Category Archives: stuff

Goal 2012, #1: Reading Shakespeare

We’ve all done it, or said we’ve done it — read Shakespeare. I’ve read quite a bit, I’ve retained very little, and I want to re-experience the Bard of Avon now in a new way: as chronologically written.

Here, to help me out, are Shakespeare’s works in the chronological order in which they were first performed. In bold, plays I’ve read before, or more than once before, and can remember having read.

Henry VI, Part II
Henry VI, Part III
Henry VI, Part I
Richard III
Comedy of Errors
Titus Andronicus
Taming of the Shrew
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Romeo and Juliet
Richard II
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
King John
The Merchant of Venice
Henry IV, Part I
Henry IV, Part II
Much Ado About Nothing
Henry V
Julius Caesar
As You Like It
Twelfth Night
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Troilus and Cressida
All’s Well That Ends Well
Measure for Measure
King Lear
Antony and Cleopatra
Timon of Athens
The Winter’s Tale
The Tempest
Henry VIII


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Why I Love L.L. Bean

I love L.L. Bean. I’ve loved it since I was a kid and summers home in Maine included a pilgrimage to the LLB store in Freeport to visit the trout pond and taxidermied meese. Now that I am living in a drafty house in New England myself, I love LLB because it has WARM THINGS, like flannel-lined jeans (my husband thanks you) and hearthside slippers.

Last winter when I had a painful fall on the stairs just after moving in to the house, a pair of hearthside slippers in chocolate brown protected my feet on the stairs and kept them warm and safe (albeit after the fact; my fault). For Mum’s birthday the following June, I sent her a pair of hearthside slippers in green tea so that she would be safe on my stairs too during their summertime visit. This style of slipper has a little bit of a sole on the bottom that makes the carpeted stairs a little bit less treacherous.

When Christmas came, I decided to get my grandmother a pair of hearthside slippers too, in cornflower blue, to keep her warm and cozy in upstate New York. I ordered the slippers online from the comfort of Massachusetts and took advantage of LLB’s free holiday shipping promotion to have the slippers sent straight to Nevada, where Grandma was visiting for the holidays, so Mum wrapped them and put them straight under the tree.

But Christmas Day came and the slippers were too small. They tend to run smallish at first anyway, and while I had guessed Mum’s size correctly the previous spring, I guessed incorrectly with Grandma. A return was necessary, but since L.L. Bean doesn’t have an outpost in the Nevada desert, more’s the pity, it would have to be a mail return.

Mum called Customer Service. And explained:

Daughter in Massachusetts
bought hearthside slippers online
to be mailed from the L.L. Bean store in Freeport, Maine
straight to Mum in Las Vegas, Nevada
where Mum wrapped them and put them under the tree
for Grandma, visiting Nevada from upstate New York
but the slippers, alas, were too small, so Mum in Nevada
has to package up the slippers and mail them back
to L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine
and then a new pair in a larger size could be sent
from Freeport, Maine
to Grandma, who by the time the slippers were available,
would be back at home in upstate New York.

The wonderful woman at customer service got such a good laugh out of our tale.

Three generations. Four states. One pair of cornflower blue slippers. One amazing “local” company that can reach across the country and make sure ALL their customers are happy with their product and their service. I can’t think of another company that would have done what the folks at L.L. Bean were able to do for one little pair of slippers and three women with cold toes.

And even more than before, if such were possible, I love L.L. Bean.

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My Reads, 2010 Edition

1. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (T. S. Eliot)
2. Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)
3. Anne of Avonlea (L. M. Montgomery)
4. This Lullaby (Sarah Dessen)
5. Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne (David Starkey)
6. The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (Lauren Willig)
7. Winnie-the-Pooh (A. A. Milne)
8. The Raven Ring (Patricia C. Wrede)
9. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (Alexander McCall Smith)
10. The Game (Laurie R. King)

11. Locked Rooms (Laurie R. King)
12. The Devil’s Novice (Ellis Peters)
13. The Language of Bees (Laurie R. King)
14. The Pilgrim of Hate (Ellis Peters)
15. An Excellent Mystery (Ellis Peters)
16. Little Men (Louisa May Alcott)
17. Belgarath the Sorcerer (David & Leigh Eddings)
18. Cape Cod (Henry David Thoreau)
19. The God of the Hive (Laurie R. King)
20. Polgara the Sorceress (David & Leigh Eddings)

