Monday, January 31, 2022
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Y'all'd've = triple contraction of "you all would have." It's colloquial, used mostly in the South and in neighboring regions. Example: "We could've met y'all there, if y'all'd've just told us!" (For those who wonder — no, I've never seen this "word" in print.)
Saturday, January 29, 2022
My mother used to make a delicious pineapple upside down cake. This one, using bananas, looks very simple to make.
Friday, January 28, 2022
Nineteen years before she decided to die, Nora Seed sat in the warmth of the small library at Hazeldene School in the town of Bedford. She sat at a low table staring at a chess board."Nora, dear, it's natural to worry about your future," said the librarian, Mrs. Elm, her eyes twinkling.Mrs. Elm made her first move. A knight hopping over the neat row of white pawns. "Of course, you're going to be worried about the exams. But you could be anything you want to be, Nora. Think of all that possibility. It's exciting."
With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every decision she regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren't always what she imagined they'd be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: What is the best way to live?
Thursday, January 27, 2022
I think that's the Electric Power Board building on the left, with J. C. Penney's in the middle behind the streetcar. Oh, wait! Now I see the Penney's sign on the corner of the white building.
Hmm, this could be Broad Street, a block over from Market Street. It does seem to be wider. But where? I'm not sure if we're facing north or south. Or maybe it's Market Street with no cars parked on either side.
Here are the 1913 Chattanooga streetcar routes. Downtown is south of the Tennessee River. The route at top left goes up Signal Mountain and the one at bottom left goes to Lookout Mountain, with the Incline Railway being the straight line up the side of the mountain. Rossville is just south of where the route crosses over into Georgia on the right, with Chickamauga National Park (the battlefield) at bottom right, south of Fort Oglethorpe. I see Dodds Avenue intersecting just above the state line, with Main Street (and East Main Street) passing near National Cemetery and meeting Dodds Avenue.
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
At the height of Palm Beach’s charity ball season, Kiki Pew Fitzsimmons, a prominent member of geriatric high society, suddenly vanishes during a swank gala. Kiki Pew was a founding member of the Potussies, a group of women dedicated to supporting the President, who spends half the year at the “Winter White House” just down the road. Meanwhile, Angie Armstrong, wildlife wrangler extraordinaire, is called to the island to deal with a monster-sized Burmese python that has taken residency in a tree. But the President is focused on the disappearance of Kiki Pew. Never one to miss an opportunity to play to his base, he immediately declares her a victim of rampaging immigrant hordes. This, it turns out, is far from the truth, which now lies in the middle of the road, where a bizarre discovery brings the First Lady’s motorcade to a grinding halt. Irreverent, ingenious, and uproariously entertaining, Squeeze Me perfectly captures the absurdity of our times.
1. The word “end” is in endure, but endure means not to end.13. If you have to scroll, scroll HERE!
Sometimes, Snoopy, doing one thing is enough. Yes, pondering Colleen's words today is a very good thing, and it makes me smile.
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Does anyone know if I can still get rolls of films (and slides) developed anywhere? I've run across a few as I clean out boxes and stuff from my apartment.
Sunday, January 23, 2022
Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.
(See what Kate DiCamillo posted this week on Facebook by clicking HERE.)The Irish Cottage: Finding Elizabeth (The Irish Heart Series Book 1) ~ by Juliet Gauvin, 2014, fiction (Ireland), 349 pages
Elizabeth Lara built a perfect life as San Francisco’s top divorce attorney, but when she loses her great-aunt Mags, the woman who raised her, she boards a plane and leaves it all behind. The Irish shores welcome her as she learns a shocking truth, kept secret for thirty-five years. Devastated and now alone in the world, Beth tries to find peace in a beautiful cottage by Lough Rhiannon . . . but peace isn’t what fate had in mind. Almost as soon as she arrives, Beth’s solitary retreat into the magic wilds of Ireland is interrupted by Connor Bannon. A man with light brown hair, ice blue eyes, and a secret. With the help of Mags’ letters, the colorful townspeople of Dingle, and Connor, Elizabeth might just find a way back to the girl she lost long ago and become the woman she always wanted to be.The Storyteller of Casablanca ~ by Fiona Valpy, 2021, historical fiction, 305 pages
Morocco, 1941. With France having fallen to Nazi occupation, twelve-year-old Josie has fled with her family to Casablanca, where they await safe passage to America. Life here is as intense as the sun, every sight, smell and sound overwhelming to the senses in a city filled with extraordinary characters. It’s a world away from the trouble back home — and Josie loves it.
Seventy years later, another new arrival in the intoxicating port city, Zoe, is struggling — with her marriage, her baby daughter, and her new life as an expat in an unfamiliar place. But when she discovers a small wooden box and a diary from the 1940s beneath the floorboards of her daughter’s bedroom, Zoe enters the inner world of young Josie, who once looked out on the same view of the Atlantic Ocean, but who knew a very different Casablanca.
It’s not long before Zoe begins to see her adopted city through Josie’s eyes. But can a new perspective help her turn tragedy into hope, and find the comfort she needs to heal her broken heart?
- A Vow of Silence (Book 1, first published in 1990) ~ The Daughters of Compassion share a chilling secret they cannot confess: Sister Sophia is dead. Another nun is missing. What’s going on with them? It’s up to newcomer Sister Joan to uncover the truth. She’s faced her own demons, but can she save her sisters from theirs?
