• Reading

    Classics Club Spin Pick

    It looks I will be reading The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I figured that after I had to reformat the numbers on my list, not sure what happened, but it look right on the drafting side, but not on the published side.

  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin #24 List

    I was thrilled that I actually participated and read a work off my list the last time, and I’m happy to participate in this newest spin.

     

    1. An Anton Chekhov novel
    2. The Wimsey Papers by Dorothy Sayers
    3. A Good Man is Hard to Find or other Flannery O’Connor novel
    4. A Portrait of A Lady and/or Turning of the Screw by Henry James
    5. A Toni Morrison novel
    6. Beowulf (Tolkien’s translation)
    7. Cymbelline
    8. Dracula by Bram Stoker
    9. Henry VI, Part 1
    10. Henry VIII
    11. King John
    12. Macbeth
    13. O’ Pioneers and/or Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
    14. 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or another novel by Jules Verne
    15. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    16. Richard III
    17. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
    18. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    19. The Scarlet Letter and/or The House with Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorne
    20. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • Culture and Entertainment

    Inklings July: Heidi 1993

    Heidi at Along the Brandywine created a monthly link-up for movie and book prompts called the Inklings, the July prompt was a cliff scene, and the first one I thought of was the scene from the 1993 Heidi two part series. I adored this film/tv special, and watched it over and over and OVER (I was an obsessive child). This was such a HUGE part of my childhood, as big as Little House and American Girls, just less all encompassing because it was just this film, not the book, and there weren’t any official extras like all the bonnets, dolls, cookbooks, etc. that went with the others which are basically franchises.

    Because of copyright I’m just going to link to photos. Apparently this film wasn’t such a big deal because there aren’t many photos. I don’t really know how to find a photos of the particular scene I want. Maybe if I watch it, I can screenshot it.

    There are so many memories and associations I have with this film.

    • Switzerland has a special place in my heart in major part because of this story (and Treasures of the Snow, and learning my grandfather’s direct line and our closest tie to Europe is here, I should get a photo of one of the documents we have).
    • We have always called milkmaid braids, “Heidi braids” because that is how this version of Heidi wore her hair (I didn’t know the Shirley Temple version was probably more well-known and could barely even start to watch the sacrilegious version)
    • I had boots that I called by Klara boots. You can see them here, barely, doesn’t seem anything special, but I’ve always adore historical fashion, and I just loved those boots and the contrast with the white stockings of which I had a similar (to my mind) pair.
    • My first memories and knowledge (unknowing knowledge) of Latin came from this as I realized in my college Latin class.
    • I (of course) had a HUGE crush on Peter. A few years ago, I tried to track down the actor, but he’s disappeared off the face of the earth apparently.
    • I loved ever little detail about this, from certain food/milk scenes, from the kittens in the tower, from Fräulein Rottenmeier (Jane Seymour)’s particular way of reviving Klara from a faint (I feel like we may have reenacted that part).
    • My grandfather on my dad’s side always had white hair and a beard, also, I was rather afraid of him although it is unfair to characterize him as quite the crab as the man in the story.
    • I think Heidi herself looked like my best friend at the time or maybe it was her sister. I don’t remember wanting freckles myself, but somehow they seemed to be a big deal, I remember one of my sisters really wanted to be freckled (her best friend was the sister of mine, so that may have had something to do with, the things kids want sometimes).

    And of course, the falling of the (probably) ledge in the mountain meadows. Actually, I think Klara pushed Heidi or threw her kitten or something  (actually I think that was Treasures of the Snow or was it both? Need to rewatch both of these films), and to my child’s mind if seemed like a cliff, although it probably wasn’t that steep to an adult, enough to be really dangerous though to a child.

    Oh, the drama for a child. I remember Peter grabbing for Heidi’s hand, I remember him telling Klara to hold his legs, and she has to grab her legs in her hands in order to move near enough to him. It is hard for me to explain how much an impression this made on me. I haven’t watched it in over a decade (and it had been years before that to the previous watches) but I remember how important all this was, so many of the details of this scene.

