Tuesday, August 31, 2021

New book by Jodi Picoult

I just learned that Jodi Picoult's next book is coming out at the end of November 2021.  She's my favorite writer.  I'm on her email list, so I can get a copy as soon as possible.

Here's a photo of Donna (on the left) and me (on the right) with Jodi Picoult in September of 2019, when Jodi spoke at the St. Louis County Library.

Two new books for my Kindle ~ on TWOsday

The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Book 1 of Heaven's Books) ~ by Mitch Albom, 2003, fiction, 216 pages

Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life.  His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park.  On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him, as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart.  He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination.  It's a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers.  One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie's five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his "meaningless" life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question:  "Why was I here?"

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven (Book 2 of Heaven's Books) ~ by Mitch Albom, 2018, fiction, 223 pages

Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters.  Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.  The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie.  It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached.  Injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew.  Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows.  When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally found happiness.  As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo.  But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey — and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.  Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning — we only need to open our eyes to see it.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Maskless Monday? Nope, not me!

ROTFLOL.  Thanks to Anne at My Head Is Full of Books for sharing these.  By the way, Leviticus 13:4-5 talks about isolating the affected persons for two 7-day periods in a row.  Isolation and covering the lower part of your face . . . sounds like today's news headlines to me.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

An anthropologist and an orangutan named Chantek

As I was reading Inside Animal Hearts and Minds by Belinda Recio (2017) this morning, I came across a name that sounded familiar.
"In the 1970s, anthropologist Lyn Miles began teaching an orangutan named Chantek how to sign.  Chantek learned 150 signs over eight years, and also understood many words of spoken English.  Chantek used short strings of signs to make phrases, and one of his most interesting phrases expressed his wish for privacy:  when he wanted a confidential exchange, he would sign 'secret' and make his gestures small in an effort to conceal them.  If people were visiting and Chantek wanted a moment alone with Miles, he would sign 'I you talk,' while pointing to a location away from the visitors" (loc. 1346).
I googled and discovered that Dr. H. Lyn Miles was a professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the 1970s, where I got my first degree in 1975.  I also recognize the bricks of one of the UTC buildings in the top photo of her holding little Chantek on a snowy day.  See the snowball he's reaching for?  The article I found told me Chantek had ballooned to 490 pounds when he died in August 2017 at the age of 39, after spending the last eleven years of his life in a tiny cell.  Read the article for the sad reason he was locked up.  Though he forgot many of the words she had taught him, Chantek never forgot how to sign "I love you" to Dr. Miles.  (The photos by the Associated Press are from the article.)

My reading and some of my great-grands

Ten-year-old Jaxon wants to be a PARAMEDIC/FIREMAN when he grows up.

Seven-year-old Shelby wants to be a VET when she grows up.

Four-year-old Shiloh wants to be a DOCTOR when she grows up.

These great-grandkids of mine are independent thinkers.  Their favorite colors?  Pink for him, blue for both girls!  Their mom said, "You can't make this up."

What I'm reading ~ Fiction
Never Mind! : A Twin Novel ~ by Avi and Rachel Vail, 2004, young adult fiction
What I'm reading ~ Nonfiction
Inside Animal Hearts and Minds: Bears That Count, Goats That Surf, and Other True Stories of Animal Intelligence and Emotion ~ by Belinda Recio, 2017, nonfiction
Book I may read next
The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death ~ edited by David Shields and Bradford Morrow, 2011, psychology
Deb Nance at Readerbuzz hosts The Sunday Salon.
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time
zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Must be animal week for me

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor doggie a bone.
But when she got there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor doggie had none.

This is the version I memorized as a child, though I've found several versions online.  Was this nursery rhyme part of your childhood, too?  I'm reading a book about animal intelligence and emotions, as I posted yesterday, and today I remember a sad doggie.  I wore my tee-shirt with three tigers on it yesterday.  It figures, doesn't it?

