Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ booked up



Tillie and Donna represent all the people who have cheered me on as I recuperate from falling and shattering my shoulder on December 6th.
  • My roommate Donna has been my biggest helper:  making meals, doing my laundry, helping me dress, waking from a sound sleep when I call for help, getting me to appointments, shopping for things I need, bringing home library books.
    One-handed (left hand, at that), I cannot cut a piece of meat, peel a banana, open a can, tear open a microwave box, stir food cooking on the stove, slice an apple, open a plastic bag, tear open a granola bar, or pop the top of a little can of V-8.  I have managed to cut open a small packet using scissors, but only when I can keep it from sliding away from me.
  • My daughter Sandra, who saw the ambulance pull away from the restaurant where I fell, came to the ER as soon as she was notified and has spent lots of time with me, taking me to doctors, running errands for me, and makimg my apartment more accessible for me in my newly handicapped condition.
  • Jane, Larry and Betty, June, Jeannine, Irby and Sara, Ginnie, Phil, Linda and Gene, Elsa and Bob, Martha, Sandra, Tillie, Charlotte, Bill and Diane, and many others from my church and Sunday school have brought food.  (Jane also brought a "reacher" and an expandable back-scratcher.)
  • Ginnie, Emily, Sandra, and Jane each stayed with me when Donna was at work or volunteering at the Community Kitchen for the homeless or at her own medical appointments.
  • Some, like my neighbor Anthony and Phil (who sent this email), were willing to help in other ways.
    "Bonnie, glad to know that your mind and left arm are both functioning enough to send an e-mail.  I have been following your condition through Jane's notes.  I do not cook, but will be glad to pick up items you need from the grocery.  I do drive and will be glad to take you to the doctors or other places needed.  I am in town for next several weeks except for week-end of December 14, 15 and 16.  Give me a call any time."
  • Many others sent cards by snail mail or left messages here on my posts or emailed me.
  • Home health care folks take care of sponge baths and — just yesterday — shampooing my hair.
Yes, it takes a village, and I am so grateful to every single one of you.  I feel blessed.

This is my 2-year-old great-grandson Jaxon, showing us that he knows how a cane is to be used.  It's a tad large for him though, don't you think?


Every Saturday morning, beginning precisely at 7:30 a.m., we hear rifle shots nearby.  Every Saturday, including yesterday morning.  I wonder how many of these white-tailed deer have been killed since I wrote about them a month ago.  (Click the photo once or even twice to enlarge it and see the nine deer running away when I appeared.)


I started studying several books this year that, for one reason or another, I never completed.  If I have a New Year's resolution, it's to finish working my way through these books.

Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith ~ by Diana Butler Bass, 2006

Living Buddha, Living Christ ~ by Thích Nhất Hạnh, introduction by Elaine Pagels, Foreward by Brother David Steindl-Rast, 1995, religion

Naked Spirituality ~ by Brian D. McLaren, 2011


Donna's pastor handed her his copy of this book, saying he thought she would like it.  She did, telling me one of us ought to buy a copy so she could read it again someday.  So I ordered it and have now started reading my copy.  I've read more than 50 pages of it and agree totally that this is a book Donna and I will want to discuss.

Jim and Casper Go to Church ~ by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper, 2007, religion
Jim Henderson pays people to go to church.  In fact, he made national news when he “rented” a soul for $504 on E-Bay after its owner offered an “open mind” to the highest bidder.  In this book, Hendrson hires another atheist — Matt Casper — to visit ten leading churches with him and give the “first impression” perspective of a non-believer.  What follows is a startling dialogue between an atheist and a believer seeing church anew through the eyes of a skeptic — and the development of an amazing relationship between two men with diametrically opposing views of the world who agree to respect each others' space.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

