“My husband says no”

vintage book cover Armour's monthly cookbookThis advice is from a housewife type magazine published in October of 1913:

Shelving Responsibility

“I’ll ask my husband.”

“I don’t think my husband would allow me to do that.”

“I’m sure Jack would say ‘No.’”

Do you know the wife who, whenever she does not want to do anything, always places the responsibility on her husband’s shoulders?

She knows quite well that she can do almost anything she likes with her husband, and that there are really precious few things that he would say “No” to her doing, but she finds that to say her husband would never allow her to do this, or that, is a very easy way of saying “No” to people without offending them.

But it’s not quite fair on the husband really, because, after a time, people begin to think that he really must be rather a bear to be so strict with his wife.

And he gets disliked, very often, accordingly.

If you don’t want to do a thing, say so; don’t make your husband the scapegoat.

Of course the wife who does this kind of thing never dreams that people will blame her husband: it’s just a convenient fiction to her.

But people are apt to think less of her husband because of it.

So you’ll be wise to find some other excuse when excuses are necessary.—Exchange.

Interesting, isn’t it?

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Beatrix Potter Coloring Pages


potter townmouseSome of them can be resized on your computer’s paint program, colored, laminated, and then taped to Popsicle sticks or straws for stick puppets.

Or laminate and tape or glue a bit of magnet to the back for refrigerator magnets.

If you don’t want to bother with coloring, click on meet the characters, and use those.  Once laminated and backed by a bit of magnet (I used to cut up old advertising magnets for this), the children can, presumably, entertain themselves playing with the magnets on the refrigerator- or a metal door if you have one, or sitting on a stool at the counter with a metal cookie sheet or tray- all whilst you are cooking.

You could also print out several pairs of figures and make a memory game with them.

A set of laminated figures in a mint tin makes a charming and inexpensive present for a child who likes to engage in imaginative play about his stories. It’s also handy on roadtrips since it doesn’t take up any space and won’t fall into a seatbelt buckle and melt, as some crayons did on one of our many road trips.

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Milkweed pod

These are pictures of a pod that had just barely started to make the soft, thistledown parachutes for the milkweed seeds. The seeds are arranged in the pod in a beautiful spiraling pattern reminiscent of pinecone. The seeds grow silky chutes, starting from the bottom of the pod and working around and up. The outer pod dries as the seeds develop their downy gliders, also from the bottom to the top. When all the chutes are done growing, the pod will pop open.

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Aren’t they beautiful?

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Kindle, Kindle, Kindle titles, free, free, free

we love books bookshelf vintage Housekeeping and disclosures:

  • Books are free at time of listing unless otherwise mentioned.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I end up *not* posting more books than I post because I screen out so many this way.
  • If you click on one of the links and buy something else while you are at Amazon, I will get somewhere between 4 and 7.5 percent of what you spend, unless you are buying penny books. I don’t get anything for those for obvious reasons.
  • You don’t need a Kindle to download and read these.  Scroll down to the bottom of the post for more information on ways and means of filling up your life with more Kindle books than you can shake a stick at.  Why you would want to shake a stick at them, I don’t know, that’s just what Grandma G used to say.

books border black and white This Country of Ours American history for children about 8-10- the edges here are blurry. I love this book. If you are Mormon there are one or two chapters you will hate. Please, if you are so inclinced, have that discussion somewhere else. Marshall’s writing is engaging, brilliantly readable, and she does not talk down to kids.

I also like English Literature for Boys and Girls by the same author. Probably more suitable for older readers, middle school or thereabouts. books border black and white Crochet: Beyond the Basics. How to Crochet Vol.II. A Complete Intermediate Guide with More Patterns, Stitches and Squares. Includes Step-by-Step Instructions … Guide to Learn How to Crochet Book 2)

Reader Review: I didn’t read Vol I, so I don’t know if this is a smooth continuation to Vol II. The disclaimer mentions that in this guide the reader builds upon techniques used in How to Crochet: Vol I, with advanced patterns. The first chapter talks about the abbreviations the author will use, CH = chain DS = double stitch etc, so it appears the novice can grasp the language while feeling very familiar to the intermediate crotchet. I have brought cowl scarves from my co-workers and a woman on Etsy. Before reading this book I had no desire to try a pattern for myself, but now I am really thinking of buying a pattern and starting small, certainly not with a cowl scarf…(Smile) So if you can make scarves reach out to me. I LOVE them!!! Chapter one starts the reader with the different stitches, while the next chapter moves into material. Material you might ask? Well if you are like me I thought yarn was yarn, but there is a difference and Crimbleton describes these differences along with letting the reader know which to use for what project. For example linen hemp and flax is typically used for jewelry and baskets, while Alpaca is soft and used in clothing. (seems interesting right?) The bonus chapter is where you get your bang; I once heard it said that “service is the rent you pay for your space on earth. Crimbleton shares how this hobby can bless others. So whether you are just beginning or have some of the basic stitches and your own hook I’m sure you will find something of value in this volume. A complimentary copy of this Ebook was provided by the author, for the purpose of this review.

There were 35 five star reveiws.

The only negative review was from somebody who said the patterns look like they are from the seventies.

