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Author Archives: Virginia Allain

About Virginia Allain

I'm a retired librarian...photographer, online content creator, genealogist, and writer. My passion is convincing people to preserve their family history and to write about their childhood memories.

Patting Myself on the Back

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

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Posted by on August 30, 2017 in Squidoo, Uncategorized

 

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Another Blogger in the Family

Lovers of good food will love the blog: https://lickingthebeaters.com.

Source: Another Blogger in the Family

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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

 
 

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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.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2017 in Politics

 

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My Library Career

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.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Libraries

 

Thanksgiving and Politics – Difficult Decisions

Thanksgiving and Politics – Difficult Decisions

It’s hard to tamp down the overheated rhetoric of this ever-so-divisive election. Suddenly, the holidays are upon us and we aren’t even sure if we can bear to spend a whole day with certain family members. I see some online friends struggling with this. Here are some of the concerns and some solutions they’re going to try.

thanksgiving-meme-aliens

Online meme about Native Americans and undocumented immigrants.

M.L. has a great idea for Thanksgiving: “A tasty protest. If you feel obligated to have Trump supporting family members over for Thanksgiving. Do what I’m going to: have a Global Thanksgiving. No turkey here, just delicious food from all the countries and ethnicities that make up my community and my circle of friends.”

Another friend said, “This is great because you can feel good about it either way: if they like it, you’ve taught them the value of understanding people who are not the same as them. If they don’t like it, you get to smirk into your napkin as they shift uncomfortably in their seats and muddle through the meal.”

S.B.K. added an idea to expand on this, “I suggest that you play a soundtrack of world music while everyone is eating. Putumayo World Music puts out some fabulous albums.”

Someone suggested posting a sign at the door, “Politics not spoken here.”

B.H. had this perspective, “We have two options for dealing with Trump supporters in our family during the holidays:

A) Have the difficult conversations.

Don’t make it easy. Don’t fear making them uncomfortable. Part of the reason Trump was elected was because many white people, myself included, have not been having the difficult conversations with other white people. The old mantra of not bringing up politics or religion is dead. Bring it up. Make them squirm. Look up resources for having productive difficult conversations and practice as a family what you will say. If you’re thinking “I don’t want to ruin Thanksgiving” think about the LGBTQ youth who have been kicked out of their homes and might be without shelter in Trump’s America. Think about the undocumented people currently in detention centers. We need to sacrifice our own comfort to make the world a better place for them.

B) Don’t go/Don’t welcome.

We didn’t uninvite my in-laws to Thanksgiving, but we told them that we were deeply unhappy with them and didn’t really want to break bread with Trump supporters right now, so they uninvited themselves. These people voted for Trump because the bad stuff doesn’t affect them. Make them recognize actions have consequences. Make it affect them. A vote for Trump was a hateful act. The price should be your company and affection.

I recognize if you’re married to a Trump supporter these suggestions might not be possible, but I hope they are useful for confronting parents/siblings/cousins etc. Strength to you all as we navigate a difficult time together.”

V.B. is bypassing Thanksgiving with relatives, “I hope to go to the soup kitchen and serve. I want to give this year. I have a lot and more than enough to be thankful.”

A.L.B. has used these instructions in the past and it certainly seems appropriate for this election year Thanksgiving. “I actually post the ‘annual house rules’ when I invite everyone, since I do have friends of all types. It includes a ‘rule’ as follows: 3- My friends are diverse. They come in all colors, sizes, ages, ethnic groups, religious beliefs, political affiliations, orientations and with all kinds of hobbies/interests/passions. Negative energy or negative/inflammatory conversations of any kind are forbidden. I will toss out offenders. It’s my party, my favorite holiday and my house. Deal with it.

A lot of people are dreading Thanksgiving next week. If you find yourself with your stomach in knots,  then perhaps you need a new version of the holiday and not the same old family gathering.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Elections, holidays

 

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Don’t Take Bernie’s Voters for Granted

Don’t Take Bernie’s Voters for Granted

One of the reasons that this election has me on tenterhooks is not knowing how the vote will split among the 4 candidates. The media focuses mainly on the two traditional parties, Democratic and Republican. I worry that a significant portion of the voters are disillusioned enough to vote 3rd party.

How the Libertarian and the Green Party votes play out is a scary part of the equation. The mainstream media seems to look at the two major candidates and assume that when it comes to the crunch the errant voters will return to voting Republican or Democratic.

I think media has underestimated the disillusionment of Bernie’s voters with the Democratic Party. This is not something that Bernie fostered, but it exists. Hillary Clinton hasn’t made much effort to woo them back into the flock.

bernie-voters-screenshot

Formerly, the Berners in the Facebook groups cheered each other on in making phone calls and donating to Bernie’s campaign. They flocked to his rallies. They shared stories of converting family and friends to Bernie and took pride in how long they stood in line to vote in the primary.

Now, the tone is rancorous with comments like this: “You green party/libertarian f—-rs just need to stop. There is NO WAY in hell Johnson or Stein will win. All you will do is make yourself feel warm and fuzzy at the polls, but not change anything. COME BACK TO REALITY!! Pick one, Trump or Clinton!!!”

Such interactions on Facebook and other social media aren’t creating any unified voting blocks. Trolls haunt the groups sowing doubts and being contentious. Bernie’s followers feel abandoned and most remain dubious about Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary and uncertain about what they should do.

14-bernie-believers-bernie-sanders-fb-screenshot

I’ve shared these screenshots and comments so you can see for yourself that much of this election is up-in-the-air. Don’t take Hillary’s lead in the polls for granted. There is much work to be done for anyone to win on November 8th.

I’m scared.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Elections, Politics

 

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