Review

Book Review.

We’ve moved…

No, no, not our home. We’re moving the blog to this host, one with simpler ways to “like” the blog and to add comments, and a one-button click to follow the column.

4/25/2011 Update: I have decided that I will maintain my blog in two places. Here, and
at http://www.rbpahl.wordpress.com. You can also get there from our website, http://www.richardpahl.com

Things are rocking along. We’ve pretty much got all our stuff put away. As I’ve said before, it’s amazing how much stuff Imogene held.

K has good days and not-so-good days. A not-so-good day involves a lot of relaxing in her recliner, reading and phoning. A good day is a work day, putting things away, visiting our new neighbors, doing mail and trash, studying, etc., which, sometime before three PM, will produce a couple of not so good days.

When I can, I work on the final (I hope) polish of my first book. I think I’ve got it close.

I want to begin talking about some of the other books in the series. My books are character-driven. Throughout each book, our protagonist, Tracy, adds nuances to her persona, like working on her cussing, controlling her drinking, becoming more independent and adept at what she does. Also the books may have clues to something happening in a future book.

I believe in letting the reader imagine the setting after a brief description. I want you to imagine a setting, rather than me telling you exactly what bric-a-brac is sitting what table, how big the room is, what color the walls are, etc. I first learned this from the late Erle Stanley Gardner, who intentionally didn’t describe his characters, other than a basic description. Another of my favorite authors in the past, John D. McDonald, uses his character, Travis McGee, to describe the setting to the smallest detail. I have since come to the conclusion that he used descriptions to fill pages. The same with McGee always ranting about something.

The second-to-final book, Vultures, is one of my personal favorites. Tracy is asked for help in a serial murder case, and was asked to join the task force by the police! Since her past involves the kind of girls who are being killed, they want to use her “expertise” and her contacts to get a vice cop inside the escort biz. This turns out to be a bad idea. This killings turn more and more crazed, and our girl comes up with the key elements that finally solve the crimes.

My latest book, Cygnet, is set in a twenty-one day alcoholic and drug rehab facility. A lot of Tracy’s rehab scenes are biographic of the writer. I’ve been there, done that. Three plots come to the fore. Someone is blackmailing former patients. A deceased person is found in the Rec Room with an eight ball stuffed in his mouth. A teen-aged cocaine hooker is unable to come out of her toxic coma. The story takes a few twists, introduces a new character, and sets up any future TCPI (Tracy Cunningham P.I.) Books.

Your Inner Child …

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All of us have an inner child. You know, that part of you that remembers what it was like when you were actually a child? When your inner child speaks, do you listen? Do you act upon what your inner child tells you to do?

Or are you too refined; too much an old fuddy-duddy to listen? Do you equate the inner child with immaturity? Or perhaps your nose is stuck so high in the air, that you couldn’t see children around you?

I believe the inner child is invaluable to one’s sense of self. I have been aware of my inner child all my life. Perhaps that is one of my problems, but I don’t think so. I am now the age of my grandfathers and I can’t imagine either of them making a face and sticking out their tongue at their wives. Come to think of it, I can’t remember any times my grandmother or even my parents ever exhibiting an inner child.

Signs of an inner child: Have you ever bought something totally age-inappropriate, simply because you wanted one as a child? Have you ever done something age-inappropriate because there was no one around to give you a bad time? Ever said anything age-inappropriate, because the other person was showing an inner child, like you?

Something like, “Did not!”
“Did too!”
Or “That’s mine!”
“No fair!”

Now here is the great part. K has a well developed inner child, too. As you know, we’ve been a pair since New Years Eve, 1963. Within two or three months, exposing ones tongue was our secret code for “I love you.”

During my “lost” years, my inner child was in hiding, most likely because the adult had some dependency problems. Dependent on cigarettes, dependent on alcohol, on my enableer, that kind of thing. Once that was stopped (I’m still a non smoker and alcohol free) my inner child began to come out.

