The theme for this month's Write-Away Contest is "learning" so my list today is about things I'd still like to learn before life's done with me.
1. To speak French. I took French in high school and on into college. I got through French Lit and read all the requisite Gide, Camus, Ionesco and Baudelaire they threw at me but I was a genius at dissolving into the background so that the professor never called on me to answer a question. I listened, understood what he was saying but never felt comfortable saying anything myself and therefore coasted through with easy A's and absolutely no conversational ability. Yes, those were six well-spent years. It's not as if anyone will ever rush up and say, "Michelle, oh thank goodness you're here, I have some paragraphs from L'Etranger that need to be translated, stat!" No, I've pretty much lost all usefulness but maybe, just maybe before I die I will get to spend some time in someplace wonderful learning to speak French properly. Well, someplace not Haiti. I'd rather it not be Haiti.
2. Horseback riding. When I learn to ride a horse I want to get decked out in the full English riding suit. Head to toe, with the black helmet, the funny pants that I can't pronounce and a beautiful Arabian horse. Why Arabian? I was a big fan of The Black Stallion when I was a kid and I like the way their tails fly upwards when they run. Then when I ride I will speak with a British accent and use perfect grammar before going inside for my afternoon tea.
3. Patience. Yea, yea yea. Patience. Eventually, though not soon enough for me.
4. To control my emotions. I tend to--what's the phrase?--"wear my emotions on my sleeve"? Hard to hide what I'm feeling and though I'm not so concerned about hiding them I would like to learn the discipline to control them. To be less irritated with people, to cut them slack, to be slower to anger, that kind of thing. It would be helpful in my line of work i.e. motherhood. With my luck I'll figure out how to accomplish this just as my kids are leaving home, life is ironic like that.
5. To play the harp. Always wanted to learn this instrument but Mom instead enrolled me in piano lessons (for which I'm eternally grateful, don't get me wrong) but I've always thought the harp to be wonderfully romantic and fun. Because people are always looking for a harpist to accompany them. Yes, there aren't many parts for harps, yes it's hard to pack around in your backpack for band class, yes, it's more expensive than a gold-plated Mercedes but it's still cool, darn it! I bet your fingers get awfully callused though--just guessing.
6. Astronomy. I live in the wrong place for studying astronomy. Too bright in the summer and too cold in the winter which just goes to prove that I'm destined to retire to Maui someday where I can take up astronomy. And blogging, don't forget the blogging. Every time the paper reports an eclipse, a meteor shower, a comet or some other celestial occurrence I'm dying to see it but usually it is hard to see from Anchorage. Something about the skies is exciting and fascinating.
7. How to play pinochle. This has always been a popular game between my parents and my grandparents and they'll play when they get together. I always wanted to play with them when I was a kid but it's a game of partners (convenient, huh?) so they wouldn't let me join. Well somehow along the way my sister and her husband learned how to play but Andrew and I missed out. I still want to learn and I should just pick up a pack of cards at the store and figure it out. But then maybe I should just stick to Scrabble.
8. To like exercise. I figure I'll have to learn to like this if I'm going to live long enough to complete everything on this list. I'm still sore from my Stair Master torture session yesterday. The best thing about exercise (apart from helping to keep you alive longer) is when it ends. Well, that and getting to watch cable while I do it.
9. The difference between "lay" and "lie." I'm pretty good at grammar and can successfully navigate my way through who/whom, I/me, taut/taunt, flout/flaunt, etc. and I rarely dangle any participles or end my sentences with prepositions (as the great Winston Churchill reportedly said, "That is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put!") But for the life of me I mix up "lay" and "lie" and have little hope of figuring the difference out in the near future. I usually guess so I'm probably getting it wrong.
10. To make sugar balls. I saw these sugar balls made from caramelized sugar months ago and have had them bookmarked, waiting for the moment when I will be brave enough to attempt them. Why? For the same reason mankind has climbed Everest, "because they're there." I don't know that they taste better than your standard piece of chocolate cake but just imagine pulling these out for dessert at a dinner party. You'd be elevated to the status of Cooking God before anyone even took a bite. Someday . . . and then I'll post my own picture.
11. To play Chopin's Polonaise in A flat major. I don't think that there's any chance of this as I haven't taken piano lessons since college and outside of playing for the kids and teaching them how to play my fingers are very rusty and it would take a Rocky Balboa-style burst of training to get me back in shape enough to play anything of Chopin's let alone his finest piece but it was always my favorite piano solo and I dreamed of playing it, or at least getting through it. Here's a video of someone else playing it who knows what they're doing. Hey, you can always dream, right?
12. How to do a load of wash and not loose any socks. Does my machine eat socks as a secondary source of power because I swear I've never done a load of wash in my life that hasn't turned up at least one lonely, unmatched sock. Usually I'll find its mate in the next load but I always have a pile of sad little socks that are without matches. Drives me crazy.
13. Pottery. I took pottery in high school and loved it but it's rather hard to do it without your own kiln and pottery wheel, let alone the space to store them. I suppose I could go to a studio and throw things there and I did take a raku pottery class a few years ago but it's all about time and energy isn't it? Maybe someday I'll get to do it and make things like this:
Have you entered this month's Write-Away Contest yet? The topic is learning.
Technorati tags: Thursday Thirteen, school, motherhood, education