Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Thoughts: Stocking Stuffers & Other Randomness

It's a blustery wintery England sort of day outside. Makes me think of knitwear, hats, and furs . . . and turning the heat up just a little bit.

I've been thinking about fun stocking stuffers, even though I'm not planning on much consumerism for the holidays. Poking about looking at parasols I happened upon this adorable lace fan.

 OK so I haven't talked about fans yet in this blog, but this is a preview of posts to come next summer. This little puppy is only $14 and unique, I've not seen many like it.

Admired the net gloves I talked about in my glove post? Well you can buy them here.

You remember those hunter boots I was talking about searching for? Well they've turned up at Marshalls/TJ Max, so if you were looking also. I snapped a shot while I was out curtain hunting. 

I didn't buy them, because frankly I've too many shoes right now, but it was nice to see they finally exist. This is my life, pity me, more interested in finding the right curtains than the right boots! How has my shallowness morphed into such a domestic manner? Tragic!

In other winter news, I visited the Dickens Fair yesterday. It was its customary crawling cesspool of plague carrying flirts, drunken debauchery, impossibly yummy sugary sweets, tea, and tiny-little-baubles of cute that you want to buy but shouldn't. I resisted %90 of the cute, $50 of the booze, 10% of the sweets, and 0% of the tea. The plague remains to be seen, that's always a risk with Dickens.

It was, nevertheless, delightful to see everyone again and say hello. I worked the fair for a decade or so, btu I don't make it back much these days.I wore my ball gown that never woudl pass costume approval, because I could. Some year I will make it for Steampunk Invasion, but I couldn't swing the schedule this year what with the move and all.

I just finished reading Powers That Be by Anne McCaffery (RIP) and Elizabeth Ann Scabrorough. No, Fashionable Reader, my picking it up had nothing to do with Ms. McCaffery's recent demise. I have had it in my too read pile for (I shudder to admit) well over a decade. Actually, I read it shortly after it came out, but then I went off to college and life happened and I picked up the rest of the series, but just never got around to rereading them.

Well, I decided enough was enough and I would make time to read, darn it! So I've been nibbling away at this first book over the last two weeks. This is not my normal reading style. Generally, I book gorge. I gobble the whole thing in one sitting. But my lifestyle no longer permits two hour blocks like that, so I have to learn to nibble. Anyway, enough about me, on to the book.

Oddly apt for a winter read, this book centers on Major Yanaba Maddock, a disabled veteran, sent to the icy planet Petaybee to die, but also on one last mission, to spy on the locals and find out what is really going on there. This book has a naive sweetness to it. It reminds me of early McCaffery books, like the Dragonsinger series. (Which is also my favorite of her work, and feels very YA to me.) Or even like a Mercades Lackey book. The story-line features a native culture full of good people having nice parties and being very accepting of alternative lifestyles versus a counter culture that's more stiff and traditional. This is a trope McCaffery is fond of exploring, like the Weyrs verses the Holds. I find it interesting to read about, but in my older years I could wish it were less black and white.

The authors use a lot of Intuit culture and mix it with Irish traditions and some simplistic teraforming in a far future science fiction setting, like the Pern books or the Ship Who Searched series. This ends up feel far more fantasy than scifi. One can come up for a scientific explanation as to why the horses would evolve one horn, but one has still stuck a unicorn on ones ice planet. I know, I know, it sounds like I'm belittling the book. I'm not, but it is a creature of its time. It's like an 80s rock anthem: cheesy, and nostalgic, and taken SO seriously my the musicians who played it. Now it makes me wince a little but I still put it on and dance naked around my living room. And I feel guilty and ashamed any time it comes on streaming, or is mocked in some youtube video, because I know all the words.

Powers That Be is kind of like that only in book form. I know as I read that everything is going to be alright for the characters, the romantic thread is going to pull through, no one is going to hurt too bad. The SF concepts are going to be pretty basic and predictable, basically I kind of know all the words. Even if I've never read it before.

But there is comfort in that. There's a joy in reading a book like this, particularity when it's a cold blustery winter day outside. It's the book equivalent of a decent cup of tea. Not a really good tea with nibbly bits and company, but still tea. And you know how I feel about tea. Mmmm.


  1. Saw this and immediately thought of you:

    I love the retro feel off it with the more modern net on the top. It looks like something you'd wear and would, I think, look just gorgeous with white kid gloves. This, of course, is all pending the rack's approval. ;)

  2. Oh how fun! I'm glad you enjoyed Dickens, I've begun working there again after taking a 4 year break (silly college). Your ball gown looks marvelous, and yes, it would never have passed costume approval :).

    Do you ever venture out to Gaskells or PEERs? If not, and you enjoy dancing, you should come check them out! Gaskells is a Victorian ball that is held every other month on the second Saturday. (Feb, April, June, Aug, Oct, Dec). The next one is this Saturday! :). PEERs is a themed costume ball that has a different theme for every month on the first Saturday, except for July where one isn't held at all.


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