Dream Motif: Aquariums

I don’t know why I dream about aquariums so often. Do I feel trapped? Is it a play on Evelyn describing my pharmacy as a fishbowl? Am I missing having something to take care of since Alex grew up?

Last night, I dreamed that something terrible was happening to our house (and also that we were all due to meet the Queen of England) and so I ran back into the house for my books and a selection of dresses that might be suitable for meeting the Queen. Someone, maybe Alex, asked about my fish, and I remembered that I had to get them, too. The aquarium was too heavy to lift, so we had to move the fish into other containers and we had to drain off some of the water. Interesting to me, though, we didn’t drain it entirely, because I knew, even in my dreams, that putting fish directly into a brand-new tank of water is bad for them.

I can kind of find where this came from, probably. Two houses on one of my coworker’s street have been razed and are being replaced by mansions too big for their lots. And basically everyone who has a house in my pharmacy is being pestered by developers to sell their houses.

Now, I never wanted a house and a house will be a bad choice for me long-term, but I love my house and having it razed and replaced by a McMansion? Not the stuff of pleasant dreams.

I never did find a suitable dress to meet the Queen. I was considering the dress I wore to my friend Mary’s wedding but never made a final decision.

Other aquarium dreams include being criticized by some stranger for the way I attempted to grow plants in my aquarium, having an aquarium that somehow had two levels to it, going back to college where, somehow, I ended up in charge of the aquarium in some kind of fish-based laboratory, and spending a lot of time looking at fish tanks at the zoo.

Dream Journal 4/24/2021

So. I’ve been cleaning and now I have a headache. Let’s see how much writing I can do before I have to go hide in a dark room. I told this all to Evelyn to cement it in my mind so that I can remember it now.

Just as a little background, Jenny Lawson, writer of books like Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, lives in San Antonio. She owns the Nowhere Bookshop bookstore in a kind of suburb of San Antonio called Alamo Heights (it’s its own town, but if you address things with “San Antonio” as the address it will reach it’s destination). Because of COVID, the bookstore has never been open to the public. They do curbside pickup and mail order and, of course, there’s the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club, which supports the bookstore.

Anyway, it’s Independent Bookseller’s Day today and to celebrate they were having a sidewalk sale, and Evelyn and I were going. I’m 95% certain this is what inspired these dreams.

First off, I was in a restaurant sitting at a table deciding what to order, when I noticed a coworker sitting at a bar. She had a cup of, like, espresso in front of her, but she said she wanted a full-sized cup of coffee.

I saw that the pot (which was one of those little moka pots they use to make stovetop espresso) still had coffee in it, so I gave her a full-sized cup of that and went in search of things to make another pot. I went to the end of the counter, where the singer J. Balvin was sitting and asked him where the measuring spoons were and he informed me that the Spanish word for measuring spoon was “culebra.” I made a little serpentine wave with my arm and asked, “┬┐Culebra?”*

He was kind of like, “Don’t ask me, I don’t make the rules.”

As I went back to my table, I realized that Balvin had just written a book and that I could have it autographed while he was here. I asked the guy who owned the restaurant if they would hold my table while I ran out to buy a copy.

He pointed to the line at the host’s table and said that the rush was about to start and that if I wasn’t back by then, he’d give my table away.

So I promised that if I couldn’t see a copy from the front door of the bookstore, I’d come right back.

After hurrying as fast as I could with my path being blocked by a large woman who looked like my Aunt Georgia from behind, I reached the bookstore and the entrance was now a sitting area and you can’t see any books from the door.

Later, I had another dream related to Nowhere Bookshop even more directly. I dreamed that Jenny Lawson herself was moving to my neighborhood, only it wasn’t where I’m living now, it was where I was living when I was a teenager. In real life, there is an empty lot at the end of the street but in my dream it was a marshland with a little grotto with a tiny waterfall there. I was admiring the waterfall when Jenny walked up to me.

