Well, where to begin? As the header suggests, October did not go out quietly in our household! It began on the 22 with Holly-Anne throwing up on the school bus. Then the call from daycare next day that the youngest Graham had a suspected case of head lice. Although both kids were checked that night, the next day (Wed the 24) Holly-Anne's daycare called to say she had seen something........five treatments later (Graham got the shampoo twice because I did it wrong the first time), hours every day fighting with Holly-Anne who hates getting her hair more than lightly brushed, Tuesday night rolled around.....Oct 30, Hallowe'en eve. The kids had their last lice treatment, and finally at 10:30 I sat down to carve the pumpkins.....One hour and a bad gash on my hand later, I was at the emergency ward, where i waited with our dear family friend Victor for 5 hours to be seen and stitched up. I devised Susan's rules of Pumpkin Carving:
1. Do not carve after 10 pm.
2. Do not go from scooping pulp from one pumpin, to cutting the top of the next pumpkin, without washing hands first!
3. Do not, while carving one pumpkin, be mentally planning the carving of the next two pumpkins in an ambitious plan to carve 4 pumpkins in two hours because of delays because of head lice (see above).
4. Always pay attention when handling sharp knives!!!
I was so embarrassed. In 20 years of carving pumpkins, I had never done more than knick a finger.......and here I was with a large enough gash that I needed 6 stitches to close it. And it was my left hand, so I couldn't do much - no typing, no writing, no going to work........
so Hallowe'en was done handicapped and in some pain, AND it was Duncan's 19th birthday so I wasn't going to be baking any cakes or brownies as I usually do. One birthday and Hallowe'en trick or treating later, I was finally able to get some sleep!
After Hallowe'en my mother arrived on Thursday night. Friday was Graham's third birthday, so off we went to do errands, our book shopping (we always go to Prime Crime Books on Bank St and load up on mysteries for Christmas), and get snowsuits for Holly-Anne and Graham, Mom's loving and very generous birthday gift for each of them each year. At Bayshore as we arrived at a parking spot, a van was about to drive in. In one of those horrible miscommunications, he motioned for us to get out , but I wanted to make sure he was in before taking Holly-Anne out (he was coming in on her side of the car) and so I waved him in. Suddenly we heard a crunch and knew the car had been hit. Holly-Anne had opened the car door, having gotten out of her car seat despite instructions to stay put until I got to her. Luckily the door had a small buckle and was able to be shut, the van had a broken head and signal light, and even more luckily, extremely luckily, Holly-Anne was completely unhurt. She had dropped her sucker on the car floor and bent down to get it, instead of hopping out of the car. I shudder to think what would have happened if she'd had her leg or arm or head out when the van hit.
Then it was on to shopping, car repairs and Graham's birthday party that night! I think it was yesterday afternoon when I finally found myself taking deep breaths, and I realized that I hadn't really calmed down since I'd cut my hand, that I hadn't had time to catch my breath. Needless, to say, this is the longest I've been able to type on the computer, as the gash is between my thumb and forefinger and the stitches pull when I use my fingers alot. It is healing very nicely, but I think I will be doing some more reading than writing for the next week, until the stitches come out on Friday.
On the plus side, the boys had good birthdays, I did get two pumpkins carved (even if not 4......), it was the warmest Hallowe'en night any of us could remember for the 20 years I've lived in Ottawa, we had a fun visit with my mother (despite her car's new dent, which will be repaired shortly.....), and I did point out that earlier that day she'd said they'd had no problems with the car for 8 years, so she cursed it!! We're paying the repair costs, so fingers crossed we will have enough for at least Holly-Anne's birthday (the day before Christmas)......and I'm very glad we went book shopping BEFORE the accident so I could buy the books guilt-free!
I did manage to read a book before and after the head lice (which thankfully I think we got it all!), and although I finished it Nov 1, after the Hallowe'en deadline, I'm going to count it: Night Relics, by James P. Blaylock.
NIGHT RELICS - James P. Blaylock
written in the early 1990s, a ghost story that is strange and ends bizarrely. It doesn't have as many chills as I like spooky stories to have, and some of the actions of the presences in the forest don't quite fit with the story - some threads are left hanging - but on the whole, it was very enjoyable, and I did pick it up, after all the lice/Hallowe'en events were over, to finish it. It's not a classic ghost story, but it's closer than many books written these days, so I'm glad I read it.
So that is it for my Hallowe'en reading. I started Edgar Allan Poe, but read the introduction and then put the book down. I wasn't in the mood for anything I had already read, which is why I didn't finish Interview with a Vampire. I've read it several times over the years, and thought I wanted to again, but not yet. So not bad for my first book challenge 6 out of the 8 books read! And I started late with it! Of all the books I read for this challenge, Devil in the White City is the book that comes back to me most often. Very definitely a book worth seeking out.
So now it's on to my Canadian books and mysteries that I want to read before the 888 Challenge begins in 8 weeks! I have tinkered with the 888 list again, as I have to add more mysteries; since they and fantasy are the books I read most often every year, in and out, it makes no sense to leave them off. And there are so many books I want to read!!!
I am reading a mystery I bought on Friday from Prime Crime, by Fred Vargas. They were out of Wash This Blood from My Hands, which I have been looking for, but they had another one by the author so I thought I'd try it: Have Mercy on Us All. Fred Vargas is a French writer, a historian in her real job, and has written several mysteries starring Detective Commissaire Adamsberg. I've read 50 pages so far and am quite enjoying it. I like mysteries translated from other languages. It is fascinating to see how they view the world from a different perspective than North American. I do notice when the idioms are wrong, but that is part of the charm for me. I try to think of what a better phrase would be, and maybe what it might have been in the original language. I can get a sense of right and wrong in Sweden or Germany or from wherever, and the feel for the country, the land, the weather, the politics (since many of the best mysteries the world over deal with what is troubling the world, in one context or another). I love Smilla's Sense of Snow, and have read one Arnaldur Irnalddson (I'm pretty sure is spelled wrong, but I borrowed the book from the library, I don't own a copy to spell check the name!) and want to read the others now, have read most of Henning Mankell, and am trying some new Scandinavian mysteries when I can get back to Prime Crime before Christmas (If Mom's car door doesn't cost to-o-o-o much to repair). Wash This Blood from My Hands might be coming out in a smaller softcover version which is what the store computer suggested. I'll let you know, Gentle Reader, how Have Mercy On Us All turns out.
The kids are playing with all of Graham's new toys (many Cars - from the movie CARS -, many trucks and cars and Thomas from Thomas the Tank Engine series) and if they'll let me, I might sneak in a few minutes of reading before they get restless and start asking to go outside to play. Housework needs to done, cookies baked, and tidying up from birthdays and the rest of the Hallowe'en decorations to come down. I hope you all had a much calmer Hallowe'en than we did!!! Time to catch our breath before the Christmas season begins! Happy reading!