Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oct. 29: Heading into November~

My camera does not quite do justice to this gorgeous tree (I overuse "remarkable," which was my adjective of choice in that sentence. . . I think I picked it up from Dustin Hoffman's role as Willy Loman in the PBS "Death of a Salesman" years ago. It is a specific word: worth remarking over. . .but I am trying not to use it fifty times a day) which, every fall, lights up the end of the school, but there it is anyway. We're entering the phase of fall that I love, when many of the trees are bare, but their dark limbs serve to emphasize the incredibly intense color of the few late-changers. Later, in deep November, the beech leaves will be the only remaining color, and their deep copper will stand out against the grey and black branches and, if we're lucky, a few early snow storms. For now, our colors are still bright in places, and the grass is shockingly green.

We've had a spell of warmer weather lately, and though it's due to be showery, Saturday, the day of Elder's regional xc meet, should be the warmest in a bit (55!). Nice to have a warmish Halloween: how I remember those battles with Mom about wearing a jacket over my costume when we went out trick or treating!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oct. 24: Saturday Night Monsoon

What a mellow day! At the moment, BH is asleep in my pink study, which glows with the lights on, and the rain pounds on the skylight and alternate windows as the storm changes directions. Both boys are at a Halloween party from which BH will fetch them in about an hour, and I've just finished a second (successful) draft of the top of the latest commissioned stocking. I think I have some reading in me next: I've knitted a great deal, read some, cleaned my study and various piles of patternsbillsletters recipesarticlesmagazinesjunk from around the house, and also had a good run around noon, just before all weather hell broke loose and it really really really started to rain, so I feel pretty pleased with myself and endorphinized to boot. As I ran, I realized that one thing I really missed about running was being able to go out in terrible weather and warm myself up, so that I could return on a freezing cold or driving rainy day and feel pretty darn good--which is what happened today. Wet, yes, but studly? Definitely. AND charged up and warm.

So. My eyes are getting prickly, and I think I will quickly do my banking and then go down and read for a bit before I fall asleep. . . I am reading through Elizabeth Noble's The Friendship Test, which is a lot like her Reading Group: predictable and warm. I also am still reading Sense and Sensibility, and I have two other library books I'd like to get to. I wish I could magically transfer some of those onto cd, then I could do the stocking AND "read". . . what a skill! Anyway. Time to go enjoy the calm of the evening a little more deeply, along with humble thoughts for people and creatures who aren't blessed with a solid roof and reliable heat!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oct. 22: Thursday. Yes!

I was thinking that this week was a quiet one, as I only had one evening commitment on Monday, but I conveniently overlooked the jam-packed afternoons that awaited me. AND BH going to a conference for Wed. night - Friday and that type of thing. But most of the items have been fun--hair cut, Younger's final middle school xc meet, trip to Brewer for Younger's teeth which means some one-on-one time and maybe some errands--so things are good. Yesterday was a stunning, golden day, then today is cold, rainy, and raw: so glad I'm not cheering on my runner today! Apparently Saturday, Elder's regional ch.ships for xc, will more than make up for it--"steady, soaking rain," I heard mentioned--so we'll snuggle up now.

Boys are great: how they are growing! How they are growing into people I enjoy and like spending time with! How nice!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wed. Oct.14: Freshman Work Day

Today was the Freshman Community Service Day, and thank HEAVEN it was sunny and dry. . . though very, very cold, especially after it clouded up and got breezy in the afternoon. However, my group was working at the new community gardens in a nursing home complex in Bar Harbor, and there were lots of chores to keep us busy, mostly low skill: painting a fence. Painting the raised beds (really raised--like 4.5'--so that old backs don't need to bend much. Brilliant.). Raking and bagging leaves. Painting a sign. It was the best work site I've been to: there was so. much. work., and it was pretty "safe"--we couldn't hurt ourselves or other people, and we could definitely see the results of our work. It was great, and the kids were great.

Still, the kids were. . .kids! Fourteen and frisky, and there was a considerable amount of managing to do, so I was busy. While we were there, an old woman drove up in her van and veeeeeerrrrrryyyyyyy sloooooooooooooowly made her way into the main building with her walker, and we all sort of watched her on her way, ready to help, but not needing to. She came out just as we were leaving, and I helped her open her van door. She looked at me and said, "Are you the teacher?" and I said I was, and she looked at me, straight in the eyes, and said, "Well, you're a very good teacher! I've been listening to you all day [gulp, I thought] and those are good kids, they are, but they have lots of energy and they need to be directed a little bit. Well, you do a great job of that. You talk to them just right and I can tell you're a great teacher." And then she gave me a big hug and drove away!

That completely made my day!

Now I am trying to read through some Death of a Salesman responses before I completely collapse. Sun+ work+wind+cold+lots of horsing around and talking = sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepiness!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oct. 12: A Nice Afternoon

Not as Martha Stewart as it coulda been, on many fronts (note the sheets drying in the fresh fall air!), but a great fallish lunch and cup of tea in front of the fire.

And on tap for today? Well, it's unrealistic to think I could finish my 1/3 done sock, start a Christmas project, do all my correcting, make apple cake, pick up the house, AND go for a walk. . . so I guess I'll settle for "enjoy the day, do some stuff, and deal with the limited nature of time!"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oct. 11: =Ahhhhhh=

So what did YOU do over your long weekend?

