Book Excerpts: Just One Look by Harlan Coben

*****Just One Look

”. . . There are sudden rips.  There are tears in your life, deep knife wounds that slash through your flesh.  Your life is one thing; then it is shredded into another.  It comes apart as through gutted through a belly slit.  And then there are those moments when your life simply unravels.  A loose thread pulled.  A seam gives way.  The change is slow at first, nearly imperceptible. . . .”

I’ve had the first one, three times (death, broken back, cancer).  Not sure about the second one – it scares me a little.  But I did love the juxtaposition of opposites.  What can I say?  I’m a Gemini – I’m a juxtaposed kinda girl.

“. . . Adult suburbia can be a lot like high school. . . .”

The world seems to think we actually leave high school when we graduate and grow up – but do we?  I’ve run into more situations that feel Just Like High School since I left those buildings than I have hairs on my head.

” . . . the feeling of not only intimacy but safety.  He made her feel small and protected, and maybe it was un-PC, but she liked that. . . .”

We’re probably dangerously close to oversharing here, but um, yep.  Been there, relaxed into that.  If you knew “the whole truth,” boy would you be surprised!  But, don’t knock it ’til ya truly understand it.

“. . . when you spend enough time in the dark, alone with your thoughts, your mind turns inward and feasts.  That was always a dangerous thing.  The key to serenity, Wu knew, was to keep working, keep moving forward.  When you’re moving, you don’t think about guilt or innocence.  You don’t think about your past or your dreams, your joys or disappointments.  You just worry about survival. . . .”

Well, been there too.  And while there is some truth to this (in other words, when you’re going through hell, keep going), at the same time sometimes one needs to stop for a bit of quiet.

“. . . She was in her midseventies, heavyset, the kind of big aunt who hugs you and you disappear in the folds.  As a kid you hate the hug.  As an adult you long for it. . . .”

Please refer to two quotes above – similar concept/feeling.  As an adult to just let go of everything (emotionally at least), and just, even for a tiny little while, to be able to feel Taken Care Of, Protected, Loved (in a way a child lets go and receives – not tinged or overlayed with an adult’s responsibilities and obligations).

“. . . I’m sorry that you’re in pain.  But please don’t tell me what I believe. . . .”

Well, regardless of your state of being, Nobody gets to tell me what I believe, or that what I believe is wrong or crazy.  This does become more tricky when someone else involved is in pain or hurt, but that does not eradicate my beliefs.

“The threat at the supermarket had not taken.

Wu was not surprised.  He had been raised in an environment that stressed the power of men and the subordination of women, but Wu had always found it to be more hope than truth.  Women were harder.  They were unpredictable.  They handled physical pain better — he knew this from personal experience.  When it came to protecting their loved ones, they were far more ruthless.  Men would sacrifice themselves out of machismo or stupidity or the blind belief that they would be victorious.  Women would sacrifice themselves without self-deception.”

Em, yup.  Believe me, I have had and currently have wonderful men in my life.  And I love them dearly, in all kinds of ways.  At the same time, on a practical level, more often than not, women rule and run the world.  We do the hard, boring, dirty, endless, everyday business of life: providing food, clean clothing, clean shelter, the myriad niceties and just generally running interference between them and the big, bad outside world that allow men to lead convenient lives.  And on an interpersonal level, well (WARNING: Profanity Ahead!) pussy rules the world.  Oh, and for those of either gender who are sitting there shaking their heads “no,” just because you don’t Want to believe it, does Not make it untrue.  🙂

” . . . The problem with tragedy is that you have to go on.  There is no choice.  You cannot just pull off the road and wait it out — much as you might want to. . . .”

Right, and Oh How I Have Wanted To!  What a great way to put it too!

“. . . Psychiatrists talk about opening up.  Grace, who has suffered her share of tragedies, is not so sure.  There is, she’s learned, something to be said for denial, for severing and compartmentalizing. . . .”

