Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

   Sometimes I get my ideas for a post by using the search engine terms.  One of my friends pointed this part of the dashboard out to me when I first started blogging.  She said, “Look to see the search engine phrases people use to find your blog…”  I call these my FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions. 

Being a mom I have read lots of picture books –
When I saw this search item term the first thing that popped into my head was this picture book titled:  “How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?”    

When my youngest was little we had several of the How Do Dinosaur… books.  These are delightful books, they are fun to read and once your child is 18 months to 3 years they can start recognizing the “environmental” words and begin reading along with you.  We read all the time throughout the day, not just at bedtime and all the boys had their favorite books.  By the time all of them had reached three years old there were many books that they had “memorized.”  At least that’s what I thought until one day I decided I would skip pages and have one of my sons read part of the story out-of-order.
Would he remember the story just from the pictures?  Matthew didn’t miss a beat or a word and thought that Mom was pretty tricky mixing up the story.  We had just gotten a shipment of our Dr. Seuss books in the mail so I handed one of the books to Matt to see what he could do.  He read it cover to cover, cold, with no prompting. 
Proud, teary eyed Mom moment. 
Moral of the story:  Read to your kids. 

The How do Dinosaurs…books are written by Jane Yolen.  We don’t have all of them – but I believe that they were all illustrated by Mark Teague.  The illustrations are lovely; as you can see above.  I love that dinosaur face. I am expecting a giant-sized temper tantrum at news that it is bedtime. 
Some of the titles include:   How do Dinosaurs Eat their Food/ Go to School / Clean Their Rooms / Learn Their Colors.  
I remember reading How do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon not too long ago when Sam was sick. 
We both laughed at the dinosaur throwing his dirty tissues on the floor. 
Next time you need a gift for your favorite little person pick up one of these special books. 

My apologies to Ms. Yolen but when I read through the titles of her wonderful picture books I was reminded that many of them could not apply to a narcissist. 

You’ll never see a picture book titled:  
How do Narcissists Say ‘I Love You’? 
(They wouldn’t know HOW to say those words.)
How do Narcissists Love Their Dogs / Cats?  (News flash:  Narcissists hate animals.) 
How do Narcissists Play with their Friends?  (They Devalue and Discard them – that’s how!)  

How Do Narcissists say “I’m sorry?” 
Answer: They don’t. 
End of Story…..


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    “Today is Thanksgiving!”  Written and illustrated by P. K. Hallinan.  This is a sweet poem for children as well as adults.  His illustrations remind me of Precious Moments figurines. 

     Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

     Today is Thanksgiving, and an icicle breeze nips at your window and whips up the leaves. 

Ah, what a morning!  The cold autumn haze brings visions of Pilgrims and Indians. . . and maize!

So wrap in a blanket and don your warm socks and pretend you’re descending an old Plymouth rock.

And with football in tow, downstairs you go.

Already the kitchen’s beginning to swell with all the aromas you know oh-so-well!

The scent of potatoes rides lightly on air.  The fragrance of turkey encircles your hair. 

And the pie’s slowly baking – it’s apple, you’re guessing – while celery stalks boil to help make the dressing. 

And you gladly pitch in, rolling dough nice and thin.

Then it’s off to the den, where the TV is tuned to a colorful parade full of floats and balloons! 

And you watch for awhile, but soon it’s all done, so you roll out the door for a stroll in the sun. 

And the chilly air tweeks your nose and your cheeks.

Now here come your friends racing onto the scene!  They’re ready for football in their jerseys and jeans!

So you quickly choose sides and mark off the goals, using jackets and earmuffs and telephone poles. 

Then with one mighty kick the game starts to click. 

And oh, what a game!  So many trick plays!  You sneak to the mailbox, then streak the wrong way! 

But then a long pass over driveway and grass is caught near the earmuffs – a touchdown at last! 

And everyone sighs as you end in a tie.

