book

Car Nightmares

I was driving home last night around 7 pm. Of course it was already pitch dark. I was in the left lane of a one way street about two blocks from my apartment. I was at a stoplight. The light turned green and I moved forward. The next thing I knew the car on my right was turning left in front of me. It was one of those things where your brain can’t process it fast enough. I tried to turn left with it and I tried to stop but it drug me along. It was like they didn’t realize they were dragging me along because they kept going. It seemed like an age until they stopped. We weren’t going fast. Nobody was injured but my front right end is dented and scratched. And now I have the huge headache of dealing with it all, not to mention the money I will probably have to dole out. Ugh. 

The only other time I was in anything like an accident was the time I backed out of a parking space into a car I had not seen. Of course it turned out to be a little Porsche. They had a lot of damage but I had none. 

That was the highlight of my week…. not… Oh, yeah, plus I found out my car is “seeping” oil. Once they get to certain age, they turn on you.

In other news, I’m almost done reading the first book of the Raj Quartet about the fall of British rule in India. Historically speaking it is an interesting book. But very long. It rehashes the same story from many different perspectives in order to give the reader a full picture of the times. I’m not sure I want to dive into book two. Maybe later.

I’m watching Game of Thrones. Not sure what to say about that. I am addicted to it and can’t turn away but I don’t really like any of the characters. Who knew there could be so many sadists. As soon as I start rooting for somebody they get killed. There is one interesting thing about it, tho. The strongest characters all seem to be women. Not really all that surprising. But the really funny thing is the author of the book, of this book, all about killing and torture, was a conscientious objector during the Viet Nam war. He apparently said the Grateful Dead’s music may have influenced his work and that Trump is like a grown up King Joffrey (who was universally hated). Anyway, fantasy isn’t real, right?

I have been going to this Greek restaurant at Lake and Lyndale in Minneapolis ever since the 1980’s. Back then it was small and crowded. By the 2000 teens it had expanded, added a patio, and the food was bad. After about three years of avoiding it, we went back there last night (before the accident). The food was GOOD. I had a very delicate and tasty spanakopita for an appetizer and then some nice chicken kebob with rice and warm pita. Couldn’t have been better.

I’m going to paint my kitchen cupboards this week. Wish me luck.

Motivation

Zero degrees F this morning. But nice and sunny. Winter. 

I’m still trying to get Medicare squared away. Two days left in January. Fingers crossed. Everybody you speak to tells you something different. Seems like that happens a lot these days.

I watched the The Banshees of Inisherin the other night. It is nominated for Best Picture this year. That doesn’t always mean it is all that great. But I liked it. It was a little strange and a little sad. Just sad. Not depressing. I visited the island a few years ago. The movie portrays life on the island as I had imagined it. Just a few people with not much to do. Isolated. My impression: “On the island we wandered around the ruins, the farmland, the town, the coast. It was beautiful in a kind of eerie way. I saw more farm animals than people.”

Martin O’Direain was an Irish poet from the Aran Islands. He moved to Galway when he was 18, and eventually ended up in Dublin.

The Late Spring
by Máirtín Ó Direáin

A man cleaning the clay
From the tread of a spade
In the subtle quiet
of the sultry days
 Melodious the sound
 In the late Spring
 
A man bearing
A creel-basket on account of,
The red seaweed
Shining
In the sun’s brightness
On the stony beach
  Lustrous vista
  In the late Spring
 
Women in the lake
In the lowest tide
their coats drawn up
reflections down below them
  peaceful restful vision
  In the late Spring
 
weak, hollow beating
of the oars
currach full of fish
coming to the quay
over the golden sea
       at the end of the day
       in the late Spring,

The book I’m reading this week is The Tin Man by Sarah Winman. It is about love, friendship and things that might have been. It jumps from past to present to past and is sparse on punctuation. It tells the story from two different perspectives. It is engaging.

This is the week of getting things done. Car oil change, taxes, dusting. Going to the gym. Re-booting myself. Going shopping. Buying art supplies. Getting paint to brighten up my kitchen cabinets. Sorting out my closet and bookcases. Projects projects project. Motivation!

But first I must finish my book…..

Friday in the Snow

I retired, had a great retirement party, and immediately came down with a cold. Fortunately not Covid. I hadn’t been sick in a couple of years. At the beginning of Covid I bought tons of cold remedies so I would be prepared but I never got sick. When I did get sick, they had all expired. 

