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karenmarie's 2016 ROOT challenge thread 2

This is a continuation of the topic karenmarie's 2016 ROOT challenge thread 1.

2016 ROOT Challenge - (Read Our Own Tomes)

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Edited: Dec 8, 2016, 11:18am Top

Welcome to my 2nd ROOT challenge thread for 2016. I am also in the 75 book challenge and here's my thread for that: 75 book challenge

Here are the ROOTs I've read this year so far:

1. The Unstrung Harp by Edward Gorey 1/24/16 1/24/16 **** 64 pages. Lovely line drawings that you can gaze at for quite a while before you see everything, and the most delicious use of words imaginable. Fun.
2. *reread*Green Tea and Other Ghost Stories by J. Sheridan LeFanu 2/8/16 2/9/15 **1/2 92 pages trade paperback
3. The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink by Erle Stanley Gardner 2/14/16 2/15/16 **1/2 226 pages mass market paperback
4. Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin 2/13/16 2/16/16 ***1/2 228 pages mass market paperback
5. Fox Evil by Minette Walters 2/17/16 2/24/16 **** 369 pages hardcover
6. Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver 3/27/16 3/31/16 437 pages hardcover
7. A Key into the Language of America by Roger Williams 2/8/16 4/4/16 *** 205 pages trade paperback
8. *reread* Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 4/10/16 4/14/16 **** 850 pages mass market paperback
9. *reread* Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon 4/15/16 4/24/16 **** 947 pages mass market paperback
10. *reread* Voyager by Diana Gabaldon 4/24/16 4/30/16 **** 1059 pages mass market paperback
11. *reread* Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock 4/29/16 4/29/16 **** 48 pages hardcover
12. Sabine's Notebook by Nick Bantock 4/29/16 4/29/16 **** 48 pages hardcover
13. The Golden Mean by Nick Bantock 4/29/16 4/29/16 **** 48 pages hardcover
14. *reread* Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon 4/30/16 5/8/16 1070 pages **** mass market paperback
15. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon 5/8/16 5/17/16 ****1/2 979 pages hardcover
16. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon 5/17/16 6/2/16 **** 980 pages hardcover
17. An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon 6/2/16 6/23/16 **** 820 pages hardcover
18. Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker 7/14/16 7/14/16 **** 110 pages hardcover
19. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman 07/24/16 7/30/16 ****1/2 343 pages trade paperback
20. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 7/30/16 8/1/16 ***** 255 pages hardcover
21. Where God Was Born by Bruce Feiler 7/15/16 8/18/16 *** audiobook, but 381 pages trade paperback
22. The Night of the Mary Kay Commandos Featuring Smell O-Toons by Berke Breathed 8/25/16 8/26/16 **** 96 pages paperback
23. A Gentleman's Mistress by Mary Brendan 9/5/16 9/5/16 ***1/2 206 pages mass market paperback
24. The Wary Spinster by April Kihlstrom 9/8/16 9/8/16 *** 222 pages mass market paperback
25. The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham 9/8/16 9/9/16 **1/2 208 pages mass market paperback
26. A Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford 9/9/16 9/10/16 ***222 pages mass market paperback
27. *reread* Miss Dornton's Hero by Elisabeth Fairchild 9/10/16 9/11/16 *** 1/2 212 pages mass market paperback incl Author's Note
28. Yukon Ho! by Bill Watterson 09/14/16 09/14/16 **** 128 pages paperback
29. All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen 9/11/16 9/18/16 ****1/2 330 pages trade paperback (ARC)
30. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 9/1/16 9/28/16 ***1/2 472 pages hardcover
31. Until I Find You by John Irving 9/1/16 9/29/16 ****1/2 820 pages hardcover
32. *reread* The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer 10/17/16 10/25/16 337 pages trade paperback
33. The Naked Mole-Rat Letters by Mary Amato 11/15/16 11/16/16 ***1/2 227 pages trade paperback
34. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris 11/3/16 11/21/16 ***1/2 **audiobook**
35. The Nobody by Diane Farr 13/4/16 12/7/16 *** 223 pages mass market papererback

Currently reading:

Edited: Dec 15, 2016, 10:57am Top

Here are my culls for the year. Most of them have gone to the thrift store after daughter picked through them. There are about 20 ready to go through the same process sitting on the little yellow table in the sunroom.

1. Angel Face by Suzanne Forster. I liked some of her thrillers, but started this one and realized this wasn't a keeper.
2. The History of Ancient Egypt by Professor Bob Brier. Dull as ditch water. Dry. Sahara-like, even with photos. Abandoned.
3. Bathroom Reading: Short Stories for Short Visits by Rick Bylina. Where in heaven's name did I get this one?
4. Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay. Thought I'd like it when I found it at the thrift store. Looked at the back cover and NO.
5. Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner. Read it, liked it, time for it to go.
6. Faithful Place by Tana French. Duplicate copy.
7. Accused by Mark Giminez. Read, liked.
8. Con Law by Mark Giminez. Started twice, didn't like.
9. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Bought it but am not reading this type of fiction now.
10. The Shack by William P. Young. Christian fiction. I'm not Christian, so don't know why I bookmooched it.
11. The Witch's Boy by Alex Beecroft. Fantasy. I'm past my (admittedly short) fantasy phase.
12. Raising Abel by W Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear. Too many thrillers, too little time.
13. To the Power of Three by Laura Lippman. thought it was part of her Tess Monaghan series, but it wasn't.
14. E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton. Found a hardcover to replace.
15. I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton. Found a hardcover to replace.
16. Passage by Connie Willis. Won't ever read again, need the shelf space.
17. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Found a lovely hardcover copy for daughter, so don't need to keep on my shelves. I'll never read it again.
18. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell. First of a series, terrific, won't continue the series.
19. Under the Beetle's Cellar by Mary Willis Walker. Don't want to read about buried children.
20. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. fantasy. See #11.
21. Green Tea and Other Ghost Stories by J. Sheridan LeFanu. Read twice.
22. As Husbands Go by Susan Isaacs
23. good in bed by Jennifer Weiner. A very good book, just don't want to keep it any more.
24. In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner.
25 The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner. Bought at a thrift store, now don't know why.
26. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
27. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Saw the movie, hated it, will never read the book.
28. Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt. Loved this book, but hated others in the series.
29. The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink by Erle Stanley Gardner - I must have read it in my early teens because I read ALL the Perry Mason books but don't remember a single thing about it. I just re-read it and don't want it on my shelves any more.
30. F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton. Duplicate.
31. One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz. Duplicate.
32. Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Gordon Livingston. Read it for bookclub and disliked it.
33. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Read it, don't need it cluttering up my shelves.
34. The True Darcy Spirit by Elizabeth Aston. duplicate.
35. Black Fly Season by Giles Blunt. Abandoned the series with this one.
36. The Seville Communion by Arturo Perez-Reverte.
37. Leonardo's Swans by Karen Essex. I'm less inclined to read historical fiction.
38. Flashman and the Dragon by George MacDonald Fraser.
39. The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross.
40. Calamity Town by Ellery Queen. I liked his older stuff, not so much his newer stuff.
41-52. The Alphabet Series by Sue Grafton, hardcovers: A,B,C,D,G,H,J,K,L,M,N,O. Duplicates.
53. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. Duplicate.
54. Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner. Read it, don't need it cluttering up my shelves.
55. These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon. I don't know how I got this on my shelves, but don't read Jan Karon.
56. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
57. Artemis Fowl The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer. Bought both of these at the thrift store for daughter when she was about 12 or so - 10 years on my shelves is more than enough.
58. Murder Being Once Done by Ruth Rendell. duplicate copy.
59. A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh. duplicate copy.
60. Jade Island by Elizabeth Lowell. Had the trilogy, got rid of the first and third. Here goes number two.
61. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. Just because.
62. Murphy's Law by Lori Foster. silly romance.
63. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Blech. Tried reading it and was irritated beyond measure. got these CDs at the library sale and don't even want to try them.
64. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. Dated. won't ever read again.
65. Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews. Vacation read. Off to the thrift store.
66. My American Dutchess by Eloisa James. Vacation read. Off to the thrift store.
67. Revenge by Lisa Jackson. Read 2/3 of it and just couldn't continue.
68. Favorite Brand Name low-carb magic by Publications International, LTD
69. The Charlotte Cookbook duplicate
70. Nourshing Traditions
71. The Chapel Hill Cook Book duplicate
72. Favorite Recipes from our Best Cooks Cookbook by Woman's Club and Jr. Woman's Club of Diamond Bar
73. The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker
74. Umbrella by Will Self
75. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
76. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
77. Bad Men by John Connolly
78. King and Maxwell by David Baldacci
79. Long Lost by Harlan Coben
80. Presidential Quiz Book by E. H. Gwynne Thomas
81. The Pursuit of Pleasure by Elizabeth Essex
82. The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews
83. The Source by James Michener An old faded, creased copy. I have two others
84. Lady Fortune by Anne Stuart Not worth carrying upstairs to my retreat.
85. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley duplicate copy, sent to daughter for her shelves
86. The Endangered Arctic by Fredrick Granath
87. Night of Sin by Julia Ross
88. The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones read and found wanting
89. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris audiobook
90. The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven audiobook
91. Lost in the Amazon by Stephen Kirkpatrick and Marlo Carter Patrick
92. The Unlikely Pilgrimmage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce started and ugh!
93. The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell will never read the rest of the series
94. Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie duplicate copy
95. Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen duplicate copy
96. The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter duplicate copy
97. The Celestine Prophecy: An Experimental Guide by James Redfield
98. Where God Was Born by Bruce Feiler audiobook
99. Death of an Expert Witness by P.D. James duplicate copy
100. A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux duplicate copy
101. Miss Grantham's One True Sin by Melynda Beth Skinner started and abandoned
102. The Wary Spinster by April Kilhstrom read and don't need to keep on my shelves
103. The Masked Heiress by Vanessa Gray started and abandoned
104. Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson bought soft cover, this is a duplicate
105. Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick duplicate purchased at FOCCL sale
106. The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig duplicate purchased at FOCCL sale
107. The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer duplicate
108. April Lady by Georgette Heyer duplicate
109. Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer duplicate
110. The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer duplicate
111. The Conqueror by Georgette Heyer duplicate
112. Tempting Harriet by Mary Balogh duplicate
113. The Gilded Web by Mary Balogh duplicate
114. The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie duplicate
115. The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories by Agatha Christie duplicate
116. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens triplicate
117. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens triplicate
118. So Well Remembered by James Hilton duplicate
119. River of Darkness by Rennie Airth abandoned after 202 pages
120. Lord Avery's Legacy by Allison Lane read but not worth keeping
121. The Nobody by Diane Farr read but not worth keeping

