Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Full Body Burden - Iversen

Kristen Iversen grew up in the Bridlewood area of Colorado just a short distance from Rocky Flats, a nuclear plant where the government set up a facility for and supported the creation of plutonium pellets since the 1950's. These "pellets", as they are euphemistically called, are the key to sparking the blast that causes detonation in nuclear bombs. More importantly, these pellets are extremely radioactive and toxic to living things, as is the waste that is created during the process.

In Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats Iverson shares the story of her childhood growing up in the shadows of this oft neglected, poorly monitored plant (designated "the most contaminated site in America") which alledgedly polluted the environment surrounding the plant (I say alledgedly only because no court has had success with holding the government, or the companies it hired to manage the site, accountable), including poisoning ground water and making the land inhabitable to humans. Though, apparently, the Feds seem to think its perfectly acceptable to allow animals to live there, recently marking the land a "reservation".

While Iverson recalls her childhood with rose-colored glasses (riding horses, playing on the prairie land), she also tells of countless neighbors who moved away or died due to various cancers, illness that she and her siblings themselves continue to struggle with, and the overall damage done to the land she loved and called home for so many years. She also speaks frankly about her father's growing alcoholism, a full body burden itself, and how it affected she and her siblings as they matured and became adults, as well as her mother who refused to give up the fantasy of the perfect 1950's family, in the perfect house, on the perfect land.

A strongly written memoir, mixed with intense investigative exposé, this book addresses the damage secrets can cause a community, and a family, head on. This is a wonderful read of which everyone should be aware.

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Tunes - 02/26/13

A great lyric is like a great book...

I don't actually speak Spanish, so maybe in its native tongue this isn't quite so impressive. The translation certainly isn't earth moving. But, I just love this song and it reads so nicely! Translation is in parenthesis.

Si tu no estas aqui
  (If you are not here)
Rosana Arbelo, Artist & Writer

No quiero estar sin ti,
si tu no estas aqui me sobra el aire.
No quiero estar asi,
si tu no estas la gente se hace nadie.

(I don’t want to be without you
If you are not here, air is left over
I don’t want to be like this
If you are not here, people are turning themselves into nobody.)

Si tu no estas aqui no se,
que diablos hago amandote.
Si tu no estas aqui sabras,
que Dios no va a entender por que te vas.

(If you are not here, i don’t know
What the hell am i doing loving you.
If you are not here, you will know
That God won’t understand why are you leaving.)

No quiero estar sin ti,
si tu no estas aqui me falta el sueño.
No quiero andar asi,
Latiendo un corazon de amor sin dueño.

(I don’t want to be without you
If you are not here, i cannot sleep
I don’t want to be like that,
A heart beating of love without a master.)

Si tu no estas aqui no se,
que diablos hago amandote.
Si tu no estas aqui sabras,
que Dios no va a entender por que te vas

(If you are not here, i don’t know
What the hell am i doing loving you.
If you are not here, you will know
That God won’t understand why are you leaving.)

Derramare mis sueños si algun dia no te tengo,
lo mas grande se hara lo mas pequeño.
Paseare en un cielo sin estrellas esta vez,
tratando de entender quien hizo
un infierno el paraiso.

(I will waste all my dreams if i won’t have you one day
Big will turn into small
I will walk on a sky without stars, this time
Trying to understand who made
Hell out of the paradise.)

No te vayas nunca porque
no puedo estar sin ti.
Si tu no estas aqui me quema el aire.
Si tu no estas aqui sabras,
que Dios no va a entender por que te vas.

(Don’t ever go away, because
I cannot be without you
If you are not here, the air is burning me
If you are not here, you will know
That God won’t understand why are you leaving.)

Si tu no estas aqui!)
(If you are not here!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Change in the World - Pemberton

Some children are born lucky, with families who love them, stable homes, and abounding opportunities in life. Others are not as lucky.

