Sunday, March 31, 2013

Just because ...


Answers to Roberto's Five Things Quiz

1) Your five favourite songs

Let’s change that to music. I don’t really have favorites in a long term sence. I have "favorites of the moment."

2) Your five favourite movies

Am I supposed to have favorite moves? The original 39 Steps would be on the list.

3) Your five favourite women of the past or present time

Isabella d’Angoulême
Blanca de Castilla
Philippe (d'Avesnes) de Hainaut
Elisabeth (Sissy) Amalie Eugenie von Bayern
My mother

4) Five words to describe Knobby Knees

"He is cute but annoying."

5) Five words to describe each of your daughters

"the world should fear them."

6) Your five favourite poetries poems or stories

I don’t have five favorites. Not all time favorites anyway. Books that I read more than once include Kipling’s Kim.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pixies should not have to die



Neither should they have to grow up and become human.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hare today, Gone tomorrow

Pastel by O. Reader
 
In the depths of the Scottish countryside there lived a farmer who took care of baby animals. The farm was very peaceful until one day the farmer's pig was murdered.

Now the farmer took this incident very seriously, so he started an investigation.

Unfortunately, the only witness the farmer had to this murder was his pet bunny rabbit.

Since the rabbit was unable to speak and tell him who murdered the little pig, the farmer lined up his four prime suspects, a cow, a horse, a goat, and a duck, and told the rabbit to pick out who had committed the dirty deed.

The rabbit hopped up and down the line, checking each animal, and then finally hopped forward three feet, and stopped in front of the goat.

"It wasn't me! It wasn't me!" yelled the goat.

The farmer shook his head and said, "The hare's looking at you, kid."


John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyle


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wish Fulfilment, Nature Spirits, and Stuff

So … I’m staring at bad microfilm scans and getting a head ache. I see that I’m boring everyone again. I should write a really shocking post or post pictures of ugly people or tell about the great train wreck of 1922 or something.

But … I’m not in the mood for any of that. I notice that I had a blog visitor from Brooklyn. … Using an ISP other then your corporate one does not hide your address. Just sayin’. Hope he found what he wanted.

We went to a religious meeting with my aunt and uncle. I was not as impressed this year as I was last year, though I got to visit with people I knew as a pre-teen. There are very few younger people in their congregation. I don’t know what to make of that.

We’re still trying to repair things and my aunt and uncle’s house. We start on their lawn next week – and the gardens. The back lawn has some sort of disease going on. I took a sample to the County Extension agent and she recommended an easy to apply spray. We’ll have to reseed parts of it.

I’m a bit depressed today. It’s my medication. It does that sometimes. I could sit around crying, but I chose to write this instead.

One of our blog readers sent some cool-beans stuff, passenger lists from 1881. It’s funny how things tie in. One character worked for the Fahnestock family. Earlier one of the Fahnestocks wrote to G. Storrs. It’s just a random connection.

I considered writing a long email to one of my blog readers telling him all sorts of stuff, and then decided it would be a bad idea. So if you don’t get a long, detailed email from me, you know why. Prolly wasn’t you anyway.

I have a class this afternoon. I’d just as soon stay home and sleep.

I’ve been thinking about wish fulfillment. Or fantasy fulfillment. When I was ten or so, I really wanted to fly. I climbed a tree and tied myself to branch, using my belt. Bad idea. The belt was flimsy, and when it broke I fell about ten feet. Nothing broke, but it knocked the wind out of me. And it hurt like heck. You know … I didn’t learn from that at all. It’s a wonder that I lived through my childhood.

Two of my older cousins let me tag along when they went exploring. We made a fort in an overturned car someone dumped in the forest. They, being boys, got to sit in the front and play with the steering wheel. I being a mere girl had to sit in the back. They came home with wood ticks; I did not. Served them right.

Our daughters bought a huge box of specialty pastries and wrote "happy anniversary" on it. It was a fun present.

When I fed the animals early this morning I came face to face with a huge buck. Deer sneak onto our property. Male deer are always dangerous, but he was more interested in the salt lick I leave out than in me. It was a bit scary and really interesting.

My new ISP fixed the stupid stuff they did with our account. I didn’t even have to frown.

I’ve run out of interesting things to turn Knobby Knees into. (Yes, I know that’s really bad grammar.) I’m very tired. Currently, he’s a nature spirit who looks a lot like a goat and sometimes like a human and he can be in two places at once.

It’s finally warming up.

I like warm.

I have a list of things I’d like to do but probably never will. I want to fly a jet. I want to go to Oklahoma City. I want to go deep diving. None of those things are real possibilities.

I’d settle for a volunteer research assistant in OK City.

Closer to home, I’d like to look in a closed up building on the South side. It’s green, two stories, probably built in the 1920s. I’d love to see inside. That won’t happen either. The owner is really cranky.

I’m still thinking of female characters in Fantasy Fiction (and in SF). I think the one I totally identify with is Aphrael. I am she. Or she is me. Or however one says that.

I’m really depressed. And my body temperature is very low. I hate this.

I’m supposed to be smart. Why do so many of my decisions seem to be goofy?

I should probably go shoe shopping. Cute shoes are a way of life.

