Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday, June 29: The Last Day

  Well, I am making a strong effort to fight the frustration that I feel when grey, damp days stretch into more grey, damp days. Ironically, last week was hot, dry, and sunny--and I was in meetings all day long, all week long. This week, starting with a screech on SATURDAY, has been downright wet for most of it, but certainly dark for all but a few peeks on Wednesday and 2/3 of Thursday--which ended with a 45 minute downpour, regardless of my carefully and optimistically hung out laundry.


But: I am making progress on my dress (pics soon--it's bright!), have stayed active and busy, and have been enjoying reading Hamlet's Perfection, by William Kerrigan--a collection of his thoughts about Hamlet as a play. I'm amazed that it's so readable: I usually only skim nonfiction, with a few exceptions, but I am really reading HP with pleasure and full attention. My other read is The Girl Who Played with Fire, the 2nd in the Dragon Tattoo series, and it is already nerve-wracking, horrifying, and compelling: I know I'll be skimming a good chunk of it even as I think, "Just one more chapter!"

Well. Off to sew for a bit, run, and then do some errands. Such excitement.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday: New Stuff

I'm still not sure why I can be so resistant to trying new things.


Cases in point:  yoga class today was great. It was hard--not on the surface, but I was dripping sweat, and my muscles were jumping by the end. The teacher had us do some balance work with our eyes closed--and that was a real challenge. But I also felt like my mind had been worked, too, and that's a huge bonus. I hope I head back next week!

And I also worked at our church's weekly free dinner for a prep shift today. That was less fun, simply because the program, while worthy, has kinks to work out, like so many beginning volunteer programs do. However, I got to know a couple from our church who are a lot of fun, and we kept our resolute "Just tell me what needs doing!" faces on, and when we ran out of jobs to do, I booked it out. Done.

Two round trips to town today on my trusty Bianchi bicycle, neither in a downpour, but neither in sun. This is getting a dite old, as we're getting a dite moldy. However, am not in charge, and have plenty of work to do inside, so onwards! Anyway, I was pleased to have stuck to my "one purpose trip" idea so far (three days. Oh well). Swimming tomorrow.

The portolio dress sew-along amazes me. It's incredibly detailed and illuminating: I am whipping through my dress with more sense of awareness and appreciation than I've ever felt before, and I am really grateful to the two women who made the tutorials in the first place. What a selfless act! I've been listening to Great Expectations while I sew, which is a pleasure, but I am feeling an overwhelming sense that my dress is gonna be waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too big. We'll see.

Carpet measuring people came today. Now we need to pick colors and then GO!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday's Tasks

It's raining steadily, and has been all night, so this will be an unapologetically indoors day, except for a run in a few hours. To the huge credit of Mr. Andrew, I slept in till 7:45 (after removing the kitten from our room around 4:30 am). Nice way to celebrate a rainy summer day!   N is driving, and I hope to work on my dress (almost finished the cutting out yesterday. Am especially happy to have found this tutorial/sew-along to help me!) and do some school-related computer work.

However, our big mission is to get quotes for flooring for the kitchen/bathroom, living room, and Nate's room from small local flooring places. Tally ho!

Off to read while I finish breakfast. . .

Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18)Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, my ration of fluff is well and truly filled! This Stephanie Plum had all the over-the-top craziness of the middle books in the series, but still felt like a stronger piece of work than some of the woeful ones. Evanovich did a nice job with a flashback explaining a key development in the plot, revealing small details until the middle of story, a technique that added some suspense to the plot as a whole. Overall, it was a good outing with Stephanie, Lula, and the gang.  Happy summer!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday's Check-in

Andy's taking a class all this week, so his alarm goes off at six, thus waking the kitten, so I was up by 6:25--scratched and a little grumpy, but up. Monday, Tuesday, and Wed. are due to be either showery or outright wet, so my to-do list will be influenced by that fact. Today Nate and I will probably try to get the six window boxes planted (they'll like two days of rain to adjust) and save getting flooring estimates for Tuesday (80% chance of rain). Maybe I'll get some portfolio dress work done, too! And a run. . . . So far, nice mix of action and lolling.

Managed to change the dining room from this:

to this:

in one afternoon, so that's a pretty big check mark!

And here's my latest reading discussion:

Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum, #17)Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At last, I found a fluff book that was a good example of the genre. The last 4 Stephanie Plum books really read like Evanovich had written them in 5 minutes--or hired an assistant to do it for her. This one, for some reason, just had more coherence--the story line (at least at first) was not completely over the top, and Evanovich seemed to be aiming to tell a story and not use a cute euphemism or get off a one-liner every other sentence. Oddly enough, this made a nicer read, one more reminiscent of the first three books in the series than the later ones.