Friday, August 27, 2021

Beginning ~ with an elk

Inside Animal Hearts and Minds: Bears That Count, Goats That Surf, and Other True Stories of Animal Intelligence and Emotion ~ by Belinda Recio, 2017, psychology

This book invites us to change the way we view animals, the world, and our place in it.  As Charles Darwin suggested more than a century ago, the differences between animals and humans are "of degree and not of kind."  Not long ago, ethologists denied that animals had emotions or true intelligence.  Now, we know that rats laugh when tickled, magpies mourn as they cover the departed with greenery, female whales travel thousands of miles for annual reunions with their gal pals, seals navigate by the stars, bears hum when happy, and crows slide down snowy rooftops for fun.  Learn about an orangutan who does “macramé,” monkeys that understand the concept of money, and rats that choose friendship over food.  Even language, math, and logic are no longer exclusive to humans.  Prairie dogs have their own complex vocabularies to describe human intruders, parrots name their chicks, sea lions appear capable of deductive thinking akin to a ten-year-old child’s, and bears, lemurs, parrots, and other animals demonstrate numerical cognition.


Shooter, the resident elk at the Pocatello Zoo in Idaho, is huge — standing six-feet tall without taking into account his massive antlers, and ten-feet tall if you do.  As you can imagine, he attracts a lot of attention, and one day a few zoo staffers watched as he acted strangely.  He repeatedly dipped his entire head into his water trough, a decidedly uncharacteristic elk behavior.  He certainly wasn't just taking a drink.  Then, things got even more curious.  Pulling his head from the water, Shooter now dipped his front hooves into the trough and seemed to be rooting around.  After a minute or so, he withdrew his hooves and dunked his head again.  When his head emerged this time, he had a tiny dripping marmot in his mouth.  He carefully released the marmot on the ground and nudged him with one hoof until — recovered from his near drowning — he scampered away.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Thursday Thoughts ~ she said, playfully

I like this page from I Am Yoga by Susan Verde (2015).  It's making me feel playful today.  Anybody want to join my playfulness?  How can we do this?  First, I imagine viewing the world upside down.  And THAT thought made a memory come back to me of hanging by my knees on my swinging bar.  I can even "feel" the blood rushing to my head as I swing back and forth.

It's making my long hair swish in the air, like the upside-down girl in this photo, though I'm thinking of a day when I was playing alone and letting my hands swing free.  Can you tell I'm smiling?  That memory of the swing set in my back yard in the old family home in East Lake is from many, many decades ago.  It was nowhere near as fancy as the swing set in this photo I found online.

I get on Facebook occasionally, in spite of having posted that I'm done with Facebook. just long enough to see if anyone in my family has posted photos of my (adult) grandchildren or my great-grandchildren.  Today, I just happened to see this story from 1942, during World War II, when I was a toddler.  The woman's wire-rimmed glasses make her look a lot like my grandmother (Gladys Duke Setliffe).  I love coincidences, so I'm sharing this with you blog readers.

On August 9, 1942, Navy Signalman 3rd Class Elgin Staples was aboard USS Astoria (off the coast of Guadalcanal) when the ship was attacked by Japanese cruisers.  The attack provoked devastating explosions.  Wounded, and surrounded by water coming from every direction, Elgin quickly grabbed his inflatable rubber lifebelt and strapped it on.  More than 200 crewmen died in the attack and sinking of USS Astoria, but thanks to his lifebelt, Elgin survived.  He was later rescued by the destroyer USS Bagley.

Shortly afterwards, he looked closely at the lifebelt that had saved him and was surprised to see that it had been manufactured in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.  He also noticed an inspector number on the label.  When Elgin returned to Akron, he told his mom about that terrible night, and she informed him that while he was overseas, she had taken a wartime job at the Firestone plant.  Stunned, Elgin quickly took out the lifebelt from his duffel bag and said:
"Take a look at that, Mom.  It was made right here in Akron, at your plant."
After reading the label, she looked at Elgin with tears in her eyes, and said:
"Son, I'm an inspector at Firestone.  This is my inspector number."
Without saying another word, mother and son fell into each other's arms.

Okay, that's awesome, but heavy.  Let's end this post with a pun, for laughs:  "They say with age comes wisdom, so therefore I don't have wrinkles — I have wise cracks."

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Trying to be punny

So if a cow doesn't produce milk,
is it a milk dud or an udder failure?

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

I dreamed about words ~ skew and squeeze

I woke up this morning still mulling over my dream.  I was thinking about the difference between the K sound in "skew" and the Q sound in "squeeze."  Yes, I was dreaming about comparing a couple of words!

