I find whenever I talk to someone I haven’t seen in a while or a friend I’ve known forever, they always ask if I am happy. What I want to say is yes, I am happy and sad and annoyed, angry, joyful, excited, tired, irritated, frustrated, cheerful…these are emotions, which come and go and I feel them all at various times.
I think what they really want to know is am I content? And I am. I have an amazing life which is nothing like what I ever imagined for myself. And I think that’s why people ask if I am happy. It’s not what they expect to see for me. It’s not the world they expected me to live in.
But I feel like a wild animal who once caught and put in captivity, adjusted and has now realized, it’s not so bad here. No one is hunting me. I am well fed. I have things to play with and people who play with me. People routinely line up to admire me.
I am this polar bear.
His world maybe be concrete and limited, but the water is cold, it is snowing, and all is well for him in this moment.
Side Note: I actually had this awesome video of him swimming laps I took at the Berlin zoo but WordPress wants me to give them more money to be able to show videos. So you get a still shot. LOL
So after Amsterdam we went to Berlin. I liked it a lot. Then again no one was smoking marajuana on every street. Things always look rosier when you aren’t going to vomit any second. That said, Berlin is a total foody town. Gluten free was everywhere, which makes it so easy to feed the kiddo and myself. Their public transit system was awesome as well. Even at peak travel times you could still find standing room on every train we needed.
Berlin Zoo, totally fab! I like zoos. Visit them everywhere I go. This is top 5 easily, maybe top 3. They put some serious time and effort into designing the enclosures for the animals both from the perspective of what the animal needs and viewing for people. Example: The Mountain Goat enclosure had a 50 foot high mountain in it for them to climb. I have never seen anything like that for goats. Plus their kids’ playground was way cool. Tons of things that never happen in the US for safety reasons. Snort.
Allied Museum: Museum dedicated to the Berlin Airlift. They have a plane from the airlift on the grounds which you can go into, if you’re there at the right time of year. We weren’t but it was still way cool. No barriers. So I got to walk under that huge beautiful plane. sigh. Lovely.
DDR Museum: hands on, interactive museum about life in East Berlin when the wall was up. You can ever “drive” the one car that was available in East Berlin in a 3D virtual street reconstruction.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
Yes, I went to a church. The thing is, this one got bombed in the war and rather than demolish and rebuild it, they restored it just enough to keep it from falling down as a memorial to those who died in the war. It looks amazing as it is.
Jute Backeri: Gluten free bakery. So good. Seriously. It might have been better than Kyra’s. Maybe. LOL.
Things that made me sad:
“The Wall.” There is a mile long stretch of the wall called the East Side Gallery. Artists have been invited to paint murals regarding their experiences in the DDR. Half the strip is protected by a fence. The other half is tagged to hell with graffiti. It made me very sad that they have to protect “The Wall” with a wall.
Checkpoint Charlie: Oh dear god. It’s all reproduction. And it’s like Time’s Square meets bad Hollywood repro. Picture the scene, KFC on the left, McDonalds on the right. CC in the middle, complete with Germans pretending to be American soldiers in uniform, manning the checkpoint. Shoot me now. The real stuff is in the Allied Museum.
The kiddo had a brief desire to move to Berlin. I think he liked all the gluten free food availability. The fact that we never got stuck in traffic. And the amazing museums. He was particularly taken with the Pergamon and it’s amazing set up of the Ishtar Gate. He and his dad are currently building one in MineCraft. LOL
I reviewed The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths a few weeks ago, liked it a lot. I grabbed the follow up to that book, Smoke and Mirrors, shortly thereafter and it was awesome. So of course I grabbed the first book in her Ruth Galloway Mystery series, The Crossing Places.
I am less enthusiastic about this series. It is still very well written and I quite like the lead character. Ruth Galloway is independent, intelligent, and a total introvert. She is a professional forensic archaeologist who teaches at Uni. She has an Indiana Jones poster in her office for the humor of it. When the book starts she is asked to evaluate some recently found bones for the police. This is a new direction for her. As the book goes on she finds lots of parallels between what an archaeologist does and a detective’s job.
It’s slower moving than the Magic Men series. And it is a bit darker. I liked the feel, the slow, creepy, languid pace. Although, I did know who done it before Griffiths revealed it. Maybe that’s why I am less enthused.
On the other hand I downloaded the next 2 books in the series for my upcoming trip.
℘℘℘℘ – A sold four pages. I can’t wait to see where the series develops.
For years now I have quietly nodded when people raged at Amazon for putting brick and mortar businesses out of business. Yes Amazon was convenient but I could see their arguments about the mom and pop store. I didn’t feel like I could have a dog in the fight though.I have family that works for Amazon.
