Thursday, May 31, 2012

BTT (#24) ~ DIY book

Booking Through Thursday asks:
If you could write a book, what would it be about, and why?
I'd write a novel with an older woman as the main character.  I'd make her an outrageous older woman, like this purple button I have.  She would be someone feisty!  It seems most books are about "coming of age," but rarely about the threshold from motherhood to old age.

I'm reading a memoir Traveling with Pomegranates (2009) by Sue Monk Kidd, who wrote the novel The Secret Life of Bees, and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor.  It begins when Sue is grappling with turning 50 and Ann has just graduated from college.  They are at the threshold of two stages of the maiden-mother-crone trilogy, shown here on a wall hanging I bought.  With her daughter grown, Sue is moving toward old age, which can be seen as a time of wisdom.  Ann is trying to figure out what to do with her life.

Thinking of a novel featuring an older woman, I came up with The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg (2005).
Betta Nolan moves to a small town after her husband dies, to try to begin anew.  She is determined to find pleasure in her simple daily routines.  Among those who help her are the 10-year-old boy next door, three wild women friends from her college days, a 20-year-old who is struggling to find his place in the world, and a handsome man ready for love.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yanni ~ "World Dance"

If this "World Dance" video by Yanni doesn't work, go to YouTube to watch it:

Do you understand?

If I hadn't found this box of words on Facebook as a single "image," I would have wanted to correct the grammar and punctuation.  And I would have been wrong.  Do you know why?

If you understand, tell me in the comments how many letters it has.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So how do you like your books?

Rare, medium, or well done?  I prefer books that are done well — I mean, well done.  Bookstore names fascinate me.

Once upon a time, I worked part-time at A Novel Idea, which sold rare, used, out-of-print, and collectible books and more and more new books as time went on.  When it was sold, the new owner changed the name, but this photo shows what it looked like back then.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy 22nd birthday

... to my granddaughter, even though she complained that she hadn't even put on makeup this morning when I took this photo.  She's the only natural blonde I've ever known to deliberately choose brown hair, and still she's beautiful.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ Irish art

My artist friend Jane brought me a couple of gifts from Ireland.  First, this delightful poster of "Pangur Ban" from Trinity College Library in Dublin.  The poem was written into the margin of a manuscript copied by an Irish Monk in the ninth century.  I'll have to memorize this first verse.

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.
On the left is an enlargement from the bottom of the poster, showing a cat as twisty as a Celtic drawing.  Jane got the perfect gift for a wordlover who has a cat.  The encircling lines above are four more of the eight verses (2, 4, 5, and 8) of the "Pangur Ban" poem.
Pangur Ban
(click title to hear it read)

I and Pangur Ban my cat, / Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight, / Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men / Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will, / He too plies his simple skill.

Tis a merry thing to see / At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find / Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray / In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set / Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye / Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I / All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den / O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove / When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply, / Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss, / I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made / Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night / Turning darkness into light.

Jane also brought me a nice Celtic Art bookmark showing the initial letter "b" adapted from the Lindisfarne Gospels.  Double-click the illustrations so you can compare the bookmark to Wikipedia's illustration of the page from the Lindisfarne Gospels.  Can you see the "b"?

(And did you notice the twisty cat above, drawn by Denis Brown in 2001, is using a computer and has his paw on a mouse?  Look closely at the mouse.)


