I love hanging out with my friends–I am reminded how amazingly brilliant they are in such a wide variety of ways. It also makes me feel like I should be doing and reading far more than I am and almost always makes me want to go back to school.

I attended a barbecue recently with friends who have been displaying a crazy amount of raw brain power for some years. There was discussion of theater, various types of vegetarian burgers, non-lactose cow sensitivity, Solzhenitsyn, and the current state of architecture in the Eastern Bloc. What does one label the cement structures we saw being built during the sixties and the cold war? How do you compare the gulag descriptions of Solzhenitsyn to those of other Russian writers who were in Siberia prisons? So goat’s milk is okay but perhaps, at some point, not beef? It’s enough to send one diving for the lit crit and history books along with the relish and another ham/veggie/turkeyburger.

I was debating this with M on the way home from the BBQ. While much of our discussions revolve around some medical obscurities, what she’s writing and what I’m knitting–she’s also my source on antiques, china patterns, and gemstones. I’ve learned more in the last two years about gemstones….

I am fascinated at the breadth of interests humans have and pursue. My Kiwanis club recently had a speaker in who talked about mountain bikers and new ecologically friendly trails they are putting in the bluffs near here, millions of people who will travel for a weekend of riding specialized bikes on these eco-friendly trails. Add in the hikers, regular bike riders, dog walkers, runners, roller bladers, and letterboxers and you can imagine how many new tourists we might see coming into La Crosse. This in stark contrast to me–who had to go buy a pair of “real” sneakers because I’m going out to Colorado and we’re going out on a hike. Keds, I’m told, will not cut it on the trail. Upstairs (at least in my library) there are entire sections of books I never even consider when browsing for something to read, whole sections of the LC or Dewey or classification aide of your choice that I’ve never particularly devled into. But others do…and that’s pretty cool.

It’s lovely to have these friends who shake me out of my usual day to day. It is, I think, a general trend to read on generally the same subjects, and we often get lost in the every day. It’s easy when we’re constantly hammered with information from all sides. I read RSS feeds to the near exclusion of all other non-fiction and at times get so lost in my profession that I forget there are other exciting things out there. And then the phone rings or a bbq happens and I’m shaken out of my reverie.

Now if I can just work up the concentration to read the book about the Vatican library.