Little bits

I spent the morning, finishing Robert Kagan’s uplifting history, The World America Made, then cast around for the next entry in my personal reading program this summer. Years ago, I could knock out 65 books per year, but I was reading mostly mysteries in those days.

I stopped reading mysteries because they became too graphic for me. With the rise of forensic science, mysteries became police procedurals which can have interesting back stories, but whose characters either attract or repel you. The advent of female investigators renewed my interest in these books, but the stupid way so many of these female cops wandered into situations any good cop would avoid, such as rushing off without backup, annoyed me. Females in distress had worn out their welcome with me.

Like many of my ilk, I was a P. D. James fan for many years but even Phyllis lost her charm. Ditto the author of the Langley mysteries. I was changing planes in Bern Switzerland years ago, when the guard asked me if the book under my arm was the latest, Elizabeth George. It was and we agreed it was grand. But that was then.

I could go on, but having rediscovered history, thanks to Alison Weir and her historic novels, I find history is the greatest mystery of all. So I go on reading history. Lately, I have been focusing more on political history. Politics are interesting, and no matter how much we might think things have changed in Washington or around the world for that matter, they haven’t. As Robert Kagan points out, even the founders thought America (meaning the federal government) had gone to hell because of infighting in 1800.(You might recall that Jefferson and Adams had a falling out for a while.)


The current issue of The New Yorker includes an excellent essay by Jill Lapore, David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker, about Jane Franklin…sister of Ben. I had never heard of Jane before, but there are many things I have not known before, even if I am a bona fide historian.  Lepore combines Jane’s story with her mother’s story and the result is touching, especially as Lepore’s mom died last year. I recommend it to anyone interested in women’s history.


I began the process of preparing for cataract surgery August 5. The doc’s office says they will do one eye at a time which is fine with me. According to them, I will wear an eye patch after the procedure. This means the first time I see Gigihawii in person, I will have monocular vision via an eye affected by a cataract. Oh well, guess I will have to visit her blog to get a good look at her.

I can’t believe the steps I must take for this surgery. I just had my annual physical in May, but I must see my doctor again and have an EKG, blood work, etc, again.  As a result, I have at least four preparatory appointments set up for this procedure. Oh well, what else would I be doing?


My granddaughter Joy took the photo below from the front porch at their farm here in Virginia. The farm is a hop and a skip away from sites where some of the fiercest fighting of the Civil War occurred. The anniversary of Gettysburg is this Thursday, July 4. Now that was REAL infighting, but the USA survived and did well after that.






11 thoughts on “Little bits

    • Yes, I read them…long ago. I remember Francis’ mysteries were the Queen Mother’s favorites, probably because of the horses. At least one was made into a film starring Judy Dench’s husband as the “bad guy.”


  1. I know what you mean about thrillers. I find the modern ones far too bloody or forensic. I enjoy historical mysteries now, by someone like Lindsey Davis or Ariana Franklin, both of whom are ‘proper’ historians in their day jobs. I suppose mysteries pay better. These books are not literature, but amusing and good for a pleasant, undemanding evening.

    I’ve just read the latest A.M. Holmes’ ‘May We Be Forgiven’, which is more like literary fiction but still quite fast paced.


  2. Yes, I did all that two days ago. G says they used to do it at the hospital, but now in an office to save money. Now where did I put the phone number for the red cross blood draw appointment department……


  3. Lovely sunset. I am surprised at all the tests pre cataract surgery. I had both eyes done about six months apart. I had one visit to the Orthopedic Surgeon, in fact the actual operations were carried out by different people and not the man who did the pre med! I was given a time to be at the hospital, When I arrived I was checked for some general questions, I suppose to check I was the person named on the particular forms. Then I was brought round to sit outside the theatre in a wheeled recliner. When my turn came, I was wheeled in. I was awake for the whole procedure and wheeled out to the recovery room/lounge and given coffee/tea. Elly my daughter was called in to join me and offered refreshment. Twenty minutes we were on the way to the car! Was it successful? I did point out a pound coin on the pavement to Elly! I only had to cover my eye with a pad at night for two weeks – It is to prevent scratching the eye during sleep!


    • I had a heart attack and a stroke in 1999 and 2004, and the medical people have been very observant of me since. Even the dentist takes my blood pressure. I think its a bit silly, but apparently they don’t.


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