    I know we reenacted this scene on our old school metal slide on the swing-set in the backyard, I’m almost certain it featured wearing my “Klara” books, possible also white stockings like hers as well.

  • Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: Some Favorite Childhood Illustrated Books

    I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday. I had this in my drafts as a spin-off of an earlier TTT childhood favorites, I think I went more middle-grade/preteen on that first one.

    In no particular order. A lot of these were from the Five and a Row Series based on the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, definitely the ignition of our love of good books. I’d love to remember all my favorites, I know we loved lots of the little golden books (loved them to shreds), and my grandparents had lots of books we loved including Sesame Street ones that told other stories using Sesame Street characters. And then of course the illustrated series like the Francis books (which I bought my niece when she was born, I wanted to get her a black and white striped badger to go along with it, but I couldn’t find a cute one, I could barely find any badgers, and most were all grey or something), Frog and Toad, Mr. Putter and Tabby, Amelia Bedelia, and Henry and Mudge.

    • Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
    • The Seven Silly Eaters (Mom gave me a copy of this for Christmas, she’s started to give us some of our childhood favorites for our own current or future children).
    • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
    • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
    • Corduroy by Don Freeman
    • Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews. I remember learning about color temperature in this book, this book features lots of cool colors.
    • A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert
    • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. I vividly remember listening to this on tape, we would go to the library and pick the plastic bags that had little hangers attached to the top, in the bag was the book and the tape. We got this one so often I even remember the narrator’s voice reading it.
    • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
    • Warm as Wool by Scott Russell Sanders

    Also, I have a favorite that I’ve been searching to find ANY clue about, but I don’t think I’ve kept up on the posts I’ve made on various sites about it. I don’t know the title, the author, or the illustrator, but it was beach/ocean/island themed with gorgeous watercolor. It is a sort of Cinderella meets Princess and the Frog (except prince is a large turtle or tortoise in this story). I could have sworn I saw it featured on Reading Rainbow (another thing from the mists of memory), but any list of books featured on the show didn’t trigger any memories. It featured a stepmother/enchantress, I feel like stepsisters turned into birds, and something about a rainbow fish bridge, and the prince as a tortoise carries the princess or maiden, she may not be a princess, to an island somehow, from a ship maybe. I’m not crazy, the sister nearest in age remembers this book too!

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Historical Fashion Fun Links: From Rome to Grease

    Getting Dressed in 1665 Delft. I love the Getting Dressed series by Crow’s Eye Production. They show upper and lower class styles for men and women in different times and places in history. They are beautifully done and filled with interesting historical explanations for the use and need of the garments

    Historical Hair: Recreating Authentic Hairstyles from Ancient Greece.

    Roman Makeup Tutorial. I LOVE this. I love that this features Roman Britain.

    Fashion Expert Fact Checks Grease’s Wardrobe. Yeah, I hadn’t seen Grease when I watched this, but I watched that 70’s Show which had Jackie imagining her and Hyde in that iconic scene from Grease.

  • Reading

    Reading is NOT a Golden Ticket (Silver Bullet?) to Being a Better Person and More Reading Links

    I’m fundamentally contrarian. I’m also currently obsessed in noticing when people are promoting something as a golden ticket or silver bullet or whatever. Which I think often involves using a correlation-causation fallacy. One of these is reading makes a person better.

    A lot of people who read a lot like to label themselves and set themselves apart, or as Katherine Grimm Bowers puts it, “deifying reading” (go read her post, it expresses much of what I’m trying to say). Reading is privilege, it should be a right, not a hobby, everyone should be able to read a lot and help themselves and enjoy good literature. It is true that reading a lot CAN make you a better person as well as a more intelligent person, but it doesn’t necessarily do so (Stalin met this criterion after all!).

    It DOES matter what you read. If a person is reading poor quality writing regularly, how are does that benefit his/her mind?

    It does matter how you read. I barely skimmed the surface of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well (I’ve got to buy this and read and reread, she so eloquently expands on this subject of books and how we actually need to use them in order to use them well), and she mentions the importance of reading to understand NOT impose our own opinions onto another person’s words.