BTT (#27) ~ 2012 favorites

Booking Through Thursday asks:
"A deceptively easy question for this week (easy to ask but possibly hard to answer):  What are/were your favorite book(s) of the year?  (Bonus points if you know how many books you read.)"
First, let me qualify this post by saying the year is not yet over, and I haven't finished all the books I hope to read.  So far, I have completed exactly 100 books, but I have several in process.  That's less than half the 208 books I read in 2011.  I hope to add at least one or two more to the list this week.  (UPDATE:  I finished 102 books this year.)  The tabs at the top of my blog page show what I've read in recent years, and during 2011 and 2012 I chose my favorites for each month.  Here are my monthly favorites for these two years:

2011 monthly favorites
January 2011 = If I Stay ~ by Gayle Forman, 2009, YA fiction, 10/10
February 2011 = The Art of Racing in the Rain ~ by Garth Stein, 2008, fiction, 10/10
March 2011 = Sing You Home ~ by Jodi Picoult, 2011, fiction (Rhode Island), 9.5/10
April 2011 = Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! : Voices from a Medieval Village ~ by Laura Amy Schlitz, 2007, children's (England), 10/10
May 2011 = The Invention of Hugo Cabret ~ by Brian Selznick, 2007, YA fiction (France), 10/10
June 2011 = The English Teacher ~ by Lily King, 2005, fiction (Maine), 9.5/10
July 2011 = Here If You Need Me: A True Story ~ by Kate Braestrup, 2007, memoir (Maine), 10/10
August 2011 = Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America ~ by Firooyeh Dumas, 2003, memoir (California), 9/10
September 2011 = Epaminondas and His Auntie ~ by Sara Cone Bryant, 1907, children's, 10/10
October 2011 = The Wild Girls ~ by Pat Murphy, 2007, YA fiction (California), 9.5/10
November 2011 = Runaway Twin ~ by Peg Kehret, 2009, YA fiction, 10/10
December 2011 = Turtle in Paradise ~ by Jennifer L. Holm, 2010, YA fiction (Florida), 10/10
2012 monthly favorites
January  2012 = Zeitoun ~ by Dave Eggers, 2009, history (Louisiana), 10/10
February 2012 = Deadline ~ by Chris Crutcher, 2007, YA fiction (Idaho), 10/10
March 2012 = Lone Wolf ~ by Jodi Picoult, 2012, fiction, 10/10
April 2012 = The Breath of God ~ by Jeffrey Small, 2011, fiction (Bhutan, India, USA), 9.5/10
May 2012 = Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story ~ by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, 2009, memoir (Greece, Turkey, South Carolina, France), 9/10
June 2012 = Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus ~ by Robin R. Meyers, 2009, religion, 10/10
July 2012 = So Far Away ~ by Meg Mitchell Moore, 2012, fiction (Massachusetts), 10/10
August 2012 = Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power — and How They Can Be Restored ~ by Marcus J. Borg, 2011, religion, 10/10
September 2012 = Grandad's Prayers of the Earth ~ by Douglas Wood, illustrated by P. J. Lynch, 1999, children's, 10/10
October 2012 = Toes ~ by Tor Seidler, 2004, chapter book, 10/10
November 2012 = Flight Behavior ~ by Barbara Kingsolver, 2012, fiction (Tennessee), 9/10
December 2012 = TBA (UPDATED) = Jim and Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversation about Faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians ~ by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper, 2007, religion, 9/10
Most memorable book of 2012:
Zeitoun ~ by Dave Eggers, 2009, history (Louisiana), 10/10

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mayan humor ~ and today's the day!

This bit of Mayan humor goes right along with the news that the earliest known Mayan calendar shows no hint of world's end.  Archaeologist William Saturno of Boston University said, "We keep looking for endings.  The Maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change.  It's an entirely different mindset."  All that is supposed to end in 2012 is one of the Mayan calendar cycles.  See Wikipedia @

This, of course, is an alternative understanding for Americans who "watched the ball drop" on many a New Year's Eve and already miss Dick Clark.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nightmare Mountain ~ by Peg Kehret

