Thursday, September 26, 2019

I Need to Tell You Something

Image result for free google images telephone

I need to tell you something.
But I can't.  I need to tell you that when you comment on my blog and I don't already have your email address, I can't let you know I've seen your comment.  I am internet stupid.  I am Blogger stupid. I have tried it and it's true, I will really mess up my entire blog if I start pushing buttons to try to get my comment section to allow me to reply to your kind comments. But I also want to let you know  I go to your blog home site and while "email me" is highlighted, it doesn't allow me to send an email to you.  

So.  Please know that if I personally have your email address I will and do email back to you to comment on your comment, just to let you know I've seen it and thank you for visiting my blog.  But if you are new to my blog or have started to comment I need to tell you I DO see them and thank you for visiting but can't let you know individually.  I am not ignoring you.

So. Thank you and please understand.

Also.  If anyone knows how to fix this issue, how to fix it so I can reply from my blog  like I used to be able to do, I welcome your help.  In the meantime, thank you for reading, It's good to know I'm not whistling in the wind.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Braid

The BraidThe Braid by Laetitia Colombani

Where does courage and perseverance and will come from?  And if you've never had to answer that question, do you think you have the courage and perserverance and will to do what you need to survive?   This is the story of three women in three countries around the world called upon to do what they never thought they would, and how one thing bound them together. 

Smita is in India and she is an untouchable.  Now, I always knew about people in this caste but the things I learned about how she had to live and the things she had to do just about scared me to death. Smita has a daughter who wants to go to school and Smita is willing to do anything in this world to give that to her.  She certainly doesn't want her daughter to have the life SHE had and if she didn't dig deep that would happen without a doubt.

In Sicily we meet Giulia.  She works for her father in his wig workshop.  This life, too, was fascinating.  When Giulia's father falls ill it is her responsibility to keep the shop going, keeping their employees in their jobs and food on her family's table.  But the market has changed, theirs is the only workshop left  and what she didn't know was that her father was within mere days of having to close the shop and losing everything.

Sarah is a power woman.  She put everything in her life off while she pursued her career, even to the point of hiding her pregnancies and coming back to work within a week of giving birth.  She is climbing the promotion ladder at work and is in line to get what she gave up her whole life for.  Then she learned she had breast cancer.

Now reading about these three women here, you can probably guess the progression of this story but really, the author has made learning about the the lives of these women fascinating and enlightening and makes anyone reading it question if they have the courage and perseverance and will to do what they did. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


   Last year when PH and I spent our week traveling the Upper Peninsula for his work I passed the hours and hours and hours driving making yo-yos.  Over 600 of them, over 300 of two sizes.  I thought that was a good way to spend the car time and make something mindless.  Making yo-yos is mindless.
   THIS year I thought connecting those yo-yos would be a good way to create something (and get them out of the closet.)  What I didn't know.  I counted them and decided a table runner would be good.  Mindless connecting little circles.  Well.  You know yo-yos.  It's not as easy as it looks.  Good gravy.  Knot, stitch a few stitches, knot.  Knot, stitch a few stitches, knot.  Knot, stitch a few stitches, knot.  I had a tote bag on the floor between my feet,  a pillow for a work surface on my lap, the thread in the door handle pocket.  Scissors in the cup holder.  Cut threads all over the car.  Once I got encamped I had to be there for miles because it was just too much trouble packing and unpacking myself into the space.  I spent every minute of drive time stitching these little buggers together into rows of ten.  Then connecting the rows.  By the time we got home I still had to connect at least 10 rows ( I was going for 10 x 30.)  Who knows? By that time I lost count and desire.
 So, I'm stitching the last of the rows together while PH and I watched TV and I looked over at him sprawled on the couch and decide I was tired of the pillow cases I had on the back of the couch to protect it from his head.  I decided this wouldn't be a table runner, it would spice up his space. Lighting isn't great here, but you get the idea.
     I like it much better but boy, am I done with yo-yos.  Susan, watch your mailbox.

 My guardian angel (after a long day.)  I think she looks like me.   PH thinks she looks like his mother. It's a toss up.  I can see it both ways.

