The Stuff Headaches are Made Of

There I was reclining happily in bed with my Darth Vader-masked spouse by my side and my trusty canine at my feet.  Life was good.  I was soaking up the latest Kellerman mystery, when I came upon a word that surprised me.  The author said something like this…”the apartment complex was shaped like a rhombus.”  I nudged the masked wonder next to me in the ribs and pointed to the word “rhombus” on my Kindle and said to him, “Huh?  What’s that?”  Devoted Spouse responded, “It’s a geometric shape.”  I said, “Hmmm, I thought it was a monkey.”  “No,” Devoted Spouse replied, “that’s a rhesus.”  “No, I said, “that’s a peanut butter/chocolate candy.”  This went on for awhile.  He put his CPAP mask back on and I was on my own again.

I used the little pointer thingy on my Kindle to space down to the word “rhombus” and the definition was “parallelogram.”  Well, now we’re talking.  I remember from 10th grade Geometry what a parallelogram is.  I read on.  I went back to the word “rhombus.”  I stopped reading and imagined in my odd little head a building shaped like a parallelogram.  It made no sense.  I leaned over the masked man and waving my arms to get his attention, I yelled, “This makes no sense!”  He un-masked and rolled his eyes.  I told him I understood a parallelogram.  “So a rhombus is a type of parallelogram?” I asked.  “I still don’t really get this.”   He got out of bed, walked around to my side, reached into the nightstand, got out paper and pen, and proceeded to draw a parallelogram for me.  “Aha!” I proclaimed.  “There’s no way on God’s green earth that an apartment building would look like that…it would fall over on itself.  What a stupid description!”

I returned to my reading knowing full well the apartment building in question looked exactly as I pictured it in my mind and not as the author described it.  Devoted Spouse masked up again, EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer put her head back down, and life was good…sigh…

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Book Title Meme

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My friend Sandy from It’s A Jungle Out There coaxed me into trying a Book Title Meme.  Sounded intriguing.  Here are her rules:

Using only books you have read this year (2009) answer the following questions.  Try not to repeat a book title.  It’s a lot harder than you think! (Actually, Sandy, it wasn’t hard at all — it was a blast!!)  So here are the questions with my “book title” answers.  I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed answering these questions!  And yes, every answer comes from a book on my 2009 Books Read page.

Describe yourself:  Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson

How do you feel?  Desolate Angel by Chaz McGee

Describe where you currently live:  The Winds of Dune by  Brian Herbert

If you could go anywhere where would you go?  Haunting Jordan by P. J. Alderman

Your favorite form of transportation:  The Web by Jonathan Kellerman

Your best friend is:  A Killer Stitch by Maggie Sefton

You and your friends are:  Old Friends from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg

What’s the weather like: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

You fear:  A Year of  the Flood by Margaret Atwood

What is the best advice you have to give?  Cut and Run by Ridley Pearson

Thought for the day:  Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett

How I would like to die:  Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg

My soul’s present condition:  Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright

That’s it!  I did it!  Now you give it a try – use the books you’ve read this year to answer the questions then link back to me here.  Have fun!



Mama Taught Me to be Nice Even if I Want to Smack Someone

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from LOLcats

I spent a good part of my Labor Day laboring away at my schoolwork.  I couldn’t have chosen an easy Masters Program like a Master of Arts in Needle Threading or a Master of Science in Dog Behavior; no, I had to go the Theological route and this program contains a very complicated number of courses that one simply cannot breeze through.  It takes research, and with my tendency toward ADD, I will read something in a text which references a passage in Scripture and then I’m off to my bible to look that up and then I don’t understand it and I’m online looking up something else and that reference sends me to another resource book I may have on my shelf and this routine can go on and on and on and I end up only reading one or two pages of a text in the course of a hour.  Whew – it’s exhausting following all the branches on this tree of knowledge upon which I’m perched. (Ooooh I liked that sentence.)   Now, part of this education involves my having to find resource material in the form of tons of reference material and other books — books that cost alot of money — money that I don’t have because I quit my job 2 years ago when I was making mega-bucks as an overpaid defense contractor and am now anxiously awaiting returning to some type of work as my retirement fund is beginning to resemble the polar bear population (as in rapidly dwindling). Again, here goes my ADD acting up and I’m starting to get off subject.

Which (though that was a rather wordy intro), leads me to today’s subject:  bookstores.  My 6 faithful readers know I am an aficionado of Amazon.com – in fact I had a little tiff with them recently over a returned book and the fact they took a hefty deduction out of my refund for only-they-knew-what reasons – as I explained just how much money I give them on a regular basis and the access to Twitter I had where I would quickly tell the world how they were treating me unfairly and that it might possibly show up in my blog, lo and behold, I got not only the refunded deduction, I got the entire book refunded (and it was admittedly my fault for ordering 2 instead of 1 which I explained to them).  That put Amazon.com back on my good list of bookstores.  I like them because I can order source and reference material for school (which, being of a religious nature is sometimes difficult to find).  I also like Barnes & Noble (or Barnes & Nibble as Devoted Spouse calls them because we frequently stop for a coffee and a little scone after browsing) and Borders – but both of them are expensive even with frequent buyer discounts.  Anyway…

We have always had a Half-Price Bookstore in the Dayton area.  But recently the store moved a little closer to me in my very own suburb of Beavercreek.  This location is much larger, hence more books to peruse and yes they are half price.  The only problem is you take your chances on finding the book you want — they may have it; they may not.  I used to go to the old location and it was never overly crowded so I could take my time perusing the Religion section for texts and references and, of course, the mystery section for all my favorite mystery writers.

