Thursday Book Feature: The Enchanted April

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.The Enchanted April

by Elizabeth Von Arnim

Copyright 1922

 

Four English ladies retreat from their miserable lives in London to a medieval castle in Italy that they have rented for the month of April. Lottie and Rose are escaping their husbands. Lady Caroline is trying to get away from men in general, and Mrs. Fisher, a grieving widow, wants only to rest and think and not be disturbed. As the weeks progress, attitudes change, and things get interesting when the husbands and landlord show up.

This is a good story, but Elizabeth Von Arnim, like many authors of the time, includes way too much narrative, which slows it down. Because I was curious after seeing a theatrical production of this book, and my regional talking book library’s group decided to discuss it, I slogged through and found the ending, like that of the play, satisfactory. This might be a good book to read during the month of April in a sunny garden, perhaps in Italy. The excessive narrative plus the sun’s warmth may cause you to slip into a peaceful afternoon slumber.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Song Lyric Sunday: The Streak

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.This feature is being hosted temporarily by Jim Adams while Helen Vahdati, the blogger who originally created it, is recovering from health issues. The theme this week is “laughter.” I couldn’t find a song about this, so I’m posting one I hope will make you laugh. It was popular in 1974 when running around in the buff was a fad. Enjoy a good laugh today. It’s the best medicine.

The StreakRay Stevens

Lyrics Couretesy of Google

 

Hello, everyone, this is your action news reporter
With all the news that is news
Across the nation
On the scene at the supermarket
There seems to have been some disturbance here
Pardon me, sir, did you see what happened?
Yeah, I did
I’s standin’ over there by the tomaters
And here he come
Running through the pole beans
Through the fruits and vegetables
Nekkid as a jay bird
And I hollered over t’ Ethel
I said, “Don’t look, Ethel!”
But it’s too late
She’d already been incensed.
Boogity, boogity
(There he goes)
Boogity, boogity
(And he ain’t wearin’ no clothes)
Oh, yes, they call him the Streak
(Boogity, boogity)
Fastest thing on two feet
(Boogity, boogity)
He’s just as proud as he can be
Of his anatomy
He goin’ give us a peek
Oh, yes, they call him the Streak
(Boogity, boogity)
He likes to show off his physique
(Boogity, boogity)
If there’s an audience to be found
He’ll be streakin’ around
Invitin’ public critique
This is your action news reporter once again
And we’re here at the gas station
Pardon me, sir, did you see what happened?Yeah, I did
I’s just in here gettin my tires checked
An’ he just appeared out of the traffic
He come streakin’ around the grease rack there
Didn’t have nothin’ on but a smile
I looked in there, and Ethel was gettin’ her a cold drink
I hollered, “Don’t look, Ethel!”
But it was too late
She’d already been mooned
Flashed her right there in front of the shock absorbersBoogity, boogity
(He ain’t lewd)
Boogity, boogity
(He’s just in the mood to run in the nude)Oh, yes, they call him the Streak
(Boogity, boogity)
He likes to turn the other cheek
(Boogity, boogity)
He’s always makin’ the news
Wearin’ just his tennis shoes
Guess you could call him uniqueOnce again, your action news reporter
In the booth at the gym
Covering the disturbance at the basketball playoff
Pardon me, sir, did you see what happened?Yeah, I did
Half time, I’s just goin’ down thar to get Ethel a snow cone
And here he come, right out of the cheap seats, dribbling
Right down the middle of the court
Didn’t have on nothing but his PF’s.
Made a hook shot and got out through the concessions stands
I hollered up at Ethel
I said, “Don’t look, Ethel!”
But it was too late.
She’d already got a free shot
Grandstandin’, right there in front of the home teamOh, yes, they call him the Streak
Here he comes again.
(Boogity, boogity)
Who’s that with him?
The fastest thing on two feet
Ethel? Is that you, Ethel?
(Boogity, boogity)
What do you think you’re doin’?
He’s just as proud as he can be
You git your clothes on!
Of his anatomy
He’s gonna give us a peekOh, yes, they call him the Streak
Ethel! Where you goin’?
(Boogity, boogity)
Ethel, you shameless hussy!
He likes to show off his physique
Say it isn’t so, Ethel!
(Boogity, boogity)
If there’s an audience to be found
He’ll be streakin’ around
Invitin’ public critique
Ethelllllll!
Songwriters: Ray Stevens
The Streak lyrics © CLEARBOX RIGHTS, LLC OBO AHAB MUSIC COMPANY, AHAB MUSIC COMPANY INC

