Monday, August 29, 2011

cheney's new book

I love, love, love this reader's comment following an article about Dick Cheney's new book:


Title of the book should have been:

"Dick Cheney -- a shining beacon of brilliant foreign policy strategic planning and all-around righteousness, filling the dark void of Washington ineptitude and cowardice" ... an objective, non-revisionist tome by that bastion of patriotic selflessness, Dick Cheney.

Available in the discounted fiction aisle wherever petty, vindictive hubristic autobiographies are sold.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

irene and joy

We all hunkered down in our homes to ride out the storm: I, in Eagleville, PA; my sister in Hoboken, NJ; and my father & stepmother in Allentown, PA. Irene came in softly at first, raining lightly for hours and hours on Saturday. That night, the winds blew, but not too badly.

I kept updating my Facebook wall. Friends posted messages of prayer and support that made me feel less worried. Many of my former students are now in their thirties and forties, with children of their own. A very few even have grandchildren! Keeping up with their lives brings me so much joy.

I went to bed at about 10 p.m. Saturday night and woke up during the night feeling sweaty and hot. I looked at the clock and realized that we had lost power. I tossed and turned for almost an hour, worrying about how I would cope without electricity and wondering how long it would be off. With no power, the lack of air conditioning caused the 100% humidity to steam up the place. I couldn't open the windows because of the rain. I listened to the wind softly singing and was glad it wasn't worse.

The power came back on at around 3:30 a.m. I turned the lights on and got up to celebrate. CNN was re-telling all of the accumulated stories of the storm, from North Carolina to Maryland. The network anchors also talked about all of the things that could go wrong in New York City. They played tapes of Mayor Bloomberg's speeches about the evacuation and preparation. My goodness, he really can talk and talk and talk! CNN said very little about Pennsylvania. I finally went back to bed at 6:00 a.m.

At 9:00 a.m., my cat, Joe, decided it was time for me to get up and started pestering me. I lasted 30 minutes and was defeated at 9:30 a.m. I knew there was a good chance that the Schuylkill River had flooded during the night because it had done so twice in the 13 months I have lived here. But I wasn't super concerned because it had never reached my building. So I actually started coffee, fed the cat and fixed breakfast before I went out on the balcony to look.

What I saw when I did finally look still boggles my mind. The water was very high and very deep and was much closer to my building than I had ever seen it. I got out my camera phone and started taking pictures. I ran up to the loft to check my email and found one from the apartment manager. She indicated that the river would not crest until 2 p.m.

I called my family. Everyone was okay. My sister's street in Hoboken was flooded and she had no power, but she was fine. All morning, I checked on the progress of the Schuylkill every 30 minutes or so. I could not believe how quickly it continued to rise. I wasn't worried since I live on the 5th and 6th floors, but it was amazing to watch!

I checked on various members of my management team. Everyone was fine. The river finally crested at almost 4 p.m. Thereafter, every time I peeked out, the water got lower and lower. I stopped worrying.

At 5:24 p.m., the welcome news came that one of my co-workers had given birth to a sweet baby boy, 8 pounds, 7 ounces, 21 inches long. Baby Chase had arrived! Wonderful excitement. They even sent me pictures! I quickly forwarded them to the whole management team. Excited responses came back from everyone.

What a wonderful end to a rather stressful two days!!! In the moment, as I celebrated the birth of that new baby, I thought what a wonderful example of the highs and lows of life these 48 hours had been: the anxiety of the approaching hurricane; the fear that accompanied the loss of power; the adrenalin that came with my first look at the flooding; the relief at seeing the waters beginning to recede; and the sheer joy that bubbled up with the news of Chase's birth.

Then, a few minutes ago, my phone rang. It was my older brother calling me from Rochester, New York. He had just been talking to our mother and she mentioned that we had survived Irene, so he called to check on me. My brother is a bit of a recluse and has probably called me less than ten times in the last thirty years. Usually, if I want to talk to him, I have to call him! So hearing his voice was a real balm at the close of this stormy weekend!

I feel so grateful to be alive and I feel so blessed by family and friends. No matter what happens, something joyous is just around the corner, waiting, giggling secretly, knowing it will make me smile and laugh. I look forward to all the times that joy will visit me in the future!!! I hope that you do too!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

list of titles

I haven't been able to trace the origin of this meme, but the idea is to bold the titles I have read and italicize the titles I have not read.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (I certainly can't claim I have read every word. I've read quite a bit!)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - read some, but not others...
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth.
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt.
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo