I subscribe on Facebook to GBAS – the Good Book Appreciation Society (GBAS.) It has 1000’s of members I believe. Readers post a photograph of the book they’re reading and their review on it. Invariably, there’s a lot of discussion in the comments. It’s a wonderfully engaging link in which I am easily distracted and I occasionally add my two cents worth.

A few weeks ago on GBAS there was a review on Lynn Joffe’s book ‘The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus’. I read all the comments, all wonderful, and because it looked irresistible I added ‘I want, I need, I desire’. Blow me down with a feather, Lynn got hold off me via messenger and the book arrived at my home in Plettenberg Bay, from Johannesburg. A gift! A great big bold bountiful beautiful book.

I thanked Lynn via messenger and said how excited I was. She had mentioned something about Lilith in our previous messenger chats. I requested her kindle address and said I would send her a kindle edition of ‘In Praise of Lilith, Eve & the Serpent in the Garden of Eden & Other Stories’. She already had it. I wanted to gift her something in return so I said I would send her ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ by Susan E. Schwartz & myself. I had no copies of my own I told her, but would buy author copies from Amazon though this would take time. Shipping etc…

Now, when I opened the box that arrived with Lynn’s book we were out on the balcony having a late lunch. Son Mike said he MAY have two paper back copies of Aging & Becoming in a box at his house. Blow me down with a feather, he DID. When I asked him how come, he said he keeps things in a safe place.

The Aging & Becoming book went off to Lynn a few days days later. I confess I wanted to add a few things to the bag, and I could have done, but didn’t. I would have added chocolate, yoghurt covered dates, some nuts, cookies and whatever else took my fancy. (No doubt my tendency towards being a Jewish/shiksa mother.) I did wrap the book in tissue paper and put it in a bubble envelope into the bag.

She sent me a photo of her with my book in hand (so lovely to see!) and requested I do the same with her book and to send to her to put on her timeline with my permission.

Open Photo

I am so enjoying her book. It is Wanda B. Lazarus’ freewheel romp through the ages.. ‘It is a furiously funny feminist take on the myth of the Wandering Jew’ (back cover). On the front cover, Stephen Fry (yes, THAT Stephen Fry) says ‘Just what the world needs now – a novel charged with music, energy, bounce, juice and joy.’

Something else wonderful happened. My son David & Jüte are pregnant! Family knew before they announced it on social media. They wanted to share the good news after the 12 week period had passed. The link below shows the video they made a few days ago. It’s worth watching to the end.

Jacob Zuma, ex president, was imprisoned some days ago by ruling of the Constitutional Court for contempt of court. This is not for all the other charges he is facing. Just for his blatant disregard for the law. This country has exploded since then, especially over the last few days. A few dozen trucks have been burned on the highways, blocking them. Motorists are being stoned. Across the country, looters have trashed shops and shopping malls, brazenly carrying out TV’s, washing machines, goods of all descriptions, either by hand, on their backs or heads, or in the shops’ trolleys. You name it, it’s been stolen. During the day, during the night. Much captured on video, faces clearly seen. Billows of smoke from shopping centres. Businesses destroyed. Complete and utter chaos. Sugar cane plantations set alight. Not enough police, in fact far too few.

This is the tipping point. I do not know what will happen henceforth. Communities are now barricading their own suburbs and neighbourhoods for fear of these marauding crowds. The president addressed the country last night on TV pleading for calm, and now as I write, the SA National Defence Force has purportedly been called in to support the police.

The photo below is one I took from my study yesterday afternoon. Hopefully some sort of sign that peace will reign.

Well, that’s the news from my side. Wimbledon’s been and gone, the Euro soccer also. The Tour de France still happening. Some good news among the not good news. Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well and safe.

May the centre hold.

