annie oakley picture

Happy birthday, Annie Oakley

When I found out Annie Oakley’s birthday day was August 13, 1860, it reminded me of my girlhood enthusiasm for the petite sharpshooter from rural western Ohio. Born Phoebe Ann Mosey, Annie’s early years were marked by poverty and hardship. Her early interest in shooting was forbidden, and she says in her autobiography that “my […]

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Charlotte Bronte portait

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, was published 171 years ago.  The story of the “poor, obscure, plain, and little” Jane who survived a harsh, unloved,  and lonely childhood has enthralled readers ever since, and her passionate nature, realized both in her rebellion against her oppressors and her love for Mr. Rochester, makes the novel a romantic […]

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Time to sew

Everyone needs a quiet place of their own when they can pout, lurk, or snivel quietly. I’m lucky to have a sewing room to hide in, and when I want to escape from the hurly-burly of everyday life, I turn to my trusted sewing machine. I can’t claim any great sewing expertise, but I like doing […]

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Reading Attica Locke

Attica Locke’s new book, Bluebird, Bluebird, deals about race and justice, and the way they work in rural East Texas. When a black man from Chicago and a local white woman are found murdered in the tiny town of Lark, Texas, Darren Matthews wants to look into it. As a suspended Texas ranger, he has […]

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New and fun ways to read noir

What is noir? It’s fiction loaded with amoral, nihilistic creeps on the run from the consequences of their morally bankrupt actions. At its best and most noir-y, it’s pretty hard to take. Here are some examples:             The thing about real noir fiction is, there are no happy endings, nobody […]

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How to manage stress the fun and easy way

What to do about stress? If you’re like me, you’ve tried junk food, negative thinking, staying up late to watch crap TV,  excessive nap-taking,  and criticizing strangers. None of it has worked. It got me thinking, “Could it be time for …gulp…self-help books?”   After the screaming and hyperventilating subsided, it occurred to me that while I […]

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June 19 -why Juneteenth is important

What is Juneteenth and why does it matter? It’s a little-known part of the history of emancipation from slavery, and part of the twisted, delayed, and elusive process of African-American freedom. There are other, more historically significant dates in emancipation history:  Sept. 22: the day Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Order in 1862 Jan. […]

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IQ by Joe Ide

If you read IQ, by Joe Ide, and are reminded of Sherlock Holmes, you’re not wrong. Ide grew up in South L.A. and devoured the Conan Doyle stories. His creation, Isaiah Quintabe, is a young black man almost destroyed by grief and rage when his older brother/surrogate parent Marcus is killed by a hit-and-run driver. […]

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My personal summer reading program

It’s June now, and some misguided busybody will probably tell you to get outside, be active, and soak in the summer rays. Please do not listen to them; you will only become sweaty and demoralized. To maximize comfort and optimize reading time, here are a few tips from The Laziest Woman in Town: Find a nice, […]

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The Colorado National Monument turns 107

We can thank the great and eccentric John Otto for the Colorado National Monument; when he came to the area in 1906 and discovered the red rock canyons, he wrote, “I came here last year and found these canyons, and they feel like the heart of the world to me.  I’m going to stay and build […]

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