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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Never Believe a Map

I knew maps were skewed, but I didn't realize it was by this much.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Clutter or Treasure?

To get rid of my old eBook readers or not to get rid of my old eBook readers, that is the question. I have two early Kindles and an early Fire. I still use the Fire from time to time, but I haven't used the regular Kindles in a couple of years. I've reached a point where I prefer to read on my iPad rather than on a dedicated eBook reader.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but I've reached a point where it feels more natural for me to read on a back-lit screen. I'm not sure that this is a good thing, but it is what it is.

The hold up in my head is that the trade-in offer for a 2nd generation Kindle is like $5. Is this device worth more to me than that small amount of money? But if I'm not using it and it's just taking up space in my house, it's not really worth hanging on to it and $5 is better than nothing, right?

You can see how I'm going back and forth in my head.

This comes up because I have an email that I must update my Kindles and well, I'm not sure where they're at. I have some ideas, but... But I haven't used them since the last time I had an email saying I had to update my Kindle or it would stop working, so that's probably telling me something.

I'm going to mull this some more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Small Pleasures

It's kind of ridiculous the things that can make me happy. Case in point: I drive one of those car/SUV crossover vehicles and I have a wide open back area instead of a trunk. When I'd drive with groceries in the back, my milk would fall over and my cantaloupes, jars, and cans would roll. Thunk one direction. Thunk the other direction. Gah!

Eventually, I remembered to order one of those trunk organizers. It worked wonderfully! The only problem? I couldn't fit all my groceries in it. I'd make sure I'd get the melons, fruit, and milk in there, but my cans and jars were still rolling all over the back. Today, I ordered another organizer.

This makes me deliriously happy! See what I mean about small pleasures?

I think my household organizers fall into this category, too. I love the baskets and bins! I even ordered a canister for my onions and admire it when I walk into the kitchen. Isn't it nice, I think, not to have onions on my counter?

Sometimes I think it's kind of sad to be this excited about mundane stuff, but then I think that life is much happier if you can enjoy the small things, so this is a positive, not a negative. :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Meeting at the Old Homestead

Working on the family tree made me think about extended family closeness.

My dad was one of eight kids. When I was growing up, we made multiple trips to Chicago every year for family events. We stayed with my Aunt Jo and my great Aunt Vic. They lived in the house where my dad grew up in.

When we arrived, nearly the entire family would come over that evening--aunts, uncles, cousins--and we'd fill the downstairs of the house. Often there was pizza, but there was also a lot of talking, catching up with each other, and much fun. Even when we got older and even after my great aunt died, this was still the drill whenever my family drove down from Minneapolis.

And then my dad's generation began to start dying. His sister who still lived in the family homestead needed to go into a nursing home. The old house was cleaned out, put on the market, and sold.

Things weren't the same after that. My dad had another older sister who let us stay with her, but very few--if anyone--showed up when we visited. For a while, one of two of the cousins tried to have holidays at their house and keep the family gatherings going, but that stopped, too. The only people left now from that generation are my dad and one of his sister-in-laws.

Looking back now, I really appreciate all the family parties. They were big and loud and boisterous and I knew all my cousins. I got to talk to my aunts and uncles and get to know them, too. Well, as much as a kid gets to know any adult.

And I feel really bad for my cousins' children. They've totally missed out on this bonding and camaraderie. We lost something irreplaceable. I don't know if it was losing the central gathering place (AKA the family homestead) or if it was my dad's generation passing away, but either way, it seems like something precious has been lost.

This would be a good note to close on, but I am compelled to make a confession at this point. I'm as guilty as everyone else at letting the togetherness die. Once I sold my first book, I hardly took the time to travel to Chicago. I was using all my vacation time to write or attend conferences. Of course, by the time I sold my first book, things were already fading away. The old home was already sold and get togethers were usually light on people.