Tuesday, November 23, 2021


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.  

1. What are you currently reading? Clammed Up by Barbara Ross. Julia Snowden left Maine and the family clambake business for the bright lights of Manhattan. But, like Michael Corleone, her family pulled her back in. So now she's back, helping expand the business to include events. Her plans go terribly wrong when one of the first wedding crashers is a murderer, and the best man ends up dead.

I'm liking this book so far because the backdrop includes peril and real tension, but not of the violent kind. A tourist-based company like the Snowden's only has a few summer months to make their money for the year. The longer the police keep their business shut down, the more difficult it will be for them to stay open. Maybe it's because so many independent companies and family-owned businesses didn't make it through covid, but I really feel for Julia.
I've always wanted to try the Maine Clambake Series -- Kwizgiver is a fan -- and when Book #1 became available from the library, I snapped it up. I always try to, as Julie Andrews sang, "start at the very beginning, a very good place to start."

2. What did you recently finish reading?
Fatal Vision by Joe McGinnis. In the annals of true crime, the Jeffrey MacDonald case is legend. A handsome Green Beret captain, he was accused of killing his wife and two little girls in their home on the Army base. No one wanted to believe he did it. But he did.
For me, though, the most compelling character is Fred Kassab. His stepdaughter, Collette, began dating Jeff MacDonald when they were in the 9th grade. Fred watched Jeff grow up, marry his stepdaughter, and start a family. Shortly after the murders, he told the Army and the press he stood by Jeff, that if he'd been blessed with another daughter, he'd want the same son-in-law.
But slowly, he began to notice things were wrong with his son-in-law's story. (Example: why did Jeff insist they'd never owned an ice pick -- one of the murder weapons -- when Freddy had seen his wife use theirs last Christmas?) He didn't understand how Jeff could begin dating again so soon after losing Colette and the girls, or why he kept finding excuses not to share forensic and legal evidence with Fred.

Fred's evolving realization that the one who destroyed his stepdaughter and grandchildren was someone he loved is really the heart of this story. And once Fred truly understands, he won't let it go. He did not rest until Jeffrey MacDonald was brought to justice.

3. What will you read next? Ma'am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown.

Happy Birthday to Me, Part 1

Tuesday was my birthday. I'm glad I saved my gifts from far off lands to the East (like Florida) until Tuesday morning to open because they brightened my mood.

I posted this photo on Facebook to thank everyone who mailed me goodies and let them know everything arrived safe and sound. (Thank you especially, Snarkela.)

My friend Elaine is going to be fine. She has a bruised rib and an unsightly bruise on her cheek, but nothing serious. Still, she was 12 hours in the ER, so she was exhausted and we didn't go out.

But Kathleen and Joanna both checked in, promising that we'll get together after Thanksgiving. Kathleen has had health problems and is super busy at work. Joanna is never on time for birthdays. She depends on Facebook to let her know birthdays roll around. 

My oldest friend called, letting me know my gift is in the mail from California and promises that I'll love it.

I'll see John and Gregory on Thanksgiving and we'll celebrate me then, too.

Rita started at work on my birthday. We finally have another writer! I consider her a birthday present. I've been so busy and stressed. It'll be good to have help. I may even be able to take a few more of my vacation days before the end of the year.

So it wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, either. It was fine. I had a fine birthday.

Compassion Challenge -- Day 22

I'm encouraged to participate in this November challenge with my church congregation.

Inspiring Compassion: The 30 Day Compassion Challenge. 30 days to explore the topic of compassion: Mindfulness, Compassion for Friends & Family, Self-Compassion, Compassion for All, Compassion for Our Planet.

Monday, I reached back.

An old friend, someone I was very close to at one time, reached out to me for my birthday. An ecard with a personal message: Gal, thinking about you and hope you are doing well.

My first response? I don't need this. I literally haven't heard from him since my Cubs won the World Series in 2016. I'd been very hurt by silence on my 2016 birthday and Christmas 2016, and then tried to let it go. Some bruises don't ever heal completely, though. I'd trusted him, thought we were part of one anothers lives. And then suddenly, and without any real explanation, radio silence.

So my birthday 2021 is special? What was wrong with 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020?

Then I thought, something must be going on in his life that made him reach out. So I reached back. I emailed back that I appreciated him remembering me on my special day and that I hoped he was well, too.

I felt better for having done it. Compassion for him, and compassion for me.