Monday, October 31, 2022

Life: It Goes On - October 31

Happy Monday and Happy Halloween! I feel like I'm finally coming up for air after my dad's big move. There are still things to get sorted at his house and still things to find homes for in his apartment but it's all feeling very doable now. Most importantly of all, he already feels very much at home. 

While we were having them move his stuff, we had the movers bring my mom's piano to my house. I was shocked to find out a year or so ago that I can no longer read music so I won't just be sitting down to Chopin and Mozart right away. But my dad has given me a couple of new music books and I'm bound and determined to master them. 

Last Week I: 

Listened To: I finished Phantom of the Opera and started Candice Carty-Williams' People Person

Watched: Football, volleyball - the usual. 

Read: I finished The Midnight Library and now I'm bouncing between Confidence by Denise Mina and Colleen Hoover's Verity, both of which are due back to the library soon. Then I'll get back to Jodi Picoult's Mad Honey.  

Made: Brownies for moving day and not much between then and this weekend when I made an egg casserole for brunch when my aunt and uncle were here. 

My life for the past week!
 Watching my dad settle in to his new home so happily. He's joining a group for breakfast most mornings, has gone to some physical therapy, met the pastor, thrown on a costume and gone to the Halloween party, and made good use of the bistro. Which has fantastic food. Seriously. 

This Week I’m:  

Planning: On getting my dad's office settled and getting some things on the walls (only one room has anything up so far). 

Thinking About: A quick trip to Kansas City. Miss my girls!

Feeling: Worn out but content. 

Looking forward to: A quiet week - absolutely nothing on the calendar. Well, except for the irrigation system work at my dad's one day. And I've got some appointments I need to get set up. And we need to get back to Lincoln one day. Maybe not so quiet, after all!

Question of the week: We've had more trick-or-treaters this year, in no small part to the warm-ish weather we've had today. How about you? Did you get a lot of kids at your house? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins

The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
Read by Ian Holm
Published in 1859

The Woman in White is an intricately plotted story, organised as a chain of 'witness' statements from a wide diversity of characters designed to unravel a cunning conspiracy against innocent women by a duo of memorable aristocratic monsters, Sir Percival Glyde and his devilish companion, the Italian Count Fosco. The theme of identity is explored in great depth in The Woman in White. In fact, the question of identity drives the story from beginning to end: The narrative starts with the appearance of a strange woman in white whose identity is discovered only near the end of the book.

My Thoughts: 
I've had this book on my TBR for years for two reasons - it's a classic and  I was told it was great. Which is my way of telling you that I had no idea what it was about when I picked it up and was under this impression, from the title, that it was a bit of a creepy read. Which is also my way of telling you that this book was not at all what I was expecting...but also exactly what I was expecting. 

Why it's considered a classic: 
  • It was so popular that it's now considered to be the key book in establishing sensation fiction - intricately plotted novels that combined morals, melodrama, and just the right amount of gruesomeness. Sensation fiction fused Gothic romance with a realistic novel.
  • It's also an early example of detective fiction, with Walter Hartright, our hero, using a number of sleuthing techniques. 
  • It highlights the inequality of women at the time and the misuse of what were then called "lunatic asylums." This wouldn't be particularly noteworthy in a novel written today, but it keeps this novel relevant. 
I must admit that, while this one had me happy to return to classics, and the details and history they include, in the end, I wasn't entirely sure I was happy with the way it finished. Oh yes, when it drew to a close, it ended exactly the way I expected it to end. But the climax came out of nowhere for me and I couldn't help but wonder if Collins hadn't known, as he was writing this novel that was initially serialized, how he was growing to end it. After percolating my thoughts for a few days, I'm still not entirely sure I like the climax but I respect the incredibly intricate plotting it took to get the novel to that point. I listened to this book, which means that I wasn't giving it my full attention (much to the delight of the other drivers around me). It needed my full attention. Collins gave readers plenty of clues (and some out right statements not to trust certain characters); but even with those, readers will not be able to figure this one out for themselves (at least not entirely). I would certainly have liked to have been able to go back and reread certain passages to understand how it all fell together in the end. 

So was it exactly the creepy Halloween-ish read I was expecting? No, not really. But was it the dark, mysterious tale I was expecting? Yes, yes it was. Which makes it just what I needed right now. 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Life: It Goes On - October 9

Happy Sunday! I'm happy to report that, after a couple of cold days, it's a beautiful, warm, sunny day here. I've got the windows thrown open and am enjoying the breeze coming in as I type. It is no where near this colorful here yet but we're getting there. Outside I've to the pumpkins adorning the front porch, inside I've got the pumpkins...well, everywhere. I'm trying to embrace fall and ignore what follows. 

