There I was, all cozied up in my cardboard blueberry box, flying to Morocco, finishing off my inflight drink of warm milk with whiskey when the news came in… Chad had gotten on a flight to Tokyo! WHAT?!!! How did that happen?! We were really looking forward to Morocco!! The Mother of Cats had just made her favorite quinoa dish (Quinoa and Pistachio Salad with Moroccan Pesto) and had settled down to chomp some while getting all her knitting supplies organized for the next clue drop of the Sharon Air MKAL, and … no Casablanca? Nope. The plane made a sharp left turn and pointed its nose towards Tokyo.
Oh. We are kind of excited about Tokyo! The Mother of Cats has been there before and she used to live in Yokohama, Japan. We weren’t in Tokyo long as we had to grab the bullet train heading south to Fukuoka, Japan. Sharon ate 4 bento boxes on the way, but mostly we knitted and drank tea on the trip as we had stuffed ourselves on katsudon (which the Mother of Cats just loves!) before we got on the train and the Mother of Cats was sort of regretting the decision… hey, I told her to not order a second bowl, but does she listen to me? Anyway, Sharon ended up recovering from the chase in a hot spring, and that Fungus Boi Worm was there too, but he got away somehow, and we were left in southern Japan to knit, relax, and have fun with Chad’s AMEX card.
Here’s a closeup of the new section of knitting.
So that is what’s going on with the Sharon Air MKAL. I’m so happy that I had cardboard class for that long flight, but I’m a little concerned about what is going to happen to my blanket if we need to fly out tomorrow in another class. Please, Sharon, no litter class for me and my blanket, okay?!
This is Hannah, signing off.
Notes from the Mother of Cats:
One of the hugely serendipitous events of my life was being sent to live in Yokohama as a young bride in the early 1970s by the US Navy. Why? More than 50 years before my own grandmother had arrived there as a young bride herself. My mom was born in Yokohama, and her first language was Japanese. How crazy was that?
My mom, by the way, was Swedish-American, and her mother could speak Swedish.
I still miss the Katsudon that I ate there.
Many members of the MKAL posted pictures of fabulous bento boxes that could be eaten on the bullet train. I’ve eaten bento boxes, but never came to love them, because… katsudon!!
While I was shopping for yarn for the Mother of Cats in Istanbul, Sharon from Security (Officer of the Paw, Defender of Snax) got out of the pokey because there was a sighting of Chad with a big bag and the sparkling (diamond-laden) yarn that Sharon was accused of stealing. Obviously, the wrong person had been apprehended, so she was out the door and off to the nearest full-service sushi restaurant. That’s one important question answered: you can get sushi in Istanbul! Also, she seems to have gotten her flamethrower back, too. How does she pull these things off? Anyway, knowing that Sharon scored a three-foot-long platter of sushi made me hungry, so I did a little cookie liberation operation of my own:
Then Sharon left me in Istanbul and took off on the most incredible adventure of all time. She caught a sub and took off through the Mediterranean waterways in chase of Chad. She broke down and got the sub fixed up in Greece, and then broke down again off Gibraltar. Luckily some sneaky people arrived to give her a tow to a sub-repair facility in Atlantis, and since Sharon was sworn to secrecy I’ll never find out where it is. I wonder if they had really nice kitty stuff there? I can always use a new blanket, some toy mice, and why does Sharon get all of the exotic sushi…????
Anyway, Sharon finally got the sub all fixed up and following intel provided by her new friends she was back on the chase and followed Chad and his bag of stolen goodies to… Morocco!!!
Now I’m stuck in Morocco until Friday when the new clue drops. Did I mention that I still have Chad’s AMEX card? Time to head out shopping!!!
I sure did love being back in cardboard class again! I brought my blanket along and even got some new yarn for the Mother of Cats shoved in there. If I have to go by Litter Box class for the next leg of the chase, I’ll be shipping all that stuff home. Hopefully I can use Chad’s AMEX card for that, too.