Now ten days later, I feel human again. Battling the system. I have yet another Social Security meeting next week. Medicare eludes me. Now the country has run out of money, by the time I get my Medicare sorted it will probably be defunded.

On the brighter side… we got another six inches of snow and I haven’t seen the sun in a while. Next winter I’m going to have to go to South America for the duration. My brother took off for New Zealand the other day. Lucky him.

Retirement. I have so many things on my to do list, I am actually feeling overwhelmed. Where to start? What to do first? Maybe it is an excuse to do nothing. I’ve been sick. I need to just take some time off and do nothing, right? Domestic chores continue to mount up. When you retire, you still have to do laundry and dishes and clean the bathroom. Really? Doesn’t seem right.

I was gifted this book called The Catch Me If You Can by Jessica Nabongo. She is the first recorded Black Woman to visit all 195 countries in the world. She did most of them in about two years. In the book she takes about 100 countries and writes a page or two about them. It gives you a snapshot, a quick anecdote, a favorite moment. She is an entrepreneur. She invented herself. Blog, travel, travel agency, promotion, London School of Economics, jobs in Japan and Benin, Ted Talk, writer. She also sells home goods, jewelry, travel accessories through a website called The Catch (although they seem to be not taking orders at the moment). One of those people who does it all and makes it look easy and seamless. The book is beautiful with lots of great photos. I don’t think I’m going to Catch her, I have like 150 countries to go.

My cousin’s husband just started a blog about his travels around the USA, either by motorcycle or camper, and all the people he meets along the way. He calls it America is a beautiful thing .   

Here are a couple of snapshots a la Catch Me If You Can…

Argentina five years ago:

As we flew into Ushuaia airport I could tell the pilot was having to do some maneuvering swooping down in-between the mountains and dealing with the heavy winds. A province of Argentina, Tierra del Fuego is an island that sits at the southernmost tip of South America. Ushuaia, its capital, is on the Beagle Channel about half-way between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, 620 miles from Antarctica. The meeting of the two oceans along with the mountainous terrain creates a strange weather pattern. It was usually very windy and could rain, be sunny, be stormy, windy raining, all within the same hour. It never rained for long and usually not very heavily. We could be out walking in the rain and never feel wet. 

Once we hit the ground, I started to cry. It had taken me more than thirty years to get there but I was finally there. It was an amazing feeling. And the beauty of it did not disappoint, it was even more beautiful than I had imagined. The light and color was like nothing I had seen before. The area was dominated by snow covered mountains all around. Before arriving I had been worried that the excursions I had reserved would be cancelled because the weather forecast called for rain every day. I soon realized, rain meant nothing in Ushuaia. Life went on no matter what the weather was. One of our tour guides said the only people carrying umbrellas in Ushuaia were tourists. Because of the winds, umbrellas were useless.

Egypt one year ago: Valley of the Kings

Then we wound up the hill into the valley where the tombs were hidden. One reason they picked this area is the mountain is naturally shaped like a pyramid. Only twelve of the 63 discovered tombs are open to the public at any given time and they are alternated as they are worked on and restored. We saw four of them. The whole area was still being actively excavated. Some tombs were in better shape than others. King Tutankhamun’s tomb was the only one that still had a mummy in it and it will be moved soon. It is hard to describe the experience, it was beyond beautiful so amazing to think how old they are. 

I read all the Amelia Peabody books by Egyptologist Barbara Mertz aka Elizabeth Peters that span the time from 1884-1923. She wrote 20 books based in Egypt mostly about archeologists digging around and solving mysteries. As I read them, I kept trying to imagine what the Valley of the Kings actually looked like back then, or even now. All I could imagine was a vast desert with nothing much else. Well, now I know.

Have a great week!

Friday Before next year…

Almost 2023. Very odd. Time is a very strange thing. When you are young it can’t move fast enough. Then it just sort of stalls for a while. As people start getting married and having children and busy jobs.. it speeds up. And in a blink of an eye, the children are off to college and doing their own thing. The job either slows down or overcomes you. Or burns you out. And then time just warps. It becomes unpredictable. It breaks down into segments. The day could be long but the week could be short. Unpredictable. 

This week I read Travel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller. She is watching her father die in a hospital in Budapest. Actually in Buda. Her parents were on vacation when he collapsed. Alexandra flew from the USA to help her mother and be with her father. It took him ten days to die. In that time she flashes back on his life and on her life. He was English but moved to South Africa at a young age. She was born and raised in South Africa. Or I should say Southern Africa. She lived through the war that converted Rhodesia into Zimbabwe. 

