All I Want for Christmas Is You

It is December 25th, the morning, and I managed to again sleep until almost nine; which I’ve done every day since this fabulous four day weekend began. Getting used to getting up early again is going to be a bitch; I will find out for certain this Thursday morning, heavy heaving sigh.

We opened our Christmas presents last night; a tradition that began early in my family when my sister and I were too old to believe in Santa anymore and my parents were still young enough to want to sleep late on Christmas day. Paul, as always, has spoiled me terribly; he got me everything I wanted 2 twelve-watt iPhone chargers, a contraption called Yogatoes-more on that later, new LSU house slippers, and some things I didn’t ask for–three sessions with a trainer (one of those gifts that can be taken as back-handed, if you choose to think that way), a package of Turtle candies, caramel M&M’s, some really cool post-it notes, pens, and a can of cashews. I also got my annual Hog Days T-shirt (his hometown is famous for Hog Days, and he gets me one of the plethora of options for a T-shirt every year), and some other knick knacks, shoved into a Christmas stocking. It was quite lovely, actually. He’s so much more thoughtful than I am (surprise!).

We also watched, or rather tried to watch, Call Me By Your Name last night, streaming it from Amazon Prime. We stopped with only half an hour to go; Paul wanted to have a cigarette and I wanted to use the bathroom, and when we reassembled in the living room we weren’t all that interested in continuing. It’s a very pretty movie to look at (ITALY!), and the acting was fine…but it just didn’t connect with either of us. Love Simon didn’t either; and I have some thoughts on that, but I will save that for another time. After shelving Call Me By Your Name, we started watching a really interesting Australian series on Netflix, Wanted, which has a great concept and I am curious to see how it will play out.

I spent most of yesterday cleaning out computer files. This is long overdue, and I’ve talked about doing it extensively, but yesterday afternoon while Paul was at the gym I plopped my ass down in my chair and started getting rid of duplicate files and combining many different files about the same thing into one (who knew I had five completely different folders for my story “This Thing of Darkness” with completely different contents? NO MORE), and while there is still a lot of work to be done, I am quite pleased to have gotten all I got accomplished yesterday done. I also am going to try to take the time to make sure duplications don’t occur again in the future, and make sure things don’t simply get put into folders marked SORT or MISCELLANEOUS in the future.

Hmmm. Sounds like a goal for the new year, doesn’t it?

Today, once I finish this, I am going to start Christmas dinner–time to put the turkey in the slow cooker, etc.–and try to revise early chapters of Bury Me in Satin. I don’t intend to spend the entire day working; it is a holiday, after all, and I’d like to spend some time rereading The Shining as well as making some plans for the rest of the week and the weekend. I also just realized that Georgia and Texas fans will be descending on us for the Sugar Bowl over the course of the weekend.

It also looks like a beautiful day out there.

Okay, yoga toes. 

I realized in early December that Paul and I’s methodology of Christmas shopping was predicated on passive-aggression: I don’t know what I want. This rang home to me as I sat at my computer, ready to order iPhone chargers and LSU slippers and the yoga toes, so I closed the shopping carts and instead sent the links to Paul. But I discovered the yoga toes thanks to Jamie Mason, who posted about them on Facebook along with a link to the website. I have fallen arches/flat/very wide feet, and most of my life I have not taken proper care of them; including many jobs which required me to stand on them for hours on end, day in and day out. In one of those oh you are SO fucking smart aren’t you moments I realized about ten years ago I’d been buying my shoes too small for years; I went up from 10 1/2 to 11’s, which was marvelous and made an enormous difference. My doctor recommended shoe inserts as well, which was also life-changing and guaranteed that I no longer needed to buy new shoes every six weeks or so. I also discovered you can buy shoes wider than normal; so my shoes now fit properly and my feet/ankles/knees/calves/hips no longer start aching as quickly as they used to. But years of shoes, and shoes that were too small and not wide enough, compressed my toes (kind of like how the Chinese used to bind girls’ feet) to the point where I couldn’t splay them without reaching down and doing it with my fingers. The yoga toes device is a geloid thing you put on your toes which forces them apart; you leave it on each foot for ten to fifteen minutes to begin with, working your way up to an hour and you do it every day. And let me tell you, Constant Reader, already, after only doing it once for fifteen minutes, that the yoga toes have already made a difference. My toes and feet feel better, and the pressure on my ankles and calves has somewhat lessened. It also makes walking and balancing easier–because your toes aren’t supposed to be compressed together. 

Highly recommended.

And now back to the spice mines.

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I Can’t Make You Love Me

GEAUX SAINTS!

So, it’s another chilly Sunday here in the Lost Apartment. It’s sixty degrees now outside, but it dipped into the forties overnight, so it’s going to take awhile for the Lost Apartment to recover–if it ever does. Today I need to pack up for the trip tomorrow morning. I’m not taking the MacBook Air with me, so I am not entirely sure how I’ll be able to crosspost the blog–should I write any entries–to Facebook and other social media because cutting and pasting on the iPad confuses me.

Don’t judge me.

The LSU game last night was a romp; never in doubt from the first snap, and ending with a 42-10 score. It was 28-3 at half-time and was never in doubt. As such, there was very little-to-no tension on my part, so I was able to sit in my easy chair like a millennial, scrolling through apps on my phone while also taking some time to read. I stopped by the Latter Library yesterday to pick up another book I’d reserved (Chariots of the Gods? by Erich von Daniken–more about that later) and also renewed Bibliomysteries Volume 2 for another week. I am taking both books with me to Kentucky, and am also taking A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin; I think it’s time I got started writing A Song of Ice and Fire, now that the end of the television series is in sight with this past week’s announcement that the final season will begin airing in April.

