Sunday SumUp: March 13, 2022

I took a couple of days off from work last week. I had plans.

But as Robbie Burns once said, “The best laid schemes ‘o mice an’ men/ Gang aft agley”

My little mouse plans definitely went awry.

Obligatory Mina Photo:

This kid is the one who made my plans go awry.

It started on Saturday evening when I noticed that Mina hadn’t really eaten anything and mostly ignored the treats I gave her when I got home that evening. But I didn’t think it was a big deal until she started throwing up on Sunday morning, and still wouldn’t eat or drink. So I looked for veterinary clinics that were open on Sundays and made an appointment. The vet was a kind man who checked Mina out and allayed most of my fears after giving her some subcutaneous fluids (to prevent dehydration) and some medications to suppress nausea, decrease inflammation, and fight any bugs she might have come down with. He told me to give them a call if she hadn’t improved within 24 hours.

So, on Monday afternoon, when she hadn’t improved, I called them back. He told me to take her to the emergency veterinarian for x-rays, as his clinic was closing soon, to check for obstructions in her digestive tract in case she had eaten something like a hair tye or a wad of string. But because Mina didn’t seem to be in any distress, I called my regular veterinarian, who was open later on Mondays, and asked them what I should do. The very kind vet tech suggested I bring her in right away in the morning and drop her off so they could observe her and run some tests. Bright and early on Tuesday morning, I dropped Mina off at the regular veterinarian. She still hadn’t eaten much but wasn’t throwing up or in pain. She was just complaining about being stuck in her carrier.

After about five hours of waiting around at home, I gave them a call to find out if they’d figured anything out. They said her blood tests were normal, and so were the x-rays. Mina’s regular veterinarian thinks she picked up some sort of gastrointestinal bug or ate a real bug that upset her stomach. He told me to finish the course of medications the first veterinarian had given her, and to call them back if she hadn’t started eating and drinking normally by Thursday.

Fortunately for all of us, she started voluntarily eating on Wednesday, and is mostly back to normal now, though her energy levels aren’t quite at their usual levels.

So I mostly spent my extra days off taking Mina to the vet, calling the vet, giving her medications, trying to get her to eat anything at all, buying treats and multiple kinds of wet food, and searching eight stores to find their regular cat food, which I was running out of. I finally found it at, of all places, a home improvement store.

But I got a few things done, got caught up on the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery, watched part of an Icelandic TV series, Katla (available on Netflix), and did some writing. So my entire time off wasn’t spent fussing over Mina and her ill health. But a lot of it was.

Everyone in the household is glad that Mina’s health has improved.

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

I finished off Return of the Thief last Sunday, so I am officially finished with Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. It was pretty good overall, though in that second half I was listening to the story and just wanting them to get on with things. Was I anxious because Mina was sick, or because I wasn’t having the best time with the book? I have no idea, but I was getting a bit frustrated with Eugenides as I approached the 75% mark. Also, why did Attolia and Eddis go along with everyone? Did they need to be there? Or were they just being symbolic? I’m confused. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more– particularly in the second half– if it had been from a different perspective. I don’t know whose, but a different one would have helped me out. Or I could have just been anxious about my ailing cat.

Floriography is more of a reference book for people who are curious about the Victorian language of flowers, which assigned various meanings to flowers and plants and allowed people to quietly pass messages in an era where outward expressions of great emotion were right out. There’s no one true language of flowers, really, as different florists would assign different meanings to different flowers, but there were some books that provided guidelines. So now I know that if I don’t want men to engage with me in public, I should wear snapdragons in my hair, and when I need to send my enemy a warning, I should send them a bunch of basil. This was a fun book, and it’s full of Roux’s beautiful illustrations of each of the flowers she discusses.

What I’m Currently Reading:

  • The Rot (Ravneringene #2) by Siri Petterson, translated from the Norwegian by Sian Mackie and Paul Ruseell Garrett (86/512)
  • Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake #5) by C.J. Sansom, audiobook narrated by Steven Crossley (45%)
  • The Summer of the Danes (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #18) by Ellis Peters (96/245)

After the events of Odin’s Child, Hirka has been separated from everything she knows, and can’t foresee a way to return to her home. The world she is in is wildly different from anything that she could have imagined (but that is strangely familiar to the reader), and there are people who are out to get her here, too. But there is a mysterious hooded figure who seems to want to help, so we’ll see if they will actually be helpful, or if they want something from Hirka, too. Rime, meanwhile, is navigating troubled political waters and is having a hard time figuring out who he can trust- especially since his world has been turned upside down a time or two, too, though not as drastically as Hirka’s.

In Heartstone, Queen Katherine Parr has asked Matthew Shardlake to investigate the wardship of a boy whose case has already involved one suspicious death. The investigation brings Shardlake to Portsmouth, where the boy’s lands are. It’s also where the English army is gathering, as the French are threatening to invade England in response to Henry VIII’s disastrous military campaign in France the year before. Society is in turmoil, and Shardlake’s investigations run the risk of angering people in powerful places. So far, I have no idea where this is going to end up, and neither Shardlarke nor I are having much fun in Portsmouth. I hope we can all get back to London soon, or at least find out what’s going on in the weird house where Shardlake is staying.