Just finished
1.  Dead Asleep ~ by Jennifer B. White, 2011, fiction (Massachusetts), 9/10
2.  Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story ~ by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, 2009, memoir (Greece, Turkey, South Carolina, France)
Next Up
3.  Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus ~ by Robin R. Meyers, 2009, religion
Visit the Sunday Salon's Facebook page for links to more posts.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Beginning ~ in a Greek museum

Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story ~ by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, 2009, memoir (Greece, Turkey, South Carolina, France)
"Sitting on a bench in the National Archaeological Museum in Greece, I watch my twenty-two-year-old daughter, Ann, angle her camera before a marble bas-relief of Demeter and Persephone unaware of the small ballet she's performing -- her slow, precise steps forward, the tilt of her head, the way she dips to one knee as she turns her torso, leaning into the sharp afternoon light.  The scene reminds me of something, a memory mayvbe, but I can't recall what.  I only know she looks beautiful and impossibly grown, and for reasons not clear to me I'm possessed by an acute feeling of loss."
In a comment on another blog, someone said, "I just read Sue Monk Kidd’s The Dance of the Dissident Daughter."  I thoroughly enjoyed reading that book, which has this subtitle:  A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine.  When I mentioned I'm about to read Traveling with Pomegranates, she said it's on her TBR list as well.  I was very impressed with The Secret Lfes of Bees.

Some of us have talked about starting an online book club to discuss Traveling with Pomegranates.  Are you interested?  If so, go here to sign up.  Here's a synopsis:
In this intimate dual memoir, the #1 New York Times bestselling novelist and her daughter, Ann, offer distinct perspectives as a fifty-something and a twenty-something, each on a quest to redefine herself and to rediscover each other.  Between 1998 and 2000, Sue and Ann travel throughout Greece and France.  Sue, coming to grips with aging, caught in a creative vacuum, longing to reconnect with her grown daughter, struggles to enlarge a vision of swarming bees into a novel.  Ann, just graduated from college, heartbroken and benumbed by the classic question about what to do with her life, grapples with a painful depression.

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

BTT (#23) ~ pet names

Lu @ Booking Through Thursday asks:
Do you have any pet that has a name inspired by your readings?
I'm using only the basic question today, because my answer will already be divided into several parts:  Jack, Pippa, Dickens and Junie B.

(1)  Jack of "Jack and Jill"

When my twin daughters were five and my son was two, they found under the tree on Christmas twin kittens, one male and one female. I have never been able to tell one sex from the other until cats grow up, but we told our children which we THOUGHT was which.  We were, of course, wrong.  Before we learned we had mislabeled the kittens, the children had chosen names from among their favorite stories, and the furry babies became Jack and Jill.  Or Jill and Jack.  Within a few months one darted under the wheels of a car and "Jill" lived on ... until the day it was undeniably clear that "she" was Jack.  I'm sure Jack was totally confused when he received his sister's name, after having been Jill up until then.  But it was clear that he knew the word meant HIM ... whenever he heard "Jack," even in the middle of a sentence spoken between humans, he would twitch his ear in our direction even if we thought he was asleep across the room.

Jack was an outdoor cat who loved to chase squirrels.  When he spied one in the dogwood tree, up he would go after the critter, who simply hopped to a branch of a nearby oak tree and chattered heatedly at Jack, who sat dejectedly in the dogwood tree like an oversized gray-and-white Persian blossom.  Lest you believe Jack was not a hunter, however, let me assure you he brought in his share of "gifts" to the family.

One Sunday morning I left my children at home getting ready for church (my mother lived downstairs) and dashed off to the office to make copies for a Monday morning business trip.  When I got home, I saw my 10- or 11-year-old son coming across the back yard from the woods.  He was dressed for church, crying, and dragging the double-bladed axe.  My heart stopped! Until I heard the story.  Jack had brought a twitching rabbit onto the patio, and my young son told me he knew if I'd been there, I would have put the dying animal out of its misery.   "But Mom, I knew you'd kill he if I used the 22-rifle," he said.  Darn tootin!   Instead, my kind-hearted child used the axe ... almost, but not quite, as bad as the rifle.  And he managed NOT to get blood on his Sunday suit.   I was so proud of him for doing what had to be done, something that he knew was the right thing, even though his little heart was breaking when he did it.   I never saw the rabbit because my little boy took care of the problem.

