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Pamela D Lloyd
29 January 2014 @ 11:18 pm
Today, one of my friends, a librarian, asked for help from the community in defeating Arizona House Bill 2379. This bill would, according to the library director, slash funding to Arizona's system of county libraries. She recommended that we contact our state representatives, and provided a link to the Arizona State Legislator "How to Contact Member" page.

Since I live in Arizona District 3, my state legislators are Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, Representative Sally Ann Gonzales, and Representative Macario Saldate IV, all democrats.

Here is the text of the letter I sent to them:

Dear Senator Bedford and Representatives Gonzales and Saldate,
I am writing to you today in support of all of the public library systems in the state of Arizona, and specifically for the Pima County Public Library system, and to urge you to oppose the passage of Arizona House Bill 2379. It's my understanding that passage of this bill would have disastrous consequences for our public libraries, reducing the funds for library services so severely that as many as twelve branches might close, hours and services at remaining branches be reduced, and library employees laid off.
This would be a terrible disservice to the people of Pima County and to all Arizonans. Our libraries provide us with far more than the books, computer and internet access, homework and job help, English and GED classes, early childhood literacy programs, and other services that are part of their mandate, but also with a sense of community and hope. Our libraries represent the opportunity that knowledge and learning can bring, and are essential to building and maintaining a healthy, prosperous society.
I hope that you will agree with me that it is extremely important that our libraries fill a vital and fundamental role in the well-being of Arizona, and that you will stand with the citizens of Arizona in ensuring that our libraries will continue to be fully funded.
Pamela D. Lloyd

If you live in Arizona, I urge you to contact your representatives and to express your support for our public library system. You are welcome to use what I wrote, if you would prefer not to compose your own letter. Thank you.

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Current Location: Tucson, Arizona
Current Mood: determineddetermined
Pamela D Lloyd
12 December 2013 @ 01:29 am
Genealogy, and genealogy blogs, tend to focus on the past. But, tonight, I'd like to share a bit of the present. For the last couple of years, I've been making calendars to help my stepson Fritz, who has Down's Syndrome, better understand how long he has to wait for important events, such as his birthday or Christmas. Fritzie loves his calendars and loves marking off the days, which he does with the help of a family member, usually his dad.

Here's this year's advent calendar:
Read more...Collapse )

What else are we doing this year? We're baking biscotti. Or, to be more accurate, my husband is baking biscotti with Fritzie's help, although I hope to be able to help with tomorrow's batch. He's made at least four different batches so far, in a variety of flavors, and we're all chiming in with suggestions for new flavor combinations. Tonight's batch is orange-almond. I managed to snag a taste from the small stack of imperfect cookies that won't be going back into the oven for their second baking, so I can attest to the fact that they're very yummy.

ETA: Crossposted from my genealogy blog at:
This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Current Location: Tucson, Arizona
Current Mood: happyMerry & Bright
Pamela D Lloyd
I managed to announce this on most of my social networking sites, but not here. I was asked to do a guest blog post for a genealogy wiki, called WikiTree, and my first post went live on Tuesday. You can find Pamela's Perspective (Their name! I never thought to name it, somehow.) on the WikiTree blog. This is my first guest post for someone else's blog, so I was thrilled to be asked to participate.

You might also have seen my occasional mentions of posts on Searching for Roots and Branches. Searching for Roots and Branches is my journal of genealogical discovery, where I explore various aspects of genealogy, anything from a photo of an ancestor or other relative, to a biographical sketch, to a detailed examination of my research and proof process. This evening, instead of getting work done, I posted about a a sudden nostalgia I was feeling in An Unusual Lullaby: The Whiffenpoof Song. My husband tells me it's a weird post, but "in a good way." Go figure.

While I'm posting about blogging, perhaps I should mention that I also blog on Red Poulaine's Musings. This is a joint blog which my husband and I write. Red Poulaine's Musings started shortly after we opened an Etsy store, Red Poulaine, where we sell vintage postcards and photographs. In our item listings, we include a lot of historical information about the people featured in the images, the photographers who took the pictures, and other historical tidbits and trivia related to the paper ephemera we sell. (My genealogy work sometimes comes in handy when we're researching the people associated with the images, allowing us to share information not easily found elsewhere.) Our shop had readers! So, we decided to create a blog and give people who don't visit our shop a chance to read some of the historical work we do. Although almost every image we sell has a story associated with it, we don't manage to post as often to our blog as we post pictures in the shop. We wish we could, but there's only so much two busy people can manage. Still, we hope that the stories and history we share on our blog is interesting and fun for our readers.
This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Pamela D Lloyd
A young writer, whom I'll call Jaylin, recently asked me an interesting question: "Who are the best new science fiction writers of the decade?" Jaylin mused about the issue of literary versus genre fiction and their different writing goals, and we discussed the fact that there are some authors whose work crosses the great divide between these two. But, the focus of our conversation was really about what makes writing really good, and the difficulty of knowing which current and contemporary writers are likely to stand the test of time.

