Friday, September 23, 2011

Never Quit Learning!

by Donna MacMeans

I was on the University of Cincinnati campus this weekend to see my two star general (retired) brother receive an award from his alma mater for achieving the highest rank of any UC ROTC graduate. That's him in black accepting a plaque (below) ...guess I needed a zoom attachment on my ipad (grin - you should see the one of him officiating the coin toss at the football game that followed this presentation - talk about tiny!)

Classes start midweek on campus so besides the football game, there was an excitement in the air of moving in, new beginnings, and new challenges.

I loved my college years for the new experiences. A lot of growing up occurred in that environment. One of the reasons I chose
journalism as a major at Ohio State University, was that the program encouraged their students to take a wide variety of courses. After all, you never knew what sort of story you'd be asked to report about. Good to have a broad base of knowledge to draw upon.

Alas, I didn't graduate in journalism, though. Life interfered...and marriage...and moving - you know how it I ended up graduating in Accounting. However, the need to keep learning, to maintain a broad base of knowledge, never went away. Life seems to continually teach us new lessons - especially once children come along (grin) - but even if they don't, we travel, we learn to exist in new environments, we make new friends that challenge us with new skills.

Writing is especially challenging in this regard. Not only do we learn alot about ourselves in terms of sacrifice to create and write a story, but we have to learn about other things in the name of "worldbuilding" as well. It's called research. Such a dry academic name for an exciting challenging passion (grin). I once told a reader that I'd be able to generate books much faster if just once I actually knew what I was writing about. Maybe that's part of the joy of writing, doing the research and learning new things.

For Redeeming the Rogue (sorry, love that cover and so had to post it again - grin), I had to learn about the politics and specifics behind the assassination of President Garfield, the layout of Washington DC in 1881 when it was comprised of a great deal of swampland, the process and utensils of an eleven course meal, something about tramp steamers of the nineteen century, coffins, and the Irish movement for Home Rule.

For Casanova Code, my next book which I believe is to be released June 2012, I studied secret codes and how to break them, Victorian personal ads, Victorian pubs, rifles used by the army in 1890, rifle scopes, and Japanese erotica. (Y'all know I like a sexy book - grin).

I'm currently learning about Scotch whisky, the Highlands, and the temperance movement. I'm still early in the book so I'm sure that list will grow.

What about you? Do you find the process of learning exciting, or a chore? What life lessons have you learned? What research would you like to do (wink, wink). Let's all go back to school for the day to explore learning. I'll give away a copy of Redeeming the Rogue to someone who leaves a comment so they can experience the benefit of my research. (If you already have Redeeming the Rogue - just let me know and I'll send you one of my research books that I no longer use).


Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

Have Fun

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

Hello Donna,
I didn't enjoy school as much when I was younger, but I think I started to like it more during college because you had more of choice in selecting the subjects you wanted to learn about. Hmm, researching Japanese erotica must have been enlightening. I like learning about archaeology and the interesting artifacts that are uncovered.

Donna MacMeans said...

Yea Helen! Today is the first official day of autumn so naturally it's a little brisker today. I'm sure the GR is heading your way as your days should be getting a little longer while ours are shrinking.

Helen said...

It is so hot here today 32C so I guess he wanted the heat and some Tim Tams


I am so glad you do all the research for your books because they are fantastic reads I have loved them all and am looking forward to the next one.

For me I guess I like looking things up on the internet that I come across while reading (isn't google great) but as far as going back to school or anything harder not for me these days LOL. I have learn't a lot being a mother and grandmother I have learn't that you have a lot more patience with grandkids than you do with your own children (probably because they go home LOL).
As for what reseach I would like to do I don't think there is anything in particular I do know that I will google something that takes my interest at the time and that could be anything LOL

Have Fun

Donna MacMeans said...

Jane -

I REALLY loved college - not so much high school. Not only was there more freedom in selecting courses - and the courses themselves had so much more variety than high school - but we got to escape from those smaill towns where "everyone knew your name." I welcomed that escape (grin).

Archaeology! That sounds like fun. I'm thinking I'll be exploring that field more in a book one of these days.

Helen said...


