Anne Notations

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Now for something a little different

Found this beauty under the butterfly bush in the front yard. Our resident praying mantis had a tasty meal.

By virtue of having Friday off (and no Caroline this week), and tomorrow being Columbus Day, I'm enjoying a four-day break. Thursday night, I resolved to put politics and the economy out of my mind as much as possible to restore my soul and get myself to a less crabby place.

The weather has cooperated magnificently, donning its early-October finery all weekend: clear sunny days in the high 60s, cool nights in the 40s, ridiculously blue skies, hushed mornings, pleasantly breezy afternoons. In the fields around us, the sumac is turning scarlet and the grasses beige. The ornamental grass clumps we planted in front of our house in June grew immense and then, a few weeks ago, hoisted giant grain tassels high above their foliage. As the sun moves westward each afternoon, the tassels catch the light. With each toss of the breeze they glimmer, silver and bronze.

This morning while walking Daisy by the beach, I saw the autumn's first returning flock of Brant geese paddling into Greenwich Bay. We walked around the entire point, across the far beach and over to the city boat launch ramp. Fishing and pleasure craft came and went on the sparkling water. At the baseball diamond, where a men's softball game was going on, we met a young woman and her dog, who looked like Daisy's first cousin: same size, ears, coloring.

Michael and I got out twice to the movies; we saw Eagle Eye and Body of Lies, both the sort of intelligent action thriller that we enjoy seeing together.

Fall inspires me to cook heartier fare. Earlier last week I made a big crockpot (slow cooker) full of Portuguese kale and chourico soup that lasted us several nights. Friday I made stuffed cabbage, Polish-style, also in the crockpot, substituting ground turkey for beef. We've had it two nights in a row and there's enough left for someone's lunch tomorrow. These are things Melinda would never dream of eating; one small bright side to her being away at college is that I can prepare soups, stews, and casseroles for the menfolk. Tomorrow I'm roasting a large chicken, and from the leftovers and carcass I'll make soup for later in the week. I also have more ground turkey to make our favorite meatloaf.

How about some good news?

• Kevin is taking medication for his ADD, and also really trying hard. He has turned his grades around from numerous failures last spring to honor-roll-caliber grades so far this fall. And he's excited about it. I am so happy for him (and relieved; I can't deny how very relieved I am).

• Last week for the first time in nearly a year, I purchased gas – at the Gulf station on Smith Street near the RI State House – for under $3.00 a gallon: $2.99. The recent drop in fuel prices is perhaps the one silver lining of the current recession for us common folk.

• I'm not sure if this is good news or a terrible embarrassment, but it's entertaining and relaxing: I got caught up (or should I say "sucked in" – ha ha) in the current pop-culture frenzy around the Twilight young-adult vampire novel series. The movie based on the first book will open November 21, and I'm already planning to see it. The books are somewhat silly and pretentious, but whatever; I'm immersed in the saga of plain-jane teen Bella and her exquisite vampire boyfriend Edward and her ardent werewolf/Indian admirer Jacob. Tonight I'm in the middle of the third book, Eclipse, which I had to run out and buy at Target today. Look, when I get into something, I really get into it! As popular literature goes, the series is more akin to a Nancy Drew mystery than to the sophisticated, lush prose of Anne Rice's first three vampire books, which are (to me) the gold standard of the bloodsucking genre.

• It had been nearly two years since I last saw Los Lonely Boys in concert. Peter, Andrés and I went up to Boston on Sept. 13 for an afternoon and evening with this awesome band: a screening of portions of their documentary, Cotton Fields and Crossroads, at the WGBH studios, followed by a Q&A with the brothers; a signing event at Newbury Comics in Quincy Market; and a concert at the Paradise Rock Club that night. The concert venue was small; we stood near the stage, which was only about two feet high, within arm's reach of Henry and Jojo. Henry's guitar talent, impressive all along, has reached new heights. For an encore they played Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile," and my hair nearly stood on end with the thrill of it.

Henry (left) and Jojo shred their way through "Voodoo Chile." This awesome photo was taken by Andrés from our front-row vantage point. Click to see it larger.

• Finally, for your entertainment, I present this timely comic strip (click it if it's too small to read) ...

…and its real-life analog: a video Kevin shot from the second-story deck in July while we adults were blissfully occupied in the back yard with Melinda's graduation party. The voices cheering our young daredevil belong to cousins. Pardon the F-bomb at the end! I was aghast when I first viewed this, but now it amuses me: Boys will be boys. Andrés is an experienced rock-climber and has learned the correct way to fall. Ready? Ready?


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