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WHISTLING WOMEN: A Novel ~Kelly A. Romo

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

“A whistling woman and a crowing hen always come to some bad end” ~Proverb

The story begins in a Nudist Camp in California in 1935. The members are preparing to take their healthy lifestyle to the 1935 Worlds Fair in San Diego.  They will be a part of the exhibitions and earn money for their community in Northern California.  Addie has lived in the community for 17 years and has felt safe and happy within the ranks, but now she is learning that she will be asked to leave because she is not so young and beautiful any more and will not make the community needed funding. She does not wish to go to San Diego where her sister lives and will not communicate with her.  There is no choice. she must go if she is to stay on with the group.

The backdrop of historic San Diego and the Exposition makes this a very interesting read.  Romo has done her homework and then interjected a story about being an orphan and domestic abuse, incest and rape.  The reader is taken through a search for love and safety, forgiveness and fear, right up to the door of a family reuniting and healing.

Addie and Wavey’s parents have died.  Wavey is older and more useful on the Uncle’s farm as a worker in the early 1900s and so it is decided that Addie will leave Ohio and go to Kansas to a Orphan Asylum which also takes children who have been involved in crimes.  After many years, Addie has been sent for by her now married sister Wavey to join her family in San Diego.  There is lots of hope in this arrangement.  Wavey’s husband is violent and a rapist and after their daughter is born he begins to attack Addie also.  Addie does something terrible and is sent away to the Ohio farm and to more pain and sorrow.  She runs away heading back to California and finds the Nudist Colony.  Her sister no longer communicates with her-refuses her letters.

Wavey has 2 daughters now, Mary and Rumor.  Rumor is 15 and so excited about going to the exhibition and seeing all the future ideas exposed.  At church they hear about the Nudist exhibit and her friend is restricted from attending the exhibition.  Addie comes to their front door and is hoping for reconciliation with her sister.  Rumor is so excited to meet her aunt and begins a secret relationship with her; boldly visiting the in the exhibition and trying to understand life and her future.

The story was moving and a good read, but I found myself several times finding it too long.   I figured out what was happening and then there would be too much detail and redundancy.  The story would pick up again and would move forward.  I thought the religious sections didn’t really launch though were good transition material but sometimes confused the issue and theme.  That could be another story, the moralizing was important and provided boundaries in the story but also bogged the reader a bit.

I loved the Proverb at the start, thought it a good story and an interesting reflection on history.  Safety is often a tough issue when mixed with poverty and being female. Very readable and good sister dynamics – unraveling the family secrets.

Kelly Romo currently lives in Oregon with her three children, where she teaches writing, literature, and social studies.  She loves the outdoors: hiking, kayaking, and camping.  Kelly grew up in California running around with all her thrill-seeking cousins and siblings; exploring caves on the beaches of Mexico, riding dirt bikes, water skiing and snow skiing.”

“Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the lasting consequences of a single impulsive act.” (From Amazon page)

TLC Book Tour 

The Moon Sisters
Accidents of a Marriage
The Fixer

Ruffing It and Double Dip Fasting?

Monday, April 4th, 2011
Zip with Coller

Zip with Collar

Zip had a bit of surgery this week and came home on April Fool’s Day with an Elizabethan Collar and a “drunken sailor” swagger.  The collar is a plastic cone that goes around his head and keeps him from scratching or licking the tender spots.  It took a bit of effort to re- master going down stairs and now going upstairs catches the edge of the collar and just totally stops all progress – Keep your chin up old boy!

Fortunately our online friend Flossie has bravely gone before and put up a positive post about  the 5 good lessons learned while wearing an Elizabethan collar.

Zip in his own words says it is Ruff, Ruff.

I am wondering if anyone else is doing the fun CARBON FAST?

Half way through, we are not finding it ruff at all and are rather enjoying reading the daily suggestions.  Most of the suggestions are not new to this household. We have found it reassuring to know that we have been doing most of these things for most of our lives and that they are making a difference.

I did have to compromise on putting the towels on a drying rack.  It has been so wet and rainy here; I used the dryer to keep them from mildewing.  I have to go the extra mile to keep mold clear of the bathrooms and sink areas during this time of year also.

I  learned a new trick about defrosting the freezer (I usually do this in May as it is still too full of food )  and that was about putting blocks of ice on the empty shelves to keep the freezer working most efficiently.  I still have about 50 quarts of applesauce acting as the blocks of ice right now, but I appreciated learning that lesson for those empty pre-season days.

Bread for the World FAST

Isaiah the prophet said:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen;
To loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
To set the oppressed free
And break every yoke?

Rev. David Beckmann the Director of the Bread for the World Program  has been fasting. Mark Bittman, a food critic for the New York Times,   heard about the fast and decided to join Beckmann for a week and wrote about his choice and all the details for his column.

I wanted to know more, so I spent most of a day researching the progress and information available. Then I signed up.   I signed up through a Facebook connection to Bread for the World.  I was not alone, about 16,400 people signed on in the next few hours after the article.  Several organizations I get newsletters from shared the information and another 20,800 people signed up to fast in the next few hours.

This fast is to publicly say that the way the US Congress is  treating the “least of these” is reprehensible and unacceptable, when programs are being cut to assist those in the greatest need: children, veterans, health, education, disabled,  and  the corporations and wealthiest who paid for the elections receive tax cuts.

This is a moral issue – not a balance the budget issue.  Life is not about “if you can’t pay you can’t play”.

Many are just giving up one meal for a day, some are fasting for the long haul, I have chosen to give up 2 meals a day through the month and then I will re-negotiate. I thought I had best not leave anything to chance so I am also writing a letter to my new representative in the House, who seems to be a follower and is not representing her district’s wishes and I am continuing to complete grant applications for our schools, our public health care facilities, and the environment.

This is my faith into action.  My call.

Micah 6:8
What does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, and to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Fasting can be ruff, ruff but it is not something new.  It is cleansing and it is powerful and it has been a lesson used by many leaders to teach and inform.  Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. come to mind quickly and then Jesus, and the Buddha, the list goes on and on – it is not time for us to affix an Elizabethan collar to keep us from reaching the painful spots and licking wounds.

Have you ever fasted?  Have you fasted for a blood test or a surgery experience?  Have you fasted from dessert because you would not eat your peas?  Did fasting assist you in your awareness or accelerate your faith or kindness?    Is it a loving thing to do?  Does it change anything, heal anything, or does it need to be part of a combination package?

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Related Reading:
Carbon Fast
32 Years of Writing
Teaching a Pup to Rain Walk
Food as a Spiritual Practice

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