Thursday, July 6, 2017

June Wrap-Up

June Snapshots

1. A frolic through the psycho bushes. June started with me taking my dogs on a pleasant stroll through the fields. It was a very nice walk until my idiot dog took off after a prairie dog and dove headfirst into the nastiest bramble bushes I’ve ever seen. I had to drag her out of the bushes and onto the sidewalk. She yelped the whole way because her feet were full of burrs, but I couldn't pick her up because she weighs 70 pounds and would fight me if I tried.

When we got to the sidewalk, do you think she stayed still and calmly let me de-prickle her? Of course not. That would have been a sane thing to do. We basically got into a wrestling match in the middle of the sidewalk with her yelping and me screaming, “Why won’t you let me help you?!” The pointy bits of the burrs kept breaking off and embedding themselves under the skin of my hands! Then my hands started bleeding. Then the dog headbutted my face so hard that I bit my tongue. Then my tongue started bleeding. The dogs and I are always a hot mess, but this event took “hot mess” to a whole new level. We were a flaming, prickly, screaming disaster rolling around on a sidewalk.

Do you know why we were in the field and not on the sidewalk in the first place? It’s because every summer competitive cyclists come to Colorado to train at high altitude. My town basically becomes the redneck Tour de France every June. While I was bleeding from the mouth and trying to pull burrs off an angry dog, I had to dodge all these steroid-fueled Spandex fanatics who were blasting past us at a million miles an hour.

Do you think my other dog could just chill during this mess? Of course not. She ran around yapping and tangling everyone in her leash. We got ourselves de-prickled in the end, but my hands and tongue swelled up huge.

The moral of the story: Prairie dogs are jerks. Don’t chase them.

My dogs without prickles

2. Things that shouldn’t exist. While I was running one day, a giant ball of stinging insects flew right past me. I don’t know if they were bees or wasps because I ran for my freakin’ life when I saw them. Why are there wasp clouds? It was like a horror movie. Then, a little way past the bee ball, I saw a huge snake. It was about 4 feet long and as thick as a baseball bat. At first I thought it was a rattlesnake (we have those here), but I didn’t see a rattle when I ran past it. Maybe it was a bullsnake? I don’t know, but I think nature is plotting to murder me. This is why I should never go outside.

3. Speaking of things that shouldn’t exist. I ordered a pizza, and one of the topping choices on the menu was pickles. Do people really put pickles on pizza?

4. Is this real life? June was so stupidly hot that no one could sleep. My neighbor dragged his TV onto his porch, and now he sits out there all night, loudly watching Fox News. I keep waking up to Donald Trump’s voice echoing ominously through the silent neighborhood. The first time it happened, I thought I’d broiled to death in my sleep and woken up in Hell. It’s been a lot of years since I read Dante’s Inferno, but I’m pretty sure there’s a circle of Hell that’s pitch black, boiling hot, and populated by politicians. I visit that place every night now . . .

5. Super-Buff Running Guy won’t tell me his secrets. I’ve started running outside three days a week. I keep seeing the same people on my runs, so I’ve given them all names. One of them is Super-Buff Running Guy. I always see him when I’m near death and he’s sprinting past me. The first time I saw him, I honestly thought he was a hallucination of my oxygen-starved brain because no one can possibly run that fast. He must be some kind of Greek god. Then, a few days ago, he smiled and gave me a thumbs-up as he sprinted past me. I stumbled after him going, Come back, running god! Tell me how to become you! He didn’t come back, but someday I’m going to run fast enough to pass somebody. I’m always the one getting left behind for nature to eat/sting/prickle.

6. Occasionally, things don’t go horribly wrong. I promised I’d show you photos of my latest hike, so here they are. Aside from having to use a gross outhouse toilet, the hike was great.

Wayward Googlers

Cait @ Paper Fury sometimes shares the odd Google searches that lead people to her blog. I’m stealing her idea. Here are a few strange searches that brought wayward Googlers to Read All The Things! in the past six months.

“First time sex stories.” A surprising number of people have come here after Googling this, so allow me to point you in a non-perverted direction. There’s an anthology called The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex. It’s stuffed full of people losing their virginity. It’s probably a more trustworthy source than whatever Google dredges up.

“aj generator 2017.” This sounds like you want to clone me. That’s a terrible idea! My clones will descend on your kitchen like a locust plague and munch all your sweets. Any attempt to communicate with them will be met with sarcasm. They will bite if captured. Once they’re in your house, you’ll need doughnut helicopters to get them out. Before you clone me, ask yourself, “Do I have the budget for doughnut helicopters?”

“What positive trait does shawn have?” He helps his grandmother shop for festive pantsuits? That's just a guess. I have no idea who Shawn is.

“Does it talk about hepatitis?” It must, or you wouldn’t be here.

My Reading So Far

In the first half of 2017, I read 55 books. I’m on-track to read 100 this year, which is my goal.

Books I Read In June

In June, I finished 7 books and DNFed 1.

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling (reread)
The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood
The Girls – Emma Cline
A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East – Tiziano Terzani (DNF)
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague – Geraldine Brooks
Within These Walls – Ania Ahlborn

I also made progress on my reading challenges. Click here to see how I’m doing.

