karenmarie's back for another year - part I

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karenmarie's back for another year - part I

1karenmarie
Redigerat: jan 10, 2022, 9:56 am

Welcome to my first ROOT thread of Two Thousand Twenty-Two!

It is a new year, and I’m so glad to see the back of 2021. Last year was even worse than 2020, if that’s possible, what with the traitor t**** trying to overthrow our democracy and my own personal health issue in November – a major heart attack that I’m lucky to have survived.

I still love being retired, and am beyond grateful that I don’t have to venture out to work to earn a living ever again. It is scary about how easily I’ve adapted to staying home and not seeing people face-to-face. Now with Omicron I’m even more committed to isolation except when I have to be out. That currently includes cardio rehab through the end of February, 3x a week.

I read and am a charter member of the Redbud and Beyond Book Club, started in 1997. We haven’t met since July of 2021, and that was only a farewell high tea for one of our members. Our attempt to re-start in September failed because of Delta, and an attempt to even think about re-starting in December failed because of Omicron. I am President for our local Friends of the Library (henceforth abbreviated FoL), and am sad that our Tuesday morning FoL book sale donations sorting meetings are still on hold and we’ve now had to cancel four book sales. We've scheduled the Library's conference room and are hoping to have a book sale in March. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

I have been married to Bill for 30 years and am mother to Jenna, 28. Bill and I live in our own little corner of paradise on 8 acres in central North Carolina USA. Jenna moved to Asheville last May, had a job with Biltmore Farms Hotels as a front desk clerk and just recently switched jobs and will start a job as an Office Admin this month. We have three kitties. L-R: Inara Starbuck – 14, Zoe Rose - 3, Washburne Ryder – 2.



No theme for pictures although I do like posting ones of family members. Nephew Ryan, niece Heather, sister Laura, Jenna, and yours truly at Disneyland circa 1998.



Last year’s goal worked okay for me, although I was short 2 books. I put that down to my heart attack, and I will have the same goal this year.



Poetry is not a go-to genre by any means, however, I am going to choose a short new poem for each new thread. For this first thread I’m going to include a poem scribbled on a piece of scrap paper by a college friend many years after college, circa 1986. It has always spoken to me even though I’ve lost touch with Jimmy over the years.
Just a moment of serenity
Comes & radiates like the sun
What is eternity?
All the days to come?
The house of bliss
In summer brings the rain
And joy is his
When love is all maintained.

My heart is overcome
By friends upon friends
Trying to relieve my intentions
“They will come around”
Can we ever judge for ourselves
Or is it only our social contacts
To live alone may find the truth.

.
2022 - it has to be better than 2020 and 2021, right?

2karenmarie
Redigerat: jul 16, 2022, 3:56 pm

ROOTs read

1. The Guncle by Steven Rowley 12/19/21 1/2/2022 324 pages hardcover
2. Some Die Nameless by William Stroby 1/3/22 1/12/2022 337 pages hardcover
3. Midnight in Death in Silent Night by J.D. Robb 2/1/22 2/1/22 90 pages mass market paperback
4. Interlude in Death by J.D. Robb 2/2/22 2/3/22 92 pages mass market paperback
5. Remember When by Nora Roberts 2/3/22 2/6/22 243 pages mass market paperback
6. Big Jack 2/6/22 2/8/22 287 pages mass market paperback
7. Haunted in Death in Bump in the Night by J.D. Robb 2/9/22 2/10/11 100 pages mass market paperback
8. Eternity in Death by J.D. Robb in Time of Death Anthology 2/10/22 2/13/21 108 pages trade paperback
9. Ritual in Death by J.D. Robb in Time of Death Anthology 2/14/22 2/14/22 88 pages trade paperback
10. Missing in Death by J.D. Robb in Time of Death Anthology 2/15/22 2/15/22 96 pages trade paperback
11. Possession in Death in The Other Side Anthology by J.D. Robb 2/16/22 2/19/22 80 pages mass market paperback
12. Chaos in Death in The Unquiet Anthology by J.D. Robb 2/26/22 2/27/22 90 pages mass market paperback
13. The Book of General Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong by John Mitchinson 1/21/22 3/11/22 315 pages hardcover
14. Better Off Dead by Lee Child and Andrew Child 3/13/22 3/14/22 325 pages hardcover
15. The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan 3/15/22 3/18/22 360 pages trade paperback
16. The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan 3/18/22 3/23/22 407 pages trade paperback
17. Lady Susan by Jane Austen 5/29/22 6/21/22 76 pages hardcover
18. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow 4/28/22 7/15/22 36 hour audio book

3karenmarie
jan 10, 2022, 9:50 am

Welcome, fellow ROOTers!

