Tuesday, August 23, 2011

aaahhhh sweet, sweet books

Part of what I need to do with myself is to find those things that I've forgotten about.  I've let the tumult of the last few years get the better of me, and I feel I've let too many things go away.  Essentially I need to look at habits and ways I accomplish or fail to accomplish things.  I have less good habits that need adjustment, and I've stopped a lot of things that are just good for me.

There are of course other things like the bike.  I am truly in love with that machine, though right now I still need to look at his rear derailleur so that we can get those two gears back, and his chain needs to be looked at.  Having been in a bit of rain lately we might need to look into some oil, and a general wipe down would be nice.

In speaking of those old habit that were good I have to get to my real story.  I finally paid the library off and found the two "lost" books.  When I've read books lately they've been rereads, and while I have no problem with reading a book again, there's nothing quite like reading a book you've never read before, and to make it even better add a new author to that list as well.

Or add an old friend like J.R.R. Tolkien when you discover his The Book of Lost Tales.  I'm only a couple of pages into his son's foreword in which he's spoken about The Silmarillion more than not and has even discussed other people's discussion of it.  I'm not sure why I bother with forewords sometimes, and sometimes while reading I won't get why I bother.  Either way I'm a fan of Tolkien, and better yet I'm sure Big Brother will be happy to get his hands on it also.

He's certainly happy to have the library back.  He's rereread so many books lately.  The Boy has yet to finish a chapter book on his own, but I know the day is coming.  I feel like I hate that he doesn't love reading as much as his brother and I do, but I also get that his interest just doesn't right now and may never.  Or maybe he just needs to find the right book.

He happened upon Shiloh which is about a boy and a dog if the cover has any truth to it.  I feel like it might be one of those books I should have read by now, and I do plan to read it before it's due back.  The Boy picked it up because his teacher is reading it to the class, and he happened to see it.  He likes his teacher and loves dogs, so perhaps this culmination of influence will be that catalyst.  or not.

I've already finished The Wanderer by Sharon Creech.  Sophie is a young girl about to sail across the ocean with three uncles and two male cousins to visit their grandfather.  It's a story about a girl getting to make her own decisions though not without having to put up a fight.  It's about the family and about the idea of family as Sophie's story comes out.  It's about the power in the act of fixing up the boat and setting sail to test people especially as this family is thrown together to actually perform this feat.

The Wanderer is also about the sea.  Sophie is drawn to the sea in a way I can almost feel I understand.  I've never spent that much time near the sea, and I've never been in it on a boat.  All my sea experience involves freshwater.  But seafaring adventures tend to make some of the best books in my opinion, and this one has become a favorite.  It is a kid's book, ages whenever they can read on up to well past my few years.  There's nothing questionable or violent or sexy in this book, and I may be wrong, but I kinda feel like Cody might be gay.

And speaking of Cody, he's the second narrator.   Most of the book is Sophie's journal about the voyage.  Throughout the book though we also get to read Cody's "dog-log."  I enjoyed having the second point of view as well as a bit more of the family background.  Even with Cody's dog-log the story is still Sophie's.

I hope Big Brother reads it.  I'll definitely suggest it to him, and if I put off our next library visit just long enough he'll have read all his own and may be willing to give it a try.  He picked four books total.  He was already reading The Wizard of Oz, not a library book, as that's the book he was reading most recently at my house and is the one still on the dining table.  He's also reading whichever Artemis Fowl book he's up to, and I had to go look next to his bed to remember that.  Along with that Artemis Fowl he grabbed The 39 Clues, How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse, and The Land of the Silver Apples.

I won't bore you with all his books, but The Land of the Silver Apples is a sequel to a book that we actually own, Sea of Trolls, written by Nancy Farmer, and as I google I see that both books are part of a trilogy.  Big Brother and I both enjoyed Sea of Trolls, so it looks like I have yet another option of reading material for the next three weeks.

I'm so happy to have paid off the library.  I love going there.  I love the librarians.  I don't know about the people on the computers, though they do make me appreciate having one.  This is not only one of the best things I've done for myself in a while, but it's also one of those habits that was always a good one.  It's honestly been at least a year since we've been regular library users, and I'd say it may have been a good bit longer.  I'm not delving into the story right now, but the main point is that I sucked in my pride and blew out whatever shame I'd built up in letting the situation get out of hand.  The librarians, though shocked, were not mean when I humbly approached to find out exactly what I needed to do as the computer told them the full weight of my transgressions.

And just now, rereading and editing, that last paragraph has me forming a plan.  Working my Saturday split shift I usually get about an hour break in the middle.  I can ride to the downtown library for music and set whatever mood I want for the ensuing Saturday night shift.  This is gonna be fun.

round back

Alleys are suddenly THE cool place to have someone take pictures of your.  They're so gritty and urban, and people I imagine come from the palatial and seriously suburban west side of town have been showing up in my alley lately.  I kind of don't like all of them.

The particular alley I claim as my own is behind where I work.  There is another alley we walk to daily to retrieve the rolling trash cans into which we put our trash.  We then return them to their alley, and the trucks come by whenever and dump all the cans.  Sometimes you show up between trucks and find all the cans full.  Sometimes you can empty one or two less full cans into others and get what you need.

Our alley is very narrow.  Toward one end is a bar that has bands most nights, so at some point most days there is some sort of vehicle disgorging the various equipment a band needs.  Toward the other end of the alley are more restaurants.  Counting my own place of employment there are two ice cream places and four restaurants with servers and sitting down with a menu.

Because of all the restaurants you'll often find people smoking in the alley.  I don't know if the percentage of smokers among restaurant staff members is higher than the average for other businesses, but I can see it being entirely possible.  A cigarette provides an occasional small break in a job not know for too horribly many breaks of any length.

Any number of homeless people sometimes use the alley as their bathroom, and during large enough events on the square I've seen not homeless people pee in the alley.  I've also seen what I'm mostly sure was dog shit one day in the alley, and one day it smelled remarkably zoo like.  It wasn't even that horrid a smell because it had more an animal sort of odor than just gross shit stink.  Fairly recently someone changed a bandage in the alley and were nice enough to leave their potentially hazardous bio waste for us.

And one day a family or two was down there taking pictures.  The large and lumpy dad was dutifully hauling strollers and bags of props and trying to keep the kids not in the current photo busy.  And they had bags of props, clothes, hats, big letters.  I'm sure there were favorite stuffed animals as well.

And of course you have the happy smiling couples.  They all look so stupid being lined up against the graffiti just so.  And of course they don't think to confirm outfits and color schemes till they get there.

Then there are the random single people.  You can't ever really know what they're doing or why.  They're digging the gritty, urban landscape and standing in front of a door of course, but what's their motivation.

I missed the day that a bunch of girls were having pictures made.  They had bags of clothes and were blocking doors and being in the way, and they were changing right there in the alley.  OMG, ya'll.  Again, I didn't witness this, so . . .

And when you do drive west through the land of stripmalls to the homes of these people, you can see those pictures on the mantelpiece.  It's so gritty and urban tucked away here in a several acre subdivision named after an English sounding word that doesn't in any way describe the actual place.

I wonder if the ironic hipster kids are going to start taking couples photos in front of big box retail stores?