sunday salon: so, today we’re gonna party like it’s blog post #1,999

The Sunday Salon

Indulge me, my friends, if I seem more nostalgic than usual today, which I am.  Undoubtedly, this is the result of seeing too many Facebook photos of high school and college friends schlepping the equivalent of several Bed, Bath and Beyond stores into dorms that only merely resemble the SINGLE room that I moved into WITH TWO OTHER ROOMMATES nearly three million decades ago.

For whatever reason, there seems to be more than the usual number of these photos – of which I am not complaining, except for the fact that they are making me feel So. Fucking. Old.

Coincidentally (or not so much) I’ve discovered the world of MOOCs (massive online open courses) – which, yes, I know have been around for quite some time now. As I tend to do with every new shiny toy I come across, I’ve been going a little overboard signing myself up for free online courses. I’m currently enrolled in four such classes and a few others starting later this fall.

This weekend, I’m trying to finish up Literature of the English Country House which was offered through the University of Sheffield in the UK (and which ended earlier this month) and Childhood in the Digital Age through The Open University, which ends this week. I’m enjoying the former more; we’re dipping into excerpts from Jane Austen, Dickens and Oscar Wilde and looking at the houses that inspired their work.

My newest course is Plagues, Witches and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction, taught by Bruce Holsinger of the University of Virginia. This just started but already seems intense in a way that I love; at 8 weeks long and with a lot of readings, it feels like a literature course I would have taken in college.

I don’t need a therapist to tell me that these indulgences are no coincidence, given my mental rewinding of the videotape of my own glory days. Without getting into details that I’m not allowed to write about publicly, suffice it to say that there has been a great deal of reflection in our house lately about choices we’ve made or didn’t make, paths we pursued and those left untrodden.

It could also be the new start that is the school year itself; my kids start 8th grade this week. I am extremely conscious that their own “real world” paths of college or what have you are only five years away. It is the most infinitesimal sliver of time, I know this, but sometimes it seems as if there is a chasm between here and there.

A week ago, this blog celebrated its 7th anniversary. Today’s post happens to be a milestone, too: it’s blog post #1,999. Two thousand posts seems like something to celebrate and I feel like I should be commemorating this. I’ve been kicking around an idea in my mind and the 2,000th post might be a good time to announce it. Stay tuned.

Reading and Reviewing
Not too much to report on the reading front this week. I breezed through The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity by Carrie Bloomston. (I’m thisclose to reaching my goal for the library’s adult summer reading program, so I needed something relatively short.) It’s part motivation, part how-to/workbook, and part inspiration for jump-starting your “little spark” of creativity. I also finished True Stories, Well Told which I mentioned in last week’s Salon post.

The Picture of Dorian GrayStill listening to The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I have less than 100 pages left, so this will likely be finished up this week. I’m reading a new YA novel for a review I’m doing for Cleaver Magazine, and another review was just accepted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and is scheduled to appear next Sunday.

Speaking of creating, we’re looking into ways of re-configuring our basement family room/game room area. This is a ridiculously underutilized space in our house.  My overflowing bookshelves live there, my even messier scrapbooking table is there, and aside from the kids going downstairs to watch TV every once in awhile, the entire space is really a glorified storage unit. It would be an interior designer’s dream, seriously. We’re looking into how best to expand the home office space by adding a desk and bookshelves for The Husband.

It seems as if there is a lot going on … and I guess there is. Right now, though, I’m savoring this quiet, late summer day on the deck with one of the most picture-perfect days that Pittsburgh has to offer, while trying not to live too much in the distant past or the uncertain future, but right here, in these small but monumental moments.

Thanks for sharing this post!

4 thoughts on “sunday salon: so, today we’re gonna party like it’s blog post #1,999

  1. Sue at Book By Book

    Ha! My FB feed has been the same – all pics of packed cars and new dorm rooms! (and today, first day of school pics for younger kids). Our oldest starts his 4th year of college next week, though no big move-in day – he stayed in his off-campus apt all summer.

    I have been wanting to try MOOCs too – how do you find the time?? Maybe this fall when things quiet down a bit.

    Enjoy your books and the last bit of summer!


    Book By Book

  2. Becca

    Congratulations on the blogging landmark! That is a lot of writing, and worth several pats on the back.

    The basement in our old house was a cluttered rat-trap, filled with junk and leftovers from my in-laws (from whom we bought the house when we got married).
    When we moved, I had a junk service come in and take literally everything that was down there. It was wonderfully freeing.

    The basement in our condo is completely finished and what a treat it is. We added a full bathroom, and a sofa bed so it’s a great place for an extra guest. My husband has his “home office” down there, I have a huge library corner with floor to ceiling book shelves, my piano, a TV, and there is still lots of space for the dogs (and our grandson) to run around. It’s cozy in the winter and nice and cool in the summer. SO worth it.

    Wishing you luck on all the new projects and I hope your kids have a great school year!

  3. Laurie C

    Congratulations on the blogoversary and upcoming 2,000th post! Both huge milestones! I’ve been feeling my age recently, but our kids have already launched themselves into post-college life. I remember those pre-college years as a busy rollercoaster, but enjoyed sharing the kids’ excitement and successes more than I worried (at least I hope so. I did worry an awful lot!). Have fun and enjoy the craziness if you can!

  4. Molly

    Yes… savor those quiet summer days. They pass W-A-Y too quickly.

    I love (adore) the idea of MOOCs … but I know once I start, I would hibernate for years 🙂 Currently I am attending my own creative writing class, a format that works well for me at this point in life.

    I would love to hear more about the Worlds of Historical Fiction course… if you don’t mind sharing

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