Swans on Lake Eola

While attending the 2017 and 2018 Women’s rallies in Orlando, I admired the swans and the swan boats on Lake Eola. The events inspired me to form a women’s action network in our senior community. The swans inspired me to name the group, SWANS (Solivita Women’s Action Network).

Then at the 2018 March for Our Lives rally for gun safety, I took these photos. A bus was hired by a school safety/anti-assault rifle group that one of our SWANS started. That made it possible for 56 people from Solivita to attend the rally and march.

Lake Eola and the rainbow amphitheater (photo by Virginia Allain)
Lake Eola. Note the rainbow amphitheater that was painted after the Pulse Nightclub shootings. (photo by Virginia Allain)

It was a sunny day in Orlando and as you see above, people were enjoying the park, taking photos, and soaking up the sunshine. At the same time, thousands of people gathered at the other end of the park to hear speakers talk about school safety and placing controls on assault rifles. It was just a short time after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 13, 2018.

swans at lake eola, Orlando photo by Virginia Allain
Swans and fountain at Lake Eola, Orlando (photo by Virginia Allain)
Swans at Lake Eola, Orlando (photo by Virginia Allain))
Swans at Lake Eola, Orlando with the city skyline in the background. (photo by Virginia Allain)

The swans were lovely, there were palm trees, and the sun was shining. For contrast, I hope the next picture shocks you. I hope this earnest student and her creative sign make you think about what steps are needed to provide more gun safety and prevent future mass shootings, not just in Florida schools, but all across our country in public places like concerts and nightclubs and other places that people gather.

You can read more about that day and see my rally photos here.

march for our lives gun safety
A sign that cries out for change. Orlando rally 2018 – March for Our Lives. (photo by Virginia Allain)
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Where Are the A to Z Posts?

I have a number of blogs and each year choose one for the A to Z Blog Challenge. If you’re looking for that one to see what I’ve been doing, it’s the All About Toni Dolls blog this year.

The graphic below shows some of the recent posts there. Unfortunately, I missed 2 letters so far as I was traveling. I might make those up in May. For now, you can go to All About Toni Dolls to see the ones shown below.

Blog Posts list ‹ All about Toni Dolls — WordPress com

Maybe these will bring back memories of your favorite doll from childhood or give you ideas for making some doll outfits with your child or grandchild. Thanks for dropping by.

In previous years, I took the A to Z Blog Challenge using my mother’s memory blog, Discovering Mom. Here’s the links/list for the 2017 A to Z posts. The first year that I participated was 2014. Here’s my very first one, A is for Accident.

Patting Myself on the Back

I keep a folder labeled “Compliments” in my email files. When I get a message where someone says kind things about me, I save a copy in that folder.

Now and then when I need an ego boost, I browse those messages. Some date back to my time on the Squidoo website. We had some great networking there and I still keep in touch with many of the great people who wrote there.

Kind Words from My Squidoo Pals:

    • Diane Cass – “Virginia is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for me.”
    • Heather Knight Schulte – “I also agree Virginia needs a trophy (or a crown) for all her helpful advice and encouragement.”
    • Lisa Auch – “For sharing all your wonderful information to making great pages! And for sharing your journey and motivation you give to others! It sure is a pleasure knowing you!”
    • “Virginia, thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do to promote Squidoo and engender a feeling of community amongst the writers. I also want to personally thank you for all of the encouragement you have given me to stay with Squidoo, the helpful tips that have made my lenses better, and being my biggest fan. The great thing is that you do this for everyone…not just me. Thank you so much.”
    • Wordstock – “You, my friend, are the most helpful and the best cheerleader a person could hope for. Thank you for your help in the past and for, I am sure, the help in the future. Without you, I would still be floundering on the beach. Now I am not afraid to swim in the deep water.”

lensmasters work

Not the A to Z Blog

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If you followed my avatar here looking for my April A to Z Challenge, then I have led you astray. This year, I’m featuring my mother’s memory blog for the challenge. You can see that at Discovering My Mom: Gail Martin, Gone But Not Forgotten.

