Arrr! (Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day) Thar be a hunt for treasure, Mateys!
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SqueakyChu flutters through 2014 - Page 2

This is a continuation of the topic SqueakyChu flutters through 2014.

75 Books Challenge for 2014

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Feb 26, 2014, 12:00pm Top

All of my 2013 challenges (except for that speedy calendar) were really a FAIL! My mom used to say "my eyes were bigger than my stomach". I guess that's me. This year, I'll set my sights a little lower and hopefully will do better in all of my challenges.

The year 2014 will be The Race of the Butterflies. It will include all of my challenges and a calendar. Hopefully, I'll finish my challenges before the year runs out.


Which butterfly will win the race by year's end?


Butterfly #1: My 75 Books Challenge for 2014
I am determined to do better in this challenge than last year. I've conquered this challenge before and know I can do it again. The question is...when?

Butterfly #2: My 15,000 Pages in 2014 Challenge. I was so close to achieving my goal last year that I'm trying this challenge again.

Butterfly #3: My BookCrossing MT TBR Challenge
This is my very first totally BookCrossing challenge that I'm doing on LibraryThing. These are books I acquired from other BookCrossers.

Butterfly #4: My Read Our Own Tomes (ROOT) Challenge 2014
I cut back on the number of ROOTS for my goal as I always seem to be distracted by newer books. These are books I acquired prior to 2010.

Butterfly #5: My 2014 Calendar
Watch out for this butterfly. He (or she?) is trying to get to his destination before I finish my other challenges.


Reading Rate: To keep ahead of this game, it looks as if I should be reading at least 7 books per month. We'll see what happens.

...and here we go!!!!!!!!!

Edited: Mar 8, 2014, 10:28pm Top


Lime butterfly, Butterfly trail, Singapore .............. Photo by B_cool, Flickr, CC-A

My bookish plans for January
1. Attend a BookCrossing meet-up in Ballston Commons Mall, Arlington, Virginia - COMPLETED
2. Attend an author talk by Steve Piacente at the Rockville Senior Center - CANCELED due to cold weather :(

1. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn - TIOLI: Read a mystery book where the lead investigator is a professional sleuth, but not one employed by law enforcement (journalist) - 254 pages
2. Gaza Blues - Etgar Keret, Samir El-Youssef - TIOLI: Read a book that has two of something in the title (two letter A's) - 172 pages
3. The Rockaways - Gilles Peress - TIOLI: Read a book about the city, state (province), or country in which you live - 93 pages
4. The Cat Who Covered the World - Christopher S. Wren - TIOLI: read a book from your 'average' year (2001) - 204 pages
5. Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls - David Sedaris - TIOLI: Read a book that has some connection with the number 14 (11475th most-popular work on LT) - 275 pages


Edited: Feb 28, 2014, 9:30am Top


Butterfly, India ..................................... Photo by Diganta Talukdar, Flickr, CC-A

My bookish plans for February
1. Participate in International Book Giving Day on 2/14/14. - COMPLETED
2. Release three Harry Potter books in memory of Becky Johns - One released 2/2/14; one released 2/6/14; one released 2/14/14 - COMPLETED
3. Attend BookCrossing meet-up 2/23/14 - COMPLETED

6. *Magical Thinking - Augusten Burrroughs - TIOLI: Read a book and then remove it from your physical presence (my Little Free Library) - 268 pages
7. Masa: Stories of a Lone Soldier - Ilan Benjamin - TIOLI: Read a book of short stories - 209 pages
8. The Elephant Keepers' Children - Peter Hoeg - TIOLI: Read a book and then remove it from your physical presence (library book) - 496 pages
9. Did You Know..? Wise Words & Advice for Gardeners & Floral Designers - Members & Friends of National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc. - TIOLI: Read a book and then remove it from your physical presence (Little Free Library in Brookside Gardens) - 217 pages
10. On Such A Full Sea - Chang-rae Lee - TIOLI: Read a book from the library of the LT member with the greatest weighted number of books which match your own (Candiss/To read) - 352 pages
11. The Thing With Feathers - Noah Strycker - TIOLI: Read a book with an object on the cover that starts with a letter in rolling alphabetical order (silhouette) - 279 pages
12. *Short Stories - Louisa May Alcott - TIOLI: Read a book of short stories - 55 pages
13. 69 - Ryu Murakami - TIOLI: Read a book whose cover is dominated by the color red - 191 pages
14. *Driving Over Lemons: An optimist in Andalucia (tree) - Chris Stewart - TIOLI: Read a book with an object on the cover that starts with a letter in rolling alphabetical order (tree) - 247 pages

*ROOTs - See next month

Edited: Mar 31, 2014, 11:41pm Top


Butterfly, Macinaw Island, Michigan USA ............. Photo by goingslo, Flickr, CC-A

My bookish plans for March
1. BookCrossing meet-up in Baltimore to go to The Book Thing. Fun on 3/8/14 - COMPLETED

15. Serpent's Chronicle - Neil Folberg - TIOLI: Read a book of/about photography, a photographer or that uses a photograph or camera as a plot device - 81 pages
16. *The Fountain of Age - Betty Friedan - TIOLI: Read a book about an injustice (ageism) -
638 pages
17. Philomena - Martin Sixsmith - TIOLI: Read a book about an injustice (forcibly taking a baby away from a young mother) - 420 pages
18. *House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood - Adina Hoffman - TIOLI: Read a book with a word in the title that starts with a vowel - 217 pages

*ROOTS: See next month.

Feb 26, 2014, 12:32pm Top

Lovely butterflies, Madeline!

Feb 26, 2014, 12:52pm Top

Hi, Darryl!

I can't wait until some butterflies actually visit my garden this spring. I hate this cold weather...and I know you're probably already tired of Atlanta's cold and messy weather this year.

Feb 26, 2014, 2:26pm Top

Nice butterflies! It's almost time for them around here... :)

Feb 26, 2014, 2:39pm Top

Hi Madeline!

Feb 26, 2014, 2:42pm Top

Hello Madeline! Lovely new thread! And I'm a BIG fan of Mackinac Island in Michigan. (Don't remember seeing that type of butterfly though ...)

Feb 26, 2014, 3:16pm Top

I love the butterflies! They are so beautiful. Happy New thread, Madeline!

Edited: Feb 26, 2014, 7:04pm Top

> 7, 8, 9, 10

Hi, all!

*sits and waits impatiently for spring*

Feb 26, 2014, 7:50pm Top

I've heard a rumour, Madeline that spring is very much on its way; I sense a gradual thaw coming up through the country. Georgia already has balmy days and the warmer air is heading in your direction. No seasons at all for me so I envy the onset of spring.

Congratulations on your latest thread. Should possibly count the TIOLI threads as your threads too and then you'd be at the top of the pilein my silly thread league!

Feb 26, 2014, 7:57pm Top

Hi, Madeline, and happy great race of the butterflies to you!

Spring is flirting with us in my lovely pacific northwest corner of the USA. I spent the entire day today in just a sweat shirt, and I even had the thought of taking it off at one point when I felt very very warm. Lots of sunshine, but a few clouds, too. We have these "false Spring" days in February every year, and then we are dropped back into gray days, with cold temps, and many more raindrops coming down until about July 4. The temps become warmer but not yet warm, if you know what I mean.

