Books: A New York Coat of Mind

When Edward "Skip" Gerber has a good looking overcoat thrust upon him as he leaves the office one afternoon, he finds himself propelled on a trek through the night and into the next day in order to locate the rightful owner of the overcoat. It's not a trek which anyone asked him to make and yet he seems to be possessed by it in order to lose possession of the coat. So begins The Man With The Overcoat by David Finkle, with a nod to the short story "The Overcoat" by Gogol, but crafted more as a tale reminiscent of Kafka or Borges. Within the coat itself, Gerber finds half clues or what he designates clues, bits of information, or more objects to which Gerber attaches meaning and from them attempts to inference information. The question which drives Gerber initially is why has he been given this exceptional overcoat, but the questions that follow have more to do with Gerber unravelling his own life as he pursues the mysterious origin of the overcoat and at a certain point it becomes evident that Gerber has taken his coat quest as an excuse to examine the life he's made and the life he actually wants as he moves from each solitary clue which leads to a half-clue, or a passing comment about the coat.

A real estate lawyer by trade, Gerber eventually even abandons his connection to his profession, losing his briefcase, which has even survived being dumped into a trash can by drag queens on the lower east side, in a cab.  Throughout his quest, Gerber becomes less sure of the purpose of quest, does he really want to find the proper owner, or is his obsession more with the history of the coat.  Ultimately, the overcoat becomes less of an actual object and more of a motive for Gerber to utilize in forcing his way from his everyday rut. Finkle's prose is not evocative or given to pushing the language with inventiveness, having a bit of understatement about it, but it is effective in moving the story along and with keeping the reader engaged with the Gerber odyssey, which is absurd in all the best ways, providing the reader with a good excuse to forego life for a bit and delve into another's pursuit of theirs. 

 

The Man With The Overcoat by David Finkle is available from nthposition press.

 

A review copy was provided.

The Doctor, Part 39

My hands don’t feel like my hands,
they are smaller,
bonier,

most of the nurses smile
their pretty smile,
it hurts my doctor’s face
to smile
her pretty smile,
they’re all surprised
I don’t have
mouth sores,
that I still have
my hair,

round four started Tuesday,
Thursday morning
there was a small, blue clamp
Nurse Jane forgot to remove
from the tube running the drugs
into the port
under my skin
beneath my clavicle,

I had to go back,
Jane sadly apologized
sincerely
oh we never leave these on
I’m so sorry,

so, unclamped, I am plugged into the bottle longer,
I have to
try
sleep,
wires and tapes and gadgets and tubes,
trying not
to roll over onto it,
trying not
to push any of it
over the side of the bed
onto the floor
for one more night,

I pace
away from the annoying sandman,
trying to
outlast
the dosage
so when the last drop
of 5-FU hits my port
I can be
awake
to untwist
the sinister shit
from one tube in my chest,
to flush the port with
a syringe,
to clean it
with another
and,
finally,
pull the needle out,

I wait like a hunter
but the nausea takes up
a lot of space in the blind,
it’s either
the extra day
or round four
but a tornado of toxin
is twisting me up:
tonight,
each time I close my eyes
I am suddenly
sliding down the conveyor belt
into the hot, claustrophobic
PET scan coffin,
I become immediately
disoriented,
the drugs make me
extra sick,
junk sick,
motion in the part of your brain
that makes you sick,
I can’t stop spinning,
my eyes
darting
to hold on
to a single point in the room,
my mouth open.

 

The entire The Doctor series can be found here.

5 great: things I've tried lately {Part Deux}

5 great: things I've tried lately {Part Deux

5 great: things I've tried lately {Part Deux

Here are 5 more items from the sample pile. I'd love to write up each one properly, but after 2 weeks of  being ensconced in the sick house, things are piling up even more than their usual piled-upiness. 

Eco-Me Dish Soap, Lemon Fresh

Eco-Me Dish Soap, Lemon Fresh

Eco-Me Natural Plant Extract Dish Soap - This all-natural, earth-friendly soap is awesome. It really works and keeps my hands happy. Plus the scent is amazing. I just ran out and I really can't wait to get more and to try out more of the Eco-Me line (See more here). Also available in Herbal Mint.

Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum- This is one of the complimentary samples that I received in an Influenster Vox box over the winter (Frosty Vox Box to be exact. I absolutely forgot about it and just uncovered it in my pile. It is amazing. This thick anti-aging serum goes on smoothy and feel great right away. Considering that many other similar products I've tried cost 2-3x the price, I'm even more impressed. Another bonus is that you can easily pick it up at Target. This is the first Boots product I've tried and I guess I need to try more. I absolutely want more of this one. 

Truly's Organic Deodorant For Kids

Truly's Organic Deodorant For Kids

Truly's Natural Deodorant, Organic

Truly's Natural Deodorant, Organic

Truly's Natural Deodorant for Kids- I received samples of both the kids & adult versions of Truly's Natural Cream Deodorant. When I as offered the samples to test out the main thing that attracted my attention was the KIds version. As a mother of 4 children, safer products for my children always interest me. This cream deodorant is made from simple, safe ingredients. I haven't tested it out on my children yet because they are still a bit young (though the oldest just became deodorant-curious), so I tested the adult version myself and it really works.  There's also a Creamsicle version that sounds lovely too. 

Play Love Laugh This  new non-toxic nail polish by Hugo Naturals is made with fruits and vegetables, has no odor, dries quickly and is highly pigmented. Best of all, to remove, simply soak in warm water and then peel off. I tested these out on myself and my 5 year old daughter and we loved it. Available in 12 colors.

ScarAway Daily DiscsA new addition to the ScarAway line, these smaller, disposable discs are fabulous for smaller scars or little people. My son had a whopping set of stitches on his little head in November. We've been cutting down the original strips and washing them every day, which has been fine, but these new discs make the whole process even easier. A box has enough discs for a month and every day we pull out a new disc which fits right on his little forehead. Conveniently found at Rite Aid, CVS & Walgreens. 

 

 

things we love: minted.

Big Heart limited edition print by Jorey Hurley

Big Heart limited edition print by Jorey Hurley

I love beautiful things and I especially love beautiful things that make my day happier or my life easier. MInted can do both of these things and I've long been a fan. The only difficulty is choosing amongst the nearly endless choices. Everything else is easy. Minted makes ordering invitations, art, fabrics and a whole lot more so easy. You can choose the design you love and customize it to be exactly what you need. There is so very, very much that I love on the Minted site. Be it party invitations & party decor or a beautiful print, fabric by the yard for perfect curtains or pillows or even great gifts. You can even create inspiration boards that help you visualizes your choices (you'll see a few dropped in below).

I've mentioned the Minted before and I've been meaning to do a feature because it's just so amazing. Coincidentally, I was just contacted to do a review of Minted's lovely products with the offer of credit to place an order, so I can give my full impressions. So, consider this part 1 of the review I guess. I really love the Art Marketplace, but there's so many, many wonderful things to be found at Minted and all can be customized to suit you perfectly- sizes, shapes, colors, personalizations. I also love that independent artists create the designs. Their new Wedding Invitations are beautifully unique. As someone who was married at City Hall, I'm not really big on the traditional wedding plan, so these designs really appeal to me. They feel much more personal than your standard invite. They even have a print your own option which is a fabulous idea. I also adore the fabric by the yard and the designs for children, all great ways to  easily pull together beautiful, unique, customized looks for you life, home and family. 

from the minted. blog, julep: "how to create an art gallery wall at home" featuring pieces from minted. 

from the minted. blog, julep: "how to create an art gallery wall at home" featuring pieces from minted. 

untitled 1 by Amber, see more Minted

untitled 1 board by Amber. See more Minted

I've been perusing Minted quite a bit lately. We've been living with the bulk of art paintings, prints & photographs boxed up until we paint all of the walls in the house.  As we get closer to hanging time, I've been thinking about what I'd really love to add to our collection. What I love about Minted is that I can think of the basic idea of what I want and find something that fits. Then I can choose the size, have it framed or not and often even choose the color. Right now I really want a few larger pieces with some impact as well as maybe a few smaller abstract pieces, be it prints or atmospheric photos, to mix in with what we already have. The options to customize make Minted a perfect choice. So, something from the Art Marketplace will likely be the focus of part 2 of my review, but you never know. 

