Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sometimes I relapse...

I am, in general, opposed to much of the Romantic movement. I love nature as much as the next person, but I love it as a wild thing to be cared for but not trusted. Nature can be as brutal as her creatures. But sometimes I relapse into a romantic attitude toward simple things.

My roommates are both gone for Thanksgiving, so I have the house to myself. This meant I got to get up late, watch the first half of the Ohio State-Michigan game in my pajamas, shower on my own schedule, and come back and watch the Buckeyes win. Now I'm curled up on the futon in long underwear and my Ohio State fleece vest, reading Krister Stendahl and Nils Dahl while my laundry runs downstairs, with the Penn State-Michigan State game in the background and a cup of tea at my elbow. And I'm actually excited about spending the day reading for my thesis, something that hasn't happened all fall. Maybe I'll even make some soup tonight - I'm pretty sure we've got stock, potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions at least. Maybe there's even some barley around.

It's a very cozy way to spend a very November day.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Burning question

For several years now, I've remembered one snippet from a children's/YA novel I once read. I have not, in all those years, been able to remember what novel it comes from. I suspect it was a fairly well-known one. It's now begun to bother me enough to ask - do any of you recognize this conversation?

What I know: It comes near the end of the book. Elizabeth is a young girl - white, I think. Charles is a young boy, her friend - black, I'm pretty sure, and the son or nephew or something of Elizabeth's family's maid/housekeeper/cook, whose name I can't remember. Elizabeth is the narrator.

"Can we have some hot tea with lemon and honey?" I asked.
[Housekeeper] looked at me. "You got a sore throat, Elizabeth?"
"No," I lied. "I just thought Charles might like some. Would you, Charles?"

Shortly after this, Elizabeth sneaks out of the house, I think to look for someone, and they find her passed out in the woods with a high fever. I sort of think the person she was looking for might be dead, but I'm not sure.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"Grandmothers should never be allowed to shop alone"

My roommate and I were just talking about when our various families begin preparing for Christmas, and what that means to them, and noting that both of us have grandmothers who bought our Christmas presents by our birthdays (both in early October). I mentioned that my mother's mother always wanted my Christmas list before I'd opened my birthday presents to find out what I still wanted, something I always found annoying. She eventually started shopping on her own, which is usually dangerous. My roommate agreed, and said "Grandmother should never be allowed to shop alone."

My father's mother, on the other hand, lost her shopping privileges years ago. The year I was eleven, my Christmas presents from her included two white turtlenecks - one printed with stars, the other printed with hearts. I wasn't mortified, since my parents weren't making me wear them, but I was disappointed. The next year, my parents started giving her lists of things she could buy from catalogs. She fed most of my American Girls Collection obsession for several birthdays and Christmases after that, before my parents started actually shopping for her, and in recent years wrapping for her too. There was simply no reason for her still to be shopping independently for anything. We were all happier with my parents doing the shopping. Grandmothers should indeed never be allowed to shop alone, at least not mine.

Except that my father's mother also died on Tuesday afternoon, and right now I'd give anything to get a white turtleneck with turquoise and magenta hearts for Christmas this year - if it meant she were there to watch me open it.