Friday leftovers . . .

Books I’ve read in the past week:

Caught, Harlan Coben: Okay.

Eight Days to Live, Iris Johansen: Not one of my favorites.

Cold Vengeance, Preston & Child: Read both Pendergast books in one day. Waiting for sequel on December 11

Fever Dream, Preston & Child: Still loving Pendergast

The Sign, Raymond Khoury: Started to get on my nerves

Blood Line, James Rollins: Best of the bunch. Unbelievable pacing from start to finish.

 

The Woman of La Mancha

I love running across new historical tidbits (new to me, that is), and somehow, I had never seen this portrait of Juana Galán. Absolutely love the depiction of this Spanish national hero.

"La Galana, guerrillera de La Mancha" (nd)by Carlos Isidro
“La Galana, guerrillera de La Mancha” (nd)
by Carlos Isidro

Juana Galán (1787-1812)

In 1808, Napoleon, running out of scenic holiday destinations to invade, somehow totally forgot about his neighbor to the south, Spain. So that year he dispatched his troops, kicking off the Peninsular War.

Only 20 years old and working as a barmaid in the town of Valdepenas, Juana Galan was not expecting a surge of French soldiers to come storming through her village. But on June 6, that’s exactly what happened. At that time, most of the men were fighting Napoleon’s forces elsewhere in the nation. Juana, unfazed by things like rifles and Frenchmen and French riflemen, began organizing the women in her village to form a trap for the approaching army.

When the army arrived, Juana and her friends were ready. They dumped boiling water and oil on the French troops, which by all accounts will instantly take the fight out of pretty much anyone. Then Juana, armed with only a batan, beat back the heavily armed French cavalry with her squad of village women, almost none of whom were armed with guns.

The French retreated, giving up on capturing not just Juana’s town but the entire province of La Mancha, leading to ultimate Spanish victory. Today, she is seen in Spain as a national hero, a symbol of resistance, strength, patriotism, feminism and hitting shit with a stick.

Gratuitous Self-promotion

Sometime between November 19 and November 20, I passed the 1 million mark in my stats. I hadn’t noticed until today because, well, I haven’t been paying attention to a whole lot more than cough medicine and breathing.

I had really been hoping to achieve this milestone of sorts before the end of 2012, and I did. I know that this is not really a big deal, and I also know that the actual number of people who actually stopped and meandered around my blog is nowhere near that number, but hey—I’ll take what I can get, and getting this? Well, it actually made me smile without being reduced to a coughing fit. So hey, good news, right?

Never could have done this without all of your help. So thank you. Gracias. Merci. Salamat. Danke. Obrigado. And . . . Go raibh maith agat.

“The wind is us—it gathers and remembers all our voices, then sends them talking and telling through the leaves and the fields.” ~ Truman Capote

Angel in Irish Cemetery
Photographer Unknown

                   

Things they never tell you:

How to resolve
the paradox of
watching someone take her last breath
when you have seen her take her first.

Things you wish you didn’t know:

How to clean your father
after
he’s soiled himself,
but begs you
not to call for help.

Things you wish you’d never seen:

Blood oozing
around
the edges of a scalpel
cutting into your daughter’s chest.

Things you wish you’d never overheard:

“They all throw up
after chemo. What
do you want me to do about it?”

Things you wish you’d never touched:

Your dead father’s eyelids
as he lay
in his coffin.

Things they tell you that are lies:

It won’t hurt
like this
forever.

Things you say that are untrue:

I’ve forgotten
how her skin smells.

Things you wish you could forget:

How
her skin smells.

Things you wish you could remember:

The sound of your father’s voice
before the morphine
consumed him

Things you wish you didn’t know (part two):

The names
of brain tumors
and medications
that can paralyze and infant.

Things that leave you hollow:

The emptiness
of a cemetery
on
a cloudy afternoon.

Things you can’t escape:

The last week in March
and
the first week in November

Things that haunt you still:

The sound a ventilator makes
in
a small white room.

Things that scar your heart:

Grief’s
pervasive sting.

Things that rend your spirit:

The passing of Halloween
and
the relentless onslaught of November.

Things that break your soul:

The interminable moments
between the final breath
and
the last heartbeat.

Things they never tell you (part two):

You will regret this decision
until
the last warm breath
leaves your lungs.

Things you wish you’d never said (part one):

It’s time.

Things you wish you’d never said (part two):

It’s time.

Things you’re glad you said:

It’s okay.
You can go now.

Things no one can truly know:

Sorrow
is an uncharitable
sea.

Things they never say:

Grief
is an
endless abyss.

L. Liwag
Monday, November 5, 2012

Dies Pater

Such a cool gif set: Jupiter, the fifth planet:

From NASA:

Jupiter, the most massive planet in our solar system — with dozens of moons and an enormous magnetic field — forms a kind of miniature solar system. Jupiter does resemble a star in composition, but it did not grow big enough to ignite. The planet’s swirling cloud stripes are punctuated by massive storms such as the Great Red Spot, which has raged for hundreds of years.

Jupiter’s appearance is a tapestry of beautiful colors and atmospheric features. Most visible clouds are composed of ammonia. Water vapor exists deep below and can sometimes be seen through clear spots in the clouds. The planet’s “stripes” are dark belts and light zones created by strong east-west winds in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.