A Trip to Australia Without Leaving Home #Thursday Book Feature

In a Sunburned Country

by Bill Bryson

Copyright 2001

 

From the author of Notes from a Small Island and other travel memoirs comes an account of the author’s experiences traveling in Australia. He explains how he traveled across the country by train, drove through the Outback, and visited museums and other tourist attractions. He also provides some history and describes venomous snakes and other creatures, even seashells, that can kill you in Australia, contrasting this with the friendliness of most of the people there.

I enjoyed being able to swim and boogie board without leaving my recliner. I was fascinated by the idea that children in the Outback, who are isolated on cattle stations, receive their education via short-wave radio through “schools of the air.” It’s also interesting to note that Australians once treated the Aboriginal people not much differently than we treated the Native Americans in our country. If you’d like to visit Australia and don’t want to spend money on a passport, plane tickets, train tickets, rental cars, food, and hotel rooms, Bill Bryson’s book is the way to go.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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One Thing About Me #Essay #Writing Prompt

One thing I love about myself is that I’m healthy. I don’t smoke. I don’t consume alcoholic beverages of any kind. I drink only one can of Dr. Pepper a day. I exercise regularly, watch my weight, and try not to eat too much ice cream.

To stay healthy, I get myself checked out every year. I have the obligatory annual physical exam. Because I have a heart murmur and a family history of heart attacks plus some mild hearing loss in my left ear, I have an echocardiogram and a hearing test each year. I endure an annual screening mammogram. Except for a couple of scares involving unknown spots on my breasts, all my tests have turned out normal so far, except for the hearing loss, which isn’t getting any worse, and the heart murmur, which appears stable.

I also try to keep my mind sharp. Every day, I play several games with Alexa to stimulate my brain cells. These include “Word of the Day,” “Question of the Day,” “True or False,” “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader,” “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” and “Song Quiz.” I recently started trying a meditation skill called “Head Space.” Maybe it’ll help me be more mindful and stay focused. It’s my hope that if I keep my body and mind in good shape, I can live long and die before experiencing any serious health issues. Life is precious, and I want to live it to the fullest.

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Thanks to Moondance Pages for inspiring the above. Now, it’s your turn. What’s one thing you love about yourself?

Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. I’d love to read your responses, either in the comment field below or on your own blog with a link to this post. Remember. We’re all special in our own way.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel) #Monday Musical Memories

When I heard this song recently, it was as if my late husband, not Billy Joel, were singing it to me. At the end, he says, “Someday your child may cry and if you sing this lullabye…” Well, I’m too old to have children, but maybe I’ll sing it to someone else’s child. Who knows? Anyway, enjoy Billy Joel’s lullabye and know that our lost loved ones will always be a part of us.

 

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Hemorrhage #Poetry #Book Excerpt

Today, instead of reviewing someone else’s book, I’m tooting my own horn. The following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, gives a brief run-down of the journey my late husband and I took through the labyrinth of recovery and rehabilitation after his strokes. You can read a more detailed account in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. Click on the link below the poem to hear me read it.

Hemorrhage

 

Barely coherent, drenched in sweat, he lay on the floor. “What happened?” I asked. His response was unintelligible.

“I don’t need to go to the hospital,” he told the paramedics. “but if my wife wants me to go, I guess I will.”

“The stroke was caused by bleeding on the right side of his brain,” said the doctor. “He may need surgery.”

“In this case, surgery won’t help,” another doctor told us. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

“He’s not strong enough to participate in our rehabilitation program,” said the social worker. “He’ll have to go to a nursing home.”

“I don’t know how much you’ll recover or how long it will take,” a third doctor said. “Continue the therapy, and watch your blood pressure.”

“We’ll work on strengthening your legs and try to get you up and moving,” the therapist promised him.

“They’ve given up on me. I don’t think I’ll ever walk again.”

 

Hemorrhage

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Thing #Essay #Writing Prompt

Remember the song about the man who discovers a box on a beach? He opens it and finds a treasure. He tries to sell it to a friend, but the friend threatens to call the police if he doesn’t leave the premises. He takes it home to his wife, but she tells him to go away and never return. He tries to give it to a desperate hoboe. But the hoboe runs away when he sees it.

For years, this man travels far and wide with a treasure nobody wants that’s doing him no good. He finally ends up at The Pearly Gates, where St. Peter tells him to take the thing down below.

One wonders why he didn’t leave this unknown treasure on the beach where he found it if nobody wanted it. But if he did, it wouldn’t be much of a song, would it? One also wonders what was in the box that nobody wanted.

At the end of the song, the singer advises that if you find such a box on the beach, don’t open it because you’ll never get rid of whatever’s inside. Likewise, if a friend came to me with a box and claimed that what was inside would change everything, I’d say to my friend, “Why don’t you open the box?”

 

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Through the Eyes of Love #Monday Musical Memories

As a teen-ager, when I saw the movie, Ice Castles, and read the book, I was fascinated by the story of a young figure skater who loses all her vision in an accident but returns to the ice. What blew me away was this girl was the same age as me at the time, sixteen, when she started training.

I couldn’t roller skate without holding onto somebody because I was terrified of falling. I’d tried downhill skiing and landed flat on my back. So, I wasn’t about to start ice skating lessons, and I don’t think this had anything to do with my own visual impairment. But it didn’t stop me from enjoying this compelling tale of achieving one’s dream, losing it, then getting back in the game.

In 2005, a month after my late husband Bill, living in Fowler, Colorado, while I was here in Sheridan, Wyoming, proposed to me, this movie’s theme was on a cassette of love songs he sent me for Valentine’s Day. He didn’t know about the impact the book and movie had on me, but I’m pretty sure I told him. The song developed a new significance for me. I’ve always found it amazing that although Bill had no vision, he saw me through the eyes of love.

 

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Novel Touts Value of Knowing One’s Culture #Thursday Book Feature

Pigs in Heaven: A Novel

by Barbara Kingsolver

Copyright 1993.

 

This is the sequel to The Bean Trees, which I reviewed here a couple of weeks ago. Taylor and her six-year-old adopted Indian daughter Turtle are living happily in Tucson, Arizona. While vacationing at The Grand Canyon, Turtle sees a man fall into a spillway. She and Taylor alert the authorities, and the story becomes national news.

As a result, Taylor and Turtle are asked to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show. In Oklahoma, a lawyer for the Cherokee Nation, after seeing Turtle on TV, questions the validity of the child’s adoption, which occurred three years earlier. When Taylor learns of the lawyer’s suspicion, she and Turtle hit the road. Her mother, who lives in Kentucky, travels to Oklahoma to visit her cousin and plead their case.

Parts of this story could have moved along faster, but otherwise, I was riveted. On cold winter nights, without leaving my recliner, I traveled through desert heat from Arizona to Nevada to Washington State and finally, to the small town of Heaven, Oklahoma. From a Las Vegas coffee shop, where we meet a waitress with a Barbie obsession, to a Cherokee ceremonial dance in Oklahoma, the author drew me into her story. Although the ending was satisfactory, I would like to have seen a few details resolved. Otherwise, this second novel by Barbara Kingsolver is a good story.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.