Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dogs and Distractions

On Friday night, I must bravely face the other members of my book discussion group, and tell than that I did not finish A Dog's Purpose. I have read enough reviews of this book to know that my theory holds true: dog on cover = great sadness. I have found an endless string of diversions conveniently drawing me away from turning those pages. I have cleaned cupboards, and rugs, rearranged furniture, planned Thanksgiving dinner, bought and returned some display units from a closing retail store, worked our Heart-A-Rama script to death. This week I will bravely head into the basement, both at home and at the store. to tackle the growing mounds of general junque. Nope. No way will I finish the book by Friday night.

The most compelling distraction has been The Lost City of Z, a book I've been meaning to read for a long time. There's no time like the present, right? Z was (is?) a fabled civilization in the Amazon jungle. In 1925, British explorer Percy Fawcett and his 21 year old son went in search of the legendary city, and never returned. During the first months of their exploration, they sent numerous telegrams home, logging their whereabouts. The final telegram said they would be venturing into the deepest part of the journey,. and would most likely be unable to communicate for about year. They were never heard from again.

The two became fodder for all sorts of speculation, and all types of stories of their expedition surfaced, including several comic books. What happened to them? Were they captured? Did they contract a fever and die? Or, did they discover Z, fall in love with it and decide to stay?

Over the years, numerous expeditions set out to find some trace of the Fawcett party with no success. As a matter of fact, some of the subsequent explorers also vanished. This book details yet another group attempting to research and recreated Fawcett's travels.

That's as far as I am. The contrasts of Africa have always facinated me. The jungle, so lush and beautiful, holds so many secrets. Although we learn more about the continent each year, the densest parts continue to be populated by family groups and tribes far removed from civilisation. Areas swept by warm subtle breezes, exotic fragrances and the melodic animal conversation can also be deadly. I guess all the Tarzan movies I watched as a kid piqued my interest and, since I will never travel to Africa...way too hot and scary...books on the subject are a nice alternative.

*****Hey! A great big wave to our girl, Jordan Ridnour. She spent far too many of her young years battling and beating cancer. She was recently chosen to be a Kid Captain at an Iowa football game and take part in the opening coin toss. Jordan even got to wear a headset which is way cool!

*****Congratulations go out to Dr. Matt Campbell, HFMMC surgeon and friend, for being named one of Sail's 15 outstanding citizens. Matt recently returned from Ethiopia where he performed numerous mastectomies, gall bladder surgeries, and did some teaching in a village hospital. He is currently putting together a group of local doctors, dentists, and nurses to take to Bolivia in spring. These are the people who deserve our admiration and our thanks. These are the people who never stand up and say "Look at me." They simply see what needs to be done and they do it. I often think that the people who blow their horns the loudest have the least to blow them about. I am happy that we have pockets of people like Matt and his colleagues in Manitowoc, so why don't you all just send him a little note of appreciation?

More congratulations....Our Jacque Miller has passed the bar! Our Jacque Miller is a full fledged attorney! Way to go, Jacque. What's next? (Come on, I know you always have another plan in the works. Spill it!)

Emily Trask just finished starring as Miranda in Shakespear's stormy play, The Tempest. She recently returned to Wisconsin to ply Fred's wife, and a bag lady in the Milwaukee Rep's always stunning version of A Christmas Carol. The plays at the historic Pabst Theatre and tickets are on sale now. Go if you can.

What am I reading? Silly question...A Dog's Purpose, of course!