Friday, March 29, 2013

Let's Talk Books

It has been awhile since I've talked about reading.  I was afraid I was becoming a bit one dimensional; and, I thought you might need a break from my inept writings on the books I've been reading.  I read an eye-opening article many weeks ago about the authenticity of book reviews.

I often find books by reading reviews.  If I happen upon a book which looks interesting I usually snap a photo of the cover (I thought this a brilliant way to keep track of the books I want to read, but I am finding out it is becoming frowned upon.), head home and pull up reviews.  If the book I'm looking to open is a book group selection I look to reviews to decide, am I going to purchase the hard copy, download it or check it out at the Library.  There are just too many good books to waste time, cash and precious shelf space on  something that is not, what I label, "a keeper". 

Reading through the article regarding book reviews I discovered many of the reviews are written by publishers and fed to paid reviewers who then go online and publish a well thought-out paragraph or two prompting us, the readers, to purchase the book they have never read.   I am waving my hand in the air.  Yes, I am guilty of reading these convincing pieces only to ask at the end of the book, "Really?"  I have also found negative reviews to books I have thoroughly enjoyed.  I suppose we might want to edit the phrase, "You can't judge a book by it's cover" to
"You shouldn't judge a book by its review".

I believe I have said it before, there is a book for everyone, and a reader for every book.  I may not necessarily enjoy what my neighbor is reading;  I'm just excited to discuss books and reading.  I do still look to online reviews, as I like to think those sharing their thoughts are wanting to share their love for a good read as well.  And, you know I always want to know what you are reading and why you enjoy(ed) it. 


I've read a lot books I would put into the "enjoyed" category... many I would post as "loved"... only a few books have I read in one sitting.  The Dry Grass of August,  the debut novel by Anna Jean Mayhew is the latest book which kept me turning the pages late into the night, and beckoned me immediately upon awaking.  Yes, I picked it back up before grabbing my first cup of coffee and finished it before 8:30 a.m.

"In August of 1954, we took our first trip without Daddy, and Stell got to use the driver's license she'd had such a fit about.  It was just a little card saying she was Estelle Annette Watts, that she was white, with hazel eyes and brown hair.  But her having a license made the trip different from any others, because if she hadn't had it, we never would have been stuck in Sally's Motel Park in Claxton, Georgia, where we went to buy fruitcakes and had a wreck instead.  And Mary would still be with us."

It is in the first paragraph we hear the voice of our narrator thirteen year old June "Jubie" Watts.   We also learn we will be traveling through the south, without a man in 1954.  There will be a car accident and a death.

Throughout the book we are exposed to the social tensions of an era,  betrayals within a family,  and the unbreakable bond between a young southern white girl and the black woman who cares for her.  It is a story of love overshadowing hate, lies torn away by truths.  A tale that has been told many times.  It has been mentioned along with titles such as The Help, The Secret Lives of Bees and To Kill a Mockingbird.   Yes, I found bits and pieces throughout the book taking me back to each of those stories.   And yet, I found something in Jubie's story that resonated deep within my memories.

I was born at the end of 1954, the year the supreme court deemed segregation a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the fourteenth amendment.  It was not until I was in high school, thirteen years later, my own school became integrated.  I, too, didn't understand many of the injustices that were part of our everyday lives.  I was often told, "One doesn't interfere with what goes on in another man's house.  It is just how it is."  So many of the same phrases I remember coming from those I thought of as role models.  And I can still remember asking what the KKK was upon reading a sign posted out in the bayou near a covered bridge which read, "The KKK is still a live".   I'm sure I was given a watered down explanation.   That sign always scared me a little bit.  It was through books I learned about the Ku Klux Klan and the terror they spread.
I've often thought of that sign and wondered if it is still there.

Yes, this story has been told many times.  And, someone will tell it again.  Like so many injustices which have occurred throughout time, it is important we continue to tell the stories.  When we push them aside we risk stepping back instead of forward.  We risk repeating history.

The Dry Grass of August, is a story told through the simple language of a thirteen year old.   It is an easy read, but a story difficult to read.  In the end, we find a redemption, of sorts.  And if you think parts are unbelievable ask me... I bet I have a story to tell you.

Happy Reading!

I suppose I should add here, no one is knocking down my door to offer me a deal to write book reviews.  I promise I've read each book I write about unless I tell you otherwise.   You know, just in case you had any doubt....ha!ha!ha!

Easter is upon us.
May the sun shine down upon you,
and may you have a blessed and beautiful Easter.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Deletions and Roses

“Music expresses that which cannot be said 
and on which it is impossible to be silent.” 
                                                                         Victor Hugo

This morning while checking my email on my iPad I found three comments to my latest post.  I read each one and with my new handy dandy pink stylist I hit publish. least on two I actually hit publish.   On the third, I must have joggled when I should have jiggled, because the next thing appearing was the notice I had refused the comment.