One thing that became very clear to me over the course of the conversation is that my awareness of what is current in science fiction, who our most respected authors are, is very outdated. So, I'm hoping that my readers (if I have any left) will help out by sharing their thoughts on the new and emerging writers of this century, by answering this question:

Who would you nominate to be on the list of the best science fiction authors of this century? Please explain, if you can, why they should be on this list.

Thank you!

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Pamela D Lloyd
I've published another post on my genealogy blog, this time about two of my great grandparents and their children:

Alpheus McClelland Rote and Ella E. Ward, and their Children

ETA: Looks like I missed yesterday's post: Mom Won Big Bucks in DAR-Sponsored Contest, Circa 1933.

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Pamela D Lloyd
06 November 2013 @ 02:50 pm
I keep meaning to share my posts on my genealogy blog (which, however irregular, has been my most active blog for quite some time now) to my Dreamwidth and LiveJournal blogs. Usually, I forget. Or, maybe that should be, I always forget. Right now, I can't remember if I've ever shared.

But, I remembered today. So, here goes.

Today's post over on Searching for Roots and Branches is Wishful Wednesday: I Wish I'd Met Grandpa Lloyd. There are lots of blogging prompts for genealogy bloggers, and sometimes I respond to them. This is one of those times. This post is a response to the Wishful Wednesday blogging prompt from Geneabloggers.

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Pamela D Lloyd
21 May 2013 @ 05:35 pm
One of my stepsons was recently discussing his appreciation for the explanations of grammatical terms offered by The Word Detective. The website is the online version of a newspaper column by Evan Morris, for which he answers readers’ questions about grammar and the written word. Although I often explain the correct usage of of it's and its to students, it was the explanation for the history of why the current usage of it's and its that brought me to the page of column entries that includes Dr. Morris' advice concerning these words. However, once there, I couldn't resist reading the rest of the entries, the last of which was titled "A Visit from the Willies." In response to a question regarding the origin of the term "the willies," Dr. Morris responds:
By virtue of an eerie coincidence, I happened to be puzzling over the origin of "willies" just as your letter arrived (start the spooky music, please). The previous evening I had attended a performance by the American Ballet Theater of "Giselle." In the first act of the ballet, Giselle, a sturdy peasant girl, responds to a procession of unsuitable suitors by dancing herself to death. (I know, I know -- I didn't entirely understand this part myself).

In Act Two, the now defunct but still remarkably sprightly Giselle meets up with a troupe of spectral Rockettes who haunt the nearby forest and are known as, guess what, the "willies." Together they dance around a good deal until the suitor Giselle really liked all along wanders by, whereupon the "willies" literally dance him into the ground, and the two lovers live, or don't live, happily ever after. I love culture, don't you?
I have checked several reference works, and most agree that "the willies," meaning "the jitters" or "nervous apprehension," is of "unknown origin." One exception, my own parents' Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, traces "the willies" to the slang expression "willie-boy," meaning "sissy" -- presumably the sort who would be prone to the "willies."
That theory is far from impossible, but I think I may have found, thanks to my evening with "Giselle," a more likely source. The "willies" in the ballet take their name from the Serbo-Croatian word "vila" (in English, "wili" or "willi") meaning a wood-nymph or fairy, usually the spirit of a betrothed girl who died after being jilted by her lover. It seems entirely possible to me that "willi," the spirit or ghost, became the "willies," the feeling that something creepy is going on. Now, where's that spooky music I ordered?
I just love the various connections Dr. Morris makes in this response, in large part because the story of Giselle and the willies has so many fairy tale elements. This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Pamela D Lloyd
According to an article on Co.EXIST, Can Science Fiction Writers Inspire The World To Save Itself? there is a new collaboration between science fiction author Neal Stephenson and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. Project Hieroglyph, Co.EXIST reports, suggests that science fiction writers should stop writing stories about dystopian futures and instead focus on visions of a rosy future. Their hope is that this will result in a resurgence of the optimism that has marked more prosperous eras and, thus, to create a contemporary culture that encourages the creation of a more desirable prospect.

But, is the idea that science fiction writers can directly influence the future a realistic one, or is it little more than an application of sympathetic magic to the complex problems of the day? And, is it even necessary, or can the very literature to be eschewed, of dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic futures, a part of the solution that can help to bring about the same push to create a better future?

Neal Stephenson writes about his perspective on the need for a more positive approach to the future in his article, Innovation Starvation, and I get the impression from his article and from the Project Hieroglyph site that their actual vision is far more interesting and complex than simply asking writers to stop writing about what's wrong with the world, and start focusing on what we want to see, but I feel the need to address the underlying assumptions of the article, written by Co.EXIST Senior Editor Ariel Schwartz, which first brought this to my attention.

There are no simple answers. It's unrealistic to expect that if only writers would just stop being so negative and start being more positive it would make the world a better place. Literature is a part of an intricate conversation that exists within society between those who comment on the world around them and those who act to change it, with there being very little distinction between the two groups. We are all observers, all commenters, all participants, all actors, in the dance of social change. Writers respond to the world around them, as well as act in ways that will change the world. We see the world and identify possibilities, some attainable, others more fantastic (psychological and mythopoeic), and in response we imagine a world in which we attempt to follow those trends to their logical, or illogical, conclusions.

