I spent last weekend in Vermont visiting some friends; they have a house in the mountains near Manchester, and we’ve visited them a few times in the last couple years. I love staying with them because we lead such quiet lives when we’re there: we eat, read, nap, and take walks; we play with the dogs, we sometimes visit local shops and markets, and we always visit Northshire bookstore, a great independent bookshop. It’s wonderful top relax at home, but even better to relax in someone else’s home. In between our reading/eating/napping, my friends talk about the novels they are in the middle of writing and we all talk about the books we are reading. Oh, and we drink martinis and lots of wine. Yum.
While I was there, I finished up Stephanie Staal’s book on feminism, Reading Women: How the Great Books of Feminism Changed My Life (review most likely to come soon) and I made my way through much of Scarlett Thomas’s novel This Tragic Universe. I don’t know what to make of Scarlett Thomas. She’s one of the most awkward writers I know, especially in this book compared to the other Thomas novel I’ve read, PopCo. I almost put the book down. And yet after a while I began to like it more and more, and now the main character is growing on me. I like Thomas for the ideas she works with, and while it took me a while to get into the ideas in Our Tragic Universe, now everything is coming together a little more. It’s still awkward, but likeably so.
I bought a couple books at Northshire, of course — I have to support independent bookstores! I got Tove Jansson’s True Deceiver after liking The Summer Book so much, and from the used books I got a biography of Mary McCarthy, Seeing Mary Plain, by Francis Kiernan. It’s a satisfyingly hefty book.
Since I wrote about my thyroid issues recently, I thought an update might be in order. After my radioactive iodine treatment two weeks ago, I’m doing mostly okay. Surprisingly normal, in fact. I feel, say, 80-90% normal most of the time. I’m a little tired and a little easily winded, and the lower part of my throat where my thyroid is is sore. I did have one bad episode last week, though: I woke up one morning and was so dizzy I could barely walk. It turns out a side effect of the medication my doctor gave me to stop heart palpitations is dizziness. It also turns out that my heart palpitations weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they would be. So I stopped taking that medication, and the world stopped spinning. I’m continuing to ride my bike, just slowly and for short rides. So … I keep waiting. If I continue feeling 80-90% normal until we get my thyroid medication sorted out, I think I will have gotten off easy.
And that’s kind of my life right now: monitoring my health, plus gearing up to teach a summer class online. My students are supposedly doing their reading and posting on the discussion board this evening, and I’ll be reading their posts over the next couple days. Hopefully, they will be brilliant!