Monday, August 26, 2013

Creature Comforts Weekend

I've taken on a volunteer position with my local Learning Disabilities Association (this is the field in which I have worked and plan to work again someday); I now coordinate and format the monthly newsletter. It's not a terribly challenging or time-consuming role, but this week was the first time in a long time that I was dealing with serious demands outside my home and family. I wanted to please the executive board, and I may have stressed out about the process more than was necessary. As a result, I headed into this weekend tired in more ways than one.

Saturday morning was a highlight because Brian took the kids to the National Harbor, and I stayed home and read.

I'm about halfway through In the Kingdom of Men. I put down the book after the main character did something so stupidly naive that I couldn't stand to read anymore for a little while. But, overall, I am enjoying this book. It's set in Saudi Arabia in the 1960s, and the main character is a young (at most, twenty) American woman. She and her husband have moved there for her husband's job with an oil company. It's definitely a coming of age story for this woman who had an impoverished (in more ways than one) childhood; she is introduced to all sorts of ways of life in this American expat culture. But she's different than most of the women: she wants to know the people who wait on her and understand the different cultures in which she's immersed, yet kept separate, from. Her husband has high ideals about workers' rights, and at this point in the book, is starting to get in to trouble with higher-ups for his "meddling" (no surprise I like this book). In a way, they're both meddlers. But naive, well-meaning ones. The whole story is suffused with foreboding, which I would have imagined would have bothered me enough not to keep on going, but I'm pretty interested in this woman, so I'll stick with it.

Brian and I were both super excited about this Joss Whedon interview. EW is our guilty pleasure, and we're both fans of Joss. The interview was great: he came across as humble and likeable and totally committed to his work. Here's my favorite question and answer from the entire article:
We also prodded Whedon, who pioneered the modern teenage vampire saga with The WB’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for how he felt about the Twilight films and The CW’s The Vampire Diaries.
“A small part of you is like: ‘Well, you know, I did that first. I liked that band before they were popular,’” he says. “The thing about Buffy for me is–on a show-by-show basis–are there female characters who are being empowered, who are driving the narrative? The Twilight thing and a lot of these franchise attempts coming out, everything rests on what this girl will do, but she’s completely passive, or not really knowing what the hell is going on. And that’s incredibly frustrating to me because a lot of what’s taking on the oeuvre of Buffy, is actually a reaction against it. Everything is there — except for the Buffy. A lot of things aimed at the younger kids is just Choosing Boyfriends: The Movie.”
How can you not love that? I guess he doesn't sound as humble there as he does overall, but come on, he has a valid point.

But, the weekend was not all reading. We had family over (twice!), lots of yard work, and a sick boy.

Also, I made this drink, which is quite wonderful for the waning days of summer and for our neighbors' party around their fire pit:

1/2-1 teaspoon sugar, muddled with four or five basil leaves in the bottom of a glass
1 shot vodka
3/4 shot lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
Club soda to taste
Basil sprig for garnish if you want to do it up

And then we finished off the weekend with these because I was craving a little something sweet.

Nothing like plain old chocolate chip cookies to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Linked up at Atelier.

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