Tracy Garrett Visits Tomorrow

My daddy always said Saturdays were special and I believe him.

Tomorrow, the talented Miss Tracy Garrett will step back onto the streets of Wildflower Junction. Ah can hardly wait. The Fillies are gearing up for a real shindig.

Miss Tracy comes toting a prize and lots of information about the Real Texas Rangers and her newest book, Touched by Love. What’d be better than that is if she totes along that handsome cowboy on the cover. My heart’s fluttering to imagine that!

You have an invite so join us. Who knows, you might win that prize.  🙂

HALLOWEEN HAUNTS AND HISTORY!

It’s not just about M&M’s, costumes and carving pumpkins. Here’s a little about how we came to celebrate Halloween.

 EARLY HISTORY: Halloween developed over 2000 years ago from an ancient pagan festival celebrated by Celtic people in the area that is now the United Kingdom, Ireland, and northwestern France. The festival was called Samhain (pronounced SOW ehn), which means “summer’s end.” The festival initiated the beginning of the winter season and was celebrated around the first of November.  In the 800’s, the Christian church established a new holiday, All Saints’ Day, on this date. All Saints’ Day was also called All Hallows’. Hallow means one who is holy. The evening before All Hallows’ was known as All Hallows’ Eve, or as it came to be abbreviated, All Hallow e’en. This name was eventually shortened to Halloween.

Among the pre-Christian traditions that survived was the belief that spirits of the dead commingle with the living on the Eve of All Hallows. Related customs arose, or perhaps evolved from existing ones, such as “mumming” and “souling,” which entailed the wearing of masks and costumes — often in imitation of the dead and otherworldly beings — general mischief making, and knocking on doors to offer prayers in exchange for treats called “soul cakes.”

Jack-O-Lanterns-  A jack-o’-lantern (sometimes also spelled Jack O’Lantern) is typically a carved pumpkin. It is associated chiefly with the holiday Halloween, and was named after the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o’-lantern. In a jack-o’-lantern, typically the top is cut off, and the inside flesh then scooped out; an image, usually a monstrous face, is carved onto the outside surface, and the lid replaced. At night a light (commonly a candle, although in recent years candles have fallen out of favor and are now considered unsafe because of the potential for fires) is placed inside to illuminate the effect.

IN THE U.S :Many early American settlers came from England, and they brought various beliefs about ghosts and witches with them. In the 1800’s, many immigrants from Ireland and Scotland arrived in the United States and introduced their Halloween traditions. Other groups added their own cultural influences to Halloween customs. German immigrants brought a vivid witchcraft lore, and Haitian and African peoples brought their native voodoo beliefs about black cats, fire, and witchcraft.

By the end of the 1800’s, the United States had developed a variety of regional Halloween customs. In rural New Hampshire, for example, barn dances were a Halloween tradition. In New York City, Halloween parades and firecrackers were common aspects of the celebration. In the mountain regions of North Carolina, it was said that Halloween was a time when people could hear the future whispered in the wind. In Louisiana, it was time to cook a midnight dumb supper (a meal eaten without speaking) and watch for a ghost to join the table.

In the 1900’s, Halloween became a celebration for children more than adults. In the early 1900’s, towns and cities began hosting large community Halloween celebrations, parades, and parties. Trick-or-treating became widespread during the 1940’s and 1950’s.

By the late 1900’s, Halloween had become one of the most profitable holidays for American business. In the weeks before Halloween, stores sell decorations, costumes, masks, candy, and cards. Many people decorate their houses with jack-o’-lanterns, cornstalks, fake cobwebs, tombstones, and other Halloween symbols.

 For those of you who still have the trick or treat spirit, tell me your favorite way to celebrate Halloween or favorite costume and I’ll draw a name at the end  of the day and give away one of my recent books, Five-Star Cowboy or Taming the Texan or whichever you prefer!

Happy Haunting!!

 

 

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The Borrowed Bride

Hey, everybody, my new book, THE BORROWED BRIDE is out.  I’m so excited I wanted to share the news.  You’ve already seen the cover but here’s a peek at the the story.

     Young Hannah Gustavson is devastated when her childhood sweetheart, Quint Seavers, sets out for the Klondike to seek his fortune.  He promises to write and to marry her on his return, but as the weeks pass neither Hannah nor Quint’s wealthy, widowed mother receive any word from him.  Things get even worse when Hannah discovers she’s pregnant, and Quint can’t be reached.  What will she do?  Her large, poor farm family doesn’t need another mouth to feed, to say nothing of the scandal.

