Sunday, July 30, 2023

Weekly roundup ~ at the end of July

International Friendship Day is celebrated on July 30.

I have this small poster of Snoopy lending an ear
because he's a good friend, of course!
(It's across the room from me, but it's late, so I found the image online.)

Sunday Salon

The Peter Principle
~ by Dr. Laurence J. Peter, 1969, humor, xviii +170 pages

Why is incompetence so maddeningly rampant and so vexingly triumphant?  This book answers that question.  The authors say that everyone in a hierarchy — from the office intern to the CEO, from the low-level civil servant to the president of a nation — will always rise to his or her level of incompetence.

This book explains why incompetence is at the root of everything we endeavor to do:  why utopian plans never generate utopias, why governments condone anarchy, why schools bestow ignorance, why courts dispense injustice, why prosperity causes unhappiness.
This book is older than my blog, which means I read it so long ago that I have never mentioned it here.  I'm sure it will get a high rating when I re-read it, since I remember it from over half a century ago.
Monday Musing

Maybe I've been overthinking this, but few or no comments on things I post during the week with comments only on Sunday seem to indicate that most people read only my Sunday Salon posts.  I've decided to dump a whole week's worth of books and thinking into a weekly post.  This is it, folks, so enjoy!  (Or not.)

My TWO things for TWOsday are at the top, where I've shown TWO Snoopy posters for International Friendship Day today.  See what a good friend he is to Woodstock?

Wednesday Words                       and/or                       Wednesday Workout
I was reading THIS article when I happened across "gonzo journalism," which I've never run across before.  So I looked it up and learned on Wikipedia that it's "a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story using a first-person narrative."  The article is about a 24-year-old guy in the Netherlands who is "a cognitively fit and healthy young man [who] has chosen to live on the dementia ward at Verpleeghuis Groenelaan (Green Lanes Nursing Home), ultimately just to see what it’s like."  He has written a bestseller in the Netherlands and says, "I don’t have dementia.  But by living with people with dementia for three years, I know a lot about life in an institute, and I listen to people.  In fact, listening to people is the main thing I do."

I wrote about this "exercise block" this past week, promising myself that I would start attending exercise classes regularly here at the Crown Center.  The next class meets tomorrow, and I plan to be there. 

Thursday Thoughts

Why would the app on my iPhone tell me that the nearest Walgreens is over 11 miles away, when there's literally one across the street from my apartment building?  Google maps says it is 15 minutes away via highway, but I walk to my store and back in less time than that.  I saw it and took photographs of it from my former window.  See?

Long, long ago, I read this online and just came across it again.  Hmm, it's too small (and faint) to read.  Here's what it says:

ATTORNEY:  Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY:  Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY:  So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY:  How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS:  Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY:  But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS:  Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Book Beginnings on Fridays

The DASH Diet Mediterranean Solution ~ by Marla Heller, 2018, health, 264 pages


The DASH diet (based on the research, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diet have both been acclaimed as the best of the best in the world.  Both became famous for their amazing impact on heart health.  Both help reduce inflammation and are associated with lower rates of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, certain types of cancer, and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Now for the funny part:  I remembered having four DASH Diet books on my shelves before my recent move, but one day I noticed there were only three of them now.  I turned to put down whatever was in my hands and then went to the shelves to gather those three while looking for the fourth book.  But when I got across the room to the bookshelves, there were all FOUR of them together.  I probably blinked, like "what just happened?"  Then I realized there were THREE on a nearby shelf.  Yes, the four together all have my name in them, but the other three do NOT.  My logical conclusion is that those other three must have been my friend Donna's, and her sister gave me those copies to share with someone.  Maybe I was supposed to donate them to the Crown Center library.  I did discover on this blog (HERE) that Donna commented on this book in 2018:  "I will give it a try."

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.


Clawdia's special day is the last day of every week, though she would say that every day should be Caturday.  She is almost settled into our new apartment.

So is this it for the week?

Maybe, but perhaps I'll add special posts.

Something may come up unexpectedly, something I cannot wait until next Sunday to post. If so, I will post it and mention it in my next weekly roundup.  Otherwise, let's just see how this compilation works out.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Am I old yet? Maybe I should wear more purple

When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple ~ edited by Sandra Haldeman Martz, 1987, women's studies, 181 pages, 9/10

This book is a collection of writings and photographs that challenge stereotypes of older women in America.  I wrote about it in 2016 (HERE) when I rated it 9/10, saying, "Back to school ~ my life story."

