Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Sunday, December 29, 2013

In Memory of Doris Lessing; Some TV Excellent Women

A Few Excellent TV Women; Variations on a Theme: For the last 4 years or so, I’ve been enjoying the return of retro TV Shows on stations like Antenna TV, MeTV and Retro TV or RTV. These are not like cable’s Nickelodeon; you can watch them for free with the new digital TV. It’s great for me; I can watch early shows I had not seen or heard of before, including The Rebel and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and also see episodes of shows I loved, but couldn’t watch at the time because of Math Homework or early bedtimes. Many of these shows featured Excellent Women characters, and a few “Excellent Men” like Mr. French of Family Affair or Mr. Belvidere , and Uncle Bentley and Peter of Bachelor Father. I will list a few: Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, Rebecca Boone, June Cleaver and Carol Brady with Alice, [but they belong in the TV Mom category more than this one], Roseanne, Kitty Forman, Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards and Laura Petrie, Marie B. of Everybody Loves Raymond, Georgette Baxter and Sue Ann Nivens, Mrs. Bales of As Time Goes By, Hazel, Hyacinth Bucket, all the ladies of Last of the Summer Wine, The women of The Vicar of Dibley, Dr. Who’s Companions, Mrs. Slocum from Are you Being Served, Fran Fine The Nanny, Samantha Stevens, Jeanie, Lily Munster, Morticia Addams, Penny and Bernadette from Big Bang Theory, and as honorable mention Red Green’s long suffering nephew Harold, who serves as the voice of reason and helps get Uncle Red out of trouble. These Excellent Women make tea or come through and give comfort in time of crisis. Many of these women are not single, but married, with an independent, even iconoclastic bent, like Roseanne. While Excellent Women may not be for marrying, though many do in Pym’s world, Miss Fine in Jane Eyre fashion snags and marries Mr. Sheffield, lord of the manor and her boss. Cici, is the “bachelor girl” who ends up with Nile the butler, another honorary excellent woman for caring for and putting up with the Sheffields and Miss Fine and her family. I’ll discuss a few of them with more particularity. You may want to pause reading and make some tea at this point. Roseanne and her family might be lost culturally in a Pym novel, but she often steps up and stands behind her children no matter what. She learns to accept their choices and to love unconditionally, but she does the right thing, makes Kool Aid when needed, and manages to earn some independence with The Lunch Box and her own business savvy. Yet, as a talented would be writer, she has sacrificed her own ambitions to raise her family, and her siblings and parents, so she can encourage them and ensure their safety. Dr. Who’s companions also put their lives and ambitions on hold to accompany The Doctor and to go on the adventure of a lifetime. They fall madly in love with him, knowing it would be The most Unsuitable of all Attachments, and learn it is better to have loved nad lost than not loved The Doctor at all. Mary Richards is a TV executive and single girl perfect in every way. She picks up where Doris Day left off as Doris Martin of The Doris Day Show. She has no ties, though, isn’t widowed like Hope Lange in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, has no children to raise like Doris and Hope, or Kate Jackson in Baby Boom. She has herself. She would have fit well in The Designing Women Cast. Mary went off on her own to find herself after a bad break up and broken engagement, but she would not rely on her well to do family. She showed vulnerability and “spunk” and put up with difficult characters and situations. She never stopped aspiring to more, to motherhood, wifedom, you name it, but she also made coffee ant all hours of the night and gave parties in crises. She was always the shoulder everyone leaned upon. Mrs. Slocum could be Mary years into the future, devoted to her cat, matriarch at work, usually taken for granted, expected to “serve tea” and emotional support for the others, stepping out of the way of others’ ambitions. Mrs. Bale could be the housekeeper right out of Rebecca, but she has a kind heart, is youthful in her attitude, driving a motorcycle with side car, loves the shipping news, and serves lunch and cocktails of her own concoction at 17 and ½ minutes and other odd times. She is proud of her role, but we learn she can be vulnerable as the story of the ne’er do well Mr. Bale who abandoned her comes out, and as we learn of her fling with a tall blonde balloonist with “piercing blue eyes.” Mrs. Bale brews a lot of tea for the other characters. The ladies of Summer Wine have much to say about the men in their lives; one actually owns a teashop straight out of Pym. Another suffers her husband’s flirtations with the exotic elderly vixen, Marina, all unconsummated but still annoying. All of them meet for coffee and tea on a regular basis, where they fix the wrongs of their Yorkshire World. Perhaps The Brontë Sisters would have presided, all except Emily, if it were a 170 years ago, or just about! All the women I’ve listed come in and fix things for others. Even if they are married, they have to put their own wants on hold, at least for a while. They do the right thing, and turn out to be more naughty than nice. They have their poignant moments and vulnerabilities, and a few have eccentricities that get them by. Yet, all are excellent in a Pymian approved way. Finally, RIP Doris Lessing, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Palo Alto many years ago. She was an inspiration to me, and someone I read and used in my own dissertation and books.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Barbara Pym Doll by Debbie Ritter

From our friend Debbie Ritter of Uneek Doll Designs comes this wonderful portrait doll of Barbara Pym. We love her creations, and own several, including Tasha Tudor and Bertha Mason. Good Luck to Debbie; she has a terrific Etsy store.

Here and There, Pym does Mention her Dolls, Idols, Toys, and Stuffed Animals = Read ON

Marcia the Collector from Quarter in Autumn might approve: See below, written by Annetta Miller, a freelance writer who also wrote for Newsweek wrote a very nice feature about us: When Dr. Ellen Tsagaris was a child in Greece, her mother presented her with a rubber yellow bunny doll that squeaked. “I liked it very much,” she recalled. Two Greek dolls dressed in national costumes followed that present. “By then, I was hooked. I remember saying, ‘I’m going to collect dolls.’” And collect she did. Today, some 50 years later, Ellen is not only the chair of multiple academic departments, but also one of the nation’s foremost collectors of and authorities on antique dolls. “When I was young, I loved portrait painting and I was interested in photography, costumes, and textiles, too,” she said. “I found that doll collecting encompassed all those interests. I’ve always loved having dolls, collecting dolls and reading about dolls.” Wooden dolls, porcelain dolls, dolls made of china and wax, Ellen has them all. And this year, she authored the first definitive book on dolls made from metal. Entitled With Love from Tin Lizzie, A History of Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls, and Automatons, the book addresses the way dolls reflect cultures and civilizations, and how they have given rise to an international “doll economy.” Reviewers have described the book as an “academic text, a photo album, and book of memories all in one.” Ellen’s dolls hail from 50 U.S. states and most of the countries in Europe, Asia and South America. Her family–world travelers–have continued to bring Ellen antique dolls, folk dolls, costume dolls and souvenir dolls from all parts of the globe. One of her favorites is her ‘Vogue Baby Dear,” the type of doll that Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev took back to his grandchildren in Russia after his iconic “shoe-banging” speech to the United Nations in 1960. She received a Japanese Ningyo doll made of papier mache and covered in white oyster shell enamel when her Uncle Tom visited Japan as a U.S. Serviceman in the Korean War. At Knott’s Berry Farm in California, her father presented her with a strawberry blonde doll designed by celebrated ballet dancer and artist Suzanne Gibson. When she’s not collecting dolls, Ellen is something of an academic renaissance woman. She holds a law degree, a doctorate in Modern British Literature, a Master’s Degree in English, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Spanish. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society. A member of the Kaplan family for 15 years, Ellen chairs three academic departments, including Legal Studies/Paralegal Studies, Public Safety, and Humanities/Composition. Her interest in dolls has dovetailed seamlessly with her academic interests. She has researched and written about dolls in literature and about Anne Rice, who was an avid doll collector. Ellen’s next frontier: When she retires, she hopes to establish a non-profit doll museum similar to the one Rice established at the former St. Elizabeth’s orphanage in New Orleans. The museum will tell the story of human history through dolls, dollhouses, and related objects.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Message from the River

Here is a story that would have inspired Pym to no end:

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Message from the River: See below; here is a true collector's spirit; how Chad Pegracke started a Message in the Bottle collection from what he gleaned from t...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: I Won! Thank you Greyden Press!

