Book Review: Wuthering Heights
It is becoming my custom to review one of the great classic works of fiction in December. I do this as my Christmas gift to that one reader out there who has not read this particular piece of literature, but who, as a result of reading this review, will pick it up and read it.
Do angels really get wings when a bell rings?
The Christmas tree is up and decorated at the Lendennie homestead, topped off, as it always is, by an angel. Of all the stories, accounts and legends surrounding Christmas, those involving angels have always been the most special to me.
Holiday season comes in with a bang
The holiday season literally came crashing in this weekend. I was watching a movie, getting ready to get in bed, when what sounded like an explosion rattled the house.
Thanksgiving list gets longer with age
As the time I have spent on this earth gets longer, I find there is so much more for which I am extremely thankful. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, I feel it is appropriate for me to express my thanks for at least some of them.
Book Review: "Dear Life"
As is becoming my custom, my book review for this month is also my recommendation as a Christmas gift for the reader on you list.
Yes, Virginia, Great Britain does have a Thanksgiving Day
A couple of weeks ago I noticed several of my Facebook friends from Great Britain complaining about folks around them setting off fireworks.
It's writing frenzy time again!
As the leaves on the trees change colors and fall, the landscape empties out as fields and gardens are harvested and plowed under, and the days grow shorter, our efforts change from those of sunny weather activities to the more intensive activities that come with being stuck indoors for longer periods of time.
Book review: "After Visiting Friends"
"All along, I have told myself, 'So long as you are in pursuit of the truth, you can be doing no wrong. ... It's quite another (thing) to be the truth bearer. There's a reason people don't like revisionist historians.'"
The holidays are not joyous for everyone
My mother always hated Christmas. That fact about my childhood always stands out in my mind.
State, federal laws protect birds, feathers and nests
I was sitting on my porch swing one day last week, watching a bald eagle hunt for mice and other small creatures in a nearby milo field that had been harvested shortly before, and thinking how lucky we are here in the Mississippi River Valley.
Carney: Just changing gears, not direction
I spent a big part of the past weekend, along with my friends and fellow church members, at the Blytheville First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church saying goodbye to our pastor of the last 20 years or so, the Rev. Tommy Carney.
Book Review: The Orphan Train
Listed by Amazon.com as one of the top new novels of 2013, Christina Baker Kline's newest work, "The Orphan Train," combines the plight of foster children in today's society, and that of orphans and other homeless children in the early part of the 20th century, to create a powerful, poignant and beautiful tale of hope, survival and the triumph of the human spirit against all odds.
Activities gear up as year winds down
Several people have stopped me and asked me how the grandkids did at the county fair. So for those of you wondering, here is a quick rundown:
Dead bugs falling from the sky
With all the activity we have had with the grandchildren here at the end of the summer, the weeds in my flower beds had pretty much taken over.
Adjusting our lives around a new kitten
Back when we had that two-week period where there were torrential downpours every day, I went out during a brief break in the clouds to walk my dog. We had stepped into the garden to see how deep the water was standing, when I heard something crying.
Keeping your child safe at school
When I was a child back in the Jurassic Period, going back to school meant you got to see your friends again after a long summer of not seeing or hearing from most of them at all.
What's in a name; or, mosquitoes as big as birds?
Those of you who are on my Facebook friends list have been seeing my posts about these huge mosquitoes we have this year.
Television stations need to remember their viewers
Remember the good old days, when school started after Labor Day and ended at Memorial Day? And so did the new television season. These days, I could not tell you when the seasons for the various shows begin and end.
Moving towards the autumn months
If you are a gardener, a farmer or just outdoors a lot, about this time of year you start to notice a subtle shift in the things around us.
The bittersweet story of Little Bird
It is strange how some of God's tiniest creatures can make the biggest impact on our lives. This is the tale of one of them.
Total Failure, Inc.: the tale of an eternal optimist
For the second month in a row I have had the great accidental privilege of reading a book that was a joy to read and whose last page I was saddened to finish. And this one was written specifically for readers ages 9-12.
Gardening and cooking in a fried tater world
This has been a whole lot better year for gardening than the last several years. For one thing, we are finally getting enough rain at just the right times. And for another thing, the temperatures have been much cooler.
Patriots come in all forms and viewpoints
With Independence Day only a couple of days away, we are being besieged with quotes and misquotes from John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Ben Franklin, the most notable of the Founding Fathers of this country.
Handicap accessibility needs to be a lot better
It's one of those things you don't think about until you need it; at least, I never really thought about the availability of accessibility aids for the handicapped until I lost most of my mobility. And now I think about it a lot.
Book Review: "Phobos: Mayan Fear"
Once again, I find myself trying very hard to like a book, but just not quite getting there. And in this case that should not be the case, since this book combines archeology, historical fiction, disaster and good old science fiction, ALL of my very favorite genres.
