Another Cold Day

I wasn’t expecting snow this morning.  Even when I looked out the window and saw white I thought it was just low cloud.  But it’s been snowing all day.  I did venture out to do some grocery shopping and I took my camera with me.  I wanted to take pictures of the Sky Tree, but visibility was poorer than I was expecting and I couldn’t see the Sky Tree.  I ended up walking to Minowa as I thought it might be interesting to take pictures of the tram line in the snow, but it really wasn’t.  I was more amused by the classical music that was being piped into the older streets as I had forgotten that happened.  It did take me a few minutes to work out that the music wasn’t coming from a shop or a house.

I didn’t stay out too long as it was cold and wet.  I’m hoping that spring arrives soon.


Statue at Minami-senju

Valentine Surprise

I have decided that today should be Valentine’s Day as I wasn’t at home on the 14th.  I did leave Marty a gift but he didn’t get the meal I had planned and he won’t be expecting it today.  You might think that if I want to surprise my husband that I shouldn’t write about it on my blog but he’s not really into the Internet.  I think he only discovered YouTube last week.  (I’ll admit that’s not a completely fair statement, he knew it existed but he hadn’t realised that you could use it without Flash).  He might read this post at some point over the next year, but I won’t count on it.

Surprise dinners can go badly wrong when people ring to say that they’ve forgotten to leave work so I am going to make food that doesn’t rely on him arriving home on time.  I’m planning on making carrot and tomato soup, chicken a mushroom skewers in a chili marinade, shepherds pie, and for dessert I will bake heart shaped strawberries and cream cupcakes.

I have also picked a movie for us to watch – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  This may not be considered a romantic movie but there would be nothing romantic in arranging an evening for Marty and expecting him to watch a romantic comedy.  I’m hoping that my choice works for both of us, that it’s intriguing enough to interest him even if it doesn’t have lots of death, explosions, or giant killer robots.  I know he’s talked about watching Real Steel but I don’t know if he realizes that the robots in that appear to just thump each other in a boxing ring and don’t actually go on killing sprees in the hope to destroy humanity, and even the lure of watching Hugh Jackman wasn’t enough to entice me to buy that.

Hopefully he will be pleased.

2 Responses to “Valentine Surprise”

  1. Andrew Gallagher Says:

    It’s a beautifully-made movie, but it takes understatement to previously unthinkable extremes.

  2. karen Says:

    I enjoyed the movie, and thankfully so did Marty. I did have to pay a lot of attention while watching it, not the sort of thing where you can get up to put on the kettle and hope to miss nothing.

Travel Allergy

I travel a lot, and at times I imagine that I’m quite good at it. I know how to arrange a round the world trip, I can keep calm when airport security are horrible, and I can accurately judge the weight of my suitcase.  But I haven’t been able to train my body to cope with long distance flights.

Yesterday’s flight has left me out of sorts as my body objected to being in the air for thirteen and a half hours.  Between planes, trains, and waiting around it took me about twenty hours to get home.  When I did get  home I broke the rules and climbed into bed after a shower knowing that Marty would wake me when he got home from work. I woke in pain.  My knee joints were stiff, swollen and bruised, my wrists ached, my head throbbed from the start of a sinus infection, and the ankles I misplaced somewhere over Russia sadly hadn’t made an appearance yet. Being described as a “puffball” didn’t do a lot for my mood but given that even my face and eyes had swollen it may have been an accurate description.

My next flight is in twelve days.

Keep / Reading

I have always loved books.  I used to dream of having a house big enough that one of the rooms could be used as a library.  The room would have lots of light, a reclining chair, silence, and of course shelves and shelves of books.  I never built the library but I did buy the books.  Owning so many books led me and others to believe that I was a collector.  But then I moved to Japan and gave away hundreds of books.  It wasn’t hard to do, the most difficult thing really was lifting the boxes after I overfilled them.  I kept enough books to stuff six large bookcases, but I only kept books that I was likely to read again, or books that had been given to me as gifts.

I should have realised that I wasn’t a collector a long time ago.  I was about thirteen when I first came across someone who could read books without marking the spine.  You couldn’t tell that the book had been read at all.  I wanted to read those books badly enough that I borrowed them and held them rigidly, never opening the book fully.  I was careful to make sure that I didn’t leave any indication that I had been there, but it was hard work.  The concept made no sense to me.  Why did it matter if you could tell that a book had been read?  Was a line on the spine really so terrible?  I was also able to buy boxes of second hand books.  Old grotty books that look like generations of families including their dogs had read them.  And then there were all those hours of my childhood spent reading in the local library without ever feeling a desire to own those books.

This is on my mind because of the Kindle.  I have friends who are really surprised that I like the Kindle.  It smells and feels like a lump of plastic, even with its leather cover.  It’s not that book-like and it did seem to everyone around me that I loved books.  But it’s not the smell of books, how they feel, or how pretty they look on my bookshelf that matters to me, it’s the words that are written inside them.  I want to read stories, learn new things, spend my evenings mulling over poetry and philosophy, and as long as I can do that quickly and without hurting my eyes I’m not that concerned about how that information is delivered.

Alan, in his post about his Kindle, talks about how he doesn’t really read books on it.  I’ve had mine for about 14 months and I’ve read 94 books. I’m in the process of reading 3 books, and I have a another 11 books still to be read.  I also have reference books stored, but those are not the sort of thing you read through from start to finish. I do still buy paper books but only if I can’t get them for my Kindle or if they are books filled with coloured pictures where the visual layout is as important as the words.

My Kindle isn’t perfect.  Just the other night it rearranged all my books and I was once stuck on a plane when it decided to turn itself into a lump of plastic.  Perfect or not I find it hard to leave home without and given its storage capacity I’m less likely to get stuck reading the labels of shampoo bottles when my addiction to reading kicks in.

4 Responses to “Keep / Reading”

  1. Andrew Noble Says:

    I love books, and I am one of those that can read a paperback and not leave a crease on the spine – one of my memories is of my mother picking up a book I had carefully left open over the arm of a chair (to protect the spine) and cracking the spine so I dodn’t lose my place…AAARRGGHH!

    While I can see the advantage of a Kindle – not breaking your wrist trying to read a 1200 page hard back. it just doesn’t appeal to me.

    I may relent at some point, like you storage is an issue. However I have even gone and bought hard back versions of books I particularly love to read. A Kindle can’t replace the satisfaction of looking at a full shelf.

  2. karen Says:

    I’m careful with books that don’t belong to me. I remember someone I worked with returning a book to me that was a complete mess. I asked him if he had dropped it in water and he calmly told me that he had indeed dropped it in the bath! He didn’t even offer to buy me a new one, just acted like bathing a book was an acceptable thing to do to something that didn’t belong to you.

    I don’t actually gain satisfaction from looking at full shelves, I gain satisfaction from knowing I have lots of books available to read.

  3. Alan in Belfast Says:

    94 books read on your Kindle! I’m impressed. Too much time on long flights not watching the movies!

  4. karen Says:

    That’s a valid point Alan. I was on a long flight today and I read one book on my Kindle, half a paperback, and watched one film. I don’t like watching new movies on planes so I do a lot more reading than watching. And I’m never managed to find a comfortable way to work on my computer.