Stuck in the Gate

LizzieLou | nablopomo,reading | Friday, November 2nd, 2012

I do think that I want to blog this month, but I’m not quite organized yet.

Speaking of organizing. . . my sister phoned this past weekend (that’s not news, she phones everyday) while I was in the middle of sorting out some of our bookshelves. Once upon a time there was some sense to our home library, but ever since I stained and finished the shelves, the books, having been put back all willy-nilly, have been in disarray. I thought it was time to do something about this, although why right then I do not know. I put the newer ones (most still needing to be read) in the living room, and created a special “From Kim” shelf too. Then I went about sorting the others into: graphic novels/comics, queer (fiction and non-fiction), fiction (plain old regular), biography/memoir, history/culture, anthologies, philosophy/religion, psychology, women’s studies, drama/poetry, and humor. Reference has fallen out of favor apparently because that didn’t get its shelf back.

So, my sister, she phoned, and I was explaining all of this to her and bemoaning the fact that while the books all came off the shelves, it did not seem like they were going to go back on. There is just no room. I took a photo for her, and she (having phoned again today of course) wanted me to send it.

Hoarders, anyone?

You’re Jealous and You Know It

LizzieLou | reading | Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

I have signed up for the library’s Summer Reading Shebang and I really feel like this is my year to win the drawing. No Big Book Bag of Crap this time. This year they are giving away a Kindle. If I can get Lolly to participate it will double (that’s right, Double!) our chances of winning. Once she sees the Awesome Avatar I made at the Summer Reading Shebang website, she will TOTALLY want to sign up….

La résistance est futile.

Dear “The Corrections”

LizzieLou | reading | Friday, June 1st, 2012

I hate you and I’m not going to read you anymore. I resent the 285 pages we have already spent together. You are wasting my time and there are a lot of other more interesting or more enjoyable books in the world for me. So there.

World Toilet Day

LizzieLou | nablopomo,reading | Saturday, November 19th, 2011

According to my local library, today is World Toilet Day and I should celebrate it. To that end, I am going to share with you a poem I found in college that I loved immediately. It took me a while this afternoon to rummage through my boxes of journals and poems and drawings to find it, yet I did. It is a poem by one Mr. Russell Edson. Curiously, I found another version of this poem online that differs slightly than the one I copied down in college, but it is the latter which I present for you here. Happy World Toilet Day everybody.

With Sincerest Regrets

Like a white snail the toilet slides into the living room,
demanding to be loved.
It is impossible, and we tender our sincerest regrets.
In the book of the heart there is no mention of plumbing.
And though we have spent our intimacy many times with you,
you belong to an unfortunate reference,
which we would rather not embrace. . .
The toilet slides out of the living room like a white snail,
flushing with grief.

What I Have Been Reading in 2011

LizzieLou | nablopomo,reading | Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Ugh. Couldn’t
Finish It.
Read It. Might Maybe Recommend It? It’s a Keeper! Love It Unconditionally

The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell [4] – While I’m starting to get a little burnt out on the memoir genre, I did enjoy this book and I generally like the tv show that goes along with it too. Cute goats.

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson [3] – I saw the miniseries first, but have liked reading the books too. I appreciate all the details that were left out of the pictures. (Strangely, my mother recommended these. However, she has told me that she “just skims over” anything that is too explicit, too dark, or upsetting; I’m not sure what is left after that.)

Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays by Candace Savage (and) In the Company of Crows and Ravens by John M. Marzluff [4] – The latter is by a guy who is nearby at the University of Washington and was featured in the PBS Nature show “A Murder of Crows.” Good Stuff!

Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England’s Vampires by Michael E. Bell [3] – The topic of this book is very interesting but the book wasn’t put together all that well. It becomes repetitive and the style starts to unravel in the second half. There are long passages of quotes from other books and ramblings that seem out of place. But, I have a special connection to this book as I cleaned and sampled some skeletons from one of the burial sites mentioned in the book when I was an undergraduate archeology lab volunteer. Spoiler alert: They weren’t vampires; they had tuberculosis.

Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China by Guy Delisle [4] – The graphic novels (memoirs) that this author does are really interesting snap shots of the places he has gone to work. This one in particular ended up providing a little background info before I went to The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which you should go see if you ever get the chance.

