What is a Woman?

Just finished an anthology of women’s literature called ‘A Jury of Her Peers’ by Elaine Showalter. The title is also a work by Susan Glaspell.  Am not going to give you reviews on the book or story, I’ll probably refer back to the anthology often. It has made me aware of so many facets of women’s literature I’d not known or even thought of. The last chapter shares how in the 90’s women authors were not constrained by the parameters of the past and could write freely. Yet, many of us women remain in bondage of many kinds.  

Was reading an article, before it annoyed me and made me wonder why I was reading it. It was about women’s fashion and what NOT to wear or do in fashion as an older woman. What to stay away from because it would peg you as ‘old’ or ‘living in the past’ or even (dare we suggest such a thing!) ‘unfashionable’!! From how to not wear makeup from plucking eyebrows (Will remove stray ones, but those odd shaped designs are seriously odd!) to powdery caked on layers. Hairstyles that are ‘too long’ and past your butt to bouffant ‘up scaled’ Farrah Fawcett designs. Then, there were accessories. Apparently the handbag is not cool. Although, the photo made me just wonder. What on earth would a person carry around a tiny hand sized bag for? It might hold your ID and perhaps a tampon, but not a whole lot more. My personal carryall is just that. It is a small backpack I’ve carted around for almost a decade and it is starting to fall apart. (searching online has made me aware that they are truly not in vogue anymore.) My bag can carry paper books, a tablet, spoons (at least two), a pair of socks, assorted coinage, supplies for diabetes, meds headaches, and tummy aches, at least one tiny notebook, assorted writing utensils from sharpies (in purple) to pens and pencils, it can hold a camera, my cell phone, an address book, a small zipper pouch with important stuff like med lists and emergency numbers, my wallet with all sorts of things, including my eldest son’s high school id (I know, completely useless, but fun), needles and thread and safety pins, assorted bandages for minor wounds, and rocks I’ve found that are dear to me. Am pretty positive this bag would be considered totally bad fashion.

Clothes were a huge topic in this list of fashion faux pas photos. Floral or animal prints are bad when you are older, baggy clothes are ok if you wear a tighter top or bottom half to offset the bag. Pastels were viewed as something older women need to steer far away from. They are for younger women, who aren’t washed out by them or look like they are grasping their youth. Capri or shortened pants are a very big no no, since they make one look very short and wide. (the author suggests skirts, and probably has no idea how horrid it is when your legs stick together when it is hot outside) Skirts are a good idea, but not jersey fabrics or dresses or long skirts or too short ones. The latter make you look legless or like you are grabbing for a youth you missed and the former tend to mold to the body and reveal lumps everywhere. Like jeggings and tights. Older women should stay away from those because they reveal way too much. Turtle necks and long sleeves are bad unless the weather warrants them because people wonder what might be hiding and a turtle neck can make you look neckless. Speaking of, big and loud accessories such as flamboyant necklaces or earrings or bracelets should be limited. Agreed, Coco Chanel suggested looking in the mirror and removing one item of jewelry and it makes sense. However, tossing brooches out with the garage sale stuff is sad (I love pins, don’t wear them, but I do adore them!). Finally, the author arrived at shiny tights (hose are a complete waste of time for a woman of any age). If an older lady needs tights, they should not be in a nude color. Dark colors or black. About this time, I exed out of the article and deleted the history!!

While I was reading the last of Elaine’s anthology, I realized, why do I need to follow some fashion guru on what I can or cannot wear? Why do I need to follow what someone else wants to be the person I am? So often today many of us are confronted with ‘don’t do this or wear this or act this way’ because someone will be upset. Often in the anthology, it seemed that an author from one period was ostracized in later years for what they were writing. Over and over women were tied to a way of life, writing, living that was stifling creativity and being. Many of those women committed suicide to escape.

Women still are being stifled. Some of us have been able to break free of conventions and restraint, and for those who have, they embrace the freedom they have earned in spite of cost. Family and friends look askance at that freedom. Well-meaning folks criticize our choices and yet, is it realistic to toss what others think out and only promote self and personal desires to achieve and be? The book, ‘The Feminine Mystique‘ talks about this for American women. I wonder if it is the same all over the world?

Is that what the phrase means, ‘It’s lonely at the top’?

