Monday, September 25, 2023

Every act of kindness makes a difference


I have these words hanging on a small plaque from the box beside my door.  I have been thinking of an act of kindness that's been nudging me for days now:  Clawdia is in kidney failure and losing weight.  She is much thinner now than in the photo below, with her ribs sticking out on each side, so I indulge her when she 
asks to get out of our apartment.  One day she wanted to go for a walk in the hall, so I made four loops to the end of our hallway and back, twice adding the elevator area to our trek.  I'd made a note of how many steps I'd already taken so far that day before we went out the door.  When I checked the number of steps after our walk, I was startled to see I had taken exactly 1,000.  Exactly!  The act of kindness I'm considering?  Euthanasia.
* FYI:  Clawdia died this afternoon, shortly after 3:30 pm.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Parking spots and books


My friend and I were going toward my vehicle in the Crown Center parking lot in 2015 when I snapped this view of the neighborhood with trees changing colors.  People who live here can no longer imagine empty parking spaces.  With construction of our newest building and demolition of the oldest one, we have few spaces left for vehicles.  Staff and visitors must park on the street, since there are BARELY enough for residents' cars.

Rambam's Ladder: A Meditation on Generosity and Why It Is Necessary to Give ~ by Julie Salamon, 2003, meditation, 183 pages

This is a book that will inspire usto get a toehold on the ladder and start climbing.  In eight chapters, one for each rung, the book helps us navigate the world of giving.  How much to give?  How do we know if our gifts are being used wisely?  Is it better to give anonymously?  It will help us make our lives, and the lives of those around us, better.

Vocabulary Energizers: Stories of Word Origins ~ by David Popkin, 1988, words, 143 pages

This book builds vocabulary by presenting the fascinating histories behind those words we need for more effective communication and comprehension.

* Vocabulary Energizers II: Stories of Word Origins is the newer edition of this item, but this is the one that I found on my bookshelf.

Deb Nance at 
hosts The Sunday Salon.

