Sunday Six

Six sentences for Sunday, September 21:

I let her give me her news—another stroke, still small but more severe than the last one. She says hemiparesis, and apraxia, and visual field loss. She says this is very serious, that we should prepare ourselves for the likelihood that he will have another stroke, and even another, though she doesn’t say who “we” is. While she’s telling me all this, I imagine her in one of those starched-stiff nurse’s caps, white with a red cross on it, like a Halloween costume. Her nurse’s station is scattered with obscure instruments—huge hypodermic needles, surgical pliers, lengths of black rubber tubing the use of which I can’t even invent. And nearby, a cart full of vials of snake oil and pill bottles of amber and green glass, which she dispenses to patients using a giant silver spoon.

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Shoe Hack

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming of obscure fiction to share a very impressive shoe hack.
First, a little back story: As my mother will attest, shoe shopping has always been a misery for me. So when I finally found a brand and style of shoe that was perfect for me (Dr. Scholl’s Joliet, in case you’re wondering), I rejoiced. I’m talking dancing in the streets. When they finally wore out at the end of this summer, I ordered an identical pair, but even though they were the same size, they were too small. I exchanged them for a wide size, but they were still too small. I was pretty sure I was going to have to spend the rest of my life barefoot, because nothing could compare to the perfect comfort of that pair of shoes.Then I remembered that my mother had sent me a BuzzFeed list of “27 life hacks every girl should know about“, which I vaguely recalled mentioning something about a simple method for breaking in too-small shoes. Lo and behold, I managed to track it down again, and I am pleasantly surprised to say this method actually worked. I was pretty skeptical that blow drying my shoes while wearing a pair of extra-thick socks would actually make them fit better, but it definitely did. It was exactly as simple as the instructions said it would be and my shoes feel much better now. I don’t know if this would work on all kinds of shoes (mine are some kind of non-leather), and only time will tell how well this holds up, but right now I am pretty impressed, and my feet are very happy.

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“For Luck” in Underwater New York

I have a little story in the wonderful Underwater New York today.

Here’s a little excerpt to tempt you:

Drown the bird for luck, she tells me. It will keep him alive.

All right, I say.

The bird is small and yellow and white and grey, a songbird. When she puts it in my hands, I can feel its pulse shuddering against my palm. Tiny thing, I could crush it just as easily.

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Sunday Six

Six sentences for Sunday, September 14:

Never have clouds moved so slowly. I try to count the number of breaths it takes one of them to cross the lawn, but I lose count. In the whole time I’ve been watching, it’s moved only a quarter of an inch, as if it’s caught in some invisible net.

“That’s our cloud,” Albie says, pointing to the one I’ve been following. “We’ll keep it. I’ll carve our names in it, Albie and Evelyn forever.”

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Sunday Six

Six sentences for Sunday, September 7:

Soon I will have outgrown the swing. Already its wood is growing porous and soft, the varnish all peeled off. One day I will jump off it and never come back.

I’m thinking of the abandoned swing rotting away on its ropes when Albie rushes up behind me and shoves me hard. My legs lift as the swing rises, and rises, and rises. Air rushes past my ears in a two-step rhythm, one deep gasp as I go up and a sharp exhale as I lurch back. Albie’s palms press against my shoulder blades, forcing me higher and higher.

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Sunday Six

Six sentences for Sunday, August 24:

Well, here we are, she tells him.

The boy tips his head back to look up at the house, to take the whole thing in at once: the weeds growing in amongst the loose bricks of the front steps, the thorny unbloomed arbor, the windows dark amidst faded clapboard siding, once blue, now grey.

He can be happy anywhere, she reminds herself. Children are adaptable. He won’t even notice.

In the tall pine tree, or somewhere nearby, a cardinal asks, then answers its own question: Bir-dy bir-dy bir-dy? Birdy birdy birdy bird!

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Plum Syrup

Last week, my mother brought home some pretty little plums from the farmer’s market. We ate some of them, but by the end of the week, they were in danger of going bad before we’d finished them. So of course I went to Pinterest in search of plum recipes.

There were a number of promising contenders, but in the end I went with this recipe for plum syrup from Martha Stewart. The syrup itself was easy to make, and I added some ginger paste I happened to have in the fridge to kick it up a notch. The results were very sweet and subtly fruity, and the syrup is a lovely red color that turns rosy pink when poured over seltzer. While I can’t speak to how this would taste with the vodka the recipe recommends, adding a wedge of lemon really took my plum soda from good to great.

Also, the recipe recommends saving the remaining plums once you’ve strained the syrup and serving the warm fruit over ice cream. We had ours over a little vanilla ice cream and it was delicious!

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