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.

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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?   

No Electricity

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We had quite the rain and wind storm last night and have lost our electricity.  I’ve been lucky enough to nab an outlet at the library so thought that is would be my post for the day.  I really wish that I lived in a bigger town because then I’d have running water.  I miss that the most.   Well, guess I’ll just have to pass the time reading books!

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What is Wrong with Education?

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I love to learn.  If I’m curious about anything, from the origin of a word to where a country is on the map, I’ll look it up (my geographic skills are very limited, and I’m always looking at maps).  I have an insatiable curiosity regarding almost anything to everything.  I will ask strangers all kinds of questions in order to get to know them.  I’m not pushy, and I try to do it in a friendly way.  I feel that there is so much going on the world and so many stories out there that are so interesting.  Most people are dealing with all kinds problems and I’ve been told that the very fact I ask them how they are makes them feel special.

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My curiosity includes education – of course.  I decided while I was at college, that I’d get two majors instead of the usual combination of a major and a minor.  I had a few interesting conversations with the Dean of Students over this decision, but due to my high grades they let me persue it.  When my children were in school I asked them to tell me one thing they learned that I didn’t already know.  When I home schooled them, the thing that I liked best about it was how much new information I was learning.  There is nothing like learning new things that gets me so excited.  When I first learned who Rachel Carson was, I wanted to be just like her. Most of my heroes are people who not only are highly intelligent, but also people interested in helping others.  The only way forward into a better and more equal future is through education.  Done right, education creates compassion and understanding.  No one who reads a wide variety of international literature can claim no compassion nor understanding. Once you feel what other cultures have experienced, your mind has been opened to new pathways.

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Of course, the point of all this waxing on about education is that a new study by Pew Research Center has shown that the majority of Republican voters believe that higher education is “bad” for America.  That being said, I wonder if they are prepared to forgo Doctors, Nurses, Engineers and computer experts.  All these people do have degrees from universities.  Indeed, many of them have advanced degrees.  These are the people responsible for many of the “little” things that make life a lot better – such as advancements in communications, infrastructure, safety and health care.  This finding simply flabbergasts me.  Please feel free to leave your comments on this subject.  I’d love to find out what other people think of it.

http://www.people-press.org/2017/07/10/sharp-partisan-divisions-in-views-of-national-institutions/

http://www.newsweek.com/republicans-believe-college-education-bad-america-donald-trump-media-fake-news-634474

 

Camp NaNoWriMo

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This month, I’m going to be attempting the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo.  I’m trying, once again, to finish my short chapter book for a little boy I know.  It feels like I’ve been working on this forever (mostly because I have).  But, I really want to get this done and move onto other projects.

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Writing can often be the most difficult thing to do.  There are so many things that sound great in my head, but once I get them down on paper I find that they’re not that great at all.  Also, it’s so easy to be distracted.  Ever since I stopped going to the library to write, my progress has slowed down to – no progress.  I’d like to go back to the library; however, I don’t feel that I should leave my elderly dog on her own.  There would be no one here if she needs help, and of course I just can’t do that to her.  I just have to learn how to not get distracted by things.

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Is anyone else attempting Camp NaNoWriMo?  Let me know how it’s going for you.  Maybe we can  commiserate – or more hopefully, celebrate together.

International Women’s Day

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When I was initially talking to my husband about International Women’s Day he wondered why women needed one.  At first I was taken aback.  Seriously?  Then I realized that he looks at the world in only one way – as a man.  So, I thought that I’d make a list of why there needs to be an International Women’s Day.

Equality – women in general are paid less, however that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Maternity leave is not a paid for; as well as a higher cost of health insurance for being a woman.  Clothing marketed exclusively for woman is sold at a higher cost.

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Poverty – women and children are the largest group worldwide to live in poverty.  At any given time 795 million people go to bed hungry.  This number is on the rise due to war and the number of refugees.  More women and children live in poverty than any other group.

Restriction of Rights – women’s rights around the world are restricted in various ways.  Some include how they are “allowed” to dress; whether they can attend school, drive or even leave their houses by themselves; in some areas women are restricted from voting and owning property.   A woman’s right to many forms of health care has been restricted.  In many countries the kinds of work that a woman can legally perform is restricted by law.

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Violence – girls as young as 12 are routinely married in many countries; rape and domestic violence against girls and women is rising worldwide.  Sex trafficking has become rampant world-wide.

These are just a few of the reasons that there is an International Women’s Day.

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I’ve Been Sick All Year!

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I had so many plans for how I was going to start off 2017.  However, I’ve been sick for more than a week, and this has been my only post this  week.  So, no, I haven’t put a single plan, goal or step into effect yet.  The weather has been nuts for months now. One day it’ll be 20 out and the next 55. My sinuses have been going crazy, but I was lucky for months and months.  While everyone I know got sick numerous times from sinus problems, I just went along with only headaches to contend with.  However, last week my luck ran out, and by New Year’s Eve, I was sick.  For the first time in years I didn’t even stay up until midnight.

I’ve been spending time watching the X Files, and reading.  I’ve managed to drag myself around and get dinner on the table, but that’s been about it.  I finally went out grocery shopping yesterday, and made another trip out to get cat and dog food.  I’ll have to go to Tractor Supply on the weekend to pick up some bird food, also.

Hopefully on Monday I’ll have my list of goals for 2017 finished, and be feeling better so that I can start on my list.  Hope you’re all feeling healthy and happy!