Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Forays in Fiction: Quote

moar Lit Kits
Nao wud B gud!

I've always loved that Ray Bradbury quote.  I've seldom been able to implement it.  I'm constantly in the grip of analysis paralysis.

Maybe I should include working on this issue in the ROW80 2014 Round 1?

Can't quite picture what that would look like...


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sometimes You Just Gotta

For several months I've been returning to the page for the OED on CD-ROM to watch the price fluctuate, drooling as I gazed.  I told the story here about my unquenchable lust for words and their stories so I won't reiterate.

The OED has been on my wishlist for decades and the electronic version for nearly half a decade but recently my wish for it got so intense the term wish list seemed too wishy-washy so I started calling that upper tier of the wishlist my lust list.  

The OED was usually at the top but occasionally it would shake hands with one or another item that climbed over to perch on its head.  Lately that has been the Nexus 7 which I want for my primary e-reader and to give me back the portability for writing, posting and surfing that I lost when switching from my elderly netbook to this 15in ASUS Windows 8.

Well, as of this afternoon, the Nexus 7 has no competition.

Since Thanksgiving I've returned to check on it and watched the price rise and fall between $247 and $207.  I had even put it in my shopping cart when it hit $207 but I dithered over it for the next 24 hours and by the time I refreshed the page the next day it had gone back up to over $233.  I felt like kicking myself but at the same time I knew my reservations were sound--I don't have the time to install and learn my way around and my funds (back pay from SSI) are fast depleting so I set myself a limit on what I could spend per month and that purchase last week had reached it.

So when I found the price at $205 yesterday I actually started to pound my forehead with my palm, a bad habit I'm intent on breaking. I managed to just cover my eyes and bow my head asking silently Why couldn't you wait five days?

Both those reservations were still active: no time and low funds.  But on the other hand I knew I'd still feel like kicking myself when I saw it go back up above $220 in a day or three.  And on yet another hand: Sometimes you just have to make the time for the things that are that important to you.

The clincher hand that allowed me to justify taking the plunge today was that this was not a frivolous purchase.  It was much closer to a need than a simple want as it will be key in several ways to my business plans.  Besides the writing itself from posts to poems to copywriting to stories, there are the word games I intend to create and publish electronically. 

Now watch the price drop down to $197 or lower before the month of February is over.

It's suppose to arrive Saturday.

And this one is supposed to arrive middle of next week:

Encyclopedia Britannica
2009 Deluxe
In for a penny, in for a pound.

This was listed in one of the related lists on the OED page and at the price of $7.99 I couldn't resist.  For most of what I would use an encyclopedia for I don't need up-to-the-minute information.  

Plus mostly I don't use encyclopedias anymore for just looking up quick facts.  The Internet and search engines have filled that role.  

I have just always enjoyed reading the articles in encyclopedias especially the long ones on technical topics and the biographies and those for each country and state/province.  

Besides just reading articles for fun, I use them as jumping off points into topics I have only glancing knowledge of.  The encyclopedia article is just the first stop in a research project.  It gives me an overview of a topic and a list of words or phrases I can take to a search engine or library card catalog or to find my way to related articles in the encyclopedia.

So I grabbed this on my way to the checkout.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mystery Boxes

My order that arrived Monday

More space hungry stuff in this small, crowded room.

No mystery to me what's in them but I'm keeping mum for now.  Mostly because I don't have the time for a long story tonight.  I will leave one hint: it's to do with the room project that has monopolized most of my time and most of my posts since Christmas.

Meanwhile they're blocking me from my HABA (Health and Beauty Aides) which is very inconvenient for preparing to go anywhere--whether out or to bed or to shower.)  They also crowd my path to the mini-tramp.  But that is better than being on the tramp which is where my nephew put the two smaller ones the day he brought them in for me.

So they can't stay like that for long.  But I have had too many time sensitive commitments this week to deal with them and most likely I need to wait until Mom is at my brother's again this weekend to find the space to open them and prepare them and place them and put them to use.  There will be some assembly required and then some minor rearranging of things in here and there is no room in here now to do either.

That makes two hints.  Here's a third: although they will take up more space than those boxes once assembled I'm sure they will free up more space than they use.

Watch this space.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: Hospice Voices by Eric Lindner

Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life
by Eric Lindner
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, Oct. 6, 2013
Available in: Print & ebook, 232 pages

Eric Linder has given us a treasure in Hospice Voices.  He has taught us how to see beyond the visible evidence of physical degeneration and grief over imminent loss to the beauty of the souls preparing to pass on.  He has tapped into the power of storytelling to show us those souls as they sort through their memories and emotions in their attempt to find meaning in their life and share their insights or define the essence of their 'I' and see recognition and validation in the eyes of those, like Eric, with the patience, compassion and courage to bear witness--to listen and observe with neither prejudice nor prescription.

These stories of seven of Eric Linder's Hospice patient's encompass the full range of emotions.  Laughter and joy dance with fear and bewilderment. There is as much humor as grief. In fact, humor is shown to be an essential weapon against despair.

Linder has used deftly the techniques of fiction to bring these seven unique souls alive on the page and enable them to touch the souls of the reader's thus enlarging in space and time the sphere of influence their souls will have on the world.

I'm rooting for this to be made into a movie.  I think it would play well on the screen, giving these stories even further reach as well as Linder's demonstration of the power of empathy, the importance of dignity and the privilege of volunteering.

It was especially poignant to read this under my current circumstances.  Living in my 82 year old mother's home for the past year has forced me to realize that our time of sharing this life has a boundary.  It may be five or even ten years off but it could be one or less.  It has also woken suppressed memories of the traumatic (for me) wrenching of my dad from our lives in 2005.

