Why would you apologize for what you read for pleasure? Every book read for pleasure should be celebrated. And novels that celebrate love, commitment, relationships, making relationships work -- why isn't that something to be respected? - Nora Roberts
I Tweet not, neither do I Like. OK, so now I Tweet. So sue me.
Here we may criticize the book, but never the one who reads it.
Proud supporter of the Oxford comma, and any other comma I can wedge into a sentence.
Authors: You are welcome to comment here, on the review of your book or any other post.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Since my husband was taken into state custody when he was six years old, starved, beaten, septic from untreated infection, nearly deaf in one ear due to chronic untreated infection, I cannot tell you how glad it made my heart to see that at some point, at least, he had been well-fed, adequately clothed, and attended to enough to have little shoes on his chubby little feet.
One finds comfort in the oddest places.
I remain computerless. This is likely the last one I will buy, so I want a good one, but I can't afford a good one and so I go around and around and around, deciding and un-deciding and generally making every computer salesman in a 25-mile radius and all my friends want to throttle me. I need more than a tablet, more than one of those things that stores everything in the cloud (which I don't entirely trust yet), I need a nice desktop because I'm doing a lot of stuff with photos and videos, and I have a lot of written stuff going. Given my vision, I need a biggish monitor. So round and round and round she goes.
Meanwhile, I use the library computer or sometimes one a friend drops off while she shops.
I'm doing better, I think. I have this constant sadness that colors everything, flavors everything. But I no longer expect to hear his voice or have him be here when I come home, and I no longer flinch when I pass by the produce aisle or candy aisle at the store. My list of firsts grows longer: first time since 1973 to buy clothing without his opinion. First time to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. First time of picking out new eyeglass frames without his opinion. First time since 1973 of trouble-shooting the kitchen drain. Small things all adding up to a large thing: I am getting used to Mr. Bat not being here.
I don't like it a bit. But I am starting to get used to it, mostly.
Because very complex reasons I'm not about to go into on the internet (and not directly any fault of his although he handled the situation poorly), he was estranged from his first family. The estrangement was never resolved properly. Right after he died, I took steps to locate them and establish contact. (Oh, Lord, I was so scared, but right is right and wrong is wrong.) I now have a cordial relationship with his daughter, and this gives me great joy. Both she and I are being careful, but indications are favorable. I feel Mr. Bat's peacefulness about this issue, and that also gives me great joy.
I wish he would come to me in a dream, or something in nature, or talk to me in my head. All the other widows in my support group say that they hear from their husbands all the time, and even feel a a kiss or caress. Not me, and at times I feel like a hungry child watching through the window of a restaurant as other people feast. My counselor says that perhaps he is still being healed in heaven, or perhaps he thinks I'm so strong I don't need to hear from him. This is what I get, I guess, for telling him that I'd be okay.
A friend, old friend, knows me well, has tried to set me up on a blind date with a recent widower. I'm glad she did it by email rather than in person because I would probably have thrown a vase at her. Is she insane? I told her, calmly, that I thought generally it's a bad idea to seat four people at a table for two. I'm still wearing not only my wedding ring, but Mr. Bat's. Clue? I still feel married. Even so, her heart is in the right place, and I do admit that she has had several off-the-wall suggestions for me the past five months that have paid off. But I'm not going out. No. I got an email from her today that she fixed him up with someone else. Good. Fine. Fine. That's fine. We'll let this gal work out the rattles and squeaks and then maybe I'll meet him for coffee in 2017. Late 2017. On another planet.
It's interesting in that in my support group, when the question of the day was "Are you interested in starting another potentially intimate relationship?" all 20 of the women said, "Are you nuts? No way am I going to be half-servant, half-nurse to another man!" while all 6 of the men were quite interested including one widower of 4 months who was already in an intimate relationship. I don't judge, but I wonder if they're setting themselves up for more heartbreak. My dad remarried, though, less than 2 years after my mom died, and it was successful.
I am going to be connecting with a recruiter this coming week to see about a part-time job. I want something with no responsibilities. All I want is a job where I give them an honest day's work for an honest dollar, one or two days a week, allowed to go home without toting a bulging briefcase. In short, I've had two careers, now I want a job. Even one day a week would put some ease in my budget and would have the side benefit of getting me out amongst 'em.
I hope the world is treating you all well, and that you're not too caught up in the Outrage of the Day. I must say that being off the internet for the most part is quite restful. I do miss you, though! I miss you a lot!
