Saturday, May 18, 2019

Favorite Books

My very favorite book is Catcher in the Rye.  We studied it in my first year of college.  I laughed so hard reading this book the first time.  The second time I read it, after we had dissected it class, I cried my eyes out.  I have read this book so many times and have gone through three different copies.  I can pick this book up and turn to any page and enjoy the memory of reading this book the first time.

I have also read the Clan of the Cave Bear series several times.  I just love Ayla living in nature and discovering new things.  I watched the movie once, but it didn’t do it for me.  A book is so much more in-depth than a movie.  The last one in the series wasn’t a favorite for me.  Valley of the Horses is my very favorite in the series.

Janet Evanovich is another writer that I enjoy and can read over.  Stephanie Plum is a scream and her grandmother is a double scream.

I have a collection of thirty-eight Rex Stout novels.  Detective, Nero Wolfe, is an eccentric who has a boy Friday named, Archie Goodwin.  Archie writes the story from his perspective and he is a joy!  Some of these books have 35 cents as their price-tag.  That is how old these books are.  I have read them numerous times also.

I read one of the best books ever recently.  It is A Dangerous Road by Kris Nelscott.  It is about the Civil Rights movement, MLK Jr.’s death, and the Kennedy deaths.  Beautifully written, wonderful characters and such interesting history.
I highly recommend all of the above.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Peace of Mind

I have been asked what gives me peace of mind.  I used to find it daily when I was practicing my yoga every morning.  I had to give that up because I was waking the hubster and he would be so irritable. I need to move my yoga room downstairs, but I have been lazy.

When I meditate, I always pray for peace of mind, peace within and peace on Earth.

As I was in the garden yesterday, planting potatoes and onions, I realized that this is where I find peace of mind.  My back wasn’t hurting, and I was listening to my favorite Pandora station, a Steely Dan station.  I hummed along and even sang some of the songs as I gently placed each piece of potato seed---and onion into the soil.

Writing this, I had to check out Loggins and Messina’s song “Peace of Mind.”  If you haven’t seen the video check it out here.

The dolphins swimming and the clouds and the ocean are very peace giving.  He also mentions taking off your shoes.  That can really bring peace of mind as well as peace of the dawgs!

I believe the best peace of mind I have ever had was at the beach.  Any beach.  Shoes off, water lapping, refreshing beverage in hand.  I’ll take that any day.

One thing that really gives me peace of mind is knowing that my girls and their families are healthy, happy, working and have insurance.  My greatest pleasure in life was raising my girls.  They are responsible adults and I am so very proud of both of them.

Peace be with you.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

What is one of the most beautiful places you have seen?

Being a pantheist, almost every place I have been is beautiful to me.  I love the mountains, the desert, the oceans and my home.

I have to admit that when I first stepped into the Grand Canyon, I cried like a baby.  It was so overwhelmingly beautiful that I was beside myself.  I finally quit crying and took a good look through clear eyes. We went to a special meeting at night in a niche overlooking the canyon.  The tour guide had us sit in a circle and be quiet for quite some time.  It was almost like hearing the canyon breathing.  He told us a lot of history of the canyon and it was very interesting.

The first time I went to Jamaica I fell in love.  The water is so beautiful, the people are so lovely, the food is wonderful, and you can drink the water.  The land is not so lovely but the beaches are stupendous.

Niagara Falls is another place that is stunningly beautiful.  The sound of the water rushing over the cliffs is so enticing.  If you stand close enough you can feel the spray from the water.

I also love a Japanese garden.  Anderson Gardens in Rockford is so beautiful.  Just every corner you turn is another lovely scene.  I also enjoyed the Japanese garden that I visited in Arizona.

I had hoped to visit Japan sometime in my life, but I don’t think I could stand being on a plane for that long.  I also want to see Stonehenge someday and I think I could do that flight.  I would really love to visit the Netherlands and see the island where my ancestors came from.

The desert is a mystery to me.  I don’t understand why anyone would want to live where there is a lack of water.  It is very pretty and I love the cacti.

The most beautiful place I have ever seen is my home.  I love the view of the lake.  I love my garden and my herb garden.  There is no place like home.

Photo is Washington Island, Wisconsin.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Who have been my best friends throughout the years?

My first best friend was Emma.  We met in Kindergarten and were very best friends until Junior High.  Emma was a beautiful little girl.  Blonde with Shirley Temple curls.  She was an only child and her momma spoiled her to death.  She was very sweet though.  We had a lot of fabulous times together.  I especially loved going roller skating and to the library with her.  Her mom always took us.

In my freshman year at high school a new girl came to Carlisle.  Her name was Barb and we became fast friends.  She loved to dance as much as I did, and we went to all the dances.  She embarrassed me the worst in my life.  As I was singing a solo in choir, she snuck behind me and pulled my half slip to my ankles.  I could have died.  She moved away the next year.

Jeanie became my next best friend throughout high school.  She was a red head and very popular.  We witnessed a UFO together one evening when we were driving home from a football game.  She was my matron of honor and I was her maid of honor.

