MN State Park Adventure – 3

Itasca State Park

We had an exhilarating evening with our adorable grandchildren at Itasca State Park’s Lantern Lit Ski and Snowshoe Event. Afterwards, we stopped at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center for some hot chocolate and looked at the educational exhibits.

Itasca is Minnesota’s oldest, and one of the state’s largest parks. St. Croix State Park is currently the only state park with more acres than Itasca.

There are large tracks of old-growth red and white pine forest. I didn’t think to take photos of the trees, but they are big and beautiful.

Itasca State Park is more than 32,000 acres and includes more than 100 lakes. It covers a huge area and has tons of things to see and do – camping, lodging, trails, multiple visitor centers and gift shops…

Since we were only here for the evening walk, we didn’t have an opportunity to explore the many other amenities the park offers.

“In the late 1800s, Jacob V. Brower, historian, anthropologist and land surveyor, came to the park region to settle the dispute of the actual location of the Mississippi Headwaters. Brower saw this region being quickly transformed by logging, and was determined to protect some of the pine forests for future generations. It was Brower’s tireless efforts to save the remaining pine forest surrounding Lake Itasca that led the state legislature to establish Itasca as a Minnesota state park on April 20, 1891, by a margin of only one vote. Through his conservation work and the continuing efforts of others throughout the decades, the splendor of Itasca has been maintained.” MN DNR online source

In 1903, following in Brower’s footsteps, 24-year-old Mary Gibbs stood off armed timbermen in the defense of the Mississippi River and the surrounding land. We didn’t visit the Mary Gibbs Headwaters Center, but the brochure says it has more information about the Mississippi River. There’s a spot where you can walk across the headwaters and be on the live stream camera. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/Itasca/headwaters.html

The Mississippi River begins at Lake Itasca and ends in the Gulf of Mexico. The river is listed as a total of 2,340 miles (a post marker from the 1930’s at the headwaters says 2,552 miles, but since then there has been some shortening, flooding and channeling.) This is a road trip on my bucket list, following the Mississippi from beginning to end.

Lanterns lighting the evening for our snowshoe walk.

Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center contains local information, educational exhibits and interactive play areas for children. After our Lantern Lit Walk, we went into the Center and explored. We sat in cozy chairs, in front of warm fireplaces, and drank hot chocolate. The gift shop, vending machines, and restrooms are open year-round.

The exhibits and interactive area help to educate visitors about the pine forest system, Ojibwe life and times, and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Minnesota’s state bird, the loon.

One of the most interesting and unusual wildlife species in Minnesota, the porcupine. Behind it is Minnesota’s state flower, the Showy Lady’s slipper (the bottom left corner).

There were so many neat exhibits, it was difficult to decide what photos to include.

Tools used by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a work relief program that gave millions of young men employment on environmental projects during the Great Depression…. the CCC planted more than three billion trees and constructed trails and shelters in more than 800 parks nationwide during its nine years of existence.” Online source

One tool very familiar to me, was the drawknife. When my stepdad was building our home, (I was 9 years old at the time) the drawknife was a tremendously helpful tool. The drawknife removes tree bark, making the wood underneath usable for building. Peeling the bark off of trees was fun and satisfying work, but the blisters were painful.

Near this “Know Your Conifers” display was a fun interactive game. The grandchildren and their poppa played through many of the questions.

Our grandchildren noticed many state parks have information about the Ojibwe. My grandbabies have Ojibwe ancestry. This was another opportunity for us to discuss my hopes that they learn as much as they can and carry forward some of those traditions. All of that history was nearly lost in early American times.

I love that they have such a wide and varied ancestry. I think this makes them perfect people to represent how people of any heritage, ethnicity, gender, religion, political party… can get along.

The grandkids entertained us with a hilarious puppet show. We laughed and giggled a lot.

We’re so fortunate to have such fun and funny grandbabies!

Grandchildren – almost visible during their puppet performance.

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MN State Park Adventure – 2

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park.

The first confusing thing is it appeared there were 2 Charles Lindbergh State Parks on our map.

In fact, there are 2 separate locations. The Little Elk unit lies 3.5 miles north of the main State Park site. It’s located where the Elk River joins the Mississippi. This unit was added in 2003. The area contains a couple miles of looped hiking trail that allow visitors to learn about archaeological sites such as a 1700s French fur-trading post, an 1800s Ojibwe Mission and a settlement called Elk City to name a few.

