Saturday, January 31, 2015

Happy 17th Birthday Darian

Before our very eyes he is growing into a man. From such a little blonde haired boy to the 'almost' man he is today. Happy Birthday Darian. I love you more than you will ever know!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Agnes Hahn

From Barnes and Noble:

At the age of four Agnes Hahn went to live with her great aunts Gert and Ella. Now Gert is deceased and Ella is in a care home in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. Her life is mundane, her work at the animal shelter routine. And then she is arrested for a string of unimaginably heinous murders. Reporter Jason Powers is covering the murders, but he has more than newspaper copy in mind; this case has bestseller potential. He soon uncovers a tangle of Hahn family secrets and one both shocks and intrigues him—Agnes has a twin. Just when Powers is breaking through Ella’s dementia to put together the puzzle behind the carnage, Ella is murdered by another of the family secrets, Gert and Ella’s brother Eddie. Then Eddie is murdered with clear fingerprint evidence implicating Agnes. When Powers unearths the final family secret he also answers a nagging question: Why did the aunts take only Agnes thirty years ago?

I really liked this book. It was interesting and held my attention all the way to the end. I love mysteries. I am not going to say anymore because I do not want to give away the ending. If you are a mystery lover, give this a try. I got it free from Barnes and Noble. I know there is a sequel and I will be reading it too. 

Friday Letter January 30th Edition

I'd love to have you join me for Friday Letters. You may copy and use my postcard if you like. And sign the link-up too. Or just write your letters and tell me in the comments so I can come and read yours.

Dear Darian:

I think you made the right decision. You didn't take the easy way out and switch to General English. You are staying with Honors English and Promise to buckle down. Both Mr. Knapp and me have faith in you.

Dear Basketball Coach:

All it really takes is a simple email to the parents to let us know you are changing practice times. You don't have any trouble sending us all an email when you want help with food for the team. Respect us enough to let us know when our kids will be getting out of practice. That's all!

Dear Mother Nature:

What can I say? You have been so nice to us here in Kansas this week. A little town not far away was all the way up to 80*. But I understand it is winter. 40* will be okay for now.

Dear Darian:

Oh my goodness. You are turning 17! I cannot believe it. And I cannot believe that you are talking to an Army recruiter! Even though you are almost 6 feet tall, you will always be my favorite grandson (alright you are the only biological grandson) and my little blonde haired boy. You will always be the one whose chubby little arms could take away my heartache when you wrapped them around my neck and whispered in my ear, "I love you granny." You can still do that! I love you Darian. I love the man you are becoming.

Dear School District:

Yes the bond issue passed. Not because I voted for it. Nor will my (live-in) grandkids benefit from the $10 million dollar Sports additions. Now, can we quit? My taxes can't take much more. We just built a new school and remodeled 3 others. Try to be happy with what you have for now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Monday was my mom's birthday. Remember last Thursday  I shared a picture of her with my siblings and me on her 80th birthday? On the same day we took pictures of each of us siblings with our families. Here is the one taken of Richard and me and 5 of our grandchildren. This is when we had custody of Darian and Harley the first time they lived with us. I am holding Paige. And the big girls are Darian and Harley's half sisters. I love this picture. We all looked almost happy!!

Sex in the Prime Time

I am fully aware this is 2015. My childhood was a long, long time ago. I grew up in a house without a TV, for the most part. Most of our TV watching took place at my grandparents house. Grandparents who were in control of what we watched. But, then with only 3 channels, there wasn't much to watch anyway. Children's programming was pretty much unheard of. We did have Captain Kangaroo in the early mornings before school. And the Mickey Mouse Club in the afternoons. Never was sex on TV. Heck, Lucy and Ricky, on the I Love Lucy Show, slept in twin beds. So did Dick Van Dyke and his wife. And I don't think I ever saw June and Ward Cleaver under the covers. 

Over the past couple of months, on prime time TV, we have seen two or three gay sex scenes. Both women and men. I changed the channel when one guy bent another guy over a dresser, while nuzzling his neck from behind. TOO MUCH INFORMATION. My grandchildren were both sitting right in the room. No warnings of any kind that this was coming. Both of them went "ewwww" and Harley covered her eyes and her ears. 

Now don't get me wrong. I am not just opposed to gay sex scenes. Is nothing left to the imagination. Many of the shows on prime time TV take the heterosexual scenes right up to the line. If they showed one more second of a 'sex scene' it would be considered pornography. Whatever happened to leaving a bit to the imagination. 

Many of the comedy shows aren't even funny anymore. I'm thinking 2 Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men. For crying out loud, if we removed all the sex and the sexual innuendos would there even be 2 minutes of show left. I don't think so.

