I'm going to be away from my computer in a few days for about a week so I decided to post a blog now. As usual, I opened up the SIMPLE PLEASURES DAYBOOK by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Today's essay is entitled SOLITARY PLEASURES.
"Remember a long time ago when we knew how to play? Travel back to your childhood and look for clues. Did you love to play alone? What were your favorite extracurricular activities in high school or college? Nothing in our past lives is wasted. Nothing that made us feel happy and fulfilled is ever lost. There's a golden thread that runs through each of our lives. We just need to rediscover it before the joy of living is gone."
Have a brainstorming session on paper. Quickly list 10 pleasures you had or still have. Don't give this a lot of thought but don't be surprised if it takes you a few minutes to think of ten.
Here's some help. What were your favorite childhood games? What was your favorite sport? What about your favorite movie? And a favorite book? Favorite singer or movie star? What was the best time you had as a child? Favorite vacation or meal or clothing? If you could instantly acquire three skills, what would they be? What about three outrageous things you would do if no one else could find out ~~ swimming naked, belly dancing, singing in the rain? What about three daring things you have always wanted to try ~~ Sky diving, riding a motorcycle, stand-up comedy? Do you like to work with your hands? Have you tried needlecraft, crocheting, painting?
"Get the idea? There's a fabulous world out there just waiting to be explored. We simple have to be willing to experiment. A hobby affords us a marvelous opportunity to awaken our natural talents. It does require a shake-up in our every day world and maybe...some bravery too. Figure out what you might like to do and then carve out some time to try. Alice James said "Truly nothing is to be expected but the unexpected. " Search for and find a solitary pleasure that would make you jump out of bed every morning to pursue and then see what happens."
I'm changing up my every day world this week. One of my sisters is coming to visit for a few days. Then I am riding back to her home in Texas for about a week. I will be visiting another sister while I am there. It's the first time I have left home since my husband passed away. And the first time I am living my cats alone. My son will be checking on them but they will be alone most of the time.
This past week, I discovered my indoor cats had fleas. OH NO! I got some Advantage II serum for both of them and some flea collars and a flea comb. I have been washing up all the places they have been sleeping and I just scrubbed the kitchen floor, vacuumed several times and so on. The youngest cat seems to be doing well. No flea or eggs in her fur this morning. I couldn't find any on the bigger cat either but he continues to scratch and seems grouchier than usual. I am going to give him another dose of the Advantage II today since it has been 8 days...(the instructions said I can). I am hoping they both be flea free before I leave in a week.
I'm still using colored pencils to color every evening as I watch TV.
STEAMPUNK GIRLMANDALA OF FISH
I also read a couple of books.
I especially enjoyed this book. The main character is a nurse. She has come back home in the hopes that bringing the doctor she used to work with will give them a chance to live more comfortably. They have no money and it is in the early 1930's. Of course, once they arrive, nothing goes well. The doctor has been showing signs of dementia and the nurse is doing everything she can to care for him. She is asked by a midwife to assist in the area and tells stories about the various births she handles. She also finds work anywhere she can to get a few pennies to buy food. As she works, she takes the doctor who is mute most of the time with her and he slowly starts to come back to his former self.
The descriptions of the times makes me realize how fortunate we are now. I can appreciate the hard work of our ancestors who did whatever they could to make a living.
Here's the book description...The USA Today bestselling author of The Midwife of Hope River returns with a heartfelt sequel, a novel teeming with life and full of humor and warmth, one that celebrates the human spirit
The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy.
Though she is happy to be back in Hope River, time and experience have tempered Becky’s cheerfulness-as tragedy has destroyed the vibrant spirit of her former employer Dr Isaac Blum, who has accompanied her. Patience too has changed. Married and expecting a baby herself, she is relying on Becky to keep the mothers of Hope River safe.
But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. And she must find a way to bring Isaac back to life and rediscover the hope they both need to go on.