I’ve learned that too.  Otherwise known as 1) I don’t have to own that problem, and/or 2) I no longer choose to spend the energy it takes to have (insert person here) in my life.  Don’t get me wrong.  I Also think there is value to opening up to things and people.  But a balance needs to be maintained, and choices about who and what to include in one’s life need to be made consciously, with one’s own happiness being the first and most important consideration.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Book Excerpts: P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

*****P.S. I Love You

” . . . She had felt relief, . . . She felt relieved to have known him, to love him and to be loved by him, . . .”

Strange, an odd way to put it, to be sure.  And yet, it makes sense to me, it speaks to me.

” He was the drill sergeant of his own body, screaming at and punishing himself every time he lapsed into human mode.  But he did it to himself, and the sad thing was that he thought he was better off than everyone else for it.”

I sometimes resemble that remark, find myself falling into that trap.  It seems somewhere vacillating between virtuous and arrogant, but it’s really not very self-loving.

“Days went by when she felt so happy and content and confident that her life would be OK, and then as quickly as the feeling came it would disappear again, and she would feel her sadness setting in once more.”

Been there, felt that – more than once – and having nothing to do with losing a loved one.  I’ve seen (and will likely continue to see) this one step forward-two steps back pattern in my continued post-cancer life.

“Deep down, she knew it was normal to feel like this, she didn’t particularly think she was losing her mind.  She knew that people said that one day she would be happy again and that this feeling would just be a distant memory.  It was getting to that day that was the hard part.”

Losing a loved one – dealing with cancer: potato – potahto.

” . . . she cried for herself with big, thick, heaving sobs that hurt her ribs whenever she tried to catch her breath.”

Okay, this one I do remember from grieving someone I love certainly (and maybe a time or two of cancer self-pity too).

This is another book that I, unfortunately, couldn’t finish.  In this case, however, it is because I saw the movie before reading the book, loved the movie (it actually makes my short list of movies I like to have on for company if I’m puttering around my house), but significant changes were made in the screenplay vs. the original book, which just no longer did the deal for me.  Hence, I grabbed a few quotes (above) and moved on with my life.  🙂

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

A Slender Thread by Katharine Davis: Chapter Heading Word Definitions

*****

A Slender Thread

Even though I couldn’t finish this book, I love what the author did with the chapter heading word definitions.  Aside from the cleverness of interlacing the chapter heading words with the title with the theme of the book (admittedly so), they spoke to me on a more general life level (especially since I’m a knitter – a fiber artist – and had previously gotten tangentially interested in weaving), so I’m sharing them ‘cuz maybe they might speak to you too.

(Chapter 1) Weave: Make cloth by interlacing threads on a loom.

(Chapter 2) Loom: A device to hold warp threads taut so that the weft threads can be woven under or over them.

(Chapter 3) Castle: The largest upright part of the loom.

(Chapter 4) Warp: Threads running vertically in weaving.

(Chapter 5) Weft: Horizontal Threads interlaced through the warp of a fabric.

(Chapter 6) Tenterhooks: The hooks on a tenter, the framework for stretching wool to prevent shrinkage after it has been washed.  When one is under tension, one is “on tenterhooks.”

(Chapter 7) Threading hook: Long skinny hook for threading warp.

(Chapter 8) Thread: Fine cord of two or more filaments twisted together.

(Chapter 9) Web: Woven cloth, but also the cloth remaining on the loom.

(Chapter 10) Shed: Open space between upper and lower warp threads.

(Chapter 11) Yarn: A continuous strand of twisted thread.

(Chapter 12) Draft: Map of the pattern to be woven.

(Chapter 13) Spin: Twist fibers into thread.

(Chapter 14) Spinster: A woman employed at spinning.

(Chapter 15) Woolgatherer: A person who wandered through the fields gathering tufts of wool left on low branches from the sheep that had been grazing there.  To woolgather is to indulge in fanciful daydreams.

(Chapter 16) Texere: Latin for “to weave,” from which the English word “text” is derived.

(Chapter 17) Shuttle: Tool that carries the weft threads through the shed.

(Chapter 18) Boat shuttle: A shuttle resembling a boat.

(Chapter 19) Loose ends: A woven piece not properly tied off.

