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I can’t, for the life of me, put together a coherent thought these days, let alone an entire blog post, which is one of the reasons I’ve been neglecting this site lately. Well, that and the fact that E has been traveling quite a bit more these days (he was gone for 2.5 weeks in May and is gone again this week) and I really have managed to overbook myself right now. I’m behind on so many things and barely treading water in other areas that I’m feeling like blogging probably needs to take a backseat to everything else…at least for a little while. My hope (italics being the universal sign for no guarantees being made 🙂 ) is to get the next three picture study aids (Rubens, Homer, and Michelangelo) for next year done by the end of the summer, as well as a few other post ideas, but, well, the life of a mama is paved in good intentions….or something like that.
For this reason, I’m going to be taking at least a little break over the next few months, which means fewer posts. I haven’t abandoned the site, but I have abandoned the idea that I can do All The Things at the same time. Maybe that’s a good thing?
In the end of May, I was into….
In April, I finished….nothing. Not a single book. Which is part of the reason why I didn’t have a system status post last month. I think it would’ve actually been the first time that I’ve written a system status post that I haven’t finished any books. I definitely read, but due to a number of factors, including starting really long books and no longer hanging around in C’s room until she falls asleep at night, my reading has decreased dramatically. I have started listening to audiobooks while I’m folding laundry (and usually while the kids are outside playing) since I finally caught up on Mason Jar episodes, which has been nice doubly so as it motivates me to actually fold the laundry, but also allows me to have a little more “mother culture” during the day.
In May, I finished The Whole Town’s Talking. The author of this book, Fannie Flagg, also wrote the book that one of my favorite movies of all time, Fried Green Tomatoes, is based on. I thought maybe this one would follow the same vein and it did…kind of. It was about a small town and its beginning and eventual end. I loved the variety of characters and wish I could have an Aunt Elner of my own. At the same time, I felt like it kind of fizzled in the end, but maybe that was the idea as that seems to be what’s happening to a lot of small towns.
After buying it last summer for an online book club (and then only reading the book lists), I finally read all of Give Your Child the World last week. It’s a book about books, so of course I liked it. 🙂 I’m looking forward to going through the lists this summer with both kids and reading more about the people on this little planet of ours.
On a whim, a few months ago I put the audiobook version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (read by Stephen Fry) on hold at the library. It finally came in earlier this month and I finished it this week. I really, really wanted to like this and, in fact, really, really thought I would. I usually love the sci-fi/fantasy genre, especially when it involves random humor, which this book definitely did. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right state of mind or right place emotionally for this one, but it was just eh (though I definitely did laugh at times). I posted on Instagram about this and got a few responses from others who agree, but also one who didn’t at all. I think I might try and actually read it someday and give it another shot. But for now, I think I’m done with the series.
B and I also finished Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and The Cricket in Times Square, and for school, The Seven Little Sisters Who Live on the Round Ball That Floats in the Air, The Irish Twins, and Seed Babies.
I’m currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude (still), The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor (which I had to return to the library mid-read – tragic!), Mind to Mind (with a friend), The Lost Book of the Grail, The Living Page, and School Education (with my CM book club). With B I’m reading Swallows and Amazons.
If you’d like to follow along with my book reading adventures, you can find me on Goodreads .
All of our regular shows have ended, so now we’re stuck in summer no-tv land. Any recommendations for good series on Hulu/Netflix/Amazon Prime?
Sans E, I did watch all of the episodes of the most recent season of Call the Midwife. My friend Meg (who lives in California) and I had a standing date to watch it “together” (via text message) every Monday night whenever I got done putting babies to sleep, which was fun. Now I’m diving into the second season of Poldark which recently came available on Amazon Prime. I thought the series was a little cheesy when I first started watching it, but it has definitely grown on me.
April meant Star Wars…finally! I’ve mentioned before that Star Wars used to be kind of a big deal to me…maybe one of these days I should post pictures of my Star Wars autograph collection? (d.o.r.k.) Anyway, because we didn’t get a chance to see it in the theaters, we had actually planned on renting Rogue One from Redbox and getting snacks and making popcorn and going all out…and then realized the night before the DVD release day that there’s a delay and we wouldn’t be able to rent it anywhere for another week. Life has been extremely stressful lately, particularly for E as he continues to build his new business, so this was something we were both very much looking forward to as a way to destress and embrace our nerdy sides (which, really, are all of our sides). With a HUGE amount of disappointment, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d have to wait a week to see it (what’s another week when you’ve been waiting MONTHS, right? 😐 ).
The next day, however, I was on the library online catalog to see which branches had it listed as a “lucky day” (random copies they have that they don’t give to people who have it on hold). The Blu-Ray version finally popped up at our local branch at about 4:30, so I QUICKLY piled the kids into the car and sped down the hill to town as fast as legally possible, checked on my phone again to make sure it was still available, sped-walked into the library, and looked for it everywhere. I couldn’t find it. I looked and looked and looked again in the DVD shelves and it was just not there.
So, swallowing my introversion, I walked over to a librarian desk to see if someone had gotten it already. I was about to ask when I looked down….and there it was. I think it may have even sparkled a little. I raised a shaky hand, pointed at it, and asked, “can I have that?” And got the strangest look ever from the librarian who probably thought I was the strangest girl ever as I was so excited to see it that I could barely get my question out. This wasn’t just for me, friends, this was for my husband….this was for us. We were going to have our fun Star Wars nerd night! She ran it through her computer and handed it to me and I left the library much happier than when I entered. I sent E a picture of it sitting on my bag in the car (we had been talking about it pretty much all day) and he told me I was awesome, which of course also made my day. It was a good day.