/ skyo͞o / verb (past tense: skewed; past participle: skewed) = suddenly change direction or position.  Example:  "The race car skewed across the track."
  • twist or turn or cause to do this.  Example:  "He skewed around in his saddle."
  • make biased or distorted in a way that is regarded as inaccurate, unfair, or misleading.  Example: "She thinks the curriculum is skewed toward practical subjects."
squeeze / skwiz / verb (transitive/intransitive) = to press something firmly, especially with your hands.  Example:  "The little girl smiled and squeezed her teddy bear even tighter."

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday Salon ~ books and stuff

Never Mind! : A Twin Novel ~ by Avi and Rachel Vail, 2004, young adult fiction

Edward and Meg are like night and day. How could such different people be twins? Well, they are, but they don't have to like it -- or each other.

For seventh grade, brainy Meg is attending ultra-competitive Fischer, while freewheeling Edward goes to an alternative school downtown. But it's just when they're finally out of each other's shadows that the trouble begins. Meg's aspirations for popularity and a boyfriend combine with Edward's devious planning and lack of singing ability to set off a showdown the likes of which twindom has never before seen.

Why is this final showdown so much fun? Could it be that Meg and Edward are more alike than they thought?

Click here to read what Avi posted online about writing this book with his friend Rachel.  (I didn't realize he has a twin sister.)  This book was among Donna's books that I "inherited" when I helped her sister Jane clean out Donna's apartment.  It looks like fun, and it's about twins.  For those of you who don't know, I have twin daughters who are "identical," though they aren't exactly, you know.  This "twin novel" is about Edward (who says, "She's twelve noon, I'm midnight!") and Meg (who says, "I'm not like him at all!").  This is the book I want to read next.

Books I've finished in August so far
(Click that link to see my rating system and links to what I've posted about some of these books, as well as the other 54 books I've read this year.)

55.  Am I Alone Here? : Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live ~ by Peter Orner, illustrated by Eric Orner, 2016, essays, 6/10

"[He] understood that mostly what we humans do is daydream, that while we're going about the business of our lives in one direction, we're daydreaming it away in another" (p. 211).

"This is how we'll be remembered down the line, as caricatures in the mind of a surviving family member" (p. 218).

56.  How Do I Love You? ~ by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Carolyn Jayne Church, 2008, children's, 8/10

57.  Love Is . . . ~ by Wendy Anderson Halperin, 2001, picture book, 7/10

"What is love? . . . the love we express can best be seen in what we do and say" (back cover).

58.  Meditations: A Collection for Women ~ by Ronnie Polaneczky, edited by Virginia Mattingly, illustrated by Nancy Loggins Gonzales, 1996, gift book, 5/10

59.  The Awkward Owl ~ by Shawnda Blake, 2012, children's picture book, 10/10

60.  Coast Road ~ by Barbara Delinsky, 1998, fiction (California), 9/10

61.  Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America ~ by Amy Belding Brown, 2014, historical fiction (Massachusetts), 9/10

"As they ride past the hill where the meetinghouse stands guard over the stones of the burying ground, Mary recalls the last time she sat on the pew bench listening to her husband.  The world has become so disordered, it seems as if years — not months — have passed" (p. 172).

62.  To the Top! : A Gateway Arch Story ~ by Amanda E. Doyle, illustrated by Tony Waters, 2012, children's picture book, 9/10

63.  Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness ~ written and illustrated by Anastasia Higginbotham, 2018, children's picture book, 7/10

64.  Death Is Stupid ~ written and illustrated by Anastasia Higginbotham, 2016, children's picture book, 7/10

65.  The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy ~ by Michael F. Patton and Kevin Cannon (illustrator), 2015, philosophy, 6/10

"Knowledge about any subject becomes more robust as we question, challenge, and ultimately improve on it" (p. 11).

66.  The Mother I Could Have Been ~ by Kerry Fisher, 2019, fiction (England), 4/10

"And some people twisted and turned and agonised, trying to please everyone without ever pleasing themselves and, in the end, cauterized the pain of not fitting in, of not getting it right, by cutting themselves off" (p. 204).

Book I'm currently reading

No Happy Endings: A Memoir ~ by Nora McInerny, 2019, memoir, 288 pages

I've read only 50 pages since posting about it yesterday.  That's a mere 20% of the book, according to my Kindle.


Tomorrow morning is Clawdia's regular checkup with the vet.  She doesn't know it yet, but she can't eat after midnight and will be hungry and unhappy when I don't feed her in the morning.  In other words, I may not get a full night's sleep and have to be able to corral her in time to leave here at 7:45 a.m.  Because of Covid, it's a drop-off and I have to go back to pick her up later.  She will NOT be a happy camper tomorrow.

