Monday, September 24, 2007

Little Pocket of o' Sunshine

Mondays are a weird day for me. They are my official day off--but I usually feel like garbage for a good part of them. I think I suffer from what I once heard Rob Bell refer to as a "Preacher's Hangover" --I feel exhausted, may or may not have a headache, and can't help but thinking "Oh my, what did I do?" and more to the point, "What did I say yesterday?"

In order to deal with this condition--and for our general mental health--Jill and I do our best to get out of town for a while on Mondays. We usually head up to the hills (it seems like a more entertaining option than heading out to the plains)and do some hiking and biking. That was the plan this morning, but a dark cloud was hanging over Denver when we awoke. We thought it might end up being a quiet day at home reading.

However, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we discovered that the place we wanted to go only had a 30% chance of rain for the day (and not until the afternoon). So we loaded up the dog and headed out.

Things looked bad on the way out of town. We couldn't even see the mountains that we were driving towards because they were covered with thunderheads. Jill commented that it looked like they were being devoured by "the Nothing" in The Never Ending Story (great book, lousy movie). However, because we believe absolutely everything that we read on the Internet, we persevered on. And we were glad we did.

The place we went to is known as "Buffalo Creek" and is part of Pike National Forest. The biking was mediocre, but the scenery was great. And the interent didn't fail us--we got our little pocket of sunshine.

The place was basically wiped out by a forest fire ten or so years ago and is now in various stages of re-growth. There are also a lot of interesting rock formations etc. The pictures don't really do it justice (it seems nearly impossible to take good mountain pictures) but here are a few attempts...

PS. Sorry to you who check this regularly the lack of updates lately. I blame Harry Potter and the way my computer has been acting up. Grrr.
In the spirit of true repentance, I will do my best to do better in the future. .

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Victory or Defeat?

I think I began a new chapter* in my reading life this week--I quit a book. The offending piece of literature was the latest by Jane Smiley, Ten Days in the Hills. I picked it up on a whim at the library (by the way,after 50 weeks in Denver, I finally got a library card). I got it because I remember enjoying A Thousand Acres--it was a great modern version of "King Lear", had an engaging plot, intriguing characters, and even took place in Iowa. What's not to love?

Well, Ten Days was not quite so charming. A bunch folks staying together in a house in Hollywood ranting about the war and talking about the sex. It was boring. If I'm allowed to say such things--even the sex was boring. But I stuck with the book for @160 pages. I really thought I was going to make it to the end (400+ pages), but it was just too much. If it were only 300 pages I might have made it. But not 400. I couldn't bare it. And I gave up.

I'm not sure if that's a victory or a defeat in the reading world. I'm leaning toward the former. After all, I heard a book critic on NPR says she only finishes one out of twelve. And as everybody knows, NPR people are SMRAT. So apparently I'm in good company.

In case you're really interested in my reading life, I should say that the one caveat here is that this was a library book. I'm not sure what I would have done if I owned it. I suspect I would have persevered. Perhaps I would have put it back on my "To Read" shelf for a while, but it certainly wouldn't have gone on my "Books Completed Shelf." Does that sound as OCD as I fear?

In other book news, I read Jodi Picolt's latest novel last weekend (instead of Ten Days). Its called Nineteen Minutes, and I personally like it better than My Sister's Keeper. Less predictable, but still a little "chicky" at times.

Now I'm reading the fifth Harry Potter book. I think there may be something mildly depressing about the fact that, page-wise, this is likey the longest book I've ever read (longer than The Brother's Karamazov!). That J.K. Rowling does spin a great tale, however.

*Yes, that's a terrible pun. But as I may have mentioned to my church golfing buddies today--those are par for the course.
Okay, that's was just an act of desperation.