Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seemingly Inchoate Post

The post yesterday was a big lie - I queued it up weeks ago and put some random date on it. The truth is I am not in any shape to go to a shop, thrift or otherwise - I am vilely sick, with a horrid cold and a pernicious cough. I spent Thursday and most of Friday curled into the fetal position in bed, shivering and hacking and filling up two wastebaskets with Kleenex.

To make matters worse, the only thing I had to read was the world's most depressing novel, which I doggedly kept at, sure it could only get better. I was so, so wrong. I'll tell you more about that later.

I have lost my senses of smell and taste, so am taking this opportunity to eat vegetables which I normally abhor, drink appallingly sour unsweetened fruit smoothies of powerful vitamin density, and pound back shots of garlic juice.

My daughters are miserably sick and the youngest one is clinging on to me and crying fractiously, "Mama, 'nuggle", incessantly.

Mr HalfSoledBoots is treating us like lepers, constantly Lysoling the doorknobs, and muttering about flu shots (which we don't get).

I was too sick to knit Thursday or Friday, but did some work on Fern today. It's coming along beautifully. No pictures because the camera is all the way across the room.

I had a great time at my brother's place, centre of contagion notwithstanding. Actually I think I was Patient Zero, since my lungs started feeling "weird" on the very day we arrived, when everyone else was still perfectly healthy. Out of the fourteen of us that were in the house, not a single one remains untouched by the Dreaded Lurgy. We have all been huddled under our duvets of pain for a week now, give or take.

I read a book last week - a good book. Yann Martel told me about it. It was maybe the best book I've read in fifteen years. In this book I found a word I had never seen before. That's AMAZING because, not to boast or anything, but there aren't many words, in common usage, that I have not heard. The word is lour.

I tried to look it up in the Oxford English Dictionary but it turns out you have to subscribe to look up words in the OED online, and a subscription costs a mere $295 per year. Or if you can't commit to that you can just pay $29.95 monthly.

Words are important, don't get me wrong, but.....maybe not that important.

Which brings me to - I once had a brilliant plan to steal the entire 20 volume OED from the UVic library, using 9 co-conspirators, five different emergency escapes, and the basement fire alarm. Then a few nights later we would return them through the book drop. Only a geek could appreciate the humour of this plan - startled librarians checking in restricted books that you can't take out the front doors without getting locked down, and baffled classics students trying to figure out what boustrophodon is without the go-to resource......ha ha ha - it still gets me. Nobody would agree to help me out, though, and I regretfully decided that stealing two volumes just didn't have the same kind of punch.

I think I'm going to go make myself a new pillowcase. I picked up some fabric when I was away and I could really use a lift during these dark days.

Hopefully when I return, I'll have something useful to post.

But maybe don't count on it.

13 comments:

Annalea said...

Oh my. Sounds like you had what we had a mere couple of weeks ago. (Well, everyone but me. Somehow, I got off easy.) Hang in there; it's at least a ten day bug. :o(

So, I'm dying to know how lour was used. Do you remember the context?

Gilead looks like an excellent read . . . need to pick that one up at the library . . .

Jen said...

Hello - am really enjoying your blog! Found you through whatever that Canadian blog award was you were nominated for several weeks ago. Anyway, just had to comment because I also finished Gilead a couple of weeks ago and loved it - what a beautiful read, and so different from most books...nice just to enjoy the writing rather than racing from one plot point to another. And I wonder whether the world's most depressing novel could be The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which I finished shortly before Gilead...your comments pretty much summed up my feelings about that book!

Cynthia said...

Oh, dear. I hope you're feeling better soon -- and that Mr. HSB avoids the plague.

Shan said...

Annalea, I can't recall the sentence. And it's going to drive me crazy trying to find the word "lour" in this book. I think it was on the top right hand of a page.....I'm checking them all and I swear to you, if I can't find it, I will read the entire bloody thing over again.

Shan said...

Jen, thank you for your comment - glad to have you! And nice that the Canadian Blog Awards directed SOME traffic here.

You're right about Gilead - beautiful read. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, and was so relieved to find it was (mostly) straightforward. Am curious to know, though, whether you think Lila Ames ("your mother") is the impoverished girl who bore John Ames Boughton the illegitimate child years ago? Clues point in that direction but of course the narrator never discovers it, so...

And, I'll see you Edgar Sawtelle and I'll raise you a Blackstrap Hawco. More anon...

lizbon said...

Darling, I would gladly help you steal the OED (as long as we return it when we're through - my favorite bit of that plan).

And best of all, I can strap all the volumes to the back of my bike for the getaway!

Hope you feel better soon. I hate being sick. I feel your Kleenex-busting pain.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I too am wondering what book you nearly tossed away in frustration. We always have too many books laying about because I can't stop buying them. We have a stack of unreads in the bedroom, another in the front room ... we work through them all eventually ... but it's been awhile since I've bought one that's caused me to pitch it away. Edgar Sawtelle nearly did it, I picked it up out of duty and finished it because I started it.

Am rambling. Hope you feel better. Hope you find more words like lour that send you to the dictionary. Take care kiddo,

Alison said...

Oh, ick, you poor thing! Here's hoping it passes quickly and cleanly. No lingering coughs to ruin your sleep for the next month.

I'm giggling madly over your librarian-fuddling plan. Which, I guess, makes me a geek, but I don't suppose that'll surprise anyone. I'm telling you, though, either there's a deep, untapped vein of borderline-criminal creativity roiling away somewhere inside you, or you have some damn good cold meds.

Valerie said...

I've been enjoying your blog for awhile for the fiber content. And now...you liked Gilead! I loved that book. Such great language.

Also loved the OED story.

Words...Salman Rushdie is capable of throwing a few words into a text that I've never seen before.

Geek Knitter said...

If you decide to make another run at the OED, please do keep me in mind, I LOVE that plan!

Feel better soon.

Stace' said...

Although we are suffering with the vile crud, the visit was well worth it!

Somewhere Else said...

From a fellow word geek and my Shorter OED (thanks, dear parents): Lour, lower: sb. ME. 1. A gloomy or sullen look; a scowl.. 2. Of the sky,etc,: Gloominess, threatening appearance. (1596) It is also a verb meaning 1. to frown, scowl; to look angry or sullen b. to express by frowning 2. and of the clouds, sky, etc.: To look dark and threatening (1450)
Hope you and the family is recovering from The Awfuls.

Juno said...

I was going to offer to OED it for you, but someone beat me to it. Feel VERY special as had a reasonable handle on meaning. It almost has to be Scottish, doesn't it? I shall have to look it up after all and see.....