Storyphile | Your life. Your story. For the people you love.

Crosswords

I’ve been a word nerd for as long as I can remember. And I’ve been a cruciverbalist—a crossword fan—since at least junior high. That’s when my big sister started buying me Dell magazines, which had crosswords of varying difficulty plus many other kinds of puzzles: logic puzzles (You solve a problem by deciphering a series … Read more

In Praise of Grandmothers

I’m a baba. Truth be told, I’m a proud-as-can-be, floating-on-air, tickled pink-and-blue baba who thinks her grandson is the cutest, brightest, smartest little boy in the whole wide world. Other babas are free to make the same claim. I don’t mind. It’s a baba’s prerogative. My babas were certainly proud of me. And I was … Read more

More Mysterious Little Birds

My recent epiphany about the folk song “Alouette” brought to mind some other bird songs from my childhood—folk songs my Baba Fill taught me in Ukrainian. One was an action song about a chyzhyk—a siskin or a finch*. Again, in the bliss of ignorance, I didn’t know what a chyzhyk was until I looked it … Read more

Books, Rituals and Stories

I just finished The Company We Keep by Canadian writer Frances Itani. It’s about six grieving strangers who have lost or are in the process of losing loved ones. They share their stories with one another, and find comfort and support in the new friendships they forge. I’m a huge Itani fan, although I have … Read more

Lullabies

A recent study at Harvard University’s Music Lab found that babies were soothed by lullabies even when they were sung in unfamiliar languages such as Scottish Gaelic or Hopi. That’s amazing! And it got me thinking about the lullabies I know. When my son was little, one of his favourites was “Oi khodyt’ son”—“Dream Passes … Read more

Home

Picture this. A mountain-ringed campsite beside the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park. A crackling fire. Sun slanting down through the trees. River rumbling over rapids. The occasional crow chorus. (The resident clan regularly sends scouts to check if we’ve forgotten to take the dog food in.) Soft music playing from one of the randomly … Read more

Doing Good Is Good for You

I am not a religious person. Frankly, I’m a bit jaded by the terrible things people do to one another in the name of religion. But I do try to be a good person. That’s a lesson I learned from my parents and grandmothers.[1] All were devout churchgoers who never missed a Sunday, and they … Read more