Edited: Sep 3, 2016, 6:51pm Top

I am reading a ROOT now, Great Expectations, for my group read - if you're interested, here's the thread:

Great Expectations Group Read


Sep 4, 2016, 3:18am Top

Wow, you even keep track of your culls. I haven't been doing that, I just trundle them off to the LFL but I bet I can figure out what ones they were if I check my library on LT.

Sep 4, 2016, 9:10am Top

Hi Meg! Well, this is the first year I've done it. I don't get rid of books once I've read them just because I've read them, if that makes any sense.

I remove them from my catalog, too, since my catalog always represents what's on my shelves except for the 7 ER books I don't physically have but have to keep in my catalog to keep the ER gods happy and the 187 books that are my daughter's.

Sep 4, 2016, 1:52pm Top

Happy new thread! That is an impressive list of culls!

It's really interesting how people use their catalogue here. I only add books once I start reading them, but I also include books from the library that I don't physically own - I want my catalogue to be a list of all the books I've read, whether or not I own them now. It hadn't occurred to me till I joined this group that people list all their books here whether or not they've read them (I think most people do that), and add them as soon as they buy them. My particular brand of nerdiness just couldn't cope with that! :)

Sep 5, 2016, 9:42am Top

Hi Jackie! Thank you. It seemed like a good idea to record them for some reason. And acquisitions, but those are on my 75 book challenge thread.

It is interesting. To each her own brand of nerdiness! My brand means that I have a list of what I own, here, physically at the house, in the event I need it for insurance purposes or to find the next book to read or to figure out whether to buy a book or not. If I'm out at a thrift store or whatever, I always check my catalog online because I simply don't remember every book I own. It's saved me buying duplicates many times! I do, however, have duplicate books and need to go through them soon to get rid of most of those.

It never occurred to me when I joined LT in 2007 that people would use their catalog to record books they don't own but had read, wishlisted books, and library books. And I don't use collections AT ALL. I use tags. That tends to get some people upset because they want tags to be pure - but since Tim has always said that tags are for people to use as they want to use them, nuts to the purists. :)

I guess that I should mention that the 22 books listed here for ROOT are a subset of the 64 that I've read this year so far. Here's my 75 book challenge thread #3: 2016 75 book challenge

Sep 5, 2016, 10:42am Top

>7 karenmarie: I took a look at your 75 thread, and all I can say is "Wow" to your shelves! What a fantastic set of reading spaces you have!

*shelf envy*

Sep 5, 2016, 11:49am Top

>8 Jackie_K: Thank you, Jackie! I love all my bookshelves. We built this house in 1998 and started off with 2 walls of bookshelves in the library. Then husband had a bookcase built against the wall in the sunroom, then a second bookcase with a connector over the top. When we put a ceiling in the living room to make a parlour upstairs to hold husband's mother's furniture (and for other reasons), I had them put recessed shelves up there since they were building the wall anyway. And when daughter's playroom was being built I did the same thing - had shelving put into the walls. So I'm very lucky to have as many shelves as I have. Of course, when I joined LT I maybe had 1500 books or so, and now that's tripled. Books fill up available space. But I do know how lucky I am, for sure. There are also shelves in the media room and husband's office..... but so far I haven't encroached.

Sep 5, 2016, 6:57pm Top

>5 karenmarie: Well, I just reconciled my acquisition ticker. I don't think I had been updating it. After looking at that I think I should keep a ticker for my culls, too! It might make me feel better.

Edited: Sep 5, 2016, 9:58pm Top

>10 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! It definitely makes me feel better although I've way more acquisitions than culls.

I was moving more 'read' books to the Retreat from the Library and decided to read an old Regency Romance that was still 'tbr'.

A Gentleman's Mistress by Mary Brendan. I think I would have liked this one more 10 years ago, but I still appreciated it and zoomed through it today. It's interesting to see how my tastes have changed in the last 20 years.

Sep 6, 2016, 7:50am Top

I'll be gone until tomorrow some time - visiting my 92-year old friend Frances then going to spend the night with my daughter in Wilmington. Frances is getting a bit frail and a nice little afternoon visit will be good for both of us. Daughter is working today so we'll coordinate schedules and meet at her apartment some time after she gets off work. We'll have a nice dinner out, then come back to her apartment to watch a movie, then tomorrow morning I'll probably leave when she does unless I can persuade her to make a pot of coffee for me!

Sep 6, 2016, 6:34pm Top

Travel safely and have a nice visit with Frances and your daughter! It sounds like you will have a lovely time.

Sep 7, 2016, 1:18pm Top

I hope you have a lovely break!

Sep 7, 2016, 9:49pm Top

Have fun with your daughter. I had 2 boys now aged 36 & 37. I love them dearly, but only now do I miss having had a daughter. My boys would do anything for me, except go shopping with me, sit and chat about books, and do girly things like get our nails done, etc....I miss doing things like that with a child!

Sep 8, 2016, 12:22am Top

Karen, you make me want to read Dickens now.

Edited: Sep 8, 2016, 10:34am Top

>13 Sace:-15 I had fun with visiting Frances, but I must admit that visiting her is an exercise in slowing down. She is nearly blind, has a paralyzed vocal cord, and you just can't rush her. We did have fun talking politics. We agree 100% and had fun trashing Trump and McCrory - our NC governor.

