Friday, July 28, 2017

Beginning ~ at the end of innocence

The Physician ~ by Noah Gordon, 1986, historical fiction (Persia)
"These were Rob J.'s last safe and secure moments of blessed innocence, but in his ignorance he considered it hardship to be forced to remain near his father's house with his brothers and his sister."
I'm ready to start reading this novel, having decided the one I'm slogging through now is so annoyingly awful that I'm rating it DNF (Did Not Finish) and tossing it aside.  This one sounds more interesting.
An orphan leaves Dark Ages London, taking a dangerous journey and posing as a Jew to study medicine in Persia.  A child holds the hand of his dying mother and is terrified, aware something is taking her.  Orphaned and given to an itinerant barber-surgeon, Rob Cole becomes a fast-talking swindler, peddling a worthless medicine.  But as he matures, his strange gift — an acute sensitivity to impending death — never leaves him, and he yearns to become a healer.  Arab madrassas are the only authentic medical schools, and he makes his perilous way to Persia.  Christians are barred from Muslim schools, but claiming he is a Jew, he studies under the world’s most renowned physician, Avicenna.  The Physician is the first book in Noah Gordon’s Dr. Robert Cole trilogy, which continues with Shaman and concludes with Matters of Choice.

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Words ~ see Spot run

Can you believe a three-letter word has at least 645 meanings?  It's the word "run."  I remember learning to read that word in the first grade in my Dick and Jane reader.  "See Spot run" has become a catch phrase.

And then there's "Run, Forrest, run!"  (Click to watch the video of Forrest Gump's long, long run, which lasted 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours, he says.)

That's only ONE kind of running.  Editors of the Oxford English Dictionary say "run" is the most complicated word in the English language.  Think of these other uses of the word:  run up a large debt, run a company, run to the store (in your car, not on foot), run out of mayonnaise, the long run of a Broadway musical, run your children to school, a trial run, and a run on banks in the 1930s.  Water can run over the brim of a cup, and waiting to be seated at a good restaurant may run half an hour or more.  And now I've run out of pithy examples, except maybe a running joke, which differs from a running total.

Let me leave you with a running pun.  I'm punny like that.  Do notice, however, the name has two Rs in it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TWOsday ~ tow truck

Today, TWOsday means roadside assistance TWICE.  First, Geico sent a guy to jump my car and get it started.  When the faltering power felt odd to me, I asked him to follow me to my auto repair shop, which he agreed to do.  I got out of the parking lot and halfway into the street, when my car gave up completely.  The young man re-attached his cables and box so I could back into our parking lot (out of the street) and wait ― again ― for rescue.  The second time, they sent this tow truck.

I had to pull myself up into the very high cab, using two handles inside the cab.  I did it!  Even though I'm 77 and the first step was a couple of feet off the ground and the second (and last) step another couple of feet up.  I managed to climb into that tow truck.  Now my car is at the shop, waiting "her" turn for the repairmen to get around to looking for her problem.  It wasn't simply the battery, but the fellow who jumped me off said it could be the alternator.  We shall see.  I just hope it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg.

What?  Of course, it's a "she."  My car's name is Emma Sue Baru.  Yes, try saying it out loud a time or "TWO."

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mailbox Monday ~ one book

The DASH Diet Younger You: Shed 20 Years ― and Pounds ― in Just 10 Weeks ~ by Marla Heller, 2014
The DASH diet ― the most trusted name in diets ― has helped millions of people lower blood pressure, lose weight, and improve their health.  Now it can help you look and feel 20 years younger.  Marla Heller has developed a program with five age-defying strategies that can halt and even reverse many of the effects of aging by improving blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.  In just 10 weeks, you can:
  • Reverse the diseases of aging.
  • Fortify and rejuvenate hair and skin.
  • Revitalize and strengthen bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Improve heart health and blood pressure.
  • Lose weight, especially in the tummy.
  • Look and feel younger, healthier, and slimmer.

This is the only book I've gotten in the mail in ages.  I've been adding books to my Kindle instead.

Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to posts by all the other participants.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ Clawdia's gotcha day

Clawdia moved in with me exactly two years today.  She was scared and scrawny, as I mentioned last year.  This photo proves she has taken over.  Tonight, I was stretched out on my bed tapping away on my laptop, when she decided I wasn't paying attention to her and remedied that by stretching across me, positioning herself between me and the offending machine that took my attention away from her.  She wanted to go for another walk in the hallway, and I kept telling her we'd already been and I wasn't going again tonight.  Didn't matter; she wants what she wants!

