Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Strange Question Meme, Part One

Wanna play along? Click thine button:

1. What is the color of your toothbrush?
It's an electric toothbrush with bright, cornflower-blue sparkle paint on one side. The rest has a matte white finish. In case you have been wondering, yes, I have had paint colors on the brain lately.

2. Name one person who made you smile today.
I haven't been out of the house today. My cats made me smile today. Does that count?

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
Sleeping blissfully. Sleeping late for the first time in weeks.

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago?
Heating olive oil on the stove. I am giving my hair a hot olive oil treatment as we speak. My hair is encased in plastic wrap, and will be for the next hour as the oils penetrate the strands of my locks. I expect trick or treaters soon; this will be a good way to scare them.

5. What is your favorite candy bar?
Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger! I made the mistake of buying the mini ones for the trick or treaters...let's just say I'll be lucky to hand a few out by the end of the night.

6. Have you ever been to a strip club?

7. What is the last thing you said aloud?
I don't I said, I haven't left the house today, and have had no human contact. I don't even remember the last thing I said to las gatas.

8. What is your favorite ice cream? How to choose?
It's a toss-up among chocolate chip cookie dough, dulce de leche, peanut butter cup, and cookies and cream. How to choose? I go with whatever flavor's on sale. Which reminds me, Blue Bunny ice cream's on sale at the A and Piss Off; I may have to actually make a trip to that wretched establishment.

9. What was the last thing you had to drink?
A cup of Kona coffee from the Keurig.

10. Do you like your wallet?
What kind of a question is this? I've had mine for several years now; I guess I like it!

11. What was the last thing you ate?
A cup of Fiber One vanilla yogurt.

12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
Nope, not this week. A month ago I took advantage of the Old Navy sweater sale and bought a few new sweaters.

13. The last sporting event you watched?
Two minutes of a Boston Bruins game.

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn?
Smartfood. Best damn popcorn on earth.

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to?
My friend Chantal, the one who staged a curly hair intervention not long ago.

16. Ever go camping?
Last time I went camping was back in the fifth grade. Our Girl Scout troop went on a Girl Scout camping jamboree weekend. We slept in cabins and washed up in privies--we didn't exactly rough it.

17. Do you take vitamins daily?
I have to. I have a vitamin D deficiency.

18. Do you go to church every Sunday?
Yep, but there are some Sundays where I feel it's good to sleep in and just take the day as it comes.

19. Do you have a tan?
I live in Connecticut. I have a New Englander's tan--nice and pasty white. During the winter it matches the snow.

20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza?
I like 'em both equally, but eat pizza more often.

21. Do you drink your soda with a straw?
Only in restaurants.

22. What did your last text message say?
"Have you heard from so-and-so lately?" Last text from Chantal.

23. What are you doing tomorrow?
Going to church, correcting papers, and continuing to wash olive oil out of my hair.

24. Favorite color?
Purple. The deeper and plummier the shade, the better.

25. Look to your left; what do you see?
My filing cabinet and one of my bookshelves.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Friday Fragments: Bad Eats

This evening Papa Cat took me out to dinner. We went to the Ninety-Nine. As we perused the menu, trying to decide what to eat, I saw this:

Behold, kittens, the iceberg wedge. Tell me, is this dish a holdout from the 60s or 70s? Because I've never seen any of the hoity-toity chefs on America's Test Kitchen or Food Network try to recreate this. Not even Rachael Ray will touch this one! I never understood its appeal; iceberg, to me, is rawther tasteless, and the addition of tons of dressing and bacon bits cannot improve upon the nutritional value of the lettuce. Even though it's a vegetable, and a leafy green at that, iceberg has the fewest vitamins and minerals of all of the salads. Who even came up with the idea of serving this dish? No comprendo! De ninguna manera!

That got me thinking...what other weird foods are out there? There are tons! So many I can't limit myself to just one blog post! But I'll highlight some of my faves in this one.

