Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Want to Get Away? Places to Visit

The fall is a perfect time to reflect on your next travel destination.  Here are some places to think about.

Travel Recommendation:  SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA

For those seeking warm sunshine this winter or spring, Cheryl A. recommends, " Scottsdale, AZ. Since it is also my former home for 11 years, I may be partial to this southwest city, however, I can guarantee that there is something in the area for almost every traveler.

If you enjoy warm weather, appreciate the beauty of the desert and like to site see, this may be your place. You can horseback ride, eat and drink well, relax by a resort pool, watch spectacular sunsets over the mountains which surround the Valley of the Sun, eat any meal outdoors most of the year and even visit a casino. Several hundred golf courses and free recreation parks with walking paths, biking trails, exercise stations are part of the attraction. Museums, theatre, symphonic and two stepping music await you. Wear your cowboy boots, hat and jeans or dress up with mink and diamonds depending on which culture you select. If you forget something, then shop until you drop in large malls or small boutiques.

June through early September can be beyond hot for many (116 degrees is not unusual), however, late September, November and even December are more moderate. If you want to see cactus bloom then March or April is your month. "

Travel Recommendation:  BEND, OREGON

Travelers for winter sports or summer fun might look at Cheryl's recommendation:

"Bend Oregon is an outdoor-lovers retreat! We visited there for the first time this summer and saw beautiful scenery driving up the mountain and down into the town. Locals and visitors alike are hiking, biking, walking, paddle boarding, tubing, canoeing, camping, etc. It is a Mecca for micro breweries, too.

Only drawback is how to get there. We drove up/back from Arizona and it is a long 2 day marathon. Few gas stations along the way and only mom and pop 50 style motels.

If you fly, you can go into Portland and rent a car or fly directly into Redmond Airport via 2
or 3 other stops.

Plan on at least 5-7 days to see it all – Lava Land, Mt. Bachelor, Sun River Resort,
Deschutes River area, boutique shopping, Harley shop.

Winter is snowshoe time or skiing; while summer is floating on the rivers, hiking and shooting.

Great for families or couples.

Travel Recommendation:  ALASKA

 Pearl recommends, "Alaska, particularly Denali National Park. If you combine
the inland and crurise tour, we found that going north first for the inland part of
the tour before the cruise works best. First of all it is cheaper, secondly you know
people of the cruise ship."
Others who have also made the 'once in a lifetime' trip to Alaska agree.  Beautiful scenery, glaciers, eagles' nest, whales, so much to see.  Plan now if you want to make the trip next summer.

Travel Recommendation:  STAYCATION

For those looking to enjoy this week in Pennsylvania, the scenery is still spectacular.  From the Kinzua area of the Allegheny National Forest south through the Pittsburgh area, trees are still showing their fall colors. 

In your area, the trees may look bare, but a short drive north, south, east or west produces some surprises.  As you round a bend in the road, a beautiful stand of red and yellow-leaved trees appears. Enjoy!

Travel Recommendation:  MENTAL GETAWAY
Can't leave the area?  We have the perfect way for you to relax.  You can tone up, gain strength and flexibility, and also reach that supremely relaxing meditative state.  Sign up for a yoga class with Jean F and float away to your very favorite place. Want an endorsement of the powers of yoga?  Ask Marty, Julie, or Linda L.

Thanks to Cheryl A. and to Pearl B. for recommending Scottsdale, Arizona,  Bend, Oregon, and Alaska. And to Pearl for the great pictures of Alaska.  We're grateful to both of you.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Finally! Time to Read: 35 Suggestions For Your Next Reading Experience

We’re all addicted readers so this time we’re listing what we’ve been reading. Fortunately, many of us are willing to take a few minutes to rate and recommend (or not) what we’ve read lately.  We're using a simple ranking format of 4 to 1, with 4 as the best of the best.

(4) must read (3) worth the time to read (2) read only if you have no other reading material of any kind (1) don't bother reading at all,

Non Fiction Suggestions with a Rating of 4-Must Read

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba-as suggested by Marty J.

• The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. (Suggested by Joan H.) Joan writes, “ If you are into the history of the German takeover by Hitler you will love this book.  This is the story of a small southern professor who becomes the Ambassador from the US to Germany and his alerts to the US Gov. about what was happening in Germany as Hitler was coming into power. Great read!”