74 Comments on This that and the next

  1. Congratulation Susan, happy news to know that Mike and Jute are becoming parents, i enjoyed the song they composed for their child. Also nice to know about your subscription to GBAS. Its always a pleasure to read your post; i have been unwell in between, lost touch and missed out on some posts. Also busy with my PhD work which is taking a lot of my time. Today is a holiday and i took a break to check out on some of the posts i missed. Congrats once again you will be grandma soon and wishing you wellness, harmony and peace:)

    • oh I’m glad you were able to come by Genevive but so sorry to hear you’ve been unwell and really hope that you’re full on the way to recovery. A PhD takes up much time – I hope you’ve been coping alright with that.

      Thank you for congratulations message re Davey & Jüte – they’re very excited as we are too.

      Do take great care of your precious self. Peace harmony and wellness wishes to you xx

  2. Oh, my goodness, Susan. I saw a “mikdog” on my Instagram feed just now and I could not place who this is. I guess at some point last year, your son, Mike and I began to follow each other. I don’t recall seeing a post from you for awhile and I must have missed it when I was away on my birthday in July.

    I am very glad I did not miss this post. Wow! Goosebumps about the book. Sometimes we just have to ask and the Universe, in this case Lynn Joffe, responded with kindness. And, here you mention Mike. Another Wow!

    Okay, Wow again! David and Jute pregnant! Congratulations to them and the entire family. A true blessing. ❤️Infinite hugs your way about the not good news.

    • What a lovely surprise this Sunday morning to find you here Erica! Firstly, I hope you had a WOW celebrating your birthday, and I look forward to seeing posts of this. Haven’t seen any posts from you in the last while? I think I checked a while back to see if you’d put up anything but nada – will check again.

      Amazing re mikdog, son Mike the animator, cartoonist etc. Occasionally I use my phone to respond to a comment on my blog forgetting that the mikdog gravatar comes up (he hosts my site).

      Dave & Jüte are very excited. They know it’s a boy. He asked what names could I suggest. Davidowski I thought? Mikkelowski? I don’t think they’ll ask me again.

      I agree about the Universe, say yes to it and it too says yes!

      I’m preparing to leave for Cape Town tomorrow morning to visit my sister and will see a few dear friends while there. The washing’s on the line, luckily a sunny day after some very cold and wet ones.

      I hope this finds you all well. Hard to believe that we’re mid-August! 🙂 🙂 Wish I could do a heart on computer …

      • Never worry about the “heart” on the computer, Susan. I feel the vibration.

        A little boy is exciting! All children are a blessing, boy or girl. You will be over the moon on this little blessing. I saw their video and showed my husband. The both of us had happy tears and smiles.

        My latest post was “Wrinkles in Time” – sort of a homage to my birthday. Enjoy the visit with your Sister and friends. Many events, company, fun around here all Summer and Fall. We will stay connected. 🙂❤️

        • I went to check that I hadn’t missed your lovely post Erica and I hadn’t …good to pay homage to our own birthdays, an acknowledgment of gratitude for being born and all the blessings that come with it as we traverse this thing called life – looking forward to your next one! 🙂 xx

  3. So sad to see the film footage of the looting – here in the UK of course we get only a taste of what is really happening but some of it sounds alarming. Mostly seems confined to the Joburg area at the moment?

    • Thanks for coming by Booker Talk. Jo’burg and environs badly affected, but especially Natal – Durban and environs. The impact is HUGE. Hope all well in the UK and that the weather has settled *properly* into summer 🙂

  4. I’m sorry about all the bad things happening in your country, Susan. Sometimes, it’s like we’re being tested to see just how much we can take. Also, glad about the good news. Congrats on the new grandbaby, how exciting. Lovely story about the book. You never know with comments today. 🙂 Be safe, Susan. Thinking of you.

    • You have a point Silvia re being tested to see how much a country can take … this rings true. There’s much on social media about what’s happening in SA; I curb any comments I may make! As you say, you never know.Thanks for coming by, I appreciate this. You too be safe.

  5. Lovely you connected with another author. Congratulations on soon becoming a grandparent. Hope you continue to be safe where you are.

    • Thanks Deborah for coming by … hope all well and that the heat is lessening. Thank you for the congrats – son and daughter in law are now with us and it’s been so exciting to hear and be part of their excitement! Keep safe and be well. Hope to catch up on a few of your posts I KNOW I’ve missed ..