Jack the Gentleman Cat probably wondered about his humans ... didn't they recognize what a gift he had shared?  Usually what Jack shared was laundry time.  When I would come to the basement laundry room, Jack would follow me and sit on a window sill or the dryer to talk to me while I stuffed the washer with dirty clothes.

Since he spent a lot of time roaming the neighborhood, he himself would sometimes be the one who came home bloodied and scarred.   One evening about dusk I got a call from a neighbor, telling me my cat had knocked over a large $100 vase on her front porch.  By the time my husband got on the phone with her, the vase was worth $200.   I got the car keys to go find Jack, went to the basement garage, and found Jack sound asleep on top of the car ... and the garage door was firmly closed.  Not.  My.  Cat!  Oh, you can't imagine how happily I called the woman back to inform her the naughty cat was someone else's!  Jack, my sleeping fur person, was totally exonerated!
(2)  Pippa, of "Pippa Passes"
Pippa got her name from Robert Browning's famous poem "Pippa Passes," published in 1841.  Perhaps the most famous passage is sung by a little Italian girl named Pippa:

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven
All's right with the world!
Each of my three children memorized these lines and could recite them to me.  (Okay, I bribed them to do it for a quarter apiece, which really was worth a little bit of something in the late 1960s.)  Pippa was a regular-sized collie with a very sweet and loving personality.  I have a photo of her romping with David when my son couldn't have been more than five or six years old (he'll be 49 next month).   They were in the lower part of the yard, down near the stream that ran through our back yard, near my children's earliest treehouse which was built beside a large tree and had a sandbox under it.

That's one of the good memories, but the bad memory almost obliterates the good.  On December 12, 1977, we arrived home after dark to discover Pippa lying dead in the upper part of the back yard.  She had been shot and killed, we learned later, by someone who said to my daughter at school, "I know who killed your dog."   It was apparently a boy she refused to date, a boy who must have come around the end of our house and shot Pippa with a 22-rifle as she stared toward the back road, away from the shooter.  A beloved pet was killed by a boy who wanted my daughter to suffer because she wouldn't go out with him.  And I am so glad she never did!   I was fearful for the longest time, however, that the next time it would be one of my children.
(3)  Dickens, named for the famous author Charles Dickens
This cute-as-the-dickens kitten was hiding from the rain under my roommate's car when she went out on a Sunday morning.   Needing to get to church to teach a children's Sunday school class, she brought him to me.  What could I do?  I left a cellphone message that I'd miss church with family, but would meet them for lunch afterwards.   In the meantime, this little dickens was exploring his new digs (interesting word) and thus totally annoying the two elderly cats, Sammy, who was 13, and Kiki, who was 8 years old.  Much deep-throat growling and spitting occurred.  Sammy hid under Donna's bed, snarling whenever the little fuzzball appeared on her radar, but Kiki defended her turf, actively growling her "ERRRRMMM-mmmmm" whenever the hyperactive youngster cavorted too near the corner where she had retreated.

Surprisingly, this tiny fellow wasn't taking any guff from the big cats and would hiss right back at them.  Once, having run from Kiki's hissey fit of snarling and spitting, he jumped into the litter box in the laundry room and said what I can only translate as "nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-NYAH-nyah ... hisssss!"   Then he pooped, covered it with sandy litter, and pranced right back into the living room where Kiki sat, quivering with righteous indignation that we humans had allowed this ... this ... strutting white ball of fluff into HER home.

