Daily Prompt: Call Me Ishmael – The First Sentence

I usually do not post on a weekend but the Daily Prompt caught my eye and of course I just had to respond.  DP Challenge: Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.

My very very first thought was my favorite first sentence is not in my favorite book.  Way back in October 2011 I wrote about three of my personal fave authors and called it Cussler, Koontz and Stockett, and the line said, “Death was driving an emerald green Lexus“.

The first sentence of my favorite book is “He should never have taken that short cut.”  It’s from Michael Crighton’s book TIMELINE and the poor book is barely hanging on to existence.  Well actually it is not hanging on at all.  Its soft cover is curled back from the spine top and bottom.  The back cover has about an inch square flapped firmly back and some of the pages are missing.  At first I kept putting the pages back loose leaf like and then one day a few pages disappeared.  That was okay as I thought I would just fill the gaps in from memory as I read and reread and reread.  This book has served me well for the last twelve years but I can’t put it to rest until I replace it.

I discovered a long time ago that bedtime reading cannot be anything I am currently reading for the first time because I simply cannot put the book down.  So bedtime fare is one of a few fave rereads (although sometimes I get so caught up in it….well you know.)

So my poor book, like a weary soldier continues to soothe my soul and mind and guard against that thief of the night, Insomnia’ and yes it will be retired once I find another copy.

my valiant knight/night

my valiant knight/night

looks pretty weary huh?

looks pretty weary huh?

held together by the last straw I think

held together by the last straw I think

FITFS Following in the Footsteps of Darlene Foster Supermegawoman

Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster

  “Never let a day go by without a dream”  Darlene Foster

My favorite series is the FITFS – that is Following in the FootSteps of my blogging heroes.  These are all people I admire and in some way or really in many ways and would like to emulate them.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a Supermegawoman at least according to her grandson -“My grandson calls me “super-mega-woman-supreme” and finding out just a little about this amazing lady confirms the moniker is accurate.

 

According to the archives Darlene Foster first posted on her site June 19, 2010 and titled it “Hello Dreamers”.  Darlene’s platform through much of her work is about dreaming, but not Just dreaming.  Its about making dreams come true.  One of her dreams, Hot Air Ballooning came true that very month.

Author Darlene Foster

Author Darlene Foster

Two days after that first foray into wordpress land Darlene announced publication of her first book Amanda in Arabia.  See?  A dreamer making her dreams come true.  I don’t have to say it but I will – YOU INSPIRE!

Since then two other books have been published about Amanda – In Spain The Girl in the Painting and In England The Missing Novel.  Now being for YA and I am definitely OA I had not read the books, however, after reading a couple of adult reviews I now have them on my list.

She is pretty modest about herself and says, “A bit about me. I am a writer of children’s stories, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. I love travel, reading, shoes, cooking, sewing, music, chocolate, walking on the beach and making new friends.”

Now before you get all excited about her perfection I must tell you she does have a quirk or two.  It seems, and keep this just between you and I, her best friend is, well,  oh I guess I just have to come out and say it – her best friend is Flat Ruthie.  And not because she has no personality.  I mean her best friend is FLAT.

Flat Ruthie

Flat Ruthie

Ya see what I am saying here?  AND last summer she also hosted Andy the Traveling Armadillo, who I have mentioned previously but if you need a refresher just pop over here.  So obviously our fave author here has, shall we say, a strange taste in friends although she seems to manage okay with those of the human species.  So you are safe to pop over, have a look, say a little hello and get to know this incredible, incredible, woman.  I have poached photos and words liberally and she has so much more to say and to show you.  Awww I haven’t even mentioned recipes and…and….oh boy..

 

You can contact me at darlene.foster@telus.net
My website is http://www.darlenefoster.ca

 

Author Darlene Foster

Author Darlene Foster

perf5.060x7.810.indd

*Women Who Write – A little NaNO Inspiration

NaNoWriMo

I think it was last week that someone getting ready, set, go, was wondering about ways to prepare for National Novel Writing Month and someone in the comments (I do apologize for not being able to give credit where due) suggested just read favorite inspiring writing.  The library has kept me busy the last few weeks with my faves with some new additions including Peter James and Stefan Bollman and Zoe Sharp ( I am finally getting to the Charlie Fox Series!)