     Quint’s older brother Judd comes to her rescue.  Newly returned from the Spanish American War and still suffering its effects, Judd offers to marry Hannah in Quint’s place.  The marriage would be in name only.  They would draw up divorce papers that could be signed on Quint’s return, leaving Hannah free to marry the father of her baby. 

     The quiet, brooding Judd is a near-stranger to Hannah, but, seeing no other way, she agrees. The marriage catapults Hannah into a new life.  The big house on the Seavers Ranch is like a palace, ruled by Quint’s bitter, antagonistic mother.  Judd, her new husband, is brusque and remote.  But something in his haunted eyes cries out for Hannah’s understanding.  What will happen when she finds herself falling in love with the husband who’s vowed to treat her as a sister?

     I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to guess.  But just so you’ll know, the brother who loses Hannah gets his own story in my next book, HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE.  You’ll be able to read it in April.  I’d tell you more but I don’t want to spoil THE BORROWED BRIDE for you. 

Here’s what some very nice reviewers are saying:

     THE BORROWED BRIDE is another breathtaking, romantic story by Elizabeth Lane. With Mrs. Lane’s masterful penmanship the characters come alive weaving a flawless story the reader won’t be able to put down. I admired Hannah for the way she put her own feeling aside and did what she had to for her baby, even putting up with Judd’s mother Edna. Judd was a true hero, fighting his feeling for Hannah, his loyalty to his brother and his scars from the past; everything he did was for their happiness even at the expense of his own. THE BORROWED BRIDE is a heart-warming story that I would highly recommend to any romance fan.  —Romance Junkies 

     5 Spurs!  With well crafted characters and a difficult dilemma, this story will keep you turningthe page as it captures your heart.  —Love Western Romances. 

      If you have never read one of Elizabeth Lane’s books before prepare yourself for a poignant emotional attack. I am always amazed by the impact her books have on me. Without fail, she finds the perfect words to convey a complete picture. You feel the force of not only the emotions of her characters but their setting as well. Ms. Lane has the rare talent of transporting her readers to her protagonist’s world. In The Borrowed Bride, Judd and Hannah are forced together by circumstances practically strangers. As respect and friendship grows between them, after a few rough spots, it becomes harder to fight against the desire each feels, which, of course, causes the feelings of guilt and betrayal to blossom. Ms. Lane doesn’t hold anything back. I could not wait to discover how the whole situation would be resolved. I find myself bursting with thoughts I would love to share about The Borrowed Bride and its fantastic characters but then this would be one heck of a spoiler review! You will just have to read this page turner for yourself to experience an excellent read.  —Writers Unlimited 

 

     Aw, shucks, I’m blushing.  You can order from Amazon by clicking on one of the small books below.  Or you can enter my contest by adding your comment to this blog.  The winner I draw will receive an autographed copy of THE BORROWED BRIDE.

      

Tracy Garrett Here Saturday

Hello Darlings,

We have a special treat in store come Saturday.

Miss Tracy Garrett will be our guest of honor. This makes the second visit for the dear lady and we’re busting our buttons to have her.

She’ll be giving us some pointers about the real Texas Rangers. And she’ll tell us about her new book, Touched By Love. Ah know you won’t want to miss this wonderful opportunity to get the low-down on these subjects. It’ll be excitin’ or my name’s not Felicia Filly!

So, shake your bustle and get your buggies hitched up. Follow the trail to Wildflower Junction. We’ll save a seat for you. Might even have some spirits of some sort to warm you up. Hee-Hee.

Longevity and Tips for Living Longer

In my novels, I often include characters with a wide variety of ages. Sometimes a reader will ask if it’s accurate that one of my characters would have lived to be a senior. I tell them yes, because this is where statistics come in.

Sadly, up until the mid 1800s in America and England, nearly half of all children died before the age of ten. Nearly half. Childhood diseases such as measles, diphtheria (a deadly membrane that grows over the throat) and scarlet fever took many lives. Tuberculosis was another killer. Statistics vary slightly by region and time period, but the average lifespan for the early part of the century was roughly forty.

However, once a person got beyond childhood, these diseases weren’t usually fatal. So, let’s look at statistics. If one person lived until they were 4 years old and another lived till they were 76, the average lifespan of these two people would be 40.  Or if one person lived till they were 1 and another till they were 80, their average lifespan would be 40, as well. You get the idea…the average lifespan, statistically, doesn’t give a true picture of what that society looked like back then. It does not mean that people over the age of 40 were scarce. What it means is that half the population was wiped out in childhood.

