Cover of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara LouiseOnly Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise. Sourcebooks Landmark. ISBN: 978-1-4022-4103-1. Pages 368. Trade Paperback. ($14.99 / Amazon: $10.19, Kindle $9.68). Originally published as Something Like Regret.

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is a “what if” book building on the characters and somewhat on the plot of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In this instance, the author, Kara Louise, chose to diverge shortly after Darcy’s horrendously inappropriate proposal to Elizabeth and her curt and hurtful refusal. Darcy writes Elizabeth a letter detailing his involvement with Mr. Wickham and explaining his reasons for separating Mr. Bingley and Jane. Elizabeth returns to Longbourn from Rosings just as she did in the original work. That’s when things change. Mr. Bennet falls ill. Elizabeth doesn’t go on the trip with her Aunt and Uncle Gardner. And more importantly, when Mr. Bennet dies, Lydia is called back from Brighton before she can elope with Mr. Wickham.

The death of Mr. Bennet means that the Collin’s inherit Longbourn. Elizabeth persuades her mother to move in with her sister, Mrs. Phillips, and her husband. Jane moves in with the Gardiners in London to help with their children. Elizabeth takes a position as a governess with Mr. and Mrs. Willstone to care for their daughter Emily — a very precocious six-year-old. The stage is now set and the story spins out from this point.

The Willstones live in London which allows Elizabeth to visit the Gardiners and Jane on her Sunday’s off. They also travel in the similar social circles as the Darcys and Bingley. Mrs. Willstone’s sister Miss Rosalyn Matthews comes to visit the family and for some of the London social season. It was a chance invitation that brought Miss Darcy and Mr. Bingley to the Willstones on a day when Emily had been asked to sing for their guests while Elizabeth played the piano for her. Bingley’s surprise was genuine and sincere. However, since Elizabeth and Rosalyn were becoming friends it also led to Rosalyn confessing her admiration and respect for Mr. Darcy and her hope that she could secure his love.

As you can imagine this throws Elizabeth into a quandary as now she has realizes just how much she misjudged Darcy and somewhat regrets her refusal of his offer of marriage. She’s now a governess and if Rosalyn and the Willstones begin to entertain the Darcys, it will be painful for her as her first encounter with Darcy shows.

How will things turn out? Will Elizabeth’s change in circumstances prohibit Mr. Darcy once again asking for her hand in marriage? Will she have to stand by and watch as Rosalyn vies for his attention and regard? Does he even still care for Elizabeth?

Those of us who are fans of the book have definite ideas about how the questions should be answered. But will the author oblige? You’ll need to read the book to find out how or if she manages to have our two favorite characters interact.

Kara Louise is very respectful of Austen’s characters and the feel of the story as well as the interactions of the characters are believable while following naturally from the new story line. There are also no sex scenes, just plenty of romance and witty dialogue. The writing is such that you could believe that if Austen had been a bit more romantic and less pragmatic, she could have written this story.

Once again I was enchanted by characters I admire and enjoy reading about and by Louise’s style, wit, humor, and story telling.

If you enjoy Pride and Prejudice variations as much as the follow-ons, you really need to read Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise, unless of course you’ve already read it when it was published as Something Like Regret.

If you have read this book, I’m anxious to hear what you thought of it — please leave a comment.

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Today, I got this link to Leo Murray’s Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip video. It one of the better overviews of what causes global warming / climate change and what the phrase tipping point is all about. (Video is about 11 minutes and 35 seconds).

Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

It’s a great little video and I found it interesting and informative so I thought I’d share. I especially liked his mention of the rampant consumerism that is so embedded in our culture that so many find it difficult to think of consuming less, of buying smaller or conserving our funds, our environment, our energy — and maximizing our enjoyment of life. It’s tiring and exhausting to get, buy, consume, and waste. Having more doesn’t make us any happier than just enjoying what we already have.

The other day I watched 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama and one of the questions from the interviewer was about his observation that in India, among the poorest of the poor, he’d noted that they laughed far more and with true enjoyment that most of the people he knew who had much, much more — where laughter was more often forced or at someone else’s expense.

