Highs and lows of recent times

This is in lieu of a Christmas letter. Off the top of my head, some highlights. I got my knees replaced and you can read about that and my subsequent progress in exercising in the Health category. (For a while, my blog entry on my knees was the most popular target of visits. Lots of bad knees out there)

Almost a year ago my granddaughter asked me to teach her French and that has eaten up a good deal of my time. I’ve had to abandon my beloved Harry Potter project but it yet awaits me. Urdu is still second highest on my list of personal activities along with exercising. You can read about my work with Nyah, my granddaughter, in the TPRS category. Just as with the Harry  Potter project, I have a hidden agenda: H.P. was to show how I might learn a language I don’t know just by reading; teaching my granddaughter was to show the efficacy of TPRS, a method I had never used.

We had one grandson leave us after two years and another one moved right in behind him but he is gone now, too. We struggle a lot trying to get help for him and his brother, both autistic, in a state that is run by Republicans. Speaking of which, how do you like the GOP now that it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kremlin. Robert Welch and the Birchers were right, the Russians have taken us over but as gangsters (euphemistically called oligarchs), not Commie Rats.

That takes us to reading I am doing: a huge amount of political reading including a book on the period leading to Goldwater’s run, a subject close to me as I grew up in Goldwater country. The damage being done to our country both saddens and fascinates me. When the Gore/Bush debacle occurred, government teachers were ecstatic (if they weren’t slitting their wrists) b/c what they had been saying about the Electoral College had finally occurred. Now, not only did the person winning the popular vote lose again in 2016 but this republic is coming apart, just as I told my students it would back in 1986-88 when I taught government. It is held together by chewing gum and spit aka citizen participation. Students who only want to go to state schools built by Liberals and get a job so they can lead a comfortable life can now watch as others tear down the edifice they lived in without doing the upkeep. Too bad.

I’ll hit 78 in August and am maintaining so far. I lost one friend but continue good relationships going back decades. My wife and I work constantly to keep the ship afloat and will see calm waters by month after next. Our son loves teaching and our daughter’s husband loves teaching, too. If the country sweeps Republicans out of office for the rest of the century we may see improvements in education. Given the massive number of kids who are getting inadequate educations, we are building our own disaster.

I am working on my dancing, a serious project. I blog quite a bit. If you were to read something and comment on it I would respond. I was happy to meet the person who set up my blog, Wes Groleau, and his wife as they passed through Phoenix.

I’m sure I’ve left out important stuff so I’ll be back.

July 17, 2019 I am back. Update:

Our grandson is back and doing well. He is no longer  difficult as he was before. He graduated H.S. and is enrolled in community college and going to job interviews.

My two big tasks are: a.m. granddaughter’s French lessons, which take several hours to prepare and process (see blog category TPRS under Foreign Language Teaching and Learning) and p.m. typing up my wife’s autobiography. House cleaning has gone by the boards and I am not sure what to do b/c I need about 4-5 straight days to get it all cleaned.

My exercise are great and I added yoga and body pump once a week each in addition to my weights workouts. Underneath that blubber is a six-pack somewhere, I just know it. The yoga is fantastic.

We watch Trump implode even as his poll numbers (or ‘ratings’, as he calls them) go up. We are not like this? The hell we aren’t. This is us and we fought a huge war 155 years ago over it and if we capitulate to the losers again, we will go right back to where we were. And get Tom Perez out. We need Rahm Emmanuel as DNC chair, a pit bull, not a lap dog afraid of offending people who will always vote for the racist.

My wife’s health is so-so, lots of doctors appointments. But she exercises. We are looking at moving into smaller quarters, much smaller. The obstacle is all my books.

Speaking of which, a friend of mine and I got into a late-night discussion comparing Western Classical and African music. It drove me to grab two books that have been on my shelf a long time, unread, Simha Arom’s African Polyphony and Polyrhythm ( about a third of the way through I pass my pay grade and would need to learn music theory to understand him, but before that point, he is terrific) and John Chernoff’s African Rhythm and African Sensibility, a first person account of learning to drum in the Ewe and Dagomba cultures of Ghana. He compares the way a Westerner and an African perceive and handle various elements of music, their varied interpretations and what those are based on. For someone like me, coming out of the dominant musical culture of this country and moving into the world of African-American music at least part way and having studied African music a bit, it is a wonderful book.

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