Happy Things!

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve written about my own exciting life.  To tell the truth, my life hasn’t been very exciting at all.  The past summer was much too uncomfortable to go on many hikes, and the most exciting thing about it was the fact that it was a perfect excuse to read more books!

We did get a lot of wood processed, took a few more trees down, and hopefully will have some wood left-over after this winter.  I’ve been plugging away at my writing for my 360 Days of Haiku…I am looking forward to the end of this year, and do not intend to do this again anytime soon.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I came up with this insane idea.  However, it will be over soon…so I’m sure I’ll come up with another crazy idea for next year.

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I’ve also been taking lots of pictures because not only did I write one haiku per day, I also took a picture for each one.  So, I’ve been getting as creative as I could.

I went to see lots of movies.  I love movies, and could watch at least one a day if I let myself.  Some I’ve seen include: Atomic Blond, The Spy Who Dumped Me, Peppermint, Bohemian Rhapsody, Avengers Infinity War, Black Panther and many more.  As a matter of fact, I’ve gone to more movies this year than I have in the last few years put together.   Along with all this happiness, I went to see Postmodern Jukebox last week and was thrilled!  What talent!  If you haven’t checked them out on YouTube, I suggest that you do so.

There have been many walks with my dog, Duffy this year.  Since he is getting a little “older” – he’s now 8 ½ years now, he gets special hip and joint medicine and the vet has him on some anti-inflammation for when we do longer walks.  He still thinks he’s a puppy, so he can do some damage to himself if I’m not careful…he’s all about the stick/ball/Frisbee.

I hope you’ve been putting some happiness in your lives.  Share some of what you’ve done recently that has made you happy in the comments below.

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Horseback Librarians

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I love librarians.  I wish they ruled the world.  So, I heard this great story on NPR the other night that was all about librarians on horseback.  I was simply gob smacked.  I’d never heard of such a thing, but wow, was it cool.

So, the history is that in 1935, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) as part of the New Deal, hired women librarians to be part of the Pack Horse Project to deliver books long distances by either horse or mule in the Appalachians and other rural distracts for both education and support.  Because of the Great Depression many schools had been closed, and the illiteracy rate kept going up.  This of course was not a good thing for the country, and the belief was that if books and magazines could be delivered directly to the families, this would encourage parents to teach their children to read.

Many of the books had been donated by richer citizens.  Also, the librarians fixed up old books, and put together “scrapbooks” with articles and stories they believed that their readers would be interested in.  Each pack could carry about 100 books, and the librarians carried these books to homes and schools about once a month.  These books were then sent on to other locations.  The librarians tracked which books and scrapbooks had gone where so that people wouldn’t get the same books over and over again.  They also offered reading lessons to citizens.

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This was not a walk in the park for the librarians.  They needed to be able to provide their own horse/mule.  Many of these were rented.  The “roads” they traveled were difficult, and the hours were long.  However, they were often the only ones with a job and provided for their families.  The Pack Horse Project employed about 200 librarians, and they in turn they established 30 libraries, and serviced about 100,000 people.

In 1943 the funding for this project stopped, but the vision remains.  To this day there are bookmobiles in many areas of the country that provide books to both inner-city neighborhoods and rural areas.  As I said, librarians are awesome!

 

Honoring Promises

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I had a wonderful friend who was roughly 40 years older than I am.  Her name was Millie and she lived across the street from me.  A few years after I met her she became my unofficial mother due to family problems.

Millie was always there with solutions to issues, a shoulder to cry on, or most importantly, a good story and a laugh.  My children loved to go visit Millie to “help” her with her chores, read, or just be with her.  She was a special person, and the closest thing to a grandmother they had.  We often talked books, characters and plots.  She was an avid reader also, and we were always comparing books and authors.  Eventually Millie became very sick with ALS, and died.  Since she was a fan of Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series, one of her regrets was that she wouldn’t live long enough to finish the series.  Since her children didn’t read, she wanted me to read the entire “Kinsey Series” as she called it as a remembrance to her.

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This task took me longer than I’d like to think about to complete.  I was always looking for ways to avoid it.  For one thing, I’d have to completely understand that she was gone, and not just away at the hospital, and this was something that took me a long time to get through.  For another thing, Sue Grafton hadn’t finished the series, and not only that, she was taking a long time to do so.  Finally, about two years or so ago, I decided I’d start the series and read it over a period of time, planning on finishing whenever the last novel was published.  This was not to be, since as all of us Sue Grafton fans know, the alphabet ends at “Y”.  (For those of you who don’t read Sue Grafton, she died in 2017 from cancer without finishing her series.)  So, for now, we’re all left wondering what did become of Kinsey Millhone?  I’ve put my imagination to work and come up with a few theories, but the truth is, we probably never will know.

