Monday, December 19, 2011

Review of There Goes the Galaxy by Jenn Thorson

I have read thousands of sf novels. This is a great example of absurdist sf, much like Hitchhikers in tone and language, but I can assure you there is only one towel on one page. There is, however, a significant soap on a rope. And our hero, Bertram,and his ex, Rozz, are not merely pinging around the universe, victims of the paddles of fate, but are actively working to save themselves and the Earth.
My favorite scene is when the non-organic rights march is joined by life for tryfe march, engineered by Bertram by offering food for marchers, and then the march turns into a 5,000 member OWS riot. The interview of the compost pile was priceless.
I highly recommend this novel, and I will buy the sequel when it comes out.

Review of Finding Angel by Kat Heckenback

Seven years before the book opens, Angel was discovered wandering alone in a forest with the locket that gave her her name. She cannot remember her past, and no one claimed her, so she is growing up in a foster home with one of the sweetest little foster brothers you can imagine. Her little brother finds a black and silver beetle that sings and matches the diagram on Angel's locket. Her search to identify the beetle that does not exist on our Earth ends up propelling her into the fairie world she came from and fighting an evil that is blighting that world.
I was prepared to not like this book and add it to the Why bother finishing? sack that goes to the used bookstore; but the story sucked me in with good writing, likable characters, and magic with a twist. If you like fantasy at all, I think you will like this book.

Review of The Bars That Once Condemned Me by Stephanie Buslach

Stephanie Buslach is a member of our church, Imago Dei Vancouver or House of Providence.
The subtitle of the slim book is A Testimony About the Spiritual Implications of Depression. She wrote the book because none of the books she was given while she was hospitalized with depression addressed what she thought was most important: the lies that depression told her about herself. That is always a good reason to write a book. She works with troubled teens. And this is the perfect book to give to a teenage girl suffering from depression. Stephanie shows incredible bravery by baring some of the bad decisions she made and quoting from her diary during depressed times. She shares what God says about us versus what depression tells us.
I think this would make a great youth group book study.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

new granddaughter

Tonight Best Beloved is flying home from a week-end visit in Cleveland to visit our four-year old granddaughter and brand new granddaughter. I am lying in bed. Ah-CHOO!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review of Oxygen by John Olson and Randy Ingermanson

This is a book that will make your days drowsy as you cannot go to sleep while you keep turning just one more page. Well researched by people who understand the science and give you true tech-speech instead of bafflegab. This reprint by Marcher Lord Press includes bonus appendices that are fun to read and instructional. If you like thrillers, you will like this book.

Review of Conundrum by C.S. Lakin

Wow! What an intelligent and literate book. Because of it I now understand a certain line in a certain poem I could not get before. But what I just said should not make you afraid of the book. The real subject is how real love works. The book opens with Lis meditating on conundrums and whether or not the truth truly sets you free as she goes to visit her brother in the mental ward.
After the pain-filled visit, Lis begins to ask questions about things she was always afraid to delve into. When answers come, her whole world shakes, and her narcissistic mother attempts to destroy her before she finds out the rest of the story.
The writing is beautiful, and the motifs and resolution and discoveries are excellent and satisfying. One of the best books I've read this year.

Review of Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson

I was not prepared to like Ultraviolet. Most stories about teen-age girls bug the snot out of me. And there is some creepy romance in it. Even if I liked romance, I would have found it creepy. But I ENJOYED this book. Here a girl with the worst (or best?) case of synesthesia I have ever seen (which makes it one truly colorful book) who wakes up in a mental hospital. She is so traumatized she can't remember why she is there. She collects cues and memories until she remembers that she murdered somebody with her mind! And then, and then, oh my goodness, where the story goes then. This is a page turner as a girl discovers not only what makes her tick, and her family tick, but also a few things about the universe and how perceptions can flip with some knowledge. This is one cool book.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Announcement for analysts