Words of the Day

checkup / check up / check-up
  • As a single word, checkup is a noun.  Example:  "Clawdia is going for a checkup tomorrow."
  • As two words, check up is a verb.  Example:  "We need to check up on Grandma."
  • When hyphenated words, check-up is an adjective.  Example:  "I need to schedule a check-up appointment."
Same letters, different "spellings" and different meanings . . . BUT . . . not all the online sources I found agree on these differences.  I think I'll just leave it as it is and use a phrase like "get Clawdia's health checked."

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

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Beginning ~ with a question

No Happy Endings: A Memoir ~ by Nora McInerny, 2019, memoir, 288 pages

Life has a million different ways to kick you right in the chops.  We lose love, lose jobs, lose our sense of self.  For Nora McInerny, it was losing her husband, her father, and her unborn second child in one catastrophic year.

But in the wake of loss, we get to assemble something new from whatever is left behind.  Some circles call finding happiness after loss “Chapter 2” — the continuation of something else.  Today, Nora is remarried and mothers four children aged 16 months to 16 years.  While her new circumstances bring her extraordinary joy, they are also tinged with sadness over the loved ones she’s lost.

Life has made Nora a reluctant expert in hard conversations.  On her wildly popular podcast, she talks about painful experiences we inevitably face, and exposes the absurdity of the question “how are you?” that people often ask when we’re coping with the aftermath of emotional catastrophe.  She knows intimately that when your life falls apart, there’s a mad rush to be okay — to find a silver lining, to get to the happy ending.  In this, her second memoir, Nora offers a tragicomic exploration of the tension between finding happiness and holding space for the unhappy experiences that have shaped us.

No Happy Endings is a book for people living life after life has fallen apart.  It’s a book for people who know that they’re moving forward, not moving on.  It’s a book for people who know life isn’t always happy, but it isn’t the end:  there will be unimaginable joy and incomprehensible tragedy.  As Nora reminds us, there will be no happy endings — but there will be new beginnings.

I decided this was the next book I wanted to read when I noticed the title of Chapter 3 was Don't 'Should' Yourself.  I figured I could find an image of that, and I did.  Right beside it was the definition, not from the book itself, but from somebody "out there" on the internet somewhere.  I found them side by side:

Oh, you want me to share the book's beginning lines?  Okay, here are the first sentences from the Introduction and the first sentences from Chapter 1.  Chapter 3 and Don't 'Should' Yourself will have to wait until I get that far into the book.


The question came from the back of the room and hung in the air long after it had been asked.  The tone was hopeful and anticipatory, as if the asker thought she was opening a gift for the entire audience.

"Are you . . . pregnant?"

Chapter 1

So you think you're ready to have a breakdown, do ya?  Well, take it from a woman who has spent more than one afternoon sobbing in her minivan in the Costco parking lot:  you're probably closer than you think you are.  And if not, getting there won't be as hard as you think.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts 
(Yes, I know I'm a day late.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Two new books for Kindle

Brigid of Kildare ~ by Heather Terrell, 2009, fiction (Ireland)

Rich in historical detail, Heather Terrell’s mesmerizing novel Brigid of Kildare is the story of the revolutionary Saint Brigid and the discovery of the oldest illuminated manuscript in the annals of the Church, a manuscript that contains an astonishing secret history. 
Fifth-century Ireland:  Brigid is Ireland’s first and only female priest and bishop.  Followers flock to her Kildare abbey and scriptorium.  Hearing accounts of Brigid’s power, the Church deems her a threat and sends Decius, a Roman priest and scribe, on a secret mission to collect proof of Brigid’s heresy.  As Decius records the unorthodox practices of Brigid and her abbey, he becomes intrigued by her.  When Brigid assigns Decius a holy task — to create the most important and sacred manuscript ever made — he finds himself at odds with his original mission and faces the most difficult decision of his life.

Modern day:  Alexandra Patterson, an appraiser of medieval relics, has been summoned to Kildare to examine a reliquary box believed to belong to Saint Brigid.  Hidden within the sacred box is the most beautiful illuminated manuscript Alex has ever seen.  But even more extraordinary is the contents of the manuscript’s vellum pages, which may have dire repercussions for the Catholic Church and could very well rewrite the origins of Christianity.

