Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse

On July 11, 1991 my husband and I stood among people on a on the steps surrounding the central plaza in the ruins of Monte Alban near Oaxaca, Mexico. We were part of a group trip sponsored by the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Hundreds of people in addition to our group lined the plaza.  Near us was a group with painted faces.  As the sky began to darken, the sound of drums added to the anticipation of what was to come.  We had donned special solar glasses so we could watch the moon move across the face of the sun until only the corona was visible.  The temperature dropped and the crowds quieted as darkness fell.  Only the sound of drums continued.  For two minutes we experienced our spiritual connection to the natural world...and then it was over.  The moon gradually moved away and the sun shone again.  That was one of the peak experiences of my life, one I will never forget.

On Monday during this year's eclipse my life was very different.  I could no longer share the partial eclipse we could view in Houston with my husband, who died nearly 12 years ago.  If he had been alive, we would have traveled again with the Museum of Natural Science and seen totality in Wyoming.  
So this time I saw a partial eclipse, but I was surrounded by friends, the fellow residents of my apartment and my dear friend Lynn who came to our eclipse party.  We sat on the patio, wearing our special glasses and gazing in wonder at the sky.  The clouds parted just in time. We watched the moon covering 2/3 of the sun and watched again as it moved away.  In between we feasted on an "eclipse cake." The sight was awe-inspiring and the cake was delicious.  

And by the way, a note from yesterday's Houston Chronicle eclipse article.  A woman whose children attend school in or near Dallas called the school district to complain about the eclipse.  "Monday's the first day of school.  Couldn't they have scheduled the eclipse on the weekend?"  Fake news, or did it really happen?  You decide.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Books of July

I have read all of Daniel's Silva's books and I look forwards to his latest, which usually comes out in July.  Then I devour it.  Gabriel Allon, art restorer, spy, assassin, is now the head of the Israeli secret service and I wondered what he could do from his office, but not to worry.  He is called (or calls himself) back into action to set up and elaborate plot to catch a bad guy who got away.

Curtis Dawkins, who has an MFA, is now serving a life sentence without parole for a murder committed when he was on drugs.  His stories about prison life are fictional but he knows the life well and bases them on his observations and experiences.  I give this book an A.  It introduces the reader to a world s/he has undoubtedly never known and never will.

I read this for my book club.  A child, of course wearing a red coat, goes missing.  We follow her life and that of her frantic mother.  Far-fetched but a quick read.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Quotes for the Week: The Past


One faces the future with one's past.
                        Pearl Buck

You can live in the past, but there's no future in it.
                        Kalman Packouz

The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.
                         Jessamyn West

Each had his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart; and his friends could only read the title.
                        Virginia Woolf

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fun For Seniors: Part 2

Well, at last the pool has re-opened much to everyone's delight.  But of course nothing is simple here in Seniorland.  There has been quite a debate over the temperature of the water.  Some complain it is too hot, others say it's too cold.  So a survey was sent out in which people could vote on their preferred temperature so we could have it "just right."  No decision yet.  Perhaps they'll average the suggestions and no one will be satisfied.

The Lettuce Dilemma 
At the last Dining Forum someone remarked that the lettuce in our salad is cut into too small pieces.  "No," countered another resident, "the pieces are too large."  Will there be a change in the cutting routine so the lettuce is "just right."  Who are we--the Three Senior Bears?  

The Ice Cream Shortage
Last Monday at dinner someone at my table ordered vanilla ice cream.  Alas, the kitchen was out.  We were dumbfounded.  No vanilla?  How could that be?
But...
On Wednesday at Candlelight Dinner, our monthly special meal, there was a delicious dessert, so everyone was happy and all is well (for now) at Brazos Towers.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Must Watch Video! 5 Minute Crafts

If you want to know how to separate egg yolks from whites, how to keep your bra straps from showing when you're wearing a sleeveless shell, how to get extra hanger space in your closet, how to refresh smelly shoes or even smelly jeans, how to preserve the color of apples once they are cut, how to fasten a bracelet you just can't get to hook together, how to button jeans that are a bit tight, or how to clean almost anything, take the time to click on the link below and watch 5 Minute Crafts.  You'll be sure to find a tip you never thought of using.

Monday, July 24, 2017

El Gato Cat Cottage


My friend Lynn and I, both cat lovers, visited Houston's first cat cafe last week.  Actually it isn't a cafe because they don't serve food or drinks, but it's a great place for cat fans to visit.  Located in a small yellow cottage at 506 Pecore Street in Houston's Heights area, it houses about 18 cats from the Humane Society, all of them up for adoption for only $25 at least until the end of this month; then it will be $50.  We found  two rooms where cats were snoozing in the sunshine or wandering around among the visitors.  One cat had climbed up to the ceiling high "bridge" and didn't seem interested in coming down.  Visitors can play with the cats--plenty of cat toys are available.  Cats that don't like to be picked up wear orange collars.  

After visiting with the cats, we stopped in the entryway to look at the cat-themed items for sale--t-shirts, bags, stuffed cats, color-coded litter that indicates if a cat is sick (really!) and even some cat-decorated shoes.  I bought a blue stuffed cat to go in my blue bedroom.  When I showed it to my cat Cassie, she was terrified and immediately backed away.  She's gotten braver now and will sniff at it but clearly doesn't approve of its presence in her territory.

Besides just visiting the cats, you can check the schedules for times to view cartoons with the kitties, do yoga with them or bring your knitting--I'm sure they love the yarn.

I'm not in the market for another cat right now.  Being a loving grandmother and a sucker for cats, I'm keeping my granddaughter's cat while she spends her freshman year living on campus at Texas State.  When the new cat has come for a visit, Cassie hides under the bed, but I'm sure they'll learn to get along eventually.

If you happen to be looking for a cat to adopt or if you just enjoy interacting with cats, you can reserve a spot to visit El Gato.  Call 832 966 3006 or google their website to reserve online.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Books of June

In June I had two attacks of bronchitis so I didn't have much to do except read in bed.  Here are my June books:
I suggested this for my book club after reading positive reviews about its story of the immigrant experience.  What a disappointment.  Amazon listed it as one of the best books of the year so far, but I found it boring.  A young couple from an unnamed Middle Eastern country escape their war-torn city through a magic door.  I didn't care for the characters because I never really got to know them other than superficially, and the door (and additional doors) made the story boring for me.
About Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe and their famous rivalry as well as anecdotes about other tennis stars of the Borg-McEnroe era.  Intreresting read if you like tennis, and I do.

Until Roger Federer came along, John McEnroe was my favorite tennis player, and I enjoyed his previous book, You Cannot Be Serious, but this one was a disappointment.  Not well written and not much substance.

On her sixteenth birthday, Teva "hatches" from the body of her fifteen-year-old self and assumes Fifteen's life.  Her house, locked away from the rest of the world, is filled with former versions of herself, younger and younger.  In a year, a new clone of herself will break out, but Teva vows not to let that happen.  Why all these clones?  Why won't her mother explain?  What happened to Teva's father?  Interesting premise.

This is a true storey aboiut Lonnie Sue Johnson whose memory was completely wiped away due to a severe attack of encephalitis.  We learn about her previous life as an artist, pilot, musecian and about how she copes with a life without a past and her case has contributed to medical science.

Very different from Emma Donahue's book Room, this is the light-hearted story of a non-traditional family coping with the addition to the family circle of their grandfather.

Yes, we've had actors as governors and as president but a comedian as a senator?  From Saturday Night Live?  Surprisingly, I learned a lot about how the Senate works and gained some respect for Senator Franken.  Interesting read, currently on the NY Times best seller list.
 

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