Thursday, June 30, 2016

Charlene Raddon asks about Button




The button—with its self-contained roundness and infinite variability—has a quiet perfection to it. Running a cascade of buttons through your fingers feels satisfyingly heavy, like coins or candy; their clicking whoosh and blur of colors lull you. A button packs an extraordinary amount of information about a given time and place—its provenance—onto a crowded little canvas. Children learn to button and unbutton early in life, and they keep doing it until they’re dead.

The earliest known button, according Ian McNeil in An Encyclopedia of the History of Technology,"was originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening, the earliest known being found at Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley [now Pakistan]. It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old." Early buttons like these usually consisted of a decorative flat face that fit into a loop. (Reinforced buttonholes weren’t invented until the mid-13th century). Percent% Buttons in this period almost never appeared in straight rows, but were used singly as sartorial flourishes.

Along with brooches, buckles, and straight pins, buttons were used in ancient Rome as decorative closures for flowing garments. However, none of these options worked perfectly. Pins poked unsightly holes into precious fabrics. Supporting yards of cloth at a single point required buttons of architectural heft, made of bone, horn, bronze or wood. Some designs took the functional pressure off buttons by knotting the fabric securely into position, then topping off the look with a purely ornamental button.

(Incidentally, as a button alternative, Mycenaeans of the Roman era invented the fibula, a surprisingly modern forerunner to our safety pin. This design was lost with them until it re-emerged in mid-19th century America.)
The button became more prominent among the wealthy in the Middle Ages.  “About the middle of the eleventh century,” writes Carl Köhler in A History of Costume, “clothes began to be made so close-fitting that they followed the lines of the body from shoulders to hips like a glove.” Buttons helped that snug fit along. This didn’t mean clothes were cut more sparingly; wealthy people still liked the costly display of excess fabric. But, on both men’s clothes and women’s, buttons helped accentuate lovely lines, of the arm, say, or the bosom.
Spanish metal button dating from about 1650 to 1675.
Spanish metal button dating from about 1650 to 1675.
Courtesy Button Country.









The first button-makers guild formed in France in 1250. Still regarded as less-than-functional jewelry, buttons were so prized that sumptuary laws restricted their use. Books, Banks, Buttons and Other Inventions from the Middle Ages by Chiara Frugoni relates how, in a period tale, a magistrate quizzed a woman overly bedecked in buttons.
Buttons came in all shapes and sizes, but most often they were mounted on a shank; you ran thread through the shank’s hole to attach the button to fabric. Unlike modern buttons with their iconic four-square holes, the shank style left the button’s face totally free: a tiny blank canvas one could cover, carve, polish, or paint with luxurious abandon.

The medieval period was the era when wearing lots of buttons meant big money. Franco Jacassi, reputedly the world’s biggest button-collector, describes this as a time when you could pay off a debt by plucking a precious button from your suit. Italians still describe the rooms where powerful leaders meet as stanze dei bottoni, “rooms of the buttons.”

On women’s clothes particularly, buttons traced the body’s lines in suggestive ways, making clothes tight in all the right places or offering up intriguing points of entry. Along with ribbons, laces or bows, buttons were often used on detachable sleeves, a fad that ran from the 13th to 15th centuries. These sleeves could be easily swapped between outfits and laundered whenever they got dirty. Courtiers might accept an unbuttoned sleeve from a lady as a love token, or wave sleeves in jubilation at a jousting tourney.
18th Century buttons.
18th century buttons, courtesy Button Country
After the Renaissance in Europe, buttons—along with many other things—became increasingly baroque, then rococo. Among the more extreme examples were “habitat” buttons, built to contain keepsakes like dried flowers, hair cuttings or tiny insects under glass. Hollowed-out smuggler buttons allowed thieves to transport jewels and other booty secretly. (This tradition of buttons-for-crime resurfaced in a heroin-smuggling attempt in 2009.)     

Ornate buttoning among the wealthy required some help. Around this era is when buttons migrated to different sides of a shirt for men and women. Men usually donned their own shirts, so their buttons faced right for their convenience. Women with ladies’ maids wore their buttons on the left, to make it easier for the maids to maneuver while facing them.

George Washington’s 1789 inauguration gave the world its first political button. Made of copper, brass or Sheffield plate, these buttons could close a pair of breeches or a jacket while simultaneously announcing the wearer’s politics. Political buttons took on a more recognizably modern (and less functional) shape during Lincoln’s 1864 re-election campaign. (View 150 years of political buttons here.)
Campaign button for Abraham Lincoln, 1864.
A Campaign button for Abraham Lincoln
Poorer folks wore buttons, too, but they had to craft them laboriously by hand. In Colonial America until the early 20thcentury, working-class families counted themselves lucky if they owned a hand-held button-mold. You heated up the mold in a bed of hot coals, then filled it with molten lead or pewter, which set into a button shape. The sturdy metal buttons could then be covered with fabric or other embellishments.

