Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Book You "Miss", Once You Have Finished...

"September" by Rosamunde Pilcher is peopled by characters that, as individuals, are sometimes flat; but once they are assembled, they fit into the story just fine and the plot flows along very well for the entire 600+pages of the novel. The story is a continuation, sequel or "vol 2" of the authors wonderful hit, "The Shell Seekers"; one of Penelope Keeling's children figures as a moderately important character in "September". The wife of a wealthy business man decides to have a hunt ball dance party at their Scottish estate; one by one the central characters are drawn in, either asked to help organize the event or are invited to attend. If you love "Downton Abbey", you will likely enjoy the novels of Rosamunde Pilcher. My only complaint is my usual complaint about many novels: the editing; certain words and phrases occur in her novels like hiccups, for example, characters are too often "dealing with" some chore or situation; characters "eat their way through" too many meals. I feel patronized by clumsy or absent editing--I guess it's just me.

Friday, December 26, 2014

How to Make a "Selfie"

I don't own or want a smartphone, but I asked one of my daughters-in-law (visiting for the holidays) how they make a "selfie". She showed me, but sadly, I was not able to point the camera phone correctly, so she took this one. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, dear Audience.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

To Detroit, of all places: Favorite Photo

To me, this photo says it all about Detroit: a city of stark contrasts. We spent time early in 2014; the goal was to explore their Art Museum. It was an interesting long weekend. Hubsy "saw" this photo-op and I snapped it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"At Home A Short History of Private Live" by Bill Bryson

The author is a popular travel writer, I'm told, though I hadn't yet discovered this books. In "At Home" he takes us on a trip, from room to room, in his current home in England. The house was built as a Rectory in 1851. So first, Bryson explains about the 19th Century English church system; notable accomplishments were achieved by some of these clerics. The book reminded me a bit of the early chapters of "The Devil in the White City" with the explanation of the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London which was as difficult to launch as the Chicago Fair in 1893. No detail of domestic life is too trivial to escape mention: construction, arrangement of spaces, materials, stairs and the changes in life style they enabled, utilities, plumbing, etc. Sounds like it could be boring? No, it is a delightful book, written in a light, amusing and conversational style. Much was familiar to me: I was a Home Economics major in college; but I learned a lot too. I will definitely find other books by this author.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dad Would Have Turned 95 Today....

Probably it would be better to post a sweet cuddly baby picture, but the nursing center sick bed photo is also a part of reality. Dad made it just past his 93rd.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Light Reflections Paint a Picture...

Underneath the Brown Line on the NW side of Chicago on a snowy evening; underneath the Bean sculpture on a sunny day in May.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

In California, last Spring, We Saw an Auto Commercial as it was Staged...

We were walking back to our hotel in the evening; a block of downtown LA was closed to traffic as production was underway for a car commercial. Small electric lights and little gold disks sparkled, suspended above the black sedan whose praises were sung. Cars all look the same to us now, but we stood and watched for awhile. Turns out, it was a Ford commercial and we've seen it a couple of times during Sunday football games.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Meanwhile, A Dozen Books were Read, Stacked and Waiting for Commentary...

I never stop reading books that I find. I mention them here so I will remember the titles, plots and authors later. By choosing "a book by its cover" last summer, I found Chris Kuzneski's "The Sign of the Cross"; it barely passed my "thirty page rule" (if I can read thirty pages without closing the book in disgust, I finish it). The plot centered on what seemed to be a conspiracy to cast doubt on the divinity of Christ by perhaps revealing that the entire persecution and execution of Jesus was a hoax orchestrated by the Romans for their own gain. A plot which seemed to be riding on the coat tails of the popularity of other recent novels. Though not recent, my favorite on this general subject is "King Jesus" by Robert Graves, it came out in 1946 and was truly mind-blowing for the time. But the writing is sublime. Anyway, Kuzeski's novel is full of crashing cars, high speed, impossible coincidences and testosterone splashing all over the place; blood too. However, Orvieto in Italy was a setting for part of the book. Somehow, I'd never heard of the that place before. I google-mapped and imaged, I used wikipedia, etc. with delight. So, I learned that even in a book I'm not enjoying much, I can benefit if I do research on elements in the story that interest me.

The Butterfly Hotel is open for business--and packed!

We started, several years ago, to assist the butterfly population by nurturing the young specimens indoors. It was slow going. But this...