Crochet: Basics. How To Crochet Vol. I. A Complete Beginners Guide with Step by Step instructions with Pictures! (Crochet, Beginning Crochet, Crocheting, … Guide to Learn How to Crochet Book 1) is 2.99 as is the third book in the set

She also has a knitting series for 2.99 each- here’s the first book in the series: Knitting for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Learning the Easiest Methods on How to Knit Amazing Stitches, Patterns and Garments with Pictures ( Crochet, … Crocheting, Patterns, Stitches, Afghan)

How to Crochet: Volume III The Final Complete Advance Guide with More Advanced Patterns, Stitches and Squares for the Advanced Crocheter. Includes Step- by- Step Instructions with Detailed Pictures books border black and white This book is available free at Amazon, but it’s available free at Gutenberg with the pictures that make the directions more understandable. It’s Spool Knitting.  This is a charming craft for younger children about 6-13, and even older. Once you’ve learned the basics, there are patterns online for making other things with spool knitters (also sometimes called corking).  Pip used to make them with a coffee can, tape, and nails for making bigger scarves.

The Ladies Work Table Book is also better downloaded from Gutenberg.  Here’s a sample page:

vintage work table book stitchery

The print is larger in the original.  There are directions in this book for buying your fabric (mainly of historical interest) and other materials, for needlework, for crochet, and knitting.

books border black and white

Speedy House Cleaning: How to Clean, Organize, and Declutter your Home in Half the Time Reader review: GREAT book about getting your space organized and cleaned. One big thing that I took away from the book was to stop the clutter from advancing, this tends to be a problem in my house. It gave great tips on doing a quick clean up when you dont have notice that someone is coming over, and then goes into detailed cleaning of each living space. I mean detailed like what to clean in each room and how often. Great advice. books border black and white 76 Productive Habits: How to Accomplish More, Overcome Procrastination, and Supercharge your Productivity

Reader Review: We all are guilty of procrastination and taking on too much in life. This book is 76 USEFUL habits that we need to develop. This book is a quick read and easy to follow. This will not change you overnight, but it has many great strategies that will help you become the you you want to be in a very near future!

Me: The book sample offered only gave the first 8 ‘habits.’ Each habit had just a paragraph of text about it. Most of them were things we already know- Prioritize! Declutter! Don’t waste time! The paragraphs were more like pep talks about why you want to do those things, not so much *how* to do them. But sometimes we just need the peptalk. books border black and white DIY Household Cleaning Hacks: Quick Hack Recipes for Cheaper More Efficient Cleaning just 48 pages Reader Review: This was an interesting book. I picked it up because I wanted to ask my cleaning team to start using more natural products when they are in my home. I expected it to just be about cleaning solutions (as in liquids and substances) but it included how to make tools (such as attaching a drill to a scrubbing brush to make it supercharged!) and ways to sanitize a sponge by microwaving it. The book also contained what I was originally looking for but much more as well. Ingenious! books border black and white The Illusion of More: The Trick to Finding Faith in a World of Deception

Blurb: Is the grass really greener on the other side? … Or is this the ultimate illusion? The first man and woman were closer to God than any other creature on Earth. They had everything they could have ever wanted: healthy timeless bodies, an endless supply of food and water, and a beautiful garden in which to live and play. Still, they reached for the mirage of MORE. What is the great illusion that each of us falls prey to in life? More. More money = more contentment. More things = more satisfaction. More success = more happiness. Like Adam and Eve, we still eat the forbidden fruit today. We are tricked into thinking that the One Thing that does offer lasting joy, purpose and contentment is not enough. As a result, the very things we pursue always remain out of reach because we bought into the ultimate illusion. Join Master Illusionist Harris III on an unforgettable journey, as he shows you how to: Expose the lies you have been believing and replace them with life-changing Truth Unmask the mirage of “more” and discover the secrets to joy and contentment Stop allowing the deceiver to prevent you from living your life to its fullest Open your eyes, discover the source of true fulfillment, and never fall for the Illusion of More again!

There were many, many five star reviews, none below three stars.

Three star Reader Review: “Whatever you value most is not only where your heart resides, it is also where your fear lives. And where fear takes root, deception flowers,” Harris III warns in his book, “The Illusion of More: The Trick to Finding Faith in a World of Deception.” This two hundred and eight page paperback targets those interested in a Biblical perspective of living life free of fear or separation from God. Mainly the New International Version of the Bible is used, along with the NKJV and KJV. The small book contains six chapters, each ending with two to four questions including spaces fill in answers, an overview, acknowledgments, and both writers’ autobiographies with an advertisement for a two DVD movie set. Since the author is a professional illusionist, he correlates a magic show to how Satan has deceived many into a world of ongoing and relentless fear. Starting with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he uses a plethora of Bible verses showing how the Devil was a fallen angel who wanted to be God. Also noted are Biblical characters like Job, Jacob and Esau, David and Goliath, Jesus, and Peter, along with Norman Vincent Peale and how they dealt with Satan’s deceptions. Chapters relate to the art of illusion and magic and how mankind is manipulated into trading creative faith for destructive fear that leads to separation from God. We are constantly being deceived by the Devil and misdirected by desiring more of something, someone, or some feeling, when we should be putting our faith solely in Jesus Christ. The section at the end of each chapter asks readers questions such as what are they afraid of, what do they dread separation from, what losses have been experienced in the past, have they ever been deceived by their senses, what ways have they been blinded by God, and what do they need to believe in, make, and then see. Because so much of the book involves magic tricks, manipulation, and metaphors, inserting many Biblical stories keeps it on task. The author’s conclusion is that words, used for good or bad, are the keys to making the imaginable tangible as faith or fear. books border black and white When We Have Failed-What Next?

