Posted by: bree1972 | April 5, 2012

Journal Day – 4/6/2012

Journal Day!  That’s when I’ve got a bunch of topics to talk about, but none of them will take much more than a paragraph to cover.  Here goes!

Kay and Joe Update

I talked with Kay and Joe’s daughter Donna this week, and the reunion at the assisted living home in Atlanta was a beautiful thing to witness.  Donna had Kay wait in Joe’s room while she went to get her dad and rolled him down the hall.  Donna said when they entered the room, and Joe looked up and saw Kay, his face lit up the whole room.  Lots of hugging followed, along with a few tears all around.  What a blessing these two are back together again and can begin this new phase of their lives.

March is Over – Yeah!

I went to switch the kitchen calendar over to April the other day and found myself looking at the March page with wide eyes.

How ridiculous is this! Thirty-one days in the month and only eight are blank. We weren't this busy when we worked full-time! I said to myself, "Self, April is going to be a lot better." Then I flipped the April page up, and . . .

. . . a third of the month is already committed - and it's only April 4. I mentioned this to Ted, and he said, "Oh, baby, it keeps us young!" "Yeah," I muttered, "right up until the moment we drop from exhaustion!" Then I started looking the pages over, trying to decide if I really wanted to "drop" any of those commitments - working with Bear, doctors & dentist appointments for Ted, Bear, Maddie and me that keep us healthy, biking and lifting weights for Ted, visits from family and friends . . . nope - wouldn't give any of them up. So I smiled and said a little thank you prayer that we love everything we're doing in our retirement . . . and then jokingly asked if the good Lord would consider adding a few more days in each month.

Impromptu Picnic

We love river living, and one thing we miss by being gone in the summers are the spur-of-the-moment “let’s spend the day on the lake” days.  But this year summer is already here, and last week Sally and Ed called and said, “Let’s go out on the boat!”  It took us maybe three minutes to get ready, get in the truck, and head up the road to their house.

Eight of us rode the ri’vah for two hours or so and then stopped at the Bottom (which was closed) for an impromptu picnic on their dock.  Ted and I didn’t know about the food part of this trip, so we came empty-handed.  But as is so often the case, there was enough food for an army, and nobody went hungry.

A beautiful afternoon, a fun boat ride, yummy food and good friends! Just your typical day at the ri'vah.

Trying to tie up at Ed and Sally's dock without getting impaled by that huge fishing pole.

You Should Have Seen the One That Got Away!

The little park next to our house has been crazy busy the past week – boats putting in, people fishing on the dock at all hours of the day and night, golf carts running back and forth . . . we knew folks were catching fish!

One of our neighbors brought in this 26 lb. Appaloosa Catfish last week. Lots of good eatin' there, but we've seen Appaloosa more than twice that size come out of the ri'vah.

Girls Night Out

Girls Night Out at the Bottom is growing every month! On Wednesday we had lots of goodies to look at - decorative signs for doors and docks and yards. Most of them were snatched up and taken home by the GNO girls, or orders were placed in different colors. What fun!

Books – We’ve Got Books!

I promised books tonight, and man, have we got books!  I want to go ahead and apologize right now because I got a suggestions from three blog readers and mistakenly deleted one of them before copying down the info.  Please forgive.

From blog reader Nancy Rautmann:  Nancy is on a “read it again” kick.  She’s just reread “The Hunger Games” trilogy and is liking them even more the second time.  I haven’t read a single one – probably the only person in the world who can say that – but I do have them on my list.  Nancy also recommends anything by Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Plum.

From blog reader Barbara Blem:  Barb’s enjoying “An Hour Before Daylight (Memories of a Rural Boyhood)” by Jimmy Carter.  Written in 2001, it tells of Carter’s life in the rural south in the 30’s.  It’s well-written and gives insight into the life of the Georgia peanut farmer who became President of the United States.  She especially enjoyed reading about life on the farm, in all its beauty and sadness.

From blog reader Georgette RyanGeorgette shared that she’d recommend “Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford; “The Beach House” and “Swimming Lessons”, both by Mary Alice Monroe; and You Know When the Men are Gone by Siobham Fallon.

From daughter Julie:  “Those Who Save Us” by Jenna Blum.  The book jacket description reads: For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy’s sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald. Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother’s life. Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, “Those Who Save Us” is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

From friend Jane Winston:  Abraham Verghese’s “Cutting for Stone”, which chronicles the life stories of twin brothers, born of the secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon.  Orphaned by their mother’s death at their birth and their father’s disappearance, the two are bound together by a preternatural connection and a sacred fascination with medicine.  The twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.  Moving between Addis Ababa and New York City, this is an unforgettable story of love, betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles – and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.

From Island Bookstore friends:  Did you know that you can go to and find out what all your favorite Island Bookstore employees are reading?  I just discovered this from Jill this week!  Just go to the website, scroll down to “Staff Favorites” on the right-hand side of the page, and there they are.  I won’t go into descriptions of the books, because you can find them by clicking each name, but I will add the list – by staff member.