We visited the Main Charles Lindbergh State Park site, not the Little Elk location. The Main site contains 570 acres, and seasonal amenities such as 38 campsites, 15 with electricity, picnic area, horseshoes, volleyball, a playground, and 7 miles of trails.

The park office was closed. Many State Park offices are closed or only have limited hours in the winter.

The second confusing thing was how many Charles A. Lindberghs there were. I had to do a little research to figure out how all the ‘Charles Lindberghs’ were connected.

1. Charles August Lindbergh (born Carl Månsson; January 20, 1859 – May 24, 1924) was a United States Congressman from Minnesota’s 6th congressional district from 1907 to 1917. He was born Carl Månsson, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Lovisa Carlén, the 19-year-old mistress of Ola Månsson, a bank manager. When accused of bribery and embezzlement, Ola Månsson changed his name to August Lindbergh, left his wife and seven children, and emigrated to the United States with his mistress and their illegitimate infant son, Carl, in 1859. Lovisa became Louisa and young Carl became Charles August Lindbergh.

2. Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974) was an American aviator, military officer, author, inventor, and activist. He was raised mostly in Little Falls, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C. He is most famous for his 1927 solo trans-Atlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis, a custom-built, single engine, single-seat monoplane. Charles’ history is wildly varied. He did great things in aviation. But his personal life (multiple affairs with multiple women fathering many children) and antisemitic views were a tangled mess.

3. On March 1, 1932, Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr. (born June 22, 1930), the 20-month-old son of aviators Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was abducted from his crib in the upper floor of the Lindberghs’ home, in East Amwell, New Jersey. On May 12, the child’s corpse was discovered on the side of a nearby road.

The park is named after Charles A. Lindbergh the Congressman from Minnesota. After his son became famous, a 1931 bill was passed in the Minnesota Legislature to preserve his boyhood home.

The water tower and picnic shelter were built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The water tower stopped holding water in 1965, when the park switched to the Little Falls water system.

The limestone water tower, or “water house,” constructed during the summer of 1939, was one of the last structures built in the park by the WPA. Built of native granite, the tower held 5,000 gallons of water, which were pumped into the restroom, water fountain, and caretaker’s residence.

If you look carefully between the trees in the background you can see the South Pike Creek Footbridge. This footbridge is a two-minute walk from the picnic area and overlooks Pike Creek. The creek connects to the mighty Mississippi River.

Some ‘bonuses’ to visiting parks in the winter:

  • Quiet and peaceful
  • Less people
  • No ticks or mosquitoes or other bugs
  • Less bear, only see a bear if it wakes hungry during hibernation.

Animal tracks and trails on the frozen creek.

A big, beautiful tree.

Four years before his historic trans-Atlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh bought an old World War I surplus plane, a Curtis JN-4D (or Jenny). He barnstormed from Georgia to Texas before pointing his airplane north towards his parent’s farm in Little Falls, where he eventually landed the plane in this opening in July of 1923. In the years since Lindbergh landed his plane in the field, trees have grown in and reduced the size of the opening.” Online source

The “Jenny” landing area is quite small because of the growth of brush and trees. The informational plaque was snow-covered and ice-encrusted making it difficult to read.

Originally, the park caretaker lived in the small home (built about 1901) just north of the park shelter, the home where the Lindberghs’ hired farmer lived with his family when the property was a working farm.

The boyhood home of aviator Lindbergh is across the street from the State Park.

A little Free Library just inside the State Park.

The Charles A. Lindbergh Museum is just down the road from the Park. It’s operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. It was closed for the season.

Live Your Life

I wasn’t sure if I’d share this. But then a Martin Luther King Jr quote popped out at me. And even though his quote was pertaining to Civil Rights, it felt appropriate to place here.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

This matters to me. My cousin died. His wife is heartbroken. She spent the last year helping him battle a horrendous cancer. While she battled her own chronic illnesses.

I was disgusted with how little support was available to them. Our family did what they could. But it was not enough. This isn’t the first time I’ve been made aware of how little help people (who aren’t rich) receive when facing dire medical circumstances. Nearly 24 years ago, my mom had little medical help, outside of our family, when she cared for my stepdad through his long battle with cancer. I thought things would be so much better by now, but they aren’t. There was very little medical help for my sister when she cared for mom during her last weeks on earth. People say, “There are places to get help.” But jumping through the requirement hoops is near impossible. For instance, my cousin was a Military Veteran and had to follow their rules. Unfortunately, they didn’t give him ‘permission’ to go to a university/specialist that one of his cancer doctors recommended. Why? I can’t imagine saying ‘no’ to hope and healing.

