Sunday, October 14, 2018

13 Years

Ralph, my husband, died on October 16, 2005--13 years ago.
Sometimes it seems like forever since we were together, laughing and loving and arguing and forgiving.  We made a home for our children, supported each other in our individual endeavors, traveled to far away places or spent time at home.
Sometimes it seems like only yesterday when leukemia invaded his bloodstream and conquered it in just one year.  Either way, we had a good marriage, and I still miss him every day.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Books of September

Speaking American.  What do you call a meal you order and bring home from a restaurant?  In some parts of the country it's "take out" and in other parts "carry out."  This book covers all kinds of words and phrases that differ in various parts of the U.S.  It's a book for a language aficinado like me.

Nightingale.  The story of two French sisters during World War II and how they coped with their situations in very different way.  It was on the best seller list for quite some time.

Educated.  My favorite non-fiction book of the year, it's the memoir of a young woman who grew up in Idaho in a survivalist family--no birth certificate, no vaccinations, no doctor visits ever, no schooling except at home.  Unbelievably, she takes the ACT and gets accepted to Brigham Young University, where she is totally out of her depth.  But she persists and eventually earns a PhD. from Cambridge.  Fascinating story and, despite what some Amazon reviewers say, it's true, and isn't truth stranger than fiction?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Shriners Burn Hospital for Children

I am a burn survivor.
When I was 19, my dress caught fire from a gas heater and I nearly burned to death.  Recovery was a long, painful process, but obviously I recover and go on with my life.
A few weeks ago I was delighted to be invited to tour Shriners Burn Hospital for Children in Galveston.  Galveston .has been one of premier center for treatment of burns ever since I can remember.  I was there for three months.  At that time there was no specific hospital for burned children.  The girl in the bed next to me was only 12.
In 1963 the hospital focused on children with burns and other serious skin diseases was founded.  Now it is #1 in the nation in treating such injuries and diseases.  It is a beautiful building and what impressed me most was that it treats, not just the underlying problem, but the whole child. There is counseling for children and families, a play area, even a school so children who are school-aged can keep up with their studies.  It is a warm and welcoming child centered place.  I hope to drive down to Galveston once or twice a month to do volunteer work there.  As a previous burn patient as well as the daughter of a Shriner, I feel this is the place for me to give back.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Books of Augusr

Moving Day.  What would you do if you were moving across country and the movers arrived a day early?  The elderly couple figures they'd gotten the day wrong.  Imagine their shock when the real movers arrive the next morning and they realize all their possessions have been stolen!  Will they get them back?  Read and find out.  I loved this book!

Mrs. Fletcher.  A middle-aged woman re-invents herself.  B-.

Somebody's Daughter.  When his ex-wife appears sobbing that her child, who may be his, is missing and begs him to help find her, he agrees and finds a tangled web of secrets and lies.

The Gatekeepers.  What is the most powerful non-elected, non-Senate confirmed person in Washington?  The President's chief of staff.  He (no she's yet) controls access to the  President, interacts with various factions in the White House and sometimes gives the President his blunt opinion on important matters.  This fascinating book chronicles chiefs of staff from Nixon through Obama.  I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Books of July

I read a lot in July.  Here's the list:
The Hellfire Club.  I read it because I like to watch The Lead with Jake Tapper.  Didn't care much for the book, which was billed as an inside look at Washington.  The main character seemed to get victimized throughout.  C+

The President is Missing.  I'm not a fan of James Patterson, but I read this book because it was recommended by our librarian.  Another inside Washington book.  It was okay.  B

The Outsiders.  I've never read this book.  I picked it because it was listed as a "favorite book" on PBS Great American Read.  I enjoyed the "outsider" gang but it wouldn't be my favorite book.  B

The Marriage Lie.  My favorite book of July.  Husband flies to Orlando to be the keynote speaker at a conference.  An hour later, wife receives a call from the airline that he died in a crash of a plane bound for Seattle.  I recommend this one.  A

Three Days Missing. By the author of The Marriage Lie.  Mom gets a call that her son is missing from an overnight campout.  But is he?  Another A

The Last Breath.  An earlier book by the same author, Kimberly Belle.  Not as good as the two listed above.  Daughter comes home to care for her father, who is dying.  He's been let out of prison, where he is serving a life sentence, so he can come home to die.  Is he innocent...or guilty?  B+

Heart of Darkness.  Another choice from the PBS list.  Ship captain is obsessed by stories of Mr. Kurtz as he sails upriver to find him.  Again, it wouldn't be my favorite.  B  (I voted for To Kill a Mockingbird)

The Other Woman.  Yes, Daniel's Silva's books about Israeli spy, assassin, art restorer are pretty much alike, but I love 'em and wait expectantly for the annual July release.  A

Wait for August.  Some really good books coming!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Major Life Transition

My freshman year in college I read an article in Seventeen Magazine that would set me on a path that I would follow until this day.  The article was about the relatively new field of speech pathology.  I thought that sounded interesting and the following year when I had to declare a major, I decided on that.  Of course, growing up in the Fifties, I didn't expect to actually have a career.  I wanted a college degree.  That was a secondary goal.  My main goal was to get married, have two children, a nice house, two cars and a dog.  Once I achieved that, I would bid speech pathology goodbye.  

But I didn't.  I worked for the Houston Independent School District for a while, then got married, had two children, etc. 
Then I got a divorce.  I returned to college, got a Master's in speech pathology and audiology and went back to work for the next fifty years.

Choosing speech pathology as a career was one of the luckiest and best choices I ever made.  I've never seen it as a "job" but as a calling.  I've been privileged to hear children's first words, hear their garbled speech become intelligible, watch them learn to read and express themselves in writing.  Along the way, I've shared families' amd children's lives and language.  It's been the perfect profession for me, but now it's time to move on, or as one of my four-year-old students said the other day, "Miss Thelma, now you'll be 'attired.'"  

This is a major turning point for me, but I know the time is right. The road ahead is a little scary but exciting.  I've loved going to work every day and I have so many memories to cherish.

So I'll end with words from "A Chorus Line:"
     "Kiss today goodbye
    And point me toward tomorrow.
    Wish me luck,
    The same to you.
    But I can't regret,
    Won't forget
    What I did for love.

    Love is never gone.
    As we travel on,
    It's love that we remember..."

Just before my husband died, he said, "You'll be all right.  You'll do something good."  I hope so.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Movie RecommendationL

Last week I saw a documentary that I highly recommend:  Three Identical Strangers.  
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet a carbon copy of yourself?  That's what happened to triplets separated at birth.  They met at age 19 when one enrolled at the same junior college as another and kept being called by the wrong name.  The two were written up in the newspaper and the third triplet saw the article and realized that these two young men looked exactly like him.  The three became famous and eventually opened a restaurant called Triplets in New York City.
But the story didn't end with their unexpected reunion.  Their families wondered why they were never told the children they adopted were identicals, why they were never told about the other families or why the boys were separated.  It's a dark and fascinating story.  I won't spoil the rest of the story but if you see the movie, you'll be amazed at what happened and why.

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