Goodbye, July

August 4, 2015 @ 7:55 pm | Filed under: , , ,

…she says, half a week into August.


We had family in town and spent a day hanging out with them at their fabulous beach hotel, and another afternoon touring the harbor on a boat cruise. Glorious weather. At one point, we were approaching Point Loma for a glimpse of the lighthouse when my nephew’s phone buzzed—it was Verizon Wireless texting him a “Welcome to Mexico” message. That was just about as far as we got before turning around to cruise past the downtown area. We saw dolphins and sea lions and pelicans—a perfectly satisfying day, according to Miss Rilla, who spent much of the boat ride standing in the wind with her arms spread wide and her grin even wider.

One of the nicest things about living in San Diego is that so many friends wind up vacationing here, and we get to join in.

Back home, I’ve been in blissful planning mode. I adore low tide; low tide is a deep delight; but my little listmaking heart glories in the voyage-charting of high tide just as thoroughly. I spent a morning gathering books from all over the house to fill a shelf for Huck—treasures I want to be sure my last six-year-old (sniff) doesn’t miss. I’ll try to get a picture and a post up soon, because I know some of you enjoy comparing notes that way.

Plans are afoot for Rilla and my two high-school-age girls too: more booklists, more shelves filling up. Every August I do this massive rearranging of the tomes, shifting high-tide resources to the living room where we do indeed do the bulk of our living. Twentieth-century history for the teens this year, and earth science, and Shakespeare of course, and a fat list of literary texts, and the languages they are studying separately. All juicy stuff. Beanie is forging ahead with German, which is extra fun for me, since I’m fair-to-middling in that language myself and always longing to improve my skills.

And loads and loads of art—along with poetry, perhaps our most constant occupation these days. At Comic-Con, I tried out my (brilliantly talented) friend Zander‘s pocket brush pen and was thoroughly intimidated by it. The next day, our (also staggeringly talented) friend Mark Chiarello showed us art from his forthcoming book (his first since his gorgeous book on the Negro Leagues), and he too was working with this pen, whose merits the extraordinary Roz Stendahl is always talking about. Between them, they convinced me to give it a try, and ohhhh, it turns out I’m in love. It is loosening up my line so much. I have a tendency toward a very careful and nervous line, and I’m feeling much freer about taking chances and using my whole arm, thanks to a few weeks with this pen. My book is filling up with a lot of messy, not-so-lovely pages, but in a good way. And every now and then I draw a line I really like. That’s progress.

Meanwhile, Rilla and I are about to dive into Sketchbook Skool’s “More Playing” klass, which started yesterday. We had a ball with “Playing” in July. Our favorite project was the drawing where we took turns for thirty seconds at a time, filling a page with nonsense. Much hilarity there. This, too, is something I’d like to post more about in the week ahead.

I’m overdue for a books post, too. Got on an Anne Shirley kick in July, following my Betsy-Tacy kick in June. Read the series through House of Dreams (skipped Windy Poplars, because I don’t have it on Kindle). I swear Dreams is better every time, even a dozen or more times later.

I also revisited Pudd’nhead Wilson for the first time since high school—shaking my head in bed at Twain’s audacity the whole way through. Oh, how I love him. I’m deep into Mansfield Park right now. No particular reason; it just decided I needed to reread it. I’m a Persuasion person first and foremost, and then P&P, but I do enjoy Mansfield. The urge to smack Mary Crawford upside the head is such a satisfying sensation.

Well, that’s the news from these parts. What’s your August looking like?


Oh, and I met an owl.

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8 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Penny says:

    Happy sigh… so.much.good. I’m so glad for you all. 🙂

    Our August is shaping up much like our July. Lots of hammering as our little house gets a much needed facelift, which means I shuffle to the library and spend hour upon hour there. I kind of love it.

  2. Kortney says:

    One of those eagerly awaiting more planning details! We Rilla school around here 🙂

    Just put House of Dreams on hold…I was commenting on Mabel’s grasp of vocab. And she said, It’s all because of Anne!

  3. tanita says:

    Aren’t owls just THE BEST????
    I’d like one for my very own, but I suspect they would not like to live in my office.

