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text 2017-09-05 04:43
Bittersweet Day...

Emotionally draining.

 

Today my mama drove me and my girls to visit with my Bubi.  It was a surprise for her and seeing the elation on her face when she saw us all at her door...it nearly brought me to tears.  She hugged me so hard and for so long that my girls started to feel left out.  She's been ill lately, and is very stubborn about listening to the regimen the doctors have laid out for her.  I know you are not supposed to have favorites, but not only is she the grandparent I've always been the closest to, she's the only one I have left.

 

Over the years, I've been to the funerals of my paternal great grandmother, paternal grandmother, both grandfathers and two uncles.  Seven years ago I nearly lost my best friend--my soulmate to a clogged artery and was a total basket case sitting in a surgical waiting room for over six hour just waiting to hear if he was okay.  Nine months ago a misogynistic, xenophobic, racist madman won the presidency of my country and I had to hold my daughter as she cried, fearing she'd be forced into a conversion camp because the future vice president believes in them.  A few weeks later, I lost my father.  Six weeks ago I lost my [nearly] 18-year-old cat.  A week ago, my nephew's car, with my brother driving, burst into flames.  When my brother told me what happened, he said it was daddy that got him out of the car safely.  But it was a near thing.  

 

This afternoon, as we visited with the matriarch of the family, we went through bunches and bunches of photos.  There were so many happy and funny memories.  It was so nice seeing those photos, but it also reminded me of how much time has gone by, and how much I miss my pop, and how I'm not even close to being done grieving my daddy.  And I'm so messed up over my cat that I was triggered reading a few animal specific scenes in The Diabolic and I turned off Game of Thrones in the middle of an episode and never finished the rest off the season. (Don't want to spoil anyone, but if you watch the show, you probably know why.)

 

We all know death is a part of life.  There is no escape, and for some, like my Paw-Paw, it's a kindness.  And we try to keep the good times in mind, or say placating things like, "They're in a better place," or "They're not suffering anymore" but death still really effing sucks.  Especially when it piles on you one right after the other.

 

Seeing my mother scolding my Bubi for not keeping her oxygen on at all times just reminded me that I'll lose her too (possibly soon).  It gave me all the sad feels.  Especially when mama called me later to say thanks for today and to remind me that she loves me and my bro very much.

 

I don't spend nearly enough time with my family.  So I guess this is me venting my sadness and reminding everyone to spend time with your loved ones while they're still with you--or while you're still with them.

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review 2017-09-01 21:27
Frozen Memories by Cassie Miles
Frozen Memories (Harlequin Intrigue) - Cassie Miles

Super read, tension from beginning to end. The plot is very intricate but well done. I like the way the male protagonist is forced to re-think some of the male over-protectiveness the culture has convinced him he should have, and the way he's forced to trust her completely when she flies a small single prop Piper Cub and lands it on a patch of nothing. Here's the blurb:

 

Amnesia made her forget him. His love will bring her back. 

Their mission is compromised. Their cover is blown. And FBI Special Agent Spence Malone has found his partner—and love of his life—disoriented and suffering from drug-induced amnesia. NSA cybercrimes expert Angelica Thorne has forgotten her name, her mission and, worst of all, Spence and their nights of passion. And now they're in a race against an unseen enemy bent on nuclear destruction. Spence vows to protect her and help her remember…everything. All Angelica knows for sure is that when Spence holds her in his arms, she feels so right. Why, then, does everything else seem so wrong?

 

As usual, the emphasis in the blurb his woman getting strength from man, when the actual book is more them getting strength from each other. And it's more he learning about her than the reverse, that trust is a two-way street, and the caveman routine only gets you so far.

 

Recommended.

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review 2017-06-25 15:04
Fountain of Drowned Memories by Erik Hofstatter
Fountain of Drowned Memories - Erik Hofstatter

 

Fountain of Drowned Memories is a short story that touched my heart.

 

Lorcan is a man obsessed with the stains in the ceiling and someone, (or something?), trying to steal from him. Is this real or is there something else going on? For a story that is only 18 pages long, this one packs a powerful punch and I highly recommend it.

 

Oh, and did I mention it's free? (Or you can donate $1.00 if you like it!) Here's a link, (what do you have to lose?):Fountain of Drowned Memories

 

*I received this short story free, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

 

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review 2017-05-08 17:07
Blood Memories / Barb Hendee
Blood Memories - Barb Hendee

Eleisha, a vampire, is far older than she looks and makes men yearn to care for her. Then she usually kills them, since self-preservation comes first. So when an old vampire friend kills himself, Eleisha is shocked. And what she finds in his home shows how world-weary he had become; hoarding corpses and keeping records of vampires actual names and addresses. Now the police know who Eleisha is, and more alarmingly, what she is. But she soon realizes that being known may have its uses, even if it puts her and her kind at risk.