That’s it for now, I guess. I need something sweet and a huge cup of coffee.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Skating


Armageddon's Princess by Anthony Pacheco

I’ve read Anthony’s book, parts of it two or three times. I don’t do that with many books, but there are parts of this book one must savor or think about. I’ll eventually read it again.

I’m putting my major complaint right up front. This book deserved a better publisher, one with more resources to promote it. DAW or Tor should have published this book. If they turned it down, they’re morons.

I will not spoil your reading, so I’m not giving a huge amount of it away. Anthony tells a post-apocalyptic crime story. The ‘heroine’ is a veteran of the Unionist wars (a stellar concept, if you ask me) who was rebuilt. She’s a believable female character, something hard for a male writer to achieve.

I read a lot of R. A. Salvatore. I own most of his books. He creates a believable alternate world. He creates with broad strokes interesting female characters, but he has no true appreciation of the female psyche. His females slip. They turn into males with female bodies, not something he intended, I’m certain. Anthony creates a believable (mostly. I’ll get to that in a minute.) female character.

I judge female characters on two levels. Are they believable? Do I identify with them. Tamora Pierce creates excellent female characters. I don’t identify with all of them. I found myself identifying with Anthony’s Investigator. Not always mind you, but often. The soldier girls (read the book if you want to know) impressed me far less, but they’re not that important in the story, and they’re still fun characters.

There are two flash back scenes. One takes us back to a battle in Scotland and one to a missile launch that destroyed Unionist Europe. (No, I’m not explaining what they were. Read the book!) Lexus, the main character, slips out of my grasp in those scenes. I don’t mean that she wasn’t true to her character. She was. I mean she acted in ways with which I do not identify. Lexus is troubled by her decisions, makes some reluctantly, and agonizes about them. She motivates her troops in a way a male might, but not in a way I would.

I fight my own wars. I’ve never been in the military, but I’ve seen people die. I watched a man die on a gurney in an emergency room. He was gut shot and blood was everywhere, including on my shoes. The doctors tried to save him, and the hurt on their faces when he died will stay with me. I did not regret his dying. I regretted the mess. I would not have "motivated" my troops in the same way. I would not have regretted my orders, no matter how many died.

In the second flashback, Lexi must use her key to initiate a missile launch. Millions die. She sees herself as a mass murderer and tries to kill herself. As I see myself, I’d have shoved the damn key in the slot without hesitation and never regretted it. Unionists must die!

Understand, Anthony maintains her character. It’s not a fault in characterization. It’s a difference between Lexi and myself. That I can, as a woman, identify with a male-created female character is stellar!

There are funny bits in this story. They may only be funny to me, but they’re things I can identify with. Any author that hauls me into his story and keeps me there is destined for great things. Most books I read bore me about half way through. I find myself thinking, "Does it have to be this long?" I was not bored anywhere or by anything in Anthony’s book.

Aside to Anthony: 50/50 as a default setting made me laugh. It’s probably truer than you think.


Mt. Si

Most of this story is set in the Pacific Northwest, in places I’ve been. Mount Si as the location of her lair is a really good choice.

2nd Aside to Anthony: What happened to North Bend?

This is a book I’ll keep and read again.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chapter 3

Ton, who visits here and our history blog, sent my WP this email. Said writing partner forwarded it to me, and I have a very please smile on my face:

Dear brother Bruce,

First my compliments with the chapters 2 and 3! Good readable, and well documented.

Anthony ...

Ten times? In one day? Two maybe. Three a time or two. Four once at least. But ten? I can't even think about that without walkin funny. Fun book.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Kids



Queensland, 1908

From a Stereo Card

The unintended lick ...

So … this is a punch holes and file papers day. One can make only so much research mess before one must sort. I really need a secretary. One of my mom’s friends volunteered to help. I think I’ll take her up on it. The only problem is, she’s slow and easily confused. I need someone a bit faster.

In the "pile of neglected print-out" I found bunches of articles that meant something (I think) to me when I printed them. As I thumb through these, I cannot remember why I thought them important. I won’t throw them away. They may be important. … But … I can’t remember why this stuff was important. Anyway, I’ll file it, and probably spend the rest of my life wondering why.

Anthony sent me his book, writing a nice personal note on the inside. I’ve been swamped with family matters, so I’ve just started to read it. Fun book so far. Though I have to say I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t want four husbands. I can’t imagine having four of those things. One keeps me busy. Someone would have to guarantee that they wouldn’t whine, would do dishes, cook, mend clothes, buy me pretty things, not annoy me and that they wouldn’t complain about each other.

None of this:

"Listen, you have to stop Husband Four. He’s trying to wash clothes and he has all our socks mixed up. I’ll never find my argyles in that mess!"

"You have argyles?"

"Well … yah. … You never noticed?" This is followed by a sniff and a pout.

"I don’t usually look at your socks. Mostly your butt. You have a cute butt. Feel better?"

"Some … Back to Husband Four. He made Husband Two’s lunch yesterday. Peanut butter sandwiches."

"But he has a peanut allergy!"

"Exactly. …"

Nope, I’m certain that I wouldn’t want four.

Now knobby knees is standing here saying random things and reading over my shoulder. He can be so rude. He said, "Dear, four husbands couldn’t handle you." I have no idea what he means. Rude man.