  6. So much in this FULL post. Always, let’s pay attention to the good news first. You’re going to be a grandmother! What a fun birth announcement. JOY. Second, much fun, the way we authors support each other. I enjoyed reading about you and Lynn Joffe sharing books. The good news is by reading this, I downloaded your book AGING & BECOMING onto my Kindle. What a great way for your blogging readers to understand more about the books you’ve published! Lastly, I’ve been watching the news about SA and worried about you all. May peace reign.

    • They were such happy announcements Pam I had to share them and I’m so glad you enjoyed them 🙂 And then (blow me down with a feather) another joyous consequence was your downloading The Aging book! Thank you so much! Of course, this makes me a trifle nervous at the same time 🙂 But, I shall attempt to keep calm …

      Thank you for your good wishes re this country Pam. We are safe in our bubble here in Plettenberg Bay. There is relative calm around the country although I haven’t been paying too much attention in last 24 hrs – been busy with ‘stuff’.

      All my good wishes to you. Thank you so much for coming by. Your posts are always such a treat! May Peace reign.

  7. Susan, so much in this post. I too read the SA news with you in mind. Along with Archbishop Tutu, whom I had the great honor of meeting when I worked with the Fetzer Institute.

    That birth announcement was amazing. Congrats to David and to Jute.

    As for you, I am so delighted that you will be joining the sisterhood of Grandmothers around the world — just before the publication of The Mindful Grandparent: The Art of Loving Our Children’s Children.

    • Thanks Shirley for coming by. I’ve had a look at your own post and have passed on the link to quite a few friends and for my own attention – and enjoyment! Yes, it’s quite a thing, the Sisterhood of Grandmothers and loving our children’s children.

      Hope all is well with you and family on your side 🙂

  8. Susan we knew that South Africa was already being hard hit by the pandemic, economic hardship, rampant corruption but now this chaos! Too awful. Lets hope that things will calm down sooner rather than later. Thinking of you. Stay safe.

    Enjoyed the story about the book exchange how wonderful.

    Didn’t realize you live in Plett! One of my favorite places with great memories from my teenage years when we would go there for a month of vacation in December.


    • Thanks for coming by Peta while travelling to such exotic places. A new week in SA – I wonder what it will bring. We expect the unexpected these days.

      Re Plett – actually it’s exactly 2 years since we officially moved into our ‘holiday’ home here in Plett, which we’ve had for the last 15 odd years, from our home in Johannesburg. It’s great, we love it here. And like you, it was always a place to have holidays. We used to travel from Zimbabwe to Plett/Keurbooms when I was a child, and from Somerset West when I was a little older. And over the intervening years …

  9. Oh my, Susan, your comment, “may the centre hold” gave me chills. We are going through similar upheaval here in the U.S. I think the fact that it’s happening everywhere means it’s a REALLY BIG DEAL and we really all need to pay attention and do the right thing (while also staying safe). Perhaps doing more loving kindness meditation each day would help. Also, your book review reminded me that you were going to do an interview on my blog about Lilith. Not sure if you still have those questions or if you’re still interested, but it’s never too late. ;0)
    Have a peachy Sunday. xoxo

    • Too true that discord is everywhere Pam. Upheaval, chaos – which makes me wonder if chaos is the foundation for order, or if it must of necessity precede it. Well, whatever it is, the foundations of everything are being well and truly shaken. A good idea thanks to put emphasis on loving kindness in my regular (morning) meditation. Im doing a BIG tidy up of study after the painting of the the interior of the house and came across the questions. Yes, I’d love to do it at some stage. Have a wonderful Sunday, heading towards coolth of evening here 🙂 x

      • You’re right and chaos is the foundation for, if not order, at least change. I hope the outcome makes us forget the growing pains like a woman forgets the pain of labor. 😂❤️ I don’t have all the confidence in the world but I have hope, Susan. 😘

  10. I’m so sorry about all the terrible things happening in your country right now, Susan, but how wonderful that there are good people, books and joy shared, and a baby on its way! Your son and daughter-in-law have a lot of joyous energy. I hope it spreads.
    Wishing them and you all the best.

