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|Sunday, October 12th, 2014|
I joined a gym* recently. With my work schedule (12-hour shifts), going to the gym on a work day isn't feasible (and yes, I did try for a few weeks), so I've now set up a schedule/exercise routine that is doable. I don't know if I will actually lose weight, but at least I'm getting more exercise.**
I've started doing yoga, which I hope will help with my balance and flexibility. I've had one bad fall and several scary ones in the past decade, and my mother had numerous bad falls in her later years, and that was what ultimately killed her, so improving my balance is a definite goal. I tried 3 different classes and finally found one which is good for beginners. The teacher very clearly explains what to do with each arm/leg/whatever that you are to move, and she also barks out options for more advanced students as well. And her music isn't overwhelming. (The worst class I attended was the one where the teacher was playing '70s pop music too loudly. Roberta Flack was wailing about being killed softly as I was trying to make out what the teacher was saying - the teacher had a strong Chinese accent and was using a lot of yoga-specific vocabulary. I wasn't sure if the words I was missing were common English or yoga terms as I couldn't make out what she was saying against the din.)
The class I'm sticking with is, unfortunately, at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. The teacher also has a Chinese accent (par for the course where I live), but I have no difficulty understanding her and when she uses a yoga term, she says it after she has explained what is to be done. (The "unfortunately" part comes in because my women's faith-sharing group meets at 9 on Saturdays. This means I'm a few minutes late for that all the time. But the gym and the church are only 3 blocks apart and half the church ladies come late. I just hate to be late for anything.)
On Friday and Sunday, I use the weight machines and swim 10 laps in the big pool. There's a 20-minute time limit on a lane when the pool is busy, so 10 is about all I can do in that time period. And it's enough for now. I hadn't swam in over 30 years, so the first time I only did 5 laps. I got goggles, since I don't like water splashing in my eyes, so now I can open my eyes underwater. Now I'm working on trying to coordinate my breathing for the normal face-in-the-water crawl stroke. (I'm more comfortable with backstroke and side stroke - your face is out of the water.) I get more of a cardio work out with the crawl, so I am trying to work that in more. (I do a combination of strokes in my 10 laps.)
Considering I do not like to get wet*** or change my clothes, the fact that I'm choosing swimming as my exercise is mildly ironic. On the plus side is that it does not bother my bursitis, so I'm hoping to get strong enough that the bursitis is no longer an issue.
But hey, if they ever come up with a way to swim without getting wet, I am so there!
*My company has a new benefit. They will pay up to $120 a quarter for gym membership (your gym has to be on the list), reimbursing you into your health savings account.
**I have not been bike riding much because my right leg has been bad. I'm never sure if I can trust it so I'm not keen to go on a long bike ride.
***And this is such a production - I have to have exercise clothes, swim suit, sandals (since I'm flat footed and can't walk barefoot), bath towel, bag for wet things, and all the shower stuff (soap, swimmers' shampoo, conditioner). I come with two bags of stuff on swimming days. If I don't get the chlorine smell off of me, our little cat lets me know.
|Sunday, March 16th, 2014|
|Is it too late to return this year to the manufacturer?
2014, I am not a fan of yours. Particularly not this past week: on one day, my sister was diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy in both eyes - she's going blind. A few days later, the same sister was diagnosed also with endometrial cancer. Then two days later, my mother-in-law died.
I'm grateful these are not happening to me or my husband, but 2014 - not a fan.
I'm grateful also for faith and community - we don't have to go through this alone.
|Sunday, November 17th, 2013|
I can't put this on Facebook because my family's all on FB. Friday was the second anniversary of my mother's death. As I was getting ready for church this morning, I noticed that all my nice embroidered handkerchiefs which I use for church are showing signs of wear.
I do use disposable tissues, too, but I always have cloth hankies with me as well. For work and other taking-care-of-business days, I use the larger men's handkerchiefs which I found can be purchased at Macy's in the same section with men's suits. Ladies' nice hankies are harder to find.
I realized that every one of my nice hankies had been a gift from my mother. This is one of those items which all of my family associates closely with my mother. She only used ladies' hankies, never men's, so they were all embroidered or at least printed with flowers. And as not all her clothing had pockets (a very common and rather annoying situation with women's clothing), she had a habit of stuffing her hankies everywhere: up her sleeve, in her bra, wherever she could. It was amusing, as a kid, watching her fumbling around, riffling her clothing, trying to find her hankies. When she died, her hankies were some of the items that my sisters and I divided up.
I have asked my sisters, who used to take her shopping, where she would find the nice hankies. There was no set answer. She shopped everywhere, and where she found them, she bought them. She got them in hospital gift shops and bargain stores and in a lot of different places.
I googled for women's embroidered handkerchiefs and found a supply through Amazon. So, since my sisters don't know about my LJ, I have ordered 3 sets, one for myself, one for Joy, and one for Charity. (None for Maleficent, who tends to regard such things as "old lady stuff" that she tried to talk our mother out of. She tried to convince our mother not to use her cane and walker because they "made her look like an old lady." Oy.)
Had I thought of it earlier, and I not been working frantically to get Hanukkah gifts done, I would have searched for plain women's hankies and embroidered them myself. (I have some of my embroidery and knitting/crocheting up on my Ravelry page. I'm Bratwoman there.) But there's next year.
I just started knitting a small shawl ("Wingspan" pattern for those knitters aware of it) for Charity, so I won't do any embroidery this year. But I think it would be a nice yearly thing as a remembrance of our mother.
|Friday, October 25th, 2013|
|The Joys of Aging
I am so grateful to have medical insurance, even though I am paying much, much more for it than I used to. (My employer changed the amount the employees have to pay a while back.)
Two years ago, I went to the doctor because my leg was hurting. She said it was bursitis in my hip and gave me a brochure of exercises to do, along with icing the area. That was doing okay for quite some time. I would have occasional flares, but no consistent or very painful flares.
Two months ago I had a very painful flare and it hadn't gotten much better, so I made an appointment with the doctor. She emailed me to go in for blood tests also, since she had diagnosed me with diabetes in 2006. (She caught it early. After that initial reading that was over the border of normal into officially diabetic, it's never been high again. All subsequent readings have been in the normal range, but you can't be sure about these things, and diabetes is all over my family history.)
After noting what time I finished dinner last night, I rolled out of bed this morning early so I could be at the lab 12 hours later than my last meal. I peed in a cup and let them take blood then went home and had breakfast.
I returned for my doctor's appointment on bike, as it's only 2 miles away and driving is the thing which irritates my leg/hip the most. (It amuses me that people who work at Kaiser are always so impressed when I arrive by bike. Haven't they watched their own Thrive! commercials which show people bicycling?) So I came, dressed in layers for the morning coolness, topped by a bright yellow vest, and stood in line to register. They took my card and I paid my fee, and I sat down to wait for them to call my name. I took off the yellow vest, because it's really obnoxious - it's only for visibility (it was really gray out this week - I had a front light flashing as well) so I don't wear it once I've reached where I'm going. It was warm inside, so I took off the black jacket I was wearing. I waited and, feeling warmer, took off the distinctive green sweatshirt I also had on. At this point I'm in a gray T-shirt, which says "Not enough coffee." And I'm waiting and waiting. Everyone else who arrived after I had has been ushered in. I notice that the medical assistants who are ushering patients in are fingering a bright pink slip of paper stapled to the regular sheet. I ask the woman how much longer it would be, telling her who I was. She said they'd been looking for me! (I hadn't moved and I had given them money - I'm not likely to have walked out after that.)
They have a new system where they write what the patient is wearing on a pink slip of paper and attach that to the registration form. Rather than call your name, they wander around and approach people. I had seen them come up to people and then say the person's name, but frankly, I thought they were profiling -- they were going to the only man in an area or someone Hispanic-looking and saying a Hispanic name. So they're wandering around, looking for someone wearing a bright yellow bicycle vest. I had put that on the seat first, then put the other things on top of it. Aarrghh! It's getting cold now. We don't get snow here, but people do put on sweaters and coats and take them off when they are inside. That just seems like an incredibly stupid approach.
So I see the doctor and we go through the routine. We discuss options. A cortisone shot is one possibility. I had one years ago and, not only did the shot hurt more than others, the pain I had the next day was worse than the pain before the shot. So I turned that one down. She mentioned seeing a physical therapist, and that sounded good to me. I'd been talking to a woman in my church choir who is a PT, and she had recommended going that route. The doctor was able to set me up with a PT right away - someone just happened to be free.
So I met with a PT. She said to forget the strengthening exercises I had been doing and to do flexibility ones instead. They have a cool database of exercises set up now, so she was able to go in, select the ones she wanted, and print them out as a personalized set for me. (And they must be good - they hurt!) She also said to get a foam roll. She said they had them at Kaiser for $15, but they're 36" long, and I didn't think that would be practical to try to take back on my folding bike. It doesn't have much storage capacity. She said you could get them at Target, too, so I said I would try there.
The doctor also wanted me to get X-rays as they had never done that to verify there was nothing else going on, so I had X-rays today as well.
I'm such a geek -- I'm lying on the table, trying to remember the angle of incidence for X-ray electrons. I had seen the little sketches so many times of secondary electrons hitting something at one angle and backscattered electrons going in at a different angle. I resisted asking the X-ray tech because I was already asking her too many geeky questions.
Even with medical insurance, it was still $95 for the visit plus $50 for the X-ray. They'll send me a bill for the lab work, and that will probably be around $200. I don't understand why some people don't see the value of having universal health care. I'm not keen on paying this, but I have a health-savings account card through work which I put this on. (I pay in and the company pays in some as well.) One of the leading causes of bankruptcy in our country is people having a medical crisis when they don't have health insurance.
I hear people complaining about the children of illegal immigrants having access to health care. Do they think it's better for them to get sick and run around with contagious diseases? I just don't understand not just the selfishness, but the lack of awareness that this will impact them in the long run. We don't have kids but we support the schools. Today's kids are going to be running the place when we're elderly. I would like them to be competent at what they do.
Anyway, so later in the day, I was running errands and went to Target to buy a foam roller. They have them in the exercise equipment section -- for $44.99. Whoah. Did the PT have no clue what these things really cost? Or is it because there is also a DVD with the one at Target - an exercise video. Well, I just want it for PT. I don't need the video with the impossibly fit woman with abs of steel on it. Maybe it's the DVD which makes it so expensive. I'll try elsewhere.
After grocery shopping, I see that there's a Sports Authority just across the street, so I go there. Same thing. Hideously overpriced. I decide to go back to Kaiser in my car. I didn't see the rollers in the pharmacy, so I asked a woman who was stocking items if they had them there. She said they were actually in this other room - health care information room where I had met with the PT earlier. So I bought a foam roller for $15 at Kaiser.
(The exercise for this involves getting on the floor. You rest on the elbow on your good side while you slip the foam roller under your bad side. You rest the foot of your good leg on the floor, for stability, while you kind of slide lengthwise, hip to knee, against the roller. The PT warned it would hurt. She was right.)
One of the other exercises she gave me demonstrated why lying on my good side in bed is much more painful than actually lying on my bad side. You lie on the good side on the edge of the bed, good leg bent up towards you, and then you just lower the bad leg off the side of the bed and leave it there for 5 seconds. It stretches the leg-hip muscle and hurts like the dickens. (It probably wouldn't hurt *you* like the dickens, just me or other folks with a similar problem. The bursa is a soft tissue padding that can get inflamed, and that's what the problem is.)
Most of my blood tests are already back and the results are good. I haven't got the A1C back yet, but my triglycerides and fasting glucose were low.
I am also thankful for all my years at Hewlett Packard and all the quality control classes they had us take. At that time, HP was very big on every new trend coming out of Japan. I did Quality Circles. I took the class on Deming's procedure. I took Kepner-Trego. Some of the stuff is universally useful, though, and has stood me well. One type of analysis is a simple Is/Is Not analysis. To try to get to the root cause you determine what is and is not a problem. So I could go to the doctor and not just say, "my leg hurts," but that the pain is on the outside of the leg, it's not the knee, it seems to be a soft-tissue thing, it's not inner thigh or muscles on the top, etc.
This also has worked well for me at work. In our group, we often see the beginnings of problems in the line. Big ones are called excursions. And I work with a lot of non-native speakers who may not have seen what we're seeing before. So it helps if I can describe what something is and is not. We see the same wafers at different steps in the process. If I'm going to hold a lot for a failure analysis engineer, it helps them to know if this is a new problem for this wafer - if it passed with a low defect count on earlier operations - or if this is a known issue and we're just seeing it again. (All of our operations have a numeric spec. The data gets transferred and wafers will automatically go on hold if the number is too high. Then I have to determine if it's real or false. If it's false, I need to figure out why we have false data and what needs to be done to get real data and do that, whether it's cleaning the back or the wafer or tool's stage, running it on a different recipe, or writing a new recipe. If it's high and it's real, I have some guidelines, but at a certain point, the decision has to come from above.)
|Wednesday, October 16th, 2013|
Looking back at what I've read recently, I've actually read two non-fiction books in the same month. That's probably a record for me as I'm primarily interested in novels. But I read book reviews, and I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen
by Sylvie Simmons sounded intriguing. I discovered him when I was in 7th or 8th grade. My mother got me a book of Judy Collins' songs. I only knew her from singing "Both Sides Now," but I worked my way through the songbook.
