Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sept. 28: LOVELY weekend.

I'd say it was "too warm," but thanks to our trees and a lovely breeze, it does feel like a lovely fall Sunday. The leaves have started turning, due either to about 5 cold days scattered over the past two weeks, or the mini-drought we're in, but it's awfully pretty regardless.

A few quick points:

1. I am eating a locally grown Mac. Contrary to my belief, they don't have to taste like applesauce wrapped in plastic. These are crisp and sharp. Yum.

2. Just finished listening to Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings. It is fantastic, and the reader was terrific, too.

3. Attended an interesting, helpful, useful, and fun "Yoga for Backs" workshop in Bar Harbor on Saturday with Heather. When the universe knocks, you answer. We did, and it was great. Lunch after in the sunny, warm, nearly empty town didn't hurt, either!

**Church stories:

Nick mentioned that we are all under construction, sparking a vivid flashback to the button that Gaboo, my beloved maternal grandmother, used to have on her purse: "P.B.P. G. I. N. F. W. M. Y.". I remember asking her what it meant (I think I was maybe in 2nd grade?) and she said, "It stands for, 'Please be patient; God is not finished with me yet.'" She had it for a long time, though I remember wondering what on earth God could find to work on with Gaboo, whom we all adored.

Also: today I was wearing a hot pink tee shirt with my black and pink print skirt. I was previewing my reading in the pew when MJ came sweeping in. She stopped at my pew, gave me a huge grin, and announced, "Pink is not my color!" Luckily, I had the foresight to reply, "Then it's a good thing you're not wearing this shirt!" She is a ticket. We both chuckled and headed off.

The InterestingsThe Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Meg Wolitzer's tight, insightful writing and Jen Tulloch's amazing narration combined to make this one of my favorite "listens" since. . . maybe Chabon's Telegraph Avenue. Wolitzer avoids the cliches of so many novels about friends who grow up, covering instead the realistic but less familiar ground of class, money, creativity and desire. I didn't even mind the switching view points!

HIGHLY recommended (just ask all my friends and family!), especially as an audiobook.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sept. 20: Whoops, Missed a Week!

This lovely empty-nesting stuff is great--except that I miss the kids and all their news. However, having the sense that Andy and I can decide to do what we pretty much want to is awesome. This weekend, so far (Sat. night), I have

gone for a hike with Andy and Zeus at the Ellsworth forest on Branch Lake on our lovely fallish Friday afternoon, right after school. Pictures below. We were the only people there, and we had an amazing 2.5 mile walk. Wow.

Then I did some basic housecleaning, and worked on Megan's stocking.

Today, I
slept till 8!
Worked out with Kiley--it was a great workout!
did and hung out two loads of laundry.
made Fruited Sourdough bread, which was better than I feared.
repotted my two big and two tiny amaryllis bulbs.
did errands with Andy (Ells. Feed and Seed, gassed up the car, bank)
ate lunch at 86 This!
got books at the Libe
corrected processing questions over Of Mice and Men for nearly three hours!
finished the heart band on Megan's stocking
took Z for a walk
watched an odd little British film, "The Trip"
watched "About a Boy," the spin off sitcom.
am getting ready for bed!

So getting to putz along and do all that is pretty great. Tomorrow will feature swimming, church, a trip to Andy's co-worker's house for a Sumner gathering, and. . more school work. Also, I hope, contact with my boys!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sept. 6: Before the Thunderstorms Arrive!

Had a good first nearly-full week of school, capped by a quiet Friday night where I fell asleep on the couch at 8 pm! Today offers lots of possibilities but no hard realities except a workout with Kiley at 9:30. . . perfect time to catch up on some books.

