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Archive for the ‘personal & meaningful’ Category


This book, written by Diana Jones, tells the story of a stretcher-bearer in World War I.  It contains detailed information about the region of Picardie, France, and helps us experience the days and nights before the battle of the Somme.  Inspired by tales from her grandfather, who was a stretcher-bearer in WWI, Diana has researched and expanded the story into a tale of fiction.  Since I have known Diana for several years I have heard about the many revisions to her manuscript.  I had no idea she was a skilled writer as well as a thoughtful wise woman!  I am thrilled to have a personalized copy of her book, which I have recommended to many others.  The Bearer’s Burden may be fiction, but it could be true.  Historical fiction that grips the reader, and makes me want to read more about the European men and women of the last century.

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This book, by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear, is another of their historical books about the First Nations people of North America.  This book tells the stories of people who lived 7000 years ago.  Major climatic change was ushering in a 3500 year drought, A young dreamer and a courageous woman from another tribe united to lead their people to a new destiny.  As usual, the authors, who are archaeologists and anthropologists, teach as well as inspire, as they show how people lived during a tumultuous dangerous time.  They have the same emotions and thought processes that we have today, so despite their way of life, the decisions made resonate with us still.

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This book by Madeleine Thien won the Giller prize this year, so I was anxious to read it.  I watched Madeleine Thien receive the award, when the Giller prize was announced, and she impressed me as a speaker.  Reading her book later impressed me by her writing and her wisdom.  She tells the story of an extended family in China during years that I knew about slightly through Canadian media.  However, this book shows the rich humanity and passion of the individuals, over years and generations.  Sad.  Sobering.  I cried, and I learned.  I wanted these people to live, and live well, and reconnect.  I wished I played piano and had experienced Goldberg and Brahms and Glenn Gould.  I have only a smattering of knowledge to bring to these pages, so I received much more in return.

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This book, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett, describes Amanda’s life and her early years as a reporter/photographer.  I remember when she was captured in Somalia and followed her story through Canadian media.  I have read her articles in the United Church Observer, so I knew she had been released.  However, reading about her imprisonment, and how she managed to survive the years of deprivation and torment, has been fascinating to me.  She didn’t give up.  She persevered.  She has a phenomenal memory, and her descriptions of attempts taken and lost mesmerized me.  She found ways to cope, and eventually envisioned living in a house in the sky that sustained her.  At times I was frustrated by her early naivety and her youthful confidence, but I realize that’s because I am old and hesitant to risk.  She wasn’t.  She paid a huge price.    I

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After I read ‘Away’ by Jane Urquhart I phoned my friend Carolyn Pogue to see if she had read it.  Not yet, but she suggested her latest read, ‘Confessions of a Pagan Nun’; by  Kate Horsley.  She teased that the central character seemed similar to her and I, so I was intrigued.  Fortunately the library had a copy available, so I have read it.  Perfect!  It follows a woman through her life living in Ireland at the time of the transition from Druids to Christians, so it’s dark ages, historical, full of impoverished hungry people and dramatic changes.  A sobering read, and makes me realize anew all the horror stories about the Christian doctrine, including the stupid practice of celibacy for priests and nuns.  What a sad history.  Well-intentioned, but inadequate to meet human needs.   Ever thus, I fear.

 

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This summer has been hot days and lots of relaxation.  I haven’t even written my blog.  However, since no one reads it, who cares?  I have walked more, and walked my dog Sage, and I’ve eaten A LOT.  I am not losing weight.  However, I am not gaining weight either, so life is good.  When my friend Beryl visited, Deb used our new BBQ to cook veggies.  As Beryl is a vegetarian, we ate healthily and well, learning anew how good veggies that are sauteed on the BBQ taste.  Here’s our dinner:

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Mollie, Australian Cattle Dog, Queensland, age 13

Mollie, Australian Cattle Dog, Queensland, age 13

This is Mollie, Deb’s dog of 13 years, mother of her son Cowboy (7 years) who passed away in May.  Mollie is still with us, but is showing her age.  She walks slowly on our walks and stops to sniff five times in one block.  She would rather lie around on a dog bed or the sofa than go for exercise.  That is probably part of aging, I’m sure, and she walks much faster on her way back home than when we first set out.  Two weeks ago Deb and I took Mollie and Sage (our new 3-year-old Blue Heeler) out for a walk.  Deb took the leash off Sage so she could play fetch with her.  I took the leash off Mollie hoping she would move more freely and get a bit more exercise.  Sage was delighted and ran for the rolled-up shirt very excitedly. Mollie watched Sage running after the “ball” but made no move to participate.  At one toss Sage bumped into Mollie, frightening her.  Well, I was astounded to see Mollie get up and run away.   She ran faster than I have ever seen her, fortunately towards home.  “Mollie, Stop!” shouted Deb.  I ran after Mollie, expecting to catch her and re-leash her.  Sage saw Mollie run, then me, so she ran after the two of us.  Deb was still calling “Stop!” to Mollie, but she is so deaf and was so frightened that she didn’t stop but just kept going.  She was actually outrunning me, even though I ran as fast as possiblel (not easy for me in my old age!).  Within 2 minutes we were a cavalcade of two dogs & two owners carrying leashes, careening down the playground path, down the sidewalk toward 30th Avenue.  Four adults and a child stood at the streetside, watching us wide-eyed and mouths agape.  As Sage met them, a man scooped up the child and they stepped back from Sage, who was jumping up on them for petting.  They watched as Deb passed me, then grabbed Mollie by her collar, and I ran up to put the leash on her.  Well, Mollie had tasted freedom.  She shook me off and ran away again, and Sage was happy to ran after her.  They were both heading toward home, so I ran after Sage who was going to the back lane.  Deb ran after Mollie, and we all crossed 30th Ave safely.  We expected Mollie to turn into our yard and go to the gate beside the house, but she didn’t.  Mollie kept running, at the same top speed she had initially.  She must have been running on pure adrenalin!  Deb finally caught up to her a few feet before 36th Street, which is a very busy street.  Deb collapsed onto a neighbour’s lawn once she had a leash on Mollie.  She arrived home several minutes after Sage and I were in the backyard.  We were all exhausted.  Mollie slept  solidly for the rest of the day.  My legs ached and I realized once again how out of shape I am.  I will never forget how Mollie ran so freely.  We were all happy and scared, and pumped!

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