Full of humor and compassion, The Reluctant Midwife is a moving tribute to the power of optimism and love to overcome the most trying circumstances and times, and is sure to please fans of the poignant Call the Midwife series.
And another reader's review...
This is a book that once you turn the first page, you will not be able to put down. We are transported to the 1930’s in America, and back to West Virginia, the Great Depression. West Virginia is at 80% unemployment, and nurse Becky Meyers finds herself homeless and also the caretaker of her former boss Dr. Isaac Blum.
I felt myself walking in Becky’s shoes, looking at the bread lines, and having feelings of doubt as a baby is about to come into the world. I was holding to tooth brush as we brushed Dr. Blum’s teeth. I had a lot of admiration for this woman, and what a hard lot in life she had been given, but she rolled with the punches, and came out a winner.
We also walk in Dr. Blum’s shoes, and sometimes, we wish we didn’t, such pain he kept locked up in his silence. What a blessing Hestor is to him, and even if he is stoic he seems to respond silently to help.
I feel blessed to have never lived during the Great Depression, but the author has painted a picture of that time that will linger a long time with you. This is a book not to be missed!
I don't think the title goes with the book well but that isn't important in the long run. This story is about 3 grown children (2 women, 1 man) who return home because they can't seem to get their lives in order. The mother, "Weezy" Louise Coffey is very happy to have them all back home. She worries and frets about each one and does everything she can think to encourage them. The title refers to Weezy because HER parents always said she was the smart one and her sister was the pretty one. They expected her sister to do much better than Weezy ever would.
As the story goes on, we learn who really was the smart one. Who married well. Who loved her children. Who knew what was important. And Weezy's children finally find their way and figure out what is best for them too.
Here's the book description....
With her best-selling debut, Girls in White Dresses, Jennifer Close captured friendship in those what-on-earth-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life years of early adulthood. Now, with her sparkling new novel of parenthood and sibling rivalry, Close turns her gimlet eye to the only thing messier than friendship: family.
Weezy Coffey’s parents had always told her she was the smart one, while her sister was the pretty one. “Maureen will marry well,” their mother said, but instead it was Weezy who married well, to a kind man and good father. Weezy often wonders if she did this on purpose—thwarting expectations just to prove her parents wrong.
But now that Weezy’s own children are adults, they haven’t exactly been meeting her expectations either. Her oldest child, Martha, is thirty and living in her childhood bedroom after a spectacular career flameout. Martha now works at J.Crew, folding pants with whales embroidered on them and complaining bitterly about it. Weezy’s middle child, Claire, has broken up with her fiancé, canceled her wedding, and locked herself in her New York apartment—leaving Weezy to deal with the caterer and florist. And her youngest, Max, is dating a college classmate named Cleo, a girl so beautiful and confident she wears her swimsuit to family dinner, leaving other members of the Coffey household blushing and stammering into their plates.
As the Coffey children’s various missteps drive them back to their childhood home, Weezy suddenly finds her empty nest crowded and her children in full-scale regression. Martha is moping like a teenager, Claire is stumbling home drunk in the wee hours, and Max and Cleo are skulking around the basement, guarding a secret of their own. With radiant style and a generous spirit, The Smart One is a story about the ways in which we never really grow up, and the place where we return when things go drastically awry: home.
And another reader's review...
The Smart One is a wonderful story about the Coffeys' (and, by extension, those connected to them: relatives, girlfriends, best friends, friends from high school, colleagues) and the ups and downs in their lives. Each chapter by each POV is absolutely wonderful, drawing the readers into the lives of this family and the perspective of each character in focus. The author does a fantastic job is really bring their perspectives to life, understand what it means to be a mother worrying for her children long after her children had left home, what it's like to be an absolute low psychologically. The book's also a gem because of its take on life.
The Smart One is a lyrical and poignant novel about life, family and growing up. It's amusing, it's frustrating (like family can be at times), it's ultimately endearing; I was sad when I reached the last page of the novel because I wanted to continue hanging out with the Coffeys. I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for something new to read.