2023 ~ books I've read

82.  Nine Fruits of the Spirit: SELF-CONTROL ~ by Robert Strand, 1999, devotional, 60 pages, 8/10
81.  Nine Fruits of the Spirit: GENTLENESS ~ by Robert Strand, 1999, devotional, 60 pages, 8/10
80.  Nine Fruits of the Spirit: FAITHFULNESS ~ by Robert Strand, 1999, devotional, 60 pages, 8/10
79.  Nine Fruits of the Spirit: GOODNESS ~ by Robert Strand, 1999, devotional, 60 pages, 8/10
78.  Nine Fruits of the Spirit: KINDNESS ~ by Robert Strand, 1999, devotional, 60 pages, 8/10
77.  Nine Fruits of the Spirit: PATIENCE ~ by Robert Strand, 1999, devotional, 60 pages, 8/10
76.  Nine Fruits of the Spirit: PEACE ~ by Robert Strand, 1999, devotional, 60 pages, 8/10
75.  Nine Fruits of the Spirit: JOY ~ by Robert Strand, 1999, devotional, 60 pages, 8/10
74.  The Metamorphosis ~ by Franz Kafka, 1915, novella, 63 pages, 10/10
73.  Murder in Moreton: Eliza Thomson Investigates (Book 2 of 9) ~ by VL McBeath, 2019, murder mystery, 237 pages, 7/10
72.  A Deadly Tonic: Eliza Thomson Investigates (Book 1 of 9) ~ by VL McBeath, 2019, murder mystery novella, 92 pages, 7/10
71.  Citizen K-9 (K Team series #3) ~ by David Rosenfelt, 2022, mystery, 270 pages, 4/10
70.  The Little Prince ~ written and illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1943, translated by Richard Howard, translation 2000, fairy tale, 100 pages, 8/10
69.  Baby Loves Quantum Physics! ~ by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Irene Chan, 2017, children's picture book, 20 pages, 10/10
68.  Writing as a Second Language: From Experience to Story to Prose ~ by Donald Davis, 2000, writing, 10/10
67.  Ghost in the Garden ~ by Carol H. Behrman, cover art by Jim Spence, 1984, YA fiction, 86 pages, 10/10
66.  Something Worth Leaving Behind ~ by Brett Beavers and Tom Douglas, introduction by Lee Ann Womack, 2002, inspiration, 64 pages
65.  The Girl at the Back of the Bus ~ by Suzette D. Harrison, 2021, historical fiction, 314 pages, 9/10
64.  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ~ by James Thurber, 1939, (introduction by Rosemary Thurber, 2013), short story, 15 pages, 10/10
63.  The Undomestic Goddess ~ by Sophie Kinsella, 2005, fiction, 370 pages, 9/10
62.  Home Sweet Home ~ by Lilly Mirren, 2020, fiction (Australia), 266 pages, 9/10
61.  The Great Upending ~ by Beth Kephart, 2020, children's fiction, 288 pages, 9/10
60.  Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping ~ by Peggy Parish, illustrations by Lynn Sweat, 1985, children's humor, 57 pages, 9/10
59.  Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School ~ by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril, 2011, children's humor, 32 pages, 9/10
58.  Amelia Bedelia ~ by Peggy Parish, illustrated by Fritz Siebel, 1963, children's picture book, 63 pages, 9/10
57.  Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living, Revised Edition ~ by John McQuiston II, 2011, spirituality, 9/10
56.  An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good (Book 1 of 2) ~ by Helene Tursten, translated by Marlaine Delargy, 2018, mystery stories, 184 pages, 4/10
55.  Before She Was Harriett ~ by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome, 2017, children's picture book, 32 pages, 10/10
54.  I Am Ruby Bridges ~ by Ruby Bridges, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith, 2022, children's picture book, 48 pages, 10/10
53.  Lazarus Come Forth ~ by Ray Bradbury, 2020, science fiction, 18 pages, 9/10
52.  Morgue Ship ~ by Ray Bradbury, 2020, science fiction, 13 pages, 9/10
51.  The Monster Maker ~ by Ray Bradbury, 2020, science fiction, 58 pages, 9/10
50.  Clover ~ by Dori Sanders, 1990, fiction (South Carolina), 184 pages, 7/10
49.  People Can't Drive You Crazy If You Don't Give Them the Keys ~ by Dr. Mike Bechtle, 2012, psychology, 208 pages, 9/10
48.  Is It Just Me?  Or Is It Nuts Out There? ~ by Whoopi Goldberg, 2010, humor essays, 224 pages, 9/10
47.  So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and Memoir (2nd edition) ~ by Marge Piercy and Ira Wood, 2010, writing, 330 pages, 8/10
46.  Feathers: Not Just for Flying ~ by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen, 2014, children's picture book, 32 pages, 9/10
45.  Miss Rumphius ~ by Barbara Cooney, 1982, children's, 32 pages, 10/10
44.  How Do You Spell Unfair?  MacNolia Cox and the National Spelling Bee ~ by Carole Boston Weatherford, 2023, children's historical fiction (Ohio and DC), 40 pages, 9/10
43.  Abigail Takes the Wheel ~ by Avi, illustrated by Don Bolognese, 1999, children's fiction, 64 pages, 9/10
42.  Know Your Cat: An Owner's Guide to Cat Behavior ~ by Bruce Fogle, photography by Jane Burton, 1991, animal behavior, 128 pages, 9/10
