69 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 10-30-19

  1. Cute little fellow and he is not going hungry.
    Morning, Chas.
    Our seeds are sprouting in Kinder and tomorrow we will plant some beans next to the fence. It is always fun to watch things grow.

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  2. Morning! Chipmunk cheeks!! How cute!!
    It is currently 4 below zero in this here forest and how thankful am I for a warm cozy home.
    Chas I am in hopes with you that the rain will hold off until you get TSWITW safely to the center.
    Jo that just brings back sweet memories of elementary school when we would grow things in paper cups. We would rush to the window in the mornings to see what progress was made. We would grow grass, beans, petunias. I do believe the teacher would switch out certain cups that had failed to grow so as not to have a student in tears! 😊

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  3. Meanwhile, back in Sonoma County:

    ”So, to recap the last 8 days: we have had a shooting on a school campus, two power shutoffs, a major fire, two earthquakes, and now a code blue for freezing temperatures. Our first responders are incredible.“

    Our house has had power 24 hours in the last week. My husband will clean out the refrigerator today.

    Thanks be to God the terrible winds expected today did not come in ferocious force, and there’s hope for power maybe by tomorrow, possibly late tonight.

    R: “I’m focusing on God’s mercy in sparing Healdsburg and Windsor. That was very close.”

    He’s been listening to the new hand crank radio (with the cat curled on his lap for warmth), and could become very discouraged. “People are beyond furious at P, G, and E. The PUC refuses to accept any responsibility and no one is suggesting anything that could have us better prepared for the next fire season.”

    Insulated lines are doable. The fact those who know won’t even mention them is deeply troubling.

    Their solution? Threats. ‘If you’re not nice to our linesman we won’t reestablish your power lines.’

    Doing what is right in their own eyes— with not thought of the 250,000 lives they’re holding hostage— well, you now have ideas of where to pray.

    Politicians, of course, are posturing without any knowledge of where P, G & E gets income—hint, it’s not from selling power. 😦

    Btw, their stock is worthless, so where are these august sums of money going to come from?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Michelle, do you have underground utilities?
    At some point since 1979 the power companies around here started burying the lines. Now it is odd for me to go into an area and see power lines.
    I watch the news and remember your town in my prayers. It is more “real” when you have been to a place.

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  5. Thanx Kathleena, and others who care. As soon as I posted that it occurred to me that at a certain stage in life, something so trivial can become an event.
    You would be amazed at the effort that makes that happen.

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  6. Chas – Does Elvera still remember everyone (or at least most everyone) in the family?

    Before her own dementia set in, my MIL would tell about her grandmother who was put in a mental hospital because of her dementia. She forgot she was married, and fell in love with the priest who came to minister to the patients. The family would go up to visit her on Sundays after church, bringing lunch and a cake.

    IIRC, Sandra Day O’Conner’s husband, who had dementia, fell in love with someone at his nursing home. That must be painful for the spouse.

    I don’t remember if someone here told this story or if I heard/read it elsewhere, but I read or heard about a dementia patient telling a close relative (their child or grandchild, I think) something like, “I don’t know who you are, but I like you.”


  7. Nightingale seems to be well-liked by her patients, and she is fond of most of them as well.

    She told me recently that she bought some pretty fall decorations to decorate the nurse’s station and hallway on her unit. I thought that was quite thoughtful of her.

    Yesterday’s visit with Chickadee was nice. I was pleased that she threw herself into playing catch with Boy after school, with the new football I got him for his birthday (with the Patriots logo on it). Often, she makes it plain that she doesn’t really want to play outside with him, but yesterday she “got into it” and they both had a good time.

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  8. Karen, et al.
    She knows me and Chuck& Linda and everyone who is around her. But she may not remember if they are not there. I can mention Polly and Mel, but she doesn’t realize they are married unless I tell her.
    I am never certain of where her mind is at a given time.
    But she has never not known me.
    She has never not recognized Chuck & Linda when they show up. But may not remember if I just mention them.
    Some suggested that I ask her to describe the home she wants to go to in the evening.
    I suspect there is no such place. I don’t know what is in her mind. She just needs to do something.
    She as always anxious to do something. That has been her life, not sitting watching TB.

