Saturday, February 28, 2009


Today was my Barcelona Skirt class at Sewing by the Sea. I signed up in January and looked forward to it for a long time, and it was a lot of fun! The pic above shows off my pretty darn good invisible zipper (as well as my flamboyant fabric). I'd post a show off pic with me in it, but I don't shave my legs till Sunday and today is Saturday, so, you see. . . . you really should wait! I think the skirt could be made to fit "varied bodies" (shall we say) much better by adding a bit of elastic as well as the zipper; I am still longing for a pattern like my Garnet Hill skirts that do away with the zipper all together. However, the pattern fits quite well and I will be making it again, I'm fairly sure.

When I got home, it was a sunny/lovely day, so Younger, Zeus, and I went for a nice walk--a long one for Z since his surgery--and we spotted two bald eagles eating something on the ice on the river and watched them for a long time. Pretty nifty.

So. February by blog. I will write again tomorrow, just to make up for missing on the 26th. . . There's a pretty promising forecast for Sunday night/Monday, if one's interests lean toward snow days!


Friday, February 27, 2009

Feb. 27: D'OH!

I lay in bed last night trying to remember if I'd posted, and I THOUGHT I had. . . but no. So I am remiss.

Haven't been sleeping too well lately. . .just settling into the busy routine of upcoming March after that wonderful vacation, and that takes some relearning to not lie awake in bed thinking, "I should be asleep!" even as I plan what I coulda/shoulda/woulda done. Snoring husband doesn't always help, so the futon in the study is a gift and an escape. Through a few hormones into that mix, and . . . well, I haven't been sleeping too well this week!

BUT: it's warm and soft and grey outside, it's the last school day of February, I get to watch Younger in his jazz band and his show choir, and tomorrow is my sewing day! So: lots of good things!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feb. 25: Ash Wednesday

It's a lovely late afternoon and soon I will head over to the Union River Congo. church for the Ash Wednesday service. I was offered chocolate everywhere I turned today it seemed. . . but I refused. I didn't manage to get to the libe to get Man's Search for Meaning so I'm partway there.

I have three more February entries and then I will be done with my self-imposed goal of one entry per day for February. Hmmm. It's been interesting to do!

I finished the sleeves on Jesse's sweater during my long afternoon meeting! YAY! And--even more "yay!"--I started a pair of booties for Shelagh's baby in some great Regia yarn. Cute, colorful, small. . . a nice change, tho they will just be meeting knitting till the sweater is DONE!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Feb. 24: Pondering. . .

. . . any number of things, including:

1. How can one day take one from calm and rejuvenated to overwhelmed and disorganized? Ahh, teaching.

2. What should I give up/take up for Lent? I am thinking perhaps chocolate will head out the door--that one hurts, but it's not enough of my diet to be a secret form of dieting. I did it once, in college, and that was a Lent I was aware of! In addition, I think I'll try to read Man's Search for Meaning or reread Calmly Plotting the Resurrection. I've been meaning to do the former for a long time, and I did enjoy the latter. So. I'll give myself till Ash Wednesday night to decide.

3. How will my frosh like Much Ado? Should I offer BOTH Much Ado and Romeo and Juliet? Hmmmm.

4. How can I get time to do good planning and good correcting of all this make up work?

5. Is there another job out there that's easier than and as fulfilling and fun as teaching, or is it just a matter of the grass is always greener?

I will close with a picture of my hyacinth looking at the snow.

I think it is darn grateful not to be out there!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Feb. 23: Feels like. . .vacation!

Yessss! We got a snow day, and good one it was: we have at least a foot of thick, heavy snow, and more has been coming all day. Our neighbor snow blew (blowed?) the driveway for BH, since his back told him it was too much of a good thing to expect to shovel Thursday, drive four hours on Sunday, and shovel again on Monday. . . Thanks, Ken! The picture above only partly shows the incredible layering of the snow: usually we can see through the woods, but today it's very dense and Narnia-with-the-White-Witch. Where's the lamppost?