• Helmet For My Pillow:  From Parris Island to the Pacific by Robert Lecke. This is an autobiography listed by Bob A. who writes, “ After viewing the HBO miniseries entitled The Pacific, I immediately became interested in the heroes depicted in that production. I seem to have an abiding interest in the Pacific theater probably because I was stationed there twice during my military career.”

• I'm Staying with My Boys: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC by Jim Proser-the second of four recommendations on heroes of the Pacific Theater by Bob A.

Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. This choice was also given by Bob A who describes it as “The true and almost unbelievable biography of Louis Zamperini. The most remarkable and impressionable book I read. It was outstanding. A resounding 4 rating. You are probably aware that Laura Hillenbrand also wrote Seabiscuit, which was a good film as well.”

                           Nonfiction with Recommendations of 3-Worth the Time to Read

• With The Old Breed by E.B. Sledge(autobiography)--3+ One of Bob A’s picks from the heroes of the miniseries The Pacific

                           Fiction with a Rating of 4-Must Read

• Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson.  Joan H. writes, “This is a good story about a woman who has lost her memory (accident) and her therapst is trying to help her. She is seeking help against her husband's knowledge for good reason. Ends with a good twist.”

The Confession by John Grisham and suggested by Peggy.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese suggested by Linda S.

• The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke--4. Another series set in Louisiana and suggested by Bob A.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. A suggestion from Linda S and reviewed earlier in the blog on 01/05/10.

In the Name of Honor by Richard North Patterson. Peggy notes, “This outstanding novel reminds me that I need to go back and see what else I might have missed by R. N. Patterson.”

My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliviera. This historical novel has been suggested by Marty J.

Sarah's Key by Tatiania de Rosnay. The only fiction title to be suggested by three of us.-Joan H., Marty J. and Linda S. Joan H. observes, “This story took place in France and the main character was given a project by her magazine co. to write about the French police rounding up the Jews for the Gernman concentration camps. Great story.”

• Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. This recommendation comes from Linda S.

A Skeleton in God’s Closet by Paul Maier as listed by Marty J. and described by reviewers as a ‘theological thriller.”

Still Life by Joy Fielding suggested by Linda S.

                           Fiction with a 3 rating-Worth the Time to Read

• Back of  Beyond by CJ Box--3. Bob A. notes, “I also have enjoyed his Joe Picket series of novels, but its best to read them in sequence. At least that's true for someone as mildly anal retentive as I am.”

• Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand recommended by Marty J.

City of Light by Lauren Belfer. Marty also suggested this historical novel.

• A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin-Peggy writes, “This is a very good read, and the fifth in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Anyone who watched the HBO miniseries, A Game of Thrones, is aware of the first book in the series. Memorable characters are complex individuals; those who manipulate and use brute force to gain power, others who struggle to be honorable and loyal to both family and king, and still others who know that playing the game requires calling to the fore all of the complexities of human beings. Starting with the first book and working up to A Dance With Dragons allows the reader to watch a characters fight, manipulate, reflect on, and regret their parts in the game. Peter Dinklage won the 2011 Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of the pivotal figure, Tyrion Lannister.

Eyes of a Child by Richard North Patterson and suggested by Peggy.

• The First Day of the Rest of My Life by Cathy Lamb. Peggy notes, “This novel examines two sisters, their adult professions, and the ways they cope as adults with abuse suffered in childhood. It describes the family’s wrenching recognition of their grandmother’s descent into dementia, and the uncovering of the mysterious background of the grandparents who escaped persecution in France during WW II.  The book is a record of the resulting courage, humor, acceptance, and renewal that each of the sisters achieves.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. This historical fiction selection comes from Marty J.

Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer. Peggy notes, “The Culper Spy Ring was organized during the Revolutionary War to provide information to George Washington. Meltzer’s Inner Circle links the original Culper Spy Ring to a contemporary version of the same small group on whom the President depends for vital information. For the reader who enjoys the interweaving of historical information into persent-day mystery, the Inner Circle doesn’t disappoint.”

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn. One of Marty’s recommendations, this is the first novel in a trilogy. Ishmael has been described by reviewers as a ‘philosophical novel’.

• The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Linda S. has suggested this fictional ‘autobiography’ of the second wife of Ernest Hemingway.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake has also been recommended by Linda.