I enjoyed the book. She writes well and her family is full of interesting characters. She has written several books, mostly about her childhood. She has not had an easy life, but an interesting one.

Years ago we had a tradition of having cheese fondue and ratatouille, usually on New Year’s Eve. This year I was craving cheese fondue. I ate it on Christmas Eve. Couldn’t wait. It was yummy. It goes really well with ratatouille.

Ratatouille

Peel, Slice and salt to get rid of excess moisture:
2 1/2 cups diced eggplant

Put in a deep skillet:
1/3 cup olive oil

Sauté until golden:
¾ cup thinly sliced onions  (red or yellow)
2 cloves garlic

Add:
4 thinly sliced green peppers
3 cups zucchini, cut into cubes
2 cups chopped tomatoes
Add the drained eggplant.

Sprinkle the mixture with:
Olive oil

Add:
½ teaspoon oregano and 1 teaspoon basil

Simmer covered over low heat about 45 minutes.
Uncover and continue to heat 15 minutes longer to reduce the mount of liquid

Add:
Salt and fresh pepper

Serve hot or cold with sour cream.

I have also had it with lamb chops and mashed potatoes and it is delicious.

Happy New Year!!

Quick year in review

The day after Friday

My sense of time has been all messed up this week. All day Thursday I thought it was Wednesday. And my weekend plans were looking like a distant future. Yet, here we are. The day after Friday. Dark and snowing. I’m looking forward to December 21, when it starts getting light again. 

The Winter Solstice. I am reminded of my trip to Ireland a few years back. We visited New Grange, a Neolithic period World Heritage Site. At New Grange there is one large mound built built 5,000 years ago, before the Pyramids of Egypt or Stonehenge in England. It is an incredible display of engineering, not to mention beautiful and kind of eerie. Everybody who visits is required to join a tour. We were led into the mound for a demonstration of how the Winter Solstice lights up the cave-like structure. It is something I would like to see for real sometime. It was very cool. I am not a fan of small tight spaces and almost didn’t go in but luckily we weren’t in there very long so I didn’t have time to panic.

I decided I was not going to watch Harry and Meghan on Netflix. But I gave in and watched it. I can’t resist some good gossip. Only the first three episodes are available. The rest come out next week. Such a tease. It hasn’t changed my opinion of them but it was well done. They spend a lot of time going into English history and the Commonwealth and the slave trade and diversity and unconscious bias and mixed race. And of course the relationship the Royal family have with the press. Rather dysfunctional. Bottom line really is “who cares” but interesting none the less. Rich people’s problems….

Years ago I read the Nero Wolfe mystery series by Rex Stout. Nero Wolfe is a private detective who lives in a brownstone in Manhattan. He has a greenhouse on the roof where he grows orchids. He drinks beer and has a private gourmet chef. He is very fat. His assistant Archie Goodwin does all the legwork for him. Nero mostly drinks beer and thinks. The meals Fritz, the chef, prepares are described in detail and in 1973, the Nero Wolfe Cookbook was published. Rex Stout wrote 33 Nero Wolfe novels. After his death in 1975, Robert Goldsborough continued the series and published as recently as 2021. Apparently Rene Magritte was a fan of Nero Wolfe and titled several of his paintings after the books. When the League of Frightened Men was published in French it became Les Compagnons de al Peur (the companions of fear). Magritte painted the Companions of Fear in response to the Nazi occupation of Brussels (1940). It is a very different painting than what I normally think of when I am thinking about Magritte.

Les Compagnons de la Peur, Renee Magritte, 1942

So the whole point of this long explanation is, I just started reading the first novel in the series again, The League of Frightened Men. It holds up surprisingly well. 

The Promenades of Euclid, Renee Magritte, 1955 (one of my favorites)

In an Opinion piece in the New York Times this week the phrase “it is what it is” is described as: “It relieves you of coming to a conclusion, forming an opinion, developing an action plan — and even worse, tries to be cute about it.” “It marks an intellectual and moral surrender”. The writer loathes the expression even as he continues to use it. I, on the other hand, like the expression. For me it feels like something a good buddhist would say. Let it be. You can’t do anything about it. It is what it is. Let it go. Why do you need to form an opinion or develop an action plan about everything? Calm the f*** down!

Have a great week!

Friday’s Thoughts

October 14, 2022: First snow. Pretty early for that. 33 degrees F. this morning.

Angela Lansbury died this week. I spent years watching endless murders in small northeastern towns with her solving every single one of them. She was very good at it.

