Friday, February 29, 2008
with my older sister via snail mail. We would be constantly composing long tombs to one another relating our daily doings and the events that took place. We'd cover the mundane as well as the heart wrenching details of raising kids and trying to build young marriages.
She lived in Minnesota and I in California, and through this constant exchange of letters we were always up to the minute on each other's lives. When we would be able to see one another face to face during our visit to Mn or her family's to Ca, we would be able to pick up our relationships as if we had just seen one another the day before.
Shirley and I saved one an other's letters for years and had boxes and boxes of them. I finally cleaned house one day and threw them out. She did the same as she scaled down over the years. What I wouldn't give for those early letters now that my kids are grown and have kids of their own, and my beloved sister has passed away.
Our letter writing served a bigger purpose than keeping us close, though. Both of us found that writing about what was bothering us gave us a clarity and often helped us find the solutions to the things that were troubling us. If not, then the feedback the other gave was the vehicle from which came the clarity we were seeking through our sharing. Thus was born my love for writing, but also my respect for the written word and it's value as an object of shining light into the dark places we are struggling to get out of.
With the advent of computers and word processors, we are now able to write and password protect our thoughts here without fear of someone finding and reading what we write. There is a freedom in that privacy. We don't have to worry about spelling or grammar. We don't have to worry about what we say. Our writings are as private as are our thoughts. What a gift these computers are to us.
I have one journal that I have kept for many years. I started it when my youngest child was graduating from high school and I was facing the inevitable empty nest syndrome. I have continued to write, not always regularly, but constantly enough to draw a picture of me and my family, our growth and the changes that took place. It's like a movie camera into my soul as it records my highs and my lows, and the important events we all shared. I started that particular journal in 1989. The daughter that was graduating high school was 18 then, and is now turning 37 at the end of March. I wrote it with the thought in mind that my children would all read it one day. I see it as a legacy of my love for them. I hope that they share it, and copy it so they all have one of their own. I've filled an entire hard cover book, you've seen the kind I mean. You can buy them anywhere, books with hard covers and empty pages just waiting for us to fill them. I'm about to buy and begin a new one to record these golden years. That will be book three in the "Life of Mary" trilogy.
I strongly urge you all to consider journaling. Just start writing. Don't worry about spelling or grammar or punctuation. Just put down words and thoughts. Nobody is going to proof read it, and as long as you know what you mean, that's all that matters. You'll be surprised what comes out, and what a tremendous outlet it will become. Psychiatrists highly recommend journaling to their patients. It keeps us from thinking in circles as we all tend to do when we are troubled. Do give it a try. I think once you begin, you won't stop.
Until next time, happy journaling!!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Mahalo is near and dear to my heart because I work for them too. I am one of the many, many people they have on staff who write those pages that are so informative. Being an avid reader myself, I am on the "Literature Team" and although I am free to branch out and write on other teams, this is where my heart belongs. The variety of books that they have interesting pages on is awesome. If the book you want to read is pre-copyright years, Mahalo gives you online resources where you can either read the book of your choice or download it to your computer.
Mahalo doesn't only have the classic, though, but all of the latest and greatest are there too. If it's new it's on Malhalo before the ink dries on the page.
As a reader, you owe it to yourself to visit Mahalo's literature section. You will be in awe. Trust me on this.
If you don't find what you're looking for at Mahalo, they want to hear from you. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell them what you would like to see a page written on and they will indeed add it to the list of "pages to be written".
Here's another good link http://www.mahalo.com/Mahalo_FAQ
That will tell you all you need to know about Mahalo, but were afraid to ask.
Until next time, Enjoy!!!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I hope you enjoy this link. You can search for that and other books at the amazon.com link on my page here. Convenient?? You bet!!
Until next time,
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Those of you who read my book review on "Simple Abundance" a while back might enjoy this posting that is all about "simple abundance" in a real day to day sense. Let me know what you think and if you have suggestions, do let us know that as well, and I will post them for my other readers to enjoy.
Other books by her that I have read are: Pavilion of Women, Imperial Women, Townsman, The Living Reed and many, many others. It's been a while since I read these so I need to reread them to review them for you here.
Anyway, am reading "Sons" as fast as I can. I can't wait to share it with you. Then you'll have to wait for me again while I read "House Divided". After that I hope to review the trilogy as a whole here.
