Monday, November 30, 2009

Movie Madness - The Blind Side

Great feel-good true story with a happy ending. Lots of lessons about what it means to be a family, race, expectations, community. Sandra Bullock is incredible.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Oh. My. God. Hilarious play about a spelling bee (and life in general) - and the Rated R version had the whole place in tears!

Phoenix Theatre

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I'm last on the list. Number 262 out of 262 at the library holding for my December book club book, The Help. I'll never make it in time. I usually don't have any trouble getting my way, sitting at my computer with my new selection of books ready to get typed in, then a day or two later I'll get an email telling me to head over to the drive-thru down the street and pick up. It's great. See, I don't buy books anymore. It started way back when I realized that it would make a lot of sense to put all of my book budget toward my student loans and these days it's for other reasons - I don't have room, I rarely read a book twice (there are too many other ones out there) and while I've heard that it grosses some people out to read a book so many others have touched, taken to bed, taken to the bathroom, carried around in purses, I like it. It's used, it's shared. Germs can't live that long anyways. Right? So I mentioned my dilemma to a friend who just so happened to have a brand new copy, fresh from the Amazon box that there's no way she could read this week anyway. So I borrowed it. It was pristine. I was the first one ever to open it. It made me nervous. I tried to be careful (the last book I borrowed got left on a plane, sorry Laurel). But the very first night I noticed a little tear in the book cover on the back. Did I do that? I took the thing off and put a small piece of tape on the inside, then carefully put the jacket away in a cupboard, safe from any more harm while I read some more. I read fast, wanting to get it back to my friend ASAP, plus it was just a really good, hard-to-put-down book. It's about a town in Mississippi, race, prejudice, friendship, history, great language and accents. I kept going, speed-reading, but thinking about the fact that I don't own this book, putting it down gently, consciously taking care of it, focusing. Then came the soy sauce. I must have let my guard down hurrying through the last half, because on page 363, it happened. A splash of soy. I tried to clean it up, but it just made it worse. I quit reading and left it open so it could dry. The next day I finished the book, dropped it off at Nancy's and picked up the other book I had been reading, Lit.

Totally different book. A memoir - growing up in the dusty slums of Texas with alcoholics, desperate to be a writer, a poet. Marrying into a wealthy, cold family and moving to Boston, where the alcoholism catches up to her. Incredible, jaw-dropping writing. Where does she find those words? She's just now coming out of her darkest part and I can't wait to finish it. It's a new book, so I can't renew it. Since it sat alone while I raced through The Help, I'm behind. The thing is due today. God, the pressure.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bloomies Black Friday

Call me crazy, but one Black Friday I found myself in the biggest store in the world in one of the biggest cities in the world - Bloomingdales, New York City. The place was wall-to-wall people, a sea of faces sticking out of coats and hats and scarves, trying to get a jump on their holiday shopping in a never-ending display of slashed prices and jingle bells. We were herded through the departments, occasionally elbowing our way out of the path into a must-have display. Total madness. I didn't get it. I've never been one of those organized, list-in-hand, sitting outside Toys 'R Us at 5 am the day after Thanksgiving early shoppers. I'm more of a December 21st-ish, click here now, free shipping and we guarantee Christmas delivery kind of girl. But back at Bloomies three year old Shana announced that she had to pee. After seeing the lines in two mobbed bathrooms (after waiting, waiting, waiting for the elevators), we stayed put in the third, hoping for the best. But the poor kid just couldn't hold it any longer. Suddenly everybody got nice and we were pushed to the front of the long line where I ducked into the next open stall and stripped down my little elf, rolled up her wet things and wrapped her adorable naked little butt into my coat. We headed back out into the crowds and found a brand new Bloomingdales Black Friday outfit.

At least it was on sale.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

This Is It

don't stop 'til you get enough...

