Sunday, January 31, 2021

Gratitude Journal

Today, I'm grateful for —
  1. A warm, safe home during these snowy winter days.  Today's drizzling rain is supposed to turn to snow later, but I saw snowflakes floating around my kitchen window when I looked earlier.
  2. Dora, who was worried that her neighbor in rehab may not know about signing up for the vaccine, asked me to call her neighbor to make sure.  I did.
  3. Friends (like Dora) that I've made since moving to St. Louis and the Crown Center 6+ years ago.  The photo shows Wednesday's snow as seen from my window.
Just got for my Kindle
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek ~ by Kim Michele Richardson, 2019, historical fiction (Kentucky)
Still reading (a chapter at a time)
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey Into the Feline Heart ~ by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, 2002, animal psychology
Reading with Book Buddies
More than Words: 10 Values for the Modern Family ~ by Erin Wathen, 2017, relationships

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

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Let's discuss another book

More than Words: 10 Values for the Modern Family ~ by Erin Wathen, 2017, relationships
The values we live and raise our families by are grounded, first, in love.  Contrary to many of today's so-called family values, our values go beyond one or two loaded social issues to a wholehearted lifestyle of practicing compassion, hospitality, justice, peace, and belonging.

This book articulates ten values that forward-thinking, openhearted people want to embody in their lives and pass on to their children.  With practical ideas and thought-provoking questions, this book inspires families to live more intentionally, engage their communities, and make a difference in the world.
I'm ready to start reading so we can talk about the ideas in this short book (173 pages) on my Book Buddies blog, where I've already set up the questions from the end of the first chapter.  Do you want to get your hands on a copy and join me?

**The photo at the top shows the author at a bookstore.

Clawdia and the birds ~ on Caturday

Clawdia was asleep in the other room, but came running to me to find the birds when I clicked on the interactive version of this picture to listen to the unique whistles, songs, and chirps of the ones shown here.  She then ran to the nearest window — which was closed — and rushed back to look under my laptop.  The picture wasn't moving, so Clawdia wasn't interested when I tried pointing to this drawing on the screen.  I wish I had a photo to show you the puzzled look on her face.  She never found a bird.

Celebrating 14 years of blogging

My first blog post fourteen years ago was about Jhumpa Lahiri's 2003 novel The Namesake.  This was the only quote from the book that I included:
Apart from his father, the baby has three visitors, all Bengali . . . Maya and Dilip give the boy a rattle and a baby book, with places for his parents to commemorate every possible aspect of his infancy. . . . Dr. Gupta gives the boy a handsome illustrated copy of Mother Goose rhymes.  "Lucky boy," Ashoke remarks, turning the beautifully sewn pages.  "Only hours old and already the owner of books" (page 24).
And thus my book blog was born.  I asked seven questions at the end of that first post and included my own answers in the comments.  A few of my bookish friends, most of them from our years together discussing Oprah's book club selections, came to welcome me to the blogging world.  Still, half of the comments were from me, answering my book-related questions about names and ancestry.  It took me three weeks to get them all answered.  Only then did I finally post another two times in February.  Yes, I got off to a very SLOW start. 

Many of my earlier book blogger friends have moved on to other interests and no longer blog.  Anyway, today I celebrate what bloggers call a "blogiversary."

Words of the Day
blog / bläɡ / noun = a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style; used as a verb, it means to add new material to or regularly update a blog.  Example:  "It's been a week since I last blogged."  And a blogiversary is the anniversary of someone's weblog (blog).
The term weblog was coined by Jorn Barger on December 17, 1997.  The short form, blog, was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase "we blog" in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Bernie's still traveling

Now Bernie's at the Space House, halfway up Signal Mountain, north of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Very cool, Bernie.

My latest mask purchases, two for friends, two for me.

Specifically, a kangaroo word is a word that contains its own synonym, like a kangaroo carries its young in a pouch, with the letters to spell that synonym already placed in the correct order.  And to make this even more fun, the shorter synonyms that are contained inside of a kangaroo word are called joey words, like a baby kangaroo.  
container > can
contaminate > taint
myself > me
observe > see
perambulate > amble
rambunctious > raucous
recline > lie
separate > part

Can you think of any other kangaroo words?

Beginning ~ at the therapist's office

"Welcome to Saint Magnolia's Wounded Theater.  At least that's what I called it."
The Last Original Wife ~ by Dorothea Benton Frank, 2013, fiction (Georgia and North Carolina)
Leslie Anne Greene Carter is the last original wife among her husband Wesley's wildly successful Atlanta social set.  His cronies have all traded in the mothers of their children they promised to love and cherish — 'til death did them part — for tanned and toned young Barbie brides.

