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Everything posted by ErinE

  1. I've posted an update, but I wanted to include a new post. Life is so precious, y'all. Forgive the awkward southern American influence in my English grammar, but I was very blessed to attend a memorial service for the "best man" of men. I've been to the service of a "good man," a service for a "did the best I could" man, and "man, well life is what is is" man. We do the best we can and whatever comes after is left to the judgement of the ever-after. So who am I to judge? Be good, be kind, and be loved. I firmly believe that's all we can ask...
  2. UPDATE: I sent a card, noting the date and mentioning a memory (the last time I saw the deceased). I saw the deceased's parents recently and they thanked me for the note (gripping both my hands and hugging me close, if that indicates depth of feeling). I took everyone's advice and shaped it to my own experience. Thank you to all who gave me their wisdom. For future googlers (or internet searchers) please, if it's the first year's death of someone close to you, send a note to the parents on the deceased's birthday. They will be grateful that someone, somewhere, remembered that their loved one was here with us. Life is too short not to mark how blessed we are by those too-swiftly gone. _________ Someone I've known for decades recently passed away. I'd like to send a note to the parents, acknowledging that the deceased person's birthday is approaching. Problem is: I don't know what to say. Is this a good idea? And does anyone have advice? I've read some wonderful notes on this forum so I'm asking for help here. Thanks!
  3. ErinE

    Ugh help

    Many years ago, someone I love got engaged to a truly horrible person who displayed behavior around me that made me fear for the health and safety of my loved one. I asked the loved one’s mother how she could accept the horrible person in her child’s life. Editing to remove gender, she said, “This is my child. If I close my door, who else can my child turn to?” When my loved one broke off the relationship, we were there to offer love and protection, both of which were needed when the horrible person’s depravity was exposed. You’re keeping the door open. That is so important and will be remembered.
  4. @Lady Florida. Kathy, prayers and thoughts for Emma, her parents, and you today.
  5. Are you reading Divine Comedy? If you haven't read Dante before, I highly recommend the Hollander translations. I've read three versions of the Comedy: Pinsky's Inferno, a forgotten translation decades ago, and Hollander. The Hollander version has footnotes galore, it's highly readable, and they translated all three books so the voice feels consistent. I'm on my second read of the Hollander books, with a more thoughtful consideration of the elements I missed the first time around. I also recommend the Great Courses Dante's Divine Comedy. The professors do an excellent job of exploring the meaning and importance of the work, as well as pointing out the elements of humor. Sorry to gush so much about Dante. I fell in love with Divine Comedy after spending my last college semester in Italy. I have so many memories of following a professor through Florence, having him point out some important part of history, and then reciting a short stanza of Divine Comedy (always punctuated with, "Allora. Andiamo."). Enjoy!
  6. Prayers and good thoughts for you and yours. She (and you) will be in my thoughts Thursday.
  7. I knew going in that it was likely going to be X-files-ish. Dan Wells did the same with his "I am not a Serial Killer" series, which threw off some readers expecting a gritty serial killer series as opposed one involving the supernatural.
  8. When I was on a Jeffrey Eugenides kick several years ago, I enjoyed his novel Middlesex - about a male with a similar condition raised as a girl and choosing to live as a man in adulthood. Well done and thoughtful, but uncomfortable as Eugenides can sometimes be.
