Sunday, August 31, 2008

Review of Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children

The author of Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children has lived the nightmare that the book is about; she has an adult son that has failed to grow up and take responsibility for living a productive life. Instead, he has been involved in drugs, in and out of jails, and has tried to shift the blame and responsibility for his life choices onto the author and her husband. From the pain she experienced going through this, she learned the lessons she writes about in the book.

When a parent has a problem adult child, there are certain steps that must happen in order for things to change. The first is that the parent must accept and take responsibility for enabling the child. This could consist of paying their way rather than having them get a job, providing legal help, cashing in retirement funds so that their child can avoid consequences, or a myriad of other ways parents enable rather than help their child. Once the parent accepts their enablement and the consequences of it, they are ready to let the child face the consequences of their choices, even when it causes pain and embarrassment to the parent and the family.

Allison Bottke has formed a group to help parents in this situation. Called Sanity Supports, it serves as a safe place for parents to come and share their anguish, as well as having a support group to help them make the tough decisions and stick by them. The website for this group and the principles shared in the book is . Sanity is the acronym she uses for the six-step program she lays out. These steps are:

S = Stop enabling, stop blaming yourself, and stop the flow of money
A = Assemble a support group
N = Nip excuses in the bud
I = Implement rules and boundaries
T = Trust your instincts
Y = Yield everything to God

The book is written from a Christian standpoint, and while there is much valuable information for everyone, it's unclear how those of other religious faiths or those who are agnostic would receive the book. However, this is Bottke's experience, and separating God from the other steps she took is not possible. In addition to the six-step program, there are also valuable resources throughout the book. She lists many other books and authorities that parents in this situation can research. This book is recommended for those parents who are facing this difficult life situation.

Wild Week

It has been a wild week here. We got over 10 inches of rain from tropical storm Fay in three days. In addition, on Wednesday we had tornado warnings and sightings. April spent an hour and a half in the school stairwell, crouched into the tornado position. That was pretty scary for her. In a totally bonehead moment, I left the car window down one night and got rain in the car. Now I need to find a way to eliminate the smell left behind.

There were also good things in the past week. Rex put a new lock on the back door, and it is one of those that uses a digital code rather than a key to lock and unlock. That is so much easier for April, and it eliminates the issue of locking yourself out of the car.

April started taking piano lessons this week. I think she'll really like them, but we did have to give up Girl Scouts. There are just so many hours in a week and you can't do everything. This leaves her with dance, GA's at church, and then piano. In January, we'll add cheerleading on Saturdays. In addition, I'm trying to find some cooking classes that work with our schedule as she really enjoys those.

This was a banner week for new books. I received the following: The Snake Charmer by Jamie James, Death's Half Acre by Margaret Maron, Bad Seeds In The Big Apple by Patrick Downey, Good-bye And Amen by Beth Gutcheon, The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton, The Road Home by Rose Tremain which is the 2008 Orange Prize winner, King Of Nod by Scott Fad, Loving-Living-Party Going by Henry Green and The House At Riverton by Kate Morton. I finished a self-help book named Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children by Allison Bottke, and my review is on this page.

We had a very social Saturday. We have friends that have been in our lives for 20 years or more, and they are great people. They have three adult children, all married and with children. We've retained a relationship with all of them over the years. Yesterday the youngest child had a birthday party for her baby and husband. The baby just turned one, and the husband hit the dreaded forty. It was so much fun to go to this cookout and catch up on all their lives. Then Saturday evening a neighbor had a birthday party for their twin daughters, who turned eighteen. They are special girls, and April looks up to them as mentors and friends. Another fun time but too much food and cake!

Today is catch up time. April has a bug project due where we had to catch various categories of bugs and now have to mount and label them. Since she is scared of bugs, you can imagine how much fun this will be. I want to get a kitchen catchall drawer cleaned out, and I brought home some work from the office. There's laundry, grocery shopping and errands to be done, so this should be a busy day. See you all next weekend when I post the weekly digest. Hope you have a grand week.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Guns, Germs and Steel

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
I found this book to be incredibly interesting. Dr. Diamond, a professor of geography at UCLA and a National Medal of Science recipient, explores why some cultures were more successful than others over time in establishing civilizations and exporting their civilizations to other regions.
His basic premise is that there is no evidence that the successful cultures contained individuals of any higher intelligence on the whole than those cultures that were not successful, nor is there an innate difference between humans in different societies. Rather, successful societies became so because of a geographic luck of the draw. Those areas that were hospitable to domisticating large animals and food stuffs tended to have successful civilizations. If there was any other determining factors, it was physical obstacles such as mountain ranges that tended to discourage migration, and tribal size. Sheer numbers of humans tended to result in more successful societies as there were more inventors and more innovations to adopt.
I found this book fascinating. Dense with facts, I immediately turned back to the first page and started rereading when I finished, as there was much too much information for me to take in and assimilate as I'd like to on one reading. It is evident why this book won the Pulitizer Prize.