Daughter has been having a terrible week, as it turns out and when I called to confirm when I'd be there, she sounded so stressed and upset that I just said I'd come home instead. She's exactly like I am - when stressed needs to be alone, calm, and not dealing with anything. I understood although I admit that my feelings were a bit hurt. So I drove 278 miles round trip yesterday and am whupped today.

And of course my husband had to text her and berate her, which didn't help. I was the one upset and I had decided to just let things rest for a couple of days. Now she's tweeked and I'm tweeked and husband really made it worse although he won't understand that. Blech.

>16 enemyanniemae: Hi! You should. I'm really enjoying Great Expectations. Even if you don't want to read that one, Dickens was soooo prolific, I'm sure you could find something enjoyable.

Sep 8, 2016, 12:52pm Top

>17 karenmarie: I am going to have to look around. I MUST have at least one Dickens around here. This will be like going on a treasure hunt!

Sep 8, 2016, 1:03pm Top

Sep 8, 2016, 8:32pm Top

>17 karenmarie: Aw! I'm sorry! I'm glad you made it home safely though.

Sep 11, 2016, 3:45pm Top

Thanks, Karen! Safe and sound. And, safe and sound from a second journey - we left yesterday to attend a reunion on my husband's side of the family. Lots of cousins, an award presented by the County Commissioners to our cousin David announcing the naming of the county's airport in his honor, way too hot, way lots of fun. We booked a hotel for the night because the reunion ended about 10 p.m., and then went and visited 3 cemetaries to check on family stones and markers, then got home about 2 hours ago.

I have read several Regency romances recently, and just finished a mystery. I'm now happy to report 27 ROOTs read this year so far.

The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

The first Albert Campion of the series, originally published in 1929.

I found this book a Peter Wimsey wanna-be. Albert Campion was only in it for part of the book anyway, and played the frivolous ass perfectly. However, Allingham makes sure we realize that he is obviously more than he appears. There’s a country house party, hidden rooms, The Bad Guys, the murder victim, and a vast confusion of names, motives, and dithering around. I found that the plot ground audibly when at one point there’s an improbable rescue, and the coincidences and dated activities and technology made me realize that I wouldn’t continue the series.

Sep 14, 2016, 9:43pm Top

Well, I finally finished listening to To Kill a Mockingbird. I read the book for the first time in my life last month and since I already had the audiobook, decided to listen to it starting a couple of days later. This is not the Cissy Spacek reading and I've not ever heard it; I cannot imagine Cissy as Scout as perfect as Roses.

Sep 17, 2016, 1:28pm Top

Happy new thread, Karenmarie!

Sep 17, 2016, 2:02pm Top

Thanks, Connie!

Sep 18, 2016, 11:06am Top

I have finally read an ER book from five years ago and am only sorry I waited to so long to read it. Absolutely wonderful. A ROOT for sure!

All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen

Here’s my review: All Cry Chaos

Sep 22, 2016, 10:45am Top

Happy new thread!

>2 karenmarie: oh my gosh, what an impressive cull list!

>3 karenmarie: I love that book .. and everything to do with it - hope you enjoy it!

>8 Jackie_K: hee hee, shelf envy ;) But yes, it is real.... and many of us have it.... ;)

>12 karenmarie: sounds like a lovely trip! :)
>17 karenmarie: so sorry to hear about your daughter :( I completely understand her inclination to be alone... but I'm sorry your feelings were hurt! Especially with all that driving! It's nice that your daughter has such an understanding mother! I hope she's doing better :)

>22 karenmarie: I confess I've also not yet read the book (To Kill a Mockingbird).. but it's on the shelves and I hope to get to it soon! Did you enjoy it??

And congrats on your ROOTs progress!

Edited: Sep 22, 2016, 4:43pm Top

Hi Aletheia! I've read 45 of 59 chapters of Great Expectations. I'm going to wait 'til I finish it before pontificating..... :)

My daughter and I are back on an even keel.

I loved, loved, loved To Kill a Mockingbird. Here's my non-spoiler review: TKAM

And, finally, thanks. Now, to be perfectly frank, very few of my ROOTs become CULLs, but the cull list is, as you say, rather impressive.

Sep 24, 2016, 3:59pm Top

>25 karenmarie: That one does sound very good. Not bad for a freebie! :)

Sep 24, 2016, 10:34pm Top

Hi Jackie! Yes, I really liked it.

I only have two more ER books to review before I will consider signing up for any new ones. Sigh.

Sep 26, 2016, 3:06pm Top

>25 karenmarie: Oh wow that looks good.

Sep 28, 2016, 1:23pm Top

30th ROOT:

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Somewhere between friend Richard’s calling Dickens “Chuckles the Dick” and LizzieD making her username an homage to Dickens, lies my reaction to Great Expectations. I will never be a Dickensian, alas, but ended up liking the book much better than I thought I would halfway through.

From Amazon: Charles Dickens's Great Expectations charts the course of orphan Pip Pirrip's life as it is transformed by a vast, mysterious inheritance. A terrifying encounter with the escaped convict Abel Magwitch in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decrepit Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella at Satis House; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor - these form a series of events that change the orphaned Pip's life forever, and he eagerly abandons his humble station as an apprentice to blacksmith Joe Gargery, beginning a new life as a gentleman. Charles Dickens's haunting late novel depicts Pip's education and development through adversity as he discovers the true nature of his identity, and his 'great expectations'.

Until about 70 or pages until the end, I didn’t particularly like Pip at all. Perhaps that’s Dickens’ intent, I do not know. Pip is weak, a spendthrift, and prideful. And, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why he loves Estella. She is proud, disagreeable, and cuts him at every turn.

It is only when bad things happen to him that we see that Joe’s influence on the young Pip was stronger than might be expected, and I come to respect Pip as having grown up, learned his real place in the world, and been satisfied with it.

As for Dickens’ writing style, I found it alternatively lyrical and turgid, wordy and obtuse. There are some extremely eccentric characters, alternatively irritating and endearing.

Thank goodness I decided to read 2 chapters a day until I had finished it; it was only when I got to Chapter 56 that I decided a sprint to the finish line, as it were, would be a good idea. I think that if I had read it without a plan, I would have put it down.

Sep 29, 2016, 10:26am Top

31st ROOT:

Whew. What a read, what an accomplishment, if I do say so myself!

Until I Find You by John Irving

From the last paragraph of the description of the book from Amazon: A melancholy tale of deception, Until I Find You is also a swaggering comic novel, a giant tapestry of life’s hopes. It is a masterpiece to compare with John Irving’s great novels…

Had I read any description or review of the book before I read the book itself, I might never have read it. However, it grabbed me, as the voice of the four-year-old Jack is so authentic and sweet as he and his mother go to Europe to track his father, William, down. The characters are larger-than-life and focused in the way of people who love what they do - tattoo artists and organists, novelists and actors, wrestlers and teachers. Jack’s life is as rich and eccentric and thoughtful as it is tragic and sad.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. It is long and very detailed. I found myself rooting for Jack to be happy, to be whole, to understand his life and the love waiting for him. I wasn’t disappointed.

Edited: Sep 29, 2016, 1:04pm Top

That sounds like a good book.

I bow to your reading strengths. A Tale of Two Cities has been on my personal challenge list for a while. I get to a certain point and then give up. I love your description of Dickens' style. I have similar thoughts. Sometimes it feels like brilliant and witty writing and other times it's torture.

Edited: Sep 29, 2016, 4:53pm Top

Hi Karen!

I'm very glad I read it. Once I really committed to it and planned to get it finished by the month end, it just kept getting more and more interesting!

Thank you re my description of Dickens' style I'm not sure I can read anything else by him any time soon, if ever. I should read A Tale of Two Cities, but we'll just have to see. Certainly not this year, for sure.

Edited: Oct 1, 2016, 5:39am Top

>32 karenmarie:
>33 Sace:
>34 karenmarie:
Glad you finished Great Expectations, I was just too busy to re-read with the group; not really sure that is a re-read for me anyway. I would agree that if you aren't in love with Dickens that a Tale of Two Cities would be your next Dickens as it is the most "un-Dickens" Dickens book you can read--not nearly as verbose as the other reads. In fact, I have my 9th graders read this book when we study the French Revolution and the class is usually divided--half like it and half hate it. The Irving book is on my wishlist!

