Complex Simplicities and Such

Chrestomathy. I was introduced to the word yesterday, thanks to Word Genius, which occasionally attempts to improve my vocabulary. A.Word.a.Day, by Wordsmith, highlighted the word in January this year, but I missed it. And forreadingaddicts.co.uk called attention to it in June, but I was unaware of that until this morning. Apparently, the word has attracted quite a bit of interest this year, for reasons that remain unclear to me. The definition of the word is as follows, according to Word Genius: “A selection of passages from an author or authors, designed to help in learning a language.” The correct pronunciation is [kreh-STAH-mə-thee], in case you were wondering. And the etymology of the word, again according to Word Genius, is as follows: Chrestomathy can be traced back to the Greek words “khrēstos,” which means “useful,” and “matheia,” which means “learning.”

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After a very long day, and several attempts to reach her after 7:30 last night, I received a phone call from my wife around 9:00. Her voice was weak; almost too weak to understand. I did understand when she said she did not have therapy yesterday. She said she “ate and slept” during the day. I hope she ate more than she has been eating of late. According to the nurse with whom I spoke in the morning, my wife was to be evaluated by the therapists to determine what therapy she needs. I will attempt to speak with therapists today. And I will attempt to speak with the facility administrator, if there is one, to inquire as to why there is only one phone line into the building and why it rang 50 times last night without being answered. I am quickly becoming a fierce critic of rehabilitation facilities geared toward older patients.

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I have decided it is time to sell the 2002 Toyota Camry. It needs a good cleaning before I attempt to sell it, but otherwise it needs nothing that I know of. Obviously, we do not need two cars at the moment. We may never need two cars again. If we do, we can deal with that when the time comes. In the interim, I would rather not pay for insurance and upkeep on a car that is not being driven. It’s hard to believe we’ve had that car for almost 19 years; maybe longer, actually. I don’t remember whether we bought it in 2002 or the year before. I am sure, though, we’ve owned that car longer than we’ve owned any other. It doesn’t look quite new, but it’s in remarkably good shape (in my opinion) for a car that’s been on the road that long. The unfortunate reality is that it will not fetch anything like what it’s worth (in the real world); in the world of auto trading, it will get what someone is willing to pay. I’d almost rather give it to someone who needs a car, but we could use the money, given expenses we are incurring. The question, of course, is when I will get around to cleaning it up and deciding how to market it. Lethargy and sloth are not my friends.

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Last night, as I was watching an episode of the third season of Bordertown, I paid close attention to the house occupied by the series’ main character, Kari Sarjonen. I paid attention, too, to the furnishings. The architecture is quite modern; lots of glass and stone—straight lines without frills, the sort of architecture I prefer. And the contents, too, were reminiscent of mid-century modern, updated to reflect the latest finishes and materials. And I found the appliances and fixtures intriguing. If Sarjonen’s house is even remotely typical of Finnish housing, I could easily find life in Finland quite appealing, save for the bitterly cold winters and snow. But even the snow, as shown in the series, is pristine white and glistening; nothing like the gritty, dirty snow on the streets of Chicago two hours after it falls. Or, for that matter, the gritty, dirty snow on the streets of the Village. Back when it snowed in the Village. Before the climate transformed Arkansas into a near-tropical winterland. Back to the character of Finland; I want to go there and experience the place for myself. Without COVID-19. And without political intrigue involving Russia. And without neighboring Scandinavian countries morphing into right-wing immigrant-hating cesspools.

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Caustic. That’s my mood at the moment. Maybe that’s my mood most moments. I seem to cycle between caustic and mellow, with mellow becoming less and less common. A thirty day hibernation might correct that.

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Showering and shaving should be more inviting. They’re becoming more and more like work, for some reason. I’d like to be able to snap my fingers and be clean and close-shaven. No such luck. I have to take the soap and water and foam and sharp blade route. I might as well get to it and get it over with.

 

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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