I question what is on TV that is suitable to watch with kids in the room. I like TV! I love more adult like shows. But that doesn't mean I want to see SEX all over my screen.  

And while I'm at it we might as well talk about commercials. Erectile dysfunction (explain that to an 8 year old), period pads, incontinence pads, Trojan anything products...get my drift. Makes me uncomfortable. Makes my grand kids uncomfortable. I am thinking it makes most of America uncomfortable. I wonder if it is really necessary. 

I am not a prude! What do you think? Is it too much or do I just need to quit watching TV?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

It is fun to join Carol and the gang writing posts about "Ten" on Tuesday. This week the prompt is  TEN TYPES OF FOOTWEAR YOU OWN.  I was just going to take a pass (because I'm not a shoe person) but here goes with my paltry offering.

My Types of Footwear

1. First and foremost comes my Crocs. I have been wearing Crocs for a number of years. I have 4 pair of Crocs. My favorite pair is the Retro Clog pictured here. There is always a pair of my old Crocs sitting by the front door for anyone to slip on and run outside. We call them the 'family crocs'. I wear Crocs year-round. With socks in the winter; without in the summer.

2. If it gets really, really cold and there is snow on the ground then I will toss the Crocs and put on my boots. They aren't a real Ugg boot but they are just as UGGLY. LOL! And, once again, others in the family have been known to wear them if needed.

3. And the last pair of shoes I own are a pair of boat shoes I can put on with slacks if I am going somewhere my Crocs are really just inappropriate. (Although I can't think anywhere that would be). These aren't exactly like mine but they are close enough. 

That's it! A shoe-hound I am not. Years ago I told myself (after ankle reconstruction and bunion surgery) that I would NEVER again wear a pair of high heels. And I haven't. How women can walk around in those things is a mystery to me. I am tall (5'10") so I don't need the height. And they are just too stinking uncomfortable, in my opinion. I quit wearing sneakers too. I have a hammertoe and I like lots of room in the toe area. Hence, Crocs. Harley tells me I can't possibly be a "real" woman because I don't own enough shoes and I hate to go shoe shopping. I'll leave that up to her. She owns plenty!! 

Take yourself over to Carol Knits to join the link-up. And visit some of the others to see what kind of shoes our friends are wearing.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook-January 26th Edition


January 26, 2015 Today would have been my mother's 92 birthday! Rip Mom! I miss you

Outside my window...

I always write my day-book at night. Sometime around midnight. The sky is clear and the stars are shining. It is 34* right now. And they are saying that it will be 70* today. Also for the next couple of days. I will open the windows and air the house out. Back down to winter temperatures by next weekend. 

I am thinking...

I am thinking that Darian should probably try to see if he can get in a different English class. He is struggling so with this Honor's English. Wouldn't it be better to just put him in the regular class and let him excel? It will be something for me to ponder.

I am thankful...

I am very thankful for all that I have. I do not need anything more right now. We have enough!

In the kitchen...

Monday...Hamburgers and french fries
Wednesday...Church night
Saturday...Happy 17th Birthday Darian
Spaghetti with meat balls, garlic bread and Birthday cake. He chose this meal.
Sunday...Chicken and Broccoli Rice casserole

I am wearing...

What do I wear? I wear yoga pants and tee shirts. Nothing different today. Pant are grey and shirt is teal with strips in white.

I am creating...

I am creating my Valentine Mantle. I put all the stuff out this weekend and thought the girls would like to decorate it. They didn't. So I will!

I am going...

I am going grocery shopping tomorrow (Monday). I am not a fan of grocery shopping but it has to be done.

I am wondering...

I am wondering if anyone would like to come do my shopping! Any takers!

I am reading...

I just finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova (my review is the post below this). I am getting ready to start reading Agnes Hahn By Richard Satterlie. It was a Friday Freebie on Barnes and Noble. We'll see what I think.

I am hoping...

I am hoping the whole 'deflategate' goes away this week. I am rather tired of hearing it on the news. I am not a big football fan and it sounds like poor losers to me.

I am looking forward to...

I am looking forward to this week's warmer weather. I think I will get outside more. Try to do some walking. Might even fix my lunch and eat it out in the sun! Come on over. 

I am learning...

I am learning that we all go through grief differently. I am wondering if Darian is showing his grieving through his grades. Something for me to think about.

Around the house...

Around the house this week I am going to finish the kitchen. I only have a few cabinets and drawers to do. I have 3 big boxes to take to Goodwill. Then I will start on the laundry room closet. I am going to put shelves in that closet and make it a pantry.

I am pondering...

