Thursday, September 29, 2011

September resolutions

So I think this will be the last month where I post my success or lack thereof with my resolutions.  Somehow in the last few weeks, my actually rather uncomplicated life has become complicated.  Here is a picture of what my day planner looks like:

I can't figure out why I can't rotate the picture, but either way, it's a bit insane looking, if you ask me.

Really, the only things I'm doing right now are training for a marathon and taking a couple of online courses.  But, we have three upcoming trips, my mother's coming for Thanksgiving, we've had the cable guys over, and we have some repair men coming.  And I've been experiencing a lot of what Gretchen Rubin calls boomerang projects...I think I've taken care of something, but there's actually another 197 steps before we're totally done with whatever it is. 

So I'm going to preemptively tell you about September, up until today.  I've read every day.  I've done a lot of crocheting and exercising, and a pretty good amount of flossing.  I need to work on that.  As for book writing, I've got an idea that I think is pretty good, but all I can turn it into is a romance novel and that's not really what I want it to be.  But it's going to go on the back burner while I work on making that day planner look less like I'm running a small country and more like that of someone who has all the time in the world because she's unemployed and doesn't even have kids to raise.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shadow DiversShadow Divers by Robert Kurson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was very interesting and made me want to do deep sea wreck diving, although I've never actually been scuba diving. I think the book did a very good job of explaining the dangers of deep sea diving, as well as the techniques used to cope with these dangers.

Having lived in New Jersey at the time the wreck was discovered, I vaguely recall the story in the news, so it was very interesting to me to read a complete report of the events. It was also interesting to read about how dangerous it was to be a part of a U-Boat crew, and also that everyone who was in the German military was not pro-Nazi.

There were a couple of editorial changes I would have made to the book. The chapters were of varying lengths, and a few seemed to be just a little too long or detailed or both. Also, occasionally, a character would be referred to by their first name and then just a few paragraphs later by their last was a bit inconsistent.

Overall, this is a tremendous read, which is a huge compliment from me, since I don't normally read non-fiction.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With around 30 pages to go, Captain America told me it was time to get ready for bed. I said, "I'm reading THIS book," and he asked if I was going to cry. I said, probably not. Boy, was I wrong.

I'm a crier when it comes to books. Sometimes it's just a few tears. This time it was full on sobs. I haven't cried like that since Dobby died. And it wasn't even over someone dead; it was over a friendship that could not be made whole.

Having taken a few hours to calm down, sleep, and then discuss the series with a friend who also loved them, I have concluded that Hunger Games was the best book in the series, and that while I did enjoy them, the pacing was strange in the last two. Sometimes months would go by very quickly and without much explanation, and sometimes several chapters would span just one or two days. And a lot of events become totally chaotic in the last half of this book. Not it an I-can't-follow-this sort of way, but more like, what-is-going-on!?!?!

To me, one of the most truthful, real moments in the book is when Katniss loses her mind and thinks she can yell at dead people.

Overall, the book is worth the three days it will take you to read it.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Second SightSecond Sight by Mary Tannen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is probably the best of the Mary Tannen books I've read, but she has some quirky literary devices that I don't really enjoy. She changes the perspective within a chapter, which alone would be fine, but she'll do it without identifying the new perspective, so you have to read a few paragraphs in the new perspective before you figure out who the speaker is. Not a deal-breaker, but annoying.

Also, at the beginning of the book, she introduces a number of characters without explaining how they're related. I realize this could be clever, but she's not that good of a writer, so, again, it's just annoying.

Finally, I can't figure out the intended audience of her work. It could be that her books are a little dated, or that I've never known anyone like these characters, but I read them feeling like they're young adult, but not quite, although the library doesn't classify them as YA.

Overall, I liked this book, but it wasn't good enough for me to recommend.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pie+wine+coke+hot chocolate=dinner

And then I had pie, hot chocolate, and orange juice for breakfast.  I'm sure my insulin is going, would you please give us a break so we can get organized? But by the time I got around to dinner last night, I had simply given up, and it made no sense to un-give up this morning. 