I left the kitten closed up in the bathroom with a bowl of water and went out for lunch and an afternoon of swimming.  When I returned late in the day, Sammy was still under the bed and Kiki looked frazzled from listening to hours of meowing emanating from the other side of that door.  When I released the captive kitty, I found that everything on the counter had been knocked aside and dusty paw prints decorated the sink.   (Had he first conquered any dust bunnies hiding behind the toilet bowl?)  It was an interesting 24 hours.  I was awakened at 7:30 the next morning by the kitten, who was ardently waging a battle against my elbow with his needle-sharp claws and teeth.
(4)  Junie B., of the beloved Junie B. children's books
Dickens is now Junie B.  Kiki, Sammy, and I decided the little dickens who moved in on the previous Sunday could be described as "tiresome" or maybe "more energy than a dynamo" or even "make it stop"!  The non-stop kitten drained us of our energy.  Donna, who missed about nine hours a day of "fun with kitty" by going to work every day, was off on Wednesday and finally realized we really could not keep such an active kitten who took a walk in my oatmeal and liked to tackle the tails of elderly cats.  So she departed with kitty on a journey to the brand-spanking-new animal adoption place nearby.   Kiki was so relieved that she came and sat in my lap for close to 45 minutes, sighing and content.  When Donna returned in about an hour, all three of us ... Kiki, Sammy, and I ... stared in disbelief as the kitty bounced out of Donna's arms and back into our lives!  What happened?   The new place takes only 30 adoptions a day, with the next possible date being next month, and asked Donna to "foster" the little one a few more weeks.

We did learn something, however. I had thought, upon examination, that the kitten was a girl; Donna was sure she saw a couple of things I had missed and said it was a boy.  The adoption center confirmed he's a she.  So the little dickens needed a new name.  We were going for literary and tried every female name possible ... until Donna thought of Junie B.  Unless you have youngsters in your life, you may not know about the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park, which even little boys enjoy.  Junie B. is always into something, like in this "Sneaky Peeky Spy" story.  Aha, just like our little dickens!  And the amazing part is that the kitten likes "Junie B." and totally ignored "Dickens" when we said it.  Maybe she was trying to tell us something.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Library Loot ~ May 23-29

The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade ~ by Ann Fessler, 2006, history
In this deeply moving and myth-shattering work, Ann Fessler brings out into the open for the first time the astonishing untold history of the million and a half women who surrendered children for adoption due to enormous family and social pressure in the decades before Roe v. Wade.  An adoptee who was herself surrendered during those years and recently made contact with her mother, Ann Fessler brilliantly brings to life the voices of more than a hundred women, as well as the spirit of those times, allowing the women to tell their stories in gripping and intimate detail.
A discussion arose in one of my groups about "the value of girls."  I said, "I’m 72, and being a teenager in the 1950s was very different from now — or even from when you were a teen.  Any girl who got pregnant dropped out of school and seemed to disappear."  Martha replied, "If you haven’t read it, Bonnie, I recommend The Girls Who Went Away for a look at the societal framework that encouraged and supported that disappearing. It’s heart-wrenching."  My library had a copy, which I checked out this afternoon.  It's absorbing, and I'm already halfway through the book — even though I had intended to just "take a quick look at the contents."  Ha!

 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.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ salad days


I don't usually get excited about food preparation, maybe because it too often seems like a lot of work to make a meal for one.  I do, however, like to experiment with salads.  My process is to toss in whatever I have on hand that sounds good to me at the moment.  It could be leftovers, like this one.  On Thursday, I had a hard-boiled egg from breakfast, a tomato, and some leftover asparagus from a recent meal.  So I cut up those together in a bowl.  After taking this photo, I added Roasted Onion Parmesan Dressing and called it a salad.

My lunch, which was delicious, now becomes my first post for Weekend Cooking @ Beth Fish Reads.  It's open to anyone with a food-related post to share:  book reviews, recipes, photographs, random thoughts.  If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up.


The title of my sermon at St. Luke United Methodist Church this morning is Please, Thank You, Oops, and Wow!  Can you guess what the subject is?  If it's any help, the two scriptures I chose are First Samuel 3:1-10 and Mark 10: 13-15.
First Samuel 3
 1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
 2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room;
 3 the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
 4 Then the LORD called, "Samuel! Samuel!" and he said, "Here I am!"
 5 and ran to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down.
 6 The LORD called again, "Samuel!" Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again."
 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
 8 The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy.
 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
 10 Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

Mark 10
 13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them.
 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.
 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."


