August was a fairly quiet month. It wasn’t particularly hot but still uncomfortable enough to deter doing a whole lot. I am glad the summer is winding down. I really enjoy the fall despite the decreasing amount of sunlight. Fall means cooler temperatures and our annual Staycation in October.
Labor Day marks the end of long stretches of time without a day off. We didn’t have any days off between New Year’s Day and our vacation in May. If not for that, we would have had only 2 days off (Memorial Day and Independence Day) between January 2 through the beginning of September.
Although Holly and I did not do a lot in August we, of course, did some things.
Early in the month, we went to Citizens Bank Park to watch the Philadelphia Phillies play the Minnesota Twins. This outing was arranged by one of our co-worker so we attended with over a dozen of our work colleagues. It was our first time back to a baseball game since the start of the pandemic, and we really enjoyed our return especially since the Phillies won 13-2.
It was a night game so there was a lovely sunset.
A little later in the month, we took a walk to see the Painted Bride Art Center. Unfortunately, the arts organization that had been in that building could no longer afford it. Fortunately, the organization was able to relocate and is still active.
The developer who bought the old building wanted to preserve the façade, but a local community group didn’t approve the plans. In the subsequent plan, the developer wants to incorporate parts of the façade, but it seems like it would be difficult to disassemble it and reuse parts of it, if I’m understanding this correctly. The façade is composed of mosaics by Isaiah Zagar, a locally famous artist.
One simple pleasure which made parts of August enjoyable was sitting at the bar at Le Virtù, an Italian restaurant which we’ve enjoyed in the past. Until August, we always sat in their dining room or on their patio but had never been to the bar. We always wanted to hang out there but never got around to it. We saw they were offering 1/2 price bottles of wine at the bar during the month and decided it was finally time to sit at their bar. We were very glad we did and managed to go there 3 weeks in a row. We already knew we loved their food and wine list and we added enjoying talking with the bartender and connecting with some of the other patrons.
At the end of the month, we had a wedding to go to for the son of one of my cousins. We know my cousin and his wife fairly well. I will always appreciate how kind they were to my mom. But I don’t know their kids very well and appreciated the invitation.
We enjoyed seeing that part of our family since we hadn’t seen any of them since the start of the pandemic.
It was a long day. We left home around 10:30 am to take the train to my brother’s so we could go together. We didn’t get home until 10:30 pm. My favorite part of the day was actually the downtime between the wedding and the reception when we hung out with a couple of my cousins and a handful of their friends. It was more relaxed and informal than the rest of the day.
As I mentioned, I took some film photos of the Painted Bride Art Center but hadn’t finished the roll by the end of the month. I also shot a roll of the new LomoChrome Color ‘92 and plan on posting about both of those rolls soon.
I worked through a Skillshare tutorial, Drawing Everyday: Motivational Sketchbook Practices for Creative Fulfillment by Samantha Dion Baker. I found it rewarding enough that I bought her 2 books: Draw Your Day and Draw Your World and read the former.
Both the tutorial and Draw Your Day were more about what to draw and about maintaining a practice than instructional so my drawings based on those were more an exploration of possible subjects and experimenting with colors and materials.
In addition to Draw Your Day, I read 4 other books in August.
What Never Happened by Rachel Howzell Hall which I had gotten for free through the Amazon Prime First Reads program. I usually don’t claim a free Kindle book every month but once in a while I decided to take advantage. I’ve had mixed results with these free books which isn’t entirely surprising since I usually don’t know much about any of them and they are always genre books which I don’t often read. This book, unfortunately, was a bit of a clunker. It was labeled a “domestic thriller” but it didn’t thrill me. The writing was pretty generic and the characters were so underdeveloped that I never found myself caring as to their fates.
I fared much better the rest of the month.
I continued pecking away at Shakespeare’s plays and finished Othello. Most of the plays I’ve read have been re-reads but they last time I read many of them was decades ago. Such was the case for Othello. I recall having liked it, but I especially liked it this time around. It might be among my favorite of his plays.
