Book Malaise

I’m not sure what the problem has been, but I have just not been much in the mood to read or to rehash what I’ve read in a review. I’m not sure why, just a book funk?? First I can’t tolerate coffee and now my love of books has dried up…what a icky week….poor me 😦

I think maybe I’m just overwhelmed with piles and piles of unread prose.

Before I flew to Alaska I felt obligated to finish reading all the library books I had on hold that suddenly came in all at once. Some of them I had waited to get for so long that I felt like if I turned them back in unread I might never see them again.

Then there were the netgalley books I have received that I was anxious to read but sit in the queue on my e-reader anxiously waiting for me to begin. I figured once I headed to Alaska I would be able to crack open my Kindle/Ipad and delve into those books with nothing holding me back…but this has not been the case.

First I found I had left some books here on my last visit to read, then I went and got my first Anchorage library card, and finally a box of 3 large books I ordered on Amazon arrived. I am again swimming in books with no idea where to begin or if I even want to begin. This is so unlike me!

So I took a break for a few days and then decided to pick one of the books that I really and truly wanted to read…not something I felt I had to read….not something that I should read…just something I wanted to read. And you know what? I am enjoying it so much that I’m hoping I’m back on the wagon!

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Coffee and I have a love-hate relationship

A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto: Taso de...

cup of the real deal coffee

I love coffee but it doesn’t love me. I adore the aroma of coffee, the taste of coffee and cream in my coffee but I can no longer tolerate coffee, and this is very sad.

Ever since I was a little girl, sitting next to my coffee-loving mother, I have LOVED coffee. My mother had coffee with every meal, never water, just coffee. We would go to our favorite grown-up restaurant, Stouffer’s, and my mother would always order some extra cream just for me. The cream would arrive at the table in a small silver pitcher and my mother would graciously allow me to drink my fill of the cream. A taste sensation I can recall to this day. It was cold, and rich and decadent and such a delightful treat. I remember thinking I couldn’t wait to be able to have my own cup of coffee and put in my own delicious cream.

I had my first sips of coffee while in high school, but didn’t grow to appreciate its jolt and flavor until I was in college and pulling all-nighters with my fellow procrastinators. When I started working I always started my day with a cup of coffee, purchased at the little dive in the basement of my building. There were no large chains of coffee shops serving identical, over-priced beverages back then, so my morning coffee’s taste could range from deliciously smooth to muddy and sludgy depending on who made it and whether you were buying the dregs at the bottom of the pot. Of course it cost well under a buck and refills were free so what the heck.

But enough reminiscing about the good old days when I could enjoy a great cup of coffee, for those days are sadly gone.

I find I can no longer tolerate coffee. I’ve experimented with lighter and milder roasts, less chicory, more chicory, caffeinated and decaffeinated. I used to take a break from imbibing for a few weeks and then resume my daily habit. This seemed to work for a while but it appears I have played my last card, because even this no longer works.

But I haven’t given up hope just yet. While doing some research on why coffee hates me, I found  out that many organic groceries sell coffee alternatives. I found Teeccino Herbal Coffee today and I’m giving it a whirl.

Here’s the description from their website

 “Teeccino is a delicious blend of herbs, grains, fruits and nuts that are roasted and ground to brew and taste just like coffee.”

I have to say it is pretty darn good. They had this “tee-bag” form and then they also had some grounds that could be brewed. But I decided to start with the bags in case it wasn’t my cup of tea or coffee!

It actually tasted like coffee and tea put together~~if that’s even possible. It was very flavorful and smooth and I almost felt like I was enjoying a cup of coffee or maybe I just really, really want to believe! The only downside is the lack of any discernible aroma, but I think I can live with that for the time being.

So here’s mud in your eye, or at least a “French Roast Organic tee-bag, with deep coffee notes”!

Cup of Teeccino coffee alternative

Sometimes it’s good to be a couch potato

Couch potato view

Since I’m stuck indoors in Alaska I’ve been reflecting on the benefits of my confinement, and the benefits of my couch potato life style. See the thing is when it’s sunny and warm, like it was in Illinois for the last few weeks, I feel terribly guilty if I’m not outside doing something…something constructive that is.

I have a strong aversion to gardening, yard work and all that entails. I don’t enjoy getting my hands dirty, kneeling down on the ground to pull weeds or communing with nature. It just isn’t my thing. I dislike swatting away insects and watching out for thorny plants and having the red red robin bobbin’ way too close for comfort. Just hate it!

I guess I forgot to pull these out last year!

Nanook (my hubby) also hates when I try to make an attempt at pastoral pursuits because not only do I hate (have I mentioned that enough) having to do it , but I also stink at it. I have a tendency to pull everything that doesn’t have a flower attached to the stem which makes for some awkward moments when Nanook surveys his domain and asks “What happened to the plant/flowering bush/misc. green thingy, that used to reside in that spot?”. One look at me and he knows that my dainty digits yanked that sucker out all the way down to the root. Oops…

Simulation courtesy of CoolCLIPS.com

The sun also casts a dirty glow on the inside of my abode as well. I see the sun straining to come through the remnants of winter stuck to their glass, the cobwebs illuminated by the ceiling and the dust bunnies spotlighted in the corner. Blasted sun!