Just finished
1.  One Hand Clapping: Zen Stories for All Ages ~ by Rafe Martin, illustrated by Junko Morimoto, 1995, YA religion, 9/10
2.  The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed  the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels ~ by Thomas Cahill, 1998, history
Concurrently (with my study group)
3.  Living Buddha, Living Christ ~ by Thích Nhất Hạnh, 1995, religion
Next up
4.  Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story ~ by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, 2009, memoir (Greece, Turkey, South Carolina, France)

5.  Close to Famous ~ by Joan Bauer, 2011, YA fiction (West Virginia)

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

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Library Loot ~ May 16-22

One Hand Clapping: Zen Stories for All Ages ~ by Rafe Martin, illustrated by Junko Morimoto, 1995, YA nonfiction
When is a tiger not a tiger?
When is a mountain more than a mountain?
What is the sound of one hand clapping?

The stories of this collection come from the Zen Buddhist tradition from tales told by the Buddha himself to anecdotes from the lives of the Zen masters of China and Japan who helped pass on the Buddha's teachings.  These stories reflect the wisdom, directness, and spontaneity for which Zen is known.  Zen stories delight as they challenge, enchant as they point towards a different way of seeing things.  In the simple language of stories passed down over hundreds of years, this collection can point us toward our own natural Mind of wisdom, insight, peace, and compassion.  They help us see past our seeming differences into what is the same for all of us.  Rafe Martin, a student of Zen for over 25 years, introduces these tales, providing both background and insight into the collection.  Junko Morimoto's beautiful illustrations reflect the tranquility, wit, and power of these stories.
I've been reading Thích Nhất Hạnh's Living Buddha, Living Christ with my study group, so when I saw this book at a friend's house, I knew I wanted to read it, now.  Luckily, there was a copy in my library system.

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.

Caturday Snapshot ~ forlorn kitty

Babe is an indoor-outdoor cat who lives where I've been house-and-cat-sitting.  She has beautiful green eyes.  In this snapshot, she was watching for Jane to come home or maybe watching the squirrels and chipmunks and birds.

She doesn't like being stuck inside alone, as shown in this photo.  Doesn't she look forlorn, watching me leave to go somewhere, maybe to last week's birthday party?  Oh, you don't see her?  Look closely at the bottom middle of the window, where she's pushed aside the hanging blinds (click to enlarge photo).  She had made a rush for the door, but I got it closed before she got out.  I'm sure Babe is pleased Jane is now back home from Ireland.

Saturday Snapshot is a meme hosted by Alyce from At Home With Books. To participate, post an old or new photo taken by you (or a friend or family member).  Check out the snapshots others are sharing this week.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fear + Ignorance = Hate

I found this interesting equation on Jan's blog.  It's now the prompt at Weekend Wordsmith, which asks, "What can you do with the idea that fear + ignorance = hate?"

I thought of two things, the first being this quote from John Templeton's 1999 book Agape Love: A Tradition Found in Eight World Religions (p. 2):
"Perhaps without even being fully aware of it, religious leaders and their followers through the ages have defined religion largely in terms of love.  All the world's great religions, to varying degrees, both teach and assume the priority of love in religious practice.  To put it another way, whether consciously or subconsciously, the world seems to have determined that any system of beliefs that teaches or tolerates hatred or even apathy toward others does not deserve to be considered a religion in the first place."
That brings us to the other thing I thought of, a group of people who seem to have become official haters.  And they preach a god of hate.  You would think a group calling themselves "Westboro Baptist Church" is a Christian organization, but all the Christians I know at least SAY they follow a God of LOVE.