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: I Won! Thank you Greyden Press!: Children Recognized Author Winners a to z and how it came to be by Jane Knigge A Walrus Ate My Right, Blue Shoe by Lori Spencer Aroun...

Finding Betty Crocker: More vintage Betty Crocker

Finding Betty Crocker: More vintage Betty Crocker: Foods Men Hurry Home For! By Betty Crocker recipe pamphlet circa 1931 Any guesses to what menfolk hurry home for? It's mostly cake...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: What to do at a Reading

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: What to do at a Reading: I did a reading tonight with some friends at our local library. There is a community program done every year called Read Local. Tonight, I...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Another good Blog on the Brontes

Here is a link for Bronteana. http://bronteana.blogspot.com/index.html. This is a great blog on the Brontes, though I think she stopped in 2009. I used it to teach my courses on the Brontes; Rebel Angels of the House. I hope that you enjoy it. The blog's author was a graduate student at the time, and very well versed in Jane Eyre. She has nice graphics, and other links.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Writing, Blogging, Journaling Tips

Building a Blog Brand, Posting Frequency and Choosing a Niche [Speed Q&A] Posted: 22 Aug 2013 08:17 AM PDT at Problogger.com: In our most recent webinar we had 700 questions submitted by attendees – many of which we simply didn’t have time to cover. Here are 3 of those questions and some quick answers. How to Build a Brand for Your Blog “What is the most important rule of thumb for building a brand?” – David I think the most critical thing you can do in building a brand around your blog is to give some time to considering what kind of brand you want to build. Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos is famously quoted as saying that “a brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – the question I think we all should ask is: What do we want people to say about our blog when we’re not in the room? Identify what you want to be known for and you’ll be in a much better position to BE that – which is key to building your brand. This clarity will inform the way that you write, the topics you cover, the social media personas you build etc – all of which contribute to your brand. Some further reading on Branding Blogs: ■A Key to Building a Sustainable Online Personal Brand ■Branding a Blog is Difficult – Or Is It? ■Branding Your Blog: You’re Doing it All Wrong Choosing a Niche: Profitability vs Personal Interest “What is more important, finding a profitable niche or finding something you love writing about?” – Carley Great question and one that I’m sure there are going to be many perspectives on! I guess it really comes down to your goals as a blogger as to how you answer that question. At one end of the spectrum – if you have no intention of making money blogging then obviously profitability of the niche does not come into it. At the other end of the spectrum – if you are blogging with the sole intent of making money then you’ll want to give the profitability of the niche at least some consideration. Most ProBlogger readers however start out with mixed emotions and so the answer is somewhere between the two. I personally have had 30 blogs over the years – the two that have had most success and profit have been the two blogs that I started because I really wanted to talk about the topics (blogging and photography). My genuine interest in the topic sustained me through the tough times and I like to think that my passion for the topics showed through in the way that I blogged – which I think is an attractive quality when you’re looking for new readers. Interestingly – the blogs that I started purely because I thought they might be profitable didn’t last long. I couldn’t sustain writing about them every day and I think those who did find the blogs were probably bored by what I wrote. So if I had to choose between ‘interest in the niche’ and ‘profitable niche’ – I’d probably choose ‘interest in the niche’ (having said that – you don’t have to choose between the two – you can aim somewhere in between). Ideal Posting Frequency What is an ideal number of post per week? – Marsha This is another question that there are many perspectives on and you’ll need to weigh up a number of factors including how much time you have, what type and length of posts you’ll be publishing, your goals for blogging etc It also comes down a little to experimenting to see what level of posting goes down well with your readers and how much you can sustain because posting frequency can have an impact upon both you and your readers in positive and negative ways. Let me expand on that a little: Impact Upon Your Readers: ■too much posting can burn your readers out and leave your readers feeling overwhelmed. ■too little posting can make it difficult to build momentum on your blog and won’t enable your readers to feel connected and engaged Impact Upon You ■too much posting can burn you out and have a detrimental impact upon the quality of your writing ■too little posting can leave you feeling disengaged from your blog and readers – while regular posting can help you to build momentum It’s a juggling act and you won’t really know what is right for you until you start. As a guide – I generally recommend if you’re starting out with blogging that you start with 3-4 posts per week if you can sustain that. You can then adjust your strategy from there as you get into the swing of blogging. Read more on posting frequency in this longer previous post on the topic. Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Irena Sendler

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Irena Sendler: On Behalf of The Holocaust Education Committee, to which I belong, here is some basic information, a flier really, with Judy Winnick playi...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Dr. Who's Queen Anne Doll

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Dr. Who's Queen Anne Doll: Tonight's Dr. Who features doll monsters that turn people into dolls that look like them. The dolls have faces like Queen Anne Wooden d...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Some Tips

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Some Tips: I follow ProBlogger; there is a free daily newsletter you can read each day. Take a look at this: ----------------------------------...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Romance News

