Monday, May 24, 2010

Muddling Through


This is a "chocolate muddler".
[Artist Unknown, England, c. 1760 (during the Frindian/Seven Years War)--click pic to enlarge.]

It's for stirring up hot chocolate.
Now that's a battle I can get behind--the battle of humanity throughout the centuries to keep the chocolate from sinking to the bottom of our drinks.

And its name...! Doesn't it sound like something out of Harry Potter?

I was at the Art Institute Sunday afternoon, taking Momo's advice to go look at their colonial-era pewter and silver. Many humor- and perspective-restoring items are on display there: candlesticks, cake plates, beer jugs...

Worried I might forget this item's name (seems unlikely, but things do slip my mind), I asked a man who was taking notes in the otherwise empty gallery if I could borrow his pen.

He looked a bit startled but handed it over as I explained I just wanted to write down "chocolate muddler" (on a blank page of the paperback I was carrying).
I asked if he'd ever heard of such a thing.
No, he hadn't, he answered in a German accent.

Perhaps he was a visiting art historian from abroad?
I like to imagine that back in his hotel room that evening, he might have e-mailed home that he'd encountered a scruffy American all excited about a chocolate muddler...

If I were a fiction writer, I'd write a story based on such a random encounter... something that changes both people's lives, maybe in some mirror-image way, but neither ever knows it.
But I'm not (a fiction writer).

Anyway, I felt much better afterward, though the weather has turned disgusting (heading toward 90°F, and me with no a/c)--not hot-chocolate weather, so I went home and had a G&T on the back porch. To protect against malaria, you know.

My ms is due on June 1, so this is the home stretch.

Thankgod, my next assignment is cheerful---something about the history of communication.
Hm. For that, I must go look at the Bakken Museum of Electricity, where I've always meant to visit but never have.


Margaret said...


What inspired GQMF came up with that!

Here the rest of us had given up on keeping the chocolate from the bottom, and this one said "this far and NO farther! The line must be drawn HEEYAH!" (Picard)

It looks almost futuristic, like something you would use to adjust a persons nerve-strings.

ArtSparker said...

It's beautiful. I love reaching tools, like button hooks, and the hooked poles for hooking the crotcheted round (gaskets?) that were attached to old window blinds.

KMH said...

I encourage you to take time at the Bakken to attempt the Star Trek theme on their Theremin. And their gardens are amazing.

Random encounters are helpful for essay-writing, too. They can act like the bumpers in a pinball game--when your outlook collides with someone else's, it takes the energy of your writing and sends it off in a completely different direction.

momo said...

The MIA is also air conditioned and free, very important when the dewpoint is almost 70 and the temp is 93!. If you need an A/C place to sleep, you are welcome chez nous!

Annika said...

Next assignment sounds awesome! There'll be lots and lots of tangents to go off along, I'm sure!

And the Museum of Electricity sounds absolutely great, I'd love to go there. It'd do me some good, too; I've never, ever managed to get my head around electronics, not even the basics. My passing the exam for the mandatory electronics course a few years ago was pure luck and a bit of parrot-style learning without understanding.

Fresca said...

Thanks, all.
I'm not on top of responding to comments as my brain is stuck in the 1700s, but I do appreciate them!

Manfred Allseasons said...

Congratulations on completing your M.S.....we still need a really good one volume history of the Roman Empire, so if you have a spare weekend coming up...

Fresca said...

MANFRED: I'll write it... as a musical, if you'll do the soundtrack!