21. Persona Non Grata (Ruth Downie)
22. Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (Alexander McCall Smith)
23. The Books of Great Alta (Jane Yolen)
24. The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan)
25. The Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan)
26. The Titan’s Curse (Rick Riordan)
27. The Battle of the Labyrinth (Rick Riordan)
28. The Last Olympian (Rick Riordan)
29. Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths (Bruce Feiler)
30. A River in the Sky (Elizabeth Peters)

31. Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World (Claire Harman)
32. Where Mercy is Shown, Mercy is Given (Duane Chapman)
33. Catilina’s Riddle (Steven Saylor)
34. The Double Comfort Safari Club (Alexander McCall Smith)
35. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Joanne Fluke)
36. A Man Lay Dead (Ngaio Marsh)
37. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword of Avalon (Diana L. Paxson)
38. A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
39. Carrot Cake Murder (Joanne Fluke)
40. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Alexander McCall Smith)

41. Three Bags Full (Leonie Swann)
42. The Raven in the Foregate (Ellis Peters)
43. Every Living Thing (James Herriot)
44. Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men who Signed the Declaration of Independence (Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese)
45. A Ride Into Morning: The Story of Tempe Wick (Ann Rinaldi)
46. The Tudor Rose: A Novel of Elizabeth of York (Margaret Campbell Barnes)
47. The Uncommon Reader (Alan Bennett)
48. Outfoxed (Rita Mae Brown)
49. Mairelon the Magician (Patricia C. Wrede)
50. Magician’s Ward (Patricia C. Wrede)

51. The Arms of Nemesis (Steven Saylor)
52. Hotspur (Rita Mae Brown)
53. The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn (Alison Weir)
54. Full Cry (Rita Mae Brown)
55. The Messenger of Athens (Anne Zouroudi)
56. The Clash of Gods: A Reinterpretation of Early Christian Art (Thomas F. Mathews)
57. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Joanne Fluke)
58. Corduroy Mansions (Alexander McCall Smith)
59. The Right Attitude to Rain (Alexander McCall Smith)
60. Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Joanne Fluke)

61. Blueberry Muffin Murder (Joanne Fluke)
62. Fudge Cupcake Murder (Joanne Fluke)
63. Murder at the Vicarage (Agatha Christie)
64. Sugar Cookie Murder (Joanne Fluke)
65. Going the Moose Way Home (Jim Latimer)
66. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (Mark Kurlansky)
67. Last Laughs: Funny Tombstone Quotes and Famous Last Words (Kathleen E. Miller)
68. The Wolf in the Parlor: The Eternal Connection between Humans and Dogs (Jon Franklin)
69. James Herriot’s Dog Stories (James Herriot)
70. The Secret of Sarah Revere (Ann Rinaldi)

71. The Hermit of Eyton Forest (Ellis Peters)
72. The Hunt Ball (Rita Mae Brown)
73. Peach Cobbler Murder (Joanne Fluke)
74. Dealing with Dragons (Patricia C. Wrede)
75. Searching for Dragons (Patricia C. Wrede)
76. The Odious Ogre (Norton Juster & Jules Pfeiffer)
77. Calling on Dragons (Patricia C. Wrede)
78. Talking to Dragons (Patricia C. Wrede)
79. Eggs in Purgatory (Laura Childs)
80. Cherry Cheesecake Murder (Joanne Fluke)

81. Key Lime Pie Murder (Joanne Fluke)
82. Cream Puff Murder (Joanne Fluke)
83. Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth (Tamar Myers)
84. Fixing Delilah (Sarah Ockler)
85. Plum Pudding Murder (Joanne Fluke)
86. The Pericles Commission (Gary Corby)
87. Death at Bishop’s Keep (Robin Paige)
88. The Summer of the Danes (Ellis Peters)
89. Eggs Benedict Arnold (Laura Childs)
90. The Hounds and the Fury (Rita Mae Brown)

91. Apple Turnover Murder (Joanne Fluke)
92. The Elements of Typographic Style (Robert Bringhurst)

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Guy Fawkes Night

And what a lovely night for a bonfire! It is rainy and foggy but mild, my favorite kind of weather. Coffee and sweater weather.

