Book Recommendation

“A Gentleman In Moscow” by Amor Towles

I recently read this book and found it very interesting. I will remember this as one of my favorite historical novels.

Here is an excellent review from Goodreads by Dianne Bynum: 

There is value in examining a life well led. The hero of our story leads a full and important life although he is punished by his government to live his life exiled in an hotel. On the surface this plot doesn’t seem to be very interesting but there is a lot to learn from this gentleman. I couldn’t help but think of this book as a very sophisticated Seinfeld episode. Nothing happens, but it’s funny and it’s meaningful and it’s entirely worth reading. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was exiled by a tribunal in modern day Russia. He’s well read, he knows exactly what wine to drink with dinner and he has secrets. Secrets that are tragic, romantic and funny. That’s a lot of life to fill the walls of a small hotel room.




The coronavirus is all over the news today. It is important and it is wreaking havoc in China, but I wonder why it is of more interest in this country than plain old flu. Many people refuse to be vaccinated against the flu for various personal reasons. I think seasonal flu needs more respect in view of these statistics:

Roughly 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year in the United States, and about 35,000 people die.



Special Drink

Just when I think I’ve heard it all . . . I hear there is more ridiculous stuff to learn. Sourtoe Cocktail has an unbelievable ingredient: a human toe. I kid you not!

You won’t find the Sourtoe everywhere, but if you are near Dawson City, Canada drop into the Sourdough Saloon and order one up. It will come with a mummified human toe and one ounce of your choice in alcohol. Apparently, people from all over the world stop in the Yukon territory to obtain the drink, a certificate of proof and bragging rights.

Paying the extra eight Canadian dollars for the toe is surely the easy part. While you leave the toe behind it must touch your lips to receive the certificate. To date over 91,000 have qualified.

“You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch this gnarly toe,” states the special bartender. If you should accidentally swallow the toe count on paying a fine of about $1,900! The toe supply comes from frostbite, gout or accidental amputation and each is utilized for about four years before it starts to wear down.

Bottoms up!



Photo by Bing

The Perfect Summer


The writing prompt today is, “What is your idea of the perfect summer?” I will share my idea of the perfect summer first and look for your ideas in response.

The Perfect Summer

First, there would be lots of sunshine, of course, but also rains. I love to hear it raining, whether a pitter-patter or a hearty downpour. When I was little I could hear the rain so clearly on the windows at home or my grandparents’ tin roof. With our big houses today and abundant insulation it is rare to hear rain as it hits the ground or other hard surfaces. I miss that.


Photos by Pixabay



the key to wisdom

fresh and clean
we’re born into the world…
our hearts, open windows…
our minds, empty slates
we have an innate thirst
for knowledge…
making a perpetual effort
to quench it…
we muddle our way through adversity…
pick our way past
acquiring knowledge…
gaining experience…
developing  judgement…
creating a unique law of three
that matures and ripens
over the course of a lifetime…
this law of three…
the key to wisdom

by Sylvia L. Mattingly

Photo by Pixabay

Where Would You Go?


I love to write but once in a while, I seem to slow down to the point of having nothing to say. I’ve told other bloggers that I do not like to use writing prompts for my blog, but I’ve recently changed my mind. My Granddaughter gave me a book entitled “300 More Writing Prompts” and I’ve found some ideas to use here on Crooked Creek. I’d always seen these writing helps as places to write my private thoughts, but this book has prompts that spurred me to share some ideas with you.

The prompt I chose for today is “If you could book a flight for anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?” I required no time to think about an answer: the Galapagos Islands is where I would go. If I had a bucket list this would be on it. There are animals, fish, birds, and plants there that exist in no other spot on the planet.

It is a group of islands in the Pacific around the equator. Ninety-seven percent of the islands is designated as a National Park and therefore protected. In the past, some non-native species have been introduced which upset the natural habitat, but Ecuador’s measures to protect wildlife should prevent recurrences.

Where Would You Go?

“If you could book a flight for anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?”


Nature photos by Pixabay

Dying to leave, Trying to stay . . .

In My Experience

Depression is a thief. It robs one of blue skies, the songs of birds, the warmth of authentic hugs and most of life’s simplest pleasures. It is more than a “down” day. It is life-changing and it is painful beyond explanation. All the medications, treatments and counseling in the world sometimes barely make a dent in depression’s hold.

If you are depressed, know someone who is or just want to learn more about the subject please read the following blog by John Pavlovitz. He describes depression with first-hand knowledge.


Graphic by Pixabay



Book Review

My close friends, family and regular readers know I have a fascination with death which includes careful reading of obituaries. I don’t see it as morbid. I see it as a window into life, but be that as it may, it is no surprise that I received the book “Mobituaries” for Christmas this year. The book by Mo Rocca was just published and it is a delight to read. It really is not about obituaries, but about people and things that Rocca believes did not receive the sendoff they had coming. Some examples are dragons, Medieval science, Lawrence Welk and the station wagon.

I recommend this book for easy, fun reading. It is over three hundred pages of humor and history. I learned new information and was guided to look at old information in a different light. The book is well researched with all consulted works documented.

Mo Rocca is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and host of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation. He is a frequent panelist on NPR and has done acting on Broadway and writing for TV including The Daily Show.


Pitching Plastic

Pitching Plastic

Years ago when I traveled in my job, I was a frequent hotel “guest.” Like everyone I collected those little individual use toiletries. There were plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion and sometimes body wash. There was always more than one could use, so I’d cart them home in my suitcase. Pretty soon I had too many at home and I’d donate them to homeless shelters, as I know some of my friends do today.

It took a while for me to realize what a waste these plastic pieces were and how they were destroying our planet. Our world is drowning in plastics of all sizes and shapes. Thank goodness some hotel companies are waking up to this problem and are doing something about it.

Hyatt, Marriott and Holiday Inn are three of the companies phasing out these little plastic bottles in their hotels and replacing them with large multi-use pump bottles. In addition some hotels are no longer routinely providing plastic bottles of drinking water. They are encouraging the use of personal refillable bottles by providing fresh water dispensers in their lobbies.

Hopefully this trend will continue. We should support these efforts. We all can do better.


Here is why this is important:

Photos by Pixabay

Little Women

“Little Women” 2020 Style

Most women and girls have read the book “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott and many of us have seen the movies that followed. This past week, my daughter and I went to see the latest rendition of this popular movie. It was beautifully done with great acting. I recommend this movie whether you are a “Little Women” fan or not.

Photos from USA Today