Friday, July 31, 2020

Rainy day travels via WindowSwap

This is Lake Guntersville in Alabama
Katie's window overlooks a huge lake in Alabama in the USA.  There's a beautiful crape myrtle growing just below her window, and a breeze is rippling the lake's water.  This photo shows Lake Guntersville.  Since no town was mentioned, Katie may live anywhere in the state.

I saw plants inside a very wide space between inner and outer windows, when I looked out Che's window in Suderburg, Germany.  And there's a wide sill inside the innermost window.  I've never seen that before.  It looks like the middle of the three tall inner windows is solid, and the side windows open inward.  I guess that allows a person to take care of those potted plants.  There's a small watering can on the table under the windows, which has a chair on either side.  I can see a tree out in the back yard, but not really anything else.

Chiara and Angelo's window in Rome, Italy, looks at tile roofs nearby and for block after block, with not one bit of greenery growing anywhere.  Not a view to inspire me to continue gazing, so I clicked for the next random window.

Mindy's window looks out past her deck to a lake in Oxford, Michigan in the USA.  A breeze is rustling the leaves of the trees, casting leafy shadows on Mindy's table inside.  I like her flowers on the table and also those swaying in a planter outside on the deck.  Too bad I can't give her a compliment.  The map I googled shows lakes all around this town.

Olly's window overlooks a canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  There are cars and a van parked across the canal, but the only "traffic" I saw going by were pedestrians, bike riders, and boats in the canal.  Oops, I was wrong.  Several bikers and a van surprised me, when they went by just below the window on THIS side of the canal.

Enough for today.  If you want to try it, click WindowSwap to "open a new window somewhere in the world."

Beginning ~ with a phone call

This beginning may seem long, but the "good" part needs this whole bit.
In the summer of 2004, I was a rising sophomore in college on my first visit to Paris, and I was jubilant.  It was midnight; I was riding the metro with a small group of excited international students when the leader of the group I was with handed me her cell phone.

"It's your mother," she said, sounding casual and unworried as only the French can.

I grabbed the phone.  "Hi Mom!  Guess where I am — I'm on the Metro in Paris!"

"Baby are you sitting down?"  Her tone instantly got my attention.  After all, it was midnight in Paris, and she had called the group leader — a number I didn't even know she had.  I sat down.  "Our house burned down," she said calmly.

Minimalist Living: Decluttering for Joy, Health, and Creativity ~ by Genevieve Parker Hill, 2013, self-help
Cluttered desk?  Stuffed closet?  Stressed-out life?  Most of us know the weight of too much stuff.  We can avoid it for a while, but when it's time to move house or reorganize, we can't escape facing our clutter.  Your excess stuff can hold you back and make you sick.  Having stuff we don't use or enjoy is a burden, a waste of money, and importantly, it doesn't spark joy.  If your rooms, closets, and surfaces are filled with clutter, all your unneeded possessions can get in the way of a full experience of life as it was meant to be lived.

This book covers not only techniques for decluttering, but how doing so can fill your newfound space with meaningful and creative activities that add joy to your life and support your goals.  You have the power to bring serenity, clarity, creativity, and more joy to your life with minimalist living.  This book, now updated for 2020, will show you how.  You will discover:
  • Why you should define your own sense of minimalism
  • How to create your "Minimalist Mission Statement"
  • How to use the techniques of "blazing" and "gazing" to declutter
  • Why decluttering now can lead to a happier, healthier, and more creative life
  • How to deal with sentimental items without losing their meaning
  • The amazing connection between minimalism and living your soul's deepest purpose
Experience the powerful de-stressing and pro-health benefits of minimalism.
I was buying another book for my Kindle yesterday when I happened across this one at a cost of $0.00 on Amazon.  I ended up buying two other e-books and treated myself to this one as well.  I'm already curious about the author's life.

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

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Alone, alone, all, all alone

This morning's email included a Questions and Answer about prayer, which included this line:
Many progressive Christians have come to adopt centering prayer or other forms of contemplative prayer or meditation as their primary form of prayer.
Two quotes

In this second article are a couple of quotes that I contemplated this morning, the first by a theologian I studied in seminary:
"Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone, and solitude expresses the glory of being alone." ~ Paul Tillich
Tillich compares two words:  loneliness and solitude.  Ah, yes, those of us on lockdown this year can understand these words.  But which am I myself feeling?  Loneliness, like so many of my elderly neighbors?  Or solitude, which is something enjoyed by most introverts.  Because I'm gregarious, few people think of me as an introvert, but actually I am.