I know the photos won't come up, but this is for romance fans from Borroughs, a small indie publisher of ebooks and romances. Pym may have enjoyed writing for such a venue, given the chance. No doubt the Bronte sisters would have been thrilled!! Boroughs Publishing Group News The Wolves of the Red Ridge Pack are back! Born of Lies This prequel reveals Allison & Aiden’s past, their family secrets & the beginning of the deception & intrigue that ensnares the Red Ridge Pack The world changed for Lillian Michaels the day Marcus chose her. Gorgeous, strong fierce…and soon he would be alpha of her pack. But then the marriage was set. No choice. No looking back. Except, she did. Lillian started looking forward, too, and wondering if eighteen was too young to give away her life. Certainly, it is tonight. A rock concert. She and her friend, intoxicating music, sweat, bodies, freedom…and him: Paul. The human bassist’s touch makes her soul sing like the strings of his axe, and everything is possible. Yet, Lillian’s parents, her secrets, her entire world lies elsewhere. Paul doesn’t even see what she is, what she can do. What she must do. This to-die-for human is not of her kind. And yet, something special, something terrifyingly perfect, something eternally true has been…born of lies. learn more Start your journey into the mountains of New Mexico & the Red Ridge Pack with: The last thing Allison Wright ever expected when she moved to Red Ridge, New Mexico was to come muzzle to muzzle with the wolf of her dreams. learn more Aiden Wright is trying to figure out who he really is, but the truth could cost him his true mate - or his life. learn more The Genie Smolders Book 2 of the Zubis Chronicles Bethany O’Brien must find her enslaved genie lover in order to save her daughter, her broken heart, and the world. learn more How did it all begin? Clue in with: The Genie Ignites Girl meets genie. They fall in love. Girl gets killed. Genie gets cursed. Three millennia later, she’s reincarnated as a smart, somewhat sardonic 21st century editor who can’t remember the great love of her existence. The genie however, will never forget her. learn more Congratulations to Kellyann Zuzulo for being selected as a Finalist for the Abalone Award for Book 1 of the Zubis Chronicles, The Genie Ignites. The Abalone Awards recognizes achievement in Romance writing that has multicultural or interracial relationships. The winner will be announced at their ceremony at the RWA National Conference in Atlanta on Wednesday, July 17th 2013. RELEASE DATE – JULY 22nd 2013 Get ready for !#^%*! HOT Pre-order Now! Now that Shane Templar has stripped the armour from Matt Langer’s heart, will either of them ever be safe again? Though two years past, Matthew Langer is still getting over the death of a loved one. He’s steered clear of serious relationships, but when he meets the irascible, dirty mouthed and tempestuous Shane Templar that decision has never been harder. Shane is sexy, warm and funny, and Matthew finds himself trying like hell not to fall for him. Especially when Shane, with his quick wit and hacking skills, is quick to stand up for justice and avenge wrongs. Then Shane strikes at the wrong target, and Matthew realises just how far he’s already fallen. At the threat of losing for good yet another man who has broken through his armour, Matthew finds his heart stripped bare. He must face the demons of his soul or a future without love. learn more Wraith's Cry When a strange and horrible figure emerges from the mists of the river, Adriana and Jeff must face the ghosts of their past to find the beauty of their future. learn more Say it Again, Sam Izzy Hart just wants to hear three little words, but first she has to tell her best friend Sam that he’s ”the one”, deal with his blonde Amazon of a crush, fix a mistakenly administered love potion and decipher the meaning of one strange, sweet, awfully cuddly cat. learn more What's in a Name? Boroughs 2013 Novella Contest Congratulations to the Finalists Better as a Memory – Contemporary Girl on Fire – Paranormal/Fantasy Face to Face – Historical/Regency Somewhere Down the Line – Contemporary The Winner will be announced on Friday at our Open House during the RWA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia Boroughs About Town (& Country) On Saturday, July 13th, our Editor-in-Chief, Chris Keeslar participated in the Digital Publishers’ Panel hosted by the New York City RWA Chapter. We’re packing our bags & getting ready to leave for Atlanta. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone Don’t forget to hang with us at our OPEN HOUSE RECEPTION Friday, July 19th 2013 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Suite 3803 The Marriott Marquis E-Musements A short monthly piece to show what's happening in the editor-in-chief's brain...and in his office. Besides reading. Lots of reading. EXTRA! EXTRA! In our limited TV time, lately my wife and I have been watching newsroom dramas. The two of which I speak? The BBC’s The Hour, season two - everyone join the petition and get a season three! - and the first few episodes of HBO’s The Newsroom. So far, The Hour has been much more gripping. Sorkin’s Newsroom does more preaching than demonstrating; the characters tell me what I should think rather than presenting the facts and allowing me to feel. Ironically, it’s The Newsroom that provides the topic of today’s piece and sums up so much of what I believe about effective writing. One of the show’s characters, when asked to revamp the central program to be a better forum for contemporary issues, sets up a checklist of questions to ask about each and every broadcast, about each and every guest. I started thinking about how those same questions can help a writer strengthen their stories. Below are Mac’s questions, in italics. Think about how they relate to fiction. 1.Is this information we need in the voting booth? Does this move your story forward and make us understand the hero, the heroine, and why they can’t be together but should be? 2.Is this the best possible form of the argument? Am I being easy on my characters or is this the conflict that wrenches them to the limit and truly shows who they are under duress? 3.Is this in historical context? Will readers with perspectives different than mine find this character or conflict compelling, and if not, how can I make things more accessible or thought provoking? 4.Are there really two sides to every story, or are there sometimes five and sometimes only one? Is there a true conflict here, and if so, have we seen all the angles and effects? Is it possible to open our hearts as readers to feelings or considerations we might never have otherwise imagined? My father was a newspaper editor. That pretty much determined that I would never go into journalism, a field I eschewed as producing soulless and uncreative (Jayson Blairs of the world aside) dreck, with nothing to teach me. As I grow older, the Mark Twain quote seems more and more relevant: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But, when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” Good fiction-writing is often parallel to journalism. It’s about asking the right questions. Voices Where you get to hear the people who make publishing–and Boroughs especially–what it is. Aislinn Gilbert Happy Hauntings What is it about ghost stories and creepy tales designed to send chills down our spines? Children love them and adults return to them. We tell these stories on winter nights or around a campfire, hoping to give and receive a certain kind of reaction. Fear! What on earth could be pleasurable about being scared? For some people the fear might be cathartic, help them deal with frightening things encountered in everyday life. For me, ghost stories are waking dreams, imbuing a sense of mystery and suspense close to panic, a dreamlike feeling that brings sleeping and waking worlds together. How intriguing to be plunged into this world when awake. A romance complicated by a spooky tale can be so satisfying. A ghost story with a happy ending? That mysterious, chilling feeling we desire may follow us through the pages, but when we finish and set the book aside we’re assured of a good night’s sleep. Many scary stories explore the fear of losing our minds: the descent into madness. In Wraith’s Cry I was drawn to describe how this might feel to someone who held this as her greatest fear. A ghost can represent the past that haunts us when we can’t let go. A ghost can haunt a person or a location, but I’ve often wondered where a ghost gets its power. My wraith finds hers in a river, in the powerful, angry torrent that hastened her death. I hope you all will find a chance to read or tell a ghost story or two this year. Happy hauntings. Aislinn Gilbert author of Wraith’s Cry, a Lunchbox Romance, lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two children. You’re receiving this newsletter because you signed up on our website. Not interested anymore? Unsubscribe Instantly. © 2013 Boroughs Publishing Group. All rights reserved. This email was sent to etsag1998@aol.com why did I get this? unsubscribe from this list update subscription preferences Boroughs Publishing Group · 1629 East Main Street · Suite A · Ventura, CA 93001

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shopping tips of which Ms. Pym would approve; I hope!

Never underestimate the power of donating and itemizing to charity. You save on your taxes and help ensure your items are not wasted and go to good use. The Salvation Army, in particular, will pick up things, but also uses parts and even broken items to provide work and repair things for other people. Since I wrote this, I encountered other charity shops that will help; DAV, The American Cancer Society Discovery Shops, Annual Sales to aid charities, all give slips to show tax deduction status for your items. This is a proof of donation for the most part, and it is up to you to itemize and value most of the time. We also donate to a children’s school, The Sun Valley Indian School for Navajo Children, Sun Valley, AZ. They send us pictures of the children and an occasional card or letter, which makes the kids in my school group very happy. There are many books and magazines that discuss thrift shopping and donating to charities. In turn, many like to shop these venues as another way of contributing, tax deductible or not. SA and GW often have new items. Club Goodwill in the Chicago area has special incentives and discounts. Their stores are very nicely set up and color coordinated. You might think you were in a boutique, yet their prices are reasonable. If you travel, it pays to go to the local stores. Merchandise is always different and "ever moving." As our friends at Reusable Usables might say, it pays to recycle items as well as garbage and organic substances. Many good clothes can be worn again and again, and many shoes, belts, accessories, and household goods can be repaired. They stay out of the landfill and reenter the stream of commerce to generate income once again. When artists use them to recreate and explore, as our friend Jeanne O'Melia does, they take on a whole new meaning. Collectors have also known this for many years. They salvage the past and popular culture, redisplay it, and say something entirely different to future generations. Their passion fuels everything they do in a positive way and leads to educational and economic opportunities. Our world is full of conundrums these days; we are encouraged to recycle and not waste, but not to collect, lest we hoard. We are encouraged to read, but eBooks and Kindle seem to take the place of print books. Then, we can't recycle the paper in a paperless world, either. Libraries are throwing out books, but with a few exceptions, one can't read an electronic device by flash light or candlelight in a storm. Sometimes, only a message in a bottle will do. Objects are more personal and tangible objects tell stories. Thus, they make better evidence and exhibits in criminal court than many electronic communications. Old buildings are sturdier and can often be remodeled; yet we are in a hurry to tear down and replace with less sturdy structures, thereby affecting negatively our infrastructure. Use what we have; donate where needed, and save by not wasting, overbuying, and deducting. 6. Eat home; pay attention to leftovers and casseroles. Recipes are cheap over the Internet, and are in all kinds of magazines, including The Radish, which is given away. Look for heirloom recipes your parents had, even grandparents and great grandparents, and practice and be creative. The American Women’s Cook Book, The magazines like Everyday Food, PBS cooking shows, Mr. Food, Martha Stewart, and Julia Child are great sources to look. The Discovery Shop and thrift stores are wonderful places to look for vintage and antique cook books, so are yard sales and antique stores, library book sales, book stores and book store chains, catalogs. Many of these are on sale before they are even out of print, including Edward R. Hamilton Books and Amazon and Alibris. All things in moderation, as Benjamin Franklin wrote and believed. It can be much cheaper to eat at home, and to buy dry staples like flour, sugar, salt, cans, and to keep them on hand. I like to buy spices whenever I see a good deal, I like to shop a variety of stores, including organic and health food stores. I like Aldi, Sav a Lot, Trader Joes, local chains with great deals. I look for the weekend supplements, and see how many meals I can plan with the onsale ingredients. I like it when things are sold in bulk. I can buy a pinch of this or that, and splurge a little bit this way.

