Thursday, March 29, 2007
There are things about my current job that I like very much. There are things about it that I like not at all. Isn't that the way it is with most jobs?? However, no matter what the good, the bad or the ugly...my job is like a container of yogurt with a set expiration date. I work for a particular grant that is going to end next year. So some time between now and then I will need to find a new position. I'm not opposed to sticking it out where I am to the very end of the grant. But I also have no sense of obligation to do so. If I find the right match with a new job that meets my needs and will be more permanent, I'd be a fool not to take it.
So I've been giving quite a bit of thought to what I want from a job and what I am willing to give. .
I've done a lot of different things in the past. PRE college I had the usual assortment of crummy jobs that I endured to pay the bills: phone solicitor, factory worker, dishwasher, clerical. I once was hired to stand outside of a health spa with a sign advertising their special promotion, waving at cars.
Since running the gauntlet of graduate school I've had different options... juvenile probation officer, HIV/AIDS intervention, crisis intervention counselor, consultant in a women's prison, adjunct college instructor, marketing director, training coordinator, survey research coordinator, executive director of a non profit where I managed a food bank, did homeless case management, protective payee services and more. So along the way I've picked up an eclectic assortment of skills and had some interesting experiences; But what next? What do I want the next chapter of my career to be?
Some days I think I'll just get some job that pays a living wage and plug away at it - believing that work is NOT my real life, it merely pays the bills so I can meet my temporal obligations as I follow my passions in other ways. But the reality is I spend more of my waking hours at my job than I do with the people I love or the projects I'm interested in. So I DO want my work to be something I can believe in and find meaningful.
I have no illusions that I'm going to go out and do grand things to change the world. But I do want to have a job that allows me to have a positive impact on the lives of the people I serve. In the end, the money is important, but is truly only a fraction of what keeps me motivated to pour my dedication into whatever work I do. I will do far more for personal loyalty to a boss I respect or commitment to a cause than I ever will for company bonuses.
So I'm praying for discernment as I go to this job interview, to be able to be sensitive to the cues people will give me that will indicate what sort of job this will be. I've had a couple friends tell me "if it is supposed to happen you will get the job, but if not then it simply wasn't meant to be." I don't buy that one bit. I don't really believe God cares what job I take. He doesn't give a rip if I am a plumber or a chicken farmer or a teacher or a circus ticket taker. I think all He cares about is how I treat people where ever I land and that I perform ethically to the best of my ability. I don't think there is any job out there that is my true destiny.
Still ... I know I am more suited to some sorts of work than I am to others. And I definitely know there are certain management styles I respond well to and some that I find abominable. I have worked for two or three remarkable people who were priceless gifts and a few fiends that taught me what to avoid. So I am considering all that as I prepare for this upcoming interview and considering my options. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
The protagonist of the story, Camille Preaker, is a journalist living in Chicago who returns to her small hometown of Wind Gap to investigate and report on some gruesome child murders. The profile of that small town reminds me a bit too much of my own growing up place, a community I fled at age sixteen without ever looking back. Being a misfit, an outcast, a weirdo in a town like that was worse than a death sentence.
There are plenty of secrets in tiny Wind Gap. One by one some of the dirty laundry of the local residents gets aired as the police and and the journalist both peel away surface smiles over the course of the investigation. However, meanwhile Camille has a gruesome little secret of her own. For many years she was a cutter, one who repeatedly sliced and gouged words into her skin with razors and knives. Her entire body, except for her face, her hands, and the parts of her back where she just couldn't reach, are an erratic road map of scars. The scars that don't show, the ones in her head, come out throughout the novel is chilling eloquence.
My best friend of many years when I lived in Michigan used to do self-injury. Alison cut. She burned. She pulled out all her eyelashes. She was not a well girl. There were parts of Alison's spirit that were a joy to be around. But she had such a dark side, such a tormented, tortured part to her soul that it was hard work loving her well. She was in and out of psych wards every few months for a week or more at a time - wrestling with demons that led her to suicide attempts and days of hurting herself. During the times she was well she was truly a delight to be with. But when she got sick it was frightfully scary. I grieved so for her pain, but scarcely knew how to respond.