Those who had lived here during his twenty odd months of fighting cancer had a completely different experience than me as they had time and opportunity for those meaningful encounters, sharing of memories, acknowledging of each other's presence and impact on their lives.  All of which I too could have had if I had not been in such intransigent denial that I didn't make the trip up from Southern Oregon to see him until a couple days before he died and the evening I arrived he was already asleep and he never did become fully conscious again.

I was never absolutely sure he knew I was there.  The one encounter we had, the morning after I arrived, he reached up with his other hand without opening his eyes when I had taken hold of his nearest hand.  He pulled me close by my elbow and kissed my mouth (something he had never done before) and patted my upper arm and said "I love you".  Just like he would do with Mom.

Reading Hospice Voices has shown me that the time to prevent an equally wrenching goodbye with Mom begins now as it reveals just how to go about it.

This is yet another example of the power of story to reach places in me that had been stubbornly oblivious and transform their hard, crusty edges into a malleable substance awaiting reshaping.

From the Publishers:

As a part-time hospice volunteer, Eric Lindner provides companion care to dying strangers. They are chatterboxes and recluses, religious and irreligious, battered by cancer, congestive heart failure, Alzheimer s, old age. Some cling to life amazingly. Most pass as they expected.
In telling his story, Lindner reveals the thoughts, fears, and lessons of those living the ends of their lives in the care of others, having exhausted their medical options or ceased treatment for their illnesses. In each chapter, Lindner not only reveals the lessons of lives explored in their final days, but zeroes in on how working for hospice can be incredibly fulfilling.
As he s not a doctor, nurse, or professional social worker, just a volunteer lending a hand, offering a respite for other care providers, his charges often reveal more, and in more detail, to him than they do to those with whom they spend the majority of their time. They impart what they feel are life lessons as they reflect on their own lives and the prospect of their last days. Lindner captures it all in his lively storytelling.
Anyone who knows or loves someone working through end of life issues, living in hospice or other end of life facilities, or dealing with terminal or chronic illnesses, will find in these pages the wisdom of those who are working through their own end of life issues, tackling life s big questions, and boiling them down into lessons for anyone as they age or face illness. And those who may feel compelled to volunteer to serve as companions will find motivation, inspiration, and encouragement.
Rather than sink under the weight of depression, pity, or sorrow, Lindner celebrates the lives of those who choose to live even as they die.

What they are saying:

 “This is an honest, pull no punches look at coming to terms with the one thing we will all do-die. In this well-documented and highly-readable book, Lindner proves an adept chronicler of the individual human stories that make up his journey to understand that beauty and grace can exist at the end stages of life. Lindner deftly reminds us of the power of the small things, the simple gestures and the importance of dignity for those that face a terminal situation. Throughout the book, we meet people approaching the end of life in their own individual ways, with different measures of love, faith and family. This book simultaneously opened my heart and broke it as each story taught me how hope and dignity can exist even in terminal situations. As a hospice volunteer, Lindner teaches us all that the ability to ease and bear witness to someone’s journey at the end stage of life is perhaps the ultimate gift one human can give another.”- Lee Woodruff, author of the New York Times bestsellers Those We Love Most and In an Instant
“Heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure claim more lives than any other disease state. Over my career I’ve seen my share of sadness due to the ravages of end-stage cardiovascular disease. But I’ve also seen terminal patients and their loved ones wring out great joy and meaning in the final months of life. This book is joyful, insightful, witty, and truly meaningful. It tugged at my heart, tickled my funny bone, and served up numerous insights and tips that had escaped me when trying to advise patients and their families. What a marvelous set of stories that should be read by all adults. It inspires us to live life to the fullest and respect and learn from the past in order to better deal with future uncertainty.”-Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D., FAHA, FACC. Kenneth Jay Pollin Professor of Cardiology, Director, Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease and co-editor-in-chief of Preventive Cardiology: Companion to Braunwald’s Heart Disease
“As a physician who cares for the chronically ill and dying I all too often see people who are alone in the midst of their suffering. Trained volunteers, like Lindner, play such an immensely important role in providing that companionship to the patient. His book reminds all of us that we are invited to attend to others-not to change them, not to judge, not to fix. We are there simply to listen and to be witnesses to the suffering and joy of others in their living and in their dying. Presence to others, as Lindner describes so poignantly in his book, is a transformative sacred act for the patient and for the companion. His book inspires all of us to enter the sacredness of living and dying with openness and courage.”-Christina M. Puchalski, MD, MS, FACP. Director, George Washington University’s Institute for Spirituality and Health, Professor, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the author of A Time for Listening and Caring: Spirituality and the Care of the Chronically Ill and Dying.
“This book intrigued me because of the author’s pledge to donate 100% of his profits to charity. His book moved me because it’s an illustration that there are many ways we can provide love and justice in this world. We think of love in our daily affections for those close to us. We think of justice in the work of social movements. But all religions teach that at the heart of justice is love, hospitality, and kindness to strangers. It is hard to imagine a better example of exactly that than this book, and in reading it, one comes away knowing that as in sacred scripture, Lindner has encountered and served angels themselves.”-Timothy L. Fort, PhD, JD, Everleigh Professor of Business Ethics, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University and author of Business, Integrity, and Peace: Beyond Geopolitical and Disciplinary Boundaries
“Eric Lindner gives voice to those in their final days so that we may better listen, love, and learn from their example. A must read for any caregiver – volunteer or family.”-Vince Evans, MSW, Vice President of Patient Services, Hospice of the Valley

Eric Lindner is an attorney & entrepreneur. He has been a hospice companion caregiver since 2009. He divides his time between Warrenton, VA and Kauai, Hawaii.

Eric Linder on the Web:

Author Website


Follow the blog tour for more reviews, giveaways, author interviews and guest posts: 

So Many Precious Books Jan 3 Review & Giveaway
WV Stitcher Jan 6 Review
WV Stitcher Jan 7 Guest Post
I’d Rather Be At the Beach Jan 8 Review
Teena in Toronto Jan 10 Review
Anastacia Reviews Jan 13 Review & Giveaway
Library of Clean Reads Jan 14 Review
Sincerely Stacie Jan 15 Review
Midnight Musings Jan 16 Review
Midnight Musings Jan 17 Interview
Sweeps for Bloggers Jan 20 Review &Giveaway
Every Free Chance Jan 21 Review
Every Free Chance Jan 22 Interview
Daddy Blogger Jan 23 Review & Interview
Deal Sharing Aunt Jan 24 Review & Giveaway
As I Turn the Pages Jan 27 Review
As I Turn the Pages  Jan 27 Guest Post
Anglers Rest Jan 28 Review
Joystory Jan 29 Review
Genuine Jenn Feb 4 Review


Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Share what you (are, have been, are about to, hope to be) reading or reviewing this week. Sign Mr Linky at Book Journey and visit other Monday reading roundups.

The sections of this template:

Intro (here)

My Week in Review (list of books finished and links to bookish posts in the previous week)
Reading Now (my current reading list broken up into NF and Fiction)
Upcoming (scheduled reviews and blog tours and list of finished books awaiting reviews)
Recently (links to bookish posts in the last few weeks)
New Arrivals: (lists of recently acquired ARC broken up into snail mail, email and Net Gallery)
ARC in waiting (a list that is getting shamefully long)

Flannery O'Connor
Mystery and Manners:
Occasional Prose
My Week in Review and Upcoming Weeks:

Fifteen tours in eleven weeks last fall was over-committing on top of NaNo, holiday prep and all the duty I have here at Mom's.  Thus I was unable to finish ten of them before posting their reviews.  It shames me. I loved every one of them too so I'm anxious to finish them.  I finished three in late December:

Ghost of Lost Eagle by Dean Sault
The Return by Melissa Douthit
Sinnerman by Jonathan M. Cook

I made it one of my goals for January to finish the remaining 7:
Bookish posts in the last week:
 Arctic Fire by Paul Byers.
Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome
The Thunderbird Conspiracy by R. K. Price
The Three Sisters by Bryan Taylor
Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks -- currently reading and nearly finished
Head Games by Erika Rummel
Woman On Top by Deborah Schwartz

I'm probably not going to make it so I'm extending the goal into February and will keep this list here to monitor my progress.

This goal fits well with my goal to finish as many crochet WIP as possible.  That was where most of my December effort went as I frantically worked to prepare Christmas gifts.  I did not get them all finished in time and have continued doling them out since and will continue through the next several weeks months.

Two blog tour reviews went up last Tuesday and Thursday:

Where the Wildflowers Grow by Vera Jane Cook -- January 21 blog tour

Small town Georgia, 1960. Passions and secrets marinate in a simmering summer heat.  Instead of a single protagonist like Sassy in The Story of Sassy Sweetwater to get attached to and to view the events through, Cook has given us a large cast of at least a dozen well drawn and differentiated characters (The Cassidy family of four and all those caught in their gravity well) whose secrets entwine their many lives like bindweed with some of the most insidious vines being those secrets individuals keep from themselves until they've gained a choke hold on their hope and happiness, their very lives and those of their nearest and dearest.

Organic Beauty With Essential Oil by Rebecca Park Totilo  --  January 23 blog tour

With several personal experiences behind me I needed no further proof that essential oils were essential to health and happiness when the blog tour invite for this book landed in my email.  I was excited by the blurb description and this book, unlike some, totally lived up to its blurb.  It is jammed packed with recipes for personal hygiene whose names are drool worthy.

I suggest not reading this book while hungry.

Another blog tour goes up tomorrow:

Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life by Eric Lindner  --  January 29 blog tour

And another next week:

The Korean Word For Butterfly by James Zerndt --  February 4 blog tour.

Finished reading recently:

Ghost of Lost Eagle by Dean Sault
The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats by Constance Corcoran Wilson
The Return by Melissa Douthit
Sinnerman by Jonathan M. Cook

Began reading recently:

Complexity and the Arrow of Time by (multiple authors) --  a collaboration of scientists, philosophers and theologians exploring the concepts of Complexity Theory.  a NetGalley ARC
My AWAI Copywriting course Installment 1 (of 13)
In the Company of Others by Jan Karon -- reading aloud to Mom several evenings a week.
The Marshall Plan by Evan Marshal -- this is a re-read.  It is one of the ebooks packaged with the Marshall Plan writer's software sent to me by Evan Marshall in exchange for sharing my experience on Joystory.
 Arctic Fire by Paul Byers.
Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome
The Thunderbird Conspiracy by R. K. Price
The Three Sisters by Bryan Taylor
Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks
Head Games by Erika Rummel
Woman On Top by Deborah Schwartz
Where the Wildflowers Grow by Vera Jane Cook -- January 21 blog tour
Organic Beauty With Essential Oil by Rebecca Park Totilo  --  January 23 blog tour
Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life
by Eric Lindne  --  January 29 blog tour
The Korean Word For Butterfly by James Zerndt --  February 4 blog tour.