Nightmare Mountain ~ by Peg Kehret, 1989, YA fiction (Washington), 9/10
As soon as Molly arrives at her aunt and uncle's ranch in rural Washington, things start to go very wrong.  Her cousin hates her on sight.  Her aunt falls into a mysterious coma.  Then, left alone on the huge property, Molly and her cousin discover an intruder lurking in the barn.  Armed and desperate, he drags them to the top of a nearby mountain and triggers an avalanche with a gunshot.  Can they make it down the mountain alive?
When Anthony came to hekp me the other day, he mentioned the many books in my house.  So I asked him what he likes to read.  He said, "Thrillers."  So I asked my roommate Donna to be on the lookout for any YA (young adult) thrillers we may have around here.  She found this one, where these two cousins survive not only an intruder, but also an avalanche.  If Anthony hasn't read it, this is now his book.  Thanks again, Anthony!  Maybe you and I could discuss this book during your break from school.  I think it's an excellent story and rate it 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Library Loot ~ December 19-25

My loot is actually second-hand loot from my roommate Donna.  She finished this book and handed it to me, saying it's good and I'd like it.  Since I can't drive because of my broken shoulder, I'm fortunate to have a roommate who likes the same kinds of books I do.

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World ~ by E.  L. Konigsburg, 2007, YA fiction (Florida)
Amedeo Kaplan seems just like any other new kid who has moved into the town of St. Malo, Florida, a navy town where new faces are the norm.  But Amedeo has a secret, a dream:  More than anything in the world, he wants to discover something — a place, a process, even a fossil — some treasure that no one realizes is there until he finds it.  And he would also like to discover a true friend to share these things with.  William Wilcox seems like an unlikely candidate for friendship:  an aloof boy who is all edges and who owns silence the way other people own words.  When Amedeo and William find themselves working together on a house sale for Amedeo's eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Zender, Amedeo has an inkling that both his wishes may come true.  For Mrs. Zender's mansion is crammed with memorabilia of her long life, and there is a story to go with every piece.  Soon the boys find themselves caught up in one particular story — a story that links a sketch, a young boy's life, an old man's reminiscence, and a painful secret dating back to the outrages of Nazi Germany.  It's a story that will take them to the edge of what they know about heroism and the mystery of the human heart.  Two-time Newbery winner E. L. Konigsburg spins a magnificent tale of art, discovery, friendship, history, and truth.
Heft ~ by Liz Moore, 2012, fiction (New York)
Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade.  Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career — if he can untangle himself from his family drama.  The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s.  After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur — a plea for help — that jostles them into action.  Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives.
This is another of the books Donna checked out of the library.  I may or may not end up reading it, but itintrigues me.  I picked it up to see quickly to see if it looked interesting and Isuddenly noticed I was already on page17.  Yep, it looks like my kind of book:  un-put-down-able.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share titles of books they’ve checked out of the library.  To participate, just add your post to their Mister Linky any time during the week.  And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries this week.

Pageboy bob

It had been nearly two weeks since my hair had been washed with anything other than a dry shampoo, so it looked and felt awful.  After my appointment with Dr. Bell yesterday morning, my daughter Sandra took me to get my hair shampooed and cut into a sort of pageboy bob.  Penny, who decided on a good style for me that would be easy to maintain, washed my hair while I leaned forward into the sink, trying to avoid hurting my broken shoulder.  Some water dribbled down the cape onto the floor, and she knelt to mop it up with a towel so I wouldn't slip.  I told her, "I will be back!"  And Sandra said she left her a very good tip for all she did.  This is different from anything I've had before, but it feels comfortable.

Good news — the doctor said, after looking at new x-rays, that I can skip surgery and start physical therapy in a couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, I'm to take my arm out of the sling several times a day and move it like a pendulum while it hangs down from my shoulder.  It feels good to move it, and this morning I got up with less effort and less pain than I've felt since the accident.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Something good came of it

My son, a few years ago.
My son's truck died and — just when he needed it most — so did his cell phone.  With today's technology, our cell phones are now also our phonebooks, our address books, our notepads.  Everything's in the one little electronic device.  So when he borrowed a phone to call his wife, he was in big trouble when she didn't answer.  Thinking maybe she was asleep (she was actually in the shower), he called his sister to run over to his house to tell his wife to come get him.  Nobody answered at his sister's house, either.  The next number that came to his mind was mine.

