I am reading The Kite Runner, and Marian Keyes’s Watermelon. Alternating, really, a few chapters at a time, since I have been down with some little virus. Both are set in war-torn countries, both touch on religious differences that led to the violence, both are written with great attention to detail. Both are about friendships, family, love, betrayal, and self-betrayal.

Watermelon, having a female protagonist, involves birth, adultery, and cooking. The Kite Runner, with a male protagonist, involves violence, rape, and sports. The Kite Runner has won numerous prizes, while Watermelon is described as “chick lit.” Is a kite-fighting tournament really a more valid metaphor for life than cooking? Is rape more significant in the scheme of things than birth?

I had thought that Brooklyn (from Denim People) had narrow white stripes on the sleeves. It turns out that in fact the stripes are 4×4 cables. It is a common failing of 21st century knitting books that their photography is so artsy that the actual garment is a bit of a surprise. Denim People doesn’t seem too bad in that way, actually — they do show the entire garment from the front, at least, and the lighting is not so moody or the poses so contrived that a reader cannot guess the shape of the sweater. In this case, however, it has been a nice surprise. In this yarn and at this gauge, the white cables let into the blue fabric feel and look more like braid than like a sweater cable. It’s quite a nice effect. In this picture, by the way, you are seeing the cuff of the sleeve at the bottom and the beginning of the sleeve at the top.

As for me, I am feeling a little better. I can breathe, for example, which is always an improvement.  It is Labor Day, a day off. We are planning a cookout, if it does not rain, which still seems questionable at this point. If it does rain, it can be a cook in. #2 daughter’s school is in session today, as they believe that one can best celebrate the dignity of labor by doing a bit of work. Since I have been in bed with a cold all weekend, I intend to do a bit of work myself. Those of us doing the HGP are to thoroughly clean our living rooms this week. I began at the doorway yesterday morning and made it about three feet along before giving up and going back to bed, so I hope to move on from there and get a bit further today.

We all probably clean our living rooms pretty regularly, but there are always plenty of fiddly things we don’t get done. In my case, there are a couple of computer desks to sort through, and stuff like these saucers which live, with their teacups, on a shelf by the door. I don’t take them to be washed until it is brought to my attention, by which time they have become rather grubby. They were given to me by my mother, who was given them by her mother, and so forth. I will end up giving them to my daughters as well, so eventually there will be some women who have only one apiece, scattered over the future landscape.

We are also supposed to buy some extra flour and sugar for our holiday baking, and to put a meal in the freezer. I’m thinking a nice pot of lentil soup. I’ll have to rest up a bit first, though.