March 18, 2018

Sunday Stealing: In the Pink

Linking up with Bev and the gang over at Sunday Stealing for a little Sunday morning fun.  Pay a visit to find links to more players or to join in yourself.

*This from Fickle in Pink, which doesn't seem to be a blog any more.*

1. Do you tend to have a guilty conscious?  If I do something that's wrong or hurtful I certainly feel guilty and heed the prompting to make things right, but I don't think that in general I'm walking around with a guilty conscious or guilt complex.
2. Do you still have your wisdom teeth?  No.  I had all 4 removed at the same time when I was a freshman in college. It was done the last day of Christmas break. I ate my favorite pizza that night and had no problems at all. Makes me wonder what oral surgeons are doing different these days that has everyone so swollen, sore and miserable for a couple of weeks afterward.
3. Peanut Butter - creamy or crunchy?  Creamy. Crunchy bits have no business being in peanut butter. It's called "butter."  Butter is smooth.
4. Get up off your butt. Take 5 steps. Which leg did you start out on? The right one.
5. What color is your favorite kitchen utensil?  I don't know that I have a favorite, but all of my kitchen tools are either black, green, or bamboo.

6. Did you watch the Michael Jackson memorial/funeral?
No. I don't really get into celebrity watching to begin with and while I loved his music, there were just too many questions about who he had become and what he may have done.

7. Do you know anyone who graduated from high school this year?Were you invited to their graduation party? Did you go? 
I don't know anyone who graduated last year and I don't know anyone graduating this year.

8. White with black stripes or black with white stripes?
On what?  It would depend on what the stripes are on.

9. If we were to call your 6th grade teacher, what would they say about you? 
I can't even remember who my 6th grade teacher was. I don't think they'd say anything bad, though. I always did well in school and wasn't a trouble maker.

10. Can you draw a perfect circle?  Am I allowed to use a compass? Or a nail and a string? If so, then yes. Freehand, not even close.
11. What was your favorite scratch & sniff sticker scent?  Scratch & Sniff stickers came after my childhood, but we had a book for the kids called The Sweet Smell of Christmas that had scratch & sniff stickers. I read that book over and over to them so I guess any of the smells in it would be favorites...pine, cinnamon, apple pie, orange...
12. What does your sibling do for a living? I don't have any siblings.
13. How many light switches and electrical outlets are in the room that you are in right now? There are 4 switches and 5 outlets.
14. Do you know sign language? I used to know a fair amount, but I haven't used it since college. I might be able to squeak out the alphabet, but probably not much else.
15. Do you step on cracks in the sidewalk? I don't try not to so, I suppose I do. I'm not superstitious at all.
16. And the sheets on your bed look like....? We're still dealing with winter weather so one of two sets of fleece sheets are on the bed. The ones currently in use are an off white with leopard spots. They are so comfy, warm, and snuggly that we hate to crawl out of them.
17. What is something that everyone else has, but you don't? I really can't think of anything. Lots of people have more or more expensive or bigger stuff than I do, but I have everything I need (except for a finished bathroom!) and a lot that I don't need, but like. I am blessed to have more than many in this world.

March 16, 2018

Erin Go Bragh!

Cead mile failte romhat! (A hundred thousand welcomes!) Celebrating that we're all just a wee bit Irish today by linking up with Sam @ Saturday 9.  

Saturday 9: Danny Boy (1956)

"Danny Boy" was selected in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This is a sad song of farewell. Who is the last person you said "goodbye" or "so long" to?  I can't think of anyone recently. Two years ago we said goodbye to Tim's brother. He suffered a stroke and then a blood clot at the age of 57.

2) According to the 2000 Census, Massachusetts is the state with the largest percentage of residents of Irish descent. Have you ever been to The Bay State?  Dad and Mom decided to take a driving tour of New England when I was 12. I remember staying at a hotel outside of Boston and being able to see some of the landmarks from the window, but I don't remember actually stopping to do anything in Massachusetts.  

