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Last week, on two recommendations (bookshelves of doom and our current wall display of “staff favorites: adventure” at the library) I picked up Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief. I’ll say this: even though they are very different in a lot of ways, it reminded me of nothing more than The Blue Sword. And when I was a kid, I loved The Blue Sword. It didn’t grip me right away, but by the time I got to the last quarter of the book, I had to stay up till oh, one-thirty or two in the morning to finish it. The landscape is fantastic, the retold myths are captivating. The characters are not characters – they are real. Aren’t they?
Why was I not surprised last night when the same thing happened with the sequel? I would give you a little link or something but the reviews, damn them, give away the plot. Granted, they mostly give away what happens in the first chapter, but still! We like our suspense, please. The Queen of Attolia reminded me even more of Robin McKinley, except more serious. More political intrigue. A little romance. Difficult decisions.
Now – for some reason my county library system only has TWO copies of The King of Attolia, the newest one. Thusly, I have turned to the library that I do not work for, which is swimming in copies, none of them at my tiny branch. I’m tempted to drive across town to pick one up. There are two things holding me back: I currently have 2 adult novels, 3 works of non-fiction, and 7 children’s novels checked out. What was the other thing? Oh yes – when I read The King, that’s it. Unless she writes another sequel. But things tend to come in threes. I can hope, sure, but for the time being it’s the end of the line. I might have to weep some bitter tears when I finish it.
It’s 12:30 am. The police have been outside talking to our neighbor (the one with all the random two-minute car trips) for a while, but Katy can’t quite overhear what they’re saying. Neighbor’s SUV was in a nasty accident in the last day, with a flat tire in the front and part of the hood all torn up. We have no idea how he got it home. I’m glad to see the police are taking an interest in him, whether it’s for the accident, drugs, or blackmailing our landlord, but why in the middle of the night?
There’s a crew in the street with a van marked “Pressure Washing.” There are cones in the street and a man is hosing things down. On a Friday night, after midnight.
When I drove home from work tonight, there were three police cars blocking streets just a few blocks down, lights flashing.
Time for bed, as long as the pressure washers keep it down.
And? I was just checking my bloglines and there was a name I didn’t recognize. I think bloglines is trying to tell me something because it decided to subscribe me to a blog called Weight Loss. Um? I know I didn’t do that.
Cue the Twilight Zone music again, please.
You’ve got your onions, your bay leaves and chili powder, your 25 pounds of table salt.
Your buttermilk biscuits (because what is a biscuit without buttermilk?), your life imitating art – a pot of steaming soup underneath the Nikki McClure print of…lovely people eating steaming soup.
Your aerial view, your before, and your after.
I have to add this disclaimer: I almost never cook, especially soup. The occasional pot of chili in the crockpot, some salmon, chicken breasts in raspberry-balsamic sauce, rice & beans & sausage, a stir-fry. I probably bake two things for every meal I cook. When I do cook, though, I love it. I especially love phrases like “stir occasionally” which imply that you will spend much of the time reading a book. Or cleaning up, which I also strangely enjoy. Or preparing the biscuits for their transition into the oven. It just takes so much time. And planning. So I prefers things that leave delicious leftovers in their wake, like a ginormous pot of soup.
I’m off to the Four Seasons to gather ingredients for soup, and in the meantime I leave you with this. It was taken last week on the frighteningly cold day when Kate and I decided to walk to Abundant Yarn (aka “that new yarn store on 17th”).
Note: I did not leave the house like that, although maybe I should’ve.
1. You know the point when you’ve had just about a tablespoon too much coffee? But it hits you too late and so you keep drinking anyway?
2. I want a recipe for delicious lemony muffins. I made some out of The Enchanted Broccoli Forest yesterday, and they were good but not very lemony and more nutritious/snacky with the whole wheat flour and all. I recommend them but I don’t adore them. Muffins should be adored.
3. I’ve had Arthur and George out of the library for two weeks now and was slowly making my way through it, but I knew it was due today and there are holds on it so my one goal for the week was to finish it. And I did. I’m patting myself on the back. I can’t decide how much I liked it – I went back and forth between utter absorption and dusty boredom.
4. We’re going a little crazy with the lacto-fermentation here. Katy’s got some links and all for you, and I’m going to report back once we start consuming these various beverages and yogurts, but here’s what I think of when I see the little jar of kefir fermenting away on the counter.
PART I: THE CORN OF FORGIVENESS
I’ve been blogging for a whole year and two days! I spent a little time the other day going through early posts – I think I mostly write because I like rereading it. Self-centered much? I like remembering things through writing about them. It’s a nice gauge for seeing what’s changed and what hasn’t. I don’t really know what’s changed in the past year. But I always love seeing what I was thinking one year ago today, or two years ago, or whatever.
The other day I was thinking about all the funny church things I used to write about and feeling sad that I’d apparently lost my sacrilegious touch. But then the church in her wisdom provided me with the Prodigal Son. Theoretically, each week as we get closer to setting sail on the sea of the fast, the gospel reading will prepare us. It’s all a lovely, gentle progression. You’ve got Zacchaeus, then the Publican and the Pharisee, the Prodigal Son, the Last Judgment and then Forgiveness Sunday with the red capital letters – LENT BEGINS. NO RAW MILK. NO TURKEY SANDWICHES. NO HALF & HALF IN GLASS BOTTLES. NO BUTTER. Ahem.
But as a consolation, like I was saying, we’ve got the Prodigal Son. You’re a few minutes late for vespers and doing the “sing along without a book and pretend you know the words” thing (it’s pretty easy to get about half the words – you can always see the last bit coming). You decide to take a handout for the special music of the week and your heart leaps as you spot – yes – your favorite! The corn of forgiveness! Lock me up in your storehouse and save me! Oh the joy. I take it as a sign. Just when you’re getting down about Lent coming, you’re reminded of all that’s to come and you find yourself humming Holy Week music as you shuffle papers at work.
PART II: THE SUIT
My brother, he now owns a charcoal grey suit. And a nice greenish tie. And a taupe-ish shirt (except I dislike the word taupe). And the world of men’s clothing? It’s a whole other world. I kind of like it. I’m intrigued by it. We went to one of those places where you’re accosted when you walk in the door and the salesman immediately whips out a measuring tape and directs you (or your brother) to the proper size and swiftly dresses you in one coat and then another and then whisks you off to the dressing room for pants and while you change he lays out a variety of shirts and ties on a little table. Then he forces you to make a decision even though you “don’t care.” And he asks your sister if she is your date and she laughs and then says, “no, I’m his sister” in her best “don’t mess with me” voice. And then you hand over a credit card and are told to come back on Saturday! And your dad says it’s like picking out a suit for your own funeral. And you probably won’t ever buy another suit, being who you are, and will probably wear it to your funeral. The pants can be expanded, after all.
It’s advice time, internets! Little brother is being dragged, I mean, is really looking forward to attending his first semi-formal. Oh, the joys of high school. I went over for dinner tonight (yay mashed potatoes) and somehow found myself offering to go shopping tomorrow with my brother and dad – a first – and being eagerly accepted. Dad is to advice on the purchasing of a masculine wardrobe. I’m to provide an eye for style. Right. Except I’ve never done more than walk through the men’s clothing section.
What should he wear? We don’t have any idea what his date is wearing, so I’m thinking neutral, yes? But the boy needs classy. I think charcoal grey trousers. Dad thinks a “sport coat,” whatever that is. I’m thinking fun tie. Please throw out any tips, ideas, etc – and in exchange I promise a photo essay on the experience! This is going to be fun. I am going to die laughing if something else doesn’t get me first.