I went to the new location twice over this holiday weekend and twice I thought I might lose a limb.  There were so many people that they actually shoved one another to get to books.  What is this?  I know the economy is bad, but c’mon it’s just a book!  Today I loaded up some of my own books and sold them there and got enough money back to buy 3 new religious source books for my upcoming research paper.  Yay me.  The problem was I had to ask 3 gentlemen to move out of the aisle of books I was searching through — they weren’t looking at books; they were just hanging out in one of the Religion alcoves jabbering on about one author versus another, but not actually looking at the books and I was on a mission.  You would have thought I asked them to move a tractor trailer with their bare hands – it was that big a deal.  I politely asked that if they weren’t actively searching for books, to please take their conversation to another part of the store because it was entirely too crowded and I really was looking for a specific book.  Was I wrong?  I don’t think so.  One guy shot me such a look – had I not been in the Religion section I would have gone up one side of him and down the other but I simply smiled and said “Please”?  They started to leave, but I heard one of them call me a name on his way out the alcove and I found that upsetting.  No, what I found upsetting was my instant reaction to go after him and smack the crap out of him, but I remembered I was looking for Christian material and I was going to be Christian about it and turn the other cheek.  And I did.  As he was leaving that particular book area, I moved a little and showed him my cheek(s). I saw him on the sidewalk on my way out of the store – in fact, he tripped over the curb and as I walked past him I might have casually remarked quietly,  “God doesn’t like ugly.”

From the Womb to the Reading Room…or Did She Really Ask Me That Question??

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I have a stepgrandson who is 15 months old.  Awwwww.  I have never seen the little guy due to the fact that the parents live across the country and I have had varying health issues which have stopped me from traveling.  His grandfather, Devoted Spouse visited him when he was a baby and also gets to go visit next week.  Darnitall – I want to go, too.  Sigh.

Instead of my being there, little Chase will simply have to have his Grandfather read to him from one of the books I choose to send — oh goody a trip to Barnes and Noble is in order.

Off to Barnes and Noble I toddle, waddle, limp, whatever.  I wander back to the Children’s Section and immediately I am in sensory overload.  It’s big.  It’s full of books of all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.  It is broken down by age and type of material.  There were little pink things, and dinosaurs, and superheros.  I just stood there in the 0-3 section looking at whatever would attract his attention — preferably something with lots of colors he could giggle at while his Grandpa read this silly little book to him.

I must have looked terribly out of my element because a young woman came up to me and asked, “Do you need some help?”  I smiled back at her and admitted that I was trying to find something for my 15-month old grandson and I didn’t know what to pick.  She then said to me “What does he like to read?”  Let me repeat that for you so it sinks in fully.  “What does he like to read?”  He’s FIFTEEN MONTHS old; I dunno, maybe War and Peace with fulll color pictures?  Do you have the latest Stephen King available in the 0-3 age range perhaps?  Or how about a good mystery – I’m sure that would keep him firmly in his little seat until his next diaper dump.

I thanked her and said that perhaps I should just wander around until something caught my eye and she walked away.   I actually settled on a bound series of Golden Books with about 5 different stories and a lovely (although it’s too old for him yet) book of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit series (his grandfather and I both loved those stories as children).

Sometimes it’s not the clowns or the spiders that scare me — it’s the “normal” people I encounter.

Read What You Want and Enjoy the Experience

A couple of days ago while blog surfing I came across a blog about books and reading. Since reading is my favorite hobby, I took a peek at what this fellow had to say. Partway through his blog I about swallowed my tongue. His main theme on books and reading was that we should only read those books which will educate us and provide brain sustenance. Anything else to him was wasting valuable life time. Huh? I scrolled down a bit and sure enough he had some reading suggestions — poetry, nonfiction, educational stuff. Not a mystery or a steamy vampire story, or a Stephanie Plum caper to be found. Nothing spiritually uplifting. No humor at all. How boring, I thought to myself. Reading is not just about learning; it’s about immersing yourself in another world and letting your imagination get the better of your daily reality for awhile.

Now, I’m not saying poetry isn’t a good reading choice; and I like nonfiction books as much as the next guy. But to sit down away from the craziness of the day and devour a few hundred pages of who-done-it can be a lovely way to spend a few hours. Who cares if you retain all the information? I have hundreds of books on my shelves and half the fun is re-reading them! I agree one should stretch the reading limit and try something new and different occasionally. But this man actually called fiction books mindless and he had some harsh words for those who read them.

Reading for pleasure; Devoted Spouse and I love to recline on our respective couches and while away a rainy afternoon with our noses in books. I think I’ll pick up a novel right now…

War and Peace Part Deux

Here’s an update on how I’m doing on my War and Peace reading…I’m on page 10.  That’s right; page 10.  I’ve read 10 whole pages since 10 December.  Of course, during that same time period I’ve also read 8 other books, paged through 23 magazines, celebrated Christmas and my birthday, renewed 2 magazine subscriptions, had a pedicure, dyed my hair back to red again, cleaned out my closet, consumed several pizzas, learned to crochet, watched re-runs of How I Met Your Mother, went to the movies (the new Nicolas Cage National Treasure film), mourned the break-up of Hulk Hogan’s marriage, visited both my doctor and my dentist, decided I’d rather knit than crochet, taken at least 3 political polls by phone, and finished a crossword puzzle book.  It’s a good thing the fate of the free world does not rely on my speed-reading War and Peace.  I’ll keep you posted.