Case Histories (and) One Good Turn (and) When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson [5] – I read these three novels out of order but it didn’t matter. Again my mother recommended these. Again surprising. They are a bit dark and sad, but also funny with (mostly) likeable people. It doesn’t seem fair to label the books as mystery/detective fiction. The characters have a lot more depth. When I read these I did not think that they would make for good films. It’s an odd thought to have perhaps but a lot of the mystery fiction I’ve read in the past seems to be written more like a screenplay than a novel. (I’m looking at you James Patterson.) Here, there is a lot of internal monologue and memory and different perceptions of events from different people. But then, hello Masterpiece Mystery, which picked these up and made some rather excellent telly.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan [3] – This book was written well, but the story and the characters didn’t speak to me; I just wasn’t that intersted in them. It could be I wasn’t in the mood for this book when I read it and maybe it needs another chance.

War Dances by Sherman Alexie [4] – An collection of short stories that I really liked at the time I was reading it, but I honestly don’t remember much of it now.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach [5] – First, I’m a big fan of Mary Roach and have loved her other books too. Second, a short story: Once I totally loved The Space Program. I had posters and models of the new space shuttle (and Space Legos). Then was totally out of love with The Space Program because why spend so much money on something silly like whether there is microscopic lifeform fossils on Mars when people are suffering and starving here on Earth. Then, I heard Neil Degrasse Tyson explain how the cost of The Space Program is relatively small as it inspires people to do Math and Science and flex their imagination muscles and improve many aspects of life through discovery and innovation. And now I love The Space Program again. And this book too.

Who Would Buy This? The Archie McPhee Story by Mark Pahlow [2] – In case you were ever interested about this store, and the crap in it, you can read this book that is mostly pictures.

Stumptown Volume 1 by Greg Rucka [3] – I liked this too, but read reviews first that made me think it would blow my socks off and it didn’t. Had I not read them, or had they not been as raving, I would probably have liked it a lot better. I know, so dumb.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay [4] – Someone at work gave me this book a while ago and it was just sitting around. I finally had to read it because the movie was coming out and KST is in it and we’ve be watching all the KST lately. This book was actually better than I thought it would be and I still haven’t seen the movie.

Dear Fatty by Dawn French [in progress] – I love Dawn French. And I like learning bits about her life. But I expected the funny parts of this book to be funnier. Lolly likes me to read this to her in bed. I don’t do the accent.

Best American Science Writing 2010 ed. by Jerome Groopman [in progress] – Already the book for 2011 is out! I’m so far behind. This collection is terrific and everyone everywhere should read it. The end.

the metaphor of the present

LizzieLou | lolly palooza,nablopomo,reading | Monday, November 2nd, 2009

The night before my birthday, Lolly asked me if I wanted a present already. Of course I said yes and stopped in my tracks and closed my eyes and held out my arms expectantly as she went to her office and back to retrieve my gift.

“Ok ready.” she said, but nothing had been placed in my hands.

“Eeehn?” I asked.

“No, you have to open your eyes and pick something:”

acidtabpresents

“I had a little trouble with my printer.”

(( Now you see, in our house, if the thing that you’ve ordered for someone’s birthday has not arrived by the birthday date, then you present your loved one with a photo of the thing. So she can have a Yay! on her birthday. Normally, however, these would not look like tabs of acid. ))

“Um, ok. I pick this one.” I squinted as hard as I could. “It looks familiar, but I can’t tell what it is.”

acidtabpresent

“I’ll give you a hint! It’s illustrated by Marjane Satrapi! And you wanted it!”

“Well I have no idea what it is, but thank you! I LOVE IT!!!”

Eventually, all the presents were revealed!

acidtabs

Any guesses?

Letters Home

LizzieLou | reading | Thursday, December 13th, 2007

When Mother was last here she brought me some books she had found at a library donation drive where she was volunteering. One of them, from 1903 (C.E.), is called “Letters Home” by W. D. Howells. W. D., according to the title page, is “Author of ‘Literary Friends and Acquaintance,’ ‘Literature and Life,’ ‘The Kentons,’ ‘Their Silver Wedding Journey,’ Etc. Etc.” On the inside front cover someone has noted that this is a “First Edition” but I think it was probably the Only Edition.

I started reading the first of the letters home from one “Mr. Otis Binning to his sister-in-law Mrs. Walter Binning (of Boston)” and was pleased to find that he (Mr. Binning) writes about how fabulous and terrible is New York City. Then I find, next to the passage that says, “…no one that is any one lives there, for New York is in nothing more anomalous than in having the east side for her fashionable quarter…,” a comment, in pencil, that informs me: No longer so – 1917.

