Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Exercise ~ and all that jazz


Hosted by Joy's Book Blog
Apparently, I can't make myself exercise alone in my apartment on a regular basis.  I need a group setting to keep myself focused.  Yesterday, I went to the Introduction to Movement, a 30-minute class.  Today, I joined the Better Balance class, which also meets on Thursdays.  Tomorrow, it will be Fitness with Melissa and maybe Fitness on Demand a couple of hours later.

Our instructors usually have music playing in the background.  The Better Balance rotation included "And All That Jazz," which I noticed because a few weeks ago a musical group performed "All That Jazz" here at the Crown Center.  The song has come up in more than one exercise group since then.  I'm loving it!


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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ art, food, and books

Art
It doesn't usually occur to me to photograph what I'm eating, but while having lunch with my friend Donna this week at The Shack where people are given markers to write on the walls, I made an exception.  Next to me was a magnificent, small dragon which was too low for Donna to see from her side of the table.  So I whipped out my camera to show it to her ― and now to you.  A black-and-green dragon amidst the graffiti.

Food

While I had the cell-phone camera in hand, I also snapped what we had ordered because it arrived at that moment.  Serendipity?  I guess.  Anyway, I had this huge burrito on chili covered in cheese and Fritos, full of bacon and hash browns.

Donna had a croissant with scrambled eggs and sausage called "Why the French Hate Us."  Donna's hash browns were on the side.  We both took half home for the next day's lunch.

 More Art

And now for the art of the bulletin board.  I've started changing the board by the elevator on my floor, the 6th floor, every month.  It's a volunteer thing, which I've done three times so far, as you can see.  For March, my neighbor Tiny added St. Patrick to my two nature pictures.

The focus for April was Earth Day, with "Take One" word-search puzzles hanging from the bottom of the bulletin board.

For May, I decided to unclutter the board and open it up for a breath of fresh air.  By the way, most floors have an extra push-pin or so for events that come along during the month.  At the bottom in this one is information about the Resident Council meeting for that Thursday, and (if you click to enlarge the photo) maybe you can see the announcement is in English, Russian, and Chinese. We're a very diverse community, here in our retirement center.

Books

In these first three weeks of May, I've completed these seven books:

39.  Golden State ~ by Michelle Richmond, 2014, fiction (California), 9/10
"Without a child, are we even a family?" (loc. 2194)
40.  Off the Page ~ by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer, 2015, fiction (New Hampshire), 8/10
"If a character sits in a book and no one reads it, is he truly alive?" (p. 4).
41.  Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths ~ by Karen Armstrong, 1997, history, 8/10
"Mythology was never designed to describe historically verifiable events that actually happened.  It was an attempt to express their inner significance or to draw attention to realities that were too elusive to be discussed in a logically coherent way" (loc. 209).
42.  Still Time ~ by Jean Hegland, 2015, fiction, 8/10
"I keep thinking his mind is like a broken necklace ― some beads are lost forever while the rest are just scattered everywhere" (loc. 1230).

"He has studied Shakespeare's work for the length of Shakespeare's lifetime, but he has forgotten how King Lear ends" (loc. 2990).
43.  I Shall Be Near to You ~ by Erin Lindsay McCabe, 2014, fiction, 10/10
"I never had so much of nothing to do before in my whole life" (p. 76).
44. The Tenth Justice ~ by Brad Meltzer, 2011, fiction (Washington, DC), 8/10
"Every day, the Court is flooded with petitions seeking certiorari, or 'cert.'  When four justices grant cert, it means the Court will hear the case.  To save time, we [Supreme Court clerks] read through the cert petitions, put them into a standard memo format, and recommend whether the justice should grant or deny cert" (p. 16).
45.  A Pain in the Tuchis: A Mrs. Kaplan Mystery ~ by Mark Reutlinger, 2015, mystery, 9/10
"As I have said before, death at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors is not what you would call an unusual event.  Sad, yes.  Unusual, no.  Given the average age and state of health of the residents, it is perhaps surprising we are not having memorial services on a daily basis" (loc. 74).

