Category Archives: Books

Times of Trouble

They always come off the shelf at this time of year.  The Harry Potter books.  I’ve read and re-read all of them until the pages are worn and grimy.  They give me comfort when I am fighting off “The Missing.”

“When I find myself in times of trouble …”

“The Missing” — Sounds like a “who-dunnit,” doesn’t it.  But that’s not what I mean.

Go ahead and laugh.  But I honestly mean that the Harry Potter books — kids books — help me fight off the sadness of missing people.

You see, in Harry Potter, the folks Harry loves and has lost get to come back sometimes.  Once in every few books. OK, in the first, the fourth, and the seventh.  What — you need page numbers?

And each time I read how they, those dead people, give Harry courage, I find my own again.

And you know what especially makes a difference?  Throughout the entire series, folks talk normally about people who have passed.  Just as if they were, and still are, an important part of a person’s life.  The characters do, and are expected to, think about people who are no longer around.  Grief, missing them is part of life; an acknowledged part.

Real life, however, outside of books, is not at all like that.  The bereaved are allowed 1 week to 1 year to grieve, depending on the relationship and the circumstances.  Within that time, and especially way beyond it, talking about a lost loved one is awkward. It makes other people uncomfortable.  They don’t know what to say.  What to do.  Where to look.  It’s taboo.

Death in our society pretty much wipes a person off the slate — we say good-bye, are moved to shed tears, and then expected to get beyond it.  We are essentially expected to metaphorically “unfriend” them.

Of course, we all fear our own death, so we don’t want to talk about someone else’s death.  We just can’t deal with someone else who has gone to that wizarding school in the sky.

Reading Harry Potter helps me feel like my missing are close by.  Let’s me feel that there are folks, even if they are fictional, who let me remember and who also remember their own loved ones.  Very much like my bloggin’ buddies, who let me lean on them from time to time.  For which I will be eternally grateful.

It’s coming on the anniversary of my sister Judy’s passing, a time that is always difficult for me.

Judy too was a Potterhead, although she only lived long enough to read the first three books. I’m quite sure that that is one of the things that most annoyed her about dying, actually.  Nobody likes to miss the ending.

So I’m really hoping she’ll hook up with Alan Rickman pretty soon.  Because she’ll show him the ropes, and he’ll fill her in on the rest of the story.  A match made in, well, heaven.

Alan Rickman.

Fanpop.com Image

R.I.P. to so very many people gone way too soon.

Thanks to Deb of The Monster In Your Closet for making me come out of my closet as a Potterhead!

 

 

58 Comments

Filed under ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Acting, Adult Traumas, Beating that Dead Horse, Birthday, Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Cool people, Crazy family members, Family, Harry Potter, Huh?, Illness, Judy, Missing Folks, Oh shit, Peace, Shit happens, Taking Care of Each Other

Hillary’s Chicken

Yesterday, I braved the grocery store to come up with an edible antidote to 2015.

I found myself pacing the aisles of the local Giant Foods, and well, I heard voices.  Or a voice.

If I were a Republican, I would have assumed it was God.

Jesus Meme

But as it was, I realized I was talking to myself.  Chanting.  And naturally I listened.  I’m not crazy, you know.

The Voice, my voice, told me what to do.  What to get.  How to do it.  And I saw that it would be good.

You see, I remembered a long-ago gift from my niece that actually held the secret antidote to 2015.  Only I had forgotten about it.

Congressional Cookbook

The Congressional Club Cook Book, Copyright 1987, The Congressional Club, Washington, DC

Yup.  Who woulda thunk that an antidote would be in a cookbook!  But this one is special.  You see, it was published in 1987, when the folks in government still believed that the government has an important role in the country.  When the government is, essentially, how we all contribute to improving our society.  Educating our kids, making workplaces safer, the air and the water and the land cleaner.  Yeah, I know it was published at the end of the Reagan years, but that cancer hadn’t yet metastasized.

Here’s the antidote to 2015:

Hillary’s Chicken.

Hillalry's Chicken

Congressional Club Cook Book, 1987, at page 266

As you can see from years of cooking smears, this is a well-used recipe.  It is simple and delicious. And I’m going to make it for New Years’ Day — and often between now and November.