It would seem that one Mrs. Ellen Allison Kerney, as noted on the label pasted in the front of the book, wanted future readers to know that the East Side was less than fashionable a scant 14 years after this book was written. Mrs. Kerney made other notations as well, more ambiguous, via underscores, margin squiggles, Etc. Etc. However, one could guess Mrs. Kerney liked that New York was described as “this apotheosis of Opportunity, this myriad-visaged Chance, this Fortune on a million wheels!” One could also assume Mrs. Kerney agreed that, “there is something about the New York way of dressing and talking that makes you know them at once as far as you can see them.”

Where the author writes, “…in an old place like this there must be a society so sufficient to itself that it need not be at the pains to be exclusive…,” Mrs. Kerney wrote: This is true – there is a New York who refuses to know the Astors and the Vanderbilts & who does not hang on the outskirts of highish society.

To the author’s quip that “…nothing would do American but to come to New York. That was better than Europe, anyway…,” Mrs. Kerney enthusiastically penciled: Yea, verily – Here is better than that!

mrskerney.jpg

Sadly, Mrs. Kerney seems not to have read past chapter XII. Or perhaps she lost her pencil.

I think if she were around today, she’d blog.

Lolly Drives the Bookmobile

LizzieLou | lolly palooza,nablopomo,reading | Friday, November 2nd, 2007

I have some new books I am excited to read.

In spite of the spiteful library (JK SPL – I Luv U!), I continue to enjoy reading and I have recently finished:

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (Speculation, science, history and a little bit of travel writing make this an engrossing read. It referenced the Will Rogers quote: ‘Buy land. They ain’t making any more of the stuff.’)

Diary by Chuck Palanhuik (I first started this on audio, as read by the lovely Martha Plimpton, but only got through the first third. The rest of the book, as read by the lovely Me, was not as expected. And it referenced the same Will Rogers quote. Weird.)

Selling Seattle by James Lyons (This looked at examples of how Seattle and its icons were created and have been represented in the last couple decades. It did not reference the quote, but it would not have been surprising if it did.)

But the new books I got, for my birthday donchaknow, that I’m excited about are: Lauren Weedman’s “Woman Trapped in a Woman’s Body – Stories from a Life of Cringe;” 2008’s “Best Non-Required Reading;” Terry Moore’s final installment of “Strangers in Paradise;” Adrian Tomine’s new graphic novel, called “Shortcomings;” and, Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July’s “Learning to Love You More”. (If anyone needs inspiration for NaBloPoMo, their website may offer some interesting ideas.)

I self-imposed a moratorium on buying new books for myself, because I have so many in the house that I haven’t even gotten to yet, but dear Lolly can always bend my rules for me. Sweet!

The Month in Review: Other Life Forms, and More of the Same

LizzieLou | pets,reading,visitors | Friday, August 31st, 2007

Lest you think I have been so dejected by collisions and candidates that I could not bring myself to write, I must declare, it’s been a busy month.

Mother arrived in town and stayed with us for the first week. I tried to find new things to put on the itinerary for the annual visit, but I might be running low on local attractions that will keep her interest. She’s all about the traveling for the sake of traveling and the educational opportunities that it presents. She wants me to go on an Alaska cruise with her. I try to get her to convince my Dad to go with her instead. Mightn’t they want another honeymoon after 40+ years? Anyway, here’s what we did this time; pictures may eventually appear.

Day 2: Cougar Mountain. She really likes tigers and there were tiger cubs on parade at a nearby zoo. They also had cougars (duh!), emus (terrifying!), alpacas (smelly!) and lemurs (urinating!). That evening we cooked out at home. Lolly is an expert with the beer can chicken.
Day 3: Olympic Sculpture Park. This is newly opened since Mother’s last visit. It’s nice for hanging out in, however the sculpture is a bit sparse. This was also the weekend of Seattle’s Seafair brouhaha so the Blue Angels were buzzing around, traumatizing all the house-cats in the downtown area. I hate them and everything, but I have to admit that it was an entertaining challenge to try to get photos of them as they came out of nowhere. We spent the rest of the day walking around the waterfront and up to the Pike Place Market again. (Of which one should be reminded: Summer + Saturday = many many tourists, not even counting Mother.)

reflection.jpg

Day 4: Ballard Farmer’s Market. Mostly we hung around at home this day because on…
Day 5: We arose before dawn to get down to the pier on time to take the Clipper up to the San Juan Islands and go whale watching. I found it really enjoyable to be on the water all day. The scenery is beautiful of course. We saw a whale (elusive!), seals (fat!) and eagles (eating seal pups!). I sometimes forget that I live near the water in spite of seeing it on a regular basis. I don’t know how to explain that any better. I now have the idea that I might join a sailing club next summer. (Eelaine will understand if I hesitate, as having one’s own weather system might make sailing hazardous.)
Day 6: The Underground Tour. Again, very very crowded. This was unfortunate as it made our group have to rush through to make way for the group behind us. They were selling out every tour all day. This tour will soon be featured on some ghost hunter show on TV; my ghost hunting sister will be thrilled. We also went up the Smith Tower, which I hadn’t done before. I liked it up there.
Generally, we had a nice week; although, I think we were both pretty tired the whole time and it led to periodic crabbiness (by me.) Familial interactions just wouldn’t be as memorable without a little woe.

