Quilt of Souls – Recommended Reading

Quilt of Souls – Recommended Reading

I read a lot of memoirs but Quilt of Souls by Phyllis Lawson grabbed me and lingers in my mind even several months later. Here’s the message I emailed the author: “I really see your book as equal to Maya Angelou’s writing.”

She replied, “Thank you, Virginia, that’s a pretty high compliment and praise. To be compared to Maya Angelou is an honor. She was one of my favorites.”

Aside from her story which is compelling, I felt she brought up historic patterns and influences in black lives that both whites and blacks may be unaware of. The Black Lives Matter movement is tapping into many unresolved issues in race relations. Her book shows how this traces back to slavery days.

quilt of souls author visit

Quilt and photo of Phyllis Lawson’s grandmother.

As a four-year-old, Phyllis fell to the care of her grandparents as her overburdened parents struggled to make a living. Feeling abandoned in a strange place, she gradually blossomed while learning life skills and family history from her aged grandmother.

As she learned the basics of quilting from Grandma Lula, the vintage fabrics from relatives’ discarded clothing served as links to the past. The stories shared as they stitched these into quilts told of hardship, oppression, and fortitude. It was the story of our country’s mistreatment of a race through slavery and through structured repression but brought to life through the oral history of her ancestors.

Her vivid descriptions of her childhood take us to that dusty yard in Alabama where a fearful child hid under the porch. Light filtered through to her while overhead the grown-ups fanned themselves and talked about their lives.

Please check out the author’s webpage, Quilt of Souls and her Facebook page for the book. The author page lists upcoming events from California to New York City. You can contact her publicist, James Fontenot, at or 703-946-9111 to arrange for her to speak at your quilt guild, genealogy club or other groups.

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Posted by on May 26, 2016 in Reading



Bouncing Back from Super Tuesday

Bouncing Back from Super Tuesday
I woke up early to stew over the losses in yesterday’s election. 

I’m composing a letter to send CNN, MSNBC, etc. They are big contributors to Trump’s rise. It’s not the voters or Hillary that I want to bash, but the mainstream media. Their focus on Trump just because it gets viewers to tune in to see what outrageous thing he will say next has boosted that buffoon to this dangerous level. Their suppression of Bernie Sanders’ campaign in some misguided allegiance to Wall Street and to their own big paychecks is a disservice to Americans who hunger for some hope for political change. To see how far Bernie has come with an almost total media blackout amazes me. They are missing the biggest story of the decade.

If they only care about ratings, they should start showing the huge crowds that line up for hours for Bernie’s giant rallies. His followers crave news of their champion. Give Bernie Sanders some features and people will tune in. The pundits need to quit being so patronizing, so negative whenever they mention Bernie.

Several million people came out to vote for Sanders in Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio yesterday. This is not a marginal campaign. The changes that he calls for are resonating with the electorate. The voters want an outsider, and if Hillary Clinton faces off with Donald Trump in November, I fear the worst.  

If we have a President Trump in 2017, the media can blame itself for setting up this mess. The voters are sick of politics as usual. If the media continues to suppress coverage and diminish Bernie Sanders impact, then a final ballot between Trump and Clinton sets up a disastrous win for the hate-spewing billionaire. 
It’s the morning after and I see the Facebook groups for Bernie Sanders starting to bounce back from their disappointment in yesterday’s election returns. Our belief in this incredible candidate, a once-in-a-lifetime champion of the people, runs deep and strong.
OK, everyone, it is time to go back to phone banking, to canvassing and to donating to Bernie Sanders. He lost Missouri by a mere 1,600 votes. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen again.
trump vs bernie

Do you want to vote for the billionaire who’s admitted to trying to buy politicians, or the politician who refuses to be bought by billionaires? Meme from Facebook (Being Progressive)

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Posted by on March 16, 2016 in Politics



Mardi Gras Golf Cart Parade

Mardi Gras Golf Cart Parade

It’s fun each February to see how the people in our retirement community decorate their golf carts for Mardi Gras. There’s even a parade and people wear costumes and masks and have fun tossing bead necklaces to the crowd.

This year the parade was early. That means there’s still time for you to steal some of their ideas for decorating your own cart. You see a lot of purple, gold and green, so try to work that into your decorating. Click the link to see ones from previous years and tips on how to decorate a golf cart for Mardi Gras.


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They did a great job on this mask for a golf cart. Really fits the Mardi Gras theme. 


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Posted by on February 6, 2016 in Solivita



Taking Applications for a Social Secretary

I’m really in need of a social secretary. How lovely it would be to delegate all the petty tasks to someone so I would have my time free for what I consider important things, like amusing myself. Unfortunately, the days of social secretaries did not survive past the Edwardian era. There are virtual assistants nowadays, but it’s not the same as having someone standing by to take care of daily trivia.


Just last week, I could say, “Jenny, call around to the neighbors to see who does their house cleaning. Since the housecleaner called in sick, we need a substitute right away.” Instead, I scrubbed and bleached the shower and took care of a minimal number of household cleaning tasks so we wouldn’t be too dreadful before Linda returned next week.

Today, I could shove the dental reminder and the list of events for the RV club at her and say, “please put these into the Google calendar with automatic reminders.” She could then take care of running to the post office to mail some packages for me, and while she’s out, she could pick up my allergy medicine at the pharmacy.

When she returned from that errand, I’d have her pull together all my receipts needed for tax deductions relating to my writing. Then she could reformat my short, nonfiction ebook to submit for Kindle Direct Publishing.

While doing that, she would need to remind me that I had a one p.m. line-dancing class to attend. Before leaving at the end of the day, she should remind me of the genealogy program, Finding Your Roots, coming on PBS at eight p.m. tonight.