Books completed since last week

64.  Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier ~ by Lori Benton, 2013, fiction (New York), 9/10
"That was my place for hiding books."  "Why did you need to hide them?  Did your parents disapprove of your reading?"  "Oma did not like it.  My grandmother," she explained ... "She would hide my books if she found them lying about, so I hid them from her.  Oma thought reading another word for idleness.  I was going to the lake to read when the warriors found me" (loc. 778).
65.  The Jericho Iteration ~ by Allen Steele, 1994, 2013, fiction (Missouri), 10/10
"So ... what high school did you go to?"  It's an old St. Louis line, akin to asking a New Englander about the weather" (loc. 1373).
Newest books I've bought
  • A Shift in Time: How Historical
    Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth about Jesus
    ~ by Lena Einhorn, 2016, religion
  • The Physician ~ by Noah Gordon, 1986, fiction
  • Dawn: Book One of the Xenogenesis Trilogy ~ by Octavia E. Butler, 1987, fiction
  • Before Ever After ~ by Samantha Sotto, 2011, fiction
  • Escape ~ by Carolyn Jessop, 2007, memoir (Utah)
Library books
  • The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom ~ by Gerald L. Schroeder, 1997, religion/science
  • The Genesis Enigma: Why the First Book of the Bible Is Scientifically Accurate ~ by Andrew Parker, 2009, religion/science
  • Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life ~ by Adam Gopnik, 2009, history
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ eating, exercising, and reading

Our DASH group at the Crown Center for Senior Living gets together to focus on eating a healthy diet with support from friends wanting to do the same.  We also encourage each other by doing about a half hour of simple exercises three times a week.  (That's my friend Donna checking out the exercise equipment after one of our recent sessions.)


DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, but not all of us have hypertension.  (When high blood pressure becomes chronic, it's called hypertension.)  Some among us must avoid certain foods because of medications or health concerns, so we don't all eat the same things.  Each of us has to decide which Crown Center menus work and which don't, so whoever shows up can start conversations about food or exercise or what's working or what hasn't been what the person hoped to accomplish.  Among us, we've bought a variety of DASH diet books so we are "on the same page," so to speak, when we talk about food.  Nobody, however, has to follow any meal plan to be a part of our group.  We simply encourage healthy eating and activities that help us be well.
  • 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
  • The DASH Diet Younger You: Shed 20 Years ― and Pounds ― in Just 10 Weeks ~ by Marla Heller, 2014
  • DASH Diet For Dummies ~ by Sarah Samaan, Rosanne Rust, and Cynthia Kleckner, 2014

In today's exercise get-together, I'm going to suggest we always remember to warm up before exercising, cool down at the end of exercising, drink plenty of water, and don't work the same muscles every day.  Because nearly all of our scheduled exercise classes meet in the morning, we decided to meet twice during the work week and once on the weekend, settling (so far) on 3:00 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays because the exercise room is usually empty except for individuals using the equipment.  Anyone who wanders by or learns about what we're doing is welcome to join in, and a few people have done that.  As with our meals together, anyone who shows up can lead a session.  We don't have any experts beyond what we are willing to educate ourselves about what works.  (Updated after our Monday evening meal discussion, changing our exercise time to 3:30 pm on Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday.)

We exercise for flexibility, balance, strength, and endurance.  So far, we've been using the 20-page booklet from Melissa called Workout to Go.  You can see three handouts she gave us by clicking that link.  We have kept our focus mostly on balance and flexibility, since seniors definitely want to avoid falling.
  • Endurance ~ to increase breathing and heart rate (for example = walk, bike, swim, dance)
  • Strength ~ to increase muscle strength (for example = lift weights, use a resistance band, climb stairs)
  • Balance ~ to help prevent falls (for example = stand on one foot, heel-to-toe walk, tai chi)
  • Flexibility ~ to stay limber (for example = shoulder and arm stretch, calf stretch, yoga)

The best of the books I've finished since the last Sunday Salon I posted was the first on this list:
58.  Wonder ~ by R. J. Palacio, 2014, children's fiction, 10/10
"I made a mistake ... But the good thing about life ... is that we can fix our mistakes sometimes.  We learn from them" (p. 391).  "One mistake does not define you ... You must simply act better next time" (p. 392).
59.  The Stars Are Fire ~ by Anita Shreve, 2017, fiction (Maine), 8/10
"Don't worry about me, Mother.  I've discovered, ever since the fire, or maybe more recently, that I have inner resources I can count on" (p. 222).
60.  Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler: A True Love Story Rediscovered ~ by Trudi Kanter, 2012 (originally 1984), memoir, 9/10
One lunchtime, I rushed out of my front door, looked back to wave good-bye to a friend, and bumped into Walter.  For a moment, he held me close.  Apologies.  Laughter.  He took my arm.  "We're going to have a glass of champagne, Trudi.  This calls for a celebration."  It was a command, and I obeyed.  (p. 3).
61.  The Scarlet Macaw Scandal: Nancy Drew #8 ~ by Carolyn Keene, 2004, YA fiction (Costa Rica), 5/10
"We spent our final day in Costa Rica repairing all of the damage.  There was a ton of work to be done ... I found and filled in all the monkey traps ... When we finished with all of that, we got to work on ... fixing broken tents ... planting new vegetable and herb gardens.  It was a lot of work..." (p. 148).
62.  Hucklebug ~ by Stephen Cosgrove, illustrated by Robin James, 1975, children's, 10/10
One day Berry's father sat him down on a broad, green leaf and said, "Berry, you are old enough now to help with the chores of the village.  There is food to be gathered for the winter and all Hucklebugs who are able must help."  "Me?" said an unbelieving Berry.  "But I don't want to."
63.  A Short History of the World ~ by Christopher Lascelles, 2011, history, 8/10
"...the Great Wall of China was built to keep foreigners out" (p. 95).
"If the steam engine and electricity are credited with revolutionising the way in which we live and work, the invention of the microchip in the middle of the 20th century must also gain its place as one of the most important innovations of all time" (p. 232).
Right now, I'm in the middle of reading a good novel:
  • Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier ~ by Lori Benton, 2013, fiction (New York)
And I've just purchased several more books for my Kindle.  The first one is a novel about "a stunning discovery amid the rubble after an earthquake demolishes St. Louis," where I live.
  • The Jericho Iteration ~ by Allen Steele, 1994, 2013, fiction (Missouri)
  • The Misunderstood Jew ~ by Amy-Jill Levine, 2006, religion
  • From Jesus to Christianity ~ by L. Michael White, 2004, religion
  • The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels Are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins ~ by Stephen J. Patterson, 2014, religion
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Beginning ~ with a memory