4rosalita
jan 10, 2022, 9:55 am

I'm glad to "see" you again, Karen! I'm so sorry I missed your health crisis last November while I was absent from LT, but I'm glad to hear you are healing well.

I fervently join you in wishes for a better 2022, despite one of my friends pointing out that saying the year as "Twenty twenty-two" could be interpreted as "2020, too". I have resolved to only pronounce it as "two thousand twenty-two" to counteract this voodoo. :-)

5karenmarie
jan 10, 2022, 9:56 am

Thank you, Julia! I just posted on your thread.

Yikes. I'm heading off to change my topper to Two Thousand Twenty-Two to counteract the voodoo, too.

6rocketjk
jan 10, 2022, 10:51 am

I have resolved to only name the year by saying “em em ex ex eye eye.”

However you say it, belated Happy New Year and happy reading in the new annum.

7connie53
jan 10, 2022, 11:10 am

Hi Karen, good to see you with the ROOTers again.

Nice picture in >1 karenmarie:. I love seeing the faces of ROOTers and have a face to go with a name.

Happy New Year and a much better year in 2022 (however you want to pronounce it)

8karenmarie
jan 10, 2022, 1:48 pm

>6 rocketjk: Anything to make this year better than the last too I agree 100% with. Roman Numerals can only help. Thanks, Jerry.

>7 connie53: Thanks, Connie!

Here are two current pics: the one on the left is the first day that Bill drove me to rehab, hair down, the second one is from just now, hair pulled back, with me in front of some of the bookshelves in the Sunroom. I haven't had a haircut since March 17, 2020. I must admit that I'm enjoying the long hair, probably the longest I've ever had it.

.

9detailmuse
Redigerat: jan 10, 2022, 5:06 pm

Happy to find your new thread up. Great pictures, I see strength and optimism!

10karenmarie
jan 10, 2022, 5:28 pm

Hi MJ! I'm glad I made the time to get organized today. It's nice seeing my ROOTs friends again this year.

11MissWatson
jan 11, 2022, 4:46 am

Hi Karen, glad to see you back here. It has been an awful 2021, and here's wishing that 2022 will be so much better!

12connie53
jan 11, 2022, 6:06 am

>8 karenmarie: Great pictures, Karen. You look good in both the pictures.

13karenmarie
jan 11, 2022, 10:22 am

>11 MissWatson: Hi Birgit! Thanks. Oh yes, we need all the good wishes for 2022 we can get.

>12 connie53: Thank you, Connie.

14karenmarie
jan 11, 2022, 10:25 am

I read this mostly in December, finished it on the second of January, and realized that technically it's a ROOT - anything on my shelves prior to the first of this year, whatever year we're in.

1. The Guncle by Steven Rowley 12/19/21 1/2/2022





From Amazon:

Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is, honestly, overwhelmed.

So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick's brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of "Guncle Rules" ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting--even if temporary--isn't solved with treats and jokes, Patrick's eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you're unfailingly human.

With the humor and heart we've come to expect from bestselling author Steven Rowley, The Guncle is a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.


Why I wanted to read it: I read Lily and the Octopus last year simply because I loved the title. It was so good that I wanted another book by Rowley.

A woman dies of cancer, leaving behind two hurting children, a hurting uncle, a husband addicted to pills as he tried to cope with her illness and death, and the unusual situation where Maisie and Grant come to stay with GUP. GUP’s unorthodox approach to keeping the children alive and safe heals them all.

