Finish #27 – Never Die Alone

P4151732.JPGIt would not be inaccurate to say that I’m glad that I made it through the busyness of April with my sanity still (mostly) intact. I hate to talk about being busy. After all, isn’t everyone busy? No one wants to hear about someone else’s busyness. Doesn’t that just make you feel even more stressed? Years ago I read a little blurb in one of those Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff books about how we shouldn’t talk about how busy we are, so I generally try not to do so. But this month has just been CRAZY, because along with all of the normal stuff, we threw in a visit (car troubles added much to this thrilling excursion, I add in a sarcastic tone) to an out-of-town oral surgeon (wisdom teeth removal coming up this summer for the eldest) and two college visits, where the eldest learned that she most definitely does not want to be a nurse as that would involve touching creepy “learning dummies”…and then a lifetime of touching real human beings. She is now thinking again of pursuing a degree in criminal justice, this being a previously mentioned aspiration of hers. Classes with names such as “Precision Driving” and “Firearms” have piqued her interest.  I’m looking forward to seeing where the future takes her and wondering how she will react to cuffing criminals (as that would involve touching human beings!). She probably gets that touch-phobia thing from me…I don’t like people other than my immediate, and I do mean immediate, family inside my 10-ft-radius-personal-space-bubble. Relatives go in for a hug (those that catch me before I can get away) and I’m cringing inside! And near strangers (defined as anyone that doesn’t fall under the immediate family/relative heading) that like to hug??? Horror of horrors. Who are those people??!

I haven’t gotten much reading in during all of the rushing around this month, but I did finish Lisa Jackson’s Never Die Alone. One thing you can always count on from a Lisa Jackson book is the use of the word “sibilant.” I have never, ever read that word in any other book. After seeing it twice in one book of hers that I read previously, I looked it up in the dictionary just to make sure that it meant what I thought it meant. I’m not certain why, but I simply don’t like this word. It just doesn’t roll of the tongue in a pleasant way. I did, however, enjoy the book, which focuses on two serial killers. Unfortunately, the reader is left hanging at the end and must wait for the next book in the Rick Bentz/Reuben Montoya series to see what happens with one of the storylines…hopefully that wasn’t a spoiler there. Sorry.

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Finish #26 – When the Emperor Was Divine

IMAG0412.jpgHere’s a great photo from this week! The sun was shining, the windows had just been washed (Oh, joy! To finally be able to look through clean glass not covered with the grime of winter!), a nice breeze was flowing into the house, and two kitties were enjoying the view. Well…mostly enjoying the view. Allow me to explain. You see, Buster (he’s the one standing up in the photo) had been up in the windows, moving back and forth between the three that face the back “yard.” (The term “yard” is used quite loosely around here.) Then Belle came along and plopped herself right down in the middle window. She was enjoying a nice snooze. Then Buster discovered she was happy and content and maybe, just maybe, he could be that happy and content, too…but happiness and contentedness could only be achieved if he was in her spot. So he proceeded to walk along behind her. Then he licked her. Then he stood over her and stared at her, hoping and hoping to make her so uncomfortable that she would move. Unfortunately for him, his tactics didn’t work. IMAG0413.jpgLook at her there, little lazy snoozer.

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This has been a busy week of getting things done. Can we say “spring cleaning?” Can we say it in a cheerful voice? I actually don’t mind it…in small doses. No more do I attempt to tackle all of the windows in one day. Who’s keeping track anyway if I finish them all today or if it takes me three days?

I did manage to finish a short little book this week. Finish #26 is When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka. I’ve read numerous books, both fiction and non-fiction, set during World War II. This is the first I’ve read told from the viewpoint of a Japanese family (living in America) during the war. In this book we follow the mother, father, brother, and sister as they are removed from their home. We see what life was like for the mother, brother, and sister in an internment camp (The father was taken elsewhere.) and we witness their return home. There was a lot of feeling contained in such a small book. It is impossible to say, “I enjoyed this book.” Those simply aren’t the appropriate words. I learned from this book, and the lessons were good.

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Finish #25 – Last Lessons of Summer

A few weeks ago I asked the girls to pick me out a new audio book when they went to the library. Rumor has it that elder teen wanted to get me a Harry Potter Audiobook and just be done with it. Harry Potter? Seriously? Sure, there is a lot of love for the boy wizard in this family…I’m convinced, as are most of the librP3261723.JPGarians who know my kids and their book interests, that our family has had one of the Harry Potter CDs checked out continuously for the past umpteen years. I, however, am not a huge fan…just a small, ordinary fan…I’ve read them all, once, and that was enough. (Interesting tidbit: We purchased some of those Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans while at Universal Studios last May…the look on faces when a disgusting flavor was discovered: Priceless.)