Best Books Of June

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling (reread)
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling (reread)
3. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Most-Viewed June Reviews

Most-Viewed June Non-Reviews

All The Things

All The Things (AKA number of unread books on my TBR shelf) = 32 books.

I’m currently reading (and adoring) Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson.

What did you do in June?



    Also we're barely a month into July and I am DYING. I can't tell if it's the heat or my anemia, and but I cannot take this heat! I'll go back to June any day!

    And pickles on pizza sounds like the absolute worst.

    1. That’s exactly what I thought! Who would put pickles on pizza? It sounds gross.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. Nature didn't sound like your friend this June what with the first two incidents, however those hiking photos are glorious!

    You're doing great with meeting your reading goal for the year - happy reading in July!

  3. "redneck Tour de France". Love it. That is an awesome story though although I sympathize with the de- burring (ow!). Oh and that pizza looks pretty dang good, but pickles? Just- no.

    Love the hiking pics! Especially of the river. Wow.

  4. Stay safe, A.J.

    Like the pics.

    You and your HP re-reads. LOL

    1. Thanks! I ran out of Harry Potter books last month, so now I have to read something else. :(

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  5. Hi AJ - remind me not to go outside with you ... snakes and I don't agree ... and I'd run from a ball of wasps probably ... but who knows. Lovely photos of the trail ... enjoy what you can in as much safety as you can ... and keep reading - well done - cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks! Avoiding me is probably a good idea. I seem to attract problems.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  6. Oh dear! The redneck cyclists, the bugs and snakes and the dog chase disaster all sound like a nightmare! And I am soooo grateful that spiders can't fly or I'd be in Hell! Speaking of Hell, what is wrong with that neighbour of yours??? Surely that kind of noise pollution should be illegal! I love your monthly wrap up posts...!

    1. People have called the cops on that neighbor for playing his music too loud. I don’t think anybody has called about his late-night news sessions, though.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  7. I laughed out loud several times while reading this. Broiled to death in your sleep indeed! I think I checked out both THe GIrls and Station 11 from the library but had to return them before I got to them.

    1. I liked The Girls and Station Eleven, so hopefully you get a chance to read them someday.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  8. Okay, AJ, you win the hot mess award! LOL Another awesome post!

  9. Please, please, you need to take your blog on the road--and not the spandex-bike-racing--prairie-dog-hazzard--prickly road--I mean you are hilarious! I've never laughed so hard reading a post before. Thank you! BTW, I'm a runner and your naming of fellow athletes is something I do also. Before I bravely introduced myself to a tall, thin, running man I saw EVERYDAY I ran, I simply referred to him as Tallthinrunningman. Now he's just Brian (I actually like his nickname better...). And I bet you will pass somebody someday. And I know for a fact that everyone passing you in a car is secretly wishing he or she had your determination to be out there putting one foot in front of the other. I can't can't how many times I've had people (mostly women as men probably feel I'd spray them, scream, or call 911) tell me through rolled down windows how much they admire me for getting out there. You go hot mess girl!

  10. Oh, AJ. I was having a miserable night until I came over here to read about your miserable day. Then I laughed and my day got brighter.
    Wow. That really makes me sound like a horrible person. I actually don't WANT you to be miserable ... but thanks for making me smile anyway. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  11. I just died laughing at your post. What an interesting June! I am jealous of your views while hiking and not jealous of your experience with Prairie Dogs. I have been trying to run too, but I do not have the people to watch like you do. Oh I wish I could see others while running so I could make up stories, but I live out in the boonies haha! Happy reading!

  12. This is hilarious! So many funny things to read about, but I'm sure that experiencing them was very unpleasant!

    My dog often gets burs in his paws. I hate trying to pull them out with my fingers because they get stuck and hurt for the rest of the day. Ugh.

    Your neighbor blasting FOX News in the middle of the night. Oh my gosh, so funny. :D :D

  13. Your post was just what I needed on the Monday morning back to work. I love it so much. Sorry about your dogs. Sometimes they just don't understand we are trying to help! Mine are that way too. I hope to read Within These Walls someday soon. About hearing Trump while trying to sleep - that would suck. I don't like listening to him when I'm awake so I definitely don't want him invading my sleep time. And you are right, I'm sure that is it's own circle of hell!

  14. Those pictures are beautiful and your dogs are gorgeous!! We want 2 dogs so badly, but don't have the space right now and it would be cruel to have 2 big dogs and not let them run around enough. We have 3 chickens and 2 rabbits (one of them disabled) though. They are cool as well :D (Actually, I love them all and they are my babies!)

    You seemed to have an adventurous month!! And I thought it's dangerous here in Australia - but during the 4 years I've been living here, I haven't even seen a snake. Just some yucky spiders that are way too big but not poisonous.

    I am re-reading the Potters as well at the moment! About to start with the 4th one.

    I really like the way you are writing,very entertaining and good to read! I'll stick around haha

  15. I have a copy of Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale"--I may be too frightened to ever read it!