The voice, the dance moves, the unbelieveable perfectionism. I grew up with Michael, knew every word, tried to Moonwalk, had his posters on the ceiling and the first thing I thought about when he died was, shoot, I wish I had seen him in concert. Well, tonight, I got as close as I'll ever get. Went with the gang, plus Shana's BF Jordan and his bro and sis after a Thanksgiving feast. He was days away from heading to Europe for an unprecedented 50 sold-out shows before he died. The concert would have been incredible judging from this behind-the-scenes documentary. The music, the dancing, the short movies, the special effects - amazing. And Michael? Down to every last detail, every last note, every last hip thrust he was on it. I kept thinking that maybe this was a better way to go out, giving us a glimpse at the real genius, the real brain behind the unreal face. This Is It.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I bet Shana's current B grade in Government will turn into an A if she stays off of stumble. But, home for the holidays with a needs a lot of attention from dad laptop, we've been sharing my computer and she introduced me to stumble. It's addicting. Maybe it had something to do with the very first place it took me. To Cambodia and a picture of a thousands-year old temple at Angkor Wat, one of the most incredible places I've ever been cambodia/angkor-wat. Well, where we've been. Shana and me. And Amy. But, time to log off, Shana. Go read a book or something.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shana, Sushi, Shopping Extravaganza

My little mini me came home for the holidays and was ready to shop!! She's got a new job and saved up a bit (and had some help from me, too) and we hit some of the new and old places in town. Then, on to sushi. The baby's home. Life is good. Happy Thanksgiving to me!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Movie Madness - The Damned United

All of the Phoenix turkeys must have flown back to Omaha, because Laura, Louise and I were the only girls in the place (then two real, our aged, non grey-haired men came in). Great flick about determination and a bit of testosterone. Hilarious British humor in this true story.

Laurel Lipstick Call

The Bopsie Twins went out on the town. Dressed alike in all black, black, black, black, of course, even down to the Donald Pliners, we hit the way cool patio at Bar North on a perfect Arizona November night. The palm trees were sparkling, the wine flowing and the laughs just kept coming.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fa la la la la

The Christmas music has started on 99.9. I can't seem to turn it off.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Met the long lost Lisa R and Sheila on the patio at the new Modern Steak for a a trip back to swanky town as the oh-so beautiful people of Scottsdale filled up the place. Hours and hours of catching up and planning the next event, sweat pants and a couple of bottles of wine on somebody's couch.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Club - A Walk on the Beach

"That moment is rapidly approaching," Cecily said when I suggested that, like the characters in the book we just read, we all just sell everything, bury the Blackberries and go live on the beach somewhere. Great night of catching up with the gang at her amazing house. We got to the boobs on round one, then moved through poop to "my God, I've never wanted you more" as the wine kept flowing.

The Parlor Girls

Finally made it to the new Parlor restaurant. Totally renovated old beauty parlor from the old days in Phoenix. It's worth a trip just to look at the designs, but then the food Yogi Mary and I joined the packed house for a great lunch and some even better conversation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Titans

It took Facebook to gather some of the old gang back together again. This happy trip down memory lane included BFF from way back, Leslie, and some of the boys, too. We're already planning the next big event - something about a kegger and brownies at Swenson's place...

Mah Jong Mavens

The cracks and bams were flying at Carol's house.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Dash

Just finished the book A Walk on the Beach. Quick, pretty sappy read, but some powerful moments. The main character runs into a new friend "Joan" while...get this...walking on the beach. Turns out that Joan is Joan Erikson, wife of the famous psychologist Erik Erikson (one of the guys that really made sense to me in college) who wrote about the developmental stages in life. As Joan neared the end of her life, and after having watched her husband pass away, she realized that the last stage isn't just about having wisdom and possibly regret (as she and Erik originally thought) but that it is about a constant search for new information, new experiences, new and interesting people and activities. She talked about "the dash" - that it's not important what the dates are on a tombstone, it's what you do with the dash - fill up your life, all of the stages with new memories, do something different every day. So after a slow, quiet, pretty dashless Sunday here goes: Besides hanging around at the office - Monday - Movie Madness, Tuesday - yoga, Wednesday - lunch with high school friends recently found on Facebook, semi-retirement half-day Wednesday afternoon with Shawn, Mahjongg game at Carol's, Thursday - lunch with yoga guru, Mary, Book Club at Cecily's (where we probably won't talk about the book since we're so dashy), Friday - Happy Hour with the other Lisa and Sheila, Saturday - Lipstick Call with Laurel ------- dash, dash, dash, dash, dash, dash ------------------