We shall continue with this:

I never understood the appeal of marshmallow fluff. It has always looked like watered down Spackle to me. Then again, I've never liked marshmallows. I have a sweet tooth, but marshmallows have been way too sweet for me. As a kid, Sister Kitten used to eat marshmallows straight out of the bag while watching TV. That is not so bad when you consider that she used to eat marshmallow fluff right out of the tub.

And speaking of eating things straight from the container:

I have a few friends who used to squirt this stuff in their mouths and consider it a meal. Granted, this was during our college days. Even better, you'd get this stuff out at parties, and once people had a few drinks too many, they'd squirt this stuff in each other's mouths. Generally girls never participated in this ritual. The males often did, and would wash it down with whatever beer was on hand.

And finally, there's this:Maybe it's because Mama Cat never believed in feeding us processed foods as kids, but I just feel funny even looking at a box of Velveeta. Is this stuff really cheese? Is dairy even one of its ingredients? I've never picked up a box to examine its contents, and I'm not sure I want to Google an ingredient list, either.

As the holiday season fast approaches, I may have some more posts like this. I can think of a couple of side dishes at the Thanksgiving table that I could write about, but I'm saving those for another time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The fly

It happens every afternoon.

I'm sitting quietly at my desk at work, blissfully listening to NPR, being happily productive. I'm really, deeply involved in my tasks. So involved that the smallest interruption completely shatters my concentration.

It's moments like that when he arrives.

He comes like clockwork, every afternoon around 3:30, and starts swarming around my workspace with the loudest buzzing sound you've ever heard. And he doesn't stop for about twenty minutes. I shoo him away, again and again. And then he leaves--for five minutes. Then he returns.

I have attempted to kill this sucker many times, but he just won't die.

And this has been going on for about two years now.

Now kittens, I realize that flies have the life span of a gnat, but seriously, I think this has been the same fly. Either that or the original one passed on his DNA to his offspring. After all, how else would a family of flies behave the same way?

I have told this story to several people, who have all looked at me funny. They're amazed at how much a fly can bother me. But when I'm working, I'm working. I loathe any and all interruptions, including bathroom breaks. I'm pretty focused when I have a task that engulfs me.

And here's the worst part...I really think this fly lives to annoy me. Just me and me alone. How else would he only come to my room, at the same time every day, for two years?!?!

At least he hasn't followed me home.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Clip of the Week, Part Two: Alton Brown Makes a Smoothie

Jimmy Fallon continues to question Alton Brown's sanity as the two of them make a fruit smoothie in a--to put it mildly--most unusual way.

Clip of the Week, Part One: Alton Brown Makes a Smoothie

If you are at all familiar with the Food Network show Good Eats, you know that Alton Brown's cooking methods are...well, unorthodox is putting it mildly. Witness this clip of him making a smoothie with Jimmy Fallon and you'll know exactly what I mean.

Why you haven't seen many book reviews lately

Or rawther, any book reviews lately.

The answer is quite simple.

I got burned out on reading.

Here's what happened: When I discovered all of these reading challenges I was so excited, I signed up for as many as I could. I realized not long ago that I bit off a lot more than I could chew. You see the lists of books in my sidebar, that I'm supposedly reading right now? I stopped reading them in mid-August. I simply got fried, and decided to take a break from books. It was becoming like a job for me.

When I was in the middle of the reading challenges, I really enjoyed them. However, as deadlines approached for the ends, I began to feel pressure to complete them. One day I just threw my hands up and said, "Forget it! I don't want to feel pressured to read!" I found myself turning into a reading machine, and I didn't like that.

The demands of my job recently have also made it difficult to find time to open the covers of a book. It's not uncommon for me to work 12-14 hour days. By the time all is said and done at the end of the day, I've been too tired to focus on the written page. Instead of falling asleep to a soothing literary lullaby, I've been falling asleep listening to the drone of the automated voice of the Weather Channel's local forecasts. Puts me to sleep every time. But I digress...

