Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nov. 21: Busy First Day of Break!

Bowling AvenueBowling Avenue by Ann Shayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bowling Avenue is, simply, a good novel. It's well-written, interesting, moving, and full of sympathetic characters. The only thing I don't like is the weird woodcut silhouettes on the back cover--and that's digging for something to quibble about! Ann Shayne is part of Mason-Dixon Knitting, and knitting plays a part in the story, but I was impressed that this is, in no way, a Knitting Knovel. Shayne deals with addiction, loss, grieving, and family in a realistic but optimistic way, and the story is a pleasure from start to finish. I had to special order it from my local bookstore, and I am delighted that I did so!

Highly recommended as a well-written, warmly optimistic, entertaining pleasure. Go special order it for yourself!

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We are ALL in the livingroom: Lyle is home from college, which is great! Tomorrow we will go to Mom's, leaving around 9:30, and spend the night, then come home about the same time--a quick trip, but it'll be good to see everyone.

Today was super busy, though I woke up at 8:30, amazingly, despite waking at 5 first and lying there thinking, "I might as well get up!" and then having A's alarm go off at 6 (thank you, ihome). It felt great! I then. . . made piecrust and oversaw N's making his pecan pie and me making my pumpkin pie; a quick ingredient shop with Nate driving; setting up the turkey carcass for broth; making three batches of hot fudge sauce for the church fair next week; hanging out laundry; making L's bed; taking N to the eye dr's where we discovered his lenses were four powers off in one eye and three in the other (!!) and I did some correcting, of which I have oodles; went for a walk with A and Z and then a run by myself; then sorted through a huge pile of booksmagazineslettersschoolstuffrandomoddsandends. . .  WHEW. I am thrilled but tired.

Much, much, much to be thankful for this year as every year. So much! Wish that we might all start to realize how much we need to be grateful and then start being so! Am skipping Black Friday and doing Small Business Saturday in a small way instead. . .  spices from the health food store; a replacement spatula from Rooster Bros. . . . Onwards!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nov. 15: November Mornings

When we talk about the time change, and we mourn the earlier dark, we tend to forget the lovely, longer, limpidly clear mornings. It's 29 and completely still today; everything is frosted silver, and the blue sky is tinged with pink in the east. Nice balance for the sunset (often equally lovely) at 4:15 pm!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nov. 10: All in the Family!

The Reverend Jacob Bailey, Maine Loyalist: For God, King, Country, and for SelfThe Reverend Jacob Bailey, Maine Loyalist: For God, King, Country, and for Self by James S. Leamon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First off, my father wrote this book, so there you go! However, I also found this to be a fascinating new take on the American Revolution and the politics of revolution and religion. It's dense, not a breeze-through, and it took me a while to get going (probably because I only had time to read JB right before bed!), but the picture of a man who felt strongly that the order represented by Great Britain was God-ordained and right, AND that the oath he had taken to the church affiliated with that order could not be broken became increasingly compelling.

As a kid, I always assumed, fired by Johnny Tremain and other stories of plucky, independent rebels, that my family would have been rebels too--and I still remember my siblings' and my collective shock when my father mentioned that we'd probably have headed for Nova Scotia as soon as possible. Reading JB, I can see what he meant. I can also appreciate much more clearly the trauma that our country's birth represented for all concerned. JB's lingering "startle response" is only one visible sign.

I am delighted that I read this analysis. As an American, a person of faith, a Mainer, AND as a Leamon, I found it valuable and enlightening. Good job, Dad!

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nov. 3: Ah! My Favorite Month

I have loved November ever since it marked the end of my incredibly busy coaching season so my life could settle into my "just teaching" pattern. It seems clear, clean and simple to me, with the newly-denuded grey branches a perfect metaphor for the new clarity that it brings into my life. I especially love cold, sunny Novembers because the light is simply amazing without the contrast of the leaves, and the air gets so dry that everything stands out sharply.

Today is the first Saturday in November, and I am reveling in having nothing I "have" to do--oh, I have a list of tasks and errands so long that my nine year old self would call me crazy for feeling free today. But I can pick and choose what I do, and I have winnowed my list so that it suits my desires. I plan to correct a little (end of the marking period on Tuesday), do some gentle picking up around the house, write a few letters, go for a run, and read either Jacob Bailey or a new fluff book I got at the library (A Brief History of Montmaray). I'm considering a quick run to the store for something nice for dinner, and that seems about it! What a pleasure to have this freedom of election!

Last night I knitted a bit on a new pair of socks while we watched "Batman Begins" for our family movie; I have also been considering starting one of my new sewing projects--another portfolio dress for the winter, or another market skirt in corduroy. Just one week of (relative) calm, and my spirit is peeking its head out again.

I do love a good orderly life!