Sunday, January 24, 2010

A list about books

Wow, I have a lot of rules.

  • If I'm reading a book and I think a main character or pet may die, I peek at the back of the book and look for dialog just to be sure they're still around.
  • If someone recommends a book in which a pet dies, no matter how good it is, I probably won't read it. Yes, I know that we all die sometime, but really, why put myself through that?
  • I hate it when an author kills off a main character in a series, especially when I don't know it's coming.
  • I love the idea of short story anthologies around a theme, but for the most part, short stories make me nervous. I feel like I'm always hurrying to get to the end, but I don't know why.
  • I love long books, the longer the better. I like to get absorbed into the fictional world and live with it for awhile.
  • I never read anything but fiction. I know that's dumb, but somehow I feel that life is just too short.
  • I love reading series mystery fiction even though the stories are sometimes indistinguishable from each other.
  • There are two or three books that I have (and do) re-read, but if I pick up a book that I think I haven't read, and realize that I have, I won't read it even if I don't remember it.
  • If I find a new series that I haven't read, I'll usually read the most recent one just to see if I like it, then go back and start at the beginning and read them in sequence.
  • I won't read a book that's written in dialect. It takes too much work. The occasional accent is fine, but if it's every time a character speaks, I'll put the book back, no matter how interesting it looks.
  • Same thing with science fiction or fantasy books in which the character names are too long or contrived. If I can't pronounce it, forget it.
  • I don't read historical fiction. I used to--in high school I read a lot of literary historical fiction and gothic romance--but I don't have the patience for it anymore. I only read books set in present day and the future.
  • I don't read biographies. I sometimes read memoir, but not often.
  • I find that reading on the small screen of the iPhone, either with the Kindle iPhone app or on eReader, makes me pay more attention. I'm more present or something. I find it almost impossible to skim, or read quickly, and I like that.
  • When reading a physical book, I tend to skim long descriptive passages; I prefer reading dialog to description.
  • If I come to a section in a book that has a long discourse on something technical, or a fight, I'll speed-read through it, or sometimes skip it altogether, although I hate to do that.
  • If I start a book and it doesn't grab me within a chapter or so, I'll stop reading it. This is why I get most of the books I read from the library--there's no guilt (or very little) involved if it turns out I don't want to finish something that I've started.
  • If I pick up a book and it looks interesting, but I think it may be "inspirational fiction," I'll check the publisher's imprint, and if it's obviously a Christian publisher, I'll put it back. It's not that I'm not Christian, or religious, because I am, but in general I find those books to be a little overbearing, which is probably not fair of me, but there it is.
  • I read urban fantasy, but not sword-and-sorcery type fantasy.
  • I read science fiction, but not space opera or "hard" science fiction.
  • I like magical realism--I like books that take a present day setting and introduce fantastic or paranormal elements.
  • I find it really hard to read most vampire/werewolf/demon-type novels unless they're written with some humor and don't take themselves too seriously.
  • I have an admittedly unfair bias against most romance books
  • I do, however, love "women's fiction" or contemporary books that aren't exclusively marketed as romance
  • And I do quite often enjoy paranormal romance--I think it just has to be a little bit different for me to get interested
  • I like books set in a specific industry like the music business, or a ballet corps, or something like that.
  • I love books set in a "closed" world like a big hotel, an airport, a theme park, a resort.
  • I love books set in warm climates, especially Florida.

So I'm thinking my ideal book would be a paranormal futuristic mystery set in a Florida theme park. Hm. Maybe I need to write one.

I took Dinah to the vet yesterday for a follow-up visit. The vet looked at her eyes, checked her hydration, her temperature, and weighed her. She had gained about 3/4 of a pound since Monday, and everything was fine. He said "she's got her sparkle back!" and she does. He was impressed with the weight gain, and said that she had been very sick, that an infection like that can act very fast. He said it might not ever happen again, but if it does, it's good to know that she responds so well to the treatment.

She seems to be back to her old self. We've been feeding her a lot, fattening her up, and while she still seems a little bony, she's definitely gaining weight. And rather than wanting to go sleep in the basement or up in the bedroom, she's hanging out with me again, on my lap constantly which, while it can be a little annoying when I'm trying to work, I'm very glad of.

previous | next

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dinah, Part 2

I called the veterinary office on Monday morning and talked to the doctor, and he said Dinah's problem could be several things, it could be thyroid, or kidneys, or liver. He said he'd like to do bloodwork and a urinalysis, and I should just drop her off, so I got dressed, shoved her into the carrier, and took her over and left her there.

