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The whole-meal bread of life

My festiveness was utterly crushed by a bout of stomach flu (this on top of the colds we already had), which though mercifully brief, was violent, and then was followed by another cold, this one all CHESTY and PHLEGMY. Poor Bunlet is having a particularly rough time of it, some days just dragging himself around wailing and then falling asleep somewhere pathetic. Having my mother in law and sister in law and dog in law around didn’t help, though at least they could choose to attribute my total lack of enthusiasm over their visit to illness and not loathing, which made me feel slightly less rude. And when they left, it was a relief to ONLY be sick.

I’m at work today because I’m terribly behind. But I am not working, I am writing this. I’m suffering from a shortage of intellectual energy that has some obvious explanations (I’ve been sick for a MONTH now!) but I fear I will never feel vital again. Ever.

I am out of library books* so am rereading what I’ve got lying around**, and recently came upon this passage, which made a much stronger impression on me now than ten years ago. The character is talking about how happy her life is, how much she has to find joy in.

“And yet, when I consider my life, day by day, hour by hour, it seems to be composed of a series of pin-pricks. Nannies, cooks, the endless drudgery of housekeeping, the nerve-racking noise and boring repetitive conversation of small children (boring in the sense that it bores into one’s brain), their absolute incapacity to amuse themselves, their sudden terrifying illnesses, Alfred’s not infrequent bouts of moodiness, his invariable complaints at meals about the pudding, the way he will always use my tooth-paste and will always squeeze the tube in the middle. These are the components of marriage, the whole-meal bread of life, rough, ordinary but sustaining” –The Pursuit of Love.

That’s about the size of it. Contemplating another year of whole meal.

Happy new year.

*Got any favorite not-in-any-way-GRIM books for dark days? I love all the genres, just can’t handle books that will make me want to be DEAD.

**Wow, Anna Karenina after having children is very different from Anna Karenina before having children.

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Georgette Heyer. Start with Frederica. πŸ™‚

    December 31, 2014
  2. I tried to go into work today. We arrived at nursery to find it was closed, so we promptly turned around and headed home.

    We did the stomach-virus+Christmas thing two years ago. It was not fun. This year, we made for my in-laws the same two dishes which (only coincidentally, not causally) saw them head to the bathroom to vomit; they were much better appreciated here.

    I was recently introduced to the Peter Grant novels by Ben Aaronovitch. Read the first four as quickly as I could get them from the library, now lamenting the fact the library doesn’t have #5.

    December 31, 2014
  3. I’d recommend anything by Meg Woltizer, but given the above, esp. The Ten Year Nap.

    Hope 2015 brings health Chez Bunny.

    December 31, 2014
  4. Nicky #

    I’ve read through the Anne of Green Gables series over the month of December, and loved them all. It’s a very different book as an adult. Anne is a somewhat Pollyanna-ish character, but is find her amusing and I love the descriptions of the adults. Skip Rilla of Ingleside if you don’t feel like crying.

    January 1, 2015
  5. Couldn’t have been a more timely post written in a more perfect, precise way. Happy New Year to you and that beautiful family of yours.

    ps stop getting sick. you know, since you have so much control over such things…

    January 1, 2015
  6. SRB #

    Noooooooooooo! YOU CANNOT BE SICK!

    That quotation is…YEP. Pretty much it. As I listen to one of them pounding nails with a hammer (who the fuck bought THAT toy?), and the other one is batting balloons into my face, and the other one is sighing that the small ones are hammering and punching balloons around.

    What will fix this is eggs and pancakes and fruit and morning drinking. It is known.

    January 1, 2015
    • IT IS KNOWN. And I swear I’m not contagious…

      January 1, 2015
      • There is an airplane landing at a certain airport tomorrow, with a certain middle-aged woman driving a red diesel car who will pick you up and take you to the eggs and pancakes and fruit and morning drinking. And IT IS KNOWN that this will heal all three participants of sundry ailments.

        January 1, 2015
  7. A whole month of sick sounds exhausting. Hope you get better soon!

    January 1, 2015
  8. Andie #

    Wishing you all the best for the New Year, Bunny πŸ™‚

    Well, all of the above sounds insufferably grim (except for the Nancy Mitford – love), particularly the Christmas in-laws. Can’t stand Christmas guests. Fortunately, Christmas is a socially acceptable time to drink. A lot.

