Context Matters. Let us talk Outlander, shall we?

Are there differences between the reality of a fictional book world and the reality of a fictional television drama and the reality of reality?

There was much noise about “this isn’t the way that happened in the book”  and “how could her belt disappear” starting in episode 1 of OUTLANDER, but in truth, it is all made up. If you are able to buy the notion that Claire traveled through standing stones, back 202 years and immediately ran into her husband’s ancestor, who just happened to be in the same location at that moment, and who is the spitting image of him despite there being, what, 1/16 of the gene pool from Black Jack Randall, why can’t you accept a belt disappearing? (Continuity accidents on set, people. It’s a fictional belt, in any event.)

The costume designer has explained the how and why of Claire having more clothes than you think she should. Why do you deserve a reason, anyway? (Time. It helps to indicate passage of time. When you change Claire’s clothing you are inferring a different day. And the housekeeper, Mrs. Fitz, runs a tight ship and was able to find any number of outfits to borrow–six mix and match, “Granimal” type deals in Castle Leoch.)

But it wasn’t in the book, you continue to lament!

You love Frick and Frack Tweedle,  aka Angus and Rupert, and yet they are not anything like they are in the books, where they are scary, dour and large. They are comic relief  on the show, and yet, you have come to love The Tweedles.  You who know their fates are asking that those be changed, because we love them so much. Why can you accept the Tweedle’s place in the adaptation, embrace them (the typical TV trope of numskull neighbors), but you can’t handle that TV Jamie is  maybe a wee bit more romantic than book Jamie, who bought a ring instead of having one made, or is an inch shorter on screen than in real fictional life?

None of this actually happened!

It is ALL PRETEND. Some of it is book pretend and some of it is TV pretend, but none of it is documentary.  None of it is actual history. (Well, within reason. Some events did actually occur, although Jamie and Claire were probably not there. And, yes, as they do have a certain Forrest Gump way of being in the right place at the right time, they do run into actual historical people, albeit in a fictional way.)

The sole reason I can see that Jamie had a handmade ring on the TV show was because they needed to find something for the Tweedle’s to do that created a wonderful soft comic moment, that fell into the rhythm of the flashback storytelling of The Wedding.  It’s the symbolism of the the ring that is important, not it’s design, composition or origin. A ring made from the key to his home (?—Not verified, but strong indicators are that it’s a key to Lallybroch) indicates an acceptance and willingness to fully embrace Claire. She is part of WE now. And, we have to learn to TRUST RON. There will be pieces that move around (or get lost) for a better telling in episodic TV.

You are not going to go back and read the book and discover it’s now a key. The book you love isn’t changed. Can I insert here that that concept –of electronic books, especially history books, being changed to suit what the ruling class wants you to know is a continuing fantasy/horror/dystopian nightmare of mine?

How do we KNOW Frank didn’t do what he does on the show? Didn’t search, didn’t love so deeply, didn’t mourn? How do we know that Diana hasn’t told Ron what DID happen? Diana knows what happened/happens/will happen, even if we don’t.  There is so much that could happen off screen—

None of the costuming is accurate, historically, because even if the wool was spun by hand in a room lit by candles on a treadle spinner, the sheep the wool came from wasn’t even born in 1743, so it’s totally inaccurate. I am not interested in coming off like a sycophant, but really there are so few things that actually bother me about the show. I am looking at the big picture.

It IS a ripping good yarn, as show runner Ronald D. Moore points out, and it deviates almost immediately from formula because Diana Gabaldon WASN’T writing it for publication, but to learn how to write a novel. Or so we HAVE to believe, because Herself SAYS so, and were you there to disprove it? Ok, a bit of “aw shucks” about the retelling of such a happy accident; how much is what she wants the story to be?  Or better yet, why do we question it? It is the story of OUTLANDER’S birth. It was a practice novel, and, the hero and heroine marry early in the novel. Already not a romance by the numbers. And, 8000 or so pages in, they are still in love, and are grandparents. Much more than an epic love affair, OUTLANDER begins a multi-generational sweeping historical fiction series of novels.

In Diana’s ORIGINAL story, OUTLANDER, the first of 8 books, Frank is a cipher. By WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEARTS BLOOD, he is a very different man, and one who, in my humble opinion, is a more sympathetic character. Whether Diana had always intended for him to be more complex, or whether he showed up and wouldn’t leave, he is much more than one note.  He is actually a note on the show that a lot of folks don’t want to accept, because they are all about ALL Jamie/Claire, all the time. A lot of those readers are not particularly interested in the history, the tapestry she weaves, the other characters stories. How many times I have read people say, get on with it, stop writing about battles, about Willie, about Bree, about… well, about anything that isn’t 100% Jamie/Claire-centric. Those readers are totally missing what this is all about. I hope that viewers will embrace the fullness of the story.

We have had to wait over 20 years for this to become a TV show. And we were then given only eight episodes of magic.  And some complain about that, too. Then some complain that we have to wait too long for part two.

So, one more itty bitty thing. We are Diana Gabaldon fans. 10698621_10205421072830219_4101314330111693137_nApril 4, 2015? Jamie can perch on a windowsill that long. We’ve got this.

