Friday, June 06, 2014

odds and ends: I got two hands, one beating heart

1. PellMel finished her first year of medical school a couple of weeks ago, was home for a week, and then took off again to do a month-long rotation at a rural clinic. She is so excited about the stuff she's learning, it's infectious--even I got excited when she called to tell us about her first experience with a cardioversion yesterday (which is the thing you see on TV all the time where they yell CLEAR and then jolt the patient with paddles, but apparently that's not the way it's done anymore. It is more civilized now. But they still say CLEAR.). MadMax is done on Monday. Their school has a long-time policy of allowing those with less than two absences during the semester to skip end-of-semester finals. Apparently, it cut absences by some outrageous amount when they first started it (60%?? something like that), but over the years it has been less and less effective. So they are changing it next year so that everybody has to take finals again. But for one last time, MadMax gets to skip exams. Summer is about to begin.

2. Reading Report: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. This is one of those books that if you think about it too much, it starts to fall apart. But if you just read it and let it be, loved it. Louisa Clark loses her beloved job at a cafe when it closes and must find something else. When she reluctantly takes a job as caregiver to a quadriplegic, she never expects it to change her life. But it does.

3. Our chickens got sick. We have northern fowl mites, apparently. I feel terrible, because we let it get really bad before we realized what was happening. We've done the initial treatment and they are already much better, but we aren't getting many eggs. I might have to buy a dozen eggs, for the first time in two years.

4. I caved into the pressure. I'm trying gluten-free for one week. I'm embarrassed to even admit it, because it seems like such a food fad, one of those things everybody is doing this year and by next year we will have moved on to something else. But a) I do know some people (including one of my sisters) for whom it has solved a myriad of health problems, and b) this way when yet another person tells me I should try being gluten-free, I will be able to tell them that I DID try it. You can probably tell that I'm not expecting much, but I will let you know.

5. So I don't think I"ve told you we're going to Italy this summer. Dean's dad has rented a villa in Tuscany for July and August, and how in the world were we going to resist that? We'll be there for five days, with stops in Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome, and Dublin smooshed on to either end for two weeks total. (yes, I did say Dublin. It's a long story.) I promise pictures on our return, but not too many of them. Any ideas for a theme? I did doors last time. Maybe I'll just do doors again, because those were some really cool pictures.

6. Amazon vs. Hachette. Clearly I don't know the full story here. Probably none of us do. You can't paint Hachette as the little guy being crushed by the giant, because Hachette is huge publishing firm that has done its own share of crushing. And also, I'm not giving up Amazon. I live in a small town in Northwestern Montana. Without Amazon, I would be.... oh, there are so many things I love about Amazon, and some of them have nothing to do with buying things. I read reviews there all the time, even when I end up buying somewhere else. You have to take the reviews with a grain of salt, of course, because you never know when a review might be a plant, but still I can generally figure out what I want to know.

But in this instance Amazon is wrong. Just sayin. For the time being, I'm shopping elsewhere. And for the love of Mike, why can't we get Stephen Colbert and Sherman Alexie together more often? (see video below, if I embedded the code correctly.) If you can swing it in your book budget, go to Powell's website and buy California. (watch the video to understand why.) I adore Powell's anyway. If I lived in Portland, I would be there every day.

7. We have been blessed with the most beautiful spring I can remember. It took a long time to get here, but it has been gorgeous. I'm saying that now, because June is often the rainiest month of the year and and we're just getting started on June. I'm getting off to enjoy it while I can. Hugs to everybody and have a great weekend.


  1. Will be sharing this at my place tomorrow. Have I not ALWAYS said to vote with our dollar?!

    Also, I can't even describe how in love with Ingrid Michaelson I am. (What an odd way for me to format that sentence...... oh well. But you nailed it with that blog post title.)

    Yay for PellMell and the road-to-doctorhood!

    I want pictures of Dublin, pleaseandthankyou.

    1. PellMel is a huge Ingrid Michaelson fan, so I am just catching on. I do love this song, especially if you watch the video with the Robert Palmer video it is spoofing. Or paying homage to. Or whatever. And I promise to take lots of pictures, but not post all of them. :-)

  2. Two things, both germane! 1) THE STRANGER (one of Seattle's popular free weekly publications) has a great series of stories this week about Amazon and the many ills it has foisted upon Seattle, and the world at large. Hachette is part of the story, but the thing that really impressed me was the comparison to Walmart. Basically, at WALMART---you are CONFRONTED, PHYSICALLY, with the way they do business: you walk in the door, you see the underpaid workforce, you see the cheap crap from China on the sales floor, etc. A lot of folks who wouldn't go to Walmart think NOTHING of clicking a "buy" button and not confronting the business practices of Amazon. I'm not a fan, when I lived in Minnesota, they were so ruthless in their tear down of the fantastic women's bookstore (i.e., feminist/lesbian) which had the name AMAZON since 1970 and waged a David/Goliath battle to protect the name. You can imagine how that turned out. And, 2) if you haven't read BEAUTIFUL RUINS before your trip to Italy and Cinque Terra, please, please, PLEASE read it. Get Dean to read it too. And PellMel. Just don't get it from amazon.

    1. Yeah, I get that they can be pretty awful. I have read accounts of the way they've treated certain authors and even certain customers and been a little bit afraid of the amount of clout they have these days. But on the other hand, I think it's easy to talk about supporting local and independent retail when you live in a metropolitan area. There are, granted, three bookstores within a half hour drive of my house (none closer than twenty minutes), one of them an excellent used book store. The two "new" booksellers are each about the size of our living room, the used one is not much bigger than that. It's 2+ hours to a Barnes and Noble. I'm willing to boycott Amazon over certain issues, but I'm not leaving them forever. Also, for an alternative point of view, see this article from Huffpo, which was pointed out to me by writer Bob Mayer, who states that Amazon has done more in the past five years for independent and midlist authors than the big six publishers have done in the past century.

      But since I AM boycotting them at the moment, I went to the library this morning and got an armful of books, including Beautiful Ruins! Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. We had a short stop in Dublin last summer. There is a great Bed and Breakfast in Dun Laoghaire. Great connections to Dublin by public transit. Very quiet and comfortable accomodations. Windsor Lodge:
    Also, the Chester Beatty library (with ancient religious manuscripts, including a fragment of the New Testament dating from 2nd century) was definitely worth the trip - free admission. Believe it or not, even Thomas loved this place.