Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

Woke up pretty early Saturday morning because I messed up my back shoveling snow last weekend, so I still have a nasty leftover twinge that runs from the middle of my lower back across my right hip and down my thigh. I spent most nights this week trying and failing to find a comfortable position to sleep. So from time to time all through the past week I’ve had to stop what I was doing to practice a little physio/yoga, reaching very carefully for my toes, hanging there in rag doll pose for three to five deep breaths, then very carefully and slowly rising all the way up and leaning back, reaching up with my chest and down with my shoulders, until I can’t comfortably go back any further, holding that pose (not sure what the yogis call that; maybe hyperextended question mark?) for another three to five breaths, and finally straightening up and focusing on my lower back to see if it feels any better. Usually it does, for a while.

There hasn’t been a lot of snow this year and though I’ve broken out the shovel a dozen times, more or less, this season, it’s usually been to clear a few inches off the sidewalk; I don’t even bother clearing the driveway when there’s an inch or less because I can count on the sun to burn it off in a few days. Last week, though, we got a couple four-five inches, and the city plow turned that into a big pile at the end of the drive that I couldn’t just drive over, so I had to fire up the snow blower, then clean up the edges of the drive and clear the sidewalk with the shovel. To make it more complicated than it had to be, as part of the work we’ve been having done on the house there was a big trailer parked in the drive that I had to park behind, which meant I had to do a lot more shoveling in the narrow spaces around them instead of zipping down the driveway with the snow blower. And then there was the heavy, wet snow that fell on the weekend; that’s the stuff that my back really wasn’t prepared for.

Warm weather this weekend has been steadily melting the snow away; thanks, Mother Nature! Could’ve used that a little earlier this week, though.

A contractor from Mike’s Painting named Dave stopped by the house Saturday about ten o’clock to paint the wall in our bedroom where they had to tear out the rotten framing around the window and patch it up with fresh new framing and drywall. The drywallers came by middle of last week to plaster over the patched spot, and Dave, the painter from Mike’s, was there to paint over the plaster. Unfortunately he couldn’t match the paint exactly, so now one wall of the bedroom is a light tan color and the other three walls are a slightly darker, more yellow sand color. But! You wouldn’t otherwise suspect there was a big hole in the wall only two weeks ago; you would only wonder why one wall was a different color, if you wonder about things like that.

We had a couple hours of quiet time in the afternoon after Dave from Mike’s finished and packed up his stuff, so I stretched out on the sofa to read a little and have a short nap before Tim came over. I have a crazy-large collection of anthologies of short stories in the science fiction & fantasy genre; I used to eat this stuff up with a spoon when I was a kid but got away from it later and didn’t read it at all for many, many moons. I rediscovered it after I checked out a copy of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War from the main branch of the Madison Public Library, my favorite spot to spend my lunch hour when I worked downtown. Scalzi writes the kind of science fiction I enjoyed so much as a kid: character-driven with lots of dialogue, fast-paced action, and SHIPS IN SPAAACE! His latest book is due out in April and I’m on tenterhooks waiting for its release. Meantime, I’m gobbling up other authors like Mary Robinette Kowal (The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky), Chuck Wendig (Wanderers), N.K. Jemisin (How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?) and Mary Wells (The Murderbot Diaries).

Just tangentially, and to self-consciously reassert my cred as a “serious reader,” I’m about two-hundred pages into Cyrus Sulzberger’s fascinating memoir, A Long Row of Candles. Sulzberger was a correspondent for the New York Times and, to judge by what I’ve read so far, he was either one of the most adventuresome men on the planet who met the most colorful people who ever lived, or he may have exaggerated his stories a teensy-tiny bit. Dunno which, not sure I care; it’s a fun read either way, but at more than a thousand pages it’s not nearly as portable as my phone, on which I can read Kindle editions of SHIPS IN SPAAACE! So in the fifteen-minute breaks I get from staring at spread sheets at the office I read sci-fi, and when I have an hour or two of quiet time at home I read Sulzberger.

Except yesterday. Yesterday I wanted fantasy in small bites, to have plenty of time for a nap, and I wanted to discover new authors, so I got one of the anthologies down off the shelf and flipped pages until an interesting title caught my eye. Yesterday it was “Because Change Was the Ocean and We Lived by Her Mercy,” by Charlie Jane Anders. I’ll have to read it again because unfortunately I nodded off about halfway through, one of the hazards of reading preparatory to a nap. I finished the story after I woke up, but I think the continuity break messed up my understanding of the story. I’m not sure I could describe it right now if peace on earth hung in the balance.

Tim came over last night for dinner and a game of Spirit Island. Dinner was take-out from Swad, an Indian restaurant up the street. We feasted on lamb kabob, chicken tikka, chilli chicken and, of course, onion bhaji. A bonus of ordering dinner from Swad: everyone had buckets of leftovers to stock up the fridge for breakfast/lunch/dinner the next day. My dish was spicy enough that I think I’ll have to wait until dinner to finish mine off.

After clearing the dishes from the table and listening to the last half of the latest Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! podcast, we broke out the gameboard and set up a game of Spirit Island, an anti-colonizing game Tim introduced us to about a month ago. This time I was Lighting’s Swift Strike, blasting towns and cities off the board, while B defended the forests as A Spread of Rampant Green and Tim swept explorers away as River Surges in Sunlight. We cleared the invading colonials off the board in about two and a half hours last night, quite a lot faster than the five or so hours it took the first time we played; I think B and I may finally be getting the hang of this game.

high points | 9:39 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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