Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Things I Learned This Month | February 2018

Franz Marc | "Deer in the Snow II" | 1911

Greetings from Munich, where we are facing a Siberian cold front (literally)! I thought I was used to cold winters from four years in Chicago, but I've come to accept that I will never be used to sub-zero temperatures. It doesn't help that my apartment has insulation from decades ago, which means that however high the heat is blasting, it's been hovering around 60 degrees Fahrenheit here. Brrr! I'm super grateful for wool sweaters and tea and fuzzy blankets. But according to the weather forecast, it's supposed to rise above freezing in the next couple of days. Hurray!

Enough griping about cold weather. Once again, it's the end of a month and I'm following Emily Freeman's lead and continuing my ritual of sharing a handful of the things that I learned this month.

1. There is a ballet adaptation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Can you imagine? I can't. This week I used the whitewashing the fence story at school, and I ended up discovering all sorts of interesting things...

2. Mark Twain went bankrupt at one point in his life, because he had a penchant for investing in inventions that never took off. 

After he got back on his feet, he insisted on paying off all his creditors, even though it wasn't legally required for him to do so after declaring bankruptcy.

3. Sudoku did not originate in Japan.

It was a brain teaser in the late 1970s in America. The Guardian has an article all about it here.

4. Plastic was invented as cheap, environmentally-friendly alternative to ivory. 

Bummer that it is now a huge environmental problem. But who knows? Maybe plastic is the reason elephants are still around.

5. When time travel is involved, a Victorian mystery can include allusions to Hercule Poirot and Peter Whimsey.

For my Skype book club this month, we read To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. (Isn't that a great title?) It's sort of set in 2050, but it's a time travel mystery, so most of the action takes place in 1888. Because of the time travel twist, Willis is able to include all sorts of references that should be anachronisms and still be consistent. I'm a fan. If you're looking for a light, delightful read that also provides lots of food for thought, this might be the book for you.

6. On my list of favorite classical music, Brahms' "Deutsches Requiem" is up there with Handel's "Messiah" and Vivaldi's "Four Seasons."

I got to perform this at the beginning of this month with the choir I joined here. Words really can't express how incredible this music is. Just go listen to it. My favorite movements are 2, 3 and 6. Movement 6 has one of my favorite moments in all music ever. But the whole thing is amazing. If you do listen to it, take a look at the English translation of the lyrics - they are all lifted straight from Scripture.

7. Imposter syndrome is a thing. 

I'd never dealt with this before, but I was in several situations this month where I thought, "Why the heck am I the person in charge? I have no idea what I'm doing!" Is this what all of adult life is like? Or am I just a baby adult and will it get simpler?

1 comment:

  1. love the painting! were you at the lenbachhaus?

    no. 7-love it!