2014 – November 30 – Sunday Brunch

On the 30th day, we’re reading “Sunday Brunch” by Joanne Jagoda.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Real men do dishes.”[/cryout-pullquote]

“Mom, what time are they coming?”

“They’ll be here around eleven. I need you to pick up some eggs. I thought I had more, but I only have a half dozen. I hope the guys will like mushroom omelets.”

Last month I wrote: “Anne has been through a lot, and we have been there with her.” Which means that we’re as ready for a bit of domestic bliss as she is.  And that’s what we get this month as the daughters go shopping for eggs while Continue reading

2014 – November 29 – Nobody, Somebody

It’s the 29th day, and we’re reading “Nobody, Somebody” by Vanessa Wiebler Paris.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Become the water, Grasshopper.”[/cryout-pullquote]

“You’re nobody ’til somebody loves you,” I hum quietly as I pull open the refrigerator door.

The air inside the refrigerator buzzes, hmmmm-hmmmm-click-click on repeat . Its bright white sides are studded with drops of condensation, concave holes, perfect little mounds like candy buttons on paper tape. I trace them with the darts of my eyes, drawing zigzags and diamonds and finally a star.

I am so very impressed by this series, which started as seemingly light humor and has managed to totally suck us into a painfully Continue reading

2014 – November 28 – Welcome Home, Jacaranda

On the 28th day we’re reading “Welcome Home, Jacaranda” by Kimberlee Smith.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Up yonder down under; it’s complicated.”[/cryout-pullquote]

I’m naming my half-sister Jacaranda, after my favorite flowering tree. Jacaranda has been with me for a month to the day and, like me and my daughter Etheline, she didn’t have a chance to meet her mum nor for her mum to meet her. She was stillborn and her mum, who was close to death herself whilst giving birth to Jackie’s brother – they were twins but only the boy was born alive – didn’t have a moment to even see Jackie before my dad, Brother Continue reading

2014 – November 27 – Samford Tries to Die

It’s the 27th and time for “Samford Tries to Die” by Nathaniel Tower.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “That’s one drastic form of birth control, Samford.”[/cryout-pullquote]

On a Thursday in November, Samford ingests what might be a lethal dose of Drain-O.

He downs half the bottle, which, if the bottle is any indicator, is way more than enough to kill him.

He does not call the emergency number for immediate attention.

Last month I analyzed my reaction to Samford, who seems farcical on the surface yet compels me to care in a very serious way. Part of this reaction stems from my sense that Samford is Continue reading

2014 – November 26 – Gabrielle

On the 26th day we’re reading “Gabrielle” by Gary Percesepe.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Mom approves; in fact she’s all in.”[/cryout-pullquote]

We cross into New Mexico on US 84. After Durango, Gabrielle talks nonstop. About her ex, who is hooked up in some bad business – some high-wall white-collar Greenwich crime that I can’t quite fathom . About her bitch goddess magazine editor with the signature blunt cut.

And Romney thought he had binders full of women. Last month Gary broke up with Frankie, a fellow graduate student he had married in Vegas not long before. This month finds him meeting the Continue reading

2014 – November 25 – Morgana Malone and the Sign of the Boisterous Horse

It’s the 25th and we’re reading “Morgana Malone and the Sign of the Boisterous Horse” by Matt Potter.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Why the long face?”[/cryout-pullquote]

“I feel as though I should read it, everybody’s talking about it,” her voice trills above the hushed crowd. She smiles and the brim of her black straw hat dips over one eye. She must have practiced the move hundreds of times in front of the mirror, it’s so perfect, her blonde blunt-cut falling across one side of her face, and draping down across her shoulder on the other, just as her eyes look up. She laughs. Well, neighs almost, shaking her Continue reading

2014 – November 24 – Neighbor Relations

On the 24th we’re reading “Neighbor Relations” by Teresa Burns Gunther.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble: “Nothing wrong with store bought if the filling is good.”[/cryout-pullquote]


My wife says I’m mad. I’ve been married to Joyce for twenty-three years; she has a big heart but a blind spot where it concerns the girl next door. I tell her she should be nice to Rachel.

This is another series that I look forward to each month. How can you not root for Rachel, the oh-so-pragmatic borderline autistic gal with a good heart and a big dog named Stella? She set out to work on her people skills as her boss suggested (probably more Continue reading

2014 – November 23 – Some Kind of Important

It’s the 23rd, and time for “Some Kind of Important” by Darryl Price.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Ectoplasm is a kind of plasm, right?”[/cryout-pullquote]

Hello, Doc. That’s how you can tell it’s me or else Bugs Bunny. One of us is always writing to you for answers for the big carrot questions. I guess that makes you some kind of important person in the universe, at least in the universe of me, for which I am grateful . Please don’t ever doubt that thankfulness in me. Let me do all the doubting. I’m good at it. I would have made a good doubting Thomas for the Last Supper.

Continue reading

2014 – November 22 – Moving On Now

It’s the 22nd, time to read “Moving On Now” by Margaret Bingel.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper twist:  “Happy Thanksgiving. I think.”[/cryout-pullquote]

Nora never picks up on the first ring. To discourage telemarketers. She’s in the kitchen, five feet away from the wall where she keeps the phone mounted, and lets it ring once. Then before it lets out another shriek, she grabs the receiver and whips it to her ear. And says nothing, breathing into the mouthpiece.

We like to believe that people can change. Ned’s cycle has been all about that possibility. Can the depressed, potentially-violent Ned we saw in that first chapter become a more perfected man? Can he Continue reading

2014 – November 21 – The Retreat

On the 21st we’re reading “The Retreat,” by Mandy Nicol.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper twist:  “You can count on brotherly love.. I think…”[/cryout-pullquote]

Mum’s being so nice, so solicitous, so unlike herself, that I don’t want to force the facts on her. So I thank her for breakfast and say yes, I might stay in bed a little longer.

She thinks Charlie dumped me. She’s wrong, it was me who dumped Charlie.

This series has primarily been a war of wills (and won’ts) between Nadia and her mum. Last month saw the addition of a wild card as Nadia’s brother, Anthony, returned to save the family farm. Continue reading