I was out hiking around Vantage and Frenchman Coulee
yesterday with my geology class, which was made of win; I haven't been out that way for a couple of years and I can't actually remember if I've ever been to Frenchman Coulee, which means I probably haven't. It's fairly well-known for rock climbing -- googling gets me some pretty cool pictures here
, but the view is just fantastic. Washington's absolutely gorgeous sometimes, especially eastern Washington -- we're very geologically active, and have been in the past, too, and a lot of the land east of the Cascades has been shaped by the Great Missoula Floods
. It's very stark and very impressive. It is also, not particularly coincidentally, my mental setting for the High Reaches in Narnia.( Narnia, the Pacific Northwest, Cair Paravel, New Orleans, and the Doylist perspective* )*Watsonian vs. Doylist, for those that haven't heard the phrase before.
I have also been thinking about domestic fantasy, which is sort of a rare subgenre in the fantasy world, and may not actually be an "official" subgenre the way high fantasy, urban fantasy, or swords and sorcery are, since I'm not entirely certain I've actually heard about it outside of my own head. Which -- doesn't seem unlikely, actually, because my mental picture of domestic fantasy is something that's very heavily based in the world, in the home, in small, discreet magics rather than grand, flashy ones, and -- need I say it? -- very female-oriented. The only published fantasy that I can think of that meets that description is in some of Robin McKinley's books -- my beloved Spindle's End
being one of them, Chalice
another. I would probably even count Sunshine
in, because the main character is so heavily involved in baking. (Actually, I think the only RM books that don't fit this description are The Blue Sword
and The Hero and the Crown
, though I haven't read The Outlaws of Sherwood
, so I can't speak towards that.) All of RM's books tend to have
grand magics at the end, but they're still fired by those small, domestic magics, and largely occur almost as an afterthought. I can't think of another author who does something similar. (Maybe some of Diana Wynne Jones's books? But those are less concerned with the home, generally.)
I've been thinking of writing an original short story for a while now that is domestic-y; the main character is a baker, and her magic is tied up in baking. (Also there is world-building where yeast is very important; an unmarried woman who works with yeast is something of a social outcaste, since yeast is traditionally associated with fertility and pregnancy. In this world, the majority of bakers are either married women with children underfoot or women who have passed the age of menopause and cannot have children. The main character is an unmarried woman without children, and doesn't work with yeast. See what reading a lot of cookbooks for fun gets you?)
Thinking of this because a lot of my pleasure reading lately has been cookbooks and food history, and I knit a lot, so I think of that, and I just picked up a couple of books on country traditions from the university library.
*Kitten cuddling kittens! Puppies cuddling puppies! Kittens and puppies cuddling! Lots of animals cuddling!
Work proceeds on Traveling Woman; I am halfway through the last chart.
My Latin prof thinks I am a fast translator! *preens* I think, at least in this early stage, that this is one of the few cases where being really really good
at English is actually helping, because I'm used to taking words and phrases that are jumbled together and then rearranging them in a coherent, meaningful order, which with the Latin-to-English translations in the first few chapters of Wheelock, is basically what we've been doing. Later this will doubtless no longer be as true, but at least the fact that word order doesn't matter isn't confusing me as much as it is some people in the class.
My cousin is having a baby! The (traditional Japanese) family is somewhat alarmed about this, because she is unmarried and her boyfriend is black, and therefore the first inkling we got of this is when my uncle (my mother's brother) e-mailed my father and told him how ashamed he was for the family and also to find out what kind of man had fathered a child on his daughter. My parents' reaction to this was somewhat hysterical laughter, as we have actually met my cousin's boyfriend on several occasions, and he's a very nice guy. (He's in the Army, as well, and has been shipped out to Iraq and Afghanistan twice since he and Maya have been dating? And keeps getting told he's shipping out again, and then they don't actually ship out.) So instead of hiring a private investigator, we called my cousin to confirm that she actually is pregnant (she is), and then assured her that we were on her side and we supported her. I don't think
we actually care if she gets married or not, but he's asked her before, and now they're thinking about a courthouse wedding, with a big ceremony later. (Also, as I have mentioned, her boyfriend is Army, which means military benefits if they get married.) It was not planned, and she was on birth control, so -- an accident, but she sounds pretty happy about it.
(It also means I can start knitting baby clothes! What is the best yarn for baby clothes, o knitters?)
Huh, I should probably look up when the narniaexchange
deadline is. (I have -- thoughts. And have to do research.)
I want to bake pie. Well, crostatas. I require blackberries, although blueberries are what I am more likely to get. (Blackberry pie is my favorite! But blackberries are expensive out here, because it's too dry for them to grow. On the West Side, they are an infestation.)
I shall probably attempt to do muffins, bars, and cookies this weekend, as well, since I am baking considerably less than I usually do because of classes, so I have to make it up during the week, as we have nearly burned through the stash in the freezer.