24.4.15

Reflections

Every five years, for the past 35, I've been getting together with my high school classmates (not all 105 of them, but as many as 30 at a time).  It's called Reunion, and this weekend is my 35th.  Gulp.

For the past few times, we've gotten together in one big sharing circle and talked about where our lives are, what we're proud of and unsure about.  So I've been thinking about what's going on now, what was going on five years ago, and how I feel about all that.

Overall, I have to say, life is pretty good.  Yes, there's the acedia to deal with, and no, my job isn't giving me the satisfaction and warm fuzzies I'd like to have.  My health is better than it was in my 40s, but my parent's health is on a downward slope.  Financially, things are not great thanks to the albatross is the House I Own But Don't Live In (that better change by this time next year!) but they're far from dire.  My friendships are good, solid friendships; my culture vulturing has lessened but that's ok as I can't do late nights as much as I'd like.  Reading? Well... as of right now I'm 3 books behind on my 2015 goal (a couple of good weekends should take care of that).  But overall?  Can't really complain.

Go me!

22.4.15

Send in the trolls...

Time and time again, I see something in the news (or on the web) and have thoughts that run seemingly countercurrent to what prevailing opinion is - sometimes it's my belief/values that are different, sometimes by virtue of age and having seen it before, sometimes because who has the energy to get that worked up over something.  And each time I think, "I'm going to blog this!"

But then I think of the trolls.  I'm sure there are those who would defend my position and thoughts, but the trolls would also be there.  And who needs trolls?  It used to be that you could relatively safely share your opinion and people would either read and agree or read and disagree or read, disagree and stop reading in a huff.  But now it's like everyone feels entitled to comment, and not just on the opinions but on the person.  They're entitled to issue death threats, or make comments about rape, or my looks, or my intelligence, or simply be so nasty that Mean Girls look like Mother Theresa.  I read stories (or hear about books like So You've Been Publicly Shamed) and wonder what the hell is wrong with our society when this is normal.

Who needs that?  I'm too damn old to be dealing with childish interactions, but I'd be forced to.

One such troll, several years ago, forced me to turn on comment moderation.  Doesn't help that I knew who it was, that I could ask them to stop.  It could happen again, right?  And from someone I don't know.

That's part of the reason blogging has been so light, while my head has been filled with thoughts about so many things going on.  Maybe the thing to do is to take this private, so I could comment, knowing that those of you who chose to follow and interact would be respectful - even while disagreeing.  Maybe...


6.4.15

Things that go snort in the night

As a rule, I'm a very light sleeper.  My father's snoring, heard through the double wall of closets, could keep me up.  Thing One and Thing Two snore horribly, leading to separate bedrooms and sleepless nights.  My sister reported that at times, when we shared a room/bed, she'd check to see if I was still alive because I was so quiet and still.

For a very long time I've known that if I'm lying on my back, I make distressing noises.  Imagine my chagrin to learn that - only at times when my sinuses are stuffed - those distressing noises can come when I'm on my side.  Last month, while on vacation (in my favorite city) not only did I make those noises but... I kid you not... yelped.  I woke myself up, but also woke up poor Thing One.  Yelping.  In my sleep.  Five times.

This morning, during my post-Herd feeding snooze, I heard snorting.  It wasn't coming from my Big Boy...

No wonder I need a nap.  And earplugs.

1.4.15

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

No foolin' - 77 books read this quarter.  Apparently I'm keeping up with my 2015 goal, but there may be a Big Life Change later this year so who knows what will actually happen.  You know where to go for reviews, right?

Biography/Memoir
Children's/Young Adult
Fiction/Literature
Mystery
Non-Fiction


29.3.15

Losing the will...

No, not entirely, but I have spent the past week wondering Why Me???

 We've been out on Spring Break since the 11th (yes, it's a nice, long break) and the first week was great. I got to spend time in my favorite city, saw some F/friends, and then WHAM. It hit. Three days of 100+ fever. Laryngitis. Cough. Sleepless nights due to cough. Fuzziheadedness due to lack of sleep.

My entire second week of Break, felled by flu.  Couldn't visit with friends.  Couldn't concentrate.