Several times this past year I hoped to feel well enough to travel and see him. He lived in Florida and I live in Minnesota. But I struggled with my own pain and illness this last year. I’m healing but it’s taking time. Heavy lifting hurt my back, hip, abdomen, and perforated my colon. Yes, it was as painful as it sounds. I’m healing. I’m able to walk longer distances. I’m able to make plans, to go and do things in small doses, for short lengths of time.

My husband and I had plans to go to another state park this weekend, to continue slowly building up my strength. I wasn’t sure what to do. I hurt for the loss.

I dug out the memories. Back in 1982, we started writing letters to each other to encourage each other. He joined the Military and wrote me letters while in Basic Training. He wrote when he was sent to other states and countries. I got to see the world through his eyes. I was stuck at home, in the woods, and was told I wasn’t going to amount to much.

But I dreamed of so much more. He encouraged those dreams repeatedly. I dreamed of going to college, of making the world a better place, of fighting for equality and justice, of being a lawyer, of flying planes, of skydiving. I’ve known I had those types of dreams my entire life, but it was strange to see them quoted back to me from over 40 years ago.

I often hear, “You should go visit (so-and-so) it might be the last time you get to see them.” I find this odd advice. I see loved ones as often as I can. I tell them I love them all the time. I’ve had so much fun, had many open conversations because I don’t know how to not ask awkward questions, and have enjoyed so many heart-filling days with family and friends. Why would the last day on earth be any different than all the others? Maybe this is something I don’t understand? Maybe some people need this type of closure?

If you want to see someone – go see them. If you can’t go to them – call them and ask them to come visit. Make plans together. Why wait?

I think of this past year when I’ve been so ill. I didn’t want people to come see me just because I was ill. I wanted them to come see me if it was something they were going to do anyway. Don’t take time out of your own precious life to force yourself to visit me. Never feel guilted into seeing me. Live your life! I know who loves me. I am super fortunate to have so much love in my life! I carry everyone’s love with me all of my days.

Real love doesn’t die. It’s the physical body that dies. Genuine, authentic love has no expectations whatsoever; it doesn’t even need the physical presence of a person. … Even when he is dead and buried that part of you that loves the person will always live.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We decided to visit the next state park on our adventure list. I carried thoughts of my cousin with me. And I thought of all the people I’ve lost, like my mom, and all the other funerals I’ve gone to. I wished them all a fantastic time in Heaven.

And I went on living, hoping that’s what they’d want me to do.

There are dreams of love, life, and adventure in all of us. But we are also sadly filled with reasons why we shouldn’t try. These reasons seem to protect us, but in truth they imprison us. They hold life at a distance. Life will be over sooner than we think. If we have bikes to ride and people to love, now is the time.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

MN State Park Adventure -1

In 2022, my husband bought me a book about Minnesota State Parks. Inspired by bloggers like “Wandering Canadians”, “Boots on the Trail”, “Nature Notes”, and other outdoor travelers, we’re hoping to do some walking/hiking in as many of MN’s State Parks as possible. We got off to a wonderful start recently, visiting Crow Wing State Park.

This is the Crow Wing State Park office. The office was closed when we visited. So we followed instruction and did self-pay. A day pass is $7. A yearly pass is $35 and lets us in to all MN State Parks. We’re set for the year.

While doing a little research on the park, I found a discrepancy in the size. My MN State Park book (Fifth Edition Copyright 2022) says it’s 2,042 acres. The brochure found out front of the park office says the park is 3,119 acres. In a quick internet search, 2,000 acres popped up. Wikipedia agrees with the office brochure, 3,119. I didn’t want to put in more effort to find out the exact acreage of the park, so I’ll leave it somewhere between 2,000 and 3,119 acres.

Park Highlights:

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Scenic hiking trails
  • Historic sites
  • Canoeing/Mississippi River
  • Great wildlife watching

Trails

There are 18 miles of scenic hiking trails that wind through the old Crow Wing town site, along the Mississippi River, and through the woods.

In summer, there’s one-third mile that’s wheelchair accessible. The park now has access to an all-terrain, electric powered track chair that can help visitors explore trails that are not suitable for regular wheelchairs. Call the park to reserve.

