Brrrr. Like most of the west and middle of the country, it is freezing around here. High of 7 today, with lows down to about -3 or -4--but that's way better than poor PellMel in Bozeman, who woke up to -20 this morning. Great day to sit in front of the fire with a book, and lucky me, because I had that surgery on Tuesday so I have an excuse to do it! I'm willing to put up with moderate pain for that, especially since I am high on vicodin. Wheeeee!
The chickens get the worst of it around our house, poor things. We shut the door into the henhouse so it keeps the heat from the heat lamp in, but it's still barely above freezing in there. I haven't been down to check on them yet today. The water inside the henhouse was frozen solid yesterday, so I tried a different arrangement today, we'll see how it works.
I think I told you at some point last month that I'd run across some interesting books that had restored my faith in reading. They are mainly non-fiction, which is surprising, because I'm not much of a non-fiction reader. I enjoy learning new things, but I almost always feel when I pick up a non-fiction book that I've learned most of what they have to say by the end of the first couple of chapters, and the rest is just droning on and on and on. But I've run into several that have captivated me recently. I'm hesitant to give recommendations because lord knows what interests me at any one moment may not interest anyone else, but here are two.
Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende. I picked this one up on a whim at Costco because the cover caught my eye. Lende lives in Haines, Alaska, where she writes the obituary column for the local paper. But it's such a small town that her obituaries are more like mini-portraits than the usual canned items. One day while riding her bike into town, she is run over by a truck (driven by a guy she knows). The skeleton of this book is the story of the accident and her recovery, but it is fleshed out by endless stories of the people in her life. I really enjoyed it, and it made me want to visit Alaska (but not live there! it's cold enough here!).
Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer. The subtitle is "Shedding Religion to find God (and the unlikely people who help you)." I was fascinated by this book. I've been reading it off and on for the past couple of months. Sometimes nodding my head in vigorous agreement, sometimes arguing with him, occasionally disappointed, but usually moved and inspired. He's a former pastor of one of those evangelical mega-churches whose career ended when he and his first wife divorced (well, that career ended, he moves on to several others). He still occasionally comes across with that slick smugness that so many evangelical pastors have, but mostly you can tell that he was broken wide open by the experience. If you enjoy thinking out-of-the-box about Christianity, I recommend this highly, even though I disagreed with him on a few points (for example, although he questions his former judgmental attitude toward gays, he never quite makes it to acceptance). I'll be thinking about it for awhile. But since some of his revelations (waitresses can have spiritual insights! gays can honestly seek after God!) are pretty obvious to those who aren't evangelical (or former evangelical, like me), it won't appeal to everyone.
I'm also reading The Kid Who Climbed Everest by Bear Grylls, recommended by MadMax. Since I read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, I wasn't sure why I would want to read another Everest book, but I'm really enjoying it. It's much more personal than Krakauer's version, so you get a better feel for what it is like to really be there doing such a crazy thing. Or at least, I think you get a better feel--since I've never been there or done any serious climbing, there's no way to really know.
That's enough for today. I will quit complaining about the cold and sign off. Darn it, I have to go sit and read a book. It's crucial for my recovery.