Nice to see you making good progress on your reading goals. I've not done so well this year as my eyes are giving me some fits. Hopefully a soon to had appt. with the eye doctor will provide me with tools for improvement (new glasses perhaps).

Feb 26, 2014, 9:19pm Top

12, 13

It may be spring in other parts of the U.S. but this morning it was still snowing in Maryland. :(

Feb 26, 2014, 10:04pm Top

Early morning snow in NE Pennsylvania as well. It didn't last long and it didn't stick, but to look out and see snow one more time was disheartening.

I hope you are feeling better Madeline.

Feb 26, 2014, 11:21pm Top

I'm feeling fine now. Thanks, Linda.

Feb 26, 2014, 11:49pm Top

Spring is here in San Diego, and I'd be glad to share it vicariously!

Feb 26, 2014, 11:52pm Top

I'd rather be in San Diego, Roni. You live in such a lovely city.

Feb 27, 2014, 1:12am Top

Hi :-)

Feb 27, 2014, 5:37am Top

Happy new thread, Madeline.

Feb 27, 2014, 10:05am Top

Grouchy Minnesotan popping to say it is -35 degree with windchill this morning. Please keep your discussion of a spring to a minimum until our outdoor air temperatures won't kill you in under 10 minutes.

Feb 27, 2014, 10:11am Top

> 21

LOL! You have every right to be grouchy, Erik. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to be experiencing -35 degrees (and so often!).

Do you think you'll even have a spring this year? ;)

Feb 27, 2014, 10:13am Top

It snowed in May last year. Let's just say I am not optimistic at this point.

Edited: Feb 27, 2014, 10:16am Top


Er, I hate to ask this...but, did you have a summer last year in Minnesota?

Feb 27, 2014, 10:19am Top

Eventually it warmed up but it was pretty disappointing with a fair amount of rain early in the summer. The jet stream has really been playing havoc with our weather (and the rest of the country's too I guess).

Feb 27, 2014, 10:24am Top

That is so sad. I just love the summertime. My favorite part of it is hanging out with friends on summer evenings. Everyone here in Maryland complains about the humidity and heat but me. I just think back to the alternative of winter weather...

Feb 27, 2014, 12:30pm Top

Happy New Thread, Madeline!

>21 Oberon:: Sing it, brother!

Feb 27, 2014, 6:50pm Top

Hi, Amber!

Hope all is well with you.

Mar 1, 2014, 9:23pm Top

Thank you for the beautiful flutterbys up there, Madeline! They do a frozen snowy Midwestern heart good, I tell ya.

Mar 2, 2014, 12:12am Top

Those butterflies are my heartfelt wish for spring to come sooner rather than later.

Mar 2, 2014, 1:12am Top

Hi Madeline :-)

Mar 9, 2014, 2:12pm Top

Hello Madeline! Just catching up again....spring sprung in Britain this weekend - clear sunshine warmed my face as I parked up at a seaside lookout yesterday to peruse my 20 book library/charity shop haul (for under £15!). Here's to Maryland warming up very soon!

I'm glad you enjoyed Driving Over Lemons. I read it a few years back (I think I just happened upon it around about the time it was published), and found it quietly uplifting. Of course it made me want to go back and visit Andalucia again. Luckily I had my own stint of Lemon grove pruning therapy this time last year when I was visiting my brother in Australia.

Nice that he called the third one in that series 'The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society'. Every late winter in Israel there will always be a newspaper front or back page with a lovely photo of Almonds in blossom - the Prunus dulcis being usually the first trees in that country to show spring flowering - with the Hebrew caption 'THE ALMOND BLOSSOMS!!' heralding the season. I have a nice picture of a grove that I have in my PC's screensavers folder:

I always love to see their blossom.

Mar 9, 2014, 3:33pm Top

to peruse my 20 book library/charity shop haul (f

Congrats on that. I can't do any more charity shop (or any other kind of) book haul. My TBR list is up to 499. I will not go over 500.


I think it's time to cull my TBR books as I probably will not live long enough to read all of them (as others such as those pesky but irresistible LT ER books always seem to slip in). I do plan on having a long life! :)

What a beautiful picture of those almond trees, Paul. They make me think of the Hebrew song I used to sing to my kids every spring..."Hashkaydiah pohrachat...chag na-ilanot...!" (The almond tress are blooming...holiday of the trees...)

Today is a much warmer day here in Maryland. Even though the temperature is not that high, the sunshine is nice.

The almond tree blossoms from afar on your picture look very much like the cherry blossoms we await here every April in the Washington, DC, area. Even though we had a very cold winter, the cherry blossoms look as if they'll be fine and right on target this year.

Mar 9, 2014, 4:09pm Top

Almonds and Cherries are cousins really, being from the same genus.

I was thinking only today that I should have an ongoing cardboard box that I fill bit by bit with books to get rid of.

Edited: Mar 9, 2014, 4:30pm Top

>34 Polaris-:

Almonds and Cherries are cousins really, being from the same genus

Interesting. I didn't know that. I know more about vegetables than I do fruit from having been our CSA (community supported agriculture) newsletter editor for the past few years. I gave that up at the end of 2013, but I had no takers to continue it. :(

I was thinking only today that I should have an ongoing cardboard box that I fill bit by bit with books to get rid of.

If you make that "cardboard" box into a wooden, weatherproof box (with doors), you could have your own Little Free Library (like mine). :)

Mar 9, 2014, 5:22pm Top

And plums are another close cousin. We have a plum tree in our garden. It is not even attempting to flower quite yet. But it's a comparatively young tree, so I'm not expecting a display quite like the picture for several years (and the rest!)

Mar 9, 2014, 7:38pm Top

>36 Helenliz:

I'd love to have a fruit tree in my yard, but there's not enough room Do you bake with the plums from your tree?

Mar 10, 2014, 3:00am Top

>37 SqueakyChu: Seeing I think we got about 8 plums off it last year, not yet! It was its first fruiting year, so I was pleased with any.

Mar 10, 2014, 3:58am Top

I don't have a tree (of any sort), but I do help pick with a garden group I'm in - people who have too much fruit on their trees for them to deal with can call us and we'll pick it, give them some, take some ourselves and take the majority to our local Food Bank. It works very nicely.

Last year I helped pick a plum tree and took a nice lot of fruit - made a gorgeous plum jam. It turned out absolutely delicious - the first jam I've made that I've been unqualifiedly happy with (they're usually reasonably tasty, but either runny or sort of jello-like, or too sweet, or something). Looking forward to doing it again - right now it's mostly lemons and oranges.

Mar 10, 2014, 8:44pm Top

>39 jjmcgaffey: That's such a good thing - to help those with more fruit than they can handle. There's a very cool project I came across once on Facebook (I just looked for the link and can't find it just now) - it's basically an international online mapping project for all freely available public fruit trees. I added a handful I could think of from my time in London. There's a great little plum tree in Chiswick I used to pick from every summer when I worked in that district, and a Loquat tree near where I used to live, just off the top of my head.

Being an originally Californian thing there were literally thousands on the west coast, but there was a pretty good distribution all the way across the States, and dotted around the globe in some other places too.

I wish I could find the link for it again...

Mar 10, 2014, 9:12pm Top

http://fallingfruit.org/ ? There are several, but this one seems to have the widest range (of course, since I'm in CA, I'm happy with the more information here!). It's also a link tree, at http://fallingfruit.org/maps , to other mapping projects. I've put in a couple trees on this one - but I'd also lost the link, thanks for nudging me to go find it.