  9. Books finished last week: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Romance-Chick Lit. The personal assistants to co-CEOs, bound by mutually loathing, compete for an important promotion, a contest only one of them can win. @Kareni, when I finished this, I immediately thought of you. The characters acted more YA than adult, but it was a fun read. Fight or Flight by Samantha Young. Romance-Chick Lit. A interior designer keeps crossing paths with a handsome, infuriating Scotsman. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Romantic Comedy. A Chinese-American visits her boyfriend's family and finds herself thrust into the decadent world of wealthy Singaporeans. The book is just as good as the movie, in different ways. I thought many of the storylines were much more nuanced in the book. Highly recommended. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. Fantasy - Second World. In a world filled with soul-consuming gods, a young princess suddenly finds herself married to the God King and must navigate the perils of his court. I think this might be my favorite Sanderson novel. His heroine was plucky and clever like always, yet her characterization wasn't quite as clunky as some of his more recent writing. There's still a bit too much exposition for my taste, but it wouldn't be a Sanderson novel without detailed explanations on why the magic works. Brandon actually had an essay in my version of Elantris that explains why he started writing novels: he was writing copious amounts about different magic systems and his writing friends and teachers told him he needed to actually build in a story if he ever wanted to be published. Highly recommended. The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort. Autobiography - Finance. A drug-addicted stockbroker makes and loses a fortune. Ugh. The movie was hilarious but Belfort exalts in his exploits far too much. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. Chick Lit. A data analyst runs the numbers and decides she needs help from an escort to improve the odds of succeeding in love. I loved this book and will pick up Hoang's next novel. I celebrate a book written about a main character who is on the autism spectrum who wants a romantic partner. Highly recommended. The Hollow City by Dan Wells. Horror. A paranoid schizophrenic believes They are out to get him and his delusions might not be fantasy. A well done main character - it was difficult to distinguish between delusion and reality. Current reads: Autonomous by Annalee Newtiz Romantic comedies expected from library The Epic of Gilgamesh - re-read but I'm pursuing an epic tales rabbit trail Gumbo Ya-Ya - Cajun and creole folktales
  10. Hello BAWers! Life got in the way last year and my reading slowed down, but I'm hoping for a better new year. I have no goals, I won't participate in Bingo, I just want to spend more time with my fellow bookophiles. Books finished last week: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Fantasy - Secondworld. After contracting a terrible disease, a prince is confined to a ruined city, populated by others with the same affliction, and strives to bring order back to the populace. As Sanderson's first novel, this was a clunky but enjoyable read. Recommended if you like doorstopper fantasy. Dragon and Solider (Dragonback #2) by Timothy Zahn. Science Fiction-YA. A boy, wanting to save his alien friend's people, joins a mercenary army. I'm often wondered where are the Heinlein-esque YA novels. I get that feeling from reading The Lunar Chronicles and Red Rising but there seems to be a definite lack of adventure-oriented sci-fi geared towards YA, particularly styles that will appeal to boys (i.e. no or little romance). After reading Zahn's first Star Wars novels, I went searching for more of his books and found the Dragonback series. A quick fun read. Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman. 20th Century History - United States. While out walking one day, the author discovers a beautiful mansion that is unoccupied, but meticulously maintained, triggering a quest to learn more about the wealthy reclusive owner. The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes. Fiction-Women's. Once recovered from a paralyzing disease, a woman must pick up the pieces in her personal life. Currently reading: Several humorous women's fiction novels The Hollow City by Dan Wells Gumbo Ya-Ya - a history of Cajun folklore and folktales If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster The History of World Literature (Great Courses) by Grant Voth @Kareni if you have any recommendations for humorous romance novels, please let me know! I've read everything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, but I'm on the lookout for other authors.
  11. This is my favorite Spencer novel! Plus there was a movie with Christopher Reeve. I was sad when she retired. She wrote such fantastic romance books-most of her characters didn't have stupid misunderstandings.
  12. The difference is the focus, especially on “bad” foods. I’m familiar with disordered eating, and I, like many on the thread, felt the OP should reach out to an experienced therapist. There’s no one signal that says “seek help” but since I battle my history daily, I know that if I were thinking the same thoughts expressed in all the posts, it would be time to contact experts.
  13. I would only do it if I had valid suspicion and with my teen’s knowledge. Beside drug use side effects, I discuss with my teens that initial drug testing is common and surprise drug testing may be a part of employment. But I wouldn’t do it to my kids on a regular basis.
  14. I’m not giving financial advice. These are just my thoughts. If the money will be needed in the next five years, putting the funds in a savings account makes sense. You might also consider certificates of deposit (CDs) - the rates would be slightly better than a savings account and “lock up” the funds until maturity. As far as parking any other funds, even experts are terrible at predicting market timing. The stock market could grow over the next five years then crash or crash tomorrow. You also can’t know when you should get back into the market. I tend to be a “set it and forget it” when it comes to retirement unless I expect it in the next five years. Retirement funds should be re-balanced regularly, moving from owning more-risky assets (like stocks) to less-risky assets (like bonds) as you age. I prefer target-date retirement funds because the re-balancing happens automatically without incurring transaction fees. If you aren’t in target-date funds, you might consider them.
