Sunday, December 31, 2023

Putting it all together ~ a lighthouse, a dragon, a book, and a coincidence

Fascinating Fact
Boston Light is America's first lighthouse and dates back to 1716.  Sally Snowman became the first female keeper in its history when she was appointed in 2003.  Boston Light was automated in 1998, but was still staffed by resident Coast Guard keeper, Sally Snowman until December 30, 2023.  Yep, she retired yesterday.  With our new technologies, there are now no more staffed lighthouses in America.  Read more HERE.
Chinese New Year

I don't remember how we got onto this subject, but my friend Dora and I were talking about the Chinese New Year yesterday.  So I looked it up and found that 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, and green is the designated auspicious color.  I was born in the Year of the Dragon, but I hadn't realized that's the one coming up in January.  Made me smile.  Not only that, but green is my favorite color.  This dragon (found HERE) has green on it.

The Undercover Secretary ~ by Ellie Midwood, 2023, historical fiction (France, Germany, and the Netherlands), 264 pages

Dora has lost everything to the Nazis.  Her dearest friends have disappeared into thin air.  Her parents have been imprisoned in concentration camps and murdered for the crime of simply existing.  She has no idea if her darling husband, the devoted and brave Alfred, is even alive.

Though her world is crashing and burning around her, Dora refuses to give in to Hitler’s tyranny.  The Nazis may have broken her heart, but they will not break her spirit.

Secretly working for the underground network in France, Dora risks her life on the most dangerous mission in the history of the local resistance.  She goes undercover as the secretary of the Head of Gestapo; a soldier with a brutal reputation.  A cold-blooded killer.

She is tasked with leaking the names of the SS to the British press.  Every day, she rubs shoulders with the enemy.  She makes coffee for the people she despises.  She types letters for the monsters who killed her family.  At any second, she could be found out.

Can she survive, turning the tide of the war and saving thousands of lives?  Or will those she loved the most in the world, and millions of other innocent people, have died in vain?

Coincidences ~ I love 'em.  After talking to my friend Dora on the phone (see above), I immediately went downstairs to get in a few more steps (I try to walk at least a mile a day).  Going through our little library, I noticed that novel above on the new book display and picked it up.  It looked interesting, so I checked it out.  Only while writing up this post for the Sunday Salon did I notice that the main character in the novel is named Dora!  I talked to Dora, and then I checked out a book about another Dora.  Yes, I'll send a link to my friend Dora about this coincidence.

Deb at Readerbuzz hosts Sunday Salon.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Two more books for TWOsday

The Further Education of Oversoul Seven ~ by Jane Roberts, 1979, fiction, 198 pages
The ageless, timeless entity Oversoul Seven must deal with the problems of an unusual assortment of mortals that includes a young man reluctant to be a father, a student contemplating suicide, and a woman unhappy with her reincarnation.
Oversoul Seven and the Museum of Time ~ by Jane Roberts, 1984, fiction, 134 pages
In this third saga, Seven is instructed to take up residence in a human body while also journeying to the Museum of Time in search of the "Codicils."  The Codicils are eternal truths that bring about the greatest opportunities for vitality, understanding, and fulfillment.

These books are the second and third books in the "Oversoul Seven Trilogy," which I wrote about on Friday, HERE.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Beginning ~ with an examination


Oversoul Seven grimaced at Cyprus and began the examination.  "Let's see," he said.  "In Earth terms, using an analogy, I'm a man on Wednesday and Friday, a woman on Sunday and Thursday, and I have the rest of the time off for independent study.

"Actually, because of their time concepts this is somewhat more complicated," he said.  "Each life is lived in a different, uh, area of time to which various designations are given."  Cyprus smiled, and Seven continued.  "As Lydia I'm in the twentieth century, as Josef in the seventeenth, as Ma-ah in 35,000 B.C., and as Proteus in the 23rd century. A.D.  Then there's the further background in space, uh, different locations called countries.  Then there's the ages of the personalities."

The Education of Oversoul Seven ~ by Jane Roberts, 1973, fiction, 240 pages

This is a playful parable of time and space that opens up a whole new vision of life.  In this story, Seven explores the true nature of his being as he learns to communicate with four of his "incarnations" — four all-too-human people whose lives are separated by centuries, yet who also coexist.  An online comment:  "I read somewhere that 'the past, the present, and the future all happen at the same time,' and I could not wrap my brain around that idea — until I read this book."

