MY PERSONAL READ-A-THON

7:00 a.m. Showered, shampooed, and ready to don my official T-shirt for this perfect Read-A-Thon weather:

A friend at Jack n’ Jill in Alvin made this T-shirt for me.

As for snacks, there’s pumpkin pie left from Thanksgiving.

First three hours:

“Devotional” from

Listened to audiobook Lord Jim

Although the narrator is very good, the subject is so dry that by the second hour, I changed to a book.

This book just gets better as it goes along.

At the end of the third hour, I took a break and read the Sunday edition of The Houston Chronicle. Reading it from cover to cover on Sunday afternoons is a personal tradition.

I fixed a huge chef salad for lunch with fresh pineapple slices for dessert.

Back to Lord Jim, and glad I didn’t eat a heavy lunch, for the story went on and on. Sure Jim had a moral dilemma on his hands, but the author agonizes over it as much as Jim does. Finally put this aside for the day.

Around 1:00 or 1:30 I read and thought about Cleo Wade’s Heart Talk, short memes, quotes, and short prose pieces about “Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life.” I found myself writing down several quotes and copying them in my quote notebook.

I decided to try the audiobooks on the Cloud Library while I began to clear away Thanksgiving decorations and replace them with Christmas ones. I didn’t get a lot accomplished, but I did enjoy the book I had selected, purely on the basis of color–pink! Pink is the next color in my Celebration of Color Challenge, so I chose:

I had discovered I really liked memoirs last spring when I required a Memoir Project of my Advanced Writing Students. I read several they had recommended as well as several reviewed by blogging friends.

After nearly an hour had passed getting into this book, I took out my Kindle and read on the third book of the series about the Dali Lama’s Cat. I made a dent in what I had left to read. I find that I can read several books simultaneously if they are as diverse as the ones I encountered today.

By then it was time to fix turkey sandwiches for supper, and I got caught up in

season 2 of Virgin River, watching one and a half episodes before I got back to reading.

I read two chapters of Cowgirl Smarts

I made an astounding discovery. The copy of the paperback I have is signed by the author to someone named Roxanne.

Next I reviewed my notes on Vesper Flights and wrote a draft of a review I will post soon on this blog

To end the Read-A-Thon, a twelve hour, not twenty-four-hour Read-A-Thon, I went back to Heart Talk to end the evening on an inspirational note.

Well, I didn’t make 24 hours, but 12 hours helped me make a dent in my TBR, logged in a black-covered book and started a pink-covered book for my Celebration of Color Challenge, and started the first book in The Classic Club challenge sponsored by Readerbuzz.

I’d call that a successful, most enjoyable day of reading.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

Thanks to Carla of Carla Loves to Read for the super illustration above. Check out her blog; it’s a winner!

This morning’s recommendations are aimed at girls, specifically twelve-and- thirteen-year-olds.

K.L. Going wrote a moving novel, Pieces of Why, in 2015, but it is timely today with its universal narrative and message. Tia’s dad is in prison; she has been told why, but during the story, she finds out her mother has lied to her. Many family mysteries come clear as she digs to find answers, knowing she won’t like what she finds. Only her singing talent saves her from bearing an unbearable burden and eventually heals the rift between her mother and her. It is a moving, empathetic story of a young girl’s difficult life.

The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin is the story of two best friends and how, as so often is the case, a boy comes between them. Julia and Eliza are related in a convoluted way, so they tell people they are cousins. More importantly, they are best friends. While Julia’s mother is deployed to Afghanistan, Julia is sent to live with Eliza and her family at Mohawk, a summer hotel and retreat. This is the perfect situation for the girls until a note from Michael, the groomsman at the stable’s son sends Julia a note asking her to meet him at the Lily Pond one evening after dinner. Julia’s preoccupation with Michael is something she attempts to keep hidden from Eliza, but doing this ends in estrangement and a near tragedy. This one will have you holding your breath with fear and anticipation as you read.

These books are ones I read for my younger blogging friends whom I follow with interest and provide me with entertaining and engaging reading from their blogs as well as teach me about technology by thinking “If they can do it, so can I!” This post is dedicated to them.

