All posts by loristory

About loristory

I am a mother, grandmother, and school psychologist/writer. I dabble in photography and music. I'm a big fan of Rosa Parks and Fred Rogers. I also like Steve Martin, Doc Martin, and my Martin guitar. I like binge-watching The West Wing, and eating chicken wings. I'm a little bit complicated.

Books About Food

I think this will be my last blog post for this month. After three solid weeks of writing, I’ve simply run out of things to say.

Also, I need to get back to some things I’ve been neglecting, such as reading, exercising, walking the dog, food shopping, house cleaning, and photography.

Oh, and going to bed at a decent hour.

So, for now, it’s sayonara … but before I go, since Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner, I want to leave you with some “food for thought,” as it were – a list of some of my favorite books about food. Some, like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, are about much more than just food.

Lori’s Short List of Books about Food

  • Will Write for Food (the complete guide to writing cookbooks, blogs, memoir, recipes, and more), by Dianne Jacob
  • Chocolat/The Girl with No Shadow/Peaches for Father Francis (trilogy), by Joanne Harris
  • Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell
  • Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows and Mary Anne Shaffer
  • Heartburn, by Nora Ephron
  • Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
  • Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O’Nan
  • The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister
  • Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, by Maya Angelou

I may have more to add to this list … in December.

What are your favorite books about food?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is post #21 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Grandma’s Friendly Village

Oh no! I forgot to post something for Nov. 20! But in the interests of catching up FAST, I’m going to call this Nov. 21 entry #20, and will post #21 later. I hope you will forgive me for simply reblogging an old post. It’s actually post #1 from NaBloPoMo 2019. I was reminded of it today when a distant cousin mentioned the family connection on Facebook.

loristory

My grandmother Angeline was born in central Sicily, in a small village with the beautiful name “Villarosa.”

In 1910, at age 8, she emigrated from Sicily to America with her own grandmother, got married at age 16, quickly had five bambinos, and was widowed at 30. She later remarried and had a good life, but she never got to see Villarosa again.

Here she is at about age 30 (I’m guessing).

Grandma Armenia

I liked going to Grandma’s house. She always seemed cheerful, and she served us plenty of macaroni, ice cream, and raspberries, saying the word “mangia” practically as soon as we’d walked through her door. Her house was decorated with colorful starched doilies that she’d crocheted herself. I wonder if she crocheted the collar in the above photo. I have a special memory of the two of us sitting in a summer garden next to some pansies while…

View original post 787 more words

Bye Bye Birdie

Elon Musk has just announced that he’s going to reactivate Donald Trump’s Twitter account. He said he used a “poll” and let the people decide.

I call B.S. I mean, how can anything on Twitter, which is rife with fake accounts and bots, be considered a valid poll. It just shows me how naive, or how scheming, Elon Musk is.

I haven’t been a big user of Twitter. My following, if it can be called that, is miniscule. But although I am small, I do have power, because there’s power in numbers. And if everyone who is as appalled as I am about Elon Musk’s recent actions were to dump their Twitter accounts, we’d have a voice.

So tonight I’m dumping Twitter.

Here, let me tell you what I really think: I have no desire to accidentally see Trump’s face or read his stupid tweets. If I do, I may get ill, and I’ll certainly feel sullied.

In my opinion, he’s a lying, dangerous man who’s forfeited his right to free speech on Twitter, especially while running for President again.

If you need other reasons to question Musk’s judgment and trustworthiness to run a site of this magnitude and influence, consider this article by Vanity Fair, that lists 21 “terrible things Elon Musk has said and done.”

A Reminder of Just Some of the Terrible Things Elon Musk Has Said and Done

No, I don’t want a person like that to get a penny from me for any ad revenue that my being a Twitter subscriber might generate for him.

Many people are ditching Twitter and going to a site called Mastodon.

Tonight I found an article about Mastodon, and more recent nefarious actions of Elon Musk. You can read it here:

Mastodon, the Social Media Platform Everyone Is Leaving Twitter For

I don’t wish to be a silent partner to this billionaire.

Bye bye, birdie. This bird has flown.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is post #19 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Photo (mastodon) by Lori Bonati

Featured photo (person at computer) by ijmaki @ pixabay.com

Listening Again

Note: The following post was inspired by a writing prompt by Scott, whose website is Mental Defecation. I don’t mean that as an insult. That’s actually the name of his blog!

