2. Eggs. Specifically, the dozen free-range eggs that a former student brought to my office earlier this week. She surprised me with the eggs, gleaned from the farm down the road from her, as a thank-you for my lending her a novel she had to read for one of her other courses. Much better than the eggs as a thank-you, though, was that she told me she had enjoyed the novel, told me, in fact, that she'd read it in one day. This was astonishing news given that she hadn't ever read an entire book before taking my 1st-year English class a few years ago. She's what we call a non-traditional student, and in the last week of that class in 2011 or '12, she told me that I had helped her develop what she called "reading stamina." She's since taken the time to send me an email occasionally, letting me know that our time together made a difference in her life. So eggs? Very much appreciated (who doesn't appreciate eggs!), but they pale in comparison to seeing her read with joy.
3. Banana bread. . . My son emailed a few days ago to ask if I could send him my banana bread recipe. I'm not sure if he was expecting such a messy page as the one in the photo I texted him (isn't it great that when we send someone a recipe now, we no longer have to copy it out by hand? or even type or word-process it?). But I began baking this recipe 31 or so years ago, first with his sisters and then eventually with him. Each one of them have spilled something on this page. . . .
And okay, yes, I'm being fanciful, but it did warm my heart to know that some of that baking had meant something worth passing along. . .
Rectify: I'm absolutely captivated by this television series, available on Netflix, all two seasons' worth. (apparently, Sundance is committed to developing at least one more season, to be aired in 2015 -- can't wait). It's tough, gritty, adult material, and not to everyone's taste. But it's also devastating and beautiful and compelling, powerfully written and acted, the kind of writing that will have you wanting to catch phrases exactly. . . and mulling them over lately. The soundtrack is stunning as well, not just for the music chosen but for the way the music and the sound effects play against/with the action or imagery. Much hinges on the innocence or guilt of the central character, freshly released from Death Row after 20 years in prison, his sentence "vacated" because of faulty evidence, the prosecutor determined to retry him. Yet whether he's innocent or guilty, the viewer begins to realize, doesn't matter so much as attending to his essential humanity. He's clearly flawed -- "not normal," he sadly acknowledges -- but he's wise and philosophical and sensitive, and he so wants to be loved. His vulnerability engages us even as we become impatient with some of his very poor choices. Okay, enough. Let me know what you think, if you've seen this, or if you're motivated to check it out now.
5. We're off to the opera this weekend, Carmen, to be specific. It doesn't seem that long ago I blogged about the 2009 VOA production of this fabulous opera. We were smitten by Rinat Shaham in the title role of that performance -- my husband even used the adjective "beguiling"! So the bar is set high, but I know we'll enjoy this year's production on its own terms. Although I have to say I was dismayed, at first, to realize that it was an opera weekend. I've been so busy that I'd forgotten all about it and was counting on a quiet weekend at home. Instead, we'll be in Vancouver, which means we'll also try to visit all the kids and the grandkids. Still, that's an embarrassment of riches, isn't it, rather than any credible complaint. . . .
There you go, then, Five Friday Things, and it's time to Let the Weekend Begin (I'll be trying my best not to mind the 42 Friday Things which comprise the papers I have to mark in the next few days. . . ).
What are you up to? Do tell!