What I’m Reading
Without giving away my A to Z theme for my secondary blog, Onomastics Outside the Box, let’s just say I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with one of my all-time favouritest books lately. Most of the names to be featured on my names blog in April come from that book. Hint: It’s a very old book, and seven days will be wildcards due to those letters not typically being found in the book’s language of origin.
What I’m Writing
Since my last WUW post, I updated my working table of contents yet again, so there are now 117 planned chapters plus the Epilogue. To my great surprise, in Chapter 112, 23-year-old Inga and six of the children in Yuriy’s family are stricken with polio during their summer holiday on Vancouver Island, in one of Canada’s worst years for polio. Inga and all three of spitfire Naina’s children spend some time in an iron lung at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, though the other three get off with non-paralytic polio. Before the ambulance arrives, Yuriy is so terrified Inga is about to die, he grabs the holy water from the ikonostasis and performs an emergency baptism.
Immediately prior to their wedding, on 13 September 1947, Inga is chrismated. (Laypeople can perform emergency baptisms, but a priest has to perform the chrismation if the person survives.) Her gradual attraction to Orthodoxy was also completely unplanned, but it just felt right, particularly since she comes to faith through a relationship with Mary. Her mother was taken to Siberia when she was twelve, and she yearns for a loving maternal figure. In particular, she’s moved by these ikons:
St. Serafim’s Tenderness Ikon, the Umileniye, before which Nicholas II and Tsaritsa Aleksandra might’ve prayed when they visited St. Serafim’s monastery in Sarov in 1903, desperately praying for a son
Theotokos of Tolga
Inga’s dark teal silk wedding dress is based on this beautiful gown, though she also tries on a red gown based on this, a malachite gown based on this, an ombre gown based on this, and a Prussian blue gown based on this. (If I ever marry against the odds, I’ll probably wear black, or at least a dark colour like purple, deep blue, or dark teal.) Underneath her gown are her new calipers. Her engagement ring looks like this peridot and sapphire ring, and her wedding ring looks something like this. To avoid crutches, she leans on Yuriy for support, and on her godmother Naina during the chrismation. However, she needs a wheelchair partway through the ceremony, and Yuriy kneels beside her. Her bridesmaids have secretly brought the wheelchair to the church and decorated it with flowers, ribbons, and streamers, since they suspected she might need it.
My goal for this week is to be up to Chapter 114, in which Dmitriy and Katya’s son is born. He’s going to look like Anastasiya, his paternal grandmother, with curly blonde hair and blue eyes, and named Rodimir (Rodik), which fittingly means “family peace.”
What Works for Me
Planning your story out exactly and never deviating takes away organic, natural development and unexpected surprises. I admit it was kind of mean for me to give sweet, innocent Inga polio after she’s already suffered so many other traumas (losing her mother and uncle, being forced to leave her grandparents during the small window of opportunity to escape the USSR during the war), but it just made for a more compelling storyline.
The night before this happened, Yuriy proposed on their fifth anniversary of having met, and she said she needed a lot of time to think about it. But after the sweet way he takes care of her that first morning, and when she’s in hospital, she realises there’s nothing to think about at all. New romantic relationship or not, they’ve been friends for five years, and it doesn’t matter she has to leave New York and resettle in Toronto.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
I made falafel patties and hummus from the Fantastic Foods mixes I got in the bulk section of The Honest Weight Food Co-Op a few weeks ago. I also got their bulk chili and burger mixes, all kosher, vegan, and on sale. My falafel is always baked in the oven and brushed with olive oil, never deep-fried in hot oil.
I’m also getting into doing my nails again, the only makeup I’ve worn regularly in years. For some reason, I suddenly have a burning desire to paint my nails bright orange.