The Memorist by M J Rose

12 06 2010

They should have published The Memorist book first.  Possibly only this book.  Everything I said about The Reincarnationist (which is a damn stupid title too) was fixed in the sequel.

Will I buy the 3rd one in July when it comes out?  Maybe.

If I do it will be because I’m a completionist and not because I want to read another book in this series.

The Reincarnationist by M J Rose

10 06 2010

Night before last I finished The Reincarnationist and I was fairly disappointed.  I’m a fan of M. J. Rose’s previous novels so I was hoping that her foray into theological suspense would be as much fun.

It was one of those in between books – I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either.  It was too short in that the basis of the Phoenix  Society wasn’t explained in a way that seemed real and central to the book.  It was too heavily edited.

I’m having a hard time writing a review for it even though I feel like I should.  The words just aren’t coming.

The characters seem flat and it was hard to feel compassion for them.  The scent as a “lurch” inducer felt off and it was never really explained.  The karmic circle of the past lives reaching into the future never seemed plausible.  There was a whole lot of whining about how the Christians of that time period didn’t know their own roots and they were just power hungry brutes sent to rape and pillage.  So much emphasis was put on spiritual leaders sometimes being power hungry figureheads and then we’re supposed to be surprised the villain is a power hungry spiritual leader.  The timeline was full of holes.  The scenes seemed to be written separately from each other and then pasted together like a  dollar store jig-saw puzzle.

In other words, if this book was a child it would really want to be a James Rollins novel when it grew up.

Two stars just because it took up an evening in the tub.   It wasn’t terrible but this story has been done better by just about every one of my favorite authors from Christopher Pike to Diana Gabaldon.

what’ll you give me?

2 04 2010

I’ve found the last couple of weeks that talking to grown ups about perceived value and actual value is just as hard as talking to kids about it.  LJ will not give up on saying “I know a fast, easy way to make money!”  What’s that?  “A YARD SALE!”

Um… to him, a young and active little boy with rudimentary people skills, this is a great idea.  To me, an almost 30 mom of 3 with no desire to practice her people skills, this is a terrible idea.

Just figure out how much time it takes to set up and conduct a yard sale.

  • 2 days sorting through stored junk to find stuff people would want to buy.  (2 or 3 people, at least.)
  • 1 day putting all that stuff in one spot.  (2 or 3 people.)
  • 1 day pricing, organizing, and cleaning all that stuff.  (1 sucker of a person.)  While simultaneously, the other cohorts make signs and hang them at nearby and hopefully well-trafficked street corners.  (Total, 3 or 4 people, to ensure the person hanging signs doesn’t become street pizza.)
  • Then you need a yard, some sort of ground cover, a weekend with decent weather and good scheduling, and hopefully a good location.
  • 2 days with 3 people(ish) to man and actually sell the junk on your lawn.
  • Other suckers to keep people from searching through your garage for stuff that’s not for sale and trying to use your bathroom without permission.

Assuming 8 hour days, you’ve used – at the least – 126 man hours to conduct this.  The most I’ve ever made conducting a yard sale was $350.  That’s $2.70 an hour.

HERE’S MY POINT.  Because I know the math got us all bleery eyed, here’s my point.

The value of this yard sale is based on your situation.

  • If you need the money – any money – pretty quickly you would probably be better off at a pawn shop.
  • If you need the money but have time and energy to do it, a yard sale could be a good way to do it.
  • If you don’t need the money right away and don’t have the energy or time to do it – then donating it all to charity, getting a detailed receipt and writing it off at tax season will turn a better profit.
  • If you don’t need the money but you have the energy and just need something to do one sunny week and lots of shit to give away for basically free, then this is a great idea!

Now, everyone knows I love yard sales.  I love SHOPPING at yard sales.  I do not like putting on yard sales or spending time in the sun or sorting through crap I’ve seen or chasing down wasps or being threatened by a crazy dude with a knife.  True story.

To y’all that put on yard sales, I love you.  I will visit you.  I will talk to you.  I will give you my dollar bills.

I don’t envy you.

Because to me, the value is not there.  This is my perception.

To other people, it’s a great way to make money and setting up is fun and easy.  That’s their perception of value.

To still different people, they have nothing better to do or are trying to clear out stuff with maximum efficiency.  That’s THEIR perception.

To have an idea of value, you first need to define your measurements.  Are you basing it on time? Money?  Number of visitors? Area of storage space cleared out?

