Thursday, November 30, 2017

products I love ...

I'm always skeptical when a product makes a bold claim ~ like 100% satisfaction guaranteed for removing up to 80% of stains.

I love my morning coffee and afternoon iced tea, and a few months ago I noticed that my teeth really looked discolored.  Ugh.  And no, I'm not going to share before and after pictures.
But I will tell you that there has been a significant difference in how my teeth look after this one tube of toothpaste.  Enough of a difference, that I'm now a loyal Crest 3D White user.
(and yes, I'm 100% satisfied that more than 80% of the stains have gone)

Update on my Culturelle Probiotics experience:  I tried a different brand ~ a less expensive brand ~ to see if it would work as well and make my budget happy.
Short answer: No
Stick with Culturelle.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Words on Wednesday ...

Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. This month, prompts can be found here: Elephant's Child. Essentially the goal is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music, and/or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, using all or some, or ignoring them.

My storyline this month has been partially based on actual historical facts. My great-great-etc-great-grandfather, George Soule, came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant and kept the log on the Mayflower. Elinor Billington did spend time in the stocks for slandering John Doane. Doane was married to a woman named Ana, but the affair is fictional (as far as I know anyway). John Billington (the elder) was in fact hung for the murder of John Newcomen and claimed before his hanging that he was an innocent man even though there was bad blood between the two men. Last week we met Francis Billington, son of John and Elinor Billington, and his wife Christian.  Today we meet Constance (Hopkins) and her husband, Nicholas Snow.  Constance was the same age as Francis when they started new lives after Mayflower landed.  Time has moved on from Francis and Christian, however.  It is now mid-September 1677.


Constance sat up and lit the candle at her bedside.  The sun wasn't yet up, but she could hear the sound of her grandchildren stirring in the room next to hers.  She pulled her linen cap over her ears against the cold and wondered how long it would be before her daughter, Mary, started the fire in the kitchen that would warm the house.  She pulled her cat under the covers to keep her legs warm.  Lizzy began purring at the unexpected privilege of being under the wool blanket.

"Don't you pretend to expect this all the time, ye puny girl!  'Tis just 'til me feets warm."

Lizzy kicked at her softly as if to ask who was fooling who.  Constance sighed tiredly.

"Lord, I knows thee had plans fer me when I was a young lass, but I's 71 now and I miss me Nicholas so immensely.  We was blessed with 12 beautiful children and 72 grands, but this past year since he's been with thee has been so lonely fer me.  I knows thee is invincible and I's not questionin' thee's plans.  But please, Lord, I's tired and ready fer home."

Hearing the whispers and giggles from some of her grandchildren behind the curtain that separated their rooms, Constance stopped praying.

"What are ye little ragamuffins up to now?!?!" she spoke harsher than she had intended.  "Don't ye be stirrin' up the devil this early in the morn' or I'll set yer tails on fire fer 'em!"

The curtain parted and her oldest daughter came in, shooing the children off.  "Go outside, all of ye and don't be wanderin' too far.  Get ye mornin' chores done and see if the biddy hen has any fresh eggs for breakfast."

"Mother, how are you feelin' this morn'?"

"Tired, love.  Tired.  I miss yer Father and was jus' prayin' that the Lord in all his supreme wisdom would jus' take me on home."

"But what would I do without ye, Mother?"

"Oh hush now, Mary.  Ye knows I's just a burden on ye.  But I knows ye loves me just the same."

~*~

Connie woke with a start.  Nick reached over in his sleep and patted her shoulder as if to comfort her, but she knew he was still sound asleep when his snoring didn't even slow.  She slipped from under the covers and tiptoed to where her laptop was sleeping on a desk across the room.

"At least you don't snore," she whispered as the screen came awake.  Her fingers zoomed across the keyboard as she made the latest entry in her dream journal.
29 November 2017 2:12am ~ I dreamt about her again this morning.  Nick thinks I've gone all goofy in the head, but I swear ever since I found Mary's November letter to her brothers about their father's land, I think Constance is trying to tell me something.  I know Nicholas's will divided the land up between the sons, and some to her for the remainder of her life.  But I have to wonder what might have happened to her children after she died in October of 1677?  Could she be wanting me to heal old family rifts this Thanksgiving that started 340 years ago?  I have to find out where the rest of their decendants are now.  Maybe they are the family I always wanted but never had.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Words on Wednesday

Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. This month, prompts can be found here: Elephant's Child. Essentially the goal is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music, and/or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, using all or some, or ignoring them.

As I mentioned earlier this month and in last week's comments, my storyline is partially based on actual historical facts. My great-great-etc-great-grandfather, George Soule, came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant and kept the log on the Mayflower. Elinor Billington did spend time in the stocks for slandering John Doane. Doane was married to a woman named Ana, but the affair is fictional (as far as I know anyway). John Billington (the elder) was in fact hung for the murder of John Newcomen, and claimed before his hanging that he was an innocent man even though there was bad blood between the two men.  This week we meet Francis Billington, son of John and Elinor Billington. The year is 1644.

