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Monday, September 29, 2003

From Worse to ... Even Worse and Better Again

Kymberlie asked that I post an update here on her behalf. Friday evening, they diagnosed her with a pulmonary embolism. She went through another round of tests for that, and a treatment with blood thinners has helped a lot. I went to visit her at the hospital earlier, and she is definitely in better spirits then she has been since this all began. They anticipate that she will be in the hospital through Wednesday or so - and after that it will probably be time at home recovering before she returns to work.

I am still coordinating taking goodies and messages to her - if you need to reach me about it, there are more details on my blog. I plan on going back over to the hospital on Tuesday to see her again.

Most importantly, she asked that I thank everyone for thinking of her, your thoughts & well wishes have really raised her spirits and truly helped!

- posted by Christine, for Kymberlie -

.: 168 words at 01:05 AM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (2) :: All the Voices Say... (12) :.

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Thursday, September 25, 2003

From Bad to Worse

I haven't been feeling so hot lately which culminated in me being barely able to breathe for the last few days. I went in for a chest x-ray today and the reason I can't breathe is because I have a severe case of pneumonia. As a matter of fact, I will be checking into the hospital tonight and should be there for a few days. Now is when a laptop would really be handy! I can only imagine what this is going to end up costing me as well.

Anyway, send me good thoughts and I'll see y'all soon (I hope).

.: 101 words at 01:36 PM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (4) :: All the Voices Say... (30) :.

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Monday, September 22, 2003

To Be Loved

Somedays you just feel loved, know what I mean?

For instance, I mention to Steven that Christine got flowers today and he comes home from work with a dozen beautiful red roses for me.

Also, I've been really wanting one of the Ty Godzilla toys and my mother went to Humble today to get it from the one store that I found that had them.

And, like almost every day, I came home to tons of books from my BookCrossing friends. Take a look at the number of found books on my BookShelf. Some of those have been through trades with other BXers for books or for bookrings/rays that I've signed up for, but a lot of them have been simply because someone sent me a book I wanted to read - no strings attached.

It's nice to step back and see the little things that show how truly cared for you are.

.: 154 words at 11:11 PM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (2) :.

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The Hour Before Dark by Douglas Clegg

The Hour Before Dark by Douglas Clegg: a suspenseful, genuinely creepy horror novel that has to be one of the best in the genre that I've read in years.

At the very beginning of the novel, Gordie Raglan is brutally murdered in the smokehouse that sits on Hawthorne, the property he owns on Burnley Island, just off the coast of Massachusetts. The murder is so savage and strange that no one - police, forensics experts, or even the media - can begin to figure out what has happened.

Nemo, the oldest of Gordie's kids, is called home by Brooke, his sister who was at Hawthone at the time, and Bruno, his brother. Brooke, understandably, is acting odd, but Bruno and Nemo begin to wonder if maybe she has become completely unhinged by their father's slaughter.

Complicating everything, is memories that Nemo has of playing The Dark Game with his brother and sister in the same smokehouse where their father was murdered. One must never play The Dark Game after night has fallen, but the three of them did just that once. Nemo has to try and put the pieces that is slowly surfacing of his and his sibling's lives to determine who really is the murder and what secrets have been buried long enough.

The book had me wondering about the outcome for almost its entire length. I figured out one important plot twist (as I think most people will), but it still didn't lessen the impact of the Raglan family truth or of the novel itself.

Very well written, highly enjoyable, and even reminiscent of Stephen King's earlier works. Recommended for those that love their scares with more psychological nuances than straight out gore.

(Finished on September 20, 2003 for Zulys Reading Room.)

.: 295 words at 09:56 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (1) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore

Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore: the first United States publication of Dunmore, winner of the Orange Prize (for debuting women novelists), that deals with the hidden secrets that can tear a family apart.

Nina has come to spend time with her sister Isabel after the birth of Isabels first child, Anthony, is much more difficult than expected. In the isolated cottage where Isabel lives is Edward (one of Isabels friends), Susan (the nanny), and Ricard, Isabels husband whos usually away on business trips.

Its almost difficult to describe what this book is really about without giving away the major plot details. Suffice to say, the heart of the novel is the relationship between Isabel and Nina and what is true and what is simply manipulated in the events that entwine them.

I wish now that I had gone back and read both the beginning and the ending before sending it to the person who was to read it after me. I would like to take them both in again and see if my conclusions and thoughts were the same.

Ultimately, its a very quick read and Dunmores voice is both strong and mesmerizing. I enjoyed the novel and would like to read other things by her in the future.

(Finished on September 19, 2003 for Zulys Reading Room.)

.: 221 words at 08:25 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt: exquisitely written first novel that crosses so many genres that it is almost impossible to categorize.

Most novels do not start out with telling you both who has been murdered (Bunny Corcoran) and who has murdered him (Richard, Henry, Francis, Charles, and Camilla) since usually the point of a novel containing a murder is to figure out who did it. However, in the case of this novel, it only made me want to know even more why Bunny was turned on by his friends - what could motivate such a betrayal?

