Put your records on

Just a few of my old albums from the later ’60s to the ’80s, before CDs took over, have made it to the shelf so far. Hope they still all play. Nothing beats vinyl ....

Just a few of my old albums from the later ’60s to the ’80s, before CDs took over, have made it to the shelf so far. Hope they still play all right. Nothing beats vinyl ….

Focusing on the negative is easy, especially when the news is as bad as it’s been lately, but I’m usually more of the Pollyanna-bent. So when I noticed a bit ago that I hadn’t been feeling quite like myself, I knew it was time to put my records on.

Music always soothes my soul and lifts my spirits, and my regimen of listening to my music at least once a day – not counting in my car – has helped.

(Technically, these days it’s my iPod in a Bose dock, but John recently built an album-sized shelf upstairs and got many of my albums out of storage. Now I just need to get a turntable hooked up.)

I also haven’t had much time for creative outlets, other than what I do for work, or exercise, except the bare minimum, so it’s time to get the sewing machine back out, try my hand at pointillism and shake a tail feather. Without killing myself in the process.

Work/life balance has been out of balance. I’m working on that.

Jude’s spending the night tonight and tomorrow we go dig for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park – something neither Pop nor I have done. It’s the rest of his 8th birthday present. It’s good to have one-on-one time with our oldest boy.

The one thing I have had time to do lately (on the treadmill and by staying up way too late) is read, which brings me to this installment of “Lolly’s Book Report.”

predisposed Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives and the Biology of Political Differences is a fascinating, if somewhat textbook-y read. The studies are eye-opening, and if everyone were required to read it – with an open mind – surely much hatefulness would be abated. Fear and loathing of the political “other” is defused when you learn that people are born with a predisposition to being a certain way.

For me it was a hard-to-put-down, hurry-to-finish book. John finds it very interesting, too, but not as compelling as I did. Even though some parts required a twice- or thrice-over reading, I scoop that stuff up with a spoon then lick the bowl.

I’d suggest it to anyone interested in the human mind, even if, maybe especially if, politics turns you off.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a fabulous little mystery that I can’t say too much about without ruining it for you. Miss PIt’s a page-turner; I  read it from start to finish the day we flew to Yakima. I will say read it if you like fun, well-written stories that linger after you’ve finished and make you go “Hmmmm, I wonder ….” The eerily fascinating real photos will linger after you’ve finished and possibly appear in your dreams.

100 footThe 100-Foot Journey was my Yakima read. It’s a fairly short, lightweight book with a definite charm – and on my list of books to read before the movie comes out. I suspect it was greatly changed in the screenplay from the trailers I’ve seen. The book is based around French cooking and the graphic descriptions of animal slaughter and handling of meat gagged me at times, but the humor and humanity of other parts kept me reading.

Can’t say it’s in my top 100 books, but at this age, I don’t bother finishing a book if it isn’t good.

Last night I finished the book that’s been keeping me up too late lately – and disturbing me, greatly, at times, even though it’s about events in the 1930s. gardenKitty gave me In the Garden of the Beasts in Yakima – she’d recently finished it. I love Erik Larson’s writing style, and though Garden isn’t quite as good as The Devil in the White City, it still worked me into fury over intelligent people’s collective blindness to der fuhrer’s insanity as he rose to power. That’s some powerful writing and disturbing reading.

Disturbing – and more than a little scary, considering much of the craziness in the world and right here in the U.S. right now – but important reading. Those who don’t learn from the past and all.

madwoman After finishing it, though, I dove straight into The Madwoman in the Volvo, which John got me as a surprise after we saw author Sandra Tsing Loh on Real Time with Bill Maher recently and she made us laugh so hard.

John said he thought it would be funny and that I’d enjoy it. He was right. It is and I am.


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