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Due to circumstances beyond my control, my state quarter collection–which was six quarters away from being complete–has now left my possession. I’m sad about this because collecting state quarters since 1999 has been a very happy nerdy sort of thing with me. So, I will collect them again. The trick will be finding the over sized holder to display them in. It was huge, and had a big multicolored map of the United States with a space to display each quarter in its full glory.

After I find that or something similar to it, I can recreate the magic. I’ve posted a list of the state quarters I’m missing and as I recover them, I will remove them from the list.

Read in March

I finished seven books this month, which, considering that there was a week of vacation in there, doesn’t really seem like very many. Still, this month’s take was three more than the average American read last year. (And yes, one was a picture book which I read in 10 minutes, max, but it still counts.) Interestingly, this month, I finished almost every book I started. Four of the books were fiction, so I’m still going through a pretty big non-fiction period. I would guess that normally I read one nonfiction book for every ten fiction books I read, though I have no statistics to prove it at this point. I could throw together some data, but I’m a bit busy right now. Also, except for Bad Haircut I really enjoyed every book I read. I think Goodreads is coming in handy that way. In fact, I think I’m going to wander on over to Goodreads and take a look at my “to-read” list so I can request a few things.

The Buffalo Soldier
Chris Bohjalian

Jon Agee

Body Drama
Nancy Amanda Redd

New Kings of Nonfiction.
Ira Glass, Ed.

Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies
Tom Perrotta

Looking Back: A book of Memories
Lois Lowry

North River: a novel
Pete Hamill

Started but didn’t finish.
Meditation Now or Never
Steve Hagen
A good step-by-step guide, but if the title is to be believed, it is “Never” for me. I’ll read it again when I’m ready to take on the practice in earnest.

Didn’t even start.
The Moments Lost: A Midwest Pilgrim’s Progress
Bruce Olds

Resolution 2008 Update. Letters written March 21-31.

I finished another group of LEX letters. I like to send them off in batches of five. Sara also did a good job of keeping my mailbox from being empty, sending me letters and postcards.

(I’m having trouble with formatting, so sorry I can’t do the bullet points this time.)

March 21. None. Exhausting last day of work before Spring Break. Ironically the most exhausting thing was dealing with the Postal Service, who had me on hold for an hour and made me call back two times to get the information I needed.
2 Letters back! Both from Sara.
March 22. LEX Letter. What’s your favorite food to fix for yourself when you’re home alone?
March 23. LEX Letter. Tired of kids and grandkids? Ready to discuss serious subjects? Paint drying. Grass growing.
March 24. LEX Letter. Prefer movies on the big screen? Enjoy the previews as much as the movie? What makes a good movie good?
Letter back! Sara.
March 25. LEX Letter. Favorite cities, travels, rivers, campgrounds?
March 26. No one.
March 27. Sara.
March 28. People who own my favorite undeveloped property in my neighborhood.
March 29. None. Dealing with end of spring break and the fiasco.
Postcard back! Sara.
March 30. Sara
March 31. Art & Sole. Business letter.

Do you want to respond to one of the LEX listings? You can, without becoming a member. Write a comment and I’ll tell you how. If you like to write, you should become a member, it’s easy and not expensive and fun.

A carrot.

I know you are out there reading, some of you. I know that some of you read regularly. I know that not all of you are Sara and my mother. But you never comment. You may not have a blog, so you might not know that comments are kind of like crack. Once you get one, you want so many more. So don’t be shy. Comment away.

Maybe you don’t have anything to say, and that’s totally fine. But I’m guessing when you read a post, you think to yourself, “Interesting,” or “I never knew that.” or “What?” or “She spelled “reclaimed” wrong and wrote “of” when she meant “all” and she incorrectly uses quotes within quotes.” Just take a second and throw that thought into the comment page.

Before I had a blog, I never commented. I was a bit shy and it felt weird putting my thought up there. I was worried I wouldn’t spell something right or didn’t have anything profound to say. Now I just comment as a matter of course, on almost every single post I read, especially if I am personally acquainted with the person who is blogging. You may not want to comment on every post, but once in awhile would be nice. I would love it so much.

I would love it so much that I’m starting an incentive program. The first five people who comment on this post and say something–anything–about any of the previous posts on this blog will get a little something homemade by me in their mailbox. If this is successful in the future I will embed prizes in blog posts. Or, random posts with more than just a Sara comment will get prizes. Don’t be shy. Comment today.

p.s. Matt Johnston is exempt from this program. I know he doesn’t read this blog (which I find a small failing in the boyfriend department) but I have a feeling if I tell him I am doing this he will wander over and comment. Nice try, Matt. You might want to read regularly.

Three sentence movie reviews–Enchanted.

Just as Jim Carrey was the person to play a live action cartoon character in The Mask, so is Amy Adams the actress to play a fairy tale character transported to New York City. Enchanted was so enchanting, I walked out of the theater without my purse. Though I am disturbed at the trend of the soon-to-be-cast-aside-girlfriends having thick black eyebrows.

North River: a novel. Pete Hamill

Delaney is a neighborhood doctor during the depression, struggling to make ends meet in a time when people have no money to pay the doctor. One spring morning he arrives home to find his estranged daughter has left his three-year-old grandson on his doorstep while she runs off to try and find the boy’s father. Coping with the arrival of his grandson changes his life.

I’ve liked every book I’ve read by Pete Hamill and this was no exception. Delaney was a terribly sympathetic and likable main character and Hamill injects humor and warmth into his story while supplying an underlying tension that kept me reading. This was a book I kept putting down as I got closer to the final pages, because I didn’t really want to finish it.

Good advice.

Charles Veley is some rich dot-com guy that travels all the time. He is featured on I read an interview with him in the Oregonian and was struck by the genus of the answer to this question.

Q: Do you plan ahead or wing it?

A: Plan as if you need to schedule every waking minute, and then, once you get there, set aside the plan. By doing all the planning as if you had control over all aspects of your trip (which you do not) you’ll have enough knowledge to make good decisions when things start going haywire (which they will.)

I’ve never minutely planned everything, or even very much, for a trip because I didn’t want to turn into the anal, planned-every-minute girl. But because I don’t plan every minute, I often have no idea of what I could be doing while on the trip. This seems a great combination. Go Charles Veley. I guess dot-com millionaires are good for something after all.