Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Simple Woman's Daybook

I've seen this at many of my favorite blogs and I've wanted to do one for a while. So, I'll try it today:

Outside My Window ...tall beautiful evergreen trees and an overcast sky, but that's okay. I love the rain.

I am thinking ... that I'm glad that there is some leftover French toast so that I don't have to make much else for breakfast. Maybe I'll make banana smoothies.

I am thankful for...the rain. I've planted some pumpkins, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, a strawberry plant and they need the moisture.

From the kitchen...nothing yet although now I'm really starting to crave that banana smoothie!

I am wearing...plaid flannel comfy pants and an old long-sleeved t-shirt (my PJs).

I am creating...a baby.

I am going...to the doctor a little later and then I'm taking the boys to the park despite the light drizzle.

I am reading...All New Square Foot Gardening, A Nation of Wimps, The Busy Person's Guide to Preserving Food (I want to make jam this year) and Grow Your Own Pizza.

I am hoping...to feel better soon. I'm so tired right now. I'm all consumed with the constant thoughts of my next nap.

I am hearing...Luke. He's upstairs getting dressed and listening to a book on CD.

Around the house...I see a slightly neglected home. Like I said, I hope I feel better really soon so I can get back to my routines around my poor house.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Luke and I are going to plant the sunflower seeds and the carrot seeds that we've bought recently. I'm going to check my little strawberry plants everyday. I'm protecting my two little strawberries and I'm desperately hoping that the critters will stay away. (We get a lot of foxes, squirrels and sometimes deer in our yard.)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Nature, Narnia and Beatrix Potter

Okay, I know that my last two posts have been about Prince Caspian, but I promise this is my last post on Narnia (for now). Since seeing the movie, I've been thinking about Narnia (a lot). I got out my copies of A Field guide to Narnia by Colin Duriez and Companion to Narnia: A Completer Guide to The Magical World of C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia by Paul F. Ford with a foreword by Madeleine L'Engle. These books are essentially similar being exhaustive compendiums of the characters, events and chronology of Narnia. They are immensely fun to read and interesting to those of us who wish to go "higher up and further in".

I was flipping around in A Field Guide to Narnia this morning and started to read the chapter, A Who's Who of the Making of Narnia. This chapter lists people in C. S. Lewis's life that had an impact on his writing the Chronicles of Narnia. There are several authors listed like G. K. Chesterton, Owen Barfield, and J.R.R. Tolkien. I was surprised to see Beatrix Potter listed as well. Since Miss Potter came out, I've been enchanted with her life as well and I never thought there was a connection between the two authors.

In Surprised by Joy, Lewis records that an early glimpse
of joy-the inconsolable longing that so features in his
writings-"came through Squirrel Nutkin; through it only,
though I loved all the Beatrix Potter books....It administered
the Shock....It troubled me with what I can only describe
as the idea of Autumn." Like an earlier experience, it made
him aware of nature as "something cool, dewy, fresh, exuberant."
The Beatrix Potter stories also helped Lewis see the potency of
talking animals, so central to the Chronicles.
Everyone knows how much influence J. R. R. Tolkien had on Lewis and his conversion to Christianity and his writings. Sometimes, I forget that others would have had an influence on his writings as well even if in a more peripheral way. I think of Beatrix Potter as an individual who inspired me to focus more on nature and to take joy from the beauty of creation and I think it most interesting that she had the same effect on C. S. Lewis in his time. Lewis's books focus heavily on nature and are a richer experience given his attention to detail to the trees, the animals and the land. With vivid descriptions of the landscape and Lewis's intent on making us focus on the natural world, he made both the English countryside and Narnia come alive.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Further thoughts on Prince Caspian

I've had a week to think about the film some more and I've read several reviews all over the internet and it seems that most reviewers have the same things to say that I did. I found this cover image on Wikipedia to the first edition and I thought I'd post it. I think this image completely clashes with the movie poster's interpretation of Prince Caspian. The cover illustration suggests a gentle story possibly reminiscent of Greek myth. If I weren't feeling so sluggish and tired lately, I'd totally dig out my copy of Prince Caspian and re-read it right now. I don't want to be horribly negative about the film, but I keep thinking about those centaurs. I have to say that the idea of centaurs in general just creeps me out, but the centaurs in the movie are just so ugly and I mean unbearably ugly. There's just something ugly about the film's Narnia. I was enchanted with the ruins of Cair Paravel, but beyond that Narnia was just too dark and dismal. Perhaps this has to do with Aslan's absence (although had Aslan been more prominent in the film, it wouldn't have made the centaurs more attractive). I know that The Lord of The Rings films really set the standard for intense and epic battle sequences, but every fantasy story doesn't have to live up to that. Narnia is not Middle Earth and nor does it have to be. Narnia is exciting in its own way. Now, I only read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe when I was in sixth grade and since I wasn't really into fantasy, I didn't read on. I remember my school library's limited collection of books and I favored Laura Ingalls Wilder and books by Noel Streatfeild and checked out those books repeatedly while leaving books like The Hobbit and A Wrinkle in Time on the shelves. So, I would not venture back to Narnia until my early thirties when I began reading the series to my older son Luke. I was enchanted and I loved reading The Magician's Nephew last only to discover how that lamp post ended up in Narnia. If anything, the recent film Prince Caspian has got me longing for the true Narnia.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Inspring Impressionism and Prince Caspian

