Wednesday, February 16, 2011

At Night...

 At night, I've been practicing the 'piano' and crawling into bed with a little crochet and a good a ton of good books**.  I picked up the acoustic guitar around Christmas, and Erik showed me a few chords.  I have such short little stubby fingers though, that playing was a bit painful.  I could either strum or place my fingers, but doing both at the same time was an exercise in futility.  I had just decided that learning guitar was for the young, who will play for hours every day, having nothing better to do with themselves, when I remembered that we also have an old-school keyboard and a "beginning piano for adults" study book, and I think I may have found my calling.

I play for 20 or so minutes every night, and it is too too too much fun!  I've taught myself to read music (it's a cinch!) and I can now regal you with rockin' renditions of Down In the Valley, Clementine, When the Saints Go Marching In, Lavender's Blue, and Merrily We Roll Along (in my mind, "Mary Had a Little Lamb").  Somewhat more laborious, due to the out-of-middle-c finger positioning, I have finally also mastered "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow".  

I'm available for your bar mitzvahs and weddings!

** I'm totally the kind of person who reads about 10 books at the same time.  When I was in college, my friend Ron asked me, in total seriousness, how many books I've read in my lifetime.  I had never contemplated such a thing, but the math-geek in me quickly flipped through some averages and statistics, and I was past my elementary school days (when I would spend the summers devouring a "chapter book" a day, my favorites being Charlotte's Web, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and Tuck Everlasting) and through the middle school years (when I met Jack London and Black Beauty and went down a rabbit hole with Lauara Ingalls Wilder) and then high school where honors English brought me Hemingway, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, a Vonnegut spree, and I also read everything Stephen King wrote, espionage thrillers, the entire Planet of the Apes (original series) and anything else I could get my hands on...often going late into the wee hours of every night, unable to stop reading.  I was just beginning to mentally catalog my college textbooks, plus I was heavily into biographies between 1988 and 1994, when my friend Ron asked me "if I thought it was more than 10 books".  

And then I died.  

"No, no, I mean, I know you've had to read books, like for school and stuff, but do you think you've read more than ten books for just, like, fun?"  It had never occurred to me that there were people in the world who could literally list every book they had ever read.  It turns out, there are a lot of people like dad is probably one of them!  Not counting maps and travel guides, I bet he hasn't read more than 20 books for pleasure since graduating from high school!  That would be unlike my mother and me.  I definitely get my love of WORDS from my mom, and she got it from her mom before that.  (Tommy, I'm happy to report...a nose-in-a-book kind of fellow.  The legacy lives on! :)

On my nightstand:

Painted House by John Grisham
Hideaway by Dean Koontz
Still Alice by Lisa Genova (recommended!  deeply emotional book, and so wonderful!)
The New Starting With Bees published by the A.I. Root Company
Little Bee by Chris Cleave (oops, this one is done!)
Bel Canto by Ann Patchette (surprisingly funny for a terrorist/hostage plot line...)
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen
The Four-Shaft Loom by Anne Field
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
On Beauty by Zadie Smith (re-reading, very worthwhile)
Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire (I think these re-imaginings of classic fairy tales are just fascinating!)

And you?  What exactly are you reading these days?  What instrument are you practicing?  Did you learn as an adult, as I am doing, or were you a child prodigy?


  1. Seriously?!? More than ten books? In a lifetime? Ok, you are younger than I am ;-) but that is really really really sad...

    Loved Still Alice and Bell Canto and Little Bee! Just ask Moose about the book mess that is overflowing from my nightstand! Then again it might be better not to remind him. ha ha!

    My friends would share book lists for recommendations, but I never kept one. I never could be bothered to keep track of what I read until I found Because of that I know I read 63 print books and listened to 12 audio books in 2010. Reading Rocks!

  2. OK,my 2011 reading list:
    1. 1776 by David McCullough. I kept saying to Kelly, "I wonder how it ends". Well I get to the end of the book and to my surprise (wasn't paying attention in school) and the war didn't end until 6 years later with help from the French navy. Believe me George Washington needed all the help he could get. He actually lost a lot of the battles. But, one of his greatest qualities was perserverance.

    2. Willie Mays, an authorized biography by J. Hirsch. I really enjoyed it! Mays truly played for the love of the game. In the beginning years, he had no agent and would sign his contract without reading it. He really "loved the game" and he definitely was used by ownership. He was very popular. To me, he was the Elvis Presley of Major League Baseball- everybody (even opposing fans) loved him. Moose

  3. @Kelly ~ Maybe it's the teacher in us?? Still Alice was given to me by mom, and it's TOO TOO good! I'm reading it in small doses with fluff in between to cleanse the emotional palette. So hard. :( I think it's so funny that we've read many of the same books, too. I fell out of the habit of reading voraciously in the last couple of years, but I'm feeling the pull lately and so grateful that I am!

    @Moose ~ Nice manly reads, my friend. Well played. 1776 actually sounds great... I think it was in around 2002 that I got into a spree of books on Thomas Jefferson, and it was just fascinating. I think I might need to revisit a little historical nonfiction!

  4. OMG! "Island of the Blue Dolphins"!! I was just thinking about turning Pie on to that book!

    I have lost my glasses.. but I am most excited about "American Rose", and will read it first once said glasses are found!

    I've been delving in the teen dream and have been playing guitar & singing with old friends. It's yet to make me look younger, but I figure with all the singing the facial muscles will tighten things up a bit. :) (Got my first guitar at 6.)