Friday, February 21, 2020

Beginning ~ when Kate was alseep

"Kate was sleeping when he knocked on her door.  It was early, not yet six, and the sound of banging continued until she was out of bed."

What Red Was ~ by Rosie Price, 2019, fiction
When Kate Quaile meets Max Rippon in the first week of university, so begins a life-changing friendship.  Over the next four years, the two become inseparable.  For him, she breaks her solitude; for her, he leaves his busy circles behind.  But knowing Max means knowing his family:  the wealthy Rippons, all generosity, social ease, and quiet repression.  Theirs is a very different world from Kate’s own upbringing, and yet she finds herself quickly drawn into their gilded lives, and the secrets that lie beneath.

Until one evening, at the Rippons home, just after graduation, her life is shattered apart in a bedroom while a party goes on downstairs.  This is an incisive and mesmerizing novel about power, privilege, and consent — one that fearlessly explores the effects of trauma on the mind and body of a young woman, the tyrannies of memory, the sacrifices involved in staying silent, and the courage in speaking out.  And when Kate does, it raises this urgent question:  Whose story is it now?
I put this book on reserve on February 5th because Nancy the Bookfool reviewed it, and I just got it yesterday.  Who was banging on that door?  Max, as it turned out.  Why?  Because he was locked out of his dorm room.
"Standing outside was a boy wearing only a towel, his skin still wet from the shower."
And that's how they met, on the first page of the book, during their first week in college.

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Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.
Click this link for book beginnings shared by other readers.
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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Therapy cat

I'm exhausted!  Yesterday, Bonnie grabbed me and put me in my blue carrier — she knows I don't like to be picked up — and took me to Donna's.  On our way to Donna's, I meowed loudly so everyone would know that Bonnie was kidnapping me again.  We stopped to talk to that woman at the desk halfway to Donna's.  I let her pet me and rub my head.  It felt good, so I quit screaming that Bonnie kidnapped me.

Did I ever tell you that I lived with Donna a week while Bonnie was gone last year and then another week while she was gone again?  Well, I did.  But once when Bonnie took me to visit Donna, there was a cat there!  Yes, there was.  And that cat's name was Sasha.  We hissed at each other — only once — but we mostly just stared at each other across the room and never got close.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  When we got to Donna's, I looked carefully around her apartment.  No cat anywhere, so I went to sit in the window while the two humans talked.  They had tried to bribe me with treats, but I wasn't buying it.  Nope, nope, nope.

On our way home, we stopped to talk to that woman at the desk again.  And then ... then ... Bonnie walked right into a room full of women, who called to us.  Half of them wanted to pet me and talk to me.  Bonnie unzipped the carrier so I could look at them and they could rub my head.  Okay, I admit that I enjoyed being petted.  I like people.  Except the loud ones.  Oh, yeah, Tomoko was there in the room, and I know her.  And Toni.

Exhausting!  That's what it was.  When I got home, I ate a bite or two before settling in for a catnap.  You won't believe what happened when I closed my eyes.  Bonnie did it again.  She put me in my carrier AGAIN on the very same day and took me to visit with a little girl.  The girl read me a book.  It was about a fly escaping from a frog (or was it a toad?) fleeing from a cat running from a dog ... and more animals chasing behind.  After the story, I crept out of my carrier and explored that new-to-me apartment, and I sniffed the little girl's fingers.  She was a nice little girl, after all.

But it was a long day.  What does Bonnie think I am?  A therapy cat?  When I got home this time, I ran first to my litter box, then nibbled some more of my food before taking another long sleep.  Actually, I slept the night away.

Clawdia, 'til next time    >^. .^<

Friday, February 14, 2020

Galentine's Day 2020 ~ photo album







We had a great crowd for our Galentine's Day celebration yesterday.  I won't try to name everyone in these photos, but we had fun.  I counted about 40 people who had been invited, and lots of them wore red or pink, you may notice.  Around noon, two groups of women sat at tables reserved with Galentine's Day signs.  I explained what we were doing, and they smiled and said they were also getting together with their friends.  That works for me!  Staff who were able to drop by mingled with people at various tables.  Women came and stayed as long as they were able; I was there until almost 1:30 (rather than noon, as I had originally planned.)

Our Galentine's gab fest was a great success, with people moving from table to table to get better acquainted with other residents (and a few non-residents who are my friends) or else to say "hello" to all their friends who were present.  The bottom photo shows people in the back moving to other tables.  It was especially fun to see Tiny back to visit.  She used to live on my floor and now lives with her daughter less than a quarter of a mile away  See the third photo from the top, where Tiny and her daughter have just arrived.

