I can see again!
After four years of steadily (and noticeably) deteriorating eyesight, I finally hauled myself down to the optometrist for an eye exam. I already knew that my vision had gone from bad to worse – not being able to read anything further than arm’s length away was a hint in giant blinking neon letters not even I could miss, and driving had become an exercise in only following routes I’d memorized because otherwise I couldn’t see where I was going – but I was astonished to “see” just how bad it was. That big E at the top of the pyramid? Even with my glasses on, I couldn’t see it with my left eye. I could see it, and I knew it was an E because it’s always an E, but it looked like someone had squashed a spider and projected a many-times-magnified image on the wall in front of me.
I picked up my new glasses this morning, and it’s amazing what a difference they make. I can actually read the titles on my bookshelves without having to squat down and squint at them. Film subtitles are no longer streaks at the bottom of the screen. And, perhaps best of all, I don’t have to blow up the font size several levels when working on the computer.
I’ve been painting my fingernails a lot lately. This is not not usual for me. First, I’m not the girly-girl sort and never have been (I’ve never had a manicure or pedicure, I let my eyebrows go au naturel, wear jewelry maybe 3 times a year, and on the rare occasions I wear makeup, typically limit myself to a little neutral-toned eye shadow and mascara. Like I said, not the glamorous type.); secondly, I’m a lifelong nail-biter, so it’s not often I have nails of sufficient length to bother painting in the first place. But it’s been a long, difficult summer, and recently I splurged on a couple of bottles of Sally Hansen on sale at Walgreens at two for $4. First they were sparkly purple – purple’s my favorite color – and then I switched to a kind of lime sherbet green. Now they’re tangerine orange. I think I like the orange best, because it goes well with my skin tone, but I’ve enjoyed having all three colors. On the down side, having painted nails is terribly distracting, especially while typing, and I’ve noticed that I tend to be more fussy in the way I use my hands, so I don’t expect this recent diversion to last long.
I’m shamefully behind on writing reviews for my other blog. I’ve been reading a lot this summer, but the thought of writing anything has had all the appeal of skinny-dipping in sulfuric acid, so the pile of To-Be-Reviewed books gets taller and taller while the To-Be-Read pile stays about the same. At least they’ve been (mostly) books I’ve enjoyed: Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna, The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar, Mattaponi Queen by Belle Boggs (raves for that one) and, currently, Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them and an ARC of Nevada Barr’s latest Anna Pigeon mystery, Burn.
All of the above, by the bye, are dead tree books. I don’t do e-books, partly because I do enough reading on the computer as it is, and partly out of loyalty to my mother. (I would say independent bookstores in general, but I spend far too much money at Barnes & Noble to be able to say that and not be a big fat hypocrite.) I’ve found myself enjoying audiobooks more and more recently, probably because of the above-mentioned vision issues, and also because they’re a nice, passive way to unwind when my brain hurts too much for anything more strenuous (they’re also great on long car trips – fortunately my son doesn’t object to my tastes). I have probably half of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series in audio (I have to say, iTunes makes having audiobooks so much easier – none of those tapes or CDs to keep track of!), and recently invested in a couple of Georgette Heyer abridgements read by Richard Armitage. I’m really not a fan of Heyer, but I could listen to Armitage read tax form instructions until the cows came home.
(Which reminds me, I read on a blog somewhere the other night, while link-surfing during yet another round of this summer’s Insomnia Festival, that merely mentioning Richard Armitage can cause viewing stats to spike. Um, that would be this Richard Armitage, not this one. Though, who knows? There could be as large a fan subculture for the former US Deputy Secretary of State as for the British actor. Kind of a corollary to Rule 34 maybe – if it exists, there’s a fandom for it. Anyway, if any Richard Armitage fans [of either sort] end up here thanks to Google Alerts, hello!)
Since I haven’t been able to write this summer I haven’t done any editing either, which is not good since the deadlines for the 2010 Minotaur Books competitions are fast approaching. I have managed to pick away at an idea (more literary than mystery) that first began to take shape back in February or March, but I still don’t have more than about 3,000 words – probably on both counts because I’ve been writing it by hand, rather than at the keyboard. The medieval steampunk idea has gone nowhere; in fact, I pretty much forgot about it entirely until about a week ago. On the other hand, I’ve been thinking a lot about Queen Bertha of Kent lately; I’ve felt for a long time that she would make an interesting subject for a historical novel, and if I can just get my motivation going again I’d organize all the information I’ve gathered about her and her world and take it from there. I also need to get to a good university library nearby and start looking at charters to see if I can fashion a proposal for Kalamazoo out of the use of tellus vs. terra.
My sister is moving down to St. Augustine (Sings, You say Au-gus-TEEN, I say Au-GUS-tin to the tune of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”), Florida this week. It’s the farthest she’s been away from Virginia in a long-term capacity (I’ve lived in Greece, England, Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan, so I’m much more of a wayfarer) so she’s a bit apprehensive. So is my mother, who is down there helping her sort things out. Hopefully it’ll turn out all right, for x value of “all right” – at the least, I hope a Katrina-sized hurricane doesn’t come bearing down on Florida’s Atlantic coast and wash Anne out to sea before she’s finished unpacking her boxes.
*From “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash