I have decided that I can't hold back any longer, I have to get these thoughts out of my head so that I can move on.
I opened up my SIMPLE ABUNDANCE book again just to see what Sarah Ban Breathnach had to say. Her essay is entitled IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN? She goes on to discuss how most of us think of Life as one long postponement. What pleasures are you postponing? How many times have you said to yourself...'"I'll do that just as soon as...." "Oh, sorry, I don't have time to do that now!" "I really want to but I can't figure out how to make a place for it in my life." YES, ME TOO!
Well, coincidentally, I was thinking today about what goals I wanted to make for the future.
September is my favorite month. Always has been. I connect it with new beginnings because school used to start after Labor Day every year. I always felt like I had a fresh start, a new chance to do well, to meet new friends or reconnect with the old friends I hadn't seen for some time. So, today I was making a list of things that I want to do. And here they are.
- I want to get back on my "diet" or new eating plan more seriously. I've lost close to 25 lbs but I find myself slipping back into those bad habits. So, I want to start fresh....as soon as I finish the bag of pretzels...and try to get my motivation and my metabolism going again. Maybe I can lose another 25 lbs by this time next year!
- Last year, I tried not to spend much money. I wasn't sure how my income was going to go for the first year after my husband had passed so I tried not to buy too much. This summer, however, since I had lost weight, I had to buy some new clothes and soon it wasn't too difficult to let myself buy other things. I'm going to try to stop that for the rest of the year as much as possible.
- I am determined to get back into reading. I've never taken back so many unread books in my entire life. I am ashamed of myself. I miss reading. I will not be reaching my goal of reading 125 books this year. But, if I have to get off FaceBook to do this, I will. I am going to read again.
- I will not buy any more coloring books until I completely fill up all the ones I have. By then, there should be new ones available anyway.
- I'm sorry to say that I have a few rants on my mind too.
- Why do all the celebrities and tv and movie stars (especially the females) think they have to expose themselves all the time when they are in public? I am so tired of seeing boobage on display and big fannies. If they are really talented, they don't need to use this shock value to get attention. It's really not attractive when you think about it. Sure, most of them have gorgeous bodies but how much of that is from plastic surgery anyway? The beauty should come from within. If they are doing a good job with their career/craft, they don't need to show all their privates parts. And that goes for singers too. Miley Cyrus is talented but she cheapens herself by walking onto television shows and stages with pasties on and making obscene gestures or talking nasty. Her private life is her own. She doesn't have to share it with me.
- And then there is politics. Oh my, when will it end? Even after the next election, we will hear about everything they said and did and what is wrong with them. I really do think it would be best to only allow 4 years in office....for all of them. And the candidates.....I'm not going to name any of them but I have to say I was quite shocked this week when some friends told me that were seriously thinking of voting for a couple of the ones who are in the news all the time. I'm afraid of what is happening to our country. I'm worried that our so-called leaders don't really lead at all...THEY JUST FOLLOW WHOMEVER GIVES THEM THE MOST MONEY OR FAVORS. It's time for our country to take a step back and start taking care of our own. Our bridges and roads are a disgrace. We could do so much if we followed the things that worked in the past. We could create many jobs by reconstructing our country. Instead, money and time is wasted on fighting across the aisle in the government. The parties should have different opinions but they should also be able to compromise.
- Which brings me to the world as a whole. It appears to me that life as we knew it is gone. I don't expect we will ever have a world that treats everyone well. The disregard for life is frightening. People killing others for any reason. People beheading and kidnapping and hanging and burning and beating is probably not new but it sure seems to be more acceptable these days.
So, I think I got most of that out of my system for now. I hope you are still here reading.
I did read a few books since my last post.
4 of 5 stars ~ Read on August 12, 2015
2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.
When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the "crazy closet"--with predictable results--the tools that had served Roz well through her parents' seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.
While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies--an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades--the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.
An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller.
And another reader's review...
The painful realization that your father no longer knows who you are.
The agony of having to explain over and over again to your mom that her husband is dead and watching her cry every single time.
Getting those 3AM calls from the nursing home, and having to listen to your mother plead with you to let you come live at home with you, even though you know that's impossible - she's incontinent, never sleeps, and you're married with four children.
Your heart breaking as you listen to your father pray for death and ask you "Why doesn't God take me?" every time you see him.
Your parents aging and their minds and bodies failing and all the heartache that comes with it - Chast takes a cold, hard look at the reality while also managing to inject some humor into a devastating subject.
