Monday, May 31, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #3

The only book I finish since last Monday was Boneshaker by Cherie Priest a steampunk alternate history fantasy. But I am very nearly finished with Big Fat Paycheck: A Young Person's Guide to Writing for the Movies by Colton Lawrence.

I dabbled in a few of the NF in the list I left on last week's What Are You Reading post. But not very much because I had to chose to put my focus on watching the DVD I had checked out of the library which included two TV series seasons (36 episodes total) and a several movies.

My plans for this week are pretty much the same list as last week's though must of the books are supposed to go back to the library Thursday. I may hang onto one or two until Monday if I think I have a good chance of finishing them. But I'm going to have a similar issue with the DVD this week. We have at least ten more waiting on us at the library between our two cards. The deluge continues. It's either claim them and watch them or forfeit our turn and get back in line.

Last week I said the next novel after Boneshaker would be Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs because I had been in a long queue and the queue behind me was still long. But I discovered the library now has a large print copy and though it was out there was no queue so I requested it and it's already on its way to my branch for pick-up. So I am reverting to the plan I had before picking my unplanned, idle picking up of Boneshaker from beside Ed's laptop ten days ago--I want to read The Girl With the Glass Feet by Ali Shaw. It is due Thursday but it is a short novel and I've been looking forward to it ever since the day I pulled it off the shelf and read the first page. Why or why didn't I treat it then like I treated Boneshaker last week instead of chasing due dates across the last eight weeks I have had it in my possession.

Now it's final due date is the one which I'm up against and it shares it with about fifteen books but I've put my focus on it and Gillian Flynn's Dark Places and Temple Grandin's Thinking in Pictures and Jeff Sharlett's The Family. And of course, Big Fat Paychcek but I should finish that one today. That's probably twice what I should reasonably expect out of myself. But there you are.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Serenity #181

I've been having a West Wing marathon this weekend. In the last 24 hours I've watched 16 episodes and intend to watch the last six episodes of season one as soon as this is posted.

I was looking for a simple trailer or maybe the title music for this post but could not find one. I settled for these which do a great job of showing the flavor of the story. In fact the top one is a clip from the end of episode 9 of season 1 that plays like a music video to The Drummer Boy song.

Below is a hodgepodge of clips from several seasons accompanied by the Enya song Book of Days. It includes scenes from episodes I haven't seen yet and I encountered several more such spoiler scenes before the risk of encountering more made me stop playing the videos. I'd rather just get on with the real thing.

The library has all seven seasons and I've already ordered season 2.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Curse Upon Your Venom'd Stang

I've got four bad teeth and possibly a cranky wisdom tooth acting up today so I'm going to be lazy and let Robert Burns do all my talking for me today. I couldn't say it any better myself anyways. The title is linked to a Google scan of an 1887 copy of The Complete Works. The poem is on page 61 and the picture on page 70.

by Robert Burns

My curse upon your venom'd stang,
That shoots my tortur'd gooms alang,
An' thro' my lug gies monie a twang,
Wh' gnawing vengeance,
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

When fevers burn, or ague freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colic squeezes,
Our neebors sympathize to ease us
Wi' pitying moan;
But thee! - thou hell o' a' diseases,
They mock our groan!

A' down my beard the slavers trickle,
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle,
While round the fire the giglets keckle
To see me loup,
An' raving mad, I wish a heckle
Were i' their doup!

Of a' the numerous human dools
Ill-hairsts, daft bargains, cutty stools,
Or worthy frien's laid i' the mools,
Sad sight to see!
The tricks o' knaves, or fash o' fools
Thou bear'st the gree!

Where'er that place be priests ca' Hell,
Where a' the tones o' misery yell,
An' ranked plagues their numbers tell
In dreadfu' raw,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell
Amang them a'!

O thou grim, mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes o' discord squeal,
Till daft humankind aft dance a reel
In gore a shoe-thick,
Gie a' the faes o' Scotland's weal
A townmond's toothache!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Forays in Fiction: 12 X 12 Reading Challenge

I wish I had discovered this challenge earlier in the year or even before January 1st so I could have gotten on board sooner. I was already making a serious personal commitment to reading more fiction last fall as I believe my own writing has been suffering because the balance of my reading shifted from mostly fiction to mostly NF while I was in college in the late 1980s.

This challenge is a spin off the NaJuReMoNoMo held in January at Foma. But it is designed to go all year with 12 different bloggers each hosting one month.

Even though May is nearly over I'm going to consider myself as entered for May, counting the three novels I began and finished since May 1:

  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  • The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
  • Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (well, still got 50 pages or so to go but will finish well before Monday midnight. Might even get in a fourth short novel. I will update this post to with the results including removing Bonehaker if I somehow fail to finish in time.) I did finish Boneshaker but as soon as I realized I could not finish a fourth in time to count for this month I put off starting it until after midnight on Monday the 31st.

May's 12 X 12 is being hosted by Page Turner
June's 12 X 12 is to be hosted by Misfit Salon

click the button top right to see the whole list of the twelve hosts for the year.

Anyone watching closely will note this is not the first challenge I've entered this week. It won't be the last for the year either. I have lined up several more to join soon. I'm hoping to motivate myself to increase the amount of reading. I fear that it has slacked off considerably as blogging and other web activities increased. Which is ironic in that the blogging (both writing posts and surfing) focuses on reading and writing and the more of it I do the longer my wish lists grow. And grow. And grow.

So I've been doing a whole lot of reading about reading books and reading about writing books but less and less reading or writing of the books. A writer needs to read. And not just reviews.

And of course a writer needs to write. I seem to be in a slump on that front and anxiety about it has eaten up the joy I usually take in it so I have decided to give myself a few weeks break from feeling pressured (or guilty) about it and throw my efforts and time into reading and watching DVD. In other words binging on story.

You can follow my progress in these and other 2010 challenges in the Reading Challenges Portal.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

2010 Support Your Library Reading Challenge

This challenge hosted by Home Girl's Book Blog could not be more perfect for me if it had been designed by me for me. The library is where I get 90% of my reading material anyway. And I've blogged often about what the libraries of my life have meant to me and in 2007 blogged about the 6 month closure of our county wide library system and it's impact on me. So even though the year is half over I'm going to jump into this one. Though I will be putting in the list as read those library books finished since January 1st this year. So I won't be starting from scratch.

There are several levels:

--The Mini – Check out and read 25 library books.

--Just My Size – Check out and read 50 library books.

--Stepping It Up – Check out and read 75 library books.

--Super Size Me – Check out and read 100 library books.

(Aim high. As long as you read 25 by the end of 2010, you are a winner.)

OK then in order to aim high I have to aim for Super Size Me as I check easily two to three times that many each year. Finishing is another story. Especially with NF, as finishing within six months of beginning is rare. So I will count only those which I finish before December 31 and read more than 50% after January 1.

