Here I am, the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S.A., and without one idea for a post.
I was caught off-guard all week for various reasons. Firstly, Son #1 and The Granddaughters (teens) all coming,
Secondly, Son and Granddaughter #2 coming,
Thirdly, Son was called out–of-state to his 4th wild-fire gig this season and no one was coming,
and Fourthly, Granddaughter #2 coming alone.
That was a lot of juggling, mostly because Firstly, Son #1 is highly gluten-sensitive
and Secondly, Granddaughter #2 doesn’t eat very many things.
So, I was making things and scratching things off the menu, then adding others again.
It ended up going well, with Granddaughter #2 eating more things than usual and with me sending things home for Granddaughter #1, because she had to work the holiday.
It was cold and rainy, but all was good. I saw both girls. I was in contact via video chat with Son#2, d-in-law and Toddler Grandson, (all of whom have recovered from COVID), and then through text with Teen Grandson, after I had cleaned up and conked out watching a movie, (one I chose because I had seen it many several times and knew what would happen in it and to me, when I sat down long enough: SNOOZE.)
Generally, we would have had both sons and all the grandkids, often more relatives or friends from out-of-state. Life has changed, but I won’t. I have enough food made for a week.
But it’s Black Friday and I figure that if you are not out or online shopping,(which I may do later), you may have guests, are just recuperating from the holiday, or working on the next one, (I am doing the last two), I doubt that many of you are here today anyway.
I started organizing projects which means that I am completely UNorganized at this time and with all having to be stopped for the past few days, I am making an effort to also put some things back where they should have been in the first place.
I hope all of the U.S. Friends had a great holiday, and that all have had a good week.
Today is Thanksgiving and soon it will be Christmas — the perfect time to read my second Christmas-themed novel.
Sneaking into a warm nursing home will take a few Christmas miracles.
The heroine of my new Christmas novel is a nurse working in a nursing home. When a brand new patient shows up late on a Friday afternoon — the day before Christmas Eve — without any paperwork, Lucia Alvarez is quite suspicious. But the attractive nurse is a lot more welcoming than the grim-faced aide, Martha, whose favorite patient had just passed away and vacated the bed now occupied by the elderly WW2 veteran.
It’ll be up to young Matt Clarke — passing through and now without any appreciable resources (since his truck was stolen) — to help keep the old guy warm and fed during this cold holiday weekend. If he gets to know Lucia a lot better, along the way, so much the better.
How can a down-on-his-luck 30-year-old possibly assist this old WW2 combat veteran who briefly needs shelter and food? On this cold Christmas weekend, Matt Clarke has his own worries—he’s a stranger passing through this small Tennessee town when his truck is stolen. There has to be an empty bed in this four-story nursing home because grizzled John Lester just saw the funeral home staff drive away with a body. If they do manage to get inside, perhaps they can fool the skeptical, lovely, young nurse, Lucia Alvarez. But what about the brusque aide who’s a stickler for rules and challenges the absence of a doctor’s referral and other vital paperwork? Is there any possibility of a future… for Matt and Lucia? Where’s a Christmas Miracle when you need one? Or two?
Former journalist Jake Scott is bored and lonely, having lost his wife and retired from his job. His daughter has moved with a boyfriend to another city. All that keeps him going is a weekly breakfast gathering with friends and a temperamental, overweight cat named Oliver. Things change when one of the breakfast attendees, a beautiful police detective with a troubled teenage daughter, suggests Jake should write a book. When he takes her advice and researches a convicted murderer’s case, he finds out something is terribly wrong. Could a member of the breakfast group be hiding a secret deadly enough to commit murder? Jake follows leads that uncover a disturbing rollercoaster ride of clues, all while his attraction for the detective grows. An attempt to force the true murderer out of hiding results in a terrifying ordeal on the coldest night of the year.
