Sunday, July 11, 2010

Orts of the week

Crossword puzzle makers love the word. Ort. It means a small scrap of food left over after a meal. The list of synonyms is rather delightful. Atom, butt, chicken feed, ship, crumb, dab, dash, division, dollop, dose, dot, dram, driblet, drop, droplet, end, excerpt, flake, fraction, fragment, grain, iota, item, jot, lick, lump, minim, mite, modicum, moiety, molecule, morsel, niggle, ounce, parcel, part, particle, peanut, pinch, portion, sample, scale, scintilla, scrap, scruple, section, segment, shard, share, shaving, shred, slice, sliver, smidgen, snatch, snip, snippet, specimen, speck, splinter, sprinkling, stub, stump, taste, tittle, trace, trickle, trifle, whit.
I often complain about the foibles of the English language, but think how colourful our prose would be if we consulted the thesaurus more frequently. Although, I have to admit, I fail to see what some of the words in the list have to do with an ort. And why is Spell check not recognizing the word ort

It's been a hot week and for some reason, although I've been thinking lots of deep thoughts (really, I have!), they haven't translated into any action on my part, blog-wise. But here, if you care, are some of the things that are still rattling around in my brain.

I finished Traveling with Pomegranates, by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter. I loved her books, The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair, for their "mothering" themes as much as her storytelling skills. This book alternates chapters between mother and daughter, telling of their travels together as well as the growth of their relationship and their individual struggles to know themselves. While I don't have much patience for Sue's ideas of feminism and female deity, I like some of her thoughts on finding wholeness by accepting the old woman she would some day become. I don't admire George Sands or even think I would have liked her if I had met her, but I do like this statement of hers that was quoted in the book. The old woman I shall become will be quite different from the woman I am now. Another I is beginning. This is how I feel sometimes.  Maybe having Mum living with us has made me more aware of how I have changed with each new season of life and I wonder what the next change will be like. 

The nights have, thank goodness, been fairly cool and the mornings pleasant. I walked out of the front door one morning and saw several perfect spider webs in the last stages of construction.
See how his (her) little feet (hands) are pulling on the web filaments.
One night, I thought the sunset looked promising. We can't really see the sunset any more from our back yard. Our neighbours have built a big old second story that blocks the skyline and their trees just keep getting bigger. What's with that? So I walked down the road and had to climb the pile of dirt and weeds that road construction left behind before I could really see. The reality was tame, so I clambered back down the pile and was almost back to my house when I turned around and saw this... I clambered back up the pile of dirt and got my photo.
Sunsets change in a heartbeat.
I hope you appreciate it.

My Mum is only here for another five weeks. In some ways, I am excited to have my house back to my selfish little self. But a part of me is sad and wants to take care of her for the rest of her life. 
I am conflicted about many things.

My buddy Lori gave me these exotic day lilies a few years ago and this summer they have come into their own, which almost makes up for losing one of my hibiscus plants. The best things in my garden first grew in Lori's garden. 

I am currently reading In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. I may write a whole post on some of his findings and ideas, because they confirm some of my long-held beliefs about the food we eat in America. As in so many other subjects (can you say "global warming"?) scientists tend to promote their opinions as fact, in this case to the detriment of the health of whole generations of Americans and, increasingly, the world. A few examples are margarine (the "healthy" spread), eggs, low-fat foods, and dietary fat. If you want a good reason to eat less processed and unnatural food, read this book and you will find it. You'll thank me later. Another book related to this topic is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. She is rather liberal but eminently sensible on the subject of food.
Now, if I could just learn to love my vegetables.

Bethany and the kids came over a couple of times this week. 
Josh became captivated by the bin of cars and spent a few quiet moments in the living room.

I really enjoyed church today. I go every week, but I have to admit that some weeks it's just out of habit. Then once in a while I am rewarded for my constancy by some actual upliftment. The Sacrament Meeting topic was Hope. The speakers all tied faith and hope together and told stories of real people and their own experiences and feelings that made me feel truly blessed to have hope in the resurrection and that all things are in God's hands. One speaker quoted the words of Be Still My Soul. I love the hymn, but it is hard to think about the words when I'm singing them, or, more often, accompanying on the piano.

Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief and pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change He faithful will remain. 
Be still my soul, thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

And then, in Relief Society, I had been asked to teach the lesson on the atonement, which I found to be a daunting task. But this morning, I latched onto the horizontal aspect of the atonement, that is, showing Christ's love by reaching out to our fellow men. And sisters. Which opened up a whole new level of understanding to me, even though I knew it before. There is so much pain and suffering in the world and we can be God's hand  in others' lives.
So there was that. A little glimmer of gospel understanding in my sometimes skeptical life.

