Wednesday, July 31, 2019

64. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I could not put this book down. It is a semi-autobiographical novel, and it deserves every award it was given. 

I listened to the audio book narrated by the author and looked at the illustrations on a Kindle edition. WOW! This is a beautiful story. It is off-color in parts because it is written by a teenage boy. So this might be offensive to some.

 After reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, it gave me perspective on life on a Native American reservation (and the mess we made of the Native American's way of life that still leaves me heart-broken). The setting is the Spokane Indian Reservation (Wellpinit, Washington). 

It is so well-crafted. I might even say it is my favorite book of the year so far. 

63. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

LibraryThing predicted with HIGH CONFIDENCE that I probably would not like this book, but in a weird way, I did. I do not object to dystopian novels. This one was sort of mind-bending (as opposed to mind-flattening which, if you read the book, you will understand what I mean by that). It is a commentary on Victorian Era society, and how one must go out of the lines (or squares, polygons, circles, and triangles) to find truth. There is a realm beyond how we have been taught to see it, and we need to be open to realms unknown. Sometimes who buck the trend (or societal class norms) are sometimes persecuted for doing so.

I do think I liked it. 

Here is what the author of 1000 Books to Read Before You Die says: 

A novel of mathematical whimsy, Flatland is set in the peculiar world that provides the book’s name and is home to its putative author, A. Square, a two-dimensional being in a world inhabited by lines, triangles, circles, and polygons. Ingeniously composed as a kind of dystopian memoir, Flatland is a stunning piece of social satire, depicting with great acuity the gender and class distinctions of Victorian Britain. Abbott’s notions about the larger conundrums posed by different dimensions and their relationships to one another were ahead of their time, mathematically speaking, but the enduring fascination of his fable is its depiction of the perils of making the world simpler than it is, no matter how elegantly provable that simplicity may seem.

Freewrite Fifteen at 7:30 on a Wednesday Morning

Alexa just said, "Fifteen minutes, starting now." So I am going. I woke up at 4:30 and did not get to sleep until 1:30, so I will have to take a nap this afternoon. After four nights of sleeping really well and on my back, I was more uncomfortable last night and will stretching my hamstrings on my right leg, my back spasmed. So it was a more uncomfortable night last night, and I was concerned about getting up to go to the bathroom. A simple thing about getting up and going to the bathroom is a lot more complicated when you have a big immobilizing brace on your entire left leg. So I laid in bed with a full bladder this morning doing stretches and trigger point on my psoas muscle before I got up, and my back was good. I am even sitting upright here. 

I texted George 13 times and called him five time to find out where my muscle relaxants were last night, but he did not answer. I have to get used to just bothering Paul. He did end up going around the house looking for the bottle (I take them VERY infrequently, but in involves me having to get food in my stomach, and it was already 12:30 at night at that time, so I had not eaten for several hours. Going to get food is hard when you cannot go get food. So I bothered Paul, and he came through. He has been so kind, and he is so like his dad. I true Gentle Giant at 6' 8 1/2" inches tall. While I want him to get a job in his field since he graduated in June, it has been a providential thing that he has NOT gotten a job and is able to be here with me while George works up in Hillsboro.) He found the pills after some searching and he also got a heat wrap for me to put on my back while I slept. I slept a solid 3 hours and would he slept longer had I not had liquid in me from taking the medication and have to get up. I was afraid to sit down on the toilet, but my back did fine sitting down. 

Then I was able to have a Centering Prayer time concentrating on God being "Life and Peace." My whole back relaxed (I think some of it is I have guarded that back for my whole life, and I don't realize that I am tensing), and I was flooded. Then I meditated in the app. That was so lovely in Jeremiah this morning. So it was a good morning. 

That right leg and glutes are holding out OK, but can they hold out for eight weeks? I am praying healing over this top of the tibia and fracture into the bone. I have an x-ray tomorrow to determine whether I can bend my knee and start physical therapy. I am sure this will help me with everything if I can do that. 

I just had one moment this morning where Paul was not up, and I needed to get some liquid in me and I spilled my drink on the floor and almost slipped with my crutches, and I got frustrated. 

Surprisingly, I am not frustrated with God. He told me to "Soak in the rays of my love" for the summer. That was the mandate, and I was doing that and being project oriented around the house being the first summer is ages where I have had NO ministry obligations. I have definitely been connecting with my international friends, and we do have missional community every other week, but that is not a big thing. I loved that ebb and flow of time with God, intercession for the neighbors, clearing out a cupboard, drawer, or closet, taking walks, riding my bike and weightlifting, and resting. Some of that is not an option now, but much of it I can do!

I cannot believe it has been fifteen minutes, but there you go. 

God is good. I really believe this with all my heart. I also want to say KUDOS to my friends and mostly Suburban people who have brought me meals on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. What a blessing! 