41.  The Elements of a Home: Curious Histories behind Everyday Household Objects, from Pillows to Forks ~ by Amy Azzarito, 2020, nonfiction, 380 pages, 9/10
40.  Four Fantastic Surprise Endings for Children 3-5 ~ by Scott Gordon, 2015, children's stories, 176 pages, 3/10
39.  Forty Minutes Late ~ by F. Hopkinson Smith, 1909, title story only, 14 pages, 8/10
38.  The Cat Who Saved Books ~ by Sosuke Natsukawa, translated by Louise Heal Kawai, 2017, fantasy fiction, 198 pages, 4/10
37.  I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections ~ by Nora Ephron, 2010, essays, 141 pages, 8/10
36.  Foster ~ by Claire Keegan, 2010, 2022, fiction (Ireland), 92 pages, 10/10
35.  Clean Speech St. Louis Workbook, Volume 2 ~ by Yousef David, 2023, sociology, 71 pages, 9/10
34.  My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past ~ by Jennifer Teege and Nikola Sellmair, translated by Carolin Sommer, 2013, 2015, memoir, 240 pages, 8/10
33.  The First Mrs. Rothschild ~ by Sara Aharoni, translated by Yardenne Greenspan, 2019, historical fiction (Germany), 484 pages, 6/10
32.  The Fast and the Furriest ~ by Andy Behrens, 2010, YA fiction, 256 pages, 8/10
DNF ~ A Love Attempt ~ by Morhaf Al Achkar, 2021, self-help, 122 pages, 2/10
31.  The Photographer's Son: Based on a True Story of a Jewish Holocaust Survivor ~ by Maya C. Klinger, 2022, historical fiction, 119 pages, 9/10
30.  Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life ~ by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, 2005, memoir, 240 pages, 8/10
29.  This Time Tomorrow ~ by Emma Straub, 2022, time travel fiction, 320 pages, 6/10
28.  Crown Center for Senior Living: Resident Handbook ~ by Staff, revised January 2023, nonfiction, 20 pages, 8/10
27.  Charlotte's Web ~ by E. B. White, 1952, children's, 192 pages, 9/10
26.  Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates ~ by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Raúl Colón, 2005, children' picture book (Puerto Rico), 40 pages, 10/10
25.  Unforgettable Senior Moments {For the Young and the Young-at-Heart} ~ by Tom . . . uh . . . Friedman, 2006, humor, vii + 103 pages, 10/10
24.  (George) ~ by E. L. Konigsburg, 1970, YA fiction, 152 pages, 8/10
23.  Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos ~ by Robert Lawson, 1939, 1967, juvenile fiction, x + 114 pages, 8/10
22.  The Story Girl Earns Her Name (#2 in Road to Avonlea) ~ by Gail Hamilton, 1991, YA fiction, 117 pages, 8/10
21.  The Joy of a Peanuts Christmas: 50 Years of Holiday Comics! ~ by Charles Schulz, 2000, cartoons, 120 pages, 10/10
20.  The Long Way Home ~ by Karen McQuestion, 2012, fiction (Wisconsin), 337 pages, 9/10
19.  Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom for a Complicated World ~ by Noah benShea, 1989, collection of sayings, 113 pages, 10/10
18.  Cats Are Better than Men ~ by Beverly Guhl, 1994, humor, 112 pages, 9/10
17.  Hugs & Shrugs: The Continuing Saga of a Tiny Owl Named Squib ~ by Larry Shles, 1987, children's picture book, 72 pages, 9/10
16.  It's Time to Call 911: What to Do in an Emergency ~ by Penton Overseas, Inc., 2002, children's board book, 16 pages, 10/10
15.  Being Authentic: A Memoir ~ by Morhaf Al Achkar, 2020, memoir, 174 pages, 7/10
14.  A Vow of Chastity ~ by Veronica Black, 1992, cozy mystery (England), 191 pages, 3/10
13.  A Vow of Silence ~ by Veronica Black, 1990, cozy mystery (England), 175 pages, 8/10
12.  Mapton on Sea: Laughter, Tears and Mayhem at the British Seaside ~ by Sam Maxfield, 2015, fiction (England), 398 pages, 8/10
11.  The Irish Cottage: Finding Elizabeth (The Irish Heart Series Book 1) ~ by Juliet Gauvin, 2014, fiction (Ireland), 349 pages, 4/10
10.  Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting ~ by Lisa Genova, 2021, neuroscience, 264 pages, 9/10
9.  My Evil Mother ~ by Margaret Atwood, 2022, fiction (Canada), 32 pages, 8/10
8.  I'm Glad My Mom Died ~ by Jennette McCurdy, 2022, memoir, 320 pages, 7/10
7.  Recitatif ~ by Toni Morrison, 1983, (introduction by Zadie Smith, 2022), fiction, 83 pages, 9/10
6.  75 Years: A History of East Lake United Methodist Church 1908-1983 ~ by Bonnie Setliffe Jacobs, 1983, history, 38 pages, 8/10
5.  The House on Dirty-Third ~ by Jo S. Kittinger, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez, 2012, children's, 32 pages, 10/10
4.  Choice ~ by Jodi Picoult, narrated by Thérèse Plummer, 2022, SF (speculative fiction), 38 minutes, 8/10
3.  Jane Goodall ~ by Jo S. Kittinger, 2005, children's biography, 24 pages, 5/10
2.  Silly Street: Seleccted Poems ~ by Jeff Foxworthy, illustrated by Steve Bjorkman, 2009, children's picture book, 32 pages, 8/10
1.  Henry and Mudge and Annie's Perfect Pet ~ by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Suçie Stevenson, 2000, children's, 40 pages, 10/10  (It was a soft white rabbit.)