The Summer of the Danes has Brother Cadfael and Brother Mark heading to Wales on Church business. But they’re caught up in political troubles when old tensions arise between warring families, and one of the factions threatens to bring in Danish mercenaries to fight for them. Cadfael and Mark and trapped where they are, and when a prisoner is murdered, Cadfael realizes that they won’t be able to leave until they find the killer. I’ve only just reached the part where the body is discovered, and so far there have been no obvious clues as to who killed them. I’m almost less concerned about whodunnit and more interested in the lives of the Welsh characters I’ve met in the first half of the book. They’re so interesting, and a little fierier than the characters who live in England.

What I’m Planning to Start Reading This Week:

In the wake of World War I, a young woman is drawn into a glittering world of wealth and magic. When Annie Mason goes to Crow Island to finish up some family business, she never expects to find out that her neighbor is a witch. Then she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the notorious celebrity Emmeline Delacroix at an extravagant party. After that, Annie finds herself pulled into a world where magic can buy anything, but the consequences could be deadly.

What I’ve Been Watching:

Star Trek: Discovery, season 4
Starring: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, David Ajala, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, Mary Wiseman, Blu del Barrio, Ian Alexander, Emily Couts, Oyin Oladejo, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Ronnie Rowe, Rachel Ancheril, Tig Notaro, Anabelle Wallis

Streaming on Paramount PlusWhile I didn’t get out and do many of the things I had planned to do in the first half of the week, thanks to Mina’s illness, it did give me the time to catch up with the crew of Discovery. I’d forgotten how much enjoy the character dynamics of this crew. While the thirteen-episode seasons mean that we often don’t get to see as much from side characters like Keyla Detmer or Joann Owosekun, it does mean that their scenes and interactions take on that much more meaning. So far, the fourth season is my favorite so far, as the writing has been on key throughout the season (though they really need to stop underestimating Ruon Tarka already) with both its dramatic and comedic notes, and the overarching plot is just fantastic. Discovery is fantastic at showing that there are consequences for the things that happen. Booker has trauma that he isn’t working through; Detmer is recovering from the mental issues that plagued her from much of the third season, while Culber is wearing himself thin trying to take care of everything else. I love the relationships, whether they’re longstanding ones like Stamets/Culber or the developing ones between Adira and Gray or Saru and T’Rina, or the friendship (or more? it’s hard to say) between Detmer and Owosekun. And I love it when all these nerds geek out over space and the things they find there. There’s one more episode left to go, and I can’t wait to find out how they figure out how to solve All the Problems.

Katla, season 1
starring: Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð, Íris Tanja Flygenring, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Aliette Opheim, Þorsteinn Bachmann, Haraldur Stefansson, Sólveig Arnarsdóttir, Baltasar Breki Samper, Birgitta Birgisdóttir, Björn Thors
Streaming on Netflix
Languages: Icelandic, Swedish, English

Katla is a volcano in Iceland that erupts once a century or so. Usually, its eruptions are short in duration, lasting a matter of weeks. But its most recent eruption has lasted a year and shows no sign of subsiding. In the tiny seaside town of Vík, only a handful of people have stayed behind through the dark days- mostly people studying the volcano and the glacier that covers the highlands of the region. Everything is covered in ash, the water runs red, and everyone is worn down by the endless ash that has turned the colorful down gray and black. Then one day, people start to appear out of the ash. They shouldn’t be there. Their existence seems impossible. But their arrival brings old secrets and family issues to light.

I’ve been meaning to start watching Katla some time ago when I first saw it was available on Netflix. It’s a weird, speculative show set in Iceland– and in a place I’m relatively familiar with. But I never sat down and watched it until now, and I wish I hadn’t slept on this haunting little story, which is beautifully shot. I want to know how they made Vík look like it was coated in a year’s worth of ash, because it was a charming and brightly colored place when I was there, and many of the scenes were clearly filmed on location. I’m really wondering what is going on in the little town, and what strange forces the volcano has triggered.

8 thoughts on “Sunday SumUp: March 13, 2022

  1. Glad to hear Mina is doing better. Perhaps not the best way to spend some of your time off but at least it seems to have worked itself out. Floriography had me thinking back to the apparent meanings behind giving certain color roses, or certain flowers, in general. I never was very good at keeping any of that straight and usually just tried to give folks what I thought they’d enjoy. I like the sound of Katla. I hope it ends up being a really good series.

  2. I think both Mina and I would have preferred it if she’d been healthy during my time off, but at least I had that time available when she was sick.

    I’ve never been good at the meanings of flowers, either, aside from ‘red roses for love’ and basic stuff like that. I wonder if the people of the 19th century really remembered this stuff, either.

    So far, Katla has been really compelling. There are some supernatural things going on, but it’s the character interactions that drive the story. I’m looking forward to finishing up the season. There’s apparently another season in the works.

  3. I was pretty anxious while waiting around for them. I was happy to bring her home and even happier to see her improve every day. She’s pretty much back to normal now and eating everything I put in front of her.

  4. So glad that Mina is doing okay. I’m a bit late to this post, but I hope she’s continuing to recover and back to her usual antics.

    Also, that Floriography book sounds very interesting. I’ll have to look it up.

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