Posted tagged ‘learning new things’

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

April 25, 2016

The day started grey but it is now sunny, not bright but sunny. It is also noisy with birds singing and calling. Monday always seems quiet to me. It’s the day to recuperate from the weekend and all the errands and chores and evenings with friends. I spent the morning with my neighbor. We chatted in English to improve her skills. The have/has problem is the one she can’t seem to shake. I explain it. She thinks about it, repeats it a few times, then a bit later says she have when telling me a story. I want to bang my head on the table. Maybe she’ll connect my head banging with has.

When I was a kid, it was easy to be happy. I had everything I wanted. I had a bike, ice skates, regular skates and a sled. The library was a good walk away but worth the walk. It was filled with books so I never wanted for something to read. I liked school so going every day was no big deal. I loved learning new things. My friends were neighborhood friends so we saw each other even day walking to and from school and on Saturdays for whatever we decided to do. I think it was when I was a teenager that I started to want more.

Clothes became important when I was older. We all wanted to look alike without looking alike. It was a strange conundrum. Transistor radios were a must, the smaller the better. Saddle shoes were in for a while, and I still have a pair of them. Maybe I ought to wear them. My Easter bonnet was a hit so maybe the shoes will be too. Back then only white sneakers would do. We wanted more. Discontentment replaced happiness. Envy was big.

I went through a few more transitions. One of my favorites was my overalls-flannel shirt phase. I wore them with high tops, pink high tops. Individuality had become more important.

I think the Peace Corps made me brave. I was living in a far different culture where I had to do most things on my own including traveling. I learned to be self-sufficient and a bit daring. When I told my family I was going to Morocco by myself, they chatted among themselves and were quite nervous. They even designated my brother-in-law Rod as the rescue person should I break a leg or need saving for some reason. They told me this when I got home. I thought it was pretty funny. I think, though, I should be thankful for a family with emergency back-ups plans for me when I travel. You never know!

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”

August 31, 2013

Despite my lethargy, I got everything done yesterday. I even took Gracie to the dump then brought her home so I could do my other errands without having to leave her in the hot car. The dump was unusually quiet. Sometimes I miss the old days with squawking seagulls circling the piles of trash. It wasn’t pretty, but it was interesting and loud.

I remember learning to tie a bow so I could tie my shoes. My mother was sitting in the chair by the picture window close to the door, and I was leaning on the chair’s arm beside her. She had a huge ribbon tied around a stuffed animal’s neck. I think it was a teddy bear. She tied the bow slowly, one step at a time, explaining as she went, and I watched. She tied it a few times then had me try. My fingers seem to have minds of their own. They didn’t go where I expected. They fluttered about as I held and tied the ribbon which knotted. My mother then guided my fingers as we tied the bow together. She did that a couple of times. I tried to fly solo again, and this time I did. I made a bow. It was loose and ugly, but it was still a bow. When I tied my shoes, the bow never lasted too long. I had yet to master the tightness of a good bow, but I did over time. My bows became useful and even pretty. I’d tie them with a flourish.

Being a kid meant learning new things all the time. I’d see a bug or a bird and want to know its name. Zippers gave me a bit of trouble. I knew what to do, but it wasn’t always easy to get the two bottoms to meet exactly right. Besides, zippers were in the wrong spot. They were below eye sight so it was often hit or miss.

I remember my first row-boat and rowing in circles. I just couldn’t coordinate the oars. My dad showed me what to do. He also taught me to swim. He was a great swimmer.

The red encyclopedias in our living room, the ones from the supermarket, got a lot of use. I would randomly pick a volume and read it. It was my way of learning new stuff. Every Christmas as a gift  I got that year’s Information Please Almanac. I loved filling my head with generally useless facts. Little did I realize back then their the value. Now those facts are called trivia, and I get to compete on Thursday nights in the winter.