GUP has money to throw at situations. GUP has the unorthodox house and lifestyle to engage Maisie and Grant. GUP provides unexpected reactions. GUP also provides a pink Christmas tree, a dog, and the tenacity to hold off GUP’s sister Clara when she comes to visit and nearly disrupts the entire fragile experiment of GUP and his niece and nephew.

The emotions ring true, the situations are reasonable, especially for Palm Springs, and I was a combination of sad and happy when it ended. Sad that there was no more book, happy that it ended up in such a satisfactory way.

Six word review: Helping your family can heal yourself.

15Jackie_K
jan 11, 2022, 11:16 am

Hey Karen! Happy to see this year's thread up, I've dropped my star. Happy new unmentionable year!

You're looking well in those recent photos - and how wonderful to see a picture of the sunroom bookshelves. That's a life goal right there (although a sunroom probably isn't the first room a developer would think to include in a Scottish house, most likely).

16karenmarie
jan 11, 2022, 12:08 pm

Hi Jackie! Thank you! 2022 it is, and we hope it's better than the last two. Thanks re my appearance, too. I don't know if I mentioned it when I described my heart attack, but I have a stent. The stent was inserted through an incision in my femoral artery, so they did not have to perform surgery on my chest. It's been much easier for me to recover from than that than it would have been from a full-on surgery.

The Sunroom was literally a sunroom, with screens only, when we first built the house in 1998. However, we never used it and it became a junk room. My husband was clever and had the screen openings built to fit standard double sash windows if we ever wanted to convert. We did, put in heating/AC vents, and after two rounds of adding bookcases and an excellent corner desk, it became my home office/Sunroom. It is one of the main entrances to the house, but I love the windows and being able to see outside on 2 walls.

I might do a teensy bit of bragging here. My husband knows how important my books are to me, so when we built this house we sacrificed a bedroom to make my Library. Took out the closet and made 2 walls floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. (the removed closet allowed us to move the bathroom down and add a second closet in the master bedroom.)

There were 70-80 bags of donated-to-the-Friends books here for most of 2021, but one of the couples on the Book Sale team came and got them just before Christmas and are storing them in a trailer in their plane hanger (!) so I wouldn't have to deal with them in the house anymore. So, I have my Library back. Here are two pictures I just took:


.
.

17rosalita
jan 11, 2022, 3:46 pm

>16 karenmarie: Isn't that absolutely lovely! It looks like a great room to while away the afternoon in, drinking tea and reading. Splendid!

18karenmarie
jan 11, 2022, 3:51 pm

Thanks, Julia! I need to get an ottoman or other foot-rest type piece of furniture in there for my legs to rest on to keep my knees from hurting - a fun little challenge.

19connie53
jan 12, 2022, 2:49 am

>16 karenmarie:, Really lovely, Karen. And all the light is great. That would be my favorite place too. Good luck with with your search for the perfect ottoman.

20MissWatson
jan 12, 2022, 3:50 am

>16 karenmarie: Oh, that looks like a lovely place for reading. Good luck with the ottoman!

21karenmarie
jan 12, 2022, 8:23 am

Thank you Connie and Birgit!

22rabbitprincess
jan 13, 2022, 8:06 pm

Hurray, glad to see you've set up shop here! Love the library photos -- it looks like a great room to spend the day in :)

23karenmarie
jan 14, 2022, 1:59 pm

Hi, RP! Thank you. I'm happy to have the room back after a year of having bags of donated books in it. I can get to all my books now without moving bags of books, among other pleasures.

24floremolla
jan 24, 2022, 9:13 pm

Hi Karen! Gosh, you’ve been through the mill while I was awol. So glad to see you in positive spirits. Hope this is a great reading year for you and, more importantly, a healthy one!

25cyderry
jan 31, 2022, 4:52 pm

been busy reading, glad you're back with us!

love the pics!

26karenmarie
jan 31, 2022, 9:02 pm

>24 floremolla: Hi Donna! I have been through a lot, but seem to be coming out the other side, with yes, mostly positive spirits. I've scaled back the total number of books to be read to 75 from 100, but my ROOTs goal is the same - 30.

>25 cyderry: Thanks, Chèli. And thanks re the photos. I always have fun selecting photos to share.