I also plan to read the other two books in the "Oversoul Seven Trilogy," so I'll say more about the others later.
Rose City Reader hosts

Thursday, December 21, 2023


I'm adopting “What” as my motto, but let's add a question mark:  "What?"  Yeah, I go around asking questions about things all the time.  :D  Why do I suddenly need to adopt a motto?  It's all Colleen's fault (#13, HERE).

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Wearing purple

Warning: When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple ~ by Jenny Joseph, 2022, poetry, 32 pages, 10/10

In "Warning," written in 1961, the poem's respectable middle-aged woman indulges in her fantasy of the gabby old crone with her outrageous clothes and dotty behavior.  It now appears as an illustrated book with drawings by Pythia Ashton-Jewell specially designed to suit its unique character.

Today, I also let Kate borrow my larger book about this poem.  I've blogged about it several times before.  HERE is one of those times.  During a big event today, I sat down with a couple of my friends, and more than one person came over to mention that all three of us were wearing purple.

Monday, December 18, 2023

White Working Class

White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America ~ by Joan C. Williams, 2017, social science, 154 pages

This book explains why so much of the elite's analysis of the white working class is misguided and rooted in class cluelessness.  Joan C. Williams says that many people have conflated "working class" with "poor" — but the working class is, in fact, the purportedly disappearing middle class, who often resent the poor and the professionals alike.  But they don't resent the truly rich, nor are they particularly bothered by income inequality.  Their dream is not to join the upper middle class, with its different culture, but to stay true to their own values in their own communities — just with more money.  While white working-class motivations are often dismissed as racist and hostile toward foreigners, Williams shows that they have their own class consciousness.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Another cozy mystery

Nursing A Grudge (Book 4 of 15: A Maternal Instincts Mystery) ~ by Diana Orgain, 2015, cozy mystery, 190 pages, 6/10
Kate Connolly would like nothing more than to cuddle with her new baby, except to solve her next case and become a bona fide P.I.  She gets her chance when San Francisco’s hottest critic writes a particularly scathing review about the trendy new restaurant, Philosophie.  The critic’s boyfriend falls to his death under mysterious circumstances from Painted Rock Cliff, and Kate fears that the restaurant critic may be targeted next.
I found this cozy mystery on the Kindle that I inherited from my friend Donna and decided to read it in spite of it being the fourth of fifteen books in a series, with none of the others on the Kindle.  The author mentions too many people on every page, sometimes five or six.  I had a hard time keeping all the characters straight in my mind.
Deb at Readerbuzz hosts Sunday Salon.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Cats curled up on books about cats

(Click to enlarge; image found HERE)

Sunday, December 10, 2023

The Yellow Wallpaper ~ two versions

The Yellow Wallpaper ~ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, with the original magazine illustrations by Joseph Henry Hatfield, 1892, novella, 34 pages
This version for Kindle has the short story as it was originally posted in The New England Magazine.  It also includes "Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper" on pages 7-10.  The short story itself starts on page 11.
The Yellow Wallpaper ~ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1892 (afterword by Elaine R. Hedges, 1973), novella, 63 pages
The author was a leading female activist and voice in the woman’s movement in the early portions of the 20th century. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is her short work that depicts one woman’s fight against the “rest cure” she is ordered to follow to cure her depression.  This classic story was adopted as a feminist tale for the modern age; this edition was published by The Feminist Press of The City University of New York.

Deb at Readerbuzz hosts Sunday Salon.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

What's up with "UP"?

(What's Bugs Bunny UP to now?)

The English word 
UP has more meanings than any other two-letter word and is listed in the dictionary as:
We all know UP means toward the sky, but why do we say we wake UP in the morning?

Why does a topic come UP at a meeting?

Why do we speak UP?

Why are officers UP for election, and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

People stir UP trouble, line UP for movie tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

George Carlin
And some people are stand UP comedians.

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP has a completely different meaning.

After an argument, we kiss and make UP

We seem to be mixed UP about UP!

A clogged-UP drain must be opened UP.

We open UP a store in the morning, but we close it UP at night.

And what could she be UP to?

I could go on and on, but my time is UP, so I'll wrap UP this post.

If you want to continue this list, it's UP to you!


This was also written UP more than a decade ago and posted on this blog.  Hmm, counting the title and illustrations, how many times have I used UP in this post?  I love words, especially this one!

Oh, wait!  I just thought of another example!  Have you ever told a horse, even a pretend horse when you were a child, to "Giddy UP"?