To determine whether you're an extrovert or an introvert, ask yourself whether you recharge when tired by enjoying a lively party with friends or spending time with a book.  The introvert chooses the book.  I enjoy my alone time, though after four and a half months of staying home, it's getting to be a bit much. Alone for extroverts who need people feels more like the quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner that I had to memorize when I was a youngster:
"Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony."
The old mariner was in agony, being "Alone, alone, all, all alone" after his shipmates died at sea.  That's rather different from being alone in my apartment, surrounded by unread books.  After looking up this quote, I bought The Rime of the Ancient Mariner for my Kindle.  Another book.

And then there's the second quote I contemplated this morning, a proverbial story told about Mother Teresa:
Reporter:  "What do you say when you pray?"
Mother Teresa:  "Nothing, I just listen."
Reporter:  "Well, then, what does God say to you when you pray?"
Mother Teresa:  "Nothing, He just listens … if you don’t understand that, I can’t explain it."
Do you meditate or spend time contemplating or meditating?  Lately, I've been contemplating what's out other people's windows around the world.

Aerial view of Brooklyn

Taylor's window in Brooklyn, New York, overlooks a corner.  I watched cars, trucks, vans, a garbage truck, pickups, a bus or two, mopeds, and lots of bikers on the two-way street as they moved, stopped for the lights, and turned right onto what appears to be a one-way street.  I noticed some of the pedestrians were wearing masks, but not all.  One biker tried to cross traffic against the light and almost got hit.

I forgot to mention the window is on the second floor, giving me an unobstructed view of all this hustle and bustle.  It was fascinating.  A delivery man trucked a stack of boxes across the intersection and through the door held open by a merchant.  Mundane little details, but I enjoyed it after weeks — nay, months — of mostly staying inside my apartment and only venturing out for my mail every two or three days.  I'm getting groceries delivered, too, so the main way I'm keeping in touch is by phone, texts, email, and Facebook.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Words, Weather, and WindowSwap


Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work is a little book by Kathleen Norris (1998, nonfiction, 10/10). I read it shortly after it was published more than 20 years ago.  The author looked at the mysterious way that daily or quotidian stuff can open us up spiritually.  Stuff like laundry, which I still need to do today.  I like that word "quotidian," and wrote about it on my Joyful Noiseletter blog in 2008, if you want to learn more about the book.  Now about that word "quotidian."

Word of the Day
quo·tid·i·an / kwōˈtidēən / adjective = of or occurring every day; daily; ordinary or everyday, especially when mundane.  Example:  "Norris looks at the mysterious way that daily or quotidian stuff can open us up spiritually, even if it's doing the laundry."
Here in St. Louis, it's 95° but feels like 107° Fahrenheit.  Humidity is 69%, so it's muggy.  Oops, it started raining hard just as I opened the second window below in WindowSwap at exactly 3:00 pm, so I came back up here to add this sentence.  Maybe it's a bit cooler out there now.
Haridwar, India

Today, I looked out of Vishrut's window in Haridwar, India.  I saw only trees and an occasional person walking by.  Once again, I googled to learn about the place.  Haridwar is an ancient city and an important Hindu pilgrimage site in North India's Uttarakhand state, where the River Ganges exits the Himalayan foothills.  That's the bigger Ganges on the left and a smaller canal flowing through the town in the middle.  They have bathing steps where they hold a river-worshipping ceremony and tiny flickering lamps are floated off the steps.

A breeze was ruffling the leaves in the potted plants on the sunny balcony outside Denny's window in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Over the distant ocean, I could see puffy white clouds, blown by that same breeze.

And suddenly, a hard rain hit my own windows.  It lasted only a few minutes, but long enough that I quit looking out these other windows and "came home" to watch the rain blurring my own windows.

Click WindowSwap to "open a new window somewhere in the world" and start your own adventures.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Two words on TWOsday

Word of the Day #1
UFOs = UnFinished Objects.  Example:  "I have a number of UFOs languishing on my hard drive."
This made me smile.  I found this on one of my other blogs, posted on October 7, 2008.  It was about my writing projects, articles and stories I was working on, but had never finished.  I also have lots of UFOs around my apartment, but these should be called Un-Finished Objectives.