I am not, nor do I ever hope to be a character in any of my books. My husband is not, and never will be a character in my books. My children are not, and never will be characters in my books. Nor shall I put friends in my books. Each character is a work of fiction. I have no desire to write an autobiography.
I am not a pacifist. We were in the active AF for fifteen years before our daughters' difficulties and other life circumstances forced us out. My husband was in the reserves for, I don't remember, six or seven years, until he fell from the roof and crushed his feet and became ineligible to serve. One of our sons is in the AF. We loved military life. We also like every pacifist we've ever met.
Thank you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Launch delayed

The January launch of Shatterworld has been delayed. I guess that gives me more time to plan an awesome launch party.

Review of The Restorer by Sharon Hinck extended edition

I can remember only two science fiction books that would be possible for me to identify with by having characters with my particular correlates. That's not a problem as I can easily identify with a purple slug on Neptune or a male hobbit. Still, it's nice to find a book with kinda you in it. Shivering World by Kathy Tyers has a medical technologist as a protagonist. (Onward, pipettes!) Well, she is a bacteriologist, a specialist branch. I can grow bacteria AND count red blood cells. And that book by her is my favorite.
The other book is The Restorer by Sharon Hinck. The protagonist is a housewife! A homemaker! A soccer mom! Yes! And she spends a lot of time thinking about her kids and husband.  Wow.
The last few decades as more and more women write science-fiction have seen more science fiction stories include families. There have always been families in fantasy, but few, few, few in science fiction which usually focuses on atomistic individuals against the universe. That may be a function of sf initially being primarily a young man's literature. That has been changing as more women are allowed into science careers.
The Sword of Lyric Trilogy focuses in the first book on Susan who is accidentally sucked into another universe and onto a truly odd planet.
I fell in love with the book and writer when I first read The Restorer some years ago. I grieved when it went out of print. Then Lord March Press released an extended version which includes those dotty squares your smart phone can read and play music for you. Sad to say, my smart phone is smarter than me and I can't use that app yet, but when I can, that will be the first thing I use it on. The book has been revised and includes extra scenes which enrich the reading, and study questions for a book club, and a devotional. The cover is beautiful. The story is a page turner.
I'm sure that men can enjoy the book, too, but we women will find extra resonance in it. If you have a friend who thinks sf is just escapist drivel, hand her a copy of this and open her eyes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not fair

I was not fair about Keven Newsome's book, Winter. He did so many things right in the book: he captured the black hole egotism of most teenagers: ie. Winter yells, "I hate you!" at her mother dying of cancer because Winter will need to move to another town. She is so sensitive to what other people think of her and she pretends like she doesn't care. She is super critical of how her roommate dresses, and throws an inner hissy fit when someone criticizes how she dresses. She is so LONELY, and yet whoever tries to get close to her is treated like crap. I believe most teen girls would identify with her far more than they would be able to identify with somebody like me.
And.... it is not a romance!!! Which is a Good Thing. To me.
Please, I know that falling in love is the most fun you will ever have in your life and I love to see people in love. I've had the good pleasure of falling in love. This summer we will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Best Beloved is so excited about it that the calendar he hands to everybody for a Christmas present features our wedding, which was held under a tree in Lake Sacajawea park, and the reception at his mother's house. I received twelve casserole dishes and two ironing board covers. One friend sang, and another played the guitar. There Is Love by Peter, Paul, and Mary. I sewed my wedding gown because we had to pay for our wedding at ages 19 and 20. We honeymooned along the CA and OR coast, sleeping in my dad's Volkswagen Van. And then we moved into other peoples' basements as we continued on in college.
But romances..... bleh. Lorraine Snelling once said at a writer's conference that she chooses to believe that people can find love. Well, yeah. But when men write about women giving them everything they want, it's called pornography. When women write about men giving them everything they want it's called.... romance? I suppose if we read each others' literature we would have a better idea about what to give each other.
OK, now that I have insulted 90% of all Americans, you are free to tell me that you hate my literature as escapist drivel. I like hard science-fiction and high fantasy. When my brain is tired I read space-opera and sword-and-sorcery. I also like to read Bible, true history (not so much alternate), science, sociology, culture, gardening, etc., but few people are going to cavil about that.
Actually, the second book in the Trilogy, Circumnavigation of Shatterworld, might be a romance. That wasn't how I was thinking about it. I was thinking about the question: What does love look like? And there are so many kinds of love. So maybe I'm a hypocrite here. And I have read a few romances that I enjoyed.
But when I think about the girls I knew in high school who loved, loved, loved romances, who married the first person who asked them, all I saw were disasters. That colors my thinking.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review of Wind and Shadow by Kathy Tyers

