Remember the blue fingering weight hat that stretched so badly when I blocked it? I did the only thing I could think of that might possibly remedy my disaster: I put it with a load of white laundry and washed and dried it on the hottest settings in my washer and dryer. That did help, although the hat is still rather larger than it should be. I made a second hat to replace it and will send all three to Canada. If neither my brother nor SIL can wear it, I’m sure they can find some worthy charity in need of a hat.
I finally finished this book. Sheesh, it really was not worth the effort. Happily, the author did not feel the need to provide a paragraph of explanation for every line of dialog in the second half of the book. Tragically, I had to suffer through the first half to get there. I see no reason to change my rating. 2✭
Matrix by Lauren Groff. This is a very talked-about book, but I am not sure what the hype was about. It is the story of Marie, a teenage French girl in 1158, who is sent to England to an abbey to become a nun. The book follows her through her life there. The abbey is poor with half-starved nuns when she arrives. She eventually becomes prioress, then abbess, and builds the abbey to be one of the richest. I consider the time I spent reading it to be largely wasted. The book lacks the usual story arc because it seems to have no ultimate conflict near the end. 3✭but ymmv.
The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield. Hadfield is the astronaut made famous by his singing of the David Bowie hit Space Oddity (“Ground control to Tom“). I confess I checked out the book because of Hadfield’s fame. I am only one night’s reading into it so I will not rate it. Hadfield has a bit of Tom Clancy in his writing — way too many technical details for the average reader. (Clancy seemed to be compelled to describe every nut and bolt used to construct an atomic bomb.) But I will persevere and hope the plot is worth the effort.
Now that I have caught up on all my library books (except that I still have three on hold), I plan to spend a couple months not requesting books and instead reading the books I already own. Genius, huh?! Goodreads tells me I have read 100 books so far this year. Seems like a good point to switch up my reading.
Vanishing Fleece by Clara Parkes. This is read by the author, who had such a lovely, welcoming voice that I could listen to her read almost anything. This is the story of the 675-pound bale of very special fleece and how it went. Because I did not participate in the bale’s eventual distribution, the most of the story is new to me. I am finding it to be a lovely story. 4✭
The Great British Baking Show. Actually, they seemed to have changed the title for this new season on Netflix; it is now referred to as The Great British Bake Off. Hmmph. That title seems a rip-off on the Pillsbury Bake-Off,* which is still going strong, apparently.
Anyway, I discovered that the show had a new season – yay! It is such a fun program to watch, although the two women who gave comedy relief in the first season never came back, boo hoo. They were great. And I always get inspired to bake something after watching a few episodes.
* Back in 1979 shortly after I was hired by a large accounting firm in Minneapolis, I was assigned to be the point person handing all the entries to that year’s Pillsbury Bake-Off. My accounting firm had been associated with Pillsbury, headquartered in Minneapolis, since the 1920s, and one of the services we provided was to manage the early stages of the Bake-Off. My job was to supervise the three women from the temp agency who opened the entries, sorted them into the nine categories — desserts, baking, main dishes, each of which had 3 sub-categories that I do not remember — and verified that the entry followed the contest rules. Then I labeled each entry with a number and another temp person came in after business hours to Xerox the entries after covering the entrant’s name, which was written on the entry; the entry would display only have the number I assigned. The next day another temp took the previous day’s entries to the three home economists — independent, not Pillsbury employees — who read and rated them. Same temp picked the entries up the next day and brought them back to the office. The ones that the home ecs had rated as worthy of attention went to Pillsbury, the rest sat in bags in my office. Through this whole process I kept track of the number of entries that came in the door, were eliminated for not following the rules, were Xeroxed, went to the home ecs, were approved as worthy, eliminated, and taken to Pillsbury.
It was a horrible job. All I could do was screw up; if I did everything perfectly and all the numbers balanced, that just meant I had given Pillsbury the expected outcome. If I screwed up — say, the numbers of entries in each stage somehow didn’t add up — there would be some explaining to do. With 50,000+ recipes coming and going across my desk, a few slip-ups were inevitable. But apparently there was nothing that troubled the Pillsbury people I dealt with and I got to keep my real job, i.e., as a staff auditor.