When I got to college, I met Pat in my speech class.  We were supposed to pick a partner and we looked at each other and just laughed.  We had so many adventures, it was unbelievable.  Still to this day when we meet, it is like we were never apart.

Dave, Dave and Fuzzer were our best friends for many years.  Dave and Fuzzer (brothers) even lived with us for a while.  Dave and Dave and Ferb and I played cards almost every weekend.  I swore that Dave L and Ferb cheated but they swore they never did.

When we moved to Illinois, I became friends with Ellie.  The hubsters got along as well.  I just wish the children had gotten along better but they grew up to act like brother and sisters.  Ellie and I walked a lot together.  A group of us would get together and boat out on the lake.  We’d tie up the boats and the kids would jump and play in the water as we adults had refreshing beverages and snacks.  Ellie and her hubster were travel agents and they talked us into a Jamaican vacation for our anniversary.  We took the kids and had one of many happy Jamaican vacations.  We also got together for Summerfest and put together a lunch stand called, Da Grille.  We made Italian beef and Italian sausage sandwiches.  We made enough money to take all the workers to Florida for a three-day weekend.  One of the saddest days of my life was the day I bid Ellie farewell as they moved to Arizona.

Nancy, across the street, became a best friend.  We had many walks when we would “solve the many problems of the world.”  We eventually became the “Women who bake and drink, and the men who love them.”  And on occasion we were, “Women who can and drink, etc…”

Naomi and I were friends for many years.  She played guitar and sang, and I sang harmony.  We had many walks also.  I adopted her dog, Dot, and if Naomi wasn’t available to walk, I walked Dot.  We were in Front Porch Jam together and it was a long strange trip but one I will never forget.  I still enjoy going to see her live band, Decades.

My friend, Lauri, asked me if I’d be interested in helping her paint.  She painted and wallpapered for folks in the area.  I joined in and we had so much fun working together.  We once painted a tavern and I remember standing on the bar to get the ceiling.  Lauri and I enjoy trips to the Goodwill store in Delavan (if you haven’t been, you need to go), outlet stores around Madison, and lunch at Daddy Maxwell’s in Williams Bay, WI.  Go on Friday and have the fish tacos.  Lauri and I plan to take a trip to Texas someday.  That is where she originated, and she wants me to see it.

Suzy was my housekeeper for a couple of years.  She cleaned my house like I cleaned my house.  She became a reflexologist and wrote a textbook on the subject.  Suzy and I did several girl trips.  We went to Chicago once when she was speaking at a book store.  I was kind of her secretary.  We also took a long journey to Washington Island in northern Wisconsin.  We laughed so hard we hurt.  I was sad to see her retire to Arizona but was happy for her to retire.

My neighbor, Garnett, was my friend off and on for several years.  She was kind of a hermit and a homebody.  She never wanted to do anything but sit at home and watch soap operas and drink beer.  She was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and I was determined to get her up and moving.  I just wanted to spend time with her and make her do things she had never thought of doing.  I got her to eat Chinese, Indian, Thai, Greek and Italian.  She was part Mexican and only ate Mexican food all her life.  After radiation and chemo the first time, she lost her sense of taste and couldn’t eat meat which she had been a big meat eater all her life.

She and I went on garden tours, went kayaking, went on a tour of the Rock River as well as our culinary adventures.  We also tried out for Rock Valley College movie department and acted in three short movies together.  We went to see live bands perform and even got in a few dances.

The hubster, me and Charyl (Garnett’s best friend for life) took Garnett to Colorado as she had never seen the mountains before.  When we left, she called them “her mountains”.

Garnett passed last year, and I am just so empty.  Since then I have been attacked by this stupid pinched nerve in my neck.  And now my best friend is Pain.

Photo is Suzy, Nancy, me and Lauri.

Peace be with us all.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

This morning I read an article on line that my daughter, Jess, had recommended to me.  It was entitled, “I don’t give a fuck.”  It had the word “fuck” in it at least 137 times as the author included that information in his article.  He is a very good writer and the article was not only very funny but very insightful.

I thanked Jess for the recommendation and proceeded to tell her that it brought back memories of my old best friend, Dirty Dave, and how depressed he was during his divorce.  He had married this little bit of a bitch girl who had no forehead and talked in decibels that made your face reverberate.  I was under that impression that no one was good enough to marry my best friend.  Well, maybe except Becky, of the luminous breasts.  Becky was so cool in the 70’s she wore a white dress to a wedding of a friend and you could see her dark nipples through the material.  The guys were all made of wood that day, I’m sure.

But Becky would have nothing to do with Dave because he was, of course, Dirty.  He did not take kindly to bathing.  He was a carpenter by trade and his hands were coarse from working in the weather.  He had drastically bad sinuses and probably couldn’t smell himself.  In his last years he took to wearing this most ungodly smelling deodorant that was almost as bad as smelling his b.o.

