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San Diego Fires


My friends know I live in the San Diego area. Yesterday we had nine fires break out in the county. The one within a few miles of my daughter’s family was put out quickly. Unfortunately, my folks are between two of the large ones. They’re fine, but can’t get out due to road blocks unless they are officially evacuated. Here’s a picture Mom took from their place around 8 PM yesterday:

San Marcos Fire May, 2014


As of now, we’re all safe, but there are many in the area who aren’t. Property damage will be high, but there haven’t been any deaths or injuries that I’ve heard, thank goodness.

Happy Birthday, Dad


It’s my dad’s birthday. Here is a quote from Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind (translated by Lucia Graves):

“Do you think I could ever be a father?”

“A good father?”

“Yes. Like yours. A man with a head, a heart, and a soul. A  man capable of listening, of leading and respecting a child, and not of drowning his own defects in him. Someone whom a child will not only love because he’s his father but will also admire for the person he is. Someone he would want to grow up to resemble.”

I have a good father. Happy birthday, Dad

Generations of Readers


My daughter’s birthday was yesterday. One of my presents to her was to keep my granddaughters overnight while she and her husband went out. The girls are now 7 and 5, old enough to be people but not near teen aged angst yet.

They know that Grandma’s house has books. They both love to read. There were a few times over night that the older girls read to her sister. I also read to her sister. Their dad (who is not a reader, but a loving dad) read to both of them. When they went to bed last night? Both girls were excited because I allowed them to take a book to bed with them. The younger one can’t read all the words, but she made up a close story to go with the pictures, then fell asleep quickly. The older one fell asleep. She read hers when she woke up.

My parents and in-laws are/were readers. They taught their children to enjoy reading. Those children passed it on to their (our) children. Now that generation (my children and cousins) are passing it on again. There’s satisfaction in knowing they have to tools to read all sorts of books and points of view and will be able to form their own opinions. Plus, I love to see them getting involved in a good story.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappacini’s Daughter – Coursera Essay

When our oldest daughter was a toddler, her father declared she wasn’t dating until she was 30. It is difficult for most fathers to see their daughters grow into sexual beings. Older men know that young men have sex in their brain. They want to protect their daughters and keep them chaste as long as possible.In Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s “Rappacini’s Daughter”, Rappacini devised a unique solution to this problem. As a botanist Rappacini knew how to work with plants. He created hybrids and new species of flowers. He developed a plant with extraordinary blooms for his daughter. These amazing purple blossomed plants were infused with a poison that she absorbed. No one could touch her without dying from that poison. No man was going to mess with HIS little girl!

When Giovanni saw and pursued her, Rappacini took notice. Giovanni became the focus of Rappacini’s interest and experiments. He allowed the suitor to meet his daughter, but then had him endure a rite of passage to win the young woman. Giovanni had to start his own purification to win her. The young man didn’t realize it, but he began accepting the surrounding poison into his own body.

Giovanni’s mentor recognized the poison and disclosed the girl’s nature. Giovanni rebelled against Rappacini’s test. Instead he accepted the mentor’s potion that should release her from her prison. He wanted to free her from her father’s bonds, so gave her the antidote. What Giovanni didn’t know was how it would release her from her poisonous lifestyle. The antidote killed her.

Rappacuni was an overprotective father who wouldn’t accept his daughter’s growth to sexual maturity. Even as she reached to another, Rappacini had to put the man through a test to prove himself worthy of the lady. Instead, Rappacini’s action protected his daughter’s sexuality, then ultimately destroyed her.

Works cited:

http://voices.yahoo.com/your-daughters-sexuality-fathers-know-106672.html”Rites of passage” (1997) In Green, T.A. (ed.), Folklore. (pp. 732-733). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc.

Earworm Redux


This is for those of you who haven’t been trapped inside a car on a long trip with small children. If you don’t know “Down By the Bay”, here’s a chance to learn it yourself. I have wonderful memories of a Hilton Head trip almost 20 years ago. I don’t know how many verses we invented during that trip, but every time I hear this song, I’m transported back to that summer.

Make your own rhymes – instead of a “whale with a polka dot tail”, find something just as ridiculous. Remember, you have been warned…



Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow,
Back to my home,
I dare not go,
Cuz if I do, my momma will say,
Did you ever see a whale with a polka tail?
Down by the bay.

Don’t ask.

And you’re welcome…

Wedding Fun


If you have followed me much, you know I’m not just a reader, but a READER. I’m sure I have mentioned that I have passed that trait on to my daughters. My older daughter is busy with her family, so can’t read as much – perhaps a book a week. My younger daughter, though, reads more than I do. She reads faster than I do. And most of what she reads is current, easy fiction. (OK, they’re not exactly easy, but they’re mostly contemporary American which is easier than, say, Virginia Woolf’s The Years or Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera. Still, most of her novels have at least 300 pages in them, often more.)

She got married a couple weeks ago. She lives in Portland, Oregon, the home of Powell’ Bookstore, a huge independent bookstore that is well known by many American book lovers even if they haven’t been there. She helps support the store. When anyone visits, that is one of our “tourist” stops. I can’t visit her without a trip to Powell’s.

So when they set the date and we were discussing photo shoots for the wedding, one kept coming to mind. Fortunately our photographer agreed it was a good idea. Powell’s didn’t have an objection, either. So we have a series of shots of her sitting on the Purple Room stairs “reading” and holding a cup of coffee. Her bridesmaids are trying to convince her it’s time to leave because she has to get married now. But she has to “finish this chapter” before she can do anything else. Without the back story, the pictures don’t make sense. But they’re rich for her memories. We also took some shots and a cute video in the middle of the literature stacks.