I didn’t want to fangirl all over her, so I introduced myself, said hello and then took off.

So, as it turned out, the sidewalk sale turned into a “come-in-and-browse” sale and, instead of maybe seeing Jenny through the window, as I had expected, she was actually in the store and was talking to people. And I got to meet her. I told her about my dream, by way of offering to leave her alone, but she seemed approachable and friendly and I’m still fangirling, nearly 12 hours later.

Book Series I’ve Loved: The Chronicles of Narnia

I try not to spoil too much here, but I do spoil The Last Battle pretty well, so I’ll try to mark the spoiler area somehow in the post.

The first two chapters of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe* were in my fifth grade reading textbook. I was reading ahead in the book because “bring an outside book to keep you entertained during downtime” wasn’t really a thing when I found them.

They were way back in the back of the book, and I had little hope that we would ever get there.** So pretty much every time I had a chance to sneak a peek at that section of the book, I would do so.

I didn’t realize that some of what we read was excerpts from longer works, so when a story just kind of stopped, it was pretty normal to me. We did make it to those chapters, though, and my teacher told us that this was part of the book, which was part of the series. The next time my mom and I went to the library, I picked up the entire book, which led to me getting the next book, and the next, until I finished the series.

I checked them out over and over, until finally my mom bought the books for me in paperback. I still have them. I cannot get to them right now, though, because Alex’s bar stools are in the way.

If you’re one of the three people in the English-speaking world who has never heard of the Chronicles of Narnia (though there are probably more in non-English-speaking countries), here’s a basic rundown of the plot.

Should I do this in book order or in plot order? Can I somehow hybridize the two?

The flagship book in the series is the above-mentioned The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This is the story of the Pevensie kids, particularly the youngest child, Lucy, who are sent away into the countryside to the home of a family friend, Professor Kirke, during the London Blitz during World War II.

During a game of hide-and-seek, Lucy hides in a wardrobe. The wardrobe is roomier than she’d expect. It’s full of fur coats which, as she walks farther into the wardrobe, eventually become (may C.S. Lewis forgive me the inaccuracy and the pun) fir trees. She emerges into a clearing in a snowy winter forest with an old-fashioned lamp post in the center. There she meets a faun named Tumnus, and he takes her home for tea.

When she returns hours later, only a few minutes has passed for her siblings and they don’t believe her. Eventually they do, and they end up going on a quest to save Edmund, the younger of the two boys.

The book ends with the crucifixion and resurrection of the lion Aslan, which kind of shocked me when I first read it. I thought that Lewis was mocking the death and resurrection of Jesus. It didn’t stop me from loving the series, but still.

Now, let’s do this chronologically. My series of books is in the order in which the books were written, but nowadays they sell them in chronological order.

The series tracks the entire existence of the land of Narnia. I guess that entire plane of existence, really, since there are other countries than Narnia.

We begin with The Magician’s Nephew, in which a preteen named Digory Kirke*** is living with his uncle, who has made pairs of magical rings that will allow one to travel between worlds. Digory and his friend Polly end up traveling from world to world, where they watch Aslan create Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe comes next, and the following book, The Horse and His Boy, takes place during the events of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Then there are three more books, which chart the family of Caspian, a prince of Narnia, and their interactions with the Pevensies and their cousin Eustace.

The final book in the series, The Last Battle, caps the series with the destruction of Narnia. The Last Battle is pretty controversial for several reasons.

It has a rather interesting take on the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Aslan allows non-believers into heaven based on their acts rather than their beliefs. That’s the Sheep and the Goats right there, but I know more than one Christian who is horrified by the thought.

Spoilers ahead! Awoogah! Awoogah!

Then there’s Susan. I may end up breaking this off into its own post if I end up going on too long on this.

The Pevensie kids, Professor Kirke, Polly, Eustace, and Jill are waiting on a train platform and the train somehow collides with the platform. They go to heaven, where they are joined by the Pevensie kids’ parents. Susan, who has become a pretty typical young adult, with interests in fashion and dating, is not there.