Blurb: Author K.P. Yohannan is an encourager and one that instills hope in others through the word of God. His book When We Have Failed-What Next will gleam from biblical examples of individuals such as Moses, Elijah, and David that have accomplished much, yet fell into deep pits of despair and failure. Other individuals as well will be highlighted to prove God is a restorer when we come to Him with authentic repentance. The thief on the cross will serve as the best example that it is never too late with God. You will be encouraged to allow your tears of remorse to renew you back into fellowship with the Father. The author will warn you of the enemy’s plot in trying to discourage you so you lose hope. It is in yielding our failures to the Lord that He makes us into useful vessels. Other key concepts will include: – His purpose in making us more like His Son – How He longs for a fresh start with you – Importance of receiving His forgiveness – How we deal with failure that determines our future – How our brokenness can give us strength to help others

By the same author: The Beauty of Christ through Brokenness books border black and white Breaking the Chains: Overcoming the Spiritual Abuse of a False Gospel An autobigraphical account of growing up in and then leaving the Pentecostal group started by Sowders. The church this author was affiliated with was founded by Cornelius Mears. books border black and white Exploring the Nicene Creed just 44 pages. This is not a history of the creed. There is a chapter explaining the human need to distill their beliefs into compact statements. There rest is simple explanation of what the statements in the creed mean, with Bible verses to support those explanations. Basically, this is an explanation of the Nicene creed for those who would like to understand it better. books border black and white Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year

This could be used for copywork, for a short daily devotional thought, for bathroom reading…. Here are the ‘saints’ represented:


Here’s an excerpt from October: 1 ALWAYS give good example: teach virtue by word and deed. Example is more powerful than discourse.—BL. HENRY SUSO.

2 If thou wouldst glory, let it be in the Lord, by referring everything to Him, and giving to Him all the honor and glory.—VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

3 There is nothing more holy, more eminently perfect, than resignation to the will of God, which confirms us in an entire detachment from ourselves, and a perfect indifference for every condition in which we may be placed.—ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

4 Prayer consists not in many words, but in the fervor of desire, which raises the soul to God by the knowledge of its own nothingness and the divine goodness.—BL. HENRY SUSO.

5 Let us make up for lost time. Let us give to God the time that remains to us.—ST. ALPHONSUS.

6 When thou feelest thyself excited, shut thy mouth and chain thy tongue.—BL. HENRY SUSO.

7 If it was necessary that Christ should suffer and so enter by the cross into the kingdom of His Father, no friend of God should shrink from suffering.—VEN. JOHN TAULER.

8 We should grieve to see no account made of time, which is so precious; to see it employed so badly, so uselessly, for it can never be recalled.—BL. HENRY SUSO. books border black and white Equipped To Study Workbook (Equipping The Saints 5) I looked at the first three lessons in the workbook, and only saw one thing that made me a little twitchy, and that could be an issue of semantics. For the most part, I liked what I saw. It looks like a basic, solid, study on how and why to study your Bible. The videos and worksheets are available here.

He also recommends this book by Skip Heitzig: How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It

I like this, too: How to Study Your Bible books border black and white He Used A Stone

Reader Review: Kudos to Andrew Mullek! I like this book a lot! The biblical story of David and Goliath is one most people have heard about. A young lad David courageously slew Goliath a giant with a stone and a sling with faith in God. I’m saving this free ebook because it reaffirms how God can do anything as long as believers have faith and courage. There are some really good questions and answers! Why did David select four stones instead of one? Why did David select the size and shape of stones he did? The reassurance that with God on your side anything is possible is very positive and reaffirms that by having faith even as small as the grain of a mustard seed mountains can be moved! David had great faith, killed Goliath, chopped of Goliath’s head with Goliath’s sword, and carried Goliath’s head through the city for all to see. Whatever obstacles people face they are not insurmountable with God on your side. This book is for everyone and one of my favorites. I will be reading this many more times and looking for more of Andrew Mullek’s works to read. Thank you! books border black and white Economic Crisis: World Food System – The Battle against Poverty, Pollution and Corruption

Blurb: The world food system is in serious danger. People are starving to death because their food is being hoarded, sold to other countries or is just not being produced. This book takes a look at the economic crisis with special attention to the world food system.

23 pages. Scary. No solutions offered. Five five star reviews, one 3 star from somebody who had hoped for more answers. Blurb: The world food system is in serious danger. People are starving to death because their food books border black and white The Genetic Lottery: A novel look at schizophrenia

Blurb: “This book saved my life when our youngest was diagnosed with schizophrenia” -Dawn “Caitlin’s story touched me deep in my soul” ~ Marina “Terri Morgan’s depictions of the disorder are realistic as well as haunting.” ~ Allizabeth Collins As a child she was confused and embarrassed by her parents’ behavior. As an adult, she fears she may inherit their devastating mental disorders. In between, she learns how to cope with the chaos, come to terms with mental illness, and understand and overcome the toll it had on her extended family. “its a roller-coaster ride of emotions” ~ Sandra Looking for an emotional and touching story of human strength and overcoming obstacles? Read Terri Morgan’s fictional memoir THE GENETIC LOTTERY. This true-to-life novel examines how the impact of mental illness ripples through a family.

