Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Confessions of an Age 55+, Retired, PhD Engineer, Shepherd, Mom, Daughter, Wife, Farm Hand

I am never bored. There is always something interesting to read or learn, or someone interesting to listen to. Sometimes, though, inertia takes hold and I can't decide what to do, or just can't get past that first step.

On Sunday, Mom and I went out to brunch at a restaurant neither one of us knew - the Mark Restaurant, in Olde Burien. It was very nice. I love my Mom and like spending time with her. So why do I see her so seldom?

When I dropped her off, she offered to loan me some books. I like reading books. My taste runs from sci-fi and fantasy to historical novels, self help and the "Chicken Soup" collections. Killer Angels is one I re-read now and then, the Harry Potter series can keep me up late, Nuts! was good (about Southwest Airlines), and Marley was a tear jerker - especially since we'd lost 3 of our dogs in the previous year. On airplane trips, I find a trashy romance novel and bury my nose in it for the duration. (I'm a white knuckle airline passenger.)

I poked through her bedside collection and picked out three very different sounding books.

First I started Dead Wrong by Janice Kay Johnson, an author from Seattle (!) The book is set near Bend, Oregon and kept me up late. It's kind of a romance novel, but also a mystery. The main character was a young woman detective who solves (rather personally!) a violent serial rapist/murder case.

The next one was Big Fish by Daniel Wallace. It was entertaining. A group of short, embellished, larger than life tales about Edward Bloom as told by his son as his father lay dying.

I just finished the third one this morning: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The book is laid out as a biography (purely fictional? historical basis???) of an Afghani who emmigrates to the US after the Soviets invade Afghanistan. During his childhood he watches his best friend get brutally raped while he hides in the shadows. This event colors his whole life. He eventually returns to Afghanistan to rescue the friend's son and finds some sort of courage. This is an outstandingly written book - haunting. Nightmare provoking.

The Kite Runner and Dead Wrong are not the type of books I like to read. (Big Fish was just strange, but I got some laughs from it.) I hate reading or watching (movies) where children and women are the objects of senseless and twisted violence. Couldn't these authors have used some other events to make their points? Yes, they are well written, but is it worth the nightmares, the flashbacks to the violent parts of the books? I like trashy novels where my flashbacks are to the steamy sections. ;-) sci-fi where the flashbacks are to the battles that the (women) commanders win by the skin of their teeth, fantasy where dolphins speak and diagnose illnesses and people ride dragons to battle alien life forces. Yet, I read these books and after some fashion, enjoyed them, and, if you like that kind of book, would recommend them.

Oh, confessions. I read books while the sheep were untended (though they don't need much tending out on pasture!), the dogs in their crates instead of lounging at my feet or being trained and played with, taxes need to be done (we filed an extension), much paperwork is languishing, websites are out of date, fleeces need skirting, yard work, and drywall, painting, and on and on and on.

What I need is a good dose of ambition. Something to get me away from the keyboard and on to tasks that need doing. I find that taking vitamins regularly helps my attitude and gets me motivated. So why do I slack off? heh... just before starting this post, I took my vitamins. ;-) Maybe that will get me taking more photos, sharing more regularly, making progress.

heh... confessions. I'm a farm worker now. The local CSA (Take Root Farm) was doing a work-share for the summer. It was full when I asked, but they needed some part time farm hands. I started last week. We planted beans, lettuce and fennel transplants. It was all bending and reaching. Ouchies. My back still isn't the same. Add exercises and situps to my list. :-\

I did figure out how to make videos (I still have to learn editing) and post them on You Tube. There are two. 1) Franjean (Shetland ram) walking around and eating ( a video to complement photos and fleece samples; he's now living in Oregon) and 2) Clifford at the latest agility trial where he gives me half attention after a bird swoops over him between the second two obstacles. There are flashes of brilliance, so maybe we'll get there.


Ohhhhh, I just got an idea for the Moonspinners Sheep to Shawl project (I'm the Chairman this year). I'll have to hustle to get examples together for tonight's meeting. Inspiration!

- Franna


Kathy said...

