Dick Francis’ mysteries are all set in the world of horse racing and Nerve is no different. I read it for a mystery bookclub and was disappointed. While I liked the affable hero, Rob Finn, I expected a murder in this mystery and a faster pace.

Rob Finn’s a talented steeplechase jockey, he’s an outsider in his own family of talented musicians. Finn also gained a little of my sympathy as he’s hopelessly in love with his first cousin. Yet as much I’m a romantic and found the cousin Julia a wonderful woman, she was his first cousin. For me that’s too close to be sure of good genetics should a couple have children.

In Finn’s world several successful  jockeys have been fired, injured and in once case the victim of suicide. What’s going on? It seems coincidental until just when Finn’s career begins to take off and he’s featured on a popular racing TV program, Finn’s horses fail one after another. Soon he’s shunned and isn’t getting as many races. Finn doesn’t understand it but vows to figure out what’s really going on and to rescue his reputation.

I liked learning about the racing world and I liked the touch of romance, but Nerve lacked mystery and the writing wasn’t terrific. I found that I could skim paragraphs and not lose out much. That’s not a good sign. My favorite writers make me savor every word.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d probably first bring up my bafflement that the local food kitchen won’t allow a Census Recruiter to come recruit at their site. They’re supposed to help the poor. Geez. Also,last Tuesday  I went to a Power Employment Workshop for job seekers and not one person was willing to apply. It doesn’t make sense. The pay is good and the hours flexible.

Last Monday I went to recruit at a Kiwanis meeting and was impressed by the members, who’re very service minded. I also liked that the group had members of all ages. The lunch was at a Senior Center, but 3 or 4 were much younger. I like when people socialize outside of their demographic. That night I recruited at the Evanston League of Women Voters’ Drinks & Dialog event. Lots of vibrant, smart women were there.

I’m getting nervous about a quick trip to Boston for a Small Claims Trial I initiated. I wouldn’t have bothered but I was out almost $2500 and that makes a difference. I’m organizing documents like emails and want to dot every i and cross every t. I’m not eloquent in such novel situations and the other side is sure to have a lawyer. It may snow tomorrow. I hope I get there for the Wednesday proceedings.

Wednesday I attended a mystery book club to discuss Dick Francis’ Nerve. I wasn’t blown over by the book, but the group is engaging and fun. Monday my Great Books group met to discuss Nietzche’s Birth of Tragedy. Boy, was that dense. I really didn’t like the reading, but again, the group’s insights redeemed the whole experience. Next month we read Wealth of Nations, well the first 9 sections of that.

Thursday I got a little joy out of saving my second warmest winter coat. The zipper got off track, but the marvelous Michelle at my library’s makerspace knew how to fix it and with some pushing, tugging and crimping we got it fixed. Good thing she owns a zipper repair kit. I didn’t know there were such things.

I’m not sure where I’ll be working after the Census ends in August. I applied for two teaching jobs. One’s in Cambodia and the other’s in Kazakstan. I do plan to look into Instructional Design jobs here. My skills transfer, it’s just a matter of convincing an employer that they do.

Slow Work of God, a Prayer

In time for Lent

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

By Teihard de Chardain, SJ