Whenever she went into the hospital I'd go to her apartment to clean out the food from the refrigerator, bring in the mail, water the plants. I was the designated person to call in case of emergency, so more than once I got calls in the middle of the night from emergency room doctors who had an unconscious body on their table and needed to know who my friend was and if she had any allergies. She had A LOT - from about a dozen different kinds of meds right down to latex. I'd whip out the list from my nightstand and read it off to the doctor on the phone...a routine that got too familiar and too creepy for words.
Alison went through a particularly rough patch the last year of our friendship. She sank down and down and down without seeming to bounce back up. She was hurting herself in more serious ways. She nearly died from an overdose. I was furious at her for hurting the friend I loved, and felt betrayed that she would do this again. All the counseling and the hospitals didn't seem to be helping. I was losing her to the demons. Bit by bit she was leaking away from me until the person who was left was nearly unrecognizable to me.
I loved my friend ferociously and tried every way I knew how to be of support. But something inside me snapped after that last serious suicide attempt. I just couldn't keep watching her try to destroy herself. So I pulled back. We had one last visit in the hospital where things were said that hurt us both. After that I didn't see her for three months. When I tried to contact her again, to see if she was getting better, she would have nothing to do with me. She felt I had totally abandoned her when she was down, so she'd lost all trust. She refused to speak to me or see me ever again. I kept hoping that over time she'd soften and we could reconcile. Sadly, that was not the case.
Alison legally changed her name (which is the only reason I will use the name I knew her by) and did everything she could to transform into a completely different person. I've always felt my friend died of suicide that night, even though her body survived. The person that came back to the world was not the girl that I loved.
In the book "Sharp Objects" Flynn writes:
"They always call depression the blues, but I would have been happy to wake into a periwinkle outlook. Depression to me is urine yellow.....washed out, exhausted miles of weak piss."
Those words remind me so much of my old pal who would sink to a level of despair so deep she didn't want to live anymore. I think of her more than she will ever know....remembering her crooked smile, her love of purple, her tie-dyed mania. I often wonder if she ever did get better, or if she is still battling her demons, or if she finally cut too deep or swallowed too many pills without someone nearby to save her. I have no way of knowing if she is alive or dead.
People who knew Alison has such serious problems would wonder why I would choose to stay friends with her for as long as I did. For me the answer is quite simple. We are ALL broken in some fashion or another. Her breaks, unquestionably, were more extreme than most. But between the cracks, she was a remarkable person, so worthy of deep loving. She was funny and smart, insightful and kind.
I miss my friend. I probably always will.
Monday, March 26, 2007
I suspect this could have been viewed from deep space. It totally obliterated the stars. Good thing there weren't any wise men trying to navigate or they would have been in deep trouble.
This was to Christmas lights what Tammy Faye Bakker is to eyeshadow.
Some people just don't know when to say when.
So I tried to briefly explain to him what Wikipedia was - how it was created and maintained, what it's strengths are and the flaws inherent to the system. His response was - "Do they have a definition for Ubermeat? Try looking up Ubermeat." Oh brother.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
However, Vista House is just a few miles down the road - walking distance really if you are up for a hike.
Having traveled all over the United States and in a few other countries, I've seen my share of "comfort stations". One of my strongest memories of a trip from Ohio to Georgia and back with a passel of squirmy kids was my 10 year old step daughter's absolute refusal to enter the county outhouses along the way yet tearful pleas that she had to go potty NOW in a real potty. It was a horrendous battle.
When I used to travel regularly from Cleveland to Washington DC I could name every rest stop along the way through Pennsylvania and tell you which ones were good and which ones to avoid.