I forgot to say congrats to your Brother must have been wonderful

Have Fun

Donna MacMeans said...

Helen -

I LOVE Google and Google Books! One can travel the world and do some elementary research without ever leaving the office chair (which might explain my expanding bottom - grin).

While I don't have grandchildren yet - I can see the wisdom of your knowledge. I think it's easier to be patient with grandkids because the pressure is off - it's the parent's responsiblity to screw up their lives - not us (grin). Plus we recognize how incredibly brief these days are to enjoy kids being kids - young parents are often so wrapped up in other things - like jobs, dinner, (gasp) cleaning - that they the kids grow up before they know it.

I think you are conducting your own research into romance heroes - at least that's what the GR told me (grin).

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Great post, Donna!

I LOVE research! It's always fun to uncover interesting facts you never suspected when you started.

I also LOVED school. Not high school, so much because of all the cliques and social drama, but I loved learning. College was great, but again, I didn't have the funds to keep going as long as I'd have liked.

If I were to take a course now, I'd love to learn another language. I'd love to learn Italian because it sounds so pretty to me. Even curse words sound nice in Italian! ;-) Of course, Gaelic would be fun to learn too. And Mandarin would be fun and useful...

See what you started?!?!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen!

I'm sure he headed to your place for some R&R. I made him do about a mountain of laundry today. If you want to see how I threatened him, check out the piccies on my Aunty Cindy blog. ;-)

He will probably stay in Oz as long as possible.


Anna Campbell said...

Helen, he's back for the Tim Tams! Or maybe he likes you!

Donna, congratulations to your brother! Actually I loved my uni years too (hated school). And I LOVE to learn things. Researching is always one of the fun bits of this job for me. One of the things I really like about being a writer is that I get to find out really cool things all the time. When I was in Sydney, I did some great courses with the university continuing education. Things I wanted to do at uni but never had the chance to do for various reasons. If ever I go back to the big smoke, I'll be doing more of those.

Sheree said...

Congrats, Helen!

With the internet, research is at the same time easier and harder. At least I never have to do patent searches which I had to do for class in college (although I took the shortcut by calling the company and speaking to their patent attorney directly).

marybelle said...

I work in Early Childhood, so every day is a learning experience. As the children explore, I'm right there with them. It's brilliant & **FUN** & HARD WORK!!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I like to learn now, high school, not really. I remember as a kid my parents telling me to look up a word when I asked the meaning. Now if someone asks me anything, I tell them to google it. All the knowledge is right there at your fingertips. Gotta love instant gratification.

Anna Sugden said...

Great post, Donna! Congrats to you brother - how lovely to be honoured like that.

I've always loved learning. I have one of those brains that stores loads of useless facts (but can't remember what I need for exams!). I'm also one who likes to discover information about anything - unless I'm told I have to study it *g*. I know - once a rebel ...

I love researching for books I'm writing. Obviously I took great pleasure researching my hockey romances and was lucky enough to have a lot of support from my favourite hockey team.

Recently, I've had to research guns (thanks to Cassondra and her DH), knives, the Serbian mafia, the mafia, panic rooms, forensic pathology, time machines/portals and Funadamentalist Mormons!

One of the benefits of having Cambridge University on your doorstep is the access to experts on just about everything. When I needed someone to help me with some Serbian words, I checked out the CU Language Centre - and lucked out! The head of the language centre is Serbian and a writer too, so he really helped me!

Mozette said...

I loved learning from a young age. I learned my first thing when I was 4; and that was to read. I taught myself by stealing my brother's 'I Can Read' series right out of his school bag (I'm the youngest of the family and so found him going to school a great adventure!).
Anyway, I went from there; and now love to read. At first, though, reading was a type of escapism for me as I had childhood Epilepsy and so I used it to get away from my illness (as most sick kids do). Over the years, that's changed to education and then pleasure. But I still enjoy reading as a form of education; however I find non-fiction hard to absorb. I guess it's how my brain works.

Nancy said...

Helen, have fun with the bird!

Donna, congrats to the general!

