What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot

by Liane Moriarty

Alice Love falls and hits her head during a gym session. She comes out of unconsciousness thinking she is 29 years old, happily married, and pregnant with her first child. It does not take long for her to realize that 10 years of her life are missing from her memory and that her life is actually now completely different from what she thinks it is. As she comes to terms with life as it is now, 10 years later, she is devastated to learn that she has three children that she does not remember and does not know at all, and her husband whom she adored has moved out of the house as they now plod through a bitter divorce.

The story is told from Alice’s vantage point. The confusion, her angst, her jumbled mismatched emotions overwhelm her as she tries to remember, tries to put the pieces of her life back together. At the same time, her sister Elizabeth, at her side, takes voice via letters to her psychiatrist, giving another dimension to life as it really is. There is also a third voice, that of Frannie, Alice’s grandmother, through letters to her dead fiancé. Although I found Elizabeth’s letters interesting as they added insight into Alice’s problems and even spawned a storyline of their own, I found Frannie’s letters to be more contrived and unnecessary.

Overall, I enjoyed What Alice Forgot. It is a captivating story of a woman’s battle with amnesia with some unexpected yet well-delivered twists and turns. Whether or not it is possible for a woman not to know her own children under such circumstances matters not, because the story comes across as believable and the “what if” is certainly food for thought.

Lessons Learned

I have a junk drawer. To be honest, I have several junk drawers, but only one is officially the junk drawer. It is in the kitchen. It houses stuff I know not what. I got a sudden urge to clean out the junk drawer, something I have never done before.

I had a junk drawer in my first house so many years ago. It, too, was in the kitchen. After five years of accumulating this and that, we moved from that New Jersey house to Jacksonville, Florida. At that time, I emptied the contents of the junk drawer into a plastic bag and placed that bag in a moving box. The bag was later stored in the garage, untouched. In the six years we lived in Jacksonville, I never once peeked into that bag, never in need of its contents, never even curious. Six years later, we moved again, this time to Tampa. In this move, that junk drawer did not go with us. Instead it went to the Jacksonville landfill – unopened. After all, I had a new junk drawer to deal with by that time.

So yesterday I learned about the contents of a junk drawer. I sorted pushpins here, rubber bands there, pens, postage stamps, assorted screws and nails and other random useless hardware, pliers, screwdrivers, twisties, hair doodads, and scraps of paper with important notations of which none have any meaning now. There were even 5 measuring tools: 3 metal retractable measuring tapes, 1 cloth measuring tape, and a 12-inch wooden ruler imprinted with the words “Property of Board of Education, City of New York.”

That day in Jacksonville when I tossed that never-opened plastic bag in the trash, I did the right thing. What’s more, I think all junk drawers should be dumped on an annual basis, contents never to be missed. 

I learned from my mother. She had an ironing pile…

BOOK REVIEW: The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch

by Donna Tartt

I have been reading this book forever! Okay, maybe just the past seven weeks but it feels like forever! It is 775 pages and there were times, and not just a few, that I found it difficult to find the impetus to pick up the book and continue reading.

The story is a good one though. A terrorist attack strikes an art museum in Manhattan and there are few survivors. Among the survivors is a 13-year-old boy, Theo Decker. Among the dead is Theo’s mother. Beautifully written, the bombing of the art museum and its immediate aftermath draw the reader immediately into the story, and the book begins as a hard and fast page-turner.

It is during that moment of terror that Theo impulsively grabs The Goldfinch, a small painting, a masterpiece painted in 1654 by Carel Fabritius, a painting that Theo knows well to be the absolute favorite of his mother. Theo spends all of his teen years and many years more protecting that painting, always looking over his shoulder, fearful of being discovered, his mind ever-occupied with worries about just how to protect it and how to return it.

From his turbulent teen years to adulthood in a world of art forgeries, theft, scandals, and fraud, Theo Decker travels through life with a monkey on his back. The storyline, however, takes many  tangential paths. Intrigue? Yes, I did want to know where Donna Tartt was taking me. The ending was satisfying, but getting there was oftentimes trying.

I can’t believe I read the whole thing.

 

Music on My Mind

From my newest blog, I Sing – You Sing, a cross-post. I Sing – You Sing is a Sing Along – a new and growing collection of songs – the music and the lyrics. Requests are welcome, too. Find your favorite songs all in one convenient location.and sing along.

