Tag Archives: coffee

Pseudoscorpions in the Paper

This morning I had a pseudoscorpion crawl out of my newspaper and onto my sugar spoon. It’s a gloomy and moody day and I was requiring extra coffee to get my day started.

That surprise visitor did the trick.

pseudoscorpion_0258Tiny and harmless to humans (at least the ones in Vermont are), the little fellow none-the-less surprised me alert.

I transported him (via sugar spoon) to the cellar, where he is sure to enjoy a plethora of cluster flies and other prey.

(Special thanks to WhatsThatBug.com for helping me identify the critter and to Eurospiders.com for the photo.)

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This morning’s hike up the mountain was glorious. Yesterday’s rain still dripped from the branches and the ground sucked at my boots as I trudged towards the summit. The ground heaved and shuddered, and it occurred to me that perhaps the notes in Uncle O. Underhill’s journals regarding the mountain were not experiments in metaphor. Perhaps this mountain truly is a living organism, and Underhill built his house on a remarkably craggy part of this creature. Perhaps a knee-cap, or an eyebrow.

Bubo loves our life here; while I have my moments of nostalgia for Brooklyn and our city home, my intrepid companion has fully embraced life in the country. Her feathers are more lustrous and she has quit cursing. (She has not given up her penchant for Schlock Horror Films. I was awoken from my nap with the tell-tale screeches of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.) Our morning constitutionals continue – whether we be city dwellers or country dwellers – and this morning held the promise of newness. Perhaps it was the coming of spring. Perhaps it was the enormous mug of coffee I begin each morning with. Whatever it was, I inhaled the scent of wet leaves deeply as I rested against a splintered oak and felt invigorated. Bubo soared majestically before dropping down for some late hunting. (Methinks her love of our new country life involves the fresh variety of snacks just outside our doorstep.)

What with my morning walk (before the sun came out and before the snow showered), I’m sure you can guess what today’s word is.

Umbrageous is an adjective meaning affording or forming shade; shady. Also: not easily perceived, as if from being darkened or shaded. So, you could say that the forest was filled with umbrageous trees and that my brother Mordecai lives an umbrageous life. The word can also mean easily offended; apt to take offense.

Umbrageous stems from the French ombrageux, which is from the Old French umbrageus, which, in turn, is from umbre for shade. All this from the Latin umbra.

Can you see the word umbrage in all of these? Another way to say that you take offense is that you take umbrage. Umbrage is a feeling of pique or resentment. It is also shade.

Now, pray do not take umbrage should I be silent for a few days. It appears in all my mucking about I aggravated my cough, and I am laid up with some version of a flu. I have taken to my chair in front of the fire, with a hot toddy and my plushest slippers.




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Tuesday was Town Meeting Day here in Vermont (granted, some towns met Monday night). We townspeople gathered in meeting halls, school auditoriums, and theatres to discuss our town budgets, town business, and whether or not to use funds for various items like new dump trucks. It was a long day for many of us (especially those of us not particularly gregarious or tolerant of fold-out chairs) but it is always nice to see your neighbors and enjoy a cup of coffee and a freshly baked maple cinnamon roll.

For many people, yesterday brought along Weltschmerz.

Weltschmerz is a noun that means world weariness; pessimism, mental depression, apathy, or sadness felt at the difference between physical reality and the ideal state. How often have you experienced Weltschmerz this year already, oddlings?

It hails from the German Welt for world plus Schmerz for pain. Literally, it means world pain.

Many consider this part of the oeuvre of true Gothic romantics and the likes of Lord Byron, Hermann Hesse, and Alfred de Musset.

It can also be in the oeuvre of a rather old man who has spent a feverish night making notes in his Laboratory Journal only to rise in the morning and discover that the heat is still not working in that wing of the house and the scones are too dry and the coffee is not strong enough.

Nothing a stiff drink and a brisk walk won’t cure, eh?

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Yeti Another Monday

Six am found me explaining the difference between my house and a bed and breakfast to some very frustrated travelers. What I found so interesting was their fierce belief that I was somehow putting them on and that this WAS the bed and breakfast they were looking for.

At what point would you, as a traveler, realize that perhaps you were off your path? Would it be after the walk through the graveyard of lost pets, the climb up the steps onto my (admittedly) rickety front porch, or upon meeting yours truly in a dressing gown at the front door? Would it be whilst listening to the cacophony emanating from the third floor (the specimens in the laboratory loathe the doorbell)? Or perhaps when the pygmy yeti took it upon itself to retch across the parlor after eating a bowl of plain, dry Cheerios cereal? I would have thought Bubo tearing up a rat in the front window or Mordecai playing his sitar from the Widow’s Walk would have done it. I underestimated these folk.

These intrepid travelers only turned back towards the street (after my incredibly simple and succint directions, I might add), when one of the gargoyles relieved itself directly onto the porch.

A hail of pebbles is disconcerting. As is the stone gargoyle above you moving across the house east, into the sun. They left quickly.
I have thus been cleaning the parlor rug. Between the flivvervaats and the yeti, baking soda and vinegar may not be enough. It might take petrol and a match.

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