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I was bequeathed a number of vintage books in varying condition and value.

I intend to work my way through them, unless they are in such bad shape that reading them would destroy them. I did inherit them, and it seems only kindness to the authors of long-ago that I read them.

I read this one about a month ago.

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This is the original edition, published in 1914. Condition is fair to good.

The only art work in it is this:

007 The artist was Douglas Duer.

The dedication in the book is foreign to me:

005It is possible this book was purchased used, but the pencil notations cause me pause. I will need to research this more: who is Leda, and who is Papa? I have a year to go on: 1914, the year the book was published. It has a copyright date.

About the story: it is set in rural eastern Idaho around the turn of the century (1900). The heroine is the first person we meet, and her name is Billy Louise – named after the son her father never had and after the daughter her mother always wanted. She goes by Billy, for the most part, and she has to play two roles: Billy, the son, and Louise, the daughter. Her best friend is an illiterate woman by the name of Marthy, who has settled the draw above Billy Louise’s parents’ place.

By chance, Billy Louise a cowboy named Ward, and he is hired on to work for her through a very cold winter. I was tempted to skip chapters, but I ended up having to go back and read all of the chapters. I loved the conversations Billy Louise and Ward had. Ward creates multiple nick-names for her. Billy Louise is bluntly honest about her fantasy life as a child (which included Ward, taken from a scrap of newspaper she found wrapped around a parcel when she was a young girl).

There’s a mystery about stolen cattle and Ward’s past. The main characters: Billy Louise, Ward, and Marthy, are drawn together in the ultimate conclusion of the book. The horses have names and personalities (Okay, that’s not a good reason to give a book a good review, but who can resist a faithful horse named Blue and a crazy horse named Rattler?)

It’s a romance story, pure and simple. And it ends happy.

Then I picked up this “gem”: 001It’s a tad bit water damaged on the cover, but not inside.

003My grandmother’s handwriting. I have no idea who Marian Holmes was. My mother was 11 in 1943.

Condition is OK. No copyright date.

Elsie seems, in the first 6 pages of this book, to be constantly worried about whether her father is going to be angry with her and punish her, and whether she has sinned against God. Elsie is always apologizing to her father: “Dear papa, I was very naughty and cross just now… Please, papa, forgive me; I am very sorry, and I will try to be a better girl.” At least once, her father sends her to sit in the closet, simply for having asked a question twice – and he leaves her there for hours!

I skimmed the book. There is a story in there, but it is dimmed by my own perception as an independent woman, and I couldn’t stand to read it. Elsie is completely dominated by her father and her fear of God, the punishing Father. By the end of the book, it is clear that all Elsie desires to be is “good” and “obedient” and “submissive”. And she’s getting five stars for getting all of that right.

Give me Billy Louise, any day. She was a rascal and a judgmental young woman, but she was completely honest, and she was raised to be able to do a man’s job as well as a woman’s. Side by side, these books don’t compare in price and antiquity.

Elsie – there were 28 books in the series. The one I own, in good condition, sells for $19 or so on Amazon or eBay.

Billy Louise – You can download for free on Amazon Prime or purchase an edition of the book (if you can find it) for under $3.

But, as far as it goes for historical role models for young women, Billy Louise is more honest, straight-forward, and romantic than Elsie, the cowed, will ever be.

Pun intended. And if I have to explain that to you, I’m sorry.😀

Next up: Tom Swift and His Airline Express by Victor Appleton. And I do remember reading this as a young girl.

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I haven’t posted since before the election, and I apologize. I assume I have faithful followers.🙂 Maybe I don’t, and it doesn’t matter that I haven’t posted. Oh well, a blog is an “online diary” of sorts, and while I don’t post too much personal here, I do like to use my blog as a place to work out my thoughts. And I have missed blogging.

I would love to comment on current events, but I am sitting on my hands. Trust me, I need to sit on my hands. So, here is what I have been doing besides posting political opinion and getting into nasty word exchanges on social media (or within my own personal life):

I finally picked up, sorted through, and shelved all of the books I brought home from my parents’ estate. I got them home around Memorial Day and stacked them loosely on the loft floor, then I turned around and broke my foot on the first day of Summer, and the books have languished in little disorganized stacks. I have been steadily reading them, but it’s looked like a hoarder lives here – and that hoarder is me. Well, they’re off the floor now, and on shelves.

003And you have to admit the antiques look beautiful.

