"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Sunday Salon...'Things are changing fast' edition

'4th of July' climbing rose.
Weather: Who can tell? We had muggy weather last week, Saturday it was windy and overcast. Will we see the sun today?

Books (I thought I'd better add my book notes earlier in my blog-post, since these notes tend to get lost at the bottom of it otherwise):
  • Completed this past week:
    • Citizen: An American Lyric by Laudia Rankine. A poetry book about racism. Of everything I have read so far, this book has impacted me the most at an emotional level. Please read my review by clicking on the hyperlink. Highly recommend. E-book checked out from the public library.
    • Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. My sister recommended this book about elephants and those people who care for them and study them. Has a typical Picoult plot twist near the end that I didn't see coming. E-audiobook checked out from the library.
  • Currently reading:  (Yes I know, this is a ridiculous number of books to be reading at one time!)
    • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. The prequel to the Hunger Games series. The book is long, at 520 pages, and I've lost interest but I will finish it. 80%, print.
    • Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything by B.J. Fogg. I bought this book months ago, placed it on the bookshelf and forgot about it. It is probably one that should have stayed there for a few more months as I work through other books, but I have started it and I'm interested in how to make these tiny changes of habit, so I read on. 18%, print.
    • Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation by LaTasha Morrison. Don and I are participating in a book study on racial reconciliation through our church. Our small group meets once a week in a Zoom meeting. Last week was our first meeting. The end of each chapter has four to seven discussion questions. 22%, e-book.
    • This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons On How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell. This book is targeted at a YA audience. At the end of each short chapter the reader is instructed to journal or create a list on the topic. 39%, print.  
    • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad. This is our book club selection for July. The library, which isn't opened yet, offered this book for unlimited e-book checkouts so that all the gals can read it at the same time and not have to wait until a copy comes available. This is another project book requiring journaling and reflection. I am liking this best of three I am currently reading on the similar topic. 18%, e-book.
    • Oona Out of Order by Margarita Mortimer. The blogosphere has been buzzing about this books. So far I am not sure if it is for me but I haven't gotten far. 23%, audiobook.
    • This Train Is Being Held by Ismee Amiel Williams. A YA book which is getting a lot of love these days from reviewers. 7%, e-book.
This week: Don and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary by ordering 'fancy' food from a favorite restaurant and taking a long drive in our convertible. We gave ourselves ceiling fans, one to replace the broken one in the bedroom and the other a new one for the covered deck. Simple pleasures!

Things are changing fast. Black Lives Matter protests are reaping actions faster than some may have thought possible.
  • House passes sweeping Democrat-led police reform bill. (NBC)
  • NASCAR: When they banned confederate flags at their events last week, some fans got pissy. After a noose was found in the garage of the only black driver, Bubba Watson, all the drivers and their teams, along with 82-year-old Richard Petty, escorted Watson and pushed his car to the lead of pit road before the opening of the Talladega Race on Monday. (NASCAR)
  • Mississippi is considering changing their state flag, the only flag to contain the confederate flag within it. I suspect it will make this change with pressure from the SEC (Southeastern Conference) which is a powerhouse in college football, and football is king down South. What the SEC wants, the SEC gets.

  • The Chicks, once the 'Dixie Chicks', are back and their new video is worth the time you took to visit my blog. It is so now and so important.
  • And this...it might seem like just a gesture but it is about time that smart black women are rewarded:
  • The US Senate, with bipartisan support, voted to pass The Great American Outdoors Act. It will fund much needed maintenance and repairs on National Parks. (GNN)
  • In a survey, 40% of men said that the COVID-19 lock-down has improved their relationship with their kids, and 60% feel closer to them. (GNN)
  • The House of Representatives passes a bill to approve statehood for D.C. (DailyKos
  • Don't be afraid to 'Virtue Signal', it can be a powerful tool to change people's minds. The whole article is very interesting. I recommend you read it. (Time) In case you don't want to, here is the concluding paragraph:
    • "This clarifies why signaling is so important. Not every person tweeting their support of a righteous cause will follow through. But no matter their motives, when many people speak out, their voices have a powerful effect on receivers. The last few weeks have made it clear that anyone opposed to racial justice is indeed in the minority, and that people who believe Black Lives Matter have plenty of company. Collective outrage has become a social norm; coupled with the leadership of local organizers, it has yielded a phenomenal groundswell of action."
A bit of humor to lighten things up:

Maybe with humor we can finally get people to lighten up and wear masks when they are out in public...