    We have to stop reading sometimes and apply the things we’ve read or even just live our lives. I’ve read/heard lots self-help people mention how many forget that reading can’t be substituted for doing. (Yes, I definitely have this problem). If one doesn’t apply anything one learns in living a life, what was the point? Reading is supposed to HELP us in life, not distract us from life.

    BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content. Awesome video on bookstores around the world and reading.

    A Realization and A Revelation. What draws you to certain books and characters? What pushes you away?

    Dethroning Books. I love books but being contrary, I dislike when people act like books are a golden ticket to some state or attribute (actually, I dislike when people make anything, cough, college, cough, a golden ticket) such as erudition, intelligence, etc.

    A section towards the end of this podcast episode discusses the effects of reading so much you have no time for development and application.

    What To Do If You Hate Reading. These tips will probably work for those in a reading slump or burnout as well. I find that I can relate to a lot of these types of suggestions.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I’ve Listened to: May and June 2020

    Do Less Guests podcast. Trey Kennedy’s version of a patreon.

    Ghostrunners. Silly and goofy, I’ve needed light stuff. Trey’s film guy Jake who he’s had on his podcast (which were my favorites) and one of his best friends. They talk about fast-food a lot. Now I really want some Chick-fil-a.

    Speaking with Joy. She describes herself as a Christian humanist. She has degrees from Oxford and St. Andrew (where she is currently located). This is not just for those who are Christian or of a Christian background. She discusses deep things with other people who appreciate deep things. She mentions have friends of different religions and how they love to discuss these things openly and intellectually.

    This is refreshing, sometimes it seems the options tend to be shallow Christianity that gets hatred and mockery, the hateful and mocking group. Or legalistic, cold Christianity that doesn’t befriend equally those who are not elect (moi, sore subject). Or apathetic non-religious people. But this podcast shows that no, there can be other options. And it hearkens back to the rich tradition of Christian humanism which with Christian media often tending to be of the most abysmal quality, is SO refreshing.

    I was listening to something that felt pseudo intellectual and felt I really needed something intellectual. Since I’d quit Google Podcast in a huff, I hadn’t listened to anymore Speaking with Joy. Google had fixed it (or rather made it easier for me to fix the issue, one never knows with Google). And oh, this podcast, especially when she has guests, does as she intends to “feed [my] soul.” It is SO rich in beauty and intellectualism.

    I recommend. Many of these I want to re-listen to and look up all the recommended books and such.

  • Reading

    What I’ve Read: May and June 2020

    I read 23 items in these two months, 6 of those were short fairy tale retellings and 2 plays. Only 7 were new-to-me reads.

    These were:

    Coriolanus. There is a reason why this one is less famous. More on that in a later post.

    Hamlet. I’ve already review this for the Classics Club here.

    Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. This was fun (and NOT the rake and young dope version, young rake and his childhood bff). I’m exhausting the treasury of historical Heyer novels. One was so boring and unsatisfactory I opted not to finish.

    Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia by Ian Barnes. Highly recommend, extremely fascinating. This was supposed to go along with my reading of War and Peace, but said reading has been nonexistence.

    Listening Valley by D.E. Stevenson. Sweet and a nice happy read. I think that is what another blogger wrote which is why i got it.

    Framed! by James Ponti. A darling middle grade fiction mystery. I need to look up to see if there are more. This is a very fast read.

    Penhallow. So I thought I’d try a Heyer mystery. Yeah, so besides not actually being a mystery to the reader and an unsolved one for the characters, it features unarguably a patriarchal, narcissistic, god-awful horror of a man and his piggish progeny. It could have been set in a older time, the vague mention of cars clued me in to it being contemporary to Heyer. The manor house with the men who impregnate village women (over generations, so what an incestuous mess that probably was) and who are basically moneyed Neanderthals. All of these criticisms have lost their weight because over and misuse have diluted their meaning. But as I rarely use them please understand that I mean them fully.

