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22 March 2013 @ 01:10 pm
three things for today  
1. I Aten't Dead. In fact, so far I have succeeded at keeping myself, Cub and Philomythulus all alive despite some severe provocation on both their parts (Cub and the nasty infection, Philomythulus and the is-this-medicine-or-sweeties fiasco, me and the ongoing question of whether high adrenalin levels can in fact cause the top of your head to blow off (the resolutions are: yay antibiotics; not sufficiently high overdose to be dangerous and get a better lock for the medicine cupboard; head still miraculously attached)). So I'm giving myself ten out of ten for parenthood.

2. The Good Wife. If you're not watching it, why not? It's the best thing I've seen on TV since The West Wing. In some ways, it's better than The West Wing, less of an overarching high-stakes plot but more thoughtful characterisation. It's been my snuggling-baby-on-the-sofa watching of choice for a while, and oh, it's so very good. I'm in season 4 now and there hasn't been a dud episode yet. For those not in the know, it is the story of Alicia Florrick, the Good Wife who stands by her disgraced husband when his legal-political career implodes in a sex and corruption scandal and he gets sent to prison. And then she has to get a job to support her teenage kids, so she goes to her ex-boyfriend's law firm and gets a job there. It's a legal, political and family drama, and the three strands of plot intertwine really well and every episode is fascinating. The characters, though, are what makes it amazing. Alicia herself is marvellous: a quiet, reserved, brilliant woman who has to deal with restarting her career when everyone she meets has heard the gory details of her cheating husband's sex life on the evening news. She's competent and she's always trying to do what is right and sometimes it kicks her in the teeth and other times she has to choose between what is right and what is necessary to survive, and figure out where her moral boundaries are. Her family are fantastic too, her husband Peter and his attempts to remake his life when he gets out of prison and her very complicated relationship with him, her children Zack and Grace and the teenage troubles they get into, her mother-in-law Jackie who meddles in her life. And then there are her co-workers and other lawyers she meets, many of them recurring characters and all of them interesting and complicated. I especially love Diane, the senior partner at the law firm, and how she kicks ass when necessary and also her taste for a bit of rough in her love-life (her relationship with the Sarah Palin fan and gun nut is hilarious and adorable). And then there's Eli Gold, her husband's political campaign manager and his Machiavellian approach to the world. And above all there's Kalinda, Alicia's closest friend at the law firm, and her shady past and her firm devotion to Alicia (yes, this show has loyalty issues AND female characters at the same time ♥). I love the show to bits.

3. I have been doing about three loads of laundry every day and also reading some Rosemary Sutcliff. That led to this ficlet, which will probably only make sense if you are both a Vorkosigan and Sutcliff fan. The world needs more Sutcliff pastiches, right?


The wilderness of native plants, red-brown and dusty by the roadside, gave way to geometric patches of Earth-green, carefully tended to provide food for animals and people, and Cordelia braced as they entered another village. The road dipped down into a hollow, and Kly leaned back in his saddle, adjusting Gregor with ease, slowing his animal yet further. Cordelia's horse slowed too as it went down the slope, and she blinked in surprise. At the bottom of the hollow was a creek, and it ran right over the track they were following. Around the edges the track was churned up into mud, but there were footprints and hoofmarks on both sides, and as she approached she saw that the water was shallow, barely hoof-deep for the horses. Bothari frowned at it, his urban upbringing making him as doubtful of this arrangement as she was, but rode for it. Kly turned his horse a little sideways and let it stretch its head down to the water upstream to drink, and Cordelia and Bothari joined him. He nodded to them, not speaking because Gregor was asleep, and Cordelia leaned back in the saddle and looked around at the Barrayaran landscape. There were low patches of a reddish native plantby the waterside, all twisted stems and flat leaves like saucers, and taller bushes with branches spreading wide. Cordelia looked again, and realised that draped across the branches were not leaves, but clothing hung to drip-dry, and there was a black-gowned woman standing in the cold water, bent over something. Fishing? No--the woman straightened, and Cordelia saw that she was washing clothes in the stream. She lifted the garment she was washing, and it hung dripping down across her bare arm, a pale grey dress oddly ornate and elegant for this backcountry village, stained reddish-brown across the front. Cordelia stared at it for a moment, and the woman bent over her task again, pounding the cloth against a rock.

Kly the Mail looked up at her too, and an odd expression crossed his face. "Come on," he said, gathering up his reins quickly, and his horse splashed across the ford and began to climb back up the hill to the village. Cordelia and Bothari followed, and when Cordelia looked back down at the ford, the woman was gone. It wasn't until they were well past the village and climbing up the pass beyond that she remembered the last time she'd seen a dress like that, when she'd first met Princess Kareen.


And you can all be grateful to Cub for waking up and crying before I could type up the urban version starring Lady Alys and a Vorbarr Sultana laundromat.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/100207.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
avanti_90: pic#118558189avanti_90 on March 22nd, 2013 01:23 pm (UTC)
Never read Sutcliff, but I'm very happy to see you (and your journal) aren't dead!
philomytha: Beam me upphilomytha on March 24th, 2013 06:11 am (UTC)
So far, so good.
bagfish: Bagfishbagfish on March 23rd, 2013 12:49 am (UTC)
Nice, it really captures the feeling of being within the landscape that Rosemary Sutcliff was so good at as well as the ghost story/premonition type feeling too. I devoured Sutcliffe as a teen in the 1980s and I was lucky enough to be taken on a tour of Roman sites in England and Scotland by my Dad the summer I read Eagle of the Ninth.

Edited at 2013-03-23 12:51 am (UTC)
philomytha: Beam me upphilomytha on March 24th, 2013 06:16 am (UTC)
I'm glad it worked for you! We were up on Hadrian's wall two years ago, and I'd forgotten how well preserved some bits of it are, you really can travel back in time there.
shimotsuki: booksshimotsuki on March 24th, 2013 03:10 am (UTC)
Glad to see you're here and things are going reasonably well!

The Good Wife sounds interesting. Will be sure to add it to the (sadly, long and increasing, because I don't watch much) list.

Don't actually know Sutcliffe, but loved the description of the landscape...and the macabre twist.
philomytha: Beam me upphilomytha on March 24th, 2013 06:18 am (UTC)
Thanks! Sutcliff does lots of long nature descriptions and has a habit of having characters meet the washer by the ford before battles, and I couldn't resist :-).
katyhasclogs: Clogkatyhasclogs on March 24th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
the ongoing question of whether high adrenalin levels can in fact cause the top of your head to blow off

I know I shouldn't laugh, because that all sounds very stressful, but that's such an image.

I've heard a lot of praise for The Good Wife but have always been put off by the title. Anyway, you inspired me to give it a go and I am so glad I did - just watched 4 episodes in a row, on top of the one last night.

Finally, I'm another person who doesn't know Sutcliff at all, but I still very much enjoyed the ficlet. :)
philomytha: Beam me upphilomytha on March 24th, 2013 10:05 pm (UTC)
It's felt like a real possibility a few times when the baby is howling and the boy is kicking off and we all have to get out the door in the next five minutes ;-).

And I was put off by the title of The Good Wife too. I'm glad I was able to persuade you to give it a go.
sheffsficsheffsfic on April 11th, 2013 04:12 pm (UTC)
...and now of course I really want to read the Tale of Alys and the Vorbar Sultana Laundromat