This post will carry the list which I will add to as I finish them.

  1. In the World but Not Of It : one family's militant faith and the history of fundamentalism in America / Brett Grainger
  2. Sharp Objects [text (large print)] / Gillian Flynn.
  3. Look me in the eye : my life with Asperger's / John Elder Robison.
  4. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder [text (large print)] : a novel / Rebecca Wells
  5. The conversion / Joseph Olshan
  6. The Penelopiad / Margaret Atwood
  7. Fool on the Hill / Matt Ruff
  8. The cross gardener / Jason F. Wright
  9. Push : a novel / by Sapphire.
  10. Out of the Dark [text (large print)] / Sharon Sala
  11. The Expected One [text (large print)] / Kathleen McGowan
  12. Dead until dark / Charlaine Harris
  13. Under the dome : a novel / Stephen King.
  14. Shadow tag [text (large print)] : [a novel] / Louise Erdrich.
  15. The time traveler's wife [text (large print)] : a novel / by Audrey Niffenegger
  16. The lost symbol : a novel / Dan Brown
  17. The anthologist / Nicholson Baker
  18. Payback : debt and the shadow side of wealth / Margaret Atwood
  19. Boneshaker / Cherie Priest
  20. Big fat paycheck: A young person's guide to writing for the movies / Colton Lawrence


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm Watching as Fast as I Can

Tonight my priority will be to watch New Moon and get as far as possible into season 1 of The Sopranos. Two of the four items due tomorrow. There are only 14 episodes and if I push hard enough I might be able to return it before the library closes at 4 tomorrow. I might even watch them slightly sped up so as to shave a few minutes off each episode. If I can get both of those returned tomorrow I can cut my guilt feelings in half for I'd be keeping 'only' the novel Boneshaker and Season 1 of West Wing until Tuesday morning.

The pressure won't be off by much though as there are 200 pages and 22 episodes to rush through by Tuesday morning. With more itmes coming due on Tuesday and Thursday next week.

Plus avoiding the fine is avoiding less than half the negative consequence of returning items late. My own guilty conscience for keeping items I know someone else is anxiously awaiting is more punishing than the fine.

Usually, an item due on Thursday has to be back before the library opens on Monday to avoid a fine but because of Memorial Day I have until Tuesday this time but that increases the guilt factor because any item I returned tomorrow has a chance of reaching it's next patron's library by Tuesday whereas not returning it tomorrow means it would just reach the inbox here by then.

I used to shy away from high-demand items from the library, willing to wait until the demand fell off enough that waiting my turn was a matter of days not weeks and renewal more likely and thus the pressure of the due dates much lessened. I'm not remembering clearly the progression of my change of attitude--when I began to get in queue earlier and then earlier and then get into more of them. I'm betting it was related to my involvement with blogging though. All that exposure to other's enthusiasms and the various debates and controversies had to have played a role. I know that I often head to the online catalog after reading a review or discussion about a book, author, movie or TV series.

But now I am beginning to realize the original wisdom of waiting.

Not only am I swamped by books that I can keep for only 3 weeks after waiting for months and DVD that I can keep for only one week after waiting for months, but I have the request quotas maxed out on both mine and Ed's cards so that I can't even request items which I wouldn't have to wait for. Many of them items important for research related to one or more of my current creative projects (writing, sewing, crocheting, web site building and management, etc.).

I can either travel to the branch where they sit on the shelf, wait until I've claimed enough requested items to make room for more requests or cancel requests. The first is physically difficult to do, the latter is emotionally difficult to do and speeding up the claiming by allowing more requested items to remain active after I've reached first, second or third place in line, risks what has happened this month which is a deluge of items arriving all at once.

Last week I had six movies and documentaries and one TV series season and two books with queues that had to be returned between Monday and Monday. This week there are two TV series, one movie and one book due tomorrow. But I have five such books out coming due in the next ten days. And more waiting to be picked up at the library--several books and several DVD--that must be claimed by the end of next week or forfeited; a few must be claimed by Tuesday.

I was planning to pick most of them up tomorrow (our library is open only M, T & Th) but did not get as much done with the items I have here as hoped. Partly due to over-high expectations but a good deal due to the hullabaloo of the remodeling of the bathroom here and the resulting moves out to Ed's brother's and back--the disruption, the interruptions and the fact I did not take many of the items with me last week because the stay there was supposed to be 2.5 days and turned into 7.

Well, if I don't stop talking about it and get to watching, I'll have to have to have Bella and Tony sounding like Donald Duck in order to make the goal I set as I began this post before dinner. Four hours ago now.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

John Adams

Trailer HBO mini-series produced by Tom Hanks and starring Paul Giamatto as John Adams and Laura Linney as Abigail

I was watching this in the wee hours this morning. It is a 501 minute mini-series or a something over 8 hours and it was due Monday so had to be in the drop box before the library opened this morning. I had planned to watch the whole thing overnight but it took me too long to get my post up last night.

This is also the story of the first fifty years of the United States of America. The opening scenes of part 1 features the Boston Massacre and the closing scenes of part 2 features the voting of the Continental Congress for the Declaration of Independence.

That is where I had to quit this morning. I have just put in my request at the library for it and hope to have it back inside two weeks. There are four copies all of which were out or being held but there were no more requests pending before mine so I should get the next one coming due on the 29th.

I've also requested the Pulitzer Prize winning book by David McCullough on which the film was based. I couldn't resist when I saw the large print copy.

I am just as interested and maybe more so by the story of Abigail as it is presented in this film. Mccullough's book, I understand, depended a great deal on the correspondence between John and Abigail and based on those exchanges it is fairly obvious that Abigail had a great deal of influence on John, shaping his reaction to events and thus having her hand in shaping the results. Especially by her calming effect on his bristling demeanor and his tendency towards vanity regarding learning and his oratorical virtuosity.

In other words without the skills of diplomacy she taught him there might never have been a Declaration of Independence, a successful Revolutionary War culminating in a United States of America woven of the 13 very differently motivated colonies.

Once I realized I could not hope to watch the entire series before I had to let it go, chose to begin by watching the two documentary pieces included in the set.

One was The Making of John Adams. It discusses the FX, costumes, sets and other things that went into making the film as true to history as possible.

The other was an examination of the life and work of the historian David McCullough entitled Painting with Words. I'd especially been eager to see this one and was so glad I did when it reached this scene:

I could really go for an office of my own like that. Though I could not give up some form of word processor and return to 1940s era manual typewriters, I could imagine banning the internet from such a writer's sanctum. Not from my life entire but I am beginning to think that I will never seriously work on my own stories as long as I have 24/7 access to the web.


Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #2

For the second of two times, I'm really late getting this posted. It's been one of those days that epitomize the saying that when man plans the gods laugh. In fact the whole week was like that.

