Sunday, November 24, 2013

I'm in love with the Man in the Moon

The moon looked pretty damn full last Tuesday night when my brother-in-law brought over the whoopie pie my sister made.  The whoopie pie was also full of deliciousness and when I gave it my attention, I ingested it pretty quickly.

Before I put that tasty thing into my gob, I went outside to get a picture of the moon.  I live in a city.  It wasn't like in Bremerton, Washington, standing by the harbor where there are many charming boats and not a lot of lights and you can get a good shot of the orb without a lot of city-light distractions.  Chicago is a city that likes its streetlights -- I am pretty fond of them myself -- and I went outside and stood pretty much underneath one so I could get the moon and not trees.  (Chicago also has lots of trees.)  I managed to keep still and my new love, the Man in the Moon, made my evening.

Is my new love sticking his tongue out at me?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How I spent my fall vacation

Seattle, y'all, is a very hip and happening place.  They also don't frown on nonhipster types like me.  All are welcome!  There are great restaurants and hotels, beautiful scenery, and delicious donuts.  Of course I mean Top Pot Doughnuts.  There are Top Pot locations around town but I chose to walk 2/3 of a mile from my hotel to eat at the Mothership location.  (The roast beef sandwich they make is also delish.)

My trip to Seattle coincided with getting a new camera.  I'd been talking about getting a new camera for a while, wanting something more robust than the point and shoots I'd been using that would also give me more control.  Of course, after buying it, I thought it was too extravagant a purchase but I decided to shut up about it because I'd been saving and I wanted it a lot.  This was my first outing with my new camera-love and I enjoyed photography again.

So what did I do on my vacay?  Walked a lot -- one day I walked about 4 miles -- and got together with good friends (had an excellent time with them) and an old boyfriend (yikes) but I also took some pictures of my food plus I got the moon to cooperate.  Yeah, I lassoed that rock and got it to hold still for a moment so I could take its picture.  Of course, it was a little dot on the original picture but with minimal cropping, you can almost think you see the Man in the Moon himself.  And what else did I see on my vacay?  A genuine mushroom forest!

Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts, 2124 5th Avenue, Seattle

Double Trouble on top, Maple Glazed Old-Fashioned below

Living the dream in the Mushroom Forest

Handheld photo!  (I sometimes have a steady hand.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My obsession

Last year, my best pal asked me if I wanted to see "The Hunger Games."  She couldn't persuade me to see any of the Twilight franchise and thought maybe I'd give this new one a go.  I agreed.  The books were totally off my radar and I'd no clue about what they offered.  When I found out, I was okay with it:  vampires and werewolves scare the bejeezus out of me but a country made smaller by global warming and melted glaciers, run by bloodthirsty despots, was okay.  Yeah, all kinda nuts right here.

In case you've been ignoring it, "The Hunger Games" takes place in what might be a post-apocalyptic America.  There are 12 districts and a capital.  There were 13 districts, but the thirteenth was nuked into Kingdom Come for trying to rebel against the Capital.  To keep the remaining districts in line, every year there is a fight to the death to win the games.  The players, called Tributes, are chosen from a pool of all 12-to-18 year olds in each district.  The books have 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteering to take the place of her 12-year-old sister in the arena.  Yeah, kids killing each other to satisfy the Capital.  The winner gets a house and an escape from a lifetime of poverty.

I enjoyed the movie.  (One of the supporting characters is played by the superultamega tasty Lenny Kravitz, who brought us "Are You Gonna Go My Way."  Yes, Lenny, I will go your way.  Call.)  I even agreed that I might like to see the second one.  (Lenny's in this one, too, and I am betting he's still looking luscious.  Seriously.  Call.)

A year goes by since we'd seen the movie in a suburban theatre and I didn't have a book to read.  I was at work, it was a little slow, I was trolling the internet for news and current events, political and otherwise.  Oh, I thought, the second movie is coming out.  Hmmm, maybe I should read the first book.  Hmmm, maybe they have it at the library.  Hmmm, I will be right by the main branch this evening.  Hmmm, is it on the shelf?  Computer says yes.