#Droughtlander ends Saturday

(Spoilers from this point if you haven’t read the book-and my comments are from the books depiction, as I haven’t seen the episode yet)

And now, some will complain about something else entirely. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth and the carrying on of ‘The Reckoning,’ 1.9 begin.

As fiction, THIS IS the way things were, in THIS world, whether or not it’s historically accurate or not acceptable today. Jamie and the men were put into amazing bodily peril by Claire not truly understanding the danger she was walking into. A woman of the 20th century believes in a civility and world order that is vastly different than where she ended up. 

In order for his men to continue following Jamie, for him to be able to lead, he has to make SURE Claire understands, and he points out that her punishment is mild compared to what one of the men might receive. The punishment is measured, but not in anger or fury. It is to show that he is in charge, that he takes the protection of his people seriously, that there is justice and that there are consequences to actions. This is incredibly different from the modern husband smacking his wife around and bloodying her nose because she didn’t bring his beer fast enough or because dinner was not hot enough.

The larger point is—he sees Claire as an EIGHTEENTH CENTURY woman who is being willfully disobedient, who should know the consequences of her actions and yet still puts them all in danger, all for a nebulous bit of wandering around. He has no clue she was trying to go forward in time, to get back to Frank. For all we know, he could think she has turned on them and actually is a double agent.  Jamie has one piece of information withheld from him that would make it all different. If Jamie were aware that Claire was from a different time, she would explain her thoughts about strapping, and he would explain his reasoning to her. But because he has no reason to think she wasn’t from his time, he would think she would know, expect, assume the consequences of her actions.

He doesn’t know any better than to use corporal punishment, not because of a big moral failing on his part, but simply because that’s how it was then.  A wife was property. Legally, a husband could punish his wife for disobedience.  Or, a father could have his daughter beaten for disobedience. Just a few episodes (chapters) back, the community at large was willing to allow a teenaged girl to be beaten in front of them in the Great Hall for disobedience. (How many of us who know the future wish Jamie had just let Rupert have at Laoghaire?) And remember, too, that Colum Mackenzie was the law. There are no Edinburgh policemen to enforce law. Just the laird.

Also, keep in mind that Claire is an unreliable narrator; in the book, she often says one thing and then does the polar opposite. Who is Claire telling this story to, and what editing, embellishment, or changes does Claire make as she recounts what had occurred? (And the bigger unanswered question—WHEN is she telling this story??)

This is one episode—But this is the very, very beginning of an 8000 page love story. It’s brutal, it’s bloody, it’s real (fictional real).  Jamie becomes a man among men through his experiences. He learns from Claire. He becomes a better, more rounded, and definitely a more modern man, because of Claire.

Of course, your mileage may vary. If you have had intimate experience with abuse or with sexual assault, it may be a difficult thing to let go by. It isn’t glorifying these things, but it isn’t shying away from them, either. It can be jarring. It ISN’T real, though. Except in it’s own world, it is a work of fiction. 

There is this website called StoryWonk. The couple who run it are dedicated to the idea of “story.” They have done an episode by episode podcast, and at hiatus started a seminar for the book.Listen to Scott and the Sassenachs seminar for Outlander. It’s a 17 episode podcast that takes apart the story chapter by chapter, and gives great insight into the story—the structure of it; the good the bad, and ugly. It is like taking a college literature class devoted to one book.  It draws your eyes to the incredible story telling as well as the deeper meanings that can be found implied in the text. I’ve read the book more than a half dozen times, and yet this seminar has drawn my attention to any number of things in a new way. Fascinating stuff, by very interesting people.

*I welcome discussion about this topic. Because I know it is very, very subjective and delicate, I ask that you respond with the same civility that you would if we were standing face to face.


I really need a dandelion right about now. 

With just hours left before Written in My Own Hearts Blood (aka MOBY) book 8 of the Outlander series is published (*Disclaimer—for the majority of readers, as there ARE people who have already received the book, legitimately or via oversight by stores stocking early, and there ARE countries where the book wont come out for a few weeks and…) the self-absorbed, unable-to-accept-an-answer, petulant five-year-old contingent of the internet has come out in some force on some social media sites about Spoilers and Sharing.

Lets just say this about that, shall we? FIRST WORLD PROBLEM10447201_10204512464395576_677531282_nS

I know that the Red Wedding episode in Game of Thrones is bloody and shocking. I haven’t read the books, I am only on season one, but I am not so put off by this information, these “spoilers”,  that I’ve decided to stop watching. I’ve learned, before even starting into the series that really, George RR Martin shouldn’t be your wedding planner, via social media and yet….

Yes, while the overall issue is exposed, the how we get there and the enjoyment of the show isn’t “spoiled”.  I will just be on my toes, so to speak, and know that I shouldn’t become enamored of any character.  I can use Facebook or Twitter, and if I notice that one of my friends threads is “Going there” I just scroll on.  I MAY see a word or two, I MAY read a sentence, I don’t have to absorb and analyze the posts, and I haven’t asked them to stop speaking of the current season because I am three seasons behind them. No brainer. And of course, applying Caveat Emptor, I should stay off of Twitter on Sunday nights if it bothers me.