I love this post. My little geek brain just buzzes over learning new things. The more obscure, the better. I suspect this accounts for my serial obsesions. After reading Chasing Fire last Spring, I dived into learning as much as I could about smokejumping. In the process, I found this cool website,, that posts information about wildland fires and firefighting. I still check it out every day because it's just so interesting.

I have a new book waiting that deals with a relatively unexplored aspect of the Richard III controversy and one about the explosion of Krakatoa. And books from Osprey publishing about the structure of ships and the quarters and duties of personnel in Nelson's navy.

And a collection of old English folk songs that'll be useful for the hero and heroine of book 2 in the series now making the rounds. If Book 1 sells. (Please!)

And a collection of books on the history of clothing. Including a gorgeous one I got at the Victoria and Albert museum and carted home.

I just LOVE learning about things. And it's useful for working crossword puzzled. :-)

That really is a smokin' cover!

Nancy said...

Er, crossword puzzleS. I'm typo-prone on the iPad, alas.

Misspelled obsesSions, too. *sigh*

Donna MacMeans said...

AC -

Well - the kitty just erased the long response I'd written before I hit send. Amazing what damage they can do with a casual stroll across the laptop LOL.

I think you should go for learning Italian. Heck you could probably do that without the tuition of school. Isn't there an app for that? (grin) As much as you travel, you'd have opportunity to practice. IT would definitely be cool.

I'm going to have to jump over to your website to see the tricked out GR!

Anna Sugden said...

AC - I've always wanted to learn Italian too. Sounds lovely. I've also had a strange desire to learn Japanese - I'm just not good enough at languages to tackle it.

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna - I do so much better learning from someone lecturing than I do from reading bits and pieces searching for the answer for a story question. I think I'd take a long of history courses. Don't think I fully appreciated the subject when I was there as a young student more interested in the cute guys in the class than the course material (grin).

One thing I wouldn't take are any more accounting courses. Lord, I thought my head would thunk on the table at the classes I took yesterday in the name of continuing education. Didn't even have the benefit of a cute instructor to add interest to the class.

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL - Sheree - I think you're brilliant! Love that shortcut. I'll never had to research patents but it sounds as exciting as my classes in deferred liabilities.

LilMissMolly said...

Hi Donna! I'm 1/2 way through reading Redeeming the Rogue and I just love Rafferty. What a great man!
I love learning if the subject matter interests me. I especially like a little education when I read my historical romances. :) Pubs and whisky are always good choices to learn their history and how they are made. I always attend our local Irish Festival and do the Whisky tasting that they have - it's a great fun way to learn what makes a good whisky.

Donna MacMeans said...

Marybelle -

How fun! Kids have so much enthusiasm and curiosity - it's downright contagious. You must have the opportunity to be learning tons about child psychology just through observation. Wish I knew more when I was actually raising mine (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Diana -

Gotta love google! My second love is Rodale's The Synonym Finder. Talk about learning new words!

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna - Just reading your list of research topics make me want to read your book! Hey, maybe that's the clue to writing an exciting cover blurb - weaving all those research topics in a coherent fashion.

I envy your easy access to Cambridge...of course I have Ohio State University at my backdoor but I haven't really used their resources as yet. I did talk to a professor about getting my hands on a nineteenth century newspaper in the pursuit of seeing some Victorian personal ads - but that didn't play out the way I'd hoped.

So what was more fun - researching hockey? Or researching the hunks? (grin)

Donna MacMeans said...

Mozette - Hugs on the childhood illness - that's is so life forming. Glad, though, that you're here with us so many years later. Congrats on your resourcefulness about lifting your brother's book - haha! Just being the youngest means an education whether you wanted it or not - Hah!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Helen! You have the chookie for the day! Woot!

Donna MacMeans said...

Nancy - Don't you love your ipad! I bought one so I could keep up on blogging when out of town without trying to get a laptop through the airport - plus so I could use the autographed photo app at booksigning and I love it! You're obviously much better at typing on it that I am, though. I still need a small amount of lift on my keys to keep my fingers moving the right way (plus that automatic word substitution thing that goes on with cell phones and ipads drives me nuts).