If you are here just for the What Are You Reading meme and don't want the play by play of my day, scroll down to the second set of:


Today was the day we returned home from the camper in my BILs yard. Exactly one week and two hours from the time I left. Ed and I took a leap of faith even though the contractor remodeling the bathroom here was still working though confident he'd have the water back on by 4. We piled into the car--Ed, Merlin and me--at 2:30, arriving home at 3. I spent the next two hours putting our room back in order. And that was before I asked Ed to bring in the bags.

So the away trip across the valley that was expected to be 2.5 days turned into 7. And the water did not come on at 4. Or 5. Or 6.... Not until after 9pm!! Well they did try several times earlier but there was gravel in the trailer park pipes that kept getting into the house plumbing and clogging it, Then the toilet they'd ordered didn't quite fit so they had to return to Home Depot and exchange it. I say 'they' because after 5 my BIL and his son joined the contractor after they got off work. They had worked on jobs with him before.

So they all quit work just after ten. The water was on. We have a flushing toilet And cold running water in the kitchen and bathroom. But they couldn't get the new gas waterheater lit so my MIL is going to call the gas company tomorrow morning. The contractor still has a bit of detailing to do. Painting and putting the handles on the cabinets and cleaning up his mess inside and out in the yard. He won't be back until Wednesday though as he has to work a twelve hour day elsewhere tomorrow. I don't suppose the washer and dryer will be hooked back up before then either. They are still sitting out in the yard with tarps over them.


OK. My reading plans for this past week as stated in last Monday's post mostly went the way of the rest of my plans for the week when the return home kept getting pushed ahead. Most of the books I mentioned I didn't have with me. But even the novel I was planning to read next (The Girl with the Glass Feet) got set aside for a different one when I picked up the novel Ed had just finished and left sitting on our shared 'desk' in the camper. I picked it up idly just to see if I was interested enough to make a bib slip for it so I could send for it again because I knew it was due this week and not going to renew as someone had requested it. Next thing I knew I was 40 pages into Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. And I can vouch for the blurb from Scott Westerfield on the front cover: "A steampunk-zombie-airship adventure of rollicking pace and sweeping proportions, full of wonderfully gnarly details. This book is made of irresistible."

It is set in Seattle Washington in the late 1800s on an alternate history timeline in which the Civil War has been going on for over twenty years. The old city of Seattle has been sealed up inside a 200 foot wall because a mysterious gas was released from underground by a mining machine called the boneshaker over sixteen years earlier. This gas kills but the dead walk the land in packs like dogs..the zombie part. In this alternate history helium airships have become the primary means of transport for travel and shipping between the east and west coasts for the north as the railroads are controlled by the Confederate States.

If it was just about the steam age technology and the zombies I wouldn't have been hooked. What hooked me was the story of the relationship of the mother and son--Briar and Zeke. They live on the Outskirts of the old city as outcasts because Briar was the wife of the inventor of the boneshaker and the daughter of the lawman who broke the law when he facilitated the escape of those in the jails during the evacuation of the city.

Zeke is fifteen and never knew his father or grandfather but he has reason to believe that both were unfairly maligned and he wants to prove it but the proof lies inside the walls of the city. So he goes in through the old sewers that empty into the sound. Briar goes after him by hopping a ride on an airship.

Enough said. I'm 130 pages in now and need to finish by Thursday.

So. Besides starting Boneshaker this week, I did finish Payback by Margaret Atwood but only by keeping it until this morning a week past due and so did not get to do a review for it.

And because I had six movies and documentaries plus the 3rd season of Dr Who coming due in this past week, I spent more time watching DVD than reading. So my hopes for the coming week contain all those from last week:

Big fat paycheck -- targeted to finish.

The value of nothing : how to reshape market society and redefine democracy / Raj Patel

Fast food nation : the dark side of the all-American meal / Eric Schlosser Ed and I watched the movie based on this a couple months ago and right after that I sent for the book.

Prophet's daughter : my life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet inside the Church Universal and Triumphant / Erin Prophet. This is part of my research on cults and out of mainstream religions for my FOS storyworld.

Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin. -- also targeted to finish as it is short and has a queue.

Food, inc. : Mendel to Monsanto--the promises and perils of the biotech harvest / Peter Pringle. Sent for after the academy awards after seeing the trailer for documentary based on it during the presentation of the nominees. We are also in queue for the DVD.

Plus two more due on June 3rd as are most of the above:

Three Cups of Tea : One Man's Mission to Promote Peace -- One School At a Time / Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.
Publisher, Date: New York : Penguin Books, 2007, c2006.
Description: 349 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 22 cm.

[This isn't the first time having Three Cups checked out but I may have to start it over as it has been over six months since I had it.]

The family : the secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power / Jeff Sharlet.
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial ed.
Publisher, Date: New York, NY : Harper Perennial, 2009, c2008.
Description: vi, 454 p. ; 21 cm.
Summary: "They insist they are just a group of friends, yet they funnel milions of dollars through tax-free corporations. They claim to disdain politics, but congressmen of both parties describe them as the most influential religious organization in Washington. They say they are not Christians, but simply beilievers. Behind the scenes at every National Prayer Breakfast since 1953 has been the Family, an elite network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful. Their goal is 'Jesus plus nothing.' Their method is backroom diplomacy." -- Cover, p.4.
Subject: Fundamentalism -- Political aspects -- United States.
Christianity and politics -- United States.
Religious right -- United States.
Christian conservatism -- United States.
Church and state -- United States.
Christianity and international affairs.

[This is the only of the NF besides Thinking in Pictures and Big Fat Paycheck which I'm targeting to finish by June 3rd as I had it checked out of the Longview library in January during my six week stay with my Mom and was over two thirds finished when I had to leave town. It took me this long to get my turn with one of the two copies in our system here.]

As for the rest of the NF in that list all but Three Cups of Tea happen to be first time check-outs so I will be doing what I call a thorough pre-read of each of them a la Adler's How to Read a Book with a spin or two of my own. This involves reading the table of context, glancing through the index if it exists, reading any intros and or prologues; developing a sense of the author's premise and purpose; ascertaining what I hope to get out of it and only then starting at the beginning of the first chapter and advancing my bookmark.

With NF I tend to read like I'm preparing a term paper. I also tend to take it slow, setting the book aside after a chapter or two (approximately 20-50 pages) moving onto a different NF or reading fiction for a day or three before returning to advance my bookmark again. Unless it is under 200 pages or I have urgent need of the info, I seldom finish a NF the first time I have it checked out (or if I own it within the first six months) because I have discovered that the longer I live with a book the more I retain from it and the longer it sticks.

And to tell you the truth, I'd rather write a term paper than a book review. I fell in love with the process in sixth grade. Well, at least the research--the collecting of resources and taking notes. Not so much the development of an original thesis and then defending it. But once I had that part figured out, I loved the writing of it.