Anyway, the movie itself was very, very good. Completely, 100% worth all the trouble, and probably my very favorite of the post-original episodes movies made to date.
In May we watched Hidden Figures, which was simultaneously completely frustrating (seriously! the bathroom?!) and a very good story. We also rented Logan which was very difficult for my HSP side to watch. Buried under lots and lots and LOTS of violence (often against children), was a good story line….but it was really hard for me to get past the violence. E liked this one, though.
The Bird That Saved My Family. “Penguin always seemed to know exactly when our boys would be walking home from school. As 3:30 p.m. drew near, she positioned herself in the orange tree at the edge of our property, waiting for them to come around the corner. As soon as she heard them approaching, she broke out in song, and the boys happily replied in their best, garbled magpie impersonation. They called out to each other over and over again, in a joyful chorus of greeting. Like so many younger sisters, she learned how to drive her big brothers crazy and somehow get away with it. But they always made up in the end.”
Getting Her Number. I can totally relate to this feeling….maybe we should join a swimming class.
Here’s to All of You Trying to Make the Most of a Bad Situation. “Life can also be messy. And not everybody gets to live in the limelight as one of the beautiful people. Some people find themselves struggling to just tread water through very difficult circumstances. Sometimes, the trials we face in life are a result of our own doing. Sometimes they are a result of a wrong committed against us. But there is little doubt we are surrounded by people facing unfair circumstances in every direction we look. And many of them, those fighting to make the most of it, deserve our respect and our praise. But they are often overlooked by a society that often praises all the wrong measures of success.”
The Most Valuable Thing You Can Do For Your Kids. “Life is not safe, and so our task is not to promise our kids there will be no turbulence. It’s to assure them that when the turbulence comes, we will all hold hands and get through it together. We do not promise them a heartache-free life, but we do assure them that the slings and arrows won’t kill them— in fact, they will make them kinder, wiser, more resilient. We look them right in the eye, point them to their pain, and say: ‘Don’t be afraid, baby. You were born to do this.'”
Stay. “I find myself comforted by this account. Because I, too, am not great at staying with Jesus. My devotion to Him flags, I doubt Him in my thoughts. I forget to notice Him. I live as if I am my own boss, generally oblivious to His all-sustaining care in each moment. I fall asleep. I neglect prayer. I am like the disciples. And so I know that His ultimate sacrifice for these wandering, sleepy, avoidant, checked-out men counts for me too. They didn’t earn his love and neither do I — He takes us as we are.”
The day I left my son in the car. “I never leave my kids in a car now when I run into a store, and so I know nothing bad will ever happen to them in a non-moving vehicle. I suppose every little peace of mind helps. Still, I worry. I worry that when my husband and I decide our kids are old enough to walk alone to school, be that in two years or in five, some good samaritan will disapprove and call the police. I worry what the other parents will think if I hang back on the bench while my kids are playing at the park, reading a book instead of hovering over them. I worry that if I let my son play in the alley with the other kids and don’t follow him down because there are already eight responsible adults standing around, I’ll be thought of as the slacker mom who’s not pulling her own. And so I accompany when I probably don’t need to. I supervise and hover and interfere. And at least half of the other parents are probably doing it for exactly the same reason. This is America and parenting is now a competitive sport, just like everything else.”
Why the 1980s Anne of Green Gables Is Such a Hard Act to Follow. I love everything about this. ♥️
On the Blog.
There have been lots of bird happenings lately. This month we got pretty much every kind of bird we’ve ever gotten and then some (except, of course, chickadees, who refuse to come regularly much to my sadness) due to the snow. In a matter of two days (when the snow was at its heaviest), we got our normal house finches, of course, but also American and lesser goldfinches, hummingbirds, grackles, cowbirds, Brewer’s blackbirds, magpies, collared doves, spotted towhees, chipping sparrows, house sparrows, song sparrows, and lazuli bunting (completely random, but very exciting!). It was epic.
The bigger news, though, is that we finally have tenants in our bird box…which has evolved into two boxes. I was fighting wasps in the original box and coated it with soap and pulled out the beginnings of wasp nests and hung wasp traps near it and tried to do all the things I needed to to make it generally inhospitable to them…..but the bluebirds never stopped by and then the time when they usually start nesting passed so I gave up.
Finally we get a few tree swallows in early May who were interested, but I was concerned as the box really wasn’t large enough for them (it had a 4″x4″ floor). They didn’t move in, though, and a week or so later, we had a few bluebirds finally show up and express some interest. They flew in and all around it for an entire afternoon and evening and we were sure we’d see more nest-building activity the next morning, but instead, the tree swallows were back and the bluebirds were gone. So I took a trip to the nearest Wild Birds store and picked up two more boxes with larger floors (with the intention of pairing to hopefully eliminate fighting between the two different types of birds) which E promptly put up in place of the old box. The bluebirds never came back, but the tree swallows decided to stay and we now have a full nest in one of the boxes (though no eggs yet). I’ve learned quite a bit about how desctructive house sparrows (a non-native species) are in the last week or so and will definitely be keeping an eye on the one pair we have in our neighborhood. Otherwise, I’m very excited to see tree swallow babies!
And there you have the state of me. 🙂