Sunday, May 29, 2022

Book report ~ what I'm reading now

The Butterfly Effect ~ by Rachel Mans McKenny, 2020, fiction (Iowa and Costa Rica), 328 pages

Is there such a thing as an anti-social butterfly?  If there were, Greta Oto would know about it — and totally relate.  Greta, an entomologist, far prefers the company of bugs to humans, and that's okay, because people don't seem to like her all that much anyway, except for her twin brother, Danny.  They've recently had a falling out, though.  So when she lands a research gig in the rainforest, she leaves it all behind.  But when Greta learns that Danny has suffered an aneurysm and is now hospitalized, she abandons her research and hurries home to the middle of nowhere America to be there for her brother.  But there's only so much she can do, and unfortunately just like insects, humans don't stay cooped up in their hives either; they buzz about and socialize.

Coming home means confronting all that she left behind, including her lousy soon-to-be sister-in-law, her estranged mother, and her ex-boyfriend Brandon who has conveniently found a new non-lab-exclusive partner with shiny hair, perfect teeth, who can actually remember the names of the people she meets right away.  Since Brandon runs the only butterfly conservatory in town, and her dissertation is now in jeopardy, taking that job, being back home, it's all creating chaos of Greta's perfectly catalogued and compartmentalized world.  But real life is messy, and Greta will have to ask herself if she has the courage to open up for the people she loves, and for those who want to love her.  Sometimes it takes stepping outside of our comfort zone to find what we need the most.

I bought this for my Kindle last summer, but I haven't read it yet.  Yes, I admit that I buy books faster than I can read them.  This will count for my TBR 22 in '22 Challenge of reading 22 books from my TBR shelves this year.

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Catty remarks

With apologies to Alexander Pope, whose version is slightly different.

On the other hand, purring is such lovely meowsic.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Word quiz

I know, I know!!  Okay, I confess that I've seen this before, but I know the word.  Do you?

Monday, May 23, 2022

A time to muse

Monday is a good time for musing, and this is a good subject to muse about when the news is usually awful.  Leave a positive comment about something — anything good!

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Another Sunday book report

Fiction I'm reading

Where the Desert Meets the Sea ~ by Werner Sonne, translated by Steve Anderson, 2019, historical fiction (Israel), 258 pages (for my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2022).

Memoir I'm reading

North to Paradise ~ by Ousman Umar, translated by Kevin Gerry Dunn, 2022 (in English), memoir (Ghana), 159 pages

Still reading

The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey Into the Feline Heart
~ by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, 2002, animal psychology

I've read six of the nine chapters (Narcissism, Love, Contentment, Attachment, Jealousy, and Fear), mostly because it's an interesting but not compelling subject.  Now to read about the other three emotions (Anger, Curiosity, and Playfulness).  Now I wonder how the author will deal with Curiosity, which "killed the cat."

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

Saturday, May 21, 2022

My little cat has been grumpy lately

I don't know why we love Grumpy Cat memes, but I really like this smiling cat a lot more than the grumpy one.  Isn't that a sweet face?  Clawdia did not give me her opinion, but I was looking at Grumpy Cat memes in the first place because Clawdia seems to have gotten grumpy in her old age.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Beginning ~ with a group exercise


Thomas Aquinas said that a mistake in our understanding of creation will necessarily cause a mistake in our understanding of God.  Imagine what that means for us who live in an age in which scientific discoveries have taken us far beyond the truths we held in our youth.  Our understanding of the universe has undergone a revolution in our lifetime ... When I facilitate days of reflection with groups I often begin by placing a thimble full of sand on a large dark blue circle of paper and then inviting retreatants to enter into the following exercise: 
  • Imagine that each grain of sand is a star.
Radical Amazement: Contemplative Lessons from Black Holes, Supernovas, and Other Wonders of the Universe ~ by Judy Cannato, 2006, science and religion, 158 pages

Twentieth century science revolutionized human understanding of the world, rewriting the story of the universe with exciting discoveries and theories — the big bang, the relativity of space and time, the accelerating expansion of the universe, along with increasingly refined ideas about evolution and the origin of life.  Radical Amazement unifies the worlds of science and religion, weaving profound spiritual lessons from our new knowledge.  Through thoughtful and practical reflections, enhanced by prayers and meditations, Judy Cannato reveals the connectedness of all creation and invites us to explore the harmony of science and spirituality.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts
Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Two books from the library ~ by Anna Quindlen

How Reading Changed My Life ~ by Anna Quindlen, 1998, memoir, 96 pages

From the Inside Flap — THE LIBRARY OF CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT is a groundbreaking series where America's finest writers and most brilliant minds tackle today's most provocative, fascinating, and relevant issues. Striking and daring, creative and important, these original voices on matters political, social, economic, and cultural, will enlighten, comfort, entertain, enrage, and ignite healthy debate across the country.

