Monthly Archives: September 2009

What I Read in September 2009

A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks
Language of Bees by Laurie R. King
Puck of Pook’s Hill by Rudyard Kipling
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong
Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire
The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Living With the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
My Life in France by Julia Child
Namaah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey

I’m sure I’m missing something, as there is a large gap between the Armstrongs and the King in my memory, but I can’t think of what it is. I probably reread something and didn’t note it down. I know I have four books on my bedside table that I’ve been reading very slowly: Pattern Recognition, The Drowning City, Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy; that’s probably what I filled it with. Yes, I read the first half of The Drowning City and the first two-thirds of Pattern Recognition. There! I feel better now.

A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks: Why did I read this? Possibly because I enjoyed the Landover series more than the Shannara series (and no, I didn’t read all six trillion of them, I read the first two series as they came out then didn’t go any further). This book was on the new releases shelf at the library and I was looking aimlessly for another book to add to the two in my hands. It felt pretty empty.

Language of Bees by Laurie R. King: Oh, how I have missed Russell and Holmes. This had occult stuff and a tie to That Woman in it, so I was happy.

Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire: I waited for this to be released, and am so glad the next two are coming out in 2010.

The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan: This disappointed me. I love SRB’s journal, and the reviews of Lexicon had me all excited, so I waited almost a year for it. And it was kind of meh. I like her characters (except the main one, and I now understand why he’s not as interesting), I love her dialogue, the world she’s created is great, but the story was kind of less than I wanted it to be and I’m not sure how or why. This is one of the books I got the library to order, and I’m glad I read it that way. This is not to say I won’t read the second one when it comes out; I like the characters and the world enough to find out what happens next.

In Which She Moans A Lot

So this cold that I thought I was over? Feels suspiciously like the flu. I’m croaking from coughing so much, it hurts to breathe, I have a perpetual headache, all my bones hurt, and I need to lie down a lot. I suspect that I won’t be going to orchestra yet again, which is frustrating because I missed it last week due to the beginnings of this, and then got somewhat better before being utterly wiped out by it today. I’m worse tonight than I was last week, and I’m annoyed about it because one of the reasons I stayed home from the last rehearsal was to avoid getting sicker. At the moment I’m considering attending for the first half of the rehearsal, if nothing else.

We had such excitement here last night: There was a wee fire in the kitchen! The base of one of our pots cracked on the element and whatever they put between the layers of metal caught fire. No damage to anything other than the pot itself. Nice to know that we’re calm in emergencies.

The freelance cheques got mailed today, so they should be here next Monday. I’ve just finished the first draft of the current project, and I’ll polish it tomorrow. Dinner’s in the slow-cooker, so all someone will have to do later is make rice. Now I’m going to go lie down under the afghan in the living room with some more Neo-Citran, and probably read some E.M. Forster and listen to some Philip Glass, because that’s what I need right now.

Day Off

The boy went into preschool today and wasn’t sent home, so I assume all was well. I gave myself a well-deserved day off, which means I practiced the cello twice (once this morning and once this afternoon), wound off the yarn I’d plied last night (237 yards), spun some more single and plied it with the remaining single (another 43 yards, for a total of 279! and I still have some original single left), washed both to set the twist and hung them to dry (the second little skein is positively the best yarn I’ve done so far), made bread (twice, because the first one went horribly wrong because I forgot to turn off the low heat I’d set in the oven to warm it up before leaving it to rise, so the heat killed the yeast), made stew, and caught up on some web episodes of things.

There is a train horn stuck on at the bridge near us. It’s… insidious. It’s almost not noticeable, until one notices it, and then it’s Very There.

I feel so relaxed. Apart from the irritating tickle in my throat that has caused me to cough all day, that is, and the resulting headache. It felt so wonderful to sit down and actually play again. The cello sounds fantastic, with excellent ringing tones and nice sustain. Part of that is I’ve forgotten how good it sounds, but I like to think part of it is also due to my use of back muscles to direct the bow and keep an even weight on it.

