It was a great day today. It started with me scheduled to do a food rescue at Brueger's Bagel Bakery in downtown Oak Park at 8:30am. I got there and they apologized and said they didn't have anything. But it was actually no problem. I had a good parking spot, the weather was awesome at last, and one of my sabbatical "to do" items was to walk around downtown Oak Park, to see if there were any cool shops or places I hadn't seen before. So that's exactly what I did. It was lovely. I especially liked Scoville Park. 

And since the weather was so good, I decided to go on to Lindberg Park. Definitely I think forest preserves are better than parks, but walking around Lindberg was as good as I'd thought it would be when I glanced at it from the road. It's full of gorgeous flowers and greenery. The sky was bright blue with white puffy clouds. It was a nice walk, and then it was topped off by the fact that the park had one of those little free libraries inside it. And guess what was inside there? A book that I had donated to another little free library. I know it's the same one because it was stamped to indicate that it was withdrawn from the Downers Grover Public Library in 1994. That was the one! 

Then I decided to follow through with something I'd messaged someone on FB about. Oak Park is going to levy a tax for anyone who doesn't bring their own bag to the store. I think it's a great idea - we're drawing in plastic! Some activists are taking up bag donations for folks who don't have them. I have so many bags in my trunk. I pulled out like 6 that I haven't been using (I mean, in addition to those 6, I have about 5 favorites that I regularly use.) So I drove my donations to her drop off spot.

Then my friend John messages me. He's driving near me and he can come over to help get my music from my MP3 onto my phone. He does!! John is awesome! 

My afternoon's been pretty low-key but I did walk to Pete's Fresh Market to get avocados for tomorrow (and to get more exercise before my weekly weigh-in). Unfortunately by that time the weather had turned pretty hot and humid, but I still did it. 

Oh, and yesterday I did indeed go to the comedy show at Hamburger Mary's. It was nice to get home at the same time Doris typically gets home on a Thursday (10pm)! They have a $10 minimum order plus they charge a $2.50 fee for the show; I don't know why they don't just call it a cover fee. There were 4 different comedians, none were in drag or were LGBT as far as I can tell. One was fantastic, two were pretty good, and one was just awful. They each did brief individual stand ups, plus a few improv scenes as well. I'd go again, though I'd rather see Hamburger Mary's drag show.
My rating system:

10 – life-changing, an all-time favorite

5 - average for what I read

1 – terrible; why did I finish it?

How To Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell – Just to get this out of the way first: the author is an asshole. She’s a drug addicted party girl whose life has been spent caring about no one but herself, and sometimes I wish everyone like her would vanish from the planet. Anyway, but her memoir is really good. Her writing is sharp and funny, she tells us how she got into this mess, what her life was like as a beauty editor at various major magazines and how she tried to function despite being addicted to multiple different drugs. I will also give her credit for owning all her flaws and basically admitting she’s a clueless asshole. Grade: 6

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg – This was a great, short novel about a woman living in New York City and trying to determine who she is and where she wants her life to go. The story is told in a series of vignettes about her life; the chapters aren’t chronological but that’s okay, it all pulls together well anyway. The writing is immediate, wry, and moving. Each character is fully developed and feels like a real person. Grade: 8

Coop: A Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg by Michael Perry – So the subtitle basically tells you what the book is about. Perry and his wife are farmers in Wisconsin, and he tells you the day to day about their life. They seem like lovely people, it’s just that the book dragged on. It was a series of nice enough anecdotes about their life but it just wasn’t very compelling. Grade: 3

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai – This audiobook has been on my “to read” list for a long time, and it finally came up! The book was exactly what I thought it would be, and I have nothing critical to say of it. We hear of Malala’s (brief) life before she was shot, a bit about her awesome dad and his upbringing (her dad really is amazing), the shooting, and the aftermath. Go Malala!! Grade: 8

It Ended Badly by Jennifer Wright – This is only the second book of Wright’s that I’ve read, and I will read literally anything she publishes. I first read her “Get Well Soon”, about plagues throughout history – she writes in an utterly hilarious and engaging way. Her earlier book, “It Ended Badly” is just as amazing. Funny, sharp, completely compelling. The topic here is 13 bad breakups in history, though I truly believe Wright could write well about any subject. Grade: 9

Okay, so today I didn’t do much more than my usual things like working out, cooking, meditating, reading, watching TV, playing Scrabble, and making my calls with Daily Action. I called House of Blues to make a reservation for Pam, Sean, Doris and me next week. I grocery shopped. I hoped John will get back to me and help me with the MP3/iphone help I need. It rained in the morning, and then was pretty hot and humid after that; I just wasn’t up for anything ambitious or anything outdoors today. 

