Sunday Sum-Up, December 6, 2020

  • At work, we’re not having to work Sundays for the first time in forever. Since at least before I started working there, and that’s been a long time. I love that I’m not working six days a week in December, but I don’t love the reasons for it. But it is nice to be able to relax in December. For the first time since I was in…high school, I think.
  • Otherwise, a fairly laid back week. Even the weather was laid back. It’s been sunny and warm (relatively speaking, it’s been in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit, so warm for December in Nebraska). Apparently lousy weather will is coming next week or so.

Obligatory Mina Photo:

Super close up!

I put my sole string of lights on the bookshelf next to my computer desk. It looks great and actually kind of festive, but Mina enjoys batting at the lights. I obviously don’t want her to do this, since she risks doing things like knocking stuff off the shelf and pulling the lights off and potentially shocking herself if she bit through the cords…

I am amazed that people with cats can also have Christmas trees and decorations, because Mina would tear them down and knock over the tree and make a mess of the place in about twenty minutes.

She is a Halloween cat, after all, not a Christmas cat.

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

After I finished The Stone Sky, I just sort of wandered around my apartment for a little while, wondering what to do with my life. What and incredible story. The Broken Earth trilogy is not enjoyable, per se, but it is a powerful story with a cast of complex characters in a complex world that deals with oppression, family, and what the struggle to survive in extreme circumstances will do to people and how they can choose not to become horrible human beings. I highly recommend this series. N.K. Jemisin is a wonder.

Shadow on the Crown is a story about Emma of Normandy, who came to England as a teenager in 1002 to marry King AEthelred Unread. AEthelred was a terrible king who was paranoid and also had the misfortune of having terrible councilors. After war and strife, he eventually died, and Emma went on to marry his successor and become a political power in her own right. At first, Shadow on the Crown seemed like it would delve deeply into Emma’s personality and the complex politics of the time, but it proved to be fairly shallow. It also had four POVs, one of which was entirely unnecessary and more irritating than anything. But it was competently written and fast-paced, so I got through it fairly quickly. But it was, overall, unmemorable and I doubt I will continue with the trilogy.

Monstress, Vol. 5: Warchild is the continuation of one of the most beautifully illustrated comic series I’ve ever seen, but the story felt more chaotic than previous volumes have. There were parts where the action jumped forward so far that it felt like I had missed entire pages. That said, I am still interested in continuing, as the story is amazing and I want to find out what has happened to everyone.

What I’m Currently Reading:

  • Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1) by Brian McLellan, audiobook narrated by Christian Rodska
  • Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake #2) by CJ Sansom

Promise of Blood is the first book in a trilogy of a French Revolution- era inspired world where there are several kinds of magic users. Some are only mildly powerful and have a couple of minor abilities, while others have incredible powers that allow them to do things like shrug off terrible injuries or tear buildings down with their will. One of the POV characters is a powder mage. Powder mages ingest gunpowder, which gives them abilities like extreme clarity of sight, fast healing, and the ability to alter the paths of bullets in flight. It’s not the sort of book I expected, given the amount of politics that’s going on. I’m about a third of the way through, and it’s okay so far. It hasn’t fully hooked me yet, so we’ll see if it gets there later on in the story.

Dark Fire brings us back to Tudor England, in late spring of 1540. Matthew Shardlake is attempting to defend a teenaged girl who is accused of killing her younger cousin. Shardlake thinks she’s innocent, but she will not speak to either defend or condemn herself. She’s facing execution when her case is delayed by two weeks thanks to the machinations of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, who is still the notorious head of Henry VIII’s government. Cromwell gives the girl a reprieve on the condition that Shardlake investigates the matter of a mssing recipe for one of the most mysterious and deadly substances of the ancient world, which could alter the course of history if the formula is discovered– Greek Fire. Soon, Shardlake is working desperately to solve three murders, even as threatening figures are following him and someone else is trying to kill him. The mystery behind Dark Fire is more compelling to me than that of the first book, Dissolution, but I haven’t read this one as quickly. I’m hoping to finish it soon.

What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

I still want to read Children of Ash. Didn’t get started on it, but winter seems like a good time to read about Vikings, even if it doesn’t feel particularly wintry outside.

Olive at A Book Olive recommended the Nine Realms series, and because I have loved everything she’s recommended that I’ve picked up, I decided to give this series a try. Plus, I found the whole series for a good price, so I got the whole thing at once. It looks pretty interesting, but Olive recommends that you not read the synopsis, especially for the later books, since the provide major spoilers.

The Craft:

Anyone remember that witchcraft movie from the 1990s?

I’m changing the name of this section, because I want to make more than fiber arts and sewing projects. So you’re getting The Craft.

I was at the craft store this week, and decided to get a box that I could store most of the random flavors of tea that have been cluttering my kitchen shelf lately. At first, I was going to pass by the boxes I found there, since they were all floral designs and “live laugh love” slogans, which are fine, but not my particular aesthetic. I soon realized that I did not have to live with the pre-made design, which meant I could do things like paint the box or wrap the thing in some of the beautiful scrapbook paper I’ve bought over the years but have never used.

So I bought one of the little boxes.

Exhibit A:

A perfectly good box, but pale blue stripes aren’t my thing.

The box. It’s the perfect size for individually wrapped tea bags. It has a magnet to keep the lid closed, and slides nicely onto the shelf to keep my tea organized.

