Monday, July 16: HOT. Muggy. Bleargh. Cleaned up after the Bright Futures Atlanta kids’ visit (as always, a little lemonade gets spilled, and we have to put the chairs away and wash the blankets we keep on the hay wagon). Did the week’s grocery shopping and menu planning. SOTD: testing Neil Morris Seaflower on one wrist and Woodland Strawberries on the other. This may be a Neil Morris week – I have three more of his to test.
Dinner was Flounder with Crab Topping (the recipe was “Stuffed Flounder,” but did not involve any actual stuffing activity so I renamed it). Delicious, but the texture of the fish suffered – it got mushy and almost disintegrated. The recipe called for baking at 400F for 15 minutes, and that was probably too long, or at least too long for frozen fillets. (You really cannot get fresh fish this far inland unless you’re a fancy seafood restaurant and can afford to fly stuff in.) The flavors were excellent, though, and I’m probably going to try this again with a sturdier type of fish. Tilapia, maybe. Maybe cod, though the cod might overwhelm the crab flavor.
The kids watched “Night at the Museum 2” last night – the Smithsonian one, with Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart. I usually really really hate Ben Stiller, though I don’t know why. He seems like a perfectly nice guy in real life… he just sort of, well, ooks me out. Except in these Museum flicks, where he seems normal. I might have to blame his performance in “Reality Bites,” where he was super creepy. (Not that I’m an Ethan Hawke fan, either. But I do love Winona Ryder. Does that make me a Gen X cliché?) SOTE: JHaG Citizen Queen..
Tuesday, July 17 – Another hot day. My stargazer lilies have been almost completely subsumed by either the Black-Eyed Susans or the Shasta daisies. I should dig them up and replant elsewhere (and should thin out the daisies anyway). But the lilies smell wonderful anyway.
SOTD: Neil Morris Parfum d’Odette. Innnnnteresting stuff.
Wednesday, July 18 – It’s slightly cooler, slightly less humid, but not enough to make things comfortable outside. Wrote two blog posts and worked on a story in the morning, and then sewed a little bit on a cotton dress for Bookworm. SOTD: testing Neil Morris Le Parfum d’Ida on one wrist, Moulin Rouge on the other.
Thursday, July 19 – Errands. And the boys are arguing. And Bookworm is sick, so I took her to the doctor to see why this little cough she’s had since I picked her up at drum major camp last week has not abated. Turns out she’s got bronchitis, and because it’s getting worse instead of better, she’s on antibiotics. SOTD: Neela Vermeire Bombay Bling, which is niiiiice. Emphatically fruity, but in, yes, that exuberant, unapologetically fun Bollywood style.
Friday, July 20 – Rain off and on. We did some of the normal Saturday house-cleaning, so my nephew Doodlebug could stay the night. SOTD: NM Le Parfum d’Odette again. Nice. Reread Joshilyn Jackson’s Between, Georgia, which is very good but still my least favorite of her books. (Bookworm liked it far, far better than gods in Alabama, which does have some… difficult material in it. Like unpunished murder, for example.)
Slept in Tabac Aurea. Yum.
Saturday, July 21 – Hot muggy day. We did some laundry and more house-cleaning, and my sister arrived to spend the night with us. SOTD: By Kilian Sweet Redemption. PETBoy came over to work on plans for directing the marching show and stayed most of the day; then The CEO, Gaze, and Doodlebug went to a Salem Red Sox game while Taz read books. We tried the crab-topped fish again with tilapia, and the tilapia stayed relatively firm. Yum.
My sister A, Bookworm, and I watched “Much Ado About Nothing,” the Kenneth Branagh-directed version, on ancient videotape and then talked about literature studies in public schools in the 1970s and ’80s versus today. A and I read a whoooooole lot of depressing literature in English classes, and Bookworm was appalled. Seems there was a great deal of paranoid/ fatalistic/ doomsday material in vogue then. Anybody remember “To Serve Man”? Or “The Lottery”? Lord of the Flies, anybody? Then we appalled A by informing her that Bookworm’s 8th grade English class studied the fantastically-mind-numbing Twilight.
I KNOW. I KNOW. It’s admirable to try to bring literature alive to preteens and young teens by studying a pop culture phenomenon, but Twilight is like crack for the brain, except less enjoyable. What a good thing that now English teachers can focus on The Hunger Games instead. I shocked A by telling her that I think The Hunger Games series is at least on a par with the Harry Potter series, if not even more significant. She hasn’t read THG, and I think she’s been negatively influenced by the love-triangle aspect, which is not even the point of the thing… or maybe she’s only seen the movie ads. Well, she’s missing out. But then, she’s not an insane reader like I am, and I don’t know that she’s read a lot of literature new to her since she finished college, with the exception of the aforementioned Harry Potter novels.
(Or so I hear about the crack. I mean, I know nobody’s going to believe me, but I’ve never misused a pharmaceutical, legal or not. Not only have I never inhaled, I don’t even know what pot smells like.)
I stayed up too late talking. “Much Ado About Nothing” is still terrific. The acting in it, with the exception of Keanu Reeves – before A or I said anything, Bookworm volunteered that “you could hammer nails into him, he’s that wooden,” – is uniformly excellent. I’d forgotten how good Robert Sean Leonard is, because I didn’t like him in “Dead Poets Society,” much preferring Josh Charles. And Denzel Washington is wonderful.
Well, okay, maybe Kate Beckinsale is a little stiff. But she was all of maybe 18 when this was filmed. And she’s gorgeous in it, as dewy as fresh flowers. And some of the staging is dumb: at the wedding, Claudio knocks over a pole adorned with flowers, and without explanation all of the decorative poles go down? Please. But my favorite part is where, after exchanging heated witty insults through several scenes with Beatrice, Benedick says to her, “I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is that not strange?”
Sunday, July 22 – Another hot muggy day – but, as my sister points out, “It’s cooler than Texas.” It’s only in the upper 80s here. SOTD: Ines de la Fressange, the first one, from 1999. The fruity floral one. Yeah, yeah… before you sneer, I’ll point out that a fruity floral is as appropriate in summer as raspberry lemonade is. If it’s done well, it can be lighthearted and enjoyable and fun. This one is done well. (Hmm, I’ve never done a formal review of it. I should.)
I took Gaze to enter two of his photographs in the county fair. His “Dogwood Blossom” really stood out from where it was hanging on the wall, but of course officials hadn’t closed out entries when we submitted his. They’re judging today, so we should be able to find out the results tomorrow.