Thursday, August 13, 2020

Poetry on Thursday

Today's poem found me when I heard just the title and was intrigued. After searching out the poem I was quietly in love and wanted to share it with everyone. (I haven't handed out copies of it at the grocery store, but I did consider it.) It reminds me to wake up, pay attention, and not simply wait for time to show me some better thoughts (even during a pandemic). I'll stop blathering and let you (hopefully) enjoy the poet's words. 

You Reading This, Be Ready
William Stafford

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this 
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life –
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

Stafford, William. "You Reading This, Be Ready". The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems by William Stafford, Graywolf Press, 1998. 

You can read more about William Stafford here

I wish you mindfulness, peace, presence, sunlight creeping along your floor, better thoughts, and some poetry as this week winds down.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Wild Game: Time to Discuss!

We have introduced Wild Game, promoted it, and talked about it several times over the past few months — now it's YOUR turn!  CaroleKym, and I have each posed a different question on our blogs and we hope you'll answer our questions in the comments. And don't let the questions constrain you. If there is something you want to say about the book that isn't an answer to a discussion question, please feel free.

Even though Wild Game was a memoir I think it read very much like a novel, in a stranger-than-fiction way for me. I was amazed that Malabar would ensnare her daughter in her extramarital affair with Ben, and things got even stranger when Adrienne married Ben's son Chris. Eventually, Chris and Adrienne divorced, but Malabar and Ben had married, so the author's ex-husband was her stepbrother. Eww!

My main question was the same one that Adrienne's boyfriend Adam asked, "What kind of person would do that to her daughter?" But that's not my discussion question. Even though parts of this book repulsed me, after finishing it, I always came back to the fact that the author had finally matured, set boundaries, and become her own person (even if decades late) and managed to tell her story in a way that showed compassion and maybe even forgiveness for her mother. I wondered how and why she managed this and found an answer in a Psychology Today interview.

Becoming a mother made all of the events of my past resurface. Even though I had done a lot of work on myself, I was terrified of repeating some of the destructive behaviors I grew up with. Part of my family’s past for generations was that we carried a lot of secrets. I was worried about inadvertently harming my children if I didn’t fully address what had happened to me.

Adrienne Brodeur's mother, Malabar

My own parents were rigid, strict, and authoritative, with no room for discussion. When I would ask questions about their seemingly random rules and arbitrary reasons, my father would decree, "Do as I say, not as I do!" This made me angry and I swore to never say that to my own kids (and I never have). In many ways, I've tried to make conscious efforts not to parent my own children that way, but only Ryan and Justin can say if I've been at all successful. But as I get older, I do see glimpses of my parents in myself and wonder:

Are we all destined to become our parents in some way, shape, or form?

I'm very much looking forward to reading what you have to say. Please be sure to visit Kym and Carole and let us know what you think about their questions.

But wait, there's more! Once again we have a book lover's surprise package thoughtfully and generously provided by Kym, to be awarded to one lucky reader. Your name will be placed in a hat EACH time you make a comment on each of our book discussion posts and we will then choose a winner. Thank you for participating — our book group wouldn't be much of a group if you didn't read and offer your opinions. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Sometimes Monday ...

... is a day for More Mantis!

I shared this one from my neighbor's porch a couple of weeks ago, and last weekend was lucky enough to have one pose for a friendly portrait on my own porch. 

I hope your week is off to a good start (and continues that way). Be sure to visit Carole, Kym, and me tomorrow when we'll each be posing different discussion questions for Wild Game. We want to know what you think!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Poetry on Thursday

E. B. White is one of my favorite authors, from his children's books to his essays written for adults. It's no surprise that he also wrote poetry. In true E.B. White fashion, he writes this introduction to his book of poetry:

This is a fraudulent book. Here I am presented as a poet, when it is common knowledge that I have never received my accreditation papers admitting me to the ranks of American poets. Having lived happily all my life as a non-poet who occasionally breaks into song, I have no wish at this late hour to change either my status or my habits even if I were capable of doing so, and I clearly am not. The life of a non-poet is an agreeable one: he feels no obligation to mingle with other writers of verse to exchange sensitivities, no compulsion to visit the “Y” to read from his own works, no need to travel the wine and cheese circuit, where the word “poet” carries the aroma of magic and ladies creep up from behind carrying ballpoint pens and sprigs of asphodel.

But even as a "non-poet" he wrote some lovely poems, like this one that he sent in a letter to his wife Katherine. 

Natural History
E.B. White

The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unwinds a thread of her devising:
A thin, premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all the journey down through space,
In cool descent, and loyal-hearted,
She builds a ladder to the place
From which she started.

Thus I, gone forth, as spiders do,
In spider’s web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken strand to you
For my returning

White, E.B. "Natural History". Poems and Sketches of E.B. White, Harper & Row, 1981. 

I wish you mindfulness, peace, presence, time spent in and with nature, and some poetry as this week winds down.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday. My knitting looks much the same (ready to bind off the Hitchhiker, plugging along slowly on the baby blanket, stalled on Ryan and Justin's fingerless gloves) so I'm going to show you some making of a different kind. It's a common sight on blogs during this season, and I've joined the pickle-making brigade.

John went out to the garden for a "couple of cucumbers" and came back with an almost full five-gallon bucket. After distributing some to neighbors, it was time to make the pickles. I'm not a fan of canning, so that limits my pickle-making to refrigerator pickles, which in turn is limited by refrigerator space.

This swampy-looking stuff is dill pickle brine.

And this is 9 quarts of dill pickle slices.

We'll keep some here in MD, take some home to NJ, and give plenty to my dill-pickle-loving BiL. I'm also done making pickles!

But I have been reading. I've been checking Overdrive for what audiobooks are available now and downloading several if they sound interesting. I listened to Whitethorn Woods (or maybe it's a re-read as I'm fairly sure I read this years ago) and The Shape of Family. They were both three-star books (but just barely) so now I'm on the lookout for something really good to read. Suggestions welcome!

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

First Wild Game, Then a Wild Ride

I hadn't planned a second post today, but Isaias changed things a bit. I had some medical things scheduled, but the hospital has some flooding and is on emergency power so they are only treating emergencies. I'll reschedule and try again tomorrow.

There were two tornadoes in the area, eight inches of rain, and now we've got 40 mph winds. Here are some photos of what I came home to, but we were very lucky indeed. 

The corn is blown over, sunflowers are snapped and uprooted and even a couple of my blue bottle support sticks were snapped. All minor, just a surprise to see. I did salvage a couple of sunflowers for the dining room table.

I hope you have all fared well, your basements aren't flooded, your gutters are still attached, and you still have power. It was a tiny bit of a wild ride!

Wild Game: Just A Reminder

This is just a reminder that we'll be discussing Wild Game a week from today on Tuesday, August 11. Carole, Kym, and I will each be asking a different question on our blogs, and we hope that you'll join in the discussion and contribute your thoughts. Some of you grew up with similar mothers, but for many of us, it was wild to read about a mother that behaved this way. I know many of you have read the book, and several of you found that it was not the book for you. Whatever your mother was like, your relationship with her, whether you liked the book and gained something from it, or just couldn't finish it, we'd love to hear your thoughts!