Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dec. 29: The Children's Book

I have just finished reading A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book. I enjoyed her Possession, which took me out of a long dry streak and got me very involved and swept up, and CB did the same, though it took a while to do so. Byatt is a writer who can create another time period and also create characters who are people, so the reader feels as though she has lived through a different time and met people who never existed. The Children's Book covers the late Victorian period up through 1919, and spins off the socio-economic-psychological-political-emotional atmosphere of the time--the feeling that is at once naive and creepy and sexual and strange, all at once. I don't like Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland, and/so I skipped the stories that Olive writes that are in the heart of the plot, but Byatt certainly depicts the individual situations that those stories grew out of. There are weird things about it: Tom and Olive sort of fade out of the story, as does the Violet plot, but at the same time, that's how time passes and history unfolds. And Byatt gets away with telling a lot, a ton more than I'd allow any of my students--but somehow (though I did skim some of those political updates that lasted pages) she keeps the characters alive and immediate. It's an interesting book--not an easy one, and not a simple one. But I'd add it to the curriculum for my "Class to Help Students Understand History through Literature If Time Managment is Not a Problem"--and it would be a hit!

Rain last night, snow this am--6" of it! Pretty.

Note: just went online and read some reviews of CB. Lo and behold, there is literary gossip I did not know (!!), but at least the Times reviewer was much of my mind. . . . [<=That's supposed to be a link. Not sure if it is.] Perhaps I should now research Byatt's life in particular!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

12/26: Boxing Day!

Tho not much boxing of any kind (with gloves or INTO boxes) being done today. Here's a pic that captures the spirit of yesterday:

Elder displaying and celebrating some of his good loot, sportin' the flame fleece pants I made for him two years ago. . . We had a nice day. It went pretty fast, but not greedily, just excitedly. Elder's big deal was that he used his own work savings to buy BH and me a sound system for the house--wow! In a nice parallel, I'd asked for and gotten several cds (ahem. . . NINE!) so we had a housefull of new, great music. It's unlimited screentime in our house on Christmas, so Younger spent a lot of quality time with his new DSi from his grandfather, and he also watched nearly ALL of his season of Scrubs. I read, napped, cooked, washed dishes, talked on the phone. . . . and then this am Gram and I went to the Grasshopper Shop for some "immediately after C'mas b'day shopping" and used my 20% off certificate to great effect, and then she headed off. Since then Younger and I have gone for a nice walk, a short one with Zeus, who is feeling noticeably better to my immense relief, and a longer one to replace a run since my hamstring is still pinging uncomfortably. Then we watched some "Scrubs" while I started on BH's hat. . . and we played some Kings in the Corner, and I'm about to have a shower. . . at 4:34 pm! Maybe some picking up tonight, but nothing too major. Feels pretty darn good, I must say!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dec. 23: VAY-KAY-SHUN!

And dog is feeling better after a shot from the vet, we had a really nice dinner out at Finn's yesterday evening, the much-vaunted storm has dwindled into flurries so Gram can make it up as planned, and I've already had a nap (right after school yesterday) and done some reading and slept in. . . .

so things are off to a great start!

Warmest wishes to everyone for a Christmas that opens your heart and feeds your soul. May there be light and warmth and love--and enough for everyone.

Here's my Christmas image, post-pageant and in the midst of the snowstorm on Sunday!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dec 20: Pictures at Last!

I thought about writing a few times, but I did want to get some pictures to liven up this space, and I was off doing a lot of things (many of them a great deal of fun) and then there's the whole Christmas event/busy-ness. . . . oh and I am just finishing off writing a grant proposal--so ah well. It's been a nice Advent--the boys decked the tree (seen above) on the first weekend of December, which was wonderful. I am not fussy about how it's decorated, I just like to get it up and done so I can revel in its beauty. And this one has been beautiful! Elder, despite (or maybe because of) losing laptop privileges due to a poor report card, has been a lot of fun, and Younger always is ready for a game, a snuggle, or making a batch of something or other. We've rediscovered UNO and played numerous highly contested games, some of them lasting for ever. . . but all in all, it's a been a good December!

And to close, the picture below is of the fingerless gloves that will be my last present for my Secret Angel at school, a man I don't know very well. The pattern is called "Dashing"--the companion to the women's pattern, "Fetching"!--and I used some of Younger's Weasley sweater yarn and all seemed to go very nicely. I got the bulk of them done in the car headed down to see BH's dad last Saturday--I even brought Younger's headlamp so I could see to knit en route home!

Two days of school this week, then my mom comes up on Wed, and then the fun begins! Off for a cuppa and a read of Stones into Schools--an EXCELLENT book!--before getting more productive. Cheers!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dec. 5: A List Entry Just Because

It's December, and as always when Advent starts in November, it seems to be moving fast. Today Elder had a meet and BH had a meeting in Augusta, so Younger and I headed out to do Festive Things downtown, which we did--didn't buy much except at the church fair, but looked at and planned and greeted and went to the new Goodwill (seem appropriate, yes?) and all that. Oh, and I got some pretty blue snowflake flannel to make Elder two festive pillow cases, which will be one of my relatively few handmade presents this year.

Other observations:

*School has, honestly, been delightful lately. My frosh have been funny and fun, and my decision to have my seniors choose and read a poem, one each day till Dec. Break, has wildly exceeded even my optimistic expectations. The New Principal has asked me to help apply for a grant which I might then administer, becoming full time before next year but not increasing my correcting load, and flattering me immensely as well.

*My family has been incredibly endearing lately as well. Elder, in all his 16 year old, 6'6" teen hipness, still gets deeply excited about the holidays, and Younger has been growing up, physically and behaviorally, so much as well that I am swamped with love for them a lot. Thursday night BH and I went out to dinner to plan Christmas presents for them, and we had a great dinner and great planning and a great time, and then when we came back Elder was so chatty and funny that neither of us could get our work done, while Younger and BH had a similarly warm time upstairs reading. Just. . . wow. Lucky, lucky. Then last night the boys put up the tree and decorated it, and today we're supposed to get snow!

*I'm even reading books I like these days, too. Wow. If this is Karma, sign me up for more, please!

Passing comment: I am considering making a New Year's Resolution to sign up for sewing classes and one other sort of classes as well--banjo lessons again, if I can find them in Ellsworth, or maybe signing up for yoga again, or maybe taking a knitting class on finishing techniques. These seem like things that would add greatly to my life but that right now I am too lackadaisical to actually commit to, so a NYR might be JUST the thing!

Off to walk Z with Younger as a way to rest my humming hamstring. I think I need new runners!