*****     *****     *****     *****

My brother is with me today. He stands before me, elbows flexed, head bowed,  fists clenched and both index fingers extended upward. He is ready and his posture tells us so. At the first movement of his hands singing begins. Doe, a deer, a female deer…

We sang that song so many times in those early years, my brother’s voice loud and clear through his conducting – after dinner, at family gatherings, on long car rides and short. It seems as though if we were together, we were singing.

Doe, a deer
A female deer.
Ray a drop of golden sun…

Listen.

Ah, the memories!

What’s in a Name

Microsoft announced laying off 18,000 employees. Stunned by the number, I started to think about Microsoft’s product line. They really have not produced anything new or innovative in quite some time. Of course, there was the new Windows 8 operating system, something I am so afraid of that I pray nightly my 5-year-old computer lasts at least until the next hopefully better operating system comes along. Then there was their new tablet. What is its name?

As trains of thought go, I suddenly had renewed interest in that newest of tablets. So I googled it to learn more, to find out what made it better, special, different.

I googled “Microsoft Surplus.” I got a lot of hits and I perused the list looking for a description of the Microsoft tablet. Oddly, I could not find any specific information about the tablet itself. I found lots of articles talking about its poor sales and the fact that Microsoft has a huge surplus of those tablets sitting around unwanted. There was no information about its features.

So I went to youtube and looked for tutorials – you know, the kind of youtube video that would demonstrate how to use the Microsoft tablet. Nothing! How could that be?

Then it dawned on me! The tablet has a different name! I had the name wrong! It is not called Surplus; it is Surface.

Surface? The name of a tablet? Why?

Perhaps nobody else can remember the name of that tablet and that alone is why they do not sell and consequently why the whole company is falling apart Those tablets sit around in closets and warehouses waiting for someone to remember the name.

The Surface. Not a winning name for an electronic device. For a kitchen countertop, maybe.

The Surplus

 

Ernie Exposed

It has been said that Ernie is a myth. Whenever anybody is in our home (besides Sir Braver and me), Ernie hides. Ernie hides, in fact, if people make noise in the hallways or on our balcony, as repairmen may do from time to time. Sometimes Ernie hides under the couch, sometimes behind the drapes, and sometimes under the blanket on our bed. His choice of hiding place depends on how much protection and secrecy he needs for the occasion.

Ernie is camera-shy too. He runs if he sees a camera aimed at him. I do believe he likes the mystique he has created and does not want to shatter the myth that perhaps he does not even exist.

Today, however, Ernie was caught on camera.

I had created a cat toy that even Ernie could not resist. I crocheted a ball and stuffed it with cushy polyester fiberfill. In the center of the ball is a neatly embedded pouch of catnip. Working that catnip into the new toy during the creation process proved to be quite the challenge. Both Bert and Ernie wanted to play now!

On beginning play, the ball was pitched into center field. Both cats scurried to it. Then Bert grabbed hold quickly and marched it away. Ernie followed in close pursuit. Ernie settled down and watched Bert play, patiently waiting his turn. His patience wore thin, though, and soon Ernie tackled Bert and took control while Bert sat on the sideline and pouted.

Bert and Ernie continued taking turns until they both got completely tuckered out. Now I hope they sleep through the night. A gal can dream!

Here comes Ernie!

The Cup Runneth Over

I admit it – I have no interest in the World Cup. None. Zilch. Nada. Yet the frenzy surrounds me and I know not why.

It is as if soccer moms finally got their moment in time. Somehow they even got soccer dads to rally.

Our condo’s community room has been occupied for days and days and days primarily by one couple who have been totally captivated, and apparently have no cable connection to call their own. They sit on the couch, eyes glued to the TV. I do not think they have eaten or taken a bathroom break in weeks!

At breakfast this morning, the café we enjoy for Sunday brunch was packed with enthusiasts, chairs pulled up to the big screen TV mounted high on the wall. Even the owner was seated in the crowd. No one ate. No one drank. And when something happened on the field, every pair of arms in the place were raised up to the sky, in unison, accompanied by a chorus of elation.

I know Brazil did poorly; it was the cry heard around the world. I know that today is the final exhibition and is being played between Germany and Argentina. Who does one root for? The Gestapo or the SS? I am so confused.

It will be over soon. Then it is back to work, back to the mundane, back to same old/same old. What will Google do?