Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Morton's style is just what I like - complex without being convoluted, multi-generational without being overly sentimental, and just enough mystery to keep me entertained. Her characters are authentic and likeable, their surroundings give a view into their personalities.
In this latest book, she weaves several layers of stories into an engrossing tale of family, belonging, and heartbreak. Sprinkled throughout are original fairy tales that spin the stories and fates of the characters: Nell, the little girl who turns up on the docks in Australia in 1913, having travelled alone from England; Rose and Eliza, cousins bound by secrets in the first years of the new century; Cassandra, Nell's grand-daughter and receiver of her legacy in modern-day Australia and England; and the garden itself, which, reminiscent of Hodgson-Burnett's Secret Garden, is a character as enigmatic as any other.
I think I have a new favorite author.
(For more descriptions and reviews, see this page. )
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
From an article in the Roswell Daily Record.
"It was a humbling moment for the former commander in chief: President George W. Bush was walking former first dog Barney in his new Dallas neighborhood when it stopped in a neighbor's yard for relief. 'And there I was, former president of the United States of America, with a plastic bag on my hand,' he told a group of graduating high school students in New Mexico on Thursday."
It's nice to know there's some shit out there he's willing to take responsibility for...
" 'I no longer feel that great sense of responsibility that I had when I was in the Oval Office. And frankly, it's a liberating feeling,' he told seniors from Artesia High School. "
It's liberating for me, too, W.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Over the years I've stumbled through what it means to be a step-mom, what it means to be wife #2, what it means to not have "my own" children, and how to explain it all to a culture which frankly, doesn't get it. And it's a tough road, because I don't really get it, either. It's simultaneously the hardest role, the most thankless relationship, the biggest opportunity to put aside my ego, and the most humbling experience of my life. Hmmm. Perhaps not so different from "real" mothers.
I still don't have any clear answers, except that it helped me to just be honest about it all as I lived each experience. It's hard to be the fifth wheel with your new husband and his kids. They had a history together, one that didn't include me, at a time when I didn't have one with him to rest on. I felt forced to love, or at least pretend to love, people I didn't even know but who were extremely important to my new husband; however, they had no such compunction to love me. Our girls lived out of state, so they were only able to visit once a year; they were different each year, so every visit was like starting over.
Every time their mother called to say how much she missed them, I ground my teeth. I was forbidden to confront her, for fear we wouldn't get a visit next time, for fear I'd look like a meanie in front of the girls, for fear it would upset the delicate balance of the visit. I had to be the resident wet-blanket, as my husband tried to make up for a year's absence with non-stop fun; I was the one to make sure towels got hung up, no one left their lotion on the living room couch, people folded their own laundry, and didn't spend all their money on candy. I took on the extra household chores that children inevitably bring to a home. I comforted my despondent husband every time they left, and he faced again the guilt and pain of a broken first marriage.
I cried a lot. I raged a lot. But I also laughed a lot and had a lot of fun. There was a lot of guilt, fear, jealousy, pride, excitement, and frustration - and that was the first year. We've been married almost 12 years now.
There's a great book (you knew this was coming, right??) called The Courage to be a Stepmom, by Sue Patton Thoele. She succinctly states the three biggest challenges in being a step-mom: 1) that you will be facing stereotypes, i.e. "the wicked stepmother", 2) that it is a relationship born of loss (the loss of the original family unit), and 3) the reality that you will never be their "real" mother. She pretty much nailed it. If you are a step-mom, or you know a step-mom, this would be a great Mother's Day gift. It's a big help to know you aren't alone, and to have words to describe your experience.
My step-daughters are grown now, and married. I'm even a step-grandmother, although I hope the babies will just call me Jenni, because I don't much feel like a traditional Grandma.
I still don't really know what I'm doing, but I keep showing up. It's worth it.