This month, Scott provided 30 song-related writing prompts for November. His prompt for November 18th was to write about (a) a song you love but rarely listen to, or (b) a song from the year you were born.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ve decided to write about a song I love but rarely listen to. It’s one I first heard about 12 years ago, when it was performed by Oscar Fuentes, a singer-songwriter from Guadalajara who now lives in Tucson, Arizona. The piece, written by León Chávez Teixeiro, a Mexican composer of social justice songs, has a very unusual name: 15 metros, 3 pulgadas, 8 octavos, 16.

Why I Love this Song

I love its melody, its chords, the spoken part that comes in about halfway through it, the rising intensity that really takes off in the last minute, and the way my friend Oscar sings it with so much feeling. Most of all, I love the emotions it brings out in me. The song just inexplicably touches my soul. And all of that without my knowing what the song is about.

The words are sung in Spanish, and only in Spanish. As far as I know, they’ve never been translated. And even though I have a pretty good working knowledge of Spanish, I know I’m missing a whole lot here. I think the lyrics are probably like poetry … the kind of poetry whose meaning isn’t all that obvious.

By reading a few YouTube comments (in Spanish) I’ve been able to gather that it’s a letter to someone from a worker who’s been injured on a job. But I think it’s also about love, loss, pain, and maybe even corruption. And at the end, there’s an invitation to “visit me, if you remember your friend, and I’ll give you a cup of hot coffee.” I hope I have that right. I’m guessing that, since the songwriter, Teixeiro, was known for his social activism, it’s probably a political song.

But I still don’t understand the significance of the numbers (15 meters, 3 inches, 8/8, 16) that are sung only twice during the song, and that make up the song’s title. If anyone can explain the song’s meaning to me, please leave a comment below.

Why I Rarely Listen to It

The best way to hear this song, in my opinion, is to go to one of Oscar’s gigs and hear him perform it live. But since I no longer live in Tucson, that option is out.

I do have his CD, “Esto Que Ves,” which includes this song, but I just haven’t been listening to my CDs lately. Life has gotten in the way. Isn’t that sad? I’m going to have to change my ways. I’ve been missing out on so many good musical moments.

And now that I’ve found a brand new video of Oscar performing it live in his studio (yay!) I’ll be listening to it a lot more often.

What I’m Doing Right Now

Listening to Oscar singing 15 metros, 3 pulgadas, 8 octavos, 16, of course. He’s accompanied by his music partner Mark Anthony Febbo, another talented Tucson musician.

I highly recommend that you click the link below and do the same. If you do, be sure to TURN IT UP LOUD, especially toward the end.

Oscar Fuentes and Mark Anthony Febbo – Quince Metros

Yep. It still gets to me.

You can also hear a wonderful recording of the song’s composer, León Chávez Teixeiro, performing it at age 83, here (with a beautiful piano accompaniment):

León Chávez Teixeiro y Guillermo Briseño – 15 Metros

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is post #18 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Featured image (girl with guitar) by Saydung89 @ pixabay.com

Bugfest at 10 p.m.

Time for another set of photos inspired by my camera. Yesterday was a slugfest. Today is a bugfest. But don’t worry. They’re only pictures!

First up is a pine white butterfly (Neophasia menapia), as seen at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. This lovely creature, also known as the pine butterfly, feeds on the needles of pine and certain fir trees when it is a caterpillar, and on nectar as an adult. This butterfly is sampling some butterfly milkweed nectar at the moment.

Next, we have another butterfly, photographed in a quiet park in Tucson, Arizona on a bright, sunny day. This one has a long name: Ministryomon janevicroy. It’s perched on an upright prairie coneflower (Ratibida columnifera, or Mexican hat). The Ministryomon janevicroy gets its name from the spouse (Jane Vicroy Scott) of its discoverer, Jeffrey Glassberg. I think this is my favorite butterfly because it’s so powdery white, with thin, orange, wavy lines. Its most unique feature is its OLIVE GREEN EYES. If you zoom in, you can probably see them.

Working our way from pretty to a little bit scary, we have this little bee. Or is it a wasp? I’m not sure. It’s feeding on an Echinacea flower, which is in the daisy family. You can just scroll right past it if you have a fear of bees.