I hope to go back one day.  I need to do some digging into my family tree and I want to see Plymouth since my ancestors were there.

3) "The wearing o' the green" is one way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Will you wear something green in honor of the day?  I'm going out to a movie and dinner with a bunch of the girls from high school tomorrow night.  I don't think I have anything appropriate in green. Maybe I'll wear my Irish Princess tiara.

4) What color makes you look best?  To my dismay, pink.  I don't mind a little of it once in a while, but not a lot and not all of the time. Green's not too bad, though.

5) Will you drink something green in honor of the day (like a Shamrock shake or a green beer)?  Nope. I don't particularly like either one.

6) A four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Do you have a lucky charm?  Nope. I don't really believe in luck.

7) Though she's singing an Irish ballad, this week's featured artist, Joni James, is of Italian heritage. Can you think of a song as identified with Italy as "Danny Boy" is with Ireland?  The only thing I can think of is this....

8) Soda bread and potato bread are popular in Ireland. Are there any rolls or bread in your kitchen right now?  Would you believe there's actually a loaf of potato bread on the counter?

9) Ireland is known for its whiskey. Do you enjoy Irish coffee (black coffee, whiskey and whipped cream)?  Nope. I don't like coffee at all and I'm not crazy about whiskey.  My family has always celebrated with corned beef and cabbage rather than alcohol.

My own little bonus to you:  Here's one of the hardest tongue twisters ever. I use it on the bus kids all the time.  Try saying "Irish wristwatch" a couple of times at normal speed. No dragging it out.  Let me know how it goes.

March 15, 2018

Thankful Thursday: March 15

Linking up with Rebecca Jo @ Knit By God's Hand to share a little thankfulness on this Thankful Thursday!

This week I am thankful...

* for my new refrigerator...even though it isn't actually in my kitchen yet.  We got home from work last night to find that our refrigerator had kicked the bucket, given up the ghost, taken the last train to Clarksville....died. It is dead, done, deceased. 

This morning I went to Lowe's after the morning runs and found the frig of my dreams.  It came with what I thought was a hefty price tag ($1799), but was actually one of the more moderately priced models. A man I know from church works there and happened to be there this morning. I told him my sad story and what I was looking at and he led me to the exact same refrigerator in stainless steel (the one I was looking at was black stainless steel). It was the old floor model and was on clearance for around $1550. I wasn't really interested at that price because it had a couple of small dents but for $1500, I want perfection! Then my friend used his handy, dandy Lowe's scanning app and found out it had been marked down again to $1350.  Before I could even say anything he said, "I could let you have it for $1000."


Yep, he was serious and I now have a new refrigerator.  Well, I will have it as soon as Tim picks it up tonight.  No delivery because the earliest they could deliver was Saturday and that was kind of iffy. We kind of need it now.

* the winter storm(s) that wasn't. We haven't gotten much more than flurries from the last couple of storms that blew up the coast.  Yay!

* for finally getting my bus back from the garage. I'd been driving an old spare for nearly a month. I think it's the oldest bus in the fleet. It drove well and had lots of power going up the ridge, but it was from before everything was push button. Having to open and close the door the old-fashioned way really messed with my degenerative disk disease and had my back in spasms. So, I'm really glad mine is back and running well. (It should be for the $17,000 it cost to have it repaired.)     

* my mom's second eye surgery went well and she is recovering nicely.

* that Mom and my stepdad are going to take their dog with them when they go to Florida for John's cancer screening later this spring. My dog and their dog don't get along so it would have been a not so fun time to keep her for a couple of weeks.

* for all of you!

I could list a lot more, but I have to head back to work soon. I guess I'll have to go since that winning lottery ticket continues to elude me.

Be blessed!

March 12, 2018

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Wow. I'm not sure where to begin. I rated the book 4 out of 5 stars because while it was very interesting and I had a hard time putting it down, it left me feeling....unsettled. Or maybe disturbed. Reading about Vance's childhood, his family, and where he came from I had to admit something. I just might be more than a little bit hillbilly.

