Tag Archives: garden

Columbus Day

Oh, what a beautiful October day in Brooklyn! Bubo is preening in the garden, full from a fruitful hunt in the park last night. The rain brought a number of gourmet items out into the open for Bubo to hunt, and the cool fall air has her more ravenous than usual. (And by gourmet items, I mean rodents, dears.)

Today is a national holiday in the United States. Most states here celebrate Columbus Day, to commemorate Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of America. Clearly, Columbus was not the first human to have knowledge of America – there were people already here and he was not even the first European to land on these fair shores. What Columbus did amounts to an excellent job of marketing and promotion – for better or for worse.

New York celebrates Columbus Day with an enormous parade. South Dakota, on the other hand, no longer celebrates Columbus Day on this day – those citizens celebrate Native American Day to commemorate the indigenous peoples of this land who suffered greatly due to Columbus’s marketing campaign for the New World.

There is continued controversy with this holiday; while on the one hand it celebrates the European influence in the history of the Americas (Italian-Americans celebrate heartily the positive impact Italians have had on this country), folks argue that the holiday then also celebrates the colonization and near-destruction of the indigenous peoples with little (to no) regard for their cultures and basic human rights.

Whatever your stance on the holiday (or Christopher Columbus), for many people this day is a holiday from work, and that is a cause for celebration.

Perhaps taking some time from your parade/cook-out/loafing plans to learn more about European exploration, the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and the mixed legacy of colonization would be in order? This is not a lecture, dears. It is merely a suggestion. Holidays are so much sweeter with a wee bit of knowledge, aren’t they?

Christopher Columbus by Jan van der Straet



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With two days of rain, drizzle, and fog under our belts, Half-Cousin Lida decided this would be the perfect time to have an impromptu dance party with her Siren girlfriends. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that sirens only drink white sangria. And that their dance parties require an exercise level and a love for Barry Manilow dance mixes that I do not possess.

Which brings me to today’s word.

Terpsichorean is an adjective meaning of or relating to dance. The word comes from Terpsichore, the Greek muse of dance and song, and is derived from a combination of the Greek terpeinto delight – and khorosdance.

So what we have in the garden today is a Terpsichorean performance. I had no idea that mermaids and sirens could be land-bound for so long.

Or that they could convince Mordecai to dance. He will deny it, but I saw him. Thus, I suppose you could say I have a terpsichorean brother.


Special thanks to Anu Garg and her newsletter A.Word.A.Day for inspiring today’s entry.

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I Admit Olfactory Mistakes Readily

Rotten radishes DO smell worse than a yeti who’s played in the mud for half the day.

Egg on my face. I asserted the yeti would smell worse.

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Yesterday was a stormy day in Brooklyn; the sky was dark and foreboding for much of the day, and the air was heavy with the coming rain. The dragons, suffering from some sort of seasonal molting process, were flitting about the garden as though in a frenzy. And after a full day of recovering from Cousin Cate’s mushroom “vodka”, I was ready to post here in my journal.

Until the power went out.

We initially assumed it was from the storm. But we were the only ones without power. And then I heard the tell-tale sounds of flivvervaats in the walls. It appears juvenile flivvervaats are like squirrels – they adore crawling through walls and ceilings and chewing through electricity wires. Fabulous. These creatures gestate in the womb for approximately 4 months and then require an additional 2 years to be able to live without their mothers. That means 2 years of suffering through chewed bookshelves, destroyed power cords, and an odd and pervasive odor that mimics nutmeg on a good day and Valerian root on a bad day.

It also means that we are all acclimating to the sounds of flivvervaats in the house. This includes an increasingly robust encyclopedia of sounds. Which brings me to today’s word.

Whish is a noun meaning to move with a soft, rushing sound; whiz; swish; the whirring or whizzing sound of rapid motion.

First used in the 1500s, whish is an echoic and imitative word. This sound became the word used to describe it. Like woosh, bloop, or peep.

Though the power is back on in this old house, and the garden has been cleaned of detritus from the family equinox festivities, there are still whishes from within the walls, keeping the human inhabitants a bit on edge. Perhaps once this storm system passes the flivvervaats will calm down.

Or perhaps I’ll have another belt of this mushroom vodka and be unaware of things for another 20 hours.

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