Thursday, October 28, 2021

Throwback Thursday ~ a train trip

Here's a train ad from 1947.  I took my first train ride from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Florida with my Aunt Bonnie in 1947, when I was 7 years old.
My book blogger friend Nancy posted several train ads from the 1940's on Facebook, and I noticed this one was actually from the year of that trip.

My aunt got permission to take me out of school (second grade) for a week or two to take me along with her.  I remember the rocking of the train nauseated me, like I was seasick.  Then the sand whipped my little bare legs when we walked on the beach because we got there near the tail-end of a hurricane.

All in all, I was not very impressed with Florida!  Bonnie was my mother's sister, and my dad's sister Lillian and her family moved from Louisville, Kentucky, to southern Florida a few years later.  So I did visit Florida several times as I was growing up, but our family trips were always by car.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021


This puzzle came from a source on Facebook called "That Ain't Right."  I take those words to mean I should look carefully.  Within seconds, I found five differences between the pair.  Later I enlarged it and found two more differences.
  • SEEK carefully through the activities in the two almost-identical pictures for any differences.
  • Then SAY in the comments what differences you can see between these two drawings.
Click to enlarge the image, if it will let you.  I'll add a comment about the things I noticed that have changed in the second picture, but not until one or two of you make a stab at it, okay?

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Beautiful sunset photo taken by my daughter

Here's a beautiful photo by my daughter Barbara showing how far down the water level is at the lake.  Just last week, she says, it was up to the base of the tree.  I think it looks like a painting.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Colorful photo of Clawdia

Here's Clawdia posing with Friday's library loot.
A black cat really shows up when she's around
colorful books and a rainbow-colored bookbag!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Summary of the Readathon

What I read during the readathon, from 7:00 a.m. on Saturday to 7:00 a.m. on Sunday:
  1. Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane ~ by Kirsten Larson, illustrated by Tracy Subisak, 2020, picture book, 48 pages, 10/10 — Emma Lilian Todd, a self-taught inventor, was born on June 10, 1865 in Washington, D.C.  This nonfiction biography explores both the failures and successes she had as she tackled one of the greatest challenges of the early 1900s:  designing an airplane.  Lilian's mind was always soaring — she loved to solve problems.  As a child, she took apart and reassembled clocks to figure out how they worked.  As an adult, typing up patents at the U.S. Patent Office, Lilian built the inventions in her mind, including many designs for flying machines.  However, they all seemed too impractical.  Lilian knew she could design one that worked.  She took inspiration from both nature and her many failures, driving herself to perfect the design that would eventually successfully fly.  Illustrator Tracy Subisak's art brings to life author Kirsten W. Larson's story of this little-known but important engineer.
  2. I Will Be Fierce!
    ~ by Bea Birdsong, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani, 2019, children's, 40 pages, 10/10 — This story about a girl's courage, kindness, and confidence demonstrates that all of us can be fierce, make friends, take on the monsters that stand in the way, and be the hero of our own stories.  Here's a good 4-minute YouTube video that I found of the whole book being read for "future titans."
  3. No!  I Don't Want to Join a Book Club: Diary of a Sixtieth Year ~ by Virginia Ironside, 2006, fiction (England), 231 pages, DNF — I read 12 pages before marking it DNF (did not finish) and tossing it aside.  What a grumpy old lady!  Sheesh!  I adopted this book after Donna died, but I've decided she never read it either. 
  4. If God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk: Finding a Faith That Makes Us Better Humans
     ~ by John Pavlovitz, 2021, social issues, 233 pages 
    — I fell asleep while reading this, but Clawdia woke me up at 3:30 a.m. for food.  My favorite line so far was on page 81:  "You deserved hell . . . just for being born?"  That chapter is entitled "Oh, Hell No!"  I did not finish reading this book before the readathon ended.  In case you are interested, here's the link to John Pavlovitz's blog Stuff That Needs to Be Said.
  5. Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today ~ by John Shelby Spong, 2018, theology, 10/10 — I re-read the section of this book that I'll be discussing with the Seekers Class in half an hour.
Today's Takeaway
I like what one Amazon reviewer (who gave the book 5 stars) said about the alliteration in Wood, Wire, Wings:  "Larson’s skillful use of alliteration — baffled yet buoyed, constructed each contraption, filed and fiddled, tweaking and tinkering — will elevate this biography to the top of the read-aloud list at school and home.  The repetition of the phrase 'buoyed by the challenge' will inspire children to persevere in spite of setbacks."  It's amazing that 69 reviewers of 70 on Amazon gave the book 5 stars, and that single person gave it 4 stars and high praise in words.
Deb Nance at Readerbuzz hosts the Sunday Salon, where we talk
about our lives, our books, and what we have been reading.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Library Loot for the 24-hour Readathon