I am currently alone in the house as BH has gone to school to "red up" for tomorrow, Elder is sledding at the h.s. with friends, and Younger is playing on the huge drifts (We call them the Alps!) behind some nearby stores with his friend. I am sort of between things, but I think I'm moving toward the study and some loose ends of school work, a candle, maybe another cup of tea, and some music. We've done some picking up, but we certainly aren't neat yet, so I could do that, too. BUT. Have made orange soup and a trial batch of Country Living's Chocolate Tea Cake. Yum.

Most excitingly, the birds are at my feeders! Small wonder, really, considering how everything is coated inches deep, but it was great to see house finches, chickadees, and what I think are either immature or female goldfinches clustered around both my feeders within a half hour of my cleaning them off. I love watching them, and I am glad they're getting fed!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Feb. 22: Last Day. . .maybe!

The weather forecast has us all whipped into a frenzy, though luckily the "heavy snow" and "strong winds" and other promises aren't due to start till after we get home from Brunswick. They DO sound, however, like we might get that ephemeral, much-longed-for, rarest of beasts: the snow day after a vacation. We'll see. . . and since we all have been quite motivated to get our work done and dusted before today due to the trip south, our interest is more academic than it often is, but still lively and optimistic!

And it is still lovely around here. BH and I went for a quick walk last night to admire the stars, and we were remarking how even though there is more snow than ever, and even tho it's still cold (1 this morning, in fact!), we feel like Spring is nearing. Yesterday Younger and I had a wonderful time sledding--both the motion and the setting were outstanding. The sun, the snow, the company, the fresh air. . .it was all terrific. Unfortunately my camera batteries, long ailing, gave up the ghost 100% upon our arrival, so no pictures of the moment, but BH offered a sunset pic he took the day before:

The lawn at the Black House was a scene off the most fairy-tale-like puzzle box one could imagine. But with more screaming!

I haven't the foggiest idea what I will do with another day if we get one. But I'll come up with a plan, I have no doubt: I think it might involve Jesse's sweater and chocolate tea bread. Hmmmm. Yeah!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feb. 21: Sunny Saturday

Today we have the glittering, sparkly post-snow morning; yesterday we had the slow-falling-snowflakes/grey muted light morning. I am drinking my coffee in the sunpatches and feeling inspired to go sledding at the Black House later. First item: walking Zeus, who is desperate for Elder to come down stairs! and play with him! but who might be refocused with a walk.

Today will feature exercise (pool or sledding), some organizing of school stuff (sigh)--I have a sneaking suspicion that somewhere I have a batch of second draft narratives that I need to get through, but I haven't seen them yet; food shopping--we haven't had a big, serious shop for two weeks now!; and maybe another quick swing to Marden's to follow up on some great sales: audiobooks for $6.99! Clark's shoes for $30! I'll try to resist the lure of the cheap fabric (so pretty!), but Younger does need a new jacket for next winter, so a sale might be useful for him. I'd love it if my ordered books showed up, even today. I am not in love with any of my reading, and that's a weird place to be for me. I got Lulu in Marrakech, the new Diane Johnston, but I realized I just don't like her writing that much. So. Back to the libe with that! Maybe I should just get my Maisie Dobbs audiobook out of the car and plug in, get Jesse's sweater (ready to change to bigger needles for the sleeve caps and then do the chest and neck!), and have at it. I am really tempted to start a pair of socks--booties, really--and am quite impressed by my monogamy in working on J's sweater so far. It's a bit like when Zeus stares out at the squirrels, his muscles shaking even as he's lying down. My hands tremble as I look at my huge collection of sock needles, my lovely skeins of varigated yarn. . . but no. I will be true to the hemlock green Peace Fleece, size 40" chest, raglan-sleeved sweater--at least till it's in the sewing up stage!