Tonight, we had a dessert social.
You know I love dessert socials, for the camaraderie as much as the sweets. And there was this sweet little guy making eyes at Jeff.


  1. I love your pictures today! I'm quite jealous of the spiderwebs - they are hard to capture.
    I can't get sunsets from my yard either, there are too many trees, so I do appreciate your efforts!

  2. You wouldn't believe the length of the comment I just left on your wonderful post. It took me 20 minutes to write it. And Blogger wouldn't let it post, and now it's gone.


    I loved all your thoughts. Can't write the comment again! Must have coffee!

  3. Thanks for expressing what I often think, about routine obedience and church attendance. There are some days I am so tired and worn out I hate to even THINK about another responsibility, but then I get to assist people at the Temple and see the joy on the faces of the parents as children are sealed or brides in all their finery and all is right again. Some moments catch us unawares I think. I so enjoy your blog, wish I had the gift!

  4. Thanks girls. Jennifer, one time I approved your comment and blogger didn't post it until the next day. Weird. I would have loved to read your thoughts. I'm considering starting a list of all the things/thoughts/opinions we have in common!

  5. Well, here I am back again and determined to make a stab at telling you everything I thought about this post. This time I'll right-click and copy before attempting to post the comment, in case anything goes wrong.

    Are you trying to melt me with those pics of that little baby guy and of Josh? If so, it's working. I love that picture of Josh. I haven't learned to work with pictures the way you have, and clearly you have a much better camera and are a superior photographer, but I'll keep working at it and meanwhile admiring all the amazing things people do with cameras and their subjects.

    I love the song Be Still My Soul. For heartrending lyrics it's right up there with Abide With Me and Great is Thy Faithfulness.

    I'd very much like to have heard your thoughts on the atonement. I too have a sometimes-skeptical heart and I admire your bravery in coming right out and saying so!

    I make every attempt to shun processed foods but am so often derailed. We love to eat at our house ... tasty all-American fare that often includes hotdogs and hamburgers and yummy all-natural potato chips -- this weekend we ate Manwich twice, it was incredible -- and of course, homemade desserts. But I haven't let margarine through the door in over 25 years. It's real butter or nothing. And I'm pretty good about downing my veggies.

    I hope the "scientists" aren't against eggs because I love eggs. They're all wet when it comes to the subject of global warming. That whole deal is a scam.

    I'm conflicted about a lot of things too! And fluctuate wildly between selfishness and giving.

    I do appreciate the sunset photo. I am often visibility thwarted when it comes to getting the shots I want of the sky and sunset. My husband even offered to get me up on the roof the other night to get what promised to be a glorious sunset, but as I demurred out of fear, black clouds rolled in and made it a moot point. I think I'll write a short story about that because the whole experience is rife with metaphors.

    I do not like spiders!

    I've never read anything by Sue Monk Kidd and certainly not by George Sand, but my gripe with women authors is that, with few exceptions, they are so liberal. All too often their books and characters seem to exist only for the purpose of pushing humanistic philosophies ... but that is their right, even if I disagree, so more power to them on that score. At least they had the wherewithal to write something that got published. May I go and do likewise.

    As to the concept of changing with the seasons of life, I give you one of my favorite poems, by Edna St. Vincent Millay (who died at the age of 58) ... actually it's a sonnet:

    Thou famished grave, I will not fill thee yet,
    Roar though thou dost, I am too happy here;
    Gnaw thine own sides, fast on; I have no fear
    Of thy dark project, but my heart is set
    On living -- I have heroes to beget
    Before I die; I will not come anear
    Thy dismal jaws for many a splendid year;
    Till I be old, I aim not to be eat.
    I cannot starve thee out: I am thy prey
    And thou shalt have me; but I dare defend
    That I can stave thee off; and I dare say,
    What with the life I lead, the force I spend,
    I'll be but bones and jewels on that day,
    And leave thee hungry even in the end.

    I love the foibles of the English language too, and I like me a good crossword puzzle, but even I can't see how the charming little word ort is synonymous with peanut or excerpt! That there is a stretch. Even so, I admit I like that abstract sort of thinking when it comes to words.

    I'd better get out of here before I overstay my welcome. Thanks for your wonderful and thought-provoking post!