Monday, January 31, 2022

Books, Books, Books

 Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis

There are about three book groups represented in the group I hike with and a couple of weeks ago all of them were gearing up to read the same book, this one!  I put it on hold at the library and got it right away.  If you haven't already read it, you should.  

From the publisher:

"Fortunately, we are still a nation of skeptics. Fortunately, there are those among us who study pandemics and are willing to look unflinchingly at worst-case scenarios. Michael Lewis’s taut and brilliant nonfiction thriller pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The characters you will meet in these pages are as fascinating as they are unexpected. A thirteen-year-old girl’s science project on transmission of an airborne pathogen develops into a very grown-up model of disease control. A local public-health officer uses her worm’s-eye view to see what the CDC misses, and reveals great truths about American society. A secret team of dissenting doctors, nicknamed the Wolverines, has everything necessary to fight the pandemic: brilliant backgrounds, world-class labs, prior experience with the pandemic scares of bird flu and swine flu…everything, that is, except official permission to implement their work."

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles.

This is the recent book by the author of A Gentleman in Moscow and The Rules of Civility.  The following is my review for NetGalley.

It’s 1954 and 18-year-old Emmett Watson is being returned to his family home by the sheriff after serving time in a juvie-jail for involuntary manslaughter. The hitch is that the banker who has repossessed his Nebraskan home is waiting at Emmet's old home to finalize the foreclosure. There’s no family to welcome him as his mother walked off years earlier and his father, lacking the farming skills necessary to keep a place going, has passed on to his heavenly reward. His eight-year-old brother Billy is in the care of the next-door neighbor. With no roots to bind them, Emmett and Billy decide to take a road trip on the Lincoln Highway to California where they hope to reunite with their mother.

When the sheriff brought Emmett home, he also unwittingly provided transport for two friend inmates, Duchess and Woolly, who hitched a ride in the sheriff’s trunk. This is a road trip like no other. For starters their trip to California kicks off with a hoboing train ride to New York. The journey is filled the characters along the way. For readers of Ivan Doig and William Kent Krueger.

Conditional Citizens:  On Belonging in America by Laila Lalani.

I bought this at my favorite indie bookstore in Reno when I was there in November.  Her fiction, The Other Americans, was the community reads choice for Deschutes County last year.

"What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize-finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth--such as national origin, race, and gender--that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still their shadows today."  Could I pass the citizen test?  I doubt it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Adapting to change

 New Years Eve day our dryer door decided it no longer wanted to stay closed.  In fact, the best we could do was to duct tape it closed.  Stores were closed for the holiday so we got on the computer and tried to locate a new set.  We bought this set from my son and his wife when their new house came complete with a new set.  Matt was going to put it on Craigslist for $100.  We weren't so fortunate with appliances left behind and had already replaced the dryer and were shopping for a washer.  That was four years ago.  I found a top-loading Samsung set on the Costco website for $1600 that would fit in our little laundry closet and was available for delivery in our area.  It's absolutely wonderful and the dingy sheets are once again white!!

I started the new year by joining a hiking group that goes out every Tuesday morning at 9:30, regardless of the weather.  We're old and slow but make up for it in tenacity.  We all like to read and we talk a lot.

Last week we went to Tumalo Reservoir and got a spectacular view of the Cascades.  Sadly, the reservoir is dry.

Today we went to Horse Butte, which was a most demanding hike so far and the longest.  I thought I was in better shape than I am, but was glad when we got back to our cars.  I'm getting to see a lot of new territory and realize I need to lengthen my daily walks to be in shape for the Tuesday hikes.  BTW, a butte is a fancy name for volcanic cone.
I finally finished the sweater I've been working on for the past year.  The pattern was in Vogue Knitting and was by Deborah Newton.  The yarn is Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool.  I have another aran sweater on needles and it will probably be another year before I complete it.  I started both of these at the same time.  For now my knitting is more scarves for my daughter to cover her surgical scar.  Her family was vaccinated but got hit with Covid about a week ago and they're struggling to recover.  Chris told me that she's so sick that she's not sure she could have survived this unvaccinated.  I don't think I could have survived it she hadn't.

Lexi has fared the best and is rebounding but will be in quarantine from school for another week.  She recently finished another sweater.  Her knitting skills continue to improve and she has an exceptional eye for yarn and pattern.  She's very fashion aware and carefully curates her clothing collection from used clothing outlets.  She says this summer will be her last with us as she will be required to do an internship during the summers following her freshman year.  She has been accepted at the University of Nevada Reno and is on a career path to be a PA (physician's assistant).  Sorry, I got carried away with bragging.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Happy New Year!


You've probably given up on me and assumed that we were Covid victims but we're fine, still kicking, even the rotten cat is fine.

This was our last Thanksgiving dinner together celebrated Sunday December 18th because Josh had Covid on the actual Thanksgiving.  It took him two weeks to recover and he is now in Blackfoot, Idaho where he accepted a new position with FedEx, managing two terminals in the SE corner of the state.  I just got off the phone with him after his first week in the new position.  He said the first couple of days were bewildering but he's in love with his three-year-old state-of-the-art headquarters and is happy to be there.  Missy and Evan will join him after Evan graduates from high school this spring.

Meanwhile we're trying to get used to living small, just the two of us.  It feels dire since we're still managing our lives around Covid.  It's pretty empty but we still get out and about for lunches here and there.
We make it a point to get in our two-mile walks, just not together.  Ian is out and walking by 6:00, before I get up!  I prefer midmorning and this walk was in the raccoon's tracks.
Snow melts quickly these days and the deer are finding bits to munch on.  We always enjoy seeing them, though there aren't nearly as many as we've had in the past years.
I've been focused on keeping my neck warm this winter, both by longer hair and also by knitting shawlettes.  This pattern is on Ravelry called Close to You and is free.  I like it so much I've made it for both my daughter and me.,
I'm really excited with this popcorn maker.  I love popcorn as a snack but I don't like getting my hands oily.  My friend Kathi says she and her partner have microwave popcorn every night so I found this maker on Amazon and ordered it.  It pops just the right amount in a little over a minute and oil is optional.  I put a little olive oil in the bottom, add the corn and pop!  It's the perfect afternoon snack.
Yikes!  All of my holds came in to the library at the same time.  This will keep me busy!!