Vance grew up in Middleton, OH which sits smack in the middle of the Rust Belt, that region once defined by the giant steel mills. His people had migrated there from the hills of Kentucky. My family is not dysfunctional in the extremes that Vance's is or of the friends and neighbors he describes. However, I live in an area that is firmly in the Rust Belt, but also exists on the edges of Appalachia and I saw many things in his story that I recognized in either my life or those of my family, friends, and neighbors. I wasn't expecting that.

The book was "recommended" to me by several liberals in an online discussion the day after Trump won the presidency. They were struggling to understand how it could have happened, how they could have been blind-sided so thoroughly. As a conservative and one who voted for Trump, I was trying to explain what brought me to that point and what, as I understood it, brought a majority of those I know to that point as well. I was treated with such blatant condescension that I was put off and refused to even pick up the book. 

In the year that has followed, I kept hearing about "Hillbilly Elegy." It seemed to have become something of a rallying point for liberals, a explanation of the circumstances leading to the uneducated, racist, drug-addicted, blindly patriotic, gun-toting, bible-thumping base that got Trump elected. Things have calmed down enough, for me, that I finally allowed my curiosity to push me to read the book.

I didn't see in it what I have heard from liberals and while Vance is a conservative Republican (or was at the time the book was published), I didn't see great support for the GOP, either. I didn't see support for any political party. What I saw was a fair, insightful, and heartfelt look at a section of society as Vance knew it. He doesn't cast blame in any one direction and in fact, suggests no solution will be found until we stop playing the blame game. He doesn't offer solutions, either. He definitely doesn't think the solution will come from the government. Instead, Vance offers that the solution lies within the people themselves.

In short, "Hillbilly Elegy" doesn't offer any solutions or make any person or political party the scapegoat. All it does is give an honest and intimate look at a segment of American society that feels forgotten, overlooked, and left behind....the white working-class family.

March 11, 2018

Sunday Stealing: Write from Karen

Welcome to Sunday Stealing! It's late Saturday night as I'm answering these questions and I just sent my grandson home after having him all evening. So, please excuse any misspellings, ramblings, and incoherencies, because my mind is about done.

Thanks to our hostess and securer of questions each week, Bev, who has this to say about this week's questions:

These questions from Karen at Write from Karen.  Karen is married and mom of two grown sons.  She says, "I believe in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Writing Well. (I also believe in our Constitution – Don’t Tread on my Rights, Yo)"

1. What’s the coolest item you’ve found at a garage sale, flea market, etc?  I go to a lot of garage sales, flea markets, etc.  To pick the "coolest" item I've ever found is a tough assignment!  I think I'm going to pick the bag of wall paper I bought back in 1987 when we were living with my grandmother and had just finished a big addition to the kitchen.  I stopped at a yard sale a couple of miles down the road and happened to see a paper grocery bag under one of the tables that had rolls and pieces of wall paper in it.  It was a blue and tan plaid...very in style at the time...and when I asked the homeowner said I could have the whole bag for $5. My mom, who is very good at hanging wallpaper, was with me so I asked her what she thought. Her opinion was that there was probably enough on the rolls to cover the one long wall and that we could probably piece the cut pieces enough to cover the backsplash and soffit. When we got around to hanging the paper there was EXACTLY enough to cover the long wall and behind the appliances and (you won't believe this) EXACTLY enough for the backsplash and soffit and we didn't have to cut or piece. The cut pieces were the exact right sizes! There wasn't a scrap left over. 

2. Describe how your day went yesterday.  I was home sick so I didn't do much of anything and I never left the house except to take the dog out. I did a lot of sleeping, binged on episodes of The Librarians, and read.

3. Do you have issues with people entering your personal space? What do you do when your personal space is violated?  It depends on who is invading and how they are invading.  If we're talking about people coming into my office/library/craft room, I'm not crazy about anyone going in there because everything in it is mine and very personal. It's where I create and I don't like anyone messing with stuff or sticking their nose into things.  I usually just don't go in there when anyone other than my husband is here so no one feels the need to go in there.  As for the air space surrounding my person, I'm not particularly bothered by anyone getting in "my" space as long as it is a natural circumstance due to crowded seating or something.  I only get upset when someone INVADES my space.  I can't handle people who have to be right in my face and touching my arm in order to speak to me.

4. What is the one meal recipe you think you’ve mastered?
  Probably some of the more old-fashioned things like meatloaf, city chicken, or Hungarian goulash, but I'm pretty good at improvising at the last minute, too.

5.  If you could take back something you did to someone, what would it be?  We were manipulated and used several years back by people in our old church that we trusted and considered friends (family, really) to achieve their goal of ousting the pastor.  I really regret our part in it.

6. Would you describe yourself as spiritual, religious, or something else?  I don't like either of those terms to describe myself, as spirituality can include a lot of beliefs and practices and religions are man's creation hindered by his traditions.  I simply believe in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit and do my best to be obedient to God's commandments and Jesus's teachings.

7. Did you ever receive detention in school? What sort of kid were you in school – bookworm, smart kid, troublemaker, quiet … etc. 
I read a lot, but I don't think anyone thought I was a bookworm. I was smart, but not to the point of being labeled a "brainiac." I rarely got into trouble.  I was quiet unless I was with people I knew and felt comfortable aound. I played sports.  I'd guess different people had different impressions of me.  One thing I can say is that over and over again in every yearbook all the way through school everyone always mentioned my smile and how nice I was so I guess I was seen as happy and nice in a general sense.

8. When’s the last time you ran a mile? How often do you exercise?  The only time I ever ran a mile was when I was forced to in either gym class or Civil Air Patrol. I've always hated running...even when I was an athlete.  Exercise?  I don't with any regularity and I really need to change that.

9. What would you say to your 16-year-old self, and why?  Ask your guidance counselor what other options are out there besides college.  Your dad is wrong about you either go to college or you end up cleaning other people's toilets.  College isn't really going to be your thing.  You'd do better and probably have a career you'd enjoy if you go to a technical school and finish in 8-12 months. 

10. What are you avoiding?  The above mentioned exercise and getting our taxes done.  I guess I'm not so much avoiding the taxes as procrastinating, but they aren't done yet.

11. Describe a “Hah! I told you so” moment you had recently.  Shoot! There was just something the other day, but I am drawing a blank on what it was.

12. What’s more important, where you live or what you do for a living? Why?  I think both are important, but I guess, maybe, that what you do for a living is more important because if you like what you are doing and find satisfaction in it you can generally manage to live anywhere, but if you hate what you do it speads through all other areas of your life.

13. Swear words: Are you pro or con? Why?  I don't use them except in extreme situations they may still slip out, but I try not to even then.  I wasn't raised in a family that swears and was always taught it was crude and not something that people with any amount of class did. I also think that those who can't manage a sentence without an f-bomb (like most teenagers when their parents aren't around) or some of the other more colorful words sound dumb.

14. Paper or plastic? Do you prefer to pack your own groceries?  I'd prefer paper, but not too many stores even offer you the choice these days. The plastic bags are so thin that you have to double or triple bag stuff so I don't see how that's helping the environment more than biodegradable paper bags that can be reused in so many ways.  I don't prefer to pack my own groceries, but since there seems to be a shortage of people with enough common sense to NOT pack my bread and 10 lbs. of potatoes together, I often do.

15. Do you have a shoe fetish? How often do you buy new shoes? Do you ever get rid of a pair of shoes?  I may have more shoes than some, but I'm not into the "fetish" zone.  I buy new shoes when the old ones wear out, a new need arises, or I just see a pair I fall in love with.  I get rid of lots of shoes when they wear out or I tire of them.  

March 10, 2018

Saturday 9: On and On

Up bright and early this morning, not that I'm complaining. I'm surprised I could sleep at all after staying home sick yesterday and sleeping away huge chunks of the day.  At least I'm feeling better. So, let's get on with the Saturday 9.  Thanks, Sam for giving us another great batch of questions!


