Monday, March 12, 2018

things I recommend

Just a palate-cleansing post after that last angsty one.Here are some things in past weeks that have made me happy:

1. Making afghan squares/granny squares. No, I can't see ever wearing a garment made of them (though, IDK, maybe if one could whip up something fast to go as a hippie for Halloween....) But they are nice for making blankets of.

2. Poetry on YouTube read by its poets:

(LOVE Yeats.)

(LOVE Dylan Thomas' voice. And also, as I grow older, I understand that poem so much better - the wise men who are upset because they took the safe path, the good men who couldn't do more...)

(And I love this because Williams' voice is so DIFFERENT than I imagined it would sound - it's higher, and there's just a HINT of his New Jersey background there....and it kind of cracks me up. Sorry, but it does)

That's one of the joys of You Tube - being able to find recordings of people reading their own poetry. (Or sometimes: composers playing their own work, though my favorite-favorites were long gone before recording technology made the scene)

3. The Gamache novels by Louise Penny. Detective stories, yes, but also a lot of human psychology, and as I said: Penny seems to have a fundamentally hopeful outlook on life that I find bracing and cheering.

4. If you are unpartnered, and don't have a pet that shares the bed with you, getting some kind of soft cuddly thing (even a hotwater bottle if you think toys are too childish) so you have something to reach out for in the dark when you just woke up from an unpleasant dream. I've been hugging my big Polar bear (Polaris) to my chest a lot these recent days, and here's my most recent (and last, for a while, because I need to be tighter with the purse strings) acquisition (received her over a week ago, but never photoed her):

It's Sea Pinkie! Or maybe, given my February birthday, I should call her Pinkie Pisces.

This is the midsized one from Amazon - the Soft Plush version. And yeah, she's pretty soft. Despite Fluttershy being my favorite pony, I now have more versions of Pinkie Pie than any of them. But then again: I do think Pinkie Pie would be a good (if somewhat hyper) friend to have....

5. Learning stuff. I'm keeping up with Duolingo. Irish is taking me a LONG time to master, because Anglophones/romance-language people have a hard time braining the unusual letter combinations in Celtic languages, I think - an m and  a b together, for example, sound like a v. Also I think learning this without a book (I am learning German with a couple books as an adjunct, and I learned French from books) is harder; I wish I could find a good Irish Gaelic primer that explained the rules.

And I'm still working on the piano, and that reminds me, I should e-mail my teacher this week to see if she'd be available (The ONE consolation of Daylight Saving time coming is that she wouldn't be driving home in the dead dark, so she will stay in town after work to give lessons)

And yes, I think there's totally value in learning stuff you don't NEED to know. Will I ever go to Germany? Highly unlikely, and it's my understanding many Germans will eagerly speak English with you when they learn you're an Anglophone. And I will probably never perform a sonata, given how my hands shake when I have to play for a stranger (performance anxiety is a very specific and limited thing with me: I can get up and read or speak or even pray off the cuff in front of a big crowd without fear, but put me at an instrument and I freeze up. I think it's because I don't trust the instrument not to betray me. I suspect I would feel similarly about singing in public (if my voice were remotely good enough for me to consider it) because making my voice hit a particular note, instead of just saying particular words, is something I don't trust it to do.)

I also someday want to get back to my Life Project of reading all of Shakespeare's plays, but....maybe that's a summer thing, now, when I am not needing to haul out of bed 'round 5 am and so can devote more time at night to reading.

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