He knew I'd be home, since I'm laid up with a broken shoulder.  I called his other sister for him — my daughters are identical twins and both live near their brother.  Mission accomplished!  While his wife went to rescue him, I had time to dream up the perfect solution to his problem.

I won't be able to drive for weeks — until my shattered shoulder heals — and my car will need to be driven occasionally by someone.  Two birds with one stone, in other words.  So half an hour ago, my Subaru Outback went home with David and Sharon.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I can't get out of bed alone because of my shattered shoulder, but I can't take a pain pill without food.  I called next door, and Anthony promptly came to get my salad out of the refrigerator for me.  Good neighbors are a blessing.  Thank you, Anthony!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Left-handed report on my life

inside the ambulance
inside the ER
Views from inside the ambulance and from inside the emergency room.  The EMTs thought I was crazy, taking pictures, which is of course absolutely true.  But it took my mind off the pain.  Short version:  I fell on my way into the restaurant to meet my friend Jane.  I was hurrying, wasn't careful enough, tripped on the curb, and dived lip first onto the pavement.  I have no idea how my upper lip made contact, yet my nose didn't.  Both hands and both knees were badly gashed and bloody, but worst was my right elbow, which took the brunt of the fall, jamming the humerus (upper arm bone) upward into my shoulder.  I couldn't turn my wrist and was sure I had broken my shoulder, but it's the arm bone, just below the knob at the shoulder.  Tomorrow -- well, actually that's today since I haven't slept much here in my recliner all night -- I have to see an orthopedic surgeon.

Jane followed the ambulance to the nearby hospital and called my son, who notified his sisters.  My daughter Sandra showed up at the hospital within minutes of getting the phone call.  She had been shoppimg across the street from the restaurant and watched the ambulance depart, not knowing her mom was in it until her brother called.  My kids got me home, picked up the prescription pain medications, fetched my car from the restautant parking lot (I won't be driving it for awhile, without the use of my right hand), and took turns staying with me as they took care of everything for me.  Sandra cancelled all she was scheduled to do tomorrow -- I mean, today -- and spent the night with me.  She and my friend Donna will get me to the doctor in an hour or so.  I hope the techs got enough x-rays last night and don't have to jostle my shoulder any more.

Although Jane stayed with me in spite of never getting to eat supper, she had already sent off an email to our friends before I got home.  What would I do without such wonderful friends and family?

Kendall, exactly a year ago, on 12-10-11
By the way, the EMT who was inserting an IV line while I photogtaphed his partner above knows my grandson Kendall.  They went through fire fighter training together.  Because the nearest ambulance was out on a call, the Dallas Bay Volunteer EMTs were sent for me.  Notice the name on the fire truck behind my grandson, here and when I wrote about him last year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Library Loot ~ December 5-11

As the mother of identical twin daughters, I was hooked by part of the title of a chapter of this book:  "How Come Identical Twins Aren't Identical?"  I didn't make it past the "new books" shelves to turn in my last library book and ask for the one on hold before I had this intriguing title in my hands.