Steve (Klakowicz) Pemberton was one of the unlucky, born without A Chance in the World. Born to an alcoholic, careless white mother and a fly-by-the-night, boxer-turned-heroin-addict black boyfriend, Pemberton was taken into foster care at the young age of three, when his parents were deemed unable to care for him.

Klakowicz found himself forced onto a horrible foster family who used him like a servant, abusing him physically and emotionally, barely feeding him, and openly dissuading him from reading.  With only a box of books from a stranger and the dream that his real parents would eventually come for him, Klakowicz survived for over a decade.

Eventually, faced with the hope of college (his only savior, in his eyes) and his foster family's refusal to assist him, Klakowicz realized he needed take control. After years of getting little help from family services, he finally got lucky and found the help he needed to manage his release. With the assistance of those friends, he attended college and, despite struggles, succeeded.

As an adult, Klakowicz decided that if his family wasn't coming for him...he would find them. But reality is never as good as fantasy. When he finally found his family, he discovered they were not what he had hoped. Not only had both of his parents died as a result of their own demons, his last name was not even his own. It had been forced on him to hide his birth father's identity. His brothers and sisters were separated and fractured, emotionally hurting themselves, due to their own horrors in life.  Only through persistence and true love, was he able to bridge years of pain to build relations with them.

Ultimately, through the birth of his own family, Pemberton (who changed his name to match that of his birth father) discovers that sometimes home doesn't come to you, you have to make it for yourself.

A wonderful, moving read, with a touch of mystery and a whole lot of positivity.  Definitely worth sharing with friends.

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Tunes - 02/19/13

A great lyric is like a great book...

Defying Gravity

Originally recorded by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, Artists
Stephen Schwartz, Composer

(spoken) Elphaba - why couldn't you have stayed calm for
once, instead of flying off the handle!
(sung) I hope you're happy!
I hope you're happy now
I hope you're happy how you
Hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you're clever!

I hope you're happy
I hope you're happy, too
I hope you're proud how you
Would grovel in submission
To feed your own ambition

So though I can't imagine how
I hope you're happy right now

(spoken) Elphie, listen to me. Just say you're sorry.
(sung) You can still be with the Wizard
What you've worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted.

(spoken) I know.
(sung) But I don't want it -
No - I can't want it

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!

Can't I make you understand?
You're having delusions of grandeur.

I'm through accepting limits
'Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down.
(spoken) Glinda - come with me. Think of what we could
do: together.

(sung) Unlimited
Together we're unlimited
Together we'll be the greatest team
There's ever been
Glinda -
Dreams, the way we planned 'em

If we work in tandem.

There's no fight we cannot win
Just you and I
Defying gravity
With you and I
Defying gravity

They'll never bring us down!
(spoken) Well? Are you coming?

I hope you're happy
Now that you're choosing this

(spoken) You too
(sung) I hope it brings you bliss

I really hope you get it
And you don't live to regret it
I hope you're happy in the end
I hope you're happy, my friend:

ELPHABASo if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I'm flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!

I hope you're happy!

Look at her, she's wicked!
Get her!

:Bring me down!

No one mourns the wicked
So we've got to bring her



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Mole People - Toth

Jennifer Toth was just twenty-four when she researched and wrote The Mole People, Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City, just old enough to be a little bit naive and careless.

A study of the thousands of people who were (are?) living in the railway, subway and sewage tunnels of New York, this book was supposedly written "to dismiss the myth of animal-like underground dwellers." 

Well, she didn't really do that. But she wrote a fairly good book about the homeless living in New York. While many books have been written about the homeless, Toth's is a bit different.  Toth delves deep, literally, to find, befriend, and understand a group of people who many do not...many who, in fact, do not even know exist.

Toth shares these people's stories, their histories, highlighting their humanity and need for community, caring, and being accepted and important to others.  In addition, Toth researches and shares some basic history of how this group of people came to exist and why.

This book is quite an eye opener. I found it very interesting.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Tunes - 02/12/13

A great lyric is like a great book...