I’m reading a Dan Brown book – Inferno. You know Dan Brown, he wrote the DaVinci Code. Tom Hanks starred in the movie. I think Tom Hanks was in Angels and Demons as well. As I read the book, I picture Tom Hanks racing around looking for clues. But the thing I really love about the book is that the first half is set in Florence and then they move on to Venice. He races around Florence through the Boboli Gardens to the Pitti Palace and across the Ponte Vecchio and out into the Piazza della Signora. Then he works his way over to the Baptistery of St John next the grand Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. All places I have been to and remember fondly. I’m right there with him. And then to Venice where I remember standing in the middle of St Mark’s Square and a pigeon landed on my head. I hate pigeons to this day.

Øresund Bridge Credit: Amjad Sheikh

The New York Times had an article this week – 36 Hours in Stockholm. I read it with interest because I am toying with the idea of going there for just a couple of days. The article seemed reasonable enough. Museum, gallery, food, night life, shopping, parks, food, parks, more food. I always like to read the comments. A lot of them were not complementary. They listed all the things left out. The blandness of the country. The immigration problems. The crime. The lack of crime. And of course, the article failed to mention the Abba Museum. How could that be? I must admit none of it really lured me in. But I do live in Minnesota, so….  Probably not all that different. I might fly to Malmo and take a train across the 16 km Øresund Bridge to Copenhagen. Now that sounds like fun.

Speaking of food, I have my favorite Indian restaurants around town but last night I tried a new one called Spice and Tonic. I love pakoras so we ordered some vegetable pakoras to start with. They brought us paneer pakoras by mistake. They let us have the paneer pakoras for free and brought the vegetable ones a bit later. A pakora is like a fritter. The vegetable is mixed into a batter of chickpea flour, spices and water and then deep fat fried so it is crunchy on the outside. My friend kept calling them critters. But the paneer pakoras were not a hit with me. Paneer is the home-made cheese often used for Indian dishes. This was a long tube of paneer, battered and fried. It was just too much. Maybe if it had been made up into smaller pieces, I would have liked it better. We ordered Chicken Makhani, Chicken Tikka Masala, Vegetable Curry, and Garlic Naan. They were all delicious.

Friday Contemplation

Shenandoah National Park

So, we had our first freeze this week. A chill is in the air. Fall is my favorite time of year. Funny thing since I grew up in places where there was no fall. Maybe that’s why I like it. All the leaves turning. Pumpkin pie. Adding a jacket. Digging out the boots. Finding the scarves and hats. I probably need a new pair of gloves. When I lived in Virginia I always tried to make it out to the Shenandoah mountains for the fall colors. Now I trek to the river and all the parks along it.

I read an article titled twelve easy ways to switch off after work. Not one of them said, have a vodka. Guess I’ve been doing it wrong…

Pulled from the bookshelf… Western Wind, An Introduction to Poetry. It must have been somebody’s textbook. The first half goes through all the different kinds of poetry but the second half is an anthology.

Against Poets (by Alan Shapiro)

Golden leaves,
Russet leaves
Detach, float, spin
by the thousands,
Singly.

Charged with meaning
By poets,
Used as metaphor
For decline, loss.
Separation.

The poets
Come between us
And the leaves
In their meaningless
Beauty

This month my book club read a Young Adult book – The Genius Under the Table by Eugene Yeltsin. It is written in first person by a young Jewish boy growing up in Leningrad (St Petersburg), Russia. Eugene Yeltsin grew up in Leningrad and emigrated to the USA in 1983. The book takes place about 1974. His mother works for the famous ballet school linked to the Marinsky theater where Barishnikov danced. Spoiler alert – he defects. It is probably an accurate telling of life in Russia in those times. It was easy to read and entertaining.

Season 10 of Doc Martin comes out shortly. Something to look forward to. Since it is the last season I expect there to be some twists and turns.

I haven’t made this in ages. Looks really good…

Greek Lamb and Spinach Phyllo Pie

1 lb ground lamb
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup tomato sauce
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
8 (9X14 inch) sheets frozen phyllo, thawed

6 servings

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray 9 inch pie plate with nonstick spray. (Here I use olive oil.)

Filling:

Cook lamb and onion in a skillet with a little olive oil until lamb is done.
Add: Garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper.
Stir to mix well.
Add tomato sauce and simmer until thickened – about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in spinach and feta. Add egg whites (whole egg).