The dust storm is real and a bummer.  

How I am feeling these days:

The required cat photo of the week. 
Where is George? Can you find him?

And finally this week I end my post with a video of the Squirrel Ninja Obstacle Course. The video is 20 minutes long but I loved every minute of it, often laughing out loud. Treat yourself to some coronavirus stay-at-home/stuck-at-home fun and watch the whole thing. I promise you, it is worth the time. Enjoy.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Review and quotes: CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC by Claudia Rankine

Title: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Book Beginnings quote: 
When you are alone and too tired even to turn on any of your devices, you let yourself linger in a past stacked among your pillows.
Friday56 quote (59% on e-reader):
And you are not the guy and still you fit the description because there is only one guy who is always the guy fitting the description.
Summary: Citizen is part poetry, part essay, part personal, part collective experiences, part historical, and completely heartbreaking and maddening. In it poet Claudia Rankine uses her talent to give voice to the black experience(s) in America. Sometimes, like the opening line, you know she is looking back at her own experiences of being black in America and other times she writes about the experiences of others using lines from news reports or other documents to make her accounting all the more real. Sometimes the poems are about seemingly simple misconceptions like a white friend  who mistakenly calls her by the maids name. The maid being the only other black person this friend knows. While other times the poems are about deadly serious topics like the 'stop and frisk' policy that allows for police to stop anyone they suspect of doing wrong. This has led to black men and women being stopped and pulled over for no other reason than they are black because they 'fit the description.' Most of the poems are short and written in free form so, at first glance, I wasn't aware that I was even reading poetry. But the choice usage of perfect words just piled up to leave me clutching my chest because my heart was breaking over and over.

Review: I am sure I'm not the only person who is trying to be open and receptive to change in light of the Black Lives Matter protests and all the information that has been brought forward about white privilege and our ignorance about the racist things we do without thinking. I am trying to shut up and listen. I want to learn and I want to become an anti-racist. Of all the books I've read so far, Citizen has brought me the furthest at the fastest pace. By page two I was seething, and cringing, and crying, and praying "God help us find another way."

The book is divided into sections. The second or third section were all poems about the experiences Serena Williams has had to deal with as a black tennis star that white tennis stars have not had to. For some reason this section opened my eyes even wider than the others. If Serena, who is uber talented and famous, experiences racism on that level then think what happens to the average black man or woman. Ugh. Such exhausting and mind-numbing ugliness.

This book should be required reading but I know a lot of people don't care for poetry. If not this book, what book do you recommend everyone read to help open their eyes about the ugliness of racism in this country? We have a lot of work to do. We can do better. We can be better.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material. 


Monday, June 22, 2020

TTT: Favorite Topics Over the Last Five Years

 In celebration of ten years of Top Ten Tuesday I decided to copy a post I did in 2015 when I highlighted my favorite topics from the first five years of TTT. This post will over my favorite topics from July 2015 to now, June 2020. Listed in chronological order.

(This photo was associated with my TTT post about being thankful for people for bookish reasons, from Nov. 2015)

from July 20, 2015

from July 27, 2015

from November 23, 2015

April 11, 2016

August 29, 2016

September 25, 2017

October 2, 2017

February 26, 2018

April 16, 2018

July 23, 2018

October 23, 2018

April 15, 2019

December 9, 2019

May 25, 2020


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Sunday Salon, More Good News Edition

Strawberries are so irresistible this time of year. So are grandsons covered with berry juice.

Weather: It was overcast and partially rainy on Saturday, who knows how the weather will shake out Sunday.

I am attempting here to deliver, in one spot, all the good news I can find in one week of searching. If you missed last week's good news edition, follow this link.

