tidbits…

*So much Dmitri loving going on around here. It’s been a joy seeing the various bits of his personality emerge as the days go by. Affectionate. Independent. Silly. Needy. Aloof. A study in contradictions. What cat isn’t.

*Frustration. Lots of that lately. With lots of things: flare that won’t end, getting further behind by the day with school, inability to get everything organized, the slow pace of gift making. Thing is though, I’m proud of myself. Yes, the frustration is there, but I’m not letting it overwhelm me.

*The search for a dog to fit into our family has begun. I still miss Bacon more than I can say. So many times I have to stop myself from calling him when a bit food falls on the floor, so many times I imagine the sound of this tags jingling, so many times I see that sweet beagle face in my mind and I just can’t stop the tears from welling. He wasn’t there singing “Happy Birthday” with us for Rich’s birthday or for Max’s birthday…and it sounded so wrong without him howling along. Christmas will never be the same; Bacon had more Christmas joy than any person I’ve ever known. No one wants another dog to take his place. Which is good, because no other dog ever could. But I think we’ve reached the point where we’re ready to welcome a new personality into our home. A dog to make her/his own place in our family.

*Enjoying autumn. Finally. (Summer weather both arrived a month early and departed a month late this year.) And it’s been a very mild autumn for the most part thus far. (Though maybe snow this weekend–trying not to get my hopes up.) Anyway, enjoying the goodness of the season, yes indeed. Oh how I love all the seasons. The reds, the oranges, the yellows–all my favorite colors. The pumpkin, pumpkin, everywhere–pumpkin waffles, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin snack cake. All the creepy, mysterious, unsettling reads. Oooh, and a new discovery–Tim Hortons’ hot caramel apple cider. Heavenly.

*Flapjack, Flapjack, Flapjack. I can’t help but feel amazed on a daily basis over what a large chunk of my heart you have taken. How did I ever survive the first 51 years of my life without a sweet guinea pig like you in it?!!

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*Tomorrow is Dewey’s Readathon. As I started to type those words, I got lost in a million thoughts. Yes, there is still a very real feeling that my heart is being crushed because I miss her so very much. But there is so much happiness in my memories. And so much gratitude for all the things I encounter throughout my days that remind me so powerfully of Dewey. I sometimes envy those who believe in an afterlife, and maybe it’s the fact that I don’t that makes me so profoundly comforted by and thankful for every piece of her that lives in my memories. And, I’m not sure how to put this into words, but I’m comforted also by the fact that all the other people who where lucky enough to know her carry around their own memories, and across this world there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of different memories of her living in hearts and minds of people. I don’t know if that’s weird or overly sentimental, but I know it helps me to know that.

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in the reading room: more RIP, Dewey’s Read-a-thon, FrightFall, and #15in31

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SalemslothardcoverLast weekend, I asserted that I didn’t care much for vampire stories. So why did I choose to read ‘Salem’s Lot? It was a combination of little reasons, I suppose. After finishing up The Sharing Knife series, I wanted a new audiobook to listen to during the many hours it took me to paint Max’s room. And I was sort of in the mood for a Stephen King book. And I do have that reading challenge going with myself to read/reread all of his fictional works. And Scribd had this one available. (I listened to slightly more than half of it before quitting Scribd. The library didn’t have it in audio, so I finished it reading my print copy.)

Anyway. I read this oh-so-many years ago. Like in high school. So yeah, 35-ish years back. And back then, I loved it. This go round, well, not so much. Yep, disappointing.

King’s books tend to have things that I find problematic in them. But I usually find so much that I love about his books that I can enjoy them in spite of problems. I generally find his stories quite interesting, often downright gripping. But even more than that, what makes me love his works so much are his characters. He makes characters come to life so damn well. I usually feel like I know these people. Some I love, some I hate…but I always feel something. And that’s where I feel let down this time. I just didn’t connect with anyone, accept possibly Matt Burke. And maybe Jimmy Cody. Oh yeah, there were people that I didn’t like, but they felt a little flat. And it’s not that I disliked the main characters, but I just didn’t feel like I got to know them well enough to really care all that much.

