Monday, October 31, 2016


"Exercise and eat right" is my latest mantra, and this photo is the image I hold in my mind. The DASH diet is about food and exercise, but there's a component that may surprise some of you:  meditation and mindfulness.  From the DASH Diet for Dummies book:

Practice mindfulness (pp.220-221)
  • Take a deep breath ~ to lower stress
  • Be more compassionate ~ to self as well as others
  • Plan your day ~ make a to-do list
  • Focus on the positive
Meditate (p. 224)
  • Meditation involves mindfulness and reduces anxiety, pain, stress, insomnia, and depression.  Learn how to enjoy "just being" instead of constantly "doing."
Exercise (pp. 222-223)
I spent an hour exercising this morning, using the suggestions in my Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions book (pp. 103-124).  Unlike the classes I've been attending here at the Crown Center, this book includes floor exercises.  Clawdia was curious about my being on the floor, and I had to keep shooing her out of my way.  I've decided to alternate exercising (MWF) and meditating (TThS).

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Clawdia ~ pondering the inexplicable reflections

Clawdia's fascination with reflections, lights, and shadows is quite pronounced.  Here she is studying another pattern on the wall.  What do you suppose she made of those strange "signs" in front of her?  The tall row is from the holes in the blinds for the cord that opens and closes them, and the bright rectangle is from sun shining between the pair of blinds on the two windows.  I have no idea why there's a curved light beside it.

Recently she was also fascinated by me.  Yes, ME.  Clawdia was on the far side of our living room as I glanced at her through the opening from the kitchen.  She was staring at me and bobbing her head up and down and side to side, studying me as though she'd never seen me before.  Puzzled, I went to look at myself in the mirror, and my hair was sticking up and out, but mostly UP.  It must have looked to her like I had horns.

By the way, I've heard that today is Cat Day.  Very appropriate, I think, that it's on Caturday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

TWOsday ~ borrowed books

A Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds: Make the Inside of Your Head Your favorite Place to Be ~ by Barbara Sophia Tammes, 2012
Longing for a retreat?  A safe haven where you can disappear from the world for awhile?  This is an inspirational guide that will help you lighten up your life by showing you how to design twenty-five mind expanding rooms to uncloud your thinking and create new opportunities in your life.  Every room in your Castle in the Clouds has a special meaning and offers new insights and perspectives to look at yourself in a completely new and original way.  The author's charming four-color illustrations include blueprints for:

*  The Mental Spa:  For inner cleansing of intrusive, bothersome thoughts.
*  The Royal Suite of Evil:  Where your dark side will be so comfortable you'll always know where it is (and it will stop surprising you at inopportune times).
*  A Small Chapel for Your Soul:  Where you can release your ego and let go of false ideas.
*  The Hall of Tears:  Where you are allowed to cry as much as you want.
*  The Library:  Where you learn to trust your intuition when facing a problem or dilemma.
*  The Kitchen:  Helps digest information and things that have been said to you.
Relig-ish: Soulful Living in a Spiritual-But-Not-Religious World ~ by Rachelle Mee-Chapman, 2016
When it comes to religion, "choose one" is no longer your only option.  You can be spiritual-but-not-religious or not particularly religious at all yet still have a robust system of beliefs and values that guides you.  Creating your own set of eclectic spiritual practices is not a sign that you are a faith-less person, but rather a faith-ful person responding with honesty to an increasingly expanding world.  If faithfully attending church isn't helping you live out your values in everyday ways, becoming relig-ish may be the answer.  This book will help you:

*  Create a set of spiritual practices that fit into your daily life and honor the things you value most.  Develop right-fit spiritual practices for yourself and your family outside of going to church.
*  Shake off harmful religious messages and embrace truths that won't damage yourself or your soul.
*  Build bridges towards your religious family members by identifying the common values that are the bedrock beneath your beliefs.
*  Discover that your soul is not at risk and you are not lost in your wondering, wandering post-church world.
I often borrow books from Donna, and vice versa.  These are a couple of the books I have on my desk that I recently borrowed from her.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday Mindfulness ~ contemplation

If you cannot read the words on
the tree, click to enlarge the image.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday Salon ~ book sale