As for fiction this coming week, after Boneshaker, I need to pick up Loorie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs because it has a queue while the other two novels due the same day do not. Thus The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw and Dark places by Gillian Flynn may have to wait until I can send for them again.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Serenity #180

Have series 3 of Dr Who out of library and it was due on Thursday so it has been my focus this weekend. I watched 6 episodes and one special feature of an hour's length between dinner and dawn last night and four more so far this afternoon. That leaves four more to watch before Ed leaves in the morning plus whatever of the extra features (outtakes, deleted scenes, Dr Who confidential episodes) I care to fit in. The box says there are over 6 hours of bonus features tho and I don't imagine I'll even try to get them all so I may not bother with any.

The bonus feature I watched last night was the one called Music and Monsters. The documentary about the concert they held for a children's charity in Wales featuring all the theme music from the series along with appearances of several of the monsters--Dalek, Cyborg, Santa Robots and more.

I could save time by skipping the titles at beginning and end of each episode but I can't bear to skip the music. It has truly grown on me since I first heard it several months ago with the first episode of series 1. As has the series itself.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Visionboard

This is what I've been fiddling with since yesterday afternoon when, while cleaning out my email inbox of five days worth of non-personal stuff I found an announcement from about the new online visionboard creator.

I gathered from the examples shown that most people make these with many fewer pictures and add text and decorations mimicking scrapbooking. But I wanted as many images representing as much of what was meaningful to me as possible in a single collage.

I was going to explain a bit more of my motives for the images I chose and what they represent to me but I think it is fairly self-explanatory.

BTW on I go by enjoystory. I don't spend a lot of time there and when I do I'm mostly a lurker, reading the articles and other's comments and whatever other content users put in public view.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Packed and Ready

wearz u thinks u going?  ai dont thinkz so

To stay.

Another three days.

I got up before ten this morning and began packing for the expected return home this afternoon or evening.

I had all but the last minute stuff packed by noon.

Then got the word about 3pm that the work on the bathroom remodel at home would not be complete today and not only that, the contractor had a prior commitment for this weekend and needed to stop work at five today and could not start again until Monday morning.

So it will be afternoon on Monday the soonest he can have the water back on there. And Ed has to work Monday so it could be I'll have to wait until evening to return even if we get the all clear in the afternoon. Or expose my profligate packing to my in-laws again not to mention needing their help to schlep it out to their car.

My packing has been a family joke for some years now. I do not pack light.

This time I really tried. And did so well at it in regards to clothes that in packing for 2 days away I was able to stretch it to four when our stay was extended for 5. When we stopped by the house yesterday to pick up a few necessities for our last 24 hours, I was able to resist taking more than a single days worth of stuff--a flannel shirt and a turtleneck shirt that could be layered, a fleece jacket that could be worn as a second or third layer with any of the tops I already had with me and my denim jacket for yesterday's running to the library and Wal-Mart because I'd not packed any jackets or long sleeves.

Because last week's weather had been summery and I packed with the expectation that it would continue to be so. Ha. Hardy. Ha.

And I grabbed only two more books. Which weren't even for me but for my niece as they were related to a paper she was working on.

So when I got the word we were staying another three days, I knew I couldn't make it that long without another run into the house unless I washed up the clothes we had with us. But I had to wait my turn for the machine and by the time I got my load started it was too late to get it dry before dark. Inn fact before everybody who could escort me between house and camper would be in bed. The load probably finished drying about 10pm but it's still sitting in the house. It had our PJs in it--the warmest clothing either of us had before yesterday.

Another thing I resisted dragging out here with me yesterday was my food supplements. I had originally brought enough in my pill sorters to see me through Thursday. I grabbed my prescriptions but left the rest thinking I would be back home in time to get the Friday doses no more than 4-6 hours late. I'm not asking Ed to make a trip back for them so I guess we'll see how I do for three days without my Focus Factor, B, potassium, iron, C, etc. etc. etc.

Merlin is finally acting more like his old self. And I should say older self as in younger self--I haven't had to say 'no' to him so many times in a single day since he was a kitten.

The weather was nasty cold and wet and windy all day today. February-like not late May. It's very strange. So of course dirt track races were called off for tomorrow. That's fine with though. I'm not loosing my longed for home alone day but rather gaining some extra one-on-one time with Ed. That is one of the pluses of this whole ordeal--the privacy Ed and I have here in the camper. Something that has been rare since August 2001.

Well, I think I'm going to wrap this up now and read for awhile--until my hands get to cold to hold the book open. Then maybe I'll crawl up in the bed loft with my netbook and DVD player and Dr Who Series 3 and watch a few episodes. That was due at the library Thursday but I held onto it for the weekend. I haven't started watching yet so I need to watch 14 episodes by the time Ed leaves for work Monday.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Making Peace With Change...Sorta...Sometimes

It's been over a week since I've slept more than 5 hours in a day and there have been at least two with none for over 24 hours. I don't do change well, especially the transition stage. So this temporary stay in the camper parked in my brother-in-law's driveway has been really hard to deal with--from the prep and packing in the days before we left the house Monday to the dark of night treks into the to house for the restroom; from fretting over a freaked out kitty to cringing under the onslaught of rain, hail on the metal skin of the camper; from the nerve-wracking rocking of the camper by the wind and by every movement made by us (Ed turning over in bed or going in and out for his cigs are the worst) to the aching of muscles and joints from the chill wee hours air because I'd packed for the summery weather we were having late last week ; from the frustrations of working with a cranky internet and/or wifi connection that adds hours to post prep to the alarm when an unidentifiable animal vocalization commences just outside the door to the camper at 3 AM and circles the camper and yard several times escalating in intensity and obvious distress (Ed said it was a coon when it woke him but now he's telling me it was a turkey that accidentally flew over its fence and didn't know how to get back to it cajoling tom); from the constant calls of a peacock to the yammering yaps of three miniature Dobermans day and night; from the navigating in poor light the unfamiliar living-room, kitchen and dining-room sometimes milling with 8 or 9 full-sized people plus a toddler to navigating the well-lit but confined space in the camper with multiple tripping hazards in every square foot (throw rugs and oddly placed and spaced steps primarily) there hasn't been a moment conducive to adjustment.

But today we had to go back to Phoenix to return and retrieve waiting library items and refill my prescriptions and while there I was in our room gathering together extra clothes (we had packed for 2.5 days that turned into 5) including a couple long-sleeved shirts and a fleece jacket and as I rummaged around in the mess I'd made while packing Sunday and realized that even returning home wasn't going to be instant relief, I began to hanker for a quick return to the camper. My first clue that adjustment had begun. Just in time for tomorrow's return home I have begun to relax into the stay here. Another clue was the intense sleepiness and craving for sleep that began this afternoon on the drive back. I crashed soon after we got back here and slept until Ed called me for dinner. If not called I think I would still be asleep. I'm hoping to get to sleep again in plenty of time to get a full eight hours before noon tomorrow when I will have to begin the packing and cleaning up for our return home tomorrow followed by the unpacking and re-organizing of our room there.

