I only ended up taking one sick day after my vacation week ended, and since then I’ve been back at work dealing with periodic coughing fits while my body knits itself back together.  The only good thing (and I mean the ONLY good thing) about being sick is that it gave me the opportunity to catch up with movies and TV while I was lying around the house, too listless and tired to move or to read.  Over the last few weeks I’ve watched:

Misery Loves Comedy – This is a great documentary by Kevin Pollak about comedians and the darker side of comedy.  Lots of awesome interviews with famous and funny people.

Mike Tyson Mysteries – I’ve always been a big fan of Norm McDonald, and his tour de force performance as Pigeon did not disappoint.

Wayward Pines X Files meets Twin Peaks meets Eerie Indiana meets Persons Unknown meets any number of weird and “out there” shows that I’ve enjoyed over the years.

The Comedians – This series with Billy Crystal and Josh Gad took a little while to grow on me, but I enjoyed it more with each episode.  Oh, and they also snagged some impressive and hilarious celebrity cameos!

Jupiter Ascending – Okay, I love bad movies, but MAN, was this dumb!  And just to be clear, this wasn’t “good” bad.  This was more like “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?” bad.  The only reasons I could possibly see for recommending this film are if you love Mila Kunis, if you love Channing Tatum, or if you love explosions.  If you don’t fit into any of those categories … well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I am officially down for the count.

I started getting a sore throat and a cough around the middle of the week. At first I thought it was connected to seasonal allergies (I HAVE been doing a lot of walking around in the great outdoors lately).  But by Friday morning I started coughing up green stuff out of my lungs, so now I know I’m fighting an upper respiratory infection.  My weak lungs and I have a history of those, and they always suck.

I had a meeting on Friday morning (I sat in the back of the room and did my best not to share anyone else’s air) and then I went to Whole Foods on my way back home to shop for stuff that would help me repair myself.  Many thanks to Betsy for the Throat Coat herbal tea suggestion; it’s soothing AND tingly, which is a very odd combination.

One of the positive aspects of living in a larger apartment is that now I’m better able to quarantine myself.  The cat has been hanging out in the bedroom, my boyfriend has been hanging out in the living room, and I’ve turned the library into my sick room.  I’ve got an open window on one side and a fan on the other side.  I’m sitting upright on the reclining part of the couch because, much like the Elephant Man, I’m not breathing so well when I lie all the way down.  And I’m spending my day ingesting a series of liquids — mostly herbal tea and soup, with the occasional cup of coffee in between.  I’m also trying to bring down the swelling in my eyes, which are all puffy and bloodshot.  I look like an absolute mess.

I’ll be spending 99% of my day indoors.  The only time I’m going to venture outside today is to help my boyfriend when he brings over our new air conditioner.  I will help him bring it upstairs, help him put it in the window, and then I’ll collapse for the rest of the day.

I was supposed to visit my brother on Sunday, but I’m going to cancel that.  And I’m supposed to go back to work on Monday, but I’ll have to make sure that I’ve progressed out of the “Typhoid Mary” stage first to make sure I don’t spread this plague to the rest of my coworkers.

Bleah.

I just found out that the downside of getting paid for a magazine article is that I now have to fill out a bunch of paperwork.  However, the upside is that instead of using my article as an online feature as originally intended, they decided to make it a feature article in the print edition, which means a larger check!  Woo-Hoo!  Oh, and my boyfriend suggested that we go out to dinner to celebrate, and that we have the article framed.  Because he’s a great big sweetie :)

I’ve been doing so much walking around the city lately that I’ve been feeding my pedometer with lots of steps.  However, it seems that in my travels I’ve also been exposing myself to a lot more STUFF than usual … or I’ve been so wiped out and run down that my immune system has been screwy.  I thought I’ve been dealing with allergy symptoms for the last few days, but now I’m thinking it might be something more.  And I haven’t been sick in so long that I’m all out of the echinacea I would usually add to my tea to boost my immune system (I threw out the old stuff months ago because it had expired).  Right now I’m drinking a cup of Wild Berry Zinger herbal tea (because it is THE BEST) with lemon juice to break up my congestion and sorghum syrup because … well, because it was right next to the honey at the farmer’s market, and apparently my boyfriend isn’t always great at paying attention to labels (I’m not even going to MENTION the time he bought dog food for our cat!)  So I’m drinking the tea, plus taking some over-the-counter stuff that works for colds or allergies to try to cover all my bases.  And I’ve added honey and echinacea to our shopping list.