 

A pretty good vampire yarn. Great for those looking for just vampires. No annoying werewolves, faeries, or other supernatural creatures. The vamps are after blood, not sexy times, and have limited abilities. The main character has been made a vampire (against her will) to do a specific task and left without instruction or assistance from her maker.

It would seem that there are only half a dozen vampires in her world and that number is shrinking, as Eleisha’s current companion commits suicide. Chances to learn from another are limited and her abilities are changing in ways that startle her.

Reminiscent of Anne Rice’s vampires, as there is a fair bit of angst about the need to kill to survive. There are also hints that vampire history may become a focus, as it does for the Vampire Lestat. However, without the same powers as Rice’s vamps, these characters must learn human skills like driving, managing money, and renting hotel rooms.

Eleisha is in many ways an abused woman who is learning to own her power and to run her own life. I wasn’t crazy about her at first, as she starts out timid and overly dependent on others, but she gains momentum during the course of the book, eventually leaving her in a much more independent place.

An interesting exploration of the concept of immortality—what will keep an immortal being engaged & interested in life? What interests or skills will keep them anchored in their society and in sanity? So many speculative fiction books deal with enormously long human lives, but don’t really consider this problem.

It looks like I will have to request book 2 by interlibrary loan if I am to continue the series.

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review 2017-05-03 11:00
The Unpopular Genius: Gustav Mahler by Alma Mahler-Werfel
Gustav Mahler: Memories and Letters - Alma Mahler-Werfel,Donald Mitchell,Knud Martner
Gustav Mahler (German Edition) - Alma Mahler-Werfel

As beautiful, highly educated and endowed for the arts as Alma Mahler-Werfel (1879-1964) was, she could have achieved a lot in the world, but during most of her life she remained in the shadows of her famous husbands and lovers. She had the bad luck to have been born at a time, when women only made their first tentative steps to claim their rights and their own place in society. Although her family and the circles that they frequented were among the most liberal of the fin de siècle, young and shy Alma quite naturally obeyed the command of her much older first husband Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) to give up for good all her own musical ambitions and activities. In 1939, when the Nazi regime defamed his work because he had been a Jew converted to Protestantism and refused him his place in the world of music, she brought out her very personal tribute to him under the title Gustav Mahler. Memories and Letters.

 

Alma Mahler-Werfel begins her largely admiring memories of her late husband with their first encounter at a dinner party in November 1901. Although frequenting the same circles, until then she had managed to avoid meeting the controversial conductor and composer Gustav Mahler against whom public opinion and malicious gossip had biased her. Moreover, Alma had been to a performance of his First Symphony and – like most music lovers of the time – she loathed it because even she as a student of composition couldn’t understand his modern approach. However, the middle-aged musician was immediately attracted to the young woman and quite naturally she was impressed by the man and flattered by his attentions. Passionate and used to getting what he wanted, Gustav Mahler didn’t take long to make Alma his bride and he expected of her no less than giving up her own life as well as identity. For her it was a great sacrifice to abandon her music studies and composing, but she was convinced that it was worth it. And she never lost this conviction although she acknowledges to have been too young as well as too inexperienced and romantic to have known better. On their wedding day in March 1902 – scarce four months after their first encounter – Alma was already with child, but her condition changed nothing. He and his needs were all that counted even after their daughter was born and then another daughter. She never once reproached him for his egotism and lack of regard for her because she felt that as a musical genius he stood so much above her. Besides, she was aware that he needed the stability of home and her support since he had to cope with opposition from all sides – for his Jewish descent, for his modernist understanding of music, and for his tempers and idiosyncrasies. At the cost of her own health, she stayed by his side on his travels until his untimely death in May 1911.

 

Every word of Alma Mahler-Werfel shows her unshakable awe of her ingenious husband and of his music although she didn’t go far beyond summarising the facts of their life together. I can’t help thinking that she left out quite a lot in order to paint as positive a picture of the man Gustav Mahler as she could. Maybe this was also due to her innate reserve and delicacy. It seems that she wasn’t actually a woman who wished to spread out her private life in public and in the foreword from 1939 she says herself that she hadn’t intended to publish her memories of Gustav Mahler or his letters to her during her lifetime. Seeing the Nazi regime talking ill of her late husband and denying his musical genius urged her to bring out the book in the dawn of World War Two. Although her portrait is necessarily biased and moreover incomplete, Gustav Mahler. Memories and Letters by Alma Mahler-Werfel is a partly forgotten read that definitely deserves my recommendation.

 

 

Gustav Mahler: Memories and Letters - Alma Mahler-Werfel,Donald Mitchell,Knud Martner  Gustav Mahler (German Edition) - Alma Mahler-Werfel  

 

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