November 9th, 2009

20111112, Marilee

Fall Down Go Boom

I was getting up from the chair after I'd taken meds last night and I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I landed on my left butt. I turned over mostly on my front and waited until my heart stopped racing, and then got up on my knees on the rug next to the bed, and pulled up. I kept moving my leg and trying to figure out what exactly I'd hurt, but by morning, it only hurt when I sat up or down. I think it's a bruise, not that I can see it. The left arm started hurting partway through the night.

I was thinking I wouldn't try getting into the van today and would get groceries on Wednesday, but even though feeding the cats made me ache, I decided to go ahead and go. First, someone with whom I volunteered on OMNI on AOL called. She'd had a massive stroke some years ago and her almost-husband left her, and now she has cancer. She's handling it very well. I told her that two people who had frequented our OMNI SF forum on AOL had stories in the current Asimov's and she was very pleased.

I went to get money, took a DVD to the post office, and then went to the grocery. I got a third off my bill with coupons and sales, which is a good thing, but I was feeling like I was going to fall down any second by the time I started out to the van. I sat in the back of the van and waited until I felt better and then drove home. I put the stuff that needed the fridge or freezer in, and went to sit in the recliner until I felt better. Then I put the rest of it away. I usually wash cat blankies on Mondays, but I think I'll do that tomorrow.
20111112, Marilee

No More Anita

Some of you probably remember me mentioning that when I see the nephrologist in Burke, she's unhappy that I eat at Anita's close to the clinic. It's New Mexican food and very good, but a lot of protein and fat. I always figure I see the nephrologist twice a year and having a meal at Anita's twice a year is not a big deal.

When we had an Anita's in Manassas (and if we still did, I'd probably eat there more often), Anita was often there and we talked twice. I'd know she was there because her Rolls Royce was outside. She was a very nice lady, and an excellent businesswoman.

Well, yesterday I turned a page in the WashPost and saw her picture. I thought "Anita!" and then realized it was an obituary. This obit was "A Local Life," where the WashPost writes a special obit for well-known people in the area. I won't see her again, but her family will continue the restaurants.
20111112, Marilee

jarrettsville by Cornelia Nixon

I'm not giving spoilers by telling you that the author, Cornelia Nixon, is a cousin thrice-removed from the protagonist. She dedicates the book to her mother who has the family name in her name, and there's material in the back that talks about it (I always read back material first).

This book is based on a real story. It starts immediately after the Civil War in a northern Maryland county that went both directions. In some families, some sons went Rebel and others went Federal. We watch Congress be rude to each other, but they don't kill each other, burn down cabins, kill horses, etc. This happened all over that area after the War.

The book is written in a number of first person sections and I expected it to be annoying, but she did it quite well.

The first few sections are people who see Martha Jane Cairnes shoot Nicholas McComas to death, verifying that she did it in cold blood. She insists on being hanged that day. The next section is long and is from Martha Jane. She was chaste, but when she met Nicholas McComas, she felt something in her heart. They become closer and closer and she starts to want sex, even though she doesn't quite recognize what she wants. During this time, the Cairnes' freed slaves leave the household because Martha Jane's mother was very rude to the mother. The adult son of the freed slaves goes to work for Nick and Nick provides a cabin for the family.

The next section is Nick and it overlaps Martha Jane's by a very short time. Nick has had a fair amount of sex and his own wandering makes him wonder about Martha Jane. She didn't scream when they finally have sex. She seemed to understand it too well. And she grew up with the freed slave that works for him. Could she have had sex with a Negro? That would be disgusting! Nick asks Martha Jane to marry him, though he keeps moving the date. He eventually moves to Pennsylvania near some Amish and runs sheep there. He comes home once and runs into Martha Jane, who insists on having sex with him. Nine months later, there's a baby. He accepts it as his, but wonders what color it is. One last time, they set up a wedding and Nick is actually just outside the window, but goes home. Martha Jane is broken and tells him that if she sees him again, she'll kill him. He comes back to the town for the Federal anniversary celebration of the end of the Civil War, she finds out, and heads to the saloon and kills him. He thinks as he dies that they'll be together in heaven forever.

The next group of sections are from her trial, a number of people in the court, and then a longer section by Martha Jane's mother. Her mother never really liked her and was furious when she had a baby before she was wed, and she was as ready for Martha Jane to hang as she was. But when she sees the very white baby boy with Nick's eyes, and how Martha Jane cares for him, she starts to change her mind. The jury comes back with a verdict, and you'll have to read the book to find out what that is.

You should read it anyway; I highly recommend it. Besides the family tree and information in the back, there's an article from the NY Times that covers the trial.

The background tells us a lot about what happened in that time and place, like a brocade drape where the story is embroidered on top, giving us depth as well as the story.