I am a fan of Kathy Tyers. I especially liked Shivering World and wish I had the guts to ask her to let me turn it into a screenplay I offer to a movie maker in my son's church. I enjoyed her thoughtful Truce at Bakura and her other space operas.
Wind and Shadow is her latest, set in the Firebird universe with lots of action and suspense and musical references. I have no idea how she could follow up the ending. Or maybe I could, as she has made the altered people a despised minority in an Empire. And you know what Empires do to people who bother them.....
If you like derring-do and space operas at all, I cannot tell you how much you will enjoy the exciting Wind and Shadow. The characters are fun to follow and believable in their motivations. There is definite evil, but not all the conflict is evil vs. good. In fact, most of the conflict is flawed good vs flawed good vs flawed good. A definite recommend.

Review of Winter by Kevin Newsome

First I have to say that I am grateful for Kevin Newsome's ministry to teen girls who will likely get a lot out of this book. I daresay that he will reach thousands of times more people with his books that will touch people and show them a glimpse of Glory, than I will with my books.
Second, I really, truly found the main character disgusting. I couldn't stand girls like that when I was that age and time has only deepened my disgust. She is flawed and broken, but God could still use her, which is a good thing to say. Still, utter stupidity will always offend me. She chases around psychopathic killers without bothering to call 911. She has visions she won't share with her friends so they can make better choices. Better is wailing, "It's all my fault!" after something bad happens. I wanted to give her a Darwin Award.
And the writer commits another thing I despise with all my heart: making God a speaking character in the book. He only does it twice. For the most part he got around it by directly quoting Scripture, which is good. Some writers use surrogates, such as angels, which I will also accept. Other people "quote" God in their books, and I know they pray a lot before they do so. But I cannot accept making the Sovereign God a "character" in a novel. I just, no. No.
Aside from that bitching, the writing is clear and suspenseful. For people who like supernatural suspense, this will be a great read. I think I just discovered that I don't care for supernatural suspense. I don't like making that discovery as I have bought a lot of books in that genre to support other Christian writers, and there they lie in several wobbly piles in my bedroom. Guess what most of my friends are going to get for Christmas.

Speaking of unlikable protagonists: I once wrote a novel that started as a short story with the protagonist a person who thought just like me. I didn't want to take the time to think through a different kind of character because I was in a hurry. Okay so, my critique group read it, and they all said the same thing: The story was good, the protagonist wasn't. They all hated her..........Ouch. Now that I know how Irritating I am, I will never make a protagonist or any character like me again.

Do not confuse this Winter with Winterland by Mike Duran which is a ghost parable. I kept getting the two confused until I read both of them.

Our boarder came up and laid the book on the desk next to my computer and said that the book was really good. I asked her why, and she said: "I like this book a lot! I thought it was rather interesting how the author portrayed Winter, the Goth girl, as a Christian and a 'good' character, instead of the typical demonic or at least 'bad' character. I also enjoyed how the author made this unlikely heroine a prophetess in a modern context. Overall, I enjoyed this book a great deal."

