Books Self Loved in 2008

Without further ado, dear blog readers, here is the list of the best books self has read (so far) in 2008, the books that made self laugh, cry, gnash her teeth in rage, or do all three simultaneously.  This year, self’s list includes four memoirs, two anthologies (Field of Mirrors and The Friend Who Got Away), two novels, three non-fiction, one short story collection, and two poetry collections!

Caveat:  Only the poetry collections and Krysl’s Dinner with Osama are new books.  Field of Mirrors is “semi-new”(!!):  came out last year!

Strangely, self’s students at xxxx community college absolutely detested Harbor (they claimed for its graphic violence, which surprised self exceedingly).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Brain Cloud, 2nd Weekend of December 2008: Shopping in San Carlos, Coffee in Redwood City

Yesterday, hubby and self’s shopping peregrinations took them mostly to San Carlos and downtown Redwood City.  Hubby said he wanted to get all his gifts today.  Self decided to go along, as staying home and gazing at piles of papers still waiting to be graded was making self ill.  Not to mention the fact that, for the past two days, the inside of the house has been like an icebox, and the only remedy is for self to stand directly over the floor heater, warming her hands.

Ended up going to Best Buy (for gift certificate for son), Claire de Lune (self’s favorite clothing store), Dona’s Hallmark on Laurel Street (for card in which to mail our wedding present for hubby’s younger brother), Bow Wow Meow next to Dona’s Hallmark (for snacks for the li’l crits:  finally, this year self caves in and decides she is after all the type of person who spoils dogs with Christmas presents).

Then, as has become our weekend ritual, hubby and self headed to Peet’s on Broadway in Redwood City, where self had a small caramel latté with whipped creme and hubby had a medium white chocolate mocha with whipped creme.

Oh!  And self almost forgot!  An elderly lady (self in 10 years) suddenly popped up close to self’s right elbow and asked if the papers on which self had propped her elbow were hers.  When self shook her head, the woman said, “I need to look for an apartment.  I’m losing my home in three days.”

OK, that was not too weird — yet.  Self handed over the papers, smiling.  But, alas, something in self’s face must have encouraged the woman, for she then went on and on about how her dog had died.  Then, how her dog had been killed by an evil vet (And who is this person, self wanted to inquire.  Could it possibly be someone from the San Carlos Pet Hospital?).  Then, how she had to spend $350 for urn in which to hold beloved pet’s ashes.  And how, notwithstanding the heartbreak he had already caused her, within three months the vet had killed yet another of the woman’s beloved pets, this one self thinks was a “bichon” or whatever that dog is that has white silky hair and sits on women’s laps.  And, to top it all off, to augment his absolute cruelty, this vet had actually made a pass at her while the dog was in its death throes.  Self said, poker-faced, that the woman should probably call the police.  She could expect no assistance from hubby, for he was silent as the grave and she couldn’t see the expression on his face, since her full attention was focused on this elderly lady in front of her, who by the way was wearing a lovely necklace of greenish garnet stones, reminiscent of one self had just seen on Dearest Mum’s neck.  Woman said she had reported the sexual harassment to the police, but who would believe her?  Self thought she understood the problem, for after all the woman was pretty elderly (70 at least) and also talked like a crazy person.  Self thereupon urged the woman to take the papers and wished her good luck in the apartment hunting.

At which point, mercifully, the woman took herself off.

Then self inquired of hubby if he was ready to take a walk.  And he said he was.  And immediately upon leaving Peet’s, who should we encounter on the sidewalk but the very same woman, this time busily engaged with poking a long metal stick down the throttle of the engine of a huge, decrepit black car.  Thankfully, self was able to slip past without the woman looking up.

Then, self and hubby were at German Haus.  And hubby once agan regarded the beer display:  dozens of beers from every conceivable province in Germany.  Self regarded the boxes of Lindor truffles and Danish cookies, the bottles of mustards and pickles.  Hubby inquired what self had “done” with the tins of herring he had purchased from here several months ago, and self claimed to have never laid eyes on them.  Hubby persisted in thinking that self had consumed them (“under his nose,” as it were).  Self denied any such wrongdoing (especially as she doesn’t like herring).  No resolution was reached on the matter.

Upon leaving the store, we passed the woman again, and this time she was settled snuggly inside her car, which we now saw was packed to the gills with clothing and other what-not.  Well, at least she has a place to keep warm, self thought.  Though it occurs to self that now Redwood City has parking meters downtown, the woman will have to keep moving if she wants to avoid a parking ticket.

And then self and hubby returned home, and self is happy to report that every store she entered today seemed busy (so, hopefully none of her local favorites are in danger of going bust).  Earlier, before hubby woke up, self had gone to the Woodside Bakery and that store was absolutely packed with bikers, all in very serious-looking biking attire, some of whom had British accents.

Later in the evening, just before 9 p.m., son called.  He was lost.  He needed help finding a street in Los Osos.  We asked him for his location and self ran to the computer and google-mapped it.  It turned out son was in the middle of Morro Bay State Park.  There were no other roads self could see.  Hubby told son to keep driving south, for around 7 miles.  He’d eventually hit another road, he should take a right there.  A little while later, road would emerge from the park.

What is he doing there at this time of night? self mouthed to hubby, but hubby ignored her.

When son had rung off, self asked hubby, “Why didn’t you ask him what he was doing in the middle of Morro Bay State Park at 9 p.m.?

Hubby shrugged.  “Maybe he was going to a party.”


10 minutes later, self told hubby, “Can you give him another call and find out where he is now?  That really looks like a very isolated area.”

So, hubby did, and to self’s relief reported that son was now at his destination in Los Osos.  Just to make sure, self googled the street address of the Los Osos place (for she knows son likes to drop in to the local casinos from time to time!).  But no information was forthcoming about son’s mysterious destination.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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