Beowulf, or that time I was proven right by Anglo-Saxon poetry

One of the books I read starting with B for February was Beowulf. It was suggested by my boss. It turns out the Toronto Public Library has a bilingual edition: Anglo-Saxon to modern English. The introduction was fascinating. It set out how Seamus Heaney approached the task of translating this ages-old poem. Which lead me to some unexpected support…

One of the things I have always done that apparently drives Toby a little batty is change topics of conversation, either immediately or after a lull, by using the interjection “so.” Toby considers “so” as more a conclusion indicator word as opposed to a new topic indicator. This has bothered him for some time. 😉

What does this have to do with Beowulf? Well, Mr. Heaney writes about the voice of some “relatives of my father’s, people whom I had once described in a poem as “big voiced Scullions.” He explains they were big-voiced as everything they said came out more like a declaration as opposed to a statement. “A simple sentence such as “we cut the cord to-day” took on immense dignity when one of the Scullions spoke it.” and that was how he wanted Beowulf to sound.

The first lines read:

Usually, hwaet is translated in a literary fashion as “lo” or “hark” or “behold.” But in “Scullionspeak, the particle “so” came naturally to the rescue, because in that idiom, “so” operates as an expression which obliterates all previous discourse and narrative, and at the same time functions as an exclamation calling for immediate attention. So, “so” it was.”

Two letters. Occasional snarky remarks. All put to rest by a thousand-year-old poem.


What’s making me happy this week

So I’m tired, a bit stressed, and Q’s bathroom smells not-quite-so-vaguely of pee. BUT I’m trying to spend more time focusing on the positive. So here are a couple of things making me happy this week (much much thanks to Pop Culture Happy Hour – several people recommended this as a good podcast to listen to and they end the show with what’s making them happy this week)

1st up: a mug. Coffee is ALWAYS a necessity but as silly as this sounds, I saw this mug about a week ago and it made me smile. I remembered it a couple of times over the past few days and I always smiled so I bought it. I’m just trying to remember that every day can be the best day ever 🙂

best day ever

Next – Toby and I got married on May 10, 1997. So this week was our 19th wedding anniversary. 19 years. We met 22 years ago. Which is more than 1/2 of Toby’s life. He has done nothing but made my life awesome. I shared (and had to hunt for!) 19 photos of us together on facebook the other day but here’s “day 1” and “day 6935”

May 10, 1997
May 10, 1997
May 10, 2016
May 10, 2016

And last, the Marlies have both lost 2 and won 2 so far so Game 6 is guaranteed and I get to take Q to Ricoh on Saturday! #conquercalder

Diversions Get Baked

Feeling old – music through time….

Okay bear with me, this is worth it.

I’m making lemon scented blueberry cupcakes for a co-worker’s going-away lunch tomorrow. That was his request which is kinda sweet if you think about it.

This will be cupcakes...
This will be cupcakes…
naked cupcakes
with cream cheese icing and fresh blueberries

So, I’m in the kitchen listening to Q107 – I love classic rock. Ballroom Blitz comes on (right before that was Bohemian Rhapsody!) . Anyway, I’m singing away. I look over at Toby who’s come down to get a snack, and I say “maybe I should listen to something written in the last 20 years.”

Toby: When do you think this song is from?

Me: (speechless. Then cursing.)

Toby: Please, look it up…

Me: Okay, I’ll say mid-80s?

Toby: Look it up.

Me: *(&%& 1973 Ballroom Blitz is AS OLD AS I AM

Toby has this look on his face. I don’t like where this is probably going to go.

Toby: I was thinking of Q listening to the music you listen to and that you like and sing to him. So when you were five, if you were listening to someone about your age now, singing songs that came out the year they were born…. can you look up what the big songs were in 1936?

Me: WHAT?!?

For the record: Bing Crosby – Pennies from Heaven

The way you look tonight – the Fred Astaire version

But by far my favourite: Sweet Home Chicago. Toby tells me there’s a great story about Robert Johnson. You can read all about the legend of the man here – apparently he sold his soul to the devil to be able to play.

but the long and the short of it is – Toby should be nicer to me 😉

Family Health

Looking ahead – 2014

I don’t really do resolutions but I find myself looking ahead this year at what I want to do; what I want to achieve; how I want to feel when I look back over the year.

I want to be sure that I’m spending time with Q not just being present. Even silly things – we usually watch an episode or two of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse before bed. Instead of being on the laptop while sitting on the couch beside him, I’m going back to the “snuggle time” and playing and stuff during the show. It may seem like a small change but he seemed to really like it tonight.

I’m also going to try and be sure we get some outdoor time every week. I know he does at “school” (aka day care) but we need to get out as a family too.

Clearly, he takes a bit more after me than Toby…

low IMG_6177Spending time outside will actually be a bit easy (hopefully) now that Q is 3 (THREE!) years old, he and I are signed up for caregiver and tot skating lessons at a park close by the house. Our first lesson is Saturday morning. I’m so excited. I hope he likes it. Or at least is willing to go the second time.

I also want to spend more time with Toby. The trip to Dallas and Las Vegas over New Years was great but we should do more together at home too. Our big family trip looks to be a visit out west with Toby’s family. I cannot wait. They’re all so lovely (and I’m not just saying that on the off chance they read this!) and Victoria, B.C. is beautiful.

a relatively recent picture of Toby
a relatively recent picture of Toby

And finally I want to spend more time with myself. Ha, that sounds funny. I mean I want to do more quality things than just futz about online when I can’t sleep. I want to carve out some time to practice French, to knit and cross-stitch, and to bake – for others at least if I can’t have any!

Health wise – I didn’t meet my goal of running 1500 km in 2013 but I cracked 1000 km which I had never done before. Mostly that was thanks to the encouragement of my friends in doing a running streak through December (running at least a mile (or 1.6km) a day, every day, in December). Thanks to timing and everything I actually made it from November 30 to January 2. 34 days. Not too shabby. I was pretty inconsistent throughout the year and that’s the number one thing I’d like to improve on in 2014. I kept the same 1500 km goal though just to push myself 🙂

Weight wise – I lost, and kept off, about 22-25 pounds. I’m about 10 pounds heavier than my lightest weight in 2013, but considering we’ve just come out of the holidays, and 3 and a bit days in Las Vegas, I’ll take it.

I’m going to try and focus more on being healthier rather than just “lose the weight.” This also means I’m going to try and do other things beside running – a weekly spin class for example. Also yoga. I think I need more yoga. My hamstrings tell me so. And yea, ideally, I’d manage to lose about 30 pounds too.

Not to say running won’t be important. I already have a 10k and two halfs (one in Washington and one here at home) on the calendar for the year. I’m also hoping the 10 miler happens again this year. But I’m going to try and balance it with other things.

Anything you’re looking forward to?


He is his father’s son

Seriously, I was there. I was involved! But gosh does Q take after his dad.


They’ve smiled the same since the beginning:


The same awesome blue eyes


Even when one of them is sleeping


Doesn’t matter which


Or being, well, themselves:




And he’s definitely got his dad’s dance moves.