Monday, February 29, 2016

Flip-Flops and Other February Things

I wore flip-flops outside more than I ever have (or should) in any February ever.  Global warming is real and it is awesome.*

*joking.  calm down.

And I did these other things:

I rode the train

Oh.  My.  Sanity.  I think that riding the train can be done well, and painlessly, and without lasting trauma, but that is not how we did it.  Baylee and I decided to take the train over to Rifle to see our new niece (and, you know, the rest of our family).  It was six hours late getting to Denver.  Luckily, Union Station is a decent place to spend a morning, and would have been enjoyable had we not gotten up at 5am to catch the supposedly early morning train, and were we not hauling suitcases and coats and purses around with us wherever we went.

We finally left Denver around the time we were supposed to be arriving in Glenwood Springs.  We were already sick of sitting and being around people and being awake.  We met an enjoyably eccentric girl about our age who entertained us throughout the trip with her train-cooking abilities, artistic endeavors, and multiple outfit changes.  We met a group of retired couples who absolutely knew how to travel well and enjoy themselves while doing it.

And then we met Crazy Guy.  We never learned his name, but we had many strange and scary conversations with him on his semi-hourly trips through the train.  A train is like a bed & breakfast on wheels.  You get to know everyone around you because people feel at home and are comfortable talking to each other and butting into conversations.  You share food, you learn people's sleep habits, and you overhear conversations.  And when there's someone with an antisocial personality disorder in the mix, he really messes things up for everybody involved.  Let's just say I hope he made it to California and stayed there.

I met baby Addalyn!

She basically just slept every time we visited, despite Leslie and Kyle's insistence that she does actually cry for hours on end.  I'm fairly sure they're making it up.
She's pretty awesome

I read some more books

Paper Towns by John Green
I bought this at the bookstore in Union Station during our six-hour wait for our very late train.  Just like The Fault in Our Stars, this book is full of delightful little phrases and conversations.  It follows a group of friends (primarily the main character and his two close male friends) through the end of their senior year of high school.  The boys were written so well - it was disturbing and hilarious all at the same time.  Their quirky friendships and the road trip they go on was the best part of the book.  I struggled with the relationship he had with Margo and I was originally very disappointed by the ending.  I didn't really have time to process it and I spent the entire book thinking it was something else and I was frustrated.  Then we watched the movie and it helped me to look at the whole story again while already knowing the ending and that made me like it much better.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

This was Baylee's waiting-for-the-train book, which I got to read after she finished it.  I think this was excellent.  The main character and his obsession with the girl he hardly knows was very similar to Paper Towns, but the other characters and the plot were quite different.  Without spoiling anything, I love the way that he showed the reaction of the different characters, and the struggles they encountered, their friendships, and the conclusion they came to.  I thought it was real without being hopeless or too direct.  I think it handled serious issues in a way that was appropriate and interesting for a young adult novel.  I think it's my favorite of John Green's books so far and I'm looking forward to reading more.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
I didn't enjoy this book as much as her first one (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up), but I think it's a helpful addition.  It's basically a reiteration of the process part of her first book without all the backstory.  She includes answers to common questions and she added more detailed organizing instructions.  I had a fun time reading it, especially because of the darling illustrations, but it really should have all been one big book.  It gave me some awesome ideas about organizing some of the things that I haven't been sure what to do with, but overall didn't change much.  While I might read her first book again someday, I will probably only refer to some of the diagrams in this one.  I think if you loved the first, you will probably like this one also..  Her writing style is pleasant and I find her writing very relaxing and humorous.

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
Lewis is a fantastic author, and this book is worth the effort.  BUT, it is not as well-written or edited as his other books (I primarily compared it to Mere Christianity) and it's very dense.  I wanted to get through it more than I wanted to understand everything, so when I found myself confused I just kept going.  I paid attention to the points that made sense to me with little effort, and there are some very good ones.  He attempts to answer the question "If God is good, why is there suffering?"  He does so necessarily from the Christian perspective (as that is the God he's speaking of) but he draws parallels with other religions as well.  The book isn't quite what I expected, but I'm very glad I read it.  I plan to keep this one to read again sometime, and it probably warrants some actual note-taking.

I got inspired

I discovered this fantastic lady on YouTube and she motivated me to work on my writing again.  I don't have any concrete goals right now, but I'm trying to actually create some sort of a finished a book or at the very least a short story or a haiku or something.  I've also decided to get some more writing practice in the meantime with some fancy new blog posts.  By fancy I mean longer than a paragraph and containing photos that I stole from the internet.  So fancy.

I started physical therapy

Yay.  So fun.  It's really too early to tell if it's doing any good or not.  The idea is that the chiropractor has put things back where they're supposed to be, but my muscles are very unevenly strong and weak in terrible ways so PT is supposed to help that and make me be able to hold my own head up for normal lengths of time.  I think it's working because I hate my physical therapist like 70% of the time.

Also...Greg turned 30.  He was appropriately thrilled.

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