Oh good, the train horn stopped. You never really appreciate silence until it falls after a very long stretch of constant noise.

Speaking of noise, it rained quite hard in the early afternoon while I was spinning, and I opened windows so I could hear it. It was coming straight down, and it sounded lovely.

Tonight I am off to watch another two OVAs of Maria-sama ga Miteru with Marc, and then tomorrow I will do the little freelance assignment that’s waiting for me. We were told that accounting was behind and so the cheques that were supposed to be cut last week and mailed out today will in fact be a week late, which snarls up my budgeting somewhat. I am annoyed, but there’s nothing I can do. Accouting promises that it’s an isolated incident and the rest of the invoicing/payment schedule for the year won’t be affected, but we shall see.

Aha, the boys are home. As I just took the bread out of the oven, I suspect we shall all indulge in warm bread with butter melting off it and onto our fingers before supper proper.

Weekend Roundup

So very tired. This cold is kicking me, and dealing with the boy’s cold and being home 24/7 is draining me even more. Plus it was a packed weekend (of course).

Before the weekend roundup begins, it is important to note that on Thursday night, I rejoined the Thursday night gaming group for the first time in, oh, possibly almost a decade, because HRH rearranged the basement office to make room for a table and chairs and the gang came over here so that both HRH and I could be in the game at the same time. I’d originally dropped gaming because I was burnt out, and then there was the boy and someone needed to be home with him, so even though the spirit was willing, getting a babysitter every Thursday night was not remotely possible; besides which, the fibro over the past handful of years (pre- and post-diagnosis) makes evenings out doubtful. But the compromise of being in one Thursday night game a month(ish) and in my own home is very doable. MLG has launched a new Star Trek game which promises to be very exciting, and it was very flattering to have so many people thrilled that I was back. I’ve missed the gang, and it’s great that they’re willing to move that one game in the four-game rotation to a place where I can participate.

I got an e-mail Friday afternoon from the freelance coordinator, who congratulated me on my patience and courage in handling the horrific project I’d handed in Thursday night. And my new assignment landed, which is a lovely little 23K word general fiction manuscript to evaluate, which I suspect was cherry-picked for me after the nightmare, bless them. HRH came home at lunch on Friday, and Friday afternoon we went to HRH’s parents’ house to belatedly celebrate his mom’s birthday. It was much more relaxing than I expected it to be, and I got another inch knitted on my lace scarf. I had a good cello lesson on Friday night, too, which helped. I was upfront about my lack of energy and focus, so after we worked a bit of Mooney we sight-read the Mozart duet that M and I are playing for the recital this December. It’s just lovely, and amusingly/conveniently enough it hits all the things I need to work on: smooth bow changes, listening, timing, and expression. I didn’t hate everything I played, which I tend to do when I’m tired and can’t remember new instructions from one moment to the next. The pretty melody helps a lot with that. I love to play it. I’m so fortunate that my teacher understands that I have a condition with fatigue and focus issues, and is willing to work with me through them.

Saturday morning we did groceries and I baked. I made a double loaf of herb bread with half white and half whole wheat flour and an apple cake to take to the harvest ritual at Rowan Tree Farm that afternoon. HRH headed off belatedly to deliver things and pick Amanda up and didn’t get back till half an hour after I’d wanted to leave. As RTF is an hour and a half away that means we got there an hour later than the suggested target time. We had a lovely harvest ritual in which we counted our blessings, and then t! and Jan feasted us with local venison and boar sausages, lamb sausage, locally sourced beef, and the side dishes the guests had brought. We had to flee around seven-thirty because the boy had to get home and HRH had a bachelor party to attend back home. I felt rushed, which on top of the cold and increasing fatigue due to said cold and small boy being home sick made me disinclined to be social.

