Saturday Squawk

Snip20180103_2What a week this has been. I have had a quiet week messaging back and forth with photos, information and encouragement with my brother and sister as our mother died. It was peaceful and we are all comforted by the wonderful care she received. She would have turned 92 next month so she had a long life.  We also caught up with many relatives I have not heard from in years and new, younger ones I did not know.  Family deaths tend to do that. That has been lovely.

I spent much of the week reading, with Mr. Penguin, with friends and being comforted, almost too much, by our goofy dogs. They always know when something is going on. I’ve had more face washes this week.

Snip20180210_2The short story I drew in the Deal Me In Challenge (2 of Diamonds) was The Rainmaker from the Tibetan Folk Tales book. The timing of this story was lovely as it is quite a spiritual book of stories in the Buddhist tradition and was a gentle read. Zor is an orphan taken in by a monk for life training. The story told of their life in the cave, with their meals from herbs as rain falls around them. (comforting right?). The old monk is a wise Rainmaker and is able to control the clouds and the weather. At times he is called to the Dalai Lama’s palace to monitor the storms as to protect his beautiful garden. The story revolves around the lessons he teaches to Zor and how Zor copes with his own successes and failures as he inherits this responsibility once the old Lama dies. I enjoyed it immensely.

Snip20180210_5On the other hand, I began the book Lincoln in the Bardo as a Kindle read/audio. It is irritating me beyond belief and I’ll be lucky to finish it. I know, I know. Man Booker prize winner of 2017 and all that. I really should stay away from this prize. I heard a review about how wonderful all the voices were on the audio version. There are around 100 actors reading various parts of the ghosts. For those unfamiliar, it is a story of Abraham Lincoln and his young son Willy who died at a young age. Lincoln in his grief visits him at the cemetery and there are all of the ghosts who live there with their comments. Lots of flashbacks to Willy’s life.

Now, I am not an Arts person. Not overly creative or literaryly (is that a word?)  astute. My talents are in numbers, technology and figuring out those puzzles of the boxes with all the lines and dots and what comes next.  I am very left brained.  I am only seeing mathematical structures in this book.

The structure of the book is composed of categories.  First part in the cemetery- let’s think of as many personality types as possible and give them each a sentence to read. Next part, let’s include as many quotable quotes from every book written about or pertaining to Lincoln.

In describing young Willy, lets get as many people as we can remember names of and tell the reader- What a good boy he was.  He really was a good boy.  Was he a good boy? Yes , such a good boy.

To me, it is as though the author thought of a category and then looked it up on google to find as many entries in that category to include in the book.

So far the category of emotion (again, to me) is missing. I get no gut wrenching feeling that Lincoln lost his young son. I do not feel grief. I am finding the whole thing a bit too clever in its structure and completely lacking in character development.  And I know, perhaps the author smirking because he is so clever.  I only see categories as I read this and find myself wondering- what will the next category be?  I will persevere but you probably won’t catch me writing much more about it.  So if you loved this book, please don’t have a go at me.  I have seen it described as brilliant, a masterpiece and many words in that category.  I mean, The Man Booker Prize Winner for heaven’s sake!!!

Snip20180210_4On another lovely note…yesterday was a beautiful summer’s day and I took the dogs to the beach. We call it the Big Beach as it is bigger than the dog beach we normally go to. As it was a weekday, there was hardly anyone there. The airport runway ends at this beach at a 90 degree angle so the planes were going overhead in front of us as we walked.


One more thing- I thought I’d share this Australian native plant with you. Ptilotus Joey is the name of it. When my father died I set up a little fountain in his memory in the back yard. But the water attracted snakes so I filled it in and put in flowers. I thought I would plant this in my mom’s memory in a large pot next to the fountain. I had never seen this plant before but it was on our garden centre’s Instagram page and I love it so that may be my project for today.


I hope all of you had a good week. Let me know one thing you did this past week.

28 thoughts on “Saturday Squawk

  1. I am sorry that I wasn’t here earlier to “hug” you about your mother. It must be difficult in many ways, yet I am glad she lived to 92. My son lost his father when my boy was only 3; I’m always relieved that we had our parents to adulthood. Still, my arms around you as you must miss her in many ways. xo


  2. I would love to read Tibetan Folk Tales but can’t find the book you read (I want the one with those gorgeous illustrations.) Can you send me an ISBN or the author/translator name so I can hunt it down? Thanks!


