History: Getting All the Books, Reading All the Pages, Learning All the Stories

I am over 500 pages into the reading lists I have received from professors for the courses I am taking in the upcoming Fall. Mercifully, the professor for my summer class responded to my email asking him about a reading list stating that he would be sending out course information and readings (mostly journal articles) a week or two before class starts in late June/early July.

Over the weekend, we took a trip to the bookstore and I happened upon another title on my reading list and scooped it up, increasing the page count to over 3,000 with a few more titles to find before August arrives.

It’s always exciting reading history. No matter how much one may read on a given topic or period something new always pops up and adds to the narrative. Learning something new about a particular idea, person, or place adds to the understanding one has and adds color to the picture that has already been painted, making it a little more vibrant and adding a little more depth.

It’s a rainy, dreary day, so I am going to try and knock out a couple hundred more pages today. Though I am not particularly excited about the period into which I am currently delving, it is a period crucial to the understanding of other periods which I do find interesting. It is fascinating to see and to learn how the stories of some continually impact the lives of others that do not live in the same place or time.

History is an excellent reminder that we do not live our lives in seclusion. We are in it together for the long haul, and just as stories we act out day-to-day are influenced by past characters and ideas, so, too, will be the stories written in the future along with the narratives we leave behind.

Fascinating? It should be.

Advertisements

Getting Over It…

Blah. That’s really all I can say. Have you ever been to the point when a head cold that has completely leveled you has finally started to subside but you still feel like you’ve been hit by a small automobile? That is where I am.

A couple of weeks ago, the sniffles hit me. Last week (pre-Valentine’s Day), it was a full-on head cold that put me completely out of commission. I’ll leave out the gross details such as an ungodly and unending production of mucus, other than to say that I went through every box of tissues in the house and still need more. My senses of taste and smell were nonexistent. I cleaned out a box of generic Advil Cold & Sinus and drained through a bottle of NyQuil singlehandedly. I’ve nearly exhausted the generic vaporub, religiously applying it to nearly any skin surface that will accept it and marinating in the mentholly cloud that enveloped me.

Now, taste has returned, somewhat, and smell has partially made its way back. Food is enjoyable, almost. Just the other day, my better half asked me, as I was applying the sweet smelling vaporub, “when are you going to get better?” I informed her that I AM getting better.  At least now I can SMELL the goodness. I have made it consecutive nights without having to get up to either take more NyQuil or reapply vaporub. Life, it seems, is returning to normal. However…

Unless you have been living under a rock, or in California or Florida or somewhere tropical, you know that it has been as cold as a well-digger’s ass for the past few days. I mean. Cold. I rarely complain about the cold. I actually prefer cooler and colder weather to the sweltering heat of the dog days of Summer. This cold on the other hand, has been, let’s say, ridiculous, and it just so happens that this Arctic cold, this Siberian cold, this whateverthehell cold has coincided with my head cold.

When you have to put on a hooded sweatshirt, a fleece jacket, a wool overcoat and a stocking cap under the hoodie hood just to take the dogs outside to potty, it’s a ridiculous kind of cold. When the poor pups scurry to potty, only to return limping onto the porch and inside because the cold stings their little puppy feet, you know it’s a ridiculous kind of cold. When Buffalonians, Minnesotans and Wisconsinites (Wisconsonians?) point out how cold it is, you know it’s a ridiculous kind of cold.

That kind of cold and the cold that presently lives within my head do not mix. At all. Now the weather is evening out a little. It is a balmy 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside, pretty much heatwave, but I feel just about worthless. Oh, and with the ridiculous cold and my head cold, one of the books that was put on my reading list is an 800 page narrative on the fall of Richard Nixon and the rise of Ronald Reagan and his presidential campaign of 1976. As I have stated before, I am a big fan of politics and political history, but this book, oh my god, this book. This book exhausted every ounce of patience I have when it comes to reading. If you read the news, be it the newspaper or an online source, imagine a news article that rambles on for 800 pages. Don’t get me wrong, the book is chock FULL of information and has extensive notes on source material, but it probably should have been two books, maybe even three. It took all of the reading time i could muster to finish it in just shy of two weeks, and took all of my attention away from other books I am wanting to read. So, take that plus the ridiculous cold plus the cold that stubbornly sticks to my head and you get my current condition.

I am on the mend and looking forward to finishing another book in the next couple of days and cracking into two or three more within the next week. The weather looks to be on the mend, as well, warming into the 30s with some rain tomorrow, then snow flurries/showers in the coming week. It will be a welcome return to normal weather, and I am hoping that the rain tomorrow will moisten things up a little bit. With this cold, any water anywhere in the air is solid, thus leaving everything dry. No amount of chapstick or carmex  or anything can provide relief to my arid lips, and the house feels like a desert, temperature controlled at 65 degrees.

That’s what’s on my mind as I look out the window at the neighbor’s snow covered house, the snow covered hills, and the snow covered yard, and I can smell the homemade tomato sauce on the stove! Here is to the possibility of slightly more positive posts in the near future!