Whatcha ya’ watching–or reading?

October 2, 2022

We started streaming maybe 8 or 9 years ago when the Roku box first came out. Cut that damn cable and it opened up a whole new world of TV viewing. Now you can subscribe to any number of channels and get about a gazillion shows, movies, series, music… which doesn’t necessarily mean you can always find something you want to watch.

Now HBO Max, Netflix, Prime and others will happily suggest ‘if you watched this mystery movie, surely you will like all these’. My suggestions run from Viking shows, to foreign murder mysteries, to outer space horror killer clowns.

Sometimes I just turn the TV off and read a book. And, that leads me to the latest installment of What I’ve Read Lately.

Stephen King’s latest book Fairy Tale. Now, I haven’t read a Stephen King book in many years, though I was a big fan of King from the beginning. I was enthralled with every part of the story and characters. It was a delight to read and I was sad to see it end–the highest praise for any book.

The Book of Night Women sort of hits you in the gut. I can still remember the emotions I had when reading it. Written by Marlon James who was National Book Award finalist for Black Leopard, Red Wolf and the WINNER of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings. This is a review from Time Out New York that tells it better than I could. “James has given us an epic novel of late-eighteenth-century West Indian slavery, complete with all its carnage and brutishness, but one that, like a Toni Morrison novel, whispers rather than shouts its horrors.”

Then I’ve read a series of murder mysteries taking place on the Scottish coast–The Dr. Cathy Moreland Mysteries by Mairi Chong. There are a lot of fairly decent books in Kindle Unlimited. Sometimes, I just like a quick, easy, but suspenseful read. The author J.D. Barker has some good mystery books in Unlimited as well.

My final 7 words

Watch Read Listen Learn Create Give Enjoy

Advertisement

Sharing Words

September 7, 2022

I haven’t written much lately. Not because I didn’t have anything to say. There are just a lot of folks out there who do have something to say and can say it better than I can.

I have a lot of thoughts. Sometimes they keep me awake at night. Sometimes they are good actionable thoughts. Sometimes they are fractions of memories that make me happy or maybe queasy. My brother asked me the other day if I had any regrets regarding my behavior when I was younger–or even into middle age. I said I did. But, the past is not changeable, nor should it be dwelled upon. So, I just try to do better going forward.

Below are a few articles or books I’ve recently read that I think are worthy to share:

Trump should fill Christians with rage. How come he doesn’t? Michael Gerson writes in depth about the embrace of faux Christianity with politics. He doesn’t mince words. “Surveying the transgressive malevolence of the radical right, one is forced to conclude: If this is not moral ruin, then there are no moral rules.” He lays out what is and isn’t acting like a Christian or any other decent, moral human being.

The Overstory by Richard Powers is an amazing book about people in love with trees. “We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men. . . “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.”

From Asymmetry: A Novel
by Lisa Halliday” When, then, does one man’s delusion become the world’s reality? Is it every generation’s destiny to contend with a dictator’s whims? “By shrewd and constant application of propaganda,” we read in Mein Kampf, “heaven can be presented to the people as hell and, vice versa, the wretchedest experience as a paradise.” But only when the people in question fail in their duty toward vigilance. Only when through inaction we are complicit. Only when we are sleepwalking ourselves. Another swig. “Baby? Baby, where are you?” Somewhat appropriate for these times, wouldn’t you say?

You know who is a great thinker? Patti Smith. I love her poetry, her songs and her books Someone asked me who I would like to be in another life and I said just like Patti Smith. Check out her Wikipedia page for information on all her works. Prepare to be amazed.

Photo from Wikipedia.org

Smoking Hot Summer

July 21, 2022

It’s hotter than blue blazes here in Texas. Every stinking day for at least a month it’s been over 100 degrees. Thank God for air-conditioning–I say before I see my smoking hot monthly electric bill.

What have y’all been up to?

I threw myself a 75th birthday party with two homemade cakes courtesy of hubby. Lots of family came in town and my eclectic group of friends came to wish me well. It was a super party. Everyone brought me wine or vodka. Hmm, what did that say?

I think the hubby was a bit overwhelmed with all the activity.