Another thing Christians say is that "a little child shall lead them," based on Jesus's assertion that God's kingdom belongs to people who can be like a child.  (I don't mean childish, but child-like.)  This week, we have a child to follow, a 9-year-old boy named Josef Miles, who stood up to the haters of the Westboro Baptist Church.  NPR reports his mom said:
"Josef was determined to make his own statement so we went to the car and with pencil and his sketch pad, he made up his own little sign that reads 'GOD HATES NO ONE,' " his mom wrote. "Those people are scary but he stood strong, was respectful and stood by his convictions. He will be a good man, I have no doubt. I got my Mothers Day present early."
Is it fear plus ignorance?  Is that what causes hatred?  What are they so afraid of?  Why do they think their god wants more hatred in the world?

Weekend Wordsmith offers a prompt each Friday, so you'll have a weekend to work on it (or start it) and a week before the next prompt.  You may also write about any Weekend Wordsmith prompt that's ever been on the blog, no matter how long ago.  Think about the weekly prompt, write something on your blog, and come back to leave your link in a comment so others can read what you have written.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

BTT (#22) ~ living in a book

A Book and a Short Latte @ Booking Through Thursday asks:
If you had to choose to live within a novel, which would it be?
What a strange question!  I go into novels to  escape or to have a change of scenery, but I wouldn't really want to live in any of them.  I was ready to toss this question aside, as I thought of novels I've read.  None of them stood out for me, and I was very turned off by the answers some participants came up with -- I can't imagine even wanting to read about vampires, for example, much less choosing to live among them.  Then when I my mind wandered elsewhere, it came to me -- one novel that was "real" enough (no vampires, no dystopia, no alien planets).  Here's a world I can imagine living in.

Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God ~ by Joe Coomer, 1995

Nine weeks after losing her husband, Charlotte escapes to a wooden motor yacht in New Hampshire, where her shipmates are an aging blue-haired widow, an emotional seventeen-year-old, and the ugliest dog in literature.  A genuine bond develops among the three women, as their distinct personalities and paths cross and converge against the backdrop of emotional secrets, abuse, and the wages of old age.  Off the boat, Charlotte, an archaeologist, joins a local excavation to uncover an ancient graveyard.  Here she can indulge her passion for reconstructing the past, even as she tries to bury her own recent history.  She comes to realize, however, that the currents of time are as fluid and persistent as the water that drifts beneath her comforting new home.
I can imagine being friends with Charlotte, the archaeologist.  In college, I took a class in archaeology and went on a "dig" not too far from the University.  We found indications of Native American habitation in the remains of mussel shells in the area where a company planned to build.  It was fun, and my 6-year-old son was allowed to watch -- because he wanted to be a paleontologist when he grew up.  Do you know what that is, exactly?  I was surprised he knew the word, so I looked it up to be sure I understood.
Paleontology is the study of prehistoric life, like dinosaurs and fossils.
I remember my son standing above the pits, not allowed to touch anything, only to watch.  I can still see him leaning forward for a better look (from above us), holding his hands behind him.  He had a great imagination, but he did not grow up to be a paleontologist.  Instead, he manages the distribution of books and magazines in a local company.

I can imagine talking archaeology with Charlotte and visiting on the boat -- that "wooden motor yacht in New Hampshire" that belongs to the older woman.  I love sailing, and these three (when we include the 17-year-old) sailed to Prince Edward Island (PEI), home of Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Green Gables ~ by Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1908
Brother and sister Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert look forward to meeting the young orphan boy whom they hope to give a good life to at their Avonlea farm, Green Gables.  When they are accidentally sent Anne Shirley instead, they make the most of the orphanage's mistake, and welcome the imaginative girl with loving arms.  Under their care and through the friendships she forges at school, Anne enjoys adventures and experiences that teach her how to be loving and caring in return.
It was the lure of Anne Shirley that took the adventurers sailing off to PEI in the first place, so maybe I would also meet Anne.  Why not?  If I "move" into one novel, why couldn't I venture into another as well?  Imagine the places I could go.  Oh, wait!  I do that already, whenever I open a novel.  So what's the advantage of moving in permanently?  I have no idea.