Until you know what you want and how to measure it, you won’t be able to quantify your success.  You know this isn’t just about yard sales.  It’s about the job you do every day.  The time you spend with your kids.  The energy you spend on what matters to you.

If you said to me “I’ll give you a truck load of candy for that” I’d probably turn you down.  I don’t like candy THAT much and my “that” is definitely awesome.  However, if you offered me a truck load of books for “that”?

Thank you for shopping. Please come again!  I’ll see you next week when I’m done sorting this shitload of books!

So what do you actually give value to?  How do you define success?

Is it measured in time or money?  Peace?  Smiles?  Laughs?  Number of xanax taken?  Good meals eaten?  Amount of boredom?  Mouths fed and feet shod?  Health?  Longevity?  Cleanliness?  Morality?  Education?

(ok, I promise next post to be less serious and more offensive.  Sorry about the mushy, actually educational post.  I do really want to know your definition of value!)

Internet superstar

27 09 2009

It’s been an odd couple of weeks since my last post.  It hurts my brain just to think about it!

1.  Shaun and I went to my high school reunion.  In school, we used to say that no one would show up to our reunion because our class lacked school spirit.  Seriously, the student council didn’t give a rat’s ass and neither did anyone else.  It was 1999 and we were all facing going into college or into the work force with little to no money.

There were maybe 50 people at the reunion and I did see a friend who I’ve known since kindergarten.  We didn’t talk much in high school and I think I found out why.  She made a passing comment while we were catching up that stuck with me.  “Of course you’re doing well, you’ve always been perfect.”

I wonder how many people actually know that’s not true.  I screw up as much as anyone, I just don’t tend to dwell on it or get caught in the downward spiral of screwing up.  I’m not even an eternal optimist – I’m definitely not one of those smiley, cheerful people.  It’s food for thought.

2.  Sick kiddos.  Actually, only one was sick.  The other was faking it.  A had a fever and just laid down and stared at the TV.  Her school has had about 50 different viruses going through it, so we thought it was strep at first.  It wasn’t so it may have been a UTI (just a very small amount of bacteria was in her urine) or it could have just been one of those flu bugs.  She’s all better and back to her goofy, normal self.

3.  Ramping up for the “anniversary effect” of the PTSD.  A goes through the anniversary effect during October.  It seems like every time she had to move foster homes, it was right around Halloween.  That stuck with her.  Last year was TERRIBLE so hopefully this year we’ll be prepared for whatever comes.  I’m already stocking up on aromatherapy stuff and reinforcing the fact that she never has to go anywhere again.  She’s home.  She’s already started to panic a bit so we adjusted her morning medications and that seems to have helped.  We’ve also briefed the school and we’re keeping on them about her mental state – it took a while to get them to take us seriously but now it seems like everyone is on board.

With LJ, we’ve just seen more sexual acting out.  He retreats to this fantasy world inside his head and doesn’t seem to realize what he’s doing.  It’s not regression – it’s more like he’s living in a fairy tale.

He’s been talking a lot about “grandmas.”  His favorite kind of pie is the type grandmas make.  Grandmas make sweaters.  Grandmas take care of you and give you cookies.  Grandmas have white hair, wrinkles, and glasses.  Yesterday, I finally got fed up with it (in Goodwill of all places) and told him that he got his grandmas and they weren’t going to change.  Neither grandma has white hair, neither one knows how to make a scrap of clothing, and one of them couldn’t bake a pie if her life depended on it. In reality, there’s no such thing as a “perfect grandma.”

I grew up without grandparents being an active part of my life.  Neither set approved of my parents’ marriage and we most often just made it on our own.  He did spend a lot of time with his bio-grandparents before he came into state care, so I don’t want to ruin those memories but he’s taking them a little too far.  I don’t want him to get older and see them and realize how bad it was for  him.  They loved him – they just don’t have the skills to take care of themselves, much less a child!

We went through this a month or so after he moved in with regards to his bio father.  It got to the point that I had to sit down with him and ask if he wanted to know the truth of the matter or just continue to believe what he did of his dad.  He said he wanted the truth, so I told him.   I may have to enlist my dad to explain it to him.  My dad’s childhood is very similar to LJ’s and they have this great bond.  I think he’d take the truth better from Dad than from one of us.

