On hiatus!

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After a couple of weeks of experimenting and tallying, I’ve decided to take a probably-permanent break from blogging here at Endurance Mom. The Mommy Wars suck, and, after 19 years of blogging off and on, I’m tired of the pretending and make-believe that goes into trying to write about motherhood. Even when people are “keeping it real,” it’s still 99.9% fantasy. And I’d rather write fantasy about dragons and werewolves than about meal planning and homeschooling.

I am still blogging at Scattershot Thought. If you’re into it, check it out.

 

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Lessons to be Learned– a 7 Quick Takes Post

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So, this week has been a week filled with lessons, mostly lessons I’ve learned while kicking and screaming against their inevitability and truth. It makes me sympathize with the Adorable Toddler, who is always fighting me whenever I try to make him do basically anything. HE wants to make all the decisions, HE wants to decide what’s true and what’s false, and HE wants to be able to defy gravity. Well, so do I, kid. And these are MY lessons. They may or may not be applicable to you. I’m reminding myself, here.

  1. You have to be passionate about what you’re blogging about. Being relevant or up-to-date isn’t going to give you readers. You have to care about the topic or it’s going to come off as trying to cash in on something. The only problem here is that some people are going to assume that you’re cashing in on a “current” topic if you’re blogging about it out of the blue. Well, you can’t help that. Some of us are closeted about our Taylor Swift fandom until we finally break out in spontaneous blogging. đŸ˜‰
  2. Assuming that people know something is a minefield of badness. Avoid assumptions. Make the time to ask someone if you have a question. Take the extra trouble to make sure that they understand what’s required of them, too, when you give someone a task. I assumed that a job seeker knew enough to have an accurate, clean, and neat resume at hand. I forgot that they don’t teach actual useful skills at public school, even in business classes. My bad.
  3. Forcing issues is a great way to destroy the world. Or, at least, YOUR world. Don’t push people past their limits, and don’t just heedlessly and recklessly charge in with your own demands. This is particularly important when homeschooling– you’re not educating your kids if you’re bulldozing them with your book list. You will watch your world burn around you if you just keep doing your own thing without listening to others.
  4. Another thing about homeschooling– it’s not about the curriculum. It’s a process, not a checklist. If the child isn’t getting anything out of the material, then you need to re-assess your teaching. Are you just trying to get through a certain book, or a certain number of problems, or a certain number of books, just to check them off a list and say they’re done? What’s that actually teaching your child? What homeschooling should “produce” is a thoughtful child that can learn independently and become an intelligent and productive adult. Not a nice checklist of books that you hurried through just to “do” everything.
  5. You really can’t control outside events. The unexpected will always slap you upside the head from time to time. All you can do is respond to them as best you can. BUT– and this is a big BUT– you CAN be prepared for events and respond better to them by being so prepared. I have been running around town with barely any gasoline in my truck for years, but one brush with Hurricane Harvey and a city full of empty gas stations taught me to get my act together and keep the truck at least half full. Being stranded in town, miles from home, with a toddler, is not a fun activity for anyone.
  6. Your health is not something you can buy at a store. You have to do the self-care routines, take all your medications, eat wisely and well, and work towards better health even if you are struggling in other areas. This is something I always fail at– just looking at my unplucked eyebrows this week is a good gauge of how little I’ve focused on my own health. When life gets hard, you can’t stop taking care of yourself. The stupid airplane oxygen mask analogy actually applies here.
  7. You only get one life. Live it like it’s precious but not like it’s too breakable to be used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Quick Takes Resurrected from the Dead

