Monday, July 14, 2008

Home Again

It's good to be home again. Our trip was very enjoyable (except for the food), but there's nothing quite like the comforts of home. I admit to being a very particular person, one who likes her stuff her way.

For the last part of our trip, my SIL and her family came to stay at the beach with us. SIL has a son, M., the same age as Jr. Jr., and a step-daughter, J., who's a year older than Sr. Jr. The kids get along famously. The boys don't get to see their cousin M. too often, but when they do, it's like they were never apart. J. is a really neat girl, too, so it was fun to have her around. There was some definite flirty-flirty stuff going on between her and Sr. Jr. His chest puffed out and he got all macho. It was very cute.

Here are some pics of the kids at play:

And the grownups at rest:

While we were there, I stopped at the little yarn store on the island, the Courtyard. The Courtyard sells yarn and knitting supplies, as well as used books. It's a cute little place, and the owner (if that's who was working there that day) was very nice. It doesn't have a huge selection of yarns, but what it does have is lovely, including a selection of Aracaunia hand-dyed yarns that I hadn't seen before. So one of the rights that I retroactively reserved for myself as part of my birthday "year of stash" pledge was to be able to buy some souvenir yarn while on vacation. Thus, I came home with --

Five balls of Elsbeth Lavold's Hempathy, to make a nice lacy summer scarf/shawl.

I have only one repeat left (plus the top edging) to complete the Star of Evening shawl. It's the loooooong top rows, however, so it may take a while in these knit-free summer days. I'm beginning to feel the pull of the sweater yarn... it's been a while since I made myself a nice aran... hmmm... I think my next project will be an aran that I design. Don't look for it anytime soon, though, with the aforementioned knit-free-ness hanging over my head. I hope to have that done by the beginning of Fall, just in time for Nancy Bush's new book, Knitted Lace of Estonia, to arrive. If you haven't picked up the latest issue of Piecework to see the previews of this book, go NOW and look. I'm sure I will be itching to get one of those shawls on my needles when I get my grubby little hands on that book.

Beach Reading

One of the best things about traveling, especially to the beach, is the added reading time. I don't knit on planes, I read. I'm happy to be on a beach with the wind in my hair and a book in my hands. I finished three books this vacation, all of them varying degrees of good. First there was The Maytrees, by Annie Dillard. This was a very low-key book, but a marvelous look at love, compassion, and forgiveness. Next up was The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards. I resisted this one for a while, perhaps because it seemed very Oprah's book club-like. Overall, I really liked it. Parts were a bit too obvious in pointing out the significance of social changes at the time the book was taking place, but the story was engrossing and the characters were fleshed out and real. The novel explored the consequences of secret-keeping and fear on a marriage. Finally, I read Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. I first heard about this book at one of the kids' baseball games, when another spectator mentioned that she never read books, but couldn't put this one down. Again, I hesitated, because, really, how good a recommendation is that? But this was beach reading, so I gave it a shot. I ended up enjoying it a lot. The book deals with an old man's memories of his days as the veterinarian for a second-tier traveling circus during the Depression. The social aspects of the Depression were woven into the novel nicely, without the "look! social context!" that I felt while reading Memory Keeper's Daughter. It's not quite as powerful as Geek Love was, but an engrossing story nonetheless. I gave it to Mr. T when I was done.

And now I get to console myself with laundry, mammogram appointments, dentist appointments, and running the kids around to camps and pools. This week is baseball for Jr. Jr. and tennis for Sr. Jr. I love tennis, so it will be nice to be able to play with the kids.


Scott T. said...

Note how there are no pictures of Mr. T.

You didn't tell them about the guy hitting on you at the grocery store when we got back.

I feel like we should do reviews of those restaurants so some other people will know where to avoid.

Sharon said...

I read The Mayfairs last summer at the beach and really liked it. I had read The Memory Keeper's Daughter about 6 months prior, but it would have been interesting to read them back to back to juxtapose the different marital dynamics. Marriage is such a complex relationship, I think.

what do you think of all the hype over the current New Yorker cover? I haven't gotten my copy yet (it should arrive today). I heard David Remnick on NPR yesterday, and while I totally "get" where his editorial decision to run with it came from, I feel that the masses out there will accept his "satire" explanation. My husband listens to the right wing crazies on AM radio (he feels one should know one's enemy) and he said that their hyperbole was off the charts yesterday.

sharon said...

I meant to say "not accept" his decision to issue the cover!

kippi said...

I read the Memory Keeper's Daughter last week as well! I had also resisted reading it. I thought it was just okay. The first part of the book was interesting but thought it went totally south about two thirds of the way through it. I couldn't decide if the wife or the husband was more annoying. oh well.

I've picked up Water for Elephants but have not read it. And I'll check out Geek Love. I'm currently reading this memoir about a couple who decides to have sex every day for 100 days. It is hilarious.

Yay for mammograms. :-)

Do you play wii tennis as well?

Loren T said...


I'm probably not very coherent right now, having had only about 3 hours of (interrupted) sleep thanks to a kid with a tummyache. It's hard for me to judge the New Yorker cover. As a longtime devoted reader, I know exactly where they were coming from and what they were trying to communicate. I'm familiar with all the positive coverage they've given Obama, including articles exploring just those misperceptions (deceptions?) portrayed on the cover. I would *hope* that satire isn't dead -- it certainly isn't on tv -- but I also think we as a nation seem to have lost our sense of humor. I've noted before (not on the blog, I think) that this seems to be the "hurt feelings" campaign. Someone says something stupid and the candidates are called on not just to comment on whatever's been said, but to "condemn" the statements, "repudiate" the intent, and, if relevant, fire the speaker or refuse the endorsement. Why can't the candidates come out and say, "Yeah, the cover seems extreme, but it's nothing more than all those anonymous viral emails have been saying about me/him for the last year"? The cover is titled "The Politics of Fear" for a reason!

If there are people out there who look at the cover and say "See! I told you he was a..." then those people a) are stupid; and b) are merely looking to have their prejudices validated, and no amount of reasoned discourse will change their minds. But if the New Yorker cover didn't confirm it for them, something else would have.

Guilt by association has been rampant this campaign year like I've never seen before. I have a friend who's pretty middle of the road -- socially liberal, fiscally conservative -- and on the fence between McCain and Obama. She told me that what really bugged her about Obama was his friendship with the professor who used to be a Weather Underground member. Even though the guy's been an upstanding citizen for the last 30 years, somehow his youthful actions were enough to taint her opinion of Obama. (When I think about my college years and the things I did and the people I hung around with, I realize I'll never be elected President.)

Your husband must have a really strong gag reflex to listen to the right wing nutbaggery. I can't do it; it gets me too riled up. What was their take on the cover? That must have been interesting. Or was it hyperbole about the New Yorker being part of the democratic mainstream media?

This must be a record long comment...

Sharon said...

I'll make this a quick one, Loren, but I did find your comments interesting. According to Husband, the AM radio psychos never refer to Obama without stating "Barack HUSSEIN Obama." They have pandered to the absurd rumours about Obama's identity, religion, patriotism, etc. As expected. Unfortunately, as we were discussing it last night, I had a "slip of the tongue" that the RW pundits as well as a therapist could have a field day with. I was describing the cover to H, and as the last part of my description, I said: "Reportedly there's a flag burning in the fireplace, and over the fireplace, mantle, a picture of Obama." My H said, "don't you mean 'Osama?'"