Learning and relearning

Somewhere, between the chinook, the blizzard, the temperature crash, and the teething baby, November came to an end, so I'm joining up with Emily to share what I learned. This month, it's mainly been things I knew - or thought I knew - already; but, as I mentioned before, that type of learning is important too.

Here's my list:

'Jouez hautbois' is French for 'play the high woodwinds.' Il est Né le Divin Enfant is one of the songs I learned by ear before I could read the language and never looked at its lyric sheet until well into adulthood. I always thought the line went "jouez aux bois", and wondered what 'play on wood' really meant. Turns out I'd just stuck the syllables together wrong. We're singing it in choir this season, and one of our resident Francophones graciously filled me in. Also on the list of mislearned French lyrics: the Canadian anthem; turns out our history is an epic ('une épopée'), not a poppy. Not that 'poppée' is really French for 'poppy'. That would be 'pavot.' Franglais: the Anglophone's FSL enemy to the bitter end.

Under the cabinet lighting makes all the difference for post-twilight supper prep. My parents have had under the cabinet lighting in their kitchen as long as I can remember. When I discovered their most recent version were simple plug-in ones from IKEA, I made note. Eventually, I picked up two for my own kitchen, and a couple weeks ago, my husband and I finally got around to installing one, just in time for the pre-supper sunset zone. It's been wonderful. I can see what I'm doing without blaring the overhead kitchen light or warming the microwave to disturbing levels with the over-the-stove one (our microwave is right over the range with a fan/light on the bottom - practical but energy hungry). Plus it's the perfect supporting role for the otherwise candle-lit dinners we have almost every night from November through January. Hopefully, we'll get the next one up and running before the solstice. Sometimes I get a sou-chef, and he could use some light too.

The self-help format drives me batty. After several recommendations, I borrowed Greg McKown's Essentialism from the library. The author made some wonderfully strong points, backed up by excellent examples...and then continued reiterating those points with ever more examples, interspersed with promises of how his method would change the world without ever actually getting to it. Around page 50, I deduced that it was not essential for me to read any further. This has been my reaction to any self-help book I've ever tried to read: the full first half looks like one big long advertisement for how important the subject matter is and how doomed I'll be if I don't follow the advice the author is going to get around to once he's sure he's got my attention. Isn't that what the front half of the book jacket is for? Ugh. Attention officially lost. If McKeown ever turns his method into a memoir (or, better yet, a novel!), maybe I'll learn to be an essentialist that way.

I'm very much anti-hustle. I love my hustle friends, but just watching them go makes me exhausted. The thought of keeping up has me pulling the covers over my head. Thank you Sarah for putting it so succinctly (and Emily for this and other great links). It can be good to live small.

That's it for this round. May my education (and, when needed, re-education) continue.


  1. It IS good to live small. My world right now is practically miniscule. :-) It's what it needs to be for this season, and I'm learning to thrive in it. I'm with you on the self-help books. I prefer my self-help inspiration to come in snippets, quotes, sound bites. Then I can take them on. :-)

    1. So true on the seasons. The next one might be a bit bigger, but there's no shame in staying small for now :)
      I like the sound of self-help snippets. Perhaps I should look to Pinterest instead of the library on that front.


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