On and On (1977)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) This song describes the plight of "poor ol' Jimmy," who caught his girlfriend kissing someone else. Have you ever spied on a romantic partner?
  No. Not to say I haven't had relationships in which the other person did things deserving of being spied on, but I've always felt that kind of thing will come out on it's own if it's there. Why borrow trouble that may not even be there.  Jealousy doesn't do anything good to the one who has it and can create problems where there aren't any.

2) In this song, Stephen Bishop sings that he "smiles when he feels like dying." When did you recently put on a happy face, even though you really weren't all that happy?
  I can't think of a specific time, but I try to do that all the time. I don't live in denial, but I try to look for the positive.

3) Stephen Bishop always wanted to be a musician, and as a child he began playing the clarinet. Did you take lessons -- dance, art, music -- as a child? If yes, did you take them because you enjoyed them, or because your parents made you take them? 
I didn't take any kind of lessons like that.  I asked to take piano lessons and later dance lessons, but my parents weren't the sort to support that kind of thing with lessons.  They were supportive of my artistic side and encouraged me, they just wouldn't throw money into it.

4) When he was 12, inspired by The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, he switched to the guitar and began writing songs. Tell us about someone or something that influenced your career path.
  Living in a wildlife preserve and growing up with a father who had a career in wildlife management made me want to work with wildlife in some way, but it was not to be.  The only colleges that had specific majors in the field were either far enough away my dad refused to consider them or I didn't hear back from them. I went to a local state university and studied journalism instead, because writing had always come easily to me.

5) Stephen Bishop attended Will C. Crawford High School in San Diego. This school requires students complete 20 hours of community service every year. Tell us about an organization, cause or campaign you volunteered for, either as a student or an adult.  I've been involved with several organizations, but one that touched my heart the most was a local pregnancy clinic. It helped young women/girls who found themselves pregnant and didn't have any help or many options. Many of the girls were, in truth, the dancers from the local "gentleman's" clubs. They were presented all the options a girl had and then supported them and helped them through whatever choice they made. If they chose to keep and raise their baby, they helped them with supplies and taught them how to care for their child.  It wasn't a bunch of anti-abortionists screaming in the faces of scared young women outside of clinics. It was kind, loving people with actual help, solutions, and hope for the girls. They helped them find work and ways to support themselves other than stripping.  I'm really sorry the clinic had to close because of a lack of funding.

6) In 1977, when this song was popular, Seattle Slew won racing's Triple Crown. Sam's mother has always been afraid of horses. Is there an animal you're uncomfortable with?
  Snakes. And I am waaaaay beyond uncomfortable with them. My fear of them is borderline phobic.

7) Also in 1977, moviegoers waited in line for hours to see Star Wars. What's the longest line you waited in recently?  The checkout at Walmart.  Last year our local store made about half the checkout lines self-checkouts, which are fine if you have a small order, but it is easier and faster to use a cashier for large orders. A majority of the people who go to Walmart leave with a cart full of stuff and with fewer cashiers, that means longer lines. Christmas was a nightmare. 

I have begun to use online grocery shopping at times and I've heard the Walmart in a neighboring town has begun using the app you put on your phone to scan each item as you put it in your cart and pay on your phone. You don't even have to go through a checkout.  I wonder how many people it will put out of work?

8) The mini-series Roots first aired in 1977. Today Americans are spending more time and money than ever to research ancestry. How far back can you trace your family tree?  I don't know my biological father, so nothing there. On my mom's side it's been well researched. Through my grandfather's family we can go all the way back to John and Priscilla Alden on the Mayflower. On my grandmother's side we can go back to Swiss Mennonites who were given a land grant by William Penn, himself.

9) Random question: It's often said that nobody's perfect. How about you? What quality keeps you from being perfect?  Only everything! And I'm okay with that.

March 9, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook, March 2018

I'm joining up with Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook, because it seems like a good thing to do on a cold, snowy day that finds me at home and sick.

For today....

