Sunday, November 27, 2016
If I were to be honest, I would tell you that although I appreciate blogger, e-mail and Linkedin, that I really don't enjoy Facebook much. Because my new book "Portsoy Woods" has been released, I committed with the publisher to spending six hours a week on social media in its promotion. Only in Facebook can you arrive, be spammed with hundreds of people you don't know wishing to friend you. I accepted them, because this is how you make connections and sell books. Within minutes, two men claimed to love me (based on my book cover picture), one Middle Eastern man wanted me to deposit money in his account, and one man became angry because "I wasn't spending enough time with him online". Only on facebook can you lose rating by not responding to your "new friends" quickly enough. Yesterday, I was signed up to a pornographic group there without my permission. With twenty minutes twice a day spent there, this is just a chance I will have to take. I don't know if this is translating into books purchased or not. A lot of the people who contact me don't seem to read or respond in English very well. It might be that the book would be too much of an effort for them to read in the first place. I don't really understand how spending time on what seems to be a dating site is going to help my book sales. But then, that's just me. Your own mileage could vary.
If you are genuinely interested in the book, "Portsoy Woods", these are links which would enable you to read about it or purchase it. I would actually converse with someone who wanted to talk about that !
Thursday, October 13, 2016
|Photo: Science Daily|
My parents had a rule in that they did not discuss politics or religion in public. Of course, they discussed various aspects of both with friends, but not in public places within the earshot of others. I used to think their stance was excessive, but now, I am thinking how bright and wise they both, in fact, were.
This week, in numerous public places people have begun arguing with one another regarding Trump and Hillary Clinton. Clinton supporters can't believe that others would be in total support of a man they think is a racist and anti-woman, and some Trump supporters can't believe that others would be in support of a woman who sold influence during her tenure as Secretary of State, allowed State Department employees and a diplomat to be killed when no aid was sent to them in Benghazi, and who illegally used a private server to keep her state department e-mails from the prying eyes of government oversight. In many places such arguments have become insulting, loud and progressed to fist fighting. Police have been called.
Yes, it's a crucial election. With the US in 20 trillion dollars in debt, and with Russia actually verbalizing that gearing up for war against us, people are on edge and they are less than rational.
Do as much research on these people as you can. Then make your decision. Keep your mouth shut while you are doing it, and this includes pollsters too. Your choice is a private one, and your car shouldn't be torched for it, and increasingly, it could be.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
|Tim Kaine and his wife Ann Holton, as hosts to Queen Elizabeth in 2007 / AP Photo/Bob Brown, Pool|
This morning I awoke to hear that Hillary Clinton had finally announced her vice presidential running mate. She selected Tim Kaine from Virginia. (She has selected a gun owner who opposes abortion.)
Even with the illegal and unethical use of a private server aside for a moment, Hillary is a particularly unlikable sort to many. Therefore, the selection of someone who is perennially gracious to everyone is a good pick for her side. Having lived in Virginia now for more than twenty-five years, Tim Kaine is familiar to me. Although I generally identify with Republican objectives, I am friends with a number of Democrats. I consider Governor (Lawrence) Douglas Wilder, for example to be one of the finest people to ever seek political office, and he is a Democrat.
For those of you unfamilar with Tim Kaine, those of us who lived for a time in the Richmond area, are very familiar with him. Tim is a law graduate of Harvard who came to Richmond to work as an attorney. Tim Kaine is a gun owner and most people who used him felt he served his clients as a fair housing law attorney, well. He is also fluent in Spanish. He is catholic and he and his wife have attended a catholic church in Richmond which is mostly of African American membership.
Tim Kaine is married to the former Ann Holton, who has worked as a juvenile and domestic relations judge. They have three children. Ann is the daughter of a Virginia governor. I remember that in the mid nineties, Tim Kaine was elected to the city council of Richmond. This was a bit of a joke to us, since so many of them go on to serve jail time afterward, but Kaine made it work for him. I remember seeing Kaine one day when I was in the process of parking at the Borders Books store on West Broad Street and Kaine exited walking across my parking space nearly getting hit. My minivan was full of children and I remember hitting the brakes with all I had. Tim Kaine turned around, realizing what had happened and was broadly smiling as he mouthed "Sorry !" I have often wondered what would have happened to him had I not been paying quite such good attention that day.
Over time, we raised all four of our biological children and adopted another. Tim Kaine continued up the political ladder. In 1998, he was elected as Mayor to Richmond. By all accounts, even those who opposed him, said he was both personable and charismatic. He speaks easily and gives the impression that he has all sorts of time for you. In the early 2000s, I remember Kaine being elected as the Lieutenant Governor. By 2005, two of my kids were in college, and Tim Kaine crossed a parking lot at my eldest son's college, where he was walking alone, simply to shake his hand and ask him for his vote in the upcoming gubernatorial election. Kaine won.