I’m back, and you didn’t know I was away. I folded clothes, vacuumed under my desk, scolded daughter one, and added some stamps to my collection. A man I’ve never met face to face sends me some every so often. He collects too. We have a (very) long-distance admiration society going. He lives in Israel, and I don’t.

We ordered three-day survival kits. They came today. Prolly a silly idea, but if we’re invaded by wicked fairies, cruel Canadians, or if there’s a huge earth quake and Mt. Rainier finally blows its top and erases Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia and points west, I’ll have Band-Aids and portioned bars and gloves and what ever …

Next we buy a week’s worth of bottled water. Where we will store that is a mystery, but I’m not drinkin’ outa the potty bowl if that volcano boiling under water off the coast decides to back up my river and fry fish.

Chocolate is a life essential. It should be designated a Vitamin.

I don’t want to suggest details because disseminating them would hurt my pride, but live goat on the hoof can taste funny. Call it an accidental discovery connected with bathing and brushing a show animal, coupled with tangling your feet (okay so they were my feet and not yours) in a bucket of warm, soapy water. And no … no one made a video of it.



I’m pleased with the last chapter (chapter 3), but we decided it needs one more section. We are taking material originally destined for chapter five and putting it at the end of chapter three. That takes it out of chronological order but addresses the issue in the most logical spot. Did that make sense? If the jackass element among previous writers had used the sense God intended humans to have, we wouldn’t have to address the issue at all.

No one left a blog comment on the rough draft of chapter three that we posted on our history blog. I hate it when we don’t get comments, especially when we present things most of our blog readers will not know.

My writing partner emailed me a list of "find this stuff" stuff. I’ll work on it this coming week. We have to re-research chapter four. … Just the way it goes. Lots of what we wrote for the first draft is either wrong (not majorly though) or we moved it to chapters two and three. We need to add some subheadings. We’re not writing for people who come uninformed to this topic. But … it’s evident that even competent researchers in this field have missed some things or have a slightly skewed view of them. So we must add details we skipped on the first write-through.

Harry, dear, I’ll post your dream in a day or so. Okay?

just because ...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today

Search Engine bing.com
Search Words why does billy goat urinate on me
Visit Entry Page http://wardancingpix...oat-lick-me-and.html

Such interesting people come here.

Die, Bastard! Die!



Someone pointed me to one of the controversialist web sites, wanting my comment on some "assertions" about the origins of the principal religion we research. I read it. It is – excuse the vulgarity – crap.

So much for that.

I’ve spent the morning shoving bits from my writing partner and what I wrote into one coherent narrative. I’m waiting to hear back from him with any changes. After that, we do the grammar fixes and stuff. I sent bits of it off to a Christadelphian. No reply yet. He prolly won’t like what we say about his ‘people.’ But … knowing that someone was a quack doctor and really cranky makes for an interesting story.

I’m in a very bad mood. I’m tired of being treated as if I am stupid. I may have to yell at someone. Why some people think they’re my parent or that I’m some sort of little child is beyond me. I’ll go toe to toe with your IQ any day. Mine, at least, does not match my shoe size. Yours (You prolly know who you are) does. – And I don’t want any whining from blog readers who may be out there thinkin’ "Oh MY GOD, does she mean me?" Because I probably do NOT mean you.

My troubled student from a post or six ago is no longer my troubled student. She was expelled and cannot come back to the school where I teach. I cannot give any details, but this is a major "I told you so" moment. I realize we cannot replace a parent. But I believe we failed this child.

I don’t like recent changes to state law. They affect our program in a negative way. Our legislators (primarily of one party) are paternalistic fools. I’d be happier if our state and the one to our south were cut in two and the east side of each made into one new state. … Did I happen to mention that I’m in a really foul mood?

My parents raised me to respect all races and nationalities. I’m unlearning that lesson. I want the Ukrainians and Russians who’ve moved into my neighborhood to all go home and take their criminal children with them. I want all the "undocumented" immigrants to be arrested, worked on a chain gang for two years and deported. I want their born-here children to be deprived of birthright citizenship and sent home with their parents. I want you all to stop trashing and debasing my country. Just go home. That includes all you Muslims who came here to escape oppression at home but who want to change my country into the mess you left. I don’t like any of you, and I don’t respect you. My mother’s lessons not withstanding.

I had a run in with two "elders" from my mother’s church some months ago. A temporary restraining order (no contact order) expires next month. I’ll petition to have it made permanent. I did say I was in a mood, didn’t I?

I’m not a member of that church. I never was. Why they think I am accountable to them is a mystery. There is a huge sense of self-entitlement among some of their pastors. And they’re sexist. Denials to the contrary.

My shape sifting goat boy dragon pet person is home sick. It appears to be a really bad sinus infection. We can’t get him into his doctor until tomorrow. I made a hot pack for him, filling a clean sock with rice and heating it in the microwave.

I’m really grumpy. … REALLY.

I got an email from one of my former students from back in the day when I taught (among other things) New Testament Theology. When she stresses she emails me. I’m stressing myself, so I’ll ignore the email for a day or so, at least until I calm down.

I’ve been researching and writing about a John H. Thomas, an eclectic physician. (A kind of medical philosophy between standard medicine and Homeopathy that has died out) I’ve decided he was a first-class creep. I don’t have to put much of that in our story. But he was. Nasty man.

