Politeness Counts Saturday, Jan 24 2009 

Ask anyone who knows Auntie M well and they will tell you if she calls you rude, that’s right up there with calling you the absolutely worst sucky, snarky, foul-mouthed name she knows.  And she knows plenty–if she were ever to be on The Actors Studio and host James Lipton asked her the Bernard Pivo questions, she would no trouble answering: “What’s your favorite curse word?”! (Holly Hunter’s was CSMF–you figure it out.)

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Auntie M bemoans the lack of manners in most younger generations, but this is not about knowing which fork or spoon to use.  Social graces aside, pure plain manners seem to be flying out the window in far too many homes, with a direct correlation to how these children treat their teachers, other students, and often, their own parents.  Forget polically correct behavior–what happened to socially correct behavior?

Which is probably one reason she and her family made the transition from NY to NC so smoothly: they still teach manners down here.

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To youngsters anywhere from just talking to ten years younger than me, I am “Miss Marni”–and Doc is “Mr. Arthur”.  That’s just how it is.  Doesn’t matter if the Miss is a Mrs. or Ms, either.

And they say “please” and “thank you,” too.

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Everything goes down better when couched in terms of please and thank you.

There’s a reason for that old adage: “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” or some such wording.

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Auntie M is convinced his manners were one of the things that changed her relationship with Doc from colleague to trusted friend to romantic relationship to husband (18 years in May).  His respect for her has never wavered, something Husband #1 was sorely lacking in asshole that he was, which is just one of many reasons why she’s not still married to him.

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Auntie M is convinced that when we do something nice for someone or treat them respectfully,  we get that given back to us tenfold, and by being that way, we potentiate the kindness we see in the world.  You know, that pay-it- forward thing.

Just last night as we were falling asleep, (Doc in a medicated haze in his hospital bed, me next to him in our regular bed, near but an ocean away) he said to me: “I really have noticed the efforts you’re making cooking meals to bring back my appetite.  Thanks.”

You’re most welcome.

Thanks to Google Images.

Fiction on the Rise Thursday, Jan 22 2009 

Auntie M is one of those people who want to hold a book in hand, hard cover, paperback, it doesn’t really matter.  And I get pretty annoyed with people who announce the book is dead and we will all be reading online only in the future.

That’s why I was so heartened to read Ann Patchett’s article in the weekend Wall Street Journal’s Culture page, The Triumph of the Readers.

The author of Bel Canto and the recent novel Run shares a details of a board meeting from her local Nashville Public Library Foundation.  Her library has noted a trend supported by a recent report from the National Endowment for the Arts: for the first time in 25 years, the number of people reading fiction is on the rise.

She goes on to say she’s not the least surprised, as when she travels around the country giving talks, the audiences are packed with readers hanging on her every word about the process an author goes through to produce a novel.  They want to talk about literature, they love literature, there is no death of literature.

Patchett adds that whenever she sees someone floundering in a bookstore, she helps them find a good book to read. And she is always giving out lists to others of books she’s read and enjoyed, to spread the wealth of what is out there and share a great find.  My kind of gal.

Phew! For a moment there I worried a Kindle was the only way I’d get to read in the future.

~~~~~~

Today Doc ‘hopped’ around our bedroom twice and it’s only afternoon!  He’s sleeping better at night, and although the pain is still intense, there is a definite upward movement, after a long, long month.

And for those of you who worried, yes, I DID get to shave my legs this weekend!

Mozilla Firefox Start Page Sunday, Jan 18 2009 

Auntie M has been reading a ton lately, mostly at night between doses of pain med to Doc, when he’s hurting and neither of us are sleeping.

Ellie Hatcher is Alafair Burke’s new homicide detective in the second of this Manhattan-based series.

Readers were introduced to Hatcher in Dead Connection, a midwesterner who has grown to love New York except for the killers and crime she finds there.  In Angel’s Tip, Hatcher has a new partner and a new killing spree to investigate.

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With a suspect quickly in their sights, most New Yorkers start to relax, until Hatcher realizes the murders are far too reminiscent of a string of killings from a decade ago.  She does not make friends as she pushes to keep the investigation open.

These thrillers combine a fast pacing and enough quirks and twists to keep you reading to the last page.