With love from Tin Lizzie: A History of Metal Heads Metal Dolls Mechanical Dolls and Automatons by Tsagaris, Ellen: New, Softcover, $20.00 at Alibris Marketplace

With love from Tin Lizzie: A History of Metal Heads Metal Dolls Mechanical Dolls and Automatons by Tsagaris, Ellen: New, Softcover, $20.00 at Alibris Marketplace

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pym Books Currently in Print

From what I could find, the list below is an accurate description of Pym books in print. For the 100th Anniversary of Pym's birth, I am revising and working on a second edition of my book on Pym, currently titled The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym, dedicated to my friend and mentor, the late romance writer for Mills and Boon, Angela Wells. Here is the list to date of Pym's work: Excellent Women by Barbara Pym Paperback - Reissue ISBN-13: 9780452267305 Pub. Date: 05/28/1988 List price: $15.00 Online Price: $12.82 (You Save 14%) Spend $25, Get FREE Shipping Usually ships within 24 hours A few Green Leaves by Barbara Pym , Barbara Pym Paperback ISBN-13: 9781559212281 Pub. Date: 06/28/1999 List price: $12.95 Online Price: $11.07 (You Save 14%) Spend $25, Get FREE Shipping Usually ships within 24 hours Check store availability Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym Paperback - Reprint ISBN-13: 9781559212649 Pub. Date: 04/28/1999 List price: $12.95 Online Price: $11.07 (You Save 14%) Spend $25, Get FREE Shipping Usually ships within 24 hours Check store availability 12. LESS THAN ANGELS by Barbara Pym Paperback ISBN-13: 9781559213882 Pub. Date: 06/30/2008 List price: $12.95 Online Price: $11.07 (You Save 14%) Spend $25, Get FREE Shipping Usually ships within 24 hours 6 used from $6.18 Check store availability 13. No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym Paperback ISBN-13: 9781559213066 Pub. Date: 01/15/2002 List price: $13.95 Online Price: $11.92 (You Save 14%) Spend $25, Get FREE Shipping Usually ships within 24 hours Bottom of Form 10 used from $4.87 Check store availability Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym , Elizabeth Stephan Audio - 6 Cassettes ISBN-13: 9781850895534 Pub. Date: 09/28/1995 List price: $54.95 Online Price: $49.45 (You Save 10%) Item Ships Free Usually ships within 24 hours 2 used from $36.63 15. A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym Paperback ISBN-13: 9781559213530 Pub. Date: 08/30/2008 List price: $12.95 Online Price: $11.07 (You Save 14%) Spend $25, Get FREE Shipping Usually ships within 24 hours Top of Form Bottom of Form 16. Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym Paperback ISBN-13: 9781559212267 Pub. Date: 07/28/2007 List price: $13.95 Online Price: $11.92 (You Save 14%) Spend $25, Get FREE Shipping Usually ships within 24 hours Top of Form Bottom of Form 14 used from $3.96 17. Jane y Prudence/ Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym Hardcover - Translation ISBN-13: 9788426417169 Pub. Date: 05/30/2009 List price: $30.95 Online Price: $27.85 (You Save 10%) Item Ships Free Usually ships within 2-3 days Top of Form Bottom of Form 1 used from $28.41 18. Unsuitable Attachment by Barbara Pym Paperback ISBN-13: 9781559213547 Pub. Date: 11/01/2006 List price: $12.95 Online Price: $11.07 (You Save 14%) Spend $25, Get FREE Shipping Usually ships within 24 hours Top of Form Bottom of Form 5 used from $7.74 Check store availability 19. From The Hearth To The Open Road, Vol. 113by Barbara Waxman Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780313266508 Pub. Date: 05/11/1990 List price: $117.95 Online Price: $106.15 (You Save 10%) Item Ships Free Usually ships within 24 hours Top of Form Bottom of Form 4 used from $38.25 20. My Dear Charlotte by Hazel Holt eBook Learn more ISBN-13: 2940011056321 Pub. Date: 06/21/2010 Note: Not compatible with Mac and Blackberry Clients List price: $6.95 eBook Price: $5.56 (You Save 20%) Available for download via Wi-Fi and 3G These items ship to U.S. addresses only. Available for Download Learn More

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Desiree Holt and Barbie Dolls

Below is an update on a modern romance writer, and I plan to include more in my second edition of my book on Pym.  With Kindle and other means of publication, Romance Writing is more popular than ever, and more people are writing in every genre more than ever.   Currently on Kindle are my novels Wild Horse Runs Free and The Bathory Chronicles, Volume I.  With love from Tin Lizzie will soon be on Alibris, and is available directly from me as well.

For all out there who have wanted to write but were afraid, now is the time.  Pick up your pen and write!

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Desiree Holt and Barbie Dolls: Sunday Morning reran the story of Desiree Holt, erotic romance writer, and how she uses Barbie dolls for inspiration for her heroes nad he...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ecology Reading and Cat Woes

Blessed be this first day of Summer and the Solstice. We continue on as best we can. I have much to post, and will begin by introducing a new book, Edible by Tracy Ryuder and Carole Topalian, on eating local all over the country via a lovely,illustrated directory of farmers markets. More about this later. Our cat, our beloved Emma, is not well. She is on thyroid meds, and has had several teeth pulled, conditions she came with when we adopted her. She went from a fierce little tiger, to a little bag of meek, limp marbles. She only wants to sleep in the bathtub, and did want to drink from the tap there obsessively. She is better at that, but now does not have much appetite, and seems depressed. She used to sleep on a her blanket, a baby blanket with another fleece afghan, but she is half the cat she was. Vet says she is fine, but I think her system was shocked. She is around 11 years old. Any ideas? I am more worried that she is not into food, which was not a problem. She ate well and normally, before, and I buy her organic, holistic food, or make it for her. Some publications that fit the season, here are some favorites: Extraordinary Health, volume 17. Drew Barrymore on the cover. Features include RAW probiotics, which one is right for you? and "Eight "new You" healthy recipes. Heatlhy Living, vol. 17, noo. 3: Alanis Morisette on cover. Features: Coffee Bean skinny Pill, Silver Soothese ASthma Syumptoms, What Drug companies won't tell youa bout joint pain, Natural Hari care that performs! The above two can be found at local natural food stores. Design Toscano Catalog special midsummer issue features garden decor, with lots of fairies and animals, as we approach Midsummer and thoughts of A Midsummer Night's Dream! I am not a spokesperson for any of these, but I enjoy reading them, even if I never buy anything. As a writer, I get inspiration everywhere. From the University of Wisconsin Press, several pertinent Land management journals and other journals and books, many delivered as ebooks: Ecological Restoration, Steven N. Handel Ed. Land Economics, Daniel romley, Ed. Landscape Journal, Lance M. Neckar, ed. Native Plants Journal, Ed. R. Kasten Dumroese, USDA Forest Service Also, on NPR yesteday morning was a story called "The Secret Live of Plants," about how hard it is for plants to survive and thrive, and which are good food sources, and what humans can learn about survival by studying them. Try NPR or, All Things Considered to find it. Still working on typing, and my hands and arms hurt more than ever. My books seem to be doing well, and I have some signings and programs coming up. Thanks to all my readers and followers for this and my other blogs. You are my online family, and I love you all!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Variations on Excellent Women: An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Marie Antoinette and Erzebet Bathory