But it hasn't been all bad. I didn't intend to make it sound so. There have been moments of pure joy. When holding little Emma Sue, their 20 year old toothless cat who is so gentle and loving; when watching Goliath the Basset watch the gopher hole for endless minutes; when seeing the sun break through a dark bank of clouds over the hills to the west that rise above the roof of that old barn pictured in yesterday's post; when stepping lightly on my mini-tramp under a partly cloudy sky seeing the rainbow halos of nearly everything caused by the wet sheen left behind by the recent drizzle and the dancing of the young willow's branches in the gusty breeze; when watching the movie Lovely Bones with my niece last night which had special meaning to us because she had read the book when participating with me in the Read-a-thon two summers ago and I'd read it the following week; when watching the movie Australia on Ed's laptop alone in the wee hours of yesterday morning (oh I could watch that movie again and again); when crawling into the feather bed this afternoon and falling into hard sleep.

Speaking of which....


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What I See Out My Window

The barn across the fence of my brother-in-laws back yard

I have a thing for old barns. Don't know where it comes from unless it is nostalgia from visits to grandparents and cousins in early childhood or maybe a vividly imaged scene from a novel which I've forgotten about and lost all but a faint memory of a scene in or near an old barn. I even set some major scenes of one of my own stories in a barn once. That manuscript was lost but that scene still haunts me.

Anyway. I discovered this fascinating blog a couple weeks ago and have been considering sending a photo taken out my window but wasn't very inspired by the views of the other trailers out our windows. But after putting together yesterday's post featuring all the pics taken in, from and of the camper we're staying in this week, I decided now was a good time to participate.

Who knows, maybe I'll go ahead and send What I See Out My Window a pic from one of the trailer windows when we get back. Because it hadn't occurred to me until creating the pic above and the ones of Goliath the Basset and the green lawn chairs featured in yesterday's post that any pic taken through the window could be cropped to feature something, well, less uninspiring than the neighbor's aluminum carport roof piled with rusted wire fencing and plywood.


Camping Beside the Carport

We--Ed and I and his parents and our cat Merlin--are staying at his brother's this week while the bathroom at home is being remodeled. Merlin, Ed and I are staying in the camper parked next to the carport in the back yard. Though we do have dinner with the family in the house and hang out in there during parts of the day. We expected this to be less than a 72 hour thing--leaving home shortly after noon on Monday and returning Wednesday afternoon.

But today the contractor hit an unexpected snag. When he was removing the hot water tank its bottom fell off because it was rusted out. And he found the floor under it was also going to need replacing. In fact this was where the leak that ruined the floor in the bathroom had been coming from all along. At least three years!!

Ed's brother had replaced a major section of the floor in the bathroom and the hall outside the summer of 2007 and the toilet along with it having blamed the problem on the bad seal at its base. And that may have accounted for most of the damage between the toilet and the hallway where the washer/dryer sit. But soon after that work was done the floor starting going soft again between the tub and toilet. A leak in the seals between the wall and tub were blamed and re-calking ensued but the problem continued and worsened and the new linoleum was soon giving way under our feet.

So it was the hot water tank all along and replacing it and the flooring under it plus cleaning up the mess made by gallons and gallons of hot water on the ground at the edge of the neighbor's driveway and shopping for the new water heater is adding a couple of days to the contractor's work and thus to our stay here.

And this is here:

The table with a bench on either side is just big enough for Ed and I to set up our computers facing each other.

It amazes me whenever I see them next to each other. My netbook is over an inch smaller than my old laptop and Ed's laptop is over an inch bigger--on both the width and length--so there is over two inches difference between our his and mine now.

See the two stacks of DVD next to the window? I think I brought more DVD than books. It intended to be consolation for leaving behind all but a smidgen of my crochet and craft materials. Plus many are due at the library in the next week. One is already overdue because I was too exhausted last night to watch it. Australia. Ed said to eat the fine through Thursday as 20 to 40 cents isn't bad to avoid waiting another three or four months for a turn.

I intend to watch it tonight it tonight as soon as I'm posted. Which would have been by now if Merline hadn't cost me half an hour or more with his shenanigans. So its going to be well after midnight before I get my post up again tonight.

Meanwhile, here's the view out the window to my left. The little green VW bug is my nieces who just got her license. She's not driving the bug yet as she and her big brother the mechanic still have a lot to do before it is road worthy.

And here is the view to my right, across the aisle and over the back of the couch.

Behind me are the steps up to the bathroom and the master bedroom. That's the foot of the bed there where the plaid blanket hangs down.

The sink is in a cubby to the right and the bathroom equipped with toilet and shower is to the left. We can't use them though as they aren't hooked up for waste disposal.

This is the view straight ahead from my seat at my temporary desk. The kitchen counter stretches across the back with the stove to the right and the sink to the left. The fridge/freezer is next to the stove with the couch the other side of it.

That view now includes this bouquet my niece brought over last night.

Poor Merlin was not a happy camper yesterday. Here he is in the cave he found comprised of the overhang of the feather mattress at the foot of the big bed. That was actually a very dark cave as all of that light is from the flash. He did not voluntarily come out for hours and then the least little spook and he zipped back.

His nerves have had a heavy workout in the last few days. First by watching me pack. The last two times I packed bunches of stuff into bags, I left him for weeks and weeks. This past January it was a six week visit to my Mom's and a year before that a six month one.

I don't know if he was remembering that and making the connection but he was awfully itsy as I packed Sunday night. And then Monday afternoon when the contractor arrived and started banging away in the bathroom whose wall adjoins the room Merlin shares with Ed and I, he went a little nutzoid as Ed would put it. He ran from that end of the trailer into the front room with his belly nearly dragging the floor and his shoulders hunched. He was looking for a dark corner to hid in as far from that noise as possible.

That happened moments before we put the leash on him and took him out the front door and then to my MIL's car. When I set him down on the back seat so I could get the strap of the bag off my shoulder and climb in, he dashed over the back of the seats into the luggage well and looped around clambering over the seats again--and my back, and out the door onto the street.

We were traveling with him sans crate because I misplaced its gate. When I finally got seatbelted and settled with him on my lap atop my fleece blanket which he loves, he was trembling with every fiber. The ride, which include a detour past the post office, took about twenty-five minutes. He didn't stop trembling and meowing for at least five of it. And we were in the last five minutes of the drive before he relaxed enough to lay his chin over my wrist and I felt his breathing change towards slow and deep against my hand. I couldn't see his eyes but I strongly suspected they were closing.

Then we hit the gravel of the road my BIL lives on and his head popped up. And then he was put through the ordeal of the move from the car to the camper through a maze of legs both human and dog. Not cool at all.