There's a tad more baking I'd like to do too. . . . and the weather isn't great for Sunday, when we head down to Brunswick for III's fiftieth b'day (how can one of us be 50?? YIkes!), but it sounds like rain/snow, not snow/snow, so if we stick to the coast we should be okay. But. All in all, in this moment of pause, I'll say that it's been a really nice vacation. Really nice. I think I can handle one more week of February and then March, nourished by this week. We'll see!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Feb. 20: Winter Again!

This morning it's Winter again, and a lovely one at that. We got to bed early last night--around 10--and so when I woke up around 6, I just got up. We got about 6 - 8" of snow, and apparently no rain, though it was about 32 the whole day. The snow has stuck to the branches and wires, and has covered up all the blech exposed by the melting of February, so the whole world is in love with Winter again--the whole world except for our big old cat, who far preferred the crusted snow that she could walk on without getting wet!

Today will feature the sad signs of the gathering end of vacation: dentist and eye doctor appointments, a trip to the vet to have the dog's stitches out, school work done with a sense of inevitability. BUT: it is still vacation, and it's even Friday. Bonus!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feb. 19: Snow Day, with Boys

(Opening note: I think it's funny how the blog says, "After clicking "done" you can view your photos" and there's this block of URL stuff but no picture. I do know how to see it, but it's not quite as smooth as they say. Heh.)

This is my study last night, complete with hyacinth in matching color. Breathe deep: can you smell it? It's lovely.

I did manage to get over the productive vacation hex, helped by two overnight guests, "Prince Caspian," the stormy forecast (coming true even as I write), making oven baked donuts (rising as I write), and a general sense of humor. We had a nice evening and a good dinner. It was great to watch "PC", which we'd missed when it came out due to Ellsworth's lack of movie theater, and it was a coup for the boys to have selected a movie that we ALL wanted to watch! It was a long one, though, and we ended up in bed around 11, so it's quiet around here right now, though the phone calls are coming about practices being cancelled and once I put the donuts in the oven, I bet they'll be down.

Nice cozy snow day today. Yay!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feb. 18: Dork. . .

I am fighting the need to get stressed out about doing things during vacation. I have a lot of outside projects, like Library stuff and church projects, as well as "wanna do's" that are floating to the top of the list and nudging me. Today I did some good work AND some fun work. . . spent the middle of the day with Audrey experimenting with making cloth bag prototypes for the kids to make for Earth Day Sunday giveaway. Convinced BH to do enough food shopping to keep us stocked and baking till Friday at the earliest, and did some potential planning for a model Issues project. But. . . cheated on my workout and didn't relax a ton.

So. . tonight I shall make millionaire's shortbread with the boys (we have both B boys since their parents had a sudden commitment in Portland--it will be fun, especially with the storm (?!) coming in) and raised donuts for b'fast. And. I. Will. Re. Lax!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feb. 17: Spectating

Just back from watching Elder swim the opening heats for the State swim meet. He did really well, improving substantially in his two individual events and also having his relay qualify, again with a much improved time despite a slower swimmer filling in for the regular who quit. He is not a long-time swimmer, having just started last year, and only adding the Y team this year in addition to his h.s. team. So BH and I have a lot to learn about meets in general, but it's also interesting to watch other parents spectate, and to think about spectating in itself.

For example, I'm delighted for Elder: he loves swimming, loves his teammates, and has worked very hard this year, so it's great that he's done so well to date. However, why should I be delighted? I did absolutely nothing except provide food, some very generalized encouragement, and some advice on how to shave the backs of his legs! Elder is not the family guy Younger is: our early instructions were to just cheer, "and don't give any advice, just say, Yay! And you can yell my name." This year he will come to visit while we're in the stands, and he does catch our eyes and smile when he's done well. But he will just tell us not to bother to come if he feels he's not going to swim well, or if the meet's a long way away, or if it's a long one and he knows we're busy. So this is very much Elder's effort and Elder's events, and we're pleased just to spectate.