Mar 12, 2014, 2:43pm Top

We definitely won't have any apricots set on this year, after our warm winter, but we do have grapefruit and lemon trees.

Has your weather warmed up enough to have visitors at your LFL lately?

Mar 12, 2014, 4:10pm Top

>42 ronincats:

Has your weather warmed up enough to have visitors at your LFL lately?

It has! This week was the first time in about two weeks that I've noticed any books gone at all. I'm so happy about that!

Edited: Mar 13, 2014, 12:58pm Top

My newest project!

My newest project is culling books from my TBR collection. It's those books I always look at and say to myself that I'll read them some other time. It's time to let them go. I'll be releasing them, along with other FREE, gently used books, at the International Day of the Book festival* in Kensington, Maryland, USA, on Sunday, April 27, 2014, from 11am to 4pm. Please stop by the BookCrossing booth to say hello and to pick up some free, gently used books from our BookCrossing booth.

I wanted to share an old picture, but, for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to do this on LT from the new Flickr. They keep changing that #$%^&&* website to make it totally useless to me. :(

* Be there!

Mar 13, 2014, 9:16pm Top

Well, I took a quick scan of my books and was able to only cull 16 books. That gets me down to 185 books to be read. That also leaves me room to add 15 more books to my To Read collection this year.

Some books I pulled were those I started and didn't finish. I planned to get back to them, but I guess I didn't really like any of them enough to get back to them.

Others were authors I was tired of and don't wish to read at this time (Marilyn Robinson, Gail Tsukiyama, Chris Bohjalian, Kaye Gibbons, etc.)

I found one duplicate book by Sherman Alexie.

There was one that was written by a colleague at work. I didn't want to finish it, but I'll try to foist it off on my sister-in-law. it's more her (religious) type of book.

One thing for sure... No matter how long I live, I will never run out of books to read!! :D

Mar 13, 2014, 9:40pm Top

>44 SqueakyChu: I cannot figure out how to do this on LT from the new Flickr
Yes, they do keep changing it, but I went through this recently...
* Click the picture so it fills the window.
* Click the Share symbol (rectangle with arrow, at bottom of window).
* Click on the Grab the HTML/BBCode section.
* Select HTML (at the bottom).
* Select the image size you want to display.
* Copy the HTML that appears in the box, and paste it into your LT post.

>45 SqueakyChu: No matter how long I live, I will never run out of books to read!!
We'll all be in our death beds pleading, just let me finish this chapter...

Edited: Mar 13, 2014, 10:45pm Top

>46 qebo:


It doesn't work for me.



I can't see anywhere where it says to select HTML at the bottom.

I give up!


Mar 13, 2014, 10:57pm Top

@ 44,45 - I am also in cull mode. And, like you (if not moreso), I will likely never live long enough to read through the piles and bookcases. And boxes. But I am working on it.....!

Mar 13, 2014, 11:00pm Top

>48 jessibud2:

I find cull mode very liberating. I also found that the books I'm releasing without reading are not usually those books I've bought. At least that's good.

Edited: Mar 13, 2014, 11:03pm Top

>46 qebo:

I figured out what was wrong. Flickr foisted a new beta version on me that did not work at all. I figured out how to get it back to the non-beta version. I have no problem with that. That works well and is exactly what you were describing above. That version I have no problem with except for the endless scrolling which I hate.

Mar 14, 2014, 6:05pm Top

Just a note to let you know that the thread for Sense And Sensibility is up - here. :)

Edited: Mar 14, 2014, 7:23pm Top

Edited: Mar 15, 2014, 5:10pm Top

I just started reading Sense and Sensibility and am lurking on that tutored thread. I found this quote from Chapter 2 of that book amusing...

People always live for ever when there is any annuity to be paid to them.

Mar 15, 2014, 5:05pm Top

I need to do some culling here too! Very good idea!

Mar 15, 2014, 5:09pm Top

>54 connie53:

I didn't cull very many, though. :D

Mar 15, 2014, 11:37pm Top

I'm trying to use my challenge, specifically, to get rid of books. I've not yet gotten to the point of dumping books I haven't read - I have a couple that I really should do that to (can't read more than a page or two without dropping it in disgust, but I keep hoping it will get better), but can't muster the strength yet. But I have gotten rid of a couple that I've read and really don't need to reread. I'm challenging myself to get rid of 25 books this year - so 16 at a blow is quite impressive!

Mar 15, 2014, 11:40pm Top

>56 jjmcgaffey:

so 16 at a blow is quite impressive!

Sixteen out of about 500 is not really all that much. Several of those I've already started once and thought they were bad or boring enough that I didn't finish them. In a way, it was a relief to move those along. I already did add another new-to-me book to my pile today though. The count creeps up again. :)

Edited: Mar 17, 2014, 1:45pm Top

15. Serpent's Chronicle - Neil Folberg

This was a photographer's interpretation of the "garden of Eden" story of the first book of the Old Testament.

Rating - 3.5 stars

Mar 17, 2014, 1:12pm Top

Happy Monday Madeline. How is your beautiful grand son. I smile when I see photos of his head of hair. He looks so happy with the world.

Drat, that the Serpent's Chronicle doesn't lead to the right book.

Mar 17, 2014, 1:48pm Top

My sweet little grandson is terrific. Our family went to a first birthday party of a family friend so I got to show off my own grandkid to everyone else. It was such fun! MY daughter-in-law is contemplating having him get his first haircut. :(

I fixed the link. I'm not sure if I liked that book or not. I read it last night when I was really too tired to concentrate. How does a photographer really get a book of his photos to sell? That must be very difficult. Everyone seems to think that he or she is a photographer these days.

Mar 17, 2014, 5:56pm Top

>60 SqueakyChu:
Everyone seems to think that he or she is a photographer these days.

The upside of digital is everyone can play and be creative. The downside is that everyone does think they're a photographer just because they can push a button and get instant gratification.

Edited: Mar 21, 2014, 12:01am Top

16. The Fountain of Age - Betty Friedan

I found it very strange but serendipitous that I've had this book in my hands since 2005, but I never picked it up to read until I did so for a reading challenge in 2014. In the same year and at age 66, I was suddenly told by my employer of more than 39 years that I no longer had a job and could go home immediately. Thus began my own episode of "aging" and trying to make what I would of this last stage of life. It was with great fear, oppressive emotional stress, and nightmares which would awaken me each night that I started my retirement years. Fortunately, I was able to get many of those pressing financial worries under some sort of control before I chose this book to read. This state of being allowed me to take great interest in the subject matter as I could relate to all of what was being said. I also saw it as a tool to help me move forward in learning to cope with aging in ways I never considered before.

I found it very encouraging to learn that aging is not a limiting condition outside of the physical deterioration one may expect sooner or later. I was happy to learn that brain development and differentiation in age continues through age seventy or eighty...or even longer in some individuals. One thing it will certainly do is to make me work toward demonstrating my personal strengths as I age and not to fear my numerical age (which I never have). I very much appreciate Betty Friedan's momentous work on this book about the aging mystique and only wish it would do as much for aging as her previous books have none for the feminine mystique. Not only this book, but also this subject needs to be much more in the forefront of our reading and learning as the "graying of America" (as American baby boomers become senior citizens) takes place. We, of age, are a strong and determined force, and this book is the proof.

