Okay, y’all. This post is going to be a trip. As I write this, I have had…. four glasses of celebratory wine? And also lots of sugar.
So this past week, with the election results taking approximately five years to be announced, my attention span was basically non-existent. I did a lot of stress cleaning and cuddling with the cats and eating sugar and shopping for fabric and yarn and only just being able to function at work.
And somehow managing to (mostly) hold onto a big of hope. Especially on Wednesday, around whenever it was when I got home from the grocery store after buying everything peppermint.
All I can say is that I had no idea of two things:
- How much 45’s presidency had truly stressed me out. I’m a white woman, so his policies had not affected me as much as others, but at the same time I am Queer in my own way, and the hostility this administration has toward Queer people in general was quietly weighing on me. Biden’s being elected president took this weight off my shoulders that I hadn’t realized was there. I feel so light and so happy.
- I did not realize how much it would mean to have a woman as vice-president. Sure, I was on my third glass of wine when I watched Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris introduce Joe Biden, but I was in tears while she spoke. Me. I was in tears. I don’t cry over things, and I was crying over Kamala’s brief speech. Because the abstract thought of a woman as vice-president is really nothing to the reality of having a woman as vice-president. I can’t wait until January 20, 2021. It’s going to be a great day.
Obligatory Mina Photo:
So remember five years ago on Tuesday night, when so many of the states’ election results were headed toward 45, and all hope seemed lost? I went to bed and it took forever to fall asleep, and then I woke up at, like, 3AM and my brain was going around and around, dead convinced that we were in for another four years of this awful dictator-wannabee who was intent on destroying the foundations of American democracy.
And there was Mina, curled up next to the pillows again, waiting for scritchies and otherwise being super cuddly and soft, and purring like a crazy thing, and I’m convinced she was the only thing that allowed me to get back to sleep an hour later.
Hooray for cats who just know when you’re a stressed-out mess and take action to calm you down.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
Basically nothing, because I had no attention span. But I did get through the last 20% or so of one book:
- The Women I Think About at Night: Traveling the Paths of My Heroes by Mia Kankimäki, translated from the Finnish by Douglas Robinson, ARC provided by NetGalley
This is part memoir/part history book about various women in history who decided that society was lame and they were going to go and do the things that made them happy, like travel or paint or run a failing coffee plantation in Kenya. This is a fascinating book about Kankimäki and her journeys to Africa, Japan, and Italy, as well as being a great look at women like Artemesia Gentileschi and Karen Blixen. I did had a particular issue with Kankimäki’s description of Renaissance Florence, in which she stated that women were condemned to lives of sitting around inside their houses being pretty while being forbidden to go outside, unless they were courtesans, in which case they were seen as horrible, evil women. But Kankimäki contradicts herself when she states that one of the women she discusses was an ambassador from Florence to Venice. And I know from reading other books that Kankimäki’s description of Florence forcing women to only be in their houses is not correct. Also, she falls prey to the idea that medieval and Renaissance cities were full of sewage and were horribly dirty and no one ever bathed. Which isn’t true. Because people with the ability to keep themselves and their surroundings clean are going to keep them clean, and not just let raw sewage float around their houses if they have the money and ability to get rid of it. But otherwise, The Women I Think About at Night was fascinating and beautifully written, and Kankimäki’s thoughts on being a single, childless woman in her 40s are so interesting as she moves through the writing of the book and her various travels. Definitely recommend this one if you enjoy history and/or memoirs.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- The Light Ages: The Surprising Story of Medieval Science by Seb Falk, ARC provided by NetGalley (10%)
- The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth trilogy #2) by N.K. Jemisin, audiobook narrated by Robin Miles (38%)
I’m barely into The Light Ages, but so far I’ve been enjoying it. I wish I’d had an attention span last week so I could have read more. Alas. This week will be better.
I’m not as far into The Obelisk Gate as I would like to be, either. When I could listen, I could listen for about twenty minutes at a time. But so far, it’s amazing and I’m looking forward to finishing it. Maybe I’ll sit down and listen to it while I do some sewing. Assuming I don’t have a mad hangover and just want to stay in bed all day. In which case, I could just listen to the audiobook and not sew.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
By Force Alone is a new King Arthur retelling, with a grungier, grimmer twist on the whole story. The people in the story are meant to be more like they would have been in the post-Roman era of Britian, rather than the idealized knights-in-shining-armor story we always see. I’m sure it will be an interesting take on Arthurian lore. We’ll see how it goes.
Mantel Pieces is a collection of essays Hilary Mantel wrote for the London Review of Books. I haven’t read them before, and I am so looking forward to them. Mantel has such remarkable insight into writing and books and the world in general, and she has an amazing ability with words.
A Stitch in Time:
I had such crochet plans for this week. Alas, they were disrupted by two things (aside from election-induced brain fog):
- Lack of availability of materials. A lot of things we’re used to always being in stock are not as readily available right now, thanks to shipping slowdowns due to COVID. I checked at two different stores for the yarn that was listed in the pattern for the Vasti shawl, but it was not available, and neither were any yarns I liked that were of a similar weight. So I’m going to head over to KnitPicks.com and see if some of their wool yarns come in the right weight. Because hey, natural fibers! And supporting American wool producers!
- Another hat! I’ve been watching so many of Bernadette Banners’s videos, and she has inspired me to try to make my own witch hat. I haven’t sewed anything for years. The last clothing item I made (by hand) from scratch was a basic skirt and some thrifted items I altered for a SCA events.
While I was out and about on my day off, I picked up some newsprint so I could draft a hat pattern. I also intended to find a compass, as I seem to have lost or gotten rid of mine, but I couldn’t find one in either craft store. And then I remembered that I have an art degree, and took a lot of drawing classes that taught me how to do basic drafting so I could do things like draw curves and full circles with the aid of a ruler. So once I recalled my high school geometry class (I had the circumference of the circle, I just needed the diameter), I was able to make some quick marks draft my circles and then the crown/cone of the hat from there. Now it’s just a matter of cutting out the wool and getting it all pinned before tackling the initial stitching. Now I need to find some nice ribbon or something to, say, keep the hat on my head on a windy day and then find some fabric to line the interior of the hat. I am considering getting a yard or so of silk from Burnley & Trowbridge. Assuming I can actually successfully assemble this hat. We’ll see. It might end up being a glorious mess.
Okay. So I’m going to wrap this up. I’m on my fifth glass of wine and am pretty much ready to fall asleep for the next 74 days, so when I wake up, Joe Biden will be president.
Thanks for hanging in there with me on this. I don’t usually blog while tipsy. Or drunk. Or whatever. Please forgive any grammatical or typographical errors. I normally say that autocorrect is not my friend, but in this case those squiggly red lines are a godsend. Otherwise this whole post would be riddled with some wild spelling errors, and I’m sure you’d all wonder if I really spoke English.
Have a happy week, everyone! I’m going to go drink some water and get some sleep.