But now, I'm feeling the itch to get back into the bibliogroove. I will always love books, but after signing up for so many challenges, and feeling pressured to complete them, I had to take a break. However, there is some good to come out of this: Thanks to these challenges, I've read genres that I normally would never have read. I participated in posts that I never thought I'd write. It was an enriching experience for me.

Next year, however, I'm only signing up for one or two challenges. Three, at the most. And if I get overzealous again, kittens, please, hold me accountable. Let me know that I'm biting off more than I can chew. Help keep me in line!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dear local politicians...

I know that you're nearing the end of your bids to get elected next month, but please, stop cluttering my mailbox with ads. If you can't go green, I will--by putting your ads in the recycle bin. Good luck in November.
Love, Kitten

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Last week, I wrote a post about the peculiar habits of our canine friends. Since we here at The Bookkitten are equal opportunity bloggers, it's only fair that I compose a little something about our feline companions.

When I returned home from housesitting last Saturday night, I was welcomed with open arms--er, paws. I unloaded the car, poured a glass of wine, and settled in to watch some DVR shows. No sooner did I sit on the couch than Maggie jumped into my lap and settled in. A minute later, Gabby settled right next to us. And so the three of us stayed, for a solid hour. I wanted to get up and move around occasionally, but I couldn't; I didn't want to disturb my babies, especially since I hadn't been home in so long.

Say what you will about cats and how they can be stuck-up and blow certain people off, but when they love their human friends, they adore them. My gals have been my little shadows ever since I returned home. Every night, when I go to bed, they plaster themselves against my body and won't leave. It makes it difficult to toss and turn at night, especially if you're a blanket hog, like me, who also likes the sheets so tightly tucked in the bed is practically short-sheeted.

Which leads to my next do cats instinctively know when you're making the bed? Mine don't even have to see me take the sheets out of the linen closet; they just show up whenever I make the bed. One gets on the mattress pad and refuses to leave. Rather than shoo her off, I just make the bed over her. I put the fitted sheet on, then the flat sheet. By the time I tuck the sheets in, the other cat decides to join the fun. When it gets to the point where I spread the blanket over the sheets, they engage in a turf war. By the time I put the duvet cover on, both cats have escaped from the sheets, and now I have to tuck everything back in.

And how do cats instinctively know when you're on vacation? Or when it's the weekend? Or when your alarm goes off? Mine seem to know whenever I set the clocks ahead for Daylight Savings or backwards when it's over. They always wake me up about fifteen minutes before my alarm goes off, just to make sure I don't sleep in. And when it's the weekend, they leave me alone and let me sleep in. Weird.

But when cats are Out.

Cats will let you know when they want food, and when they want food, they want it yesterday. Mine have chewed holes in the bags of dry food on quite a few occasions whenever I've come home from the grocery store. It's especially dangerous when I eat tuna or salmon; they are in my face, begging, begging, begging, for just a wee little taste of fishy goodness.

However, I have animals who will eat anything. And I do mean, everything.

I don't deliberately feed her this, but Gabs loves tortellini. She's taken a little nugget out of the bowl before and eats just a little bit of it at a time before deciding she doesn't want any more. She also loves pizza crust. Mags is partial to broccoli florets, and will jump on the counter and steal one whenever I cut up the crown. She also likes to drink the leftover sludge at the bottom of a coffee cup. I stop her immediately when I catch her doing this, since caffeine isn't good for cats.

Which reminds me...I have to make dinner. And ironically enough, tortellini was on sale at Stop and Shop this week.

Excuse me, I have to go feed myself...and the Gabster.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

There's no place like home!

Well, kittens, I have now been home for thirteen hours. I got home at 7 PM last night, and it took me fifteen minutes to unload my car. Keep in mind that I was away for two and a half weeks and I had two and a half weeks of clothes and such with me. Hell, I even brought my Keurig with me while I was gone. Mama needs her coffee!