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  1. Yes, I’m attempting the impossible, resurrecting the old habit of putting up a 7 Quick Takes post every week among all the much nicer and more holy Catholic moms who do so. I think I just sort of fell out of the habit when it moved from Jennifer Futweiler’s blog over to This Ain’t the Lyceum. But, hey, we’re a religion based upon a miraculous resurrection, so maybe this will be similar? I’d like to be “one of those Catholic mommies” again. What do you say, ladies?
  2. Yesterday was our 25th wedding anniversary. It’s really strange to find yourself as someone who has already celebrated their Silver wedding anniversary. Like, wait, how can I be that old already? Women in their 50s and 60s see me walking around with the Adorable Baby (who is 3) and say “Just wait! Someday you will A, B, or C “(regarding having adult sons) and I have to say, yeah, I know, I already HAVE four adult children. Man, I am old.
  3. We have had to start locking up the pantry and putting a lock on the refrigerator to help Miss Autism with her weight gain problem. It might inadvertently help me with mine– I sneaked downstairs to get a midnight snack a little while ago, only to realize that I didn’t have any of the keys. No leftover anniversary cake for me. Not that I needed it any more than Miss Autism does. She didn’t gain any weight this week, which is a small victory. I’m personally afraid to even check my progress, hah.
  4. I dropped the price of my mom’s ebook down to 99 cents permanently. I really want to make it clear that it wasn’t published for the filthy lucre, so to speak. It still shows as $2.99 right now, but the changes should update before the weekend. It’s a very short book of short stories, and I just wanted it published so those memories would not be lost. My mom has been gone for 27 years now, my memory is fading. I need to preserve things while I still can.
  5. Speaking of preserving, spicy pickled okra is amazing. I had to pitch in to help my daughter with the preparation of our anniversary dinner, and I think I ended up eating half a jar of the pickled okra before it was through. It’s fuzzy, it’s fibrous, it’s very slightly slimy, but so good. Totally weird.
  6. Our back-to-homeschooling week has not been an especially amazing week of education. Lots of attitude from the Tank, lots of sneaking out of work from the Ninja. Appropriately nicknamed, aren’t they?
  7. At least I am figuring out that all my writing on the next novel is going to have to be done after they go to bed at night. During the day, it’s just too loud for me to even have a hope of getting anything done. I work better around 11pm anyway, but I need to get up in the mornings, too. I wonder if I can send them to bed around 7:30 and call it good. Heh. Yeah. With my pack of night owls, that’s highly unlikely. 9 would be pushing it.

 

And that’s all for now. Only time will tell if this blog regeneration sticks or if the other moms drive me out with pitchforks and torches. The way my religious life has been going lately, I need something to try to boost my connections. I really need to find some other Catholic moms in this area to hang out with. It gets lonely in the wilderness.

Peace.

Yes, this post is a plea

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So, this is a photo that I took of Miss Autism last week, when I took all the kids over to the DMV and then over to the splash park as a reward. She had a lot of fun playing in the water, oblivious to all the little kids running around in circles, just doing her thing and getting her hair completely soaked in her favorite water element.

Miss Autism’s real name is Meredith Booker. As you can see, she’s not looking so healthy these days. Her medication has led to some extreme weight gain, over 50 pounds in the past year. She’s still my beautiful baby, but she’s rapidly becoming unhealthy and unable to do the things she likes to do.

So I have started a GoFundMe account for her, under the name Meredith’s Freedom Bike Ride. Any funds we raise will be used directly to purchase a two-person tricycle for her. Worksman Cycles makes a two-person trike that holds up to 600 pounds of people and has independent pedaling for each person. We feel that it would be an excellent way for Meredith to gain more exercise and also more of a feeling of competence and independence.

Yes, I realize that it’s a lot of money to raise. Yes, I realize that there are many worthy causes out there that you can donate to. I just hope that a few people will find it in their hearts to help out a girl who, through no fault of her own, is forced to live such a limited and very constrained life. This is, quite obviously, never what we intended for our girl. This is our daughter we’re talking about. We named her Meredith Independence . . . it’s become one of the saddest ironies of our lives that she will never be able to be independent in any real way.

So, I would appreciate it if some of you are moved to donate to her GoFundMe, and I would also appreciate it if you spread the word if you feel like doing so. Meredith has 5 brothers and sisters living at home, only gets a very small SSI income to cover part of her monthly expenses, and money, alas, doesn’t just grow on trees. Any donation will help. It may take some time for us to gather up enough cash, but this is the best way we can think of to help her with her mobility and her exercise, as well as integrating her more into the community.

Thanks for reading. I know it’s not always fun to stumble across a post asking for money, but you can be assured that this, at least, would be going directly towards a meaningful gift for a deserving young woman.

The Back to School Posts we love to hate

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This is the time of year when all THOSE back to school posts start cropping up. You know the ones, the ones where the parents are gleeful, jumping around, almost hysterical with joy that their beloved offspring will now be carted off to industrialized education for 8-10 hours per day, leaving them free to live their lives? Those posts. And, as a proper homeschooling mom with my requisite three wild, un-civilized, and completely un-schooled children, I have to kind of hate those posts. What, you hate your own babies that much? You’re that uncomfortable in their company? But, you know, there is an up-side to those posts, albeit sort of a small one. The secret is this:

All those little darlings will now be off locked in their industrialized educational establishments, leaving the rest of the wide world open and uncluttered for me and my feral offspring to wander around and pillage as we wish.

