Friday, January 19, 2007


We’re heading North tonight to cottage country. Yeah, my spouse and I just want to see even more snow.

Do Americans find it odd that Canadians use the expression “going up North” when we speak of going to the cottage? You all (y’all) must think we’re already “North” enough. Why don’t we just say, “going to the cottage?” And why do I italicize North? I don’t really know. This is the first time I ever noticed that I do.

Now I’m wondering what other particularly Canadian quirks and expressions Americans might note about “us.” If it’s your own quirkiness, you can’t really see or hear it. I know some Americans don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “chesterfield.” It’s a couch, a sofa — and of “veddy” British origins (Lord Chesterfield and all that…)

And then there’s that weird (British) way we spell certain words. Neighbour. Colour. Flavour.

Vive la différence! Know what I mean? Eh?

Back to our Northern wilderness excursion. I’m taking my laptop just in case I feel like blogging. I can only do so much walking in the snow while enjoying nature before I start whining, “It’s cold out here, my ears hurt.” (This is with a wool hat, of course.) And then I hustle — or slip and slide — back to the warmth of the wood stove and blessed heat.

Sympatico-Slow-Speed-Lose-Connection-Frequently-Dial-Up is what we use at the cottage. (We used to rough it — no TV, etc,. Now, not so much.) This kind of Internet connection makes you want to clench your fists and howl. Kind of like the wolves up there who I do not want to see. I’m okay with Bambi’s family, though. Always happy to catch a glimpse of them.

So, if I post nada and none of my wonderful comments appear on other sites, you’ll know why. I’m howlin’ up there.

Have a great weekend — whatever your plans.


oreneta said...

Sounds so wonderful. Have big warm fires and toast marshmellows, and and and... I won't tell my kids, they would just die of jealousy. I'm not far off.

Rebecca said...

When I lived in the UK, my co-workers used to tease me about pronouncing "t's" as "d's." ie. "Would you like some WADDER?"

Have fun up north - my inlaws' cottage has dial-up also, but it's better than nothing!

The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, It seems to me that the directional thing is more of an East Coast thing. When I lived in NJ, going over the NY State border was going up North, and then there was always down South. Here in Oregon I've only heard compas direction mentioned when talking about something "back East", and instead of saying Up North or Down South, they simply talk about the destination, such as California or Alaska.

As for Canadian quirkiness, I find it all charming. I like the fact that many people speak French as well as English. I like that you have gone metric. I like the general politeness and civility.

I spent a lot of time in Canada while growing up and visited several times since I moved here. If I had to do it all over again I would have moved to Canada rather than Oregon, and I still may move there one day.

Anonymous said...

I think you'd be surprised at the number of people who do not speak both french and english. I myself (beth's son number 3) am the only one in the family who speaks it. Army boy will soon be joining me though, it's required for what he's doing.

Beth said...

oreneta: Tit for tat. I envy you your experiences in Spain.
Warm fires - yes. Marshmellows - no. You kind of need kids around to inspire you to do that. Sigh.

rebecca: Wadder. Water. Wadder.
I'm trying it out. They're right.

guy: Those of us who are charming and civil would welcome you here!
(And I do believe "Anonymous" - my son # 3 - is addressing you with his comment.)

anonymous: Hey, you bilingual kid - you made me smile by referring to your big brother as "Army Boy."

Beth said...

Have a gret weekend up North...In the snow...and the cold....yuk!

Anonymous said...

beth: ...and white-outs and a blizzard with the drive up...having a great old time!

Beth said...

beth: again - I didn't mean to leave my comment back to you from's'm in the wilderness with wacky internet!

DJ Cayenne said...

Beth: Yes it is amusing to someone from the southern US to hear you talk about heading North. It's all relative. When I was a kid in New Orleans, they used to tell us that Santa lived in the North Pole, which was up around Shreveport (northern Louisiana). Thanks for the explanations of your Canadian-isms.

In Louisiana, there are some who still speak French (from when we were evicted from Canada). My parents both speak French. I know only enough to sound ridiculous.

Beth said...

dj: I'll bet your French-speaking ability exceeds that of the majority of Canadians. Mais, oui?

ragdoll said...

So funny, I always saying going up north too, and don't capitalize the "n", maybe that's wrong? Who knows. And I know of your mouse invasions -- my brother has been "renovating" our own cabin (there is more than one building on my family's property), and I came up one weekend to find an entire family of RACCOONS LIVING in my old bunk beds. Needless to say I have not slept in there since. My husband kills all the mice now, I feel so bad! But it has to be done. They're so frustrating, pooping everywhere, peeing everywhere, eating everything, it truly is a war.

(long comment, sorry).

My uncle used to say that if you left piles of human hair around it's a natural repellant, but I have no idea whether or not that's true.

Beth said...

ragdoll: A family of raccoons would have me OUT OF THERE - pronto. But at least they're easier to get rid of. (By someone else.)
And I forgot about mouse pee. (Too busy with the poop.) Thanks for the reminder...
Human hair? Hmm. We've tried cloves, bay leaves and - of course - traps. Two of the traps had the peanut butter licked off - no dead mice. My husband is so optimistic about getting rid of these creatures. I think they're too damned smart - and comfortable.
(Long reply...)