    PS. Your repeated “blow me down with a feather” made me laugh. 😀

    • Thanks Merril, this has been likened in some quarters to your Jan 6th insurrection. The upside is that there is such a swell of goodwill, communities and individuals helping others, trucks back on the roads with food.The impact of this is felt and will continue for a long while. Today is our late president Mr. Nelson’s birthday. He would be turning in his grave.

      Glad you had a laugh at ‘blow me down with a feather’ … 🙂

  11. Hi Susan – I think of you and the family when I see things going on in SA – I just hope things will quiet down … but more importantly the country and its occupants can have peace. Incredible synchronicity with Lilith … just sounds so interesting.
    Congratulations to Dave and Jute – and to you and Neil … wonderful news coming in January …
    In the meantime I hope SA can find some peace and equanimity … it certainly looks quite frightening and worrying … stay safe and all the best – Hilary

    • Thanks Hilary for coming by. I believe this upheaval has been seen on international TV stations. I’m sure most can’t believe it. We hardly can – but, we’ll pull together somehow. Communities, B&W, are coming together to protect their shops, shopping malls and properties, and pulling together in cleaning up the frightful mess. And meanwhile the stock exchange goes up. Go figure.

      All best to you 🙂

  12. I am breaking my blog “fast” to comment here, where there is so much “music, energy, bounce, juice and joy,” including the wonderful book exchange. Like others, I am concerned about your safety and am praying as I type for your safety!

    Congratulations on your anticipated Grandmother-hood. What JOY! 🙂

    • I didn’t expect to hear from you Marian, knowing that you are on a blog fast. So this is a bit of joy! Thank you for your prayers. Believe me, we’re going into overdrive with prayers for our country. It’s a (big) bunch of thugs who are trying to overthrow everything and maybe hoping for a coup and getting rid of the president. But most in SA are peace-loving, and of good will. Somehow we’ll get through this –

      Yes, I’m looking forward to joining the sisterhood of Grandma!

  13. Susan, this is a wonderful post, a letter from a friend catching me up on the latest happenings in your life, and deep thoughts. Thank you! I am sorry to hear about the SA corruption. It was bad enough here under Trump, so I just can’t imagine for you. Please stay safe. As for Davey and Jute — I am so happy for them and for you and Neil, of course. I just love the video to the baby’s heartbeat and Jute’s dance. So funny. They are such a lovely couple. I enjoy all of Davey’s YouTube videos. He is so talented and wise. He makes me smile. Uplifting. That apple doesn’t fall far from the mom tree. –Carol

    • So lovely to hear from you Carol! The good news among all this sturm and drang is that D & J will be here next week! They had to submit an affidavit saying they were returning to Cape Town, where they still have a home and will there tomorrow probably, and then they’ll come to Plett. So looking forward to seeing them. So pleased yo get a kick out of his videos! Have you seen the cat ones? Such fun and musicians from around the world in the mix.

      Who knows how this dreadful drama will unfold. Many, within the governing party, think that this is a planned insurrection to oust the president. There is no doubt that planning went into this.

      Hope all is well with you. And thank you again 🙂

      • Sounds like a planned insurrection, Susan. Stay safe. Re Davey & Jute, how wonderful they’re able to come and visit — and, yes, of course I’ve seen the cat videos — simple and with world musicians. I love them! I’ve told everybody about them and sent links. They are so funny, and what a wonderful way to bring the world together. We don’t have to have wars, we can have Alugalug Cat instead. 😊 xo, Carol

  14. Wow! Good news, bad news and all sorts of news. Happy for your book sharing episodes. Sorry for the political upheaval. Been there and done that decades ago in America–and again, the last 18 months. Congrats on the family events. Yes, a rainbow may be a good sign. I’ll hope for the best for you.