I checked out a copy that evening and I started reading it the next morning.  I was instantly hooked like a Facebook addict, a Second Life addict, a chocoholic.  In other words, a benign addiction, a distracting obsession.  The writing is pretty good.  The story is darn interesting.  The characters are well drawn.  (The movie is mostly faithful to the book which I know because I watched it again on Netflix.)

When I was done with the first book, I decided I would read the second book after I saw the second movie.  One morning I woke up and I couldn't wait.  I had to have it.  After work, I raced to the library and got the second book, "Catching Fire."  I could hardly breathe going over there and about danced when I found a copy and checked it out.

"Catching Fire" goes places I didn't think they'd go.  I was totally sucked in and I was sad when it was done.  I had to find the third book, "Mockingjay."

The main library's copies were checked out.  "The second movie is opening soon," they said. "People want to read them."  I went on line to see which branches had it.  I decided to get it at a library on the way home as it was right on their shelf.

A day goes by,  another day begins, and the book is "In transit."  IT IS ON THE SHELF!  GO GET IT!  At the end of the day I could take it no more -- yes, all of a day and a half had gone by -- and I went to the library.  I breathlessly presented myself to the librarian.  She listened and checked in the system.  She said mine was still in transit but one had just been returned and was probably on the cart behind the checkout desk.  We walked over and she found it.  I hope I didn't rip it from her hands.  I am pretty sure I thanked her.  I checked it out and raced out to the bus stop where I stood reading as night fell in my town.

I was enjoying it so much that I went to Costco and purchased a boxed set of the paperback version of the books.  I figured if I like it this much now, I will probably read it again at least once.  Yeah, I am obsessed.  But like my other obsessions -- the movie "The Secret in Their Eyes;" foaming hand soap; Dannon coffee yogurt; handbags and looking at pictures of handbags -- no one is hurt by it, not even me.

If you're so inclined to share in my enthusiasm, dash over and get the books at the library.  They're for young adults but you were a young adult once.  They might make you forget whatever crap it is you were thinking about before you snagged them off the shelf.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

He drives

Yesterday, I spent the better part of a day with my friend and his friend who was visiting from Dallas.  She told stories of road construction.  One particular road is going from like 6 lanes to 26 lanes.  TWENTY-SIX LANES OF TRAFFIC!  North of Dallas.

"And," I said, "I bet no homes were knocked down for it."

"Very few," she said.

Texas has oodles of space, y'all, and can accommodate a 26-lane highway with very little displacement.  It's almost hard to imagine.  From her description, almost every highway in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is under major construction.  That's also almost hard to imagine.  But everything, I gather, is totally effed up and it takes a couple of hours to go 50 miles on an interstate.

My friend's friend is a lucky person.  Her situation is enviable.  She lives with her dad who is 88.  Her dad is totally with it.  He makes no insane demands on her.  He still drives.  Think about that:  He still drives.  All of that makes for a very lucky situation.  His 15-year old Buick recently died -- in the driveway as they pulled in, right outside his door -- and would be moving no more as the engine was blown.  He decided to buy a new car.

Think about that, please:  He's 88 and he decided to buy a new car. 

It wasn't as easy as 1-2-3 but after going back and forth between a couple of dealers, including one in Fort Worth, 50 miles from home (hence the information about Dallas-Fort Worth road construction), they ended up buying at a dealer right by their home.  He got a great deal on a 2014 Camry with a sunroof because he wanted a sunroof.  As she said, "He's 88 and if he wants a sunroof, well, he deserves it." He even got them to give him $400 for his deceased Buick.

So the Toyota Camry in Attitude Black -- described as black with blue flecks and pretty -- has come to their house.  It is driven by the 88-year-old man whose Texas drivers license is in order, whose daughter lives with him (he helped her out by letting her move in when her personal life went awry and its worked out well for them both), who takes her dog out for long walks every day.

Please let me say it again:  he drives.