January Reading

Last year I read Carolyn Heilbrun’s autobiography The Last Gift: Life Beyond Sixty, because I like reading about other people’s lives, especially women and women writers. I’m generally interested accounts of how people deal with aging — maybe I’m trying to get inspiration about my own aging. For some reason, I’ve been interested in how to age well for some time now. Anyway, at that time I reread In the Last Analysis, her first Kate Fansler crime novels (written under the pseudonym Amanda Cross), which made me want to reread the others, and — joy! — I even found a few new ones. The only one I hadn’t read before from the list was Poetic Justice. The other ones will be read in February, I hope.Read More »


Ursula K. Le Guin, one of my favourite writers, died on January 22. Very sad news.

“…human existence passing from light through darkness into light, from mystery to endless mystery.”*

The quote is from a collection of her blog posts. I hadn’t known that she had a blog, but I recently stumbled across the collection and am currently reading it. It’s very good, full of short and funny, arresting or thoughtful glimpses of her life and thoughts in the past few years.

The book reminds me of how much I like her work, and how long it’s been that I’ve reread any of it — I had decided to revisit her work before I heard of her death, now I shall do so in remembrance.

*Referring to Wordsworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” from “The Inner Child and the Nude Politician” in Le Guin, Ursula K.: No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters Most. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, 2017.

At Mom’s

It’s 6:15 am and I’ve been lying awake in bed for at least 1.5 hours, so I’ve given up on sleep. The snow plow driving past our house woke me. I also heard the fire alarm siren going off at 4:45 am. Wonder what’s up – maybe a tree has fallen and blocked a road somewhere. It’s been snowing and we had a storm last Thursday. “Friederike” it’s a year of women’s names for storms again. Caused a lot of chaos specially in the middle and north of Germany, but we were affected in the South as well. Lots of wind, snow, sleet, and rain this week. Probably many trees are not rooted as strongly as they might be in the soaked ground. Also a lot of cracked branches groaning under the weight of the new snow. Is a blocked road way in the country a reason for waking up the volunteer firefighters in the middle of the night? Hope it wasn’t a fire or a bad accident. Maybe there’ll be something in the paper about it.

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Dog Tales

A couple of days ago, I took Curious Dog out for a walk at 7.pm. It was pitch dark, except for the patches lit by the street lights and I’d forgotten to use the harness with the attached green LED light. As CD is a black Labrador mix, that’s like walking an invisible dog (at least, when he goes where the street lights don’t reach). But I didn’t feel like going back in to change the harness. I wasn’t planning to go far, just a short walk round the neighbourhood. I wasn’t planning on letting him off leash anyway.

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My New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Keep up journaling, offline and on the blog
    I would like to do at least one blog post per week and three offline journal entries. I want to establish a regular writing habit.
  2. Keep up meditation practice
    Study Buddhist ideas and keep up with the meditation practice I started in earnest last fall. I’ve been going to a thirty minute meditation session for about a year, because it’s offered at work (and I will also continue with this), but my regular practice at home is what will bring the practice to a higher level. I’ve been doing 45 minutes almost every day since November and it’s already changing my daily life – I’m trying to live more mindfully and it’s working, even if only in small ways. The more I’m meditating, the easier and more interesting it seems to be getting.
  3. Read more books and reduce my time surfing the Internet
    I had this goal last year too, and it went well.
  4. Learn Latin
    Not sure if I’m really serious about this. I want to do it, but my other goals may get in the way. Also: procrastination (see below).
  5. Stop procrastinating so much
    Mindfulness might help with this.