Reading Now Intermittently:


Most of these I plug away in at a snail's pace--a couple pages or chapters per week or even every other week as that is my preferred way to read non-fic.  It sticks with me longer. I'm closing in on the finish line for several but as I get close on one I tend to add two or three more. There are some not listed here because I read in them so infrequently.

Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton  ROW80 reading list
What to Do When There's Too Much to Do by Laura Stack (Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list)
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler   ROW80 reading list
And So It Goes by Charles J. Sheilds a bio of Kurt Vonnegut.  (I've posted about this biography of Kurt Vonnegut several time in a kind of reading journal. It is past time for another.  Part of the fun I'm having reading this is in stopping to read the stories he wrote as the narrative reaches the point where he writes them. Since this is an author bio this will also be on my ROW80 reading list )
This Mobius Strip of Ifs by Mathias Freese (I've posted a reading journal post for this collection of personal essays also.  It is past time for another.)
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller   ROW80 reading list  Net Galley ARC a NF that purports to answer many puzzles in the Austen novels.
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff So part of my ROW80 reading list.
Jung and the Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols     Since I'm reading this for an understanding of character type and the language of symbol understood by our unconscious this will be on my ROW80 reading list.
13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley   ROW80 reading list
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.   ROW80 reading list  Who knew.  Dick was a mystic.  I've only read one of his novels and a few short stories but now I've got to try to find and read everything!
Before You Say I Do Again by Benjamin Berkley  for Blog Tour Review Feb 8 2013.  The review is up but I'm not finished.
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf  ROW80 reading list  posted review for blog tour in March 2013  but still not finished
Choice Theory: A Psychology of Personal Freedom by William Glasser M.D.
Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson  I own this book.
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor    ROW80 reading list  This is a reread for me and has had significant impact on the development of my storyworld in the early months of its inception.  This Friday post was about my current encounter with it after checking it out of the Longview library again for the first time in over a decade.
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron   ROW80 reading list
It's Not About You by Max Lucado.  I found this on my own shelves while packing up my personal library.  It was one of the last gifts I received from my Dad in 2005 the year he died of cancer.  It has a lovely inscription in his handwriting on the inside front page.  And I was reminded how I'd promised him to read it.  My bookmark was less than half way through and I could not remember if I'd finished it and just left the bookmark in or not but I doubt it.  So I've pulled it out to put on front burner.
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch  I pulled this off my sister's bookshelf awhile back.  It is over a thousand pages in smallish font.  So it will be on this list for a long time.  I find it exhilarating that my mind seems ready to tackle text that is so dense in info and complex ideas again.  There is only one other book on this list that fits that criteria, The Act of Creation, and I've not pulled it out very often in these last months but am now finding myself yearning toward it again.   Good signs.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent.  Also found on my shelves.  I won this in a drawing during the Sweating for Sven writing challenge in 2007.  It made me blush and I kept it hidden in the recesses of my bookshelves but I think I've gotten over that.  Tho I admit it is hard to pull it out and read in it now that I'm back at Mom's.
The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon -- one of the new library books and also a NetGalley ARC that timed out on me a couple months ago.
Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights
by Marina Warner  --  just got this back from the library November 13 after a month hiatus
Complexity and the Arrow of Time by (multiple authors) --  a collaboration of scientists, philosophers and theologians exploring the concepts of Complexity Theory.  a NetGalley ARC
My AWAI Copywriting course Installment 1 (of 13)
The Marshall Plan by Evan Marshal -- this is a re-read.
Organic Beauty With Essential Oil  --  January 23 blog tour
Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life
by Eric Lindne  --  January 29 blog tour


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness  (audio from library)  Was listening to this while working on this Xmas crochet project in 2012 and have had to restart it several times and get pulled away again again.
The Civilized World by Susi Wyss (another Tree book ARC that got lost in the mix before I'd finished it.  Have not posted a review for this one either and can't remember when I received it but it had to be at least before I started packing for our move and likely before 2011 NaNo when I typically stop reading fiction while I'm so intensely writing it.  This is a collection of interlocking short stories set in South Africa and I remember I was quite enjoying it.  I've had to start it over.)
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon  --  a NetGalley ARC
In the Company of Others by Jan Karon  --  am reading aloud to Mom.  Features Father Tim from the Mitford series as he and his wife Cynthia travel to Ireland to spend two weeks in the area where his father and grandfather immigrated from.
 Arctic Fire by Paul Byers.  -- Tho I posted my review for the tour I had not quite finished it
Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome   -- Again had to post review before finishing the story
The Thunderbird Conspiracy by R. K. Price
The Three Sisters by Bryan Taylor
Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks
Head Games by Erika Rummel
Where the Wildflowers Grow by Vera Jane Cook -- January 21 blog tour
The Korean Word For Butterfly by James Zerndt --  February 4 blog tour.


___Blog Tours:

Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life by Eric Lindner  --  January 29 blog tour
The Korean Word For Butterfly by James Zerndt --  February 4 blog tour.

___Books I've Finished Awaiting Reviews:

Whenever I'm not pinned to a date like with the blog tours I do very poorly at getting reviews written in a timely way after finishing books and the longer I wait the harder it gets.  This is an issue I'm working on and hope to get a system in place to smooth the track from beginning book to posting review.

Jan Karon's Mitford series. 
The short lighthearted chapters of these books are almost like stand-alone short stories with beloved characters and make great bedtime reading for adults wanting pleasant dreams.  I've been reading them aloud to my Mom during my visits here for nearly two years.  