I knew it. And then I read all the five star reviews on Amazon. There is no hope for me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review of In Plain Sight

I had to read this book by Marlayne Giron. First of all, I love the title and the premise: Two outer space aliens hide among the Amish while their invisible space ship gets repaired. And when I read the book, I found only two typos in the whole thing (has/had substitutions) so this has been incredibly well edited. The description of daily Amish life was thorough and quite exhausting. As I read about their daily work, I felt the same as I did when I read a book about how to survive when The World As We Know It ends under a massive EMP pulse: I do NOT want to become a subsistance farmer. A lot of it is laziness on my part, but I also have incredibly low stamina (only work a few hours before collapse) due to allergies and diabetes and who knows what else. Maybe fibromyalgia, certainly arthritis. Growing food is fun until I will starve if I don't.
So I liked the aliens, and I liked the Amish. What I did not like was the Romance. Well, duh, on me. It is marketed as romance. It is not the author's fault that romance makes me want to gag. I wanted to shake the girl and yell, "You don't even know this boy!!! What you do know is he keeps crossing boundaries! You can have sex only so many times a day, and then what? You don't know his family and culture and customs and language and world and climate and work. You don't know if you can live with him outside of smoochies!" But that's just me.
The ending was satisfying. If you can stand romance, if you find the Amish interesting, if you like speculation about aliens and theology, you are going to love this book.
Now I wonder what Marlayne Giron will think of my book about Amish imitators on another planet.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Andrew Peterson

I have finished reading On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North! Or Be Eaten, and The Monster In The Hollows written by Andrew Peterson. I ordered them from his Rabbit Room. What a fun read those books are. I can recommend them for anybody.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Today is the day that YU55 flies by earth closer than the moon. How I wish we could have thought to land a satellite or shuttle on it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

editing editing

After going through the edits for Shatterworld, I went to Circumnavigation and self-edited using the current rules for writing. I hope the editor for Circumnavigation won't have to work so hard on my second book.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Extending Eager Hands...: The Other Sister

Extending Eager Hands...: The Other Sister: Have you ever seen the movie " The Other Sister ?" It makes me cry my eyes out. It hits me so close to home that I can almost not bear it....

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm an offensivist.

I try to write humor and will be laughing while writing something I send to someone, only to find out once again, that I am not a humorist. I'm an offensivist.

Thank you, Andrea Graham

Thank you, Andrea Graham, for working so hard on my manuscript and forcing me to make Shatterworld a better book.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Strawberries and Leaves

My dear sweet husband dug up the strawberries I had let cover the entire garden, and laid them in rows so next year I should be able to pick the fruit without stepping on so many berries. Yesterday I laid piles of leaves between the rows and today I am sniffling. Oh, and today I must remember to drive up to Longview so I can take my dad to the dentist.
Yesterday, also, I had a real portrait of me taken at Penney's so I could have a picture on the back of Shatterworld, which should be coming out in January. The photographer has a seven year old who loves sci-fi and math. I made predictions about the rest of her character and nailed every one of them. I already love that little girl and look forward to meeting her on Launch Day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Our houseguest has died

I'm glad that I got to spend a few hours with our houseguest at hospice. I read, and prayed for him and rubbed lotion on his arm and face, and brushed his teeth, and got to talk to him (though he could not respond) and called the nurse when he suffered some pain. Then his son arrived from an extremely long drive and told me his brother had died a few days ago, and before that our houseguest's first wife had died. So the son has been knocked about a bit. I'm glad he made it because the next morning at five his dad died.  Son and step-daughter in law have been here to go through the man's few things and take what they cared about. We are left with a few boxes of books to disperse.
I really liked coming home and opening the door and the first think I would see was his welcoming face where he sat in front of the big windows.
Guess I'll have to go find another 80 something to take in.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Our housemate

Our former housemate is looking truly terrible. I hope he can be moved to hospice soon, as I don't think the nursing home he is in is a good environment for him right now. My heart breaks that he has no family save one that visits him. The other visitors are church family.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Covers for the Shatterworld Trilogy

I believe that these will be the covers for the Trilogy. They were done by my oldest son, Josh. Aren't they great?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Book that is Yelling at Me

Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions In A Consumer Church by Paul Louis Metzger, forward by Donald Miller, afterword by John M. Perkins.
This starts with my going to a conference on Writing And Culture at Western Seminary in Portland. The keynote speaker is Paul Louis Metzger. I buy his book among others at the book tables there. I wonder if I should spend the money; one of the things he says is that his wife told him not to idolize Jim Wallace (Rich Christians In an Age of Hunger?) who is a spiritual advisor to President Barak Obama. That particular author had influenced us mightily for years until my husband read him misusing Scripture, and we had read and experienced how economic systems truly work (and I went from dem. precinct committeeperson of district 32-32 in Seattle to a rep. in Texas) So I figured that he would say a lot of stuff I would disagree with. That's okay. I like to know how other people think. Who knows what argument will change my life?

All the way through the book I felt like he was yelling at me. He spit out homogeneity and upward mobility like curse words. And I don't understand. I happened to grow up in a small town that was close to 100% Scot, English, and Nordic ethnicity. Historical accident caused that. My church had to import the three blacks that lived in the town over so we could hold hands and sing, "We Shall Overcome Some Day". My dad often slept with relatives because there was so little room in the two room shack of his parents. We four kids shared an 8'x9' foot bedroom until Dad added onto the house and then my sister and I shared a same size bedroom, in a house with a living room, basement, kitchen, bathroom, and three bedrooms. Then I married and we lived in a variety of basements until moving on with the AF, and now we own a house that I think might be 4,000 sq ft. I don't know what's wrong with that upward mobility. And upward mobility is what we want for the poor, or so I want. Why is he so angry about that. I keep going to my husband who tells me he is not talking about me. But how not? I wail, and my husband patiently explains again that he is talking about people who expect to get richer and richer and for their children to surpass them in getting more richer and richer. My husband asks if I think my children are failures. Of course not! They made decisions to follow careers that make them happy and make them less money than my husband's does. Exactly, my husband says. And so I go to read some more until I go back to my husband to say, He's yelling at me again. And he's yelling at, uh, Warren, Purpose Driven Church. I loved the 40 day thing we did at our church with that book.  And I know his church people are doing incredible works in Rwanda.

In the book he tells a man in a homogeneous neighborhood to move. Uh, like that's so easy. Just move. Sheesh.

Then I read where he is complaining about the prosperity preachers. Oh, if that is what he means by upward mobility, then we agree. I despise the name it and claim it teaching, for it ignores God's mighty sovereignty and the suffering of his Son, whose footsteps we are to follow.

It seems to Dr. Metzger that the biggest sin of the American Church is racism. I don't know that is true, for we are guilty of many, many sins. And he claims that Sunday morning is the most racist hour in America. I can't tell that from my experience. And if we aren't actively fighting racism then we are scum. I guess I'm scum. I have no idea how to fight racism. I don't think he would give me any credit for the two black kids I adopted because I didn't do it to fight racism. I did it because I wanted more kids. I would have taken Somoans or Asians or anybody. My two are what became available when I was looking. Maybe he would give me credit for becoming friends with some African pastors and hosting them in my home when they came over here to preach. I don't know. Maybe not. What I am more focused on, or was at one time, is access to the churches by the physically and developmentally disabled.

Oh, and he is angry that Americans go church shopping and go to the church they want instead of being forced to go to church with people not like themselves. What mechanism would he use to change that?

He has the interesting idea of wealthy people buying two outfits with one to go to the church for those who are embarrassed to go to church because they don't have nice clothes. I would like to see how the church would let the people know those clothes are available. Hmm, like the wedding feasts in the Bible where garments were provided. Oh, I know how I would feel if somebody came up to me and told me there were better clothes for me to wear in the church closet. Burn........

