Friday, June 23, 2017

Best song I've Heard, Holy Mother Hear My Cry sung by Pavarotti

This is the best song sung in concert I have heard.
The lyrics mean a lot to me and I love the powerful way Luciano Pavarotti stands very still and sings so movingly. He does not need any gestures as his voice is so expressive. All he holds is a large white handkerchief. Many of us know the story of why Eric wrote this song and I think it is meaningful to all who have felt deep sorrow. I think that is all of us. 
Holy Mother Hear My Cry by Eric Clapton, sung in concert with Luciano Pavarotti.

Holy Mother, where are you?
Tonight I feel broken in two.
I've seen the stars fall from the sky.
Holy mother, can't keep from crying.
Oh I need your help this time,
Get me through this lonely night.
Tell me please which way to turn
To find myself again.
Holy mother, hear my prayer,
Somehow I know you're still there.
Send me please some peace of mind;
Take away this pain.
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait any longer.
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait for you.
Holy mother, hear my cry,
I've cursed your name a thousand times.
I've felt the anger running through my soul;
All I need is a hand to hold.
Oh I feel the end has come,
No longer my legs will run.
You know I would rather be
In your arms tonight.
When my hands no longer play,
My voice is still, I fade away.
Holy mother, then I'll be
Lying in, safe within your arms.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Books from Library Book Sale

Seven books from the library book sale last weekend. I was good to limit my purchases to seven since sometimes I buy more than 20 books and I am buying faster than I can read. I added 3 pretty postcards to the photo, which I bought online to mail to my dear pen pals.
These books look great. Two collections of my favorite comedic writer, P.G. Wodehouse, "Tales From the Drones Club" and "Wodehouse Is the Best Medicine." Wodehouse lifts my mood to smiles.
"I Dreamed of Africa" a memoir by Kuki Gallmann. The author moved from Italy to Kenya years ago and at the time of writing was living on her huge ranch with her daughter and eight dogs. There are plenty of photos which I appreciate. The book was published in 1991 and is a tribute to the memory of her husband and son.
"The Tiger Ladies: A Memoir of Kashmir" by Sudha Koul. She recalls when Hindus and Muslims lived peacefully side by side in Kashmir, as opposed to recent headlines of Muslim violence.
"Corduroy Mansions" by Alexander McCall Smith. There is a cute dog on the cover, looks like a beagle puppy. I like every book I have read by Smith, about 20 so far.
"Born Standing Up" a memoir by Steve Martin. My friend listened to the audio version of this and loved it.
"Not So Funny When It Happened: The Best of Travel Humor and Misadventure" edited by Tim Cahill.
I see I chose mostly humor and memoirs. Who else likes these genres? Did you find any book bargains this week?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fun British comedies on TV

Two months ago I subscribed to Acorn TV via Amazon Prime which offers some great British and Australian TV shows and movies. Since I live in the USA this is a real treat for me, as Acorn offers many shows I like, including mysteries new to me like "Rake" and "Murdoch Mysteries" and lots of goodies like "Midsomer Murders" and "Endeavor", dramas, and some fun comedies. Plus it is only five dollars a month. I dropped cable two years ago, which was costing seventy dollars a month and didn't have many shows I like.

My favorite show thus far on Acorn is "Ladies of Letters", which is fabulous fun. Two quite mismatched English ladies meet and then keep in touch via letters. Their letters are often wildly untrue which makes for much laughter from me. The first photo is of Maureen Lipman who plays Irene, and the second is of Anne Reid who plays Vera. Anne Reid does a wonderful performance in "Last Tango in Halifax", by the way.
Some people who enjoyed the books and radio series do not like this rendition of "Ladies of Letters" but this is my first introduction to it and I find the ladies to be hilarious while being not very pleasant in the way they treat each other. Their letters to each other show them to be out of touch with reality, which causes funny situations. There are 20 episodes and some of the episodes are rather dark.
Two other funny comedies I am watching are "French Fields" (English couple moves to France and this show is a continuation of "Fresh Fields") and "Boomers" (3 English couples who are long time friends).
I watched all 20 episodes of "Ladies of Letters" and miss those gals, wish they would make more. Another good comedic find is P.G. Wodehouse's "Blandings" which I am watching.
I enjoyed the movie "The Man Who Lost His Head" about a man who works for the "British Imperial Museum" and travels to New Zealand on assignment to get the Maori people to allow the museum to keep a famous Maori chieftain's carved head. Will romance occur? A nice glimpse of very rural life of a group of Maoris. I saw this on Acorn TV.
Today on Facebook I saw an ad for Britbox_US which offers shows from the BBC and ITV, and claims to be the biggest collection; it is $7.99 a month and apparently became available in the USA earlier this year. Have you tried it?
Do you have any favorite British or Australian TV shows or movies you suggest I look for?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Our patio, yard and quote

Here are some photos taken this month, which show the view from my kitchen through our patio doors. When I stand at the kitchen sink and look left this is what I see on our patio.
The plant on the left on the table is a pot of pink roses and on the right is a planter of purple petunias, rose cosmos, white bacopas and dusty miller, both of these are gifts from my sons for Mother's Day. Note grey kitty Fluffy on table.
Here is Fluffy on patio, near some potting soil. She chose us by showing up in our fenced back yard about five years ago.
My friend has this quote as her email signature line:
"Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have." by John Piper

Friday, May 12, 2017

What makes you smile? Some things that make me smile

I thought I would share with you some things that make me smile. Since the death of my husband last November these smile bringers are doubly precious.