1.  Morality for Beautiful Girls ~ by Alexander McCall Smith, 2001, fiction (Botswana)

2.  The Double Bind ~ by Chris Bohjalian, 2007, fiction (Vermont)

3.  Around the World with Mrs. Pollifax ~ has three books in one:
  • The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax ~ by Dorothy Gilman, 1970, fiction (Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Mrs. Pollifax on Safari ~ by Dorothy Gilman, 1977, fiction (Rhodesia)
  • Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle ~ by Dorothy Gilman, 1988, fiction (Thailand)
4.  The Day the Sun Stood Still ~ has three original novellas in one book:
  • A Chapter of Revelation ~ by Poul Anderson, 1972, science fiction
  • Thomas the Proclaimer ~ by Robert Silverberg, 1972, science fiction
  • Things Which Are Caesar's ~ by Gordon R. Dickson, 1972, science fiction
5.  Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad ~ by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, 1999, history.  (Historian Giles Wright considers this book's theory to be "nonsense.")

6.  Bill of Wrongs: The Executive Branch's Assault on America's Fundamental Rights ~ by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose, 2008, social science

7.  Stress: The Good and the Bad ~ by Paula Ceccaldi, Agnes Diricq, and Clementine Bagieu, 2001, health

8.  The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century ~ by Thomas L. Friedman, 2006 (expanded edition), social science
I bought eight books today at a tent sale outside Half Price Books.  Half are fiction, and half are nonfiction.  Hmm, since two of the books of fiction contain three stories each, I actually got an even dozen.  How do you like my math?

Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Beginning ~ with a miracle

Small Great Things ~ by Jodi Picoult, 2016, fiction (Connecticut)
The miracle happened on West Seventy-Fourth Street, in the home where Mama worked.  It was a big brownstone encircled by a wrought-iron fence, and overlooking either side of the ornate door were gargoyles, their granite faces carved from my nightmares.
Those first sentences were from Ruth's childhood, as she looked back at a miracle.  Here's a blurb about the rest of the novel:
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience.  During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient.  The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child.  The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery.  Does she obey orders or does she intervene?  Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime.  Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice:  Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy.  Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family — especially her teenage son — as the case becomes a media sensation.  As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others — and themselves — might be wrong.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Library Loot ~ something new

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Linda @ Silly Little Mischief that encourages us to share the names of books we checked out of the library.  See what others got this week.

I've started something new.  No, not the library loot posts, but a new way to use the library.  When I moved to St. Louis, I got library cards from the St. Louis County Library and from the University City Public Library.  My town (U-City) is in St. Louis County, so I'm eligible for both library systems.  When I was having car problems, now fixed, I couldn't get to either library without begging rides with others going that way.  So I tapped into the system set up by U-City to bring books to the seniors at the Crown Center where I live.  Deliveries are scheduled for every three weeks.  All I have to do is put books on reserve, and they'll be placed in a bag for me until the next delivery day!  Fantastic!

Still working on my DASH Diet:
The DASH Diet to End Obesity: The Best Plan to Prevent Hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes and Reduce Excess Weight ~ by Willliam M. Manger, Jennifer K. Nelson, Marion J. Franz, and Edward J. Roccella, 2014
Children's picture books:
Duck! Rabbit! ~ by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, 2009
Amazing Grace ~ by Mary Hoffman, 1991
Princess Grace ~ by Mary Hoffman, 2008
Grace at Christmas ~ by Mary Hoffman, 2011
Another look at an oldie:
Future Shock ~ by Alvin Toffler, 1970

Rape Culture

Monday, October 17, 2016

Diversity ~ mindfulness

This is what it's like to live at the
Crown Center for Senior Living in St. Louis.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Caturday ~ Clawdia's curiosity

Clawdia has an abiding fascination for reflections, shadows, and the little red dot of a laser pointer.  In this photo, she's staring at the reflection bouncing on the ceiling from the glass tabletop she's sitting on.  She avidly studies these strange lights, chattering to let me know she's spotted yet another one on the wall or floor or ceiling.

When I pick up her laser pointer, she knows that she'll get to chase that "red bug" around the room and jumps down to the floor to get ready to pounce on it.  The really odd thing, though, is that no matter how hard she smacks it or how she covers it with her paws, it always ... always ... always ... gets away.  Very strange.