    Yeah, most characters were awful, often inconsistent. The one character I leaned towards has a horrible end, kind of gave me nightmares because of the overall ick and the despair and the non-ending, ending. I rated it one star, the reason I have so few one stars is that I view books that derisive that rating as books that should not be read, so I don’t finish them and therefore don’t rate them. This is one I should not have finished I felt guilty reading it. It was muck with no literary merit. It was interesting in a grotesque way, but I was disgusted that I’d allowed myself to read this completely through.

    Rereads:
    The Fairy’s Return, For Biddle’s Sake, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, The Princess Test, The Fairy’s Mistake. All the princess tales by Gale Carson Levine. Again, lovely quick escapist relaxing reads.
    I started the Grandma’s attic novels in April and read most of them in May. So that is 7 right there.

    The Silver Chair. I stuck fast on this one for a while. Bear in mind that Narnia was supposed to be my Christmas treat, but I dragged on many of them. I’m currently stuck fast in The Last Battle.

    Gaudy Night and Murder Must Advertise. Two of the best Wimsey nove.. I think next time I’ll skip a few and reread only the best. I’m saving the final novel to finish on my birthday.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I’ve Been Watching: June 2020

    I didn’t have the motivation to focus on much digital media other than Youtube, for most of the year and now I don’t really have much time or focus for even tv (Hometown was the show of choice for the last several months, but I haven’t had time for that this past month). I have to spend hours on the computer for school, so I really need to get off to wind down enough to sleep. At least that is the goal.

    I watched Coriolanus, or half of it. Yeah, don’t ever overhype things. More on that in a Coriolanus post when I have time.

    I “tried” a episode of Brooklyn 99, and while I know the a show’s pilot isn’t a great thing to judge, I couldn’t be bothered to stop skimming it (actually, I’ve done a lot of skimming) or pursue the show further, everything was so TRYING SO HARD TO BE EDGY AND FUNNY and it was SO shallow, the acting was atrocious, and I only liked Andy Samberg’s character, but he was a cliche I’ve seen done better (Shawn Spencer, for example).

    I rewatched some of Drake and Josh (for what is this, the fourth, fifth time?).

    Also skimmed Schitt’s Creek (yeah, fyi, nsfw!) which is funny in some of the extreme, hedonistic, spoiling, extravagance of how the long adult Rose children and their parents lived previously. Definitely funny moments, but I found the plot tedious overall, and I was impatient of the parents’ sections sans kids and Alexis’ boring “drama,” the first Mutt moments were so strong and then that took a swift and deep nosedive into blah. David was definitely the best, and the full family and sibling moments could be quite funny. Nevertheless, it didn’t have the sharp banter/one-liners that I’ve realized I expect from favorites. I was about done by the end of season one even after skipping parts (anything to do with Roland, ugh, ugh, ugh, and most of the parents’ storylines, blah). I thought season 2 less funny.

    I also, stupidly watched some Cary Grant movie called Houseboat or something. Very dull and very sexist/objectifying (which since I usually unlikely to say this, I usually think people read into many things too much from a place of ignorant modern privilege, and I’m not a modern “feminist”, and I generally think lots of people throw the baby out with the bath water, you know this is bad). Also am I crazy or does seem like the the 50’s and 60’s movies and television are worse in that way than 30’s and 40’s? It’s definitely been true of the ones I’ve seen. Maybe I should do a brief post on that.

    The best media watching moment was when my youngest sister decided my mom needed to open her mind to different movies (besides Disney princess and Hallmark and the occasional sports movie). We went downstairs to look our choices over while Mom finished up some chores, and my sister decided to give her the choice between Pirates of the Caribbean and Catching Fire. Mom chose Pirates, and I think she did enjoy it, except for the boring end. We need to watch 2 and 3 with her. Ah, me those movies are so excellent. I wish the same people worked on the last two, the genius left you can certainly tell.