Last Week I: 

 Listened To: I finished listening to Wilkie Collins' The Woman In White on Thursday. Friday I started The Phantom of The Opera, which is my book club's read for October and our classic for the year. I'm listening on Librivox and, while the gentleman reading the book is perfectly competent, I'm missing the polished readers I've grown accustomed to hearing. 

Watched: It's fall, so this piece is pretty much the same week after week. Got up and started watching football at 8:30 this morning, although the Packers made me regret it. 

Read: I'm still reading Lian Dolan's Lost and Found In Paris

Made: Strawberry/rhubarb/custard pie to have with my dad yesterday. It wasn't my best pie and I'm beginning to wonder if I've lost my touch.

Enjoyed: Dinner out with friends last night. I may have had too much wine (ok, I did have too much wine) but I still managed to behave myself. I'm sure there's a point where my friend and I would run out of things to talk about but we don't know yet how many hours that might be yet. 

This Week I’m:  

Planning: We are under two weeks until my dad's big move so this week is about getting some things he needs for the new place ordered and trying to keep up with my house since the next two weekends will be filled with packing and moving. 

Thinking About: In two weeks I'll have a piano in my front room and I'm excited to think about re-teaching myself to play. I anticipate being frustrated in the beginning but I'm looking forward to being able to pour my feelings into music again. 

Feeling: We got some very exciting news at work on Friday, landing a very big account. I'm feeling pretty proud of the part I played in helping seal the deal. 

Looking forward to: Book club on Tuesday. 

Quote of the week: “There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.” -Unknown

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Life: It Goes On - October 2

Happy Sunday! It is, once again, a sunny one here. Wish I were able to get outside and keep enjoy it; but I have too much to get done today, so I'll be enjoying it through the open doors and windows. 

This past week took an unexpected turn when my brother-in-law's mother passed away on Wednesday. The Big Guy and I ran into Lincoln Wednesday to make sure my dad's house was ready for company and to be there when my sister and her husband arrived. We went in again Friday evening to deliver a meal to the family and Saturday for the funeral. They have lost, as we did when my mom died, the rock of their family and my heart breaks for them. 

Meanwhile, the work to be done at my dad's continues; we stayed later on Saturday so that I could get some more sorting and packing done. One moment I think that we are in good shape and then next I panic about the amount still to be done. Fortunately, the only things that I absolutely need to worry about are the things he is taking with him and even some of those can be brought to him after the move. 

Last Week I: 

Listened To:
 I'm listening to Wilkie Collins' The Woman In White, which I'm reading for R.I.P. Did I mention that I'm participating in both that and Something Wicked Fall (hosted by my friend, Michelle, over at Seasons of Reading? 

Watched: Husker volleyball, Husker football, NFL and HGTV. The usual fall fare for me. 

Read: I was reading Denisa Mina's latest, Confidence, but it was returned to the library so now I'm racing through Lian Dolan's latest, Lost and Found In Paris. Dolan's books are chick lit with a level of intelligence that raises them above being merely light fluff. 

Made: A new brownie recipe for the dinner we took in Friday that I'm told was terrific. I'll have to make some for us some time. 

 Despite the sad occasion, we enjoyed getting to see both of my sister's kids and their significant others this weekend. But, let's be honest, the star of the show (for everyone) was my great-nephew, who is ten-months old and has the best disposition. Miss H finally got to meet him for the first time - she was so happy!

This Week I’m:  

Planning: More sorting, more packing, more trying to figure out floor plans and where everything will go at my dad's new place. 

Thinking About: All those impacted by Hurricane Ian. I'm happy to hear that everyone I know that was in the path has come through it largely unscathed but so sad for those who have not. 

Feeling: Excited - I got a new phone this morning and I'm looking forward to having time to sit down with it to see what features this one has. I didn't actually need a new phone; but Miss H did so she got the one I had and I got the new one. I mean, if I'm paying, I'm getting the new toy!

Looking forward to: Tomorrow my dad and I will go meet with the folks at the complex he's moving to and will sign final paperwork AND get to see his apartment. 

Quote of the week: "Things that we love tell us what we are." - Thomas Aquinas