Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'm Having a Hot Flash

"I'm having a hot flash.  A tropical hot flash," the actress sang in a deep, guttural voice.

The audience roared. 

Last night I went with a group of women to see Menopause, The Musical at a local theater.  This was girl's night out on a massive scale.  Out of 2000 seats, maybe 20 were filled by men.  And Lord help the poor guy who sprung for front row seats.  He'll never take his wife out to the theater again.

From wrinkles, to failing eyesight, to having to pee constantly, this show covered it all.  Menopause, The Musical was 90 minutes of non stop laughter.  Every woman in the place finally learned that they weren't the only one turning  a bright shade of red in the middle of the grocery story.

I also learned that there is not a woman over the age of 50 that can sleep.  Every single one of them is taking something, none of which works.

"I thought I was the only one who couldn't sleep," I said in the car on the ride home.

"I haven't had a good night's sleep in years," my friend, Kay announced.

"The Advil PM works best for me but even then it doesn't work most of the time.  Has anybody tried that new Nyquil stuff?"   another woman asked.

"Oh, that doesn't work," the driver of the car answered in a very matter of fact manner. "I'll give you my bottle.  See if it works for you."

Now I get it.  Menopause is the one thing all women have in common.  It keeps us up all night so we can talk about exchanging drugs in the back seat of a car.  Nothing illegal going on here.  We are happy to trade with out fellow womankind.  Relief for one may be relief for us all. We've crossed sleep off our to do list because even if we can nod off, it won't last long.  We'll just have to get up and pee again. Or change the wet sheets. Pick your poison. 

I rolled down the window and stuck my head out. I'm all hot and drippy. I'm having a hot flash. Something suddenly hit me.

"How much further?  I've gotta go." 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Five Kisses by Karla Darcy

The Five Kisses by Karla Darcy

The Five Kisses is a short sweet Regency romance, full of Earls with large estates and women who fall in love with them.  Gillian meets Chad as a young girl while collecting apples for the Christmas kissing bough.  

The pair grows up and their lives take them is different directions but weave back together for a holiday kiss under the apples on the kissing boughs.  Their love comes full circle when Chad returns with surprises that would melt any woman, even in today's modern times. 

The Five Kisses is a sweet, historical romance with full skirts, blushing bosoms and strong women.  It's beautifully written will take you back to a rich and gallant time in England.  This is a quick read, perfect for curling up on a cool autumn day. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sixty or Seventy Inch, Television I Mean

Ever since we got a new 60 inch television about two years ago, Richard's been hounding me for a seventy.

"If you wanted a seventy inch, why didn't you buy it then?" I asked.

"They didn't make them.  Sixty inch was the biggest."

"Too bad.  You have to wait for this one to croak.  I don't see that happening anytime soon."

Every Sunday morning while reading the paper, I'm handed the Best Buy flyer turned to the TV section.  I hand it back.  When he turns on the regular cable channel instead of the corresponding HD, he says, "I could see this so much better on a 70 inch."  I say, "Get a stronger pair of glasses." 

The other day we ran into our next door neighbors. They recently moved in and are spending alot of time getting the house in order.

"Hey, Richard.  We took your advice and got a new TV, 65 inch." George said.

"He wanted the seventy but I think it's too big so we compromised," his wife responded.

Richard looked at me.  "I'm going to their house to watch TV."

Frankly, I'd enjoy the peace and quiet. I am so sick of hearing about this TV, I could scream.

This morning I checked my phone to find a text and a photo from my nephew who lives in Tampa.

The text read, "We took your advice and got a 70"."  The photo was of the brand new TV hanging on the wall of his family room.

"Richard will never let me hear the end of this now.  Gee thx. He can't get one cuz he doesn't have a job." I texted back.   As you can tell I'm not that up on texting abbreviations, but that's a topic for another day.

"Tell him to get a job." my nephew replied.

When I showed Richard the picture, he examined it for several minutes.