4.  Sick mommies.  It’s been odd – very odd.  My grandma was sick for a bit, then my great-grandma passed away almost a week ago.  Then grandma went down to FL to bury g-gma next to g-gpa and she got back yesterday.  My sister has been sick and my mom was for a little bit but recovered very quickly.  Then a couple of days ago I started having a fever and today my throat feels like I swallowed some hot sauce.  I must have gotten that strep that was going around.  *sigh*  So, tomorrow I’ll go to the doctor and get more antibiotics.  I’ve only been off the antibiotics from the surgery for a week!

5.  Flooding.  Lots of it.  We live northeast of Atlanta and thankfully in the foothills of the Appalachians so our land is soggy and puddly, but we didn’t get any water inside the house.  Thank God!  Even 5 miles away houses were destroyed and the traffic accidents have been terrible.  We went to an antique store yesterday – it’s about 7 miles from our house – and on the way home saw two accidents happen. My heart goes out to everyone that lost their homes, cars, and in some cases, families.

6.  Big internet sales!  Since we’ve been home bound from the sick babies and the flood, I’ve been on the internet a TON.  We’ve sold a couple of pipes, sent some lace to Japan, mailed  out 6 books on bookmooch, and I’ve started uploading a ton of stuff to flickr.  I’m working on a pipe resource, so hopefully I’ll have that available soon.  I also want to get some pipe related merchandise up in the Etsy shop, but I’m missing my computer parts.  I’m spending time with a hard drive clock today.

7.  Got LOTS of fabric.  I love Goodwill.  Seriously.  I got a ton of fabric for an average of 30 cents a yard and I also got some bed sheets and pillowcases that I can use.  I found some gorgeous blue eyelet cotton that I was SUPER excited about.  Got some corduroy, some raincoat material, a ton of cotton, and some linen.  It’s going to be fun!

This has been a long, long post lacking in cohesiveness, so I’m going to end it here.  Hopefully I can pick this blogging habit back up so I don’t end up with 300 things going on at once.  Good times!

throw-away days

6 09 2009

17 days post surgery

The past week or so have just been throw away days.  I’m supposed to be still so my body can heal itself.  I feel like a puppy that just got fixed and it’s KILLING ME to not run around and play.  This past week, I started bleeding and got my dad to take me up to the doctor where I just sat in the waiting room and shook for an hour or two.  My body had attacked one of the stitches and formed a huge clot around it so the dr took it out, did some blood work, then sent me home with another prescription.

I have mixed feelings about this doctor’s nurses.  They’re nice enough but they seem too caught up in their own office drama to actually give a damn that this is pretty serious – at least in my own opinion.  I’m sure they listen to a lot of bitching each day from cranky people but dang.  The nurse that took my blood got pissed off that a drop of blood flipped off the needle and landed on her pants – after she stabbed me three times looking for a vein that hadn’t been blown.  Apparently I was too stressed for her to find a good vein… of course, there’s no reason for me to be stressed at all, right?

So Shaun took the rest of the week off and he’s off tomorrow too for Labor Day.  He’s been enforcing the “chill out” rule.  I’m getting ill watching House marathons and I thought that would never happen.  So, I’ve done little stuff – crocheted and sewed, fixed clothing, watched every episode of Project Runway that was on the DVR and season 3 of Psych, every episode of House and seasons 1 and 4 of Bones.  We don’t have 2 and 3 on the HDMI yet, so I didn’t bother with the DVDs.  I dug out my most recent sketch book and put down some quick ideas for some uniform clothes for the chickpea.  Sorted buttons with chickpea and LJ.  Read Terry Goodkind’s new book.  Read my Real Simple magazine.  Finished Kathy Reich’s new one.  Upgraded to a Flickr pro account.  Ordered some business cards.  RSVPd for my 10 year reunion.  Threatened E-baby with ratting him out to Grandpa – E’s current best buddy – if he kept throwing tantrums and being a badass.

Oh yeah – that’s a good tip for all y’all parental folks.  Tell the kid you’re going to call in the grandparents and that was going to be SOOOOO BAD.  I remind the rugrats that the gparents raised ME and I’m meaner than a hornet so while they know nice grandmommy and grandpa who spoil their little asses – they really don’t want to see the bad side.  That stopped a full blown tantrum in its tracks last night.  Suddenly, E’s face wasn’t red or wet from crying, he stood tall and looked me in the eye like a big boy.