Discovering Mom   Gail Lee Martin… gone but not forgotten.png

The blog that you’ve landed on here is my general purpose blog where I write about my writing, my photography, my politics and whatever else comes to mind. You are welcome to explore here, but don’t forget to go onward to see the A to Z blog posts about my mother.

a to z challenge

A is for Vintage AUTOS

B is for Brown Sugar Syrup

C is for Cedar Chests

D is for Dandelion Wine

pixabay computer write

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

E is for Eastern Phoebe

F is for Favorite Foods of the 1950s

G is for Gail’s Bookshelf – Slacks and Calluses

H is for Hamilton (where Mom went to high school)

I Remember Our 1940s Homes

J is for Journaling

K is for Keeping an Old Car Running (Gail’s advice)

L is for Liking the Book

M is for Memories of the Flood of 1951

N is for No-Bake Cookies (a family favorite)

O is for Obituary (my mother’s)

P is for Pancakes Made from Scratch

Q is for Quilts in the Family

R is for Ruth’s Sympathy Cards

S is for Someone Has to be the Family Historian

T is for Tornado Memories

U is for Undaunted by the Microphone (Gail’s speaking engagements)

V is for Vases from Old Bottles

W is for Washday Blues

X is for eXplorer

Y is for Yarn and Rags Crafts

Trump Is Destroying America and His Supporters Don’t Care

People dismiss Facebook as all fluff and inconsequential chit chat. Since I frequent many political groups I find some insight that you don’t always get from television news channels or the newspapers.

Here’s an example from a group called Liberal America. It is by a retired pastor from Texas.

#45 supporters, so his womanizing was alright with you, his insults were alright with you, his thoughts of incest with his daughter was alright with you, his walking in on young naked girls at beauty pageants was alright with you, his lying about his taxes was alright with you, his not paying taxes was alright with you, his insulting a war hero was alright with you, his insulting a gold star family was alright with you, his draft dodging was alright with you, his cheating American citizens was alright with you, his not paying people who did work for him was alright with you.

His not donating to his charity was alright with you, his using money from his charity to purchase personal items was alright with you, his mean tweeting in the middle of the night like some prepubescent 13-year old was alright with you, his war with the media, was alright with you, his war with our intelligence gathering agencies, was alright with you, his war with the judiciary is alright with you, his talk of sexual assault was alright with you, his lying about a foreign country paying for a giant wall was alright with you, his calling for a foreign government to interfere in our elections was alright with you, his coziness with a Russian dictator is alright with you,

His perpetual lying, his constant scandals, his racist demonic cabinet, his alternative facts, his lying about the previous president wiretapping him, with no proof, his destroying healthcare for millions of people, his giving tax breaks to the filthy rich, and making it harder on the poorest of Americans. None of these things seem to bother you, so, #45 supporters, you gotta ask yourself, what kind of Americans are you? or, deeper still, what kind of human beings are you? Is your hatred actually so intense that this evil orange man is destroying our nation, and you don’t care?

This is why people feel overwhelmed by the Trump presidency. He’s not just awful in one way, he is a total disaster. Despite that, he has devoted supporters who seem able to ignore, whitewash, or twist his awfulness into something they can accept. I just don’t understand that.
 

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This is a meme that was going around Facebook during the campaign. It applies to the presidency as well. 

 
I guess what boggles my mind is that I’m reluctant to think people who were friends, neighbors, or co-workers are bigots, racists, and hateful. So, if they aren’t those things, then I can only deduce that I’ve greatly overestimated their intelligence level.

My Library Career

When I talk to people about my career as a librarian, a surprising number say “I always wanted to be a librarian.” I’m not sure they have a realistic concept of what a librarian does.

It’s helpful to love books. It’s good to have a passion for helping people and uniting them with books and information.

Most likely, they would find library work similar to other jobs, except you do your work in a library setting. I worked in libraries for 30 years. My first teen job was shelving books which gets rather tedious over time.

After getting my master’s degree in library science, I became a children’s librarian. Getting children excited about books kept me enthused about going to work each day.

storytime-at-chardon-library
Virginia Martin with the storytime kids at the Chardon Library back in the 1970s. Ohio

Later as a reference librarian, then a department head and finally a library director, my job changed. In the final years, I spent more time preparing budgets, dealing with staffing issues, writing grant applications and other managerial chores. That meant less time actually spent with people or books which is what first attracted me to library service.

librarian
Virginia Martin Lord during my 15 years at the Baltimore County Public Library.

Shut up in my ivory tower (otherwise known as the Director’s Office), I slaved away at my desk. It was isolating. Still, I loved that my work made a difference in people’s lives through services the library provided. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to be a librarian.

weslaco-public-library
The Weslaco Public Library in South Texas.