The wind is really blowing. My new internet provider has already messed up our account. I’m driving over to their local office in a while and yelling at the first person I see. Or not. Maybe I’ll just frown a lot.

The entire world is incompetent, lazy or brain dead! So … that’s extreme. Let’s say 87.6 percent of the world. Or rude. We can’t forget rude.

We about killed our chapter four moving bits of it into other chapters. It was about eighty pages long. As it stands now, it’s twenty-three pages long and in need of major new research. I guess that’s next on the list of sighs.

You know what else peeves me today, actually for some time? People who cannot pronounce the "Th" consonantal blend. I’m happy you learned English, but an educated person should be able to say "that" and not have it come out as "dat" or say "those" and not have it come out as "dose." The worst offenders are Africans from former French colonies and the French. But they’re not alone. Usually this is an educated person. They’re just lazy. In this country the "dese, dem and dose" guys are uneducated slum dwellers from New Jersey or New York. Don’t copy them.

Lemme seeeee … who else should be the target of my scorn? Car dealers! So … some of the local car dealers tie balloons to their front fence. If the wind blows you can’t walk down the sidewalk for all the balloons blowing in your face. Then they fly loose and birds eat the popped balloons and starve to death with a full belly, or we have to pick up the trashed balloons out of yards and parking lots. A dealer near where I work blasts loud music all night long. Why? We’ve had a running battle with them for months. I finally filed a formal noise abatement complaint with the city. They have turned the music down, but not off. Car dealers are scum.

So are their delivery drivers. Schneider International delivers to three of the local car dealers. Their driver is aggressive, speeding through 30 mile an hour zones and swerving at cars for sport. Complaints made to the company avail nothing. This will end.

Another delivery company drives Penske rental trucks. This guy takes corners on two wheels. Eventually he’ll be caught and ticketed.

Stupid people. I think I hate stupid people.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Royal Review


My forest as it was in September 1916.

 
On the road to Oregon Caves National Monument.
The detail in this photo is spectacular. I don't think it comes through on this post.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Pet

I’m overwhelmed by cranky, demanding old men. This is not supposed to be part of my life.

I’m re-writing the entire "Christadelphian" section. They’re cranky too. But everyone in this section is long dead, and I don’t care if they were cranky. Their attitudes make for a more interesting story.

The full year for 1860 of The Bible Treasury came in today’s mail. It’s really ratty. I’ve removed all the bad, nasty tape from the binding with my secret formula tape remover. (Ronsonol Lighter Fluid, but keep it a secret)

Tucked in the April 1, 1860, issue was a tact entitled The Lord is at Hand. While twenty thousand were printed in 1866, almost no examples survive. This was a fun find.

We don’t have the money for restoration, so the magazines will go in an archive box for protection.

Our wedding anniversary is in a few days. We haven’t decided what we’re doing. We may go out to dinner, taking an aged cousin with us. She’s almost ninety. If we don’t include her, she sits at home and goes to religious meetings as she can. None of the younger relatives seem to remember she exists. I don’t like that, but it’s not my job to make them behave.

Knobby Knees and I like each other. That shouldn’t be a startling statement, but it does not seem to be the norm. I met him in high school. Understand that at the start of seventh grade I was moved out of my class and put in tenth grade. So I was younger than he was (still am of course; and I don’t let him forget it when he finds gray hairs). He thought my oldest sister was hot stuff. She thought he was annoying. (He is, actually), but he’d show up at our cafeteria table. My sister did her best to ignore him.

After about a week of this, I told him, "You’re kinda cute, but you are really annoying."

He turned beet red.

Our parents watched us like hawks. But I can tell you that the only reason we didn’t get in some considerable trouble was that he had the good sense I lacked. That spring I told his mom that I was going to marry him "some day." She was very kind, very gentle over that.

So, with time, I had my first kiss, first nuzzle, first boy friend. I never looked at another, at least not that way. I am aware of good looking men and women. Doesn’t mean I look at them "that way."

I wasn’t exactly a "lonely child." I had bunches of siblings, cousins, friends. The problem was I wanted to talk about things no one wanted to hear. Not bad stuff, just things that interested me but not them. In knobby knees I found a patient, hearing ear. He liked my stories and my speculations and my questions. He listened to me. That was and is so very rare. And I liked to listen to him.

We were not supposed to be alone, and any association was really discouraged. But he knew where I rode my bike and where I went hiking and that I was a tag along when my sister and her friends went bowling or skating. We spent hours walking along my river or sitting on the rocky beach and just talking.

The only time we were parted was when I was at WSU and he was off becoming a "hell of an engineer." That period was characterized by complaints about the long-distance phone bill. We used AoL instant messenger bunches too.

The Pet

I graduated about the time all my age-mates were graduating high school and switched to a small college for their master’s program. By that time K. Knees was back and working for his dad part-time and attending university about fifty miles from me. We burned lots of gas. I got so I could drive from Walla Walla to his house with my eyes closed. (I didn’t really try that; you do know hyperbole when you see it, right?) We ended that problem by getting married.



Liz came along. She was six weeks premature, and a few people raised their eyebrows. But she was tiny (less than four pounds at birth) and spent three weeks in NICU.