She was a poor pitiful little thing, making little mewing noises instead of her usual lusty cries. I didn't hear, and I didn't hear, and I was getting worried that I wouldn't hear anything in time to go pick her up before they closed, so I called at about 4:00. He said he didn't know anything yet, that they hadn't been able to do a urinalysis because she wasn't producing any urine. He said that if I wanted to pick her up, I could, but that if I left her overnight he would give her subcutaneous fluids and be able to do the urinalysis either later that night or the next morning, so I told him I'd just leave her there.

When I left her that morning, he told me to bring some of her food so that she had something familiar, but he said that she hadn't eaten anything at all. I asked him if she was okay, like, I don't know, is she at death's door, or lying there whimpering or something, and he said she was okay, she was sleeping.

He called the next morning and said that some of the bloodwork had come back, and she had an infection that he compared to irritable bowel disease or Crohn's Disease in a person. He had given her a 2 week antibiotic injection and a steroid injection, and he said, "she's a whole different cat." I went to pick her up, and I could tell she was feeling better immediately, by the sound of her voice when they brought her out.

As soon as we got home and I opened up the carrier, she dashed out and ran to her food bowl, yowling for breakfast, and she's been eating well ever since. Over the weekend she only wanted to sleep, either in the basement or in the chair in the bedroom, she really didn't want to have anything to do with us, and she wasn't eating at all. Now she seems pretty much back to her old self, although she's still skinny.

She weighed less than 8 pounds when I picked her up, and that was with the extra fluids that they gave her. We're just working now on fattening her up. I'm supposed to take her in on Saturday for a follow-up, but it looks like the medication is doing the trick, and she feels 100% better. As do we.

previous | next

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cafe Press

While I was down in the basement tonight keeping Dinah company, I was rummaging around and found two brand new Cafepress tote bags that I had purchased as samples. They've never been used, so I thought I'd offer them for sale if anyone is interested. The Cafepress price is $14.99, but I'll sell them for $12.99, and I'll pay the postage. I only have one of each, so it's first come, first served. Just send me an email if you're interested, let me know which one you want, and if you're the first one to ask for either of them, I'll send you a Paypal invoice.

Cafepress has added a lot of fun things to their inventory, like water bottles, pet bowls, and these beach bags, that would make great knitting tote bags, I think:

The storefront addresses are: Willa's Stuff (Willa's Journal branded items), and Knitting Zen (Knitting Zen branded items).

previous | next


There's something wrong with Dinah. On Thursday morning she didn't come downstairs with me when I got up, which I thought was strange, but didn't really think anything about it. I went ahead and put food down for her, but when Bob got home in the afternoon, he said it was still there. She didn't eat anything that evening, either, or Friday, and we started to get worried. She's started lying in the chair in the bedroom, which she doesn't normally do, rather than sleeping in bed with us, or she sleeps in the basement.

Yesterday, Saturday, when I got up I carried her downstairs, but she wouldn't eat, although she drank some water. She's lost weight, and she's unsteady on her feet. I had to go out yesterday to get my hair cut, and while I was out I bought some little cans of special, "gourmet" cat food to try to tempt her with (this is all sounding horribly familiar).

I got her to eat a little cream cheese off my finger last night, and Bob suggested we get some lunchmeat-type meat and see if that sounded good to her, so we went to the grocery store at 9:00 last night and bought sliced turkey. She wouldn't eat it, but she ate a little more cream cheese, and then she went down to the basement. I didn't sleep very well, I was worried about her. This morning I woke up and she was standing in the bedroom, heading for the bathroom to get a drink of water, I think.

I went in there with her, and waited while she drank, then carried her downstairs and gave her some catfood. It was a minced chicken and tuna dish with quite a bit of liquid, and she licked off all the juice, drank some water, and headed back for the basement. I went down and slept with her for a couple of hours until Bob got up to go to work. He got her to eat a little more, then when she headed for the basement again, I picked her up and sat her on my lap and petted her until she laid down, then sat there with her for about two hours until I had to get up to go to the bathroom. I tried to get her to stay in the chair while I went to the bathroom, put some laundry in, and got something to eat, but she wouldn't. She went upstairs to the chair in the bedroom.

The blanket from the bed in the basement had gotten wet--we had water in the basement this week, which is another story--and I had washed and dried it. I took it out of the dryer and rushed upstairs and put it on the bed, then picked her up and put her on it, thinking she would enjoy the warmth. She didn't seem to care much one way or the other, but she finally laid down. She's normally a talker, but she'll hardly say anything now, except a little pitiful cry when I talk to her.

I'll call the vet in the morning and see if I can bring her in. I suppose it could be something fixable, but we just can't spend a fortune on her like we did with Pyewacket, nor do we want to. Bob has said all along that we let Pyewacket linger too long, and he doesn't want to do that with Dinah. Not that I'm sure she's dying, but man, like I said, this all seems so familiar.