First, I caught my flight out of New Zealand on Sharon Air to Paris. Paris!!! Can you believe it? I had a great flight because I got to fly Squeaking Mouse Class this time which meant I had a nice seat to sleep on and I was allowed to bring onboard luggage. I brought my blanket to sleep on, of course! Then we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in the morning and grabbed the bus that Sharon had arranged for us. I hardly had time to look at the city because I had to do some shopping (Chad dropped his Merican Express Card and Sharon gave it to us because… she really hates that Chad!!) before rushing to Gare de l’Est to board our train to Istanbul.
The Orient Express!! Everything was going just great, and we were having a exceptional dinner when suddenly the lights went out and… when they came back on the fabulous diamond skein of cashmere yarn that this lady with a really loud voice and super bossy attitude was showing to Sharon was gone! Sharon was accused of taking it (well, there was this little bit of red sparkly yarn on her whiskers) and before you knew it, she was locked into her berth and Chad was running (slithering?) across the roof of the train with just the tracks to show that he had been there. Now we have to find The Golden Bag of Cat Treats and this diamond yarn. What a mess. This is going to be hard because I think that Istanbul is a big place and there are a lot of places where a Death Worm named Chad could hide the goods…
That was our week in the Sharon Air MKAL. In the knitting story we ended coming into Istanbul where Sharon was going to go into the slammer while her security contacts worked behind the scenes to get her released, and in the real-world Sharon was thrown into Facebook jail for an entire month which basically is for the rest of the MKAL. What unbelievable Egregious Bullshittery (EB for short) that is!! The Mother of Cats has been wondering how to report EB to Facebook when she hasn’t been knitting.
This week the clue took a turn that we didn’t see coming. The shawl had been a growing “V” shape, but this week the clue said to only knit on one side of the “V” so that is what the Mother of Cats did. Look at what is happening now:
So now we are done with the third clue and the Mother of Cats is just sady knitting away on a pair of socks while we wait for the new clue to arrive on Friday. Poor Sharon. Will she get out of the slammer? Will she get her flamethrower back? Do they have nice sushi for cats in Istanbul? I can’t wait to see what happens next!
I was so excited while I was waiting for the clue 2 to arrive so I could know where we were heading next to catch Chad the Mongolian Death Worm who had stolen the priceless Golden Bag of CAT TREATS. He had been last seen in Cairo wearing a parka, so I knew that I was catching a flight to somewhere cold, but I never expected that I would he heading to… New Zealand. Oh. It’s winter there. The other thing that I didn’t expect was that I would be flying…
Yeah. Litter Class is like coach in people airplanes. It’s towards the back part of the plane and all of the litter boxes are there at the back of the section. You don’t get a nice chair, or a cardboard box, or a blanket, or anything to sit on.
You are assigned your own spot on the floor and have to stay there. You need sharp claws because you need to dig in really, really hard during the takeoffs and landings or you’ll slide into some other cat’s territory, and you know how that is going to end up. Personally, I don’t like inter-cat conflict all that much, so I really used my claws! We did get a nice Fancy Feast meal and there was an interesting bird movie, but I was so glad when we landed in Auckland… only, our flight continued on to New Plymouth because we had to go to Mt. Taranaki because that’s where that annoying beyond belief Death Worm (named Chad) slithered off to with the CAT TREATS!! What a beautiful mountain! Why did he take the treats there, and what am I going to do to get my paws warm again!!! I hate cold!
The Mother of Cats also took nice breaks to give me kitty cookies (I don’t work for free!! Seriously, what were you thinking of?), and even with the breaks we were done by the end of Monday.
I’ve taken on a huge adventure! I heard last week from Sharon from Security that there has been a huge crisis… the Priceless Golden Bag of Cat Treats has been stolen by Chad the Mongolian Death Worm from the Museum of Gyptian Civilization in Cairo. Sharon from Security needed me to head right over to Cairo to help out with the investigation.