The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code ~ by Sam Kean, 2012, science
Sam Kean explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.  There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs.  Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius.  They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking.  They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.  Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus ~ by Charles C. Mann, 2005, history
A groundbreaking study that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492.  Traditionally, Americans have learned in school that the ancestors of the American Indians crossed the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago, existed in small, nomadic bands, and lived so lightly on the land that much of the Americas was wilderness when Columbus set sail.  But as Charles Mann makes clear, in the last 20 years archaeologists and anthropologists using new research tecniques have proven these and other long-held assumptions to be false.  He shows us how a new generation of researchers came to the persuasive conclusion that more people lived in the Americas in 1491 than in Europe; that certain of their cities, including the Azetc capital, Tenochtitlan, were greater in size than any European city; that these much learger societies were also older and far more advanced than had been thought (the Indian development of corn is still the most complex and far-reaching example of genetic engineering known); that the Native Americans managed their environments in ways that, if replicated today, could revolutionize local agriculture.  1491 sheds clarifying light on the methods by which these discoveries where made, how they have rewritten part of our history, and how they contribute to today's environmental disputes.  It is an impassioned and erudite account of scientific inquiry and revelation.
Jesus: A Theography ~ by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, 2012, biography
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola reclaim the entire Bible as a gripping narrative about Jesus Christ.  Virtually every other “Jesus biography” begins with the nativity account in Bethlehem.  In this groundbreaking book, Sweet and Viola begin before time, in the Triune God, and tell the complete interconnected story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation.  Jesus: A Theography is the first book ever written to combine historical Jesus studies with biblical theology, crafting together one breathtaking saga that tells the Jesus story in both Old and New Testaments.  This flagship book demonstrates clearly that every bit of Scripture is part of the same stunning drama, what the authors refer to as the theography of Jesus Christ.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share titles of books they’ve checked out of the library.  To participate, just add your post to their Mister Linky any time during the week.  And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries this week.

Friday, November 30, 2012

One book leads to three, which leads to five

Once upon a time a great-grandmother, once known as the Book Grandma, went shopping for a book to give her great-grandson for his second birthday.  She found Puff, remembered from her own children's childhood.
Puff the Magic Dragon ~ by Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton, illustrated by Eric Puybaret, 2007, children's, 9/10
In the way of things, however, one book was not enough.  The woman was a reader, which is why she was shopping in a bookstore for the third generation of her offspring.  She read to her children and she read to her grandchildren, including one granddaughter (about four at the time) who said about her upcoming birthday gift, "But not a book, Grandma, okay?"  That proves the woman's addiction to books and reading, and thus it should be obvious to anyone who reads a blog about books, the woman could not stop at one.  These four other books also came home with her:

Saving Jesus from Those Who Are Right: Rethinking What It Means to Be Christian ~ by Carter Heyward, 1999
In this theological resource for spiritual transformation and social change, Carter Heyward rethinks the figure and import of Jesus for church, academy, and society.  Rather than focus on the endlessly variable pictures of Jesus in contemporary biblical scholarship, and in radical opposition to the Jesus of the "Christian Right," Heyward presents "Jesus as our brother, infused with a sacred power and passion for embodying right (mutual) relation, and ourselves with him in this commitment."  She goes on "to explore, concretely, how we might live this way."  This Christology offers reconstructions of incarnation, atonement, evil, suffering, and fear.  It also sheds light on the significance of Jesus for ecological, racial, economic, and gender justice.  Heyward's book envisions "a mighty counter-cultural force," which she names christic power, that can help save American culture from its greed and domination and save the figure of Jesus from culture-generated distortions.  In short, Heyward's book will help people come to terms with the life-changing implications of Jesus' person and ethic.
Welcome to the Wisdom of the World and Its Meaning for You: Universal Spiritual Insights Distilled from Five Religious Traditions ~ by Joan Chittister, 2007
The sections on Hindu, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each have five questions.  These are some of the questions:
What does it mean to "make a difference"??
How do I know the right thing to do?
Where did I lose my idealism?
How will I know the truth when I see it?
Why do I feel that something is missing in my life?
This may sound odd, but I was intrigued by the neat notes in the margins of this "used" book.  I like some of her (his?) comments and wish there was some way to contact this person so we could have a "real" discussion.  Nevertheless, I'll be in dialogue with her/him as I read because of the thoughtful notations.  It's like having two conversation partners, the author and the first reader of the book.
Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief ~ by Huston Smith, 2001
This one I got for a friend, having read it myself years ago.  Huston Smith says the human spirit is being suffocated by the dominant materialistic worldview of our times.  He champions a society in which religion is once again treasured and authentically practiced as the vital source of human wisdom.  I found a video of Huston Smith speaking about this book at Duke University in 2000, before it was published.
The World's Wisdom: Sacred Texts of the World's Religions ~ by Philip Novak, 1994
A world Bible for our time from Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, Taoist, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and primal religion sources.  Novak distills the most powerful and elegant expressions of the wisdom of humankind.

