Bricked Out Of A Scholarship To University By My Parents

In my senior year of high school I was offered a scholarship to the University of Minnesota, but my parents refused to complete the paperwork. I remember their indignation, storming around our home, shouting that they would not provide their “private” financial information, specifically their tax returns. They did not seem to care that I had no money for university. I was not surprised by their behavior because for many years they had already denied me the opportunity to work after school, which is something most young people do and I had desperately wanted to do so that I would have savings when I graduated. I had not one dollar and I wore my mother’s castoff clothing which I knew were

Deep Dive To 100 Feet

Twenty years ago I got PADI* certified to SCUBA** at the Do Dive In, which was a nice mom-and-pop dive shop in Peoria, Illinois. I was fifty and I knew that if I wanted the experience of diving underwater, it was now or never. I had already trained for parachute jumping, now I went for underwater diving. I got all the usual certifications (see one of my ID cards below), then I realized that while I had no plans to deep dive down to 100 feet, I should know how to handle myself and my SCUBA gear if unexpected currents swept me down deep underwater. I met my SCUBA instructor at an abandoned stone quarry filled to the brim with a couple of decades of rain and runoff. The Do Dive In shop ha

Retarded

The descriptor "retarded" for people whom fate has endowed with less than average intelligence is outdated and offensive, but it used to merely mean less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual for one's age. Now the word is considered offensive, an unkind pejorative, “Retard!” It has always implied foolish or stupid. One of my first jobs fifty years ago was as a houseparent for ten “retarded” boys in a cottage setting. That word was used in the 1970s as a euphemism for the former terms of feebleminded or simpleton which had worn out their use as euphemisms for fool or idiot. It all refers to those of less than average intelligence. I was initially frightened

The Truth Is A Terrific Weapon

The wrongs in the world will not right themselves. We have to know the truth about evil in the world in order to defeat evil. For too long evil has hidden under shrouds of lies. Let the truth be known. The truth is a terrific weapon. Sample Truth. (comment to President Donald J. Trump at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/) Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, if Europe reestablishes standing armies, it will probably use them. Truth. Best to encourage the leaders of Europe, Macron, Merkle, etcetera, to establish defensive tactics rather than physical armaments, because tanks and bombs are easily defeated 20th century technology. If they do not know how, lease Europe d

InSight Mars Lander Touchdown Today, by NASA!

I am as excited as a child at her birthday party: the Insight Mars Lander touches down today! Finally NASA* is releasing decent astrophotography images gratis to the public, as it should have been doing all along. In the twentieth century, for most of my adult life, NASA hoarded space images and restricted the public’s access to those images to a pay-per-image basis. I wanted so much to see those images, but I could not, would not pay for them. Taxpayer money had already paid for all of NASA’s activities and the images should have been made freely available to the public from the very beginning of space exploration. I was so frustrated, for so long, with the small, grainy images that ha

Blown Off The Icy Roads On The Way Home From Work

The onset of this winter reminds me of years ago when I was blown off an icy winter road on the way home from work. I was traveling between Bloomington, Illinois where I lived and Assumption, Illinois where I worked as a technical writer of mechanical and electrical processes for GSI, “the world's largest manufacturer of steel farm bins, commercial storage grain bins and grain silos, providing farmers and processing facilities a single source for all of their grain equipment needs, providing quality equipment and services to over 70 countries worldwide.” My travel time each way was 75 miles · Light traffic · 1 hr 39 min. In winter snow my travel time doubled. I sometimes cried with tensi

Surmounting Disgrace Or Ridicule

The following is a foolproof technique to surmount personal disgrace or ridicule. I learned it long ago when I took some obscure religious training, and adapted it a little. The ancient religion did not suit me, but this technique was invaluable. It only requires one application to understand how to strengthen oneself against disgrace or ridicule. Step 1. Compose yourself. This is difficult, serious work that requires the focus of all of your faculties. Step 2. Find a private place in which to do this work of self-adjustment. This work is your own concern, it is between you and your mind. Other people are not required, and they might hinder you. Step 3. Recall the harshest, most rev

Wild Turkeys On Thanksgiving Day

A woodlot is a private area where a farmer grows trees for building material, fuel, or to harbor large wildlife until they are hunted, it may or may not have a fishing pond associated with it. On a dirt road running through a woodlot somewhere in the American Midwest in autumn a long, long time ago, I was looking for the pond where a farmer had said I could sit and relax for a moment in my travels, when I unexpectedly drove up on a flock of wild turkeys sunning themselves, dusting their feathers, and resting in the soft, fine, warm dirt of the infrequently traveled access road. I had always wanted to see wild turkeys! They looked magnificent! There were a few tall, round, iridescent you

Dirty Jokes

This dirty joke was the first that I ever heard. It was whispered to me with wide eyes and giggles by other girls in junior high school, around the time that the school administration scheduled our first “sex education” lectures. I was not sure what it all meant, but the hyperbole sounded weirdly interesting. Marrying A Dragon. Three women are talking about the husbands they wanted to marry. The first woman says, “I want a husband that is wise as a dragon.” The second woman says, “Oh no, I want a husband that is strong as a dragon.” And the third woman says, “Ha no, I want a husband that is dragon on the ground.” I was cool as an ice cube when I was a girl and it took quite a few more year

Not A Runty Bunny But A Rat

I remember the little story that I told my father to amuse him as he passed away his time in the nursing home. Father had a tender heart and as he sat in the gloom of his room, he leaned in toward me to hear about the poor little runty bunny rabbit that I had been feeding seeds for the past several days. I told him that I was worried about it because it was so small and it did not move around much. It just sat quietly with it head turned into some tall grasses near my house so that all I could see was its rump. It was warm and quivered when I poked it, so each day I just dropped a few seeds next to it for encouragement. On that day I had noticed that its fur was sleek rather than fluffy

What Is Around The Corner of My Life?