I immediately dusted off my passport and booked a flight to Cairo on Sharon Air so I could join Sharon in the investigation. Sharon made the arrangements for me to fly Cardboard Box Class (instead of Squeakin Mouse Class or Litter Class) which was just fabulous because…
Anyway, my flight left last Friday, and I was off to help the best I could. That Chad is a sneaky one and I think that he probably already slithered (slimed?) his way out of Cairo and before you know it, I will be back in the air heading to a new location.
Okay, if you haven’t figured it all out yet, I am doing the Sharon Air MKAL with the Mother of Cats and we started with the first clue last Friday. The Mother of Cats worried about the colors of yarns a lot and kept digging around in the yarn stash for a couple of weeks looking for nice yarns to use. She finally settled on these:
I’m not really, really in Cairo, but is sure is fun to pretend that I am. I bet there are great bugs there for me to chase. Did you see that my job on the passport is “Flycatcher”? I am such a great flycatcher that I knocked over a lamp and tore down some curtains this week. The Mother of Cats was pretty cool about all the commotion, but I think that I had better take it easy for a couple of days. There was also a problem with an orchid plant hitting the ground, but the CoalBear did that one… did I mention that there was a fly?
I’ve been taking my job as knitting helper really seriously and the Mother of Cats only make a few mistakes (Sharon Snax) and hasn’t done any whining or done anything to earn a citation from Sharon. That Sharon, she doesn’t put up with any whining or questions from humans who stupidly failed to read the directions which is absolutely reasonable, right? I love Sharon! Did I mention that the cardboard box on the plane had a little hole in it so I could poke my neighbor? Yay!
Sharon is really busy and won’t have time to send us more clues until Friday so I’m going to just keep myself busy for a couple of days while the Mother of Cats knits on boring stuff like socks and hats and who knows what else. Maybe she will knit me another toy mouse. I hope that she makes me a warm parka because Sharon did drop a clue about having to go to somewhere cold for the next part of the investigation. I don’t like snow very much; nasty stuff, snow. Maybe she can knit pink booties for my feet? Darn it, this investigation stuff is hard work!
This is Hannah, signing off.
Sharon loves sushi, but I am going to go hunt up a fly to chase.
Note from the Mother of Cats: Sharon is Casapinka’s employee/security specialist/cat and this MKAL is run by them. You can check out my Ravelry page here if you are interested in knowing more about my yarns.
Halloween. It is cold and raining outside and all of the leaves are now off my trees. The plants in my gardens are bedded down under mulch to stay safe in the overnight freezes that are on the way and the bunnies of summer are no where to be seen. The children of the neighborhood have also gone somewhere else this evening as there isn’t a “trick-or-treater” in sight; the cats and I laid in some candy but no one has come.
I’m seriously struggling this week as I adapt to a new medication, but that is a whole other post. I did manage to get my new Snark-O-Meter shawl finished and blocked in spite of tremendous cat help. Hannah loves the blocking mats and it was a battle to convince her to let me use them for, you know, blocking purposes. The kitten, faster then seems catly possible, was the master of flashing claws and nipping chompers as I tried to pin the shawl into place; he did leave the field of battle once I began spraying water on the shawl. Yay for the sprayed water blocking method! He is a brave boy, however, and was immediately back once I started to layer towels on top of the wet shawl to protect it from cats. Not to be outdone, Hannah decided that she should burrow into the towels. Luckily I had more blocking combs.
Do you understand how all this could be exhausting?
Anyway, the shawl survived blocking and looks fabulous!!
I just love how this shawl came out! All of this yarn was from the stash, and two of the colors (the gold and the orchid) had been languishing for years as I never found the right project for them. The gold especially was a problem as it is 100% silk yarn and I felt that it needed the right vehicle to show it off. The lace of this shawl with the rich colors and varied textures is absolutely perfect! You can’t see it in these pictures but the gold yarn glows in the lace and background sections.