Because while this woman eats chicken.  She is NOT a chicken.

Hillary Clinton at Bengazi hearings -- LA Times Photo

Hillary Clinton, Testifying for 11 hours at the Bengazi show trial.  Photo Image, LA Times

And the GOP?  I see little evidence that the GOP clowns are anything but chicken, can you?

Air Force

Google Image

 

Happy New Year!

 

***

 

It’s a little hard to read the instructions from this picture —

Combine all sauce ingredients, mixing until well blended.  Wipe each piece of chicken dry and coat well with sauce.  Place chicken,skin side up, in shallow baking pan.Tuck edges under, forming a compact shape, about 1-1/2 inches thick.  Roast in preheated oven at 450 degrees, basting occasionally with pan drippings.  Bake until opaque nearly to center, about 14-18 minutes, depending on thickness.  Remove to warm plates.  Spoon pan juices over chicken and sprinkle with parsley.  Makes 4 servings.  May be frozen.

83 Comments

Filed under 'Merica, 2016, All The News You Need, All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, ¿Jeb!, Bat-shit crazy, Beating that Dead Horse, Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Crazy Folks Running, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Do GOP Voters Actually THINK?, Elections, Elections Matter, Global Warming, GOP, Growing up, Holidays, Huh?, Humiliation, Humor, Just Do It and I'll Shut Up!, keys to success, laughter, Mental Health, Peace, Politics, Pooders, Taking Care of Each Other, Voting, Washington, Where does the GOP get these guys?, Wild Beasts, WTF?

We Are Not Alone!

Last week, I read Bloggess Jenny Lawson’s new book Furiously Happy.

Image from Amazon.com

Image from Amazon.com

Furiously Happy deals with Jenny’s mental health issues, how she copes with them, and, importantly how they help make her the person she is.  It is truly a gift to folks with anxiety, depression, other mental health issues (and to those who care about them).  It shows them that they’re not alone.

The blurb on the flap sums it up pretty well:

This is a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are – the beautiful and the flawed – and then using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. Because as Jenny’s mom says, “Maybe ‘crazy’ isn’t so bad after all.” Sometimes crazy is just right.

While Furiously Happy is geared towards folks with mental illness, I came away from the book feeling comforted about my physical illness, Crohn’s Disease.  Because Furiously Happy reminded me that other people — probably everyone, in fact — struggles through life with something.   And that’s why we all — every one of use — need each other. 

Because no matter what each of us is facing, we’re not alone.

Plus, the book is hilarious.  You will rarely enjoy mental illness quite this much.

Oh, and go read her most recent blog post, which had me laughing for hours last night.  It is a compendium of awkward moments sent to the Bloggess via Twitter.

 

29 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Advice from an Expert Patient, All The News You Need, Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Chronic Disease, Crazy family members, Crohn's Disease, Family, Farts, Friends, Good Deed Doers, Health, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Huh?, Humor, Illness, laughter, Love, Mental Health, Oh shit, Seriously funny, Shit, Taking Care of Each Other, Wild Beasts, Writing, WTF?

The Long Hall

While John and I were having a nice, romantic anniversary dinner last weekend – our 28th – I was thinking of another man. And another couple’s marriage.   And how, when you say those words, “in sickness and in health,” you never really know what you’re getting into.

As anybody who has read a few of my posts knows, John and I have been both lucky and unlucky through the years. I’ve had a lot of health issues that neither of us bargained for – infertility and Crohn’s to be specific. But through it all, John has been with me every step, helping me, cheering me, making me do things I don’t want to have to do.

Illness effects all members of the family, and changes their lives. Some people rise to the occasion, and some are brought down by it. I am delighted to say that I’ve been truly lucky to have this guy with me through all the , ummm, shit. I even nominated him for Sainthood when he survived a particularly, ummm, nasty point in my Crohn’s.

But the other man I was thinking of on our wedding anniversary was Charles Gulotta.  OK, I was thinking about his wife, Jill, too.  So don’t criticize.

Two weeks earlier, I’d finished reading Charles’ memoir, the Long Hall.