Beware that this is not light reading. This is a thick, dense book, well over 600 pages. Some might find this kind of reading dry. As for me? I was fascinated by every sentence!

Rating - 5 stars

Mar 21, 2014, 6:18am Top

I hit that big round number on my last birthday and have also been reading a lot of stuff on this topic. I am also beyond burned out at work and have been considering retirement, even though I don't know that I can swing it, financially. All that said, another book I read and one that surprised me that I liked it as much as I did was Jane Fonda's *Prime Time*. I actually listened to her read it on audiobook then went out and purchased a copy of the book for myself. I think I might have this Friedan book on my shelf or in a box somewhere; I'll have to go look for it. Glad you found it good.

Mar 21, 2014, 8:23am Top

I am rather enjoying my "aging". I like not doing what others want me to do, as much as I'm able. I don't really even mind not making "the big bucks". While retired I can find the time to do what it takes to spend less.

I am fortunate to have a small pension as well as Social Security and so I have enough, if not plenty. And I am rich in time to do what I wish to do, including lots of reading, and talking about books. I also do Luminosity as well as Duolingo on my trusty MacBook Air which I trust will help keep my brain functioning well. We shall see.

Edited: Mar 21, 2014, 8:31am Top

>63 jessibud2:

I'll look for Jane Fonda's Prime Time. I found Betty Friedan's book of great value and support at this time of my uncertainty. I don't know if I can financially afford to retire, but now that question is moot. I have to make it happen. Truthfully, I'm not sure I can get used to the idea of having to "spend down" my money rather than saving it.

Mar 21, 2014, 8:31am Top

>62 SqueakyChu: I’m a decade+ younger, but definitely conscious of aging. Though so far I’ve found it freeing; aside from minor physical decay, psychologically and socially I’m so much less tied up in knots about _oughts_ and _shoulds_. I worry about employment though, because I’m in a field where last year is obsolete.

I was suddenly told by my employer of more than 39 years that I no longer had a job and could go home immediately.
Seriously? It was that abrupt? No wonder you’ve been reeling.

Edited: Mar 21, 2014, 8:39am Top

>64 maggie1944:

Well, I'm curious to see where my interests will take me. I've been a person who always has had something going on. I am somewhat limited by my hearing difficulties, but I want to keep active. I also do not want to spend my retirement years simply sitting in front of my computer - although BookCrossing and LibraryThing have taken up a great amount of computer time *years* before my forced retirement! :)

Two upcoming projects - helping my daughter-in-law with Passover seder and chairing the BookCrossing booth at the Kensington International Day of the Book festival. That should keep me busy for April at least!

Mar 21, 2014, 8:43am Top

Yup. "Curious to see where my interests will take me.." It is interesting, indeed. And I have learned that I am still the same person and I still do much the same sorts of things. One of my preretirement habits has continued: I tend to over commit myself, and then have periods of retreat, and then I'm back into some sort of fray. Entertaining.

Edited: Mar 21, 2014, 12:09pm Top

>66 qebo:

I worry about employment though, because I’m in a field where last year is obsolete.


Seriously? It was that abrupt? No wonder you’ve been reeling.

Seriously. My plan was to work until age 70 in my current (well, now former) job. I had been with the same company for over 39 years. I was given no advance notice but told, while at work one day, that my position had been eliminated and to go home.

I strongly feel that a dedicated employee of retirement age should be given advance warning of a layoff. I look forward to the day that I might actually enjoy being retired. That day has not yet arrived.

Mar 21, 2014, 9:04am Top

>69 SqueakyChu: I don't think that this experience will ever diminish in the amount of hurt that it caused me.
What an utterly disrespectful and insulting way to deal with any employee, but after 39 years?!?!?

Mar 21, 2014, 9:05am Top

>69 SqueakyChu:

Obviously, I agree. :(

Mar 21, 2014, 3:34pm Top

I was laid off in a similar manner several years ago. Taken into an office and told by someone I had never seen before. Also told I had one hour to pack my things and leave. I had been in the middle of some stuff when they came to get me, but when I got back, my computer was locked so I couldn't finish a thing. I had only been with the company for 3 years. I can't imagine what it would be like to work for a company as long as you did, Madeleine, and be so unceremoniously tossed.

It all sucks and I am sorry it happened to you in this way.

Mar 21, 2014, 3:49pm Top

I wish I had some "bon mots" on this topic. I have nothing to say. I am sorry this happened to both of you, and I wish I could make it so it would never happen to any one else ever, any where.

Mar 21, 2014, 7:26pm Top

Madeline, the way they treated you is disgraceful. There is very little I despise more than disrespect or being taken advantage of.

Today was actually my last day of work for the next month. I have officially taken a 4-week leave of absence *for medical reasons* (aka, stress leave). I have never done anything like this in my entire life and there is plenty of guilt involved, on the one hand (my assistants in the class and my admin, this year, are truly exceptional and wonderful) but on the other hand, this has been probably the worst year of my teaching career and I feel tremendous relief that I have made this decision. I hope to use the next 4 weeks to do some serious number crunching and exploring other options. I always had this crazy notion that if I retired, I didn't want to work at all. I don't know how realistic that is in this day and age, but I have also never volunteered before and would like to see if I can find something in that area. It won't pay the bills but sometimes, a big change is necessary to open doors, when others close.

We'll see. Hang in there.

Mar 21, 2014, 8:49pm Top

After I worked for school districts for 31 years I retired. I find now (12 years later) that I do like some sort of "work". I do volunteer; I also over commit and need to work on balance in my life, too. Retirement for me has nothing to do with quitting being active. I did sit about for a while, but that was pretty depressing. Computer games are just not that satisfying. So, I work for a little extra money, and for the satisfaction of doing something productive. It is not in my profession, and it does not pay well, but I like doing it for a few hours each week.

Just thought you'd like a little perspective from a former teacher.

Mar 21, 2014, 9:24pm Top

76 - Thanks. I know there are many options to consider. I am not a terribly social person but I don't really worry about being isolated or too sedentary. I would like to find something not connected with kids, though. A friend suggested a volunteer group that I am exploring; it is called Dancing With Parkinson's and helps Parkinson's patients (mostly seniors) with movement and mobility. It is wildly popular here and I may give it a try, even if I don't retire. I am told I don't have to be a dancer (which is a good thing), and having spent the last 20+ years working with physically disabled kids, I do know a thing or two about, and am not so intimidated by, mobility issues and physical limitations. We'll see. I guess my main concern at the moment is finances and if I can manage.

Thanks for the words of encouragement.

Mar 21, 2014, 10:34pm Top

>72 AuntieClio:

Thanks, AuntiClio.

I got back, my computer was locked so I couldn't finish a thing

That amazed me as well. How all the projects I had been working on suddenly stopped. All of my unfinished business was not only going to remain unfinished, but I'd never know what was done with it. I had just done such a good job of organizing my work, too!

Taken into an office and told by someone I had never seen before.

I was told by the president and my boss's manager. These were two people I've always liked before. *sigh*

when I got back, my computer was locked so I couldn't finish a thing.

No further computer access didn't freak me out that much as I never combined my work computer stuff with my personal stuff.

