30.4.12

Notable Quotes

Reverie was once a major part of childhood. The time that kids used to spend in the free-form worlds of imagination and the outdoors has been drastically reduced by television, computers, phones, and tightly scheduled activities... In summer, [Todd Kashdan] recalls, "we had no camps, programs, or internships.  We had to figure out how to entertain ourselves on the streets and in our own little worlds."

27.4.12

Links Galore

25.4.12

Words you don't want to hear

Yesterday I went to see my endocrinologist.  I've been seeing her for the past three plus years, and virtually every time I see her we have to tweak my medication because my T3/T4 levels have changed.  Finally, after wondering for a while, and based on another weird blood test reading, I asked if this happened often.  Her response?

"You're unique"

Most definitely not the words you want to hear from you doctor.  I'd probably be ok with "unusual", and I'd be very happy with "normal" or "boring".  But "unique"?  Thanks, but no thanks.

I was chatting about this with mk:

Which got me thinking about a band idea Thing Three had when we were in college (remember: these were the days of Talking Heads, Icicle Works, Devo, etc.), an all-male group called "Women without Brains".  He didn't remember that idea but did suggest "Borring Thyroid" with an umlaut over the first r.

Somehow that doesn't quite make up for being "unique", does it?

24.4.12

21 years ago...

(or thereabouts; there's a little confusion on the actual date) my friend Dawn died.  She was a couple of weeks short of her 30th birthday.

This isn't one of those cautionary tales of drunk driving, or drugs, or anything like that.  Dawn lived a difficult life: early childhood asthma led to a stint at CARIH, severe scoliosis led to a Harrington Rod being implanted.  When I met her, she was already experiencing pain from the rod and downing Tylenol the way most of us eat candy.  Her junior year in high school, her beloved brother died in a car accident (thanks to drunken honeymooners... of course they escaped unscathed physically), leading to an even more strained relationship with her parents.

After high school she enrolled at UNC/Chapel Hill but her father refused to pay for a degree in marine biology, so she took off to become a NY/LA trucker.  While on the road, her father died; she and her mother were able to have a brief reconciliation before her mother, too, died.  Soon after, she became a paraplegic (complications of the spinal surgery and an abusive boyfriend)... a pain killer addict that House would have respected... then cataracts and a heart attack... finally she was a quadriplegic... and 21 years ago, her body finally gave out.

Thanks to her, I became a fan of Jethro Tull and backgammon.  I learned to write a 10 page paper and how to study.  I've seen The Wraith and The Legacy more times than necessary.  I've driven a van retrofitted for a paraplegic (very odd seeing the foot controls moving with no feet on them!).  Most of all, thanks to her I started on the path that made me the Lazygal I am.

Here's to you, Dawn.  R.I.P.

23.4.12

Notable Quotes

Instructions
 
Give up the world; give up self; finally, give up God.
Find god in rhododendrons and rocks,
passers-by, your cat.
Pare your beliefs, your absolutes.
Make it simple; make it clean.
No carry-on luggage allowed.
Examine all you have
with a loving and critical eye, then
throw away some more.
Repeat. Repeat.
Keep this and only this:
   what your heart beats loudly for
   what feels heavy and full in your gut.
There will only be one or two
things you will keep,
and they will fit lightly
in your pocket.
 
~ Sheri Hostetler ~
 

20.4.12

Does an award matter?

There's been a lot of fuss over the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction not being awarded this year.

Last week, the Teen Top Ten nomination list was announced and, well, some of the books baffled me.  To be honest, some of the books listed baffled my favorite readers, too.  No, I'm not going to name titles, because that's not the point of this post.

Today, I got my daily Shelf Awareness e-mail, which talked about the Pulitzer issue.  As with any award, some of the books are now classics and some... forgotten except by those who are completists or who really responded to those particular books.
Which begs the question: Is long-lasting prominence the result of the prize, or of the brilliance of the book? The prize spurs sales, which engenders word of mouth, which leads to more sales. Of course, popularity would soon wane if the book wasn't worthy. But bottom line: a Pulitzer would have been more than nice.
I think of other books, ones not nominated for an award, due to whatever conversations the committee had, or ineligibility, or lack of an appropriate award, and how many of those have had "long-lasting prominence" (Diary of A Young Girl, anyone?) .  Looking at some of the award winning books purchased for the school libraries I've worked in, and how frequently those books have been checked out in later years, it makes me wonder whether its worth it.