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  9. The one thing that bothered me yesterday was seeing a necklace that Chickadee was wearing. It was the “Venus” symbol (a circle with a plus sign on the bottom) with the addition of a not-quite half-circle on top. Depending on which site you look at, it either means “intersex”, “unisex”, or “non-binary transgender”. I think she may believe she is “non-binary transgender”, because I once saw a reference she made to being non-binary. (That was somewhere where I shouldn’t have been looking, so she doesn’t know that I saw that.) Or maybe she is identifying as unisex?

    From what I have read, girls and women with Asperger’s Syndrome (which I have believed she has) often have some typical male traits along with their female traits, but that doesn’t mean that they are partly male.

    I honestly believe that she wouldn’t have entertained this idea without the influence of the McK sisters. They believe that there are many different genders. The younger one is a lesbian. (They deny that her being sexually abused as a three year old, and then became afraid of men for a while, is probably behind her same-sex attraction.) YA seems to fall all over herself to be woker than woke in just about every issue. So I think my confused daughter has chosen to believe this lie about herself as a way of further fitting in with them.

    One of my prayers for her is that she will come to a greater recognition and appreciation of her femaleness and femininity. (Please join me in that, but of course, most of all that she will be saved.)

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  10. Peter mentioned “The Village” last night. That’s another good one, with quite a twist. “The Others” was also a good one with a twist.


  11. It’s 55 and windy here this morning.

    So why is insulating the lines not being considered, Michelle? Sounds like a good solution but is it expensive or is there another issue that makes it difficult or impractical? I do know that under grounding utilities is very expensive. But if there’s something that would “fix” this mess, it seems someone would be putting it in motion.

    I ‘googled’ it and found these various responses:


    It is too costly to insulate these lines. Except in areas where people reside, these transmission lines are not insulated. Imagine using insulation on millions of kms of transmission lines. It isn’t practically viable.

    In case of Underground cables, insulation is required so that the live cables don’t touch earth and get shorted. In over head lines, the air naturally insulates the lines and hence there is no need for insulation.

    Not necessary, bare overhead conductors from other energy carriers is to utilize air as a natural insulation for conductors suspended from towers

    It adds cost and weight to the cables.

    Insulation breaks down with exposure to the elements which shortens the life of the wire, and it also traps heat (bare wire stays cooler.)


  12. Looks like our SoCal winds materialized overnight as expected and will continue through Thursday. From our story this morning:


    After weeks of fighting blazes, fire officials braced for this bout of Santa Ana winds of 50 mph to 70 mph, with gusts up to 80. The winds are expected to continue through Thursday.

    A red-flag warning is in effect for most of the Southern California through 6 p.m. Thursday as the gusts are paired with single-digit humidity heightening the fire danger, according to the National Weather Service.

    Early morning, a brush fire broke out in Simi Valley near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and threatening homes. Immediate evacuations were ordered in the area around the library and on both sides of Tierra Rejada Road toward Wood Ranch Road.

    And on it goes.


  13. We have buried utility lines here. But I grew up in a neighborhood with utility poles in back yards having wires strung across the yard to the house. Every time there was a storm we lost power. Here not so much unless some driver hits the transformer box or something.
    I am scared of scary movies. I watched Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and was done in…. 😳

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  14. That’s how it is here, our lines run overhead across our backyards, sometimes brushing through our tall trees, from utility pole to pole; closest one to me is right over the corner of my back fence in my neighbor’s yard. The squirrels use it regularly.

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  15. Today’s cheeky chipmunk is my most “favorited” on Flickr, with more than 10,000 views and 213 faves. It made it to Explore a few weeks ago, which builds the views. It obviously had its cheek pouches full of food.

    Small prey species (chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels), when spotting a person or other potential predator, decide whether to flee or to freeze in place. This one chose to freeze in place. I saw its eye move a little bit as it tried not to blink, but otherwise I saw no movement as I zoomed my lens in and out and even moved a little bit to the left to give it a better background. I have found that the trick in getting photos when a small creature freezes is that you can’t look away from them for an instant–they flee the moment you aren’t looking. You can move three or four feet to the left or right (and can occasionally move closer to the creature), but you have to keep looking at the creature and keep your camera on it while you do so.

    At some point I decide I have stressed it long enough, and I look away to “release” it. But I haven’t seen chipmunks often on our local trail, and it was nice to get a good photo of this one.

