X ~ Or Seal it with a Kiss

Animated illustration of the galley method of ...

Animated illustration of the galley method of long division (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are 122 entries that start with X in my 2,059 page Random House Dictionary of the English Language—the unabridged edition. It is half the size of my house. Admittedly, I do not live in a big house—but it is one whopping big dictionary.

There are only two pages of Xs in the book, with four entries dedicated to just X. My two favourites are:

1. “an unknown quantity or variable.”

2. “a sign used at the end of letters, telegrams etc., to indicate a kiss”

I am not sure why the first definition is a favourite, as I equate it with the point at which I started to no longer understand math. Give me fractions, decimals, long division, multiplication, division, even statistics—but once we got into 4 + x = y + 2, the game was over.

Now how much more sweet can a letter be that ends with the sign for a kiss? I love to see a bunch of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxs at the end of the very infrequent emails I get from my youngest son. So far, since he has been back at school I have received two emails from him—the first perfunctory and sensible, but the second melted my heart. (I, of course send him emails every day—is that the sound of a helicopter overhead?) I cannot share the second one with you, because then it would be grounds for killing me (and no judge would find him guilty).

But know that I have saved it, and look at it when I feel crummy. It was that good.

Published in: on September 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm  Comments (38)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Late Bloomer

Green and red cubanelle peppers

Green and red cubanelle peppers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always been a late bloomer. This may explain why, three-quarters of the way through June, our backyard garden is finally planted and right now being watered by an early summer rain. This year we have opted to grow just tomatoes and peppers, and since I am only the occasional weeder and sometimes waterer of the garden, I am not even sure what varieties have been planted. But I know, as sure as Rudolph has a red nose, that most of the peppers are of the hot, hotter and hottest varieties.

The garden is really my eldest son, Adam’s, and he loves to pick the hot peppers, cut them up,  and enjoy them on his hamburgers, hot dogs, and whatever else can use a bit of out of this world heat. He obviously inherited my mother’s green thumb, as I have no claim to any gardening skills. My Impatiens are still on the front porch, awaiting their day in the sun, or more appropriately for these types of Impatiens, the shade—though I play little heed to the directions on the little plastic sticks stuck in the pots. I do know that if I do not plant them soon, they will go the way of their unfortunate cousins, the pansies who never did get planted in May, and are wilting on their little stems. I may be able to save a few.

The garden had been taken over by chives, which had to be moved and given their own half acre. I think we may have to fence the little devils in to keep them tame. There is also some swiss chard growing from last year—we are not sure if we should eat it, but it is a bit of a novelty. I planted a rose-bush in one corner of our little plot, a gift from Mother’s Day 2011, and it is blooming like crazy with very little attention.

We have learned some lessons over the years of growing vegetables, and number one is not to attempt to grow pumpkins or corn. Here is an excerpt from a piece I wrote in 2008 to explain why:

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada.

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No More Pumpkins: 2008

I learn from my mistakes. Eventually. Usually I don’t learn the first or second time, but by the third time I at least get an inkling that I may not be on the right track. I have learned, albeit the hard way, that growing pumpkins in your backyard is not easy. The vines tend to take over. And not only the garden. Last year I had nightmares that they had broken down my back door, and stealthily crept up the stairs to my bedroom to strangle me in my sleep.

So this year, no more pumpkins! I am leaving my favourite orange orbs to the experts. Last year we did realize nine of the lovelies and used them to dress up the front of our house for fall, along with some of the corn stalks we salvaged from the feast the raccoons had in our garden. And to answer a question that was posed a number of times, no, I did not make any pies from the pumpkins. You would not believe the number of people who asked me this question. Obviously this making of pies is not the foreign concept to them as it is to me.


So this year we employed the KISS method—keep it simple stupid. And really, are not tomatoes and peppers two very fine vegetables? (If you want to get technical fruit and vegetable).

Hopefully I will get my bright pink and white Impatiens planted (they are a new colour combo this year—so I am being trendy) soon, and all you real gardeners out there can breathe a sign of relief that they are not going to go the way of my poor pansies!

Published in: on June 22, 2012 at 1:11 am  Comments (38)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,