There are 6.5 miles of paved bike trails that connect with the Paul Bunyan State Trail, which adds another 115 miles, leading to Lake Bemidji State Park.

Boat and canoe rentals are available during park office hours.

In winter, snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in the park.

At the beginning of the historical period the region was inhabited by Dakota, who clashed with Ojibwe being displaced from farther east. It is told that in 1768 a Dakota war party raided an Ojibwe village and carried off several women in their canoes. The village’s warriors, returning from their own unsuccessful raid, laid an ambush on a high bank over the river, digging shallow pits from which to fire their rifles. As the Dakota convoy passed under the Ojibwe, the men opened fire, while the captured women overturned the canoes they were in and swam for shore. The Dakota regrouped and counterattacked by land, but were repulsed. The two-day battle cemented Ojibwe control over the area.” ~Wikipedia

Crow Wing State Park is at the convergence of the Crow Wing and Mississippi River.

Observers might see white-tailed deer, beaver, muskrat, and waterfowl. Eagles and hawks fly along the riverway. It may be possible to catch a glimpse of a coyote or fox. We heard the sounds of busy blue jays as we walked the park on the bright, chilly winter day.

In the mid-1800’s a bustling community lived here. In this area, a frontier town emerged to serve the needs of travelers and traders. The town died when the railroad chose to cross the river at Brainerd, MN.

Walking through the site of the Old Crow Wing Village you’ll see interpretive signs and displays along the boardwalk describing the history.

A 1957 archeological investigation uncovered many of the old town site foundations. This spurred a push to preserve the site, and Crow Wing State Park was officially established in 1959.

This is the historic Beaulieu House just off the boardwalk (which is covered in snow). Built in 1849, by fur trader Clement Beaulieu, this is the only remaining building from the original townsite.


Don’t be surprised if you hear occasional loud explosions. Camp Ripley Training Center is a training facility for Minnesota National Guard units. It’s just west of the park, and has periodic loud ammunition training activity!

Guidance in 2023

I’m always excited about what the new year may hold and am looking forward to 2023!

A few things I’m looking forward to:

  • Better health
  • More creativity and inventiveness to finish products
  • Better career opportunities
  • More Fun travel and flying
  • Completed home repairs
  • More Wonderful times with family and friends
  • More occasions to Learn Exciting things
  • Buy and plant more flowers
  • More Good News throughout the entire universe – more kindness, wisdom, and beauty for our planet, and in society

Since 2014, I‘ve had a word or phrase to guide me.

  • 2014 Guard Your Heart
  • 2015 Streamline Peace
  • 2016 Be a Blessing
  • 2017 Goals
  • 2018 Rest in Hope
  • 2019 Common Sense and Common Decency
  • 2020 I am a Light-Hearted Idealistic Pragmatist
  • 2021 Re-Imagine Work and Hope
  • 2022 Dream, Believe, Achieve

I enjoy these words or phrases. They mean something to me, they help me focus on what’s important. They’ve gently steered me in the direction I wanted to go in that particular year.

This year I choose Guidance as my word.

Placing my hand on my heart, I’m asking for Divine Guidance in everything I face and everything I aspire to do.

I’m in need of guidance for my health, career, and many other areas of my life. How can I make my life the very best it can possibly be? How can I reach my highest potential? How can I best help people and the planet?

Image from our local Winter Wonderland Holiday Light display. This is a tradition we enjoy with our grandbabies. We drive through the gate, we turn on our radio and listen to Christmas music while looking at gorgeous lights.

Top 11 Viewed Posts and Stats

Blog data shows one of my top viewed posts was written in 2021. I’m unsure why people continue to visit the post on Vincent van Gogh, maybe struggling art students are searching for information on Vincent’s words – ‘there may be a great fire in our soul’?

Most viewed posts

  1. There May Be a Great Fire in Our Soul “The thought that preys on his mind is: What am I good for?”
  2. Friendly February Hopes – Equality “I dream of a world where Equality is as natural as breathing.”
  3. Meaningful Intelligent Conversations “Meaningful intelligent conversations are one of the best ways to move society forward in a healthier direction.”
  4. Peace, Hope, and Coincidences “Long live absolute world peace.”
  5. Gentle Reminder to Self “We live in a world filled with beauty.”
  6. October Proposal “I know my heart.”
  7. Sweet Spots in MN Lake Country (a mini-series) – Part 1 Breezy Point “Let me introduce you to Breezy Point, MN.”
  8. Too-Many-Thoughts Thursday – Clearing Brain Space “It’s nice to feel cared about.”
  9. Sweet Spots in MN Lake Country (a mini-series) – Part 4 and Final, Pequot Lakes “Come for a visit and fall in love with the area.”
  10. Watching the Clouds Go ByWe encourage personal excellence, and believe participants can develop their potential when provided access to resources, held to high standards, and supported by professional artists and an engaged community.”
  11. Healthy Thinking During Un-Positive DaysHealthy thinking means looking at the entire situation—the positive, the negative and the neutral parts—and then coming to a conclusion.

