Tuesday, August 08, 2023



WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

PS I can no longer participate in WWW.WEDNESDAY via that link because her blog won't accept Blogger comments. I mention this only to save you the frustration I experienced trying to link up.

1. What are you currently reading? Eisenhower: The White House Years by Jim Newton. He was President when I was born and, to my knowledge, the only Republican President my mom ever liked. Yet I know so little about him. I know FDR led us through The Depression and WWII. Truman dropped The Bomb. JFK inspired us to public service. LBJ had Vietnam and Civil Rights. But hey, someone's not in that list! What about Eisenhower?

This biography is zipping a long. It promises to focus on his Presidency but it's also a straightforward telling of his life. So far I'm most moved by the death of his first son, Dowd, called "Ikky" by his parents. Ikky was 3 1/2 years old when he got sick just before Christmas. The toddler died of scarlet fever in his father's arms. As an old man, Eisenhower looked back on his life and said his son's death was, "the greatest disaster of my life." That's pretty amazing from a man who saw unimaginable suffering in Europe during WWII.  

2. What did you recently finish reading? Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardner by MC Beaton. Timing is everything. I met Agatha Raisin, a prickly London PR executive dealing with retirement, just as my Chicago advertising career was coming to an end. I find many of her experiences and cynical asides familiar and amusing. However, unlike me, she devotes her time in retirement to travel and solving murders.

This book -- #3 in the series -- opens with Aggie returning to the lazy village of Carsley after a long solo trip to France, Italy, Greece and Turkey. She hated hoped her extended holiday would remind her neighbor, James Lacey, how important she was to him. Instead, she came back to find James involved with a blonde divorcee named Mary Fortune. James and Mary share a passion for gardening so Agatha joins the horticulture society, just to keep an eye on them.

But Agatha hates gardening and she hates meetings. She admits to herself that what she'd really like is a juicy local murder to solve. And lo and behold! Someone conveniently gets dead! I had a good time with this quick read.

3. What will read next? I don't know.



August Happiness Challenge -- Day 7

My 2023 Happiness Icon

Today's Happiness: Cannabis and community. 

• MedMen -- I have never smoked pot because the scent is obnoxious. That said, a birthday gift should be about the recipient, not my personal taste, and Tuesday we are celebrating Gregory's birthday. He partakes, so I went to the local dispensary. For the first time in my life I bought something cannabis related. I was amused by how incredibly legit, well-lit and respectable it was. I left with a cute little bag with their logo emblazoned on it and even got a senior discount!

• Movie Group -- This week we saw a charming a little film (This Happy Breed) and Monday was our lively Zoom discussion. It washed over me how much I enjoy our little group. Not just for the movies but for us. There's Bonnie, who is confused by the plot every damn week; Larry, who writes down his favorite bits of dialog and reads them to us; Peter the shrink who at length explains the psychological motivations of each of the characters and Audrey, who falls asleep on camera while he speaks; Wendy, who thinks I'm funny so we share snarky asides in a private chat ... We're a diverse, idiosyncratic little family, with Will is our moderator and indulgent dad. I was so happy when the meeting ended.