Open doors by alexandral


sparky77 inspired me to actually post something. I think about posting every day, but somehow it never happens. This is easing back into the LJ waters.

Rules: List ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I think I was 12 when I first read this, and I say "first" because this was an annual reread for many, many years after. I loved Jo; she was bright, adventurous, ungainly, funny, always putting her foot in her mouth, and a tomboy, as we used to say back then. How could I not love her? She was me.

Gentlemen's Agreement by Laura Z. Hobson. I read this as a teenager, and it forever changed my perception of … well, a few things. The book was written not long after WWII, and the story concerns anti-Semitism in America, but really it's about any type of prejudice and how that prejudice is enabled by nice people who disapprove but remain silent and how bigotry is more sublte than confrontational. It was my first real understanding of "silence equals consent." (It was also a multiple-award winning movie starring Gregory Peck, John Garfield, Celeste Holme, and a pre-teen Dean Stockwell, who won a special Golden Globe for his performance.)

Lord of the Rings It was a phenomenon among the nerd and pre-hippie crowd when I was in high school. I adored everything about it, as did all of my friends. There had been nothing like it before in our literary lives, and it fired our imaginations and fueled our desire for pure adventure and the intense camaraderie that brought with it.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. He was a member of a climbing team ascending Everest when a deadly storm struck almost without notice. Many climbers died during that storm; he was one of the survivors. He was also a well-known sport/adventure writer, so his memoir about that particular climb is absolutely harrowing and opened up an ongoing fascination with Everest and the mythos/industry/reality surrounding those who ascend to the peak.

Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I can't pick just one story. I can't. I also can't believe that it took me so long to actually get started reading Pratchett, despite the urging (nagging) of so many of you. Now it's the one imaginary world that I wish I could visit. If I ever have a billion dollars, I swear to the gods - big and small - that I will create a Disc World theme park that will blow Disney and his happy fairy tale park out of the cosmos.

Dispatches by Michael Herr. He was a war correspondent for Esquire when he covered the Viet Nam war. It was termed rock'n'roll journalism, gonzo journalism, and it's still considered one of the best non-fiction books ever written about war and the grunts who fight it. Devastating, exhilerating, wildly funny at times, heart breaking at others. Some of the people Herr wrote about ended up as composite characters in both Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. It's also a paean to the war correspondents and war photographers who covered Viet Nam and had a love/hate relationship with the danger and the Romance that went with it. Must read.

Beautiful Joe by (Margaret) Marshall Saunders. I read this as a pre-teen, and it's never left me. It's the story of a horribly abused dog rescued by a large and kind family, and it's written as an autobiography from Joe's viewpoint. I just discovered on Wikipedia that it's based on a true story that took place not far from me here in Ontario, and there's a memorial park and museum to honor Beautiful Joe. I know my next road trip!

Twisted Tales from Shakespeare by Richard Armour. One of the funniest books I have ever read. Armour was a poet and Shakespeare scholar who turned out to be wicked funny. The "twisted tales" are short pseudo-scholarly essays on about 10 of Shakespeare's most famous plays - complete with footnotes. I'm laughing just thinking about this book. If you love word play and an affectionate skewering of the Bard, I highly recommend it. ("Would you name your child Peaseblossom, Mustardseed, or Cobweb? Would you really?") ("Hamlet stabs Polonius through the arras.")

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. So dark and so unforgettable. I keep rereading it trying to understand why anyone would fight to survive in such a world. I think the father is selfish rather than inspiring, and I'm a bit of masochist for rereading in the vain hope of suddenly discovering some spark of light in his survive-at-all-costs philosophy.