The chickpea has been stealing straight pins for some odd reason.  I think she’s interested in the fact that they’re sharp but small… she has the weirdest obsessions at times.  She’s super observant of stick pins but she thinks climbing the built in bookshelves won’t cause her any harm at all.  Um… that’s a little backwards, kid.  You could stick a straight pin all the way through you and you’d still not be hurt too bad.  If even one of those shelves breaks, though, that may be the end of it.  I’ve climbed them before (to show it really was anchored well) but still – you don’t take chances like that.

I need to get some real work done but I don’t like sitting at the computer for long right now.  I have about 15 things to get up on Etsy and I need to start working on a branding for Shaun’s antique restoration stuff.  If I don’t get something to do, I’m going to end up watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta and that would be very bad.

Deep Thoughts

9 07 2009

Hopefully I have at least 5 deep thoughts for you tonight.

1.  It’s impossible to own a human being but we use “ownership” pronouns constantly.  My kids.  My mom.  Your dad.  Our parents.  My husband.  We simply lease relationships with people until we are seperated.

2.  On the other hand, the law sees animals as property.   Not all animals are meat on the hoof… but still we “own” our companion animals.

3.  Being at the dentist at 8 am is not my idea of fun.  However, the children’s dentist is really cool and they give “candy air” to the kids.  It makes them very funny for about an hour, especially when it starts to wear off.  Alyssa says “Mommy, my feet tickle all by themselves!”

4.  6 oz birds should not be able to rule your life, but somehow, Pete and Cami certainly think they own me.  They’ll have to fight Spooks, Ernie, and Abbie for ownership.  Nola’s happy just being my friend and Calista is interested in the flavor of my chapstick. I need to remind them that they only reason they aren’t food is because they’ll never be big enough to stuff.

5.  My The kids who live in my house have an absolutely 0% chance of being normal.  Ever.  Their mom’s idea of fun is to freak up the makeup, strap on the camera, go to the aquarium and remind the freak-sized spider crabs that they taste good with butter and take pictures of the shocked faces.  It works even better when you have about 6 adorable kids with you who look absolutely innocent.  The oldest gets to hold the camera.

6.  Bonus thought!  No matter how odd my life is, I’m still shocked that the local supermarket is giving away a free watermelon with every purchase.  Things you don’t expect from your cashier:  would you like a free watermelon?  A what?  A watermelon.  Say that again.  WATERMELON.  It’s free – pick one up on your way out.

7.  Bonus thought!  Every single person I know objectifies my “ghetto bootie” and I kind of like it.  One of my friends who is from Haiti said “you know your daddy ain’t white, right?”  the very first time we met.  Not-so-secretly, I love that.  It’s like the only physical feature I have that seperates me from the crowd of average height, average weight, pink toned women.

Time to pick one of my three new books and get in the tub.  I should be able to sleep in tomorrow, thankyouJesus!  I get to choose from Laurell K. Hamilton, Michael Palmer, and Catherine Coulter’s TailSpin.  The first two are guaranteed to rock.  The last one is not so sure… I’m about to reevaluate my love of Ms. Coulter.  The last few have been just exploiting her bestseller name.  I’ll keep TABLP updated on THAT relationship.

And the literary field puts me back in perspective

1 07 2009

I was so excited I finally got Richard North Patterson‘s* The Race in paperback the other day.  So. Excited.

I started and finished it today in the bathtub, thinking “what a damn good book.  How does Mr. North Patterson always tend to be so oddly prophetic and honest with his novels?”  I thanked God again for the blessing of finally finding the book and being able to read it as I tied on my robe and left the bathroom.

I dried my hair, pet Spooks, and turned around to face a brand new hardback version of The Race neatly shelved on the bottom row of bookshelves.

There are too many self-flagellating analogies right now for me to even think about including:

  • I have so much wealth in just literature that I can misplace an entire novel for a long enough period to get excited about it again the next time it’s published.
  • I should really stop expecting the next best and re-examine the contents of my bookshelves (and household) and find new ways to love them all over again.
  • I better not invite anyone involved with the local fire code over any time soon because the next additions to my collection are going to force triple-shelving situations.**

*Dear Mr. North Patterson, if you or anyone affiliated with you were to read this humble entry, please take this one statement to heart:  Please get a real website. Someone as prolific as you should have enough clout to get have a site that is not built on your publisher’s template and hosted on their server.  If you need two or three candidates who are professional advertising web designers who recently got laid off and have time to give you some energy, just send me an email.  I can also recommend a good hosting client.

** I have a surreal love for words that end in -ion today.  I guess they just feel nice rolling around in my brain although it does bring to mind this rather unfortunate incident of internet culture.