Quick to judge

Here’s the thing I don’t like about my book club: I think they’re book snobs.

There are at least two people who like science fiction, but not many more than that.  And I can understand not liking it (well, I can’t, but I’m not going to give anyone a hard time about it), but that doesn’t mean you should look down your nose at it.  They read The Martian sometime last year, and that has become their go-to joke when they need an example of a science fiction book they all hated.  Really?  The Martian?  That book was more science than fiction.  If you want an example of bad science fiction, I can help you out, but The Martian ain’t it.

They’re not completely against light fiction.  Most of the group liked The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which is pretty light, but even then, a couple of them dismissed it as candy.  Our next book is by Elizabeth Gilbert, which is a necessary antidote to The Sympathizer, but I expect half the group to think it’s twaddle, too.

Of COURSE not everyone in the group is going to like each book, but you can dislike something without dismissing an entire genre as beneath your notice.  At the end of the last meeting, someone suggested we go around the table and say what we’re reading now, and I didn’t want to.  I’m reading science fiction, and I didn’t want to have to deal with their judgment*.  That is not a nice feeling.

I need to find (or start) an SFF book club.  I guess it’ll have to wait until we stop moving.  It would suck to start one up and then move away.

*Can someone explain to me WHY “judgment” is more correct than “judgement”?  It looks SO WRONG.


Yesterday’s lesson was the best lesson I’ve had in several weeks (although it’s been two weeks since my last one, so I suppose that’s not saying as much as I want it to).  We used the pelham bit, which is more restrictive and gives me more control, and you know what?  It totally works.  I’m not saying Tigger didn’t give me any trouble, but the couple of times he did I was able to win back control and exert my will without nearly as much effort.  Wendy says it’s definitely not my fault – he is going through a phase, and he’s doing it with everyone, including her.  That’s somewhat reassuring.

The other thing that went well was cantering.  I’ve had this tendency to post while cantering, and apparently that’s sometimes fine and sometimes not so fine.  It depends on the horse, the day, the rider, maybe the weather…who knows.  In yesterday’s lesson, it was while starting to canter that Tigger would head for the middle of the arena, and Wendy decided it was because I was posting, leaning too far forward, and giving him too much leeway in the reins.  She suggested I sit the canter, which made me heavier in the saddle, and kept more pressure on the reins.  As soon as I started doing that, he stopped acting out.  It was great (because I felt in control), and not uncomfortable.  A little bouncy.

Oh, the jumping was good yesterday, too.  Everything about riding yesterday was good!

A lazy evening at home by myself

Buffy the Vampire Slayer won’t be available on Netflix anymore starting April 1st, so today might not have been the best day to start a series rewatch.  I’ll just have to watch the best episodes and leave it at that.  I’ll start with the musical episode, of course.

It must be bunnies.  Heh.

I probably could have stopped reading it

Some days something happens, and I can sit down and write about it.  Other days, maybe nothing happens, but I’m thinking about something, and I can sit down and write about it.  Today, I started writing about something, decided it was stupid or boring, and deleted it.  Then I did it again, but about something else.  And then I did it again, but about a third thing.  Considering what I do decide to post most days, that should tell you just how stupid or boring those three different things were.

So what have I got for you?  Well, I finished The Sympathizer, finally.  It only took a week, but it felt like an eternity.  That’s not to say it wasn’t good…  Tonight was book club night, and everyone had pretty much the same reaction except for a few people who LOVED it and one person who put it down after 30 pages and refused to finish it.

So far I don’t love my current book, but at least it has a plot.

That might be all I have for you.

Clearly not ready yet

One of my Twitter friends put her cat to sleep tonight, and I am overcome with sadness.  Is it grief?  Will it always be grief?  Riley died in October of 2014, about two and a half years ago.  Roxy died in May of 2013, coming up on four years ago.

An old dog died in the book John is reading right now (a book I read about 6 months after Riley died).  It choked him up to read it and me just knowing he was at that part.

Howdy and Daisy are getting up there in years and have their own health problems.  (I know Mom and Dad are worrying about it – I’m not trying to bring you guys down.  Sorry about that.)

Corey and Christine got a puppy.  Christina and Will got a puppy.  Mel’s dogs aren’t old yet.  Jess’s dogs aren’t old yet.  There’s time.

We’re pretty sure we’ll get another dog when we settle down, but every once in a while I wonder if I can go through that again.  John, too.  We miss having a dog, but we miss our dogs.

I am a problem solver

I’m pretty sure I have complained about the breakfast place that is within easy walking distance from our house and is really good but has TERRIBLE coffee, but I can’t find the post.  I’ll complain about it now.  There’s a really good breakfast place within easy walking distance from our house, but it has TERRIBLE coffee.  It’s not about how they’re brewing it.  We really don’t like the beans or the roast or whatever it is about a specific kind of coffee that makes it taste a certain way.  (Their Bloody Mary is also bad.)