I found that the ones I liked the best were by this same guy, Leonard Cohen. (The songs were "Suzanne," "The Story of Isaac," "Sisters of Mercy," and "Dress Rehearsal Rag.") As an adult, I found his albums but, frankly, the man doesn't really have a voice. I was pleased when Jennifer Warnes, one of his back up singers, put out her own album of his songs. She sings much better.
The reason I was so keen to read the biography was that I have always been drawn to the religious, specifically Catholic, imagery in many of his songs. He has a whole song about Joan of Arc, and he references her in at least one other song. From his name, I assumed he was Jewish in background, and Cohens are the traditional priestly clan. I knew he was Canadian, and my early childhood in upstate New York included several trips to Quebec, always stopping at St. Anne de Beaupres. (I will never forget one evening, my family participating in this living rosary procession that was being conducted outside -- some place with fountains. The man leading the procession - I don't remember if he was a priest or not -- insisted on two of my brothers taking part, being candle-bearers, despite their not being French-speakers. To compensate for this, the man walked backwards in front of them, motioning them where to go and what he wanted them to do. My devilish brothers let this man walk backwards right into a fountain. But I digress.) I was curious where he stood on the religious observance spectrum.
So I found out that Cohen was indeed raised Jewish - his maternal grandfather was a rabbi. They had an Irish Catholic servant when he was young who would take him around to churches, so that was probably where he picked up the Catholic stuff. And in adulthood, he got into zen Buddhism and became a Buddhist monk. For a while.
The library also had multiple copies of the new Stephen King, Doctor Sleep
, a sequel to The Shining
. This book is a testament to the value of AA as much as anything. I enjoyed it; King hasn't lost his touch. But I can't help wondering, yet again, why Tim Powers has never gotten the same number of readers as King. They are definitely swimming in the same pool, but Powers dares to go a little deeper than King.
Our area has a yearly read-along, the Silicon Valley Reads program. Each summer/fall, a book or set of related books is suggested to be read by those interested in participating. There are discussions and talks in various libraries in the areas about the books. The hubby and I went to one when the topic was a couple of books on Islam. I had bought/read The Muslim Next Door
, by an American Muslim woman. She came and spoke at our local library.
This year the theme seems to be how modern technology is impacting our daily lives. I have already read the novel, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
, by Robin Sloan. It's marketed as mimetic fiction, but it's fantasy. It was interesting, but somewhat forgettable, involving plots and a secret society trying to discover secrets in obscure books.
I have a hold at the library on the non-fiction one, which has not come in yet. That one is on hold the Internet is destroying our brains, or something like that.
Speaking of books about plots and secret societies and obscure books, I had cast covetous eyes on Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches
. I like witch fic, what can I say? I'd seen it in bookstores and at the library for months and months, occasionally picking it up to look at it but never taking the plunge and buying it or checking it out of the library. I finally did. I enjoyed it. It's about an academic in Oxford, Diana Bishop, who is a descendant of powerful witches but who doesn't seem to have much magic herself. You know how these things go - of course, she really does. She hooks up with a gorgeous, powerful vampire -- got to have one of those these days, y'know. I was rather disappointed when I realized at the end that it was book 1 of a trilogy. But hey, it was a library book - I hadn't paid anything and they would probably get the next. Well, not only does my local library have volume 2 (it's the All Souls Trilogy for the set, I believe -- book 2 is called something like Shadow of Night
), it has it on CD. So I've been listening to book 2 in my car when I drive. It's 20 discs, so I was not able to finish it in the 3-week checkout period. Fortunately I was able to renew it. (The last book on CD I hadn't finished in 3 weeks was Jim Butcher's Cold Days
. That had a hold on it so I couldn't renew it.) I hope they get the third book on CD as well.
I picked up another book last week at the library which also looked like a witches-in-academia (a new sub-genre!) thing, but it quickly turned into something else and I did not enjoy it so I stopped reading it.
I've been loving Seanan McGuire's Incryptid books. I read #2, Midnight Blue-Light Special
. I love this woman. She posts short fiction in the same universe on her website so her fans can download it. She even has it in different formats like epub and mobi to make it very convenient to put it on your ereader. The stories are about other family members, like the grandparents when they were young. Lots of fun and free. I enjoyed reading her Velveteen stories (which she was actually putting on her LJ) and now those are available as actual ebooks.
Other than books, we had a crisis at work. The one and only engineer in our group quit. We run around the clock. We now at least have 4 techs, 1 for each 12-hour, 3-day/4-day shift (although the latest is not up to speed), but it's just us and the manager now. He's not real hands-on with the tools. When I came into the group, there were 2 tools up and running, both brand X. The manager had purchased a third, a brand Y, but it wasn't running yet. Shortly after I started, he hired an engineer who used to work at company Y so he knew the new tool and could set up the production recipes. Then the boss bought (one at a time), 3 tools by brand Z. We had to get rid of one of the original tools, but we now have 5 big tools, 3 different manufacturers, all running production plus we get constant engineering requests for recipes (often for just one wafer -- like they know it has a problem and they want us to write a mapping recipe so they can determine if the problem is bad enough to scrap the wafer) on tools Y and Z.
At least my boss got a req approved for a replacement. (The company was having an early retirement incentive program to cut down on personnel - a lot of those people are not being replaced.) We are interviewing. I've seen 3 candidates so far. I can't judge their technical expertise - I'm just there to let the boss know if I think we techs would be comfortable working with the person. So far I haven't seen a problem with that. All the candidates are Chinese, which is not a surprise, considering where we are. (My boss is from China.) One of the other techs is Mexican American - she's bilingual, Spanish-English, and the other two are both from India -- so none of us speak Chinese. The first guy, it was just an informal thing - I don't remember if I saw his resume. The second one was a formal interview with a schedule set by HR. He's in Oregon and wants to move to this area -- he used to live here. His wife is finishing her grad degree at UC Davis and wants to get a job in the Bay area. He is currently a production engineer in a wafer fab -- he doesn't know our tools, but he should have a grasp on what the job would entail. (This place is a sweatshop. They work everyone hard. I swear, many of the engineers roll out of bed and immediately check their email. I get emails from them at 6 in the morning. This is not a place for the type of Ph.D. who never got out of the grad student mentality.) So I'd be fine with him.
The last candidate, I looked at her resume and thought it was unreadable. Her education was all in China. (The other guy got his undergrad degree in China and M.S. down in San Diego.) It read like she had just used a dictionary to translate. It had bullet points that said things like, "be minister for universality." All of her bullets started with "be." I think she was trying to say she had some leadership position, maybe at the university, but I really could not parse her language.
I totally missed that she was (or had been - hard to tell from her resume) an applications engineer at the company which made our brand Y tool - and she had worked on it. I took a closer look at her resume before the interview and saw that. I talked with the boss, telling him that I was concerned about her ability to communicate in English - none of us techs speak Chinese. But an applications engineer for that tool would be heaven -- it's obsolete so getting support from the company might not be doable. My boss said that she was actually on the team that first installed our tool, and he thought she was better at the recipe set up than the guy whose job she's interviewing.