More good news:
  • Supreme Court ruled in a stunning 6-3 decision written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, that LGBTQ people cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. (NPR)
  • Researchers in the UK have discovered that the low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly coronavirus.The drug, which is inexpensive and readily available worldwide, helps persons with severe cases of COVID to recover. It cuts the risk of death by one-third.(BBC)                                                                                               
  • A San Francisco company is using ex-convicts to recycle electronics and other recyclables.
    “Our main mission is not recycling, at all. Our mission is to help people that are coming out of jail and prison with training, mental health, drug addiction, housing, and then help them get a job,” said program director Andrew King. “We do that through recycling.” (GNN)
  • Pandemic of Love: a new website sprung up in March by one women hoping to help her own community. Now it has over 400 volunteers all over the US who have helped over 132,000 people hit hard by this pandemic. (P of L Website)
  • 'Breonna's Law was created by the Louisville, KY City Council after taking a 26-0 (unanimous) vote. Police will no longer be able to obtain and use no-knock warrants. It is named for Breonna Taylor who was asleep in her bed when police entered her home on a no-knock warrant looking for her boyfriend. She was shot eight times. (CNN)
  • Fox News mistakenly covers troll using a quote from the 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' film when reporting on Seattle protests. Not recognizing it as a quote from the movie, Fox News referred to it as if the group in question was real. (Watch the little clip of it here on The Independent.) Ha-ha!
  • A new park in Florence, Oregon needed a name. The citizenry was asked for suggestions and the winning name was 'Exploding Whale Memorial Park.' Why such a quirky name? You have got to see this short news clip for the answer. (It will make your day.  I promise you will laugh for hours!)
  • A Kentucky tattoo parlor is creatively covering up hateful, racist, or gang-related tattoos for free. (GNN)
  • Blood plasma from recovered COVD patients is now considered a safe treatment for those ill from the disease. The sooner they get the plasma, the better for full recovery. (WaPo)
  • Friday was Juneteenth, a oft forgotten day in American history. But thanks to Trump's blunders this past week, everyone knows about this holiday now and many companies are declaring it a business holiday. Sen. Harris and Booker are asking the Senate to make it a National holiday. Things are changing fast, folks! Hang on for more good news to follow on this topic.
    "Juneteeth commemorates the ending of slavery in 1865, when the last enslaved Americans learned that they had been freed. Today, we educate ourselves about our history, listen & learn, & determine what actions we can take to create a community free of hate, violence, & racism."
  • And the sweetest love story, couple, married for 67 years, were reunited after five weeks of separation due to COVID. (Today Show)
  • Books about racism and antiracism are topping the best-seller lists! (NYT)
  • Trump supporters in Michigan are burning their absentee ballot applications in protest. Ha-ha! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Come November when coronavirus is raging, they may wish they had that absentee ballot!  (Detroit Daily News)

Needs some laughs? Here you go:

This isn't funny. It is terrifying.

And some important thoughts for the day...

On a personal note:

1. I finished reading Hinds' Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard. It is a thought-provoking Christian allegory.
2. My grandson and his mom picked strawberries (see photo above.) We saw him afterwards and think he was wearing more strawberries than he picked.
3. For Father's Day, our daughter and grandson, took Don and I on a lovely hike in the Grove of the Patriarchs, part of Rainier National Park. We had a lovely hike and made it back to the car just as it started to rain. Whew!
Don, Rita, Ian, and I in the Grove of the Patriarchs

4. Lastly,  Fred and George discovered computer mice this week.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Review and quotes: THE WATER DANCER by Ta'Nehsi Coates

Title:  THE WATER DANCER by Ta'Nehisi Coates

Book Beginnings quote:

Friday 56 quote:

Summary: Hiram Walker is born into slavery but his father is the plantation owner and his half-brother, the heir-apparent. Though he dreams of receiving his inheritance, his due as a child of the owner, Hiram knows it will never happen and is even afraid he will sold off just as his mother was sold when he was young. He remembers little of his mother but he does know that she had special powers. But when he nearly drowns in the River Goose, he discovers that he, too, has a special power.  Could this power help him, and maybe others, escape? Can he do it on his own or should he get help from Georgie Parks, a freed slave living in Freetown nearby? All of Hiram's decisions have tremendous consequences, some are even life-threatening.

The first quote provides foreshadowing of the near-drowning in the Goose, which is a pivotal point in Hiram's life. I laughed when I read it since it is one gigantic sentence and quite confusing until you read on. Don't judge the book by this sentence. The Friday56 quote occurs just before the aforementioned near-drowning when Hiram visits Georgie in Freetown, attempting to get away from the whites who have been drinking and partying all day, and now have menace on their minds. Doesn't seem like things have changed that much if the current news reports are to be believed.