These two shots, taken by Crown Center staff, were added at 6:00 pm.  Thanks!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Ghosting

ghost·ing  /ˈɡōstiNG/ noun
1.  the appearance of a ghost or secondary image on a television or other display screen.
2.  the practice of suddenly ending all contact without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship (as above), though it has also been happening more and more often in job situations (like this example).
I read that Gen Z individuals, currently aged 8 to 23 years old  — the youngest generation entering the workforce — take a job and don't show up, or they quit a job and don't bother to let their employer know.  I learned that when I looked up "ghosting" to try to understand what I was reading.

So people are ghosting employers now, as well as dates.  A 2018 article says it's partly because of a strong job market, where job candidates have more options.
"While no one formally tracks such antics, many businesses report that 20 to 50 percent of job applicants and workers are pulling no-shows in some form ... To some extent, employees are giving employers a taste of their own medicine. During and after the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, when unemployment reached 10 percent, many firms ignored job applicants and never followed up after interviews."
Have you ever ghosted someone or a company?  Have you ever been ghosted?  Tell me about it.  It's so far out of my experience that I couldn't have dreamed it up.  I guess I'm old ... and old-fashioned.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Daily dozen for seniors

Click to enlarge the image
I exercise with a group of friends in our Fitness Center on the ground floor on Friday afternoons, so I've been looking for examples of things seniors can do.  Toe raises and heel raises and shoulder shrugs can be done while sitting as well as standing.  Each person decides what's doable for herself, and our mantra is "Don't do anything that hurts."

Monday, February 10, 2020

Let's party on Thursday!

February 13th is Galentine's Day, a time for women to celebrate the women friends in their lives.  Galentine's Day falls on the day before Valentine's Day, every year.  We got together a couple of years ago, but I missed it last year.  Let's do it again.  Grab some of your girlfriends and let's eat together in the Circle@Crown Café.  I'll be there between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon, with two or three tables "reserved" for us to party.  Spread the news.  Invite your friends.  (It would help me and the Café staff, if you'd let me know how many of you are coming.)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Reading and a bookish memory

The Sunday Salon is a place for readers to link up and to share what we've been doing during the week.  It's a way to visit other blogs and join in conversations there.  Some of the things we often talk about in our Sunday Salon posts:
  • What was your week like?
  • Did you read any good books?
  • What other bookish things did you do?
  • What else is going on in your life?
A memory
"I'll be posting 159 Love Books I Have Read on Tuesday.  Some of the titles are rather odd.  How many books with 'love' in the title have you read?" — posted yesterday by Deb Nance at Readerbuzz
I don't track titles this way, so I have no idea "how many" I've read in my lifetime.  Deb made me smile, however, because I remembered a time when I read a book entitled Love and Will in the early 1970s.  I was working at the newspaper on Saturday nights, helping to pay for my college tuition.  My job?  Stuffing the comics and advertisements inside stacks of newspapers that had just been printed.  We'd stuff a stack of papers, replace them on the line rolling toward us, and grab another stack of papers to stuff.  The presses would break down, usually at least once every weekend, so some of us brought books to read while we stood around waiting.

One night, the presses broke down and I carefully pulled my book out of the pocket of the apron we wore to keep ink off our clothes.  Holding it open with something (paper? cloth? I don't remember) so my ink-stained fingers wouldn't ruin the book, I started reading.  A woman standing near me leaned over to see the title and said in a cooing voice, "Oooh, LOVE and WILL."  I suddenly realized she assumed it was a romance novel, like she and others around us were reading.  The protagonist must be looking for love with a guy named "Will."  Nope, it was my philosophy homework.  I was studying, not merely reading for pleasure.  She looked rather puzzled when I told her what the book was really about.

Love and Will ~ by Rollo May, 1969

Rollo May, an existentialist, articulated the principle that an awareness of death is essential to life, rather than being opposed to life. The book explores how the modern loss of older values, whose structures and stories provided society with explanations of the mysteries of life, forces contemporary humanity to choose between finding meaning within themselves or deciding that neither oneself, nor life, has meaning.
"Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing."
I found that quote from the book online, but with no page number.  This book may be borrowed online for free by clicking the title.

