Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hemingway and Surprise Parties

Well, I’m cutting it a bit close this evening, so you’re not getting anything other than the straight stuff today. This essay is called “What I did on my Saturday vacation.” First, I slept in. WAY in. It was barely morning when I got up. Oh, but I should back up. Early in the morning (and I mean VERY early in the morning) I was still at Diana’s house up in Deutschland. I’m sure you have been wondering all day what possessed me to bake biscotti yesterday, and what I wasn’t able to tell you then was that I was going to a surprise party for Janet! Hence the biscotti. Janet turns 20-something on Monday, and Stephan organized a great party in about 4 days flat. That’s pretty quick in surprise party time. I mean, you have location, alibi, food, dessert, flowers, guests, transportation, drinks, music to think about. That can all take considerable leg work, but we pitched in and by the time Stephan and Janet showed up at Diana’s for their supposed dinner for three, all the food was hidden in ovens and cupboards and behind chairs, and the other 14 of us were twittering in the back bedroom, camera’s poised. Janet was sent to “go let the dog out of the bedroom” and was (we think) genuinely surprised (but you never can tell. I mean, would she really say if she hadn’t been?). That was at about 7 pm or 7:15. By 1:05 am I was hopping a tram in Switzerland back to my house, and shortly thereafter I was checking my eyelids for holes, as is my custom every evening. I mention all this to explain why I slept in this morning. I think you can see why I needed too. Oh, and I’m a tad sick too.

After ascertaining that my eyelids were in sound condition, I got up, and it’s been a fairly average day ever since. I went for a run/walk (all my runs are run/walks these days. It’s pathetic, really. I need to go more often). I tried a new wanderweg today (that’s “hiking trail”, for you Anglophones) and it was pretty nice. Steep and long, but just about right. I walked almost all the way to the next town and back, and that took me about an hour, clipping along at a pretty quick pace.

(look at that! I’m over my daily word requirement, and I haven’t even said anything interesting yet).

I am reading Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa for my literature class, and I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying it. It’s about hunting, and not just about hunting, but I mean it is one long hunting story. You know those guys (and some girls) that go hunting for weeks on end, and they can talk almost that long about each hill they scaled and every cow, bull, or calf they saw? That’s Green Hills of Africa. It’s all about his big game hunting trip on the East side of the continent in 1933. But it’s Hemingway, and so it’s about the most enjoyable hunting story I’ve ever heard. I’m 140 pages in (half way), and still liking it. His wife was out there with the hunting party too, and I like the way he talks about her and her interactions with the guys in the party. He and his guide said she was “marvelous. She’s like a little terrier out there.” But she “disliked intensely being compared to a little terrier. If she must be like any dog, and she did not wish to be, she would prefer a wolfhound, something lean, racy, long-legged and ornamental.” She must have been cool—out there hunting rhinos and what not in the 30s. I was also rather pleased to read that Hemingway was reading Tolstoy’s book The Cossacks while on that trip, and he thought it was very good. I read it over the summer, and I really enjoyed it, although I actually think I didn’t get to the end because I was moving. I will have to re-read it. So there we are: two good book recommendations and a daily blog, and you’ll be pleased to know I wrote this entire thing in under 30 minutes. That’s fast. :)


  1. Actually, I thought the first half of your post was more interesting than the second. :) And I have inside information that Janet was, indeed, genuinely surprised and even more pleased. Thanks from here to one and all!

  2. And I have inside information that Diana did at least half the organizing - I just feel she shouldn't go uncredited.

  3. yeah, you're right. She did a lot.

  4. Yeah. I was surprised. Totally clueless. Consider the evidence that I was looking at the floor expecting to see a dog run out when I opened the door. . .

    Everyone involved pulled off a great party! And I loved the biscotti. :)