Image Source: WeHeartIt.com
Francis walked slowly in the woods along the frozen river, looking for maple trees to which he could attach a bucket and collect the sweet sap that would be boiled down to make the syrup and sugar he sold to make a living.  It had been a harsh winter, and he had become disillusioned with life in the New World and had lost interest lately in doing much more than just what was necessary to keep food on their table.

His mother had passed away the winter before, and he felt lonelier than ever, with no one he could confide in.  It had been 17 years since his older brother, John [the younger], had died, and 14 since his father.  Although he had been married to Christian for ten years, she had her hands full with their six children and was pregnant yet again.  His shoulders momentarily shrugged as a sob escaped him, thinking of the three children they had lost early on in her pregnancies.

Life may have been hard if they had stayed in England, but it wouldn't have been as harsh.  They might have stayed in a city with a respectable physician or midwife, but he knew it was naive of him to think that it could have been better.  He might have been able to find work or become a tradesman, but he also might never have met Christian.  As difficult as it was to provide for his family, the highlight of each evening was coming home to his children.

He stopped as he heard the sound of something dashing through the woods just ahead of him.  In the fading light, he knew he had just one chance to possibly shoot a deer which would provide meat for them for the next month.  Dropping to one knee in the snow, he quietly drew his muzzleloader free and filled it with gunpowder and buckshot.
~ * ~
Christian jumped as she heard the sound of a gunshot in the distance, shaking hot wax onto her hand from the candle she was using to light the others in their crowded cabin.  The burning wax caused her to drop the candle, catching a rag doll on the floor that belonged to one of the younger children on fire.  She screamed and grabbed a pail of water near the fireplace, throwing it onto the flames before they could grow any larger. 

Sobbing she fell to the floor, feeling the baby within her give a superkick to her ribs as her emotions got the best of her once more that day.  She was grateful to feel the baby was still alive, but her exhaustion and emotions were beginning to wear on her.

The oldest three children came running from the one bedroom that all six of them shared.

"What is it, Mother? What happened?"

She pulled the children to her on the now muddy dirt floor of the cabin, frightening them to begin crying as well.

"Nothing, dears.  Ma just had a scare, and I dropped a candle.  It caught sissy's doll on fire.  Help me to clean up and get some hot water started for supper.  Perhaps Father was able to shoot something to put in the water for dinner tonight."

"I hope so," whined the youngest of the three, "I'm so 'ungry. If I have to eat another potato this week, I fear I shall become one!"

Laughing now, Christian pulled the children closer to her, giving a kiss to the top of each of their heads.

"Let us pray then that God will provide us with something other than potatoes for supper!"

Thursday, November 16, 2017

imho ...

In My Humble Opinion ...

Image Source: WeHeartIt.com
Art has been in the news a great deal lately, with auctions of paintings by 'the Masters' going for outrageous amounts of money to private buyers.

A little known Leonardo da Vinci painting sold for a record-breaking $450 million.

Laboureur dans un Champ by Van Gogh sold for $81.3 million "with fees."

Chagall's Les Amourex sold for $28.4 million.

Image Source: WeHeartIt.com
Why someone would want to "hoard" a painting, that by all rights should be hanging in a museum for everyone to see?  Art is meant to be shared and hiding it away in a private home, or a bank vault is just selfish.  Especially art that is created by those we now consider to be a part of all of our cultural histories.

The price that is being paid for the art is also something I just cannot comprehend.  If you have that much money to spend on one piece of art ... why aren't you doing more to help humanity?  How many homeless and starving could be housed and fed with $28.4 million?  How many diseases could be cured with research financed by $81.3 million?  By $450 million?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday's Words ...

Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. This month, prompts can be found here: Elephant's Child. Essentially the goal is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, using all or some, or ignoring them.

(Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States this month, and I have a special connection to those first pilgrims. My great-great-etc-great-grandfather,George Soule, came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant and kept the log on the Mayflower. So this month my words will be drawn by my imagination of what it must have been like for those early immigrants who did not face as much political whoo-ha as immigrants do today.)


Image Source: WeHeartIt.com
Ellie shifted in the stocks to try to get more comfortable in the agonizing cold.  Sleet had been falling for hours and she shivered uncontrollably.  The whipping she'd suffered had laid bare her back, tearing at her dress, and none of the council had attempted to cover her up when the rains had started.  While the cold was almost unbearable, it at least numbed the wounds and welts on her back.

Accusing John Doane of murder had been her attempt to clear the name of her late husband, John Billington, who had been hung for the dramatic killing of John Newcomen in 1630.  She knew he had died an innocent man when she made the discovery that her husband had been sleeping with Doane's wife the very day of Newcomen's murder, but she'd been unable to prove it at the trial.  Now their surviving boy, Francis, would forever be burdened with being the son of a murderer.

"Typical arse, Doane is," she muttered under her breath.

She wished she had a sip of the distinct elderflowers ale she'd made in the summer to warm her.  A noise behind her startled her thoughts.

"Oo's there?"

"Don't matter oo' I is.  I has an offer fer ye that might'n help ye t' clear ye 'usban's name"

The voice sounded familiar, but just the thought of who it might be was completely zany.