I absolutely have to mention that Sharon from Security, the designer of this shawl (with some help from Casapinka) was banned from Facebook this week for threatening Finn, the newest (and somewhat shady) employee in the Casapinka world. Too much snark, it seems. There are some negotiations underway because both of these individuals are… cats. Hopefully Sharon will be back next week. If that isn’t the most 2021 thing that has happened this year, I’d like to hear of any others that beat it. 🙂
I finally scored a copy of The Madness of Crowds from the local library. I’m early in the book and struggling a little with it as it is about the danger of ideas, misinformation, catchy messaging, and mob action. Umm… kind of the situation right now in the US. I’ll give it a little more time and then if it doesn’t perk up I’ll be going back to another science fiction novel with a strong female character who can cope with absolutely anything that the universe cares to send her way.
I’ll close with a shot of the kitten’s tail.
The tail is almost as big as the kitten! Do you see how much fur is on it? Maintaining that tail is almost like feeding another cat. No wonder the kitten is always hungry.
That’s it. Have a great week everyone!
Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.
Last week brought us some rain and cold weather. Seriously, it got so cold that I had to bring the potted plants into the garage to protect them from a overnight hard freeze. Most of the leaves on the maple tree are already down, but the tree finally got with the program and produced some bright red leaves.
Sadly, it is now too cold and windy for me to sit outside to admire that color in the yard, but every glance out a window makes me happy.
The second Snark-O-Meter is finally off the needles. I still haven’t woven in the ends or blocked it, but look at all the great color interactions and stitch patterns in the shawl!
The patterns in the shawl really show off my yarns. I’m so glad that I jumped in and knit a second shawl. Sharon, Sharon, I want a little gold star for this!! (Who’s Sharon? That would be Sharon from Security, Casapinka’s snarky employee who developed this pattern. I’m pretty sure she won’t give me a gold star for finishing my shawl unless I send her some quality sushi first…)
I’m moving outdoor plants into the house to rebuild the indoor garden for the winter. I really kind of like doing this, but the cats are really happy to see plants come indoors. Mateo is absolutely torturing the large palm plant that was on my porch all summer; wait until he sees the geraniums!! I’m letting the geraniums get a little more outdoor sunshine but some others like the jade plants and the bougainvillea needed to come in now.
I may have to rethink the bougainvillea as all of those blooms will be dropping off at some point and landing in my sink, but they make me happy so I’m going to see how it goes. Several of the year-round indoor plants are looking really nice right now so I’ve moved them into the kitchen to join the cheerful color of that bougainvillea. The best of the bunch is my oldest African violet.
Next week I will be focusing on getting most of the potted perennials into the ground outside and moving in more of the ones that can over-winter in the house like the geraniums. I suspect that there may be some leaf raking going on, too.
Since I was spending so much time with plants this week I jumped into this book that I got from the library last month.
Years ago I went to a dinner at my boss’ house in Denver in an older part of town. Okay, this was a pretty swanky house compared to my own. There were back staircases for the servants, a library, breakfast and dining rooms, and a kitchen that was almost as big a my whole apartment at the time. Since this was a summer evening they held the affair outside in their gardens.
Gardens. Right. There were four different yards/gardens on this property. Rather than a large plot of grass with some nice trees and maybe a sad attempt at a veggie garden or a gold fish pond, this property was divided into discrete garden rooms with brick walls dividing them. Each area was planted differently to serve a different purpose and held tables and benches for people in each one. Okay, one actually had a pergola in it. It was cool.
That gardening concept is what this book was about. An old formal house with a series of unique connected gardens that are being restored to their original plantings by a talented gardening specialist. The books entwines the stories of three different generations of women with significant involvement in the history of the house and gardens with some clever parallel events to make it all hang together. It was a quick read, I learned a lot of new things about gardening, and I liked it.
That’s it. Have a great week everyone!
Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.
