Friday, June 25, 2010

Impromptu vacation

Hello again! Sorry for the unexplained absence. I kept meaning to get to the computer, but I just couldn't seem to. This is what I was doing over the last few weeks instead of blogging:

I took my unplanned blogging break because I planted a huge vegetable garden in my back yard, and then our family took an impromptu trip to Vancouver, where my husband sometimes has to work. He's been going there every once in a while for the last several years and I hadn't ever been, so we packed up the kids and had a wonderful week exploring the city.

And now there's just the craziness of three kids not in school. I feel like a chauffeur. I have yearly amnesia about just how difficult the "unstructured" time of summer is. It's harder to get the kids to their various fun things during the summer than it is to get them to and from school every day.

While in Vancouver, I managed to read Laurie Colwin's book of essays, Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen. I love her fiction, and her food writing is just as good. Her voice is wonderfully confiding, and self-deprecating, and funny. Some of the recipes are dated (which doesn't actually take away from their charm) and some are timeless, but there are quite a few dog-eared pages where I marked recipes I'd like to try.

While I was away, Jose Saramago died, at age 87. I have only read his novel Blindness, but I really liked it (and wrote about it here). It was a singular reading experience. I will definitely read more of his work in the future. Here's an appreciation of Jose Saramago and his NY Times obituary.

Here's a picture of downtown Vancouver from our hotel room balcony, taken with my iPhone:
I had never been to Vancouver before, and I really, really liked it. Breathtakingly beautiful, clean, and lots of good food. I'll go back!

Where is everyone going this summer, and what are you taking to read?


Ti said...

Did you build those raised planters too? I love the geometric pattern they make. You are going to have a lovely bounty to show for it.

I just mentioned the same thing on my blog about summer. I am having the hardest time getting my daughter going in the mornings. She is just so tired from all the camp fun from the day before, that mornings have been extremely rough. Hurt feelings, crying, slamming of doors, you name it. Girl drama!

I've never been to Vancouver but a good friend just relocated there and she invited me for a visit! No date yet though.

I am re-reading The Stand and sort of comparing it to The Passage. I loved both books btw.

I am also reading Tinkers.

Jeane said...

Your garden layout looks so lovely! It's just beautiful. Is that corn on the far right (first pic)? What are those little plastic black things on the edges? Sorry all the questions, I get so excited to see other people's gardens.

Gentle Reader said...

Ti--I wish I was so handy that I built the planters myself, but actually had them built. I like the pattern, too--it mimics the windows in our house (a slightly decrepit but charming Craftsman bungalow).

We're having girl drama here, too--and getting up in the morning is only the half of it! We're also having boy drama, but it's less dramatic. My 14-year-old has gotten to the Neanderthal stage--grunting, sleeping and eating are his main activities.

I hope you get a chance to visit your friend in Vancouver--it really is a beautiful city. The only drawback is the weather, but that's only for me, spoiled by LA--it's so much better than anywhere else in Canada.

Interesting comparison between The Stand and The Passage. Loved The Stand, and hope to get to The Passage, too.

Tinkers is also on my'll have to let me know how you like it!

Jeane--I'm glad you're interested :) I'm so excited about this garden--I've waited years to do what I wanted with the back yard. It was a lawn before, but now that my kids don't really use it for playing ball any more (when they play catch they do it out front because there's more room) I got to plant veggies! Yes, that's corn in the last bed. The plastic things are little sprinklers that we put in that don't waste as much water as regular ones. The other beds are on a drip system. I love it so far. I'll let you know how everything comes along and what our harvests are like! Do you have a vegetable garden?

litlove said...

I only have a little vegetable garden and I wish with all my heart I could have a bigger one. Your raised beds are glorious! And I did laugh at your description of summer amnesia - I know exactly what you mean!

Anonymous said...

I would love to have a vegetable garden someday. I like the pattern as well!

I am not sure if I will be going anywhere this summer (University hasn't ended here yet).. Vancouver looks great :)

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--I finally put my foot down and reclaimed my back yard from ugly plastic toys and football field, and made it my own! And every year I look forward to summer, and the supposed lighter schedule, then breathe a sigh of relief when the kids go back to school in the fall :)

irisonbooks--love your blog! Vancouver was great--I've wanted to go for years, and it really was lovely :)

Jeane said...

Yes; I'm growing veggies for the third year now. I have a blog about it here.

Iliana said...

Glad you were able to do some fun stuff! I've never been to Vancouver but would love to go one day.

We are going to Germany later in the year.

You'll have to share pics of your veggies by the way!

snazal said...

I found Vancouver OK.