Two more Variations on Excellent Women

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Marie Antoinette and Erzebet Bathory: I am listening to the audio book of Marie Antoinette; The Last Queen of France , by Evelyne Lever. She brings up some interesting parallels...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

For my Friend, Writer Angela Wells, who could put Catherine Oliphant to Shame

My Friend Angela Wells passed aways this week; I just learned about it. If you have read my book on Pym, or my dissertation, you will see her quoted, and her books discussed. Angela wrote for Mills and Boon, and also for many other venues. She was a gifted writer, researcher, editor, and wonderful friend. We were friends for over twenty years, and I can't believe she is gone. She left a terrifc son named Ian. I will list her books later, and some of the reviews she got. If you have a chance, look up her books on Amazon for Harlequin and Harlequin Presents. I met Angela when I was writing my thesis on Barbara Pym and romance writers. That had to have been in 1992 or 1993. I sent out a survey to various writers asking questions, and your mom answered; she was one of the first. I found her in the Romance Writers Pink Pages, a directory of writers with contact information. We started writing and never stopped. Over the years, we became good friends, and I was trying to visit England, which is one of my dreams. Angela and I talked about family and heartache. She wrote to me when my mother died, and when my good friend Mary Hillier from Surrey died suddenly. She had Greek friends and relatives and wrote about Greeks in her books. I loved what she wrote, and used her books, with her permission, in my thesis. I especially liked Rash Contract. She was a wonderful friend, and always encouraged me to write. I still think of things she wrote to me, and her ideas have helped me never to have writers block. She was a great writer herself, versatile, and full of ideas. She edited well and read for me. I finally got the book she was helping me with published; it was Wild Horse Runs Free, about the Apache. We also talked about plants, and dolls, which I like. She emailed me photos of her early doll, and of a half or pincushion doll that belonged to her mother. She told me about her family, and of Cyril, and you, of course. I told her about my friend Mark at church and the struggles of the choir in dealing with some of the egoistical priests we got. We sent each other little things over the years, a video, a bracelet, some souvenir stamps. She kept me up to date on all the Royal stories involving Princess Diana, and I sent her clips on things she was interested in here. It was from her that I learned what a ‘transformation’ was. It is what we call in the US a wig, of course, or hair piece/extension. I don’t know where the years went. She sent me cards for my wedding, to Dino, who like you, is into computers, websites, all things digital. So is my little step-son. Mitchie is a guru of these things, and a devotee of the late Steve Jobs. Angela was a wonderful person, so talented, and always doing something. She helped many writers, including me. I will feel her loss every day, but I’ll also think of her with love and fondness always. Again, my family and I are so very sorry.

The Passing of Edith Bunker; A True Excellent Woman

We note the passing of a most excellent woman, perhaps the most excellent of all. Our own Edith Bunker, played by actress Jean Stapleton, passed away at age 90. As Archie Bunker’s wife in All in the Family, Stapleton was tolerant and long suffering, even while Archie blew his short fuse and shot off his big mouth. As a stage actress and character actor for small parts, Jean Stapleton was chosen as a relative unknown to TV audiences to play Edith Bunker, but she made the role her own from 1971-78. The show was inspired by a British show, Till Death Do Us Part. It is conceivable that Pym saw this show, and may have even seen All in the Family, though her diaries reveal she was not that fond of us “Yanks.” Though Archie told her to “stifle” and called Edith ‘dingbat,” she was unfazed. She ruled both Archie and her family, and turned him into a kinder, gentler Archie by the end of the show’s run. Edith tackled rape, infidelity, cancer, al the major social issues her contemporaries faced. She could be funny and ditzy, but dead serious when the occasion called for it. Thought capable of “making tea in a crisis,” she often solved the problems for her family, Gloria, son in law Mike, and Archie.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Few Writing Ideas

Both Pym and Bronte wrote journals and letters for special occasions. In fact, their private writings are as fascinating as their publications. Excellent women that they were, they would be blogging today! 11 Quick Tips for Writing Compelling Posts On Your Blog Posted: 29 May 2013 07:58 AM PDT Yesterday I ran a workshop for a small group of bloggers here in Australia. One of the sessions I covered was on writing compelling content. Here’s a brief look at a few of the recurring themes in what I shared: 1.Be Useful – if your post isn’t informing, inspiring, entertaining or making someone’s life better – don’t publish it until it does. 2.Share your Opinion – opinions are often what sets bloggers apart from the pack. 3.Cut out the Fluff – before you hit publish, revise your post and remove anything that doesn’t add value. 4.Visualise Your Reader – writing with a reader in mind personalises your writing. 5.Make Your Posts Scannable – only 16% of people read every word online. Format your posts so that your main points stand out. 6.Work and Rework You Headlines – a good headline can be the difference between a blog post being read, or ignored. 7.Write with Passion – when you show you care about what you’re writing, your readers are more likely to care too. 8.Give your Readers something to do Next – ask your readers to DO something once they finish reading. It could be to read something else, comment, apply a lesson, share the post etc. 9.Tell Stories – stories are powerful ways of connecting with, inspiring and teaching your readers – they also create memories 10.Give Your Posts Visual Appeal – the inclusion of an eye-catching image or a well designed diagram can take your post to the next level. 11.Practise – the best way to improve your writing is to write. Practise Makes Perfect.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

From Walnut Grove on Laura Ingalls Wiler Museum

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum Enjoy learning the history of the Ingalls family in Walnut Grove at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Gift Store. The museum's collections are housed in a series of interesting buildings, including an 1898 depot, a chapel, an onion-domed house, dugout display, little red schoolhouse, early settler home, and covered wagon display. Also on display are memorabilia from visits by the following stars from the "Little House on the Prairie" TV series: ● Karen Grassle (Ma) ● Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) ● Katherine McGregor (Mrs. Oleson) ● Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson) ● Kevin Hagen (Doc Baker) ● Dean Butler (Almanzo Wilder) ● Lindsay & Sidney Greenbush (Carrie) Another feature of Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum is the Kelton Doll Collection, including over 250 dolls from the 1870's to modern times. This colorful exhibit represents Beulah Kelton's lifelong passion. A wide selection of books, souvenirs, bonnets, aprons, and locally hand-crafted items are available in the Gift Store. Other exhibits include ● Quilt owned by Laura and her daughter Rose ● Bible from the church the Ingalls attended ● Scale models of Ingalls TV series homes ● Historic documents - letters, photos, articles

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

Romance for Excellent Women: Wild Horse Runs Free, my new Novel on Kindle

My romance about two Apache teens and their Apache and White families will appear tomorrow on Kindle. There is oer 20 years of authentic research in this book, which has become a labor of love in many ways. One of the characters, Red Feather, took over the story, and then ovetook the hero! I hope my readers will find the story enjoyable, and they will enjoy the hero's journey from the Southwest of the 19th century to the cobbled streets of New Orleans and back. Also, the cover for the long awaited book on Metal Dolls is here. The book will be in print within two weeks, and will be available through me, and eventually on Amazon. I have been writing and research dolls and other topics heavily, and hope to have a productive summer. Recently attended a fantastic estate sale of a long time collector, artist, and seamstress. I was amazed at how many things there were and at how clever she was at storage and organization. The newest dolls date from around 2000. All items were labelled, sometimes with the donor's name, but also with date, year, and occasion for the givt. To paraphrase Carl Fox, it is amazing what people quietly collect behind the quiet walls of their homes. I wish I could have had a dialog with this lady. All her dolls were cherished and well-kept, and must have give her hours of pleasure. She had made miniature wedding gowns that had darts and linings where applicable, and tiny shoes and doll clothes for all kinds of dolls. She favored collectible Barbies and modern porcelain dolls, with some vintage artist reproductions of antiques like Hilda by JDK, and other Kestner and German bisque dolls. Many of these were over 30 years old, from a doll show which is no longer held. Also, am beginning research on a writing project involving Hugo and various automatons. We are studying them again in my intellectual property class as well. It is fun to show them to my students, and to tie them in with patents, technology, and robotics. I would love to hear for your doll collecting and writing adventures any time. Look for Wild Horse on Kindle free days as well.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

