Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Moment

We take turns grocery shopping and yesterday, Ray trudged out with his mask on to forage in the aisles. He did notice some empty shelves again - with Texas numbers rising, are folks hoarding/panicking a bit? Perhaps.  But, in a sweet surprise, he brought me these flowers. Said, "I thought you needed some color at the kitchen table."    And I did - it's the little things that are so huge.

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more hopeful:
they are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul - Luther Burbank

The flower has no weekday self,
dressed as it always is in Sunday clothes - Malcolm de Chazal

Earth laughs in flowers - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, June 26, 2020

Book Review - The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

A few weeks ago I wrote about the author talk I watched with Sue Monk Kidd. She was so thoughtful in her discussion and had obviously done a lot of research for the Biblical time period of her latest novel - The Book of Longings.  I really, really liked this book. The writing is beautiful and her characters are richly drawn. The story is compelling and from my point of view (not religious) - plausible.

So, what if Jesus had a wife?  Now, now. Don't leave yet. (cover blurb) Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history. She imagines a strong young woman named Ana - rebellious, ambitious, and scholarly. She pursues writing scrolls - narratives about neglected and silenced women. She's expected to marry on old widower (horrors), and a chance encounter with eighteen year old Jesus changes everything.

There's abuse, peril, fleeing, danger, and startling revelations. Let's just add that her dark sheep brother is Judas.  cover blurb - Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history. 

(cover blurb) The Book of Longings involves a young lady's bold struggle to realize passion and potential in a time when women were silenced...

p. 66 Ana - I tell you, there are times when words are so glad to be set free they laugh out loud and prance across their tablets and inside their scrolls. So it was with the words I wrote. They reveled till dawn. 

Revel with Ana and truly enjoy an excellent book...The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Wednesday - Let's Pretend

I am going to work today. It's only Wednesday.

Let's pretend it's 2017 and we're off to visit the Dallas Arboretum.  No masks. Wandering aimlessly.
No worries.

That was nice.

Now I'm off to work - big sigh.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Day of Love and Memories too

Sunday June 21 2020 is Father's Day and my mother's birthday.  She would have been 88. Hard to believe.

Anyway - these pics are a stroll down memory lane. My parent's wedding day (June 11), me and my dad several years ago, my dad as a dapper young man, dad, and my mom from long ago.

Good families are fortresses with many windows and doors to the outer world - Jane Howard

The family is one of nature's masterpieces - George Santayana

The family - that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor in our inmost hearts, ever wish to - Dodie Smith

I am lucky. I came from a happy family. I shall do a Facetime with my dad on Sunday. Can't fly up and visit in person this year (well, in theory I could...but oh, hell no).  We'll have some laughs. My sister is spending the weekend there doing some yard work and hanging out. Then they'll go to my brother's for a social distance picnic. I'll be there in spirit. And we'll remember my mom too.

Cheers all - hope you've had a safe and happy weekend of love and memories too.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Virtual Author Talk - Esther Safran Foer

5/18/20 - I signed into a virtual author talk sponsored by the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Holocaust Museum. The guest author, Esther Safran Foer, was born in a displaced persons camp. Only her mother and father had survived the Holocaust from her whole family.  Her memoir, I Want You to Know We're Still Here, is about growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust.

Her goal in writing this was the history and  to remember - whether happy or sad - but to have it on paper. She learned her father, in Ukraine, had a previous wife and daughter who were killed. Her mother in Poland, as Nazis arrived, grabbed her winter coat, socks, scissors (she could sew). And Esther writes that as a survivor, her mother always kept a ton of sugar, flour, and cereal in the pantry. The mother always wanted to be prepared for dire circumstances.

p. 100 - Esther realized she was the "hinge" between generations of the family - the link. She herself did not experience the Holocaust, and growing up a bit in the displaced camp was fine for a child - kids to play with,  food, etc.  Once out of the camp, Esther did see the toll the war took.Her mother was strong and survived. Her father committed suicide when Esther was eight.

Quite a story, and in hearing the author speak, she said she knew she had to become a writer and preserve the stories, put the memories down on paper for herself, for her sons, and for posterity.

I miss live events at the museums,  but the power of virtual viewing is better than nothing. I enjoyed hearing Esther Safran Foer speak. Her strength, humor, and family view of history was compelling.
It was worth an on-line ticket ($25.00) and I consider it a donation  to the arts. Helps keep my brain from becoming mush.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Wednesday - more than a moment

Washington DC  - aerial view

Black Lives Matter - more than a mural
 more than a moment
more than a movement
more than my inadequate words could say

Monday, June 15, 2020

Book Review - Persuasion by Jane Austen

Lest you think I'm only reading "junk" and watching Netflix all of the time, I present to you my review of Jane Austen's Persuasion - considered a  literary classic.

Is it heresy to say I found it a tad slow and frustrating to read? I'm a Jane Austen fan - Pride and Prejudice is really good. Based on that, when my PA friends book club had choices I eagerly picked Persuasion.  I do suppose it was a good book to read in this time of being rather home bound. The Elliots and assorted friends and family pretty much kill time through the whole book - walking, reading, sewing, and pining and yearning. Hoping for a proper introduction, an invitation, and such concerns over looks and manners. Arrghhh - I wanted to scream.