THE LIEBSTER AWARD

My young blogging friend, Beloved Amy, nominated me for this award, and the questions she asked to be answered to earn it were very insightful, especially for a younger individual. (Of course, at my age, everyone is a younger individual!) Following are the questions she asked with my answers:

  1. What would be the theme song of your life? Reba Mackintire’s “I’m so happy!” and the next line says, “I’ve got the Lord in my life.” It’s such a peppy tune, and my life has been so abundantly blessed that it summarizes my life at this point.
  2. My favorite memories this year have been breakfasts and brunches outside my back door during this pandemic. I have learned to make mean fatitas, and my cheese grits are to die for.
  3. When did you learn there was no Santa Claus? When I was six, a neighborhood boy came into my yard on his bike. He was the big brother of a boy in my class. He listened to me tell his little brother that Santa was going to bring me a chalkboard and chalk, and he leaned over and said, “There is no Santa Clause; it’s your parents!” I ran into the house, almost crying and asked my mother about what he said. She smiled and said, “Santa is the Spirit of Christmas.” In that horrible moment, I knew what the boy had said was true.
  4. My favorite outfit is a filmy, A-shaped dress that is black and hand-embrodered with flowers in the front that my friend bought on her trip to China, and gave me as a souvenir when it wouldn’t fit her. I wear it with turquoise earrings and bracelet along with with black tights.
  5. What do you like being complimented for? my sense of humor
  6. What is the first thing people notice about you? My smile–I smile at everybody.
  7. What is your most hated movie? Probably “Where the Red Fern Grows.” I still cry at the ending.
  8. Have you ever been to a concert? Yes, many times, but then I’ve lived a long, long time. My all-time favorite was the Christmas Concert by the Houston Pops Symphony. My friend gave me a ticket for Christmas, and her son-in-law drove all of us into downtown Houston for a lovely evening.
  9. What’s your favorite riddle? What’s black and white and red all over? An embarrassed zebra. (We told this in elementary school in the 50s and 60s.)
  10. If you had to change your name, what would you change it to? From Rae Longest to Rachel Long. Hmmmm if I ever write a book, that’ll be my pseudonym.
  11. What is your secret talent? It’s no secret; my talent is making people laugh!

Now to challenges, I challenge anyone who would like to answer these lovely, lively questions to accept this award for themselves. Just answer the questions on your blog. What? NO BLOG? Answer all or just a few of the questions in the reply/comment box below.

FIRST LINE FRIDAYS

Friday Firstliners were originated by either Hoarding Books or Wandering Words, the two blogs I first saw it on. Several of my blogging friends participate, and when I remember it’s Friday (Don’t the days run together during CoronaVirus time?) so do I.

My Friday Firstliner today is from a kid’s book, Pieces of Why by K.L. Going:

“Certain days ought to come with warning notices. WARNING: This day will be hazardous to your health.

I expect to finish this book by tomorrow and review it on “Saturday Mornings for Kids.” Stay tuned and see you tomorrow!

Twas A Month Before Christmas 2020!

A Dog's Life ... and mine ... and yours!

Twas A Month Before Christmas …

T’was a month before Christmas,
And all through the town,
People wore masks,
That covered their frown.

The frown had begun
Way back in the Spring,
When a global pandemic
Changed everything.

They called it corona,
But unlike the beer,
It didn’t bring good times,
It didn’t bring cheer.

Contagious and deadly,
This virus spread fast,
Like a wildfire that starts
When fuelled by gas.

Airplanes were grounded,
Travel was banned.
Borders were closed
Across air, sea and land.

As the world entered lock-down
To flatten the curve,
The economy halted,
And folks lost their verve.

From March to July
We rode the first wave,
People stayed home,
They tried to behave.

When summer emerged
The lock-down was lifted.
But away from caution,
Many folks drifted.

Now it’s November
And cases are spiking,
Wave two has arrived,
Much to our disliking.

Front-line workers,
Doctors…

View original post 156 more words

THE CLASSICS CLUB

I found this interesting meme on Deb Nance’s Readerbuzz. To join the “club,” one makes a list of 20 classics, posts the list on her blog, then Deb will use a spinner to choose a number. If you wish to “join,” it’s not too late. First, post your list. Deb has spun the spinner last Saturday, and the number is 14; you are to read book #14 by Jan. 30th, 2021.

I have a list of classics from high school.

Here is my list:

  1. Go Tell It on the Mountain James Baldwin
  2. My Uncle Silas H.E. Bates
  3. Looking Backward. Edward Bellamy
  4. The Death of the Heart Elizabeth Bowen
  5. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Dee Alexander Brown
  6. Tarzen of the Apes Edgar Rice Burroughs
  7. The Way of All Flesh Samuel Butler
  8. The Plague Albert Camus
  9. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold John Le Carre
  10. The Horse’s Mouth Joyce Carey
  11. Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes
  12. The Ox-Bow Incident Walter Van Tilburg Clark
  13. The Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  14. Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  15. Origin of the Species Charles Darwin
  16. Out of Africa Isak Dinesen
  17. Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  18. Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  19. Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  20. The American Tragedy Theodore Dreiser

Ok, Deb, it looks like I’ll start with Lord Jim. I sure hope it’s good!