Shall I take one oar, you the other, Franna? We're in the same boat, you know. :)
I enjoyed your post. I too have found myself rather reading than fighting the wind and weather doing things I should be doing: planting th etomatoes with Walls-O-Water around them so they survive our cold nights, cleaning out and reorganizing the barn, working on the website for the farm and getting sheep sold and moved out as they've bred like rabbits this year, restacking the remains of the woodpile. I could go on and on.
I should be on my way into town to return a bale of straw that was moldy and I didn't notice it yesterday when I bought it. (Our feed store loads things so fast that it makes you head swim)
And I am way behind in my spinning...so many things to do, but oh, look! There's that book I meant to finish...

Franna said...

Oh, Kathy, do we make a pair?

Okay, so today I made a list, and purposefully made it short so I could get it done!

1 - Wash the black Fresian fleece (for Sheep to Shawl)

2 - Plant Tomatoes

3 - Defrost the Freezer

Will I get them done before the Blake Shelton concert tonight???? Stay tuned. :-)
- Franna

PS. Aren't Wall'O'Waters GREAT??!!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Wow, Franjean grew quite the long scur on the one side! I take it Marybeth bought him? I must say, except for the color (Ag), I am extremely happy with Braveheart, and he is about as close to polled as a genetically half-polled ram could be. It will be interesting to see what Marybeth does with polled -- and how Braveheart does at BSG! Are you still coming?

Kathy said...

As a matter of fact, I have six walls o'water up in the boxes on the deck. Last year, due to the back surgery, I planted the tomatoes amongst the flowers on the deck knowing that my DH would water those, but forget about the veggie garden. After all, how could he manage two things at once???
Well...it worked so well I got a tremendous harvest for the few I planted, so thought this year I'd try it again.
I see this evening I do have a blowout from the wind this afternoon. I'll fix it tomorrow.
Oh...yeah...another thing I found near the deck was a litter of kittens! Seems the small cat that's been hanging around brought her babies over to us. Now all we have to do is try to catch everyone!

PS...When you're through with your freezer, mines available! LOL!!!!

Franna said...

YES! I'm coming to BSG. I have to leave midafternoon on Saturday, though. Are we getting together? Breakfast on Saturday? Supper on Thursday or Friday?
Yes, Marybeth got Franjean. I'll have to watch for his progeny - perhaps they might come back my way. :-)
- Franna

Franna said...

Kathy, pretty good planning. I like tomatoes in pots, and with herbs and with flowers. They're much less likely to get forgotten. ;-)

Kittens, yikes. We're down 3 cats and you're increasing.

I got them done!!! Freezer defrosted, tomatoes (and a few beans and fennel) planted, and (at least part of) the wool washed. Wow. All that and time for the AWESOME Blake Shelton concert, too.
- Franna

Dave said...

Actually he would have had the long scur on the other side too Michelle if he wasn't such a stinker and the big boys knocking it off of him :)

Tina T-P said...

Oh, Franna, I'd be right there on the couch reading with you (John gets SO annoyed with me) and I do agree - why the sensless & gratitous violence - I just put those books in my "guess I won't finish that book" pile. I'd rather re-read any of my Ann McCafrey books than one like that. (I'm even having a little trouble with the latest Nora Roberts novel - too much evil...)

Sci-fi- have you read any of Syne Mitchell's books, they are very good. You have to get them on the used market, but they were very worth it. (she has tidbits of each novel on her website - sucked me right in - I had to go to Powell's web site and buy them LOL)

I think we're going to have to have a BIG shetland breakfast get together at BSG - I'll email you - maybe we can get something planned out so everyone can put it on their schedules, huh? We need to talk about WWdN anyhow. T.

Dave said...

Yes, we have all of Syne's books as well. It is interesting watching her develop as a writer. I think that every book she has written has been better than the one before (IMHO at least :). Franna and I both brought our own libraries into our marriage. We are planning on having a real library in our new house rather than the shelves we have hung all over our family room right now. Oh, and the boxes of books that we haven't even unpacked as their isn't any room for them at the moment :(

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Hi Franna, I just tagged you for a meme; hope you'll play so I can learn more about you! Come on over to the blog....