Trixie Belden by Julie Campbell. This is a series of books about a teenage girl and her friends & brothers who stumble onto mysteries. It was the alternative to the Nancy Drew series, and it was the one I was much more in tune with. Trixie had to do chores around the house, babysit her younger brother, do homework, all the stuff I had to do. They lived in a wooded area of the Hudson Valley and the woods were their playground; I grew up at the base of Rattlesnake Mountain, played mostly with boys (there were very few girls in my neighborhood and they preferred dolls), and we spent most of our free time tramping around the woods. I loved Trixie. Still do.
Oh crap by Lee

The Walking Dead finale

Because you can't do spoiler cuts on freakin' FaceBook. I'm just going to paste something I wrote to my brother earlier. He thought the Rick/Joe ending was unrealistic. So my response follows. Feel free to jump in and comment. And I hope I do this right. It's been years since I've done a cut.

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Come again? by Lee

A meme seems nice and safe.

Ganked from sffan.

A - Age: 64
B - Birthday: May
C - Crush: Captain America, Black Widow
D - Do you dance?: Oh, yes.
E - Easiest person to talk to: Myself (Seriously, I talk to myself a lot.)
F - Favourite colour(s): gray, red, lavender
G - Glitter or neon: Neon - blue, red, and purple
H - Hair colour: Ash brown with gray
I - Ice Cream: I stick to frozen yogurt these days, but yes. Love it.
J - Job: Cat wrangler, alpaca products purveyor
K - Kickboxing or Karate: Kickboxing, although either is laughable
L - Los Angeles is: someplace I've never wanted to visit
M - Movie: Well, I just cried at my 112th viewing of Field of Dreams, so that one. Today.
N - Number of Siblings: One younger brother
O - One Phobia: Drowning. Although that's more of a reasonable fear than a phobia.
P - Part of your personality?: Curiosity
Q – Quote: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Followed closely by "The day ain't fucking over yet."
R - Reason to smile: My cats never fail to deliver.
S - Season: Fall. I love everything about it.
T - Time for bed: Anywhere between 10PM and midnight. On nights before I work at the market: 8:30PM
U - U love someone?: Yes. Yes, I do.
V - Vegetable you hate: Loose leaf lettuce of any variety.
W - Worst Habits: Non sequiturs. Drives Dar crazy.
Y - Year you were born: 1949
Z - Zoo Animal: Meerkats
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Open doors by alexandral

Oh, what the hell. I'm already logged in.

Tons of things have happened - some good, some bad. We're still all upright, so that's a good thing.

We finally turned in my old 2002 Mazda (at almost 210,000 miles) and bought a 2006 Mazda with about 100,000 miles on it. Let's see how far we can take this one. We are a very high mileage family, but living in a rural area means you have drive pretty far to get to most of the things you need.

The alpacas are still being goofy. We've had three new crias this year: one girl and two boys. All adorable, of course.

There's a new boy cat in the family, too. He's another abandoned kitty - a gorgeous orange guy with a white bib. He loves people and craves affection, but we can't bring him inside because Grace (who was abandoned on our doorstep last year) goes completely ballistic whenever she lays eyes on him - or even smells him on our clothes. So Monty (the orange boy) lives out in the girls' shed. Miraculously they all get along. If anything, the alpacas annoy him more than the other way around. We need to get him a nice warm shelter and soon because the shed is drafty and winter is rolling up on us. We're expecting snow showers later this week.

Our booth at the market is doing well. We're getting repeat customers and people who are tracking us down because they heard about our alpaca products. Dar has become an expert at dyeing. She does amazing things with alpaca and silk. And our friend from Toronto with the curly black hair (I can't remember her LJ name!) turns out to be this master knitter and designer who's come up with several beautiful and unique patterns which we're marketing for her. I'm still mostly the gopher in the group, but I want to start trying my hand at dyeing silk. I'm pretty good at the sales end, and I can talk about knitting without actually being able to do more than knit/perl. Mostly I just love the feel of our yarns.

That's the briefest of updates. I need to ease my way back into this. It's just that it's been so long, and so much has happened that there's just too much to say in one post.
Open doors by alexandral

OMG a Meme!

Via brighty18:

You Are 60% Open Minded

You are a very open minded person, but you're also well grounded.