And you might want to scroll past the next one, too. In fact, I recommend it. It’s a horse lubber grasshopper (Taeniopoda eques). Believe it or not, I was able to take this photo up close without getting (too) grossed out. There were four or five of these big lugs, or should I say lubbers, hopping around on my fairy duster plant one day (again, in Tucson), so I did what every dedicated photographer does when they see a huge, disgusting insect: grab their camera and snap away. Then they yell “Ewww” and run screaming into the house. At least that’s what I did.

I enjoy taking pictures of butterflies and then identifying them via Google. It’s not that hard. You just have to be persistent. It’s not like identifying birds, which are hard to photograph in the first place, and then have so many variations within species. At least that’s been my experience.

On the other hand, I’m not wild about staring at pictures of insects for very long, but that’s just me.

The above pictures were taken some years back. Now, with my newer camera and a bit more free time, I’m hoping to capture better butterfly pictures in the future (and probably no more insects, if I can help it, except maybe a dragonfly … or a caterpillar … but no more horse lubbers, I promise!). All of that will have to wait, though. It’s currently 33 degrees out where I live now, and snow is in the forecast.

I think I’ll stick to indoor photography for the next three or four months. Then maybe I’ll start bugging people with pictures of bugs again.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is post #17 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Featured image by ArtsyBee @ pixabay.com

Slugfest at Midnight

As midnight approaches on the 16th day of National Blog Posting Month, I find I’m at a loss for words. I’m likely to do something wild and unpredictable.

Well, this blog is supposed to be inspired by my camera, and I do have a photo or two in my collection. Let’s see what I can come up with.

(Pause while I pull up my photo app …)

Ahh. Okay. Fortunately, I’ve found something: a portrait in vibrant purples and golds. It shimmers. It moves. It practically jumps off the page! The model reminds me of a graceful Flamenco dancer. Her dress is as soft as a petal.

Unfortunately for you, the model is a slug. A literal slug.

Introducing: Señorita Iris Maria Ariana Slug! (I.M.A. Slug, for short)!

I told you I was likely to do something wild and unpredictable. And I did!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is post #16 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Cover photo (clock) by JESHOOTS-com @ pixabay.com

Song about a Homeless Cat

Someone reminded me tonight about “My Name is Romeo,” a song I wrote 7 years ago. They wanted to hear it again. What a nice surprise!

And since I didn’t have anything else planned for this evening besides eating cookies and watching Netflix’s Crash Landing on You, I’ve decided to take a few minutes to share “My Name is Romeo” with you.

You might remember the song from my blog post in 2019, where I explained how I came to write it. But if not, or even if you do remember and want to hear it again, here are a few things you can do:

  1. You can hear a recording of the song on YouTube. I sing, and Chuck Phillips (the other half of our little indie duo, Pacific Buffalo) plays keyboards. The video contains lots of cat pictures, and I have to say, it’s damn cute. Here’s the link: My Name is Romeo
  2. You can read my 2019 blog about it here: Sewing Some Song Seeds
  3. You can click this “Song Seeds” link to read the published story I wrote about writing the song.

I hope you enjoyed the song, even if you aren’t a cat person!

And now, back to my cookies and my binge-watching of Crash Landing on You, a Korean love story that actually mentions Romeo and Juliet in one of the episodes.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is post #15 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Featured illustration (cats): naobim at pixabay.com

First Snow Haiku

Snow falls like frosting
soft blanket on autumn leaves
time to bake cookies

Last night, I watched Episode 6 of “Crash Landing on You,” a Netflix series I’m totally hooked on. In that episode, the two main characters are having dinner in a North Korean diner. Their seats face a large window. Snow begins to fall. The woman tells the man a Korean saying: if a couple watches the first snow together, love will blossom between them.

You can watch the clip here: First Snow. But be forewarned: Your heart just might melt.

Right before I went to bed, I noticed that the first snow of our winter season had fallen in my neighborhood. I didn’t get to see it falling, though, so maybe I’ll have to wait a while for the promise of love.

Then again, my sweet little dog, Maya, was there with me, and we are already in love.

The snow stayed around and was still here this morning, putting me in the mood to bake. I do love to bake – and eat – cookies.

Happy first snow, everyone!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is post #14 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Emotional Photos

My photography critique group’s assignment for this month is to take pictures that reflect emotion.

