Yeah right

We watched Charlotte's Web last night - shhhh, Chris doesn't want anyone to know! - and we liked it quite a bit. However....Maine?! I think not. The movie was filmed in Australia. I knew the weather was too good to be true.

Note: I thought this was funny - when I spell-checked my entry, the only thing spelled "wrong" was shhhh. Their suggestion for a correction? Chihuahua. Ironically, the spell checker on my e-mail couldn't figure out that that was what I was trying to spell when I wrote chawowa earlier today. And...neither can this one! They suggest "Sherwood". Jeez.

Some Trouble With Suction

I am charging my vacuum. It is worthless. I should boot it into the woods like a good hillbilly, so that when people are hiking around they can come across this DustBuster half buried in last year's leaves, with poison ivy twining around it. It will be sitting a few feet from the gutted out pick-up that is missing it's hood. The sun will be dappling the whole scene, and a cardinal will flitter by. Ah, the beauty of the Maine woods.

Perhaps I will finish charging the vacuum and then see if it is truly worthless. I am inspired today, and am cleaning my car. I went out and bought a cordless vacuum for $24 dollars, and then realized that by the time the full charge is reached I will be uninspired. So I took it outside to the car at quarter-charge and put it to work on it's maiden cleaning. The slow fading of the zoom, and the interesting way in which it did NOT suck up dirt both transpired against my first impression of it. I am prepared to be unimpressed, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt and chalk up it's failure to my own impatience. And so, I am charging my vacuum.

The inspiration for this cleaning frenzy came from the glorious sun that is pouring down on Maine, finally. What do people do on their days off when the sun is shinning? They wash and clean their cars. It is even almost warm enough to put on a bathing suit and get wet and sexy - I mean sudsy. Typically, my plans are foiled by silly things like vacuums, and the lack of an outdoor faucet, or whatever - the thing you would hook a hose to. My house is missing one. The genius of our builders strikes again.

Oooo, speaking of "strikes", as in The Empire Strikes Back, I just saw a trailer for a very silly/funny looking movie about psycho Star Wars fans. At one point they have a run-in with some psycho Star Trek fans which is always entertaining to me, AND William Shatner and Carrie Fisher make appearances. I am getting a thing for bonkers movies. Which is why I watched Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny. And liked it.



I am so frustrated. Every single thing I want to do today is being hampered by the copious amount of carpenters and builders who have invaded my house. Never mind that they are finishing my house - putting up the siding, adding the railing to the deck, installing cabinets. Ahhh. Why do they have to be here while I am?

I can't leave though, can't go to the library, can't go get my passport picture taken, can't go see a movie at the Grand, because there are (count them) seven vehicles in my narrow driveway. They could be moved, I know, but by now I am in such a flustered state that I can't be bothered to put everyone through that ordeal. Yet I can't get anything done here at my house because of the never ending banging and hammering and just barely overheard conversations and the barking dog. This is the last straw though - the sun is finally shinning warm and bright down onto the back deck and I SO badly want to sit out there and read (even though I have nothing to read) but I CAN'T because I will be in the way of progress. Gah..............!

Later: Well, I found a book about houseplants and made some hot chocolate and took advantage of the builder's lunch break. Sun, glorious sun on my soon to be fabulous deck!! I ended up going back in to make myself lunch after an hour or so of basking, and then spent another hour out there just soaking up the sun. I told the builders this was neccisary for my mental health, since it is supposed to snow again tomorrow. They managed to work around me. :)

Just another Sarah

It's a new record!!! I was the only Sarah at Surry Gardens for a WHOLE MONTH! Today "Sally" joined us - the nickname will tell us apart better than other techniques I've encountered (such as telling the Sarahs apart by attaching them to their boyfriends, a.k.a. "Ponce's Sarah, Joel's Sarah, Tsetso's Sarah, etc.) but I have the added bonus of the fact that she's a million years older than me. Just like everyone else at Surry Gardens...