My new thinking is that if a book - any book, no matter how lauded - doesn't circulate within 3-5 years, it gets weeded.  And books in The Collection?  Only those I could see myself re-reading in years to come.

16.4.12

Notable Quotes

Of course, solitude is essential to personal integration: there are places in the landscapes of our lives where no one can accompany us.  But because we are communal creatures who need each other's support -- and because, left to our own devices, we have an endless capacity for self-absorption and self-deception -- community is equally essential to rejoining soul and role.

9.4.12

Notable Quotes

The digital revolution's tremendous benefits include access to nearly all the world's knowledge, greater efficiency, more freedom from boundaries such as home and office or artist and spectator, new ways to bond, and a riotous explosion of popular culture... Both as individuals and as a society, we can become so distracted by trivial yet instantly gratifying new things that we lose sight of neophilia's grand purpose of selectively focusing us on the important ones that help us to learn, create, and adapt to a changing world...
To understand and make proper use of our neophilia, we need to look beyond secondary issues, such as out-of-control consumerism, attention problems and electronics addiction, to see it as a metaphenomenon that underlies much of our behavior.

4.4.12

Falling in Love Again

You know those "what do you find attractive in the opposite gender" questions? Top on my list has always been "evidence of a mind at work"*.

When Thing Three and I met, lo those many years ago, that was one of the things I first noticed. We used to talk about all sorts of things, on virtually any topic. His mind was more fluid than mind, ditto his sense of humor. Sadly, given the family in which I was raised, mine seems to go with the obvious (example? I'd returned from a trip abroad and Thing Three came over to welcome me home - I was in my bedroom, having just showered off "travel schmutz" and he came in after getting our pizza; standing in front of my mirror, looking at our reflection, I went with "hey! cleanliness is next to godliness!" - I know, I know. GROAN) but he very generously ignores that.

Recently, on Facebook and in e-mail, we've been talking about everything from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to flooded basements to Batman in Maryland. And I'm falling in love all over again.








* the rest of the list? sense of humor, light eyes (grey, blue, green - brown doesn't cut it), and not irritating me every time you open your mouth

2.4.12

Notable Quotes

A life of simplicity can be defined as a life that has removed all of the nonessentials.  It is marked by oneness.  It is uncomplicated.  As a result, it is freeing.  It allows our lives to be focused on the things that are most important to us.
Joshua Becker, Inside-Out Simplicity

1.4.12

Meeting Musings

Today a Friend mentioned a film she'd seen recently, with the father telling his children "Go ahead an aim for extraordinary - but pay attention to all right.  You'll spend a lot of time with all right."  She said that she'd been thinking how grateful for "all right" she was right now.

In that spirit, here's k.d. lang celebrating an "extraordinary thing":

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Wow - over 100 books this quarter. Pinch me! Reviews in the usual place.

Biography/Memoir


Childrens/Young Adult


Fiction/Literature


Mystery


Non-Fiction

  • Master of Deceit, Marc Aronson
  • Death of a Dreamer, Alison Behnke
  • Steve Jobs; Karen Blumenthal
  • Superman Versus The Ku Klux Klan; Rick Bowers
  • Black and White, Larry Dane Brimner
  • Quiet, Susan Cain
  • The Lifespan of a Fact - D'Agata, John
  • Voyagers of the Titanic, Richard Davenport-Hines
  • Friend Me! Francesca Davis DiPiazza
  • Quantum Wellness Cleanse, Kathy Freston
  • New; Winifred Gallagher
  • To the Mountaintop; Charlayne Hunter-Gault
  • French Women Don't Get Fat; Mireille Guiliano
  • We've Got a Job, Cynthia Levinson
  • Dietrich Bonhoffer; Michael J. Martin
  • Miles to Go for Freedom, Linda Barrett Osborne
  • The Impossible Rescue, Martin W Sandler
  • Hearts of Darkness, Dave Thompson
  • Blizzard of Glass, Sally M. Walker
  • Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London, Andrea Warren
  • I Am a SEAL Team Six Warrior, Howard E. Wasdin

Science Fiction/Fantasy


Suspense