Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Modesto FedEx office bustling before holidays - Business -

Modesto FedEx office bustling before holidays - Business -

My hard working husband has delivered packages through sleet and rain, snow and record breaking high temperatures for 18 years, cheerfully getting up long before I wanted to. He has delivered on his own time at the end of the day, when it needed to be done, made his cell phone available for customers to gain easy access to him. He has found thousands of dollars in cash and lost items and returned them to their grateful owners. He has delivered packages to ungrateful recipients on Christmas day, and given up vacation days to work when the company was short on workers.  He has logged in break time at a stop to listen to a chatty customer who needed to talk to someone more than they needed the package they ordered. He has spent lunch times playing piano for retirement homes on his route. He has taken pictures of the company picnic and made copies for all the stations that attended, all on his own time and dime. He has kept company secrets, codes and passwords in his head safe and sound and many a time delivered liquid morphine when he knew that meant his customer was at the end of their earthly journey.

They chose him for this sweet little piece by the Bee. And it is fitting, as more than a few of his coworkers agreed!  Kudos to my husband, Jim Maris, a Santa Claus of a guy who spend his days bringing people what they always wanted. May you have whatever your heart desires. You already have my heart! Merry Christmas darling!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fast and Often Sad Ride with Brilliance

Imagine you are going 90 miles an hour in a sidecar, whizzing past scenes you barely know and the driver of the motorcycle is a brilliant British playboy atheist. That's the experience reading Hitch-22 gave me.
Hitchens, a native Brit, covers more political ground than the average American citizen pays attention to in a lifetime. And these are just the highlights. Photos of "Hitch" in many other countries, verbal snapshots of meetings with people we plebeians only know by reading of them in the paper or hearing their name in the news. These weighty journalistic exploits are interspersed with stories of his friend's private jokes that made this non-atheist blush more than once, and I must confess, let out a cackle or two.

A self proclaimed `contrarian', Christopher Hitchens endured the blistering reality of the English school system and a mother who committed suicide, only to emerge as a brilliant intellectual known for a rapier wit and an even sharper tongue, if possible, when it comes to religion, or totalitarianism, as he terms all religion. Discovering he had a Jewish heritage later in life, Mr. Hitchens devoted much of his energy to the study of "The Jewish Question".

As a believer, I certainly found a few things to take up argument with, but taking up sides against this man is no mean task. So I settled for common ground. Easily found. I thoroughly enjoyed a peek inside the mind of a man who said he tested his acquaintances on whether they felt their lives would be over if English Literature were to disappear. If only I were an acquaintance, I would pass on this criterion.
The Hitch? How to be totalitarian about being against Totalitariansim.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Grand Central Publishers in return for my review.

Review For Masquerade

Would you trade places with your best friend if you could? Even if she was a maid, and you were a wealthy society lady?  Charlotte and Dora, a lady and her maid do just that. Despite the fact that the two are immigrants from England, where an accent alone can betray the origins of your birth, they manage to pull it off. Charlotte’s reluctance about the marriage her parents have arranged for her becomes the answer to Dora’s prayer, or so she thinks. 

The trip over on the ship begins a series of events that is anything but smooth sailing for the ‘masquerade’.
I found the descriptions of the immigrant ghettos most riveting. The entrance of Sven, as a photographer in that time period seeking to document the squalid conditions was an interesting concept. No doubt there were people who did that, as some early photography exists. 

The conclusion was fairly predictable, and if you forget about the poor Italian immigrants, satisfies your itch for a happy ending!

 Ms. Moser’s letter to the reader, and her explanation about how the plot changed over time was a novel addition. I found her honesty engaging and almost as fun to read as the book.

Bethany House sent me a complimentary copy of Masquerade in return for my honest opinion of this book.