Some people take the parents’ presence as proof that we’re in the human end-time as well or something and that Susan went to hell. Further, since Polly and Professor Kirke speak disdainfully of Susan’s interest in fashion (which is likely CS Lewis’s own opinion — I never said there was no misogyny in his work, just that Susan doesn’t go to hell for it), fashion and boys must be the reason that she went to hell.

But Susan isn’t dead. The Pevensie kids’ parents were on the train. They all died at roughly the same time.

If Susan isn’t allowed into heaven, it’s not because of boys and makeup. It’s because she no longer believes. Lucy had said something to Susan about Aslan or Narnia and Susan said that she remembered that fun game they played when they were kids. So, yeah, she’s lost her faith.

Of course, even that’s no guarantee that she won’t go to heaven because of the Sheep and Goats part. Even without faith in Aslan, if you feed the hungry, house the homeless, heal the sick, etc., you still can get into heaven. It works for Emeth in The Last Battle, after all.

Though I do feel very sorry for Susan. She lost her entire family — parents, siblings, even her cousin Eustace and the beloved family friend Professor Kirke, all in one shot. I cannot imagine how devastated she must have been. I hope she had good friends to support her through that time of difficulty.

I do have some criticisms of the books. There is definitely some Islamophobia in there with the Narnians’ enemies the Calormen, who come across as Muslims were portrayed in the Crusades. I think he rethought some of this, though, because in The Last Battle, we see Tash (the Calormene god), who is more Hindu diety-esque (not an improvement) than a stand-in for Allah.

There’s also the sexism inherent in the portrayal of Susan, which I noted above. As a person on the ace spectrum who isn’t very into makeup and things (I love to wear dresses because they make it so easy to be comfortable and still kind of fashionable), I found Lucy’s refusal to go that direction to be a comfort, but I totally can see how someone on the allo, fashion and makeup end would find the portrayal of Susan to be offputting.

*there is no Oxford Comma in this title, which is odd, because Lewis attended Oxford. I’m just kidding. Probably.

** I stopped in the middle of this sentence to see if I maybe had a solution to my ongoing desire to show how I edit as I write using Word’s “track changes” feature. It didn’t work the first time I tried, so I’m going to research it and come back to it later. For now, writing.

*** Notice the last name? Yep. He’s the professor from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Dream Journal 7/31/21


So, I’ve been fighting a headache today, so I decided to take a nap.

Okay, more than that has been going on today. Alex borrowed my car to rescue a friend who was stranded in Waco and on the way home, he had a blowout.

So, I got up as early as I could stand to and took my car in for new tires. I decided to get all new tires, rather than just the one, because I figured that the blowout probably was a freak accident, but I want to take my car on actual road trips, so I upgraded all of them.

After dropping my car off at the shop, *that* is when I had the headache and took the nap.

I started out my dream working as a paralegal and our client was named Jennifer and had the same last name as my cousin. I was told that I’d have to withdraw from the case because she *was* my cousin. Only, my cousin’s related to me through our moms’ side of the family, so we have no blood relations with that last name.

At some point in the dream, her last name changed to my maternal grandmother’s maiden name and, well, I do have a cousin named Jennifer with that surname. Two of them, in fact. Well, I only have one, the other died of a drug overdose years ago. In my dream, I just had the one and that was the one that died of a drug overdose.

The attorney who told me that it would be a conflict of interest to help my cousin told me that she wasn’t *that* cousin Jennifer but a completely different one who is way farther apart on the family tree. He said that my boss could show me the family tree and I could see what he means.

So I went to my boss (who passed away about the same time my mom did), and told him that I couldn’t work on that case anymore and he said that they’d find a new case for me to work on. He couldn’t find the family tree when I asked him for it.