Anyway – back to my preparation and ‘Women Who Write’.  Sometimes when I am unsure what to do or how to do it, I Get Stressed.  And of course this foray into unknown territory might have started to create some stress except for the wonderful advice as above. READ.

Well that’s about the easiest advice, for me, there is to follow.  Each Wednesday morning I traipse off returning one set of treasures and gathering new.  Yesterday I wandered somewhat aimlessly waiting for inspiration to beckon, and it did, in spades.

The first book was Shirley MacLaine‘s ‘I’M OVER ALL THAT’ published by Atria Books that was inspiring, funny, and thrilling (largely I guess because we are not too far apart in age).  I love her books, they are never dull!  At 218 pages it was a perfect afternoon’s read.  MacLaine feeds my sense of adventure in literary unknown because she is so brazen.  Brazen enough to tell it like it is, her perception, with out sounding pompous or weird or egotistical.  She feeds my bravery in daring to express.

Then tucking aside Zoe Sharp’s ‘Second Shot‘ published by Thomas Dunne books as it is definitely dessert in this literary repast of mine, and I want to get through my delicious hors d’oeuvre and main course before I can savor this sweet treat so I turned to nonfiction.  I often have no idea exactly what I am after but aisles are walked, directions changed and before you know it I have in my hand exactly what I needed.

I don’t mind nonfiction but my style is to choose fiction first and then possibly stroll elsewhere.  For now and the immediate future, like the next 30 days, my interest is in writing fiction so that has been my literary diet for sometime.  The point is that my search took me to the nonfiction section and directly to a section on Writing.  There, practically leaping off the shelf and into my hands, was ‘WOMEN WHO WRITE’ by Stefan Bollmann published by Merrell.

Now this large size book, sort of in the style of the Coffee Table Book seemed insistent at coming home with me.  I considered the weight, the size and whether it would fit in my bag and put it back on the shelf to see what other offerings there were.  Nothing.  I kept picking it up, sort of like a puppy at a pet store that cries, ‘take me hooome!’  So I did.

Francine Prose did the Foreword and her first line was as gripping as the rest of the book: ‘A writer, any writer, is dangerous enough.’  HAH!  I was hooked.  The stories are incredible, the photos breathe life and when you open the cover the essence of these women writers, the ones who had to use male pen names, the ones who died in German concentration camps (more than I ever imagined), the ones whose brilliance was too bright too remain in this life and chose to exit, and the ones who lived successful lives that touched worlds.

Inspiration?  Yup, I think I have it.  And tomorrow, November 1st it begins.  Our own journey – Men and Women.  I only drifted to Women Who Write as that is my own inspiration.  So off we go all!!

What is your Inspiration?

What a Difference a Day Makes….Well Not Always..But…

English: Portrait of Danny Kaye

English: Portrait of Danny Kaye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover of "Ginger and Fred"

Cover of Ginger and Fred

I was looking at the picture on my earlier post today and got to thinking more about Foggy Days.

And then I got thinking about the coolest comments from people that when they comment, never ceases to amaze me that they actually take time to ..well..er..comment.

Then I got to thinking about the picture itself and the words to an old song came to mind about..of course…What a Difference a Day Makes.  Now lots of people have sung these lyrics but it is the original I think of first.

Words & Music by Maria Grever & Stanley
Adams
Recorded by Dinah Washington, 1959

Yup BMOYWB (before most of you were born).  Now I need to let you in an age comfirming secret.  Back in ‘the day’ and please don’t try to pin me down to a specific day.  I have had way too many days to zero in on one.  That’s why we old folk say, ‘back in the day’.  Anyway, back in the day, when television was called television not TV (it was an age before giving everything initials) as a very very child I used to watch musicals, usually in black and white, since color had not been invented yet.  I mean every kind of musical ever played, usually with Danny Kaye, Fred and Ginger, Gene Kelly, Rosemary Clooney, et al.  Anyway my point is that I grew up singing, mostly to myself as no one seemed to want to listen and I sang my way through life. Okay mostly out of the public eye.  I thought life was, or at the very least should be a musical.  I sang happy, I sang sad, I sang mad.  If I did not have an actual song to sing, I made it up.  I still do it today but mostly when I am alone.  And I dance and skip – mostly when I am alone.  Okay not always but mostly.

