Thirteen Things about MISS MELISS Things that Begin with U
UFO: I don’t really believe that there are aliens who borrow people for experiments, but I have to admit that I often stare up at the skies and wonder. Don’t we all?
UHF: I grew up before remote controls were ubiquitous, and before cable television was widespread (in fact, because my parents were anti-television, we really didn’t have cable until I was in high school, and even then, it was only basic). The first television I remember had two channel selection dials, and there were often really interesting things on the UHF channels.
Ulalume: One of my favorite of Poe’s offerings, and appropriate for this month.
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere-
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir-
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Umber: I like the word, it reminds me of the deepest notes of a cello. I like the richness of the colors this clay-y pigment produces: Raw Umber and Burnt Umber. I like the autumnal feel of both those color names, as well.
Umbra: The darkest part of a shadow, where the source of light is blocked completely. It’s such a mysterious and romantic word, even if it is dark.
Umbrellas: I’ve had favorite umbrellas – black ones that opened automatically and a clear bubble-style one leftover from the early seventies, with yellow trim and a white handle that just screamed for Go-Go boots to go with it. I also like the use of umbrellas in movies and novels – Gene Kelly’s dance in “Singin’ in the Rain,” Julie Andrews using one as “Mary Poppins,” and the scene in Little Women where Friedrich and Jo finally admit their feelings, under the umbrella, in the rain.
Undertow: I always thought the undertow was a sort of deep sea monster, and I never quite believed in its power until I was caught in one at Half Moon Bay when I was thirteen. Wet denim, in case you were unaware, is one of the most uncomfortable fabrics on Earth. Being rolled in white water is scary, but coming out of it, figuring out which way is up again, and making it to shore alive – that’s just exhilarating.
Underwear: I like pretty underwear. True, no one sees it except me, and maybe Fuzzy, but it makes me happy. Also, it has to coordinate with my outfit. This is important. I blame my mother for this fetish.
In Teutonic folklore, undines are female water-spirits who like to associate with humans. They often join villagers in their dances and merry-making. An undine was created without a soul, but by marrying a mortal and bearing him a child she obtained a soul and with it all the pains and penalties of the human race.
Undines, like all mythological water-beings, have always fascinated me.
Undulate: This word is visual onomatopoeia. It just sounds like a writhing, sensual dance with swaying hips and bare feet and sweat and spice and firelight.
Unicorn: I went through the requisite unicorn phase at the end of elementary school and beginning of junior high school – about the same time that those shirts with a rainbow arcing from sleeve to sleeve across the chest were popular. In a dish on my dresser I have a pair of sterling silver unicorn earrings that I just can’t toss, even though I’ve no intention of ever wearing them again.
Unicycles: I’ve never ridden one, I’ve always wanted to. Like juggling, riding a unicycle is one of my unvoiced circus trick dreams.
Unique: I would rather be unique than boring, any day. I have moments where I am only interesting inside my head, but I hope I’m never average.
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