This month's pick?  Amy Tan's "The Bonesetter's Daughter."

There is no blurb from the back (at least from my copy), but The Anniston Star says, 

"An enchanting  story of a mother and daughter, the secrets they have kept from one another, and the common ground they finally come to occupy ...  A powerful, luminously written saga in which past and present are bound together into the tangled skein of a human life."

I didn't not like this book.  It was a powerfully written story about Ruth and her mother, Lu Ling.  About their relationship.  About Lu Ling's life before she moved to America. About how we often don't give our mothers enough credit.  I didn't not like this book.

I did feel, however, like I had read this book before.  In "The Joy Luck Club". In "The Kitchen God's
Wife."  In the spirit of fairness, should I give this more thought and think about the three books individually?  Probably.  I probably won't, though.  Discussion in book club was drawn to the relationship between Ruth and Lu Ling, as well as Lu Ling's relationship with her nursemaid in China, Precious Auntie.  It also centered around how strong we are.  How very, very strong.

Thumbs up all around.  My only caveat is this:  If you've read Tan's other works, go slowly through this one and treat it like it's its own.

And now, the Book Blizzard.   Huh. You get a lot of reading done waiting for Public Transportation.

All the Names, Jose Saramago:

Yes.  Absolutely.  Dense, but worth it.  A couple of times I stopped, thought to myself, "What are you trying to tell me, Gabriel Garcia Marquez?", realized it wasn't Marquez at all, and went slowly through.  It was tough, at times, navigating through what Senhor Jose was living and what he was thinking.  But, eh.  That's how it is with so many of us.

The Road, Cormac McCarthy.

You decide.  I'm just proud I made it all the way through.  I hadn't seen the movie. I won't be seeing the movie.   I do keep wondering what's holding society together, though.

First Session With Seniors, Forrest Scogin.

I'm ready for my internship.  So ready. In so many ways. Subject of a separate posting.

Queue's updated only to remove the completed books.  I wonder how wise it would be to pile on more that I may, but probably won't, be able to get through by the time school starts.

At the same time, my dear friends Kylee and Katelyn are coming to visit in a week and a half, and I'm sure Katelyn can fill up my queue by herself ...
I have been working my tookus off this summer (pun intended!) in a massive effort to lose some of this graduate school weight.  You know ... negligence on my part, long school hours, many hours sitting at my desk at the Very Large Hospital, exhaustion and whatever food was fastest and easiest to put in my mouth.

This, of course, is on top of the comfort weight I had already put on when Shoes and I started dating.  You know that story?  The one that includes lots of dinners out, bottles of wine, movie watching.

Enter Summer Project #1:  A complete overhaul of my diet, daily cardio and lifting, and a just say no to delicious Portland beers. 

And, the introduction of extra protein in my diet.

Directly after the introduction of protein powder, the prompt introduction of gagging.

Good Lord, people.  How do you DO this??  How can something so seeming innocuous wreak such havoc?

Immediate mature thought?  Give me something to chase this with ... NOW!

And then I remembered I'm not an alcoholic, and that I had bought the Dr. Pepper for just a taste and that it would be most inappropriate to my health plan to chug it.

I settled for:

And I settled for adding a small spoonful of Honey Greek Yogurt.
But still.

That stuff is terrible. 

Still, I'm pleased with the weight loss and inches lost.  No pictures of that, sorry.  That would be most indecent. 

Now, I just have to figure out how to carry this through the school year ... the real challenge ...

Despite all of my whining, we've done things this summer ...

Elizabeth and I had an intriguing time on Hawthorne.  She purchased the lovely outfit you see here.
Just kidding.

He was asking for it. 
Still on Hawthorne.

Shoes and I ate the WORST Chinese food EVER in Hermiston, Oregon.
I thought I remembered the place from high school.
I thought it was ok.
I was wrong.
So very wrong.
Immediate illness.
And now I am the butt of many, many jokes....
This chicken wing was an authentic Chinese fossil.

And I held this baby, whom I love.
He is so cuddly,
bare tummy and chunky baby arms.
His parents are two of the most lovely people I know,
brought to my life courtesy of Shoes.

And Shoes and I visited Mt. St.Helens.
On a Sunday afternoon.
Which we will never do again as there were people everywhere.
He grumbled about taking this photo;
I always ask him to contort his torso
to accommodate our feet.
What else is left for this summer?

Sarah's baby shower.
A trip to Kelso to see Ronna.
Textbook buying.
New employee orientation at the continuing care community
 for my internship.
Cooler weather.
A visit from Katelyn and Kylee.
A little bit of smushing to get everything in,
but it will work.
It always does.
.... please hurry.



It starts on the 27th and I'm ready.  I've been ready.  O, so ready.

What I really would have been ready for is to have this be my last year, but hindsight ... (o, how I hate to love you, hindsight ...).  This fall will bring the advent of Generalist (or:  How To Become a Truly Spectacular Social Worker) which will be coupled with my year long internship.  And, it will bring Social Work with Frail Older Adults.  And it will not bring research or statistics because I am DONE with those monkeys.