    • We seem to be forever going through political stuff and stuff ups. We’re (I am) getting tired of being forever resilient. Glad to know that you got through your era of Vietnam and riots in USA in the 1960’s and 70’s. And ongoing. ‘Fight for Peace’ seems oddly out of place. Thanks for your comment John on the good things too 🙂

  15. Congratulations on the news of your grandchild. How exciting. Loved the video. They are so innovative and this is a great song. I wonder how they’ll do the gender reveal. Love the ‘coming in January 2022’. 💖💖
    I enjoyed reading about your book exchange too. How lovely to make such a warm connection.
    I’m saddened by news of your country. I do hope that rainbow is a sign of better things to come.
    Take care. Stay safe.

    • Thanks for coming by Norah. Yes we’re very excited about the grandbaby. Just had calls today from Dave & Jüte that they’ll be here next week. Leaving for Cape Town tomorrow (overnighting en route) where they still have an apartment and because of the travel restrictions they had to sign an affidavit that they’ll be returning home. Once in Cape Town they can travel inter-provincially, so next week in Plett! (hope they don’t have petrol problems)

      Yes the story here in SA is really not good. Already I’ve heard of food shortages. With D & J arriving next week and American relatives some days later (en route to Botswana) I had better get stocked up one way or the other. I heard that NSW is in another 2 week lockdown, so my thoughts are with you. What the blazes. You too take care and keep safe 🙂

      • How exciting to have Dave and Jüte visit you, and then other visitors from the US. I hope things settle down over there. It doesn’t look good. Stay safe.
        Sydney will be locked down for a further 2 weeks at least and Melbourne has just gone back into lockdown – for 5 days, I think. Here in Brisbane, our restrictions were supposed to ease tomorrow, but now we have new cases so they remain in force. I won’t be surprised if we’re back in lockdown in a couple of days. It doesn’t take long for this Delta variant to spread.
        Stay well! Enjoy your visitors!

        • You’ve seen some of the drama on TV I suppose Norah? Maybe not … the lockdown in your part of the world is probably a good idea – what do you think?

          Just back from doing a big shop, masked, sanitised and all.

          Thank you for coming by 🙂

          • Have seen a little, Susan. Robbie Cheadle shared some good news about people helping each other. That’s great to hear.
            I think it’s good to go hard and fast on these outbreaks to stop them spreading. I don’t want to get the virus and I certainly don’t want to give it to anyone else.
            Always a pleasure to visit with you, Susan.💖

              • Thank you, Susan. Mine is just about over and I’m off to bed. It was lovely though. We had a wonderful lunch out for my DIL’s birthday – her grandma (97) and her parents, my son (of course) and their two children, and hub and me. The weather was glorious, the food was amazing and the company was the best.
                I hope you enjoy your Sunday as much as I enjoyed mine. 💖

              • Going on 2 pm here – lovely day. Will go for a walk just now. Sweet dreams ❤️

  16. Hi Susan, I am very happy for you to have a grandbaby on the way. How lovely. I will watch David’s YT video later today. I do enjoy his dark humour.

    • Thanks Robbie for remarks about grandbaby 🙂 You’ll enjoy the YT when you watch.. Stay safe there in Gauteng. Hope all is well your side, your dad too. Just received what’s app from Davey that he’s going to be on Pasella tonight. I don’t know what TV station … will have to search.

  17. You’re living in the realm of the opposites in a way I can’t imagine. I love “Baby Kiffness” and laughed and cried at the video even with my nutso hearing. I know South Africa is a mess and I’ve been concerned about you. I’m glad to hear your report, sad as it is. Please be safe. And yes , “May the Center hold.”

    • Thanks for your concern Elaine. It’s such a complex issue. All are very concerned and worried. The damage runs into BILLIONS of rands. Nevertheless there is still strong community feeling. Offers from reconstruction companies to help rebuild free of charge. Companies to help clean up the mess, free of charge. Individuals to help in way they can. There WILL be food shortages due to trucks are unable to deliver because of blocked highways.

      I’m so happy that that the Baby Kiffness made you laugh – and cry! Those two emotions sit side by side.

      May the Centre hold – for you and all of us. Be safe and well. The monarchs are doing well, I’m glad to see 🙂

  18. The free exchange of ideas might be what saves us and broadens knowledge. i think many of the looters sadly do not know they could have by a different route…

    • This is sadly true in our country Susan. Too many are unaware not only of the domino effect of this destruction but are unaware of other avenues potentially open to them.