(Chapter 20) Tapestry: A woven cloth, sometimes depicting a story.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Book Excerpts: A Slender Thread by Katharine Davis

*****

A Slender Thread

” . . . Instead, Margot’s heart stubbornly refused to lift.  It was as if she couldn’t make room for happiness now. . . .”

I quote this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I really have felt sometimes (and I’m sure not for the last time) that there is so much other “stuff” in my life that there is quite literally no space available for happiness.

There is only one lonely quote from this book because, unfortunately, I put this book down and couldn’t finish it.  That’s Very unlike me, but life’s too short to force myself to finish a book that doesn’t pull me through on its own.  <shrug>

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Rebuilding a Mazda 3: Part One

Hm, let’s start with my title.

My little stop-me-I’m-speeding-red daily driver Mazda 3 wasn’t hit (since last June, but that damage was fixed by the other guy’s insurance company) and didn’t strand me on the road (today anyway – last time it did was early December of 2012, when I was still in radiation therapy), but needed quite a bit of work:

– air conditioning compressor (that’s what crapped out on me and stranded me on the side of the road last December, thereby creating a 5-hour detour for me between my house and radiation therapy – never mind the fact that I was supposed to work that day.  Yep, never did make it to work that day)
– motor mount(s) (knew one was broken, decided to change all three since this is a known weakness on this car – turns out when they were all replaced that all 3 of the existing ones were busted – facepalm!) – Oh, and the new ones are black and red and grey and on my, so sexy!  I know, I’m weird, but I’ve found a few people who appreciate my weirdness, so it’s ok)
– shocks (one was leaking – I have 150,000 miles on the car, so that’s not the biggest surprise in the world)

Since some serious work was being done: all four tires coming off to do the shocks, the air conditioning compressor is on the passenger Bottom side (not a typo) of the engine and the motor mounts are two on top, one on the bottom of the engine, and because I can’t emotionally deal with flipping a car right now, not to mention the financials don’t support it (so we’re hedging against another 5 years with my little baby), the “while we” list got kinda long:

– struts, shock boots (to go with the new shocks)
– brake pads (we new at least one end needed to be done – let’s do ’em both)
– brake rotors (turns out this was a good decision, as Hubby said he didn’t think my old ones had another turn in them)
– rear adjustable camber arms (another Mazda 3 weakness – for some odd reason the OEM camber arms set such an angle that this car eats tires faster than it should – aftermarket adjustable units should let us adjust the rear suspension to stop doing that)
– radiator and new coolant
– transmission filter and new tranny fluid
– thermostat
– cooling system flush
– spark plugs
– oil filter and new oil
– air filter
– all light bulbs, both fore and aft
– water pump (this has failed at some point in every car Hubby or I have ever owned and I was starting to hear that tell-tale squeak which often presages a water pump failure)

I’m sure I’m forgetting something which, when I remember it, I’ll let you know about in a new post!

The photos below are what my baby looked like this past Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm.  This morning when I went to work (leaving Hubby at home to continue working on it after calling in “I have no idea what” to work), it looked pretty much the same, but had lots more new parts on it than when these photos were taken.

Last night when the work was over and it was dinner time, Hubby said most of the “big-tool” jobs were done.  You know, the ones where power tools are used and/or something needs to be bashed on (which feel a bit risky with nothing but 4 little jacks holding up my baby – but those jacks ROCK!  Seriously, they’re Extremely Stable and took all the bashing Hubby had to do with brake work and shock work and all.  I’m just more comfortable being there overseeing the jobs that could get Hubby or the car hurt).  The only other “big-tool” job is reconnecting a belt after installation of the air conditioning compressor.  Everything else is what he calls detail work – tedious, but no big forces required.

He said if he worked on it another day, he thought it would be “drivable.”  Well, not so I can drive it to work since some of my lights won’t be here ’til Wednesday and we’re not putting the whole front end back together just to take part of it off again to replace light bulbs – but drivable enough so he could wander out to test drive the suspension and engine component repairs for safety and bedding in.

So I have no idea what it’ll look like when I come home tonight, but this was from Saturday afternoon (and still substantially looked the same this morning):

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*****