Knobby Knees still listens to my wild fantasies, my speculations, my research troubles, and such. He puts up with my collections and has a few of his own. He’s still annoying and still cute. He’s put up with my frustrations, my impatience, my quick judgments and more. He married me knowing I was supposed to have already died. He copes with my illness, and he seldom panics when things get bad. He understands the gaps in my memory, and he covers for me when that gets really bad.

I think he’s peachy-keen swell.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Two women at a mill stone. N. Africa, about 1895.


Mutating Teachers


I’ve been staring at the same page all morning, and other than cutting and pasting in a quotation from a ridiculous magazine article written in 1940, I haven’t written a word.
 
I received a very nice email from someone in the Pittsburgh area who has access to what remains of old church records. Nothing helpful so far. I don’t expect much, but one never knows.
 
I still can’t find the Christadelphian reference to having heard Mr. Barbour and Mr. Russell in Chicago. I’ve been through most of my files. It’s just not there.

To distract myself, I’ve started cleaning cupboards. Never a good idea. But I’ve started. So far I’ve found nothing surprising. No hidden compartments, no secret missives or anything. I found a fossilized raisin way in the back, though.

But … I’m back in front of the computer, trying to sort what we know. After talking to my writing partner this morning, I’m deleting a small section and re-writing it. He sent me an outline. I don’t like it. It tells things out of order. I’ll tinker with it.

This section isn’t earth-shakingly important, so we don’t want to spend ages on it, but we do want it to be accurate. It isn’t as it stands. The real story is different from what we thought, certainly from what we expected. We’ll tell a more rational story with the new bits.

I was really sick at work last night. It was a hugely bad night.

We’re redesigning our English grammar class. We get these very smart kids who can’t spell or who are behind their age level with reading. I don’t know who to blame for that. This is an above average school district. But there is this issue. So we’re shifting focus to address it.

I have about a hundred pages of new documents to sift through. I’ve read through them once. I think there are maybe six relevant pages. Maybe less than that. And of those pages we’ll probably use five or six lines of quotation and treat the rest as references. It’s often like this. One “fact” (in this case “opinion” would be more to the point) out of pages of documents, most of which could be recycled as toilet paper.

Scripture says God’s eyes roam the earth. Ten words or less on what that means. Winner gets a photo of a cookie.

In my middle grades literature class we’ve read one of Tamora Pierce’s books. A main character is the Trickster God. Such a wild discussion over godhood! I have a young LDS boy and a Baptist girl who spark off each other. I keep a firm hand on discussions like this one. They drifted off into a discussion of how their personalities would change if they were suddenly changed into demi-gods. Too funny. One of them asked the class which Goddess I was.

Now mind you, Thoth is a male god, but one of them said I was Thoth the god of wisdom. So they don’t know their mythology much. … One of them asked me what kind of god I thought he’d make. I told him he was the God of Chaos. Suits him perfectly.

Watercolor


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Indigestion

I’m more than a little unhappy today. Life sucks lemons and this was a day of lemon sucking. Mostly I just feel bad (side effect from meds) and can’t keep track of anything.

I had words with the school secretary. She doesn’t know it yet, but I will write her up. No one likes her. She thinks she’s the principal. She’s not even close. I’m unhappy at changes to our program too. I have no control over that; all the changes are state mandated. They’re also mindless and stupid.

I can’t remember most of my life. The new meds (I don’t think I mentioned this, but with my memory I might have) worked but they gave me diarrhea so badly I felt as if I lived in the bathroom. We’re trying something else.

The world is a very dark place. I don’t like it much some days.

 

I’ve lost a reference to a Christadelphian encounter our main character had probably about 1880. OR sent me a huge file some months ago, and I thought it was in there, but it’s not. I wanted to use it. I’ll prolly never find it again.

I continue to fret over one of my students. She needs a parent. However, I cannot replace the useless piece of flesh that birthed her. This will only end in tragedy. I brought a small vase to class, using it as a writing prop. It’s a antiqued Greek-style vase about three inches high, a thrift store find. This troubled child fell in love with the vase. I gave it to her. I thought she was going to cry. It was such a small thing.

 

Someone sent me an internal letter from a well known tract society to its minions. It was supposed to reveal a scandal. Pfuttt! As I see it, this letter reveals some considerable care for the religion’s adherents. Why do people seek wickedness where it does not exist? When we write history we try to attribute the best possible motive to those we profile. Sometimes the best possible motive is still a bad one. Finding bad where none exists is a sign of a wicked heart, if you ask me.

This same well-known tract society sent my writing partner some photocopies, just a few pages of some hard to find material. They seem to have lost, mislaid or misfiled the rest of this material, but they’re still looking. They really went to extremes to try to please my WP. This is a major change. According to their letter they set an archivist looking, contacted their office in Canada, and sent someone to two Canadian archives. They uncovered eight pages of material and forwarded it to us with a letter asking for suggestions.

The pages are helpful. Two pages are of a court transcript. Most of that is an exchange about business affairs. It has a point or two that will change something we wrote, at least in a minor way. A grand jury summary is so faint that we haven’t deciphered it all yet. It takes a magnifying glass and an interpreter of bad photocopy to read it.

More important than the pages is a better relationship with the writing and research staff. I hope this new trend continues.

My blog’s average daily readership has declined. Six months ago, I’d have cared. Right now, I don’t. Either it interests people or it doesn’t. I’m not sure it matters.