He is deeply offended by churches that do not have an altar in the front and do have a coffee bar in the back. He goes into a long, poetic song about us consuming Jesus and Jesus consuming us and beautiful results. He seems to say but cannot have meant that the church that has weekly communion will be following God into Glory and Righteousness. Or he might have. I know that I am so glad to finally be in a church that does have weekly communion. For decades I have attended churches that did monthly communion and in each church I would tell the pastor once that I thought weekly communions were more Biblical, and then I would let it drop. It was not my job to arrange the church or complain about it. Oh, our church also has a coffee bar in the back.

I found out he lives in Vancouver, WA, where I am! I look him up in the phone book and mapquest how to get there. Why would he be living in vastly more white Vancouver instead of in North Portland across the river? I drive there to see if he lives in some McMansion, and if this Paul Metzger is the same as the author, he lives in a middle class neighborhood of okay kept up yards in a house that seems smaller than mine. I don't examine it closely because now I am ashamed of trying to catch him in an amusing hypocrisy. I don't know that his house isn't crowded with unwed mothers or people in drug rehab.

He is angry about focus groups, which I also don't get. When a missionary is planning to go to a new tribe, they try to learn the language, the customs, how to make the Bible understandable. So if there is a group near your church you want to influence for Christ, why wouldn't you focus your efforts? But that leads to homogeneity! Well, no, it does not need to, though I'm sure that it has in some churches.

The book goes into politics and social effects and things that go far above and beyond me. I can't understand the dynamics of small groups, let alone big groups. I have no idea how to influence anybody to do anything.  Perhaps this book was not meant for me. Perhaps it was, and I couldn't hear through all the yelling. I have ideas about societal change, things like not starting high school until 10 am, and stopping the drug war and legalizing all drugs so American users can stop financing terror all over the world; and prison populations could shrink to house those who are damaging other people or property. (And no, I do not think recreational drug use is victimless; I have seen it tear families apart) Treat drugs like tobacco and install truly tough DUI etc laws. And do not interfere with churches setting up rehab clinics. so forth and so on. Get us out of Libya and Bosnia. Change the Electoral College to a popular vote. Have a waiting period and counseling before marriage. But I have no ability to change anything except perhaps the small ecology of the park behind my house. So I garden.

Monday, April 18, 2011


My son John just gave me an iPad!!!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sights by the road

Last Saturday, as we were driving from Longview to Vancouver, taking my dad's bed to our niece, I saw three crows harassing a bald eagle  by the dike! And later by Kalama, on a freeway berm, a smile made of daffodils.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I'm taking an autistic man out to the Hockinsen Cafe for lunch today. My husband volunteered me. We'll also stop at the Goodwill Outlet. I go to buy hangers with clips for the Giving Closet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Written World Publications is planning to send me contract for publishing Shatterworld and options for the two sequels! I am pleased and my husband who typed it all is joyous.
I can't blog long about it because Wednesdays are my busy days, I need to take care of my wookie for three hours, meds, bathing, breakfast etc. and then the Giving Closet where I hang donations on hangers, and then visit our houseguest in nursing care. So, more later.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Book Cover!

Joshua sent me the cover for Circumnavigation of Shatterworld. It is beautiful and interesting! Thank you, Josh!

Nice weather

Oh, how I love the two weeks of spring in February we have every year as a gift before winter comes back. It feels so good to be working in my many gardens.

More books read

On the treadmill is Longitudes and Attitudes by Freidman. I wasn't sure I wanted to read anything more by him after I read that he said that the US could use a good Chinese dictatorship. I bet he wouldn't have said that when Bush was president. But after all, I did not read his statement in context, and further, I don't know that he wrote that until I look up the piece in which he allegedly said such. So, I'm reading this book where he trumpets freedom and western civilization over and over and writes to Osama bin Laden the letters he thinks Bush should write.

In bed I'm reading Taliban by Ahmed Rashid published shortly before 9/11. Afghanistan has been screwed long before America showed up. Pakistan gives money and arms to whoever they think will support them. India give money and arms to whoever opposes Pakistan's people. Iran gives money and arms to the Shia. Saudi Arabia gives money and arms to the Sunni. Uzbekistan gives money and arms to the Uzbeks. Of course, at one time, America gave money and arms to whoever opposed Russia. Once Russia pulled, America tried to retrieve a lot of those weapons to no avail.