Sunday morning was Pagan playgroup, which HRH attended with us because I was too fatigued to drive safely. The coordinator was delighted to see him, especially since half the kids were missing. It was a really nice low-key day. On the way home we stopped at a pharmacy so I could finally pick up cold medication for myself. After a chat with my mum and a light lunch I napped while the boy did, and then Ceri came over for a wonderfully quiet afternoon of knitting… which neither of us did. I spun another threeish ounces of Corrie, and she crocheted. And the boy learned how to use the ball winder, an event he has been looking forward to for ages. (How many four year old boys do you know who can correctly identify a ball winder in a catalogue?)

He was very excited about making ‘yarn cakes’, and stacked three of varying sizes into a wedding cake-like configuration. Ceri got to use the skein winder in conjunction with the ball winder too, which was very exciting once we figured out the angle necessary so the thing would actually turn to wind off the skein while she wound it into a centre-pull ball. And we discovered that if I mount the skein winder on the wheel post backwards, I can keep spinning while it’s being used. Efficiency!

HRH handled dinner and let me have a bath, for which I was extremely grateful because the fatigue was getting worse. After dinner we put the boy to bed, Blade came down to be the Designated Responsible Adult On Site, and we headed out to our monthly steampunkian horror game chez Tal. Everyone was tired, so it was a very brief focused game in which yet more puzzle pieces dropped into place and important info was added to the clues we already had.

This morning the boy is home yet again, because his nose is still unpredictable and every few hours there’s a nasty coughing jag. As bronchitis popped up at the school twice in the past couple of weeks, I’m taking him to the doctor today (if there’s an appointment free; can’t call till nine, and the line will be swamped with everyone calling in after the weekend, grr) to make sure all’s well with him. If I can’t get an appointment, I’ll try sending him in tomorrow.

Speaking of which, I’m off to brave the phone lines. Wish us luck.

ETA: Forty minutes to get through… and the doctor’s not in this week. The nurse asked if he had a fever (no), if there was anything alarming (no), was I giving him anything for it (yes, an expectorant syrup), said that a lot of the viruses (virii?) going round left lingering dry coughs that weren’t indicators of anything serious, and to take him to a clinic if it hasn’t cleared up by the end of the week. Fine; Plan B it is! Keep him home today, send him in tomorrow.

Ten!

On this day ten years ago (TEN!), in the company of family and dear chosen family on a spectacular autumn day, I married my best friend.

We have now officially spent a quarter of our lives together!

Today also marks the twelfth anniversary of HRH and I doing our first road trip together, one of the joys I have continued to experience with him throughout our marriage. I’ve been told that the true test of a couple is if they can paint a room together without killing one another, but I suspect the ability to survive a road trip better attests to their ability to co-exist harmoniously.

I received an exquisite handmade wooden rose as an anniversary gift, and my parents sent us a cheque for a dinner out (thanks, Mum and Dad!). I’m exhausted and fighting this cold, and have the boy home for a third day in a row, so I don’t have much energy (there’s also a family dinner and a cello lesson ahead of me; I hope my teacher understands my inability to process much tonight), but I do have enough to say:

I love you, HRH. We’ve put up with a lot of ups and downs, challenges, and obstacles, but I think things are paying off in some sort of stability. We still have a way to go, but I can’t imagine traveling the road ahead with anyone but you… accompanied by the boy, of course, and any number of stuffed rabbits.

Speed Bump

The boy woke up with a horrific asthma attack around eleven on Tuesday night. He hasn’t had one in two years. This was eerily reminiscent on that previous attack, too: suddenly waking up in a panic almost incapable of breathing. The good thing is that he’s two years older and understands that the mask and inhaler help him to some degree almost immediately. So that plus a glass of water and some cuddling got him calmed to a point where he eventually fell asleep again, although he woke up again four hours later for a repeat of all treatment. I had trouble getting back to sleep every time, so I think I clocked a total of three or four hours. When we got up at six it was obvious that he wasn’t going anywhere, so I called preschool and let them know he was staying home. Both his teacher and I were mystified as to the origins of the attack, as there had been no signs of a cold or anything triggery the day before. Mid-morning he developed a very low-grade fever (just two- or three-tenths of a degree above average), which led me to suspect that he was indeed fighting some kind of cold or flu.