    BTW, we’ve been gone since Sunday for our belated anniversary trip–realizing it was going to rain all day today, we changed our original plans that were Monday to Thursday, and left after the morning service Sunday. As it turns out, Sunday was the only day with blue skies (much better for autumn color than gray skies), so we were glad we changed the plans. It was a nice trip, with a lot of walking, and my husband in particular is tired. We just got back half an hour ago, and it was raining lightly most of the way and heavily as we neared home.

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  16. Power lines: I suspect the lines are not buried in the west for a number of reasons. Huge distances, earthquakes, would probably be high on the list. Burying cable is costly and the distances are much greater than the east coast. Earthquakes or tremors would wreak havoc on those buried lines. We have buried phone lines here (though few people use those anymore) but overhead power lines.

    It is amazing to see how far down they sad when a huge flock of blackbirds is on them.

    Yes, they are dangerous. But the dangers are far outweighed, in most people’s view, by the benefits.


  17. I think I have previously mentioned that I am aware that Chickadee goes by another name with the McKs and her other friends. They call her Alex.

    These days, Alex is often used for women as well as for men, so I don’t know if she chose it for that reason, or if it is supposed to have a male connotation to it.

    I haven’t told her that I am aware of that because I am afraid she might then ask us to call her that.

    Praying for those winds and fires to calm down.

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  18. Kizzie, on women with Asperger’s, I think the habit of labeling a trait as male or female is contributing to the confusion. If a woman has a certain trait, that trait is feminine, because she is female. For more on the trouble with labeling traits masculine or feminine, see this: http://www.mortificationofspin.org/mos/housewife-theologian/when-complementarians-use-the-same-language-as-the-transgender-movement. I happen to process thing mentally very much like my father and have some of the same personality traits as him, something even he has acknowledged. Nothing could be more natural than a daughter taking after her father, whose genetic material she carries in her very DNA, but somehow, my tendencies towards emotional detachment and absorbing focus on tasks are masculine traits? Says who?

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  19. We have overhead electrical wires throughout rural Canada. Several years ago, my parents traveled to Nova Scotia by train, and they mentioned how the train traveled for many hours through the forest, with nothing manmade visible but the train tracks and the hydro lines. They are not insulated here either, but the hydro companies have never been held responsible for forest fires starting. We do have forest fires – a couple of years ago, during the widespread drought, there were forest fires burning within an hour’s drive from where my parents lived, though no evacuations were necessary – but there were great forest fires here for centuries before the Europeans ever came to these shores. They are a part of the cycle of life, and some of the trees depend on them for renewal. The issue is how to protect human communities from them, by use of such measures as fire breaks, clearing underbrush, and careful forestry.


  20. Big Sister, thanks for asking yesterday where I’d been. Sorry I’ve been so scarce. My usual time for keeping up with WV is lunchtime at work, but for the last week or so I’ve had a lot to get done and mostly worked through lunch. Things are settling down now.

    I’ve had the 60’s TV “Batman” theme in my head all day. Last night we went to our great-nephews’ combined middle school/high school Halloween concert. They actually have four orchestras, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, and two high school orchestras. Most of the music they played was unfamiliar to me, so the one familiar piece is now stuck in my head. Abe, our 7th-grader, was the lone bass player for “Batman”. He wasn’t happy to have such a boring part, but that part starts it off and is the foundation for the whole piece.

    Beck, our 9th-grader, plays cello in the concert orchestra, which did an impressive “Avengers Suite” that the director had arranged from various Marvel Avengers movie themes.

    Most of the students, and the directors, dress in costumes for the Halloween concert. The middle school director was Scooby Doo, the high school director Captain America. We saw Waldo (as in Where’s Waldo?), Sauron, and other familiar and unfamiliar characters. Very fun.

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  21. The Eldests’ offspring always have such fun making their costumes, and their creativity is a joy to behold. They have been Marvel characters, DC characters (Eldest Nephew has gone full blown cosplay with the elaborate Batman costume he has been working on for a couple of years), video game characters (such as Steve from Minecraft), LOTR character (one year, Second Nephew was the Eye of Sauron) and many more. Fourth Nephew was showing off his wizard’s hat the last time we talked with them over the webcam – I believe he is going to be Merlin.