I’m not reading through the vintage books just yet. I’m working on the modern fiction first. My father must have belonged to a mystery book of the month club or something, because there are several paperback mystery series that I am working my way through. Then I will start on the vintage books.

I am currently working on my own sci-fi fantasy novella for NaNoWriMo, and it’s going quite well. I’ve got a plot, a climax, and a denouement in my head. A cast of characters, which may be a little weak in development. There’s a lot of subtle humor tossed in, which I hope the reader will catch. And I have a friend lined up to read it when I am done, so she can tell me it is pure do-do. But it’s fun, and I won’t be afraid to share it this time around.

I’m gaining confidence.

I’ve been working on not limping. It took me longer to heal from the broken bones than the doctors told me it would. Twelve weeks is a joke – maybe for a teenager, but not for a 60 year old woman! Four months wasn’t even cutting it. But I am nearly five months out and I limp only part of the time now. There’s no pain now, unless I step funny. I have even put heels on – woot!

What else?

Oh, I turned 60. I partied. I was blessed. I have wonderful friends. I have friends who understand I am an introvert and a jerk who never calls, and they still love me. That was good.

And I’ve been painting. And working.

It’s also the holiday season, so there’s that to keep me away from my blog: preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my husband and I (the local kids made plans with their friends and the other kids are too far away), Christmas shopping for ten grandchildren (yes: TEN!!), and planning for Christmas.

I am alive. I am well. I just haven’t had time to blog, and I refuse to blog on politics (aren’t we all just a lot tired of that just now?). I’m watching and thinking and praying.

Take care – and be safe.

I am home now, relaxing after a wonderful dinner time with old friends.

This is the second night out in a week, and there are two more impending dates. Only one of these dates has anything remotely to do with my upcoming birthday, but I am counting them all as celebrations of turning 60. I mean, why not?

Last Saturday, I got to meet another one of my cyber friends. I met these women online back in the late 1990’s, when we all first started homeschooling and we needed our own support group, but local school-at-home support groups weren’t cutting it. We didn’t do school-at-home, we did our own thing, which amounted to a miasma of ecclectic, relaxed, and utter unschooling. The only resource for our style was online e-groups and one called, in short, “ccu”. (I won’t bother with the explanation of the initials as it isn’t relevant.) Eventually, we moved from dial-up connections to DSL, and from yahoogroups to Facebook. Our children grew up, married, and had children of their own (or not). We started keeping track of those we’ve met IRL (In Real Life) as opposed to those we only knew from their online personas (which are, basically, the same person they are IRL). We sat down with our husbands and said, “Oh, my friend from ccu…” or “There was a prayer request on ccu” or “You know, Valerie from ccu…”

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D, Me, and E

D from Michigan was in Oregon, and her last stop was a motel near Portland International. She asked if we could meet & I asked E if she & her husband could join us. We both know E from ccu (follow this carefully), but I have also know E in person for a number of years. And E currently lives close to the airport.

If your head is swimming, imagine our husbands. D’s husband finally blurted out, “Wait. You ALL know Valerie?”

YES. And we’ve all met Valerie IRL.

Flash forward to tonight: the monthly meeting of the ex-employees. We haven’t met all summer: I broke my foot and couldn’t drive, for one thing. Summer was too busy, for another. Tonight was the first meeting since the third Thursday of May. We started meeting in 2014, when the company we worked for got serious about “cleaning house” (read: getting rid of employees over a certain age or employees who know how the company was run before the new management style came into being). I was never on the “cut” list, but I carefully chose my departure and landing as I watched the company screw over my coworkers.

We’re a wonderful motley crew. Some of us worked together for 14 years. We were pretty tight. We had good times. The company treated us well. Then they sold out and young leadership came in, and our era was over. Just like that. In with the new, out with the old. Away with small business leadership and in with big corporation needless rules and petty regulations (what? No alcohol at company parties? Who wrote that rule? This is real Estate and Real Estate Agents drink!). If I ever write a mystery book series involving a tight circle of friends, this group will be my inspiration for characters,

I left tonight’s gathering feeling like we were the Best Crew Ever. We were tight. We were friends. We annoyed each other. But we CARED about each other. We were one helluva a group of loyal employees and are now one helluva disillusioned group of ex-employees.