Your obsession with obscure details is just one of the reasons I love hanging out with you, Nancy. You have so much information packed into that brain, I love when it just leaks out (grin).

Sending good luck vibes on the book making the rounds. I'll be first in line for an autograph when a wise editor recognizes its potential.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Donna! Fun post! Cool about your brother too.

I loved, loved, loved learning about new stuff. Grins. For most of it I also loved school. School meant empty notebooks to fill and sharp pencils and textbooks full of cool stuff.

It still means that to me, I guess. I'll take classes now and again just to make sure my brain still flexes "that way" and boy is it fun.

And I'm just gonna preen here about the fact that you said "coffin" - yippee! In Victorian times it WAS a coffin, not yet a casket. #MamaSoProud

Heeheehee. I would be daunted byt the 11 course meal, however. So much silverware....eeek!

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna - Must admit I was intrigued with Japanese while doing research for the last book as well. I have an Asian friend who can read some of the characters (She's Chinese which is close but not quite the same as Japanese.) She translated the title on the Japanese version of The Education of Mrs. Brimley. It was something like "A powerful woman learns" or something like that. The concept of a language expressed through conceptual word pictures as opposed to letter by letter is fascinating.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

AC, I too want to learn Gaelic, but they don't have that one in the Rosetta Stone catalog. :>

I forgot to answer the question about what I'd like to explore next. At some point I want to explore the life and times of Carravaggio, the great renaissance painter and use that - somewhat inspired by YOU, AC! (If you've not read AC's book Treasures of Venice, hie thee to the bookstore or Kindle/Nook and get it!)

I'd also like to explore more about the Plague. I know, I can see ya'll rolling your eyes. There was so much turmoil 'round that time that it would have been easy to commit alllll kinds of crimes and mostly get away with it. Grins.

Okay, that's probably way more than ya'll wanted to know about how my mind works.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey LilMissMolly!

Glad you're enjoying Redeeming the Rogue. May sister asked me where could she find a man like Rafferty. I told her to come to the Dublin Irish Festival (grin). I was there as well, though I didn't do the whiskey tasting. I did tape the presentation on a recorder two years ago - that's where I learned about the "angel's share."

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna S said: I checked out the CU Language Centre - and lucked out! The head of the language centre is Serbian and a writer too, so he really helped me!

How cool to have Cambridge right there! Wow!

And Fundamentalist Mormons? Yikes!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Okay Anna C - two countrys seperated by a common language moment - what's "The Big Smoke"?

Donna MacMeans said...

Jeanne - Hehe on the coffin. Must say it would have been easier if caskets had been around in my time period as I might have had a few more word choices - Hah!

Part of school for me was an ongoing competition with my brother about who could get the best grades. I think we both benefited from that. Maybe I pushed him a bit that ultimately led to his pursuit of achievement in war college and all that. It was fun seeing him receive the US recognition with such panache.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: I have a new book waiting that deals with a relatively unexplored aspect of the Richard III controversy and one about the explosion of Krakatoa.

Oh noesssss!! More Richard the III!! (JK, Nancy, but that is an obsession! Hahaha!)

Now the explosion one, Krakatoa, sounds verrrrrry interesting. Grins.

I've seen Nancy's library, ya'll. It's like Alladin's Cave for writers. The only thing more fun to delve in is the Lair library, and then only because there are some really unusual books there... Not that there aren't at Nancy's house.

Hmmm. Different sorts of unusual. Now THERE's a blog topic! hahaha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Donna said: I think I'd take a long of history courses. Don't think I fully appreciated the subject when I was there as a young student more interested in the cute guys in the class than the course material (grin).

Ha! Me too, Donna. While Western Civ with my fav teacher of all time, Nick Wilberschied, was great, I know I didn't glean all that I could have from it - besides, it was one semester. Really, what can you cover in that short of a time? Grins.

I would take more Architectural History classes. *swoon*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Donna said to Nancy: Your obsession with obscure details is just one of the reasons I love hanging out with you, Nancy. You have so much information packed into that brain, I love when it just leaks out (grin).

Isn't it astounding what Nancy knows? I'm with you, Donna, just hanging out with her is fun, but it has the added benefit of cool knowledge and/or trivia slipping out at any given time.