27karenmarie
feb 6, 2022, 1:51 pm

I've decided that after reading the two newest In Death series books, #s 52 and 53, and with #54 due at my house on the date of hardcover publication, February 8th, it was time to read all the novellas I have here at the house and for some odd reason never read. I'm having fun with them, for sure!

28Jackie_K
feb 7, 2022, 2:37 pm

>27 karenmarie: Are they all ROOTs? A novella binge would be a great way of helping to reach your target!

I hope you're well, and enjoying your reading. I've just taken up more work (a secondment, so not forever) and still trying to figure out a routine that will give me any time at all for writing and reading. Still mostly reading in the hour after going to bed.

29karenmarie
feb 7, 2022, 3:21 pm

Hi Jackie!

Yes, they've all been on my shelves for a long time.

I am well, and starting to get some of my reading mojo back.

More work, eh? Good luck with it.

Reading just before bed and reading during my hour lunch at work used to be mainstays. Recently I've been having difficulty reading just before bed, but since I can read during the day, that isn't bothering me very much.

I'd fall asleep with the light on, my glasses on, and the book face down on my chest. Bill would come in, take my glasses off, put the book on the night stand, and turn off the light. I rarely woke up enough to thank him, but it's one of my cherished memories of the time when Jenna was little, I worked full time, and was exhausted at night.

30Jackie_K
feb 7, 2022, 3:47 pm

>29 karenmarie: Oh yes, that's such a lovely, tender memory! I tend to notice when I'm getting drowsy and stop before I drop the book and turn out the light. But one of my favourite things is when Pete and I both go to bed and just sit there reading our books together. We have (mostly) spectacularly different tastes in reading, but it feels very intimate and a lovely thing to be able to do together. I'm very happy that I married a good reader :)

31connie53
mar 5, 2022, 5:16 am

>30 Jackie_K: I wish I married a good reader. I've only seen Peet reading a book when we were on holiday in our courting days, so that will be 43+ years ago.
Glad to read you'v got your reading mojo back. I hope it will not fade away any time soon.

32rabbitprincess
mar 5, 2022, 1:28 pm

>31 connie53: My other half says I read enough for the two of us!

33connie53
mar 16, 2022, 7:57 am

That could be something Peet would say, RP.

34karenmarie
mar 25, 2022, 7:37 am

Yikes, I need to visit this thread more often!

>30 Jackie_K: Nice that you and Pete read in bed together. I married a non-book-reader, although he reads newspapers, magazines before they went online, and even now some online magazine articles. It doesn’t hinder our marriage – in fact, I like getting all the bookshelves in the house, and we have lots of other things we can talk about besides books. I have a book club and my Friends of the Library acquaintances to talk books with.

>31 connie53: Hi Connie. See above – I don’t mind being married to a non-reader. My reading mojo has continued. It’s mostly mysteries/thrillers, but it’s pretty good right now.

>32 rabbitprincess: Hi RP!

>33 connie53: Bill would say that too if he cared/worried that he didn’t read books. He’s perfectly fine with NOT reading books, so I leave him alone. He’s very happy that I love to read, and never, EVER, complains when new books come into the house. In fact, it makes him happy that they make me happy.

...
I was going to visit ROOT threads today but my 'new' laptop is hosed and I'm working off my thank-goodness-I-didn't-get-rid-of-it old Windows 8.1 laptop. I need to call Dell today since SupportAssist OS Recovery is stuck on 'Loading'.

35Jackie_K
mar 25, 2022, 5:02 pm

>34 karenmarie: Uh-oh - hope the 'new' laptop sorts itself out soon!

36karenmarie
mar 25, 2022, 5:39 pm

I called Dell, and we tried a couple of things. I needed to get a 16Gb flash drive so went to Walmart. The tech will call back tomorrow and we'll reload the operating system, I think. I install updates whenever I'm told to and perform system scans, and etc., so don't know what happened.

37floremolla
mar 31, 2022, 5:01 pm

Hi Karen, hope your tech is up and running again! How annoying, but lucky you had a standby.

I love to fall asleep reading. What I don’t like is to be wide awake and still reading in the wee small hours - next day is a washout!