I’ve started reworking a chapter we thought nearly complete. We found important documents and snippets of things, and I incorporated them into the text. We have way too many things to read. This is a good thing though. Areas of this story we believed would stay a mystery are slowly being unlocked.

 

I am stressed by something that happened years ago. I don’t know why. It wasn’t even that important. But I haven’t been able to put it back in its proper place. When I was pursuing my masters’ degree I worked as a substitute custodian in a high school. One of the history teachers there did his best to ridicule me. I’d forgotten all about it until a week or so ago, but it’s come back and left me more upset than I was at the time.

I like the beat of drum and the skirl of pipes. I like the deep thum of a pipe organ. I like the quiet flow of the Columbia River. My heart glows along its shores. I love the forest and icy mountain streams. I like the small water falls that tumble out of the Cascade Mountains. I am intrigued by lost and forgotten roads. At some point – soon – I’ll travel down my last hidden road.


The weather is getting nicer. I want to go camping under the stars. No tent. Just a warming fire and a place to lay my head.




Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me, still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to thee; nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down, darkness be over me, my rest a stone; yet in my dreams I'd be nearer, my God, to thee; nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
There let the way appear, steps unto heaven; all that thou sendest me, in mercy given; angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to thee; nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
Then, with my waking thoughts bright with thy praise, out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise; so by my woes to be nearer, my God, to thee; nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
Or if, on joyful wing cleaving the sky, sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly, still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to thee; nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Occasional's Pithy Comments

Welsh with a hi to Annie

I was never much good at learning languages. I spent five years at school learning how to successfully fail all my French exams. An over-enthusiastic parent paid for me to have extra tuition from a retired French teacher. I still failed. I came out of the system being able to recite a few irregular French verbs, only to discover that few French nationals are keen to hear their irregular verbs recited by young Englishmen.

But later in life, when there was an actual reason to learn a bit, I did better. I was able to get by in Spanish, and for a marked contrast, in Urdu. And last year I joined Mrs Occasional on a course to learn simple Welsh.

The reason for trying Welsh conversation was linked to one of my "hats" – striving to bring a message to people living in Wales who do not necessarily want to hear it. I understand where they are coming from. When people call on me with something I don’t understand or consider I need, then an automatic response is negative. But in this part of the world, a bit of Welsh breaks the ice. People listen, people talk. That’s what I want.

The Welsh language has made a real comeback during the time I have lived in Wales. For many years the language was virtually suppressed. Children were not allowed to speak it in school, and the idea was fostered that educated people who wanted to get on, had to speak English. But now the latest census figures for the quite small area where I live show four thousand who declared they can both read, write, and speak Welsh fluently. If you were to go back just a couple of decades it would have been a different story. And yes – I go back a couple of decades – I can remember.

Actually, as far as languages go, it is a real stinker to learn as an adult. Mrs Occasional has gone on to a local college on the intermediate course, but language is her interest – she used to teach Spanish, French and Portuguese. She once said that she spent five years of her life in Spain and is fluent – and the rest of her life in Wales and is not.

Welsh nationalism has a big part to play in the resurgence of the language. Now I have no problem with people being proud of their family roots and their culture. It is when it causes dislike and division that I worry. I remember in North Wales calling on someone to share the message I believed important. But he sort of jumped up and down and went red in the face and called me all the English he knew – if I couldn’t speak the language of heaven (i.e. Welsh) then I had no business calling on him. I offered to speak to him in Urdu (the language that for reasons I won’t go into here I was conversant with at the time) but it was really the wrong thing to say and annoyed him even more. So I passed the address onto someone who ran Welsh language courses, so they could call and, as the saying goes, "call my bluff".

There is of course a division between North Wales Welsh and South Wales Welsh. And there are variations in Pembrokeshire Welsh (an Irish influence) and no doubt Patagonian Welsh has evolved as well. Each side insists that their version is the pure language, and that others are the bastardized versions. For an English outsider it can be quite entertaining, but as I learned with my Urdu comment above, you have to be a bit careful what you say. Realistically, it is a bit like the differences between American English and British English. Sha’el and I have had misunderstandings in the past simply because we come from two nations divided by a single language. You end up trying to know both, and pitching your communication accordingly to the circumstances.

After the Welsh nationalists had a spate of burning holiday homes and daubing slogans and getting a Plaid Cwmru candidate elected to parliament, there was a concerted effort to demand more Welsh. From English being promoted as the language of the "educated" – now to get many decent jobs in the capital you have to speak some Welsh! And now all road signs in Wales are bi-lingual. We always know when we are "home" coming across one of the Severn Bridges to be greeted by bi-lingual signs. (For someone born and bred in England, I actually miss them when venturing out of Wales). But sometimes there are comic results – although how much you laugh may depend on where you are, who you are with at the time, and which side of the Severn Bridge you come from.

One famous mishap occurred in the Swansea area. The sign in English read "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only." All well and good. Officials emailed the appropriate office in Swansea for a translation, which was received by return and the sign painters copied it faithfully: "Nid wyf yn swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwych unrhyw waith l’w gyfieihu." The bi-lingual notice was duly erected. The event made the national news. It was pointed out by a genuine native speaker that the Welsh actually read: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated."



