Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Challenge of Hortense.  I don’t know why I have not been playing piano for several months, except that I have not wanted to.  Hortense, my first piano teacher (grades 3-5), when I told her, said, “Then I must challenge you to play some pieces.”  I accepted the challenge.  And I will play them for her, however easy the pieces may be.  Accepting the challenge is easy.  The execution is something else.

Daisies and Queen Anne’s Lace, the white flowers of the borders.  I cut the wasted flowers of the daisies.  Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms turn white-green, form sacs.  Some still bloom as I cut those which have finished.

Changing Appetite.  Last summer I wanted to eat soup.  I ate it all summer.  I learned about canned soups.  I learned to make soup.  It was the summer of soups.  This summer I want to eat steaks.  I don’t eat them in restaurants; they are too expensive there.  They are expensive in grocery stores, but I buy them anyway, until my steak cravings will stop or my money runs out.  I pan broil them in a cast iron frying pan.  It gives good results, and the clean-up is easy.

Reading.  Nonfiction.  Michael Sims, The Adventures of Henry Thoreau.  (Bloomsbury, 2014).  We don’t just read about the life of Thoreau; we live life with him and his friends and family.  Memorable events include his life at Harvard, learning from Emerson, teaching in the Concord public school and in the school he and his brother operated, the trip with his brother on the Concord and Merrimack rivers, his skating with friends on the frozen river, his burning down the woods, his friendship with Hawthorne, his arrest and night in jail, his trip with George Thatcher to climb Mt. Ktaaden in Maine.  We learn about the political and cultural events in Concord and get a vivid sense of characters, time, and place.  There are extensive notes and sources. I was surprised–and disappointed–that Sims does not mention or discuss the estrangement of Thoreau and Emerson.

Reading.  Fiction.  Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.  (1870).  The thing I most like about science fiction is its ability to dazzle the reader with wonders of different worlds and with the workings of technology.  Verne opens our eyes to the wonders of the ocean and the magnificent of life there.  We have a year’s voyage in a submarine and explore the entire world, mostly under the surface of the seas.  The plot is face-paced and filled with exciting adventures.  The portrait of Captain Nemo, the alienated, larger-than-life, mysterious captain is admirably, masterfully drawn.

Thank you for reading.  I hope you are enjoying summer.  The four days of cooler weather, around the 4th, were wonderful, like Colorado summers.  I hope you’re enjoying summer, even the hot and humid times.


About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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1 Response to Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  1. Dave A says:

    Cast iron. When properly “seasoned,” these (often heavy) kitchen implements work very well. I have a few, a friend swears by his and has more than one or two!
    Reading, non-fiction. The PBS News Hour program (Tuesday, 8 Jul) did an interview with one of the co-authors of the recently published “Zhivago Affair,” which I must add to my reading list.

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