Sunday, February 1, 2015

quiet snowy days

And another couple weeks fly by, full of things that are only interesting and/or amusing to other parents. My Facebook is exhibiting total Perdita-fatigue: pictures of her get about a fourth of the likes they used to, and I know everyone's bored with Beatrice-the-mother, but I used to post about my dogs just as constantly and obsessively; it's just easier to roll one's eyes about it when it's a baby. It's not like I turned my professional landscape photography studio into a nursery and my thousand art-school followers were blindsided by the onslaught of baby candids. This is not a sea change in my personality here.

Anyway. She's standing on her own for up to seven seconds at a time, though she has no interest in assisted walking yet. Lots of signing for food. Lots of food in general - she's growing like a weed, including her hair, and it shows you how long I've had a pixie cut that the idea of letting my little girl's hair grow out honestly never crossed my mind. As soon as her hair started getting shaggy over the ears I complained that she needed a haircut, and couldn't figure out why people kept looking at me like I was insane, and finally I remembered that girls are supposed to have long hair. Fortunately Berowne, like a good sailor, knows how to braid, so that will be his responsibility. (And as soon as she's old enough to make her own decisions about her hair, she at least won't need to worry that her mother objects to cutting it off.)

We've had, as you've heard, some weather around here. The drifts are three feet high in the yard and there's another foot predicted for tomorrow. A lot of work and stress goes into dealing with this, but it's also good reading weather.

The latest books:

In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America, by Laurie Edwards. Not as interesting as I wanted it to be. There's too little exploration of the history of "imaginary" (and usually feminine) ailments, and too much personal-interview defensiveness. I just kept feeling that there was probably a more historical-context-centered, more scholarly, way for Edwards to handle each topic she brought up, and that was what I wanted to be reading.

The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science, by Richard Holmes. This was a fascinating and wonderful book. It started a little slowly, but Holmes is great at a clear narrative which transmits enormous amounts of historical and scientific information in a completely accessible way, and I genuinely didn't want this book to end with the Romantic era: I wanted him to keep going well into the twentieth century. Great stuff.

Cold Cruel Winter, by Chris Nickson. The second in a mystery series set in eighteenth-century Leeds. I like them very much, and this one was especially fun to be reading on bitter cold nights with the wind howling outside. Fun because I am not in the eighteenth century in Leeds.

Calico Captive, by Elizabeth George Speare. I'd thought that I didn't read this one as a young 'un, but as soon as I opened it I realized that in fact I had. A quick re-read, with some astonishment at how incredibly and deliberately unlikable our heroine is - the other main characters are constantly appalled by her bigotry and shallowness - but general enjoyment.

And now we are home from a delightful morning expedition which included our favorite breakfast place, our favorite museum, the chocolate shop, and a knitting store so that Berowne could obtain equipment and instructions to repair a favorite sweater of his. He's working on said project now, with Perdita pulling herself up on his knees and making her happy Balrog noises, and I'm going to make another cup of tea and read some more. Whether it will be the folksy eloquence of "I Can Share" or the heart-stopping thriller that is "Peekaboo Forest" remains to be seen. 

May you all have a warm shelter against the season, and tea whenever you wish it.

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