Thursday, June 29, 2017

13 things on my mind today

1.  The Everything T'ai Chi and Qigong Book ~ by Ellae Elinwood, 2002
I found a copy of this book in our small Crown Center library, though neither Donna nor I had shelved it.  It was apparently donated by someone, who actually put it on the right shelf.  But it's in such bad shape that I decided to buy myself a copy.  However, a reviewer on claiming to be "a long time instructor of Tai Chi and Qigong" was disappointed in it and suggested Qigong for Health and Vitality by Michael Tse instead.  Now I'll research that book.
2.  I need to memorize these four ways to be active, or four categories of exercising:
  • Endurance ~ to increase breathing and heart rate = walk, bike, swim, dance
  • Strength ~ to increase muscle strength = lift weights, use a resistance band, climb stairs
  • Balance ~ to help prevent falls = stand on one foot, heel-to-toe walk, tai chi
  • Flexibility ~ to stay limber = shoulder and arm stretch, calf stretch, yoga
3.  Last week, I took Evelyn to celebrate her birthday at Red Lobster.  We'd finished eating and I'd already paid.  We were still sitting there talking, when Evelyn turned suddenly to look at her oxygen tank.  It was no longer hissing, and she was out of oxygen!  We left immediately and I drove about ten mph over the speed limit, thinking if a policeman stops us, I'd ask him to follow us to Crown Center where he could give me a ticket if he wanted to, but she needed oxygen now!  I got a long-distance call on my phone as we were flying along the streets, but I don't take calls while driving.  I got her home without too much delay and walked her in the door close to where she leaves her motorized scooter.  I dashed back to park my car, but Evelyn didn't come to the door when I reached her floor a few minutes later.  I called the office and someone was rushing up there with a key, when Evelyn backed her scooter out of the elevator on her floor.  She'd had to stop at the ladies' room on the first floor, and that's how I missed her.  I called the office and reached the person coming with the key that was no longer needed.  That's one day I don't want to go through again!

4.  Some of us are trying to eat healthier meals.  One of the things to keep in mind when eating out is "portion distortion," so it's better to eat half and get a to-go box for the rest.  Sheila cut her burger in half when we had lunch today at Fitz's, but my turkey reuben was already cut (foreground).  So was Donna's turkey club (below).  We each took home half for another whole meal.

Okay, we do know the fries aren't healthy eating, but we plan to do better, starting tomorrow ... no, really!  See #5.

5.  Four of us met in the Circle@Crown CafĂ© at noon to plan DASH Diet meals together.  How will this work?  Dunno.  That's what we hope to figure out.  We have three DASH Diet books among us so far, with another one ordered ― one with menus.
  • The DASH Diet Action Plan: Proven to Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol without Medication ~ by Marla Heller, 2007
  • The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution: 2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism, and Get Healthy ~ by Marla Heller, 2012
  • The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook: Over 150 Fresh and Delicious Recipes to Speed Weight Loss, Lower Blood Pressure, and Prevent Diabetes ~ by Marla Heller, 2013
  • DASH Diet For Dummies ~ by Sarah Samaan, Rosanne Rust, and Cynthia Kleckner, 2014
6.  Last week, I attended a class on fluids and staying hydrated.  This photo shows the Oasis people who lead the group discussion and actually got us on our feet to exercise.  We talked about the importance of not getting dehydrated.

7.  A clergywoman says Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals should be required reading in seminaries.  Why?  It's about encouraging and praising one another, something we should all do.

8.  I enjoy reading about quantum physics, as in this article:  New Quantum Theory Could Explain the Flow of Time.  My undergraduate degree was a double major, in Philosophy and Religion and in English Language and Literature.  My senior paper looked at the flow of time, noting that even in speculative fiction about time travel, the direction of time's flow is still the same.  I couldn't find an example of a story where time flowed backwards, so I wrote a short story about it myself.  That shows my interest in the concept goes back 50 years or so.  Now I read about quantum mechanics and string theory and quantum entanglement.  You know, fun stuff!

9.  Nobody else in my circle seems particularly interested in physics, but I got a surprise recently when Diane overheard something I said in the dining room and we got to talking about her interest in the same subject.  I sent her an email linking to things I've written on this blog about physics:
10.  I was surprised when Diane wrote back saying "your writing is so engaging."  It's been decades since anyone said such a thing to me, maybe because I've been a published writer for so many decades and have taught writing at the college level.  I wrote for my college newspaper and yearbook, did book reviews for the local paper, had my first articles published nationally in the mid-1960s, and even had two or three articles translated into foreign languages along the way.  Oh, yeah, I also was the editor of two in-house publications.  Diane doesn't know about any of that.

