Thursday, January 31, 2019

National Wear Red Day ~ tomorrow

Coronary Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States.  Since 2002, the first Friday of February has been designated as National Wear Red Day® in the United States.  Men and women are encouraged to wear red as a symbol of their support of women’s heart health.  I plan to wear a bright red shirt like this one.  Will you join me?

If you're interested in why I'm supporting this Wear Red Day, take a look at what was happening in my life ten years ago, in February of 2009, by clicking on either of these two
Ya gotta have heart links.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Blogiversary ~ twelve years

Nancy bought this cake for her twelfth blogiversary in June, and I saved the picture to use today.  I've been blogging since January 30, 2007.  Sometimes I've even managed to post about it on the right date.
And that, dear hearts, is how I managed to post on the right day this year.  I planned ahead, way ahead, months ahead.  And once again, I scheduled it to post at 1:30 AM to coincide with the 1-30 date.  Having composed this in early June of last year, I have no idea what will be happening on this date more than seven months later.  We shall see.

To blog or not to blog, that is the question.
In my case, blogging is more like:
I blog, therefore I am.

Does that sound familiar?  The "comments" part of this cartoon is only correct for social media like Facebook and Twitter.  I have found comments from other book bloggers to be mostly positive.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Friday Five ~ thin places

"Friday Five:  I spent about 24 hours at one of my holy places last weekend," wrote Monica Thompson Smith of RevGalsBlogPals.  "That leads me to ask: what are five of your 'holy places,' aka 'thin places'?"

1.  The bend in the mountain stream where bedrock poked through the grass in my backyard (1965-1984).  My stream was a bit smaller than the one shown above, but similar.  Even sitting at my kitchen window facing that direction felt like being in a thin place.

2.  The tiny labyrinth at the foot of Lookout Mountain where I took this photo on a warm September day in 2009.

3.  Meditating in my green chair at home.  I'm sitting in it now, as I type up this blog post and remember thin places.

4.  Sitting quietly or rambling around the lake at Lake Junaluska, NC.  I went there every summer for many years until I retired.

5.  Almost anywhere I'm relaxed enough to be still and fully immerse myself in the moment.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday Word ~ seenager

Seenager ~ a new word for today.  "Seen" may come partly from "senior," but mostly I think (for me, at least) it comes from having "seen it all" over my almost eight decades.

Even though I have all these things (some of which I may have wanted as a teenager), most are now beside the point.   I'm not interested in bars or the whisky store, for starters.  And the best part of being old and retired is getting to stay up reading as late as I like, since I can also sleep as late the next morning as I please.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Skye Boat Song

When I posted the pun about running with bagpipes on Monday, Helen mentioned in a comment, "We always sing the song 'Speed Bonnie Boat' as a lullaby in our family."  I looked up the tune and have been listening to it all week.  And humming it all week.  In other words, it became an earworm (a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person's mind after it is no longer playing).  I also looked up the lyrics and discovered the official name of the song is "The Skye Boat Song," which begins with "Speed bonnie boat."  The verses I've found posted online don't always appear in the same order, but here's one version.

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclouds rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare. [Chorus]

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean's a royal bed.
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head. [Chorus]

Many's the lad fought on that day,
Well the Claymore could wield,
When the night came, silently lay
Dead on Culloden's field. [Chorus]

Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet ere the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again. [Chorus]
Listen to it sung here.  The place these lads fought was Culloden.  The date was April 16, 1746.  It seems an unlikely lullaby, when I think of the words, though the tune is soothing.

The Skye Boat Song, the best-known Jacobite song, describes how Bonnie Prince Charlie was disguised as an Irish woman and rowed over the Minch strait to the island of Skye to hide from the British soldiers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Two TWOsday ads

I like to play Solitaire online.  Yesterday, I looked up the tartan for the Campbells of Argyll clan so I could show the pattern and colors in a blog post.  Today, as I played Solitaire, up popped TWO ads from a company wanting to sell me a kilt.  Specifically, the two identical ads showed me a kilt made from the Campbells of Argyll tartan.  Coincidence much?  No, I don't think so, either.  I am getting concerned that Big Brother (and Big Business) knows more of the who, what, and where about me than I like.

