Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cake, coffee and books

I have trouble relaxing once August 1 hits.  I honestly feel as if I should have a to-do list of productive things to accomplish.  During the summer, I usually find a job, but none of the ones I had in the works back in May panned out.  No trip to France.  I applied to be a group leader with the Experiment in International Living, but I think I am about 25 years over their age limit.  And heaven only knows how many applicants they get for the positions.  I could have taught summer school, but I gave that up because I was waiting on the Experiment to decide.  Oh well.  C'est comme ça.
June and July kept me busy-- I tried new recipes, read some amazing books (I spent one whole day on the sofa finishing Pat Conroy's South of Broad- I gave it to the Ex-Ex for his birthday.  Pat Conroy is the only fiction he reads.), visited my mom and siblings in the mountains and my in-laws in eastern NC, spent a great week at the beach with my family, spent time with my baby sister, Moo, at High Rock Lake, and explored Durham with the Ex-Ex.  Both boys are working, but I've been able to spend time with them and cook for them. I've written two newspaper articles (and need to get the August one done now!), countless blogs and a sketchy novel outline (I can't believe I didn't do more than that-- I think I am afraid to commit...).
As much as I would like to, I can't get back into my classroom yet.  Student U just finished with classes on our campus and the teachers will clear out by the end of this week.  I will have two days to work in my room next week, putting it all back together, and then I will take a three-day computer course.  And our opening faculty meetings begin the week after.
This morning I walked with the BFF and then worked out at Curves.  And now?  Oh, enjoying a piece of that zucchini cake and a cup of the Peruvian coffee as I type this entry and watch the cats take their morning nap.  Hmmm... maybe I am better at this relaxing thing than I thought!


Summer Reading List

In Progress--

  • Harry Wong & Rosemary Wong- The First Days of School:  How To Be An Effective Teacher (middle school faculty summer reading; even after 30 years of sitting behind the "big desk" as a friend used to call it, I am getting some new ideas-- this is making me even more anxious to get back in my classroom!)
 Accomplished--
  • Michael Ruhlman- The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef (author takes classes at Culinary Institute of America, follows chefs)
  • Mary Ann Caws- Provençal Cooking:  Savoring the Simple Life in France (non-fiction- woman buys a little house in the south of France and spends summers there; recipes included)
  • Alan Richman- Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater (GQ columnist is paid to eat and write about it)
  • Pat Conroy- South of Broad (novel set in Charleston; follows main character and his growing up in '60's; amazing dialogue and characters)
  • René Char- Lettera amorosa (poems in French by Provençal poet)
  • Sheramy Bundrick- Sunflowers (a fictional novel about Vincent Van Gogh and told by the woman he gave his ear to)
  • Steve Dublanica- Waiter Rant (professional waiter blogs about customers and restaurant business and then turns it into a novel)
  • Polly Platt- Savoir Flair:  211 Tips for Enjoying France and the French; French or Foe?  Getting the Most of of Visiting, Living and Working in France (American who lives in France and offers courses for people who have been transferred there for work, as well as their spouses; how to understand and appreciate the French)
  • Jennifer Niven- Velva Jean Learns to Drive (fiction; takes place in the NC mountains when the Blue Ridge Parkway was being built; one character is from Spruce Pine!)
  • Jill Jonnes- Eiffel's Tower (about the building of the tower and the 1889 World's Exposition in Paris; lots of good information about the Americans who came- Edison, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, etc.)
 Waiting in the Wings:

  • Michael Ruhlman- The Reach of a Chef (follow up about some of the famous American chefs)
  • Mark Twain- The Innocents Abroad (his travel memoirs)
  • Jean-Benoît Nadeau & Julie Barlow-  The Story of French (no explanation needed!)
  • Rudolph Chelminski- The Perfectionist:  Life and Death in Haute Cuisine
  • Reay Tannahill- Food in History
  • Gael Greene- Insatiable:  Tales From A Life of Delicious Excess
  • Derek Fell- Van Gogh's Women
  • Colette- Claudine at School, Claudine in Paris (I found these 1957 & 1958 translations from the French in a thrift shop this summer Pennies for Change)
  • Don & Petie Kladstrup- Wine and War:  The French, The Nazis and The Battle for France's Greatest Treasure
Now, I think I need another piece of cake-- quality control, you know!

Bon appétit, last days of summer vacation!
A big shout out to Celia as she recovers from surgery-- I am ready to bake for you, ma petite!

    1 comment:

    puddinglane said...

    What a fabulous reading library you have waiting in the wings. I have read some of Polly Platt and found it good light reading - but the book about Vincent VG sounds very interesting.
    ~Dianne~