I'm ready to start reading at 7:00 this morning, Central Time, since folks in the Eastern Time Zone start at 8:00.  Here's the list of books I got from the library this week, to be added to the one I'm already reading, which is at the top (it's from the Crown Center's small library):
  1. No!  I Don't Want to Join a Book Club: Diary of a Sixtieth Year ~ by Virginia Ironside, 2006, fiction, 231 pages
  2. Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane ~ by Kirsten Larson, 2020, children's, 48 pages
  3. What Could Be Saved ~ by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz, 2021, mystery, 460 pages
  4. Talk to Me ~ by T. C. Boyle, 2021, fiction, 352 pages
  5. The Inheritance ~ by JoAnn Ross, 2021, fiction (Oregon), 376 pages
  6. I Will Be Fierce! ~ by Bea Birdsong, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani, 2019, children's, 40 pages
  7. The Sundial ~ by Shirley Jackson, 1958, fiction, 245 pages
  8. If God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk: Finding a Faith That Makes Us Better Humans ~ by John Pavlovitz, 2021, social issues, 233 pages
  9. When the Legends Die ~ by Hal Borland, 1963, fiction, 216 pages
Claire at The Captive Reader has this week's Mr. Linky for Library Loot.

I doubt that Clawdia would put up with a little mouse reading here in our apartment, but I think he's cute.  We shall see how much reading gets done today.  The clock below will symbolize periodic reports on my reading.
I may update throughout the day.  Let's see how my reading goes.

Opening Event Survey

1)   What fine part of the world are you reading from today? — St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
2)   Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? — All of them (see above), but I'll start with the children's books and the novel at the top of the list because it's about an older woman who is around the age of my children.
3)   Which snack are you most looking forward to? — I never understood the emphasis on snacks.  I'll eat regular meals and maybe a tangerine and a few fig bars in mid-afternoon.
4)   Tell us a little something about yourself. — I'm retired, 81 years old, and have always loved words and books.  Being retired means I can read whenever I like, any day, unless I have scheduled something else.
5)   If you participated in the last readathon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?  If this is your first readathon, what are you most looking forward to? — I participated in the FIRST readathon, the one started by Dewey, and many since then.  My only goal today is to read when I feel like it.  I'll finish all nine of those books above before they are due back at the library.

Your Caturday Challenge ~ find the cats

(1)  This photo really does have a cat in it.  I can see it.

(2)  This photo really does have a fourth cat in it.

(3)  And this photo does have a second cat in it.  This one is the easiest today.

If you enjoyed this challenge, click on this find my cat link.  Hints:  (1) orange cat with white chest in center of the photo, (2) top left quadrant, (3) right side.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Beginning ~ with a question

The way I see it, I stopped being a kid on April 12, 1951.  We were playing our regular afternoon recess punchball game out in the schoolyard.  I was about to smack the ball when Big Toby, who always played catcher, muttered, "Hey, Pete, that true about your parents?"
Catch You Later, Traitor ~ by Avi, 2015, juvenile historical fiction (New York)
, 304 pages
From Newbery Medalist Avi comes the thrilling and suspenseful story of an ordinary American family who falls under suspicion during the 1950s Red Scare.  It's 1951, and twelve-year-old Pete Collison is a regular kid who loves detective stories and radio crime dramas.  When an FBI agent shows up at Pete's doorstep, accusing Pete's father of being a Communist, Pete is caught in a real-life mystery.  Could there really be Commies in his family?
On Tuesday, Avi posted about this book on his blog.  If you want to read more about it, his post is titled "Remember 1951!"  This book is available through my library using Hoopla, but I haven't yet taught myself that.  I want to read it on my Kindle, so can anyone enlighten me?

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon ~ tomorrow!

