Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Book Report

Ten books read this month, four by Martha Grimes. Pretty soon I'll have all of hers read and will be looking for another new author - again.

The Importance Of Being Seven by Alexander McCall Smith is the third in his 44 Scotland Street series. I like some of the characters better than others, especially Bertie - the one turning seven.

Bottomland by Michelle Hoover is set during and after WWI about a German-American family and the difficulties they faced among their non-German neighbors.

A House Among the Trees by Julia Glass was my favorite read this month. The unusual bond between a world famous author and his assistant. Complex, interesting characters, richly plotted story of friendship, love, artistic ambition, the perils of celebrity and an unexpected legacy. Glass' novels are always good reads.

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins - the author of Girl on a Train - another well-crafted whodunit which isn't revealed until the last page.

The Black Cat by Martha Grimes is #22 in the Richard Jury series if I counted right.

Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes - and this is #23 which catches me up on the series until she comes out with a new one OR until I can find some of the older ones.

My Mrs. Brown by William Norwich is a cute, thoughtful, transformative read about a 60's something widow, one of the 'unseen' who works several menial jobs to survive but is thrifty, kind and compassionate.

Biting the Moon by Martha Grimes is the first in her Andi Oliver (or Olivier) series. Andi is a late teens or early 20's amnesiac trying to remember her past while navigating the present. She has escaped the man who abducted her, then decides to search him out in order to discover who she is.

Dakota by Martha Grimes is the next installment in the Andi Oliver/Olivier series. I'm enjoying this protagonist - a change from Scotland Yard Detective Jury - and am looking forward to the next to see if Andi discovers/recovers her identity.

Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani. This has been one of my favorite authors since I read her first book, Big Stone Gap. This is her latest and I got to be the first one to read it at our library. South Philly Italian-Americans in the post war boom of 1949-50. Trigiani draws on her own family's stories which make them not only interesting, but relateable. And, having grown up in that same era, I can relate; it was the only time in their lives my parents bought a NEW car.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Finally Showing Some Color


The Cardinal Climber is finally beginning to show more red blooms. Maybe it was just waiting for some cooler weather.

These plants are ones I started from seed saved last year. They put forth so much growth in the vines I wondered if they were going to bloom at all.

They reminded me of the 'killer' tomato plant I had a few years ago. It kept growing and growing and growing, but never had one single tomato!

The CC on the deck is putting out a bloom or two at a time.

Compared to one year ago today.

Just as Memorial Day marked the unofficial, official beginning of summer, this weekend will mark the unofficial, official ending of summer. How do the months go by so fast?
Already falling leaves are scattering across the deck and this morning, when I was out in the dawning, I heard an owl hooting up on the ridge. I don't usually hear them this early.

This is the latest "haven't seen this before" picture. This was Sunday. I have never before seen the heron in a tree by the pond. It is back there again today, same limb.

The rain we had last week really greened the grass back up. We could still use some more, but with what is happening in the south, I am going to be careful about what I wish for - be content with what I get. As little Lily said, "You get what you get and don't throw a fit." (That has become Bud's new favorite saying.)

What I got this morning was this lovely, foggy reflection. Its quiet somberness spoke to me - so much I made it the background picture for this blog.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cement Mixer, Put-ti Put-ti

A few years ago, it was when we were still in the trailer on the farm, I started singing, cement mixer, put-ti put-ti and Bud asked what I was singing. I told him. He didn't believe it was a song; thought I was making it up. I said, "You never heard cement mixer, put-ti put-ti when you were a kid?!" He had not.

I thought it was a fun song to sing even if all I knew was repeating the title. I was eight when the song was popular in 1951, so I suppose its catchy lyrics, even if I didn't understand them all, was fun. Slim Gaillard was the vocalese singer-songwriter. Some of the lyrics following singing the title words three times were: "a puddle o'vooty, puddle o'gooty, puddle o'scooty" then the title words three more times followed by "a puddle o'veet; concrete!"

I have had reason to think of that old tune many times in the last couple of years. We have a neighbor who went to work for a concrete company. He puts in some very long days, leaving early, coming home late.

The problem is the leaving early. This is his work truck. It is VERY LOUD. I didn't mind so much when he left at 5:30-6:00 a.m. But last week it was 3:19 a.m. one morning and yesterday 4:40 a.m. Why so early? I always have trouble going back to sleep - if I do at all. And if I do then I have those crazy dreams and wake up feeling tired, disoriented, crabby, etc, etc. This morning I got to sleep in until almost six. I checked and his pickup was still there. He came home around 7:30 last night, after leaving at 4:40, so maybe he got today off.

Cement mixer, put-ti put-ti.

(8:45 a.m. Not the day off then. I just heard him leave. I don't have to see him leave; I know the sound of that truck. At least maybe we both got a little more sleep.)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Just Causes

I grew up knowing first hand that neighbors helped neighbors. When an elderly neighbor came asking Dad for a loan, Dad gave him what he could, five dollars, knowing full well the money probably wouldn't be repaid.
When another neighbor died Dad went house to house collecting a dollar here, two dollars there and having a sympathy card signed to go with the total to hand over to the widow.
It is what you did to help.
I moved away from that neighborhood, to the city where sometimes you didn't even know your neighbors, where instead I gave money to United Way and blood to the Red Cross.

