Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What I'm reading now

I was reading this article today: The End of the Ambitious Summer Reading List, and it started me thinking about the books that I've read throughout my life.

There were the school libraries, of course. I read my way through the Dick & Jane books, working up to Dr. Seuss. I particularly loved "Harold and the Purple Crayon."

When I was growing up, we lived within walking distance of the public library, which was huge for me. You could check out ten books at a time, and I spent the summer walking the couple of blocks to the library, getting my stack of new books and bringing them home to read, reading them, and going back for a new stack. I remember sitting on a lawn chair in the garage, watching over a garage sale on the driveway, reading hard-boiled crime -- Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain. When I got my weekly allowance I walked to the drugstore and agonized over which Agatha Christie novel to buy next, until I owned them all (or at least the ones the drugstore had in stock). I read James Michener ("Hawaii"), and Arthur Hailey's "Airport" and "Hotel" honed my love of stories set in discrete, confined spaces.

High school saw me reading Anya Seaton's historical novels, and I still remember the thrill of discovering J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy on the library shelf. The first Stephen King story I read was "'Salem's Lot," serialized in Cosmopolitan Magazine, as I recall, of all places. And I eventually read my way through all of them. Ray Bradbury and Clifford D. Simak introduced me to science fiction.

I'm not really sure how I became such a voracious reader. My parents didn't read novels. They both read the newspapers, and my mother read some health-based nonfiction. We had a complete set of the "Happy Hollisters" books, and when I didn't have anything else to read I would pick a volume of the encyclopedia off the shelf.

I have always read purely for enjoyment, but I think my attention span has gotten a little shorter than it was when I was in high school. My interests have changed, certainly. I do occasionally think it would be fun to re-read The Lord of the Rings, but I no longer find historical romance interesting. In order for me to read romance, it has to involve some sort of paranormal element--vampires or werewolves or dragons--and even then, I have a fairly small interest range. I tend not to read anything set in the past; the setting needs to be present day or future.

I love discovering a new author, and will sometimes read my way through a whole series, one after the other. I read Thea Harrison's "Elder Races" series that way, immersing myself in her world of shapeshifters. I actually got the first book in the series, "Dragon Bound," quite awhile ago, either for free or for $.99. It didn't really interest me--a book about a man who can shift into a dragon?--but for some reason I started it, and absolutely loved it. I ended up reading all 8 novels, plus several novellas and shorts, and then listening to the whole series in audiobook form.

Lately I've been reading a lot of "cozy" mysteries; currently it's a series called "Maternal Instincts" by Diana Orgain about a new mother who gets involved in solving mysteries. Like most cozies, it's not really based too much in reality, but if I can suspend disbelief in order to read about men turning into dragons, I guess I can read about a mother with a newborn solving murders.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What I've been up to

I know that I haven't written in a LONG time. I had two people contact me this week to say that they missed hearing from me, so I thought I would at least jump on here and post an update.

We're doing fine. Bob spent four weeks in the hospital, two of those in an induced coma, and then two weeks in a rehab facility to get his strength and mobility back. In the middle of February, he came home, and a few weeks later when the doctor said it was okay, he went back to work, part time at first, then full time after a couple of weeks of that.

In June he had some more surgery to repair two additional aneurysms that the surgeon had noted during the original emergency surgery, but didn't deem serious enough to do at that time. This time, he only spent two days in the hospital, and about a week off work.

He's now back to work full time, and pretty much back to normal. He still has some pain, but he's working through it. He's had a lot of appointments with the surgeon and the cardiologist, and a couple of CT scans to be sure that everything is still in place, and it seems to be.

I've been busy at work; I used up all my paid time off while Bob was in the hospital. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way -- I felt like I needed to be there so I could talk to as many doctors as I could, and, of course, to be there for Bob, even (or even more so) during the time when he was unconscious.

We moved our offices in May, and I was pretty involved in that. We're now a few blocks farther south, in the Crossroads Arts District rather than the River Market. There is construction going on down here, too, but I've been happy to get away from the streetcar construction! I have to walk farther to get to work now--the parking lot is a couple of blocks away--so I've been working out various strategies to carry what I need to. Right now it's a combination of a medium-size crossbody bag (a Vera Bradley On the Go Crossbody) and a small tote back to hold my Kindle, my current knitting project, and my lunch.

In an effort to pare down, I bought a new Kindle, so I don't carry my iPad every day anymore. And I got a new desktop computer at work, so I no longer have to carry a laptop back and forth. I've also been experimenting with various configurations using a (Vera Bradley, of course) backpack. One of these days I'll have it all figured out, or maybe I'll keep changing it up. It's fun, anyway.

I bought some crazy new Sketchers, and we bought Bob a new recliner. I made some jewelry, and a made a couple of new websites for people, and I'm working on a couple others. I've been test-knitting a sock pattern for a designer, which has been fun.

I've just kind of gotten out of the habit of posting here, but I'm going to try to start doing it again, at least occasionally. In the meantime, I'm on Instagram quite a bit, as evidenced by: