Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday thoughts.

Rainy and cold here today, but that's better than snow, for sure. I'm getting creeped out seeing all those houses buried to the roofline in New York and elsewhere.

This week is doctor week for me--making appointments, making sure all our old doctors are part of our new health insurance network. (They're not.) I stopped by my new family doctor today and liked him and his office staff quite well. I had to have some blood taken for a thyroid test, and I've never had a stick so gentle before. I barely felt it! I'll have to find a new dentist (ugh) and possibly a new optometrist--haven't checked on that yet. I loooove insurance stuff. (drip, drip goes the sarcasm).

Todd's been at this new job for more than three months, and this is the first time we've actually cracked open the insurance packet and pulled out our cards and checked everything. Either we're very healthy or very lazy. Don't tell me, I know which one...

I went thrifting around the corner last Friday and picked up a few non-essentials: a nice heavy white metal basket, which several people commented on enviously as I carried it around the store, a book on expressing creativity through gardening (I need major help in this area), a 100-year-old French grammar book that will be great for using in various crafty ways, and a long scarf/table runner made from granny squares. Granny squares are such a double-edged sword--so nostalgic and homey, and yet often so, so ugly. Terrible things have been done in the name of granny squares.

But this piece is nice--good colors, good-quality yarn (maybe wool?) and expertly crocheted. I'm not sure if it will be a Christmas accessory or if I can get away with having it in the living room at non-Christmas times, since the living room is mostly red and green. I guess I'll throw it nonchalantly over the arm of a chair or something. Who knows? I just liked it.

I was planning to put potted plants in the basket and stick it out on the porch or something come spring, but I think it may be too nice a basket for that. Maybe better suited to holding guest bath towels or something.

Maybe I need to get my "house vision" honed a little bit better before I start dragging home stuff willy nilly, do you think? We have brought home so many yard sale finds over the years that ended up going on to a better home in very short order. It's hard to stop and think about whether you will use something and what you will use it for when you know you have to grab it now or never see it again. That's the pressure of thrift store and yard sale shopping!

And I'm finishing up yet another Civil War-themed book: The Emancipator's Wife by Barbara Hambly, a novel about the life of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Barbara Hambly authored a set of historical mysteries about a free black man living in New Orleans in the 1830s that aren't just some of the best mysteries I've read, they're some of the best historical writing I've read, and really, some of the best writing, period. So I was glad to spot this book at the library the other day.

There used to be a series of children's biographies, written in the 1950s, I think, that were about famous people in their childhood years. Looking back , I see that they had to have been heavily fictionalized, but I used to check my favorites out of the school library over and over. One of my faves was about Mary Todd Lincoln.

Her adult life is hardly the stuff of children's stories, with grief and mental illness and terrible tragedy...but Hambly takes all this sad material and still finds some redemption in it. The characters of Mary and Abraham Lincoln come to life, and they are so sympathetically described, and the story of their marriage is so compelling. Sad, but a good read.