Just completed
Mortality ~ by Christopher Hitchens, 2012, memoir, 9/10
Essays about the author's struggle with esophageal cancer, published posthumously.  Hitchens, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, was asked to write about his illness for the magazine.  He managed to dispatch seven essays from "Tumourville" before he was overcome by his illness.
Reading now
Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner ~ edited by Ellen E. Garrigues, 1895 and 1910
A sailor dooms his ship’s crew by murdering an albatross and is lost at sea, alone with the burden of his guilt, until a meeting with divine messengers brings him the opportunity to do penance.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s (1772-1834) haunting parable of sin and absolution is widely recognized as one of the greatest narrative poems in the English language and was a defining achievement in the establishment of the Romantic Movement.
Up Next
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories ~ by James Finn Garner, 1994
Garner satirizes the trend toward political correctness and censorship of children's literature, with an emphasis on humor and parody.
Once Upon a More Enlightened Time ~ by James Finn Garner, 1995
Garner continues his mission to liberate our classic fairy tales from archaic, sexist, ageist, classist, lookist, and environmentally unsound prejudices with a new collection of humorous tales for readers of evolved consciousness.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Happy Birthday ~ to a cool cat

Happy Birthday to one cool cat — May your day be purrfect.

No, it isn't Clawdia's birthday.  Today is my friend Jeanette's birthday, and it happens to be Caturday.  Since she and I both have cats, I figure it's appropriate to use a photo of Clawdia to wish Jeanette a happy day.

I looked back through my posts and found I'd posted birthday wishes to her six years ago — and it was also a Caturday.  I've talked to her since then, but not lately.  So I called and sang "Happy Birthday" to her, and we talked for over half an hour.  It was good to catch up a bit on her life, her daughters, and her grandchildren.  Happy Birthday, dear friend!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Beginning ~ with feeling like death

"I have more than once in my time woken up feeling like death.  But nothing prepared me for the early morning in June when I came to consciousness feeling as if I were actually shackled to my own corpse."

Mortality ~ by Christopher Hitchens, 2012, memoir
On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax.  As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for Vanity Fair, he suddenly found himself being deported "from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady."  Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.

While battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open.  He describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us.  Personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full range of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death.
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Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click this link for other book beginnings.
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Thursday, February 6, 2020

National Wear Red Day® ~ FRIDAY, Feb. 7th

On the first Friday of every February, which is designated as American Heart Month, the nation comes together, igniting a wave of red from coast to coast.  This annual groundswell of people wearing red unites millions of people for a common goal:  the eradication of heart disease and stroke.  Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, killing more women than all forms of cancer combined.

When's the first Friday this year?  Tomorrow!  National Wear Red Day® is tomorrow.  I hope you'll wear red with me so we can raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and save lives.  When we all pull together, there’s nothing we can’t do.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Write about your childhood

Write about an experience from childhood that has stuck with me?  Okay.  I could combine this with a page from Michelle Obama's 2019 book, Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice (unpaged):
"Describe your childhood home.   What are some of the details that stand out the most?  What made your home different from your friends' homes?"
In 1943, we moved into the house my mother grew up in (see the black-and-white photo below, taken about 15 years earlier).  I wrote about my mother's family a couple of weeks ago and used that picture of them in front of their home.  My grandfather Monroe, on the far left, was killed in traffic in 1930, so this may be 1928 or 1929.  My grandmother Inez is standing beside him, with their children lined up according to age:
The four siblings on the back row, left to right, are Chandler, Paul, Bonnie, and Howard.  Coming back from right to left are Mark, Wylee, Mildred (my mother), and Allen beside their mother.
Click to enlarge the photo
The children grew up and left home, except for my Aunt Bonnie on the back row, who stayed and took care of their mother until she died in 1943.  The rest of them decided Bonnie, who never married, should have their share of the house.  When my parents moved us into that house with her, I was only three years old, but I do remember one thing about that moving day.  I had seen my mother pack my toys and stood watching the movers carrying in the boxes until ... sigh of relief ... I saw my toys being brought up the three steps and across the front porch that's behind my relatives in this picture.  The bricks in this photo weren't quite so visible when I lived there.  My grandmother had a green thumb, and by 1943 there were huge bushes all along the front of the house.  The flowering bushes grew where my uncles stood for that photographer.  The bushes extended all the way to those three porch steps (mentioned above) to the right of what you see here.

