Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge

It is pretty evident that I am not going to be able to finish the 2012 Reading Challenge with the 25 books that I had as my goal.  I came closer this year, and will be able to add a couple of more, but will fall short by a couple.  Next year will be better -- I think.

I just finished the latest book in my queue -- "The Little Stranger" by Sarah Waters.  It was reasonably lengthy -- just shy of 400 pages -- and took me a little longer than I had wanted it to.  I have read two other works of Waters, one of which I enjoyed, so I thought I would give this one a go and I have to say that it did not disappoint although it was a bit draggy in places, I thought.

It is the story of Caroline Ayers and Dr. Faraday with subplots concerning Caroline's mother and brother, Roderick.  It is a tragic story of a tragic family and it all started with the death of the eldest Ayers child -- Susan.  It is clearly a ghost story but it is only implied who the ghost is and the involvement of the ghost is vague -- not to be believed by most of the characters involved with the family.  I would like to say it ends well and, in regards to the parlor maid, Betty, it does but the ending is bittersweet and leaves the reader wondering about the stability of Dr. Faraday in regards to his attachment  to the house -- The Hundreds.

It is a good read -- I was able to stay with it and, at the end, couldn't put it down but that is usually my reading style.  It was "scary" enough to be a ghost story but much more psychological and frightening in a whole other way.  I will say, it makes me very glad that I am not privileged to own an old -- really old -- English manor house.  I think I would move after reading this.

I recommend this book but maybe on a sunny day.  If you are affected by SAD, the gloominess of the setting in this book might be just a bit much.
All Too Familiar --

It is post-Thanksgiving -- that time that we all sit and commiserate over what we have done (eaten).  We are loping toward another holiday that pretty much centers around all things excessive -- food, alcohol, shopping -- not  necessarily in that order.  We are all looking toward the New Year, as well, replete with it's resolutions.  I am not good at any of this.  I don't overeat on Thanksgiving because I cook it and once the marathon cooking has taken place, I can't be bothered to eat it.  I don't drink and I don't like shopping so all the "fun" stuff of the season is wasted on me.  Resolutions?  Eh, just something to be broken as soon as they are written.  Again -- not my gig.

However, there is one thing I need to do.  I need to lose weight.  Between my weight and the hard flooring I live with, my feet and knees are aging at an alarming rate and something must be done.  Would I like to wear smaller clothes with a better variety?  Of course.  Would I like to think I had never let myself get to this point?  Uh, yes -- it is a bit embarrassing.  Can I blame it all on heredity?  Well, that is a question, now, isn't it?  I come from a family of short  people.  For the longest time I was the tallest child, measuring 5'5.5" in my prime.  I kept that honor until my youngest cousin was born and she grew to an adult height of about 5'8".  I have now  lost about  1.25" inches which only makes the weight issue more of an -- well -- issue.  My father claimed to be 5'10" -- he was really 5'8" and my mother was 5'1".  So, we are a bit vertically challenged.  My weight would be perfect if I were, say, 6'8".  If you look at body shape -- well, I look just like my father who tended to be a bit Alfred Hitchcock--ish -- as did his father and my son has followed suit.  Overweight? Yes but the body type is there regardless of weight.  Not much to be done about that. But, working within the parameters of things I cannot change -- I still have to solve the weight issue.

I have successfully lost weight twice in my life -- rather large quantities of weight --so you can see this has been an ongoing issue for me since my early 20's.  Each time I have lost weight I have done it by calorie counting.  Yes, a calorie counter (small, grocery store checkout line sort of book) and a spiral notebook were my weapons of choice the first time.

The second time was similar only with a bigger calorie counter and the added assistance of informative labels and the internet.  I have been trying to just "watch" what I eat which I do quite well -- it just doesn't limit me.  I have tried Weight Watchers online but can't do it because I resent having to pay to use the system plus I think the system just encourages diet foods full of junk we don't need.  I don't eat artificial sweeteners because they make my heart do disturbing flippity flops.

So, I will be starting calorie counting again.  I won't use a spiral notebook this time but rather the Lose It! app for my Nook.  It is easy and I usually always have my Nook with me so it is a good way to log what I eat when I am out.  Calorie counts for fast food are readily available now so there is no excuse for not being able to do it.  I won't be waiting until the New Year -- my New Year starts today.

Exercise -- yeah, well, that is an issue as well.  Arthritis limits what I can do but I think I will go back and do things old school -- sit ups, toe touching, that sort of thing.  I have a Tony Little Gazelle and a tv in my room which is ok but my knees can only take so much however, they can take the 30 minutes a day that is recommended so we will see.

I will let you know how it goes.  Maybe I will add a sidebar to show my calorie counts.  You won't find my weight up there, no sir, but maybe I will post the weight loss.  Maybe that is just too boring.

However, I am now off to eat my cup of raisin bran and half cup of milk.  I have already put it in the calorie counter so I guess that means I have officially started my new project.