W.I.X.: Safe Haven

Often hidden in a secret compartment, the rich of a distant period in history stashed their savings on the baldachin (from Italian: baldacchino), or canopy  over the bed, like the beds you may have seen while touring a castle in Europe. From this practice comes the German idiom ‘auf die hohe Kante legen’ place on the high ledge’, which means to ‘save some’, namely money.

Here we might we might sock away money, or squirrel it away, and if we’re lucky have a nice ‘nest egg’, though that money has generally been saved for a specific purpose, like buying a nest, or house if your into having a roof over your head!

When I was learning German I somehow convinced myself, that when it was said that one ‘has something on the high ledge’, I thought the person  must be intelligent, had some smarts ‘up there’! The Germans may have shook their heads at me, but it took me years to get the dirt on this one! Maybe because their is a similarity to the saying, one ‘hat ‘viel auf den Kasten’ – has a lot on the box, box standing in for head, which does mean the person is brainy!

Garden Woes

Peering out of a swollen face I am sad to report the donkey tail spurge, whose chartreuse blossoms have been a welcoming sign of spring growth in my garden, must take their leave. Could have been something else, but the burning sensation, the tenderness and half of my face puffed out, leads me to these parting words: bye, bye Euphorbia myrsinites!

I blame myself too. I cut the stems, whisked off the lower leaves and covered my hands in milky sap – all for an Easter table bouquet. (Don’t worry, I have already called the recipient to dispose of it carefully!) We shared a lovely holiday meal with friends in their garden under clear blue skies and gentle breeze, and topped the day with an annual viewing of ‘Easter Parade’ – before the swelling could prevent it!

The Easter Egg Artists

Perfect Picture Book Friday
Title: The Easter Egg Artists
Author/Illustrator: Adrienne Adams
Publisher/Year: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976
Age Level: 3-8
Genre: fiction, picture book
Themes/topics: Easter, artists, family, vacation
Opening and synopsis: “There are Abbotts and there are Abbotts. These Abbotts are rabbits. The rabbit Abbots make the designs on Easter eggs.”
Orson Rabbit’s parents, who paint Easter eggs, follow Orson on his amazing journey in search of his own artistic style.
I like this book because of the wonderful warm and intricate paintings by this author /illustrator, but also because of the wonderful Montessori-style lesson in ‘following the child’.
See Susanna Hill Leonard’s blog for the Perfect Picture Books List of reviews.

W.I.X: Keep Your Fingers Crossed

…for extra help, beyond wishing good luck. Sometimes we say it and sometimes we make the apotropaic hand gesture – middle over the first finger. As kids we hold that hand behind the back in high hopes of avoiding punishment, especially if we tell a lie! For added giggles we “keep toes crossed” too. Utilizing a cross obviously stems from warding off an evil force, and it sure beats hanging garlic around your neck.

In case you should run into a German, they press thumbs: drück die Daumen, tucking the thumb into the other fingers in a fist, just as the Polish and French do. The Swedes like to just hold the thumbs: hålla tummarna.

Unless anyone out there can advise otherwise, I don’t think the hand gesture champions have one for this, but in bocca al lupo: in the mouth of the wolf, is the correct way to wish good fortune to Italians, which they will gratefully respond crepi: that it dies. It’s a big no-no to wish them buona fortuna straight out!