Friday, October 16, 2015

Tis the Season

Don't worry: unlike Lowes, I'm not talking about Christmas at this point.  I mean my Birthday Season.

And so far, it's been delightful.  A nice mix of work and play (which is harden to attain than you might think).

On Monday, I went on a 7-mile hike, which was just the ticket because it meant that on Tuesday and Wednesday, I felt quite content with the idea of sitting at my computer and churning out a research proposal.  Which I did, and I'd like to think that because I had such a nice day off, I did a good job.

I've been swimming and biking and lamenting the fact that, in a few short weeks, it will probably be too cold to bike anymore.  Actually, given the weather forecast, I think it's going to be too cold to bike this weekend, in fact. 

I just finished reading Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan's book, Buried in the Sky (2012).  As the subtitle--which I didn't include here, because really, it's too long, guys--indicates, it's about the Sherpa climbers who were involved in the avalanche disaster on K2 in August, 2008.  Because typically, no one mentions the Sherpas involved in mountaineering--the focus is always on the western climbers.

One of the co-authors of the book was good friends with one of the Sherpa climbers who was killed, so she wanted to right that wrong and bring some attention to the lives and roles that they play in international mountaineering adventures. 

Unlike so many of the books that focus solely on the mountain itself--whether it's K2 or Everest--Zuckerman and Padoan look at the sociological and political context for the sport of mountaineering in Pakistan and the Karakorum mountains (where K2 is located).

And while I'm on the subject of good books, I don't think I mentioned--because I've been so remiss about blogging for the past month--that I went on a bit of a Neil Gaiman bender (seriously, I was slightly woozy at the end of 48 hours) and read Coraline (2002) and Neverwhere (1996). 

I loved them.  They were just so different and so imaginative--they appealed to the side of me that really likes gothic literature, I think.  And of course Gaiman's dark humor, in Neverwhere in particular, was always a treat.

I like the idea of an alternative world in Neverwhere so much that I'm hoping to maybe write about it at some point--the idea of situating a world underneath the city of London, in the networks of the sewers, is fascinating to me.

Which brings me to the other book I'm reading right now: Lee Jackson's Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth (2014).  It's about all of the various ways in which the Victorians had to cope with the... filth... of London.  So each chapter is organized around something kinda disgusting: dust (i.e., ashes), poop (aka "night soil"), soot, fog--well, you get the picture.

It's really interesting, actually.  (I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not like the other girls.)

So as you can no doubt tell, it's shaped up to be a very nice birthday season with lots of reading and knitting and writing.  But rather than leave you with images of night soil and London filth, I'll finish with one final pic from my day off.



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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."