Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘country’

Soft Spoiled Brats

The City Kittens by Mrs. D. Illustrated by Eladziem.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

61-tNH71BrL._SX260_The City Kittens is a children’s story about city cats brought to a country cats home at Christmas time. The illustrations are beautiful, colorful, and almost 3D like. The font-type is also lovely to look at and read. This tale about Mrs. D’s older cat, Nyda, includes themes of home, family, acceptance, and not judging a book (in this case kittens) by there cover (or fur). Past history and experience isn’t always as it seems.

Nyda has the following thoughts when Mrs. D’s older daughter brings some kittens (Mickey and Jack) to visit for the first time. “Spoiled inside city house cats… soft little things,” she grumbled as she passed by, walking to the kitchen to spend time with Mrs. D and the girls. But the story the old cat heard that evening made her feel bad. The kittens were not soft or spoiled brats as she had thought.”

There are also times that Nyda remembers her older cat friend, Nicky, who has since passed away, and how she treated her when she first arrived at Mrs. Ds. There is also some hissing, acting out for food with Grandma, and entertainment (watching the adults interact) in The City Kittens. Each page is almost complete unto itself, and the story overall is a pleasure to read.

The Kindness of Strangers

My Forgotten Path Home
41KTXR9-obLA Novel by Tim I Gurung
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans

This novel is all about the 2015 earthquake in Nepal that killed over 8000 people and injured over 20,000, and, it has very little to do with the earthquake. Mr. Gurung dedicates My Forgotten Path Home to the dead and survivor’s of the quake in the acknowledgments, and the story revolves around May Andrelina Applehouse, who is found in the rubble by an Australian couple, but the essence of the story is about Nepal, its people, and finding a “place” called home.

When May returns to Nepal at age 27, for the first time since leaving at age 3, she discovers that it is not what she had imagined, and finding her birth parents will be much more difficult than she had anticipated. Helping her in her search are Inspector Raj Komartamu and his assistant, Officer Mangale Magar. Even though she is not familiar with anyone or anything, May feels like she is “at home”. The journey begins in Kathmandu (the capital), and then extends to the countryside.

May is amazed with the beauty outside the city. “The morning fogs around the valley had not dissipated, cobwebs of gossamer and the nearby jungle were visible, and birds were still reluctant to fly away from their warm nest.” With the help of her new friends (Raj and Mangale) May looks near and far for her parents, and eventually makes a decision which brings her even closer to the Nepalese and her understanding of what life is like for those in the capital and farming the land in small villages.

My Forgotten Path Home is similar, in some respects, to the storyline for the wonderful film Lion, in which a young orphaned boy in India is adopted by an Australian couple, and then returns as an adult to try to find his mother. Mr. Gurung’s story however, takes place almost entirely in Nepal and feels almost like a personal memoir, though it is not in the least. My favorite aspect of this tale is the genuine kindness and gentleness of all those involved. Everyone treats one another as family, whether they are related biologically or not. This is a novel written with heart, that touches the heart.

The Art of Thinking

51M7PrIvLmL._SY346_Who Are We: Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of One Another by Hussam Atef Elkhatib, Ph.D. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

How we think about experiences, places, or situations, and what we are aware of when and while we do, provides infinite possibilities to see ourselves and connect with others, by seeing their perspective and conditioning. Who Are We looks closely at practically every thing in life that can, and does, contribute to and shapes, who we are, how we see the world, and why we react the way to do to what is before us. Dr. Elkhatib offers the means with which we may use this awareness to, “Guide our vision through the way we see things.”

Though many of the topics may seem obvious at first, I have never seen such an extensive collection, and discussion, of all the factors which shape who we are, and how we behave, in one place. Each area is looked at closely with short essay-type sections. To give an overview of what is offered, here are some of the chapters that are included: 1) When You Were Born 2) Where You Were Born 3) The Control We have over What 8) How We Are 11) The Reason Behind Everything 13) The Art of Thinking 18) Internal Influences 20) Our Perceptions 24) What We Believe 26) Seeing the Big Picture.

Here is an example of some of the thoughts within. Nothing new, but said simply and with insightful precision.

Seeing things the way they are enables us to accept reality and deal with it. It contributes to our peace of mind.

People are eventually the same. Some of the things they can control while other things they have no control over.

