October 27, 2007

This & That

It feels like I've been away from my blog for more than just four days. Perhaps it's the overwhelming number of comments that have yet to be answered. And they will, as I'm too obsessive to let them go without a response. (Speaking of which, have you all seen Blogger's new feature? They'll send you an email notifying you of responses made to comments! How cool is that?!) Perhaps it's the out-dated "Currently Reading" sidebar picture. Or maybe it's just been a long, long week. Worry and stress certainly wear me out, but it's a new day, the sun's shining, and I've had a good night's sleep. Sometimes, that's all that's needed.

Updates on the Southern California fires -- My relatives are all safe. Thankfully, nobody lost their home. I still can't imagine what the area looks like and how sad it is for those who did lose everything they own. Such a terrible tragedy.

I haven't forgotten about the book drawing for A Great and Terrible Beauty. As a matter of fact, I drew the winning name last weekend, but got preoccupied and haven't had a chance to make an announcement. So, without further ado, the winner is.... Nat (In Spring it Is the Dawn). When you return from your fun vacation, drop me an email with your snail mail addy and I'll get this in the mail.

And speaking of mailing books, Janet in Fort Worth gets my copy of Consuming Passions by Michael Lee West. Janet, I'll need your snail mail addy, too.

I haven't made much progress on any of my books this past week. As much as I love the capabilities of the Internet, bringing live news & information from around the world (San Diego's Channel 10 live coverage of the fires was far too informative to turn off), it can certainly interfere with one's daily responsibilities and reading time. I'm glad I was able to keep up on the fires, but now it's time to resume life in Nebraska.

After several short stories, I gave up on Stephen King's Everything's Eventual. I have one more book to complete Carl's R.I.P. II Challenge, so I grabbed a copy of New Moon (Stephenie Myer) and hope to have it read by Wednesday.

I started The Worst Hard Time, but had to return it to the library unread. The introduction was fascinating and my husband raved about the book, so I imagine I'll get to it eventually.

So what am I currently reading? Well, I have an ARC of Kelly Corrigan's The Middle Place. Corrigan is a newspaper columnist and her talent is quite apparent. Her memoir is very readable and informative. I have a good feeling about it.

I'm also reading C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed. I initially bought it for my daughter, wanting so desperately to do something to help her through a recent loss. My former mother-in-law passed away on Wednesday after a 17-year-long battle with cancer. While I haven't had an active relationship with N. for nearly 23 years, we have kept in touch here and there throughout the years. Birthdays were remembered. Christmas greetings sent. Condolences expressed. And, quite fortunately, a face-to-face visit last December when we gathered to see my daughter graduate from TCU. N. was one of those rare individuals who was always cheerful. I never once heard her say anything negative about anyone. She was always so optimistic and upbeat and full of life. Amy was her first grandchild and they shared quite a bond, so this loss is hitting hard. For both of us.

I bought the book with hopes that it might bring some comfort to Amy. But after scanning the introduction, I quickly realized the focus is more about the loss of a spouse. It didn't seem like a book she'd be interested in, so I decided to keep it and have already read the first two chapters. Review to come soon.

And lastly, as if the week couldn't have gotten any worse, we learned the upcoming trial in January has been "continued" once again. We are now scheduled for April 15th. Don't ask me why. I've lost all faith in the justice system. It is what it is. There simply isn't anything to say or do about this, other than to hope all is wrapped up and finalized before May 28th.

And now, off to enjoy the beautiful day.


  1. Boy, my computer doinks out for two weeks and I feel like I've completely lost touch with you! I never knew you grew up in San Diego; what a tragedy. I'm glad that your family is safe. Usually I find C.S. Lewis immensely comforting, but I can see where the loss of a spouse wouldn't apply to the loss of one's grandmother. Sometimes loss scares me so much I can't breathe; not that I don't trust we'll all be together in Heaven...it's just the waiting while separated that I abhor. Anway, I'm sympathetic to your mood. These days have been hard for me, too.

  2. I am so sorry for all the really hard things that have happened one after the other. I simply cannot bear it that this trial stuff goes on for so long. But you already know that, and you know my heart is always right there, even though I'm so far away.

  3. Blogger's new feature is a flop, for me. I've changed emails since I got my google ID and I don't want to switch to my current email because I've got my swim photo blog under that address - which I don't want combined with my other blogs. Pooh.

    I've read A Grief Observed and I didn't find it comforting. In fact, I found it very depressing. My favorite and the most helpful book I read when my father died was "Good Grief" - a tiny little book that walks you through the steps of grief. It made me feel normal - like it was okay to feel the way I felt and that I'd get through it. Last I heard, it was still in print.

  4. Anonymous1:39 PM


    Your N. and my Greenie have much in common, as you must be discovering in the pages of The Middle Place. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Let me know how you think it holds up start to finish.

    Kelly Corrigan
    author of The Middle Place

  5. Bellezza - Those darned computers. ;)

    This is the first nonfiction work of Lewis' I've managed to read. And I thought of you when I picked it up since M. L'Engle wrote the introduction. I'm finding some comfort in Lewis' words, nodding my head in agreement here & there.