It’s a real bummer since it keeps us from going there all that often.  Today we decided to go anyway, and I have solved the terrible coffee problem!  They also serve chai lattes, and THOSE are DAMN good.  Yay for not screwing up a drink they’re buying premade from somewhere and heating up for me!

How many times can I surprise myself with this?

I just remembered that we’re going to see the Arkells in April.  They’ll be back in Portland opening for some band we’ve never heard of, and for $11 each, we’ll deal with a show for a band we’ve never heard of.  Assuming we stay.

Anyway, I just remembered that, and April’s almost here, and it makes me happy because we REALLY like them.


I don’t think I’m going to leave the house today.  It’s my rest day, so I’m not running or going to the gym or going to yoga.  Wendy didn’t reschedule my lesson, so I’m not going out to her farm.  John is going to go tour a studio with the band in about half an hour, and they might go out for a beer or maybe dinner after, and right now, I’m thinking I won’t join them.  I have dinner stuff at home.  It stopped raining, and I could go for a walk or something, but it’s chilly and I’d have to put shoes on and eh.  Outside will be there tomorrow.

I will read my book (I need to finish The Sympathizer by Tuesday night) or watch a movie and have some wine and eat scrambled eggs with broccoli and cauliflower and sausage and cheese.  I will be quiet and warm and cozy, and I won’t have to talk to anyone.

I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

I’m still learning how to be in charge

My riding lesson with Tigger last week was pretty bad.  Lessons like that are certainly instructive for me (not fun, but helpful), but Tigger was being a jackass even when Wendy was in charge.  At least it wasn’t just me.  He didn’t do anything new (and I didn’t fall off) – he did the same old refusing to stay along the wall, veering off in the wrong direction thing, and all my leaning back and yanking the other direction (to Wendy’s shouted instructions) did nothing.  Over and over and over again.  At the point in the lesson where I would normally start cantering, I told Wendy that I wasn’t feeling terribly confident about that part and while normally I would try not to let my lack of confidence get in the way, maybe we could skip that part…?  She had already come to that conclusion, so I didn’t have to worry about that.

He continued to be a pain in the ass, though, so eventually Wendy switched out his normal bit for something called a pelham bit, which is more restrictive.  I’ve looked it up, but there are so many variations (and I don’t know what kind of bit we were using before) that I don’t really know what’s different about it.  EXCEPT THAT IT TOTALLY WORKED.  From the second Wendy put that thing on him, he behaved for me.  It was great (considering that we started the jumping portion of the lesson after that), and since Wendy thinks he’s going through a phase, we’re going to keep using that bit for a while.  So on the one hand, I’ll have to be careful and gentle with the reins (which I need to be better at anyway, so this will be good for me), but on the the other hand, I won’t have to fight him so much.  Yay!

Then someday we’ll switch back to the gentler bit and he’ll take his revenge, but that’s Future Me’s problem.

Mostly not-good smells

My nose was more in tune with my surroundings today, probably as a precursor to the allergies I can see waiting in the wings.

In my kitchen, there are banana peels in the trash can.  I love bananas, but only while I’m eating them.  I don’t want to smell them before or after and heaven help the person who brings a banana into my car.  I’ve got two days’ worth of coffee grounds in the trash, too, but they seem to be losing the odor battle.

Also in the kitchen, in the early afternoon, there’s occasionally the smell of tuna.  It’s awful.  John has been making tuna salad for lunch nearly every day, and I know he rinses out the can even before he eats, but I think some days the tuna water doesn’t make it all the way down the drain right away.  Ugh.

In yoga today, the woman next to me was wearing a light perfume.  It was vaguely flowery, but still very much a perfume, and it was too much for an hour supposed to be spent in deep breathing.

The great outdoors tried to make it all up to me.  It’s spring, trees are blossoming, and people are doing yardwork.  The combination of some fragrant flower, newly cut grass, and the gas mower doing the cutting smelled fantastic.  I’d buy a candle that smelled like that.

Still trying to do too much

I signed up for another thing.  I couldn’t help myself.  I joined the Legislative Task Force committee within our chapter of NOW.  I am going to try to keep my participation to a minimum, though.  Really.  I mean it.

And now, after talking my head off at that meeting, I have no more words.  I’m going to devote my brainpower to my book.  Book club is next Tuesday, so I need to get cracking.

Keeping score

  • I found out that a coworker I already like reads fantasy novels.  Plus.
  • I called out sick last night so I could sleep in a little today.  I slept until nine and then worked 5 hours.  That is my perfect work day.  Plus.
  • I went for a 4.8-mile walk with John today.  Plus.
  • It was chilly and it rained on us the whole time.  Minus.
  • Going for a walk despite the rain and chill is another step in becoming a Real Oregonian.  Plus.

Today: four pluses, one minus.  Overwhelmingly positive.  It was a good day.



Watched The Iron Giant for the first time last night.  Cried a ton.  Watched Logan tonight.  Cried a little.  So what’s up for tomorrow?  Old Yeller?  Steel Magnolias?  Up?  Oh, no – Beaches?