If losing the social life and close friends she adored wasn’t painful enough, a series of setbacks shake Les's world and push her to the edge.  She's had enough of playing the good wife to a husband who thinks he’s doing her a favor by keeping her around.  She's not going to waste another minute on people she doesn't care to know.  Now, she's going to take some time for herself — in the familiar comforts of Charleston, her hometown.  In her brother's stately historic home, she's going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summers on Sullivans Island.  As she listens to her inner voice, she realizes what she wants . . . and finds the life she's always dreamed of.
I wanted something light, and this fills the bill, so far.  I've read more than half already.

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

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Snow is melting

Snow day plus one — this is what it looked like out my kitchen window this morning.  The good news is the sun was shining and kept shining all day.

Exercising without a group to motivate me

Here’s a 10-minute cardio workout from SilverSneakers for beginners.  There are five videos:
  • Cardio Move #1:  March in Place
  • Cardio Move #2:  Alternating Reach
  • Cardio Move #3:  Modified Seal Jack
  • Cardio Move #4:  Skater Step
  • Cardio Move #5:  Heel Kick
These easy moves are encouraging, like exercising WITH someone again, even if only this one instructor.  I miss being able to get together with friends to exercise in our fitness center.  I feel less motivated doing it alone in my apartment, but these videos help me to go ahead and DO it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

What's wonderful this Wednesday?

Isn't this a gorgeous owl?  One of our neighbors in University City — a suburb of St. Louis — posted this photo on Nextdoor, a neighborhood listserv.

Word of the Day
list·serv / ˈlis(t)sərv / noun = an application that distributes messages to subscribers on an electronic mailing list.
Snowy day
***Winter Weather Advisory*** Wednesday:  High 32.  Cloudy skies, Scattered snow showers through early afternoon.  Most of the area will see 1" to 2" of snow, but some spots southwest of the metro area may see 2-3".  We expect the bulk of the accumulation in St. Louis by 1 PM (from the KMOV4 weather report).
When I took this photo, our snow storm was just beginning.  It's supposed to get worse, and I'm glad I don't have to get out in it.  I ordered groceries delivered yesterday.

So what's wonderful this Wednesday?  The beautiful owl, yes, but maybe not the snow if you have to drive.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Who's Yellen now?

Vocals and Lyrics by Dessa
Production by Lazerbeak and Andy Thompson

Oooo, who’s Yellen now?
Who’s Yellen, who’s Yellen now?

Doves on the left
Hawks on the right
Crosstalk in the flock tryna fight mid-flight
But here comes Yellen with that inside voice
Never mind the mild manner, policies make noise
She’s 5-foot nothing, but hand to God
She can pop a collar, she can rock a power bob
Bay Ridge represent!
Brooklyn’s in the cabinet!
Damn, Janet, go and get it —
Fifth in line for president!
She knows the kinda stimulus it takes to pass a buck
I heard she called the housing crisis
She’s qualified as ffff —
It only took a couple centuries
The first female secretary of the treasury

Don’t want no tax evasion
Forgers faking
In her treasury
Trying for higher wages
For the nation
Less disparity

Watch your step, there's busted glass
Janet broke another ceiling
You can bet your brass
That the Lego guy is leaving
Last check to cash
— 'Scuse me, Janet has a briefing and a flight to catch
And Janet
She’s the first that’s led
The Council of Economic Advisers, Tresh and the Fed,
She needs a three-sided coin that always comes up heads
To put the triple crown down when she goes to bed
Call the decorators
New boss in the office
Spenders and the savers
Watch the confirmation process
We got to meet her
Now let’s let her settle in
And lift up your mojitos —
'Cause she manages the mint
**Janet broke another ceiling (watch out for fallen glass!) ... and she's fifth in line for president.  I don't normally care for rap music, but I've been playing this one over and over.  Click here to listen to it and follow along with the words.

**The photo at the top is the official Federal Reserve portrait of Janet Yellen, an American economist who is serving as the 78th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury.  Previously, she was the 15th chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018.  She is the first woman to hold either role.  This Information is from Wikipedia.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Kindness and the Fauci Ouchie

I like this motto:  "Be the reason someone smiles today."  I post humorous things here and on Facebook so people will have something to smile about during this pandemic.  The motto is from an article about a school in Ireland.  The title of the article is inside these hands forming a heart.

