Stress at work ramped up a bit the last week or so, resulting in my neglecting my sourdough, my reading and my blog. I’m two sessions behind in my notes for the recently completed Mythgard Academy class on Out of the Silent Planet. I was the only member of my local library book club who did not finish the book, yet I was supposed to be leading the discussion. My husband risked his life on Friday, exposing his compromised immune system to God only knows what viruses to buy me flowers and a card for Valentine’s Day, yet all I brought home was myself and my stress.
Because I got home later than normal on Friday evening, and properly baked potatoes take a minimum of ninety minutes, we opted for take out from our local Applebee’s for dinner. We also squeezed in a game of Pandemic, which we won again. We decided the next time we play, we’ll increase the number of epidemics to increase the difficulty level.
Saturday I woke early to perform an update that was long over due. As usual, I overprepped and the update applied without issues. I spent the rest of the morning running errands and shopping. I even squeezed in a visit to my dad before heading back home and prepping the Valentine’s Day dinner of a porterhouse steak (bought fresh from a butcher in KCKS during a snow storm last week), roasted brussel sprouts and baked potatoes.
I’m a bit stunned to find myself already facing February. Where did my January disappear to? So many reading ambitions and so few goals achieved. I find myself five books behind my pace to reach my annual goal of ninety-six books (eight books per months). Basically, I finished three books last month. Not that I wasn’t constantly reading something (I’ll discuss my overflowing currently reading dilemma in a bit).
Here’s the three I actually started and finished during January:
Hard Timesby Dickens
The first book I started and finished during the first week of the new year was Dickens’ Hard Times. This was the winter reading classic selection for my local library adult book club. We meet on the second Thursday and have lively discussions, including about this shortest and last published work of Charles Dickens.
I listened to the audiobook read by Simon Prebble and managed to complete it with just thirty minutes to spare before arriving at the library for the discussion. We were split as a group whether we liked this book. It is not your typical Dickens and had some portions that were a bit of a slog to muddle through. In hindsight, we all agreed we should have read Little Women in light of the release of yet another movie adaptation over the holiday break. We decided that next winter we will allow ourselves the luxury of reading a classic that might be adapted and released during Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays.
2020 started out strangely. Terry and I dozed off around nine o’clock New Year’s Eve but both of us woke back up after two o’clock New Year’s Morning. We both migrated back downstairs and dozed off again for another four or five hours. Ah the exciting life we lead!
I had promised Terry a breakfast of bacon and waffles. I put the bacon in the oven, and forgot to set a timer. Meanwhile, I continued drafting a newsletter for my local book club and lost track of time. I’m not sure how long I was editing, but I did eventually remember the baking bacon before it was reduced to charcoal.
Next I had to rearrange the kitchen counters a bit to make room to mix up a half batch of waffle dough from my King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. In the process of shuffling items around I managed to drop and break a small measuring glass. This event foreshadowed how the rest of my morning evolved. Strike one!
I have twenty-four days left to read twenty-five books to reach my goal of reading one hundred and one books this year. I’m skeptical I’ll complete my self-imposed challenge.
I can possible finish another ten books, but I doubt I can do at least a book a day, not and work, clean, shop, etc. This will be the first time ever I won’t meet my reading challenge. I fudged a couple of years ago and lowered my challenge 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through the year due to work, school and home pressures. But this year I’m resisting the urge to adjust my goal post just to give myself a ‘fake’ win. I will suffer the shameful consequences.
The sun returned yesterday, bringing with it a stiff south wind and pushing the day time temperature up to nearly sixty degrees. For the first time in several days, the interior of our home felt cozier for a few hours. But the sun set, the crescent moon shown briefly, and the wind continued unabated.
Several times overnight, the wind wakened me from my cocoon of quilts, throws and comforters (not to mention the four inch thick memory foam mattress topper I was stoking with my body heat). My wind chime has not ceased knelling. I gave up and pried myself from bed a few minutes past five o’clock this morning.
I surveyed the house from top to bottom using my laser thermometer, unsurprised to find the house had lost on average at least five degrees overnight thanks to the wily wind. Oddly, the garage is maintaining a temperature in the mid-fifties, but the great room, for the first time, dipped below sixty degrees in the northwest corner.
We are currently under a wind advisory until noon today.
...WIND ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TODAY...
* WHAT...Northwest winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.
* WHERE...Portions of east central and northeast Kansas and
central, north central, northwest and west central Missouri.
* WHEN...Until noon CST today.
* IMPACTS...Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects.
Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may
I even pulled out my hooded sweater jacket from the storage cedar closet in the basement. Normally, our house is kept so warm I am comfortable in light clothes. These past few days have reminded me of growing up in an old farm house heated either by a mini-boiler under the stairs and floor radiators or a wood stove, which meant there was always a warm place to retreat to but that the bedrooms were farthest from the heat.
