Change The Channel

There was a time when I used to type up a list every season of all the shows we watched so we can easily DVR them. And then as our queue filled up and our TiVo began to inch closer and closer to 100% capacity we would sift through the long list and begin deleting the ones we didn’t care to watch.

Our evenings became all about making sure our TiVo wasn’t getting too full and obsessing over the percentage of shows we had left to watch.

Night after night, season after season.

Then suddenly we decided maybe we should just cancel cable. (gasp!) More and more people I talked to all no longer subscribed the suck-you-dry that is Cable Television. The final nail on the coffin for us was when they notified us of additional charges for digital converters for all our older analog televisions. And we had a few of those (that were only about 8-10 years old, sadly).

That was when we decided to cut ties with good ole cable.

I don’t think there was a time in our married lives that we didn’t have cable television. Hell, I can hardly remember a time in my life without cable television (don’t get me wrong, I grew up for many years without cable and even when we did get it we subscribed to the “Z Channel” and that was only for movies. Anyway).

We talked to my brother and sister-in-law who cut the cable months prior. We researched options. We informed the kids.

And then we jumped off the cliff.

We subscribed to Hulu and Netflix. We already belonged to Amazon Prime. And we bought a decent size (and not very expensive AT ALL) antenna (Gawd, remember those?!) and thankfully I have a handy husband who (with my brother) climbed into the attic and installed it one Saturday morning.

Voila. Done.

Easy.

Sweartogawd we were addicted to television. We stressed for awhile over how we would manage without recording our shows or pausing live television or seeing what is playing from this minute until next month with a push of a button (and sometimes we still joke about “pause this!” and then we just laugh and laugh and laugh).

And now I can hardly remember any of it. And I can honestly say I don’t know why we waited so long to ditch cable!!! Dammit, all the money we could have been saving!

I don’t even think about television shows anymore. It’s as if we took back the cable boxes to the cable company and with it our passion for television shows. Instead, I have found myself reading a lot more in the evening instead of watching television. We also get more done because we don’t sit down quite as early to “start watching and clearing our TiVo”.

I worried the most about my husband. He was more addicted to television than I am/was. (Shhh, don’t tell him I told you that.) But even he doesn’t miss any of it anymore either.

We seem to watch a few old television shows (West Wing, anyone?) and we catch a new show now and again on Hulu. Sometimes we watch old reruns of Seinfeld or we start a series we had always wanted to watch like Veep. Otherwise, we watch local free antenna shows on PBS or our local news. Last night I was flipping trying to find the debates (couldn’t. Okay, a slight downside) and stumbled onto HSN and did find a cute pair of jeans I want to order instead….

Anyway.

Our bill went to about one hundred sixty – to under fifty for only the internet.

And I just about want to dance around the house jumping up and down for joy naked if I didn’t fear it would scare the neighbors.

On Books

The biggest issue/fear/concern I have about going back to college is the potential limitation I will have on my fiction reading. I hope like hell figure that I will squeeze in reading regular ole fiction somewhere between homework, studying, and the nine thousand history books I will have to read.

And I read anything (well, almost. I draw the line at romance) and in any format. I love my Kindle and I love paper books. When I read on my Kindle I get spoiled with the ability to look up words and read in a dark room. When I read paper books I love being able to actually see how long a chapter is going to be and how far along I am in a book by where my bookmark is…and not in percentages.

I have spent all summer trying to absorb as many books as I possibly can through some sort of magical sunshine and sparkly cold water technique. It isn’t working. I’m almost paralyzed to pick something up because I only have about 5 weeks until school starts and I want the books to all be GOOD.

I’ve got a stack of at least a dozen books from the library and another ten or more on hold. I’m a fairly fast reader (I average about 1-2 books a week) but I’m confident I’ll never get through all that I want to read…which is why I’m hoping I’ll be able to read fiction while taking a full load at school.

Some of the titles that I’m anxious to get my hands on and read:

“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” by Claire North
“The Witching Hour” By Anne Rice (although I’ve read it once I never got around to books 2 and 3 in the series so I want to re-read it, something I VERY seldom ever do)
“Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie
“Joe Steele” by Harry Turtledove
“The Romanov Prophecy” by Steve Berry
“Thiefmaker” by D.B. Jackson
“The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” by Natasha Pulley
“House of Leaves” by Mark Danielewski
“The Hanged Man” by P.N. Elrod
“The New York Trilogy” by Paul Auster

It’s pretty obvious that I LOVE historical fiction but I also love a good thriller, paranormal/sci fi, alternative history, and mainstream fiction. Again, there isn’t much I won’t read except I tend to stay away from romance and super fluffy books only because I need more meat to keep me reading.

I’d love to know what YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS ARE?

Here is a QUICK list of SOME of my all-time favorite books – books that are just well written, well developed, and keeps you on the edge of your seat READING!