Another one that made the news was an intended bi-lingual warning sign for pedal cyclists to dismount at a road junction in Cardiff. The Welsh version gave a directive about bladder difficulties. The best guess was that someone had misread cystitis for cyclist in their dictionary.

Sign painters of course do not have to be linguists. Actually they do not even have to be literate. Which reminds me of another gaff when I once engaged someone to paint a sign for a religious building. They left the apostrophe out of the title. When told there was an apostrophe before the S they obligingly put it in before another unrelated S, making it even more illiterate. We eventually gave up and got a pot of paint and carefully made the adjustment ourselves.

Which brings me finally to the music album in Welsh called TIR. It came out a couple of years ago, but we only recently obtained a copy. It is a folk CD of traditional songs but done in a modern style by Cerys Matthews, who used to sing with the Welsh band, Catatonia. It is an eclectic mixture, which avoids the usual problem with modern folk of being over-produced.

There are a couple with tunes I love, but which I skip over. Cwm Rhondda is actually in English and is always sung by the crowds at Welsh Rugby games. Rugby is now of course the main religion of Wales – people go on pilgrimage to great outdoor cathedrals and sing songs of praise. Cwm Rhondda contains the name of the Deity, and is actually a good talking point when meeting genuine Welsh speakers. The English version of the hymn pointedly changes the words to omit the name. But I have my own theological difficulties with it, so I miss that one. And the other one is the Welsh National Anthem. It is a beautiful tune, but with my personal issues over nationalism it again doesn’t sit too well with me. And it brings back all sorts of memories for Mrs Occasional and makes her cry – so she has an added reason not to listen to it either.

But the rest of the songs are currently getting played to death. Perhaps my favourite is the old Welsh folk song Ar Lan Y Môr, now done in a Bob Dylan style, complete with asthmatic harmonica. (I have even been "inspired" to write my own English words for it and inflict them on others at folk clubs).

Mrs Occasional is well pleased with the CD, because singing in Welsh in local folk clubs requires decent material, and the accompanying booklet gives all the Welsh lyrics. For me, it sounds lovely, although I can’t really understand much. Still, I can bellow phonetically at key points in the harmony, which, even if I say so myself, sounds good to those listening – just as long as they can’t speak Welsh either.

So in the words of the poet - nid aur yw popeth melyn!

Or words to that effect...

Young Girl - Mystery Photo


Biplane


Friday, March 08, 2013

Here is Love, vast as the ocean ...



This was written by William Rees (died 1883). Some additions were made probably from something by William Williams who lived much earlier. Neither man viewed Jesus as I do, but I think they saw something of God's own heart.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Just for Harry


Double Stuff


I found a fish and game person wandering around on our property this morning. I pointed out the no trespassing signs and politely asked him what he was doing. His answer was vague and certainly not connected to our property at all. The wildlife area is next to us. There is a fence. The private property/no access signs appear regularly, part of a years back compromise with the state over land rights. We do not allow hunting on your property. This isn’t deer season. He was simply curious and expressing his sense of self-entitlement.

He was also argumentative. I offered to call the sheriff to settle the matter. He challenged me to do it. I obliged. He left. I called his regional boss afterwards. I’ve just finished a formal letter of complaint and a “cease and desist” letter. I’ll send them out by registered mail. I also called our district representative.

Usually we get along with state wildlife officials. I never get along with minions who think a state uniform (I have one myself) and a badge (ditto) entitles them to tramp on the law and on the rights of others.

He doesn’t know that he just became a character in a story. I was in need of a bad boy with attitude. He’s perfect for the job.
 

My work room is in need of reorganization. I’m too tired to tackle that. I need a new bookcase. … don’t know where it would go. I’m still donating books to the school library. Yesterday I gave them a middle-school level book on ancient history given to me by the publisher as a sample. It’s quite good. And I gave them Thoreau’s Walden and one of Shakespeare’s plays. Our budget is so limited these days that donations matter.

What they don’t use goes into a pile anyone can take.
 

My writing partner and I have decided to separate a lengthy chapter into two parts. There is a logical breaking point, and we found so much material that it no longer works as a single chapter. I’ve deleted entire sections as irrelevant, brutally edited to reduce word count, and frowned mightily. We will still divide it near the middle. We’ve argued over some of the photos. … well not a real argument. Call it a discussion. Usually I’m the one who questions usefulness. This time I want to keep them. We made no decision, and won’t until we think we’re essentially done with this section.
 

Uncle B’s house needs two faucets in the utility areas. The originals are old and no longer made. Our next trip up there we’ll try rebuilding them. We couldn’t find anything that would work without modifications, but the parts are out there. They need new washers, a new “o” ring, and one new handle. This is more time consuming than hard work. Or so knobby knees says. Uncle B rents a small space to some sorta relatives. We may ask the guy relative to do that in exchange for something off the rent. It would save us a trip. I’m wearing out from driving back and forth and going without sleep on some days.
 

One of my best students is sick. She’s an excellent writer and diplomat. I hope she recovers quickly.
 

I’ve been trying to find a ‘lost road.’ I like road archaeology. Finding old roads and wagon trails has always appealed to me. There is supposed to be a ruined stamping mill in the forests north of Vancouver, Washington. I’ve looked on google maps and can’t find anything. I may have the wrong location. I read about it in an un-attributed newspaper clipping I found in a friend’s old scrap book. Newspaper articles aren’t always reliable.
 