Anyhoo, I'm adjusting to being home in the same way that someone who has been in a foreign country for a while adjusts to being back in their native land. It feels weird, yet pretty good. The cats slept with me last night, clinging to my body so tightly that they pretty much trapped me. I couldn't move, no matter how much I tried.

After I got all of the stuff unloaded, I sat down, poured myself a glass of wine, and caught up on three episodes of Conan on the DVR. I'm still behind on him and on Glee. Which reminds me, I have to write a post about my life after DVR...

Today, I further integrate myself in the readjustment process. I have to go grocery shopping. There is no food in the house, except for breadcrumbs, apples, pasta, and stale milk. Maybe I could make myself a breadcrumbed apple...mmm...or, dice an apple and toss it with the pasta...

And if you think I'm serious, then you need an extra shot of espresso.

Which reminds me, time to make some coffee of my own.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sunday Stealing: The ABCs of Meme

A- Advocate for: Lots of things: Asthma awareness, depression awareness, and public education, to name a few

B- Best Feature: Eyes

C- Could do without: "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate."

D- Dreams and desires: To become a published author, or work in a bookstore, or become a librarian. I would love to be a writer most of all of these goals, though.

E- Essential items: iPod, Keurig, cell phone, computer (Same as wonder why we're such good friends.)

F- Favorite past time: reading, drinking tea, and hanging out with the cats as I do so

G- Good at: going with my intuition has never let me down

H- Have never tried: snowboarding, skiing, or speedskating

I- If I had a million dollars: I'd pay off my college loans and invest the rest.

J- Junkie for: Books, music, Carol Burnett, Anne of Green Gables, and Conan O'Brien (may as well put redheads here, too)

K- Kindred spirit: My BFF...and Anne of Green Gables, too (those of you who have read the series know what I'm referring to)

L- Little known fact: I used to take pictures of pigeons in every city I visited. I had a little album going for a while.

M- Memorable moment: There are lots of them, but I can't think of one specific one right now.

N- Never again will I: stay up till 5 AM because I have to study or work...I will only stay up that late because I want to

O- Occasional indulgence: Ice cream

P- Profession: Education

Q- Quote: "A lot of comedy is tragedy plus time." --Carol Burnett

R- Reason to smile: Friends and family

S- Sorry about: being so careless with money in the past

T- Things you are worrying about right now: Cleaning my house and catching up with chores after being away for 2.5 weeks

U- Uninterested in: The TV show Lost. I know many people who are obsessed with it, but I just don't get it.

V- Very scared of: snakes

W- Worst habits: Nail-biting, procrastination

X- X marks my ideal vacation spot: Saint Thomas, USVI

Y- Yummiest dessert: cheesecake!

Z- Zodiac sign: Pisces

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


As you all know, I am a housesitter. I stay overnight at my friends' houses whenever they go away. Usually I do this if they are dog owners. Now, as you also know, I am a cat person. I love dogs, but due to my lifestyle, I can't take care of one. I work about a half hour from home, and am often gone for twelve hours at a time. Most of the friends for whom I housesit are a five minute drive from work, or less, enabling me to let them out according to their needs.

Now, with the five minute commute, one might think, "Lovely! You can sleep in and hit the snooze button several times, right?" WRONG. Dogs operate on their own schedule. They don't care whether they wake you up at 6:30 am or 2:30 am. Most of the time the dogs I watch will let me sleep for fifteen extra minutes when I tell them to go away for a bit. But when dogs gotta go, they gotta go.

Tonight I let the dogs out after their supper, and I made some observations:

1. They insist on peeing in the exact same spot. Where one goes, the other must go as well.
2. Why is it that dogs insist on turning two or three times before laying down?
3. You know the movie 101 Dalmatians? That part about the "Twilight Bark"? So true. When one dog in the neighborhood barks, even if it's twenty houses down, all of the dogs in the neighborhood join in.