Monday, January 14, 2019

A wee visit to Scotland

This morning, my friend Barbara posted this terrible pun on Facebook, saying, "This is something that you should enjoy!"  I don't know whether or not she meant that for me (I'll ask her later), but it fits.  I am, after all, the punster who has been covering the bulletin board by the elevators on my floor with groan-worthy puns.  I'll probably print off this little mouse in a tartan (or is it a hamster?) and post it, too.

Anyway, I left this comment on Barbara's Facebook post to say I do enjoy the pun:
Aye, it's right up my alley.  Or should I say, "It's right up my loch"?  A loch is a lake, over there in Scotland, like Loch Ness.  My kilt would be made from the tartan of the Campbells of Argyll, from whom I'm descended.  Want to see the tartan?  Here 'tis.
This blue-and-green color pattern, with a little yellow and white and black thrown in, is something I would actually wear.  I like blues and greens.  I probably have more blues and greens in my closet than any other colors.

And here's a picture of Inveraray Castle, the principal family seat of the Dukes of Argyll.  See how easily I can get lost when I start meditating on these things?  From puns, to Scotland, to kilts and tartans, to castles, and now, one more thing.  The music, of course!  For my purposes, it only makes sense that I share "The Campbells Are Coming."  Click the link to listen to the music, played on bagpipes, which is where we started up above.  Remember?  Here are the words to the chorus, from the Wikipedia article which has all the verses, as well:
The Campbells are coming, Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!
The Campbells are coming, Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!
The Campbells are coming to bonnie Lochleven.
The Campbells are coming, Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!
Oh, you noticed "bonnie" in there?  Yes, I was a bonnie wee lassie when I realized my name was a word.  According to various sources, "bonnie" means "good" or "attractive."  Was I always "good"?  Of course not!  I'm no longer a wee lass, either.  But maybe it was my name that has made me feel more Scottish than the French, Irish, and English that's also in my genes.  Tell me about your family history.

I had to come back and share this photo I found on the Inveraray Castle site.  I didn't see it earlier because it's on the page about how to get there, and I won't be going there any time soon.  Probably never.  Isn't this a great view?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Was your church service cancelled?

Parkway United Church of Christ sent out an email just after 8:30 this morning, with this photo of the church from the parking lot entrance:
Worship with us today at 10am ― we are here!  Our snow removal company has done a nice job ― and they have salted again since this photo was taken about 30 minutes ago.  Please use the front parking lot and entrance.  The back walkway has not been cleared yet.  See portion of this morning's worship bulletin below in case you won't be with us."
University United Methodist Church posted this notice on their Facebook page, along with an email.  This is a new world of technology that I did not have, back in the olden days before I retired.  What a great thing!  Those choosing not to get out on the day after 10-12 inches of snow fell in the St. Louis area get notified ― and may even have part of the bulletin to read at home.  (That's an old photo of UUMC, by the way, since we have not yet seen sunshine.  It was still snowing this morning.)

Friday, January 11, 2019

Beginning ~ with the hated Barney tune

"Barney the Dinosaur is on the TV again.  I hate Barney ― and his theme tune. ... The children here lie motionless on the floor or slumped in seats.  A strap holds me upright in my wheelchair.  My body, like theirs, is a prison that I can't escape; when I try to speak, I'm silent; when I will my arm to move, it stays still."

Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body ~ by Martin Pistorius, 2013, memoir
They all thought he was gone, but he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.  In January 1988, Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating.  Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact.  Doctors were mystified.  Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound.  Martin's parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.  Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children.  The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core.  Their boy was gone.  Or so they thought.

Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith.  In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.  We also see a life reclaimed — a business created, a new love kindled — all from a wheelchair.  Martin's emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click this link for other book beginnings.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Rear View Review 2018

Tiny and her daughter Lauree (see July)
This look back at 2018 was done by excerpting a short portion of one post from each month last year.  You can click on the name of the month to find these twelve posts.  I took this idea from Colleen at Loose Leaf Notes and soon realized it works best when I'm quoting something personal I wrote, rather than my posts about books and what some random author wrote.