    In order to counter the grim: some suggested light reading. Have you ever heard of Kerry Greenwood? Perhaps not, as she is Australian. She writes light crime fiction, most well known for the Phryne Fisher novels, set in 20s Melbourne. She has a wonderful series about a character called Corinna Chapman, “baker and reluctant investigator”. Well written but light read consisting of amusing tales of love, crime, baking, and cats, with humour. Fab.

    I also recently read Elizabeth I, by Margaret George. Loved it. Historical fiction about the later years of Elizabeth’s reign.

    January 1, 2015
    • Kerry Greenwood sounds just about perfect.

      January 14, 2015
  9. Ana #

    Yes. That quote is life itself and its truthiness. I was also going to suggest The Ten-Year Nap. I just finished it and I’m already missing it.

    January 2, 2015
  10. Terry Pratchett! If you like that kind of thing and haven’t already read every single one. Interesting Times is my favorite. Also, Wee Free Men. Very light reading. Also there’s a series by Sharon Shinn (can you tell I have a short attention span right now?) called the Twelve Houses. The Mary Russell books by Laurie King, ditto on the if you haven’t read every single one, especially the first ones (the one with the painter is GRIM and features children so not that one, and the series set in SF is super extra grim, warning warning).

    January 2, 2015
  11. twangy #

    What purpose has nostalgia, bunny? I ask because it occurs to me that we the people are so good at reviewing the pinpricks in golden light. I get filled for longing for Corso Manzoni sometimes, a so-so street I didn’t even like much in the Italian town I lived in. With children, this is all going to be multiplied fantastically, isn’t it? I conclude once more that we the people are a strange, perverse species.

    But – ehem! – more to the point, I am glad you are feeling better! And a very happy New Year! One devoid of visits from in laws, if possible.

    (Will give the book list some thought. I am quite enjoying May we be forgiven by A M Homes which is dark and funny. The last one by Curtis Sittenfeld, maybe, but I should be capable of more original ideas.)

    January 3, 2015
  12. Happy new year! Hopefully better health ensues.

    January 4, 2015
  13. Oh, crap, and here I never managed to read AK pre-kid.

    I just finished Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy. It RULED. Not grim, though sometimes violent. I can’t do grim in winter. Or sometimes at all. I adore Margaret Atwood, please contain your shock, and did not find her recent trilogy grim, though reasonable people could differ. Have you read Connie Willis’s Oxford time travel books? I particularly love Blackout and All Clear, though To Say Nothing Of The Dog is funnier in a Wodehouse sort of way. Jonathan strange and Mr Norrell is one of my favorite “you survived the semester” rewards.

    Longer days coming. So there’s that.

    January 4, 2015
  14. Winter Blue #

    Oh, feel better soon… for some reason I am having a stellar run of good books so I can share. I just finished “Euphoria” by Lily King, her fictional account of a young Margaret Mead, and couldn’t put it down. If you are in for non-fiction, I recommend “Overwhelmed: Work, love and play when no one has the time” by Brigid Schulte (not depressing but v. illuminating!). Just got ‘Gone girl’ from the library based on many recommendations, it’s more paperback style reading but sounds like a good one if you want to get absorbed in something & don’t care about style. Finally, I can’t wait to read the new Miriam Toews ‘All my Puny Sorrows’ based on the rave reviews…

    January 5, 2015
  15. Happy and healthy 2015!

    Jhumpa Lahiri is my favorite present day author. I read ‘The Namesake’ when it first came out years ago and was hooked on her writing style from that point on. Her reads are good and fast paced if you like that. I always find that part gratifying since I’m always short on time. I also love “Tree of Smoke” by Denis Johnson but that’s a weird pick that I’m sure no one even stocks. A lifetime ago my friend, but still great voice.

    January 5, 2015
  16. Misfit #

    I am so far behind catching up. Books? Those are still around? It is a blogaversary this week. I need very much to thank you. Why? Because of being there so many yeas ago. Back when there were not any baby hoarders we knew, you said hey.

    January 10, 2015

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