Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC): Greatest Love of All

The past couple of weeks, Cee has been posting different songs to inspire those joining the CFFC Challenge.

This week’s song is by Whitney: “Greatest Love of All”

The lines that inspired this post:

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside

The End of Men, p. 9

Gee whiz, I have done it again. I have picked a novel to read that has everything to do with the zeitgeist (and I added it to the reading list way before Texas SB8, is that women’s intuition or what?).

On p. 9, Catherine and her very nice husband, Anthony, who already have one child, a boy named Theodore, discuss having another. The man wants it more than the woman. Here is Catherine expressing her ambivalence:

I go through phases. Sometimes I feel determined and ready. I can do this. Send me the needles, shoot me up, strap me down. I will do anything for a baby. Other weeks, the idea of all of those people and objects and wires and things being inside me makes me want to curl myself in a protective hunch. No, my body says. This is not right. Anthony’s more prone to baby-induced broodiness than I am. A friend’s snuffly newborn or his godchild doing something adorable will inevitably lead to an earnest declaration that we should just do it, let’s do it, what have we got to lose? Like tonight.

What do we have to lose? Everything, Anthony. I want to cry each time. Occasionally I’ll convince myself I can do this whole IVF thing but I can’t do it flippantly. For a man so keen on planning, he can be remarkably gung ho about the impact of IVF and babies or, worse, IVF and no babies, on our lives. I need an acknowledgment of the potential worst case scenario. I need him to understand how hard it’s going to be for me.

This husband will prove to be very important later, because men are dying off at an astonishing rate. In fact, this poor woman might be having to share: it’s like The Handmaid’s Tale, only opposite.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Thursday Trios Challenge: 19 August 2021

Self loves this challenge. It is so much fun to look through her archives for trios.

Thank you to the host, Mama Cormier!

In July, self decided to Airbnb in Carmel for a few days. On all her drives around California, she somehow failed to hit up this place, which was one of the first places her Dear Departed Dad took her to when she was a wee little girl. We were on our first family vacation from the Philippines, and Dad decided to make of it a road trip. Somehow, he had always harbored a secret fantasy of having his entire family engage in that quintessential American family activity: the road trip. So he bundled all five of us kids and Dearest Mum on a plane, and rented a car after we landed in San Francisco, and took us on a road trip that included: Carmel, Las Vegas, and La Jolla. Oh, and Highway 1, which we drove all the way from San Francisco to La Jolla.

Anyhoo, last month, self decided to Airbnb in Carmel, and her host had a most interesting apartment, filled with original artwork, weights, records and turntables, hefty art books, and guitars (in case any of the guests wished to break out in song?). Here’s his guitar collection:

Self’s host was extremely cryptic. She notified him that she was vacating, and leaving the key in the apartment per his instructions, and got this response:

  • I am just down the coast a little, enjoying the vanlife.

She thought and thought about an appropriate response, and finally came up with: Have an excellent vanlife!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

The Spaced-Out Mother in HEAVEN

The MC comes home, bleeding copiously, blood all over his school uniform, etc.

He goes to bed and can’t sleep.

NO HOSPITAL????

Is the boy really that invisible?

Guess so.

This novel is excruciating. It’s a little bit like reading Ayelet Tsabari. But, at least, at the end of Tsabari’s book, she snaps out of her self-destructive cycle of behavior. Here, self has very little hope that the MC will be able to break the victim/abuser cycle because his best friend has just told him he is STRONGER FOR BEING ABLE TO TAKE THE ABUSE. Which means he will just keep on taking it, unless he can find that magical place ‘Heaven’ that Kojima keeps talking about.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ayelet Tsabari, Mother

Only a few pages from the end. It’s been quite a journey. Should self give this memoir four or five stars? Somewhere in between.

What is life, anyway? What is it? Isn’t it being rooted to a place, to one particular place? That’s how you “grow” a history, isn’t it?

  • Like many immigrants, I am bound to watch my child grow farther away from me, away from my traditions, my language, and my memories of an Israeli childhood she will never know.

Thanks, and peace, Ayelet.

Question of the Day

How do the pensioners in The Thursday Murder Club know about the Dark Web when self only heard about it a month ago?

She’s on p. 181.

Also, it turns out, the DCI likes Oasis. OASIS.

Normally, she would just barrel through to the end (especially as it’s getting pretty exciting), but today has had all sorts of appointments, and she’s meeting someone for dinner — DINNER! — at the Beach Chalet. Her cousin from Manila, who’s only here for a few days.

Stay cool (it’s hard, that sun’s like a laser), dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Early Warning System

So every day Elizabeth opens her diary to a date two weeks ahead and writes herself a question. And every day she answers a question she set herself two weeks ago.

The Thursday Murder Club, p. 87

Dearest Mum had her own strategy: she had a huge calendar, and different colored marking pens. Gradually, self noticed that she began spending more and more time poring over it. Could have been as far back as 15 years ago. That must have been when she was just in her late 60s.

Dearest Mum came to visit self in California and started talking about this wonderful restaurant in Half Moon Bay called Gibraltar, a place she said she had just discovered. Self was quiet. Dearest Mum looked over. “What? I’ve told you this story before,” she said, looking for the first time in her life very unnerved.

“No. I was the one who took you to that restaurant. A friend in Half Moon Bay told me about it.”

So, the dementia started a long time ago. Could even have been as far back as 20 years ago. But Dearest Mum had this habit of being very gay and charming. If anyone noticed, they didn’t say a word.

Self is hugely enjoying The Thursday Murder Club.

Most of the mysteries she has read this year have been ace:

  • Find You First, by Linwood Barclay
  • One Fatal Flaw, by Anne Perry
  • All the Devils are Here, by Louise Penny
  • Eddie’s Boy, by Thomas Perry

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Sentence of the Day (1 July 2021)

Based on my large and diverse sample, I was able to identify six common routes to the destination “I’m done.”

— p. 31, Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them, by Karl Pillemer, PhD

Introduction, FAULT LINES: FRACTURED FAMILIES AND HOW TO MEND THEM

Self feels more engaged by Fault Lines than she was about Rules of Engagement. Karl Pillemer’s methods are research-based. He used “snowball sampling” techniques: “a large group of people are contacted and then asked to contact others in turn to help find interviewees.” His aim was to find subjects who had “reconciled,” who had moved “from anger and despair to acceptance . . . This book is built on their experiences, stories, and advice.”

He is not prescriptive: His aim is to present readers “with a range of ideas that they can apply to their own situations.” He followed up with “some of the estranged respondents over time to determine whether their own situations had changed and interviewing more than one person in a number of families.” Estrangement, Pillemer writes, “can be best understood as a form of chronic stress.” But he is quick to say he doesn’t intend to offer “clinical or psychological advice”: “I am a research sociologist and have no clinical credentials of any kind.”

He is quiet about whether he himself has any experience of estrangement, but of course he does. He just doesn’t share it, but he does. No one decides to write a book like this without that experience.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

2nd Quote of the Day: RULES OF ESTRANGEMENT

p. 94: “My therapist says you’re a narcissist.”

That is all.

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