bundolo the brave

Dear Uma: New identity for a new year; I am going to be Bundolo. Bundolo is not afraid to tackle new things; she has no worries about failure, but simply goes for it, whatever 'it' may be.

Dear Uma:

New identity for a new year; I am going to be Bundolo.

Bundolo is not afraid to tackle new things; she has no worries about failure, but simply goes for it, whatever ‘it’ may be. Rather than be brought low by the looming and inevitable end of civilization as we know it, she embraces the hopelessness of the age, choosing to live fearlessly and fully in the Now.

I chose Bundolo because that is what Tarzan used to holler before he killed something. It struck me that it is a sound full of courage and commitment and will make a good reminder for me to act with more boldness than has been my wont.

Not that I am intending to kill anything, you understand; I merely want a secret call for myself, a name to conjure up some true grit.

Bundolo attended the polar bear swim down at the lake, drinking mulled wine and eating smoked salmon before the daring dash to the water. The men had used chainsaws to cut a hole in the ice for those who were going to dunk. It appeared the hole-cutting was the extent of the men’s participation in this event. They retired to the cabin to drink beer and watch from the window. The dunkers, or dunkettes or dunkelles, clad in swimsuits, pulled on boots for the sprint to the lake. I had taken the precaution of making an effigy of myself, and it was the effigy, at the last moment, that joined the others for the grand leap into the frigid waters. It was a thrilling event; I was proud to have been a part of it, and celebrated long into the night.

In my new guise as Bundolo I went out into the minus 47 Fahrenheit weather to frolic in the snow. Not for the new, brave me the battening of the hatches, the cringing indoors with remote in hand waiting for spring. I was going outside, to play at making a snow angel and building a snowman.

The snow was too dry and fluffy for making a snowman, as it turned out, and my mittens too big and clumsy, but I made a snow heap, garnishing it with burned cookies from the morning’s baking, and a lump of wool that was the result of Knitting for Dummies.

The snow angel looked more like a snow Sasquatch; it started angelically but got messed up when I struggled to get on my feet again.

The layers of winter clothing necessary for survival in this temperature make it imperative to always stay upright as the simple act of getting up from the ground is nearly impossible when one is bundled. I ended up having to crawl from the snow to the porch steps and I used the rail of the stairs to pull myself up. It was then I discovered that while going down the short flight of steps was fairly easy, the thickness of my clothing made it impossible to lift my legs high enough to go up the stairs. More crawling, feeling grateful for the fact that our porch cannot be seen from the road.

I wonder how many northerners die in the woods simply because they sat to build a fire and have tea, or simply to rest, and could not get up again.

Indoors, the adventuresome mood continued. I made a souffle for my dinner, something I have long wanted to try but was intimidated by the complexity of the recipe as well as by the souffle baking dish and its little hinges. For this effort I put together the sort of thing I figured Bondolo would wear for a kitchen adventure; black leggings and a black turtleneck with a carpenter’s apron. The souffle looked like a large pancake when I pulled it from the oven, and I looked like a Dalmatian, but I was not downhearted; I piled it on toast and ate it for my lunch, with the leftovers enthusiastically devoured by the ravens, those always grateful and mostly uncritical sharers of my cooking and baking.

The next day I made some potholders, using some quilted fabric I had bought a couple of years ago especially for this purpose. Fortunately, I had kept this piece of cloth, though in truth I thought it’d gone the way of the sewing machine and the other accessories to the craft after my previous attempts to sew. The lack of a machine meant sewing by hand, and that is what I did, boldly cutting out the squares, threading the needle and stitching for what seemed hours. Bundolo wore baggy camo pants, one of Pete’s wool undershirts, and some fingerless mittens. (I don’t know where the ideas for these ensembles originate, but I fearlessly follow the visions. I sat at the kitchen table for this bit of crafting, sipping at a martini between hemming the edges. The results were not bad, particularly given my history with crafting. The potholders were entirely recognizable as such, and were quite square in design. The only tiny flaw was I’d sewn the edges all the way around, forgetting to leave one side open to turn the fabric right side out. Instead of a design of red peppers on a black background, my potholders are white, and sort of fluffy. I don’t see why they shouldn’t serve their purpose however, and as soon as I get the little loops on them (for hanging up) I shall proudly display them.

If you happen to be interested in taking up some easy crafting, Amy Sedaris has put out a big colourful book called Simple Times, or Crafting for Poor People. It is full of good ideas for starting one’s own crafting club, and includes helpful hints on how to accommodate homosexuals and/or disabled people in the club.

Some of the projects are a bit simplistic; like the one on how to make your own twist ties, but there are some very good ideas, and recipes, in this book.

Push ups are the exercise of choice for Bundolo; the real kind, not the girly ones. When I started, I could not do even one, but now I can. The costume is a bright pink leotard, with scarlet leg warmers and the prerequisite athletic shoes. After attempting the leg-straight-up-against-the-wall-and-then-put-your-nose-beside-it sequence, I took off the shoes. Whatever sort of rubber is used on the soles of those shoes grips like crazy, even on a wall, and not only made it awkward and painful to get my foot down but ruined the paint on the wall.

Amisi, too, is part of the new aura of energy and risk-taking; I am teaching her how to do some simple tricks. She displays great interest, but not much co-operation, so I needs must garb myself in leather from head to toe, including gloves, for each lesson. Progress has been made; Amisi now comes when she is called, which I understand is quite an achievement for a cat. In the beginning she fought the light rope tied to her collar, which I would gently tug each time I called her, but now she obediently comes to me, though her attitude needs some improvement. If she were a person I would call it a shrug, that little twitch, accompanied by an air of resignation she exhibits each time I call and pull on the line. She resisted the attempts to get her to ‘high five.’ I don’t believe cats are all that smart, but they sure can express displeasure when they want to. Even Bundolo backed down from those needle-like claws and cobra teeth.

You will be pleased to hear that finally and at last, emboldened by the addition of Bundolo to my persona, I have booked a mammogram. I made the appointment for early spring. I need the time to accustom myself to the idea, put together an appropriate outfit, and maybe practise a little before the actual event.

Yours in valour,


Heather Bennett is a writer who lives in Watson Lake.