We went out to pick up refills on his inhalers and an expectorant syrup, and ran other errands as well. As the day went on it became increasingly hard for me to breathe as well. The weather had done a drastic switcheroo and went super-humid, which may have been a major factor in the asthma. As the day went on, however, it became increasingly evident that there was a major impressively icky full-blown chest cold developing. This asthma attack, like the one two years ago, had been an early warning response to the imminent pulmonary-focused illness.

With the lack of sleep, I tried to nap when the boy went down for his rest, but I was wide awake, which did not bode well for the rest of the day. I did get some spinning done, though, and when the boy woke up he climbed into the chair next to me (along with five cars and Blackie), followed closely by Gryffindor. Let me tell you, the chair was pretty crowded, and drafting was a challenge. But the boy took pictures!

I finished spinning the Blue Faced Leicester fibre I had left over from the spindle workshop I took in May, and I knew there wasn’t going to be enough yardage for the project Ceri needs it for. So I called Ariadne Knits, and they had both half-pound bags of both Corriedale and Merino top in stock. The boy and I popped down to pick up a pound of the Corriedale (much less expensive than I was expecting!) so I’ll have enough for all the yardage required (have to start over again, as I discovered that BFL is “hard to felt”, which is ungood for the particular project Ceri has in mind) plus extra for people to try it out (crafting weekend in Alexandria coming up, hurrah) and dyeing experiments. Using the commercially prepared BFL top is a blissful experience. It’s like night and day when I compare it to spinning the unknown bits of wool I carded and dizzed into sliver myself. This is more even, smoother, and easier to draft. It shouldn’t be a surprise, of course; you get what you pay for. And as Ceri pointed out to me, this is why people stress that you should work with the best stuff you can afford, whatever your craft. The less expensive stuff is less expensive, but you never know when the fibre is working against you, and when it’s your technique that’s causing the problem. One should also really enjoy what one’s doing, and using the best material you can afford contributes greatly to that.

In this case, I am so glad that it was the quality of the fibre that was the problem. My beautiful BFL singles, let me show you them:

I can’t wait to ply them. Except if do that, I use up my last free bobbin, and I can’t spin my Corrie. No, wait, that’s stupid; if I ply them, I end up with two free bobbins at the end. Never mind. Or one free, anyway, because there’s more on one bobbin than the other, so there will be leftover single. And my last attempt at Navajo plying was amusingly disastrous, so perhaps we won’t to that again. Or, well, why not; I have to learn, and this is as good as anything else to practice on. Or I can just skein the leftover single and wind it into a centre-pull ball on Sunday when Ceri comes over to play. (This example of stream of consciousness thought is brought to you by slowly shifting into work mode from early-morning mode.)

Needless to say, I got no freelance work done yesterday; then again, I didn’t expect to. Although I really wanted the project done and gone so I didn’t have to think about it any more. Ah, well; we all encounter speed bumps. The boy’s home again today, as he will be for the rest of the week. The glamour of being home sick has worn off, and now he is cranky, irritable, and whiny. And I have to work today regardless, as today’s my deadline. HRH is going to try to come home early, around the end of the boy’s nap, so I’ll have at least naptime and a couple of extra hours to polish the report.

I didn’t make it to orchestra last night, as the lack of sleep, my own developing cold (yes, another one; the boy’s ambushed me while my immune system was still down form the last light cold), and the running around all day had taken its toll. I was achy, dizzy, and couldn’t hold things securely with my hands, so in the interests of not totally running myself down and making myself and everyone around me at orchestra miserable I called and let them know I wasn’t going to make it. And wow, did I ever sleep well.

So today the boy is enjoying cartoons in his pyjamas for a good long time, and I am opening the freelance document, and work shall be done. He knows to leave me alone as much as possible, and so far so good.