Colour of My Love

Celine Dion, Artist
Foster, David & Janov, Arthur, Writers

I'll paint my mood in shades of blue
Paint my soul to be with you
I'll sketch your lips in shaded tones
Draw your mouth to my own.

I'll draw your arms around my waist
Then all doubt I shall erase

I'll paint the rain that softly lands
on your wind-blown hair.
I'll trace a hand to wipe out your tears
A look to calm your fears
A silhouette of dark and light
While we hold each other oh so tight.

I'll paint a sun to warm your heart
Swearing that we'll never part
That's the colour of my love.

I'll paint the truth, show how I feel
Try to make you completely real
I'll use a brush so light and fine
To draw you close and make you mine.

I'll paint a sun to warm your heart
Swearing that we'll never part
That's the colour of my love.

I'll draw the years all passing by
So much to learn so much to try
And with this ring our lives will start
Swearing that we'll never part
I offer what you cannot buy
Devoted love until we die.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Saturday Snapshots - 02/09/13

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at the host's site: At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online...

Thanks Nemo!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Kitty Cornered - Tarte

The Tarte family home is fast becoming a zoo.  Their Michigan home includes parrots, ducks, geese, parakeets, a rabbit, doves, and hens. With all this fowl it seems an interesting choice to also own cats, but the Tarte family clowder is growing fast!

In his humorous memoir, Kitty Cornered: How Frannie and Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control of Our House and Made It Their Home, Bob Tarte shares how his home has evolved from a one (lazy) cat home to its current group of six, including a stray and several cats who have been passed on due to behavioral issues.  But Tarte always maintains his fantasy that the next incoming kitty is the one who will be a gentle, snuggling buddy.

With Tarte's humor and wit, he shares how his group of cats, their needs, and their personalities have taken over his home and his family, ultimately discovering that his cats offer lessons in achieving happiness.

This was a cute book, but it was a bit hard to follow at times. I can not say for sure if that was a result of my attention span or his writing, but at times I wasn't sure what Tarte was getting at...until I realized that he was making a joke. I guess if you like his style, you love this book too. If not, there are many other cat memoirs out there.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 02/05/13

toptenTop Ten Tuesday is a list feature that was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they give you a different question or topic where you can answer by listing your top ten choices.
This week’s topic is:
Top Ten Best Bookish Memories (waiting in line for a new release, meeting an author, or some sort of great experience with a particular book that was unlike others)

1. Big Little Kitty - The first book I remember... I cried when the kitty left home and was all alone in the world, but was so very happy to see him return home to his mommy. It still makes me tear up, to this day.

2. Library trips during school - There was nothing better than skipping math or social studies to visit the school library and have books read to you. And to get to take them home for free...heaven!

3. My first "real" library trip - Goodness, I loved this building so!! With a single, working mother and an older sister who had no time for me, I visited here so often... I wanted to just move into a back room and stay forever. Interestingly, every time I see a specific house in my town, I state how much I love it...and it looks a whole lot like this building!

4. Tommyknockers - Unlike any other book I had ever read, this book scared the crappity out of me! I had to put it down several times to get through it. What fun!

5. Wifey - Who knew my beloved Judy Blume did more than children's books?! What a learning experience, wink, wink, you naughty girl!

6. Rebecca - I don't remember what it was...I just remember being floored by it. I loved that book.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird - Proof that not all classics and assigned reading had to be slumber inducing - a life changing book.

8. Harry Potter - So unlike me...young adult, series, magic and weird boring stuff like that, but what fun it was!

9. My first blog award - Enjoyed less for the acclaim and more so because it indicated someone was actually reading. Thank you! "You love me, you really do!"

10. Every morning - Waking and knowing that something wonderful and bookish awaits me...

Tuesday Tunes - 02/05/13

A great lyric is like a great book...

