Monday, June 13, 2022

Camera Bamera Book Book Book

Received my Goodwill camera and it came in a box with everything and seems to be in very good shape. Olympus Stylus 1010. I got very frustrated with the crummy camera in my Samsung phone. I am looking forward to taking some better pictures! 

Book comments. I am reading a book that I am enjoying but I do have a bone to pick. One of the main characters sustains injuries and then this has an inadequate amount of consequences in my opinion. This is a character whose thoughts we hear sometimes, the narrator is omniscient and pov moves from character to character within a small group. But there is no treatment described and the character's thoughts go from intense suffering to nothing so quickly. I'm baffled. 

I wonder what caused this lack in the writing. Theories: dislike of violence/injury description? Maybe not since we have a big bad who is busy abusing and terrifying our band of buddies with graphic threats of torture in the section I'm reading. Regarding characters as more abstract entities rather than flesh and blood? I wonder if this could be it. Enough npcs disappearing perhaps dulls the curiosity for what happens after a battle injury? Or too many characters and not enough autorial attention to go around? I can't determine 

Despite this missing bit, the book is providing the fast page-turning romp that I was hoping for when I picked it up. It's contrast to The Historian which is going slower than I expected. I like the mood and the variety of settings and the epistolary pieces. But. It's just not taking off for me and I wonder why. I have decided to trust that it will pick up shortly. The description of the narrator's father's Amsterdam canal house bedroom is pretty great. 

I'm laying down one of the other summer books I started. The historical fiction was including too many modern outlooks for me. Tant pis, lots of other books to taste. 

Oldest kid missed her train from Chicago (Friday afternoon downtown traffic and summer construction) but was able to change her ticket to the next day and is with us now. A knock on effect had her paying a $50 late cancellation fee at the dentist. Young adulting is happening. It's wonderful to have her here and I'll be glad to fling her back to go off to Barcelona shortly.  


Friday, June 3, 2022

Small steps

I washed my hair today and got to work on time. I am congratulating myself on this excellent effort. Being awake in the night made getting going this morning more difficult than usual. I was hot and restless between 3 and 4am. Trying to identify why: I spent time outside (it was a jewel of a day yesterday), I had physical activity (walked to the Union and back plus mowing), I took my B vitamin. Maybe it was the Dr. Pepper at noon? 

Speaking of caffeinated elixirs, I have been making some cold brew coffee and even made with store brand half caff preground - it is mild and nice. I realized halfway through the cup this morning that I could have iced it instead of microwaving. Next time. An additional perk (ha!) is that my coffee breath after is less powerful. 

Our forecast continues cooler than usual for this time of year. I am grateful that climate change (at least this year) is affecting this location in that way. 

I will mow the backyard after work and then I'm going to go downtown and listen to some band at a patio show. 

I'm doing the first week of Liftoff. Trying new things is good for the brain I hear. Pushups are included and I'm using the back of the wooden couch to start. My left upper arm and shoulder are much better after my 25 days with the chatty Canadian.   

 Isn't this gorgeous? Theodore Roosevelt Jr. with a macaw:

Junior grew up to be a hero, links for more info here Kai Ryssdal tweet. From the first citation: 

"56 year-old arthritis stricken, cane using General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. storms the beaches of Normandy with his men(the only general to do so).
Only a week later he would suffer a fatal heart attack while returning from battle. (1944)"

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Late Spring Booking

Discussed No One Is Talking About This yesterday with the Bay Area tribute book group. It was just three of us, one was sick and one hasn't participated for the last three books. I found it more slight than I expected. It's a quick read if you need one. The first half made me laugh several times and made me read bits aloud to my husband. The cat being named Dr. Butthole may be the best for me. She does high/low humor very well. Excerpts:

"A hundred years ago you would have been mining coal and had fourteen children all named Jane," she often marveled, as she watched a man stab a finger at his wife in front of the Keurig display. "Two hundred years ago, you might have been in a coffee shop in Göttingen, shaking the daily paper, hashing out the questions of the day - and I would be shaking out the sheets from the windows, not knowing how to read."


Of course it was always the people who called themselves enlightened who stole the most. Who picked up the slang earliest. To show - what? That they were not like the others? That they knew what was worth stealing?


