Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The letter X

It is letter "X" week for ABC Wednesday.  Here's my attempt to draw a connection between some new words I learned at this Unusual Words that begin with X site and the photographs I took on two Tuesdays, June 24th and June 17th.  Some of those photos have no word-connection but are simply X shapes that I saw around me.

Bill and I read to each other almost every evening.  We began to do that as one of several strategies to heal Bill's brain after his illness, but it has evolved to the point where I am well aware that my brain is reaping the benefits as well.  At first, I did most of the reading.  Now, Bill does more than I do.  Does anyone else have a yawn reflex that happens when they read aloud? Even talking/writing about reading aloud triggers that reflex in me.  It is happening even now :)  That said, I look forward to our reading time and recommend it as a wonderful activity between parents and children, family members, friends, whomever.  It's a special time of day that I wouldn't ever want to give up.  We have just finished reading The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek.  That one was a light summer read (as described in the reviews), so light that we predicted many outcomes, but with some food for thought (especially about sister connections) and heartwarming moments as well.  People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, our previous read, was a tougher go though well worth the effort.  Bill has chosen our next read: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  We just started it last night and I think it's going to be a good one.  We don't have a wireless connection at home so we go to the Urban Fare grocery store where their fine connection requires about 10 seconds to load a book.  The photo below shows us sitting in front of Urban Fare just after loading our new read. Let's see.  The connection to X? That's a tough one.  How about that pattern in the sidewalk behind Bill?  Or the way his shoulder bag crosses over his jacket zipper? I see X shapes.  Phew :)  
There's another link I have to give you, this one to a thoughtful and stimulating blog I've discovered recently called Optimistic Existentialist.  The last two posts have been about books and about libraries.  The author's thoughts about electronic vs "real" books inspire lots of response, but I'll leave that topic for another day.  For now, his question about that book of one's youth - the one that hooked us into a lifetime love of reading, is the one I want to comment about when I go back to visit his blog.  There are two books that immediately come to my mind.  Oh..  and the X connection?  Well, X-istentialist qualifies.  Don't you think?