Tolerant and flexible, you appreciate most lifestyles and viewpoints.

But you also know where you stand firm, and you can draw that line.

You're open to considering every possibility - but in the end, you stand true to yourself.

Yeah, I'd say that's pretty accurate. Interesting quiz.
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Yes by dignity20

Game of Thrones: Very exciting plot theory for end of S3!

I stumbled across this earlier today; I think it was in a companion article to the GoT review in The Atlantic. This is so exciting, and it's killing me not to be able to talk with anyone about it! It's conjecture, of course, but it's also spoilery as hell if you haven't read the books. It's about Talisa, Robb Stark's wife and queen. The author of this theory has made a six minute video to underscore his theory, and it's kind of brilliant. The video and my reaction are going behind cut tags.

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So what do you think?
Hippos of the mind by iconsbycurtanna

Look! A question meme!

I was tagged by brighty18 a few days. I finally have the chance to answer, so here goes. And also? It has been forever since I've used LJ tags; I see that they've changed a lot of things, so apologies ahead of time if this goes all fubar.

1. Always Post the Rules
2. Answer the questions the person tagged you and write 11 new ones
3. Tag 11 new people and link them to the post
4. Let them know you tagged them

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I don't think that there are eleven people left who read my journal, so here's the deal: If you'd like to answer these questions, too, please do; I'd love to read your answers.
Oh crap by Lee

What they don't tell you about aging.

Since I am older than just about anyone else I know these days (older cousins excluded), let me pass on a few things.

1) Your night vision goes straight to hell. I used to get very exasperated driving behind older people at night as they poked along. Payback is a bitch, guys. When it first started to happen to me, I kept wiping my eyes because it seemed like I was looking through dark gauze. Nah, just aging eyes. It's actually easier to drive in the country than in the city. Well, as long as no one is tailgating me. In the city the lights can be very distracting. In the country it's just you and your headlights. And oncoming traffic. And the guy behind you. But it's still easier than the city. Of course in bad weather it's all bad. You have been warned advised.

2) Your joints. Kiss them good-bye. Now admittedly mine are much worse than yours are most likely going to be thanks to lupus and whatnot, but even before that hit it was Creak-o-rama. As it was with my friends. It was pretty funny when we'd get together and the joint would be popping. So to speak.

3) You lose the padding on your feet. Really. Probably later than I did, again thanks to autoimmune diseases, but it does happen. For the past two years I was experiencing a lot of pain when I went barefoot and incredible pain even in socks if I stepped on something innocuous like a cord or something. I felt like I was walking on the bones of my feet. And it turns out that I was! Validation is good even when it's weird. I had no idea that it was also going to be a part of the aging process. Probably not until the 70s for the rest of you.

4) You still get freaking hot flashes. Females, anyway. Now part of that, again, is lupus doing its demonic thing with my body's ability to regulate my body temp, but even before that - yup, hot flashes. Not as frequent or as intense as during perimenopause, but they're still hanging on.

5) Skin. It's actually kind of fascinating how the elasticity and the texture of your skin changes over time. I don't think it's a bad thing at all, but it's a definite change. I honestly love how my hands look now with all of the creases and lines: It's like they're made from fine crepe. I don't know how to say this tactfully because I don't want it to sound mean, but I'm truly disappointed that I won't be around to see all of your tattoos in another 30 or 40 years. I wonder how they'll transform?

6) This last is mostly for me, but maybe some of you have had surgical work done. I had major surgery done on my jaw and mouth back in 1989. I have pins in my jaw and a metal plate in my chin; my jaw was moved back, the top of my palate was sliced and repositioned. It was a big deal. It was also 24 years ago. My bones have shrunk; the hardware is old. My jaw pretty much has a life of its own now. That thought that aging was going to affect the surgical changes decades down the road was never brought up. I'm not sure it was even considered.

