bits and pieces

The view above is just below the cabin at Roundrock. You can see a bit of the lake at the left. When we were there on Monday, it was up a few inches because of the recent rains. (I had hoped for more.) The beavers are clearing us a new view of the lake, though looking the direction this deforestation gives, we see mostly the dam and not the lake.


My St. Louis daughter-in-law, Celestine, took the oath of citizenship this week and is now a permanent U.S. citizen. She’s even registered to vote. When she came here, back in the fall of 2016, I apologized to her for the state of politics in the country. (You may remember that mayhem.) She told me that whatever we had was nothing compared to politics as usual in Kenya. I may have mentioned that my son and his wife are expecting their second child — another boy to be a brother to Small Paul — and I wonder if the swearing in ceremony included him or not.


The front of my house is suburbia has three porch lights on it. Two flank the front door and one is beside the garage door. In my tenure here, I have replaced those lights three times. The most recent, failed set were deluxe lamps with built-in LED lights and photocells so they’d turn on/off on their own. That set failed the most quickly of all we had. I researched repairing them but it was either this fix or that fix, and you couldn’t know which until you tried it to see if it worked. And then I found that there was a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturer for another model of their lights, so I threw my hands in the air. The set I put on this week are now the fourth that have graced the front of my house. I shopped around for something reasonable (that I could replace the bulbs in rather than the whole fixture) and bought the cheapest models I could find. Then I had to wait for decent weather (and decent weather this time of year means a trip to the cabin, not house maintenance). But it all came together on Tuesday, and after only three trips to the hardware store, I got them installed. I screwed in LED bulbs with photocells and waited for nightfall. When that happened, my hard work paid off. I don’t intend to do this again.


Books read in February:

Subtle Bodies by Norman Rush – I had read his novel Mating many years ago and remember liking it. So when I came upon this title at the library, I grabbed it. Maybe I’m not the same person I was many years ago, but I didn’t really like this. A sort of family story about a bunch of college friends who come together twenty years after graduation at the death of their group leader type. At turns comical and grim, I just didn’t connect with this one.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hirobi Kawakami – A forty-something woman crosses paths with one of her beloved teachers from high school, and they begin to do things together (mostly drinking sake but also going on trips to sample magic mushrooms). The woman recognizes her loneliness only because she is in the presence of someone who relieves it. Again, I didn’t connect with these characters.

All Adults Here by Emma Straub – Three adult siblings and their spouses (and children) gather at their mother’s house to assess their lives and secrets. It’s well written and easy to read, and the characters are well drawn, but it took me forever to finish this. (Also, when I was in New York a year ago, I visited Emma Straub’s bookstore Books Are Magic. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was sick with Covid and carried it around Brooklyn.)

Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn – A fun book about a widowed father and his 11-year-old son who has stopped speaking after the death of his mother. Except he does speak to the dancing panda in the park (who turns out to be his father, doing what he can to make the rent). This book flirts with violence — the landlord threatens to break the father’s legs if he doesn’t come up with the rent — but it is all over the top and not intended to be taken seriously. The happy ending is just as over the top, but it’s satisfying.

Explore posts in the same categories: Ramblings Off Topic

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