Truthfully, I was in such shock that what happened to me didn't sink in at first. The real nightmare didn't actually begin until I had to start figuring out finances and health insurance. I've still not completely gotten that under control yet. I hope to have that under control in at least another month or two.

Did you ever go back to work elsewhere?

Edited: Mar 21, 2014, 10:51pm Top

>73 maggie1944:

I wish I could make it so it would never happen to any one else ever, any where.

Thanks, Karen. I wish that as well.

>75 maggie1944:

the satisfaction of doing something productive.

I miss that most of all. I know that's the direction in which I'll head after I get my financial situation in order.

Mar 21, 2014, 10:47pm Top

>74 jessibud2:

I hope to use the next 4 weeks to do some serious number crunching and exploring other options

Wow. It sounds as if things are a bit rough for you as well. Could you consider retiring any time in the near future?

sometimes, a big change is necessary to open doors, when others close.

I agree with that. I can't see myself as employable with my hearing handicap, but I know I'll find some fun volunteer work to do. Just not yet. I need to decide in what direction I want to move.

Tonight I'm babysitting for my grandson (asleep in the back bedroom) while my son and daughter-in-law are out meeting with a friend who came in from out of town. My former rabbi, who has a book business, offered me a job to catalogue books, but I said I'd only do that as a volunteer. It's what I do all the time anyway, and it's lots of fun for me.

If you've never read the book I mentioned back in message #62, it's worth a read. I found it very uplifting. It made me want to move beyond my troublesome issues.

Mar 21, 2014, 10:54pm Top

I probably could enjoy reading it, too. But gosh, I have so much of the TBR variety. I was just trying to recommend a fiction book to a friend, and realized I have three bookcases of books I've not yet read, so I don't know if I dare recommend them.

I'd better go read.

Edited: Mar 21, 2014, 10:57pm Top

>80 maggie1944:

It's really an amazing book. Very powerful. It worked wonders for me - especially for me at a time in which I felt really down. I no longer feel that way.

I'd better go read.


Mar 21, 2014, 11:03pm Top

Wow! What a huge life change for you! All the more difficult because you were given no warning and couldn't prepare mentally and financially. I would think it would take some to 'acclimatize'. I'll be sending you positive warm thoughts.

Mar 21, 2014, 11:12pm Top

>82 michigantrumpet:

Thanks, Marianne. I think that as the weather warms up and I can work out in my garden a bit, I'll be more occupied and feel much better. It is indeed strange to wake up every morning and have nowhere to go.

Mar 21, 2014, 11:31pm Top

When my mother retired (and this was planned well in advance!) she said it was quite disorienting at first not going in to work.

Now she's so busy, she says she doesn't know how she got everything done when she was working! ;-)

Mar 22, 2014, 3:58am Top

I was made redundant five years ago, and I had the same thing of being escorted back to the desk and out of the building. But as I was working in the City of London at the time that was fairly standard practice as it was felt that a disgruntled employee could do a fair amount of damage given access to computer systems. It was a big shock but we knew that there would be some redundancies, and when I saw which other positions had been earmarked for redundancy I could understand why my position had been included, which helped a lot. And there was a lot of support provided for me to find something new.

I get the impression that these things are much more tightly controlled in the UK but that has been gained solely from watching US TV shows so I could be wrong!

Mar 22, 2014, 6:57am Top

Big hugs for you!

Edited: Mar 22, 2014, 9:34am Top

>85 SandDune:

And there was a lot of support provided for me to find something new.

Rhian, I guess that's what my biggest disappointment has been - the lack of support I felt - primarily by no early warning so I could have tried to learn about issues relating to retirement beforehand. I never even pictured retirement on the near horizon.

Going into sudden forced retirement is a vastly different issue than becoming unemployed, though both can be traumatizing. I had been laid off once before in my life, but previously I had advance notice, had choices of which I was already aware, and I was able to choose carefully from many options.

In my most recent case, I would have wished for advance notice in order to have learned more about Medicare, ObamaCare, pension options, and Social Security. I knew basically nothing! I'm slowly learning about it all now. A little late...but it's coming.

I would advise anyone who is approaching retirement age to learn about all of these options beforehand. One never knows when the door to employment will suddenly bang shut.

Mar 22, 2014, 9:32am Top

>86 wilkiec:

Thanks, Diana!

Mar 22, 2014, 9:50am Top

@79- My situation is a bit different from yours, in several ways. I have been mentally and emotionally ready to retire for some time now but financially, it's a scary thought. I have been teaching for long enough to have a pension but I have to figure out if that will be enough to allow me to go forward. Here in Canada, our health care situation is very different from yours and as such, is less of a worry for us. The finances of retirement, though, are my major concern; I am on my own and I have a mortgage. I have to know that I won't find myself in a situation where I might lose my house. I don't really want to move to a condo so that is really my prime concern right now. I also don't really want to *have to* work; I have lots of projects and hobbies to keep me busy and I'd love to get into volunteering, as well. I do appreciate that I have the luxury that you were denied, though, the luxury of having the time to prepare and to plan. As for *bosses* who can do what yours did to you, I don't know or understand how they live with themselves or look themselves in the mirror every day. There is never a valid excuse, in my mind, for treating people disrespectfully. (he sounds like a good model for a voodoo doll! ;-)

Edited: Mar 22, 2014, 10:09am Top

I have a mortgage.

Hmmm. Therein lies the problem. It seems as if the best idea would be to have your mortgage paid off before you cut off your income.

Is it possible to move into another job, perhaps part time? That's what one of my friends did when her job was driving her crazy. Now she can move into retirement when and if she pleases - as quickly or as slowly as she wants.

I have been teaching for long enough to have a pension but I have to figure out if that will be enough to allow me to go forward.

I wonder if there is any way to figure that out for real? In my case, it's now out of my hands. Had I thought about it beforehand, I would have said no. My daughter seems to think my husband and I will be fine. However...I'm depending on his working part time to supplement our income...at least until his arthritis steps in the way.

The pension options made me crazy as well. I had at least 12 different plant from which to choose as well as a lump sum. Who could ever know which is the best option?! Who would not second guess the option chosen?

I did meet with a investment adviser from the retirement plan to talk about pension options. I found his advice relatively worthless. What he told me I could have figured out myself with the online calculator from their website.

The biggest issue is that we have no idea how long we will live so we have no way of planning anything for sure (unless we happen to be independently wealthy...which we're not!).

Have you thought of consulting with a certified financial planner? I opted out of that due to cost and not seeing the necessity of doing so. I like handling my own investments.

Edited: Mar 22, 2014, 10:50am Top

I have an appointment with my financial advisor on Monday. I actually love this guy; he is truly excellent. I have relied on him and trusted him for years. I know what I need to do, though: sit down and crunch numbers. Work out my known expenses, for the foreseeable future, and basically work out what I need to live on. Then, with his help (and the help of the school board pension board - hopefully, an appointment there next week, too), figure out what I will end up with, after all deductions. It boils down to basic math; something I am a genius at avoiding.

I actually did all those calculations with both those experts a few years ago, when the reality of it was still *in theory*. But now it matters.

We shall see. In the meantime, I will breathe in, breathe out. Usually, a good plan! ;-)

Bookcrossing meetup this afternoon. :-)

Edited: Mar 22, 2014, 12:03pm Top

I like your plan. It seems wise.