Extra buttons made at home could also be sold, which meant button-making could be hellish piecework. Playwright Henrik Ibsen channeled his own awful memories of home button-molding in a pivotal scene in Peer Gynt. Sent to fetch Gynt’s soul, the Button-Moulder explains how the very good and very bad go to heaven and hell, but the middling-good are “merged in the mass” and poured into purgatory, an undifferentiated molten stream from the Button-Moulder’s ladle.

Button-making was mercifully accelerated with the Industrial Revolution. An 1852 article from Household Words, a journal edited by Charles Dickens, marvels at the latter-day miracle that was automated button-manufacturing. The writer describes how engravers cut steel dies into the latest fashionable shape, while women and children stamped out pasteboard and cloth to cover the buttons by machine. Another machine stamped out the four holes that had become prevalent for men’s dress-shirt buttons, while another was used to “counter-sink” the button, pressing its center to form a raised outer ridge. (It’s this four-hole flat button that we regard as its iconic shape today.)

rash of button patents during this period protected nearly every aspect of button-making, from manufacturing methods for glass or mother-of-pearl buttons, cheaper wire buttons, even improvements to button display cards for sale.
Black glass buttons.
Black glass buttons courtesy Button Country
With the growing number of actual buttons came a parallel growth in button metaphors in everyday speech. The OED lists several, dating from the late 1800s to the early 20th century: “to take by the buttons” is to detain someone in conversation; “dash my buttons!” is an epithet of surprised vexation; “to have a soul above buttons” indicated someone employed in a profession unworthy of them; those who “have all their buttons” enjoy sound intellect, while those who are “a button short” do not.



This grand democratization didn’t stem the tide of expensive ornamental buttons. Victorian “Tussie-Mussie” buttons pictured tiny bouquets whose flowers held symbolic messages. Queen Victoria donned mourning buttons of carved black jet upon her husband Albert’s death, kicking off a fashion among bereaved button-wearers throughout the Empire.

Once they became cheap enough to produce en masse, buttons by the hundreds lined most kinds of tight-fitting clothing, including shoes. (More buttons, closely spaced, gave the wearer the tightest fit.) In his book The Evolution of Useful Things, Henry Petroski explains how this profusion of buttons gave rise to a parallel problem: “Fingers were not a very effective tool for coaxing the crowded buttons through small buttonholes.”
An early 20th century art nouveau steel button hook with a sterling silver handle.
Early 20th century button hook

The solution? Buttonhooks, long crochethook-like devices used to draw buttons through holes rapidly. These evolved into various styles to accommodate different button sizes.

Tracing the body’s curves with increasing exactness, buttons have long equaled body consciousness. In the 20th century, button’s sexier  side came more overtly to the fore. Buttons, in other words, designate sites of vitality, embarrassment, and thrill. When told that a certain lady wouldn’t hurt a fly, Dorothy Parker retorted, “Not if it was buttoned up.” Gertrude Stein’s slim volume Tender Buttons (1914) is winkingly named after the clitoris. Electrical devices, newly introduced, often used flat-faced “buttons” to complete a circuit, giving rise to double entrendre phrases like “press all my buttons."
A fabric-printed garter button, used by flappers to hold up their newly-visible stockings.
Fabric-printed garter button used by flappers



Later in the century, buttons migrated as a metaphor from the mechanical world to the virtual one. Buttons now adorn screens big and small, promising to connect us to marvels with a single click. Steve Jobs said of the buttons on Apple’s touchscreens, “We made [them] look so good you'll want to lick them.”
images%2Fslides%2FMisc
Even though zippers entered the clothing-closure scene around the turn of the century, we still wear buttons today. Why? Reasons abound: Zippers can jam and warp or catch little children’s fingers. Velcro, another new-fangled closure, is too futuristic to be taken seriously. Hook-and-eyes and laces have their adherents, but their ubiquity is nowhere near that of the button.

Buttons, in short, offer everyday pleasures. Their little faces turn up agreeably, asking for personality to be impressed upon them. Buttoning oneself up is a slower, contemplative act; unbuttoning someone else, deliciously more so. Pressing buttons still delivers everything we love in the world to us. Why would we ever phase that out?




Charlene Raddon is a multi-published author of historical romance novels set in the American West. She is also a graphics designer.

http://charleneraddon.com
http://charleneraddon.blogspot.com
http://silversagebookcovers.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It Began with a Pinterest Board by Connie Vines

It began with a Pinterest Board titled Poodles, Poodles, and more Poodles.  

** All~ this is a re-post with updates, additions, and new pictures!  **

Yes you guessed it--the sub heading is "How I spent my Winter Vacation".