Now to complicate matters, there is a cat living in this house as well. He is clearly the alpha male, and is not afraid to swipe either pup if he gets pissed off. After all, this is his house. The dogs are so afraid of him, they will freeze in their tracks when they come in from the backyard and they see him in the kitchen. I never saw a dog fear a cat before. It's really remarkable how terrified these big dogs (they're Labs) are of this feline.

And what is it with dogs and shoes?!?!?! One of the dogs likes to hold shoes in its mouth. Fortunately, they don't get chewed up--well, actually, I lost a wee part of my heel the other day, to my good pair of brown shoes. Plus side? I took advantage of the BOGO sale at Payless and got some new ones. But I digress.

Oh, and the shoe-loving dog also loves to drag clothes around the house. The other day I stacked my laundry way up high, high enough that I felt that she couldn't get a hold of it. The next morning, when I woke up--clean laundry, all over the first floor of the house.

Now, I get annoyed when my kitties fall asleep on my laundry, but I'd take their fur all over my clean sweaters over seeing my laundry dragged across the living room any day.

I'm here till Saturday afternoon. It's going to feel really weird sleeping in my own house after being away for so long. But at the same time, it's gonna feel soooo good.

P.S. For those of you who have asked why I don't have my cats here, it's pretty simple. They don't get along with dogs. Plus, the alpha male cat is known as the neighborhood bully, even though he's pretty sweet with me. With the two dogs and the cat here, I'd have to keep my girls cooped up in one of the bedrooms all day long. It really wouldn't be fair for me to do that to them. Fortunately I get to go home and spend time with them each day for a couple of hours, so they don't feel neglected.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The joys of being a homeowner

Last night I went to sit shiva with the family of my friend who passed away last week. Not only did she work with me, she was my neighbor. So I took the opportunity to swing by the house for a couple of hours, before the services started. I fed the cats, gave them water, and then went on my way.

However, it's gotten tres cold here in the Nutmeg State, and I forgot to turn on the heat before I left. So I made another trip up today for the sole purpose of turning the heat on.

When I went to turn the heat on in the back of the house, where my office is, I was greeted by a not-so-nice surprise: my patio umbrella had blown over and shattered the glass top to my patio table, leaving it in hundreds upon hundreds of itty bitty shards, some scattered on the deck, others hanging by a thread off of the edge of the table.

For the next two and a half hours, I gingerly cleaned the whole mess up. I used my vacuum, a broom, some trash bags, and a couple of grocery bags. I took the table apart and disposed of it in the dumpster. I went downstairs to my neighbor's and cleaned off his patio. I live in a loft, so some of the shards fell in between the boards of my deck and down onto his space.

I still have some glass shards in the cracks that I have to clean up. That will have to wait until I return home Saturday--for good.

I can't wait to go home. I've forgotten what it's like to be there.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Friday Fragments

Hey everyone--

Sorry I've been such the slacker here on the blog lately. Lots going on, as you know, especially if you follow me on Facebook. Let me give you some brief updates here.

Today I went to a funeral for a friend and former colleague of mine. I really don't want to go into too much detail about it, other than to say that I haven't really grieved yet. Usually when something like this happens I have a delayed reaction--a VERY delayed reaction--and I don't grieve until four or five days after the death's happened. So I'm just waiting for the moment when I can finally break down and feel some relief.

I am housesitting, and have been since October 1st. This is for the same friend who had the butter-eating dog a few months back. Not to worry, I don't plan on doing any baking right now. However, the other dog has been dragging my clean, folded laundry all over the house. I thought I had put it out of reach by stacking it high on the dining room table. Maybe the cat has been knocking the clothing off when I'm not there.

I will be here till the 17th. I've never been away from home for so long--in my adult life, that is. I get to visit my cats every other day, check on them, see if they're okay. And they are. But I miss them something awful--especially right now. I haven't had a lazy, do nothing day at home in a very long time. I just want a Saturday afternoon to chill on the couch, catch up with my DVR shows, and have the kitties in my lap. Yes, I know that sounds incredibly selfish--and it is. But it's what I'm craving right now.