I do know one thing, though, that I'd prefer a novel that seems "real" enough that I would enjoy being there.  Charlotte and Anne would be interesting people to be around, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Maid, Mother, Crone

The seasons of a woman's life maid, mother, and crone are shown on this art piece I have.  Or I can imagine a fourth aspect, if we include the baby.  Before I was a young woman, I was a girl, beginning as a baby girl.
Think of the Baby learning at her mother's breast.
Think of the Maiden as independent and strong.
Think of the Mother as nurturing.
Think of the Crone as wise, changed, and transformed.
In The Spiral Dance (Harper, 1979), Starhawk said:
"The Maiden aspect of the Goddess shows women how to be independent and strong; the Mother aspect shows women how to be nurturing; and the Crone aspect shows that respecting elders is important and focuses on wisdom, change, and transformation."
Our society focuses on youth as the most (maybe the only) important time of life, but some women now have "croning" ceremonies as a rite of passage into a time of wisdom, freedom, and personal power.  After I retired, I was croned in a circle of my friends.  My son said there's no way he would call me a crone.

Is there a word for an old man that is equally as negative as "crone" for an old woman?  Because our society does not value what a woman does or what she learns over a lifetime, women often refuse to divulge their age and many (if not most) women at some point dye their hair in order to look younger.  Men, though, are said to look distinguished with gray hair at their temples.

Respect your elders, people, even if they happen to be female!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Teaser ~ love in the Bible

While reading The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels by Thomas Cahill (1998), I was surprised by the sentence about Abraham and Isaac (p. 84).
Indeed, the first time the Bible uses the word love is in this very episode:
Pray take your son,
your only-one,
whom you love,
Yitzhak . . .
Cahill uses Everett Fox's translation (from The Five Books of Moses, 1983), which uses a more Hebrew spelling of names.  Yitzhak is Isaac in most English translations of the Bible.  The NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) of the Bible says:
"Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love..." (Genesis 22:2).
But back to my surprise and the question it raised for me:  Is this really the first time the word love is used in the Bible?  I did a search and discovered it's true.

Are you familiar with the story about Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac?  Abraham had an older son, but Isaac was his only son by Sarah, his wife.  Ishmael, his first son, was by Hagar, a concubine or slave belonging to Sarah.

(If we want to get technical, Abraham could not really claim an "only" son except for his first one, and that's why it makes sense that the Qur'an says the son Abraham almost sacrificed was Ishmael.  They only other way I can imagine Isaac as Abraham's only son would be if he considered him the "only son left" once Hagar and Ishmael had been sent away after the birth of Isaac.  The descendents of the two sons are still at odds four thousand years later Isaac's side of Abraham's family became the Jews, and Ishmael's side the Arabs.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

What's up?

Goldendaze Ginnie posted What's Up with Up?  I think it's a good day to write about "up" on this blog.  Ginnie shortened an email, and I'll shorten it even more.  I've added a couple of uses of UP, but most of this is from Ginnie's post.

The English word UP has more meanings than any other two-letter word and is listed in the dictionary as:
We all know UP means toward the sky, but why do we say we wake UP in the morning?

Why does a topic come UP at a meeting?

Why do we speak UP?

Why are officers UP for election, and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

George Carlin
People stir UP trouble, line UP for movie tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

And some people are stand UP comedians.

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP has a completely different meaning.

After an argument, we kiss and make UP

We seem to be mixed UP about UP!

A clogged-UP drain must be opened UP.

We open UP a store in the morning, but we close it UP at night.

And what could she be UP to?

I could go on and on, but my time is UP, so I'll wrap UP this post.

If you want to continue this list, it's UP to you!

(This was also written UP on my Joyful Noiseletter blog.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ Mother's Day


Mildred Reynolds Setliffe
I miss you, Mom.


My great-granddaughter turned three yesterday.  This picture is from her birthday party in the park's pavilion.  She's a pink princess with braids, sitting beside her mother, with her Nana (my daughter) reaching for the last gift bag to be opened.  Raegan is opening a small pink box with a cupcake inside.


