Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sick Days

I've been sick for four days. I was so sick, with a very bad stomach flu, and I'm still recovering. No fun. Talk about kicking my productivity out from under me.

I'm grateful to have passed the worst of it, and glad I have the weekend to recover. I missed a day of making, but the next day managed to start a simple scarf I've knit a few rows on each day. I can't believe how much I missed it, and how comforting I find knitting, but especially my daily making routine already.

My teaching semester just began this week (rotten timing to be ill!), so I'm getting adjusted to a new routine, but I'm also gearing up for International Correspondence Month (aka InCoWriMo). The aim is to write and send a handwritten letter every day of the month of February. I love writing letters, and I savor any chance to put my fountain pens to use, so I'm looking forward to a month dedicated to letter writing. I'm going to put together a little box of stationery supplies I can have always my supplies at the ready. If you'd like a handwritten letter from me, pop your address in my Postable account, which I'm using to collect and organize addresses.

Most of my list of pen pals is made up of folks I know, but I'm always willing to meet new pen pals, especially ones who share my interests!

It's difficult to remain hopeful right now, and I am being careful with how and when I encounter political information. I subscribe to a lot of print and online newspapers and magazines, and listen to the radio regularly (NPR and local radio news), but I've put filters on Facebook (using an extension called FB Purity) to avoid a lot of politics on FB. It's not the place for me to have those debates and get so anxiety-riddled that I can't focus on doing my job, which involves helping local immigrants learn English, and being a positive, supportive, empathetic person for them in this very uncertain political climate. I also can't write good poetry if I'm too depressed, so boundaries and self-care are important. This is also why I didn't attend a Women's March. Marches are not great for disabled folks anyway, but there was a lot of friction between disabled groups and the March organizers, and I'm still so sick, I couldn't have attended anyway. Many of my friends went and promised to carry me with them in spirit, and all the marchers were in my thoughts today, but we all have to focus on what we can do. A friend of mine babysat children so her other friends could attend. The revolution will have childcare or it will be bullshit.

I've been reading a lot.  did finish Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg  a novel I started back in September and then lost (it fell behind my bed). I enjoyed most of it, but the second half was not nearly as strong as the beginning, and I felt very confused and disappointed by the end. Still, it's worth a read. It's told from the POV of a girl who lives in a commune/cult in rural England, complete with its own vocabulary. The establishment of the world of the commune, the only place this girl has ever known, was strong and really drew me into the story, but, as I said, there was a radical shift, and the story lost its power at that point. I felt much the same about the novel Room, which is also a book with a very specific and confined world and vocabulary. Once the characters move to a different location, the book isn't as compelling, not because I only want to hear of misery and torture, but because the story isn't as tightly constructed. Room was a lot more successful than Foxlowe, but there were similarities between the books' structures.

I also finished reading a friend's novel draft, which was a lot of fun, but nothing I can review here. Not yet, at least.

I spent last Saturday reading The Assistants by Camille Perri. It was a fun, quick read, and it was nice to finish a book in a few hours.

Yesterday I slept most of the day, and then found myself unable to sleep at night. Pretty much all I can do is lie in bed, I still feel so weak from days of puking, so I'm taking advantage of that and reading a lot. I finished reading The Mothers by Brit Bennett, which I liked, but also feel conflicted about. Still, it's a good debut, and I'm excited to see it getting so much positive attention.

Now I've been engrossed in a mystery, Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner. I realized last year that I really love British mystery thrillers, especially on audiobook. This one is a hardcover I got from Book of the Month, but it fits the bill. It's not a genre I'd ever read before, but I usually have one going for my commute, and they keep me awake during a boring commute. I am liking this one so far, though I do wish I had it on audio. Still, it is diverting, which is exactly what I was looking for.

I've been using a Bullet Journal as my planner this year, after years of using a Filofax and/or an Erin Condren, then this fall, falling deeply in love with the Hobonichi Cousin, the A5 version of their popular techo. I still use the Cousin for teacher planning, and find it works perfectly for that, but the Bullet Journal is just perfect for me. I love that the Leuchtturm1917 paper works for fountain pens, and it's just a good size. Having everything in one place, and being able to control every detail--and change any aspect of my planning--makes this the perfect system for me. I bullet journaled last year, too, but felt guilty abandoning my other planners, so I kept up with them, even after they no longer worked for me.

Thanks to Pens and Tea on Youtube, I've discovered David's Tea. I took advantage of their holiday sale, and have been enjoying their Caradmom French Toast tea, and their Chocolate Covered Almond tea especially.

What are you writing with/reading/planning/drinking?