Rowboat Book Club #93

This month we will be reading 2 books. It’s an Either/Or. You get to pick which one you want.

The first option is:

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

Or

Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump

by Michael Cohen

The Inside Story of the Real President Trump, by His Former Attorney And Personal Advisor—The Man Who Helped Get Him Into the Oval Office
Once Donald Trump’s fiercest surrogate, closest confidant, and staunchest defender, Michael Cohen knows where the skeletons are buried.

This is the most devastating business and political horror story of the century. As Trump’s lawyer and “fixer,” Cohen not only witnessed firsthand, but was also an active participant in the inner workings of Trump’s business empire, political campaign, and presidential administration.

This is a story that you have not read in newspapers, or on social media, or watched on television. These are accounts that only someone who worked for Trump around the clock for over a decade—not a few months or even a couple of years—could know. Cohen describes Trump’s racist rants against President Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, and Black and Hispanic people in general, as well as the cruelty, humiliation, and abuse he leveled at family and staff. Whether he’s exposing the fact that Trump engaged in tax fraud by inflating his wealth or election fraud by rigging polls, or outing Trump’s Neanderthal views towards women or his hush-money payments to clandestine lovers, Cohen pulls no punches.

He show’s Trump’s relentless willingness to lie, exaggerate, mislead, or manipulate. Trump emerges as a man without a soul—a man who courts evangelicals and then trashes them, panders to the common man, but then rips off small business owners, a con-man who will do or say absolutely anything to win, regardless of the cost to his family, his associates, or his country.

At the heart of Disloyal, we see how Cohen came under the spell of his charismatic Boss and, as a result, lost all sense of his moral compass.

The real real Donald Trump who permeates these pages—the racist, sexist, homophobic, lying, cheating President—will be discussed, written about, and analyzed for years to come.

This better be allergies

So I’m banished to the pool house because I had a fever yesterday. I’ve been struggling with a head cold? sinus infection? allergies? for 2 days. I’m short of breath and even taking the trash out to the bin is winding me. Sarah took a look at me and did her assessment. I had a small fever. I think it broke this morning. At least I hope so.

Homeschooling the twins is up and down. Some days they are into it, some it’s making them sit down and pay attention. It’s not easy for them or their teacher. She is trying her best to keep all the students engaged. I’m trying my best to keep them sitting there. Heston is the attitude and squirmy one. Alex loves online learning Lol I’m not at all surprised. 1st grade is going well. They just want to go back into school. Not until COVID is under control.

My other kids are all doing great. I love spending time with my girls. They are both at an interesting age. They like to play together, then they pull each other’s hair and scream Lol 1 and 3. Oh boy. The little kitten we found in a tire is doing well. She eats A LOT OF PATE/Oatmeal mix. Okay I just accidentally hit the caps lock key and I’m too lazy to roll back up there and fix that. I did not mean to emphasize that.

Things with Kate and I are going great. We are in that quiet, let’s be sweet and kind to each other all the time phase. I love it. I really do love her a lot. She loves me. I know that. Things are looking up for both of us. We just want that dang border to open up already. It’s been months since we’ve seen each other and I’m getting ansty Lol It’s been a long time. Our daily phone calls twice or thrice? help out.

That reminds me of that Golden Girl episode when Rose wrote a theme song for Miami. Miami is nice, Miami is nice, so I’ll say it thrice. Then Dorothy stopped the song and said I’ll say it thrice???? It was really funny.

I’m doing well. Other than this being a little bit sick and coughing all over. I’m going to the clinic today. I need to call this morning to make an appointment. I just need some antibiotics or something. I am not at all thinking this is COVID. I have not been around anyone outside of our compound at all. This is just my usual early fall allergies I’m sure.

How are you guys doing? I will be writing back to all of the the emails and comments soon. I finished up all of the DM’s late last night. Sorry that’s taking so long getting back to you guys but homeschooling and these kids keep me very busy now. I love you all, take care!

Hawaiian Style

I am finally sleeping longer into the night. I have been crashing right after I put my kids to bed because I’m up early talking to my girlfriend to start out her work day. The past 2 weeks have been hard but I am able to call her, talk a few then go back to sleep. I think I’m finally over this insomnia phase. That’s been a 6 month struggle. I only need about 6 hours of sleep a night but being on a different time zone than all of my business calls or meetings has been hard to adjust to.

