Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book, Play Review: A Time to Speak (a Holocaust memoir)

A Time to Speak*, by Helen Lewis (Carroll & Graf, 1992 [Kindle 2011], 132 pages, $12)

A Time to Speak is a lovely book about a difficult subject, full of hope and incredible coincidences.

The Story

Like former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Helen Lewis was born and raised in Czechoslovakia. She lived and breathed dancing and had just been married when Hitler rose to power and the Nazis came to Prague in early 1939. Her family eventually was sent east, mostly one by one, but Helen managed to stay with her husband in Theresienstadt. Then came Auschwitz and more – illness and separation, hunger and cold. Depravation and always - the reality or the threat of death.

Dance saved Helen by chance in the death camps and, years later, saved her again, this time in Ireland.

How Lewis manages to escape and make her way home to begin a slow recovery back to health makes a breathless story not soon to be forgotten.

The Style

This reviewer has read many Holocaust memoirs but A Time To Speak, though slim, packs a big presence in its new details about survival and love, loyalty and luck. Helen Lewis’ writing style is quick and suspenseful though understated.

Why We Read A Time to Speak

As amateur scholars of the Hitler Era, we attended a one-woman play of this powerful book, adapted by Sam McCready, and were so entranced that we had to purchase the book itself - Joan McCready’s understated performance as Helen will live in our hearts and minds for a long time: the McCready’s were close friends of Helen Lewis which may have had something to do with the outstanding interpretation of such a memorable work!

*Ecclesiastes 3:7

Sunday, January 28, 2018

World of Pets, Day 2 and 3 - Maryland

World of Pets, Day Two! (and Three)

Dog Photographers and Dog Artists

No, they aren’t dogs – they photograph and draw and paint dogs and do a wonderful job. Mike Bailey has two backdrops to choose from: here is a patriotic one (the German Shepherd Dog is wearing a bandana that says, “Will Sit for Treats!”).

One of my favorite stops is Acadia Antlers, who sell mostly antler chews for dogs but also lovely scarves and new dog cookies. Next to Acadia Antlers is new very talented photographer you simply must check out!

Wineries, too

Have a taste of wine at the Liganore wine booth from Mt. Airy, MD, ( or the Far Eastern Shore Winery ( in Easton.
Linganore Wines
New Item for Dogs

New this year is a summer coat for dogs that repels ticks and fleas at Maggie’s Call to the Wild at booth 510.

Don’t Forget to Bring Something Home for the Cat

Bring home a little something for the cat from Chesapeake Cozy Cat Cat Trees and Condos!

And Sunday

Sunday check out the Bird Whisperer
and, at noon, the Parade of Breeds.

Find out the difference between an alpaca and a llama at 2. And sign up for a Party with a ‘Paca for your child.

Seminars include Pot for Pets (marijuana) at 1, a trick training class from 1-3, followed by a veterinarian talking about Diarrhea in Dogs at 3!

Sunday is the last day for the Maryland World of Pets but Virginia’s World of Pets is coming on February 16-18 in Hampton so you can take in what you missed.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Highlights of the World of Pets, Day One, Maryland

Highlights of the World of Pets, First Day Friday

Friday was the first day of the 17th annual World of Pets at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, continuing on Saturday and Sunday.

Come on in, Pup - The Water's Fine! And Fun!

The highlight for the Friday crowd was Dock Diving.
Yes, dogs do run and jump off a dock into the water in January – indoors. Each attempt garnered cheers and applause, especially from the children in the bleachers. I didn’t see any dogs wearing swimming suits – perhaps I will Saturday. We sat in bleachers and watched the high-jump where a dog has a short running start and then attempts to snag a bumper in his mouth at the apex of his jump (the bumper releases easily from being tied to a pole high above the dog). And the most endearing yellow lab never had the courage to jump in! You could tell he really really wanted to, though – and then he did – but by running down the ramp into the water.

Pony rides were available for $5, we saw bunnies, the 4H-ers were there with their exhibits. And, food! Old Bay potato chips! Freshly squeezed lemonade.

And, bling for people and for dogs. Several dog bakeries were vying for the crowds with their healthy yummies. Dog clothes and collars galore. Dog artists. Dog toys, dog puzzles, dog books.

We missed the Muttville Comix (we were shopping) but we heard the cheers. I suspect the ooh's and ah's came when one of the trick dogs climbed a ladder or jumped through a hoop.

Great Danes and Chihuahuas and Everything in Between
Who Wouldn't Love this Face?

We (literally) ran into the turtle and tortoise guy but forgot to ask him the difference. We'll have to visit his area Saturday (along with the snakes, always a big draw with the kids - not so much with the moms).

Saturday's Seminars Previewed

The big draw on Saturday is predicted to be the noon Pet and Owner Talent and Beauty Contest with huge prizes. Categories include Talent, Best Sports Fan, Cutest Pet, Most Original and Best in Show. Who's going to win - cats or dogs? 

At 5 pm is the mini-horse event. Help groom, feed and decorate a mini-horse. At 2 pm is a grooming seminar - for cats!
Learn all about collars, harnesses and leashes at 3 and turtles at 4.

I can’t wait until 10 am Saturday (and Sunday, too!) Meet me at the fair!

And, on Sunday, a presentation by a veterinarian on Pot for Pets. Yes, that's right. Cannabis. . . . come early for that one, to get a seat.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Come to the World of Pets, Januray 26-28 in Maryland

What are you doing next weekend? Why not take the whole family to the State Fairgrounds in Timonium, MD, for the 17th annual World of Pets! ( It’s like an indoor carnival during the long snowy cold winter. And the dock diving dogs are back to compete for the highest jump, the longest jump and the quickest Run/Jump/WaterFetch. The dogs even wear swim suits.

Are you thinking about getting a dog? (I know the kids are!) Talk to a dog rescue or animal shelter or veterinarian at the World of Pets.

From dogs to cats, ferrets to birds, gerbils to rabbits, guinea pigs to snakes and maybe even an alpaca or two!

Muttville Comix

Watch a former rescue dog climb a ladder, or a Bassett Hound skateboard in this slapstick dog act that will keep you laughing.

Educational seminars, shopping for leashes and dog treats and T-shirts and other great new products, fabulous food (BBQ, slurpies, cotton candy, pretzels, caramel apples, lemonade), entertainment - and all this is indoors! With free parking.

An Annual Family Tradition

A cat show and clinic, parade of dog breeds, dogs competing in agility (a type of obstacle course), bird demonstrations, a petting zoo - even a rainforest exhibit. Learn how to talk to the animals or train a parrot or ask a groomer. It’s an annual event you will want to make a family tradition.

Bunnies and gerbils and pony rides and the Bug Man, too! Even a Gerbiil Olympics.


Friday from 2 – 8, Saturday from 10-7 and Sunday from 10-5. Go all three days! Free parking. Adults $10, kids 5-12 $5, under 5 FREE. Accessible by light rail, too. See you there!