24.9.12

Lazygal and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month

Seriously, what is it with September?  Here's my tale of utter woe:

  • My beloved Uncle A nearly died
  • A former student, a senior in college, died
  • An in-law died
  • My Biggest Boy has chronic renal failure (so: new, expensive diet and possible Sub-Q fluids, and many vet visits to come)
  • I got a flat tire, which I replaced only to learn that the other three need replacing sometime soon
  • My car hit 30K, so a Very Big Check-Up was needed, including replacing a few filters and something with the fuel-injection pump
  • I had my chimney swept, only to learn that the roofers and painters that have been climbing around up there damaged the chimney cap
And then yesterday's routine shopping trip turned into a Massive Shopping Trip because I ran out of everything all at once (a rare event, but still!).  

Oh, and when did jeans stop being denim?  I went to four stores and only found 80% cotton, 15% polyester and 5% elastic blends.  They don't feel like jeans, they don't weigh as much as jeans do: they're just not jeans!

On a slightly brighter note, Thing Two is coming down tomorrow to help me Fall Clean (touching up some paintwork, shampooing the bedroom carpets, moving my books and a few other chores).   And I just dropped off three more bags of clothes at Goodwill, with another half bag started.  

As for the books, Mt. Bookpile is still below 300 (new goal: closer to 250 by year end) and I've read 301 books this year.  '

Still and all, it's been a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month.

20.9.12

Not a complete waste...

My Uncle A was recently in Memorial Sloan-Kettering for an extended stay.  I visited him twice, and on the second visit he was a little dejected - his nurse and the respiratory helper didn't know Kipling's Just-So Stories.

I hastened to reassure him that I knew the story!  With a father like mine, how could I not?  You see, my father (beyond doing amazing things with wood and beyond being scary smart) is an amazing reader.  Not as in "reading a lot of books" but as in "a great storyteller".  My earliest years were spent with him reading to me from some of his favorite childhood books:  Penrod, The Five Little Peppers, Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island*, etc.  And I remember him telling me the story of the elephant along the banks of the "great, green-grey greasy Limpopo river".  Now, to be honest, he may not have actually read the story to me because one of the other traits of a great storyteller is the ability to tell stories without having the book in front of you.  He also made up stories, and car trips were often times for another episode in the saga of some little boy, name now forgotten, who had adventures that ended with him falling from a mast - but no problems, because he was "rough and tough and hard to bluff and used to hard ships." **

Thing One did not grow up with a father who read to him, but he did know Kipling and the Just-So Stories.  He even sounded a little shocked that there were people who did not know these stories. 

Last night I called home to thank my father for reading/telling me that story and all the others he'd read over the years.  While he stopped reading the entire book to me by the time I was 6/7, he often read a passage or the first few pages and then handed me the book (which is how I got to read The Catcher in the Rye).  And then I told him that he really wasn't a complete waste as a father.***


ps - If you're so minded, go to Uncle A's blog and reassure him that there are still people in this world who know that story, and who are passing it along to the next generation.   

* I've recently confessed to him that I never finished the book: when I was 6(ish), he stopped a few chapters from the end and told me to read the rest myself - he'd decided that my sister deserved his attention.  Yes, I've been throwing a 40+ year hissy fit over this.

** Dad loves puns.  And shaggy dog stories.  Blame him for my affinity for both.

*** He also has a sense of humor.  He did, however, decline the idea of making that his epithet - but it might end up a direct quote on his updated c.v.

13.9.12

My kingdom for a horse...

Yesterday my friend Infowitch posted this article from the Telegraph:  'Strong evidence' Richard III's body has been found – with a curved spine. She then said that she was off to re-read Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time.

When I was a young teen (13? 14?) my father suggested I read that book.  It was my first exposure to Josephine Tey, but more important it was my first inkling that perhaps Shakespeare was - gasp - a propagandist.  Being the odd child I was, I stared looking into the real Richard III and what we knew (and didn't know).  Then, in my 20s, I discovered Elizabeth Peters and her Vicky Bliss books, specifically The Murders of Richard III.

Since then I've seen two great productions of Richard: one at BAM starring Ian McKellen (available as a film for those not lucky enough to have seen it in person) and one at the Public, starring Peter Dinklage. Very different productions, very different interpretations of Richard.  McKellen's was Hitleresque, and the production hammered home his despotic, cruel personality.  There was no hunch, but he was certainly malformed (the scene where he singlehandedly put on a glove? amazing).  Dinklage, being far shorter than virtually any other actor on stage, used his lack of height as his crutch, growing in power and cruelty as the production progressed.  By the end, he virtually loomed over the other actors.

So now we have the possibility of finding his bones.  With or without hump, the question of Who Killed Those Two Princes has not been definitively answered.  Unlike my friend, I'm going to check out Alison Weir's The Princes in the Tower.