Hope your health is going from strength to strength and you’re getting plenty of time to indulge your reading mojo.

38connie53
maj 1, 2022, 12:21 pm

Hi Karen, is your new laptop back in business? I hope your reading is still going strong. And your health getting better every day.

39karenmarie
maj 1, 2022, 12:31 pm

>37 floremolla: Hi Donna! My laptop has been returned to me. It was a corrupt hard drive. I need to get it going again, but will wait at least one more day as my UPS is on its last legs. My husband bought me another one. It arrived yesterday evening, and I'm in the process of charging the battery - it takes 8 hours. Realistically I'll probably disconnect everything from the old UPS tomorrow and put everything on the new UPS and bring out the repaired laptop and start getting it going again. Sigh. Thanks for asking.

My sleep is frequently disrupted with pain, although I got cortisone shots in both knees two Fridays ago and have figured out the best timing for pain med when I go to sleep, so even if I wake up in the night, it's not from pain. I can frequently go right back to sleep but if not half an hour or an hour of looking at news/youtube videos allows me to get drowsy again and go back to sleep.

I'm still going to use the treadmill at the Senior Center 3 times a week, and since last October have lost 38.5 lbs. The echocardiogram came back with good news, too - my heart function is back now within normal range.

I didn't realize what a moon face I was.



>38 connie53: Thank you, Connie! Reading's coming along nicely. 40 books for the year, even if only 17 of them are ROOTs. Health news and laptop news above. *smile*

40connie53
maj 1, 2022, 1:09 pm

>39 karenmarie: I can see you lost a lot of weight, Karen. Very good job done. Glad to read you have managed your pain medication and can now sleep a painless sleep.
I'v trouble sleeping too. I don't need much sleep but six hours is minimal for me. I like to get some more hours, but I'm wide awake at 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning. (I go to bed at midnight). At five I will try to get some more, but after 6 I know I won't fall asleep anymore. So most mornings I'm up and doing my daily sudoku's.

Good to hear the reading is going well.

41Jackie_K
maj 1, 2022, 1:52 pm

>39 karenmarie: That's great news re your heart function, Karen, I bet you were relieved to hear that! I'm glad the pain is being better managed too.

I'm keeping everything crossed that the transfer from the old to new laptop is smooth and uneventful!

42MissWatson
maj 2, 2022, 4:58 am

That's good news about your heart!

43detailmuse
maj 12, 2022, 3:59 pm

>39 karenmarie: Glad to see your good-news update, Karen!

44connie53
jun 5, 2022, 6:33 am

Hi Karen. I've been neglecting the ROOTers for some time. Live, sunny days, babysitting the grandkids and doing volunteer work for the library at Lonne's school. And reading of course. Today is a rainy day with some thunderstrokes. A perfect Sunday for reading al those neglected threads.

45karenmarie
jun 21, 2022, 11:43 am

17. Lady Susan by Jane Austen 5/29/22 6/21/22





From https://janeausten.famdom.com/wiki/Lady_Susan:

Lady Susan is a short epistolary novel by Jane Austen, possibly written in 1794 but not published until 1871.

This early complete work that the author never submitted for publication, describes the schemes of the main character (the widowed Lady Susan) as she seeks a new husband for herself, and one for her daughter. Although the theme, together with the focus on character study and moral issues, is close to Austen's published work Sense and Sensibility, its outlook is very different, and the heroine has few parallels in 19th-century literature.

Lady Susan is a selfish, attractive woman, who tries to trap the best possible husband while maintaining a relationship with a married man. She subverts all the standards of the romantic novel: she has an active role, she's not only beautiful but intelligent and witty, and her suitors are significantly younger than her. Although the ending includes a traditional reward for morality, Lady Susan herself is treated much more mildly than the adulteress in Mansfield Park.


Why I wanted to read it: I had recently watched a movie adaptation and really liked it, without realizing that it was based on this epistolary novella. I’ve had Sanditon, the Watsons, Lady Susan & other Miscellanea on my shelves since 2019, so decided to read Lady Susan. We’ll see if I want to read other of the offerings in this volume any time soon, so onto a shelf in the Sunroom it goes.