And now, tomorrow I face the reality that is work.  Back to dealing with students and projects and people.  Hoping that I'm healthy enough to make it through the day.  Hoping that I don't relapse.

And really being cranky that my break was truncated by this stupid cold.  It's almost enough to make me wish we hadn't had break at all.

Almost.

4.3.15

The fog lifts slowly

Aravis and CamPhilosophy Mom are back to blogging and, well, it's spurred me to attempt anew.  Unlike Aravis, there's been no major work stress preventing me from finding the time, but I suspect Philosophy Mom will recognize what I've been going through.  Late last year I read a book by Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me, and while it didn't deliver in the way I'd hoped it would, I did recognize the symptoms: acedia.

It's not quite depression.  It's definitely not sloth.  There's a tinge of "why bother" and a whole lot of "who cares?"  And as for those wondering if SAD is a possibility, well, that wouldn't explain this starting in June.

Who knows why it started.  It just feels like the school year ended and a fog came down.  It stayed down during a wonderful vacation, visits from friends, some great culture culturing, many good books read (and some not-so-good books given up on) and other things happening that generally fall into the "life's not bad" category.  But it's real, and it's there.  The only thing that has consistently reached through that is cuddling with The Herd (in as much as The Herd allows for cuddling).

The thing is, there are things I've felt passionately about.  There are times when, as I drifted off to sleep or drove somewhere, I had something I wanted to share with my devoted readership.  But... obviously, it never happened.  Somewhere between thought and action, things got derailed.

I can't - or perhaps won't is the better word - promise to be or do or blog better in the future.  But I will try.  And right now, that's difficult enough.

Thanks for sticking with me, and for understanding.

26.2.15

Mark your calendars!

Ok, so we missed National Popcorn Day and Valentine's Day, but Pancake Day is right around the corner... (sorry for size of infographic; couldn't make it smaller!)

22.2.15

In lieu of real blogging

50 Questions Meme, copied by Philosophy Mom from wellinghall 

1. What time did you get up this morning?
That's a two-part answer: I was up at 4:57am to feed The Herd, then went back to sleep until 7:11am, when I officially got up to start my day.

2. How do you like your steak?
Rare to medium rare.  Not quite mooing, but I'm a fan of seeing pink.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
The Imitation Game, part of the Christmas Day doubleheader

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Hmmm.... I've been watching C-SPAN's Q&A and its predecessor BookNotes the longest; I do love Masterpiece but there are some series I just can't get behind so it's not Number One.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Montreal.  Bien sur.

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Chinese Breakfast tea with milk, and oatmeal with raisins.  Aka "my winter usual"

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
Not sure I have one.  All cuisines have a variation on comfort food, so I'll just say "comfort food" and leave it there.

8. What foods do you dislike?
Pork.  Strong cheese (most blues, Gorgonzola, etc.). Sea urchin.  Eel.

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
I really don't have one, because it depends on where I am and who I'm with.

10. Favorite dressing?
I'll go with my current fave, a cucumber and shallot vinagrette.

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?
StuTwo (or StuToo, depending on my mood), a Honda Fit.

12. What are your favorite clothes?
For work, right now (in winter), a loose fitting dress, tights and a turtleneck; for home, sweatpants and sweater.  When warmer weather arrives, loose tops/skirts for work and shorts/t-shirts at home.

13. Where would you visit, this weekend, if you had the chance?
See 5 above.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
Too small.

15. Where would you want to retire?
Asked and answered in number 5 and 13.

16. Favorite time of day?
When I'm not working, I like the hour or so I'm up between feeding The Herd and falling back asleep; when I am working, the time just before I fall asleep, sipping tea, reading and snuggling with The Herd.

17. Where were you born?
Boston MA

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
I rarely see sports in person, so, F1 Racing (19 days until Albert Park!),  Most others have too many commercial breaks that stretch the competition out.

19. How many siblings?
One younger sister.

20. Favorite pastime/hobby?
Reading.  Napping.  Snuggling with The Herd.

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
It really doesn't matter, no one else will do this!

22. Bird watcher?
The Herd are, but I don't think that counts.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
More of a mid-morning.  I need an hour or so on my own before I'm willing to interact with humans.

