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Day 298: Questioning?

It is January Literary Analysis time—time to think about what's going through my eyes word-wise. A couple of exciting things happened to me book-wise in the last month. I was given a Scribd subscription for Xmas (read about that here) and I got my first Quarterly box from Book Riot. Today. After I had, just a couple of days ago, sent the email to say my box hadn't arrived. It is like a weird phenomena that happens at work: people wait for all sorts of different amounts of time to report their loved ones 'missing', but as soon as they do, they turn up. Same with my box. Quarterly kindly refunded my card, and then, knock, knock, there it is. I crawled back to them apologising for jumping the gun and they ended up charging me only for the box and not the postage. Good customer service. [And just so you don't think I am a free-loading whiner, the approximate due date of the box was mid December—I did wait a decent amount of time before penning a friendly but questioni…

Day 328: White on White

The title doesn't correspond to the fashion. I am, increasingly, a fashion blogger who never speaks about fashion, or a general-rambling-on blogger who wears outfits and obsesses over outfits and who would consider contents insurance because the cost of replacing her shoes is prohibitive. The loss of unique thrifted or op-shopped clothing is uninsurable and unfathomable. The title is about snow. Although, when you look at the 'fashion' photos, the white dots in this odd, much-loved, new jacket of mine do dominate and pick up the white of the dress. I wish it was snowing here. I have done nothing, zero, zilch, nada! for four days because, for the last four days, this has been the daily high: 42.8, 41.7, 43.9, 43.9. For you in the fahrenheit world that is: 109, 107, 111, 111. That was accompanied by lows of: 28.6 (83), 27.0 (80), 25.6 (78) and, even after the cool change, 21.5 (71). We don't have insulation, let alone air-conditioning. Our wooden box of a house is hotte…

Day 327: Every Night I've Been Hugging My Pillow

Irene               List_Addict
The snow came. We would, later in this trip, be ill, and it was possibly no surprise. The hotel in Roswell had a pool and spa and so we decided to go for a soak. But then the foolishness kicked in. A warm spa was warmer after a dip in the cooler pool, and then even warmer after standing, on a dare, for a minute, outside, in bathers, while it snowed on you. In the morning the car was covered. Another night of speculating on direction meant we were headed towards Texas, following Neil Sedaka's way to Amarillo because the song had got stuck in V——'s head. Are there more justifiable ways to choose destinations? Two things about snow: you don't expect, as a non-national, to see it in Texas! and, it precludes most outdoor activities and random stops along the way for general sightseeing or simply 'being' in a place. We did, however, manage to make two stops for the day: the Roswell UFO Museum and the Roswell Goodwill Store.


The sur…

Day 302: I've Sub-Scribd

My new words for today are mostly from books located on my Christmas present. My boy gave me a one year subscription to Scribd. It's the Netflix of books. For a year I can read as many books as I possibly can from their apparently extensive (like, over a hundred thousand) collection. I have started with two: David Wolman's Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling (who would have thought spelling could be so entertaining to anyone other than an extreme word nerd like myself), and, Douglas Coupland's Girlfriend in a Coma (a sort of 'The Big Chill' of books). I am in the process of nutting out an elaborate and complicated selection criteria for the next book to read, based on recommendations, which will hopefully have me reading things I may not ordinarily have. I'm spend way too much time looking at what the possible next books will be. Too exciting. But in the meantime I have discovered some new words and one …

Day 331: What You Can See From Space

Last year, for those who may not know, I went on a holiday to the States. (Have a look in my archives for days starting the tenth of November for a blow-by-blow—I know you haven't got anything else to do!) I'm quite—how shall we put this?—um, 'anal', I suppose. And so I am still trying to get days from last year written up on this blog instead of letting time flow it's organic course. Oh, well. Acceptance of one's foibles is a good thing, isn't it? Foibles are what give us character—even if that character drives our nearest-and-dearest absolutely batty.

Irene               List_Addict** And Mr Pickles
This day was a little bit like being abducted by aliens again. (Did I mention the last time? I looked up, saw two signs in sequence that announced a street to the right and a speed limit. Then I looked down, looked up again quite a few seconds later and saw the exact same combination of signs after what should have already been the turn-off. The only explan…

Day 326: Minus Seven

List_Addict               Irene
For the information of anyone new, transient or lost, my posts are all over the place. I wanted to post on this project, everyday, for a 1001 days, but am hopelessly behind and flailing like a just-caught pike to catch up. Posts in the early day-three-hundred-and-teen or twenties, like this one, are all about my recent million-years-ago holiday to the States. Unfortunately, though, I have run out of pictures of me wearing things in the States and so for the rest of the tale about my trip, we are back to 'Who Wore it Better?', featuring clothing items thrifted on my holiday. Today is the first such day. I picked up this little dress at the Savers in Lubbock, Texas (claim to fame: birthplace of Buddy Holly). Poor V—— was ill. Stoicly he waited in the car for me to spend ages looking for clothes and I certainly ended up with a trolley-worth. But a trolley worth of items I was instantly in love with comes with the five-items-at-a-time change-room…

Day 325: O.K.

