Reading: This weekend, I finished Undaunted Courage and A Painted House. Part of what I really enjoyed about Undaunted Courage is how the author portrayed Merriwether Lewis (and Thomas Jefferson, too). It was very balanced. Obviously, Stephen Ambrose really admires Lewis and what he did but the book is not merely a rave review of all Lewis did. Ambrose points out the mistakes Lewis made, both on the journey and in his life. He never tries to soften or pass over character flaws. These are very real people with very real flaws--alcoholism, bipolar disorder, racist attitudes. And yet, Ambrose doesn't dwell on those things. He gives the perspective of the time they are living in and also shows their vision and drive.
I enjoyed A Painted House. It never seemed far-fetched, always very real. The day-to-day struggles of cotton farmers in Arkansas--their struggles with the land and the weather, their relationships with the hill people and Mexicans who come to help with the harvest, their worry about Ricky, Luke's uncle, who is in the army in Korea, their worry that the people of the little town might find out that the poor sharecropper neighbor's daughter just had a baby she says is Ricky's, the secrets Luke is forced to keep about a death he witnessed, Luke's mother's dreams that they won't have to farm forever, that her son can have a better life.
I have now started Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Eric got it and the 2nd Harry Potter movie for me the other day. I am about 200 pages into the nearly 900-page novel and like it a lot! I am a big Harry Potter geek, though.
Eating: Nothing new. I need to work on this.
Gardening: It sometimes pays to procrastinate--the hanging pots at Lynde greenhouse, which originally were about $15, are now only $6.99! I bought 2 gorgeous red ivy geraniums. The annuals are now only 79 cents so I can replace the plants that have not survived.