Ready to Read

Ready to Read
Historical Novels -Bobi Andrews

Tuesday, November 22, 2016



Many of us are in the throes of the 
aging process.  The date of our birth 
hasn't changed nor has some 
unknown force added years to the 
calendar that we didn't know about.  
It is 2016!

Our later years may have 
been spent as long term 
caregivers (including me).  We may find our life 
turned topsy-turvey.  If our dear ones suffered  
Alzheimers or some neurological disease, we 
lost them long before death showed its mercy 
and took them to a far better place.  When we get 
fancy and label ourselves seniors, we don't  
disguise much.

There are some things that are given--We tell 
ourselves to get a grip and live with them:

          We will lose our fingernail clippers.
          We will lose track of where we parked 
                    the car at the mall. 
          We will audibly creak--it's not the floorboards.                           
          We forget what we were looking for in the pantry.
          We put off cleaning out the fridge, washing the 
                    outside windows, pouring Clorox in the 
                    toilet, etc. etc. etc.  (Much preferred:
                    write a friend, read a good book, listen 
                    to good music.)
          We look at ourselves on Kindle Fire with a "selfie" 
                    and say, "My, My. Is this really me?"

Must I go on?  You've got me pegged.   But I hasten to 
add that there are lessons to be learned, a life to live, 
a joy beyond all wonder.

          We can fix the television when it goes wrong 
                   (as long as the DISH technical support 
                    representative is on the other end of 
                    the line.)
          We have found the third way to fix leftovers.
          We can endure the mess of cleaning out the 
                    skimmer pump on the koi pond.
          We can park the car in a narrow garage in the 
                    face of a storm.
          We can successfully avoid looking at the pristine, 
                    new looking stationary bike stored in 
                    the garage.
          We know to yell "HELP" when all else fails.

When we fail to recognize our accomplishments or 
to look forward to tomorrow, we may be tempted to let 
the dirty thought enter our mind:  "Hey, we're getting 
too old."  We need to recognize that someone or 
something provided us a world in which to live, but our 
Creator is firm.  It is our responsibility to do the living. 
So . . . try this list (I did).
          Keep gas in the car--you might want to go 
                    somewhere when the phone rings.
          Whatever your hobby or avocation--keep active.
          Find others or belong to groups striving to 
                    make some wrong right.
          Learn something new and share it.
          Find someone to laugh with.  (Life is funny)
          Realize that as we age, we can do anything we 
                    please--most of our judging compatriots are 
                    infirm or are passing on.  
          Learn to talk the real world--computer technology, 
                    smart  phones, political jargon, financial 
                    and investment parameters, trendy
                    fashions, hit songs, good books.  (Mmmm--
                    not a high score on some of these items.)
          Stay mobile--exercise, exercise, exercise.  (I'll 
                    give you the phone number of the Silver 
                    Sneakers program.)
          However improbable you think the outcome, don't 
                    pass up an opportunity for an adventure, 
                    something new or reawakened. Le
                    yourself feel the joy.
          Don't expect to receive from others if not willing 
                    to give of yourself.
          Make new friends and keep dear ones close.
          Look for memory-challenging exercises or 
                    amusements: Cross-word and jig-saw 
                    puzzles, counted cross stitch embroidery, 
                    original  writing, reading music, Bridge--
                    the things you were too busy to do before. 
          Learn the names (and use them) for the clerks 
                   you see frequently and those that provide 
                   services for you.  Neat thing:  good feeling--
                   you will hear them call your name back.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

DIFFERENCES --Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down


Most individuals seek harmony in their relationships--the things they share that are common between them.  There are essentials of commonality that obviously fall into that category if a relationship is to develop and exist over time.  But Mother Nature did not make individuals alike--there are tall people, there are short people. There are older people, there are younger people.  There are theoretical people, there are pragmatic people.  There are coffee drinkers there are tea drinkers. Etc.  Etc.

Differences are not a chasm that cannot be bridged.  In any difference, there is commonality to find.  Many worship their god differently, but still share a number of the same values. An old adage states that in marriage "Opposites attract Opposites and then the trouble begins."  But if  two are too much alike, the original spark dies and discontent leads to separation.