People are loving this cute name for the COVID vaccination.  Here's an article about the Fauci Ouchie, and there are already memes.  One meme shows President Biden at his desk signing a document, supposedly this one:
"BREAKING:  President Biden signs an executive order renaming all corona-virus vaccines the Fauci Ouchie."
There's even a tee-shirt, so I guess that makes it official.  Would you wear this shirt?

Where's Bernie? ~ meme madness

If you can't find Bernie in this picture, don't despair.  I quickly found Waldo, but Bernie had been blended in a bit too well, in my humble opinion.  It felt like forever before I found Bernie, but I finally did.

I hunted down this original Where's Waldo version, without Bernie.  Maybe it will help you, or at least confirm your find.  Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday Salon ~ let's be kind

Fiction I'm reading now
Varina ~ by Charles Frazier, 2018, fiction
Nonfiction I'm reading now
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey Into the Feline Heart ~ by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, 2002, animal psychology

Saturday, January 23, 2021

A word jumble and a meme ~ do you see it now?

Word Jumble

Can you read what that says?  I read it easily, which surprised me.  I would really like to know how many of you could also read it.  Now let me tell you the kicker:  I even noticed that one of the words is misspelled.  Yes, it is, really.  I tripped over it.

You just read those two jumbled sentences over again, didn't you?  Did you spot the misspelled word?  It's the fourth word.  But we knew what that word was supposed to be, didn't we?

So what was the problem?  The last letter of that word should have been an R, not an H.  It has an extra CH instead of ER, as it should.  Bananagrams letters helped me with this visual to show you why my mind stumbled.
I've posted about this painting a couple of other times — first in August and then in December.  Can you find what makes this a 2021 meme?

Word of the Day

meme / mēm / noun = a humorous image, video, or piece of text, that is copied and spread rapidly by internet users, often with slight variations.  Example:  "The photo above is a meme about Bernie Sanders at Biden's inauguration."  It is my favorite of the many I've seen.  Did you find him?
This Bernie meme is the favorite of one of my friends, and another friend calls it "hanging with Bernie."  I also like that a friend in Chattanooga called the one below "a sit-in."

Friday, January 22, 2021

Words ~ hoard and horde

"The five-letter homophones hoard and horde are occasionally confused for one another," Merriam-Webster says.  I subscribe to M-W's Word of the Day, and these two words were included in today's email.
  • Hoard can be a noun or a verb, referring to a supply of something kept hidden away, or the act of collecting and storing said supply.  A hoarder is usually someone who obsessively and unnecessarily keeps things they do not need.
  • Horde, on the other hand, refers to a large group of loosely organized people.  Often horde carries the connotation of wildness or fierceness.
Click on this link to read more about getting these words right.

Beginning ~ with a blue book

"If he is the boy in the blue book, where to start?  He can't expect to recognize her after four decades, and he certainly doesn't expect her to recognize him.  The last time they saw each other he would have been no more than six."
Varina ~ by Charles Frazier, 2018, fiction
Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner.  Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history — culpable regardless of her intentions.  With the Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives who have "bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit."  Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman’s tragic life and epic in its scope and power, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath.  Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.
"Complicity carries consequences."  Hmmm, sounds like that could be a headline for 2021.  I've had this book nearly three years, but I didn't get far into reading it before setting it aside.  For some reason, it called to me this week, so I pulled it off the shelf to read next.

I wrote about this book in 2018 and even included that day's link to Book Beginnings; however, I apparently never got around to posting my link and nobody — absolutely nobody — commented.  How could they, if I didn't link up?  So here I am, trying once again to post about it and actually read it.

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

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Coloring page of Eugene Goodman, hero of Jan. 6th

Marlon West posted this on Facebook:
"I spent this night before a peaceful transition of power, doing my first comic book styled 'ink' tribute of 2021 to Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman.  On January 6, he baited a mob of angry Trump supporters away from the Senate chamber, leading the group in the opposite direction at a crucial moment when the lawmakers were not yet safely locked down.  A group of insurgents that beat other officers with batons and American flags, and murdered another with a fire extinguisher.  He is a hero by any measure."
Copy and print this, if you'd like to color it.  Think of what he did that day while you color the page.  This man should never be forgotten.  Do you think he'll be in future history books?

Word of the Day
bait / ˈbāt / verb = to intentionally make a person angry by saying or doing things to annoy them.  Example:  "Eugene Goodman intentionally baited the mob to lead them away from the legislators."

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The dawning of a new day ... at mid-day

Thanks, Sandra Boynton, for posting this on Facebook.
She wrote:  "Wishing health and hope to all."

President Biden was saying
“everyone, everyone”
at exactly 12:00 noon.

I was listening carefully to his inaugural speech as the clock approached noon.  I love this happenstance, since his whole point was about wanting to include everyone, even those who voted against him.