11.  This little girl, age two, talked to me today while I waited for my friend Barbara at her doctor's office.  She was very friendly, vivacious, and full of life ― and told me all about the videos she was watching and about her doll that she had me hold while she was busy with this gadget.  She was so precocious.  Her grandparents gave me permission to use this non-identifying photo.

12.  Clawdia is currently asleep beside me, but it's gotten too dark to get a photo of her.  It's been a long, long day.

13.  A recent Quote of the Day ― a feature that appears daily on this blog's sidebar ― was from John Dryden, who said, "Words are but pictures of our thoughts."  I'm a word person, so this resonates with me.

The only rule for Thursday Thirteen is to write about 13 things.  The New Thursday 13 is hosted by Country Dew @ Blue Country Magic and Colleen @ Loose Leaf Notes.  If you want to read lists by other people or play along yourself, here's the linky for this week.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ joy is like the rain

Books I'm reading
A Short History of the World ~ by Christopher Lascelles, 2011, history

This book gives a broad overview of the generally accepted version of events so that non-historians will feel less ignorant when discussing the past.  It principally covers key people, events, and empires since the dawn of the first civilizations around 3500 BCE, making it an excellent place to start to bring your historical knowledge up to scratch.

Wonder ~ by R. J. Palacio, 2014, children's fiction

"I won't describe what I look like.  Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse."  August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school.  Starting in the fifth grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid — but his new classmates can’t get past his extraordinary face.

Just finished
57.  Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback ~ by Robyn Davidson, 1982, 2012, memoir (Australia), 8/10

"In different places, survival requires different things, based on the environment.  Capacity for survival may be the ability to be changed by environment" (p. 192).
Most recent Kindle purchase

The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language ~ by Melvyn Bragg, 2011

Here is the riveting story of the English language, from its humble beginnings as a regional dialect to its current preeminence as the one global language, spoken by more than two billion people worldwide. In this groundbreaking book, Melvyn Bragg shows how English conquered the world. It is a magnificent adventure, full of jealousy, intrigue, and war—against a hoard of invaders, all armed with their own conquering languages, which bit by bit, the speakers of English absorbed and made their own.      

"Joy Is Like the Rain" being sung by children in 2010.  This is my favorite piano accompaniment to the tune, especially the happy little additions tinkling between the phrases.  Today, I couldn't get it out of my head, so I'm sharing it with you.  If this video quits working, watch it on YouTube.

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tracks ~ by Robyn Davidson

Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback ~ by Robyn Davidson, 1982, 2012, memoir (Australia), 8/10
The story of one woman’s solo adventure across the Australian outback, accompanied by her faithful dog Diggity and four unpredictable camels.  Robyn Davidson was twenty-seven when she started out from Alice Springs, a dodgy town at the frontier of the vast Australian desert.  She was intent on walking the 1,700 miles of desolate landscape between Alice Springs and the Indian Ocean, a personal pilgrimage.  This is the story of her journey and the love-hate relationships she develops along the way ― with the Red Center of Australia, with aboriginal culture, with a handsome photographer, and especially with her lovable and cranky camels:  Bub, Dookie, Zeleika, and Goliath.
In that cover photo above, the little camel behind the larger three is Goliath, Zeleika's baby.  Diggity dog is bringing up the end of the line.  I wish I'd found this map before I started reading the book.  Robyn, who walked most of the way while leading the camels, pondered some deep things on this journey:
"In different places, survival requires different things, based on the environment.  Capacity for survival may be the ability to be changed by environment" (p. 192).

"The good Lord in his infinite wisdom gave us three things to make life bearable ― hope, jokes and dogs, but the greatest of these was dogs" (p. 207).

"When we stopped at midday, I always sat the camels down under some shade for an hour's rest.  They deserved it, welcomed it, and would sit gazing off into the distance chewing their cuds, engrossed in deep camel speculation about the meaning of life" (p. 212).
Finally, here she is at the end of the journey, in the ocean with one of the camels.  Can you read the words at the bottom of the picture?  "How do you say farewell to camels that have crossed a desert with you?  I found no right way except to take them for one last swim in the ocean before leaving them with..."  Here's the rest of that thought:  She left the camels with Jan and David Thomson of Woodleigh station (p. 247).
"The camels were thunderstruck at the sight of that ocean.  They had never seen so much water.  Globs of foam raced up the beach and tickled their feet so that they jumped along on all fours ― Bub nearly sent me flying.  They would stop, turn to stare at it, leap sideways, look at one another with their noses all pointed and ridiculous, then stare at it again, then leap forward again" (p. 250).