Fortunately, after the 1850s, people started to understand the connection between germs and disease. Soaps and disinfectants came into common use. Public sanitation, such as garbage collection and water treatment, began in New York City. The average lifespan increased dramatically in the latter half of the century. And later, with the development of vaccines, most children’s lives were remarkably spared.

So how can we improve our own lives?

In writing this article, I goggled tips on longevity and you can imagine how long the list was. We pursue the fountain of youth with zeal. We’ve got anti-aging formulas, bottled vitamins, testimonials on new exercise techniques, cleansing products, and you name it.

What caught my eye were natural solutions, and not based on buying a certain product. In other words, getting back to basics. Besides eating well—especially vegetables and fruits—and getting regular mild exercise,  these are some other interesting tips I’d like to share:

1)     Some scientists believe that eating only until you feel 80% full, will prolong life. According to the BBC news, residents of Okinawa, Japan have four times more centenarians (those over 100) than the rest of the world. The calendar says they’re 70, but their body says they’re 50. Most impressively, a lot of them are healthy until the very end. They eat more tofu and soya products than any other population in the world, a rich source of anti-oxidants. But they also have a cultural tradition, called hara hachi bu, which means eating only until they feel 80% full. Recent lab studies with mice also mimics this result—those fed less, live longer.

2)     Taking deep cleansing breaths for 2 minutes a day stimulates the lymph system. The lymph system is Mother Nature’s way of getting rid of the toxins in our body naturally. Inhale slowly, hold it for a few seconds, then exhale slowly. Lymph flow improves throughout the body.

3)     Studies show that being exposed to nature makes us feel better. A recent study of hospital patients who had a window view of trees and grass went home, on average, a day sooner than patients who didn’t. You don’t even have to be in this environment, you just have to see it!

4)     Natural endorphins in our bloodstream—that give us an emotional high and fight disease—can be triggered by laughter. These are the same endorphins that can be triggered by jogging (the runner’s high). So being a couch potato and watching sitcoms can be beneficial.

5)     Reduce your stress level. We’re all individuals and as such, different things trigger a lower stress level. For some, it’s exercise, for some it’s reading, others spend time with their children and families, or take a trip to the beach. Here’s one you may not know—scientists aren’t exactly sure why, but they’ve known for twenty or thirty years now that people who go to church regularly, in whatever faith they observe, live longer. It seems that churchgoers have significantly lower levels of stress hormones. What’s your method of relaxation?

6)     Singing can help you live longer. According to studies in the UK and one recently done in California with opera singers, and studies from Harvard and Yale with choir singers—singers live longer. Singing releases endorphins (those happy hormones) and increases oxygenation through the heart and lungs. Singing promotes a healthy heart and enhanced mental state. Wow!

Do you have any other tips you’ve heard of?  Are you blessed with longevity in your family?

Visit me at www.katebridges.com

 

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My Darling Daughter’s “Elopement”

Good Morning!

I thought I’d take a break — a very brief break — from Native American lore to bring you news and pictures of my darling daugher’s recent “elopement.”

Originally she and her fiance were going to get married in the Islands in May.  However, due to the recent financial problems in this Nation and the $700 billion economic burden that has just been foisted off on the American people, both she and her fiance decided to give their families a break by eloping.  Except that they let us all know that they were eloping, and so of course both families were in attendance at their elopement.  Also their best friends were there.

They were married in Vermont (my ex and I raised both our children in Vermont) on October 20th.  Currently I’m in Florida on a course at my church and so I hopped in my car and drove the 1500 miles or so to Vermont — a beautiful drive, by the way, as I went by way of Highway 81,  up through Virginia and Pennsylvania.  In this picture, the bride is in the middle and my eldest daughter is on the left.  I’m on the right in black — as we all were getting ready for the wedding.

Vermont was beautiful at this time of year.  The trees were alive and screaming with color.  The yellows and golds were as bright as the sun.  In one place, I got lost and ended up at the Ethan Allen statue, and I was presented with color as bright as any day — and the trees lined the streets — I was entranced.   The reds of the maples, the oranges and greens and browns literally scremed at you with color.  Wow!