"You could write it," she had said to the man in Toronto, "someone could write it," but all writing about the portal so far had a strong whiff of old white intellectuals being weird about the blues, with possible boner involvement.


Self-care, she thought, and sprinkled in her tub a large quantity of an essential oil that smelled like a Siberian forest. But when she lowered herself into the trembling water, what she would have referred to in the portal as her b'hole began to burn with such a white-hot medieval fire that she stoodstraight up in the bath and shouted the name of a big naked god she no longer believed in, and as strong rivers flowed off her in every direction she did not remember the conditions of the modern moment at all, she was unaware of anything except the specific address of her own body, which meant either that the hot bath had worked to restore her to herself, or else that she would have sold out her neighbors to the regime in an instant, one or the other. 

We agreed that the two halves of the book make for a pretty simple story. But I'm happy to have read it and have discussed with friends. I may see if I can rope some of my h.s. Zoom friends for the next book. 

I finished The Girl in the Tower, the second book in a medieval Russia fantasy series by Arden. I don't like the title much but gobbled up the book. Like the first one, it is amazingly successful at using the fairy tale infrastructure and weaving human characters and motivations through it. Really good, I picked up the third at the library too. 

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Faulks was nicely done. I've read two authors' homages to the great PGW now and liked them both. The maestro has inspired more art. Faulks also wrote a Bond novel, I'm almost tempted, 

Currently starting The Widows of Malabar Hill by Massey. It seems like a perfect summer mystery novel - at least judging from the beautiful cover! I have a tall stack of TBR books now including The Historian by Kostova. I'm told it's vampire-iffic and Euro touristy and that also smacks of a good summer read.   


Youngest had her graduation ceremony, bless her. She's committed to the university in Las Cruces and has a plan. We'll need to figure out the financing, which will include student loans, sorry kid. I love her a lot and hope she will find some good stuff in her college experience. 

Oldest gets here on the train a week from tomorrow. Although it may be in the wee hours of the next day, because Amtrak. We get to enjoy her company for a week before she goes back to Chicago and then off to her European study abroad plus more travel after. What luck to parent two people I like so much and who have so much to offer.    


Wednesday, May 25, 2022


Loving kindness meditation

It is bracing to have the latest national violent event kick me off my usual social media diet. I can't face it now and am choosing other ways to spend my attention. Ironically one of them is reading No One Is Talking About This  which so far is about being extremely online. 

SAD. Angrysad. I hesitated before talking about it with my spouse. And I would never bring it up with anyone else for fear of making them so sad. I may have had all the small talk knocked out of me now. There's very little I can imagine talking about with acquaintances. Thank gods for midwest weather, what would we do without it?  

My youngest daughter's graduation party went well! I said that I would go out for drinks afterwards. But instead I went home and took a two hour nap. Ah 55, what a trendsetter you are. I suppose it would be alarming if I flipped and turned into an extrovert partier at this point. 

My husband gave me an unexpected bag of birthday treats from the fancy Euro store downtown. The Bahlsen Choco Wafers Dark are smaller than I expected but they have a big gorgeous flavor. Impressions of the Taylors of Harrogate tea flavors so far:

  • Green Tea with Mint is much more interesting than just peppermint tisane. 
  • Apple & Cinnamon smells wonderful, even through the wrapper. I didn't finish the cup. It's in the sour tea realm and for that I'd rather drink Cherry Berry. 
  • White Tea is pleasant with a subtle perfume. 
  • Mango & Cardamom Green Tea is almost as good as the wrapper copy: "Soft, succulent and sensuous."
My MIL is here visiting and wants to go to the graduation ceremony. It will be at the outdoor football stadium and was rained out yesterday and rescheduled for tomorrow. She changed her return flight. It could get rained out again and that will make us all upset. So come on rain clouds! Have pity and let us get this graduation done on Thursday evening.  


Haha, postponed again to Friday evening. If we get to the 3rd fallback date (Sunday), I'm going to yell Bingo! as loud as I can. 


New British phrase spotted in the wild: "a fair yomp" meaning a good ways or quite a bit. 