This week I attempted to buy good quality shoes for my son. He outgrows shoes every 8-10 weeks, or he was for a while, so I was buying medium ish quality shoes because even semi cheap shoes can last 8 weeks, and at 25 a pair, that adds up 6 times a year. But his feet have only grown about a size in 6 months and he’s been complaining about his legs hurting. So I decided since he had slowed down, I would spring for good quality shoes. Ideally, keens for the running/hiking functionality.
We went to several upscale stores, looking for keens. Guess what I heard at each one? “We don’t carry kids shoes anymore.”
You have got to be kidding me. Who stops carrying something that by it’s very nature has to be replaced every few months? No one who wants to make money apparently.
Wild guess where I got exactly what my kiddo wanted and at a decent price?
Amazon. laughing, what else was I gonna do?
Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, every creature was reading, even my mouse. We just aren’t reading these books….
Eclair and Present Danger, Laura Bradford.
I wanted to like this book, I did. I love the idea of an emergency dessert squad delivering tasty yummies for every crisis in your life. But…sigh…The main character lives through an occurrence and then tells multiple groups about it. And you get to read it multiple times. By the end of chapter 17 I knew the whole murder plot. And I totally didn’t care. Plus Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day popped up at my local library and I grabbed that to read instead.
Read to Death, Terrie Farley Moran.
I took this with me on my most recent trip. It traveled through Harry Potter land at Universal and went to Legoland with me. But I had to abandon it. It was more or less ok. I can’t make any big complaints. It was just a little tedious. There was some definite ambiguity about the relationship between the two main characters. And I seriously thought for a bit the author was going bold and making them lesbians, in a mainstream cozy mystery, but no. sigh. And then it came, the moms showing up to support in a crisis. Bleh. I was done. No mom love.
Greatest One-Percenter Myths, Mysteries, and Rumors Revealed – Bill Hayes
I was in the library, we were short on time. I was grabbing a book on Houdini for the kiddo and saw this when I turned around. It seemed like it could be interested. Sadly no. There were lots of myth and mysteries and rumors talked about in the book. But no actual truth despite the book promising to reveal all. Essentially it is a demonstration of flawed logic. No actual facts, truths, or secrets come out, the author just makes fun of the “lies” that are circulating. I kept reading long after I was annoyed thinking maybe just maybe something would come to light. Nope. When the library emailed me my 3 weeks were up I happily returned it half read.
High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides – Mary McHugh
sigh. I dropped this one 40 pages in. I didn’t care at all about the victim, there wasn’t enough interaction with her prior to her death for me to be concerned. And it was pretty obvious already who dun it. I checked the back of the book and yup I was right. But there were two things that just rubbed me the wrong way hard about the main character, which is why I dropped the book. First she’s having an affair. It might only be an emotional affair but she is. And she keeps going on about how much she loves the affair guy but isn’t going to leave her husband because marriage is for better or worse. Um, then stop making plans to see the affair guy, daily, and work on your marriage. Then in a mental rambling to herself she talks about how if she didn’t have this dancing hobby she would just sit at home and eat chocolate and then she might weigh as much as 150 pounds. Oh the horror. Done with your skinny cheating ass. Buh-bye.
I grabbed Meternity by Meghann Foye off the readers choice shelf on a whim. Emily Giffin gave it a positive review on the front cover and I like Emily Giffin. Meternity kept me occupied in the airport and on the plane on our way home from SoCal.
I have super mixed feelings about this book. The premise is hysterical. A woman working at a mommy magazine is irritated that she constantly has to pick up the slack for working moms. That her opinions are always discounted because she doesn’t have any kids. Then at a meeting with her bosses she vomits and they think she’s pregnant so she goes with it. The idea is she will use the “maternity” time to launch her freelance career.
The vast majority of the book is about all the complications she runs into while lying for months on end to her employer (and the federal government). As well as all the opportunities that come her way, now that she is pregnant, from her employer.
I don’t want to give away the ending. But there’s all this build up and pop. In like two pages, the denouement. It was unsatisfying. Lie and commit fraud and magically you’ll get all you want? WTF?
And I think what bothers me most, is through out the whole book the main character blames everyone else, not taking responsibility for her own actions. And in the end, she is handed everything she wants. She doesn’t work for it. She doesn’t earn it. She’s still just a passive object in her own life.
This was super hard to rate, because I read it in one day and quite enjoyed it for like 250 pages and then disappointment began to set in as I didn’t see any growth or consequences.