English: Portrait of Rosemary Clooney performing

English: Portrait of Rosemary Clooney performing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now before I get too side tracked I really wanted to tell you about the little four year old in the picture.  You see in keeping with Big Brother’s instructions, I mean the Ministry of Magic, no..I mean The Ministry of Education he goes to school Tuesday and Thursday and alternate Mondays.

Well September was sorrowful and I sang a lot about 16 Tons and whaddya get that month, and a lot about my head was hangin low, and occassionally the sun will come out tomorrow as this wee fellow decided school was a good idea for others but not for him.  He cried before he left. He cried at school.  I asked him why.  He said..sobbing….I..I …I miss my Mommy.  Or some days he said…sobbing…I miss my f…f….family.  All the books about Llama Llama Misses His Mama did nothing to soothe.

Then a family friend had an idea.  Why not stop by to pick up G2 when she was walking her children to school – the littlest who was the same age as G2?  Well the first morning she showed up that little boy had his coat on, his school bag on, and took off, laughing and playing all  the way.  Now his Mom usually takes him and he meets up with his little friends and there is Joy in Mudville again.

I wondered how he would be walking in the fog today and he was just fine.  And G1 who goes a different route to meet his friends took of alone pushing through peasoupy fog just as brave as can be.

So even though the song, What A Difference A Day Makes, came immediately to mind this evening, I must admit, that very little really changes in a Day, although of course some things can a do, but for little boys, sometimes it takes a month or so. (Of course that could be because his parents don’t have him watching old musicals so he hasn’t quite figured out The Difference a good musical can do for the soul.

And thanks to lyricsmania.com I have an excellent song to start your day with!

Lyrics to What A Difference A Day Makes:

What A Difference A day makes
24 Little hours
From the sun and the flowers

Where there use to be rain.

Gene Kelly dancing with Jerry in Anchors Aweig...

Gene Kelly dancing with Jerry in Anchors Aweigh (1945) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My yesterday was blue dear
today I’m a part of you dear.
My lonely nights are through dear
since you said you were mine.
What a difference a day makes
there’s a rainbow before me.
Skies now blues once were stormy
just before i missed that thrilling.
And don’t know when
you find romance on your menu
What a difference a day makes.
And that difference is you

FITFS Lois Roelofs Champion of Nurses into the 21st Century

LOIS ROELOFS

Blogging Heroes

Blogging Heroes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am hesitant to write today’s FITFS (Following in the FootSteps) series for two reasons.  The first is that Kathleen Korthuis, Lois’s sister passed away October 5, 2012 and so her focus is on preparing Kay’s eulogy and dealing with the sorrow and loss experienced by her family, friends and herself.  You know that the purpose of FITFS is to honor my heroes.  Writers of the blogging world who inspire me to be better and to somehow emulate them.  Writers have allowed me in some way to be part of their life.  I decided to go ahead with this post to let Lois know that she is in our hearts at this very difficult time.

The second reason I hesitated is that Lois is exactly who I would like emulate but she has set the bar high.  She is the ideal for me and I am in awe of her life and what she has accomplished and continues to accomplish.

Like me, Lois Roelofs has her heroes and certainly the most important was her sister Kay who was her lifelong career mentor.  In fact both of them attended the Blodgett Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and Lois’s 50th reunion takes place this weekend prior to Kay’s service.  How bitter sweet that must be.  Kay graduated in 1955, Lois in 1962, – oh and me from South Waterloo Memorial Hospital in 1969.  That’s right.  There is a sisterhood bond here beyond writing, nursing and blogging.

You know how some people, like all of my heroes, do what so many do, but they do it with that extra touch of class?  It is that extra touch that I guess I want to emulate.

