Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer Part 2/Book Recommendation

Today was awesome. Again. And it's only 3:30.

Part of the awesomeness: Plainsong by Kent Haruf. Have you guys read this yet? How did I miss it? It was a National Book Award finalist and is just good. Deep down to the bones good. I have no words.

Relatedly: I've been thinking about competence lately. For a second I was claiming that I love me a competent man, but really I am attracted to the ungendered trait. I started thinking about it in terms of Cormac McCarthy (I will have new classes in the fall and will stop harping on Mr. McCarthy I promise)--his protagonists are all great with their hands. They can fix things and make things and calm horses and do whatever, really, is necessary. So much so that I started wondering about competence and maleness...for reasons unimportant here I feel a lot of pressure to be competent, but I wonder if that's something that we expect more of boys? A sort of defining social pressure?
The idea also come into play with my dad: he's sort of ridiculously competent. He can lay sod and refinish floor and choose good pastry and good restaurants and run businesses and he knows his way around the world...and I don't think this is just weird Freudian hero worship either: my dad is not competent at many important emotional things--I don't suspect he's perfect--it's just that he's good at everything else.
And competence is weird--can we really expect a person to be good at everything? And it's more knowing basic skills, right, and how to use them, or knowing how to learn things. It's more of an attitude than a personality trait?
And it seems like valuing competence is a little dangerous. I lose patience with people who fumble really quickly, which is ironic because I'm clumsy and silly and incompetent-seeming all the time. And I think valuing competence so highly kind of sets me up for that: I'm easily flustered if I make a mistake because I expect perfection. Or something.

Anyway. Plainsong is a about life (lives) in small town Colorado. The men are ranchers/farmers--quietly (undeniably) competent. One of the subplots, too, revolves around a woman coming to know herself--coming to trust herself and attain a very typically feminine brand of competence ("I have Maggie Jones here and she thinks you're right.")

Yeah, and this is where it all comes together, I mean, the feminine (emotional/social) competence in the book is embodied by women who aren't afraid to look reality in the eye and who don't despair over life despite that. They know what needs to be done and why. The men, too, have about them that sort of calm. They can look a problem up and down and figure it out. For Guthrie and the McPheron's it's more a matter of, like, around the farm kind of stuff...I'm rambling. Competence is an attitude born of careful thinking and past success. If you tackle a project thoughtfully and thoroughly, if you've practiced, you're bound to do well. The attitude is as important as the skill...And if you assume competence in those around you they're more likely to succeed? In whatever endeavor you're pursuing.

Anyway. The book was lovely.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Today I checked in textbooks, got my yearbook signed, went to lunch with the Type-A Club, went to graduation (where I didn't cry and which I should've been in charge of), went shopping for t-shirts, read a book (Plainsong--what is it that's so endearing/appealing about the idea of curmudgeony old bachelors taking in a teenaged girl?), bought my summer sandals, went for a walk for frozen yogurt, watched Bella (liked it. Mostly a vehicle to fall you in love with this fellow. Mission accomplished.) In a word, it's summer. And I'm stoked.

I may at some point wax reflective/philosophical about my year and about summer and about June but for now I am content. Happy it's done for a sec.

Tomorrow: 10K. Hurrah!

Monday, May 25, 2009

If I May Direct Your Attention

So, mostly so I keep track of all of this (summer YA reading), I've started a new blog. Miss Evans Reads. I'm open to suggestions on names. Maybe something involving fishnets... I hope it will be a more successful pursuit than other blogs I've sort of started. We'll see. :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

blue jeans

I hate to prove John Cougar Mellencamp right, but there's something about summer, no? These last couple of evenings I've come out into perfect breezy evenings and all those feelings of restlessness and longing--those feelings that used to drive me to scrawling poetry by the light of a thunderstorm and to stay up all night reading and go to Macey's at 3 am just because it was there--that I'd thought I'd grown out of or gotten over are stirred up again. I can suddenly sympathize with boys yelling from trucks and with my students who can't sit still and haven't heard a thing I've said this last week or two.

And I love the feeling. And I hate it. All itchy and nervous and go go go. Lonesome and bored and awed and happy and comfortable and hungry and jealous and so much till I wish I could explode or kiss someone or run away.

Today I got my summer job in line. I'll be working for Orem City again, this time at the city center on State and Center. Not quite so idyllic as Timp park (to be in the mountains first thing every morning, it was sooo gorgeous), but not as motion sick/asphalt-heated as Ernesto's road crew. (Except my supervisor, now that I think of it, might be mildly crazy...dang.) I'm totally looking forward to working out this angst in manual labor. To spending my days outside, to Summerfest, to sushi lunches at Target. To lunch hour in the library. I just caught Jim (last year's boss) before he left for the day and I practically skipped out of his office. I LOVE him. Anyway. This also means potential for travel this summer and that I'm not going to starve next year, very reassuring.

There's more here: a weird satisfaction in being able to do manual labor to save up for grad school. I like toeing the blue-collar--white-collar line (one of the reasons teaching is so appealing).
I'm excited to work off flabby.
I'll have to even more fully embrace the early-to-bed lifestyle I've started this year. Too bad I love summer nights just slightly more than I love summer dawns. (I didn't go to a movie tonight so I could wake up early feels like sell out or being boring, but really I just want to run while it's still cool).

Anyway. More than once today (driving to school in the sun with Diet Coke for breakfast, sunroof up, Vampire Weekend loud; discussing evolution with Toni; Albert pounded his monologue; walking out of Jim's office; reading on my roof) I have been entirely overwhelmed with contentment and peace. Ramble ramble, God is on my side. ke

Thursday, May 21, 2009


So I think I'm going to have a little time this summer (this remains to be seen) and thought I would beef up on my YA lit.

My list so far:
Percy Jackson
The Hunger Games

Other suggestions?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I love my job

A student on Brutus:

"He's so honorable"

in the cadence of "he's so dreamy".


Friday, May 8, 2009

The most perfect day

begins rather later than not, nestled in the sectional-turned-nest in a friend's front room.
Features a light breakfast eaten on the patio which is still moist from lots of rain followed by great scripture reading (=direction, validation, reconiliation).
Involves a long long bike ride to adorable downtowns with Cheesetiques or repurposed torpedo factories and national monuments where people watching ensues (a grown woman: look! horsies!, a withered mom: no, up there, no, not that far, smile!, 8th graders racing each other up the steps). This bike ride may result in the first sunburn of the summer and deliciously achey legs.
Includes errands and a delicious cozy dinner with the great friend, and deep conversation (but not too deep because both of you are worn out from a long day).
A quick nap and reading on the couch and a shower from which you emerge entirely a new girl.
Eating snuck-in Ben and Jerry's and watching the hands-down best film you have seen in theatres for years probably (Star Trek. And I'm not a trekky. And not for naught do I abandon a successful conceit. LOVED IT).
Talking on the couch and making farmer's market plans and lemon souffle plans.

Check and check. I am entirely content. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I feel an apology is due. Mostly my life is under major renovation (what? yours? no way) and things feel too unsettled to poke at them much. (This is directed less at the blogosphere than to you I've been ignoring. And by writing this sorry excuse for anything ignoring even more. Loves.)

I love the spring.

My life is great.

They're selling baby pygmy goats at a farm near my house and I want one.