The Sunday Salon – July 20, 2014

sundaysalon2Lately: Where to start? It’s been a while since I’ve done a Sunday Salon post, so lots has happened, and lots of ups and downs. Maybe a bulleted list.

~ My sister Debra and her three kids came to visit, which was wonderful. She left her thirteen-year-old, Taggart, with us for three weeks to hang with my boys.

~ I took all the kids, plus Taggart and Noah’s girlfriend, Meghan, to Sky High in Spokane to jump on the trampolines. They had a blast, even though there was no air conditioning inside and I thought I was going to sweat to death. On the way home, I had a front tire blow out on the highway north of Spokane. I was going about 55 mph, and it was truly terrifying. Fortunately, I was able to pull off to the side of the road. Les Schwab roadside assistance came to help and we got a new tire and got home a few hours later than we expected.

~ The VERY NEXT DAY, I hit a deer on the way north to Colville to get a haircut. Seriously. For the second day in a row, I was standing on the side of the road on my cell phone. This time, I was trying to find out who to call to put the poor deer out of its misery, as it wasn’t quite dead yet. It died while I was on the phone with the state patrol.

~ We found out that our friends’ 14-year-old son’s cancer came back, very aggressively. Aaron was in good health at RFK Camp, playing with the kids, laughing and goofing with the other teens His cancer had been inactive for a while. But just a little over a week ago, they were informed that the chemo was no longer holding it at bay, and it had spread to his spine and throughout his body. Less than a week after that news, his dad found him in what appeared to be a post-stroke state and Aaron was rushed to the hospital. He was there for a couple days, and is now at home under hospice care. There are simply no words for a situation like this.

~ On Friday, my dad took Taggart back to meet my sister, who brought my other sister, Marni, and her two boys, Peter and Andrew, home to spend two weeks. My Josiah is in heaven, as Peter is his best bud. They are having fun playing computer games, jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler going, and having water balloon fights.

~ We have had two weeks of temperatures in the upper 90s, and are currently being choked by the smoke from all the wildfires in Eastern Washington. None of them are close to home, thank God, but the smoke is thick. I feel so horribly sorry for all the people who have lost their homes and business so far – and the fires aren’t anywhere near contained. We really need some rainy days – and for the wind to die down.

~ With all of this going on, I haven’t had a lot of time to read. What little free time I’ve had has been spent in lesson planning for the fall. I’m having a hard time believing that summer is already halfway over!

Reading: American Gods by Neil Gaiman; Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver; and No Book but the World by Leah Hagen Cohen

Recently finished reading: The Fever by Megan Abbott and Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen

Listening to: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness and An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

Recently finished listening to: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Watching: My dad took me to see Edge of Tomorrow and I absolutely loved it. I don’t like Tom Cruise’s personal choices, but I usually enjoy his movies. For family movie night, we watched the first episode of Sherlock, as my nephew was determined to make my boys give it a try. They loved it – of course. Tonight we are going to watch Red 2.

Blogging recently:
~ Book Review: Love Poems by Charles Bane, Jr.
~ Book Review: Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen
~ Mini-reviews: The Martian by Andy Weir; The Three by Sarah Lotz; and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

So, that’s what my life has been like for the past few weeks. What have all of you been up to? What books are on your summer reading list? Seen any good movies?

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Book Review: Love Poems by Charles Bane, Jr.

lovepoemsTitle: Love Poems
Author: Charles Bane, Jr.
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Aldrich Press
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the author
Number of pages: 27

Poetry is a difficult genre to review. There isn’t a plot to talk about, and so much of what a person experiences when reading poetry is personal. Charles Bane, Jr. is a renowned poet, and his poetry has been praised by many people who know a lot more about poetry than I do. For me, this collection was a bit hit and miss – but it’s more a case of wrong reader than wrong book.

While reading Bane’s collection, I discovered that I am a lazy writer where poetry is concerned. I like my poetry straight-forward and accessible, and I don’t like having to read a poem two or three times to gain full understanding. I know that is my own short-coming, as poetry is meant to be read that way. And so for those of you who are deeper, more patient poetry readers, I think this collection will speak to you.

Like all anthologies, whether poetry or short fiction or essays, certain selections resonated more than others. This poem was one that I am still thinking about, and wanted to save:

Nebraska Territory, 1853. For Alfred Corn

I love the brilliance of this
hour; simple calico is turned
to Joseph’s coat and your
upturned face does not permit
transient light to wheel and disappear.
No furrows mark your cheeks and
I long to lengthen lines of joy
about your eyes, and dam them
high against the beat of flood. Emmaline,
our crop is heaped into flowered
fields, and our book of days is
waiting to be inscribed, one
generation at a time.

That last sentence, in particular, is simply beautiful.

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Winner of Baudelaire’s Revenge by Bob Van Laerhoven

Congratulations to Anita, who won the copy of Baudelaire’s Revenge!

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