You can imagine how delighted I was to find that, while she is a little hesitant in English, she is perfectly understandable. We had no problem talking together -- and that is the sort of thing which would improve with time. If they hire her and I don't understand her email, I can always just ask her to clarify. (And I got the impression that she was interested in this area because she wants to find a man. She was asking about housing costs. She'd love to live in San Francisco but doesn't think she could afford to. I said that Fremont, where we work, has BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit - our version of a subway) that runs to San Francisco so she could go there easily and live in a cheaper area.
So the boss asked for my feedback on the three candidates. I said she would be my top choice, and I'm sure the other techs (who didn't meet any because the interviews all happened on my shift) would be more than happy to have an engineer with expertise on a tool that we feel a little shaky on. (Recipe set up on the 3 brand Z tools is much easier. Brand Y is faster running the recipes, but it's very different.) Not having an engineer who knows the tools is like working without a safety net. We're on our own and out of luck if we can't solve our own problems.
So that's where I've been lately. Time to go back to my books.
|Wednesday, August 21st, 2013|
|It's "Whatcha Been Readin'?" Wednesday Again
Going backwards, I just finished Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain. I really enjoyed it. As
an introvert myself, I got a kick out of matching up just how much applies. And she maintains what I have long suspected: multi-tasking is not real. People start and stop multiple things, but they make more errors than if they focused on one thing at a time. I also got a kick that we introverts don't even have to go to a library to check this out. I checked it out as an ebook from the Northern California Digital Library and transferred it to my old Sony (not a wireless one) at home. Woo-hoo! I'm a hermit!
I had dug into my boxes of unread books and picked out a mystery: Aunt Dimity's Good Deed
by Nancy Atherton. It's the fourth of the series but the first I'd read. I'd bought it years ago. I had no idea Aunt Dimity was a ghost. I was thinking she would be like Miss Marple. Anyway, a lot of fun.
Also from my stash of unreads I pulled out my re-entry to Darkover, as that's one of my vacation spots this year. (Hey, when you can't get away much, you take your vacations between the pages of a book.) It was Deborah J. Ross's (and MZB's, but mostly Ross') The Fall of Neskaya
, book one of the Clingfire trilogy. I thought I had the second one as well, but I don't. I recall when I bought them that only 2 of the 3 had been published. They're big enough physically that I will probably get the other books as ebooks, which are easier on my hands. I have a bunch of the older (hopefully most or all of them) in my closet. I plan to eventually reread those, although I recall some of them were stinkers. I never much cared for Darkover Landfall
and some of the others were just bad. Hmm, maybe I'll just reread the ones I liked best. Or skim the bad parts. It has been decades since I read them.
I'm always happy to get my genre fix from the library. They had the latest Patricia Briggs Mercy book, Frost Burned
, as well as Rochelle Mead's The Indigo Spell
, the third book in her spin off series from the Vampire Academy series. This series' main character is Sydney (a female), born into the Alchemist tradition. These are the people who work to hide the existence of vampires in our society, even as they despise them. Sydney is interesting and I like how Mead is getting more into body issues with the character. Sydney is one of those icy blondes with perfect bodies who basically starves herself because her family makes her think she's fat. As she breaks out more of the Alchemist mold, she is starting to wise up about body issues as well: she's not
fat, and the people who are making her feel inferior really do not have her best interests at heart.
I read two recent gifts from the hubby, both ebooks: Susan Palwick's Mending the Moon
and Madeleine Robins' Sold for Endless Rue
. Palwick is an excellent writer, but I find her books a little darker than I like. Of course, this is the woman whose first novel was Flying in Place
, about sexual child abuse. (That was in the year we seemed to have a flood of them. McKinley's Deerskin
came out around the same time. They were good books, but very difficult to read. I prefer happy and light to dark and brooding.) So Mending the Moon
is a good book, it's a thoughtful book, but it's not terribly genre - I wouldn't nominate it for the MFA (Mythopoeic Fantasy Award). Basic summary: a college woman is killed while vacationing in Mexico. Her killer is a college student who is a fan of this comic. The dead woman had an adopted son from Mexico, and this son is also a fan of the comic. The dead woman's friends and son try to make sense of her death and eventually connect with the killer's parents.
The Robins was too long and a bit of a disappointment to me: I had heard it was a retelling of Rapunzel, and ultimately it was, but not in a particularly mythic manner and she sure took a long time getting there. It wasn't bad; it just wasn't the book I wanted her to write.
Since I am avidly reading Seanan McGuire's Kindle serial, Indexing
, I also tried another Kindle serial, Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: the Thirteenth Rib
by David J. Schwartz. It was supposed to be a sort of paranormal X-Files type thing. Let's just say it is nowhere near as good as the McGuire and leave it at that.
I am not
a big fan of Amazon, but I'm a sucker for McGuire's writing. Besides Indexing
, she also has some of the zombie novellas that she writes as Mira Grant out for the Kindle for very cheap. I thought that once she had finished the trilogy she'd started with Feed
, she would be done or I would lose interest. (As I am not a zombie lover.) She's still writing good stuff about zombies. Some are from the viewpoint of Mohir, the British citizen who George had appointed as her successor. Another is the last stand of the Browncoats, the story of the first wave of attacks during a ComicCon and the Firefly fans who did their best to limit the damage. She's my kind of fan girl.
I read the new Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
, and probably so did everyone else. I'm going to nominate it for the MFA - so will many other people.
At Mythcon, I met Rebecca Anderson, who writes YA as R.J. Anderson. She has a trilogy out, and I liked it - enough to nominate it for next year's children's MFA - but the publishing mess will most likely knock it off the long list. The first two volumes were in my local library. They have different titles from the British editions. (At Mythcon, she had bookmarks about the trilogy with the British titles only as they were from that publisher.) The third book is out in Britain and Canada and there is a version for Kindle, but there are no plans to publish it in the US. This is a pity. I thought the second book was stronger than the first, and it leads into the third book so if you can't get that, it leaves you hanging. I bought the Kindle edition of the third book and enjoyed it. (Titles are Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter (aka Knife), Wayfarer (aka Rebel), and Arrow. I have to say that the British titles make a lot more sense when reading the books.)
So that's the book news from
|Sunday, August 11th, 2013|
One of the things I like to do is ride my bicycle. I bought my bike in early 1994, so you can do the math on how old it is. The bike shop where I bought it is long gone (replaced by another bike shop) and the brand, Univega, was bought out years ago. It's a good bike, but it's heavy. Someone in a bike shop described it as a tank, and that's what it is compared to newer bikes made of lighter material.