Chris says that every Sarah he's met who is above 50 has called herself Sally as well. Interesting. I would join the trend, (in30 years) but would accomplish nothing. I would just encounter an abundance of Sally's, I suppose.

Muddling about on my day off...

I went and bought a table today. It made me feel very grown up to do so. It is small and round, and has drop leafs so that we can make it even smaller. It has a complicated base that has some scroll-work, perhaps, and the two chairs that came with it have kind of celtic knots worked into their backs. It is a sort of mid-rang dark colored wood - I forget what variety.

It is in three boxes in the back of my car right now. I was going to bring it in and try to put it together before Chris got home, but after backing down my driveway (hard) I found that those crazy Fenton builders had taken away my stairs. They are back after almost two months to finish the house - putting on the deck and siding and whatnot. I don't see why they had to take away the stairs though...

However, I got some fun mail today, and that cheered me out of my disappointment. I got a FAT package from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, and a little note from "Dottie". I had sent a card asking for some info on any hiking or camping opportunities in Hancock County (hoping for maps more than anything). This lovely Dottie was obliging and sent me a whole heap of pamphlets and maps and information on a whole slew of places around the state. Very cool. Now I have to get out and start exploring.

Speaking of exploring, I drove over to the island yesterday to visit Amy, but her store was closed until Friday. Bugger. So I went doodling about and discovered that a section of the park loop road was open. We were in the midst of that annoying April 3rd snow storm, but in spite of it I found that the snow-frosted mountains were quite pretty.

I stopped at Thunder Hole to see if anything interesting was happening, and for once something was! In fact, I haven't seen the hole blowing so well for 7 or 8 years. The waves were enormous, and while Thunder Hole was good, as usual it was almost more fun to watch the waves breaking against Otter Cliffs. There were some majorly giant crash-ups. I had my camera, but trying to get pictures of the big surf is always hard. What ends up looking like a little plume of foam is really a thunderous explosion of water and rock - thrilling and frightening and splendid.

What's With All the Bears?!

I haven't seen any bears hanging out around my house in Waltham, but it is plenty remote and there are probably going to be blueberries galore come August, a.k.a. The Canning Season!! According to the book I am reading, if I were to walk into town I would get eaten by a bear because that is what happens in Maine. Err... the closest I've come to being eaten is when I surprised a pheasant or grouse or whatever the heck those explosive birds are, last Wednesday when I was booting around in the woods. That thing scared me into a half crouching trembling state, complete with hands over my face. As they always do. Seriously. Spooking a pheasant (or whatever) is about as panic-inducing as having a gun shot off next to your ear.

When I am not getting scared to the max out in the woods, I am now working at Surry Gardens. Good news! I haven't been solely responsible for the death of a plant yet! In fact, I may be adding to their general well-being. I may in fact be kind of good at caring for plants. At least some of it. Potting is great fun, as long as you have under 500 plugs to do and someone to help you. I am the queen of filling up six packs (which I can now knowledgeable identify as either 606's or 806's) with dirt for direct sowing. I am also the official pincher, and de-budder. I have spent the last two days picking flowers and buds off begonias and geraniums, since nothing is allowed to flower at Surry Gardens without permission from the boss, Jim. Everything happens on his schedule, so if that means that 138 bougainvilleas need to be cut back and de-flowered, who gets to do it? Yes, me.

I really like my job. There is something different to do every day, and interesting people to work with. The greenhouses are mostly pleasant to be in - definitely nice when the sun comes out and they warm up like summer. In the real summer I suspect they will be baking, but I take my blessings as they come. I am learning a lot, and gathering a nice collection of plants for my own house.

As to the rest of life, I am learning to play darts and am hopeless at it. I am learning to play Nerf (mini basketball or something - we have a tiny ball and hoop and play in the house. Sweet.) I am still reading a decent amount, and watching too many movies. (A recent great movie was The Holiday. Jack Black is the king. And I finally get it - Jude Law is HOT!) I am exploring Ellsworth more, doing things like taking myself out to breakfast and playing tennis. I am getting to be slightly recognizable to the people up at Porky Sue's. I am having a good time, pretty much.