For anyone wondering, though, we really liked Logan.  Violent as hell, but it’s a really good Wolverine movie.

Hush please

You know the noise you make when you’re relieved and you sigh?  Or maybe you feel refreshed and you sigh audibly?  Vocally.  You know?


And that other noise you make when you stretch really long first thing in the morning or after sitting in one position too long?  A sort of pleased moan or groan?


I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying yourself, and I agree, yoga DOES feel good, BUT KEEP IT TO YOURSELF, PLEASE.  This is my quiet time.  Except for the instructor’s guidance, I can pretend I’m all alone.  Your happy noises make that difficult.

That is all.

Spring has sprung

John and I were walking in the park this afternoon, chatting, enjoying ourselves, and then he nudged me hard in the upper arm.  I lost my balance and windmilled a bit to keep from landing in the muddy grass, and DUDE. I barely tapped you on the arm. Overreacting much? (or some such) went through my head.  I didn’t fall on the grass, I did get my feet under me on the sidewalk, and then John yelled, “No, SNAKE!”  You would have been SO impressed by my high-stepping prancing moves.  I leaped OVER the teeny tiny TERRIFYING snake that I was thisclose to stepping on and landed on the far side of the path.  Then I came back to look.  Now maybe it was more scared of me that I was of it, but if it had made any sudden movements I would have been up a tree.

I’d like to show you what it looked like, but I didn’t take a picture of it, and there’s no way in hell I’m googling snakes.  I don’t google bugs, either.  I don’t need those images in my brain.


I suspect I failed my Real Oregonian test today.  It started out well.  I decided to go for a run instead of to the gym because it was only raining a little and it seemed likely to stop.  And it was 60 degrees out, so running in a little rain would be practically pleasant.  I could pretend I was a serious runner – a little rain won’t hold me back.  Less than a mile in, it started to come down a little steadier.  I ducked under a kiosk for a few minutes, but it didn’t get better.  Runners and walkers and other hardy folk went by me, and I decided to suck it up and keep going.  Then, of course, it turned into real rain.  Still not a driving rain (that’s pretty unusual), but steady and soaking.  I ducked under a bridge to wait it out – surely that wouldn’t last.  Packs of runners went by with disdainful looks at the tourist (that I may have been imagining).  Dog walkers gave me a wide berth – my prissiness might be contagious.

The message was clear: Real Oregonians don’t hide from the rain under bridges.

I was watching the rain hit the canal, and after a few minutes where it actually really did come down hard, I couldn’t see drops in the water anymore, so I hit the path.  Yeah, I was wrong.  It was still raining, but now it was a heavy mist.  Too light to see it hit the ground, but plenty wet enough to soak through my clothes and get in my eyes and make it hard to see.  Sneaky rain.

By the time I got home, dripping water, it was time to turn around and go to yoga, where the studio was so warm ACTUAL STEAM was rising from my damp clothes.

The hot shower I took tonight seemed almost unnecessary.  No.  It was necessary.

Early bedtimes are a must this week

I am sore and tired and sore and tired and sore and tired and can I have another day off please?  Yesterday’s workout caught up to me this morning.  I was going to go to a 9:15 yoga class this morning, but I could barely lift my arms over my head and that would have made yoga difficult.  Also, any balancing would have been just impossible because I’m SO TIRED I can’t see straight.  John had a gig last night, and it went late, and then it went later, and then they finally took the stage, and then it was even later because Daylight Saving Time started last night, so it was 3:30 in the morning before I crawled into bed.  Stupid spring forward.  Yoga at 9:15 didn’t have a chance.

So it’s 8:15 on a Sunday night, which technically should feel like 7:15 on a Sunday night, but as far as I’m concerned it feels like midnight on a Sunday night and I really need to be sleeping.

I miss my boxing class

I picked up my boxing workout today for the first time in a year – no exaggeration – and it showed.  I have a 30-minute audio track of a guy calling combos for 2-minute rounds, with a minute of rest in between.  (I have another half-hour track for 3-minute rounds, but I am nowhere near ready for that right now.)

On the plus side, I still remember the combos.  I don’t have to think before throwing punches.  On the minus side, everything else.

  • I’d forgotten how to wrap my hands.  I figured it out again after I got back home.
  • My punches are sloppy.
  • I’ve forgotten how to hit quick and draw back, so the bag was swinging like crazy, like I was pushing it (which is bad).
  • After every single round, I spent the first half of the rest minute sucking in air.  I felt like I sprinted each 2-minute round for half an hour.
  • AND, judging by how my right pinky hurts, I’ve forgotten how to properly twist my right arm on a right cross so as NOT to damage that sad little finger.
  • And let’s not pretend I’ve remembered how to move and duck and block.  I might remember how, but I didn’t have any energy to spare for it today.

I have work to do, but it felt SO GOOD.  This is work I’m happy to be doing.