I’m getting out a little more. Living thru the pandemic which seems to have no end in site. Still wearing that mask, but going a few more places. Like the Van Gogh Immersive show. What a wonderful experience.

I’ve been reading a lot. My ability to read a long book is over. I mostly find murder mysteries or sci-fi novels. River of Gods by Candice Millard is a very good book about Sir Richard Francis Burton. He’s one of my favorite historical people. Olga Dies Dreaming: a novel by Xochitl Gonzalez is excellent as well.

So, when do you think ‘the former guy’ will finally get arrested for the umpty-million treason acts he’s committed? Can they please also take his whole family and his cohorts in Congress? It still amazes me how people can believe and adore him. I’ll say one thing, In the four years he was president, he and his administration managed to perpetrate a humongous amount of scandalous and down-right scary deeds.

Here’s a quote I really like: “To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”

― Oscar Wilde

I’m very appreciative of the life I have right now. I hope you all can find a balance, a peace, a joy in your life.

I leave you with this picture of the grandkids–because I’m sure they are the cutest ever!!!


Mothers’ Day 2022–rise up all you mothers

May 8, 2022

Since cave men allegedly conked a woman on the head and dragged her back to his cave, women have been treated as sex objects, slaves, non-persons except in their context of ‘mothers’. I believe that women rock this world in more ways besides with their hand on a cradle. Strong women are my sheros. From the VP of the United States Kamala Harris to the single mother who is raising her children to rise above any hardships–reminding them that they are loved and important human beings.

Heather Cox Richardson, a historian and writer of true, strong words in her post today: But “Mothers’ Day”—with the apostrophe not in the singular spot, but in the plural—actually started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mothers’ Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society.

Julia Ward Howe, the true originator or Mothers’ Day asks all women (mothers or not) “Arise, women!” Howe commanded. “Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.


Spring works for me!

April 21, 2022

Spring has sprung in San Antonio. All the trees are leafing out, and making those dastardly pollen squiggles. Folks are planting their gardens and landscaping plants. Here’s a good article about eco-friendly gardening if you’re interested.

Are you still doom scrolling Twitter, Facebook and all the other platforms? Yeah, me too. But, I’ve tried to be more selective. Heather Cox Richardson has a daily news letter in which she dissects one or several current news topics and explains what’s it all means–especially as it related to history. She cites her sources as well.

Technology is great except when it isn’t. My husband and I were gifted Echo Dots and smart lightbulbs. I get it all set up with two lights in his bedroom, one in mine and two in the living room. These damn lights went off and on like a calliope, not just when you asked it to. All the lights would come on in the middle of the night when the hubs snores too loudly or coughs–also if he farts. I kid you not. So I playing light police and asking Alexa to turn the errant bulbs on or off many times a day.

Our daughter in Minnesota generously sends us all kinds of coffees from Ron’s Warehouse in Alexandria. When she sent this one I laughed out loud. I messaged her and said we weren’t going to try this. “Oh I drink it, it’s good” I explained about coffee enemas and she replied, “Oh my god, I’ve been drinking butt coffee.” Well, I thought that was funny.

Also there’s this:


Total Eclipse of Normal

February 19, 2022

Yes, I writing about the pandemic again. Also, politics.

I posted this picture on Facebook yesterday. It’s the hubby two years ago when the pandemic first began in earnest. Since then, folks keep asking, “when will be get back to normal?” The answer is never, forget about it!

First of all, two years ago, the former guy was creating governmental chaos every damn day. Faux news, conspiracies and boldface lies…which the media happily wrote about for clicks’ sake. Do you want to return to that or embrace it as something that was normal? Hell no! At least now, good change is happening more often. There are still plenty of roadblocks, but there is hope.

As Jessica Wildfire said in a recent post, “The harder we try to get back to normal, the harder we make it on ourselves.”

And, anyway, maybe normal isn’t as good as it was cracked up to be. My experiences have taught me that working outside ‘normal’ leads to more fun, new ideas and learning, and is generally good for you.

One of my favorite movies is “Young Frankenstein” When Dr. Frankenstein, pronounced (Frankensteen) sends Igor (pronounced Eegor) to steal a brain it goes like this.