4 Weddings and a Funeral

It dawned on me as I watched this film with my class for their unit on cinema that two of the couples in this 1994 British film are Deirdre and Tom, surely a nod to Less than Angels, and to other Pym characters in other novels. If anything, this film explroes the importance of having something or someone to love, and all the characters find more or less suitable attachments by the end of the film, lest we worry about them.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Bletchley Circle

Here is a true Pym crime story, if ever there was one! BP would love these excellent women who help solve a series of murders in London involvling the railway tables. The four friends were code breakers during WWII. The setting is 1950s London, as Pym described it. You half expect Catherine Oliphant to come strolling down the street to meet Susan, Millie, Jean, and friend to solve the serial killings going on. The something to love for these women is their love of codes and patterns, and the need to feel useful, even after the war, when they can only share their top secret assginment with each other. I have a now elderly friend who once worked for the CIA; I wonder that she hasn't burst. This would have been a Pym Ubercareer, and as it is, it is a darned good story! Sunday nights, 9 pm cst on PBS. See PBS.org for more.

Friday, April 19, 2013

How I Write; I page from Pym's book

It was about six or so years ago, and I was trying to enter a writing contest, and a very scholary one at that. It had to do with Virginia Woolf's A Room of Ones' Own, a piece I knew like the back of my hand. The contest called for lesson plans based on Room; easy! Right! Wrong! Though I had taught, read, studied, written about, viewed, and reviewed Room dozens of times, my mind went blank. I couldn't come up with anything, and got cold and hot at the same time just thinking about it. This wasn't just a case of writers block; it was mind block. I had forgotten everything. THE ROUTINE as I called the daily grind for me had eaten up my writing capabilities. Why? I thought I was washed up, done, before I'd even started. My unfinished manuscripts called to me; I couldn't answer. I looked around at the "writing stations" I had tried to carve out for myself, the bedroom desk piled with reference books, the living room computer station, my trusty lap desks, the writing board I used at my parents, even my old 386 comptuer at my parents. Nothing called to me. It was a challenge just trying to get the right writing atmosphere. Then it hit me; I needed just to write. Anywhere. On anything. There was no magic room, or pen. Like many writers, I dreamed of being The Madwoman in the Attic, with my own vintage rolltop desk, and a laptop, and file cabinets for all my carefully sorted manuscripts. My pencils would always be sharp, but the sharpener would never be far behind. I would have inspiration words written all over the attic, the way Anne Rice wrote words on her study walls in the house on First Street. I would have writing costumes, my first editions and signed books nearby, my reference books and dissertation research all handy. And, if this fantasy realy took hold of me, I would never write. I took Woolf's title too much to heart; she didn't literally mean a "room" when she penned A Room of One's Own. She meant finding time to write and the courage to seize the moment. So I took a page from Barbara Pym's book, and like her, I started to carry around little notebooks for ideas. I wrote words I liked, ideas, character skteches. Sometimes I taped in things I cout out. I started stories and novels. I keep these little books and go back to them. They keep me from losing good thoughs and ideas. If I really don't have a little book handy, I jot notes in caledars, on margins, on scraps I tear off of envelopes and napkins, and on PostIts. I tend to keep my PostIts, usually in pretty tins. I've put them together like puzzles to create entire essays, sort of a literary Mah Jong. The little notes helped. So did getting my Netbook, pink and cute as it is. Now, I could write anywhere, and I do. I make my inspiration and materials portable. I like to write outside on my patio on quiet days, when it is cool enough to be comfortable but sunny enough to see. I write on a wooden TV tray in my living room, surrounded by all my books, collections, family photos and things I love. Sometimes, when it is very hot, I go downstairs to the carpeted hallway of my basement, and set up said TV tray and my favorite green camp chair. It is a good place to edit, and to find solitude. I write in cafes and coffee houses; usually I work on longer projects there, and maybe bookmark Internet research. Libraries are OK; but I'm usually there to do research, or to browse their salesrooms. It seems harder to concentrate in libraries for me. I could only study productively in my law school library. To this day, I couldn't say why. I also work on several projects at once; I read for one, edit one, research for one, write a draft, write a chapter. This keeps me fresh, and sometimes one project informs another, or reminds me of what I need to do an another. Because my mind is occupied with new and various things, I don't get stuck or bored. I also blog. Some writers warn us away from blogging; they say it is a way to waste time, when we should be turning out a manuscript. Form e, it is a warm up exercise. My ideas are born in blogs; some are tried out as excerpts on my blogs. I also like to read blogs to get ideas; sources may need to be checked, but the writing is fresh, honest, written by someone who cares. Blogs give me confidence. I can see who is reading them, and as the number of viewers grows, so does my sense of accomplishment. So, I write everhwere. When I can. On a lot of things. The world is now my "room." That dreamy space in the attic? If I ever get it, I'll use it for sleeping.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

No Fond Return of Love

From my dear friend FK, who is a true fan of Miss Pym:

"I thought I disliked No Fond Return of Love and so have never re-read it til now. I loved it and laughed out loud several times. And I like how meta- it is: references (nameless of course) to Pym the novelist herself, appearances by many of her other characters, characters (mostly but not only Dulcie) reading novels..."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Abide with Me- Women Writers on Grief

One of the original 49 tips was to be spiritual, however you define that term. Having read Elizabeth Strout's Abide with Me, I have to say that I found a quote or two that expressed what I felt when I first wrote that tip over 3 years ago. Here they are; The first gives us permission to grieve, and to realize that sometimes, there simply is no closure. I understand that. I grieve still for my Uncle George, killed at 30 in an accident, 40 years ago this June. For so many others, too, for Janet, my 14 Year old friend, who survived so much, do die in a car crash. For my mother, I'll never stop. I wait everyday for something to change, to come home to find her waiting for me. And I know, that as long as I live, I'll never see her again. She lives in memory with me, always. I wasn't always a good daughter, and we didn't have the smoothest relationship, but she loved, truly loved me. I was like her in many ways, and I look like her, and that is a compliment to myself. I sound like her, ail like her, enjoy much of what she did. Yet, she was unique, and brave, and smart, really smart. Everyday, she is with me, but just out of reach. Read below what Strout says; it sums it up-- "Anyone who has ever grieved knows that grieving carries with it a tremendous wear and tear to the body itself, never mind the soul. Loss is an assault; a certain exhustion,as astrong as the pull of hte moon on the tides, needs to be allocated for eventually" (283). I got sick the week she died; I had bronchitis off and on, and other things, through July of that year. My athritic hands developed over that time, and I have full blown asthma. Like she did. There is something to this. And: "Do you imagine that the scientist and the poet ar enot united? Do you assume you can answer the question of who we are and why we are here by rational thought alone? It is your job, your honor, your birthright, to bear the burden of this mystery." I'll fix my typos later.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Robin Throne's Novel Her Kind: a Guest Post