Knobby Knees wants to go to the beach. I’m not sure we can afford that. We’d have to rent a beach house to accommodate us all. That’s usually expensive. We’d have to take both cars. I see lots of problems, but I’d like to go too.
 

I expect our employees to be respectful of everyone, including fellow employees. We hired a young man who thinks he’s God’s gift to the world. He’s not. He’s a plague on society. I can see his time with us getting shorter and shorter.
 

Stamps! I found a set of Danzig stamps I didn’t have. Usually these are expensive, but I found these on one of the stamp auction sites and had only one person bid against me. Nice.
 
 

Friday, March 01, 2013

Thyra as a child ...


The pixie and the shape shifting goat boy ...

So … my shape-shifting Goat Boy is working at home. I’ve reached my limit of reading figures off ledger pages and trying to find a way to summarize what I’ve read without boring my readers silly or giving away a confidential source. (Yes, dear hearts, even pixie historians have ‘sources.’) And, truth be told, I’m a bit bored. What to do? What to do?!

I wander into his work room thingie and plop my little butt on his lap.

“Lass, what are you doing?” he asks.
 
“Sitting on you,” I say.

“I have work to finish,” he returns.

“You can stay up late,” I suggest.

“Your butt’s pointy.”

I frown at this. My butt is not pointy; it’s round. “Get used to it,” I say. I whisper a series of fairly indecent proposals, ending with “and the girls won’t be home for over an hour.”

“Humm,” he says. His hand, formerly busy with a highlighter and a stack of papers, wanders places where hands do more good.

I sigh.

 

Stuff ... and green-eyed goat girls


I’m taking a break. I’ve re-written a major portion of a nearly complete chapter. The problem we’re left with (one of several for this chapter) is that this material now appears twice in the same chapter. We’ll debate this when I drive up to my WP’s house this weekend. He and my aunt are on the sickish-but-too-stubborn to see the doctor side. Their youngest and I have been nagging them ceaselessly. They have other issues too, mostly minor repairs to their house. Knobby Knees will tackle a few of those.

We really need to see an article appearing in World’s Crisis about a G. D. Clowes. We have conflicting information about his status within the Methodist Episcopal Church. The article would resolve it I think. One source associates him with The Fourth Avenue Church in Pittsburgh. There was no fourth avenue church. We think the Liberty Avenue Church is meant. It was on the corner of Liberty and Fourth. It no longer exists.

Francis Parkman, probably the best historian America ever produced, walked much of the land where the events he wrote about took place. It colors his books. He’s best remembered for his Oregon Trail, but it’s his History of France in the New World that’s stellar. You should read some of it.

 

We can’t walk the areas mentioned in our work in progress. It’s not practical. Instead we look for period photos. Parkman couldn’t do that because photography didn’t exist. We can, and there are a pleasing amount of photos out there. No history book, no work of fiction for that matter, succeeds without realism. Fantasy fiction works when the author can make the improbable seem possible. That takes a keen ability to observe and extrapolate. Bits of real life go into good fantasy.

Suppose that there really were “nature spirits.” I don’t mean the demi-urges and elementals of animism or of most fantasy fiction. Let’s say they are kinda sorta sub-angels given charge over parts of the earth and sky. Don’t laugh now, especially you Christians. I’m fantasizing from a Bible verse. Can you tell which one?

Suppose they take what ever form they need for as long as they need, and when that passes they are reborn as something else. They might be in the form of a deer to aid an endangered herd. They may be human. They are paired, so that unlike angels they have mates. What if one of the mates gets reborn and forgets what she is? If you were her partner, how would you restore her memory?

 

That’s fantasy fiction at birth. Solve the question and build a story around the solution. Then write it. Easy, huh? Or not. As I see it, she’d have to relive parts of her past manifestations through dreams and unusual experience. Her mate probably wouldn’t wake her up by saying, “You’re a nature spirit.”

Also, they may have a child who is eternally seven by choice. She may be a ‘green girl.’

She has a strong interest in helping recover her mother’s memories. If mommy refuses to wake up, daughter has to grow up and take her place for the duration. She might hate to grow up. It’s hard to do and harder to revert afterwards.

Writing of both sorts (history and fantasy) presents similar difficulties. The main difference is I get to make up things in fantasy, and, though some ‘historians’ do, I don’t get to make up the history we write.

I’m worn out from driving back and forth to my aunt and uncle’s. I’m not getting enough sleep for one thing. Hopefully most of what we need to help with, other than a major house project for which there is no money at present, will be fixed up, repaired, put right, or hauled off to the doctor within a couple of months.

When I was up there on umm last Wednesday, I got my aunt out of the house and off to the thrift stores. She found a nice pair of shoes. I bought three volumes of The Message, a modern language bible translation. It’s poorly done, but I wanted it anyway. It finished a four volume set. I had the first volume already.

I found a nice pair of shoes too. … very expensive and like new. I wear them sometimes, but I don’t like high heels. These are Mary Janes with very low heels, black leather with a side buckle. Cute shoes are a way of life … just sayin’

What might happen ...

If you spend too much time with a shape shifting Goat Boy ...

Your face might change ....
 
 

And you might grow a tail.