Friday, March 15, 2013

Cabin Fever or Ennui?


We've had more snow this winter than last, for which I am grateful - we need the moisture. I'm hoping the fact that the snows have been hitting us means the weather patterns have changed and we will receive the rains needed during the upcoming growing season. We don't need another drought year.

A lot of snow can lead to cabin fever described as a restlessness from being cooped up too long. And restlessness can manifest in an inability to settle down to any one activity. LDS* (Loving, Dearest Spouse) recently noted that I haven't been blogging. I could blame it on cabin fever.....

Although..... One of the Jeopardy categories yesterday was "Begins with a vowel, ends in i". The highest dollar clue was something like "A french word for weariness" and I said "ennui". Ding, ding, ding. Correct. But....I learned I have been mispronouncing ennui all my life! I say N-U-I. The word is pronounced ahn-we. Criminy, I should have known that - I knew it was a French word.

The origin of ennui is from the Old French enui annoyance, from enuier to vex, from Late Latin inodiare to make loathsome. Some synonyms are blahs, doldrums, boredom, listlessness, restlessness, tedium. Related words are cheerlessness, dispiritedness, joylessness, melancholy, lassitude, lethargy, dullness, sameness, monotonousness, apathy, indifference and unconcern.

Therefore, I believe my non-posting is more like ahn-we (ennui) than cabin fever. In other words I've been more indifferent than restless (note the two terms do have a connection). What I haven't been, I'm happy to say, is neither depressed nor suffering from another bout of sciatica.

The last time Kari and I talked, we got on the subject of words - one of our mutually favorite subjects - I was trying to think of a word I wanted to use and couldn't - one of the joys (not) of getting old. Then I mentioned someone I used to know who was constantly saying a word which was close to the word he meant but just a bit off. Neither Kari nor I could think what that is called. It is malapropism - "the usually unintentional humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase; especially: the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context.

I told Kari I thought that person from my past was doing it completely unintentionally. In other words, not trying to be cute or funny. Then I wanted to give Kari an example, but couldn't think of any. How could I forget one of my own more infamous malapropisms? Especially when I was directing it to my future son-in-law? Several family members were having dinner together after meeting up in Minnesota. Kari had described  how beautiful it had been driving across Montana under a full moon.
I said to Ken: "I hear you had a urethal experience driving through Montana on the way here". He got the funniest look on his face and Kari burst out laughing. "Uh, do you mean ethereal, Mom?" (Of course that's what I meant.)

I have a whole stash of blog ideas. Maybe posting today will free me from my lassitude and start the blogs a rolling. In the meantime, we do have another chance of snow in the seven-day forecast. And the picture is one I took in December, 2010, of the cabin in McKinley Park.

(*LDS are hubby dearest's real initials, even if he does go by BS.)

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