Bible Verse

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense. Proverbs 2:3

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weigh To Go

I know why my blood pressure is a little high when I go to the doctor.
First of all, it hurts when they pump up that cuff.  I don’t mean a little pressure or even a lot of pressure.  I mean pain!

Most people, apparently, don’t have that problem.  When I tell someone  how painful it is, they attempt to talk me out of the notion.

“Oh, no,” they say with great sincerity.  “Taking your blood pressure doesn’t hurt.”

This doesn’t help.

Another reason my numbers are a little high is that they weigh me first and then take my blood pressure.

How in the world can my blood pressure be normal when I’ve just gotten the news that I weigh more than I did three months ago?  Three months of watching what I eat and trying to keep moving so I’m not sitting as much (which is a big sacrifice because sitting is my hobby, along with anything I can do while sitting).

I’ve even requested that my blood pressure be taken first. 

“Oh,” the nurses say, “it won’t change it that much.”

I beg to differ.

I’ve known for a very long time that I can control my blood pressure by about 20 points.  It all depends on what I’m thinking about.  Grandchildren and kittens get me great numbers, both the upper and lower ones. 

I’ve often had to get weighed in front of other patients, which makes me very nervous.  I’m afraid the nurse will say it out loud or someone sitting there can figure it out because when I stepped on, the nurse had to move that big weight over, the one that sits on the bottom row.

So if I can calm down enough after the weigh in and while I’m thinking of my beautiful grandchildren and sweet fluffy kittens, my blood pressure will probably be okay.
There is one more way to have your blood pressure taken.  I have encountered it in hospitals.  It is absolute torture, even when I’m on a morphine pump.  It’s an automatic machine that doesn’t care what I’m thinking about.  It squeezes and squeezes until I can’t stand it anymore, and then it finally starts to deflate.  It doesn’t care that I have very sensitive flab.  It doesn’t care that I’m desperately thinking of grandchildren and kittens.  It’s programmed for one thing:  bruising my arm. 

So if any medical folks are reading this, please do me a favor.  Take my blood pressure first and then my weight.  I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

“Conversations with Steve Martin” by Robert E. Kapsis, Editor

I’ve been kind of a casual fan of Steve Martin through the years; I haven’t seen every movie, read every play or heard all of his music.  After reading “Conversations with Steve Martin,” however, I feel that I have experienced every facet of his extraordinary talents.

Each interview, although sometimes repeating things from an earlier discussion, gave another perspective into Martin’s agenda for his various careers in show business, the art world, and music.

When most of your memories consist of the “wild and crazy guy,” the fire chief with the big nose in Roxanne, and a very talented banjo player, all of these other things covered in the interviews comes as a pleasant surprise.

It seems to me that his professional life can be easily traced, from the kid doing magic tricks at Disney Land, to an out-of-the-blue chance to write for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and other shows on TV, to becoming one of the all-time successful stand-up comedians, to writing screenplays, to acting in movies, to writing plays, to somehow segueing that into a musical career with his banjo.  He is also a respected art collector, another facet of his life, but one more personal than the rest.

Even though there are many interviews in this book, there’s still a feeling of not getting the entire story.  Martin is known to be a difficult interview, refusing to include his marriage and divorce with British actress Victoria Tennant and his role as a well-respected art collector.

As much as I enjoyed this book, I almost didn’t get past the Introduction.  It felt tedious going through all the Martin quotes with the references in parentheses.  I found that format hard to follow.  I was anxious to get into the actual interviews instead of reading snippets interspersed with the author’s narrative. 

Steve Martin is a fascinating man.  The interviews in this book help us to know more about where he comes from, where he has been, and where he’s going.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag

There is more going on at the dress shop than just dreams.  There’s a little magic thrown in, too.  This is an imaginative telling of three love stories, all intertwined with each other.

Etta Sparks owns the dress shop where women come to look for beautiful dresses.  Each time a woman slips one on and looks in the mirror, she feels beautiful, powerful and able to do anything.

When she was five years old, Cora Carraway, Etta’s granddaughter, survived a tragic fire that took the lives of both of her parents. In an attempt to cope with this heartbreaking reality, Cora’s mind has suppressed her entire childhood spent with her parents, including the fire.  She works at Cambridge, dedicated to carrying on the work her parents had started.  She suspects they were close to discovering a plant that would feed millions around the world, but she can’t be sure because all their papers were destroyed in the fire.

Cora goes to work, visits her grandmother, and one other store next to the dress shop.  She has known the owner of the book shop since childhood.  She sees no romance in her future with Walt, but Etta disagrees and she vows to do something about it.

After Walt begins a part-time job reading novels over the local radio station, fan letters from women start piling up.  Walt is sure if they saw him in person, they would quickly retract their heartfelt words and stops reading them.  Dylan, the station manager, starts answering these love letters.  The trouble begins when he signs Walt’s name and not his own.

This novel is well written and never confusing, even though each love story has a lot of detail to it.  I loved the ending with its last little twists. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Prophet (Books of the Infinite Book 1) by R. J. Larson

Ela has been chosen.  She’s just a young lady, living in poverty with her parents and her little sister Tzana, who suffers from an aging disorder.  Old before her time, she is quite frail.  She and Ela are inseparable. 

