Captain's log. . . Stardate 30 July 2014. Summer is in full swing here in the Grand Duchy of Stollen as it no doubt is for many of you in the Northern Hemisphere. July has been delightfully unusual in our little part of the galaxy this year. With the exception of a day or two here and there, it has been unseasonably cool and green, something that is not typical for this time of the year in the midst of Central Illinois. Usually by this time, it is hot, dry, and the grass is uniformly brown most places. Hopefully, August and September will continue in a similar temperate and comfortable vein. Cross your fingers and toes!
At the moment, I am listening online to Norwegian State Broadcasting (NRK), Program 1 out of Bergen on the west coast of Norway, a place where I spent a lot of time in a previous life about 15-20 years ago. The program features a pleasing mix of chat and a wide array of music from the last 40-odd years along with an announcer who speaks with a delightful Bergen accent.
Playing at the moment is There She Goes from 1987 by The La's, a tune that always reminds me of my wife since I used to hear it quite a bit on the radio during the winter and spring of 2000-2001 when the Grand Duchess and I began dating while in grad school at the University of Minnesota. . . although neither of us realized just yet that we were becoming a couple. It was all still pretty innocent movie festivals and coffee afterwards along with occasional late-night telephone calls during the week about non-romantic, work-related stuff. Or so it seemed at the time. And I've never really worked out which of us was pursuing the other though I suppose it hardly maters now. Funny how life works and good things sneak up on you when you least realize it.
Anyway, I'm still plugging away at the current group of five wagons for the supply and pontoon train. The vehicles themselves are about done now, and it's time to turn my attention to the horse teams and drivers/drovers. We're getting there, slowly but surely. It is taking a bit longer than planned to work through these, but I am enjoying the modelling and painting, so no complaints.
I should be able to wrap these up in the next several evenings, take a break, and then start on the last five or six wagons and carts and make inroads there before the autumn semester begins again in about four weeks. Sigh. I received one of those emails yesterday morning, inviting me to a day-long professional development seminar on August 11th. Not mandatory you understand, but I feel like I ought to attend since it has been two years since I last did so. And just when it really began to feel like summer! Well, at least it will be time to dress up for work/teaching again, so there is that one small plus I suppose.
In other areas, I've managed to read through a couple of detective thrillers during the last few weeks too. Field of Prey by John Sandford and before that Breakdown by Sara Paretsky. Next up is one of the Harry Hole thrillers by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø whose title escapes me at the moment. I've also been working slowly through The Powers of Horror by Julia Kristeva, a somewhat less fluffy bit of feminist nonfiction that deals with the concept of abjection.
While terribly interesting reading, Kristeva's work is not necessarily something you want to breeze through in just a few nights before you drift off into la-la land. And then there has been the fascinating book on the Art Deco movement, given to my by the Grand Duchess for our anniversary at the end of last month, which is really a collection of essays on the architecture, interior style, and clothing fashions of the 1920s and 30s. And of course, we've been working our way through the Midsomer Murders series via Netflix streaming, so it has been a busy five weeks or so.
Ah. . . The house is still at almost 4pm in the afternoon, the Young Master is having his daily Quiet Time, and the inside temperature with the windows open is ideal for an afternoon nap, so. . . That is where yours truly is headed next. A supper of fresh tomato sandwiches (courtesy of the Grand Duchess and her vegetable garden) along with fresh sweetcorn off the cob and iced tea, sweetened with sugar and flavored with fresh mint from the garden, will follow. After the Young Master's bedtime, it's back down here to Zum Stollenkeller for 90 minutes of so of painting mid-evening. School might start in four weeks, but for the time being, it's still summertime!