So I like to ride for fun and exercise, but I've been limited to where I can comfortably ride from our place, since it's not something I can easily pick up and toss in the trunk of the car. (It will fit in the back of the hubby's Honda Fit with both of us maneuvering it into position.)
I had wanted to get something newer and lighter weight that I could take to locations I can't ride to. There are bike/pedestrian trails at the base of the San Francisco Bay, but the closest is a little over 8 miles from us. I've just gone walking on them with my binoculars to look at birds, but a 17-mile round trip by bike in addition to riding on the trails just wasn't going to happen. I'm not that strong.
A friend in Oklahoma had bought a folding bike and was very happy with it, so I was thinking of buying one. I looked around, and they were a little more money than I wanted to spend. I didn't *need* one as I had a functioning bike. I had decided not to get one, based on the cost and that the levers on the brands I was looking at were difficult to undo with my aging, not-so-strong hands.
Then I had a meeting with my boss. In the years I worked at HP, profit sharing was a regular event, twice a year. But in the 14 years I worked at the next job, we only had profit sharing once or twice that I can recall. (Working for a company that is perpetually in financial trouble isn't a lot of fun from that perspective.) So I had grown unaccustomed to it. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that profit sharing at my current job this time was twice what it was last time. The money is parceled out by percentage, with more money going to better-performing departments and the percentage individual employees being decided by their bosses. My boss said he was happy with me so he was giving me the maximum percentage.
Woo-hoo! I had money to buy a new bicycle! So I bought a 7-speed folding Sun for a birthday present to myself. The levers are much easier for me to work than the Dahon (major brand) and Giant bikes I had tried. (I practiced folding and unfolding the bike and hoisting it up in the air several times in the bike shop to make sure I could manage it.) It's fun and goes zoom. I think it's a little easier to ride than the old one, being lighter and all that. I like that it's a little closer to the ground (the wheels are a little smaller and the frame is lower). I feel a little more secure, being not so far off the ground, if I'm going to fall off it since I'm not the greatest rider.
The down side to it is less capacity to carry things. I had a huge front basket on my old bike (called a newspaper basket) which was real handy to plop all kinds of things in. I had bought it with the intention of it being my go-to-library bike. I could get several bags of groceries in it. But it was hard to lock to racks and was unwieldy.
I had replaced the front basket with a back rack and removable side pannier. I tried the pannier on the folding bike. The rack is a little shorter, so it doesn't fit as well. The first time I tried to ride with it on the folding bike, I kicked the pannier partway off when my foot hit it while pedaling. I have since experimented and found that I can avoid knocking it off if my foot is all the way forward on the pedal - that I'm pushing with the heel of the foot. But I'm thinking I'm probably not going to use it on the new bike. (The hubby can use it on his if I don't use it.)
I've ridden with a backpack, and that's okay. I have a purse that is the size and shape of a messenger bag, so I used that to ride to church with. It fit my tablet, water bottle, and purse stuff. So that's an option. (We have a basket for food donations at church. I had a box of cereal to bring in and realized the best option was to strap it to the rack with bungee cords. That was interesting. It made it to church in one piece, but it was slipping off the rack by the time I got there. I need to work on my bungee strapping technique.)
I will most likely eventually get rid of the old tank and keep just my folding bike, which I'm calling the Grey Goose. (It's gray.)
So, govermental goats? I took the Grey Goose in my little Toyota Corolla down to the SF Bay Trails this morning. I rode around, going farther than I could on foot. Since I'm still getting used to it, I didn't want to tire myself (or my butt) too much so I just rode out half an hour then turned around. On the other side of the trail, the land is fenced off. It belongs to Lockheed and NASA. I had stopped to blow my nose and looked over on the fence side. There were a bunch of goats over there, presumably keeping the land free of weeds for the government. Not as cute as the pelicans, egrets and duck butts (there are ducks on the water, too, but one evaporation pond had all these duck butts sticking up out of the water), but amusing.
When we both have a free day, the hubby and I plan to go bike-riding together. There's also Shoreline Park in Mountain View and the Palo Alto wet lands, if we want to go bird-watching as well. So I'm looking forward to more fun and exercise on my little Grey Goose. Honk!
|Wednesday, July 17th, 2013|
|Fun in the sun
And, oh,boy, is there a lot of sun! We're currently in Ann Arbor, MI. We flew in last Thursday for Mythcon 44, which was held in East Lansing this year. It was lots of fun and we had a good number of first-time attendees. We're hoping they return next year.
Writer GOH was Franny Billingsley and scholar GOH Doug Anderson. Both were good. My favorite papers were my hubby's paper on P.D. Eastman and David Emerson's paper exploring the meta-reality locations in Alan Moore's PROMETHEA, Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN series, and Jasper Fforde's bookverse novels.
I confess I was a bunny in this year's Not Ready for Mythcon skit, WATERSHIP DOWNTON ABBEY. I was a hysterical maid who had visions about Billingsley's BIG BAD BUNNY. Coincidentally, I have seen 2 wild bunnies here in Michigan.
Time to go back out in the fierce Michigan sun and see more of the art festival before meeting up with the hubby.
|Wednesday, June 26th, 2013|
It's so hard to get away from work, so this summer I'm visiting Michigan (for Mythcon), Pern, Darkover, and Cougar Canyon. I'm not quite sure where that last one is, but it's where Zenna Henderson's People live, and I've loved those stories since childhood. Not even the cheesy TV movie starring William Shatner could turn me off from them. (Yes, I'm indulging in comfort reading.)
|Wednesday, March 6th, 2013|
|It's what the heck have you been reading Wednesday again
(And the answer is, a lot of things, not enough, and not quickly enough.)
I've about come to the conclusion that the "in" fairy tale for 2012 was the 12 Dancing Princesses. I have read (still reading one) a couple of YA's based on this. I rather enjoyed Merrie Haskell's The Princess Curse
, which had a bit more complexity to it. I'm reading something called Entwined
now, which I'm having a little problem wrapping my brain around: the 12 princesses are all sisters. The oldest is, I think, 16. The youngest is a newborn. And they all dance. The author does admit that the newborn needs to be held, but she makes a point of saying how even the two-year-old picks up complex dance steps. Uh-huh. I don't think so.
I need to go back and finish Holly Black's Curse Workers trilogy. I started the third book, after racing through the first two because I loved them. I had a ton of library books so I set the Black aside since I own it. This is why my stash of unread books doesn't really go down from year to year.
I read R.A. MacAvoy's Death and Resurrection
and really enjoyed it. I wish I'd known about it last year when we had East meets West as the theme for Mythcon. Her protagonist is a martial-arts kickin', portrait-paintin' Chinese guy, trying to be a good Buddhist dude who falls for a Native American woman with shaman relatives, living and dead - but the dead are still characters. The painter's twin sister is a shrink married to a white guy who's a wannabe Tibetan who runs an end-of-life hospice. They encounter a couple of cops, one of whom is a Morman. I was impressed by how MacAvoy introduced all these people on different spiritual paths and all of them were treated with respect.