(Re-reading the above, I didn't do that badly today though. I mean it's not like I lay on the sofa eating brownies all day). 

Tonight though I’ll go to the comedy show at Hamburger Mary’s, and this time will give myself enough time to park in the garage and get there! 

 
- Finished up the great fridge cleaning. Made a bit of progress on the whole "how do I get music from my old MP3 onto my phone?" question. Well, by progress I mean I asked my friend John and it sounds like he'll help.

- Did a food rescue today from Prairie Bread. Their donation was 3 huge sacks of bread. I said to them that I'll need to make 3 trips as I can only carry one at a time, so I'll be right back. A customer, a butch lesbian, watched the interaction and said she'd be glad to help me. She picks up the 2 sacks and walks with me to my car. My goodness, if I were single I'd be buying her a drink! (I thanked her profusely and said that if I wasn't due back at the food pantry, I'd love to buy her a cup of coffee. She smiled but didn't pursue anything. But hey, if she and I were single, this could've been a great "how we met" story).

- My random fun activity today was a trip to the Roscoe Village neighborhood. As anyone who reads this will be unsurprised to hear, I put it on the places-to-visit list because it has an indie bookstore and a veg restaurant, and both of course were lovely. I visited a few other shops in the area, bought some hand lotion. You know what I thought? I think I really love where I live! Roscoe Village was nice, as was Evanston and Logan Square, but I honestly think Oak Park has more...stuff. More landmarks, small shops, etc. So far the only place in Chicagoland that I think I like as much as Oak Park is Andersonville. (Which I've read is getting gentrified and a lot of the lesbians there are moving out). 

- Pam called today and we chatted, talked more about plans for when she visits.

- Selected my fun activity for tomorrow. It will be a forest preserve visit. I need to decide if I'm going to do the ones in DuPage County (further away from me, but they're better) or the ones that are closer but less pretty.  
 
- Yesterday I didn't actually make it to Lyman Woods. The entrance was closed by police; not sure what happened there. So instead I went to the mall to get a quick chair massage before dropping suits off to Gail and then water aerobics with the awesome Ann!

- Today I went to the bank, library, and picked up the CSA veggies and fruit. Later in the day I had laser hair removal. I also drove by a park in Oak Park that looks like it'd be fun to explore, contrary to what I wrote yesterday about parks being boring. 

- The random fun activity I had selected was a trip to Evanston. On the 'pro' side, I got to eat at the wonderful Blind Faith cafe and I visited an indie bookstore that I hadn't been to before. On the con side - in addition to the fact that it takes almost an hour to make the 15 mile journey there - the weather was hot and parking was terrible. I'd planned to visit a garden and an art museum - and I could not get a parking spot anywhere near either. I decided to try Evanston again either when the weather is better and I'm up for more walking, or I can just find 1 parking spot and then use Lyft to get to the attractions. (Also on the plus side, I found a place there that does "floating", where they put you in an isolation tank. I kinda want to try it though I kinda worry I'd get bored and want out. But another "con", downtown Evanston isn't as cool as I'd thought - like it has tons of chain stores).

- Selected my fun activity for tomorrow:  a trip to Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. One great thing is that I've been there before and it doesn't take too long to get there. Well, at least nowhere near as long as it takes to get to Evanston!  
 
- I crossed another item off the list: i walked around several parks in my city of Oak Park. I did this last sabbatical (visited several parks in the town where I lived at the time). I guess parks are kinda boring, and forest preserves are more of where it's at in my book. At least the weather was nice when I went, which was early-ish today.

- Got NPR on my phone and found an app where it looks like I can listen to audio books for free on my phone too. 

- Planned out my fun activity for tomorrow: a trip to the city of Evanston! 

- Started to clean out the fridge which was disappointingly more gross than I would've wanted.

