My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I give you Lola, Queen of Schlumpy

So many of this week's events, both global and closer to home, have left me feeling saddened, dazed and schlumpy.

What's "schlumpy" you may ask? Well, in using it to describe how I feel, I'd define it as, "fretful, drained, dispirited, vexed, and listless." Easier to just say "I feel schlumpy."

But it can also be used to describe a physical posture or attitude, and used this way it has a much more positive - and adorable - meaning.

In a recent post, my friend Molly shared some photos of her dogs Emma and Rowan modeling some new (though disappointingly ill-fitting) slipper socks, meant to keep them from sliding, clicking and marring Molly's brand new laminate floors. (Happily, different slipper socks were a success!) In this photo on that post, Rowan is sitting ~ front paw dangling daintily - in a pose that's not unusual for her and that Molly said in one of her comments makes her look "so schlumpy and cute." I fell immediately in love with that word, asked Molly if I could "borrow it," and thought of all kinds of uses to which it could be put; the first one being a perfect way to describe Lola.

When BW and I were advertising our Valkyrie for sale about four years ago, we were contacted by an interested party in Iceland named Björn. In the end he didn't buy the Valk, but our email exchanges continued on anyway for quite some time and were great fun. Björn often shared beautiful photos of his local area, like this one he took of Iceland's stunning waterfalls, Gullfoss...

I encourage you to click on the above link I provided
to read the inspiring story of Sigríður Tómasdóttir,
especially if you need a reminder of the difference
that one determined and devoted person can make!

But my favorite photos Björn shared were of his precious yellow lab companion, Lola. Most of the photos showed Lola being beautiful, Lola being dignified and Lola being adorable (or, as in this photo of her watching "Mom" making dinner in the kitchen, all three simultaneously)...

But when it came to the "schlumpy and cute" Rowan-style of schlumpy (as opposed to my current form of grumpy schlumpy), Lola had it down to an art form. Lola personified schlumpy. Lola was a schlumpy goddess. Lola was, in fact, what schlumpy is all about!

And so I present to you Lola, Queen of Schlumpy!

Björn said in his email that accompanied this picture that Lola liked to watch television sitting on her blanket on the sofa and leaning back against the armrest, but that after a while she'd doze off and slide into the completely "schlumped" position on display here, sound asleep and snoring like a jet engine toward the ceiling! This photo never fails to make me laugh and remains one of my all-time favorite pictures ever.

Unfortunately, Björn and I eventually lost touch and after a computer crash and several ISP changes, I no longer have his email address and he no longer has mine, and I can't remember what town he lived in or his last name. So I don't know how Lola is faring these days, but I love to picture her like this, happily, peacefully, schlumpily being Lola, without a care in the world. And that image always brings me my own little bit of joy, no matter what else is going on.

Thanks, Lola and Björn, wherever you are! (And thanks, Molly, for introducing me to a great word!)

And to all our fellow beings who are suffering so in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, our heavy hearts go out to you and our love, thoughts and prayers are with you.


  1. I love the word schlumpy, I actually use it quite a bit. Sometimes it just says it all.
    Lovely tribute, what a sad situation.

  2. The photo of Lola is a gem. But schlumpy? Maybe. My mother used to use that word to describe someone (usually male) who often appeared disheveled, and was generally considered a ne'er-do-well. It comes from Yiddish.

    The events in Japan are indeed heartbreaking. So sad. My thought go out to the people who were effected by this terrible disaster.

  3. Aw, I love this post! <3 That waterfall is absolutely stunning. I could sit and watch it forever. So beautiful & peaceful.

    Lola is adorable and that picture along with the description of her laying back, snoring made me LOL. I'd say that level of cuteness is most definitely in the red zone!

    It's so sad what's happened in Japan and it really puts things into perspective. My heart goes out to all of the people and animals affected by those disasters.

  4. Lola is too cute. I love the schlumpy pic. What a character! :)

    Lovely remembrance of those who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami. My heart is with them too.

  5. Jennifer ~ It was new to me, but it seems to fit some things so perfectly. You're right, sometimes it just says it all.

    The images and stories coming from Japan are heartbreaking and surreal, I can't begin to imagine what it's like to be experiencing such sudden devastation and loss.

    Andrea ~ Thanks for the definition, it does have that great Yiddish sound, now that you mention it, and "schlumpy" is a perfect word for a disheveled male ne'er do well! But I loved how Molly used it to fit the way Rowan sits, too - it also sounded perfect, though Rowan is neither disheveled, male nor a ne'er do well (nor for that matter is Lola!) :-) And since I didn't know it was even a real word, never mind what it meant, I felt free to co-opt it to describe my feelings... it seemed a perfect fit for those too. It's a great word!

