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.

Y is for Yesterday

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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Sue Grafton

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.

 

 

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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

 

How the book Black Beauty made me who I am today

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When I was young, one of my favorite books was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  It wasn’t until I got it out of the library and read it to my children, that I realized that through some kind of osmosis I had made the entire novel a part of myself.  If someone had asked me why I felt the way I did regarding animals, I could not have answered.  But after I read this book to my children, I understood.  I got all my compassion and empathy from this one book.  It’s funny how a book can mold you into who you become.  Black Beauty, and to a lesser extent, all the A.A. Milne books did that to me.  Here are some quotes for you.

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It was after I read this book to my children that I fulfilled my childhood dream and became a vegetarian.  And, after that, I fulfilled my adult dream and became a vegan.  Some books just stay with you always and forever.

What to do When there is Extra Time?

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As you may know from an earlier post, we lost our electricity sometime early Monday morning.  This left me with a few problems, the worst of which was that we didn’t have any water.  To make matters worse than that, I also hadn’t washed the dishes on Sunday night.  So now I had a sink full of dirty dishes that I could do nothing with.  What to do?  I just left them there, after all, I needed any extra water to flush the toilet.

But, what do you do when you can’t distract yourself with cleaning the house, working on your computer and all those other things that require electricity?  Well, you read.  Yes, you read.  However, one of the problems with reading is that you need some form of light to do it.  So, that pretty much curtails your night just a little bit.

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I was lucky that my local library was open and had electricity.  I took out a good number of books and proceeded to read my way past the annoyance of no lights and no water.  It was great, but I felt horribly guilty…the dishes, the not being able to cook (okay, not so much), but it was really hard.  I also felt as though I was completely cut off from the world.  Yes, there were stores I could go to, and of course, the library.  However, there was no social media.  It was freeing.  I didn’t really know what was going on in this crazy world, but really, the news is usually fairly bad anyway.  But indictments dude!  However, I can’t really say that I missed my social media much.  It can be such a time-suck.  We all know what happens when you watch just one YouTube video and look up to find that you’ve “lost” two or even three hours.  Well, that didn’t happen.  The sad thing was that I always have a list of things to do just in case I have the time to do them.  However, most of them were things that electricity was a necessity.

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So, now that I have all this time on my hands, I’ve got a list of things to do once we get out electricity back.  Wonderful, exciting things like: running the dishwasher, washing the piles and piles of clothes, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming the house, washing the floors, and of course, the dreaded cooking. What fun!

So, what do you do when you find yourself with unexpected time?