Similarly, we don't pamper much: other kids on his team stayed in a hotel room overnight to . . . rest up, I guess, and to have a place to rest between this morning and finals tonight. At $100 and without the team's sanction, however, we said nope, and he seems none the worse for wear. As someone who had to kick and scream to get her parents to her high school athletic events, I feel that a dose of parental apathy does, sometimes, keep things in perspective. Granted, one of Elder's teammates is getting a full ride to college: such is not our boy, and he can have a great time and learn a lot and stay fit without the latest swimskin (paid for by us, at least; if he works for it and buys it, great!) or a hotel room.

So I am awaiting the evening's results with interest. I came back for Library Trustees and to keep Younger, who had both show choir and jazz band today, company. We'll see how the times go, and how pleased Elder is when he reappears.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2/16: Make Up for Sunday and stuff for Monday!

Yesterday Mom came, and I just didn't have time to blog, so I will make this a picture heavy entry and count it as making up for my dereliction yesterday.

Much vacationy stuff going on here, including some boredom on the boys' behalf. . . if it's not electronic it's hard to figure out what to do, yes?. . . . and some just starting to get going on some longtime projects for me. First of all, I cleaned the study:

This is the cluttery corner, but my desk was pretty bad, too. I cleared a spot and then got down to it, including sorting a LOT of knitting stuff, so now it's much much much more peaceful and inspiring:

I hope some good knitting can transpire in the futon now. . . oh, and some good correcting before the bitter end of vacation desperation as well!

I have been working on Jesse's sweater, and have a picture that reveals the interest such activity evokes in our household:

Once the snow melts, the cats will get out more and have more exercise and less focus on us, but right now, it's pretty intensive. One last pic to show their (occasional) peaceful mode:

I feel the desire to join them in such lolling about. It's vacation, after all!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

2/14: WOW!

I have just made Cinnamon Swirl cookies, featured as the cookie of the month in Martha Stewart's Living for February. They are not easy to make--you do the dough, chill it, then make the cinnamon filling, roll them together, chill, then slice and bake--but my my my they are YUMMY! I am currently enjoying a high tea (which I am hoping can be a euphemism for "big" tea) featuring red tea and lots and lots of these little lovelies. A new fave--and the family hasn't even tried them yet!

Toenail painting, a long walk to the library with Younger, some knitting (and stupid-mistake-evading) on Jesse's sweater, cookies, some picking up. A good start to the time!

Friday, February 13, 2009


My friends and family will undoubtedly get sick of that word, because I just encountered it in a magazine article and I love it! It's clever and sounds great and, better yet, it's exactly what we are having for the next nine days! Actually, it will be eight days because Sunday the 22 involves a trip out of the county (gasp) and down to Brunswick for BH's brother's 50th b'day. Good thing BH and I aren't that old. Oh wait. . . . we almost are!

Had fun picking out fabric for the Amy Butler Barcelona skirt I'll make on the 28th as a workshop at Sewing by the Sea, and resisted the urge to spend too much money/get fabric for two and stayed modestly optimistic but not crazy. Then BH and I picked up our repaired dog from the vet (Look, Mom, new ACL!) and tho he's shaved pink and has a yukky gash on his leg, it's nice to have him situated at home again. BIG check mark.

Thus starteth the staycation. Back to reading, with maybe a little dark chocolate to follow. Yum.

Feb. 13: Day Before (make up)

The happy chaos before a much-anticipated vacation means that I forgot to post yesterday TOO. So two today.

Yesterday was warm and rainy, feeling very Spring like and ohso welcome! Luckily, the rain was gentle and intermittent, so there wasn't the whole scale flooding that we sometimes get as a "be careful what you wish for" end to a cold spell. It certainly was nice to lie in bed and hear gentle tapping on the windows!

I do find I love the lead up to vacations: that sense of sustained anticipation, of being close enough to touch but not there yet, is fun and restorative, but not as fraught with the sense of time passing as vacation itself is. I am reveling in that--my planning seems to have worked out so that my classes also have a nice pace to them--and even had time to float the idea that all the faculty wear funky pj pants to school today, the last day, and the response was great.

