Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TWOsday ~ two thoughts on my mind

DAPL and racism ~  The Dakota Access Pipeline was re-routed through Standing Rock because Bismarck's residents feared it could poison their drinking water.  The Sioux are literally being forced at gunpoint to accept ecological risks that North Dakota's white residents refused.

The Tale of Two Pebbles

Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer owed a large sum of money to a moneylender in their village.  The old and ugly moneylender fancied the farmer’s beautiful daughter, so he proposed a bargain.  He said he would forgo the farmer’s debt if he could marry his daughter.  The farmer and his daughter were both horrified by the proposal.

So the moneylender smiled as he suggested they let providence decide the matter.  He told them he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag.  Then the girl would pick one pebble from the bag.  If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven.  If she picked the white pebble, she need not marry him and her father’s debt would still be forgiven.  If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer’s field.  As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles.  As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag.  He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.  The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble.  Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said.  "But never mind.  If you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."  Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one.  And since the moneylender couldn't admit his dishonesty, the girl reversed what seemed an impossible situation.

Moral of the Story:  Most complex problems do have a solution, if we think it through.

Friday, February 24, 2017

One of life's mysteries

Last night, I went to Sandy's apartment, and when I returned a few minutes later, I found Clawdia's new toy from Barbara in her empty dish.  So I took a cell-phone picture of it.  Was Clawdia trying to tell me something?  (Something like:  "My bowl is empty and I'm starving to death.")  Was it an accident, a mistake that happened while she played?  I was delighted to find the toy, which was "lost" the same day she got it, maybe a week ago.  I had recovered it a few times, and then it was completely "lost" and I hadn't seen it again.  I called Clawdia, but she didn't come.  I offered food, and still she was quiet and hidden.  I began to wonder if she was afraid she'd done something wrong and wouldn't come out.  She was under the green chair and didn't speak up until I got down on the floor and peeked under the chair.

It's a great story, and I decided to send the photo to my email so I could illustrate the story on my blog.  I sent myself "Toy but no food" just after 8:00 pm, but it didn't arrive, even after I checked my email several times.  I sent it again, calling this one "In her empty dish" so I'd know which would finally arrive in my email.  The second attempt showed up almost immediately, and I downloaded it into my "images" folder.

"In her empty dish" (2nd, sent later) came at 8:20 pm, and "Toy but no food" (1st, sent earlier) didn't arrive until 2:35 am.  That's six-and-a-half hours later!  Was it floating in the clouds?  Ooooh, but see below where I forwarded it to some friends ― and it says it was sent at 8:03 pm.  What the heck?!?  The in-box list still shows 2:35 am.  Where did it go during those missing hours?
----- Forwarded Message -----
From:  (my cell phone number)
To:  (my email address)
Sent:  Thursday, February 23, 2017 8:03 PM
Subject:  Toy but no food
I forgot to add that Clawdia immediately started playing with the toy when she came out of hiding.  She batted it this way and that way ... chasing it around the room, into the hallway, oops!  Gone again.  I got online to check email and  Facebook, then offered to take Clawdia for a walk before going to bed.  As I slipped on my shoes, Clawdia peered under the bookcase in the hall.  Aha!  I felt under it and came up with the sparkly ball, and off she went, batting it happily into the living room and the bedroom.  I had my shoes on, so once again I opened the door to let her walk down the hall, as she likes to do every evening.  But no, she was having more fun with the toy.  Then ... oops!  Where'd it go?  I think it's lost this time among the boxes, but I haven't been able to find it.  Yet.  It could be under any of several bookcases.  We'll find it, eventually.  In the meantime, I promised to get her more like it so she can keep having fun.  This is the first toy she has ever fallen in love with.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Immigration raids

Today, the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe of the United Methodist Church issued this statement on current immigration raids:

In the past few days, the United States has seen a surge of raids targeting immigrant communities by Department of Homeland Security officials.  These raids are occurring in homes, places of work, and even near churches.  We are especially troubled by the raid outside of a United Methodist Church in Virginia on February 8th where men exiting a hypothermia shelter were confronted the minute they crossed the street off of church grounds.  Targeting those seeking sanctuary or services provided by houses of worship will not be tolerated.

