All posts by Daisy

Goodreads review: Saints by Orson Scott Card

SaintsSaints by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this book via paperbackswap.com earlier this week. It’s a lengthy book at 604 pages, but I finished it in about 4 evenings. It progresses quickly and held my interest easily.

At the beginning, we learn of the Kirkham family in Manchester, England, deserted by the father in 1829 and left to fend for themselves. I was fascinated by the way the author described life in this time period and a lot of the historical accuracy weaved throughout this fictional tale. Dinah Kirkham, the youngest child of the family, is the main character in the book yet the stories are really all about her family, and the various paths they all take, the struggles they must each face, and their inner strength.

The first few sections of the book take us along as the Kirkhams struggle to survive, the children working in factories at ages so young it was hard to imagine, the mother accepting her now lowered station in life and looking for work in the homes of others, all while living in a miserable shack of a home. The latter half of the book occurs after the Kirkhams have been introduced to a Mormon missionary who has a message that resonates with most of the family. From there, the story takes a turn both narratively and geographically.

While Dinah is a fictional character, the author has her interacting with real people and real events who have also been fictionalized in these stories, but it gives the book more of a non-fiction feel. Card also uses “First Words” in between chapters where he appears to be giving background on his “great aunt Dinah” and her diary, so it was easy to forget that this was a fictional character.

Not what I wanted to hear.

Turns out all the problems with my neck, arms, and hands are not carpal tunnel but due to 4 of the 7 vertebrae in my neck having bulging/herniated discs that are pressing against my spinal cord. The neurosurgeon I saw today firmly believes that I need to have neck surgery and quick.

I’m scared to death as that was certainly not what I thought I would hear. I thought maybe some physical therapy was going to do the trick but doesn’t look like I’ll be that lucky. I’ve never had surgery in my life (except tonsils) so to have the first time be at my SPINAL CORD I am more than freaking out right now. I am also worried about how this might effect my job. I’m the primary lead on a huge project and may have to step out of that role at the most critical moment when we are about to begin implemetnation. Stupid thing to worry about over my health, but somebody has to pay the bills.

I have some research to do before I make a final decision, and looking to get a 2nd opinion of course, but what he showed me in my MRI scans looks downright scary.

All the letters of the alphabet

My life has turned into a never-ending string of acronyms.  At work, it has been all about an RFP, an SOW, and SLAs.  Then I go see a neurologist about the arm/hand problems that have been plaguing me over the last few months and he sends me on my merry way to have an MRI followed by an EMG.  I was stressed about the MRI, afraid I would flip out and be all kinds of claustrophobic.  Turns out, that was nothing compared to having a bunch of needles stuck in my arm during the EMG.  I was all OMG, WTF. 

I’m supposed to call the doctor in the morning to find out the results.  I just hope he has some answers as to the cause of all these problems.  From the EMG, he is pretty convinced this is not carpal tunnel, so now we wait to see what the MRI shows….he suspects there is some sort of nerve issue with my neck that is causing all the problems.  We shall see.  In the meantime, TTFN and TGI(almost)F!

Better her inbox than mine.

Holly's InboxHolly’s Inbox by Holly Denham

My Review: 2 of 5 stars

Even though it is a couple of inches thick, I read this in one night. While it did have some good parts, I just couldn’t get past the content of emails flying back and forth at work. Maybe other places are more relaxed, but in my experience, I don’t know anyone who would be foolish enough to send or receive messages with such personal detail, berating other employees, sex talk, etc via their WORK email account. In my reality, she would have been caught and fired within the first week. Big brother really IS watching.