  • Beneath’s the Lion’s Gaze – Maaza Mengiste
  • The Madonnas of Echo Park – Brando Skyhorse
  • The Butterfly’s Daughter – Mary Alice Monroe


  • Planet of the Apes – Pierre Boulle
  • Money Ball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game – Michael Lewis
  • Bossypants – Tina Fey
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
  • Atonement – Ian McEwan


  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski
  • The Mullah’s Storm – Tom Young
  • Silent Enemy – Tom Young
  • Burnt Mountain – Anne Rivers Siddons
  • The Swan Thieves – Elizabeth Kostova
  • Jacobson’s” I Miss It So!  The Story of a Michigan Fashion Institution – Bruce Allen Kopytek
  • 61 Hours: A Reacher Novel – Lee Child


  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris – David McCullough

Mary Jane

  • The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  • The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See – Richard Rohr
  • Unbroken – Lauren Hillenbrand
  • Once Upon a River – Bonnie Joe Campbell
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death and hope in Mumbai Undercity
  • Caleb’s Crossing – Geraldine Brooks


  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell
  • A Game of Thrones – A Song of Ice & Fire (Book I) – George R.R. Martin
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender


  • South of Superior – Ellen Airgood
  • The Lock Artist – Steve Hamilton
  • The Help – Kathryn Stockett

And finally – my list (see calendar above for why my reading list is very short):

  • “The Litigators” – John Grisham.  I haven’t enjoyed the last couple of Grisham books, but this one is much better and reminiscent of why I started reading Grisham years ago.  Two ambulance chasing attorneys – Finley & Figg – are always in search of their big break.  They’ve been together twenty-plus years and bicker like an old married couple, but they somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living.  Then change comes stumbling – literally – in the door in the person of David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, who walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm. With their new associate on board, the firm is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law.  I loved the courthouse strategies, the theatrics, and the suspense of this book.
  • “Until Tuesday” – Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan.  This book was suggested to me by a blog reader, and I’ve enjoyed every word (almost done).  It’s the true story of wounded and highly decorated veteran Montalvan, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and his service dog, Tuesday, a golden retriever (they had me at “golden”).  Tuesday is a wounded warrior also, and the two find salvation in each other.  “Until Tuesday” is about “war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration.  And it’s the story of the love between a man and a dog, and how they healed each other’s souls.”  You’ll cry, but they’re mostly happy tears.

I have a stack of books waiting also:

  • “Cutting for Stone” (I liked the sound of it when Jane described the plot)
  • “A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island” by Cara C. Putman.  Cara emailed and asked if I’d like an advance copy, and I said, “Of course!”.  Cara writes Christian fiction, and this book is set on my favorite island!  She’ll be signing the book at the Island Bookstore toward the end of July.
  • “No Buddy Left Behind” by Terri Crisp.  Many troops serving in the Middle East share life-altering relationships with stray dogs and cats they save from the brutalities of life in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Author Terri Crisp makes it her mission to get these soldiers’ “buddies” out of danger and bring them home to the people who love them.

Wow!  That should keep everyone busily reading through the summer!

Personal note:  The house fills up on Friday for Easter weekend, and I’ll just go ahead and say I won’t be writing a Monday blog.  Let’s plan on meeting back here on Tuesday instead.

Have a blessed Easter weekend.  Christ is risen!



  1. Have a wonderful blessed Easter. Enjoy and I’ll see you on Tuesday!

  2. My books to read list just became longer. I enjoyed Until Tuesday so much. I have a stack of index cards filled(one side, some both) filled with titles of books I want to read. Having spent 22 years as a media clerk in our high school I love to read books written for teens and young adults. When an order of books would come in the libraian and I always wanted all the books. I’m stilling giving her ideas or new titles to add to the library.
    Looks like a good time was had by all at Girls Night Out. I have one of those groups also. We’ve been friends since grade school. What fun we have.
    Enjoy your Easter weekend. Happy Easter.

  3. Brenda,

    Wow! That’s what I call a catfish. Wish I could have been there to eat a little of it. In my book, there’s nothing better than fried catfish. Speaking of books: Jill, I think Lee Child is the best mystery writer there is. I have two of his books waiting for me right now. “Echo Burning,” and “Persuader.” By the way, Brenda, should the quotation marks come after the comma and period, or before. I flunked punctuation, as you have, no doubt, noticed.

    The impromptu boat ride and picnic sounds like something I would have really enjoyed.

    Happy Easter to everyone.

    • Whichever way that quotation/comma thing goes, Lowell, I usually get it wrong. I should look that up.

  4. Most of all, Happy Easter!
    I read hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet last year and loved it! I highly recommend it, too. Some love story, some history, some parent/child relationsip, and a good read.
    Thanks for the heads up on a book about Jacobson’s! We had a branch here in Toledo, and we loved that store! Very classy, with really good sales and helpful clerks. A co-worker’s wife worked in ladies better dresses (MUCH better!) and waited on a lot of celebs coming through town. Sold a dress to Dorothy Hammil that DH wore to a tv event a week or so later. Fun!
    Glad you have the weather to enjoy the river more this spring. Happy boating!

  5. Hi Brenda & Bear, so glad your calendar is rich with pet therapy visits. Your Paws Patrol buddies love visiting with you, and will miss you when you head back north. Hugs, Happy Jack.

  6. I’ll have to look for the Jacobson’s book-thanks, Jill! I shopped there until they closed in Ann Arbor and many of the ‘Jacobson’s Ladies’ were regular customers at the restaurant I worked at. They’d come in every Friday for Happy Hour and order ice cream drinks. There were about 10 of them and I only had one blender behind the bar…I remember them very well!

  7. Hi Brenda, Happy Easter!
    Soooo glad Kay & Joe have been reunited! That is a blessing.

    I have a LIST now of books to call up for future reads too!

    Thanks for posting them all.

    FYI … in my travels this week I have seen Lilacs BLOOMED! Yes,,, I even stopped, backed up, got out of the truck to look, and yesssssssssssssss they are Lilacs! You best get up here woman! 😉

  8. Do you need books I have up the wasoo that my Mother left me. There in great condition.

    • Deb – that is so sweet of you to offer, but I’ve got books stacked up in every corner right now myself. Have you thought about donating them to the library? We do that at the end of each summer to the island library and again to our local library at the end of the year here in Georgia.

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