Thursday, April 30, 2009

#43 Honest and Compelling

Life's That Way: A Memoir Life's That Way: A Memoir by Jim Beaver

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A very touching memoir! Jim Beaver is absolutely correct in saying that grief is so personal that no one can understand how the griever is feeling. Each of us has a unique experience and struggles with grief differently. I do know how some days bring you to your knees, and for me, even almost 4 years later, I can be felled by intense grief by the most seeming inconsequential or unconscious trigger. What comes shining through this memoir is his love for his wife and daughter, and his honesty.

And as a complete aside: My son sent me this book as birthday present because he thought I'd really appreciate it. He also works for the agency that represents Jim Beaver!

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Sunday, April 19, 2009


Heart and Soul Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this gentle book. Maeve Binchy has the rare quality of portraying the everyday lives of ordinary people with an honest, but very compassionate eye. I always feel good after spending time with people she writes about, and I'm always sorry to see the book end!

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Vacation Plans

We finally reached April vacation -- after this it's straight on til summer. The kids get out of school on June 19th but we teachers are there til June 23rd. We have to make up the days in our contract from the ice storm days we lost. This was a long week in school, and the kids were not exactly on their best behaviors.

So far while quite welcome, vacation has started out less than stellar. Both my husband and I are sick. I think it's variations of the same heavy cold. He has a severe head cold, while I have a severe chest cold. I went to the doctor on Thursday because I felt so horrible and feared that it might be pneumonia. As of Thursday evening, it wasn't, though I need to check back on Monday. The doctor is suspicious that I might have asthma and that is why this chest cold seems so much more difficult. He gave me an inhaler to use and wants to run some diagnostic tests once I'm well. My chest is easier, I must admit, and in general, I feel better, except for sheer exhaustion. I hope that today is the peak of the "worst" as far as my husband goes, and that we'll be a lot better by Monday.

We are planning a short trip to Newport, RI later this week with friends, but we also have tons of yard work to do. The ice storm wreaked havoc with the trees, and now that the snow is FINALLY gone, and the ground has dried out a bit, we can tackle cutting the trees that need cutting, and we can start the ice storm cleanup. It's a mess!

My daffodils burst into bloom yesterday, and a few crocus are in full display. But some of flowering shrubs were demolished, so I have to see what can be salvaged. The worst hit was a beautiful magnolia bush/tree that was split in half. It's a sad sight. Of course the forecast is for a rainy week. We'll see how much gets done!

Friday, April 10, 2009

And Another One

Death of a Gossip (Hamish Macbeth Mystery, Book 1) Death of a Gossip by M.C. Beaton

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hamish MacBeth, the village constable, is introduced in this novel set Scotland's Highlands. Hamish is seen by his fellow villagers as an amiable, lazy moocher who nevertheless gets the job done. A fly fishing school at the local hotel draws a mixed set of would-be anglers who all have a secret to hide. One of them, Lady Jane, sets everyone's teeth on edge with her sly barbs and insulting behavior. Someone is murdered, all are suspect, and Hamish saves the day! This was a very light, very quick, and very enjoyable read.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Another Book for 2009

I think this is book #37 for the year.

Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (Maisie Dobbs Novels) Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This series is still keeping me engrossed. Maisy Dobbs is a fascinating protagonist and each novel deepens the dimensions of her character. These are not "happy" books, but they are quite satisfying. The author raises serious issues and invites the reader to wrestle with them along with Maisie.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Family Celebration

My aunt is celebrating her 90th birthday this weekend. She's my mom's sister, the only remaining sibling of 3. We've always been close; in college I lived with her and her husband during the summers and worked in their business. She's also the center of our extended family life. For most of our lives we've gathered at her house in CT for "clan events." Last weekend was no exception. In honor of her birthday her son and daughter invited the clan to a surprise birthday party held at her house! It was her grandson's birthday weekend, so she thought she was hosting his party. Imagine her surprise when each of us gathered, from different parts of the country, on her doorstep! Her 2 children, her 4 grandchildren, and her 2 great grandchildren were there. And it was the first time since my mom's funeral that all of my siblings and I were all together. I'm the oldest and my 2 sons (one from RI and one from Los Angeles) and my husband arrived on her doorstep at the same time as my middle sister from Indiana. Next to arrive were my brother and his wife from Virginia, and our cousin and her husband from Georgia. Then my sister, her husband, and 3 children from Michigan arrived. Just as my aunt exclaimed, everyone's here but .... in came my youngest sister, her husband, and their 2 children from New York.
There were 30 of us in all gathered in her small condo for the celebration.

It was especially wonderful to gather for a happy reason, to celebrate her, and to celebrate family. We took lots of pictures, laughed a lot, shed a few tears as we reminisced and missed those who aren't physically with us anymore, and enjoyed being together.

I can honestly say that not only do I love my extended family, I LIKE them too!