I decided to use this pattered blue, green, and gold paper:

Thanks to a lot of measuring, cutting, and Mod Podge, I was able to wrap the outside of the box, as well as lining the interior with a different color of paper, which I neglected to photograph. Oops.

So after a couple of hours of on and off again work while waiting for the Mod Podge to dry before moving onto the next part, I ended up with a neatly wrapped box that will hold my tea bags and not give my kitchen an air of “live laugh love”.

Now, there are some floral bits left over (see the inside of the lid and the bottom edges of the box), but I didn’t have any black paper that was thin enough to successfully wrap those bottom edges, so I’ll get some rice paper or something like that later on and finish it off. But it’s currently ‘done’ enough that I can use the thing for the purpose I bought it for. Hooray! I was able to corral tea packets from four partially-empty boxes and recycle those boxes.

I finally found some wool yarn that I liked for the Vasti shawl from my Northern Lights crochet pattern book, so at some point I’ll be attempting that. I also found and ordered a beautiful yarn for a blanket I want to make– basically, I’ll be using the pattern for the Frode shawl I made a month or two ago, and just making it narrower and much longer. I don’t know when that yarn will arrive, as I ordered it on Wednesday and have not received a shipping confirmation yet. They’re probably busy from post-Thanksgiving sales, so I’m not to worried about it. It’s something that’s going to take a long time to make anyway, so I don’t need to get the yarn right away.

About That Writing Thing:

Still making slow, but steady progress on my current work in progress. I’m not as far along as I would have liked at this point (story of the last few months of this thing), but progress is progress. At least it’s getting easier to sit down and put down 1,000 words in a single sitting. I’m hoping to set aside a lot more time for writing this week.

Photo by Adrian Dorobantu on

17 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up, December 6, 2020

  1. The year my cat was a kitten she totally knocked down the tree. Since then she’s been great about it. Though if you drop a piece of plastic wrapping in the ground, she is all over it. Or a bread tie….she could play with that for hours…

  2. One of my previous cats liked to collect one sock out of every pair that he could find, bring it up to the top of the Christmas tree, and take a nap with them. My current cats just like to lurk behind the tree, but they do like to creep along our staged village and pretend to be Godzilla, so I’m always scooping them out from trying to gnaw off Santa’s head.

    Your tea box is so, so cute! 😍

  3. *lol* I can just picture a nest of socks poking out of the top of the tree, waiting for Christmas day to be rescued from the cat!

    Thanks! It was fun to put it all together. Still need to get some black paper to finish up the last couple of bits. I’ll probably go and pick up a sheet on my day off.

  4. We were debating whether or not to put up Christmas lights now that we have a cat.
    I learned today that cats love the red dot. I started playing with a little laser pointer thing and the Jinster went crazy trying to catch the red dot lol.

  5. Ah, the red dot!

    I used to have a laser pointer for Sidney, but he got bored with it since he could never actually catch the dot. And then he got older and didn’t want to play as much. I haven’t gotten a new one for Mina, but she’s pretty content with the foil crinkle balls and the toy-on-a-stick, so I think we’re good as is.

  6. An interesting observation I just made — you read a lot of fantasy and historical fiction. I love this combination of genres. There are many parallels, but overall these genres are *quite* different. Yet, if you put all the covers of the books in this post in front of me and said, “Fantasy or Historical Fiction?” I don’t think I’d be more than 50% correct! I wonder if this has to do with the sorts of fantasy and historical fiction books you’re drawn to or if this is just a current trend?

    I’m so glad that The Broken Earth left you with a book hangover! I was never able to write real reviews for these books. They are so complex! I find all of Jemisin impossible to explain. I love it.

    That tea box? BEAUTIFUL. You are an inspiration to all us non-crafties everywhere. 😉

  7. It’s probably more to do with the historical fiction I’m drawn to than current trends. I’m a total Anglophile and getting deeper and deeper into Norse lore, so the historical fiction I read reflects those particular interests. Most historical fiction out there seems to be historical romances or melodramatic stories claiming to tell the “untold story of Queen ________”, but it feels like most of the “untold stories” have the same story beats with different characters in different periods of time. I’m drawn to different fantasy stories nowadays than just the medieval based sword and sorcery ones. But there are still a lot of tones and themes that cross over.

    Yes! The Broken Earth is so complex and so difficult to explain, but it’s so good! Definitely earned the back-to-back-to-back Hugo Awards it won. I want to read more of Jemisin’s work now.

    Thanks about the tea box! I love the winter, because I always feel like I want to make All The Things and read and write and do everything!

  8. Wait. Was this your introduction to Jemisin’s work? Okay. Well, while all her work is super interesting, contains these fascinating twists, and has exceptional world building that ties in a religious/mystical aspect, you just read her best. So, as you read more, be aware of when in time she was writing these other works. I love them all, don’t get me wrong. Though, I haven’t read her most recent as it’s the first in a series. And, well, you know how I feel about incomplete series. XD

    That makes sense about the covers just sorta reflecting a similar stance then. Sword and Sorcery books often have a simlar cover style and they definitely are not depicted here. 😉 I am going to continue to play this game every Sunday now and see if I can guess based on title/cover alone. Mwahaha.

  9. Yup! That was the first one of Jemisin’s works I really dug into. What a way to start, huh? I’ll keep that in mind for her other stories.

    *lol* Your newfound game cracks me up. Though I think you’ll have an easier time of it for the next couple of weeks, given what I’m planning to start reading tonight or tomorrow.

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