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  1. Holy Smokes! You've done some serious redecorating since last I was here! Bravo!
  2. Oh hey, look at that, I made a couple smilies work the old fashioned way!
  3. Hi everyone. Yes, the chick that keeps going MIA for months at a time is back again. Life updates: Let's see... Well, I'm typing this on a smartphone that won't give me access to anything other than plain old text. Not even bold or colour. And no smilies! Using this little gadget because it's easier on my eyes than the 'puter. Hubby is working again. YAY! The downside is the usual - if shop is slow, he loses time. BUT the upside is he is one of two staffers and the other runs the office! Best of all, he's been there four months so far and it appears the new boss actually meant what he said during the interview...he's been really great about working around my medical appointments. Seems to actually understand that you go when the specialists tell you to, not when it's convenient for the boss. (Which is huge given that my vision keeps going wonky without warning. Makes driving just a tad challenging...plus other people on the road get testy when you can't see where you're going. Picky people!) Hmm, what else? Ooh, very exciting news... In March, our dear grand little lady, Sheera, had what appeared to be two seizures or strokes. They scared the stuffing out of me and I thought for sure the end had come. Off we went to the vet, and to our utter amazement she came home again. The vet gave her a thorough exam and ran some blood & urine tests, which my dear kitty passed with flying colours! Yes, she is still scrawny and yes, her kidney disease has progessed, but other than that, she's still going strong! She was put on some new supplements to encourage her appetite and her diet restrictions were relaxed as the focus is now more on getting her to eat, than what she's eating. The vet was frankly stunned at how well Sheera is doing and said she had rarely seen a cat look, act and respond as good as Sheera. And guess what???? Sheera turned 20 years old on Mother's Day. TWENTY!!! Of course she recieved a bag full of Birthday loot. (Younger brother has tried several times to make off with her plush catnip mousie. Brat.) As for those two episodes in March? They could have been mini strokes, but there's no way to tell and there is no apparent after effects. So I am a very happy camper! Keiko (dog) turn 13 on June 1st. She is completely grey in the muzzle now, a bit more senile than when last I checked in here, but is happy and doing very well too! (Shhh, don't tell, but I hear she's getting a new bed and a new stuffie for her B-Day. But it's a secret. And then we have the fat, bratty, Aries cat. (The aforementioned mousie thief.) He is, happily, doing very nicely as well. He did have a strange problem just a few days after Sheera's emergency vet trip. He tried to morph into a lizard. Lemme 'splain. He walked up to stare at me one one fine morning, just a few inches from my face. I had noticed the night before that his right eye was a little weepy, but no biggie. It was clear with now sign tenderness. Probably just a hair or something irritated it. No surprise given his plucking routine. But as I reached for a tissue the next morning, I notice the eyeball itself looks distinctly lizard like. Blood h***, what now. So one call to the vet later, I'm advised about what to watch for and told it's nothing likely serious. But within 24 hours I'm freaking out so back to the vet we go. Apparently when a cat's third inner eyelid comes like that to cover a large area of the eye, it's called Horner's Syndrome and is *almost always* in response to injury or illness. Neither of which could we or the good doctor find any evidence of. Another first in her book. Sigh. Two days later he seems to be experiencing a bit of discomfort or pain, but it seems dependent on the audience factor. Still, we can't take any chances. So despite Aries have a long history for being a bit of a drama queen, the vet prescribes some non-steroidal drops that will help if there is any real pain, but do nothing harmful if there isn't. One week later lizard boy returned to full feline status and we still have no clue what happened. Personally, I have a horrible suspicion he willed it on himself. Out of sheer jealousy! As usual, I've babbled on about my furbabies. Sorry. But hey, at least you know it's really me! Books...right, the purpose of this forum. The only one coming to mind at the moment is Arguably, by Christopher Hitchens. It's one I've had for a couple years and am currently re-reading. He is (or rather was, being now deceased), paws down, my favourite atheist writer. That man could debate his way out of anything! And now, I'm getting sleepy. Now that I've popped in and word puked everywhere, I'll slink quietly away for the night. But I will come back and catch-up. Soon. I promise! (See, this is what happens when you let insomniacs join your club...)
  4. Christy, thanks for posting these links. Philosophy is a topic I've tried to get into a few times and even bought one of the "Dummies" books a couple years back, but alas it's missing in the scattered stacks, bookcases and boxes of books hubby kept rearranging to accommodate the daughter and father who moved in. They are both gone now, but everything is still a disaster and I no longer have the physical strength to clean it all up. Hubby tries....but.....
  5. Athena and Portals: Thank you. Your support and friendship really do help, and mean a lot to me! Julie, similar here. The work he does (mechanic) is really hard on his body and he's nearing 50. But it's all he can do that pays a living wage. Sorry your's lost his job even with a six month severance. But thanks one and all for your support. It is greatly appreciated. Group hug! (Am on cell so can't access the emoticons at the moment. :-)
  6. Thanks Chrissy. We'll survive, it's just...frustrating. Hugs right back at you!
  7. Oh, forgot to share my latest "life" news. Hubby lost his job last week. That's twice in less than a year! No warning, nothing bad about his work, just thanks for all your hard work, now toodles. Hope no-one minds if I scream? We were just starting to get back on our feet!