Bullies

The last couple of days I’ve had a chance to talk to Strider. The first conversation was listening to a story he’d written. He calls me his editor. After that section was over, I was confused and it took a while, but  he finally got what confused me. And is going to fix it. It is a great story in a D&D world. I know a smidge about D&D and gaming, but the story is fascinating and I am loving the characters and their activities. The second conversation was more serious. He’s in a facility where he listens to world news constantly and, quite frankly, today’s surmises were terrifying. And made me sad.

It is not even August yet and I see this Princess Bride meme as a potent, laughable truth.

Covid-19 is not going away, the POTUS is finally deciding it exists. So, because he’s a bully, he’s going to find another pot (or several) to stir up. Strider sees this writing on the wall. There is political posturing going on between the US and China. When you have a bully around, you don’t ignore them, but you don’t give in. When Strider was in lower grades thru high school, he was bullied. He had to take classes to learn to understand and allow bullies their place. If he’d learned to stand up to a bully, then he’d have eventually been left alone. To give in was more acceptable. In a nutshell, the US has a bully in office right now. He likes to stir pots and backing him into a corner will make him break out with more stupid ass decisions (quote from The Avengers). Strider hopes China will not do more than poke the president, yet, if, at the end of October, the man sees he may not get re-elected, things could get very bad. He could easily send missiles over and blow up a single item. Like perhaps a dam. Killing billions, crippling China, and becoming a hero to the R-US voters for stopping a potential war in one stroke. Covid is being heralded as real and is making him look bad. The dictator actions to ‘take control’ with federal troops of American cities is making him look bad. At this moment, bills are being passed to help curb the powers of the president. Checks and balances seem fruitless. Yet, with Fox and social media, he has much of the US wrapped around his pinkie. Even his ability to fire off transcripts with no actual complete sentences or viable thoughts, doesn’t seem to bother anyone. (although, even some at Fox are starting to wonder. They will probably be replaced soon.) Strider called it ‘What about-ism’, where you deflect an issue with a similar one. ‘I’ may have done (a), but what about when that person did (b)? It is the same thing and you didn’t punish him, so I can do what I want. The only thing that matters is the person wanting to be proved right.

I don’t like being political. I was just thinking about some of the things we were discussing and wanted to share them. Perhaps my 31 year old is interpreting things poorly. Perhaps looking at the situation on the border between India and China isn’t that big a deal. Looking at the US and how The POTUS plays might be moot. I do know, when you focus on one spot, fires break out and grow in others. Yet, Trump loves being the main party in town and hates it when he’s not.

I’d prefer following A Rose is a Rose’s agenda politically, but I’m betting that isn’t going to happen for a while.

A Tech Plan?

Written at 1 in the morning on an incredibly blustery night. You know, during the time between dusk and dawn in the witching hour when thoughts wander and light on solutions that may or may not be logical because wind makes me nervous and I have to have something to do besides fret under blankets!

(The above is one of my favorite scenes from The Princess Bride. YouTube is wonderful about finding bits and pieces to share, the book is also excellent!!)

As I sit here in the darkened living room beginning to cool down from daytime furnace temps, I shiver while I contemplate not having a certain book to finish. In this late hour, I realized I can do what Fezzik and Inigio did. I can go back to the beginning. (So to speak.) Let me sum up and hope I make sense:

I have always wanted technology and managed quite a bit with the family desktop. Then, in 2014, a good friend purchased me my laptop. It was an amazing gift that transported me all over the net. (in spite of the odd screen glitch that has half of it slightly off color and wavy!) Around that time, another friend gave me her old kindle. (I had wanted one of those for quite some time!) In addition to these two incredible tools, I had a trac phone cell phone. It was a flip phone, but I was pretty good at texting via the alphabet keys! I used these devices a lot. Then, Amazon stopped supporting the older Kindles. (I recently learned, the devices can still be used in a roundabout way. You download documents to your computer and then load them to your kindle! Thus, giving lip service to the ‘we still support older models of Kindle’.) I sorely missed being able to get new books to read, yet enjoyed the ones I had.