Later, back home you quickly get dressed and shine like a diamond to impress all your guests.

And here they are now!  It’s the whole family clan!  Why, it’s dear Auntie Pansy and big Uncle Stan!

And everyone’s bearing some food for the sharing. 

Soon there are roomfuls of nephews and nieces.  The cat’s on the table – the dog’s got the sneezes. 

And Uncle Tobias is asleep in the chair, while Petey the parakeet creeps in his hair. 

And the whole house resounds with hilarious sounds. 

The time has arrived for the meal to begin, so you dash to you chair with a flair and a grin.

And the hot giblet gravy brings loud “oohs” and “ahhs,” but the sight of the turkey draws a round of applause. 

Then all heads are lowered as you join in a prayer, giving thanks for your blessings and the gifts witing there.

And with grace at an end, you whisper, “Amen.”

The meal is a wonder, a cranberry dream.  There’s a crisp garden salad and fruit in whipped cream. 

And the portions keep coming – the rolls and the yams – till your tummy’s so full it’s too crammed to expand. 

But you let out a sign and make room for pie. 

The evening soon fades into games and charades, and the clan drifts away like a tired parade. 

Then, alas, it’s all over, the laughter and fun, for now Auntie Patsy has hugged everyone.

So you head up to bed, then stand in your room gazing out of the window at the gold harvest moon.

And the last thing you do is smile and say. . .

“Thank you for Thanksgiving!  What a wonderful day!” 


      My pies and cheesecakes are finished…the pecan pie…..the plain stuffing, (none of that fancy stuffing for my boys), the Jell – O salad actually cooperated this year…the cranberry sauce, the olives, the pickles…hopefully, this year Auntie Pansy will remember the rolls that everyone loves…my boys alone can eat a dozen.

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The hot genre right now in young adult literature is ‘Vampire Romance.’  Unless you have been living on a deserted island for the past three years, I’m not sure how you could not have heard of the books Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.  Written by Stephenie Meyers, Twilight is about a teenage girl named Bella Swan who falls in love with a “17 year old” boy (still after 100 years) named Edward Cullen, who just so happens to be a vampire.  For me, it’s just a typical day at work.

This happens to be “Twilight Week” and I dare say that tens of thousands of teenage girls (and boys) are getting ready for the release of the new film adaptation of Meyer’s first book, opening on Friday, November 21st.  The premiere, Monday night in Westwood, CA…was one hot ticket.  The book, Twilight was released in the Fall of 2005, and teenage readers (and adults) have been crazy about it ever since.  Yes, I am going to see the movie….it’s sort of expected.

A more adult Vampire Romance series is written by Lyndsay Sands.  It begins with A Quick Bite and ends with (currently) Vampire Interrupted.  (I hope she will write more.)  These books are funny, sexy, and sarcastic.  While Meyer’s characters (spoiler) wait until their wedding night to consummate their love, Sand’s characters give into their desires with fervor and frequency….it gets quite steamy.  These books are delightfully witty and addictive.  I would LOVE to see these books turned into movies.

The genre of Vampire Romance is not new.  In 1976, Anne Rice’s books became hugely popular with the Vampire Chronicles beginning with An Interview With a Vampire.  At some high schools, there two factions of kids, those that love Anne Rice and those that love Stephenie Meyer…a type of “Rice vs Meyer” debate.

Some students have sided with their favorite main (male) character in the Twilight saga…there are hot debates between “Team Edward” & “Team Jacob” as well as T-shirts that boldly proclaim their allegiance.  (For those not in the know, Jacob is the underdog, literally…werewolf from the Indian reservation of La Push, WA.)  Whatever side they are on is not important, just as long as the students are reading.

The author Charlaine Harris’ books have prompted the HBO series True Blood.  I will freely admit that I am hooked on True Blood.   I have not read the books yet, but the first three are on hold for me at my favorite book store.  (Warning: On the TV series, the “F-bomb” is dropped, frequently.)  The actor who portrays “Bill” has got to be the most handsome vampire I’ve seen.  Sorry Rob, but my first born is a year older than you.)

