Sunday, February 15, 2015

dispatch from Donner Lake

Week three of snow. This morning's storm is bringing the total to around eight feet. Work has been canceled one day a week for each of those three, but because my current project involves working with a company in Oregon, all my conference calls and webexes are still on, meaning I have to make them from the kitchen table with a squirmy almost-ten-month-old on my lap (or a screaming almost-ten-month-old banished to the play pen). Which wouldn't be so bad except that I am expected to make crucial decisions for the entire workplace under those circumstances. It's enough to make you envy those who merely had to decide which neighbor to eat.

And on the days we do work, my normally-half-hour commute takes up to two hours and there's not a hope in hell of finding parking once I get there. Possibly not as comparable to starvation and cannibalism as I make it out to be, but it sucks and I would like it to stop. And I'm not even the one digging us out: Berowne averages eight hours of shoveling per day for two straight days every time we get a storm. Yesterday he had to shovel all day just to move snow so he'd have a place to put today's snow. It's a good thing he's excessively manly.

What I've read lately:

The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women, by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels. I wish books of this sort didn't get dated so fast, because the dated information created jarring notes in what was otherwise a very good discussion of a topic in which I'm currently very invested. Still it was a funny and interesting (and, of course, infuriating) read.

The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder, by Charles Graeber. It's always "a true story of [something], madness, and [something which is often murder]", isn't it? In any case, this is about Charles Cullen, possibly the most prolific serial murderer in American history, who just killed people all the damn time in his work as a nurse. An ugly and disturbing story.

From the Forest: A Search for the Hidden Roots of Our Fairy Tales, by Sara Maitland. Maitland talks about the relationship of Northern European folklore to the natural environments in which that folklore developed, and though the result is some occasionally very overwrought writing (and the reworked fairy tales that she inserts throughout aren't always successful), I found this fascinating and informative.

Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism, by Jennifer Percy. Percy follows a soldier who has returned home from Iraq and fallen in with a truly wild cult who claims to exorcise demons. She gets - I think - really inappropriately close to both the soldier and the cult, undergoing an exorcism herself and dropping major hints that she might have slept with her subject. The subject matter is hard to read, and the book's writing very overwrought on all occasions, but when it ended (abruptly) I wanted to know more.

The Curse of the Pharaohs, by Elizabeth Peters. Adorable period mystery, which I needed badly after all this grim non-fiction.

Radio On: A Listener's Diary, by Sarah Vowell. Her first book, in which she listens to the radio for a year and details what she hears. Of course any such premise will be largely driven by the year in which one does it, and she did it in 1995, but even in 1995 I could not give the tiniest crap about Nirvana, and so Vowell's endless extolling of them was really, really boring to me. Especially since everything else she heard on the radio that year she apparently loathed, with a grudging exception made for Ira Glass. But she was twenty-six when she wrote this, and hyperbolic dislike is a pretty standard way to define yourself at that age. She's probably embarrassed by this book now, so I forgive it. It had its good moments despite itself.

Well, I have been informed by a small creature with big lungs that my blogging time has expired. May you all, as a Donner survivor said, never take no cut-offs (which is what I tell my GPS when it tries to convince me that an unplowed, untreated side street will get me to work faster) and hurry along as fast as you can.
 Barring the necessity for cut-offs, may you have good hot chocolate and warm socks.

No comments:

Post a Comment