Last evening, after we loaded our book, we left Urban Fare, walked about two steps, and were greeted by this. 
 Did you know that the word xanthocyanopsy refers to a form of colour blindness that means one can only distinguish two colours: yellow and blue.  
Rainbows inspire happiness in me.  So much so that my whole day feels to have been a very special gift when we see one. 
 This person saw me taking photos of the rainbow and reminded me that he had a whole rainbow with him and on him.  He made me smile, especially because he loved it when I took his photo too.  Did you know that xenophilia means a love of foreigners.  Well, if by "foreigners" we mean people who give us a slightly different perspective on the things we see everyday, then I think that fellow and I have both experienced xenophilia.
The rainbow seemed to spread further across the sky as we watched.  I am wondering how the person with xanthocyanopsy (ability to see only blue and yellow) would have seen this.
Bill looked down as we were walking away and saw this just above the steps.  The railing and the line of the steps cross over each other to make an X, but mostly, I just thought it was a brilliant addition to the world beneath our feet :)
 Just before the rainbow disappeared, it spread almost the full way across the sky.  Did you know that xiphoid means sword-shaped.  I think the rainbow sort of qualifies.
We looked around, just as the rainbow disappeared, to see not one but two unicyclists.  That was a first.  Could unicycles qualify as foreign?  Maybe that xenophilia (love of foreigners) word could fit here.
After lattés at Harrison Galleries yesterday, we walked by this familiar fountain.  There were some young people walking right down the middle strip and of course, we had to try it too.  Bill's right leg forms an X with one of the cement strips. 
 I thought it would be a nice try-something-out-of-her-comfort-zone exercise for Black Jack.  She was afraid at first, but..
 she'll do just about anything for a treat.  In the end, she actually jumped into the water and seemed to quite enjoy the experience (I missed that shot).
 She isn't frightened in the photo below, but she definitely has had enough of fountain investigations.  There are only so many ways to find treats over water :)  The X connection? Did you know that xerarch  means growing out of dry places?  See those trees? For that matter.  Did you know that xeric means dry?  Black Jack has headed for xeric land.
We looked up a second after leaving the fountain and saw this cat high above us on a balcony ledge.  I know people let their cats hang out on balconies but it's not something I would be able to do.  A fall would not be a good thing and I'd rather not take the risk.
 The cat stared at Black Jack.  Something tells me s/he was not a xenophilia-ist.  (lover of foreign species).
Bill and I talked about the letter X last week (I was a week ahead of myself.  He did some googling and found this photo of a Xenops at this Wikipedia site.  Beautiful little bird.
Yesterday, I enjoyed a visit with Tupper, the seagull we have named for her upward pointing tail. We love her and when all the conditions are right (no other people close by, no strange dogs close by, etc), she sometimes eats out of our hands.  Her tail is definitely unique but I..
don't think it would qualify as a forked tail.  Did you know that a Xeme is a Fork-tailed Gull?  When I learned that, I wanted to know what one looked like.  A google at a Princeton University site took me to this beautiful drawing by Thomas Irwin.  It doesn't appear to be copyrighted and it seems like a wonderful one to share with you.
 That's about it for X connections to Tupper so she bids you good-bye until next time.
On the way to Harrison Galleries yesterday, the hood of a car caught my eye.  A person with xanthocyanopsy would have appreciated it too.
 I also thought this motorcycle was lovely.  I'm not sure how the person with xanothocyanopsy would see it, but I'm thinking..
orange is fairly close to yellow.  Here's a little tidbit of info with zero connection to X that you may or may not find interesting.  In the 60's, I bought a Yamaha 180.  I was a university student in Montreal, and loved that bike for well over a year (until it was stolen) as my main mode of transportation.  I still love to see motorcycles although my desire to ride one has mutated to bicycles :)
 Another of our brain-training exercises is a daily crossword.  We are getting better at them.  We always record the moment if we are able to complete one without cheating.  I should really save this photo for Orange You Glad It's Friday, but it took place yesterday.  The X connection.  That's easy.  Cross = X so it was really an Xword puzzle.
 As we walked to Harrison Galleries yesterday, Bill suddenly stopped and said, "Could you take my picture, please?  When I looked, I saw this.  I guess a person with xanthocyanopsy would see it slightly differently.  I love Bill for many reasons, but his ability to make me laugh is really high up there on my list.
Yesterday, my sister sent my a photo of a bloom that had just appeared in her Ottawa garden.  I saw this flower here in Vancouver yesterday and wonder if she thinks it looks similar to hers. It was growing out of a very dry place indeed so that xerac word would apply here.  Not in Ottawa though.  Apparently, they had torrential rains yesterday.
Yesterday, Bill and I watched this goose taking a bath.  We spent a long time admiring it.
 It was so very thorough and so very flexible.
 I can't think of an X connection for this one, but I can't leave out this photo.  I love it.
 Maybe you can come up with some X factor.  It not, I hope you enjoy this very clean goose.
The rest of the photos in this post were taken on June 17th, in preparation for what I thought was X week.  The brace on the back of the Stanley Park Seawall drummer is X shaped.
Sail masts reflected..
 and passed over by seaplanes,
 curvy crossed cables of the Lions Gate Bridge,
 the seaplane's rotor blades,
 and the bridge's X braces all caught my eye.
My final X theme has to do with wood. Xylophilous means fond of wood (as I am) and xylography is the art of engraving on wood.  This beautiful desk was at Harrison Galleries.
 We saw this huge wooden beam along the beach.  Xylogenous refers to something that grows on wood, and I know there must be many tiny foreign species growing or about to grow from that beam.
 Maybe I should save the photo below for next week.  It certainly expresses a Y to me, but then, my xylophilous (wood loving) nature thinks it fits here as well.
 Our ride around the Stanley Park Seawall showed many X shapes and there must have been lots of xylophilous people because wood collections were everywhere.
 I've mentioned Harrison Galleries a lot.  We love the place both for its art and for its lattés and sugar-free, vegan cookies.  Bill says their turkey sandwiches aren't bad either :)  This link will take you to their site, and in particular, to one of their artists, Steven Friedman.  He is clearly an xylophilous (just in case you've forgotten - a lover of wood) person as well as an amazing photographer and artist.
That concludes my X post for ABC Wednesday.  Just in case you are yearning for a few more X connections, that wonderful meme will give you lots of other perspectives on a very interesting letter of the alphabet.  Thanks, as always, to the many volunteers who keep the meme running, and to you, for taking time to stop by here.  Happy Wednesday, everyone!


  1. beautiful wood art. love the reflected masts. bill is goofy. :) little black jack does not seem thrilled with the e-book in that first photo. :)

  2. Xtra special post today, many examples of "X" to delight us all. I really love Bills sense of humor, I have a hubby like that too. One of my goals is to finish Xword puzzles without cheating--does not happen to often.

  3. What an Xtra-ordinary take on the X! This whole post is a feast for the eye and soul. I love the concept of reading aloud as a healing tool. I'm sure you'll both adore The Art of Racing in the Rain. May I suggest you place "The Storied Life of AJ Fikry' by Gabrielle Zevin on your reading list.

  4. Xcellent as always. But that's the silliest hat I've ever seen.
    And merely your suggestion about yawning made ME yawn!

  5. eXcellent post full of Xs! I do enjoy taking virtual walks with you and Bill - your photography pulls me right in.

    abcw team

  6. Love those rainbow photos. I always think a rainbow is a sign of beautiful things to come :)

  7. You have got a lot of xellent X-words! I hope you have some left for the next round! I hope you will join us again!
    The rainbow photos are amazing.
    Have a great weekend.
    Wil, ABCW Team.