I've never really thought about dragonflies before. I've always liked them and I even have a sticker of one on my keyboard at work for some reason. There's a cute, ladies-who-lunch, Dragonfly Cafe down the street from me and, of course, the great, sort of outer-spacey Blondie song from the 80s. But tonight in yoga, we learned how dragonflies work, how they evolve from tiny underwater "mud nymphs" into beautiful flying creatures. Not ones to ever waste a metaphor, our unusually small, just us girls, class focused on their (our) never-ending spiral of learning, constantly striving to grow to the next stage and how, no matter how hard we try, sometimes realizing that it's those quiet people around us that seem to figure it out more quickly. So tonight's new trick - handstands up the wall. Next week - flying.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Movie Madness - Pirate Radio

ROCK 'N ROLL, BABY!!!!!!!! 

A look back at the beginnings of rock and roll and how hard people had to work to keep it on the air. Well, not really. Just a totally original, hilarious movie, great characters, funny story, amazing music.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Soup's On

I don't cook. Twenty years ago I figured out how to make lasagna and used to make that for every single occasion I could think of. Then there was one year of my life where I found myself somehow with nothing much to do. Done with latest degree, piece of cake kid in new school where my name had not yet appeared on every volunteer and PTA committee, happy husband in a job he loved and in a new house with a big kitchen. I cooked that year. I had a "Simple and Easy" cookbook. I would pick a recipe every day, go to the store and collect the ingredients and spend the next two hours or so figuring it out. It was never simple or easy. I'm not cut out for it. Shawn and Shana would come home and partake of my latest dish. They were always polite (nobody starved or got sick that year, by the way), but ten minutes later it was all over. After all that work. Eventually I got a job, dedicated every extra minute to Shana's school and moved California Pizza Kitchen curb-side pick-up to #4 on my speed dial. I did bookmark one recipe, though. It's a soup, well, chili. Lots of veggies, beans, ham. Over the years the ham turned to turkey and I made a few other changes here and there. I still have to take the whole book to the store with me just like in the old days, but I've got the work part down to a science and put it to the test again today on a Sunday afternoon with nothing else to do. I came home from the store and unloaded, washed, chopped, cried (from the onions), sliced, rinsed, stirred, loaded the dishwasher and one hour later was standing in a clean kitchen with a big pot of soup bubbling on the stove. That's almost as fast as CPK.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Fellow theater lover, Shana, worked the concession stand tonight, racking up credits for her theater class, while I got to enjoy the show. Those kids were incredible. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was amazing, great singing and dancing and lots of skimpy nighties and naked butts! From the concession stand, Shana gets to see all the guys run through and see the other sides, too (she hasn't missed a night yet!) Sushi and a show with Shana - The Best Little Night in Tucson!

Business or Pleasure

Heading down to Tucson to the Omni so Shawn can squeeze in a few more CME's before the year runs out. I'll be hanging out with Shana...

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Shana got the lead in a play! Well, it's an off, off, off, off, off Broadway play and, hopefully, it's due to her immense talent and not just her long, blonde hair. Opening soon at Mildred and Dildred.

Crazy Cat Lady

I couldn't do it...

Lotus suddenly started eating last night like it was going out of style. Then she started taking a little bath, something she hasn't done in a month. Then she played with my necklace. Then Shawn freaked out when I told him it was time. Then I stopped crying and canceled the mobile vet on wheels.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Sometimes my mom calls me "Lamy."  It's a non-endearing combination of Lisa and Amy, which really just means, "One of you girls. Come. Now. It doesn't matter which one." As we've been dealing with sick kitty, Lotus, Shawn and I have both been slipping and calling her Schuster, a cat from long ago whose life didn't have such a pretty ending, either. There have been other cats and two dogs in our lives, but for some reason, we've been channeling Schuster. He was full of attitude and charm, the latter making the former somehow adorable. His brother, Simon, was loving and beautiful, but Schuster always stole the show. One day we discovered a tumor, had it removed and after a pretty brutal recovery, he survived another year. He seemed to know he was living on borrowed time and in that year lost all attitude and was full-on charm. It's Schuster's last year that I think about when I look at Lotus. I wish I knew exactly what was wrong with her, but after lots of labs and x-rays and tests, we still have no idea. All I know is that for a lot more pain we could fix some of the symptoms, but as far as curing a problem and getting another year, no. What is more likely is that she will just get sicker and sicker and die. But I can end her suffering now if I want to. We live in a strange society. I remember watching my grandmother get sicker and sicker and die. After a full life, the best we could do was let her starve to death, hooked up to wires and tubes in a cold hospital bed. It was the most inhumane, uncivilized, incredibly heartbreaking thing I have ever witnessed. She deserved more than that. So, in a way, cats have it better. I can say when enough is enough.