My Facebook page is non-denominational, if you would. I have a wide variety of friends, who have a wide variety of interests that we share, and they have a wide variety of interests we don’t share.  Almost every post that is put up is a spoiler to SOMETHING if you want it to be.  The topics we discuss, they discuss, (or, more to the point, that Facebook feels I should be allowed to read)  well, they are endless and varying.

I am NOT planning on coming onto FB or Twitter after every Aha Moment and exclaim or carry on—(Diana has assured me she got Jemmy out of the well tunnel. I know, Timmy down the well, Jemmy in the tunnel. I just “hear” Claire exclaim “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I said. “Bloody Timmy’s in the well!” even though that is from ABOSAA)  It’s just not my style, reading has until now been a solitary activity. I may be noticeably missing for a few days. I will not be following or commenting on threads that may get me farther along; I will accept that if I see the trees it doesn’t mean I cant appreciate the forest….

I will scroll down before commenting.  I will honor any policy that is in place, but I will not have a fit if someone doesn’t understand the intricacies of the way a particular site works on a platform they don’t use and they inadvertently share ‘privileged’ information.  Life sucks, yah know?

I have to wonder, seriously, if when people go off the deep end about the small stuff, is it because it is the only part of their spiraling out-of-control life they can manipulate? Is everything else so bad, so out of control that they obsess about things that aren’t worth the energy? The amount of psychic energy that is required to keep up a full-steam frontal attack on something that is truly amounting to nothing is more energy than I have. I am inherently lazy, I guess.

So, I apply empathy, and have to assume that the only reason they would waste 30 miles of gas, and hours of time, three times, to complain about and have the BACK of a picture frame repapered because it didn’t look smooth enough is because the rest of their world is uncontrollable and they need to be able to be in charge of SOMETHING. #Piff!

A Tale with Two Sides…

There is a saying–“There are two sides to every story.”  We tell people to wait to get all the information before forming an opinion.  I recall in high school reading  Dear Abby suggest you write a note, expressing all your frustrations with a person and then instead of stamping and mailing it, tear it up! (more satisfying than the delete button, to be sure.) And then there is the game of Telephone. The internet often reminds me of these things, chat rooms and forums in particular, (but news outlets are getting as sloppy as private people expressing opinions about the widget de jour.)


A few weeks ago, on one of the first truly beautiful afternoons of the spring, I decided to eat my lunch in my car.  Eventually, an older woman came to her car which was parked next to mine in the lot. And as she approached her car from behind, she started gesticulating and mumbling to herself. She saw me sitting in my car, windows down, food in hand and just had to point out to me how disrespectful people were nowadays, how this vehicle parked behind her was almost touching her car, tells how he had all that space behind him but he was practically touching her bumper.

Not having a horse in this race, I took another bite of my sandwich, smiled, nodded my head and went on reading my book. She put her bags in her car, locked up and headed off to another store.

A few minutes later, a gentleman wearing a clerical collar unlocked the door of the SUV that was apparently overstepping its bounds and he backed out and left.

Far too quickly my lunch was over, and I got out of my car and headed back to work.

As I passed this ladies car, it turned out that HER bumper was over the center line more than 15 inches.  When she had pulled into the spot and through it, it seems she didn’t use her space appropriately, and so the vehicle coming in behind her had no choice but to get close to her bumper in order to fit into the space.


Make the moral of this story what you will.

Happy Birthday, Grandfather Clark!

Birthday cakeWell, OK, in the interest of full disclosure, Great Great Great Grandpa. And of course, as he would be turning 217, he isn’t around to read this, either.

But, of all my ancestors whose lives I’ve poked around in, I feel a certain kinship to Ephraim Clark, MD.

Ephraim was born in Wheatsheaf, New Jersey on March 29, 1797, an only child. I can trace his father back another 7 generations, and go sideways to a variety of cousins, including his second cousin, a Signer of the Declaration.

However, there is something personal about him, something personable, that makes him more to me than notes on a page. 

His handwriting is distinctive. If he wasn’t left-handed, I would be very surprised. That is a pretty rare thing back then!  So, when I am going through those piles of papers that were in my attic as a teen, his were always easy to locate. And as a fellow south-paw, I guess I feel an affinity.

He participated in the Civil War, as a Post Surgeon. (I haven’t done too much actual digging for service records.)

While he was born in New Jersey, he moved to Staten Island as a young man and married into an old Island family. He stayed there till he died at 88 in 1885.

He knew the Vanderbilt’s, he met the Marquis De Lafayette,  and he was one of Aaron Burr’s physicians.  This article was published in 1878 in the New York Times.

It describes a pretty lively 77 year old!

ephraimI have only one photo of him; I assume there are more because during his life time, he seems to often have been where the action was, but I haven’t discovered them. Someday, maybe I will find them at Richmondtown. He is the old man with cataracts on the top left; the gentleman to his right is his son, James. You can read a letter James sent to him, below. Those are his grandsons below him—Fredrick Ephraim and James Guyon.

I have a lot of papers that I rescued from our attic…Here are a few transcriptions.

Nothing earth shattering, just interesting snippets of life. And you will note that children haven’t changed much in the ensuing 200 years, when you read the letter from his son!