- Made appointment for Darra's annual checkup and did my usual activities of cooking, meditating, reading, did an errand to Walgreens as I need a new pair of cheap sunglasses (I never buy expensive ones), etc. 

- Plans for the rest of today: Drive out west to visit Lyman Woods again. Hand over the business suits that I decided I don't want to Poised for Success. Then water aerobics with Ann!

- I forget if I mentioned this, but Doris and I are watching Orphan Black. We're almost done with season 1 and we love it!
 
- Didn't make it to Hamburger Mary's on Thursday. I couldn't get a parking spot. I will try again and either take Lyft or allow enough time to park at the parking garage. The joys of city living. 

- Doris and I went to the Raj in Fairfield, Iowa. We left Friday and returned today (Sunday). We agreed that we liked it and had a good time but likely will not go back there. The drive was 4.5 hours; if it was maybe half that time then I'd probably think about a return trip someday. Perhaps I will do a longer post on it but here I'll write out a few highlights of the trip in pros and cons:

Pros:

- The place was quaint and pretty, with a nice walking trail out back

- We ate 3 meals there: dinner the first night, then breakfast and lunch the next day. Dinner and lunch were excellent. I'd describe it as healthy, Indian-influenced vegetarian food; not really like the food at most Indian restaurants in the US but along those lines. (Definitely much less oily than what you usually get).

- Everyone was very nice, meaning the staff and the other people staying at the Raj. Though interestingly, the fellow guests were more of a highlight than the staff. They came from all over the country to stay here - we talked to people from New Jersey, DC, Houston, and Baton Rouge. And they were quiet at nighttime. The place has just 15 rooms and is quiet and peaceful. (The last hotel I slept at, after the Alaska show in NYC, had noisy people at 3am in the hallway. None of that here! The Raj's literature even says that bedtime is at 9:30)  :)  

- We liked what we did there. Saturday we had yoga, then our 'treatments', then lunch, then a tour of Vedic city, and then dinner at an Italian place in town. The dinner at the Italian place was a highlight! I had been craving wine and pasta, and it hit the spot. The tortellini Doris ordered was especially awesome. 

- So what is Vedic city? Okay, so long story short - an Indian guru dude has a bunch of followers, they move to this place in Iowa like 40 years ago, they start a university, meditation centers, The Raj where we stayed and where you get Ayervedic treatments, and more. It's in Fairfield, Iowa and I gotta say the town of Fairfield seems fairly awesome. For a place in the middle of Iowa, it's diverse, it has a theater which has plays and ballets, tons of good restaurants, tons of people who meditate, walking trails, small organic restaurants, an art museum, and a big focus on sustainability. So basically they attracted a cool crowd of people. Heck, if it weren't so dang far from Chicago I might even consider retiring there some day! I said to the tour guide that it feels like "the Santa Fe of the Midwest", and she laughed and agreed. It was kinda like a small town with some big city amenities.  

- Given that the place was built up by followers of a person, you might worry that you're walking into a cult or something, but everyone is very 'live and let live'. Our tour guide Saturday told us about the meditation method they use but she didn't try to convert us. The whole place and all the people had a very easy-going vibe.

- Our Ayervedic treatments on Saturday were nice but mostly consisted of people rubbing oil into our hair and bodies. My hair is silky soft now, but their massaging method is much more of a light touch than I like! Oh, and this has nothing to do with the Raj but they told me in advance that you can't have your period during their treatment. (I understand why - you're nude!  - but they did provide disposable panties which I could've worn with a tampon in. In any case, I was relieved....I knew my period was due to start any time. And it started literally 3 hours after the treatments as over! Whew!) 

- This could go under pro or con, but I'll be generous. The yoga room had a few pieces of cardio equipment too. Two ellipticals, 1 treadmill, and 1 bike. They had like 3 sets of light weights. It was nice and it was open 24/7 but on the con side, it was awfully slim-pickings for someone who exercises every day and it made me glad we were only there for 2 nights.


Cons:


- They warned us in advance that breakfast would be just oatmeal and fruit basically. The second morning I drove into the town to get something more substantial. I like savory breakfasts, not sweet ones. 

