All the hills are covered with snow

Not many hills in this are, a lot of flat lands around here, farm fields and spruces are beneath the snow. A few weeks ago when we had the same conditions, I curled up with some of the books that I have been accumulating. One of those was The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. A well researched and finely written book about people’s hubris when it comes to the world around us.

The Great Lakes astounded the Europeans. An expanse of fresh water which seemed to be an inland sea. Then the exploitation started without thought of the consequences: over fishing, introduction of non-native species, pollution, connections to the seas. And it continues today. But Dan Egan is hopeful. Because of people. Because we see the beauty,of the lakes, the need to protect such a large fresh water source, the pleasure of being on lakes.  One person at a time. Good book, take time to read it.

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Remembrance

As we put finishing touches on family and friend gatherings, we need to pause and remember the tragedy of five years ago. We should send our prayers, good thoughts, and regrets to the families of Sand Hook Elementary School and the community of Newtown, Conneticut.

Twenty children were slaughter with six adults that taught and cared for them. A person who should never possessed a gun shot his mother, then the children, then himself.

The last prayer we say today should be for ourselves, to help understand what we have become through our inaction.

We could have done better, didn’t and still haven’t.

 

Power

This is my take on the recent reports of sexual misdeeds involving every level of our society.

Sexual misdeeds(all levels of it) are about power, who has it and who doesn’t.

Women did not have power or perceived that they didn’t. Now we do.

One woman and the sixty-six million people who voted for her changed that.

Thank-you Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Do we have the grit to enact the changes that are needed in the United States to address this.

“Public education is not broken.”–Diane Ravitch

I heard Diane Ravitch on WPR talking about public education. She is a research Professor of Education at New York University, she was an Assistant Secretary of Education from 1991-1993. I am very interested in the education of our children, so I read her most recent book book, Reign of Error , published in 2013. It is details what many nationally prominent educators got wrong in the 1990s into today. “Public education is not broken.”

She further states that the problem is: “Our urban schools are on trouble because of concentrated poverty and segregation”

What follows is a  delineation of her solutions:

-Pregnant women should see a doctor early in their pregnancies and have regular care and good nutrition.

-Children need pre-kindergarten classes that teach how to socialize, listen, learn and communicate well.

-Children in early elementary grades need teachers who set appropriate goals. They should learn to read, write, calculate, explore nature, and have plenty of time to sing, dance, draw, and giggle. Class size should be small.

-A balanced curriculum for upper elementary, middle and high school should include: reading, writing, match, sciences, literature, history, geography, a rich arts program,physical education every day.

-Staff for these schools should include: librarians, media specialists, nurse, psychologist, guidance counselors, social workers.

-After school program should be available.

-Teachers should write own tests while using standardized tests only for diagnostic purposes.

“Public education is a basic public responsibility. The future of our democracy depends on it.” –Diane Ravitch

I agree.

Book Review–Low Tide by Dawn Lee McKenna

Nightmares of her rape had faded to the point where Lieutenant Maggie Redmond could control them. She never reported it, she never saw her attacker again. Until she was assigned to investigate his murder. What a dilemma!

If she takes herself off the case, she’ll have to report the rape, then she’ll become a person of interest in the case.

If she stays with the case, can she overcome her revulsion of the dead man to see that justice is done?

And as one dead body leads to another, those nightmares resurface.

Low Tide is a good read. Character and setting are wonderful. At the end, I needed to know the rest of the story. Riptide, the second book in the Forgotten Coast series, did not disappoint me.

 

Book Review: Life on the Loose by Cari Taylor-Carlson

Recently, when asked what type of books I like, the reply is “a good one.” But it is hard to pass up a good adventure story. I liked Life on the Loose by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

After college, Taylor-Carlson settled into a life expected of her: work in merchandising, marriage, family, a home. But what came next? She found it for herself–adventure.

She lived a life outdoors by offering guided tours into the wilderness through her company Venture West. Some of her tours were: Teton Pass to Driggs, Idaho, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, Green River, Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon.

She tells some good stories of the good and the bad of leading a bunch of “city folks” out of the concrete jungle and into the wilderness, even if that wilderness is in Switzerland.

Hope you have a chance to read it.

WOW!

Haven’t posted in a while, lots of stuff required my attention. Family, farm, politics, community work have filled this past year. And writing, just not here.

So what’s happened?

Family seems to be doing well.

Farming is always a worry. The harvest was delayed for a variety of reasons, but we did get it in before the snow flew(not always the case).

Politics…that should be enough said, but the refrain of “We the people” echoes throughout our history. We should not forget that this government is ours, not the other way around. We need to be involved, there is no one else to blame or praise.

But I have been writing. The second Edie Swift book, Darkness Endured, is out. The third Edie Swift book, untitled as of now, is in revisions–hope to have it out later this year.

Hope everyone has a safe, enjoyable summer ahead.

Almost missed it

I received an IPPY(Independent Publisher Award) this week, a bronze in the Great Lakes Fiction Category. I went to a book festival, talked with an award winner last year, decided to enter the contest. It was just before the deadline. I won an award. Yeah!

I wanted to tell someone, stepped out my front door, but the barn cats were unimpressed–they were expecting food. Told the birds at the bird feeder, they wanted me to go away so they could eat. The Sandhill cranes kept picking their way across the fields. The sun was shining. That was a wonderful way to congratulate me. Nothing like living in the country to bring you back to reality.

Now it is on to getting the second Edie Swift book ready for publication and begin the next one.

Book Review

During my research for a future book I came across Bruce Catton’s Waiting for the Morning Train. This is his memoir of growing up in Michigan as the lumber industry was in sharp decline.

The people of Benzonia, Michigan struggled to keep their town from disappearing. To give their youth the education needed for a different future. They created, and supported, a college until it went under, then recreated it as a boarding high school.

Catton tells of idyllic times sledding and ice skating during winter, during summer swimming at a local lake. High school plays, concerts, religious revival meetings are also detailed.

His high school years ended shortly before the U.S. entry into World War I.

Catton’s premise is that these years we live between two eras. The one we grow up, and the very advanced technological world we live in as an adult. One is so far removed from the other, that we have a limited capacity to understand it, let alone live in it.

As with all memoirs, there are shared pieces of wisdom that he learned along the way: “Proud that we have escaped from age-old superstition, we have condemned ourselves to live in a world of our own creation, a world which we fondly believe has no mysteries. We are made helpless by our own omnipotence.”

Bruce Catton is a wonderful writer, best known for his U.S. Civil War series, but this book is worth your time. It is a little gem.

October Sky

Have you seen it? About an hour before dawn in the eastern sky there is a gentle arc of stars and planets. It is worth getting up early to see.¬† I was going to an early morning exercise class on October 2 when I saw it, I was captivated by it. I’ve looked for it each morning since then, but due to foggy or cloudy skies in my part of Wisconsin I’ve only seen it once since then–maybe tomorrow I will see it.

October Sky

October Sky

I’ve searched the Internet to find a picture of the morning display, this one comes closest to it.