On Friday, we took Luke to the Inspiring Impressionism exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. I'd been looking forward to this special exhibit for a while and our friends, Jennifer and Donny generously offered us their extra tickets. I hadn't been in the new wing of the Denver Art Museum yet either. If you haven't seen it, it's a strange-looking building that for some reason reminds me of a futuristic icicle lying on its side. It's a jarring building that demands to be noticed. Anyway, the exhibit was beautiful and I bought a couple of prints with the hopes that I will actually frame them at some point. I do have a tendency to buy prints from art exhibits with the intention of decorating my house with all the beautiful art I've seen, but most of the time the prints stay rolled up unseen. I've always loved the paintings above and I got to see them in person! I bought the print of the painting on the left by Mary Cassatt.
On Saturday, we took the boys to see Prince Caspian which we had been eagerly looking forward to for over a year. (WARNING: Spoilers ahead) Luke really enjoyed it despite the differences from the book. I, on the other hand had a tough time with it. I understand that the film has to take some liberties, but I was annoyed. I read the book to Luke when he was about six so it's been a couple of years since I've read it, but we did listen to the Focus on the Family Audio Theatre version of Prince Caspian since. I guess it comes down to this for me. I'm battle-weary. After The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Narnia movie, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, I'm tired of all the battle sequences. Of course, this is exactly what Luke enjoys, but it's starting to feel like I've seen it all before. They all look the same to the point that I am starting to say, "that must be leftover orc footage." Now, that's my own issue and of course the film makers want to appeal to the Lord of the Rings fans. I know that the story of Prince Caspian is supposed to be one big battle between old Narnia and the Telmarines. I know that. Besides my own issue with unending sword fights growing tiresome, it also feels a little empty since Aslan is given very little to do in this film. Aslan, as the foundation of Narnia is almost cast out to the sidelines where he has become remote and somewhat powerless. Also, Peter is angry. This, I found almost too hard to take. The tension between Prince Caspian and Peter I know gives dramatic effect, but I wanted Peter to be more noble. I mean, he is the High King! It's obvious that Peter wants to make it clear that he is the High King and well, he is, but he should act like it and he has been called back to Narnia to help Prince Caspian. He seems not to know that his time as King is in the past and it's time for Prince Caspian's reign. Then, there's a hint of flirtation between Susan and Caspian. Okay, I can deal with this until the end where Susan kisses Prince Caspian right before she leaves Narnia for the last time. What????? Well, overall, the story is there, but it feels a little bare without the over-arching presence of Aslan. I definitely need to re-read the book and I still look forward to the adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader due out in 2010. I'm an optimist.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's time for an announcement!

Yes, it's true! It's time to tell everybody our good news. I know I am a little late in letting you in on the secret, but given my recent history with back-to-back miscarriages, I am still very cautious. I had a couple of scares with this little one already, but yesterday, Paul and I went for our first ultrasound and I was put at ease by seeing our little one. The baby is already very busy moving around. (There's a lot of leg kicking already.) I've never had an ultrasound this early (11 weeks and a few days) before, but like I said, we've had a few scares and I am still feeling anxious. Having this early ultrasound has helped me to calm down. When I had my boys, I never gave my pregnancies much thought at all aside from all the normal complaints. They developed like they were supposed to and my pregnancies were very routine. I know that I took those experiences for-granted. Now, I am in even more awe of the miracle of life. (The ultrasound image isn't mine. It's one I found on the internet that's measuring 11 weeks.) I have our first ultrasound pictures on the fridge. Baby is expected around November 30. Please keep us in your prayers. I'm going to borrow the ticker I saw on Elizabeth's blog so we can track the baby's development. Check out the sidebar. We are overflowing with joy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tales of a Wayside Inn

Last weekend, by the generosity of my friend Steph's dad, we traveled to Boston. Paul took two days off to spend with the boys while I was away. I love New England and anyone who knows me knows how much I love following the literary trail in Massachusetts. (The first time I visited Boston, I insisted that my sister take me to Concord so I could see the desk where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women.) Anyway, this was an important trip as I was to meet one of my oldest friend's fiance' for the first time. My dear friend Krissy is getting married in October and she has chosen a beautiful locale for her New England Autumn wedding. Longfellow's Wayside Inn is beautiful and pictureseque and it's replete with beautiful maple trees everywhere. At the gift shop, I couldn't help but buy a copy of Tales of a Wayside Inn by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I also bought this book for the boys. Of course I'm always thinking of new things for our little school. Here's a little sample from my new book of poetry:

One Autumn night, in Sudbury town,
Across the Meadows bare and brown,
The Windows of the wayside inn
Gleamed red with fire-light through the leaves
Of woodbine, hanging from the eaves
Their crimson curtains rent and thin.

I had a great time soaking in Spring in New England and how thankful I am for my little trip! By the way, that's Longfellow at the top of this post!