At this point, I said that I knew this had to be a dream, not because my boss is dead, but because I couldn’t remember anything about this job prior to that conversation about my cousin Jennifer.

I’m not sure if there was a transition or anything, but somehow I was going to a concert with a coworker and realized that Deimos (my cat) was in the car with us. There was no time to go home and I could neither take him to the concert nor leave him in the car, so we went to her house to leave him there. Somehow we were unable to leave through the front door, so I went through a sort of tunnel to get to their back door, which was locked and the door had a combination lock. So my coworker had to come and open the door, and she didn’t have to go through the tunnels.

I got upset with her for lying to me about having to go through the tunnels and left for the concert by myself. There’d been a third coworker (who looked like the singer J. Balvin?) in the car with us and my coworker had left him behind because he took too long getting into the car after stopping to talk to a friend.

I got into contact with him somehow, but I never made it to the concert, because I was apparently getting married.

My fiance had a boisterous apparently warm family but the longer I spent with them, the more dysfunctional they appeared. I was at this point being pursued romantically by the real J. Balvin who in my dream had been a dermatologist before becoming a singer.

That realization is why I decided to leave my fiance and give J. Balvin a chance. I have mild eczema and I realized that I could have access to the latest research on eczema.

This dream was, at least in part, brought to you by 23 and Me, because I have opted into research and I did an eczema survey last night.

For today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link, um, well . . . Ooh! Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh! Imagine me dancing badly.

There’ve been three books that I’ve waited for for years, and so far, this is the only one that I’ve been able to hold in my hands. And it was *so* worth the wait!

For those unfamiliar with Allie Brosh, she wrote a web cartoon that is a masterful combination of poignancy and laugh-out-loud humor, Hyperbole and a Half, for a long time, and her two books, this and her other book, also titled Hyperbole and a Half, are more of the same. Awesome, amazing, just all-around fantastic.

And someday, maybe, I will be able to hold the other two books in my hands and bring you reviews of them, as well. Hopefully.

This Week Has Been a Health Adventure

Actually, July has been a health and fitness adventure. Hopefully the fitness part will be a good thing in the long run, but for now, let’s just call it an adventure.

At the end of June, I decided to sign up for Wally World’s gym membership program. One of the gyms in this program is literally down the street from here. I can walk there from my house.

So I went and introduced myself to the manager/trainer and was actually starting to get the hang of going in and working out a bit.

Then I decided to get rid of the ugly volunteer pecan tree in my front yard. For those unaware of the term “volunteer” plant, this means that it grew unplanted by human hands. I’m pretty sure it was planted by a squirrel.

I left it for a while, wondering if it was ever going to become actually attractive, but it just stayed awful looking and started to kill the plants that were growing beneath it.

So, a week ago, I broke down and cut it down. This used a whole bunch of muscles that I’m not used to using, even in my fledgling workout schedule. Or so I thought.

Turns out I actually injured myself a bit. On Sunday, I went to work and whenever I had to sit down, like to take something off of a bottom shelf, I had just an awful pain in my back, and towards the end of the day, I coughed and gave myself a stabbing headache.

So, I rested on Monday and tried again on Tuesday, and found that my back still killed me when I bent over or sat down. So I called my telemedicine company and got a prescription for a muscle relaxant.

Both the doctor and my pharmacist said that the medicine would make me sleepy, so I should take it at night before bed. I was in such a hurry to get some relief, I took it at 9:30 that night and promptly discovered that I’m one of the minority of patients who get insomnia from this medication. I was up until the medicine wore off at 3:30 in the morning and then I was called in early on Wednesday.

I worked the early shift on Thursday, also, which did give me a chance to take the relaxant three times in one day. I tried to go to sleep an hour before the relaxant wears off, but just lay there awake, which is how I came to be posting this now. I still have half an hour before it wears off.

The good thing is that my back feels much, much better, even when I’m sleeping. It doesn’t hurt to sit down, and I may go back to my gym early next week. I’m afraid to go right now, since, well, my back.