We are more alike than we are different, though it is in observing and studying the differences, and how our environment, home, country, beliefs, conditioning, thoughts, and actions create who we are, that we begin to see the basic humanity that runs through us all. When our minds are open, and we look at our thoughts, it provides the opportunity to also see ourselves through the eyes of one another and discover that who we are is always in relation to other people, things, and circumstances. Take the time to ask the question, and open the pages of Who Are We.

 

Happy Family, Happy Cats

51WoCiuudlLThe Happy Cat’s Detective by Alex Mahon
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans

The Happy Cat’s Detective is a delightful story combing a budding romance, close family escapades, and trying to figure out why, and who, stole Mrs. Casanova’s cat, Fetish. The tale begins in Canada, but takes place primarily in the small town of Lleida, outside Barcelona, Spain.

Told in the first person, by Christina Solans Sentis, we hear about another volunteer veterinarian she meets in the forests of Canada, Alex. They fall for one another and he promises to visit her upon her return to Spain. Christina fails to inform her mother, or her mother’s friends, about Alex upon her return home. This fact eventually comes out, but none too soon.

It is the relationship between Christina, her mother (Irene), and her mother’s close friends since childhood (Laia and Ingrid) that steal the show. They all move in together in the country and start a cat sanctuary they call The Happy Cat’s Home. It isn’t long until Christina is asked to search for a missing cat (and get paid for it), that she becomes the books title.

I really enjoyed The Happy Cat’s Detective. The sense of familiarity between Christina and her mother, and between her mother and her friends, is heart-warming, funny, and authentic. Their joking around, memories, and shenanigans, make them seem much younger than their years. Nobody is perfect, yet they enjoy one another’s company and always have each other’s back.

No More Names

No More Names

It would be impossible to share all the powerful stories I’ve heard on the road with the No More Names bus tour. I’ve met so many incredible people — gun violence survivors, police officers, faith leaders, elected officials, responsible gun owners — and they all know that sensible changes like background checks will help end gun violence in our country.

That’s why we put together some of the best moments of the tour so far.

Check out this video, then chip in to keep the No More Names bus tour going. And when you donate $15 or more, we’ll send you a limited-edition car magnet to show off your support:

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We can be the ones who change the story on gun violence, Gabriel. You, me, and all the supporters we’ve met across the country can make our voices heard in our communities and in Washington, D.C.

We won’t forget the families we’re fighting for, or the cost of keeping quiet. And very soon, our representatives in Congress will head home for their summer recess — and the No More Names bus will be there to meet them and demand action!

Watch some highlights of the tour so far, then please give $15 or more to keep us going (and get a car magnet to show your support):

https://donate.demandaction.org/donate/No-more-names-magnet

Thanks to everyone for spreading the word, and I hope to see you on the road,

Mike

Mike D’Armi
No More Names Trip Director
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Boston’s First Responders

Gabriel —

My thoughts and prayers over the past week have been with the people of Boston.

As I’ve watched everything happening there, I’ve been completely awestruck by the first responders — the police, firefighters, and EMTs who ran toward danger without hesitation to help those in peril.

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Their courage and compassion is amazing to witness, and I’m grateful to live in a country where so many fine men and women commit their lives to protect and serve their fellow citizens.

After all they’ve done, I want them to know what it’s meant to Americans like me. So I’m writing these first responders a simple note to say thanks — and I’d like to invite you to join me.

Add your name to the note for Boston’s first responders here.

Whether you want to say thanks, share a story about how the past week’s events have affected you, or just let these public servants know that you’ve been thinking about them, I know they’d appreciate hearing from you.

We’ll collect every note we get and deliver them to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino so they can pass along your sentiments.

Join me, and say thanks to Boston’s first responders:

http://my.democrats.org/Boston

Thanks,

Debbie

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chair
Democratic National Committee

Help Congress Stand Up

Dear Gabriel,

Less than four months ago, the community of Newtown, Conn. suffered an unspeakable tragedy. Their world was shattered – just like the hundreds of other communities who have witnessed the scourge of gun violence. Stand with the clergy of Newtown in speaking out against rising gun violence across the country.

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Nothing any of us do will ever bring back those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As a nation, all we can do is make sure we prevent the next tragedy. The religious leaders of Newtown have spoken out to demand that Congress take action immediately, and pass legislation that will stop the slaughter. It is time that we stood with them.

Newtown does not want be remembered as a town of tragedy, but as a bridge to a new and kinder world. Sign the petition today, and send a message to Congress that you stand with the clergy of Newtown.

Thank you for all you do,

Jay C.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

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