Looking out my a cold, windy, and snowy day.  Going outside (as I occasionally must for the dog) is surreal as the air is alive with the sounds of the spring birds lured back too soon by February saying goodbye with a gentle kiss of warm weather.

I am thinking...about what it means to live in Appalachia and the Rust Belt as I read Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance.  He defines them as two separate regions with lots of ties. I live in an area that is defined by both.

I am thankful...the remodeling of our main bathroom will soon be done. It was torn out far too long ago, leaving us with just the bathroom in our bedroom. Work and health issues have prevented my husband from working on it in any sort of timely manner.  At Christmas we purchased all the tile, grout, lights, etc., and it has been sitting in the spare bedroom ever since. This week we bought the vanity and basin "knowing" he would be taking a 3-day weekend to work like crazy on it. 

Then work said, HA! The hotel project is nearing its end and there are a lot of little details to be ironed out before it can be turned over to the owners. One of those details is inspections for all sorts of things...and several ended up being scheduled for today and there was no one who could cover.  I was upset, but my husband promises that he will have 3 days next weekend. Guaranteed.

I guess I can live with the vanity box in the kitchen for another week.

One of my favorite this little man. He is growing so fast and his personality is developing. This nanny is glad he's still got some cuddles in him.

I am journal. I've always kept journals, but for some reason never decorated the pages or got creative with them. Now I am. I enjoy it and I guess the thought is there that maybe they will be something my family will cherish one day when I am no longer here.

I am wearing...the sweatpants, long-sleeve shirt, and fuzzy socks that I slept in. I am home sick, so I don't have to look good!

I am reading...Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. It's interesting to see how much I recognize of the world he describes in my own. I just finished reading Bear Town by J.D. Vance. I enjoyed it so much I ordered his book A Man Called Ove to read next.

I am hoping...that this will be the year we finally don't get pummeled by taxes. We've had a LOT of extra taken from our paychecks and now there's President Trump's little tax cut. Hopefully, it will be enough that we don't owe.

I am take one day at a time, live in the moment, and be content with the "now" of things.

In my kitchen...there are a lot more fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods than there used to be. We are both trying to lose weight and I am trying to make us healthy, too, rather than my husband's method of just not eating much until he reaches his goal. I know what would happen if I did that...I'd hit goal and it would be back to regular eating. I want to change how we eat. Some recipes go over better than others, as do some changes. I want to do the Whole 30 diet, but he refuses to give up certain things like dairy and some grains.

In my garden...I noticed something had been digging in one of the raised beds the other day. I'm guessing a squirrel must have buried some of his nuts in it and came back.  I wish he would dig down in there and pull out the Trumpet vine roots I know are lurking in there.  I need to pay a visit to the local nursery for advice on getting rid of them...if there is a way without completely emptying the beds to dig them out or contaminating the soil with poison.

Shared quote...“Religion is something between you and other people; it’s full of interpretations and theories and opinions. But faith . . . that’s just between you and God.”  - Fredrik Backman, Bear Town.

Closing note...It seems that maybe the rash of violent threats at schools is winding down. I only heard of one or two school closings due to it this week. I still can't get over there being close to 700 incidents in my state alone following the Florida shooting. A few were credible threats, but most were perpetrated by kids trying to get a day off school or just to be "funny."  It's a crazy world we are living in.  I hope this trend of fake threats is a wake up call for all of us.  Our culture is seriously off track.

March 7, 2018

Bear Town

Since there is no Wednesday Hodgepodge today, I'll fill the space with another book review.

5 out of 5 stars.

I picked up this book about hockey thinking I wouldn't like it. I was wrong on two counts. First, it's not about hockey. There's a lot of hockey going on and a lot of hockey being discussed and hockey's at the center of everything...but hockey isn't the point. Second, not only did I like it, it quickly moved to the status of being one of the best books I've ever read.

Beartown is a small town buried deep in the forest and forgotten by the rest of the world. Like many small towns it has seen better days and is desperate to keep itself alive. Beartown really only has one thing going for it. Hockey.  Its residents eat, sleep, and dream of hockey. Unfortunately, it's been a long time since they've had a winning team at the Beartown Hockey Club, but this year there is hope. 