Reader Review: I’d give this book more stars if I could, it was that good. It was a riveting account of schizophrenia and it’s devastating effects. I read it in a day or so, unfortunately I had to put it down to sleep and work. A few reviewers said they thought the book was too long. The length seemed fine to me for the period of time it covered and the character development it described. If you want to understand or increase your understanding of schizophrenia, read this book. It was great. 3 star review: At first, this book was riveting. The brother – what an amazing child, taking care of his baby sister while Mom is in a daze. He practically raises his sister while both parents suffer schizophrenia. It’s heartbreaking to read. The details of day to day living wore on – do we really need that much detail?? — and the “novel” just read like a memoir or a journal entry. I started skipping pages until I got closer to the end. Interesting names: Jondalar, named for his mother’s favorite fictional character, and Ayla. He shortens his name to Jon, and she changes her name later in life to Caitlyn. Much of this novel is haunting, informative, well-researched, hard-hitting and all too real. It just drags on with too much description and detail about things that didn’t pertain to how this woman survived both parents and her brother suffering schizophrenia. It’s worth reading, and it’s well written, aside from the utter lack of being a novel. books border black and white Raptor 6 (The Quiet Professionals Book 1)

Blurb: Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when these two things are threatened by hackers, Dean’s Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop the hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military’s secure computers and networks isn’t an option. Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, endangering the US national security, Dean is forced to crack the lockbox around his heart—a move that might come at the highest cost.

reader review:Raptor 6 is a fast-paced, intense military thriller with a Christian theme to it, as well as a little romance. Ronie Kendig is a talented writer and she avoids all the typical character cliches; giving each character natural flaws, making them more believable. For me, the more realistic a character is, the more chance that I’m going to connect with them and whatever situation they are in. Overall, Raptor 6 is a well-crafted page-turner that I highly enjoyed reading and I’m looking forward to reading the upcoming second installment, Hawk. *Disclaimer – I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. books border black and white Wishing on Buttercups: A Novel (Love Blossoms in Oregon Series Book 2) Dozens of five star reviews.

Blurb: She’d kept her secrets safely hidden—those from her past, and those in the present. Some things, Beth Roberts knows, a lady simply doesn’t share, even in the 1880’s West. The townspeople would never understand. No one ever has. Jeffery Tucker, a handsome young writer, has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have a right to pry into Beth’s affairs but finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her. Beth knows that one day someone will unravel the threads of her past. And when two men from her past arrive, the truth might just hurt . . . Beth’s future and her heart. As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what—and who—her illustrations reveal. Dare she risk her heart again?

About the author– Miralee Ferrell is a speaker, accredited counselor, and former American Christian Fiction Writers chapter president who has published multiple contemporary and historical romance novels. She and her husband enjoy horseback riding, sailing, and family gatherings around their eleven-acre property in Washington State’s beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

Reader Review: Wishing on Buttercups is the second book written in the Love Blooms In Oregon series written by Miralee Ferrell. I have not read a book by Miralee, but I LOVED this book. This book is not a typical read for me, I love romance, but I have never really like historical fiction, but this is perfect. It’s enough that I find it interesting and romantic. Some books are so historical that I find myself lost and bored, but this was the perfect balance between historical, romantic and interesting. Beth Roberts and Jeffery Tucker are two main characters in the story who have their share of secrets. Beth is a hidden artist who draws on a tablet and her tablet is one day discovered by Jeffrey. Jeffrey discovers her tablet, but does not realize it’s Beth until sometime later. Beth is an illustrator and is sketching pictures for his series of stories, but neither of them realize it until the middle of the story. In the middle of all of this, Beth is confronted with a past love. Additionally, Beth is having flash backs from her childhood about family members. Beth is living a life from the past and also trying to move forward into future, but stuck. Jeffrey takes a risk and only can he discover who Beth’s real family is and helps discover what happened to her as a child. I did not have the privledge of reading “Blowing On Dandelions” which is the first book in this set, but I would love too. You can read “Wishing on Buttercups” as a stand alone, but after reading this, I highly recommend reading the first book. I cannot wait to read the next one in this series! If I could rate this book 10 stars, I would! I truly enjoyed this book! Well done! The last five chapters had me gripped in high emotions, tears and then in happiness by the end! Well done! I received this book from book fun.org in exchange for an honest review. books border black and white In Between (Katie Parker Production Book 1) LOADS of five star reviews.

Blurb: Can we overcome our past? Katie Parker is about to get a new life—whether she wants one or not. With her mom in prison, and her father AWOL, Katie is sent to live with a squeaky-clean family who could have their own sitcom. She launches a full-scale plan to get sent back to the girls’ home when she finds herself in over her head…and heart. When Katie and her new “wrong crowd” get into significant trouble at school, she finds her punishment is restoring a historic theater with a crazy grandma who goes by the name of Mad Maxine. In the midst of her punishment, Katie uncovers family secrets that run deep, and realizes she’s not the only one with a pain-filled past. Katie must decide if she’ll continue her own family’s messed up legacy or embrace a new beginning in this place called In Between.

books border black and white

More book-keeping type stuff: Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless.


Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books, even though I have two kindles.  That’s because my kids keep taking off with the Kindles to read their school books and they don’t remember to recharge them before returning.  I wouldn’t say I’m bitter about it, but I might be a little disgruntled.

If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers.  The second Kindle is actually one I was given in exchange for some writing work, and I gave it to my two teens.  It does not have 3G, which is why it’s their Kindle.  Personally,  I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

Lately, though, since I got my tricky little new phone that does all kinds of magical things and is smarter than me, I have downloaded some books with color illustrations, and downloaded other books direct from Gutenberg, and I have to admit, I like it very much indeed.  You can set up a Kindle account to download to your phone, and download a kindle app for the phone as well.


If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.


Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full. You can left click on a title on your Kindle anddelete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently.  Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices.  Woot!


Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from  reviews on Amazon’s page.

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Should I feel proud or insulted?

My son reads a funny FB thing to me, something about how no matter how much you read, every book you ever read is just a combination of 26 letters.

That’s pretty incredible if you think about it. An amazing testament to human ingenuity and the gift of language itself. But the purpose of the FB thing was just to make a joke.