Lady Susan has no morals or scruples whatsoever. The closest I can come to her character from the five novels of Austen’s I’ve read (all excluding Emma although I’ve started and abandoned it twice now), is Wickham in Pride and Prejudice. He’s as mercenary and soulless as she is.

Everybody except Lady Susan’s friend Mrs. Johnson and, for a time, Reginald De Courcy, is frantic to not have her at their house and not have her manipulate and lie.

Her ability to turn everything to her advantage and especially to play Reginald De Courcy like a fiddle are amusing to watch although I was happy to finally have him escape her clutches and marry her daughter Frederica.

I love epistolary works because of the challenges of the form. The characters are presented more subtly than in a ‘regular’ novella, and I was happy to take 3 weeks to read it.

The ending, called Conclusion, was not epistolary. It was informative and to have continued in epistolary form might have taken half again as many pages. I wonder if Austen really meant to finish it as an epistolary but was impatient with it and created the Conclusion, thinking she had more time than her short almost-42 years of life?

Six word review: A deeply flawed person is exposed.

46karenmarie
jun 21, 2022, 11:59 am

>40 connie53: Hi Connie! Things are coming along, although I haven’t lost much weight recently. But, I haven’t gained it back either, so figure I’m in a regrouping stage. Low sodium is now lifestyle, not emergency heart health.

I’m sorry you have trouble sleeping. Since posting here I’ve gone back and forth with sleep problems, but seem to be doing okay right now. However, I only got 3.5 hours last night. I may or may not take a nap later today.

I’ve read 99 books so far this year, although only 17 are ROOTs. I’m in the midst of a 2-month-long-so-far bodice ripper phase (steamy romances, although none of these are like earlier bodice rippers. Here all the sex is consensual. No rape, no coercion.)

My first effort of each morning, after feeding Zoe some canned cat food and making my coffee, is to play Wordle. After that I hang out on LT for however long makes sense. I’m embarrassingly behind on threads, but will catch up sooner or later.

>41 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie, and thanks. Yes, it’s a relief to know that my heart doesn’t have any real permanent damage.

The new laptop is back up, but it turns out that the backups, that I was being told were happening, were not, so I’ve lost quite a bit of stuff. However, most of that was Friends of the Library stuff, some of which I had to recreate but not much. I did have to re-create my 2022 Books Read spreadsheet, but fortunately I had everything I needed from my catalog and my 75ers threads. I’ve lost data over the years and nothing is indispensable, as it turns out.

>42 MissWatson: Thank you, Birgit!

>43 detailmuse: Hi MJ, and thank you.

>44 connie53: I’ve been neglecting things over here, too, since I’ve been in a crazed bodice ripper phase and have downloaded dozens and dozens of Kindle books. I’m going with the flow – will stop reading them when it makes sense to read something else. I am also reading The Federalist and listening to Alexander Hamilton, and just started reading a book to party crash a shared read between alcottacre and lizzied. Stasia will have it done by the end of the month, no doubt, and Peggy and I will meander through it more slowly, most likely over most of the summer.

Your days sound quite wonderful, Connie.


I will be President of the Friends for one more year. We had a scare and I thought I’d need to become Treasurer again, but we’ve found someone I trust. So 2022-2023 will be my last leadership role on the Board and 2023-2024 will be my last official role, Immediate Past President. I will be turning in my resignation in July, effective June 30-2023, so we will have plenty of time to find a new President. I don’t know if my Treasurer wants to be Treasurer for more than the one year he’s currently been elected for, but if he only wants to do this one year, we’ll have plenty of time to find another Treasurer, too.

Jenna is leaving Asheville – she didn’t like either job she had, her rent would have gone up $100/month in July, from $1069 to $1169, and she was barely scraping by as it was. So she’ll come home. I’m not unhappy about this at all, although I’d like her to get her feet under herself within a year or so. We’ll see.

47connie53
jul 10, 2022, 9:58 am

Hi Karen. Glad to read you are still doing fine health wise! It does seem to me that the ROOTers are not that enthusiastic to keep up with the threads this year. I think they rather read ;-))

48karenmarie
jul 10, 2022, 10:48 am

Hi Connie!