Finishing up school day activities and such

Ok, rather than get carried away with every memory I have from school, I’m going to focus on the activities, clubs, sports, etc that I participated in during those years.  So, I mentioned UIL in elementary school.  To continue with that, in 4th grade, I was in UIL Math.  It seems like I was in 5th and 6th grade as well, but I’m not certain.  I also did Poetry Reading in at least one of those years.  I’d have to dig through old photo albums to try and find out for sure.  It’s weird that I was so good in math.  That lasted through algebra, which I took in 8th grade.  For some stupid reason, our school had us take geometry before taking algebra II.  Geometry….well let’s just say anything I ever thought I knew went away in that class.  Primarly because our “teacher” was looney and when I say she didn’t teach us anything all year, I am not exaggerating.  She gave tests that no one passed (well mostly no one) but curved everyone’s grades so we did.  It was a complete joke.  By the time I got to algebra II, which I did ok in, but struggled, and then pre-calculus after that…that is what truly ruined me.  I couldn’t make sense of any of it.  Our teacher just kept saying memorize the formulas and follow them.  She would get so frustrated with me because I couldnt’ understand the WHY behind any of the formulas.  And in order for me to learn them, I needed to know what it all meant.  She just kept telling me to memorize the formulas and not worry about it.  So, I memorized them as best I could and scraped my way through the class barely making a C (I was a mostly A, some B student).  I gave up on math after that.

See?  I just can’t stick to the topic.  I get carried off on tangents, just like my Grammy K used to.  😛

Ok, junior high.  I was in UIL both 7th and 8th grade.  This time it was for Prose.  I remember in 8th grade I read an excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird.  I had so much fun doing that one.  It was the part where the teacher freaks out over finding a “cootie” in a child’s hair.  I was the Student Council President in 8th grade.  I also started playing volleyball in 7th grade (first year we had the opportunity).  I played every year after that, all the way through graduation.  I was never what I would call “athletic” but for some reason, I fell in love with volleyball.  I was pretty good, too. 

Anyway, sticking to the topic, I also was a cheerleader in 8th grade and my freshman year in highschool.  I didn’t try out again after that because 1) it interfered with volleyball, and 2) it stopped being fun when it became all about popularity.  I marched to the beat of my own drum, and in a small town school, that was not something  that fostered popularity or a desire to be with that group.  Not that they were bad people, I just wasn’t into the same things they were for the most part.  I had my “bad boy” boyfriend by then, too, which didn’t help matters.  I hope this is not sounding bitter or mean.  I’m trying not to get carried away with stories right now and just giving some basics.  The bad boy and I got together in 7th grade and were off and on, mostly on, through graduation.  I’ve referred to him previously here as Psycho (he called himself that back then, so I’m not being ugly by calling him that). 

High school:  As I mentioned, I played volleyball all 4 years.  We had a freshman, JV, and varsity team.  Midway through my freshman season, I was moved up to JV.  By my sophmore year, I was on varsity.  My senior year, I was named to the All District team, voted my team’s MVP and Best Offensive player.  It was an interesting year because basically, by then, I was the only senior on the team.  It was a “rebuilding” year.  We had 2 juniors and the rest of the team were sophmores.  Apparently a period of disinterest in volleyball over those few years, I don’t know.  But it was still fun and one of my very favorite parts of my high school experience.  I was also voted the “Volleyball Sweetheart” for Homecoming.  I didn’t tell anyone I was planning to do this, but my dress had a long slit up on leg.  So, when they escorted us out onto the field and announced me, I popped one leg out from the dress and had on my red volleyball kneepad!  It was awesome!  My coach loved it and, for atleast the next couple of years while she was still at that school, it became a tradition that the volleyball sweetheart wear a kneepad out on the field.  :) 

I was on student council, but that was pretty lame and we never really did much of anything.  I only did that two years I think.  I was in FHA and the FHA reporter for one year.  That Future Homemaker’s of America.  Looking back, I’m surprised that there was a group essentially dedicated to those who aspired to be….stay at home mom’s.  No one took it for that reason though, but if I read back over some of the materials about FHA, that’s essentially what it was.  We all took it because it was fun and easy and the teachers were cool.  😛  I don’t think I was in UIL 9th or 10th grade.  Not for lack of wanting to be, the teachers just didn’t seek us out like they did in younger grades.  In fact, I don’t think I even realized UIL still existed until my sophmore year when my English teacher asked why I wasn’t participating. 