It started when I was outlining one of my YA novels.  With a writer, everything seems to revolve around the written word, and this story features a poodle.  I was the proud owner of a poodle when I was a pre-teen.  I groomed, trained, and adored my pet.  But it had been several decades since my ownership, so needed to gather additional information.  I knew AKC standards and European judging standards and acceptable markings and colors have been revised.  I realized a Pinterest board would serve me well.

I checked out books from the library. . .and soon Pinterest was recommending links, friends were sending me information.  It was very long until I realized I wanted a poodle.  As a rule I adopt rescue dogs.  However, my poodle was a pedigree with 22 champions in his ancestry.  And I do adore the show cuts.  I did not however, wish to raise a puppy.  So putting this aside I got down to the business of Winter vacation.

But you know how the law of attraction works. . .a friend made me snickerpoodle cookies. . .I was sent a link to adopt a pet.

And poof!  A family member asked me if I'd like a poodle-mix?

Could you say no to such a little sweetie?  

I named her Chanel, after my favorite perfume.  Her mama. a white poodle was betrothed until a Romeo of a brown dachshund swept her off her paws!  

If you find yourself blessed with a puppy.

Be prepared.

Be flexible.

And learn to type with a puppy sitting in you lap.



Two pounds of puppy equals five hours of energy before a recharge (nap) is required.

Readers, are you dog fanciers?  Do you enjoy novels featuring pets?  feel free to send a comment.

Did you know there are doggie boutiques?

I thought I was bordering overspending when I bargain shopped at store especially for animals.
Then I drove past a store featuring pet accessories (no, I did not go inside) of crowns and tiaras.

Thank you everyone for stopping by.  Please stop by again to read Ginger's and Lynda's posts also.

Happy Reading! 

Connie Vines

Chanel after her 1st grooming.  Lovin' her bandanna!


Chanel is revving up for the 'poodle' dance--perhaps nest time.
It was 100 degrees when this was taken here in SoCal several days ago.  Chanel is 7 now months old. She also had her 1st play day too.
I must admit she looks adorable when groomed, but is miss the 'poodle' waves.

No longer a lap sitter when I write.  Chanel is either wrapped around my ankles, or draped for my shoulder like an 8 lb. furry stole.

Have a wonderful 4th of July celebration (here in the USA).  I wish the all of my international readers and followers of' Dishin' It Out' a wonderful day.

Connie












Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Naked and Afraid

www.laurirobinson.blogspot.com


When I first heard about the show a couple of years ago, my first impression was along the lines of you’ve got to be kidding. Now, I have to admit, I end my weekend by watching the latest episode on Sunday night. I am amazed by the courage of these people. They agree to strip themselves of everything except their knowledge in order to survive in a strange and often hostile environment, with a person they’ve never met.  

These people have to forge out food and shelter, and some come up with very creative ways to make clothing or cover themselves. They also have to learn how to get along, negotiate, learn new skills, and depend upon each other. At times personalities clash, ideas fail, and accidents happen. 

Within the short span of an hour, including commercials, I find myself liking people I didn’t think I would have during the opening scenes, saddened by some I’d thought would succeed and didn’t, and rooting for a successful extraction for those who have forged their way through twenty-one days. 

In many ways, this is the closest I’ll ever be to watching anything close to the nitty-gritty of the American pioneers who sold everything, packed up and headed for the Wild West. Though many traveled in groups and/or with wagon trains, and they weren’t naked, I can imagine many of the pioneers were afraid. They had brought along a few basic necessities, but ultimately, when they eventually arrived at their destination, which was often a chunk of virgin land, they had little but their knowledge and skill to survive the fast approaching winter. It couldn’t have been easy, and they certainly didn’t have a camera crew they could appeal to for medical help or a ride home when the going got too rough. The raw basics of human nature had to be the same. The will to survive. The determination. The joy of successes and the heart-wrenching disappointment of failure. 

There’s my confession, or maybe it’s my justification for watching a show I first scoffed at. Either way, I watch Naked and Afraid, and will continue to. 

My next release will be June 1st. The heroine in Her Cheyenne Warrior is close to being naked and most certainly afraid when Black Horse scoops her out of the middle of the river in Wyoming.

The Cheyenne's captive! 
Runaway heiress Lorna Bradford must reach California to claim her fortune, but when she's rescued from robbers by fierce warrior Black Horse, she's forced to remain under his protection. 
Immersed in a world so different from her own, wildcat Lorna learns how to be the kind of strong woman Black Horse needs. But, to stay by his side, she must first let go of everything she knows and decide to seize this chance for happiness with her Cheyenne warrior!

