I have weather whiplash. We had ice Saturday morning. Today it was in the 50’s. Now the wind is blowing a front through, and undoubtedly the temperature will drop again!
Some of you may know that I am in the midst of kitchen remodel. Yesterday, I had an appointment with an appliance distributor to pick out appliances. And I did. In an hour and a quarter, I got a range, a refrigerator, a microwave that doubles as a convection oven (who knew?) and a disposal. I stayed on the budget in my head, but went a bit over the one I had written on paper. Now I need to pick out flooring and a kitchen faucet. That doesn’t seem too onerous.
In the past few months, I have been doing a lot of comfort reading, defined in this case as all the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries by Agatha Christie. I don’t think I ever read them. They are very cozy, with evil people vanquished. Finally I felt up to breaking out of comfort reading and bought a copy of Cathleen Schine’s They May Not Mean To, but They Do. Those of you familiar with Philip Larkin will know that particular line. I have only read one other book of Schine’s and I liked it a great deal. It was called Finn and Lady and told the story of a young boy orphaned and taken into the care of his sophisticated (he thinks at the time) older step sister. It’s worth a read, and so is They May Not Mean To, but They Do.
I am not a fan of coming of age novels. Something about them irritates me. They May Not Mean To, but They Do is a coming of old age novel. It is not a fast read. The plot moves at a stately pace, so that you get to know all the characters well and you also get a little humor in the grim, familiar situation. This book is about all the ways children of elderly parents get it right and badly wrong; about the worry, the anxiety, and the misunderstandings; and about the way a person still in charge of her life can move on in spite of all the well-meant interference. It is a crisp, incisive novel full of empathy and wit.
After that, I turned to the blogosphere’s own Laurie Graves of Notes from the Hinterland. She has written Maya and the Book of Everything and it’s a wild ride. This one does not move at a stately pace, but whirls you along through time (and, dare I say, space) with magic books of knowledge. This is a young adult novel and it takes on issues of knowledge, truth, facts, and the responsibility to use them wisely for the good of the world. There is a hint that it may be the first in a series. I’m beginning to understand all those adults who were reading the Harry Potter books. Write on, Laurie!
Other than reading, I have tried to use some of the food I had from the garden. I made pumpkin and white bean soup yesterday, and today, I roasted the last of my tomatoes. At the end of the season, I had so many green tomatoes. Yeah, you can fry them once or twice, make chutney or pickles with them, but I wasn’t keen on any of that, so I set them in a cool place and waited for them to ripen. I had to monitor them, as some were determined to rot first. In the end I had a few to roast with some oregano, olive oil and pesto. They’ll be nice accents in winter rice dishes and stews.