Project 365:

previous | next

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Project 365

One of my resolutions for 2010 was to take a photograph every day. I joined an iPhone 365 group on Flickr, I installed an iPhone app called Project 365, I set up a Flickr set, and I've been posting the photos on my iPhone blog--all actions intended to keep me interested and involved, and to help me keep my resolution. So far, so good.

Here are the first 13 photos (click each thumbnail for fullsize version):

previous | next

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quiet evening

I went out to see my parents today, and my sister came by for a little while, so that was nice. I had lunch with them, then I came home and made sour cream chicken and carrot salad for dinner. Now I've got laundry going, Bob's upstairs watching television in his office, and Dinah is snoozing in the chair in the corner of the bedroom. A nice, quiet evening.

As soon as I finish writing here, I'm going to go upstairs and hole up in the bedroom and read Under the Dome on my iPhone. I'm about halfway through it, and really enjoying it.

It's apparently supposed to warm up some this week, so the several foot high piles of snow may melt sooner than we thought. I just hope that it doesn't get bitterly cold again before it dries up, or we'll have ice instead of snow, which I really don't like. I can deal with the snow, it's ice that scares me.

My picture-a-day Flickr set is growing. I've been playing around with quite a few iPhone photography apps. The two that I'm especially enjoying are Best Camera and Hipstamatic. This is a photo of my parents' house taken with Hipstamatic. Isn't it dramatic?


Next week I'm going to do a post on my iPhone blog about all of the various iPhone camera apps. The difference in the two I just mentioned is that with Best Camera, you take a picture like normal, then apply various filters to it. With Hipstamatic, you're taking the picture through the app, using different virtual lenses and films. I like them both, but I kind of like the randomness and unpredictability of the Hipstamatic pictures. My obsessive-compulsive self, though, is thinking about making a cheat sheet so I can remember exactly what effects each filter, lens, film, etc., produces.

Here's a portrait of Jojo that I made using Best Camera filters:


previous | next

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I've always made New Year's resolutions, but seldom kept them. It was an exercise that was doomed to failure. This year, instead of resolving to do things that I'm pretty sure I won't actually do--eat healthier, lose weight, clean the house more (not that I ever resolved to do that), etc., I decided to resolve to do things that I would enjoy doing, along with a couple of things that I should do, but that aren't that egregious. My list, so far:

  • Use reusable bags more
  • Eat more cookies
  • Watch more movies
  • Read more books
  • Write more
  • Burn more candles
  • Send more birthday cards
  • Get more sleep
  • Drink more water
  • Take more pictures

Use more reusable bags: I resolve to use them for every grocery store trip. I bought four big canvas bags at Target a few months ago, and I've gotten pretty good at remembering to get them out of the trunk and take them in with me. I've also got a few nylon bags that can be folded up pretty small, and I always have one in my purse, as well as a couple in the car.

Eat more cookies: That one just means, don't worry about what I'm eating, don't be too serious. Have more fun.

Watch more movies/Read more books: A reminder to relax more--to get off the computer once in awhile and read a book, to relax, put a movie in the DVD player, and not work all the time.

Write more: I just submitted my journal to Amazon to be published in Kindle format, so if I expect people to pay $1.99/month for it, I'd better write a little more often. That's one motivation.

Burn more candles: This is sort of a "use the good china every day" resolution. I enjoy candles, but sometimes it seems like kind of a waste. I resolve to stop thinking like that, and do things that I enjoy, like burning candles, without worrying about the relatively small expense.

Send more birthday cards: I used to be very good at sending birthday cards and gifts to all the nieces and nephews, but in the last couple of years, I stopped. Part of it was because I almost never got a thank you card, or even a mention of it at all. But that shouldn't be a reason not to do it. So all of the nieces and nephews will get a card with a five dollar bill (or a Target gift card) in it this year. I already sent three!

Get more sleep: I tend to stay up way too late. Sometimes it's with intent--if Bob has to get up at dawn to go to work, I usually stay up until I'm sure he's asleep so I don't wake him up. But sometimes that's just an excuse. I resolve to get up and go to bed when I get sleepy, not to fall asleep in my chair or on the couch. Maybe that will make it easier to get up in the morning. It could happen.

Drink more water: This is the one that's health-based. I don't drink enough water, and I know that if I did, my skin wouldn't be so dry, and of course there are other health benefits as well, so I'm going to give it a good shot. I just have to be aware of it. I drink quite a bit of iced green tea at home in the evenings, but I don't always think about it at work.


Take more pictures: The iPhone has a pretty good camera, and I love taking photos with it. Lately I've gotten interested in photography apps that modify the photos in interesting ways; the most interesting, to me, are the ones that mimic vintage or toy cameras. I'll do a post with examples soon. I've committed to taking a photo a day, and created a Flickr set for them.

previous | next