In 11th grade, I took typewriting (yes, back when we still actually used typewriters instead of computers) as one of my electives.  That teacher immediately recruited me for UIL typing.  So, 11th and 12th grade I did that.  In 11th grade, I won at district, advanced to regionals, and right before the contest, I jammed my finger playing volleyball.  It was off-season, so it was just a stupid injury from goofing around in the gym during athletics.  Needless to say, my typing teacher wasn’t thrilled with me.  My finger was swollen and I could barely bend it.  But I suffered through it and still managed to get 3rd place.  Not high enough to advance though.  My senior year, after again winning and advancing, my teacher joked with me about how she better not see me anywhere near a volleyball before contest.  Yet somehow, I don’t even remember the circumstances, but you guessed it, I jammed a finger (different one this time, but also from volleyball).  She heard about it before I even made it out of the gym to head to lunch.  I was less driven and less serious about typing that year, I will admit.  And I will never pass up a chance to play volleyball, so….I did ok at contest, but again, not enough to advance to state.  When I think back, I’m irritated at myself for that.  If I’d been 100%, I have no doubt I could have advanced.  Based on the scores of those who did, I KNOW I could have.  I was getting practice scores that high on a regular basis.  But, I was having too much fun being a senior to practice and focus (and skip gym for a few weeks).  It would have been fun to go to state contest, but at the time, I would rather stay home and hang out with the boyfriend and my two best gal pals.  Ah, the follies of youth.

I was also in One Act Play in high school.  Every year except freshman.  That was a lot of fun, too.  I won a couple of awards my senior year.  I was never in a starring role, which was fine with me because, as I mentioned before, I was kind of flaky in high school.  I was all about spending every spare second with Psycho. 

Ok, I think that pretty much sums up my school activities, the officially sanctioned ones at least.

Tell me about your past.

There’s far more I need to get out about Red, but don’t have it in me today.  Instead, I’ll move on to the next assignment of chronicling my life.  I guess all therapy sessions get around to this at some point, but let me start out by saying I did not have a troubled childhood, my parents weren’t abusive alcoholics, and I don’t think I’ve got buried memories too painful to recall.

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee.  I have 3 older brothers so I am not only the youngest, but the only girl.  I’ve heard the stories told many times that, while my mother loves all her boys, she really wanted a girl, too. When she was pregnant with me, I think it had pretty much been decided that, girl or not, my parents were stopping at four children.  My dad (in a life before I knew him) used to be big into deer and bird hunting.  It was something he did with his father, who died long before I was born.  Dad had a hunting trip planned with some of his buddies the day mom went into labor with me.  He called his friends later to tell them he had caught himself a doe…a two-legged one!  It was December when I was born and they brought me home on Christmas day in a big red Christmas stocking.

I wasn’t even a year old when my family moved to Texas, so I have no memories of ever living in Memphis, though we went back to visit regularly for many years.  My dad had a job opportunity that he and several of the guys he worked with in Memphis took advantage of so he moved our family to Southeast Texas.  This is where all of my childhood memories are found, starting around kindergarten.  I don’t think I have any true memories earlier than that, only stories and pictures I’ve heard and seen enough to make them feel like my own.  I do know that I loved school and was probably what you would call a teacher’s pet in kindergarten and first grade. 

In kindergarten, I remember those blowup alphabet people were the big thing.  I can’t remember what they were officially called, but I remember they were these large squarish vinyl characters and there was one for each letter of the alphabet.  It seems like each one had a trait or hobby or something that started with the corresponding letter.  Maybe there were songs for each one, too, but I’m pretty fuzzy on this memory.  I remember we had “Grandparents’ Day” and since both of my grandfathers died before I was born, and both of my grandmothers were back in Memphis, a lady from church went to school with me as my adopted grandmother.  Lila Whitford, I think.  I just remember she was a sweet lady and I had fun serving her cookies and punch.

