Okay, I had some leftovers from that tagging exercise, and am told I should have included some of these.
What, you didn’t like my idiosyncratic corporeal musings?
Here’s what I clipped from that list:
* * * * * *
In my early twenties I had four trips I hoped to make some day. I wanted to sail around both the Baltic and Caribbean, to live on the Aleutian islands for a while, and to go for a long run in east Africa. I envisioned running ten to twenty miles every day, slow and easy, probably early in the mornings for several weeks or months. And going a long way – visiting numerous countries and seeing a lot of wildlife.
I have been on the Baltic twice now, ferrying once from Stockholm to Helsinki, and the second time seeing some of Stockholm’s archipelago — I loved it. I’ve been to the cayes in Belize, but seen no more of the Caribbean, and my interest in that has waned some.
I have yet to visit Alaska.
I do not think I’ll ever travel north to south in east Africa. For one thing, I’m no longer able to run as I once could. But also the ongoing strife in Africa means it’s no longer as safe as it once was. It’s a very changed world, and not always for the better.
Besides, the African countryside now seems to suffer from too many western footprints, not too few.
* * * * * *
German grammar was brutal for me.
For a couple reasons, I now wish I had taken Spanish as a kid. But no, sent to summer school in the 8th grade, I opted for German. (A jar was passed with slips of paper for us to draw out our German names, and I pulled out “Benno”. Honestly. I took this as a sign that the gods were winking at me — but lately I’m less sure.) I took it again in junior high, and the grammar flummoxed me.
I followed this up by stubbornly taking German in college, too. I was better than most students at vocabulary, but never, ever groked the grammar. I was trying to hammer the square pegs of Deutsche words into the round holes of English grammar.
Five different ways to say the, (der, die, den, dem, and das). All those different endings. Even adjectives had varying endings. It killed me. I had to get through three quarters of the language classes. I survived the first quarter okay, although I murdered the various tenses and cases.
In third quarter German I got swamped at midterms (three in three hours) and dropped out. I liked the prof’s approach (he taught us about German wines — I kept some of his hand-outs on spatleses und ausleses und trockenberenausleses for years) but I struggled to finish with C’s.
Before that, I was in real trouble in the second quarter, but was rescued by a freak mistake. They gave us the final exam in an auditorium: all the classes brought together to listen to recordings and take a multiple choice test. But the recordings were difficult to hear. So everyone was guessing. People were whispering and buzzing and the instructors were shushing people and they just plowed on with that difficult-to-hear series of recorded questions. So even the best students were screwing up.
This brought the curve way down, and I probably did better on that test than I deserved.
I watch the Deutsche Welle world report regularly. I still understand a lot of the vocabulary they use, all these years later. Aber ich vergesse die grammatik. Es ist furchtbares fur mich.
* * * * * *
I can be spontaneous. I can be as spontaneous as the next person. Just let me know when you want to be spontaneous, so I can schedule it and plan ahead for it. You’ll see how spontaneous I can be.
* * * * * *
I have a helluva chili recipe. It takes hours, and includes about ten pounds of pork shoulder, beef rumproast, and linguica.
It starts with three cans of lager in a big pot. Then I add about a half dozen spices, and let that all simmer as I saute the meat with garlic and onions, adding it in batches.
It finishes with lots of tomatoes, both stewed and sauce, some celery and beans, a little hot sauce, more spices, and small amounts of mole and peanut butter. It’s not too hot, and the flavor is pretty well-balanced.
With melted cheddar on top? Yum!
* * * * *
I can name who won and who lost every world series for every year it was played: 1903, 1905 to 1993, and 1995 through 2006, and have secretly hoped for years to win a bar bet on this.
I rarely go to bars any more, so probably never will win a pint of ale for this mnemonic stunt.
But there’s still hope.