In December 2016, I gained a more modern cell phone (because the one I had wasn’t working in the area of AK I was in) and then the iPad. They were godsends in so many ways. Yet, at this time in my life, I really only need the cell phone.  As much as I love my hand me down iPad, I don’t exactly need it. I can reluctantly mothball the technology until I can afford to get it fixed. I have mom’s kindle here at the house and can ustilise that for several of the things I did with the iPad. (NOTE: A person can have up to 6 devices linked to a single email for kindle. I won’t need that many and can decommission the oldest one.) I might even be able to load on a few games, in spite of their quirkiness! (not that ridiculous word one..although, I’ve gotten through so many levels on the IPad, perhaps I can fly through them on a kindle!!). The kindle is made for documents and I’ll just not download my naughtier books. At least not all of them!!!! Maybe I’ll keep some of the more innocuous titles and authors. Definitely Aiken. (LOVE that author!!) For the majority of the social media, I will go back to using the laptop. I will not worry about losing the things on the iPad. I will try to see if I have the photos elsewhere and put them in a different method of saving and hope those I can’t are not lost for good. With the documents, I am working with One Note. It appears they don’t like something in my identification. I’ve sent them an email and we’ll see what happens next. I absolutely will miss Facetime and Skype. Although, I’ve not used them in months, I still like that option! Skype on my laptop is dubious. Workable, but not as efficient as it might be. I’m not sure about apps with the Kindle.

I don’t like Amazon as much as Apple when it comes to devices (Apple is more close mouthed with its technology, allowing a user to be more private!), but gift horses should not be looked at in the mouth. You never know what you might find!

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Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

Presents are wonderful things and I’ve gotten many I’ve taken care of, while using them thoroughly. I’m truly a fortunate person. (and speaking of gifts, the two I ordered for Little Bear’s birthday have arrived. They aren’t needed til the 4th! I was thinking I’d ask for purple hued duct tape for mine. I do not like mom’s hot pink kindle cover and duct tape might help make it more Kris. I might even use some stickers I’ve got around.) 

So, reading this over in the waning afternoon light before it is time to make dinner once more (what is that with always needing to feed people????), I think this is a doable idea. Especially since Microsoft sent me an email saying I could log into my account, but it is still locked. (I even tried to communicate with a ‘person’ and had to log in only to be blocked cuz of the account being locked!!) I also picked up more books from the library. Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales and Tamora Pierce’s Alanna quartet. The other ‘Witcher’ ones are on reserve…Hooray for books!!!

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Photo by Renato Abati on Pexels.com

Changes

I was awake quite a while on Friday night..Saturday morning. I wanted to sleep, but kept thinking. (Those nights when your brain is keeping you awake are incredibly annoying) Anyway, I was thinking about how life is not ever the way you imagine it might be. I love being home. I am almost constantly alone. I get texts once in a while, sometimes phone calls, but I am so thankful! I’m not worried to bits about mom, I’m not concerned I’m in anyone’s way, and I love how I can dress or speak or act how I want to and there isn’t anyone to offend. (I may have said this before, but it is incredibly relaxing!) I was kept awake by the frustrations of not having this ever again. How expensive this house is to maintain, how odd it is that I don’t mind being alone, how I had hoped to hang out with friends and don’t and it is ok because they are going in different directions than I am, how I don’t know my direction and it is not that important, how much stuff mom had and how on earth I’m going to get rid of it, and my brain cycled on! (I think it was in one of those French Bike marathons!) I finally dropped off to sleep when I realised I cannot make anything happen. I can do things to push them into where I want or need them to go, but I cannot change anything other than what is in my own sphere. So much of what I am doing here depends on others, I can’t make them do. The idea of herding cats is pretty apt! (the video is from youtube and an ad, but it makes me laugh every time!)  I only hope, when the town comes into view, I’ve got all the cats and not lost a single one. I won’t even mind if there are a couple of litters of kittens!

Peace & Love

On this, what is looking to be a lazy Sunday afternoon (at least til it is time to  make dinner!), I’m going to leave you with some peace and love. 💕💕💕

Thoughts and pictures

It’s been ages since I’ve wanted to say anything. I’ve been cooking, cleaning, and reading. Definitely boring! Im not trying hard enough to make The Craftsman the lodestar of my existence. (I’m not sure I want to.) I got more of my favorite flower for Valentine’s Day. I hadn’t purchased any for myself, the ones I’d gotten on my birthday still looked good. I’ll need to get more on March 1st. (I usually get out on Friday)

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Yet, much of my  month was waiting. I did make a snowman cuz we finally got snowman snow. Little Bear commented on it and asked if dad had helped. When I laughed and said no, he asked why. (The only persons to help me make snow people have been the boys. Little Bear last helped me a few years back) The Craftsman didn’t really say much in response.