Eventually, Bonnie sold the house and moved in with me and my children on Signal Mountain in 1973.  We'd built a basement apartment for my husband's parents, but after we divorced, my mother-in-law chose to move out, even though I assured her I wasn't divorcing HER.  (My father-in-law had died several years earlier.)  Being there after her son moved out was awkward for her, so I understood.  When I invited my mother, it was time for Bonnie to quit living alone, too.  Born in 1904, she was 13 years older than her little sister.  The two of them shared the apartment in my basement, using twin beds that once belonged to Mark's children (the tall brother on the right end).  Those twin beds are probably as old as I am (80 in April), and I sleep on one of them now in St. Louis.  (The mattress is much newer, of course, and I'm ready to replace it again.)

Give details of the home, our instructions say.  I have a hard time imagining how two parents, six sons, and two daughters could live in a two-bedroom house.  Off the living room was a sort of sitting room, so maybe some of them slept there.  I wrote about the living room in January, specifically about the coal stove that vented through the fireplace and the coal shuttle that was beside the stove.  I learned to play the upright piano in that living room, which looked very much like the photo at the top of an antique piano I found online.  There was a dining room open at an angle from the living room, a pantry closet out the other door, and an eat-in-kitchen beyond that.  There was a screened-in porch between the kitchen and one of the bedrooms that I considered a shortcut, at least in the warm months.

In the side yard, to the left of the automobile parked in the driveway in the black-and-white photo, were lots of growing things.  (Remember, my grandmother had a green thumb.)  I especially remember two large crepe myrtle trees with pink blossoms like these.

In the back yard were a plum tree I could climb, a detached garage with a place to store coal on one side, hyacinths beside my sandbox, a rock garden, a flower bed enclosed by a row of bricks, forsythia ... lots of flowering things planted by my grandmother, in other words.  We moved away from there in 1949, shortly before I turned nine years old.  What I remember best are the growing things and playing that piano.  I still take sheets of music downstairs to one of the two pianos here in the Crown Center and try to remind my fingers how to play.  Would you like to hear a cat play the piano?

I don't remember much about homes of friends.  (I haven't been a child since the 1940s and early 1950s, after all).  But looking back now, I don't remember pianos in the houses of my friends, and I think we had more flowers and flowering trees than anyone else in the neighborhood.  Interesting.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Together we can

Donna
Bonnie
"Crown Center gives back" says the February Crown Connection newsletter:
"During February, bring canned food to the dining room on Mondays for the St. Louis Area Food Bank and dine at no cost."
So we did, and a few of us allowed Genevieve to take photographs as we put in some of our cans at dinner yesterday.  I'm not sure everyone understood the initiative, since I had to explain it to a person at our table for whom English is a second language.  We may fill the barrel even higher next week and the following Mondays.

Freedom to vote ~ theme for February 2020

This year's theme for Black History month is "African Americans and the Vote."  2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) which gave black men the right to vote following the Civil War.  In this important voting year, Martin Luther King, Jr. gives us something more to think about:
"The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live.  Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.  We have guided missiles and misguided men."  ~~~ MLK

Monday, February 3, 2020

Pay attention

It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak....

~ Mary Oliver

I'm reading They Will Inherit the Earth by John Dear (2018).  He is basically saying, "Pay attention to Mother Earth," as in this quote:
"Defending Mother Earth in this time of unparalleled corporate greed, imperial military might, and human-made catastrophic climate change is a matter of life and death.  For some of us, death will come sooner rather than later, in the form of horrific storms, mudslides, floods, tornadoes, fires, and drought.  For others, death will come at the hands of the multinational corporations and their government-backed death squads who destroy the earth, steal its resources, crush the poor, and kill their advocates" (p. 60).
John Dear also writes:
"We have now become the ancient people who ate and drank and went about their business while Noah boarded his ark as the rains began to fall" (p. 48).
What's happening to us?
"The last few years have easily been the hottest on record.  Each year the record is broken all over again.  We have witnessed unprecedented hurricanes, tornadoes, superstorms, rainfall, floods, tsunamis, fires, and droughts.  The polar ice caps and glaciers are not just melting, they are disappearing.  The global temperature has now risen about one degree Celsius (over the last hundred years), and already drastic changes are under way" (pp. 45-46).
It has only gotten worse since this book was published in 2018.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Chair Yoga

Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch, and Strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You ~ by Kristin McGee, 2017, exercise
Chair yoga is exactly what it sounds like:  exercises you can do sitting down.  In Chair Yoga, celebrity yoga instructor Kristin McGee takes you through 100 yoga poses and exercises that are easy enough for all levels and will help readers stay active, alert, and healthy.  Divided into chapters organized by body part (say goodbye to back pain and hello to better posture), each exercise includes step-by-step instructions and easy-to-follow photos.  Plus, bonus chapters on 5-, 10-, and 15-minute routines help readers put it all together and find the time to perform these exercises.
Sheila G. called me Wednesday evening and, among other things, we talked about our Gentle Chair Yoga class that morning.  I thought maybe we could incorporate some of that into our group exercise on Friday afternoons and found this book online.  It was only $1.99 for Kindle, so I downloaded it.  I was surprised to see that it cost me $0.00 because I have a gift card there that I won a few weeks ago.  Yay!  And another "yay!" because illustrations I had already found to use here actually show the author of this book.  These back exercises are in chapter 8, so now I have the pictures handy to help me when I'm trying them myself.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Cats and all that Hoopla

Why My Cat Is More Impressive Than Your Baby ~ by Matthew Inman, 2019, humor
This book is chockfull of comics about cats, babies, dogs, lasers, selfies, and pigeons.  It contains a vast wealth of never-before-seen comics, including informative guides, such as:
  • How to comfortably sleep next to your cat
  • 10 ways to befriend a misanthropic cat
  • How to hold a baby when you are not used to holding babies
  • A dog’s guide to walking a human being
  • How to cuddle like you mean it.
Includes a pull-out poster of:  How to tell if your cat thinks you’re not that big of a deal.
Click to enlarge image
Some of you may be users of Hoopla, but I've just discovered it tonight.  Nancy the Bookfool mentioned this book on Facebook and it sounded interesting, so I went to my library's website to see if they have a copy.  They do!  I clicked on it, only to discover it's an electronic item.  It turns out I can "borrow" it through Hoopla.  I've never tried anything like that, but I was willing to give it a try.  So I signed up.  I assumed I'd somehow download it onto my Kindle ... or something like that.  But no, I'm currently reading it on my laptop, where I am also composing this blog post.  The book will automatically go back to the library on some date (I think it was February 22, but I've turned the page and don't know if I'll figure out how to get back to that page.  In the meantime, I'm reading this book on my computer.  Here's the page I'm on (sorry, no idea what page number):
Cat quote:  "I'm here for a good time, not for a long time."
Babies will be around for years and years and years.  A cat?  Not so much.

Click to enlarge image
Got to the end of the book and discovered it automatically went back to the page telling me it would automatically return to the library on February 22 (yes, I remembered correctly).  There was also, on that page, and place to click that said, "Return now."  So I did.  I read the book straight through.  It isn't my kind of humor, so I rate it only 7 of 10.

Friendly February Calendar

Click to enlarge calendar.
I found this month's calendar on the Action for Happiness web site.  Here are actions they suggest we do during February 2020.

Saturday, February 1
~ Send someone a message to say how much they mean to you.
Sunday, February 2
~ Ask a friend what good things have happened to them recently.
Monday, February 3
~ Do something supportive and friendly for your colleagues.
Tuesday, February 4
~ Notice the good qualities of everyone you meet today.
Wednesday, February 5
~ Get in touch with an old friend you haven't seen for a while.
Thursday, February 6
~ Thank someone and tell the how they made a difference for you.
Friday, February 7
~ Show an active interest by asking questions when talking to others.
Saturday, February 8
~ Say friendly things to people who work in your local shop or cafe.
Sunday, February 9
~ Put away digital devices and really focus on who you're with.
Monday, February 10
~ Try to involve others and invite them to join your conversations.
Tuesday, February 11
~ Smile at the people you're with and try to brighten their day.
Wednesday, February 12
~ Send an encouraging note to someone who needs a boost.
Thursday, February 13
~ Be kind especially when your first instinct is to be unkind.
Friday, February 14
~ 💗 Tell loved ones why they are so special to you. 💗
Saturday, February 15
~ Make an effort to have a friendly chat with a stranger.
Sunday, February 16
~ Call a friend to catch up and really listen to them.
Monday, February 17
~ Respond positively to everyone you meet today.
Tuesday, February 18
~ Look for the good side when other people frustrate you.
Wednesday, February 19
~ Tell a loved one about their strengths that you value most.
Thursday, February 20
~ Actively listen to what people say, without judging them.
Friday, February 21
~ Give sincere compliments to three people you meet today.
Saturday, February 22
~ Make a plan to meet up with others and do something fun.
Sunday, February 23
~ Take time to speak to a neighbor and get to know them.
Monday, February 24
~ Do an act of kindness to make life easier for someone else.
Tuesday, February 25
~ Make positive comments to as many people as possible today.
Wednesday, February 26
~ Thank three people you feel grateful to and tell them why.
Thursday, February 27
~ Share what you're feeling with someone you really trust.
Friday, February 28
~ Be gentle with someone who you feel inclined to criticize.
Saturday, February 29
~ Make uninterrupted time for your loved ones.