Thanks for the visit, and yes, I'm still doing fine health-wise. I've lost more weight, still go to work out on a treadmill 3x a week, and living a low-sodium lifestyle.

I admit I've had a hard time visiting all but a few threads regularly for several months now. I honestly don't know why except that I'm reading a lot and have been stressing out Friends stuff - see above for how things are nicely working out - and Jenna coming home. I love her coming home and having her feel that this is the best temporary solution. The problem is the constant upset with her father, who just can't shut his mouth some times and thinks he's always right. She came home from June 23-28 for a family wedding and my birthday, and I had a wonderful time with her, but Bill and she clashed two times and I even had a few twinges from my heart. They went away when she left, and today I'll be talking with Bill about this and the fact that he needs to be the adult in this relationship and just shut his mouth about several things that are important to Jenna and everything else where he thinks his opinion outranks hers. Sigh. Honestly, why would he even feel the need to argue with her about pit bulls when we don't have dogs, won't have dogs, and all Jenna did express an opinion about a cute 'pitti' who was on a shelter's 'adopt me' website on TV? They're not all evil. Sigh again.

49connie53
jul 10, 2022, 10:57 am

Oh my! Those clashes sound like Peet's and my son's. They did do that sometimes too. But Jeroen and Peet do not live here anymore. So that's a thing from the past for me. They are too much alike character-wise.

And a clash over a puppy is rather unnecessary, I agree.

50Jackie_K
jul 10, 2022, 2:53 pm

>48 karenmarie: Oh, that reminds me so much of my clashes with my dad (which still happen occasionally, even though he's nearly 80 and I'm 53!). To be honest the way I've dealt with it is by staying in a hotel when we go and visit, I know my mum is sad about that, but it's honestly better all round, and gives us all some breathing space. But that probably won't be a solution for you - we're only around for a few days at a time. If I had to move back in with them I don't know how we'd manage!

51karenmarie
jul 16, 2022, 3:54 pm

>49 connie53: Dads and kids, sometimes, Connie.

>50 Jackie_K: Staying out of the home when you now visit is good, Jackie.

...
I had a talk with Bill last Sunday, going over a list of expectations. He didn't like it at all, frankly. I told him I was going to play the heart attack card since his behavior towards Jenna actually gave me heart twinges and that he needed to be the adult and cut it out. So far so good in the 3 days she's been home.

52karenmarie
jul 16, 2022, 3:55 pm

18. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
4/22/22 7/15/22





From Amazon:

The #1 New York Times bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

"Grand-scale biography at its best—thorough, insightful, consistently fair, and superbly written . . . A genuinely great book." —David McCullough

“A robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all." —Joseph Ellis

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

The ending, called Conclusion, was not epistolary. It was informative and to have continued in epistolary form might have taken half again as many pages.


Why I wanted to read it: I brought it downstairs when I chose McWhorter’s The Story of Human Language to relisten to in the car earlier this year thinking “What the heck”. Nothing more beyond wanting something substantial to listen to.

Since I didn’t know anything about Alexander Hamilton beyond his famous duel with and death at the hands of Aaron Burr, I was totally immersed in this beautifully written/read and intensely fascinating biography.

Hamilton was an admitted adulterer, impetuous contributor to his own political downfall, and loving husband and father of 8 children. He was an aide-de-camp to Washington. He was a contributor to the Constitution, created many of the institutions of government that we now take for granted but which rocked the world of the early days of our country. He and Eliza split parenting duties as needed. He loaned money he barely had to friends. He never profited from his duties as Treasurer, no matter how hard or often the Republicans tried to find the dirt. He wrote a diatribe against Adams that split the Federalists, giving power to the Republicans. He was a lawyer who did pro bono work when his practice and family could ill afford it.

He wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. I am currently reading The Federalist, most of which were written or co-authored by Hamilton.

After Hamilton's death, Chernow continues with the story of Aaron Burr and the story of Eliza Hamilton, a remarkable woman in her own right. She lived 'til the age of 97, 50 years after the death of her dear Hamilton.