My primary memory from first grade is that we had spelling tests each week.  One week, my teacher, Mrs Jackson, had lost her voice and so, me being the pet that I was, she had me sit at her desk while she called out the spelling words to me as best she could so I could take the test.  After I had completed it (with a perfect score, thank you very much!) I stood in front of the class and called out the words to the class so they could take the test.  Maybe I was oblivious, but I don’t recall there being any of that annoyance over the whole “teacher’s pet” situation.  I got along well with the other kids and had lots of friends.  Perhaps I was too naive to realize they were rolling their eyes at me behind my back, I don’t think so, but it doesn’t really matter now.

The summer after first grade, we moved further from town, just outside the city limits, so I would start 2nd grade at a new school in a much more rural, small town setting.  When I first started, they had me in Mrs Handy’s class, but in less than a week, they moved me to Mrs Allen’s.  There were 3 second grade classes:  Mrs Allen, Mrs Davis, and Mrs Handy.  It seems so terrible now, but we all knew, even back then, how the classes were divided.  The “smartest” students were in Mrs Allens, then it went to Davis, then Handy.  Whether they knew it or not, they had created this miniature caste system among us.  When I moved to 3rd grade, it was the same setup, just 3 different teachers.  But even then, it was a small school, we all knew each other and everyone got along for the most part.  It’s weird to me now to realize that, even at that young age, there were cliques, and of course the “popular” kids.  I like to think that even though I was popular at that time, I “played well with others.”  If I’m honest with myself, I know that isn’t 100% true.  I do remember making fun of a couple of kids.  I feel bad about that now.  The two I recall both moved away so I often wonder what happened to them and hope they are doing well.

I also remember we used to have to take the CTBS (I think that’s what it was) Test each year.  I never have figured out why, but they always took me and one other student in another room, usually the teachers’ lounge, to complete our tests.  We were both “brainy” but I still can’t figure out why they singled us out like that.  The other student, let’s call him Hebert, and I were always at each other’s throats.  We hated each other.  Or at least that’s what we called it up until at least 4th or 5th grade.  I think it was a competitive thing in one way, but perhaps partially a childhood crush of some sort.  Because isn’t that what you do to people you like at that age?  I remember Hebert actually formed a club, the [Daisy-Head] Haters club he called it.  There were several boys I remember being part of it at one time or another.  Seems like there was a girl or two at some point as well.  I think that lasted until about 5th or 6th grade…and then, when the ringleader moved away, the club fizzled.  They never really did anything but get together at recess and make faces at me.  There were words exchanged, but I don’t remember any of it really being that bad.  I wasn’t scarred or traumatized or driven to tears by it.  Funny enough, Hebert and I recently reconnected (after 20+years!) on facebook.  He seems like a likable guy and managed to hang on to his “smarts,” while I think I started to get uncomfortable with mine and “dumbing down” by junior high.  Anyway, he apologized for starting that club all those years ago, and we’ve laughed about it and moved on. 

In 2nd and 3rd grade I was in UIL Storytelling.  This was where students from all over the region would meet and compete in different categories.  For storytelling, the students were put in a room together and read a story.  Afterwards, we left the room and then were taken back in one-by-one and had to retell the story from memory.  To practice at school, the teachers would read me a short story in the hall and then I (and a couple of others who did it as well) had to go in front of the class to retell the story.  It was fun and apparently I was pretty good at it, pausing for dramatic effect, changing my voice for different characters, and remembering the tiniest of details.  I could never do that today.  I can’t remember the movie I just watched, much less be able to tell someone about it in detail!

I also remember that, when I was in 3rd grade, it was all about Michael Jackson.  We had small cassette players and my friend, SS, had copied his Thriller album (yes an actual RECORD) onto tape so we could listen to it at recess.  Oh boy.  I have to tell the whole story here.  We didn’t just listen.  There was a group of about 8 of us girls who would all gather around the tape player, with the album cover propped up (with him laying down in the white suit) next to it and just swoooon over him.  We also danced.  Every day at recess.  The full routine to Beat It and Thriller from the videos.  My family didn’t have MTV, but SS did so she recorded the videos for me.  We learned the dances and taught the other girls.  We would actually get up and PERFORM these in front of the whole school at recess.  We (thought we) were so cool.  We even had a Dance Off with the guys once…and a moonwalking contest.  I still crack up when I think about it.  It’s too bad (or is it?) there’s no videos of that.  Would be hysterical to watch at a class reunion. 