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  22. Roscuro – You touched on something I meant to include earlier – the assigning of various traits as male or female. (I should have written “typically male” or “typically female” in my earlier comment.) Nightingale and I have talked about how much the supposed division in those traits may play a large part in fueling the transgender movement. In some areas of life, that differentiation seems to be more “strict” (not the word I want, but I can’t think of what word I do want) than in the past.

    One example we mentioned is that Easy Bake Ovens used to be a bluish color, but are now very pink. Speaking of toys, some people got very upset about Target doing away with the signs for “Girls Toys” and “Boys Toys”. But what, really, is the big deal about that?

    Strange, though, that this kind of assigning traits so “strictly” exists at the same time as a push to do away with gender differences.

    Nightingale is so much like her dad in so many ways. And yet, Chickadee is a lot like me. (Not that Nightingale doesn’t share some traits with me or Chickadee with her dad. Nightingale and I are a lot alike in certain ways.)

    In fact, the girls once decided together that Nightingale was Hubby’s favorite and Chickadee was mine. As for understanding them and having traits in common, yes that would be true. (But I still insist that I don’t have a favorite. They are each my favorite in different ways.)


  23. As for that necklace I mentioned, Nightingale texted me that she had asked her about it. Chickadee said it is the symbol for Mercury (which I did in fact know), and that Mercury is the planet that rules over Gemini. So she doesn’t seem to assign a gender thing to the symbol, but an astrological meaning to it. (Which is bad in its own way. 😦 )


  24. Re sexual differences: My husband and I spent a few minutes of our trip in a “variety store” that has a section of children’s toys. I saw a “boy’s chef kit” and, right next to it, a doctor kit with a girl’s picture on it. Yes, we get it, not all doctors are men and it isn’t only women and girls who cook. But does it really solve anything to bend over backward to make sure there is a cooking kit for boys but NOT one for girls (who are actually far more likely to be interested in it).

    If you looked at my hobbies and interests and those of my husband, just stacked together in a random stack, you might have some difficulty putting them in the correct stack. Let’s see, which one of us paints in watercolor, plays the piano, and got a book on writing poetry to write poetry for a spouse? Which one of us has always liked insects and now takes photos of insects, spiders, and sometimes snakes? Now, granted, he hated those piano lessons he had to take as a child, and only after one of the daughters started taking piano lessons did he pick it up again. And watercolor tends to be seen as a “feminine” hobby, but those who pursue it seriously are more likely to be men.

    There are real differences between men and women if taken as a group. Men tend to be a lot stronger, and women tend to be more nurturing, for instance. But there is almost nothing of which it can be said “All men do this” or “No man does this” and likewise with women. And it isn’t unfeminine for a man to “nurture” or for a woman to like bugs.

    I struggled with having friends into my early twenties, and even today I can feel out of place in women-only groups and I dislike it when men and women break into separate clusters; I’d rather the men and women stay together, and I prefer being with my husband to going with the women and likely into discussions that don’t interest me much. I suspect my struggles have to do largely with being raised by a mother who wasn’t very comfortable with women (much less so than me) and with four older brothers. My only sister preferred the company of our younger brother to me. I simply had few opportunities to learn female patterns of relationship. And in college I was dismayed to find that 90% or more of female conversation revolved around subjects that bored me or that I couldn’t discuss intelligently: boys (from a “possible romance” standpoint, not from a “taking care of little boys” standpoint–that one I knew), music, and movies. I have never been very interested in sports (my husband and I are watching the World Series, and I can watch a sport or two, but as a conversational topic it’s quickly boring), but men are more likely to talk about theology or have philosophical discussions, and I find those subjects more interesting than conversations about cooking.


  25. Hey, does anyone know a good store (chain, online store, etc.) to buy a purse? I am quite overdue; the one I had was supposed to be genuine leather, but it clearly isn’t, and it’s in really bad shape. I think my husband would like to get me a real leather one (me, I don’t care either way, I just need a new one), but I don’t even know what stores can be trusted to sell purses that last a few years. I just want a purse (not a handbag) and lots of pockets, and I want not to have to worry about it again for several more years.


