Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27: Memorial Day!

The rain finally shipped out yesterday, but we made the most of our weekend overall, with great food, a pie party last night (strawberry rhubarb crumb and Nate's pecan), several silly movies (Mulan and Johnny English), tons of games (lots of backgammon, one round of Sequence, and about 6 games of Kings in the Corner), a few hikes/walks/expeditions, and one Memorial Mile!  Some highlights:

(I got second in the 50 - 59 age group!)

And I got flowers from Andrew just for having a birthday! Nice how they match my sweatshirt, huh? 

My other pics are on FB so I'll have to slurp them off. The sweatshirts in both pics aren't accidental: it's been a cold weekend, start to finish, despite the nicer, drier, breezier weather today. Great weekend. Three more weeks of crazy! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24: Happy Birthday to Me!

The big 5 - 0! Hard to wrap my brain around it, so I'll just smile and head to bed after a long week but a lovely birthday. Pics, I hope, to follow: dinner at Simone's with Craig and Heather, Dad, Mom, Julie, Michael, Julie, Norm, Lori, Lyle, Nate, and Andy--many of the people I love best in the world!

And, amazingly, though it is due to be very very wet (down right tropically sodden, in fact), I have a three day weekend. Could sleep most of it. . . . but will instead do fun things with my family and celebrate.

Lucky me.  Feeling much loved.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 18: Sunny May Saturday!

And it's already 6:30, though I have a funny feeling of time moving into its own natural flow, despite the hysteria, demands, and extra commitments of the end of the school year. Today felt roomy--the vocab word "commodious" would work here, in fact--replete with "enough": Lori is recovering well from her stroke last week (seems weird to write it, even. Harder to wrap one's brain around it. She could have died. But she didn't. And she still has her wacky sense of humor and warm heart. Wow. Thanks. Chalk one up to the "because" side of bad things that didn't happen.), and the sun was out though the air was still chilly. Andy and I went to the Bragg's yard sale, I did two bouts of correcting and four loads of laundry; I went for a good run, stretched well, and did some errands downtown; I've been working my way through American Gods by Neil Gaiman, which is a fascinating alternate reality novel, and I read a good chunk of that today; I made this for dinner and have been smitten by Joy the Baker's picture of this. . . .(strawberry rhubarb crumb topped pie, in case the link doesn't work) which made me question my whole existence and why some part of my life hadn't included making that today. But the tradeoff was that I picked up all through the house. Let me repeat that:

I picked up all around the house. Straightened. Tidied. Neatened. Organized.

So all in all, I think not baking but straightening was a good decision, though, believe me, soooooooooon, I am making that pie!

My last weekend of 49hood. Next weekend will include much celebration of my 50hood. So.

And I just finished American Gods! What a creative, interesting, absorbing, original story--it grabbed me and I gobbled down the 592 pages in a week or so, pausing mostly to try to figure out who Mr. Nancy or Whiskey Jack might be. Only two quibbles: first, again with the sex scenes. Sheesh. I begin to wonder if male writers just have to let the 15 year old boy in them out for a few pages, no matter what. Patrick Rothfuss in Name of the Wind and his long sex chapters in the second book in the series, Chabon with . . . well, all of his adult novels, and now Gaiman with American Gods: detailed sex scenes with luscious-bodied women. Ah well. And my second quibble is that while the ending did tie up the trickster theme of the story well, it didn't, in my opinion, live up to the epic sense of the whole  novel. I was a little disappointed, but maybe I'll come to see more in it as time goes on and I think about it. Still: a deeply interesting novel!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11: Great Month, Favorite Number!

Well, it's not so sunny today, which is too bad only because it's Prom! If not for that auspicious date, I'd be rooting for more rain than we're already getting. But: our bulb garden, freshly restocked last fall, is doing us proud. Yay!

So much going on and so much to reflect on and feel glad about. Various friends are in bad straits and need love, support, and healing thoughts; various fun/momentous events are approaching (Prom, the Solutions Fair, L's return, Nate's AP test, a day long visit to Searsport High School, my 50th b'day; my advisees'/beloved students' graduation, my retreat at Pilgrim Lodge!); it's the time of the school year when we are almost as consumed with thoughts of next year as we are with finishing out this year in a blaze of growth and learning, which means it's exhausting and exciting in equal measure. I am way behind in posting the books I've read, but I am determined to at least discuss Michael Chabon (we share  an exact birthday, so his b'day is approaching as well)'s Telegraph Avenue, which has held me transfixed for about 6 weeks and which I just finished. IT IS AMAZING! AMAZING, I SAY!

And we are soon off to get N's flowers for Prom and to clean the house a bit. And maybe take a nap and a run. . . . Life is full, sweet, and fast-moving.

Telegraph Avenue, by Michael Chabon; audiobook read by Clarke Peters.

I love Michael Chabon's writing, and Telegraph Avenue merely fueled my opinion. Clarke Peters's top-notch delivery probably helped, but I frequently wished I had a paper copy of the text handy so I could share a particularly gorgeous excerpt with a friend, a student, or simply save it to reread and marvel over. The story is a daring and original amalgam of coming of age/revery/adventure/American classic/marriage hand book. . .  Wow. The chapters told from the point of view of the 14 year old boys in which the moms are the enemies in their role-playing-samurai games are hysterical; even many of Chabon's throw away lines are remarkable for their original but effective writing. My one quibble, as with Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, is that Chabon's detailed descriptive eye falls on everything--and I don't really want/need to know the ins and outs (unfortunately, that is often literally true) of the characters' sexual activities. Personally, I am a believer in keeping certain parts of life private; practically, this kind of painstaking description makes it that much harder to use his novels in a high school classroom, which I'd love to do.

So: highly, highly recommended. Terrific reading and a terrific novel, but the subject matter can definitely veer into the R rated at times.