Saturday, February 26, 2011

I used to love books...

There was a time when I used to read like crazy. I used to go to the library pretty much weekly and couldn't leave a bookstore without an armload. I even kept a list in the back of an old journal of all the books I'd read. It was always interesting to go back and look over the list a year later to see which ones stood out. Some I'd remember vividly, others I could barely place. Now I am an affront and should have my library card revoked.

Lately, I have not been a very good reader at all. I don't know what it is, but I have a hard time sitting down and focusing. Mostly, I think working long hours with lots of overtime has gotten me out of the habit. I have a theory about pre-sleep laziness and the current lack of a bedside lamp also being a factor, but we won't go into that here. It is too slothfully shameful.

For a bit after I got the Kindle for Droid app, there was an upsurge in my reading - The Woman in White (so good!), Letters of a Woman Homesteader, the first few chapter's of Paulo Coehlo's Brida). Reading via Kindle is no book, but it's not as heinous as I'd anticipated and you can read in the dark even if it will never become dog eared with love or replace the tactile sensation of paper against your fingertips.

I finished a book about Islam around Christmas and did spent a couple weeks in early November listening to Bloodroot on cd (if you have a long commute, I recommend the audio version). Since at least January, I've been reading the first Flavia de Luce mystery for what seems like an eternity. I burned through most of it on a round-trip flight, but have been stuck a few chapters away from the end for months. The worst part is that it's not due to any fault of the book, which is in fact is charming and well written. Normally, it would be the kind of book that left me wanting to start a new one with the same author and characters immediately upon finishing. Really. I even checked the second volume out from the library in anticipation of wanting more.

So, in addition to the perennial "write more, lose weight and get in shape" (progress is being made - more about that another time!), I am adding "read more". My norm used to be 4-5 books a month, but I don't know if I can do that much. Finishing one would be nice for a start (yes, I'm looking at you, dear Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie). Mmmm pie . . .

Friday, February 11, 2011

Good news

It must be starting to look like the end of my January blog-a-day project meant the end of my blogging, but it's not! There was just a blip when a work deadline got in the way this past week. Despite the stress, I managed to savor that it was the last of the (foreknown) ugly deadlines for the next few months. It helped that I also had my annual review and there are some good (if approved) things potentially coming my way, if things work out as I hope.

Let us pause for a moment to celebrate with a picture from last year's birthday trip to Maryhill. Aren't the trees pretty? Even though it was taken in mid-March, it looks an awful lot like it does outside right now.

Maryhill Grounds

But my personal work stuff is not the only cause or even the most important cause for celebration today. Can you believe the news from Egypt? The beginnings of a government transition mostly through peaceful demonstration. I am fascinated by the scenes and stories from this revolution. Mubarak has been in power for longer than I've been alive, longer than many of the Egyptians who brought about this change have been alive. Whatever happens next, today is a monumental day.

Here there are already pundits trying to guess which direction things will take. It's obviously not just a matter of ousting a government and then everything is okay. It is now that the work begins. This will be a journey for the Egyptian people, but for now I am simply happy for them and their victory. Every time I turn on CNN and see the demonstrators, first protesting and now celebrating, in Tahrir Square, I am reminded of my own relatives in Berlin and the jubilation when the wall came down. My mother and grandmother never thought they'd live to see that day, and yet they did. I remember what that felt like and how we sat in front of the t.v. at home crying tears of joy for our relatives thousands of miles away. I have no real connection to Egypt, but somehow that memory does make me feel connected to these people today.