Lois, says in her ‘About’ page that she initially started the Blog to center around the publication of her career memoir, Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self.  She is a Chicago girl, wife, Mom, and Grandma.

Blodgett Memorial Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being a nurse from about the same era touches my heart and makes me get all mushy about old hospitals and old uniforms. (I still think the old fashioned hats signifying who the registered nurse is instead of non-nursing staff was wonderful.  We worked hard to get those black bands on crisply starched hats).  I took the photo below from the Blodgett web site and Lois also has the same one on her post of October 6th.  Kay helped open the first intensive care unit in the country in 1958 and she is the nurse poised over the desk.

Kathleen E. korthuis, PhD, RN

Lois I know this FITFS may seem more about Kay than you and someday soon I may do another honoring only yourself for your incredible achievements.  But I hope you will let me join you in dedicating this post to your sister,

KATHLEEN E. KORTHUIS, PhD, RN 1934-2012

Folks I hope you will stop by to visit Lois, read about her incredible life, say hi, and leave a comment or two.

Books, Books, and More Books

Libraries are wonderful places.  I have a number of ebooks downloaded that I will sometimes read, but for me, the satisfaction of holding an actual book in hand is the best reading experience.  Ebooks are a tad cold for me.  I guess the difference could be equated with feeling the warmth of interacting with another human being in person or speaking and seeing them on Skype.  Don’t get me wrong on the whole skype thing, when those you love are hundreds or thousands of miles away Skype is the best.

Skype Technologies S.A. logo

Skype Technologies S.A. logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But give me a day that cries out or even murmurs, Come curl up and lets get lost in another world, and it is the warmth of a good book I feel.

Andersonlibrary.wordpress.com

I just returned two books that I read last week.  Having thousands of books at your disposal feels like an ermine and mink kind of luxery (before furs were a bad thing).

The first book was by one of my eternal fave authors Dean Koontz and a part of the Odd Thomas series.  Picking up anything Koontz is like having an old friend visit and Odd is wonderfully entertaining.  Poor Odd, who by the way is so optimistic would never think of himself as poor in anyway is beset in solving a mystery with the also very mysterious Annamaria.

I’ve seen Mr. Koontz interviewed and he is a very gentle man who I think values his privacy but judging by the mega books he has sold his mind is as sharp as any scalpel cutting through a plot.  But I have have been a part of his literary family, Odd or not.

The second book I read last week is by an author that is new to me, but looking at her many many publications I am surprised I did come across her before.  Her name is Iris

iris johansen

Johansen and the book What Doesn’t Kill you certainly had many exciting moments.  Enough to prevent me from putting down the book at a reasonable hour and getting some sleep (which is a good indication of excellence).

In with all the suspense and action Johansen peppers sexual tension between Catherine Ling and Gallo.  Will they or will they not hit the sheets?  Personally I don’t care.  Her breasts growing taunt or taunting repeatedly is not of interest.  Ms. Johansen tells a crisp clean tale and I will read her again (and perhaps just skip over the less interesting stuff).

I have been trying to update and clean up my wordpress site this morning but it just seems to take so long and I have not suceeded very well today.  But I must not think of that right now for it off for a good cuddle with another book.

FITFS Judith Baxter

Each Friday I devote a post to someone in my hero group from the Blogosphere.

Heroes are important to our lives, unlike the ‘experts’ I wrote about this week, they are individuals who inspire us and make our lives better and more fulfilling by their very existence and actions.  Real people who make us better by their example.

Judith Baxter lives in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.  Originally from England, she and her Dashing Young Scotsman settled in New Zealand.  Her trusty companion is Lotte an adorable Tibetan Spaniel.

Since the passing of her mother and then the premature death of her husband Judith made a decision to ‘choose how I will spend the rest of my life’.

Judith lives with intention and is a certified life coach, mentor, author and facilitator.  What I most admire is that she has defined her values which are Gracious, Generous, Loving, and Radiant.

Family is very important to her, especially her four fine grandsons.  Judith shares her insights with every post and it would be impossible to choose one.