This is a hard book to read - especially if you've experienced the subject matter firsthand - but it's an important book and definitely a great one.
5 of 5 stars ~Read on August 16, 2015
It's June 15th, the night of Nantucket High School graduation. Four juniors are driving home from a party when something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash. The driver of the car, Penny Alistair, is killed, and her twin brother, Hobby Alistair, is left in a coma. Penny's boyfriend, Jake Randolph, and Penny's friend Demeter Castle are unhurt--but suffer tremendous emotional damage. Jake and his family move to the other side of the globe--to the west coast of Australia--in order to escape the horrors of the accident. Demeter falls prey to alcohol abuse and other self-destructive behaviors that nearly lead to her destroying her own life.
SUMMERLAND delves into the circumstances surrounding this accident, the roots of which lie deep in the past, with the first interactions between these four friends and their parents. It's a novel about how tragedy affects individuals, families, and the island community as a whole, and how healing can happen, in even the most devastating circumstances.
And another reader's review...
Summerland is a great read especially for the summertime. However, it's not SO mindless that you find yourself immediately forgetting the story you just read. This one did leave me with some lingering thoughts to ponder and several cliffhanger questions, which I rather enjoyed.
Overall, I found the characters to be developed, intriguing, and relatable (i.e. I could identify the Zoe, Hobby, Ava, etc. in my own life). What really had me impressed with this book was that as I read, I kept thinking to myself, "None of this would ever happen, it's not believable, it's too dramatic, it's too simple, etc." But the actual truth of the matter is that it could happen and it does. I think the overarching theme of this book doesn't necessarily have to do with the fate of any specific character, but rather the vitality of Nantucket as a whole - that's why when Hilderbrand is switching perspectives between characters, sometimes it actually takes on the eyes of the Nantucket community. That town, as with any small "fish bowl" town, is character. This concept was the most thought-provoking for me and I found it be an exceptional addition to the story.
4 of 5 stars ~ Read in August, 2015
Since I was married to a police officer, the jacket information was of interest to me. I read it as if the main character, Mike Anderson, was my own husband and felt the brotherhood of the policemen and the fear and dread of the wife myself. When Mike shoots and kills a young man, he is filled with regret, sorrow, misery and depression. As the story unfolds, the reader is pulled into the questions of what really happened? What about the gun? Will Mike lose his job, his marriage, his home and his children?
There was a side story involving his sister-in-law and her work with zoo elephants that made no sense to me as far as being an important factor in this story. The information about the elephants was interesting but not in this suspenseful drama.
However, this was a good book. There were some things that I am sure a policeman's wife would never do but it didn't take away from the main element of the story.
In this timely and provocative novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen takes us inside a family in crisis and a marriage on the brink after a tragic shooting.
How far would you go to save your family?
Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There's been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn't hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband's insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.
But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie's world. It's about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike's flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie's younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.
In her characteristic exploration of true-to-life relationships, Sarah Pekkanen has written a complex, compelling, and openhearted novel ~ her best yet.
And another reader's review...
They were a happy family, or so Jamie Anderson thought. She and her husband, Mike, have three children: Sam, 8; Emily, 6: and Eloise, 3. Mike's teenage son Henry is the result of a previous relationship with Christie Simmons. They are co-parenting, and the family seems successfully blended.
But something happens that tilts their world on end. A shooting at police headquarters leaves Mike's friend and partner seriously injured, and Mike reeling from the after-effects that resemble a kind of PTSD. Which suddenly becomes a factor when another shooting takes place....and Mike has inadvertently killed a teenaged boy.
Alternately narrated from the perspectives of Jamie, Christie, and Lou, Jamie's younger sister, the story unfolds over a summer in crisis, and each character is facing some kind of turning point. With Jamie, will it be her marriage that is lost in the aftermath? Will Christie turn the situation into something more, something that could bring her and Mike back together? And how will Lou find her own place within the family?
Set in the Washington, D.C. area, primarily in Virginia, the characters in "Things You Won't Say: A Novel" reveal the very human failings that everyone encounters, especially in moments of crisis. I enjoyed watching each of them struggle with the everyday issues, while managing to find ways to do the right thing. I felt frustrated by each of them at one time or another, as they failed to share their thoughts and feelings, complicating everything that was happening. The ending felt very satisfying, however, as answers came at just the right moment to save them all.
And finally, here are some of my most recent colored pencil pages
Victorian children's clothing.
Sisters and friends.