And frankly, an okay story with okay characters just didn’t do enough to make me put those problematic issues in the background. Unkind ways of referring to fat people, certain sexist elements, a mention of rape that felt inappropriate (not really in a dismissive way, but more in a I-don’t-think-you-truly-understand-what-it’s-like way) and others that weren’t quite gratuitous but came close to being so. So yeah, this reread wasn’t an awesome one for me. But at least I get to cross it off my list…so that’s something…I guess..

parasiteI had much better luck with Parasite by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire). Much better, as in I loved this book! This is my favorite kind of sci-fi. The medical sort. And there was definitely enough creepiness, enough unsettledness, to make me feel this is RIP-appropriate. Heck, the character of Tansy alone is enough to make it RIP-ish! 😛  So yep, we’ve got unsettling medical “breakthroughs,” and some intriguing, slightly off characters, and sweet dogs, and some characters that you’d like smack their smugness right off their faces, and science, and that overall feeling that you just don’t know who the hell to trust. I’m not sure if what’s revealed at the end of this book is meant to come as a surprise, but I tend to think not. Anyway, I am eager as all get out to start the second in the series, Symbiont. 

I listened to this as an audiobook; audiobooks have suddenly become my new best friends. It’s hard to believe that just a few months back I never listened to them…and now I always have at least one going.

death atAnd finally, there was Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn. Another audiobook. Eva had mentioned the series on Instagram just when I was needing a new audiobook. I figured if she was enjoying them, I would too. And a cozy mystery sounded perfect for my addled brain.

And yep, I did enjoy it. Quite a bit actually. I adored Daisy Dalrymple. Independent, extremely kind, ambitious, intelligent. She didn’t completely abandon the “rules” of upper class life, but she didn’t feel the need to judge people on ridiculous notions of what’s proper.

I was a bit annoyed with the events at the end of the book, but then was made less so when it was acknowledged that such a “solution” was a privilege only someone in the upper classes could have gotten away with. So yeah, I do think I’ll be giving the next one in the series a go.

And hooray for me! I actually completed Peril the First! In fact, these are books 3, 4, and 5. And four was the goal.

*****

deweysIt’s almost time for Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon again. October 17th, to be exact. I’ve come to the conclusion after all these years that this will always be bittersweet. It can never be anything but. Sadness and joy. It is what it is. I will never, ever not miss you, Dewey.

*****

frightfall2015button_zpspqsxncayI think I’m going to leisurely participate in another readathon during the month of October as well, the Fright Fall Readathon. It’s one of those more laid-back weeklong sort of readathons, and it runs from the 5th through the 11th. It does have the requirement that you read one scary sort of book as one of your reads, but that’s not a hard rule to follow, considering we’re smack in the middle of RIP.

*****

15in31I also signed up for Andi’s #15in31. I tried to resist, really. Largely because I know I’ll fail. But what the hell, huh? Knowing I’ll fail is a horribly lousy reason to forgo trying. So yep, 15 books in 31 days.

October, you’re going to be awesome!

these days around here…

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…loving having a new family member…loving how completely he’s made himself at home…loving his sweet, affectionate personality…not loving that he feels the need to wake me up several times every night to pet him (dude–my sleep problems are epic even without your demands for attention!)…

…listening to “Don’t Fear the Reaper” on repeat…happens every October…who the hell am I kidding–it happens other times of year too…also in heavy rotation at the moment are “Conversation 16” and “Cold October”…what can I say–I’m a creature of habit…

…enjoying the colors of autumn…not to mention the cooler temperatures…and atmospheric skies…and shorter hours of daylight…

…attempting to keep the overwhelmed and panicked feelings in check…what gets done gets done and what doesn’t doesn’t…and fibro fog will lift and that will help immensely…

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…reading too many books at once, some more diligently than others…as usual…oh, and there’s The Twelve by Justin Cronin on audiobook…yep, forever my own worst enemy…

…anticipating Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon…and a possible girls weekend if the guys take their camping trip (though Annie will probably have to work most of it)…hearing all about Ana’s latest adventures…fall baking…return of The Walking Dead…and more immediately, my second cup of coffee…

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…feeling relieved that Max’s science project is done…he and his partner spent 12 hours over the past week at our house working on it…almost $50 spent between the two families…total of 4 trips to the hardware store…they had 1 1/2 weeks to come up with a project, do their research, design an experiment, perform that experiment, analyze their data, and put together a presentation…

…thinking that it would be an awesome weekend for Rich to make chili…and me to make pumpkin snack cake…