My favorite: “It’s our job to live as best we can. No matter the level of difficulty.

One of my (various) goals with my blog is to become a better writer. Many of us know what it’s like to have thoughts racing around in our head, and feeling a need to share them. Sometimes those thoughts are hard to nail down with the right phrases. To write well, requires a lot of patience and practice. And even then, the words don’t seem to tie together the concepts and ideas. It almost appears certain people are born with this innate skill.


67 countries visited this blog


Top 11 countries = the most views


Bottom 11 countries = the least views


Perhaps one of the greatest joys in the blogging world for me, is finding people whose work I admire. There are many bloggers who offer wisdom, kindness, and beauty. My heart is happy to discover people who do this well.  

I hope the new year is filled with wisdom, kindness, and beauty.

Snowy Evening

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

BY ROBERT FROST

Whose woods these are I think I know.  

His house is in the village though;  

He will not see me stopping here  

To watch his woods fill up with snow.  

My little horse must think it queer  

To stop without a farmhouse near  

Between the woods and frozen lake  

The darkest evening of the year.  

He gives his harness bells a shake  

To ask if there is some mistake.  

The only other sound’s the sweep  

Of easy wind and downy flake.  

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,  

But I have promises to keep,  

And miles to go before I sleep,  

And miles to go before I sleep.

Our home is snuggly nestled behind those low, snow-laden branches in the photo below.

Grief Day

I love being happy. Given a choice in choosing emotions Happiness and Joy are in my top ten favorites to go-to.

But there are rare instances where I’m not sure I have a choice. Occasionally grief seems to leak out of some unforeseen place on the inside.

Every emotion needs to be allowed time to safely express itself.

Grief is a process we go through because we’ve loved and lost someone or something.

I have questions about the ‘normal process’ of grief:

  • How often should we be grieving?
    • Some people tend to wear their grief on the outside, all the time. When this happens, it often comes with counselors’ labels and medications.
    • Some people never seem to grieve. When this happens, no one notices.
    • Deep down in my bones I’m a naturally happy person. I don’t grieve often. Sometimes it takes me a bit to process loss, like the loss of my mom. It’s been a year since she passed and still it doesn’t seem ‘real’. I think the isolation of Covid had something to do with that. We spent nearly 2 years juggling quarantines, trying not to spread it. During that time, I kept reminding myself that soon, we’d be gathering with loved ones. But then Covid killed my mom, and we couldn’t even be there on her last days. So, losing her is more of a ‘concept’ of isolation, than a ‘reality’ of death.
  • When we grieve, how long should it last?
    • Some people seem to grieve their entire lifetimes.
    • I tend not to grieve long. Sometimes, it’s as short as a cry in the early morning shower. Maybe that’s not enough? Maybe I’m not doing it right?

“Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.” ~Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

I’ve lost people, health, pets, money, time, things…

I worry about All the people I love – do they feel lost, lonely, or forgotten? Is there anything I can do to help them through their difficulties? I worry about the planet, equality, crime, politics, everything, all the time. I worry I’m not able to do enough to change the things I care most about. I wish I could say I was making a difference. (I know better than to spend time worrying – do something or leave it be) …

And while most often, I handle losses and worries reasonably well, occasionally they sneak up on me. They escape the little compartments I put them in. I didn’t want to face them because – I have too much to do, I like actively happily pursuing solutions and getting things done, I hate that vulnerable powerless feeling, I find crying annoying…

I do not like dealing with grief because it seems like a waste of my very precious and valuable time (again, I know better). Also, currently it’s the holiday season. Crying seems inappropriate (however, I don’t know when it’s a ‘good’ time to cry).

Unresolved grief can bubble away below the surface until it starts to manifest in a way that is physically and mentally harmful to us.