So: on with the garden gnome pj pants, and out the door to the Last Day Before!

Note: apparently no picture of these wondrous garments exists. I hope to rectify the situation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feb. 12 make that 11!: Disconnected Thoughts

Good meeting this am to plan the Big Project in our joint class. Went well. As we all pointed out, we've come a LONG way from where we were when we started meeting as a team, back. . . well, about a year ago! Fun to see S. out to here with her baby too!

Due to rain tonight--not hard, and just to rain, not to freeze or sleet--and that is some welcome!

I am starting a vacation wishlist, and it includes

--neaten/organize study done on Monday
--finish Jesse's sweater working on it! Sleeve increases done!
--read a. lot. well. Started off strong, on a drag now.
--pedicure: self or fancy self! Saturday!
--sew with Audrey? YEP!
--tidy living room partly.

Wow. That looks like a week's worth, nearly. . . . !

This is an aimless post. I am going back to reading Summertime and The Lost Estate. Have ordered two of Barker's books that I haven't read for a vacation treat but since they're coming from the UK, I bet they'll get here a week after vacation. Ah well.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feb. 11, B: In Praise of Small Town Government (ALSO: 10, not 11)

Just back from a school committee meeting to discuss how to arrange the classes next year to increase savings while dealing with an only partially-built k - 8 school building. The 8th graders have been kept up at the high school this year, in less than ideal surroundings, and I was very alarmed when I read that the school committee was proposing to send next year's 8th grade back up there to save money while finishing work on the new school. I wrote letters (respectful ones), made phone calls, rallied the troops. . .oh, I think I discussed this in my "oops" post of this morning! Anyway, I was nervous.

Well, the meeting ended up being a really positive experience, as they often are. I was impressed by the demeanor of the whole committee--they were very professional but not in a threatening way, they moved through their business rapidly and efficiently, and they encouraged people to leave after the items they cared about were done, thus making that uncomfortable moment of leaving okay. Not only did the committee commit (!) to keeping the grades together, but they were clear in their commitment to educational quality.

And, most of all, I was once again reminded of, and humbled by, the amount of work some people do for no pay, little thanks, and certainly no recognition. That room was pretty full tonight, but I bet that most meeting nights the room is pretty empty and they still carry on. Impressive. And, ultimately, incredibly American. Wow.

Feb. 11: Oops.Edited to add: OopsER: Feb. 10

Well, I missed posting yesterday: I have been considering the time-sucker aspects of the internet (and wireless internet, at that!) and yesterday was pretty deliberate about not letting myself browse for 45 minutes with no particular goal in mind. . . so after I finished doing some prep work I closed the laptop and didn't remember about a blog entry till I was in bed. So. I'll do two today, I guess.

Much percolating today--it's the busiest day of the week, and since it's the week before vacation, that feels big. Younger gets his braces on today; he and BH have taken the day to do it, then go to a movie and out to lunch. It helps to tie not-so-great milestones to fun ones, we think! In addition, tonight is the school committee meeting to decide how Ellsworth will deal with its continued school building project, and whether next year's 8th graders will be "penned" (my word) at the again or whether they'll be able to enjoy the new construction for one year as part of the middle school. I am semi-proud of my community organizing skills as I wrote letters, made phone calls, and even followed up with reminder phone calls--but I am nervous about tonight and how to come across as concerned but balanced, passionate but not rabid. So. I've been practicing in the car a lot, and BH has said he'll come with me to the meeting. Still. It will be nice to get that over with!

And I guess school continues to be germ central, with numbers of kids out sick every day. Rumors fly, of course. So far I am taking my Airborne and watching for Friday. AND looking forward to some temperatures in the 30's!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Feb. 8: Community

My Sundays tend to be quite tightly scheduled: I get up around 7, walk to the Y around 8, swim, shower/shave my legs, walk home, change for church, get to church. . .on and on in an (I know) dizzying list of exciting activities. Still, the program works for me, allowing me to balance my social/personal/family/school requirements quite well most of the time.