"Ann? 'is you, 'hore?"

Ellie heard a gasp, then a rustle of fabric as the person rushed away without saying anything more.  She sighed and shifted again, the anger that now coursed through her stimulating her blood to warm her just a bit.  How dare the very woman her late husband was having an affair with come forward to clear his name!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Wednesday's Words

Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. This month, prompts can be found here: Elephant's Child. Essentially the goal is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, using all or some, or ignoring them.

(Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States this month, and I have a special connection to those first pilgrims.  My great-great-etc-great-grandfather, George Soule, came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant and kept the log on the Mayflower.  So this month my words will be drawn by my imagination of what it must have been like for those early immigrants who did not face as much political whoo-ha as immigrants do today.)

Ellie thought back to that ill-fated day when the decision had been made to leave their home, family, and friends in England and set out across the ocean for the New World.  Her husband, John Billington, had been offered free passage for his family to the New World, and since he'd had troubles finding work, they had agreed it was a good opportunity for them to leave everything behind and start new.

It had been harder than any of them expected, and there were days when she missed her family more than she had thought she would.  Her thoughts drifted to a letter she had received from her sister not long before they set sail.
Image source: WeHeartIt.com
"Dearest Elinor, I do wish you and John would reconsider leaving England, or at least explain to me why you were so decisive to travel to the New World.  I know you wanted to have your boys educated, but is it really necessary to start all over again under such tenuous conditions?  And with such little notice to your family here in England? Forgive me for saying so, sister dearest, but you are not a young maiden anymore, and I fear for your health and safety.
 "I have also heard stories of that branch of Separatists, and how they will try to unite you with them.  Please promise me that you will stay faithful to the Church of England.  If only for father's sake.  I know that he hasn't spoken to you in many years, but I do know that he thinks of you.  There have been times when I have heard him hum that song he used to sing to you when you were little."
Her thoughts were interrupted by the banging of the door and the sound of her sons arguing.

"It's mine!  I bought it!"

"It doesn't matter!  I'm the oldest, so it's mine!"

She turned to see them wrestling to get something in the door, and finally, both boys fell to the ground with a small hand truck loaded with wood on top of them.

"Mind the floor, ye two ruffians! I jus' swept it neat!  What are ye fightin' o'er?

"I bought this cart fo' a copper coin, an' he says it be his!"

"Well, I'll settl' this fair.  It now b'longs t'yer ma and pa!"


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Words on Wednesday ...

Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. This month, prompts can be found here: Elephant's Child. Essentially the goal is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, using all or some, or ignoring them.

(Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States this month, and I have a special connection to those first pilgrims.  My great-great-etc-great-grandfather, George Soule, came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant and kept the log on the Mayflower.  So this month my words will be drawn by my imagination of what it must have been like for those early immigrants who did not face as much political whoo-ha as immigrants do today.)

She adjusted her bedraggled hair and tried to hide the stubborn pieces that insisted on being unwieldy under her bed cap, without much luck.  She felt ancient and frail, and much older than her 50 something years.

Someone had been pounding on the door, and she had been aroused out of the first good sleep she'd had since the Mayflower had landed.

"Wha'der want?" she yelled at the door.

"Open up, Ellie!  It's me and it's cold as a witch's tit out here!"

"Oh, and ye know how cold that is, do ye?"

"Shut it and jus' let me in, would ya?"

She opened the door just a narrow crack.  "Wha's in it fer me?"

"I found some o' them herbs ya been needin' fer ya pain.  If'n ya let me in by the fire, I'll giv'em to ya."

She looked him up and down with her good eye as if to evaluate whether or not he was telling the truth.

"If ye lyin' to me, I'll push ye in the fire I will."

"I ain't lyin' Ellie, lemme in!"

She pulled the door open just far enough to let him in, then quickly closed it against the cold.  "The fires got low, ye'll have to throw some coal on it.  Wheres the herbs ye promised me?"

"Here ya go, ya old biddy.  Ya fortunate I membered that ya needed them whens I saw them in the garden."

She pulled a dusty pot from off the wooden table and ladled water into it.  The handful of herbs were dry but she could still smell the power in them.  They would make a tea that would help to ease the pain in her joints, but only for a day or two.

"Ye di'nt steal them, did ye?  If they catch ye pilfering from the garden, ye know the gov'ner'll execute ye."

"In't the garden fo' the good of all?"

"Tis. Buts t' be shared by all, not pilfered f'one."

She set the pot on the coals closest to her and slowly stirred the herbs.  There were times when she wondered if leaving England had been the right thing to do.  Even more, times when she'd been so sick on the ship's crossing that she'd thought it would have been easier to just slip away with the waves.  But the hope for a new life had been stronger than the scurvy and seasickness.

None of them had been prepared for the hardships once they landed, however.  So many had died shortly after arriving, and she'd done what she could to help the others, mixing tinctures and teas with wild herbs that she was familiar with.  Winter had been harsher than it had been in England, and by the time the first spring buds were showing on the trees, they'd lost more than half of the hopeful settlers who'd set out from England just seven months before.