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Archive for September, 2018

Sugar, Sugar Everywhere

My mom went to the hospital early in the year. One of the issues was diabetes and she was put on insulin. This severely hampers her sugar addiction and love of snacks. While she was still in the hospital, I went to Wal-Mart because I wanted to see if they had sugar free cookies and what other sugar free products they had. Yogurt. Lemonade. The stuff she will like.

So, I’m cruising around the store, looking at this and that. I ask about a certain cookie brand. They don’t carry it. I can get it elsewhere, I think, and I start for the door. Being at the far end, I have to walk past the cash registers and it hits me.

All I see is candy.

Seriously.

All the stuff close to the register is over processed food and candy. There’s displays of the stuff. How on earth had I never noticed it before? I mean, I saw it. I even bought a chip bag or a candy bar before. But see it, like SEE it. No.

I was stunned.

No wonder we’re so fat. No wonder so many Americans are unhealthy. Sugar is right in our faces and we get tempted.

All I got to say is, thank goodness the price of candy has gone up because all I have to do is look at the price and go, nope. That’s not to say I don’t eat candy and processed stuff, because I do. But now, with Mom taking insulin shots, I’m really thinking of cutting down as much as I can.

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By the age of three, Mabinty’s father was murdered by rebel soldiers, her mother had died of Lhassa fever, and she’d been much sold to an orphanage by her uncle. Sierra Leone, her country, was being broken apart by violence and a girl with spots, vitilago, didn’t have much of a future. People shunned her. Yet, despite all her hardship, she became a ballerina.

This is a true story of Michaela DePrince, ballerina. She was born Mabinty Bangura in Sierra Leone. In this book she tells the horrors of war and how one picture in Dance magazine changed her life. It gives a stunning example how a dream is born, and how a family can make that dream a reality.

The book is co-written by Michaela’s adoptive mother, Elaine DePrince. There are photographs, but, sadly no maps. I would have liked to have one to remind where in Africa it’s located (West Africa), and just because I like to look at maps, to see where cities and towns are located.

I enjoyed the narrative. These kind of biographies/autobiographies, where it’s written as a story, are so much interesting and they immerse the reader in the life and times of the person than those which are mostly facts for people writing reports.

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Typewriters and Me

Once upon a time, pre-PC’s, people used these chunky things called typewriters. Getting one was a big deal, about as big as getting one’s first computer back in the day when they were still novelties, or getting one’s first calculator.

Just as one clusters around computers and laptops in stores, we had to try out the typewriters in the stores and tap out a few words. It was the height of technology.

I think our first family typewriter was a manual. I’m not one hundred percent sure anymore, but I think so. It was gray. Every time you wanted to go to the next line, you had to push a lever on the side. I think it’s partially responsible for me using notebooks for my stories. That and notebooks are a lot easier to carry around than a typewriter.

In elementary school, and middle, and high, I had a hard enough time to write a single sheet of paper without making a mistake. That didn’t stop with typing. I spend almost as much time getting rid of boo-boos as typing. For those who’ve never used the typewriter, one has to back up, insert a sheet of whiteout paper over the letter, type the letter so the white substance is imprinted over the letter, back up, and type the correct letter. I didn’t always match up the typewriter correctly and would ‘erase’ the wrong letter. It was a pain. There was also a ‘pencil’ with a brush like a fan on top. You erased with one end and brushed the ink away with the harsh bristles.

The electric typewriter had a beige plastic shell. It was heavy. When we wanted to use it we had to haul it out of its storage place, unlock the case, set it on the dining room table, a place of honor, and plug it in. If you were me, you made sure to have everything one needed to take care of errors. This ‘top-of-the-line’ device used a cartridge instead of a ribbon. I remember popping that thing in and out as I rewrote words.

Only once did I start to write a story on it. It did not go well. I can’t tell you how glad I am for computers and the ‘delete’ and ‘backspace’ key.

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Dear Hamish

Thank you for your nice letter. While we chat on the mobile often, ’tis grand to receive a letter in the post. I am sorry to hear about your ‘tattoo’ and have sent you a shirt posthaste to cover it up. I am quite sure the twins are involved. Me Grandda wrote something about the twins having mini tattoos on their just shorn bodies. No doubt they used the larger one to experiment with and stuck it on your just shorn body for practice. They were no doubt lurking about, waiting for you to faint.

I don’t know if I wrote you that I been presented a membership in the Hay of the Month Club. These colonists are amazing with their novel ideas. I had thought to became a member of the Fruit of the Month Club, but would never be able to munch my way through the delicious edibles. I am thinking of perhaps getting a subscription for me family. It’ll be enough for the whole village.

The Hay of the Month Club sends a box of hay every month from various parts of the Americas and is certified free of petrol fumes and other toxins. I must say my first deliveries have been quite tasty. They arrive fresh and last nearly a month. They would last a whole month if I could keep me hooves from the parcel. I about feared to become quite stout, but Pawnee has taken to hiding the box from me so I do not become ‘pudgy’.

I’ll be renewing me membership and when you are here, and I canna say when that will be, we will snack grandly on our forays throughout the colonies.

 

I hear the hay calling me,

Your friend in the colonies,

Angus. McSheep.

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Wing’s adored brother, Marcus has killed two people. The star of the football team drove drunk and hit another car. The driver, the mother of the two-year-old, died. A passenger in Marcus’s car went through the windshield. He died. Marcus is in a coma.

At school people blame Wing. The insurance won’t pay for everything. Loans need to be repaid. You can’t do fundraisers for a killer.

Wing’s trying to cope. She finds it in something she didn’t know she had – a talent for running.

 

This teen fiction novel sucked me right in with all the fantastic characters. There’s Wing, half Chinese, half black. She points out she has a big butt, not the body shape for running. There’s Monica, Marcus’ girlfriend, who sticks by Marcus’ side no matter what. There’s Heather Park the bully who lives to torment. Then there are Wing’s grandmothers, LaoLao and Granny Dee who at the same time can’t stand one another, but can’t live without the other.

The story brings up an unfortunate consequence of a family members of act of violence, unintentional or otherwise, and how the family is blamed for that person’s behavior. Wing is bullied for what her brother did. The family is harassed. They can’t get a loan because of who they are. LaoLao has to go back and work.

The story wrapped up a little too neat for me with an expected ending, but I didn’t really mind. Can be used in units on bi-racial teens and alcohol abuse.

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