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On the 28th, it was our 30th anniversary. He actually stayed home after dinner (I made something he liked.) He had gotten home a bit late because he stopped to get me something. It wasn’t what he wanted to get, but I’d mentioned I wanted to see it. (His gift was in the mail, it was delivered on Tuesday. I forgot about the bank holiday! It was a several CD version of The Screwtape Letters. He and the kid were very impressed. Little Bear mostly because the book has about 200 pages, double spaced…) Anyway, we watched ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Absolute great fun, especially if you were an 80s teen! (I knew he’d not like it much and he didn’t. Because he doesn’t like that sort of thing. There was guy kissing ) Then, a good night kiss and that was that. Of course, I did bring up I thought using drugs in movies was worse than a normal thing like kisses. Bad, Kris. Ruined the nostalgic evening.

I even took a picture of waiting this week. He puts the tv on pause and does things that need done. I generally read or something. I get sort of bored, I need more to do. At least one choice I’ve made this month, has been to wear short skirts and leggings. He seems resigned to my decision. Probably cuz I don’t wear either of them alone.

We did go out for a combined birthday lunch at a family favorite restaurant. Little Bear had a gigantic hamburger with roast beef and bacon and ham. He called it a double beef, double pig..🙄🙄🙄

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As mentioned, I’ve been reading a lot. A great deal of Anne McCaffrey. I love her stuff. This particular book, I’ve had since before my name was changed the first time by my adoptive dad! Probably jr high. It’s been a favorite. 💕💕 Can you tell? It’s held together with clear vinyl!

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Today, Saturday, was sunny and almost 50F! I decided to go outside and sit. Needless to say, my butt got slightly soaked! The wet was rather chilly. 😳😳 I took the kris picture and noticed I look tired. More tired than I did when I was taking care of mom. Crazy! (Part of that maybe cuz the sun was in my eyes…)

I’m back to that having everything I need and not exactly what I want. Perhaps, it’s cuz I don’t know what I want. I do know, lately, curling up in a ball and hiding has been a choice I’ve regretfully avoided. Stupid circuitous living.

One thing I’ve learned for sure. Friendship is the most important part of being alive. No matter how long that friendship lasts on earth, it will never vanish completely. Friends change us, for better or worse and almost always for the best.

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The 14th.

Gracious, this is a bit of a waffling on!! Bear with me, please! (Not that kind!!! laughing!)

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Photo by Marina Shatskih on Pexels.com

Normally this holiday is my absolute favorite one in the entire year. I can hand out cookies and flowers with hugs like a politician kissing babies prior to an election (do they even still do that???) with little consequences. I’m not there, this year. I don’t exactly know why. I’m going to make heart cookies for The Craftsman to take to work and have some bunny graham crackers for Little Bear (some bunny loves him very much!). Yet…It’s just another day. I also am getting the plugs put in my eyes, not an entirely romantic sort of thing! But definitely needed. I’ve got an easy dinner planned, so I don’t need to think about that much. (I plan for EVERY dinner, it is better to decide days ahead!!)

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I keep thinking about Boston Ferns. A lovely plant sitting on the shelf near sunshine and watered once a week. I didn’t want to be this plant again, but it sort of looks like it is my place. I recall Mary Poppins pulling a large potted plant from her voluminous carpet bag and stating, ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever.’ Is being a Boston Fern that horrible? I do have everything I need, even if I don’t have what I want.

In church last Sunday, the bulletin had a brochure inside. As most of us do, I read it during lulls in the sermon. You have to remember it is a church thing, but it does have good stuff in it. It also made me think about how little interest modern churches have in the Old Testament. (Where the Song of Songs is.) The focus is on the love in the New Testament, which is grand, and most forget about the fascinating stuff in the previous writings. (Song of Songs is one of the most erotic books I’ve ever read and I’ve read a great many of that genre.) Anyway, our world, in and out of church buildings, is all about love. People today spread it around like confetti (or like I usually do on Feb. 14). They are what I call ‘Love Zombies’. People attracted to love, wishing for love to be everywhere, do activities in the name of love, and condemn those who cannot love they way they believe. (Crazy!!) And yet, there is something missing. Love isn’t just a noun, it is an action verb. This is what people forget.