A friend of ours had worked for Kaine and done significant work there, and had been promised a position in the new administration, but that position was never offered.
I will never forget Kaine and his wife Ann in 2007 as they hosted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. Kaine and his wife kept patting the Monarch and Prince Phillip on the shoulder. Each time they did, the Queen and her husband looked shocked, but the Kaines never seemed to catch on. Seems they did not know that you don't touch the Monarch unless she reaches out to shake your hand.
Kaine was the Democratic National Committee chair in 2009, and went on to be a US Senator. All this time, he has taught law part-time at intervals at the University of Richmond.
Kaine has done a credible job with whatever the undertaking and even the opposition likes him as a person. It's unfortunate that his chance to run as a vice-president candidate is marred by running with someone with an overwhelming amount of negative baggage. Perhaps the Democrats can flip the ticket making Kaine the presidential candidate, as Kaine has no scandals, potential pending indictments, closet skeletons, medical issues which make him unsuitable to run, or impairments to the receipt of a top secret clearance as does his running mate.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
To be honest, in the nineteen nineties I spent a considerable time each day online. I was home with four children, one of whom was a baby. The internet allowed me to research curricula for homeschooling, download educational and entertainment for my children, and to stay in touch with friends who were similarly encumbered at home. The internet was instrumental in my finding part time work which meshed with my responsibilities at home. It also allowed me to keep up with a considerable amount of medical continuing education with a minimal impact to everything I needed to do at home.
After two thousand, I continued using it a great deal. It can be an excellent research tool even when the information you have derived is anecdotal. It can, in those events, help you to formulate plans and identify areas in which more genuine study is required. The internet has also provided me from time to time, the chance to correspond with true leaders and front and center individuals in fields in which I have an interest. It also became an excellent adjunct in home schooling and aided our children in research while selecting their universities. When I taught college, the internet allowed me to achieve much more in a short period of time.
I noticed recently that people have started telephoning me at home again. In fact, what I noticed is that my voice mail was full on a couple of occasions. One of them told me, "I know you haven't been online as much". Well, this is true. Although I embraced Linkedin some time ago, and at one time I owned a number of Yahoo Groups, I have never been a member of Facebook. I dislike the potential for breeches in family security, and I don't like their terms of service. Yes, I actually read those. It's fairly easy simply to read about someone on Facebook and actually compile quite a dossier on them, if you wished to. I don't have the time to Twitter incessantly, although a few of my friends do. Some of my kids have used Instagram. I like Blogger, but a lot of the social media platforms have a great deal of chatter, but are not necessarily interesting or valuable to me.
For a time I virtually abandoned the television and only obtained news online. Lately, I have found that a great deal of online news is simply incorrect, inaccurate, or massaged to advance a particular agenda, particularly when it's something I personally know a good deal about. The other reason I am spending less time online is that there is a great deal of communication hostility. Time online used to be fun. There have always been trolls online, but now, even on Linkedin, it can be difficult to express an opinion on anything without being stalked for a time by someone, using their actual name or a pseudonym, who needs you to fall in line with their opinion. They plan to harass you until you fall in line. I cannot recall a time in the past where your having an opinion which differed even slightly from someone elses was a cause for such attention, particularly when I don't really have unusual views.
I know that my publisher has always wished I would embrace social media whole hog. I honestly can't see that happening. What I see is more and more people pulling out of living their lives and failing to make needed changes in their real lives. More and more people live almost a half life online. I have friends who photograph all their meals and place them online. I am not saying that their recipe for meatloaf is not online worthy. I am saying that I don't know who needs to see their entire diet plus snacks including their calorie counts, which are off, by the way. I also see that while people join online groups, they tend to join groups with the like-minded. This way, the delusional reinforce themselves, the progressives reinforce themselves, etc. No one is getting better in their persuasive arguments with one another. Too many times, their interactions with others is highly charged, emotional, and not well considered.
I don't know what the long term effects to society, our culture and the world will ultimately be, but I am guessing that it's not good. I also don't think that an unnatural dependence upon the cyber world is confined to millennials. There are plenty of people of every age whose interactions with people are almost exclusively online. The internet is a tool, and it is indeed a promising one. However, we need to be more carefully considering how we use it personally. The online acrimony is likely to worsen in an election year, as are the inaccurate news reports. If it does, you may not see me online for awhile. I'll just be at an undisclosed location working on a novel.
Saturday, June 11, 2016
|Someone used a stun gun somewhere on the Earth's underbelly and apparently now we have a rift in the fragile space time continuum.|
Something happened this week which made me wonder if we are witnessing a true and cataclysmic breach in the space time continuum. It's not that I dislike Roseanne Barr. I think she is a brilliant comedienne. She has keen observation skills, great comedic timing, and her show showed us aspects and dynamics of the American family not shown to us on other programs. I have no doubt that she is a highly intelligent woman. However, I generally don't agree with her take on politics. Why would I? She has been a long term comedienne, producer, director, stand up comic, comedy writer etc. and I have been a nurse and a college instructor. We have lived very different lives in very different places, and no one who is even reasonably intelligent expects everyone to think exactly as we do. However, this is what happened this week. Roseanne Barr made a statement in which she endorsed the election of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican residential candidate. When she did, she said that America would be lucky if Trump won (the presidency) because then "we wouldn't have Hillary". She clearly opposed the election of Hillary because "the rule of law matters".