You're going to get sick of hearing about this writer. Is it obvious that she is one of my favorites? =) I also enjoy Patricia Cornwell. How big a stretch is that, I ask you!!! =)
Till next time, happy reading,
Monday, February 18, 2008
If you are interested in this month of awareness, please read my article. I'm passionate about this topic and have been since I watched "Roots" . I would like to suggest some other books to you that I have read on this if you are interested in this topic. To begin with, I have reread Roots several times and intend to read it again. It is truly one of my favorites, and I try to reread it during Black History Month.
I would also like to suggest that you visit http://www.mahalo.com/Black_History_Month
You will not only find a lot of information there on how Black History Month began, but recipes and all sorts of great links. It's a tremendous resource and one I use often. I also work there helping to build those pages, and I refer people to Mahalo because of the information they have. It's really worth checking out.
Some other books that I would like to suggest. You might want to use the search link there on the left side of the page to search to see if they are available online at Amazon.com
Black Alice by Thom Demijohn . This book is about a elementary aged young girl from a wealth family who was abducted for ransom by some people who disguised her as a little black girl. It's a good book.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Alice_
Re-read Roots if you haven't already read it. Worth reading over and over again.
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. Again, this is an older book and you may want to search for it there on the Amazon.com link.
The classic Uncle Tom's Cabin is a must read. It was first publish in the 1860s, so may be available free online to read. It is and can be found here. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/STOWE/stowe.html
Man's inhumanity to his fellow man enrages me. For Mahalo I did a page on Auschwitz http://www.mahalo.com/Auschwitz
Do check that out. That's a topic for another day and another discussion.
Until next time,
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Each night when we get into bed, my husband and I each lay there propped up on our pillows reading our books. We really enjoy sharing this time. We don't talk, but we are certainly sharing. The next morning over coffee we'll often talk about what we're reading and if our book is a good one, we'll set it aside for the other to read when ready. I can count on enjoying a book that Gary has said, "You'd enjoy this one". He's never read Pearl S Buck and I'm anxious for him to discover her when I'm finished with "The House of Earth" trilogy. I've told several people that I will loan it to them, but he's first on my "loanee" list.
We have a wonderful used book store here. They buy and sell books of all sorts. Gary is such a good customer that he'll ask them to be on the look out for a certain book and they'll call him when they get it. When we take books in for them to buy, rather than money they give credit towards books. We're rich again. Our "tab" is so long I don't think we'll have to be buying a book anytime soon.
With the internet we can now download or read online most of the classics free. If they are older than patents are, they are free online. If there is a special book that you've been wanting to read, a great resource is www.mahalo.com. Either search for the book or the author, and you'll find some great links to site where you can read reviews or even download books free.
I think everyone is a "book lover" on one level or another. All you have to do is find a book that grabs you and you are captured for a lifetime. Then, the more you read, the better you get at finding books that capture you. It's win/win.
Until next time,
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
When It's Time To Say Goodbye........
If you're reading this post then you too are a pet lover. You too have had pets or have pets. You know the bonds that are formed between these beloved animals and those of us lucky enough to find that special one.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
What excites me about www.snapbomb.com is that after you list your blog or blogs, it rates them as to a price that you can expect to receive for your writing. But that's not all. They also offer you an opportunity to write an article that they will critique and offer suggestions as to how you can improve your skills. You won't believe it, but this service is FREE.
As if that weren't enough, they also have a list of companies looking for writers to provide articles promoting their products and services. Snapbomb.com has everything I personally need and have been looking for as a beginning freelance writer and blogger. Professional feedback, marketing suggestions, and marketing opportunities.
I just had to share this with those of you who read my blog on a regular basis. Those of you that are also writers/bloggers will want to check out http://www.snapbomb.com and sign up. Be sure to let me know what you think. I can't wait to hear back from you.
Monday, February 11, 2008
A friend of mine was given "The Art of Simple Food" as a gift, and went on and on about it. So, I did some research, read reviews, and now I can't wait to get my own copy of her book. I really like the idea of eating locally grown, seasonal foods, and fully agree that we Americans need to stop importing our foods. We have no controls over what is used on or in imported foods, and the recent contamination scares are a testimony to what can happen.