Tomorrow's enough.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Call of Duty

Usually Shawn's a sort of quiet, nice, even in touch with his feminine side kind of guy. But plug him in to Call of Duty and he's a lean, mean killing machine. The new game comes out today and he's been talking about it for weeks (I probably could have  gone down to the store between midnight and 1 and surprised him with a fresh, hot off the presses copy, but waiting around with all those weirdos would have been too much). He has "friends" that he plays with online (there are thousands and thousands on at any given time, people) and they talk about all kinds of stuff, like everybody knows that our cat is sick. A lot of the guys have taken the day off work today for a marathon play date, while Shawn had to go play doctor instead. He'll have to wait 'til five like the rest of the civilized warriors. Best Buy opens up at 9am and he'll be there. He's got his pre-purchased empty box right by the door, ready to go fill up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Super Trooper

My baby's sick. Lotus has had two ten-hour days of "flushing" in the past four days through an IV in a florescent-lit vet office, shaved and poked and prodded and needled and x-rayed. She's doing better, lab wise, and has been invited back for an overnight slumber party (for another $1000). More flushing, more needles, two more long car rides. But I'm turning down the invite, even though I feel like a cheap, cold-hearted mommy. I can't do any more to her. She didn't eat anything at all yesterday and today she made it through a bit of a can. We're shoving pills down her poor sore throat twice a day and making her swallow a big glob of high calorie paste every one to two hours. I've got water bowls all over the house and an extra litter box in the living room, just in case. She still loves to be brushed, purring, purring, purring when I even get close to her with it. But other than that, she justs wants to sleep. No more cars, Lotus. Okay? No more needles. How about just a lot more brush?

The Auspicious One

Mary, Mary has a blog! 

She teaches, she poses, she writes!


Movie Madness - An Education

Great film about life in London in the 60s. Well, life in London in the 60s if you're a Catholic school girl that falls in love with an older man. It was quite an education.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Social Butterfly

Fall Social. Once a year my neighborhood has a social. A block party. A little wine, cheese and socializing with all the folks we wave to as we drive by the rest of the year. It's where do you live? Which one? Kids? No kids? How many trick-or-treaters? 4.5% refi...good job! High appraisal...looks like things are turning around in the 'hood. It's fun to connect and reconnect with the old-timers and the newbies. We always seem to congregate with the regulars, though, with the ones next door or across the street or the ones we see every day while we're walking the dogs. The questions are more's Shana doing in Tucson? How's the remodel? Thanks for the email, it was hilarious. Then good-bye, see you tomorrow, or see you next year.

We kept socializing in the neighborhood down the street with a double date with Shannon and Steve at Tandoori Times. More wine (well, Kingfisher beer) and more cheese (the Indian kind, slathered in sauce) and more of the next-door neighbor kind of questions - how are the kids, the house, the parents, the cat, the job, the tandoori? Good, good, good, good, good and good.