Also, did I freewrite about the big surprise party for my sixtieth? George had Pastini's and Pals (about 50-60) at the Chintimiti Senior Center come and celebrate with me. Anne came from Colorado, and Elizabeth came from Flagstaff! Wow! That was so great. They stayed for Saturday and Sunday night at our house too. Grateful. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

62. Abel's Island

I loved this precious book with illustrations by the author. I realize he is the same person who wrote and illustrated Amos and Boros which I read in 1986 because it is about an elephant and mouse who are friends, and my short little friend, Susan, was the mouse, and I was the elephant. 

It is a simple and beautiful "hero goes on a journey" type of story. He grows through adversity. 

61. Harriet the Spy

I loved this precocious 11 year old! I also love all the references to great literature throughout the book. This is another one that I missed reading to my kids or having them read themselves when they were kids. 

(so appropriate that I would finish my SIXTIETH book on my SIXTIETH BIRTHDAY WEEK!) 

60. How Proust Can Change Your Life

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I had a Playaway from my library that kept shutting down and repeating the audio over and over again when I went on walks. I almost took it back (or had someone else take it back since I am not able to drive with a broken leg), but I thought I would give it one more try this morning, and it played without incident. 
I read it in hopes of it helping me to want to read the massive In Search of Lost Time. It does give me context. I listened to an abridged version of the first two sections a few years ago and was not greatly impressed, but there is a new unabridged audio version that makes me want to try it. 

I ended up really liking this book. He gives one a background to Proust's life that informs how his classic In Search of Lost Time (or Remembrance of Things Past) evolved. It also helped that I have been to some of the places described now that I finally made it to France in 2019 (I did go to France January of 1983, but that does not count because I was on a train and only saw Paris from mostly underground). I loved the chapter on art and looking at ordinary things in a different way.

I also want to try because of my present situation with my broken leg and the copious amount of time I have at my disposal. 

I laughed hysterically when I read this quote by Proust’s brother, Robert, “The sad thing is that people have to be very ill or to have broken a leg in order to have the opportunity to read In Search of Lost Time.” 

The author adds, “And as they lie in bed with their limb newly encased in plaster … they face another challenge in the length of individual Proustian sentences.”

These days they do more braces than plaster, but you get the irony of reading this quote in light of my situation!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Wednesday Freewrite

I am listening to the artist Jeffrey Wahl. His music was on the Pray As You website. It is lovely. 

I woke up at 4:30 needing to go to the bathroom and in a lot of pain. Shooting pain in the place where my knee popped when I was injured. I have not had that much pain, but is was intense and shooting. George decided, then and there, that HE would take me to my doctor's appointment today. At one time, he was going to go back up to Hillsboro to work and Katherine was going to take me. He wants to be in on the whole thing, and I am thankful for that. I have not had any shooting pain in the six days since the injury. I was in bed for a bit longer and finally just decided to get up and sit as an alternative to laying there. 

Pray As You Go was on complaining to God. I really do not have a hard time doing that, but I have not felt the need to really complain about this latest trial. I look at the whole scheme of things and all the people in the world, and I think only of blessing. Others cannot afford good medical care when they are in pain. They cannot afford to get a brace and borrow crutches. Some do not have people bringing meals to them. I am blessed. How can I complain?? I would prefer not to be in this predicament. I would prefer to dance on my 60th birthday on Saturday. I would prefer to ride my bike to cardio weight training and have a good workout. I would prefer to teach in the fall, but all that was taken away in a quick jerk of a boat and a pop of the knee.

I will plead that it heal quickly and thoroughly. I will prefer before God a resolution of things more quickly than even a doctor could predict. I know that when I severed the tendon in my big toe ten years ago in November, that it sent me on a new trajectory of health and strength for my back, and that was a very good thing. So, I have to believe there is a purpose in all of this. If anything, it has shown me that people are kind to help me during this time by making meals and offering to go to the library for me. Two people said that specifically. That is funny that they know being able to pick up library books is very important to me. LOL! 

Anywho, it has just been six days, and I need to be ready for the long haul of this. I find it hard to complain. I do know that I CAN and God is approachable and all of that. I am not afraid to complain. I just want to find the joy in all of this trial. I memorized James 1:2-4 many years ago. I love the Philips version: "When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brethren, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as FRIENDS, realize they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance, but let the process go on until that endurance has been FULLY developed, and you will find that you have become a (wo)man of mature character with the right sort of independence."  So, I am letting the process go on. I am grateful that I have books to read, music to listen to (and perhaps dance to with my crutches), movies to watch, family to put ice on my injury, people to bring me meals, and a God who loves me. 

There is the alarm. Thankful. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tuesday Twenty Minute Freewrite

Because I love alliterations, I am making this a "Tuesday Twenty" Freewrite. I suppose I could make it TEN, but I feel like Twenty. If I am exhausted after TEN, I will go with TEN. LOL! I am in such a strange mood. 

