Monday miscellany, early spring edition

After a little over two months of Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge blog posts, I’m realizing that now my blog calendar is a lot less set…So, a random post!

This was a pretty good weekend as these things go. I started a new puzzle — another repeat from two years ago, and a fairly easy one. I ran 5 miles on Saturday morning with Jane, and we managed to finish our run before the rain started.

The 3-year-old went to a babysitter’s house for a few hours on Saturday, so in between shuttling older kids my husband and I went for a walk together at a local garden. These Saturday hours are a brief glimpse into what life will look like in a few years…it is actually possible to relax when you don’t have a little one around!

(My older kids can watch him for a little bit but I don’t have them stay with him for multiple hours.)

We took a family trip to Rita’s on Saturday evening, which was not at all relaxing (giving six orders…I didn’t get anything…my kids yelling at each other in the parking lot about who had to sit where in the van) but the kids really wanted to go.

Sunday, my choir performed a world premiere of a piece called “Thy Will Be Done,” which is a setting of the Lord’s Prayer by Jessica French. We’ve been doing different settings of the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday during Lent, and I like the idea of adding to the repertoire. It is a haunting, beautiful, and reasonably accessible piece, so I could see other choirs performing it (not always the case with new music!)

We hauled all the kids to Longwood Gardens for a very brief visit on Sunday afternoon. This was squeezed in after one child’s Dungeons & Dragons meet-up at a local comic store, and before the gardens closed at 5 p.m. There weren’t that many flowers up but oh well. The conservatory is always good. I’ll bring some children back in 2-3 weeks. The Wawa stop on the way home modestly improved overall ratings of the trip.

I’ve been spending some time pondering family travel over the next two years. My eldest will likely be off to college in approximately 2.5 years and while I suspect he will be willing to travel with us as a young adult, it won’t be quite so automatic. So we’ve been pondering what experiences we’d like to have. He’s a big fan of Disney — he just went with his school choir for five days and is lobbying to return as soon as possible (even though I warned him it would not be the same with his parents!) — so I’m sure that will be on the list but I’m hoping to do a few more adventurous family trips as well.

My husband has been copying old home videos that we took when our eldest two were babies (after that we had iPhones that took video so we pretty much stopped using the video recorder). That has been a weird trip down memory lane. I looked young! I guess we don’t notice changes in ourselves so much looking in a mirror every day but 15 years is definitely noticeable.

The 3-year-old has successfully transferred to a big boy bed so that is one more milestone down. The potty training is a bit hit or miss but I have high hopes for the next few weeks.

As for my longterm projects…I have written 12 complete sonnets in my daily writing project, and am working on the 13th. Some I really like. Some are terrible. But I do believe I will write more good ones this way than if I wasn’t writing so many. In my Jane Austen reading project I am now 190 pages into Pride and Prejudice. I finished Sense & Sensibility in early March and am now pondering the comparison of Elinor and Lizzy, a subject I’m sure has been pondered at length by Austen scholars. (And Marianne and Jane…? Jane Austen sure had her sister thing going…and the cad-ish gentleman, as played by Willoughby and Wickham…). I read Lady Susan, and the various satirical juvenalia first, but the full novels are definitely better than those.

Longtime readers/podcast listeners may recall that another 2023 goal was to do more strength training, and I’m now about to go meet with my trainer virtually. So, as we end Q1, so far so good…

Photo: Orchid wall at Longwood

10 thoughts on “Monday miscellany, early spring edition

  1. I recall from a while back that you weren’t that keen on Jane Austen? I hope you are enjoying her works more this year than when you read them previously. Have you read “Letters to Alice: On First Reading Jane Austen” by Fay Weldon Paperback – 6 May 1993? You can still get it on Amazon and it is fascinating, even more so perhaps to you as a writer and novelist, as some of it is about what it is to write fiction. It really gave me a completely new way of looking at her work when I read it all those years ago, and it confirms how feminist she was in many ways, not what one might have expected. You still have some great novels to go too- “Emma” and, in my view now, though not when I was young, the best, “Persuasion”.

    1. @Katherine – definitely feminist for 1800! That comes through pretty clearly. Honestly, it takes me a while to get into the books. That is the upside of a slow and steady read on works like this. I’m only reading ten pages at a time, and so even if I’m not that into the book until midway through it’s not that hard to read 10 pages (and I don’t feel guilty that I’m not reading more). I’m not inclined to abandon it as I might if I wasn’t sticking to the 10-pages-a-day pace.

  2. That’s a really nice update, Laura and it prompted me to revisit my 2023 goals to see where I am.

    Things are going well – I’m back to yoga after a pandemic break, am on track for my cycling mileage for the year, the big garden project (DIY) is in progress, just waiting for some better weather. I’ve also been to the theatre twice – with two more nights at the theatre booked.

    We have 3 weeks off teaching for Easter, and then only 2 weeks after that, so the university term is coming to the end. And I wonder if I can knock off a few things from my list over the holiday – ears repierced, the sunroom sorted, etc.

    1. @Coree – let me know how the ear repiercing goes! I have one slightly torn earlobe…not sure how to solve that but it’s not terrible so perhaps I live with it.

  3. I love your daily sonnet idea. I don’t have any illusions about becoming a great writer myself (and fortunately have a stable and mostly ok day job), but I am inspired to try something similar.

    1. @Sam – it really is doable! Just a few minutes (and occasional glances at a rhyming dictionary). Perfectly compatible with a stable and mostly ok day job 🙂

  4. I am currently reading Pride and Prejudice aloud with my 12 yo daughter. It is fun to see a book I have ready many times through the eyes of a first timer. I have promised we will watch the movie (BBC with Colin Firth) when we are done. It has been a fun project.

    Jane Austen was so close with her sister I think it is interesting to see her all the sister relationships, some good, some not so loving, develops in her novels.

    1. @Gillian – yes, the sister relationship is interesting. I have no sister – sometimes wonder what that would be like! I don’t know and my daughter won’t know either…

  5. My oldest is finishing 8th grade this spring, and I am suddenly VERY aware of the fact that this means we only have FOUR years then left with him in high school!! I am already having the same thoughts about travel. It all seems so fleeting!! On top of that, it seems like it is getting more and more difficult to even find windows of time that everyone is free to travel at the same time. Our boys are pretty involved in sports, with at least one or both likely to do a high school fall sport, one will do HS swimming (winter- which means you really can’t go away during winter break, because they are “all in” during that season) and then my oldest may have a spring sport! Summer gets wacky with different start and end dates (while at different schools) and other activities they want to do that get in the way/they “can’t miss”… ugh! It makes my head spin. Traveling is so important to us, but it is getting trickier by the minute. 🙁

    1. @Grateful Kae – yep. We’re planning a trip in winter next year, but choosing MLK vs. Presidents Day weekend is about looking at which tournaments are when… it gets pretty hard. Maybe I’ll try to take most of a summer off some year to do lots of travel!

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