And it rears its ugly head again ...
Well, it's that time of year again, when flowers bloom, gardens grow, kids get out of school for the summer ... and people start taking drives out into the country to dump their unwanted pets.
Horses and much, much more
Studying horses with granddaughter Amy as part of the 4H Horse and Pony Quiz Bowl project is becoming quite the learning experience, and the history of horses turns out to be fascinating.
A tough way to bring about needed change
All of us were glued to the television last week as we watched in real time the tornado which demolished Moore, Okla.
Book Review: A tale of the old west
Majestic mountains, deserts of gold and red and bronze, elk and deer and endless herds of buffalo roaming the Western plains. This is the picture of the old West painted in Richard S. Wheeler's Western novel "The Far Tribes."
Did you remember your mother on Mother's Day?
This past Sunday, May 12, was Mother's Day, and I hope all of you at least called dear old mom on the phone, or better yet, took her flowers or out to lunch or dinner
An unexpected visitor on a rainy day
I know a lot of you saw that snake photo of mine on the cover of the Courier News a couple of weeks ago. That is, by the way, a spotted king snake, although I have been calling them rock snakes for years.
The truth about the monkey blood
A book review I will be doing in a few months brought up an interesting question for me, and was surprisingly hard to answer. And because all the information I was able to find on the Internet was absolutely bogus, I decided it was a question worth answering in this column.
Book Review: "The Thief," an Isaac Bell novel
There are many wonderful writers out there in the genre of archeological and historical fiction, and Clive Cussler is one of the best.
Nationallyknown hero to help recognize local heroes
The Northeast Arkansas Chapter of the American Red Cross will welcome a nationally known hero as part of the final event in its Every Red Cent Counts fundraising campaign.
Registering to vote gives you a voice
Last summer, I was approached by my good friend George Hale to do some research on why Mississippi County was still selecting its jury pool from the registered voter list.
Understanding the celebration of Easter
Holy Week has started, with Palm Sunday this past Sunday, and I hope your family's celebration is an uplifting and inspirational one.
Pancakes and lots of comments on the birds
Well, if I had any doubt that people all over the country read my columns, those doubts were dispelled this week when I was deluged by emails concerning my column on the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. And the comments were all concerned with an error I made on the size of the bird in question...
Book Review: "The Cloud"
A large percentage of the best authors out there were journalists first, and the author of the book I am reviewing this month is a proof of that rule.
The Great Arkansas Snipe Hunt ends
This past year, a decision was very quietly made by a group of renowned scientists that put an end, officially, to a massive search effort in Arkansas.
St. Jude event is right around the corner
No parent should have to lose a child, to watch that child grow sicker and weaker and know there is nothing they can do to help. But for the families of so many children stricken with one form of cancer or another, too often that is the case.
Time to support your local Red Cross
March is, of course, Red Cross Month, and the folks at the local Red Cross office need your help to continue serving this community.
A little existentialism for Valentine's Day
Although there are some wonderful poets currently struggling to have their work published and read in the world today, the vast majority of new poetry sounds, to me, like baby talk.
Why you should never eat broccoli for dinner
I think the worst thing about January is that it comes immediately after December. I know, you are all rolling your eyes and thinking, "Duh!" to yourselves.
Kids, coyotes and losing a friend
I cannot understand anyone who does not have pets. Really, I can't. A sterile house leads to a sterile life, but having a pet in the home, even if the result is a little bit of mess, is an infusion of love.
Gardening season is upon us again
Although the whole world is brown and dead, and it is still very chilly outside, my winter vegetables are producing nicely right now, and the planting dates for early spring veggies are close at hand.
Book Review: "Someday is Not a Plan"
Personal finance can be a difficult thing for anybody to understand, especially young people just starting out in a new career.
Fun with the grandkids in 2013
There is nothing like hitting the ground running at the start of the New Year, and that seems to be the way this year is starting out here at the Lendennie homestead.
Book Review: "The Man in the Iron Mask"
When I was trying to decide what book to review during the holidays, I decided classic was the way to go.
Christmas dinner has not changed much over the centuries
When we think of an old English Christmas dinner, many of us immediately refer back to that eaten at the table of Bob Cratchit in the Charles Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol," which ended with Tiny Tim's "God bless us every one."
A rose by any other name ...
I have never been shy to admit to myself or anybody else that I set up a Facebook account specifically to play games. Since doing that a number of years ago, I have been able to stay in close contact with family members and former classmates with whom I had completely lost contact.
Look for changes in the workplace of the future
Late last month Greg Kratz, a reporter and columnist at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City wrote a piece on a survey conducted by LinkedIn, a professional networking group. The survey asked more than 7,000 respondents to list 10 tools or practices in the workplace that likely would be replaced or would simply not be done by 2017.
