Check-in this week

I am becoming slightly more involved lately with the Unitarian Universalist congregation in my town and over there every meeting starts with a “check-in”—where we go round the table and talk about our week, days, where we are. I always dread the check-in and never find anything of importance to say. But I am thinking I could do it regularly on the blog. I’m not good with sharing my inner workings, even with the people closest to me, so why not try to do shout it from rooftops in a more public space, right? Right. Here we go. (I’m sure you’re all curious just like me about how long this is going to last.)

This past week has not been one of the easiest and mainly because of the weekend snow storm that we were contemplating. My parents back in Romania have been gardening and basking in the sun for weeks now. But here spring always comes so late, it’s disheartening. Winter never leaves before it sucks out all the will to live we might have had. And thought the pattern repeats every year, I haven’t yet become used to it and don’t know when I will.

I am tired and I hate my winter coat so in spite of the cold this week I haven’t put in on. I have a lighter, unlined coat with only a minimal wool content (it’s 70% rayon and 30% wool). It fits me differently than the model, hitting close to the knee, and besides I have modified the hem a bit with a few darts to give it more of a balloon shape. I am enjoying it a lot. I can’t wait for sunnier days when I can wear my several long wool cardigans with only t-shirts underneath.

I had plans of finishing a New England short story for a particular publication but it proved more difficult than I though and the story just didn’t want to come to life. Although I have been collecting first-witness accounts of insane asylum stories, and that part has been fun.

I have been trying to finish a collection of horror tales called Nightmares, A New Decade of Modern Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow. I picked up the book while walking by the new additions shelf in our town library on the way to the children’s room, like I do all my library picks that are not digital. I’ve been observing how some stories are predictable and yet haunting, while others are highly original but don’t manage to keep my attention or capture my imagination. It’s a very good collection, though, I’d recommend it.

And yes, I am reading stories by men too. I am slowly relaxing my rules regarding reading only women writers, when it comes to genre fiction and non-fiction.

I am also progressing in the Daphne du Maurier biography. Biographies are usually my weakness and I go through them in no time, but this one, well, no so much. I can’t yet put my finger on it. Maybe I really cannot identify with the subject at all, or maybe it doesn’t offer as much depth into her character as I’d like.

But the book that has been slowing me down the most is The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I mean, it’s well written but very slow and full of descriptions of this old house which are captivating only up to a point. I feel like the classic prose style adopted for this book is its downfall. It’s been touted as Gothic, but really, I can’t see where that comes in, except for the decrepit house character and a mere suggestion of the supernatural, but that doesn’t do it for me.

I ended our subscription to Acorn TV this month. I was hoping they would have a larger collection of British cozy mysteries and comedy, but most of it is drama, and I have enough of that on other channels. But I watched the whole Agatha Raisin (I always remember it as Agatha Apple) it is an adaptation of the novels of M.C. Beaton, who looks like a very interesting author who started by writing historical romance but ended up highly successful only when she switched to mystery. I’ve also watched a New Zealand based murder series called The Brokenwood Mysteries, which was light and good. The TV show is super fun, Agatha a very quirky character who tries to make light of being a single, middle aged woman trying to make a new home and create new relationships in a closed, somewhat unfriendly community.

Today it’s supposed to be warm and the snow is melting. I am afraid to check the weather prognosis going further. I don’t remember having missed the sun so much any other time. And I bet I forget yearly.


  1. I did not know you had a rule about reading women writers! How interesting!! I have been curious, when did your interest in horror, super-natural start? I cannot get myself to read or see horror. I cannot sleep at night. But, I absolutely love mysteries and a bit of goth too.
    I will check out Agatha Raisin and Brokenwood Mysteries. They seem like the kind of things I love to watch.

    • I’ve always been into it, that I can remember. Since childhood I developed a taste for the darker fiction. Like my favorite books were Great Expectations (because of Miss Havisham, the eternal decaying bride) and Jane Eyre because of Bertha Mason, the madwoman in the attic. I don’t remember actually reading horror as a kid, but in communist Romania I didn’t have a lot of choice of books, so I was mainly reading the classics. Once I started watching horror movies there was no going back. Except for some periods during and after pregnancies, when I couldn’t tolerate too much fright. Even now I have my limits. I do get very scared at times, but usually it is just a fleeting thrill, and I believe it can ease off many anxieties. It didn’t hurt that growing up I had a best friend who was my horror pal. The good times:-)

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