As you can tell by the subject line, I'm off this weekend! I'm looking forward to it, too. Not only will it just be nice to relax, we have tickets for a comedy show Saturday evening, and before we go to that, we're going to a nice restaurant for dinner. It's probably the nicest restaurant in town, and we're going there courtesy of our contractor, who sent us a gift certificate at Christmas. Thanks, Dan!
I finished Duma Key! You're right, Lisa Jo, that was a VERY good one. Odd that I was recently writing about art, after our trip with the kids to the Dayton Art Institute, and this book was all about art! Hmm...perhaps I'm a little psychic? A touch of "the shining," as Stephen King would say? Or not. Anyhoo, I enjoyed the book a lot. Edgar and his friends are such likable characters, but then King has a knack for writing great characters--these are guys that you'd like to talk to, have a beer with, joke around with, and they are also brave when in desperate circumstances. I'm glad Ken is understanding and also loves to read, because we didn't eat dinner until about 8:30 last night, while I finished the book! I loved the book, and I'm always a little sad when I finish such a good one. We've probably got another year or so to wait for the next King book, but I'm sure I can find a book or two to keep me occupied! The next book for our book club (anyone can join!) is Sophie's Choice. I read this way back when I was in college, before the movie came out, and I'm looking forward to reading it again. It's a heartbreaker.
A while back, I wrote about the influenza outbreak. The CDC has now recommended that children from 6 months to 18 years of age receive the vaccine, which significantly expands the age range of previous recommendations. Studies have shown that the more kids who are immunized, the less the spread of the virus in the community. I had mentioned that my buddy Jim got it. Jim is not a little guy--he's probably 6'4" and over 200 pounds--and he's in very good health, but he was laid low by this bug. He was out for well over a week. If a big, healthy guy like Jim can become so ill due to influenza, think of what it could do to children, or to the elderly. The vaccine this past year didn't cover a strain that is going around, because the vaccine is made a year in advance. They do their best to predict which strains will be prevalent, but it's not 100%, which reinforces what I wrote about antigenic shift and drift. The vaccine will give you some protection against any strain, and may lessen the severity of the infection. I encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine for themselves and for their kids. We've all seen how devastating a flu outbreak can be in our workplaces and in our schools, and make no mistake...people DO die from influenza.
This has been a public service announcement. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.
For anyone else who watches "American Idol," are you finding it kind of lame this year? Some of us were talking at work, and we're a little disappointed in what we've seen so far. There are definitely some good ones, but it seems like we're not seeing the caliber of talent we've seen in the past. I'm just not feeling engaged by any of them yet. Am I more interested in other things this year? Are they really not as good? Or am I sort of losing interest in "Idol"? I'm just not sure, but I think part of it is overexposure. I'll look forward to when it goes down to a couple of nights a week, because 3 nights a week is just too much for me.
Hope you're all staying warm and cozy. We got 2-3 more inches of snow last night, but I was able to get out of the driveway and get to work with no major problems. I think we're supposed to get a little more tonight, and this weekend? Rain! This is craziness!
Reading Duma Key almost bummed me out, at least as far as the weather goes. It's set on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and while I haven't been to the Gulf Coast for many years, we spend a week every year at our timeshare--which is right on the beach--on the Atlantic Coast. The way King described the sunsets and the warm breezes, the sound of the waves, and the rustle of palm fronds made me long for our little home-away-from-home. We're planning on going for a week in June, and I'm already getting excited about it! It's our week of pure relaxation. There's not a lot to do in New Smyrna Beach (and we kinda like that), so we just sit on the balcony and read, or take walks on the beach, or lay out in the sun for a little while and soak up the warmth. It's one of my favorite places to be. We're hoping to get a chance to see our friends Sven and Lisa this year--they live on the Gulf Coast, but we hope they can come and see us, or maybe we can meet halfway. They're a hoot. Sven (AKA Scott) sent Ken a picture last night and we just cracked up.
What a fisherman! Fry up that baby and some hush puppies, and you've got yourself a mini-fish fry--for one!
Here's a picture that might give you some idea of what it's like there...I love it.