"Jan and David arrived with the truck and I loaded my now plump and cheeky beasties on it and took them back to their retirement home" (p. 252).

Friday, June 16, 2017

Caturday salad

Yesterday, Bonnie put this grass down near my food and water, and she even said "Good girl" when she caught me eating it.  That was kind of odd, since she usually yells as me when I nibble her green plants.  She says I'm not supposed to eat them, but for some reason she is letting me eat this green stuff.  It was good!

Here's the other picture she took of me, but she says my head was moving when I chewed.

Clawdia, 'til next time   >^. .^<

Beginning ~ with a heart attack

Leave Me ~ by Gayle Forman, 2016, fiction (Pennsylvania), 9/10
"Maribeth Klein was working late, waiting to sign off on the final page proofs of the December issue, when she had a heart attack."
Hmm, I finished it before I was able to post it for Book Beginnings on Friday.  I'm happy to report it rates a 9 of 10 from me, an excellent book.
Maribeth Klein is a harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.  Surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves.  But, as is often the case, once we get where we’re going we see our lives from a different perspective.  Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from herself and those she loves.

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ busy, busy, busy

My life in books

Currently reading
Vinegar Girl ~ by Anne Tyler, 2016, fiction

Kate Battista feels stuck.  How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny?  Plus, she’s always in trouble at work ― her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.  Dr. Battista has other problems.  After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough.  His research could help millions.  There’s only one problem:  his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported.  And without Pyotr, all would be lost.  When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying ― as usual ― on Kate to help him.  Kate is furious:  this time he’s really asking too much.  But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?
Completed so far in June

50.  This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class ~ by Elizabeth Warren, 2017, politics, 10/10
       From the 1930s through the 1970s, America deliberately invested in opportunity.  The government worked hard to expand chances for millions of people:  the chance for children to get a good education, the chance for workers to build economic security, and the chance for seniors to retire with dignity.
       And here's the best part:  this dynamic investment in the future worked.  We made it work for all of us, not just those at the top.
       It wasn't perfect, but for almost half a century, incomes in our country grew across the board.  (p. 105).
51.  Flora ~ by Gail Godwin, 2013, fiction (North Carolina), 9/10
"There are things we can't undo, but perhaps there is a kind of constructive remorse that could transform regrettable acts into something of service to life" (p. 1).

"When did remorse fall into disfavor?  It was sometime during the second half of my life" (p. 152).
52.  The Forgotten Seamstress ~ by Liz Trenow, 2014, fiction (Britain), 10/10
"I've stitched my love into this quilt,
sewn it neatly, proud and true.
Though you have gone, I must live on,
and this will hold me close to you" (loc. 362).
53.  The Cape Ann ~ by Faith Sullivan, 1988, 2010, fiction (Minnesota), 8/10
"Sister never congratulated us.  Why would one make a fuss over a child learning that which was needed in order to be spared the tortures of hell, torments so heinous they could only be devised by a God of infinite ingenuity and love?" (p. 28).

"Whatever they tell you, deep thinker, God loves us all.  Me, you, and your aunt's baby."  Wouldn't it be lovely if God was that simple?  (p. 202).
54.  Leave Me ~ by Gayle Forman, 2016, fiction (Pennsylvania), 9/10
"Maribeth Klein was working late, waiting to sign off on the final page proofs of the December issue, when she had a heart attack" (p. 3).
My life outside books

Exercise report
Donna and I have decided to exercise together, rather than try to keep up with the groups that are too energetic, for me at least.  I found Balance Exercises for Seniors online which aim to "strengthen your foundation to avoid a fall."  It makes sense to me and includes ten balance exercises:  heel-to-toe walk, stand on one foot, weight shift, leg raise walk, side leg raise, back leg raise, heel raise, chair stand, side step, and balance with closed eyes.  These are done with a sturdy chair nearby to hold onto, while developing better core strength.
The insert in the clear cover of my handy-dandy notebook shows a woman with an exercise weight in one hand and a plate of food in the other (see above).  Below that I've added:  Exercise and Eat Right.  I'm still working on the DASH Diet, which is partly about colorful meals, like the one here that Donna made a couple of weeks ago.  I need to get back to planning meals better, tracking my exercise, and recording things like my blood pressure and weight.  That really does help me keep up the good habits.  By the way, I joined the DASH Diet group on Facebook to see what others do and to get good ideas.
Bulletin board
June is rather minimalist, though people have added other bits over these first couple of weeks, rearranging the pages each time.
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.