I have two more up-coming dates. One is with a circle of women I have prayed with for over 20 years. We meet twice a year to celebrate birthdays. We were all part of the same borderline cult at some point in time. We were all members of the same megachurch at some time. We all survived and forged our own walk of faith. Some of us still attend church. Some of us do not. None of us has lost our faith. We are friends forged through faith and experience. We’ve walked through some deep valleys together: children with addictions, grandchildren with addictions, divorces, remarriages, separations, children who have hated us and then loved us, and so much more. We are the most imperfect circle of Christian women you will ever meet. And we are tied to one individual who has probably suffered the most, sweet J.

And then… the culmination of the week. Burlesque with my cosplay friend, Mary. She asked me with trepidation. I’ve always kind of wanted to see a burlesque show. I am, after all, a Nevada girl, and my mother’s daughter. I know what burlesque is and isn’t (it is not a strip show, but it is bawdy humor). Burlesque can be good or bad, so how good the show is, remains to be seen.

13692918_1253812674643030_1447485457475847752_o

Burlesque Moth by Jaci

I’ll update you on how Saturday goes. I’m excited. And it’s rare for an INFJ to be excited about this much “extroverting”.

 

It has been awhile since I have posted anything. I feel a lot like I am in a dry and thirsty land, and there is nothing much to say. It is a season of change, similar to many I have passed through before, a silence that is deafening and a thirst that dries the very soul. The heavens are like a steel awning, prohibiting prayers from rising and answers from descending. Nature curls in on herself as the Northern Hemisphere readies for winter, and my spirit also curls inward. My cheery attitude got stuck in the muck somewhere and I am pasting a smile on my face right now that isn’t even skin deep. The masks I wear are fragile things and if one should crumble or crack, then I’ll be revealed for the person I really am…

And somehow, that doesn’t bother me as much as the fact I am having to wear the masks. But I do have to wear them, at least for the journey across this desert. Maybe mid-way, I will begin to fling them off.

I suspect that part of my present state of mind has to do with missing the entire summer’s gardening, and now that we are fully ensconced in autumn weather with storms rolling in off the Pacific Coast and I can see all that I did not accomplish… The peonies that needed to be transplanted to better lighting won’t be moved. The Oregon grape still needs to be hacked down. The lilac needs pruning before the first ice storm of the season does it for me. And I still can’t walk like a normal person, much less operate a shovel decently enough to move peonies (although the good Lord knows the soil is drenched enough to make the digging easy – it’s just that they should have been moved in September, not mid-October, and I haven’t a free weekend until November!).

Another part of it is the land-mark birthday that is quickly creeping up on me. I will be 60 years old in November. It doesn’t seem possible. I’m not afraid of turning 60, but I want to embrace this new season in my life. Thinning hair on my scalp and long hairs growing randomly from my face. The softening of facial flesh that is rounding my face out in a grandmotherly fashion. The tremor in my hand when I try to do something involving fine motor skills. How long it is taking me to heal from the broken bones in my right foot – now, that depresses me! Age spots. Benign cancer spots. Eczema on my face.

Honestly, I plan to celebrate this change of decades. I’ve even purchased my party hat. 13700040_10209750372101803_1065367105866787664_n

I didn’t take the photo. But that’s my awesome “I’m Turning Sixty and I Don’t Give a Damn About Perfect Eyebrows, Skin, or Boobs” Hat.

I plan to wear a wonderful clashing purple. I probably will not join the Red Hat Society, because I am a rebel like that: I liked that poem long before there was a Society to go with it, and I’ve planned this rebellion from a young age. I did sort of imagine my hair would be white at the time, but that was before I understood my hair will probably stay dark for a long time. My Dad never did turn grey and he was 83 when he passed.

I get excited when I talk about the change in seasons, but it isn’t as simple as that. It’s more like sitting in an office kitchen, staring out at an empty parking lot, and watching the grey clouds roll over. Waiting. Just waiting.

The waiting is long and arduous, like a hike across the Sinai Desert. I know there are good things on the other side. A “land of milk and honey” exists there. But here, in the right here and now, I am struggling. One foot in front of the other. Get up in the morning and go to work. Come home and do what is necessary… I confess I often turn into a vegetable at home. My brain -and, more importantly, my emotions and my sensors, are done. Too many people, too much to think about, too much “extroverting”, too many things I have to do at home that I’m either not physically able to do yet or the weather is thwarting me at.