Want to play along? Use google or whatever search engine you wish to get a list of “classics,” list twenty of them, and get started!

MONDAY MEMORIES

We adopted our first cat in 1968, when we moved to a small town in Texas, the first time we lived in a rent house rather than an apartment in Houston, where we were not allowed to have pets.  When Christmas came, we put up a table top tree, which lasted a full twenty minutes before Prissy climbed it and brought it down.  This Christmas I am remembering the many cats we’ve had. One of the most outstanding was a black male we named Captain Midnight. This is a piece I wrote about him and share this morning with  cat lovers everywhere.

He sits on the ottoman opposite my easy chair waiting for me to lower the newspaper so that he can hop into my lap.  His once sleek black hair is sprinkled with grey.  I read once that when a cat’s skin is scratched badly, the hair follicle is scarred, and the replacing hair grows in white.  Captain Midnight has been neutered many years ago, but he still scraps with intruders who foray into his yard.  “Someone” has removed what would be his eyebrow, for a dime sized circle of white scalp shines above his right eye.  He has the pointed muzzle of a Siamese rather than the flattened face that would indicate Persian blood, and  the slight kink of his tail reflects his Siamese heritage.  He is pure alley cat, a Tom, and the biggest baby of our three cats.

Eight years ago, some junior high students rescued him from the busy traffic outside our school, and we put him into the glass-walled-enclosed courtyard until “someone” could take him home.  I slipped away at lunchtime to play with him, and when I gathered him up, he nuzzled the fleshy part of my ring finger and began to “nurse.” I was hooked.

At first, I thought since it was so close to Halloween, I would name him Count Dracula, but I couldn’t see myself going to the door and calling, “Here, Dracula; come here Drac.” When my husband came up with the original name of Midnight, I hated to veto it, but  I wanted something a bit more creative.  We looked at each other and intoned in the voice of the fifties TV announcer, “Cap…tain…Midnight!”

Even now, my husband will enter the room and see me with 15 pounds of tomcat sprawled across my lap, smacking away, nursing on my finger for security. “Be a man, Cap; be  a man,” he chides. Captain’s only reply is “Smack…slurp…sma-ck.”

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Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching “under my belt.” I have taught all levels from pre-K “(library lady” or “book lady”–volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the “difficult years.” I had some of the “funnest” experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the “young, fun teacher,” I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a “dream-fit” for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is “in my blood,” so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to “come out and play.” View all posts by Rae Longest Monday

SUNDAY SUMMARY

This was my birthday week, and I have done something to celebrate every day. I ate out three times; My Better Half brought home take-out from the Olive Garden, which lasted two days; and the cards, gifts, flowers, and good wishes poured in. Thank all of you! Because I was treated as a lady of leisure, I had plenty of time to read.

It was pick up and put down, but these were finished.

A sometimes rather disturbing, but interesting book, this one, but one of my former students sent it to me (We had our own little “book exchange.”), and I was fascinated by life in the 60s and 70s in NYC as well as a look at an era (drugs and free love) I did not participate in.

Another audio book I finished and really enjoyed, thanks to the narrator, Tom Hanks, was The Dutch House.

My daily “devotional”/think time comes from this marvelous book.
Another inspiring book I am reading slowly, digesting a page or two a day
This is a book I’ve just begun, but am enjoying a great deal.
An audio book that is like listening to poetry and often brings tears to my eyes
Another former student came for lunch and brought a basket full of gifts, including this book, which I’ve heard of, but never read.
A children’s book I intend to order.

My birthday week brought me much goodness and many kindnesses. May the week ahead bring the same to you, dear reader.

FRIDAY FIRSTLINERS

Today’s Friday Firstliner is from Just Kids by Patti Smith, a memoir:

” I was asleep when he died. I had called the hospital to say one more good night, but he had gone under, beneath layers of morphine. I held the receiver and listened to his labored breathing through the phone, knowing I would never hear him again.”

This is the story of the strange relationship between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe during the late 60s and early 70s at the height of the drugs and hippies’ culture of New York.