I am pondering how to better help the kids with their homework. Man, I am not any good at Algebra so that will require the call to the tutor. But I am pretty good with English. I should be able to assist them in that way.

A favorite quote for today...

 I'm learning to paddle my own canoe!

One of my favorite things...

I have always loved decorating for all the holidays.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

We have no games or wrestling meets this week (until Saturday) so just practices and quiet nights at home. 

A peek into my day...

Since it is Mom's birthday, instead of sharing a picture of what we are doing, I wanted to share one of the last pictures that was taken of her. She is here with Paige and Pinky Pie. A stuffed pig. Paige and I both loved Pinkie Pie. And we both loved Grandma Ping. Love you Mom!

I will link up with The Simple Woman's Blog! Won't you join us?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Still Alice

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
This may be one of the most frightening novels you'll ever read. It's certainly one of the most unforgettable. Genova's debut revolves around Alice Howland - Harvard professor, gifted researcher and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children. One day, Alice sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. It's a route she has taken for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Is her forgetfulness the result of menopausal symptoms? A ministroke? A neurological cancer? After a few doctors' appointments and medical tests, Alice has her diagnosis, and it's a shocker -- she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease. 

What follows is the story of Alice's slow but inevitable loss of memory and connection with reality, told from her perspective. She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book, or to recall information she heard just moments before. To Genova's great credit, readers learn of the progression of Alice's disease through the reactions of others, as Alice does, so they feel what she feels -- a slowly building terror.

In Still Alice, Genova, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard, uniquely reveals the experience of living with Alzheimer's. Hers is an unusual book -- both a moving novel and an important read.

WOW! I just finished reading this book and all I will remember Alice for a long time. I have taken care of many older people with Alzheimer's in my nursing career. I have never known them before they acquired the disease. I can not begin to imagine what they were going through as they knew what was happening to them. I think for all people who know someone with Alzheimer's disease, this should be required reading. The author did such a good job with her descriptions. I wish they would have taken the story even further. But maybe there will be a second book in the future. It is such an ugly disease. And this book describes it so well. The book was a really quick read. And I will think of Alice often. You should read it!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Friday Letters-

Feel free to copy my postcard to use on your post. And please join the link-up below so that we can share our weeks with each other.

Dear Ruth (at Living Well/Spending Less):

Thank you so much for doing all the work for me on the 10 freezer meals. So far we have eaten the Chicken Broccoli which was delicious. Not a spoonful left. And the Sweet Spicy Chines chicken was pretty good. Harley wants me to make it again.

Dear Darian:

Yes, you need to know how to do Algebra. It might not present itself to you in the same way that you are learning it at school right now, but there will be times you will want to know how to figure something out. So quit coming up with excuses and get your math done!

Dear Harley:

Your hair looks beautiful. On your head! Pick up the hair when you clean your brush and throw it in the wastebasket. Please!

Dear Mother Nature:

I have been loving the temperatures. Wish it would last until spring. Anything above 30* is nice. Sad to hear that you are about to send us another deep freeze! Pooh!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Do you know how much I like looking through my pictures to find ones to post for Throwback Thursday? Such memories to live over and over. 

This picture was taken on my mom's 80th birthday. January 26, 2003. We had a big birthday party at my house and all of us were here. 

Pictured are: My sister, Claudia (red shirt)

My brother Fred (striped shirt, he is Claudia's twin)

My baby brother Rich (white shirt) He is now totally white haired. LOL!

My oldest brother Chuck (denim jacket) And me on the right of mom!  (I'm pretty grey now too)

Do you like old pictures too?


I don't look on this day as a day to celebrate. But it is an anniversary. It is 6 months since Richard died. Twenty-six weeks. One hundred and eighty-two days. It feels like the last time I saw him was years ago. Yet when I close my eyes I can tell it was only just yesterday. Yesterday when I picked up his hand and held it so tightly in my own. As if to quietly tell him, "please don't go."

What bothers me the most, I think, is not knowing how he is doing. Is he well again and enjoying the newness of where he is. We will never know the answers to these questions. We, the ones who are still here on this earth. We can only hope that what has been promised is the truth. I can only hope that the promise of seeing him again is real!
Christmas 2004 after his heart surgery

I thought (in all those months when he was so sick yet still alive) by the time that half a year had passed I would be better. I believed that I would grieve his passing. But that I would soon be a part of the living and starting a new life without him. But I'm not. I haven't moved an inch forward. I have yet to clear out his belongings. His shirts still hang in the laundry room. His glasses still lie on the hallway table. His after-shave still sits in the medicine cabinet. Just where everything was before he left. I have no desire, at this point, to change a single thing. 