I decided some time back to wait until we finished them all and do one review for the entire series.  We are currently on the last one. In the Company of Others, book two of the Father Tim series, featuring the same lead character having adventures beyond Mitford after his retirement from Episcopal priest duty.
  • At Home in Mitford 
  • A Light in the Window by Jan Karon  
  • These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon  The third book in the Mitford series.
  • Out to Caanan by Jan Karon  Book Four of the Mitford series.
  • A New Song by Jan Karon.  The fifth Mitford book.
  • A Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon
  • Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon  reading aloud to Mom
  • In This Mountain by Jan Karon
  • A Light From Heaven by Jan Karon  --  have been reading this to Mom in the evenings.  It's the final book in the series.
  • At Home in Holly Springs by Jan Karon  --  Features Father Tim from the Mitford series as he returns to the town he grew up in.  First of two.
The Land of Decoration by Grace McClean
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff  a library book
Losses by Robert Wexelblatt an ARC
After: The Shock by Scott Nicholson  This is post apocalyptic horror with zombies.    I anticipated enjoying this even tho zombies are not my favorite horror theme because I really enjoyed his The Red Church and I did but probably not to the same degree.  And its continued.
Pie Town by Lynne Hinton
Good in Bed by Jennifer Wiener
Certain Girls by Jennifer Wiener (sequel to Good in Bed)
Joyland by Stephen King
Rose Fire by Mercedes Lackey

Another series for which I'll probably do a single review. I think there is a 5th book out now so I may wait until I can get my hands on it.  These four were loaners from my niece.

  • Witch by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
  • Curse by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
  • Legacy by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
  • Spellbound by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Boys Will Be Joys by Dave Meurer.
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson   ROW80 reading list (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published)
Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular by Rust Hills onetime fiction editor at Esquire.
 Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg   Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list.   I discussed this in such detail in this ROW80 check-in post which was practically a review and I'll probably copy/paste much of what I said there into the review.
Never Give in to Fear by Marti MacGibbon  This was a NetGalley ARC but later I picked it up for Kindle when it was free on Amazon.  I began it in Adobe Digital Editions and when that timed out on me switched to the Kindle for PC.  This was a memoir of an addict's decent into the abyss and rise back out again and was quite engrossing.
Get Your Loved One Sober by Robert Meyers (Research for a fiction WIP)

Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living by by Bailey White I thought this was a novel and getting set to put it in the fiction list below when I thought to check out its page on Goodreads and discovered it is a memoir.  It's short little vignette chapters and easy to read font made it ideal for taking with me to doctor appointments.  Which is how I managed to finally finish it.


___Reviews and Bookish Posts:

My Friday Forays in Fiction featured another one of my LOLcats displaying a literary quote along with a kitteh's spin on it.

The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats
by Constance Corcoran Wilson


I loved this Dr. Suess-ical story and got so caught up in the rhythm and rhyme I couldn't seem to compose my review without it.

Woman On Top by Deborah Schwartz.  I've long touted my theory that story has the power to change you in lasting and profound ways. Woman on Top just might have done that for me. It triggered a personal epiphany and if Kate's story has the sticking power I sense it does it could be the spark that keeps the vision lit and the impetus to move toward it.

If that isn't a good reason to read this story, I don't know what could be a better one.

New Arrivals:

By snail mail:

By email:

from NetGalley

ARC in waiting:

Tree Books:

The Variations by John Donatich
The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith   My husband read this and loved it and is after me to read it so he can talk about it.
The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller  Nobel winner!!
Skios by Michael Frayn
How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor del Arbo
Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World by Sabina Berman
Winter Journal by Paul Auster a memoir from an American literary figure that really excites me.
We Sinners by Hanna Pylvaine.   It's another story exploring the impact on family life of a fundamentalist religion.  One of the themes I'm drawn to like Pooh to honey.
Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010 compiled by The Organization Breaking the Silence
A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks
Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an american Metropolis by Mark Binelli
The Autobiography of Us
The Abundance by Amit Majmudar
Here Comes Mrs. Kugelman by Minka Pradelski


____By email:

Troubled by Scott Nicholson

____From Net Galley:

A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Unloched by Candace Lemon-Scott
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon  [the  55 day NetGalley digital edition timed out before I finished but I have just nabbed a library copy]
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch
With or Without You A Memoir by Domenica Ruta   [the  55 day NetGalley digital edition timed out before I finished but I am watching for a library copy]
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron
The Book of Why by Nicholas Montemarano  [the  55 day NetGalley digital edition timed out before I finished but I am watching for a library copy]
Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin, M.D.
Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence by David Samuel Levinson
Kinslow System Your Path to Proven Success in Health, Love, and Life by Frank J Kinslow
Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One by Joe Dispenza
Women, Sex, Power, And Pleasure Getting the Life (and Sex) You Want by Evelyn Resh
All Is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition by Louise Hay & Mona Lisa Schulz
The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth by Bruce H. Lipton,
The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth by Bruce H. Lipton,
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon
Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani
Directing Your Destiny by Jennifer Grace
Hiding in Sunshine by John Stuart and Caitlin Stuart
I Am: Renewal from Within the Garden by Lucie K Lewis
The Book Publisher's Toolkit by Independent Book Publishers Association
The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino
Why Priests? by Garry Wills
Why we Write by by Meredith Maran (Editor)
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon
Complexity and the Arrow of Time by (multiple authors) --  a collaboration of scientists, philosophers and theologians exploring the concepts of Complexity Theory.

