Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Review: The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice

The Book…

The storm off Mackinac Island that engulfed Maura Shaw's husband and elder daughter, Carrie, also swept away the illusion of her life as the perfect midwestern wife and mother. Now, after years away, Maura has returned to Rhode Island to teach English at the fabled Newport Academy and to seek a new beginning. Newport has never failed to infuse Maura with a sense of mystery and hope, but ever since the accident, her younger daughter, fourteen-year-old Beck, has retreated into the safe, predictable world of mathematics. Without Carrie, Beck has lost half of herself—the half that would have fit into the elite private school she and her brother, Travis, will attend. The half that made things right. Sixteen-year-old Travis is also struggling to adjust—juggling a long-distance first love and an attraction to a girl with a wicked sparkle in her eye. And for Maura, ghosts linger here—an unresolved breach with her own beloved sister and a long-ago secret that may now have the power to set her free...(Back Blurb)

What I think…

Buying books is something that has been trimmed from my budget but after reading the back cover for The Geometry of Sisters,  I knew it would be worth giving up a couple of things on my shopping list.

Luanne Rice is one of my favorite author’s and this book did not disappoint. The Geometry of Sisters asks the question: “What is one sister without the other?” This book is about loss and making your way through; forgiveness and moving beyond the past.

Maura loses her husband and daughter in one day and is left to deal with not only her own grief but that of her son, Travis, and younger daughter, Beck. Moving to Rhode Island offers a new beginning while bringing Maura closer to her past. Maura and her own sister have been estranged since before Carrie’s birth and it is their love for Carrie that helps them find their way back to each other.

Beck deals with the loss of her sister and father by burying herself in math. She and her new found friend, Lucy, try to find a way to being back their loved ones through the logic and beauty of mathematics.

Travis is the strongest in the family. While working through his own pain, he excels in the role of older brother and supportive son. Not only does he need to work through his family tragedy but also letting go of a first love to discover something better.

I found this one hard to put down. The combination of 1st person (Becks POV) and 3rd person story telling gives intimacy and depth to this novel. Each character is well written and is integral to the story of how this family knits itself back together after tragedy and loss.

The Geometry of Sisters is sad, hopeful, uplifting, and full of love for family.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It could be worse...It really could

This morning when I attempted to leave the house to get my morning dose of cold caffeine (aka: Coke), my car would not move.  It started just fine.  It sounded like it usually does - not smooth but the way you would expect a vehicle with 230,000 miles to sound.  I put the Blazer in reverse, pressed on the gas, and did not move.  I gave it some more gas - no movement.  I put the Blazer in drive, pressed on the gas, and did not move.  I gave it more gas - still no movement.  The transmission has kicked the bucket.  I wish I could say this was a sudden death but alas, it has been coming for awhile now.  In fact, a year ago it nearly failed the emissions test due to a possible transmission problem.  For the last couple of months I have felt it giving up but have babied it along.  Yesterday was really bad.  I was barely able to move from an idling position but once I got going we were okay.  I guess it just couldn't hang on any longer.

Normally, I would be very upset by this turn of events.  I am really in no position financially to get a new used vehicle or to pay the $1700 it would take to get it rebuilt.  Nor am I even sure that would be an appropriate use of funds considering that when I fix one problem another pops up.  For example, I had a hole in my heater core hose.  I replaced the hose (by myself) and it was smooth sailing for about a week, until another leak popped up and I have no idea where it is coming from.  The reason I am trying to take it all in stride is because this is a truly minor problem when compared to what a family from church is going through.

The mother, Amy, is only about a year older than I am and I went to high school with her.  From what I understand from her husbands posts on Facebook and what I have heard from my friend's mom who spoke with her yesterday, Amy woke up in the middle of the night last week and coughed out a blood clot.  She had had the flu or something. At the hospital they discovered that she has a very invasive and rapid moving cancer.  Her lungs are filled with lesion's and they have moved into her brain. The doctor's stopped counting at 33 because there were so many.  Her prognosis is fatal.  One doctor has given her 1-3 weeks, another 1-3 months possibly 3 with treatment.  She is not going quietly. She has undergone some radiation treatments and began chemotherapy today.  Amy has 5 kids. 

Amy's husband has been keeping people updated on her status through Facebook and the love he has for his wife is evident in every post.  I cannot begin to imagine the strength needed to go through this.  The strength Amy needs to have to support her husband and children, and the strength her husband needs to have to support her and their children.  She is such a great and charitable person. This world will be missing someone very special. 

Amy and her family have been in my prayers ever since I found out and I ask that maybe all of you could say a prayer for them also. 

As you can see, when I put my troubles in perspective I realize that it could be a lot worse.  It really could.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I am working on de-junking my house and storage unit.  A few weeks ago I brought all of my books home from the storage unit and was searching online for a way to sell them other than and  What I found was a great site, Cash4Books.  Cash4Books is super easy to use and fast.  All you do is enter the ISBN number from the back of your book.  You will get a message letting you know whether or not they are buying that book. If they are buying, it will tell you how much they will buy the book for.  Once you have books in your seller cart, you check out, and print the mailing label.  Shipping is FREE!!! Cash4Books will send you an e-mail when they receive your shipment and another when they mail your check.  Today I received my check for $14.00.  They weren't buying a lot of my books (I think they bought 9) but I am not complaining.  This is $14 I wouldn't have had.  The rest of my collection has been donated to the library. 

If you have books that you are looking to sell, this is the place to start.  I have used but between the shipping costs and the fee you pay to the site for selling them, I found it wasn't really worth my time and I didn't see a very good return.