My next relaxant dose will be at 9:30 in the morning, then 3:30 in the afternoon, then we’ll see how I feel about trying another one at 9:30 at night.

Time for a Gratuitous Amazon Link. Today we have Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This is one of my favorite selections from the book club I joined last year. Our heroine, Noemi, gets a letter from her cousin begging her to come to where the cousin is living with her new husband to save her from some unspecified danger.

Mexican Gothic is based on the old formula for gothic novels from back in the day. Young woman moves to creepy old building, meets two men of near her own age, one of whom turns out to be creepy and dangerous and one is helpful, and the heroine has to sort out what’s going on with the house and which of the two men is really the dangerous one.

This is one of my favorite stories and I’ve taken a couple of stabs at writing gothic novels myself. Maybe I’ll dig one of those old manuscripts out and work on it for a while. Later. My typing has been going steadily downhill this whole time and I don’t think I can cope with it much longer.

Dream Journal June 26, 2021

Yeah, I waited a couple of days for this one. I don’t know. Let’s see what I can remember.

A lot of my dreams involve driving. Fortunately, the recurring dream about having my car stolen has passed. Finally, every night when I went to bed, I told myself that I would take out the spark plugs when I parked the car in my dreams, and the dreams stopped.

Alex asked me how I was taking the spark plugs out, like I have any clue how to do that. I was, like, “I don’t know. I guess that my dream-self knows more about cars than I do, maybe?”

There was definitely some driving in this dream, but it was more about the construction of a superhighway in the 1800s. They didn’t have the steamrollers and things that we have now, so whole families were out their in their 1800s garb leveling the ground and putting down pavement and things.

At some point, we went into someone’s apartment. Maybe the grandparent of one of the families? The apartment was *tiny*, like the size of my breakfast nook (where I’m typing this), which is maybe 60 or 70 square feet. I found myself wondering if I could live in this size of an apartment, because I’ll never be able to afford anything much larger on my own.

Now for the inspirations for this dream. The tiny apartment probably came from Saturday night, when Evelyn and I were at the Pearl, a multi-use development just north of downtown. We’d been walking on the Riverwalk and it’d been wonderful as long as there was a breeze, but we’d been walking in an area with still air for a while.

Then we turned a corner and walked along the side of an apartment building and there was just the most delicious breeze. Well, not quite like The Seven-Year Itch,* where it blew up our skirts. First, we weren’t wearing skirts, and secondly, the breeze went the wrong way for that. But it was lovely.

So I promised Evelyn that when I moved to the Pearl (where I intend to get a tee-ninesy apartment someday) I would get one of the big apartments along that side of the building and she could come over and we’d sit on the balcony and enjoy the breeze. Because if you’re going to dream, might as well dream big.

The 1800s people building a superhighway probably was inspired by the Warren Jeffs episode of Fundie Fridays on YouTube. In this video, we watch children of Jeffs’s followers picking pecans on a school day, which is in violation of child labor laws.

My maternal grandfather dropped out of school when he was, like, 12, I think? It was before child labor laws, so I think my subconscious just did a time swap there.

I’m not sure why they were building a superhighway, though.

*Non-Gratuitous Amazon Link!

It’s Italian!

Or, it will be in another hour.

Now, for an explanation of that title. “It’s Italian!” was the name of the Italian restaurant at the old State Street Marshall Field’s store. It always sounded like the title of a Monty Python skit. Maybe a racist one. Maybe something excruciatingly erudite about Dante or Renaissance art. Maybe both.

At any rate, I’ve finished my two months of German and am moving on to my two months of Italian. I’m also working part-time on Vietnamese, because I’ve decided once and for all that that will be my fifth non-English language. I changed “foreign” to “non-English” because, well, Hawaiian* is definitely on my list and I’d love to learn Cherokee, at the very least, since I love visiting the Smoky Mountains and there is a sizeable community of Cherokee people there.

