Sixty-one today. What have I accomplished in the past year?
I'm still tickin' for one thing.
Okay, enough with the joking.
My only gauge as to how well I'm doing is my progress in the study of the French language. Why I picked this knotty language instead of crossword puzzles or Fox News, I do not know.
Ennaways, a year ago, 03/29/07, in my blog: Missed a Cog I detailed my studies in French. I was memeorizing words back then and reading only French texts and listening only to French radio stations.
During the summer I fell off this wagon. At some time I realized the only way I was going to progress along this good idea of learning another language was to make the whole process more entertaining. We young people need to be entertained, otherwise, good-by.
And what could be more entertaining than the French novel. Yes, the French novel. Very most interesting, as my cousin Liz's Lithuanian grandmother used to say. The French novel deals mostly with love and the problems ensuing from the lack thereof.
I sit myself down every day at an early hour and read a Chapter of the Bible to get warmed up. Gradually I started reading this chapter in French. Then I write in my diary-book of the doings of yesterday. Interesting tidbits that occur around me. I know the economy is going pot while things are getting better in Iraq. If only we could make Iraq pay. Not going to happen. We're too drunk on Chinese wine. I hope there's a plan to make all this come out. The history will be written in installments. For some reason Ireland has gotten very expensive. Don't know why. The Irish can only take advantage of this imbalance by going abroad, which has always been their forte.
After the diary is done I cook a little coffee and start in on my translation for the day. I'm basically a lazy person. Sloth is my consuming passion, but the example of the good Sisters and Brothers has finally taken hold and I drag my sleepy self out of bed and read a few verses and write a few lines and crack open a French novel and read a line or two and soon come across a word I do not know. I have a little dictionary, easy to hold but not always containing the word I do not know. I almost know now which words are not likely to be in it. And so I turn to the big blue LaRousse, a tome I purchased at age 16 at the downtown Boston Jordan Marsh. I think the reason I continue with French is to ratify this early expense.
But I hate to use this book because the spine is splitting and I fear the whole thing will fall apart like a cheap French novel. But the sections are sewn together and though the pages are yellowed, I think the whole will last.
The language of the novels I read is tasty but full of gristle. The gristle is in my lack of comprehension. As I make progress the text becomes more savory. A year ago I had to look up a lot more words. Now the reading goes more easily and even the gristle yields.
There's a heroine in one of Trollope's novels who "speaks French, understands Italian, and reads German." She's English you understand. I'm still climbing the hill to 'reading French.'
Well folks, it's 7:10 p.m. The sun is setting; the shadows grow long. There's still an abundance of snow. Anyone wishing to do a little cross country skiing, well this here's the place. Someday I'd like to follow the retreating snows up to Manitoba, Hudson Bay, and the North Pole, but first I need to build up my muscles and convince Pete Fugleberg to harness his huskies in my service.
Let's see, what else do I want to cover on this my 61st anniversary. I'm feeling very well thank you. I have reconciled myself to not playing for the Red Sox or Patriots. That's a comfort.
I expect the best and prepare for the worst. (That's a joke, son.)