Perhaps one of the greatest memories of my elementary school days was on my first day of school in 2nd grade.  SS, who was the principal’s daughter, came up to me on the playground and said, “Hi.  I’m SS.  Will you be my friend?”  Of course I said yes, and I was, and we are still friends to this very day.  We couldn’t have been more different from each other.  She lived in the country, raised animals, was in 4-H, showed her animals at the fair.  My experience with animals was limited to dogs and cats.  She listened to country music and dreamed of owning a “duelie” truck when she was older.  I listened to alternative music and wanted a Porsche.  As we grew older, she wore Justin Ropers and Rocky Mountains.  I wore crazy tights and big chunky-heeled shoes (I still do actually!).  She was a good girl and I was the wild child.  But ever since we met that day on the playground all those years ago, we’ve been great friends. 

I think these assignments are far too broad.  Or I’m too long-winded.  It’s been far more than the suggested 45-minutes, and I haven’t even made it to middle school yet!  Ah well, stories for another day.  My hands can’t take anymore.  And I’m taking a vacation day from work tomorrow to give myself (and my hands) a rest!

Get a Grip

No, really.  A friend of mine and I agreed to buy and follow the assignments in this book:  Get a Grip: Your Two Week Mental Makeover.  Granted, that was more than 6 months ago, before life as I knew it took an even bigger turn for the worse.  So, now, since I’m no longer going to counseling and the SOS Group was a bust because of my insane work schedule, I thought I’d dust this book off and give it a shot.  Since it requires daily journaling, I thought it might also be a good opportunity for me to dust this blog off as well.  I know venting here has always been therapeutic for me, but I never seem to make the time for it, or for myself, anymore.  So here we go again…

To begin with, the first exercise requires that I take a moment to figure out how I really am…not the standard, “Oh I’m fine, how are you?” that comes out of my mouth every day when asked the question.  But the real, honest to goodness answer.  And then to spend some time answering WHY.  I actually have a hard time when people ask how I am because I know they don’t really want an answer other than the expected courteous response of fine, good, great, etc.  I have a hard time with the fake answer because I know I am none of those things.  I’m not fine.  I’m not good.  And I sure as hell am not great.  I’m a mess.  The WHYs?  I’ve overworked myself, thanks to my boss and her insane deadlines and expectations, to the point of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.  I’m sad because I know this is no way to live.  I’m frustrated because I have to pay the bills somehow.  And underneath all of that, I’m depressed because I miss my best friend, Red.  And I’m still so very pissed off at her for leaving me to deal with this shitty life all alone.

I alluded to it here when it happened, but haven’t actually written about it yet because my feelings are still all over the place.  And still so raw and hurt and overwhelmingly heartbroken and sad.  On December 1, while she was on her self-proclaimed trip of a lifetime to her dream destination in Italy, right before she was supposed to come home, my sweet friend decided to swallow a bunch of pills, some wine, and who knows what else, and end her life.  I was at the dr’s office that day, for some extreme pain I’d been having in my arms (beginnings of carpal tunnel was the guess….diagnosis was reduce my stress level and get massages).  When I left the dr’s office, I noticed I had a text message from Mr. Red.  I found that odd because he and I had not really talked at all since he and Red seperated.  My first thought, knowing that she was due to return home from her trip soon, was that maybe he was looking for someone to pick her up from the airport.  Estranged though they were, they were still civil and sharing custody of their almost-at-the-time 5 year old son.  Mr Red and Little Red had taken her to the airport to begin her trip the week of Thanksgiving.  So all I can think is that he needed me to pick her up.  So I clicked on the message to read his text…

