’18 A To Z Challenge – Puppy Love

 

Challenge '18 letter-p

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been proved wrong – again!

I told the wife, that when our Wheaten/Schnauzer/Poodle–cross cur was gone, we would not get another dog.  I explained a thousand times that we are too old, too weak, that we didn’t have the strength, the stamina, the patience….most of all, the money, to buy a purebred, non-allergenic puppy.

Puppies Parents

Our two new little handfuls, with their black Daddy, and white Momma.

By ‘we’, of course, I meant ‘me.’  Suddenly, one day, while I was composing a previous A-To-Z post, she called to me to “come see something on my laptop.”  Halfway down the stairs, I saw the picture of Mom and Dad Scotty Terriers.  Before I could even protest, she shifted to more photos of a bundle of the cutest puppies.  Ohhh, no fair!

Scottish Terriers are usually black, but some of them are white, and a few of them are brindle, which is white, with blonde/gold highlights.  Mom was white.  Dad was black, and the puppies were some of each.  Could we just go to look at them??  They were only a 2 ½ hour drive away.  I’m doomed – doomed I tell you.

Puppies

Aren’t the two new Scottish terrors Terriers cute??

We brought the son – and his checkbook – along.  They valiantly held out, but we all knew that we had not come just to look.  The wife picked the little black female, above.  Then came the hard sell.  Unlike the previous litter, this time the breeder was having trouble getting rid of the males.  If we would also take a male, she would give us a screwing deal on both dogs.

The wife launched a piteous appeal to his heartstrings, to get the son to further loosen his purse-strings.  When he finally bowed to the inevitable, we became a two-dog family.  Happy birthday, Mothers’ Day, Arbor Day, Thanksgiving, anniversary, Christmas, and Leonard Nimoy’s bris.

The next day, we got a panicked phone call.  “Is something wrong??”  Well….  Another couple had come to look at the puppies, and she was attaching ribbons to ours, to assure that we got the ones we’d picked out.  The male the wife had chosen, the only brindle one in the litter – had turned out to be a female??!  Would we accept any other male?  We chose the happy, chubby white male, as a Mini-Me.

We named the male, Duff, a Gaelic word that means ‘black.’  We called the little female, Guin, a Welsh term which means ‘white.’  So, our black dog is White, and our white dog is Black.  At least we’re not out Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog, as Norma Tanega did, back in the mid-60s.

No Chew

Here’s a liter of IRONY!

Plug

I only hope that the male pulled that plug from the socket, before he chewed it off.

At just over six months old, they recently got their first trim.  We had to be vetted by our new groomer.  She was recommended by the wife’s hairdresser.  The woman came to the house to see the dogs in their ‘native environment,’ before she would accept us as clients.  I feel so 90210. 😯 Oh Yeah!  We’ve got two new puppies.  Be thankful that you’re only stuck with me.  At least I’m house-trained.  😉

Puppers

They’ve gone from being a mere handful, to being A Real handful.

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‘18 A To Z Challenge – C

Challenge '18 Letter C

Druid

My Scottish ancestors were doing just fine, until the Christians came along with fire and sword.

Caim – (n.) Sanctuary. An invisible circle of protection drawn around the body with the hand, to remind one of being safe and loved even in the darkest times.  The index finger of the right hand was to be extended and pointed at the ground to do this.  It was to be drawn clockwise, as God has made the sun and moon rise and set.

The Irish and my Scottish Celtic ancestors lived a naturalistic existence, close to the earth, the plants and the wildlife.  Then along came the Christians.  They would have none of this mystical hand-waving.  They wanted their own brand of mystical hand-waving.

First, the spelling and pronunciation was slurred to ‘Cain.’  In their mythology, Cain was the first murderer, and an evil person, a servant of Satan.  No-one was allowed to be saved or protected by such an evil spirit.  Union rules said that all such work went to Jesus.  The word ‘Caim’ still exists in the Scottish language, but it now describes a Christian prayer for protection.