The kids are all doing well. We are all adjusting to our 2 new additions to the family. Life is peaceful, boring, and easy. I love it. When the kids are in school I glide along the weeks because it’s pretty much the same routine. Homeschooling is a challenge but we are working hard with the boys teachers to get the school year started in a positive direction. We have been at it over a month now and I can say it is getting better. The first few weeks were rough for a lot of their classmates. I have opted out of this school year, they offered online school for those that want it. We are back in lockdown for another 2 weeks which means I can only go out for emergencies or food. They are looking to pull back some restrictions but it’s been a roller coaster. I have to buy food for 3 weeks at a time just in case we go back on lockdown. We had it so the girls and I could go out Monday through Thursday anywhere we needed or wanted to go. The understanding was mask up, glove up, or don’t go. I keep telling everyone we all have made it through this COVID mess without getting it. I have to keep doing the exact same precautions to ensure we are all healthy. We could sign up for the drive thru COVID testing but no one has any symptoms. I don’t want to waste any tests when I know we are on the compound and not coming off of it for a while. If someone had been sick, of course I would take everyone for the test. I thank God every day that we have made it this far.

I also pray everyday for healing and purpose. There have been almost 10,000 cases of COVID so far with 87 deaths. I’m so thankful I made the right choice for my family removing us from Denver. Alex’s health is number 1 to me and I was scared he would get it and die. In Denver county they have 11,579 cases with 434 deaths. I don’t know why the death rate here is so low but I’m thankful for all of the medical professionals that are keeping us all safe. They are all heroes. It’s a tough time in the world. Pray and try to show grace to all. That’s all we can do.

How are you guys doing? We are going to be talking about the Michael Cohen book on my #VeganSam podcast. We knocked out about 5 episodes of that one and my #SoulToLife podcast over the weekend. I’m still working on editing but I promise all of my podcast fans they will all be up soon. I’m loving our new spot! It makes editing, adding filters and text to our videos much better. Yes I just got a haircut and yes it is much shorter than I wanted. You will see that in the videos. I’m happy it will grow out fast but I needed a new style and this one is called Hawaiian style. Feel free to add your comments in our comment section over there when you watch the shows. And yes my dog was barking a lot in one of them. Sorry? He was playing with the boys.

That’s about it. No huge updates. Quiet, calm. The best part of the year. Is it almost fall? I wouldn’t know. It’s 84 degrees here every day Lol

More WordPress Updates?

Now that my WordPress blog is updated, they released more updates. I should be able to press the Update button now and do it myself. I was probably 2 or 3 years behind on all of the plugin, translations, core updates. Lindsay helped me get it straightened out and I do have backup files just in case. I learned how to do the backups myself.

I have decided my kids are staying home this entire semester for homeschooling. No one in shocked at all. Alex is doing so well here, I don’t want to risk it. I’m happy we finally have that decision made and we are working out all the small issues with the kids staying at home to learn. It’s a challenge to get the boys to sit and participate but Sarah and I are doing our best. We have to remind them all of the time. This is all temporary, you can go back to school later.

I’m doing good. I’m getting back to exercising regularly. I really love going out for walks and enjoying the cool ocean breeze. I’m able to be outside most of the afternoon and evening. My kids love to swim and play. It’s sad I can’t get them into sports or try to have other kids come over right now. We do a lot of Facetime calls. We have hit that daily same routine phase and I love it. It is calming all the household chaos down. Gabby is a party all on her own so it’s been an interesting time. I never thought we would end up here. I think God led me here on purpose for my own wellness and probably mental well being. I might be losing my sh** by now if we stayed in Denver and the COVID numbers kept going up.

Wear a mask, social distance. Follow the guidelines. If you don’t want to wear a mask, okay. But you are risking your own life. I think you should sign a waiver saying you will not seek medical attention WHEN YOU get COVID. Your choice, our consequences.

The Joe Biden phone banking is going very well. People have been polite. Some of the poll numbers my district is seeing is very good. I think Hawaii is a hugely Democratic presence anyway. Things with Kate and I are going well. We are working hard not to flip out or flip out on each other during this global pandemic. We are able to communicate through any rough patches. For the most part it’s a lot of laughing, a lot of Scrabble, and a lot of checking in with each other. I love her. She knows that. We are solid and happy.

Hope you guys are doing well. Stay safe out there. You wouldn’t want any North Carolina or Fort Worth cooties Lol