"If he can get a new TV, why can't I?'

"When you get a job, you can get a new TV," I promised.

One thing I know, he loves watching TV so much, I'll bet money, he'll never get another job. If he did go back to work, I'm starting to think he should consider selling TVs.  We seem to know a few people who are happy they took his advice.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel

The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel

The Sleeping Night is a wonderful story set in the south in the years surrounding World War II.  Angel Corey is a beautiful young girl being raised by her father in a small Texas town. As the white proprietor of the general store on the black side of town, Parker Corey's best friend is a black man, Jordan High.  The two had served in the first World War together.  Angel's best friend is Isaiah, Jordan's son.  They play and read and help out around the store.  When Jordan is lynched and murdered, the pair begins to see what life may hold for them.  

The story revolves around letters written during the war when Isaiah enlists in the Army and is sent to fight in Europe.  Some letters are mailed and others are not.  We watch their love bloom through their words.  When the war ends and Isaiah returns to town, their troubles begin.  Parker dies and the town views a white woman alone as unacceptable. 

There are many flashbacks in this novel.  I often found it hard to keep track of what time period the characters were in at the present, the changes happened so rapidly.  The story begins in the future, after many years have past.  I actually found the story of the White and Black book club very intriguing and would have wanted more about them.  However it was only a vehicle to stage the rest of the story.  The author did a wonderful job of making sure I felt the heat, humidity, rain and mud in the steamy Texas town. The tension of segregation mounted with each and every change in the weather.

I enjoyed reading The Sleeping Night.  Sometimes we need to take a step back and remember where we came from.  History is often painful but we need to be reminded of it so it is never repeated.  Angel and Isaiah told their story from the heart.  A story that needed to be told.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty

The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty

I am a writer and also a reader who likes stories neatly tied up with a ribbon by the end.  This is a bad habit and I really should let it go.  Life is unpredictable and is never neat.  The Center of Everything left me wanting more.  It ended exactly as it should have, like life itself.

Evelyn Bucknow succeeds despite having all the odds stacked against her.  She's being raised by a single mother, who has been disowned by her father because of the birth of Evelyn.  Evelyn's grandmother, Eileen shows up regularly to try and make peace in the family.  Evelyn's mother, Tina wants no part of it.  Tina becomes pregnant again and the father of the baby, a married man, disappears.

Evelyn is surrounded by friends who skip school, do drugs and have sex.  Her brother is born with special needs.  Tina is consumed with his daily care with no time for Evelyn.  And yet she manages not to be distracted by all the emotion, heartache and struggle that comes along with being a teenager.  Things don't go as she planned most of the time, but Evelyn is resilient to say the least. It's a pleasure to watch Evelyn grow from a little girl to a focused young woman.  And it's heartwarming to watch Tina evolve right along side her.

I loved this book.  The characters all had unique personalities created through the author's description.  Her ability to include all the senses set the stage for rich, real, thought provoking story telling.  Don't think this book is serious and sad.  Many scenes left me laughing out loud. And I mean belly laughing funny.  If a book can make me laugh and cry all at the same time, its worth reading.  The Center of Everything is a novel that did just that.  And it left me wanting more.

I Love Candy Corn

If any of you follow along with my blog, you'll know I love candy corn.  Richard gave me a bag for my birthday in August and it is long gone.  I don't like the pumpkins.  They're too sugary.  Go ahead  Try to figure that one out!!  I crave the plain ol' standard yellow, white and orange corn.

Yesterday I saw a bit on CNN about Candy Corn Oreos.  Everyone loved them in the taste test except for the guy who didn't like candy corn.  I think it's un American not to like candy corn.  Anyway these Oreos are only available at Target and are only around for a limited time.   I have to try them.

