Little Happy Lists, Redux

May 3, 2015 @ 8:26 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Books

1. Piano recital: accomplished. And swimmingly, I might add. Particularly sweet this year because the music school divided the recital students into smaller groups (fewer classes lumped together into each recital), which meant our girls’ three classes were part of a five-class recital consisting mostly of good friends, families in our homeschooling circle. Best part: the way Huck (not yet a student) gasped in delighted recognition at the songs played by the beginner class (a level below Rilla’s group), because he recognized all the songs from last year when Rilla was learning them. Next year it will be his turn to begin! Hard to believe.

2. The drought, oh the drought, it has hit my garden hard. I’ve planted a lot of drought-tolerant natives over the years, so things are limping along, but still, it’s pretty grim out there. As it must be: flower-gardening will have to be one of the indulgences we let go in the new normal that is our hot-and-getting-hotter world. At least here in this dry-and-getting-drier state. Some of my work this year has involved a lot (a LOT) of research into California’s drying aquifers and the truly shocking lack of Sierra snowmelt and its impacts, and the sobering percentage of reduction of water deliveries to certain small towns from the State Water Project, and, well, you can’t face those facts and go on lavishing water on delphiniums. I’m becoming something of a vicarious gardener once again—the way I was in grad school when I confessed to the poet Robert Pinsky, whom I was tasked with picking up at the airport for a reading, that my habit while driving around town was to re-imagine the landscaping of all the yards I passed. Only now I’m mentally tearing up all the thirsty lawns around me in this desert. But I may have to find room for an annual trip to Portland in the spring, to soak myself for a few days in the glories of lush blossom and unfurling ferns. For now I must apply the tactic I used with much success back in those garden-deprived grad-school days: houseplants require very little water. Rilla and I went to work this week, taking cuttings and clippings to bring a bit of the bright outside indoors. And (influenced by Anne Shirley, of course) I’ve always kept windowsill geraniums with their cheery blooms perched on my kitchen sink—you can never go wrong with good old pelargonium. Thus this item belongs on a happy list even though its genesis is a bleak climate situation.

3. Kate Winslet does a smashing job with the voices in the Matilda audiobook. Rilla and I have one chapter left. We may not be able to wait for our Saturday-night ritual (audiobook + sketchbook time while the older girls watch S.H.I.E.L.D. with Scott) to finish. Which means I’d better come up with our next listen before Saturday…

4. Broadchurch Season 2. Wow.

5. Last night we watched a movie called Begin Again. Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, and yet I had somehow failed to hear about it until Scott queued it up. (He has unerring instincts for films that will delight me.) I loved it. A lovely, thoughtful piece by the writer/director of Once. I’ll watch it again.

What I’m reading this week

To the kids: House at Pooh Corner (still)

Myself: Connie Willis’s Blackout (Determined to finish this time! The other times I’ve begun and set it aside, it wasn’t because I wasn’t interested. Other things just kept crowding in. We’ll see if this time around is different.)

Photo of the week

San Diego children's authors

My friend Edith Hope Fine shared this photo, taken at last weekend’s Greater San Diego Reading Association awards breakfast, on Facebook, and our pal Salina Yoon dressed it up with everyone’s book covers. What a fantastic community of writers and illustrators we have here in San Diego! (Thanks, Edith, Salina, and—wait, who took the photo? I can’t remember!)


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Comments

5 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Oh heavens, you have to finish Blackout, the last chapter is the best ever! Infact, just thinking about it makes me want to go read it all over again.

    We’ve had a drought here too and the way I manage to keep watering my little flower garden in by keeping two glass jars under my kitchen sink, and filling them through the day with leftover water from the tea kettle, or the first water poured from the tap in the morning to flush it clear, water from boiling eggs, etc. This water usually ends up being enough to water the garden daily. Some people I know also collect the rinsewater from their laundry cycle. I feel so glad that I can maximise my water use this way and also still plant flowers to support bees. 🙂 Still, my garden continues to struggle with lack of skyborn water – what we have done to our beautiful planet is so heartbreaking.

  2. Zipping through with a very quick hello and hugs! The drought and the climate are just devastating. But if you can, a desert garden 🙂

    Now we no longer have the dvr, we watch SHIELD as it airs on Tuesdays, so odd not being able to fast forward through the ads! The kids say, “oh well, Mother: it’s a part of our cultural education!”

    Thanks for the mention of the film, Begin Again, as I had heard of it, but forgot, so will now place it on hold.

    Black Out and All Clear are absolute favorites, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past! But they definitely are a commitment, as they are best read right through, as opposed to picking up and setting down over a lengthy period of time.

  3. We are still gardening, but using the water which falls while we wait for the shower to warm (catching it in a bucket) to water with… and we’re still watering the birds, which otherwise suffer more, and just not keeping the lawn green. It’s hard, but I can’t give up my outdoors entirely.

    (We ARE going to Glasgow for a month, though. Where it rains every other day… and they’ve no inkling what a low-flow toilet is… always a shocker the first couple of days, to hear that waterfall roar as one flushes.)

    Ah, good old Connie Willis; need to just reread all of her books every once in awhile. I still love Bellewether – I felt SO SMART when I struggled through it.

  4. When we’ve had droughts I’ve used the dishwater to water the flower beds. At one point we also re-used all the laundry water, (assuming there was no bleach in it.). Another idea I saw on TV. but we never tried, is to get a portable pump to re-use the water from showers. For a while we just stopped up the bathtub during showers and I bailed water with a bucket. My mom made a big fuss about my stopping that when I got pregnant — hauling all those buckets of water down a flight of steps probably wasn’t the best exercise program for a pregnant lady!

    I do hope you are making your milkweeds a priority for your limited water.

    So sad what we have done to our planet.

  5. […] We have Swallows and Amazons, Ballet Shoes, and Dancing Shoes on audio to listen to during our Saturday night art-and-audiobook sessions, now that we have made our way through most of Roald Dahl. (This, by the way, is the only reason […]