January ~ I don't remember WHY we did it, but I do remember borrowing an accordian and learning to play it, so Ada and I could go onstage in front of the whole school to sing "Sisters, Sisters."  Yes, once I was able to play and sing at the same time!  I think we were in 8th grade when we sang.  After graduating, we went on to Chattanooga High School, where we once again played in band and orchestra together.  Here's a high school photo of me holding my bassoon.

February ~ What a fascinating book! I could imagine a forest of trees "leaning" on one another, "talking" to each other via their roots, and sending out "scent" signals to warn other trees of dangers such as insects nibbling on leaves or beetles boring into their trunks.

March ~ I often find myself pondering strange ideas, like the odd fact that 39 years ago when I was 39 years old, I did something foolish on St. Patrick's Day.  That was half my lifetime ago!  So today, I'll let it go and be happy that it was something that I could (and did) un-do.  I'm just glad it was St. Patrick's Day and not April Fool's Day!

April ~ Clawdia looks like an ornamental decoration herself, sitting on the little corner table.  By the way, Clawdia knows I don't always see her, as she slips past me like a shadow.  When I'm coming near her, she actually chirps, a little "meowp" sound, to let me know she's there.  Is this cat smart, or what?

May ~ When I started talking about women needing to have a voice and men doing the talking about #MeToo, a man near me interrupted me (!!!).  So I stood up and continued to talk ABOVE him.  We women had come to discuss the #MeToo situation, not to have it "man-splained" to us, though I didn't use that word. A woman came up to me afterwards to thank me for speaking up.

June ~ My friend Ginny visited me at the end of May, bringing along her sister Bunny.  Although she lives in Florida, Ginny figured out how to come through St. Louis on her way to Pennsylvania.  Makes sense, doesn't it, driving from Florida to Missouri to get to Pennsylvania?

July ~ Last night, Tiny knocked on our door with two bowls of vanilla ice cream in her hands.  That's vanilla covered with chocolate syrup.  And she didn't know it was Vanilla Ice Cream Day.  How funny is that!  (Tiny, who'd never done that before, is pictured at the top with her daughter.)

August ~ Gumption
Don’t call me pretty or say that I'm beautiful.
That's not what matters to girls who have spunk.

Tell me I'm smart or I show such compassion.
Say I have spirit or always seem savvy.

Tell me I'm witty or clever or funny,
and point out whenever I'm loving and kind.

Looks are not all that a girl should consider,
so tell me I've got what it takes to succeed.

― Bonnie Setliffe Jacobs, August 2, 2018
September ~ Today I will ponder "a road crossing a forest" as opposed to our human assumption that the deer is crossing one of OUR roads.  From the deer's point of view, that road came through the forest, making a mess of things, causing problems, making life difficult and extremely dangerous.   Oh, to see the world ― and life ― as others see it.

October ~ I first noticed the tree's reflection in the water, full of leaves.  Only then did I see the "actual" tree had no leaves.

November ~ I guess what I'm saying is that my happy place is where I can enjoy green growing things.  Hmm, and at this point in my life, I think my happy place is living here at the Crown Center.

December ~ I try not to put my foot in my mouth, not that I could literally do such a thing at my age.

I posted something similar to this six years ago:  2012 in first lines.  The idea was to "use the first lines of each month on your blog, to give an overview of your blogging year."

Happy New Year Calendar

Click on calendar to enlarge it.
I found this month's calendar by searching for "calendar" on the Action for Happiness (AfH) web site.  Here are January's first seven days.

January 1
~ Find three good things to look forward to this year.
January 2
~ Look for the good in others and notice their strengths.
January 3
~ Do three extra acts of kindness for other people.
January 4
~ Make time today to do something kind for yourself.
January 5
~ Say something positive to everyone you meet today.
January 6
~ Do an extra 15 minutes of physical activity (ideally outdoors).
January 7
~ Write down ten things you feel grateful for in life and why.

"Happiness is the meaning
and purpose of life." ~ Aristotle