24. Do you have any pets?
The Herd.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
Um, today Thing One de-iced our deck and stoop? It's only exciting because there's less of a chance of leaks inside when things refreeze tonight.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to own a bookstore.  No, I wasn't the most imaginative child.

27. What is your best childhood memory?
At the moment, I just can't think of one.  Maybe going to a tearoom on Boston Common with my dad, following a swan boat ride?

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
Cat, obviously.

29. Are you married?
Depends who you ask.

30. Always wear your seat belt?
When I'm driving, or in a private car, yes. Ok, most of the time.  I tend to not when driving the 100yds to work (don't ask).  Rarely in a taxi.

31. Been in a car accident?
Yes, but more of a fender-bender as I poked out of a parking space into a car driving above the parking lot speed limit.

32. Any pet peeves?
Don't get me started.  Might become a new post sometime (soon?).

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?
Mushrooms.  Garlic.  Four cheese.  Not on the same pizza!

34. Favorite Flower?
Lilacs.

35. Favorite ice cream?
Vanilla Swiss Almond.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
I'm going to go with Chipotle, but only because it's slightly healthier than the other options.

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?
Zero.

38. From whom did you get your last email?
My friend/mentor/woman-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up Marion.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
None right now, but supposing I needed to buy all new furniture it'd be somewhere that sells Shaker style, and if I needed an entirely new wardrobe it'd probably be whatever department store had the best clothes in my size.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
What is "spontaneous"?

41. Like your job?
No comment.  That's a fraught question just now.

42. Broccoli?
Yes.  In all forms.

43. What was your favorite vacation?
2007 trip to Edinburgh, but probably because it came just after The Big Fire.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
Work friend Claudia.

45. What are you listening to right now?
The idiots asking questions on the E! Red Carpet.

46. What is your favorite color?
Anything in jewel tones.

47. How many tattoos do you have?
Zero.

48. How many people will fill this out?
See above number 21.

49. What time did you finish this quiz?
7:12ish pm.

50. Coffee drinker?
No, tea is my tipple (or, as my favorite mug says, "Coffee is not my cup of tea")

11.1.15

Typo Alert!

I've been meaning to post a whole bunch of stuff but... well... I haven't.  Sue me.

Still, tonight as I'm watching the execrable Golden Globes awards (who is writing this crap?  and hasn't anyone told Bruce Villanch that he hasn't been funny for at least two decades?) I've been getting ready for my visit to the tax guy and doing some digital tidying.  These two photos were taken a few days apart over Winter Break.  Both were at eating establishments, where someone should have known better... one hopes.





31.12.14

2014 Year-end Reading Round-up

A slightly updated post from the one I posted in the Semicolon Year-end Lists,

304 books read - 4 over goal! Not as good as last year, and no real reason except work stress. And now I'm down to 2113 books left to read, but at this pace I might go over (I do plan on living more than another 7-8 years!). So maybe I should stop tracking that? For lists and review links, go here, here, here and here (the totals on the review blog won't match these because I don't add the books I read for professional review).

And here's the 2014 reading analysis (2013 numbers in parens):
  • number of books read in 2013: 304 (325) 
  • best month: tie between March and August/38 (April/29) 
  • worst month: April/9 (October/8) 
  • average read per month: 25.33 (27.08) 
  • adult fiction as percentage of total: 18 (24.92) 
  • children's/YA fiction as percentage of total: 58 (40.6) 
  • Advance Readers Copies:202 (209) 
  • e-books: 0  (2) 
  • books read that were published this year: 233 (226) 
  • books that will be published in the coming year: 25 (20) 
  • five star reviews (aka "Must Read"):  20 (25) 
  • one star reviews (aka "DNF"): 17 (20) 
 In addition, I met the Reading Challenge I set myself, repeating the one from 2012, regarding "oldies" and Mt. Bookpile is at 252 (down from 2013! At this rate, I'll demolish it in another 15 or so years.). Since life seems to be holding steady just now, my goal for 2015 is to read another 300 books and get the mountain below 225. Let's see how that goes, shall we?