  26. Cheryl, it is those generalizations of large groups of men and women which are unhelpful. Take the statement “women tend to be more nurturing”. If we are speaking of the biological capability that women have to feed infants, then that is a real biological difference that women as a group have from men. But if it means a generally nurturing attitude, then the statement is a meaningless generalization. When I read that word nurturing, immediately a phrase from Isaiah came into my mind “He will carry the lambs in his bosom and gently lead those that are with young.” That pastoral picture of the coming Messiah nurturing the weak and young brought David to mind, who nurtured his flocks, in addition to being an accomplished musician and poet, as well as a feared warrior. But David was by no means the only male shepherd, and among the many tenders of flocks in the Bible are Moses and the Patriarchs. Women, of course, were also shepherds – Rachel and Jethro’s daughters are both mentioned in that capacity – so tending sheep, an animal needing much careful nurturing was both a man and a woman’s job. If men have the patience and gentleness needed to care for lambs, they also have that same ability to care for children, and indeed, Christ’s blessing of the children and Paul’s words of instruction to fathers to carefully bring up their children without exasperating them, show that, in God’s economy, men are just as much nurturers as women. After all, both monasteries and nunneries in the Middle Ages were centres of medical care because men and women have shared the tending of the sick since the beginning of time. If a man is not naturally sympathetic or caring towards those in need, that is not because it is effeminate to be nurturing, but because that particular man has a sinful attitude.


    California Can Expect Blackouts For A Decade, Says PG&E CEO
    October 18, 201910:38 PM ET

    The CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. told California energy regulators that the state will likely see blackouts for another 10 years like the one imposed last week that left as many as 800,000 customers without power.

    The revelation by corporation CEO Bill Johnson came Friday at a California Public Utilities Commission meeting at which he said his company is trying to reduce the chances of wildfires by trimming more trees and using technology to target smaller areas of the grid when fire dangers require power outages.

    But Johnson said it could take 10 years before such outages are “really ratcheted down significantly.”

    PG&E has come near universal criticism for its lack of planning in shutting off power and its failure to adequately handle customers’ questions while the outages lasted. PUC president Marybel Batjer blasted utility officials saying, “what we saw play out by PG&E last week cannot be repeated.” …



  28. Roscuro, is it “unhelpful” to say that men are more likely to be interested in watching football and that little girls are more likely to think about being mommies someday than little boys are to look ahead to being daddies? That boys are in general more boisterous and noisy in their play, and girls more likely to be nurturing in theirs?

    I don’t think these are unhelpful–I think they are true, and helpful to an extent. What is unhelpful is to say that since most boys have some interest in sports, that a boy who doesn’t is unmasculine . . . or that a girl who does is unfeminine. Seeing patterns helps us to know that a group of boys is going to need more space to be noisy and rowdy, that a mother of just girls shouldn’t be shocked if her grandsons are a lot different. I’ve seen too many mothers try to keep boys down to a sedate level of play. If you are inviting a dozen ten-year-olds over for a party, you need to know if the group is boys or girls!

    The reality is that only one of my five brothers has even the remotest interest in sports–that one is in fact very interested, and he played several sports, but the other four (and my dad) had, as far as I can tell, just about zero interest. I have never heard ANY of my other four brothers mentioning watching a game on TV or in person, except one brother who (inaccurately) thought that maybe his son would make it to the NBA, and so he allowed that son to earn the money to build a half-court basketball court in the backyard. (A boy who never plays on a basketball team isn’t going to get a basketball scholarship and isn’t going to get recruited to the NBA because he’s a couple inches over six feet, he likes basketball, and he has a basketball hoop in his backyard. That’s complete ignorance of how sports work.) It would be foolish to generalize and say all boys like sports. But it would also be ignorant to pretend that men aren’t far more likely (as a group, as a “culture” if you will) to connect with other men over sports. My husband is nowhere near the “obsessed” end of the sports spectrum (he owns T-shirts and hats for sports teams, but no banners of anything of that sort), but when we go to the store after a local team plays, he’s likely to ask a male employee if he watched the game. Culturally, that is part of “male bonding,” part of the male competitive spirit. (Yes, in general, males are more competitive than females in general.)