While I’ve been doing all this walking, I’ve tried to multitask and catch up with my podcasts.  I’ve found episodes of Spontaneanation With Paul F. Tompkins to be great company on my walks, although it’s sometimes problematic when the improvisers make me burst out laughing and suddenly I have strangers giving me very odd looks.  I’ve also been listening to episodes of Welcome to Night Vale, and the last several episodes, while chilling / awesome / hilarious as ever, have also incorporated music that is GREAT for walking.    I’m telling you that “Matches” by Sifu Hotman got me through a huge portion of my walk through the Northwest Forest of Van Cortlandt Park.  I might need that song on an endless loop whenever I go walking ANYWHERE.  Or it would even be good for dancing alone in my apartment … uhm … you know, hypothetically …

What else?  Oh, I got a kick out of this article my boyfriend sent me from the frigging NY Post: Women Are Not Capable of Understanding ‘Goodfellas.’  Because yes, that is one of the many movies that renders the remote control suddenly useless in his hand whenever he’s flipping through the channels.  And I’m all, like, Um, how many times have you SEEN this?  You really need to see it AGAIN?  And then I’ll be exposed for the upteenth time to the scene of the guy getting the crap kicked out of him to the song “Atlantis” by Donovan.  Which USED to be one of my favorite songs, except now it conjures up that damned scene in my head, which always takes it down a few notches.   Oh, and FWIW, the scene where Russell Crowe fights the tigers in Gladiator also has a very similar “can’t change the channel” effect on my boyfriend.

I stopped by work today to drop off and pick up books, and to bring in some cupcakes and good cheer for my colleagues.  Tomorrow night I’m having dinner out with friends.  The rest of the week should be pretty low key.  I’ve got laundry to do, and website stuff to deal with, and books to read, and reviews to write, and more walking / podcast appreciating.  Oh, and I have a work-related meeting, plus a YA book club meeting.  And maybe this weekend we’ll go to see Jurassic World?

So anyway, I should be busy, but not too stressed out.  Now all I need to do is break through whatever crap is clouding my head so that I’ll be back in fighting shape when I have to go back to dealing with our patrons next week …

Today was one of my vacation days that I hadn’t planned out yet, and when I saw on the news this morning that the High Bridge that had been closed for over 40 years was reopening TODAY, I took it as a sign that I should visit.

For any non-New Yorkers in the audience (or anyone not up on their aqueduct history), you can learn about this aqueduct-turned-pedestrian bridge in a couple of different places, including HERE and HERE.  I’ve driven past it countless times and was always curious about it, but today was my first opportunity to actually set foot on this historic bridge.  I started on the Manhattan side and walked back and forth to the Bronx getting lots of pictures (I’ll share some here and will put some more on Flickr shortly).  It’s a nice way to go back in time, and the bridge does have lovely views!

Approaching the High Bridge

Approaching the High Bridge

High Bridge History

History of the High Bridge.  There were several of these markers on the bridge, detailing different stages of the bridge’s history, the development and use of the aqueduct, etc.

High Bridge Panorama

High Bridge panorama

Bench View

Bench view.  I had to squat down to get this artsy angle; I made sure I was close enough to that fence to pull myself back up afterwards!

Woke up this morning with a soul-crushing headache.

Unclear if it’s a migraine, sinus headache, skipped last night’s after-dinner coffee headache, allergy headache, weather system headache, stayed up too late reading last night headache, or any mix thereof.  In any case, I woke up before 5am and started taking steps to try to fix things.  Made coffee and a bagel.  Took migraine pills.  Took Flonase for my allergy/sinus issues.  Waiting for relief, which is a long time coming.  On the positive side, my head no longer feels like it’s been cleaved in two with an axe, so … progress?

Today’s my last day at work before I have a week off (yay!) and we have a TON of programs to run at the branch (boo!) so I’ll be working through my pain by covering desks and rearranging furniture today.  My boyfriend will be able to give me a ride to work, though, with another stop for coffee on the way, so that will make this day suck a little less.