Lay 1 phyllo sheet in the pie plate; lightly spray with nonstick spray (brush with melted butter). Keep remaining phyllo covered with damp paper towel (dish towel) and plastic wrap (not needed) to keep it from drying out. Repeat with 3 of the remaining phyllo sheets, placing corners at different angles and lightly spraying each sheet with nonstick spray (melted butter).

Spoon filling into the crust.

Top filling with remaining 4 phyllo sheets, repeating layering and spraying with nonstick spray (butter). Roll up edges of phyllo toward center to form 1 ½ inch wide rim.

Bake until phyllo is golden brown 30-35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Cut into 6 wedges.

Friday Random Thoughts

Twenty five years ago this week I woke up in my apartment in Moscow, Russia to the BBC announcing a car crash in Paris. Princess Diana was rushed to hospital. I ran to the living room and turned on CNN or BBC or whatever. She was soon declared dead. It was sad and shocking.

Another death this week made me sad. It was only after Mikhail Gorbachev instigated Perestroika and the Soviet Union started to fall apart did we realize we would be able to move to Russia. It had always been my husband’s dream to go live there and Gorbie made that possible. He was the hero of the day. In 1990 I was living on Capitol Hill in D.C. and I had an image of Gorbie in my car window. The hand was on a spring so it actually waved. It was awesome. Three years later I was living in Moscow.

You get the idea…. (these are available on Amazon)

Gorbie did a lot to change the world. I don’t think it turned out the way he had hoped it would but he did make a positive difference. Now, of course, Mr Putin is trying to undo it all. There was an excellent obit in the New York Times this week.

I was reading this weird book that just seemed to be going on and on. It takes place in an airport lounge. One guy is telling a story to another guy. They went to college together but didn’t really know each other well. It feels like Mr. A just wanted to unload on somebody and Mr. B just happened to be there. So the story went on an on about how Mr. A saved a guy from drowning and then he became obsessed with the guy only to find out he probably should not have bothered. Anyway, the book is Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson. The Washington Post compares the author to Tom Ripley – “spinning a mesmerizing yarn”. To be honest I wasn’t mesmerized. I suppose if I was feeling more philosophical I could analyze my way through it and read all kinds of existential stuff into it but frankly I didn’t care enough. I skipped to the end. 

I guess I have not been paying too much attention lately but heard recently that there is another NASA space ship scheduled for the Moon. The plan is to establish a presence on the Moon in preparation of sending astronauts to Mars. It will be called Artemis Base Camp. In Greek mythology, Artemis was a lunar deity and goddess of the hunt. I found another book on my shelf “Russians in Space” that tells about the first manned space trip. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin was sitting in a rocket ship getting ready for this historic journey.

“Before the actual liftoff, Korolev, Kamanin and the first future cosmonauts gathered around the communications station to talk with Gagarin. One used call-sign Zarya.

Zarya: Well everything is normal It’s all going according to schedule. On the machine, everything is going fine.
Gagarin: How about the medical data? Is my heart beating?
Zarya. Your pulse rate is 64, and your respiration is 24. Everything is normal.
Gagarin: Roger. So my heart is beating.
Korolev: How are you feeling?
Gagarin: I’m not worried. I feel fine. How are you feeling? Tell the doctors that my pulse is normal.

At 9:07 am they had lift-off. He spent 108 minutes in space. He commented on how dark the night was and how bright the stars. How blue the earth was.

“At 9:51 when the spacecraft emerged from the earth’s shadow the automatic orientation system went into action. It sought out the sun and ‘locked on’ it to orient the ship. As the sun’s rays came through the earth’s atmosphere, the horizon turns bright orange, then gradually shaded through all the hues of the rainbow, to light blue, dark blue, violet, and even black. Gagarin asked himself: ‘Where have I seen such a combination of colors?’ And then he remembered: on the canvases of Nicholas Roerich and Rockwell Kent.”

At 10:55 the space ship plowed into a field and Gagarin landed by parachute near by. The farm workers gathered around in amazement. Gagarin was in very good spirits.

I received my Snow Emergency pamphlet from the St Paul Public Works today. Apparently St Paul plows more than 1,800 lane miles during the first 24 hours of a snow emergency. They compare it to a trip from St Paul to Anaheim, CA. I have to admit they do a pretty good job. I have lived in places where they do a terrible job (Washington DC).

Looks like a touch of orange is already here.

Random Friday Thoughts

It’s Friday. Another week slipped by. I found a website that is unfortunately no longer active but it is still accessible. It is called TCK Town Magazine. It has five years’ worth of TCK stories. They are well written and engaging.  And if you are a TCK you will definitely relate. 