Rather than telling you what happened in chronological order, which might make some sense, I'm going to tell you in the order that happens in my head, because that better explains why I had to give up.  And be forewarned, this is not for the feint of heart.

At about 3:30 yesterday, Captain America calls me in a fit of hysteria to tell me he's been stung by a stingray.  Which is apparently just about the most painful thing that can happen to you, aside from maybe having your face chewed off by a rabid squirrel.  I don't know.  Maybe we'll try that next.  So I ask where he is, and he says he's driving home, but that he's having a hard time concentrating.  I say, okay, pull over, I'll come get you, and he says he's in a ton of pain.  We continue this rather useless conversation for about five minutes (it was probably  more like 30 seconds, but whatever), and finally he says, I need you to look up what to do for them.  Aha!  We come to the reason he's calling.  So I do a quick google search and learn that you're supposed the soak the appendage in water as hot as you can stand, which we already knew.  So I call him back to find out if I need to cancel my facial appointment this evening, and I can hear from the frantic way he goes about explaining that he'll call me in 10 minutes that he's on the brink of making Very Bad Decisions.

I'm not sure if you know what I'm talking about, and maybe this sort of thing doesn't happen in less dramatic marriages, but my husband gets this tone where I know that panic/frenzy/endorphins/something takes over, and he's about to start making Very Bad Decisions.  So I take matters into my own hands, cancel my appointment, and come home from work...

To find my husband moaning in agony on the couch.  At least he took a bath/shower first.  And two percocets.  There's water heating on the stove and I pour it into a tub. To soak his foot.  Which looks like this:

But he said that the water was too hot, so I brought him a cup of ice, but in his impatience, he dumped all of it in, so I filled a tea pot with hot water for him, but by this time the bin was full, so we started this process all over again.  I informed Voracious T that at least we were making good use of the tea cozy she gave us.

I didn't actually take that picture, but it's the same tea cozy I have.  I'm not sure if I should be delighted or disturbed that there's more than one.
So after an hour or so of the water being too, too, too hot, I informed Captain America that he was to leave me alone for an hour so I could log back into work and any emergencies he came up with he was going to have to sort out himself.  This worked out pretty well for about 45 minutes until he decided that he couldn't handle the amount of blood in the water anymore.  I have to admit, it was totally gross.  And it smelled. 

So I bandaged up his foot, made him elevate it, dumped out the bloody water, washed the rest of the blood off of his foot, and lit a candle.  All was moving along in relative success until Captain America got up to pee.  He looked down at the bathroom floor and noticed he was bleeding all over it.  I had him sit on the toilet lid, I rebandaged his foot, I checked the carpet for blood (fortunately all of the bleeding was done in the bathroom), and sent him back to the sofa.  We decided at this point that his wound might be beyond my nursing capabilities, and while I didn't think the blood loss was going to kill him, it was a little disturbing that it was still bleeding steadily.  And it was making me truly nauseous. 

So we decided to go to the urgent care clinic.  Captain America hobbled out to the garage (I have no idea why he decided that this was the logical exit point).  He asked me to grab his sandals from the top shelf, so I picked a pair of tevas.  Those were the wrong ones.  So I dropped them on the floor and pulled down his brown flip-flops.  And probably some other shoes as well.  The top shelf is just about the limit of my arm-stretch, so there wasn't a lot I could do about the mess I was making.  And I was at the point where I didn't care anymore.  (When I'm trying to do something useful, like get you to a doctor, and you're doing something annoying, like being picky about your shoes, well, this really does nothing to improve my attitude about the situation).

We get to urgent care, which is, thankfully, not busy.  However a couple of people did manage to come in who were determined more urgent than we were, so we actually had to wait a while to see the doctor.  I suggested to Captain America that I could rip off his bandage so he'd bleed all over the place.  He seemed to think waiting was a better choice. 

