Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A good book.  This week I finished Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams.  It tells of chemistry’s role in history, geography, literature, the arts, language.  One reviewer wrote, “If only chemistry had been like this in school.”  (Matt Ridley in Genome)  The book has made me more aware and enabled me more enjoyment of looking at car chrome, church steeples, statues, my silverward, cooking utensils, cleaning materials, jewelry in the window of the local jewelry store, paints.  I notice my good friend, all-purpose cleanser, Bon Ami, “the natural home cleaner.” The box states, “Before cleaning turned “chemical,” there was Bon Ami.  We build cleaning tools made with mineral ingredients that serve a simple purpose: to return your home to a natural state of clean.”  Ingredients: limestone, feldspar, soda ash, baking soda, coconut and corn agents.  The book has made me more aware of the world, and thus I’m able to enjoy the world more.  It has made me want to know more about chemistry, and books which are able to influence me these ways I call good, good books.

The trip last week to visit LaVerne in LaGrange was marked by images of one of my favorite literary friends, Henry David Thoreau.  At the first of the visit, she showed me a water lily blooming in her goldfish pond.  At the end of the visit, she gave me a watermelon.  Thoreau’s favorite flower was the water lily; he grew melons and gave melon parties.  I have missed Thoreau.  Time for more Thoreau.

Watermelon: a summer elight.  A person who does not like watermelon is Mitch.  I do not offer Mitch watermelon.  Do not offer him watermelon.

Mitch has made me into a more high-tech person by gifts of wireless netowrking at home and internet radio.  When I became interested in geocaching, I bought a GPS device.  Masaki, visiting from Japan, was amazed that I had such things in my house.  When he returned to Japan, he sent me a gift of a GPS for Red Car.  It’s magic.  Riding–I was a passenger–and I noticed that the device made maps of the area through which we drove .  Amazing.  There was Exit 146 and the name of the road of the exit.  It speaks directions.

Jill and Jack.  When I first programmed the GPS to a voice, I indicated American English.  It was preset to Jill’s voice.  I hated it.  It was grating.  I was able to change it to American English Jack.  Much better.  I will let Jack direct me to places, but not Jill.  I do not like her bossy woman voice.

Lyric from a song on “Songs of the Mountains” on PBS, a bluegrass Saturday live broadcast:  “The man that worte ‘Home Sweet Home’ never was a married man.”  A friends suggests I start a list:  You Might Be a Misogynist If…”  I’ve started with the previous listed two examples.

A gift of blueberries!  Blueberries to enhance Corn Flakes or oatmeal.  Blueberries to bake into a cobbler.  Blueberries for snacks!

Culling.  Shoes, t-shirts, books, CD’s, papers.  Bags to take to Goodwill.  Like weeding.

James Russell Lowell, in The Vision of Sir Launfal, writes that summer is “lavish.”  It is lavish.  Workers are taking out many plants and the arbor at the Veteran’s Garden.  It has grown up with shrubbery and vines.  On Washington Street, between Second and Third Streets, the crepe myrtle brances over the sidewalk.  They are heavy with blossoms that almost touch my head.  My borders are in need of weeding, and the back fence is heavy with creeping vines from the stretch of woods beyond the fence.  Work to do.  Summer to enjoy.

A ride in the Gator.  One of the things a couple in western Iredell County and I do on my visits there is to go down to the river, about a mile away.  There is an unpaved dirt path from their house to the river bank.  The path goes through two stretches of woods and two areas of open fields.  Nina Jean drives the Gator, and I ride.  James follows in the truck behind us.  We brush through two spider webs, and Nina Jean, undaunted, dodges fallen branches and fords the small stream with not much water but with many minnows.  One the way back I have her stop so that I can collect several seed pods of Queen Anne’s lace.  I don’t see much of it here in Alamance County, and I love it. I will clean out the northeast part of the border at the side of the house–wreck the kingdom of dandelions there–and shake the small seeds to see if they will take and grow.  The wild carrot, graced by the name of Queen Anne’s lace.  Lacey white flowers, yes. 

Almanac tells me there are meteor showers to enjoy after midnight this weekend, about one meteor each minute in this area.  Two challenges: to be awake after midnight and (the greater challenge) to find dark.  Why do people insist on night lights?  Is there a place I can live where there is dark?  Could our town and residents turn out lights for the celebration of a meteor shower?  (No, they could not.)

My new optometrist is a good and happy person.  His office waiting room has certificates of appreciation for work in children’s sports (soccer and baseball).  He is proud of his three sons, two in high school and one in college.  He loves his work, and he is obviously competent.  He’s garrulous but no annoyingly so.  He has reasonable charges.  It was good to meet him and to get a good eye exam report. 

I hope your week was good, and that you will enjoy the time before I write again.

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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