Robinson’s talent for period detail shines in her newest stand-alone novel, and the author’s dare to go retro with the classic “Englishwoman vs. Indian chief” plot might just revive an entire sub-genre. Mildly sexy and thoroughly engaging, this tale of broken hearts allowing love in once more is a guaranteed HEA. RT REVIEWS- See more at: http://www.rtbookreviews.com/book-review/her-cheyenne-warrior#sthash.uBAdv9Wf.dpuf




Monday, June 27, 2016

Independence Day




So, it’s almost the 4th of July and here in the United States, that’s a national holiday. On one of the news stations I watch, there is a hashtag campaign running called “Proud American” and this station interviews people about why they are proud to be an American. That’s got me thinking about what it is that makes me proud to be an American, and I came up with a few things.



We have the most generous, caring citizens in the world. Seriously, when there’s a natural disaster, who the heck does the world call for help? Sometimes, we aren’t so quick to see the natural disasters in our back yard, but we can see the ones elsewhere. Earthquake in Haiti? The Americans will have a televised fund-raiser for you. Tsunami? Yep…we’re there to help. 

World wars? Yeah, we saved the world. Twice. You’re welcome. And then we helped rebuild those hostile countries decimated by those wars. Aliens invading the planet? I could bet we’d be on the front lines. Rather like the scene in Independence Day (the original) when Jeff Goldbloom’s character figured out how to take down the mothership so the world could fight back and when the message was sent out the old fashioned way via Morse Code, the comment from the British forces hunkered down in some desert was “About bloody time!”

There’s a clichéd comment about the US being the last, best hope for freedom and democracy in the world, but in my heart, I know that’s true. America is still seen by many as a shining city on a hill. Oh, we may squabble, fuss, and fight among ourselves, but that’s what family does. Let an outside force attempt attack us and watch how fast we pull together and kick some serious butt. When we put the might and intellect of our citizenry behind an idea, there is nothing we can’t do. Harness the power of the atom, put a man on the moon, send a little rover to Mars, get a close up of Neptune…



The men who signed our Declaration of Independence somehow knew that we could never be the best we could be if shackled under the heavy yoke of tyranny. They weren’t necessarily brave men, but they were men who understood that the good of the many outweighed the needs of a few. Our country was born on July 4th, 1776. We became a nation in the crucible of the American Civil War. We tried to commit suicide as a nation in that war. And, like any suicide attempt, there are still scars. BUT…and this is a huge but…we survived it to become the nation we are now. It is our shared, collective history and we cannot hide it, nor should we try. That bloody war MADE us.


We are a nation of immigrants, whether your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or if you just got here. It is those immigrants which have made us so strong, given us so much diversity and the resilience to overcome any adversity. So, rather than letting petty differences, self-serving politicians (of EITHER political stripe), and fear divide us, let us come together again as a nation. We are bigger than our differences. We have always found ways to resolve those differences. And, that is just one more thing that makes me proud to be an American.




Thursday, June 23, 2016

Welcome, James R. Callan, Today's Guest


An Interview with Brandi

Jim:  Today, I'm visiting with Brandi Brewer, a key player in A Silver Medallion. Hi Brandi, I understand you are Crystal's roommate.

Brandi:  Actually, it's house mate.  We share a two bedroom house not too far from the center of Dallas.

Jim:  How did you meet Crystal?

Brandi:  She was looking for someone to share  the house with her. A friend of a friend of a friend told me about it and I called her.  We met at a coffee shop and visited for awhile and then struck a deal. At first, I wasn't sure I wanted to do it. I mean, she was pretty business like, straight-laced, almost boring. But it was a nice  house, two good sized bedrooms. 'Course, it only had one bath. But a great location and not too pricey. So, you pays your money and takes your chances.  I said cool.

Jim:  And how long have you two shared the house?

Brandi: Gotta be three years now, closer to four.

Jim:  How's is working out?

Brandi:  What do you think, Jim?  It's been nearly four years and we're still friends.

Jim:  Well, I mean you got stabbed and nearly died because of Crystal.

Brandi:  Hold it. If you want to continue this interview, back off.  It was not because of Crystal. Some dumb dud comes in, gets the information he asks for, sort of, and then decides to break my foot, slash my arm and stab me in the chest. He's to blame, not Crystal. You got that? Otherwise, we're through.

Jim:  I've got it. You're dating a detective, right? How's that going?

Brandi:  Fantantalistic. Tom is just the greatest. I went with a lot of scum before I met Tom. I really believed all men were that way. Then along came Tom, a tough cop - actually a detective, a gentleman through and through. I love the  guy.

Jim:  But you're still rooming with Crystal.

Brandi:  See. I told you Tom was a gentleman. He's ready for us to move in together, has been for a year. But I've seen too many of my friends rush into things and then regret it.  I said I wanted to take it slow.  He's okay with that. Lot of guys wouldn't stand for that.

Jim: I heard you weren't always Brandi. You had your name legally changed.