Middle teen put a little more thought and effort into the choosing process and picked out Last Lessons of Summer by Margaret Maron for my listening enjoyment.

Enjoy it I did. (And in the process of enjoying it, I managed to cut out another quilt top and get half of it sewn together! This one is sort of beach-y themed, at least that’s what my niece said when she saw it this past weekend. I can’t wait to share a picture once it’s completed.)

 

 

Finish #24 – Reluctantly Charmed

P3261728.JPGDare I suggest that spring might actually be on its way up here in our little corner of northern Michigan? I’ve heard rumors that we might even reach 60 degrees by this weekend. I, for one, can’t wait. It’s not that winter has been all that bad this year. (Judging by the huge amount of wood remaining in our woodpile we’ve had an easy time of it this year.) It’s just that I’m ready for spring when the calendar flips to April. Actually, I’m ready for summer when the calendar flips to April, as spring ranks as my least favorite season. When you live on a dirt road, spring brings nothing good…serious mud up the back of your car, piles of mud in the garage, dirty shoes, dirty paws (for the dog). Nothing but dirt, dirt, more dirt, and mud everywhere you look, drive, and step.

April, I fear, is going to be a month where I finish very few books. May looks a little iffy, too. Judging by the family calendar, that one teen decided needed to be color-coded, I’m going to be on the go for the next two months. There’s nothing too horribly exciting planned…just your ordinary, everyday busyness that seems to grow exponentially this time of year. Both teens are working, and as one of them isn’t yet 16, that means I’m the taxi service that gets her to her job. That same teen starts Driver’s Education this month…which means more taxi service to get her to her classes. And, if that’s not enough, we’ve started visiting colleges with elder teen. We hit one last Friday (which did a fine job of ruling out “nursing” as a career option) and there’s another visit planned at the end of the month. Then when you add in dental appointments, elder teen’s dual-enrollment college schedule, the couple of activities that pre-teen has going on, and all the normal stuff that goes on in a month, like WORK, for the grown-ups…yikes!

Finish #24 is Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill. It’s set in Ireland. That’s all I needed to know to get me to pick it up off the shelf at the library. I am fascinated with Ireland. I hope to get there someday. It’s on the bucket list. Besides Ireland, the book has fairies. I won’t spoil the plot by saying anything more. It was an enjoyable read.

Finish #23 – War of the Wives

P3171709.JPGTwenty-three books in and I’m almost right on schedule. Last year things got dicey toward the end of the year, and I wasn’t certain that I would be able to reach my goal of 100 books. In an effort to avoid that this year, I’ve determined that I need to finish just over eight books per month. So I’m only a little behind! Finish #23 is War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen.

The plot of this book centers on the death of Simon Busfield, a greedy multiple-wives having jerk, and the TWO wives he left behind. Drama, and lots of it, ensues as the women sort out what about their lives is real, what was all a farce, and the new family dynamic that arises. I wouldn’t quite say that I enjoyed it…”enjoyed” just isn’t the right word when you’re reading a story about a jerk with multiple wives, his son who just seems a little off, and sad, destroyed women. It was good, though. I’d recommend it.

This week I also finished that pillow behind the book in the picture. I knew I had one star block left over from a quilt I made a few years ago. I thought I could come up with a pillow cover using that one block as the center. I was shocked when I unearthed three! I whipped up a fourth from leftover scraps, pieced together a back using more scraps, and sewed it up last night. It was a red-letter day for finishing projects. I also completed a new dog bed for Luna, who was, unfortunately, the victim of a hate crime. (One of the four kitties left a piddle puddle on her bed last week…a very strange occurrence indeed and one that better not be repeated! I will be forced to install a surveillance camera if it occurs again! They have been warned.) So a new bed was needed. I also finished sewing the binding on a small wall-hanging. P3171711.JPGP3171710.JPG

 

 

 

 

So, this afternoon while reading my devotions, I came across a side note saying that we should create something new to honor God. Suggestions included writing a song or a play, writing a psalm, creating a simple work of art or a drawing…I’m not much of an artist, so here’s my attempt at writing something new:

There exists winter and spring.
One a time of rest,
Trees appear dead,
Plants lie dormant under ice and snow.
The other a time of rebirth.
Grass greens,
Buds burst into bloom,
Sun warms.
But in that edge of time between,
Tiny buds appear,
A promise of new life to come.

There exists this world and the next.
One a place of war and famine,
Poor and needy,
Heartbreak,
Stress,
Anxieties.
The other a time and place of rejoicing,
Angel choirs,
Peace,
The drying of tears,
Relief from pain.
But in that edge of time and space between,
Between this earthly world and the heavenly,
There exists love
And hope,
Joy,
And the promise of new life to come.