The first few words were the worst kick to the gut I can describe:  Red just passed away in Italy.  I couldn’t comprehend what that could mean, in the split second it took to read that, my mind was trying to come up with all kinds of explanations, a car wreck, anything, and at the same time, my mind was rejecting the very idea that anything could have happened to her.  The next few lines said she killed herself by overdose and that Mr Red was at the airport heading to Italy to bring her home.  Tears were already pouring out of my eyes, but I still did not believe this could be anything but some sick joke.  I immediatley called Mr Red demanding that he take it back.  His voice was so strange, I know he was in shock.  I got to talk to him for less than a minute…he was literally boarding the plane.  He had a stop in Germany and then would be in Italy by early the next morning Central time.  I hung up the phone and screamed at the top of my lungs.  Crying.  Begging that this not be true.  It had started raining by that time.  So there I was, sitting in my car in the parking lot outside the dr’s office, screaming and howling in pain, hitting the steering wheel, hitting the seat, hitting the door, in disbelief and anguish. 

More out of instinct than any clear thought, I called my parents.  I needed to talk to someone.  I got their voicemail and left some incoherent wailing message that Red was dead.  In hindsight, not a good message to leave on someone’s answering machine.  Especially my parents who are 5 hours away.  My oldest brother, Dilbert, was in town for meetings that day and was coming back to stay at my house that evening.  So I sent him a text to see if he was at my house or still in his meetings.  I was hoping he was at my house and could come get me because I knew I couldn’t drive myself home in that state, in the rain.  He replied that he was in meeting so I said nevermind.  He must have had some sixth sense because he asked what was up.  I had to tell someone.  I had to get it out, so I responded that Red was dead.  It took me several minutes to type those three words…each letter was a dagger to my heart.  Almost immediately after hitting send, my phone rang.  Dilbert had stepped out of the meeting to call me.  I was hysterical and just kept screaming she’s dead.  she’s fucking dead.  He tried to help me calm down, figure out where I was and told me he would be at my house within about 40 minutes.  I sat in the car screaming and crying and hyperventilating for some amount of time that felt like eternity.  Finally I managed to pull it together enough to make the short drive to my house. 

I remember, I posted on her facebook page, “someone please tell me this is a sick joke.  please.”  Her aunt, who I’d never met before but heard of a few times, replied and said she was hoping the same thing.  I also had some cryptic message as my status that said something similar.  My friend, Mexigoalie, texted to ask if I was ok.  I said no, but it was not me.  It was Red.  He asked, I think as a joke, is she alive?  Again, it took an eternity to type two letters:  NO.  My mom had called by that time, trying to find out what the hell was going on.  There were so many calls and emails and text messages I can’t keep them all straight.  Other than my mom, brother, and a few friends, I didn’t want to tell anyone.  I didn’t know very much…only a few quick words from her husband.  I was convinced that he was going to arrive in Italy and find that it was all some horrible mistake.  The wrong person.  Or that she was really fine.  I just knew it.  She had to be ok.

I got a text from Mr Red in the early hours of the morning.  He was in Italy and about to go to the hospital where she was.  Next, he was there and had been given her belongings that were with her at the hospital…watch, jewlery, etc.  Letters she had left for their son.  He was waiting to see her but they were doing an autopsy.  I refused to belive it was real.  He hadn’t actually seen her yet, so there could still be some mistake.

I called him at his hotel in Italy later that night.  He had seen her.  Had held her hand.  Had told her he loved her.  She was really gone.  He was so choked up with emotion I could barely understand him.  He was there, in Italy, far from home and all alone and had just had to go identify his dead wife.  To this day, I don’t know how he did it.  He had been to her hotel to get her things there.  The mess he described in her room.  I was collapsing with grief just hearing about it.  He had to be there.  His dad was able to fly out the next day to be there and support him through this, so I was grateful for that.