  15. A friend drew out an old dog’s treatment for far too long. After the dog’s painful, drawn out death, the friend regretted not letting the dog go earlier. You’re doing the right thing. :hugs:
  16. Check with the dentist about PE. My child was restricted from doing anything that raised her heart rate for 24 hours and it was only one tooth. The mouth bleeds a lot and very easily.
  17. *** insert celebrate emoji *** I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts! My sibling is the only other Valente fan I know.
  18. Books finished last week: The Winter Long (October Daye #6) by Seanan Maguire. Urban Fantasy. A royal fae, long thought dead, returns to wreck havoc on San Francisco. I resolved I wouldn't check out any more physical library books until I'd culled my bedside book pile. My son checked out this one so I don't think I've broken my resolution. Another good addition to the series. DS has checked out additional Maguire novels so I expect more "keeping my resolution on a technicality" in the future. Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms who want to Return to Work by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin. Self-Help. A collection of advice and anecdotes for women who make the transition from home to work. Despite its heavy focus on the Ivy League and wealthy, I found several helpful tips on networking, re-launching, and managing work/life balance. That Lonely Section of Hell by Lori Shehner. Nonfiction - True Crime. A policeman reflects on her time tracking down a serial killer and the police failures that led to his continued freedom and killing. War of the Cards (Queen of Hearts Saga #3) by Colleen Oakes. Fantasy. The Queen of Hearts fights her father to gain control of Wonderland. I thought this was a standalone when I started reading it and realized towards the end that it was the finale of a trilogy. The Fold by Peter Clines. Science Fiction. A team of scientists rejoice at discovering instantaneous long distance travel until the returning travelers exhibit strange behavior. Quick, engaging read until the end where the action was a little muddled. My first Clines read, I'll definitely read more. Greetings from Angelus: Poems  by Gershom Scholem, trans. from German by Richard Sieburth. Poetry. A collection of poems from a German-Jewish philosopher. A very quick read, my favorite poem was "The Official Abecedarium of the Faculty of Philosophy". This is an Archipelago Book, with the German poem and the English translation side-by-side that I'm willing to share if anyone's interested. A bedside book. I'm devouring Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich, my elliptical workout read. The narratives are fascinating with the author taking care not to inject herself too much into the book. I'm also finishing up The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan Maguire.
  19. Rivers of London is so good. Many thanks to JennW for suggesting it. I stopped checking out physical library books because I need to cull my bedside book stack but it’s on my list once I’m back to visiting the library.
  20. Books finished since last I updated: Run the Storm: A Savage Hurricane, a Brave Crew, and the Wreck of the SS El Faro by George Michelson Foy. History - Natural Disaster. A container ship finds itself trapped at sea while a powerful hurricane approaches. While the writing voice could have used a bit of editing, the tension builds to the point where, even though I knew the story, I was still hoping for a different outcome for the crew members. If you read disaster stories like The Perfect Storm and Into Thin Air, this is an interesting book. Another one from my physical TBR pile. Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse #6) by James S. A. Corey. Science Fiction - Space Opera. The crew of a merchant ship join forces with Earth and Mars to fight space pirates. I'm not doing justice with my short blurbs. I highly recommend this series if you like science fiction, especially space operas. I've yet to read a book I haven't enjoyed. It's very much in the style of old-school space adventures with a modern sensibility. Railsea by China Mieville. Fiction - Weird. A train crew travels the railsea in search of a great white mole. This was a story heavily inspired by Moby Dick, not surprising as Mieville's writing is often compared to Herman Melville. Kraken is still my personal Mieville favorite, but if you've liked Mieville's writing, it's an interesting addition to his catalog. Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana. Young Adult Fiction. Fearing a junior year without her best friend, a teen girl ends up hanging out with the popular crowd. Ugh, please no more YA novels with a veneer of science fiction. It's a cool cover but very much a cliched story. Khorana's voice was interesting so I might read more from her. Her The Library of Fates also has a cool cover (fingers crossed it's real fantasy). The Long War (The Long Earth #2) by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. Science Fiction. More travels through alternates Earth's as humanoids flee from humans. Probably my last read from this series. There isn't much story here. I'm still trying to finish Summerland and I'm wrapping up Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-At-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, which has been a great read thus far.
  21. I stopped reading Picoult because all her books were "children in peril" stories with extremely flawed characters. For "realistic fiction", the stories felt implausible. I could, in fact, trace the origin of most her stories to sensational headlines from a few years before the book's publishing. It became too much for me.