I always felt an affinity with Georgia O'Keeffe. I couldn't put my finger on it. But maybe the docent at her museum in Santa Fe narrowed it down for me. She wasn't, it seems, that enamoured with people. There are very few in her paintings; she lived this amazing life (when she finally could) in the vast spaces of New Mexico; and she famously said: I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then. I love the word docent. It's new to me, but prevalent in museums in the States, it seems. It's a quite, soft word. A storyteller word. I once did one of those tests where they work out what kind of a learner you are—visual, tactile, auditory—and I ended up as the last. I love to listen to stories, but only those told by a real person in my presence. And in fact I prefer to be an anonymous listener—not one on one. An eavesdropper, if you will. But the docent at this museum was magnificent and I could have sat on that hard little bench and listened to him a…

Day 324: How to Kill a Bargain

Irene and I could not be any further apart than this moment. I'm dressed for the snow. She, if you aren't aware, was spending her holiday in Thailand, lazing on a beach, drinking cocktails and ending up sore and pink every evening, covered in aloe vera. I mean, look at her skin. Pure alabaster. She shouldn't be outside without a golf umbrella. And at least three layers of zinc. Actually, maybe that is three layers of zinc.

This day on the (now past) holiday consisted of a thrift-stop in Alamosa. The store was divided into two parts—very cheap horrible stuff, and prize-picked and over-inflated-ly priced stuff. I managed to salvage two pairs of cropped jeans (patterned pink ones which have since been described as looking like pjs, but I like them, and my first ever white pair—eek!) and then find a fantastic boxy fur jacket. The jacket was thirty dollars, but afterwards I found a thrift-shop label in the pocket which said fifty. My theory: they put a label in the pocket…

Day 323: Ordinary Days

Some days on holiday are 'nothing' days. Astonishing things don't happen; epic sights aren't seen. Some days you have quiet lunches in little diners and read a quote that moves you in the restroom (what was it again V——?). Some days you find out there is a thrift shop down the road and spend a little time browsing and eavesdropping on the volunteers talking about the flatmates that annoy them and the horror movies they are going to watch tonight, and then hear them telling someone they can have the unpriced box brownie camera for ten dollars because the other camera they have in is fifteen and it has a case—the sensation that comes with that person knowing they just scored a major bargain is palpable and joyous.

List_Addict               Irene
Some days you drive across the flatness between two lots of mountains and when you approach the range on the other side the sky is piled with clouds that have crashed up against it and formed lenticular clouds (see below) that…

Day 322: Million Dollar Baby

A driving holiday is not as simple a holiday as it seems. Or am I just doing it wrong? The theory is: get a car, get a map, roam around and discover amazing things, have no plan, don't drive all day. But it turns out that an infinity of options is disabling. Big picture, I think it is part of what ails us in the world—when you can be and do anything, anything at all, how on earth do you choose? How on earth do you commit? Too many options and no plan are not liberating, they are cloying. Back to small picture though, I actually got an insight into a possible answer to that question (it would be great if I could adapt that to the big picture sometime soon, as the time for deciding what I want to be when I grow up is rapidly diminishing). I handed the map over to V—— and asked him to decide the general direction we should head in the next day. I had formulated an idea of my own already but wanted to see what V—— wanted to do. The process of watching V—— try to make his own ideas mad…

Day 321: Gruff Before Bluff

Even though I am now home, I am still going to tell you about my holiday in a blow-by-blow, day-to-day format. This is an entirely selfish attempt to log what I did before the Alzheimer's kicks in. Enjoy!

Apple has their Siri. Our GPS was actually a Samsung Note adapted into a guidance system, a (defunct) international phone call centre, a wifi hotspot and one other Twister-coloured function button for which I can't, for the life of me, now remember the actual function it performed. So we called her Samsung Siri. She sent us into the middle of the desert. Literally. In the technology version of 'be careful what you wish for', asking for directions simply to 'Monument Valley' takes you to the geographical centre of such said location. The geographical centre of Monument Valley is not the Monument Valley National Park Visitor's Centre (oddly), but the dusty bottom of a valley floor accessed via progressively deteriorating dirt tracks. Have I ever told you …

Day 320: (Nearly) Speechless

You can't describe, adequately, the Grand Canyon. You can't capture it on film (or digitally—film actually has a better chance in the right hands). You just have to experience it, if you can. What more can I say? A very, deep and wide ravine, amazing in the sunlight and shadow play of the progressing day. It would be great to live in the vicinity of the Canyon, or be able to stay over an extended time. I, being a person too spoiled by my chances, have journeyed to the Grand Canyon twice and both times, regretfully, the air was hazy. If you lived close by you could come in every day until that day when the air was crisp and you felt, with intense clarity, the presence of design in nature. It is there anyway, and I am sure there are no bad days at the Grand Canyon.

List_Addict               Irene
The weather is considerably cooler. Writing this from the future, I can reassure our clerk, at the Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan, that he is not quite correct about it getting rea…