Burning Sky ~ by Lori Benton, 2013, fiction (New York)
"I remember the borders of our land, though I have been gone from them nearly half the moons of my life.  They are these:  the hilltop stone to the north; Black Kettle Creek to the south; to the east, the lake where the warriors found me; and west, the bottomland acres where the corn and wheat were sown, hard by the track that led to Shiloh."
This is a Christy award-winning novel about a woman caught between two worlds, and the lengths she goes to find where she belongs.
Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People.  At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path.  Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence:  her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision.  Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky?  And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm?  In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.  As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage ― the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow.  Is she brave enough to love again?

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017


See #7 for the "word" connection.
Meet-n-Greet is a way to get to know new people at RevGalBlogPal's blog.  This week, the Rev. Teri Peterson wants "charter members and brand newbies and everyone in between" to introduce ourselves.

1.  Who are you?
I'm the Rev. Bonnie Setliffe Jacobs, retired after serving as a pastor in the United Methodist Church.  Yes, in Tennessee.
2.  Where are you?
Three years ago, I moved to St.  Louis, Missouri, where I live in an independent retirement center.
3.  How do you spend your days?
Being retired, I get to have fun most days.  By "fun" I mean activities like exercising with others who live here in the Crown Center, attending musical performances, and eating with friends in our Circle@Crown CafĂ©.  I take people shopping or to their various medical appointments, since some of my new friends no longer drive.  Several of us have decided to work together on the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and exercise for flexibility, balance, strength, and endurance.  I also read a lot and volunteer in the Crown Center's small library.
4.  Do you blog?
Yes, you're on my blog now.  I no longer blog daily, as I once did, partly because I'm so busy with other activities.
5.  How and when did you find RevGalBlogPals?
I was already retired when I found this great group in 2007 when another clergywoman mentioned it.
6.  What do you appreciate, what is it about this community that keeps you here?
As one of the early clergywomen in the United Methodist Church, serving churches that didn't think women should be in the pulpit, I enjoy "seeing" all the activities of the many women serving churches today.
7.  What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
That I'm a word person.  My earliest full memory is about words.  I see my grandmother's chandelier beyond the head of my uncle (possibly Uncle Paul), who is looking down toward Nancy and me standing at his feet.  He asks Nancy, "What grade are you in?" and she says, "First grade."  That's all of the conversation I remember, but my perplexity rings clear in my memory.  What were they talking about?  How could she be in a "firstgrade" when I could clearly see she was in a room?  What's a "firstgrade" anyhow?  I didn't even understand our uncle's question, but Nancy knew and she answered him.  EVERYBODY knew what the words meant ... except me!  I couldn't stand it!  I wanted to know what all the words mean, all of them, every word in the world.  Even Nancy, a little girl herself, knew what these words meant, and I didn't.  It was so frustrating.

As an adult I pondered my memory of confusion and perplexity, realizing I must have been very, very young if Nancy was in the first grade.  Nancy, after all, is four years older than I am.  Let's see, she would be six years old in the first grade, making me ... two?!?  This means I struggled with words and understanding grown-up talk from the age of two?  Wow!  In later years I realized an uncle whose name I don't remember would probably be one who lived away from Chattanooga.  Many people were milling around in Grandma Reynolds's living room that day, meaning an uncle (one of her sons) was there for something big.  A funeral?  Probably, since Grandma died in early May 1943 and since that uncle was wearing a dark suit.  That means I had just turned three years old a week earlier, and Nancy was at the end of her first year in school.

My first degree was in English Language and Literature (a double major with Philosophy and Religion), and I studied Latin, German, classical Greek, Koine Greek (1st-century Greek), and a dab of Hebrew and even less Dutch.  And I still occasionally run across new words in my reading.  In other words, maybe subconsciously, I've been trying to learn "all the words in the world" since 1943.