  22. I think it's about time. Far too many schools, with massive endowments, claim to provide a public good and shield their investments from taxes, while charging students outrageous tuition and fees, both graduate and undergraduate alike. Maybe university officials are starting to listen to the unhappiness about the cost of higher-level education, particularly in health-related fields. If we want to lower medical expenses, we need to start by lowering the cost of a medical education. May more schools follow NYU's lead.
  23. Ever since I stopped homeschooling, my August seems to be filled with back-to-school frenzy meaning I don't get much chance to sit at a computer and concentrate. My middle two were accepted to a charter academy at the last minute, so I've been scrambling to get them ready. It makes me glad I waited to buy supplies as the two schools had completely different lists. I'm hoping the new school will be a better fit for our family, especially my older girl. Her prior school (only two grades) had more students than the current one (grades K-12), and she often seemed to get lost in the crowd. Books finished: The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics by William Easterly. Economics - International. A history and analysis of various economic and monetary interventions in developing countries. The dustiest of my physical TBR reads (I think I bought the book right after college graduation), it reveals its age in many places. The author, while discussing technological innovation, discusses his Palm Pilot. When first published, this was a cutting edge look at what hasn't worked in helping developing countries. Now, there isn't much new here. It's still an important reminder that many very smart people have attempted to "fix" the world by force and/or fiat yet only made things worse. A bedside book read (BBR) The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan. American History - World War II. A cursory look at the lives of women who helped in research and construction of the atomic bomb. Another BBR. The Long Earth (The Long Earth #1) by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. Once people discovered they could step to other universes and worlds, humanity begins colonizing the various Earths until a looming menace threatens the multi-verse. Brandon Sanderson has said that established authors can get away with long prologues because they've built up trust in their readership. This book is a perfect example of that premise, the entirety a prologue to the ending chapter. I felt like I'd reached the good stuff and the story was done. I'll definitely read more because the set up was well-done, but only because I trust Pratchett and hints of his voice show. Yet another BBR. Nemesis Games (The Expanse #5) by James S. A. Corey. Science Fiction - Space Opera. As humans travel to distant systems in the hopes of colonizing other planets, a rebel group of space dwellers threatens Earth. Another good addition to the series. The Best American Crime Fiction 2003 Edition edited by Otto Penzler. True Crime. A collection of the best mystery and crime nonfiction of 2002. I'm trying to expand my reading interests, but ugh, I feel sick reading these stories about children. I'm currently reading Chia Mieville's Railsea, essentially Moby Dick with trains. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I listened to Moby Dick at the beginning of the summer. I found I enjoyed it, probably because the reader was so fantastic. If you've tried to read Moby Dick and failed, try the audio book instead. It made the detailed discussions of whale species, anatomy, behavior, etc., much less tedious.
  24. I'm so sorry for your loss. Prayers and good thoughts for you and your family.
  25. Too bad! My degree is in finance (asset and corporate valuation), but a personal finance elective was one of the most helpful classes in my life. I think it should be required for all young adults. Some things though are hard to learn without living it yourself. Beyond what everyone is suggesting (prudent debt use, expense management, income opportunities), I’d emphasize the time value of money. Others have mentioned compound interest - the classic example is the $2,000 in savings scenario. If a 22-year old saves money $2,000 every year and stops after ten years, she will have more money than someone who begins saving $2,000 at age 32 and doesn’t stop until retirement. This page uses $5,000 as the savings number; the principle is the same. Treat buying individual stocks like gambling and never buy more than you’re willing to lose. Investment banks, pension funds, hedge funds, private equity firms, etc. - they employ thousands of people who work every day to search for under-/over-valued investments. The expectation that one person can beat the market consistently is unreasonable. I am a big advocate for index funds, especially those geared towards target date retirement so individuals don’t need to worry about asset rebalancing (moving assets from more-risky investments to less-risky investments as you get older). Good luck to you! I think the most important teaching is what’s modeled and shared with your children. My siblings and I dealt with financial uncertainty (some due to bad fortune, mostly due to mismanagement) when we were young. My kids and I have ongoing conversations (age appropriate) on the whys and hows of financial decisions. I’m hoping they will know and live what I’ve told them.
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