The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death
~ edited by David Shields and Bradford Morrow, 2011, psychology

What is death and how does it touch upon life?  Twenty writers look for answers.  Birth is not inevitable.  Life certainly isn't.  The sole inevitability of existence, the only sure consequence of being alive, is death.  In these eloquent and surprising essays, twenty writers face this fact, among them Geoff Dyer, who describes the ghost bikes memorializing those who die in biking accidents; Jonathan Safran Foer, proposing a new way of punctuating dialogue in the face of a family history of heart attacks and decimation by the Holocaust; Mark Doty, whose reflections on the art-porn movie Bijou lead to a meditation on the intersection of sex and death epitomized by the AIDS epidemic; and Joyce Carol Oates, who writes about the loss of her husband and faces her own mortality.  Other contributors include Annie Dillard, Diane Ackerman, Peter Straub, and Brenda Hillman. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Feeling discouraged


My sister's son died of Covid on January 1st of this year, and yesterday my brother's son posted on Facebdook:
"Prayers appreciated.  My wife, 1-year-old son, and 3-year-old daughter have Covid.  Get vaccinated, folks; this is not just about you." 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Beginning ~ with an omen


"Later, Mary will trace the first signs of the Lord's displeasure back to a hot July morning in 1672 when she pauses on her way to the barn to watch the sun rise burnt orange over the meeting-house.  She feels a momentary sinking in her bowels as it flashes like fire through a damp haze, putting her in mind of the terrors of hell.  She has never been adept at reading omens."

Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America ~ by Amy Belding Brown, 2014, historical fiction (Massachusetts)

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676.  Even before Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community.  Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the ongoing bloody struggle between English settlers and native people.

Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness.  To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer.  All her life, Mary has been taught to fear God, submit to her husband, and abhor Indians.  Now, having lived on the other side of the forest, she begins to question the edicts that have guided her, torn between the life she knew and the wisdom the natives have shown her.

Based on the compelling true narrative of Mary Rowlandson, Flight of the Sparrow is an evocative tale that transports the reader to a little-known time in early America and explores the real meanings of freedom, faith, and acceptance.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts 

Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Monday Musing

Newest book on my Kindle

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" ~ by Zora Neale Hurston, foreword by Alice Walker, 2018, cultural anthropology, 208 pages
In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis.  Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history.  Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.

In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship.  Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life.  During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past ― memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.

Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it.  Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.
Words of the Day

bar·ra·coon /ˌberəˈko͞on / noun (historical) = an enclosure in which black slaves were confined for a limited period.  Example:  "Cudjo Lewis and other slaves were held in a barracoon."

an·thro·pol·o·gy /ˌanTHrəˈpäləjē / noun = the study of human societies and cultures and their development.  Example:  "Zora Neale Hurston was a cultural anthropologist."

per·ni·cious / pərˈniSHəs / adjective = having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.  Example:  "Slavery is a pernicious legacy in the United States."

Rings on my fingers

On my left hand is the Tree of Life, a ring people around the Crown Center recognize because Donna wore it frequently.  The ring on my right hand looks like tiny cat paws wrapped around my finger; it makes me think of Clawdia.  On the one hand, I'm remembering Donna (who died July 24th); and on the other hand, I'm thinking of my furry little roommate named Clawdia.

Having rings on my fingers reminds me of this nursery rhyme I learned as a child:
No, I don't have bells on my toes, and I haven't ridden a horse in decades.  I make music by playing the piano or my cedar flute — or by playing the radio.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

August readathon

It's readathon time again.  The official hours are from Friday 7:00 pm CST until Saturday at 7:00 pm, so I'll be reading whenever I can during this time.  The books I'm reading include the small gift book Meditations: A Collection for Women by Ronnie Polaneczky (1996) and the novel Coast Road by Barbara Delinsky (1998).  I simply plan to do a lot of reading today and skip the hourly challenges.  Only 15 signed up?  It's a sacrilege!

Friday, August 6, 2021

Beginning ~ with a phone call

"When the phone rang, Rachel Keats was painting sea otters.  She was working in oils and had finally gotten the right mix of black for the eyes.  There was no way she was stopping to pick up the phone."