It is hard for me to think about being in the middle of a draught when I am surrounded by 10,000 plus lakes but there you have it. We have been in a draught. And now it has rained twice this week. Everybody is very happy. I’m happy because it has cooled down a lot. 

I came across a book called The New Russian Poets 1953-68. My house is full of such things. I usually ignore them but I saw this one and I didn’t ever remember seeing it before so I picked it up just to take a look. I actually found a poem I liked by Yevgeny Vinokurov: 

And In A World 

And in a world, where all is frontier, 
All merely boundary and barrier, 
You are, fathomless infinity, 
At least a consolation. 
…There’s a gleam of blue that shines 
Through a crack in the barn wall – 
Here already is your witness: that 
Not everything is so plain and flat. 

Sitting next to it on the shelf was The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I had never seen it before either. It looks like something I would enjoy. I’m going to put it aside for a read later. 

Shifting gears… I recently came across a postcard of a tour my family took in Tokyo. My brother told me we were in Tokyo twice and took tours each time. I dug around and found some more Tokyo photos. It is clear we were different ages. He also gave me a pin he had that the tour group gave out. I looked up the JTB company and it is still going strong.

This first group must have been from 1959.

These two photos are from 1962. You can see that it says “Pigeon Bus Tours”. Hato is “pigeon” in Japanese and stands for peace. These bus tours started in 1949, and have been very successful showing close to a million tourists around each year.

Happy Friday.

Week in Review

Hastings, MN

Did you see it now costs $200 per day above and beyond the regular expenses of accommodation, transportation, guides to visit Bhutan? Will make for a pricey trip. Although I guess you no longer have to go with a guided tour. It is on my bucket list. Have you been there?

I heard a song on the radio the other day that I really liked. It was by Orville Peck. I think he sounds like a cross between Roy Orbison and Jonny Cash. But some say he is reminiscent of Elvis. Anyway, I bought his second album, Bronco. He has kind of a cowboy theme. Orville Peck is an alias/persona for Daniel Pitout. He is South African but left when he was 15 and moved to London and then to Canada. His voice is amazing. 

My internet is out. I love the way you have to go onto the internet to find out if the internet is out. Luckily my cell service was working so I could go on the internet on my phone to my internet service provider’s website for it to tell me the internet is out. Now I have to wait for them to text me to let me know it is working again. I wonder if I will really actually get a text. (I did!) Life is full of surprises. Actually life was much simpler before the internet. It was one less thing to worry about. When it first appeared, I wondered what anybody would do with it. Why would people need something that just looked things up? I suppose it is like any new thing. Once you get used to it you wonder how you ever lived without it. I look things up every five minutes now. 

A young TCK (third culture kid) has written a book about the trials and tribulations of being a TCT (Third Culture Teen), something she apparently coined. I listened to a podcast of her being interviewed. She is Korean and lived in China and other places and went to college in the USA. Interesting that she mostly went to American Schools when she was growing up and identified with Americans and thought she knew about American culture even though she never lived there but when she actually got to the USA, she was clueless. It sounds like a pretty common problem to me, whether you are Korean or American (TCK). Anyway her book is called The Third Culture Teen, In Between Cultures, In Between Life Stages by Jiwon Lee (on Amazon).

Buh-bye to Boris (Johnson). I will miss his hairdo….

Speaking of music… I watched a good documentary on Amazon Prime about Los Tigres Del Norte. Four brothers left their home in Sinaloa, Mexico after their father was shot in the spine. They could not afford an operation so they needed to earn money for the family. They were playing in restaurants wherever they could and in Mexicali they ran into a man who took them to San Jose, California and introduced them to a record distributor. They seemed to have very good luck as well as being talented. Their style is “norteño” music and their lyrics are about the immigrant, the workers, the down trodden. Later they also wrote about the drug traffickers and the movers of contraband. Their concerts could last for six hours or more. They have released 50 albums and received five Grammy awards. They are still going strong and plan to keep going as long as they are able. They are all naturalized US citizens now.

When I went to San Francisco in May, we walked all through Chinatown and I bought some gifts for my great niece and nephew. I went over to their house last night for dinner and to give them their presents. I was greeted by the four year old boy who was very excited about an episode of the dragon cartoon they were watching. So I enjoyed a couple of episodes of dragon adventures. When I was getting ready to leave he told me he wanted to draw me a picture. This is now displayed on my refrigerator. I think it is quite beautiful.