I’m not sure I would have actually been able to read this book, but as an audio book, it worked perfectly. Narrator Scott Brick brought just the right clarity of voice and pacing. I did, however, look at all the illustrations in my huge, 731 page trade paperback several times, even just now again as I write this minimalist review. I wish there had been a family portrait of the Hamilton family but don't even know if one exists, but other than that, the illustrations were well chosen.

This is the first book I've rated 5 stars since The Great Believers by Rebeccah Makai 2019. I only have 10 books with a 5* rating total, now including Alexander Hamilton. It says a lot about the book to me that I wish I gave a few 6* reviews, à la Richard, so I could give 6* to this book.

A stunning achievement, written impartially in my opinion. Chernow doesn't pull punches about Hamilton's worst characteristics and behaviors, but also excoriates Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Burr, and others. Jefferson seems to have been treasonous in some of his behaviors, mostly before he became President. Adams comes off as a petulant and crazy old man, who spent almost more time away from the capital when President as there. Monroe released the documents to the Maria Reynolds affair after giving his word as a gentleman when that was important, to not release them. Burr seems to have decided that 1804 was time to play his political cards against Hamilton by forcing a fuel. I'm still not clear as to whether he intended to kill Hamilton or not, but his shot did so. Hamilton's shot, either first or as a spasm after being shot, was 10 feet high and 4 feet to the right of Burr. Burr's political life was effectively over, although he was still Vice President and served 'til the end of Jefferson's first term in office.

Read it, listen to it, be as fascinated by Hamilton and the early days of our country as I was. I will be listening to Washington: A Life, also by Chernow, next.

Six word review: Nothing works in six measly words.

53Jackie_K
jul 16, 2022, 4:02 pm

>51 karenmarie: Well done for having the chat Karen - that can't have been easy. I hope it continues to work!

And hooray for a 5* read! I hope you don't have too much of a book hangover after this one!

54rosalita
jul 16, 2022, 4:04 pm

>51 karenmarie: Good for you for talking to Bill about his relationship with Jenna. That can't have been very easy, but it sounds like it helped and that's something to be grateful for.

55connie53
jul 19, 2022, 9:55 am

>51 karenmarie: So good of you to have that chat, Karen. It's not easy to have that kind of talks with your spouse, but sometimes it clears the air. And if it give you heart twinges, you needed to do that for your own health. Are you going to have some sort of chat with Jenna too? I hope Bill keeps up his new behaviour.

56karenmarie
jul 19, 2022, 10:22 am

>53 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie. So far so good. Jenna hasn't had to leave the room or use our safe word to alert Bill that he's treading on dangerous ground.

I have had somewhat of a book hangover from finishing Alexander Hamilton. I'm going to be starting Washington: A Life by the same author, also on audio book, also in the car, today.

In the meantime I'm stuttering a bit on a serious fiction read, Pilgrim, simply because we're still settling into a routine here at the house with Jenna here and my early morning time has either been spent talking with her or working on Friends of the Library fiscal year-end and new fiscal year beginning activities.

Also, Jenna and I are going to visit a college friend and her wife BACK in Asheville Friday - Sunday to celebrate their 70th birthdays and 14 years of legal marriage. I hope to get back to more of my regular routine next week.

>54 rosalita: I rarely have to actively give Bill rules and regulations, but this was too important to leave unsaid and to chance. Keep your fingers crossed that things continue to go well here, Julia.

>55 connie53: Hi Connie. So far so good with Bill. I expect him to have a meltdown or two, frankly, since it's not in his nature to filter. But this is too important, and I did play the heart attack/twinges card with him and said I couldn't stand the stress.

I had a list of expectations for Jenna that I went over with her, via phone, on the same day that I sat Bill down. Hers were more along the lines of financial expectations, helping around the house expectations, and keeping her bedroom totally under control expectations, since she easily slips into now-you-see-it-and-now-you-don't regarding the floor.

57connie53
jul 19, 2022, 11:41 am

>56 karenmarie: I recognize the bedroom expectations. I had them too for my kids. Luckily they have their own houses now and I don't have to bother anymore. The only clutter around here is my clutter and I can live with that.