It’s Guy Fawkes Day, or Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with the holiday, it celebrates the night of November 5, 1605 when Guy Fawkes (one of many conspirators) was discovered guarding an undercroft below the British Parliament building stuffed to the gills with gunpowder, firewood, and coal. Conspirators planned to blow up Parliament on opening day, assassinating King James, and place James’s daughter the Princess Elizabeth (Elizabeth of Scotland, future Queen of Bohemia) on the throne in his place. The preservation of the king was ordered to be celebrated with bonfires, and the tradition has held ever since. Usually Guy himself is also burned, in effigy, although public figures who draw the peoples’ ire may also find themselves burned in effigy.

No bonfires for us tonight, but it just so happens I was planning on good British shepherd’s pie for dinner.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d (or by God’s mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

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More Things I Won’t Miss About Renting

1. The “outgoing mail” slot that isn’t wide enough to accommodate a greeting card. Usually I just send it to work with Jim and have him drop it off in one of the blue postal boxes at the hospital, but this morning I just wasn’t so on top of stuff. I ended up having to (carefully) jam the envelope in to a gap in the door of the outgoing mail box, and I’m hoping it stays in place long enough for the postman to come. If it’s any consolation (and it is…) my next greeting card will probably be sent from a *real* mailbox at the new house…

2. People in the hallway, and the idea of a common hallway in general. I jump everytime I hear keys jingling in the hallway outside the door. I’m not a fan of living so close to people that I can overhear their conversations and smell what they’re making for dinner or what scent of candle they’re burning. I like fish, sure, but I like it when I cook it, not when the person at the end of the hallway cooks it. And you might think your cinnamon apple pie-scented candle is just the best thing since sliced bread, but when it’s all I can smell from the moment I open my own door, and the scent is so intense it burns the smell receptors in my nose, then you might need to take it down a notch. I can never smell my own food beyond my own door, even the time I slow-cooked a side of corned beef.

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They’re Back!

The phone rang at 7:30 AM…I thought maybe it was someone at the hospital telling Jim he really did have today off for the holiday. But it wasn’t…It was the Quincy Police Department calling to tell us that the motorcycle’s license plates have been recovered!! Hoorah! They were recovered sometime in the last couple of days by the Weymouth Police Department, and the QPD didn’t know what kind of condition they were in. I want to know the story behind their disappearance and reappearance. We’ve got a number of theories. I guess we’ll be picking up the plates and finding out sometime today or tomorrow!

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Oh! My! Gosh!

This is the most beautiful beginning-of-November I think I have ever seen. It is warm, there is perfect humidity, and an occasional breeze stirs up the scents of autumn. Sunday was so beautiful, in fact, that we considered taking a late-season motorcycle ride through the nearby Blue Hills (mmm, curves). Imagine our surprise, yea, even indignity, when we got out to the motorcycle and THE LICENSE PLATE WAS MISSING. Someone had stolen the license plate off the motorcycle! Jim hasn’t been riding much because of inclement, bad weather, but we park our cars next to the motorcycle every day and one or the other of us would have noticed right away, I think, if the plate had gone missing earlier. Friday night we went to UMass with Meghan to see a play; granted it was dark out when we left and came back, but I remember the plate flashing in the headlights. Saturday we went to Whole Foods and the grocery store, and didn’t park next to the bike when we got back. Therefore we didn’t see the bike Sunday morning either, when we went to run some errands. It was when we got back from errands and parked next to the bike again that I saw the plate was missing. So it happened either Friday night or Saturday night. Of course, Jim called the QPD to report it, and they sent out an officer to take the report. While Jim was outside doing that, I was inside checking the police department’s web page and the weekly “hot spots” blotter. No reports of other license plates being stolen, but a week ago down the hill an entire motorcycle was stolen.

We literally just got the paperwork from the RMV to reregister the bike for 2010, but hadn’t sent it back yet (we’re waiting til we move and can change our address and reregister the bike simultaneously, instead of reregistering and then changing the address on the registration a week later). So the plate still has the “09” sticker that expires 12/31, the same date all motorcycle registrations in the state expire. So if whoever stole the plate is using it, they’ve got to replace it again in less than 2 months.

There’s one other motorcycle in the building’s lot, and it still has its plate. We figure that because it doesn’t have a state inspection sticker, it was spared; whoever did the stealing was smart enough to look for a plate with an inspection sticker, instead of just taking the nearest bike.

I don’t feel victimized, which I guess is a good thing; instead, I feel like I am surrounded by morons. Why didn’t they take a plate that had already been reregistered? They’d have a year of scot-free riding, instead of only two months! It makes no sense and even the officer was stumped.


Hafta call the RMV now…


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