Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cars & Computers, aka Things That Should Just Work

Last night, Stacey's car battery died and I took her to Walmart to buy a new one. As we were standing there, looking at a wall of EverStarts and Duralasts, Stacey asked me which one I would buy. Without much thought, I honestly replied, "Oh...I'd have sold the car when it didn't start yesterday." (I've actually done this before....Dad got a real deal 4 years ago on a car he still drives. But I'd like to point out that it was making a funny noise which he finally heard and got fixed after owning it for a few one would believe me!)

This is the thing, I'm not not unhandy or unresourceful. I've done all kinds of DIY projects around the house...I've installed shelving, replaced a light switch, fixed the toilet, and installed my new showerhead. I've repaired a couple small appliances all by myself and I even fixed my treadmill once when it wasn't working right. I love to assemble furniture and basically take a lot of pride in the fact that I am somewhat self sufficient! But when it comes to cars and computers...I just think they should work and if they don't, I just refuse to deal with it.

Last week I was having some issues with my computer. (I have a mac, which I love....I've had it for 4 years and this is the first time I've had problems.) I took it into the store and the tech guy said I needed to update my operating system and install some additional memory. I asked him how I went about doing that and he started explaining what I'd need to do to make the updates. I cut him off midsentence and said, "Oh, do I go about paying you to do all that?" He told me and I gladly paid.

I'm sure this is just an unconscious choice I have not learn to understand these two tools I use daily. I want to believe it's not because I'm lazy or stupid or something....maybe I know I rely on cars and computers so heavily in my life that the thought of them not working makes me panic and my brain freeze up.

Sometimes, I can be such a mystery to myself. All I know is that my car and my computer better keep working or they are gone! Newer, shinier models will always be available...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Revival of an Old Crush

Years before Colin Firth jumped into an English pond, I fell in love with Mr. Darcy. I first met him in the old 5 hour miniseries 1985. I actually didn't love Firth's portrayal for a few years, I thought he was a little 'soft'. That first Darcy was super imposing and had a condescending glare like nothing I've seen since, but he also had the best smile by the end of the story....and with that smile I was lost.

Well, years pass and I've found new crushes both literary and real, but there is nothing like finding an old friend again. I seldom reread books, so when I want to return to Pemberly and Netherfield, I find a new version of the old story and lose myself in nostalgia.

Over the last few weeks, I found myself drawn back to Austen's England with a series I've been meaning to read for a long time, "Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman". It's a three volume series telling the whole story over again, but from Darcy's perspective, and I loved it!

I'll admit, it isn't the greatest writing in the world, and the second volume lost some of my interest, but as a was fantastic! I loved the imagined world, motives, and internal struggles Pamela Aidan imagines for our beloved hero.

Anyway, I completely recommend! I was in desperate need of something lighter after several months of heavier reading material, and I'm so grateful I finally decided to pick these up.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Tudors & My New Favorite Word

(This is a copy of a post I already posted on my work blog containing librarian reviews...'cuase I'm that lazy!)

The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty
By G.J. Meyer
Delacorte Press, 2010. 612 pgs. Nonfiction.

Of all England’s rulers, the Tudors have proved to possess the greatest ability to remain prominent in the history books. Their relatively short reign, barely three generations, managed to bankrupt the government and establish an unrivaled legacy of brutal tyranny and civil unrest. This work follows the royal family from Henry VII’s unlikely rise to power, to Henry VIII’s six wives and the tumultuous religious war he waged against the Catholic Church, on to his son Edward VI’s short time on the throne, his daughter Mary’s 5 year reign and bloody legacy, and finally to Elizabeth’s forty years in power.

Meyer writes in an entertaining style with a dry humor that kept me tied to the narrative. I did feel that the coverage was uneven; spending a majority of the book telling of Henry VIII’s many intrigues while spending an amazingly little amount of time exploring Elizabeth and her relatively lengthy reign. However, I still recommend this collective biography to anyone interested in English history. The “Historical Notes” that ended most chapters were particularly fascinating and gave excellent glimpses into life during the time period. I, personally, am glad I decided to explore the Tudor dynasty if only to be introduced to my new favorite word, kleptocracy, which was used to describe the political environment Henry VIII established. Totally worth all 20 discs and 25 hours!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Did you hear the one about the cat?

My Grandma Zollinger suffered from Alzheimer's. It was hard to watch her fade, but we were fortunate in that she was able to continue living next door with Grandpa for a long time before she needed 24 hour supervision. That doesn't mean we didn't notice signs of her slipping sanity. She would forget conversations or events soon after they occurred and that would sometimes lead to humorous situations....sometimes it's better to laugh to keep from crying.

Anyway, my favorite Grandma story from this time period is the one about her cat.

I don't believe she met the cat alive. Grandma encountered the cat only after its death, but she really did love that thing. She found it some place out on the farm and immediately decided it should spend its afterlife walking along the gate behind her house. I hadn't realized we took a picture until recently. And here it is.

This is Melanie and Stephanie posing with Grandma's cat. If you can't tell, that is a rib bone from a cow that Grandma used to prop the cat up...Grandma was always resourceful.

She was seriously so fond of this cat standing on the gate. We did convince her to move it off the gate and onto the fence and slowly moved the thing North until it was behind the well house. It seemed like a good idea....just to keep from freaking out the neighbors.