I definitely have a "plateau fracture" of the tibia on my left leg. I went to see the orthopedic surgeon yesterday, and he said that it may require surgery (the immediate care physician was pretty sure it would not), but a CT scan would reveal more than an x-ray would reveal. So there you go. So I got right in to have a CT scan that took maybe five minutes. That was fun and easy, and I definitely like the way the Samaritan people handled me better than the Corvallis Clinic (although I really liked the people in Immediate Care, but the x-ray person was not very good and gave me some unnecessary pain in the process of doing the x-rays).

This immobilizing brace is also better than the one they gave me at the clinic. Sort of makes me wish I had just skipped immediate care, but I didn't want to have until MONDAY knowing what was going on with my leg, and it was nice to have some direction and some pain killer for those first three nights. 

So, it is at a minimum of six weeks, but he did say I could start physical therapy right away which will be really nice. I need to learn how to protect my back during this time and keep my already weak left side strong through this whole process.

My biggest sadness is not being able to teach in the fall. I am so sad. I love my students. 

The good news is that I do love to read. So there you go, I will get lots of reading done this fall. We will also maybe be able to take a trip this fall after the summer rush and before the weather gets bad. SO that is also a blessing.

So there you go. Today I plan on reading a biography on Saint-Exupery, the author of the Little Prince and one of my favorite quotes that is quoted on this blog. It will be interesting to learn about him. That is, if I can read the print in the book since my new prescription glasses were lost in the lake right before I fractured my tibia. 

If you cannot laugh at the humor of the situation, you will cry. I really don't think I am stuffing it. "Life is full of little disappointments we must take with stride." I have NO IDEA where I learned that quote, but I have been saying it since high school, and it really does bear out. One can really bear most things, and I just want to say that I have such lovely people in my life to BEAR MY BURDENS, and that has been so nice. People from the church are bringing me meals (responding within an hour of me telling Facebook my plight), Katherine is taking me to the doctor tomorrow, Paul is applying my ice every hour, George is the man who took two days off of work to help me with everything. 

My only fear is that my back will go out like it did when I had another surgery ten years ago! That was something that broke me, and it took a year to climb out of the whole that was dug due to that injury to my right big two tendon. So I do have that fear and the fear of inactivity and gaining a bunch of weight as a result. I have been trying to eat lots of veggies. I always eat more when I am on medication and cardio really curbs my appetite, and I am obviously not getting any cardio (the doctor even ruled out water walking because of getting in and out of the pool and the difficulty of that). So there you go. I am not worried about my cardiovascular fitness being diminished because I can build that up no problem. But just the strength that Pilates and weight training and SMR rolling and stretching does for my back care. That is why I am grateful for being able to do physical therapy because I think Jennifer (who I had for my upper hamstring tendinitis last year) will be really helpful in doing adapted moves to keep my core strong. 

Well, I am about due to ice, but I have five more minutes of freewrite to go. It is a beautiful day. I hope to be able to sit out on my deck soon. I think I should be able to do more of that when I don't have to ice and elevate and can sit in a chair more. I should be elevating now. The swelling has gone down a lot, but it has a ways to go before it is really better.

So, today's agenda was already to submit my work hours, contact Marty and Sandy about missing the first Spiritual Direction Cohort Training on September 6/7 (the earliest I would get the brace off is August 29th, and then I will be quite weak, but I might be able to make it over there), emailing my boss at Timberhill to tell her I would not be able to sub this summer (I already emailed Drew about not teaching in the fall, and he has me on the schedule for winter term. I also notified Nicole about not being able to come to anymore of her Cardio Weight Training Classes). 

I think my biggest sadness is not being able to dance on my 60th birthday, but that is a minor thing. I am good. I really and truly am good. 

So now it is about one minute to go, and I need to go and ice and elevate my leg and get on to reading the book of the day. It is long. So I am not sure I will be able to read it in a day. But I can try.

BYE! No proofreading just sending to the blogosphere! 

Monday, July 22, 2019

59. Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

"The desert says nothing. Completely passive, acted upon but never acting,
the desert lies there like the bare skeleton of Being, spare, sparse, austere, utterly worthless, inviting not love but contemplation."

"“In the desert,” wrote Balzac, somewhere, “there is all and there is nothing. God is there and man is not.”"

I am surprised how much I loved this book. I learned so much about this part of the country. He was a ranger in the 50s in Arches National Park. It contains his hikes and contemplations about "progress" and tourism ruining the beauty of the region The only thing that would have made this better would be to have pictures of the places he describes. I made the best of it by looking them up on the internet as I read. 

This is a book I never would have picked up, but he writes well. He has a few political "rants," but I did not mind. 

