Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Summer Idyll--Discussion Thread

A Toadflax by any other name would smell as sweet...
The Principle Nursing Officer is known as the Tartar...she only smiled at Christmas and the Annual Ball.  Ugh.  Calling a gruff superior names behind her back?  Childish ladies.  I would sit better on my high horse, however, without the haunting memory of a shared giggle between high school Deutsch-class compadres over our pet name for the teacher: Der Frau.  Maybe you have to speak German to get how rude that is...


There are primroses and bread and butter under the hedgerows. What  are bread and butter flowers you ask?  Other names include: Common Toadflax, Brideweed, Bridewort, Butter and Eggs.  I love the names for all their literary possibilities (Bilbo Baggins carried Bridewort to his table...) but they crush the romance right out of the poor, inoffensive flora.

Aunt Kate's will: everything goes to charity. Phoebe is specifically mentioned - she is to get specifically nothing.  If Aunt Kate's ashes could be carted out with a load of rubbish to any nearby landfill...I hear the views are lovely.

'The name of your 10th grade shop teacher,
Mr. Smith, or it's back to Victoria!'
Customs and passport procedures were strange and exciting; she watched her passport being stamped and quite expected that her case would be opened and inspected...I always feel like I'm hiding a criminal past whenever I step up to a customs counter at a border crossing.  Will they see the bead of sweat glistening on my upper lip?  The slight hesitation when I struggle to remember my birth place?  Will I have to live in Canada forever!?  Not that Canada (particularly Ottawa, probably) isn't a lovely place but I have a friend whose baby-daddy had immigration irregularities--involving a long, sordid story of a stolen passport, my friend who knew better, his mother's failure to properly naturalize him as a baby, and the cold, unfeeling bureaucracy combining to keep him in citizenship limbo forever...

George explains how his family had become wealthy...his father's forebears had been what Phoebe privately called landed gentry and had invested wisely in the first railways...there were always doctors...his mother's family had made it's fortune in the Dutch East Indies in the seventeenth century.  It's funny but wouldn't doctoring be a massive step down from being fabulously wealthy? (It's a job, it really is.)  How many generations back would you have to go when mother's family would have screeched the house down if a daughter wedded a doc?

Unhappy Hipsters: The ultimate unwanted guest-room
Kasper's living room is ultra modern with curious tubular furniture, flame coloured paper and Corina on a hideous sofa.  Modern furniture (which I love to look at more than I love to live in) is given the most irreverent send-up in my nearly-favorite random blog: Unhappy Hipsters.  Check it.  It begs the question, 'Can a Mies Van Der Rohe chair and joy inhabit the same space?'

The freezer is being defrosted. When The Founding Bettys were kids, this was an all day job. Frost-free freezers are right up there with sliced bread...I remember sitting on the dryer once, reading The Little House on the Prairie, the blow-dryer going full-bore and ice raining down near the shop vac nozzle...I'd forgotten to unplug the freezer and it was gamely attempting to maintain temperature.  I was almost strangled for those five bucks...