Sunday, March 1, 2009
Fun reading and comfort food
Just a nice kitty picture to induce relaxation! this is Tigger, who lives across the way and comes to visit when he is out with his kids.
I think that a time like this in our lives, with HP having had his life, in cardiac collapse, saved three times in one week by virtue of already being in a monitored place in the hospital, and scheduled for a pacemaker implant tomorrow, on top of all else he has had to endure, and a major snowstorm scheduled for tonight, which might stop me from getting there, it's a good time to try to have my mind on something else!
For the last few days, reading a good book amidst the sturm und drang of hospital waiting rooms, very difficult places with visitors to ICU and CCU patients, great fear, anxiety, I've been buffering myself, in between being friendly and nice as I can to other people as scared as I am, with reading.
And incidentally, with wearing brigh cheerful colors, so as to add a bit of good cheer to the environment -- yellow sweater, or pink sweater with black and white knitted fuzzy scarf, or jade green top with white lacy scarf, etc., nice to see.
Anyway, the current distraction books have been good old EM Delafield, Provincial Lady in Wartime, which though it's about the outbreak of WW2 in England and people trying valiantly to find war work, which was not available for a long time, is very very funny.
People learning to remember to carry their gas masks, and new fashions in gas mask covers! and siren suits becoming a popular fashion item, no doubt in imitation of the ones Churchill wore, and how the whole effort more and more resembles a WI (Women's Institute, a clubby thing for countrywomen) meeting, complete with tea urns and stale buns....great ilustrations, too. And the edition I got, secondhand via Amazon, is a paperback with a wonderful paper cover with a design of the period on it.
I also read her The Provincial Lady in Russia, which is interesting rather than funny, and throughout she bemoans the fact that it's impossible to make a visit in the 1930s to Soviet Russia funny in the least though that's what her publishers wanted! did you know they abolished the days of the week? I mean, the names of them? just used dates and numbers, very confusing. Another paperback edition with paper cover, period design, just a lovely object to handle. Very intelligent production all round. Different illustrations fr this one: woodcut-like drawings rather than line drawings in the other funnier books. very dark, but appropriate.
And finally, the blessed Kate Atkinson, who can not write a bad novel. Latest: Case Histories. She is a totally wonderful writer, and if you haven't yet read Behind the Scenes at the Museum, run, do not walk, to get it. The fact that it's set in York, England, scenes familiar to me are special to me, but you don't need to be from there to love it. It's set in post WW2, when the entire population of England probably had PTSD, undiagnosed, looking back at it. But read any of her books, very very intelligent and perceptive and often funny, too.
All these are set in England. Noting like your country of origin to provide comfort reading, even if you hated the place, as I did when I lived there. Irony abounds!
And to go with this reading, I suddenly had the urge to make toffee last night after I got home. Brown sugar, water, vinegar, boiled and boiled then add vanilla, a bunch of slivered almonds, pour in buttered pan, let cool. Results: almond toffee. Excellent comfort food. First time in my life I made it -- vaguely remember it from childhood, but I wasn't the cook, older sister in charge of that, and I got a recipe from a Amish cookbook I had lying around. It was pretty good, too.