I’m a typical extreme introvert pulling back into my shell. I’m done. I’m tired. I’m unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I know there is a light. I know there is a change. I know – despite everything that Depression tells me – that when everything aligns and the long-sought for change happens – I will be happy and content. I know this because I have survived so many deserts. I have watched seasons in my life come and go. I have embraced winter and summer. I am an optimist who believes that everything works out in the end, no matter what.

But I still have to walk through this desert.

Warning – by Jenny Joseph 1961

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

First day of Autumn. First day I have walked the dog since the beginning of summer. First day I have taken one of my breaks at work to walk the entire (almost) parking lot. Time to set goals and shed the past season.

Summer seems an (almost) wasted season this year. The weather was gorgeous, although not as hot as I would like it to be – but certainly drier than expected. My garden suffered horridly between the lack of tending, the dry, and, well, the lack of attention. I did mention that, didn’t I? That I wasn’t able to garden much? What gardening I did do, I did from a seat on a portable cooler that I hauled around with me, in limited fashion due to the huge Storm Trooper boot on my right leg. No pruning, no digging (that would require an unbroken right foot to push the spade into the ground), and very little weeding. I scarcely kept up on the watering: the annuals and perennials did fine, but the bushes took a hit. I keep telling my lilacs that I’m sorry.

Then, again, I wasn’t able to kill the damn Oregon grape. I thought I was planting mahonia repens (which is what I think of when I think of Oregon grape), but I planted mahonia aquifolium (which is, apparently, the State flower – I thought it was the former). The latter grows 4-6 feet tall and is a nightmare to control and contain. You can read about three species of Oregon grape here. I just want that hedge of Oregon grape GONE before it invades my entire fence line and prayer garden area.

Unfortunately, that means I will probably be purchasing 2-4-D this weekend and applying it to the ground where the current bushes are. I dislike using chemicals at all, but everything I read indicates it is the *only* way to remove the Oregon grape from my yard.

(Unlike the comfrey, which is also a pestilence, but is a great bee flower. I keep it in line by finding new growth and applying a mixture of Dawn liquid soap+vinegar+salt. It’s an amazing plant killer and doesn’t affect anything else…)

Back to goals. My garden is a goal, but I should define my goals.

Garden as a goal: from now until the first ice storm: I need to dig up about seven peonies and divide and replant them. I plan to do this in small increments, mostly when the weather is good and on weekends. Comment if you want peony legumes – I’ll have plenty to share and no guarantee on color. I also need to prune the smaller lilac which has suffered the most from the heat and from a couple of summers of robust growth that has made it spindly at the top. Kill the Oregon grape. Cut the dead out of the maple.

House as a goal: before I broke my foot, I was going room by room and de-cluttering and deep cleaning. I am now three+ months behind on that goal. I had four rooms done, but they have reverted. I could sink into depression, but my first goal is DO NOT GIVE IN. Second goal is to restart the process, but in one of the rooms I had not (yet) tackled and do it little, by little. This weekend: living room.

Dog as a goal: Harvey suffered this summer. He’s an active dog that needs a lot of exercise. He’s had over 3 months of confinement to a quarter acre yard, but that doesn’t compute to exercise for him. Tonight, we walked ten minutes. It was a lot shorter distance than I used to do in ten minutes. He was amazing and didn’t pull at the leash. He was just happy to be outside the confines of the yard. Goal: take him for a few walks a week, regardless of weather, even if it’s just around the block. Oh – and call his groomer and beg her to give him a bath that I *should* be able to give him, but just can’t right now…

Walking as a goal: I was so happy to make it around the parking lot today. Once. I used to take each of my breaks during the day and walk 3/4 of a mile in the 10 minute slot allotted. It takes me 10 minutes to do a half mile right now. I did one-half mile today. So – my goal is to increase that to a half-mile each break regardless of the weather. As my foot gets better, I can increase up to 3/4 mile. I’ll never do a mile in less than 15 minutes – never did before. So a 3/4 mile in 10 minutes is a good goal. That’s where I was before I broke my foot.

Learning WordPress. Not as easy as it sounds. I have books and there are videos. But I am neither a visual nor an aural learner. I am a kinesthetic learner. Hands on. I need to spend 15-20 minutes per day or every other day, working on my website. Not this blog, but the other one – the art blog. Yay. I have a mental block against this that I need to overcome. Putting this out there makes me accountable.

Art as a goal: well, I am steadily working on that and I have a mission statement and business plan to develop. Deep breath. I can DO this. It’s in my head, I just need to publish it and become transparent and accountable. I’m an introvert. This is the hardest goal, ever. EVER.