I love the Desert Botanical Gardens (DBG). I also love, love, love free stuff! So Monday night, it's free admission for users. I love, too. It's their five year anniversary and if you are ever bored and looking for something to do (at a discount!) just log on

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Health Care Reform

When Shawn started practicing medicine, he and the patients were in charge of health care. Over the years, however, the insurance and drug companies seemed to take over. Back then our patients had good health care insurance that was provided by their employers and our older patients had Medicare. Drugs were available at a reasonable cost. Things have changed. Not a day goes by that we don't deal with some sort of financial issue - somebody's co-pay is too high and they can't come to see us, or they lost their insurance or their insurance didn't cover their lab test or their office visit or the medicine that Shawn prescribed. We are constantly taking our eyes off of patient care and running decisions through other filters - what will insurance cover? And it's a good thing you don't know how often I have to send them copies of your "private" medical records so they can "review" your medical problems. We now deal with HMOs and Medicare-replacement plans and "donut-holes" and waiting on the phone with insurance companies forever to discuss Shawn's plans based on his 20 years of education and experience with some 20-year old in Delhi begging for a prior authorization. We have at least ten drugs reps a day come through the office, selling their wares. I remember a time when they would come in and actually talk about their products, the research, the benefits. These days, it's all about coupons and vouchers and websites and giving away "free" drugs, at least until the formularies change. And then there's the cost of insurance. Some employers have stopped providing it and individuals now have to choose between insurance and food, often choosing a plan that promises everything, then changes a month or so after signing up. Something has to change and tonight is the first step. The House, after almost a century of trying, has passed a health care reform bill. Now it's up to the Senate. Come on, people, it's about time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sesame Street - 40 years!

I used to have a huge crush on Big Bird. Tall, not so dark, but handsome. I loved his voice, I loved watching him and the gang in the mornings, I wanted to live on Sesame Street.

Sunny days, sweepin' the clouds away...can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

Happy 40th Anniversary!

Arizona Greek Festival

Whoa...lots of stuff going on this weekend. I'm dragging Shawn to the Greek Festival for lunch after work on Saturday at the Scottsdale Civic Center. Yum...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sculptures Under The Stars

The incredible Dr. Franny and the Workshop gang (Workshop) threw a big party for some of us who have helped throughout the year (even though we should be thanking them!). It was a great year and Fran told me how she keeps hearing wonderful stories of how the the kids continue to move into the community, spreading the lessons learned over the summer.We gathered at fellow Workshop parent Jeff Zinchke's home/studio. Wow. What a guy. I have driven by his house at least a hundred times (right on 64th and Cholla) and always wondered what kind of crazy person lives in there and how angry the neighbors must be due to all of the funky lawn sculptures. But after tonight, both Shawn and I are ready to move in. Check out his website for just a taste of his work (lots of public art around town and all over the new W hotel). He goes a mile a minute, describing all of his pieces from paintings, wood sculptures, umbrellas, furniture and so much more. I would love to fill our house with his art. There are works in so many different mediums, just like at workshop, so many different kids and leaders, interacting in an extraordinary way that somehow, in the end, makes total sense.

Local First Arizona

Saturday, 11/7, at the Duck & Decanter from 10 - 4
local first arizona

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nick Cave

Nick Cave, former Alvin Ailey dancer and creator of the Soundsuit exhibit at SMOCA (it's free on Thursdays, definitely take the kids ), was in town tonight and showed us his work, talking about his inspirations, how he collects his materials, how he runs his studio. The guy is amazing. Really. (And I'm not the only one that thinks so, after a long, long introduction about all of his awards and exhibits, the guy is officially a BFD). He started making his soundsuits as a reaction to the Rodney King beatings. Tonight he showed us a new project he is working on with regard to Barack Obama. Nobody said anything, but I saw a powerful connection, sort of coming full circle, on this day, the one year anniversary of Obama becoming the most powerful man on earth. There was music and a lot of creatures from the center of the universe dancing and making noise. Beautiful.

Shawn and I then checked out Modern Steak, the new Fox restaurant in the center of our universe (Mr. Fox himself was even there). The place is swanky with a capital S. Great food, totally un-run-of-the-mill decor and some really cool music. Yummy, doll.

The Flush

Lotus update. The good news, the labs aren't as gloomy as we thought. The bad news, the poor thing needs to get flushed out today, all day, through an IV. Yuk.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Are you open or closed?

I drove to yoga tonight, slinking slowly down McDonald Drive looking up at the Praying Monk as the sky turned pink - sort of a "Life is Good" moment. The lessons continued as Mary talked about being open vs. closed. Are we waiting for something to complete us? Love? Money? Success? Or are we open to all that we already have and able to avoid a lot of suffering? So tonight, we opened up. We did the crane pose and the lizard pose, we did the splits, almost (ungracefully). We even laughed a lot.