This time, she knows for a fact that she got the white bug!  Nope, not quite.  But how?  How did it escape her paws?  Very perplexing, that white reflection from the face of my watch.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thursday Thirteen ~ family on my mind

1.  Shiloh Mae, due to arrive in November, is my sixth great-grandchild.  Shiloh means "one who is peaceful."

2.  Jaxon has been to the doctor twice and to the ER for fluids. No one knew exactly what was wrong with him, his mom reported today when she asked for prayers.  Late in the day, she had a call from the doctor and learned he has salmonella, apparently from a restaurant.  That's the only time he ate anything different from the rest of the family.

3.  My twins took part in the Race for the Cure over the weekend.

4.  I got to visit with David and Sharon while in Chattanooga this summer.

5.  Jamey graduating from the university.

6.  Micah is busy crawling through the tube.

7.  Jonathan is absorbed in his activity.

8.  Cady now has a driver's licence.

9.  Shelby and I like cats.

10.  Sandra at Raegan's school on Grandparents' Day, today.

11.  I visited my sister Ann on July 14th, three weeks before she died.

12.  Sandra and Barbara in the Race for the Cure ran into Chase on the UTC campus.

13.  Grandkids when there were only six.  Clockwise from top left:  Brandy, Kendall, Cali, Kenzie, Jamey, and Chase.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Four favorite cartoons

The New Yorker 75th Anniversary Cartoon Collection ~ edited by Bob Mankoff, 1999, cartoons, 9/10
This is the biggest and funniest collection of New Yorker cartoons ever assembled.  From the unforgettable classics to contemporary favorites, this drawing gallery spans nearly the entire 20th century.
I found this for a couple of bucks on the clearance shelves at a used bookstore and had fun perusing the cartoons.

As a cat lady, I laughed at the one showing the Sphinx stretching exactly like a cat with its rump in the air (p. 261).

As an elderly person, I grinned wryly at the doctor examining a man's finger and saying, "Well, Bob, it looks like a paper cut, but just to be sure let's do lots of tests" (p.221).
But the one that I saw when I randomly flipped through the book in the store is the one that made me buy it and the one that's still my favorite (p. 50):
A couple with antennae on their heads is under a fruit tree, which looks suspiciously full of apples.  A long serpent with forked tongue slithers across most of the foreground.  All three are looking around at an astronaut running toward them from a spaceship in the background, silhouetted against a sky full of planets.  He's yelling as he approaches them, saying, "Miss!  Oh, Miss!  For God's sake, stop!"
This cat cartoon from the book (p. 175) was also online.  I've seen it before, but it's still good.  Okay, four out of 707 cartoons ain't bad.  Did I count them?  Nope, I read the Introduction, which mentioned the number (p. ix).  By the way, the doctor cartoon is by Bob Mankoff, the book's editor.  He's the one who wrote the Introduction, which starts this way:
"Now me, you couldn't pay me to read an introduction to a cartoon book.  I'd jump straight to the cartoons.  You could, however, pay me to write one."

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monday musings

Last week, I googled my own name and was surprised at what came up.  Today, I want to unpack my findings.  I printed out a single page, which had the first nine items on it.

1.  A random thing I posted on Facebook once ... ONCE ... on January 27, 2014.  That's almost three years ago!  "Unpackaged (even 'used up') 9-volt batteries can and do cause fires," I wrote, to introduce the article that was making the rounds among some of my Facebook friends.  Now that I stop to think about it, that was posted months before I moved to St. Louis from Chattanooga.  Google, is that the number one thing you connect to me?  I wondered if it was extra popular or something.  Nope.  My brother and a FB friend from New Jersey "liked" it, and a friend from California commented:  "Our 9 volts are now laid out on the garage floor, not touching each other."  That's the extent of interest in that one random item.

2.   Another Facebook item, when I bragged that my youngest granddaughter was Co-Valdictorian of her class and her big brother once again made the Dean's List at the university.  That was in May 2014, when 26 people "liked" the news and several left congratulatory comments to the two and their mother, who is my daughter.  This one was posted a month before I moved to St. Louis.  What's up with 2014, Google?