Anna Sugden said...

I know I'm not the right Anna *g*, but 'the big smoke' is the big city. We use it over here to refer to London mainly, but also Manchester, Birmingham etc.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna S said: I know I'm not the right Anna *g*, but 'the big smoke' is the big city. We use it over here to refer to London mainly, but also Manchester, Birmingham etc.

Ahhhh, now that makes sense. You wouldn't believe what traipsed through my brain, wondering what The Big Smoke was.

Well...maybe ya'll would believe it...

*Grins* Then again, perhaps not.

Donna MacMeans said...

In my day, the "Big Smoke" was San Francisco - Hahaha (and we weren't talking about anything legal there).

Donna MacMeans said...

Architectual History!!! I'd be right there with you, Jeanne. Have you done the Architectual boat tour in Chicago? Great way to see the city, learn some history, see some fabulous architecture and get a good tan - all at once!

Hmmm...RT is in Chicago next year. April is a little too early for the tan though.

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, Helen! Apparently the GR is interested in doing his research at your place. Probably researching Tim Tams!

Great post, Donna! I LOVE research. I loved school from the very start and undergrad and grad school were like heaven to me. (Well, except those pesky exams!)

Vrai Anna, I am SO jealous. To live in Cambridge and have access to that fabulous old school. SIGH!

I think my love for research was fostered by my 6th grade teacher, Floyd Agers. (Bless you, Mr. A! You changed my life!) His teaching methods were progressive for the time (1970 at Woodbridge AFB in Woodbridge England.) If you asked a question you were always in danger of him saying "That's an interesting question. Why don't you research that and tell us about it." Which meant you had to do an extensive research project on the subject AND present a class in it. He would arrange for us to have access to libraries, museums, visual aids, you name it.

He is responsible for my obsession with Pompeii (saw the exhibit in New York!) volcanoes, English architecture, voodoo, languages, and hundreds of other subjects. Some of them I have continued to study all my life. Which explains the massive weight of books in my house!

I hope I will always be greedy to learn and that I will always have the ability to keep learning.

Jo's Daughter said...

I like to learn new things about cooking or crafting or other hobbies of mine. Those things are fun, but learning other stuff like changing a wheel on a car or how to catch a fish or oil a lock on a garden shed door... All those things are no fun at all I find.

jo robertson said...

Oh, Donna, I got shivers just reading the title of your blog!

I'm one of those life-long learners, or at least life-long going-to-schoolers. I love attending classes, all kinds. When I started teaching full-time at age 42 I continually took courses to advance myself on the pay scale. When I retired, I took classes in criminal law and investigation. I think it's paid off because lots of people comment on the real-ness of that aspect of the book.

I love school! I get a thrill every fall when I see the school items in the stores :-D.

Cathy P said...

Hi, Donna! Congrats to your brother. What a wonderful accomplishment.

My favorite subjects in high school were history and English. In college, I majored in secretarial skills such as typing and shorthand. I also took a business law course, which I absoluetly loved.

I still like to research things. I tried to take a college course on computers when I was in my 30s, but I was hospitalized with depression the very next day after the first class. Had to have a lot of ECT treatments which affect my memory, so no more college. Oh, well, I do still learn from my computer and reading books.

Sounds like you did a lot of research for Redeeming the Rogue. Would love to win it. Thanks for the giveaway!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jeanne said, "At some point I want to explore the life and times of Carravaggio, the great renaissance painter and use that - somewhat inspired by YOU, AC! (If you've not read AC's book Treasures of Venice, hie thee to the bookstore or Kindle/Nook and get it!)"

AWW! Thanx for the plug, Duchesse. That was a FUN book to research (speaking of the Plague and I'm not a bit surprised to find you fascinated by it)!

So glad to hear I have inspired YOU to research more on Carravaggio. He's a great painter, if maybe a tad too realistic for "some" people (but not us BOOM girls). Also he paints BIG! Some of his stuff in the Vatican Museum is life-sized and LARGER! WHEW! That was a lotta paint and canvas! ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Donna said: "In my day, the "Big Smoke" was San Francisco - Hahaha (and we weren't talking about anything legal there)."