Things Unspoken by Anitra Sheen. Recommended by Peggy, “This novel was published in 1998, but I missed it altogether. On a flight West this summer, a seatmate finished it and gave it to me. I was grateful that she did. The story of a little girl, puzzled by her own family during childhood and growing into confusing adolescence captures the reader’s interest and compassion. As Jorie deals with her family, she struggles to handle the heartbreak she experiences because of a father who by his own admission, loved her best when she was 5. At the same time, she tries to provide some semblance of normalcy for her family. The only problem making this a 3 instead of a 4 is that the last part of the novel seemed to be sketchy and just tacked on by the author in an ‘Oh, I forgot to say what happens to Jorie and her brothers’ moment."

A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion. Joan H. writes,” Another good book that touches the heart.”

• Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen as recommended by Marty J.

Worth Dying For by Lee Child--3+ . Bob A. observes, “Again, another series with Jack Reacher as the protagonist/anti-hero. Of course, I've read the entire series.” Peggy also writes, “The Reacher series has been described as fiction written for a male audience. However, Reacher’s integrity, courage, sensitivity to the weaknesses of others, and the ability to create in other characters to will to be more than they think they can be all appeal to me.. I might not know anything about the speed of a bullet or the force exerted by the swing of a 250-lb., 6 ‘ 5” former Army officer, but I have to admire the intellect of the character who analyzes all situations and confrontations based on such knowledge and then acts without remorse to help anyone who needs him. From beginning to end, the Jack Reacher series entertains and uplifts.

       Fiction with a 2 rating- Read Only if You Have no Other Reading Material of Any Kind

A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve as noted by Marty J.

Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci.  Peggy says, “I was disappointed in this most recent book featuring John Carr,  known as Oliver Stone to his small circle of friends, and the Camel Club. I love to read Baldacci, and I usually enjoy the Camel Club series, but this was too superficial.”

Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwall. Peggy observes, “I’ve been a fan of Cornwall’s Scarpetta in the past and was disappointed by the lack of depth, both in characterization and plot, in this offering."

It is amazing that only two novels, Sarah’s Key and Worth Dying For were listed by multiple contributors. Issuing a call for reading suggestions has really illustrated the wide range of reading enjoyed by all of us.

If you’d like to submit suggestions but haven’t done so yet-or if you have more to recommend-please send them in for posting.

Remember that many of our contributors have already reviewed books for the blog:Thanks to Joan H., Linda S.,and Cheryl A. for several of the contributions below.  Readers can find these reviews in the blog search box or by blog archivedate as listed. on the right side of the home page.

The Outliers-07/28/09-nonfiction
The Guernsey Literary and Poato Peel Pie Society 07/17/09-epistolary novel

Still Alice 7/17/09-nonfiction
Fearless Fourteen-06/27/09-fiction
The Lost Symbol-10/04/09-fiction
The Red Tent-10/25/09

The Art of Racing in the Rain-05/23/10-fiction
Fiction Works(3) of John Hart-04/07/11
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo-05/28/10-fiction
The Second Opinion-03/09/10-fiction
Tonight in the Rivers of Pittsburgh 04/08/11-nonfiction
Woods on Fire-04/08/11-nonfiction
Zelienople Road-04/08/11-nonfiction
The Help-01/05/10-fiction
What the Dog Saw-07/10/10-nonfiction

Thanks to all of you who contributed your suggestions. With a list like this, we’ll always have books to read next. And we'll have a literary roadmap when we want to move out of our own comfort zone into works by authors we have yet to experience.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Power of Women: Raising Big Funds in a Small Community

The Power of Women: Raising Big Funds in a Small Community

When the rest of us were huddled with our coffee cups and waiting for the fabled February thaw to begin, five creative women were drawing up plans for a summer event that would raise much-needed funds for the local Lakeside Association and our community’s volunteer fire company. The result? The June 5 Lakeside Association’s Lakeside Home Walking and Taste of Edinboro.

Debbie, Diana Julie, Kate, and Nicole convinced homeowners to open their residences for the tour. They encouraged local businesses to set up tasting events in each of the homes and convinced local artists-including our own Claudia- to participate in a project to paint 10 Adirondack chairs for auction. They gathered items for a Chinese auction and celebrated when the local florist’s shop Le Jardin offered to decorate each home with beautiful floral displays. Entry was set at $10 for participants buying tickets before June 5, and $12.50 on that Sunday.

Why pick June 5 as the date? The traditional Edinboro Triathlon was set for June 4 this year, and the group connected with the race committee to share costs for tents and portapotties.