  • Daily Life

    Happy 4th of July!

    fireworks on the beach

    This is from our Independence Day on the beach in Seagrove Beach, FL last year (posting now fits with my timely nature). We used to have extended family gatherings on the 4th, with sports and such, not sure when that stopped.  Last year was lovely to be on the beach and celebrate.

    Today is a day to celebrate the good, of freedom, family, unity among differences and issues.

    . . . . and if you are me, to work on school 🙁

    So here are some lovely songs to encourage that:

    Home Free – God Bless the U.S.A. (featuring Lee Greenwood and The United States Air Force Band). I love this song, the music the lyrics, this is everything, definitely my favorite patriotic song. And this video, I love were it showed all the different places people were singing from apart because of covid-19, but united just the same.

    “And I’m proud to be an American,
    Where at least I know I’m free.
    And I won’t forget the men who died,
    Who gave that right to me.
    And I gladly stand up,
    Next to you and defend her still today.
    ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
    God bless the USA.”

    Meet in the Middle. Man, I love this song. And I love Home Free. This one is so happy.

    “I’d start walking your way
    you’d start walking mine
    we’d meet in the middle
    ‘neath that old georgia pine
    we’d gain a lot of ground
    ’cause we’d both give a little
    and there ain’t no road too long
    when you meet in the middle”

    Be a Light. This is more serious, beautiful and bittersweet.

    “In a time full of war, be peace
    In a time full of doubt, just believe
    Yeah, there ain’t that much difference between you and me
    In a time full of war, be peace

    In a world full of hate, be a light”

    united states flag cookie

    “Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
    What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
    O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
    O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

    Update, I had to add this link to a hilarious convo on July 4th and our beloved Cap. Which put me in mind of one of Loki’s finest moments.

    Happy Independence Day Y’all!!!

     

  • Daily Life

    Life Update: May and June Things

    I’m SO thankful for that procrastination inspiration moment in May when I was inspired to cull and revamp my tons of old posts, so that I could fill all of June and a bit into July (I wish I’d continued it a bit longer). I’ve since come up with a few more for July although it will be sparser. My life hit warp speed in June, I knew I had a lot (my sister’s wedding with a two month engagement, 3 classes), but I was stunned by how busy I’ve been. I realized when writing my post that I’d forgotten another huge thing, I went back to full time (because of tanking revenues, I think in the few short weeks after the covid-19 shutdown started we were operating at a loss, we all had to take one unpaid day a week for 8 weeks). Yeah, that does make a difference. Oh, and of course I didn’t start school at full speed ahead (translation, I started late per usual and then also couldn’t get into my classes for several days).

    I’ve spent most time on work and school . . . I’ve still wasted time on the internet, but I had very little time, energy, or motivation to participate.

    Towards the end of May I got more inspired/alert/motivated plus being reasonably busy gets me focused. With all that and our library starting curbside pickup (which I since discovered will not work with my schedule currently . . . ), I was inspired to read more, so I’ll also do a reading update post (I looked on my Goodreads, I barely read in Feb, March, and April, yikes!). Since the big city library system is being absolutely ridiculous (and wasting the greater resources available to them . . .) and assumes everyone is a person of leisure, I got a card to the library in the county I work (still only one branch but larger than my home county library, and also, opening next week! They’ve been doing curbside for months, they are on their game).

    I attended a small outdoor and barn wedding of a childhood friend.

    I’ve received my first edition of the Ashtown Burials serial.

    Collected a bit more makeup (also signed up for Ipsy) and some lovely bits of things for my bullet journal.  I love happy, I lovely things like this, small happy things I use frequently that don’t clutter up my space.

    Speaking of clutter, I’m trying to start using up, selling, and giving away more things. I have let go a huge amount of clothes, empty journals I’d collected years ago since I’ve migrated to combined bullet/art/memory journaling, and most of my Christian books which Mom wasn’t happy about, but they were taking up space, and I’m not a Christian, and I just don’t think it’s helpful for me to read them.

    I’m trying to build up home goods for my own place, so that when I move out I’m not flattened with all the costs to properly furnish the place. Also, to hopefully forestall gifts when I want my home to be far closer to minimalism than my various family members.