In 1991, I gave money to the International Red Cross, a first for me. It was earmarked to buy blankets for the Kurdish refugees, freezing in the snow. TV brought their suffering images home.

During the floods of '93, living in Valley Junction, the Red Cross came to me. But I was among the lucky, the flood waters stopped six inches from coming into the main part of my home. I accepted some cleaning supplies from the volunteers thanking them and my lucky stars.

After canceling a trip to my niece's wedding in Chicago and giving the money instead for Hurricane Katrina relief, I became dubious of charitable giving when learning more went to salaries for high paid executives than went to the people who needed help. That made me regret not attending the wedding. It would have been better to be there for my niece on her big day.

Perhaps I've made up a bit for it by donating every year for eight years as she has walked the 3-day Komen walk for the cure.

This has already been a more than usual year of donating - deaths of cousins and a former sister-in-law, a go-fund-me for a cousin injured in a vehicle accident, my son's birthday request for donations to young adult cancer in lieu of presents. Just causes, all.

And now, another hurricane, Harvey looks to be as bad or worse than Katrina. My donation will once again go to the Red Cross - what I can this month and more later if possible.

I'll try not to think about how much or how little actually makes it to the ones who need it the most. Instead I'll try to be grateful I can contribute something, and grateful there are people who can provide help.

But as I watch the images of the ones there, the neighbors helping neighbors wade out of their flooded homes, I remember growing up in a time when that was what neighbors did - and still do.

(If it sounds like I am bragging about donating, I'm not. I'm crying because I can't do more. And I'm sad about the 'powers that be' who have more than they need or can ever use, but continue to scheme to line their own pockets. I wish they could see the errors of their way.)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

It's Katrina's 31st Birthday!


I was looking for an image to go with this post about #1 granddaughter, Katrina, being 31 years old today and found the above. The blurb which went along with it says: "Study: 31-Year-Old Women Are the Most Beautiful Women of All". (That seems to relate to a July 2010 article in UK's The Telegraph.) Of course, that statement is subjective and may be different for each woman, but I hope it applies to how Katrina feels today.

This is the most recent photo I have of her, taken last month with daughter, Brynley.

Her little girl looks so much like she did. This is me with Katrina as a baby. See what I mean? Both beautiful babies. 

My 31st birthday and year were rather memorable. I hope my granddaughter's is also. Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Goddesses of Peace

Did you, or do you, have trouble keeping the Greek gods and goddesses and their Roman equivalents straight? For instance, the Roman goddess of peace is Pax. I had long known that the word pax was Latin for peace, but had never thought about it being the name of a goddess. If anything it sounded more like a male name.

This is a statue of Pax in the garden of Pavlovsk Palace, Saint Petersburg. She was the daughter of Jupiter and Justice.

Even longer than I have known Pax meant peace, I have known my middle name means peace. I've known since grade school, when, in the back of the Webster's Dictionary, I found the six pages of A Pronouncing Vocabulary of Common English Given Names. There it was, Irene (Gk) peace. (Ramona was also there [via feminine of Ramon (Sp) variation of Raymond (Gmc)] wise protection. Therefore I was a wise protector of the peace.)

So how did I miss that Eirene (Irene) is the Greek goddess of peace? Or is it one of those arcane bits of knowledge I once possessed and then forgot?
And how would I feel if Mom had spelled my name with an Ei instead of just I? A REL not a RIL? Hmm.

The Greek statue of Eirene holds the infant, Plutus. Her parents were Zeus and Themis, the goddess of law and order. Named as I was I should probably have gone into law enforcement or become a lawyer, definitely on the side of justice, wisely protecting the peace.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Undulatus Asperatus?


Undulatus - wavy. Asperatus - roughened. Roughened waves - one of the newest classifications of clouds - and, if I'm right, ones I was lucky enough to see early this morning.

See and photograph. This type of cloud was first photographed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2005.

And added to the International Cloud Atlas in March of this year.

These are mammatus clouds shaped by wind. As one observer said: "The atmosphere is an ocean, complete with cloud waves crashing above.

As Joni Mitchell wrote and sang:
"I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's clouds illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all."

I just appreciate the wonder of them. Look up.
(All photos taken by ril 8/25/17 - 7:14-7:17 a.m.)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Gallimaufry Post

Remember my July 9th post about 'volunteers'?

Well the one in my Mother's Day flowers finally bloomed. I still have no idea what it is.

The Cardinal Climber is still putting out one bloom a day instead of being covered in blooms as it was last year. The vines in front are growing everywhere.

While the vines in back are very spindly. Yesterday's bloom is hanging by a thread. Literally. Hanging by a thread. (How I feel some days. Ha!)

A bumble bee samples one of the sunflower plants.

Ruthie's Penstemon is blooming again.

The New Moon the night after the solar eclipse.