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When I read the snippet in the brochure, it made sense. Cherish is missing from love in all kinds of relationships. This is action. Cherishing is laughing together, playing, disagreeing with care, sharing lives, and working to make the friendship stronger. Together cherishing and loving make a place where people bond, grow, and develop. A place of being curious about each other and not being bored. Fascinated with the person they were and are becoming.

In marriage, mine in particular, I know care and love exist. I am taken care of medically (my readers know more about that than anyone in my family!), I am warm and well fed (I am becoming very fond of Mt. Olive pickles…), and I do get hugs at least once a day, often with a kiss or two. (Attempts to encourage this are inconclusive.)

I get so tired, though, of The Craftsman saying things like, ‘I’m no good at planning.’ Yes, I do think ahead, I learned to do this. Buying treats in the store, putting a note with them, and placing them strategically isn’t that difficult. (I’ve done this often since my return. Notes alone are nice, too.) I know The Craftsman has a couple of projects he’s been working on for quite a while for me. I imagine they’ll get done eventually. I know there are three movies coming out before I head north we (as a family) want to see. (I never did get to see Mary Poppins Returns, but I’ve read the books!) If I ask for something, usually I end up purchasing it or Little Bear does. I’m beginning to think Cupid has been shot….

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The 14th is a beautiful day. I hope yours is full of good things and that you cherish those around you from family and friends to stuffed animals, fuzzy pets and beautiful plants. I know I will.

Yours, Kris, the Boston Fern.

Hand drawn houseplant

Last week in January

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Not a lot has been happening lately. I did have a post for Monday and one for Wednesday, but I needed to go upstairs to type them on my laptop. And it was painful. I’ve been decidedly crippled in the right leg. Today is Wednesday night and I’m actually feeling fairly chipper getting caught up with life. I’ve been up and down the stair, I wrote up and mailed winter letters (not Christmas ones), made dinner, returned a library book, and found a light switch I’d forgotten. (It was rather silly. I literally forgot where the switch was for the basement light. When I “found” it again, I seriously rolled my eyes at myself.)

I did have another crazy dream. This one I awoke with a WTF?  There were the stairs again, but this took place in what may have been a department store. All around people were being infected and emitting an orange goo. The people were not zombies, not like the ones we know. The goo was the infectious substance and all it had to do was touch another person. Some gangs would throw it at people to infect them. One gang flipped the goo at people on plastic forks. They wore bright pink shirts reading Kate’s Cake Flippers and marched in sync. They also did handstands and cartwheels and then ended up back in line. The absolute oddest thing was a giant tv room playing a brand new episode of Star Trek the Next Generation. Both healthy and sick people carefully crowded the area and took sides on which captain was better. Picard or Kirk. My part of the dream was watching the activities like from above, avoiding goo, and climbing stairs hoping I’d not miss any of the episode! I didn’t choose a captain, but it would have been Picard.

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I’m going to post this before I get distracted. There’s over 18 inches of snow that fell on my Alaskan house, my heating bill was over 650$, and I’m not going to get my passport. However, the Tustamena 200 happened (sled dog race) and the book I ordered for my birthday has been sent by the seller!

The good, the bad, and the lovely

 

I love our inlet. The water and mountains are home. However, going down to my favorite beach reminded me that it is also everyone else’s favorite beach. Probably because it is one of the few you can park at without paying. I am not sure how long that will last, there was so much trash! People were fishing and several rigs were parked just above the waterline. Campfires were burning or left burning (I really hope whoever started that one was coming back, it even had a bag of what looked like food near it) or put out with debris inside the smoked interior. I am absolutely convinced every single citizen needs to spend a month in the summer picking up trash on trails or roadsides or any place people might hang out.

