Besides doing as much of this as possible, of course.
Jane is thirteen and busy, busy, busy. Art class, piano, ballet, Journey North, Shakespeare Club. The number of activities makes my head spin but is delicious to her. She’s learning her lines for a Taming of the Shrew scene. Mastering the jump attack in Zelda: Twilight Princess. Beginning to polish her repertoire for Piano Guild auditions. Enjoying the Think Piece questions from Julie Bogart’s Bravewriter Boomerang. (Today’s Murder on the Orient Express think piece led to a long and hearty discussion of the death penalty.) Reading all the Agatha Christie she can get her hands on (which, thanks to a kind librarian, has been a lot). Reading Jane Austen. Quoting articles from Muse magazine. Making dolls. Reading stories to Rilla at naptime. Plugging away at Latin and algebra. Baking cobbler when I’m too busy. Crocheting hair scrunchies by the dozen.
Rose likes life at a mellower pace. Her fiery personality adds enough spice to her life, I think. One by one, she has chosen to opt out of the activities her sisters enjoy. She still takes art and piano lessons, which seems like a lot to me, and is one activity more than Jane was doing at her age. She has a small vegetable garden out back, thanks to my mother’s labors during my postpartum days, and she spends a lot of time outside playing with bits of leaf and twig. She’s writing quite a bit: journal entries, stories, letters. Has been (like the others) glued to the Warriors books lately. Is deeply attached to her horse in Zelda. Clamors to be the one to hold the baby during his morning nap. Chops all my potatoes and onions for me. Still loves to play dress-up. Practices Amazing Grace on the piano ten times a day, as long as I don’t tell her to.
Beanie: busy bouncy Beanie! Loves to start her day with a snuggle on the sofa, just me and baby if possible, but she’ll make a space for the other wee ones if they’re awake. Just finished reading Understood Betsy; said it had a very satisfying ending. (I agree.) Loves copywork with a passion that is enchanting to behold (and mystifying to her mother, who loathes writing by hand). Doesn’t go to piano lessons any more (her class was canceled due to a drop in enrollment) but is learning here at home, with her sisters’ help. They’ve been through the book before her. Likes to fix my breakfast for me: a bowl of strawberry yogurt, almonds, granola. Wishes we had a trampoline. Is learning to draw in 3D from Mark Kistler’s book. Writes me coded messages. Wishes she got to hold the baby more. Wants to have a tea party with her friends: key event, facepainting. Is looking forward to receiving her First Communion. Can’t help being drawn into Little Bear when her younger brother and sister are watching. Wishes we had a pool. Forgets the job you gave her even before she’s out of the room. Is reading the Redwall books. Listens to Suzanne Vega every chance she gets. Spends long minutes smiling into the baby’s eyes. Says she doesn’t remember ever being cooed at before, and that being cooed at is the best thing in the whole world.
As for me, besides all the usual mom stuff, and the crammed-in-when-I-can writing stuff, I’m fiddling with fabric, working on a quilt square for the online bee I’m part of. And (as you know) I’ve been reading a lot lately. Not as much this month as I did in January, but then I’m on my own again as sole adult in charge. Last month I had my mom for two weeks and then Scott was off work for another two weeks. Nice. Now I read in the very early mornings and late at night—on the iPod, as often as not. I am finally, finally working my way through Ulysses. Very slow going, yes, but oh my what a treat. I find myself staring at single sentences, single words even, tasting them over and over, scarcely able to believe that they’ve been there all along, ripe for the picking. Warm sunshine merrying over the sea. Birdsweet. The void awaits surely all them that weave the wind. DailyLit tells me I am 4% of the way through the book. I can’t think of books in terms of percents, but I know I’m only just getting started, though I’ve been at it for weeks, a page or two at a time. Every few days I sit down with my big fat Ulysses Annotated and unpack quantities of allusions, and then I have to go back and reread what I read before with better understanding. I am loving this.
Am also reading via DailyLit the YA thriller Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. I look forward to each night’s brief installment. There aren’t many books I would like to read this way, parceled out in small daily doses, but for these two—for dramatically different reasons—it’s working.
Have not yet finished rereading Portrait of a Lady, long way to go. Started Inkspell Inkheart right after Christmas and set it aside: still mean to finish that one. Have a TBR stack as high as the moon. You know how it is.
Well, that’s half the family. More than enough for one post, eh!
One Shelf at a Time: Fourth Shelf
Book Notes: August
december 1 show-and-tell
Nonfiction Author Kelly Milner Halls