Vista House, however, is in a class by itself. The gift shop, the historic displays, and of course the loo were all much appreciated. But it's VIEWS that make it worth going to.
I could easily relate to Marie's comment that she'd have difficulty concentrating on workshops in such a beautiful place as Manucha. The Columbia Gorge region is truly an amazing place.
One of things I enjoyed about the Pacific Northwest Great Teacher's Seminar that I attended at Manucha was they deliberately planned lots of free time throughout the week so I had opportunities to go hiking, exploring, and lay around reading/pondering/napping. The meeting times were vital and productive. But oh, some of those free time afternoons were absolutely delicious!
A couple of the other teachers and I did the waterfall loop one afternoon and that was very fun. The majesty of Multnomah is impressive, no doubt. But the trails and overlooks around some of the smaller falls away from all the gawking tourists are what ring my chimes.
Exploring scenic views was definitely a high point of the week I spent at Manucha. But connecting with the other teachers ranks right up there as well.
I remember one night a bunch of us sat up till about 2 AM swapping stories. I was the designated driver of the back porch while my compatriots sampled some local wines. (Normally Manucha bans alcohol but they made an exception for this particular conference.) Throughout the course of the evening things got sillier and sillier. I may have been sober, but it didn't matter. We all laughed so hard our sides ached, our jaws hurt and we could barely breathe. It was a hilarious time.
Yet perhaps the parts that were most meaningful to me were the very early mornings when I would get up to see the sunrise and hike alone around the 100 acre grounds of lush trees, flowers, shrubs before the conference events would begin. The earth was still wet with dew, somehow seeming fresh born each day. I'd quietly wander around, musing at scampering squirrels and chattering birds as I found new hiding spots for scribbling in my journal every morning. BLISS!
I don't know if I'll ever follow up on my dreamed up writer's workshop. But I do know I WILL go back to spend some time at Manucha. It truly is sacred ground.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
What is it about the obsessive passion of Heathcliffe and Catherine that generations have found so captivating?
I can scarcely imagine what it would have been like to have been born into a time and place where women had no right over their own property, their own bodies, their own lives. Besides that, watching the scene of boiling clothes makes me darn grateful for some of the lovely modern conveniences I have at my fingertips.
Still, every now and then it feels good to get lost in fantasy of living in some stone castle on the moores (although it does look rather drafty and no doubt had marginal plumbing).
Anyway, it was nice to see a movie with no explosions or car chases or knife fights or profanity. Just good old lust, jealousy, bitterness and spite. Heathcliffe is such an absolute cad - contorted by his passion, driven to dreadful cruelty - and yet I can't bring myself to despise him. What can be said of Cathy? While my egalitarian sensibilities balk when she marries for money, position, ease - willfully turning her back on the one she had the deep heart passion for...can I truly fault her considering the norms of the day? It's a strange, convoluted tale within a tale that ends badly for most the major players. But it was a pleasant diversion for the evening.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
But that leads to part of my point of THIS posting... why is it that people who have extremely different views about government have to be so mean and nasty to each other?
I have lived with and loved a man for 25 years despite the fact that we both think the other one is misguided, misinformed and just plain WRONG when it comes to several key political issues. (I AM right, by the way.) However, we have learned how to be kind and civil to one another even when vehemently disagreeing.
As we approach the next series of elections, feelings are starting to flame in homes and barbershops, on blogs and talk radio, among the simpletons like me and the mighty movers and shakers that influence opinion and policy.
My prayer, as we draw closer to decision day is that we all try our best to be respectful in our differences.
For some GREAT thoughts about politics, power and the process of government, see what some of our past leaders have said HERE.
(unfortunately, an annoying ad for ebay pops up, but when it does there is a spot to click up in the top right corner to opt out of the ad and get back to the quotes.)
I was VERY impressed by some of the quotes by some of the presidents I found to be quite unimpressive. I can't help but wonder who ACTUALLY coined those words... after watching many an episode of West Wing I've come to be immensely curious about political speech writers.