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Honoring promises is important.  One reason for my not doing this sooner was fear that if I did finish, my memories of Millie would fade.  Yes, that is nonsensical, I know.  But, once I started the series, I was so glad.  The character of Kinsey Millhone has been an exciting one to get to know.  She’s added a lot to my life, and I often think about her.  Not only does Sue Grafton live on, but my wonderful friend and surrogate mother lives on as well.  Thank you, Millie, for this last gift.

 

 

The End of Summer

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Labor Day is just around the corner.  Have you fulfilled all your summer dreams, or have you simply had a great summer of not accomplishing much?  To tell the truth, I’m in the latter group, and have very few regrets, although I do know that my September is going to be much busier than my August.  Creatively I wrote more than I initially thought, since I’ve been writing a haiku per day – a little project that I was under the mistaken impression would be relatively easy – hah!  However, the best part of this project is that I’ve been taking a photo per haiku, which has been pretty fun.  While I haven’t even touched my novel, I have had a lot of ideas, and have written a couple of 600-word short stories – which, again, is a whole lot harder than you would think.

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So many books, so little time!

Other than that, my summer has been pretty much me sitting around with a book in my face.  I haven’t gotten much done at all…however, now that maybe some cooler weather is on its way – I hope! – I will ramp back up and start getting more of my goals accomplished.  I hope that you enjoy the last weekend of summer!

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Summer is for Reading!

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As you all know, this has been a summer of record highs all over the world.  Basically, there have been fires on almost every continent this year, and just about everyone has suffered from the heat and humidity.  As a person who really dislikes both heat and humidity, and does not have air conditioning, I’ve been surviving by getting my heavy work done in the morning, and sitting in front of a fan while reading in the afternoon and night.  Much as I love to read, and I’ve been able to read a lot, but I’d prefer to be comfortable.

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So, my belief that not only is that summer for reading, but every other season is for reading, too! I’ve gotten through a record number of books this summer thanks to the heatwave and humidity.  What have you done to get yourself through this extremely hot and humid summer?

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Christopher Robin and Me

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I recently went to see the movie Christopher Robin.  It was wonderful, and I loved it.  I’ve also got another part of this whole Hundred Acres Wood thing going on, though.  When my mother was pregnant, she was told that I was a boy because my heartbeat was so strong (once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away), so my dad decided my name would be Christopher Robin since he loved the A.A. Milne books as a child.  As you can imagine, it was a bit of a surprise when I was born without the requisite “boy parts”.  Needless to say, my parents were in a bind since they hadn’t come up with any girl names.  Not to put too much of a fine point on it, I was named Christine, since it’s the closest girl’s name to Christopher.

I have always loved the Winnie-the-Pooh books, and being a lonely child, I spent countless hours exploring the Hundred Acre Woods with Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Owl and Eeyore.  I had a wonderful childhood spent in fantasies that were altogether real.  What were your favorite playmates when you were young?

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What About Education?

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It seems that in America the states have lots of money for building new prisons, but no money for education.  I am talking specifically about Oklahoma, but this is true of other states as well.  In full disclosure, I am the daughter of a teacher, and I also homeschooled my children from grades 3 to 8.  I believe strongly in a good education system where science and math are taught, along with accurate history, literature and the arts.  I well-rounded education is a requirement for a good society.  I’m not alone in this, since many of our ancestors were also in agreement.

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the various teachers strikes, but they were not only striking for more money (remember, a teacher must have a Bachelors degree in teaching, but also a Master’s Degree – that is six years of college), but they are also striking for newer textbooks (some are over twenty years old), there are not enough books for the number of students, there are leaking roofs, moldy walls and ceilings, exposed wires, broken desks and chairs, no paper, and the list goes on and on.

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So, my question is this?  How did this happen?  Why is education being slowly strangled due to lack of money?  As a child I can remember when people who were smart were looked up to.  At some point, many parts of society decided to wage a war on education.  Being “smart” became less desirable, with put-downs such as “nerd” and “geek” being used.  Being a “bookworm” was a negative thing.  I wish I knew why education is no longer valued.  I do have some thoughts, including the fact that if people are kept from learning deductive reasoning, they may be easier to trick.  I’m leaving some links below that I hope you will check out.  The videos of the schools are really difficult to watch because they look like third world schools.  Please comment on this subject below.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/02/05/americas-school-funding-problems-state-by-state/?noredirect=on