The Celts were already well aware of the motions of the sun and the moon, but the Christian ‘God’ even creeps into the historical definition, by making them do so.  I noted that the definition is Northern-centric.  In the Northern hemisphere, the apparent movements of the sun and moon are clockwise, from left to right.

When this word was born, the Christians had not yet invaded the Southern Hemisphere, where the counter-clockwise, widdershins, motion of the Heavenly bodies was obvious, and correct.  I wonder what the Christians would think of that??  (Oops, I used the words ‘think’ and ‘Christian’ in the same sentence.)  😯

Click here http://branawen.blogspot.ca/2011/09/celtic-symbolism-casting-ring-of.html caim, if you’d like to have a look at the research for this.

I’ll have a little bit of lighter humor in a week.  Hope to see you there.

 

It’s In The Jeans

DNA

…and when my Mother and Father both took their jeans off, and created me, they each contributed a fairly varied set of DNA genes to my formation.

In my ‘Who Am I?’ post, I made some educated guesses as to what races had contributed to my makeup, based on family lore, and the daughter’s research on Ancestry.ca. Last Christmas, the wife and kids got together and purchased a DNA kit for me.

After my usual several months of procrastination, I finally spit in the cup, mailed it off to Dublin, Ireland, and waited 6 to 8 weeks for the results to come back.

ancestry-dna

As you can see from the above, there are not too many surprises. Some of my genetic makeup comes from the Romans, and their Eastern Mediterranean, Greek, Turkish, non-‘Italian’ compatriots.  Some comes from the Spanish Armada fiasco, although the chart shows no African Moorish contribution, so there’s no ‘Black Scots’ in my background.

There’s a bit from here, and a bit from there. Not that I really give a damn, but my ancestors seem to be all white.  The Scandinavian input came, not only from the Norsemen raiding and invading, but from the Northern Germanic tribes, the Jutes, Angles and Saxons, who were invited by the Britons to come to the island and help repel the Norse.  They did so well at that, that they stayed, and helped themselves to the country, becoming the Anglo-Saxons.

The biggest shock was finding that 26% of my ancestral input was Irish. Despite the Scottish name of Stewart, it’s possible (probable) that my maternal Grandfather wasn’t a Scottish Pict, but an Irish Gael.  Short, stocky, dark, and always looking disapproving, it’s no wonder he had nothing good to say for Highlanders.

I had thought that the red hair that runs through the family was from Scotland, but lots of Irish colleens have red hair also. I imagine that both races have contributed to the fact that, about every third child, no matter both parents’ hair color, is red, including Strawberry-tress-adorned daughter, LadyRyl.

In The Name Of The Son

Even in today’s society, who you are is often important in terms of who you are in relation to others.  Back when surnames were being handed out, relationships were even more important, especially for the rich and titled, but also for the common man.  Many surnames, in many languages, tell who our forefather was.

In English, it would seem obvious, although many fail to understand the significance.  If your name ends in “son”, who’s your (great-great-great-grand) daddy?  There are Johnson, and Jackson, Donaldson, our favorite commenter, Erickson, Tomson (although it’s often spelled Thomson, Thompson, or even Tompson), and Williamson.

I worked for several years with a Bill Williamson.  I commented one day that his name was actually William, William’s son, and asked if his dad was a Bill, also.  Dad’s name was Robert, but he and mom had immigrated from Wales, and Bill’s real first name was Gwyllem.

My blue-painted, claymore-wielding, skirt-wearing ancestors were much interested in lineage also.  The Scottish-Gaelic word for “son” was Mac.  A large percentage of Scottish names therefore mean “son of”.  MacDougall, MacDonald, MacIntosh, MacKenzie, Macready, etc.

Fitz is an English/French prefix also meaning son of.  It comes from the Latin, filius.  It gives us names like Fitzsimmons, Fitzpatrick and Fitzgibbons.  Fitz, however, means illegitimate son of.  This was especially important to the royalty and aristocracy.  The one surname which was not supposed to exist, was Fitzroy.  This was an illegitimate son of a king, and had the power to cause civil war for inheritance rights.