I am now itching to start to dig through these letters again and to do more on the fleshing out of other members of the family!


State of New York, Richmond County
I hereby certify, That on the 20th day of January, A.D. 1842 ….constitute Ephraim Clark Aide-de-Camp of the Second Division of Infantry of our said State (with rank form 1st December 1841) …..  Witnefs WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Esquire, Governor of our said State,….
Passed the Adjutant- Generals Office.   (Signed) William H. Seward
(signed) Rufus King? Adjutant-General
(original in possession of Trish Casey No. 19)
Bellvue Feb. 5, 1846
Dear Pa,
I received your letter  ….I therefore want you to provide me with at least $20 with which to take the trip and spend a couple of days or so.  I deem the recreation necessary to my well being before going to the Small Pox Hospital.
Your son, JG Clark, MD.

DEMOCRATIC DELEGATION (Charleston,)  April 23, 1860

Dear Son
I have but one moment to write – all is confusion  We are just going into battle. Climate warm and beautiful.  We have the best quarters in Charleston.  I wish you were here.  Oh, how you would enjoy it. I never have seen so pretty a place– We live like Nabobs at  a small expense- a servent at every elbow. The Delegations from other states have called on us every hour.  We shall have a hard fight.  Love to Ma. and Etta. I will write tomorrow.  Yours aff. E. Clark
(original in possession of Trish Casey  No.3)



The blast of the foghorn momentarily distracts me from my reverie. The damp, foggy air only sharpens the smell of “OLD”. It is pervasive, touching everything. It has wrapped itself into the folds of cloth, into the cracks and crevices of boxes and books; it is folded inside letters. Its perfume lingers in old trunks and hangs low from the rafters.

Gingerly, I open a letter. The date– 1823. Quickly scanning it for a familiar name, I refold it and place it on the ever-growling pile on the floor. Its destiny– not neglect or mildew any longer, but a curious strangers’ careful transcription.

A stack of memories builds by my side. Letters forgotten before my grandfathers were born are entrusted to my care. I’m guardian to their memories. They have traveled physically only within the confines of an Island, but over one hundred years later they have journeyed to an attic where they sit waiting for me. Generations separate them from their intended audience.

I read through missives written by people whose names have but the slightest meaning to me. Letters that were written at a time of candlelight and feather pens. They are very formal, with proper and labored wording, even to those with whom they were intimate.

It occurred to me anew as I peered uninvited into these peoples lives and their private thoughts, that this “collecting” spirit is seemingly an inherited trait.

There is a photo of Aunt Genes’ back door hanging on my wall. The door was planed to fit the frame, the paint is peeling, and the door knob is of purple glass. But according to my grandfather, the photo is missing a crucial element– the strings hung with once and twice used tea bags, suspended there to dry.

Last year, Aunt Gene and Uncle Everett had to move to Florida. Cleaning out their home was a distressing experience for them. These two people had spent their lives reusing, recycling and collecting. The ultimate irony became, for them, a painful reality. Mom got the glass jar full of old broken crayons. Those crayons and the coloring books that went with them were old when I was a child. Just a few years ago, my own daughter colored those same pages. Tow five-pound mayo jars full of glorious old buttons were donated to a preschool.

After some cajoling on my part, Aunt Gene gave me a few mismatched antimacassars, and a lace table cloth, crocheted by my great- great grandmother, my great grandmother Miriam or by Aunt Gene her self. Boxes of negatives were rescued from the rubbish pile.

The sum total of nearly 100 years (for her parents lived there before her) was slowly and precisely laid out on the front porch, the front yard, the curbside, and what wasn’t picked over, finally went to Fresh Kills.

It no longer seems odd that my little one has an affinity for paper; for “books” filled with all manner of scribble, crayon drawings, stacked in piles, balance precariously on the tops of toys in her “area”. Her “figures” collection pours over the edge of the large Easter basket put into use to house these treasures. They are each precious to her. None may be discarded.

I can’t walk by a stationary store with out looking. The desire to own these papers is strong. To fold and tuck into an envelope my thoughts and secrets, sealing them inside.

I know now why boxes fascinate me. Small, large, containers of all sorts I collect to hold– what? I have an extra-deep bookcase so that I can perch various momentos and memories in front of the smaller books (mostly volumes rescued from the ravages of various basements)

So many parts and pieces, each with a story. My home is a living overstuffed monument to those who came before me. I am a product of my upbringing.

The Tiffany candy dishes that now grace my tables, were wrapped and carefully tucked away in my grandmothers closet. Every year I discovered them as I searched for evidence of Santa’s early visit.

This inherited trait is the reason that this treasure trove exists. No one could bear to throw things out. It is reassuring to understand why I frantically search through reams of paper for a letter I know exists.

It is just because of a long line of collectors before me. I can’t complain, but only be thankful because I know there were other people in my family who were the same way.

And I feel secure in the knowledge that someone will find that paper I’m looking for– Someday!  <<<<THIS was written a few DECADES ago by me. I’d say 1991…  But it still holds true!

Enough IS Enough

My Word of the year, 2014. 