Word of the Day

giddy up <gid·​dy·​ap ˌgid-ē-əp> = a command to a horse to go ahead or go faster.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

A road less traveled and a universe less traveled

A Universe Less Traveled (Book 1 of Intersecting Worlds) ~ by Eric von Schrader, 2020, science fiction (Missouri), 384 pages

Kirkus Reviews: Von Schrader's debut novel should especially captivate readers familiar with St. Louis, but even those unacquainted with the city will find this parallel-worlds yarn worth a visit. ... Von Schrader's prose is butter smooth, and the chronological jumps the narrative makes back and forth throughout history (in both universes) are never tangled or confusing.  An enjoyable, gentle fantasy that gives new meaning to the phrase "Spirit of St. Louis."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  For St. Louis sci-fi buffs, "A Universe Less Traveled" amounts to Must Reading — and then some.

This book's title is obviously derived from "The Road Not Taken," a Robert Frost poem that I've written about before on this blog (click on the title below to go to one of those times):

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Deb at Readerbuzz hosts Sunday Salon.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Walking and other ways of exercising

I've been walking up and down my hall every day, since it's been either too cold or too rainy to walk around the neighborhood.  Since I usually do it late in the evening, I'm the only one in my hallway.  So I've been adding a few things, like shrugging my shoulders up and down as I walk (which would look pretty strange if I were passing others along the way).  I have added moves like that one on the right, with my forearms up and pressing inward and back to the side as I walk along.  In other words, I'm trying to move various parts of my body while also getting in something like 5,000 steps a day, or more if possible.  I could go to the weekly 30-45 minute group that exercises together while sitting in chairs.  Or I could try to get in more of those moves in the drawings above.  Today, I found this drawing of exercising in a chair that I had used in a blog post back in 2020 and decided to put it here so I'd remember it.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

A traffic sign for Caturday

This is #48 in a long post found HERE.  I think it's cute, so enjoy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Two senior sleuths for TWOsday

Armed and Outrageous (Book 1, Agnes Barton Senior Sleuth Mystery) ~ by Madison Johns, 2011, 2014, cozy mystery, 269 pages

This cozy mystery was a USA Today Bestseller in 2013.  Senior sleuth Agnes Barton is not your typical senior citizen living in Tadium, MI, on the shores of Lake Huron.  She drives a red hot Mustang, shops at Victoria's Secret, rankles local police officials, and has a knack for sticking her nose where it doesn't belong.

What does a murder that happened forty-three years ago have to do with missing tourist Jennifer Martin?  Agnes makes it her personal mission to find out, and she's not letting the fact she's seventy-two get in the way.  Butting heads with Sheriff Clem Peterson is something she's accustomed to, but lately Clem seems to be acting even more strange, making Agnes wonder what he may be hiding about the Martin disappearance.

Agnes' partner in crime, Eleanor Mason tags along, the Watson to her Sherlock Holmes. Together, they unearth clues.  If only Eleanor would behave; although lovable, she has a knack for getting into trouble by tangling with her rival, Dorothy Alton, or flirting with anyone — male or female — and gossiping!  She's incorrigible, but she does carry a Pink Lady revolver in her purse, one that has proved useful at times.

Life for Agnes and Eleanor is shaken up when Agnes' former boss and secret crush comes to Tadium. Before long, the lady sleuths have more on their hands to contend with as goons roll into town and bullets begin to fly.

Senior Snoops (Book 3, Agnes Barton Senior Sleuth Mystery) ~ by Madison Johns, 2013, cozy mystery (Michigan and Florida), 219 pages

Hilarious sleuths Agnes Barton and Eleanor Mason head to Florida for the winter.  True to his words, Sheriff Clem Peterson sends Agnes Barton and Eleanor Mason packing to Florida via a Cessna, but things go haywire when during a fuel stop, two men shoot the pilot.  Agnes springs into action slamming the door just as shots are fired while Frank Alton jumps into the cockpit flying them out of there.

When they land in Florida, they’re asked tough questions by Putner and Palmer from Homeland Security. They keep asking if they found a packet on board the plane, a packet that Agnes has tucked in her purse, but they never mention what’s in the packet. She decides to hold onto it; after all, it contains twenty-five thousand in cash.

Sheriff Calvin Peterson, Sheriff Clem Peterson’s brother, picks them up from the airport in Florida, but tells them the bad news.  His brother Clem made arrangements for them to stay at Sunny Brooke Retirement Village and work as the hired help to pay for their room and board.  They go unwillingly, but discover in town that two maids have disappeared at Sunny Brooke.

It’s a race against the clock; will Agnes and Eleanor solve the case of the missing maids and finally figure out what happened to their pilot before they also show up on a milk carton?

