Crumbles in the Kitchen

The Ragtag Daily Prompt yesterday was CHAMBER. I had a few thoughts lined up on that subject, but didn’t get them down. Today’s prompt is CRUMBLE; maybe I can combine the two.

Pixabay image

Chambre is the French word for room, which is where we got it. According to my book on word etymology CHAMBRE + CHAMBER are derived from the Greek word kamara, which meant something with an arched cover or a room with a vaulted roof. This entered Latin as camara, which in turn slipped into English as CAMERA and brought its cousin COMRADE, which originally referred to someone sharing a room.
The Germans did their part, too, in contributing to the diversity of English. The Greek kamara became the Frankish word kamerling, which hopped across the Channel, morphing into chamberlain en route and, in England, reshaped itself into a chimney.

Though the ancient Greek and Roman worlds have crumbled over time, linguistic bricks have been scattered far and wide, gathered up, and cemented into many other languages.

The word CHAMBER immediately reminded me of that old nursery rhyme, Goosey Goosey Gander. According to Wikipedia, the earliest recorded version of this rhyme was published in a London nursery rhyme book in 1784 and there have been several additions through the years. In keeping with today’s prompt, I’ll add a new verse to the story myself:

Goosey goosey gander
wither shall I wander
upstairs and downstairs
and in my lady’s chamber.


And did you check the kitchen, too
my pretty roaming goosey?
Oh yes! I found the pastry cook,
where lovely little Lucy
was in the midst of mixing up
a dish of apple crumble
and when I tipped it on the floor
you should have heard her grumble!

Image by Gerrit Horstman — Pixabay

Fun & Intriguing Words

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is DOPPELGANGER

Image by Frank Winkler — Pixabay

According to Lexico a DOPPELGANGER is “an apparition or double of a living person.”
As well as a double or a spirit double, M-W allows for the wider definition of “an alter ego” and “a person with the same name.”
This last is an overly broad definition. When I began searching the 1840 Ontario Census for records of my great-great grandfather John Smith. In 1840 there were 1770 men named John Smith living in Ontario, and probably all shapes and sizes — no two alike.

While visiting Mr Webster, I noticed their Word of the Day: FUNAMBULISM
Funambulism, they say, means tightrope walking. “The Latin word for tightrope walker is funambulus, from Latin funis, meaning rope, and ambulare, to walk.” That sense led to people applying the word for “a show of mental agility.” Squirrels, I have observed, are master funambulists.

Image by Alexas_Fotos Pixabay

The other day I was wending my way through M-W in search of the word VERBIAGE and specially took note of one synonym: GARRULOUS. Such an intriguing and colourful word, don’t you think? According to Merriam-Webster this refers to prosy, rambling, or tedious excessive speech; pointless or annoying talk.

Image by Logan N — Pixabay

Some Days You Feel Like…

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is RESIDUE, a word which means that which remains.

Image by adege — Pixabay

Residue comes to us, along with many cousins, from the Middle French sedentaire and ultimately from the Latin verb sedere, meaning to settle. Through the years we’ve made much of this verb, stretching it out into words like dissident, sedition, preside, reside, sedentary, sediment, session, and even subsidy.

Reservoir, coming from reserve, refers to an extra supply held back, kept in store for future use. Sometimes when we feel fatigued, we are still able to draw from a reservoir of energy to give that last boost that helps us complete the task.

I’d like to have a full reservoir of energy, the oomph to accomplish tasks, especially now that it it’s spring, but with my CLL, my energy level feels more like the last bit left than an extra supply.

Image by Couleur — Pixabay

The Mother Tongue

Here’s my response to this week’s Six Sentence Story, where our prompt word is HARMONY. You may need a dictionary to enjoy my quick tale. 🙂

Image by GirlieOnTheEdge

SPEAKING THE MOTHER TONGUE

“How is your sister making out at her new legal secretary job,” Kenzi asked her friend Pansy.

“Sad to say, the harmony in our home has been totally off since she started there,” Pansy replied. “Yesterday she said ‘You wore my best sweater again last night – and don’t try to obfuscate or prevaricate because I have credible witnesses to substantiate your culpability.’

“When I asked her what that meant in English she huffed and puffed and told me I’d need to ‘cultivate the thorough knowledge of a worthy dictionary’ if I want to get any sort of decent career.”

Three weeks later when Kenzi met her friend again, she could tell Pansy was in a much better mood.

Asked if things had improved at home, Pansy said, “Sis’s legal secretary position was terminated, so she got a job as sales clerk at Deandra’s Ladies’ Wear – and are we ever glad to have her speaking the mother tongue again!”

🙂

Image by astize — Pixabay

Short and Stout Are Out

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is TEAPOT.
Forgive me, dear readers. I couldn’t resist….

“I’m A Little Teapot…”

Belle lifted the pot to pour tea for her friend and couldn’t resist singing that old rhyme, “I’m a little teapot short and stout…”

“Hold on,” Mia squawked. “That is so NOT PC! You can’t say short and stout. Now we say vertically challenged and horizontally expanded.”