Yesterday was the first day of school for the oldest great grandsons. This is Ridge, 3rd grade.

Rodney is in 2nd grade. Pictured with little sis, Brynley. Ridge and Rodney are cousins.

Rodney went to the State Fair with Grandpa Doug and Grandma Shelly and came home with tattoos!

And Brynley found a way to enjoy the family's new swimming pool.

Great-granddaughter Lily's first day of kindergarten. Her shirt says it all: 'Brilliant Mind'. Wish I could see how her hair is done in the back. It is so long.

Much as I love the new photos of the great-grands, I treasure this one sent to me this morning by my cousin Judy in Michigan. It is of her mother, Cleo, standing, her grandmother, Martha on the left, and my grandmother Delphia on the right. Judy thinks it was 1962 and was taken at Cleo's in Grosse Pointe.  I think it would be neat if I could one day visit Judy at her home in Michigan.

That's it for today. Did I make you look up gallimaufry? If not, you're either very smart or uninquisitive or just don't care.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What'll I Do?

Though I have no memories of when I first heard some of the old standards of my parents' generation, it was/is like I had always known most of them. They were just there in my mind - like In the Mood and other big band hits.

One of my all time favorites is Irving Berlin's What'll I Do which he wrote in 1923. It was used in The Great Gatsby movie in 1974, but I was aware of it long before. It may be the Frank Sinatra version (1947) which lodged in my memory bank when I was four years old. And I know I had Linda Ronstadt' album, What's New, (1983) which it was on and which I used to sing along with.

I don't buy much music any more which is why I wasn't aware Willie Nelson had included What'll I Do on his 2014 December Day album. It's now my favorite version.

"Gone is the romance that was so divine.
'Tis broken and cannot be mended.
You must go your way, 
And I must go mine.
But now that our love dreams have ended....

What'll I do
When you are far away
And I am blue
What'll I do?

What'll I do 
When I'm wond'ring who
Is kissing you
What'll I do?


What'll I do with just a photograph
To tell my troubles to? 

When I'm alone
With only dreams of you
That won't come true
What'll I do?

We had our share of break ups and make ups in the early days, but we've now been together thirty two years. I really don't know what I would do without him.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Impressionism in Photos

I may have stumbled upon a new favorite pastime. Impressionism by photography.

Some of my favorite artists were the impressionists.

I call this one 'Northern White Cedar' because that little bit of greenery is the 'Christmas Tree' Lily gave me when we were at her home last month. I kept it so I could look up what kind of tree it came from when I got home. I don't remember ever seeing flat evergreen needles before. We didn't have Northern White Cedars in Southwest Iowa, only Red Cedar trees - lots of red cedars.

Patio table.

Ruby throated hummingbird.

Picture of oriole feeder cropped to show just the inverted scene.

Same photo as above, but rotated down - which looks like it is the 'right' way up.

So still, so foggy. It could be a decoy. But it is a live wood duck.

The Grand Finale - My Monet Moment.

"My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature."
       (Claude Monet)

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Total A Clips In Acoma

"Children are to be seen, not heard" was the adage when I was growing up. That suited me fine. It allowed me to be around the grown ups, listening in on their talk, without them paying attention to me.


And oh, some of the mixed up ideas I got. I wish I knew now who the subject was when they were talking about someone being in a coma.

In my mind the term was acoma. (Even though it was eons before I would learn about Acoma Pottery.) I remember I was writing a letter to someone and I wanted to tell them so-and-so was in acoma and asking Mom how to spell it, which is probably when I learned it was in a coma.

That person must have been comatose around the same time as an eclipse because I relate learning the two terms around the same age. Of course I heard that there was going to be a clips of the sun which I equated with something like a glance. It took awhile for me to understand it was eclipse and that we were not to look at it when it happened or we would lose our eyesight. Not even a glance.

What's confusing to me today, as we are hoping the rain (which we've been desperate for) clears out before noon, is that my peeps in Oregon will see the eclipse before we do and I will see it before people in Tennessee and South Carolina. But, but, the sun travels from east to west. Shouldn't the eclipse be seen first on the east coast, then move westward?

Later....the rain ended after a wonderful 85/100's of an inch. I'm seeing pictures from Oregon where the sun is getting close to being halfway covered. It is getting less sunny here where the eclipse started about 45 minutes ago. I haven't looked; not sure if the sun is getting blocked by the moon or if the cloud cover has moved back in. Should I go out and look?

Unfortunately, it is cloud cover. Massive cloud cover.

With just a smattering of in and out glimpses. This was the best photo I got.

It reminded me of trying to get a photo of the full moon eclipse at Niagara Falls two years ago.

Clouds played havoc that night just as they did today.

I'm thinking about the people who traveled many miles, paid much for lodging, etc., to be in one of the totality spots and then had the eclipse ruined by clouds. Bummer. But even seeing those little glimpses I saw through the clouds was exciting. Chances are they felt the same if they caught a glimpse, also.

It looks like that total a clips I was remembering might have been June 30, 1954. I would have been ten years old. Now if I could just remember who was in acoma.......