It was also very interesting to read this book at the same time I was reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee because he talks about the different Native Americans in the area. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday Seventeen Minute FREEWRITE

We were supposed to be gone on an anniversary getaway, but other plans were in store for this girl. As a pre-anniversary surprise, Micah and Brittany told George they would take me out in the boat and give me a ski ride, but I fractured my tibia while trying to get out of the water. It is a "plateau fracture," and it might require surgery if there is an ACL or MCL (not sure if I have that right) tear. So, guess what we are doing on my anniversary weekend? ICING, IBUFROFEN, ELEVATING, and doing "ANKLE PUMPS"! George is doing what he does best: being a nurse for me (again). If he were not a brilliant statistician, he would make a great nurse. He is a gem. I am sorry this happened, but I seem to be managing well. Within minutes of asking for crutches on Facebook, someone responded. Carey asked if we wanted meals from the church. People are praying. What more could a girl ask for?

So it is pretty funny that I am reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee this week! (Yes, I already posted my review on this blog. Sometimes, if I am more than halfway through a book and know I will finish it and have a definite opinion of it that will not likely change, I go ahead and post a review if I am doing it along with ones I have already finished just to "batch" post.) I laughed when I realized that. 

I am also loving my 40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I had purchased this so long ago (April 2017) but with the start of the Renovare Institute and then the Spiritual Exercises, I put it on the back burner. It has been precious to read the quotes from Life Together (read in 2016 and meditating on community. With this knee injury, I have seen the power of community in my life. Even though it was a bummer to have my knee injury at the beginning of our boating adventure, it was still so lovely to be with Micah, Brittany, Katherine, and George on the boat and talking about deep things and fun things. God is so good to give us rich community who love Him and want to follow Him with their whole heart. They are all such lovely young people. 

So what have I been doing during my confinement at home? I have been reading the book above that I already mentioned. I am also reading Desert Solitaire: reflections of Edward Abbey on his time in Arches National Park in the 1960s before it became touristy. This is the popular park with the amazing arches (and the one that people swing from - Here is a super fun video of them doing this -

I am also having a Colin Firth Film Fest since George got me DVDs in the A-B letters, and the whole Bridget Jones Diary films are there. I had also gotten one from the library the day before because I had seen one advertised while we were watching another British film. All things Colin and British so far in my convalescence! LOL!

Well, I am sure there is more to say about this odyssey of injury, but I must go ICE and ELEVATE in bed. It has been so good to be upright for a bit to sit and type this and have my devotional time. I like sitting upright, but it is better to elevate.

Timer sounding and off! 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

58. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

First, this book will break your heart. Then, you will become incredibly angry. What America did in the name of "Manifest Destiny" is EVIL, absolutely EVIL. So, I think this is a very important book to read. Follow it up by watching Ken Burn's excellent series, The West, and you will get a more accurate picture of what REALLY happened. My best friend, who is NOT a big reader, had this on her coffee table, and she was enthralled. She loaned it to me, and then I discovered it was on the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die list. I agree. It is that important. 
Here are a couple of reviews when it came out in 1970:

TIME magazine reviewed the book saying: "In the last decade or so, after almost a century of saloon art and horse operas that romanticized Indian fighters and white settlers, Americans have been developing a reasonably acute sense of the injustices and humiliations suffered by the Indians. But the details of how the West was won are not really part of the American consciousness ... Dee Brown, Western historian and head librarian at the University of Illinois, now attempts to balance the account. With the zeal of an IRS investigator, he audits US history's forgotten set of books. Compiled from old but rarely exploited sources plus a fresh look at dusty Government documents, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee tallies the broken promises and treaties, the provocations, massacres, discriminatory policies and condescending diplomacy."[12] The Pulitzer-Prize winning Native American author N. Scott Momaday noted the book contains strong documentation of original sources, such as council records and firsthand descriptions. Stating that "it is, in fact, extraordinary on several accounts," he further compliments Brown's writing by saying that "the book is a story, whole narrative of singular integrity and precise continuity; that is what makes the book so hard to put aside, even when one has come to the end."[5] (from

There is also an Emmy nominated HBO film that covers the last two chapters of the book. I plan on watching that soon. It is on Amazon Prime video. 