It’s a well-known phenomenon that published fiction tends to follow societal trends: when times are tough, when people as a general rule are discouraged, our fiction will reflect this mood; when things are better, economically, socially, environmentally, and so on, our fiction will reflect this only. And this is nothing to be ashamed of!

Writers as a whole (or, better yet, a herd of cats) cannot sound only a single note, for that is little more than putting our fingers in our collective ears and singing “la, la, la,” but must instead create a symphony of notes, sometimes aiming for the sublime and at others for a clashing discordance that reflects the cacophony of dissolution. It will take all of these myriad visions and creations to effect change, and the societal changes that result will rarely be something we could have predicted or planned for, but we must move forward with the confidence that our contributions are a valid part of the overall conversation. To write only of sweetness and light is as likely to create a world of complacency in the face of horrors as to create a world of eager engineers, striving for the betterment of man. To write only of darkness and terror may leave our readers frightened and discouraged, or may inspire them to forge ahead with endeavors that will solve the world’s problems.

Writers, let us continue to write in response to the world around us. Let us write stories of idyllic and horrific possibilities. Let us rewrite the past and pre-write the future. Let us, above all, create! Above all, let us continue to do so without muzzling ourselves, for it is when we write from our hearts that our writing is most powerful and most likely to effect the changes we want to see.

ETA: I think part of my reaction to the article, which I left unexpressed earlier, was the mention of several recent dystopian works and the statement: "It almost seems as though science fiction writers--and the general public--have given up on the future as a happy, technologically enhanced place to be." I feel that the article criticizes both writers and audiences for having a "bad attitude," and in so doing dismisses those involved in the specific works mentioned and all science fiction writers as doing a public disservice.

It ruffled my feathers, so I had to squawk. This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Current Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Current Mood: quixoticquixotic
Pamela D Lloyd
05 January 2013 @ 03:19 pm
It's January 5 (Happy New Year, Everybody!) and here in Tucson that means cardinals. For many years now, we've had a mated pair of cardinals nesting in our pomegranate tree. My husband spotted the female earlier today, and one of my stepsons spotted the male, so we know they have arrived for their annual visit. Given that it's been close to ten years, now, that our visitors have graced our neglected garden, we do not know whether this is the same couple, or succeeding generations of a cardinal family, but we enjoy their presence, nonetheless.

This afternoon, we were graced with a couple of hours of liquid birdsong. Now, it's mostly quiet, with occasional moments of sleepy-sounding near warble. Are cardinals songbirds, as well as beautiful, or has another pair of birds taken up residence nearby? We do not know, but we are pleased, as always (except, perhaps, when the singing starts before dawn), by these cheerful reminders that now that we have passed the Midwinter Equinox, the days will be growing longer and Spring is soon to arrive.

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Current Location: Tucson, AZ
Current Mood: contentcontent
Pamela D Lloyd
29 November 2012 @ 10:11 am
Snaffled from eneit, who got it from anghara, who got it from this post, by fiction_theory.

The exercise, which originated with this book, is as follows: Come up with five opening lines for books you never intend to write. Use different techniques and try out different genres than you usually would. Just make them as interesting and compelling in one line as you can.

To further challenge myself, I've selected genres in which I haven't written and with which I have limited experience. Which means I have done some limited research by reading small bits of works in each of my chosen genres.
  1. Lady Agatha Gordon-Smythe was dying and Cynthia Billingsworth found that she was quite perplexed as to whether she should feel sympathy, or relief, having spent the last five years acting as nurse to her demanding and cranky aunt and sitting by as the old woman married off all her daughers to wealthy young men, and her sons to even wealthier women; while Cynthia cared little for life in the ton, she did not look forward to a life of caring for her various elderly relatives, or, worse, those of others, and so she knew she must find some other means of survival, even if it meant finding a husband. (Regency romance)
  2. Stepping onto the platform at the station in San Buenaventura, Addy was grateful for the sea breeze that gave her her first taste of ash-free air in days; also carried on the breeze was the lyrical sound of Spanish, the predominant tongue in the city, which worried her, for her knowledge of the language was limited to her study of a battered lexicon purchased in Utah and a copy of Don Quixote left behind by another passenger. (Western)
  3. Emily looked up at the clock and decided that 45 minutes of desultory work on the Bramwell campaign was enough to earn her a coffee break, especially since her manager, Laura, was in a meeting and the hot new guy from Marketing was in the break room. (Occupational fiction / Workplace tell-all)
  4. I see ghosts, everywhere. I know they are only fragments of memory, bits of flotsam left behind by those who leave, but as no one ever stays I have only the ghosts. (Existentialist fiction)
  5. Late for the first day of class, Martin ran up the steps of the Cesar E. Chavez Building, glad they were few and his economics class was on the first floor, since Coach had required all the new recruits to run laps for the last half-hour of practice, but no sooner had he slammed through the door into the entranceway than he came to a full stop, stunned by the sight of a pretty blond girl lying in a pool of blood. (Campus murder mystery)
Note: Looking for genres you might want to play with? Wikipedia has an extensive list.