Not the painting. I got the painting down.

I have more. This is just a good start. Goals. First day of Autumn goals.

021This is the old engine block. Now, I’m going out on a limb here, because I only think this is an engine block. It’s something to do with an engine, but it may or may not actually be the engine block. I am assuming it is. I really have no idea, even though my husband has talked non-stop engine parts for two years, even though my big brother once made me reach into a five gallon bucket of black oily greasy stuff to pick out a gear for an engine (I think it was first gear, but I have no idea to this day what it was, some circular thing with cogs), even though my son has had his head under the hood of a car since he was sixteen, and even though my father spent much of his time hunched over an engine or underneath a car asking me to hand him the 3/4″socket (“No, Goddammit, the socket! 3/4″! Not the damn wrench!”).

Marissa Tomei, I am not. Therefore, captioning the following photos is a bit of a stretch and I am putting this disclaimer out: I don’t know what the hell it is, I only know it goes into a 1971 Volkswagen bus, and it makes the bus run.

020This is a fan. Damn, I am good. I can handle simple mechanical things.

011This is the tin framework stuff-y that is being replaced.

009More tin stuff that is being replaced.

antsOH! LOOK! Teeny-weeny tiny ants on the tin that is being replaced. They’re the little yellow-orangey bumps. I couldn’t get a better shot of them.

018Um. He told me what these are. (I just yelled downstairs: “What are those long, grey things?”) Heat exchangers! They may or may not need to be replaced. He’s not at that stage yet. (See how well he knows me? He knew what I was asking.)

015You don’t have to be a mechanic to appreciate how beautiful this is. I know the orange thing is the distributor cap, and the coil of wire on the bottom right is the thermostat (or where the thermostat goes).

012This goes on top of the other part, and it has the flaps that control the airflow to the engine. Apparently, a lot of people who rebuild VW bus engines like to leave the flaps off, but my husband is not only a perfectionist, but he is a purist. And about that perfectionism: this is the new tin part that replaces some of that old tin part (where the ants are now living). Don went out and bought heat resistant, high gloss, black spray paint. He’s been a mechanic for years (career, not backyard garage) and spray painting parts is an art to him. Not a speck of dust or dribble.

007The cast offs. I don’t think he will let me keep them in case I learn to weld and I decide to create a sculpture out of them. I’m pretty certain he’s going to recycle these beautiful pieces of potential artwork before I get my hands on them.


I rest my case.

My daughter who lives in what amounts to a “foreign country” (Alaska) came to visit us this past weekend.

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We all went to the Oregon State Fair.

There were a lot more animals this year, and 4-H displays.

Those are the things that spell “State Fair” to me, not the big Comcast building with the commercial hawkers or the commercial vendors that spread out in tents between buildings and the food court.

This year, we actually got to see more horses than in years past.

034Gypsy Vanners are among my favorite horses.

I think my next horse should be a Gypsy.

032This one amused Arwen.

The groom told the horse to “Be still”. Told it, didn’t restrain it. That hoof is bigger than his head.

Horses are unpredictable. Arwen did 4-H with a couple of much smaller horses.

No way would either of us put our heads that close to a hoof that big and just tell the horse to “be still”.

Okay, we both would. In a heart beat.

005

We toured the reptile exhibit.

I took dozens of photos for the grandkids.

Arwen uploaded several to Instagram for her children.

Most were of rattlesnakes.

I won’t post those.

020There are three baby snakes in this photo. One of which is looking back at the camera (orange and white).

They aren’t poisonous.

040Goats apparently love my husband. This one kept trying to get his attention.

048Then there was “Cocoa”, whose owner coaxed into some hilarious poses.

I want a goat.

Arwen wants a goat.

My daughter-in-love wants a goat.

Can we have Cocoa?

052This has nothing to do with anything, except it is a pig enjoying his moment at the fair.

Or hers.

While Arwen was here, we shopped, we talked, we ate. My other daughter came over with her fiancé and we ate dinner together.

I gave away my mother’s jewelry.

I gave Chrystal her mother’s jewelry.

But, mostly, we did very little.

025

027

027These are probably my favorite photos from the fair. A teenager and her Jersey cow.

This is what I love about the fair.

It has nothing to do with visiting with my daughter, only with the fair.

We had a great visit. All of us. We just didn’t take any photos of us.

055Grumpy Bunny