Next week I have a couple of morning meetings scheduled, plus a dinner out with friends, plus my monthly YA book club meeting (discussing the super-cool and scary Shutter by Courtney Alameda!)  I was also tentatively going to schedule some overdue doctor visits, but that didn’t happen because … um … I suck at planning?  I’ll mostly be walking and shopping, followed by more walking.  And I’ll also be spending valuable time reading and decompressing from dealing with annoying patrons, which is ALWAYS a good thing.

More updates and (long-overdue) pictures coming soon, Dear Readers!

Cannabis Expo promotion

As soon as I got to the Javits Center, I saw this billboard outside promoting an upcoming cannabis expo.  I’m not sure how much crossover appeal this will have, but okay …

Getting Ready to Film

According to the map, these were the Book TV / C-Span people

Penguin Random House Interactive Area

Penguin Random House Interactive Area

Lets Boogie

LET’S BOOGIE!

Literary T Shirts

Literary T-Shirts

Scientology Booth

This would be a booth celebrating the writing of L. Ron Hubbard.  There were plenty of books available, as well as free stress tests and people dressed as … pirates?  Mmmmm-hmmmm.

On my free days I’ve been getting in a lot of walking outdoors, and I’ve got the sunburn and the sore muscles to prove it.  Over the last few weeks my boyfriend and I went to the Storm King Art Center in upstate NY (highly recommended for fresh air and culture!), and I went on several extended walks by myself.  One of them started in South Ferry and then continued up into Battery Park City and Hudson River Park, and the other one was through Inwood Hill Park and Fort Washington Park.

I don’t get to do as much walking when I’m at work (or I start to, but then my pesky patrons ask me questions which bring me back to the computer at the service desk).  So in order to make my step goals I’ve been lengthening my commute home at the end of the day by choosing to use train stations that are one or two stops away from my intended destination.  The fact that the train station that’s ten blocks away from my home just HAPPENS to be near a place that sells great burgers and shakes probably shouldn’t be held against me …

I’m getting ready to go to BookCon this weekend, so I’m firing up the librarian part of my brain.  And, you know, getting ready to pick up lots of book-themed free samples.  BTW, when I was visiting their website today to see what kinds of stuff I’ll find at the event, I came across one of the strangest weapons policies I’d ever imagined:

The following items are forbidden at BookCon:

  • Functional firearms (including air soft guns, BB guns, cap guns, paintball guns and pellet guns)
  • Realistic replica firearms (including reproduction, fake or toy guns that can be confused for functional firearms)
  • Functional projectile weapons (including blow guns, crossbows, long bows, silly string, slingshots, water balloons and water guns)
  • Sharpened metal-bladed weapons (including axes, daggers, hatches, knives, kunai, shuriken, swords, sword canes and switch blades)
  • Explosives (including firecrackers and fireworks)
  • Chemical weapons (including mace and pepper spray)
  • Blunt weapons (including brass knuckles, clubs and nunchaku)
  • Hard prop weapons (including props made of metal, fiberglass and glass)
  • Instruments that cause excessive noise levels like vuvuzelas, grenade whistles and grenade horns
  • Whips
  • Aerosol mustard

What the hell?  Vuvuzelas?  Aerosol mustard?  I’ll admit, these are all things I didn’t imagine could turn up at a book-themed convention.  Then again, if the con is being marketed as “where storytelling and pop culture collide,” I suppose that these loud / painful / unusual weapons could fall under the “pop culture” umbrella.

Speaking of books, I’ve been part way through several books for some time now, including (but not limited to) Surviving Santiago by Lyn Miller-Lachmann, We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach, and The Living by Matt De La Pena.  Last night (well, technically this morning) I finally managed to FINISH a book, which was The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith.  It took me a little while to wrap my head around it and unravel the storylines, but by 1:00am I’d finished the book and understood its awesomeness.

Pictures to come, and more comprehensive book reviews to come.  I mean, eventually, when I have some time to process and unwind for a little while.  Oh, and on a related note, I do have a week off in June, so that might be a good time to catch up with … you know … everything …

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