It wasn’t until Mr Red got back home that I learned more details.  Apparently, she had overdosed a few days prior.  They had called Mr Red, said she’d thrown up a lot at the hotel and had her stomach pumped in the hospital.  She was pretty out of it, but they thought she was going to be ok.  He even got to talk to her on the phone briefly.  He said she slurred badly but made a joke that she guessed she was going to be in Italy a little longer than he thought.  He talked to her again briefly the next day.  I still don’t know to what degree she was conscious or even coherent.  I have so many questions, but Mr Red doesn’t want to talk about it.  But basically, he had called her aunt to see if she could come to Dallas to help take care of Red for awhile.  He was flying out to Italy to get her and bring her home.  It was the day he was catching the plane.  Literally minutes before boarding when the hospital called him back to say that she didn’t make it.  That her heart just gave out.  That she had died.  That was when I got the text from him.  He hadn’t told me anything prior to that because they thought she would be ok and he was just focused on getting her home.  That quickly, his trip had a whole different purpose.  People say it was tacky that he sent me that news in a text message.  I understand though.  He wanted to let me know but didn’t have time to talk and was about to be on an international flight.  I don’t blame him for that.

He wasn’t able to bring her body home with him.  The police had not released her yet.  There was also a big mess with sorting things out with Customs that was taking awhile.  So he came  home without her.  He was having her cremated and her ashes would be shipped to the US in a week or so.  Her family (which is another story all-together…don’t get me started) threw a fit and tried to stop that, saying they would pay to have her body shipped back, not to cremate her, but Mr Red said that was what Red wanted and he would honor that.  To hell with what her “family” wanted.  Luckily, at least they seemed to back off and accept it once they understood that’s what Red wanted (or probably more likely what it would cost to ship her body back).  That’s ugly for me to think that way, but I’ve heard next to nothing good about her family from her or anyone else so it is easy for me to think badly of them.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, but I’ve exhausted my hands (which have been almost worthless the last few weeks due to this carpal tunnel crap) and my heart enough for the time being.  I’ll write more about it tomorrow, because I know I need to get these things out.  And there is just so much that I have been hesitant to write about it because I know it could fill hundreds of pages.  I’m still constantly shifting between sadness and anger and guilt.  It’s a never-ending cycle it seems.  I keep thinking if she was here, I would kick her ass for doing this and then hug her and never let go. 

I’ve never really lost anyone I was close to before.  I mean really close to.  Not to make light of my grandmothers that I’ve lost, but that was a completely different relationship.  Red was truly the first and only REAL friend that I’ve made as an adult, since I moved to Dallas in 1998.  She was the first person I felt truly “got” me and that I “got” in return.  So much of that is in question now because I never would have even imagined she was capable of this.  There was a quote we liked that said:  Best friends, because our parents couldn’t have handled us as sisters.  That’s really how I felt about her.  She was the closest thing to a sister and I loved her as much as if she was my sister…I still do.

I don’t think wallflower is the appropriate term for this kid.

The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’d heard about this book and thought it sounded interesting. When I received it, I was surprised how small it was…sort of a pocket notebook size.

Throughout most of the book, I couldn’t get past how naive Chbosky made his primary character. I’m not so old that I can’t remember what life was like as a teenager in highschool. Even the most awkward of awkward weren’t as naive as Charlie! This boy is supposed to be 15, but doesn’t know what masturbation is or recognize that his sister and boyfriend are having sex? What planet is he from?

Because of this, the entire story is almost entirely implausible fantasy. I kept thinking he must have a learning disability or some other condition that made him so slow. Thought maybe the name “Charlie” was a nod at “Flowers for Algernon.” Kept waiting for some big discovery to explain why this high school kid sounds like a middle school boy. It never came.

More disappointing than “Wicked”

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years, #1) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

My review: 2 of 5 stars
I loved the concept of this book, and it started off with so much promise, but seemed to lose focus shortly thereafter. The style of writing, and even some of the characters, was inconsistent.

I don’t know if the author thought it would make it “edgier” or something, but the insertion of a couple of back-to-back F-bombs midway through felt completely out of place and shattered any illusions I had of being in the land of Oz. Not that I’m a prude, they just didn’t fit in with any of the conversations and mannerisms used throughout the book.

Large gaps (years!) in time happen between several chapters, but it wasn’t always clear. The author expects us to make the leap, and I did, but it wasn’t a smooth transition. It just felt like a lazy way to squeeze in as many stories as possible within the book.  Disappointing.