Word of the Day #2
languish / lan·guish / ˈlaNGɡwiSH / rhymes with anguish / verb  = lose or lack vitality; grow weak or feeble; suffer from being forced to remain in an unpleasant place or situation.  Example:  "He has been languishing in jail since 1974, and my UFOs have been languishing on my hard drive since 2008."

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Great Plague of London

Word of the Day
dram / dram / noun = Scottish, a small drink of whisky or other spirits.  Example:  "Have a wee dram to ward off the winter chill."
The Great Plague of London was an epidemic of plague that ravaged London, England, from 1665 to 1666.  City records indicate that some 68,596 people died during the epidemic, though the actual number of deaths is suspected to have exceeded 100,000 out of a total population estimated at 460,000.  To learn more about that plague, read the online Encyclopedia Britannica article by clicking on this link.

Plague Ship ~ by Frank G. Slaughter, 1976, fiction (Peru)
High in the Andes Mountains of Peru, an archaeologist stumbles upon an an­cient tomb, unwittingly releasing the germs from a civilization doomed by a plague over 5,000 years ago.  What happens when this deadly organism reap­pears forms the basis of this novel.  Just like now, there is no antidote (or vaccine).  This is the story of one man in par­ticular — Dr. Grant Reed and the dedi­cated crew of the international hospital ship Mercy, as they set about the task of quarantining the first victims of a hideous plague.  Set adrift by frightened Peruvians, the aging and crippled ship faces a hurricane, mutinous patients, and even a pair of great white sharks, grisly mascots of a ship of death.

The dust jacket says, "Frank Slaughter here takes on ... the complex, high-stakes world of interglobal medicine, taking us behind the public deeds to the private people whose courage can make the difference between today's flus ... and tomor­row's headlines."
And now we are reading headlines like that.  I wrote about this book when I bought it in 2011, but only today remembered I have it.  I reserved a couple of novels about plague at my library, ones I've read before.  Unfortunately, they were among eight that arrived at the same time when my library opened back up.  I can't read eight books in three weeks, and these are ones I've read before, so I decided to return those two and pick up this un-read book about a plague ship, instead.

Coronavirus update
Dr. Birx says what we have right now are essentially three New Yorks, and "Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and St. Louis need to take 'aggressive' steps immediately to avoid becoming the next hot spots."

Friends in Tennessee and Missouri, please take note of Nashville and St. Louis.  STAY HOME, if you can.  Always WEAR A MASK when you go anywhere,  and stay SIX FEET away from others, even when everybody's wearing a mask.  WASH YOUR HANDS frequently.  Remember, a drink with friends in a crowded bar in exchange for the coronavirus is, as Samuel Pepys said, "an ill bargain indeed."

St. Louis County Department of Public Health

Dr. Page announced this morning that the following seven initiatives will take effect at 5:00 p.m. this Friday, July 31, 2020.
Only gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted.  Any group that had its plan for an event pre-approved should expect to be contacted by the Department of Public Health to discuss their specific circumstances.
Occupancy rules for all businesses will revert to where they were in June at 25% occupancy.
The Department of Public Health is ordering that all bars close at 10 p.m. every night. The late-night and early-morning hours are times when social distancing, mask wearing, and crowd avoidance measures are not being followed.
The Department of Public Health will be implementing new procedures to ensure businesses are following the rules for the safety of their workers, workers’ families, and their customers.
It is also recommended that anyone awaiting their COVID-19 test results quarantine until they receive those results.  Right now, not all asymptomatic patients have been quarantining, but we now strongly recommend that they do so.  It is recommended that employers work with employees to make quarantining possible.
Action will also be taken this week to ensure that all health providers are getting their results reported in a timely manner. Due to delays, the Department of Public Health issued a Rapid Notification Order.
The Director of Human Services has been asked to help provide safe places for teachers who need to quarantine.  Teachers, virtual or in-classroom, are always important, but in a few weeks, teachers will be the new front-line workers.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Silly and fun and serious

I found this YouTube video on Helen's Book Blog, and she mentioned Ann of My Head is Full of Books.  I suggest you go read Ann's Sunday Salon post for today and enjoy the cartoons.  My favorite is a TV personality:  "I'm sending in troops."  TV viewer:  "Interesting reelection strategy, invading your own country."