My rating system is totally subjective.
10 ~ Loved it!!  Couldn't put it down!!
9 ~ Excellent!
8 ~ Very Good
7 ~ Good
6 ~ Above Average
5 ~ Average
4 ~ Struggled to finish, but not worth it
3 ~ Annoying ~ a waste of time
2 ~ Poor
1 ~ Pitiful!
0 ~ Awful!!  Don't bother
* DNF ~ Did Not Finish ~ one I abandoned
* Nah ~ I don't recommend it

Saturday, September 23, 2023

"Pass It On" ~ by Henry Burton

Have you had a kindness shown?
Pass it on;
'Twas not given for thee alone,
Pass it on;
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another's tears,
'Till in Heaven the deed appears . . .
Pass it on.

~~~ by Henry Burton

*Note ~ I ran across this first verse in a book, so I'm passing it on for you to ponder, too.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Thursday Thoughts about Library Loot

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Commu-nications of the Dying ~ by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley, 1992, psychology, 224 pages

In this moving and compassionate classic, hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley share their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life, drawn from more than twenty years’ experience tending the terminally ill. Through their stories we come to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in which the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings, and even choreograph their own final moments; we also discover the gifts — of wisdom, faith, and love — that the dying leave for the living to share.  Filled with practical advice on responding to the requests of the dying and helping them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death, Final Gifts shows how we can help the dying person live fully to the very end.
Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project ~ edited by Dave Isay, 2007, stories, 293 pages

Dave Isay selects the most memorable stories from StoryCorps' collection, creating a moving portrait of American life.  The voices here connect us to real people and their lives — to their experiences of profound joy, sadness, courage, and despair, to good times and hard times, to good deeds and misdeeds.  To read this book is to be reminded of how rich and varied the American storybook truly is, how resistant to easy categorization or stereotype.  We are our history, individually and collectively, and this book reminds us of this powerful truth.

These are two books I currently have checked out of the library.  I chose them for today's post, even though I previously mentioned them HERE and HERE.  The top book's cover was different online.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they have checked out from the library.  Both of these are from the Crown Center's library.

*Speaking of dying, someone shared this story yesterday in the Café (you need to know her mother died decades ago):
"I think I died just after midnight.  Mother came for me, but said, 'Not yet,' and I woke up and was back in my bed, alive.  When she came and seemed to be looking for me, I said, 'I'm here on this chair and . . .'  Then I searched for the other word that I needed — ottoman — which was where my feet were resting.  Mother looked at me, said those two words 'Not yet,' and faded away."

Was that a near death experience?  She said she was in bed, but her vision said chair and ottoman.  What's up with that?  Will she die in her chair, maybe soon?

**Speaking of StoryCorps, I ran across a 2019 blog post (that never got posted) while putting this one together.  I was among those invited to hear a presentation about our community's Oral History Project and had been pondering some of the questions since then (click the link to see the questions), including this one:
"School:  Are you still friends with anyone from that time in your life?"
We heard details at a meeting, and an old school friend had just sent me a letter with this old B/W photo of the two of us.  (B/W is an abbreviation referring to a photograph in shades of black and white as opposed to a color photograph.)  That's Shirley on the left and me on the right in the 1950s.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

As a wordsmith who loves words, I think I'd love to read this book

The Dictionary People: The Unsung Heroes Who Created the Oxford English Dictionary ~ by Sarah Ogilvie, 2023, words, 384 pages

The Oxford English Dictionary is one of the greatest achievements humans have made.  Yet, curiously, its creators are almost never considered.  Who were the people behind this unprecedented book?  As Sarah Ogilvie reveals, they include three murderers, a collector of pornography, the daughter of Karl Marx, a president of Yale, a radical suffragette, a vicar who was later found dead in the cupboard of his chapel, an inventor of the first American subway, a female anti-slavery activist in Philadelphia . . . and thousands of others.

Of deep transgenerational and broad appeal, a thrilling literary detective story that, for the first time, unravels the mystery of the endlessly fascinating contributors the world over who, for over seventy years, helped to codify the way we read and write and speak.  It was the greatest crowdsourcing endeavor in human history, the Wikipedia of its time.  It's a celebration of words, language, and people, whose eccentricities and obsessions, triumphs, and failures enriched the English language.

Update on 9/21/23:  Thanks, Helen (see comment below).  I was not aware of the book by Simon Winchester on this subject.  He's an excellent writer.  Here's more information about his book.
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
~ by Simon Winchester, 1998, words, 256 pages

The Professor and the Madman (a New York Times Notable Book) is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history.

The making of the OED was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken.  As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, was stunned to discover that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand.  But their surprise would pale in comparison to what they were about to discover when the committee insisted on honoring him:  Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

William Safire wrote that the book was masterfully researched and eloquently written, "the linguistic detective story of the decade" (New York Times Magazine).  This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews and recommended reading.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Musing about money

"Paper checks are dead.  Cash is dying."  I read that in an article online and thought it was quite accurate.  I write a rent check each month and another check for the monthly meal plan.  That's it.  I was talking to someone recently about how we have quit using "heavy" coins.  A nickel isn't worth carrying around, and neither is a penny.  Hmm, or a dime, for that matter.  I only use coins when I buy a snack from a vending machine, and that's rare these days.  Before I moved into my new apartment, I needed quarters for machines to wash and dry sheets and clothes.  Now I don't leave home to do my laundry.