    I’ve worked on wedding stuff (I ended up needing to order a dress, I bargained for a J. Crew one on Poshmark, and it’s just lovely). I practiced the cake and cheesecake (first cheesecake), and I attempted to “age” these tiny terracotta pots from a Pinterest idea . . . which gave me a ton of moldy pots which I now have to scrub. Why do simple when you can have a dumb idea and give yourself more work? I also was going to attempt to root mint, gave that idea up too and bought bulk wildflower seeds to put in little organza bags to put in the tiny pots.

    I’ve also been working on my room, painting trim and hanging a curtain rod, which was rather an ordeal in my hoarder’s abode which features a very high window. In terms of other Pinterest fails, I hurriedly sewed curtains without properly considering everything, so now I have to close them with a hair clip. My room is on hold for now.

    I feel like life is spinning away from me. I’m a slow little hobbit, I can’t keep up with even a normal pace.
  • Culture and Entertainment

    The Rake gets the Virgin and the Harpy gets the Angel Boy

    “You could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him.”

    I LOVE the film Catching Fire, and I always think Peeta is an angel. But thinking that and with all the Georgette Heyer books in my mind . . .

    Georgette Heyer novels represent an/the old type of common thinking, the men do what they want and get the best girl and act all self-righteous if she is even slightly less than perfect even though they are horrid. This led to why rake, libertine, playboy, etc. not having the same connotation as whore even though they are literally the male/female correspondents (like Fez calling Kelso a whore when calling him out on his double-standards, it felt more “right” because he was, rather than cheering him on as a player, you know?). I mean to get the same connotation you have to say man-whore, um, I don’t think this circular, I think it started with the men!

    This started when most stories were written by men and later some women (ahem, Heyer) who liked the save-the-bad boy trope. Also, don’t blame this all on the patriarchy, tons of women upheld (and uphold) this in fact and fiction, glorifying the bad boy. The stories might be dying out or at least certain aspects, but the reality doesn’t feel like it is (although, perhaps the mores were never quite as extreme as fiction seems to imply?).

    Naturally that perspective makes my blood boil. Guess what, “feminism” didn’t fix it; we know have other problems including the exact opposite (although not sexual mores this time, but more in overall character). We have an overarching storyline (watching Hunger Games, Hallmark, and listening to women at work) where the woman can be as shrewish, manipulative, and hateful as possible and blame all men for everything without at all examining themselves. And not merely not understanding equivalency (you are both awful) or even normalcy (he’s the average to your awful, so normal is better than you), but expecting an angel boy.

    Yes, it can happen, but that doesn’t mean it should, you shouldn’t get a good boy, the good girl should get the good boy. The bad man shouldn’t expect a angelic princess. The good people should expect the other good people. Why is this so hard to grasp? I know everyone is some extent blind to themselves, but to be so blind?!!!! To hear most people talk about relationships, you’d think he/she is the saintliest of people who always so incomprehensibly ends up with the devil. Did you ever perhaps wonder just once if you just might possibly have contributed one smidge to the problem?!

    Here are the actual possibilities for a relationship. For simplicity’s sake I’ll assume three states of being although in reality they represent the absolute ends and middle of the spectrum of humanity.

    1. Good
    2. Average
    3. Toxic

    Person A is good and  Person B is good
    Person A is good and Person B is average
    Person A is good and Person B is toxic
    Person A is average and Person B is good
    Person A is average and Person B is average
    Person A is average and Person B is toxic
    Person A is toxic and Person B is good
    Person A is toxic and Person B is average
    Person A is toxic and Person B is toxic

    Even in this highly simplified situation, there are very few saints and demon matches, and since most people are someone in the middle in the average realm, the likelihood that one is of average decency dating someone of average decency is quite high. If you aren’t an angel, why is your significant other supposed to be? If you want an angel, try being one.

    The long version of one reason why I’m single, I’ve not achieved angelic status. Or is it I’ve not even achieved average goodness ?!