Monday, April 13, 2015

7ToF: oops, it's Monday

1. I decided almost at the last minute to drive down to UTown on Friday (UTown is my blogname for the town about two hours south of here where our state university is located). I really, really needed to get out of town, and that's the easiest way to do it. I was only there about four hours--just enough time to pick up a dozen bagels (no good bagels here locally), eat lunch down by the river, visit their library (which I'm sure they think is small but is three or four times bigger than ours), and do a bit of shopping at Old Navy and Barnes&Noble. It was great, and just what I needed, but it wasn't so much UTown that did the trick as getting away and driving. I've always loved road trips, and one of the main reasons is that they give me time to think, sing loudly and off-key, and see a different view than what I see out my window every day.

2. So that's why "7 Things on Friday" didn't happen on Friday. I've never tried to do a weekly post like that before and it only took three weeks to realize that it's not going to happen every week. So the 7ToF posts will just appear when they appear. This one was already half-written in my head (all that time in the car, you know), so here you go.

3. You can't do a proper road trip without good music, right? I think I told you I've been listening to MadMax's country music recently, which embarrasses me a little bit since I've always been pro-rock and anti-country. But you know, it's perfect for a road trip. In case you want to try some of the good stuff, here is what is on my country playlist right now: Sunshine and Whiskey (Frankie Ballard), Neon Light (Blake Shelton), You Ain't Worth the Whiskey (Cole Swindell), Somethin' Bad (Miranda Lambert/Carrie Underwood), Shotgun Rider (Tim McGraw), Sun Daze (Florida Georgia Line). As pop music goes, it's not bad--clever lyrics and catchy tunes.

4. The Chickenz. Poor dears. We have a fox that lives in the field next to us. He (she?) is pretty bold, sauntering through our yard in broad daylight. But as long as we kept the chickens cooped up at night, he seemed to leave them alone. Until last week. For some reason, he took two chickens in broad daylight the other day. Or at least, that's what we're assuming happened, since they just disappeared. I've never named our chickens--mostly because I can't tell them apart--but once we were down to one, I named her Annie. She seemed so lonely that Dean called a friend of his on Saturday and got two more elderly Black Astralorps to keep her company. We named them Big Agnes and Baldy. They are all three different sizes, so presumably we'll be able to tell them apart. We probably won't be getting many eggs, but at least we have a tiny flock again.

Chickens are really hard to photograph! If you look closely, maybe you
can see why the one in the front is named Baldy
5. Dean and I went to see Still Alice. We both have alzheimer's in our family tree--my grandmother, his mom--so it wasn't easy to watch. In fact, about fifteen minutes into it I leaned over and whispered this is my worst nightmare. I do worry about it, all the time. I've always been spacey, and it gets worse and worse as I get older. But it's a really good movie, and Julianne Moore is terrific. There's no disputing her Oscar. About a third of the movie takes place with the camera zoomed in on her face, and she carries it effortlessly. At least, it seems effortless. It's probably an enormous amount of work to pull that off.

6.  Still on the movie theme: I went to see Home, the new DreamWorks movie, last week. I went by myself, because MadMax is too cool to go see kid movies these days and Dean was still studying for his big recertification exam. It's been awhile since I've seen a kids' movie that kept me absorbed from beginning to end. This one did, although Jim Parsons, who voices the main character, has such a distinctive voice that it's hard to get Sheldon Cooper out of your head. I enjoyed it, despite its mishmash of themes. Cute movie. I still haven't been to see the new Cinderella, so I may go see that some afternoon this week.

7. My last class of the semester started last Thursday--American Short Story. At the first meeting, since they haven't read any stories yet, we talk about how to analyze a short story for a little while, and then we read a couple of short-short stories out loud and work our way through them on the spot. One of the ones we did this time was "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin, published in 1894. It's a terrific story and it's only about a thousand words long. A young woman finds out that her husband has been killed in a train wreck, and despite the fact that she seems to love him very much, she begins to realize what it will mean to be free of his stifling influence. If you've never read it, it's well worth reading. And then you can read the T.C. Boyle version, "Acts of God" in his 1994 collection Without a Hero, which--though considerably longer-- tells the same story from the man's point of view (since it's still under copyright, I can't link to it). I have no idea if Boyle was conscious of the Chopin story
while he was writing it, but they make a great pair of stories.

And that's it for me. Have a great week. Now that I'm teaching again posting here will probably slow down to a more reasonable pace.

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