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Thursday Book Feature: No Barriers

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon

by Erik Weihenmayer and Buddy Levy

Copyright 2017

This memoir’s title may be a bit misleading. Erik Weihenmayer doesn’t just talk about his big Grand Canyon adventure but also covers other topics. The book starts with a forward by an American journalist, injured while on assignment overseas, who was inspired by Erik’s work. Erik then touches on his Mount Everest adventure, the subject of a previous book, and how he met his wife and married her on Mount Kilimanjaro. After that, he describes how he led various mountain climbing and river rafting adventures with children and adults who have disabilities. He explains how he formed No Barriers, an organization that empowers people with disabilities through hiking and other activities.

Erik also talks about family struggles: his brother’s battle with alcoholism and subsequent death, the arduous but successful process Erik and his wife went through to adopt a little boy from Nepal, and the child’s struggle to adapt to their way of life, then finding out later his mother was still alive. All this is interspersed with stories of his adventures and finally, how he succeeded in kayaking the Grand Canyon, with its multitude of dangerous rapids. In his epilog, he tells us what became of various children and adults with disabilities whom he helped through his involvement with No Barriers. The recorded version, which I downloaded from the National Library Service’s braille and audio site, and which was produced by McMillon Audio, contains an interview with Erik.

I’m not the adventurous sort, but I always enjoy re-living others’ experiences from the comfort of my recliner, and Erik’s story didn’t disappoint. Members of my regional talking book library’s group chose this book to discuss because they wanted to escape winter and cold weather, but I found myself wrapping my blanket more tightly around me, as I read of Erik and his crew climbing mountains in sub-zero temperatures, so I don’t think this was quite the escape for which they’d hoped. Oh well, sometimes, you don’t really know until you read the book, which has a clear message meant not just for those with disabilities. You should never let barriers, real or imagined, stop you from making dreams come true.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

A Sentence from a Book

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Thanks to Charles French for inspiring this. In his post, he quotes a couple of sentences from books that strike his fancy and asks readers to respond with quotes of their own.

One sentence that came immediately to mind after reading this post was from Charles Dickens Oliver Twist. “But now that he was enveloped in the old calico robes which had grown yellow in the same service, he was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once—a parish child—the orphan of a workhouse—the humble, half-starved drudge—to be cuffed and buffeted through the world—despised by all, and pitied by none.” When I read this classic as a teen-ager, I was horrified to learn that poor Oliver suffered a lot of abuse.

Nowadays, I apply the concept of being cuffed and buffeted through the world to how I feel children should be raised. I’ve never been a parent, so I’m going by the experiences I had as a child. Too often, today’s children are coddled and not shown enough discipline.

I’m not saying children should be fed three meals a day of gruel or beaten, but parents need to be more authoritative, and there’s nothing wrong with a few good hard swats on a child’s bottom. That’s the way I was raised, and I’m proud of it. If punishment is swift and sure, children will grow up to be responsible citizens, and down the road, we’ll have less crime and violence.

What about you? Is there a sentence from a book that stands out in your mind? Why? I hope you have plenty of good books to read in 2019.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Song Lyric Sunday: A Spoon Full of Sugar

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.This feature is now being hosted by newepicauthor. This week’s theme is “doctor/health/medicine.” As Mary Poppins says in this song, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” If I can listen to music while doing the most mundane tasks, they’re more fun for me. Enjoy, and see if you can find an element of fun in your daily chores. That will make bitter pills easier to swallow.

A Spoonful of SugarJulie Andrews

Lyrics Courtesy of Google

 

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game
And every task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It’s very clear to see that
A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way
A robin feathering his nest
Has very little time to rest
While gathering his bits of twine and twig
Though quite intent in his pursuit
He has a merry tune to toot
He knows a song will move the job along – for
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way
The honey bee that fetch the nectar
From the flowers to the comb
Never tire of ever buzzing to and fro
Because they take a little nip
From every flower that they sip
And hence (And hence),
They find (They find)
Their task is not a grind.
Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h ah!A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way
Songwriters: Richard Sherman / Robert Sherman
A Spoonful of Sugar lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Thursday Tidbit: Winter, A Poem

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.With the season having officially arrived here in Wyoming, here’s another winter poem, this one from my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. It’s about my disastrous attempt of a winter sport that most of my family enjoyed.

