Planting Some Hope
Something to Celebrate


It's Monday morning again. Here we go!
Time to . . . 


On Mondays I share a few tidbits and miscellaneous things I discovered over the weekend. A little of this, some of that. Things to amuse, amaze, entertain, or inform. Maybe even something to rev you up!

So. Let's get to it.


"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circle of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace."
        --- May Sarton




It seems everywhere I look these days, I am seeing images of artist Ruth Asawa's incredible wire sculptures. I've had the great pleasure of seeing her work up-close-and-personal at two separate exhibits in Chicago over the last few years. Amazing stuff! 

There is a new(ish) biography out about Ruth Asawa, and I'm eager to get my hands on a copy. (Click here for an Amazon link.) In interviews about the book, biographer Marilyn Chase describes Asawa as someone who could, "create something beautiful out of any situation." Asawa faced many hardships in her life (including life in an internment camp during World War II) and Chase explains that “What inspired me the most was her ability to turn swords into plowshares. Every time life dealt her a blow, she turned it into something wonderful, something creative.” I think we can all use a little of that kind of inspiration right about now!

You can read more about Ruth Asawa here, and you can see some of her work in photographs here.

The US Postal Service recently released a special stamp collection commemorating Ruth Asawa. You can order the stamps online through the USPS here.



Are you having a hard time concentrating on your reading these days? I know I was at the beginning of the pandemic stay-at-home phase last spring, although it seems to have gotten easier for me to focus on my reading lately. Apparently, this difficulty with concentration was/is fairly common. Here's an article that suggests rereading favorite childhood books can help get your reading habit back on track!

In an article from The Atlantic, columnist Emma Court touts the unexpected benefits of rereading your old favorites:

...revisiting [childhood favorites] as adults can also provide comfort, relaxation, and the pleasure of rediscovery. Not only do rereaders rediscover the story, but they may also rediscover themselves.

Rereading “reminds us that we can experience something intensely and not be seeing everything at the time. And going back, we see something different,” says Jill Campbell, an English professor at Yale. “It’s a way of thinking more about a book that’s had an impact on you, but it’s also a way of thinking about your own life, memories, and experiences. The continuities and the differences.”

If you're having a hard time concentrating on "grown-up books" right now, maybe try rereading some of your favorite childhood standbys. It's fun to revisit old "friends" -- and who knows? Maybe it will rekindle your enjoyment of reading. (Of course, rereading old favs is also just plain fun anytime!)

What are YOUR childhood favorites? What book would you grab first for a reread?



Do you ever wonder . . . if animals are noticing the slower pace of things because of the pandemic? Well, here's an interesting story from NPR about the humpback whales in Alaska's Glacier Bay. They're definitely noticing that the ocean is a quieter place for them this year!



Usually about this time of year, Tom and I are putting together and actively monitoring our "watch list" for all the movies with "Oscar-buzz" due to be released in the fall. This year? Oh, we're paying attention. But we won't be heading to the movies any time soon! (I don't think the movies will even be released in the usual way this year. . . )

Anyway. We just watched a movie from last year's list that we missed when it was (briefly) in our local theatre. It has an odd title, but is just delightful -- The Peanut Butter Falcon. It's charming and heartwarming and beautifully filmed, too -- just perfect for These Days. (You can stream it right now on Prime, Netflix, and Hulu.) Next time you're looking for something new to watch, give it a try -- and let me know what you think!


And that's it for me this Monday.

I hope your week is off to a great start.
Keep smiling.
We'll get through this.




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Dale has been re-reading the Harry Potter books and loving them. I read the first one but that was it for me. Thanks for the movie recommendation. We just finished watching the series Normal People on hulu. It was good and I think you and Tom would enjoy it if you haven't already watched it.


I am on the waitlist for Stuart Little, which I have been really thinking about lots! And thank you for the movie rec!


Little Women would be at the top of my list to revisit. I was also a huge Nancy Drew fan. We had a neighborhood branch of our library a block away. I was there once a week. The Peanut Butter Falcon was such a sweet movie! We loved it.

Carolyn Seymour Thomas

Well. I'm a bit behind in blogland due to settling back in at home and a number of Unexpecteds...but I'm glad to be getting semi-caught up! Asawa's sculptures--what a treat. And Yay! Stamps! Those will make a fun gifty thing for a sculptor friend of mine. But yesterday's story: what will we become? That stops me. And I need to be stopped right now. So--deep thanks. Love, C.


Definitely Anne of Green Gables and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler from my childhood, and Redwall, My Side of the Mountain, and Farmer Duck from my kids' childhoods. I'm off to check out my bookshelves for some comfort reading!


Thanks for tohe movie link. AS far as books from childhood: E. B. White (Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little) and maybe A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Could be fun! Love the May Sarton quote - her journals were some of my favorite reading during college and then the 80's.


I've reread Anne of Green Gables and Mandy (a lesser-known childhood favorite, written by the incomparable Julie Andrews!) this summer. I think part of the joy of revisiting childhood favorites is that it takes me back to the mindset of being a child again, without the worry about, well, everything there is to worry about. And while a lot of children's literature doesn't shy away from difficult topics, usually there's a satisfying resolution, which I very much appreciate right now.


I have also been thinking of rereading Charlotte's Web or Stuart Little for my Bingo card. Little Women and Matilda also come to mind. I usually order my stamps on-line and was sending about 100 postcards a month, but, as you might guess, many postcards are not delivered. BUT, what surprised me (until recently) is that it was a US problem! So, I'm sending fewer cards as the pipeline opens again. What I was getting at is I should get my Ruth Asawa stamps today!


Reading my Agatha Christie's for the umpteenth time. Got hooked on Greenwood's Phyrne Fisher mysteries about five years ago(?) and late one night (3am?) went on-line and bought copies to keep and have been working my way through them. If you like the PBS show these are even better.


I was never much of a re-reader, but I seem to have raised at least a couple. Maddy has read the Harry Potter series so many times that she's self-imposed a 5-year hiatus!

I've always wanted to re-read the Little House series -- at least Little House in the Big Woods, and maybe now is the time because I am otherwise reading NOTHING (except recipes and stuff about vintage campers and travel trailers - heh).


Also, I just saw that Black Mountain College Museum (she was a student at BMC) is hosting a presentation on Sept. 23rd called "Ruth Asawa's Radical Universalism." Here's a link to their page with announcement and sign-up info:

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