Saturday, March 17, 2018

#TheBookofMe: What (or who) do you miss most?

The question reminds me of the old saw: "Of everything I've lost, I miss my mind the most."

Well, I haven't lost my mind.  Yet.

I have lost so many people in my lifetime -- my father, my grandma, my aunt, my mother, my brother, friends -- that I miss them all, and don't want to single out just one of them.

I miss my health; it has pretty much gone away, though I still get around.  I don't get around as much as I used to, of course.  We all suffer from that.  But just walking a couple blocks this week in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., where our nephew lives, was a real challenge.  I also did a lot of standing around, and a lot of sitting.  I went up to Washington for the launch of the website of the huge Spanish Colonial Florida database project I've been contributing to.  It was a wonderful launch, and a bunch of us went out to eat afterward, and had big fun.

I miss a lot of people less than I used to, because I'm back in touch with them on Facebook.  I'm especially happy to be in touch with my cousins, though we lost one of our number a couple years ago. 

I miss the ability to travel more and be more adaptable to different environments.  No more camping or hiking, or even taking long walks, because of arthritis.

I miss mountains, because I live in Florida.  I was born in California, and lived there as a child.  I like mountains. 

I miss our boat, because we had such fun with it.  We even were members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary for a few years, and used our boat in a number of search and rescue missions, patrols, and training exercises.  That was terrific fun!

I'm not sure there's much more I miss.  I have so much now.  My husband, our kids, our grandson, our kitty-cat, my historical research.  I stay occupied, so I don't have time to think about what I miss enough to be in any way despondent about it.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

#TheBookofMe What Do You Dislike?

What do I dislike?




People who cheat other people.



Hot weather.




Unkind people, whether to other people or to animals.

Bad writing.

Bad drivers.

Most popular music.

Most current television programs.

People with no sense of humor.  (Never trust such people.)

Gummy anything.

#thebookofme What Do You Collect?

I know, it's March already, but I'm going to catch up on The Book of Me by posting my response to the last two of the February prompts today.  I've been really busy!

So -- What do I collect?

Dust.  Not much of a joke.  We have a lot of dust in our house.  I keep telling my husband it's his powder, a necessity in this humid climate, but he insists it isn't.  I keep thinking I oughta spend some money and take a sample to a lab for analysis.

Frogs.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have collected frogs.  Only then, in my childhood, I collected real frogs!  I would gather tadpoles (which actually turned out to be toads, not frogs) in a nearby stream and watch them turn into frogs.  It was fascinating.  That is one of the things that has sparked my lifelong lay person's interest in science.  Once the tadpoles metamorphosed, I would liberate them in the back yard, where they were happy in the damp patches in the lawn.  After I grew up, I collected ceramic frogs and wooden frogs and plushy frogs.  I have quite a collection now.  My grandson has inventoried them.  He even made frogs for me in art camp.  Here is one of them.  You can tell that the art camp was at a museum of modern art!

Books.  Well, I would not really call myself a book collector.  I don't collect first editions or rare books or anything like that.  I can't afford that indulgence.  I collect books in the sense of having a houseful!  I have had to classify them by the Dewey Decimal System!  My studies as a historian has prompted me to build quite a library of books on Spain and Spanish colonial Florida. 

At one time, I had quite a collection of Star Trek memorabilia, but I have had to pare that down.  My three categories of collecting are "Necessary, Nice, and Nuts."  When I divested myself of many of my Star Trek items, my priority became the "Nuts" items.  They're just such fun.

State Universities (of Florida).  I joke that I am collecting state universities, having attended three different institutions in the state university system of Florida.  In the 1960s, I attended Florida State University, earning a bachelor's degree in Government and a master's in library science.  I worked as a librarian for a while, and enjoyed it.  That dried up in the recesion of the early 1970s.  After a lifetime of doing this and that while concentrating on raising a family, I finally went back to college at the age of 60, at the University of North Florida.  After that, I went for another master's degree at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.  Not sure if I'm going to be adding to this collection.

And, of course, as a genealogist, I collect dead relatives!  Only, these days, as I study the families of St. Augustine, Florida, during the second period of Spanish possession, I'm collecting a whale of a lot of other people's relatives, while neglecting my own.  Kinda like the shoemaker whose kids go without shoes.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

#TheBookofMe: What Do You Read?

When I was a kid, my aunt would give me books to read, but I seldom enjoyed them.  I guess it was rather like being assigned a book in a school class -- you never like them, no matter how good they really are.  An example of that is To Kill a Mockingbird.  I read it when I was about 14, voluntarily, and enjoyed it immensely.  My daughters, when they were about the same age, were assigned to read it in school, and they hated it.  It's the idea of lack of choice, I think, that makes these really good books come off not to our liking.

Anyway, in high school, I did not read much until the eleventh grade.  In my high school, the English teachers would require us to keep a file, and write the names of books we had read, whether for an assignment or on our own time, on the inside of the folder.  In tenth grade, I may have had ten books written down on the inside of my folder at the end of the year.

Over the summer, some sort of switch got turned on, and I started reading like a possessed person.  During my junior year, I had read so many books that I had the inside of my English folder covered on front and back, and in the margins as well!

So what do I read?  My first inspiration to begin that eleventh-grade reading binge was Ray Bradbury.  I read all of him I could get hold of, then moved on to Isaac Asimov.  I read in other genres, too.  I read Steinbeck.  I devoured everything he ever published.  Then it was Hemingway and Faulkner.  I read all of their books, too.  I read Adela Rogers St. John, the newspaper reporter.  My favorite of hers is her autobiography, The Honeycomb.  I got into mysteries, and read all of Agatha Christie.  I tended to prefer cozies to the hard-boiled detective stories of Raymond Chandler and the like.  I also read several excellent biographies.

Of course, I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy when they came out.  At that time, I was in college at Florida State University.  It was during that time that I also got into the ancient Greeks, reading a goodly portion each of Aristophanes, Euripides, Aeschylus, and some others.

Childbearing years had my reading in a different direction -- such as Where the Wild Things Are, The Velveteen Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, and other great children's literature.  There wasn't much time for adult reading during that time!

I tended to lose interest in science fiction about the time cyberpunk became the thing.  I just couldn't sympathize with the troubled, distant, odd protagonists.  I still retained my interest in mysteries, however, and found enjoyment reading Patricia Cornwell and Lawrence Sanders.

From my youth also, I began reading about history.  I had a subscription for many years to American Heritage magazine, back from the days when it was published in hardback into their paperback years.  Just a year or so ago, I finally re-homed my collection of American Heritage, giving them to an American History teacher friend of mine.

What do I read now?  A great deal of my reading today, of course, is focused on Spain and her colonies, especially La Florida.  I also enjoy another set of cozy mysteries, the wonderful stories of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, written by Alexander McCall Smith.  Our whole family went on a seven-book binge when J. K. Rowling started publishing her Harry Potter stories.  We read every one of them, and enjoyed them. 

I also have been reading books written by friends of mine from an online writing group I've been a member of for over thirty years!  It is because of that bunch that I have two books of my own in print.  And a cousin of mine has just published her first mystery, so that is on my very long To-Read Queue.