I ignored that purpose, and pointed out that this was only true if you read in English. My son said other languages use 26 letters, too. So then, naturally, I launched into a list of languages that don’t use 26 letters, languages with alphabets nothing like ours, languages that don’t even use phonetic representation, languages with thousands of characters-

I was on a roll and building up speed when my son shouted, “Oh, my goodness, Mom, stop! There’s totally a FB meme about you!”

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Screwtape Letters

This is a real treat- John Cleese reading Screwtape Letters aloud:

The introduction:

Letter 22:

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News and stuff.

When caught being grotesquely inaccurate about things he alleges Bush said, Neil DeGrass Tyson’s first response was to huff and puff and demand that we just believe him because he said so and he had an explicit memory of when and where he heard Bush say those divisive words about Islam. Now, Tyson kind of admits he misrepresented President Bush in the story he tells about Bush’s remark about the God who made the stars. He pretends that his followers unearthed the original context, though. He actually thanked his FB followers for ‘finding’ the source of the original, actual, accurate quote. This ought to embarrass the daylights out of him, since Sean Davis actually presented it as the likely real source and context in the very first story he did about Tyson’s fabrication. Tyson also says he’ll apologize when ‘he finds a good medium and occasion.’

This is more serious:

So Obama finally got himself a war, er, uh, a Prolonged Counter-Hatred Operation (PCHO), just in time for the mid-term elections.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the man who vowed to end “Bush’s endless war”; who would heal the planet; who apologized to the Muslim world for the United States being the United States; who has tried to gut our military and destroy our network of global alliances, yes, that very man, now has the USAF and the USN turning small groups of Muslims people who claim to be Muslim but aren’t really because “Islam is a religion of peace” into desert stew.

Taking a page from several past progressive war leaders such as Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, JFK, LBJ and Bill Clinton, he has launched into a sort of war with no clear exit strategy, no plan to win, no definition of “win,” and no intention of trying to “win.” He just needs to get through the mid-term elections without a major disaster while looking “Presidential.”

The whole thing is repulsive beyond words.

Read it all, boys and girls. We are in for decades of reaping and weeping.

Europe at risk of third recession.

Inequality politics:

The inequality-based critique of the American economy is a fundamentally dishonest one, for a half a dozen or so reasons at least. Claims that the (wicked, wicked) “1 percent” saw their incomes go up by such and such an amount over the past decade or two ignore the fact that different people compose the 1 percent every year, and that 75 percent of the super-rich households in 1995 were in a lower income group by 2005. “The 3 million highest-paying jobs in America paid a lot more in 2005 than did the 3 million highest-paying jobs in 1995” is a very different and considerably less dramatic claim than “The top 1 percent of earners in 1995 saw their household incomes go up radically by 2005.” But the former claim is true and the latter is not.



As states continue to debate the virtues of expanding their Medicaid programs under ObamaCare, it’s not just able-bodied childless adults who stand to gain, but also those with a criminal past. A light-hearted video released by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) today highlights the serious problem of crowding out services for the current Medicaid population by former convicts.

Gotta read this:

In concluding his ruling, the judge in Pruitt takes time to note the “apocalyptic language” used by the dissent in Halbig (the DC circuit case in which the majority found similarly that the IRS had acted lawlessly).

He notes that a lot of these objections have little do with the actual law or the actual guidelines judges follow when interpreting Congress’ law.

A lot of their objections just seem to be of the flavor, “Well if we let these monsters win, Obama’s policy goals will be thwarted!”

The judge here chides them for assuming the posture of a political advocate, concerned not with the law but with “helping” certain people (and, coincidentally I’m sure, certain Presidents).

And might as well read this, too.

Obama has attended barely more than 40% of his daily briefings.

Ebola confirmed in Dallas.

Protestors in Hong Kong want democracy. China warns US to mind our own business.

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Kindle Books, Good Reads for Teen Boys

All of these books are also available as Audio books, free. Go to Librivox.org to find them. They aren’t *just* for adolescent boys, of course. I loved most of them when I was a girl, and of the ones I didn’t love as a youngster, I mostly hadn’t heard of them (Jack London being an exception. I knew he wrote well, I recognized that, but I just didn’t enjoy his stories). Nor do I claim that all boys will love all the titles here.

I haven’t tried all these out on my son yet. Many of them he’ll be reading this year.

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The Thirty-Nine Steps
by John Buchan. Others by him as well:

Reader Review: The lead character was introduced to us in the more famous ’39 Steps’ and he continues on here as the unflappable hero of a series of old school adventures on the road in Germany and the Middle East working to thwart Germany’s World War One plans for a Muslim uprising. Which gives it a surprisingly contemporary theme in a fast paced comic book tale of narrow escapes, gorgeous women, and fist fights at the capable hands of sturdy South African spies in the service of The British Empire.
But be aware this story was written at a time when attitudes toward race and class were expressed in ways that seem extremely dated if not offensive. If you are offended by casual use of the n word and implicit dominance of western cultural values do yourself a favor and skip it.
The book is original, unabridged and therefore not for readers who cannot separate their contemporary gentler social/racial politics from the value of a “fireside yarn.”


A lesser known John Buchan work, ‘Huntingtower’ (published in 1922) is still a very enjoyable adventure book in which a most unlikely person in the world of fiction plays the central role. He is Dickeson McCunn, newly retired gorcery shop owner, whose life has been very ‘respectable.’ Now, free from his business (and his wife being away from home), Dickson leaves the city to spend time walking in the countryside of Scotland.