Pilgrim or Puritan -- what's in a name?
In a few days we will all observe the national holiday totally devoted to stuffing ourselves with turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other foods the Native American's introduced to the first settlers of this country.
Book review: The perfect gifts for the readers on your list
The holidays are upon us, and most of us are making our list, checking it twice, and trying to think of the perfect gift for those very special people in our lives.
Weather, voting and other fall tidbits
Today is Election Day. If you have not voted yet, you have until 7:30 p.m. to do so. This is one of the greatest of our rights as American citizens, and our free and open election process is the one single thing that makes our nation unique among nations.
Catholic Church names the first Native American Saint
I have been working for some time on research for a novel on the Native Americans of the Mississippian period, specifically regarding their contact with the treasure hunter Hernando Desoto.
Book reviews and other writing projects
This is one of those weeks when I just can't find enough hours or energy to finish every project that seems to just spring to life around me. Fast approaching is something to which I have been looking forward since I heard about it -- the National Novel Writing Month...
Clearing up the Medicare Advantage question
I was deeply concerned, as were many of you I am sure, while listening to the first Presidential Candidate Debate a couple of weeks ago, when I kept hearing it repeated again and again that Medicare Advantage was going to end when the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare) is fully enacted.
Book review: A little spooky fun with the kids.
One of the reasons I started doing book reviews was to maybe encourage folks to read a book every now and then. I thought I would present some affordable and good quality options, as well as warning everyone away from the books I feel are a waste of time and money.
Rabies is still a threat in Arkansas
As the days get cooler and shorter, many of the furry critters so common in a rural community are out in force, trying to store up food and fat for the coming winter.
Some sure signs of the changing seasons
Fall, my favorite time of year, has arrived, and in the past couple of weeks that has become very apparent. The first thing I began to notice was the fact that the smaller trees in the yard were looking a little threadbare.
Book Review: "New York to Dallas"
In the world of romance novels, one of the best-known authors is Nora Roberts. And perhaps some of the best novels written by Roberts are written under her alternate pen name, J.D. Robb.
Vivid memories of a very bad day
There are a few days you will remember in great detail for the rest of your life.
Musings on a rainy Saturday
I have to tell you, I have waited a long, hot summer to be able to use this title. It took a hurricane to bring us a couple of inches of rainfall.
Give your child the world through books
Even as a child, I was a voracious reader. Oh, of course, my parents read to all of us at bedtime when we were little, but of the three of us, I am the only one who began at about the age of 8 spending all of my free time off in some corner with my nose stuck in a book.
Book Review: "War" by Sebastian Junger
If the reality of war is just a little too much for you, you should not read this book. For everyone who has someone in harm's way, though, I think this is a must-read.
Peaches, roses and the dreaded Japanese beetle
I really thought this would be my first year to enjoy delicious, home-grown peaches from my own tree. Boy, was I wrong.
A little digging produces answers and movement toward change
In my column of May 1, I lamented the fact that Mississippi County had not implemented Arkansas Act 1404, which changes the jury pool from those people who register to vote, as it stands now, to those people with driver's licenses and state identification cards.
Trying to garden in a rainless sauna
For the first 20 or so years I lived here, the summers were more or less predictable. I knew when to plant early veggies such as peas, how far into the winter I could expect to harvest tomatoes, and that onions would overwinter and be large and sweet in the spring if you planted them in the early fall.
Book Review: "Silent Music" by Adam Wyeth
Once upon a time, you could distinguish a learned man from his contemporaries because he most likely carried a book of poetry with him.
"From one end of this continent to the other ..."
"I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other ..."
The lazy days of summer have arrived
This summer has already become so full of activities it is hard to get them all scheduled. But at the same time, life in general has slowed to a crawl, especially in the heat of the day.
The worst book I have ever read
I have a hard and fast rule are far as books are concerned, and that is if I buy it, I read it. All of it, no matter how bad it is. And I have read some stinkers. But this book I am about to review is absolutely the worst book I have ever read in my life.
Schools should teach about outstanding women
I sat down to watch a movie a few days ago, one I had seen listed but which was airing too late for me to watch. So I set the DVR, and as soon as I had a chance, I sat down to enjoy it with great anticipation.
Do you know the birds in your yard?
I have had a couple of calls in the past few weeks about birds people have seen in their yards, so I thought I might pass on some information about the most common (and some not so common) birds you might see at your feeder or birdbath here in this part of Arkansas.
Herbs as part of your kitchen garden
Although I have been gardening most of my life, I only recently (the last 10 years or so) started growing herbs. The reason was simple: in my family, you cooked what the men wanted to eat.
Writing about absolutely nothing
What is the best way to make it rain? Put off writing a column due on Sunday night until Sunday afternoon. Then you get a doozy, with strobe lightning and sound effects and the whole package. And, of course, no power.
