Sunday, September 14, 2014

on the new housemate

We got a cat. (Note: By far not the most important matter mentioned  just the only one currently mewing at my feet)

But, of course, that means little to some of you since, while I know my biggest group of readers follow me from Facebook I must allow myself the deception that someone reading this sought it out otherwise. So I'll add detail.

MM and I are quiet different.  Career Military/Pacifist.  Graduated for-profit college in early 30s/Graduated at 21 from a top liberal arts school.and didn't stop there.  Conservative/Liberal.  There are more, but you get the point.  One thing we do have in common, HORRID allergies, especially to all furry four-legged sorts.  He is also the only other person I've encountered who will shout dog when one appears on tv in case the companions missed it.  And perhaps we both really want to pet the tv in hopes it will somehow transmit to the actual dog.

But we've long said we'd never venture beyond the aquarium dwellers: fish and two aquatic frogs.

And...

There was an "AND."  A big "AND."

Well, to take the "just say it" approach, MM's Mom died.  There's not much one can add here; there never really is.  She'd been sick for over a decade, with on and off hospital stays so it both was unexpected and a surprise.  But she'd certainly not expected this turn when she brought a new (adult) cat home at the start of the summer.  Well, the four sisters declined (dogs in home, just plain uninterested) and, while I was made sure he considered the health aspects, my MM's a sentimental guy.  So we got a cat.

Day ONE sucked, but the generic Claritin D has helped (buy stock!).

And, while I tend to be a dog person, this is a lap cat.  She talks up a storm, She love to eat, but would pick a day without food over a day without companionship.

So, we have cat.  And we;re both suitably drugged.  And both in love,

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I feel like I'm in a state of near-constant flux.  And this interrupts my ability to sit and write.  I am saying sorry to any of my readers.  I am also saying sorry to myself because writing clears my mind and it is busy in there.  I do have a book review to tackle and I want to talk about the wedding, the Y, and the very recent death of my mother-in-law.

These and more WILL I get done

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

local folks spreading a love for books and a review of Lisa O'Donnell's Closed Doors

In my wanderings around town (seriously, treadmill, you broke less than a year after you arrived as a replacement for one that broke in the same fashion???  wonder how long the next replacement, arriving tomorrow, will last), I've found two Little Free Libraries.  I'd donated a few books to the first one I'd found...duplicates, of course, since I have a book-hoarding problem.  I feel oddly proud of donating one of my two copies of THE BEST BOOK EVER, neither was my original but I still have an odd attachment to any copy of The Monster at the End of this Book.  I did talk to the Stewards of both "libraries" (both are in the same Women's Club) and told them I applaud the effort to: 1) encourage reading and 2) encourage reading of physical books (Monster can't possibly work the same in digital form).

Moving on....book review time:

Michael, age 11, likes to listen at doors, eavesdropping on his Mom, Dad, and Grandma when they talk about adult things.  He also likes soccer and is a bit uncertain about girls.  One night, his beloved mother comes home one night, badly beaten.  Listening at doors tells him it was more than a fall and he is asked to keep the story that he's told, a simplified version of the truth told, a secret.  He's good at secrets. Things continue to grow complicated as the town eyes his father as the culprit behind his mother' beaten face and his mother struggles to move beyond the truth of her rape.  Grown-up difficulties and secrets too big to understand accompany the more traditional confusion of being a pre-adolescent in a small Scottish community.

I'll give this a solid 4 out of 5 stars.  Michael is an endearing narrator, honest in his telling of the facts as he sees them, but definitely showing a growing boy's bias in his characterization of those around him.  While I got a bit tired of some topics (his obsession with "keepie-uppies," his soccer ball trick, and a potential children's talent show), I suppose the issues he dwells on make him a pretty realistic pre-teen.  The novel deals with very difficult topics and shows an appropriately complex journey for both the mother and the other family members in the wake of the rape.  The community's reaction to the unfolding story also felt both real and, at times, upsetting.  In a different vein, I also liked the portrayal of Michael's utter confusion and uncertainty when it comes to girls.

(Here's a link to my review of O'Donnell's prior novel, The Death of Bees.  Both were provided to me in the form of advance reader's copies by the publisher.)