~~~~~~~~~

On a different note, thanks to all who have sent good wishes and prayers to Doc, and to all of your for being so understanding that my time is limited right now.  He is healing very slowly, much to his chagrin, and in bed 23 1/2 hrs out of 24 most days.  Our MN son came in this week for a long weekend and has been doing tons of “Doc” chores around here.

Today Doc walked six steps on his good leg with the walker and that indeed progress.  He’s doing arm exercises in bed every few hours, too.  Pain is still a big issue but we think we’ve got him on a better regimen now.

Thanks for all the positive energy you’ve sent our way!

Undaunted Thursday, Jan 8 2009 

Tomorrow Doc has to go to the orthopedist for X-rays and followup.  He’s been in bed except for trips to the commode (right next to the bed) since Dec 16th.   All he wanted today was to take a shower.  In a real, tiled shower stall with a forceful spray like this:

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After all, it had been since December 21st since he’d taken one pre-op.

EEEWWW I can hear you saying.

Now, Nancy Nurse is here to tell you that much can be accomplished by a good bed bath, along with a back rub.

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BUT there’s also nothing like the force field of hot water rushing over your skin, instead of your wife washing you with a wimpy wet cloth, or washing your hair with soapy suds instead of a bottled cleanser you towel out.

So Auntie M got him out of bed with great care and he used the walker haltingly to get the ten steps to our shower.  And couldn’t get over the step into it.  Having the use of only one leg meant he would have to hop up, way too high. . . he’s been in bed for three weeks and didn’t have the strength to do that now as he did preop.

There was much cursing gnashing of teeth and almost tearful regretful commentary.  By both of us.

Doc wanted this shower, he NEEDED this shower, he was going to HAVE this shower.

So I improvised.  Needs must.  I stuck him, carefully again, in his wheelchair, the leg up and balanced, starkers.  For those of you who don’t read Brit novels, that means baby-ass naked.

I put a garbage bag down in front of the shower, laid large towels over it, ran more rolled up on either side.  Then I backed Doc as close to the shower as I could get him and got in the shower behind him.

Voila!  I used the handheld and washed his hair, lathering it up generously.  He was able to lean back so that most of that water ran into the shower stall.  Then we worked our way down, rinsing him off sitting in the wheelchair, leaning forward for his back, standing at the end briefly for the ‘ahem’ bits.

I toweled him off and he sat there and shaved with a real shaver, not the electric.  Got him carefully back into bed, with only minor grunting on both of our parts.  He looked better and smelled heavenly.

One huge load of wet towels later, mission accomplished.

Best of all, I got a big smile, especially AFTER I gave him a double dose of his pain meds!

Cold in Hand Thursday, Jan 8 2009 

Auntie M really admires writers who take risks, especially when they turn out well.  Susan Hill is one who comes to mind, but this week I’ve finished John Harvey’s newest, Cold in Hand, a great read that had me turning pages, thinking: “This can’t be happening!”

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Det. Charlie Resnick is a jazz-loving, sad kind of guy who tries to keep the thread of his  heritage alive while reveling in his relationship with another detective.  If you’ve read Harvey’s series, you’ve seen this relationship grow and develop just when Charlie thought love would never find him again.

Which is why this novel is so startling.  And well-plotted.  And very human.  It’s a great read and Charlie always comes across as someone real and recognizable.  I like that in a book, when the characters feel real, less artificial.  This one had me turning pages way after Doc fell into his drugged two hour sleep each evening.

And Harvey has Charlie impart things I never knew about the jazz world, so I’m constantly learning, too.  Give him a try.

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dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp a perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Make

make Your House a home

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

Wicked Cozy Authors

Mysteries with a New England Accent

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

Crimezine

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John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

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