Is the grieving moving forward? I wish that I could say yes. But when the pain hits me it is as if I just lost him. And the pain is greater than even the day he left. My throat closes up and I can barely breathe. My chest hurts. I sob, those great gulping sobs of someone who is in so much pain. The ones you cry if you have lost someone you love so much. My soul mate. Those who have lost one so close to them know what I mean. This isn't like my father dying. Or my mother. Or in any way grandparents that I never grieved the loss of. No, this is like losing a bit of me. A huge part of my heart. A big part of my life. And parts that I won't get back.
In his beloved Colorado with his three beloved grandchildren

I don't write much about the grief anymore. Because I don't think you, my readers, will find it all that interesting. Because I can hear people saying (or at least thinking) it is time for me to move on. I will NEVER move on. I will NEVER get over missing the person who used to be the center of my world. The first person that I thought of each morning. And the last person I saw every single night for the last 35+ years. I will think of him everyday. I will talk to him every night. And I will continue to count these anniversaries that mean so much to ONLY me.

It has been 6 months. 6 long, fast months.I still don't call myself a widow. I guess I will always think of him as my husband and I am his wife. There will never be another love like this one in my life. Never! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

It IS Tuesday. But it feels like Monday. Must be because we had a 3-day weekend with the kids home yesterday. It was Martin Luther King day. But, that's not why they were home. It was a teacher workday at school. Their first semester just ended. Teachers need a day to close that out and get ready for second semester. It's always on Martin Luther King day. No matter what. We just don't say we are out of school for Martin Luther King. Guess it is politically correct that way. Any how it is Tuesday. Time for Carol Knits Ten on Tuesday.

10 Things I'm Happy About Right Now

1. I am happy I don't have to get up and go to work in the mornings. I'm not sleeping well and that would just suck.

2. I am happy for my French vanilla laced coffee.

May 2014
3. I am happy that I have gotten back to books and getting time to read again.

4. I am happy that I have one recording of Richard's voice. I listen to it over and over. You can hear it here.

5. I am happy that I am making some progress on organizing my home. I might not be doing huge sections at a time. But I am at least doing some. 

6. I am happy that How To Get Away with Murder starts again soon. It is my new favorite TV show and I have missed it during the winter break.

7. I am happy that I have some freezer meals on hand. We ate the Chicken Broccoli Rice casserole for dinner last night. It was DELICIOUS!

8. I am happy that it is 42* outside and not 2*. Sadly, though, winter will be returning this week.

9. I am happy that the kids went back to school today. I love them. But I love a quiet house too. Sorry!

10. I am happy that I have just said "I am happy" 10 times. That counts for something doesn't it?

What are you happy about today? I'd love to hear. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook -January 19th Edition

It's Monday. Time for another edition of Simple Woman's Daybook. To join in with the others go check out The Simple Woman's Blog and join us today.


January 19, 2015

Outside my window...

Outside my window it was dark with a clear sky. The stars look close enough to pluck right out of the sky. The air is cold and crisp. But not freezing. We are enjoying a warm spell. It won't last.

I am thinking...

I am thinking it will be nice to have Harley home from school tomorrow to help me finish in the kitchen. Won't she be thrilled :)

I am thankful...

I am thankful that I am healthy. And mostly happy. Things could be so much worse. 

In the kitchen...

My Menu plan for this week is:
Tuesday...Corn Dogs and French Fries
Wednesday...Church for kids; salad for me
Saturday...Cranberry Chicken
Sunday...Balsamic Roast Beef with potatoes and carrots

I am wearing...

I am wearing my uniform of the season. Yoga pants (that have never been to yoga) a tee shirt and long, warm socks. 

I am creating...I am creating more space in my pantry. I have been cleaning out the food cabinets and throwing away a lot of expired, unused items. 

I am going...I am going to have to go to the grocery store to replace some things that needed to be tossed.

I am wondering...

I am wondering just how long we will continue to have temperatures in the upper 50's.

I am reading...

I just finished Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. My review is below this post. 

I am hoping...

I am hoping for another good week. One day at a time seems to work.

I am looking forward to...

I can't think of anything that I am looking forward to except for spring. 

I am learning...

I am learning that raising kids, the second time around, is not harder but just different. And more tiring.

Around the house...

This is week 3 of the 14 week organizing challenge. So far I haven't completed one week. But I keep working on all of them. So I am not behind. I'm just not done. Does that even make sense?

I am pondering...

I am pondering on exactly how I want to arrange the cabinets now that I have so much empty space. Any good ideas on how to set up a kitchen?

A favorite quote for today...

One of my favorite things...

Since Richard died I have been doing lots of reading again. One of my favorite things.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Another week much like the last one. Practices and school and church. No in town games this week. 