ENOUGH!  (to see previous years …)

This one showed up a few weeks ago, driving to work.  A quilting group I am part of annually shares the words they want to use as a talisman for their art. And life, as the case may be. As it happens most years, the word of the year chooses me, and I am rarely in the mood for it, or willing to give it access to my entire year, but once rooted, it refuses to allow other words the opportunity to audition for such a lofty spot in my world! And this time, I feel like maybe it needs to be tattooed on my forehead.

Because, really, enough already!  (I feel somewhat successful in last years word, Choose. I did have the foot surgery, I do have a quilt going into MAQS this February…)


Where does the word ENOUGH fall in your life? As the parent hollering “ENOUGH” up the stairs at the children bickering? At the level of stupidity at work, does the word actually mean “Uncle”? I give up, I’ve had ENOUGH, I’m moving on?

Or is it more of a peaceful, comforting hug, reminding you that you have more than ENOUGH to make you happy, if only you allow it?

You know the future’s lookin’ brighter
Every mornin’ when I get up
Don’t be thinkin’ ’bout what’s not enough, now baby
Just be thinkin’ ’bout what we got

Oh-oh, rich man, poor man, now
Really don’t mean all that much
Mama’s always told you, girl
That money can’t buy you love
”  Eddie Money

(Yes, even songs on the radio jump on the “Word of the Year” Bandwagon. Eddie Money, Philosopher. Who knew?)

So, ENOUGH. I, of course, have ENOUGH.

  • ENOUGH food that deciding what to make for dinner is the dilemma.
  • ENOUGH food that I can’t recall the last time I went to bed hungry.
  • ENOUGH money that deciding what restaurant to have dinner at is a question we ask too often.
  • ENOUGH money that we have to decide where we want to go on vacation each year, rather than having to decide which bill we don’t pay this month.
  • ENOUGH heat in our home that I sleep warmly that well, scratch that, I think I could always use another quilt or two on the bed! But I have them to use!
  • ENOUGH clothing that I don’t have to do laundry every third day. (Actually, so much clothing that the laundry seems to be full every third day!)
  • ENOUGH books (blasphemy!) that I could never be bored.
  • ENOUGH fabric to quilt every day of my life, and have to live to a ripe old age before running low. (Although, thread and batting might be needed.)
  • ENOUGH quilting patterns I shouldn’t ever have to duplicate a quilt.
  • ENOUGH creativity to ditch the majority of the patterns I do have, except for inspiration.
  • ENOUGH beads to make jewelry for more people than I know.
  • ENOUGH  cats that Nope, never too many of those.
  • ENOUGH health that most days I get up headache free, and can throw my legs over the edge of the bed with only mild groaning, can do the things I want and need to do with only marginal complaint and pain. And I make it through my day without medication of the life-saving sort. Too many people don’t have that luxury.
  • ENOUGH support from the people around me, who love me as I am, unconditionally, that I can soar!
  • ENOUGH friends and family that my Christmas tree looks dwarfed by presents.20131218-IMG_7550
  • ENOUGH hours in the day to Ok, so this word isn’t all-inclusive, and has limits. But, that sounds like LIFE.
  • ENOUGH love that I feel rich, indeed.

What do do with this word:

Therein lies the issue.  I can easily cut in half the number of clothes I buy. That frees up money spent at thrift stores, and time looking around them. I could easily lighten the load on the closet and the dresser and still have ENOUGH to be suitably attired for whatever comes along.  I can stay out of the quilt shops, and really only buy what is essential to finishing, not something because I must have this fabric. (Don’t fear, Joyce! You KNOW I will be buying!) Don’t see this as a resolution, by the way. I like pretty things!

I think this word is more of the emotional variety.

  • Glass half full and all that.
  • See the positive.
  • Look for the good parts of not continuing to acquire; indeed, looking at what can be removed from life, without creating a sense of denial or punishment.
  • A lot of that is about creativity and about being happy in your own skin and happy in the place you find yourself. 
  • Looking at everything you need to say no to, and realizing all the things you get to say yes to that so many other people couldn’t imagine!
  • Lighting the candle or cursing the darkness.
  • Being upset it isn’t Paris or excited that it is a vacation! 

So, soon will begin the declutter. Again. This time, it needs to be not only of things, but of thoughts. Knowing it’s a WONDERFUL life, just the way it is.  That, indeed, is ENOUGH.

I Wish You Enough— “I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”

(click the link to get the entire story that makes the email rounds)

WHY enough is enough-A woman I used to know as a child wrote this; it doesn’t HAVE to pertain only to Christmas!

September 10th—A busy day.

Looking forward to September 10th.

September 10th is Laylabug’s 2nd birthday. Having her in our lives has been the most wonderful thing!

Seeing her grow so fast (so FAST!) learning to speak, and seeing her personality develop has been just beyond enjoyable….the difference between parenting (when you are so exhausted all the time) and grand parenting is a truth!


But, this year, Sept 10 is also the date that Outlander is rumored to start filming in Scotland.  Well, that’s great and all, you say, but what has it got to do with anything?

Well, it’s like this. I’ve been a fan of this book series for about nine years. (A relative late-comer, the books started being published 20 years ago) Back in the beginning of the year, it was announced it was finally going to be turned into a  TV series on Starz, with Ron Moore at the helm.