I feel like I had to scrap a little for my internship. AND my elective, come to think of it. I had asked for a Hospice / Bereavement internship and was granted an interview.  I knew something was not right when my interview panel asked more questions about art projects I am capable of doing rather than my other social work skills. 

I got nothin.  Art and I?  Not friends.

Needless to say, no hospice and bereavement placement for me.   They told me, "We're looking for someone a little younger who doesn't have as much work experience as you do."  Sorry, sista'. That's what almost 10 years in the field gets you:  experience.  Did somebody say ageism? I heard it too!  Ironic, because THEN I interviewed with a counselor at a continuing care community.  She was splendid.  Geriatric psychotherapy is spendid as well.  I'm superbly, splendidly thrilled to have this placement.

And the class I had to scrap for? 

As a 2nd year, 3 year co hort, I'm not ELIGIBLE to take MANY of the electives because they're all cross referenced to a series of classes 3 year co horts don't take in their first year.  Also, because I have not taken these classes, I register a day later than the rest of the student body. I had to email, advocate, put my foot down, but I finally did get the SW with Frail, Older Adults.

I am NOT excited about plunking down $600  of my hard earned dollars for books the first term.

I AM excited about working with the elderly.

I am NOT excited about more group projects.

I AM excited about writing papers.

I am NOT excited about 2010's congressional elections.  That is the story of a different posting that will never appear on this blog but one that I will war with internally for months.

Go forth, do good, get EDUCATED about your candidates and VOTE when you have a chance.

And, love your elderly.

And, love your local graduate students.
truly, i am a champion.  i can speak on the phone with almost anyone, leak buckets and buckets of tears and have one be none the wiser.

thursday afternoon handed me a subpeona.  specifically, the vineyard town prosecuting attorney's office handed me a subpeona to testify at a contested change of placement hearing for my one remaining guardian ad litem case.  i have worked with this young man since he was 10.  he is 13 now.  they are all difficult cases - foster care cases (which affect real children).  this, however.

this is 3 1/2 years of my best social work.  my most diligent advocacy.  long days, long nights, long weekends.  long reports.  long court hearings.  long conversations with him in which i wished upon everything i am and had and have and could offer that i could do more.  that we could do more.  that he could have more.

kid, if i could, i would give you everything.

i was expecting an hour of court.  it turned into almost 4.  4 hours of surprises and a kid's attorney who became very, very assertive with a parent who was on the stand.  4 hours of three attorneys and two guardian ad litems and two parents and a total of 8 counselors.  and one judge who has had it. 

i couldn't stay for closing arguments.  (more on that in a moment).  i had to come back to portland in the early afternoon.  my close confidant and worker in the trenches called me to let me know that the judge's final ruling is that we forgo reunification and pursue permanency with relatives.

voice calm, i wept.  wept because this is exactly what my kid has been pleading for.  wept because i know, i know, he will be safe now.  wept because the system believed him.  wept because we could have gotten here much, much sooner.  wept because i'm tired. 

and when my coworker said that the judge stated on the record how much my casework meant to him, how thankful he was that i had stayed on the case for this long, and how much he appreciated my coming back for this hearing (did he forget I was subpeonaed?), i wept a little harder.

as a general rule, we don't hear thank you.

we're not done with this case yet, but this is big.  so big.

shoes plays into this story too.  i bought my car 12 years ago, and it has served me well, but it is tired, too, and no longer enjoys long car trips.  to ensure i could testify, over the course of 2 days, shoes drove 4 hours to portland, drove me 4 hours to the vineyard town, drove me 4 hours back to portland, and then left early this morning so he could go back to work, yes, 4 hours away in the vineyard town.   honestly.  really.  what would i do without him?  what would i do without somebody to decompress with?  who else would calm me down before testifying with his specific brand of attorney soothing?

who else, when i hang up the phone and weep openly, would hand me a tissue and say, "you helped make a kid's life better today"? 

i'm tired tonight.  but i have a full heart.
summer slips slowly.

too slowly.

i'm not a fantastic vacationer.  i'm working just 20 hours a week.  that's it.  other than that, i have absolutely no obligations, other than my courtesy CASA case, which takes approximately 2 hours.  a month.

sounds lovely, i know.  it's not.

book club, the minimal amount it asks from me keeps me afloat. as do my nightly conversations with Shoes. as do the periodic visits from good friends.  as does a daily hour long workout.  as does a complete diet overhaul.  as do my afternoons at the driving range.  as does ... as does ... as does ...

good lord, somebody give me *something* to sink my teeth into.  i will not even TELL you what kind of bad TV i've been watching lately.  worse than usual.  much, much worse ... (o, you jersey shore nightmares - literally - after one episode, you gave me nightmares ...)

i am really reaching here.  listless most of the time.  hungrily look to the next visitor, or visit, or the next time i'll see Shoes.

when does shool begin .... the last monday of september?

meh ....