Brandi:  Yeah. Never liked Bertha. Would you? Decided, why should I keep the name of one of Dad’s old girlfriends? I didn’t like it. And I’m sure Mom didn’t either. So, poof, it was gone.  Took off twenty pounds, changed the hair. I had mousey brown from my mother. No more.  I got washed-out blue eyes from Dad. Accuvue gave me these aqua beauties. Decided the nose was fine. Wore braces for two years.

Jim:  You just decided to . . .

Brandi: Look the way I wanted to. Oh, and I took a course in make-up. Best money I ever spent. Even the contacts didn’t do as much for my eyes as knowing how to put on eye shadow, and eyeliner, and eyebrow pencil. ‘Course now, I just have my brows and lashes dyed.

Jim:  You and Crystal seem ... different. How do you get along?

Brandi:  Maybe it's that opposites attract thing. She's got natural beauty; I had to recreate mine. She's got lots of book learning, but doesn't have street smarts, like I do. I think we're a good match. So does Crystal.

Jim:  From what I see, Crystal's lucky to have you around.

Brandi: Now you're getting it. Hey, gotta run. I'm on the late shift today.

Brandi and Crystal were a good fit in A Ton of Gold and now they are even better in A Silver Medallion.  Check it out at Amazon.com:    A Silver Medallion




Blurb: A Silver Medallion  -  A Crystal Moore Suspense

Young, bright, unadventurous Crystal Moore comes face-to-face with slavery in today’s Dallas, Texas. A woman is held, not by chains, but by threats to her two small children left behind in Mexico. Should she escape, or even tell anybody of her situation, her children will be killed.

Crystal would like to walk away and forget she ever heard this. But her conscience won’t let her. Her parents were killed when she was just seven. She knows the heartache these children suffer. And she can’t sleep without hearing the cries of the two young girls and their mother.

Crystal knows the woman will never try to escape as long as her children are held hostage. Crystal realizes the only way to free her is to go to Mexico and rescue the girls first, for only if they are safe will the mother ever be free.

Crystal goes to Mexico and secures the help of the mysterious Juan Grande. But now, two powerful and ruthless men, one in Mexico and one in Texas, want Crystal dead.

In the midst of all this, the man who nearly destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back. This time, he can ruin her career.

She will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, Crystal’s streetwise housemate Brandi, and Crystal's seventy-six year-old, feisty grandmother.

Brief Bio of James R. Callan

After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He has had four non-fiction books published.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense.  His eleventh book is scheduled to release in June, 2016.

Website:   www.jamesrcallan.com/ 
Blog:          www.jamesrcallan.com/blog/ 
Author's page on Amazon:   http://amzn.to/1eeykvG  



Social Media Links:

Fcebook:   https://www.facebook.com/james.callan.33865
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Twitter https://twitter.com/jamesrcallan
Pinterest         https://www.pinterest.com/jamescallan/

 James, thank you for being our guest day at  "Dishin' it Out'.

I know I'm not the only person looking forward to reading  A Sliver Medallion.  


Connie Vines 









Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Why We Like Cowboys. by Connie Vines

This is a re-post from March--because, you guessed it, I like cowboys :-)




Who hasn't thought about the cowboys of yesteryear driving cattle across the prairie, a lawman riding for justice, a modern day rodeo cowboy, or the rancher down the road?

What woman hasn't sighed?

There is something about a man in western boots, denim, and a Stetson cowboy hat that makes a woman's heart rate jump and her mouth go dry.

Is it their manners, chivalry, sense of justice, or the fact they take off their hats and say, "Thank you, Ma'am?"  All I know-- Cowboys have the "it" factor for me and many other women.

The swagger of a rodeo cowboy, the set jaw and stance of a lawman, the easy way the rancher leans over the corral fence. . .sigh.  There is something about cowboys




I write about cowboys in both the past and now.  I try to capture the raw maleness that seems to seep from their pours.  These are men who defend a woman honor or protect a child.  Men who will fight barehanded.    They respect women.  I believe it is because in days of the old West, women were few and far between.  Men were happy to have a female to cater to, and wanted them to hang around.



The saying goes:  A cowboy's hands are as strong as steel, as tough as leather, but soft enough to touch a humming bird's wing or the skin of a woman---and not disturbing the beauty of either.

Happy Thursday,

Connie Vines







Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Julie Lence entertains us with Cowboy Slang


courtesy of: pinterest.com

Every generation has its own slang and humor. The same can be said for an era. The 1800’s is no exception. The cowboys from the Wild West had some colorful and funny expressions. I shared some with you last year and have chosen more to share with you this year. Enjoy!    