A peek into my day...

Since I don't have a picture to share this week I leave you with this Bible Verse:



"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

From the award-winning author of Eleanor&ParkFangirl, and Landline comes a hilarious and heartfelt novel about love in the workplace.

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

That's what Barnes & Nobel has to say.....What I have to say is how can you NOT like a book that is written by an author by the name of Rainbow Rowell? 

I liked this book. It was light reading. And funny. And romantic. And a tiny bit sad. All the reasons to read a book. Right?

I liked the main character, Lincoln. I wonder if he looked like what we imagine a geek to look like. Or if he is more of a "cute guy". 

This was just a delightful piece of 'chick lit' except the main character is a guy. That makes it unusual right there. And another reason that probably made me like it so much is that I once had a 'fantasy' relationship much like this...mine didn't end like this. And I don't know if I will ever tell anyone about it.....but, I do recommend you read the book.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Bit of Time in the Kitchen.

Boy was I productive today. Harley and I got into the kitchen and made up ten freezer meals. I have found that if I have a meal in the freezer, ready to pop into the crockpot or the oven, I am much less likely to drive through a fast food place at the end of the day. At Living Well Spending Less, Ruth has a series of TEN AWESOME FREEZER MEALS in Just One Hour. Today we put up ten meals from part 4.
It was pretty simple to do. But it took us closer to three hours to do all the prep and all the packaging. At the end of the day, though, I am pleased to have ten meals in my freezer. It was fun to cook with Harley and teach her some cooking tips. These are the meals we made:

1. Easy Chicken& Rice Casserole

2. Easy Ham & Bean Soup

3. Simple Cranberry Chicken

4. Balsamic Roast Beef

5. Sweet & Spicy Chinese Chicken.

Visit Living Well Spending Less for lots of other recipes and ideas. I'll let you know how they taste next week. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Friday Letters

I used to write Friday Letters. Then I stopped. Now I want to do it again. Feel free to join me if you'd like.

Dear Weather:

I am so glad that you have stopped with the freezing cold temperatures. We are supposed to get all the way up to 60* tomorrow.

Dear Wrestling Coach:

There wasn't any reason for you to act like a jerk. It doesn't make the wrestlers like or respect you. Maybe you are the one who needs to relax. And treat all the boys the same. After all you are the coach.

Dear Hospice:

No I don't need anything. Contacting me almost six months later leaves me a bit cold. Where were you when I needed you?

Dear Self:

Keep working on that attitude. Thursday was a tough day!

Dear Family:

I love you guys! You are what keeps me going!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday

These pictures were taken in November 2006. Justin and his family had moved to Olathe, Kansas (about 3 hours from us) in the summer of 2005 and Paige started school there in the fall. Grandparents aren't supposed to have favorite. We all know that! But this little girl and her Papa always had a really tight connection. From the very day she was born right up until the day he died. He talked about her as if she were his own child. He loved her so much.

These were taken during her First Grade Year! We had driven up to eat lunch with her at school. In fact, we went there or she came to our house at least every other week. I know that 3 hours isn't very far away, but we felt like she had moved to China. We were used to seeing her every single day.

Now one another note....I don't know why I ever wore my hair like that. Yuck! It was too long and too curly. What was I thinking? One of those bad hair years for this granny.

The Goldfinch

Overview (From Barnes and Noble)

"The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind....Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction."—Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review
Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love—and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

I just finished reading this and I am torn between waiting to write my review and doing it immediately. While what I think is still right here at the tips of my fingers.Or so closely on my mind, if you know what I mean.
 This book was long..772 pages long. Very good characters. Well developed. I felt like I knew them intimately. I was bothered(much like I was in the book Tell the Wolves I'm Home) by the fact that a young boy is allowed to wander about on the streets of New York without much parental supervision. But, then there wouldn't be a story, would there?
 In this story, the narrator, Theo Dekker, becomes an orphan, the day the museum he is visiting with his mother, blows up. He leaves the museum with an old and valuable painting. It is thrust upon him by an old, dying from the blast, man, along with the man's ring and the address on where to deliver it. He makes his way, first, to live with a wealthy family whose son was a school friend.
 And finally into the life of Hobie, the friend of the dying man from the museum.
 The story is about the painting, The Goldfinch, which Theo keeps for himself and wraps his entire life around. There were several moments when I didn't think I could continue with the story. Lots and lots of words that I am not sure added to it. But, in the end, I always went back to see what was going on with Theo and Boris (one of the best characters in the book, I think)  I am so glad that I stayed with it until the end. This is the kind of book that I would want to read again. But there are just too many other stories out there calling my name.