    My mother coined a similar word when I was a pre-teen to describe a friend of mine who was often moody, sulky and sullen. My mother said she was "glumphy," and she didn't like having Jillian around when she was "glumphing," and her own word for the heebie-jeebies is "the wickies." When my junior high school friend Tracy was a little girl, she coined the word "inkles" to describe the puckery sensation you get when you bite into a lemon. :-) I won't even talk about my dad, who along with his four brothers and sisters invented their own language they called "Gyuish" so they could talk amongst themselves without my grandparents being able to understand them. I only know a few Gyuish words, and they're impossible to spell!

    The tragedy in Japan is sure a reminder of how unpredictable and fragile life can be - but resilient, too. The people who went through it who were interviewed on NPR and BBC radio sounded so composed and brave. I'm sure I'd be a total wreck!

  6. Lola is so cute! I had no idea what was going on from that photo and then had to laugh when I read your description. That's a pity that you lost touch like that.

    I feel so helpless with what has happened in Japan.. I wish I could help in some way. I can't even think about anything to post on my blog that would be helpful to my readers and those in Japan.

  7. Molly ~ I was hoping you'd love this post, since you and Rowan provided much of the inspiration for it! :-) I'm glad you love that waterfall photo, I think it's stunning too. Apparently there are almost always lots of rainbows all around it! How magical it must be to see in person! I can understand the lengths to which Sigríður went (and was willing to go) to save it.

    I agree that Lola pegged out the Cute-O-Meter with that photo, and Bjørn's explanation of how she'd always sit and watch TV till she'd fall asleep like that just caps it!

    You sure are right about a calamity like that putting everything in perspective. After seeing the photos of the Christchurch, NZ earthquake I asked BW, "How do you even begin to clean up and put a city and a life back together after something like that?" And when it comes to what I'm seeing in Japan, it boggles the mind and makes me feel ashamed for feeling overwhelmed by the minor little annoyances in my own blessed life.

    Rose ~ I thought you'd enjoy that photo! She's a character for sure! I wish I hadn't lost Bjørn's emails, telling about some of Lola's antics, but I'm so glad I had saved those two photos.

    Thank you, I'm sure most people are feeling shock, anguish and dismay over the news. Between Libya and now Japan, those predictions of the Year of the Rabbit being a peaceful one have so far been disappointingly wide of the mark!

  8. Eva ~ Lola is darling, and I think the photo alone is hysterical but the little story that Bjørn shared along with it just adds so much! And you know what? When BW and I were on a hike with the dogs this afternoon, I had a eureka moment. I told him I KNEW I'd seen Bjørn's email address somewhere on my computer in recent months, but couldn't remember where and it wasn't in any of the obvious places. And as I was telling him this, a few ideas of where I might have seen it came to me - and when I got home and checked, I found it in my Kodak Gallery contact list from back when we were sharing photos! Of course, that was nearly 4 years ago, but I think I'll send him a quick email and see if it works and if so, if he remembers me and how Lola's doing.

    I know exactly what you mean about Japan's horrible situation and feel the same way. That link in my last paragraph will take you to a list of charities that are helping or poised to help, and I'm sure more will be added in the days to come. After Haiti, we made a donation to an organization that helped humans and another that helped critters, and we'll try to do that this time, too. But it's still such an insignificant thing to do in the face of such an overwhelming tragedy. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it so it never happened. And it is hard to find the words or know how to blog about it which is why I kept it brief on my post. (The words tend to come more easily to me in the comments section, for some reason! Perhaps all of you are my muses!) :-) Anyway, you have a generous and tender heart, I'm sure whatever words you find to say on your blog will help add a little peace, comfort, inspiration or even a smile to others.

  9. i love "meetings" like that! over the net or in real life, then you part ways but always remember them. and every once in awhile think about what they are doing:) i liked reading that im not the only one that does this!lol. so in that second pic Lola is really asleep????no WAY!! so cute!

  10. That is a classic schlumpy pose. Lola is absolutely a doll all laid out and sleeping. Crack me up! :)

  11. Terrific photo of Lola, I immediately thought of my dad who used to end up in poses like that at church. He almost invariably succumbed to the sandman before all was said and done.

  12. DD ~ You too, huh? :-) No, you're definitely not the only one! I think one of the best things about the internet is the ability it provides to form friendships, even if briefly, all over the world. When I was a kid, I collected penpals from around the globe and at one point I had close to two dozen. When I was in high school (late '70's, Cold War era) I tried hard to get a penpal in the USSR, but their embassy never answered my letter and the so-called "USSR-USA Friendship Society" in Moscow wrote back a terse reply that basically said, "NYET." I never did get a Russian penpal (East Germany was the closest I got, and Karena and I were penpals for years and she visited us in Wyoming twice though we have since lost touch), so I took a semester of Russian in college as a consolation prize. :-) Imagine what fun I would have had with the World Wide Web back in those days! Probably never would have gotten anything else done! :-)

    It is too bad we eventually lose touch with so many people - it's nearly impossible to keep up - but it is fun to have gotten to know them and to think about them from time to time and sometimes find and reconnect with them again!