    I think either extreme is hurtful–to say that there are no generalized differences in male and female other than that females can bear babies, or to say that people who differ from the “average” within their sex are necessarily unfeminine or unmasculine. Saying that boys who dislike sports isolates boys like C. S. Lewis, who hated team sports with a passion. Just this week I had someone tell me that she had long feared I would never marry, partly because I am “bookish” and, well, we’ve all seen the librarian with glasses old-maid stereotype in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Trying to cram people into stereotypes is unhelpful. But the other extreme is unhelpful, too, pretending that the only reasons that boys and girls are different is that culture expects them to be. As a group males and females are different–but individuals within each group will vary from the “group” norms.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I wasn’t noisy or rowdy.

    But I did love sports and would much rather play cowboys and Indians, etc., than with dolls. Interestingly, all my girlfriends in the neighborhood where we grew up were cut from the same cloth, we just thought boys really did have more fun when it came to play time.

    We instantly turned into girls at around 12 years old, when the Beatles arrived on U.S. shores.

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  30. Cheryl – You wrote, “I just want a purse (not a handbag)”. What is the difference? I thought people just used different words for the same thing.

    I remember as a child, the word we used was “pocketbook”, which often came out sounding like “pockabook”. 🙂 I have seen the word used every now and then in recent times, but rarely.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Is a “handbag” something without straps?

    I have to get shoulder bags for anything to be near practical for my job and lifestyle. The smaller styles are nice for cross-body wear.


  32. Cheryl, I think it is unhelpful to say that little girls are more likely to look forward to being mommies than little boys being daddies. More than one of my older nephews has talked about being a father one day, and Third Nephew’s stated ambition in life around age 5 or 6 was to marry a wife and have children. Little Niece is often wilder and noisier than her male cousins when they get together to play, and the other day when I was visiting the Youngests, she scaled the playset in her backyard and perched on the roof. That is just what her mother would have done at her age, and her mother could, and did, bring down any boy her age and size in a fair fight. The term tomboy could have been applied to any of my siblings and I at different times, and we sometimes prided ourselves on the fact that we did things other girls were not interested in because we had no brothers. As young adults, Eldest openly avoided any nursery duty and stated outright her dislike for babies, while at the same age, Youngest wanted to join the army, purchased and used throwing knives, earned her gun license, and bought a gun. As you all know, Eldest now has five children, while Youngest is expecting her fifth. Yes, such generalizations are decidedly unhelpful.


  33. Time to head off to school in another different vehicle. This has something you have to push to stop a light from blinking in order to be able to start it. A safety switch to deter theft. We will see how I do.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. DJ, Tiny Niece can also be a small whirlwind, but she is the daughter of Second sibling, who also lives with my parents. Little Niece is Youngest sibling’s oldest daughter, recently turned six, and she has her mother’s dazzling smile and free spirit. She often pretends to be a soldier, even though it was her younger brother, Fifth nephew, who got the play sword and shield. The Youngests, I have mentioned, are rather more traditional in their view of the place of men and women than my parents ever were, even under ATI’s influence. So far, Youngest has had the wisdom to let Little Niece be herself, as it would be very hard for a girl like that to be told to keep still and act like a lady all the time.

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  35. Roscuro, generalizations are unhelpful if you expect each individual person to fit into a predetermined mold . . . but how is it unhelpful, for example, to know that boys generally play rougher than girls? I’ll tell you how it can be helpful to know that: because women who haven’t spent time around boys have an instinct to “break up fights,” even if they are play fights, because a play fight can turn into a real fight. But that’s often how boys figure out their place in the social world.

    An adult should always be aware that children don’t all fit into any particular mold. But if you have an idea of the general ways boys and girls are different, it helps you not to feel like boys are being “naughty” if they aren’t acting like girls. It helps a teacher (or parent) to know that girl cruelty can look a whole lot different than boy cruelty, but can be every bit as devastating.