Over 600 people took part in the event, enjoying the beautiful homes, the great food, and the chance to see and talk to people they may not have seen in years. Over $10,000 was raised in one day.

What was the best part? The great weather? No, although it was a beautiful day. The money raised? No, although it was an amazing financial boon for both organizations. One of the dynamic planners, Julie, said, “Cooperation was the best part.”

It was an unanticipated gift for the five women to realize that so many people were willing to help out to make the Lakeside Home Walking and Taste of Edinboro a great success. Want to see the extensive list of people who helped?  See the Edinboro News, June 16, Page 5 full-page "Thank you" from the Fab. Five. And our own blog contributors were-of course-on the list:  Tom and Claudia, Marty and Gary, Kip and Cheryl,  Linda and Mark

To those 5 super-organized and civic-minded women who, in the dead of winter,  dreamed up a plan that would benefit the whole community this summer, thank you from all of us. 

And to Julie for offering information on the event for the blog and for correcting those mistakes in the writer's text!  Thank you for both.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Special Advice for Our Growing Children and Grandchildren, Girls and Boys Both

Just when we think we've done an OK job raising our own children, some much smarter woman comes along and tells us what we can do to help children evaluate relationships.  In this case, that woman is Annie Fox, educator and online advisor.    Although she focuses on girls, her advice is useful for boys as well.

Fox talks to girls about their friends:  the real ones and those who really aren't.  She helps them to see ways to recognize which relationships are good ones and worth keeping versus those that negatively impact them.

She insists that girls are especially "ill-equipped to deal with the social land mines that seem to appear at ever younger ages"(In "Give Kids Friendly Advice,"  Alicia Sultan, McClatchy Newspapers).

Have we forgotten the hard times we had in school?  Many of us acknowledge that the school experience can be a truly painful experience.  Do you remember the pain of going to elementary school, maybe in the 3rd. grade when one day you were a member of the playground group and the next day you were crying because they excluded you?

How about that bus ride as you watched your friends make nasty remarks about the girl seated in front of you, seeing her tearing up and you not speaking up for fear of being singled out yourself.  What could you have done or said?

How about high school when you arrived as a freshman with middle school friends only to find you were no longer invited to parties because you didn't drink?  Lots of tears and pain, especially for girls, but for boys as well.

Fox emphasizes that girls tend to brush aside their own hurt feelings and belittle their emotions.  They don't want to confront a friend or lose status among their peer group.

Those of us who have spent a lifetime in teaching might add that boys cover their hurt feelings as well, and they are hurt by childhood and adolescent cruelties, too.

Fox recommends that parents teach children early-as early as age 4-to tell people when they've been hurt.

While acknowledging how hard it is to speak up, parents need to encourage children-girls and boys alike to say "I didn't appreciate what you said.  It hurt my feelings."  Sounds simple, right?  And learning to do so helps to build a child's confidence.  It helps to bring into focus what each child  expects from a  good friend while she/he learns to recognize  the behavior of those who are not.

Some of us who thought we did an OK job of raising our own children read Fox's simple advice and realize what we should have done.  Our  own sons and daughters might have had an easier time navigating the pain of childhood relationships had we taught them to just say, "I didn't appreciate what you said.  It hurt my  feelings."

Hopefully our own children will do a better job in preparing their children to deflect the slings and arrows that seem to be prevalent in childhood relationships.  Then our granddaughters and grandsons will be stronger, better able to cope with the 'social land mines' that Fox describes, and more capable of recognizing true friends while letting go of those who aren't.  We'll be sending them off to school exuding confidence, knowing they can handle social situations, even those awful 'land mines'.

We Have New Babies!

Great news!

Two baby boys have been added to our growing list of beautiful grandchildren.  Scott and Karen welcomed Wesley in May.  In the same week, Pearl and David greeted their second grandchild, Ethan.

Our congratulations to both sets of grandparents.  Grandchildren-one of  life's very best gifts!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Staying Safe: What Your Burglar Won't Tell You

Thanks to Barb L. for sending us this information.  Wasp spray?  Who knew?


I am particularly interested in the part about the wasp spray...

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste... and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it..

5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom - and your jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. It's raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door - understandable. But understand this: I don't take a day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don't take me up on it.)

10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.

12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it athttp://www.faketv/


1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard.. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

3. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just go back to what he was doing. It's human nature.

4. I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

5. I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you're home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than you think to look up your address.