The junior team is playing in the semi-finals for the national championship. If they win there and can go on to win the championship it will mean new life for the town. A hockey training center would be built, people would send their children to be trained, maybe even move to the town themselves. A new school would be built and every aspect of life in Beartown would be better. To say there is a lot riding on this team and that people are taking it very seriously is an understatement.

Building on that foundation Backman introduces us to a large cast of characters that span every demographic of Beartown: the Club sponsors, the General Manager and his family, the hockey coaches, members of the hockey team, the parents of the players and their siblings, other teenagers in the town, and a few more supporting characters. It's an ambitious task to develop that many characters, to bring each one of them to life so well that the reader is invested in every one of them. Backman does a superb job. 

I don't want to talk of the plot because if you haven't read this book yet, I advise you to pick it up. It is not a feel-good book with a happy ending. The language and dialog is often crude and profanity laced, but that is because the people of Beartown are, themselves, often crude and profane. Don't let that stop you, because you will miss out on one of the most exquisitely crafted novels I've ever picked up. Backman's ability to depict the complexities of human nature is astounding. He closely examines the secret fears and motivations of each character and shows that most people are not completely good or bad, that most can be pushed over the line one way or the other by a choice or circumstance. That one person may become evil without intending to and another may accidentally become a hero.

Beartown is one of those books that will remain on my shelves to be reread (possibly many times) in the future. It deserves to be recognized as a modern classic.

March 3, 2018

Sunday Stealing: Artsy-Fartsy

Thank you, Bev, for finding us some interesting questions to answer again this week.

Some Art Historic questions

Classical: If you were an Olympian god, what would you be known for?  Probably for surrendering my "godness." I don't think I would like to wield that much power.

: Do you prefer gold or silver accessories?  Silver. I don't think gold looks good against my pale, freckled skin.

Medieval: Are you religious?  I am a Christian. I believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I'm not religious. Religions are created by men, operate heavily on the traditions of man, and tend to be very legalistic. I got caught up in all of that when I first became a believer.  I went through some pretty hurtful stuff in churches, but came out the other side having learned that all God wants from us is to have a relationship with us. He wants us to love him.

Gothic: What is your favourite historic building?  The old Allegheny County Courthouse and Prison in Pittsburgh.  The architecture is just amazing.

The old Allegheny County Courthouse.

The old Allegheny County Prison

Renaissance: Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt enlightened or changed?
  When I became a Christian, but that process continues. I'm always studying and trying to learn to be more like Jesus.

Baroque: Do you enjoy the finer things in life?  Well, of course I do if they are there. Who wouldn't? They aren't so important to me that I pursue them. Except for books.  I always need books and they are one of the finer things in life to me.

Rococo: Is your bedroom full of trinkets and pictures? If so, which pictures adorn your walls?  There are lots of little dust catchers around in there, but only a couple of pictures (I'm taking that to mean photos), the biggest one is a huge old Glamour Shot photo of me from back in '93.  I took my mom to get our portraits done a couple of months after my dad died hoping to cheer her up a bit.

Neoclassicism: If something came back into fashion, what do you hope it would be?  Manners, common courtesy, respect for each other, kindness, unselfishness...I could come up with a whole lot of things.

Do you often see things in a positive light?  I think so. I don't think I romanticize them, though, just look for the positive. I haven't always been that way, but I am working to retrain my mind to think that way.

Pre-Raphaelite: Which book would you like to see turned into a film?  Any of James Rollins' Sigma Force novels. They would make amazing action/adventure films.

Impressionism: Do you look for details or take everything in at once?
  Everything at once and then go back for details.

Art Nouveau: When were you last at the theatre?
  For a movie?  It's probably been close to a year.  For a play or musical?  It's been several years.

Surrealism: Why does the porcupine think it's a duck?
  I don't know. Why does the cow bark like a dog?