- Because of the Ayervedic focus, there were a lot of things missing that I would've liked. No caffeine, for example. Another example, if they really want to be a destination spa, you need things like a hot tub or pool. But they don't have that.  

- Although the Raj was pretty, its decor and rooms were nothing to knock your socks off either. A lot of it looked old. Not bad in anyway but the Raj definitely isn't a stunner looks-wise. Perhaps something more modern or gorgeous would've looked out of place smack in the middle of Iowa? 

- We liked the 'live and let live' feel of the place, but their front desk is only staffed from 9:30am-4pm. That's just weird to me. 

- Given Vedic City's emphasis on meditation, I was surprised that there were no group meditation activities. We liked the free daily yoga but I think a place like this also needs a free daily meditation session. 

- The last 2-3 hours of the trip are through farm land on one-lane highways. Thank goodness we only saw 2 pro-Trump signs. (They were nowhere near Vedic City, where thankfully where we saw Bernie and Obama signs. No Hillary signs, but she's just a woman so she can't be president obvs.) 



- Took the el to Chicago to do 2 things:
 
- One was to try a vegetarian restaurant I hadn't been to before, The Loving Heart. It was awesome and I definitely will ask Doris to go with me again someday.
 
- Then two, the LGBT Center (which is not far from the restaurant) has meditation every Thursday at 1pm. It was excellent. It was 45 minutes long and I had a hard time being physically comfortable (even though they had mats and blankets) and a hard time focussing - so pretty much like any meditation. But I liked it and I might do it again.
 
- Other than that, just did my usual things. Cooked a recipe from Veg News magazine and it was excellent (although it was much like many other recipes I've made before). Worked out, read, watched Mario Bros 3 videos (I'm done with that last one, I swear). Then I packed for our trip tomorrow.
 
- Since Doris works late on Thursdays, I plan to go to the drag comedy show at the Hamburger Mary's near me. Hamburger Mary's opens one up just 7 minutes from my house and I've only been there once so far! I intend to remedy this during sabbatical. 
 
I might not post the next couple days - Doris and I are off to a destination spa in Iowa (yes, Iowa)! Very grateful to Doris for taking a day off so we can do this.
 
Oh, and on the gratitude front, also glad to have gotten a very nice review for one of my X-men fics. It's one that I consider my weakest ("Election Day"), so that made the review extra nice. The reviewer was glad that someone writes the characters as they appear in X-men: The Animated Series. I'm happiest to hear from another XTAS fan!
 
Today:
 
- Dialed into a weekly meeting with my team at work but they told me to get off. :) 
 
- Food rescue: took stuff from Prairie Bread and brought it to the food pantry
 
- Then hopped the el train to Chicago. Went to a vegetarian restaurant I've never been to before, Kramer's. It was very good.
 
- Then took a Lyft to a Handmaid's Tale style protest to tell our governor to sign the pro choice bill. I got my courage up and stood next to the handmaids in solidarity for a bit, and then even donned the outfit myself when one became available.
 
- Other: scheduled laser hair removal appointment. Grocery shopped since we're out of greens and lettuce. Cooked beet greens.
 
- And then? Spent the rest of the afternoon watching Super Mario Bros. 3 on You Tube. The memories! 
 
Oh, and what the heck, since i had some great stuff happen, let's do some gratitude too:
 
1. My boss said she misses me
 
2. Pam did a nice FB post yesterday, saying she wants me and Doris to visit them in Erie again
 
3. Phone banking that I didn't want to do yesterday was cancelled
 
4. And a Dem won a special election in Iowa, in an area that Trump won handily
 
Today:

- Did a food rescue for the food pantry. First time doing it at Jewel. It went fine; I just had to make 2 trips as there was too much to fit in my car

- Picked up our weekly CSA box (and needless to say, did some cooking)

- Walked to the library

- Dropped off a bunch of stuff at Brown Elephant (the resale shop that benefits the LGBT group Howard Brown). Didn't go with the intention of buying anything but I got a very cute dress for $10. It's awfully short but I'm going for it anyway!