“11/22/63” By Stephen King
“Time and Again” by Jack Finney (don’t let the funky book cover discourage you!)
“All the Light Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
“The House of Special Purpose” by John Boyne
“The Mummy” by Anne Rice
“Kane & Abel” by Jeffrey Archer

For a longer list I would have to go and search my Goodreads account and I’m too lazy right now. These are only the half dozen that came immediately to mind and/or I’ve read in the last year or two.

Please share with me your favorite books because I need a bigger stack from the library!

Oh Yeah, It’s Monday

It’s just one of those days.

When I pulled out of my garage and drove the three blocks to my subdivision’s swimming pool I was able to get annoyed twice. I am not even sure how that’s possible. A car pulling out of their driveway and not looking forced me to come to a complete stop. And at the stop sign me and another car arrived facing each other at exactly the same moment. I had my indicator on waiting for them. THEN they turned on their turn signal.

Not a great way to start a Monday at 6:30 in the damn morning.

I overslept too.

Normally I’m up by 5:30 so I have time to make my coffee and do other little things around the house before I go and spend 150 minutes in water aerobics. Today I had barely enough time to lather up on sunscreen.

And suddenly we are heading towards the end of July.

Which means summer is almost over.

NO!

In a few weeks I will be registering the two kids at high school and then summer will really be over and yet there is SO MUCH left to do this summer.

You know, those crazy ass things I had on my list.

Like read 35 history books. So far, I’ve read four.

And defrost my big freezer (fat chance, that sucker was just restocked with a ton of meat on sale). And scrapbook more. And finish editing my L.A. novel (I am ALMOST finished with it. Another twenty or so chapters and then it will only need…hopefully…some line editing and fine-tuning). And get the freezer full (after I defrost the sucker, of course) of freezer meals for those busy days/nights when I will be coming home from school right around the dinner hour. And read a handful of classics.

Right now I am a mixture of exhaustion and a dash of overwhelmed. I’ve got a kid laid up after foot surgery (and I suddenly have to drive him everywhere. Super fun, let me tell you). I’ve got another kid getting ready to take driver’s education and hopefully between now and school starting a car will be in his future. I’ve got school books to read, ASL videos to watch so I can try and have a miniscule leg up, and novels to read before I may not have as much time for fiction. I’ve got dentist appointments, a floor that needs refinishing and would require us to be out of the house for three days, and a garden to tend to. I’ve got a non-fiction book I’m trying to self-publish and another novel I am trying to rewrite/edit. I’ve got an aggressive swim exercise routine seven days a week I go to. And I’ve got to keep the fire burning on a potential job search that could move us yet again somewhere else.

Okay, for now I’m going to manage to walk down the hall and drink more coffee and rewrite another chapter when what I really want to do is pipe my coffee intravenously as I take a nap under the fan. Oh, hello Monday, you bastard.

Back To School – Again

In just over 6 weeks I will be going back to school. (Again.)

And I’m scared shitless.

Will I be able to keep up? Do I remember how to take notes? What kind of backpack should I get? Do I remember how to study or write papers? Do students use laptops to take notes or do they still use quill and bottles of ink like they did the first time I went to college? How will I stay awake during the dead space in my schedule right in the middle of my normally sit-on-the-couch-read-and-nap time between oh let’s say 2ish and 3ish? Will I look like a geek on the first day of school trying to find my classes? What if I’m called on? (They don’t do that, do they? Nah, I should be fine.)

And – why the hell didn’t I just sign up for online classes?!? Dammit to hell and my idea that I wanted to actually BE in a classroom with a real live professor. Blah blah blah.

My husband says I’ll be just fine. My family and friends tell me it will be okay and I’ll do great and it’s all like riding a bike – except I haven’t been on a bike since I was a pony-tail-wearing-brace-face-tween. Oh Gawd, what have I done?

I’m taking a language because that and an English Literature class were the only two outside my major of history that I apparently didn’t satisfy when I was getting my first bachelor’s degree. Anyway – a language. I am horrible with languages. Some people have an ear and I don’t. I took seven years of Spanish. I attempted many years of Spanish. Attempted. The highest grade I ever got was a ‘C’ and I skipped for joy at the end of it. But, for some reason unbeknownst to me that class didn’t transfer or I only took a semester when I need a year. (What.Ever.)

Anyway.

I’m taking American Sign Language. All summer I have checked out DVDs from the library to prepare me for sign language. I’m not 100% certain I will have the “ear” for ASL either but it was really my only hope in life to pass a language requirement.

I have an English Literature class and two history courses this semester: U.S. History (Hi, basic-ole-history) and something they call The Study of History – which I am very excited about.

Yes, four classes.

Because I’m a nut job.

And because I want this second bachelor’s finished as quickly as possible so I can move onto/into grad school. If I don’t fail anything (as the History Chair kindly informed me) I should be finished with this degree by the end of next year. I have fifteen classes to take and after ASL and English Literature all the classes will be upper level history.

Hours and hours of history. Ah, bliss…..

As long as I can get past looking like a granny on her first day of school carrying a David Cassidy backpack with matching lunchbox.

Now I am off to order some of my books online from Amazon (golly gee, you can do that now!) so I can start reading them ahead of time. I’m old, aren’t I?