Friday, April 8, 2016
I deleted my photo on Twitter because I learned that some of my nutso family - and I've got some genuine nuts on my branch of the family tree - could find my Twitter account and thereby my blog by Googling that photo, which a relative shared on Facebook. I wouldn't put it past them to do so, and I have little enough privacy as it is.
Friend of a friend came in yesterday and deleted some programs I don't use, did a bunch of diagnostics (that didn't turn up anything interesting) and updated the one driver I missed when I uninstalled and reinstalled them last month. It seemed better, but last night started sputtering again.
No viruses. No temp files. I've changed routers twice. I've unplugged the printer/scanner and uninstalled it twice. Nothing corrupted that we can find. I don't download stuff or play games. I think the darned thing is just old (about 9 years, I think) and I think there may be some bad spots on the hard drive, so that when I happen to hit those spots in its rotation, then I'm screwed for whatever time.
I need a new one. But I'm having trouble with impulse control and decision making (I'm told this is normal) so I'm trying to keep an exceptionally tight rein on the pocketbook just now until I become closer to sane (which they tell me I will). That's why I haven't just gone out to buy a new one. I don't trust my shopping skills. I have, like, six of them bookmarked on Amazon, but I'm having trouble deciding which shirt to put on in the mornings, so a long-term money-intense decision like a new computer is simply beyond me. Thank God I don't need a new car!
Like - I went to a furniture store the other day to get a small, two-shelf bookcase to put right by the desk. I have two of those huge, towering things that worked well when our living room was nearly the size of this whole condo, and I had a separate study, but it's overwhelming now in these close quarters. By the time I got out of there (sans bookcase, BTW), I'd looked at beds, bedroom sets, reading chairs, slipcovers, and I don't actually recall what all else, had burst into tears twice, and annoyed six people working on commission due to my inability to make up my fricking mind.
The nearest library, where I could use their machine, is about a 20-minute drive from here. I've used their equipment a few times, and a couple times a friend has dropped off her laptop for a few hours, which is really nice of her, since she's pretty much glued to it normally.
So if I owe you an email, I do apologize. I'm not normally this rude. I tell you straight, grief is the damned pits. It sucks, blows, stinks -- you choose your word. I wish to hell I could do this more gracefully, but I am not, and that's just the way it goes. Himself was my world, and all I really want out of life now is just that: out of it. I would give anything - except my eternal soul - to be with him.
I hope your lives are perking along with no more than the normal amount of stress and that the coming of spring up here and of cooler weather down under gives all our spirits some relief.
If someone could please post a link to this on Twitter, or at least mention that I'd blogged, I'd be very grateful. I would worry about you, so I suspect people are wondering if I fell off the face of the earth.
PS: Found a photo of Himself the other day, and it's not postable, being X-rated, but it's one of the very few I have of him in which he's not wearing that bland mask he always put on when photographed. I took him by surprise with his hair messed up and this look of mischief and satisfaction on his face that reminded me that our life together wasn't all heartache, sorrow, and illness. We had a lot of fun, too. Much more fun and laughter than heartbreak. I'm thinking of having the image tattooed onto my forearm. (Just kidding.)
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
I've been up and down, up and down, the roller coaster of great grief. On the whole, I think things are not as bad as they were, but I did spend quite a bit of last week in The Pit, which is a bottomless fall into despair, a place where there is no light, and no hope. It's a miserable place, but I've been in The Pit before and climbed out - temporarily. The counselor says I'll be in and out of The Pit for however long it takes me. (One of the really frustrating things about grief for someone with my personality is that there are no rules, no guidelines, no timetable, no roadmap out. It's all very loosey-goosey New Age-y, do whatever works for you when it works for you, peace, love, rock 'n' roll, dawg.)
So the other day, I was about as far down into The Pit as I can go without being suicidal - which I've been on and off, mostly off, thank God - when a friend dropped off her laptop for me to use for a couple of hours so I could get some business done because I do everything online. I had a few minutes left, so I checked my email and there was one toward the top from a woman I haven't heard from in awhile and it was marked "Urgent, you need to see this right now!" so I opened it.