I like this quote from Anna Quindlen, who is one of my favorite authors.  I like reading her books so much that I disregarded my own intent to "read books from my own shelves" for awhile — and requested How Reading Changed My Life from my library, because it was mentioned in something I was reading.  While I was at it, I went ahead and reserved another of her books.  So here's my second "library loot" of the day:

Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting ~ by Anna Quindlen, 2019, memoir, 175 pages

I like a comment someone left online about this book:  "She [Quindlen] is able to zoom in on the wonder of her first grandchild, while also zooming out to see him — and herself — as part of a family chain that stretches forward and backward."  The two commandments for being a grandparent, according to Anna Quindlen, are to love your grandchild and keep your mouth shut.  That sounds about right to me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

TWOsday ~ in the Circle@Crown Café

This morning, I spend a couple of hours in the Café, eating and talking with friends and getting to know Meredith.  At 4:00 pm, I'll be back over there for a concert featuring Jim McClaren playing the guitar and the harmonica.  I got this photo from his website.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday book report

Book I'm reading

1001 Dumbest Things Ever Said ~ edited by Steven D. Price, 2004, humor, 272 pages.  A collection of stupid utterances from people who were either idiots or had mental lapses.

Books completed

We Turn to Face the Sun ~ by Stephanianna Lozito, 2022, fiction, 290 pages, 9/10

The Orphanage (Shilling Grange Children’s Home Book 1) ~ by Lizzie Page, 2021, historical fiction (England), 402 pages, 9/10

Cozy I'll read next

Oy Vey, Maria! : A Mrs. Kaplan Mystery ~ by Mark Reutlinger, 2021, cozy mystery, 186 pages.  This is for my Cruisin' thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2022.

Next novel on my Kindle

A Span of Moments ~ by Robert Beech, 2020, fiction (Florida), 302 pages.          I made this photo large to see the sand and water along the shore (and so              I could read the words on the cover).  I wrote about the content HERE.

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Weekend PUN-ishment

A friend sent me these "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad puns," as she labeled them.  Thanks, Gail.
  • I never thought orthopedic shoes would really work for me, but I stand corrected.
  • Once upon a time there was a king who was only twelve inches tall.  He was a terrible king, but he made a great ruler.
  • A Mexican magician said he would disappear on the count of three.  He said, "Uno, dos..."  Poof, he disappeared without a "tres."
  • I wrote a book on how to fall down the stairs.  It's a step by step guide.
  • My son was chewing on electric cords, so I had to ground him.  It's OK, though.  He's doing better and conducting himself properly.
  • My friend claims that he accidentally glued himself to his autobiography.  I don't believe him, but that's his story and he's sticking to it.
  • An armed man ran into a real estate agency and shouted, "Nobody move!"
  • My neighbor got drunk yesterday and threw up in the elevator on his way home; it was disgusting on so many levels.
  • Why did the Mexican take anti-anxiety medication?  For Hispanic attacks.
  • I asked the surgeon if I could administer my own anesthetic.  He said:  "Sure, knock yourself out!"
  • I got into a fight today with 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.  The odds were really against me.
  • In Britain it's called a lift, but Americans call it an elevator.  I guess we were just raised differently.
  • I've heard that 97% of people are stupid.  I'm glad I'm in the other 5%.
  • The Lord said to John, "Come forth, and ye shall receive eternal life."  But John came fifth and got a toaster instead.
  • And finally, I have two unwritten rules:  (1)____________________ (2)_____________________________________________________

Friday, May 13, 2022

It's Friday

My new Friday 5 is any five things I choose to write about.  This week, let's talk about Fridays.

