1. It’s a good time of year to read Margaret Atwood’s poem “Half-Hanged Mary,” about Mary Webster, a woman accused of witchcraft who didn’t die from the punishment. The last two lines get quoted a lot, for good reason:
2. Those were the days:
IT WAS CALLED THE SCHOLASTIC BOOK FAIR AND THEY BROUGHT THE BOOKS TO THE SCHOOL AND SET IT UP LIKE A BOOKSTORE AND YOU COULD GET GOOSEBUMPS AND MAGIC TREE HOUSE BOOKS BUT ALSO LAMBORGHINI POSTERS AND KITTY BOOKMARKS AND PENCILS THAT SMELLED LIKE CUPCAKES pic.twitter.com/1QVQ7cJzVP
— ✨ Tara Wine-Queen Writes ✨ (@TaraWineQueen) August 20, 2022
3. This is lovely:
8-yo told me tonight when she finds it hard to like someone at school, she imagines them waking up and choosing their clothes, and their parents helping them get ready and hoping they have a good day, and that makes it easier to care for them.
— Lauren D. Woods (@Ladiwoods1) October 17, 2022
This week’s Freelance Fun Day was a quick afternoon hike with Doc (he has Tuesdays off) and it was glorious. There was snow earlier in the week (the winter gate in upper Millcreek is already closed!) but the trees still had their leaves, so we got an excellent blend of fall and winter:
Freelance is still new enough for me that I feel like I’m getting away with something when I close my laptop at 1:00 and just…go on a hike on a Tuesday. Truly living the dream over here.
We had a “pirate party” to attend and I uncharacteristically decided to go for it and sew us almost-matching costumes:
I traditionally don’t enjoy sewing or wearing costumes or single-use clothing, but this all turned out pretty fun. I prioritized being comfortable (no masks, wigs, or makeup); I made sure Doc’s pants could be easily altered into lounge pants; and doing the ruffles on my shirt delighted me. (Ruffles are always delightful.)
I used McCalls 8131 and muslin I had on hand for both shirts, and the free 5 Out Of 4 pajama pants pattern and some poly/cotton from Joann for Doc’s lounge pants. Doc’s pants are the capri length and I’ll take out the elastic and hem them up for summer lounge pants.
My pants are ready made and just tucked into boots I had, Doc’s headscarf was a bandana I had, and my headband and the sashes are literally just lengths of fabric. (The sword was part of our friend’s costume but I got to carry it for the night. Arr!)
All in all, not a bad use of time or resources. And now we’re equipped for any future piratical events!
Let’s just jump right into LITERATURE for the week, because it finally got cold here and I put another quilt on the bed and it was cozy while we all slept together (Toby even joined us!). I’m always going to think of otters now.
Sleeping With You
by Ellen Bass
Is there anything more wonderful?
After we have floundered
through our separate pain
we come to this. I bind myself to you,
like otters wrapped in kelp, so the current
will not steal us as we sleep.
Through the night we turn together,
rocked in the shallow surf,
pebbles polished by the sea.
1. Robin Sloan has a short story you can read online (in different fonts!): “Harriet Amber in the Conan Arcade.”
2. Here for skeleton jokes (captioned but better with sound, one use of “f*ck”).
It is October, it is time for me to past this alltime classic yet again.
It will never not make me laugh pic.twitter.com/mmv6FP9Kfs
— MihaloHrothgar (@MihaloHrothgar) October 4, 2022
3. It’s spooky season AND election season. Don’t forget to vote! (via)
You’re an adult now. You’re in charge of feeding yourself. And there’s nothing stopping you from making a TATER TOT CASSEROLE.
Much like the pasta salads that “feed a lot of people” I made all summer, I think anything stewy and topped with tater tots is going to be the winter dish on repeat. So far I’ve made a Beyond Meat “shepherd’s pie” and a breakfast egg bake with tots in it; I think next up is something vaguely Mexican with soyrizo.
Is it glamorous? Not at all. Is it the food of my people, hearty and delicious, that makes leftovers? You betcha.
Toby is not sad–he’s the happiest he’s been in five months, a daily miracle–but he does just meow, like he’s telling us “I YEARN” and we don’t know what it is he yearns for. Maybe he’s wondering why he’s so small, like this poem says:
My Cat is Sad
by Spencer Madsen
my cat is sad.
no one else in his family is a cat
we are all human except for him
he is excluded from most things
and no one tells him why
he just wants to play
and be loved
he looks at us with wonder
he says hello i am a cat what is my existence
what is that / why it and not me / please can you look at me and love me too
can i have some of your food please im sorry i dont like my food so much
do you want to play with my toys? this one is my favourite
do you like me
are we brothers
why didnt i grow up
why am i so small
can you help me be happy
where are you going
The new trail we found was mostly in the shade and that made me realize I need a flannel-type layer until it’s cold enough to wear my magic fleece. I’ve outgrown the LL Bean “performance flannel” I bought years ago but it was perfect: a poly blend that was wicking but felt like cotton, cut longer so you don’t have to worry about what underwear you put under your hiking tights:
I’ve had my eye on the Robert Kaufman “Seawool” line, which claims to mix oyster shells (?) with polyester to create fabric that’s “naturally anti-static, anti-odor, anti-bacterial, quick drying, and soft to the touch.” It sounds perfect for a hiking flannel, but I hate the plaid color options and solids are just so boring.
Even Discovery Fabrics–THE source for technical fabrics–doesn’t have performance flannel, and LL Bean doesn’t make that style for women anymore. Maybe I’ll just have to accept a solid in the Seawool. Or start thinking about colorblocking…