I read something by Graham Joyce years ago that I did not care for, so I was not expecting to like his Some Kind of Fairy Tale
. I did. It's a modern setting British girl-returns-after-being-stolen-away-by-f
aerie. It's not my favorite thing, but I was prepared to hate it and surprised that I did not.
Melissa Marr's Graveminder
was also rather interesting. It's one of those "perfect little towns which has made a pact with the devil (sort of)" things - an American Brigadoon with zombies. (Hey, wouldn't that make a good cover blurb?) "Sleep well, and stay where I put you," is the Graveminder's charm. The
, er, Graveminder is responsible for making sure that dead folks don't rise up again. If you leave town and die out of town, you're likely to come back as a zombie, looking for
the Graveminder. At least no one sparkles.
Among the many other books I've been ploughing through is Grace Lin's Starry River of the Sky
. I really like her artwork, which she has in her books. She has a lot of interesting little stories in her books. I just do not care for that format, sort of a Scheherazade deal where instead of a linear plot, the bulk of the book is composed of stories which the characters tell each other. Oh, there is a plot, but all those little stories get in the way and annoy the heck out of me. Not my cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer.
I read a very cute graphic novel for kids, Giants Beware!
by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado. My local library has it. It has a cover blurb from Jeff Smith (of BONE), and the style is similar to BONE. It's a typical fantasy setting, a faux-medieval village. The blacksmith's daughter wants to fight a giant, her baby brother wants to be a chef, and her best friend want to be a princess. These three go off to fight a giant. It's amusing and clever and I liked it.
I finally read a Jim Hines novel which I enjoyed. I admire the man greatly and enjoy his fan-writing. His goblin books and Stepsister Scheme
just didn't do it for me. (I don't like Terry Pratchett, either.) So I was very happy to like his Libriomancer
, the first book in a new series about a librarian who can pull magic out of a book. Sounds reasonable to me - we should all be able to do that. And back to my reading. 'Night!
[Edited to suppress "really" abuse - after reading this over, I realized I was overusing the word, so I removed three instances of it. Really.]
|Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013|
|Maybe every other Wednesday
Since I work every other Thursday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., I think I should aim for maybe every other Wednesday to post.
I've been enjoying reading Seanan McGuire's new Velveteen stories, which she posts on her LJ. I bought myself a Nook for Christmas, as the price for the basic one came down so much, but it does not read Word files like my old Sony does. I just copy the text of her LJ stories into Word and download it onto my Sony reader and can read it in the bathroom while I brush my teeth and such. She just posted "Velveteen vs. Vegas" the other day, so I'm reading that one now.
Also, the Tor web site put up a short story by Daniel Abraham (I believe) which is set in the Wild Card Universe created by George R.R. Martin. I was a huge fan of those books when they first came out in the 1980s and was pleased to see it being continued. I downloaded this story onto my reader as well.
I received B&N gift cards for Christmas, so I used them on ebooks for my Nook. I just finished Holly Black's WHITE CAT, the first of a YA trilogy which had come recommended somewhere. The third book is a 2012 publication, making it eligible for the next MFA, so I bought the rest of the trilogy, hoping to finish it in time before the nomination period closes for the MFA. (I have enjoyed Black's other works so even if I do not finish the entire trilogy, I will most likely nominate it so it's not missed.) WHITE CAT kept me hungry for more, and that's always a good sign. I liked the way Black dropped in little tidbits along the way letting us know that this was not our world, because at the beginning, it could have been.
I also read Michelle Sagara's SILENCE. I hadn't realized it was book 1 of a trilogy. I enjoyed it and may possibly nominate it. It's not sticking well in my memory, though, and that means it didn't excite me too much.
I'm currently reading, again with an eye to maybe nominating it, Rachel Hartman's SERAPHINA. The title character is half dragon, half human, and trying to hide what she is from everyone else. I'm not far enough along to know whether I will nominate it.
And I had to get (with my Christmas stash) the latest Stephanie Plum novel, NOTORIOUS NINETEEN. These never fail to amuse me. I checked out the #11 book on CD out of the library and am listening to that in my car again. (My commute is just under half an hour at 4:30 in the morning. Coming back after 5 p.m., it takes near and sometimes over an hour. Listening to books on CD or audiobooks on my iPod keeps me sane.) Lately I've checked some books-on-CD out which I haven't enjoyed enough to finish listening to, so I decided to also check out something I knew I would like (a second book-on-CD) when trying a new author. I did finish listening to M.C. Beaton's DEATH OF A WITCH, a Hamish MacBeth mystery. I've never heard of these. Hamish is a small town Scottish policeman. It didn't make me eagerly rush out to find the others (like the J.D. Robb Eve Dallas books), but they are pleasant enough.
I also read THE WAVES, my mother's old training manual from her Navy days. The WAVES were Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service in WWII. (There were some in WWI as well, according to the book, but they called them Yeomanettes or something like that.) My New York-born mother enlisted in her senior year of college in Indiana and reported for basic training after graduation. She wound up doing clerical work on Mare Island in California, where she met my dad, just discharged from the Navy, and the rest is history. The book was more interesting than you would think, considering its subject matter. It contained mention of skits the WAVES put on and had little ditties in it - some of which I remember my mother singing. ("Ginny the Ninny" was a song they sang.) It gives lists of articles of clothing the new enlistees are to bring with them when they report, as it may take a while to get their uniforms. It has sample questions from the entrance exam. I'm passing it on to my sisters to read.
|Wednesday, January 9th, 2013|
|All the Cool Kids Are Doing It
I don't often participate in memes, but I like this one. I should try to post here more often, and this is something I can do.
I'm almost done with Donna Andrew's latest, Some Like It Hawk
. I get a giggle out of her Meg Langslow books. They're nominally murder mysteries, but her family and the townspeople are what make them so enjoyable. She's an ornamental blacksmith by trade in the small town of Caerphilly, VA, married to a hunky drama teacher at the local university. Her father is an over-eager doctor, always happy to find a dead body, and his wife an equally over-eager amateur interior decorator. Cousin Horace likes to dress in a gorilla suit. Cousin Rose Noir is rather a hippy. Meg plays straight woman to them all, armed with her book-which-tells-her-when-to-breathe as she keeps helping the police with their little problems.
Before that, I read Seanan McGuire's latest Toby Daye book, Ashes of Honor
. I enjoyed it but don't have much to say about it. I been having a hoot reading her Velveteen stories, which she posts on her LJ and her website. Velveteen is super-hero genre. Velma "Velveteen" Martinez manifested the power to animate stuffed animals and the like when she was still a child. Her parents promptly sold her to the Super Patriots, Junior Division, where she stayed until she was 18, legally of age, and could choose to walk away. Of course, Marketing, which runs the Super Patriots, did not appreciate that, and have made her life a living hell ever since.
