Walking and Reading

(Disclaimer: I don’t actually walk and read. I did try to perfect that back after I saw Beauty and the Beast and wanted nothing more to be Belle. Unfortunately, I lack the talent to walk any length of time reading and not hitting something or injuring myself. I reluctantly concluded I would never be as cool as Belle…)

I am feeling much more like my old self these days. I still have some tweaks of pain when I move in certain ways but overall, I am 100% better! Hopefully, this health scare will keep me on the right path from now on! While I am not quite feeling up to the zumba class a friend found for me, I am hoping to attend that soon! In the meantime, I continue my tour of Tallahassee’s parks with Tom Brown Park.

Lake Leon at Tom Brown Park

Tom Brown seems to be, if not the largest, one of the biggest parks in the city. It holds the annual 4th of July celebration for Tallahassee along with being host to ball fields, Mountain bike trails, a dog park and a 1.5 mile paved trail, Goose Pond Trail. I met up with a friend one night after work last week and wandered from Lake Leon onto the Goose Pond Trail. Since we lost the light quickly, we didn’t make it very far but we also stopped to enjoy watching the dogs at the dog park for a bit so I think we lost a bit of time there. But I liked what I saw of the park. I didn’t see much of the extensive ball fields the park has since the walking trail where we started isn’t close to them but the park was a busy place on a late Wednesday afternoon which is always a good sign. It was much busier than the park I’ve visited before but Tom Brown, as I said, it one of the largest parks in Tallahassee as well as more centrally located, right off Capital Circle. It also happens to be much closer to where I live so I hope to visit and walk regularly once we get over the spot of bad weather we’re having (it’s warm out but rainy and stormy for the next few days).

I also enjoyed having someone to walk with. I love my alone time, and I usually need more of that that the time I need to spend around people, but it’s also fun to just walk with a friend and talk about random things, about work and family and home. It’s also fun to take some time after work to unwind and complain a little if you need to. Normally, I don’t have that decompression time to talk something out if I need to and I appreciated having it along with walking and feeling better.

Next, I want to feel up to a high power zumba class but I think I’m still a week or two from that. I watched one of the Step Up movies over the weekend which meant I was dancing like an idiot around my apartment and yeah…not yet ready for zumba! So, I’ll keep walking. I also should work on getting over my fear of the treadmill so even when it’s gross out, I can get some walking in as pacing in my apartment just doesn’t do much. That said, I don’t think it’s the treadmill I’m afraid of so much as the odd people I run into at the small gym at my complex. Always nice people, just odd. I almost miss a large gym just for the anonymity they offer. I might need to think about investing in a gym again at some point but for now, baby steps!

In other news, I need to get back into my reading groove. When I feel crappy, I mostly want to lay on the couch like a slug and watch TV. But, since I’m feeling better, I’m getting back into reading.  I got a bit dragged down too by The Cookbook Collector. I really wanted to like this more than I did but in the end, I was sort of ambivalent to it. It made interesting use of the dot com bubble followed by the bust and 9/11 but I just never much cared for the characters. Confession (AND SPOILER ALERT): I thought good riddance when she killed two characters on one of the planes that hit the Twin Towers. How awful is that?! For one thing, you can see it coming so the shock value isn’t really there and two, one of the characters was awful, just completely unlikable and the other character I had nothing invested in. She could have never mentioned him again after she spent a chapter or two on him and I wouldn’t have ever wondered where he went. Luckily, I followed it up with a fun historical romance of a girl who runs away to join a ballet company in Brazil in 1912 and then Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens which is about a plane crash which lands the contestants of a teen beauty pangent stranded on a not so deserted island. I would tell you more but it’s a book you must read to believe and I highly recommend it with a caveat – you need to be someone who likes snarky comments with a Mel Brooks sense of humor (and as someone with family members who do not get that humor, I always like to warn people where it appears).

I just finished Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s love letter to books, The Shadow of the Wind. Seriously, I’d like to crawl into the library described in the first chapter and never come back out. After I finish one last library book, I need to start on the stack of books I’ve accumulated since Christmas as gifts and from book store sales. First up on the stack? A new Flavia de Luce novel (well, new to me, I’m a bit behind on the series). A little Flavia is always a good thing!

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Why wasn’t I this cool as an 11 year old?

From Goodreads

I love a good, precocious, brilliant, pint sized heroine. R. L. LaFevers’ Theodosia was my reigning favorite but Flavia de Luce is now a tie. In fact, I think it is a good thing these two lived decades apart  – I’m not sure the fictional world would survive if they ever joined forces.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie introduces readers to Flavia de Luce, the youngest daughter of an old English family growing up in a crumbling old estate in the 1950s. She has two older sisters, one obsessed with her looks, the other with her books. Her father is shell shocked from the disappearance and death of the girls’ mother and his experience in the war, so Flavia entertains herself with her chemicals. She inherited a chemistry lab in her great house from a long dead relative. Her passion lies with poisons and her encyclopedic knowledge of them is at once brilliant and scary at the same time. Flavia though is mostly bored and lonely. Luckily for her, a dead body shows up in her cucumber patch the day after a dead jack snipe with a rare stamp impaled on its beak shows up on her back stoop and sends her on a thrilling adventure.

The book is told from Flavia’s point of view and the author impressed me by creating an character who is brilliant and yet believable as an eleven year old. She knows her poisons but she’s a typical youngest sister who has trouble relating with her older sisters and yet loves them. She also clearly loves her father, she after all tries to confess to a murder she didn’t do to try to protect him, but has no way to relate to him. She still has a lot to learn about people which, as a kid, she should.

I am looking forward to the rest of the series definitely and recommend it if you’re looking for a good mystery and a plucky heroine to start off your new year.