The Smart One

The Smart One by Ellen Meister
Title: The Smart One
Author: Ellen Meister
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-112962-9
Genre: Women's Fiction, Family Relationships, Humor
Reviewed by: Sandie Kirkland

Bev Bloomrosen is having a midlife crisis. She's 35, and hoping to change careers and start teaching art, hopefully moving from New York to Las Vegas. She's divorced, unattached and still embroiled in sibling rivalries with her two sisters. Clare, the oldest, is known as "the pretty one" and is married with two children, perfectly happy as far as Bev knows. Joey, her younger sister and "the talented one", is a former rock star and drug addict. That leaves Clare in the middle, known as "the smart one" but wondering what to do with her life.

While she waits to hear about the Las Vegas job, her summer gets complicated. First of all, there's the issue of Kenny Waxman, the boy next door who broke her heart in high school. Kenny is living in his parents' house while they try to sell it and also at loose ends waiting to hear about a job. Bev finds him just as appealing now as she did twenty years ago, but should she take the plunge and get involved again with him? Then there is Clare, whose marriage is not as happy as it seemed and who is contemplating an affair. Bev feels she needs to stop this and gets involved with the man she suspects is the one Clare is attracted to, her contractor, Leo. Joey is mysterious, disappearing for days then back involved in family matters. To top things off, the sisters make a grusome discovery, an industrial drum stored under the Waxman's house which contains a pregnant woman's body. Who is responsible for her pregnancy and death?

While this all sounds grim, Ellen Meister writes about these situations in a lighthearted manner, making them seem like normal family issues and bringing them to a successful resolution. The characters are well-defined and believable, and the reader soon begins to cheer them on as they encounter difficulties. The writing is light and breezy, and draws the reader along to the end. Readers who want a light read with lots of romantic action and resolution of family difficulties will find this book very enjoyable.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What an incredibly busy week! It was the first week back from vacation, so I had lots of work to catch up on. Then I had a new staff member so that took quite a while to get him situated and feeling comfortable. Finally, it was April's first week back at school, with all that entails. Lunches, first week at dance, first week at GA's, next week starts piano lessons.

The first school project is an insect identification. April has to locate bugs in six of eight categories, glue them to a sheet and identify them. For a girly girl who hates to admit bugs share the world, this is quite a challenge. We've been looking in corners and inside light fixtures to find bugs that have already met their demise.

I finished reading Heir to The Glimmering World (see review) by Cynthia Ozick this week, and The Smart One by Ellen Meister (review to follow). In progress is Barcelona by Robert Hughes, Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I hope to read in Suns this weekend.

The weekend should be low-key. I do have laundry to do, of course, but no big obligations. Rex is working on getting his Sea-Doo charged and started as he is selling it. I need to go get a haircut, and I'm determined to clean out one closet or drawer, and have April empty one dresser top or closet floor. We'll see if I'm successful.

I also need to get busy with birthday gifts. Ben, my son, will be 28 this week. His wife, Katie, has a birthday on September 15, and Rex's birthday is September 10th. In the biggest news, Alex the Wonder Baby, will be one on September 8th! I can't believe a year has gone by, and it breaks my heart they are so far away. Then I have a birthday party next weekend given by one of Ben's good friends, Julia, the daughter of one of my best friends, Janet and Gordon. Her little girl will also be one, and her husband wil be 40. The girls next door have their 18th birthday next week also; it's a busy time of year!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Finally, I caught up on all the email that piled up while we were on vacation. It took 3 days to read it all. Now I can start working on figuring out how this whole blog thing works.

I spent the day doing laundry and getting ready for the new school year. It's hard to believe that's it's time for the kids to go back. I'll still need to go shopping for school supplies this week.

I haven't read anything except email. I have two books in progress. The Smart One by Ellen Meister, is a review book. It's a murder mystery/chick lit/sister relationship book that's light and amusing. Heir To The Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick, is a book about a young girl at the turn of the century who finds herself in a household as an assistant to a Jewish scholar. The writing is luminous, and I'm really enjoying that one.

Outside of that, I've been shopping online. I bought makeup from Avon, some things on Ebay, clothes from Lands End to finish out the summer, and an order to Coldwater Creek for work clothes. That one has a $25 gift certificate that I need to use.

I talked with my son today. My grandson had tubes put in his ears this week, so that should help with all the ear infections. In the next two weeks, I had birthdays for my DH, my son, my DIL, my grandson, my twin next door neighbors, another friends baby and husband, and another friends 2 year old. Lots of shopping and parties coming up!