They used the next few minutes to discuss their future, ever watchful of the other car. The tension in Melissa’s body eased, comforted as she was by Matt’s words. She wasn’t a stunning beauty, but the smile that came readily to her face, and the dimples it created, attracted Matt from the beginning. She found the humor in anything, tonight being an exception. He found that incredibly attractive. The first time they met, when she patched him up in the hospital after a bicycle accident, the smile and her sense of humor drew him like metal to a magnet. She made him laugh by emphatically imagining a curb leaping in front of his bike at the last second. It took his mind off the pain. He noticed her wedding band only after he asked her out for coffee, and she accepted. He wondered if she took it off when she worked, but he never asked. The affair had been ongoing for months.
Her hands ran nervously through her hair as she talked about leaving her husband, but she continually glanced over Matt’s shoulder to see if the dark car had moved. Matt listened as she talked. He had heard it all before, and he didn’t actually believe it. Melissa was too timid to walk out on her husband. She was too afraid of what her husband might do if she left him. But he listened, nodding at the right time, and deliberately, tantalizingly, letting his fingers wander under her skirt.
Melissa stopped him. She said, “Matt, listen to me. I have a plan this time. We will be together. I’m going to leave him.”
Her voice trailed off as a sharp knock on the window startled them. Neither had noticed the man approaching from the black Mercedes. It wasn’t a hand knocking. It was something metallic rapping against the glass that set both their hearts racing. Melissa gasped. Matt turned to peer at the intruder, but a piercing flashlight beam blinded him. He threw one arm up to block the light while he pressed the button to roll down the power window. Nothing happened because he had turned off the car.
It didn’t matter.
Searching for Truth is the first book in the Jake Scott mystery series. In this book we are introduced to Jake Scott, a retired journalist whose wife died and whose daughter has moved to another city. He meets weekly with a group of friends for breakfast, and one of them suggests that he write a book. She has an idea for the book too. She wants him to write about one of her former cases that she isn’t was properly investigated. A man is in prison for a crime he may not have committed. Jake is drawn into the book, and he begins to investigate. And things start to happen.
Jake is likable and easy to relate to.The other characters in the book are also well developed. The plot is intriguing and believable. The setting is perfectly drawn. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading.
While the book has many elements of a cozy mystery, I think I’d just classify it as a mystery myself. But whatever you call it it was a good read that I enjoyed very much. I’m looking forward to another Jake Scott Mystery. I’d give it 5 out of 5 stars.
We decorated early this year. I mean early. The day after Halloween I strung a few strands of lights around the living room. Jess, my daughter, is typically very anti-Christmas decor UNTIL after Thanksgiving. We had had Halloween lights up around the living room. Since, I have been getting a lot of headaches the softer light was often used at night instead of the bright overhead light. Jess declared that she liked the lights up. Wyatt and I really thought that she would want them taken down. About a week later I strung red ribbons with bells over the two living room doorways. A few days after that, I set out two candy jars filled with peppermints on the ottoman in the living room. That was it, I wasn’t going to do anything else until after our family had our Thanksgiving dinner. Usually we decorate the day after our Thanksgiving. Some years that is the actual day after Thanksgiving and other years it is the weekend before, it all depends on when Wyatt will be home. On Thursday November 11th I was doing some deep cleaning to get ready for the holidays and I made a giant mess in the living room which I had just cleaned a few days before. So when I picked Jessica up from work that night Wyatt told her “Just wait until you see what Mom did!” He was referring to the massive piles of books and DVDs that were scattered all over the living room floor.
Jessica looked at us both and said “You decorated for Christmas, didn’t you?”