When I snapped this, I understood without a meow what Babe was saying:  "It's one thing to snuggle up together, but if you're going to show Jane what I did, well then...!"  And she stomped off in a huff on silent cat feet and never come back.  Yeah, that's a difficult maneuver to stomp silently but she managed.


Click to enlarge
Here's the only postcard I mailed during National Postcard Week.  It shows one of the Incline Railway cars decending from the top of Lookout Mountain to the valley.  I put the card in Jane's mailbox one day, and it was picked up the next.  Dear recipient, it would show "Hixson, TN" whether sent from Jane's house or mine.

On Saturday, I received a postcard from my "dear recipient," a blogger I've enjoyed getting to know.  I remember now what's wrong with postcards — the P.O. stamped a bar code all over the bottom, which told me what was in this picture.  I can read "Republic of Korea," which is South Korea.


Just finished
1.  We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School series #1) ~ by Andrew Clements, 2010, children's, 10/10
2.  The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed  the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels ~ by Thomas Cahill, 1998, history
Concurrently (with my study group)
3.  Living Buddha, Living Christ ~ by Thích Nhất Hạnh, introduction by Elaine Pagels, 1995, religion
4.  Fear Itself (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School series #2) ~ by Andrew Clements, 2011, children's

I found two books at my front door when I came home from Jane's on Friday, but I'm not sure how long they had been there, since I normally come in through the patio door.  I won these from Meg @ A Bookish Affair, and they look very interesting.

In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination ~ by Margaret Atwood, 2011, essays and SF (short fiction, speculative fiction)
Margaret Atwood explores her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as "science fiction,” a relationship that has been lifelong, stretching from her days as a child reader in the 1940s, through her time as a graduate student at Harvard, where she worked on the Victorian ancestor of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer.  This book brings together her three heretofore unpublished Ellmann Lectures from 2010: "Flying Rabbits," which begins with Atwood's early rabbit superhero creations, and goes on to speculate about masks, capes, weakling alter egos, and Things with Wings; "Burning Bushes," which follows her into Victorian otherlands and beyond; and "Dire Cartographies," which investigates Utopias and Dystopias.  The book also includes some of Atwood's key reviews and thoughts about the form. Among those writers discussed are Marge Piercy, Rider Haggard, Ursula Le Guin, Ishiguro, Bryher, Huxley, and Jonathan Swift. She elucidates the differences (as she sees them) between "science fiction" proper, and "speculative fiction," as well as between "sword and sorcery/fantasy" and "slipstream fiction."
Dead Asleep ~ by Jennifer B. White, 2011, fiction (Massachusetts)
If it were possible, I’d never sleep again.

Everyone was talking about my dreams — even though I hadn’t told a single soul about them. Wherever I went, strangers were discussing my nocturnal visions. I wanted to chalk all of this up to coincidence, but then, only minutes after a chance encounter with a young woman I didn’t know, after she told me in perfect detail of the dream I’d had the night before, she was killed. And I knew I’d have to figure out what was happening to me.

My only hope was a woman who had a knack for falling dead asleep. With help from Claire, a narcoleptic, I would have to take a sleep-journey into the past and future affecting everyone’s life, including my own.

Some things to know about me — my name is Kevin Macy and I’m a partner in an ad agency in Boston, Massachusetts. I’m divorced, I smoke, and I’m an accomplished alcoholic. Not that it has anything to do with my story, but it’s part of who I am. And in the course of reading about these supernatural and bizarre events, those things will factor in.

Another important note — and this you will have a hard time swallowing, I’m sure — while on this strange journey of discovery, I died. And I mean that in the realest of ways — dead as a door nail — bought the farm — kicked the bucket. You get the picture. Of course being dead didn’t “stick,” otherwise I wouldn’t be able to tell you my curious tale.
Visit the Sunday Salon's Facebook page for links to more posts.