"People forget what you said and what you did.  
But they never forget how you made them feel."
— Maya Angelou

Friday, January 31, 2020

Beginning ~ on 9-11 with reservations in the Tower

"On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was having breakfast atop the Park Lane hotel with my parents on Central Park South, looking out over the green trees and lawns of Central Park.  It was a stunning, clear blue day.  We had reservations for breakfast at Windows on the World on the top of the Second World Trade Center Tower for that morning, but a few days before, my parents changed their mind to be closer to where I lived, in a community of prients on the Upper West Side, right on Broadway."
They Will Inherit the Earth: Peace and Nonviolence in a Time of Climate Change ~ by John Dear, 2018, ethics
In the Beatitudes, Jesus says of the meek, "they will inherit the earth."  Meekness, John Dear argues, is the biblical word for nonviolence.  He makes the connection Jesus makes at the start of his Sermon on the Mount between our practice of nonviolence and our unity with creation, that our rejection of nonviolence is inevitably linked to the catastrophic effects of climate change and environmental ruin.  Drawing on personal stories of his life in the desert of New Mexico, his time as a chaplain at Yosemite, his friendship with indigenous and environmental leaders, his experience at the Standing Rock protests, as well as his work with the Vatican on a new stance on nonviolence, John Dear invites us to return to nonviolence as a way of life and a living solidarity with Mother Earth and her creatures.
I wrote about this book on Sunday.  Now that I've started reading it, I'm really glad Sheila handed me the book.  The chapters range from violence in the city (the Towers) to catastrophic climate change to taking a stand at Standing Rock.  "And more," as people like to add, without saying what else.  It's a short book (160 pages), but powerful.  Does that persuade you?


Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.
Browse today's Linky to find interesting books for your own reading list.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Thirteen years ago

My first ever blog post was thirteen years ago, when I wrote about The Namesake by Jumpa Lahiri.  I have posted 2,571 posts (before this one), with four more already scheduled to post in the next few days.  If you've been reading my blog for a long time, do you remember any subject in particular that caught your attention?

A lot of my book blogging friends from those early days have given up blogging, so why am I still here?  I'll have to think about it, but part of the reason is that this is like a journal for me.  It makes me pay more attention to the things I do, like why they matter to me.  It's also like a memory jogger, helping me remember books and little "unimportant" events that make me smile years later.  If you blog, tell me why.  What do you get out of it?

Meditating on a year's worth of good memories

In December 2018, my friend Donna and I each bought a jar with a lid because we had found the suggestion above, which says:
"This January, start the year with an empty jar.  Each week add a note with a good thing that happened.  On New Year's Eve empty the jar and read about the amazing year you had."
Donna followed through; I didn't.  I printed the picture to put in that jar, but I never took the time to meditate on the good things happening in 2019.  I asked Donna if she had read her notes on New Year's Eve this year, as planned.  She said she read them within a couple of days of New Year's Eve.  Donna recommends being regular, if you decide to do something like this.  She wrote on Sundays every week, and she put the date on each note.  She isn't planning to continue writing the notes this year.  Neither am I, even though I still have that empty jar with a printout of the illustrated directions still in it.

And yet ... and yet ... I saved this note from a Kindle book I've already read this year:  Ten Keys to Happier Living: A Practical Science-Based Handbook for Happiness ~ by Vanessa King, 2016, self-help, rated 9/10.
"Spending a few moments each day or each week writing things down we've appreciated, enjoyed and were grateful for can have a powerful impact. ... When we write, whether by hand or electronically, we engage more of our senses and focus more" (loc. 4377, 4382).
One of those ten keys to happier living is AWARENESS.  Spending a whole year looking for the GOOD things in your life is surely a good way to focus your awareness and become more positive.  And happier.

Here are all ten keys to happier living, for those who want to know:
  1. Giving
  2. Relating
  3. Exercising
  4. Awareness
  5. Trying Out
  6. Direction
  7. Resilience
  8. Emotions
  9. Acceptance
  10. Meaning
You know, it's not too late to start noticing the good things that happen.  Start today, and end a year from now.  That would work.  You don't need a new year or a new day to start over.  You only need a new mindset.