Wednesday, February 15

Anywhere but here and The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Over the lovely Valentine's Day dinner Kristin prepared for us, we had a conversation about how expensive fish has become. Kristin told us the least expensive fish sold at the store where she works is something called swai. I'd never heard of it and asked what it was. She answered it was a sort of Southeast Asian catfish. "What about Louisiana catfish? Or other American catfish?" I asked.

Kristin answered hardly anything comes from the United States anymore--except for lump crabcakes, which are from Maryland. Crabs are from Canada. Shrimp and other fishes are from Asia and Southeast Asia. Even crawfish (which I associate with Louisiana) are from Spain at her store.

I recollected lately about buying leg of lamb and tenderloin beef roast on sale. They were from Australia.

So what is going on? Where do the American fishermen and farmers sell their products? Overseas?

Even our produce is from everywhere else. Fruits and vegetables come from South America.

Maybe it's a seasonal thing? It just seems wrong that we don't have more American products available in the meat, seafood, and produce sections of grocery stores. I asked Kristin if people complain about it and she said yes--they worry about the quality of the water and what might go into it. TB said he'd worry about the same thing.

I finally finished reading The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. I started out loving it but by the end of the book, I was freely skipping sections and grimly plowing ahead to the end. It's a shame because the book had a good premise.

Caelum and Maureen Quirk are a teacher and school nurse respectively. They move from Connecticut to Colorado to try and save a damaged marriage. They both get jobs at Columbine High School. Yes. That Columbine. On that fateful April day in 1999, Maureen is hiding from the gunmen in the library while Caelum is back in Connecticut for the funeral of his aunt.

The first half of the book centers on Maureen's struggles to cope with the after effects of Columbine. Caelum, not the most sensitive soul in the world, struggles to deal with Maureen's manifestation of PTSD. They decide it would be better to leave Colorado, leave the memories behind (hopefully) and go home to Caelum's family farm.

Tragedy follows.

In more way than one--I think the book was a victim of the move too. I thought the story was going to be about Maureen's struggle and recovery from PTSD and that Caelum would grow as part of the experience into a loving, supportive husband. Well, that didn't happen.

The focus went off Maureen and onto Caelum and his dysfunctional family. It should have been its own story, like a sequel or something. Part of the problem I had with this is that I didn't like Caelum. I found him to be angry, cold and withdrawn. He was mean to people he had no business being mean to. I couldn't get away from Caelum. He was the narrator. I was willing to put up with him when the focus was on Maureen. In the second half of the book though ...

What made it worse for me was all the paperwork from and about Caelum's family. I was bored to death reading some of the letters and diary entries so I ended up skipping great chunks of it. I didn't feel I lost anything by it because Caelum usually summed it up one way or another anyway.

I really liked Wally Lamb's other books so this was a big disappointment!

And in the what else is new? department, I totally forgot about Cats on Tuesday and Kosmo has been letting me know about it since!

I had to take Kristin to the doctor for an infected gland. She's being treated with an antibiotic now that will hopefully take care of it. If not, we have to see a specialist. :P

And today I needed a shot in my left hip. I thought I was having a return of SI joint dysfunction but the doctor said it was actually bursitis. Better that, I think, than the other. The last time I had it was in 2009 and I was incapacitated a month! Anyway, the doctor gave me a shot and said I should start feeling some relieve tomorrow. I hope so!

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