Harold Takes a Walk

Getting old, said Bette Davis, is not for sissies. Aging is a transcendental experience in that it forces one to go beyond themselves. And going beyond the self can be fatiguing. In recent years, there’s been an increase in coming of age books for the elderly. For example, Rachel Joyce’s THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY.

One Tuesday morning, Harold receives a letter from Queening Hennessy. Queenie is dying of cancer and just wanted to say good-bye to her ex-colleague. When someone writes that they are dying, it’s a letter you can’t ignore. But Harold is not good at expressing himself. So after several attempts at writing letters that only end up crumpled and thrown in the bin, he winds up writing Queenie two stiff lines then tells his wife he’s going to post his letter. Once outside the front door, Harold just starts walking and can’t stop.

To discover the world, all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.

Harold, a “tall man who moved through life with a stoop, as if expecting a low beam, or a screwed up paper missile, to appear out of nowhere,” was not a walker. But“now that he’d accepted the slowness of himself, he took pleasure in the distance he covered.” And this acceptance of the aging self is obligatory if you want to enjoy what remains of your life.

In the autumn Harold’s wife, Maureen, used to wear fallen leaves in her button hole. The couple had lost a child years before and the pain, despite the passing of much time, still lingered. But, says Maureen, the “difference is that I am getting used to the pain. It’s like discovering a great hole in the ground. To begin with, you forget it’s there and you keep falling in. After a while, it’s still there, but you learn to walk around it.”

Harold and Maureen, like many married couples, had at a certain point chosen to pursue loneliness even though “being alone required such constant effort”. But Harold’s walk had provoked the couple back to the present where “beginnings could happen more than once.”

And with this thought I’ll start my day.


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In 2005, Pink Flamingo No. 492 escaped from a zoo in Kansas. Originally from Tanzania, No. 492 was miserable and wanted to go to a warmer climate. Luckily, the zookeepers had forgotten to clip his wings so when the opportunity presented itself, No. 492 didn’t hesitate and took flight.

For years his whereabouts was unknown. But then, in 2018, No. 492 was spotted on the Gulf Coast of Texas basking in the ocean spray. It was possible to identify him as he was still wearing his yellow ID tag.

What a lonely life it must have been all those years on the lam without a fellow flamingo for companionship! But No. 492 was eventually sighted in the company of a Yucatecan flamingo known as HDNT. Were the two simply friends or, instead, flamed colored lovers?

Imagine a flamingo from Tanzania and a flamingo from the Yucatan that, while flying over Texas, meet and stay together for the rest of their lives like flamingo couples do.

Today, like every day, is a perfect day for a love story!


P.S. A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance.

Related: Flamingo that escaped a zoo in 2005 spotted in Texas + Birds That Mate for Life +

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My Birthday Blanket

The blanket on my bed is very old and very worn. In some areas, the fabric is so frayed that it’s practically non-existent. It had to be mended so I started covering the worn areas with fabric scraps. Once I got started patching, I couldn’t stop until I’d covered the blanket’s entire surface.

Mending the blanket had made it beautiful because mending is a form of aesthetics.



I now call the blanket My Birthday Blanket because, while working on it the day of my birthday, an idea moved into my head—growing old is not the problem as much as it is how one grows old.

Sometimes, for life to be beautiful, you have to do your own embellishing.


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Soothing Words for Bumpy Nights

During the night, I often wake up and have difficulties going back to sleep. My doctor suggested listening to audio books. So now the search is on for freebies online.

Audiobooks on YouTube:

My  Audiobook Play List on youTube HErE

Audio books on Archive:  (letter “A”)

“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” HERE

“Mrs Dalloway” by Virgina Woolf HERE

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin HERE

“The Twin MysterY” by Nicholas Carter HERE

“The Odyssey” by Homer HERE

“Letters of Two Brides” HERE

“Romeo and Juliet” by Shakespeare HERE

“The Secret Garden” by Mary Hodgson Burnett HERE

“Arabella Stuart” by G.P.R. James HERE

“Letters of Two Brides” by Balzac HERE

“Joan and Peter” by H.G.Wells HERE

“Beyond Good and Evil” by Nietzsch HERE

“’Twixt Earth and Stars” by Radclyffe Hall HERE (poetry)

“Twelve Creepy Tales” by Edgar Allan Poe HERE

“35 Sonnets” by Fernando Pessoa HERE  (poetry)

“A Brief History of English and American Literature” by Henry A. Beers HERE

“A Ballade of Suicide” by G. K. Chesterton HERE

A Book of Myths by Jean Lang HERE

A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear HERE (limericks)

A Book of Sibyls: Mrs. Barbauld, Miss Edgeworth, Mrs. Opie, Miss Austen HERE

A Contented Man by Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev HERE

A Confederate Girl’s Diary by Sarah Dawson HERE

A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays by Willa Sibert Cather. HERE

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson HERE

A Charming Fellow by Frances Eleanor Trollope HERE

A Changed Man And Other Tales by Thomas Hardy HERE

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen HERE

A Double Barreled Detective Story, by Mark Twain HERE

A Dream Play by August Strindberg HERE

A Few Figs from Thistles by Edna St. Vincent Millay HERE (poetry)

