Friday, June 27, 2008

Upcoming books

Well, it's late, I've been at an Asperger's/ASD workshop all day, and I'm having trouble thinking of answers for some of the FF questions. However, I just placed a big book order yesterday (went on line to order one book...30 minutes and many dollars later, I had ordered know how that goes), so let me share what I will be reading this summer. I'll report back later.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. My supervisor (another dog person) came into my office yesterday to tell me I HAD TO read this book. I read the first chapter online and was hooked. More later.

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor. A neuroscientist's account of her recovery from a debilitating stroke. This one's had a lot of good press and interests me for professional reasons as well as personal, as does the next one:

Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison. Life as a person with Asperger's Syndrome.

Three Junes by Julia Glass. Some people whose literary opinions I respect have had good things to say about this one.

Getting On Message: Challenging the Christian Right from the Heart of the Gospel, Rev. Peter Laarman (ed.). I don't know much about this, but it sounded interesting. I bought it for $0.01 plus shipping, which is kind of sad.

Animal Rites: Liturgies of Animal Care
by Andrew Linzey. Linzey has written several books about animal rights from a Christian viewpoint. This one is just what it says, prayers and liturgies for various occasions and situations related to animals and human responsibility for them.

Have you read any of these books?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer highlights so far

In late May we spent a long weekend in the hill country celebrating a young friend's graduation, and took time to roam around Canyon Lake, go boot scootin' at Gruene Hall, and enjoy the local wildlife from the balcony of our country B&B...

...which certainly got an old ranch dog's attention!

Meanwhile, back home, the ixora and crepe myrtle in the front yard are enjoying the sun.

I have to work this afternoon, but because of a cancellation I get to enjoy dawdling around at home this morning.
How's your Monday shaping up?

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Word Association Friday Five

Hot town, summer in the city...
A little word association for a summer day, courtesy of Singing Owl:

1. rooftop
"When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face..."
(I'll show my age; the voice in my head just then belonged to Carole King, not James Taylor.
No, not the Drifters! I don't go back quite that far!)

2. gritty
Beach! Sand! Feet! Bathing Suit! Car!

3. hot town (yeah, I know it's two words)
Houston, of course!

4. night
Muggy summer nights in South Texas (or the Mississippi Delta), hoping to catch a little breeze as the temperature drops from 95 to 80....

5. dance
"Summer's here and the time is right
For dancin' in the street"
Sounds like a good idea!


We're celebrating tonight!

Stick a fork in it--it's done!
Thank you, Lord!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Late Sunday afternoon

Old friends came over after church. We grilled wild Alaskan sockeye salmon--Copper River, only available for a few weeks in the summer--on cedar planks, with a special grilled squash salad. The Scientist made sangria. The conversation was peaceful. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch, reading the paper, while my dear husband and sweet dog dozed nearby.

Aunt Icy's crinums are in riotous bloom. The dark red crepe myrtle by the front door is having the best year it's had in a long time.

No reports to write tonight. Only one more load of laundry. Not much to do but rest and read.

"Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough."
--Garrison Keillor

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Guest blogger: Amie

Yesterday Mama and I walked to the mailbox, just as we usually do at midday, and as she was looking at the mail, a little dog ran up. He wouldn't go away, and I told him to get away from my mama! He wouldn't leave us alone, but followed us all the way to the house! I didn't like that At. All. Mama put me inside with the mail and then went to find him. He was racing up and down the street looking lost. He was so happy to see a kind person! His name was Sam, and he had a phone number on his tag.

Mama put him in the back yard and tried to call his humans, but they weren't home. Meanwhile, Sam didn't like being in our yard. He cried and cried! Mama phoned again, and was very relieved to get ahold of Sam's dad. Sam lives two blocks away, and he is very curious about the world outside his yard. Mama took Sam to meet his dad, who said, "Hey, buddy! Did you have fun?" Sam looked so happy to see his dad again!

Mama says the moral of this story is that I can't go outside without my collar any more, not even in the back yard. That's a pain, but I remember one night when I took a long walk without telling Mama where I was going. (All the humans had just set out their garbage, so I had a lot of sniffing to do. I wasn't lost! I knew where I was.) I was nekkid and nobody would have known where I belonged. When she found me about a block away, she was so relieved she nearly cried.
So everybody, wear your collars!

P.S. Last night I discovered that Sam had peed in MY sweet alyssum! Some nerve!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Five: Beach Trip

1. Ocean rocks, lake limps? Vice versa? Or "it's all beautiful in its own way"?
Any body of water is fine with me; as a teenager I enjoyed swimming in the oxbow lakes near my home town. But I really love the ocean for the sound of the surf and the breeze off the water, calming my spirit as I walk. If I have enough sunscreen, I can walk the beach for hours just looking for shells, watching the seabirds, and listening to the waves.