I walked outside into a beautiful night, bright, full moon in a definitely open wide sky, thankful to my yoga friends, thankful for Mary, thankful that it's not snowing and drove home with the windows, guess what? Open.

P.S. Yoga tip of the day: Shoulders far away from head, all the time, no matter what you're doing, head up, up, up.

The Meaning of Life

Old Wildcat and I are on a search for the meaning of life. Or at least for a good seafood restaurant in Phoenix. If the world would slow down a bit, we might be able to figure it all out. First, U of A is showing smut like The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas while the rest of the country is flying by, texting, emailing and yapping away, never stopping long enough to talk to the guy next to you. Nothing's like the old days, before almost everybody had a cell phone and a url. So even after some sandabbs and the entire Monty Python series, we're still working on the answer.

Maybe we should just focus on the fish.


I remember the first day I saw her. She was a tiny ball of grey fur, snuggled up against her sister, the last two left out of a litter and their mom, found in an abandoned car somewhere in Phoenix. My friend volunteered at the animal shelter and told me to go down after I mentioned that Shana was begging for a cat. The adoption process was crazy. Shana and I had to be interviewed. We had to watch an hour long training video. I had to fill out a questionnaire (one that my friend warned me about, even gave me some of the "preferred" answers so I would pass). I've had cats forever. I'm a cat person. I do own a dog, but, even after over a decade, I still do not understand him. I still get that Dogs are from Mars, Cats are from Venus feeling whenever he follows me around, constantly seeking my approval. Cats couldn't care less. I've got a long-lost refridgerator magnet in a drawer somewhere that says, "Dogs have masters, cats have staff" and it's so true. So, way back when, after a year or so in a catless house, Shana and I took home our new kittens. Lotus and Lulu. I wasn't crazy about their names, thought that I could do better. But when fifth-grader Shana said that she learned that day what a Lotus was (an Egyptian flower), I figured it was a sign. Plus, Lulu sounded sort of French and, sorry about the stereotypes, but she was pretty aloof, determined to get her way, hoity-toity, while Lotus, the cute one, the stoic one, seemed pretty Egyptian to me. So it's no wonder that of the two cats, Lotus is my favorite. One of the reasons Shana is an only child is because I knew that I would end up having a favorite kid and that I wouldn't be able to hide it, somebody would figure it out, and we would all end up in therapy for years because I was such a bad mom. But with Lotus, I try to hide it. Lulu's the "alpha male" of the two girls, always in charge, usually cranky. Lotus even has a scar on her ear as proof. Lotus is the sweet one.  If you ever need to find her, you only have to walk into Shana's room. Her place is right at the top of her bed, next to her pillow. I look at Lotus and Lulu and think that I will watch them grow old together, two old broads, finishing up life, side by side. They remind me of my sister, Amy, and me in thirty years or so, sitting around, growling at each other. Amy has a special bond with Lotus, too, spending hours having "love-ins" with her when she comes home to visit, even more recently talking about taking her back to New York with her. But now Lotus is sick. We joked for a couple of weeks that she was just trying to lose weight for the holidays, but it's more serious than that. She's tired. She seems to be forgetting things. She looks sort of yellowish. The vet called with half of the lab results and we're waiting for the rest today. I've been spending every extra second I can with her, petting her, brushing her and, right now, typing and rubbing her with my foot while she purrs. I even told her that she's my favorite.

I hope she doesn't tell Lulu.

Monday, November 2, 2009

First Friday

Summer's over, the weather's great, next month is busy - that leaves November First Friday - art, culture, and WINE!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Movie Madness - A Serious Man

Funny look back at what it was like to grow up a Coen Brother. Great scenes, amazing film-making, and, okay, sometimes hard to follow, but Movie Madness still beats working.

Virgins of Paradise

It took a week and a half, but I finally finished it - Virgins of Paradise (excellent recommendation from Nancy). Over 500 pages of Egyptian drama, generations of family secrets, war, sex, banishment, imprisonment, religion, education, traditions, repressed childhood memories, love and, finally, at the very end, the meaning of life.  Gotta read it to find out...