If anyone reading this states a preference I may let it weigh my decision as to what I begin next from the above list.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Serenity #373

Stock Image: Stripes Picture. Image: 252111
© Photographer Andrew Kazmierski | Agency:

This is an ongoing series from my Bucket List
of things I desperately want to do before
I loose the rest of my vision
My Bucket List
#13 Regain the Strength and Stamina to Run Again
(and then find a safe place for running with impaired vision)

Joy Runneth Over
at age 6
hanging my dolls' clothes
on the clothesline
From as far back as I can remember until my late twenties I was a runner.  I ran everywhere inside and out.  Running landed me in the ER three times before I was 15 and almost in a lake when I was three.  Only the quick thinking and legs of my uncle grabbing me up one or two of his strides before the grassy slope I was running down dropped off saved me from that lake and possibly another ER visit--or worse.

At age four I was running circles around my Daddy laying on the living room floor to decompress after work and fell breaking my left collar bone.  At six I broke my nose on a door jamb running down the hall.  The day before my first day in Junior High I was chasing my brother who ran into the house slamming the door and my arm went through the window as my foot missed the step and I fall hanging my upper left arm up on a jagged piece of glass.

None of that slowed me down. For running was my bliss.  Though I did not understand it as such then, running was my stress relief.  It was the one safe way to express exuberance in a family where all strong emotion was held suspect.  It was my main defense against playground bullies and an expression of my impatience to get to the future.  

I preferred to run the two miles down the hill from my Junior High school rather than take the crowded noisy bus and be subjected to the teasing.  If I left immediately after my last class without going back to my locker I could easily be home ten to fifteen minutes earlier.  I ran in dresses and Waffle Stompers with my books clutched to my chest by one arm and my clarinet case swinging from the other.  

Sometimes the bus caught up with me and I heard jeers and that would spur me to run faster, catching up and passing it again each time it stopped to let kids off.  My triumph was to cross the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill ahead of the bus.

When my 8th grade PE coach had the class running a timed 440 two at a time, I pulled ahead of my running partner immediately and by the time I was on the far side of the track from the coach and the rest of the class she was still on the first turn and I heard the class erupt into loud hoots and hollers that continued until I crossed the finish line where I learned that I had just broken the school record for the girl's 440, shaving over ten seconds off it, bringing it to within ten seconds of the boy's record.  My time was sixty something and the boy's fifty something.

My coach said I had run the 440 like a dash, sprinting the whole way unlike most experienced trained runners who pace themselves on the first 220 and sprint the last 100.  She told me I had raw talent and good form for an untrained runner and said that with training I could compete in the Olympics.

The cheering from my class that day woke up a deep yearning in me and also healed some deep wounds created by the grade-school playground bullying some of those same girls had participated in.  I was told the cheering began when the coach told them that if I held that pace I would break the record.  When I crossed the finish line they swarmed me, pounding my back, grabbing my hand, jumping up and down congratulating me as they continued hooting.

As I made my way through the halls and across the courtyard to my next class the news had already spread and kids were calling out to me with congrats, claps, fist pumps over their heads.  And the teacher herself in the classroom all the way across campus from the track and gym, congratulated me as I entered the room.

Later that week the boy's coach had his class on the track with mine, invited by my coach to see me run and pit me against his best.  One after the other I ran the 50 and the 100 against his best sprinters, winning the 100 and staying on the heels of the boy in the 50.  My weakness was in the take off and the building up to speed in the first 20 yards or so.  

Then it was me against the boy's best miler on the 440.  We ran the first 220 neck and neck but that was only because he was pacing himself like a miler and when he pulled ahead at the halfway point he had plenty of reserve for a hard push while I was already pushing my envelope so that when I tried to stay on his heels I ended up with a severe stitch in my side on the last turn and collapsed.

In spite of that tho, the boy's coach was impressed and lamented that it was too late to jump me through the hoops to get me onto the boy's intramural track team that year.  Deadlines for permissions and such had passed.  The girls at our Junior High did not have any intramural teams so occasionally a girl with talent would be invited onto the boy's team.

In tenth grade I joined the girls track team but I had just spent the school year without taking PE or racing the bus down the hill--my walk home was simply crossing the school parking lot.  I'd lost my edge.  So the next year I took PE in the fall and it was probably the drinking fountain in the girls locker room that gave me Mono.  The doctor would not sign off on me joining the team that year.  I joined again for my senior year but I had not regained my strength and stamina.  

For several years after the Mono, running--all physical exertion actually--betrayed me by causing excruciating pain and profound fatigue. Even relapses.  By the time I hit my mid twenties I had gained 25 pounds and lost motivation as well as muscle mass and stamina.  By my late 40s I weighed 120 pounds more than the day I broke the record in 8th grade.

Over the last four decades I've missed running, longing for it with an intensity akin to unrequited love.  Running had been my Joy.  Pun intended for it had been so integral to my I.  Without it I hardly recognized myself for years.  

Recently running has returned to my night dreams where I am running towards something not away and now I'm daring to hope I can have it back for since January 2009 I've lost 70+ pounds, 30 of them in the last year.

It will take more than loosing the last 40 to 50 pounds to get running back though.  I need to build back muscle and stamina.  I need to regain the desire to exert myself again.  I need to spend less time sitting at the computer, less time crocheting, less time watching videos.  In other words I have to loose the habits of a sedentary lifestyle.  Running won't return to me via simple wishing or daydreaming.