2. Year round beach living: Heaven...or the Other Place?
Oh, that would be heaven! Imagine a little cottage on a private beach...with a nice barbecue grill on the deck...and no jellyfish...

3. Any beach plans for this summer?
We had a great time taking Amie to Galveston about a month ago (see above). Alas, I suspect that will be our only beach trip this year.

4. Best beach memory ever?
Only one? That's impossible! Please indulge me as I share a few:
--Sitting under an umbrella on a Cozumel beach with Mid-Life Rookie. All was right with the world that day as we sat enjoying the breeze, admiring our catamaran, and watching some very happy people play volleyball in the sand.
--Another perfect day of snorkeling from a catamaran, sailing along the Na Pali coast on the north shore of Kauai. As we drew close to Hanalei Beach, we jumped off the boat and swam the rest of the way to shore.
--Exploring the rocky Oregon coast with the Scientist, fascinated by the colorful creatures in each small tidepool.
--Our many trips to quiet Point Dume, near Malibu, when we lived in California; gazing up at the mansions on the cliff and wondering which one was Bob Dylan's!

5. Fantasy beach trip?
Back to Hanalei, please Lord, someday!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Books read in 2008

As my MIL would say, I'm busier than a one-armed paper hanger, but thought I'd take a few minutes to share this list.

Schuyler's Monster by Robert Rummel-Hudson. Some years ago I began following Rob Rummel-Hudson's former blog, Darn Tootin', a source of often thoughtful, sometimes acerbic, occasionally obnoxious commentary on life, work, music, and the universe. After his daughter Schuyler was diagnosed with polymicrogyria, a rare cerebral malformation leaving her unable to speak, Rob became her champion and her voice. His accounts of life as Schuyler's dad are moving, often very funny, and occasionally heartbreaking. Several years' worth of his blog entries have been edited and compiled in this book. Highly recommended to anyone interested in children and families with special needs, or anyone who can testify that life is what happens while you're making other plans (I guess that would be all of us).

Christianity for the Rest of Us by Diana Butler Bass. Already being pretty sure that the mainline church was alive and well, at least in some quarters, I didn't get a lot of new revelations from this one. I may go back and look through it again.

Take This Bread by Sara Miles. A wonderful testimony to the Holy Spirit, who can choose and call anyone, anytime, usually to that person's amazement. I didn't get to participate in the RGBP discussion, but this book pushes and prods me to remember that there are no limits on God's faithfulness or on what God can do, not to mention the ways in which the thread of God's love and call runs throughout our lives, forming a pattern that is only clear in retrospect. This book is a keeper.

Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana by Anne Rice. I finished it already! I could barely put it down. If you enjoyed Out of Egypt, you'll like this one too.

Two books by Buechner are still on the nightstand, as is A People's History of the Civil War: Struggles for the Meaning of Freedom by David Williams.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Summer meme

RevKim and QG have tagged me for this summer meme, that had to wait while we were spending a gorgeous summer weekend in the Texas hill country. More later (including deer pictures), but now to the meme!

1.) What first tells you that Summer is here?
The weatherman's prediction that temperatures will remain around 80 degrees overnight.

2.) Name five of your favorite distinctively Summer habits or customs.

-grilling (I grilled chicken legs tonight, with Stubb's rub under the skin)
-baking blueberry pies and peach cobblers
-making ice cream on the back porch
(Why am I always thinking about food?)
-going to the beach (well, that's not really limited to summer around here)
That's all I can think of...summer is about seven months long here, so it's hard to think of a lot of things we can only do in June, July , or August.

3.) What is your favorite smell of Summer?
-a big bag of ripe peaches!

4.) What is your favorite taste of Summer?

-see #3!

5.) Favorite Summer memory?

I don't know that I have just one. I remember day camp and trips to the city pool as a child...YMCA overnight camp for a two week session...lemonade stands...walking outside in the early morning when there was still the slightest hint of a cool breeze (but not for long)...
Summer was my dad's busiest time of year (he was an agricultural chemical consultant, and spent his summer days walking the cotton and soybean fields), so I don't have many childhood vacation memories associated with it.

6.) Extreme heat or extreme cold? Which would you choose and why?
Extreme heat, since it's what I'm already used to. As long as the A/C works, I'm fine. I've lived in the Sun Belt all my life, and can't imagine life in a very cold climate.

7.) What books do you plan to read for the season?

Anne Rice's Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana is next on my list. I never wanted to read her vampire books, and it wasn't until I read Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (highly recommended) that I realized how vividly she writes. Her descriptions of street scenes and crowds are almost cinematic. Frederick Buechner's Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons is waiting on the nightstand, too.

8.) How does the Summer affect your faith? Is it a hindrance or an ally
Life does slow down a bit (at least at church), which gives me a little more time to think and read. I hope that I will take some contemplative time this year and allow the slower pace to be a spiritual ally.

I don't think there's anyone left to tag for this one! But if you haven't done it yet, be my guest.