Judith’s very first post on March 1, 2011 was titled, ‘I choose how I will spend the rest of my life and in I she talked about her mother’s last years and her mission “about keeping the mind active….”. She says, “I know our thoughts determine the results we achieve…”

When I think of Judith I think of silk, satin, heart of gold, and soul of goodness.

Today’s post is a recommendation to read Dr. Wayne Dyer‘s book, ‘Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life and the wisdom of Lao-tzu.

So please do stop by and say hi and take a dip in her pool of wisdom.  Bathing suits not required.

Friday’s FITFS …..Linda Cassidy Lewis

FITFS

Linda Cassidy Lewis The Brevity of Roses

 Each Friday I write about somone in the blogosphere who teaches me lessons, is supportive, and like all my Following in the Footsteps heroes is someone I would like in some small way to emulate.

How do I choose my FITFS?  Selecting first, or second, or third would be nigh unto impossible.  In addition to wanting to  honor those who I admire it seemed the easiest way would be to select those who take the time to comment on my posts first.  If you have ever commented then it is quite likely that some Friday, ‘when you least expect it you’re elected’ as the song from Candid Camera goes, you will be highlighted here.

 

 

This theme takes a better defined form  each time I do it. FITFS started out as a blanket praise and is evolving into delicious declarations of each writers’strengths, my fave posts or quotes (cause fave posts are almost impossibloe to choose), and what I have learned or what has inspired me.

Linda Cassidy Lewis is a California girl originally from Indiana.  Artistically she began expressing her creativity through drawing and eventually portaits with clientele in the US, Europe, and UK.  She is the consumate artist, drawing, living art, beading, and of course that fave expression of each of us – writing.

Certainly LCL (don’t her initials even seem poetic?) is dedicated, tenacious, persistent and very talented.

It is almost impossible to choose a favorite post – there are so  many.  Her first post was I believe October 13, 2008 in which she discusses how the Ms. Perfect side of her being judges everything she writes as garbage and with she posted a quote by C. J. Sherryh; ‘It is perfectly okay to write garbage as long as you edit brilliantly.’

My fave quote by Linda herself is; ‘When  you hoard imagination it suffers a sad, lonely death, so, as an act of mercy, I write fiction.’  Bloody brilliant I say!

See this author is all about inspiration so how could my own Ms. Perfect even think of holding me back.  So far Linda  Cassidy Lewis is the Doer and I with toes in the frigid unknown seas of publication stand poised and ready to jump in, getting braver every moment by her display of bravery.

She has a number of literary projects on the go and is the published author of ‘The Brevity of Roses. and I quote from Michelle Davidson Argyle author of ‘Monarch'; Told in gorgeous poetic tones, The Brevity of Roses will take you on a journey delving into the unique characters as delicate and beautiful as a rose itself.  Lewis’real understanding of relationships is phenomenal.’

Do yourself a favor and visit the mulitalented, multifaceted gem of a writer, and please click a ‘like’ or leave a wee comment for her.  Something we all appreciate!

I am now off to the last supper for our Scots cuz who alas must depart tomorrow!

And once again in case that linky thing isn’t working or I have made a mistake, please find LCL at lindacassidylewis.com

 

Terramundi and Centennials and Birthdays

Friday June 8th was not only my birthday but also the city of my birth, Kitchener Ontario.  The city was 35 when I was born and I think that is about all I will say of that.  Its original name was Berlin and it was renamed when the first World War took place.  I guess our city fathers felt Berlin was a little Germanic considering so it was named after Lord Kitchener.  It did not change the fact that the largest population was German.  The city apparently boasted a spectacular bust of Kaiser Whilhelm 1 and a few days after war was declared three young Berlin men (Fred Bolton, Alan Smith and John Ferguson) toppled the bust and dumped it into the lake at Victoria Park.  Unfortunately in 1916 there was considerable animosity from the non-German residents.

It has been interesting reading the history pages on line as many of the names we have for parks and streets are linked to the actual people living at the time.

In 1920 Charles How’s Royal Cafe was raided by Kitchener police who seized a large amount of opium and smoking equipment so I guess drugs in the cities have a long history.

