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THE DIVORCE DIET: A Novel ~Ellen Hawley

Monday, January 5th, 2015

“I watch the last few minutes of the special on the diet industry.  A show on maximum-security prisons follows.  I’m struck by the parallels and wonder if anyone else notices them.” (location 33% on e-reader of an unproofed, uncorrected, advanced readers file)

THE DIVORCE DIET is a savory tale that turns life sweet, with all the greens and grains tossed into the mix then topped with a lovely dollop of humor and a saucy spirit.   This read is all about making personal change and is a creative self-help book based on Abigail’s life and her steps for making change and finding an authentic center.

Abigail thinks it is time to loose the baby weight and get back to some more intimacy in the bedroom.  She is sure this will perk up her marriage and make her husband happier.   The book begins with the baking of a birthday cake, which will make your mouth water, the preparing candles in the bedroom, and starting to read her new Natural Diet tome.   Thad comes home late, dinner is nearly ruined and he just plays and mushes the cake.

The diet book is full of tasteless uninviting recipes; it also contains the steps which are involved in all change and Abigail follows the rules. The amazing thing is that she develops her own Diet guru in her head. It reminds me of “Bridget Jones Diary”.  Her choice of personal exercises just kept me laughing all the way through.

While still weeping the pain of separation, Abigail begins the next step on the diet journey by making a list of her strengths and weaknesses; the wheels of her mind begin creating the list and this propels a brainstorming list she can study and refine into her best future.
Revenge has great promise and yet reinventing the self may just provide a yummy success, which is sweeter. In THE DIVORCE DIET the change is expressed deliciously with humor and just the right spices of sorrow and joy.  At the end, Abigail has lost 170 pounds (of husband) and found a satisfying life for herself and baby Rosie.

I highly recommend this book to any reader who wishes to make a change in their life, including losing weight!, or to find success in Resolutions of the New Year, and of course  that someone who likes to laugh at sadness, enjoy good story telling, and celebrate change and the experiences of life.

I send thanks to TLC Book Tours for adding me to the list for this great and fun read. And I extend thanks to Ellen Hawley for the wonderful read to start off the 2015 schedule.  How lucky am I!

Don’t forget to read the acknowledgements because the recipes are included!!

From Amazon:  About the Author
Ellen Hawley is the author of the novels Open Line and Trip Sheets. Her short fiction and essays have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She has worked as an editor and copy-editor, a talk show host, a cab driver, a waitress, a janitor, an assembler, a file clerk, and for four fun-filled hours, a receptionist. She has also taught creative writing. Hawley is a native New Yorker who lived in Minnesota for two decades but now resides in Cornwall.

Ellen Hawley Facebook

ellen hawley

Fog Island Mountain
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 
Walter’s Muse 

PAINTING JULIANA: A Novel ~Martha Louise Hunter

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

“Husbands have refinanced the family home and moved the equity into their business; quite often, they will set up separate bank accounts with separate mailing addresses.  It is called insurance.” He pauses soberly. “You would think more women would do it, instead of being stupid, trusting imbeciles.” Chapter 6

PAINTING JULIANA is definitely about a Texas housewife which reflects the Texas attitude and spirit about women, and then it is not.  It is a story about dreams, careers, lawyers, light and dark, wind and tornados, canvas and brushes, mental health and psychological abuse. The story is Juliana’s experience of her lawyer husband throwing her out of the house and telling her they are getting a divorce.  She has only what she can grab in 20 minutes and put in her car and by the time she gets to the gas station her credit cards are cancelled and she has only the funds in her wallet.  She is court ordered to leave her 14 year old twins with their father.  He invents lies to tell the daughter and the son.  It takes the whole length of the book and Juliana figures it out and gets a very classy revenge.

Our first introduction to Juliana she is a seven year old and about to start second grade and a dream sequence/ nightmare begins to frighten her awake each night.  The dreams begin when her mother hangs up black – out curtains to keep the outside – outside.  Her mother has experienced so much racism that she has become an agoraphobic and she never goes outside.  Juliana’s parents are both CPA’s and she is not aware that her father is a painter, whose parents insisted he get a safe career and not paint.  He has lost his dream and his beautiful wife insists that he release his painting activity even more.

The writing is fairly fast paced and I think that helps the story move forward and not drag; the reader truly wants to know what happens next and is left guessing the outcome often.  There is a great deal of adultery in the story and subtle but stealth nasty maneuvers using the law.   Partners appear to be working with the other, yet we find that maybe these actions are part of their destruction.  This is Hunter’s first novel.   I think her writing will get better and I am looking forward to her second book.   My copy of the book is an uncorrected proof and had several unfinished sentences and abrupt transitions, which I am sure the editors will correct before the sale copies are sent to stores.

