Category Archives: grief

Funk • y


Funk • y [fuhng-kee]

funk (1) Look up funk at“depression, ill-humor,” 1743, probably originally Scottish and northern English; earlier as a verb, “panic, fail through panic,” (1737), said to be 17c. Oxford University slang, perhaps from Flem. fonck “perturbation, agitation, distress,” possibly related to O.Fr. funicle “wild, mad.”

  1. cowering fear; state of great fright or terror.
  2. a dejected mood: He’s been in a funk ever since she walked out on him.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be afraid of.
  2. to frighten.
  3. to shrink from; try to shirk.

funk (2) Look up funk at“bad smell,” 1620s, from dialectal Fr. funkière “smoke,” from O.Fr. fungier “give off smoke; fill with smoke,” from L. fumigare “to smoke” (see fume). In reference to a style of music, it is first attested 1959, a back formation from funky.

funky Look up funky at Dictionary.com1784, “old, musty,” in reference to cheeses, then “repulsive,” from funk (2) + -y (2). It began to develop an approving sense in jazz slang c.1900, probably on the notion of “earthy, strong, deeply felt.” … The word reached wider popularity c.1954 (e.g. definition in “Time” magazine, Nov. 8, 1954) and in the 1960s acquired a broad slang sense of “fine, stylish, excellent.”

For more fun with words, see the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Dis • cour • aged


Dis • cour • aged

discourage Look up discourage at mid-15c., discoragen, from M.Fr. descourager, from O.Fr. descoragier, from des- “away” (see dis-) + corage (see courage). Related: Discouraged; discouragement; discouraging.

  1. to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit.
  2. to dissuade (usually followed by from ).
  3. to obstruct by opposition or difficulty; hinder: Low prices discourage industry.
  4. to express or make clear disapproval of; frown upon: to discourage the expression of enthusiasm.

courage Look up courage at c.1300, from O.Fr. corage (12c., Mod.Fr. courage) “heart, innermost feelings; temper,” from V.L. *coraticum (cf. It. coraggio, Sp. coraje), from L. cor “heart,” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength. In M.E., used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination. Replaced O.E. ellen, which also meant “zeal, strength.”

Two birds



My sweet Alexandrine Parakeet Caesar died tonight after a sudden illness. She was a beautiful parrot, often a pain in the ass, but I loved her so much these past 8 years.

She suddenly showed signs of extreme illness yesterday afternoon. Today, the vet found nothing wrong except for extreme anemia of an unknown origin. She was given fluids along with iron and B vitamins, and put on oxygen all day long.

This evening, I was driving to pick her up to bring her home for the night. Suddenly, on the side of the road I saw a struggling animal. It was a mallard duck who had just been hit by a car. He was upside down and his feet were waiving frantically as he struggled. I quickly turned around, thinking, “I’m driving straight to the vet anyway—a vet that often takes care of injured wildlife – and I will be there in 5 minutes.” I arrived, and immediately at my shoulder, was a small, gentle man who told me his name was Chico. He too, had come to help the bird, after seeing somebody hit it and then drive off. He said he lived nearby and that basically people suck because they treat animals like they are disposable—and that is why he and his wife have 10 dogs. As we bent over the bird, we quickly realized that he was already gone, his neck laid open with a deep gash. We talked for a little while. I thanked him and said there was hope if people like us would stop to help this bird. He wondered what to do. I said I could take the body on with me, but then he decided, no, he would bury it in his yard. I gave him the towel I had brought for Caesar, and he walked off with the body of that once graceful bird.

Late Night Snack

Late Night Snack

I arrived at the vet a few minutes later, thinking about Chico and that duck. I washed my hands of potential blood and germs, as I wouldn’t want to pass anything on to my already very sick bird. They told me Caesar had begun hiding in the back of the cage, burying her head, and she would crawl back there with all the strength she had left. I could tell from what the vet tech did say and didn’t say, that she thought she was dying. And I knew, because the vet, who I’ve known for years, had let me take her home—not insisting she stay on oxygen overnight. He said she hadn’t moved all day. I brought her home, set up her cat carrier with a warm bean bag and turned the space heater on in the bathroom again. I tried to bring her out to say goodbye, but she struggled, and went immediately back to the corner.

Then I went to the studio for a few hours. She died while I was driving home, shortly after my husband had last checked on her. I hope so much that she felt immediately free, that there is somewhere she can fly with other birds and scream and call to her heart’s content. I failed her badly in so many ways—I hope too, that she can forgive me.

Two birds, two deaths, one day. A reason to grieve, and a reason to hope.

Guilty TV, various shades of blue, and what to do with celeriac


Ahh. Guilty pleasures: Biggest Loser and Parenthood on Hulu. I’ve hardly watched any TV at all this summer, but now at least I have a few things to watch other than The Daily Show, to shut my brain off once in a while. And soon: Glee.

We’ve had such a beautiful warm Fall. And we deserve it after the long, cold, crappy spring and subsequent very short summer. Today I hiked Pilot Butte at lunch and every time I got to the west side I was amazed at the clarity of the mountains against the endless blue sky. I should get out in it every day, because so soon it will be biting cold. And/or snowing.

