Monday, February 23, 2015

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

It was back to school today.  Funny thing - it was such a relief to peel myself away from school for a time, but when I was surrounded by my crowd of nine-year-olds again I was strikingly aware of how much I'd missed them. I'm guessing that this is much like how a released lunatic must miss their asylum.  Yes, indeed...I missed my asylum (but is it Friday yet?).

While in Ashland last week, I visited a most lovely independent bookstore called Bloomsbury Books.  I handed the young woman behind the counter a list of books I was interested in reading.  She carefully checked every one of them out on her computer and I found out that many of them were no longer in print and the bookstore didn't have the other ones.  I was brave and polite about this depressing news because Bloomsbury Books was the kind of bookstore where it's impossible for me not to fall in love with all sorts of books I didn't know existed.  In other words, I wasn't worried about finding something to take away with me. However, the salesclerk continued to study my list of titles and then said, "You know, I think we have something that you might like."  She left for a moment and came back with this:

She was right -- this book is the kind of read that delights, even as it occasionally horrifies.  The author, Alexandra Fuller (who I'd never heard of before) has a lyrical way with words and I can tell that she loves playing with them.  She is sly, clever, humane, human and very funny.  Sometimes all at once.  And the story she tells, of growing up in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia is one that is so new to me that my world has enlarged and altered as I read it.  I love this sort of book most of all.

I'm almost finished with it.  But I'm not sad -- there's a prequel and a sequel.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Catch-Up Post

I'm missing my blog like crazy, but am now in the habit of not keeping up with it.  I'm still taking pictures of the minutia in my life that strikes my fancy and following up by writing witty blog posts to go along with them...in my head.  Not a good way of recording anything.  I've also dropped away from checking other people's blogs on a regular basis.  I think I miss that even more than I do posting my own stuff.

 Over in the eastern part of the country, the winter without end continues to bring misery to thousands.  Here in my part of the west coast, we're back to above-average temperatures and no rain.  It looks like we're going to have another dry summer and our pond, so newly repopulated with frogs, is going to disappear once again.  However, if I look at the glass as half full (hah!), we do have more water in it right now than we did at the end of the rainy season last year.  With a bit of luck, we'll be getting a bit more rain between now and the end of April.  It could happen...

I had this past week off from school, didn't blog but did a lot of stuff -- most of it not involving school.  A nice break.

Bruce and I drove up to the small town of Yreka up in the far reaches of California to surprise his mom for her birthday.

Mt. Shasta was snow-covered again.  The drought had melted everything down to bare earth, but the last storms got her looking as she should again.

Colleen (sister), Bruce, Ginger and Colleen's husband, Pete

I think that the surprise part of this visit worked magnificently -- Ginger was astounded to see her son walk through the door.  Lots of hugs and some tears too.  It was a great surprise and a lovely visit.

Colleen, Mark (brother), Bruce, and Ward (other brother)

I don't often do family things like this anymore and I had my own surprise of how much I enjoyed visiting and just being a part of this.

Another good thing about suddenly deciding to go on this visit is that I finally had to set down and finish the project of three scarves that had been languishing on my loom since last summer. I had to finish all three of them before I could cut it off the loom.  This is the green one that I gave to Ginger.  The fiber's an alpaca/silk blend and the scarf turned out soft and as light as gossamer.  Happy me!

We had a leisurely drive up to Ashland, Oregon the next day.  It's a charming college town (lots of bookstores) where we spent hours walking through the park, eating, and browsing in shops.  Bruce and I haven't had a day like this in years.

Ashland also puts on a yearly Shakespeare Festival every summer, so there was evidence of the Bard all through the center of town.

This is how I look when I can hardly wait to walk into a bookstore.  Now you know.

To round out the day, when we returned to Yreka, we visited one of the old cemeteries.

Once back home, I finished the fringe on the other two scarves...

...had a sushi lunch with Mama...


Lizzy discovered that Bella is happy to ride in a kayak

...and spent a day at home with daughter Lizzy and her two dogs (my grandpups).

Tonight I sit finishing this blog while on the other end of the table looms a raggedy stack of papers I need to enter in my gradebook.  I also have lesson plans to type up.  And my next book study to set up.  And did I mention that I came down with a cold yesterday?

None of this matters -- the work will get done (in time) and my cold will get better.  It was a good week and I'm counting my blessings.  Yup, happy me.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Rain Joy

 Rain at last.  I was just a teeny-tiny bit excited.  Alright, I was more than  a teeny-tiny bit excited.  I was over-the-moon, jumping around in my blue boots holding an umbrella ecstatic.  Photographic evidence of said ecstasy to the left.

The rain came pelting down in waves, from Saturday through Sunday.  We got over two inches, which was great but still not enough.  When the sun broke out today, the hills and noticeably larger pond were lovely but I'm ungrateful enough to long for more grey skies and more sheets of rain.

I'm living in the wrong place.

That said, I'm living in the right place.  I had today off, so began my Monday by falling in love with my slowly-growing pond all over again.

I took a walk around the pond this morning and discovered Max fast asleep in the warm grass.  He was oblivious to the raucous honking and splashing of the geese.

In the afternoon I trundled my kayak down from the barn in the handcart and paddled around for a bit.

Yes; I'm living in the right place.  At least for now.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Another Storm!

After an entire month of no rain (the driest January on record), a juicy weather system has finally settled over most of Northern California, including the bit of the state known as Frogpond Acres.  Saints be praised.

Yesterday afternoon when I got home from school I changed and dashed out the door to get as much walking in before the storm began.  The sky grew darker and darker and the winds gusted through the trees as Murphy and I marched around the pond.  The first drops plooshed down as I was dragging wind-fallen cottonwood branches up to the burn pile.  I love the wet, but it seemed like a good time to go inside.

To people who regularly get rain it must seem mighty strange, this amazement and exultation of mine at the phenomenon of water falling from the sky.