The other day I told my BFF that I had never been happier, professionally or personally. I then added that I hope I didn't jinx myself by saying that. Now I wonder if I have...or maybe this is a temporary setback. I hope it is.

I have a long weekend. I was excited about it at first, but now, not so much. Saturday I'm getting my car serviced--AGAIN. Stupid belts have been giving me a lot of grief, but I'm going to the dealership, and they're good at what they do. Sunday I was supposed to go apple picking with BFF, but I found out that A) I have to sing at church, and B) I am going to sit shiva Sunday night with my friend's family. Normally I could balance all of these activities--if I were at my OWN home and if I didn't have dogs to let out. Now again, I like housesitting and I enjoy dogs, but with everything going on, and everything I want to do, it's been difficult scheduling my life around letting them out--and they have to be let out every four hours, given that one of them has urinary issues. I hope that I can get someone to let them out on Sunday while I'm gone.

So, anyhoo, I'm in a funk right now. I know that this will pass, but it's just a lot to deal with in a short time. Thanks, as always, for letting me vent.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where we live

I grew up in small-town America.

My town was very rural--well, rural and growing to the point where it was about to become a real suburb. My town had traffic lights, and two small, locally-owned grocery stores, a homegrown hardware store, a locally-owned video store, and lots and lots of family-owned pizza parlors.

We were the town where the marching band was the pride and joy of our high school. We didn't even have a football team. We were the town where everyone knew each other, where people would leave their doors unlocked at night and have no fear of their kids going to the library by themselves or walking to school on their own.

This is where I grew up.

And the older I got, the more I wanted out.

In fact, that became my main post-college goal: I didn't care where I landed a job, I just wanted out of my parents' house and be outta my small town.

It didn't help that my parents did not grow up in small-town America, and that, even after 29 years of living in the same town, they still have moments of culture shock. Both Mama and Papa Cat grew up in the greater New York metro area, and were used to city life--or living nearby a vibrant, active city. Hartford, sadly, is not exactly the most vibrant of metropolitan areas.

They complain, for instance, about the lack of good pizza and bagels in their neck of the woods. They were overjoyed when I decided to attend college in Fairfield County, and Sister Kitten in upstate New York, if only for the bread goods. (Well, that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea of how much my rents love their bagels).

Getting the Sunday New York papers was a mini-dose of joy in our household growing up. After church, Papa Cat would stop by the local, mom-and-pop pharmacy, greet our pharmacist, who knew my family--and the other families in town--very well, and purchase the Daily News and the New York Post. Mama and Papa Cat would then sit in their respective Archie-and-Edith chairs and read their papers, sighing over the Mets' latest disaster and wishing that Steinbrenner would just sell the Yankees already.

We were also unusual because we were one of the few families in town that didn't have generations of members living in the same area for decades. We weren't related to anyone else in town. We were the only members of our extended family living in Connecticut.

So what did this mean for me growing up? I knew that there was a world beyond my small-town bubble, and I couldn't wait to pierce it and escape.

And, in July of 2001, I did.

I moved to a small city with a waterfront and a mall within a five-minute driving distance. I could purchase my groceries at Stop and Shop and grab a quick bite to eat at McDonald's. I had my prescriptions filled at Rite Aid, and bought my coffee at the local Dunkin Donuts every morning on my way to work. I banked at Bank of America, and got my car serviced at Jiffy Lube.

This, to me, was paradise. No longer did I have to drive half an hour to get to the mall. No longer did I have to go twenty miles out of town to shop at Target. No longer did I have to go out of my way to get to the nearest Borders.

And shortly after I moved, things started to change--both within my hometown, and myself.

Before I moved, the old Chevy dealership on the south end of town had been torn down and was being replaced by a Stop and Shop. Mama Cat would flip the bird in protest every time she drove by. I asked her why.

"It's putting the local businesses out of business!"

I didn't get it then.