Although it reads like poetry, it looks like prose. This is what’s considered a prose poem. You can click the Play button below the poem to hear me read it. Enjoy, and happy winter.

 

Winter

 

On a cold, cloudy day, we strap on our skis, boots, head up the trail. I inch along, sure I’ll fall at any minute, as my skis slide through the packed snow. “Left foot right pole right foot left pole. See if you can go faster,” Dad says. I prefer to keep my slow, plodding pace.

At the top of the hill, we retrace our steps. My feet slide out from under me. I land flat on my back. “Smile,” says my brother, as he holds the camera.

“Stick that camera where the sun won’t shine,” I want to tell him.

“You’re not falling right. You could get hurt,” he says. I remove the skis, walk the rest of the day.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Saying No and Yes

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.I feel like the person in Hawaii who accidentally pushed the button to alert everyone of incoming missiles last year. My earlier post, “Saying No” was not meant to go live. I composed and scheduled it last week, then had a change of heart. I thought I’d un-scheduled it when I changed the status to draft but apparently not. I have since removed the post and apologize for any inconvenience to those receiving it by email.

Instead of my Tuesday posts, I think I’ll say no to Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge, but I haven’t yet made a decision. I’m definitely skipping it this week because I have too many things going on, and there’s a remote chance I’ll lose Internet connectivity later in the week. Here’s the story behind that.

Last week, two days after Christmas, I woke to find no Internet connection. I called CenturyLink, my current provider, but all I got was their automated system, and just when I thought a human being would finally answer, I heard a recorded message saying there was an error or that all circuits were busy. I tried several times that day, and finally in the afternoon, I didn’t even get the automated system. Instead, I got a recording that said the number was no longer in service.

Since I don’t have a smart phone, I had no way to look for information online, so I called a friend who found sketchy information on their Facebook page. Later, she told me she’d seen on the news that the company was experiencing a nationwide outage, which could take up to forty-eight hours to fix. I resigned myself to two more days without the Internet, but miracle of miracles, it started working the next morning.

However, the lack of communication between CenturyLink and its customers during the outage is inexcusable. Even the power company had a message on its phone system during an outage last year, explaining the problem and giving an estimated amount of time it would take to fix the problem. This time, not even CenturyLink’s Facebook page provided useful information about the outage, which not only affected Internet but also phone service and even 911.

I haven’t forgotten last year when I was without Internet for six days. Apparently, it was just a matter of flipping a switch in the local office, but the person in the local office responsible for doing this was away for the Christmas holiday, so that didn’t happen. This is also unacceptable.

Yesterday, I contacted Spectrum, one of the few Internet options available here in Wyoming, and was pleasantly surprised to almost immediately reach a friendly young man with an American accent who was easy to understand, compared to the clipped foreign accents of the representatives from CenturyLink I’ve spoken to in the past. When I told this particular customer service agent I just needed Internet service, that was all he offered me. He didn’t try to sell any bundled packages like the folks at CenturyLink are in the habit of doing. He did tell me about streaming music and cell service, but I explained I could easily stream music with my Amazon Echo devices and that I was happy with my cell service with Verizon, and he understood.

A technician will come next Monday to install my new service. I’ll be paying about the same amount I was before, but I’ll be getting faster service, 100 megabytes, compared to the approximately 14 megabytes I was getting before.

Now comes the hard part, notifying CenturyLink, but I will stand firm this time. I won’t let them persuade me to re-consider with a lower price for my bundled Internet and cell service. It won’t be worth it if I have to endure such shoddy services as I have in the past year.

If they cut me off in a huff, so be it. I plan to finish my online work before calling them so I’ll be covered in case that happens. If you don’t see a Song Lyric Sunday post from me later, that’ll be the reason. I’m ringing in 2019 by saying no to slow Internet speed and bad service and yes to faster Internet speed and better service. I hope you all have a safe and profitable 2019.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.