Showing posts from November, 2022

Wishing All Those Who Celebrate Thanksgiving a Safe and Happy One!

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for family and friends. And also for simple pleasures and happy memories. Before we moved to the country, my Thanksgiving ritual included cleaning the house before the relatives came. I would put a movie on and have it playing in the background while I dusted, vacuumed and wiped. That movie was more often than not Jumanji (1995). Jumanji is a classic, great fantasy, and it’s become my go-to Thanksgiving film. (And don’t try to tell me it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving. Like Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it ends in Christmas, so there.) After cleaning, I would go outside and rake. There are many oak trees in my old neighborhood, and their last leaves come raining down every year around Thanksgiving. I had a little front yard and it always made me happy to sweep up the leaves and deposit them at the curb. The leaves are picked up by the county and shredded into leaf mold, which the county offers for free to residents. What a great and environmen

‘The Girl with No Face’: Lyrical and Delightful

M.H. Boroson has done it again in this sequel to The Girl with Ghost Eyes , which I very much enjoyed . His protagonist Xian Li-lin, a young widow and Daoist (or Taoist) priestess in late 19 th century San Francisco, is back with her cadre of strange friends. They include a philosophical eyeball with the heart of a warrior, and a Buddhist monk that really is a tiger who wants to change his nature. Li-lin now is estranged from her father and works for a rival tong. In her new adventures, she is asked to solve the mystery of a nine-year-old girl who suffocates to death when flowers grow out of her nose and mouth. The villain here is interesting and original. Trust me, this one is a doozy. Li-lin herself is a memorable character. She is tough, occasionally obnoxious. She does her best to survive, a woman in a man’s world, armed with her quick wits, fighting skills, and Daoist magic. But it is her indomitable spirit that makes her an apt champion for women and girls who otherwise have

The Punxsutawney Phil of the Insect World

My husband and I came across this little critter during our walk this morning. The woolly bear caterpillar is a common sight in fall. Did you know there is a folklore associated with its brown and black segments? According to the old wives’ tale, the wider the brown segment, the milder winter will be. Conversely, we’ll have a longer and more severe winter if the black bands are wide. The position of the bands also matter. A thick black band at the head of the caterpillar indicates that winter will begin with harsh conditions. A thick black band at the caterpillar's tail end indicates that winter will end harshly. From the one that we saw today, it looks like it’ll be mild in the coming months. The woolly bear is the larva of the Isabella tiger moth. In fall, it looks for a dark and sheltered spot in which to hibernate. Don’t confuse the woolly bear with another caterpillar that has a thick coat of all-black bristles. That is the larva of the giant leopard moth, another common s