Garden in the Woods

Earlier this month, we visited Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Massachusetts, where we met some my spouse’s former workmates. We had a picnic lunch and then walked around. It was hot and my kids were kind of complainy with Dad and his friends talking science all afternoon, but I did my best to ignore them all and enjoy the scenery, camera in hand.



Nature in the Neighborhood

We see a lot of plants and animals on our hikes, but we don’t need to head into the woods to see nature.

On a walk around our neighborhood this past weekend, we spotted this katydid standing on the sidewalk. I think it’s a Northern Bush Katydid (Scudderia septentrionalis).


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Weekly Walk 43

It’s five weeks after the summer solstice, and while I’m not about to complain about the heat since so far we can still get by without running the air conditioner if we don’t mind sweating a bit (which we don’t…usually), I will admit that the lack of rain is starting to get to me.

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Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James

Atlas of Unknowns was the June 2016 selection for the SBC (the accidental book club I started with my sister). Comment below, or check out our Goodreads group to join the discussion.

4330608I am not sure why I finished this book. Maybe it’s just because I love stationery and enjoyed the invitation card subplot. Because I wasn’t really engaged with the characters, most of whom I found flat, and much of what happened I found either overdone (like the documentary film thing and the points about immigration, which were excellent points but were handled in too heavy-handed a fashion to feel very poignant to me).

And the ending was a particular disappointment. Characters acted in ways that I found inconsistent, and the portrayal of seven-year-old Linno didn’t seem realistic to me. Based both on my experience of seven-year-olds and on the way James wrote her parents, I find it highly unlikely that Linno would have been aware of the America debate, much less reflecting on it to the depth that she did.

Two things I found interesting: Read More

The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier

This was the July selection for the SBC. It’s not too late to join the discussion! Visit us at our Goodreads group to discuss this or any of our other selections. August’s book is The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan.


The Parasites was a thoroughly satisfying read for me. In ways it reminds me of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love, a book that I did not like, but somehow I care more about du Maurier’s Parasites than I do any of Mitford’s characters.

Plot points are revealed quietly rather than lit with spotlights, to the point that there was one major relationship that I missed for a good chunk of the novel. I love this way of telling a story. The characters were annoying, selfish little people, but they were also so full of potential that I just couldn’t help hoping that they would change, just as I do with myself and every other human being I care about. Read More


Weekly Walk 42

Four weeks after the summer solstice, we took advantage of a break in the heat and took an after-lunch hike.


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Weekly Walk 41

Three weeks after the summer solstice, we once again walked the trail, this time in a surly mood.


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tiger lily (Lilium superbum)

Weekly Walk 40

Two weeks after the summer solstice, two days after Alton Sterling was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, one day after Philando Castile was shot to death in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and just hours after twelve police officers were shot and five killed in Dallas, Texas, my children and I took a walk in the woods.

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Weekly Walk 39

Our first summer walk—the week following the solstice—was best described by one word:


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Bookends: June 2016


June began with the close of a very long project I was working on and ended with a road trip to Acadia National Park and Prince Edward Island. The month was marked by a restlessness on my part, which manifested itself as a difficulty sitting still combined with a near total disinterest in doing much of anything. Not a great combination for reading. Luckily, this was also the month when I began listening to audiobooks while walking through the neighborhood or while making dinner or doing dishes, which helped increase my “books read” total for the month.

I’m not completely certain I like listening to audiobooks, at least as compared to reading the books myself. I worry that my opinion of the book is colored more than I’d like by the quality of the narration. But then, even when I read books myself, my opinion is colored by the ambient temperature, my level of fatigue, the snacks I have on hand, and whether I’m being interrupted by young humans or not. Objective rating of literature is probably not a realistic goal for me whether I have it read to me or read it myself.

At any rate, here’s what I read subjectively during June:

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