If you've been reading my blog, you know I've been fascinated with WindowSwap since I found it on Tuesday.  Down in the bottom left corner of their page is a link to what WindowSwap is all about:
"Let's face it.  We are all stuck indoors.  And it's going to be a while till we travel again.  Window Swap is here to fill that deep void in our wanderlust hearts by allowing us to look through someone else's window, somewhere in the world, for a while.  A place on the internet where all we travel hungry fools share our 'window views' to help each other feel a little bit better till we can (responsibly) explore our beautiful planet again."
Click to enlarge the image
Where did you "visit" today?  I "traveled" via WindowSwap to...
Andreas's window in Lucerne, Switzerland, which looks out over the water and the mountains in the distance.
Obviously, this aerial view is NOT from Andreas's window.  However, it does help me to imagine myself in Lucerne.  Click on the link, if you want to "open a new window somewhere in the world" using WindowSwap.  If you want to learn more about how WindowSwap got started, here's an article posted nine days ago.  I learned it was "created by Sonali Ranjit and her husband Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, two advertising creatives based in Singapore."

It's Time

There are a lot of things that are long overdue.  We've been hearing about them for ages, and Daily Kos made a list of things that are long overdue.


We are still under a heat advisory in St. Louis.  Yesterday, it was 92° and felt like 105° Fahrenheit.  Humidity was 61%, so it was muggy.  And it's supposed to be more of the same today.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

What to do while you can’t travel

Another day, another window, as I continue to "open a new window somewhere in the world" using WindowSwap.  It's random, so there's no telling what view you'll see when you click that link to WindowSwap.  Let's see what comes up today.

From Alex's window in Tauranga, New Zealand, I could see water in the distance with land beyond.  Was that the Pacific Ocean?  Yes!  I googled it and learned where Tauranga is.
"Tauranga is a harbourside city in the Bay of Plenty region on New Zealand's North Island.  It hosts historic buildings like the Elms Mission Station, an 1847 Georgian-style home.  A bridge over the harbour connects Tauranga to Mount Maunganui, a beach town with hot saltwater pools and an extinct namesake volcano with winding walking paths.  Offshore is the active volcano White Island, accessible by helicopter or boat."
This is like taking a world tour.  Now I've "seen" some of New Zealand by "touring" pictures that Google showed me of that area.  What fun!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Masks and windows

Masks by Sarah

Donna's new mask


Donna got a Golden Girls mask with "Thank you for being a friend" on it.  Too bad her friend Clawdia can't read it.  Speaking of masks, my friend Sarah has a video about masks she's been making and giving away.  I admire her and Laurie and Linda, who also made and gave away masks.  Looking at the masked people around you these days, have you ever asked yourself, "Who is that masked person?"


It was night time in Dubai, UAE, when I looked out Hijaz's window today, using WindowSwap.  Click to read where I "went" the first time I looked out of random windows around the world.

One mask at one window

On her Gotcha Day yesterday, Clawdia DID get to visit Donna through the window and Sharon in the hallway, as I had hoped.  Both friends were masked.  Clawdia walked down the hall three times, ate her favorite gourmet food, and also got treats TWICE.  So it was a very event-filled day for Ms. Clawdia.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Gotcha Day ~ time to celebrate

It's Clawdia's Gotcha Day

Since I don't know her actual birthday, it's a day to celebrate and give my little roommate some extra loving.  What would she like?  I could...
  1. take her out to nibble grass and watch birds and people.
  2. let her "talk" to Donna through her window, as in this photo.
  3. order her favorite gourmet foods on InstaCart.
  4. maybe visit her friend Sharon in the hall to get petted.
  5. give her lots of loving today, along with brushing her fur.
  6. give her treats, maybe even give her treats — TWICE.
Update ~ I fortgot to mention that she came to live with me in 2015, five years ago.  The vet thought she was about six, so now she's eleven.  She's elderly now and fits right in at the Crown Center for Senior Living.

Life beyond my apartment

Today, when I clicked on WindowSwap, I was looking out Ami's window in Nes-Ziona, Israel.  I learned about WindowSwap a couple of days ago on NextDoor, a way of connecting with people in our own neighborhoods.  Click on WindowSwap for a surprise look at the world, with no way to predict what in the world you'll see.