I have my Italian book lined up. Or, well, books, since it’s the entire Kane Chronicles trilogy** by Rick Ri0rdan. I’m going to change my phone over to Italian before I go to bed (which will be any minute now), since I’m so close to June now.

Should I try the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word goal for June? I guess I’ll see when I get there. In 48 minutes.

*I know there’s an apostrophe in “Hawai’i.” Is that apostrophe also there in “Hawaiian”?

**Amazon Link!

Dream Journal, 5/27/2021

I know, it’s taken me a while to write this down. I told it to a coworker, though, so I would remember it enough to journal about it, though.

In this dream I had the very eerie experience in my dream of being both a character in a book and the reader of that book.

The dream starts when I’m talking to a group of Native American young adults. I’ve done some kind of service for their community and they’ve awarded me a certificate that says that if I learn Ojibwe, their tribe will basically adopt me.

I was very touched and kind of puddled up over it.

Later I was talking with one of them and he admitted that they made the offer because I wasn’t connected with Native American culture, and they saw my DNA results, which indicated that I’m 97% Native American.* I remembered that DNA test, in my dream, which said that I was in fact 0.97% Native American.

So I debated with myself over which would be worse, to own up to not being Native American or to go along with it and hope no one ever realized that I was a Czech-American lady.

I opted to own up to it and told him that there was, in fact, a decimal point before that 97. He was shocked but said that he’d talk to the others about it and they’d decide what to do about this situation.

Then I found myself looking down onto a table where two men were doing something — counting money? — and I noticed that my viewpoint should be a lot lower than it was. That’s when I realized that I was actually reading a book about what was going on in my life and whatever these men were doing was the “B” plot.

I didn’t have any interest in this part of the story, so I skipped ahead. When I found my storyline next, I’d taken the Native American guy’s words to heart and decided to get in touch with my actual ancestry, which is Czech.

I was at some kind of festival, where they were cooking, like daily foods for average historical Czech people. There was a lot of what my dad refers to as “ooky” food — weird cream cheese looking things and kind of disturbing looking sausages and things. Someone was giving a performance or a lecture or something, too.

I was glad that I was getting in touch with my actual ancestry, but I continued flipping ahead looking for the resolution to the Ojibwe storyline. I never found it, so I will never know how it worked out.

When I woke up, though, I realized that the best solution would be for me just not to learn Ojibwe because that would save face all around. I find it interesting that it never occurred to waking-hours me that they might decide to go ahead with adopting me.

*In real life, I’m 0% Native American. According to 23 and Me’s latest data, I’m 1.5% Ashkenazi Jewish, 0.5% Northern Western Asian, 0.2% Undetermined, 0.1%** Northern African, and the rest is basically Central European, Northern European, and from the British Isles.

**0.1% is effectively no ancestry, but they say that it’s more reliable if traces like this show up in other relatives’ ancestries. If it’s for real, it comes from my father’s mother’s side or my mother’s father’s side, because I don’t have any relatives on those sides on 23 and Me.

Dream Journal (4/30/21)

I actually had two different dreams, both of travel, at different times and of different locations.

Overnight I dreamed that I was in Houston at some hotel, possibly for a science fiction convention of some sort. I had friends who were already there and were showing me around.

I’d been told that the top floor of the hotel was only for celebrities and so when they took me up in the elevator and showed me the view from up there, it never occurred to me that that was the top floor.

I enjoyed the view, and Alex (who was apparently with me) and I found an empty room and sat down for a minute, admiring how airy and spacious the room was. We walked down the hall and found a sort of banquet/conference room that was also very airy and had kind of golden-brown trim.

We bumped into a member of housekeeping who was shocked to see us there because we weren’t celebrities. You see, we were actually on the top floor.

So we went back downstairs and found our actual room, which it turned out we were sharing with two strangers. The celebrity rooms were airy and spacious. The rest of the rooms weren’t anything like that.