Surely you other readers understand how this sequence of events happened.  And I see I have entirely tipped my hand by saying "I" a few times in telling you about the books.  Oh, well.  Many of you may recognize this bookaholic tendency in yourselves and know this tale, in spite of its "once-upon-a-time" story beginning, most certainly is NOT.....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Puff the Magic Dragon (with CD)

Photo of Fiona by Nancy @ Bookfoolery and Babble
Puff the Magic Dragon (with 4-song CD) ~ by Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton, illustrated by Eric Puybaret, 2007, children's, 9/10
Staff review:  "This handsome volume offers a charming interpretation of the 1960s folk song, written by Yarrow and Lipton and famously recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary.  Featuring a soothing palette highlighted by greens and blues, Puybaret's graceful acrylic on linen paintings are intermittently misty and sunny.  Echoing the gentle cadence of the song, the sweeping landscapes and seascapes reveal Honalee to be a magical place indeed, with faces appearing on trees, flowers, and rocks.  Other whimsical flourishes include the book's affable ancillary characters, including diminutive winged fairies and red-and-white striped dolphin-like critters that wear graduation caps.  There is, of course, the inevitable somber moment when “One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more,/ And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar”; the dragon gazes wistfully upon the departing boy and then slips sadly into his cave.  But at the creative hand of Puybaret, a French illustrator who here makes his American publishing debut, the song's potentially sad denouement takes an uplifting turn.  As the chorus is repeated one final time, the delighted Puff spies a girl approaching — ostensibly Jackie's daughter — a new friend to frolic with in the autumn mist.  Youngsters concerned about the fate of Puff's first playmate will be comforted to see a smiling, grown-up Jackie looking on.  Adding to the appeal of the book is a CD presenting a new recording of the song (and two others), sung by Yarrow and his daughter Bethany, accompanied by cellist Rufus Cappadocia.  An impressive performance all around.  Ages 3-7.
The book has garnered cat approval, according to Nancy @ Bookfoolery and Babble, who took the photo of her cat at the top of this post.)
"Puff the Magic Dragon has earned the Fiona Kitty Seal of Approval."
Even though Fiona endorses the board book version, I bought the hardback with CD for my great-grandson's second birthday (party coming up in a couple of weeks).  Here are the four songs included on the CD:
  1. Puff the Magic Dragon, sung by Peter Yarrow and his daughter Bethany Yarrow
  2. Froggie Went A-Courtin'
  3. The BlueTail Fly
  4. Puff theMagic Dragon, instrumental

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Library Loot ~ Nov 28 to Dec 4

As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda ~ by Gail Collins, 2012, politics
Gail Collins declares that "what happens in Texas doesn't stay in Texas anymore."   Not until she visited Texas, that proud state of big oil and bigger ambitions, did Gail Collins, the best-selling author and columnist for the New York Times, realize that she had missed the one place that mattered most in America’s political landscape.  Raised in Ohio, Collins had previously seen the American fundamental divide as a war between the Republican heartland and its two liberal coasts.  But the real story, she came to see, was in Texas, where Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Perry had created a conservative political agenda that is now sweeping the country and defining our national identity.  Through its vigorous support of banking deregulation, lax environmental standards, and draconian tax cuts, through its fierce championing of states rights, gun ownership, and, of course, sexual abstinence, Texas, with Governor Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions, has become the bellwether of a far-reaching national movement that continues to have profound social and economic consequences for us all.  Like it or not, as Texas goes, so goes the nation.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share titles of books they’ve checked out of the library.  To participate, just add your post to their Mister Linky any time during the week.  And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries this week.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spiritual Practice ~ for humans, that is

"To be impatient is to be hooked on the future." — Gerald Jampolsky

To Practice This Thought Relax.  Just pay attention to what is happening now.  Let the future take care of itself.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ white-tailed deer

This evening near dusk (yes, I'm posting this late in the day), I glanced out my bedroom window and saw nine white-tailed deer in the field.  They are obviously wary of people and aware that my apartment complex have lots of those animals in them.  When I grabbed my coat and tried to quietly go around the corner of my building, the one "on guard" somehow alerted the others, and all of them stopped grazing to watch what I'd do next.  I took only a step or two between these photos, but that was enough to spook them.