The novel is set is a small, very exclusive Vermont college. Richard, a freshman from California who studied ancient Greek, is enamored with the five elite Greek students taught by a professor, Julian, who refuses to take more than a handful of pupils into his class. Most of the novel focuses on Richard's increasing interaction and the inevitable murder that it leads to.

While I wouldn't call this novel slow, it definitely is not a quick read, but I think I liked it more for its slower, more stately pace. It's a fairly large book (just over 500 pages), but I never did feel that it was too long or needed to speed up even throughout the first two hundred pages or so it's impossible for one to imagine how things are ever going to end up with a murder.

I enjoyed the book greatly and while I'm not sure it's for everyone, I would recommend reading it and seeing why Bunny's death was an eventuality that was almost impossible for the group to avoid.

(Finished on September 16, 2003 for Zulys Reading Room.)

.: 282 words at 07:11 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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Friday, September 19, 2003

Prepare to be Boarded!

Least ye forget, today is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Be sure to visit so you can learn the lingo and even get a pick-up line or two so that the wench of your dreams will be yours!

.: 39 words at 11:15 AM in Notable News :: Link :: Pings (1) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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Thursday, September 18, 2003

Argh! Where's Me Booty?

It's almost Talk Like a Pirate Day (technically it's tomorrow), but can I just say I am so glad that Survivor is back? The pirate theme is very cool and I totally love the immunity idol. And how great was it that Rupert (the hippie guy) stole the other tribe's shit to sell?

I'm also wondering what they plan on doing with that live chicken. Eggs? Meat? Bait for bigger things? Wonder how long it makes it.

.: 77 words at 10:55 PM in Media Consumption :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (3) :.

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Thursday, September 11, 2003

Repeating Myself

I have nothing to say, really, so I'm going to post what I did last year in memory of September 11th. May everyone find the peace they are looking for.


Two years ago today when the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred, I was still sleeping. I had a big second interview that afternoon and since I had been unemployed dotcommer for six months, I was really anxious about it. Steven was taking the day off to play golf, so he was home as well. The phone rang at like 9:00 and it was my mother. She said something about a plane and a building, but I was tired and told her to let me sleep since I had that interview in the afternoon. She called back a little later and said two planes had hit the World Trade Center. She sounded so strange; her voice was really flat. I rolled over and told Steven and he went downstairs to see what had happened. He said something like, "Oh my God," and then I distinctly remember him saying, "It looks like Manhattan is on fire." I got out of bed at that and came downstairs and sat on the couch and was horrified. I had forgotten about the time change and I remember that I thought the buildings were full of people and I was sure that like 10,000 or 15,000 people had just died. I called my friend Trish, who worked in downtown Houston across from the federal building at the time, to see if she was still at work. I didn't get her, so I called our friend Jeanna and she said that Trish had already left. I remember calling Christine, but not what we talked about. I remember checking on my interview to see if we were still going to have it (we did; it went really well, but I ended up with an interview at 4 Guys a few days later and took it instead). The thing I remember most about that time period is sitting at my computer and reading blogs and crying endlessly. Michele's been posting her old entries and I swear I remember all of them word for word. I remember the letter from Susannah's friend where he talked about watching two people jump off the WTC together. They held hands the whole way down. I remember how I wanted Steven next to me constantly; how I was scared to let him go for too long.

Steven has a friend, Mohammed, whom he grew up with in Dubai, who works near the WTC. We tried calling him and kept getting his voice mail. We worried about him for days until he called us back. He had been in Pakistan when the attacks happened. Thankfully, he and his family were fine. I wonder how many people he knew who died. I have never been able to ask him.

I started work nine days later and that night, while Steven was at poker, our lights went out. It was dead silent in our condo complex with no noise anywhere. I was lying in the floor, trying to read by candle light, when a plane flew overhead. From where I was lying I could see it approaching through the top of our French doors and it seemed so loud. It scared me and I always think of how shell-shocked I felt, though I lived no where near New York.

This whole time period always comes to me in images. The missing posters carpeting walls. The man, his tie flapping behind him, running from the building collapsing. The two black ladies holding each other and crying, one with her head upon the other's breast like a small child. The people waving signs that said things like, "Heroes!," "Thank you!," "God Bless You!" and cheering for the rescue workers as they left the site. The spontaneous memorials that cropped up all over the world. The pictures of people hanging out of the buildings. The dust that covered empty streets. The Flash tribute that played Enya's "Only Time" three or four times that made my heart hurt so much I couldn't breathe.

I remember how much I wanted to stop watching the media footage over and over again. How it was killing me to read a story of someone who was looking for someone else, who was clutching a picture and showing it to anyone and everyone, hoping against hope to find them. I wanted to quit reading the stories from bloggers in New York, but I couldn't. All I could think was that if people had to have that happen to them and their loved ones, the least I could do was listen to their stories.

I remember one of the stories was about someone that had a job interview there that morning. I can't remember if he made it out or not, but I remember that hitting me like a ton of bricks. I had an interview later that afternoon. If I'd lived in New York, maybe I would have interviewed there that morning. That brought the reality home of how it could have been any one, at any time.