Coast Road ~ by Barbara Delinsky, 1998, fiction (California)
Jack McGill chose his architectural career over his family, and returned home from yet another business trip to find that his wife, Rachel, had left him.  Now, six years later, a car accident has left Rachel clinging to life, and she and their two daughters desperately need him.  Putting work on hold for the first time in his life, Jack decides to sit by his ex-wife's bedside.  As he meets Rachel's many new friends, and tries to cope with two teenage daughters and their problems, he learns more about a woman he never really knew, her expressive art, and the secret that made her leave.  Much to his astonishment, Jack begins to see Rachel, his daughters, and the story of his marriage with new eyes.

I'm enjoying the book so far, but wondering what Rachel ever saw in this guy in the first place.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts 
Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Why I am totally frustrated with Facebook

I got on Facebook in the first place so I could see photos of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Now the powers that be at FB show me mostly photos of friends (and often not even my closest friends), rarely any from family and the people I'd most like to keep up with.  Now I'm getting lots and lots and LOTS of "suggestions" of people I might know and remote friends of my FB friends.  I don't CARE about adding more people!  I would really, really like to see the posts of my loved ones.

Nursery rhymes

When I was a child, I loved stories and poems like the one illustrated above, which was about "the old woman who lived in a shoe."  Do you know her, too?  Here's the poem I learned as a child in the 1940s:

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

The version I remember (or think I remember) was "spanked them all soundly and put them to bed."  Wikipedia gives several variations of this, so my version was probably one that was published along the way.  Today, whipping or spanking would probably be considered child abuse, but it happened back in my day.

What I have enjoyed about Facebook is finding puns like this visual pun.  I love the idea that when the children grew up and moved on, their elderly mother moved into a flat.  The pun only works if you call women's shoes like these "flats."  I've always gotten a kick out of puns and playing with words.

Now, why I'm sharing all this:  I've decided I've had enough of Facebook, at least for now.  I'll spend my time reading the books on my shelves rather than random stuff Facebook decides to allow me to see.  So I'll post this on my blog and then post that link at the top of what I leave on Facebook for all the world to see.  Buh-bye, Facebook.  I've had enough of what YOU think I should be allowed to see.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Altruistic August 2021

The Altruistic August calendar from the folks at Action for Happiness has daily actions to help us be altruistic.  Altruism is vital for the human race to survive and thrive; and each of our lives is supported by countless kind acts from other people.  Yet in our world today, so much is directing us to think only about ourselves — and we often forget the happiness that comes by caring for others.  This August Action for Happiness is asking everyone to do one kind act per day.  Let's create a wave of kindness to spread around the world.

August 1 ~ Set an intention to be kind to others (and yourself) this month.
August 2 ~ Send an uplifting message to someone you can't be with.
August 3 ~ Be kind and supportive to everyone you interact with.
August 4 ~ Ask someone how they feel, and really listen to their reply.
August 5 ~ Spend time wishing for other people to be happy and well.
August 6 ~ Smile and be friendly to the people you see today.
August 7 ~ Give time to help a project or cause you care about.
August 8 ~ Make some tasty food for someone who will appreciate it.
August 9 ~ Thank someone you're grateful to, and tell them why.
August 10 ~ Check in with someone who may be lonely or feeling anxious.
August 11 ~ Share an encouraging news story to inspire others.
August 12 ~ Contact a friend to let them know you're thinking of them.
August 13 ~ If someone annoys you, be kind.  Imagine how they may be feeling.
August 14 ~ Take an action to be kind to nature and care for our planet.
August 15 ~ No plans day!  Be kind to yourself so you can be kind to others, too.
August 16 ~ Make a thoughtful gift as a surprise for someone.
August 17 ~ Be kind online.  Share positive and supportive comments.
August 18 ~ Today do something to make life easier for someone else.
August 19 ~ Be thankful for your food and the people who made it possible.
August 20 ~ Look for the good in everyone you meet today.
August 21 ~ Donate unused items, clothes or food to help a local charity.
August 22 ~ Give people the gift of your full attention.
August 23 ~ Share an article, book, or podcast you found helpful.
August 24 ~ Forgive someone who hurt you in the past.
August 25 ~ Give your time energy, or attention to help someone in need.
August 26 ~ Find a way to "pay it forward" or support a good cause.
August 27 ~ Notice when someone is down, and try to brighten their day.
August 28 ~ Have a friendly chat with someone you don't know very well.
August 29 ~ Do something kind to help in your local community.
August 30 ~ Give away something to help those who don't have as much as you.
August 31 ~ Share Action for Happiness with other people today.