All horns and rattles: a person displaying a fit of temper

Among the willows: a person dodging the law

Bangtail: a mustang or wild horse

Barkin’ at a knot: trying to accomplish the impossible
Case of slow: a loser in a gunfight

Chew gravel: to get thrown from a horse

Couldn’t drive nails in a snow bank: said of an ignorant person

courtesy of: www.directory-online.com
Didn’t have a tail feather left: one cleaned out at the gambling tables, or one thoroughly broke

Dough belly or dough boxer: slang for the cook

Duffer: codger, or useless fellow

Educated thirst: a man who drinks champagne or fancy mixed drinks

Fence lifter: a very hard rain

Fish: a yellow oilskin slicker

Flag his kite: leave in a hurry

Full war paint: a cowboy’s best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes

Grabbin’ the brandin’ iron by the hot end: taking a chance

Guns on the table: fair play

Gut-warmer: slang for whiskey

courtesy of: pinterest.com
Hair case: slang for a hat

Heart-and-hand woman: a wife obtained through a matrimonial agency

Hide-out: a shoulder holster (I found this one interesting because my first instinct was a place where outlaws lay low)

Idaho brain storm: a twister or a cylindrical sandstorm

Ivories: poker chips

Jaw cracker: a traveling dentist

Just a ball of air: a very thin cow or calf.
courtesy of: pinterest.com

Monday, June 20, 2016

In the Eye of the Beholder

How do you define beauty? I know how our society seems to define it and I never fit that “ideal”. Because of that ideal, I have never really seen myself in a positive light, unless I was evaluating a role I was fulfilling—mother, wife, grandmother, dog handler. We use body shaming too often with our girls and ourselves. I can partially understand why the Mayor of London (as in Great Britain) has banned some public images of the female body. After all, as he says, he has two teen-aged daughters and he’s worried about their self-image in regards to their own bodies. I also have my reservations about the Mayor’s edict, but that’s for another blog post.
 I’ve found a wonderful organization which celebrates girls, teens, and young women with disabilities. Founded by Abbie Curren, 2008’s Miss Iowa, and the first contestant to compete for the Miss USA crown with cerebral palsy, this organization is the “Miss You Can Do It” pageant (https://www.facebook.com/missyoucandoitpageant/).
 I like this organization for a lot of reasons. Beauty comes in all sizes and in all forms. Beauty isn’t just the “ideal” our society claims it is. Beauty is just as much in the eye of the beholder as it is to be found within. I struggle daily with body image—I’m not getting any younger and those grey hairs I keep finding aren’t helping. The fact I’ve carried two children within my body doesn’t help that body image. That is—they didn’t help until I looked in the mirror a few years ago and said, “ENOUGH!” How I view myself had a direct effect on my daughter. I hear her say the same things about her body that I’ve said, unwittingly, within her hearing about my own body. And, I’ve heard my ten year old grand-daughter and my six year  grand-daughter shame their own bodies.
 Enough is enough. I will no longer allow myself to be shamed because I’m not 95 pounds soaking wet. I will no longer allow myself to be shamed because I have stretch marks from carrying my two children, or that I have grey hairs in the brunette because even though Miss Clairol is wonderful and only she and I know how much grey I really have I earned those grey hairs, or be shamed because….You fill in the blank for whatever reason we as women allow ourselves to be shamed.
 I will see myself as my husband sees me—as a beautiful woman he is attracted to. I will see myself as my son sees me—as the beautiful woman who gave him life. I will see myself as my daughter and grand-daughters see me—as a woman who is beautiful, caring, strong, and intelligent.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Another Blog-jacking from Shanna Hatfield

I'm on vacation with limited Internet access, so today I've stolen this blog.  :) (with permission of course.)

by Shanna Hatfield

The latest installment in my Pendleton Petticoats series releases this week. In the story, Millie Matlock is leading the local Women's Christian Temperance Union to drive the saloons out of town. Gideon McBride is a saloon owner who also happens to be the one man who turns Millie's head.


http://amzn.to/1SzeYoO
 The story is set in 1908, when the citizens of Pendleton, Oregon (along with the rest of the county) voted to go "dry" and bring prohibition to the area.

As I started digging into the research, I couldn't help but question why a town that boasted more than thirty saloons and nearly 18 bordellos would suddenly decide to go dry.

In truth, I never found the exact reason why prohibition became an issue. Although Pendleton had a population of 4,406 and was the fourth-largest city in Oregon in 1900, it  catered to the surrounding communities as an "entertainment hub." Cowboys, wheat harvesters, sheepherders, railroad workers, miners, and crews of men who descended on the town to work could find quite an assortment of places to drink, play cards and visit soiled doves.

In late spring of 1908, articles began popping up in the newspaper about the possibility of prohibition. A special voter’s edition of the Pendleton newspaper was published May 22, 1908. It urged voters to consider the financial impact prohibition would have on the town. 


