thoroughly despicable

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SONY DSC The Motion Boy turned 11 today. 
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We celebrated with a bunch of really wonderful folks. Conforza shares a birthday with Motion Boy! In fact, at the moment when she and her family were driving back into town from living far away, Sylvan was just being born. At dawn, on their shared birthday. They have celebrated together for several years now.
SONY DSCThey are both creative folks with a love of the Minions from Despicable Me. Sylvan made Conforza a card, at left, and Conforza made him his very own needle-felted minion, Tim.I think they were both delighted.

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SONY DSC ~best jumping shot of the day~SONY DSC~but this is a classy one too~
SONY DSC ~armed. ready.~
SONY DSCThe iCycle Bicycle was there! There will be a future post, solely devoted to Miss E. and her creation: pedal-powered ice cream, stationary or free, so you can exercise and then eat fresh, homemade ice cream. That is my kind of exercise. There was mint, requested by Sylvan, made from freshly-infused mint from Miss E’s garden. And lemon cloud, requested by Conforza.
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A lovely bathing cap, below, was made by Miss E., for Conforza, a la Esther Williams. Conforza totally rocks this look!
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~snuggling with Tim in the hammock~
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SONY DSC SONY DSCTim has his own home now, lovingly created by Sylvan when we got home last night. A little bed, his own night light, and of course a unicorn collage, for his viewing pleasure.
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~Appliqued pillowcase by Miss E. for Motion Boy~

Here was the order of the afternoon: eat, swim, repeat. Laughter can be mixed in whenever.

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mmm. summer. books. etc.


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Summer is in full swing. (In full leap?) So we have been soaking it up.

Below are a few pictures from a photo shoot at the lovely Birchwood Motel in Camden, owned by dear friends of ours. They offer sweet, clean rooms, perfectly located for all of your midcoast excursions. Plus they are green: as in solar panels, permaculture gardens, and clothesline-dried sheets (swoon). That lavender is from a hedge behind the motel that makes you think you might have been teleported to Provence. (Um, the funky peeling paint photo is NOT part of the motel, it’s just a cool old piece that caught my eye on our friends’ private patio!)

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People have been asking me to write more about what I am reading here. So I will, and thank you for asking, but I want to also direct your attention to that sidebar thing at the right of the page that says Goodreads and it has all these book covers. I use Goodreads to keep track of what I read. So the books that appear in the sidebar are books I have finished reading in order of most recent to least recent. In case you want a visual.

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~a foot tattoo? maybe.~


SONY DSCI’ve been reading some adult books this summer, cleansing my palette a little bit  and also catching up on some favorite series books that I missed during the school year. Donna Leon’s latest (The Golden Egg) took me to Venice to visit Commissario Brunetti, who I love a lot (but Inspector Gamache still has my heart). I love the atmosphere of the Brunetti series and it was a nice visit with a bit of an intense conclusion.

SONY DSC I was not so enthralled with Alexander McCall Smith’s stand-alone novel Trains and Lovers. I wanted to really like it. But it didn’t feel fully realized and I felt dumped off at the end. Which I suppose could have been purposeful, since the book is about four travelers who meet and chat on a train from Edinburgh to London, and the nature of train travel is that it just ends. Sometimes abruptly. But now I’ve just picked up his latest Botswana mystery, The Limpopo Academy of Private Detectionwhich is already comforting and enjoyable as usual. The first chapter is called “On a Hot Day We Dream of Tea,” which pretty much sums up my feeling today.
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~well. we dream of a swim, too.~

SONY DSCBut the big, meaty book I just finished was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Fascinating book about parallel versions of a life, or maybe not parallel but threads. I loved the mechanics of this book: there are moments when the mechanic feels predictable and then the predictability unravels, just when you might have been getting used to it. The reader learns about Ursula’s life through chapters that weave in and out of time, ending abruptly when she dies at various points in her life and narrative, but then the next chapter offers an alternative version of how it might have happened differently. I feel like I missed some nuances in my first reading, so I am glad I purchased it and can go back and re-read it. The setting is England from about 1910-1960. There were some very horrifying and realistic moments during the Blitz in London. It was an excellent read.

I just finished the audio version of The Diviners by Libba Bray, a fantastic listen. Again, it was a definitely historical fiction with an interesting twist of supernatural—set in the roaring Prohibition Era in NYC. What fun to encounter flappers and slang and so many many excellent historical references in this Young Adult novel. The reader was able to produce so many convincing voices. I look forward to the next in the series.

And now I have just begun listening to the YA audiobook Countdown by Deborah Wiles…more historical fiction, but this time just straight up, no twist. It’s set in the 1960s in America and I wonder how this would “read” since the audio is so artfully enhanced with these snippets of real radio broadcasts and quotes (the author describes it as a “documentary novel”), in very convincing voices that really sound like the radio of the 60s. These snippets are interspersed with the narrative of Frannie, who is dealing with all of the usual issues of school and family and friendships against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis and other unsettling politics of the time.

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~tootles!~

Up next: what I’ve been knitting this summer.

monhegan island: 2

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~best wheelbarrow in town~

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We did promise more of those fab RedPants. They were $15 on sale and fit Mr. French Model like a dream.

These chairs and this porch at the Island Inn are what keep us coming back. You could hear the little goats bleating on Manana Island, that little one across the harbor.
SONY DSC~oh my gosh! that moss!~
SONY DSC SONY DSCYou remember the fairy houses, of course, from our adventures past (read them here). It is with wistfulness that I report that this year was the first that the boys did not accompany us to Cathedral Woods, where all the fairy houses are built. So. They didn’t build any. But here are a few stand-outs from the lovely, moist walk that I took with my stepmom, built by other creative small hands. (Notice the gummy fish in the photo above?)
SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC  The three photos, above, were taken by Mr. French Model himself, aka Jonas. He has a great eye, doesn’t he?SONY DSC~RedPants crucifixion~