Friday, October 25, 2013

Oct. 25: Friday, and a Weekend with Not Much Planned!

Well, today Nate got his license. His elder brother got his just before he started spending most of his time away, so that hasn't seemed like a big reality to me, but my! thinking of my baby (yeah, I do that, I have to admit) driving. . . wow. I'm proud of him, but I still feel unprepared. Blessings on him, and may all things go well!

And: I have several books on the go, including a luscious one on audiobook: John Saturnall's Feast, rec'd by a wonderful book blogger, CornflowerBooks. It is absorbing, rich, and I much look forward to listening to it as I adapt and finish the Harry Potter robe I'm making for a son's friend. Also, I am loving the secret Christmas project I'm knitting (Tweet), and listening to the book will make the knitting even more fun. Last weekend I started reading The Art of Fielding (and dreamt about it during my weird wakeful stretch early last week) and I also checked a fluff book called The Bookstore out of our library at school.

I've also been browsing recipes: Joy the Baker comes through with Pumpkin Pecan Scones, and I want to make no-knead bread, and pumpkin coconut bisque. Now I only wish I had a week off, maybe!

Later: just watched "What to Expect When You're Expecting," and found it to be a much funnier and more moving film than I'd expected. Wish I'd convinced Andy to watch it too: lots of memories of first moments and deliveries and the like. Not perfect, but raised a lot of interesting points. So: soon to read a bit and then to bed. It's chilly and raining outside: perfect Halloween weather!

So: lots of good, rich stuff happening. Interesting how life is always interesting.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oct. 21: Monday. Buying a New Audiobook

Rachel's HolidayRachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I like Marian Keyes, and I remembered Rachel's Holiday as being both funny and intense, chronicling Rachel Walsh's realization of her addiction and her steps to cure it. However, as an audiobook it was only okay: the reader seemed over-earnest and lacked the ability to offer any accent besides her own basic Irish; the long flashbacks and retelling of various unhealthy decisions, made unskippable by the audio format, became boring or unbearable. Luckily, it was abridged, you might be thinking: but the abridgement was truly a hatchet job, leaving several noticeable gaps in the story that an alert editor should have sorted out. Chris's car was stolen? What? Jackie's husband wore a wig? What? Lastly, I was flabbergasted by the note in the conclusion thanking all the "brave men and women" who took cocaine for the purposes of research and reported to the author how it felt so she could use it in her book. What the heck was that? Again, maybe an attempt to be funny, but where was her editor? All in all, a weak "okay" at best.

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Now: Just bought John Saturnall's Feast. Should be "rich and strange" and just right to get me out of a rut and maybe through sewing a whole Halloween costume!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Oct. 19: Catching Up Saturday

A lovely day. Camilla was off for her last volleyball commitment, a huge tournament in FALMOUTH, at 5:50 am!!!!, and Nate off for what is possibly his last high school xc race in Hermon at 8:50. I have some pucky things to do, a set of Harry Potter Quidditch robes in deep red flannel to complete for the son of a friend, a tad of correcting, some house cleaning and a run to accomplish and then A and I are heading up to watch N run. Tomorrow we're having some AFS folk over to carve pumpkins, and then: a full week of school. Whoosh!

Much of my work lately has been powered by the Pandora "Americana Radio" station that Elana suggested. It is wonderful!

Catching up on some books that I haven't entered into Goodreads yet. Stay tuned!

  The Spectator BirdThe Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first few pages of this story simply blew me away: Stegner's ability to choose exactly the right word to create a vivid picture, tone, and character is staggering, even when I was listening and not looking/reviewing/revisiting actual text. However, as the book went on, I found the character of Joe Allston and his perspective on life and people to be depressing and exhausting, so I took a break from the audio to listen to music (and follow the government shut down scenario. . . ). When I returned, the incredible scenario of the Countess's family tale caught me and carried me through to the end of the novel.

Overall, I found the book strange and uneven: the story of the Danish nobility is weird and scurrilous; the "front story" of the Allstons' retirement is depressing and unfinished, as the novel ends with the dinner party with the fatally ill friend still ahead; the whole conceit of Joe and his wife reliving this 20 year old experience through his journals is both unrealistic and odd. Overlying the whole experience was my deep awareness of Stegner's skill as a writer, and my matching wonderment about why he chose to craft this particular bundle of ideas and characters. When I learned it was written in the 70's, somehow it all made sense, as this odd combo of grief, loss, longing, skill, and insight seems to fit with the characteristics of that time period (writes one who was 7 - 17 during it!).

Anyway: interesting but uneven.

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Okay. I guess I have only finished one, and an audiobook at that! I am partly through the audiobook of Marian Keyes's Rachel's Holiday, which was my antidote to the darkness of Winter's Bone, Burial Rites, and Spectator Bird, but I am finding it to be surprisingly dark, even as it's funny. I'll listen to it while I sew today, I think. Last night, after reading "at" Joanne Harris's Gentlemen and Players but not finishing it, I started The Art of Fielding, and I think I dreamt about it: certainly it was suddenly 10:30, which is the sign of a good book! I may try to finish the Harris novel and then commit to Fielding. I do like to leave a tidy pile of finished books behind me! I also feel a hunger for what the Common Reader catalog used to call a "thumping great read," possibly a 19th c novel. Am I ready for Bleak House? Since I have plans to complete two of these for Christmas presents, I might need to stay with the audiobook format so I can knit and read at once! I am really enjoying knitting on the first one: the yarn is unusual but interesting, and the pattern is involving but not difficult.

Anyway: off to cue up Rachel's Holiday and sew the hood to the robe. . .

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Oct. 6, Sunday: Breathing through The Now

Well, we're up to a busy busy week: I have drifts of correcting that didn't get attended to last week, and more coming in; I have NEASC meetings at school that will consume a good deal of my lovely Sunday afternoon and had me stress dreaming last night (!!); I have a library meeting (and extra library meeting) to prep for another extra Library meeting; I have my usual life and unfoldings, and then, like a light in the mist, we have parent confs. all day Friday and a three day weekend.

I have had a lovely fun trip to Belfast with Camilla and Andy to see Nate run well at his race; an overnight with Nate to visit Bates (and see Gram and Anita),  a delicious feed on the freshest lobsters possible, caught by a wonderful new friend of Camilla's and her 14 year old brother; I have started a Christmas project (knitting) that is both doable and instructional (I hope), and I have been experiencing, as is so often the case in times of demand, the "next step" of hormonal variations in my life, so have had that level of reflection and excitement as well.

A rich and full life, indeed.

Onwards, breathing, and enjoying the now.