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  12:25:00 am, by Airycat   , 422 words  
Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction

A Heart Breaker
The Blue Notebook by James Levine M.D

If a book can tear your heart out, then The Blue Notebook by James Levine M.D. is the book to do it. How can such a heartbreaking story be so beautiful?

This is the story of Batuk, a fifteen year old girl sold into sexual slavery at age nine. Batuk writes in the blue notebook between customers and tells us of her life. Her writing also reveals her own imagination, resilience, wisdom and naivety. Batuk is an astute observer of others and we get to see some of what her world is like. Knowing nothing else, she places no judgment on it, as this reader was inclined to do. Batuk is not the prostitute with the heart of gold or the jaded street hooker as often depicted in American fiction. She is a complex human being, obviously knowing more about sex the the average girl her age, but in other ways sheltered from the world outside. She is jaded to a certain amount of violence and resigned to her profession, but at the same time she hopes for a better life.

Batuk is such a charming girl and has such an interesting view of things, you'll want to keep reading. There are parts of this story where it is possible to forget the horror of Batuk's life. She still has the naivety and innocence of any other girl her age. Levine does a wonderful job of making her speak in very real voice. A few of her musings seem a bit more educated than expected, however, it's not impossible that her limited learning and her experiences would lead her to those thoughts.

Levine doesn't let the reader forget the dismal life Batuk lives for very long. Unfortunately, her profession does not attract "Prince Charming" types. Readers get to see some of the worst people. We also get to see how sometimes abuse it perpetuated by the abused. The Blue Notebook is a look at one of those things we'd rather not think about and an eye opener to anyone who believes that all prostitutes choose their profession.

This is not a book for anyone who is struggling with the after effects of abuse. For others, I heartily recommend The Blue Notebook. It's a book that will stay with you long after you've returned it to the shelf.

From the cover of my advance copy "All the U.S. proceeds for this novel will be donated to the International and National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children (http://www.icmec.org.) " This is another good reason to buy the book..

The Blue Notebook


  11:45:00 pm, by Airycat   , 430 words  
Categories: Chitchat

Rainy and Monday


Since The Book Club Site closed down I have wanted to have a book club. Toward that end I set up a Book Club blog. If you are interested in joining an online book club, go take a look at the site (read the "Welcome" page). If you've read any of the books I've listed, go ahead and comment. (Comments do not have to be a response to the discussion questions.)


Once there are five or six members, I plan to make the club member's only. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that I want those of us discussing the book to feel comfortable. Another reason came to me today in my e-mail. Someone sent me four questions related to one of the books on my list and asked me to answer two of them and send them to him. The questions were great, very much like those a teacher would ask for a test or paper. This guy was obviously searching for info on the book and found my blog. I want serious discussion, but I don't want to be providing free term papers. I firmly believe students should do their own work. That may be old fashioned, but that's where I stand.

There are probably still some bugs to be worked out. I'm also looking into getting some kind of live chat program so that the monthly meetings can be live. I have an excellent web host, so I think it's doable, but I still need to find something that I'm able to maintain. I'm still learning about the blog program and realizing that I would do better if I knew CSS and PHP. I think I can learn the CSS, but I still don't understand what PHP is, so learning that is still a long way off. Anyway, whether or not I have a chat program, we can probably have one on one of the major chat programs (AOL, MSN or GoogleTalk). I also believe we can carry on a discussion in the blog. So, if you like to read and talk about what you read, check out my Book Club blog and if it looks good to you, please sign up.

Please note: The books listed are ones I have read and are there only to get us started on discussions until we have five or six members. At that time we will choose a book to be read and a date for the live discussion and posts will go on 'members only' status.

Now I'm off to exercise (ugh) and then to read (mmmm....).


  11:58:00 pm, by Airycat   , 571 words  
Categories: Chitchat, Projects

Project 1A

Alex harassed me to start. I thought he was going to help more than he did, but he will be helping with later parts of this and he did help a bit last night.

When we moved into our house this is what the hallway looked like:

After we painted it looked like this:

After four hours of work last night, it looks like this:

[Ha ha! Emily's "headlights" match the wall! I know not everyone will think the green is an improvement, but I thrive on bright color. I wouldn't want this color in a room, but I love it in the hall. To me it's a lovely foil to the yellow in the living room and the terracotta in the kitchen -- and a soothing contrast to the red of my den.]

I expected the floor to be worse than it is. It has about 8 or 9 nails pounded too deep for me to get them out and a lot of small nail holes and several divots, the biggest of which is about the size of a quarter. Debie knows about a professional guy who does floors and he may be able to get the nails out. For now, all I plan to do is fill the holes with stained putty to match the floor. The woodwork still needed to be painted, anyway, so all I need to do there is sand the edge of the paint line, so it's smooth all the way down.