The first time I tried to lure him out from under that bed he pulled away, looked me square in the eyes, scooted back out of reach and turned his back!!!

How much clearer could he be that he blamed me?

He ventured out the first time around dinner time.



Sniffing in overdrive.

I could smell the dog smell in here so he must have been quite overwhelmed by it.

He approached the screen door almost eagerly at first as having a leash on usually means going out in the yard and watching the neighborhood from one of his safe spots under a porch chair or through the step rails.

But he soon realized...

We're not in Kansas anymore.

The big black lab in the yard spotted him and set to barking which started a chorus of barking from several neighborhood dogs and squalling from the peacock in the yard across the back fence.


Back to the cave he went until well after dark. He came out and joined Ed on the bed when he crashed about 9 last night.

My nerves were shot too. I am not good with transitions. The anxiety about this event began building the moment I learned of it ten days or so ago. The packing and the need to choose what to take with me and what to leave behind made me a dithering tizzy.

And my first attempt to climb back out of the camper was a close call to a fall.

Then I learned I would have to make that climb out and back in again every time I needed the bathroom. Day or night.

Day, not so bad, but night was--well--a nightmare.

The visual impairment caused from my RP takes not only all my peripheral vision but my night vision as well.

So the climb out...

...and the trek across the gravel to the corner of the house with nothing to touch to steer by...

...followed by a safari through the dark laundry room and dark hall and back again, shredded my nerves as thoroughly as Merlin shreds every scratching post we ever got him.

And I had to do it twice between dusk and dawn. The first time in the rain! The second time after waiting through a downpour that gave the sensation of being inside a waterfall--with a screaming bladder--for twenty minutes.

But it's darkest before dawn and the noon sun chases off nightmares.

By afternoon the sun streaming through the window played havoc with my ability to see anything on my 'desk' so I lowered the blinds.

Merlin had slept against my legs and ventured out into the living area along with me. He was now willing to ogle the dogs through the window, his nerves now apparently overruled by his curiosity for he held this pose for quite some time.

Which was because...

Goliath, the Basset, was holding this pose.

And holding it. And holding it.

And holding it. And...

The first time I saw him doing this yesterday, I wondered if he had lost some of his marbles. And I don't mean the glass kind.

But it turns out that he has a feud going on with a gopher. He will sit over a gopher hole for an hour and more at a stretch.

I take the gopher is a great tease.

Eventually Merlin lost interest in Goliath and commenced to kneed the pile of blankets I had put atop our bags to protect our clean clothes and my crochet and sewing from his shedding hair and possible attempts to find a substitute litter box.

But it was for naught. For it wasn't long before he had found a way to get under. He had dug at the blankets the way Goliath dug at the gopher hole until he got under and then dug at something under there sniffing at it loud enough for me to hear three feet away. Turned out to be Ed's sweats aka PJs. Having made his nest, he settled.

I could almost hear him sigh.

Home sweet home.

I am hoping the sun will come out and dry off these lawn chairs tomorrow so we can sit out there with our books. Or I might get my crochet out. I haven't held the hook since Sunday night. Have been having some withdrawal twitching in my fingers and wrists.

But it would have to wait until we get back from going after extra clothes and several library books I can't wait until Saturday to get started on.


Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Just discovered this meme and though Monday is almost over, I think I'll jump in. Won't be able to visit until tomorrow. Which is only a couple hours off. :)

What I've been reading in the last week:

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. Read between Wednesday evening and Friday morning. It was due at the library on Thursday but I kept it over the weekend in hopes of completing a review but did not manage to do so and had to send it back this morning. But I discussed it a bit as I read it here and here. In that last you'd have to wade through a lot of daily trivia to get to the relevant paragraph so I'll copy it:

And no, I did not finish that book due today that I started yesterday: The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. Almost. 60 some pages to go. I won't owe a fine if I get it in the drop box before the library opens Monday. But I didn't want to take advantage of that this time because I have three more books due on Monday!!! Plus four DVD.

Among the neglected tasks this past few weeks was getting the book reviews done for the books that I finished before the books had to go back to the library.

The Anthologist's protagonist is a writer who isn't writing. Which is rubbing it in my own face a bit hard.

Besides pushing to finish several books and movies this weekend I will also be packing for a three day out of town trip. Well saying 'out of town' is a bit misleading. It's only across the valley to the driveway of Ed's brother's place where we will be staying in their camper and Ed's folks in the house while the bathroom here is being remodeled......
I include the beginning of the next paragraph so I could say: Yes we are in the camper and the story of getting here will be told with pictures in tomorrows post.

The Anthologist was the only book I finished since last Monday. But as is my habit, I've read in several others.

Big fat paycheck : a young person's guide to writing for the movies by Colton Lawrence. I began this as Script Frenzy was starting the first week of April and am still plugging away at it.

The practice of writing by David Lodge. Was dipping into these essays more than reading straight through. Also checked out of library in honor of ScriptFrenzy as Lodge discusses adaptation of literature for the screen. Also the writing life and writing a a practice. To give an idea of what is discussed and why it might interest me here are the titles of parts and chapters:

pt. 1. Novelists, novels and "The novel": The novelist today: Still at the crossroads? -- Fact and fiction in the novel: an author's note -- The lives of Graham Greene -- Lucky Jim revisited -- Sex, creativity and biography: The young D.H. Lawrence -- Henry Green: a writer's writer's writer -- Joyce's choices -- The making of "Anthony Burgess" -- What kind of fiction did Nabokov write?: a practitioner's view -- Creative writing: Can it/should it be taught? -- The novel as communication -- pt. 2. Mixed media: Novel, screenplay, stage play: three ways of telling a story -- Adapting Nice work for television -- Adapting Martin Chuzzlewit -- Through the no entry sign: deconstruction and architecture -- Harold Pinter's Last to go: a structuralist analysis -- Playback: extracts from a Writer's diary.

Had to send it back to the library today but I'm sure I'll send for it again sometime. At least it doesn't have a huge queue.

Genesis of an American playwright by Horton Foote ; edited and with an introduction by Dr. Marion Castleberry. Everything I said about Lodge's book is true of this one too. Checked out for ScriptFrenzy. Had to go back today. Dipped in here and there rather than read from beginning. But I've seen enough to know I want to see more. Again the titles:

Genesis of a Playwright -- Seeing and Imagining -- Pasadena and Beyond -- Learning to Write -- On Being a Southern Writer -- Wharton, Then and Now -- What It Means to be a Southern Writer -- The Trip to Paradise -- The Artist as Mythmaker -- Things Have Ends and Beginnings -- Writing for the Stage -- Dance and Broadway (1944) -- Harrison, USA -- Sometimes the One-Act Play Says It All -- Advice to Young Playwrights -- Herbert Berghof -- The Orphans' Home Cycle Lecture -- How To and How Not To: Some Lessons Learned along the Way -- Introduction to The Young Man from Atlanta -- Writing for the Screen -- The Little Box -- On First Dramatizing Faulkner -- The McDermott Lecture -- Writing for Film -- Willa Cather -- Thoughts on the American Theatre -- The New York Theatre (1930-1940) -- The Changing of the Guard -- The Vanishing World and Renewals.

