Wordsworkinc's Weblog

Life, love and language

About Me


Hi there, my name is Dawn Kumm.  I am one of those annoying people who keep picking out grammatical and spelling mistakes online and itch to correct them.  English is my passion and was one of my majors in my first degree. I also hold a Master’s degree in Education.   I run my own business, and do freelance research, writing and editing.  Find me on LinkedIn for my full resume and look for me on Facebook and my website


November 21, 2018 Posted by | About Me, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Kids and Pets

I grew up with pets – dogs and cats, of course – I still remember Blackie, my fluffy black cat (I wasn’t very innovative with names at five years old) who patiently let me dress him up and push him around in my doll’s pram

boy standing hugging cat

Photo by Elisey Vavulin

But I also had a locust, who would sit on my hand and nibble away on a piece of grass while I watched the movements of his mouth pieces in fascination.

That year, I remember, I had an insect hospital in our playroom, with matchbox beds. Unfortunately, I don’t think too many of my little patients survived my tender ministrations.
Later, when I was at high school, I had a chameleon named Rex, later changed to Regina when he/she laid eggs. Regina went to school with me every day. Our desks still had holes for ink wells although we had, just, progressed beyond dipping pens. Regina, who measured a good 10 inches from nose to tail, would stay quite happily in my desk, sticking her nose out through the ink well hole every now and then for a stroke.

Pet birds also played a large part in my life. Between my sisters and I we had six budgies who were tame enough to travel to the shops on our shoulders.

blue parakeet on hand

Photo by Sharon MacCutcheon

And as we have grown up, married, and had children, and then grandchildren, of our own, pets continue to be an integral part of our families, from budgies and parrots, cats and dogs, to rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and reptiles.
What generated all these reminiscences was the realization, I as patiently walked my rather chubby Pomeranian around the yard, that through all the years of studying, and then lecturing in child development, the relationship between children and animals was never discussed. And yet it was such an important part of my growing up. I started looking at research in this area and found that most of it is fairly recent.
So, I have decided, in my next few blogs, to look at what evidence there is for the place of animals in the overall development of a child, from toddler to adolescent. Watch this space.

November 21, 2018 Posted by | About Me | | 4 Comments

The Joys of Idleness

There is a real skill to being able to sit still and do nothing and I think that I have lost it somewhere along the way. Since contentment has long been my seemingly unattainable goal I decided to see if I could find it again.
So this morning, when I poured my second cup of coffee, instead of sitting down at my computer I took our aging bearded dragon and our little Pom and sat outside on my bench, ready to be idle.

Sherry on the bench
Calgary’s summer may be short but it is lovely. Everything is green and deciduous trees, newly leafed, together with the evergreens, surround my little private garden. At first it was very quiet, then the sounds of the birds came back, sparrows, chickadees, robins and crows (these are about the only calls I can recognize but there were many more.) Our resident red-tailed hawk flew overhead and Draco, the dragon, tilted his head and watched him suspiciously. A small sparrow landed on the nearby bird feeding tray and confidently helped himself to the seed.
My phone lay untouched beside me (that umbilical cord will take some time to sever) as I sipped my coffee and basked in the cool beauty of the garden.
For the first 5 minutes I truly lived in the moment, and then, gradually, reality started to seep in. Sherry jumped onto the bench beside me and I stroked her soft fur (I really need to brush her again), Draco flicked his tongue at an ant and took a few tentative steps through the lawn (I must cut the grass today), the pansies, geraniums and petunias seem to have survived the attentions of the gophers and the deer and are adding splashes of colour to the green (and probably need a watering before it gets too hot).

In the end my coffee and my ability to sit still both ran out at the same time and we all came back inside so I could carry on with my day.
Ten minutes mightn’t be much but made me think. I’ve never been very keen on meditation and the idea of clearing my mind of any thoughts is laughable, but mindfulness I might just manage. I’ll try again tomorrow.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | About Me, Living in Canada | , , , , | 2 Comments

A life well lived?


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life … Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Steve Jobs


This quote really resonated with me when I reread it today.  Time is limited. At 70 years I certainly don’t feel old, but I’m well aware that, unless I plan to live to 140 I can no longer pretend to be middle-aged.  So today I have been doing some retrospection, after all, when I do eventually “shuffle off this mortal coil”, I would like it to be with the knowledge of a life well lived.

So here is my checklist of the decades gone by.  I recommend this activity, especially if you have quite a few decades behind you too, it kind of puts your life in perspective:

Teens – leaving school, and the town where I grew up, starting a job (At the bank. My first choice would have been training college but my parents were not able to afford it); meeting my future husband;

Twenties – marrying; setting up my first home; having two beautiful little girls, hopefully becoming a responsible adult;

Thirties – back to studying, English and Education in my first degree, eventually completing 3 degrees and a post graduate pre-primary diploma – fulfilling my dream of becoming a teacher and learning to use my brain again;

Forties – changing careers, starting to work with young children, learning to overcome disappointments, and to be independent;

Fifties – children grown up, started travelling and looking for adventure, hiking, including climbing Kilimanjaro, and visiting India, UK, Canada and Australia,  another change in career – lecturing on child development among other things in the Education Department at University –  then content writing and editing while we travelled between South Africa and Canada  for a few years.

Sixties – Emigrating from South Africa to Canada to join my daughters, visiting USA and Egypt, hiking the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, opening my own business – a daycare – discovering I was capable of more than I thought.

So now, in my seventies I feel I can claim I have lived my own life, directed in the most by my own desires – and the future continues to beckon –  circumstances and inclination seem to be pushing me into another direction. The prospect is frightening, the possibilities endless, as I continue to follow my heart.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | About Me | , | 1 Comment