Friday, September 26, 2014

Five Things Friday

1. I wore my new shoes this week -- they make me very happy! Fluevogs (also available in plain black AND in metallic gold!)
 Worn with this outfit.

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. . . .
 from this great book. Of course, I told him that I usually add chocolate chips, between half to a whole cup, and then I told him I cut the butter and the sugar in that case, and then I told him that I used to add grape-nuts instead of the walnuts, but that both could be left out. Etc. etc., You know how that goes. . . . He's going to be baking for my grandchild soon, and maybe someday that little one, all grown up, will -- what? probably not text by then, but some technology that links one heart to another over a distance -- signal him to ask "Could you send me your banana bread recipe, Dad?"

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. . .

4.

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! 

31 comments:

  1. The opera season seemed to start early this year. I took a pass on Carmen as it don't seem that long ago and I'm going through an austerity stage. It is great when a student feels that you have helped them. My own daughter, who has struggled with a reading disability, developed "reading stamina" in the last couple of years and it has really changed her life. Those are very "spiffy" shoes.

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    1. I checked -- it was only 5 years ago since the last time they did Carmen. Somehow, though, this time, I was really able to enjoy the French, hearing many of the lyrics clearly and following without needing to look at the surtitles. Glad to know that your daughter caught the reading bug -- better late than never, right?!

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  2. Hi Mater , the photo of your banana bread recipe - so poignant!

    Those shoes are so smart! I notice that a Fluevog store has opened in the Byward Market. I haven't had a proper look yet - maybe at sale time.

    This evening we are having our boys and one girlfriend over for dinner, then the rest of the weekend is about getting ready for our trip - we leave on Sunday. We'll have 4 nights in Berlin bookended by visits to family and friends in the UK and Germany - we have a very tight schedule, so on the day after our return we're planning to go to the Scandinavian spa near Ottawa. Something tells me we'll need that day of relaxation!

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    1. Ah, Byward Market. . . . I do miss that place. Do you ever get a cafe au lait in a bol at that fabulous bakery on the corner? And there used to be a great little stall for Indian food. . . .

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  3. Absolutely beautiful post. Thank you. And for the recommendation on Rectify too. I just love a good digital narrative.

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  4. We will watch an episode of Rectify and see if we like it...we are immersed in the series The Killing in Netflix right now and find it riveting...
    Great shoes mater and I have made that sand banana bread recipe many times, in fact this week I doubled it and made it in s bundt pan and while it was cooking in the oven it overflowed and I had a mess to deal with...but it has been a few days of oopsies...have a fun filled weekend.

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    1. I've been holding out on The Killing because I've wanted to watch the original Danish version. But it doesn't seem to be available here, so I may given in and watch the one on Netflix, especially if you recommend it.
      Oh dear, sorry to hear about the baking mishap. I've doubled the recipe before, but always just made up two loaves. . . It's a great old recipe though, isn't it?!

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  5. Your shoes are wonderful. Even more wonderful is encouraging "reading stamina." So lovely. I'm reminded of the intense disappointment I felt when our eldest daughter didn't enjoy reading at all. I devoured books from Grade one on and she struggled to read. We read to her all the time so she developed a love of story, but some learning disabilities (mild) and eye problems made reading for herself difficult. Until Grade 4 when a teacher encouraged her and she took off like a rocket, reading everything, albeit slowly. She's an English teacher today (staying at home with her own little one now) and credits my tenacity and determination with making her a good reader. It's a gift for a lifetime.
    We're watching The Good Wife these days. Rectify sounds interesting, if a bit gritty. I'd be willing to give it a try, though.
    Happy Weekend!

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    1. How great that your daughter had so much support in developing a love of reading! I suspect many get discouraged because they aren't ready to read for themselves, yet could develop, as you say, a love of story, in the meantime.
      I just got caught up on The Good Wife -- really enjoyed it, and now I'm looking forward to the new season (although I get impatient about having to watch on the TV channel's schedule.

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  6. Beautiful post. I want to look into rectify, but it will be a couple of weeks, as my schedule is completely unmanageable until after the first week of October. Love the shoes.

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    1. Yes, I can imagine your schedule is crazy -- that's a big landscaping project you have going!