To be the first son of someone important, meant inheriting….title, land, money, income and power.  Second and third sons got next to nothing, and often had to beg for support from the first-born.  There was pressure to go out into the world and perform daring feats to wrest some fame and fortune for themselves.

North America was not taken and settled by Spanish first-borns.  The Spanish word hidalgo comes from “hijo d’algo” – meaning “son of *someone*”, or “a son with something”, a horse, a sword, and enough money to get into trouble.  Much of history has been wrought by second sons trying to get a little, or a lot, for themselves.

Once upon a time, a large group of Scottish second-sons got together and decided to take over Ireland, since Scotland was already divvied up.  Many were successful at obtaining land and serfs for themselves, and they settled in comfortably.  First came love, then came marriage, pretty soon the baby-carriage and then the lazy pronunciation habits of the Irish changed all the good Scottish Macs into Irish Mcs.  They became McArthur, McClure, McMahon and McMillan.  This is where the slang term Micks, for Irishmen came from.

Ireland had already been taught English by the time the need for surnames occurred.  Many were given the name, “the son of *their father*”.  Lazy pronunciation soon turned son “of”, into O’Malley, O’Hara, O’Daye, O’Connor, and the like.  Clocks and time are not Irish, but that same lax pronunciation turned, ten (hours) of the clock, into ten o’clock.

In Arabic, the word for son is Ibn.  The Hebrew word is rendered in English as Ben.  Israel’s first prime Minister was David Ben-Gurion.  Many languages use a suffix rather than a prefix to indicate “son of”.  In Polish, the majority of names end in –ski.  All the rest are Polish toboggans, or so the Pole named Yantha told me.

From Russian, the Cyrillic-language, son-of suffix, comes to English as, of, off, ov and ev.  Ivanoff and Petrov mean son of John, and son of Peter.  Russians are often creative with their names, sometimes taking new ones to hide behind.  Vladimir Lenin’s surname means ‘Iron.”  To go him one better, Joseph Stalin adopted a name which means “Steel.”  I’ve never read why Nikita Khrushchev took his last name.  It has the “ev” suffix meaning son of, but the Russian word khrusht, means “beetle.”

It seems that most languages are only interested in who you were the son of.  Russian is one of the few which also has an identifier for “daughter”.  It takes the patronymic family name and adds the suffix “ova”.  The female cosmonaut was Valentina Tereshkova.

In one of the James Bond movies, the writers did a little joke by giving a sexually aggressive, female Russian agent the double entendre name of Onatop.  I can find no proof that Onatop is a real Russian name.  Even if it were, correctly, she would be Onatopova, but that wouldn’t tickle teenage male humor.

Nordic languages like Swedish and Icelandic have the suffix “sen”, which means the same as “son.”  They also have the female version, “dottir” for, you guessed it, daughter.  In these languages, the surnames change every generation.  If you are Gunnar Thorvaldsen, your father’s name is Thorvald.  Your son is Erick Gunnarsen, and his male child, John Erickson, becomes a famous blog-commenter.  (How did he sneak in here again?  Somebody close and lock the door!)

Your female child would be Frieda Gunnarsdottir, and would keep that name even after marrying, but her little girl might be Inga Svensdottir.

I was going to title this post, “It’s All Relative”, but since a large part of the world still has a fascination with male offspring, I went with the son label.  I know most of us are leery about revealing actual names on the open internet, but, do any of my readers have an “offspring of” name?

Who Am I?

I’ve been arguing with my computer for about a week, and losing!  It needs a good spring-cleaning.  First it wouldn’t let me access my blog-stats via the front door.  I had to sneak in the Manage My Blogs back door and access them that way.  Now it won’t even do that.  Because of that, I’ve read more Fresh Pressed blogs than I would normally.  One was from a 100% Chinese female, born in the USA.  Who does she root for in the Olympics?  Aha!  A blog theme, and off we go.

