The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Spinning Designer Yarns by Diane Varney
Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold
Worldwired by Elizabeth Bear (reread)
Scardown by Elizabeth Bear (reread)
Hammered by Elizabeth Bear (reread)
Teach Yourself VISUALLY - Handspinning by Judith MacKenzie McCuin
Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs
Good Things I Wish You by A. Manette Ansay
The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs
Holy Smokes by Katie MacAlister
Light My Fire by Katie MacAlister
Fire Me Up by Katie MacAlister
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James
The Piano Teacher by Janice Yee
Evita by Nicholas Fraser
Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien
The Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie McCuin
Start Spinning by Maggie Casey
Spinner’s Companion by Bobbie Irwin
Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs
The Magicians by Lev Grossman: I wanted to like this more than I did. The tone of the book kept me at arm’s length the entire time. And it felt like it was trying to be two different novels.
Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs: Why do I read Kathy Reichs novels? They get worse and worse. They’re so monotone. Actually, I do know. I like the forensic stuff. And the relationship and interaction between Tempe and Ryan. But everything else… ugh. No tension, poor writing. I’m stopping here.
Worldwired, Scardown, Hammered by Elizabeth Bear:
Just as good upon the third read as they were upon the first in 2005.
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James: Much better than I expected it to be. I couldn’t remember what I’d thought of the Jane Austen one she’d done a couple of years ago (I read a lot of Austen-focused stuff around the same time and they all sort fo merged in my head), but this was on the new releases shelf at the library so I brought it home. A pleasant read, and a decent imagining of what might have happened.
Out of the spinning books, I’d say The Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie McCuin and Start Spinning by Maggie Casey are essentials to have on hand when you start out. They cover a lot of the same stuff, but explain it in different words and with different photographs (both are excellently illustrated) so you come away with an even better understanding of whatever technique you’re looking up.
I’ve got the second round of canned tomatoes happening. I think I’ll get one more round from the garden. Some of the weather has been so bad this past month that we’ve lost lots of green tomatoes, and a couple of entire tomato plants. Still, I’ll have about a dozen jars, which is more than nothing. I may buy a bushel of tomatoes from the market and do a whole bunch more preserving this season. It feels very much like canning weather, what with the sudden dip in temperature to high teens or very low twenties.
This was a packed weekend, made more difficult than it should have been by my increasing fibro flare-up, now with exciting bonus back pain, seized lumbar region, and spasms. Friday night HRH mowed the lawn and vacuumed, because we were going to be out pretty much all weekend. Saturday morning we visited the Preston-LeBlancs for a lovely tea party, where we all settled down and relaxed and knitted or chatted or drew, and feasted on cinnamon rolls (I tried a new recipe, yum!), zucchini brownies, berry cake, and zucchini bread. Back home there was a quick lunch then a nap, for both the boy and I because I wasn’t feeling well. After nap HRH and the boy went grocery shopping, because I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed to do it, and then we all went upstairs to have Chinese fondue with Blade and Scarlet, which was a lot of fun.
Sunday morning was the monthly Pagan playgroup meeting, which the boy adores. It was a belated Lughnassadh-themed circle, so I baked my Lughnassadh herb bread to share afterwards, and that was a hit. While the boy napped I made cookies, and when he woke from his afternoon nap we packed them, the corn pot, and the cello up for the beginning-of-season BBQ at my cello teacher’s house. The boy wore his Superman t-shirt and the little red cape ADZO had made for a birthday party, and ran around the beautifully landscaped backyard through pergolas and archways and lovely shady areas. There was fabulous corn on the cob, hot dogs, delicious artisan sausages, salads, and the usual fun BBQ fare, and it was nice to talk to people we don’t often speak with. After dessert we set up and did some playing, which was fun too, although it highlighted how lax we’d all been with practice over the summer. Then it was home for a quick to-bed, Blade came down to be the Designated Responsible Adult On Site, and HRH and I headed back out for our monthly RPG night. During which, I must say, I laughed harder than I’d laughed in ages, and appreciated how all the clues finally fell together.
The boy discovered the Justice League yesterday. He’s known about them, but he finally saw a couple of episodes, and now we are all referred to as superheroes. I am, of course, Wonder Woman, and HRH is usually cast as Green Lantern. I think this month’s treat will be a season of JL on DVD.
I went back on active duty with the ongoing freelance gig this morning. Orchestrated’s pretty much done, the bank account’s looking low, and I need discipline. Also, I suspect that by working on someone else’s deadline again, the spinning wheel I’ve awaited for the past six weeks should arrive at the shop within about three days in response to my drastically reduced free time. Because life is like that.
A Twitter exchange between Ceri and I:
Autumn: Where are all the commas in this chapter? I usually have an excess of commas problem. Who wrote this?