Finally read Bujold's latest Vorkosigan family saga book, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
, which I absolutely loved. There's not much Miles in this. It's Ivan's book, and it's well done, keeping him as an amusing character without being the buffoon (and therefore rather two-dimensional) as he's been in previous books where he's a sidekick. (Thanks, cynthia1960
! I left it at Purlescence last Friday, as they said you would probably be coming in. Let me know if you did not receive it.)
I also read one of Book View Cafe's offerings, Marie Brennan's Lies and Prophecies
, which I also really enjoyed. I like the sub-genre of colleges of magic. I promptly downloaded the prequel, Welcome to Welton
after reading this.
|Sunday, December 25th, 2011|
|O Christmas Tree
Christmas was a quieter affair this year with my mother gone. For years, most of us had gathered at Righteous' house because it could be my mother's last Christmas. With her gone, that no longer applied, and the family scattered to their own celebrations.
This year there was just: Righteous and his wife and their youngest son - the oldest was with his wife and her family in Washington and his daughter had moved to New York to live with her boyfriend, I and the hubby, Charity and her sweetie. The holiday was small and quiet and bittersweet, a stark contrast to the boisterous Christmases of years past.
I took home a box of my mother's beloved gold ornaments and put them on my tree, which set me to musing.
I have never understood people who put up Christmas trees with matching ornaments or all color-coordinated. I grew up with German blown-glass ornaments, each different. In adulthood, I made and collected my own ornaments. My Christmas tree is a visual history of my past. ( Read more...Collapse )
|From a month ago - LJ would not let me post then
We buried my mother today. I had gotten sick over the weekend, totally losing my voice. It came back enough so I could cantor the funeral Mass today. Which was good because we could not get the sound system to work so there was no amplification.
I was disappointed that more people were not at the vigil and funeral, but I was very touched by those who were. cynthia1960
was there today and a dear friend who we had worked with before. A friend from my old church was at the vigil. But the fact is, when you are old and have moved around a lot, your friends have mostly moved on in one sense or another so it's not that surprising.
My mother's passing hit the grandkids harder than us. For some of them, she was the only grandmother they had. And they, being younger, are less prepared to handle death.
Having spent so much time with her and being privy to so much of her inner workings, taking her to church and having dinner with her these past 5+ years, it was not hard for me to say goodbye to her. She had suffered so much this past year with a leg wound that was painful and extremely slow to heal. If she had lived, she would be very unhappy having to deal with the pain from a broken hip and the aftermath of brain surgery. She had told me she was ready to go many times.
What is going to be hard for me is to see the final rift in our family. So many Christmases, we have put aside our differences and our preferences because it could be the last Christmas with Ma. Well, last Christmas was. Now it looks like fewer of us will be together.
I understand the ones in Nevada not wanting to come through the snow. Maleficent has a number of grandchildren, so I can see why she would stay there.
Responsible and his wife do not get along with Righteous and have not come to family gatherings other than weddings and funerals for years. Charity is coming up for Christmas, but I would not be surprised if she changes her mind, and Joy says her daughter may want to go to their vacation home and they would all be there.
The hubby and I would be welcome to go to any of these places, but I'm a church musician, and my priority is doing that. I'm singing at midnight Mass at my church so I will not be going out of town on Christmas. It will be awkward, so few of us at Righteous'. None of us really got along with Righteous growing up. He always reminded me of young Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" - Belle breaks up with him because he is more in love with money than he is with her, and he just can't see that. He has always been so focused on material things, and while I enjoy material things, that's not my priority or my focus.
So now things are going to shift in my world.
We have to move the pianos on Tuesday. I can't even think about Christmas until that is done. (I am getting my mother's piano, which means I have to get rid of my old one. The hubby is taking charge of the double move. My old piano is going to someone from my old church with a housefull of kids who she'd like to get piano lessons for.)
I'm saying I'll put up the tree next weekend. Christmas is just not on my radar - cards are beyond me this year - so I think I will have to make some sort of effort like putting up the tree. Maybe I can even think about gifts after that.
I had bought my mother her Christmas gift the day she fell. I plan to repurpose that as a Hanukah gift for my mother-in-law. It's an mp3 player, which I planned to load with her favorite music. I bought the player but have not loaded the music. The hubby is going to have to get his mother's favorite music together so it can be a gift from both of us.
|Saturday, November 19th, 2011|
|Sunday, July 24th, 2011|
I'm still here, although barely. I post more to Facebook, but I check my LJ friends page almost daily.
Since last time? New job, new church. I worked graveyard shift (hours kept changing) for a year and a half. I felt like adding a new verse to Avenue Q's "It Sucks to Be Me" song. ("It sucks to be me. It sucks to be 50+ and working nights like I was 23. It sucks to be me.") I'm working days now - 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and every other Thursday - and that's much better. The shifts are killers, but at least I can see daylight on my days off and go to church on Sunday morning.
I was unable to do church music when working nights because, working all Sunday night, I had to sleep Sunday morning. I take my mother to 5 p.m. Mass on Saturdays. Now that I'm on days, I can do church music again. I had missed it terribly.
I changed parishes. My old parish had been run by the Marianists, the Society of Mary, when I joined, and the pastor was very charismatic. A few years ago, the Marianists pulled out and the parish administration went to the local diocese. The new pastor is anything but charismatic. Since I had moved and no longer lived in the parish boundaries, there was no reason for me to continue going there, so I have registered at the parish closest to home and sing and play guitar there.
I ride my bike as much as possible, including to church on Sunday. Since I had let slip to the music director that I play guitar, she wanted me to play guitar for Mass. (She is primarily a flutist but she plays piano well and also sings. There is also an on-staff organist. This was another reason to change: my old parish got rid of both the liturgist and music director so there was no communication between the pastor and musicians. This was quite frustrating.) I didn't want to give up bike riding so I got a gig bag for the guitar. I'm quite a sight on Sunday morning, riding my bicycle dressed for church with a bright yellow jacket and bike helmet and a guitar on my back.
We are going to Worldcon this year. I've downloaded some of the Hugo nominees and am making my way through them. I had already read the Willis. I love Connie Willis' writing, but BLACKOUT/ALL CLEAR sorely needed editing. It was way too long for no reason other than it looked like she fell in love with her research.
I'm currently reading the Bujold CRYOBURN. Again, I love her stuff and am enjoying the book, but so far I have not seen any reason for it to be on the list other than to reward the author for giving us another Vorkosigan book - and that's not a good reason to give a Hugo.
I'm a big Carrie Vaughn fan and was happy to see her on the short story list. I read her story but have not read its competition yet.