  36. Here is a piece I found interesting and almost posted it when I read it. It relates well to the current discussion: stereotypes (generalizations) aren’t automatically bad. They are in fact very helpful starting places for thinking about things (they give you a “shortcut” so that you don’t have to totally start from scratch with each individual person). It’s wisdom to take generalities into account, and to adjust them. Here’s what the studies have said about that: https://aeon.co/essays/truth-lies-and-stereotypes-when-scientists-ignore-evidence


  37. Tiny Niece is also something of a climber, too, though. When my father and I took them to the park in the nearest village the other week, Tiny very determinedly climbed the climbing wall, which had those small hand and foot holds they use on the commercial climbing walls, although it was much shorter. She needed a little coaching about where to put her feet at first, but she climbed it twice, and probably would have done it more if we had stayed longer. My father coached her to climb as much as I did, and it occurred to me that although he was born in the mid-1940’s, and grew up in the 1950’s, he had no concept of there being things that little girls should not do at play because they were not feminine enough. He was the one who taught us to climb, and hike, and ride bicycles, and skate, and to throw and catch. He liked that we learned to cook and sew, but he also showed us how to hammer and use a screwdriver. He now often hangs the clothes out on the line to dry, or takes the dry clothes off, and washes the dishes every night, and never seems to consider his masculinity diminished by doing housework.


  38. One final note, Third nephew, when his crowning ambition was to be a husband and father (he still wants that, but he has added doctor to the ambition) asked for a baby doll. His parents gave him a baby doll without worrying at all about his masculinity. After all, his father had set him such an example of nurturing by walking the floors, sometimes for hours with his crying children, so that his wife could get some sleep. All of Eldest’s sons have cooed over their baby siblings and cousins as they arrived, asking to hold them, getting excited when they reached milestones. They view nurturing parenthood to be as much a part of normal life as my nieces do.


  39. Cheryl, Youngest sibling and I got into physical fights all the time when we were young. My parents had to put a stop to it, because I was always worsted in the fight and really getting hurt. Now the Eldests are doing the same thing with their two youngest sons, because the older of the two is slightly weaker and always getting the worst of it while the younger is becoming a bit of a bully. They have generally let their boys tussle, but if one person is always the one being hurt, it is not constructive. On the other hand, my dear friend and relative’s two youngest children, who are a boy and a girl quite close in age, were always getting into fights and I advised her to let them fight it out. It worked, since they both gave as good as they got and after making each other cry, would reconcile their differences.

    By the way, I did not grow up around boys for much of the time, since there were none among my siblings and I never attended school. But I understood that children need to play rough and tumble and even fight things out sometimes. I handled the three energetic boys in my Sunday School class better than the pastor’s wife had for that very reason. But, being a girl that grew up without brothers, I understand that girls have a lot of the same interests as boys if given the space to develop them. We four siblings concluded early on that most of our female peers who didn’t like doing the things we did were actually uninterested in doing them because their brothers were interested in doing them. We had plenty of examples among our playmates of girls deliberately dissing the things their brothers wanted to do. We were considered good sports by many boys because we didn’t do the same.


  40. Roscuro, in my experience it is more likely to work the other way, that boys aren’t interested in doing something because it’s girly, but being “boyish” doesn’t stop girls who want to do something. But that’s my own experience. My own brothers always knew they wanted large families (at least two of my siblings, one boy and one girl, had mentioned wanting a dozen–but I think it was more than two who did), but from conversations I have had with others, it is not at all uncommon that men don’t really think in those terms when they are young. That is, that “I want to have children” is a bigger part of girls’ desire to marry than it is of boys’. If that has changed, it is likely to be because girls and young women have less desire for children than my generation did than because boys and men have more.

    Would you say that there are innate, God-given differences between men and women other than the purely reproductive ones, or are you saying that all perceived differences are cultural, or what? Would you say, for instance, that if men are better at science (in general) it is because they have been trained to do better in it, or would you agree that there actually is scientific evidence that men on average do better in some realms than in others? I’m interested enough in science that I read on such matters, and to me this isn’t stuff that is a matter of “opinion.” But I’m not sure where you are coming from–are you saying there are no differences at all or that it is an irrelevant question whether there are general differences?


  41. Cheryl, I would certainly say that if men are generally, in a given society, better in science it is because they have had more opportunities and more encouragement to pursue it than women. Take my own profession, which has always been dominated by women since it became a modern profession under the influence of Florence Nightingale. Nurses now know more about the science of the human body than the then male dominated profession of physicians did fifty years ago, and nursing is still dominated by women. In the current profession of physician, women now equal men. The conclusion that men were better at science than women was made prematurely – one cannot conclude, in an academic climate where women only recently have been able to earn degrees, the reason there were more men than women in the sciences was because men were better at them – such a conclusion does not account for all the factors at play.

