I don’t know how to spell the name of this animal, but Ron is a magnet for all animals.

Back from a week in Paradise. We go to a resort on the Riviera Maya called El Dorado Maroma that feels like our home away from home. Somehow the staff remember us every time we return  and make us feel loved. We lay on the beach in the sun and are visited every twenty minutes or so by a person asking if we’d care for another drink. Then it’s time for another meal. It is so relaxing and luxurious and potentially fattening. 

Reading on the beach. The hat and the umbrella keep me from getting sunburned.

I am a people watcher and enjoy snickering at others in a mean-spirited way. I’m embarrassed to admit this trait, but I have always been judgmental. Naturally, this stems from my own feelings about myself. Parents who told me I was disgusting and that no man would ever look at me. I know how hard it is to appear in public looking as horrible as I believe I must, but that doesn’t stop me from judging others. For example there was this one young woman on the beach with an enormous ass and blubbery thighs who paraded around in a thong! I mean! There are nice bathing suits with sweet little skirts that would have spared the mean-spirited among us the view of her rear end. Then there was another absolutely gorgeous woman also wearing a thong, but showing the rest of us that we absolutely shouldn’t try to even try on a thong. As perfect as she seemed, I had to pick at her. I told Ron though, that she must have implants because real breasts can’t ever look like hers. 

I excuse myself for judging other people by telling myself that I am invisible. I never think people are looking at me or judging how I look. That bubble was burst this week, though. People mentioned seeing me at other restaurants or places at the resort and admired what I was wearing. One very young woman said she saw me walking beside the pool aa I took off my baseball hat and shook out my hair. (Imagine Bo Derrick!). She said, “I want to be you.” I think she meant she wanted to be me when she was really old, but so what! I’ll take that compliment. It made me feel amazing.

Stepping out of our room we entered a forest of orchids tied to palm trees.

But while I am stretched out on a chaise lounge, I am reading. What a pleasure! Uninterrupted time to read.  I read five books: two were forgettable mysteries, but three were so good I read them slowly to enjoy the language and style. One I read twice, The Sea by John Banville.

The Sea won Banville the Booker Prize, and as I read it the second time I studied it as a text on how to write. There is very little action in this book: no shooting, no intrigue. Max, the main character loses his wife to cancer and reflects on a summer in his youth when he became acquainted with an enigmatic wealthy family. After his wife’s death, he returns to the same town and ruminates about the events of that summer. 

The view from a restaurant at the resort where we ate lunch.

There is not much dialogue but he manages to create characters that are three dimensional and complicated. His descriptions of people and places are poetic. Each sentence is a poem in itself. And his rich vocabulary adds layers to meaning. 

The other two wonderful reads were both by Maggie O’Farrell: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, and The Hand that First Held Mine. Both are unforgettable. She is so gifted.

Are there books that you’d recommend? Open to suggestions.

A musician playing bottles filled at different levels.