The United Methodist Church believes that “migrants should be given due process and access to adequate legal representation.  Due to these raids and the ensuing detentions and deportations that follow them, families have been ripped apart and the migrant community has been forced to live in a constant state of fear.”

While raids occurred over the past decades under the Obama, Bush and Clinton Administrations, we are especially concerned about the lack of discretion that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have shown recently as they profile communities – especially Latinx people – and engage in mass arrests.

To the United States government:  we call upon you to immediately cease arrests, detainment, and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including children, solely based upon their immigration status until a fair and comprehensive immigration reform is passed.

To people of faith:  We affirm that all are created in the image of God and we are called to welcome immigrants into our congregations, provide care for those facing separation from their families, and advocate for policies that uphold the civil and human rights of all migrants.

To all who live in fear of detention, deportation, or separation from your family and community:  you are valuable, deserving of opportunity, your contributions to society are important, and we will stand with you to advocate for justice.

“To refuse to welcome migrants to this country – and to stand by in silence while families are separated, individual freedoms are ignored, and the migrant community in the United States is demonized by members of Congress and the media – is complicity to sin.”

This statement can be read online here.

Susan Henry-Crowe
She quoted twice from the United Methodist Book of Resolutions,
¶ 3281 "Welcoming the Migrant to the United States."
What about me?  What will I do now?

Since I can't do everything at once, I have decided to focus on the plight of immigrants and the Native Americans fighting the pipeline being forced through their treaty lands.  Often, these two issues intersect with the many forms of discrimination I have been fighting for years without much success:  racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and others.
in·ter·sec·tion·al·i·ty = the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
Here's another definition of the word:
Intersectionality (or intersectional theory) is a term first coined in 1989 by American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.  It is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.  Intersectionality is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities.  These identities that can intersect include gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, mental disability, physical disability, mental illness, and physical illness as well as other forms of identity.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Library Loot ~ one more book

A Spool of Blue Thread ~ by Anne Tyler, 2015, fiction (Maryland)
“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon. . . . ”  This is how Abby Whitshank always describes the day she fell in love with Red in July 1959.  The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate an indefinable kind of specialness, but like all families, their stories reveal only part of the picture:  Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets.  From Red’s parents, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to the grandchildren carrying the Whitshank legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn house that has always been their anchor.
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.  It's Linda's turn this week.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ books with bookmarks in them

Whisper My Secret: A Memoir by JB Rowley (2012) is one I downloaded onto my Kindle last week.
How does a mother cope when she is forced to walk away from her three children and never see them again?  That is what happened to JB's mother, Myrtle.  Eventually, rescued from her despair by tall, dark, and handsome George Rowley who fell in love with her, Myrtle started a new life and had seven more children.  She buried the grief of losing her first children deep within and kept her pain secret.  JB and her siblings were unaware of the existence of Myrtle's first three children until after she died.  Desperate to know how such a thing could happen to a devoted and caring mother, JB went on a journey to find out.  What she discovered was a heartbreaking story of loss.  It was a long time before JB was able to work out that her mother kept her early life and her first family secret out of misplaced guilt and shame.  To redress that, JB decided to tell the whole world her mother's secret.  This "memoir" is a proud declaration that Myrtle did nothing deserving of guilt or shame.
Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals ~ by John A. Buehrens, 2003
I'm still reading this one with my former Sunday school class, at the rate of about a chapter each week.
The Jesus Sutras: Rediscovering the Lost Scrolls of Taoist Christianity ~ by Martin Palmer, 2001
I'm almost halfway through this book, which is as much history as religion.  I've had it checked out of the library for awhile, but I do want to finish it.
Quote of the Day ~ posted daily by Brainy Quote on the sidebar of my blog.
"Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves."
— Abraham Lincoln
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Beginning ~ with an arbitration

The Golden Son ~ by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, 2016, fiction (India), 9/10
"Anil Patel was ten years old the first time he witnessed one of Papa's arbitrations.  Children usually were not allowed at these meetings, but an exception was made for Anil since he would, one day, inherit his father's role."
I'm late getting this posted, so I've already finished this novel set in India and in a fictitious hospital in Texas where Anil Patel was doing his internship to be a doctor.
The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America.  When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes.  But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather.  His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities.

Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives.  Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family.  Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more — changing them both and the people they love forever.
Would I recommend this book?  Yes, indeed.

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Free adult coloring books

Have you caught the adult coloring bug yet?  Some of my friends here at the Crown Center for Senior Living meet in our Art Room to color together every Friday morning.  If you want to try it (or are already addicted), here's some good news.

From February 6 through February 10, 2017, you can take part in #ColorOurCollections — a campaign where museums and libraries worldwide will make available free coloring books, letting you color artwork from their collections and then share it on social media platforms. These free coloring books are from world-class libraries and museums.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Randi Schenberg ~ 2017 Award

Besides Randi and Nikki at the beginning, Edie and Gert and Marilyn are knitting with Randi at the end of the video.  I also saw Sandy and Galina with Randi in the Cafe, and Melvin and Mark were at another table with Alyssa.  Katie is the coworker in the office with Randi, and one scene shows Alyssa talking with Randi in the library.  I'll probably pick out other people as I watch this video a few more times.

If this YouTube video quits working, view it here instead.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Clawdia the refugee

Refugees are very much in the news lately, so this post about refugees in Bowling Green is very timely.  While I was reading it, Clawdia jumped up beside me, and it occurred to me that she is also a refugee, in a sense.
  • Before she came to live with me, Clawdia had been living with someone else.
  • She was in a "refuge camp" when I met her.  (Okay, it was a cat rescue shelter.)
  • She did agree to come with me, but what were her options for getting out of that cage?
  • Clawdia had to figure out a new language (mine) as she learned to trust me.
And now she basically has only me for the rest of her life, unless I help her get to know other people around us.  Her friends include Donna and Tiny and Tomoko and Sharon who pets her and several others who talk to her and smile at her.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ words and books

Two books I'm reading now — one fiction, one nonfiction:

The Whole Town's Talking ~ by Fannie Flagg, 2016, fiction (Missouri)
This will be a quick, fun read.
Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals ~ by John A. Buehrens, 2003
I'm studying this one along with my Sunday school class in Chattanooga — sending them my comments by email.

For anyone still thinking about a thesaurus, here's a synonym joke.

                       And another.

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Caterwauling on Caturday

Can a cat just pretend to be caterwauling?  I'm afraid I'd be in even more trouble if I really did it.  I'm having to type this up in the middle of the night because Bonnie is angry at me.  It's like this ... we were visiting Tiny.  I could hear her television and knew she was in there, and I wouldn't move from her door until Bonnie knocked on it.  Tomoko was also there, and she and Tiny were watching a movie.  I got treats from both of them.  But when Bonnie thought I was ready to go, I ran in Tiny's bedroom to hide.

Bonnie called, she threatened to leave me there, she DID leave me there (though later I heard her tell Tiny and Tomoko she waited those five minutes in the hallway), and still I did not come out of hiding.  When she came back inside Tiny's apartment, Bonnie said we would never come visit again if I didn't come out NOW.  I didn't come out because I was sure she wouldn't do that to me.  But then Bonnie got down on the floor and looked under the bed.  Even Tiny, who has back problems, got down to look under the bed.  So I meowed and inched my way out of a corner of the closet where I was hiding.  When Bonnie reached for me, though, I really DID run under the bed.  Not very far, and she could reach me.  Which she did.  And she pulled me out, saying, "You're in BIG trouble now!"  She's never said that to me before.  I think I really am in big trouble because Bonnie wouldn't put me down, and I do NOT like being held or carried.

After we were out in the hall, Bonnie let me jump out of her arms.  But she kept saying I was a "bad girl" and shooed me into our apartment.  When she went to bed, I jumped up beside her as usual, but Bonnie didn't pet me or coo at me like she usually does.  I curled up against her, and she didn't cuddle.  She never said a word.  It just FEELS like she's angry at me.  Well, I mean, she even said it.

Pray for me 'cause I don't like being in trouble.  I don't like this feeling.  Maybe I shouldn't hide so long next time.  If there IS a next time.

Clawdia   >^. .^<

Friday, February 3, 2017

Beginning ~ with an unwelcome lecture

"They're in our house maybe ten minutes and already Mark's lecturing us on the Israeli occupation.  Mark and Lauren live in Jerusalem, and people from there think it gives them the right."

