December 21st, 2009

Paul Neyron rose 2

reading paperbacks for a change

I finished reading James Buchanan's Personal Demons.  I'm into stories about the occult, and I like learning about Afro-Caribbean religions.  This book was very cool that way.  I've seen a couple of reviewers complain about all the information, but I liked that there was a lot of good plot besides the guys' relationship.  Parts were spooky, but (*spoilers*) I expected the Orishas would ride some of the people at the big ceremony -- that's what happens in that kind of ceremony.  I'd probably lend it out if I knew the person would be very good about returning it, but it's one of those books I'll read a few times, because there was a lot in it.  Of course I judged the line editing.  I've been on a personal quest lately about sentences which start with participles.  Basically, I've been saying, "'Big no' to that."  The other editors told me I could pretty much let them go unless they really were dangling participles.  I've also had the urge to rewrite sentences which begin with absolute phrases.  In this book, I don't think anyone who isn't either an editor or proofreader who has a grudge against participles would even notice.  It's not a problem to figure out what nouns go with those verbs.  I just told myself to concentrate on the story, and got really into it.

Given all that happened to Nicky in Cheating Chance, and the hints about what he'll go through in the third book, I was bracing myself to see if the protagonists in Personal Demons would end up being tortured or shot or something at the end.  But Chase really had plenty of stuff going on with him all through the book.  I had sent an e-mail to Alex Beecroft after I read False Colors, and (*spoilers*) commented on how much she tortured the poor characters in there.  She said they had seemed to need it.  Well, the authors I like make protagonists I care about.  I'd say be nicer to Nicky, because I'll be upset if he goes through physical or mental torture, but that really just shows how much I love the character.  I realize that if he stayed out of trouble, it would cut way down on possible plot and suspense.  After Inland Empire, Brandon has a lot of redeeming himself he needs to do.  Lots and lots.  It's not that I want him to be killed off, or even physically tortured, but he really needs something to make him adjust his attitude.  Once again I am highly opinionated about the books, but they're all keepers.
Paul Neyron rose 2

catching up

Other things have gone on in my little world aside from reading.  (Imagine!)  Mom got big red spots on her sclera on Friday or so.  It really is unnerving to see the white parts of the eye all turned red.  With knowledge gained from Channeling Morpheus, I said, "I think a blood vessel must have burst."  Since I'm not an opthamologist, I don't believe I was that reassuring.  She said it didn't hurt, really, though.  But it was just one of those things making her antsy on Sunday.  Her boss was apparently on a roll last week, too.

We ended up getting fifteen or sixteen inches of snow.  It's a pretty fair amount of snow for this area.  Mom saw the snow removal folks over at the neighbor's driveway, and managed to get them to our house to clear the driveway.  I was happy to hear that -- I was afraid that shoveling that much snow would give Dad a heart attack.  Church was canceled, but he and Mom went off to the grocery store in the afternoon.

Mom found some very old shredded coconut and some equally old walnuts in the back of the vegetable drawer and made magic cookie bars.  They didn't melt together as much as they usually do, but they still tasted good.  I found a fairly old can of evaporated milk and a package of unsweetened chocolate.  We tried making fudge, but it just wouldn't coalesce.  I asked Mom what the lumps were.  "Oh, the evaporated milk was lumpy." "And you still put it in?"  We stirred the mixture for a long time.  It boiled up a couple of times.  I tried at least three times to see if it was at the "soft ball" stage for candy.  Nothing.  I put in the butter, and then the vanilla.  Still nothing.  I tasted it, and it tasted rather odd.  I know what the Blue Ribbon Fudge out of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook is supposed to taste like, and our version just really was off.  Dad ended up dumping it.  Mom had wanted to make latkes, which I said I'd do if someone else grated the potatoes and onions.  She's been wanting them for several days.  No one volunteered to do the grating.  I said we could put pieces in the little food chopper.  Nothing.

Later, Mom had a screaming fit (not exaggerating) about how nothing had gone right that whole day.  She screamed a couple of times, then started weeping loudly and dramatically.  Dad attempted to comfort her.  He's not too good at understanding emotions, but he tried.  Once she'd settled down a little, I asked her if she wanted to use the computer to play solitaire.  It's one of her ways of relaxing.  She'll sit for hours and play it.  So she did that for some time.  A couple of hours after she started playing solitaire, she screamed for me to come to her bedroom.  She'd gotten her arm stuck behind the nightstand reaching for something.  Dad couldn't help her because he was holding her nighttime glass of water so she wouldn't knock it over when she went digging for stuff behind the nightstand.  She'd freed herself by the time I got there.  After that, she took some anti-anxiety medication (and boy, did she need it) and went to bed.  I think she needs to get her own prescription for anxi-anxiety meds.

Once I got to sleep, I slept for twelve hours straight.  I don't like when I do that.  I don't like not sleeping at all, but I don't like sleeping that much, either.  When I woke, Dad was home, and doing things with the snowblower.  It's not very effective, but he enjoys fiddling with machines.  He had a late lunch while I had brunch.  Almost as soon as he left to go back to work, Mom came home.  She'd gone to work, worked perhaps half a day, then gone to the eye doctor.  He told her it was a burst blood vessel, and that it would gradually clear up.  She said she'd slept well last night, though. Mom talked about shoveling a little more snow.  She already has mobility problems and has falls.  I strongly recommended against her trying to shovel snow.  As for me, I have exercise-induced asthma.  My solution for that is to not exercise.  But trying to shovel snow always makes me wheeze, and makes my lungs start to ache badly.  So it's not just laziness.

We went to Bath and Body to get presents for J.'s fiancee, and found some bubble bath for her.  J. had said she liked things like that.  I looked around, but I already had most of the kinds at home, in one form or another.  Then we went to the grocery store.  I picked up a couple of new cans of evaporated milk and of sweetened condensed milk -- because if you don't have them around, you always have a recipe that calls for it.  And I picked up a new box of unsweetened chocolate.  Even if the box we had of it hadn't yet expired, it was probably a couple of years old. We unpacked the groceries, I went upstairs, and when I came down, Mom had grated a couple of potatoes and an onion.  I added the rest of the ingredients and fried the latkes.  We had gotten salmon on our trip to the grocery store.  Mom did that in the microwave.  I caught up on my soap opera.  Ramblings about that in my next post.