I know how to do it.  Getting more 4th stage sleep where muscle tissue is built and getting back on the mini-tramp for 30+ minutes per day would get me there in a few months.  The question would then become where would I find a safe place for running while all but blind?

I imagine the wet sand beside the surf as the best bet--always one of my favorite places to run--but that isn't something I'm likely to get regular access to.

But I can't let that question stop me from preparing.  I need to trust that the answer will manifest once I've manifested the muscle and stamina.

I would like to be ready for a place to run no later than Memorial Day this year.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Another Crochet WIP Finished

Crocheted Dishrag
Another of the many projects I had going for my sister.  This is the fifth one of those I've finished since Christmas Eve and the 9th overall.  Plus have made significant progress on two large projects.  By keeping small to medium sized projects within reach or on my person (pockets, wrist bags, etc) I'm making use of many stray minutes throughout the day.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Forays in Fiction: Quote

Kitteh Wants a Yarn Yarn
If there's a book you really want to read,
but it hasn't been written yet,
then you must write it.
 ~Toni Morrison

One of my all time favorite writing quotes from one of my all time favorite writers.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: Organic Beauty With Essential Oil by Rebecca Park Totilo

Organic Beauty With Essential Oil
by Rebecca Park Totilo
Publisher: Rebecca At the Well Foundation, Jan. 3, 2013
Print & ebook, 232 pages

This book couldn't have showed up in my life at a better time!  I was already turned on to essential oils and needed no more convincing of their effectiveness after my sister, who has been using them for several years, used them to help me through the several weeks my anxiety, depression and blood pressure meds were discontinued or curtailed after I lost insurance coverage a year ago.

These were the same weeks that the first and the worst of the shocks generated by the 'lifequake' I've been blogging about since Valentine's week last February were still rumbling through my life leaving upheaval in all environmental, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.

She dabbed something called Serenity on my temples, neck, cheekbones and collar bones that had the power to bring me down from an hysterical crying jag and allow me to find peace in desperately needed sleep in under 90 minutes.  It contained Lavender among other things.  I continue to use it when stress is high and my meds are at low tide and it works so well I have hopes that I will someday be able to ditch the meds and depend entirely on it and other natural remedies for stabilizing mood.

Another one called Citrus Bliss she would put on a cotton ball for me to hold to my nose or lay on the keyboard where the heat from the computer would serve to release the aroma as I typed.  This would aid in waking my brain, brightening my mood and giving me energy more efficiently and lastingly than caffeine!  Then there was the Clove she gave me when my abscessed teeth flared up in late October--better pain relief than any drug.

With those three experiences behind me I needed no further proof that essential oils were essential to health and happiness when the blog tour invite for this book landed in my email.  I was excited by the blurb description and this book, unlike some, totally lived up to its blurb.  It is jammed packed with recipes whose names are drool worthy.

I suggest not reading this book while hungry.

Better than the recipes themselves are the charts and guides that give ratios and clarify principles that once understood can be applied in all similar recipes.  This is exactly the kind of thing needed by someone like me who hates to follow recipes (or crochet patterns) and would rather learn the basic principles and then create my own concoctions.

I was hoping to have mixed up and tried at least one recipe in here before time for the review but I didn't get to it.  The first things I want to make are a teeth cleaner and a mouth wash because I absolutely loathe the store bought ones.  No matter how much 'flavor' and cloying sweetener they add I can still taste chemicals so strong they gag me.

Setting aside the aroma therapy aspects, the concept of mixing ones own bath and body, and hair and skin care products is wildly appealing just for the ability to create a flavor combo you can't find in the store.  I've never seen a product that uses ginger for example but ginger is one of my favorite spices.  And what about Pumpkin Pie (my favorite dessert) as a body wash or shampoo?  Or Margarita as a mouthwash?  Or Coconut Lime as a facial cleanse?

The possibilities are endless and with  Rebecca Park Totilo’s guidance through the basics it won't be long before you can be cut loose in the garden of endless delights.

From the Publishers:

Organic Beauty With Essential Oil: Over 400+ Homemade Recipes for Natural Skincare, Haircare and Bath & Body Products
Looking for that perfect all-natural bath product?
One that will keep your skin looking great, is appealing to smell, has actual therapeutic benefits, and doesn’t break the bank? Well, here it is!
Sweep aside all those harmful chemically-based cosmetics and make your own organic bath and body products at home with the magic of potent essential oils! In this book, you’ll find a luxurious array of over 400 Eco-friendly recipes such as Exotic Patchouli Massage Oil, Zesty Banana-Lemon Foot Cream and Jasmine Bath Bombs filled with breathtaking fragrances and soothing, rich organic ingredients satisfying you head to toe.
Designed with the naturalist in mind, each formula draws from essential oils’ well-known skin rejuvenating effects, showing you how to best care for your unique skin and hair type using all-natural botanicals. Included you’ll find helpful tips and customizable recipes – all with step-by-step instructions – so you can have the confidence knowing which essential oil to use and how much when creating your own body scrub, lip butter, or lotion bar!
Discover how easy it is to make bath treats like fragrant shower gels, dreamy bubble baths, luscious creams and lotions, deep cleansing masks and facials for literally pennies using only a few essential oils and ingredients from your own kitchen with Organic Beauty with Essential Oil.

