Friday, September 23, 2016

A much-read library copy

The Ladies Auxiliary ~ by Tova Mirvis, 1999, fiction (Tennessee), 8/10
When free-spirited Batsheva moves into the close-knit Orthodox community of Memphis, Tennessee, the already precarious relationship between the Ladies Auxiliary and their teenage daughters is shaken to the core.  Tova Mirvis takes us into the fascinating and insular world of the Memphis Orthodox Jews, one ripe with tradition and contradiction.  This novel illuminates the timeless struggle between mothers and daughters, family and self, religious freedom and personal revelation, honoring the past and facing the future.
I rated this book 8 out of ten (meaning it's "very good"), and I live in a retirement center provided by the Jewish community in St. Louis.  The Crown Center is overflowing with activities and has a lot of very lively and involved residents.  I mentioned this book to Gert as we passed each other in the hallway, so she read it after I did.  In the meantime, Alyssa said she wanted to read it, too.  When Gert gave it back to me, she said Edie wants to be on my list of readers.  Alyssa read it and returned it to me, so I'm on my way now to hang it on Edie's door and tell her that Randi wants it next, when she's finished reading it.

Judy, Donna, and Nancy shelving books (that's a very young volunteer on the floor)
Then it will end up in the Crown Center's small library, where others may decide to join our line of folks wanting to explore the Orthodox Jewish community of Memphis, Tennessee, in a novel written by someone who obviously knows her subject.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Contronyms are words that are their own antonyms.  "Contronyms" is a new word for me, though I've encountered the problem before and wondered why we even had words like this.  I have also avoided using words like "sanction," not wanting to deliberately introduce confusion into what I was saying or writing:
Sanction can mean "give official permission or approval for (an action)" or conversely, "impose a penalty on."
And then there's the word "left."
She left, so who's left?
The first use means someone has gone away and is no longer there, but the second use asks who is still there.

Fix can mean to repair something that's broken, or it can mean to castrate.  This cat knows only the first meaning, apparently.

Words can be slippery sometimes.  To see more opposites in the same word, read 25 Words That Are Their Own Opposites and 75 Contronyms (Words with Contradictory Meanings).

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Back to school ~ my life story

I was looking for a picture among my photos and happened upon this one, so out of curiosity I followed the instructions and grabbed the nearest book.  On page 81 of the book I'd just finished reading (reviewed below), I found "back to school."  How well do you know me?  Would this make a good title for a musical about my life, or what?  LOL.

When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple ~ edited by Sandra Haldeman Martz, 1987, women's studies, 9/10
This collection of writings and photographs challenges stereotypes of older women in America.
I like several poems in this book.  Here are a few snippets:
I now mother my mother
when I can no longer
mother my daughter
who is older than I
have ever felt myself to be.
That's from "Like Mother, Like Daughter" by Susan S. Jacobson (p. 21).  The next one is the last of ten poems under the umbrella title "A Place for Mother" by Joanne Seltzer (p. 65), about what to do with your aging mother as she becomes forgetful and incontinent.  And then your own hair turns white, your skin is parchment, and you have "bulldog's jowls."
Not wanting to be a burden
on your children
you sign yourself into
a nursing home.

You become active
in every group
and serve on every committee.

You are voted
a role model.

Mother would be proud of you.
That makes me think of the retirement center where I now live.  After you read this snippet, be sure to re-read its title:  "Maybe at Eighty?" by S. Minanel (p. 123).
They say wisdom comes as you age
Now I'm in a real jam
at sixty I should be a sage
look what a fool I am!
Yeah, maybe at 80 I'll be a sage.  The older I get, the more I realize how little I know.  I'm still learning, like a student still in school.  The school of hard knocks.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gotcha Day ~ for Clawdia on Caturday

From scared and scrawny ...

... to cuddly cute, in less than a year.

Last July, I asked her if she wanted to come live with me.
She snuggled against my hand and chirped a "meow-WUP,"
which I took as a "yes."

Clawdia is the friendliest cat I've ever known,
running to our neighbors to be petted.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Visiting my sister

Yesterday, I drove 484 miles from St. Louis to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I am staying with one of my daughters.  Today, I drove another 45 miles from there to visit my sister Ann and her daughter Amy.  I had lots of traffic delays both days, but good visits with my family.  This photo shows my sister and me.  I'm holding their dog Ellie.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sunday Salon ~ changing my life

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution: 2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism, and Get Healthy ~ by Marla Heller, 2012, health
The DASH diet isn't just for healthy living anymore — now it's for healthy weight loss, too.  Using the newest DASH diet research, Heller has created the most effective diet for quick and lasting weight loss.  This is the only book to bring you the latest updates for the DASH diet, integrated with the latest weight loss research, which work synergistically to maximize results.  This effective and easy program includes menu plans, recipes, shopping and lists.  Everything you need to lose weight and get healthy.  Readers will enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, lean meats/fish/poultry, nuts/beans/seeds, heart healthy fats, and limited amounts of whole grains.  Banished are the empty calories from refined grains and added-sugars.  The result:  improved metabolism, lower body fat, improved strength and cardiovascular fitness — with the diet plan proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure without medication, and without counting calories.  Superior to the original DASH diet for heart health and turbocharged for weight loss.
In last week's Sunday Salon, I mentioned getting one of Heller's earlier books from my library.  Both it and the other book available from that library are several years old, so after eating out with friends this evening, we stopped by a bookstore on our way home and bought all three books about the DASH diet the store had.  One each.  Sandy chose the other Marla Heller book that I had checked out from my library, and Donna got this one:

DASH Diet For Dummies ~ by Sarah Samaan, Rosanne Rust, and Cynthia Kleckner, 2014, health
When high blood pressure becomes chronic, it's called hypertension — a condition that affects 970 million people worldwide — and is classified by the World Health Organization as a leading cause of premature death.  While medications can help, nothing beats dietary and lifestyle modifications in the fight against high blood pressure, and the DASH diet is a powerful tool in your arsenal.  Focusing on lowering sodium intake and increasing fiber, vitamins, and minerals can help lower your blood pressure in as little as two weeks.  It's no wonder that the DASH Diet has been ranked the number one diet for three years in a row and is endorsed by the American Heart Association, The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, and The Mayo Clinic.  DASH Diet for Dummies is your ultimate guide to taking control of your body once and for all.  Originally conceived to alleviate hypertension, the DASH Diet has been proven effective against a number of conditions including Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, weight loss, and more.  This book contains all the information you need to put the diet into practice, including recipes and a 14-day Menu Planner to help you get started today.
As we left the bookstore with our new DASH Diet books, Sandy said, "We've just formed the DASH diet support group you suggested earlier, Bonnie." And so we have. This week, I put together a notebook I've labeled "Exercise and Eat Right," which includes information from the books I've been reading and pages I put together to log my exercise, my weight, my blood sugar results, and my blood pressure.  Yes, DASH does come from "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension."  My high blood pressure (hypertension) is the reason my doctor put me on this diet in the first place.  We're off and running in our quest for dietary and lifestyle modifications, starting with our exercise class tomorrow morning, which I'm leading in the absence of our teacher, who's on vacation.  I plan to share this information about various kinds of exercise (from pp.93-94 in Heller's DASH Diet Action Plan book):
  • Resistance Exercise ~ strength training to boost metabolism
  • Endurance Exercise ~ aerobic activity to lower blood pressure
  • Flexibility Exercise ~ stretching to reduce the pain of arthritis
  • Balance Exercise ~ to help prevent falls
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.