Oct 1, 2016, 7:39am Top

Good morning, Tess! I'm glad I read it, I'm glad I'm done with it.

If A Tale of Two Cities is the most 'un-Dickens' Dickens, then there's hope that I will read it!

Oct 3, 2016, 9:30am Top

I'm sure I've said this before, but I find I can only read Dickens if I've already seen a TV or film adaptation. That's the only way I manage to keep all the multiple characters right in my head! My favourite is David Copperfield.

Oct 4, 2016, 10:35am Top

Hi Jackie! I read David Copperfield in high school, don't remember much about it. It obviously didn't inspire a life-long love of Dickens, *smile*. The TV/film adaptations I've seen are Oliver!, the musical of Oliver Twist, which I loved separate from Dickens novel, and Bleak House, a BBC production that was so bleak and depressing that we barely finished watching it.

But, I'm inclined to want to read Tale of Two Cities, perhaps next year.

Oct 4, 2016, 10:53am Top

>38 karenmarie: I really liked Bleak House but then I like that genre such as The Mill on the Floss and Tess of D'urbervilles---nothing happy in them at all!

Oct 4, 2016, 11:02am Top

Hi Tess! I love everything I've read by Hardy but have never read any George Eliot, even though I have Silas Marner on my shelves.

Edited: Oct 9, 2016, 12:53am Top

>40 karenmarie: I find Hardy and Eliot very much like--love them both. In fact, I only have 2 more books to read and I will have read everything that Eliot wrote.

Oct 9, 2016, 10:14am Top

That's impressive, Tess!

Happy Sunday, everybody! Hurricane Matthew did a lot of damage, and finished it's awful run here in North Carolina before heading out to sea. Daughter's okay in Wilmington, but I'm worried about Peggy.

We haven't had power since yesterday about 11 a.m. We have a generator, so I was able to make coffee. And to me, that's the most important thing! I'm using my cell phone's hot spot to get internet here on the laptop, so am using data rather than wifi.

We got 6 1/2 inches of rain from Friday night - last night. Our creek overran the banks and became a 100-foot wide river and two trees are down, but the creek is back down this morning and it's a beautiful fall day.

Oct 9, 2016, 11:15am Top

Good to hear you are safe.

Oct 9, 2016, 11:37am Top

Thanks, Birgit! We got power back about an hour ago. Daughter is safe and sound in Wilmington. She was staying at a friend's house near Wilmington and didn't even lose power! And here we are, 150 miles away, and we lost power!

Oct 9, 2016, 12:04pm Top

Glad you were safe and out of harm's way.

Oct 9, 2016, 12:34pm Top

Thanks, Tess. It could have been so much worse had it made landfall, but the coast south of Wilmington is a mess anyway. 6-foot tall dunes were washed away. My daughter's boss's driveway now has a boating dock wedged into it. Trees down, siding stripped, no power, etc.

Oct 9, 2016, 2:09pm Top

Wow, I'm so glad you're safe, that sounds so scary!

Oct 9, 2016, 5:13pm Top

>46 karenmarie: My niece and her 3 children live near Clearwater, Florida, very inland, and she could not go to work yesterday because of 6 inches of standing water in the streets and in the building lobby. This is where they evacuated a lot of the people to and it go much more rain than they thought.

Oct 16, 2016, 11:54am Top

>47 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie! Thanks. It was less scary than other hurricanes, but I was very worried for my daughter eve, n though we got more rain and damage.

>48 tess_schoolmarm: Hi Tess! Yup. The flooding has been the worst part of this storm.

I haven't mentioned it because I had to get through the hurricane first, but I'm in Southern California - flew out Oct 10th and will stay through the 25th unless I need more time and need to change my return flight. My mother had a minor stroke two weeks ago. She is 84. I am her Durable Power of Attorney and my sister Laura is her Medical Power of Attorney, although it's called something else. We already knew that she had reduced kidney function and diabetic neuropathy, but were shocked to hear that her main aortic valve only works at 20%. In other words, congestive heart failure.

So she is under Hospice care and Laura and her husband were able to find a wonderful board and care facility 5 miles from her home. Mom either she knows her prognosis and is acting like Pollyanna, or she truly doesn't remember what she's been told. We have gently reminded her a couple of times what Hospice is and why she is in the board and care facility, but she keeps talking about coming home and even driving again. There's a remote possibility that the former could happen under certain conditions, but never, NEVER the latter. Laura and I are adamant about this, even if she disinherits us.

So I'm gaining an understanding of her finances, we're going to so apply for VA benefits that she should have been getting forever (and Dad, before he died in 2006 should have been getting forever!) and try to keep her in the board and care facility with a combination of social security and VA benefits. We're most likely going to have to sell her house sooner than later and that means kicking out her 2 boarders - freeloaders in my opinion. Mom has a heart of gold and gets taken advantage of. Each boarder only pays $120/month. One has very little money, but the other is saving up to move back to a very expensive part of Southern California and is really taking advantage of my Mom because she used to live at Mom's and paid her $300/month then, which was STILL ridiculous.


I'm staying at my sister's and when we aren't doing Mom stuff, we're having fun together.

I'm on the left, Laura is on the right, and that cute dumpling of a lady is my Mother.

Oct 16, 2016, 12:36pm Top

Oof. That sounds like a tough situation. I hope you'll be able to get the finances sorted out and that your mom will be comfortable in the care facility.

Oct 16, 2016, 1:06pm Top

Enjoy your mother and sister.

Edited: Oct 17, 2016, 12:45pm Top

Thanks guys.

Today is trying to understand Mom's reverse mortgage and finish sorting her papers into the "box it and keep it" stuff and the "current stuff that goes into the little plastic box I bought".

Sister had to go to work and two bedrooms of her house are having the carpet taken out and the original oak floors from 1953 sanded, stained, and sealed. Good thing that Laura and I are going to visit her daughter/wife/son tonight because we'll be able to put the bedroom back together tomorrow evening so when we return I can sleep on the bed!

Onward and upward.

I've also finished a non-ROOT and am starting a ROOT - The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer. I've probably read it 3-4 times over the years. Need a comfort read right now, and this just may be the one! Since I'm not at home, I had to pick a book or two to bring. The other one I brought is non-fiction, and I'm in the mood for light and frivolous.

Oct 20, 2016, 7:40pm Top

>52 karenmarie: Sounds like you are dealing with a lot. I hope you get things settled with minimal problems. Your mother certainly is a "cute little dumpling."

I love Georgette Heyer and I've had that one on my TBR list for a while.

Edited: Oct 27, 2016, 9:42am Top

>53 Sace: Hi Karen! I'm back in NC. Got a lot done, there's still more to do. But at least we know now what has to be done.

I finished The Nonesuch yesterday in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. It's a re-read, and I loved it as much this time as previous times. Last night after I got home I started another ROOT - River of Darkness by Rennie Airth. Very good mystery set in England in 1921, the first of what I hope will be a good series.

Oct 27, 2016, 1:32pm Top

Wow, the situation with your mum sounds like it is very stressful for everyone - I hope that things can be sorted out to everyone's, well, if not satisfaction, at least general acceptance. I certainly don't envy your task!

Nov 1, 2016, 7:21am Top

>54 karenmarie:
Knowing what needs to be done is half the battle!

I've got The Nonesuch sitting on a shelf. I can't wait until my Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks so I can get some quality, uninterrupted reading time. I must confess I've really only read These Old Shades but that was enough for me to know that I love Georgette Heyer.

Edited: Nov 1, 2016, 9:01am Top

>55 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie! My sister and I are stressing quite a bit over this but getting through it as best we can. My mother's prognosis has changed somewhat - with proper care she could live for years according to the doctor who saw her last week. Of course she could have a heart attack or major stroke just as easily. I've been discovering that my mother's finances are not strong, and the board-and-care facility, as inexpensive as it is relatively speaking, would bankrupt her in 4 months. So we are looking at something called Angel Care and/or other home health care and letting Mom go home. She would be able to walk with supervision, which she is not allowed to do now, and being in her home would be beneficial in many intangible ways.