Review: At the center of this story is the tragedy of slavery and desire of every human being to be free and to be treated with dignity and respect. On the edges of the story is the power of story-telling and how important it is to have a story that gives us a place and a people of our own. Ta-Nehisi Coates is a master storyteller and he brings to life this time period in American history with clear-eyed honesty. He also sprinkles in some magical realism allowing the reader to see and interpret the Underground Railroad with new eyes.

The timeliness of this read is obvious. It is a good reminder that white privilege is still alive and it harms the well-being of those not in the dominant culture. I loved the magical realism and how the story drew of folk tales and the wisdom of elders. I highly recommend it.

Book Club discussion questions:
1. Why do you think Coates uses terms like “Tasked” and “Quality” instead of “slaves” and “masters”? What do you think the novel gains from this altered language?
2. Hiram says that the Tasked are “Blessed, for we do not bear the weight of pretending pure.” How does Coates define morality in the novel?
3. What do you make of Howell Walker’s apology? To what extent does Coates humanize Howell? Why do you think he does this?
4. What roles do the concepts of motherhood and fatherhood play in the novel? How does Hiram define family?
5. Sophia tells Hiram, “But what you must get, is that for me to be yours, I must never be yours.” What is Coates saying about the particular struggles of black women in this novel?
6. Characters like Corrine risk their lives to work for the Underground, while also allowing Hiram and some of its other members to come to harm for the greater good of the organization. What might Coates be trying to say about the relationship between white people and racial justice with these characters?
7. Discuss Harriet’s role in the story. What impact does the inclusion of a historical figure have on the narrative?
8. What is the significance of water throughout the book? Why do you think Coates chooses it as the medium for Hiram’s power?
9. What does THE WATER DANCER add to our understanding of how enslaved people suffered? What does the novel add to our understanding of the agency, resilience and strength of enslaved people during that time?
10. How are the themes of THE WATER DANCER relevant to modern discussions of race, privilege and power?
-Source: Reading Group Guides

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.

This book just fulfills the requirements for the Big Book Summer Challenge at 403 pages.

Monday, June 15, 2020

TTT: My summer reading list

Top Ten Tuesday: My summer reading list followed by how I did on my spring reading list

My library is still closed due to coronavirus so I will focus on books I have lying around the house or can get as e-books and audiobooks from the on-line circulation the library provides.

I. Audio and e-books on hold on my Overdrive account:
  1. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
  2. Hinds' Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard
  3. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  4. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  5. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  6. How Lovely the Ruins: Inspirational Poems and Words for Difficult Times by Annie Chagnot (E)
  7. A Very Stable Genius: Donald Trump's Testing of America by Philip Rucker and Corl Leonnig
  8. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  9. Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
  10. Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore 
  11. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (E)
  12. The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd (E)
  13. This Train is Being Held by Ismee Williams (E)
II. Books I own 
  1. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
  2. This Book is Anti-racist by Tiffany Jewell
  3. Tiny Habits: Small Changes that Change Everything by B.F. Fogg
  4. Tinkers by Paul Harding
  5. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
  6. Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation by LaTasha Morrison
III. Book Club Selections
  1. Valentine (listed above)
  2. I have no idea what other books we will choose or will be available to my clubs. It will depend on IF the library opens soon, then the book kits I ordered will be available again. If not, we are still stalled out.
Well, that is a ridiculous amount of books I have on hold and expect to "receive" some time this summer (listed on part I.) The books marked with an E are e-books. The rest are audiobooks, which makes the list even more ridiculous. One simply cannot listen to more than one audiobook at a time and time is something that audiobooks take up. We'll see how I do.

How did I do on my winter reading list?
I am feeling good about how I did on my winter list. Book club has been on hold since March so I couldn't even get the books in question for it. The Yellow House is really serious and I don't feel like reading serious stuff right now, so it is set aside for another time. Otherwise I finished the rest of my list. Woot. Woot!

I. Books I just checked out from the library before it closed due to the epidemic
  1. Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting by Anna Quindlen ✔
  2. It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History
  3. The Book of Books by PBS
  4. Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience edited by Shaun Usher✔
II.  Books I still want to read from the winter list
  1. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood✔
  2.  Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner✔
III. Book Club Selections
  1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  2. Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt
IV. Just because books
  1. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry✔
  2. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley✔
  3. Its a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Mr. Rogers ✔
  4. The Yellow House by Sarah Broom


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sunday Salon, Good New Edition

rainy and cool. Lucky it is still Spring or I'd say this is a lousy summer.