“Eh? Oh. What about tall and slim then?”

“Oh, those are okay. Nothing derogatory about tall and slim.”

“All right then. ‘I’m a little teapot, tall and slim; here is my handle, here is my brim. When I get all steamed up…’ Er…can you still say steamed up? It may imply ill-tempered, which would be derogatory.”

Mia considered this. “I think steamed up will still pass. Pour the tea.”

Bella sighed. “We may have to examine every adjective in the dictionary. All a wodge of baloney, I say.”

“Don’t say baloney. The suggestion might bother a vegan. Rather say tofu. Now pour our tea. I’m thirsty.”

“Are you sure we should even be drinking tea? Are the tea plantation workers in Pakistan being paid fairly? Are we contributing to the exploitation…”

Mia waved her hand impatiently. “Don’t go there. Just pour the…er…incarnadine tea.”

“You’ve got me thinking now…”

“Foolish me.”

Note:

  • I discovered the “British informal” word WODGE just yesterday over at Lexico, and wanted to work it into a story soon. Cross between a wad and a wedge, it means a hunk, a chunk, a bulky mass. I think it’s still PC.

Things that Crepitate in the Night

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was CREPITATE.

Never heard of it? Well, perhaps you’ve encountered some of its relatives:
CREPITANT – making a crackling or rustling sound
CREPUSCULE – Twilight
CREPUSCULAR – relating to or resembling twilight; active during twilight

DECREPIT – worn out or ruined by age or neglect
DECREPITUDE – the state of being decrepit
DECREPITATE – roast a substance such as salt to cause crackling, disintegrate audibly when heated – rather the opposite of popcorn. 🙂

CREPITATE and its cousins originated from the Latin verb crepitare: to crackle or rustle.

And now to use these crinkly words. Last night I read a short memoir from the winter of 1919-1920, one of the most severe on record here in western Canada. The writer told of how a family spent it in a log cabin near Olds, in the southern Alberta foothills. Ill use some of her memories as seed for my story.

Winter hit us early that year; snow came in October and stayed. Hit us hard, too; when it got cold, it stayed cold. Worse yet, we as a family had to move to an abandoned shack twenty miles away after a chimney fire damaged our home. We arrived on our wagon with our smoke-smelly belongings just before sundown and looked at the decrepit cabin that was to be our home this winter.

“Doesn’t look the best right now,” Mother said, “but hopefully it’ll be snug. It was home to another family just two years ago.”

Dad put his arm around her. “We’ll get a fire going and warm up the place. And we’ll do what we can to make it livable.”

My seven-year-old brother Willy and I eyed the steep hill not far from the house, thinking with delight about the sledding days we’d have.

The Rockies loomed in the crepuscule as we moved in, crunching through the deep snow with our stuff. While the last things were being unloaded, Mother began shifting the kindling wood beside the cook stove with the thought of making a fire. Crepitant sounds came from one corner and Father had to evict the first of our tiny tenants.

“We’re apt to see a few crepuscular critters come out tonight,” he said. “Skunks and raccoons move into an abandoned place pretty quick.”

Our problem didn’t come from skunks, thankfully. But once the house was warm we did hear smaller creatures crepitating under the floor boards and wondered what they were. A couple of days later as we were finishing our supper Willy dropped his spoon on the floor and forgot to pick it up. The next morning as I helped Mother set the table I noticed we were short a spoon. “Hey Willy, didn’t you pick up that spoon last night?”

He groaned and scrambled under the table to retrieve it. A moment later he held up something small and dark between his fingers. “Look! The spoon’s gone, but see this. An arrowhead. Wow!” He was thrilled with his find.

“Pack rats,” Mother pronounced. “Likely that’s the rustling we’ve been hearing. We need to be careful not to leave anything shiny laying around.”

A lesson we learned the hard way. Buttons, bottle caps, and other small objects left lying would disappear overnight and we’d find small, pretty stone in its place. We’d nod and say, “Our pack rats are trading again.”

Dad worked at making the shack as cozy as possible and Mother made it as homey as she could. Willy and I had great fun on that hill. It proved perfect for our sled and we the abundance of snow softened our tumbles when we rolled down. Near the top of the hill a poplar sapling stuck out of the snow and Willy decided one day to carve a big W in the white bark.

In spring we moved back to our house that had been “in the fixing” all winter. While we were happy to be home, we thought about the old cabin and one day in June we all got on our wagon and went to have a picnic on the hill there.

When we got to the cabin we were amazed to find there was no hill. Rather, there was a big slough full of cattails where the hill had stood. There were smaller trees around the slough, but the poplar we thought was a sapling turned out to be tree twelve inches around the base of the trunk. We knew that must be our tree, because Willy finally spotted his W – 25 feet up the trunk.

We spent all that winter playing on a huge hill of snow!