Pop Art: Do you enjoy pop culture?  Some aspects of it, but in recent years I enjoy less and less about pop culture.

Contemporary: What did you do today?
  Went with my daughter and grandson to have his Easter photos taken with a real live little black lamb. Colton was NOT a fan of the lamb so I ended up holding the lamb. What a cute little thing! It wasn't very old and just snuggled right up in my arms with it's head nuzzled into my neck. I did eventually get Colton to like the lamb, but by then his patience with holding still for photos was long gone so the photographer will photoshop the two together.  We went out for lunch after that.  What a handsome little lunch date I had!

Enjoy a blessed Sunday!

Saturday 9: Is There Life Out There

Is There Life Out There? (1992)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) This song is about a woman who married at 20. It's estimated that the average American groom is 2.5 years older than his bride. Why do you suppose that is?  Men aren't as mature as women and it takes them that much longer to catch up.

2) A 2014 study shows the bigger the age gap in a marriage, the more likely the couple is to divorce. What do you think is the reason for most divorces?  Most people these days go into marriage believing it won't last forever right from the start so there is no value placed on it, no reason to protect it, or make any effort to save it. When things start getting hard, there's no reason to stay and work it out.

3) Reba's second marriage recently ended. Statistics show that second marriages are more likely than first marriages to wind up in divorce. Why do you suppose that is?  People already know from the first divorce what is needed to get through it, so divorce isn't an unknown and there's less fear. That and they still haven't learned how to stick with it and work at it.

4) This week's featured artist, Reba McEntire, was discovered when she sang The National Anthem at an Oklahoma City rodeo. Have you ever been to the rodeo?  Why, yes, I have.

5) Reba dropped out of Southeastern Oklahoma State University to go to Nashville and pursue a recording career. In that way, she's like the woman she sings about in this week's song. "She's done what she should, should she do what she dares?" Do you ever regret a risk or opportunity you didn't take?  Don't we all have at least one thing in our past that we regret not doing and wonder how differently our lives would be if we had done it?  I'm sure my life would have been different if I had done a lot of things, but would it have been better?  I'm learning the art of contentment in my middle age.

6) Reba's heroine is "dying to try something foolish, do something crazy, or just get away." Does that sound like you? What would you do, just for yourself, if time and money were no object?  I'd go to one of the places I've always wanted to go.  I'd go alone so I wouldn't be hemmed in by who I am at home and I'd have the freedom to sight-see as I chose, eat where and what I wanted, do whatever caught my fancy, and just lose myself in the experience.  And I'd have time to write about it with no interruptions.  I'm kind of picturing the Florida Keys here or maybe somewhere in the Caribbean.

7) Reba recently became a spokesperson for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Whose chicken do you eat most often: Popeye's, Church's, Chick-fil-A or KFC?  KFC because there's one not too far from here and my husband likes their chicken. I'm not really a fan.  I'd much rather have Chick-fil-A.  We had a Popeye's for a short time about 20 years ago, but it didn't even last a year. I guess we Yanks just didn't get it.

8) In 2001, Reba starred in her own sitcom. On the show, her character is first an administrative assistant and then a real estate agent. Have you ever tried your hand at either of those occupations? If not, which do you think you would be a better fit for you?  No, I've never worked at either of those, though I did take the classes to take the test for a real estate license quite a few years ago.  I never did take the test.  I would probably enjoy real estate because I love seeing different houses and talking about styles and possibilities, but I don't know if I'd be successful or not.  I really don't have that pushy drive that salespeople need.  I'd probably do better in the administrative assistant position.  I'm pretty sure I have mild to mid-range ADD and I do a lot better with structured schedules than left on my own.

9) Random question: Which of these super powers would you rather have -- extraordinary strength or invisibility?  I think we women have to have extraordinary strength just to get through life, so I'm going to go with invisibility.  Maybe I could become a world-famous private eye....think of how easy it would be to sneak around and spy on cheating spouses and such!

Thanks to Sam @ the Saturday 9 site for another
great song and round of questions!