Things don’t make us happy. People and relationships and taking the time to get to know and enjoy the people around us help to make us happy. So, rethink your own consumerism and I know that I’ll be thinking of mine and how I can make changes in my behavior.

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Bumper Sticker: Orwell is right: Big Brother is watching you

When I saw this article on BoingBoing, I could not believe it.

Evidently, the laptops that students received from the school also contain software that allows school administrators to spy on them and their families. There is now a class action suit against the district because:

The issue came to light when the Robbins’s child was disciplined for “improper behavior in his home” and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.

I find this creepy in the extreme. What is it with people who believe that they have the right to spy on others anytime they want. This is an invasion of privacy at the least, and child pornography on the part of school officials at the worst — since I’d imagine many of the students have the laptops in their rooms.

What’s even less appealing is that the school said:

The school district admits that student laptops were shipped with software for covertly activating their webcams, but denies wrongdoing.

NOTE: There are links in the BoingBoing article to the filings and letters and other documentation.

I’m just stunned that not only did some at the school spy on the students but that they don’t see anything wrong with this. There is no excuse for spy on the students at home. Even if there was a reason to do so, the school does not have the right to do so, since the parents are responsible for their children.

How can you expect to raise and educate children and young adults if you don’t even understand the basic principles of privacy, fairness, and respect. The school district is in the wrong and there’s no excuse for their actions and every adult involved needs some lesson in how to conduct themselves in society.

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Professor Lynn Rogers and friend by Ted OakesWell, I hum when I’m contented too. I couldn’t resist this article when I saw it on BBC Earth News — The Man who walks with Bears. Professor Lynn Rogers has been studying black bears for the last 43 years, learning their behavior, their rules of conduct, and their idiosyncrasies. A BBC film crew followed Professor Rogers getting some excellent footage of the bears and their behavior in the wild.

What really thrilled me though is that they hum when happy and/or content. Of course, most everyone who has ever read Winnie the Pooh knows that, but then Winnie is not a black bear — he’s more golden yellow. My husband and I collect bears and are always interested in them– reading most of the studies that come out on bears. We are however among those people who do not confuse the cute and cuddly plush bears with the wild in the woods ones. Though I am particularly partial to polar bears –plush and in the wild; especially this time of year.

I found this site that has some fantastic photos of the bears Lynn Rogers works with. Hope you enjoy this bear-y interlude.

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I was reaching for a book to take it off the shelf and got a pretty bad gash from the dust jacket. That got me thinking that most of the cuts on my hands have been paper cuts. Should books and paper be reclassified as dangerous weapons? Should those TSA people start making us put newspapers, magazines, and books in our check through? I remember that they did forbid books for a while in flights from Britain to the US when there was an incident that had nothing to do with books a while back.

Sometimes, it makes you rethink things, but could it be that they were afraid people would read something scary or incendiary and throw a fit? Do people get passionate about their reading material anymore?

I know that I’ve burst out laughing while reading a passage or been sniffling back sobs and tears and had people step away from the crazy person. Friends have told me that they often react to what they’re reading by laughing, crying, or getting emotional in other ways.

But with my throbbing paper cut, I’m thinking maybe ideas aren’t the only danger that books possess.

What do you think?

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Pain of the BluesToday when I opened my online news source, I was greeted with an article about the FDA wanting to pull many of the prescribed painkillers containing acetaminophen off the market. Philly.com has this article Painkillers at a crossroads as FDA decision looms. The Globe and Mail had this article, U.S. FDA recommends pulling some painkillers off the market. There was an article with an opposing view that was rather mild in my opinion.

In the Globe and Mail article, it said:

Despite years of educational campaigns and other federal actions, acetaminophen remains the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S., according to the FDA.

Panelists cited FDA data indicating 60 per cent of acetaminophen-related deaths are related to prescription products. Acetaminophen is also found in popular over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Excedrin.