Kamala Harris and her husband on the left,
Joe Biden and his wife on the right.

Wednesday Words ~ shambolic and shambles

sham·bo·lic /ˌshamˈBOL-ik / adjective (informal British) = chaotic, disorganized, or mismanaged.  Example:  "He did not seem able to do anything about his department's shambolic accounting."
It surprises me, as an avid reader all of my 80+ years, to run across a word I don't think I've ever seen before.  This word appeared in a private Facebook group's discussion.  Maybe the writer is British.  The Oxford English Dictionary describes "shambolic" as colloquial and defines it as "chaotic, disorderly, undisciplined."  The OED also suggests that the word may have been influenced by the adjective "symbolic."  I learned that the adjective "shambolic" is derived from the noun "shambles."

sham·bles /ˈSHAM-bəlz / noun informal = a state of total disorder.  Example:  "My career was in shambles."  Similar:  chaos, muddle, confusion, disorder, disarray, disorganization, havoc, complete mess, pigsty, pigpen, disaster area.
So tell me, were you already familiar with the word "shambolic"?  Have you ever used "shambolic" yourself?  "Shambles" is not at all new to me.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Beginning ~ with comparing cats and dogs

"I have always loved dogs and cats, having lived with both since I was a child.  Several years ago I wrote a book, Dogs Never Lie About Love, about the emotional lives of those wonderful animals.  It was a very popular book.  I noticed, however, that readers of that book would often speak to me disparagingly about cats — usually something about cats not really having an emotional life or cats being basically indifferent.  I knew this is not true, though it is untrue in ways that were not always obvious.  Too many people tend to see cats as uncomplicated creatures with few emotions, at least none worth thinking about in any depth.  I am convinced that, on the contrary, cats are almost pure emotion."
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey Into the Feline Heart ~ by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, 2002, animal psychology
Drawing from literature, history, animal behavioral research, and true stories of cat experts and cat lovers around the world, the author vividly explores the delights and mysteries of the feline heart.  But at the core of this remarkable book are Masson’s candid, often amusing observations of his own five cats.  Their mischievous behavior, aloofness, and affection provide a way to examine emotions from contentment to jealousy, from anger to love.  This book offers readers a new perspective on the deep connection shared by humans and their feline friends.
On the sidebar of this blog, you can see some of the cats who have lived with me and some of the cats of my friends.  At the top is Clawdia, of course, since she's the cat who currently blogs here when she feels like it.  The next cat down is Kiki, who blogged about books until she died in 2012.

I think the nine chapters sound intriguing, so I'm ready to jump into this book.
  1. Narcissism
  2. Love
  3. Contentment
  4. Attachment
  5. Jealousy
  6. Fear
  7. Anger
  8. Curiosityy
  9. Playfulness
My favorite reader review on Amazon was simply, "Great little book.  My cats read it from cover to cover."  Maybe Clawdia would like to read this one, too.  I like my cover best (shown at the top), but look at alternate covers.  Interesting.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click the blue link for more book beginnings.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Throwing a temper tantrump

How did I miss this word 'til now?  There's even a game about it (shown here).  Thanks, Colleen, for including the word tantrump in a blog post.

Word of the Year 2020
tan·trump / pronounced as "tan·trum" with a "p" sound at the end / noun = an outburst of anger, characterized by an inflated sense of entitlement, denial, narcissism, paranoia, victimhood, and debilitating tribalism.  Example:  "He threw a temper tantrump."

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday Salon ~ bookaholic edition

Here's a cat made of rock for Caturday, one day late.  Time doesn't seem to work for me the way it did before the mid-March lockdown.

You may be a bookaholic ... if you know what a TBR stack is.  My stack is MUCH higher than this one, so I should quit adding books.  Nope.  I was at Donna's last night to use her magnifying thingy to read the tiny print on something I had ordered from Amazon (no, not a book).  The book on her coffee table relates to the destructive events at the Capitol this week, so I said I would like to read it when she finished.  Donna said, "Take it."  This one had not grabbed her attention, though her sister Jane liked it.  Here 'tis:

Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America's Imperfect Union ~ by Richard Kreitner, 2020, history, 487 pp.
The fiery thesis of this book is simple:  The United States has never lived up to its name — and never will.  The disunionist impulse may have found its greatest expression in the Civil War, but the seduction of secession wasn’t limited to the South or the nineteenth century.  It was there at our founding and has never gone away.  Kreitner takes readers on a revolutionary journey through American history, revealing the persistence and power of disunion movements in every era and every region.  The divisions that threaten to tear America apart today have centuries-old roots in the earliest days of our Republic.  Break It Up will help readers make fresh sense of our fractured age.