Much more fun to read was Bloodsucking Creatures by Anthony Fredericks: Absolutely beautiful photography and fascinating facts until the last stupid sentence: ...the most misunderstood bloodsucker is protecting us from the most dangerous bloodsucker. I'll bet an editor added that to jazz up the ending. Since vampire bats don't eat mosquitos, the sentence is false and offensive.

Dark Banquet   Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures by Bill Schutt was a fun read of personal encounters with vampires etc. I didn't like the part where he trumpeted evolution and pronounced creationists stupid and then he did not show one fact about the evolution of bats. Aw, come on, don't give me Just So stories, give me facts! I did like how he showed the differences between the different kinds of vampire bats.

Chopstick by Sandra Byrd was a fun fast read about girls sacrificing for each other.

A Time to Embrace by Karen Kingsbury was a touching. I can see the strings and know exactly how she is pulling them, but at the end of every one of her novels I'm still going Wah wah wah, dampening the pillow.

The Color of Distance by Amy Thomson. Fascinating, fascinating sf, even though the biology of the aliens requires infanticide, ovacide, suicide after living hundreds of years, and the allowing of most of the children to die at thirty years of age. One keeps going Ewww until the biology is explained.

I finished the Many-Coloured Lands books by Julian May and started Blood Trillium. Went a few chapters and dropped it. Witches, special stones, Dark Wizardly menace to the whole land. Eh.

I started to label books and wrap them for Rwanda schools in the hope that brother-in-law Chris will include them in the cargo he will be sending when the Kim Foreman Bible Institute just outside a gate of the National University of Rwanda is built enough to accept furniture.

Monday, January 31, 2011

In the hospital again

We did not know our 86-yr-old houseguest had fallen again because we were watching a loud movie. Our dog got agitated and then we saw our hallway filling up with medical men. I'm glad I forced him to belong to a medical alert company and then wear the red button. He got admitted to the hospital with heart failure. I hope it wasn't the waffles I made him for dinner.
I wonder how much longer we will get to have him live with us. He keeps falling. This makes me sad to think of him moving to some VA facility as my dad goes to assisted living.
Part of the process of cleaning up the property of my dad to sell it is prying up and taking away the rocks I and my sister helped him gather over a lifetime. The rock area around the stone path to the front door of my house is now filling up with agates. Yesterday, the large slates from a cliff near Mt.St. Helens  became a stone patio between two of my rock gardens.

Reading books

I'm reading The Gospel According To Moses    What My Jewish Friends Taught Me About Jesus by Athol Dickson.  I usually race through books, but I want to go through this slowly and meditate on what he is saying, so I'll read a few pages, put it down, and then read People Of The Book by Geraldine Brooks, a novel about an illustrated haggadah that survived centuries through wars and pograms, partly through the heroic efforts of librarians in Sarejavo. Well, I raced through that fascinating book, and shall need to find another interval book. In the People book, the protagonist is shocked to discover that she has a famous Jewish heritage that her mother never told her about. Made me remember how surprised we were to find out that my husband's Polish/German side of the family had been Jewish and totally destroyed in the Holocaust except for the grouchy, atheist grandfather that moved to America because he never wanted to see another war.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book cover

I was thinking about how it seems that all Christian fiction book covers seem to feature a lady in a hat gazing off into the distance. My oldest son gave me a book cover for the second book of the Shatterworld Trilogy that features a lady in a hat staring at the monster that is about to skewer her.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Moving Dad