I am a
I don't know what the basis for the selection is...some of the questions seem quite unrelated. However, the summary says:
"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."
I can live with that.
Monday, March 12, 2007
"Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and wrong...because sometime in your life you will have been all of these."
I like the quote. Yet in all my life I've never imagined that I would ever be old. I just couldn't picture it.
My mother died at 53. My father died at 55. I was in my early 20’s when I became an orphan. Somehow in my mind, mid fifties became a logical lifespan to me. As a young woman, those years seemed many, many miles away.
However, time has shifted and seasons have passed. I will turn 50 this October. As I am fast approaching the ages my parents were when they met death, it feels very surreal to me that I could be so close to the end of my wick. Holy Moses, I'm just BEGINNING to get this life thing figured out.
Obviously, I have no crystal ball to know how long I have to walk on this earth. I’m in reasonably good health. (But then, so were they.) One day my father was alive, hammering new shingles on his roof. He went to bed as full of piss and vinegar as ever, then woke up dead. My mother was having a surgery. It was serious, yes, but fairly routine. She never made it off the table. They say no single thing really went wrong. She just never came back again. Those events permanently marked in my mind that there are no guarantees...we can be here one day and gone the next with no preamble or warning. They also made me determined to live my life to the fullest each day with no regrets or words left unsaid, because I just never expected to have all that many of them.
When I was a little kid, I couldn't wait to be "all grown up". I would proudly tack on the "and-a-half" to my age just as soon as I could justify it. Each rite of passage of crossing over to maturity seemed like a special prize to me. Yet as I emerged into a stormy, rebellious adolescence, I began taking vast chances with my mortality, acting out in extreme ways, saying I didn't care if I lived to see thirty. Sadly, many of my compatriots from those wild and turbulent days did not. How I came through it all relatively unscathed is a mystery to me still.
My early twenties were spent in a trainwreck of chaos. At some point I reached an epiphany that allowed me to turn things around and climb out of the darkness. Gratefully, my thirties were a time of calmer, safer, saner days. There was much effort and striving, of nesting, achieving, sorting out. Life was unquestionably better then, but there was still a degree of reverberation in my emotions and my spirit as I wrestled with making my peace with the past.
It wasn't until my forties that I really felt I began to bloom.
When I hit forty an artist friend of mine created a beautiful card for me...I've still got it around here somewhere although right now I'm not sure where. On the front of the card there is a black silhouette of a woman running with delightful abandoned down the side of a very steep pointed hill. Her arms are outstretched and her hair is flying. It's a great image. The joy and satisfaction just seeps from the picture.
Then you open the card up and the inscription reads: "FINALLY! You are OVER THE HILL!"
I loved the metaphor. For me, coming of age into my forties meant being done once and for all with all the struggle to climb up the life mountain of self discovery and drive to prove myself. Days of graduate school, child rearing, entry level jobs and so many other life battles were finally behind me. I had loved raising my boys and had enjoyed my years as a stay-at-home mom. But I welcomed this new time when I could fully participate in the world in new ways.
Being "middle aged" meant I had earned the right to embrace my opinions, preferences, beliefs and desires with no apology. I never had to worry again whether others thought they were cool or legitimate. No longer burdened by other people's ideas of fashion or music, politics or housekeeping, I was done with agonizing over my path. I was comfortable in my own skin and ready to dig deep into the life I had chosen.
Because I had kids so young, both my boys were emancipated (geographically anyway). My forties were a time when I could travel freely and focus on career with new dedication. I had more time and energy to get involved in causes that mattered to me. I was more financially secure than I'd been in the past. Best of all, I could rediscover my husband as partner more than co-parent. That was a revelation to me. We had some grand adventures, a few horrible heartaches, and a lot of sweet days of bliss. I loved my 4th decade. It was a sweet, juicy time to be savored in my life.