This week: my sister and Mom came up for a visit. My mother had a chance to see her sister who is currently on hospice, for two short visits. It was a blessing that they had a chance to see each other in this time of coronavirus lock-downs. It was so good to be with members of my family again!

"Get your knee off our neck" Rev. Al Sharpton at George Floyd's memorial service in Minneapolis:

This week---lots of good news!

1. Some good things are happening here and abroad since the George Floyd protests began.
  • Several cities and states are redefining policing and instituting police reforms. Minneapolis, Colorado, New York, and Louisville, KY are a few places making changes.
  • The NFL Commissioner apologizes for not getting it right on Black Lives Matter, though he did not apologize to Colin Kaepernick personally. (WaPo)
  • NASCAR has banned the use of the Confederate Flag at any of their events or on any of their sanctioned materials. (ESPN)
  • Confederate statues are finally coming down, most with little fuss. (CNN)
  • The 10 military bases named for Confederate "heroes" may be renamed. (NYT)
  • The Marines ban depictions of the confederate flag, including on bumper stickers and mugs. (CNN)

3. In a world full of hate, be a light...

4. #StrikeforBlackLives: Scientists went on strike this week, speaking up about anti-Black racism.

5. This isn't good news, but it is kind of funny when viewed from this angle:

6. Mt. Everest: The reduction of vehicular emission due to the #COVID19 lockdown has cleaned the air over Nepal and northern India. So much so that for the first time in many years, Mt. Everest can be seen again from Kathmandu Valley even though it is 200km away. (Photo taken about a month ago.) Photo taken by Abhushan Gautam.

7. Sesame Street hosts a town hall on racism with CNN: We can do better. We can be better.
On the hour-long special, which you can watch in its entirety for free on CNN's website, Sesame Street characters Big Bird, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Rosita, along with CNN's Van Jones and Erica Hill, joined experts to answer questions submitted by families and address the complex topic of racism in America. The start of the town hall featured Elmo's dad Louie explaining to his son why people are protesting.
8. Fact check: The Lincoln Memorial was not defaced. Images of it were manipulated and doctored for the 'Michael Knowles Show.' Don't just pass everything along, folks! Fact check first!

9. Netflix beat out the US Government to trademark the name Space Force. Ha ha! Read all about it and the hilarious tweets by fans of the show here.

10. Speaking of tweets: Isn't this one the truth? This year sure does seem like a bunch of headlines one would only expect to see in a satire source.---

11. Best protest sign I've seen. Memorize it! Live it.

“The last several months have been extraordinarily difficult, but through our individual sacrifices, people everywhere have each contributed to one of humanity’s greatest collective achievements,” Hsiang said. “I don’t think any human endeavor has ever saved so many lives in such a short period of time. There have been huge personal costs to staying home and canceling events, but the data show that each day made a profound difference. By using science and cooperating, we changed the course of history.”
13. Extraordinary ocean creatures use mucous to clear carbons and microplastics. In the weird, wonderful world God created there are even mucous monsters! See the picture of these guys below.
A few laughs for the week:
First this...

Now this...

You know ANTIFA isn't really a group, right? Or they are a group as much as 'People who hate Raisin Bran' are a group, which proves my point. But what if... ?
We should all be worried. Very worried.

Just think what future history books will say about 2020.

Whose driving all the protests? According to one news station it is Yiddish-speaking Anarchists. What?

(Chyron editors: It's a Molotov cocktail, not Mazel Tov cocktails)

Book finished this week:
    • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The #2 book in the Cormoran Strike series. I really enjoyed it. Print and Audio, I would go back and forth.
  • Currently reading:
    • Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurrard. A Christian allegory. Audio.
    • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. Considered to be book 0 of the Hunger games series. Print.
What have Fred and George been doing this week? Playing in forts (George) and with shoes (Fred), of course.


Monday, June 8, 2020

TTT: Books I placed on my TBR list and I don't remember why

Top Ten Tuesday: 
Books I've forgotten why I placed them on my TBR list (and might consider removing from it.)

1. Beach Read by Emily Henry. Date added to list: last week. Ha!
2. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke. Added on April17, 2020.
3. Autumn by Ali Smith. Added April 17, 2020.
4. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. Added March 8, 2020
5. Flights by Olga Tokarczuk. Added January 15, 2020
6. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Added January 13, 2020
7. Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center. November 1, 2019
8. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. Added March 27, 2019
9. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer. Added September 2018
10. Ways of Going Home by Alejandro Zambra, Added Nov. 1, 2016


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Sunday Salon, Black Lives Matter Edition

Weather: Cool with sun breaks and light showers throughout the day (light showers with the five-minute exception for a downpour of rain and hail earlier this afternoon).

