Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Leaving the House

This is a flower blog now, so let's start off with that! More flowers grew, I picked them. There's always a moment in May or June when I look at the tiny plants and say, "This is useless, these dumb plants will never do anything!" But a few weeks later I have to eat my words because they showed me. In fact I think they get some sort of complex and grow extra fast just to spite me.

In other news: I left the house and did a thing! Remember how for years we couldn't do anything? Well, I packed up my water bottle and granola bar and headed over to a local book festival. It was sweltering hot that day, but I didn't even care. I browsed booths, bought some used books I definitely did not need, and saw two authors speak. The first was Stacie Murphy, author of The Unquiet Dead. I had never heard of her before, but I love to hear authors speak even if I haven't read their work. The other speaker was B.A. Shapiro, talking about her latest book Metropolis; I hadn't read that book either, but I loved her previous novel The Art Forger. I loved the contrast between these two women; one had never written much before at all, and the other (Shapiro) wrote five books that were rejected before she had her first published. I have never been a fiction writer so it all seems like magic to me.

Now that it's summer, we got out for our first hike of the year. "Hike" meaning just a walk that goes through the woods, it's less than a mile to this little creek. Both kids covered their shoes in mud and stepped in the water multiple times. Cora played with the mud like she was on an actual sandy beach. I'll take them back here with bathing suits and I'm sure they'll be in heaven. And also covered in mud.

I left the house a second time last week, for a sad reason. My cousin Scott (pictured above with my sister on a hike they did years ago) passed away from cancer. Cancer is shitty and it took him away too soon, and too fast. Scott and I never lived in the same area, but I loved watching his travels and adventures all over the world. When he was in his early 40s, he left his job and spent 3 years exploring, which is something a lot of us dream about, but never do. He actually did it! He was also just a really nice guy and probably the best knitting recipient I have ever known. I made him several hats over the years, and not only did he wear them, at least one traveled to a mountain in South America! So what I'm saying is, don't wait. Book that trip, do that thing, and wear your knitted gifts with pride.

My sister and I met in Illinois to attend the funeral and visit family. We got up early one morning and hiked at Starved Rock State Park, which, unbeknownst to me, was the site of some famous murders. Oh great. It turned out to be peaceful and beautiful, with perfect weather. I was not expecting this in the middle of Illinois. I love waterfalls and always seek them out while hiking, so this was a nice surprise during what was otherwise an emotional few days. Everyone, go outside. You'll feel better.

In reading, after my awful experience with The Bat, I went back to a series I know I like, the Ruth Galloway series. A Dying Fall is maybe the fifth book? Thinking back on it, I hardly remember what it was about, and that's fine. With these types of mystery series, I read mostly for familiarity and comfort, and to spend time with characters I like. Although I really wish this author would stop referring to Ruth's weight constantly, because who cares.

I finished several more books after that, but most of them were meh. Maybe I'm in a slump? The best of the bunch was Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby - maybe you saw her Netflix special. It's a given that this book was hilarious, but she is also very candid about the terrible things she went through in her life. I listened to it on audio and I very much recommend that format. Plus you get to listen to a cute Australian accent!

Off to find some better books...