One Piece At A Time

Johnny Cash, Artist
Wayne Kemp, Writer

Well, I left Kentucky back in '49
An' went to Detroit workin' on a 'sembly line
The first year they had me puttin' wheels on Cadillacs.

Every day I'd watch them beauties roll by
And sometimes I'd hang my head and cry
'Cause I always wanted me one that was long and black.

One day I devised myself a plan
That should be the envy of most any man
I'd sneak it out of there in a lunchbox in my hand

Now gettin' caught meant gettin' fired
But I figured I'd have it all by the time I retired
I'd have me a car worth at least a hundred grand.

I'd get it one piece at a time
And it wouldn't cost me a dime
You'll know it's me when I come through your town
I'm gonna ride around in style
I'm gonna drive everybody wild
'Cause I'll have the only one there is a round.

So the very next day when I punched in
With my big lunchbox and with help from my friends
I left that day with a lunch box full of gears
Now, I never considered myself a thief
GM wouldn't miss just one little piece
Especially if I strung it out over several years.

The first day I got me a fuel pump
And the next day I got me an engine and a trunk
Then I got me a transmission and all of the chrome
The little things I could get in my big lunchbox
Like nuts, an' bolts, and all four shocks
But the big stuff we snuck out in my buddy's mobile home.

Now, up to now my plan went all right
'Til we tried to put it all together one night
And that's when we noticed that something was definitely wrong.

The transmission was a '53
And the motor turned out to be a '73
And when we tried to put in the bolts all the holes were gone.

So we drilled it out so that it would fit
And with a little bit of help with an A-daptor kit
We had that engine runnin' just like a song

Now the headlight' was another sight
We had two on the left and one on the right
But when we pulled out the switch all three of 'em come on.

The back end looked kinda funny too
But we put it together and when we got thru
Well, that's when we noticed that we only had one tail-fin

About that time my wife walked out
And I could see in her eyes that she had her doubts
But she opened the door and said "Honey, take me for a spin."

So we drove up town just to get the tags
And I headed her right on down main drag

I could hear everybody laughin' for blocks around
But up there at the court house they didn't laugh
'Cause to type it up it took the whole staff
And when they got through the title weighed sixty pounds.

I got it one piece at a time
And it didn't cost me a dime
You'll know it's me when I come through your town
I'm gonna ride around in style
I'm gonna drive everybody wild
'Cause I'll have the only one there is around.

[Spoken] Ugh! Yow, RED RYDER
This is the COTTON MOUTH

Huh, This is the COTTON MOUTH
And negatory on the cost of this mow-chine there RED RYDER
You might say I went right up to the factory
And picked it up, it's cheaper that way
Ugh!, what model is it?

Monday, February 04, 2013

Friday, February 01, 2013

January 2013 ReCap...

January 2013 Update

January has been a busy, crazy month - lots of Purely Vocals duties (Ireland, a 5-night show this week, and lots of rehearsals to prepare) and my first wedding anniversary.  As much fun as I've had, I'm kinda glad it's over!  Despite my busy schedule, I actually did alright with reading this month. December was weirdly slow, but January seems to have gotten me back on pace (I'll never be one of those folks who reads like 10-15 books in a month, if I read 1-2 a week I'm doing good). I finished four books this month and have started an "old-y' that I never got around to reading. 

February is looking to have less commitments "outside the book", so hopefully there will be more reading time. But, I have signed up for the A to Z April Challenge and that is going to take some preparation time. I better start now or April will be a killer!

This month I read:
Total Read: 4
YTD - 4
Adult: 4
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0


A Chance in the World - Pemberton
Kitty Cornered - Tarte
Breaking Night - Murray
The Mole People - Toth  

Favorite Book(s) of the Month:
Breaking Night - Liz Murray (very inspiring)

Challenges Update:
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 4 of 58
A-Z Book Challenge = 4 of 26
Library Reading Challenge = 4 of 36

E-Book Reading Challenge = 4 of 21
What's in a Name 6 Challenge = 1 of 6

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