It’s hard to believe that it’s July, that we’re already in the final month of our sweet summer sojourn in London. This month, we have particularly enjoyed a bit less international travel and a bit more local travel: getting to see more London museums, parks, and neighborhoods. Despite my true nature as a small-town-loving woman, I have developed quite a fondness for this sprawling city. Some recent photos follow.
We also sit around and talk about Paris and Beirut and ISIS and the elections and fear and realize: We have no theoretical solutions. We are at a loss. (To solve the human condition?)
In light of this, Paul gave a helluva sermon yesterday, All Is Forgiven, which I recommend heartily. He speaks about the deeply, undeniably offensive nature of Christianity.
“Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great.” — William F. Buckley
I think I have always known that this would happen. Eventually. I had just hoped I was wrong. On Friday afternoon, Pyrrha killed Mayumi, one of our remaining hens.
Mayumi was our rebellious soul; she was the one who liked to escape the garden fence and fly into trees, and occasionally, into the backyard where the dogs run and reside. She was generally able to fly back over the fence into safety, but on Friday, she was too flustered to save herself. And I was not fast enough to intervene.
I had just come out onto the back deck, and I saw Eden chasing the hen at the end of the yard. Eden, unlike her elder sister, is a terrible hunter and seemed merely to want to pin her down. I started yelling and running down the stairs out to the yard, but I am not as fast as Pyrrha. Unfortunately. Before I could even get down the stairs, Pyrrha had Mayumi in her jaws and I watched her give the chicken a good, strong, murderous shake. I was still screaming at this point, and I grabbed Pyrrha so hard that she yelped and dropped the hen. I dragged both dogs indoors and then came out to assess the situation. It was too late for little Mayumi. But she met my gaze, which was horribly sad, as she slowly died, and I felt like a huge failure. I called Guion, breathless and trembling, and he came home from work. By that time, Mayumi had died, and he did the man’s work of confirming her state. We left her body in the alley, where the hawks and foxes roam, and something picked it up by early morning.
So, now we just have one, the long-suffering and surviving Fumiko. It is not good for chicken, like man, to be alone, so we are trying to rehome her. If you or anyone you know in the area would like to add a sweet Japanese bantam to his or her flock, please let me know.
Sigh. I think we will try chickens again next year, after we get back from London. And this time, we are going to target the big, fat breeds who can’t fly.
My front-yard landscape is filling out in a clumsy kind of way, but its advancements since last year are noteworthy. Almost everything survived the long winter, which made me supremely happy. And we harvested about five cherries from the cherry tree in front, which I also consider to be a success. The plants are happy and thus I am happy. It is a simple formula.
One mistake was underestimating how crazy lamb’s ear is. It is taking over the tiny plot I naively stuck it in. It’s time to divide and conquer.
My generous, stylish friend Cate bought me this beautiful vintage pair of Italian loafers. She gave them to me as a surprise gift, wrapped up in brown paper, before we sat down to dinner with friends. I am totally in love with these shoes, even though they pinch my gangly toes. I wear them to work as often as I can, in the (vain) hope that they will stretch. They are so perfectly narrow and charming; they make my feet magically look like the feet of a Russian novel’s desirable heroine, who always has two sexy, sexy qualities: (1) “tiny feet” and (2) “a soft, downy upper lip.” Ladies with barely-there mustaches were Tolstoy and Dostoevsky’s jam. Mercifully, I haven’t achieved that yet. But the shoes, ah, the shoes, they are perfect.
We are going on a brief summer holiday to Iceland next week; photos to come!
Also, this dog wants you to come over and play with her.
We moved. Guion’s generous and sweet parents came and helped us move, unpack, clean, and bid farewell to good Belmontonia.
We gardened. We planted a host of seedlings from our new landlords, mowed the (huge) lawn, tended our crops, and harvested snap peas and strawberries.
We got a dog. (OMG WE GOT A DOG.) Meet Pyrrha (*pronounced “peer-ah”), who is on trial with us from the amazing people at Southeast German Shepherd Rescue. I’ll continue to write all about her on my dog blog. She is a totally sweet and shy little lady and we love her already. (The name comes from Greek mythology and from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, which we recently read and loved.)
We ate out and relaxed. (Windy and Mike, below, at Blue Mountain Brewery.)
We looked at our sweet dog some more.
We unloaded more boxes.
On Wednesday night, Guion–who is extremely sexy–gave his final poetry reading at UVA. It is hard to believe that we’ve been here two years and that he’s already finished his coursework for his MFA. He did a wonderful job, as always, and we had a beautiful evening in the gardens celebrating these five great poets:
I am so very proud of him!
Saturday afternoon, we celebrated Leah’s 1st birthday at the park! Watching a baby have her first taste of chocolate is a glorious, intense experience.
More photos from the MFA readings and Leah’s birthday on my Flickr.
This is our last full week in our beloved Belmontonia, so I will be thoroughly consumed by the task of packing and preparing to move. My posting here will be a little more sparse than usual. But I still love you. If you’re looking for something sweet to read, you should check out Granddad’s memories of his mother’s German shepherd. OK. Talk to you again soon.
- Writers who don’t read.
- Children who don’t play outside.
- Reality TV.
- Puppy mills.
- Smart phone addictions.
- People who keep writing German “shepards.”
OK, that’s all. I’m done being an old lady/curmudgeon for the day.
I just have to say, I had such a wonderful weekend. I spent most of Saturday with Anna. We met at the farmers’ market, which just opened for the season, and picked up food for brunch. The highlight of the market, though, was the farmer who had a truck bed full of 10 week-old shepherd mix puppies. SO wanted to take one home. Of course. But I resisted. After brunch, Anna and I picked up her family’s young German Shepherd, Heidi, and took her to the beautiful Pen Park, where we roamed with Heidi, who swam in the Rivanna River, chased some deer, and carried a huge log for about a mile (like this, except the log was even bigger). We also got caught in a freak hail storm in the middle of a giant field. It was exhilarating. I want to do it all again tomorrow.
Saturday night, Guion and I went to dinner at the lavish Tavola as a belated birthday event. So good. And then on Sunday, we got a great (albeit short) visit from Dad, Sam, and Sam’s hockey teammate. They passed through Charlottesville on their way home from a tournament in D.C. We had burgers outside on the downtown mall and reminisced about life back home. It was great to see them, even though Sam is HUGE. I am not used to that child being six feet tall.
Snaxy snax with snax sauce:
Myths: From the Rise of the “Model Minority” to the “American Decline.” A very thoughtful and insightful piece on the subtle racism and expectations that Asian Americans face today. (Serenastyle Blog)
The Allure of Rue Montorgueil. Let’s go to France. To this street. Tomorrow. (Lost In Cheeseland)
The Rough Guide to the Waste Land. A travel guide through Eliot’s epic. (McSweeney’s)
Map of the USA from a Californian’s Perspective. Haha. At least we get to be the “Fashion Bloggers” state! (Delphine Ephemera)
Drop-Your-Jaw Embroidery. This has been heavily circulated in the lady blogosphere already, but it’s still pretty amazing: embroidered classic book covers. I think Black Beauty is my favorite. (Little Is the New Big)
Three-Year-Old College Student Really Wants to be New Jersey’s Governor. OMG. I love children. (Daily Intel)
Solid Bond in Your Heart. Japanese children kill me. This photo, too. Tears! (Hamada Hideaki)