According to the article, the city would lose more than $23,000 in liquor licenses alone if prohibition came to town. With rent, salaries, and other expenses, it was estimated the abolition of liquor business would leave a deficit of approximately $270,000 (around $6.6 million in today's economy). Not only would prohibition create a significant loss of income, it would leave thirty businesses empty and a few hundred people seeking a new means of support.

When ballots were cast in the June 1 election, prohibition passed in Umatilla County, but also in three neighboring counties as well.

The saloon owners had until June 30 to close their businesses. According to newspaper articles, the saloons went out of business without much fanfare on June 30, 1908 (several closing at midnight) and only one man was arrested that night.

A group of saloon owners did their best to have the vote declared illegal, citing an improper navigation of voting protocols. Other than running up attorney's fees, nothing came of their efforts.

Although Pendleton went "dry," twelve saloons were allowed to retain their liquor licenses and remain in business. The how and why those twelve were given special treatment is lost to history.

In years between then and the time when prohibition officially ended across the nation in 1933, many underground drinking rooms and escape tunnels popped up throughout Pendleton.


~*~

http://amzn.to/1SzeYoO



He watched as Millie sipped her hot chocolate. As soon as she lowered the cup from her mouth, he took it from her, placing his lips in the exact spot hers had been. While he tasted the rapidly cooling drink, he stared at her over the rim of the cup. His green eyes locked on hers as he handed the cup back to her. “That’s not bad, but I like a pinch of cinnamon and a dollop of whipped cream in mine.”

In a huff, she scowled at him. “I don’t recall offering to share my chocolate with you.”

“Oh, what’s one little sip between friends, Miss Matlock?” Gideon laid on his charm, smiling in such a way it did great justice to the dimples in his cheeks. Ever so slightly, he bent closer to her and lowered his voice. “Any time you like, I’d be more than happy to make you libations far more tempting than you could imagine.”

The timbre in his voice as he said “libations” nearly made Millie drop the cup in her hand. Not completely certain they were talking about beverages, her heart skittered in her chest.

Unsettled, her gaze shot to his, yet he continued to smile in an amiable, almost boyish manner, appearing innocent of any indecent implications.






~*~
Shanna Hatfield 2Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, USA Today best-selling author Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen, one story at a time. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with relatable characters. When this hopeless romantic isn’t writing or indulging in rich, decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Find Shanna’s books at:
Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:  

Blogging on my Birthday by Connie Vines


Yes. It truly is my birthdaywhich explains why my posting is a bit late.

Last year was spent in Palm Springs where the temps reached 116 degrees (I decided not to repeat that adventure this year!)  This year will be spent at home where I can enjoy the soft SoCal breeze and the cool, sunny day.

I am, however, keeping track of our friend, Ginger, as she vacations in South Dakota.
Since I too have enjoyed a vacation, or two, in the Dakotas I will preempt her with a few picture of my own as a teaser to what she will share.


Happy Thursday Everyone!

Connie
The amazing Badlands (remember Thunderheart?)
The Black Hills
Mt. Rushmore




This is where I went shopping for my birthday cake :-)


Where I went shopping for my Happy Birthday Cake!

















Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Heather Greenis on Critters

I thought I was pretty strong in my beliefs regarding nature until I met an acquaintance. This isn't a person that calls occasionally for a friendly chit chat. Nope, this person lives close by. A couple houses away. I am sometimes honoured with face to face chats with her.
We live in the country. We get critters and lots of them. Deer, wild turkeys, lots of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, you get the idea. Her love of critters can be a bit extreme. Now, don't get me wrong, raccoons have a beautiful face, but, they can be destructive. So can skunks. Given the fact my dog loves the great outdoors even though she sleeps beside our bed, I really don't want either racoons or skunks nosing around on my property.
This acquaintance encourages both raccoons and skunks to set up house around her deck. I'm serious. Yes, their deck is attached to their house. When I complain about the broken bird feeders, she tells me to stop feeding my birds. Apparently her feeders don't attracts the critters. 
"If there isn't any bird feed, they won't go there." 
Ugh. I refuse to argue with that. I'm not going to stop feeding my birds. Not going to happen. 
She came over a few weeks ago, as spring was ever so slowly springing. In late April, I still expected cold nights and the potential for frost. She had put her hummingbird feeder out and wanted me to put mine out. Not trusting mother nature, it was too early. 



"But the humming bird needs food," she informed me. "I don't want him to go hungry. I've had him at my feeder."
"How do you know that? Have you actually seen him?" I asked.
"No. But there is poop on my deck. It's so small, it must be his."
I've never fought as hard to restrain from laughing in my life. OMG.  Send for Bird Poop Analysis. As I relayed the story to my husband, it dawned on me. I think our property value just decreased.