Things haven't changed much that I've noticed. ;-)

I also took that boat tour in Chicago and it was THE BEST! Anyone visiting the Windy City, do not miss it! Even if you think you don't like architecture, you will LOVE this tour!


catslady said...

I didn't have the opportunity to attend college (just a one year business school) but I had hopes for a long while that just didn't work out. I am so thrilled that both my girls have graduated college although neither of them did the dorm life which I think would have been a great experience. I do like to learn though and I think that is one reason that I lean towards historicals the most because I know how much research has gone into them.

Donna MacMeans said...

Louise - My first thought was that I'd be scared to death to ask a question in Mr. A's class! I bet he recognized your abilities at an early age and thus inspired you that answer. I bet he was many more judicious with some of the other students. Did you notice some kids doing more presentations that the others? I bet those were the kids that have left a mark on the world.

I remember studying about Stonehenge for an English class and loved all the mysticism about it. One big highpoint of my trip to England a decade or two ago was a trip to Stonehenge. They had roped off the area - you can't actually touch the stones the way you used to be able to, but it was still amazing to me.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jo's Daughter - LOL - I'm right there with you on the baiting the hook, changing a tire, thing. I learned how to do a winsome pleading look and that has served me well over the years to get THOSE things accomplished. I suspect that if I had to - I could manage those household repairs...but I'm willing to forgo the practice as long as possible.

I think the history behind such things as quilting and domestic arts truly fascinating. For much of history, a woman's creative impulse (and I'm not talking fertility) needed to have practical applications as well as beauty. Time was too scarce to devote to frivilous endeavors. The resulting quilts, pillows, firescreens, sweaters, etc. are amazing.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jo -

Sister of my heart (grin) - I think I could audit courses at the local college (I live in a small college town which is a suburb of a really big college town) forever. I think it's important to keep challenging those brain cells or they'll go rusty. Yes, I can see the realism in your stories. Very well done!

Donna MacMeans said...

Cathy P. - It's never too late to go back to college. I see newspaper articles about people getting their bachelor degrees in their late 70s and 80s. Personally, I think it keeps you young.

Cool on the shorthand! That's a lost art these days. I can take notehand which is sort of like shorthand. Many of the short forms are the same. I was using it yesterday when I was working on my WIP in the midst of a boring accounting seminar. Had to do something to stay awake and sane. LOL

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey AC - do you remember that one "perforated" bridge that the tour boat passes under? I think the week after I went on that tour, the Dave Matthews band decided to dump their "latrine buckets" (not sure what you call them) from their tour bus on that bridge. But they forgot to check for tour boats. Sure enough, there was a tour boat underneath. The people on the top deck got a bucket of sh*t dumped on them! I remember the public apology - but I bet there were a few lawsuits as well.

Donna MacMeans said...

catslady - You did good getting your two girls through college. Congratulations! I agree the dorm experience is an educational experience in and of itself - but a good one.

Just remember, it's never too late to go back to school. I think learning keeps one young. While historicals do require a lot of research, I've always been surprised at how much research goes into a contemporary book as well. It's amazing the things you "sort of" know, but need to do research to verify...and then while doing the research, discover something else that warrants more research and so on.

Leni said...

I enjoy learning and making the choice to learn about subjects that I find interesting. Sometimes I'll hold back and research a little too much, but I always work up to it.

Nancy said...

Donna, thanks for the kind words about my interests and my library. The obsession thing took some getting used to, I think, when the dh and I first hooked up. At least he's used to it now.

I was a history major and still checked out the cute guys in the class!

Did I tell you I finished Redeeming the Rogue last week, and it's great? Can't wait for Casanova Code.

Thanks for the good wishes toward my mages. Am working on book 2's partial while trying to figure out what to do next.

The problem with liking lots of subgenres is, sooner or later, you hve to PICK one.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, I'll have to share the Aladdin's cave analogy with the dh. Having hauled home many of those books, he should appreciate it.

You may've noticed I have books on architecture and houses during various periods. I like to know in detail how my characters live, even if few of the details make it into the book.

