Candy's Furniture Repair Shop
I wouldn't exactly call furniture restoration one of my "hobbies," because people are supposed to enjoy their hobbies and I don't actually like working on furniture. It's too nerve wracking; something can always go suddenly, horribly wrong--and frequently does.
But I still seem to find myself doing an awful lot of it. It all started after Katrina, when I had a house full of lovely, ruined old furniture and quickly realized that our flood insurance was not going to begin to stretch to get it all professionally put to rights. Fortunately, we had a friend who worked restoring furniture for area museums and plantations, and he walked through the house with me, telling me what to do--or at least try--with each item (he also told me to just "throw away" one of my favorite pieces, but I didn't listen to that part). The fact that everything was already essentially destroyed gave me the courage to forge ahead. But once it was all finished, I put away my hide glue pot and shellac flakes and artists colors (I quickly realized I needed to mix my own stains) with a sigh of relief and said, "Never again."
Then my younger daughter moved into an apartment and thought that old map case we had in the storeroom would make a nice coffee table....
She also took the hutch that was in the spare bedroom, which meant I had to fix up my dad's old gun cabinet and fit it out with shelves to take its place.
Now my older daughter is moving off to Texas with a few items that really could use some tender loving care before she leaves.
My partner in all this is Steve, who very obligingly routs missing pieces of trim and cuts shelves and translates my sketches for coffee table legs into reality and does all sorts of other things that are utterly beyond me, and with nary a complaint. But I swear, when this round is all over, I am quitting. I really am. Once I fix up that old cedar chest....
Favorite Children's Mysteries
My all-time, hands-down favorite mystery story as a child was this one:
Originally written in French by Paul Berna, it's about a gang of poor French street urchins who get tangled up in a dangerous heist. I read this book over and over again, for years. I also read Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drew and The Bobbsey Twins, but they were never in quite the same league as The Horse Without a Head
Another favorite was Emile and the Detectives.
I don't know what it says about me, but this one was originally written in German. It was, to quote Wiki, "the only one of [Kastner's] pre-1945 works to escape Nazi censorship... The most unusual aspect of the novel, compared to existing children's literature at the time, was that it was realistically set in a contemporary Berlin peopled with some fairly rough characters, not in a sanitized fantasy world; also that it refrained from obvious moralizing, letting the characters' deeds speak for themselves."
So, what was your favorite mystery as a kid?
And H/T to my friend Laura Joh Rowland
, whose recent Facebook post inspired this journey down memory lane. Her favorite as a child was Mystery of the Green Cat,
by Phyllis Whitney. Somehow I missed that one.
A Huge Improvement
The new, revised cover for Why Kings Confess
landed in my email inbox this morning, and while I'm not allowed to post it online yet, I can tell you it's a huge, HUGE improvement!
I am extremely grateful to all the folks at NAL who listened to my complaints and tried so hard to come up with something not just better, but extraordinary. I'm anxious to hear everyone's reactions to it once all the legalities are in place and I'm given the go-ahead to show it.
Of course, since y'all will never be able to see the original, you won't be able to appreciate just how much better this one is. But whereas, before, I wanted to weep, I'm now almost giddy.
And if you're wondering why there's a turtle at the top of this post, it's because I spotted him in my garden yesterday, just ambling along enjoying himself.
A Rose Named St. Cyr
Last summer, I decided that I could not--positively could not--acquire any more roses; my yard is full, full, full. Except, how could I resist a rose named St. Cyr?
It's a Pierre de St. Cyr, and dates back to 1838. A Bourbon bred by Plantier, it's deliciously fragrant and is said to grow only 3-5 feet high, although roses in New Orleans can often reach heights unheard of in other places (which is why it's still in a pot, while I learn its habits). I snapped these pictures with my phone about a month ago, the first time it bloomed for me; it's now doubled in size and is covered with blossoms, but it's pouring outside today, so the old photos will have to do.
Of course, since I bought a rose for its name, I couldn't really complain when Steve bought a White Pearl in Red Dragon's Mouth, simply because he was so taken with the name. Which just goes to show that roses, like books, can sell on the bases of their names/titles alone.
Labels: pierre de st cyr rose
Pomp, Circumstance, and a Promotion
I'm afraid I haven't managed to get much writing done this week. Wednesday was the medical school's awards assembly and hooding, and then, yesterday, my daughter and her husband officially became doctors.
Since my daughter is also in the Air Force, today she officially went on active duty and was promoted to captain, with Steve and her husband pinning on her captain's bars.
And yes, her mother is very, very proud of her.