THE SOUL is shaped by words, images, & experiences.

THIS BLOG is about those things that have left their impression on me. I'd love for you to comment on what affects you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New Tricks for an Old Dog

As I watch the youngsters in our neighborhood return to school, I am reminded of what one of my high school English teachers said about maturity. "Mature means concrete from ear to ear". He hoped we would never stop learning. I hope so too. And not just the same life lessons over and over!

While school was out for the summer and kids reveled in their freedom, I learned a thing or two . . . or three or four. . .

1. I received a crash course in horseback riding, gaining valuable insight into things never revealed in cowboy movies. Lesson 1 from the trail: A horse can relieve itself anywhere it durn well pleases. When it puts on the brakes, shift up in the saddle, and watch you don't get splashed. Lesson 2: Horses relieve themselves annoyingly often.

2. My brother patiently taught me basic beginner guitar. I learned some folks have it, and some folks don't. And I don't. (Sorry Armand. No matter what I tell them, my fingers refuse to cooperate.)

3. For fun and sport, daughters take their mothers shopping, sons take them shooting. Dorian took me to a firing range where I shot my first gun, a 9mm. Nothing to rejoice over, I know. But if, someday, I write a story that includes a shooting, I could use the knowledge from my experience to make it sound authentic. I learned power does corrupt. Frightening "what if" scenarios played out in my head as soon as I gripped that weapon. "What if I were to go crazy?" Procuring the firearm seemed way too easy.

4. Selma (a.k.a. Ma Lan) taught me how to cook some authentic Chinese dishes. The Asian way:
a. Buy everything fresh.
b. "Fresh" does not mean not frozen. It's more like if you change your mind about eating the creature, you can have it as a pet.
c. Get a very sharp knife.
d. Sharper than that.
e. Chop everything into small pieces.
f. Season with the Chinese culinary trinity: garlic, dried gingerroot, soy sauce.
g. Four different dishes should sufficiently feed a family of three (remember, Chinese couples are only allowed one child). The more people you have, the bigger variety of savory offerings you'll need. No cutting corners by heaping on more rice!

How about you? Learn anything new, lately?

1 comment:

dot said...

Yesterday, a colleague was watching me lay out a page with some cute insect art and asked "Did you know that centipedes are deadly?" I often thought of centipedes as gentle and caterpillar-like. When I Googled them, I found they are actually fast-moving, scary-looking and can be highly venomous. So much for the chubby, multi-legged creatures portrayed in children's books.