Fall in Maine




We took a bit of a drive yesterday with the BF’s parents.    Had lunch at our favorite restaurant (Krista’s in Cornish), stopped at the quilt shop next door (mostly for the MIL, but I bought a few fat quarters), stopped at our favorite apple orchard (Apple Acres farm in Hiram) for honey crisps and homemade apple cider doughnuts, and ended up at Patternworks in Center Harbor, NH, where I bought yarn (probably more than I really needed, but oh well).


The Fall of the Kings – Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman

I am so conflicted about this book.    To the point of where if I had not already read the two books that came before it, I don’t think I would have finished it.    And I’m really not sure if I’m going to pass it on to the two people that I had loaned those two other books to, that enjoyed those two.

I think my problem is that I came into this series in the middle.   The Privilege of the Sword comes off as more of a story of manners, even though there really is a healthy dose of sexual politics mixed up in it.     But because that was my introduction, and because this book is so very much about sexual politics, and really doesn’t have much of the lightness that I associate with the book before it, I really had a hard time getting into it.

I really hate who Katherine (the main protagonist from the middle book) grew up to be.     And the latest Tremontaine scion, Theron, just came off as a whiny young man who really didn’t want to be the man he needed to be.    I will say, his sister, Lady Jessica, was awesome, in what almost amounted to a deus ex machina ending, but even she couldn’t prevent the general WTF (in capital letters, I swear), that was constantly running through my mind in the last two chapters.     I was mainly annoyed, but I am enough of a completest, I kept going to the end.

San Diego Botanic Garden, Encinatas, CA



















First off, this garden is in San Diego County, not San Diego itself.     Little bit up the coast actually.   In case you were planning a quick jaunt across town from your hotel room…

Second, this is where our membership at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden really pays off.    We get a reciprocal membership with the American Horticultural Society gardens, so we get into places like this, all over the country, mostly for free.   (In this case, we paid two bucks for parking.)    Such a good deal.

Third, you remember how California’s in a major drought?    It actually rained for a day and a half while we were there – on this day.    The one day BF and I had by ourselves in the San Diego area.    Fortunately, we don’t melt, so we got to see this garden in a fairly uncommon way.    The rain forest area actually looked rainy!

San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA

Flamingo Fight!
Staring contest: my brother and the California Condor
Now that’s a rodent!

The San Diego Zoo really is amazing.     I’d always known it was one of the best zoos in the country, and it lived up to the hype.    (Really, the only thing I was a little meh about was the gondolas – the Sky Train, or something like that, for a proper name – you can’t go both ways, and the line on the entrance side is way longer than the other side, so you have to walk back to where you were, and it’s a big place).

We could have easily spent more time here than we did, but we were staying out of town, and we were with my niece, who is an amazing trooper, but is also still just four.    (She loved everything, up to the exact instant when she didn’t anymore.    Awesome kid.   Really.)

A Thousand Days in Tuscany – Marlena de Blasi

I read the precursor to this book – A Thousand Days in Venice – quite a while ago.    In that book, the author had thrown her life in the US over to go to Italy and marry a man she didn’t know very well.    The first book is the story of her learning to love her husband, and her new city and country.

In this book, her husband has retired from his bank job, and they’ve decided to move to Tuscany to live a country life that’s probably based mainly on fantasy, but they’re game to try.     Their new neighbors are a bit bemused by the idea, but give them many ideas from the past, and help with their plans.     Slowly, they start to figure out the new life they want to lead, and gain new friends in this new village.

This is actually only a year – the title is clearly meant to echo the earlier story – but it’s a packed year, and it’s lovely to read the author’s descriptions (she’s just this side of overly flowery – I suspect she’s the kind of writer you either get right off and enjoy, or one you’re loathe).     There is a definite bittersweet component to this book, as advertised, but it’s almost nice in a way, to see that there is the good and the bad when you throw you life over to live this kind of adventure.