I'm ready for Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon, which I told you I had signed up for.  It starts at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow morning.  The idea is to see how many pages (or books) you can read during a 24-hour period, from Saturday morning until Sunday morning.  You can consider it a successful readathon if you read more than you normally would read in a day.  There's still time to sign up, if you are interested.  Go ahead and give it a try.  Click here to sign up.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Fall specials in the Circle@Crown Café

Here are the Fall Specials in the Circle@Crown Café:  the Autumn Pear Salad and the Cheddar, Smoked Gouda and Pear Sandwich.  Don't they look delicious?  I've already decided to treat myself to BOTH of these in the Circle@Crown Café for lunch today, taking home any leftovers to finish later.  I did not find this until after I'd had lunch there yesterday with Esme.  Who shall I invite to eat with me?  ALL of you!  Or at least all of you who read this in time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Wednesday word ~ and moving right along

Moving right along

Seven of my closest friends have died in the past couple of years:  Barbara, Sandy, Donna, Tiny, Evelyn (see #3), Sheila (see #4), and Marie.  And now another friend tells me her cancer has spread and she probably does not have long to live.  Maybe it's time for me to move back to Chattanooga (it's my hometown) and friends younger as well as older.  Recently, I've been "going" to Sunday School via Zoom with the Seekers Class back in Chattanooga, anyway.

Word of the Day

spu·ri·ous /ˈsp(y)o͝orēəs/ adjective = not being what it purports to be; false or fake.  Example: "He worked hard to separate authentic claims from spurious claims."
  • Similar:  bogus, fake, not genuine, specious, false, counterfeit, fraudulent, trumped-up, sham, mock, feigned, pretended, contrived, fabricated, manufactured, fictitious, make-believe, invalid, fallacious, phoney, pretend.
  • Opposite:  authentic, genuine, real.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Salon ~ with a pun alert

It is always book o'clock wherever I am, quite aside from where the hands of the clock happen to be.  Does that make me a bookie?  Or does it mean that I am a bookaholic?  Click HERE for "Twelve Signs You Are a Bookaholic."

I would wear this mask proudly ---------->>>>>>>

Word of the Day

bookaholic / book·a·hol·ic / noun = a compulsive book buyer; a habitual and prolific reader; a lover of books.  Example:  "I don't know any bookaholics who want to overcome their addiction."

Mornings with Jesus 2017: Daily Encouragement for Your Soul ~ by Guideposts, 2016, devotions

In this book, you can read and reflect on one devotion each day that will encourage you.  Lifting up their voices in heartfelt gratitude, eleven women, including bestselling authors Tricia Goyer and Cynthia Ruchti, consider the character and teachings of Jesus and share how He enriches and empowers them daily.

Book off my shelves

This is another book (unread) that called to me as I walked past the shelves.  I bought it on sale on Nov. 10, 2017, intending to start reading it in the following year.  I forgot before January, so I started a year of reading today, October 17.  (The dated receipt was still in it, marking the one day I probably read.)

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz hosts the Sunday Salon, where we talk
about our lives, our books, and what we have been reading.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Women want pockets!

Pockets?  Yes, pockets!  What's not to love?
My retirement "uniform" is jeans, because they have pockets.  The pockets are only three inches deep, but that's better than nothing.
(By the way, it's my parents' anniversary, married in 1938.)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Beginning ~ with his aspirations

Introduction ~ Nothing Brainy about It
"Unlike most of my colleagues, I didn't grow up with a deep-seated desire to be a doctor, let alone a brain surgeon.  My earliest aspiration was to be a writer, likely triggered by a boyhood crush I had on a grade school English teacher" (p. 1).
Chapter 1 ~ What Makes You You
"It was 1992 when I first saw a living human brain, a powerful and  life-changing experience for me.  It was, and still is, hard for me to believe that so much of what we are, who we will become, and how we interpret the world resides in that intricately woven bundle of tissue" (p. 29).
Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age ~ by Sanjay Gupta, 2021, self-help, 320 pages
Discover what we can learn from "super-brained" people who are in their eighties and nineties with no signs of slowing down, as Gupta debunks common myths about aging and cognitive decline.  He also provides a personalized twelve-week program featuring practical strategies to strengthen your brain every day.
I also wrote about this book earlier (click here). 