What they are saying:

“Smart and easy recipes.  Just love this book , makes life easy.  Good recipes to follow and also healthy.  So I don’t have to waste my money buying stuff full of chemicals. I just make them myself with organic ingredients”-Shirlmore, Amazon Reviewer
“I recently opened my own massage business. What I wanted to do was offer a service where I could use organic, soothing oils and lotions that would rejuvenate and refresh my clients all while allowing their bodies to absorb essential nutrients. Sure, I found products I could buy at stores that promised the same effects for a lot more money, but I would end up losing more then I was gaining.  Then I found this book. I don’t know what I would’ve done without it. It was literally everything I was looking for. I was able to create all different types of massage oils: lemon-aloe, grape-fruit honey, the list goes on!. The best thing was that all these ingredients barely cost me anything! And I have so much fun experimenting with different ingredients! My clients love it and my business is booming! Couldn’t have done it without this.”-DJesus, Amazon Reviewer
” I’ve recently been having an issue with my body lotion and the soap I’ve been using. Every time I would get out the shower I’d itch and it was because the soap was too harsh on my skin and would remove all the natural oil from my body!  Thank god for Rebecca Totilo. The best part is that the book doesn’t just stop at teaching you how to make your own soaps or body wash, you can also make your own mouthwash (the spearmint-aloe is INCREDIBLE) and lip balm! Literally everything that author Rebecca Totilo writes about are products that leave you feeling refreshed, clean and completed renewed! Now I’m itch free and loving my yogurt walnut facial scrub and my Rosewater night cream. Greatest book ever! Kid you not!”- Charlie “Reuben”, Amazon Reviewer
” How cool! Organic Beauty With Essential Oil made me a hero. My wife, who is into natural products and essential oils, has been hounding me to move away from “unnatural” remedies. Well…imagine her surprise when I came home with this book and was able to share with her some things she didn’t know. Now she’s confiscated the book and has fallen in love with the wealth of knowledge that is contained in the pages. Rebecca has a potential best seller on her hands and for those interested in a better life this is a must read!”-Chuck Gallagher, Amazon Reviewer
“This is a wonderful book and a superb guide to essential oils. The writer was very thorough and included recipes for skin, hair,mouth, feet, hands – let me say for every part of the body. The recipes are also easy to follow and come from things that are already in the home for eg., apple cider vinegar, mint leaves and witch hazel to name a few. I am new to making cosmetics so I wanted a book that would guide me to the use of the various essential oils – this book did not disappoint! All I wanted to know about essential oils was there. I can now tell the difference between fragrance oil and pure essential oil and also how to use them for my health and skin care. This book is a classic, a must have for everyone who wants to get in the organic skin care. Beautifully written and so easy to work with. It is one of my favourites.“-Esther, Amazon Reviewer

Rebecca Park Totilo’s flair and passion for life bursts into living color when she writes and speaks, as you will see in the visual way she presents herself.  She literally believes in the “show, don’t tell” principle in everything she does.  Becca has ministered to literally millions of people via television, radio and live appearances. She is an award-winning published author of over 40 books, including “Therapeutic Blending With Essential Oil”, “Heal With Essential Oil”, and “Through the Night With God.” Her credits include working as a contributor writer on two best-selling series (“Quiet Moments with God” and “Stories for the Teen’s Heart”) which sold over one million and five million copies respectively.  She is also a freelance writer for several national magazines include Christian Parenting Today, Discipleship Journal and Woman’s World.

Rebecca’s photography work has appeared in numerous national magazines such as Woman’s World, Sports Spectrum, Evangel, and Sharing the Victory.  But by far, her greatest accomplishment, if you asked her, is after a decade of rejection slips (with almost 150 in one year!), Rebecca hit it big in 1999, with over 13 books contracts, ranging from teaching curriculum to gift books and devotionals for adults.  Truly, its her grit determination that makes her inspirational writings draw such a mass market appeal.

Rebecca graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1986 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Information Systems. In addition, she attended Faith Bible Institute in Richmond, Virginia for instruction in ministry and University of the Nations in Hawaii. She is also trained as a Clinical Aromatherapist and is an international educator offering online courses on the art of perfume-making and how to blend with essential oils worldwide on her website Rebecca owns a cute soap boutique, Aroma Hut, near the beach in Florida where she practices as an Clinical Aromatherapist.

Rebecca won the Writer of the Year in Non-Fiction (National Writer’s Association)

Rebecca on:


Follow the blog tour for more reviews, giveaways, author interviews and guest posts: 

So Many Precious Books Jan 2 Review & Giveaway
Teena in Toronto Jan 3 Review
Daddy Blogger Jan 5 Interview  7 pm pst Google Hangout- Live
Saving for Six Jan 6 Review
Taking Time for Mommy Jan 7 Review
Library of Clean Reads Jan 8 Review
Just Another New Blog Jan 8 Review & Giveaway
Indie Review’s Behind the Scenes Jan 10 Live Radio 7pm
Luxury Reading Jan 13 Review & Giveaway
Daddy Blogger Jan 15 Review
Let’s Talk About Books Jan 16 Review
Princess Gummy Bear Jan 17 YouTube Video Demo
Peppermint Ph.d Jan 20 Review & Giveaway
Mrs. Mommy Booknerds Jan 21 Review
Deal Sharing Aunt Jan 22 Review
Beagle Book Space Jan 22 Review
Joy Story Jan 23 Review
I’d Rather Be At the Beach Jan 24 Review & Giveaway
Thoughts In Progress Jan 27 Review & Giveaway
Sincerely Stacie Jan 28 Review
Beauty Is a Sleeping Cat  Jan 29 Review
Sammy The Bookworm Jan 30 Review  & Giveaway
Genuine Jenn Feb 3 Review
Mama Knows Books Feb 4
Books, Books & More Books Feb 5
Life Happens With Kids Feb 6


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