I am not sure that the world is getting a better bargain this way. The world would be better off with lots more industrious wild children, starting small businesses and getting into mischief, learning things in the real world and becoming useful citizens long before the System has decided that they are allowed to do so. But, hey, I didn’t make the system.

We are decidedly out of place in the real world, and as August turns to September, people begin to Get Suspicious. At first, we may just be charter school people, starting a bit later than everyone else. They’re willing to cut us a little slack when we suddenly appear at all the local attractions, brand-new season passes in hand, looking a little shady in our ratty t-shirts and shorts combos. But past Labor Day, all bets are off– we are immediately on the watch list. People begin to Ask Questions.

The first one, as they dubiously eye my very robust pack of blonde sons, is “Are you all home sick today?” My sons, being of a sardonic turn of mind, just give them dubious looks in return. They may ask each other, with an excess of glee, whether or not their brother is sick, and if it’s just “in the head.” Sometimes, when the inevitable winter sniffles are in play, we can get a pass just on this question, as the 3 year old turns a green-boogered nose their way and they draw away in horror. It’s a terrific defense mechanism, if somewhat disgusting. I don’t let him do it on purpose, I’ve just never found the secret of staying ahead of a toddler’s runny nose. It always drips faster than any Kleenex can stem.

If initial countermeasures are ignored, the people may begin to notice other Disturbing Signs of Nonconformity. Wait, that kid with the blonde hair all the way down their back? Is that a . . . boy? It doesn’t look very girlish. I’ve never seen a girl in a Minecraft t-shirt with knees that skinned-up. It may be a boy. Wait, are boys allowed to have hair that long? Not in Texas, they’re not! Something is definitely wrong. And that muscular one, the one with the defiant glint in his eye, his attitude is not beaten-down in the least. He definitely has never had to stand in a line or ask permission to go to the bathroom. These are not children enrolled in school! I saw them here at the grocery store just the other day, hanging on the edge of the grocery cart and buying suspicious vegetables and herbs. They may even be hippies.

But, no, the mom isn’t much of a hippie. Too scary looking, tall, and with too much eyeliner. Some kind of Satanists, no doubt.

But we merrily go on our way, haunting the aisles of Target and Hobby Lobby, shuffling through Home Depot for supplies for yet another project, grocery shopping in an unending loop, making trips to the parks and zoo and restaurants and wherever else we find ourselves wandering. And talking, talking, talking the whole time. That’s the secret of learning– conversation. No, not just the fierce “You’re a (insert mild cuss word)” that you hear from the backseat when you’re driving and they don’t think you’re paying attention because Rage Against the Machine is playing too loudly. Real conversations, about the vegetables you’re buying, the meals we’ll be cooking, the history of the area, the machines and inventions we are passing, idle thoughts that have developed into pressing questions, and arguments about the virtues of video games. (Let’s be honest here, it’s 2017 and video gaming is king of all attractions. We limit it but it’s always THERE in their heads.)

This year, I am really looking forward to it. The baby is, well, not very much of a baby anymore. He’s 3, and filled with questions of his own, besides being the same physical size of your average kindergartner. He’s easier to transport, can get himself into his car seat, and can walk for longer stretches of time now. The other two are capable of doing many things for themselves, and can help out with many tasks, too.

As soon as the weather breaks . . . that’s my mantra right now. As soon as the daytime highs are in the low-90s and the nights drop down below 70, into that dreamy 60 degree territory that gives us at least a couple of hours of coolness in the morning before the heat really sets in– then, ahh, the havoc we will wreak. The places we will go, the things we shall do– hiking, biking, bird-watching, fishing, taming the Hellhound, gardening, exploring, drawing everything we see, learning to paint watercolors, and having grand adventures in state and national parks. Plus cooking a bunch of brand-new recipes to replace all the boring ones we’ve been stuck with for so long. And baking! Once the heat isn’t so awful, we can actually use our oven again! And afternoon teas, served with homemade treats. Sucking down Darjeeling with the boys, yeah, that’s my idea of a good time.