  • Each New England town after Plymouth was a secession from another.
  • The thirteen colonies viewed their Union as a means to the end of securing independence, not an end in itself.
  • George Washington feared separatism west of the Alleghenies.
  • Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison denounced the Constitution as a pro-slavery pact with the devil.
  • Aaron Burr schemed to set up a new empire.
  • John Quincy Adams brought a Massachusetts town’s petition for dissolving the United States to the floor of Congress.

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

Friday, January 8, 2021

Beginning ~ with a definition

pastrix (pas·triks) noun
1). A term of insult used by unimaginative sections of the church to define female pastors.
2). Female ecclesiastical superhero:  Trinity from The Matrix in a clerical collar.
"What on earth was that noise?"
"A pastrix just drop-kicked a demon into the seventh circle of hell." 3). Cranky, beautiful faith of a Sinner and Saint.
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint ~ by Nadia Bolz-Weber, 2013, memoir
Heavily tattooed and loud-mouthed, Nadia, a former stand-up comic, sure as hell didn't consider herself to be religious leader material — until the day she ended up leading a friend's funeral in a smoky downtown comedy club.  Surrounded by fellow alcoholics, depressives, and cynics, she realized:  These were her people.  Maybe she was meant to be their pastor.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click the blue link for more book beginnings.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Insurrection at the Capitol

"To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, and to threaten the safety of duly elected officials is not protest.  It is insurrection," Joe Biden wrote in an email at 5:36 pm Central Time that I received from  Biden had spoken to the nation even before the President bothered to offer a short "go home" message where he reiterated the very thing that had incited them in the first place, that the election was stolen from him.  Twitter has blocked the President's tweets — and may ban him completely.  "Domestic terrorism" is also being thrown around by what I'm seeing online.

Word of the Day #1
in·sur·rec·tion / ˌinsəˈrekSH(ə)n / noun = a violent uprising against an authority or government.  Example:  "The President's tweets incited insurrection among supporters."
I first saw the words "attempted coup" used by CBS.  That's when I started watching what was going on today in Washington, DC.

Word of the Day #2
coup / ko͞o / noun = a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.  Example:  "Was this action by Trump followers today an attempted coup in Washington?"
Joe Biden will become President of the United States at noon two weeks from today.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Happier January

This Happier January Calendar is from the folks at Action for Happiness, who say:
How can we start this new year happier? Things have certainly not been easy over the last year, and we are still in difficult and uncertain times. The best way to try to handle our difficult emotions and experiences is by focusing on what we can control. This month, we're encouraging everyone to focus on small steps to try to boost happiness - for ourselves and others around us - to spread kindness and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
January 1
~ Find three things to look forward to this year.
January 2
~ Make time today to do something kind for yourself.
January 3
~ Do a kind act for someone else to help to brighten their day.
January 4
~ Write a list of things you feel grateful for in life and why.
January 5
~ Look for the good in others and notice their strengths.
January 6
~ Take five minutes to sit still and just breathe.
January 7
~ Learn something new and share it with others.
January 8
~ Say positive things to the people you meet today.
January 9
~ Get moving.  Do something physically active (ideally outdoors).
January 10
~ Thank someone you're grateful to and tell them why.
January 11
~Switch off all your tech two hours before bedtime.
January 12
~ Connect with someone near you — share a smile or chat.
January 13
~ Be gentle with yourself when you make mistakes.
January 14
~ Take a different route today and see what you notice.
January 15
~ Eat healthy food which really nourishes you today.
January 16
~ Get outside and notice five things that are beautiful.
January 17
~ Contribute positively to a good cause or your community.
January 18
~ Focus on what's good, even if today feels tough.
January 19
~ Get back in contact with an old friend you miss.
January 20
~ Go to bed in good time and give yourself time to recharge.
January 21
~ Take a small step towards an important goal.
January 22
~ Try out something new to get out of your comfort zone.
January 23
~ Plan something fun and invite others to join you.
January 24
~ Put away digital devices and focus on being in the moment.
January 25
~ Decide to lift people up rather than put them down.
January 26
~ Say hello to a neighbor and get to know them better.
January 27
~ Challenge your negative thoughts and look for the upside.
January 28
~ Ask other people about things they've enjoyed recently.
January 29
~ Use one of your personal strengths in a new way.
January 30
~ Count how many people you can smile at today.
January 31
~ Write down your hopes or plans for the future.

"Happiness is when what you think, what you
say, and what you do are in harmony." ~ Gandhi