Throwback Thursday

Here's a view from a streetcar on the side of Signal Mountain taken June 20, 1914.  The Tennessee River can be seen (barely) off in the distance on the right.

Throwback Thursday or #TBT is an internet trend used among social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  (And by bloggers like me, occasionally.  Hmm, I see this is only the fifth time I've done a #TBT here on my blog.  Click the label below to see them all.)

Wikipedia informed me:  "On a Thursday, users post a nostalgia-inducing picture, usually from a different era of their life."  No, I didn't experience the streetcar myself (I'm not THAT old), but I lived on Signal Mountain from 1965 to 1984 and knew about this streetcar line that was no longer there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

What is gender neutral and all-inclusive?

"I'm just sayin, 'y'all' is both gender neutral, and all-inclusive.  In short, the perfect pronoun."  That's a quote from Erin Wathen.  I also ran across a 2017 article on "The Case for Y’all: 10 Reasons One Word Should Revolutionize Our Vocabulary.  This article says that "y’all has roots in Scotland over four centuries ago."  If you wonder why that word, maybe this illustration will help:

Saying "y'all" rather than "ladies and gentlemen" makes sense, if you analyze it.  The apostrophe stands for the "ou" in "you," just as the apostrophe replaces letters in other words:
  • "I'm" instead of "I am"
  • "You'd" instead of "you would"
  • "She'll" instead of "she will"
Did I hear some of you who live in the USA say it sounds too Southern?  Okay, but think about the fact that it's gender neutral and all-inclusive, unlike "you guys" (or "youse guys").  Y'all makes more sense than "youse guys."  As the article says, "One step for y'all.  One giant leap for all y'all."

Oh, yeah, I forget to explain about "all y'all."  This chart is for all y'all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tell us a story

642 Things To Write About ~ by the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, 2011
This collection of 642 outrageous and witty writing prompts will get the creative juices flowing in no time.  From crafting your own obituary [I noticed just now that this is the very LAST prompt in the book] to penning an ode to an onion, each page of this playful journal invites inspiration and provides plenty of space to write.  Brimming with entertaining exercises from the literary minds of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, this is the ultimate gift for scribes of every stripe.
I wrote about this book four-and-a-half years ago, in March 2017.  As I glanced over at a bookshelf this morning, something prompted me to pull out this book.  Why was it calling me?  I have no idea, but I opened it to random pages and landed on this writing prompt:

"A lie you told and got away with"

Oh, boy, did that "prompt" a memory that made me grin!  First, let me tell you I have always loved reading and read lots of books outside of school assignments.  MANY books.  So when my 8th grade English teacher assigned us to write a book review, my only problem was usually which book to write about.  But that day, I had a brainstorm and wondered if I could write about a book I totally made up.  I think the assignment was homework, and we probably had several days to do it, with time to read and ponder a book.

So I "read" my non-existent book and came up with a title, an author's name, a plot (that I no longer remember) with characters I created (birthed?) in my own imagination.  Then I wrote a "book review" of that book — and turned it in!  I held my breath (figuratively speaking) until the teacher returned our papers, and ... and ... and I got an A on my book review!  Yay!

No, not A+ but an A.  I probably did more work and spent more time on making up the story out of whole cloth than if I had simply reported on one of the several books I had recently read.  But it was fun, and I learned something (maybe just that I have a very active imagination), and I made my usual good grade.  And I made a memory that I'm sharing with you nearly 70 years later.

Idiom of the Day

"Out of whole cloth" is an idiom that means "with no basis in fact or reality."  Example:  The novel I wrote about was created out of whole cloth, plot and all.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Ball walker vs. heel walker

I learned about the difference between a ball walker and a heel walker four years ago on Facebook, and I've found the video on YouTube to share on my blog with you.  You can also view the video here.  (Click on the links.)

Many decades ago, my dad taught me to walk this way (on the balls of my feet) when I want to be especially quiet.  "Like an Indian," he said, though that is no longer PC (politically correct).  Try it, and see for yourself.  I do it these days when I don't want Clawdia to hear me moving through our apartment and come running to ask for food or a walk in the hall.  I don't remember ever telling my own children about this way of walking, though.

Something punny

I just spent $300 on a limousine and discovered that the fee does not include a driver.  I can't believe I've spent all that money and have nothing to chauffeur it.  (I found the words and photo online, separately, so this isn't original to me.)