Oh, JOY! But. But…What if they GET JAMIE WRONG?  Or CLAIRE? And will it succeed and make it through enough seasons for us to get to Fraser’s Ridge and meet Jem and Mandy and William? And. And. And.

Although I follow Diana Gabaldon on her Facebook page, I started to also follow her on Twitter when they announced they had indeed located Jamie. The actor, Sam Heughan, has been gracious and open and quite fun to get to ‘know’, and like Diana, he appears to be  generous soul.

He has even allowed his name to be used on a site where we are raising funds as Heughligans for a favorite charity of his.

What about Claire? SHE is the story! The narrator! They will have to announce her soon, right? Day after day, week after week, throughout the entire summer, we have been on #Clairewatch2013. It started as a joke, but over the summer, this enforced torture while waiting has become the opportunity for fans of the book to truly bond and make friendships. We are all on the same ship, “Impatience”.

I almost don’t want it to end.

It is rumored by Sam (that Sam is a great tease on Twitter and knows fully well the value of social media) that tomorrow, we will be introduced to his new friend—Who happens to share a number of physical attributes with Claire.

The generosity of spirit of both Diana Gabaldon (long-suffering creator) and Sam Heughan (newly defined Jamie) and the camaraderie of loyal “bookies” had made this summer special.

The characters in Outlander have been part of our families for years. And the opportunity to get to know both the creator and the actor in some fashion, along with so many like-minded friends has enriched many of us. And I am proud to ‘know’ some wonderful, strong ladies via this interaction and to now call them ‘friend’.

(And of course, September 10th is always the most bittersweet of days, because on September 10th, we all still had our innocence; when I looked at the New York Harbor on September 10, 2001, I didn’t even register the Twin Towers as separate objects, just the skyline that I was going to walk away from in 2002 when I married and moved to Virginia.)

Yes, September 10th is going to be a good day!

PS… I also recall there being talk of the new iPhone announcement that day…and not a day too soon, I am babying my phone right now to make it till then!!!


Is sex only for the well to do?

It’s been a while since a political /social studies rant. Here we go, on random recent events (One, epic length post versus me getting worked up on a more regular basis. Kind of like a cork, under pressure, that finally pops, and then, peace and bubbly for all.  Understand that the “YOU” and “I” and “WE” is of the royal variety; I am not picking on any one person, but if the hat fits your head…)

Non-pro-choice  is a form of misogyny, to be sure. But what about these thoughts, as well?

HETROSEXUAL relations are the cause of ALL Abortion, bar NONE (well, ok, add IVF as a cause of pregnancy, but most people are planning that occurrence).  That’s right, boys. You put your pecker where babies happen, and viola, pregnancy. No gay couple can pull that one off.

What is the rate of married women having abortion? What is the rate of single but oh, say over 25 year-old women? Over 40 years old, married or unmarried? What is the racial and financial breakdown of this collection of women? How many children do they already have? What is the rate of abortion because of incompatibility with life? What about finding out that the fetus you carry is dramatically deformed? What about the idea that the legally allowed birth control DID fail or that the couple in question might be human and made a mistake and had unprotected sex? Or, as the old saying goes, “You do know what they call people who practice Natural Family Planning, right? (Parents)”  What about incest and rape victims?Although men some in government seem determined to continue redefining rape so that only battered, bloodied corpses will be considered rape victims and everyone else had a change of heart or is out to get the guy. (I am not about to go do the digging for these figures; someone can if they want.)

Some people don’t have the strength to handle what will be a very sick child. Some don’t have the medical coverage, thanks to our odd belief in this country that health care isn’t a human right, but something you have to be smart enough to earn. (Which by the way doesn’t mean you will KEEP your medical insurance, or that your very sick child won’t top out in a year on lifetime costs and you will still go bankrupt) Some people have a house full of children already here that HAVE to be cared for, and they know they will suffer the loss of parenting while you live for doctors visits and hospital stays for this terminally/chronically ill child. And who will care for them? And how many families can simply drop the income of one of the parents but still need the daycare? Add to that the number of people who know that, say, two children was the emotional and financial limit they could bear, and find themselves faced with the fourth pregnancy, healthy or otherwise.

When people start talking about abortion being used as birth control and that is why they abhor it—(because they don’t think women should be able to have sex and not worry about the consequences, those sluts)  why (I really want horns and blinking lights here) are we ignoring the male who got them pregnant? It takes two to tango. If the woman is having illicit sexual relations and should have to pay for it with pregnancy and childbirth, then what about the guy? (Or should we just go back to stoning the woman to death for unmarried sex? Would cut down on abortion) Wasn’t the sex he was having just as illicit?  Then why in the world are we not handing out free condoms on street corners, providing free and easy access to birth control pills AND making sure every child/teen/young adult/grown-up understands EXACTLY how it is that a baby is conceived? And what of the married women having abortions? What of the abused woman who is trying desperately to get out of that situation, yet finds herself pregnant? (Because, you know, being in an abusive relationship means forced sex, or tolerating it till you can find the strength to walk)

I hear the it’s a baby from the moment of conception. It’s not. It’s a  freeloader, a sponge out to suck the lifeblood from it’s host. If you are willing to be the host for the next 40 weeks, great. (Editing: someone whom I have no respect for carried on about how horrible I am because I call a fetus a freeloader. I was going to use the word Parasite, but I felt it too inflammatory, despite the first definition of the word being almost exactly correct, the only difference being that it is the same species

an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.