But while visiting the village called Dalquharter, Dickson meets a young English poet Mr. Heritage, who tries to convince him that in the ruined mansion Huntingtower, a young woman is held against her will, and the poet claims that he knows her personally. Moreover, Heritage believes that the woman is a Russian princess. Unconvinced, Dickson refuses to take part in his ‘rescue’ plans … at first.

The plot is vintage Buchan, with lots of actions (exciting and incredible ones), plus well-observed descritions of characters. Dickson is not as active or heroic as Richard Hannay, but the situation is similar to that of ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps.’ The difference is inclusion of historical references to the post-revolution Russia, and ‘the Gorbals Die-Hards,’ group of local kids who assist the jobs of Dickson. The colorful Scottish background is also attarctive.

The book is a thriller, but unlike ‘Greenmantle,’ it is not political. It’s more like reading Scott or Stevenson, with sly and often comical commentary to the contemporary social situations here and there, such as deft description of one boy who recounts his experience joining in sociliast’s meeting, thinking that it’s a football club. And of course, Russian princess reminds us of the legend of Anastasia.

There are plenty of other free titles by Buchan.

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The Machine Stops, by E. M. Forster. This link is not to Amazon because there is no free version at Amazon. It’s a short story, sci fi, and well worth the read. Published in 1909, Forster predicted instant messaging and the internet!

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Contents: “The Father” by Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson
“The Griffin and the Minor Canon” by Frank R. Stockton
“The Piece of String” by Guy de Maupassant
“The Man Who Was” by Rudyard Kipling
“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe
“The Gold-Bug”, by Edgar Allan Poe
“The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Ethan Brand,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The Sire de Maletroit’s Door” by Robert Louis Stevenson
“Markheim” by Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Best American Humorous Short Stories

Caveat: These are 19th century humorous. There were many negative reviews of this written by people who obviously thought they were going to get something more like Jon Stewart in print. The humour here is much more subtle, and much of it is dated, but I don’t think it’s so dated it’s not funny.

Table of Contents
George Pope Morris– The Little Frenchman And His Water Lots (1839)
Edgar Allan Poe– The Angel of the Odd (1844)
Caroline M. S. Kirkland– The Schoolmaster’s Progress (1844)
Eliza Leslie– The Watkinson– Evening (1846)
George William Curtis– Titbottom’s Spectacles (1854)
Edward Everett Hale– My Double: And How He Undid Me (1859)
Oliver Wendell Holmes– A Visit To the Asylum For Aged And Decayed Punsters (1861)
Mark Twain– The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1865)
Harry Stillwell Edwards– Elder Brown’s Backslide (1885)
Malcolm Johnston– The Hotel Experience of Mr. Pink Fluker (1886)
Henry Cuyler Bunner– The Nice People (1890)
Frank Stockton– The Buller-Podingham Compact (1897)
Bret Harte– Colonel Starbottle For The Plaintiff (1901)
O. Henry– The Duplicity of Hargraves (1902)
George Randolph Chester– Bargain Day At Tutt House (1905)
Grace MacGowan Cooke– A CAll (1906)
William James Lampton– How The Widow Won The Deacon (1911)
Wells Hastings– Gideon (1914)
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Cabbages and Kings

Reader Review: The story takes place in a banana republic town with a local native population, a corrupt government, attempted revolution, and several Americans who have moved to escape their prior lives. All have their own stories, intermingled, with the usual twisted but morally correct ending. It is an enjoyable read.

While you’re at Amazon, look for other O Henry titles as well.

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Short Stories for English Courses

Reader Review: There isn’t an active table of contents, but it does include many shorts by well-known authors. Each story has a brief intro as well.

The file includes the following stories:
(The dates listed are from the text notes.)

* The First Christmas Tree (1897) – Henry van Dyke
* A French Tar-Baby (1893) – Joel Chandler Harris
* Sonny’s Christenin’ (1896) – Ruth McEnery Stuart
* Christmas Night With Satan (1904) – John Fox, Jr.
* A Nest-Egg (1913) – James Whitcomb Riley
* Wee Willie Winkie (1899) – Rudyard Kipling
* The Gold Bug (1843) – Edgar Allan Poe
A part of this story talks of and lays out a cryptogram. The code seems to be in place. The symbols are shown. I haven’t tried to decipher the puzzle to see if it’s accurate.

* The Ransom of Red Chief (1910) – O. Henry
* The Freshman Full-Back (1909) – Ralph D. Paine
* Gallegher (1891) – Richard Harding Davis
* The Jumping Frog (1903) – Mark Twain
* The Lady or the Tiger? (1914) – Frank R. Stockton
* The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1906) – Francis Bret Harte
* The Revolt of Mother (1891) – Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
* Marse Chan (1887) – Thomas Nelson Page
* “Posson Jone” (1890) – George W. Cable
* Our Aromatic Uncle (1896) – Henry Cuyler Bunner
* Quality (1912) – John Galsworthy
* The Triumph of Night (1914) – Edith Wharton
* A Messenger (1907) – Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews
* Markheim (1884) – Robert Louis Stevenson

A nice choice of short stories.