--
Heather Greenis
The Natasha Saga
Greed…Pride...Sacrifice
my website         my publisher 
linked in    FB author page    follow me on twitter@heathergreenis

You probably need a new religion

I posted this the other day on my own blog over at WordPress, but I think it needs repeating.

Fifty dead, another fifty-three (the latest figures at the time of writing) injured. Another mass shooting, this time in a social club where members of the LBGT community were known to congregate. And, later the same morning, another man was arrested all the way across the country in a car loaded with explosives and weapons. He was on his way to a LGBT parade. Thank God he was stopped before he could carry out his blood-chilling acts of murder and destruction.

And, speaking of God, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our ideas of God, that Higher Authority, Al’lah—whatever you call it. I’m not arguing whether there is or isn’t a Higher Power. What I have been questioning are the dogma and doctrines of some of our current religions. I’m not delving into the past for any of this, either.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, doesn’t view tolerance and acceptance as a fundamental right of all humanity, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, claims to be the only correct manner to achieve paradise, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, argues only your god is the one true god and insists on killing those who disagree with your god, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, makes the claim that the being who gave life to you by carrying you for nine months within her body and under her heart is never equal to a male, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, argues that a woman does not have a right to determine what to do with her own body but then turns a blind eye to born children living in poverty, with abuse, and in squalor, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, argues that humanity has dominion over the earth rather than the caretakers of this planet, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, argues that those who slur the religion’s prophets are to be put to death, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, makes your beliefs the sole arbitrators of morality and decency, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, promises you seventy two virgins, or fields of flowers, or spending eternity in a candy shop if you martyr yourself by slaughtering innocents, you probably need a new religion.

Religion is a good thing. Belief in a god is also a good thing. Religion and the many god and goddesses which have come from religion give comfort in times of sorrow, hope for a life after this life, precepts on living a moral and decent and compassionate life—but when any religion is twisted, bastardized, and corrupted to fit a certain world view, religion becomes the most dangerous weapon known to humanity.

How about, instead, we actually live the command we have been given—in every major world religion—to love one another as we love ourselves. Maybe, we could surprise ourselves with how gentler, more accepting, and tolerant the world might be.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Just DON'T do it!

There have been a few face-palm moments in the writer's world since I posted last Tuesday. The first moment came when a person posted that she was looking for pirate sites for free books. Ummm...what? More than one person rushed to this poster's defense, saying that they love to read but they don't want to pay for the books, and besides which, authors don't need the money.  Because, you know, I guess every author is independently wealthy. Ummmm...WHAT??? And then, the original poster blocked the author, any subsequent attempts to defend authors and their intellectual property and she and her friends ridiculed those authors. The kicker to all of this is the original poster is a professional photographer. Ummmmm...WAIT! WHAT?????? The backlash was so intense against this poster that she pulled everything off her professional page and deleted a lot of what was on her personal page.

Then there was the book reviewer/blogger who decided to defend this woman and all those who steal books, by saying that "Hell, yeah, if I'm offered a free book, I'm going to take it." When another author tried to point out to this stealing and how wrong it is for a book blogger to do that, the blogger turned on that author and threatened her by inferring she could destroy said author's sales/livelihood through her blog. The blogger's FB cover photo was a picture of her flipping a double bird to the world. Yeah...classy doesn't seem to be in that blogger's vocabulary.

Lastly, in an author's only group I belong to, there was a discussion about a supposed Christian historical romance, which was termed "safe and sweet" about a woman who was raped, because her life was ruined went through a mail-order bride service to find a spouse and ended up marrying her rapist. In the 65 or so pages of this complete novella, not only does she immediately forgive him, but they end up happily ever after. ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME????? Needless to say, the comments in that author's only group were all negative to that author and her choice of "romance material."

In light of the incredibly light sentence that one Brock Turner received for raping a young woman (and his defense was his victim consented before she passed out), the above mentioned "romance" was made all the more sickening. I for one am very tired of what appears to be a disgusting standard when prosecuting a rape--it seems that the victim always has a past, which is forever in play for the defense, and the perpetrator/abuser has always made a simple mistake and he has a promising future. STOP ATTACKING THE VICTIM! She was raped. She was raped while unconscious. She was raped, and then further victimized by the defense's attempt to make her past relative to her rapist's defense. JUST STOP!

And, that book reviewer--I can just about bet she lost a lot of followers. (Or, I would hope she did.)

To the person who was looking for pirate sites to download stolen books from--I'd wish the fleas of a thousand camels would infest your arm pits--but that's too gentle. I hope you find those pirate sites. I hope every computer virus known to mankind infests your computer. I hope one of those viruses is ransom ware. I hope every single photo you've ever taken ends up stolen by that ransom ware and I pray you can't raise the funds to free YOUR intellectual property.


Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Manic Readers

Manic Readers

She Writes

Historical Fiction Books

Readers and Writers of Distinctive Fiction