It worked its way to the top of a pile of books during my move, and I've picked it up to read again.  But why isn't the old woman on the cover wearing purple?

Friday, July 28, 2023

Beginning ~ with thoughts of her own death

The first time I remember seriously thinking about my own death, I was twenty-six years old and working on my first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars.

A sentence from the second paragraph that made me stop and think:

Remembering things is how I work.

These Precious Days ~ by Ann Patchett, 2022, essays, 336 pages

This bestselling author reflects on home, family, friendships, and writing in this very personal collection of essays.  The title essay is a meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores "what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self."  When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks' short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing.  It would introduce her to a remarkable woman — Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki — with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both. 

Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds in a new way, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be.  She tells us about the unexpected influence of Charles Schultz’s Snoopy as she connects life and art as she shares what matters most.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Is it hot enough for you?

The Washington Post reported that scientists say we are living through earth's hottest month on record.  I read that the heat wave has put over half of U.S. population under heat alerts  The heat seems to be all that's on people's minds right now.

My friend Nancy called from Pennsylvania, and we talked for at least an hour and a half, until I had to leave to hurry to a music program I'd signed up for.  I lived with Nancy and her husband and their children for part of the time we were studying for our Master's degrees at Emory University (on the right), so our friendship goes back to the 1980s, almost four decades now.

Earlier that day, I had lunch in the Café with my friend Sue, who is also Clawdia's friend.  I shared three DASH Diet books with her.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Wednesday Workout

I haven't been going to the exercise classes, even though they started up again after the Covid scare.  I HAVE been walking, mostly up and down my hallway with Clawdia, but also walking up and down the sidewalks in my neighborhood.  I read in an article:
...research shows that as we age, the brain shrinks, specifically the hippocampus which is responsible for memory formation.  Exercise can help maintain this portion of the brain, and in some cases, increase the size.  There’s much to be learned about how and why this is, but Erickson says the effects are better the longer you engage in these habits so it’s good to start young. 
Of course you can still reap the benefits if you start later in life, he says. You might find that with time, you can recall memories and information more easily and have better executive function and a longer attention span when your brain is at its best.

I've noticed that my memory recall seems worse, probably because it's been too long since I was doing a regular exercise routine.  Why did I stop?  I don't remember (LOL), but I do recall that I cleared a space to exercise in my own apartment during lockdown.  I would set up my laptop and follow the online classes.  I even taught myself how to Zoom, in order to do that!

So now what?  I don't swim like a whale or run like a rabbit.  But I decided there would be no more procrastinating and I'll start going to the Monday Music and Movement classes downstairs.  That class focuses on cardio and balance exercises.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Follow-up on a TWOsday post

Way back in June, four whole weeks ago, Alyssa sent me a couple of photos of trumpet vine flowers that I posted HERE.  She sent me this photo from the same place on Friday:

"Partridge pea.  These are the flowers in bloom in front of where the trumpet vine flowers were (and today I noticed a few more blooms on the trumpet vines — the wind and rain had blown most of them away).  These yellow flowers are also attracting bees."

I got up to look out my window.  No, I couldn't see the small yellow flowers at all.  A careful look revealed an orange spot that may be a couple of trumpet vine clusters, which I had not noticed.  But no partridge pea flowers.  They are too small.  See the pebbles?  So this is TWICE that she's taught me about local flowers.  Thanks, Alyssa!

Monday, July 24, 2023

Musing about words

This exchange is from Tumblr:
  • How long does someone have to be dead before it's considered archeology instead of grave robbing?
  • As an archeologist, I find this a very awkward question.
When I looked for something to illustrate this exchange, this 914-page book was one of the first things that came up.  Although I have no intentions of reading (or buying) this huge book, I just had to use this "forbidden" image.  😃  Hey, it's better than a photo of a cemetery!
Someone else posted this exchange from Reddit; in other words, they read it on Reddit:
  • What are your views on atheism?
  • It's a non-prophet organization.
Monday Musing, like The Thinker

Sunday, July 23, 2023

A cat, a book, and a couple of quotes


Today is Clawdia's Gotcha Day, as I posted on Caturday, you know, yesterday, the day before Sunday.
Man’s Fate ~ by André Malraux, translated by Haakon M. Chevalier, 1934, fiction, 338 pages
Man's Fate (French: La Condition Humaine or The Human Condition) is a 1933 novel about the failed communist insurrection in Shanghai in 1927 and the existential quandaries facing a diverse group of people associated with the revolution."