Now, if only the weather would co-operate. Let's skip Maine's version of "spring" and get on to the good parts - how about a little of the canning season. Bring on the blueberries, and, I suppose, the bears.

Okay, so...

According to the police sisters I have to write about real life every now and then. I know, I know all you said was, "Why didn't you write about your new job? You only wrote about BOOKS again". I will remind you that books are a very great and glorious thing to write about, and many famous people throughout the ages have done so to the deep appreciation of others. There is no need to remind me that I am, a. Not a famous person, b. Not a good critic of any variety, or c. That I really write about books because I like to hear myself trying to sound clever. (There is also a rather less great and glorious tradition of reminder c. - in those ranks I might get the honor of being a bit of gum stuck to the bottom of Terry Prachett's boot.)

All right, so, even though everyone who reads this sad excuse for a blog probably already knows this, I got a job. At least I hope I did. I filled out an application, had an interview, was offered the position of...greenhouse worker?? watering person?? fertilizing supervisor?? (well, let's not get carried away here)...or something...signed a W4, shook hands, and trotted off to await the phone call that will alert my attention to my first day of work at Surry Gardens. I don't mind the waiting - these last few weeks of freedom taste sweeter than the ones that came before - but I do hope that the call comes. They said mid to late February so there is no problem here yet, and it is wickedly cold out so perhaps the tender young plants don't yet need my blundering attempts at nursing them to health. Even so, I wake in the night sweating over nightmares where I wrote my phone number or address down incorrectly.

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What did you expect?

January has a new record attached to it. In the span of my most recent years (being the last two) I read more books in January than I did in any other month. 21 is the grand total. Be proud of me, please. This is a huge feat, coming from the girl who only managed to read 4 books all summer (and that comes down to one book a sad month...) Some celebration is due. I think I'll go watch a movie. Galaxy Quest is always fabulous.

Since my last update I have read several interesting books, one of which would be An Abundance of Katherines. That book finished the work that The Royal Tennenbaums had begun and helped me to understand once and for all that I am well pleased that I skipped the whole child prodigy thing. Subject settled. Also, John Green (the author) may be the genius that Colin (the character) so badly wished he was. Even if the actual math formula was his friend's invention.

I read a weird book by Ursula Le Guin called Very Far Away from Everywhere Else. It confused me. Why, when her fabulous mind contains world upon world of amazing characters and the circumstances that surround them, did she write a book about confused teenagers in the world that I already have to live in? If I wanted to read about people similar to me in somewhat similar situations I need only turn to Cecil Castellucci who wrote about it much better in Boy Proof. Yikes. Did I just say that? Did I just sort of indicate that I was displeased with one of The Queen's books. Er...Well.

Hey, on a better note I bought a book! From an independent secondhand bookseller!! Be proud of me Leila. I bought a book called Amphigory Too by Edward Gorey. He's the guy who I know mostly for his illustrations in Joan Aiken's books. Which are cool and creepy. Tucked in among the tattered graphic novels and comic books I found a whole collection of illustrations by the man, in the form of short stories. Weird and vaguely disturbing stories, the perfect match for his bizarre black and white imaginings. I bought the book impulsively and got the bookseller all excited by doing so. Apparently, I have fabulous taste. I'm all right with that opinion. :)

On to the next thing...

((Written two days ago, before the internet conked out and didn't allow me to post...))

Yes, I have stopped reading. As much. Now I am obsessively crocheting, with a tiny, tiny hook. It's so small I can barely see it. Just the way I like it. I am trying to set out on a large crocheting project consisting of making curtains. Why? I don't know, because I thought it would be cool. I keep trying different patterns out of this Victorian white work book I found at the Ellsworth library. After a few days of experimenting I have officially decided that, although the 1.5mm hook is fun to use, it will take me ten years to make one curtain with it. So I am moving up to a 3.75mm hook and cotten that is thicker than thread, and we'll see how it goes. At least I've finally settled upon a pattern.