It’s not that Ela does not know Infinite.  He has been a part of her life as far back as she can remember.  But now she hears things she cannot believe:  She has been chosen as the next prophet, the first one in 70 years.  And the first woman.

Infinite chooses a vision to help Ela realize what He needs her to do.  And after Tzana is able to easily open the tomb of the last prophet and retrieve a branch growing there, Ela gains the confidence to challenge anyone who tries to stop her.

And as she follows Infinite’s instructions, she comes up against soldiers and kings, always repeating her Creator’s words, warning them to accept His love and protection.  Unfortunately, few listen.  She takes every failure as her own.  She knows she has much to learn and tries to keep herself open to Infinite’s leading.

This book made me look at myself and my connection with God through Jesus Christ. I realized how close by the Holy Spirit is throughout my day. 

I would recommend this book to anyone, even those who do not usually read this genre.  I will definitely read the next book in the series, Judge.

As I write this on 9/15/14, the Kindle version of Prophet is free.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Feast for Thieves (A Rowdy Slater Novel) by Marcus Brotherton

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Rowdy Slater may have been the most incorrigible man in his Army company, but he quickly overcame that in civilian life.  He encountered a bump or two along the way, like robbing a bank in Cut Eye, Texas, getting separated from his partner while holding the bag of money, and nearly drowning in a rain swollen river.  When Rowdy goes back to Cut Eye and surrenders to the sheriff -- well, that’s when things get really interesting.

Rowdy makes a deal that he refuses to break, even though there are many times he desperately wants to.  It turns out that the sheriff in Cut Eye saw enough in Rowdy to offer him a choice between prison or preaching.  Rowdy has no idea how to preach or what to preach, and that’s quite evident from the start.  But a pretty young lady assigned to help him makes quite a difference.  This is a great story told with great heart.

I found this to be akin to O Brother, Where Art Thou as far as the way Rowdy expresses himself and how he goes from one undertaking to the next.

This is a great first novel, and I look forward to more adventures with Rowdy Slater.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Who Knew?

Okay, we’re hooked.  I admit it.  I honestly thought we could do without it, but I was proven wrong this past week when we left one campground two weeks early and went to a campground that had what we wanted – well, I guess I’d have to say it had what we craved.

It’s more than one thing, actually.  But it all falls under one broad umbrella. 
What was wrong with Campground No. 1, you ask?

Answer:  No wifi, no tv, and an unreliable phone signal.  Even our hot spot was struggling to find a signal and hold on to it.

I quickly tired of this situation. We were supposed to be there a month.  I was bored on the 2nd day there.

I occasionally get bored at the house.  When that happens, I always tell myself that it’s my fault.  There are plenty of things to do, so pick one, quit your bellyaching and get busy.

This was different, though. There were things to do, of course, but I felt trapped.  It seemed that every time I thought of something to do, it involved the internet, tv, or phone. 

Let the bellyaching commence!

I could work on my writing because my word processor wasn’t linked to the internet.  And I did write some.  But then I’d come across something I wanted to look up and realize I couldn’t.  Or I’d remember a blog post I had previously done.  Or had I?  I can’t find it in my word processor and I can’t look it up on the internet.  Arrrrgh!  

The TV was silent except for a few movies we got every day or so at Redbox.  About the only time I watch a movie is when we’re camping.  I don’t watch them at home because of the commercials.  They drive me crazy.  Especially the loud ones that shriek at you to buy a car or a couch or give you the privilege of loaning you money.  But that’s another story.

The point is that I don’t watch movies on TV.  But we’re camping and doing things a little differently, so I watch the Redbox movies.  (I recommend Nonstop.) 

Now, this movie thing would have been enough, and it has been enough for the five years we’ve been camping.  Except that David had introduced me to streaming a couple of days before we left the house.  Awesome!  You can watch movies and TV shows on your computer.  I’m hooked on the TV show House. I never paid it much attention when it was on every week.  But I got to watching the reruns, and I was hooked.

Except you need internet to stream.  We had just signed up with Netflix right before we suddenly made the decision to head out the next day and spend some time at a campground we used to love. No internet, no Netflix (with the first month free), no streaming, and no HouseArrrrgh!

Someone called me when I happened to be outside at Campground No. 1, and I had to walk down the road a little ways to get a good signal.  I didn’t like that phone anyway, so this was not helping.

At the end of the second week, Campground No. 1 installed wifi! Yay!

Well, don’t get too excited.  It was free for the first week and then you had to pay for it.  Pay for it!!  We had never heard of a campground charging for wifi.  Of course, it’s hidden away in their fees for the campsites, so you know you’re paying for it.  But paying separately?  No, not for us.  We had just about maxed out our hot spot and would soon have to add $10 to our bill if we kept using it to connect to the internet.  We didn’t want to do that, either.

So our solution?  Pack up, drive around 25 miles to our new favorite campground, which happens to have wifi, tv and a good phone signal. 

Woo hoo!  Now we’re cookin’!  And streamin’! And gettin’ the internet!

And making friends, as you can see below…