Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lately-ing

Lately, I've been...

...binge-watching Joss Whedon's gifts to our culture: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.  Thank you, Joss Whedon. I'm still mourning the cancellation of Firefly, though I am grateful for the addition of Serenity

...looking forward to Sunday nights: Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley.  For the longest time, I was irritated that George R.R. Martin hadn't come out with the latest volume of his series, but now, I'm finding that watching the HBO series without any sense of where it is headed (other than the fan theories in my head) is actually a much better experience than watching the show follow a relatively familiar plot. As for Silicon Valley, I can't believe that I ignored the existence of almost the entire first season before I happened upon the driverless car scene while flipping through channels. That show is hilarious. 

...reading, reading, and reading.  Right now, I'm in the midst of Erika Johansen's The Invasion of the Tearling, sequel to Queen of the Tearling. 
I really enjoyed the first book. The protagonist, Kelsea, has much in common with the plucky, resourceful heroines of folk tales, and less in common with passive fairy-tale princesses who sit (or sleep) pretty while waiting to be rescued.  

She reminds me of another heroine that I admire, Agnieszka, from another book that I finished recently, Naomi Novik's Uprooted. I highly recommend this one.  It's engaging and colorful and intense.  
Speaking of literary heroines that I admire, Elizabeth Bennet is most definitely among them. However, Curtis Sittenfeld's "modern" reboot of Pride and Prejudice, Eligible, offers up a protagonist who bears little resemblance to Austen's Elizabeth. 
Sittenfeld is actually one of my favorite writers, which makes it especially hard for me to recommend a hard pass on this one. If you are a fan of P&P, of course, your curiosity may find it a tough read to resist. That's understandable. Just know going in to keep your expectations low. 

Sittenfeld can write, so it isn't as if I had to slog through chapter after chapter, but I couldn't deny a sense of the contrived hovering over each page. The book has some amusing ideas regarding how the P&P plot would play out today, but overall, I couldn't kick a sense of unease about the depictions of the characters and the not-quite-parallels to the events in P&P.  

Some of it worked for me: Bingley is a contestant on a Bachelor-like reality show; Mrs. Bennet is a nosy, judgmental social-climber with a shopping addiction; and (my favorite part of the book) Lydia and Kitty are vapid CrossFit fanatics. Some of it didn't work for me: I didn't connect with Liz or Jane; I felt as if much of the story read like Pride and Prejudice Mad Libs; and, without giving away spoilers, I will just say that I felt somewhat insulted by what Sittenfeld sets up as the modern-day equivalent to Lydia and Wickham's elopement in P&P.  In Austen's version, the Bennets' already-bleak marriage prospects would have been ruined if they had a "fallen sister" in the family.  One reads about Wickham and Lydia and outright gasps; one sees Elizabeth's reaction and understands the gravity of the moment; one reads about Darcy's intervention and knows him to be, truly, the best of men.  What Sittenfeld proposes in place of this event -- and in the reactions to it -- just did not work for me. 

I haven't given up on Sittenfeld, but 24 hours after I finished reading this book, I tossed it into a bag filled with clothes and other unwanted items that I'm giving away. Maybe someone else with less of an attachment to Austen's version will enjoy this. 

...exercising somewhat regularly...
...but also eating way too many Krispy Kreme doughnuts. There's no Krispy Kreme on island, so the only time I get a taste of these is when someone brings me some from the mainland or when they are shipped from Maui for local fundraisers.  Yesterday I passed a group of kids waving "Krispy Kreme" signs, and I did a 180.  It was practically Faustian.  There were doughnuts beckoning from one side of the road, and a bunch of runners and walkers beautifying their bodies on the other side. Pick a side, pick a side, pick a side, they called out in their sugary or sugar-free voices, each a kind of siren song.

I picked a dozen doughnuts. They tasted heavenly, so I'm pretty sure I made the right choice. 

...getting crafty. The Daisy Yellow Index-Card-a-Day Challenge (ICAD) is in full swing, and so far, I'm sticking to it. It's been good for me, to just focus for a few moments each day on doing something creative, something with no pressure that allows me the freedom to play. At first, I was fixated on the prompts and weekly themes, but now I'm realizing that there really is no "have to" aspect of this challenge. The point is to just create something on an index card, every day. I'm learning to be less judgmental and rigid about what I do on each card, worrying less about the product and just surrendering to the process. 

Of course, I've also been

...scrapbooking! The Scraptastic Club "Are You Gonna Go My Way" kit is one of my all-time favorites. It's packed with exclusives, including some awesome patterned papers designed by Kaitlin Sheaffer. The hash-marks paper is totally swoon-worthy. I used it in my most recent layout. 
This is my fifth month-in-review layout this year. I really look forward to creating these each month. May was particularly hectic (and colorful!), and I tried to convey that here. 

...praying for peace, and for change. I was sickened and saddened to hear about the shootings in Orlando this week. My Facebook feed is packed with images and sentiments decrying what has been happening in our country with regard to gun violence. I feel that rage, too. I'm just hoping that we can do something...but what?  I feel helpless. I wish our politicians would stop "politicizing" this and start humanizing it instead. Prayer is a start, but we need to remember that we are God's hands, and that hands have the power to destroy and to build. 

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