my african summer

It all started when I read this book in June...
...and loved it. Read it twice. I am in a full-fledged African obsession. I've been following the news from the Dark Continent much more closely, cooking African-inspired meals, reading, scouring library shelves. My discoveries:

  • The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair: A History of Fifty Years of Independence, by Martin Meredith. Despite being an insatiable francophile, my formal studies have never ventured closer to Africa than reading Heart of Darkness in high school. I'm only three chapters into this read, and already I'm embarrassed at how little I knew about African modern history. I have spent time in Tanzania, Zanzibar and South Africa, but only spending a week in each port is hardly time to grasp the history of a nation. I highly recommend Meredith's book as a starting point to modern African history!
  • The Congo and the Cameroons, Mary Henrietta Kingsley. If one were forced to place the positive and negative consequences of imperialism and colonialism on a scale, I believe the scale would tip to the negative. That being understood, I enjoyed Kingsley's book an awful lot. Those plucky Victorian lady travelers! So cheeky.
  • I have been delving into African art, and not only am I disappointed by the comparatively minuscule number of publications (well, quality publications) on African art, but how it is approached in the field of art history. Pretty sure there are more books on Versailles than the entire art history of Africa. 
  • I want to mention also the 'Stuff You Missed in History Class' podcast. Such a fantastic podcast, it is perfect for feeling out topics in history. 
  • And of course, To the Moon and Timbuktu, by Nina Sovich. I followed her travels with Google Earth, which greatly enhanced my reading. Seriously, if you're ever bored, indulge in some virtual travel in West Africa.
Our menu has featured couscous and vegetables, chicken seasoned with African spices, and a lot of fish. I rarely have time to watch movies, so it has taken me something like four days to try to get through the first half of Meryl Streep's 'Out of Africa.' I've pulled out the music I purchased in my own travels in Africa, and I have been so gratified with my daughters' interest. Josephine asks about Africa all the time, and she has ventured onto Google Earth all on her own! 

Oh, right, and I've been checking out plane ticket prices to Morocco...



"Mom, its Francis!" I'd bet you didn't know snails are all named 'Francis.' These daughters of mine are inseparable, and find joy, entertainment and fascination with everything. I am peppered with their questions almost every waking minute. They tire me, but capturing moments like this remind me of the happy times they are having.

Should've named her Audrey?

This is how my Josephine came down the stairs looking. She chose the dress herself at Old Navy, ferreted away my sunglasses, and she clearly felt fantastic. 
 Below is the face she pulled when I said, "Look stylish, Jo!"
Oh. Yeah.
When she can't wear clothes she chose herself, she alters her clothes. She wears t-shirts backwards, because she believes it is more fashionable that way. I can't wait to see "wear" she goes next!

making a splash

Eloise at the splash pad...there isn't a place she would rather be!


Almost one

It may be because Eloise still does not crawl, or eat, or do almost anything a typical one-year-old does, but it dawned on me tonight that in a few weeks this little girl will turn one. I looked at her sleeping, wooby in her face, and marveled at how much of the crib she fills. One of the first NICU nurses I met told me, "This will be the worst year of your life." We are nearly there, and I hope she was right. 
It is remarkable to look back from the viewpoint of this milestone, and also to see how very, very far we have yet to go. 
But for now, I'm just going to be glad Eloise is almost one.


The Gardens

Today had enough cloud cover to make a visit to Thanksgiving Point's gardens enticing....
I love love love this picture!


Howard Hughes' Airstream

Remember how I said there can be adventures around the corner?