Ceri: Cats! They’re in ur chapterz steelin ur commaz!
Autumn: Well, that would explain a lot. There must be a pile of commas in Kitty Wonderland. I’ll bet you anything it was Nixie.
Ceri: Someday, you will find her curled up asleep in a pile of stolen commas and it will be like a scene from a Jasper Fforde book.
But the point of this post is actually to say:
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a complete second draft of Orchestrated. *passes out*
I’m totally blanking on the monthly update. I kept horrible notes this past month. So much of it would have involved the trip to Nova Scotia, so I point you back there.
His caregiver came back from
Toronto Trek Polaris with a miniature sonic screwdriver for him, and he adores it. He ‘fixes’ things with it, including people’s teeth and ears. ( “Because I am fixer guy who fixes things,” he explains.) We put the kibosh on ‘fixing’ people’s eyes the first time he tried it, because the thing has a blue tip that glows when you press a button. He also loves to help in the garden with HRH, which is great. He helps water the plants, and tidy things up. He was thrilled to be able to help HRH paint the hallway, too.
We are running into an irritating problem with food. When he asks what’s for dinner and we tell him, he immediately says, “Oh, I don’t like that.” Now, this is patently untrue a lot of the time. We tend to prepare meals that we can all eat together, so the automatic response really, really gets on our nerves. Both HRH and I have blown up at it once each this past month. Part of it comes from his conflation of the terms ‘want’ and ‘like’ - we have to point this out to him sometimes - and part of it comes from the fact that if he could live on chicken nuggets, he would. Except his memory hasn’t caught up to his tastes yet, because when we give him chicken nuggets these days he sort of half-heartedly nibbles them, then decides he’s done. We just need to keep reminding him that the kneejerk reaction isn’t helpful to anyone.
The biggest drama of the past month happened the day or the day after we came home from Nova Scotia. I’d unpacked everything and placed a travel-sized tube of hand cream on the toilet tank next to my hair stuff, to remind me that I wanted to take it out to the car. He used the bathroom and flushed the toilet, then spun around… and knocked the hand cream into the bowl as it was draining. There was a shriek and screaming and he ran into my office crying so hard that we couldn’t understand him. HRH came running from wherever he was, and I had the boy by the shoulders trying to calm him down. We honestly thought he’d hurt himself badly somehow, although we couldn’t see any blood. We finally got him calmed down enough to understand that he’d knocked “the sunscreen, your sunscreen, Mama” into the toilet and it had vanished. He was deeply distraught, and we had to kind of hide the snickers while I hugged him and told him that it was okay, that it hadn’t been irreplaceable or expensive, and that we knew that it had been an accident. We talked about how important it was to close the lid before one flushed, and gradually the sobs stopped. HRH told him that when he was little he’d done the same thing, only he’d knocked his mother’s hairbrush into the toilet, and he’d been afraid his parents were going to be mad, too. “Did you get it back?” the boy asked, interested. “Oh, no,” HRH said. “Long gone.” And then we had a talk about where the drains go, and the boy decided that if we got a big net we could go to the water filtration plant and scoop out both the hand cream and Grandma’s brush.
The language. Ye gods. I live with him and I keep being surprised at how he expresses himself. One morning he came to my side of the bed with a small stuffed rabbit and said with pathos, “Mama, Snowball is sad. He is very sad. Tears are dripping from his eyes, do you see?” And his storytelling is evolving, too. The stories he makes up to tell us are becoming increasingly developed and complex. It’s really interesting to listen to him. His expression and inflections are making a large leap forward now, too; he knows how to modulate his volume, pacing, and delivery to enhance what he’s saying really well.
Let’s see, other firsts this month… riding in the canoe, riding in the motorboat, swinging in a hammock, roasting marshmallows, learning how to skip stones. Uncharacteristically, Nixie is allowing him to pet, kiss, and hug her. I still can’t get over how good he was on the two-day trip down to NS and back. I’m so proud of him.
A year ago yesterday my new glasses arrived. I have been wearing them full-time since then.
I can honestly say that wearing the full-time has improved daily life. I must also be honest and admit that even after a full year of wearing them, I still forget to put them on in the morning. I suspect this has less to do with my memory and more to do with the fact that my dresser is black and my glasses are dark brown, so they blend in. Also, I can see without them; I just start squinting and getting a headache if I forget to put them on. If I couldn’t see without them at all, I’d be reminded to put them on as soon as I opened my eyes. They’ve certainly made working at the computer and reading a lot easier, and watching movies and TV, too.
Overall, I like them very much. I think my switch to full-time glasses-wearing was aided immensely by thinking of them as an accessory rather than a medical aid.