I don't normally shop at Target but today when I ran some errands, I decided to make a stop there to get a bag of Oreos.  Now Oreos are not something I ever buy or keep around the house.  At this stage of my life all I really need to do is look at an Oreo and I'll gain ten pounds.  Once I started eating one, I'd finish the bag in one sitting, kind of like I did with that birthday bag of candy corn.  It's not that I don't like them, it's just best not to be tempted.

Entering the store, I walked right up to an end cap filled with Oreos. I thought I'd hit the jackpot.  There were Oreos shaped like footballs and Halloween Oreos filled with orange creme. I examined those to make sure they weren't candy corn.  The label said filled with orange creme.  I couldn't quite decide if that meant orange flavored creme or orange colored creme.  But I knew it wasn't candy corn flavored. 

I walked back to the cookie section.  Oreos command alot of shelf space.  I grew up with chocolate cookies with white filling that we loved to twist apart and lick off the creme before eating the cookie.  Today Oreos have green mint filling, pink berry creme, chocolate, fudge and even what they call golden cookies with white creme.  Oh my! When I stopped being amazed at all the different kinds of Oreos, I took a second look.  No candy corn Oreos.  Bummer.

With my head hanging low with disappointment, I walked toward the front of the store to go home, mission not accomplished.  The Halloween candy caught my eye.  I snagged a bag of real candy corn, and took it to the cashier.  I hadn't even made it to my car before I ripped open the bag. 

I drove home, one hand on the steering wheel and one hand in the bag of candy.  Who needs to hunt for Oreos? I'll take the real thing any day.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Normal Day

For some reason Richard decided he needed a new horn for his bicycle.  I don't know what's wrong with the bell already attached to his handlebars which he uses every time he rides by a dog and its owner on their morning walk.  The tinkling of the bell brings a smile to everyone's face, even the dog.

He found a horn on Amazon with four different sounds, police, fire, ambulance and something else equally as jarring to the eardrums.  It also came with flashing lights and strict instructions to be used outdoors only. The minute it arrived in the mail, Richard rushed outside to attach it to his bike.  The testing of the horn came shortly thereafter.  I went to find my earplugs.

Each morning we ride our bikes for three or four miles. Yesterday when I rode ahead, Richard pulled up behind me blaring his siren.

"Pull over.  I'm the citizen's patrol," he shouted.

I kept pedaling.  "Who appointed you?"

"I'm self appointed to keep the peace around here."  We live in a fifty five community.  The only time we hear a siren is when the ambulance comes to take someone to the hospital or the morgue. We never know which it is until the house goes up for sale.

Today we were out riding and ran into some neighbors, Mike and Irene.  They had just returned from their summer in the Poconos.

"Richard, what's been going on since we left?" Mike asked.

"That house sold for a good price.  They got lucky.  This one is ..."

"They did get lucky." Mike answered.

Richard rang the police siren. "Don't interrupt me.  I'm the citizen's patrol."

Mike laughed.  "Did you take your meds this morning, Richard?"

We continued to gossip for a few minutes longer before riding off down the street, stopping again when we ran into Carol, another neighbor.  She regularly cruises up and down the sidewalks in her Hoveround.  Richard rang the fire siren.

"You need one of these too."  This time he rang the ambulance siren.  "You can join me on the citizen's patrol."

"Oh no. I don't want that on my chair." Carol laughed.  "I don't want to end up like that guy in Sanford."

"Guess you'll have to patrol by yourself, Richard.  Carol has a point you know," I said.

He rang the unknown siren.  We all put our fingers in our ears. Mike walked up behind him, put his hand on Richard's shoulder and asked again.

"Are you sure you took your meds this morning?"

"He doesn't take any." I rolled my eyes.  "This is a normal day."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

I received an e-galley of this title through Net Galley.  I have to say I just plain and simple didn't get it. After reading the first four chapters, I still had no clue what was the motive of any of the characters or even their relationship to each other.  The only cute thing I understood was that they used the word butterfly as a cuss word. Overall I thought it was very poorly written. 