Pretty much any flower, and some weeds too, make me smile. Years ago I went to a garden center and asked for Jupiter's Beard. The plant expert said that is a weed. I thought "ouch, poor plant, now that is hurtful". When I lived on a farm the neighbor lady called these "Meet Me By the Gate"; also called Valerian. I always think of them as "Meet Me By the Gate" and think of Ann, my neighbor. The photo above has a bouquet of Canterbury Bells and Sweet Peas from my garden.

Song birds in my garden, the hoot of an owl in a nearby tree, and the pelicans soaring along our bay.

Feeling a refreshing breeze. I do not like to be too hot, so I welcome the cooling touch of a breeze.

Picking a vegetable from our garden, admiring it and eating it. For a moment I feel like a pioneer woman. I would like to have chickens here in my city yard and enjoy the photos of you blog friends who have chickens, horses, donkeys, pigs and all the farm critters.

Our cat Fluffy asleep on a soft new blanket. She does sleep a LOT. Cats by their example teach us to be relaxed; they are not worriers.

My dog Bounce adopted from the shelter in the fall of 2016. He is a fun dog and loves to go on walks three times a day so that keeps me active and outdoors. Note the red amaryllis blooming in May.

Watching comedies on TV. I have a new subscription to Acorn TV which offers great British and Australian shows. New ones for me now that I have Acorn TV are Ladies of Letters (my favorite), French Fields and Boomers. Acorn has a whole slew of mysteries and dramas and documentaries too, often on British history which I enjoy. Andy Griffith and the town of Mayberry are great places to visit via our TV and I watch this series on Netflix.

Flowers with what I imagine to be the scent of heaven. For me this includes lilacs, old fashioned roses like the Peace rose, gardenias, common heliotrope, jasmine, sweet peas and lemon blossoms on my two small lemon trees. I planted a heliotrope a year ago and my husband said that is a favorite scent of his so I just break off a tiny sprig and put it in a little vase to enjoy in the house. I recently read on a blog or Facebook that heliotrope is toxic to dogs so keep the plant where dogs can't snack on it. A nickname for this plant is "sugar plant" so I can see why it might attract dogs; the flowers do smell like sugar.

My list could be a very long one. Maybe I should write another book, ha ha. 

What things bring you joy?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Senior Citizens in New Novels

Now that I have achieved the much wanted (ha ha) title of senior citizen I am finding some novels that have older main characters ranging in age from late fifties to age 100.
Here are a few I have read recently.

"Old Age Private Eye" by A.W. Blakely. The first in the Old Age Pensioner Investigations series about Stanley, a pensioner about 68 years old who is so bored in retirement that on a whim he posts a notice that he is a private investigator. He is amazed when he is hired for a job and finds he needs to hire help so he hires his daughter who is newly divorced and job hunting; the other team member is his trusty dog, Roobarb. The setting is "the heart of England."

"The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules" by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. The first book in the League of Pensioners series, all the main characters use Zimmer frames or as we call them in the USA, walkers. The main gal, Martha is 79 and decides to begin a life of crime to free her from her home from the aged, which she compares to a prison. The setting is the Netherlands and she recruits four friends from the home where she lives to form a gang. They pull off some dramatic crimes, and attempt jewel, bank and art robberies. They are so inept sometimes they succeed. After all, who could believe these harmless oldies could steal priceless Impressionist paintings?

"A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman
Ove is a curmudgeon, a widower with a short fuse and he is a mean and prejudiced neighbor to people trying to be helpful. I don't know why Ove is a mere 59 in this novel, he seems like 69 or older. Against his will he is befriended by the young couple who move next door. You will find humor, despair and hope here, and the novel deserves the description of "heart warming." The author is Swedish. I love this book and plan to read the others Backman wrote.

"The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson. Alan has no plan except to escape out a window in order to miss his 100 year birthday party at the retirement home. Wow, does he have adventures. He finds stolen money, there are murderous thugs chasing him, he meets a friendly elephant and makes friends along the way. The author is a Swedish journalist. I read that there is a sequel to this book and Alan is 101 in it.
Are there other books you can add to this list? Please add them in comments, I think we would all like to hear about more books featuring senior citizens.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dragon, Chinese Guardian Lion and Fire

My dragon and Chinese temple guard lion enjoying the fire in my fireplace. I always wrote "our" for 45 years, now I write "my", sad to say but true.
The guardian lion is usually one of a pair, this is a male lion who guards the home, while the female guards the people. Chinese guardian lions are often called Foo dogs or lions or Fu dogs or lions in English.
My husband and I had not used the fireplace since the big earthquake in 1989. All fireplaces to be safe should have an inspection before use after the quake. In December of last year our sons decided to have a fireplace man inspect it for damage; he found one thing which he fixed, he cleaned it all, and voila, now I have fires again. This photo was taken a few days ago. I bought the fireplace tools and a log holder on Amazon, the tools are like sculptures, made of wrought iron. You can see the tools on the left in the second photo.