1.  Today is Friday the 13th.  Are you superstitious?

su·per·sti·tious /ˌso͞opərˈstiSHəs / adjective = having or showing a belief in superstitions.  Example:  "Many superstitious people believe that Friday the 13th brings bad luck."

2.  Friday the 13th is often associated with black cats, but is Clawdia bad luck?

3.  I like Fridays because I was born on a Friday.  Would you say I'm loving and giving?

4.  Friday is a welcome day to the folks who write TGIF, which means "Thank God It's Friday!"  But why?

5.  Because Friday is the end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

A place for "bookies"

Here's part of our little library here at the Crown Center.  I think it's interesting that I've known at least three other English-speaking residents (besides myself) who worked in libraries before retirement.  The Crown Center has a volunteer program so residents can offer to help with various activities.  Most of us with library experience naturally chose to re-shelve the books that have been dropped in the return slot.  The Russian and Chinese books, of course, are re-shelved by speakers of those languages.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Happy Birthday, Sue

Yesterday was Sue's birthday, and here are some of us who sang the happy birthday to her in our Circle@Crown Café.  Shannon is on the left, Sue is in the middle, and Sandy is on the right.  Maybe next year we can include Judy, Sue's twin sister, in the festivities.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Tiramisu was her favorite dessert

Tiramisu was my friend Donna's favorite dessert.  Donna was cremated when she died last year, so today her sister and I took her ashes to a scatter garden in a cemetery nearby.  The two of us had our own small "celebration" of Donna's life.  Then we went to celebrate with two things that we knew Donna really liked to eat:  crispy fries from Five Guys and tiramisu.  Salty and sweet.  First, we went to the scatter garden:

Now, her ashes are beneath that third stone (on the right), and a plaque will be added soon to the marker behind it.  From the cemetery, we went to get the fries and tiramisu.  Then we drove back to the Crown Center, where Donna and I lived, and sat at a table in the grassy area outside to eat and talk.

I forgot to add that Donna was known for sharing candy here at Crown.  So when we got the tiramisu, we also bought a bag of mini-candies.  While we chatted at a table in the grassy area, we called people over to share a bite or two of candy in Donna's name.  They remembered, and they grinned.  And then this robin came along.  It was almost like Donna sent it to brighten our day and see what we were doing.  I think it's been a very good day.  (Click to enlarge photo.)

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Mother's Day

This photo of Mildred and Bill was taken by Jim in 1976.  That looks like me behind them.  Anyway, it was taken at my house on the mountain, and I'm pretty sure that's David in the plaid jacket in the background.

I took this photo of my mother in 1987, when she lived with me on Avalon Circle.  My friend Donna knew it was my favorite snapshot of Mom, so she had it enlarged and framed for me when Mom died in 2004.  I still have it across from where I'm sitting.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Beginning ~ with their only hope

The Orphanage (Shilling Grange Children’s Home Book 1) ~ by Lizzie Page, 2021, historical fiction (England), 402 pages

She was their only hope.  Now they are hers.  Clara Newton is the new Housemother of Shilling Grange Orphanage, 1948.  Many of the children were bombed out of their homes and left without families, their lives torn apart by the war.  Devastated by the loss of her fiancé, a brave American pilot, she is just looking for a place to start again.

The orphans are in desperate need of her help.  Funds are short, children cry out in the night, and tearful Rita tells Clara terrible stories about the nuns who previously ran Shilling Grange.  Clara cannot bear to see them suffer, but what does she know about how to look after eight little ones?  Clara can’t get anything right, and then accidentally ruins Rita’s only memento of her mother.  Overwhelmed, she wonders if they’d be better off without her.

Living next door is Ivor: an ex-Shilling Grange resident, war hero, and handyman with deep brown eyes.  He doesn’t trust Clara, who is fiercely independent, but he has a way with the children.  With his support and the help of other locals, Clara begins to find her way.  As she heals from her grief and adjusts to her new life, Clara wonders if she has finally found her home and family among the orphans.  Can she find the strength to fight for them when nobody else will?