Jessica replied, “Because if you did, I don’t care anymore.” I asked her why she didn’t care and her answer was that she was just in the Christmas mood. So it was ok with her if we did decorate early as long as we waited for her to do the decorating. The past few months have been a little difficult for our family, with us not knowing where Quinlan is or if he is alright. Then Jess hasn’t been feeling well, she started some new meds to see if that will help her to feel better but it will take some time for these shots to kick in. My anxiety and panic attacks have been a near daily thing in the past few months. Jessica had just decided that perhaps we needed the cheerfulness that the Christmas decorations bring. So we decided that we would move Decorating Day up to Monday November 15. While Jess was at work Wyatt and I got the tree put together, we cleared off a small book case and then filled the bottom shelf with nothing but Christmas books. The second shelf holds our small Nativity, the first shelf has a Western Christmas village (there are not many pieces there as we had just received a few as a gift), and the top of the book case holds snowglobes. When Jess came home from work we spent the evening decorating the tree then we all snuggled on the sofa under blankets to watch Curious George A Very Monkey Christmas. Normally on decorating day we would watch White Christmas but we decided to save that movie for actual Thanksgiving weekend. Wyatt and Jessica each got their decorating day gift of a new musical snowglobe to put in their bedrooms.
We didn’t finish all of the decorating. We still need to move the books out of the secretary so that I can put my other Christmas village there. We need to hang the stockings, we were talking about hanging paper snowflakes or stars from the ceilings. There are a few Christmas sewing projects that we would like to get done so we can have some table runners, and things like that to use. Paper angels are on the list to be made as well as yarn Christmas trees. So there is still plenty left to do but it felt so odd to have the house partly decorated before we even had our Thanksgiving dinner. But it was the right move for our family this year. It cheered us up to see the lights and the decorations. We’ve had several cozy movie nights since we decorated and one night of ornament making. We’ll have more. We’ll have our special nights throughout the season. Grinch night, Polar Express night, classic Christmas night, and Christmas paint party nights will all take place between now and the end of the year.
I know there are people who think decorating before Thanksgiving is too soon. I also know people who think decorating for Christmas before December 1 is too soon. I have even heard people say that Christmas decorations should not be put up until December 15th. For my family, decorating early has been fun.
It’s been another challenging month at our house, with two more trips to the ER and many more doctor visits. Good thing I’ve always got my phone and/or Ipad with me, so I’ve always got something to read. This month I’ve got four mysteries and two romances to share with you.
The Twelve Jays of Christmas by Donna Andrews Meg Langslow Mysteries, Book 30 Donna Andrews is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. Meg Langslow is a blacksmith by trade, and she’s also one of the busiest moms I’ve ever read, so I can relate to her. Another thing I love about these books is that I almost always learn something new when reading books by this author. The characters are quirky, but extremely intelligent, and I have a dictionary handy when the occasional new word pops up. In this installment, Meg’s husband and twin sons have left for a skiing vacation. Meg stayed behind because of a twisted ankle. There’s an artist in residence. He’s working for Meg’s grandfather, the zookeeper, illustrating grandfather’s bird book but he’s a diva. He has his poor assistant running ragged. Until the artist turns up dead. Meg’s many relatives begin to arrive, and there’s lots going on, but they all work together not only to solve the murder, but to continue family holiday traditions.
Two Down in Tahoe by Louise Foster Crossword Puzzle Cozy Mystery, Book 2 I read this book in four days because it’s the kind of story that you don’t want to put down. It’s non-stop action, and lots of witty banter. This case opens when Tracy’s friend and fellow PI appears with an odd request: he asks her to go to Tahoe to meet a client for him. He promises to fill her in later, but she needs to leave immediately. Tracy takes her boyfriend Kevin along (partly as extra muscle, and partly because she seems to have problems finding her way around) as well as her foster son, her landlady, and another friend who just happens to have a personal arsenal. As she feared, the “simple” request turns out to have deadly consequences. The friend disappears, and suddenly things start exploding and people are killed.
