September 2010

Books read in September 2010:

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling.
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling.
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling.

Well, it’s one more book read than last month. You can expect to see more Harry Potter on these lists as I reread the series in preparation for the seventh film(s). It’s been two years since I’ve read any of the series, and it’s surprising how many details I’ve forgotten. The first two are still my least favourite, but Prisoner of Azkaban… for me, that’s where the real story begins.

Across the ocean

I woke up this morning to the shouts of ‘Mountain Day! Mountain Day!’ in the corridors and so now I look forward to joining a Smith College tradition on my first day back in the States. There has already been a 80s disco breakfast, and soon there will be apple picking, putt-putt, and dinner at a diner. It’s a beautiful autumn day outside but to me it’s warm enough to be summer.

Yesterday I rode two buses, two planes, and two more buses to get me from one small town in Scotland to another small town in Massachusetts. As I left town I saw the waves crashing against the pier through the mist and the rain. And as I left the islands of Britain to cross that vast ocean, I saw the afternoon sun casting the western shores of Ireland aglow. The land was dark, dark, but every pool, every lake and every river was shining bright as mirrors in the sun. And the sea, it shone, reflecting the golden sky.


It was still dark when I woke up this morning. We’ve started pulling out jumpers and scarves, and there is an unmistakable crispness to the air. Yes, my dear readers, it is finally autumn.

Today was the first day of term, so now I can say that I am a second-year PhD student. It sounds so much more legitimate and real than I actually feel. But I have a desk of my own now. It’s mine until I finish. I start teaching a medieval tutorial in a couple of weeks. How more legitimate and real can I get?

Haere ra

The group of us at the Dennisons' going-away picnic.

Farewell John, Jannah, Theo, and Emmaus! New Zealand will be glad to have you back, but we in Scotland will miss you.

At the picnic I was dragged from one end of the park to the other, running like an ostrich, playing follow the leader, walking like a flamingo, jumping, going down slides, and in general, hanging out with two very cool little boys. I think one of my favourite roles is that of ‘Aunt Chera’.

Morley and Dashiell.

It’s all yellow

I couldn’t be bothered to go to the store today, so when it came to dinnertime, I rummaged in my fridge and found half a bell pepper, a carrot, a zucchini, and a couple of peppers. I was all prepared to do my standard roast veg & couscous concoction when I decided on a whim to add some red lentils, too. I tossed a vegetable bouillon cube, some cumin and cayenne pepper in with the lentils, and let that cook while I chopped and cooked the vegetables. It was rainy and grey outside, and I in my very yellow and bright kitchen wanted food that was colourful and warm.

It’s not the prettiest of dishes, but it works. Next time I’ll put more spices in, just to give it a little more kick.

First things

Today I roasted a chicken. I had never dealt with a whole bird before. It was the bizarrest thing — perhaps made even more bizarre by that I was Skyping with Kelly at the same time, and at one point may have said, “Look! The wings flap!” and Ros may or may not have walked in shortly after this.*

Ros and I jointly entertained for the first time tonight. I made tortilla soup for dinner and she made apple tart tatin for pudding. It was very fun, and I’m glad that the Ackers were able to come over to join us.


* It always astounds me when people think at first that I am so dignified.

Hi, My Name Is

The Sharpes, Ackers, and I usually sit near each other at church and then stand together during tea and coffee afterward. This Sunday, however, Jesse (of the Sharpes) and Faith (of the Ackers) were both away.

A woman who is new to the church walked over to me and Isaac during the coffee time and said, “I thought I would meet some of the other families with kids.”

“Hi,” I said, shaking her hand. “I don’t have any kids.” Already beginning to be confused, she then asked if Isaac was a student (she didn’t ask me). He said no, he wasn’t, but his wife is, and that his wife is away that week. Then she looked at me, again, even more confused. “I’m a student in the School of English, and I work in the same building as his wife,” I said. I pointed at Casey. “The boys are hers. Her husband is also a student and I share an office with him.”

It was an honest mistake: Isaac and I were standing together, I helped Casey with the boys during Communion. This is just one more chapter in how we have managed to thoroughly confuse the congregation of this church. Fortunately I’m no longer complimented for my well-behaved boys (the little old ladies have finally figured out that both boys belong Casey), but I’ve also been asked if I’m related to the Sharpes (well, the boys do call me Aunt), or if I live with them (I suppose we do always arrive and leave together).

Perhaps to prevent any future confusion, now that the Ackers are involved, we should start wearing name tags…

At home Friday

Some things I have done today:

  • Hoovered the walls and ceiling of the stairwell;
  • Hoovered the tops of light shades in two rooms;
  • Hoovered the light in the foyer;
  • Hoovered thoroughly the sitting room;
  • Washed very dusty curtains;
  • Sorted out some electrical cords and where to put them;
  • Napped in an armchair in the sun;
  • Installed a “new” microwave in the kitchen;
  • Cleaned said kitchen;

and so on and so forth. I also managed not to make an enemy of the rather large spider who has been hanging out on our sitting room wall all day. Why have I been doing so much hoovering? Ever since we moved in I’ve been sneezing — and no wonder, as dust is everywhere. There was even dust in the dining chairs. I really don’t understand how the previous occupants could never have thought to vacuum the cobwebs off the ceiling or how they could have let a centimeter-deep of dust form on the tops of the light shades. Anyhow, I will be very sad to return the Dyson I have been borrowing to its rightful owner. I wish I had £179.99 for a Dyson of my own.