decemberthirty: (tree swallow)
[personal profile] decemberthirty
Tommy and Coco at the window

I drove Ms. E to school this morning and dropped her off so that she could chaperone a group of her students on a three-day trip to the state science fair. She will be home again on Tuesday; until then it's just me and the cats. And it's funny, isn't it, how habits of separation and togetherness become ingrained? She was away so much last summer that I got very used to being on my own. But as we talked about this last night, we counted it up and determined that we had only spent one night apart since last August. One! An extraordinary amount of togetherness, well above what is normal for us. So I am out of the habit of spending time alone like this, and it did feel a bit strange when I got back to the house this morning. But it's good, too: I will write and read, take care of the house and garden, and prepare myself for some longer separations that are coming in the next few weeks.

Clematis after the rain

I finished Ali Smith's The Accidental last night, and I found it disappointing. The book had so much potential to be...well, not great--I don't think it could have been great, but it could at least have been interestingly weird. And in the end it did not manage even that. The book tells the story of a rather ordinary English family and the mysterious woman named Amber who talks her way in amongst them while they're on holiday, manipulates them, lies to them, and pushes various buttons for each of the various family members for as long as she's allowed to stay in their midst. The story had a lot of momentum at first (there were a hundred pages or so in the middle of the book when it came as close to being a page-turner as anything I ever read), but this all fizzled as the book wound down to its rather empty ending. I wanted more from this book: I wanted Smith to go farther and darker and weirder, I wanted more connections, I wanted the story to have more meat.

Next I will read The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. I loved loved loved Olive Kitteridge a few years ago, which makes me fear that my expectations may be too high and I'll be disappointed by this one too. We shall see.

Cranesbill geranium

The garden is as imperfect as it always is, yet it is making me so happy these days. Clematis are blooming; coral bells are blooming; the hydrangea was not killed by its hard pruning just before a hard winter, but instead is growing back in compact and healthy and beautiful; tomato seedlings are becoming strong tomato plants; I am cooking with herbs from the herb garden. All of this, it seems, is enough to make me overlook the problems, the plants I am worried about, the ways in which I would like to invest time and money that I don't have at the moment.... So it is lovely right now and I will enjoy it.

Date: 2014-05-18 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So happy you've been enjoying togetherness! May your few days apart help you get done what needs getting done and you get some time to just enjoy a bit of solitude.

Date: 2014-05-18 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I do like a bit of solitude now and again...and I'm by myself during the day most days, but even so it feels different to have a stretch of alone-time that lasts longer than that.


Date: 2014-05-18 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That picture makes me want kitties :). Enjoy your time alone, I just treated myself to a day with myself as I am taking tomorrow off. Not the same I know.
Olive Ketteridge! Wow I loved that book. I am trying to remember if indeed I read something else by her. I think I did but for the life of me I cannot remember. Brain, sometimes you let me down.

Date: 2014-05-18 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The kitties love to sit in the windows whenever we have them open. They like watching the birds all the time, but I think it makes a big difference to them when they can watch *and* hear the birds. :)

I have read another book by Elizabeth Strout--it was called Amy and Isabelle and I read at least 15 years ago now. I remember feeling that it was totally not special in any way, and in fact I was so unimpressed with it that it prevented me from trying Olive Kitteridge for a long time. Then when I finally gave in and read it, I was blown away!

Date: 2014-05-18 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Superb photo of the clematis, and I can practically hear your kitties "talking" about the birds outside!

Date: 2014-05-19 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, thank you! That clematis photo was a bit of challenge. I took it in the evening when the light was pretty low, and I think it took me about a million tries before I got it in focus! Glad you like it. :)

Date: 2014-05-19 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What lovely photos. :)
Hope you;re not leaking too badly, or AT ALL, in your rain showers today!

Date: 2014-05-19 01:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! Glad you like the photos!

And we're in the middle of a stretch of absolutely sunny and gorgeous weather, so no leaking at the moment! :)

Date: 2014-05-19 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ohhhhh--it's the photo of the clematis with the rain drops on it, isn't it? I read your comment and thought, "Huh. Now why would she think it's raining today?" But now I get it. That photo was taken after last week's storm, when my house did indeed leak. But I'm beginning to think the only way to really make this old house waterproof would be to wrap it all up in plastic.... Thanks for your good wishes about it, though!

Date: 2014-05-19 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's so lovely seeing everything grow and bloom isn't it? The garlic I planted a while back is starting to sprout up above ground which made me deliriously happy today :-D.

Date: 2014-05-20 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is REALLY lovely! I've never grown garlic before, but it would be interesting to try someday. I hope yours thrives marvelously and gives you a big crop. :)

Date: 2014-05-20 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That close up of the flower is gorgeous.

Date: 2014-05-20 05:49 pm (UTC)
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