Friday, 24 June 2011

And the Small Rain Down Doth Rain

We are on our second of three forecast rainy days, although there is a bit of blue sky showing to the west just now, and this means that I can catch up on my inside work.  Later. Just now I have a quiet house and lots of bits bottled up in my, alas, untidy brain.

Although June raced by in a blur of meetings, paperwork, gardening, trips to the city for JG's cataract surgery and similar delights, I can't exist without reading.  I got a big box of new books from Amazon two weeks ago and have been reading them in every stolen moment since.  The YD wanted to borrow one, but I hadn't finished it and she is waiting (patiently) for me to pass it on.  Jaqueline Carey's third volume in the Naamah series, in fact.  Fantasy, fairly well written but badly edited, and fun.

I got distracted by 'The Wild Girls', a new Ursula Le Guin, however.  (Sorry, YD!).  Just published by PM Press, it contains a short story - not one of her best - two essays and an interview.  The first essay is a reprint from Harper's Magazine and it is a must-read, for anyone who loves books. Its title is 'Staying Awake While We Read' and it is at once a polemic against today's publishing industry and a paean to the joys of books.  She makes what is to me a most enlightening argument for reading as a social art.  'The shared experience of books was a genuine bond,' she says, discussing the history of reading for pleasure. Yes!  Look at the number of us who blog about what we read, post reviews for our blogging buddies, stick book lists in our margins, fill in endless memes about what we have and have not read.  Le Guin says 'was', but where I hang around on-line, the bond is very immediate.

I also ordered two new books in Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January series that I haven't read.  The second one came, but I am resisting reading it until the one before it in the series arrives.  This is serious restraint, guys.  Hambly is an amazing writer. 

Mostly I grab up a new book,collapse into a chair and am gone until I read through it.  Meals?  Clean clothes?   You'll have to wait - I have ninety more pages to read. This was an  annoyance to my family, especially to the daughters as small children.  In those days we went to the library in a group, all chose books and lugged the piles home.  I have a clear recollection of one trip when, newly arrived home with her books, the YD asked 'Daddy, will you read to me?' and got the answer 'Not now, Daddy is reading his book'.  Same question to mommy, same answer.  Same question to big sister, wistfully.  Same answer.  Big sigh.  ' I will have to read it minefelf,' she said, missing front tooth much in evidence.  And she flopped down on the floor and did that.

These days JG and I get two papers in the mailbox each morning and one of us trots down the lane to retrieve them before breakfast so that we can read while consuming our toast and cereal.  'What a talkative pair we are,' said JG a few mornings ago when the only sounds in the kitchen for quite a while had been chewing noises and the rustle of turned pages. 

The rain is now pelting down and the bit of blue has disappeared.  No thunderstorm activity, though.  Yet.  It's forecast, though.   I think I had better shut down here, just in case, and unplug the computer and internet box.

And finish the Carey book before the YD loses patience.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Oh Bear of Little Brain

Today is Oh Mary G of little brain day.  I am working on my daughter’s Mac since I am in the city looking after my granddaughter while her parents are at a conference.  I decided today that I wanted to download the photos from my camera so that I could use some of them in a post.  It took me far, far to long to figure out where the memory card slot is, what program I should be using, etc.  When I finally did get the thing set up, I could not find the photos in the folder where they should be.  After redoing the whole operation a lot of times, it finally occurred to me to look at the card in the camera and, surprise, I had cleaned it and there are no photos on it.  If that is not grade A stupidity, I do not know what else to call it.

I guess I have a much slower brain that I used to have.  At almost 70 years old, this should not surprise me or anyone else, but it is an extremely frustrating thing to live with.  Some aspects of it are neither new or surprising; the appearance of streets and parking garages and store fronts change and if you don’t see them often, the changes are confusing.  I remember trying to drive around Windsor, where I was born and raised, after living elsewhere for some years, and discovering that all my landmarks were gone or changed.  It meant treating my old home town like a place I had never been and using a map.  Pity there isn't a similar set of ‘maps’ for skills and devices that I don’t use too often.

Living with this aging brain is fascinating, in a weird sort of way.  Facts and skills that I need do not appear when I need them, but crop up later at the end of a range of associations that should not have produced them.  That’s not a good description, but it’s a hard thing to explain clearly.  Example.  Every time I change the blade in my razor, I get a Paul Anka tune for an earworm for some hours.  I have a Venus razor, the container for the new blade says ‘VENUS’ in big blue letters, and Anka wrote a song called ‘Venus’ back in the fifties (?) when my adolescent memory retained song lyrics after one or two hearings. Song lyrics that I do want to remember are in the gray cells somewhere, but  as much as I fish for them, there are no bites.  (bytes?)

Pity one can’t reload the wetware from disk when it corrupts.

The compensation is that in old age there is more leisure time, a lifetime’s worth of patience and tolerance learned and many rich memories that crop up in unexpected ways.  Although there are times I mourn my young, agile mind (and my young, agile knees for that matter), I would not trade what I have now for the uncertainties and frustrations of my teenaged self.

Last evening I watched as Little Stuff learned to do a tuck at her gymnastics class.   She was so happy, and having so much fun.  I wish I could gift her with a magic carpet to get her through the teen years with that joy intact.