Word of the Day
co-vid-i-ot / noun = (1) A stupid person who stubbornly ignores "social distancing' protocol, thus helping to further spread COVID-19.  Example:  "Are you seriously going to visit grandma?  Dude, don't be such a covidiot."  (2)  A stupid person who hoards groceries, needlessly spreading COVID-19 fears and depriving others of vital supplies.  "See that guy with the 200 toilet paper rolls?  What a covidiot."

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

WindowSwap ~ look out someone else's window

Sunny, with ominous clouds about 4:00 pm today out my window
Here's something called WindowSwap.  Click that link to "open a new window somewhere in the world."  Spend a few minutes looking out someone else's window.  Or several windows.  Today, I've been to...
  • Luxembourg, where three teddy bears sat by an open window
  • Bangalore, India
  • Dundee, Scotland
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Glanamman, Wales, where a breeze was blowing through trees
  • Bordeaux, France
  • Long Island, USA, where a helicopter flew across my screen
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Shanghai, China
  • Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
  • London, UK
  • Stockholm, Sweden, and saw balconies of other apartments
  • Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Istanbul, Turkey, where three birds flapped by at dusk
  • Luzon, Philippines
  • Cordoba, Argentina
  • Rochester, NY, USA, has a very fluffy cat sitting in a window
  • Obersteinabrunn, Austria
Then I was looking out the window of somebody else here in St. Louis, USA, where it was drizzling rain on their swimming pool, just as I could see it sprinkling out my own window (see above) at the same moment just before dark.  It seems people can send in videos of views out one of their own windows, and I got to see plants on their windowsills and teddy bears lined up in Luxembourg (see the list above).  This is fun!

Word of the Day
driz·zling  / drĭz′əl / adjective =  (of rain) falling lightly in very small drops;  Example:  "It was drizzling rain today in my town."
Drizzle is fairly uniform precipitation and is composed of small water drops that fall to the ground.  The only real difference between drizzle and actual rain is that the droplets in drizzle are much smaller.

Two quotes on TWOsday ~ Look, see?

When Donna finished coloring this, she said it's her favorite page of all time and hung it on her door so people passing by in the hallway can see this quote from Henry David Thoreau.
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

Miriam responded with a quote from Anais Nin:
"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."

Both quotes give me a lot to ponder.  Thank you, friends.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Designing an imaginary home

Tired of all the negativity, I spent a couple of hours the other day looking through The Cottage Journal's Facebook pictures.  After awhile, I started "designing" a home with all the cozy pictures I liked.  This one shows a bright, airy bedroom and — look! — there are books on the bed.  Clawdia could gaze in two different directions from these windows.

I like these shelves, but mine would be filled with books, not doo-dads and pictures.  If you know me, you can already spot the theme:  books, books, and more books.  Yes, I own other things, but why would anyone waste bookshelf space on anything but books?

Here's a nice, little nook where I ccould read while eating or nibbling junk food.  What a great view I'd have whenever I raised my eyes from the page to ponder what I've just read.  Yes, this picture also has books already there, along with fruit, flowers, a muffin, and a cup of tea.

This is the photo which got me started.  It looks so relaxing, sitting out in the garden or swinging gently on a cool day.  (Some of you may know we've been under a heat advisory in St. Louis.)  The nice thing about living in a retirement center, though, is not having to mow the grass.  I guess I'll just have to hire someone to do it in my imaginary home.

I like the looks of this mountain home from The Cottage Journal.  There are not a lot of steps up to the front door, for one thing.  That matters for older folks.  This photo and the one above show a bit of a problem, since I don't want stairs to climb in my make-believe mansion.  We'll just have to change the design a bit.  Let's pretend I know what I'm doing.

My book blogger friend Nancy toured part of England in 2011, though I just discovered some of her photos on Facebook.  If this imaginary home is an English cottage, I'll just imagine myself in an English town by going through Nancy's photos of the countryside, like this one taken near Lynton and Lynmouth.  Would you like to come visit me, when I finish building my country cottage in the clouds?

Jump Back July Calendar

Click to enlarge calendar
I actually got 2/3 of the way through July before remembering the monthly calendar.  Is this pandemic brain fog, or what?  Anyway, this Jump Back July Calendar from the Action for Happiness folks is focused on how we can be more resilient in challenging times.  It's too late for me to do one a day, but I can share each one here for us to read through and apply to our lives as needed.  Try any or all of these every day.