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Native cultures

Native cultures are not interchangeable.  Every single Native culture is distinct and unique, though many share similarities, so lumping them together doesn't work.  While many North American cultures have some of the same practices, the vast majority are by no means common to them all.

Kokopelli is not "Native American" — he's Hopi.

Totem poles are not "Native American" — they were made by tribes of the Northwest Coastal region.

Dreamcatchers are not "Native American" — they came from the Ojibwe.

War bonnets are not "Native American" — they came from the tribes on the Plains.

I have no idea if cedar flutes are used by any other tribes, but the one I bought in Cherokee, North Carolina, is from one specific group.  Can you figure out which tribe?  Yes, the Cherokees.  Full disclosure — I added the beaded feathers to the felt bag that I keep it in.

Kokopelli is a fertility god and is said to be playing a flute, but his flute seems flared at the bottom.  Mine is not.

Sunday Salon

What's wrong with this poster?  I'll tell you what I see wrong in a comment, but I'd like you to think about it first.  What do you notice?

Middle School English

My friend Donna, who died in July, taught middle school English.  As I helped her sister clean out Donna's apartment, I saw that she had a copy of a book she had recommended to me in the 1990s, back when we first became friends.  And there was also a teacher guide for the YA novel, published in 2000.  Her sister let me have both books, and I'll probably read (and re-read) those soon.  When I first read the novel, it was long before blogging, so I don't know what I rated it.  But I do know I was very impressed by the book and wrote about it in 2010 when I mentioned this book and posted this photo of Avi, saying that Donna and I had met him.

Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel ~ by Avi, 1991, YA fiction, 213 pages
In this thought-provoking examination of freedom, patriotism, and respect, ninth grader Philip Malloy is kept from joining the track team by his failing grades in English class.  Convinced that the teacher just doesn't like him, Philip concocts a plan to get transferred out of her class.  Breaking the school's policy of silence during the national anthem, he hums along, and ends up in a crisis at the center of the nation's attention.
Teacher Guide ~ by Phyllis A. Green, 2000, for grades 7-8, 36 pages
Each Teacher Guide includes a story summary, prereading activities, vocabulary exercises, comprehension strategies, discussion questions, critical thinking challenges, literary analysis questions and activities, assessment tools, graphic organizers, writing ideas, art ideas, and more (it says, adding an exclamation mark).
Idiom on my mind
bee in her bonnet = to keep talking about something again and again because you think it is very important.  Example:  "She never stops talking about healthy eating; she has a bee in her bonnet about it."  Speaking of bees:
Deb Nance at Readerbuzz hosts the Sunday Salon, where we talk about our lives, our books, and what we have been reading.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Beginning ~ with baseball bat in hand

"I stood in the darkness of my living room, my knuckles white my fingers tense around the sticky rubber handle of my Little League baseball bat, staring out the window into the night, trying desperately to protect my wife and newborn daughter from a madman I had never met.  Any self-awareness about how this looked, or about what I might actually do if the madman appeared, had been washed away by the fear I was experiencing."
Chapter One

"The sidewalks of New York City are superhighways of anonymity.  During the day, millions of intent pedestrians stride along the pavement, their faces like masks that betray nothing."

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It ~ by Ethan Kross, 2021, self-help, 243 pages
Kross explains how silent conversations we have with ourselves shape our lives, work, and relationships.  He warns that giving in to negative and disorienting self-talk — what he calls "chatter" — can tank our health, sink our moods, strain our social connections, and cause us to fold under pressure.  The good news is that we’re already equipped with the tools we need to make our inner voice work in our favor.
I wrote about this book when I first got it (click here), and now I am finally reading it.  So far, so good.  It was highly recommended by a friend.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Let's share our pet peeves

This Bingo card shows two dozen "pet peeves" somebody came up with, but what exactly is a pet peeve?  It's something that someone finds especially annoying.  For example, a friend said, "One of my biggest pet peeves is poor customer service."  Another friend said hers is people who use "it's" when they should write "its."  (Do you know when to use each of these?)  And lots of folks on our neighborhood listserv would say their pet peeve is people who don't pick up after their dogs.  Please share one or two of your pet peeves in the comments.