In 1922 we were visited by William Lyon Mackenzie King who was then Prime Minister and a native son of our wee town.  Not so wee since 10,000 people came out to meet him .

Canadians are known to be generally a polite tolerable people however 1925 saw a clandestine attempt to oraganize a Kitchener chapter fo the Ku klux Kan that ended through disinterest.  The organizers met in a private home but two Daily Record reporters ‘were able to glimpse a’crowd’ of three around a table.’

In 1927 it seemed there were bootleggers to be caught and in 1928 the city’s Health Department found two gypsy families living in an abandoned store and shooed them out.

The first of the famous Five and Dime stores opened in 1932 by Walter Zeller.  I remember my mom still calling them Five and Dimes.  In 1936 specific mention is made of a shoemaker William Thoms who road his bicycle from home to work every day for a distance of 12 miles.  It was estimated he cycled a total of 131,400 miles.  The distance would have been much greater but during the winters he had to walk and they did not tally up those miles.  He stopped, or retired I guess at the age of 82.

One hanging was detailed in 1940.  Reginal White who was the third and final person to ever be so disposed of for a crime in the city.

1942 mention of note was that the local library reported many strange things found in books used as markers, but none so strange as a slice of bacon.

It was not until 1946, on Devember 24th that Canadian women were given equal status under the new Citizenship Act.

There are many interesting facts listed at kitchener100.ca by decade.

So while my own history did not come close to the city of my birth it was an incredible event.  This was our first Terramundi party.  I had decided I did not want any gifts as I could not think of a single desire.  Terramundi is perfect.

According to the accompanying tag:   (In the picture below mine is the blue and pink). ‘This is an Etruscan Money Amphora. These money pots have been used in Italy for the last 2,000 years and their hand thrown design has remained the same.  Examples can be seen in the British Museum.  TRADITION:  ONce the first coin is dropped the money pot must be fed til full, then smashed whilst making a wish.  It is customary to replace pot and spend money on good things.  Pots bring fortune.  There is a fortune coin in each pot.

The whole idea was that instead of bringing a gift bring a Loonie or Toonie ($1.00 or 2.00 coin) and throw it in the pot and make a wish.  Everyone was way to generous with me but the idea remains pure.

So folks that was my start to an amazing weekend!

Terramundi Money Pots

May 24 Weekend as in Two Four

Well it is a kind of lolling around weekend here in Canada.  The neighbourhood is quiet and most folk who have not headed out to cottages or camping are puttering at this and that.  May 24 to the young adults means 24 (the number of bottles of beer in a case) but the holiday celebrates the reign of Queen Victoria who ruled the United Kingdom from 1837 until 1901.

Victoria at 18 coronation

That lady would have seen a lot of changes in all those decades and today her style is defined by her name: Victorian; architecture, clothes, morals (although the morals have long since changed drastically).

It’s a day for catch up (having sorted through a couple thousand emails – how do I get so far behind?)  The biography ‘Steve Jobs‘ by Walter Isaacson sits on my reading table awaiting some much anticipated attention and a newly started cross stitch sits beside the TV remote for a planned movie watch this afternoon.

Most of my spare time over the last few weeks has been spent devouring book after book including a reread of the Harry Potter series minus 6 0f 7, Joseph Boyden‘s ‘Through Black Spruce‘ which was gripping and demanded my complete attention deliciously, and completion of the ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ series by Steig Larsson, also delicious.  My reading group of friends is trying to entice my attention to ‘The Hunger Games‘ but for some reason I am resisting.

So thanks to Vicky this is one of those cozy days wrapped in other folks creativity and I cannot complain.  It is also a day for appreciation of family and friends and life in general.  It’s a very hot day, truely summerish and reminds me of other two four weekends when blizzards blew and my sons’ and their friends threw blankets and sleeping bags into the back of cars  and headed off for adventure.

This is tradionally when cottagers head north, east, west, or south, to open their little bits of heaven for the summer and fall.

So dear friends I am off to get the rest of this wonderful day done in pursuit of just plain old content activity.

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