It turned out to be a number of YouTube links, and this woman I know is quite careful on the internet, so I clicked. It turned out to be Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely." Okay, fine. I'm a big Roy Orbison fan (if you grew up in the 1950s and '60s, you recognized how innovative he was at that time, a real genius). Next link: "In Dreams." Huh. Next link: "Love Hurts." Yikes! Next link: "It's Over." Holy catfish.
By that time, I had the sense to turn off the speakers on the computer. Every single link was to a sad Roy Orbison song. Every. Single. Link.
So I was thinking about my options. The gracious one would be to send her a simple thank you and ask after her grandson. The ones I wanted to send started off "You idiot" and continued with "Listen up, moron." Because who in their right mind sends sad song links to a new widow. I mean, really.
Then the absurdity of it all hit me and I started to laugh. I had a great laugh over this. Mr. Bat would have found this hilarious, and after my first response, I did, too. I played all the links and had a terrific two-hour crying session, and felt much improved after. I still feel better.
What's more, I now have the distraction of looking up things about Roy Orbison. It is my brain's habit to either ignore something or become obsessed with it, and right now I am obsessed with Roy Orbison. Well, hell, there are worse things. This is, apparently, exactly what I needed: a new obsession (why do I always hear Rocky Horror movie when someone says a new obsession?).
So you just never know. I sure wouldn't recommend sending links to unbearably sad songs to someone who is struggling with grief, but OTOH, maybe this woman knows me better than I know myself.
I can't afford a new computer just now. That's just the way it goes. A friend of a friend is going to be tinkering with mine to see if something can be done (he thinks he can fix it), and all he wants in return is a couple dozen of my peanut butter cookies and, come summer, a fresh peach pie. He's a good guy but really busy so I don't know when I'll be back again. I just wanted to say Hi and share a funny story. And a video of "In Dreams." Enjoy. :-)
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Monday, February 29, 2016
Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City Book 1) by Penny Reid (contemporary romance or maybe chic lit)
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Friday, February 26, 2016
Edited to correct error in grammar, for pity's sake. And another one. Yikes!
ETA further: Maybe 15 years ago I watched most of a movie, the name of which I cannot remember. The premise was this: when you die, you have a life review that is like watching a movie. After 3 days, you have to pick one memory, just one, just one moment, to take with you into the next life, heaven? If you pick a memory from childhood, then you won't remember your husband and children, for example. It made for a fascinating dinner conversation with a large group of friends one night (all but 2 of us now dead ...) but I cannot for the life of me remember the name. I remember picking one particular moment in one particular autumn day early in our marriage, one of those perfect, perfect days.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
The Improper Bride, by Lily Maxton (historical romance, probably Regency, with personal update at end)
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
They're exhausting. And embarrassing when they occur in public or around strangers when you're just standing in line at the post office and you thought all you were thinking about was how much a first class stamp costs these days, since you've lost track.
I haven't had one of those in two days.
Now, I've had tearful moments. Of course I have had them. I'll be working on something and that will trigger a memory, and I'm still in a place where memories don't comfort, they hurt. And I'll start to cry and I may cry for five minutes, which seems to be about my limit, and then I mop up and carry on.
But none of those overwhelming, I'm drowning, where the hell did this come from, I can't breathe, episodes.
I am choosing to see this as progress. Maybe I'm passing from acute grief to chronic or subacute grief. Or at least I have some of my toes over the line into chronic grief, since this whole thing seems to be a two steps forward, one and three-quarters steps back process.
I've been crying my head off since September - did a fair amount of anticipatory grieving - and it seems that for me, maybe it's time for it to subside a bit. Humans adapt - we do - we adapt, adjust, evolve. Nobody can live in a crisis state forever. We adjust. Can it be possible that I'm adjusting, just a bit?
I've been warned that I may feel that this is being disloyal to Mr. Bat, but it doesn't feel like that, at least not at this point. It feels the way it feels when you've had respiratory flu, when you've been so feverish and achy and weak, and then one day you feel well enough to get up and take a shower. It wipes you out, but you feel cleaner and you start to believe that well, yes, maybe you will get well.
I dunno. I'm making this up as I go along. Mr. Bat used to say that my motto should be, "I'll think of something," because in truth that is what I say when I'm not sure how to deal with a situation. But it feels like progress.
Monday, February 8, 2016
Now That You've Gone Home: Courage and Comfort for Times of Grief, by Joyce Hutchison and Joyce Rupp (non-fiction, Christian, self-help)
ETR a repeated sentence. As I said, inattention to detail ... .