VM Book Club Review: Maude by Donna Foley Mabry

"Maude" in an engrossing read that takes the reader through the twists and turns of American life from the late 1800's up through the late 1960's. We see life through Donna's grandmother Maude's perspective. She describes in detail the lifestyles that once were the norm for many Americans including how families dealt with profound loss, untimely deaths and early funeral traditions.

Through Maude, we learn about the fascinating transition from living before electricity, indoor plumbing and toilets, washing machines, microwaves, cars and telephones to how the American way of life changed as each of these became part of everyday life.

"Maude" also describes how the World Wars affected American society. She explores the transitions of early societal expectations on women and womens' rights (including when women first voted), and how marriages and families changed over the years. The book is a well written and enjoyable read.

Have you read "Maude" yet? If so what were your impressions of the book? 
Have you read other non-fiction books which capture American History in such an enthralling way? If so, please share.

Farewell to The Colonel

The Colonel, Copyright: Viki Kind
Re-posted with permission from bio-ethicist, author: Viki Kind

"I am sad. My chicken died while we were on vacation. Apparently, the neighbor's dog killed The Colonel. The Colonel used to tease the dog constantly thru the fence. His mistake was jumping over the fence into the dog's yard. RIP"

Tribute to a Miniature Schnazuer

In honor of Day of the Dead (el dia de los muertos) we're posing a lovely tribute to a miniature schnauzer...

I will never forget my dear friend "Pepper". Pepper was my trusty miniature schnauzer and a wonderful companion to me during my years of turbulence as a pre-teen up into my very early twenties. 

Never one to turn down any piece of food, including such oddities as raw garlic and lettuce, she was never what one would refer to as "svelte". She was forever motivated by food, and happily and quickly learned a great many tricks when food was the reward. She once learned how to speak on command within only an hour of training with reinforcement in the form of ripped up pieces of left over Belgian waffles. Hence, her resemblance to a stuffed sausage, or as I used to describe her plumpness -- a gray little trash can body on pencil legs.

Her eyes were most unusual, not the dark chocolate brown one normally sees on dogs, but rather a creamy brown shade of caramel. I always considered her unique eye color to be indicative of her remarkableness, even after I learned that light eyes in a miniature schnauzer were considered to be a fault by the American Kennel Club. 

Pepper was more than a pet to me, she was a family member. Growing up as an only child meant that my pets over the years have always been more than merely cute, furry, showy companions as we have often seen as part of the Hollywood celebrity fashion craze (i.e. Paris Hilton carrying a toy Chihuahua on the red carpet), but more like substitute siblings for me.

I actually never felt i missed out on the sibling experience while growing up as an only child. In fact, I rather liked it. I am certain that my pets, Pepper especially, had a great deal of influence over my lack of loneliness and the appreciation of solitude I developed as an only child.

Pepper, will forever be missed.

Today is Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Do you have a special tribute to share about a pet that has passed?  Are there any pets from your childhood that you remember? What was special about them?