I’m tired of writing about nothing but caregiving woecakes. This one is all about fun! Speech therapy stuff can wait till next post.
Making stuff, for starters. I think y’all know I love to knit and crochet, and it’s time to start yarning holiday presents. I cannot say more lest I spoil, but some of my works are going to fans of our kickin’ hometown hockey team the Nashville Predators, and at least one might be destined for somebody I hate because they are going to see the mother of all Broadway hits next year. LOL
In non-holiday yarny things, I’m knitting mom a cute slouchy hat in some pretty shades of blue. She has one in fall colors and another in black, but blue is her jam, so she asked back in the spring for a blue one. Yes, I am fully aware she does not remember asking me for it, and it’s questionable whether she will wear it or even care. But then, she was like that before the dementia. 0_o
I’m also knitting baby hats (purple ones, for shaken baby awareness), and dishcloths for ladies on an Indian reservation.
The biggest project I have going right now is an afghan that was inspired by this adorable story!
It’s about a lonely grandma who decides to make an afghan for her Goth grandson’s birthday. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending), the design she finds in a book at the library and adapts to crochet happens to be a demon-summoning circle. (You can see where this is going, right?) A broken cup and some blood spilled later, the demon appears. Go read the story, and the accompanying comments that expand on it. Not giving spoilers here! Anyway, I read it and had to design the afghan and make it.
As for non-yarny making, I’m experimenting with making new stuff in the kitchen. When mom and I moved into my house five years ago, I planted a teeny fig tree in the back yard. I’ve written that sucker off for dead at least three times. One time I even bought another one to replace it and planted it beside the original. The replacement died. The original, like the cat in the old song, came back. Last year for the first time, it bore figs: little things about the size of a ping pong ball, but so sweet and tasty.
There were only a few then, but this year there are dozens! I love them diced in salads or oatmeal, or quartered for lunch with cottage cheese and crackers, but there are way too many this summer to use up that way. It kills me to have them mold in the refrigerator and have to throw them out.So as not to waste this bounty, I went a-googling and found a great and easy recipe for refrigerator fig preserves. Currently, I have three jars in the fridge, and have eaten another whole one! It’s delicious on buttered multi grain toast, and I bet it would make amazing little tarts, but I don’t have time to make up pastry and try it.
I’ve also made several loaves of banana bread—mom’s doctor found her potassium a bit low the last time it was checked, so she’s become quite fond of a sliced half banana with some caramel ice cream in the evenings, but still we’ve ended up with two or three bananas past their prime on a few occasions. Again, can’t stand to waste stuff, and the old red-checked Better Homes and Gardens cookbook mom’s had all my life has a wonderful recipe for banana bread. I found it many years ago and it became the first baked good I felt I could really call my own. It’s awesome stuff sliced thick and toasted with a little butter for breakfast or dessert.
I’m rediscovering my love for cross stitch too (when I can—I have to sit with mom a lot, and she likes the lights out a lot, and I can’t really see by a small bedside lamp well enough to do intricate things) My favorite online spice shop has a great logo, brightly colored, that spoke to my current situation, so I graphed it on a website for that, got the floss and started on it. Hopefully it will be done in time to hang in my RV.
I belong to a little online group that swaps ATCs (artist trading cards). They are teeny bits of art the size of a baseball card, and they are a lot of fun to make. Each month we have a couple of different themes and everybody executes them in different ways, makes one for each other member, and then mails them out. This month’s themes are lighthouses and pirates. I’m doing lighthouse silhouettes cut out of black paper and pasted on blue or purple backgrounds, with a white beam of light. Or maybe gold or yellow; haven’t decided yet. I’m currently stuck on the pirates! We do pirates every September, for Talk Like a Pirate Day on the 19th. Last year I did different historical pirate flags. The year before that, I did famous female pirates, and even sent a sniff of a wonderful perfume named for one (Anne Bonny, from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab)
No fiction writing lately; I can’t very well focus when mom is reading her pill schedule aloud and asking me the same questions over and over for two or three hours trying to trip me up. The freelance gig continues to go well; they’ve started sending me lists of articles they need that have gone unwritten for a while and asking if I can take some on. It’s nice to feel trust in my word skills. Oh! And an online pen store had a contest for you to send in a short piece on your eclipse experiences, and I did and won a gift card! So I now have a new fountain pen and some cute notebooks, thanks to mom and the day care folks across the street. hehe
Finally, I’ve read some great books lately, the best being the new one by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. You may remember I blogged about her last book, Certain Dark Things, about the Mexican vampires and mobsters? Her publisher emailed me out of the blue to send me an advance copy of her latest, The Beautiful Ones, to review! It isn’t even going on sale till October. I was honored and very excited!
Most historical fantasies are set in some version of Victorian or Edwardian England, it seems, but this one is based on France of the same period. This gives us a world that’s familiar enough to be engaging and different enough to be intriguing. It’s a ‘novel of manners’, the Jane Austen kind, but in a world where people with serious psychic talents are unusual, but not considered with more than a raised eyebrow. It moves along at a deliberate pace, it doesn’t rush, which fits its style, but it’s never boring, and the characters are really interesting.
Hector uses his psychic power to move things in his work as a famous stage entertainer. He meets Nina, a young girl making her debut in society. She has the same psychic talent, but it’s considered ‘unseemly’ in a lady. She is being supervised by Valerie, her cousin’s wife, with whom, we quickly learn, Hector has a history. Hector begins to court Nina and train her in the use of her talent, while still secretly aching for his lost love. The pace picks up as everybody gets tangled up in this web of secrets. You can see a horrible climax rushing toward you like a steam locomotive. The final chapters have these great twists and turns, and you keep turning pages hoping everybody will get their just desserts. It's good, y'all. I highly recommend it, if you like fantasy with a classic setting and romance.
Whew, I’ll stop babbling now! Who knows what the next blog will bring? I think I do, but I’m never sure. Stay tuned, friends.