And so many books, books all the time. Books about history and art and music and philosophy and religion and literature of all sorts. Books on tape and books read curled-up next to the sofa, snug on the cowhide rug (which has become something of a pet for them, weirdly.) Books for the baby, with glorious pictures of real things, and books for the boys with big glorious ideas and stories that break your heart.

Gosh, I feel so sorry for those parents who are shuffling their kids off to “real” schools. You don’t know what you’re missing. Sure, there’s some bickering and the occasional day where everyone is vomiting and miserable, but everyone has those. We also get the glory of tramping around in the snow, whatever brief time it may appear, without worrying about missing the school bus. Or reading “Alice in Wonderland” while we bounce on the trampoline– a more appropriate place cannot be found. Baking muffins at noon because we want to have some at teatime, getting in the truck and going off to wander through the Halloween costume aisles of different stores because we really love that crap, spending a morning with some questionable science experiment that is a complete disaster but they had great fun anyway making a huge mess (although not as much in cleaning it up.)

And maybe, because I don’t have a “real” career anymore, we can’t afford all the things we’d like to have, like new cars and lots of fancy clothes and a skiing trip to Vail, but I do have these brief precious years with my children. And, I will tell you, as a woman whose body has already thrown up cancer in her face once, that’s infinitely more valuable than any new car could ever be. So I drive a 14 year old Suburban that has seen better days, and my wardrobe is becoming more and more homemade as I learn to sew, but . . . I have this, this amazing journey to go on. I wish more of you would make it with your children. It’s not perfectly easy, and you have to think for yourself, but just imagine . . . imagine the possibilities.

 

 

 

New Book Release!

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Available now on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited! “Momma Sang: Finding my Mother in her own words” is a collection of my mother’s short stories and articles which she wrote in her late 20’s. My mother, Theresa Melody Carter, passed away in 1990 from complications of leukemia, the same disease that took her own mother’s life thirty years before. These stories were written for her college literary magazine and newspaper, and they open the door on the mysteries of a mother that I lost much too soon. I’ve written a brief introduction for each of the 11 stories, but the real lyrical beauty is in my mother’s own words. Her descriptions of life in rural Arizona in the 1960s are like a glimpse into a lost world, a world of rattlesnakes and wild horses, faithful hound dogs and devastating losses. It’s a world where Waylon Jennings was just an unknown disc jockey in a nowhere Arizona town, and a red-headed Okie gal chopped cotton, tended bar, and sang songs to her children.

15% of the proceeds from this book will be donated to research to cure rare diseases.

Life Won’t Wait

In addition to being the title of a favorite punk cd of mine, “Life Won’t Wait” by Rancid, (“Black Lung ” and “Crane Fist” being my two favorite songs thereof,) “Life Won’t Wait” is a pretty good motto for reality as it exists. No matter how much we may wish that we could put life on pause at times, it just keeps roaring past us. And like people trapped on foot in the middle of a freeway, it’s disorienting, terrifying, and sometimes lethal.

I feel like I’ve been in the middle of that freeway since the beginning of the year. These recurrent bouts of illness are messing with my plans in a big way– every few weeks, I am just DOWN. As in, I can barely force myself out of bed long enough to do the things I absolutely must do, and every moment is spent in agonizing pain. A week of medication usually beats it back into its hiding place, but it will be back. Sometimes within a couple weeks, sometimes in a couple months. Maddening.

In between, man, I can get some stuff done. Got my novel finally edited and published, started serious work on two other projects, read through a huge chunk of the world’s greatest literature, redecorated and renovated a big part of our home, sewed multiple outfits, put in two complete gardens started from seed, took the family on a major vacation, and homeschooled the kids.

Then I get sick and everything grinds to a halt for another week.

But life just doesn’t pause itself while I’m ill. This week, I am trying to help my son finish up his requirements to get into the college that he wants to go to, rushing here and there to get documentation and vaccinations and all kinds of stuff like that. Trying to get my handicapped daughter into a good day program now that she’s out of school and taking her to appointments. Trying to get a stupid broken filling fixed that I’ve been dealing with for two months now. And meanwhile, the weeds and the watermelon vines are taking over the garden, my herbs are a disaster, the kitchen is too dirty to cook in, the laundry is way behind, I have a half-finished dress still sitting with pins in it, and my closet looks like WWIII was fought inside it with Playmobil figurines.