(Read my book Cygnet for my experiences voiced through my fictional character, Tracy Cunningham)

Forty-seven years of marriage later, we still do that immature thing of tongue-sticking at least once or twice a day. Sometimes we hid our mouth from the crowd and stick out the old tongue. Or we sneak one in while no one’s looking. It’s kind of a game to see if we can get away with it.

I figure my inner child is probably around twelve or under. K’s inner child is a little younger than that. These inner children are best friends, like next door neighbors. There is no boy-girl stuff between them. They are buddies, except sometimes she’s like all girls next door and becomes a pest.

Our inner children are good for us. They definitely keep us away from any major arguments. We can express our thoughts through our inner children and we adults get the message.

Don’t walk into our little abode and expect to see us hunkered down on the floor, playing marbles or jacks. Our inner children disappear the second an adult walks into the room. That’s part of the secret.

The bottom line is that we don’t act our age, we don’t look our age, and we certainly don’t feel our age.

We can only hope that your relationships are as good.

Everything’s cool …

Monday, April 4, 2011

What a difference a couple a days makes! K is now feeling better than good, not hurting from Friday’s adventures, and is actually walking without aids. However I am making her use them anyway, just in case.
Today is a pretty normal day. I’ll spend time working on a polishing of my first book. Back Story & The Fledgling, maybe add some to my latest work in progress, then we’ll run some errands and work on the cottage. (It’s like a triplex … we’re on one end.) I’m also building a email list (and a text list) to notify you readers of a new blog.
As there isn’t anything really newsworthy of note, I’ll make this short. Perhaps I’ll have more later …

C-ya

Yesterday, I was all set to write about …

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Moving and other stuff. But something happened that changed my mind.

It was a nice day in Vegas. blue skies, very moderate temperatures that were going to go into the nineties. K had been out in the morning, working in her ministry. I was home puttering around with the old confuser. When she came home about 10:30, she changed clothes and reloaded the refer. … we had to have it replaced because it wouldn’t freeze food …

Around eleven o’clock we had some stuff to pick-up. K decided to walk, pushing her walker to the front of the village, about three hundred yards. I would follow in a few minutes with the car, after I put some air in a tire. I drove to the front, and rounding a corner on foot, I see several people gathered around a prone body on the sidewalk. It was K of course. When I got to her side, and saw that she hadn’t crossed to the other side, I told her that we’re weren’t supposed to inspect the sidewalk here.

She had tripped over a tiny ledge … quarter inch at best ,,, that was hidden in shadow. Because she has MS, she can’t pick up her feet more than an inch or so, and she sometimes forgets to do even that. So she tripped and pitched forward. Her back was pretty sore, (She’s had surgery in the past and has several large pieces of Stainless steel hardware in her back) The people around had already called 911. It took about ten minutes for the LVFD to show, but that was because K was coherent and could move all her limbs. They put her on a backboard and shuttled her off to the ER.

The ER team removed the back board quickly, because she didn’t need it. I came into the room about then. We waited a half-hour and then she was taken to x-ray, where they took nine views of all the parts that impacted the sidewalk. All turned out negative, so she was released around four, a total anti-climax to what could have been a bad situation.

Now we’re home, she’s taken some pain meds, and all is back to what we can consider normal.

Another point re RVs V Bricks and mortar … when the winds blow the room doesn’t rock.

