Good ‘Ol Gals

They are some of my favorite people to work with or be around. They are the backbone of many towns and families, the ladies who work as hard as the men and are the true salt of the earth, who call everyone ‘Honey’ and who are as fast with their wits as they are with the coffee pot (or to let you know exactly how badly you done messed up.) They can be very ladylike, and they can be, well, Good Ol’ Gals.

Your basic Good Ol’ Gal, long may she prosper!

Continue reading


Things I learned Downstate…

It is possible, nay probable, to have a headwind no matter which direction you are traveling.

Head colds are no respecter of season or event.

“We are NOT going to have too much food this time” never works out as planned. There was, once again, more food than anticipated, because everyone brought a “little extra just in case.” (Did I mention that my friends all believe in over-preparing?)

Unless the food is a magnificent pot roast, in which case there is never too much. We had just enough, and that was with one person out with the aforementioned head cold. Continue reading

Specialize or Generalize? Heinlein vs. Smith (Maybe)

A lively discussion erupted at The Passive Voice about the validity of Heinlein’s famous passage from “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long” about generalization:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

Which led to an intriguing rebuttal in the comments, pointing to Adam Smith’s emphasis on specialization in The Wealth of Nations and its importance to a healthy economy and efficient production. The discussion got a touch warm in the comments section. Continue reading

Raffle Update

From Farmmom, via OldNFO:

I have struggled for a couple of months now on how to say thank you to all the folks that have helped my family.  Every time I sit down to try to write, I end up not being able to see the page.  Darn Colorado dust.  This morning I sat down and made myself soldier through, and I hope I can express the unending gratitude I feel without ending up blubbering like an idiot.
In this day and age it’s surprising to find a few people that will go out of their way to help someone else… To say the least I’m astounded for this many people to help someone that most of them don’t even know.  It reminds me that there are still good people out there, and that have an amazing amount of compassion for their fellow man.  You folks are the best of the best.  I’m humbled to know some of you and would welcome meeting the rest, because folks like you make life better just for knowing you.

Continue reading

Darkness Inside

This is the time of year I go back to Susan Cooper’s series The Dark is Rising, especially the second and fourth books (The Dark is Rising and The Grey King.) Greenwich is also scary, but in different ways, and I prefer Will’s adventures on his own to those with the other children.

But something about this time of year also makes me look inside. As you can guess from some scenes in my books, especially the Cat series, I have a dark streak inside me. Not only a tendency toward depression and despair, but I have a tiger inside as well. He is not a nice monster.

I learned early on that I have to keep a hold on myself, especially when the baser passions are stirred, because what lurks inside me is vengeful, cruel, and would love to lash out. I once spent an hour walking around and around until I was absolutely certain I could stay in control of that side of me. Continue reading

Walking in Darkness

This is my time of year. I love going out after sundown and walking the neighborhood, or driving a few minutes to an older, historic neighborhood and walking back and forth, up and down the blocks, looking at lights and enjoying the dark spots. Times like Tuesday night, when the wind has settled and the air feels chilly but not bitter. I set a pace and go, walking and walking, covering miles without noticing. Continue reading