Mid week review

Bird Collection, Q. Cassetti,2010, digitalCoffee brewing. Sauce on the stove too. Broccoli soup simmering—getting ready for the big whizzzz before serving to the crew today. I finally went to the store to stock up, so the lack of bread, bananas and other basics is no longer. I cooked and chopped and cooked some more last night so today I can work and not get itchy around 11:45 trying to figure out what I am going to scratch together for the team. I am on it.

The back of the house is totally open. It is impressive what the light is doing to the rooms—and the intimacy the space has when returned to the slimmer hallway. Feels more personal and less like the back space (which when we bought this house was covered in avocado carpet squares saturated with cat  urine) was storage or the promise of another room. Again, thankfully, this work was topical, so cheap in/easy out. And the dumpster continues to fill. More noise, but happy noise as the change is great and will really take the downstairs of this big barn to another place.  

Alex is running at Taughannock State Park. I hope, for his sake, the really cranked up workout is not on the roster for today. That little gem is running to the top of the waterfall, around the rim trail and back down several times. This little process has a -zilla on the end of the name…and I cannot remember it. I do not think its pukezilla…but for me it is… or trashedzilla? Poor devil. But, he signed up for it.

The Demo Derby was very successful. The boys loved it and took great pictures. Bruce cozied up to a few of the drivers and made a deeper connection than I am want to do. More from the fair today (Horse Pulls). I hope the weather clears a bit this week. Overcast for a few days…and frankly, I would like the end of summer to be a bit more brilliant.

NPR had a good critique of the book, The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age by Juliet Nicolson along with others. From the review, Tina Brown (editor- ini chief) of Daily Beast) details:

In The Great Silence, Nicolson uses anecdotes, diaries and letters to create portraits of 35 people living in England after the armistice. Her characters range from “under-chauffeurs and below-stairs people” to “royalty, as well as famous writers and artists,” Brown says. And in Brown’s eyes, Nicolson’s bottom-up approach to history is what makes her book so affecting.

“What we don’t think about is the devastating trauma of what it was like when one in seven young men in England had died,” she says. And certainly the incidents from Nicolson’s book that Brown recounts are harrowing.

“She describes scenes like, for instance, riding the bus, and suddenly some woman would just break into wild tears as something had reminded her of her son, or her brother or somebody in her family,” the editor says. “Or she would talk about men walking the streets of London wearing these strange, eerie tin masks because their faces had been shot away.”

One surgeon, Howard Gillies — himself a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Great War — was so affected by the tin-masked men that he worked to develop a revolutionary plastic surgery technique. Nicolson devotes a chapter of her book to describing his work.

All of Brown’s “survival” picks are about displaying character in the face of stress. Howard Schultz, for example, succeeded because of his uncommon audacity and vision. America’s 20-somethings may be foundering because most of them “haven’t really faced up to the stresses [that] people like Schultz are writing about yet,” Brown says.

And the survivors of the conflict once called the War to End All Wars faced the ultimate test: trying to readjust after a horrific, unimaginable trauma. As Brown puts it: “You do have to admire these people who returned under such terrifying circumstances and simply had to pick up and carry on.”

Imagine. Imagine the tin masks, the tears, the losses of families, of communities, of life. This is beyond my understanding. And to that,  this book has been added to my list of things to read. It’s on my kindle now.

More later.