This is historical fiction and counts for my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2022.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Antiracist Baby

Antiracist Baby ~ by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky, 2020, children's picture book, 24 pages, 9/10
This book lays the groundwork for important conversations with children about racism.  While we were waiting for the lights to come back on after a day without electricity in our apartments (due to construction of a new building in our retirement complex), a friend mentioned this book to me.  When I said I'd like to borrow it, she went right up to her apartment and got it for me.  As a children's picture book, it was a quick and easy read, so I finished it in no time, while we were having what someone called a "lights out party" in the lobby.  The lights stayed on all day on the first floor, so we partied with sandwiches, pizzas, salads, and bottled water toward the end of the day when our apartments were dark.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Words from W-E-A-T-H-E-R, an update

Flooding seen right outside my apartment window after heavy rain in 2011.

"What words can you make with the letters in WEATHER?" I posted on this blog, after Toni and Sandy and I had come up with a dozen or so words using those letters.  People left comments, and we discovered that "weather" is full of other words, which just kept coming to our minds:
  • Toni:  ate, we, her, the, wet, wrath
  • Bonnie:  wreath, thaw, haw, hew, hat, hare, heat, hear
  • Sandy:  wheat, wart, heart, wrath
  • Bonnie:  awe, raw, war, hate, eat, tea, awe, were, ware
  • Genies:  thaw, what, wear, rate, threw
  • Bonnie:  there, haw, whee, what, whet
  • Carolyn:  wheat, what, the, rat, eat, there, her, here
  • Bonnie:  at, art, ear, wee, taw, tar, ether
  • Jenn:  where, heart, eater, water, reheat, wreathe, ether, earth, whereat, hewer
  • Shon:  we, eat, her, at, the

Some words in the list may be repeated, but these people were not seeing what others had sent me.  We were all having a grand time.  If you want to sort out the words and tell us a final tally, please do.  The letters W-E-A-T-H-E-R make a lot of other words!  It feels like a "million" words to me (yes, I am exaggerating).

Toni wrote, "It said five, so I stopped my brain at six !!!! amor."  ("Amor" is the Spanish word, which means "love" in English.)  Toni was quoting the post we'd found on Facebook, which suggested we try to make five words from the letters in WEATHER.  Even though she screeched to a stop, she couldn't help sliding right into that sixth word before she could stop herself.  Way to go, Toni!!!  I admit that I kept coming back to it again and again, and so did others.

If anyone finds another word (or two or three or four), let me know and I'll add them to our list.  Notice that I highlighted wreathe and whereat.  Those two words use all seven letters in W-E-A-T-H-E-R.  Ding, ding, ding!  Jenn is definitely a word whiz!

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Meaningful May 2022

The Meaningful May 2022 calendar is designed by the folks at Action for Happiness.  Here are suggested actions for each day:

1 ~ Do something kind for someone you really care about.
2 ~ Focus on what you can do rather than what you can't do.
3 ~ Take a step towards an important goal, however small.
4 ~ Send your friend a photo from a time you enjoyed together.
5 ~ Let someone know how much they mean to you and why.
6 ~ Look for people doing good and reasons to be cheerful.
7 ~ Make a list of what matters most to you and why.
8 ~ Set yourself a kindness mission to help others today.
9 ~ What values are important to you?  Find ways to use them today.
10 ~ Be grateful for the little things, even in difficult times.
11 ~ Look around for things that bring you a sense of awe and wonder.
12 ~ Listen to a favorite piece of music and remember what it means to you.
13 ~ Find out about the values or traditions of another culture.
14 ~ Get outside and notice the beauty in nature.
15 ~ Do something to contribute to your local community.
16 ~ Show your gratitude to people who are helping to make things better.
17 ~ Find a way to make what you do today meaningful.
18 ~ Send a hand-written note to someone you care about.
19 ~ Reflect on what makes you feel valued and purposeful.
20 ~ Share photos of three things you find meaningful or memorable.
21 ~ Look up at the sky.  Remember we are all part of something bigger.
22 ~ Find a way to help a project or charity you care about.
23 ~ Recall three things you've done that you are proud of.
24 ~ Make choices that have a positive impact for others today.
25 ~ Ask someone else what matters most to them and why.
26 ~ Remember an event in your life that was really meaningful.
27 ~ Focus on how your actions make a difference for others.
28 ~ Do something special and revisit it in your memory tonight.
29 ~ Today do something to care for the natural world.
30 ~ Share a quote you find inspiring to give others a boost.
31 ~ Find three reasons to be hopeful about the future.