Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What I Read -- Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders

While S and I were on vacation, I finished reading Another County

As a second read, I wasn't quite as impressed with it as I was the first time I read it.  But it did still have several useful lessons contained within, namely:
1. Help each other;
2. Be kind and compassionate; and
3. Don't be afraid.

What's interesting about those lessons, though, is that they're really not specific to the demographic identified in the subtitle; they could just as easily be applied to anyone.

We are all busy, rushed, and have too much to do.  But wouldn't it be nice if we could take some time to slow down, relax, spend a little more time talking about life than we do scrolling through Twitter?

Something to think about.

Friday, August 11, 2017

What I'm Reading Now -- A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire

My forays into genre fiction have been limited.  In the Sci Fi and Fantasy category, the only books I have read with any real interest were The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (the whole trilogy).  I have picked up a few of Tolkien's other books (The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales), but just have never been motivated to start reading them.

I have watched a fair amount which falls into the SciFi/Fantasy category though, some of which has been pretty terrible but I watch it anyway: Star Wars (though never Star Trek), Sense8, Dollhouse, Serenity, Battlestar Galactica, and a whole host of other stuff.

When I began a discussion with a friend about the Game of Thrones series, which was after the HBO version started, but not long after, his advice was unequivocal: "if you don't read a lot of fantasy, watch but don't read."  I understood why he said what he did.  The books are huge and the world created within them is sprawling.  Characters come and go and come back and go again.  People and place names are strange and difficult to remember, if you're not used to that sort of thing.  And, perhaps most significantly, the show is pretty good and darn entertaining.

I heeded his advice for years, but have now decided - for reasons unknown - that I am up to the task.  I have started A Song of Ice and Fire.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What I Read -- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

My second read for the Postal Book Club v. 2.0 was The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.  It was E's pick, and it was a great one for vacation; it was more than a beach read but not a downer.  In the description I shared with K and E, I overused the word "charming," which is still the best descriptor I have for it.

The title character is the owner of a bookstore on a small, relatively isolated island.  As such, the cast of characters is small and, though flawed, they are winning.  A.J. is a widower and loner, and his few reliable people are as much his rescuers as his friends.  The plot is simple and human and . . . charming.  I won't say much more about it, because I would have to give away a relatively early plot point, so you'll just have to read it!

As you all know, I'm a slow reader.  Even though I read this on vacation when I had the time to devote to a novel, I think it would have been a quick read even in real life.  It's especially delightful and fun to read if you are a fan of bookstores!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Goals 2017 -- August Edition

August is going to be a busy month for me. I had a great vacation, but work really stacked up while I was gone.  Unfortunately, though I would like my goal to be consequently modest, I'm not sure that is possible.  Boo hiss.

As a bit of a continuation from last month and because we have a deadline coming up, this month my goal is to get the yard sale goods ready.  This will have the added benefit of clearing out part of the basement.  It will also, though, require the cleaning out of the last few things in a nearly-forgotten storage locker.

So wish me luck in this crazy month!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Goals 2017 -- July Recap

I am struggling with the basement, including my crafting area.  I have managed to get the area roughed out, including the placement of the furniture. It's situated in front of a big window with lots of natural light in a space that S cleared out for me.

I haven't managed to get a rug in place yet. We did pick them up from my condo, but it was a bit of a whirlwind between when we picked them up and when we headed out of town. (More on the trip soon.)

Once I get the rug rolled out and the furniture properly situated atop it, I can start using the space for its intended purpose. Even though it's not ready yet, it's nice to have an idea of what it will look like very shortly!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Prime Suspect

My friend L recently loaned me Season 1 of Prime Suspect.  It's a BBC series about Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, which started in 1991.  The first six seasons ran from 1991 through 1996, and then it restarted again with another season in 2003, then one in 2006.  There has recently been a reboot called either Prime Suspect 1973 or Tennison, which is a flashback to the main character's early days on the police force.

About the main character, Ms. Tennison is played by the phenomenal Helen Mirren, who lives up to her reputation in this role.  The show has the expected issues of sexism from coworkers on the force, skeptical superiors, and a doubting public, but Mirren plays the role of the singularly-focused DCI without becoming too much of a stereotype.

I am looking forward to the remaining seasons, and excited to learn about the reboot.  I hope it matches the quality of the original!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mountain Biking

S and I have been doing lots of mountain biking lately.  I use the word "mountain" loosely, since we live in the Midwest.  Trail biking?  Off-road biking?  Whatever.  One of those.  And it's been a blast.

If you need a good activity for a hot day, it's highly recommended!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Grapes of Wrath and The Trial

E and I had an opera spectacular, enjoying two shows in one day a couple of Saturdays ago.

We started with The Grapes of Wrath, which was first performed in 2007.  I was not crazy about the music, contemporary as it is.  The OTSL performance was the premiere of a new revised version of the show.  I didn't do enough research to know what the changes were, but one of the composers was there for the performance, and I suspect he was a speaker at an event either before or after the show talking about just that.

Though I didn't care for the music, I very much enjoyed the tragic story, which I had never encountered before, not having read the classic Steinbeck novel!  I definitely preferred Titus, but as between this and Butterfly, it's a bit of a toss-up.

After the matinee, E and I headed out for dinner with G&G at Peno.  It's a fairly new place just outside downtown Clayton, and I think we were all quite pleased with our meals.  E and I shared a pizza and a pasta, and other than about 3/4 of one of my pieces of pizza, we demolished them both.  G&G each had a variation on the fisherman's stew.  One of them polished it off, one of them took half home.  You decide.  We even had a couple of desserts; the lemon sorbet was delightful.

Then E and I headed back to the opera for Philip Glass's The Trial.  I really didn't know what to expect from this one.  Now I know.  Absurdism.  Although I can't really blame Philip Glass for that.  The opera is based on Franz Kafka's story of the same name, so the plot is his fault.

The music was less offensive to my ears than the music in Grapes had been, and I must agree with E that I very much enjoyed the monochromatic set of black, white, and grey.  But aside from that, just not my style.  Last place.