Hello everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!
I feel like I have nothing to write about this week: all my knitting is Christmas knitting and thus secret; I haven’t done anything exciting or thought any profound thoughts; and I am reading a bunch of books all in a jumble, trying to catch up with my Goodreads challenge.
I had the last classes of the semester this week, and the exams are done and sent. So I have no more work until I get the exams back on the 20th or thereabouts. Apart, of course, from figuring out what to read next semester ...
We had a storm on Thursday, raising water levels along the West coast and in the internal straits. Living as far inland as you can get around here, we only had the winds, no flooding.
Thomas got home early, though, when his school was closed.
Victor was going out in the evening to a school board Christmas dinner meeting at a restaurant downtown; I didn’t like the thought of him walking to the bus stop and waiting there with tree branches being tossed about, so I drove him. As we approached the restaurant, an ambulance was pulling away. It turned out that one of the ornaments hanging between buildings in the pedestrian street area had been blown down and hit someone on the head. Good thing Victor wasn’t out walking there!
So, I went back home, made dinner and then read (and knitted) until Victor sent me a text just after 10 o’clock: ‘Want to go driving in the snow?’
Snow? Yep, the storm was now a snowstorm. Careful driving ... when I got to the restaurant again, the wind had dropped temporarily, and the street ornaments were innocently lighting up the pristine snow. Victor was outside tossing snowballs. It was a winter wonderland idyll.
Anyway, it stopped snowing, and the wind picked up again, gradually subsiding during Friday. The remains of the snowfall were washed away by the rain today. Not so pretty winter weather.
As mentioned, it’s all Christmas knitting, and rather frantic at that. I had decided, sometime around December last year, to NOT knit for Christmas – or not for everybody, at least, maybe a few items. Then I got the teaching gig and scaled down my plans even more; and entering NaNoWriMo, I practically dropped all but four gift knits.
Well, I emerged from under the NaNoWriMo rock, December arrived, and the Christmas knitting plans blossomed ... Ideas keep cropping up, completely ignoring the rapidly dwindling number of days until the big evening. So, I am busily knitting secret stuff.
No, wait, I did knit something for public viewing: a bunch of hand-dyed Hexipuffs for the Great Ormond Street Hospital blanket. Quite pretty, if I may say so myself.
Most of this year, I have been ahead of schedule on the Goodreads challenge, preparing for November. Still, I managed to fall behind; as of now by two books. So, I am doing what I do when Christmas knitting: I am reading a whole bunch of books at once. Because more books at once means you’ll finish them faster, right? Just like having five active wips lying around means you’ll knit faster.
So, here’s the list:
I am dusting off my Greek, which has been sitting neglected in a corner for about a decade, by reading through a grammar and a book for beginners. These are called BASIS and PROLOGOS (yes, in capital letters); I’m reading them in conjunction and surprising myself at how easy Greek is.
The last so far of the Gaunt’s Ghosts novels by Dan Abnett is Salvation’s Reach, living up to, if not surpassing, the standard of the series as a whole.
On the audio side, I’m listening to Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton. I know what you’re thinking: why choose an 18-hour book when you need to catch up? It gets better, though: the 18 hours is only the first half of the book. It’s an 1100-page book on paper. Facepalm.
Luckily, it’s a good book. Beginning in Newcastle in the winter of 2143 CE, it opens with a regular cop crime story, a murder whodunit. The call about the body dumped in the River Tyne comes in, of course, twenty minutes before the end of Sid Hurst’s and his partner’s shift. And so it goes, the story being told with a high level of everyday detail about life in the 22nd century. Not surprisingly, knowing Hamilton’s work, the murder has trans-stellar connections, and thus an expedition is mounted to the planet St. Libra near Sirius, travelling through the gateway just outside Newcastle. I can’t say much more without spoiling anything for those who may want to read it, so I won’t.
Great North Road is on my phone for on-the-move listening; on my laptop for lace-knitting listening I started Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson, her memoir of mainly her adoptive mother, referred to as Mrs Winterson, who was Pentecostal and manic-depressive. The title, apparently, is quoted from Mrs Winterson’s reaction to Jeanette wanting to be with a girlfriend.
I’m not sure how well I like this book; Jeanette’s upbringing was surely horrific, no doubt about that, and you have to feel for a child who was oppressed, not allowed books, threatened with Hell, and beaten on a regular basis.
But the narrative is rather heavy on theory of religion and comparative phenomenology; it does seem unnecessary to bring in the structuralistic jargon at every turn to explain or reflect on religious practices and her own reactions to her childhood.
There are more books on my Goodreads ‘currently-reading’ list: The Age of Innocence is currently on Craftlit, and Mrs. Appleyard’s Year on Forgotten Classics, so the pace of those two is chiefly outside my influence; I just listen to an episode or two when I get around to it.
So, that’s it for this time – have a great week, have fun, don’t get blown away or buried in snow, and most important of all: when confronted with the glitzy Christmas catalogues urging you to spend, buy, shop, and purchase –