Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday afternoon things

* The bad, the good, and the funny:

Bad: the man from church I think I mentioned last week - who was thought to have cancer? It's all through his body. Bones, brain, everywhere. (He was, as you might fear, one of those never-go-to-the-doctor types. I think of a male relative of MINE, who got yearly blood tests, and an anomalous result led to a diagnosis of very-early-stage prostate cancer, and he's still with us today, after radiation).

But yeah. You know what sucks? Realizing that praying for a quick and relatively painless death for someone is the best thing you can pray for in a case.

Cancer can die in a fire.

Good: we got the church decorated today. A lot of the kids from the college-kid ministry (a Tuesday night group) showed up to help so it went MUCH faster. It looks really lovely, it always does.

Today is Christ the King Sunday. I guess this is less-commonly observed in Protestant churches? The minister referenced the history of it, which I like knowing: In the 1920s, the Pope (I guess it was Pius XI? I had to look that up) declared the last Sunday before Advent to be Christ the King Sunday to remind Christians that the One to whom they owe their primary loyalty is not an earthly ruler - apparently it was a backlash (a very gentle one) over the beginnings of Fascism in Italy.

(I just recently finished reading "It Can't Happen Here," so that kind of thing, and those kinds of ideas, are sort of in the top of my mind. And yes, I like the idea of firmly declaring my fealty not to any earthly leader, to say "I am a Christian first and foremost" and try to live by that)

Funny: As we were decorating, a couple of the extra bows somehow wound up on the minister - one under his chin, the other on top of his head. There is photographic evidence of this. I fully expect it to show up at least on our Facebook page, and perhaps in a future newsletter.

It's good to be able to laugh at silly things even as we are feeling sad over what Ronnie and his family are going through.

I got the grading I had hanging over from last week mostly done last night. I'm glad I pushed through. I will have more tomorrow but it's good to be able to walk in in the morning without that hanging over me.


Started a little selfish crafting (as in: something purely for me). Dug out the Floppy Little Pony pattern I bought a little while back: it was $2, which is certainly a good deal. I am making a sleepy Scootaloo using yarn bought back in October. I haven't decided yet whether to make closed eyes (as the pattern shows) or to do "sleepy" felt eyes (with irises and pupils visible, but heavy-lidded) or to just do regular eyes. I think I'll decide when I'm done.

It's nice to be able to do a little "selfish" crafting.  I might also alter it to make a Somnambula later - I will have to weigh the pink yarn leftover from Elinor, because it's about the right color. I might have enough which would mean no special trip for yarn and no expense other than my time to make her. (I will probably try to make the little dress out of an old handkerchief and a head-dress of felt).

I also need to begin thinking of Christmas-break projects. I have a Toft Alpaca camel pattern, though I think I'll just buy some good old Red Heart Soft (probably wait 'til I'm up there and make a Michael's run) for it; I find acrylics are better for toys: hold their shape better, less likely to get munched if you have them tucked up on a shelf somewhere.

I did finish reading "It Can't Happen Here" on the train. This is Sinclair Lewis' novel about, essentially, the rise of a Fascist-like leader who starts out as a Populist ("Buzz" Windrip) and his eventual dictatorship. I guess Windrip was pretty heavily based on Huey Long, who was assassinated before he could make a run at the Presidency. But yeah. There are elements that feel kind of familiar (The "Forgotten Men" wanting theirs, the appeals to the working class, the distrust of and calls for punishing the banks and the wealthy, the people calling for women to lose the vote and go back to the "kitchen and kindergarten" and focus on raising up the next generation of workers/soldiers. Not sure what happens to old maids like me who are past reproductive age....I guess we get taken out and shot? But yes, I have read calls for the disenfranchisement of women, which is unsettling to someone like me.). But there are also some rather fantastical things that I'm not entirely sure the American public would so willingly swallow.

(It is pretty bleak and brutal. Lots of violence, though there is a hopeful time in the last 1/3 where there is fundamentally a Resistance that gets going....and the ending is maybe somewhat hopeful, though it does seem the protagonist - Doremus Jessup - loses an awful lot along the way)

It's an interesting novel, though somewhat melodramatic and perhaps not as artfully written as some novels. (It does feel more designed to be an "instructive piece" than a real novel-read-for-enjoyment)

I did dogear one quotation I particularly liked: "'Is it just possible,' [Doremus] sighed, " that the most vigorous and boldest idealists have been the worst enemies of human progress instead of its greatest creators? Possible that plain men with the humble trait of minding their own business will rank higher in the heavenly hierarchy than all the plumed souls who have shoved their way in among the masses and insisted on saving them?'"

I suppose that spoke to me because I do kind of see myself as a plain person who tends to mind her own business, who would rather do what little individual bits of good she can, rather than butting in to other's lives and telling them how to run their beehives, rather than attending to my own...but also, yeah, I have seen those self-styled saviors of the people and all too often they are tyrants in sheep's clothing....

I just started George Bellairs' "Death of a Busybody," which is a lighter and more amusing book (despite there being a murder in it). While Bellairs (actually a pen-name) is not the greatest author of mysteries ever, he's certainly good and competent and writes interesting characters and plots amusing, somewhat cozy, novels. I think I will continue to buy the reprints of his novels as the British Crime Library reprints them.

I went ahead and ordered - from Amazon - an Applejack ornament, the last of the Mane Six I lack in tree-ornament form. (I had to replace the filter in my air-cleaner, so I decided to batch the orders).

Am still debating whether to get myself a Christmas present of something bigger or not. It's been an expensive fall in a number of ways (a few little repairs and also having to re-order some stuff I use regularly) and I admit my checking account feels a little depleted. I still might, though I am not sure what. (Not yarn. I asked my parents for a Webs gift card for Christmas, along with a few other things (mostly clothes), so if I get that - I might buy enough Silk Garden or something similarly luxurious for a sweater in the future).

I also want to take a day and go antiquing in early December. Next weekend (sigh) may be taken up with some editing duties (in STILLWATER. I will have to go to Stillwater for that and am still trying to figure out if there's some gracious way to point out that I did all the dang authority-checking on that historic paper earlier this fall, and that I could do some of the stuff over the internet, but, I don't know....this does count as good "service to the profession" so it might be better to just suck it up and make the long drive up - and stay over Saturday night somewhere - and come back Sunday. (I already told my Sunday school class they get the week off). Am waiting to see what the editor of the journal says; if for some reason it has to be postponed or changed maybe I get that time back.

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