Those of you who read my blog know that I suffer from chronic pain. I found this bit about “years of educational campaigns and other federal actions” to be laughable. At one point, before my arthritis was diagnosed, the family practice doc I was seeing didn’t want to do anything about it because I was simply fat and needed to lose weight. The pain had gotten so bad that I was scaring myself with the number of Tylenol that I was taking just to manage to walk with a cane. I made an appointment and told her how much Tylenol I was taking and that I was concerned with liver damage. She laughed told me I could double or triple the dose and to just lose weight.

At the time, I was well below liver damage’s (LD 50) but that level has been lowered twice since and now I’d be just a bit below. I was so angry. I left the doctor’s office and went to see my chiropractor without an appointment. They took a look at my swollen knee and referred me to a specialist (at the time I couldn’t see another doctor without a referral). After seeing the specialist, I was diagnosed as having arthritis in both knees and later the added bonus of it was aggravating my fibromyalgia — a double whammy.

The point is that I knew more about the drugs I was taking than the malpractice-suit-waiting-to-happen doctor that I’d been seeing. Needless to say, I also changed doctors that day.

The second point is that most doctors, though they write the scripts, are not experts in drugs, drug interactions, and doses — most of the time they rely on the pharmacist to flag if something they prescribe is going to conflict with something you already have, or needs special information or training for the patient. Remember, there is a reason that so many pharmacies ask that you keep ALL you Rxs with them. It’s also the same reason they staple those informational notes to the Rx’s bag and ask if you have any questions.

If you take prescriptions be sure you understand how to take them and how often and whether you need to keep taking them if you feel better or should quit. Always ask questions if you don’t understand or feel confused. It’s your body and your life — you are the best person to take responsibility for keeping yourself healthy and safe.

Doctors have years of schooling, internship, and practice under their belts but, at heart, they are people. They know more about their fields that we ever will, but when you have a chronic condition, it’s worth your while to learn about it and ask questions, because no doctor can be an expert in every condition and disease that will walk through their office door. Mistakes and accidents happen.

My story about the doctor that suggested I take a near lethal dose of a Tylenol is a case in point. If I hadn’t read about the dangers of Tylenol/acetaminophen and liver damage, I just might have followed her suggestions. Luckily, I didn’t.

Do I think these painkillers with acetaminophen should be pulled from the market? NO. A resounding NO! Here in America many people live with pain — chronic, near crippling pain. Most people who deal with pain are under medicated and ignored. They need help. If these drugs are pulled, there are other that can be used, but we don’t have access to them in the US. Unless the FDA is going to allow alternatives they should consider leaving these on the market with strongly worded cautions and plainly worded Dosage Limits.

Even more important — the FDA should make sure that pharmacists, doctors, and the public have access to this education and training that they THINK they have done over the years. I’ve heard more stories similar to my “ignorant” doctor (used with the meaning that it can be cured) than I have of the other kind. I think information on drugs should be easier to find online, with easy to understand material explaining doses, uses, and contra-indications. Most dosage info online is convoluted or needs a chemical degree to figure out what’s too much and what’s safe — we need better resources for patients and doctors.

Mostly, we need better pain management. I have my good days and my bad.  And I do it mostly without painkillers.  But today, I slipped and fell, landing full force on my knee — it sure would be nice to take something, but I can’t, because I might need it more later on and I can’t waste the few painkillers I have. (I’m not the only chronic pain sufferer who has to balance need this way, and the sad part is none of us should have to.)

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The Power of Positive ThinkingI’m not sure how we got on the topic but, while trapped in the car for some long driving as we ran errands today, Hyperion and I got to talking about positive thinking sort of as an off-shoot of wishful thinking being related to quantum physics (which is for another post).  Anyway, in kicking this topic around I began to crystallize some of my thoughts on it.

Most people have heard of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking. The basic premise is that if you feel good about yourself, good things will happen to you or come to you. This is also the basis behind The Secret by Rhoda Byrne where your positive thoughts are like magnets that cause good things to come to you. It’s also the basis for many of the books that instruct how to use your mind to concentrate on what you want and to have what you want come true.

