Happy 57th anniversary to my mom and dad, the people
who taught me all I needed to know about making a
marriage work and last! They are truly an
inspiration for their children and
The couple that reads together, stays together!
"I hadn't counted on there being so much difference between going and gone. Going is busy. Going has tasks involved with it - meeting with doctors and social workers, snaking your way through the system to find an empty bed in a decent place, cashing out mutual funds, and putting furniture in storage. Going demands many visits and at times, during them, you begin to think these Judas thoughts. You think that it would be better for everyone if she weren't still here, so trapped and suffering, and you imagine that when you get that final call, it will be a relief.
And it is, at least at first. But after a week or so, life goes back to what people call normal, and only then do you start to realize that going was easier than gone. It's only then that you face the final silent emptiness that's at the heart of every human death, and it's not just a matter of the extra hours that suddenly appear in the day, strangely difficult to fill, it's also that there's nowhere to put the mental energy that circles around the space your mother once occupied."
"Most families have their official stories, I'd imagine, and they tell them to each other over and over, each repetition reassuring both the speaker and the listeners that the world is an understandable place. I suppose you could even argue that the very act of telling a story is an act of faith, for it advances the belief that life truly has a beginning, middle and end. The belief that we're all headed somewhere, that the seemingly random events of our lives mean something, that tomorrow will be more than just a repeat of yesterday, all over again."
"I've always thought the greatest skill a wife can possess is the ability to judiciously forget certain things, to just delete them right out of her brain at will. Because that's what we've been talking about this whole time, haven't we? The difficulties women have in understanding men...how we never really see them, really know them, even after years of love and marriage?"Perhaps the most unique part of Wright's writing was her ability to acknowledge when she was falling back on the stereotypes:
"No doubt you're way ahead of me on all of this. No doubt you've seen what was coming form the minute you learned that the letter was sent from an office."And, of course, most readers will have. But Wright's willingness to admit to it makes it is a rarity.
"Being dead is like living inside a dream: only some things are real, but you don't know which ones, It is so dark when I wake up that I feel dead again. I have to move my fingers and toes to know I am still alive. I died once, the first night I'd been away from Mama. I was so dead then that I couldn't move anything. Not even one toe."Little Elijah as been through so much in his seven years, things that are slowly reveled through his time with Nikki and Obi and through letters written by his birth mother. As Elijah slowly begins to relax into his life with Nikki and Obi (helped by his new cousin who is also his first real friend and Obi's father who is also Nigerian), Nikki and Obi must resolve lingering issues that begin to threaten the stability Elijah so desperately needs.
"There are three places where women are kings. One is in that moment after birth, when generations of women stir up inside woman's body and the whole world shakes and nature reminds us who is king. The second place is Nigeria, where - you remember - a woman, a prostitute even, was so respected she was made king. And in heaven women must be kings, for in heaven all the wrongs of earth are righted."For Elijah, one would certainly hope so.
|Part of the walk up from the|
dock to the house last
|Not sure why the gold |
ones look so lumpy!
|The birthday boy|
"I am fat, fair, and 48, 5 feet high. Am a No. 1 lady, well fixed with no encumbrance: am in business in city, but want a partner who lives in the West. Want an energetic man that has some means, not under 40 years of age and weight not less than 180. Of good habits. A Christian gentlemen preferred."Well, there you go - can't get much more direct than that! Maybe those folks seeking a mate today should heed that advice!
"...at the end there was presented to the girl the complete picture of a cheerless, loveless world in which the young rush to destruction until they learn better - a shamefaced world of precautions and barriers which may avert evil, but which do not seem to bring good, if we may judge form those who have used them most."Forster goes right at the bourgeoisie - that class of people who are neither rich, nor working class, who look down their noses at both the working class and the intellectuals, who have little ambition and little tolerance for those who do.
"I have no profession," said Cecil. "It is another example of my decadence. My attitude - quite an indefensible one - is that so long as I am no trouble to any one I have a right to do as I like. I know I ought to be getting money out of people, or devoting myself to things I can't care a straw about, but somehow, I've not been able to begin."Young Lucy is just beginning to strain at the confines when she and Charlotte travel to Italy. Had Charlotte been any better at her job she might well have been able to steer Lucy down the right and proper path. But Charlotte is so painfully obvious in her efforts, her snobbery, and her woe-is-me attitude that Lucy finds herself more and more questioning what is right. Once back in England, though, Lucy becomes convinced that her behavior in Italy was wrong and at long last accepts the proposal of the pompous Cecil. Seriously, if you don't want to punch this guy in the nose, I don't know what's wrong with you.
"Of course, he despised the world as a whole; every thoughtful man should; it is almost a test of refinement."One can't help but cheer when the very people who threw Lucy into a state of confusion show up back in her life. I was glad that I couldn't remember how the movie ended so I could enjoy seeing what would become of Lucy, torn in two directions.