And now the curtain is about to close on those years and I will begin a new season - my fifties. Already I am starting to see that this season will have some tough lessons. Coming to term with loss is inevitably a big part of later years. Already I'm finding I attend more funerals than weddings. There is no doubt in my mind that the next few years will bear more of them. I can see it coming as surely as the trees dropping their leaves in the fall.
My body will change...sooner or later the moon season will matter less to me; My skin will grow thin. My hair will get coarse.
And if I should live even beyond my fifties - outlasting my parents by decades or more, what then? Will I have health? Will I have enough money? Will I be a cranky old biddy or a serene matriarch? It's anybody's guess.
How will I face my next season? What will I be like as an old woman? I really can't say.
I've always maintained that it wouldn't matter how old I got, so long as I was loving, learning, and laughing along the way. But I'm pragmatic enough to recognize that days when doctor appointments and hope for a proper bowel movement take most of your energy can make savoring life a challenge for most anyone.
Many of my friends now are dealing with caring for ill, elderly parents. I never walked that path. Some days when I visit families dealing with dementia, diabetes, oncologists and proctologists, I wonder how our family would have coped. I've heard it said we never get given greater burdens than we can bear... maybe the universe knew that wasn't something for our brood to contend with. But without having crossed that bridge with a parent, I haven't a clue about how to do it for myself.
When I look into the faces of some of the elderly people I know, I see the struggle with failing bodies, failing finances, failing memories, and it causes a catch in my breath. I hope that the next ten or twenty or however many years I have will be good ones. I recognize there is bound to be pain and difficulty to be sure. That's part of life. But I'm crossing my fingers and toes and praying with all my might that my sense of self will remain strong, my ability to contribute will continue, my chance to connect in meaningful ways will keep expanding even as my vigor begins to fade.
My greatest fear in the world in terms of what I anticipate for the years to come is not death or even disability - but far more frightening, the possibility of losing my beloved. My husband is 12 years older than I and has a few health issues even now. That man is my life, my soul's very breath. I cannot imagine a world without him. I shudder to think of wearing the title of widow. So I mostly try not to think of it at all. And yet...the possibility that it may be some part of my future is something I have considered more and more in recent years, usually with dread.
In most respects, in my mind growing old means coming to terms with loss and letting go... letting go of my youth and some of my dreams. Letting go of my belief that things will keep getting better. Letting go of some of the people I've loved. I see it as a season of coming to terms with grief on a much more regular and intimate basis than the few kamikaze grenades I've had to deal with thus far.
I hope I can go into my fifties and further with some peace and pleasure. Right now I feel like a skittish swimmer standing on the edge of a pond, slowly, carefully, filled with apprehension, daring to reach across to just stick my toes in. I'm not sure what it will take to give me the confidence to just plaster a grin on my face and dive in with abandon as I did in my forties. I'm feeling cautious with myself. I am nervous about what's around the bend.
I want to hold on tight to all the love and strength and opportunity that I have in my life now. I'm not ready to give any of it up just yet. I'm like a little kid being told it's about time to go to bed, but instead of going quietly I'm desperately, defiantly pleading for just five minutes more. I'm not ready to be old.
Yet my sweet husband just laughs at my reticence. He says that rather than grow old together he will go first, blazing the trail for me, and then reach back to bring me along, showing me the ropes. Just like when we've gone hiking through snow drifts together, or bushwhacking in the deep woods...he'll cut the path to ease the way for me. The trail will be rough going in spots. But the vistas and views along the way will make the journey worthwhile. So long as I can continue to hold on to the back of his shirt, I know I'll be just fine.
For links to what others have said in the woman-to-woman conversation on aging please visit Morning Glory of Seeds From My Garden or Lei of My Many Colored Days.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Oh yeah, I can relate to that one.
Friday, March 09, 2007
After a break to do some walking at noon I decided to tackle all the piles of accumulated STUFF in, on and around my desk. I just got a new set of wall shelves to give me a bit more order. It feels good to declutter the chaos.