My daughter gave me a work sheet so I, too, can work out a budget. I just need to fill it in sometime before I die. ;)

BookCrossing meet-ups were my fun breaks from stress, too. Enjoy!!

Mar 22, 2014, 3:36pm Top

I hope everything will work out for you all. I'm turning 61 this week, but I never think of those things. Perhaps I should.

Mar 22, 2014, 6:18pm Top

You should think of them sooner rather than later. If you study them now...all will easily fall into place when the time comes.

Edited: Mar 22, 2014, 7:00pm Top

@ 92 - "I just need to fill it in sometime before I die"

Hehe. See my comment about basic math.....

famous last words.... ;-p

Mar 22, 2014, 6:58pm Top

Yep. At least we agree! :)

Mar 22, 2014, 7:11pm Top

I did not do much planning although I did buy a place where I could pay for the place and only be on the hook for taxes, maintenance, and operating costs. It is a very humble place.... "trailer" on some property I own. I knew I do not have much money, and I knew I had a good chance to live a long life, as my genes appear to favor that in the women in our family. So. Now I have a house which keeps me warm, and expenses are increasing but still within my income from Social Security and the pension.

I was delighted to find a retirement home which I think I can afford if the place where I live now will sell for a good price. There is no way to predict these things so my philosophy is do the best I can, and do not hide my head in the sand. If I have to change plans, well then I will. Maybe I'll have to sell, and rent a cheap apartment. Maybe I'll have to sell on contract and hope who ever buys it will be good for paying me. These things can not be predicted, so my approach is to plan for a realistic guess, and be mentally prepared to change gears.

A touch of advice for us all: the most important things in this regard are: do not deny the fact that you will retire, and you do need to do some predicting about the finances. Be flexible in looking for solutions. Ask for help, but don't let people talk you into spending money unless you are sure you can afford to spend it. No one knows how long we will live, so my idea was to plan for something a little ridiculous. I think I'll live to 100. (not likely, but maybe)

Mar 22, 2014, 7:18pm Top

>97 maggie1944:

I like your thoughts and outlook. Thanks for sharing them. I'm hopeful for the future.

I think when we plan for the future we kind of have to plan for 100 because the idea is not to outlive our money.

In the book I just read, Betty Friedan was all for seniors "aging in place". She believed that Leisure World and senior citizen facilities were too artificial. She felt that seniors needs companionship and suggested communal living (such as roommates in a shared house). She once lived in a commune.

I rather like being around all ages of people. However, I know that senior living facilities are really good for some people who would otherwise be completely isolated. I guess it all boils down to the individual.

Mar 22, 2014, 7:48pm Top

>98 SqueakyChu: I'd bet that Betty Friedan could arrange a commune without much difficulty. Many people cannot. It involves a significant level of organization, management, and trust; even for a small unit such as a house. A retirement community is "artificial", but it has redeeming qualities of basic home maintenance and medical monitoring, and peace of mind for the children.

I have several friends worried about parents who live at a distance and are clearly deteriorating. I feel fortunate that my parents placed themselves in a retirement community several years ago. It's not ideal; the management often treats the residents as incompetent, for example. The up side though is my parents can choose how much they wish to get involved in community politics, and ignore the rest. They're actually more socially active than they were in their old house, where most of the neighbors were younger and raising children.

Mar 22, 2014, 7:53pm Top

qebo, the retirement community I am hoping to be able to move into seems as though one could accomplish a balance between involvement with the community, and carrying on independently, at least as long as possible. It is in easy walking distance of a medical clinic, a public library, and a mall. I think retirement communities are also going through some changes.

The staff at the place I like were telling me that they thought the Baby Boomers would have different ideas about an ideal way to live. I'll bet that is true.

Good luck to us all, I say!

Mar 22, 2014, 7:57pm Top

Yes, good luck to us all! Getting old isn't for the timid, eh?

Mar 22, 2014, 8:02pm Top

>100 maggie1944: I think retirement communities are also going through some changes.
Yeah, my parents say this as well. Their retirement community originated more as a nursing home, but as residents have entered at a younger age, physically and mentally intact, they expect to have more involvement and control. They aren't there to die; they're there to have someone else deal with the annoyances so they can get on with their lives.

Mar 22, 2014, 8:34pm Top

Hooray! My daughter's starting to draw again. She hasn't done that since she was in high school. Here's her new online gallery.

Mar 22, 2014, 9:17pm Top

Great pictures and interesting talk about retirement - planned and forced. I seem to be having a lot of discussions about retirement lately. I think that the scariest part is the finances. I have had a paycheque coming to me almost every two weeks since I was 21 (more than 40 years) so it is hard to figure out how life will be without that steady and reliable (mostly) influx of revenue.

Mar 22, 2014, 9:39pm Top

I was joking with someone the other day about retirement. I told them I would sell my house and move into an RV. Of course, I will probably take genealogical clients to supplement my retirement and social security. My retirement is not going to be as good as some people's will be because of the employers I've had.

Mar 22, 2014, 9:51pm Top

>104 Familyhistorian:

it is hard to figure out how life will be without that steady and reliable (mostly) influx of revenue.

That is really the scary part because I know that I'll never have the ability to earn what I once did (even if I did return to work which I don't see happening) and neither will my husband (even though he's still working part time). In our case, it's due to disability (me with hearing issues and my husband with arthritis pain).

I think I'm just going to have to choose what my spending priorities will be and stick to them. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to continue on as before. I never was a big spender. Instead of saving money, I'll just be spending what I've saved in past years. That's a weird thing to even think about much less put into practice. I don't want to go into my savings, but that's what retirement is. It will be very strange for me to do this. :(

Mar 22, 2014, 9:53pm Top

>105 thornton37814:

I will probably take genealogical clients to supplement my retirement and social security

So do you see yourself working through your retirement years? If so, for how long?

Mar 22, 2014, 10:00pm Top

107> So do you see yourself working through your retirement years? If so, for how long?

That's hard to say. As long as I'm able to do so . . . or until I'm tired of doing it . . . or as long as I need the income.

Retirement is still quite a few years away for me.

Mar 22, 2014, 10:47pm Top

I do think it is a dance between finding ways to spend less and finding adjustment to new goals. Finding ways to supplement a small income with just a little bit more. I will never make what I did and the joy of that is that I will never have to work that hard again, or deal with that much stress. Yay!

Mar 23, 2014, 4:08am Top

>77 SqueakyChu:
Oh yes, I've had several jobs since then. It's also the time period in which I decided to go back to school and finish my degree. I worked pretty steadily off and on (mostly on) until the latest layoff last year.

I need to find more work because money is running out and I am too young to retire just yet.

Mar 23, 2014, 6:18am Top

I have my own businesses these days, Madeline, and don't have to face the prospect of being treated quite so preversely by an Employer I had served faithfully for my than half my life.
I believe that I would be quite bitter about it and being a little bitter might make you feel better in a strange way.

As an Employer I really do hope I never treat someone so shabbily and impersonally as you seem to have been. Businesses rise and fall and sometimes redundancy cannont be helped but there is no need to cease treating people as people. I hate letting staff go and have only had to do the deed a handful of times (and not for redundancy). I am pleased to say that I have remained friends with a couple of the staff I did let go and have helped one of them in particular to a new career with one of my clients now that he is married and more serious about his work.