My sister has the additional burden of her Mother-in-Law just moving in with them because, just like Mom, her finances cannot support being in any kind of private 24/7 facility. She has advanced Parkinson's, and while being there is good for her, it's very hard on my sister since their 41-year relationship has always been rocky.

>56 Sace: Hi Karen! Since you've read These Old Shades about the Duke of Avon and Leonie, you might want to get a copy of Devil's Cub, which is about their son Vidal. It and TOS are two of my absolute favorite Heyers and I re-read them frequently. I reviewed Devil's Cub here on LT in March 2010.

Nov 2, 2016, 7:17am Top

>57 karenmarie: Yes! I've got Devil's Cub on my kindle! I've really been meaning to read it. I thought TOS was just delightful. The dialogue and characters were so witty. I'm a sucker for that kind of writing. I'm off to read your review now.

Nov 2, 2016, 10:14am Top

>31 karenmarie: nice review! Glad you liked it (Great Expectations) better than you thought you might :)

>42 karenmarie: I know this is quite delayed, but I am sorry to hear Hurricane Matthew did so much damage :(
And glad it's over! Also glad to hear your daughter's okay...

>49 karenmarie: love the pic! And your description of your mother ;)
I'm so sorry to hear about your mom's situation though.. :( I completely understand the stubborn parent!
But it's so sweet that she let her boarders stay there for so cheap - it's terrible if they're taking advantage of her, but it's nice to know people w/ her heart are still out there anyway ;)

>57 karenmarie: so glad to hear about the updated prognosis! :)
(My dad also has congestive heart failure, but over the past year his heart has much improved... He was on all the meds the doctors prescribed to stabilize him, but then he went off of most of them... only on the beta blocker and a BUNCH of natural remedies (like Hawthorn root, beets, etc.), which apparently has worked wonders for him!)

Praying for an easier November for you!

Nov 2, 2016, 4:06pm Top

Hi Aletheia! Just got back from visiting your thread and am so glad to see you again! Your busy-ness explains your absence, for sure.

And thank you for your prayers for an easier November.

The house painting is complete, and I'll post some pics in the next few days.

Today we took our girl kitty Inara Starbuck in for her every-three-year distemper shot and while there the Vet was able to examine the bumps she has on her skin, gave her a shot, and determine that the dermatitis is aggravated by fleas, but we haven't seen a single flea on her for months and months! But I guess all it takes is one flea once a kitty is sensitized to them, so we've now ordered some more flea stuff for the next 3 months.

And I was over at neighbor Louise's this afternoon helping with her laptop - there was a bogus tab on her browser that I got rid of, changed her desktop to a picture of her dogs, not her daughter's dog (why would someone put a picture of their dog on their mother's computer when their mother has two dogs of her own and perfectly good pictures of them.....?), got her e-mail working again, and installed some free antivirus software that she likes on this new laptop. Spent about half the time there answering her husband's questions - he has dementia and asks the same questions over and over and over. I am extremely patient, for some reason, and keep answering and answering and answering. It's all good.

Now to drink some water, read my book, and contemplate the stuff we took off the porches for the painting - 1. throw away, 2. put back on the porches, 3. put in already chock-full garage storage. I hope we can get it all squared away tomorrow morning.

Nov 2, 2016, 4:19pm Top

>60 karenmarie: ooooh fun! Can't wait to see the pics! :)

awww, poor little kitty with fleas! glad you were able to find out what is irritating her!

lol some people just think their own pets are cuter ;) (your neighbor's daughter...). Sounds like you did a lot of nice work to help her out!

Enjoy your afternoon & decision making regarding porch stuff!

Nov 3, 2016, 6:57am Top

>60 karenmarie: You've been busy! I'm glad to hear that the kitty is taken care of. I have to agree with you about pictures of pets. Why would Louise want someone else's dog on her laptop? :-) Enjoy your reading and contemplation.

Nov 6, 2016, 12:08pm Top

>60 karenmarie: I have to say, I *love* your cat's name! Gorgeous!

Nov 22, 2016, 6:07am Top

Yipes! I was so busy visiting other peoples' ROOT threads that I neglected my own. We got the back porch happily under control by rearranging the furniture, throwing away a lot of stuff, and buying pansies to put in the planters. Just yesterday I finally put the three small kitty sculptures back on the porch, and sometime soon husband will put the Christmas deer back - we keep them there all year and enjoy the lights after it gets dark at night.

>61 avanders: Hi Aletheia! Inara continues her journey to a healthy coat and increased energy. She has now brought us 4 mice. 3 of them were dead presents, one was living. Two weeks ago our cleaning lady Pam opened a closet door and screamed because there was a mouse in there. We are used to this, because we live in the country and have cats who have a kitty door. I didn't see it, husband didn't see it, and we forgot about it until we found Evidence of a Mouse in the kitchen. One mouse trap and 2 days later the fourth mouse was in the same status as the first three. Cruel? Maybe. However, I don't like mice in my kitchen, and that's where the food it, so that's where the mouse went.

Louise DID appreciate the help I gave her.

Have I mentioned that she got me an adult coloring book and some gel pens a couple of weeks ago? I had some colored pencils from when daughter was in school still here too, so have been happily coloring when stressed or just not in the mood to read. My mother colors, my daughter colors, my niece colors, now I color, AND I've bought a beautiful coloring book of mandalas and some good quality colored pencils for my sister for Christmas.

>62 Sace: Hi Karen! Had a chance to start Devil's Cub yet? It's a good'un. I'll have to ask Louise if her daughter mentioned the dog swap on her computer..... I haven't visited Louise in over a week. Won't get time before about Sunday, I think, what with Thanksgiving and our daughter coming Wed - Fri/Sat.

>63 Jackie_K: Thank you, Jackie. Kitty names are very important to us, although once we name a kitty we come up with tons of nicknames. Inara is also Naras and Missie. Kitty William is also Ka-William, Catman, Catman-du, and Boo.

Nov 22, 2016, 6:07am Top

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
11/03/16 to 11/21/16

From Amazon:
David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother's wedding. He mops his sister's floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn't it? In his newest collection of essays, David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives -- a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love.

David Sedaris is merciless. Almost the entire book is a sly picking away at the people he loves, a sledgehammer to the people peripheral to his life, and total honesty about his own motives and feelings. Yet every once in a while we are given a glimpse of the real love he feels for his parents, his siblings, and his niece Maddy. It is always a joy to either read or listen to him narrate his own books. In this audiobook he absolutely nails his brother Paul’s high-pitched, fast, vulgar, and hilarious voice, his own whininess while trying to describe to Parisian friends and his lover Hugh that the fake hand was rubber NOT plastic, and the endless bickering between siblings.

Nov 22, 2016, 9:11am Top

>65 karenmarie: Occasionally Radio 4 here broadcast David Sedaris, I've always enjoyed the programmes although was never sure how well he would 'translate' to books. An audiobook sounds like the ideal!

Nov 22, 2016, 9:58am Top

>66 Jackie_K: I would imagine that most of his books come in audiobook versions read by Sedaris. I have heard several 'live' performances of his works and think he's great. Just checked, and there's stuff on Youtube, too.

Nov 22, 2016, 10:00am Top

>64 karenmarie: yay - glad your porch is under control! :)
Keeping your Christmas deer out year round for the lights .. sounds like a wonderful idea to me! In New Mexico, random strangers can be vicious about other people's Christmas decorations remaining up (it's so weird, esp. for me, coming from the midwest!), but keeping it in the backyard makes sense!

Glad to hear Inara continues to improve! And how nice for her to bring your presents ;)

That's so nice of Louise to have gotten you a coloring book and pens! I need to spend more time with mine..... :)

Edited: Nov 22, 2016, 1:17pm Top

Hi Aletheia! Back porch is deceptive, because we built our house facing away from the road so actually the back porch is about 300 feet from the cul-de-sac.

