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Well, well, and where have I been?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Over a year since my last post?!?

Why did that happen?

I suppose the easiest answer to that would be: I work too much. When people get all doe-eyed at the mention of the city in which I live and say “Paris is so ro-MAN-tic!” I really, really want to answer “And ex-PEN-sive!”

Don’t get me wrong. It’s harder and harder as the years go by to imagine living anywhere else. I am up to my eyeballs in Art, History, Culture and Classical Music all of whom I love so much I feel compelled to Capitalize. But let us return to the expensive part. I have to work my — [can i say “ass” on this blog? “There are no dirty words. Ever.” Ah, yes. Thank you Leonard Cohen.]

So I have to work my ass off to pay the bills and this fills up so much of my brain and time that there is precious little left for anything else. One thing I have been getting better at this last year is stealing time for reading. I trade sleep for it. It keeps me going.

Lately, finally, I’m a wee bit ahead of the game, so I can slow down a tad until September.

One of the (many) things I want to do in this time is get back to writing about the books I read. It’s always helped me think more clearly and often more deeply about my reading. Not something you want to go without.

So I’m back. Again.

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New Hat

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

I can’t believe I locked myself out of my blog last night.

I was twelve years old again, nobody home, staring at the door of my apartment. I remember flipping up the mail slot flap and making kissy noises until one of the cats appeared. I waggled my fingers at him. He turned and walked away. “Weird new mailperson!”

How I locked myself out of my blog, I have no idea. Somehow, I broke the password. How does that happen? Did I get chocolate on it and short circuit something? Who knows. Anyhow, I’m back. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write a good post as I’m deep in my work week. [Gusty sigh, slumps in seat.]

So you’ll just have to make do with contemplating the proposed new hat for the Eiffel Tower’s birthday.

The whole thing was just a hoax, of course. You can’t mess with the Eiffel Tower.

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Puffy clouds in Paris

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Well, I sat down to write something about books, but then I noticed a line break problem on my last post and spent 20 minutes trying to fix it. Notice the word “trying”. I refuse to sacrifice any more of my life to the evil computer gods.

So now I have no idea what I sat down to write about. Instead, I will give you this weather station webcam shot of the delightful puffy clouds we are experiencing today in Paris.

puffy clouds Paris France spring

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On the Shortness of Life by Seneca

Monday, March 19th, 2007

seneca penguin shortness of lifeSpam Madness… No, this is not the title of a book, this is what happens every time I come to my book blog to post. I login and instead of writing about literature, I spend precious, irreplaceable moments of my life wading through hundreds of spam comments.

Why don’t I just erase them all? you ask. Because I’m haunted by the idea that someone who actually likes books might stop by and say hello… and I’ll miss it.

Unfortunately, the most interesting comment I’ve gotten so far was an offer for a laser comb that cures baldness. I should write them and see if they have laser sunglasses that perform corrective surgery for nearsightedness. I imagine you would have to put them on very, very carefully. And NEVER flip them up to rest on top of your head unless you want an impromptu lobotomy.

But I digress.

Ever since I read Seneca’s “On the Shortness of Life” (Penguin, Great Ideas Series) I’ve been much more aware of how I’m spending my life. I’m getting better at using it wisely, making conscious decisions, not blowing it rashly and so forth, but it’s kind of like herding fluffs — there’s always a breeze blowing…

Sloth, guilt, tiredness, perfectionism all tempt us to fritter our time away like dandelion fluffs in a hurricane. I keep having to remind myself that I only have a finite amount of it. (Time, that is, not the dandelion fluffs.) Why is this so hard to remember? Of course, it’s probably tied to the fact that not having infinite time means that I am going to die one day. This, frankly, is unacceptable. There are far too many fine books to read.

Here are a few quotations to whet your appetite:

On choosing people to hang out with: “But in the current dearth of good men, you must be less particular in your choice. Still, you must especially avoid those who are gloomy and always lamenting, and grasp at every pretext for complaint. Though a man’s loyalty and kindness may not be in doubt, a companion who is agitated and groaning about everything is an enemy to peace of mind.”

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”

“We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.”

~ Seneca, Roman philosopher (4 BC-65 AD)

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