7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air.. To me, it's an invitation.

8. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina , Oregon , California , and Kentucky ; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis , who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.

Protection for you and your home:

If you don't have a gun, here's a more humane way to wreck someone's evil plans for you.. (I guess I can get rid of the baseball bat.).


A friend who is a receptionist in a church in a high risk area was concerned about someone coming into the office on Monday to rob them when they were counting the collection. She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended to her that she get a can of wasp spray instead.

The wasp spray, they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote. She keeps a can on her desk in the office and it doesn't attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one nearby at home for home protection. Thought this was interesting and might be of use.


On the heels of a break-in and beating that left an elderly woman in Toledo dead, self-defense experts have a tip that could save your life.

Val Glinka teaches self-defense to students at Sylvania Southview High School . For decades, he's suggested putting a can of wasp and hornet spray near your door or bed.

Glinka says, "This is better than anything I can teach them."

Glinka considers it inexpensive, easy to find, and more effective than mace or pepper spray. The cans typically shoot 20 to 30 feet; so if someone tries to break into your home, Glinka says, "spray the culprit in the eyes". It's a tip he's given to students for decades. It's also one he wants everyone to hear. If you're looking for protection, Glinka says look to the spray.

"That's going to give you a chance to call the police; maybe get out."

Maybe even save a life.

Put your car keys beside your bed at night.

Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your parents, your Dr.'s office, the check-out girl at the market, everyone you run across to do the same. Put your car keys beside your bed at night.

If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.

This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around. After a few seconds, all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there, and sure enough the criminal won't want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there. This is something that should really be shared with everyone. Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime.
P.S. I am sending this to everyone I know because I think it is fantastic. Would also be useful for any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can't reach a phone. My mom has suggested to my dad that he carry his car keys with him in case he falls outside and she doesn't hear him. He can activate the car alarm and then she'll know there's a problem.

All good advice to follow and share with your family and friends.  Thanks, Barb L. for forwarding this to us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cycling: Red Rock Canyon Tour, June 28-July 3, 2010

One of our friends is a retired Air Force officer who is an avid cyclist.  Of course, living in San Antonio with its mild weather helps him to engage in his favorite sport all year round.  Others in our group also like cycling, as a serious sport or as recreation. (You may remember the Titusville Trail outing.)

Bob is a serious cyclist who participates in the most interesting trips.  In this post, he discusses the trip and gives us a link to the New York Times for further info. Bob writes:

This is a bike Tour I did last year with LizardHeadCycling. There were only 12 of us on the tour and two guides--some really spectacular scenery throughout and the last night was spent in Monument Valley where something like 37 movies(several John Wayne westerns) have been filmed. We rode through the Navaho Indian Reservation in the Four Corners area.The last day of riding was through the Moki Dugout and on to Lake Powell for about 108 miles with some mega climbs. Anyway, Chris Solomon , a NY Times adventure/travel journalist rode the entire tour, and we also had a photo journalist with us who took some great photos. This is the article that appeared last year in the NY Times. I'm going to send you a video as well as I was interviewed daily by the photo journalist to get my take on this herculean endeavor from the perspective a 67 -year -old rider.
Fantastic, Bob!   Those of us who couldn't possibly accomplish such a trip are in awe.  For those of us who also do serious cycling, this is a tour you may want to do.  Thanks, again, Bob.  We look forward to the video.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Finally! Time to Read:Tonight in the Rivers of Pittsburgh by Brian Lee Weakland:

Thanks to Cheryl, we have three suggestions for those of us interested in the history of Pennsylvania-especially the western section, including the NW and SW. Cheryl writes the following:

Tonight in the Rivers of Pittsburgh by Brian Lee Weakland

This is the first of a trilogy which takes place in NW and SW Pa – there is even mention of Edinboro College.

Well written, mesmerizing, local lore, history and politics. It will hold your interest and provide information you may not know about our area.

Second book– Woods on Fire (an Indian name) – continues the story and the mystery. Excellent

Zelienople Road is the third installment – I am awaiting the book, but am sure it will live up to the other two and give closure to the characters and events.

It's great to have some non-fiction suggestions for us to enjoy.  Thanks, Cheryl, for recommending these three.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Finally! Time to Read: The Fiction Works of John Hart

So who's John Hart? asked the clerk at Barnes & Noble.  True, he's not as widely known as he deserves to be. But she did find one of his works, The Last Child on the shelf.