Anyone that regularly reads my reviews will know that for me to stop in the middle of a novel and put it down is extremely rare.  I like to finish what I start.

In defense of Point of Retreat, it's the second in a series.  Not having read the first may have put me at a disadvantage from the start.  If you loved the first book, then by all means go for it.  Point of Retreat just wasn't for me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Breath of God by Jeffery Small

The Breath of God by Jeffrey Small

One of my tax clients recommended this title to me.  We had a long conversation about it while I prepared her tax return.  She raved so much that I had to read it.  I downloaded it to my Kindle an that's where it's been waiting since last April. 

I believe that faith and religion are very personal beliefs.  Not being a religious scholar, I only know how I personally reacted to this novel.  Keep in mind it is very much like The DaVinci Code, full of ancient artifacts that modern religion wants to squelch to ensure the money keeps rolling in.  Loaded with suspense in the quest for good over evil, I couldn't put this book down.

The story is of a graduate student's quest for the lost texts of Issa.  He believes Jesus traveled to India and studied other religions before beginning his ministry.  Supposedly the Bible is silent about the portion of his life detailed in these texts.  The people who want to stop him are the backbone of the novel. Throw in some romance and you've got the perfect mix.

Books are few and far between that keep me reading long into the night.  If I don't get my eight hours of beauty sleep, I'm useless the next day.  The Breath of God hooked me from the start.  It drew me and wouldn't let go. I turned off the alarm for the next morning and kept reading.  Ginger, my dog, gave up begging for more bedtime biscuits.  I pushed her persistent paw away so many times, she curled up and went to sleep.  Her beauty sleep is important too. Maybe that's why she's just too darn cute. She doesn't know how to read.

One thing I do know is that our faith is tested every single day.  I found food for thought in The Breath of God in addition to a marvelous, action packed novel that kept me on the edge of my seat.  I'm back to a reasonable bedtime until another novel this absorbing comes my way.  I hope it will soon.  Tax season is right around the corner. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Annual Rummage Sale

I've gotten in the habit of walking for a couple miles each morning around my 55+ development.  I watch the sunrise, listen to the birds sing and say hello to the many bunnies that also call this place home.  It's a peaceful time and I can be all alone with my thoughts taking in the ever changing landscape.

On trash day however, my eyes are diverted to the curb.  Not only are the streets lined with trash cans of all shape, colors and sizes, but I learn where people have been shopping during the week.  I often see the empty cartons that once contained a new office chair, printer or television.  Sometimes I'll find a broken bicycle or a barely used treadmill.  Today, at the end of one driveway were several large Target bags sporting the famous red bullseye,  stuffed to overflowing with more red and white Target bags.  I happen to be a Wal Mart girl but to each his own.  Whoever lived there must have been on a shopping frenzy!  

What goes in must eventually come out. 

Saturday, the association held its annual rummage sale.  It's advertised in the local paper and cars line up early to get in.  Usually people rent tables in the clubhouse to sell what they no longer have room for in their scaled down retirement home.    And this year they allowed homeowners to sell from their driveways.  This place turned into one giant garage sale.

The streets filled quickly with cars and pickup trucks cruising for a bargain. Paintings, golf clubs, mattresses, sweaters and t-shirts and Christmas decorations lay out in the hot beating sun hoping to be snatched up by a new owner.  I watched cars and trucks leave stuffed with all kinds of goodies.

This is what happens when you get old.   The space you live in gets smaller but your desire to go shopping increases.  Maybe it's not so much your desire as the amount of free time that needs to be filled.  I'm not one for shopping at rummage sales but tomorrow is trash day.  I can't wait to see what's going to turn up.  It's been a long holiday weekend with lots of time to fill the coffers again.  Next year's sale is bound to include some really good stuff. I'm making a list.

City of Thieves by David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff It's World War II in Leningrad, Russia.  17 year old Lev elected to stay behind in the city when h...