It’s incredibly frustrating, especially as our whole lives are about to change dramatically. Two of our adult kids are going to be going to school, and at least one of them will be moving out of the house. Maybe two. We’ve got to do some more major renovations to the house, on very little budget, in order to make it ready to sell. We simply don’t need this particular kind of house anymore, the two-story five-bedroom and three-bath kind. The little boys quite happily share a single room (especially now after the renovation and the new loft bed addition.) Miss Autism needs her own room, but that only leaves us needing a three bedroom place. And downsizing to a smaller house could save us some money, so we could, you know, save money. That’s something families with 7 kids don’t usually get to do very often.

But life blazed on past and now four of our seven children are actually adults. One of those will never be independent, of course, but the other three are off on their own adventures. With a little more money, we could afford to hire a part-time caretaker for Miss Autism, which would give us a little more freedom to travel and camp. The little boys are growing up quickly, so we want to pack as much living into these next ten years as we can.

Life isn’t waiting. But I feel like I’m kind of trapped anyway. My bloodwork didn’t come back too good last time– I’d go so far as to say that my numbers went about as far in the opposite direction as they could have gone. So we’re trying a medication change, upping the dosage of my thyroid meds, to see if we can drive those numbers back down again. And, meanwhile, I wait. And take my pills and try to sneak in some of my iron tablets when they won’t interfere with the thyroid meds, because my anemia is back in force. It doesn’t make you too confident in your body, you know, when something else is going wrong every time you turn around.

But life isn’t waiting. And neither am I. I will get these things done, by hook or by crook. Even if I have to attack the watermelon vine with a machete and slosh a gallon of bleach all over the kitchen floor. And I’ll get other things done, too– I want to make a craft with the boys, I want to start exercising more, I want to try cooking some new meals because the old ones have grown so boring that no one wants to eat them anymore. The kids need their schoolwork restarted for fall and new books bought and studied. And I WILL do these things.

But, just in case it’s as difficult as I fear it will be, put in a good word with the guy upstairs, okay? Maybe for a little bit of grace, a little bit of healing, and a whole lot of faith. Because faith in God is the ultimate, and the necessary, but you’ve also got to have faith that you can actually DO the things that you’re asking to do. What good is it to ask for favors you don’t feel you can live up to? I just want to Do the Things.

In and of themselves, they’re probably not too important. My kids will certainly not die for a lack of a Victoria sponge cake to celebrate Sunday dinner. My marriage will undoubtedly survive even if our wedding anniversary is the same disaster it’s been for the past 25 years in an unbroken stretch of failures and random weirdnesses. My husband is a good man who will not mind overly much if we just buy him some boring present for his birthday and not, say, tickets to Aruba.

Life won’t wait. We’re all going to die sooner than we’d like. I just want to feel like I tried to make it count. Like it counted for something. Like I tried.

 

 

Summer homeschooling plans!

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Yeah, basically that’s what’s happened to my summer homeschooling plans. After struggling mightily for the first couple of weeks, I just gave up and decided that I had bigger fish to fry. They’re not going to actually have their brains rot from watching too many television shows, at least not for a two month period. This isn’t “A Clockwork Orange.” So I’m focusing on other things for now.

Like my vague plans to go minimalist. I went into the kitchen tonight and looked at all the pots and pans and said, out loud, “I hate you. I loathe you. What the hell are you doing in my kitchen?”

The pots and pans, being inanimate objects, had no reply to this.

But I am convinced that people would wash the pots and pans more often if there were fewer pots and pans. And, really, what the heck is with that entire drawer filled with tupperware lids that fit nothing? And all my organization went to heck. And forget the baking dishes, they’re such a disaster that I’ve given up even trying to make zucchini bread, which is usually a summer staple around here. There’s just way too much clutter falling out of the cabinets whenever I open them.

So, not this week, but the week after that, I plan on going on a major decluttering of the kitchen. Some of the gear can go back into our travel trailer to use while camping. Some of it can go to the Salvation Army or Caritas. And the rest can go rot in a dump heap for all I care. Can opener, I am looking at you.

I am pretty sure that there will be objections to this plan, and I personally have NO intention of throwing away my cute cake pans, because those are mine and they make me happy. But, really, a huge steamer pan to make bad tamales once a year? I can buy better tamales from somebody’s grandma and save the shelf space at the same time. Lids to pans we don’t even own? What the what?

