Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Germs and Staying Warm

You might think, from the title of this post, that I have the flu and I'm running a 104 degree fever. This is not the case! These are actually two unrelated thoughts that I'm going to throw into one post because, well, I can. You can read the first part, walk away for a while, and read the second part and pretend it's a different post from a much more organized person.

I blame it all on The Hot Zone. Ever since I read that book I have been obsessed with reading more about viruses. Right now I'm reading The Demon in the Freezer (also by Richard Preston), and so far it has covered Anthrax and Smallpox. It's written just like true-crime but I guess in this case it's true-virus. Or true-illness. Or true-death. I get really scared reading true crime books (I haven't finished one yet actually), but true-virus is different. I guess because a virus actually makes sense and works in predictable ways, therefore it's not nearly as scary to me as some deranged killer on the loose.

Then when I was at the used bookstore a couple of weeks ago I also picked up Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, which I'm sure is going to cover some of the same ground as The Demon in the Freezer. I've started the preface and I'm already excited to read it. Although this one might be tougher because it's not just about the biology of the viruses, it's about the crazy people who want to use them as weapons... we'll see if I make it through the book.

I also got The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic- and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World. (Okay, how obnoxiously long is that title???) This one, surprisingly, isn't about anthrax, smallpox, OR Ebola. Nope, it's about cholera in the 1800s! Woo hoo! Uplifting stuff!

That same trip to the bookstore also sent me home with 1776 by David McCullough and 1491 by Charles C. Mann because apparently I like to read books with years in the title. And I'm reading At Home by Bill Bryson, which is excellent and fascinating. Who knew the history of our houses could be so readable? I'm also trying to get through ANOTHER book about The Tudors, but sensibly that (along with my Freezer Demon book) is from the library.

So, history and germs. I'm all over it.

Also, I just realized that I'm trying to read 5 books at once. That's a little excessive, even for me. And I still have to get to The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next.

Good thing it's straight up winter here. Lots of reading time. Which brings me to...

Over Christmas when I was staying at my mom's house I was really impressed with the wool blanket I was using. It was really thick and heavy but not sweaty. For the past few years I have had a down alternative comforter that is just way too hot. I end up kicking it onto the floor and using another blanket, but then I get too cold. Last year I got the Nap blanket from Brookstone, and that one feels AMAZINGLY SOFT but it also doesn't breathe so I wake up gross and sweaty in the middle of the night. And it winds up on the floor too.

I am the Goldilocks of bedding.

So I was all about wool. I started doing some research and holy shit wool blankets are freaking EXPENSIVE. Mom got hers on sale but it is the dead of winter and no store in their right mind is going to put wool on sale right now. So I will wait until August and get a wool blanket on sale.

Until then, I found a really good solution at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They have a Berkshire Blanket that is made with Polartec, and it is GREAT. It is light, but it breathes. It doesn't get all staticky and I am sleeping better because I'm not waking up in the middle of the night to adjust whatever blanket situation I'm trying to work with. I got a brown one and a cream one, and they're the perfect weight for these freezing cold nights. In the summer I'll probably just use one. (I cannot sleep without a blanket on, it just feels weird.) And both of them together cost less than half of what a wool blanket would cost. I call this a major win.

Another great find was SmartWool socks, which I saw at the FleetFeet store when I was "helping" my sister buy running clothes. (I am so not helpful- I don't know a thing about running!) These socks are incredible. I have never put on a pair of socks that felt like they were made just for me. I got 2 pairs of PhD Outdoor Light Crew socks and I never want to take them off even to wash them (but I do!). Seriously, they are by far the most expensive socks I have ever had, but they are also the best socks I've ever had and you better believe I am saving up for more.

So now me and my socks are going to get in my toasty bed and read more scary books about violent viruses. And since my parking lot is a solid sheet of ice, it is the perfect way to spend the evening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Ghost Map is a great book, read it next.