Notable Quotes

Presence is a noun, not a verb; it is a state of being, not doing. States of being are not highly valued in a culture that places a high priority on doing. Yet, true presence or "being with" another person carries with it a silent power -- to bear witness to a passage, to help carry an emotional burden, or to begin a healing process. In it, there is an intimate connection with another that is perhaps too seldom felt in a society that strives for ever-faster "connectivity."

 - Debbie Hall in This I Believe


Bob's your Uncle

Well, perhaps not your uncle.  But he certainly was mine!

Growing up, he was my mother's oldest brother, my Uncle Bobby (not to be confused with his cousins who were also named "Bobby" - it's a family thing).  We didn't see much of his family because he was a sociolinguist whose work took them to Addis Ababa (we didn't visit, but I do - somewhere in my parent's house - have a zebra-skin covered drum!), Palo Alto (where we did visit) and Jerusalem (another visit).  There were several fleeting visits to the United States, but most of my memories are of staying with them in Jerusalem or on vacation in Zurich or Scotland.

About 15 years ago my aunt and uncle decided to buy an apartment in Brooklyn, so I got to see more of them.  And somewhere in there I learned that "Uncle" was unnecessary.  So Bobby it was.  Then, a year or so ago, he said "I prefer 'Robert'"  No problem - Robert's my uncle, but not Uncle Robert.

Robert had a great sense of humor - puns being a particular specialty.  He loved ice cream (after one dinner we had, he kept pressing me to "eat my 'vegetables'", which to anyone else looked remarkably like ice cream, but to him were broccoli and carrots).  He wrote books, including two I have on my shelves, Language Planning and Social Change and Around the World with Mark Twain.  Despite his regular attendance in shul and study of Musar, he was an atheist.  Shabbat dinners at his house were occasions for much discussion (and not a little wine!).  It was truly wonderful having the opportunity to get to know Robert, the man, in addition to knowing Uncle Bobby.

He started a blog about his journey into old age but rarely gave in to the whining "organ recital"; his comments about his health were almost always linked to philosophical musings about age, change, death and life.  Each post is inspiration to the rest of us to not whine but to find the deeper meaning in our lives. Recently he ended his blog journey - his health deteriorated to the extent that he couldn't keep up the work.

Today his life ended - Robert, my uncle, this pint's for you.


Notable Quotes

English professors are trained to limn, contest, and quibble.  You should see us at faculty meetings -- it's like trying to herd cats.  No issue's too major for a soapbox, no issue's too minor for long-winded hairsplitting.

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? Rhoda Jenzen


Knowing Your Limits

I'm in my second half-century, so you'd think I'd know better when indulging, but no... not really. Last night, Thing One and I went to a nearby tapas restaurant. I'd had a difficult day that I won't go into yet, but let's just say I needed to relax. So we opened with a before-dinner drink (I had a caipirinha).  Then we shared a nice rioja.

It was when the dessert menu came with its selection of post-prandial offerings that I made the mistake.  Yes, I succumbed... to the lure of a cappuccino.

Wait, what?  Yes, I had a cappuccino.

In my defense, I was tired.  It was only 7:30.  I thought that having all that alcohol would be ok, that the caffeine wouldn't affect me.  Hah!  I've been up since 3:06, having barely dozed all night.  I should have gone with decaf, or just abstained.

I'm such a wuss.


Notes From Mt. Bookpile

I guess 106 books isn't bad, right?  Chugging right along in my quest for 365 (as of today, I'm at 305!) and Mt. Bookpile is still well below 300.  Reviews in the usual spot:

Sutton, J.R. Moehringer
The Black Count, Tom Reiss

Children's/Young Adult
Kiss & Make-Up, Katie D. Anderson
Cold Light, Jenn Ashworth
Cash Out, Greg Bardsley
Iron Hearted Violet, Kelly Regan Barnhill
The Diviners, Libba Bray
The Dark Unwinding, Sharon Cameron
3 Below, Patrick Carman
Summer and Bird, Katherine Catmull
The Savage Fortress, Sarwat Chadda
Skinny, Donna D. Cooner
The Last Dragonslayer, Jasper Fforde
Pinned, Sharon Flake
In a Glass Grimmly, Adam Gidwitz
Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Matthew Green
Silhouette of a Sparrow, Molly Beth Griffin
Burning Blue, Paul Griffin
Magisterium, Jeff Hirsch
The Templeton Twins Have An Idea, Jeremy Holmes
Origin, Jessica Khoury
Ask the Passengers, A.S. King
Every Day, David Levithan
Adaptation, Malinda Lo
Son, Lois Lowry
Carnival of Souls, Melissa Marr
Necromancing the Stone, Lish McBride
Betrayal, Gregg Olsen
Dodger, Terry Pratchett
The Encyclopedia of Me, Karen Rivers
Stealing Air, Trent Reedy
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, Kat Rosenfield
Endangered, Eliot Schrefer
Entice, Jessica Shrivington
The Fire Chronicle, John Stephens
The Raven Boys, Maggie Steifvater
The Other Normals, Ned Vizzini
Blasphemy, Sherman Alexie
Walking on Glass, Iain Banks
Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon
Scandal Wears Satin, Loretta Chase
Girl With A Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin
The Mirrored World, Debra Dean
The Stockholm Octavo, Karen Engelman
Crackpot Palace, Jeffrey Ford
The Midwife of Hope River, Patricia Harman
Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver
Live by Night, Dennis Lehane
Escape, Perihan Magden
The Great Escape, Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Those We Love Most, Lee Woodruff

The Blackhouse, Peter May
The Beautiful Mystery, Louise Penny

So, You Want To Be A Comic Book Artist? Philip Amara
Better Than A Lemonade Stand! Daryl Bernstein
SnApp Shots, Adam Brockhorst
A Black Hole Is Not A Hole, Carolyn Cinami Decristofano
Guy-Write, Ralph J. Fletcher
Zora! and Stolen Into Slavery Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin
40 Day Journey With Parker J Palmer, Henry F. French
Food, Kathlyn Gay
Rookie Yearbook One
One Dead Spy, Nathan Hale
So, You Want To Be A Writer? Vicki Hambleton
Moonbird, Phillip M. Hoose
It's Not All Black and White
They Stood Alone! Sandra McLeod Humphrey
The Giant and How He Humbugged America, Jim Murphy
Outcasts United, Warren St. John
The Great Molasses Flood, Deborah Kops
The Where, The Why, And The How, Matt LaMothe
Consent of the Networked, Rebecca MacKinnon
The Adventures Of Deadwood Dick, Pat McKissack
Iceberg, Right Ahead! Stephanie Sammartino McPherson
Unusual Creatures, Michael Hearst
Forensic Identification, Elizabeth A. Murray
Buffalo Bird Girl, S. D. Nelson
Steve Jobs Thinking Differently, Patricia Lakin
Discovering Wes Moore, Wes Moore
Lincoln's Last Days, Bill O'Reilly
Hand In Hand, Andrea Davis Pinkney
Beyond Courage and Helen's Big World, Doreen Rappaport
Paris in Color, Nicole Robertson
The Pregnancy Project, Gaby Rodrigues
Go, Go, Grapes! April Pulley Sayre
People Who Said No, Laura Scandiffio
Bomb, Steve Sheinkin
Seymour Simon's Extreme Earth Records, Seymour Simon
Swell, Evan Slater
Stars in the Shadows, Charles R. Smith
Discovering Black America, Linda Tarrant-Reid
Their Skeletons Speak, Sally M. Walker
Too Big To Know, David Weinberger

Science Fiction/Fantasy
The White Forest, Adam McOmber
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern