Defining Sanity and Humanity

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I’ve been away from my blog for some time. Knowing it exists, and that I would return, was always a comforting thought. I am pages from completing a fascinating, enlightening, true story and could wait, no longer, to share it.
I am grappling with the term “forever changed” by this book. Instead, I think it is more accurate, in my own case, to say “finally aware” or “forever defined”.
This is a firsthand story of a brain scientist’s stroke. There is a wealth of science about symptoms and perceptions, from the victim’s view. It is an essential part of the story and, really, not hard to learn and appreciate but the overall message and “insight” into the human psyche will “blow you away”!
We are a single being which operates, through our world, by using two separate, yet connected, brain hemispheres. The story exposes the purpose and function of those hemispheres in enlightening detail. The author’s conclusions about the necessity for both to function in unison in order to offer a life “rich” in a common conscientiousness are extraordinary, possibly, life changing.
As I read this book, I was thankful for my years with children for my primarily hopeful perspective about living “in the moment”. Jill Bolte Taylor hits the “nail on the head”, in my opinion, about how much of our own happiness is a matter of how we CHOSE to perceive the world. Embracing how ordinary events make us “feel” (emotionally and physiologically) just may be the biggest tool in the counteracting of everyday depression and sadness.
The author does not disregard the fact that our mental health is subject to chemical reactions beyond our control. The awareness that we CAN control much of it, though, (beyond brain damage and illness) offers a primer in a more fulfilling, happy, existence.
Incidentally, the carefree, forgiving, nature of man’s best friend seems to further explain why our Left Brains (containing speech and ego) can be our worst enemy if left to control too much of our time. On the other hand, who wants children, or dogs, making critical decisions?
As with everything we learn about life, balance is the best medicine.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the wisdom between the covers of this book!

  • How to recognize a stroke.
  • How to treat stroke victims.
  • The recuperative power of sleep.
  • How our brains interpret the world.
  • The importance of patience and kindness.

I give this book 11 stars out of 10.

Classic Comedy~ Spaceballs

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If you are a sci-fi fan,there’s a good chance that Spaceballs is a comedy favorite in your library. This Mel Brooks classic is a personal favorite and one of the most, campfire-side chat, quotable films likely to produce “spit takes” while sipping on beer. If you enjoy “spoofdom”, this is a must see. Rick Moranis is hilarious but the cast also includes, the immortal, John Candy. This movie is not for children because it contains some adult language and humor. I’ll let the sampling of scenes, below, speak for themselves.

Book Review ~ The Lost Mother

I have already mentioned that my vacation (last week) was less than wonderful due to relentless heat and humidity, yet, I keep finding wonderful snippets rising, like cream, to the surface of my memory of it.

I read a gripping story while perspiring in a shady spot. This was another of my “browsing for books off of the library shelf” finds. I thoroughly enjoyed this story as I laughed, cried and bit my lip in anger. The sweltering heat and humidity did not exist for me while I was immersed in this tale of hard times for two children during the Great Depression. The overall theme of the powerlessness of children to direct their own lives could be applied to any time period, though, and reminds us that the blessing of family and loved ones is not necessarily afforded to everyone.

The story does have a superb ending after a roller coaster ride that envelopes the reader and makes this book unable to be put down. Just when things couldn’t get worse, they do, in a totally believable way. Not unlike To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lost Mother is told primarily through the vulnerable mind and naive heart of a twelve year old named Thomas. His hopes and sorrows become the reader’s. Tears streaked my face as the story concluded with a few surprises …I intend to read more of Mary Mc Garry Morris’ work.

Book Review~Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

I am reading the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. It is the first nonfiction for our book club and I am facilitating it at our June meeting.

Psychology is, in the famous words of Mr. Spock, fascinating. This book is very well written. It is a gripping journey into our instinctual selves. The clip above, kept coming to my mind. If you didn’t know already, in my opinion, everything I need to know about life can be found in Star Trek. I couldn’t find the longer clip that I desired for this post. It goes on to have the Captain tell Spock that he is thrilled that Spock was willing to guess in order to guide the ship home safely. Spock is then told by Dr. McCoy that the captain trusts Spock’s guesses more than most people’s facts.

Many of us have disregarded our instincts in favor of study and contemplation. The book points out that our instincts, even when we cannot explain them, often can guide us better.

There are exceptions, especially when are psyche is drawing upon stereotypes. An interesting chapter deals with racial and gender stereotypes. Overall, the” judging a book by its cover”saying is put to the test over and over.

I have yet to finish the book but already recommend it to anyone who also has an interest in the human experience.

Kids Book Review- Mrs. McTats and her Houseful of Cats

I had my granddaughter staying with me this weekend. We went to the local library and chose a few books for her to enjoy. We sat outdoors on a lovely Saturday and enjoyed the warm sun in the company of books.

My favorite of our choices was “Mrs.  Mc Tats and her Houseful of Cats”.

It had rhyming text. THAT always make reading fun. It was also very humorous. THAT also makes reading fun.

The artwork illustrations were very charming and gave the book a lot of character.

Mrs. Mc Tats has a ritual of leaving her cozy cottage each morning to go to market. After choosing  something to bring home for dinner, she repeatedly finds new cats scratching at her door. She welcomes them and names them. As the story develops, she ends up with twenty-five cats all with names starting with consecutive letters of the alphabet. The last letter begins the  name of a surprise 26th visitor at her door.

Katherine enjoyed the repeated sing-song rhyming and surprises. She especially enjoyed the illustrations. She read it almost all by herself, once she became familiar with the rhythm of the story.

As I read my own books, Kat read hers for much of our afternoon. I could tell that being a “reader” was giving her a lot of pleasure. I recommend Mrs. Mc Tats as a great” interest keeper” and a good beginning book for readers of 6 years old. I also recommend being a reader yourself and inspiring this joy in kids through example.

Kids Book Review

I started remembering special books that my own kids enjoyed and decided to share them. Alfie Gets in First was a big favorite that I had forgotten. The beautiful illustrations accentuate a short story about a little boy who accidentally locks himself inside of his house. His Mom offers encouragement through the door as he solves this BIG problem.

I will be ordering this to share with my granddaughter. I highly recommend it to you!