During this visit of Mother, Lolly and I noticed that Ashley was a bit subdued. At first we thought she was pissed off at having the door to the back bedroom closed. She likes to hang out in there most days and Mother didn’t want the little creatures frolicking in her things. But then it became apparent that she was walking funny, almost limping. She had shown some limping a week or two prior and we thought she probably crashed into something or fell, but by the time the vet appointment came around she was better. This time her gimp didn’t clear up and we thought her toes were off kilter and bugging her so we went in to the vet’s office. The doc that saw her couldn’t tell what was wrong so we were sent home with some pain meds and a follow-up appointment. She was more concerned with her weight loss since the last visit than she was with her toes.

Ashley didn’t seem to get better and I began to suspect something other than crooked toes when she got even less active and then eventually had a fever. We called up and got an appointment with our usual doc, the Best Vet Ever, and we have been trying to figure out what’s going on with the Ashleycrumb ever since. About three weeks now and counting. Just this weekend some blood work has ruled out multiple myeloma, but it could still be FIP (shocking!), pancreatitis (unusual!), or some other inflammatory thing (mystery!). The doc has prescribed oral narcotic, oral antibiotics in capsules I coat in butter before sticking them down her throat, probiotic goo, laxative goo and most recently an oral anti-inflammatory that seems to have had the best results so far in returning our little princess to normal. Of course, feeling better, she is right pissed about all the molestation. She is scheduled for an ultrasound on Wednesday and by then all the blood work should be back and maybe we’ll have an answer.

Then work has been busy.

And it’s WNBA playoff time. A big time-suck that has been quite exciting as sports features go.

After all this, I did not get all the books read that I had planned in order to get in more entries to win the Big Bookbag of Crap from the summer reading program that ended August 31st. My last entry form was a bit cheap, I’ll admit, but because all three titles were checked-out of the library I have to assume that they can count.

Deogratias: A Tale of Ruwanda by Jean-Phillipe Stassen (A graphic novel about a young man during war in Ruwanda showing in flashbacks what lead to his madness. )

Red Eye, Black Eye by K.Thor jensen (A graphic novel about a young man who spends a few idle months riding around the US on a bus and the stories of people he meets.)

Lucky by Gabrielle Bell (A graphic novel about a young woman looking for an apartment, finding a job and generally eking out a living as an artist in NY. )

I have also been reading a few other things, but sadly was unable to finish them in time to submit to the Big Sweepstakes. No word yet on what I’ve won. No notification emails except Due Date Reminders… Gulp! Can I still win if I owe fines???

No, It’s Not ‘The Deathly Hallows’

LizzieLou | reading | Monday, July 23rd, 2007

The heatwave is long past and we have been having lovely, lovely rain for the last few days. I’ve taken a deep breath and allowed the dandelions to take over the lawn while I stay in and finish up my next reading selections for entry in the Big! Bookbag! of Crap! Schweeepstakes! sponsored by the SPL. The more the better, although I am still trying to be reasonable in my selections. I’ve already picked up my coffee card.

“Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn” by William J. Mann (a recent and well annotated biography that explores, with compassion and criticism, her life behind the screen image and the maneuvering it took to get famous and stay there, which – even though I knew how it all turned out – brought a wee tear to my eye at the end.)

“Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: Evolutionary Origins of Belief” by Lewis Wolpert (not referenced in a way that I’m used to, I had to put this down soon after starting it, but once I accepted that it did not need to conform to the standards of a peer reviewed journal I was able to return to this synposis of children, animals, tool use, casual beliefs and religion.)

“Strangers in Paradise Vol. 17: Tattoo” by Terry Moore (in preparation of one of my own favorite series ending this summer, I’ve gone back to catch up on an earlier collection that I missed; it’s the fluff piece this time around but worthy of inclusion.)

I was going to include “The Lost Girls”, but I have this irrational fear that when I win the BBoCS I will be asked to give a public synopsis or dramatic rendering of my chosen summer reading – and that could be Quite Awkward.

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