The days are still warm, dry and sunny, but the nights are finally getting a little cooler. I spend my afternoons in the swinging garden chair on the deck, reading and knitting in the strange silence that has now descended on the garden: no more crickets, cicadas, migrating geese, or even the pit bull next door. All are now gone, and the only sounds I hear are the squirrels racing through the trees and the occasional drifting fall of leaves. The maple tree out back, usually a blaze of red color by now, is slowly turning a golden brown with a few flashes of red. Seriously? This is how you are going to finish up the year? Figures.
The ground is covered with dead leaves as these sorry examples of autumn glory drift off the tree. We never had a freeze, and I think that these brown leaves coming down are the result.
Over the last weekend I noticed lots of digging in the yard from the bunny, and then one night the flood lights revealed that there were two bunnies in my yard! My little guy was not all alone any more! Now my bunny, all grown up, is gone.
Next week we will finally get colder weather and perhaps some rain. There will be snow in our mountains and all of my leaves will be gone off the tree.
I am now down to only one knitting project left, the second Snark-O-Meter that I am rapidly finishing off with lots of cat help.
Yesterday I cleaned out my little project bags, sorted yarn in the stash, and organized myself for a prolonged sweater knitting campaign. I’m tempted to start the Stephen West MKAL (Shawlography), but as I sorted I realized that I had the yarn to make several sweaters all stocked up and waiting to go. It isn’t all that cold yet, but eventually sweater weather will get here and it is time for me to switch over to sweaters and to start working my way through the stash again.
I also, through great serendipity, located a community knitting group last week that makes hats for patients going through chemo at the infusion center where I used to go to my (old, kicked to the curb) rheumatologist’s office. I know that center, located between oncology and rheumatology, as I used to sit in that waiting room every rheumatologist appointment. Why is the infusion center next to rheumatology? Because, little known fact, many rheumatology patients (along with other people struggling with autoimmune disease), receive chemo and infusions of biologic drugs. I know, only too well, what a struggle it is to control Reynaud’s Phenomenon while hooked up to an IV in air conditioning. I’m joining the knitting group and will be knitting as many little fingerless mitts and arm warmers as I can for drop off to the center along with the chemo hats.
There. Knitting plans for the rest of the year all worked out. 🙂
This is ridiculous, but all of my mental energy is focused on planting all the potted plants into the gardens (Where should I put them? This is a big decision.) and making an indoor home for the jade plants that have been outdoors all summer.
I recently discovered that jade plants are poisonous for cats. Oh, no. I have had jade plants in the house for years with my cats, and never had an issue, but now that I know I’m worried about a cat/plant interaction. I have an indoor garden shelf system established to keep the plants indoors over the winter, but this pot won’t fit now. I’ve decided to use chicken wire to keep the cats away from the shelf with the smaller jades, but this one plant is going to be challenging. Ugh. I can move shelves to create more space, or I can build a cage to put over the plant, or… these are the days when I miss the greenhouse I had in my biology classroom.
So you probably have already guessed that I am really enjoying this book. It is the tale of a ridiculous comedy written by an ancient Greek author that is preserved over time and that connects people separated by centuries who are caught up in the jaws of history. Sounds improbable when I write it down, but this works and it is really good! I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but the story moves right along at a perfect pace, going back and forth between the characters and the Greek tale in a way that links them together and brings meaning to their lives and the Greek comedy in an unforeseen manner that eerily connects to my life also. Owls are a recurring element of the stories in the book: as I read in the night it is to the sound of booming “who-who’s” from the Great Horned owls in my neighborhood. (Bunnies: make good choices tonight!!) I read on in this book that is essentially about the power and of legacy of books as I consider which of my books to leave in one of the community Little Free Libraries next week. The power of books, the legacy of lives, the preservation of who we are: a big message contained in a book that immerses you in a powerful story.
Have a good week, everyone.
Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.
The kitten and I have been helping the Mother of Cats knit her latest shawl for weeks now. It has been lots of hard work, especially since the kitten forgets to behave himself and starts carrying off the balls of yarn. I have talked to him about this, but he is just too crazy wild to really settle down. The proper etiquette is to sit on top of the knitting, purr like crazy, and to snag any moving yarn in your claws when you can… If the Mother of Cats accidently leaves the knitting downstairs you can drag it up the stairs to return to her, but not the balls of yarn. Especially if you forget what you are doing and leave the yarn balls in some strange place. Sigh. It is so hard to raise a kitten.