    Back from a month in Scotland, and still trying to find my feet. Need to make time for piano and French again, find time to delve more seriously into sociology and keep pushing myself through my revision — but also to weed out the bolted radishes, reseed with carrots, discover new varietals of poppies and keep praying for rain…

  4. Susanne Barrett says:

    As a child, sailing was my passion. My grandparents first had a little Coronado 25 and later graduated to a 31 Mariner (the number of each boat is the length of the hull), and we loved sailing from the little Southwestern Yacht Club tucked between Shelter Island and Point Loma, around Shelter and Harbor Islands, and then into the bay, turning around under the Coronado Bridge and sailing back again. Tacking was the most fun, the boom flying above our heads as the sails caught the breeze, often “heeling” to the point that our toes braced against the side of the boat were nearly skimming the water. Freaked out my husband every time–that man is not a sailor. We sailed with the maiden re-voyage of the Star of India in ’76 for the Bicentennial, one of the hundreds of sailboats flocking around the huge sailing ship, all sails puffed hugely white with the sea winds as we sailed from Harbor Island where we caught up with the Star, then flew out past Point Loma into the ocean and then back again.

    I’ve been in an Austenish mood for about a year now, reading lots of variations and continuations of her novels, mostly P&P but a few Persuasion, S&S, and even a Mansfield Park which is one of my favorites (see my book list on my blog if interested). I love that J.K. Rowling named Filch’s cat “Mrs. Norris”–it makes me giggle every time I reread the books or watch a HP film. She’s the one I want to slap…and Edmund sometimes for falling for a beautiful face instead of a woman of true character. At least the man woke up…finally.

    I’ve been in a mood to revisit Green Gables and the House of Dreams and Ingleside lately, too. My favorite remains Rilla of Ingleside–there’s just something about that book that makes me laugh and cry at the same time, but in a deliciously enjoyable way.

    I’m still finishing up teaching the Fan Fiction class at Brave Writer, offering an extra week for all the students who had a week at camp or were traveling during July. It’s one of my favorite classes because of the wild creativity of the stories–I think the strangest one to date was a crossover of My Little Pony and Doctor Who. No, don’t ask….

    Our flash floods are done for now and the mountains are greening again–the air so clean that it almost hurts to breathe it in deeply. Our little mountain village just had its summer festival, complete with the hometown parade ending with the town heroes: our volunteer fire department! 🙂 So Pine Valley Days is done for another year, and we settle into sports camp in the park every evening this week and cool nights plunging down into the 50’s. Earlier this month we were down to 42 at night–in mid-July. Niiiiice. 😀

    Enjoy gathering your books for next year; I’m teaching only one this year now that #3 graduated. This is probably our last year at Class Day with Heritage as our youngest wants to do different science courses than the ones offered there, and if he’s not going, I don’t have to teach. I’ve been teaching writing classes there for 18 years, so this last year is rather poignant. 😉

    Have a lovely week! 🙂

  5. Ellie says:

    It sounds like a lovely July, and what a beautiful owl! We love owls 🙂

    Anne’s House of Dreams is one of my three favorite Anne books (others being Green Gables, and Rilla of Ingleside).

    Calli’s had an amazing summer of theatre (performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream), I’ve written of it, and now we’re back to regular and full lesson days, which is lovely.


  6. Melanie Bettinelli says:

    Persuasion is my favorite too. But Mansfield Park is lovely. I re-read it last year when Cat Hodge was serializing her modernization of Mansfield on her blog.

    I keep thinking I really need to introduce Bella and Sophie to Anne with an e. But we’re still neck deep in Swallows and Amazons land and I think we’re going to keep on sailing with them for a while. I just handed Bella some James Herriot and she’s bouncing back and forth between Peter Duck and All Things Wise and Wonderful. It’s so fun now that I can give her big fat books and she can dive into them. Sophie is still a little tentative about reading bigger things, but is lost in Calvin and Hobbes world most of the time, which is a delight in itself. I love her coming to me with all the vocabulary words she doesn’t understand. And trying to explain some of the plots….

  7. Melissa Wiley says:

    The only reason Calvin isn’t on Rilla’s shelf is because it was already on Huck’s. 😉 He could spend his whole year with Calvin and I’d be happy.

    I don’t think the time is right for Rilla to meet Anne yet, either. Elevenish is a great age for that.

    I’m so fond of Herriot! Been a while since I reread him myself, come to think of it.