First quote

Former news anchor Dan Harris (NPR on July 16, 2023):  "One of my favorite descriptions of Buddhism is that it's not a thing to believe in; it's a thing to do."  The headline says that he is at the center of the mindfulness movement.  Click HERE to read the whole story.

Second quote

I think that is also what Jesus intended.  He never said, "Worship me."  Rather, he told us to love one another as he loved us (actually, as he had shown love to people around him).  It's a thing to do, not a thing to believe in.  Here's the New Revised Standard Version of John 13:34, supposedly a direct quote of what people remembered that he said:
"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another."

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz
hosts The Sunday Salon.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Clawdia's Gotcha Day

Tomorrow is Clawdia's Gotcha Day.  She came to live with me in 2015, when the vet estimated she was about six years old.  In human years, that makes her now in her 70s and fast catching up with me.  In this photo, she was a scrawny 6 pounds 1 ounce.  Even now, she weighs only about 8 pounds.  She has a vet appointment to have her teeth cleaned coming up in August, so she won't happy not getting breakfast that morning.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Beginning ~ with some inner compulsion

In the Tennessee country of my forebears it was not uncommon for a man of good character suddenly to disappear.  He might be a young man or a middle-ages man or even sometimes a very old man.  Whatever the case, few questions were ever asked.  Rather, it was generally assumed that such a man had very likely felt the urging of some inner compulsion and so could not do otherwise than gather up his chattels and move on to resettle himself elsewhere.
In The Tennessee Country ~ by Peter Taylor, 1994, fiction (Tennessee), 226 pages

Despite the derision of his son, a middle-aged man becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about a mysterious cousin, Aubrey, who first appeared on the funeral journey of his senator grandfather from Washington to Knoxville, and then disappeared.

This is another book I have found recently on my shelves, so I've pulled it down to read.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Words and ideas

Looking at those letters, I noticed the word "TROVE" starting with the two fingers and thought, "What do I have a trove of?"

Word of the Day
trove / noun = a store of valuable or delightful things.  Example:  I have a trove of good books!
But back to our original full word:  introvert.  Let's think about that word a bit today.

Yesterday, I was talking with someone who said she is also an introvert.  It doesn't mean we don't like people; it means we need alone time to re-charge our batteries.  Have you ever taken the Myer-Briggs test?  It shows that I'm an INTJ.


What about books?  This is a BOOK blog, after all.

I saw The Stranger by Albert Camus in the Crown Center library yesterday, so I checked it out to read again.  It was first published in France in 1942, and I first read it decades ago.  I'll tell you more about it in the coming days.  This b&w photo shows the author — Albert Camus.
Another book I re-read recently gave me lots to think about:  Writing as a Second Language by Donald Davis.  Here are passages that made me stop and think:
  1. We say, "The book was better than the movie" because we already made our own movie as we read along. ... Put another way, a story is a picture I have in my head that I would like for you to have in your head" (p. 64).
  2. The author says that "listeners are like magnets that pull our stories from us" (p. 103).
  3. Here's one of the writing prompts he shared:  "If you could build one new room onto your house, what kind of room would it be and what would you put there?
Another book I pondered was a library board book:  Baby Loves Quantum Physics! by Ruth Spiro, which says on three pages:
  1. Maybe Cat is asleep.  Shhh...
  2. Maybe Cat is awake.  meow!
  3. In quantum physics, until Baby looks in the box, Cat is both asleep and awake.
One of my friends said, "You read toddler books now?"  Maybe I am in my second childhood now.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Stretches for a Wednesday workout

Click on this chart to enlarge it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

TWOsday = two languages

Writing as a Second Language: From Experience to Story to Prose ~ by Donald Davis, 2000, writing, 10/10

I rated this a TEN when I first read it and decided to read it again.  I recommend it for wannabe writers.  I've also decided to donate this LIKE NEW copy of the book to the Crown Center library, so people in the writing classes here can also enjoy this out-of-print book.
  • Click HERE to read what I wrote about this book in 2014.
  • And HERE is an online interview with Donald Davis about telling stories.
  • Learn more about this fascinating storyteller on his website, HERE.
By the way, did I ever tell you that I used to teach writing?  Take a look at one of my other blogs, HERE.
A "second" language means two languages, right?