Anyway, the shawl is called the Snark-O-Meter and it is designed by another cat!!! This cat, Sharon from Security, is the employee of Casapinka and seems to be a little tiny bit hard to work with. She is always complaining and dealing with the misbehavior of her fellow employees and never has enough sushi. Also she keeps losing her squad car… and her subordinate Finn (who has a shady background and multiple passports) is also gone. You wouldn’t believe how she talks to the knitters, too! Talk about snark!!
Oh. I guess that is why it is called the Snark-O-Meter.
The Mother of Cats finished the Snark-O-Meter this week and left me alone with the kitten to go buy some blocking mats and more pins to use. Oh, my goodness, the blocking mats are the most fun ever!! The kitten and I were so excited to see them. The kitten chewed as many corners as he could get his little chompers onto while I rolled around and did a little cat yoga.
Then the Mother of Cats and we got serious and worked on blocking the shawl. She had made a little test sample to make sure the colors wouldn’t run when wet and tried to lay it out on the mat.
Tried. Yep. The minute the kitten saw the loose strings of that sample he began swapping at them. Then I grabbed the sample to groom it a little… did I mention that I just love wet yarn? Besides, it needs to get smoothed down and dried a little… The Mother of Cats tried to pin it and the kitten pulled out the pins to drag off and play with. The Mother of Cats decided that the yarns weren’t going to run (this is true… I never saw them move at all) and put the sample away in a cupboard. That was okay, because then she started putting the shawl out on the cat yoga mats.
The Mother of Cats didn’t like how saggy the yarns in the sample were when wet so she decided to spray the shawl really well with water and then lightly steam it. This was not funny!!! She put in some pins, sprayed water everywhere, and then put in even more pins all around the shawl. Then she hovered the steam iron all around the shawl to make the lace look nice.
Then the Mother of Cats layered towels on top of the wet shawl and sprinkled some yoga mats on top of that so we wouldn’t sleep on top of the shawl. I slept on top of everything anyway. Did I mention that I love the smell of wet wool?
The next day the Mother of Cats took all the mats and towels off the shawl and the kitten and I helped her take all of the pins off and the mats apart. You would not believe how fast the kitten can pull out the pins to take away as toys. Sigh. I’m going to have a little talk with him again. I do have to say that the little corners of the mats are fun to chew on, though. The kitten is a lot of work, but he is fun too and sometimes has some really good ideas.
Last night the Mother of Cats took the shawl over to her son’s for a visit and the kitten and I got to chase each other around like crazy all night. The shawl looked really nice as she packed it up to take to the car. Of course. This was a cat written and cat produced knitted item of beauty.
Note from the Mother of Cats:
The kitten Mateo is growing at an alarming clip and is now filling out and growing a longer coat than I expected. He is a really good natured little guy and makes little chirping noises as he runs around the house, and of course he is a great playmate for Hannah. He is now 6 months old and will certainly be a bigger cat than Hannah.
Don’t you think he looks a little like a bear?
Here is the finished shawl modeled by one of my son’s cats.
I have another one of these shawls to finish up. The cats can’t wait for me to pull it out and get going again because blocking the last one was so much fun!!!
Finally, finally the leaves are starting to turn in earnest and there is a rustling sound when they move in the breeze. The sky is now a gentle blue in the afternoon and there is a subtle change in the quality of sunlight as the sun edges further to the south each day; thunderstorms are a distant memory as the clouds adopt more benign shapes. I’ve taken to sitting outside in evenings to work on the computer listening to crickets while the cats romp in the house. The potted plants continue to show off late blooms but there isn’t much new growth appearing in the gardens. The baby bunny of the summer now looks all grown up, and there are low-flying flocks of geese passing over my house daily.
Fall has finally arrived!