The comment I deleted was from Arleen whom I follow regularly and have enjoyed getting to know through this thing we call blogging.  Arleen's blog, Starting Over, Accepting Changes...Maybe is about life and the accompanying changes and adjustments.  She almost always finishes the first sentence of each post with "and I am doing okay".   Arleen's comments are always thoughtful and well-thoughtout.   I look forward to hearing her perspective and would never intentionally delete
something she wrote.

I am sharing her comment with you, because, as always, her words added to the post.   It also brought up memories and started my brain jumping up and down.  And, when my brain starts spinning, (sorry) I find the need to share.

"When you get a good day, breathe it all in. It has been a long winter and it does not seem to want to go away. As the white flakes come down, I think of the lyrics to the song, The Rose. 'Just remember in the winter, for beneath the bitter snow, lies the seed that with the sun's love, in the spring, becomes the rose.' " 

With the mention of the Bette Midler song, "The Rose" I immediately thought about how many times I sang this song as a lullaby to my daughter.   While some may say, "really?  a lullaby?"...   I was never one to sing the usual little sing-song lullabies.  Just as  I feel many of the books published for children should be read by adults, I feel many songs peddled for adult listening make beautiful lessons for children.  Sometimes you change a word here and there, sometimes...not.

   I hear the song "The Rose" and I hear a promise.  A promise that is sown from courage and patience.  Courage to risk failure.  Patience to wait for the sunshine.   I often find myself on the short side of both of these characteristics; it doesn't stop my believing and desiring the beauty of the promise.

So, to you who find yourself overcome by currant life events and changes, feelings of being over-whelmed and abandoned or have spent one day too many indoors awaiting Spring.  I share with you the promise of the

"The Rose"

Some say love (life), it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.

Some say love (life), it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.

Some say love (life), it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.

I say love (life), it is a flower,
And you its only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.

It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.

It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,

And the soul afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,

And you think that love (life) is only
For the lucky and the strong,

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows

Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.

Thank you Arleen for always adding to the conversation and for your inspiration.
 May each of you wake up soon to find roses blooming all around you.


I do read and enjoy each and every comment.  It is through the comment that we continue the conversation.  Thank you for talking back to me. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn."
                                                                              Hal Borland

Spring is here!  

We are actually enjoying beautiful spring like weather today.
The sky is blue.
The temperature is a breezy 57.

A few of the perennials
(along with the weeds)
 are beginning
to wake from their winter's nap.

Ferns unfurl in the sunlight.

Camillas continue to share their beauty.

Yes, there is much to be done
 beyond the garden gate.
Soil to be loosened.
Mulch to be spread.

 It may still need to wait.
Tomorrow the temperatures drop
and a cold rain is promised.

That's tomorrow,
Today I will turn my face to the light
and enjoy the now.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Teachers Gone Wild

I am officially on Spring Break!
oh, not a minute too soon.

Springing forward pretty much kicks my....
well, I'm sure, you understand.

I'm not for sure what I'm going to do with my time away from school,
but I'm sure I'll be able to keep busy.

I think I might begin by spending the evening with
a few pirates looking for gold.

There will be a few gifts to give

as we celebrate my daughter's birthday.

I might capture a leprechaun or two come St. Patrick's Day.

Mostly, I will be doing a little

of this (or at least preparing)
a little bit of

of that.

don't be surprised if you find me on
youtube in

via pinterest

"Teachers Gone Wild".

                                                                         probably not.

Though, you can be sure I will be spying on you through the week.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Promise!

Yesterday Spring came by to say she's on her way back to town.
The sun was shining, and a friend showed up to play.

It was perfect weather for waking the roses
with a little pruning,

 Cutting back and cleaning around fresh faces turned toward the blue sky.

Pots were pulled out of our little makeshift greenhouse.

Some friends, I thought lost forever during last year's heat, showed up with renewed courage
for another southern summer.

One long forgotten euphorbia was found laying on it's side trying to reach the sun,
all the while showing off her blooms.

Roger cleaned out a few containers and planted cool weather lettuces and herbs, while
I discovered a possible new boarder....

  Do you see the bit of fur?
If all goes well we will have a baby rabbit.

Before the sun could bid it's farewell,
dark clouds sauntered in whispering in Spring's ear,
"Wait, your time is yet to come".

Today there is rain with only the slightest chill.
I'm not disappointed.
Everything is getting a bit of nature's healing nectar, and

thanks to a sweet and generous friend,
 I have a new book to study.

Enjoy your day...
Spring is on her way.

I promise!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


At the end of the summer of 2012 I wasn't certain
anything would return to the garden.  
Life has a way of continuing even through the toughest of times.

 When life leaves us heartbroken and wondering what the future holds,

Nature sends us the hope

of a beautiful spring.
I will always believe in the day after tomorrow.


I've been away, and so many of you have emailed me asking about my absence.  Thank you for checking in on me.  I have been visiting and caring for those who are nearest and dearest to my heart.  All will be well....if not today, tomorrow.