  19. I am very worried about you, Susan. I saw video of residents blocking their streets, holding off rioters with guns. It’s happening here in places like Portland Oregon. Democracy is under attack and I am worried.

    It’s good to hear about your conversations with such a wonderful author. A bright spot in the week.

    • Thank you for your concern Jacqui. Everything is very troubling and as you say, a clear indication that democracy is under attack and I know in the US as well from the reports I see. Concern for all in the world who are facing protests and rioting and looting.

      Yes, definitely some bright spots! So happy to share them 🙂

    • Thank you Mrs. Campbell! Hope you and precious family are keeping safe up there in Johannesburg. I can’t do hearts on my laptop, so I’ll do a smile 🙂

  20. Dear Susan,

    Wow! That was pure serendipity and synchronicity re Lynn Joffe’s book, and what a lovely photo of you, you’ve posted! Here’s another lover of your books as I recently re-read your deeply insightful, “Aging & Becoming” too in the last couple of weeks. Only my second reading yet already I know I’ll be re-reading this one many times in the forthcoming years. And what joy it was to read how you longed to give her something back and found a way!

    Oh Susan, I’m absolutely delighted for you! And I nearly fell off my seat laughing when I heard David say at the end of the video “I forgot to press record!” to Jute. Ha-Ha! What a wind-up he is! What a beautiful couple they are and how loved “Baby Kiffness” is going to be! And is this going to be your first grandchild? Wow, what amazing, happy news to share in what seems to be such a difficult time for pretty much everyone on the planet.

    As for the rest of your news on the ground so to speak in South Africa, because we don’t get these updated news reports in the UK … how terrifying! People must be absolutely petrified with fear … I mean how do you protect your loved ones and the property you’ve spent all your life working for when you’re faced with a marauding crowd of angry, opportunistic criminals, sprinkled with a few violent ones in the pack too? Heart-breaking.

    Thank you for sharing your post today, a real mixture of light and dark. As I read your words, “May the center hold” they felt like a prayer, a wish, a hope, a lamp held high during these strange, unprecedented times. The poet Rumi comes to mind and these words …“When the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.” I’m not even sure they’re much of a comfort but they’re the only ones that come in this moment.

    Please take care and stay safe my dear friend. Sending you and your family much love and light across the oceans between us, Deborah.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment dear Deborah. I’m heartened by Rumi’s words. Yes, unprecedented times all over the world. It’s been our doorstep for a while, the corruption of those in power finally being uncovered, slow vaccine roll-out, lack of health, education, housing, electricity blackouts and much more is laid, bloodied and messy, on the doorstep of this government. If you can loot from the top, why not from the bottom is teh common refrain of the looters. The deaths from stampedes and shootings are rising rapidly. Heading towards 50. I saw a clip yesterday on BBC TV news. I could have hung my head in shame. Reminds me of when I left SA in the mid-1970’s because of the govt in power then.

      Glad you watched the video to the end. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing! Can’t wait until baby kiffness is born and is no longer Emilio the embryo. Or Amelia the embyria. Birth and death all around – creation and destruction. May our country rise from the ashes.

      And thank you for your lovely complimentary words about ‘Aging & Becoming’ –

      Funnily enough there’ve been two gorgeous rainbows today. SA when it became democratic, was known as the ‘rainbow nation’.

      And, in our messengers between Lynn & myself, we reckon we may have seen each other at various Jung meetings up in Johannesburg! I am pretty certain I remember seeing her there.

      So, from my country to yours, love, light, laughter and keep safe wishes. Susan

  21. That Stephen Fry! I love how you came to know Lynn and will keep an eye out for this novel. I read the news daily and think of you when I see reports from SA. What a situation. Stay safe, ok?

    • I hope it will be available internationally soon Ally Bean, thanks for coming by. The SA story is an unfolding one, the signs of it coming were always there. Communities who can are mobilising against this dangerous tide since our inept govt. seems unable to.

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