As I went through all my various notes I found one I'd written to myself several months ago during a moment of introspection. It says:
"What one thing could I be doing that I am not presently doing that if I did on a regular basis would have a huge positive impact on my life?"
I recall what was going on when I wrote it. My answer to that question today is actually quite different than it was then. However, I've come to the conclusion that continuing to ASK myself the question is what matters, no matter how many times the response may shift.
I'm still a work in process, it seems.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
According to the BBC News: There have only ever been six specimens of this squid recovered: five have come from the stomachs of sperm whales and the sixth was caught in a trawl net at a depth of 2,000 to 2,200 metres.
Scientists admit they know little about the large squid"It's been known since 1925, but no one really paid any attention to it," Dr O'Shea said.
"Now we can say that it attains a size larger than the giant squid. Giant squid is no longer the largest squid that's out there. We've got something that's even larger, and not just larger but an order of magnitude meaner."
In considering the demotion of "giant squid" to be second fiddle to "colossal squid", I'm reminded of when Pluto got robbed of full planet status.
All I know is that thing would make one heaping pile of calamari.
My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He Asked me how old I was, and I told him, "62." He was quiet for a Moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"
After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old Slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she Heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience Grew thin. At last she threw a towel around her head and stormed into Their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left The room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"
A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own child Hood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"
My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know How you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halos while I Asked, "No, how are we alike?" "You're both old," he replied.
A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word Processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he Asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."
I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I Decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it Was. She would tell me, and always she was correct. But it was fun for Me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!"
Our five-year-old grandson couldn't wait to tell his grandfather about The movie we had watched on television, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." The scenes with the submarine and the giant octopus had kept him Wide-eyed. In the middle of the telling, my husband interrupted Mark, "What caused the submarine to sink?" With a look of incredulity Mark Replied, "Grandpa, it was the 20,000 leaks!!"
When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the Lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use, Grandpa. The mosquitoes are coming After us with flashlights."
When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not Sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandma," he advised. "Mine says I'm Four to six."
A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The Grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting," she said, "How do you make babies?" "It's Simple," replied the girl. "You just change "y' to 'I and add 'es'"
Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," said a Teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladderpregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what Pregnant means?" she asked. Sure," said the young boy confidently. "It Means carrying a child."
A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids Home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat Of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing The dog's duties. They use him to keep crowds back," said one Youngster. "No", said another, "he's just for good luck." A third Child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs", she said Firmly, "to find the fire hydrant."
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I don't mean to be crude here, but the analogy that comes to mind is that the difference between fabulous intimate relations and rape is choice - the mechanics of the acts are very much the same. But whether it is something dreamy that poets will write sonnets over, a glorious, gasping frolick that sends rockets through your mind or a nightmare of horror to haunt you for many days all comes down to whether you wanted to be there or not.
Hey, I like ice cream. I do NOT want someone sitting one my chest and force feeding it to me.
Likewise, I did not want to play with new blogger.... but here I am. However, I was so busy grumbling and whining about what I did not like about it (and there was quite a list!) that I had not taken time to truly get familiar with it and find out all the new features.
Paula encouraged me and gave me some tips on how to access the new layout features. So thanks babe, I made it through the switch. You are right, once you get the hang of it, this is actually sorta cool. I can easily do things now that would have been a nightmare of HTML code with the old venue.
This makes me think more on how I approach change in general... there is no doubt that even when there is clear IMPROVEMENT waiting in the wings I have a tendency to hold on to what I know far longer than is needful. Familiar feels cozy sometimes even when that very familiarity is somewhat dysfunctional or holding me back.
Maybe it's time I got ready to take a leap or two in some other areas as well....
It's a list 0f 100 books. I picked it up over at Josi Kilpack's blog.
Directions are thus: Copy the whole list to YOUR blog.
