I had a rather busy spring, capped off with a fantastic trip. Without further ado, here’s what I’m into. Thanks to Leigh Kramer for hosting this linkup!
I have a pretty good track record with borrowing books from a particular friend after her book club reads them (This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel being a notable, odious exception). I devoured Station Eleven in a day, swept up in its multi-generational, multi-national tale of a world nearly destroyed by catastrophic flu.
In the first chapters, one of the characters comments on how “humane” something is. (I can’t pull the exact quote because I returned the book!) That’s the best word I can use to describe this book: humane. The characters are written with deep respect, and the scenes are gorgeous, even when they are terrifying. This book has so much heart. I loved it.
There are not enough resources out there about how to be successful without being insufferable. And because we are all scared of being insufferable, we hide or minimize our successes. Mindy Kaling offers a case study in how to find perspective, acknowledge flaws as well as strengths, and be confident without being awful. I sped through this book during a three hour delay in Munich and I imagine I would have been much grumpier without it.
Sometimes you just need a dose of Madeleine L’Engle. Because this is one of the few books of hers that I didn’t have in paperback (and therefore cannot recite word for word) it actually held a few surprises for me. May I never stop periodically re-reading the favorite books of my youth.
The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner batches, grow heaps, comforter compost, and other amazing techniques for saving time and money, and … most flavorful, nutritous vegetables ever.
Remember how I said my spring was busy? The payoff was an eleven-day jaunt to Sicily in June. I had always wanted to visit the part of Italy where people look like me. We stayed in three towns.
A resort town with gorgeous landscape and excellent food. The vibe was a little too “beautiful people trying too hard”, but we made the most of it. Being there in June, on the edge of low season, helped. We spent two afternoons on the beach, hiked to the top of the Rocca, and rented a car to day-trip to a bunch of small towns in the mountains on the northern coast of Sicily.
From Cefalù we took a boat to the Aeolian Islands, spending the morning on Lipari, checking out it’s fantastic duomo and archaological park, and the afternoon on Vulcano. It was too hot to hike the volcanic crater on Vulcano, so we had to spend the afternoon under umbrella’s on the black sand beaches. Shucks!
I think I would have loved this area even if it weren’t the homeland of my paternal grandfather’s parents. We stayed in Ortigia, the island connected to Siracusa by two bridges. It took only about 90 minutes to walk the perimeter, and had beautiful churches built on Greek ruins, an ancient Jewish mikveh, and classic piazzas of white stone. In the evening Ortigia was super fashionable, but in a more elevated way than Cefalu. There was so much more we could have seen and done, but with the idea of hopfully returning someday.
Catania was dirty and smelly and we saw drugs and prostitution and there was graffiti all over the monuments and we loved it. I don’t mean to glorify vice – for the sake of the locals I wish there were no graffiti and crime! – but to lift up how charming and real the town was, despite the grime. Churches on every block, great food tucked away on side streets, and people speaking Sicilian! This was the only town in which we heard anything other than Italian or English.
We also toured Etna from Catania, with a guide from Etna and Sea Biological Excursions. They were fantastic.
I will be posting more scenes from our trip over the next few weeks. I came back so inspired to write and make music. It was a fantastic trip.
I’m working on an article about social media and felt that my lack of knowledge about Snapchat was a problem. I’m figuring it out.
I had a PR at the Mystic Half Marathon in May. But I won’t tell you what it was because even my PRs are embarassingly slow.
July will be busy! I head to Tanglewood to sing Carmina Burana with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as part of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus on July 9. Then I head into rehearsals with Piccola Opera for a production of Suor Angelica which goes up July 22 & 23 in Concord, NH. The month wraps up with two summer concerts, one with Longwood Opera, one with New England Light Opera. You can find more info on my events page.
What have you been into, and what’s coming up?
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