Payback : debt and the shadow side of wealth by Margaret Atwood. This is the one I've put the most effort in this week. I have been reading from the beginning and am trying hard to finish before sending it back to the library. It too was due today but i held it back, hoping to finish it by tomorrow. It's only 230 pages and I'm over halfway. This is an essay by one of my favorite novelists. A musing on the meaning that the concept of debt has for the human psyche as evidenced by cultural attitude, myth and legend and literature and drama. Again the chapter titles:

Ancient balances -- Debt and sin -- Debt as plot -- The shadow side -- Payback

The New Atlantis by Francis Bacon. Started this week before last when it was mentioned in Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. I'd had no idea that Bacon had written a Utopian 'novel'. And was extra surprised to discover it was included in the Francis Bacon volume of my Great Books set. It is quite short and I read over half of it the first time I picked it up but have been taking small sips since then as library due dates loomed.

I have started the novel The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw but am less than five pages in so I don't know how much that counts for last week. It will be one of the books I'm most focused on this coming week.

Among the books I am likely to spend time with this week:

Big fat paycheck -- targeted to finish.

The value of nothing : how to reshape market society and redefine democracy / Raj Patel

Fast food nation : the dark side of the all-American meal / Eric Schlosser

Prophet's daughter : my life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet inside the Church Universal and Triumphant / Erin Prophet. This is part of my research on cults and out of mainstream religions for my FOS storyworld.

Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin.

Food, inc. : Mendel to Monsanto--the promises and perils of the biotech harvest / Peter Pringle

And if I finish The Girl with Glass Feet which is fairly short, the novel I'll pick up next is Dark places by Gillian Flynn. Read her Sharp Objects in January and was enthralled.

I'm hoping that participation in this meme will motivate me to get reviews posted in a more timely fashion. I have dozens in various stages of prep. most waiting until I send for the book again which in most cases I could do any time but in many I would have to wait weeks or months for another turn. It would help to not be starting such books the same week they are due.


So often of late I've been finishing a book a matter of hours before I have to hand it over to Ed to detour past the library on his way to work to get it in the drop box just in time to avoid the fine. No way to do a decent review under those circumstances.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Serenity #179

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

After the hours of despair inducing work I put into yesterday's post I need to post something uplifting and joyful like this video which I stumbled on while watching videos about the oil spill.

This three year old artist has the eye for beauty and joy inspiring images.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Senator Has a Spine

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This was the first evidence of spine in any government official I've seen in the weeks since the BP oil spill. I hope its not just smoke and mirrors. Because when the true and full impact on our environment and economy by this disaster is finally known and sinks into the consciousness of the American people, we are going to remember who was buddy-buddy with the oil guys and who stood up to them.

I've been obsessed with the Deep Water Horizon oil spill story for over a week now and am beginning to feel like a hypocrite for not owning up to that in my blog. It's partly because I'm overwhelmed and in shock by the magnitude of this unnecessary disaster.

And angry. So angry. At everybody implicated including government but mostly BP and Halliburton and Transocean.

And there is evidence found by scientists that the bulk of the oil hasn't been rising to the surface but is still sitting under water in several huge plumes the volume of which appear to be many times that of the estimates of either BP or the government (which is calculating based on NASA photos of the ocean surface).

40 photos related to this story here.

Nightmare thots:

  • The BP estimate of 5000 barrels per day may be off by as much as 65,000!
  • It could take them months to stop the leak.
  • Hurricane season starts June 1st.
  • The gulf states economies will be disrupted worse than by Katrina for much longer--possibly decades.
  • The fragile ecosystems in the Mississippi marshes could be more than decimated.
  • Ditto for the marine ecosystems off the coasts of Florida--most at risk being the coral
  • The oil could catch a ride on a current and travel up the east coast

All that barely scratches the surface of what we're in for.

Remember the Exxon Valdez? The oil is still sitting in that Alaskan bay, still sliming the coast and shortening the lives of indigenous flora and fauna. Over twenty years later.


Friday, May 14, 2010


We watched Avatar this afternoon and then Hurt Locker after dinner. I wished it had been the other way around because I'd much rather sit alone through the night in the afterglow of Avatar than of Hurt Locker. So I went looking for an Avatar trailer for this post in hopes of getting back some of the glow. And as I watched trailers and other vids about it and reflected on its themes and the themes of Hurt Locker I realized that both had been playing out the themes discussed by Margaret Atwood in her little book of essays called Payback (Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth.

I started reading the book late last night and read some more this morning before the first movie and more between the movies. In these essays, written in 2008 Atwood is tracing the history of our cultures relation to the concepts of debt. From myths and legends to scriptures to modern billboards to movies and paintings and novels and sitcoms to reality TV and talk shows to science, anthropology and laws from 1700 BC to the present from China to Egypt to Rome to modern day Canada, to personal memories of the depression through the present, she contemplates our relationship as individuals and as societies to the concepts of debt and wealth.

While on YouTube hunting for the video, I saw a comment left by someone claiming Avatar was the worst movie he'd ever seen with the worst plot, adding that it was nothing but new age hippie tree-huggers against machine-guns. I wish I had the guts to reply to that comment to the effect that shallow minds are apt to see shallow plots. I would suggest he read this book and then think again about the depth of the plot. But I suspect he would still be as clueless as Colonel Q and the Corporate Qtip in charge of Earth's mining operation on Pandora. Because that was exactly why they missunderestimated the Na'vi and their Tree of Souls. Their shallow minds could not think outside the ice-cube trays they had for minds. Just doing their job, you know. It's only what corporate shareholders have a right to expect from us you know. Yadayadablahblah.

Well, I'm going to be in debt to the city pretty soon if I don't get cracking on that book. Some one has a request in for it so I would have to wait a month or more to get it back if I don't finish it by Monday morning. Well, Tuesday morning actually but I don't want to expect Ed to make a special trip into the Phoenix library Tuesday morning as it would be about a twenty minute drive from his brother's house where we are to be staying while the bathroom here is remodeled. So one way or the other I need to be finished with whatever is due Monday and Tuesday before we leave Monday morning. This is the last book that I need to finish before we leave but I would like to finish one or two more that are due between the 20th and the 1st so I don't have to take them with me. Well, at least one. Two more after Payback might be expecting too much.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Misleading Assumptions

print for sale at

Take a close look at the picture and make a stab at guessing what it is of.