I will not get enough things read to vote, but I want to at least know what's what when I go to the Hugo ceremony.
|Friday, March 11th, 2011|
I haven't posted in forever and I come back with a silly meme.
2011 - living in Sunnyvale, CA with husband and 2 cats. Working way too many hours late at night in Fremont in a wafer fab cleanroom. (For most of February I was working 6 days a week, 12-hour shifts.) Moving to day shift (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday + every other Thursday) at the beginning of April. I'm also in the process of returning to music ministry and changing parishes. Reading Facebook religiously and posting about once a week.
2001 - living in San Jose, CA with husband and 2 cats - 1 the same and one not. Working a normal day shift in Sunnyvale in a lab supporting a wafer fab. Also was choir director at church. Reading Usenet rec.arts.sf.fandom regularly but rarely posting.
1991 - just moved back to San Jose, living with the guy I eventually married and 2 cats. Working at Hewlett-Packard in a lab supporting a wafer fab. Not even thinking about church. Singing in alumni choir from my university with the San Jose Symphony. Active in multiple APAs in fandom.
1981 - living in Mountain View, CA, with one cat, working graveyard shift at HP in the wafer fab, just dropped out of master's program (in music) at San Jose State University. Still studying voice privately. Have not yet discovered science fiction fandom.
1971 - living in San Jose, CA, attending all-girl Catholic high school. Active in school musicals at the boys' high school. Studying a lot and reading science fiction constantly. My two oldest sisters are both married; 5 of us remain at home.
1961 - living in Rochester, NY, in 19th century house, middle child of 7. Both parents working, so my mother's German aunties took care of us during the day.
|Sunday, May 16th, 2010|
It's 2:21 in the morning and I have a cat on my lap.
I survived my first week officially on 12-hour shifts. Since so many weeks had me working 12-hour days 4 out of 5 days, this schedule is fewer hours. It's 4 days on then 3 days off then 3 days on then 4 days off. At the last minute, the boss decided he wanted me to work 8 pm. to 8 a.m. instead of 6 to 6, as he had originally said. I must say, traffic is positively dreadful on 880/237 after 8 in the morning. I still can't really get out of work on time. Monday, I left work at 8:20 and did not get home until almost 9:30, traffic was that bad.
I think I'm going to drop my Curves membership. There's just no time to get to the gym on my work days, and on my days off, I have to do a bunch of other things. The Curves exercise routine is best done on every other day, so if I go a few days globbed together, it's not as effective. And I've been so busy (more training at work and hair appointments and such) that I haven't been to the gym more than once or twice a week. I can definitely tell the difference when I use the machines.
We have the exercise bike (in front of the TV) and I have some hand weights so I can work out without going to the gym. (My Curves is open 7 days a week, but on Saturday and Sunday, it's only open in the morning. I'm asleep then since I have to work Sunday night, so that doesn't work for me.) The bike is downstairs and doesn't disturb the hubby while he's sleeping. I can read while pedaling and watch TV with the volume down and captions on.
Speaking of TV, I rented 4 movies and watched them on these late nights off. I'm not much of a movie fan, so I don't see movies often. I prefer to watch them on DVD and do it in batches.
The first night I watched the new Sherlock Holmes movie and "Wolverine." Despite the good cast and interesting visuals in the Sherlock Holmes, I ultimately found it boring -- too long with too many action sequences. I would prefer it shorter with more snappy dialog. I liked Wolverine much better. (Being an old comic book fan but not a purist in the matter, I'm sure I enjoyed it more than most would have. I was amused at how they jumbled some things together. Logan is picked up by the elderly man in the pick-up and taken to the isolated home in the Canadian Rockies. His wife is Heather -- this old lady is Heather Hudson, the young hottie who with her husband, in the comic, civilized the amnesiac Logan? And Kayla's sister, the young blonde with diamond-hard skin is obviously Emma Frost -- who in the comic developed that as a secondary mutation well into adulthood. She was first and foremost a telepath, for years the evil White Queen of the Hellfire Club. In the movie, you can see the chemistry between her and Scott Summers -- Cyclops, her now-lover in the comics.)
Tonight I watched "Nine" and "Tooth Fairy." (Yes, I was watching a heavier movie then a lighter one each night.) I love musicals, which is why I rented "Nine." I wasn't aware Sophia Loren was still around, much less acting, much less doing her own singing. I was very impressed by Kate Hudson's singing, too. Again, I had no idea she could sing. I knew Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman could. I had heard of Fergie but never seen/heard her, and I thought she was terrific in her number.
I was sorry they cut the one number I was familiar with, "The Bells of Saint Sebastian." My mother-in-law had gotten me a best-of-Broadway-through-the-years retrospective, and that song from the Broadway version of "Nine" is on it with Raul Julia singing it. I really like it, and I thought it a shame to cut it. In many ways, "Nine" is as much about Guido's search for God and meaning in his life as it about him trying to come up with a movie and reconciling his love life.
And "Tooth Fairy"? It was a good movie to knit to. It was just as cute and dumb as I was expecting without being offensive in any way (I have very low tolerance for gross-out humor) and it has Julie Andrews.
I've been plodding along on a pair of socks, my first toe-up pair. The first required quite a few starts as I didn't quite understand how the cast-on worked down there and shaping the heel from the other direction. I finished the first one tonight, though, and started the second. I think I started the second one four times before I got it going correctly. Oy. I'm tired of misjudging how long I can knit on socks with top-down socks. I tend to be cautious and have too much yarn left over when I could have had longer socks if I had figured it out better. Hence the wanting to learn to knit socks from the toe up -- you can keep knitting the leg part until you're out of yarn. You can also try them on as you go along -- some of the ones I've knit have been snug going over the heel.
I just sent off my top five picks to the awards administrator for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature. I decided not to be on the adult committee this year. My reading time is limited with my work hours and, frankly, some of the stuff nominated for the adult list is rather dull, as far as I'm concerned. I enjoyed the children's books more last year when I was doing both committees, so this year I just volunteered for the one. Votes aren't due for another few weeks so I have a few weeks to read whatever I want. There were a few series that I just read the first book of, so if they make the list, I'll have to go back and read the others. And I'll need to revisit the stuff I've already read.
|Sunday, April 4th, 2010|
|Thursday, March 25th, 2010|
I'm working my way through the long list for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature. So far, I haven't come across anything which knocks my socks off -- something that excites me and makes me jump up and down, saying "Wow!"
I nominated Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments trilogy because it knocked my socks off last summer when I read it. I will have to re-read it to be sure I still have that reaction. So far, there's nothing I feel should definitely be on the short list, although I'm leaning towards the lesbian Cinderella story.
I also was pleased to see that despite my long work hours, I have not read noticeably fewer books than I had this time last year when I was unemployed. I just hit 41 books to date this year. This time last year, I'd read 46. So that's not so bad.