 “The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.” ~Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits

The other day, tears fell in heaps, from the deepest depths of my soul. I was too tired to hold them back. I freely let all the hurt out. I don’t remember the last time I cried this much. I wasn’t sure if I’d stop. It seemed I’d never run out of pain or tears. Fortunately, I was home alone. I didn’t have to be concerned about anyone else’s feelings, or be strong, or listen to (non)comforting words, or create a new plan to overcome the latest setback…

  • Why is grief something many people do alone? Grief is a common emotion, yet like with the other ‘unpleasant emotions’, we hide our suffering. For me, being alone allows me to not worry about others’ feelings. Is this why other people suffer behind closed doors? Or do they have different reasons for choosing to be alone?

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

After a few hours I did stop crying. And I felt – different. Some people say they feel relieved when they let out their heartache. I didn’t feel that way exactly. I felt more like some of the frayed edges were trimmed a bit. If that makes sense. I feel like I’ve been pushing so hard through the last few years, while enduring relentless setbacks, and making very little progress. My pleas for help seemed to disappear into the Universe, unanswered. Where is the Light, Love, and Healing when we need it most? The discouragement, disappointment, and frustration were ‘clawingly fraying the edges’.

I’ve made it through some difficulties. Now I can recover, rethink, recalculate, replan.

I’m ready to Turn the Corner.

I am so ready for life to start making sense, and to swiftly move forward in a positive direction.  

“Those who do not weep, do not see.” ~Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

  • What do you do when you find yourself having a grief day?

“I am the diamond glints on snow”… ~ Do Not Stand at My Grave

Nonfiction November

As Nonfiction November comes to a close, here are a few books I’ve enjoyed.

First up are the field guides – birds, trees, mammals, plants – these wonderful guides are helpful when we visit parks and playgrounds. You’d think I’d have them memorized for as many times as I’ve pulled them out to put a name to that interesting bird, tree, plant, we just saw.

The next set of faves are travel-associated. I have many maps and guides from nearly every state and other places around the world. Here are 3 books I revisit – MN State Parks, Volunteer Vacations, 1,000 places to see…. Travel is important to me. There aren’t many things more exciting than going on a quest – to learn truths about how others live, to see things in a new way, to gather information, to adore fascinating landscapes and architecture, to explore new worlds…

I own a horse-riding book. I don’t own a horse, but I love horses. I love to sit down with this book and (re)learn about different horses and how to care for them. My top two favorite horses are Friesians with their beautiful black flowing manes, and the wild, enduring Mustangs.

The next few books are more science-y. Astrophysics allows me to imagine what my life may have been like if I’d joined the Air Force and chose to study space (I also follow many Aviation and NASA sites). Algorithms to Live By gives a fascinating look at how computer scientists have been solving many everyday dilemmas (and being married to a computer scientist has shown me how many of life’s purchases can be data-driven for best results).  How to be an Explorer offers simple advice – notice your surroundings, write things down, play in the dirt, do new things…. Hacking Electronics is a fun way to put my soldering iron to work. (The last 3 books I borrowed from the local library.)

Do you have any nonfiction favorites?

Reblog: Libraries = Freedom

I found this post by Laura Grace Weldon important to share. As a former librarian and a child who read books that saved my life, I find it absolutely necessary to resist book censorship.

While I agree that we have to consider age-appropriate books, and mental/emotional readiness of readers, and carefully understand our racist, sexist history, and that there are a few stories glorifying terror that should never reach the light of day. I firmly believe we should oppose suppressing valuable books simply because we disagree with one sentence, or one paragraph, or one chapter…

In elementary school, I was reading far above my grade level and placed in the highest reading group with one other person. At home, I had already lived through my parents divorce, lived in a car, and then a shack, and then a house without running water. And endured the foster care system. For me to find stories like the Boxcar Children, Laura Ingalls, Are You There God, The Catcher in the Rye, The Handmaid’s Tale, East of Eden, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings… stories that told of homelessness, poverty, hardship, breasts and periods and other personal traumas and tragedies… helped me to overcome, to think through, and to not feel alone. Life can be downright extremely horrible. And some of us need stories we can relate to, so that we know we can overcome any ugly tragedy thrown our way.

And that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Please read Laura’s post for more information.


Libraries = Freedom: Resist Book Censorship” — Laura Grace Weldon

“A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft ,and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold, rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but […]

Libraries = Freedom: Resist Book Censorship — Laura Grace Weldon