This is a very subjective task. What might prompt an emotion in one person might not do the same for someone else. But our group mentor gave us some helpful tips. For example, use of lighting, point of view, cropping, color, and composition can all play a role in generating emotion.

It’s a lot tougher to accomplish than I realized. Just taking a photo of a flower doesn’t necessarily prompt an emotion, but if it’s wilting, or if someone is angrily plucking the petals off a daisy, or if it’s being yanked up by its roots? … I don’t know. I’m grasping at stems right now.

We’re supposed to submit three photos to the group by December 7. As if I didn’t already have enough to do writing a blog a day! But I’m going to try my best. Luckily, we’re allowed to turn in one of our favorite old photos, as long as it has the potential of bringing out an emotion in our viewers.

Here’s one that might do the trick. I took it over 20 years ago, with a film camera, when I was first getting started in photography. It’s a little out of focus, but I still like it very much because every time I look at it, I feel joy and spontaneity. (I also feel surprised – surprised that I was lucky enough to capture that precious smile.)

I’ve read somewhere that a great emotional photo CAN be out of focus. The important thing is to capture the moment. If you’ve done that, and created something that will get a reaction, you’ve done your job.

Did you feel anything?

Here are two more photos I’ve taken in the past. They’re both candid shots of strangers. These photos generate emotions in me, but I’m not sure they do the same for others.

This photo assignment makes me realize how few photos I’ve taken of people, and how few that express emotion. It’s a good thing to know.

So, for the next several days, I’ll be focusing (no pun intended) on taking emotional photos (and also catching up on reading blog posts). Wish me luck!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is post #13 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Title photo (smiley faces) by AbsolutVision @ pixabay.com.

Venturing Out

In my previous three posts (Souvenirs, Parts 1, 2, and 3), I reminisced about the past. I also told you about my NOT terrible, NOT horrible, GOOD, in fact VERY GOOD day spent with my grandson. But I still haven’t gotten to what I did that night … and I’d love to tell you about that now.

My Dilemma

My old friend Alex and new friend Hanna, both excellent blues musicians, were playing a gig downtown with local blues legend Joe Beard. I really, really wanted to go, but I hadn’t found anyone to go with – and for me, walking into a bar alone is just awkward. In fact, I hate it.

In the midst of my angst, I decided to check Facebook. That’s when I noticed that fellow blogger Ra Avis (“Cheer Pepper” Captain and blogger extraordinaire at rarasaur.com) had reached out to the NanoPoblano blogging group and asked how we all were doing. After all, it was Day 10 of our monthly blog-a-thon, and she knew we were probably needing a virtual hug.

After whining to her about being tired, I opened up about my dilemma. To go or not to go, that was the question. I definitely was leaning toward not going. I told myself I was tired, I’d had a long day, it was dark out, where would I park, etc., etc.. But the real problem was walking into a bar alone.

I vacillated. Somehow, in the course of writing down my thoughts in response to Ra’s thoughtful query, I found the answer. It didn’t hit me all at once, but I could almost see it congealing before my eyes as I typed, like a courage ball that kept growing bigger and bigger. I almost dropped it, but at the very last minute, I held it in my hands just long enough to tell myself, “maybe,” and then “why not,” and finally, “just do it.” “Okay, I’m going,” I told Ra.

I don’t remember her exact reply, but I know she said “go” and “be safe” and “let us know how it was.” It felt like she had my back, and it really made a difference.

As it turned out, I found a parking spot right by the door and entered the very crowded Abilene Bar and Lounge just as the band started to play their first song. I felt good, I smiled, I walked in with my head up and eyes straight ahead. And it was all good. Nothing bad happened! I’ll do it again, especially to hear my friends play. But next time, I’ll try and find someone to go with sooner, rather than later!

The Band

Inside, I was surprised to see rows of chairs set up near the stage. Sitting there seemed much less stressful than hanging around at the bar, plus there was an empty chair in row 2. I took it, and I stayed put for the next 2 hours (except for once, when I did visit the bar. I mean, it was a bar, after all!)

The music was really, really good. I was so glad I went.

Many thanks to Ra and the Cheer Peppers for supporting me, and to all of you who read my posts. I’m really grateful to have an outlet for my thoughts. Writing can sort things out, and sometimes it even helps solve dilemmas, too.

Here are some photos from last night.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is post #12 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.