Black Lives Matter: With the events of this week I want to deviate from my typical Sunday Salon and post items I have found that I think advance the conversations we need to be having about social justice and Black Lives Matter. I have a lot of links which, if you follow them all, will probably lead you down a lot of rabbit-holes. I hope you take the time to at least follow a few of them and then find a friend or family member with whom you can talk about what you read.

It is okay to grow and change as we learn new information. Here is a good place to start:
All four living former Presidents speak out about the actions taken by Trump in the wake of the George Floyd protests: Carter, Clinton, Bush, and Obama. It couldn't be clearer that the current President is on the wrong path. New York Intelligencer, June 3rd, 2020.

In his video (on the linked page referenced above) Obama mentions a 12-year-old boy singing about how hard it is to be a black boy. Here is that video:

In a surprising twist of events, the NFL and other sports teams are doing an about-face on the issue of Black Lives Matter:

My own way of fighting for equality---with literature. This week I created the beginnings of a list of books to advance the discussion about social justice and equality in our country. I hope you will click this link and visit my list and give me suggested book titles if you know of others. Otherwise, just make a comment to let me know that you saw it. Also, feel free to share this list widely. I know that reading helps us expand our minds. We can change as we learn new information.

White supremacists attempted to get a hashtag #whitelivesmatter trending on Twitter. But K-Pop fans were way ahead of them. Every time that hashtags was clicked it would take the viewer to a message like the one below making fun of white supremacists, calling them clowns and racists. It was the most fun thing on Twitter this week. Clever K-Pop fans beat the system!

We can do better, we can be better:

It feels like things are different this time. Maybe we are on the precipice of a new day? I hope so. Take a musical break here. "What's Going On"/Playing for Change.

And now for a little bit about politics:

This sign has become popular in a community in Florida. People are abandoning Trump left and right.

This week's polls have been devastating to Trump with a disapproval rating of 54%, the highest of any President.

And anti-Trump groups are creating ads which are devastating to Trump and his re-election campaign. It isn't just Democrats who want him out. Will other Republicans start to jump ship soon?

George Will, a conservative columnist, says "Trump must be removed. So must his congressional enablers." (Washington Post, June 1, 2020) We must not only remove the President by voting him out of office, but also retake the Senate.

Remember coronavirus? It is still out there and I still have a few funny/thought-provoking memes to share:

Books and reading:
  • Currently reading
    • Silkworm by Robert Galbriath. I can't "attend" to heavy books right now so I started this second book in the Cormoran Strike series just last night. E-book. 1%.
  • Recently abandoned
    • The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming. This book is getting book reviews but I cannot make myself care about what happened to this man so many years ago. I am setting it aside for now but maybe forever. 15% complete. E-book.
    • Children of Virtue and Vengeance by  Tomi Adeyemi. The second book in the Legacy of Orisha series. I liked the first book a lot. It was based on Nigerian folktales and myths. It has just been too long since I read the first book and I cannot remember anything to help me get started on this second book. I am removing this one from my TBR pile and will be done with it. 10% completed. Audio.
  • Finished this week
    • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. A timely reading selection about slavery and the underground railroad. Excellent. Audiobook.
    • Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight fro Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh. Another timely read. This is a children's book and I got it free from Kindle. See if you can, too. E-book.
    • So Big by Edna Ferber. I read this for the Classic Club spin. It was written in 1924 and won the Pulitzer. I liked it for the fact I got to see a slice of life from the beginning of the last century, otherwise I wasn't that impressed. E-book.
Required cat photo? This week I was only inspired by one of my daughter's shots of her boys, Fred and George. In it you see Fred not quite relaxing on his cat play structure. What a goofball cat.

We did get away from all the craziness for a lovely hike this past Wednesday: We hiked the Greenwater Lakes Trail which is located on the Western slope of the Cascades about an hour from here. It was a lovely day--not too warm or buggy.

I close this week with a collage of flowers blooming in my garden right now. The yard is lovely this time of year and so peaceful. All these photos were taken on one day, June 4th.