Today, however, I experienced an embarrassment of community, and my! I couldn't stick to a schedule to save my life. . . and I was somehow smart enough to realize that the non-scheduled aspect of life is what makes it rich and memorable, and I enjoyed it. I had a good long conversation with the lifeguard, also mom of a former student, about my allergic ? reaction to the pool lately, and she made several great suggestions, and then when I came out of the shower, a fellow swimmer and retired teacher who's spoken to my AP classes before had a reading list she thought (rightly) that I'd enjoy, and by the time I was out of the locker room I was about 20 mins. later than usual. I hit the lobby and ran into one of Elder's friends and his mom, waiting for a ride to the big Y meet in Bath, and we had a nice conversation about life in general, but also the friend's reading assignment for school. . . . so, needless to say, I was at a pretty good trot by the time I got home! But what a gift to have those points of contact, those people who engage with us on a more than business level, who enrich our exchanges and our days.

Even as I was striding home, I was planning a dinner party for as big a group of people as I could imagine--just to say thanks for throwing me off my schedule by their interesting, varied, outgoing existence.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Feb. 7. . .WOW!

What a list of kitchen accomplishments in our house today: a HUGE batch of soup for our post-annual-meeting lunch at church tomorrow, a batch of focaccia bread for panini tonight, Younger made chocolate cupcakes and buttercream frosting, and then I prevailed long enough to make some golden pound cake cupcakes (all three last recipes from MS Living for February). My feet are sore from all the standing and I have that vague sense of "Where'd the afternoon go?" but seeing as we also did the week's foodshopping, went out to b'fast with two of Younger's friends, made a nice haul at the Library book sale, AND I went for a good walk with the dog AND then solo. . . . I'm pretty content, proud, and ready for a great dinner--and dessert!

Today was also warm(ish) or (er). . . got up to 34, and when the sun was only behind thin clouds, the day had hints of early March (frequently "early March" is uttered like a curse, but in this case. . .!). Since last week did get down to -8 a few mornings, the warming trend felt great.

So. Soon to make dinner, ice a few more cupcakes, and enjoy!

Friday, February 6, 2009

2/6: Illness. . .

Well, the conventional wisdom says they're dropping like flies at my high school--80 out yesterday. . . more today, despite regulations that mean kids who miss today can't compete in various championship meets this week, so there's big incentive to get to school. There's a nasty fever/cold thing, possibly the official flu, and then a fast moving stomach bug that does its usual spectacular thing and then moves out, so you have your choice as to how to get sick. We're encouraging hand-washing, proper coughing technique, no drink sharing, staying home when you're sick. . . . but I think vacation, coming up NEXT Friday, is the only key.

It's funny to be in this kind of a situation. Rumors run rampant: "Whooping cough and pneumonia," says my son, knowledgeably. He's fifteen, and not a doctor. One student told me "There'll be three kids in class today. . ." and we were only short two. Other students put it all down to salmonella in peanut butter, not "the winter vomiting virus" (as the Brits call it) at all.

As for me, I wash my hands, try to sleep a lot, stay hydrated, get fresh air, and eat well . . . and I try not to worry, though it's hard not to notice every sniffle, every gurgle my stomach makes. Is that. . . . ?

I think I'm ready for warmer weather and vacation!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

