Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl may not be known by many adults outside a child’s world. Oh, they might recognize movies that came from his books: James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, BFG, The Witches, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Danny and the Champion of the World, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and … But the adults may not know anything about the BOOK.

In looking through Wikipedia, I scanned through 500 entries, including books, short stories, and movies. Eventually, I had to stop. My eyes were blurred.

Roald Dahl was prolific and creativity poured from him, a fountain that children enjoyed for decades. My kids. My students.

So, Alex Cavanaugh and Heather Gardener asked for bloggers to choose a book that was loved and its conversion to film or music media.

Please go to this site to discover the details: Michelle Gregory

My choice is The BFG, a book beloved by children and parents.  I won’t give the synopsis because I really want you Bloggers to check it out.  A tender story with courage and love, the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) gives the reader hope and humor.

As too often, movies made from great books are often trash, as they are slashed, removing essential story lines. I won’t list those movies as they shouldn’t be watched by anyone with any sort of discerning taste.

So, here is The BFG. Hopefully, you will be able to read the excerpt.

The BFG on Nook 
The movie is one rare one that actually steps up and stands side by side with the book.

Both of these are about 2 minutes or so.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Power of Love

Another daughter, Mary (who will be visiting from Switzerland in 10 days, bringing husband and grandsons) was only four years old when we moved to Ireland.  She was a sprite and not at all shy even then.

Erin, Mary, and John

When the school year started, Mary was 4.5 years old and ready to enroll in Junior Infants/pre kindergarten at New Inn School, Glanmire, Co. Cork. One of the greatest ideas of all time is school uniforms.  Pants, skirt, and vest were polyester which meant they could be washed each night, worn the next day, and then repeated.  Wore like iron, they were awesome.

We went shopping at Dunnes Store where everyone shopped thirty years ago and scouted for grey with blue shirts.  Mary ran off sprite-like and soon was found.

One thing about Mary was/is that she has a piercing and loud voice.  Anywhere she went, we could find her easily.  On this day, Mary was standing by the tri-mirror next to the changing rooms and was singing with all the gusto and joy that a four year old has.

She had ripped into a Celine Dion song "I am your lady" with chorus lyrics, as interpreted by a four-year old:

'Cause I am your lady/You are my man/ Whenever your reach for me/I'll do all that I can.

I do not believe that most Irish people had ever heard their children singing that song or singing with such passion. Dunnes was silent as Mary moved to the last lines (again as translated by a four-year old:  frightened became fighting:

We're heading for something/Somewhere I've never been/Some times I am frightened/But I'm ready to learn.

YouTube is amazing.

We drove home with school uniforms and with Mary still singing.  I just smiled. The power of love.

Note: Older daughter had a cassette tape of top music from mid-1980s. Mary sang along with her sister.  In the car, Mary started singing "Like a Virgin" by Madonna. Sigh.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Christmas is here! Christ is born!

A tree in our neighborhood. For 11 months of the year, it is ugly. But in December?

You might think that this post is a tad premature, but there is a reason: I want to celebrate Christ's birth, listen to music, decorate with every bulb and garland I can find, and remember every Christmas possible. Christmas cannot wait and neither can I.

Photo taken from our hotel balcony on December 4, 2016 in Chicago

Waiting for Christmas is and has always been the most intense, insane experience of anticipation of all the year.  

Standing in front of the tree and being mesmerized by the lights is the disco ball of the season.  Shaking the presents and guessing their contents is always be part of the game.  The small train around the base wears itself out by the Big Day, only too happy to be packed away for next year’s new batteries and another chance to whistle.

(That was a few years ago, when I turned 60 years old.  Then my granddaughters informed me then that I have to move away from the tree.  It was their time to do the dancing.)

That leaves me with the other delights: baking some, fixing meals, cuddling a baby, and moving furniture around to accommodate our grandson Benjamin and his almost 1 year old baby brother James. (:() 

James at 6 months, June 22, 2017
Benjamin's 5th birthday, June 26, 2017

Christmas starts as a spark of joy, and then fills me all up.  Christmas is here!  Christ came into the world as a human, to experience the human pain and suffering.  Christ was crucified, resurrected, and ascended into heaven.   Christ dwells within me daily, reminding me that I am part of His family.

I am waiting for Christmas, slightly removed from the tree’s perimeter to allow tween girls and a five year-old in pajamas to enter into the thrall of the tree. 

The spark is there and starting to burst into the “Hallelujah Chorus”! 

From YouTube

Do you get that spark?  Are the memories of Christmas both looking back and being in the present?  Are you still dancing?  Do you have to push the kids and grandkids out of the way?

This a re-post of 2010.  I liked it, and juggled some words about to post it again.

This post was five years ago and now our babies are now teenagers with braces.  Baby Benjamin is now 5.5 years old (the 1/2 is very important to him). His brother James/Jaimie is 11 months old, with 3 teeth. 

This 2017 and all our own babies and theirs will be here, gathered around our tree.  We'll laugh, listen to Christmas songs, and rejoice that we get to share one more Christmas together.

Why is this post going up in early November, you may ask.  Last Christmas my husband's family went on a cruise because Mom Kane had died in February and none of us wanted to be home, without her.

It wasn't Christmas for any of us, we acknowledged it then and now.  This year we will be together, without her physically, but with her love.

So, while my kids will be here for a short time in December and not on Christmas Day, we will dance up a storm.