I took yesterday as my day off for the weekend; I didn’t clean anything, nor did I organize or file or edit or write. I was basically just a lazy slug, sitting in my easy chair and flipping between football games while reading. I’m still rereading ‘salem’s Lot but have now reached the end game, the final section of the book called “The Empty Village,” and the tracking down of the vampires concluding with Ben and Mark running away to Mexico while Ben writes his book isn’t as interesting to me as the opening of the book; as I said when I discussed the reread initially, I am more interested in how King depicts the town more than anything else, which was the impetus for the reread. And how much do I love this sentence, which opens section 2, “The Emperor of Ice Cream”:

The town knew darkness.

It’s very Shirley Jackson-esque, and the passage that follows is perhaps my favorite part of the entire book.

I also think I am going to give The Shining  a reread; The Shining is, for most fans, critics and readers, King’s best work. I couldn’t get into it when I first bought the paperback, with the boy’s head with a blank face drawn on a shiny silver cover. I picked it up again a few years later and tore through it in one sitting; but as creepy and horrifying as it was, and how nasty the Overlook Hotel was…it was one of the few I never reread completely. I’ve picked it up and started it again, flipped through it and read sections, but I’ve never read it from beginning to end. I think the complexity of Jack Torrance as a character cut a little too close to home for me, but now that I have over fifty books out there with my name (or a pseudonym) on the spine…I don’t have to be too stressed about the failed author character being too close to home for me anymore.

At least one can hope so.

Tomorrow is the dreaded twelve hour car ride through Mississippi, Alabama, a bit of Georgia, and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I need to go get the mail before I leave town and possibly stop by the bank, so I am going to be getting a later start than I would have perhaps wished, but a twelve-hour drive is a twelve-hour drive no matter when you get started, and I am most likely going to shower and go straight to bed when I arrive in Kentucky. I am still trying to figure out what digital book to download and listen to in the car–who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?–but none of A Song of Fire and Ice are available as audiobooks from the library, and the library’s app isn’t as intuitive as I would like (translated: I’m too old to figure out the easiest way to use it). I wanted to start Charles Todd’s brilliant series set during the end of the first world war, but the first book isn’t available from my library (BASTARDS!!!!) and so I have to choose something else. I’ll spend some time on there today–maybe on the library’s website, which is easier for a Luddite like me–and perhaps the second Louise Penny Inspector Gamache novel might do the trick.

Or maybe The Shining. Ooooooh.

Most of today is also going to be spent on odds and ends. I may get some writing work done, or I may not. I think after the Saints game we are going to watch either Love, Simon or Call Me By Your Name; both are available for free streaming on one or another services I pay for now. I also am assuming I’ll finish watching Knightfall while I am in Kentucky, as my parents both go to bed early every night.

And yesterday I also managed to read “The Gospel of Sheba” by Lyndsay Faye, from Bibliomysteries Volume Two, edited by Otto Penzler:

Letter sent from Mrs. Colette Lomax to Mr. A. Davenport Lomax, September 3rd, 1902.

My only darling,

You cannot comprehend the level of incompetence to which I was subjected today.

You know full well I never demand a private dressing room when stationary, as the very notion implies a callous disrespect for the sensitivities of other artists. However, it cannot pass my notice when I am engaged in a second class chamber en route from Reims to Strasbourg. The porter assured me that private cars were simply not available on so small a railway line as our company was forced to book–and yet, I feel justified in suspecting the managers have hoaxed their “rising star” once again. The reek of soup from the dining car’s proximity alone would depress my spirits, even were my ankles not confined one atop the other in a padlock-like fashion.

I do so loathe krautsuppe. Hell, I assure you, my love, simmers with the aroma of softening cabbage.

Lyndsay Faye has twice been nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel (for The Gods of Gotham, which I adored, and for Jane Steele, which is still in my ever-growing and enormous TBR pile), and she is also a delight to know in addition to her enormous gift for writing. Lyndsay is an enormous Sherlock Holmes fan (Sherlockian?), and even her first novel, Dust and Shadow, was a Holmes tale; she recently published an entire collection of Holmes short stories. “The Gospel of Sheba” is sort of a Holmes story; both he and Watson do appear in the story, but it’s primarily told from the point of view of a sub-librarian, Mr. Lomax; he is married to a professional singer who at the time of the story is currently on a tour–her presence in the story is either through her husband’s point of view or epistolary; we get to see occasional letters from her. Her husband’s point of view is seen through diary entries where he talks about the mystery of the Gospel of Sheba, a grimoire a member of a private men’s club with an interest in the supernatural has discovered and that makes anyone who reads it ill. One of the things I love the most about Faye is she writes in the formal style of the nineteenth century, but it always reads as organic and never forced. There’s never a sense from the reader of Oh I see what you’re doing here or from her as the author of see how clever I am? She’s somehow modernized that formal style, breathed fresh life into it, and uses it to help set the mood and the time and the setting. You can almost hear the hiss of gas in the lamps, and see the flickering gaslight. This is a terrific story, and reminds me of why I loved The Gods of Gotham so much, and also reminded me I need to dive back into her backlist.

And on that note, ’tis back to the spice mines with me.

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