  8. Arrgghhh!!! Why does this site hate me so much? I tried to Copy and Paste text into this post and it will not let me! I've tried restarting my computer, using just plain text and it still won't let me. There seems to be no such issue pasting the text into other sites, just this one. (I just tested that theory and it really does not seem to have a problem pasting text I've already written, from either Word 7 or Notepad.) I tried pasting it from Word 7 and from Notepad, but still no luck! Sigh, guess I'll have to retype the text directly into this post. Anyway.... I finished Marina Nemat's follow-up memoir, Ater Tehran: A Life Reclaimed, the other day. Rather than write another review, I thought I'd post a copy of the comment I left on her Facebook wall last week. (She even replied to thank me! ) Hopefully I won't have too many typos in this version. The below text is almost verbatim of what I posted on her wall, missing only the first paragraph as that isn't relevant in this case. Also, the "Side Note" is part of the original FB comment. Dear Mrs. Nemat, I have no words that can adequately described the profound sense of admiration and sadness I feel for you, your family and everyone else who has suffered through such a nightmare. Your life's story is so far beyond what any of us born into free, western democracies, could ever truly comprehend...and yet, your writing brings it such a terrifying sense of realism and urgency. I'll be honest and admit that while I have read a fair number of war survivor's memoirs, including those of other Iranians, yours is one of the very few that I could not finish the first time I tried to read it a few years ago. It was, and is still, beyond heartbreaking. But when I ran across your follow-up book, After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed, I knew I had to get it and read both. Though I'm doing it with tissues at hand, because almost every scene brings me to tears! And it angers me. Or more acccurately, it absolutely infuriates me that you or anyone else has had to live through such terror. And worse, that it was done in the name of religion. And even more angry and sad that it's still going on to this very day, in many parts of the world! And for what? Because one group of people think it is their divinely ordered duty to impose their "values" and beliefs on everyone else, by deadly force? I am myself an atheist. There are many reason I don't believe there is a god, chief among is that while a god (or gods) cannot be disproven, I feel there is plenty of scientific and anthropological data that demonstrates as closely as is possible, that deities are and always have been, man-made. Having said that though, another is because of how I've seen the so-called faithful in my own life not practicing what they preach. But also in large part because of what I see in the news on a daily basis...day after day, year after year. Side Note: To be CLEAR to anyone reading this, I am NOT against religion. I'm more than happy to respect anyone's religious rights and freedoms, as long as they respect my right and freedom to not believe. Please don't misunderstand me, I deeply admire people like yourself that are true to your faith and don't use it as a weapon. Your faith has obviously helped you to endure horrific circumstances, and for that I'm grateful. I am exceedingly proud to call you a fellow Canadian! Thank you for having the unimaginable courage to put your story in writing. It is an important story that needs to be told. Told again and again, until we, as a species, stop doing such horrendous things to each other! I honestly believe your books should be be required reading in our schools. Your writing also speaks for countless others who cannot speak for themselves. Because of you, I too, will remember them. The fight to end such senseless violence is far from over, but your story is a huge victory for those of hoping it someday will. Your courage, your grace, your brightly glowing spirit, and even your normal human frailties, all shine through in your writing. You many not believe you are, even want to be, a hero, but you ARE. Not just for those you left behind at Evin, or anyone else in Iran, but for ALL of us wishing and hoping (and praying) for a true global society of peace, understanding and tolerance. Again, thank you for putting your story on paper. You are now one my personal heroes, and I feel deeply honoured to be reading your story...to have been given the privilege of seeing into such a personal and dark part of your life. **********end********** In other news, I never did finish Salman Rushdie's autobiography. It just went on and on far too much about all the stars he met during the years he was in hiding after Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa calling for his death. I still very respect and admire him for everything he's gone through, but I just could not get through his book!
  9. Hi Anna, If you head over to my personal thread in the Member's reading log, you'll find that I have already reviewed the Prisoner of Tehran on my thread. I just finished reading the follow-up one, After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed, last night and will add a review for that one later. I was so taken with both books that I went to her Facebook page and left a large comment. It's a small thing, but I was still quite excited to get a quite excited when she sent me a thank you note. Hmm, maybe I'll copy the text of my comment that I posted on her wall, as well as my book review. Also, yes I have read, Reading Lolita in Tehran. It's an excellent book book that I highly recommend! The basic message is the same as Nemat's, though thankfully she did not have to experience prison or torture like Marina Nemat. Vodkafan, I know what you mean, but as upsetting as books like Marina Nemat's are, I still think they are important reads. So much so, that I honestly think they should be required reading. If we don't keep the conversation about these kinds of things that are still going on right now, even as I write this, the cycle of violence and oppression will never stop. Just as it's important we learn about WWI & WWII, Korea, Vietna, Hitler and the Holocaust, along with all of the other historical horrors in recent and ancient history, we also need to be rather frequently reminded of the horrors and genicides playing out right now in various parts of the globe. We are, as a species, far too easily have collective amnesia about such thing. The only way we are ever going to learn is to keep beating ourselves over the head with what history has to teach us. Especially history in the making.
