Friday, June 10, 2011

Notes from the Furnace

1. I was a little alarmed earlier in the week when I heard the weather forecast for Wednesday and Thursday: "Unbearable heat." So, yes, it is a little hot outside. Not Fresno in August hot, mind you, but close. I keep pouring pitcher after pitcher of water on my hydrangea bush and it still looks wilted. I'm a little obsessed with the blue-purple of the hydrangea blooms, which is feeding my watering compulsion. I think a colony of ants have built a swimming pool underneath it and are cheering every time they see me come with more water because they are diverting all that moisture for their own devices instead of letting my poor shrub drink.

I have burnt leaves

And floppy leaves

Of course, I also have beautiful callas just opening

Memo to myself for next summer: find a new flower to fall in love with that doesn't require as much water.

2. This is another Thursday afternoon post and I'm writing it now because it's too hot to clean the kitchen (somehow, I always promise to make Miranda a new batch of chocolate chip banana mini-muffins on the hottest day of the week, and the last ones just came out of the oven) and I don't want to do any of the myriad of other chores on my list of things to do. I'm sure I will spend tomorrow morning running all over town getting enough groceries to survive the weekend (I haven't made my errand list yet, but off the top of my head, I already know I need to stop at the bank, Costco, and JoAnne's) and I need to take Miranda back to the pediatrician tomorrow afternoon to make sure her ear infection has cleared up and have them take another look at her rash, which is making a resurgence and has worried her teacher enough to comment upon it. I plan to stop at Trader Joe's on the way home from there and stock up on Miranda's cookies and Marshall's new favorite salsa. But, I am no longer dreading my life like I was last week because...

3. My mother is coming! The Lord has answered my call for help and encouragement (or, at least, he got tired of the incessant whining) and is sending me the best kind of assistance. She has been invited to attend a creativity retreat at the "Bellfry," a retreat center in the Virginia mountains. So, she is flying here on the 22nd (the FIRST day of summer vacation), will spend June 26-July 1 on retreat, and then come back here to stay until her birthday, July 8.  The Lord is good to me, in spite of my bad attitude and casual parenting and action movie watching. And cross stitching when I should be playing with my children. Speaking of which...

4. I am making great progress. Depending on how difficult the last few pages are, I certainly expect to have this finished by the end of July.

Of course, I'm stitching in the afternoons as well as the evenings, but my children are being very considerate. Miranda will come and sit with me while I work, for a little while, or watch something on the bed with me, like...

5. Gnomeo and Juliet, which was a lot of fun. She enjoyed it for it's adventurousness and I liked it for the excellent (voice) actors and seeing yet another interesting adaptation of Shakespeare. Also, we did enjoy X-Men: First Class last weekend, but not as much as the rapturous critics, apparently. Although if all bad boys are like Michael Fassbender, I'm starting to see the appeal. And keeping with theme of watching the same actors in different roles, I also watched Wanted. Very violent, lots of bad language. But it is entertaining, after a fashion. And I finished Sea of Monsters and am looking forward to starting The Titan's Curse. I tried to watch this new mini-series called The Shadow Line, but I got bored enough after 3 episodes to delete the lot. Somehow, Chiwetel Ejiofor just doesn't have the charisma to hold up a story on his own, like Idris Elba (Luther) or Kenneth Branagh (Wallender). Or maybe it's just bad writing.

Together, Marshall and I made it through the first half of Inglourious Basterds (another film on Michael Fassbender's resume; I don't think I'm going to watch his Jane Eyre, though; I was never a fan of any of the Brontes) and were surprised by all the talking (in a Quentin Tarantino film). In fact, there is almost as much of the dialogue in French and German as there is in English. I'm not a big Tarantino fan (Pulp Fiction is on my list of "Movies I Hate the Most") and I tried to watch Kill Bill, Vol. 1, on Ebert's recommendation, but got bored and turned it off.

I don't know if we're going to try to see Super 8 this weekend. I may try to get a sitter for Saturday night.

6. Our old refrigerator, which has been sitting in the driveway for several weeks, should be picked up by the state's recycling program tomorrow, which will clear the way for us to schedule the paving people to come and dig us out a new driveway (no more weeding the driveway!) which will then clear the way for me to call the nursery nearby to get our regular load of mulch. The flowerbed is in desperate need. Of course, then we'll have a place for our children to ride bikes, so maybe we should buy them some.

7. My mother's book, Bathsheba's Lament, continues to earn praises and recognition from among a growing number of readers. There is a great review of it on the International Christian Fiction Writers' blog that you must read! There is another awesome review of Bathsheba's Lament on LeAnne Hardy's blog. Read it here. Remember, if you haven't already ordered a copy, you will find it available here, or, if you are a local fan, you can purchase my last remaining copy of the book.

Bonus 8. We have yet to make it to the pool. I was hoping to go this weekend, but scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast. Ah, dang.

If we don't make it to the pool, there's always the sprinkler, which for my children, means mud:

And here's Jen.

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