Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reading Challenges

Well, as difficult as this is, I have a confession to make to you all. I feel I need to come clean to you. For I have failed. Failed in a humiliating and deeply distressing way. A way that sincerely calls into question my intellect, level of conviction, and even my character.

It is with deep, abiding shame that I inform you of my neglect in completing my Autumn Reading Challenge. There I have said it. Failed. Such an ugly word.

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure why I decided it was a good idea to share with my readers that I was going to read books that, while edifying in the extreme, apparently held little interest for me in the first place. I could have just been reasonable and whispered the challenge to myself and been spared this public humiliation. As I did not do this eminently wise thing, I now am forced to announce my shame. If I am to be completely honest with you, not only did I not "complete" the challenge, I didn't read most of the books on that list. I did read several and I think I plan to read several more, but the full truth is that I am guilty of neglecting my brain.

I do read a lot. All the time. Voraciously. I'm an equal opportunity reader as well and read just about anything. Well, okay. That's a bit of an overstatement. I'm not terribly keen on comic books, westerns, bodice rippers, quantum physics manuals, or 20th century war chronicles. Other than that, I'm fairly open minded about what I'll read. I generally read a bit more nonfiction than fiction, but really enjoy a wide variety of fiction as well. So, while this whole paragraph sounds like a desperate attempt to redeem anyone's perception of my intelligence in the face of my obvious recent intellectual shortcomings, it is true. Really. Romances? Vampire novels? Some light travelogues? Well, sure. Yeah, I've spent a bit of time with those genres lately, but still. There are other things I've read to. Like that book on string theory. Of course, the author lost me on that one in the first chapter, but I did read it. Kind of. Well, I told you I didn't like quantum physics manuals. String theory's sort of connected with quantum physics, right?

Oh my. This is sounding just pathetic . . .

Here's hoping that the winter will hold many intellectual challenges for me in the guise of fabulous books. Here's hoping that I figure out what the definition of "quantum physics" entails. Here's also hoping that, at the very least, I'm wise enough not to issue challenges to myself publicly that myself likely won't complete.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Perfidy of Weather Forecasters

Things are not at their best in my household lately. I'm at turns snappish and anguished. I'm frustrated and angry. In short, I feel betrayed. I've tried to ignore this desperate feeling, but it simply won't go away. I've tried to be reasonable and understanding, but it's no use. It's not a man that inspires such feelings in me, it's those damn weather forecasters. Oh, I know. It's a difficult profession. They can't be perfect. I get that. Intellectually I appreciate that the weather is a challenge to predict, especially here. Emotionally though, it's another story.

Last week was the absolute straw that broke the camel's back. The forecasters were sure that we'd have snow. Nice amounts of snow for this area. It wasn't a question of "if", it was a question of "how much". Bet you can guess how much we got. Nothing. Not a thing. Zip. The forecasters scurried about and published elaborate explanations as to why the "can't miss" snow missed, but their real reason for such hurried explanations was clear. They were concerned that the numerous disappointed residents of the state would revolt and storm the television and radio studios, demanding that someone, somewhere attain god status and accurately predict the weather.

I thought I was over my disappointment. I thought I was finally able to accept the bald truth. I live in an area that just doesn't get much snow. There. I've said it. The days of my youth spent in ice skates and on sleds are not going to be duplicated by my own children. Hot chocolate with marshmallows drank while your nose is red and your fingers begin to tingle as they warm up is just a nice story for my children. I've bravely opted to pretend that I like seeing all this green in January. Just as I felt secure in my acceptance, they did it again. They're calling for snow again on Tuesday. Ha. Yeah right. Sure. It'll happen. They won't get me to hope again. I'm rock solid.

Maybe though, just in case, I ought to make sure we have enough hot chocolate in the house . . .

Monday, January 01, 2007

Remembrances of Times Past
What I Learned Over Christmas Vacation

1. Waiting until Christmas week to make Christmas treats (so they are nice and fresh naturally) is a recipe for a nervous breakdown. A breakdown with lots of tasty, fresh nibbles, but a breakdown nonetheless.

2. Nearly 10 yr. old child + American Girl requests = serious expenses.

3. Golden Retrievers never mature - no matter what the breeder tells you.

4. Blown glass ornaments are no match for a 4 yr. old "mature" Golden Retriever.

5. Elderly, portly cats often are displeased when baby cats come to visit and endeavor to show their displeasure in unpleasant ways.

6. Smoking chimneys need firefighters' attention.

7. Children, adult or not, who live in houses with smoking chimneys scare mothers.

8. Origami ornament kits meant to be made with nearly 10 yr. old child as gifts for the family that say "8 and up with supervision - 10 and up alone" lie.

9. Viewing A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time still makes me happy. Watching it with the nearly 10 year old baby of the family (who you know is taking notes on how to be precocious) for the first time is more than a bit terrifying. I'm expecting to be "triple dog dared" any day now on some consequence I've given.

10. East, West, Home is Best - especially one de-Christmased and clean!