7) Your aging body changes. You shrink. I didn't want to believe it, either! I remember talking with cousin Barbara about four years ago, laughing together as she told me how outraged she was to find out that she shrunk 1 1/2 inches. She yelled at her doctor :) "That can't be right! I'm very active. I eat right. I take care of my health!" Heh. And now it's my turn. I'm an inch shorter than I was a few years ago. Of all the changes that come with aging, this is the one that really bites me. Crazy, but there it is.

And now, since our power came back just a while ago (Yes! Yes! Yes!) I'm going to have something not microwaved to eat, and then I'm going to settle in for Game of Thrones. Life is good.
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Hippos of the mind by iconsbycurtanna

I have no idea what this post is going to be about

Seriously, I'm dealing with massive fatigue and an allergy attack that combined are making me pretty loopy. Let's just see, shall we?

As those of you on Facebook know, we were hit with a huge ice storm Thursday night into Friday. Power is out all over the damn place. Deb, whose apartment is in the basement, didn't own a backup battery for her sump pump, so with the power outage and the freakish amount of rain, her apartment flooded. Like … flooded. The cats' food dishes were floating. All of the floors have to be torn out, all of the walls need to be replaced as far up as the moisture seeped. Some of her furniture, some of our stuff stored down there is toast.

And speaking of toast, that's what we're living on pretty much. We finally got a big generator hooked up, so now we have water (yay, toilets!) and the fridges are running again. But we have to be really careful about everything else. We can use the toaster or the electric kettle or the microwave. I really had no good sense of how much I used the stove until I lost access to it. Also no TV, no radio, no hair dryer, certainly no washer or dryer. Or shower or bath. We use a candle in the bathroom instead of the lights. One light in the livingroom/kitchen, and I get to use a light in my room because I am truly night blind.

Hydro One (the power company for rural folk) keeps pushing back when we'll get power. It started out as Saturday night, then late Sunday night, now sometime Monday afternoon. I'm not holding my breath. I am, however, going to be missing Game of Thrones tonight. Bleh.

The good news is that the alpacas are all OK. The girls and babies were closed in their barn, but the boys had freer access to the outside. I did see a couple of the boys gingerly making their way across the ice-covered ground. Lots of damage all around the area, though.

Dar has had a buttload of medical tests (literally in the case of her colonoscopy last Wednesday), and Friday we get to hear all of the results put into - it is hoped - some concrete diagnoses and plan. We know that the colonoscopy results were A-OK, but the results of her upper GI tests won't be disclosed until Friday. Good thoughts, please.

I'm still waiting for my damn work visa to be renewed so I can get some tests and procedures done. It's over 22 months, guys. On June 4 it will be two years since my visa and healthcare expired. I'd say that's a wee bit excessive, wouldn't you?

Im not reading much anymore because I keep falling asleep. I've been trying to get through Mort (part of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series) for several months now. I bring it with me to read while I'm waiting for Dar to do her thing at the various units at the hospital in London, then fall asleep sitting upright in uncomfortable chairs before I get more than a few pages in. My life, she is exciting, no?

I went kind of overboard with The Walking Dead right near the end there. AMC reran the whole series every night for a week before the finale, and even before that they were rerunning the first season on Thursday(?) nights in b&w. Which I watched. As I watched the whole series rerun during the last week. It became so much a part of my world that I found myself looking for zombies in other TV shows. Like Boardwalk Empire. For god's sake, Nucky, don't just pull over to the side of road and start yelling! The walkers will hear you! I started getting a little concerned about our glass patio door. Way too easy to break down. Now I have until October to settle down.

I was initially concerned about Glenn Mazzara leaving as show runner, especially when I heard that he didn't like the direction that the creator (Robert Kirkland) wanted to take the show next season. But then I watched the episodes that the new guy (whose name I cannot remember right now) wrote - and they turned out to be my favorite episodes of the series. I'm going to have to trust based on that, because the finale had a big WTF moment at the end. But as I said … I'll trust.