reason I've written to Steve is because of Omar Khadr. Earlier this week, another ruling came down. This one gives the government of Canada a week to do something on behalf of Khadr who, it must be remembered, has not been convicted of anything.

The daisy plays into this for several of its meanings, youth and childhood innocence. As for youth, Khadr's is gone, disappeared to his bad luck growing up with the father he did and further to the confines of Guantanamo, where he's been kept since he was 15.

One of the saddest associations with the daisy is from a Celtic legend, claiming daisies as the spirits of children who died at birth. Khadr didn't die at birth, though metaphorically, the association seems apt.

But on a much happier note, today is the day my once-upon-a-time heart-throb Ringo Starr turns 70. For once, I guess my mother must have been right: he was too old for me.

And the significance of daisies as they relate to Ringo? I imagine, especially where he has Barbara Bach as a life-partner, that the daisy will still be true when it tells me ‘he loves me not.’ Oh well.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The cycle of the seasons

I know. I repeat myself. I've mentioned berries before. Even featured a pic of the very same red wagon.

But that's the thing about the seasons. They come and go, and then they come back again.

Happily, the same is true for the raspberries. Another sign that it really is summer.