Countdown to a blue moon

Step outside at sunset on July 31st, and this will finally be a full, blue moon [NASA explanation here].

countdownbluemoon

But right now we’re just counting down (and maybe humming along to the Nancy Griffith song, Just Once in a Very Blue Moon, although that might just be me (possibly better sound here)).  And admiring the daisies in the neighbor’s lawn, as well as black-eyed susans by garden gates. Hopefully, if you are dealing with summer’s hot weather and grass allergies, you have beautiful flowers to enjoy in the early evening.

daisies

Commuting through farm country

I very seldom get the chance to take pictures of the beautiful drives to and from between home and work. But due to recent car trouble, I got to be a passenger, and could try to capture some of the farms (although no picture of the tiny farm with piglets, 3 hens, one pony, and one cow). I resisted the urge to ask my driver if we could stop so I could get a picture of the sheep farm, complete with one large great pyranees on guard duty.

Here’s one barn I captured as we headed up over the rise.

farm-commute

Lovely. It glows white in the evenings, and it provides a marker, indicating a curve right after the hill it’s on, and then a stop sign that you can’t see. The cornfield on the right is a blur in the photo. This is the point where I roll down my windows to enjoy the summer breezes.

So, what lovely things do you see every day that you wish you could capture with a camera?

Knitting continues – with kitten intervention

Having learned how to get about half an hour of uninterrupted knitting time (run the vacuum cleaner for a while – the kitten magically disappears), I managed to do one full pattern of Pinkie (Child’s French Sock by Nancy Bush). Which means I’m almost through the gusset of the second sock. I’d love to get these totally off the needles before August, or by the beginning of August.

My knitting lags when I have an active kitten participating in every moment of the day.

The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham

But to all that moving experience there had been a shadow (a dark lining to the silver cloud), insistent and plain, which disconcerted her. In the sober gaiety of Sister St. Joseph, and much more in the beautiful courtesy of the Mother Superior, she had felt an aloofness …. There was a barrier between her and them. They spoke a different language not only of the tongue but of the heart. And when the door was closed upon her she felt that they had put her out of their minds so completely, going about their neglected work again without delay, that for them she might never have existed. She felt shut out not only from that poor little convent, but from some mysterious garden of the spirit after which with all her soul she hankered. She felt on a sudden alone as she had never felt alone before.”

The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham. Quite a page turner, filled with scandal in 1920s Hong Kong and then in backwoods China during a cholera epidemic. Kitty, the protagonist if not quite a heroine, makes a poor marriage, then an extramarital affair triggers her husband to volunteer to tend the dying in a cholera epidemic (and to drag her along). The fun is in watching the undertow of emotions slowly take shape, while Kitty becomes a 3-dimensional person. I think one more chapter in the book would have made the ending feel less rushed, and the conclusion more satisfyingly tantalizing.

Pour yourself a glass of iced green tea, pull up a chair on the shaded verandah, and start reading. And then ponder the questions I’m left with:

  • After all those lies, why did Kitty choose that one moment not to lie?
  • Is Charlie Townsend just a lout, or is he a villain of opportunity?
  • What happens to Kitty after the book ends?

Ain’t that America

…or at least our little slice of it:

Going to a friend’s house, for too much salad & side dishes, beer (if you want it), soda (if you want it), pit beef or roast pork loin from the grill. People brought casseroles, grilled tomatoes, watermelon, cherry pie. And then when it grew dark, we squished over to the local park through the leftover puddles from the morning rain, and watched fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. And above the trees, we could see other towns’ fireworks going off.

We spent the short drive home reminiscing about other 4th of July celebrations, and when we used to be able to get up on a hill and see the fireworks coming up from the valleys below us. We live someplace else now, but Independence Day celebrations tend to be very similar from town to town or state to state.

I hope yours was splendid. Unless you’re waiting to celebrate a holiday in another country (according to the Internet, Venezuela has their Independence Day on the 5th and Argentina’s in on the 9th). And there’s a Belgian National day sometime late in July.

Cat rodeo

Poor Malkin. Below is from the days of leisure, when he was able to fend off the other cat for hours of time on the sun porch. Now, he’s the innocent bystander/hapless pony (or gazelle) being ridden by the kitten/cowboy/small tiger. It’s most undignified for a 14 year old cat.

His Most Serene Fluffybutt enjoying the sun porch

His Most Serene Fluffybutt enjoying the sun porch

Meanwhile, Leia is having none of it (she wasn’t named after a princess for nothing).

mscongeniality

As for us, we’re protecting cheese sandwiches as best we can, intervening between cat and kitten when we must, and considering a run to the store for more bactine. We keep reminding ourselves that for Malkin, this is a little bit of payback after he tortured the older cat when he was introduced 14 years ago (when the elder one was in an Elizabethan collar after a procedure). So, has anyone had great success introducing a new blissful bundle of tooth and claw into your house?

Have you noticed that the older cat that’s getting the worst of it will go out and seek his small oppressor when he feels a little dull?

Midsommar

One of my favorite museums in the Midwest had their Misommar festival this weekend. And I’m stuck in hot, uncomfortable Maryland. Although I did get to perform in church, and do some knitting today — so gently festive.

I need to plan these things better. Maybe next year, I should try to organize a family trip over to Sweden itself…. Or at least manage to get up to Philadelphia for August’s crayfish festival? I’d take a day off from work for that. So how are you planning your summertime?

Happy longest day of the year.


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