Friday, November 16, 2007

Return to the Blogosphere

I've had a bad case of NO-vember and have been very remiss on my blogging. It's a chilly, rainy, sleety, dark Friday, and yet, I still have to take the dog out for several walks. He doesn't mind the rain, even though he's recently groomed and has a lot less hair to protect him. He looks like an ad for shotgun shells.
I have not been entirely idle. I'm working on a brief biography of my father (for the grandchildren, etc.) and, using his service records, have been in touch with people from units he served with in Japan and Korea during the Korean War. I've also been scanning photos for this purpose. Going much farther back on the family history front, I heard from a distant cousin in the Hopps line (John Hopps was one of my maternal grandmother's ancestors, a Loyalist originally from New York State who wound up in New Brunswick, Canada) and have been tidying up my reports to share with him.
Last year I did a special Advent project for Sisterknits. I recorded a story for each night of Advent onto my computer and then transferred them onto CDs for her. (I use a program called TotalRecorder and a headset microphone that plugs into a USB port; TotalRecorder can also record Internet transmissions.) This year I am looking a bit farther afield for stories, as I used up many of the "old favorites" last year. I rediscovered the Short Story Index at the library and have been interlibrary borrowing a lot. Of course, I have to read the stories to see whether they are any good, or good for reading aloud.
Another project has been to start reading all the Edgar Award winners for Best Novel, starting with 1954 (the first year Mystery Writers of America gave this particular award). I'm about up to 1960 now and am starting to like them better. It seemed as though the first few were chosen because they weren't, in most senses, traditional mysteries. Even the Raymond Chandler The Long Goodbye, the second winner, was quite long and philosophical for a hard-boiled detective novel. This project, too, has found me requesting books from other libraries quite frequently.
Tonight I'll be going to Ancestral Hometown by the Sea for a performance of a one-act mystery in which Onkel Hankie Pants is playing somebody named Kramer who wears a suit and a hat. (I'm making sure not to have any spoilers by not looking at the script!) It's a sort of Readers' Theatre thing -- no sets, etc. But we get free pie and coffee afterwards! He's also in rehearsals for THE FANTASTICKS which will come off in the New Year. From El Gallo to Hucklebee in only 34 years! Tomorrow I'll be helping at the Halls of Holly Fair at Big Taupe Church. It's church fair season again and I'll be looking for gifts -- and relish! Onkel Hankie Pants has discovered the joys of homemade relish (he puts it in his tuna salad, for one) and now that the Farmers' Market has closed for the season the church fairs are our best source. I am wishing I would find some of the ones with wonderful names that my grandmother used to make : Pottsfield, Piccalilli and Chow-Chow!

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