"Listen, we're not getting any younger, you and I, and we should be having all the new experiences we can, while we can" (loc. 2149).
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A not-quite-kosher beginning

A Pain in the Tuchis: A Mrs. Kaplan Mystery ~ by Mark Reutlinger, 2015, mystery
"I should have suspected all was not quite kosher with Vera Gold's death when one of the men carrying her body accidentally tripped at the front door and almost spilled poor Vera onto the ground.  This was not a good omen."
This is a "cozy mystery" where "a notorious crank meets an untimely fate."  I rarely read those.  Maybe once a decade or so.  Nevertheless, I chose this for the same reason my friend Donna bought it and suggested it to me ― we live in a senior retirement center provided by the Jewish community in St. Louis, and the setting for this book is a Jewish home for seniors.
"The Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors is probably like most such establishments, except most of the residents ― not all, but most ― are Jewish.  They serve kosher food, and we celebrate all the Jewish holidays. ... The residents are a real mishmash of people..." (loc. 120).
A cooking class in the culinary kitchen, with our library behind us.
Our place is the Gladys and Henry Crown Center for Senior Living.  We also get kosher food and celebrate all the Jewish holidays, but I think our "mishmash of people" is even greater, in that we have lots of Russian and Chinese speakers and people from places like Armenia, Jamaica, Egypt, Japan, Korea, China and Russia (obviously), and all across the USA.
"Crown Center is a diverse community, offering independent senior living options plus high quality programs and services for area adults."


Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ science and books

Science
My book blogger friend Helen marched for science on Earth Day, holding a sign that says:
Science, not ignorance
Click to enlarge the photo and see the yellow sign in the middle:
Science, not silence
And the white sign in the middle:
Defiance for science
Under Helen's sign I can read one that says, "Bill Nye is my Hero!"  Good for you, Helen and everyone else who marched that day!

Books

Books I've completed since my last Sunday Salon post three weeks ago:

32.  Stuffocation: Why We've Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever ~ by James Wallman, 2013, economics, 7/10
"The runaway success of consumerism is now not only causing what may be irreversible climate change, for instance, but also, which is perhaps worse, the greatest extinction of plant and animal species since the dinosaurs died out" (loc. 764).
33.  As the Poppies Bloomed: A Novel of Love in a Time of Fear ~ by Maral Boyadjian, 2015, fiction (Turkey/Anatolia), 9/10
"The Turkish government had separate laws for the Christian citizens than for the Muslim" (p. 15).
34.  Daddy's Girl ~ by Lisa Scottoline, 2007, fiction (Pennsylvania), 9/10
"They're law students.  They should be interested in justice."  "No, they're interested in law, and there's a difference" (p. 10).
35.  A Weekend Getaway ~ by Karen Lenfestey, 2014, fiction (Indiana), 9/10
"You need to balance planning for tomorrow with enjoying what today has to offer" (p. 283).
36.  The Other Queen ~ by Philippa Gregory, 2008, fiction (Great Britain), 9/10
"She [Queen Elizabeth I] and her archadvisor Cecil have such suspicious, embittered minds that they have imagined their own undoing and so brought it about.  Like fearful, suspicious people always do, they have dreamed the worst and made it real" (p. 157).

"How can we have fallen so quickly into such suspicion and fear?" (p. 396).
37.  The Muralist ~ by B. A. Shapiro, 2015, fiction (the United States and France), 9/10
"Alizée taught me that just because there aren't any objects in a painting, that doesn't mean there isn't a subject.  She said you're not supposed to recognize what's in it as much as feel the artist's emotion" (p. 302).
38.  The Chamberlain Key: Unlocking the God Code to Reveal Divine Messages Hidden in the Bible ~ by Timothy P. Smith, 2017, religion, 8/10
"...Genesis 30:20-23 ... was the only place in the Scriptures that displayed a highly improbable biographical connection to me and my family (my father having six sons and a daughter and I also having six sons and a daughter)" (p. 183).