Audible reading: The Poet

The Poet The Poet by Michael Connelly

My Review:   4 of 5 stars
I like the idea of audio books, but the reality is, the only time I can really listen to one is in the car. Since I have a relatively short commute to work, and don’t take a lot of road trips, it has taken me awhile to get through this one.

I read The Narrows awhile ago and it referenced The Poet, which I had not previously read. So I went back in search of this story, apparently the prequel. Jack McEvoy’s character comes across as self-serving much of the time, but, having lost his brother to a violent crime, I could excuse him for this. Overall, I thought it was a good story with lots of twists and turns that kept me thoroughly engaged during the times I was listening.

Twitter Weekly: 2010-04-10

  • Ok, all of you people clogging up the TX rebate site and phone line need to cut it out so I can get mine reserved and get to work! #
  • So frustrating. I didn’t realize I’d have to dedicate more than half a day to try and register (and still get nowhere). #txrebate #
  • Finally got it done online (around the same time my mom got through on the phone for me). Hooray…now I can get my work done. #txrebate #
  • Ah, the joys of coming home to discover the yard crew managed to break all the glass out of my storm door. #

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The Red Tent

The Red Tent The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

My Review:   4 of 5 stars
I have to admit that I was not familiar with the Bible story when I read this book. Out of curiosity, I did go look it up after I finished the book.

Diamant did a wonderful job of describing what life may have been like in those days. Though I can’t imagine having to spend time once a month, banished to a tent and squatting on straw with all the women in my family, it does make for an interesting dynamic between the women. Like having a secret club where only the select are permitted, these women shared secrets and tales that only they could fully appreciate and understand.

I was devastated for Dinah when her brothers committed their terrible crime and applauded her wrath when she faced them and her father. The story took on a completely different feel with the move to Egypt, but was still just as captivating.

A few lines at the end resonated with me and now, a day later, I still can’t shake them from my mind:

“Egypt loved the lotus because it never dies. It is the same for people who are loved. Thus can something as insignificant as a name…summon up the innumberable smiles and tears, sighs and dreams of a human life.”

A message sent to someone else, but it says what I would have written here.

Right now I can’t think of her without wanting to tell her to fuck off. And that is a terrible way to feel about a best friend. I am just so pissed off at her right now. And more skeletons are falling out of the closet, so to speak. Things she blatantly lied to me about. What makes it worse is some of those things were things that didn’t sit right with me at the time, but I took her at her word…why shouldn’t I? And because of the circumstances, so many things that only her husband and I know. Things I can’t really share with others that know her or her family. So I’ve got all these crazy feelings all jumbled up. Betrayal. Anger. Sadness. Heartache. Guilt. Failure. You name it.

Red was my partner in crime. My travel buddy. My touchstone. My sanity check. My sister at heart. The one person here that I could talk to about anything and never worry about her judging me or loving me any less. She is the person who normally helps me through hard times….and I THOUGHT I did the same for her. Then she bailed on me with this big fuck you. I’m lost without her and confused and hurt at the thought that I didn’t know her nearly as well as I thought and that I couldn’t save her from her demons. And I’m pissed at her for making me feel these things.

Just such a stupid pointless tragedy…and a precious little boy who has to grow up without ever really knowing his mother.

Goodbye, Chuck Klosterman.

Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas by Chuck Klosterman

My Review: 1 of 5 stars
This is now the 2nd of Klosterman’s books I have forced myself to read. I didn’t care for the 1st one, and now, less than 100 pages into this one, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s Klosterman, himself, that I don’t like. He seems just as shallow as his writing, and, while he talks a lot, he doesn’t have much to say.  I’m done with him.

My next step in clearing the clutter will be to get rid of this book!

Kick the Clutter: Clear Out Excess Stuff without Losing What You Love Kick the Clutter: Clear Out Excess Stuff without Losing What You Love by Ellen Phillips

My Review:   3 of 5 stars
This book has some good ideas in it for managing clutter, but regurgitates them over and over to turn what could have easily been a ~100 page book into a whopping 450+ pages of repetition. At least is it a pretty quick read, and the chapter titles and index make it a decent resource if you need to refer back to something.