The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10)The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There are some authors that are just better to listen to than to read, I find. Louise Penny may be one of those! This, her latest, struck me as heavy-handed and pretentious: the repetitive descriptions of Ruth the foul-mouthed poet and her foul-mouthed duck, the ornate psychological descriptions of people's appearance, the annoying use of sentence fragments. . . all grated on me as I struggled through the first third of the novel. No one is a plain ol' normal human being in this work: they are haunted or prescient or torn or insightful or an "asshole saint". . . . oh please.

I skimmed the middle, read the end, and called it "okay."

I really like some of her earlier Gamache novels (probably also the ones that I listened to as audiobooks), but this latest one seems to be foundering under the weight of the plotlines Penny has created over the length of the series.

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Recommended by the same flyer that suggested Yes, Chef as a good summer reading book, so I scooped up Seraphina as an envelope-pushing choice. It was well-written and interesting, but its typically young-adult-novel emphasis on the protagonist's struggles to be accepted in society, her own identity, and her role as savior of the kingdom are, by now, trite, even when they come attired in scales and claws. Some fiercely original ideas in this book, but overall, I think I'm not its target audience. Probably an excellent choice for teenaged fantasy lovers!

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Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, Labor Day: Summer's Official End

What a lovely weekend we've had--a four day one for my first time on a new calendar. I had a killer workout with Kiley on Friday morning, then A and I packed up in a very leisurely way and arrived at the camps in Bowdoinham, complete with Zeus, around 4. That whole time was pleasant and low key, and our Saturday at Bates with Nate was great too. It's an impressive, thoughtful, caring community, and N seems (now a week and a day into it) to find it a great fit too.

That's us showing off the handy benches and the lovely day we had! News from Lyle at Skidmore is also positive--senior year. Hard to believe. 

After leaving him at 4 and picking Zeus up from Mom and Anita's yard, we headed back to camp for another nice stretch, with a fierce game of cribbage, a good dinner, a fire, a better night's sleep, and a mellow morning. We then stopped by Craig and Heather's to see our nieces, who are champion sleepers but have definitely grown in a month, with Emma at 6 lbs, 3 oz, and Megan at 5 lbs. 11 oz. We held them for a bit and then headed home to our quiet, calm, orderly, newly-cleaned (thank you, Heidi and Michelle!) house. 

And now it's nearly 6 pm on Labor Day, and we've enjoyed a "do what we wanna" day, featuring a lovely b'fast at the Riverside, Andy's spectacular cleaning of the garden/junk shed, me making sourdough (hope my luck holds) and Joy The Baker's carrot soup, a run for me and a swim across and back the river with Zeus, a nice trip to Reny's for pants that actually FIT Andy (success) and oh yes will ya look at that? a cute bright yellow summer sweater for me (Coldwater Creek, baby) and then our week's grocery shopping, ringing in at $96. Empty nesters indeed! Since then I've done bread stuff, paid some bills, written five letters, emptied the cat box and the garbage, cleaned and repositioned Grandma Leamon's tea table up by the new loveseat. . . . all the little things that we do during the summer. Or don't do during the summer but get done in a while of busy on the last day! 

So. Some pictures might follow, and then after dinner I will actually settle to do some school work. Onwards into September, the fall, and this new normal!

And at the camps, I read a bit. . . . 

The Good Luck of Right NowThe Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Good Luck reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: it's another amazing narrative voice and character that brings us a whole new perspective and world-view. I loved, loved, loved this--the end was a bit over-happy, but only my critical mind noticed: my heart loved it.

Highly recommended for readers ya and up.

The Man Who DisappearedThe Man Who Disappeared by Clare Morrall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Morrall did a nice job with the plot; I kept imagining what I might've felt in the various people's places. There were a few spots where I thought, "If he'd just explain, it might all smooth out," but overall it seemed realistic and interesting. The only glitches were an odd section towards the end where the recording seemed to be jumping back and forth--not a narrative device, but a cut-and-paste where one didn't belong, and then a weird use of dance metaphor that was supposed to tie up the ending. Otherwise, an interesting story. Good work all around, except that I hope Audible checks on the technical side of the recording on this one!

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