I am excited about this plan. Not so excited about washing out the insides of the cabinets, but it’s a necessary evil. But not today. Sufficient unto the day are the evils thereof, or something, and I’m hip deep in alligators as it is, to mix a few metaphors.

Man, it is hot outside and miserable.

Hey, buy my book about monks riding war dragons and have a nice summer read, eh? and leave a nice review on Amazon or Goodreads! I will love you for it.

Summertime Fun in Texas

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Summertime in Texas is, quite honestly, too nasty and hot to do much of anything outdoors.

Oh, we’ve tried. Horseback riding, swimming, going to the park, going to the zoo, taking trips down to the Gulf Coast, even a memorably hot trip to San Antonio in August, where we did a whirlwind tour of the beautiful historic missions, as well as trolling through the Riverwalk and the Witte Museum of Natural History (which is a great museum, by the way, and free on Tuesdays.)

But, man, it’s just impossible. Especially this week, where a high pressure system has decided to sit right on the central United States, turning even the early morning hours into intense misery.

That hasn’t stopped me from trying to do things– I got a new garden bed dug, installed the bricks, and filled it with plants, transplanted all the new seedlings for the late summer garden, and planted more flowers out front. But I basically came back into the house on the verge of heat exhaustion every time.

The kids, of course, are overdosing on media of all sorts– one of them is addicted to “Breath of the Wild,” one of them is hooked on YouTube how-to tutorials about weird things like making cotton candy, the baby has a series of bizarre demands for Netflix shows that no one can quite decipher (“the one with the baby bus who talks and not the one with songs and not the one with trains” is an example,) and the other one is in an “Overwatch” coma. And then Miss Autism steals the WiiU as often as she can to play Super Mario 64. She’s old school.

Me, I’m keeping myself as busy as possible. Sewing projects are eating up a huge portion of my time, and writing projects are devouring the rest. It keeps me from obsessing over the sales reports on my book, anyway (which is not making me a millionaire, let’s just say.) I am currently fighting a pitched battle against the combined forces of Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, both of whom want to take a simple scan-to-text conversion and make it as improbable as possible.

But, I have Big Plans for the next couple of weeks. I like having big plans. I just don’t necessarily like having to drop big money on said big plans. But this is very big money for one of my Summer Obsessions, and the other people in the house are trembling with fear and anticipation. What will I make them do next? What extremes of physical toil will I expect from them? And, most importantly, is this going to cut into their internet time?

Ah well. I should sleep. Not that I’m looking forward to it– last night, I had a dream that a snake had bitten deeply into my ring finger, only to wake up with my finger in excruciating pain. Half-asleep, I yanked my wedding ring off and just left it under my pillow. Thankfully, no one ate it, dropped it in the trash, or washed it down a drain, because I didn’t remember the dream (and realize my ring was missing) until around 3pm in the afternoon. Oops. Yeah, I need more sleep.

Score at the bookstore

I just KNEW that they couldn’t possibly be out of copies of “Catch-22” at our local used book store. And, being that the novel was originally printed in 1955, and the author is dead, I didn’t feel compelled to pay for a brand-new copy of it, either.

But, after a grueling search for the Heller section, I finally found it . . . stuffed in with the general fiction, which put him somewhere between “Never Let Me Go” and anything by Nicholas Sparks. Which was odd, but whatever. I’d have figured it for the “classics” section, myself.

I also scored on a bunch of guilty pleasure books from the 5 cent table. Sometimes, you just can’t face the next classic piece of literature and have to escape the quest to discover the Great American Novel (hint: it doesn’t exist). So I have a Barbara Hambly novel that I somehow missed, one of the Superintendent Dalziel books, and, yes, a Betty Neels romance novel, just because.

Oh, yes, and I also bought the Theban plays by Sophocles, “Hunger” by Knut Hamsun, one of St John of the Cross’s books, and a bunch of books about boys and horses for the homeschooling shelves.

It socked me for a bunch of my store credit, but I am content. I’m running out of those Top 100 novels fast, so I will be forced to finish the two remaining James Joyce novels before long. I will need every simple piece of storytelling that I can find just to keep my grip on sanity. Or, at least, on my temper. I may have developed a fondness for Henry James that I would never have suspected I’d have, but Joyce? Nah, I am never going to love his work.

Oh, and another hint about literature: when a reviewer uses the term “pyrotechnics” to describe someone’s writing style, they are 100% full of nonsense. Beware!! đŸ™‚