I’ve been a little down these last few days. Not sure what it is: Change of season? Finally slowing down a little with no travel planned? Processing and reacting to the culture clash of the Portland vegan world versus my everyday world? Extra time on my hands and time to myself because the kids are back home? Something seems a little empty, a little off. It will probably right itself one of these days.

In the meantime, I’ll keep baking bread {like the aromatic kalamata olive bread that just came out of the oven}, and loving on my hubby and animals. Also, I bought celeriac at the farmer’s market today, just to try something new—it smells so good! Can’t wait to use it in a soup or maybe a slaw, which was a suggestion from the stand worker.

Sunday recap: butte, goodbye twins, banana french toast, the show, upcoming blogging events


Sunday recap: Walked the butte for the last time this summer with the twins, made french toast with leftover and slightly undercooked “banana bread,” made sure the twins were packed and ready to go and said goodbye to them for the summer {boo!}, read a couple of sci-fi short stories, and worked on the show for 4 hours or so {laptop, back porch, with cats} during which the sky clouded over and grumbled quite a bit, but never lost its temper and started crashing things around.

(I also spent a few hours Saturday and Sunday at the station working on the show with my co-host, who is going out-of-town. I’m trying to get ahead because I need to finish the show up on my own and it’s due in a week—I think I’m in good shape, though, especially since I have time booked at the station tomorrow night.)

I’ve been thinking about what’s coming up this fall blogging-wise: Vegan MoFo (Word is, it will be October, but I don’t see an update on the website yet), NaNoWriMo, Reverb. Wondering if I’ll have time to do both NaNoWriMo and the radio show? NaNoWriMo (plus blogging every day, kick-started by NaBloPoMo) was really cathartic last year, especially since we lost Deimos that month, so I hope to do it again.

I’m going to attempt early bedtimes this week, since work is going to be just as bad this week as last, with early morning meetings, long days, and high expectations. So, good night.

Saramago: run-on paragraphs and the art of translation

Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago

I recently finished Death With Interruptions, by José Saramago. This is my second Saramago book. I think I may have discovered him through Ursula Le Guin’s blog. The Notebook didn’t really draw me in, but I went on to read All The Names, which did. I found myself wishing the other day, as I was reading Death With Interruptions, that I could read Saramago in the language in which it was written—Portuguese. Long ago, I was living in Spain and was getting pretty comfortable with Spanish (mostly lost now). I will always remember how mind opening it was to read a book in its original language, that I had formerly read in English. Or more interesting yet, reading a book that I had formerly read in English translation, i.e., Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being—but this time in Spanish.

The art of the translator is not celebrated enough. To convey nuance, tone, and expression, to choose appropriate slang and context. It must be especially tough with an author like Saramago who runs on sentences and paragraphs for pages, who seems to only loosely follow punctuation and grammar rules. Or maybe it is just that he has his own rules, and quotation marks and paragraph returns are not included. I especially admired that in Death With Interruptions, there is a page in the book that says to the reader something like, hey, you remember that guy I mentioned on page X, yeah, that guy, well… And sure enough, if you flip to page X, it’s the page where that character was mentioned. It’s pretty cool to think they have to keep those two pages in sync throughout different versions and language translations! Hmm, the same person translated both books: Margaret Jull Costa. Nicely done. I think. I’ll never really know unless I learn to read Portuguese.

It’s like watching a foreign film. After a while, your brain stops trying so hard and you’re able to read the subtitles and follow the flow without consciously thinking about it. When I read Saramago, at first I’m annoyed that everything seems to run together, but after a while I find that I’m engaged and am able to follow different trains of thought, action, and dialog without all of the usual markers. And it is more intimate, somehow. What it lacks in clarity, it makes up for in feeling and perspective.

Do I get José Saramago? I doubt it. I don’t pretend to understand what the whole long metaphor means about death taking a holiday in a certain country and then changing her mind and giving everyone about to die a week’s notice with violet-colored letters, and then falling in love with somebody to whom she can’t seem to deliver his death notice… I can guess at the meaning, see a glimpse of what he might have been intending, and that’s it. But I love that both Death With Interruptions and All Then Names make me think about death in a way that I haven’t before. And prompt me to think about language in ways I haven’t before. That’s why I pulled this quote out the other day, and I don’t mind repeating it here:

It’s called metamorphosis, everyone knows that, said the apprentice philosopher condescendingly, That’s a very fine-sounding word, full of promises and certainties, you say metamorphosis and move on, it seems you don’t understand that words are the labels we stick on things, not the things themselves, you’ll never know what the things are really like, nor even what their real names are, because the names you gave them are just that, the names you gave them, …

Do you ever hear a word, and it just doesn’t sound right? You roll it over and over on your tongue, and it just sounds strange that day. Or you see it written, and you wonder why you never noticed the shape the letters make together. We rarely ever stop to separate out the sound or shape of the word from the meaning of the word. In fact, for me, the same words can sometimes seem like different words in my brain according to the context they are used in. This seems true to me—”words are the labels we stick on things, not the things themselves.” Of course. We do our damnedest but we have only brushed the surface of the truth of the thing that we are describing.