Blurred though they are, you can see their bobbing white tails in the first of these two as they run from me.  In the final shot, they are waiting at a distance to see what I do.  I went inside and watched from my window as they returned to grazing, as in the first two pictures.  Even clicking to enlarge these photos, I'm not able to count all nine deer I saw in motion this evening.  I've lived here nearly a year and a half, and this is the first deer I've seen, though I was told they come occasionally.


Book Buddies

We've been discussing Christianity for the Rest of Us by Diana Butler Bass (2006) chapter by chapter during October and November.  It isn't too late to join us because we won't start a new book until January, since the holidays are almost upon us.  We've had some thoughtful comments on each of the chapters (though some, like me, are far from finished reading the book yet), plus we've done some extracurricular activities, like visiting labyrinths.  You'll find links to the labyrinth posts — as well as the very fruitful discussion topics — by clicking on the book's title.

We are considering Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (2012) for our January discussion.  Have you read it?

Author in town

It's been almost two weeks since I went with my friends Donna and Jane to hear Thomas Friedman speak at the Tivoli, here in Chattanooga.   His most recent book is That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back (long title with the subtitle included, huh?)  His other books include The World is Flat and Hot, Flat and Crowded.  Even though I sat only a few rows from the stage, obviously it was too far for my cellphone camera to capture details during his question-and-answer session.

 Visit the Sunday Salon's Facebook page for links to more posts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Library Loot ~ November 14-20

The Light Between Oceans ~ by M. L. Stedman, 2012
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
Flight Behavior ~ by Barbara Kingsolver, 2012
Kingsolver delivers literary fiction that conveys an urgent social message.  Set in a rural Tennessee that has endured unseasonal rain, the plot explores the effects of a bizarre biological event on a Bible Belt community.  The sight that young wife and mother Dellarobia Turnbow comes upon-millions of monarch butterflies glowing like a "lake of fire" in a sheep pasture owned by her in-laws.  The find is immediately branded a miracle and promises a lucrative tourist season for the financially beleaguered Turnbows.

The arrival of a research team led by sexy scientist Ovid Byron reveals the troubling truth behind the butterflies' presence, that they've been driven by pollution from their usual Mexican winter grounds and now face extinction due to northern hemisphere temperatures.  Equally threatening is the fact that her father-in-law, Bear, has sold the land to loggers.

Already restless in her marriage to the passive Cub, for whom she gave up college when she became pregnant at 17, unsophisticated, cigarette-addicted Dellarobia takes a mammoth leap when she starts working with the research team.  As her horizons expand, she faces a choice between the status quo and, perhaps, personal fulfillment.  Spunky Dellarobia is immensely appealing; the caustic view she holds of her husband, in-laws, and neighbors, the self-deprecating repartee she has with her best friend Dovey, and her views about the tedium of motherhood combined with a loving but clear-eyed appraisal of her own children invest the narrative with authenticity and sparkling humor.

Kingsolver also animates and never judges the uneducated, superstitious, religiously devout residents of Feathertown.  As Dellarobia flees into a belated coming-of-age, which becomes the ironic outcome of the monarchs' flight path to possible catastrophe in the collapse of a continental ecosystem, the dramatic saga becomes a clarion call about climate change, too lucid and vivid for even skeptics to ignore.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share titles of books they’ve checked out of the library.  To participate, just add your post to their Mister Linky any time during the week.  And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries this week.