I've begun watching a lot of reruns of Friends (I didn't start watching the show until about two years ago) and I am always amazed at how often the Towers are shown. Amazed at how you could see them from another state. Saddened that they are no longer there; that I will never be able to see them for real. Mournful over the loss of life on that day.

Things have changed so much and in other ways, stayed the same. I've lived within fifteen minutes of Houston's biggest airport my whole life. I've seen countless numbers of planes, but I notice every one of them. They changed the flight patterns and while going to yoga yesterday, planes flew directly overhead, very low, while I sat at a red light. It made me feel anxious. I've always been a worrier, but I have been feeling more and more anxious as September approaches. Now that it's here, some of the general anxiety has dissipated, but I still feel worried over things. I want the world to be a better place, but some times it feels so hopeless. It feels like bad things are inevitable and it's only a matter of time before we all kill each other. I try to focus on the good things like the stories of people that rescued others and died trying to help total strangers. The stories of people who were saved because a stranger helped them. How I couldn't even give blood that day because the blood banks had so many volunteers. How small children made sandwiches for the rescue workers and put little notes in them that said, "I love you." How, for a little while, it seemed that we could unite in a way that we never would have been able to. I hope and I pray that they are the true face of humanity and that tomorrow will always be a better day.

.: 1185 words at 11:12 AM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (3) :.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn

Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn: a retelling of Charlotte Bronte's classic story Jane Eyre in a very different time and setting - far in the far in outer space.

Jenna Starborn is a woman who was created in the gen-tanks of planet Baldus for a woman who could not conceive. A few months after Jenna was "born," a scientific break-through was achieved and Jenna's "aunt" could now carry her own baby. Thus, Jenna became an unwanted half-citizen loved nor cared for by anyone.

Since the story is a basic retelling of Jane Eyre, it was never hard to tell exactly what was going to happen next since I'd read the book years ago. However, Shinn has created a very believable future and characters that I could sympathize with. I really liked Jenna and wanted to see good things happen to her, though I knew some very painful experiences awaited her future.

All in all, it was a very satisfying read and I enjoyed my time in Jenna's world. Incidentally, this novel is classified as science fiction, but that's mostly due to it taking place in the future in outer space.

(Finished on September 10, 2003 for Zulys Reading Room.)

.: 201 words at 01:45 AM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Monday, September 8, 2003

Cornfield Killing

Who knew the Amish were even allowed to own paintball guns?

.: 12 words at 04:21 PM in Notable News :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (2) :.

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Friday, September 5, 2003

Wouldn't You Like to be a BXer Too?

Over the past two days I have been busy scrounging the local thrift stores for books. As a result, my BookCrossing Bookshelf has a ton of books available for trades or RABCKs (Random Acts of BookCrossing Kindness - where someone sends you a book and asks for nothing in return).

Since I've become really active in the last month or so, I've had literally dozens of books come my way out of the kindness of other people's hearts. I've done my own RABCKs over there, but now I want to try and get others involved.

Here's the deal. The first three people who register at BookCrossing will get a book from my shelf (any of the ones with an @ symbol in front of it; sort my shelf alphabetically to find them easily) along with a special gift.

Once you've registered send me a PM (Private Message) from the site with a note saying you saw this post, the book you want, and your address. All I ask is that you read the book in a timely manner and then either release it into the wild (leave it somewhere) or pass it on to another BookCrosser.

I know I'm probably be a little rabid about the BookCrossing thing, but it's such a great program. I've encouraged people to read my whole life, so I can't help but be annoying about this.

.: 231 words at 02:22 AM in Participation :: Link :: Pings (1) :: All the Voices Say... (6) :.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Free and Clear

I went to check my bank balance and noticed the current amount owed on my Miata loan - $0.00! The last payment went through today and my car is now free and clear! Very, very exciting indeed!

.: 37 words at 05:04 PM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (13) :.

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Monday, September 1, 2003

The Virgin's Knot by Holly Payne

The Virgin's Knot by Holly Payne: an amazing first novel set in 1950s Turkey.

Twenty-two year old Nurdane is the center of this book - indeed, she is the virgin who ties the titular knots. Crippled with polio when she was six, her father taught her to weave so that she could travel places without her legs. Normally, this would be a skill taught by women, but sadly Nurdane's mother died in childbirth. Since she is considered less of a woman by men, Nurdane's virgin status allows her to create prayer rugs and matrimonial dowry rugs that are believed to heal the sick and bring good fortune for any lucky enough to possess them. Most of the novel is about Nurdane's life, but we are also introduced to John Hennessey, a physical anthropologist, and Adam, Nurdane's doctor along with people from her village.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel until the last fifty pages or so. I found the ending to be very out of character for what I thought would have happened. After thinking about it, I can see why it was that way, but I felt that the book would have been stronger with a different ending. It altered the intricately woven narrative with a dream-like quality into almost a totally different novel. Still, the book alone is worth reading simply to experience Nurdane's life.

(Finished on September 1, 2003 for Zulys Reading Room.)

.: 236 words at 11:07 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (3) :.

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Copyright 2002 Kymberlie McGuire, All Rights Reserved.

The Neurotic Fishbowl

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