Our concerns were primarily that there was still part of the barb in the wound, which we couldn't see because it wouldn't stop bleeding, that it might cause an infection, and that the bleeding wouldn't stop.  In that order.  The doctor admitted that he had never actually see a stingray barb before (I don't fault him for this), so I googled it on my phone, and this is what I found:

Last night I managed to find a cool picture with a dime as scale, but that must have dropped lower in the google rankings today. 

The doctor injected Captain America with some local anaesthetics, then washed off the foot with iodine.  Then he took a water syringe and injected iodine into the wound.  Then he injected sterile water into the wound.  Captain America was not enjoying this procedure at all, although he claimed all he could feel was the pressure. 

The doctor then stuck a metal instrument in the wound to feel around and try to determine if there was anything stuck in there.  He determined that there was not, although Captain America insisted that all of the stuff injected into the wound caused a bubble to form.  Nobody knows what he was talking about, so we all ignored him.

The doctor decided that it would be best to allow the wound to continue to flush itself, so he cut up a latex glove and created a drain that he sewed into the wound.

He told Captain America to keep taking the percocet as needed, he wrote a prescription for some antibiotics, he wrote a note for Captain America's work, he told me to change the bandage today and to bring my husband back tomorrow, and then he sent us on our way.

So then we had to go to RiteAid to fill the prescription.  Yes, Captain America had prescriptions filled there before.  No, this was not part of the worker's comp claim (when he twisted the same ankle about a month ago.  Ironically, he had been cleared by that doctor to go back to work yesterday morning, and then he decided to go kayaking and swimming (because of some stupid rule at his work that you have to take sick time to see a doctor, even if you're seeing a doctor because of a workman's comp claim, so Captain America decided to just use a whole sick day) and managed to mess up his foot again).  No, I'm not going to wait; I'm going to Taco Bell (Captain America's choice, not mine), and then I'll come back.

(Yes, I know that last paragraph is a bit of a mess.  Too bad.  I told you at the very beginning that I was giving up.)

Taco Bell does not sell milk shakes or fries.  I'm not sure how they manage to qualify as fast food without those two staples, other than the fact that they are dirt-ass cheap.  Captain America ordered two tacos and some sort of bacon-ranch-chicken-flatbread-sandwich, which I took two bites of when we got home and decided was wonderful, which really only goes to show my state of mind by the time we got home. 

Conveniently, as I walked back into RiteAid they announced that my prescription was ready.  There was no fee (because of our magically strange insurance, which I didn't have the mental capacity to tell the guy at Urgent Care, so I just paid the $23 he said we owed, and I'll deal with our insurance on that one later), but he did ask me if I wanted to join the RiteAid whatever loyalty program.  I thought: no, I want to go home and eat something, preferably chocolate or alcoholic or both, and sit on my sofa, and not have anyone ask me to do anything for a while, but what I said was no, thank you.

Around this time, I realized that I was probably PMS-ing, and that I was really hungry, and I was still a bit emotional from having just finished Catching Fire, and I was trying to hang on the the deliciousness of anticipation for a few more days before reading Mockingjay, and I must say, I'm pretty impressed with myself to have the wherewithal to realize this was probably why I was disproportionately irritated compared with what the situation actually called for.  And then I gave up.  Captain America asked if he should take just one, or two more percocets, and I said, I don't care.  Take as many as you want.  I'm done for tonight.

When we got home, we discovered two little angels left us LARGE pieces of Julian pies (thanks, P & J!), and that's when I decided that pie+wine+coke+hot chocolate=dinner.  I did run 7 miles that morning.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book took me three days to read, mostly because my reading was interrupted by having to go to work. I haven't enjoyed reading a series this much since Harry Potter came out. Although that's about as far as I'd go with comparing the series: you're reading enjoyment level will be high.

I generally don't write much about the plot in my reviews, because I always think, I'll learn about the plot from the cover and when I read the book. What I want to know from reviews is, should I read the book? And the answer is, yes!

Because I read this one (remember...I listened to Hunger Games on CD), any young-adulty stuff was less bothering. Or maybe there was just less of it in this book.