A Dash of Christmas Cheer: Three Short Holiday Romances by Alison Henderson Alison is a fellow member of one of my writing support groups. I noticed that she had released a new collection of sweet Christmas romances, and I needed a little cheer. I read them all during my most recent trip to the ER with my hubby. Each of the three stories leaves the reader with a happy sigh. In “Harriet’s Christmas Wish” a widow learns that her new boss is the high school boyfriend who broke her heart when he left for college. College sweethearts who went separate ways after graduation are reunited in “This Time for Sure.” In “A Very Merry Un-Christmas, a young lady mourning the loss of her mother has no desire to celebrate the holiday, so when a snowstorm leaves her stranded at a bed and breakfast, she’s relieved to find that the proprietor is a college friend who also has no plans to celebrate. This was a delightful read.
The Forever Deal by Monique DeVere This is a very short story that’s a prequel of Monique’s book The Wedding Favor. There’s really not much I can say about it due to its length (or lack of it). The writing is good, but I had difficulty sympathizing with the heroine. Her reason for leaving her husband seemed contrived. She’d received news that made her understandably upset, but her claim that “I’m not who I thought I was” seemed over the top, and would be more of a reason to turn toward her spouse for support rather than away from him. Fortunately, of course, the husband cared enough about her to keep looking for her and learn about her insecurities.
Death at the Dance by Verity Bright Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery, Book 2 I enjoyed the first book in this series so much that I purchased the second one, and I wasn’t disappointed. Lady Eleanor Swift has been invited to a costume party at the home of Lord and Lady Langham, who happen to be her new beau’s parents. She is introduced to Lancelot’s trendy circle of friends, but Lance is nowhere to be found. After learning that Lance is dressed as a pirate, she spies him climbing the stairs and follows him. Hearing a scuffle, she opens a door and discovers him standing over the body of a guest. The police arrive within moments, and Lance is arrested. Eleanor and her trusty butler Clifford sort through a fascinating array of suspects, much to the consternation of Detective Chief Inspector Seldon. The book kept me reading when I should have been doing other work, and the ending was quite unexpected. I’m eager to read Book 3!
Temporarily Insane by Vicki Batman Hattie Cooks Mystery, Book 2 Hattie still hasn’t managed to land another job in the fashion industry, so she takes another temporary job, this time with an accounting firm. She meets an assortment of interesting people, but when one dies soon after she has lunch with him, detective Allan Wellborn is called in to investigate. Allan just happens to be Hattie’s ex-boyfriend, and things get uncomfortable – especially when another co-worker dies after spending a romantic weekend with Hattie. I found this mystery entertaining, though the villain wasn’t a surprise. Hope to read Book 3 next month!
When trying to come up with ideas for topics, this one popped into my mind: What would you read to an adult friend who was ill?
I don’t believe any one book or story popped into my mind at the time.
Almost everyone else brought up judging the taste and sex of the sick person, well, of course those need to be taken into account, but I know that all of us know a lot of books. I was hoping this would be a change of pace, but it seemed to have become a chore.
I would think that soothing, uplifting and possibly funny works would be good ideas, depending on the person, and the degree of their health. The patient wouldn’t have to be incapable of reading for themselves for this to be beneficial. I think some give and take, opinions voiced, just social interaction during a long recovery might be nice and take the person’s mind off of what has gone wrong…and what could.
Several of us came up with classic children’s stories; I would add some new, amusing ones, some of which I have mentioned a week or so ago, to catch them off-guard: Click, Clack, Cows Who Type, Dear Mrs. LaRue, and others.
In that vein I might also go for Tomie DePaola’s books, especially his autobiographical ones.
C. S. Lewis’ short stories would be good, or his less familiar stories, such as The Magician’s Nephew, (how Narnia began).
If the person was feeling stronger, I would go for chapter books. Patty mentioned Harry Potter. If the friend only knew the movies, there is so much more in the books that they could get out of them.
Then we have YA books. A female friend might hear the Ghost Girl Trilogy, which is about overcoming pettiness and becoming better; anyone might get the first of the Percy Jackson series and enjoy them.
If we read the best of the children’s books or the person was stronger or simply not so inclined, The Puzzle Lady books have some mystery and are thoroughly amusing. They never lost their edge, unlike so many other series.