Also, I am going to make a rug. Out of felt. And I am going to stain some shelves so that Chris can put them up. AND I have been baking! Muffins, cookies, and an apple tart thing. More food coming in the future.

Besides crocheting, rug-making, baking, staining, sweeping my house, comparitive shopping for a dresser, and sneaking up to librarians and popping the question (job please?) I have also been watching movies, and yes, reading.

Movies of interest include Undertaking Betty. If you want to see Christopher Walkin as a funeral parlor director, (who dresses corpses up as characters from Star Trek!) watch this movie. If you want to see Doctor Octopus as a love-sick Welsh man, watch this movie. If you want to see the greatest (fake) haunting ever, watch this movie. It is funny in a whacked out sort of way.

Another bizzare and possibly brilliant movie is The Life Aquatic With Steve Zazoo. Ahem. Ahem. Sorry? Did I just sort of say I liked a movie with Bill Murrey in it? Yeah, I guess so. *sigh*

The Shawshank Redemption is pretty darn good as well. It made me realize, though, that Tim Robbins is really not cute in any way. But he is fabulous never-the-less.

Books of interest would be: The Game of Sunken Places by M. T. Anderson. That's the same guy who wrote Feed, my least favorite book to date. This book is quite different though. For one thing the F word is used, um, never. And it is set in Vermont, in the present when we all still have skin and whatnot. If you thought this was all going to lead to me saying I loved it, WOW, Anderson really can pull it off when he puts his mind to it, you're wrong. I didn't much care for the story - too much like Jumunji. But I am proud of myself for giving the author a second chance. So that's good I guess.

Anyway, The Ellsworth Public Library doesn't want me, the Jesup Memorial Library doesn't want me, and I am sort of starting to think that maybe I don't want to work in a place that I love so much. That would kind of take the glow out of it, right? So I fool myself.

Now I am considering being the ice cream production manager (if they'll let me) for the Acadia Corporation (if that means I get to actually make the ice cream). Maybe. Erg. Maybe I could work in some gallery or something. Maybe I could be crafty enough to be self employed. Maybe a rich relative I never met will die and give me all his money. If the world were built on 'maybe's then I would already have a palace and extensive grounds and gardens.

Ah well. Excuse me while I go and eat a banana muffin.

Outragiously Delicious

I freakin' love to read. I'd almost rather read than do anything else, which is at once a wonderful and a huge pit-fall. I am referring to the past four days where with pleasure and passion I read five books (that's like one and a quarter books a day) and can hardly admit to doing a whole lot else. It was fantastic. The words of Ursula Le Guin and Libby Bray ran races around my head, and it was all I could do to keep up. But now, I MUST STOP READING.

Perhaps I should modify that to reading less, or perhaps to doing OTHER things beside reading in a day. I'm in an awkward spot though, having moved into a new house that needs copious amounts of things DONE to it, and being without many of the means of DOING those things. For instance, I need to make curtains. I designed the curtains in a full color illustration. I made measurements. But I don't have the material yet, or anywhere to set up my sewing machine. Before I can make curtains I need to set up my sewing room. I have made drawings of the work bench I have in mind. Chris is going to get wood. But it's not build yet. In the face of such circumstances, and with a brand new book by Ursula Le Guin singing to me like a siren....what can I do?

Well, after being snowed in for two days, on the first clear day I can dash off to the library to get MORE books, I suppose...! That I am doing, without any shame. If anything, reading is what I do.

However, I do have some self control. If I want to continue reading the copious amounts that I would like to, I am going to have to wake myself up at 6 in the morning to do so. After all, I have sewing and drawing and wood-burning and walking and cello playing and wall tiling and bean-bag making to do, never mind volunteering in the community and finding a part time job (in a library) somewhere.

That all being said, Boy Proof was fun, Gifts was wonderful, A Great and Terrible Beauty was delicious, Water Shaper was slightly dull, and Voices was a pleasure. If I didn't have to rush off to find more books, I would have time to say more. For the moment, all I will say, with resounding belief and ringing tone is this:

Ursula K. Le Guin is the Queen.