July 1
~ Be willing to ask for help when you need it today (and always).
July 2
~ Make a list of things that you're looking forward to.
July 3
~ Adopt a growth mindset.  Change "I can't into "I can't ... yet."
July 4
~ Find an action you can take to overcome a problem or worry.
July 5
~ Avoid saying "must" or "should" to yourself today.
July 6
~ Put a problem in perspective and see the bigger picture.
July 7
~ Shift your mood by doing something you really enjoy.
July 8
~ Get the basics right:  eat well, exercise, and go to bed on time.
July 9
~ Help someone in need and notice how that gives you a boost, too.
July 10
~ Don't be so hard on yourself.  It's okay not to be okay.
July 11
~ Reach out to someone you trust and share your feelings with them.
July 12
~ When things go wrong, be compassionate to yourself.
July 13
~ Challenge negative thoughts.  Find an alternative interpretation.
July 14
~ Set yourself an achievable goal, and make it happen.
July 15
~ Go for a walk to clear your head when you feel overwhelmed.
July 16
~ When things get tough, say to yourself "this too shall pass."
July 17
~ Write your worries down, and save them for a specific "worry time."
July 18
~ Let go of the small stuff, and focus on the things that matter.
July 19
~ Notice something positive to come out of a difficult situation.
July 20
~ Ask yourself:  What's the best thing that can happen?
July 21
~ If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.
July 22
~ Make a list of three things that you can feel hopeful about.
July 23
~ Remember that all feelings and situations pass in time.
July 24
~ Choose to see something good about what has gone wrong.
July 25
~ Notice when you are feeling judgmental, and be kind instead.
July 26
~ Get back in touch with a supportive friend, and have a chat.
July 27
~ Write down three things you're grateful for (even if today was hard).
July 28
~ Catch yourself over-reacting, and take a deep breath.
July 29
~ Think about what you can learn from a recent challenge.
July 30
~ Ask for help from a loved one or colleague.  Be specific.
July 31
~ Remember that you are not alone.  We all struggle at times.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Sleeping in touch

Here's Clawdia, keeping in touch by sleeping in touch with my Kindle yesterday.  If I move the Kindle, she will know and wake instantly.

Today, she was catnapping while slightly curled up.  Sometimes, she actually has one of her back legs under her chin.

Word of the Day
cat·nap / ˈkatˌnap / verb / gerund or present participle: catnapping = have a short, light sleep.  Example:  "Clawdia catnaps many times every day."

Friday, July 17, 2020

Beginning ~ with an Author's Note

I was born in Mississippi.
When I was three weeks old, my father was involved in a racial incident and he made the abrupt decision to leave Mississippi.  He left that same day.  When I was three months old, he sent for my mother, my sister, and me, and we all went north.
The Author's Note is two pages at the beginning.  Here's page one of the novel itself, which is not nearly as intriguing.
Man and I were waiting for the bus.  I had been visiting with Great-Aunt Callie down near McComb, and my brother Clayton Chester, whom we all called Little Man, had come from where he was based at Fort Hood in Texas and met me there.
All the Days Past, All the Days to Come is Mildred D. Taylor's latest novel about the Logan family, published in 2020.  The narrator is Cassie Logan.  It's the 1940s, she is in college, and her brother is about to go off to war in Europe.  Cassie becomes a lawyer active in the Civil Rights Movement.  I've written about this book before (Library Loot and TWOsday) and look forward to it, even though it's a 485-page chunkster.

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

Handel's Water Music

Today, Joy is celebrating the 303rd anniversary of the first performance of Handel's Water Music on her blog, where she gives you background information.  Let your imagination take you back to the King George the First boarding a royal barge on the River Thames on July 17, 1717.

Now imagine another barge filled with musicians tagging along playing this music.  See the other boats following and listening to the music.  Can you see it?  Maybe not, but you can hear it now.  Just click on the link above to go to Joy's Book Blog and enjoy the music and information.

I've been listening to it the whole time I was writing this blog post and find it delightful in the background.  If you want to jump straight to the music, here's an hour's worth of listening to Handel's Water Music on YouTube.  And just for fun, look at that date again:  7/17/1717.  Those numbers made me smile.

