Charlie Bucket, January 12, 2003 – March 27, 2015

jami and charlie

I wasn’t there for your beginning, but you were there for ours. Mine and Jami’s that is. Even before I met you, I was told that you were “a package deal”. With the cute girl came a handsome hound. I’d never had a dog before and I was a little nervous, but we got along fine. You made it clear that Jami was Numero Uno, but I was an acceptable substitute in the walking and feeding, snuggling and treat giving departments. Jami was your person, and you, in turn, were her constant through all the change of her mid-20s to mid-30s. A pretty great package.

And so 8 years ago, my package deal moved across the country and into my, now our, studio apartment.

We bought a house because of you. Because you needed, deserved, a yard, an outdoor space that was yours. (It’s a nice house. So thanks for that).

I never thought I would be a dog person. But I became a Charlie person. Just like with a child, I felt responsible for you before I loved you. But love you, I did. First I loved your warm body at the foot of our bed (under the covers of course) keeping us warm on winter nights. Then I loved your head on my lap when we sat on the sofa. I loved going for long walks with you, before Frances was born. Remember those? Back with the cemetery allowed dog walking? So many long walks with you while talking on the phone.

That love only grew after Frances was born. Because she loved you so much it was infectious. She delighted in you. You were The Best. You got her appeal slowly – once she started eating and spilling solids she suddenly became much more interesting. But even when she wasn’t a free food source, when she was climbing on you, hugging and loving you a little bit aggressively, you were so very good with her.

Our house feels very empty without you.

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Charlie Bucket, January 12, 2003 – March 27, 2015

What I Read: February

I read 9 books in February – mostly due to trying to catch up to the uncatchable mfred. Still I enjoyed trying, so thanks for the impetus! 8 of the books were fiction, one was non-fiction. 5 were on Kindle, 4 were in print.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (2007).

I read this book years ago, and loved it so much that I couldn’t resist snatching it up when it was a Kindle Daily Deal. Still really enjoyed it on rereading – can’t wait for Frances to enjoy it.

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka (2002).

Otsuka writes slim, beautiful books about the (not so beautiful) Japanese-American experience. This is the second I’ve read of hers and I would highly recommend her to anyone.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (1948).

Everyone loves this book. It was blurbed by J.K. Rowling in the copy I had! I did not love this book – perhaps I am just sick of YA books set in decrepit castles. But I’m glad to have finished it!

The Blood of an Englishman by M.C. Beaton (2014).

I love a good mystery series (Good not meaning great writing, good just meaning entertaining). This is the 25th Agatha Raisin mystery and I think probably the last I’ll read. Just not that in to it anymore.

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (2009).

This is a YA retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale. It took me a long time to get into it, but it finished strong.

Get Up!: Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It by James A. Levine (2014).

I got this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program and I wanted to like it. – I agree with the basic premise and was looking forward to reading the hard science and perhaps some strategies to reduce sedentariness in your own life. But this was written SO annoyingly: lots of useless filler, stupid quizzes, the petty use of nicknames such at Dr. Smallbrain and Professor Fartoobusy for individuals the author found unhelpful/didn’t like. I did enjoy the two chapters that had case studies on increasing nonexercise daily activity in the work place and in a school environment, but really this book could have just been an article, and I would have been much happier and got the same amount out of it.

The Bobbsey Twins in Washington by Laura Lee Hope (1919).

This is the book that made me realize I will not be encouraging Frances to read the Bobbsey Twins books. I loved them as a kid – but there was a lot of racially offensive content in this book and I can imagine it’s the same in the others. I had forgotten that the Bobbsey’s had a black cook whose speech is written in the most racist dialect. And as a bonus this particular book had a whole chapter on the “oriental” children the Bobbsey twins saw (in the audience) at a play. Luckily there are plenty of other good books out there!

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy (2014).

I loved, loved, loved this book. Just a fun family tale about four brothers and their two dads. I just wish there were more children’s books out there where kids had two dads or two moms, but that wasn’t the main plot point!

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (2007).

This book was not my thing. Most of the book takes place on a couple’s wedding night, and specifically the consummation of their marriage. So much awkward straight sex and feelings. Another book that was not my cup of tea.

What I Read: February