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank ~ by Nathan Englander, 2012, short stories
  • "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank"
  • "Sister Hills"
  • "How We Avenged the Blums"
  • "Peep Show"
  • "Everything I Know About My Family On My Mother's Side"
  • "Camp Sundown"
  • "The Reader"
  • "Free Fruit for Young Widows"

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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thesaurus ~ Wednesday Word (a day late)

Sitting around the table with an ever-changing group of friends at lunchtime, we got to talking about words.  Melvin said he wants to revise his book of poems, changing some of the wording.  I had gone straight into the Circle @ Crown Café when I got off the van from our trip to the book sale at the Jewish Community Center, so I had my huge bag of books on the floor beside me and whipped out my newly-acquired Merriam-Webster Thesaurus.  I offered it to Melvin, but he says he already has two of them.  But he did make "thesaurus" his word of the day.
thesaurus = a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms, such as the online Thesaurus.com
A thesaurus helps us pinpoint the precise meaning we want to convey.  It also usually gives sample sentences to show how words are used in context.  Don't you love the thesaurus rex illustrating happiness?

One very, very full bag of books

A couple of years ago, I came home from the JCC used book sale with two bags full of books, for a total of 16 books.  This morning, I bought only one very, very full bag of books.  It held books for myself, for the Crown Center library, for a friend (one I already have, so we could study it together), and some workbooks and a package of vocabulary posters for my friend who teaches Hebrew.  Here are some of them.

1.  Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life ~ by Irwin Kula, religion
2.  The Power of Hope: The One Essential of Life and Love ~ by Maurice Lamm, 1995, psychology
3.  Talk Before Sleep ~ by Elizabeth Berg, 1994, fiction
4.  Galileo's Daughter: A Drama of Science, Faith, and Love ~ by Dava Sobel, 1999, historical memoir
5.  Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith ~ by Anne Lamott, 1999, memoir
6.  Jesus Drives Me Crazy! ~ by Leonard Sweet, 2003, religion
7.  Religions of the West ~ by Ninian Smart, 1994, religion
8.  Maimonides ~ by Sherwin B. Nuland, 2005, biography
9.  Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife ~ by Eben Alexander, 2012, religion
10.  After the Apple: Women in the Bible — Timeless Stories of Love, Lust, and Longing ~ by Naomi Harris Rosenblatt, 2005, religion
11.  How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer ~ by John Wesley, edited Barbour Publishing, 2008, religion
12.  The God Delusion ~ by Richard Dawkins, 2008, irreligion
13.  What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank ~ by Nathan Englander, 2012, short stories
14.  With Open Hands ~ by Henri J. M. Nouwen, 1972, religion
15.  The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus ~ by Merriam-Webster Publishers, 1989, reference
16.  The Lifetime Reading Plan ~ by Clifton Fadiman, 1960, education
17.  The Complete Dream Dictionary: A Beside Guide to Knowing What Your Dreams Mean ~ by Trish and Rob MacGregor, 2004, new age
18.  No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam ~ by Reza Aslan, 2005, religion
19.  Reading Workbook: The Hebrew Primer ~ by Elizabeth Zinbarg Nover, illustrated by Guy Brison-Stack, 1986, language
20.  I Can Read Hebrew: Primer Reinforcement ~ by Ruby G. Strauss and Ahuva Schuler, illustrated by Jana Paiss, 1982, language
21.  My Hebrew Practice Writing Book ~ by Sol Scharfstein, 1976, language
22.  Work Book for Hebrew Through Prayer: Book 1 ~ by Roberta Osser Baum, illustrated by Larry Nolte, 1994, language
23.  Work Book for Hebrew Through Prayer: Book 2 ~ by Roberta Osser Baum, illustrated by Larry Nolte, 1995, language
24.  Work Book for Hebrew Through Prayer: Book 3 ~ by Roberta Osser Baum, illustrated by Larry Nolte, 1996, language
25.  Student Games: Hebrew Through Prayer, Books 1, 2, and 3 ~ by Shoshana Silberman, illustrations by Larry Nolte, 1998, language