Saturday, July 16, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to crack open the Kindle (TM)

I have spent the last day or so downloading some good reading on the Kindle.

I have a love-hate relationship with the damned thing. On the one hand, I love the fact that at least 40% of the books I have on it are in public domain, so they were classics, and free. WIth the old BA in English Literature, people often forget that I am literate... or at least have pretty diverse reading tastes. And when you are supporting two children, a husband and a dog single-handedly, you don't have alot - or sometimes ANY - disposable income. So the public domain works on Kindle amuse me greatly.

I also love the Kindle for when I really want a new expensive book and I can get it on the Kindle for half that amount (not always, but often enough that I am still enthused). For example, in the past month, amazon and their Kindle allowed me to get the latest Jennifer Egan novel and Tina Fey's memoir (still reading Egan, downloaded Goon Squad this evening, Bossypantsis a solid C+).

Yet I am still old school. I love the feel of a book in my hand, the ability to -GASP - write or underline my favorite parts at will (and yes, I am aware of and do use the highlighting function of Kindle. I just don't give a shit what other people found fascinating - embracing my inner autism spectrum). I like the heft and smell of a book in my hand. Well, not that dusty, moldy, silverfished disintegrating one...aaaaa-chooo! I even like the look of all those damn books on my shelves. Yes, the very shelves that make me look like a hoarder.

Scary, huh? Keep in mind that this only ONE side of the "library" (i.e., small bedroom that I have dedicated to my books). I love my books, but they are numerous.

Which brings me to my final hate for the Kindle.
I read.
Hours a day, when I can. While others watch television, eat and interact in society, I read.
While others form relationships, I read. (No thanks, yuck.)
While others do things like have a life, and vacations (a word I hear used and see in print but never actually experience, unless I am unemployed), I read.
Hell, I don't even knit anymore. Reading is a jealous mistress.

Apparently the Kindle battery cannot keep up with me. It actually has to be charged! Well, not that often. But inevitably, when I am in the middle of reading something on the damned thing that I don't want to put down.

Yes, I am aware I can read on my MacBook and my iPhone - and I do. In fact, I tally this capability under "The Reasons I Love My Kindle." But the iPhone is smaller than a book. And the MacBook (despite its jaunty name) is larger than a book (well, a book I want to schlep around with me to the john and kitchen and car). And the Kindle, while not a book, and a bit heavier than the average trade paperback, simulates a book. Somewhat. Especially when tarted up in a purple skin and ensconced in a purple case, such as this.

I could continue reading on my the Kindle's soft gray screen - which sometimes comforts me and sometimes maddens me - or I could continue blithely on using the MacBook or iPhone. I could even tether myself to the wall while the damned thing is charging and keep on truckin'.

Or I could get really scandalous and resort to my back-up plan. It's wild and dangerous, but so worth it.

I could read this:

I like to live dangerously. And it is one of the last 2 works of Neil Gaiman I have not read.
Yes, a walk on the wild side.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Namaste.... I see you in me.

Tonight I went to a Step meeting on Step 7.

Tonight I bitched, and then I shut up and listened. I was given the gift of perspective by someone who has been in this program for a hell of alot longer than I have, and it was just that. A gift.

Tonight I felt that when that same person asked for something that she needed, I needed to give that gift back.

This is how the world works. Not how it should work, but how it truly does.

To see it any other way means we are just kidding ourselves.

Let's try to give a gift back today.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Love and gratitude

I am the mother of teenager.

That is probably not the sentence one would expect as an opening for a blog post titled "Love and gratitude, " especially from me, who despises teenagers and all of their ilk.

But I do love my daughter. I love both my daughters. Both of them are basically awesome and interesting. I suspect I might like them even if I did not give birth to them.

It's been a rough few weeks. And I have basically been crawling home each night and feeling like crawling under a big rock when I see that the kitchen is filthy, and everyone is looking at me to come up with some great meal to wow them and fill their stomachs. It's been rough. And it has exhausted me.

Tonight I came home and the kitchen was clean. The dishes were done. And dinner was on the stove.

After I checked to make sure that I was in the right house, I went in and thanked my daughter.

Chloe made a delicious meal of grilled Creole chicken, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. And the kitchen was clean.

After dinner, I washed the dinner dishes. And I came into my bedroom and sat down. And breathed.

I am thankful I have a daughter who can make me understand love. I am not a perfect mother. I am not even off work and home enough to be a decent mother.

But I do love my daughters.

And I am thankful for them both. And the kitchen is clean.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence and interdependence

This is going to be a purposefully vague post, as I am not sure how comfortable I am writing about certain recent events. Quite frankly, I am a bit tired of thinking about and talking about and dwelling on recent events, and really would just like to rewrite the history of the past week. Since this is impossible, I blather on....

Today is the 4th of July, a civic holiday here in the U.S. which commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It's a heavy holiday, very symbolic. However, I just read a report that states a large percentage of Americans don't really know what it is even about. They know the bunting and the fireworks, and the day off work. But not much beyond that. Kinda sad, as I used to say.

I do not consider myself much of a patriot. The last presidential administration made this tantamount to godlessness, and yet I don't embrace that ideology. I do not consider myself a patriot, partially because I don't want to be that Ugly American that was so successfully celebrated by that administration. I also don't want to consider myself the center of the universe in some short-sighted, idiotic way. However, I did take offense when that administration played fast and loose with civil rights, and when the yes-men of that ideology now look desperately to blame someone else for the consequences. I don't pretend to know the answers, only the facts of history. And to have lived some of them a little too close to the bone.

Which brings me back to the present moment. The facts are as follows:

1. I survived, as I always have, at least up to this point.
2. The freedom I want to embrace today is the freedom to be myself and the freedom not to be a victim.

I have worked long and hard to not be a victim of the violence of others, or the stupidity of others. It has been a hard fight at times. And sometimes I get tired of fighting. I get tired of struggling through even when I feel I should be somewhere else, healing my wounds.

Especially when the wounds are real, can be seen and I have to make sarcastic remarks, to laugh instead of to cry.

So Happy 4th from that bitter, godless snarky old bitch. Make your fireworks be bright.

I'll be going to bed early.