    As for more young women being uninterested in pursuing motherhood, I am tired of hearing women blamed for what is an equal opportunity problem. What sane woman wants to pursue motherhood if she is not going to be equally supported by her male partner in the venture? I have no sympathy with the whole reactionary incel movement. Such angry young men would be downright dangerous to marry, as their anger would destroy those closest to them.


  42. As for what I am saying, I am saying that the similarities between men and women are far greater than their differences, and that beyond biological differences such as organ structure and hormone levels, which influence reproductive differences, trying to delineate the differences between men and women by generalizations only serves to divide, not unite, humans into ridiculous “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” generalizations.


  43. I like Little Niece too, then. 🙂 I was a tree climber back in my day.

    Came home to find that Tess had found a cardboard container of Quaker Oats she could reach and eaten some of them, dry. The rest were dumped onto her dog bed in the living room. And part of the cardboard was gone.

    Unsupervised border collies.

    At least she left enough for me for tomorrow morning’s breakfast.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. More on Halloween:


    In Defense of the Spooky

    With Halloween approaching, Christians find ourselves re-litigating the arguments for and against participating in this odd holiday. I’m forever indebted to Steven Wedgeworth, whose essay on the day’s true origins at The Calvinist International puts to rest a great deal of foolishness evangelicals have taught about Halloween over the years.

    But I can’t help wondering: what now? Divested of its apocryphal Pagan origins, and placed alongside its likely Christian inspiration, All Saints Day (November 1st), Halloween isn’t the beast our fundamentalist Sunday school teachers described. And yet. Viewed through a clearer historical lens, the whole thing might look harmless, if it weren’t for the way it—well—looks.

    Think about it: Even this holiday’s more cartoonish expressions involve skeletons, ghosts, goblins aplenty and constant reminders of death. Preposterous-looking witches stalk lawns and toothy pumpkins leer at passersby from porches. There’s even an occasional teenager dressed as the Devil. Surely all of this aesthetic smoke must point to a spiritual fire. This night just seems like a celebration of evil, even if it lacks any real occult pedigree.

    Or so I often hear. …

    … There’s no historical case to be made that Halloween is tied to Paganism or devil-worship. If anything, its ghoulish aesthetic began as folk-mockery of Satan and his kingdom. Certainly, it’s possible to abuse the aesthetic, to fail to love your neighbor, or to be downright tacky (I’m looking at you, guy with the Chainsaw-Massacre yard). There are probably even some wannabe-witches out there who feel the holiday was made-to-order for them (although I’ve run across just as many who say the opposite).

    But to me, Halloween and its spooky aesthetic are ripe for the telling of a fairy-story about a world gripped by the wages of sin—a world where there is still real danger, where monsters still lurk in the shadows, and where heroic deeds remain to be done. And as any good author can tell you, skimping on the monsters and the danger is no way to tell a satisfying story.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Oh I do not like daylight savings time!! Grrrr
    Cheryl I have found many of my favorite purses at Marshall’s and TJMaxx if you have either of those in your vicinity. The Tignanello brand of leather purse has been my absolute favorite…I have carried this purse for a very long time as it just fits me the best. Lucky Brand and Sak have proven to be long lasting as well. Purses and shoes…such a weakness for me but I am rather picky about what I like…. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Roscuro, I am more in favor of understanding people to lead to greater understanding, not greater division. It is smart to realize that men can (on average) lift far more weight than women can. (And yes, I know about the women in Africa carrying great weight on their heads–my parents were missionaries there.) Still, one can see differences and not use them for division, but for understanding.

    At any rate, the “few real differences” doesn’t match my own reading or my own life experiences (in generalizations, not in saying individual men and women don’t vary from those generalizations) and I’ll leave it at that.


  47. I’m picky about bags and shoes also.

    Walked the dogs on a different side of the street than usual tonight and got a better look at a neighbor’s Halloween tableau in their front yard, all giant, blow-up characters: Jaws on top of a pumpkin, two legs sticking out of his mouth; a pirate ship (pirates are big in our town, they’ve long been the high school mascot); and a towering trio of dancing, smiling pumpkins, all animated by an air pump of some kind.


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