Then again, I realize Jane Austen was writing for her time and in bringing her observations on vanity and pretension, she truly paints a picture of fashionable society in Bath and Lyme.

p. 34 "There is hardly any personal defect (freckles)," replied Anne, "which an agreeable manner might not gradually reconcile one to."

p.141 Good company requires only birth, education, and manners.

Anne Elliott, old now at twenty seven, might have missed her chance for marriage. If only Captain Wentworth....
Now near the end of the book, a letter arrives that brings about a change of fate and fortune. Can it be love?  I suppose I softened near the end of the book and was pleased for Anne's sake that her efforts were not in vain. She was not a simpering fool, like so many of the other characters. I was persuaded. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Book Review - The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Remember the Hunger Games?

Let's go back in time with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins and see how Coriolanus Snow became the President of Panem and Katniss Evergreen's nemesis. This book is an excellent prequel.

 In the Capitol on the 10th annual Hunger Games opening, Coriolanus Snow is eighteen, prepared to be a mentor, win prizes, and bring glory to the House of Snow which has fallen on hard times.  Alas, he's in charge of Lucy Gray of District 12 - a wisp of a girl who proves cunning. She leads him on a quite a path of glory, cheating, triumph, despair, and the desire to survive.

Snow is a youth with a heart who's still learning about himself. It's interesting to read his journey and see his transformation - knowing what we know from the Hunger Games series - there are aha moments. Collins doesn't slack on The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. This is a very satisfying book and sadly, still a scary possible future world.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Wednesday Moment and Book Review - If It Bleeds

 I liked this meme. 

Reading a lot as we stay home. For Ray's sake, his favorite author  - Stephen King - brought out If It Bleeds, a collection of four novellas. Ray ripped through the book, and I decided to read it too. These are a dark treat - typical twists,turns, and sarcastic humor. The man has a style and it works.

The title story If It Bleeds brings back Holly, a cop from another series of his, and she's still chasing an outsider creature. Too many coincidences in a reporters appearance at some horrible tragedies. She starts putting together clues, finds another man who's tracked this evil too, and together they work to lure this time travelling killer into a trap.

Sometimes evil can manifest in friendship. Craig befriends Mr. Harrigan and there's a sweetness in this.  But what happens after Mr. Harrigan dies and Craig calls his cell phone to chat with him. Maybe wishes do come true in Mr. Harrigan's Phone

The other stories, The Life of Chuck and also Rat, prove to be creepy. As always, King does write well about the writing life and ambition and turns to the dark side too. If you like Stephen King's style, then you will find that If It Bleeds will keep you up turning pages - and yes, you'll have all of the lights on in the house. Check your locks.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Book Review - How to Pronounce Knife

This book was an excellent find from reading book reviews. How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa is a collection of stories with funny, wrenching realities of trying to build a life far from home. (cover blurb)

The author was born in a Lao refugee camp in Thailand. She was raised and educated in Toronto, Canada. Now a prize winning author, this collection rings true, no doubt, from her experiences. The title story - a young girl brings home a book and has her father help her with pronouncing "knife". Alas, it's a tricky word, and back at school, the language exposes her to ridicule.

In other stories, a failed boxer works in his sister's nail salon, a young woman navigates working at a chicken processing plant, and in other stories you've got youth versus parents - all trying to figure out life, work, and keeping your self while assimilating.

I enjoyed How to Pronounce Knife - the stories were interesting, entertaining, well written, and thought provoking.

...and seriously....the silent K....why?

Friday, June 5, 2020

Frivolous Friday - Field of Dreams

 Brand new ballpark in Arlington - Globe Life Field - stands empty awaiting fans, baseball, boys of summer.
Here's one boy - Ray - who joined me on a tour of the new ballpark. The facility just opened to tours and we took one on Monday. Masks, social distance, small groups, didn't touch a thing - it worked out great and was a fun safe outing.
 The place seems huge without the throng of fans. Here is a lovely brick corridor and food stands ready to sell hotdogs, beer, and other decadent junk food treats.
 The glory of it all and the reason for the "new" stadium - a roof!!!  A retractable roof. Oh, this and air-conditioning will help immensely on those 100 degree days. Summer Ranger baseball can bring you to your knees - and they are sweaty.
 I wore my Elvis Andres #3 Ranger shirt. Blending in with a nifty graphic
An upper level view of a pretty field - ready for "Play Ball" to echo forth.

Meanwhile, everyone stay safe and cool this weekend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Wednesday Seriousness

I truly am not qualified to say a freakin' word about the subject at hand these days.
Crazy times.

I will let Mr. Nelson Mandela speak. I've always respected this man's life, words, and mission.
His time in South Africa - wow.

Somehow,  America must find its way.

I do believe in the general goodness of people - face to face, looking at kids, caring about seniors...We want the best life.  Let's do it together and support each other.

No need to comment.

Monday, June 1, 2020