But really, this post is not about vampire romance novels.  It’s about a trait of the Narcissist.  I finally understood (Emotional, my word) Vampirism after I read Marie-France Hirigoyen’s book, Stalking The Soul- Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Idenity.  This book is a validation for anyone who has been abused by a narcissist.  Last year a friend found this book and recommended it to me.  She read parts of it over the phone to me until my copy came.  That’s a true friend.  This is the first book I’ve read re: abuse and Narcissism, where the author did not blame me, the victim, for the situation I found myself enmeshed in.  This book was an epiphany to me.  Advice when reading?  Keep that yellow highlighter handy.

Up until this point in my recovery, I had not read about Vampirism as it could apply to the Narcissist.  Webster’s Dictionary defines Vampirism this way: Vampirism: n. 3. the act or practice of preying ruthlessly on other people.  Preying on others, seeking them out, ruthlessly…without pity or compassion…that would be the N.  While N does not bare his fangs to suck the blood out of his victims, he does suck the life, the joy, the motivation, the personality….from them.

The following are quotes from Stalking The Soul specifically the section on Vampirism.  There is so much good material I wanted to share, I had a hard time knowing where to stop.  The book is so good; You will have to order it from Amazon yourself.  The author’s words are concise and accurate, I found myself often saying, out loud…Are you talking about the N I knew?

The partner doesn’t exist as a person but as a prop for a quality the abuser wishes to appropriate…

Abusive Narcissists intensely envy those who seem to posses what they do not or those who simply enjoy life…..They attack the others self esteem and self confidence in order to increase their own self worth…they appropriate the others self worth…

They try to destroy the happiness around them…they undermine simple relationships because of cynicism and their incapacity to love…They impose on others their dark vision of the world and their chronic dissatisfaction with life…

Their critical sense is highly developed, so they spend lot of time criticizing everyone and everything; this allows them to remain all-powerful; “If others are worthless, that means I must be better than they are.”

They dampen the enthusiasm of the people around them, seeking foremost to show that the world and its inhabitants are evil and that their partner is also bad…One sees in abusers wild infatuations followed by brutal and irreparable rejection….

People around them don’t understand how someone can fall from grace in the blink of an eye for no apparent reason……!!! 

Validation!  Thank you, I’ve never understood the fall from grace either. 

      How are these individuals so alike in their dysfunction?  After reading posts from so many women, (statistics show that more men are narcissists than women) I’ve entertained the thought that they ALL must have graduated from the same Alma mater…but they certainly could not have been in the same dorm….there wouldn’t have been enough mirrors to go around.  I am only able to joke about the N now because I am away from him.  Everything about him was poisonous.

At the end of this so-called friendship my self esteem was slowing ebbing away.  I was only capable of mirroring the shell of the human being I had become.  Like Dracula’s bride, would I have become a Vampire like him on the third bite?  Would Van Helsing have had to ‘stake’ me?  The Narcissist continued the various types of abuse that he inflicted upon me on a daily basis.  Some days he might throw me a bone, with a kind word, or sometimes I got a glimpse of the man (Pretend guy) that was my friend. (idolized).  But that was soon gone, as he sucked the last drops of humanity from me.  The strange thing is, when I look back on those years, the photos I see of my self, I look normal…but I was far from it.

I finally figured out that the N wanted the beautiful qualities (human) that he saw in me.  He set out to appropriate all things positive.  Slowly, over the course of many months, he drained me of the very things that made me, me.  The good news is that I have slowly gotten my identity back; but I will never be the warm, trusting, kind soul that I once was.  Maybe that is for the best.  I think it would have been simpler if the N had been wearing a T-shirt that said “Beware – EVIL.”  Perhaps he was, maybe he had it on under his “sheep’s clothing.”

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