Writers find that to make their stories interesting and compelling to the reader, there must be conflict.  A story with just cafe talk wears thin on page 2.  Once past the necessary basic commonalities that no one argues with, my premise is that "differences" in a relationship are what makes living interesting.

What do differences require:

          i         Communication - listening and speaking 
                                        -- no one stays silent
          ii        Tolerance - differences are what they are, 
                                           no sugar to coat here
          iii       Ingenuity -  there's an agreeable way to 
                                           be found somewhere
          iv       Creativeness - a painting has many colors 
                                            --blue and yellow make 
                                            green.  Green is good.   
          v        Accommodation - maybe not always half-way, 
                                             but integrated
          vi       Respect - no one takes the other for 
                                             granted. No guessing.
                                             Thoughts are spoken.
         vii      Patience - Nothing important happens 
                                             or changes in a day.
          viii     Understanding - our rational thoughts beyond 
          ix       Balance - more common interests tip the 
                                             scale than differences.
                                             There is a home base.
          x        Caring - the overriding emotion of oneness

A difference that is mediated to the common good is a high that binds people closer together.  (How many enemies after battle have  become friends?)  Mediation places an even playing field between the givers and the takers in a relationship. The key to harmonious  differences is whether or not they are accepted, tolerated, resolved.  We need the glue of commonly shared values for a successful relationship to thrive but also as important is to not ignore the spark of differences which keeps our relationships alive. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What you don't know about carrots

carrots colorful purple
Source:  Organic Authority

There's trivia and then there is real trivia.  
My expose on carrots is in the latter category.  
Can't think of a soul who would count this 
as important information. 
But anyhow . . .

Went to a very good Japanese restaurant 

the other night and with my soft shelled crab, 
came a garnishment of a white-something 
shredded.  Taste of the garnish was
not familiar and I couldn't place what it was.  
Asked the waiter and he went to the kitchen 
and came back and said it was "carrots".  

Why the mystery of the garnish stayed 

in my mind--really no logical reason other 
than a misguided curiosity. Well, I found 
out that carrots way back in the 17th Century
could be purple, black, red, white, orange, 
yellow. Seems like nobody cared which 
color until someone decided to make 
them orange in honor of the Dutch House of 
Orange. Every since, most carrots are 
orange except for those in the know who 
enjoy puzzling the public with something 
different.  Incidentally, they were good.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

NORTH SHORE -- LAKE SUPERIOR - Land of blue skies, blue waters, lush green trees, and gray granite

Good times need to be shared. I've got one for you.  I have just 
spent five days vacationing in Duluth, Minnesota, with two 
Writer House friends. First of all, in leaving Houston, the whole 
world changed (may be exaggerating a little bit) but going 
from our August 100 degree murky hot to a marvelous
79 degrees cool in Duluth is nothing to sneeze about.  
Blue sky, blue lakes, granite rocks, and  masses of 
green trees--August is the time to visit northern Minnesota!

One of my companions' sister lives in Duluth (and on a lake) 
which gave us an opportunity for a rare, trouble free adventure.  
Carole knew the places worth visiting and the way (and back!) 
getting there.  I'll let the pictures below take you with me as 
we visited  Gooseberry Falls, Glensheen Manor, Split Rock 
Lighthouse, Duluth  Rose gardens, the Canal Bridge from 
Lake Superior, Jay Cooke State Park and Richard Bong military 
museum.  The marvels of pontoon boating follow.

Gooseberry Falls 

We'd never have an August evening fire in Houston.

Glensheen Manor 

Duluth Rose Garden

Who doesn't dream of floating on a lake with a cool breeze,
fantastic shore scenery, good company and a glass of wine?

Thanks to Ted Sexton, dreams can become true and with
an encore.  The first cruise was a  pontoon tour around
the lake with all the oo's and ah's I could muster. Loons
scattered ahead of us. Thoughts of my childhood family
fishing trips to Minnesota caught up with me.  In the reeds
I wondered if there were bass or a stray northern pike
waiting to be caught.  I saw a couple of points where
walleyes would haunt.  I could see myself casting into
the reeds with a red and white spoon lure and have 
the thrill of a strike.

The encore was even more special.  The families that live 
along the shore once a year tie their pontoons together in 
the middle of the lake and party.  We were in luck, the party was
scheduled for the Saturday we were there.   Picture yourself 
here and wish you were with us. 

