World Book Day…

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Apparently, yesterday was World Book Day. I thought that was last month. Books are a central part of my day, every day. I’m currently reading four – two are religious books, one is a daily through Easter and the second is a weekly for the entire liturgical year.
The other two are:
Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy by Jamie Raskin
Lessons from the Edge: A Memoir by Marie Yovanavitch

My next book up is coming out on May 16 and is written by a woman I know through my writing group: Empty Shoes by the Door: Living After My Son’s Suicide, A Memoir by Judi Merriam.

My Top 5 Books in the last six months are (and yes, I’m well aware that there are more than five books on this list.):

The entire Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters
Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could by Adam B. Schiff
After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made by Ben Rhodes
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
State of Terror: A Novel by Hillary Rodham Clinton & Louise Penny
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones, The New York Times Magazine
Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci
Mankiller: A Chief and Her People by Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallis

Happy Reading on World Book Day and Every Day!

Mental Health Monday – More Lists

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I mentioned earlier today that I participated in a scavenger hunt this past weekend. The hunt consists of a long list of items to find, do, create and then submit for judging which occurs way in the future. Today with the hunt long over, I completed one item from the kids’ section of the list. These are items geared towards younger ages, usually for lower points because of their level of difficulty or ease. I made a bookmark (see below).

I might be asked why did I make this bookmark when the hunt was already over. It was one of the items that I wanted to do; I don’t know why, although it does do to remind myself and others of the importance and benefit of lists. They are certainly a valuable part of my mental health toolbox. Sometimes, I’d say they are essential and a powerful way to keep track of what I’ve done and what I’ve still yet to do.

Seeing it all laid out in brainstormed order with no numbers or priorities lets me see it all, and allows me to choose one or two to get done even on a bad day. Crossing each item off after they’ve been completed is a positive reinforcement that is beneficial to those of us with anxiety or depressive disorders as well as ADHD, autism, and a whole host of things that slow us down and get in our way, whether we’re overtly aware of them or not.

I’ve written previously of journals, and one thing I’ve done this season is use a small spiral notebook/journal that fits inside my purse to keep my master list. It’s handy and it’s easy and unobtrusive to sneak a quick look at. It also leaves me space to keep a master list and a grocery lists separate and along side it. At the moment, filing my taxes should be at the top of every list.

I wrote recently about my intense enthusiasm for the Amelia Peabody books, and one of the things that attracted me to Amelia and her style is her use of lists. Whether it’s for packing and travel, or solving the murder, or planning a dinner party for her archaeologist friends, her lists are indispensible.

Mine are too.

Some of my past publishing on lists you may want to revisit:
1. Mental Health Monday – Lists
2. Mental Health Monday – Lists & Listmaking

I also discovered two items that I think readers will enjoy:

What is another word for a list of items? (This is for all you word obsessives out there.)
Macmillan Dictonary’s Types of Lists (It states this as a function of the thesaurus, but I saw it more as a suggestion of what lists I could and possibly should be keeping, either for mental health, necessity, or for fun.

Lists can be fun. They can.

Post-BookBash Bookmark. It folds over the page like a magnetic bookmark, but no magnets and no dog ears either.
(c)2022

Reflection on Weekend’s Book Bash

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This past weekend was spent in scavenger hunting fun! Since the pandemic, they’ve (GISH) been doing more and more mini-hunts to give people on lockdown something to do and raise money for charity. This most recent hunt was called a Book Bash and most of the items centered around reading and writing. My go-to’s if you will. With my writing retreat cancelled I found myself with nothing* to do so I signed up at the last minute.

[*Nothing to do means: cleaning house, taking a shower, going to mass, planning and cooking dinner, writing, preparing and filing my taxes, typing up interfaith meeting notes, writing and sending Cursillo reports, and half a dozen other things that are still on my to-do list, but hey who doens’t have 48 hours to spend aimlessly. I also signed up for a free vision journal workshop at a food co-op.]

Aimlessly doesn’t accurately describe the weekend, but I think you get the drift of the lack of impulse control I sometimes have.

Before I share the few items I did, I want to share the link to the charity that we supported with our registration fees: World Central Kitchen for their current humanitarian work in Ukraine. Their leader is Chef Jose Andres who leads with his heart and encourages giving especially where getting hungry people their necessary nourishment. If you have the mean, please give generously. They are on the ground in the world’s poorest and dangerous places, bringing hope with their meals.

World Central Kitchen

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Through the Labyrinth: Lent, Week 2

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Last week was kind of extraordinary. I am making great effort to attend Mass on Sundays on Facebook regularly, religiously if you will. There is a routine of the mass structure at our parish, and I’m sure it parallels many parishes: Music, Announcements, Prayer for the Deceased, Stand, Processional, Mass begins.

When there is a change to this, I can tell simply by who is milling about near the altar during the first musical portion. On this second Sunday of Lent, I saw our parish trustees. I felt tense. I felt anxiety creeping in and when they approached the ambo and stated that they’d be reading a letter from the Bishop, it did not help my tension and anxiety.

As I’ve mentioned previously (probably too many for some), my parish priest died suddenly in October and we’ve been waiting to hear about a new priestly appointment. This was that announcement. I held my breath, not that I have any control over the choice or know many of the priests very well, but still, I waited with literal bated breath.

It turns out that I do know this priest who will soon become my new priest. I actually cried. I was happy (and am) that he will be joining our parish. I’m feeling excited as I write this, nervous but not apprehensive and I think the announcement was the catalyst that set my week on the right path, although it was a very busy week planned (as is this one).

