Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Need a laugh?

 At this crazy busy time of year, don't you feel like jumping off the long pier into summer?

My daughter's second play opens tonight. She is playing one of the 3 Alice's in Alice in Wonderland at her school. This morning her straightener died so half of her hair is naturally curly and the other half is straight. The 2 other Alice's have naturally straight hair. I'm suggesting braids. They say break a leg, not a hair straightener! Her first play, Comedy of Errors, was free of unintended comic errors. For that she played a man. The girl has range. The below YouTube clip was recommended by her Shakespeare acting class buddies.

Laughter keeps us going:

The photo is of Deer Isle, Maine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Up Morse Mountain to Seawall Beach, directions included

After all the rain we've been having, I'm posting some sunshine from early May.

Morse Mt. is more of a hill than a mountain. Our part of Maine is very flat. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. At first glance, the snow capped peaks appear to be clouds. Mt. Washington may be the tallest mountain in Northeastern USA, but it doesn't have a beach.

Seawall Beach is usually near empty because to access it, you have to climb two miles up and down Morse each way. It's an easy hike on a dirt road through wild woodlands and marshes. In late spring through summer the trail is very buggy.

This undeveloped oceanside beach stretches for a mile. At low tide you can wade to Popham Beach and walk another 3 miles on soft sand. May is a bit cold for swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, even on a sunny day.

I'm soaking up the cyber rays. This is the wettest spring that I can remember. At least all the rain makes it easier to work on a novel set in England. Cheers!

Directions to Morse Mountain and Seawall Beach in Phippsburg, Maine:
Take Rt. 1 North
At Bath, Exit High Street/Rt. 209
Right onto 209 toward Phippburg for 11.2 miles
Continue Straight onto ME 216/Small Point Road (drive past the Popham Beach turn off)
After 0.8 miles on Rt. 216, take a Left onto Morse Rd
Parking lot is on the left (no dogs or bikes allowed)
The trail is the old road and clearly marked
Hike 2 miles to Seawall Beach
Bring insect repellant in summer!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New York Botanical Garden in peak bloom (GBBD)

The Bronx is known as a tough neighborhood, 
but it also has the most magnificent magnolia trees.

The drive to the New York Botanical Garden from Manhattan 
usually takes under a half hour.

On the one sunny day of April vacation week, the drive took us three times as long. Next time we will take the train from Grand Central Station (20 minutes on the Metro North.)

The crowds, however, were heading to the Bronx Zoo. 
 The Botanical Garden was nearly empty of people but bursting with magnolia blooms . . .

. . . and daffodils.

Cherry trees danced in the breeze.

Have you ever seen bluer skies in New York City?

Spring has finally come to Maine too: my forsythia.

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth, from the USA to France!

Blog Watch: this post is part of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted at May Dreams Gardens.

Blogger was down Wednesday-Friday and ate most of the comments. If your comments don't reappear as promised, I'll repost them from my email notifications. This was a system wide problem and many posts (not mine) disappeared as well.  I've been waiting to visit your blogs until this bug was fixed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

I’ve just fallen in love with a brand new author, Téa Obreht. I’m not alone in my admiration. The New Yorker included Obreht in its recent list of 20 best American authors under 40. At only 26, Obreht is the youngest, and yet her voice has the maturity of a seasoned author.

The Tiger’s Wife (2011), Obreht’s debut novel, is set in a war-torn Balkans country. Obreht, now a New Yorker, was born in the former Yugoslavia. As a child, I once vacationed there and was appalled later at the violence that tore a nation apart. Although the author didn’t live there during the war, it felt like she had. She describes the horrors of World War II and the more recent conflicts in the Balkans with an unflinching eye that reminded me of the authors Geraldine Brooks and Michael Ondaatje.

As The Tiger’s Wife opens, Natalia takes a break from inoculating orphans to collect the physical and spiritual remains of her grandfather, who was also a doctor. His life is recalled in a series of fables mixed with local folklore, reminding me of the novels of Louise Erdrich and of Isabel Allende. His boyhood recollections include a love story between an escaped tiger and a deaf-mute woman (hence the title). There is also a “deathless man” who cannot die but predicts death and a bear hunter who becomes his own prey. Paradoxically, it is easier to believe these supernatural tales when a skeptical narrator offers alternative scientific explanations.

The story is well told:
“There was something familiar about the room and the village, a crowded feeling of sadness that crawled into my gut, but not for the first time, like a note of music I could recognize but not name.”
“I said, ‘I’m sorry,’ and regretted it immediately, because it just fell out of my mouth and continued to fall, and did nothing.”
As you can see, I finally figured out how to highlight quotations on my Kindle. They were very easy to retrieve from an automatic clippings folder. On my third ebook, I got so caught up in the story that the reading experience did not feel that different. After finishing, though, I bought a hardback copy for my home library and another for my parents as a visiting gift.

An e-book just doesn’t feel as permanent as a book. It’s like the difference between an email and a handwritten letter from a dear friend, although an ebook is much easier to read in bits on the go. Am I ever on the go: my daughter has lead roles in 2 plays and is playing lacrosse. I won’t be buying doubles of all my e-books, just my absolute favorites . . . my name is Sarah Laurence, and I’m a book junkie. It’s been 2 weeks since my last purchase. My bookshelves are groaning, and my Kindle is moaning.

Author photo by Beowulf Sheehan

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@Barrie Summy