    You know, I used to be so terrified of loss, but now it seems so inevitable (death, that is, not abandonment) that I try not think about it anymore. Worry certainly won't make it go away. And, I know I can survive anything, as the past 2 1/2 years have proved. I hope to live each and every day with as much joy and happiness as possible.

    Thank you for your sympathy. My mood has improved greatly in just a few short days. I'm sorry you've been having hard times, too. Be well and feel free to drop me an email if you need to vent in private. :)

    Nan - Well, when it rains, it really pours, doesn't it? I probably would've been fine with one or even two of these stressful situations, but to have them all snowball the way they always manage to do really hit me hard. But I'm ok now. Just needed to put everything in perspective (and go for a long walk in the sunshine). Yes, the trial is dragging on and on, but as it's a Capital Murder case, they need to make sure everything is in absolute perfect order. I can't control the situation and none of it will bring Rach back, so it's really kind of irrational for me to get so upset. Thank you for standing by us, albeit from a distance, and keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. It definitely helps to know that there are so many people out there who care.

    Nancy - Oh, bummer about the new Blogger feature. I love it! I usually go back to a comment that I've posted on someone's blog to see if they've followed up so I can respond again if need be, but this new feature makes it so much more convenient.

    I can see how A Grief Observed is a depressing read. I like it ok and have found that I agree with some of his statements, but then there are times when I think, "Am I missing something here?? What is he trying to say?" I suppose it doesn't help that I don't share the same religious beliefs as Lewis. But it's a fairly quick read that I hope to finish in the next day or so. I've seen Good Grief on the shelf at work and if I remember to, I'll snag a copy later this week. I still think the best book I read about grief was First Year, Worst Year. Well, that and Neil Peart's Ghost Rider. They both really spoke to both me and Rod since their focus is more on the loss of a child than a more general look at the loss of a loved one.

    Kelly - Wow! Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment! I am thoroughly enjoying your book and am anxious to get back to it. I usually don't read more than one book at a time, but I have a couple of reading commitments that have forced me to put your lovely memoir aside for a few days. I'll have a review posted here on my blog just as soon as I finish -- hopefully by this weekend. I've already got a bunch of sticky-notes marking favorite passages. Always a good sign. :)

  6. Weeeeell, that's my "general" favorite. My overall favorite grief book did have to do with specifically losing a father. I can't remember the title, though, 'cause it's been 17 years.

    Psssst! I just tagged you for a meme. It's a silly one; I hope you can join in, but don't feel obligated. :)

  7. Hi, Les!

    So sorry to hear about your former mother-in-law. She battled this cancer for 17 years? Wow, she was a fighter. Anyway, thankfully she is in a pain free place now. This Sunday our local radio had an hour-long special on CS Lewis. What a fascinating character he was! How I wish the program had been archived, I know it's something I would love to listen to again.

    Sorry this has been a rough week for you. Hugs to you Les!

  8. Les, I'm glad to hear that your loved ones are safe in the San Diego area!

    Also very sorry to hear about the loss of Amy's grandmother. The world needs more of those unfailingly upbeat people. It's wonderful that they remained so close.

    I'm so sorry that the trial is dragging out for such a long time. I wish that you and Rod could get that part of it well behind you.

    And yes, I'll gladly send you my address. Thanks very much!

  9. Anonymous9:25 PM


    I dont know if you have a journal somewhere that tells me about what trial you are waiting for. I went to the site and saw your beautiful daughter, Rachel. I am soooo sorry. My heart breaks that that beautiful girl is no longer on this earth.

    I am so sorry that you must endure this.

    With love;

  10. Nancy - Thanks for the tag. It's been a busy week with an even busier weekend ahead, but I've started my list and should get it posted by Monday. :)

    Lotus - Yes, she was quite a fighter and a lovely person. Thanks for your kind words.

    I wonder if you can contact your radio station and see if they can give you a copy of the C.S. Lewis broadcast. I'd be surprised they didn't keep any sort of copy.

    Janet - Thanks for all your very nice comments. Got your address and will get the book in the mail early next week. This week has been far too hectic!

    Gayla - Do you mean a blog/journal entry? I haven't really gone into too much detail about the trial anywhere on that blog other than one entry on March 18th. Thank you for your kind words.

  11. Lesley, have you come across Madeleine l'Engle's book The Summer of the Great Grandmother? It's about the last months of her mother, surrounded by their extended family, and it is beautifully written.

  12. Marijana - No, I haven't read The Summer of the Great Grandmother. I enjoyed Two-Part Invention, however. Thanks for the comment and recommendation. I'll have to give it a try one of these days. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  13. Sorry to hear you had so many things at once bringing you down. And my sympathies about your former mother-in-law.
    Thanks again for the book! As I mentioned it's my first 'win'. I'm looking forward to receiving it. :)

  14. Nat - Thanks. Thankfully, things have settled down around here.

    Hope you enjoy the book!

  15. I read "The Worst Hard Time" for the Nebraska 1 book thingy. It was really good Les, Im sure you will give it another go and enjoy it.


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