No longer can I lounge idly by without noticing some collection of dirt and grime giving me that come hither look and taking my attention away from important things like reading a book or watching TV!

But here in Alaska where it’s still winter, cold and icy, with not even a grass blade in sight, I can get my priorities straight. Novel reading, TV watching, computer typing, can all be accomplished without a hint of guilt.

Well maybe just a smidgen, since the daylight hours are increasing rapidly and the sun is pretty bright and, darn it, I’m starting to hear some dirt calling my name!

Alaska: We have arrived!

Anchorage watch out!  Jasmine and I have arrived!

I’m happy to report that after many hours, days and weeks of foreboding our plane journey to Alaska went swimmingly (or should I say flyingly!) Many of my worst fears were unrealized and by some happy accidents things went much better than they might have.

Because of my heightened anxiety, I had a lousy night’s sleep, waking up every hour waiting for the alarm to go off. I hate when that happens! My friend M picked us up bright and early for our 9:40 AM flight out of O’Hare. (Let me just say it was so nice to be chauffeured for a change!) I had Jazz in her SturdiBag, my loaded down purse with all my electronics and a ginormous suitcase to maneuver.

The airport was a zoo, but luckily the Alaska Airlines ticket counter was empty. I paid my fees, $20 bucks for my luggage and $100 for Jasmine, and they didn’t even want to look at the health certificate that they said was required from a vet! As an aside, let me just say that the airline’s (and it’s not just Alaska) additional charge of $100 each way for a pet in the cabin is highway robbery! 

Security was intimidating with a slew of little children, all with their own annoying little rolly bags and inattentive parents. Spring break in full force! I dared not put Jasmine’s bag on the ground for fear one of the little darlings (very sarcastic) would step on her. But thankfully the line moved quickly, and with a friendly TSA crew (and no, I am not being sarcastic this time) on duty we got through with no hitches!

We had about an hour wait until boarding so I kept Jazzie on her leash and we walked around the terminal. She was in heaven….“what a cute puppy?”, “Can I pet her?” “Would she like some of my Egg McMuffin?” Is this the puppy’s first flight?”….gathering fans as she strolled through the concourse. But this spoiled dog routine would soon come to an end when I gave Jasmine her pretty little pink tranquilizer, put her in her favorite (very, very sarcastic) pet carrier and boarded the aircraft.

Would she or wouldn’t she?
Fit under the seat that is!

The moment of truth had arrived, and as I anxiously eyed the airplane seats while walking down the aisle, I began to feel my confidence building…this is going to work!  But my confidence was short-lived because of my aisle seat and it’s very small under seat space.

In my many hours of research I had known that the middle seat has significantly more under seat space, but really who wants to sit in a middle seat for 6.5 hours?…not me that’s for sure!  But I did come to the realization that Jasmine would be much more comfortable under the middle seat and so I had resolved myself to asking whoever occupied that seat if they would like to trade. A no brainer for that lucky soul.

But here is where I encountered something that has rarely, if ever, happened on my flight to Alaska….no one else came to sit in my row!! Unheard of and extremely fortuitous for my trusty sidekick. I slid her under the roomier real estate of the middle seat, and we both breathed a sigh of relief!

Now only a long flight to get through and we would be home free!

I’m happy to report that my little pooch made not one peep the whole journey (I’m sure her pretty little pink pill had something to do with this) and we arrived in Anchorage to be met by snow, freezing temperatures, sunshine and a happy Nanook!

Decisions, decisions….

Six weeks is a long time to be away from home and my biggest packing worry? Which books am I taking with me!

Because I’m taking Jasmine on the airplane with me I can only take my purse. Ugh. This means I have to fit my laptop and my Kindle in my purse so I won’t be taking any real books with me on the plane. (This is when I’m really glad I recently went over to the dark side and started reading e-books!)

I decided a few weeks back that I would go through my To Be Read pile, pack them in a box, and ship the box to Alaska. The hardest part? Trying to figure out which of my numerous books to pack in said box.

Do I pack books I really want to read or books I think I should read? There is a difference. I have some rather large tomes around here that have been collecting dust for more years than I care to mention. I can’t seem to part with them because I will surely read them one day, right? These seem to consist mostly of Presidential biographies, historical non-fiction  and misc books that I paid good money for and thus I should read. Then there are the recent books I have purchased, or been given, that I really want to read immediately. These I’ve put off reading because I was trying to get all my library check-outs read and returned before I leave. Decisions, decisions…

In the end I packed a bit of both.  I loaded up the box on Tuesday, took it to my local package delivery place, and was floored when I was first told that it would cost $150.00 to send the box UPS! But then the clerk figured out that I could send it snail mail (3 weeks!) for $16.00. So now my lovely books are sailing on their way to beautiful, snowy Anchorage.

I just hope they get there before I have to turn around and come home!!

A sampling of my 15 choices!

Letters from Alaska

Dear springy reader,

According to the calendar, today is the first day of spring. You might think otherwise when you look out on our yard. One of the snowiest winters ever means that we still have a long wait for green grass and tulips.

But there is one hopeful sign of the season — sunlight. And lots of it. The days are growing by nearly six minutes, and we now have more daylight than darkness, a remarkable change from the winter months. And all the white snow just makes the sunshine more beautiful and brilliant.

Cheers!

Eowyn

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