I also have Explosive Eighteen out from our library. We'll see how that goes! But 17 is an entertaining romp. Great food descriptions!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Rather Curious EngagementA Rather Curious Engagement by C.A. Belmond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another quick grab from the on-going book sale shelf at the Ellsworth Public Library, A Rather Curious Engagement was a blend of innocence and innocuous adventure. The author thanks Margaret Atwood in the acknowledgements and is apparently a recognized screenwriter, which made the overall "gee whiz!" tone of the book more unusual--at first I assumed it was a self-published "I like escapist stories with no swearing" sort of effort. Here are a few sentences I thought worth noting as exemplars: "Penelope's Dream sliced through the water like a sharpened knife." I didn't know the sharpness of a knife had any effect on how it cut through water. . . . Then:  "Inside [the box] was a beautiful glowing ruby, surrounded by sparkling diamonds and set in that lovely antique gold which has the look of endless time."  Gosh: rubies glow, diamonds sparkle, antique gold is lovely. . . I'm with you there, but. . . what exactly is "the look of endless time"?  Parts of the book read as if the author was deliberately attempting to write a completely obvious book, avoiding any possible sense of irony or originality. A lovely couple inherits money. Where do they go? To the French Riviera, of course. Then to Lake Como, Italy, with a requisite jaunt to Corsica. There's a 1920's era luxury yacht, a wheelchair bound German count, numerous black-clad peasant women (German, Italian, and Corsican), and even seers who crop up to tell fortunes and cast curses. Belmond is lavish in her references to what Penny's "English blood" has brought her and how her French father is (of course) a natty dresser and a great cook. The book reminds me, as do some of Lauren Willig's (she offers a glowing review on the back cover) weaker offerings, of something my sister and I might've written in our teens, before we'd ever left Poland, Maine.

And this is a Penguin book?

HOWEVER: it does suck one in! The plot is interesting enough to keep the reader involved, and the characters are likable, if very, very flat. While Belmond's writing lacks the zip and humor of, say, Jennifer Crusie's or Marian Keyes's novels (to pick works in a similar genre), it generally moves along smoothly, presenting a travel agent's picture of life along "the Med" and a lottery agent's view of life after jackpot. If I were to spot either the third installment ("A Rather Charming Invitation") or the fourth ("A Rather Remarkable Homecoming") on the 50 cent book sale shelf the day before a vacation, I'd have no qualms about scooping them up.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Vacation, Day One! June 23, 2012

Well, this is a new look for Bravexperiment! Not sure how all the updated blogger stuff will work, but this is the first day of my summer vacation (exams ended last Friday; last teacher day was Tuesday, but I had learning area/district work meetings until yesterday), and I've been thinking about how to reflect on and organize my options. I think I'll work on creating a wishlist for this vacation--so I'm hoping to write it out here ad then keep track of my progress all summer. We'll see.

Summer Wish List--edited August 6 for an update

1. Two times a week: bake or cook something new. Well. . . . I've been doing a good job on feeding people well, but the "new" part slipped a bit. 

2. Finish my portfolio dress that I started cutting out in May. Done! Starting second!

3. Finish Moth's cardigan (can't find a link to the pattern, but I like it a lot: Knit Simple Winter 2010/2011; Comfort Cable Cardi). ETA: FOUND THIS PICTURE! ((will, of course, lengthen the arms. Sheesh.) Working on it. At armholes on fronts.

4. Read. A. Lot. Oh, yeah. Got that done. 

5. Observe family movie night on Fridays. Mostly. Some live theater (Nate's play), some Thursday night movies, etc, but a shared experience at least once/week. 

6. Go to at least one new exercise class. Four yoga classes, baby! (Next time, don't schedule so many things on Wed. mornings. .  )

7. Ride my bike for downtown trips. Yup! 

8. Go to the Farnsworth Art Museum. Not yet. Hmmmmm. 

9. Reorganize/replant my front flower garden.  On the list with Julie OR after the phlox stop blooming.

10. De-clutter the clutter that's my responsibility: mostly magazines and books. Better. Need a tune up.

11. Commit to working at our church's free suppers on Wednesdays, however they need me. THAT'S been tough. Hard to work at something that is poorly organized. Hmmm. 

12. Get to Gram's camp at least twice this summer. Trip #1 is scheduled for Friday. We'll see.