"When some Jewish communities in Europe were compelled to convert their synagogues into Catholic churches during the Inquisition, they replaced the Torah ark with a statue of the Virgin Mary to represent the ark, or physical vessel, of the Word of God" (p. 204).
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Shalom Y'all ~ coincidences

I nearly always have bookmarks in fiction and nonfiction at the same time.

This week, I've been reading The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro, a 2015 novel about a 21st-century woman searching for what happened to her grandfather's missing sister in the early 1940's.  They are Jewish, they are from France, and Danielle's relatives had been trying to get out of Europe.  The book follows both Danielle and Alizée, her grandfather's sister, and I've just read about each of them in France this morning.

I've also been reading The Chamberlain Key: Unlocking the God Code to Reveal Divine Messages Hidden in the Bible by Timothy P. Smith (2017 nonfiction).  I'm in the middle of the book, and the author and his son are also in Europe, having discovered that Jews in Spain learned to hide their Torah scrolls inside statues of Mary after they were forced to "convert" to Christianity.  The statues became, in effect, their "hidden" Torah ark.  I read this morning about their visit to a site in Spain.

On my birthday two days ago, a new resident came over to my table at dinner time to ask about the Hebrew letters on the back of her new black tee-shirt.  Having learned the Hebrew alphabet, I said with my Jewish friends, "Shalom ― it says Shalom, which means peace."

My friend Miriam, who had not eaten with us, had come to wish me happy birthday as we sat and talked around our very-talkative table after the meal.  When I went back upstairs, I found a birthday card from Miriam in the box beside my door.  Inside with the card was that bronze Shalom gift I'm holding in the top photo.  Shalom, again!  Tee-shirt and gift.  Wow!  But I was puzzled about those symbols around the words שָׁלוֹם and Shalom.  So I asked Miriam and learned they represent the twelve tribes, the twelve sons of Jacob.  Although no one knows for sure these days, judging by her birth name, she thinks she may be of the tribe of Naphtali, represented by a doe, a female deer.

Click to enlarge image

Monday, April 24, 2017

Remembering the Armenian Genocide

As the Poppies Bloomed: A Novel of Love in a Time of Fear ~ by Maral Boyadjian, 2015, fiction (Turkey), 9/10
It is 1913 and late summer in the Ottoman Empire.  The sun rises, full and golden, atop a lush, centuries-old village tucked into the highlands where the blood-red poppies bloom.  Outside the village leader's home, the sound of voices carries past the grapevines to the lane where Anno, his youngest daughter, slips out unseen. She heads to a secret meeting place.  She forgets that enemies surround her village.  She forgets that her father meets each day with trepidation.  She knows only the love she has for Daron, who waits for her as she hastens to him, once again breaking the ancient rules of courtship.  Anno and Daron wish for nothing more than marriage and a better day alongside their neighbors, but neither is prepared for the dark, dangerous secret that Daron's father keeps or the upheaval that will soon envelop their village, their land, and their hearts.
Armenian Genocide forget-me-not symbol
It's been 102 years since the Armenian Genocide.  Did you learn about it in school?  I didn't, but this book made it real to me.  One woman blogged today about her grandfather surviving that 1915 genocide.  She also includes a link to what she posted in 2015:  Azad’s Story: A Child’s Experience of the Armenian Genocide, if you'd like to read what her grandfather remembered all his life.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

TWOsday ~ comparing peek and pique

I read "peeked my interest" and I thought "piqued."  So here I am this evening comparing two sound-alike words:  peek and pique.  Think about peek-a-boo, the game we play with babies ... or kittens.
  • The word "peek" ... pronounced /pēk/ ... is a verb, and it means looking furtively, as in:  "The baby (or the kitty) peeks from behind hands or paws."
  • The word "pique" ... pronounced /pēk/ ... is also a verb, but it means to arouse my interest or curiosity, as in:  "That book has piqued my interest."
What else can I say?  I was piqued by the blogger's misunderstanding of peeked.  Or at least, her misunderstanding of how to spell the word that correctly conveyed what she meant to say.

Also posted on my Joyful Noiseletter blog.