Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Quote for the Week

The Patience of Ordinary Things
by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the teacup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottom of shoes
Or toes.  How soles of feet know
Where they're supposed to be.
I've been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs,
And what is more generous than a window?

I love this poem.  I hope you do, too.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

i Love New York

.
My sister and I spent 5 days in our favorite go-to place--New York City.  It's exciting to feel we're a part of the city as we walk down the street, hearing the honking of horns; seeing people bustling by, their eyes glued to their phones; inhaling the odors of foods of street vendors.  Houston has tall buildings,  but it's always a shock to look up at NYC buildings and realize why they're called skyscrapers. 

We found a breakfast place a few blocks from our hotel.  I asked for a cranberry muffin and it arrived cut in half and grilled!  The next day I ordered a plain one.  We ate dinner one evening at Latanzi, our favorite restaurant.  After a delicious meal we sat waiting for the check...and waiting and waiting.  Turned out our waiter had left for the evening.  (It was weird; we didn't leave a tip.)  We found several other restaurants that we'll probably go back to another time.  One evening we had dinner with our cousins from Connecticut--great fun.

We spent a morning at Gulliver's Gate, an exhibit with miniatures of cities all around the world.  They have a photo booth that scans your picture from all sides; then you can order a miniature of yourself.

We went to the top of the new World Trade Center, visited the Jewish Heritage Museum which is a Holocaust museum, went to the Museum of Modern Art and saw a fashion exhibit that had everything from the 1930's on, even a wonder bra, a wrap dress, all kinds of jeans, shoes and hats, maternity dresses and "little black dresses" through the years.  We strolled through St. Patrick's Cathedral across the street from our hotel.

Of course we went to Broadway shows:  Come from Away, a musical about people stranded in Newfoundland during 9/11; The Last Match, about a tennis match between a champion near the end of his career and a young Russian phenom; The Terms of My Surrender with Michael Moore, with a "liberal" dose of his views on the state of the country.

As usual, we played Scrabble.  I am currently $10 ahead (We play for $2 a game.)  My sister says we should start from zero every time we travel together, but I say this is a lifetime tournament and I'm ahead.

After a great trip I returned home and got nipped by my cat.  What a welcome!  Cats mouths are full of bacteria so by the next morning my hand was swollen and so painful I could hardly move it.  Bad kitty!  I got a tetanus shot and a dose of antibiotics and I'm better now, but I'm very cautious around the cat. 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Quote for the Week: 5 Stories: Anonymous

One
Once all the villagers decided to pray for rain.
On the day of prayer all the people gathered,
but only one boy came with an umbrella.
That's FAITH

Two
When you throw babies in the air,
they laugh because they know you will catch them.
That's TRUST

Three
Every night we go to bed
without any assurance of being alive the next morning,
but still we set the alarms to wake us up.
That's HOPE

Four
We see the world suffering, 
but we still get married and have children.
That's LOVE

Five
On an old man's shirt was written a sentence:
"I am not 80 years old.
I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.
That's ATTITUDE

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Books of August

A World War II story about three very different women--a New York socialite, a Nazi concentration camp doctor and a young Polish girl.  I enjoyed this book.  I read it during Hurricane Harvey when I had no phone, no TV and no internet and it kept me interested the whole way through.

Another World War II story, this one about Adele, whose famous portrait was painted by Klimpt, and her niece Maria and her experiences during the war and afterward.

No, this is not a war story.  It's about two sisters who vanish one night.  Several years later one returns with a strange story.  Will they find the other sister?  Do we care?  Not a lot, but it beat watching the bayou overflow.

Monday, September 11, 2017

I Understand

I see them everywhere:  in restaurants, elevators, the grocery store.  People scroll busily through their I Phones, even when they're talking to someone else in the real world or turning on their car ignition.  It's as if those devices were glued on and if you didn't turn them on the second you had time, they (or you) might explode.

Now, thanks to Hurricane Harvey, I understand.  

Although I live in a high-rise building and only the basement flooded, the power went out.  No electricity, no TV, no computer and, OMG, no phone. And for a few days, with most of Houston's streets under water, no newspaper. My I Phone became my outlet to the world.  Back in the day, before the storm, I used the phone to make occasional calls and as a camera, but over the last two weeks, besides calling friends, I read the news, the weather reports, listened to late night TV hosts' monologues, followed the Houston Astros and the U.S. Open tennis tournament.  At night I found music on youtube that lulled me to sleep.  I even had Siri tell me jokes--she knows a lot of them.

So I will no longer criticize people whose phones seem to be an extra appendage and who scroll through them as if their lives depended on it.  I get it now.  The I Phone was my lifeline and my fingers were just as busy as those people in elevators who walk out, still scrolling, when the elevator has reached their floor.

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!

 

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