But what I think is that by putting yourself into that place where you are concentrating on what you want, you begin to change yourself and your attitudes. From listening to some of the people who have read these books and dedicated themselves to following the various steps, there seem to be two types of outcomes. One is nothing much happens because they wish or think positively about what they want, but then they don’t do anything but wish or think.

However, the other group not only thinks positively, but they also begin to act in ways that cause the “good” thing/event to happen to them. They take a class in adult education, local technical school, junior college, or evening college courses, or go to the library and study up on what they’re hoping to gain — which is usually, better pay, a vacation, a promotion, or whatever. It’s the activities they are performing to aid them in gaining their goal that helps to change their attitude and gain them the abilities (concrete skills) that eventually gain them their positive outcome. It’s not just the positive thoughts beamed out in the universe; it’s the positive thoughts that are beamed inward that encourage the person to take their future into their own hands and make it better.

People don’t work in a vacuum.  They are worked upon by those around them. If others don’t think much of a person, that person internalizes that and acts accordingly, believing they aren’t worth much. If the other inflates a person’s ego, they also have problems when their expectations and their skills don’t match. However, if by focusing on a goal and then working to actually bring expectation and skills into alignment, their goals are often achieved. Usually not in the manner expected, but in a manner that, in retrospect, actually is what was wanted or needed.

On the other hand, people who simply sit and wish the good to come to them and never do anything to gain that change in their lives are bound to be disappointed and always looking for the next book that might have the key that actually will work for them — as long as they don’t actually have to do more than think about it.

My grandmother used to say, “If wishes were horses even beggars could ride.” This was usually whenever, I complained about wanting something but wasn’t actually planning to do any of the work to earn it. Yes, you need positive thinking but you also need good old fashioned work to reach the goals you set for yourself.

What’s your take on this?

Hyperion AvatarHyperion here:  I freely admit to being a total muggle; sometimes even Gayle despairs at my total disdain for the other-worldly.  For all the above post, there’s a fair bit of romance in her soul.  She may not depend on the magic to do job by itself, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s none out there.  She still has hope.   But, as for me?  “There’s no such thing as magic!”  That’s just the way I’m wired.   Well, there is one exception.  I think Gayle is pretty magical … but then I’m a bit biased, and the matter is not open to scientific inquiry.

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Girl Knitting Giclee Poster Print by Walter LangleyToday I read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Yarn Harlot blog (the April 16th entry) where she had meticulously documented a problem she’d run into while knitting a cabled cardigan. She has pictures of how each side was knitted following the instructions given, then as knit following the errata sheet, and finally how they should look if you match your knitted cables to the photo of the completed project in the magazine.

I’m always blown away when someone post articles like these. If you’re a knitter these details are the treasures that the internet provides. You learn there are problems and how to fix them, hopefully before you’ve beaten your head on the wall in frustration because you can’t make it look like the photo and you know it’s your fault.

The Yarn Harlot often has such posts and I treasure each of them. Other authors of knitting blogs perform a similar service to the knitting community, some with the same depth of coverage, and some with less, but the Yarn Harlot manages to do it with humor and wit allowing the reader to feel that they could have figured this out too if they tried.

But what it comes back to for me is the effort to document the process that was gone through in putting together such a post. For example, if it was me, I’d have ripped the thing out so many times trying to make it work and then IF I found the errata sheet, I do it all again several times trying to make it look like the photo. Then I’d spend a bit of time trying to convince myself that the photo and the newly minted cables actually matched and then either living with the difference or giving up entirely. I really don’t know if I’d then actually spend the time to examine the photo closely and then attempt to figure it out on my own.

Now, if I got to this point, I’d have my one piece of knitting and then if I even thought about letting others know, I’d have to reconstruct samples of all my attempts in order to document the problem, the changes, and the solution. But these knitters, such as Stephanie, continually go out of their way to instruct, inform, and help us become better at the craft we so much enjoy.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You’ve given me years of joy, information, and insight and I haven’t yet said how much I appreciate it. Thank you, to all the knitting bloggers out there who do so much for the community.

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