I've signed up to be an affiliate and will earn $5 for every friend I refer.  So if you want to check out this site click on the link in this post or the link on my sidebar. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What we have been up to...

For those of you who are wondering what we have been up to here in Amyland, I thought it was time for an update. 

On March 31st, my son was in a play at school. The Enchantress of Ipswich takes place during the Salem Witch Trials. A "grandfather" and his "granddaughter" who are actually witches try to save the town of Ipswich from becoming another Salem.  My son played Nathanial, the innkeepers son, who falls in love with the "granddaughter" while fending off a young girl in town who fancies herself in love with him. It was rather amusing watching my son play this role.  He did a wonderful job at acting disgusted and annoyed with one girl while falling in love with another. There was suppose to be a kiss, but they decided to leave out the actually kissing. 

My friend John, invited us to go camping for Easter weekend.  The weather was not very conducive to a weekend outdoors but it was relaxing anyway.  We didn't arrive at the camping spot until late Friday night.  We had taken the trailer out on Thursday, so it was already set up for us and the rest of the group was already there with a roaring fire, and my sister has made soup for all of us.  I went for a night ride on the four-wheelers with my sister, her boyfriend, and several others while my son, John, and his daughter stayed in the trailer watching a movie.  It was the only riding I did.  Saturday, the weather was better but of course it was muddy.  The kids rode the four wheelers while some of us adults did some target shooting.  On Sunday, I woke up to see blue sky through the ceiling vent and thought the weather was going to be great, until I looked out the window and saw SNOW.  Apparently it started to snow after I went to bed the night before.  Instead of an Easter Egg Hunt, every one loaded up and headed home.  We spent the rest of the day watching "The Stand" on the SyFi channel and visiting my parents.
Easter morning. Cleaning up camp and looking for horse shoes buried in the snow.

My son was on Spring Break last week and we did NOTHING.  He spent half the week at his dad's and I was left to my own devices.

I am trying to get rid of clutter and de-junk.  To start, I pulled all of my boxes of books out of the storage unit, organized them, and donated 6 paper boxes full to the local library.  The librarian did not look so happy as we hauled all of them into the library today.  Whatever they decide not to shelve, they may be able to sell at the fundraiser this summer.

That's about it. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Neighbors

On Saturday, I spent most of the day outside burning tree limbs, leaves, weeds, etc.  My neighbor's came over to help and add all of their tree limbs and yard clippings to the fire pile.  This was a great opportunity to get to know them a little better, after all we have been neighbors for three years, so it was about time. Don't you think?  Because of their help I was able to get a lot more finished than I had originally planned and the husband, Cory, tended the fire throughout the afternoon and evening.  It was a BIG and HOT fire. 

Since we had a raging fire going, I decided to make Hobo dinners.  You know the kind where you take meat and potatoes or whatever you want, wrap it in tin-foil and cook it on the hot coals.  My son was at his dad's house and I had plenty of meat thawed out so I invited my friend John over for dinner.   We decided to eat on the porch because the weather was wonderful and it was such a nice evening. 

Across the street there were new neighbors moving in.  I was told by my other neighbors that these people are related to them in some way - I can't remember how.  While John and I were relaxing on the porch, the lady moving in across the street yelled, "Do you have a problem with me and my kids?"

Bewildered, John and I looked at each other and he responded, "I didn't say anything towards you or your kids."

The rest of the encounter went something like this:

Neighbor:  "If you have a problem with kids you can just get used to it because we are moving in!"

John: "I don't even live here."

Neighbor: "Good. Then maybe you should just go home."

Neighbor: "If you don't like kids maybe you should move into a trailer park with old people."

Me: "I live here and I happen to like kids."

She disappeared into the house. 

A few minutes later we notice a man walking from the neighbors house into my back yard.  John and I went to check it out and found him talking to my neighbor, Cory.  Cory had been waving to the new neighbors (since he knows them) and thought they saw him in the backyard.  The little kids were running out into the road and being a smart aleck, Cory yelled over, "Can't you control your kids?"  John and I hadn't heard this part and apparently the new neighbors hadn't seen him in my yard.

Once Cory realized what had happened he quickly pulled out his phone and called the new neighbors to tell her to shut the heck up because he was the one who started it all.

Regardless of what was said by us or not said, I thought this was a great way to meet the new neighbors.  I considered walking across the street to introduce myself, saying, "Hi, my name is Amy. I like kids but not loud mouth, rude people that yell at me and my company."   But that isn't how I work.  I figure by the way she scurried into the house she might be a bit embarrassed by her behavior. Also, she is obviously a mother bear thinking she needed to defend her cubs. Plus she was moving which is always stressful. 

I think I will give it a few days then walk over and introduce myself as if the across the road yelling had never occurred. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

To speak or not to speak...

Question: If you found out someone said something about you that made you sound like  person of low moral character, would you confront them or let it go?

A couple of weeks ago I found out that someone I know said something like this about me.  I have tried to let it go, but it is festering.  On one hand, I want to confront the person and tell him that he was out of line. On the other hand, I don't want to make it a bigger deal than it already is.  Fortunately, many of the people  who heard what he said have taken it as a bit of a joke and know me well enough not to take him too seriously.  BUT, like I said, it is festering in my head and I am not sure what to do. My friend  suggested I pack a bar of soap in my purse and stuff it in his mouth the next time I see him.  I think it would be much more satisfying to just slap the jerk.  So far my tactic has been to ignore him.  I have only seen him once since I found out so it hasn't been too difficult.

What would you do?