When I first saw a thumbnail of it in an ad on a website, I thought it looked like a piece of a painting from the era of Michelangelo and the partial title that accompanied it reinforced that assumption: "Close view of the Mantle of...."

Oh, yes, sure. I bet it's a detail of the mantle of an angel or Mary in one of the Assumptions of Mary paintings.

Boy was I fooled.

I'm going to make you click on it to go see it's full title. I downloaded it to use in my jigsaw puzzle game. Then decided to use it also to head this post.

Because it seems to be the theme of the day for me to discover misleading assumptions.

I've been operating on one for the last several weeks that caused me to put a lot of other things on the back burner that I probably wouldn't have; probably shouldn't have. And now I'm waaaay behind in a plethora of other projects and commitments and the one I was preparing for this Saturday isn't happening.

I'm speaking of the citywide yardsale that I thought I've been preparing my crocheted bookmarks for. When Ed told me of the librarian's suggestion that I might set up a table at the library that day while the Friends of the Library were putting on their book sale, it sounded more like an offer not just a suggestion that I check with the Friends of the Library. Tell the truth, I thought it didn't sound kosher when I first heard it. We're talking county and city property so how likely is it that any regular citizen would be allowed, let alone encouraged to sell items for their own profit. Turns out my first thought was correct.

In a way I'm relieved as I wasn't looking forward to sitting out in public for hours and making small talk and 'showing off' my stuff. Instead I'm going to donate some of the bookmarks to Friends of the Library to offer during the book sale. So whatever they can make off them will go towards buying books for the library.

Meanwhile, I've got some 180 bookmarks (tho all but 40 some are still naked) now but am behind on everything else. Not just library books and DVD either but those are the things that cause me the most anxiety since the due dates are less forgiving then other more loosely scheduled things. I've got a dozen books coming due in the next three weeks, more than half of them hard to get back. And between our two cards we have 12 DVD due in the next week. Most with long queues waiting behind us. Like Avatar, Australia, Hurt Locker, Lovely Bones, New Moon, Dr Who Series 3, and Michael Moore's Capitalism: a Love Story.

And no, I did not finish that book due today that I started yesterday: The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. Almost. 60 some pages to go. I won't owe a fine if I get it in the drop box before the library opens Monday. But I didn't want to take advantage of that this time because I have three more books due on Monday!!! Plus four DVD.

Among the neglected tasks this past few weeks was getting the book reviews done for the books that I finished before the books had to go back to the library.

The Anthologist's protagonist is a writer who isn't writing. Which is rubbing it in my own face a bit hard.

Besides pushing to finish several books and movies this weekend I will also be packing for a three day out of town trip. Well saying 'out of town' is a bit misleading. It's only across the valley to the driveway of Ed's brother's place where we will be staying in their camper and Ed's folks in the house while the bathroom here is being remodeled. Completely new fixtures and flooring. The floor is rotting out from under us in there. The toilet is tipping so far to the side the tissue box won't stay on the tank. There are holes in the floor next to the tub, between the tub and toilet.

The work starts Monday and is supposed to be done by Wednesday afternoon. The water will be off here with no bathroom facilities at all hence our invite to stay at Ed's brother's place.

Ed has cautioned me several times to take it easy in packing. It is only two nights and one full day with part days bracketing it. Besides, he says, he can always drop by and pick up something I discover I need.

Just the thought of packing for this event has had me in a dither for two weeks now. I keep going back and forth and round in circles on what I should take and what I should leave behind. I can't imagine being without my crochet while being in a social situation but when I try to settle on a limited number of balls of thread to take with me I can't settle on a number let alone the colors.

But taking all of them would be twice the volume of the clothes I need. And really to take them at all I'd want to take the wardrobe makings--the beads, ribbons, buttons etc. So after dithering over this for a time I keep coming to the conclusion that I should just leave it all behind and take a three day break from the hook. That lasts for about five seconds.

There are alternatives. I could switch to a craft that doesn't entail so much paraphernalia. Like sewing the backing on those tri-panel book covers. Everything I need for that project takes up less space than a large book. Plus one of the issues keeping me from getting it done is not having a place with enough space and light to spread out the cloth to measure and cut it. That shouldn't be a problem at my BILs home with their big dining room table under a good light.

Or I could just play games on my netbook while in the house with the family and read, write and watch DVD on my netbook while out in the camper.

Of course my niece will be there to visit with and watch movies with but she has school and drama club so our one-on-one time will be limited.

Don't even get me started on books. I should select one of the really long novels and leave everything else behind. But will I?

Me packing for a trip has become a family joke.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Last Minute Artiste

Am going to be starting this book immediately after posting. Its due at the library tomorrow. I'm going to read straight through for as much as I can until I finish it or until I need to get ready to go to the library or until my eyes give out. It is 243 pages and they aren't large pages tho the prose is of the sort I'm likely to savor so I can't speed-read.

Why am I just now starting it when it is due tomorrow which must mean I've had it in my possession for a time [three weeks actually] and could get it again eventually?

Good question. Can't answer it. Stubborn maybe. Or don't want to live with the regret and disappointment after sending it back. It's set her beside my computer for the last two weeks and I keep promising myself that just as soon as _______ [fill in the blank] I'll pick it up.

There are 5 people in queue for it and only one copy in the system so if every one of those 5 do what I did, it would be five months before I could hope to see it again.

Yep, Ms Last Minute. That's me. I'm an artiste at procrastination. Also at overcommitment.

Maybe if it were just any old story I could let it go and wait for half a year for another turn. But it is a story that muses upon story telling itself, upon words and their uses in prose and poetry, upon beauty and how we dare to imagine we can create it with our words.... Listen to the author, Nicholson Baker, muse on the writing of this book in the vid below:


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Something Delicious

There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You can never quite tell where they will take you. Mine took me here.
--Beatrix Potter in the first line of the movie Miss Potter

I think they were the closing lines as well. Am not sure and would like to know if they were taken from Miss Potter's own writings--letters or journals--or were the words of the screenplay writer.

At any rate. The movie, Miss Potter, about the beloved Beatrix Potter, creator of the children's books Peter Rabbit et all beloved by 4, 5, or 6 generations of children to date is itself delicious. Starring Renee Zellweger as Beatrix and Ewan Mcgreggor (how ironic is that?) as her publisher, Norman Warne, this film is a must see for any one who ever loved Peter Rabbit, and his siblings, Flopsy, Mospy and Cotton Tail; Jemima the Puddle Duck and Benjamine Bunny.

It is also a must for anyone interested in the lives of the path-breakers for modern women's roles in society. Born into 1866 Victorian era England she lived to see the expectation's of womenkind morph to what they were in 1943--mid WWII. But she did much more than watch. She lived the change.

The soundtrack is wonderful as well. Especially the song When You Taught Me How To Dance sung by Katie Melua featured in the YouTube above. If it has been disabled, do seek it out as it is worth it.


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