Here are the sisters – fighting over a book…

Lucky Person


This is another non-book related post. I just had a nice long chat with my mother-in-law. I have gotten along with her since I first met her 35 years ago. But the even nicer part is that her son and I have been divorced over 7 years yet it hasn’t affected our relationship. She was as concerned as anyone else after my surgery in July. She was one of the first people I called when I was home (she lives in Ohio, I now live in California) to reassure her I was fine.

I know that many women do not do well with their mothers-in-law. I’m thankful for mine. (And yes, despite the divorce, she’s still my mother-in-law.)

“Don’t Worry” Headlines


Toddlers who lie ‘will do better’

Actually, when you read on, this makes good sense. The ability to lie is a developmental milestone as the child leans to put thoughts together. So go on, encourage your kids to lie! (Or not…)


I’ve Been Tagged (by LazyGal)


The rules:

If you’ve been tagged, you should write your answers in your own journal and replace any questions that you dislike with a new question. Tag nine people. Don’t refuse to do that. Don’t tag the person who tagged you. (OK, I won’t make anyone but – Sardonic Girl? The Wife, the Mom? Marsha?)

The Meme

What song are you currently addicted to?
I can’t get Defying Gravity or A Wonderful Day from Wicked out of my head. Never mind it was over a week ago I listened to it.

What books are you currently reading?
I’m enjoying Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (see previous post), Brightness Reef by David Brin, Blood Sins by Kay Hooper, Montana Legacy by R.C. Ryan (a trilogy that is the male version of Nora RobertsMontana Sky), and Content Licensing by Michael Upshall (professional book review).

What is the one skill you wish you had?
These days I think it’d be pretty cool to know how to fly an airplane.

If you had the chance to go back in time for 24 hours, where and when would you go?
I’m pretty satisfied with yesterday. I’d probably make less french fries or less cheese for my dinner.

What is your favourite quote?
I don’t have one favorite – there are too many that fit different occasions. Oh, I know. I head this last week. “Your granddaughters are beautiful.”

What was your favorite TV show as a kid?
Bewitched and Addams Family. I can remember as a kid I would pretend that Thing (the disembodied hand) would help me make my bed.

What websites do you always visit when you go online?
the crossword puzzle at the Boston Globe, the Reader’s Place Ning, Wordsplay (online Boggle) (personal) PubMed, other medical literature databases.

What was the last thing you bought?
A new book (The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear), a new pair of black walking sandals, and a surge protector for the laundry room.

Coke or Pepsi?

Do you get cravings? If so, what do you crave?
Chocolate, of course. Sometimes I crave salty so I keep crackers around too.

What do you do to change your mood?
It depends – read, cry, talk to someone, sleep, talk to a cat…

What was the last meal you ate?
Breakfast – vanilla yogurt, apple cinnamon danish, coffee

Five things you can’t live without.
My children, in-law-children, and grandchildren
My extended family
Sunshine (even though I stay in a lot)
My books and ability to read
The independence and freedom of my lifestyle

What is the closest purple thing near you?
A purple ink pen in my desk organizer. I never use it anymore.

What’s something that never fails to make you smile?
My granddaughters
My scrapbooks with my photos in them

What are you not looking forward to?
My extensive dental work continues Wednesday morning – at least 3 crowns and a bridge. I’ve already had 3 root canals in the past few months.

What significant world event that you have lived through stands out most in your mind?
(showing my age) Assassination of President Kennedy – there’s also the Challenger Explosion and 9/11

Name a movie you’d like to see, but just somehow haven’t gotten around to doing it yet.
Angels and Demons – I know it’s not as good as the book, which is probably why I haven’t bothered yet.

That’s a long list!

How To Make a Librarian’s Christmas


As a reader, I always give books to my family for Christmas. I usually receive some,too, and this Christmas was no different.

But this Christmas also appealed to the librarian in me. My brother gave me her:

This is the Library Action Figure – if you press the button on her, she shushes you. She comes with a Reference Desk, computer, book cart, and piles of books. The figure is the stereotypical librarian, so us real librarians can laugh at ourselves. (Thank you Nancy Pearl, real life librarian, for modeling for this!).

Do You Want to Know Your Parent’s Secrets?


The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. WrightJack Cooper wrote weekly letters to his wife Laurel throughout their almost 40 year marriage. Laurel kept them all. When the two both die of natural causes on the same night, together, their grown children have to take care of all the final arrangements. One of the first things they find is Laurel’s stash of letters. Of course they started reading them.

They discover wonderful secrets about their parents – like when they visited Graceland and met Priscilla and Elvis Presley. They also learn a shattering secret. The children had only seen the happy marriage Jack and Laurel had. The news they learn dating back to their early childhood shakes them up and makes them question what they know about their own lives.

This is The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright.

I know at least one of my parent’s secrets – although I’m not sure it is a secret any more. Even so, I’m not going to share it, even with my brothers or sister Or daughters – who both read my blog). I learned it by sneaking into my mother’s private journal. Fortunately by the time I learned it the problem had been resolved and while I looked differently at them, it never touched our lives. They’ve now been married over 55 years.

I really don’t think I want to know all their secrets. Although they’re flesh and blood real people to me now, there is still a bit of that child’s vision of their father and mother on podiums above me. They aren’t perfect, but I think they’re pretty great.

Would you want to know your parent’s secrets?