A Florentine Tragedy and La Sainte Courtisane, by Oscar Wilde HERE

A Garland For Girls by Louisa May Alcott HERE

A Gringo In Mañana-Land by Harry La Tourette Foster HERE

A Guest at the Ludlow and Other Stories by Bill Nye HERE

A House Divided Against Itself by Margaret O. Oliphant HERE

A Letter From A Girl To Her Own Old Age by Alice Meynell HERE

A Prairie Sunset by Walt Whitman HERE

A Rubaiyat Miscellany by Omar Khayyám HERE

A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne HERE

A Rogue’s Life by Wilkie Collins HERE

A Legend of Montrose by Sir Walter Scott HERE

A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman HERE

A Phantom Lover, by Vernon Lee  HERE

A Philosophical Enquiry by Edmund Burke HERE

A Pinch of Salt by Robert Graves HERE

A Poor Wise Man by Mary Roberts Rinehart HERE

A Ride Across the Peloponnese by George Macmillan HERE

A Sicilian Romance, by Ann Radcliffe HERE

A Thrush Before Dawn by Alice Meynell HERE (poetry)

A Thousand Miles up the Nile, by Amelia B. Edwards HERE

A Tree with a Bird in it a symposium of contemporary american poets on being shown a pear-tree on which sat a grackle by Margaret Widdemer HERE

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by Mary Wollstonecraft HERE

A Voyage to the Moon by Cyrano de Bergerac HERE (fantasy)

A Wodehouse Miscellany by P.G. Wodehouse HERE

A Woman of No Importance, by Oscar Wilde HERE

A Woman’s Life by Guy de Maupassant HERE

A Year’s Spinning by Elizabeth Barrett Browning HERE

Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey by Washington Irving HERE

Adam Bede, by George Elio HERE

An Anonymous Story by Anton Chekhov HERE

Al Que Quiere! (and 18 more poems) by William Carlos Williams. HERE

Agnes Grey, by Anne Brontë HERE

Agatha Webb by Anna Katharine Green HERE

After the Divorce by Grazia Deledda HERE

Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington HERE

Alexander’s Bridge by Willa Sibert Cather HERE

An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, by Henry Fielding. HERE

Among the Tibetans, by Isabella L. Bird HERE

All Along The River by Mary Elizabeth Braddon HERE

Anne of Avonlea, by Lucy Maud Montgomery HERE

Annie Besant, by Annie Besant HERE

Around the World in Seventy-Two Days by Nellie Bly HERE

Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis HERE

 “At the Bay.” Katherine Mansfield HERE

Auguste Rodin by Rainer Maria Rilke HERE

Aunt Jane’s Nieces, by L. Frank Baum HERE

Autobiography by John Stuart Mil HERE

 Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis HERE

Anarchy, by Errico Malatesta HERE

 Andersen’s Fairy Tales, by Hans Christian Andersen HERE

Kastle Krags: A Story of Mystery by Absalom Martin HERE

Antonia by George Sand HERE

Aphorisms, by Oscar Wilde HERE

Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw HERE

Grandma’s Recipes for Mother and Daughter by American Molasses Company HERE


If you have any suggestions regarding audiobooks, please comment. Thanks.

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My Archive reading List

There are many books worth reading on Archive.org.  I’ve made lists of books that I want to read and chronically misplace them. So I’ve decided to keep my list here.

Archive.org Reading List:

A natural history of the senses by Diane Akerman HERE

Bobbie Ann Mason: a study of the short fiction by Wilheim Albert HERE + (short stories)

Across an untried sea: discovering lives hidden in the shadow of convention and time  By Julia Marcus HERE

Creative Visualization by Shaki Gawain  HERE

Difficult women by David Plante HERE

Edward Hopper an intimate biography by Gail Levin HERE

Encounter by Milan Kundera HERE

Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb HERE

Spellbound: studies on mesmerism and literature by Maria Tatar HERE

The hard facts of Grimm’s fairy tales by Maria Tatar HERE + (short stories)

The mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliff HERE +

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco HERE +

The Things We Used to Say by Natalia Ginzburg HERE +

The secret self: a century of short stories by women anthology HERE + (short stories)

Under the Andes by Rex Stout HERE +

The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio HERE +

I Shock Myself by Beatrice Wood HERE + (autobigraphy)

The Beautiful an Introduction To Psychological Aesthetics by Vernon Lee HERE +

Ghosts : a natural history: 500 years of searching for proof by Roger Clark HERE +

Vernon Lee: aesthetics, history, and the Victorian female intellectual by Christa Zorn HERE +

Walter Pater: the aesthetic moment by Iser Wolfgang HERE +

The Blackbirder by Dorothy Hughes HERE +

Dark Certainty by Dorothy Hughes HERE +

Verdict Mystery Magazine HERE +

Maigret Afraid by Georges Simenon HERE +

The lady with the little dog and other stories by Anton Chekhov HERE + (short stories)

Collected Stories by Raymond Chandler HERE + (short stories)

The short story: 30 masterpieces edited by Beverly Lawn HERE + (short stories)

The Brontë myth by Lucasta Miller HERE +

Selected tales of Ivan Turgenev by Ivan Turgenev HERE + (short stories)

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