It can not survive outside the womb. The moment it arrives at around 40 weeks, all the ROL(Right-to-Lifers) are finished. Before birth, it was a BABY. Now, it’s just one more deadbeat taker, sucking on the teat of big government, it’s mother nothing more than a welfare queen out to game the system, and to hell with medical care, or Head Start, or day care, or living wages, or anything resembling the Christian faith that forced it into the dreary existence it must now survive. And there are too many actual, born children languishing in foster care, to say just let this new child be adopted.

You know what? Pregnancy isn’t like giving a pint of blood.  No matter how you ended up that way, everyone you see knows. And wants details, and wants to congratulate you. And you know what else? Pregnancy can cause you illness, up to and including death. It is a hugely physical experience that lasts for the better part of a year. How can a rape victim heal if her very body rebels against her and reminds her for three seasons of a year?

So, to summarize, ladies. You should think before you act, or keep your legs closed. (The man trying to get them open is totally blameless)  If you can’t afford contraception for whatever reason, you have no business having sex. If you are married, you still have no business having sex if you can’t afford a (another) child…so,wait. Hold up a sec. See the slope? Be careful, it’s slippery.  The only people who have any right to have sex are married couples who have the financial and emotional stability to support a new child every 11 months or so.  So. Explain to me how it is so many upper income, religious, or educated families have 1 or 2 children, max? Guessing the little lady has cut you off?

No? Oh, you can afford the health insurance that provides the birth control you don’t want to allow for those who can’t afford the children. (Because after all if you can’t afford health insurance, you shouldn’t have sex. And you can’t get low cost birth control without health insurance because you have tried to close all the women’s clinics.) Right. What of your religious convictions now?

Seriously, it wasn’t my intent to bring articles or charts, percentages or anything more than thoughts into this little bit of self-expression. However, I posted a meme on FB the other week, and got a response that, well. Yeah. Thankfully, no one else responded after the one, and I have removed it, because I really want this to be about what I am saying, yah know? But it went like this:


One response to the meme was this—-

“thats a lot of assumed dots your connecting. If abortion were not so readily available (except when medically needful for the helath sake of the mom), some might pay closer attention to what is taught in sex-ed and use the condoms, or wait till marriage.”

I resisted the urge (quite strong) to continue this thread. Because the problem is THIS—

A state the size of Texas (over a quarter MILLION square miles –268,000+ square miles) –will have FIVE clinics after the government played it’s latest games. THAT doesn’t sound readily available.

A state like North Dakota could have theoretically reduced the ability to have an abortion performed to ONE DAY of the entire pregnancy! (Had their smaller-government games actually passed muster) –one clinic in the state–have to fly in an out of state Doc, who comes once a week, and abortion couldn’t be performed until a pregnancy test confirms (at about 5 weeks) and no abortion after six weeks…TOTALLY not readily available.

Another problem is that so many of the lawmakers out there are NOT for sex-ed! And are NOT willing to provide condoms. And not all people WILL wait for marriage, because it is not your morality or religion they follow, but theirs. So, again. Legal. Safe. Rare.

(And yes, they are liberal sites. Can’t stand to read things like Faux News, sorry.)

Randomly moving on. I’m also tired of the relentless beating down about homosexual marriage, as if once allowed, all of us will be forcibly removed from our spouses side to marry someone of the same gender. Now, if  that was what was going on? Damned sure I’d be all over stopping it. I am rather attached to my husband. But short of that? What. Does. It. Do. To. You? HOW could it possibly affect you in a negative way? (Ok, competition for secular catering halls, booking the baker and the photographer, etc. might get a bit more challenging, but really??)

I can hardly even express how giddy I was that Wednesday as 10 AM approached. I was nervous, unable to focus, hitting my refresh button on the phone, holding my breath, anticipating, positive that the only way SCOTUS could rule was the way they did, but so fearful they wouldn’t anyway. The exhalation of breath was part of a communal relief around the country, I am sure.

If your faith causes you to believe that some people are less equal, that same sex marriage is wrong, then by all means follow your conscience and avoid marrying someone of the same sex.  But leave alone these other people. It is past time to accept that there is love in the world, and that love is good, and if more people love, the world is better.

No one is asking you to deny a portion of your being to satisfy a social construct.  If that is too hard to get, think about standing around the coffee maker at work and how you don’t think twice about mentioning you need to run by the store to pick up something for your wife on the way home. How when people ask casually what you are planning for the weekend, you say your husband and kids are heading to the lake. You aren’t rubbing your heterosexuality in someone’s face, simply sharing your life.

Would you expect to be fired for saying so? Passed over for promotion? Told you can’t live in this building? Beaten up? Dragged to your death? I watched my Facebook page, and I was gratified. I see that the majority of my friends (many of whom I have known in real life forever, and many who I have been connected to via mutual experience and habit to my great joy)– these people are of a similar belief—that the true religion is that of acceptance and love, not divisiveness and hate and fear of “other”.