Even though it is my sister who is doing all of the work, I am going to bed exhausted and waking up exhausted. I am having so much trouble thinking. It feels like grief.
Dad is recovering well from the surgery that pinned together the bones that broke in his neck, but all of us have agreed that he can't move back home again. Looking and deciding. Looking and deciding. He will move to the beautiful Monticello assisted living into a one bedroom apt. It is near the middle of downtown Longview, so goodbye woods. He told us to sell the house, but my sister wants to rent it out. It is hard to let go of the house he has lived in for sixty years and that the girls lived in until marriage. As adults we played paintball in the woods. We picked grapes and blackberries and apples and tomatoes there.
We began the process of winnowing through his furniture and stuff to figure out what will move in with him. We were surprised that no he did not want his double bed any more, he wanted a twin one. And after spending hours finding the right chair for him because we were not going to let him keep his old, broken recliner, he decided to take Mom's old lifting chair that he had previously rejected. Well, the new chair did cost over two thousand dollars.
Our brother came out from Pennsylvania to help out, but his work only allowed him a long weekend here. It was a joy to spend time with him. He was practically quivering in sadness that he could not be here full time. My sister has two jobs now and dealing full time with this and she still has children at home. I have no idea how she is coping.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My sister

My poor sister. She had to be at the rehabilitation clinic for my father who was choking at 2 a.m. She had to be with him as the ambulance took him to the emergency room. Then she had to get her children off to school. Then she had to go to work. Then she called me 12 hours later. When I reached the hospital, dad was still in the ER and waiting for a bed to be opened before he could be admitted. Goodness, I did not know so many people in Longview were so sick. When I left a few hours later, dad was still there and having difficulty with hallucinations from vicodan. He thought his house had been robbed.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Books Read:

Dreamkeepers  A Spirit-Journey into Aboriginal Australia  by Harvey Arden:  It's a bait and switch book. I was hoping to read about some dream journeys but what happened was the author drove hither and yon meeting with various Aboriginal leaders and none of them would talk about the Dream Time, and he ended up feeling guilty. Well, I should think so. I thought this would be a book about living with the Aborigines for a number of years and entering into their lives. A drive by interview hardly qualifies. So the author wrote about his trip and what the leaders told him instead of Dream Time stories. He showed them his previous book about Native American Indian thought, and the Aborigines enjoyed reading parts of it. But I did not get the feel that he gave to book to anybody as a gift or that he offered to share any profits made from the potential book.  My main impressions from the book are two: How sad that alcohol has so thoroughly destroyed the tribes of Australia as it has in Alaska. People who have a land based religion are screwed when circumstances change.     I wonder what type of religion the first Aborigines had when they moved to Australia. It could not have been land based.

      The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, PhD.    An unsettling look at why some people are so evil.  There was an uncomfortable overlap of sociopath and Asperger's brain deficiencies. But those of us who are not sociopaths but still fall short in the empathy department make do with sympathy, compassion, and love. Some of her advice about how to protect ourselves from sociopaths echoes Gavin de Bakker's (?) book about the gift of fear.

     The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell:  I cannot say WOW! enough about this book. Beautifully written, and the whole time you are following the two story lines of a group of people heading to a disaster and the one survivor maybe going to tell what happened, you are mentally screaming at the turn of every page, "What happened?" That the author knew nothing about the Jesuits before she started writing the book floors me. I thought she was a dyed in the wool Catholic. Her science-fiction alien premise is fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.

      A Wizard In Mind by Christopher Stasheff  was a lot of fun.
     Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman: a cute little story with cute illustrations.
     How to Train Your Dragon book 3 How to Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell: hit my funnybone.
      Waifs and Strays by Charles DeLint: I skipped some of the punk fairy stories. I liked the stories with Tetchie and Maisie in them. Beautifully written, of course.

     My husband got halfway through Joel Rosenberg's thriller The Twelfth Imam and quit. He said the man does not know his sports and he could not believe a 6'2" man could have Iranians towering over him. I dunno why not. And he said I write a lot better than Joel. Well, thank you sweetie, but Joel's style is just fine for thrillers. The only person I can think of at this moment who writes literary thrillers is Dean Koontz.