3.  A row of six photos.  This one, the only one of the six that actually showed ME, was taken in early 2013.  My broken shoulder was still healing, and I had to get someone to drive me to the District Office so I could be included in the Holston Conference 2013 Pictorial Directory.  I just pulled the directory off my bookshelf, realizing that I have never looked all the way through it.  The online photo was found on the Conference web site.
The other five photos, left to right, were three other women named "Bonnie Jacobs," my favorite photo of my mother (1987), and a black-and-white one of my father in uniform (1944).  These five are from my blog, though only that one (above) actually shows me.

4.  "Obit | Mildred Setliffe."  I thought it was my mother's 2004 obituary, until I read the date.  My sister, who died August 5th, was named for our mother, but went by her middle name:  Ann.  This photo (from my files, not the article) was taken seven hours before she died.

5.  "Setliffe, Mildred R."  Ah, this one is my mother's obituary from 2004.  Yes, I'm mentioned as one of her children, and so is Ann.

6.  Astrology?  This links to some site I've never visited that's angling for customers.  They want to tell me the "numerological analysis" of my name and do a "life path and astrological reading" for me.

7.  This links to the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church so people can search for a UMC pastor.  My address shows up on Google's page, so people don't even have to go to the site to search out information about me.

8.  A link to this blog, specifically to an important blog post.  Important to me, anyway.  "Will it be like homecoming ... or a funeral?"  At the end of June 2010, I was guest speaker when the church where I grew up held its final service and celebrated its 102-year history.

9.  A post by an author I met, when he put my review on his own web site.

You won't learn much about me from any of these links, except for the first photo and the seventh item.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Book review questions

My best short summary of what to include in a review:
Was it a good book?
Would you recommend it?
What did you like about it?
What did you dislike?
Tell us whatever you thought.
1.  Title, author, copyright date, and genre?
2.  What made you want to read the book?
3.  Summarize the book without giving away the ending.
4.  What did you think of the main character?
5.  Which character could you relate to best?
6.  From whose point of view is the story told?
7.  How did the main character change during the novel?
8.  Were there any other especially interesting characters?
9.  Were the characters and their problems believable?
10.  What was the book's central question, and how was it answered?
11.  Was location important to the story?
12.  Was the time period important to the story?
13.  What alternative title would you choose for this book?
14.  Share a quote from the book.
15.  Share a favorite scene from the book.
16.  What did you like most about the book?
17.  What did you like least?
18.  Did you like the way the book ended?
19.  What do you think will be your lasting impression of this book?
20.  What did you think of the cover?
21.  For banned books:  Why was this book banned?
22.  How would you rate this book?
1. Title, author, date of book, and genre?
2. What do you think motivated the author to share his or her life story?
3. Is the author trying to elicit a certain response, such as sympathy?
4. How has this book changed or enhanced your view of the author?
5. Were there any instances in which you felt the author was not being truthful?
6. What is the author's most admirable quality?
7. Is this someone you would want to know (or to have known)?
8. Share a quote from the book.
9. Share a favorite part of the book.
10. What did you like most about the book?
11. What did you like least?
12. What will be your lasting impression of the author?
13. What did you think of the cover?
14. How would you rate this book?
Feel free to use any or all of these questions for your own reviews.

Book review policy ~ updated 10-1-16

I am not accepting requests for review right now, since my life seems to be much too full this year.  If I ever get back to reviewing books other than ones I have chosen to buy or borrow, these are my rules:

1.  It's easier to flip back and forth through "real" books when I need to write about them or teach from them, so I prefer trade paperbacks or hardbacks.  Only rarely would I consider a book to read on my Kindle.

2.  I will not review books that require that I post something on a specific date, so don't bother asking me to do "book tours" or any other scheduled reviews.

3.  This is my blog with my content, so I will never post specified content.

4.  Any books accepted for review are subject to being tossed aside if they don't work for me.  If I choose to DNF (Did Not Finish) a book, I reserve the right to say nothing at all about it.

5.  When I review or write anything about a book, I may post a few lines or go off on a tangent about something in the book that sparks a thought in my philosophical word universe.  That means I may write a single paragraph or a few words.  It could mean I throw in a quote or two and go off in what may seem to you to be a strange direction.  So don't ask me to review a book at all if you're not willing to accept very brief thoughts or my discretion to write about whatever interests me.

6.  And finally, I reserve the right to change this policy at any time.  Click on this link to see my earlier review policy.