I do sincerely hope that you find something suitable for your undoubted talents. I don't know if I would have said so fifteen years ago but there is little substitute for experience in most things. xx

Mar 23, 2014, 7:19am Top

I should have apologized for hijacking this thread way back up there but actually, this has been such a good discussion and it is great to hear so many perspectives.

By the way, Madeline, your daughter is quite a talent!! :-)

Edited: Mar 27, 2014, 10:17am Top

17. Philomena - Martin Sixsmith

I found this book surprisingly more interesting than I thought I would. The title is misleading, though. Philomena was a young woman in Ireland who became pregnant out of wedlock and was placed in a convent to give birth. There she had her child, a son, who was then forcibly taken away from her with another little girl from that same convent, both to be adopted by a couple in the United States who already had three children of their own. This is really the story of Anthony Lee, raised as Michael Anthony Hess, by a distant controlling father and a meek mother. Michael's story of his family life, education, and personal life was as interesting as it was sad.

Throughout the entire book, I always had the feeling that Michael was an individual whose life was a living lie. Nothing he ever accomplished, at least in this literary version of his life, was without anguish, pain, or fear. He was brilliant, but the turns of his life, especially the way the author describes Michael as a tormented gay man who rose to prominence within the legal department of the Republican party, were agonizing. By the end of the book, I was wrung out - from sadness and from the injustice of it all.

Rating 4.5 stars

P.S. Now that I wrote the above review based on how I perceived the book alone, I went back to read other reviews. There I found many reports of inaccuracies, falsehoods, omissions, and exaggerations in the story of Michael Hess. It would be nice if someone would come forward and write a more accurate biography of this interesting individual. I would like to read a corrected version.

Mar 27, 2014, 10:26am Top

>113 SqueakyChu: - Have you seen the film yet, Madeline? I thought it was a very good film though it did leave me with a few unanswered questions. I haven't read the book. I always wonder, though, when a film is adapted from a book that is a true story (with the author still living), how much can they really alter/change facts? And how much veto power the author has over the screenplay.

Edited: Mar 27, 2014, 11:44am Top

>114 jessibud2:

I hadn't planned on seeing the film "Philomena" at all. I usually find films boring after I already know the plot from a book I've read. Like with books, I love when I know very little about films, and the story slowly reveals itself. I'm a member of a foreign film festival (great for me because all of the films are close captioned). I know when the films play but never read about them ahead of time because they are all very well selected and pretty much all of them are fabulous. I love the surprise of it all.

Funny thing about reading the book Philomena. My great niece started a private Facebook book club for family and friends called Better Than the Movie Book Club. I hate reading movie tie-in books or even seeing their covers. I told my great niece that I wanted to follow the FB page, though. When the first book chosen was this one, it sounded interesting so, of course, I ran to the library to get it (which was no easy task since most of the books were already out). The copy I got was "Library Express" - meaning three weeks out/no renewal so I had to rush through it. I actually found the story of Michael Hess very interesting, but not for the reason that the movie or the book was promoted.

The book delves deeply into the gay lifestyle of Michael and how he worked his way up through the ranks of the Republican party's legal team throughout the years of the Reagan administration here in the U.S. when most gays remained closeted and particularly if they had any ties at all with the ultra conservative Republican party from that era.

The funny thing is that very little of the book has anything to do with Philomena, Michael's mom. She appears shortly in the beginning of the book and for only a few pages at the end. Why they called the film "Philomena" is beyond me unless the film deals more with the mom than with the son.

The book is probably very inaccurate. It's built upon supposed conversations of people who are no longer alive. It was created around photographs and chance luck of people who were able to connect the dots. I think the rest of the story was imagined. To me, the story was compelling in the same way that James Frey's A Million Little Pieces was interesting. Both were labeled in the biography/autobiography/memoir genre, both were engaging reading, and both were largely fabricated. *sigh*
We need to have a genre for biographical semi-truth! ;)

What were your unanswered questions about the film, Shelley?

I always wonder, though, when a film is adapted from a book that is a true story (with the author still living), how much can they really alter/change facts?

A lot!

how much veto power the author has over the screenplay.

I think that varies with the flexibility of the director and the producer. That's an interesting question, though. I look forward to my book club online discussion about this book at the end of April. I'll come back here with a report.

Mar 27, 2014, 12:18pm Top

>115 SqueakyChu: - Well, hehe, I am not sure I remember at this point, what my unanswered questions were, lol! I just remember that when I saw it (not knowing anything about it beyond the bare bones), I went with a bunch of friends and when we went out to dinner afterwards, we talked a lot about it. And yes, I think the film did focus very much on Philomena's perspective, showing her in flashback as the story unfolded. Heart-wrenching, actually. I think I wondered if it was really as easy as it appeared that the journalist was able to find Michael in the first place. Then, later, how it was possible that he was able to confront that bitch of a mother superior in the convent, as easily as he did. And also, how Michael knew about the convent in the first place, to go back to and why when he was there, he didn't try to find Philomena himself.

Among other questions. :-)

Maybe I should read the book, myself. I agree with you that most adaptations from books are, more often than not, disappointing. There are a few exceptions, though. The film made from Helene Hanff's 2 books, 84 Charing Cross Road and its sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, remains one of my all-time favourites. I think it was partly the perfection of the casting (Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins) and partly because it stayed true to the books, but it is one of the few films I have watched more than once and actually purchased on dvd.

Mar 27, 2014, 12:35pm Top

> 116

Maybe I should read the book, myself.

I think you should.

You may piece together a whole different story looking at it from Michael's point of view. By putting both sides together, your questions may be answered (although the answers might not be true!).

The book is quite engaging - even if you think you already know the whole story. I actually looked at all the photographs in the book first and pieced together the story before I read it. I usually never do such a thing. I was appalled at myself! ;)

Mar 27, 2014, 1:03pm Top

>116 jessibud2:

I think I wondered if it was really as easy as it appeared that the journalist was able to find Michael in the first place.

I think luck had a lot to do with it. Michael Hess was a name well known to journalists who dealt with the Republican party in Washington, DC.

Per the book's author,

"We knew Michael's name and we knew his birth date. We did not know where he had lived in the U.S. or what sort of work he had been engaged in, but something stirred in my memory. I had been the BBC's Washington correspondent from 1991 to 1995 at the end of George Bush Senior's presidency, and I recalled that I had come across a senior White House Official named Michael Hess."

He followed up on this lead which eventually led to an email from Jill Holtzman Vogel, Republican state senator in Virginia, previously George Bush's Junior counsel, who "confirmed that Anthony Lee, the little Irish orphan, had grown up to become Michael Hess, chief counsel of the Republican National Committee"

Mar 27, 2014, 1:04pm Top

>116 jessibud2:

Then, later, how it was possible that he was able to confront that bitch of a mother superior in the convent, as easily as he did

In the book, I never got the feeling that Michael's meeting with the nuns was easy in either of his two visits to the convent.

Edited: Mar 27, 2014, 1:10pm Top

>116 jessibud2:

how Michael knew about the convent in the first place

From the book:

"The Notre Dame Admissions Office had written asking Mike for his birth certificate, social security number, and naturalization papers. When Doc put the papers in an envelope to mail to the university, Mike offered to take the letter tot he post office, where, with glances to the left and right, he carefully opened it and noted down the details: 'Anthony Lee, a male child having been born on the 5th day of July 1952 at Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, Ireland; and Philomena lee, mother of the said child, having relinquished full claim forever..."