Alice Waters makes cooking and eating a celebration, yet the simplicity of her recipes and techniques remind me of a simpler time. A time before fast food, and ordering in. Times when kids did their homework and visited with mom while she prepared dinner so that it would be ready when dad came home. Times when meals were a family event. TVs went off, happenings of our day were shared, jokes were told, trips planned, and problem solving was not allowed until after dinner. (Bad for the digestion, you know!)
After I get her book, I'll report back in with you with a full review. Until then, I'm pondering planting a "victory garden" this summer, loaded with every vegetable that we love. Gary and I could easily be vegetarians and often buy a huge package of frozen mixed veggies and have that covered in cheese as our evening meal. Excellent, easy, filling, and good for the diets we're both always on.
Until next time,
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
"Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy" by Sarah Ban Breathnach. "A Daybook of Comfort and Joy". Truer words were never spoken. I got my book from a friend who felt that I just needed to have it, and need it I did. =) I didn't know it at the time, however.
"Simple Abundance" is one of those books that you will keep by your favorite chair, that place where you go in the afternoon to sit for a while, relax, have a cup of flavored coffee, or a cold drink on a hot summer's day. Sarah Ban Breathnach has a daily suggestion as to how you can take that day and pull out of it a bit of abundance for yourself no matter what your station in life, your situation, or your condition. She helps one to see that abundance is as much a frame of mind as anything. She helps us to see that in small things there can be great pleasures.
In each days offering, she starts it off with a quote from someone else that by itself, says volumes and would be enough. As an example of this, I quote, "Gardening is an instrument of grace" the author is May Sarton, an author and a poet. Don't you love that??
As a sample of what this amazing book brings to the reader, I will paraphrase one of her daily offerings. This is from "July 19". She goes through the calendar day by day.
"Carving Out Time for Personal Pursuits That Bring Contentment".
Then she quotes "Rebecca West". "It is the soul's duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion".
Ms Breathnach goes on to write: "After putting down her pen, novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings cooked up plots as she baked pies". And then she goes on, "Katharine Hepburn whiled away the long stretches on the movie sets by knitting." And, "Queen Victoria filled dozens of sketchbooks with charming watercolors of her children that reveal a glimpse of the real woman who delighted in holding a brush when not ruling an empire".
She goes on to say, " We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations". Then she quotes another author, Toni Morrison, as saying, "I'm not so sure that we deserve such big A-pluses for that". I totally agree with that. Don't you?
I like this next piece. "But the house calls to us. The children call to us. The work calls to us". Then she asks, "When then, does the painting or the poem call to us?" (She's talking about ME there!! Is she talking about you too?) She says that we are too busy listening to everyone else to listen to our "authentic selves". She goes on to say that, "maybe it's because we have convinced ourselves that we don't have time for these pursuits that bring us contentment unless they only take 15 minutes or so", or even moreso, that we don't deserve that time. What is that all about???
Further down on this days writing she says, "Maybe the answer is that I haven't yet learned to put myself on the list of priorities", and "My authentic passions will have to wait until I'm ready to admit that pursuing them is essential for my happiness". These things that bring us such joy are ESSENTIAL to our HAPPINESS. Think about that!! They are essential!!
I don't know about you, but she sure makes me want to get up off of this computer chair, get out my easel, my paints, my clay for sculpting, and paint with one hand while I sculpt with the other, and all while my eyes are reading my favorite book. lol
I hope that this small taste of this book will make you consider going out and buying it for yourself or ordering it online.
You are going to love having it and will find it to be a constant source of keeping you centered and in touch with yourself. Helping you remember that what YOU need is also important. We need to do things that are just for ourselves, that make us feel fulfilled, and content. In doing this, we are filled up and therefore have that much more to bring to our families. After all, an empty vessel is just that, empty. And that, my friend, is a Maryism!!! =) You MAY quote me. =)
Until next time,
Monday, February 4, 2008
Middlesex is the name of the community where the story takes place, though is also the topic of the book. The main character, Calliope tells her story of how she came to be, going back as far as her grandparents in the old country. She is following genetics more so than persons, the genetics that caused her to be who she was, a hermaphrodite. The narrator, Calliope, blames her confused orientation on a gene that had it's start back in Greece and worked it's way forward. This book reviewer can't help but feel that the fact that her grandparents, Lefty and Desdemona Stephanides, were brother and sister, just may have played a part in it too.
