Sunday, July 9, 2023

Book of June

 I only read one book in June because I started a 700 page novel and I'm not finished yet.  But I did read The Measure.  Imagine this:  On your doorstep one March morning you find a small wooden box with your name on it and the words "The measure of your life lies within."  You soon learn that every adult in the world has found a similar box.  What's inside?  A string.  The strings are varied only in length.  The length of your string tells how long you will live  The novel follows eight characters and how they react to their strings.  I enjoyed this, not necessarily for the writing, but for the premise.  What would you do if you received such a box?  Open it or not? How would you lead the rest of your life?  And what will happen to society when people divide themselves into long stringers and short stringers?  Interesting book.  

Sunday, June 18, 2023

My New Favorite Book

 Yes, it's a picture book, but the main character's name is Thelma, so why not.  It's a story in rhyme, perfect to read with pre-k. kids to second graders.  And it's great because it has a lesson and it should lead to discussion afterward.  Enjoy (even if your name isn't Thelma).

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Recommendations for Summer Reads


 Some of these are recent reads; some I've enjoyed in the past. ]

A Marriage Portrait by Maggie O' Farrell, inspired by the poem "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning.

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro Two families; one night.  A constellation of lives changed forever.

i'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid   A weird story that begins with a strange phone call.

The Thursday Murder Club  by Richard Osman  A group of senior citizens solves murders

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf  A widow knocks on a widowed neighbor's door with an unusual request.  Or you can watch the movie with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford

The Choice by Edith Eger  An inspiring memoir by an Auschwitz survivor

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou  The story of Elizabeth Holmes and her infamous company, Theranos

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe  The story of the Sackler family's pharmaceutical company and how their greed started the opioid epidemic

To read to little ones:

Big Dog Little Dog by P.D. Eastman

For elementary schoolers

Freckle Juice by Judy Blume  A second grader wants freckles.  Will this recipe work?

CDB by William Steig Can your kids translate these letters into real words?  This one becomes See the Bee

For older elementary schoolers

Bridge to Terabithia by Kathleen Paterson  An award winning story of a friendship between young neighbors

Are You There, God?  It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume  The Iconic Story of a Girl on the Cusp of Adolescence

                                                Happy Reading!

We'll Always Have 


Sunday, May 28, 2023

Memorial Day Quotes



Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Birthday May 23, 2023 and Others I Remember

A Birthday Present from My Daughter


Birthday.  May 23, the day I of my birth.  I imagine Mother's relief as I slip from her womb and she hears my first cry.  Her first pregnancy ended in a stillbirth.

Birthday party.  Pinatas and presents and ice cream and cake.  The year I am four, a friend gets sick and has to cancel her birthday party.  Oh no, I think.  Without a party, she won't get any older.

Birthday.  The warmth of spring.  May 23 is the first day each year that I'm allowed to go barefoot outside, feel the prickly grass on my feet and smell the magnolias blooming in our yard.

Birthday.  May 22,  the day my baby sister is born, ripped from Mother's belly by Caesarian section.  While Mother is in the hospital, a bird flies down our chimney and swoops around our living room, resulting in my lifelong fear of birds.

Birthday.  The year I am 20, when I should be celebrating the transition from teenager to adult, but I am lying flat on my stomach in the women's burn ward at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, awaiting the next skin graft.

Birthday.  August 28, the day ny daughter is born, an exhilarating and day when I become responsible for another human being, who would teach me how to be a mother.

Birthday, April 9, the day my son is born, all 9 lb. 13 1/2 oz. of him.  Hard to believe he just turned 60.

Birthday.  November 26, Thanksgiving, the day my granddaughter is born and I watch her dash into the world.

Birthday.  My 70th, spent alone while my husband is in the hospital, slowly dying from leukemia.  This is my worst birthday.

Birthday 2023.  I hope to enjoy all the birthdays I have left.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret

 This is the perfect mother/daughter movie.  Perfect for a middle schooler, older teen or even a daughter of a "certain age."  Long ago, we both read Judy Blume's classic novel about a seventh grade girl whose family moves to New Jersey.  There she is immediately befriended by a neighbor girl and invited to join a secret club.  At their weekly meetings the four girls discuss...what else?  Boys, bras, and their periods. Who will get hers first?  Who will be first to "become a woman?"  On her own, Margaret pours our her concerns about religion to God.  Her parents have an interfaith marriage, Margaret doesn't know which religion to choose.  Her search for religion and her preteen/early teen angst make a delightful movie.  My daughter and I chuckled throughout and remembered our own thoughts and concerns at Margaret's age.  

Will this book be allowed in schools today, given its themes on development and on religion?  What do you think?

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Leaving Your Legacy

I discovered the importance of legacy letters, once called ethical wills, from a sidebar in the AARP magazine.  These are documents you write in your own words, often to leave to your family to be read after you're gone.  Or they can be letters to someone on a special occasion--to a newborn, to a new graduate, to a couple on their wedding.  Maybe you've always thought that someday you are going to do this, but somehow you've never gotten around to it.  Don't wait!  

I have been giving Legacy Letter workshops for the past several years, and they never fail to inspire.  In June, I'll be doing one for the West University Senior Center.  If you're around, I hope you'll come.

Here is an example of my favorite legacy letter of all the many I've read.  It was written by Sam Levinson, a former high school math teacher who became a beloved stand-up comic:

     To my children and children everywhere:

I leave you my unpaid debts.  Everything I own, I owe:

To America I owe the opportunity to be free and to be me.

To my parents I owe America.  They gave it to me and I leave it to you.  Take good care of it.

To the biblical tradition I owe the belief that man does not live by bread alone, nor does he live alone at all.  This is also the democratic tradition.  Preserve it.

To the six million of my people and the thirty million other humans who died because of man's inhumanity to man, I owe a vow that it must never happen again.

I leave you not everything I never had but everything I had in my lifetime:  a good family, respect for learning, compassion for my fellow man and some four letter words for all occasions: words like help, give, care, feel and love.


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