You will see from the labyrinth photos that I ran out of room and needed TWO more extensions. Unbelievable. The one negative was the my writing retreat scheduled for next week was cancelled, but again, I can muddle through and self-direct my own writing retreat while simultaneously doing a writing/reading scavenger hunt.

I had several close moments where I felt G-d’s presence palpably, I listened and learned, I wrote and I drew and I kept up with my readings. The week was overflowing with grace and spirit.

Looking back on last week, I am also looking forward to this busy week. Celebrated my son’s twenty-fifth birthday last night and today I am Zooming all day.

I feel good.

Lenten Labyrinth, Week 2.
Part 1.
(c)2022
Lenten Labyrinth, Week 2.
Part 2. (Plus book list)
(c)2022

2021 Books & Movies

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I usually post this closer to the start of the new year, but it’s still early. Goodreads offers a yearly challenge to set for yourself the number of books you’ll read throughout the year. I usually set it for my birthday. Last year I planned on 54 books and I read 70 books. It might have been more than that since some of the books don’t appear on Goodreads. This year’s goal is 55. I’ve already read 14 books and re-read 3.

I have not included links, but you can search any that seem interesting online, either to buy (in physical form or e-book) or borrow from your library (again either in physical form or e-book).

Happy Reading!

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But Me No Buts

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In a Twitter thread unrelated to the books, I was introduced to the Amelia Peabody mystery series through her umbrella and a reference to whacking someone, who shall remain nameless, in the shins with it. This was in 2018 in the middle of July. I immediately checked the first five books out of the e-library and began my adventures. And that was that. No more books were available. And then recently, I was informed that all New York residents were eligible for an e-library card from the New York Public Library. And thus begins a new chapter in my reading material. I discovered to my delight that they had all but one of the books and I was able to read the rest of the twenty book series in a ridiculously short period of time.

And then I read them again.

Since the end of October, I have been in constant touch with Amelia Peabody and her family. I am currently finishing the last in the series (chronologically) for the third time and each reading brings with it notices of new things, new insights, new critical looks: at the Emerson journals, at the time period, at the caste system and bigotry of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

My first read through was in publication order; my second was in chronological order. I read some excerpts from the later books to witness more of Ramses and Nefret’s relationship and in my continuing reading I realized how much I have in common with Amelia, both to my satisfaction and my chagrin.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts today on National Umbrella Day as well as during the month of February when so many things occurred after the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun: the opening of the burial chamber in 1923 (February 16), the raising of the sarcophagus lid in 1924 (Feb. 12), and the suspension of the excavation (for a year) in 1924 as well, returning to work at the end of January of the following year.

National Umbrella Day. Art of Amelia Peabody’s umbrella, open and closed with the background of one of the pyramids of Giza.
(c)2022
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World Book Day

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On this World Book Day, I’d thought I’d share my favorite books.

The Magic Tunnel by Caroline D. Emerson was my very favorite book as a child. I still have it although the book jacket is almost long gone. It takes place in New York City and the main characters, children about my own age at the time took the subway and ended up somehow in New Amsterdam. It was a combination of my favorite things: time travel, history, and being that I lived in NYC it seemed plausible to my child mind.

Maybe one day I would get on the subway and end up somewhere far away and long ago.

My second favorite book came to me as an adult while working at Waldenbook’s. It was the cover illustration that caught my eye, and of course the title: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman.

Like The Magic Tunnel this was also historical fiction, no time travel though; this time taking place in Medieval Wales during the time of Llywelyn Fawr, the Prince of Wales. It set my on a path of learning Welsh history and discovering myself. I was enthralled with the story and even more enchanted by the author’s note that revealed how much of the fictional account had actually happened, including burning mattresses, adulterer’s murdered, and in the third book a kidnapping by pirates! Not to mention the release of Llywelyn’s son from the King’s custody as spelled out in the Magna Carta no less.

Everything you could ask for in a book!

The most recent books I’ve read (out of about eighteen for the year so far), and all that I would recommend include:

Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker,

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho,

When Women Invented Television: The Untold Story of the Female Powerhouses Who Pioneered the Way We Watch Today by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, and

Inside Camp David: The Private World of the Presidential Retreat by Michael Giorgione.

Laudato Si’ Week Book Rec

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In 2017, my friend Brother Mickey McGrath took Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si’ and created a wonderful visual meditation using the Pope’s words and Brother Mickey’s art. It is just breathtaking. I would highly recommend reading and exploring it, especially if you can do it outdoors with the breeze ruffling your hair and the leaves on the trees.

Our Common Home is published by World Library Publications. From the back cover:

Our Common Home invites us to slow down, look areound us, and remember that all we see has been granted to us and is in our care.

Cover (c)2017-2020

Back Cover (c) 2017-2020

Election Connection: 30 Weeks: What Can You Do Before November 3rd?

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Three recommendations:

1. Dan Pfeiffer‘s new book, Untrumping America: A Plan for Making America a Democracy Again

2. David Plouffe‘s two new books, one for adults, and one for children: A Citizen’s Guide for Beating Donald Trump and Ripples of Hope: Your Guide to Electing a New President

3. David Plouffe’s Podcast: Campaign HQ with David Plouffe

Links go to publishers, but books can be bought at any indpendent bookseller or online book retailer. Podcasts links to Player.FM but can be found wherever you get your podcasts.