My Art Wall by jaime, see more Minted wall art

My Art Wall board by jaime. See more Minted wall art

 So, now I really have to pull it together and make a choice or two. Coming up soon, part 2 of my review- choosing, placing an order and the final product. Here's a selection of Minted's lovely products until then:

Visit the minted. site to see more.

from the minted. blog, julep: "how to create an art gallery wall at home" featuring pieces from minted. 

from the minted. blog, julep: "how to create an art gallery wall at home" featuring pieces from minted. 

*minted. will be providing a complimentary product sample for review purposes. 

The Doctor, Part 38

After obvious
lusts
there is
so much
less
to wish for:

I want,
I
would like
very badly
to be
your
hero
when I turn to ash
and mud,

you,
quiet
on your mother
next
to the
empty cushion,
the two of you
folding
over
each other,
petals,
and I know
in my bones
and all
the two of you
will be okay.

 

The entire The Doctor series can be found here.

Kids Books: Dogs and Rockets

The just released new second edition of Max Goes To Mars by Jeffrey Bennett and illustrated by Alan Okamoto is an informative and fantastic adventure which combines a fictional story of Max the Rottweiler who journeys to Mars with inset sidebars spread throughout the story containing scientific facts that expand on the fictional tale. This second edition reflects the scientific discoveries about Mars which have occurred since the first edition was published in 2006. Additionally, Okamoto’s illustrations add a vibrant element to the story, providing a concrete visualization for young minds. Reviewed by educators and NASA scientists for scientific accuracy Max Goes To Mars is an exceptional book to send young minds rocketing off to consider the wonders of our solar system.

The second edition of Max Goes To Mars is out now.

 

A copy of the book was provided for review.

Books for kids: Adventures in Minecraft & the Minecraft for Dummies Collection

Adventures in Minecraft (David Whale, Martin O'Hanlon)

Adventures in Minecraft (David Whale, Martin O'Hanlon)

We have 4 Minecraft obsessed children. While I don’t love everything about Minecraft, I appreciate the skills that it can help develop. I am endlessly impressed by what even my 5 year old can accomplish and how deep her understanding is of concepts that I would have thought well beyond her. Building, planning, computer literacy, cooperation, imagination, circuitry, reading, writing, math, problem solving all come into play in Minecraft. It’s a game that is much more than a game. When Wiley offered to send over a review copy of Adventures in Minecraft (David Whale, Martin O'Hanlon), I was thrilled. When it arrived along with a stack of other Minecraft books, it was a bit like Minecraft Christmas. Adventures in Minecraft is a fabulous book. It offers 9 projects that will expand your Minecraft world while developing Python coding skills. The projects works with Minecraft on PC, Mac or Rasberry Pi platforms, so it really can work for anyone. Each project is presented in easy to follow steps with great color illustrations to move you along. Also included is access to the companion website which supplies you with a video for each adventure in the book, downloadable code files, helpful programming reference tables, a bonus adventure, and badges to collect for your Minecraft accomplishments.

We also received the 3 book Minecraft for Dummies Collection (Jacob Cordeiro)  which includes the portable editions of Minecraft, Minecraft Recipes and  Redstone. These books  present the basics you need to get started with Minecraft and move well beyond the basics with clear, detailed instructions and explanations plus great full color illustrations. These are great reference books to have handy while building & expanding worlds.  If you have children just starting Minecraft or who want to move on to more advanced options (or you just want to understand what it is that they’re doing), all 4 of these books are fabulous options. Find out more about each one on the Wiley website. If you have a child working on their own Rasberry Pi (like we do), they also have a few Rasberry Pi tiles too. 

 

 

 

*Copies were provided for review purposes