I kind of know where the celebrity rooms on the top floor came from. I’ve stayed in the Reliant/Medical Center/NRG Crowne Plaza Hotel, which used to be the AstroWorld Hotel, and which once had the most expensive hotel room in the . . . world? I think?

The room is still there, but no one stays in it any more. I considered seeing if I could use this blog as a way to get up there and see it, but I chickened out. I’m bound to go back to Houston some day. Maybe I’ll have more courage then.

I got up and had breakfast, but was still sleepy, so I went back and took a nap for another couple of hours. During this nap, I had the second dream, this one set in Philadelphia.

Now, I kind of know where this came from. I was a combination of President Biden having gone to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Amtrak, the cypress trees along Harwood Street outside of the Dallas Museum of Art, and my own disappointment that Alex decided not to go into the Boy Scouts*.

In this dream, I was somehow involved with a Boy Scout troop (though they were wearing blue Cub Scout uniforms) in Philadelphia that for some reason was having trouble finding somewhere to meet.

We went to the central library, which looked nothing like the real central library, of course, which was surrounded by trees, and I suggested that the troop could plant more trees around the building, staggered with the trees that were already there, and we could use that as our meeting place. I don’t know if we decided to do it or not.

For our Gratuitous Amazon Link, today’s book is The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley. Monica, who owns a coffee shop, finds a composition book left behind by an artist, Julian. In this book, which he left behind intentionally, Julian challenges the people who find it to write their truths in it and leave it for others to find. She does so, and the people who find it, then find each other, and honesty and drama, and maybe a few happy-ever-afters result. I think this was one of my BookBub purchases that I enjoyed most of all. I may even read it again at some point.

*I’ve always told him that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and that getting into some level of the upper echelons of the Boy Scouts would let him know a lot of people who could help him, even if he didn’t get all the way to Eagle Scout, even being a Life Scout would’ve been a help.**

** I would’ve loved to have been a Boy Scout. I certainly was unhappy with my Cadet Girl Scout troop’s desire to go to Six Flags with all of our money instead of having outings that were useful. Of course, if I’d’ve been (a) aware that the Girl Scout Gold Medal exists, and (b) able to see the future and known that the senior troop that my cadet troop fed into did the service projects and skill learning (I seem to recall that they learned how to sail at one point), I might’ve put up with cadets for another year so that I could get into that senior troop. But I digress.

Book Series I’ve Loved: Nancy Drew

No Gratuitous Amazon Links today, kids. I’m going to link to each of the books I mention instead.

I was thinking that the Chronicles of Narnia were my first book series, but really, my first book series was Nancy Drew.

I don’t even really remember how or when I discovered Nancy Drew, but my dad bought me one book a month for several years, and that ended when I was maybe 11, so I was probably nine when I started buying them.

My dad was very good about providing me with good female role models, and Nancy was a great one. Apparently the 1930s Nancy was even more independent than the 1960s one (which were the books available in the 1970s), but 1960s/1970s Nancy was good enough for me.

It took me a while to really think of Nancy Drew as a series in the same way as, say Harry Potter, because there wasn’t a tremendous amount of continuity there. The books were self-contained and didn’t support a larger narrative.

There was some continuity, though. Nancy’s friend in the first few books was Helen Corning Archer. Helen goes through engagement and into marriage in the books from The Secret of the Old Clock to The Mystery at Lilac Inn. Helen shows up or is mentioned in later books, but she is for all intents and purposes replaced by George Fayne and Bess Marvin starting with The Secret of Shadow Ranch.

We also get some progression in the relationship between Nancy and her boyfriend Ned Nickerson. Despite a small continuity error mentioning him in The Secret of Shadow Ranch, Ned is officially introduced in The Clue in the Diary. They start out as friends and end up as good friends who go on dates, and eventually end up “going steady,” as it were.

I really blame/credit the Nancy Drew books for making me a fan of series of books.