    Lola is absolutely totally conked in that photo. Isn't she a hoot?!

    Lori ~ Classic schlumpy pose for sure. Lola ain't the Queen of Schlumpy for nuthin'! :-) Too bad I don't have video so we could hear her snoring!

    Vegan Elder ~ I agree, Bjørn got a terrific photo - I told him he should enter it in contests, but I don't think he ever did. That's too funny about it reminding you of your dad falling asleep like that in church! (I feel asleep in class after all-nighters plenty of times, and that was pretty embarrassing - I don't think I snored, but I was always afraid I'd drool! LOL!)

  13. Schlumpy is a fantastic word - Charlie does it a lot, when he's not being stroppy that is :O) And that photo of Lola is just wonderful. Ever since I read a book set in Iceland I've wanted to go there and take photographs. (Talking of pics, The Shakespeare Hospice has just contacted me and asked if they can use one of my photos as a Christmas card this year, I am chuffed to bits!). But to get back to more serious matters... We've just been watching more news about Japan on tv. It's heartbreaking to see and hear what's going on there, and the suffering all the humans, and non-humans out there must be going through.

  14. Love the word schlumpy as well and I do hope the coming week will be less schlumpy for us all. The situation in Japan is so horrific and now, thanks largely to my becoming part of a haiku community, I know people who are there living through it. It is a small world and we are all connected. I guess now there is also a volcano erupting. It is so sad. Anyway, hope Bjorn's 4 yr old e-mail address works! Lovely post all the way around. Thanks!

  15. Barbara ~ It truly is a fantastic word, I can't find nearly enough excuses to use it to satisfy me. :-) I can easily picture Charlie being a schlumpmeister, both posture-wise and mood-wise. I imagine that mood-wise, schlumpiness is a great accompaniment to stroppiness. (Boy, is my spellchecker ever having conniptions!)

    Iceland looks very photogenic, I sure hope you can get there someday with your camera in tow! And congratulations on the Shakespeare Hospice honoring you that way! That's brilliant! Is the photo they want to use on your blog somewhere? I wanna see it!

    We watched more videos from Japan this morning, and it was hard not to think (and impossible not to WANT to think) that we were watching trailers from the latest James Cameron film or something. It's just so unreal and awful, and the nuclear power plant crises have elevated it to the completely inconceivable.

    Daphne ~ I hadn't even thought about your haiku community! I hope your haiku friends are all safe! A friend of mine just emailed me this Blessing Meditation for Japan video a few minutes ago, and I thought you might find it helpful and healing. I haven't seen anything about a volcano erupting - is it in Japan?

    You are so right about it being a small world, in which and with which we are all connected...

    I haven't had time to email Bjørn and won't for a while, but will let you know when I do, and will share any updates on Lola. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Daphne!

    Izzy ~ Falling in love with Lola is easy to do! She's a darling. I was always pestering Bjørn for more pictures of her!

  16. Laloofah -- I've not heard the word schlumpy before but it has a nice ring to describe one as being out of sorts. Interesting story about the waterfall. This has been a sad week for many reasons worldwide. -- barbara

  17. I've added the photo as a 'breaking news' item to my latest Scavenger Hunt Sunday post. It's a view from the top of the RSC Tower.

  18. Sweet dog! I know that type of pose well! Schlumpy sounds about right. Almost onomatopoeic...

    Glumphy is a word we use a lot! 'Are you OK? You're looking a bit glumphy...' 'Yes, some sh*tty kids today...' (John is a teacher...)

  19. I've realised that I didn't respond to what you said about Japan. It's so distressing to think about those poor souls. It's on our news constantly here, as it must be on yours, and the films are so horrifying. It's on such a huge scale and it seems impossible that they'll ever recover. My heart is aching for all those who have lost loved ones.

  20. Schlumpy was regularly used in our house. In fact, one would often have a 'Schlump-a-Mump' day -- meaning they accomplished nothing.

  21. I remember Lola! I liked that photo so well myself that it was my background on my computer screen for a while. I think it was the one in the chair and not the Schlumpy one but both are so adorable.

    I clicked on the links to Molly's dogs and they are so cute in their slipper socks. I can't imagine how good those dogs must be to leave those on! Holly certainly never would have put up with them. Well, good for them!

    I'm sorry you've been feeling schlumpy. I'm sending a big hugs your way and hoping your grumpy schlumpy (love the sound of that!) turns into lumpy schlumpy - the kind Lola is displaying in that second photo!