Here is why James Mustich says we should read it:

“I have tried to fashion a narrative of the conquest of the American West as the victims experienced it, using their own words whenever possible.” So Dee Brown announced his intention in this book, which fundamentally altered our perspective of the past. Published in 1971, Brown’s unprecedented chronicle of the brutal campaigns that destroyed Native American culture and civilization—beginning in 1860 with the wars incited by the relocation of the Navajos and ending with the massacre of two hundred Sioux men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in December 1890—overturned the prevailing mythology of “how the West was won.” It is a disturbing, heartbreaking tale, told with both discipline and moral intensity in Brown’s gripping pages.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

57. Holy Invitations: Exploring Spiritual Direction

788416 I have read numerous books on spiritual direction, and all of them have at least one quote from this excellent book. This is a very thorough look at this lovely practice in which I am becoming certified (but have done for probably 30 years without really knowing it). I love her style and the topics that she covers in-depth. The training program that I was going to join in both 2008 and 2012(but didn't have peace and discovered that God had other plans both times) had this as its primary text, and the director of that program, Sister Joan, swears by it (I have seen it marked up and dog-eared on her bookshelf). I knew it was one that I would read eventually. Since I was done with all my required readings for certification, I plunged right in. I wish it were part of our reading for certification because I think it is the best one that I have read, and some of the ones that we have read are a little too "ethereal" and not very practical. This one is practical and solid. 

Although it took me forever to get to and a long time to finish once I started, it was well worth the wait. I might read it with other spiritual directors when doing continuing education. It is that good. 

2023 Update:

I am so glad that I blog my reactions to things! There is one book that most direction programs have in it, and I reread it for a Spiritual Direction Training that I am helping with, and I couldn't remember if I liked this one better or not. I DEFINITELY LIKE THIS ONE BETTER, but I needed to remember. Yes, that "other" one is very ethereal and not super practical. I don't know why it is so popular in most programs. This one wins! 

Tuesday Morning Freewrite Fifteen

I woke up at 4:50am this morning because I went to bed quite early last night. Sadly, I was listening to my book again, thinking I would be able to listen until the end of the chapter as I turned out the light and closed my eyes, but NO! So I had to listen to it again this morning. 

Yesterday turned out to be grand. After my last freewrite, I directed the young ladies cutting the trees in my yard (yes, Graham has an ALL FEMALE work crew now - go girls). In the meantime, I went to clean out underneath the sink (I might have done this before the freewrite), and I discovered that the hose that connects to the faucet leaks every time you turn the faucet on, and all the paper products directly under (thankfully only brown bags from grocery runs where brown bags were offered which is rare in our town that has added a charge if you use them, trying to encourage reusable bags) were soaked through in addition to the cork board underneath. I am thankful to say that it had not leaked out to the bottom because I check and there is no leakage there. This prompted me to put a fan there to dry it out and George coming home from Hillsboro in the evening to check it out. We will have to call a plumber. In the meantime, I organized all the products underneath the sink for my daily kitchen project. Can I say how much I have LOVED being home to do these things? Self-preservation instinct of the Enneagram is getting  thorough exercise this summer, and I am glad of it.

I listened to Our Lady Ludlow as I did it, and that was fun (see previous review). 

After this, I went took Paul to his dental appointment (because we have the best talks when we are in the car - I know he could have done it himself, but I like to be with him as much as I can as I know he might be moving away soon for a job). I walked around Chintimini Park where we had our wedding reception 29 years ago on Sunday. I peaked in at the room, and they said they were undergoing a total remodel of the facility, and I mused with the volunteer about making having our 30 year anniversary party there. She was very encouraging as the remodel will be done before then. I am still pondering.

I was able to listen to more of my book and also pray around key areas in which I love to pray (but will remain nameless).

After this it was full on making dinner for Madina who had a baby last Monday. I made French rolls and oatmeal raisin cookies, and George had made Minestrone Soup the night before. After this, I rested and read just for a bit and brought her the meal at about 4:45 and visited until 6:30. Then, I flew in the door and Skyped with Elizabeth for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then I made the rest of the cookies up for my sweethearts George and Michael. Then we talked about books until I retired to listen to my book and promptly fell asleep.

The greatest thing is that George said to be ready by 10 am for a SURPRISE on Thursday. I will have to miss weight lifting, but he says it will be fun what we are doing. I am sure it is in preparation for our anniversary. 

Sometime yesterday (I believer after my freewrite), I also order a birthday gift for Debbie's 60th birthday and had it sent to her. 

I think it has maybe been about fifteen minutes? No, maybe only twelve.

This morning I had a good time finishing up my book and starting Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Heart is breaking for what we did to Native Americans. I also read my slow going book on spiritual direction called Holy Invitations. I also cleaned out the cupboard where my mixer is stationed, and OH MY lots of grime from years of mixing! That was satisfying to get done. Loving my projects.

In about an hour, I will ride my bike to weight lifting (since I must miss it on Thursday) and maybe take the long way home on my bike. Now I think the timer should be going off right about now. YES. Just as I typed NOW. 


56. My Lady Ludlow by Gaskell

I took a two book diversion from my 1000 Books to Read Before You Die quest in order to enter into the world of Elizabeth Gaskell so that I could fill in what was added to the Cranford TV series. It followed this story loosely and even improved upon it in many ways. This is a delightful book told from the perspective of a person who lives in the mansion of this fine Lady. Miss Galindo is totally different in this book. She is talkative and quirky. The one in the mini-series is more of a moral compass and wise. I like the one in the mini-series much better!