The Long Hall by Charles Gulotta

The Long Hall by Charles Gulotta

 

It’s the story of how Charles and Jill met, fell in love, married, and had a daughter, Allison. It’s also the story of a simple twist of fate that changed their lives dramatically, when Jill suffered a stroke during childbirth. It’s the story of how Charles went from a happy expectant father, to a shocked but loving caregiver to two very different people, one infant and one adult, with very different needs.

It is now a month since I read the book. And honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.  The story sounds a wee bit depressing, doesn’t it?  I will admit, there are a lot of rough patches.  But that’s not what I found so memorable.   What stayed with me is a constant feeling of hope.

Often, when I’ve read Charles’ delightful blog, Mostly Bright Ideas, I’ve felt that he’s gotten into my head, asked questions that have been milling around in my mind for years. With The Long Hall, Charles got into my heart as well.  And I really think that this book will stay with me, always.

Read it. It is the most uplifting story I have read in decades.

63 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Bloggin' Buddy Books, Books, Crohn's Disease, Family, Health and Medicine

Just What I Always Wanted

My very first blogging buddy, Nancy Roman, of Not Quite Old, has written a book!

Amazon Image

Amazon Image

I admit, I was a little nervous to read it.  I always am, whenever I pick up a book by someone I know.  Because I worry that I might not like it.  And then what do I say?

When it’s a book written by a blogging buddy, though, I am being ridiculous.  Because I already know that I like them.  I already know their writing style.  I already know that they can spin a good yarn.

Still, I shouldn’t have worried.  Not with Nancy.  Because Nancy is that good.

Just What I Always Wanted is the story of a fifty year old woman who changes her life dramatically, in part by adopting a pregnant 14 year old misfit.  Nancy’s gift for dialog and understatement, makes the story of the interaction between Cynthia and Shannon, as they try to form a life together, simultaneously poignant and hilarious.  It’s a story of hope, of love, of commitment and forgiveness.

After the real-life events we’ve all been living through, this warm-hearted story shined up my innate optimism just a bit.

Buy it.  Read it.  Get it here.

Would I steer you wrong?

 

43 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Fashion, Humor, Taking Care of Each Other, Writing

Monsters’ Throwdown — A Blogger Book!

As a person with Crohn’s Disease, I have seen my fair share of toilets, and my experiences there have been memorable.  And sometimes life threatening (especially if Goliath was involved).

And while I fully expect to die on a toilet, I was not born in one.

The same cannot be said of Eleanor Tomczyk, who writes a terrific blog called How the hell did i end up here?  If you don’t already know Eleanor, go on over.  She always brings a smile, makes you think, makes you laugh.

The story of her life is written up in her memoir, Monsters’ Throwdown — from her disastrous beginnings being born in a toilet, through her triumphs.  Eleanor always managed, somehow, to keep her head above water.

Monsters’ Throwdown will make you cry, make you laugh, make you thank your lucky stars that you didn’t have to go through what Eleanor did to just survive.  But Eleanor did much more than that — she thrived.  And we are all the better for it.

Monster's Throwdown

Available at Amazon — which, coincidentally, is where I got this image.

In today’s world, where racism has become, once again, less hidden, Monsters’ Throwdown is a book worth reading, and its lessons of survival, people helping people, love and triumph leave me very hopeful.

The book is available in paperback and on kindle through Amazon at this link.

Well, what are you waiting for???????

 

 

 

47 Comments

Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Childhood Traumas, Family, Humor, Taking Care of Each Other

It’s In His Kiss

Fess up. It’s your fantasy and mine.

You’ve not only finished your book, but it was published. It wasn’t a best seller, but literary types – like us writer/bloggers – read it. Of course you don’t make any money, but writers are supposed to struggle.

At least until they get an offer from Hollywood, that is. And a flight to Palm Springs to discuss the film option with the head of a major studio and a cast of characters straight out of, well, Hollywood.

Vickie Lester (of Beguiling Hollywood) has a new book! It’s In His Kiss reads like a vintage photograph. Light and dark, blended into a page turner. Palm Springs in full bloom, Hollywood, stars and wanna-bes. Oh, and did I mention murder?

 

Available at Amazon.com

Available at Amazon.com

 

It’s out and available at Amazon.com .  A perfect book to take out to the cee-ment pond with you this summer.

Yup it’s your fantasy and mine. Except maybe the murder part.

 

66 Comments

Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Holidays, Writing