Just look at the pockets of pollen this bee is carrying around!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Not camping

     I know a lot of people who go camping.  Australia Jenny and Bernie spend weeks on their camping trips.  Friends Laurie, Karen and Dave, Pat and Bill, Jan and Joe, Bob and Carolyn (just finishing an almost three month trip throughout the western United States.)  I don't camp. I thought back and can remember the last time I went camping was when I was 13.  It didn't end well, that trip with a group of girls all the same age and chaperoned by someone who didn't show up.    So when Karen and Pat decided it would be great fun if we three couples went camping together I had to smile and agree but thought in my brain "Oh, boy. Now what do I do?"  And to be totally honest I fretted about this weekend for a long time.  Karen and Dave have their own camper (about half the size of this one) and we were to stay with Pat and Bill, this is their "camper."
     Well.  Camping has come a long way in 55 years.  Now, it seems if you're off the ground and your "camper" could be considered a small cottage (or house) on wheels, it's called RVing.  For those of you who don't, that means Recreational Vehicle-ing.
 This is not camping.
 This is not camping.
 This is not camping (full size refrigerator.)
 This is not camping (outdoor kitchen.)
 Dave is a master cook.  He smokes his own meat, makes his own bacon, pastrami, cheeses, turkeys, you name it, Dave smokes or cooks it and he volunteered to do breakfast Saturday morning.
 Smoked brisket hash.  This is not camping.
 Smoked brisket hash, a delicious cheesy thing Pat made, coffee cake.  This is not camping.
 The guys are off sight seeing in the mode of transportation in this RV park.  Pat and Bill's "camper" is permanently settled in this gorgeous park that reminded me at every turn of the condo resorts in Florida.  My goodness it's beautiful.
 We took the second turn on the tour.
 It was beautiful blue sky day and if you can't get tickets to the football game then you do the next best thing.
 But the girls went to the pool
We settled in while the campfire got underway.  Those aren't sippy cups of wine, they are homemade cordial.   You sip, enjoy the fire, talk, try not to fall asleep (PH over there was struggling with that!)
 Our campfire was a masterpiece - this IS camping.
 But how many campfire gatherings come with their own personal ukulele player/serenade?

 This park loves their "campers" and are very often feeding them - for free.  This morning it was a pancake breakfast. 

 Full bellies, and a happy end to a beautiful weekend with good friends!  We were making plans to make this an annual event.  And there will be no more fretting on my part about going "camping."
See? I told you this was the mode of transportation in the park!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Out of Darkness, Shining Light

Out of Darkness, Shining Light: A Novel Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah

What do we know of Dr. David Livingstone? Certainly he is no longer a household topic of conversation. Dr. Livingstone was the English explorer who was determined to find the source of the Nile River. That’s about the extent of what I knew, and it almost seems quaint that he devoted his time, efforts and ultimately his life in that pursuit, the world being so small now and all. We are all familiar with the phrase rumored to be spoken by Dr. Stanley upon finding the wandering Dr. Livingstone, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” We don’t know that actually happened. Somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of my brain I vaguely recall he was buried in England but his heart was buried in Africa. I wish I knew how I knew that but as I read this book and before I got to that part of the story the memory percolated forward in my mind. But that’s about it. That’s about what I knew.

One of my favorite things about books and authors is learning the story behind the story. That’s what this book is. Of course, if we think about it we realize if Dr. Livingstone was going to wander Africa for years looking for the head of a river he was going to need help. We forget that part. We forget the porters, guides, cooks, slaves, and villages encountered en-route. We forget that Dr. Livingstone was wandering during the time slavers were rounding up people to transport across the ocean. We forget the hierarchy of sultans and chiefs and what it’s like travelling through lands not acquainted with a crazy white man’s ways. We also forget that all of these people are so much a part of Dr. Livingstone’s story and he couldn’t have had his story without them.

When the time came and Dr. Livingstone dies his companions must decide where to bury him and once the decision is made they must decide how to carry forward with their decision and then do it. And that’s the story behind the story. Not the white man’s story but the people’s. It’s in the first sentence: “This is how we carried out of Africa the poor broken body of Bwana Daudi, the Doctor, David Livingstone, so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own land.”

The story behind this story is told by two people, Halima, Dr. Livingstone’s cook, she was devoted to him but didn’t spare words when she had to stand up to him. And Jacob Wainwright a freed slave. As this story is told through these two it is also told through the lens of slavery and the hypocracy of owning them, not through the lens of white man’s history.

Fascinating, absolutely fascinating.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Swan Song

   We've been gone for about 10 days on a working road trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  This is  our last business trip because PH is finally really going to retire.  This trip was sort of our swan song.  It's a LOT of driving from where we live and all through the U.P. so I go along for the company, scenery and to keep PH in snacks and iced tea while he drives. 
   The Upper Peninsula is a different world from the lower peninsula.  For me/us it's a nice place to visit but much too secluded to live there.  For us, anyway.  But you can't not appreciate how beautiful it is.
     Knowing this was our last trip there we made sure we ...

 stayed at our favorite little motel  (three nights)
 routed our trip to make sure we were here on Tuesday
for the best pasties you'll ever eat
 discovered new places
 woke to beautiful sights
 discovered new restaurants
 ate apples off the rogue apple trees that line the Garden Peninsula
 walked a few beaches
 stopped to appreciate
and decompressed at the end of the day.  It's a tough job!