The family story is followed from Smyrna, Greece to America, to the family members there and those that were to come. To the birth of Calliope with her strange gene, and her brother lovingly referred to as "Chapter Eleven".
The story then follows Colliope's development, the many opportunities for doctors to discover that she was different, but didn't. Our author, Eugenides, is brilliant in the way he handles the progression of Colliope's personality. Once in her teens she falls in love with another girl which causes her a great deal of confusion. Calliope is a boy genetically , after all, but doesn't know it. From birth he has been physically raised as a girl.
A series of events lead to the discovery of Colliope's uniqueness at the age of 14.The parents and doctors decide to operate and make Calliope the girl that "she was meant to be". I shall leave that right there, and let you read for yourself what happens. Again, Eugenides is a brilliant author and tells this whole story as none other could.
Needless to say, the topic of this book is a difficult one to handle, and the author did an amazing job at keeping my interest throughout. I can't recommend it to you highly enough. I came away feeling I had learned a lot about some issues I didn't know a thing about. Besides being entertained, isn't that why we read, after all?
Until next time,
Sunday, February 3, 2008
January 16, 2008 by kitnet
After 48 years of marriage, Gary and I settle the “what to get him/her for Christmas” problem by buying for ourselves. What we buy becomes our gift from each other. We’ll even go so far as to wrap them. This year we just put them under the tree not to be touched or used until after Santa has been here.
This year I wanted Pearl S. Buck’s “The House of Earth” trilogy. I had read “The Good Earth” when I was in my early 20s Joan loaned it to me and that started my love of books and my thirst for more books, better books, older books, new authors and so on. I digress.
So, after “Santa” came to our house I was able to claim my book and add it to my “waiting to be read” stack. I was finishing up a “Patricia Cornwell” Scarpetta novel.
Soon I was done with Kay, her dead bodies and odd friends, and was able to begin “House of Earth”. Have you seen this book?? It’s as thick as any of my bibles. I’m about half way through “The Good Earth” which is the first in the trilogy. I’m amazed at how much I have forgotten, or should I say, how little I remembered of it. That brings up the subject of aging and it’s affect on our memories etc. but that’s a subject for another blog, I think. =)
So, each night I crawl into bed, turn on my electric blanket and cozy up to Wang Lung, his wife O-lan, their children and the goings on in the House of Wang. What can I say. I’m there with them. Buck isn’t very descriptive when it comes to surroundings, so I decorate it as I see it. However, I’ve come to know this interesting Wang Lung, his gentle spirit, great mind, and his capacity to work like a horse and consider it the greatest honor bestowed on mankind.
As the saga continues one’s heart is wrenched by images of a little baby girl who is so starved that she doesn’t cry anymore, but just lays there, wrapped in her rags. Her mom is expecting yet another child to add to the three they have (”Please wooden god statue, let this new child be boy rather than a worthless girl child”. Little wooden god wasn’t listening, however, because O-lan goes off into the bedroom to be alone and soon one hears moaning, smells blood, and hears the feeble cry of an infant. One hears it only once. Is it a wonder that this baby made it?? Mom has had no food in so long her skin hangs on her bones too. But wait!!! When dad, Wang Lung goes in to see his newborn he finds her, (ohhhhhh nooooooooooooooooo, not another GIRL. “God does not look down upon me with favor”) lying in the corner. While wrapping this little one in rags to take it out of the house, Wang notices a couple of bruises on it’s neck. Mom O-lan, has “taken care of things”. Arghhhhhh. Some lucky wild dog will have one heck of a feast tonight out there on the burial grounds. Let’s scroll back a bit. Didn’t I say something about Wang Lung being such a gentle spirited, good man?? He is all of that and more. However, it’s a different time, a different country, and a different culture that the Lung family lives in.
Well, have I whetted your appetite for The Good Earth? I certainly hope so. I don’t think you can find it free online, but am sure you can download an audio book for a small fee. Maybe you could try Project Gutenberg. They may have it as a free download there or audio book. Just get it, read it and enjoy it. You’re in for a wonderful journey when you do. Let me know what you think.