On Monday I hope to get project 1b done. This is the before photo of that:
I'm not sure yet, how we'll do it. I think we'll pull out all the carpet first and then work on removing the tack strips. That's what takes the longest time. I'm really hoping the floor in there is as good as the hall floor. I can't move the heavy stuff, but I'll have to move all the little stuff (knickknacks, etc.) and empty the cabinet with all my birds. Iqbal will have to help Alex move the big pieces - piano, sofa, cabinet, TV and chairs. I guess we'll push everything to one side and rip the carpet out, them move it all back to the uncarpeted side and get the rest out.

This carpet looks better in the photos than in real life. It's worn, dirty and matted. Only the corners look halfway decent in reality. The padding is compressed in areas and is starting to disintegrate. I will be happy when all the carpet up here is gone. I'm not particularly happy with the carpet downstairs, but I know that has concrete underneath, so it must wait until we can replace it. (Maybe next year.) It won't be carpet in the main room. I need a hard surface for my sewing area and to block that off with tile or linoleum and have the rest carpeted would look weird. The den and bedroom will have carpet, though -- and the stairs [although if there's a way to make the stairs look nice with something other than carpet, I'd prefer no carpeting there. They are a magnet for pet hair and all the sticks, stones, leaves and dirt that 8 (4 pets, 4 people) beings can carry inside.]

I spent this afternoon helping Debie with some filing, so I haven't worked on any projects today. Now I'm going to finish the book I'm reading and perhaps start the next one I got for review.


  07:58:00 pm, by Airycat   , 39 words  
Categories: Book Reviews, Children's Books, Fiction

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

This is lovely, simple story for preschoolers. Parents, be prepared to read it again and again and again... Tiger's stripes are fuzzy, which will likely be another reason your child will want to to read and reread this story.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

  02:54:00 am, by Airycat   , 694 words  
Categories: Chitchat

"Thursday, Thursday" doesn't have quite the same ring as "Monday, Monday."

But it's been that kind of day. I have no idea what I've accomplished, or even if I've accomplished anything. When I sat down at the computer, I had a purpose in mind. I have no idea what it was. Somehow (I don't even know how), I got side tracked to my Listology and that led me to a search for a specific graphic, which got me looking at a lot of graphics and collecting some of them.

I spent the afternoon with Mom, looking at fabrics. We took the whole afternoon and got home after five, neither of us wanting to cook. We ended up sending Iqbal to get some Popeye's chicken. I'm sure it was no good for any of our diets, but it sure tasted good.

Looking at fabric made me want to get to some sewing. The ideas are packed in my head. There are fabrics in boxes, in the closet, and in a former kitchen hutch. I have drawers of fun and pretty notions. I have a sewing machine, and embroidery machine (on loan) and a felting machine (also on loan). I just need to sit down and follow through.

While over at Listology, I made a list of the stories that I have been going over in my head. I need to sit down (preferably without internet to distract me) and work on actually writing them. They're good ideas, but quite useless if they stay in my head. (Well, they do entertain me, anyway, but it seems that stories should be shared.)

There is lots of gardening to do. With that, it's not simply a case of setting my mind and doing it. Because of my back, I can only do some of it. I need to hire Alex or someone else to do it for me. If we hire the gardeners who do Debie's gardening, I need to make sure they understand what I want. Iqbal doesn't seem to get my ideas across to others.

And the house desperately needs some spring cleaning. Again, I can't do it all myself, but Iqbal will help me and maybe Alex will help with some of it. I did tell him that I would pay him to help me make my laundry room. We'll also be butting some furniture into semi-permanent storage. (Meaning not in the garage, which won't be a garage anymore, but a laundry room and exercise room and some storage. The laundry room is all that will get finished this year. Hopefully, next year we can finish the rest.)

Aaahhhhh!!!! I can't even write without getting distracted!!

What all this is leading up to is that I am not going to be able to read all the blogs I have to read. I'll skim through and read a few that catch my eye, but it simply takes too much time to read every blog on my friends list, my subs and sent to my Google reader. I feel bad, because if I friended you on LJ or subbed you on Xanga, I consider you my friend and I want to keep up with you, but there are only so many hours in a day. I'm not sure when I will start, but soon, I will be limiting myself to an hour in the morning (with a timer if need be!) and maybe three or four hours at night... maybe.


If something important happens please leave a comment . I will read all e-mail and all comments come in to my e-mail. If a mutual friend has had some big news and hasn't been able to comment, please let me know.

I will continue to post randomly. I don't want to seem snotty, but those who comment are those I will read first, when I read, and I'll get to others as I have time. Please don't think I'm trying guilt you into commenting. That's not my point. I just think it's the polite thing to respond first to those who have responded to me.

As readers of my blog(s), my getting out and actually doing something will benefit you, in that, hopefully, I'll have more interesting things to post about.

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