Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tri králové (three kings)

Yesterday (January 6) is the day traditionally observed as Three Kings Day. This would be when the three wise men arrived with their gifts to bring the baby Jesus. While gifts are not exchanged, I have been told that people dressed up as the three kings do wander around and leave blessings on the lintels of doors by writing this symbol K+M+B+12 (the 12 represents the current year. I have not ever actually seen the kings at their work, but have seen the chalk markings throughout my travels through the Czech Republic. This day also signifies the end of the holiday season. Decorations are taken down and the tree is removed. The flat we live in here is on the fourth floor of an apartment building. Even though the tree is not very big, it would be a bit of a hassle to carry it down the elevator, not to mention the big mess that the needles would make. The solution? My mom-in-law opened the window while Mark and I went downstairs to make sure the area was clear. We were only just in time to see the tree taking flight and landing on the snow below. Wow. I guess that's one way to do it. Speaking of snow, it seems to have returned. On Thursday, we took a little drive over the Germany to check out an electronics store there. Mark doesn't seem to understand how his mother and I can enjoy hours on end of shopping in clothing stores, but you put him in a big room filled with electrical wires and headphones and he could wander around talking about circuits and gadgets all day long. Sure, he might be speaking English, but I have no clue. All the same, I'm happy enough as long as he's enjoying himself. There's something about new things wrapped up in plastic packaging and shinty new boxes that always gives me a thrill. Blasted consumerism. I'm a total sucker, but also completely happy to leave empty handed. Looking is good enough for me. On the drive home, the wind and rain continued to make an absolute nuisance of themselves. As I watched out the back seat window, the racing drops of water seemed to collect themselves into waves that shifted into ghostly appartitions in the wind. It was really fascinating to watch. Then, all at once, the rain morphed into snow. My eyeslids grew heavy, and a few minutes later Mark woke me up and pointed out the window. What had been a water logged landscape on our drive in, had turned to snowy fields and trees blessed with sparkling white frocks. A total turn around. Later in the afternoon, the in-laws went for another little drive and came back with a brand now 42" widescreen 3D television. Wow! It's pretty cool. There are 7 pairs of glasses in an array of colors. My father-in-law was a bit distressed that there was only one black pair. :) The TV has this nifty feature where it can even take regular 2D programming, and translate it into 3D. Who knew? And now for the news I'm sure everyone has been waiting for with bated breath: The book is done. And by done, I mean that there is a decent quality first draft resting peacefully on my ipad until I have a chance to start editing. I've decided to give it the weekend to rest, but then I intend to go over it with a fine tooth comb. Unlike the books I have completed in the past, this one was written with no prep work. I came up with the basic idea about 5 years ago on a drive from Blodgett, OR to Moscow, ID. It's sitting somewhere in a journal, but I never forgot the premise, so when Mark gave me the 90 day challenge, I thought it would be a good story to start with. Now I need to go back and make sure things fit together. The problem with just letting a story take you where it will without any sort of outline or character sketches is that it is easy to have the end disconnect from the beginning. Of course, having written it over such a short span of time has made it easier to keep a handle on things, but there are still adjustments that have to be made. And after that? Only time will tell.

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