More foties to follow!

Friday, October 9, 2009

October 9: A Quiet Friday Night at Last!

It's been a great fall so far, but my it's been busy! Seems like every weekend one of us has been away, had a meet, a major commitment, or a deadline, and sometimes all of those at once! Finally, on this three day weekend we have

Nothing Major Planned.

==Deep sigh of satisfaction.==

To make things even better, BH and I drove to Elder's xc meet together, Elder ran well and we got to see a lot of students/friends/people we like, and the rain held off until we got home, though the looming clouds set the lovely leaves off amazingly well. BH and I had dinner at Finn's, a new "Irish pub" in town, which had good food and reasonable service, though its noise level got pretty uncomfortable as the place filled up. Town is feeling very Fallish now: there are empty parking spaces, the traffic is calmer, and down town just feels cleared out. Yay!

Poor Younger seems to have picked up a stomach bug, though he's been so prone to them in the past that he's very accomplished at being sick and its details (which I will spare any readers). I hope he's through the worst and can sleep in tomorrow and call that all good.

My wishful thinking list for this weekend includes:
correcting three different batches of work for school
reading some of the three good books I've got lined up
picking some good crunchy apples
baking with said apples: pie? cake? sauce?
removing the screens, separating out the ripped ones for repair and storing the others
cleaning up some of the piles in my study
doing some planning for Library and church details that I need to attend to
running and swimming and maybe going for a final long bike ride on Monday.

That seems manageable, huh???? Cross your fingers for me. But also remember the joys of a rainy Friday night with most of the family tucked up asleep and the last one expected soon!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oct. 3: Book Reviews and Updates. . .

Wow. It's October third (I think. I frequently get weekend dates wrong. . . ) and a cold but sunny Saturday morning, although both the forecast and the wind that turns the leaves upside down promise differently come noontime. I'll have to check the laundry I hung out yesterday and start finishing it off in shifts in the dryer, I fear. I was at the Me. Conference of the United Church of Christ annual meeting all last weekend, so there is a laundry backlog that the "possibly heavy at times" rain is not going to help me with. AH well.

Yesterday I took a personal day from school, partly because I knew this weekend would be busy, and partly because I could! I managed to finish my February Lady Sweater and my meeting socks, prep for Elder's varsity team spag. feed and overnight, go to Shirley's 20% off yarn sale, and clean my car. . . I also just reveled in the fall light that flooded the house at midday, and took Zeus for a lovely walk in it too. A nice day.

I have had a flurry of reading lately: still trying to cut down on my computer time, I've found a vein of good books. . . some on CD, some on real paper. Here they are, in some kind of order, I think.

--The Help, by Katherine Stockett. I think I mentioned this one before: it's written in a variety of voices, primarily several black women who work as "help" in Alabama in 1963, and one white woman who works with them to write a book about that experience. It recreated a time period I had not experienced with impressive reality, I thought, much like Water for Elephants did. The characters were developed and the plot kept me involved. Oddly enough, it echoed Mockingbird, the Harper Lee biography I read last year, tho they are not much alike in many ways!

--Marilynne Robinson's linked novels, Gilead and Home. I listened to Gilead, having read some of it about 2 years ago, and then read Home in great gulps over the past week. They are beautifully written, devastatingly sad books that remind me of my grandfathers, raise key issues of faith and forgiveness, and are worth rereading. The first one, Gilead, has many passages that are . . . dull, or at least incredibly convoluted and specialized in focus: discussions of predestination, sin, abolitionism. . . . and I can see how I didn't finish the book the first time through. While listening to it (and this time I thought the cd succeeded in spite of the reader, who was a bit pedantic), I'd find my mind drifting. . . and then I realized that possibly Robinson did that on purpose, since Ames, the narrator, is frequently daydreaming, resting, or pondering, and he drifts away himself. Home, on the other hand, is much more traditionally structured, and moves faster, though it really tells the same story as Gilead of the homecoming of a much loved but very prodigal prodigal son. The conclusion of Home is more decisive and more devastating, though also more hopeful, than the ending of Gilead, but together they are powerful, unforgettable, and well worth reading--or listening to. Wow.

--Finally, sandwiched in there, I read most of Strength in What Remains, by Tracy Kidder, a biography of Deogracias, a young man who survives the genocides in both Burundi and Rwanda, and gets to the US with $200 and no English in 1998 (?). By the end of his story, he's working for Paul Farmer's Partners in Health, which links with Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains, but this book is much more Kidder-oriented--not in a bad way at all, just that Kidder plays more of a narrative role, trying to explain how Deo's experiences come across to someone who meets him and what it's like for Kidder to travel to Burundi with Deo. It's an enlightening but terrifying story, and raises questions about genocides, but also survival and coping. It certainly provides the emotional aspect that I felt was totally missing from Ishmael Beah's book (Long Way Home? Long Walk Home? )about his role in the genocide, so maybe they'd make a good pair. . . with a hefty dose of Prozac and hopefulness on the side. Adopt two kittens and read these two books and maybe you'll make it out okay.

--And now I'm rereading a fluff book, a Brit chick lit book, The Reading Group. I think I deserve a little leaven, don't you?

Whew! Muchas literas (ahem). . . maybe I'll take some pics and wedge 'em in, but I have to go fetch down laundry and then go for a run with Younger. Hope your days allow some admiration of the out-of-doors!