- Remembered that Mom and Dad gave me a $150 gift card for a hotel near them. (Note: it was a true gift, not a "come see us" thing. We see them pretty often). I asked Mom if she'd be ok if I give it away since I just don't think we're going to use it before it expires. (I mean, we live 30 minutes from our parents. It would be frivolous, plus at this hotel $150 pretty much will not pay for 1 night in 1 room anyway. And it expires in December, which is coming up). So I posted on FB, offering it to the first person who commented. Done! (Side note: two people who never like or comment on any of my stuff commented, just saying they wish they had seen the post first. So I guess they do follow me even though they never like or comment on anything? No judgment, I just think that's weird. If I follow you, I occasionally like and comment on stuff). I might do something like this again, offer a $100 gift card to globalgiving.org to the first commenter

- Etc: Almost finished my "shoe assessment" (that would be going through the shoes that I wear to work to see which need wiping down or shining. There is 1 pair I can't decide on). Completed and mailed in the paperwork for the property tax appeal. 

- Yesterday's water aerobics with Ann was awesome!

- And tonight I'll be phone banking with the Dems for our state's pro choice bill
I probably will just fold my daily gratitude lists into these sabbatical diaries, since by definition if you have a paid sabbatical, you have a ton to be grateful for.
 
Done today:
 
- Took another look at the workouts on Daily Burn and decided to cancel my account again. It should be awesome, but Daily Burn sucks.
 
- Did grocery shopping and got a new CO2 detector which we needed. 
 
- Explored the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. There was a neat indie bookstore, and an eclectic gift shop at which I purchased some Chicago-y gifts for Pam and Sean for when they visit later this month. There was also a cute cafe and a couple restaurants that looked good, but I didn't dine in the area since I had plenty of food at home to eat and it wasn't mealtime when I was there anyway. I walked in its very small park and learned a bit about the history of the area and its parks. Apparently some guy in the 1800's had a dream to have there be lots of connected parks in Chicago, and that it took decades but it finally happened, and other cities followed suit. I didn't realize how many Chicago neighborhoods have "park" in their name. 
 
- And speaking of parks, when I was back home I walked to and around our own Taylor Park. I hadn't been there for a while and it's pretty huge for an urban (urbanish) park. The weather was great for both of these excursions - partly sunny and like 74. 
 
So those were a few items from my list.
 
Random:
 
- Pretty much every day I am reading, meditating, working out, cooking, and possibly watching something on Netflix so I likely won't record that here going forward unless there's a reason to.
 
- Sabbatical rule #1: I can only have Trader Joe vegetarian burritos once per week during sabbatical. Since the whole idea is that I eat that stuff during the workweek when I'm too tired to cook after work. 
 
In a few hours, I get to see Ann and do water aerobics with her! But it's still 3 hours before I go. Well, I still have dinner and reading and Netflix, oh and my coworker friend Jenny and I are planning a spa day and I need to send her my list of treatments.

 
More sabbatical "to do's" accomplished on Friday:

- Didn't just call the Animal Care League but also took the food over to them
- Fixed the problem with my blue tooth

Random
- Last sabbatical 10 years ago, I had to resist the urge to check my email. In order to check it, I would've had to go to webmail on my personal desktop computer. Now the email is on the phone. Harder to not check it, but at least I can delete all the junk I get too

Gratitude stuff
- Too much to list. Weather was great on Friday, had the windows open. Love the fresh air, and the cat loved it too. It was kinda exhilarating, having that great weather and on my last day of work before sabbatical. 

Then Eric and I were off to see Alaska in NYC at her Golden Girls show. Again too many great things to list:

- Loved seeing Michelle and Dave again, haven't hung with them since the cruise a year and a half ago.  They are awesome and they hit it off with Eric

- Our flights were nice and easy, trouble-free. (Minus an incident involving Eric's ID but that turned out fine)

- Hotel was lovely, had like a courtyard in the middle with hot tubs and lounging areas. Loved both of them. This morning I sat out there with my tea and my book.

- Alaska's show was great! We had the best table right at front and center. Alaska interacted with us several times during the show. We didn't get much time with him afterwards (as per normal) but he was sweet, relaxed, happy to see us. Michelle united him to hang out but he nicely said that he and his boyfriend were just going to go back to their hotel room.

- Oh loved the little cafe next to our hotel. They had hot nutella (like hot chocolate), nutella croissant, avocado on toast. Their bread was perfect. 