All in all, this was a delight to listen to as I am doing a deep-clean in my kitchen this summer!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Monday Morning Freewrite

I have decided to not feel guilty for not planning a big agenda for the summer. For more summers than I care to count, we have always had something. For a couple of summers it was me teaching on storytelling. Last summer it was that huge reunion that took more time than I even realized. It was also finishing up with Renovare. I also taught at TAC all last summer. So to not have any agenda at all other than the shower for Madina (that got canceled due to her C Section) seems so weird for me, but I am managing to get so much done around the house. I have gotten through so many cupboards and drawers. Right now, it is working on the kitchen. Today I think I will tackle underneath the sink. This seems so mundane, but I sure like being able to have the time to make my home neat and clean. I usually have reserved August for that in the past, but July seems to be fairly clear. So I am "striking while the iron is hot." 

I am going to contact Lori and see if she wants to meet in Hillsboro. I would love that and it is part of my "I will" for our missional community last Thursday. Have I mentioned how much I love this missional community? I think this is my favorite one so far. In the past, they have not always flown. I think the first one after that large training group of 17 was also quite good if not logistically overwhelming because there were so many of them! I liked that group, but this group is only 8-10, and we are doing a Bible story, DBS, and prayer. It is very simple, and I like it. I am also not in charge of it which makes it very nice. So YAY to this group.

I am trying not to eat as much today. I lost all the weight I had gained during injury and Renovare last year, but it slowly creeped up on me during Spring term during the allergy season that ended up being prolonged because, for the first time in my life, I had grass allergies! Indoor exercise was always accomplished, but I never burn as many calories working out inside. I also eat more when I am taking medicine. Blah blah blah. Excuse excuse excuse. So, I am trying not to eat as much now that I am able to go outside now and ride my bike and go to cardio weight training. All is better. I think it was many 8 pounds at the most which can be gotten off in a month. I am still not overweight, but I like to be lower on my range. 

So Paul stayed home today, and I get to take him to his dental appointment so I will walk around for 45 minutes while he is in there. That will be my outdoor exercise. I have not walked in that neck of the woods for a while. So it should be quite fun. I love helping Paul this way. I am praying praying praying he finds a job in his field. I am also praying that for Michael, but he is being a little bit more dogged about finding something. He has an interview with a vitamin company in Oregon. Much of the job is doing what he did for his old job. So, that is good he has 1 1/2 years of experience. He responsibly applied for unemployment too. What a guy. 

I think my time will soon be running out. Oh, cardio weight training is run by my coworker, Nikki, now. She is tough. I am never sore! My buns were SO SORE I could barely walk. I love that. I need to sub more because I have to stay in Pilates shape because I don't do it at home if I am not forced to teach it. I know myself so well. 

Well, off to work on the kitchen and listen to another Gaskell book recorded by Librivox. I am guessing the alarm is going to go off any second. I usually am pretty good about time, but it has not gone off yet. Hmmm. Let me check then. 

I have 2:48 to go. What else? I am going to talk to Elizabeth tonight. It will be good to catch up. 

My 29th wedding anniversary is coming up very soon. I am so happy. So very happy.

What else is up with me? I thinking this 1000 Books to Read Before You Die has been fun, but I have to not be so goal oriented, and I don't know if I can ever read ALL of Proust. Can you believe this author thinks you should read ALL of Proust? I read two abridged versions of his first two books, and I thought, "WHY IS HE CONSIDERED SO GREAT?" I am especially wondering as I am listening to a book about his life, and he was a lazy person who lived off his parents' money. 

There we go. Bye! No proofreading here for a freewrite.

55. Mr. Harrison's Confessions

I read Cranford a few days ago. Then I watched the mini-series by the BBC. There was so much in that excellent series that was not in Cranford. I assumed it was the brilliance of Heidi Thomas (Call the Midwife) who wrote the script for the series. I watched the Special Features for the mini-series, and the creator said that the script was created based on three books by Gaskell. So I went searching, and my old friend, Librivox, had an excellent narration of one of the books (novella really). This is the whole storyline in the mini-series about Dr. Harrison and Sophie. It was delightful and made me laugh out loud a few times! I love Gaskell! By the way, the narrator for this Librivox recording is excellent. Now I am off to listening to the other novella they incorporated into the series. I love summer reading! 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

54. My Dog Tulip

Alsatian in Great Britain is what American's call a German Shepherd. I grew up with two German Shepherds: Duke and Babe. Ackerley writes beautifully, but I got a bit tired of him trying to find a male dog to mate with his dog. I am not sure I would have put it on the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die List though. It was painless to read, and the author is quite clever. It made me curious to know more about the author. He was a prisoner of war in World War I, and I would like to explore more of his life than his dog's!