Who am I?  I’m a Canadian mongrel mutt, and proud of it.  I am everyman, and every race.  I have the blood of so many races and ethnicities flowing in my veins, I feel like a bowl of Skittles.  I don’t understand “racial purists”, whether redneck white supremacists, or Sikh exclusionists.  There may be a few lost valleys of uncontaminated human DNA in the world, but, more and more, the rest of us are being run through the societal blender.  A recent study said that within a hundred years, the world skin color will be beige.  Even Hitler was one eighth Jewish.  People like the above-mentioned supremacists often are, unknowingly, what they claim to hate.

With three proven Scottish ancestors, for years I’ve told people that I’m one quarter English and three-quarters Scottish.  I am afflicted with the family name Smith, the second-most-common English name.  A surprising free week of study by my daughter on Ancestry.ca revealed that my “English” male ancestor was actually a Hessian who came over to fight for the British in the American War of Independence around 1776.  He survived the war, but didn’t want to return to Europe and managed to stay.  My English side started with a German named Schmidt.  He married a newly arrived English girl, and so did the next several succeeding generations, till Schmidt was changed to Smith, and one of them wandered north into Canada.

The remaining three-quarters Scottish is even more complex and interwoven.  The term Scottish is geo-political, and didn’t exist much more than a thousand years ago.  There is no Scottish race.  The Picts held most of what is now Scotland for centuries.  They fought and interbred with Gaels and Britons.  The Romans tried to sweep up into Scotland, and were swept right back out.  Over the centuries, invaders have found what the Russians, and many others, have learned about Afghanistan.  They could not take and hold the wild mountains and wilder inhabitants.

Many “Roman” soldiers were actually from other countries around the Mediterranean and Europe.  After the Romans left, the Celts and Welsh tried invading the Northland, with about as much success.  Later, the Anglo-Saxons tried invading, in an attempt to form one cohesive kingdom.  The northern tribes amalgamated to preserve their freedom.  Irish Gaels rowed over and slowly brought Christianity to the pagans.  This is why there is an Irish, and a Scottish Gaelic language, incomprehensible to each other.

The Vikings, from three or four Scandinavian countries, roamed the isles and mountains for many years.  Each of these waves of invaders left behind some men, and genetic deposits with local females.  The Spanish Armada, like the Roman Army was actually crewed by sailors of a wide variety of races, including black Moors, from North Africa.  When it was decisively defeated in the English Channel, several of the ships were driven north to the Scottish shore, where the survivors were integrated among the anti-English population.  The Moors were the origination of the term Black Scots.

My maternal grandparents came to Canada from Glasgow, where they were both weavers.  My grandfather was the Keeper of the Patterns, responsible for the production of all Tartans at his mill.  He was a Lowlander, living near the sea.  Several times he had ill words to say about highlanders, descendents of Gaels and Britons.  He claimed they were all stupid, useless oafs, good only for fighting among themselves, and with others.  Grandpa was a short, powerful, dark-haired man, unlike the tall, rangy, fair-skinned, red-haired uplanders.

It is possible (likely?) that he was descended from the disappeared Picts.  One day, when I was about four, our family visited Mom’s family.  The women were inside, doing women things.  My Dad and one of the uncles had started a game of horse-shoes.  The conversation had included another example of Granddad’s disdain for Highlanders.  Another uncle went into the house to get another beer, leaving me sitting on the ground next to the old man.  He was an intelligent, educated and well-read man.  Years later I remembered him speaking, if not to me, then near me.  If memory serves, he said, “They came among us with fire and sword, and drove us from our homes.  But we, the small folk prevailed, and live among them still, unbowed, unnoticed!”  The quote would probably be from a book, rather than from him, but it supports the Pictish background theory.

Who am I?  I am an inclusive citizen of the world.  The blood of countless races and cultures flows through my veins.  I am the result of great plans, and great failures.  I am like a fine Scottish whiskey, the synergistic total being more than the sum of the merely good parts, and the product being both pleasing and stimulating.  Not as hokey as Bill Shatner but, I am Canadian.  I am Me, and I am proud of both, and all the parts it took to make me what I am.