I realized too, just how many of my Facebook (and real life)  friends are affected by the challenges of our world and how many of them have now had one burden lightened. Not removed, that will take the LOVE part of things to get stronger, the acceptance part to get stronger.  But so many of my friends will now find the world a better place.

I have found very few indeed, who are willing to post much that is outright hate, (on this topic at least) and for this too, I am gratified, because I know that surely, hate is floating around.  Point taken. Be assured, you are being ignored, blocked or unfriended. Love is not in your heart.

I have been married for 11 years. I am so enamored of this institution that I got to participate in simply because I loved someone that I can’t imagine holding it back from two other people who love each other the way I love my husband. That is what we were demanding that others not enjoy, simply based on the person with whom their heart has fallen in love.

When I married my spouse there was no agreement or understanding we would procreate if married. Indeed in the marriage vows, and in the marriage license, nowhere are children mentioned, inferred or implied. Nor did anyone say we couldn’t marry because there was no possibility of procreation.  We didn’t have to undergo medical testing to prove our ability to have children was intact. Our marriage wasn’t predicated on the idea we would raise children, or rear the children we already created as the results of failed formal and not so formal relationship, as they were adults. Yet no one person anywhere at any time suggested we not be allowed to avail ourselves of the myriad legal and societal opportunities provided us by that little civil paper from the County Clerks office. We call ourselves a family. Of Two. (Now, plus the cat and the adult child who came back)

But your faith — yes, I get it. Your God, blah blah.  You don’t KNOW, you believe. No one knows.  This country is not founded on any one religion. (Really, no matter how much you try to make it so, it’s just not. Even if the founders themselves were of a particular religious bent, they didn’t want the two mixed up.)  You did not need to approve of my marriage in order for me to marry. I didn’t need to approve of the person you chose to marry. (Goodness knows, if we all got to get involved in THAT particular circle of hell, there would be very little marriage at all.)

We hear these phrases every day. There but for the grace of God go I.  Walk a mile in my shoes. Live and let live. (How about Live and let Love?)

What is happening to YOUR marriage if more people can marry? What benefits are being taken from you if ANY other two people marry?

This is like the ultimate round in the have and have not,  ME-tality that seems to exist. I somehow ended up born in this country (but you can’t come here.)  I somehow found a company willing to provide medical insurance (but you can’t have any.) I somehow ended up on the correct side of a convoluted, gerrymandered redistricting line so my vote counts (but yours, not so much.) I somehow arm allowed make medical decisions for my spouse even over his family’s desires, (but you don’t get to do so.) Me me me.

And so the argument goes. As a country, we seem more concerned with sticking our noses into other peoples most private lives, lest someone get away with something. We don’t want big government, that is for sure. We want it small enough to set itself on the headboard of our beds. Rather than making sure there are jobs, rather than having our elected officials do their jobs and maybe get the interest rates straightened out for college students, or worry about the air we breath and the water we drink, we let them try to (repeatedly) repeal a law that provides medical care for (almost) all.  We allow Wall Street and big business to be the largest abusers of entitlement programs and tax abuse, while cutting a poor child’s school lunch. We are so concerned that some woman (who, I have to add, had heterosexual sex with a man) be punished because she is unwilling to continue with a pregnancy (and she knows her circumstances well enough to know she can’t afford another child) ….Or that two men want to live a quiet life of love together and not be ostracized.

If the bible is THE word of (your) God why on earth are there so many versions of it? That there are hundreds of English translations  and interpretations on bookstore shelves seems to indicate to me that it is not the word of God, but the words of many men. If the bible my great grandmother read is different by even one word from the one you read now, then how is the word of God?

And as for Paula Deen? Shame for defending her! If you say something, OWN it. To use as an excuse your generation for your poor behavior? I get other people say things, vile things. And they aren’t right either. But to defend one wrong because other people do worse? How does that make any sense.  If you say something stupid, as a non-celebrity, well, you are an ass. When you are a public figure, you should accept that as part of the the social contract you make with your fans; the trade off you make for all of the benefits you enjoy is that people hear and listen and react. Rappers aren’t little southern grandmas who are expected to be soft and friendly. What they say isn’t good, it isn’t nice, but it’s more or less contextual  (and not acceptable to me.)

No Child Left Behind  (told you it was a random list of rants) Today’s high school graduates pretty much made it through 12 years of NCLB. And I work with them, out in the real world. And holy crap, they have no ability to THINK. The questions they ask. The things that they can’t connect the dots on? The inability to infer, extrapolate? It’s more than laziness. It’s that they lack the ability to think creatively.

And by the by, this lapsed Catholic is thoroughly enjoying Pope Francis.

Can we at least all admit that  the law is sometimes wrong? Can you swear that your child would never be caught in a circumstance like Trayvon and that they might not run, which might cause someone to follow, which might mean you throw a punch which might mean you deserve to bleed to death in the rain because you don’t have the right to defend yourself from him with your fist, but someone else can defend himself from you with a gun?

Oh, and Of COURSE drivers licenses aren’t covered in the Constitution. We didn’t have cars back then.

I think I am done. Watch this clip, (which I can’t seem to embed prettily) and yeah.

So, back to photos next time, ok?