Monday, May 9, 2022

Green stuff

Play in the yard
I mowed and then happily sat in the front yard for more than an hour, pulling false strawberry up by the roots. It had rained the whole week and conditions were the best for weed pulling. I even was able to pull out a couple of dandelions with their long tap roots. Sunny low 70s after a week of chilly gray showers - being outside was urgent. I am not sure that pulling is the way to stay on top of this weed. It's rampant in the back. Our backyard is not for public viewing and I mostly don't care what I'm mowing back there. I've failed at no-mow May but I promise that the pollinators have plenty of violets, dandelions, etc. in our neighborhood. The maple key spinners have just started to fall. I'll be pulling up maple sprouts over the next month. 

I put the rest of the Rudbeckia (black eyed susan) seed out in the big front pot. Our purple flowering shrub there overwintered and is leafing out nicely. I limited my seed purchase to cornflowers (blue bachelor buttons) and have some started in a tiny pot inside. I think the seeds in outside pots have sprouted too, where they haven't been manhandled by squirrels. <shakes fist> Stupid squirrels. I've put some chicken wire around some of the pots to discourage their rummaging and need to add more. They never bothered the marigolds - must not like the smell. 

My easily grossed out spouse discovered a big dead opossum under the back deck yesterday evening. And then he dug a hole and buried it. I am thankful because that was the second time in one day that I was spared having to dispose of dead wildlife. There was a small bird who hit the back glass door with a significant whap and lay on the deck long enough that I thought it was dead. But half an hour later it was gone and I hope it revived and flew off. Even if it was the neighbor cat, I appreciate nature taking care of its own.  

I have been reading about using wool to wash dishes - it doesn't sour like sponges do. I was brought up in the way of the nylon-wrapped Dobie but am going to give wool a try. 

I had a physical and it was fine. I am going to have a couple of follow up tests, one of which is actually exciting. (My cholesterol continues to rise, it's inherited from my mom. She had a bad reaction to statins and opted for a super low fat diet to deal. I was so offended in my 40s when my cholesterol was first measured and continued to rise. But I feel like I've worn out my anger about this.) The doctor told me about a scan I can get to measure calcification around my heart. It's noninvasive and costs a whopping $60. If it measures significant calcification that's a warning about possible artery clogging and I would definitely medicate. If not, I will smile and be happy. Medical tech like this makes me happy to live in the future. 



Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Freedom and the absence of pain

Just tried to catch our cat for a vet visit. Nope! I couldn't get him zipped into the canvas bag I've been giving him treats in. And I could not scoop him into a towel. I didn't even get scratched, he just leaped and leaped. I called the vet and cancelled. Guess we'll carry on without professional advice. Freddie lives free! (inside our house).

Last week I got a crown on a tooth with multiple fillings that has been on the dental roadmap for years. I'm glad I got it done before an emergency tooth crack. It's always been a bit sensitive so I hope this will take care of that too. But Damn! was it hard to get numb enough for the drilling. I got topical stuff, then the first shots from a senior hygienist. Then the dentist came in and I wasn't very numb so she gave me shots. Then she started drilling but I could feel pressure right away so - third set of shots. Then the drilling got going and was fine on one half of the tooth but on the other half I got a twinge. So - fourth set of shots. All was fine and dandy after that. I'm glad my dentist is willing and able to stop and start and give me enough dope to make it not hurt. They called me a good patient, although I am still waiting for my sticker. Happy to have a dentist I trust. 

We are plotting for a big move to NM next year. I am doing a little anticipatory grieving over losing functional relationships like dentist, doctors, etc. We will all four change health insurance providers for the first time in 18 years. That's enough to get my heart pounding.  

Youngest is graduating high school in just over a month. She and her dad will visit a university in a few weeks to see if it will suit. The university offers the program of study that she wants, which she originally found in Cardiff, Wales. Nod was able to find a few equivalent undergrad programs in the US. But the setting and the campus aren't inspiring her. I hope the visit will be persuasive. I don't want to be rid of her but I am excited for her to have new experiences. She told us that one of the hardest parts of pandemmie for her was that she was hardly ever alone. Can't argue with that. So I want to help her go forth from my house into a new adventure. Preferably on this continent. 

I finished John Darnielle's Wolf in White Van today. It makes me think of kids I knew in middle school, playing Asteroids in the 7-11, messing around. The book conveys threat and boredom and interiority very well. I didn't enjoy it but it went quickly and I am glad to have read it. That and Hazzard's The Transit of Venus were recommended by a friend. She may have more grown up tastes than I do. I started the Hazzard but haven't gotten very far.