How can a woman endure so many problems at once and remain emotionally open and parent her children in stolen moments and car pool?  Alzheimer’s, no money, parent’s house in disrepair, only an old Indian motorcycle to drive, bills piling up, brother angry and not helpful and then this reoccurring dream; Juliana holds on – barely.  The divorce papers fly out the window, Texas sized problems and no true friends.

tlc logo TLC Online Booktours and Martha Louise Hunter,  sent me a copy of PAINTING JULIANA  for review and it was quite the exciting read and a warning to lots of women who are ignoring what is happening to them or are living someone else’s dream.   A woman finding her true self, the extremely hard way – PAINTING JULIANA

Martha Louise Hunter Online
Martha Louise Hunter on Facebook 
Martha Louise Hunter’s Blog

PAINTING JULIANA was a finalist in the Writers League of Texas Mainstream Fiction Contest.

The Fixer 
Little Island
The Idea Of Him

Shopping with Awareness

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

stethoscopeShopping has been a time consuming project on my list these past few weeks.  I am working on health related issues and putting new measures into practice with as much awareness as possible.  I realize that folks in other countries besides the USA might find this information unnecessary and shocking, but it is what we must contend with here and at this point in time.

In order to comply with my new health insurance policy, I must have certain tests every year.  If I do not comply between now and age 65 I will be dropped from my policy and thus not be eligible for Medicare at age 65.  (I will still need to purchase a supplemental policy to go along with Medicare and those are not inexpensive either.)

I personally pay $524.00 (US) a month for a major medical policy with a $3,000.00 deductible which requires me to co-pay for each visit.  I must see my Physician every year at least one time and I must have a mammogram every year.   I pay full price for these services until I have covered the deductible.

There is no coverage for any alternative medical treatment, massage therapy or herbal supplements.

It has taken me 3 months to plan and take care of the first requirements for 2012.  I have met and seen my Doctor, had lab work completed, and a mammogram.

Walking into the Doctor’s office cost me $600.00
Getting the lab work completed was $662.00 (My shopping paid off – see below)
And the Mammogram was $366.46

Who can afford all this?   Well not many people can find $1,500.00 and there is a tendency for some to just suffer and save the whole deductible for the Emergency Room.

I instead decided to go shopping.   I have no choice over the Physicians approved for my policy, so I interviewed several from the approved listed for my $600 and found a nice young woman who was highly recommended and willing to work with me.

Now I went shopping for Mammograms.  There are only 2 imaging centers here and they both cost the same.  One makes appointments; the other is a drop in center.   The next closest center charged the same price but I would have needed to add gas money into the equation making this option too expensive.  I chose the place with the appointments and did not have to sit and wait.   (This is new because of the Affordable Health Care Act – Insurance companies cannot randomly set the price for required Mammograms any more)

The really big SHOPPING event was center stage.   I started interviewing Labs to get estimates on the 3 lab tests that I needed to have.  One group charged over $1,000 for one of the tests, the Hospital charged $600 for the same test, an independent Lab group charged $288.00, and the third independent lab group charged $60.00.   For the last 2 labs listed, I did all the paperwork.

I chose the last lab.   Not because it was the cheapest, but because I found out all the labs use the same facility to process the actual tests and produce the results.  Because if I prepaid through my Naturopathic Physician all three of my tests came to a total of $131.00 and she will mail the results to my new Provider Doctor.

Now I will start the same process for getting the cyst removed off my spine. Remember it is $600.00 just to walk into the Doctor’s office.  This last shopping experience took me 3 months to work out all the details.   But it is good training as my partner is studying the Medicare plans.  I can see clearly how they work and how much expense and energy is going to be needed to maintain our health.  It is all good and good practice.

I am willing to be aware.   One cannot just assume that it is going to work like company or government policies have worked in the past.  I have met 3 people who are trying to get back into the work force just this week, because they are overwhelmed by the cost and time this kind of healthcare is taking and none of them have severe health problems.  (Medicare does not cover alternative treatments at all)

As Comedian Jack Benny is quoted,“GROWING OLD IS NOT FOR SISSIES!”

Do you keep a copy of your own health records?  Are you aware of all the steps necessary and all the places to look to get the best services?   Is the Government in your State working for you or against you? When you do not feel well, who will assist you with this kind of shopping?

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