Anyhow back to the divorce.  His little fairy bitch of a wife with no forehead decided that she wanted more out of life and decided to ditch Dave.  He was so sad.  I couldn’t believe my buddy who I couldn’t spend 10 minutes with without laughing my ass off.  (Oh dear, LMAO in the honest sense.)  But truly, he was so funny and had the greatest sense of humor.  On the day of his divorce he headed to a bar and happened upon one called “Fuck Off And Die”.  He bought a baseball hat and wore it to our house where he crashed for the night.

Ferb was so impressed with the hat that he bought it from Dave.  Dave needed money at the time.  (We have lots of photos with different people wearing the FOAD hat.)  Dave came around a lot during this divorce time.  You’d try to talk to him about something and he’d just say, “I don’t give a shit.”  So I got into a foul mood one evening and barked back that “I don’t give a shit either.”  It was presidential election time about then and Dave suggests that we run for President and Vice President on the “I Don’t Give A Shit”, party’s ticket.  We laughed so hard we cried.

He was a wonderful friend and I am so sorry that we lost him early. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

What books had an effect on your life?

The first book that I read that I truly enjoyed for its entertainment factor was Catcher in the Rye.  Of course, Holden Caufield didn’t really change my life, but I did discover that there were books out there that I could investigate and would give me some enjoyment.
I remember reading The Ugly American in Civics class in high school and being totally blown away by the realization that America was not the kind, giving land of the free, home of the brave that I took it for.

Before I get into books that changed my life, I need to thank someone whose impact regarding libraries changed my life.  My best friend, Emma, had the greatest mom.  Her name was Mabel and I adored her.  She took Emma and me to the library about every weekend that we weren’t in school.  I don’t remember Mabel reading anything but trash magazines but her caring enough to give us the chance to love reading is still within me.

I remember reading the Beany Malone series of mysteries for young adults.  I couldn’t wait to get to the library and get the next in the series.  That probably started me on my way of reading various series of books in the future.  After that I sauntered over to gothic novels starting with Jane Eyre and Withering Heights.

I think I took several years off reading novels because I was in school and had to read what I HAD to read.

After school I became obsessed with Irving Wallace novels.  He wrote a familiar pattern.  Introduce several characters, entwine a mystery into the mix and then connect all the characters with the mystery.  Some of my favorites were The Man, The Prize, and The Word.

Later in my life I became fascinated with Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series.  I loved Ayla and her adventures.  I was enamored that she lived alone in the world and could survive, no not just survive, discover all these wonders around her.  The herbs, the weapons, and survival skills on acid. I myself, am a jellyfish and would not survive for twenty minutes alone in the wilderness.  I’d drive myself stupid with my mind racing about all the possibilities of things that could eat me, trip me and I’d break something and be even worse off, or just being alone and not knowing a single thing about survival.

One of the books that really knocked me for a loop was Atlas Shrugged.  I loved Dagney just because she was a kick-ass woman during this very difficult time in history.  But John Galt was my hero.  He wanted all the great minds in the world to go on strike and let the world know what it would be without them.

I know the book was written to enlighten people to try harder and to strive to make the world a better place, but at the time I first read it I was disillusioned with the world and thought John Galt was right and the world should get a re-boot.

These days I read what I want to read, and I believe I over-read my allotted estimation on Good Reads last year by several books.  I ended up reading over seventy.

In my thirties I had decided that I wanted to write a book to thank all those authors out there who had written the books I had read in my life.  I didn’t realize the task that I had taken on.  I wrote the beginning and I intended my hero to be a guardian angel of the heroine of the book.  I wrote the end of the book and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to tie the two sections together.  Then one night I had a dream, and in the dream I came up with the connection between the beginning and the end.

My first reader was a professor of English at a local college.  She was a dental patient of ours and I asked if she would read my book and give me a critique.  She did and she loved the book and the characters.  But she told me to get rid of the guardian angel bit and make his character a real person.  She also suggested that I not start my novel with a flash-back as she said this is a real no-no in literature.

I have now revised and rewritten this book over six times.  I keep telling myself to rewrite it again and bring it up to date.  It is a good story as I have been told by several people who have read the book, including the hubster.  Time will tell.

Go read a good book and enjoy yourself.  Life is short and there are so many good books still to read.

PS  Photo is of my first publication, a poem about gardening.

Peace be with you.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

What is one of your favorite stories that you tell over and over?

My favorite story, which could have been a complete and total disaster, is the time our band, Front Porch Jam, played On the Waterfront in Rockford.  I decided I needed to relieve myself before going on stage, just in case.  There was a port-a-potty at the back of the stage and so I went inside and did my business.

As you know, port-a-potties are not very comfortable and actually, quite a tight fit.  I arranged myself as well as I could.  Walking out of the potty and starting up the steps to the stage, a lady that had been waiting for the potty stopped me and told me that the skirt of my dress was in my underwear.  Talk about wanting to die just before you are really going to live.

I am so thankful to that woman, whoever she was, for having the courage to tell a stranger that they were going to make an ass of themselves in front of hundred of people.  There are some women out there who would find humor in someone else’s catastrophe. 

Peace be with you.