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Reader Review:
This book–at times disjointed, rambling, self-referential, and irreverent–is decades ahead of its time. It’s an interdisciplinarian’s dream as Twain takes on economics, geography, politics, ancient and contemporary history, and folklore with equal ease. Mostly though, one appreciates his knack for exaggeration, the tall tale, and the outright lie. It’s a triumph of tone, as he lets you in on his wild wit, his keen observation, and his penchant for bending the truth without losing his credibility as a guide.
The book’s structure is also modern: He recounts his days as a paddlewheel steam boat “cub,” piloting the hundreds of miles of the Mississippi before the Civil War, then, in Part 2, returns to retrace his paddleboat route. Although a few of his many digressions don’t work (they sometimes sound formulaic or too detailed) most of the narrative is extremely entertaining. Twain seems caught between admiration and disdain for the “modern” age-but he also rejects over-sentimentality over the past. He writes with beauty and cynicism, verve and humor. Very highly recommended!

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The Innocence of Father Brown

The Wisdom of Father Brown

Reader Review: I read this on the recommendation of my 14 year old grandson who claims Chesterton is the best mystery writer EVER! My grandson just might be right. Clearly Chesterton is a highly intelligent story-crafter. This collection of short stories about Father Brown kept me awake and alert and ALWAYS surprised regarding the outcome. There was nothing formulaic or predictable in these stories. Father Brown is delightful in a Columbo fashion (perhaps the TV detective was modeled after him), and his sleuthing is remarkably unique. I loved Chesterton’s use of language too. His sentences are long and luscious and his vocabulary makes reading a delicious experience. I must say, I’m quite happy to know that a 14 year old finds Chesterton so exceptional.

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Legends of Charlemagne

By Bullfinch. The reader reviews for this one just make me gnash my teeth. One complains that there is not enough actual history here, just legends. Um. Yes. Hence, the title.

Another complains that these are just boring stories of knights rescuing damsels in distress, and they are just fantastical. Um, yes. Legends, again. Others find the writing too hard, too tedious, boring. Shudder.

Well, to be honest, my son probably won’t love this one. He’s past the interest in knights and dragons.

Here’s the TOC:
The Peers, or Paladins
The Tournament
The Siege of Albracca
Adventures of Rinaldo and Orlando
The Invasion of France
The Invasion of France (Continued)

Bradamante and Rogero
Astolpho and the Enchantress
The Orc
Astolpho’s Adventures continued, and Isabella’s begun.
Orlando Mad
Zerbino and Isabella
Astolpho in Abyssinia
The War in Africa
Rogero and Bradamante
The Battle of Roncesvalles
Rinaldo and Bayard
Death of Rinaldo
Huon of Bordeaux
Huon of Bordeaux (Continued)
Huon of Bordeaux (Continued)
Ogier, the Dane
Ogier, the Dane (Continued)
Ogier, the Dane (Continued)

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The White Company

More knights errant and deeds of fealty This is a sequel, but I like the sequel much, much better than the first, and it stands on its own.

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Books by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist; David Copperfield; Tale of Two Cities; Great Expectations, etc.

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The Black Arrow
and other adventure stories by Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Call of the Wild

White Fang

both by Jack London
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Moby Dick: or, the White Whale

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea
and others by by Jules Verne

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Tom Sawyer’s Comrade

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Part 1.

In many ways, my son is Tom Sawyer. We’ve pretty much seen the fence painting episode happen right before our eyes in his younger days.

He’s read both of these, but if he has time this next year it wouldn’t be a bad thing for him to read them again.

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Ben-Hur; a tale of the Christ

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Sometimes when you click on a link, for some reason it won’t finish loading. Just hit refresh and it should work.

Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free.  Deals were reduced prices at time of listing, but these prices generally don’t last more than the day they were listed.

Same for reduced price titles.

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing.  If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something.  Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7.5% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless.

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books, even though I have two kindles.  That’s because my kids keep taking off with the Kindles to read their school books and they don’t remember to recharge them before returning.  I wouldn’t say I’m bitter about it, but I might be a little disgruntled. If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers.  The second Kindle is actually one I was given in exchange for some writing work, and I gave it to my two teens.  It does not have 3G, which is why it’s their Kindle.  Personally,  I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full. You can left click on a title on your Kindle anddelete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently.  Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices.  Woot!

Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from  reviews on Amazon’s page.

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May Bryon’s Vegetable Cookery Book, Day Two

Day two (Day one is here)

May Bryon’s Vegetable Cookery Book, 1918

"The following rough list will give some notion 
of the respective value of vegetables from a nutritious 
point of view — t.e. regarding them as quality rather 
than as quantity. 

1. Potatoes. 

2. Jerusalem Artichokes, 

3. Parsnips. 

4. Peas, Beans, Lentils. 

5. Beets and Carrots. 

6. Onions and Leeks. 

7. Celery, Seakale, Salsify, 

8. Cauliflower and Broccoli. 

9. Green Vegetables in general.

10. Everything else.


(1) Don’t boil any vegetable if you can steam it.

(2) Don’t use any more water than you can possibly help, if you must boil the vegetable: let it cook in its own juices so far as possible.

(3) Don’t throw away the water thus used as it contains much of the essential salts of the vegetable. Use it for stock or sauce, that same day if you can.

(4) Don’t put any vegetable into cold water to cook it, except potatoes (old) and Jerusalem artichokes. Put it into fast-boiling water.

(5) Don’t forget to salt the water; it makes all the difference to the flavour of the vegetables.

(6) Don’t use washing soda on any acount: use (if absolutely necessary on account of the hardness of the water) a minute pinch of bicarbonate of soda—about what would cover a threepenny-bit.

(7) Don’t throw away peelings, parings, trimmings or any vegetable matter. Wrap them up tightly in an old newspaper, let them become fairly dry, and use them as fuel.

(8) Don’t dump the vegetable into the dish all wet. Strain and drain out the moisture as completely and as quickly as you can, but so as not either to spoil the shape and appearance of the vegetable, or to let it get cold.