Anthony Lee, son of Philomena Lee. Mike stared at that piece of paper for a long time. That night he wrote a letter, the first step on a journey he hoped would lead him to his mother, and to himself. He addressed it to the Mother Superior, Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea."

Mar 27, 2014, 1:15pm Top

>116 jessibud2:

why when he was there, he didn't try to find Philomena himself.

From the book:

"Mike and Pete returned to the convent the following morning but were told Sister Hildegarde was sick in bed. For the next two days they travelled the local area searching phone books and visiting churches and cemeteries. They combed every row of graves looking for family tombs with the name Lee, but they did not travel the seventy miles down N7 to Newcastle West. Had they done so, they would have found not only the Lee family grave but Mike's uncle Jack, who had bounced him on his knee forty years earlier and spent the rest of his life regretting that he did not pick him up and run off with him, still living in the same council house in Connolly's Terrace."

Now read the book...! :)

Mar 27, 2014, 1:38pm Top

>119 SqueakyChu: - For this confrontational meeting, I meant between the journalist who was helping Philomena, not Michael's meeting.

I think that part you mentioned about Michael finding out his own real identity, was never covered in the film. If it was, I am not remembering it.

I may just seek out the book now. There may even be a copy on our OBCZ shelves...

Edited: Mar 27, 2014, 2:35pm Top

The nuns were not confrontational by the time Philomena, her daughter Jane, and Martin SixSmith went to the abbey together. Mother Barbara and Sister Hildegarde were already dead. I have a feeling what happens in the film (at least in the end) is very different from what happens in the book. We're most likely talking about vastly different story lines.

The first time Philomena returned to Ireland (at least in the book), there was no journalist with her. At that time she visited with Mother Barbara who was very negative. This is from the book:
"Mother Barbara said, 'You have not spoken of your sin, have you? Or of what was done with your child?'

Philomena had spoken to no one.

Her joy and her shame were buried deep within her. Because of them her existence had been changed forever; because of them she was taking the night boat back to England now, condemned to live in a foreign place."

Yep. Read the book.

Mar 27, 2014, 5:40pm Top

>115 SqueakyChu:
The movie is much more about the mother, Philomena, and her search for Michael. It really centers on her. Michael's sexual orientation doesn't even come up until more than halfway through. I think I'll pass on the book. I enjoyed the movie very much.

Mar 27, 2014, 7:04pm Top

>114 jessibud2: I don't know about true stories, but I've seen things from half a dozen authors who have books turned into movies, and most of them get very little say in how things go. There was an interview recently (that I read in the last couple days, but I can't remember where) with Neil Gaiman in which he describes some of the scripts for his stories that went off in totally wrong directions - for Sandman, particularly. Now he did have a chance to argue about those - but he's a big name. And even he couldn't say "this is wrong, I won't accept it".

Mar 27, 2014, 8:18pm Top

>124 AuntieClio:

I found the book fascinating...and I didn't even particularly want to read it. The funny thing is that I don't think that the book or the film (though I didn't see the film) do the actual story justice. I've read too many negative things about the book as painting Michael Hess as a too dark, tortured soul, and that the movie takes too many liberties in portraying emotional highs.

Here's an interview with the real Philomena and her daughter Jane. I had a hard time understanding some of it because of my problem hearing, but everyone else (like all of you with normal hearing) should enjoy it. :)

Edited: Mar 27, 2014, 8:26pm Top

>125 jjmcgaffey:

I think you're right, Jennifer. Stephen King disliked the movie version of The Shining which I thought was great because of Jack Nicholson being hilarious as he basically played himself (and not the book protagonist Jack Torrance). I thought that King's horror story turned out more like a comedy the way Stanley Kubrick directed it. Stephen King then had a more accurate story, more like his book version, made for TV. I never saw that though.

Per Wikipedia about The Shining...
The Shining was adapted into a feature film in 1980 by director Stanley Kubrick, with a screenplay co-written with Diane Johnson, which is regarded by some as one of the greatest films of all time. King himself was disappointed with the film, stating it had abandoned several of his book's major themes. The Shining was later adapted into a television mini-series in 1997, closely monitored by King to ensure it followed the book. King wrote the series himself and was reportedly unable to criticize the previous film due to his contract.

The best of all worlds would be to have the author do the screenplay. That usually does not happen, though.

Edited: Mar 27, 2014, 8:31pm Top

>124 AuntieClio:

Stephanie, I thought the book was really good. I wasn't even planning on reading it, but I admit that I found it an engaging read. However, from what I've read, neither the book nor the film, portrayed the situation very accurately. The movie made Michael Hess to much of a dark, tortured soul, and the movie took liberties to give the audience emotional highs. I like this interview with the real Philomena and her daughter Jane (although I had a bit of difficulty understanding it with my hearing loss. Others should be able to get even more out of it).

Mar 27, 2014, 9:27pm Top

>128 SqueakyChu: - Madeline, that was a very good interview! Both Philomena and her daughter said that although both the film and the book didn't get all the facts right (or took liberties with them), they both felt that overall, the film did a good job. What Philomena said was most important to her, was that this film become a stepping stone in Ireland to open the discussion of the secret adoptions from that era. In other countries, even other parts of the UK, files can be open when the child is 18. Not so in Ireland. They continue to lie and say they know nothing and will not reveal any information to adoptees seeking to find birth parents (or vice versa). What a tragedy, and what a wonderful attitude she has, to try to use her story to right a wrong.

Thanks for that link

Edited: Mar 27, 2014, 10:20pm Top

>129 jessibud2:

You obviously got so much more out of that interview than I did. I wish it would have been close captioned or had a transcript available. Thanks for the info, though.

Mar 27, 2014, 11:00pm Top

At some point I'll be continuing my thread elsewhere with the months of April, May, and June.

Mar 28, 2014, 7:11am Top

>131 SqueakyChu: You need only 151 posts now to get the continue link; I bet people would contribute to the cause if you wanted.

Edited: Mar 28, 2014, 10:07am Top

> 132

Thanks, but I've already moved to a new thread where I can continue my next quarter. It's here.

Edited: Apr 1, 2014, 12:41am Top

18. House of Windows - Adina Hoffman

I adored this book. It brought back a flood of memories from the few months I had the privilege and delight of living and working in the city of Jerusalem. Although author Adina Hoffman talked about her experiences in the city at a later time period than when I was there, she brought back all of the local color of that city The people in Jerusalem are amazing - so colorful, so special. If I could have, I would have jumped right into the pages of this book, taken the author's hand and told her to let go, not be afraid of the city and its inhabitants, and to simply take everything in around her with joy. There was a sense of trepidation about her writing. Maybe it was because I was there as a single woman and the author first came there as a married woman, that I felt the beginning of this book was so tentative. I guess it was the time in which she lived there. I was there before the Intifada began.

Perhaps not as much for others who have never been to Israel or to Jerusalem, but for me, this book was simply enchanting. I loved all the characters - even the ones who were less than agreeable. That was because I seemed to know them all. She nailed her emotions and reactions of others in such a way that all the characters came vividly to life. With Hoffman's great eye and descriptive ability, she made this book as alive as any book could be. I enjoyed this read immensely.

Rating - 5 stars

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2014

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