2/5: Literary Addictions

It's very odd to have a writer whom one really, really likes, but whom one is almost positive no one else will enjoy. There's a mystery author whose very old books our library has who fits the bill, but he only wrote about 6 books and I can't remember his name (he's Australian??) The author who's my chief private addiction is one Angela Thirkell, author of perhaps 30? 50? novels, mostly set in the small English region of Barsetshire amongst the various families, villages, and groups of upper-crusty denizens. She wrote from the early 20's to her death in the mid 60's, I think, and for some reason I adore her books. She does have some of the Jane Austen about her: she writes deliberately small plots, with the staging of a party or the foiling of some minor but unwelcome plan for some village the major plot line of the book. She does not throw sudden deaths or horrible shocks at her readers, and she's very smart and funny in her indirect tone (another Austenism, actually). Reading Thirkell also helped me understand the impact of WWII on English society in a way I hadn't before: her immediately pre- during- and post-war novels are her strongest and most touching, especially since, as one reviewer pointed out, they were written pretty much at that time, without the benefit of knowing "this is the last summer of the war" or "Hitler really is a threat." So for social insight, she's wonderful. However, she is a snob--her attitude toward non-British citizens and toward the Other Classes is that they are all very well, but they must know their place and stay there. In addition, she can dither at times: her sentences (helped, I must admit, by the very poor copyediting of the editions I've been reading) often ramble, convulse, rush off at odd angles, require numerous rereadings to untangle. And, finally, she can be incredibly indirect: sometimes everyone at a dinner party is caught up in a memory of a song that the reader has never heard of, but the song is never acutally mentioned nor sung, so the reader is paralyzed. Her endless references to "Bab's Ballads" during a certain span of her books, her unapologetic Englishisms, and, more damningly, her occasionally baffling plot twists that leave one hanging at the end of a 400 page book can all be infuriating.


I love her books. I wish I had every one on my shelves, so I could read them through and then start again.

My latest Thirkell, Happy Returns,
is a perfect example of why most people, I think, would hate her writing. The opening 100 pages dragged, even for me. The whole book involved getting two babies born and two sets of people engaged or married, and it was mighty. slow. going.

But now that I'm done, I'm at loose ends.

I might have to reread one of my other Thirkells. What can I say? It's an addiction!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Feb. 4: Almost Missed!

Today was one long streak of stuff to do!

Up at six (grrrrrrrrrrrrreat sleep. Yay!)
Walk dog in lovely snow. One of the big trees on Argonne Street still has its lights up and against the snow they were especially beautiful. It was nice to walk through the houses; there were several people out shoveling but everything was very muffled.
Drop dog at home. Walk "the block" to finish workout.
Home--b'fast--shower--nearly going to be on time for class planning session when Elder called from school having forgotten his Bio. . . could I?
Drop Bio book at h.s.--park in lot, walk in snow to door, go into office, etc.
Drive to school.
Planning session. Not very good--felt like facilitator (usually very good) was pulling us in a direction we didn't need to go in NOW and not letting us do what we needed to do. BUT did get pulled out of meeting by Superintendent to meet principal candidate and was introduced to him as "one of our most excellent teachers"--that felt pretty darn great.
Home from planning session; let dog out. Get Elder son.
Pick up younger son.
Drive to orthodontist in Brewer.
Do ortho stuff, then listen to Dr. Dentist as he talked on and on about Younger's braces.
Drive home, stopping to get boys a snack at McD's
Eat dinner
clean up from dinner
Go to Mission meeting (pretty good one)
Come home; realize we have to pick up for our cleaning lady
Do that: lie on couch to write this!

Whhhhoooooosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I want to finish my Thirkell that I am LABORING through.

So! Due to be sunny tomorrow, but 21 with a zippy wind for -12 windchill. Not summer yet.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feb. 3: Back to snowy cold!

But not as cold. . . only mid-twenties, and now around 5 pm it's 19. However, the wind is from the north, as BH pointed out, and there's fine snow in it. Brrrr. Wrap up in your scarf!

Today I want to write about audiobooks. Right now I am listening to Jumpa Lahiri's newest short story collection, Unaccustomed Earth. It is excellent, for many reasons: first, the woman can write. Period, amen. Secondly, hearing the stories read by two Indian readers, one female (Sarita Choudhury), one male (Ajay Naidu), makes them come alive: I never knew it was pronounced "CALcutta", for example. Thirdly, and closely related to reason #2: I have a weakness for an Anglo-Indian accent. . . though maybe it's just an "Indian accent," since I have never heard an Indian speaking French, for example. BUT: something about the way the syllables are presented, the way the consonants are aspirated, the way the vowels are held in the back of the mouth--appeals to me immensely. I could listen to Choudhury and Naidu read the phone book, I think!

