International Women’s Day 2020

20200308_133753aI have been around long enough to see the world transition to and from and back again with regard to freedom and equality for women. The pendulum always seems to be swinging. In the US, lately, it seems to be swinging in circles. Women are hitting new heights in achievements, yet laws are being considered that would restrict them from making the most important decisions about their own health.

I am fortunate in that I have been granted many more opportunities than a lot of women and live in a household that fully supports me in all of my endeavors. That has not always been the case. I have lost jobs to men, I have been assaulted, I have been condemned because of my intellect, my beliefs, and my “audacity” to interlope into a world I didn’t “belong”. And today, I am glad to say, I hold a position of respect in a field still dominated mostly by men.

So, thinking back, I want to express my gratitude to several people who helped this happen, probably not knowing at the time that they were doing so. The first couple are actually men. Taking a chance, a professor of neurophysiology at a medical school, offered me a research assistantship, bucking some pretty significant standards at the time. He taught me how to hard-wire equipment, collect and analyze data using computers (very primitive at the time), and edit scientific articles. Because of him and what he taught me, I garnered a research assistantship at the university, where I furthered my capabilities, using, heaven help us, a DEC PDP-10. I also gained a reputation as a pretty good ghost writer (which, by the way, paid a whole lot better than the assistantship), writing and editing articles for publication in highly respected journals. (I actually got my name attached to one of them.)

Because of this, and my early forays into computers and programming (remember Fortran, Cobol, RPG, and APL) I was offered a position with a contractor as an Executive Assistant to one of the Vice Presidents, a woman. As those of you in the IT industry may realize, SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) sometimes have communication skills limited to technology. It was during a conference with a potential, and much needed, customer that I saw a disconnect. They took a risk and let me step up, explaining what we were offering in terms the customer could understand and appreciate. We got the contract and my career was born.

I have spent many years availing my expertise to highly technical fields, expanding communications across enterprises. I have also raised a family and published five novels (soon to be six).

I am blessed to have been encouraged and promoted by valiant men and women who were more interested in progress than “norms”. It is to those men and women that I pay tribute–and to the  women determined to step forward and offer their capabilities to the world. May every day be International Women’s Day!

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Birthday Reflections

Jerry

Yesterday, as I turned “older,” I was gifted with all sorts of birthday greetings, from family and friends alike. A cousin sent me a picture of me as a child, of which I have no memory. My daughter sent me one of us–and it took me a moment to recognize myself in the picture. It got me to thinking. Time rushes by, filled with moments we really should remember but they just get crowded in with others, our brains having no discernible filing system, until they disappear into the chasm of our being. A wise doctor once told me, our brain has no filter. We just keep cramming more and more in and, sooner or later, our brain will need to make room, so it shoves things to the back, with no rhyme or reason what goes. She laughed and added, “Just be glad you remember your name.”

All this pondering took me back to all I don’t know about me. I know I was born at 7:05 am, December 30th. It was a Saturday. I was born in a Catholic Hospital not to far from a tiny house my parents lived in, called a Tom Thumb house. I know this because my father took me by there once, knocked on the door, and told them he had had it built and wanted me to see it. It was tiny. However, at the time, I was more impressed by the fact the the owners had a huge pipe organ installed on one wall.

The house was close enough to the hospital that when my dad arrived home (I have no idea from where, but I think he was still in the Navy), he found a note on the door saying they’d gone to the hospital. Apparently, he was so shook, he left the car and ran to the hospital on foot.

I don’t know if my mother had an easy labor or a difficult one. I was 5 pounds 4 ounces, but I wasn’t a preemie. Did she miss New Year’s, having to stay in the hospital the then required three days? Was I breast fed or bottle fed? Did I have colic? I don’t know. My mom died on a cold January day after I had just turned nine. She’d been ill with cancer for a while. Her mom followed her within three months. From then on I was shuffled around a lot, not really landing on any permanent ground until I was an adult.  Shuffled kids don’t generally ask questions about their memories, more worried about where they will be next and for how long.

Sometime after I’d had my own children and my father had died, my aunt sent me a letter. She wrote me that she had found my baby bracelet among some things in a box of my grandmother’s and thought I might like it. I pulled it out, took one look, and suddenly had a whole lot more questions. You see, the bracelet was made of little blue and white beads with the letters spelling out her name. Next to her name was a white bead, then a blue bead with a big “B” on it. I dropped into a chair and stared. I had been a single birth, or so I thought. And, having given birth myself to two children, I knew I wasn’t a boy. My mom had only  two children (and at a later age–me and, four years later, my sister). I called my aunt and asked point blank what this meant. It was the only time she ever hung up on me.

She finally returned one of my calls (this was before texting) and told me a story she’d heard but hadn’t put any credence to, until I called her. Way back when, the story goes, nuns performed all sorts of “charitable” acts, including if two women gave birth at the same time and one had a still-born and the other multiples, they would make sure both women had a baby. (I can hear you gasp. Don’t. This was almost 70 years ago in a hospital run by nuns.)

So, among all my questions about my past, the largest remains. Which mother had twins and where or who is my brother?

And this, my wonderful friends, is one of the reasons I have so much “fodder” for fiction. If nothing else, I’ve lived a complex, complicated, and interesting life.