At home now, Doris is prepping dinner, life is really really good. And I'm sure I left 100 things off the above list. 
 
 

Sabbatical

Aug. 4th, 2017 12:43 pm
 
 
Well I probably will do what I did 10 years ago. Write journal entries about what I did on my sabbatical. These will be boring so I maybe should mark them private (as I think I did with some last year)?

Officially my sabbatical hasn't started yet. We have a half day and I'm working it from home. 

I made 2 lists - a "fun" list and a "boring to do" list. 

Done today:

- made gyne appointment
- contacted the laser hair removal person but haven't heard back yet
- contacted the Animal Care League to ensure they want the food that Darra didn't want (they do)
- Took donations to Trends
- Called my governor to tell him to sign the pro choice bill
- And from the "fun" list, I planned my first "fun" (I need a better name) item - a trip to the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. I'll be Monday, unless the weather is crappy and I'm too tired from my NY trip this weekend to see Alaska
- And again if I'm not too tired from the weekend, I plan to do water aerobics with Ann on Monday!!
- Oh and I have a massage later today.

Some things I plan to do everyday: cook, meditate (already do it often), play with the cat (ditto), and workout (I already work out 6 days a week) 

Book report

Aug. 4th, 2017 07:49 am
 My rating system:

10 – life-changing, an all-time favorite

5 - average for what I read

1 – terrible; why did I finish it?

 

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby – Oh my goodness, go out and read this and Irby’s earlier work, “Meaty”! She is hilarious and pissed off and tired and funnier with each page turn and very often insightful. This is simply a collection of essays about her life. (Sample chapter title: “fuck it bitch, stay fat”). It’s perfect. I agree with the back cover (and the reviews on Goodreads) that “Irby captures powerful emotional truths while chronicling the disaster that has been her life”. Just read it. Grade: 9

 

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake – A novel of historical fiction, taking place in post- World War II Tokyo. I think I liked the setting the best; I’ve never read much about life in Tokyo during this time. The war may be over but in many ways, life is worse than before, Japan is an occupied nation, trying to find democracy, but struggling with food shortages and a population that has just faced many devastating losses. In this backdrop, the author gives us several characters and their overlapping lives. There is a 12 year old girl whose older sister is missing; a Japanese-Canadian girl who has just returned to Japan after Canada deported her family; a teacher; and a Japanese-American solider stationed in Tokyo to work as a translator. It is implied that one of the characters is LGBT but this thread is never resolved or brought to any conclusion, which was disappointing since every other character’s arc seemed to play out. The book held my interest but wasn’t anything dazzling. Grade: 4

 

Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn – This is an account of the love affair between first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the reporter Lorena Hickok (“Hick”). I think it’s fascinating when a writer takes a little-known footnote of history and gives us the real story behind it. By the time Eleanor Roosevelt’s husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor had accepted that their marriage was a disappointment and was carving out a meaningful life for herself. Hick had grown up in poverty, had relationships with women, and fell in love with Eleanor. I listened to this on audio. It’s 11 CDs long, and the only real problem is the book’s length. I have to come clean and say that I skipped several sections of it. I really wanted to read about, well, Eleanor and Hick but unfortunately the author crammed the book full of too many details about the world around them. The Depression and WWII are very well-trod ground and I’ve read a ton on both subjects; I really disliked having to keep skipping segments in the hopes that the author would meander back to her main subject matter. Maybe I’m being harsh; she was just trying to give us an idea of the world surrounding the two women. I just keep thinking that if only this book had been better edited, it could’ve been a crisp and exciting story about this loving but doomed relationship. I don’t know how many readers will sift through it all to get to the good story that is buried here. Grade: 3

 

The Insider’s Guide to the Peace Corps by Dillon Banerjee – Although I’ve never been in the Peace Corps and can pretty well say that I never will, I have a love for “how to” books and a love for books about people working to improve the world. So I devoured this one! It’s a really, really good guide for anyone who wants to join the Peace Corps. It covers everything from the application process to packing to staying in touch with home to illness. Several topics were of special interest to me: how are LGBT people and people of color treated, sexual harassment, can you be a vegetarian and do this. Grade: 8

 