"George will work in your thoughts till you die. It isn't possible to love and to part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal."If this had not been my nightstand book, I'm certain I would not have been able to put it down. As it was, I'm happy to have been able to absorb it in little bites. It's really quite delightful, filled not just with those bits of sarcasm but also with really lovely thoughts.
|Maggie Smith and Helena Bonham-Carter in "A Room With A View"|
|An inspiration wall|
|My dining room gallery wall|
|My bedroom gallery wall*|
|My powder room gallery|
"Because Ray was a bully, I showed him as often as possible that Thomas was the weaker brother. Fed him Thomas to save myself."Dominick and Thomas are identical twins, raised by their painfully shy (thanks in no small part to a harelip) mother and abusive stepfather, in the shadow of their dead grandfather whom their mother seems to have idolized and in whose home they now live. The boys long to know who their father was but the more pressing matter, even through their college years, was surviving Ray. That is until the most pressing matter becomes Thomas' schizophrenia. For all of their lives, the boys desperately fought to become their own person even as they needed each other to be whole.
"I am not a smart man, particularly, but one day, at long last, I stumbled from the dark woods of my own, and my family's, and my country's past, holding in my hands these truths: that love grows from the rich loam of forgiveness; that mongrels make good dogs; that the evidence of God exists in the roundness of things. This much, at least, I've figured out. I know this much is true."I read I Know This Much Is True with my book club and I wasn't alone in thinking that Lamb has just tried to do too much here. While he doesn't exactly hit his readers over the head with all of his themes, there are just so many of them. No one is spared; there's not a character in this book that doesn't carry tremendous baggage from Dominick's ex-wife, Dessa, to his former schoolmate and coworker Ralph Drinkwater. Racial tension, war, suicide, SIDS and the loss of a child, physical and mental abuse, mental illness, AIDS, sex, religion, incest, child pornography, abusive authority figures, and forgiveness. Have I missed any hot buttons here? I'm not sure that Lamb did. While I found much of it interesting, it was hard to develop a deep feeling for any of it as one theme piled up on another.
|Miss H and my niece|
|1975 Omaha tornado path|
"A family has requested puja - often commissioned for auspicious occasions - to celebrate the building of their new house. In a puja, the gurus spend an entire day in prayer and then call friends and loved ones of the family to join in to bless the occasion."I have often seen in books and movies, the gathering of Indians, particularly amongst the immigrant population, but I don't know that I was ever aware that there was a special name for the occasions. Nor was I aware of the belief that prevented those same communities from largely shunning one of their own.
"A common belief among Indians is that if you spend too much time around someone experiencing bad luck, their energy can transfer to you...It was why Ranee never revealed her truth to any of them - if they knew her misfortune, they would cease to be her friends."Sonya, Trisha, Marin, and their mother, Ranee have spent decades living with the pain and nightmares inflicted on them by the family patriarch, Brent. Each of them has learned to deal with his violence in their own way - Sonja by fleeing and shutting down emotionally; Trisha by forgetting and molding herself to the traditional role for women; Marin by constantly striving to be the best, to be perfect; and Ranee by resigning herself to a life of overwhelming guilt and smoldering anger. When Brent falls into a coma, things begin to unravel for each of the women as they are forced to confront their feelings for the man who abused them and the next generation of abuse.
"Finding what he was searching for, he picked up a small rock, no larger than a pebble. Laying it between them on the tabletop, he pushed it toward her without touching her. "I hope to give you the world," Brent explained. "This rock is a small piece of it. One day I will present you with more." Every year after that, until he fell into his coma, Brent would present her with a rock on their anniversary. Each larger than the original one...Ranee never knew how he found them, but each year he would present it to her with a grand display and say, "I'm going to give you the world, Ranee." She always wanted to say, "If you could stop hitting us, that would be enough." But she never did and he never stopped."
"Her mother's anger washed over Mariana, the bystander, and scared her. She tried to understand how her mother could love her father so passionately and protectively, craving his attention and devoting her life to him, while at the same time resenting his success and raging at his absence."Just as her star was reaching its zenith as a solo performing, coming out from behind her father's shadow, Mariana quit performing by herself. It was something her father could never forgive her, even though it meant that in his declining years, it freed her up to be his caregiver. Mariana felt it was worth it, felt her father finally had come to appreciate her. After he died, though, she receives the ultimate betrayal at his hands. I couldn't help but understand why she made some of the bad choices she made, why she felt the way she did, and hope for her to find peace. Except that...the key relationship that drives events after Alexander's will is read just seemed to happen too quickly for me and I had a hard time buying into the depth of Mariana's feelings.