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A Ruthorford Christmas Eve

20191218_202311Like every household with children, Ruthorford’s homes are no different at Christmas ~ with a few magical exceptions. With the power of the earth at their fingertips, the descendants make sure Christmas Eve is truly magical for all the children. Combining their talents, and with the help of Mother Nature, there hasn’t been a Christmas Eve that hasn’t seen snow in many a year. Meesha and other dogs pull the children up and down Main Street in the snow, stopping by the porch of the old sisters to warm up and have some hot chocolate with plenty of marshmallows.

In the evening, a Christmas Eve Buffet is served for all at the Abbott Bed and Breakfast, with emphasis on the children. For many years running, the spaghetti topped with oversized meatballs has been the favorite for children and adults alike. At some point, it was suggested to served just that, but Teresa was always concerned that might limit the choices for others. There is always a lot left over, to everyone’s delight, since the leftovers are promptly delivered to surrounding communities for distribution to those that aren’t as blessed as the residents in and around Ruthorford.

Following dinner, everyone congregates in the Chapel, for a Christmas Eve service orchestrated and presented by the young people of Ruthorford, the highlight being the living nativity performance.

The evening ends with Dorian reading The Night Before Christmas, while Eryk works his magic on the roof of the chapel, resulting in squeals of delight erupting from the children at the sounds of hooves and bells and the landing of a sleigh throwing snow from the roof and falling across the windows. Once Santa calls good night and the sleigh pulls away from the roof, the children are allowed to run outside. To this day, no one can quite explain how they can see Santa’s sleigh high in the sky, amid swirls of snow and the flutter of wings of the snowy owls accompanying Santa through the night, the glow of Rudolph’s nose lighting the way.

Almost immediately, the kids are distracted by the large sack of presents Santa has left on the Chapel steps. Each child’s name is called and every child departs with a present in hand.

Later, back at the Abbott Bed and Breakfast, Dorian and Eryk fix  bourbon laced hot toddies, warming them in their hands with a touch of magic before handing them out to a very tired but very happy group of Santa’s helpers.

From Ruthorford to all ~ MERRY CHRISTMAS!

(If you haven’t, stop by and see the Ruthorford Christmas village before you leave: https://shanongrey.wordpress.com/rutherford/ )

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Merry Solstice and a Blessed Yule

Tonight is the Winter Solstice, the shortest night of the year, and the beginning of Winter, when the wheel turns and the light lengthens, brightening our days a little more each day. May it shine its glory upon all, bringing joy, health, and happiness to each and every creature inhabiting this marvelous planet. Have a very Merry Solstice and a Blessed Yule.

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(I am unsure of the marvelous author of the above beautiful artwork but am pleased to share it with all as it embodies a true feeling of Yule.)

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Photos from Santa’s Moreland Visit

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I got to spend a fabulous afternoon with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and my sister, Becky, visiting with adults and children alike at the Moreland Museum.

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After hearing wishes for Christmas goodies and sharing wonderful treats, Santa led everyone in Christmas carols, after lighting Moreland’s official Christmas tree.

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And as Santa said as he and Mrs. Claus turned to leave, “And a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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Moreland Santa Visit and Tree Lighting

Moreland

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Veterans’ Day

It is my greatest privilege to come from a long line of Veterans, as well as being married to one. Over the years, I have witnessed the sacrifices made, not only by the Veterans, but by their families, as well. My father fought in WWII and Korea, my father-in-law was on a dock in Pearl Harbor when it exploded around him, my husband was in Vietnam, so I know first hand what their sacrifices can mean. To all Veterans and their families, thank you for your service and your sacrifices. It is appreciated more than you know.

veteransday

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Authors Celebrating an Author

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Shanon Grey getting scary!

Saturday, the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance held an authors’ celebration, A Toast to Lewis Grizzard. Readings were done about Lewis by people who knew him and, then, authors gave readings and/or talked about their own works. As many of you know, I don’t like to read aloud. Well, today I actually did–after scaring everyone with my own personal stories of the paranormal. Spellbound is not quite the word I’d use–probably, more frozen-in-place. It truly was a fun day, combining meeting new friends and eating celebration cake.

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A Toast to Lewis Grizzard Book Signing

If you’re out and about Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 am – 3 pm, come to A Toast to Lewis Grizzard at the Moreland Museum in Moreland, Georgia and hear the authors. I’ll be there talking paranormal.

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Author Update

Good evening everyone —

It has been a very busy month for my family. My husband, in getting ready to have an urgent procedure, had to have cardiac clearance. Sadly, he failed all the tests and ended up having urgent surgery on his heart, instead. Surgery went great, but there were complications and we spent the next two weeks in the hospital. Finally got him home only to have to call 911 four days later, having him admitted to our local hospital with blood clots. His recovery has been hindered by all the complications but the good news he is one determined guy and is making progress.

Needless to say, everything I do as Shanon Grey was put on hold. I did manage to get my newest novel to the editor before we got to the hospital and I have hopes of getting it back soon.

It is wonderful to see that you haven’t forgotten me and are continuing to enjoy Ruthorford and all the trials and tribulations found with the descendants. Trust me, I haven’t forgotten you, either, and promise to get Currents of Destiny out as soon as possible. This one is not Ruthorford, but I think you’ll enjoy it in its own right.

Again, thank you for your patience. I appreciate your support and your friendship.

Big Hugs!

Shanon Grey

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