Most of the books by Liane Moriarty are fantastic and all of them are about secrets coming to light and characters becoming better people, and it is amazing how she ties all of her characters together. (I was not as fond of her latest, Nine Perfect Strangers; I would pick What Alice Forgot if I could only choose one, The Hypnotist’s Love Story for a second, The Last Anniversary for another.)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series would be good for either sex, depending on the person’s sense of humor. Despite Doug Adam’s insistence that he is an atheist, I find spirituality in them, meaning of life, spiritual development and just doing the right thing to be a common thread throughout.
I might choose several, but not all, of Cecelia Ahern’s works, especially Rosie Dunne, (Where the Rainbow Ends), If You Could See Me Now and There’s No Place Like Here. Rosie Dunne would be liked more by women I would think, but the other two, especially No Place, would be liked by men. And we can hope that the friend would be better after just a chapter book or two, instead of a whole, long series.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (no relation), might be a comfort to anyone who is seriously ill. Gauging what would be spiritually helpful depends on how unwell the person might be. That is something of a judgment call for the individual: Do you keep it light, or do you help them prepare and put their lives in order? Do you think that you can help if they have a chance of recovering and becoming a better person because of their suffering, or do you go deeper if they need to prepare to meet their Maker?
Poetry can be in all of those categories and would be a nice break, or good for when they are not feeling up to a long visit.
Jeff brought up the Chicken Soup books, and I would think that any anthology would be a good idea, again, depending on the taste of the patient.
I could go on, since it is no secret that I LOVE books. There are many good works published by the Hound and our Foxes here which would be very good choices to keep a patient from dwelling on their illness and problems, and sometimes, to give them a good laugh.
Despite all my ideas, I sincerely hope that none of you ever need me in the capacity as above.
My first thought when reading this week’s topic was that if I had a friend who was too ill to read for themself, I’d select one or all of James Herriot’s books — about his real-life veterinary practice in Yorkshire (England’s largest historical county).
I read most or all of his first four books back in the late 1970s and I understand there are now at least eight titles. Herriot, or course, is the pen name of James Alfred “Alf” Wight (1916–1995), an English veterinarian “whose tales of veterinary practice and country life have delighted generations.”
Herriot’s stories are quite simply… charming and INTERESTING. They have humor, pathos, surprises… and they give us a first-hand look at a significant portion of Great Britain beginning with a couple of years prior to WW2.
But most of all, it’s about the animals he treats. Almost everyone loves animals of one kind or another, so I think a book about a wide variety of creatures would be comforting to have read to you if you were ill.
For my earlier mention of Herriot’s books, see:
A choice which occurred to me later was the multi-volume series, Chicken Soup for the Soul. As I checked it just now, I noticed there was a special edition that’s exclusively dog tales. I think that’s the one I’d begin reading to my ill friend.
There have been so many Chicken Soup titles over the years, that you’re bound to find at least one collection that would suit the interests of your sick friend.
What book or story would YOU want to read to a friend who was too ill to read for himself/herself?
This week we’re talking about what book you’d choose to read to a sick adult.
Several thoughts come to mind here. First, just how sick is the person? If someone is really ill they might prefer to be left alone. Assuming that the person wanted to be read to, there are a few things to consider.
One important thing, maybe the most important, is to find out what type of book the person likes to read. I don’t think my husband, for example, would be interested in hearing a Harlequin romance. He’d either be asleep or restless by the end of page two. If I were the patient, I wouldn’t want to hear a biography. (I used to like them, but in recent years I’d rather not read one.No idea why.)
Maybe the patient has a specific book that he/she would like you to read. That would be easy, wouldn’t it?
If not, I’d probably pick one of the books I’ve read and enjoyed. If the patient was a young person I’d pick a very old title that I loved. The Witch of Blackbird Pond was really good, and so was The Sherwood Ring. It would have to be an older title because I haven’t kept up with young adult books since I retired.