I'm spending probably 1/2 - 1 hour per day coloring lately and really loving it. Sometimes I listen to the radio or some music while coloring. Last week I listened to Days of Future Past by the Moody Blues, the entire album, and loved it.

Today is making cranberry relish for Thanksgiving. I bought everything needed last week, except I forgot to include the orange I need. I was expecting to go out this afternoon, but my husband bought me 2 oranges on the way home from having lunch out with a friend. Yay. I can stay in! It also saved 20 miles round trip. I might make him some chex mix as a reward.....

So deviled eggs, just for the heck of it not Thanksgiving, cranberry relish for Thanksgiving, and chex mix, otherwise known in our family as "trash". I do not know why it's called trash, but that's the name my husband's family has been using forever.

Dec 1, 2016, 4:40pm Top

>69 karenmarie: Oh right, I do remember you mentioning that before :)
In any event, it's nice that you are able to keep it up!

That's so nice your husband saved you a trip! Chex mix sounds like an appropriate reward ;)

Dec 2, 2016, 7:10am Top

>69 karenmarie: What a thoughtful husband!! He's deserving of Chex mix!

Dec 2, 2016, 8:04am Top

>70 avanders: and >71 Sace: I did make Trash for husband and we both enjoyed it. I make the original recipe volume of chex/nuts/pretzels but make 1 1/2 recipes of the Worcestershire sauce/butter/Lowry's/onion&garlic salt mixture and bake it for 1 1/4 hours. It makes it yummier and crunchier.

I'm not reading any ROOTs right now, alas.

Dec 2, 2016, 1:39pm Top

>72 karenmarie: Sounds so good. Chex mix is one of my favorite snacks.

Dec 2, 2016, 2:29pm Top

I have never even heard of Chex mix - what is it?

Edited: Dec 2, 2016, 7:21pm Top

>73 Sace: It's so addictive, too.

>74 Jackie_K: Chex is a dry cereal. Each piece looks like a little crunchy pillow.

Chex mix is a combination of 9 cups Chex, 1 cup pretzels, and 1 cup nuts that you coat with a mixture of melted butter, Worchestershire sauce, Lowry's Seasoned Salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. You then bake the mixture for an hour (official recipe) or 1 1/4 hours (my version), stirring all around every 15 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, you spread it out on absorbent paper towels to let it drain a bit and crisp up. It's crunchy and savory and very flavorful. I usually make several batches each of the months Oct - Dec, sometimes other months, but not usually.

I use Pretzel Goldfish.

Chex Mix, aka Trash. You can buy Chex Mix but it's horrible compared to home made.

Dec 2, 2016, 7:38pm Top

>75 karenmarie: Pretzel goldfish...BRILLIANT!

Dec 3, 2016, 5:44am Top

Why thank you, Sace. I think so, too. They are the right size and since I use only raw almonds which are about the same size, there's a harmony that pleases me. The raw almonds I use crisp up nicely, too.

Dec 3, 2016, 9:35am Top

Wow, this place is so educational! I had NO IDEA such a thing even existed! It looks amazing :)

Dec 3, 2016, 11:25am Top

>78 Jackie_K: You *have* to try it. Sooo gooood.....

Dec 3, 2016, 11:34am Top

Chex Mix is great! Although I have to admit I prefer the puppy chow version (which is Chex or similar cereal coated with melted chocolate and peanut butter).

Dec 3, 2016, 12:42pm Top

We have something that's sort of similar to Chex, but I don't think it's exactly the same from the picture. I'd need to find a specialist shop to have a go.

Dec 3, 2016, 1:31pm Top

>78 Jackie_K: We aim to please..... :)

>79 Sace: Somehow or another you need to get hold of enough of the ingredients or similar ingredients to give it a go.

>80 Caramellunacy: My handy-dandy NOT Google search engine found your 'puppy chow' version as I remember my mother calling it - Muddy Buddys, its official name. Also very, very yummy. I've never heard it called Puppy Chow before. So now we've got Trash and Puppy Chow.

>81 Jackie_K: Good luck! As long as that cereal is crunchy and big enough to be able to pick up as single pieces, it should work. Unsweetened, of course. Can you get hold of Lawry's Seasoned Salt? If not, there are copycat recipes on the Internet that used the same ingredients - don't know how accurate they are, though. And you can find the Original Chex Mix recipe online too. Some of the newer versions put in bagel chips or other oddities, but I'm a purist and only follow the original recipe excepting of course for the Pretzel Goldfish instead of pretzel sticks.

Hmm. I may have to make some this weekend again. And for sure my husband won't complain!

Dec 5, 2016, 10:34am Top

>72 karenmarie: good idea w/ those recipe modifications!

>78 Jackie_K: lol yep ;) It's yummy!

>80 Caramellunacy: but I also prefer puppy chow ;D (aka "muddy buddys")
>82 karenmarie: oh yes, there you have it :) We called it puppy chow in the midwest... some of my friends around here really don't like that name ;D

Dec 5, 2016, 10:37am Top

>83 avanders: Well, Aletheia! Puppy Chow it is.

And, now, of course, I have to think of making some.

Dec 5, 2016, 10:46am Top

lol I think that's a great decision! A friend made some last month and it was so nice to have had some homemade chow (which is just definitely better than the store bought stuff!)...

Dec 5, 2016, 10:48am Top

I have all the ingredients in the house, except the peanut butter is crunchy. (I refuse to use husband's Jif. I prefer organic peanuts/salt only peanut butter.)

Do you think that's a problem?

Dec 5, 2016, 10:52am Top

lol I actually like the non-organic/natural stuff for certain things ;)
But the organic/natural is a good route too! For the puppy chow, I think it's probably okay -- I haven't made it with that, but I'm pretty sure my friend wouldn't use jif/skippy/peter pan either.. assuming that's true, it tasted just as good as always!

Dec 5, 2016, 11:33am Top

>86 karenmarie: That made me laugh - in the UK, Jif is the old brand name for a kitchen/bathroom surface cleaner (it's now called Cif, although everyone of a certain age still calls it Jif). I'm assuming your Jif is something different :)

Dec 5, 2016, 1:01pm Top

>87 avanders: Thanks, Aletheia. I'll go with my instincts and use the organic crunchy. I do buy just peanuts and salt peanut butter, doesn't have to be organic, but my grocery store has started having a decent price for organic, so that's what I've been buying. If the price goes too high, I'll buy 'natural' that isn't organic but that is still only peanuts and salt. To me Jif tastes too sweet.

>88 Jackie_K: Wow, Jackie! That's a riot. Jif is an American brand of peanut butter. I don't like it because it's got sugar, molasses (treacle, I believe it's called in England), fully and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed and soybean), and mono- and diglycerides in addition to the salt and peanuts. *shudder*

Husband and I have agreed to disagree for 25 years on peanut butter. He uses Jif, I use peanut butter that only contains peanuts and salt.

Dec 5, 2016, 8:51pm Top

Well, my mother is not doing well at all and I've been summoned to California. We have a cousin who works for American Airlines and she was gracious enough to help me get a standby flight tomorrow morning at 5:49 a.m. EST, so my husband will be driving me to the airport at 3:30 a.m.

Ticket's one way since I don't know how long I'll be there.

I'll be taking my computer, almost as a security blanket. I'll be staying at Mom's house because my sister now has her mother-in-law and a 24/7 caregiver living there, taking up the two spare bedrooms. My sister might spend some nights with me there. I hope so. I'm not sure I can deal with Mom's lodgers by myself.

It's only about 10 minutes away from where Mom's in the board-and-care facility.

Dec 6, 2016, 7:11am Top

>90 karenmarie: I'm so sorry. I'll be thinking of you, your mother and your sister. Safe travels.

Dec 6, 2016, 1:31pm Top

>90 karenmarie: I am so sorry to hear that. I hope you arrive safely - we will be sending warm thoughts to you and your family.

I've found it helpful to take an old favourite book - something to dip in and out of for a bit of a respite. Take care of yourself!

