I posted my summer fun list last week. This weekend was mostly a good one — in part because I completed two items, and made major progress on a third.
On Friday night I took my husband out for a birthday dinner at one of our favorite haunts, Cerise (the chef was recently on a show with Bobby Flay!). It’s a BYOB establishment, so we decided to bring one of the good bottles left over from a work dinner. It was tasty, though the evening took an unfortunate turn when the baby woke up not once but twice (2:00 and 4:30 A.M. – like a newborn). I was on duty, it being my husband’s birthday, and I had the morning shift too, though fortunately having had a bottle at 4:30, the baby did sleep until 7:30.
At 9:30 I handed the baby over to my husband and took the 3 big kids strawberry picking at our local pick-your-own place. We took a too bouncy hay ride over to the fields, but it was all very pleasant. The clouds kept it from being too hot and the kids loved finding those big juicy berries partially hidden beneath the leaves. I quite like the hunt for the perfect berry myself. It was a lovely hour or so watching the little ones pick their treasures. We filled three big boxes and one small one, and thus checked that activity off the list.
After driving home, I quickly fed my 6-year-old and took him to his Little League game. This was quite nice too, though upon arriving home, I learned that the baby still had not gone down for a nap. I put him in the car and drove him around until he fell asleep. Then I got ready and drove to the train station for the 4:10 train to NYC.
On the train, I started reading Pride and Prejudice — another summer fun item list. I started at the beginning, as one normally does, but within a few pages I just felt this huge resistance to continuing. I had a hard time getting into Austen’s affectations, and the whole thing felt plodding. So, in an effort to save this project, I committed literary sacrilege. I started reading somewhere toward the end, and found this much more readable. So then I worked backwards, reading from the middle to the end. And now I’m reading from the early-middle to the late-middle, and will eventually make my way back to the start. In my defense, this being a classic, the plot is so well-known that it’s not like I spoiled anything. This Mr. Darcy guy turns out to be a winner after all! Re-reading later sections as I read earlier sections makes things that might have been obscure on first reading much more clear. And I will get through the book this way, whereas if I had just read from the beginning, I think I would have been playing on my phone on the train the whole way instead. Feel free to judge.
In NYC I headed over to midtown east for my concert. My old choir, YNYC, was celebrating their 15th anniversary season, and invited alumni to join for a singing of the Mozart Requiem. It was great fun to sing on stage again (summer fun item #3 for the weekend). I also enjoyed hearing the choir perform three world premieres. Years ago, I helped found something we came to call the Competition for Young Composers, which commissions three new works from composers under age 30 each year. The three new pieces were fantastic, and it is always exciting to hear something that has never been performed before.
After, I went with the crew over to a bar on 2nd avenue, then eventually made my way to Penn Station for the 11:05 regional (the strange Saturday mash-up of the usual weekday choices: the 10:05 or the 11:28 — neither of which exist on Saturday! I’m glad I checked ahead of time). I was slightly more into Austen for this leg of the trip, and made it to Philadelphia at 12:30 without crashing. I drove home, got into bed and — this being my husband’s night to cover — slept until 8:15 or so. Heavenly.
On Sunday, my husband took the big boys to an air show in Reading, mostly because he wanted to see the planes, and little boys are a good excuse for doing so. I took the little ones shopping at Target, and then to lunch at McDonalds. We took a quick dip in the pool, then I read more Jane Austen while the baby napped. When the boys got home, I took them in the pool. Eventually we had dinner and cupcakes and ice cream. My 9-year-old has been big into making timelines ever since he was assigned to do the Charles Darwin one, so he made my husband a timeline of his life for his birthday. It was incredibly cute.
In other news: Hearst Digital is releasing the project I did with Redbook on stay-at-home moms on Monday. It’s called the Mom Gig, and I’ll post a link when I have one. In the meantime, I’ll be participating in a Redbook Facebook Live chat around 1:00 P.M. Monday, so be sure to like their page and join us!
9 thoughts on “Hitting a triple”
I love the idea of going back and reading classics that you feel you missed out on earlier. This winter I read for the first time Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and was blown away. How had I not read it earlier in my life?!?! How had I not known about Maya Angelou’s early life?!?! Like I said, blown away…
I would love to hear what other classics are must reads if you missed them. I should search for a list… would be fun to work through.
I have had limitations with Austen too and enjoyed the modern adaptations (and the movies) of Pride and Prejudice far more than I ever enjoyed the original. Curtis Sittenfeld just put out a modern retelling of the story called Eligible, if you are interested. It’s a really fast and fun read! In Sittenfeld’s version, the two oldest sisters are 40 and near-40 instead of in their 20s. I really liked how Sittenfeld translated the socially dramatic plot events into 21st century headlines. You might particularly enjoy it after reading the original.
to play devil’s advocate, I just read Eligible and was not a fan. And I LOVED Sittenfeld’s Prep and American Wife!
I love the clever drawing of Mrs. Bennett. Reading P&P for the first time at 20 or so, I was as appalled by her as Darcy and Lizzie. As an older woman, I appreciate how well she knew her business – getting those girls well married. Notice that she’s the one who sets the stage for the Bingley and Darcy matches, ensuring a rain soaked walk in one case and a tweet a tweet in another. Vulgar yes, but very canny. 🙂
Make that tête-à-tête! Autocorrect!
@Anon- I was liking the idea of a tweet-a-tweet, personally!
Personally, although I really love all Jane Austen, I have to say “Persuasion” is by far the best of her novels. Coming back to it when one is older, one particularly appreciates life as a twenty first century woman. Whatever problems we may have now with being too busy, can we have it all and all that, life now as a woman is infinitely better than it was then. But it is a lovely, sympathetic and heart warming book, in my view anyway. Hard to believe Jane was dying, and probably knew it, when she wrote it.
@KatherineB- it was interesting, while reading P&P, to note the differences between eras. First of all, how un-busy everyone was! I’ll have to check out Persuasion.
Re your comment about women not being busy, in many ways life for women of a certain class then must have been very boring. I think someone in a comment on one of your other posts suggested reading “Longbourn” which is a modern retelling of P&P from the perspective of the servants and that shows a very different life – I haven’t read it all but what I did certainly made me think. Mind numbingly boring or tough and grim, either way life as an early 19th century woman wasn’t for me!