Heat advisory in St. Louis

Click to enlarge this image
The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for St. Louis through Sunday at 7:00 p.m.  The heat index values are expected to be between 105° and 107°.  Here are the symptoms of heat-related illness you need to be aware of, if you will be spending a lot of time outdoors.

We have scattered thunderstorms right now.  Here's a link, if you want to check the weather.  It looks like more of this storm is still coming from the west this evening, and I hear rolling thunder right now.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

What I'm thinking about today

Thinking about Clawdia

Would you call it "sun bathing" if she's sitting in the sunny open window bathing herself?  That shiny streak downward from her shoulder is where she turned to lick herself clean.  Now she's licking her paw and swiping it across her face to clean herself.  Cats groom themselves meticulously.

Word of the Day #1
swipe / swahyp / verb, when used without an object = to make a sweeping stroke.  Example:  "Clawdia swipes her paw across her face to clean herself, the way we swipe our cards through the slot in the machine when we buy things."
Thinking about voting

When you want more information about a proposition on the upcoming ballot, it helps to be able to think it through with friends.  One friend sent me information she had received from a reliable source, and I then forwarded her email to three other friends, inviting feedback.  All of these friends think it's very important to be informed and to vote.

Thinking about exercising

Five Simple Moves for Strong, Toned Arms

Exercise #1: Arm Circles
Exercise #2: Wall Pushup
Exercise #3: Bent-Over Row
Exercise #4: Biceps Curl
Exercise #5: Shoulder Raise

This is one of the links from the SilverSneakers Newsletter that came today in my email.

Thinking about racism

I'm on Day 4 about "white silence" as I work my way through Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad.
This video was sent to me by a friend today, serendipitously, since he doesn't know that I am contemplating white privilege this week.  I try not to be silent, but to share what I learn, like in this video, which can help us visualize — actually SEE — the advantages of having privilege, so I'm sharing it with you.  Take a look at Racing for a Hundred-Dollar Bill and notice who is out in front.  Also, notice the looks on the faces of those who are participating in this race.

Word of the Day #2
serendipitous / ser-uh n-dip-i-tuhs / adjective = come upon or found by accident; fortuitous.  Example:  "It was serendipitous that my friend sent me this video as I'm pondering white privilege."
I was surprised to learn how NEW this word is.  It was "first recorded in 1940–45 as serendipit(y) + -ous," using the earlier word serendipity to make the adjective:
"The word 'serendipity' was coined in 1754 by Horace Walpole.  He drew it from an English variation of the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, which was about three princes who always made discoveries that they were not looking for on their adventures."

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

TWOsday ~ 2 exercises, 2 books

Two exercises

I haven't been exercising as much during the lockdown as I was before, when I could do it with a group downstairs in our Fitness Center.  I've found a couple of exercises from SilverSneakers.  One has videos, almost like being with living, moving people.  Maybe these will inspire me to exercise more, even alone in my apartment.

The 15-Minute Total-Body Chair Workout
  • Chair Exercise #1: Shoulder Rotation
  • Chair Exercise #2: Shoulder Raise
  • Chair Exercise #3: Biceps Curl
  • Chair Exercise #4: March
  • Chair Exercise #5: Heel Tap
3 Moves to Help Stiff Shoulders
  1. Standing Shoulder Flexion
  2. Shoulder Roll
  3. Y-T-W Stretch
Two books

I usually have more than one book going.  Here are the two I'm reading and/or studying today.

Today, I'll start reading Mildred D. Taylor's All the Days Past, All the Days to Come (2020).  Although I've had it for awhile, I wanted to read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976) about Cassie Logan and her family before jumping into this one where Cassie is an adult.  To learn more about these books, see my Library Loot post.
I'm working my way through the 28-day learning process of Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad (2020).  The author challenges white people to do the essential work of unpacking our biases in order to dismantle the privilege within ourselves so that we can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color.

If you'd like to know more or if you'd like to discuss the book with me, click on the title, which links to my Book Buddies blog, set up for discussion.

Monday, July 13, 2020

A panini from the Café

I had it for lunch again today.  It's the delicious panini I told you about last week.  I could hardly wait to get it again.  Clawdia was curious, but I didn't share any of my panini, pickle, chips, or frozen strawberry custard that the Café delivered at lunch time.