Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Sunrise was at 7:38, sunset will be at 5:08.

The days are surely getting longer and it didn't rain yesterday, nice weather for the hundreds of people waiting for the John and Hank Green Tour de Nerdfighting concert and book event at the store.

That was the most fun EVER! Hundreds of people chanting, playing ukeleles, all of them filled with awesomeness, willing to wait up to 3 hours to get in the store, 3 more hours to meet the boys one to one, the best book concert ever.

The excitement rises as the venue fills, there's a little plucking of acoustic instruments going on, voices rumble, call and response of DFTBA, the wave happens (appropriate since Seattle is where it was invented). The astonishing roar of all those throats yelling when the curtains move. There's dancing in the aisles during Hank's songs, everyone is riveted to the stage, and you could hear a pin drop - a big pin - when John was reading from TFiOS. So many boys in the audience, so many adults reading his books, tears, shaking girls, boys who have found characters they can identify with, and all of the phones and cameras spitting light and capturing the moment.

Thanks, Boys.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow and The Age of Miracles

Sunrise was at 7:51, sunset will be at 4:49. Snow.

Okay. Now I feel like I've made the correct decision about staying home today. The reports on the news are that buses are hard to get and not getting where they're going anyway, and it has snowed at our house continuously since it began at around 4 am. We have 5 inches of snow in the yard, the birds are flocking into the bushes, and the neighbor's squirrel feeder has been completely emptied.

It's so pretty and looks so cold. The wind is beginning to pick up and snow is dropping off trees and power lines.

I am spending the day writing up reviews on Goodreads, updating my book list, and sorting books, crap, and stuff to donate, give to schools or to sell. It's an "extra" day, a day to do things I don't normally do because it's such a special one, a free day. I may even take a nap after hauling stuff around. I WILL finish the Christmas wrapping of the presents that still need to go out to the family today and I WILL get them mailed by Saturday. The snow inspires me to do so.

I read this GREAT book last night, thanks to one of our Random House reps, David Glenn! It was on my desk yesterday morning and I was up late finishing it. It is called The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker, and is an interesting look at what might happen if the earth's rotation started to slow.

One day, not too long from now, scientists announce that the earth's rotation has started to slow and that the days, and nights, will start to get longer. Within days, people are able to see the changes, a news crawl along the bottom of the tv screen announces how many more minutes are in each day, people begin to feel symptoms related to the slowing, birds start walking their migration routes, and whales beach themselves in long rows where the waves end.

The government institutes a 24 hour clock day, one that doesn't necessarily follow the light and dark of the earth's rotations, and those who want to follow circadian rhythms are ostracized and vilified. It's an amazing description of the effects of a slowing earth - the children who go to school are sometimes waiting for the bus at what might be (in old time) 2 am. Periodically, daytime and nighttime activities correspond with the clock day hours and people can party in the dark and walk to school in the daylight.

In a world that is constantly changing, 11 year-old Julia just wants her best friend back and to be noticed by Seth Moreno, a cute skateboarder with a dying mother.

Julia's family is pretty standard, a California family, two parents and a child, who begin to fall apart during the slowing. It's funny, in a way, how adaptable we all are to destruction. When the days reach 48 hours in length and people are beginning to crack under the pressures of being awake for 24 hours in a row, we still look for love and acceptance and justice.

Julia has lost her best friend and is trying to navigate the dangerous waters that make up her middle school. She wants a bra (and the bosom to fill it), a boyfriend, any kind of friend, but she's a quiet girl who doesn't want to be too noticed, so she watches the negotiations that make up the lives of the other teenagers in her cul de sac as the world rolls slowly to a stop. As the slowing continues and becomes a part of daily life, everyone continues on, breaking up, falling in love, going out to dinner (no matter that the sun may have just come up) eventually figuring out ways to adapt to an environment that is increasing dangerous to be in.

I loved the descriptions of their town as the dark goes on and on, the cold and the noise of the insects, the heat as the light time goes on for 60 hours, melting asphalt and giving sunburns. It's a very quiet book for all the violence and drama surrounding this family, it feels very much like a memory being repeated, like an old photo or postcard, graying and soft around the edges, easier to recount each time it's remembered.

Such a true look at how we live, even in the midst of our world's destructing, we still want to find someone who'll love us, someone who will still love us after we screw up, we still want to belong to someone or something, we want people to know we were here.

The Age of Miracles will keep you up late and then make you wonder at how neatly we all fit into the world, how dependent we are on everything else being exactly as it is. It will make you want to notice each sunrise and sunset and the precise distance between each, preferably with someone you love close to hand.

I like that the book is written from somewhere in the future, our Julia is writing about this time in history from a farther place, and I would really like to know what happened to her as she made her way there.

This would be a great read for YA audiences. The main character is a tween and the storyline is so very cool! All that science, too. (Random House. Available 6/26/12.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Today is the 3rd of January.

I've been thinking about my goals for the year, for the decade; you get to be this age, your resolutions need to be longer than a year. Mine are pretty standard ones: Eat better, lose weight, figure out money. It sure seems that everyone I hear talk in re: resolutions, talks about those three things. Why is this so hard to get under control, so hard to change? Habit? Emotion? Too big to get your mind around? If I need to lose 50 pounds, why is it so hard to lose that second 5 pounds? Why is it so easy to just say, I'll be good tomorrow? Why do we use judgmental terms like good and bad?

Arghhh. So, here it is: I'm starting small. I avoided the pizza at the gym last night (yeah, I know, pizza in the gym once a month) - I looked at each one, the smell of melting cheese and hot tomatoes are a couple of my food triggers - but I closed the lids and walked on out.

But, here's the thing: I went to the gym last night. I took my clothes and told myself that it's only half an hour. Once my shoes were on, I was good to go. It's getting the shoes on that's so hard.

I am going to drink more water. I'm sure that most of my cloudiness at work must be due to something in the air, the fluorescent lights, the dust, so I don't need to amplify those things by being dehydrated.

From there, the world's my oyster: that first step on the treadmill will eventually lead to a 5 or 10 K "run" by the end of next year; that first drink of water will lead to feeling fuller earlier so I won't be as hungry for solid food so that first 5, then the second 5, pounds will be a little easier to handle.

I'll deal with the other things as they come. We are already choosing to eat out of the pantry rather than shopping every day for things to put together into a meal. We've made meals out of the stuff in the freezer. I'm going to keep the slow cooker on the counter rather than putting it out of sight. We are thinking twice about spending money on impulsive buys- if we still want it in a month, well, we'll think about it then. We are taking lunches to work.

I want to make an extra house payment a year. I want to go on a real vacation. I don't want to eat dog food when I'm too old to work. That's going to take a lot of thoughtfulness and work so small steps: Eat lunch in. Put 100 dollars aside when possible. Learn how to use eBay and sell stuff rather than donating. (Yeah, I know that donating is a good thing but sometimes we need the cash rather than the tax credit. That's even if we remember to keep track of the donation.)

Oh, one more thing! I am going to learn how to use the machines and materials D. has accrued in 30 years of geekery and make cards and framed gifts out of the decades of photos we've taken of the families. I've made one photo, so far, with way too much help. I will learn how to do it on my own!

I am also going to be better about posting reviews on Goodreads-I love that widget they have about reaching book goals. Last year I read 150 books and I got started in March. This year, I am planning to read 200 books and review them, not just list them.

Well. There you go. Aim at losing 50 pounds. Save 100 dollars a month. File paper. Read, list and review 200 books. Simple words, hard to do, but small steps to a larger goal for a more stress-free life.

Good luck to you all with the changes you are making in your lives!