Settling in

by Sunita

SF bay, southern section, looking east

We have arrived at our Left Coast location for the summer. The dogs are recovering. As usual, when we got within sight and smell of the San Francisco Bay, the two Olds perked up and started paying attention. JimiArthur in particular stuck his head out the window in the stop-and-go traffic through Berkeley. JA hates, hates, hates being in the car, so when he gets close to home he wants to jump out. This year he climbed onto the console between the front seats, shaking and panting, and he wouldn’t go back. So I dragged him onto my lap, all 40+ pounds and 2 1/2 feet of him, and let him pant on me for the last 40 miles.

Once we pulled up in our driveway he hopped out, waited for us to open the front door, and recovered his equilibrium. The other two dogs followed suit more calmly, reconnoitering the house and making sure there was nothing lurking in the corners.

As you can see from the photo, we’re in that lovely weather pattern where we have morning fog/clouds followed by afternoon sun with a breeze. It’s the best.

I didn’t do morning pages on our driving days, so I missed four straight days. It felt weird not to write them, but I was putting together the Deals posts for Dear Author so my early mornings were busy. And frankly, when you’re sitting in the car all day, either as a driver or passenger, there’s not a lot you need to clear your head for. I started up again the first morning here, and they are helping to structure the transition to the summer routine.

We listened to about three-quarters of Career of Evil, the latest Robert Galbraith installment, on the drive. I like the storyline and I haven’t figured out whodunit yet, but it seems like it’s more detailed and longer than it needs to be. So much description. And the structure, while it’s effective in keeping all the suspects in play, winds up being a bit repetitive.

I also have really mixed feelings about Robin’s storyline. On the one hand I’m glad that she is getting stronger and more confident in her job. On the other, did she have to have that backstory? As if she couldn’t have been just as invested, empathetic, etc. without it? The other thing that frustrates me about her characterization and storyline is that she winds up doing so much reacting. Strike and Matthew make moves, and then she responds. Even the motivating act, where she gets the horrible box, is from someone else. I would really like to see her get to take the initiative for once.

And please, please, can we not have a Strike-Robin romance building. I’m hoping that JKR is just keeping all the options open to maintain suspense and tension, but I don’t like the way it’s going. One thing I loved about the first book was that Robin and Strike have a professional relationship, and the way that has developed has been really satisfying. Let’s not muddy it up with non-professional feelings.

In other reading, there hasn’t been much (see above: driving 2100 miles leaves little time for reading). I’ve read a few chapters of Simon Brett’s Mrs. Pargeter’s Pound of Flesh, which I’m enjoying.

I got a little knitting done on the road, on the green cardigan. I’m almost done with the back, after which I pick up the parked stitches for the rest of the right and left sides. Then I’ll be marooned on Sleeve Island for a while. Once I have something more than a shapeless mass stuck with stitch holders, I’ll post some photos.