If there’s time after formatting my ebook, she could study the instructions for using the portable IRIScan and demonstrate it for me. Then I could scan some family photos and clippings this evening. Better yet, I could set her to work digitizing the boxes of pictures which would take her several weeks.

Enough fantasizing. I’d better get busy on these tasks, and I’ll have to remind myself not to miss my exercise class.


Posted by on February 2, 2016 in photos, Time Management



Too Many Photos?

Too Many Photos?

My computer has been sluggish and telling me it’s short on memory. I’m blaming it on the 66 GB of photos stored in it. I’ve sorted them into 357 folders and it says there are 37,192 files. I’m assuming each picture counts as a file.

That’s a lot of photos. I admit that I take pictures everywhere I go, sometimes 100 or so in a day. Besides that, I’ve inherited all the photos that were on my mother’s computer. Two of my sisters also gave me digital files of family photos from their computers.

Yes, I have too many photos, but it’s hard work to get rid of some. The family photos must stay, but some are duplicates. In deleting, I first have to find the matching pictures which may not be filed together. Then I have to determine which is the best or the original one. Some have been edited but I’m still reluctant to kill the originals.

Here's the list of folders that I've set up in Microsoft Photo Album.

Here’s the list of folders that I’ve set up in Microsoft Photo Album.

The past few weeks, I’ve worked diligently to drag photos into folders by topic. Previously they were just in hundreds of folders for the date of the photo. Because many had tags or titles, I could find some when I needed them for an article. Sometimes I wasted a lot of time looking for a specific photo that I remembered but had never tagged. Grrr

I’m happier now with the folders by topics. There’s the ancestor folder with subfolders for McGhee, Martin, Vining, Tower, and Joy. There’s the flower folder with subfolders of red flowers, white flowers, etc. I have a folder for wildlife and within that, subfolders for alligators, birds, etc. The bird subfolder has sub-subfolders for cranes, herons, hawks, storks, and a variety birds. I even have a folder just for my Bernie Sanders memes.

I’d thought to offload all the pictures to thumb drives in hopes of unburdening my hard drive. Unfortunately, when I moved the first folder over, I realized that it lost the tags that I’d spent so many hours adding. Sigh, apparently those work only in the Windows Media Album and don’t transport with the photos. That’s not acceptable as I have a lot of genealogy information in the tags on the ancestors.

I’d thought about getting one of these gadgets. My photos already get backed up weekly to an external drive, but the simplicity of this one appeals. It wouldn’t serve for the basic storage need that I have, merely for a safe, easy back-up.

Now I’m trying to think of what else I can remove from the computer. I doubt if the documents really amount to much although they do contain back- ups of all my online articles and in some cases with all the HTML. I took a quick peek, just now, and those only add up to 2 GB so it wouldn’t really make a difference of any significance.

If you’ve organized your photos, please share any tips you learned along the way. I’d really appreciate it.


Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Photography


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Warning about Cinnamon Gum

Warning about Cinnamon Gum

I used to like Dentyne cinnamon gum but it was discontinued so recently I took up Trident cinnamon gum. The flavor was quite like the old Dentyne, so I liked it.

Then I started noticing that my mouth and tongue were sore. It progressed to the point that I found it painful to eat. I could see inflammation under my tongue and read online about blocked saliva glands. Feeling achy and with swollen glands in my throat, I decided it was time to see the doctor.

Not blocked saliva glands, she said, but offered no alternate cause for the pain. She gave me a prescription to swish in my mouth before meals to reduce the pain. After about a week, the inflammation subsided.

Then last week, I chewed 2 small sticks of the Trident cinnamon gum. Right away, I felt the soreness starting up again. Within 24 hours, I was back to having a painful tongue, an inflamed lining of the mouth and swollen lymph glands. Aha, it’s the gum.

I researched that online and found that some people are sensitive to the cinnamic-aldehyde used in these gums. Guess I’m one of them and no more cinnamon gum for me. I’m posting my experience online, so maybe someone can learn from my experience.

Doctor Graphic from GlassGiant.

Doctor Graphic from GlassGiant.


Posted by on October 17, 2015 in Health



Do You Feel the Bern?

Do You Feel the Bern?

If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you’ve surely noticed that I’m a big supporter of Bernie Sanders for president. He’s building a huge grassroots following and staying away from big-money donors. His fans are finding creative ways to promote their presidential choice. I wanted to share with you this one, which shows you don’t need big bucks to help the candidate you believe in.

This is Kyle Pillsbury who is backpacking around to get the word out in small towns about Bernie Sanders' campaign.

This is Kyle Pillsbury who is backpacking around to get the word out in small towns about Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

“I will be spending my birthday this year (Sept 13) in smaller towns spreading Bernie’s campaign where so many have heard almost nothing about him. I’ll start traveling down back road highways, and won’t have much access to wi-fi or affordable food, hoping to pack up on some stuff I can travel with and cook, like rice and oats. Thanks so much everyone who contributed to my Go Fund Me request.
Here's his sign on his backpack promoting Bernie.

Here’s his sign on his backpack promoting Bernie.

I’m homeless for the time, and hitchhiking and working around. Since I don’t have a car or place for my sign, I support Bernie, and spread the word everywhere I go, people who give me rides, other travelers, people I meet in the towns and cities I pass through.
I’ve been politically active for a long time, but this is the first time a presidential candidate has gotten me this excited.”
Here is his Go Fund Me page.

Here’s my challenge to you: Think about ways that you can help spread the word about Bernie. Act on that and one-by-one we can build support for this candidate.

#‎EnoughIsEnough‬ ‪#‎FeelTheBern‬ ‪#‎Sanders2016‬


Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Politics


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