Not seeing it does not mean it is not so
A number of years ago, my ex-husband's mother died. This in itself was not unusual, although she was fairly young, in her early 60s. What was notable was that it was only two days before she passed, after she had been in a coma for weeks, when she was finally diagnosed with something she knew she had for most of her life: Lupus.
Book Review: "The Affair"
Sometimes going back to the very beginning is the best way to move forward, and this latest paperback by Lee Child does that very thing times two.
Elections should be more than an inconvenience
I was disappointed Saturday to see the very small number of Mississippi County residents who came out to meet and greet our candidates for the upcoming elections for the offices of state and U.S. representative, among others.
A few random springtime musings
Well, the prom was all the rage on Facebook this weekend. So I got to see the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of all my Facebook friends as they headed out to prom this weekend.
Book review: "Escape from Botany Bay"
Did you ever pick up a book almost as an after-thought and find it is one of the best reading experiences you have ever had? This was the case for me with a children's non-fiction work I stumbled across by accident, while researching something else.
The continuing search for Amelia Earhart
On May 20, 1937, America's darling, Amelia Earhart, began what was to be her last monumental feat in a lifetime of such achievements.
It's not your grandmother's Red Cross
Are ya bored? Well, are ya? Then have I got just the thing for you, to rid yourself of those springtime doldrums and let you do something important for your community.
Space: It is still the final frontier
For those of us who are passionate or even just sort of interested in outer space, science, science fiction and what new wonders and discoveries await us in the future, this has been an extraordinary month.
Book Review: "Beyond 2012 The Omega Point"
There are some authors out there who just write good books, and Whitley Strieber, author of "Beyond 2012 The Omega Point" is one of them.
Grandma, where do U.S. presidents come from?
I think it would be fair to say that I am a political junky and a history geek. This past three months or so, however, have been a little more entertaining than most.
"When the world and I were young ..."
For the last couple of years before my dad died at the age of 83, he would say, usually out of the blue, "I don't have any friends anymore. They all died!"
By the light of the silvery moon
Since man first appeared on Earth, we have been mesmerized by and obsessed about the moon. Oh, the sun was worshipped as a greater "god" by the ancients, but the moon has always held a special place in our hearts for many different reasons.
Taking a stab at book reviews
One of the things I enjoyed most but did not have many opportunities to do as a reporter with the Courier News was the book reviews.
St. Jude: The absolute gift of love
Once upon a time in America, there was a young, struggling actor whose wife had a baby. The actor did not have enough money to pay the hospital to bring his wife and baby home, so being a devout Catholic, he went to church and prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus for guidance.
Blytheville loses a great animal rights crusader
Blytheville has a number of wonderful nonprofit and community service organizations, and all of them depend on their dedicated volunteers to do the good work of this area. This week, we lost one of the best.
PIPA and SOPA: What all the fuss was about
Toward the end of 2011, with millions of people still unemployed or underemployed, the threat of rising taxes being faced by middle and lower middle income families, and skyrocketing costs on everything from food to medicines to gasoline, our elected officials in Washington used their last weeks before the holiday break to put together two pieces of legislation and try to get them pushed through.
A couple of mixed-bag weeks
The last couple of weeks have been a mixed bag of extremely good and extremely bad things, with a few oddities scattered in just for good measure.
Time to make some turkey soup
Everybody always talks about depression rates climbing during the holidays. However, it is this time of the year when I find myself, at times, literally bored out of my mind.
A question from the grandkids
As I was riding down the road with my grandkids earlier this week, one of them asked me a really interesting question. Actually, the 4-year-old asked the 8-year-old, who answered, and then an argument ensued which Grandma had to settle.
Vietnam veterans still fighting the effects of herbicides
Those of you who attended the Mississippi County Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11 at the county courthouse in Blytheville heard a very informative and well presented talk by Mike Freligh on the plight of our nation's service men and women.
Time to make those New Year's resolutions
Well, here we are, at the beginning of another year, at least according to the Roman calendar. Most ancient civilizations use the winter solstice (northern hemisphere)/summer solstice (southern hemisphere) on Dec. 21 as the beginning of their year, including the ancient Mayans, but that is a topic for another column...
Here we come a-caroling
I truly hope all of you are having a great Christmas season, and of course that Santa brings you everything on your list.
Remember the children at Christmas
Steve and I are not big partiers. As a matter of fact, we don't stay up until midnight on Dec. 31; we watch fireworks from our own back yard on July 4; and one of our biggest joys is passing out candy on our own porch on Halloween, just us and maybe a grandkid or two.
Take time to remember the fallen
Dec. 7 marks a very solemn anniversary in the history of our country, and I think it would be appropriate for all of us to pause in our shopping, baking and decorating activities for just a few minutes in remembrance.
Ivey is a former staff writer of the Courier News.