When I was a young social justice warrior trying to make this world a better place for those who follow me in life, I had no idea that half a century later some of those youngsters whose lot in life* I sought so earnestly to improve would grow up to revile and menace me simply at the sight of me, an old white woman. This is the work of Antifa and the other destructive, left-wing militant groups in the United States. It is not brave nor is it noble to frighten an old lady. Do Antifa’s spontaneous volunteers, who are hidden in our public spaces, have more unpleasant surprises around the corner of my life? Yesterday when I was standing at the grocery store customer service desk getting a ref

Behind A Truck

This frightening old truck is not the truck that I was driving at the time, it just felt that way. In the 1990s I drove a new white Ford F-150 pickup truck. On the day that my life might have branched into hell, I had only gone out to start up my truck and go to work. I paused for just a moment before starting it because I saw some toddlers, about three or four years old, riding their tricycles along the sidewalk toward me. The expressions on their faces were a little too animated. They seemed alert. Were they curious about my truck? I pulled the keys out of the ignition, got out of the truck and walked around to the rear of it. There was another toddler, a little boy on his tricycle

Friends For Over Half A Century

I met Cathy Hansen in junior high school biology class, and soon we will both be seventy years old. We have kept in touch over the decades via many letters, some warm phone calls, and the occasional lovely visit whenever I was driving through Kansas City. I am going to keep the rest of our more than fifty-year friendship private because she is a very private person. I have cherished our friendship. Caption: A card and photos from my junior high school friend Cathy Hansen 2015

Mid-twentieth Century Pins Promoting Life

As soon as I became aware of the various grass-roots campaigns to make this a better world, I joined in; those early organizations promoting life on earth were kinder, gentler groups back in the twentieth century. They had not yet devolved into massive money-making, violence-producing institutions. Then fighting for social justice was largely a pen and ink effort, so I filched money from my food budget to buy stamps to write letters to the various powers-that-be on Earth asking that they not despoil life on Earth. I did this even though I was too poor to buy even one campaign pin to signal my virtue. Half a century later I saw these pins at a garage sale by a woman who was about my age, a

Keeping Cosy

The pretty winterscape outside my study window made me feel comfortable, warm, and relaxed inside my home today. But I worry about staying safe and secure. I have had the occasional prowler lately, and I realize that as I advance in age my vulnerability increases. So, I signed up to train the primary security feature in my home, which is me. Caption: Second Snow Of The Year Makes Me Feel Cozy Inside by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018 Shooting Range Target Practice at 14-30 feet by Annmarie Throckmorton on 11-19-18. Test Target Practice at 15-21 feet by Annmarie Throckmorton on 12-02-18. Test Target Pass For Concealed Carry by Annmarie Throckmorton on 12-02-18. I was so pleased that I did not

A Hot Risky Landscape

One of my first memories is of when I was a toddler, when I had just learned to walk about and talk a little. My father did not want to do the dinner dishes one evening so he asked me if I wanted to do them. Oh, yes I was willing to try something new, to play with the dishes in the soapy water. (I had no toys.) Mother said no, as usual she quarreled with him, but Father prevailed this time. He asked me if I was strong enough to stand on a box to reach the sink. Yes, just barely. Then he ran the dish water too hot and stacked the dishes in the hot water, explaining that the water needed to be hot enough to “sterilize” them. When my father saw that I could not put my little hands into

A Locust Tree’s Destiny

Every few years the local electric utility Ameren comes through my neighborhood and trims trees away from the power lines. In 2010 the tree trimmers severely trimmed back my neighbor’s grande dame locust tree for fear the old tree would drop large branches on the power lines or on the neighbor’s house. I sat on my lawn and watched the men work, then I took these photographs of them. They were healthy, handsome men, and posed for my admiring camera. I love to watch men work with their strong arms, sure feet, competent hands, clear eyes, and ready laughs. I am happy to place photographs of some typical early twenty-first century men into history on my old lady’s blog. After it was trimmed

Pity For The Lima Bean

What is the life of a lima bean? Manifesting deaf, dumb, and blind in the dark soil? Pushing up into a complex, incomprehensive world? Having no sense of smell, no taste, no hearing, no touch?* Plants have it rough. Plants lack the ability to move fast enough for this world to avoid a bite. I pity plants for their lack of the perceptions that so many other bits of life enjoy. Why do plants persevere? Do they have any capacity to think? In actuality, do plants touch with their roots? Smell with their root nodules? Taste? More? Do lima beans sense the vibrations of my footfall so near to them? I pity them. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... * See: https://www.newscienti

Superpower No. 3— Crowd Control

I completely understand if the following incident seems a bit unbelievable, but it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. When I was in the fullness of middle age I went to see the Blue Man Group* at the open-air Starlight theater in Kansas City, Missouri, but I went alone because the gentle people who are my usual friends would not go to such a raucous, bizarre performance. Personally I enjoy observing the edges of society, and blue men jumping around and banging on PVC pipes are fairly fringe. Before the performance I wandered back to the open-air concession area and I noticed one of the blue man group, disguised in his blue costume, crouched against a p

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