Friday, November 17, 2023

Beginning ~ on a cruise

Beginning ~ Prologue
I couldn't help but reflect back on the day I married my Andrew, and Eleanor also married her Mr. Wilson, in a double wedding at the lighthouse on the point in Tawas.
High Seas Honeymoon ~ by Madison Johns, 2015, cozy mystery (Michigan and Florida), 204 pages

Agnes and Eleanor embark on a honeymoon cruise with their new husbands, Andrew and Mr. Wilson.  There are plenty of other Tawas residents along for the ride, although the newlyweds don’t realize this until they set out to sea.  But the presence of the locals sets the stage for much drama to unfold.  For instance, there’s a crime.  Agnes and Eleanor find the body of a woman, but wait.  The body disappears before the ship’s security and Captain Hamilton show up.  To further complicate matters, there’s a question of whether the woman was even really dead.  But none of these details detour Agnes and Eleanor as they hone in on some very goon-like men, Ricky and Leo, to help them get to the bottom of what really happened.  Will the women ever be able to figure out what really transpired, or will this be the one case they won't be able to solve?

I found this on the Kindle that my friend's sister let me have after she died.  I was looking for something mindless to read because I just want to zone out right now, and this looked like one that would do that.  I've never been on a cruise -- why not go via cozy mystery?

Rose City Reader hosts

Monday, November 6, 2023

With unread books on my shelves, should I get another?

Life Worth Living: A Guide to What Matters Most ~ by Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun, and Ryan McAnnally-Linz, 2023, self-help, 352 pages

What makes a good life?  The question is inherent to the human condition, asked by people across generations, professions, and social classes, and addressed by all schools of philosophy and religions.  This search for meaning, as these Yale faculty members argue, is at the crux of a crisis that is facing Western culture, a crisis that, they propose, can be ameliorated by searching, in one’s own life, for the underlying truth. 

In A Life Worth Living, named after the highly sought-after undergraduate course taught by the authors, they provide readers with jumping-off points, road maps, and habits of reflection for figuring out where their lives hold meaning and where things need to change.  This is a guide to life’s most pressing question, the one asked of all of us:  How are we to live?

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Thoughts about history and paper money

The Irony of American History ~ by Reinhold Niebuhr, 1952, history, xiv + 174 pages

Niebuhr examines America's role in the world community in the light of our political history and moral responsibilities.  Drawing from the ironic contrast between the "innocent" nation our forefathers hoped to build and the superpower America became, Niebuhr clarifies the relation of power to justice and virtue, as he discusses the moral responsibility of the United States as a leader of the free world.
$100 bills in 1977, 2003, and 2017

Here are the fronts and backs of $100 bills issued decades apart.  Someone left a comment saying that when these $100 bills were new, they could pay:
  1. pay the 1977 monthly mortgage, 
  2. pay the 2003 weekly groceries, and 
  3. pay the 2017 weekly Starbucks budget.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Hoping to learn a lot from this book

Hope and Other Superpowers: A Life-Affirming, Love-Defending, Butt-Kicking, World-Saving Manifesto ~  by John Pavlovitz, 2018, inspirational guide, 257 pages

Overwhelmed by the news cycle and the state of affairs in our world?  This inspirational guide draws lessons of our favorite superheroes for how we can band together, live more heroically (and meaningfully), and save the world.  It’s exhausting to give a damn these days, isn’t it?  Perhaps you’re feeling anguished about what you see on the news or in your social media timeline, or by your personal circumstances, and are paralyzed waiting for political or religious leaders, or celebrities, to rescue us from it all.  But what if you didn’t have to wait for someone else?  What if you could be the hero?

This book shows you how.  Pavlovitz offers a path away from the vitriol and toward com­passion, with a plan to transform our burdens into dreams and our outrage into activism.  Drawing from lessons of fictional superheroes, hd shows us how to identify our origin story, build protective suits of armor, guard against our personal kryptonite, and vanquish our villains.  He also identifies ten specific "superpowers" that we can enlist to make our lives and our world better.

Along the way, he shares inspiring anecdotes and profiles about ordinary people who saw a gap in the world in empathy or kindness or gratitude and decided to fill it.  This is an invitation to anyone hoping to be the kind of person the world so desperately needs — the kind who can save it.  In other words, it invites you.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Kiki was my cat before Clawdia

Kiki was a reader (aren't photos proof of that?) and reviewed books on some Caturdays.  (The book above was Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron.)  Her hobby was bird watching out our bedroom window.  She also had her own way of ending her Caturday posts:  "Kiki Cat, signing off."  Kiki died in 2012.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Let's talk turkey about phrases and idioms

Common Phrases and Where They Come From ~ by John Mordock and Myron Korach, 2001, etymology, xvii + 200 pages

