Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ramble On

Ramble On - Led Zeppelin - YouTube from Robert Tischner on Vimeo.

And so I shall ramble, mentally if not physically…

First, current events. It is one thing to be snowed in. It is another to be bullied by high winds and wind chills creeping below zero. And, quite another to be sick on top of it all. How can you enjoy the enforced hibernation? You can’t. Reading and knitting become wearisome. And when that happens, the world seems bleak indeed. Mum has been sick for two weeks and was finally diagnosed with pneumonia on top of her flu. I’ve only been seriously beginning to suffer with sinus congestion in the last two days. Mum has survived on graham crackers and Nutella for the past week, and things looked pretty scary when we were seeing the bottom of the jar, but family came to the rescue. (I highly recommend the pairing. Far better than peanut butter and crackers. The cocoa in the Nutella lets you think you really getting away with something naughty. If I remember correctly, Nutella has less fat and less sodium than most peanut butter. Peanut butter has it beat on protein and less carbs, so I still say a PB and honey sandwich as a post-workout recovery snack can’t be beat.)

Insomnia hit me last night, probably because I made the mistake of taking a dose of liquid NyQuil Cold & Flu. I totally forgot that it contains 10% alcohol. I haven’t had any alcohol in the past two years and four months. I took advantage of being awake in the quiet house (I’ve begun to call it the “sick house”) to work on my To Be Read (TBR) list. I use Goodreads to track my reading and to search for new books, but I do not own a smart phone (I lovingly refer to mine as a “dumb phone”). This complicates matters when browsing in bookstores or the library. My TBR on Goodreads is 430 titles long, and that’s after I made some edits and doesn’t include the possibility of reading more than the first in any of the series that are included. I remember some of the books, but not authors. I created a little black notebook with tabs to allow me to roughly alphabetize the TBR for ease of use. I then searched online library catalogs for local library systems and placed color-coded dots by the titles: blue for those in my county’s system, red for those in a neighboring county’s collection. Yes. That’s how I roll. Once a librarian, always a librarian. (I really love my new notebook!)

If you are a reader who also loves creating book lists, I highly recommend BookRiot. Sign up for their email newsletter, like them on Facebook, and get lots of great reviews, podcasts, videos, and access to related discussions. Another great resource I’ve found for geekdom, from comic books to novels, gaming to new technology, movie reviews to sophisticated social criticism, is The Mary Sue. Its subtitle is “The Nexus of Pop Culture and the Uncharted Universe,” but it also has a distinct slant towards digging into racial and sexual / gender issues. The discussions on the site are lively, witty, and pretty troll-free, which is very refreshing.

I’m currently reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch and I’m about half way through Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I just finished Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd. That was such a good book for writing nonfiction that I plan on purchasing my own paper copy. I read an electronic copy through the library.

My reading goal this year is not to out-read last year’s quantity, but to read more slowly and thoughtfully. I plan on rereading some books, taking notes on them, in them, maybe even begin a reading journal. I’m definitely in the mood to read more nonfiction. Part of this approach is for the purpose of analyzing how nonfiction writers have structured their works, how they’ve researched topics, how they went about making facts readable and interesting to a lay audience. I hope to begin writing essays and feature pieces to publish here. Some of my favorite bloggers do this: Kate Davies, who has a background in academia but now is a knitwear designer and studies textile history; Felicity Ford, an artist and author who thinks well beyond the box; and Annie Cholewa, a writer, knitter, dyer, and photographer. These women creators use their blogs as a platform for sharing essays and “features” on specific things or individuals that interest and inspire them.

Basically, I intend to add substantial content and writing to my blog. I would love to interview and feature Julie Wilson of Jehovah Raah Farm. Wilson is the dear soul who taught mum and I to spin our first yarn from Shetland wool grown on her own farm. There is also a place nearby called Echoview Farm and Fiber Mill that I’d love to explore.

I’m not finished with my thoughts, but if I don’t publish this now, it will languish on my desktop and gather cyber dust. Then it will be outdated and I’ll delete it in frustration. So now I hit publish!

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