 

I went down to relax and ended up wrought up inside. I must remember to bring a garbage bag with me next time. And a wheelbarrow to haul it in! I picked up a few cans and found a nice log to sit on. I stared out at the water and tried not to see the land. And then I felt something stab me in my inner thigh. A gosh darn mosquito was on my leg! (I wonder if those bands I purchased would help hinder bites?) I had on jeans, but those creatures are voracious and large this year. I squished her and started walking back to the car. Before I discovered the trash, I had been picking up orange rocks. I must have been thinking about Garfield Hug and T.L. (Crazy Writer of 6). Once I realized who reminded me of orange, I did think of them and send my thoughts across the waters and mountains in their direction. (Granted, I’m not sure what direction they are in, but I am sure the thoughts know!)

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As I walked around fishing lines (it is bad to walk under or over those practically invisible filaments!), I noticed a few gulls fighting over something in the surf. An eagle swooped over, startling them. I realized that no matter how much garbage man makes, scavengers always collect it. (even if it isn’t good for them!) Eagles and gulls are terrible garbage birds. Beautiful and graceful and good at cleaning up the French fries or bread crusts or salmon and halibut carcasses.

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While watching them, I noticed the sunset wasn’t in the mountains. The color was over the water and further on up the inlet. No matter what happens with/at the dentist (mom forgot I had this appointment after being told twice, she had to tell me all about her doctor and how he took care of her.) and no matter how much trash I manage to collect and no matter how much darkness there is in the mountains, there is always light and brightness somewhere. I left the beach and discovered a misshapen heart crying out to be brought home. So, I did.

Go, Dogs, Go!

It is obvious my apathy is taking a toll. Joy in things I used to do is waning. I don’t want to go outside. I don’t want to do many things I have found ‘fun’. For instance, every single year, in March, my books are Redwall and the first weeks are dedicated to the Iditarod in Alaska. In Oregon, with functional internet, I am online almost 24 hours the first week of the race. I lurk on FB and on the Iditarod website following and commenting and watching from the start to the Red Lantern as the final musher crosses the line in Nome days later.

This year there are more people out there voicing their opinion and people rising up to put this race down. It frustrates me when attacks are made on teams (the humans are just as much members as the dogs) that are click bait. I get angry needing to use one of the premiere sites to follow this race when many of the committee members of this race are part of those irritating voices. One of the top mushers in the world, Dallas Seavey, is racing in Norway this year in the FL1200.  As I watched a clip of the start for this race (it was like watching a dog party!), I had to laugh and smile. He is a beloved musher and he knows how important it is to be a part of the team and not the ‘boss’. (he almost always runs beside the dogs in tennis shoes!!!)  My favorite part of the video feed was the announcer yelling, ‘Go, Dallas, Go!’

This year, even without Dallas, the 46th race to Nome is exciting. Nic Petit is in the lead at the moment. Dallas’ dad, is hot on his trail. I am seriously hoping for a woman to win, it has been a while. Jessie is in the top 10 and Aliy is right behind. Once again, the musher knows the dogs are the main part of the team. Aliy has said hers are not showing the spark they often do, probably because of the weather. It has been warmer than usual and there are storms. Dogs are smart and to run with them, the musher needs to rely on the dogs as much as the dogs rely on the musher. One of my favorite mushers had to scratch (drop from the race) early on because she was sick. Dee Dee is a hero. She is a cancer survivor and pink is her signature color. The twins of Seeing Double sled dog racing are running with pink this year as well, to support their mom’s battle..

Mushing is not just a sport, it is a community full of people and dogs who care about each other. A few years back, Dallas won and all he could say was ‘Where are Aliy and Jeff?” They had been in front of him and one was lost on the ice. Concern for each other is a priority. Nic gave Dallas an important records book last year that had been dropped. When a musher lost her GPS tracker one year, someone made a FB page for the tracker and created one of the most whimsical memories of the race.  Granted, there are a few apples in the community who can ruin the barrel. Most of us who follow, just ignore those. Usually, as I follow, I know what is going on and pay attention to others who do. This year, it has been frustrating. Mum really doesn’t know much more than what she hears on the news and thinks she does. Click bait stuff. I was tired of trying to explain to her who was who and where they might be and what they were doing from the few things I have seen. I finally decided to go online tonight and actually pay attention to the race for a little while. I’m sharing some of Toni’s photos from the ceremonial start on the 4th out of Anchorage. I would love to go to this someday. (making it to Nome for the finish would be beyond amazing) But, will continue to watch from the background with millions of other fans across the world.

(Dee Dee and her team are in the first set, Aliy and hers in this second)