Debut novel fictionalizes the lost great river village of Parkhurst, Iowa Thank you to the incomparable Dr. Ellen for allowing me to share some thoughts about the historical research behind my debut novel, Her Kind, released last month by 918studio. Her Kind is a fictional account of the settlement of the real-life, lost great river village of Parkhurst, Ia., now part of Le Claire (voted one of the “2013 coolest small towns in America” by BudgetTravel). LeClaire historian, Dorothy Lage, first chronicled a narrative history of this eclectic river town with her self-published manuscript, LeClaire, Iowa: A Mississippi River Town (1976). In it, she characterized the attractiveness and functionality of Pau-pesha-tuk, the agitated waters of the big river, a series of rapids that drew some of Iowa’s first settlers after the Blackhawk Treaty of 1832, and later rapids pilots before the lock and dam system tamed this tumultuous stretch of river. The diverse blend of cultures, personalities and vocations led to the establishment of an even earlier set of communities that thrived along this unique stretch of the big river border of LeClaire Township, Scott County, Ia. Lage’s interpretation of the LeClaire oral histories said Eleazor Parkhurst, Iowa immigrant and native of Massachusetts, crossed the river and arrived in Iowa in 1834 from Port Byron, Ill. (est. 1828), and purchased an existing log cabin and 180-acre land claim on the Iowa side of the big river that had been built earlier that year by George Harlan. See this home on LeClaire’s River Pilots Self-Guided Tour. Although reports differ, Parkhurst had arrived to a community of somewhere between 500-1000 Sac natives that resided along this stretch of the river after relocation from their Illinois village of Saukenuk under President Jackson’s 1830 Indian Removal Act. Prior to the Homestead Act of 1862, that clarified property claim rights in the new states and territories, earlier land acquisition claims in the LeClaire area of the Iowa district of the Wisconsin Territory were handled by the Dubuque land office. Parkhurst extended his Iowa land grant west and north along the big river in LeClaire Township, some accounts say as long as two miles, settled the first farm, and built a house from native stone and stucco in 1842. Eleazor Parkhurst then convinced his brothers, Sterling and Waldo, to join him in the Iowa district, and his post office application was approved in 1836 establishing the village of Parkhurst. That same year, Sterling and Thomas C. Eads, who had purchased a portion of Sterling’s property, jointly began to plat out the town of Parkhurst. Surveyors making the original survey of the Black Hawk Purchase in 1837 recorded finding this town in section 85, LeClaire Township, and said it was prospering. Prior to the official Parkhurst plat, another topographer made his way through the Iowa district in 1835 and came across the early Parkhurst settlement. Lieutenant Albert M. Lea (namesake of Albert Lea, Minn.) had this to say about Parkhurst in his self-published work that led to the official state name of Iowa: Of this place, not yet laid out, it is sufficient to say that the site is beautiful, the landing good, building material convenient, and the back country fine. There is nothing wanting to make it a town but the people and the houses, and these will soon be there. Its position at the end of the Rapids will throw a little more trade and storage there then it would otherwise have. A good deal of trade of the Wabesapinica will find a port at Parkhurst; and many persons, emigrating from Illinois and the Lakes, will pass by this route (p. 39). Lea’s book was later reprinted in 1935 by the State Historical Society of Iowa and renamed, The Book that Gave Iowa its Name. In 1839, the Parkhurst post office was renamed Berlin, and Lage and others have noted that this may have been due to the influx of German immigrants within that period. In 1845, the name was changed back to Parkhurst and in 1847, the post office became LeClaire, and the village of Parkhurst became the Parkhurst addition. Get Robin Throne’s Her Kind, a novel free from Kindle April 5-7! She is the recipient of the 2013 David R. Collins Literary Achievement Award, and see why Her Kind readers are giving 5-stars at GoodReads!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Excellent Women, Anne Sexton, and a Doll; Her Kind

918studio releases Throne fiction debut: Her Kind LECLAIRE, IOWA — March 18, 2013 — 918studio announced today the release of a debut novel from author, professor, and small press publisher, Robin Throne. Her Kind, a novel was inspired by Anne Sexton's famous poem of the same name, and is an epistolary novel of an unassuming matriarch who chronicles a family migration from England to the new England to Iowa, and the settlement of the lost river village of Parkhurst (now part of historic Le Claire). Throne was also named the recipient of the fourth David R. Collins' Literary Achievement Award March 16 at the Midwest Writing Center's Literary Banquet at the Outing Club in Davenport. Past recipients have included notable local authors, Sean Leary, Michael McCarty, and Connie Corcoran Wilson. Her Kind, a novel is available for purchase at the Midwest Writing Center, Artswork in Le Claire, The Book Rack in Davenport and Moline, Book World in Southpark Mall, and Prairie Lights in Iowa City. The Kindle version is available from Amazon.com. Past releases from 918studio have included Nancy Ann Schaefer's In Search of Lode (2012), The Legend of Tug Fest and other LeClaire Ghost Stories (2012), Jane VanVooren Rogers' How to avoid being and other paths to Triumph (2011), and Ellen Tsagaris' Sappho, I should have listened (2011). For more about 918studio, visit www.918studio.net

Sunday, March 17, 2013

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: The Laugh of the Medusa and Erzebet Bathory

Below is an editorial from my blog on Erzebet Bathory Medusa the Gorgon.  Two not-so excellent women, yet maybe more excellent than we know.

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: The Laugh of the Medusa and Erzebet Bathory: Of Medusa:   Medusa is of course, the Greek myth’s female monster with wings, scaly body and claws, and snakes for hair.   She is morta...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Letters and Infamous Ladies in a Dandelion Garden

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Letters and Infamous Ladies in a Dandelion Garden: The Private Letters of Erzebet Báthory by Kimberly Craft   Infamous Lady by Kimberly Craft   Dandelions in the Garden by Charlie C...

A Study of Marmee

Marmee and Louisa, The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and her Mother by Eve La Ҏlante. Free press  Illustrated 368 pages.


My Heart is Boundless: Writings of Abigail May Alcott, Louisa’s Mother Ed. by Eve La Ҏlante. 250 pages..


It is telling that the author must include in the second book the subtitle, “Louisa’s Mother”, for many of us do not know the real name of the beloved Marmee of Little Women.


Brenda Wineaṕṕle reviews both books for the NY Times Review of Books, Dec. 23, 2012. 


Both books address the role of Marmee as breadwinner, an  “excellent woman” who takes on the role of head of household while her “feckless” transcendentalist husband Bronson engages in one money losing scheme after another.  But, we who read LW know this; Mr. Alcott is the ultimate absent father, though Alcott  chooses to soften his irresponsibility by sending him to the Civil War to end is a prisoner of the confederates.


According to the reviewer,  both books address the role of mothers to women, especially historical authors, which is often overlooked.  Alcott is more often described as the daughter of “Bronson Alcott,” and not as the daughter of Abigail May Alcott, just as the role of Rev. Bronte is emphasized in biographies of Charlotte, Anne, and Emily.   Abigail Alcott was in her own right an important woman, from a good Bostonian Family, who “married down” and who learned poverty first hand from her husband,  who described himself as “an Idea without Hands,” and who declared “Sacrifices must be made.”  In other words, as Wineaṕṕle and  La Ҏlante. Point out, the sacrifices were all Marmees.   Also, as both indicate, it is possible to read between the lives in LW and other Alcott books to see the frustration, rivalry and resentment of the women involved.   As Abigail is to have said, “Woman lives her thoughts; Man speculates about it” 


Abigail chose two wrestle the Angel of the House by beating her at her own game.  She took in all kinds of work, all within the gender expectations  for women of the day, but fruitful nevertheless.  Abigail kept the family going; she, not Bronson headed the family.  She was an excellent woman that was art tea brewer in a crisis, and art warrior woman.


For those of us who have lost our mothers, and who realizes their importance in our lives, and the void, because no one loves us, likes us, or does things for us as our mothers did, the life of Abigail Alcott is particularly poignant and significant.






Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: I will be Back; Finishing a Book

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: I will be Back; Finishing a Book: So, I will return, as my Gen. Macarthur doll might say. LOL!. More musings, and then a very brief hiatus. The competition factor involved ...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

News About Mary Ingalls

Maybe this was the same type of bran fever that cost Helen Keller her sight and hearing. Little House, Fans, see below: February 5, 2013 (CHICAGO) -- Any fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved ''Little House'' books knows how the author's sister Mary Ingalls went blind: scarlet fever. But that probably wasn't the cause, medical experts say, upending one of the more dramatic elements in the classic stories. An analysis of historical documents, biographical records and other material suggests another disease that causes swelling in the brain and upper spinal cord was the most likely culprit. It was known as "brain fever" in the late 1800s, the setting for the mostly true stories about Wilder's pioneer family. Scarlet fever was rampant and feared at the time, and it was likely often misdiagnosed for other illnesses that cause fever, the researchers said. Wilder's letters and unpublished memoir, on which the books are based, suggest she was uncertain about her sister's illness, referring to it as "some sort of spinal sickness." And a registry at an Iowa college for blind students that Mary attended says "brain fever" caused her to lose her eyesight, the researchers said. They found no mention that Mary Ingalls had a red rash that is a hallmark sign of scarlet fever. It's caused by the same germ that causes strep throat. It is easily treated with antibiotics that didn't exist in the 1800s and is no longer considered a serious illness. Doctors used to think blindness was among the complications, but that's probably because they misdiagnosed scarlet fever in children who had other diseases, said study author Dr. Beth Tarini, a pediatrician and researcher at the University of Michigan. Her study appears online Monday in Pediatrics. It's the latest study offering a modern diagnosis for a historical figure. Others subjected to revisionists' microscope include Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, composer Wolfgang Mozart and Abraham Lincoln. Tarini said as a girl she was a fan of the "Little House" books and wanted to research Mary Ingalls' blindness ever since scarlet fever came up during a medical school discussion. "I raised my hand and said, 'Scarlet fever can make you go blind, right?'" The instructor hesitated and responded, "I don't think so." The disease that Mary Ingalls probably had is called meningoencephalitis (muh-NING-go-en-sef-ah-LY-tis). It can be caused by bacteria and treated with antibiotics, but Tarini said it's likely she had the viral kind, which can be spread by mosquitoes and ticks. The viral disease is fairly common today, particularly in summer months and can cause fever, headaches and sometimes seizures, said Dr. Buddy Creech, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. Affected children typically require hospitalization but lasting effects are uncommon, Creech said. Still, blindness can occur if the disease affects the optic nerve, and it's entirely possible that Mary Ingalls had the condition, he said. Historian William Anderson, author of Laura Ingalls Wilder biography, said various theories about Mary Ingalls' blindness have been floating around for years. The new analysis provides credible evidence that it was caused by something other than scarlet fever, but it does nothing to discredit the books, Anderson said. "From a literary standpoint, scarlet fever just seemed to be the most convenient way" to describe Mary's illness, he said.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Doll Museum: The Early 19th Century

Doll Museum: The Early 19th Century: Early dolls of this era come in many varieites. Materials include carton, wax, and wood covered in gesso. Some of the so called Queen Anne ...

Friday, January 25, 2013

2011 Jane Eyre

I finally was able to watch my DVD of this film. It was beautifully staged, and the great country houses were designed impeccably. Judi Dench made a great Mrs. Fairfax, yet there was a lot of dialog added to her character, including some "literary" criticism we addressed in my bachelors English program courses on Bronte. These were to the effect hat Jane was reaching above her station. There were also a few scenes of Rochester and Jane smooching to the watching servants' great disapproval. Didnt' happen. My problem is that Brontes' dialog is effective enough without throwing in a little Cliff's notes lingo for those who might be watching the film instead of reading the book to satisfy a lit credit. Rochester was credible, though at the end, the "Maimed, noble, lion-like Rochester" looked more like a skid row derelict than a blinded Samson. I think the same child played young Jane and Adele. There were crucial scenes left out, the lightening struck tree, The Fortune Teller, Jane hearing Rochester call her name, scenes with Betsey early on, and scenes that showed the keen intellect of Helen Burns. Miss Temple was nowhere to be found at Lowood, and Jane's painting with the Comorant holding the drowned corpse's bracelet in its beak was missing. Bertha was very Erzebet Bathory, not "rageous" so much as wronged, angry, lovely in a Vampire sort of way, and cognizantly jealous. We did not get to see her trying on Jane's veil, as Jean Marsh does so eerily in the George C. Scott version, my favorite of all. Grace Poole and her spooky laughter were also missing I enjoyed the film, but it could have been more faithful. The burned doll, pictured on this blog, was effecitve, and the dollhouse was magnificent. I would have trusted Bronte a little more, and been a little truer to the plot. For more critical papers of JE in general, see the blog, Bronteana.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Jane Eyre 2011

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Jane Eyre 2011: I was finally able to see this version of JE; Bertha Mason, the "vampire" madwoman in the attic who is Mr. Rochester's first wife, was playe...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: A Recipe Book

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: A Recipe Book: Good Morning! I am writing/compiling a recipe/craft/puzzle book to sell as a fundraiswer for my school club. We sponsor local charities, c...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show; From Excellent Women to Feminine Mystique

I love Samantha, and the way she took control of any any situation; I loved the BW episode where Endora meets Darrin, and she lectures him on preventing Samantha from being herself and practicing witchcraft. Of course, even though Endora is cast as the villain, Samantha defies everyone, and stil uses witchcraft. Samantha, Jeannie, Lucy, Laura Petire, and even Mary Richards all seem to have extraordinary natures that do not jive with the feminine mystique of their time. They are excellent women with unusual and amazing skills, but they can't use them. Poor Lucy has great ideas, but is always doing "splaining," and in one episode, she and Lucy are ridculed and reprimanded for demanding Equal Rights as women. And, there were women writers, producers, and creators, Lucille Ball herself, involved in what has been voted as the best sitcom every. Jeannie knows better than Tony, and could prevent a lot of disasters, but if "Master" tells her not to, she can't do it. Mr. Grant tells Mary she has spunk, but that he hates spunk. Laura Petrie is talented and capable, as is Sally Rogers the writer, but Laura dissovles into Rob's masculine arms with "OOH, Rob!" when things get too touch, and the multialented Sally is reduced to joking and prowling around for a man. Don't get me wrong; these are among my all time favorite TV shoes, but after reading Friedan's "Mystique," I can't help but see that she is right, despite any exceptions that anyone carved out for themselves. Like Pym's excellent women, they are doomed to making tea or its equivalent, giving parties, and making the men in their lives feel smarter and more authoritative than they really are. Your thoughts?

Panetone Quilting

From today's Quilters World Newlsetter: At the beginning of 2012, Pantone announced its color of the year, Tangerine Tango. If you remember, I challenged our readers and myself to use that color to create something. Well, I did. Just that challenge was all it took for me to find time and do what I really love to do. I created an original quilt based on a color. I started by sketching out my ideas on paper. I played with themes, blocks, anything I thought would look nice in orange, but the more I tried the less I had. Finally, I went back to what I truly love. What I do best with fabric is translate color, contrast and texture into what I draw. Fabric is my paint. So once I decided what to quilt, it became easy. Once the concept for the Tangerine Tango orange was determined and the sketches complete, I moved on to the rest of the fabric selection. This is the part I love most. With the fabrics selected and the inspiration still fresh in mind, I began to lay out and fuse my fabrics. I worked on my quilt when I found a bit of extra time. There were times, through the year, when my project just sat. Life and obligations do get in the way. I made sure it was in plain sight in my studio so it wasn't forgotten. There were times when all I had time to do was ponder. I took notes. The final push I needed was the idea to enter it in the Quiltcon International Quilt Show in Austin, Texas. Once I decided to enter it, I had to finish it, and that's what I did. I haven't entered any of my quilts in a competition in some time, and I don't know if it will win anything, but I definitely feel terrific about what I have accomplished this year. I've decided I am going to do the same thing this year. Pantone's Color of the Year for 2013 is Emerald. What can I do with it? Hmmmm. Want to play along? I also recommend Jennifer Cheverini's novels on quilters.