    1. The details are: Stories From Beyond the Clouds: An Anthology of Tibetan Folk Tales. Editor Clifford Thurlow ISBN: 81-85102-09-0 Copyright 1981 Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. Published by Library of Tibetan Works and Archives- New Delhi. You might find it on


  3. So sorry to hear about your recent loss, Pam. It’s really good that you were able to make that visit back home last year. Am glad that you are taking it well and recovering with lots of comfort to be derived from your family, friends and animals. And books. Do take good care. (P/S – I never had any intention to read the Saunders, and your review has just reaffirmed that for me.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother, Pam. It must have been even harder dealing with things from a distance.

    It sounds like our brains function in a similar manner and I’ve been hesitant to try Lincoln in the Bardo. It intimidates me and I have the feeling I just won’t get it 😦

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  5. Definitely the time for some soothing self-care – and doggie devotion is a perfect thing.

    One thing I’ve done this week? Took my OH and his brother out for a meal on the first anniversary of losing my mother-in-law. I think it did them good and hopefully it will help with the healing/moving on process.


  6. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know from my own experience how hard it can be to be across the country (let alone the world) at times like these.

    Someone was just recommending the Bardo book to me this week. I read a lot of history about Lincoln, and I mistrust fiction about him.


  7. Lincoln in the Bardo is the kind of book that justifies my Dead Authors rule. So many contemporary books seem so contrived to me. Except for mysteries and the very occasional contemporary book, I stick to books that have stood the test of time, not necessarily classics, just good stories that people keep reading.
    Dogs and a beach seem to be a wonderful curative.


  8. Sending more sympathy for your loss. ❤

    My husband and our #1 Daughter read Lincoln in the Bardo. My husband taught literature and prefers the literary to the commercial, and #1 Daughter reads a lot of modern literary fiction. They both hated the book, except that #1 Daughter did have a few passages about Lincoln's emotions that she found very moving. I'm sharing this post with my husband; he'll enjoy your mathematical take on it. 🙂


  9. Snow, rain and wind for us this week (northern England). Just finished The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, another Man Booker nominee. Still processing…. have you read it?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. i’ve read at least one negative review on “Lincoln…” it’s another one of those flash in the pan books, i guess… I’ve been remembering my own parents this week -they’re gone, of course – and with the coming spring, my mother’s flower garden comes to mind… what i did: when the bathroom was remodeled, they didn’t seal up the holes where the pipes come in below the sink, so a mouse got in… i had to cut out the bottom shelf with an electric saw and caulk up the spaces around the pipes. i still have to cover what i removed with new wood: that’s tomorrow’s project… if you want it done right, do it yourself! i’ve found that to be true more than not… lovely beach picture: forever for the guys to run… dog heaven…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, when we had our bathroom redone we had rats come in and take over the attic. They were quckly removed. I did buy the plants mentioned and put them in yesterday. Then the much needed rains came.


  11. I am pleased to see that you are being kind to yourself, it is an overwhelming time, even when your loved one has had a good long life and a peaceful end. *smile* I can certainly relate to the dogs, even our rumbustious pup was more sober when I was bereaved, and sometimes even now, she senses when I just need a cuddle.
    I admire your fortitude with the Bardo. I disliked it intensely and abandoned it, pleased that I hadn’t shelled out any money for it. I have been collecting First Edition Booker winners for years, but I gave up after Marlon James which I still haven’t read. (A publisher sent me a copy, first edition and all, but they can’t make me read it.)
    Yes, memorial plants are lovely, (I have a rose and a camellia in memory of my parents, given to me by a dear friend) and that one is very pretty indeed. But do be careful about planting it at this vulnerable time of the year… Do you find it frustrating that Gardening Australia is so evangelical about organic gardening but irrelevant about our climate? Our current preoccupation here in Melbourne is all about protecting our precious plants from extreme heat and you get that in Tassie too … we’ve already had one scorcher, and there will be more this summer, but not a practical word of advice on Gardening Australia about how to stop leaf burn or protect newly planted things!


    1. I returned the book to Amazon as didn’t have it long and they refunded it. I was surprised and happy. I did buy two of the plants and they are in big containers under cover in a back sunny area but protected. They are smaller than the photo indicates. I watch Gardening Australia only sometimes. Costa’s beard really annoys me. I get distracted looking for “stuff” in it 😮😮😮. We did get beautiful rain yesterday.


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