Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday Intros -- The Light of Paris

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I'm not doing nearly enough reading these days, but teaching seven college courses keeps me pretty
busy. I'm truly enjoying Eleanor Brown's The Light of Paris. She has some lovely passages as she tells the story of Madeleine in 1999, a woman in a sterile marriage living in a Chicago high rise with her powerful husband, and that of her grandmother, Margie in 1924, who travels to Paris as a chaperone to her younger cousin and decides to stay. I love traveling back in time and to Paris during that time after World War I as artists, writers and philosophers tried to make sense of the world.
Here's the intro, actually, the 2nd paragraph, which I think is more representative of the novel:

I had the best of intentions, always: to make my mother happy, to keep the peace, to smooth my rough edges and ease my own way. But in the end, the life I had crafted was like the porcelain figurines that resided in my mother's china cabinets: smooth, ornate, but delicate and hollow. For display only. Do not touch. 

Hope you're reading something fabulous and have more reading time than I do.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Preteens in France

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

Since Grace is in Europe this week, I thought I'd revisit a time when my boys were in France.
Here is Spencer, age 12, on the Eiffel Tower with Paris at his back.
A fashionable 12-year-old in 2007. Note the soccer jacket and the puka shell necklace, plus the still wet hair.  

That was the first time he'd gone up the Eiffel Tower. When we took the kids 
over at ages 2, 4, and 6, only Tucker went to the top of the tower with me. 

And here's Tucker as a 10-year-old wearing a beret that we bought at a souvenir shop. We still have that beret!

Hope you're thinking about good memories of France today, too. 
Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France today. Please leave your name and blog address in Mr. Linky below, and leave a comment letting me know what  you think about my love affair with France, or your own passion for the country and its people and cultures. Also consider visiting the blogs of others who play along so we can all share the love.

A Professor's Hair Diary Week 4

Four weeks into the semester, I've successfully worn a different hairstyle for each day of class -- that's 11 days out of 45.
My goal is to wear a different hairstyle every day I teach. I'm sharing on Instagram, where you'll find me @runningfan63 and on Twitter @paulitakincer. If you want to hear more about my crazy scheme, you can find the original post on my blog A Professor's Hair Diary.

"Did you do something different to your hair?" the garrulous student who sits in the front row called out at the same time that another student said,"Your hair looks nice."
Finally, during Week 4, my students had noticed and commented on my hair. Unfortunately, it didn't have anything to do with an elaborate hairstyle,  like the kinds I'd been wearing for four weeks. The comments came the day after I got a haircut and the stylist straightened it.
I would have gotten a comment from a student even if I'd worn my hair the exact same way every day - down and curly.
I do love having my hair straightened though. I felt quite beautiful with my long, flowing locks on the walk home
My hair is generally just below my shoulders when it's curly, but it reaches to the middle of my back, past my shoulder blades when it's straightened. Sometimes I feel like it's choking me at night as strands get wrapped around my throat.
So, after four weeks of hairstyles, my students noticed a difference, but they haven't noticed all the carefully sculpted hairstyles -- a different one every day.
Technically, the comment, "Did you do something different to your hair?" is kind of insulting since I've done something different every day.
Here are the pictures from this week.
Monday I wore a side bun. I rolled the sides and gathered my hair into a bun on the right side of the back of my head.

On Wednesday was the noticeable straight hair.

On Friday, I tried four or five different hairstyles before I ended up just pulling the sides back in a barrette.

That's it for this week's Professor's Hair Diary. Thanks for hanging around. I hope I can stick to it. I may be losing enthusiasm. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sad Update

Yesterday, I wrote about my Uncle Junior before attending his visitation service last night.
My Aunt Esther valiantly perched on a stool by my uncle's coffin throughout the evening, not leaving her post for two hours as the line stretched through the room.
She made each person there feel a specific part of her life and my uncle's life.
"You know each niece and nephew is loved, but there was always something special about you," she confided.
She even asked, as she squeezed my hands, when she was going to get a copy of my latest novel. I promised I would hand deliver it in the next few weeks.
I spent the night at my brother's house, but drove home before the funeral because I had to teach.
Just a little while ago, my mother texted the sad news that Aunt Esther fell and broke her leg last night. She did not make it to her husband's funeral because she needed surgery.
I can't imagine the pain and indecision her children faced as they tried to decide whether to postpone the service since their mother couldn't be there -- whether to be at their mother's side or their father's funeral.
I hope Aunt Esther heals quickly, even though she faces some sad times without Uncle Junior by her side.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

In Memoriam -- Uncle Junior

When I wrote The Summer of France, I included the character Uncle Martin. Uncle Martin came from a family of nine children in Kentucky and volunteered to fight in World War II. He fought in Italy, was wounded and ended up in France where he fell in love with a Frenchwoman and never returned to live in the U.S.
Uncle Martin's character was loosely based on all of my uncles, but mostly on Uncle Junior.
That's what we called him because my mother always called him Junior. His wife called him Luther because that was his name -- Luther John Phillips.
Junior was the oldest boy in a family of nine. He had two older sisters, three younger brothers and three younger sisters. My mother grew up the baby in that family.
Uncle Junior was drafted into the army and  he did serve in Italy in World War II. Somewhere, I have a videotape of him sharing his war experience. He was wounded four times but came home in one piece with a Purple Heart. As we talked about his experience, he recalled that he warned his younger brothers not to wait to be drafted. Instead, he urged them to sign up for the military. Clarence, the next oldest brother, signed up for the Navy so he could avoid the ground war that Uncle Junior faced.
Uncle Junior is next to my mother in the middle. This picture
was taken at the funeral of my most recent uncle who passed.
These are the remaining siblings. 
His two  younger brothers weren't old enough to fight in World War II, but they both served later.
Uncle Junior died at age 94 on Saturday morning. He had been moved to hospice care about 24 hours before.
His death makes me sad for my mother, who loved hearing from her big brother.
It makes me sad for my aunt, who had been married to him for 71 years. 71 years? Can you imagine how empty that must feel after so long together?
And it makes me sad for all of us nieces and nephews who enjoyed hearing his musings, even if we only saw him a few times each year.
Uncle Junior didn't have the same adventures that Uncle Martin did in The Summer of France, but he  had a rich life that took him back home to Ohio and allowed him to volunteer in the Masonic Order and the Shriners, along with telling his war stories.