Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Easter weekend was beautiful here in Lexington. I was feeling a bit blue as I didn't get to see the grandkids dive into their Easter baskets of candy. And, clearly from this picture, I also missed out on sitting on the Easter Bunny's lap! And, as you can see Mary's family has expanded by one - a very large one! Zoey, a St. Bernard puppy, became the newest Quade family member when the elderly fellow who bought him could not take care of an exuberant puppy by himself. So, Zoey found a very active, loving home with two little ones climbing all over her. Mary seems smitten with her and loves to take walks with Zoey and Michael. Michael is still a bit uneasy around Zoey as he scares easily as many Asperger kids do. I read an article about a service dog brought into a family with two autistic children and how they both calmed down due to the dog's presence. I hope that would be the case with Michael and perhaps it still will be, with time. I also read an article in the latest Rolling Stone magazine, "The Surfing Savant" about Clay Marzo, a Aspie who can read a wave better than the top world rated adult surfers, but he lacks the social skills and coping strategies that would allow him to be in the midst of all the surfers at competitions and events. He is happiest surfing his Maui waves and being with his girlfriend. As I read this article I so felt for his family as I do for Mary and Scott as they figure out ways to help Michael. Like Clay, I believe in my heart of hearts that Michael will discover what he excels at and this will help him deal with all of the things in life that he does not handle well. When Michael is interested in something he can focus for extended lengths of time. He has a fascination with anything train related and he spends hours with his trains and tracks. And I was very impressed with how long he can spend on homework. I am not impressed with the amount of homework being sent home with a First grader - it is just crazy. When do these kids get to be kids and how many parents having the time in the evening that Mary takes to sit down with Michael and complete the assignments?

We just got back from a quick lunch. It is a beautiful but breezy day so a ride in Steve's car with the top down was heavenly. I spend so much time inside I sometimes feel like a mole. But, I do have two large windows in my office that look out over a very pretty green space so I can't complain too loudly. However, I can complain very loudly over the lack of doctors who will take worker's compensation patients. I am still dealing with the 24/7 headache since the fall down the stairs in Denver at ALA Midwinter last winter. After the trip to the ER room and the scare over a CT scan showing a possible skull lesion being cancerous I went to yet another neurologist and he is just "fishing" for a medicine fix. Two medications later - one made the headaches worse and other made me swell up like a beach ball - I am resigned to just waiting it out until the June 21st appointment with the UK neurologist. No one seems to know what the cause of the headache or the elevated heart rate is but I suspect the heart rate is high in part because I am dealing with the pain as best I can. To make matters worse the orthopedic surgeon won't schedule the knee surgery until there are some answers to the headache and elevated heart rate so I am dealing with that as well. No darn wonder people get upset about our health care system. We have good insurance and still can't get into specialists as there aren't enough to go around.

When the headache won't let me spend anymore time on the computer I will lay down and listen to books with lights out and just finished up Angel's Rest by Charles Davis http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Angels-Rest/Charles-Davis/e/9780778323044/?itm=8&USRI=angel%27s+rest+davis which is set in Virginia's Allegheny Mountains. A father returns to his childhood home with his children and all of the memories return, even the fact that he cannot use his birth name or acknowledge who he really is - a man who was there when his father was accidentally killed when he was 11 years old. His mother took the blame for what clearly was not a self-inflicted gunshot wound as the dying father begged them to claim when the police arrived. No lawyer, even the big shot one who lived in the biggest house in town, could save her. Charlie repressed the memory of what really happened that day and he believe for a time that his mother did shoot his father and is very angry with her. When she is taken away to jail, the old black man who spent his days sitting in Charlie's father's shop downtown, takes over the care of young Charlie. Lacy has lived through an attempted lynching and is very aware that Charlie's grandfather was involved in this race hate-filled crime. Like Charlie's mother, Lacy did not want this impressionable young boy put in custody of his grandparents. The wild card is Hollis Thrasher, the emotionally and physically wounded Korean War vet, who returns to Angel's Rest to break Charlie's mother out of jail. The three run as far as they can North and take over the care of a lighthouse in a remote area. Here, Charlie's memory of the day his father died returns and he begins to understand the sacrifices his mother, Lacy and Hollis Thrasher made to save him. This debut novel is heartbreaking and even more so when listened to as the raw grief felt by the characters is even more intense when heard. The main character may be an 11-year-old boy but this is not a children's or YA book, though I am sure there are older teens who may enjoy it.
Excuse me if I already wrote about Sarwat Chadda's Devil's Kiss http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Devils-Kiss/Sarwat-Chadda/e/9781423119999/?itm=1&USRI=devil%27s+kiss+sarwat+chadda but I came across this fascinating YA novel again as I was going through my shelves of advanced reading copies I'd read. I wanted to see what the final cover at would look like as the advanced copy is just a black cover with red text - not very appealing. The final cover art shows a young woman with a sword in her hand. Though I cannot imagine 15-year-old Bilqis SanGreal actually wearing a wispy white dress like the one on the cover, the sword does fit. Know as Billi, this teen knows her life will never be spent hanging out with other girls in the mall. She is the daughter of a Templar Knight and she too will become a Templar. Her time is spent in weaponry training and learning the obscure history of the Templars. But, she is still at teenage girl with raging hormones that come to live when she meets the mysterious Michael. Little does she know but she is attracted to none other than the Angel of Death. The battle rages to save the souls of innocents as Michael unleashes the unholiest of creatures to destroy the Templars and the world as they have vowed to protect. This is a superb debut novel and one that will get the attention of the myriad horror and paranormal romance readers as Billi also has discovered her attraction to Kay, a childhood friend who will also have a role in defeating the Angel of Death. This is supposed to be the first book in a series so I am sure I am not alone in impatiently waiting for the 2nd book in the series to see what Billi gets herself into next.
That's it for today - back to email and grading.