The collection consists of several longish stories, and Lahiri takes a variety of views, characters, narrators, etc., in them. My least favorite is the title story, which seemed to drag a bit; right now I am listening to the last set of three linked stories, called, judging by the reviews, "Hema and Kashik". . .and it's compelling and fascinating; when I turn the car off and come into the house, I want to read it still!

Highly recommended!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog's Day

And it was warm and moist today--easily up in the mid-thirties, even without (much) sunshine! It felt terrific: it's been so dry, to say nothing of the cold, that the soft air felt like a gift. So, yay, February!

Today was a good day to pull out some old material and deal with it, partly because I did good correcting work last night and yesterday afternoon so I was less stressed than usual in that department, and partly because. . . well, if you don't deal with stuff for a while, it gets to the point where you have to deal with it, or else! So. . . I did some brainstorming with W. about Library Trustees, and managed to work past the "Aiieeeeee!" stage that I have been at for a while, since I am maturing as a chairperson and realizing that I have a weak grasp of our true function and responsibilities, and since the issues surrounding the crazy busy Friday afternoons have been coming to a head. It was great to have W. to talk to: as she said, "leadership is leadership no matter where it is!" and she's got a lot of experience in that. So. I have a better handle on that situation and a sense of where to go when and why. Now doing it is all that needs to happen.

I also did various prep and photocopying of things for classes. Yes. Then I came home, ordered BH's valentine present, and emailed a friend to see if we can have tea sometime since I have hardly seen her since November!

Another affirming thing was that I sat down with a cup of Lapsang Souchon (yum) and read over our church's annual report and bulletin for February. And I felt amazed and proud: in that church family there are a lot of people working really hard to make things work, and to show love, whether community love or Christ's love or their individual love, to other people, and that makes me really happy and proud. The icing on the cake was that the Evening Circle, a staunch and staid group of traditional "church ladies," donated $500 to the Downeast Aids Network. Now that's something you probably wouldn't have seen 20 years ago!

I'd say Groundhog's Day was pretty darn good.

Inspirational picture to close:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pondering February

Well, I love the starts of months, and I am, for some reason, especially happy to see February start this year. Part of it is that Elder Son arrived home today after a week in the Dominican Republic, and part of it is that January has been a fairly unsettled month for me (as well as a bitter cold and snowy one) and I'm glad to see the back of it. I am hoping to jolt myself into some different patterns, as I'm in a fairly predictable cabin fevery place, where it seems way too much to invite people over or to go out, but at the same time life seems drearily the same. So: one idea I had was to try to blog a bit every day in February. Every day. That would certainly get me doing more writing, but I'm not sure why I would bother to write publicly rather than just in a notebook--I guess just because it's more fun.

So. Here's day one, and entry one.

Five things:
1. I'd like to get a pedicure. Maybe this weekend, maybe with Andrea. I'll see.
2. I'd love to have some flowers in the house. My amaryllis was underwhelming this year, both in color and in size--a pale greeny white yellow, four small blossoms, and only one plant. Compared to last year's extravaganza of blooms and colors--quite a letdown.
3. It is so nice to look over to the blue chair and see that tall lanky body of The Returned Son!
4. I love the color of my study, freshly painted over the summer. Even tho at times I think it looks like pepto bismol, I just love it.
5. I like Elizabeth Zimmerman's writings about knitting, but it is almost impossible for me to understand what she's saying without pictures. I am truly a visual learner when it comes to knitting techniques!

In closing, I will post a pic that will present the color of my study. . . . just for inspiration (or for the reduction of heartburn, though feel free to keep it to yourself if that's your response!). (On reflection: I took it right after the Great Paintjob and it's sort of silly, as the proud owner and color-chooser herself is front and center. BUT: there it is.

And February Post #1 is done!