Dec 6, 2016, 3:26pm Top

>90 karenmarie: Good thoughts from here too karenmarie - that sounds like it will be difficult. Take good care x

Dec 7, 2016, 8:40am Top

Thank you Sace, Caramellunacy, Jackie_K.

My mother passed away yesterday morning around 5 a.m. I didn't get into Ontario CA until 10:30. I missed saying good bye in person, but did get to speak with her on the phone Sunday - we had a very nice, coherent, loving conversation. Monday afternoon while my sister Laura and BiL Mike were there I also got to say hi, but she was rambling a bit and am not sure if she knew I was on the phone.

It is what it is. Laura and I went to get her belongings from the board-and-care center yesterday and went to make cremation and other arrangements.

I decided I just couldn't handle staying at Mom's house and have to deal with Ann and Terril, the lodgers, and Laura now has her Mother-in-Law and a caregiver living with them, taking up the two spare bedrooms, so I'm at a hotel. I don't mind at all, and actually am appreciating the aloneness right now.

My sister will come get me in about 3 1/2 hours to go to Mom's house. Her daughter, my niece Heather, is meeting us there.

Dec 7, 2016, 9:32am Top

I am so sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your family.

Edited: Dec 7, 2016, 10:55am Top

>90 karenmarie: oh I'm so sorry to hear that ..
That's SO nice that your cousin was able to help out!

>94 karenmarie: oh geez. I am SO sorry.
Glad you had that last conversation, but I know how hard it can be to not be able to say bye in person. :(
Condolences to you and yours.

Dec 7, 2016, 4:19pm Top

>94 karenmarie: Oh that's hard - I'm glad that you've got your family around but also some space for yourself. I hope that you are able to find scraps of comfort amongst all the crappage. Thinking of you from the far side of the Pond x

Dec 7, 2016, 5:50pm Top

Oh no! I'm so sorry for your loss.

Hoping all goes as well as these things can. Take care of yourself.

Dec 8, 2016, 7:29am Top

>94 karenmarie: I am so sorry. You're in my thoughts.

Dec 15, 2016, 10:19am Top

Thank you MissWatson, Aletheia, rabbitprincess, Sace.

The plane landed last night about 5 p.m., we stopped for a bite to eat, then I got home about 7 p.m.

Insult to injury - when my sister and I went to view Mom's body, they had already cremated her. So I didn't get to say good bye even after her death. My sister cried hysterically, but I'm not much of a crier. I've spoken with a manager or the crematorium once, a highly unsatisfactory call, and now my sister is having a lawyer friend craft a Demand Letter for full refund of the cremation expenses. It's not that we want the money per se, it's that we want them to feel their mistake in the only way they apparently understand. We also have a good lawsuit according to the lawyer friend, but we'll see about that. I've spoken with a manager once, and he apologized but took no personal blame. He only blamed the woman we worked with, and offered us cremation jewelry and/or an upgraded urn. He sounded scared. And then didn't do what he said he'd do. He said he'd call on Monday and hasn't called me since. We're distraught AND furious.

And we can't find Mom's will, but we have hired her lawyer to settle her estate. We've looked absolutely everywhere we can think of. We also looked in places that didn't make sense and found pictures, old high school year books, concert programs from when Mom was in bands/orchestras in high school and college, and various and sundry newspaper articles from 60 or so years ago. But no will.

We think the lawyer might have the original - he's semi-retired and has things stored several places. Once he finds their files, we'll hope it's there. If he doesn't have it, I do have the original of a codicil to her will and an official bound copy of her will. Maybe that will work. And if not, he'll guide us through what to do.

I love my parents deeply and realize that they were terrible at managing their money, bless their hearts. I'm going to be busy for several more months with financial things, then, of course, there will be taxes. Fortunately I found her accountant's name amongst her tax filings.

And so on and so on.

While in California I found it difficult to do much reading. I did read an unsatisfactory Regency romance.

I did, however, get a lot of good reading done on the plane trip to CA and back - a stunningly good book about Moral Psychology and how liberals and conservatives differ on which of the six foundations of Moral Psychology activate their political feelings/affiliations/voting activities. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it. It requires some thought but is written for the lay person. It's called The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt (pronounced height).

Time to get more coffee and unpack....

Thank all of you again for your sympathy and condolences. Every time I logged on and looked, I felt stronger and comforted.

Dec 15, 2016, 10:56am Top

>100 karenmarie: Oh my word karenmarie, what an awful thing to happen - I am sitting here open-mouthed that they could cremate a person's body without the knowledge or consent of their family. I am absolutely speechless at the insensitivity and cruelty (not to mention incompetence) of it all. As if going through your mum's mixed-up papers isn't traumatic enough. I can only offer you my prayers, good vibes, crossed fingers, lit candles and general outrage, in the hope that some of this from an internet semi-stranger is any comfort.

I'm not surprised you didn't get much reading done, but I'm glad you have a book that you are really getting into. The Righteous Mind is one of the books on my wishlist, and near the top of the list of wishlist-books-I-hope-someone-actually-buys-me.

Dec 15, 2016, 2:03pm Top

>100 karenmarie: oh how awful! I completely understand wanting the crematorium to feel their thoughtlessness!!

And then on top of that, to also not be able to find the will! Again, I'm so sorry you are going through all this :( Hopefully the lawyer can clear things up!

It's already so hard to deal with the passing of a loved one -- then to add the whole estate bit to it just makes it extra challenging -- will pray for your peace during this time!

Glad you were able to get a little reading done on your plane trip - sounds like a very interesting book!

Edited: Dec 15, 2016, 6:06pm Top

>101 Jackie_K: Thank you Jackie, for your offerings. They are all valuable and greatly appreciated.

I learned about 2 years ago to give anybody who asked what I wanted for Christmas specific books, two or three per person to choose among to fit their budget. I don't ask more than one person for any given book, and I'm always happy with the result. Ask somebody specifically for The Righteous Mind if you want it that much..... :)

>102 avanders: Thank you, Aletheia. It is one step forward and two steps back for sure. My mom would be LIVID with the funeral home/crematorium.

One small good piece of news today - my sister and her husband had bought my mother a Jitterbug (a flip phone easy for seniors to use) just two days before she passed away. She couldn't easily use the other cell phone. I got the bill today for the minutes charge through January 4, but I called and explained that my mother passed away and could they just charge me the minimum (sister used two minutes to test the phone). The woman at greatcall said she'd cancel the service with no money due and refund the activation fee. And she offered me her condolences on Mom's passing.

Dec 16, 2016, 9:50am Top

>100 karenmarie: What an awful thing to happen to you and your family at such a terrible time! It is sad to reflect that the only way you can seriously reach people like this is through their bank balance, they seem to have no concept of service ethos or professionalism. But it's nice to hear that the corprorate landscape is not inhabited only by sharks. My best wishes that things won't drag on endlessly and make this time even more painful for you than it already is.

Dec 16, 2016, 9:58am Top

>103 karenmarie: oh that's nice - it's a small thing, but so nice when companies recognize the difficulties and pain that someone is experiencing. Nice to hear about Jitterbug!

Edited: Dec 17, 2016, 11:48am Top

>104 MissWatson: Thank you, Birgit. I hope things start resolving quickly, but frankly, we don't even have death certificates yet so have to wait for that and the lawyer to start probate. We have a different lawyer writing the Demand letter to the crematorium, so we have to hurry up and wait. It's okay, though, because I'm exhausted and just want to recoup for a couple of days.

>105 avanders: Hi Aletheia. It did make me feel good, and the Jitterbug is my sister's responsibility to return for the refund. She had also bought Mom a new Radio/CD player that never got used, so can return it too.

It was just too sudden. I had bought Mom a new cardigan for Christmas. Laura said to send it early so Mom could start wearing it, but she only opened it the Saturday before she passed away and never got to wear it. Sigh. My sister has it now and that's a good thing.

Daughter is driving home, will be here in about 1 1/2 hours. Then the three of us are going to a family Christmas party (husband's side of the family). Presents are all wrapped, all I have to do is put together a salad. It will be nice to see everybody, but I am very sad today and although I know I'll be surrounded by love and caring, would just rather stay home. I won't, though, as it would upset everybody, not least my husband and daughter.