Celebrate Black History Month by reading

February 4, 2022

Every February since 1976, Americans have been celebrating Black History Month. Black History Month is an extension of Negro History Week created in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Rev. Jesse E. Moorland to make all of us aware of the significant contributions of black people to our country and the world.

Way back in 1967, I took a sociology course entitled Black History. I was attending, what was then, Southwest Texas State College in San Marcos. It was a shit-kicker and future teachers school, so just the name of the class got the campus all lathered-up. The slightly-nutty professor–sometimes standing on his desk to make a point–opened our eyes, and minds, regarding black people in America. Included were black authors who brought forth their experiences as individuals and as a people. So to help celebrate Black History Month, I’d like to recommend a few books I was introduced to in that class.

Go Tell it on the Mountain A short, but powerful book, written by James Baldwin, a prominent voice in the civil rights movement. His partially auto-biographical novel echoes the struggles of the soul blended with the social struggles of being black in America. He expresses the role of the Christian church in the black community as both repressive and hypocritical.

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin So, Griffin, disguised as a ‘Negro’–he actually darkened his skin through medical treatment–traveled in the segregated South and journaled his observations. Even though I thought I knew the injustices perpetrated on racial minorities, this book took me to the depths of the crushing world of racism as Griffin aptly describes how he becomes filled with hopelessness and despair after only a few weeks of living as a black man.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Hailey). Malcolm X was big back then another rallying point in the civil right movement. His conversion to Nation of Islam, and association with leader Elijah Muhammad, directed his preaching the radical and controversial concepts of black pride and social justice.

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois Manning Marable says about this particularly intellectual book, yet moving book, “Few books make history and fewer still become foundational texts for the movements and struggles of an entire people. The Souls of Black Folk occupies this rare position. It helped to create the intellectual argument for the black freedom struggle in the twentieth century.”

And, most of all the poems of Langston Hughes. Sadly, this poem is still relevant today. We have not evolved much and even seem to be going backwards as a society and country.

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak. –excerpt from Let America be America again. 

So, why are these books important? Because they provide evidence to the racist attitudes and practices that are our history. In a recent study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, it seems the Texas State Board of Education is trying to erase the reality about segregation from the standard history/social studies curriculum at public schools. “Incredibly, segregation is not even mentioned except in a passing reference to the 1948 integration of the armed forces,” the study states. Even though we think “we’ve come a long way, baby” there is still work to be done to ensure everyone is treated as belonging to the same race–the human race.

“Always look for another point of view, always learn from people not like you.” Hey, I said that!


Year of the Tiger

February 1, 2022

I hope your 2022 is going well so far. But, just in case it isn’t, there is another new year to jump start from the beginning. The Year of the Tiger. What does that mean?

  1. The year 2022 in the Gregorian calendar is designated the Year of the Tiger.
  2. The Luna Year is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, Lunar New Year is also celebrated in Korea, Singapore, Mongolia, Tibet, Vietnam and in Asian communities worldwide. Read more on c/net
  3. It might work out better as a Tiger can symbolize strength and being brave.
  4. Although, if you have made it thus far since February 2021, you have probably been fairly brave.

This post is also a reminder that it’s never to old to learn new stuff. Lately, I’ve learned several things that made my brain hurt at first, but is now really cool.

1.The hubby and I received Echo Dots and smart blubs. LOVE IT! It helps me sleep by playing lovely classical music at a mere request. Dot–our nickname for her, reads the hubby’s audible books. The bulbs have a safety feature so you can ask to turn on a light when entering a room. For older folks who have had a tendency to fall lately, this is a good thing.

2. When you learn something new you are exercising your brain, which can help improve cognitive functions such as concentration, attention to detail, memory recall and problem solving, and also reduce the chance of developing dementia. I hope I can remember that! Check out more.

2. Somehow, I allowed my self to become the treasurer of the Board of Friends of Spare Parts. An art, education, environmental nonprofit I have volunteered for at least 10 years. It is challenging to say the least. But, an article from CNN Health and other articles say: “As we age, we are better able to anticipate problems and reason things out than when we were young. Small’s research shows that our complex reasoning skills continue to improve as we get older.”