53. The Complete Persepolis

This includes #46 on the books I have read this year and the sequels. WOW! I think everyone should read this. He or she would get a better perspective on what happened in Iran and to its people. I have a better perspective because I have many Iranian friends. What a journey this woman has been on. Highly recommend it. Tonight, my husband and I (he read these long ago) will watch the animated version of the book. I am looking forward to it. 

52. Skellig by David Almond

This truly is a beautiful book. It is under "Children's Literature" (Ages 8-12) in the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die, but it really is one for all ages. The really preferred the audiobook over reading it. It does start very slowly, and you wonder why it is on the list. I am glad I put the book down until the audiobook became available though. It was lovely to read it that way. 

I also have to admit I LOVED all the references to William Blake in the story and to Mina being homeschooled and the commentary on traditional school. I am intrigued by it, and I might read the sequel about Mina. 

This book reminded me of a time when I was quite young, and my brother had to have surgery, but I was left in the dark and left at a friend's house. I remember screaming as my mother drove away. I stayed there more than one night, and I did not understand what was happening to me. Where was my lovely, peaceful family (because the family that they left me at was very chaotic and they fought all the time). 

My biggest sadness regarding this book is that I did not know about it until I read the "1000 Books List"! I would have loved to read this aloud to my kids or had the author read it to our whole family on one of our road trips! 

Friday, July 12, 2019

51. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee

I saw this movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton once and remember being so disturbed by it. Reading the words of the play is no less disturbing. This is the anatomy of a very troubled marriage. It is dark and chilling. But it is no doubt what happens in marriages all over the world. I am grateful mine is not one of them, and my heart breaks for people like George and Martha (and Honey and Nick, for that matter). I guess you could see this as a cautionary tale. It was VERY hard to get through, especially after such a sweet book like Cranford that I finished yesterday! 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

50. Cranford by Gaskell

I really think I like Gaskell as much as Austen. This book doesn't necessarily have a plot, but it is so engaging with wonderful characters in a small English village. This narration was also perfect! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Freewrite Fifteen on a Wednesday Morning

I am happy this morning. 

After two weeks of being cooped up inside with terrible grass allergies, my hubby took the whole family to the beach over the 4th of July, and it was great to walk on the beach without grass pollen. We walked together every morning, and then George would go out with the boys (not boys anymore but they will always be my "boys" even though they are 24 and 27 now) for about an hour in the mid-morning, and I would stay in the room and stretch and read! Later in the day we would do something together as a family. Usually walking on the beach again. So I got a LOT of walking in! (Back totally CLICKED back in after Emiko's massage making it go out on the right hip. I was looking at whale boats with the binos, and I rotated my upper body while sitting in the chair and heard a loud CLICK! YAY!)

I read so many books over the holiday. It was great, and if you want to know what books I read, just look at the slew of book reviews that I did yesterday! It was so fun. 

We also saw the fourth of July fireworks over the Newport Bay. They came from all sides and were lovely with the reflection over the water making it so beautiful. We stood at the beach underneath the bridge, and the crowd was festive and kind.  Many had little bonfires which added to the beauty. We were able to walk there from our hotel room and did not have to struggle to find a parking spot. It was only a mile walk over the top and through the lighthouse park. It was so great.

So, we have been back and went to a party for Jesse on Saturday night. We were only going to stay an hour but got stopped by Jesse on the way to the car to talk and then by Corey. So we ended up staying another 1 1/2 hours. OH WELL. We got up early the next morning and made scones and went to Kirsty and Corey's for the Women's World Cup Final with the USA winning! YAY!

Then we came back and went to church. Mike spoke on Spiderman in the Spiderverse and our destiny. It was great. Had a long talk with Phil and Jan after the service. Love them. Then we came back and got ready (or George did) for the wonderful Iszlers to come over for a couple of hours for dinner. 

On Monday, I ran to the hospital to see Madina's new baby boy, but they would not let me in because I am not family. I gave the blue hydrangeas to Abbas, and she is even texting me now as I type to say thank you for them. Then, I came back and went for a hike with Nuha to Chip Ross Park. Then I read some more the rest of the day and worked on another cupboard (I don't recall which one). 

Tuesday was more reading and I cleaned out the entire pantry, and I caught up on this blog for my book reviews. I also met with Fran for Spiritual Direction because she had been gone in France for a while, and I wanted to process about my friend, Shan, dying. I had worked through it and for some reason, it was just easier to process it by getting out of the house and going to the beach. Whenever I get out of town, I usually am able to do a "reset" of my soul. It has always been that way with me, and I am glad that we were able to get away to the beach for three nights and four days. 