(9) Don’t put it into a cold dish unless it is to be served cold. A hot thing put into a cold dish is one of the most unpardonable crimes in cookery: and it is ” worse than a crime—it is a blunder,” likely to undo all your trouble and spoil the whole thing.

(10) Don’t despise any left-over vegetables, however small. They can all be used up for salads, stews, or soups : only don’t leave them to become stale or sour, especially such as have been served in sauce.


Vegetables should be gathered early in the morning, and kept in a cool dark place; to put them in a clean dry pail, covered with paper, is a very good plan.

If you are not lucky enough to grow your own vegetables, buy them as fresh as you can; and never keep any till the next day before using. You don’t know how long they may have been knocking about in market-carts and markets, collecting germs and getting flabbier every minute.

Green vegetables which are flabby and discoloured are not worth cooking, neither are root vegetables which are limp and stale. The first should be crisp and green, the second firm and stiff.

To draw out and kill slugs, caterpillars, etc. in cabbage and cauliflower, add a little vinegar to the water you soak them in while preparing them.

Root vegetables should be cooked in a covered pan; but all green leaf vegetables, except spinach, are best cooked with the lid off. Green vegetables must be boiled very fast, and never allowed to go off the boil.

Any unpleasant smell proceeding from vegetables during their boiling can be obviated by changing the water during the cooking, but by so doing you will waste a good deal of the mineral salts. A better plan is to put a piece of toasted crust in a little muslin bag, along with the vegetable.

Be sure to drain all vegetables thoroughly after cooking, as quickly as possible.

Nothing is more unappetising than cold or lukewarm vegetables; take care, therefore, to serve. them hot in a hot dish with a hot cover. Quite commonly a careless cook will plank down her vegetables into a chilly or tepid dish.

There is no vegetable whatever (and this especially applies to roots and tubers) but what is greatly improved by the addition of a good sauce, served separately or otherwise.”

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Tomorrow: special utensils needed for vegetable cooking

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PTSD: Self-Talk

PTSD not just emotionalBy way of updates, I didn’t see my therapist the last two weeks because. Family drama, another horrid medical emergency for her family. I get that. I don’t especially love it when the emergency happened in the wee hours of the morning, but rather than a phone call so I don’t drive 9 miles into town, I find out when I get there over 12 hours later and see a note on the door.

Kind of par for the course- she gave me the number to call and the name of the therapist she wanted me to see. The number was for their suicide hotline prevention and the therapist is the case manager and doesn’t see new patients.

By way of other updates, I am seeing the new therapist for the first time perhaps as you read this. I’m really nervous. It’s an hour away and Jenny has to take off work to take me. I am also not convinced they take my insurance, nor do I know what they charge if they don’t.

This appointment is supposed to take two hours.

But anyway, about this particular post. I think there’s probably a better word for this topic than self-talk. It also applies to plenty of other situations beside PTSD.

It’s about the negative stuff you say to yourself- all the ‘nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess i’ll eat worms stuff.’

One of the things I was told to do is to tell myself the counter stuff, proving this isn’t true, or reminding yourself that it isn’t true.

But the problem is some of the negative stuff, I can’t tell myself it’s not true and believe in that counterpoint. I know better because….. well, I can’t tell you that. But I am not basing that on how I feel.

There’s another little ‘issue’ of mine that the therapist made the mistake of trying to talk me out of being afraid of it. “Come on,” she said, “chances are that’s never going to happen again.”

Problem is, statistically on that one, she’s actually wrong. Chances are pretty good that it will happen again. I’ve done my homework. I rattled off a recitation of the statistics for her. She sat there open mouthed and finally just said, “Wow. I’m sure glad you weren’t in the room when I was counseling another client of mine who is afraid of the same thing.”

So I had to figure something else out, because standing in the gaping maw of the dragon of “Nobody Loves You Everybody Hates You” in the kingdom of Eat Worms is not a good time to come up with a list of ‘it’s not real’ when there really are unsurmountable logical justifications for the existence and complete reality of that dragon.

I can’t pretend those things that are triggering some meltdowns and heartache aren’t real, arent’ there, can’t happen. I can’t use the coffee filter exercise and just talk away negative stuff with positive stuff, because some of these things are as real as the nose on my face.

This hurts, it hurts so hard and so deep I am struggling with words and my head is pounding, so I am not going to edit this or fix this post any further. I’m just going to share this, in case you, too, are in a place where the negative things that crush your soul are also actually true and realistic things.

What has been helping enough to put a stave in the dragon’s mouth and escape while he’s distracted is this:

“It doesn’t matter if it is true. It doesn’t change anything to think about it.” And then I think about something else. Sometimes it’s something big and important but sometimes it needs to be something ridiculously trivial because I don’t have the emotional energy to manage to address myself to anything deeper or more important than the soft texture of the well washed cotton of a favorite nightgown, the smell of an orange peel, the sound of Enya or Big Bang.

The thing is, it does matter, it’s part of the problem. But howling like the misbegotten offspring of a banshee and a werewolf, choking on the massive, hard, peach pit of pain in my chest, those are things that don’t matter, because they don’t change anything. Over time, my therapist has come to understand this as well, that some of these things are real, they are true, and I can’t fix them.

She acknowledges that given these realities, recovery is actually going to take much, much longer than it would if those external realities were not the way they are. It’s going to be harder than it needs to be, and it probably won’t be what it could have been if things were different. In fact, some of these realities made things worse then they otherwise would have been. But it is what it is.

“Yes, it’s true. It doesn’t matter. Think about something else.”

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