  10. Hi Frankie! I've been spending the last couple hours plowing through the many threads I've missed since last being online here, and I can see that I've missed a lot. Especially where Frankie is concerned! Unfortunately I'm getting very tired so have to call it quits for the night, but wanted to drop you a quick note to say Hi. I will be back to catch up on what I've missed...from the few pages on your thread, it sounds very intriguing. In the meantime, here's a :friends3:for you!
  11. This is a bit embarrassing, but here goes... I am addicted to watching the "Real Housewives" and currently have a recorded episode playing on the TV. There, I said it. Wonder if I should join a support group now?
  12. Hi Chrissy. Must warn you that these are very emotionally wrenching reads. I agree the term "revolution" doesn't seem to fit. It seems more applicable to something that results in forward progress, not something that marches folks backwards in time!
  13. I'm currently finishing one of two memoirs by the same author, Marina Nemat. The first is about her experience of being imprison at the age of 16 in Iran's infamous prison, Evin, for having spoken out against the new regime when the Shah was deposed for the religious regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini. The second is a follow-up about her life after being released over two years later, specifically about how her survivor's guilt drove her to finally write about it speak about the horrors she and thousands of other teenagers suffered revolution and religion changed every aspect of life for them. They are relatively small books, but by no means a light read, so I do recommend caution if you are not prepared to deal with a very emotional read about a period of history not yet over.
  14. Hello everyone! Diving right in... So last week, I came across a book on my shelves that I’ve had for a couple of years and honestly could not finish it at the time. For some reason it was just too hard on an emotional level for me to read at the time, which is odd considering my general reading habits. But I’m very pleased to have picked it up again, so without further ado... Title: Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir Author: Marina Nemat Genre(s): Autobiography/Political Biography/Current Events ISBN: 978-0-14-305217-3 (Paperback – Copyright 2007) Book Blurb: In 1982, 16-year-old Marina Nemat was arrested on false charges by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and tortured in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. At a time when most Western teenaged girls are choosing their prom dresses, Nemat was listening to gunshots as her friends were being executed. She was condemned to die, but survived because on the guards, whose family was well connected to the Khomeini regime, pleaded for her life. But the price Ali exacted was high: Nemat would have to marry him. Ironically it was Ali’s family who eventually secured her release after he was assassinated. She rejoined her own family but was further traumatized by the reluctance to acknowledge her ordeal. Powerful and heartfelt, Prisoner of Tehran is an extraordinary tale of faith and survival. ***************************** This memoir ends when Nemat is on a plane to her new country (Canada, yay!) a few years after her release. I was very pleasantly surprised when looking up something related to this book to discover she had published a follow-up one where she fills in where she fills in some gaps and explains what drove her to finally write about her experiences after a silence of nearly 20 years. I’m currently halfway through this one. Title: After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed Author: Marina Nemat Genre(s): Autobiography/Political Biography/Current Events ISBN: 978-0-14-317571-1 (Paperback) Book Blurb: In the international bestseller Prisoner of Tehran, Marina Nemat chronicled her arrest, torture, and two-year imprisonment in Iran’s notorious Evin prison at the age of sixteen. Yet her journey was far from over. After Tehran is a moving account of Nemat’s struggle to overcome her past and break the silence about her detainment. Following her escape from Iran, she builds a new life in Canada with her husband and infant son. But Nemat is haunted by survivor’s guilt. She feels increasingly compelled to speak out about what happened to her in prison, even if it means revealing the painful secrets she’d much rather forget. As her riveting story eventually becomes a bestselling book, Nemat’s life is forever changed. She gains the strength to confront her past, re-engage her distant father, and emerge from the ravages of post-traumatic stress. Her story is one of courage and recovery, an amazing tale of resilience written by a truly inspiring woman. ***************************** I am in awe of this woman. She has lived through unimaginable terror at the hands of religious zealots that still hold Iran in a stranglehold of oppression. I still found it very difficult to finish the first book and found myself dissolving into tears every few pages. It’s not that I haven’t read equally or even more disturbing memoirs and biographies, but something about Nemat’s story hits me on a very personal level. I’m not sure why as I have zero personal experience that relates to the subject matter at all, but it still seems to strike a very emotional chord with me. These books, at least to me, tell an important and relevant story that needs to be addressed. Yes, the information age has, to a certain extent at least, forced open a closed society with a brutal regime running it. Certainly things were not all sunshine and roses when the Shah was still in power, but the revolution that put Khomeini and his cronies in power seems to have left Iran’s populace as a whole, in an even worse state of affairs. Dictatorships of any kind are a horrible way to run a country, but it seems to me that when you add religion to the mix, things can get a whole lot worse very fast.
  15. Chrissy: Yup, we are in absolute agreement on that score! Athena: You're welcome. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did. And thank you both for your well wishes.
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