Actually, John Hart is the author of three works of fiction: 
  • The King of Lies (2006, Thomas Dunne Books); 
  • Down River (2007, Thomas Dunne Books);  and
  • The Last Child (2009, Thomas Dunne Books).
Thousands of books land on the New York Times Bestseller List-some worth reading and some not.  We're all busy women with little time to enjoy a favorite moment with a good book.  The works of John Hart are definitely worth our time. 

All three are studies of age-old questions:  What is love?  Can grievous hurts be forgiven?  Can children show adults what courage is?  Is it possible to confront and defeat the evils that people commit? Can family ties overcome the pressures of lies, deceit, accusation, and death?Is there any hope that families torn apart can be whole again?

All three books are set in North Carolina and feature families in conflict.  In The King of Lies, Jackson Workman Pickens, is a son who has dutifully followed his father's goals for him:  a career in law; the socially recognized wife;  the house on the hill.  All the while, he endures living in his father's shadow.  That is, until his father disappears, and the son is suspected of murdering him.

Family struggles and the interplay between brother and sister, wife and father, man and his reluctance to  defy the life his father had mapped out for him all swirl in, out, and  around 'Work' as he attempts to right the wrongs he has committed, that he has allowed to happen, and that are blamed on him. 

In Down River, a son has been disowned by his father based on the accusation of his second wife. Although acquitted, Adam Chase lives with the pain of everyone's certainty that he really is a murderer.   He  reluctantly returns to his father's plantation five years later at the urging of a high school friend. He finds a stepmother who still hates him, a woman who still loves him, a friend who has been murdered, a young girl who has waited for him, a step brother and sister who haven't forgotte him,and violent confrontations between the townspeople and his family.

As with The King of Lies, Down River has murder at its center, but the real story is the psychological interplay of families  in Rowan County. 

In The Last Child, Hart portrays the disappearance of a  daughter and the subsequent dissolution of her family.  How can parents handle such grief?  What happens to the little boy who has to look after his mother, search for his sister, and try to believe that his father will return?   How does the child reconcile the teachings of his childhood with the evils that he sees?  The strength of this child's spirit  and his determination to find the truth are  the real story here-so much so that  the reader wants to reach in and rescue him.  

And his writing:   It has been described by reviewers as "masterful"(The News and Observer)  and of The Last Child, the Providence Journal describes Hart's work as "A brilliant vision beautifully realized." 

John Hart is an author worth our time. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Our Health: A Reminder and Something New to Consider

A long time ago, I read a book by a physician who said she studied medicine because, as a young person, she watched  over her mother as she waited for an ambulance.  She had called for medical assistance because her mother was suffering a heart attack.  She knew about aspirin, but not about what else she should have prevented her mother from doing while waiting for help.

Thanks to Barb R., we can all reinforce this important information.


Something that we can do to help ourselves.

First, it's nice to know that...

Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve under the tongue. It works much faster than the tablets.

Why keep aspirin by your bedside?

About Heart Attacks...

There are other symptoms of a heart attack besides the pain on the left arm.

One must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well as nausea and lots ofsweating; however these symptoms may also occur less frequently.

Note: There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack

The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their sleep did not wake up.

However, if pain occurs, the chest pain may wake you up from your deep sleep.

If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth and swallow them with a bit of water.

Afterwards: CALL 911

- say "heart attack!"

- say that you have taken 2 aspirins..

- phone a neighbor or a family member who lives very close by

- take a seat on a chair or sofa near the front door, and wait for their arrival and... DO NOT lie down .

A Cardiologist has stated that, if each person, after receiving this e-mail, sends it to 10 people, probably one life can be saved!

I have already shared the information- - What about you?

The young girl who watched her mother pass away while waiting for an ambulance did not know a vital point:  Do not lie down.  Remember this, and tell everyone you care about to follow this advice in case of a suspected heart attack.

Thanks to Barb R. who sent us this information forwarded to her by a friend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are You Ready? A Second "Random Act of Culture"

     Culture at the Mall?  Is it possible?  Absolutely!

Thanks to Pearl, we have a second "Random Acts of Culture." 

If you recall, the Philadelphia Opera Company has a grant to provide its wonderful performances in public places.  This time it's at the Reading Terminal where all who happened to be there at the time were treated to "El Toreador".

Just click on and enjoy.

Again, our thanks to Pearl who sends us the most beautiful sites.