If you like time travel books, I’d suggest the Out of Time series by Deborah Truscott. They’re so interesting, a combination of romance, mystery, history, and of course time travel.
If the patient wanted to hear some of the latest bestsellers I’d suggest A Day Like Today, All Our Darkest Secrets, Mrs. Rochester’s Ghost, or Good As Dead. I’ve read all of those and enjoyed them.
There are so many choices you could make in so many different genres. If the patient has no choice, then just pick a book you’ve enjoyed, and they probably will too.
This week we were asked what books we would choose to read to an ill adult friend. This is a tough one. I would first ask that friend if there are any books that they want to listen to. Then would see if I could find that book. I would want to make sure that I read them something that they would enjoy. Everyone has tastes that are incredibly different. I wouldn’t want someone to come and read anything spooky or supernatural to me, I would not find that very comforting. I know that some people do not care for romance, even if it is sweet romance like I do enjoy from time to time. While picking out something to read to an ill friend I would want to make sure that it is something that we could both enjoy.
Perhaps I would find out what their favorite book was as a child. Four years ago when I first was incredibly ill my children ordered The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder for my birthday. This series has always been a favorite of mine. I read it over and over as a child. Then read it out loud to each of my children when they were younger. My copies had all been worn or lost so when they gave me the entire set for my birthday I was thrilled. I have since read it at least once a year and have read it to Wyatt three times since then. I find great comfort in these books that I loved as a child. So I would want to perhaps offer that same feeling of familiarity and comfort to a friend who was ill by finding a favorite book or series of theirs.
The other thing that I find comforting to listen to when I do not feel well is the Bible. I don’t know if many other people feel this way but I do find that when I am not well I will often times select one of my Bible selections on Audible. I have more than one because I had found different voices soothing. There is great comfort in hearing God’s Word so that is something that I would consider reading to a friend if they were not opposed to it. Though, I often stumble over many of the names in the Bible so reading that would not sound as smoothly as reading a novel.
Really, what I would read to a ill adult friend or relative would truly depend on what they would like to have read to them.
Our Friday Fox asked, “What book(s) would you choose if you were asked to read to an ill, adult friend?”
I really struggled with this topic. I thought about what I’d want someone to read to me if I were too ill to read myself, and I really couldn’t pin my choices down. My choice of reading material varies from day to day, and even at various times of the day. As for having someone read to me, I’m not sure I’d enjoy that. I haven’t had much success with audio books, because whenever I’ve tried to just LISTEN to a story I end up falling asleep. I guess whatever is read to me needs to be lively and entertaining enough to keep me awake.
I know that each person’s reading/listening preference is unique. I’d definitely ask the friend what he/she was in the mood for, and then I’d look for those titles, or at least books in that genre. If the person isn’t fussy, then I’d ask whether he/she is in the mood to be entertained, challenged, or calmed. Depending on the answer, I might choose from some of my favorites:
If the patient wants to be entertained with a comedy and/or action, then I might read from some of these titles:
One of Jana DeLeon’s delightful mysteries
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – the first of the Stephanie Plum books
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (since I haven’t read it yet, I could read it to someone else!)
A former teacher might enjoy collections of funny things students have said or written, such as Hilarious Kid Stories by Angela Watson
Some people might prefer a challenge:
Historical fiction, such as All Quiet on the Western Front, or maybe a historical romance
Non-fiction: historical accounts, such as Elie Wiesel’s Night or self-help books such as Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old by Steven Petrow
Books with jokes and riddles
Others might simply want to listen to something calming:
Garrison Keillor’s stories about Lake Wobegon
Children’s stories: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, Beatrix Potter stories
Any of the Chicken Soup books that relates to the person’s interest
Hopefully, I’d be able to discover what the friend was in the mood for and be able to find something to fit his/her needs. But even more, I’d hope that my presence and voice could bring comfort to an ailing friend.