My Year of Binchy: Week 4

Welp, I thought I’d be able to get back to my outside cozy reading, but it’s still just under freezing and kind of windy. The below-freezing temps, I can work around. It’s the wind that’s keeping me inside.

Also, I am having a period from hell and I simply do not wish to wear pants. I know I talk about this a lot, but there is a reason. No one warned me about this part of being a woman. Menopause was talked about in hushed whispers and code words. “The change”! Like it is something that happens abruptly, overnight.

And not something that slowly gets increasingly worse every month, with a brain so mean and hips so hurty, those are now the main predictors of an upcoming period. Because schedule? That’s out the window for me now. I know to prepare myself when my brain starts thinking every thing I do is trash and my OCD feels out of control. I’ve had 15 day cycles sometimes; others it’ll be nearly 50 days between periods.

I’m autistic, so your girl appreciates a regular schedule. This is making my brain feel even more screwy. Okay, that’s enough period chat for now. I’m sure my out of control emotions are gonna make reading fun today. =)

Monday, January 22
  • Book: “Light a Penny Candle”
  • Chapters: 6 & 7
  • Location: front room, because I am too hurty to put on pants
  • Smoking: Not a dang thing
  • Playlist: “The Leftovers 1+2+3”, getting back to Jacki basics
  • Did I cry? Nope

I’m starting ‘Part Two’ today, which consists of the years 1945 – 1954.

The War is over!!! Elizabeth is coming home. This should be interesting. Her mom has changed, she has changed. And who knows what even happened to her dad? Let’s see where this goes.

So I think one of the reasons the wartime didn’t make much of an impact on my brain all these other times I’ve read this, is because the descriptions of war things are all very visual. Seeing (ha!) as I have aphantasia and cannot create or “see” images in my mind, I can see how my brain just considered entire paragraphs unimportant.

This time, I’m savoring those paragraphs and really putting myself into Elizabeth’s shoes. Thinking how it must have felt for her to go back to “Odd, awkward-looking bits jutted up, doorways remained standing in isolation.” where once had been familiar businesses and homes. How harrowing that must have been, particularly next to her mother’s almost cavalier treatment of it all.

I mean, of course it was cavalier, though. She’d been living inside the horror of it for years and this was better to her.

Okay, I’m just over a quarter of the way done with this book, and it just feels so comfortable.

I had a passing thought that I’d made it a point to read more Binchy while actively parenting. I think it would have made me a better parent. (Let’s be real here, lots of things would.)

Saturday, January 27
  • Book: “Light a Penny Candle
  • Chapters: 8
  • Location: Front porch, with twinkle lights, 39 degrees
  • Smoking: King Kong ($35 an oz from Herbology, just down the street)
  • Playlist: “For All Mankind: Official Playlist”
  • Did I cry? Yes, when one of the moms was being genuinely nice to her daughter. Like, encouraging, supportive and loving, praising, not criticizing her appearance. It was lovely. And I guess I was jealous.

I am baking cupcakes and doing laundry as I read tonight (classic multi-tasker, amirite?) and am SO HAPPY TO BE BACK ON THE PORCH. My face is smiley, my speaker is blasting and I’m wholly gonna sing along at full volume if “One More for the Road” comes on.

Let’s see what the girls are up to!!!!

Okay, welp, in this chapter we had our first sex scene! And it was a sneaky one that almost didn’t happen until right at the end of the chapter. What drama!

Both girls are out of school and have moved on to college and the work world. Both still live at home.

I didn’t have any big feels aside from the above mentioned crying part, but I loved spending time with these two, and getting to know the two others who methinks might be their romance counterparts. I’m excited to see what happens. Which one gets the cheating storyline and which one gets the surprise pregnancy storyline.

The latter storyline is probably one of the main reasons I took to Maeve Binchy as hard as I did. The first time I read her I was a 17 year old, fresh out of high school with a baby who randomly popped out one day, with no previous clues or symptoms. There’s a lot of unplanned babies in Binchy.

Previously, I would just laugh off this surprise child (who is an awesome and amazing adult nowadays, by the way.) as “a thing that happened”, but I’ve really been working through it as the trauma that it was. I should have talked to someone back then, but I already had one stigma (the baby), god forbid I have another (visiting a mental health professional).

Not to mention going back to school less than a week after having her, a fake appendix scar affixed to my stomach to explain my multiple day absence so close to the end of the year.

I still have my appendix, btw. I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings. Now I’m gonna go make cupcakes and watch the Rumble Rumble.

p.s. the song “I just want to celebrate!” came on and it is the literal only moment of ‘For All Mankind’ where I don’t actively hate Ed Bradley. Fuck Space Grandpa. But not in the fun way. So, I took some time to enjoy that moment and that song.

Sunday, January 28
  • Book: “Light a Penny Candle
  • Chapters: 9
  • Location: Front porch, with twinkle lights, 38 degrees, but windy enough to feel like it is 30
  • Smoking: Chiesel, in the bowl of Sharpie ButtsALot
  • Playlist: “For All Mankind: Official Playlist”
  • Did I cry? Naw, dawg

I had to come inside midway through because I got too cold. There is something different about the wet cold vs the dryer cold we had before. I’m glad I got to be out there at all though!

Well, the drama has risen so much that Elizabeth has sent 4 5 pound notes in an envelope to Aisling with a request to visit immediately. Also, Elizabeth’s dad is just a stick in the mud that takes offense AND defense somehow on every single matter. His 50th birthday is coming up and Elizabeth finds it too sad to bear just the two of them. So Aisling to the rescue! That means my next chapter is probably a reunion!

Elizabeth does so many things out of a sense of obligation or because she feels these are the things she needs to do to keep the man she loves. This makes me sad. Even sadder are the times she stands up for herself or sets a boundary, she is either given anger or disappointment in return. Then she puts on a happy face as to not cause any drama and the cycle begins again.

And if that doesn’t feel familiar to the bulk of my pre-therapy life, I don’t know what else does.

That is the dumbest end to a sentence I feel like I have ever written but I don’t know how else to end it.

ok bye.

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