Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paris 1969

I recently found these black and white pictures while rummaging through a drawer that is in dire need of cleaning out. I didn't know I had them, to be honest. My dad must have taken them with his Leica. They brought back a hot August spent in France and England (also unbelievably hot), the month that the USA went to the moon. My dad tried desperately to get orders for the States that would have us home in time to see the grand event, but the Army wasn't having any of it. So we missed out on history, but in a way, I'm not sorry. 

I remember Paris was deserted in August, the Louvre uncrowded, the Jeu de Pommes wonderful, and my French got a workout. My dad expected me to translate simultaneously, a feat I'd never had to try before. I finally had to make up my own phrasing, because I sure couldn't keep up with his English and translate literally. I informed him I wasn't his Army translator, but that argument didn't fly. If he'd wanted me to translate into Latin, it wouldn't have fazed him a bit. He'd have expected it. After all, I'd studied Latin and French, hadn't I?

England was London, with its plays (I remember being swept away by the awesome theaters) and Stratford-on-Avon and the Royal Shakespeare production of Taming of the Shrew, one of my favs. All my jewelry was stolen from our hotel room, too. The only thing I really missed was my charm bracelet, with a token from every place I'd ever visited or lived.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Books that hold up well

I was fortunate to be a round-one judge in the ITW contest for best novel, etc., a while back. One of the paperbacks I received was COLD DARK MATTER by Alex Brett, a Canadian novelist. I liked the book very much, and recently having found it again, had a re-read. It held up well the second time around, and having visited the Mauna Kea observatory years ago, it brought back memories of a fun time. And a cold one. Who knew it could get freezing in Hawaii! Anyway, the mystery involved the Cold War, astrophysics, and Hawaii, all fascinating. I'm going to hold on to this pb a while longer, I do believe.

FALLING WOMAN by Pat Murphy is another book I can't excess from the shelves. Winner of the Hugo years ago, it's a fascinating time jumper (Mayan to present day), filled with a story so original, I re-read it periodically.

ARABELLA by Georgette Heyer never fails to make me lose myself in Regency England and the details of a character both classic and stunningly original. For sheer writing ability, Miss Heyer is one to study, and I always feel as if I'm a mere mortal at the feet of a writing master.

None of these three books are terribly popular, or even well-known today. But I keep them where I can find them whenever I need to read a good, well-written story with original characters. I'll add to my list later when I've had a chance to do some more re-reads.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August already?

My Beloved had a birthday and my youngest served as maid of honor at her best friend's wedding. Normal, ordinary events that meant so much more than they should, just because we were able to celebrate as a family. It's amazing how exhausting that kind of celebration can be when you've been focused on something else. At the same time, we're filled with gratitude that all of us were there, for both events.

My dad's estate is finally wound up (OMG what a nightmare), the hot tub is finally working, and the yard looks incredibly great considering the general neglect. All this rain has helped the new plantings and grass, hence, we don't have our normally parched yard littered with brown leaves and brown patch. Some stuff is working out well!

We made a dash to Farm to Family market to stock up on peaches, melons ( snow leopard honeydew anyone?), and cucs. While there, we went kinda wild and grabbed blackberries, eggs, trout fillets, and red onions as well. The eggplants were irresistible, too. We've already made inroads on the huge Hanover tomato, so my bet is that it's gone  by lunch tomorrow.

My Beloved and I watched The Help last night. I was very affected. When my brother was a baby, a woman named Missouri would be our nanny when our mother had things to do. I found pictures of my mother as a baby, in the arms of a beautifully uniformed black woman. I suppose it was just a part of being Southern that, as a child, you never question such arrangements. Since we went overseas after that, there were no more nannies for us.

Thank goodness. I would feel even guiltier.