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  7. Why would anyone want those Fluevogs in any color or pattern than this?? Very cool. I love the recipe visual. The sign of a well loved and well used family recipe. Happy weekend. xo

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    1. I must admit that I really do love them in this combo. Wore them with a dress on the weekend, to the opera, because we walk there (a few kilometres) and the gold trim made me believe they were smart enough to do. . .

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  8. What a lovely list of things to celebrate. All so easily missed and yet so important. Enjoy the opera - thanks to your writings on your enjoyment of going to the opera, we gave it a go when in Prague. Marriage of Figaro - cannot say how it would match up to other productions but we loved it - and for the audience as much as what was going on in the production. So here are some more (virtual) eggs from me for that...

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    1. Marriage of Figaro is my husband's favourite next to The Barber of Seville. I'm guessing the opera house in Prague is pretty gorgeous, no?!
      And thank you for the extra eggs ;-)

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  9. Completely random fact - Aiden Young, who plays the lead in Rectify, is the younger brother of a university friend of mine. We used to give him a hard time for being a 'heart-throb' :) (this was almost 25 years ago, mind you ...)

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    1. Wow, another claim to fame for you! ;-)
      I find his looks perfect for Rectify -- despite having obvious heart-throb material, he can dial down the good looks to focus more on expression, not always easy, I don't suppose. . .

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  10. Friend coming to stay, eating out in Leeds, pottering about in Yorkshire sunshine, nattering, drinking gin, doing the ironing, coughing a bit less (vile bug for last few days) and laughing. My plans for weekend. PS my son also loves the banana bread I bake. I use and adapt Nigella's recipe. Good glug of whiskey always. Enjoy the time off.

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    1. Hope that cough is on its way out the door. Otherwise that sounds like a great weekend.
      Had no idea a good glug of whiskey could enhance a loaf of banana bread. But then why not? (I guess my association is so firmly with making this for kids -- just as well there was no glugging! )

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  11. Watched 3 episodes of Rectify back to back last night on the strength of your recommendation. I'm loving it and agree entirely about the soundtrack.

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    1. Isn't it good!?! btw, our Z (and Joey) have chosen your E's name if they have a girl. . . due in Feb.

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    2. What good taste they have — and massive congratulations to them!

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  12. Every time I walk by the Fluevog shop here I think of you!

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    1. ;-)!!!!! Many of their styles are too, too, for me lately, but just when I think that, there's another something-something that's absolutely bang-on. These shoes fit the bill!

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  13. I think Fluevogs are addictive. And that the addiction is contagious. A friend from Montreal, with whom I worked, loved them and had numerous pairs. None of the rest of us had even heard of them; they weren't available in Ottawa. Sooo group shopping trips to Montreal were planned and executed...and you can guess the rest!
    WRT banana bread and eggs...I had a student one year whose mum used to bake banana bread for the class when we had our group novel discussions. I had told them that at my book club we always had food and encouraged them to bring food for discussion days. He told his mum and she baked for the whole class! It was so lovely to see him lug in several loaves of warm banana bread...slightly sheepishly.
    Enjoy your weekend...sans the marking.

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    1. It's true. Fluevogs seem to invite a collector attitude. . . .Field trips to Montreal for shoe-shopping? Not so bad!
      That's a sweet story about your student bringing the banana bread in. I can picture the sheepish.

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  14. Your shoes are very stylish, although I think I would prefer the plain version, without the gold. I'm not sure you can buy Fluevog in Germany, at least I had never heard the name before stumbling over it in your blog.
    I love the photograph of the recipe. I copied it and printed it on my wonderful new printer and it looks like a copy of some valuable historical document recovered from some obscure archive. Which it is (valuable, I mean). I also tried it out right away, and the result is delicious! Banana bread is not very common in these parts, there is no tradition of it in my family, and my occasional attempts with different recipes were everything but successful. But it is not too late to start a new tradition. Thank you.

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    1. I love to think of you baking up this recipe, beginning a new family tradition, these connections across the miles through the blog. You might not be able to buy Fluevogs, but you can bake up the banana bread! ;-)

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  15. Oh, awesome shoes! I haven't seen "Rectify" yet, will add that one to our viewing list. The eggs are wonderful, but helping to create a willing reader....priceless!

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  16. My most treasured recipes are the ones which are all marked up with notes and mess from executing them.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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