The Reader by Traci Chee – A novel of the fantasy genre that promised tales of duty, honor, and magic. The protagonist is a young woman named Sefia who has been on the run from the powers that be due to some special knowledge her parents had. She helps rescue a young man who has been forced to fight, they encounter a rogue band of sailors led by a good captain, and there are interwoven tales of others who are out to get them. I’m not sure why, but it never came together for me. Maybe the plot moved too slowly, maybe I wasn’t captivated by the world the author created or I didn’t care about the characters. I really felt something was missing and it was a chore to get through this one. Grade: 2

Gratitude

Aug. 2nd, 2017 06:05 pm
 
1. So with my sabbatical starting next week, one best bet I remember from last sabbatical is that you need to plan some really fun stuff for your final week of sabbatical. Since you can expect to feel pretty glum that week. (I actually was fine during that last week, but point taken). I just realized that new episodes of Supergirl, Arrow, Flash, and Legends start the week I return to work. So that is something awesome to look forward to!

2. Not much politically is going on that I can be happy about. But I was glad that the so-called president was forced to sign bipartisan legislation to put sanctions on Russia. And Gloria Steinem tweeted something about New York starting a council on Women and Girls

3. This last one isn't really a rah rah one, but....Although my company isn't doing layoffs now, I love my job so my big fear is always that i'll lose my job during some layoff in the future. Long story short, I'm on a small team of 4 people and one of them (Diane) is exhibiting bad behavior towards another team member (Erin). We've all spoken with our boss Lisa on this. She and I spoke about it and she said that if she were ever told she'd have to cut 1 team member, she has no difficulty picking who that would be - and she said she shared that with her boss. I sure do NOT want to see anyone lose their job, but I am glad that if it comes to that, it likely would not be me. 

Gratitude

Aug. 1st, 2017 05:51 pm
 
1. I won a raffle! Doris and I went to this thing Friday evening, they raffled off a gift basket full of wine. I bought just 1 ticket - and found out yesterday that I'd won!

2. My boss and I had a great mid year review, and then we went out to lunch with our teammate Erin. It was a farewell before sabbatical lunch for me, which was super-nice. Erin gave me a book

3. There's not much good news in Washington but I heard that the Senate Republicans are indicating a willingness to compromise with Dems. I guess we have to take every grain of good news we can get.

Gratitude

Jul. 30th, 2017 06:42 pm
 
This weekend was a good sampling of why we moved to Oak Park. Friday we went to the event at the local conservatory. Saturday I volunteered with the very active group of Democrats here while Doris did this edible garden tour with the local food coop. And today we saw a dance performance at the theater here. All good reminders of why we chose to live here!

Gratitude

Jul. 29th, 2017 06:04 pm

I started out today kinda feeling meh. About a week and a half ago, I felt myself coming down with a cold, but then I got better, but then a few days ago I started feeling sick again. (Doris picked up my cold somewhere in-between all this, and we think she may've given it right back to me!) I had something to do that I wasn't looking forward to, Doris had to work (even though she usually is off the last Saturday of the month), and to make matters worse, the number on the scale on my weekly weigh in was way higher than I expected.

But I reminded myself that these are all small things. I did my errand (canvassing for the Dems up north), the weather was awesome, and Doris and I were back home together before we knew it. She even had time to do this edible garden walk that the local coop put on and she enjoyed it.

So all is cool and we decided to buy tickets for this dance performance taking place at one of our local theaters tomorrow. That will be fun.

Gratitude

Jul. 28th, 2017 01:32 pm
 
1. Yay on the Senate healthcare vote!

2. Doris is doing what she rarely does - coming home on a Friday so we can have a date night! We're going to some "uncorked" thing, basically just wine and appetizers and music at a local conservatory. Should be nice. And if it sucks we can just go home. :)

3. I still love X-men, still love Shawn Ashmore's Bobby and am so glad Bobby came out as gay. Not new news, but I always hoped it'd happen and am still glad it did.

3 Things

Jul. 27th, 2017 06:50 am
 
Ooops - been too busy lately to post!

1. Despite how busy things are, at least things are going well. The meeting yesterday with LGBT activists was good, the booth thing for work was good.

2. One week and 2 days till sabbatical!

Heck, that second one should be all three things. :) 
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