No Caption Needed

Getting Ready to Party


Most special for the trip was meeting and getting to 
know the Sextons.  They took us in as family and 
we met their children and grandchildren giving us
a glimpse of northern family life.  It had been a 
long time since I stood around a piano and with
others harmonized church hymns, How Great Thou
 Art and Abide With Me..  A severe storm two
weeks before our arrival had obliterated a great
many trees--the Sextons losing twenty four on their 
property.  Despite the devastation, Carole's porch 
flowers were vigorous and beautiful and chipmunks 
and birds frequented the bird feeder, sometimes 
tormented by hummingbirds. 

No story can give justice to the pleasure we had 
visiting the north shore of Lake Superior.  A
special thanks to Ted, Carole, Erin, and Angie 
Sexton (and their families) and to my fellow
travelers Meg Lelvis and Connie Gillen.   

Frame Graphics:  Rose Nuernberger 
Pictures:  Meg Lelvis

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Round Top Texas Fourth of July

Sometimes we miss what's close
at hand--nearby places we've
never been or explored.

One of those places for me is
Round Top, Texas, a little
community two hours from
where I live in Richmond.  The
town has about 90 permanent
residents centered mostly around
a multitude of antique industries.
All the homes are in the vintage
of the early 1900's  and either
moved there from someplace
else or built to match the period.
I had the good fortune of
spending July 4 weekend
there and am still marveling
at their fun holiday celebrations.

The weekend was packed with
activity and I'm dying to tell you
about it.

The town hosts the Round Top
Festival Institute which presents
every summer evening an
assortment of classical and
contemporary programs
featuring on Sunday, the
Texas Festival Orchestra.  For
those uninformed as I was, we
soon recognized that this was
not just a common ordinary
orchestra but a renown group
of young musicians representing every state in the US with
others from Mexico, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, China,
Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Costa
Rica--all attending on scholarship
a six-week Institute program 
taught by noted musicians.  The
couple next to us were from
DesMoines, Iowa, and their
daughter was a violinist chosen
from the University of Nebraska.

The spirit was infectious--the
orchestra members were dressed
casually with American flags on
the tips of their violin bows,
poked into the girls' ponytails, and
anchored on the boys' crazy hats.
Perry So, their personable young
conductor, however, was
dressed in white jacket formal

They were serious! From the
first Star Spangled Banner, the
audience became alive for
both national and patriotic
marches, even a Gershwin
Piano Concerto.  Midway
through the program, the
festival had the four member
barber shop Heart of Texas
quartet, who though not
socially correct, were indeed hilarious.  The orchestra
ended with "In the Mood,"
"King Cotton March,"
and the "Stars and Stripes 

I've heard holiday concerts
before, but Sunday's presen-
tation was better than I had
heard in Washington, DC,
Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl,
and Independence Day in

The picture above shows more
than words can express for
this concert hall. (Remember
this is situated in a very little
town which was completely
packed--probably three or
four thousand visitors.)

Sunday night, we went to their
fireworks which were elaborate
--obviously they have bene-
factors probably from Dallas,
Houston, and San Antonio.  We
were parked out in the field very
close to the fireworks which
gave a special ambiance when
they exploded almost directly
above us.

Monday morning, we went to
the famous (infamous) parade.
It had about 1 30 entries, drawing
from probably ten nearby towns,
where anyone can participate
with their horses, wagons, carts,
old cars, tractors--anything and
in any way.  Kids everywhere,
some driving tractors.  Anyone
can join in and jump on a float
or wagon as the parade passes.

Hospitality, WOW! The music
hall and streets were packed.
As we went down the center
aisle for the concert, the
couple from DesMoines waved
that they had two seats next
to them. At the parade--it was
hot as hades--a family had
parked their pick-up next to
the parade route and invited
us to sit with our water bottles
and use their umbrellas for

On the way back and forth into
town, we saw deer and a wild
turkey as well as scads of trees
and ponds.  As you looked
in all directions, there were
many unique horizons of trees,
hills, and winding roads.
One of the narrow bridges was
known to be one if you wanted
good luck, you were to stop
and piss in the deep creek below.
(We didn't.)

All I can say is that we kinda
forget what small towns used
to be like and the freedom we
have.  We saw a slice of a great
country and great people.