Cats love fall! These two are rolling in personality these days.
I’ve been knitting like crazy lately. Sharon from Security (Casapinka) took a week off from the Snark-O-Meter and I was left at loose ends: I cast on a new Rock It Tee and started knitting on that. I was really making great headway until… somewhere halfway down the body… I got bored. All that stockinette. Ugh. I began to day dream about other things that I could knit and somehow I decided that I needed to knit another little kitty to keep my knitted MacKenzie doppelganger company. You remember, my MacKnitzie that was created to look just like my personality (ahem… attitude) loaded cat that died just as Covid-19 appeared on the horizon. I still miss MacKenzie, and while I was waiting for the next clues of the Snark-O-Meter to drop, I couldn’t help looking at MacKnitzie on my shelf and wanting to make him a little friend.
I knitted up an Itty Bitty Kitty to sit with MacKnitzie on the shelf in my bedroom. I was thinking that the project would only take a day or two, but I had forgotten how fiddly the work could be if you wanted the final knitted cat to look realistic. I also was struggling with my old friend fatigue all last week so only a little got done at a time, but I’m really happy with the final product.
Now that I am done with the kitty for MacKnitzie I’ve gone back to knitting on the Snark-O-Meter shawl and I’m really anxious to get it done. Look at how well those classic colors go with the cats! (snark, people!!) Seriously, the cats are all over me while I’m knitting these days. Maybe they think that I should be making them cat toys or little itty bitty versions of them? Hmm… maybe I should be making little itty versions of Hannah and Mateo… or maybe a knitted mouse.
I am seriously reading lots of science fiction these days.
Through the fatigue of the last week I have just holed up and read lots of space opera. Today, while watering the lawns, I started to reflect on why I’m so immersed in space opera of all things.
I was in a book group that read lots of books that were suspenseful, gothic creations about women trapped in situations that were not of their own making, menaced by outside forces and individuals, and abandoned or betrayed by the individuals and/or agencies that should have protected them. Sometimes the women manage to escape their menacing entrapment, but just as often they come to a bad end. It’s a whole genre, and these books can be really popular, but I suddenly had an epiphany; these are not good books for a person struggling with a chronic, progressive disease. Okay, I’m not sure that these books are good for anyone, but they certainly weren’t good for me as I was struggling to get a diagnosis and help with my whole blue-lipped, panting for air, trying to not faint deal that I had going on. Doctors just kept reassuring me that I was fine; I was being dismissed, subjected to gaslighting, and unable to control my own situation just like some of the women in these books.
Oops. Time for a change in reading matter, I decided. I quit the reading group.
This month I am somewhere in the process of having my heart issues defined and a plan of action created. Things aren’t clear: I definitely have a pretty significant cardiac shunt, but they haven’t found it yet. They have a really good understanding of the direction of disruptive blood flow while I’m at rest, but they are trying to determine exactly what is happening while I’m up and active. I did a walk test last week (um… not sure I passed that with flying colors…) and will need to do a exercise/stress/echocardiogram test next week. This is all big stakes for me as it will determine my treatment plan going down the road…
Which brings me back to space opera. These books are all about desperate times and a scrappy group of individuals led by a strong and determined woman who is going to figure out what is happening and will eventually put things right!! The crews deal with every single emergency with creative, reality-based responses (well, using science fiction reality, that is) and refuse to ever, ever give up. They lose space ships, battles, body parts, and sometimes the future that they had envisioned, but they always, always make it through to the end with grit, determination, the support of their team, and the innovative use of technology. They are action-oriented and fearless. What ever is coming their way, they face it down, make decisions, and get to work with what they have. They are pretty much my heroes these days.
Be like Murderbot, I tell myself. If it gets bad, don’t forget to bring your blaster to the appointment. In this case, my blaster is a good understanding of my past test results and the diagnosis that they are considering, but you get the idea.
Space opera. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking resiliency in the face of an oncoming challenge of epic proportion.
Have a good week, everyone.
Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.