I can't vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. I will likely need to vote for Mr. Trump simply to block the possibility of electing Mrs. Benghazi who violated the law by hiding her e-mails from her employer the State Department.in a private server contrary to law.
Could the world be so fractured, so up ended, so toasted that I am on the same political side as Roseanne Barr ? I too think that Mr. Trump wouldn't do anything to hurt America, where the team we presently have seems to make a habit of it.
It must be a mammoth time warp....
Thursday, June 9, 2016
In this life we would best beware of saying that a particular action is "something we would never do" or "somewhere we would never live" or a trip we "would never take". Life has in interesting way of providing the exact circumstance for which to have us eat our words. Perhaps this is God at work demonstrating for us that although we have free choice, that he is in control, and will provide the opportunities for such choices. I remember that one of my friends who was most certain when we were teens that she "would never divorce" and of course, she has, twice. I have also done a number of things I believed I would not do. Today, I was remembering one of them.
Some years ago now, my husband, our four children at that time, and myself were living in a large suburban home in Virginia. The home was lovely, and it was a relatively easy commute for my husband to work and for our kids to go to Tae Kwon Do, Civil Air Patrol and flying lessons etc. There were also several universities within commuting distance when the time came. Still we were looking for larger acreage where we might build and where our children might know the joys of raising animals and perhaps horses.
I perused lots of land ads in a variety of newspapers and occasionally on the internet. A particular ad surfaced at the time, and because the cost per acre was reasonable, we decided to take a look. The land was a couple of hours from our home. It was a bit like an expedition just to go up and look at it along with all the kids, the youngest of whom was still a baby. The road to the property was winding, hilly, hazardous, and a bit foreboding. In some parts of the mountain trail trees on both sides of the road created a canopy over the cars. In summer, that would be nice, but in winter, I could see that collapsing trees could block the road. There were almost no houses visible along the road, although I later learned that there were a few quite a distance off the road that were simply not visible from it. On one of our first expeditionary trips, we saw a black bear. In winter, on the way up there, one could see a dumpy little village. I remember telling my husband, "I could never live up here. There is no shopping. There are no restaurants. I'll bet the power goes out a lot in the winter. It has the nature, but no essential services and not even mail delivery !"
The land itself was gorgeous and very reasonable for that time. My husband wanted it, and I did not. In marriage, one of the most important skills is the skill set of compromise, and so we did. We decided to purchase the property "simply as an investment" because we could clearly never live there. We believed that the property would soar in value as time passed. Perhaps we would sell it as the kids neared college.
However, it didn't take long before we were making signs for our first farm. Our young daughter was drawing floorplans for "the new house at the farm". It took time, but each element fell into place, and we built a home before moving there. A few years later, we sold that farm at a profit and went on to build another, with more money down this time.
I still rather regularly drive that same mountain trail. There is still a canopy of trees protecting the roadway which is quite glorious in summer. Trees fall into the roadway quite regularly in winter, which is the reason most people from these parts have a truck with a chainsaw in it. We often see bears, but work hard not to inadvertently invite them to barbecues. While our children were growing up, the "dumpy little village" I mentioned disappeared one structure at a time. When we invested in the region,by building a home there, others did too. The comparative market analyses improved and people who owned properties either sold them or borrowed to replace and upgrade them. The road department straightened out some of the hair pin curves and graded the road a bit better when it was next paved. Families built country homes or farms on larger acreages just as we had. The parts of the trail that were gravel road were also eventually paved. The power still goes out rather frequently in this area, but what do I care ? We have some solar with a battery array and we have a generator for true emergencies. The kids, before they went to universities, did get a chance to raise puppies, alpacas and now horses.
How do I feel about living in the area ? I think it's the best place we could have chosen.
This is your reminder that reasonable risks exist to be taken. Whether it's a new job, a new home, a new area, or anything else, we should try to keep an open mind. Don't do things you don't want to do, simply because the opportunity exists, but don't talk yourself out of the things you want to do because you simply don't have all the puzzle pieces in your hands just yet. Take reasonable risks Sometimes the joy is in the journey.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
If I Were to be Honest, I would tell you that I believe that ownership and proper practice with a firearm is an important part of life. It also helps to keep us safe particularly in rural locations, from rabid animals, and from animals of the two legged kind, particularly since I cannot carry a SWAT team in my pocket. However, regular practice with a firearm is not completely safe either, and we must conduct ourselves accordingly.
Please see my post today from another one of my blogs,