The boy is taking architectural history now. When I taught my 1920s class, I would've liked to include Frank Lloyd Wright, even though he belongs more to the tail end of the decade. But all the books were in the School of Architecture library, and getting to them was a major pain.

Major pain + part time pay = not doing it.

Louisa Cornell said...

Donna, I cannot tell you how many times we would see a classmate about to ask a question and try to warn them! Then as soon as they asked (this happened to me often)the student would groan as if to say "Oh crap! What have I done?" Mr. A would always get this evil grin on his face! But we learned so much from him! I owe him my musical career AND my love of history and research.

Nancy said...

Mozette, geek kids also read to escape, too. Or at least we did when I was growing up. Geekiness is almost trendy now, it seems.

Like you, I just enjoy reading anyway. I'm never without at least one book going. My mom said my grandmother had a book in every room where she spent anytime, except the kitchen.

Nancy said...

Marybelle, I salute you for working with young children. Chasing the one was about all we could manage!

I have to say, though, that seeing the world through those young, fresh eyes was both a privilege and a joy.

Nancy said...

Catslady, congratulations on getting your girls through school! I enjoy the "different world" of historicals, too.

Deb said...

I was one of those kids that read a lot, but also found it fascinating to open an encyclopedia to just find information. Weird, I know.

I teach Iowa History now to fifth graders and love learning tidbits about our state.

I still have to take 6 credits every 5 years for recert, but don't take classes that involve history or such. I take 2- and 3-day workshops to get 1 credit.

I already have RTR! :)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Donna! You said: Architectual History!!! I'd be right there with you, Jeanne. Have you done the Architectual boat tour in Chicago? Great way to see the city, learn some history, see some fabulous architecture and get a good tan - all at once!

I've so wanted to do this! Haven't managed to yet...I will though!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, glad you liked the Alladdins Cave analogy. Grins. It is a treasure trove. Next time I'm at your house, I want to prowl through your architecture books. :>

Mozette said...

Donna, my Childhood Epilepsy was something I was born with; and something my parents felt as though they had no control over (which is horrible). However, I did grow out of it, but it did mean it would come back as; and I knew that.
At aged 19, I went on an overseas trip to New Zealand on a Contiki Tour and burned myself out; and it also triggered my Epilepsy again. For many years, even though I was working full time, driving a car and enjoying life, my condition was a little stable. However, once I lost the job, I stopped driving (by choice) and ended up on the Disability Support Pension. Now, I'm 37 (38 on 5th, October) and I've been completely stablised since 2004 due to great neurologists and the being patient with medical science... and being able to get my nose into some great books along the way.

I forgot to say what I'd like to learn next... whatever comes my way! :D

Donna MacMeans said...

Nancy - Thanks for the Rogue love! So looking forward to spending some time with you next weekend!

Donna MacMeans said...

Deb - Hope you enjoy Redeeming the Rogue. I have to admit, while most of the time doing the continuing education thing is a necessary evil - sometimes I do get to learn something interesting and all & all it's a smart requirement. One of the speakers this time was a fraud specialist - she was cool.

My mom bought the World book encyclopedia when I was young. I vowed to read every volume (I didn't) but I was a neat thing just to page through. Not sure anyone has encyclopedias in their homes anymore - not with the internet so available.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jeanne - You take the architectural section in Nancy's library - I'm going for the Sci-fi.

Donna MacMeans said...

Mozette - Can't argue with the healing power of books! I read a lot as a kid as well. No real excuse other than we couldn't afford to do much else (grin). The bookmobile - the coolest thing ever invented - would come around once a week and I'd load up on books. I don't think those are around anymore :( At least not here.

Laurie G said...

Interesting stuff. I never even thought about who the days of the week were named after.

Life lessons -
Life is not fair. Procrastination is a waste of time.
Life is short...enjoy it!
Children grow up quickly don't waste your time with them.

What I 'd like to learn. I'd love to be able to speak fluent French and Spanish.

I'd love to learn about different cultures: Greeks, Scotts, French, Germans, Danish etc

I'd like to know more about how our bodies work.

Best of luck with your future research!