C-Ya

Wanna talk about culture shock? …

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Readers will know that we’ve recently (last week) moved from our trusty RV into a senior housing complex. One bedroom, and a semi-great room. The floor in the cottage is the same as the flooring in Imogene, our RV. Why did we name our RV “Imogene”?
We were photographers, that’s why.
So anyway, Imogene is a thirty year old 26 foot long Class C RV. Class C is the standard bed over a cab RV. We replaced the floor because the carpeting was shot. One day a couple of years ago, K was attempting to “fix” the 12 Volt system, … a fuse was blown … and she managed to short out something that changed life in Imogene forever. Main Truck batteries … two of them … went flat. We had to put them on a charger, but the charger began to go south. Our propane stove wasn’t being used, because we had a couple of George Foremans, a hot plate, a blender and an electric toaster. All the amenities of a modern electric kitchen squeezed into a four foot square space.
We joked that we lived in the world’s smallest great room. It was twenty by seven feet and had K’s bedroom, the galley, bakery, library, a media room, and my computer office. In the front of that was our storage closet and my bedroom. To the rear was the bathroom … with a shower-tub … and a closet.
To say it was cozy would not be an exaggeration. The place was so small, we had to go outside to change our minds.
Having the twelve volt system not working produced one serendipity, and that was the hot water heater became a demand system. When we actually wanted hot water, we could turn on the water heater. It would heat the water and once it turned off, it wouldn’t restart until we told it to. This worked to become a major savings of propane.
We were snug as two bugs in an electric blanket. We were happy.
Then K’s MS really reared it’s ugly head. She began falling a lot. … More than once a day … She couldn’t get up the stairs without a struggle. However, living in the RV produced a benefit for her falling disorder which was that the interior was too small to allow her to hit the floor.
So we had to move into something that wasn’t on tires. There is where culture shock sets in.
First, we had a head that kept water in it. (The bowl water leaked into the black water tank in the RV). We had kitchen cabinets that didn’t have to provide space for computer stuff. We were able to sleep in the same bed. The hot water is always available. We don’t have to take sailor’s showers … rinse, turn water off … soap up, shampoo, turn water on … turn water off, soap body, turn water on, rinse off. If you’re lucky, you may have enough water to let it run on your back for a minute or two.
Now we have all the hot water we want.
We have a refer bigger than a Coleman ice chest.
We don’t need no stinkin’ 12 volt system.
We can actually sit in recliners!
We don’t have to do dishes, we have a dishwasher!
There are no steps to negotiate.
We have a home heating system!
We have a good A/C!
K is very happy.
Me too.

More on why the passing …

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

K and I have had four children. Two the old fashioned way, and two adopted sons. Our first (a girl) died in utero about five months along. Our second died of Hyline Membrane disease, an ailment of the very prematurely born. Our doctors at the time suggested we adopt, because K may not have been capable of carrying full-term.

So we adopted a boy, hale and hearty and an all-around nice person. He went off the scales of pediatric growth, as he was six feet tall a little before he turned fourteen, and stopped growing at six foot six. Then we adopted a fourth child, a boy who’s main claim to fame was that he was brainy and outgoing, friendly and could entertain himself for hours with a paperclip and a piece of string.

When Bryan was four, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. (A.L.L.) and since the main center for this disease was in San Francisco, his illness served to divide the family. K and Bryan went to the city several times a month, sometimes overnight. Roddy and I stayed in Stockton, our home.

I couldn’t cook, so we went out to eat almost every night K was away. And not at junk food places. In good restaurants. Until this time, Roddy had a good physique, not overweight, just a big boy. After the first year, he had significantly gained weight, strictly because of emotional problems, brought on by Bryan’s Leukemia.

Bryan passed away when he was eighteen, and this hit Roddy harder than we could imagine. His weight continued to increase through the years. He got married, got a divorce, and got married again after a couple of years. Along came grandchildren one, two and twins. At one time he had four children under three years old. His wife didn’t turn out to be the incredible princess he thought she was when they got hitched. She was slovenly, and spent money without thinking. The family motto was “Happy wife, happy life.” He was working two jobs to maintain. His weight peaked at over five hundred pounds. He had bariatric surgery and lost 250 pounds.

We moved west to Vegas from South Florida, to be with him and his family. Ninety days later, he died of cardiac disease. However, in my opinion, he died from the after-effects of Leukemia. His wife has decided that his passing had to be our fault, and hasn’t allowed us to see his children since two weeks past his funeral.
So that is the background and story of a loving couple who have lost all four children. We’ve become accustomed to not seeing our grandkids. We hear scare stories about how she is raising them, about stories she is feeding them. We’ve had confirmation from people who know them here in town.
Next blog will be more cheerful, I promise.

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