I like Collins' writing style. What I really like is that around page 250, you know there's no way you're going to get to "...and they all lived happily ever after." It's both frustrating and thrilling, because you so badly want to find out what happens next. At least I do. But then again, I become a little obsessed with books I love. And the best you get at the end of this one is "some people lived, but not before they were seriously hurt and a lot of other bad things happened."

I can't wait to read Mockingjay!

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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Tub People's ChristmasThe Tub People's Christmas by Pam Conrad

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is another children's book recommended to me by my mother. Usually she does a good job in picking out books, and I think she liked this one because the Tub People reminded her of the Peeps that my sister and I used to play with when we were little.

I also thought I've read other works by Pam Conrad, but when I searched her, nothing rang a bell.

I read this book to Captain America, and we got about 8 pages into it and we both agreed it was just about the stupidest children's book we've ever read. We finished it (I mean, really, it's all of about 30 pages, including illustrations), but it was just terrible. And the first and last page had a random picutre of an angle, that had nothing to do with the story.

If you're looking for a Christmas children's book to read your kids/nieces/nephews, this isn't it.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have so many things to say about this book. Someone must have recommended it to me, or it must have been references in something I read that made it sound interesting, because when I picked up the book and read the blurb on the back cover, I thought: why would anyone read that!

This is what the back cover said: Jane Eyre is the story if its title character, a poor orphaned girl who comes to live with her aunt where she endures poor treatment from her aunt and cousins. Jane subsequently ships off to Lowood, a Christian boarding school where she endures more horrible conditions. After some time, life becomes more bearable at Lowood for Jane and she eventually finishes her coursework and spends a period of time as a teacher at the school. After leaving Lowood she comes into the employment of Mr. Rochester as a governess at Thornfield Hall. Jane Eyre is the story of one woman's struggle to overcome adversity and a classic love story.

It sounds depressing and boring, right? But it wasn't that bad. It was rather melodramatic. It was also hard for me to be sympathetic to this female character who just sort of accepts things the way they are, and almost revels in knowing that her station in life is rather low and who has no expectation or desire, really, to rise above it.

For those of you living in the dark (haha, good pun), we in San Diego had a massive power outage on Thursday. I figured I'd try reading by candlelight. People did it for a few hundred years, right? What a pain in the neck that is! Candlelight goes up, but you need the light to come down. It was a rather ridiculous balancing act between finding the right angle of the candle to light the page and the right angle of the page to not create a glare. And then there was the whole bit with the hot wax. I'm not sure how Shakespeare got any writing at all done if this is what he had to work with!

And one other thing: Why didn't Charlotte Bronte ever write the full name of the town/city/whatever?  Why was everything in ----shire?  Like we don't know this is a work of fiction!

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

August's Resolutions

I know you all have been waiting with bated breath (while debating the spelling of "bated" I came across this article) to find out how my August resolutions turned out.  I did very well, with a 50% success rate.  I exercised and flossed 21 times each, and I read every day but one.  I only worked on arts and crafts 6 times, but I did manage to finish one project.  Sadly, I didn't spend any time working on my novel, although based on a dream, a new novel idea came to me (am I allowed to use both "new" and "novel" in the same sentence like that?).  We'll see how that idea pans out.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog (Amelia Peabody #7)The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog by Elizabeth Peters

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I always find that the first hundred pages or so are the hardest to get through, and after that the Amelia Peabody books are rather amusing.

In this book, Peabody and Emerson return to Egypt to hide some artifacts they discovered in their previous adventure, only to "discover" them again. Before you start thinking how un-Peabody/Emerson this sounds, you have to know that in their previous adventure, they swore not to mention where they had been. So they can't very well turn up with artifacts that indicate they've been somewhere they have to claim doesn't exist.

So the plan is to hide them in a probably location, claim they found them this season, and then send them of to a museum, or whatever. But of course, plans go awry and the Peabody-Emerson party is randomly (or not so randomly) attacked, etc.

This is all fine, but Peters never returns to the issue of the artifacts at all. So, presumably they're still in Peabody's possession, but it really is an incomplete plot thread.

This book was entertaining, but not as well written as other Amelia Peabody adventures.

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