Dec 17, 2016, 2:59pm Top

So sorry for your loss, Karen, especially around this time of the year.

Dec 17, 2016, 7:44pm Top

>100 karenmarie: How awful, Karen! I'm so sorry you are having to deal with so many infuriating things at such an emotional time. It is nice to hear that Jitterbug was professional and compassionate.

Edited: Dec 18, 2016, 12:23pm Top

>107 tess_schoolmarm: Thanks, Tess. Christmas makes it a bit psychotic for sure. I feel worse for my aunt, though - she lost her sister on her son's birthday.

>108 Sace: Yes, the upsetting things overshadow the emotional somewhat. My sister returned the radio and Jitterbug yesterday. They are always short of money, so at least they got their money back although I know they'd rather Mom have those things and still be with us.

The family party was nice. Expressions of sympathy and love abounded but didn't overshadow (nice word, I've used it twice here) the Christmas get together. Lots of fun playing games, good food, some fantastic and some .... interesting.... presents. Anybody want some K-cups? A cousin knows I love coffee but doesn't realize I don't have a Keurig brewer. But I did get two coffee cups and some other thoughtful gifts, including A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain. Of course I asked for it - I learned that several years ago. Just ask for the books you want rather than stress people out by not knowing what you already have and just guessing.

We decorated the tree today. Husband and I had put the lights on before I went to CA, and with daughter home this morning we had fun decorating it.

Dec 18, 2016, 2:31pm Top

>109 karenmarie: What a lovely and festive tree!

Dec 19, 2016, 10:32am Top

>110 Sace: Thank you! The tree looks different every year because we have so many ornaments and we each just pick and choose what we want to put up. We always buy a new ornament - sometimes with dates, sometimes University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 'cuz my husband is a Tarheels fan, sometimes Snoopy because daughter's a Snoopy fan. Sometimes for me, but I already have a lot of kitty and flamingo ornaments.

Dec 19, 2016, 1:36pm Top

>106 karenmarie: glad your daughter is driving home! It's rough to go to parties when you're dealing with something so difficult, but it sounds like you'll be in good company.. Hope it went well! Oh I see it was nice :) good.
funny re the Keurig brewer ;) I'm sure you can find a happy home for those k-cups!

>109 karenmarie: oh that's hard for your aunt too :(

Your tree is lovely!

Dec 19, 2016, 7:35pm Top

>111 karenmarie: A flamingo Christmas tree would be amazing! Kitties too!

Dec 23, 2016, 12:56am Top

Here's hoping you and daughter have a happy holiday!

Dec 23, 2016, 9:17am Top

Dec 23, 2016, 10:30pm Top

Dec 24, 2016, 9:17am Top

>112 avanders: and >115 avanders: Hi Aletheia! Both my aunt and uncle, Mom's siblings, are taking this hard too. My uncle especially, as he lost his wife of 45 years in October. The K-cups are still under the tree..... I just cannot bring myself to buy into a technology that uses so much packaging. And thank you re the tree. This year's ornament was a Snoopy ornament for daughter. Snoopy with a parachute. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too.

>113 Sace: Hi Sace. A flamingo Christmas tree would be amazing, but at our house it would only please me. We didn't even put out all the kitty, flamingo, Snoopy, and Tarheels ornaments this year, just pulled from the box until we liked how it looked. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

>114 tess_schoolmarm: and 116 Thank you, Tess! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too.

Big, good news. My husband got offered an estimator's job at The Endeavour Fabrication Group, a custom surfaces company that my friend Vanessa works for. They make custom Corian, granite, slate, and other specialty counter tops. This was the best Christmas present we could get. They offered him more money than he was making at our old company, and said he could start either Tuesday the 3rd or Monday the 9th, his choice. They're flexible on start time because of the commute, too.

Our daughter is driving out today. She said she'd get here by dinnertime. I think she has to work on Monday so she'll leave late afternoon tomorrow. Short but sweet. She did spend last Saturday-Monday with us, so we're getting lots of time with her this month.

Dec 25, 2016, 10:45am Top

>117 karenmarie: that is fantastic news about your husband's job! Definitely the best Christmas present ever, I hope this heralds a much better 2017 for you! Merry Christmas to you and yours x

Dec 25, 2016, 10:51am Top

Excellent news! :)

Dec 25, 2016, 11:13am Top

>117 karenmarie: That's wonderful news! I'm so happy for you and your husband!

Dec 25, 2016, 4:29pm Top

Thank you Jackie_K, rabbitprincess, and Sace.

I hope you're enjoying your Christmases as much as we are here. It's a good day.

Dec 25, 2016, 4:38pm Top

To all my dear friends here, thank you for accepting my absence from your threads recently and thank you for coming to visit me here. You are all very dear to me and give me strength and comfort when I need it. I'm going to get back in the groove soon, but in the meantime, I would be bereft without you.

Dec 25, 2016, 11:05pm Top

So happy that your husband found a job!

Dec 26, 2016, 2:22am Top

Stopping by to say Happy Holidays!

Dec 27, 2016, 11:16am Top

Glad to see you taking baby steps, Karen!

Dec 27, 2016, 11:25am Top

>123 tess_schoolmarm: and >125 tess_schoolmarm: Thank you Tess. We're very happy about the job, for sure. He will start on the 9th of January. Today seemed like the right day to tippy-toe forward.....

>124 enemyanniemae: Thank you. Good times and sad times all mixed up, but I am SOOO looking forward to 2017.

Dec 27, 2016, 12:23pm Top

>117 karenmarie: Oh I can imagine how hard your mom's passing is on everyone in the family, especially your uncle. I'm glad you were able to spend time with family throughout this all & enjoy your Christmas - especially with your daughter!

And absolutely wonderful news about your husband's job!!

>126 karenmarie: and here's to a 2017 that leaves 2016 in the dust...

Dec 27, 2016, 1:39pm Top

>126 karenmarie: This year has been an all round annus horribilis. I have only one thing to say to 2016... don't let the door hit you on the way out. So happy to hear that your husband found a job! May 2017 bring nothing but peace and contentment. And happiness. And good books.

Edited: Dec 27, 2016, 2:59pm Top

>127 avanders: Hi Aletheia! Uncle Doug is taking the loss of his wife and sister hard, but he is a very methodical person and is attending grief sessions at his church and keeping busy with church and his house/yard. I find this amusing - I got a Christmas card and letter from him as usual, but since he had cards pre-printed with his and Aunt Joanne's name on them, he covered that with a blank white label and signed it Uncle Doug. Even though he's 100% Czech American, he is, as my husband's mother said, Scotch, meaning VERY CAREFUL with money.

Thank you re the job. I think it's finally beginning to sink in a bit - husband asked me just now how I plan on 're-entering retirement' - but frankly it will only be after Mom's Memorial that I'll feel relaxed. My daughter and I will fly out several days before the 21st of January. I'm thinking of offering her the equivalent of her salary for a few more additional days. She hasn't had a real vacation since she started this job a year and a half ago and is always worried about money and being a good employee. I'll send her home by herself if she's comfortable with that. She hasn't flown as an adult, but if we go out together and she sees how easy it is, she'll feel comfortable getting back herself, I think.

>128 enemyanniemae: I'm sorry about your annus horribilis - for me I can't honestly think of one year in my entire life where as many things were awful/stressful/sad/tragic. Yay 2017! Peace and contentment to you too, and happiness, and good books.

One of the freeloaders.... oops, boarders.... is moving out of my Mom's house today! Yay. That only leaves the one I'm more inclined to be tolerant of since she is truly destitute and is looking hard to find something.

We're going to have to sell the house soon. Sad. Our family moved in in Dec 1967, so it's been 49 years.

Jan 2, 2017, 7:14pm Top

>129 karenmarie: Sounds like your uncle is doing the best given the circumstances.. :(
Wow, that's a long time that you've had that house in your family! It will be the end of an era for sure! Good luck w/ that whole process!

Also, Happy New Year! See you in the new 2017 group...


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