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APRIL, MAY 2014 014

My grandson and I will be on the road for five weeks in the early fall with other family members joining us along the way from time to time. I spent part of my California vacation on trip planning with various family members who will be part of the trip, although only Steven and I are in for the long haul. Part of that time was at REI with Scott trying to figure out if I could do the whole five weeks with only one slightly larger than average backpack. To experiment we tried one out after packing it as though for the journey. Didn’t work, wrenched my shoulder trying it out, but that is NOT the real story of this post.

As part of the backpack experiment, Scott challenged me to at least consider downloading B&N’s Nook app to my Surface and reading a whole book on it because, he said, if you can do it, that will eliminate half of what you usually drag around on trips (i.e., books). True enough. Did that once before on a lengthy trip and survived.

To meet the challenge, I did the download and ordered a Swedish mystery for my experiment. For better or worse it was actually okay. Here’s where the sense of being ‘unfaithful’ arises. How many words do I write and say about how critically important, beautiful to see and touch, basic to life and good for us real books are? And I just read a book on a device. Please forgive me book gods and remember I’m only a little on the young side of old old and it’s hard to carry heavy things.

But my bad behavior escalated last night. I was sick. In some pain for awhile. Took some Advil and needed to distract myself until I felt good enough to sleep. There are a stack of very good books next to my bed—all requiring some thought while reading and thinking was not what I wanted to do right then. So, bad Marj, bad bad Marj, I downloaded the new Alex Delaware “Killer.” The thing is I would never download a book worth keeping, but Kellerman’s Alex Delaware crime novels are an enjoyable read, require no thinking and I don’t feel it necessary to hang on to them. He is practically the only American crime/detective writer I enjoy so being unfaithful with him wasn’t absolutely the worst betrayal. I say that but then I look at the stack of really fine fiction and non-fiction within my sleepy reach and must admit to seriously deviant reading behavior.

On the other hand, now that I’ve downloaded the book, guess I’ll have to finish it tonight. The worst thing is falling asleep and having that hard little screen hit your nose.


On the Road with SURFACE



Love my blogs. Even with nothing to say. Big travel plans afoot so must experiment with Surface and see if it is the right companion for an exciting productive blogging-with-photos journey. Now for the downloading a photo. It must come from my camera because I feel very silly taking pics with my Surface pad. And I must do this while sitting on the couch instead of a desk or table because when traveling much writing is done sitting on a bus/plane/train seat or on bed. And, as you may or may not know, Surface is Windows version of IPad but better. A pad with an excellent keyboard and full Office suite. I love it except for the Windows 8 part which is cumbersome at the very least.

About THIS photo. It is my first piece of ART! I sat in on three of our Day Arts painting classes and put color and swirls and lines on paper and felt most accomplished. It made me realize that I want to know how to really do this art thing with at least a modest degree of knowledge. Off I went to art supply stores and spent about $200 on watercolors and chalk and colored pencils and acrylics. Unfortunately between minor eye surgery and Oscars and family visits…no art has emerged. So for this practice-with-Surface blog I’ll share my first piece while acknowledging I’ve been advised not to quit my day job.

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