  22. I too am feeling very schlumpy after following the Japan news all weekend. That photo of Lola cheered me up though. :-)

  23. Laloofah! I am sorry to not just go and track this down on your blog, but is that your actual name? I always felt that my name (originally spelled Ewa, pronounced the Polish way but spelled with a v... hard to explain, ha!) was original, but I think you've got me beat!

    That is so amazing that you remembered and found the email! I think it's thanks to you writing this post. : ) I hope it's the right and current email and you all can keep in contact again! I hope Lola is doing great and still sleeping on the sofa!

    Thank you for your comment and providing those links on my blog! I haven't even begun to read about what's going on with the animals in Japan (other than an update which I linked to about 24 dolphins and a photo I saw of a kitten who was stuck near some water) so I'm really not looking forward to that news.I actually have AnimalWire on my RSS feed! Small world, ha! I haven't heard of the first organization you mentioned so thank you for letting me know! Also, I've bookmarked the video to listen to/watch tomorrow because it's time for me to go to sleep! Thank you, again! That'd be pretty fantastic if all of your readers were your muses. : )

    I was just remembering about the "Lovely Blog Award" and it made me smile all over again.

  24. "Kentucky Barbara" ~ Oh good, I was starting to feel like I was the only one who had missed the Schlumpy train! I'd never heard it before Molly used it. Thanks for reading the Gullfoss story, I thought it was interesting too. And yes, things have been grim lately, with the events in Japan eclipsing a lot of other sad, awful and unfortunate stuff. March has been rough - hope Shakespeare's warning to "beware the Ides of March" is just fiction!

    "UK Barbara" ~ Speaking of Shakespeare... :-) Thanks for letting me know where to find the photo! I'd have found it eventually, but am getting behind on blog visits (and replying to comments!) lately. Can't wait to have more free time! (Am hoping things will ease up a bit next month, but who knows?)

    Penny ~ You say glumphy too? Wait till I tell my mother that "her" word has crossed the Pond! :-) Anyone over there saying "inkles" or "wickies" yet? LOL

    I echo what you wrote about Japan. We don't watch TV, but I've been listening to the radio (NPR and BBC World News) and seeing a lot of video online. It leaves me stunned and horrified every time, and reminds me of how I felt on 9/11 and the days that followed.

    Shen ~ Ooh, I hate those "Schlump-a-Mump" days... unless I intended to have one of those! That's different. But those days you try to accomplish things and just end up spinning your wheels - those suck.

  25. Jo ~ Oh yeah! I'd forgotten, but now that you've mentioned it I do remember you using Lola's photo as your computer screen background! :-)

    Molly's girls are very good children. My girls are good too, but I think they'd all say, "Nuh-uh" to wearing slipper socks! What was really impressive was how patient Emma and Rowan were about wearing slipper socks that were too small so that their mom could get her photos for the post! Did you see the "Success!" post where they're modeling the new ones that fit? TOO CUTE!

    Thanks for hoping my grumpy-schlumpy turns into a more Lola-like schlumpy! (Funny, BW and I use the word "lumpy" to describe feeling out of sorts too! What is it about the "umpy" sound that fits that so well? Grumpy, schlumpy, lumpy - even the glumphy variation. I wonder if our cave-dwelling ancestors used to grunt, "Umpy!" when asked how they were feeling? :-)

    VW ~ Awww, I'm glad Lola's picture was able to cheer you up! It did me too, that's why I was eager to share it this weekend.

    Eva ~ No problem, you'd have to search through a lot of the comments to find that my real name is Laurie (so your name is definitely more unique, I don't have you beat at all!) :-) Laloofah is sort of a fusing of one of my nicknames and part of my last name.

    I think you're right, it was writing this post and also going for a hike that helped my Random Access Memory retrieve those clues so I could find Bjorn's email address! (A lot of things that elude me otherwise will occur to me on hikes with the dogs!) I hope the same things you do about it - that it's still a good address and that Lola is still happily snoring on the sofa. I'm not sure when I'll have time to find out... don't want to email him only to have him reply and then not have time to answer him, so it'll have to wait a little while. But if I hear back, I'll be sure to post a Lola update!

    You're very welcome for those links! I read the story about the dolphins who were killed, it was very upsetting (their captivity being chiefly responsible for their deaths!) I'm sure glad the volunteers were unscathed. I don't think too many people are aware of Food For Life Global. I love that the food they distribute is vegan!

    Oh, without a doubt you wonderful readers are my muses. :-)

    I'm so glad the award made you smile again!

  26. Actually, I think of 'glumphy' as a very Scottish word, so maybe it came over to you with the diasporic Scots! :)

  27. Penny ~ You may be right! (And I'd have certainly been glumphy - and inspired to coin such a word to describe it - had I lost home and country in the Clearances!)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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