A year later, a CVS opened in town. Once again, Mama Cat refused to go there, and chose to have her prescriptions filled at the same mom-and-pop establishment where she had been going for years. I asked her why she didn't make the switch, since CVS also had more inventory than her old place.

"It'll put Mike out of business!"

I still didn't get it.

But one day, I finally did.

Sadly, it took the current state of our economy to realize just how important mom-and-pop businesses are, not just to the welfare of our communities, but more importantly, to our psyche.

I can't tell you how many local businesses in my current city of residence have closed down because people are going to their larger, chain counterparts. And when you hear stories about how these local businesses have given so much to the community, it really makes you want to weep. I love to read about the local high school, community-sponsored graduation parties, and see which businesses have contributed. Nine times out of ten, the sponsors are the locally-owned, mom-and-pop businesses.

I now go back to my hometown and feel a sense of longing for what once was. The local pharmacy is still there, and is doing a decent business, but the CVS still looms large. We now have a Starbucks and an TJ Maxx, in addition to a Dunkin Donuts and a McDonald's.

My small town has now been commercialized.

Which leads me to wonder, does true small-town America still exist?

Yes...and no.

I'm currently housesitting for a friend of mine who lives in small-town America. The "center" of town is just a stone's throw away from her house. There aren't any chain stores, but two very nice, locally-owned gourmet food stores. There's a small, locally-owned used bookstore, as well as a bakery. The other day, I was in one of the food stores, and two little girls were in there with their mom, buying candy to eat later in the day. When they left, the mother went to run errands, and the little girls sat in front of the store, eating their gummy worms, watching the world go by.

This past weekend I went to a memorial service for the father of a friend of mine. There were people there who knew her father from when they were back in high school--fifty years ago. They still lived in the same small town where they grew up.

In spite of these little girls, and the men in mourning for their friend, there is an aspect of small-town America that will never come round again. We all lock our doors at night, have car alarms, and have ADT and Brinks Home Security on call in case anything should happen.

Lately I've found myself missing my small town--in more ways than one. I still like my mid-sized American city, though. You can't beat the convenience of having a movie theater, a hospital, and three major shopping centers all within a ten-minute radius.

And it's nice to know that there are two small towns bordering mine.

It's good to know that I can return to small-town America--if only for a couple of hours at a time.

Or even in my imagination.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bookin' Around meme

Borrowed from my pal NurseExec.
Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
I don't snack while I read. I find that I don't concentrate as much on the book if I do.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I only marked up books if I had to read them for college/grad school courses. I don't these days; even the thought of putting sticky notes in a book as I read horrifies me.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
It depends. If it's a paperback that I own, dog ears. If it's a library book, bookmark. If the bookmark has a dust jacket, I use the flaps to keep my place.

Laying the book flat open?
Never. I always hold the book in my hands.
Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Les deux.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
Hard copy. I haven't tried audiobooks yet, and I'm kinda afraid to. I fear that the narrator's vocal tone and style may ruin the book for me.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
I have to go all the way to the end of a chapter. I feel a better sense of closure that way; I don't like being in limbo.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
This isn't a problem for me. My vocabulary is pretty large. Plus, I'm pretty good at figuring out words from context.

What are you currently reading?
Sad to say, nothing! I've been so busy with work!

What is the last book you bought?
I bought the latest one from the author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Sadly, I can't think of her name right now.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
Sometimes I read more than one at a time, others I can only concentrate on a single volume.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
At the end of the day, before bedtime, curled up in a ball on the left corner of my couch.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
I love 'em all!

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
All summer long, I've been raving about The Time Traveler's Wife. And I can't recommend Lucy Maud Montgomery--any of her works--enough. And The Pillars of the Earth made a rather large impression on me, too.
How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
By series and genre. All of my Twilight books are shelved together. All of my chick lit books are shelved together, my travel books together, etc.

Favorite genre?
Memoirs, and lately, a lot of chick lit. And I do mean, A LOT.