The Past Week

Misquamicut Beach, photo by Mark Reynolds of the Providence Journal
  • Monday brought Hurricane Sandy to Rhode Island. We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary waiting for the power to go out (it never did), watching some coverage on television, and reading (I finished “Every Last One” by Anna Quindlen). Fearing a loss of electricity, I made a chicken soup early in the morning, so we ate a lot of soup on Monday. Our dear friends in New York and New Jersey have a long road ahead of them, and our thoughts are with them as they struggle to rebuild.
  • Hallowe’en was uneventful. When we moved to a condo six years ago, we lost out (if you want to look at it that way) on dozens of children parading around the neighborhood, from sundown until we turned the lights off. One year, I remember three way-too-old teenagers showing up just before nine o’clock. They just stood there on our front step: no chirpy “trick or treat!” They were a little scary looking. I think one of the girls may have had a cigarette dangling from her lip (not a prop, it was lit). I acted cool and handed them the rest of our candy, locked the door and turned off the lights.
  • The roller coaster life we live with an elderly parent continued. A couple of months ago, my husband and I decided that it would be smart if we sold our condo, put his father’s house on the market, and buy a new place where his father could live, independently and privately, but with us (that would be either a duplex or a house with a separate in-law apartment). For numerous reasons, this was a good idea, although we knew we’d be making some sacrifices. And for all of you who have the struggle of dealing with an elderly parent, you will understand that there is a lot of emotion involved. My husband is an only child, so the responsibility falls to him alone. When dementia first took hold of my mother ten years ago, my two sisters and I joined forces to share the burden (and I use that word with love) of taking care of all the issues that arose.  Well, my father-in-law at first dismissed the plan, then embraced it. Then, this week, he dismissed it outright and last night he was ready to embrace it again. My husband, so wise, so good, gently told his father that we were scrapping the idea, that we wouldn’t put him through it, and everything would remain as it was. <sigh> At this point, with an unhealthy, 80-year-old father, this is probably the best decision.
  • And then National Novel Writing Month kicked off on Thursday! Last weekend, I took my notebook (no, the kind with paper in it) and pen to my local Barnes and Noble bookstore, bought a “grande” Salted Caramel skinny hot chocolate (looked it up online after – 310 calories, 3g of fat, 66g of carbs, 2g of fiber – really?), and began to plot out my new book. I’m still writing “The Reunion,” and am hoping a different, catchier title comes to me at some point, but I wanted to start fresh for NaNo. So I decided to write a sequel to my début novel, “Chocolate for Breakfast.” I’m moving right along, trying not to edit as I go, and I’m having a blast!
  • Finally, some very good chicken escarole soup for a chilly weekend where we gained an extra hour of sleep last night. No wonder I’m so rested!

Q is for Anna Quindlen

Anna Quindlen has been writing for more than 30 years, both fiction and non-fiction.  Her “Last Word” column appeared in Newsweek magazine.    She started out as a reporter for the New York Post, and worked for The New York Times from 1977 to 1994.  In 1992 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.
In 1995, Anna Quindlen became a full-time novelist.  Of her best-selling novels, my favorite is Black and Blue (1998).   The main character, Fran Benedetto, stayed married to her abusive cop husband, because she wanted her son to have a father.  And like so many abused wives, she still professed love for her husband, even after he left bruises on her.  But seeing her son’s face one night after her husband Bobby had knocked her around made her realize she had to leave, with her son.  She flees, she uses a new name, and tries to find peace, but she’s always looking over her shoulder, knowing that her husband has ways of finding her.  That it’s just a matter of time.
“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” ~ Anna Quindlen