I’m going to leave on this musical note:


Happy New Year from an old hippie

January 2, 2022

When is it too late to say “Happy New Year”? My personal opinion is it’s appropriate all through January, then it becomes tiresome. Also, we forgot our black-eyed peas. I hope that does not forecast a calamitous year.

However… things aren’t looking too good in the USA right now. Most days, I open up Facebook, Twitter or news sites and go WTF! 

At my age, it’s hard to face the reality of our possible demise. My generation spent so much time and energy trying to create a place of equal opportunity for all genders, ethnicities, ages et. al. and for education, housing, healthcare, civil rights…

And, the saddest thing to me was when I told a group of 30-40ish women that ‘I was just an old hippie’ and that’s where my values and attitudes were born and raised, they just gave me a blank, puzzled stare. Suddenly, I felt my age a bit more. 

Our poor planet! Katharine Hayhoe’s TED Talk addresses the issue of climate change.  Her message “the most important thing you can do is just talk about it,” makes this talk essential viewing.

If you want to escape reality for a while, my suggestion, if you like science fiction, is to watch all five seasons of “The Expanse” on Amazon Prime. The sixth and last season is airing now. Best stuff out there! I confess to watching it three times–’cause I’m old and my mind wanders.

world peacePeace and love y’all,


2021–the year of the roller-coaster

December 29, 2021

2021 should have been better. Instead, it propelled our lives thru loop de loops, ups and downs.

January began in fine San Antonio tradition, with a plethora of fireworks in every neighborhood. Though illegal within city limits, that never stops anyone from lighting up the sky with bottle rockets and gunfire.

https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2021/01/01/watch-san-antonio-celebrates-the-end-of-2020-with-hundreds-of-illegal-fireworks/

In the same skyward excitement in December 2021, the James Wolf Space Telescope went into space and beyond. Not science fiction, but real-life science. One of my twitter friends @starstrickenSF tweeted “Lift off. Let’s go! 13 billion years back in time to the edge of the universe.”

This so much better than the “let’s go Brandon” brouhaha which is some kind of lame attempt to say ‘F**K Joe Biden. This comes from the same type of idiots who refuse to get vaccinated (non-scientific); participated as traitors and insurrectionists in an assault on the Capitol on January 2021. Oh, yes and let’s not forget the book culling and rioting at school board meetings throughout the year.

Speaking of the outer space… keeping us entertained is the best sci-fi show, maybe ever. In anticipation of the last and best season. the hubby and I watched all episodes and are now waiting eagerly for the last three episodes of season six.

All I have to say to the Evangelicals at this point is “Jesus ain’t say that”. In case you have any doubts here is a Christmas card from Republican Congressman Thomas Massie and his family.

The CDC offered a whiplashing amount of guidelines for every new variant i.e. Delta and Omicron The world became hopeful with every positive statistic on new vaccines and downward infection trends, we went crashing down with mega-growth of spreads. Congress had its ups and downs as well. P.S. Democrats are the ups and Republicans are the downs.

‘A few weeks into the pandemic, some people even began to use the word “apocalyptic” to describe what was taking place. Often, this word is used to scare people into some kind of fearful, exclusive, or reactionary behavior, all in expectation of the “end times.” But the word “apocalyptic,” from the Greek apokálupsis, really just means “unveiling.” ‘ said Father Richard Rohr

Such glorious words which meant for us an unveiling of sorts. A reuniting with a daughter and her family in April was probably the year’s highlight! A misunderstanding had kept us apart for way too long. I did write about it. Between outbreaks, we actually got a group vacation!

Great Wolf Lodge in Minnesota. We were all vaccinated and boosted in case you’re wondering.

To add to that Susie Dent, a lexicographer and etymologist shared this. ‘ “Respair” has just one record next to it in the Oxford English Dictionary, from 1525, but its definition is sublime. Respair is fresh hope; a recovery from despair. May 2022 finally be its moment. to add to that. Her latest book is Word Perfect: Etymological Entertainment for Every Day of the Year.”

“Do your little bit of good where you are; Its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu, recently deceased.