Yesterday, was great though. I know there was more that I did. I feel like I didn't do anything but when I was reviewing my day with George, and I realized that I did! Peter is cleaning our house right now, and he does not realize that I am doing a freewrite, and he is talking away and asking how George is doing and Valentina is yelling from the back room that I need to move to where George is. (He works 90 miles north during the week, and we just don't like the hustle and bustle of the big city of Hillsboro!)  So I am typing and talking at the same time.

Today is a bigger day. Valentina and Peter are cleaning the house. I already rode my bike to the Credit Union because I did not have enough money. I listened to My Dog Tulip as I rode. CI also downloaded Cranford.  Before that I had my time with God (Bonhoeffer Day 18 was on "cheap grace"). Then I straightened up the house which was already pretty clean because when they are all gone from the house it is easy to clean up because I am the only one making a mess. Then, I learned French. HAHAHAHAHA. I am playing the Library BINGO Summer challenge, and one of the things is to learn an online MANGO language. I was only going to do one lesson and ended up doing FIVE. I think this would have really helped me from last time we were in France! But we will go back!

Anywho, the rest of the day will be:

  • Dial-A-Book Volunteering at the library
  • Bringing back library books I read at the coast and getting all the new things on hold.
  • Go to the Bookmobile at the Aquatic Center (for my BINGO)
  • Go inside the Aquatic Center (for BINGO and to ask if I can use my 15 year old cards there)
  • Pick up New Glasses at Dr. Baer's
  • Get hair done at Rachel's!

Thursday will be: 
  • Subbing at G3 8-9
  • Walk with Nuha on campus at 10:45
  • Weights 12pm
  • Make Dessert
  • Missional Community at 7 pm.

Friday GEORGE IS HOME and working from home
Nessa's party at night
And it looks like the weekend will be free now that Madina is postponing her party. :) 

(I went over because Peter kicked me out of my kitchen desk, and he kept talking to me while I was typing so I figured going over was acceptable and IT IS MY FREEWRITE, and I will type as long as I want to!) 

I also want to set up an online calendar system for people booking Spiritual Direction appointments with me. I have NO IDEA how to do that, but it will be fun to learn.

You know. As I read this (yes, I read it over because it is good to review but typically you are not supposed to reread your freewrites), I realize that I have purposely kept this summer very light because God said to "soak in the rays of my love" over and over in the spring. It was a very FULL and busy year last year with spiritual direction training, TAC and OSU Pilates, etc. I find myself feeling guilty but am reminded that there are seasons where we can just rest. I am still spending time with my M friends, but not as much as usual. I feel like my days are ordered though. I am not just sitting around and eating bon bons, and it is really nice to work on my home that has not had the closets and drawers fully cleaned out for maybe four years? So this is very good. I am grateful that George's job affords me the opportunity to not have to work full time (although during the school year I work about 30 hours a week with my two Pilates jobs, my international job, and spiritual direction). I am just very grateful to God for this. I think a season of rest can be really appropriate, and Fran, my spiritual director, really concurred with me on this. I will have a FULL FALL with regular spiritual direction (I think I have five people, and I am only required to have two) and directing people through the Spiritual Exercises. So it will be good to rest a bit even though I am subbing periodically to stay in shape.

Well, now I am REALLY going to end this Freewrite. Madina and Mindy both texted me about the baby shower on Sunday and Peter and Valentina kept on talking to me! LOL!

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

49. The Phantom Tollbooth

Why had I never read this before? I never read it to my kids, but one of my kids said he read it on his own as an adult. I just looked it up, and it is part of the 8th Grade Readers for Sonlight Curriculum, and we were already on to other things by then. I loved it. It is so clever and classic and loved it! It is like a more modern Alice in Wonderland only Alice is called Milo in this story. 

48. The Three Golden Keys by Peter Sis


I loved learning the old stories of Prague. I dream of going there some day soon!

In this book’s fairy-tale narrative, a young man’s hot-air balloon is blown off course and lands him in an ancient town, which he recognizes as Prague, the city of his youth. He makes his way to his old home, but the house is dark, the door secured with three rusty padlocks. A black cat appears to lead him through silent streets in search of the keys that will unlock the gate to his lost childhood. Sís’s images, crowded with detail and decoration, create an exhilarating cityscape that spreads like a map over the large pages. They are washed with colors both muted and luscious, colors that coat the illustrations with the mystic, tentative, tantalizing affections of remembrance. One falls into his marvelous memory palace like a thought tumbling into sleep—and dreams. Disguised as a children’s book in format and style, The Three Golden Keys will nourish the imagination of any reader. It is a gift, humble and noble, and a loving legacy, which illustrates that the child is not only father to the man, but muse as well.


Here I go for fifteen minutes. I did not do the fifteen-minute freewrite Friday as I thought. And I totally missed this last Friday. So, I a...