The purpose of this book is to acquaint you with some of your own history, a history we all share no matter what our station in life.  We want to make you aware of the historical circumstances that produced today's brief, colorful phrases that convey powerful meanings; to illustrate the way our language is shaped by our past history and how this history influences our current communications.  While some idioms arose following significant historical events, most came out of the everyday lives of common folks.  (See  p. 168 about talking turkey.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Book I finished recently

Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner ~ edited by Ellen E. Garrigues, 1895 and 1910, ballad, 43 pages, 8/10
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–1798 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads.  Some modern editions use a revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss. Wikipedia
Those dates from Wikipedia differ from the actual book I have in hand, which shows 1895 and 1910.  My copy belonged to my Aunt Bonnie Reynolds, who was born in 1904 and was a sophomore at Central High School when she studied this book.  I found it interesting to see what she wrote in the book with pencil.  For example, she put wavy lines along the sides of these stanzas on page 22:

"Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

"Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

I didn't include a closing quotation mark because it isn't the end of the quote in the book.  I paused there because I had to memorize  those lines of the poem in high school in the late 1950s and wondered if she marked them because she too had to memorize them.  Do students today still have to memorize poetry?

If you have read this poem, you know that the other sailors blamed the ancient mariner for their plight because he had shot and killed the albatross with his crossbow (page 20, in the last line of Part I).  Why?  Because it had been considered a bird of good luck:

'Ah, wretch!' said they, 'the bird to slay,
That made the wind to blow!' (p. 21).

I also had to memorize two other parts of the poem (the first below from p. 26 and the other from p. 40):

"Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide, wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony,

"He prayeth best who loveth best
All things, both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Steps per day

Doctors recommend:
  • 7,000-10,000 steps per day for adults aged 18-59 years
  • 6,000-8,000 steps per day for adults aged 60+ years
  • 7,500 steps per day for women aged 62-101 years.
The current federal exercise guidelines suggest 30 minutes of brisk walking most days, which translates into 3,000 steps taken at the 100-steps-per-minute pace.  I take a rollator, so I can sit down if I stop to talk to someone else out walking or if I just get tired.  Wait, I just noticed that 7,500 steps is more than the minimum for 18-year-old kids!  That doesn't sound right.  How can that be right?

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Mathematics on a book blog? It's in a book, isn't it?

Five Equations That Changed the World: The Power and Poetry of Mathematics ~ by Michael Guillen, 1995, physics, 288 pages
  1. Isaac Newton and the Universal Law of Gravity
  2. Daniel Bernoulli and the Law of Hydrodynamic Pressure
  3. Michael Faraday and Law of Electromagnetic Induction
  4. Rudolf Clausius and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
  5. Albert Einstein and the Theory of Special Relativity
When this book was published, Dr. Michael Guillen was an instructor at Harvard University and was known to millions as the science editor of ABC's Good Morning America.  In this book, he unravels the equations that have led to the inventions and events that characterize the modern world, one of which — Albert Einstein's famous energy equation, E=mc2 — enabled the creation of the nuclear bomb.  Also revealed in the book are the mathematical foundations for the moon landing, airplane travel, the electric generator, and even life itself (according to the blurb on Amazon). 

Publishers Weekly praised the book as "a wholly accessible, beautifully written exploration of the potent mathematical imagination," and named it a Best Nonfiction Book of 1995.  Okay, I'm ready to start reading it.

* Footnote:  Since my move, I'm finding old stuff that's been "buried" among my thousands of books for ages.  Some of you may be surprised that I am excited to find this book on my shelves.  I guess I haven't mentioned lately that I studied all the math and science I could work in during my school years.  I even have a favorite number (which I have mentioned previously on this blog).  And when I sat on my mother's lap while she read me nursery rhymes, I wanted her to read me the page numbers, too.

Deb Nance at
hosts The Sunday Salon.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Every act of kindness makes a difference


I have these words hanging on a small plaque from the box beside my door.  I have been thinking of an act of kindness that's been nudging me for days now:  Clawdia is in kidney failure and losing weight.  She is much thinner now than in the photo below, with her ribs sticking out on each side, so I indulge her when she 
asks to get out of our apartment.  One day she wanted to go for a walk in the hall, so I made four loops to the end of our hallway and back, twice adding the elevator area to our trek.  I'd made a note of how many steps I'd already taken so far that day before we went out the door.  When I checked the number of steps after our walk, I was startled to see I had taken exactly 1,000.  Exactly!  The act of kindness I'm considering?  Euthanasia.
* FYI:  Clawdia died this afternoon, shortly after 3:30 pm.