I opted for oatmeal with my morning tea to help stoke my internal furnace. I should probably put on a second kettle, wrap up with a mug and a good book and conserve my energy. Tomorrow the sun should return and my part for my broken furnace should arrive. I just have to survive one more day.
A week ago I was dreaming of today, waking up in Texas, snuggling with my nearly 18 month old grandson. I woke up to something completely different and totally unexpected. Brace yourselves, this is going to be a very long post . . .
Instead of a warm home filled with happy family and the wonderful smell of baking goodness, I find myself sniffling and shivering in a cold, mostly dark, mostly empty house.
It all started this past Monday the 25th. I fell asleep in my recliner in my cavernous and often chilly ‘great room’ which has a nearly twenty-foot ceiling. I woke up because I was shivering, yet I could hear the furnace fan blowing. I got up and stood on the vent directly over the furnace (located underneath the entryway by the steps leading to the upstairs bedrooms). The air coming out of the vent was cold. I woke up Terry on the way downstairs to the basement, where we tried various troubleshooting techniques with the furnace but ultimately gave up. I left a voice-mail with our heating repairman and went back to sleep wrapped in a throw. I called again a few minutes after eight o’clock and they assured me someone would be over to check the furnace that morning. I made arrangements to work from home.
The repairman arrived sometime between nine and ten in the morning. I escorted them to the basement and woke Terry up to monitor them. I had many meetings and conference calls schedule, so I retreated back to the great room, which doubles as my office until I motivate myself to clean out the second guest room. After an hour or so, the repairmen left, not having found a cause but oddly the furnace began working again on its own. I returned to my conference calls, despite a scratchy throat and an increasingly congested sinus cavity. By four o’clock I could barely keep from coughing and shivering so I took some Mucinex and went up to the guest bedroom for a nap.
I started this blog in October 2010, over nine years ago. I had blogged for a couple of years, writing book reviews mostly, on MySpace, but didn’t care for their interface. Once I found GoodReads (Summer 2008), I started writing reviews there and then when I re-discovered my love for astronomy, I needed a place to post photos and write about my new adventures. Less than two months into my new blog, after returning to work from Thanksgiving, I walked into my building and saw the most hideous holiday decorations of my life. I took a photo with my cell phone (remember, it was nearly ten years ago, so the quality sucks) and post the first of my longest running blog series on ‘unHoliday’ decorations.
To see all the lobby decorations for the past nine years, click on the photo above to be taken to my Flickr album.
For the past nine years I had to console myself with the Country Club Plaza Lights, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center, the Kansas City Life Insurance Building and an annual trip to the inside of Union Station.
There is hope for my building as the Curse of the unChristmas Spirit appears to have been lifted and will be revealed in a forthcoming post.
My husband and I resolved to reduce our home entertainment budget for 2019. To that end, immediately after Thanksgiving and upon a couple of recommendations gleaned from various tech podcasts I subscribe to, I ordered a Roku Premiere+ and installed it the first week of December. Within a couple of days of installation, I signed us up for Hulu (with live TV and cloud DVR) and Philo, maintaining our existing Dish, Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions in place so we could do a one-to-one comparison for the entire month of December. By the middle of the month, we were no longer using Dish at all. The day after Christmas, I cancelled our Dish and officially cut the cord, saving over half the cost and ending up with more entertainment options. Netflix may be next on the chopping block but that will have to wait until we finish out January now since I neglected to cancel that streaming service before the autopay went through. The real challenge will be next year’s F1 season for Terry.
Once upon a time, I was the staff director of a Congressman’s office. He was a Republican. At that time, the Democrats held an overwhelming majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. 354 more words
I woke up to the longest day of the year (summer solstice). I read through Modesitt’s latest blog post, which turned my longest day into perhaps my most frustrating one? Are we truly doomed to repeat history because we choose to ignore it?
I’m old enough to have seen the swing of politics from one abusive majority to another abusive majority of a different party, but most Americans either haven’t lived long enough to see it, don’t care so long as “their” party prevails, or have no idea what I’m talking about.
History would suggest that this kind of situation, unless defused, will only get worse. The only question may be whether we’re looking at a repeat of 1968 or 1861.
Do we really want another bloody brutal Civil War?
When it comes to Android apps that purport to provide me access to the digital resources of my local library, I’ve learned to not set the bar very high, if at all. All of the apps I’ve tried, and still struggle with, have slowly improved over the last couple of years, but whenever possible, I avoid using them for the same reason I only purchase audiobooks from Downpour: no proprietary software required and no DRM applied.