I think the only thing I had previously read by Curtis Sittenfeld is her story A for Alone which was published in The New Yorker 3 years ago. I had read some positive reviews for her new novel, Romantic Comedy and got a copy through Overdrive. I was absolutely charmed by this book. It is, in fact, a romantic comedy and a rather smart and insightful one. I read this right after What Never Happened, and it was a refreshing change.
I read Sigrid Nunez’s What Are You Going Through about 3 years ago. I liked it enough that I bought a copy of her The Friend shortly after when it was on sale for Kindle. Although I prefer print books, I like the convenience of the Kindle. There was one night when Holly had a dinner to go to with some work friends. I decided to hang out at a nearby bar to wait for her. I figured reading with a Kindle at a bar would be more comfortable than reading a print book and looked through what I had available. Recalling my fondness for her other book, I picked The Friend. I was enjoying it so much that I decided to check out a print version from the library where we work. I found myself simultaneously reading and re-reading it which was an interesting experience.
The friend of The Friend is both an old friend of the main character and the dog she inherits after his death. The book is a thoughtful and moving meditation on death and loss. I loved it so much, I started rereading What Are You Going Through as soon as I was done but just got started when the end of the month rolled around.
Books Read in 2023
So far, I’ve read 26 books in 2023:
- Modigliani Up Close, various authors
- Daddy, Emma Cline (library book)
- Blood and Guts in High School, Kathy Acker
- White on White, Ayşegül Savaş
- The Direction of the Wind, Mansi Shah (Kindle book)
- Men without Women, Haruki Murakami (Kindle book)
- Outline, Rachel Cusk
- An Immense World, Ed Yong
- Blindness, José Saramago
- Chemistry, Weike Wang (Kindle book)
- The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
- All’s Well That Ends Well, William Shakespeare
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Anita Loos (library book)
- Birnam Wood, Eleanor Catton (Kindle book)
- Every Man a King, Walter Mosley (Kindle book)
- Matisse in the 1930’s, various authors
- Our Missing Hearts, Celeste Ng (Kindle book)
- The Making of a Story, Alice LaPlante
- Istanbul: Memories and the City, Orhan Pamuk
- Taste: My Life Through Food, Stanley Tucci
- The Guest, Emma Cline (Kindle book)
- What Never Happened, Rachel Howzell Hall (Kindle book)
- Othello, William Shakespeare
- Romantic Comedy, Curtis Sittenfeld (Kindle book)
- The Friend, Sigrid Nunez (Kindle and library book)
- Draw Your Day, Samantha Dion Baker
This Creative Midlife Posts in 2023
- New Canon 28mm Lens
- December 2022 Update
- Favorite Photos from the 2nd Half of 2022
- Canon AE-1 with Lomochrome Metropolis
- January 2023 Update
- Minolta XE with Lomography Berlin
- Mandalas in Procreate
- Minolta X-700 with Ilford HP5 Plus
- A Visit to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
- February 2023 Update
- Long Birthday Weekend 2023
- Pittsburgh Trip 2023 Part 1
- Pittsburgh Trip 2023 Part 2
- March 2023 Update
- Yashica Mat-124G with Kodak Ektar
- Olympus XA with Kodak Pro Image
- Morris Arboretum Visit
- April 2023 Update
- Planning Our 2023 Vacation
- Planning Our Vacation Camera Edition
- May 2023 Update
- Minolta Hi-Matic 11 with Ilford HP5 Plus
- June 2023 Update
- And the Adventure Continues…
- Downtown LA with My Rollei Giro 105
- Downtown LA with My Minolta X-700
- 2023 California Vacation Part 1
- July 2023 Update
- 2023 California Vacation Part 2
- Point Lobos in Color and B&W
- 2023 California Vacation Part 3
- Garland Ranch Regional Park with My Minolta X-700
- Monterey and Cannery Row Photos
- 2023 California Vacation Part 4
- Carmel River State Beach with my Minolta X-700
- 2023 California Vacation Part 5