Now that our daughters live within a five-hour drive, we are able to see them more easily and more often: We were out earlier this month and plan to return in early September, if travel restrictions permit.
Where did the last year go, though?
When the afternoon light achieved the autumn-approaches slant on the living room floor earlier this month, I called the company that services the heater and air-conditioner to schedule our annual clean and check. The tech we prefer is older and, concerned about his health, has greatly reduced his time in the field, so a new tech was assigned to our routine maintenance appointment.
He arrived on time, but the mask he wore looked like the dust protection my husband and I use when cleaning the garage, and his non-stop patter all but spelled “Look at my germ-laden droplets!” in the air around his face, so while our favorite tech may enter the common areas of house, the new guy was confined to the utility area. Trying to ensure he did what needed to be done from six feet away was tricky, but I caught two issues that would have resulted in a return visit that first cool morning in October. (Fingers crossed that there were only two.)
We are also catching up on postponed medical and dental appointments. I joked with my husband after one of my appointments that I would have rather been that up close and personal with my hair stylist (no, I haven’t been to the salon since February) than with the lab techs and radiologist. Haircuts are optional, he reminded me; healthcare is not.
In other news, with the Women of Trachis, I reached 159 books read this year.
■ Lanny (Max Porter; 2019. Fiction.)
Not as memorable as Grief Is the Thing with Feathers but worth reading. Related article here.
■ The Trial (Franz Kafka; 1914/1925. Trans. Breton Mitchell 1999. Fiction.)
Nightmarish and brilliant.
■ The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath; 1963. Fiction.)
According to the Jackson bio I finished last month, Plath’s autobiographical novel was inspired by Hangsaman. Serendipity / synchronicity / synthesis abounds: I read Ted Hughes’ Crow earlier this month because it informed Porter’s Grief Is the Thing with Feathers.
■ The Old Guard, Book One: Opening Fire (Greg Rucka; 2017. Graphic fiction.)
After hearing about the Netflix movie on NPR, I decided to watch it. As I said to my husband, what I would have loathed at a theater was harmless enough for a Saturday night couch date. Rucka also pens the Lazarus series I follow, so I decided to read the book.
■ Zone One (Colson Whitehead; 2011. Fiction.)
He was a mediocre man. He had led a mediocre life exceptional only in the magnitude of its unexceptionality. Now the world was mediocre, rendering him perfect. He asked himself: How can I die? I was always like this. Now I am more me. He had the ammo. He took them all down.
We never see other people anyway, only the monsters we make of them.
■ Philoctetes (Sophocles; 409 B.C. Trans. Bryan Doerries; 2015. Drama.)
■ Women of Trachis (Sophocles; 425 B.C. Trans. Bryan Doerries; 2015. Drama.)
Read in anticipation of another Theater of War production.
■ Survivor Song (Paul Tremblay; 2020. Fiction.)
I loved A Head Full of Ghosts and thought The Cabin at the End of Woods was a solid page-turner, a perfect poolside read. So was this. As many other readers have noted, his prescience about just how badly we would fumble the response to an outbreak was more than a little eerie.