#1 daughter and Son-in-law have come to visit. Very exciting.

Yesterday, she came with me on my school visits. We were just whipping around and dropping off deliveries and schedules for the summer workshops, so it was mostly driving, with the occasional stop to go into the schools.

We were able to get a lot of talking done. We started with what had been happening in our lives since we last spoke, and then got on to religion, music, laundry, marriage, global warming, and the weather. Probably other things, too. It was, as we drove 37 miles around the town, a very discursive conversation.

5Then Son-in-law and the boys joined us and played Wii. We had caramelized chicken for dinner, with rice and vegetables and pineapple salsa.

Then  I headed off to bells and choir.

I am still quite bad at the bells. One of the ringers was talking about a trio at the handbell festival. These ladies were, she thought, from 82 to 93 in age, and the three of them played all the bells that our entire bell choir plays, holding four bells at once.

If I keep trying from now till when I am that age, perhaps I will able to do the same.

It was a little better, actually, because for some reason the bass section was meager, so I got moved down to middle C. Only one bell, and a note I can recognize. I actually played it at the right time on several occasions. The move may of course denote a sense of the hopelessness of it all on the part of the director.

In one of the pieces of music (new music, of course — we have never played the same music twice since I’ve been there) there was a new-to-me bit of musical direction: “simile.”

Music, you know, often has words written in it: sforzando, lunga, sempre, finger snaps. But “simile” was a new one on me. A simile is of course a figure of speech comparing things: “He is like a bear when he wakes up.” So I thought perhaps this meant to play it like something else…. I was already playing like nothing on earth, so I asked.

“Simile,” said the director, frowning. “It means ‘the same as.'”
“The same as what?”

Many possibilities suggested themselves to me.

In the event, however, it turned out that it referred to the pattern that had been established of doing a measure of LV (let vibrate, meaning don’t let the bell touch your shoulder and quit ringing) and a measure of R (meaning count those suckers and don’t let the bell ring more than the number of counts written). So it was essentially “work pat” or, as the modern knitting books put it, “Continue in pattern as established.”

Now you know.

Perhaps you would also like to know how to make caramelized chicken. It is easy and delicious. You simply mix something sticky (i.e., plum sauce, honey, something like that) with cayenne pepper or chili powder. Rub it on  chicken filets and saute that chicken in a little oil at quite a high heat. I usually make some of it a bit black because some of the family members like it that way, but you can quit cooking as soon as the chicken is done.

Pineapple salsa to go with it is easy, too. Put a can of crushed pineapple in a small bowl with a bit of lime juice (whatever there is in the lime), a couple of cloves of pressed garlic, chopped green onions and cilantro, and more hot peppers if you like spicy food.

It is good to serve this with rice and raw vegetables like cucumber and romaine lettuce, in case it gets too spicy.