- A Vow of Chastity (Book 2, first published in 1991) ~ Evil. Temptation. Mystery. Dark doings are afoot in the sisters’ quiet corner of Cornwall. A teenager vanishes and Sister Joan feels compelled to lead the search to find him. But is it out of duty? Or some other motive that is decidedly less pure of heart?
- A Vow of Sanctity (Book 3, first published in 1993) ~ Sister Joan heads to the shores of Loch Morag for a retreat. But trouble has a way of finding her, even in the middle of nowhere. After a storm, a body surfaces in the loch. Who was he? The villagers close ranks in the face of Joan’s questions. But she won’t rest until she unearths the truth.
- A Vow of Obedience (Book 4, first published in 1993) ~ A teen girl vanishes from home in the night. Days on, Sister Joan finds her body in the schoolhouse, dressed in wedding white. A second young girl turns up strangled, and Joan realizes a killer is stalking the moors. Can she catch up to him before more innocent victims die?
- A Vow of Penance (Book 5, first published in 1995) ~ When the rectory housekeeper is found dead, everyone assumes it’s suicide. But Sister Joan is not so sure. Then a John Doe turns up dead, mutilated — and his killing leads Sister Joan back to a much older crime. What if the key to this mystery lies buried twenty years in the past?
- From the Dark We Rise ~ by Marion Kummerow, 2021, historical fiction (Germany), 281 pages, 7/10
- A Light in the Window ~ by Marion Kummerow, 2021, historical fiction (Germany), 280 pages, 6/10
- War Girl Lotte ~ by Marion Kummerow, 2017, historical fiction (Germany), 180 pages, 7/10
- Croissants and Corruption ~ by Danielle Collins, 2017, cozy mystery (Virginia), 164 pages, 8/10
- Mrs. Peachtree and the Eighth Avenue Cat ~ by Erica Silverman, illustrations by Ellen Beier, 1994, children's picture book, 32 pages, 8/10
- Caterpillar Kisses: Lessons My Kindergarten Class Taught Me About Life ~ by Christine Pisera Naman, 2005, anecdotes, 100 pages, 9/10
- West with Giraffes ~ by Linda Rutledge, 2021, historical fiction, 381 pages, 7/10
- Wish You Were Here ~ by Jodi Picoult, 2021, fiction, (New York and Galápagos), 325 pages, 9.5/10
- Chester's Way ~ by Kevin Henkes, 1988, children's picture book, 32 pages, 10/10
- The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread ~ by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering, 2003, children's fantasy, 272 pages, 8/10
- "There is a profound difference between knowing your situation is temporary and not knowing what's coming next" (p. 74).
- "Isolation, I think, is the worst thing in the world" (p. 78).
- "In the grand scheme of things, losing dollars is nothing compared to losing time" (p. 104).
- "There aren't clocks in hospital rooms, and your sleep keeps getting disturbed, and the lights never really go out fully, so it's hard to get a sense of time passing. Sometimes I'm not sure if hours have gone by, or days" (p. 203).
- "Okay . . . what if death wasn't the ending you've been told it is? What if time is like fabric, a bolt that's so long you can't see where it starts or it ends? . . . Maybe at the moment a person dies, that life gets compressed so small and dense it's like a pinprick in the cloth. It may be that at that point, you enter a new reality. A new stitch in time, basically" (p. 270).
Saturday, January 22, 2022
Friday, January 21, 2022
"No coincidence, no story," my a-ma recites, and that seems to settle everything, as it usually does, after First Brother finishes telling us about the dream he had last night. I don't know how many times my mother has used this praising aphorism during the ten years I've been on this earth.
Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple. Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives. In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people.
This is a history of the tea trade. Lisa See shares the customs of a Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.
After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life, while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.
Thursday, January 20, 2022
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
When he came back the fourth time, he was holding his mother’s hand.
“That’s her,” he said.
He pointed at me.
“Don’t point, honey,” said his mother.
And then to me she said, “My son’s class is reading The Tale of Despereaux. He thinks that you’re the author of that book.”
“I’m the writer!” I said.
“Oh,” she said. “How lovely. Is it okay if he asks you a question?”
“Absolutely,” I said.
“Go ahead, honey,” she said to the boy.
This child looked up at me and said, “What I want to know is will it be okay? Will the mouse be okay?”
“Yes,” I told him.
“Oh,” he said. “Good. Now I can relax my heart.”
“Yes,” I said again. “You can.”
Oh, his heart!
Oh, my heart!
Oh, all our hearts!
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Monday, January 17, 2022
Sunday, January 16, 2022
Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s an associate specialist at Sotheby’s now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos — days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they’d booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself — and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.
Saturday, January 15, 2022
Friday, January 14, 2022
I had not been teaching long before I realized that amid the ordinary hustle and bustle of each school day, blessed little events, magical tiny moments, and lovely little coincidences were happening around me. I felt sure these happenings were heaven sent. I felt in awe that I was the only one (well, the only one over four feet tall anyway) to witness them.)
A former kindergarten teacher, Christine Pisera Naman watched over many classes of five-year-olds as they made their way through the school year and discovered new things about themselves and the world around them. In Caterpillar Kisses, she turns her observations and insights into twelve delightful real-life vignettes, one for each month of the year. The stories bring to life events that help these wiggly, unsure caterpillars grow into beautiful and confident butterflies. Alternately laugh-out-loud funny and poignant, this book illustrates the good things that come from looking at life through the eyes of children. It is perfect for anyone looking for the magic in everyday life.
I am part of a weekly study/discussion group. We close each session with the following prayer, the author of which is anonymous:
- a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
- a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
- a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
- a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.