I just love summer time reading. Reading wasn't an easy thing for me as a kid. I had problems with "perception" which back in the day no one knew how to remedy. It took a good number of years to catch up but I did. I always loved the Summer Reading List that the school would hand out at the end of the school year. I have never outgrown my love for the Summer Reading List.
My first recollection of falling deep into a book was while reading Leo. It was about a Norwegian Elk Hound. The landscape was so descriptive that I felt swept away. I don't remember the author and have searched for the book off and on for years. I keep thinking that if it was worthy of the Summer Reading List surely I can find a copy. I would just like to have a copy of it on my shelf.
As an adult an entire summer was spent reading Anna Karenina. This was a selection for Oprah's Summer Reading. Tolstoy. It was so much fun to read along with others and discuss the book chapter by chapter. Oh how I fell in love the the characters and their dilemmas. Feasts were described in such great detail that I too wanted to have my own harvest bash. Oh the angst of Anna. I vowed that if a gob of money were to miraculously be thrown on my lap I would make it into film. I would beg Catherine Zeta Jones to play Anna.
(I still can't picture anyone else) I was sad when I finished the book.
This summer it's been humid, which really does stink because it's already 100 degrees. Sjogrens Syndrome has dried my eyes of darn near all of their moisture so humidity is a good thing for dry eyes. I just finished Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck which was perfect for the busy days I've had this last week. It's a collection of essays and articles. She's so funny and a very talented writer. Sure made standing in line after line tolerable.
I ran to the library and was able to find Elizabeth Berg's The Last Time I Saw You. Elizabeth Berg is one of my favorite authors. I love how you get to know her characters through the dialog between each other. This book is harder to pull away from so I enjoyed getting comfy while my son was in with the orthodontist today. I know I kind of scrunched my eye brows when he came out after I had only finished a few chapters. (Can I send the kid back for another wire tweak?)
Our city has a great library system which runs a super kid's reading program. I think it's a great way to keep kids motivated to grab a book. I know it sure helps the kids when school begins again and their minds are sharp from reading every day. Falling behind in reading skills makes for a tough autumn.
My next book is a paperback so I'll be able to bob around the pool on my "floatie" while being whisked away to Shanghai. (Shanghai Girls by Lisa See)
Oh, a side note to my Sjoggie pals...I'll slather the sunscreen on thick, wear the sunglasses, wear the goofy hat and I promise to "bob" in the shaded end of the pool. Promise.
When I woke up yesterday I had every intention on finishing another piece for the blog. Then I saw Shania Twain's reaction to her fall at the CMA Awards the night before. I thought her comments after the fall were so honest and sweet. I loved the fact that she was thinking about donating the shoes to be auctioned off for charity. I hadn't seen the video of her falling yet but I instantly thought, "Sounds like a Falling With Grace theme to me."
Ouch. Then I saw the fall. Man, that had to hurt. Sometimes when you see video of people falling it makes you say, "Oh!" Then there are times where it's a funny fall and yes...I will fully admit that I come from a family that loves a good funny fall. This is only if the person isn't hurt though. Shania's fall made me say, "Ouch!" It wasn't the "what the heck" kind of expression she had on her face. It looked like it hurt.
None the less...it was a fall. You know what? Her reaction to it made me like her even more. That's the grace part of the fall. She's gotten back up from tougher falls and seems to have taken to her feet brilliantly.
I have really enjoyed watching the series Why Not on the OWN network. The series chronicles Shania's journey to "find her voice" which somehow had been lost along the path. I think that we all can relate to some point in our lives where a piece of us has been lost. It's a powerful moment when a person can get back up and look forward. I admire her humility and honesty that she's projected in the series. Her willingness to share her journey shows that maybe she already had her footing after all.
This is a link to eBay where Shania is auctioning off the shoes she wore. Proceeds benefit Shania Kids Can.
I've really struggled with this post for weeks now. For all of the potential material that I could pull from I simply couldn't find the words. My grandmother Anna Mae Pilling, AKA Grannie Annie, passed away a few weeks ago. This was one fall that she wouldn't be able to recover from.
I've written and rewritten pieces but nothing seemed to feel right. How could I wrap up a life like Grannie Annie's with just a blog post? It just wasn't happening. That was until this morning.
One of our sons was watching one of the Austin Powers movies on tv this morning. The retro scene blasted me back to when Grannie bought me boots. Not just any boots but shiny, red gogo boots. When I told my son that Grannie bought me gogo boots he kind of laughed. I'm not sure if he was laughing at the picture of me wearing gogo boots or the fact that Grannie was the one to buy them for me.
All of a sudden I remembered the story my Grandmother had told hundreds of times about the boots that she always wanted as a girl. She called them "flappers". They called them flappers because they had buckles instead of laces. The cool girls wore the boots with the buckles unclasped, which would make a flapping sound as they walked. Flappers. Oh how my Grandmother wanted those boots.
One bitter cold night there was an awful fire that destroyed my grandmother's family home and the entire contents. My Grandmother had recently admitted that she was secretly wishing that when her boots were replaced that she would get some "flappers" since she hated the lace ups so. She told my son that instead of "flappers" her Grandmother bought her another pair of lace ups, which by her recollection were uglier than the first pair she had.
My mind flashed back to my own younger days to the shoe department of JC Penney where my Grandmother was supposed to be buying me shoes to wear with my uniform. While passing through my face lit up at the sight of the red gogo boots. I picked up a pair, just to feel them. I never really thought that I'd own a pair. These were the wrinkly shiny kind too. Oh how I loved the look of those boots.
I don't even remember there being any pleading on my part to get the boots. Grannie simply asked me if I liked them. I must have looked like I was holding gold because she had me try them on. I remember a bit of hesitation...eeeeeee! So I tried them on and they fit like they had been stitched specifically for my feet. I looked up at her in sheer delight. She asked me if I wanted them. Heck yeah I wanted them! So that was it. The purchase was made and I became the proud owner of shiny, red gogo boots.
When we got home my mother questioned the purchase of the shiny, red gogo boots. My Grandmother simply told my mother, "She liked them."
They may not have been "flappers" but to Grannie they might as well have been. I loved those boots. I'm not even sure how many times I got to wear them since they weren't something that I'd wear to Sunday Mass or to school. I felt special in my shiny, red gogo boots. I sure feel special now that I've put the "flapper and gogo boot" connection together.
I love my Grannie and miss her more each day that passes. I could just go on and on about how many things she taught me. No doubt she'll make an appearance in the blog again. I think she'd be pleased to remember the red gogo boots story. I can picture her in her flappers right now.