* Bold the ones you’ve read
* Italicize the ones you want to read
* Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in
* Highlight those you haven't heard of.
**Put a couple of astericks by the ones you recommend.
And of course - because I am a blabbermouth (or is it blabber finger when typing?) I will add a few vagrant comments along the way:
So to begin....
1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown) (I enjoyed this tremdendously but didn't take it all that seriously. Come on, it's a NOVEL.)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) **
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) **
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)** I LOVED this book. Movie was pretty good, but the book absolutely captivated me.
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) (I always wanted one of those translater fish you could put in your ear so you could understand any language..way cool!)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) (this is on my bookshelf, just haven't read it yet.)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One(Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) *** LOVED IT~
40. The Alchemist(Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible (God, with some help from his friends)**
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) (too grim for my tastes.)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) **
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) ** POWERFUL!
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead(Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera(Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree(Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving) (This may be the ONLY Irving book I haven't read)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)**( Sad tale, but lovely prose.)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries(Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) I don't care about the great language - I HATED this book. Too mean.
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)(another on my shelf waiting)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch) (Book was MUCH better than the movie.)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)
I must add I truly have no interest in any of the Harry Potter books... I started the first one and just couldn't get into it. I wanted to read them to be able to talk about 'em with my grandkids, but I just couldn't go there. The Tolkein trilogy is an old favorite from my high school days, and I've been back through them once or twice as an adult. But ya either like that fantasy world of middle earth or you don't. I used to want to be Goldberry...married to Tom Bombadil. Seemed like a life I could go for...
There are gobs of books that for one reason or another did not make this list that I wish had...but still, it was fun to go through and remember some tales I've read and compare notes with others. How about you?
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
Sunday, March 04, 2007
I found that to be just a bit curious.
On the other hand, while I enjoy reading Papa Herman's words and consider him to be a dear friend, I avoid his MySpace site entirely because his chosen soundtrack leaves me feeling rather frazzled.
I've always been intrigued by the way that music influences us. When I was in college I did a research paper on Muzak... there's a tune by Porcupine Tree about it that says:
"Hear the sound of music Drifting in the aisles Elevator Prozac Stretching on for miles The music of the future Will not entertain It's only meant to repress ..."
There's no doubt in my mind that rhythm and beat influence how we move, what we learn, what we notice and trigger emotions.
I'm not likely to ever include music with my blog, but IF I did...my soundtrack would probably be a compilation of tunes - some mix of Indigo Girls, Black Diamond, Poi Dog Pondering and the Cocteau Twins
Yeah, there are days I throw back to my old AC/DC impulses, but the older I get the less I relate to that sort of scene.
I think it is tremendously valuable for westerners to get a different glimpse of the Muslim world than what we ordinarily have portrayed in our media.
These are our brothers and sisters.
When I was in Egypt this past November I had a wonderful conversation with my guide, Ossama Sharaf, about how media gives distorted images of other people and places. It works both ways. We are led to believe that the Islamic world is primarily populated by fanatic terrorists. In Egypt, many people there get their impressions of what Americans are like from the television shows like The Bold and the Beautiful and The Jerry Springer Show.
From the page on Jerry Springer Show it says: "The Jerry Springer Show is probably most known for its foul mouths, excessive fighting, excessive nudity and wacky stories. Nearly every episode, if not all, have at least one bleeped over foul word. Then there's the sound effects. A clanging bell indicates it's time for a fight! Whenever a fat woman shows her boobs, the sound of a cow going "MOO!" is heard. "
Is it any wonder we are perceived as immoral, self indulgent, violent, greedy monsters by some?
That picture is no more accurate of Americans as a whole than the images of women-hating extremists are that we are indoctorinated with.
There are cases of cruelty and shame that are tragically real in BOTH places - here and in the land of Islam. There are also wonderful, caring people who love their families and worship their God in both lands.
I pray for the day that we may know peace with our brothers and sisters, both here and abroad.