The ceremony was performed in the courthouse — it was a civil ceremony.  And though it wasn’t the kind of ceremony one normally thinks of as a wedding, it was still beautiful.  Made more so by our children’s concern for their families.  My father was a judge and I well remember couples coming to our house in the middle of the night to be married.  This reminded me of those times — but only sightly.  Here is the bride and groom.

T&TIt was cool in Vermont at this time of year.  The first morning I was there, I awoke to go out and run and went out into a 21 degree morning.  It was invigorating, to say the least.  Here is the bride and groom, coming out of the courthouse as we clapped and congratulated them.  Note the bride’s high waisted wrap –doesn’t it remind you of a Jane Austin novel?  So romantic. 

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel — which was a Weston Hotel resort — and had a wonderful meal provided by the bride’us father (me ex) and his wife.  A grand piano was also provided in the private room, since we all play the piano.  But no one wanted to play — we all said we were out of practice.  So I started it out, by playing rather badly  I mst admit — with my right hand still healing from its earlier break in May — I found much to my chrigrin that I couldn’t even reach an octave with my right hand.  But it broke the ice and my eldest daughter played, providing the bride and groom with the opportnity to dance.  First it was father and bride and groom and mother dancing, but then it was the bride and groom.  It ended with a beautiful round of piano playing by my ex, who brought us all to tears by playing Pacobelle’s Cannon.  Again, please excuse the misspelling.

Here is the bride and groom.  Aren’t they beautiful?  One thing I must say.  Since my darling daughter has been with this man, her life has been filled with happiness.  After boyfriends who brought her to tears, or invalidated her or made her wrong, she met this man, who has brought her nothing but happiness.  I think you can see that from her glow.  I was also impressed with the speech by his mother, who said that since he has met my daughter, his entire life has gotten better, that she has never seen him happier.  And I think that this is a very most important factor in marriage.  Does one contribute to the other and make them better.  Or does the relationship detract?  In this case, they both compliment each other, so that together, they are more than if they were apart.

And did I mention that I am now a very proud step-grandmother?  What a thrill!  I hope that you’ve enjoyed my sharing this, a very important occasion in my life, with you.  Yes, it was a sort of elopement, yes, it was a civil ceremony, but it was still a very beautiful ceremony, and a very beautiful day.  And the bride and groom are to be congratulated on their empathy with their families, in this unstable environment of economical concern.  I hope you’ll share with me many well wishes for the couple.  I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

 

OKAY THIS IS JUST GROSS-LOBOTOMY

First of all, please take a moment to thank me, Mary Connealy, for NOT using a bunch of the pictures I found. So icky. I stumbled upon lobotomies while doing research for…… what? I can’t remember? If they were still doing lobotomies, they would totally be coming for me. Ick.

We talk about all things western here but there have been some great posts on historical medicine, like this one from Kate Bridges on the contents of a Surgeon’s BagThough lobotomies are outside the historical western era, it’s just one of those things. I start doing research and one step leads me far afield. Here are some facts, some so horrific that I just immediate thought of our loyal P & P readers. (Poor babies!)

Lobotomies were used in the 20th century to treat a wide range of severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, clinical depression, and various anxiety disorders, as well as people who were considered a nuisance by demonstrating behavior characterized as, for example, “moodiness” or “youthful defiance”. After the introduction of the antipsychotic drug Thorazine, lobotomies fell out of common use and the procedure has since been characterized “as one of the most barbaric mistakes ever perpetrated by mainstream medicine”

In 1890, psychiatrist Gottlieb Burckhardt removed pieces of the frontal lobes of six patients.

Psychosurgery was not publicly attempted again until 1910, when Estonian neurosurgeon Ludvig Puusepp operated on a few patients.

Then, in 1935, Portuguese physician and neurologist António Egas Moniz pioneered a surgery he called prefrontal leucotomy. The procedure involved drilling holes in the patient’s head and destroying tissue in the frontal lobes by injecting alcohol. He later changed technique, using a surgical instrument called a leucotome that cut brain tissue with a retractable wire loop. Moniz was given the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1949 for this work

This is where it gets REALLY ICKY! On Jan. 17, 1946, a psychiatrist named Walter Freeman launched a radical new era in the treatment of mental illness in this country. On that day, he performed the first-ever transorbital or “ice-pick” lobotomy in his Washington, D.C., office. Freeman believed that mental illness was related to overactive emotions, and that by cutting the brain he cut away these feelings.

Freeman, equal parts physician and showman, became a barnstorming crusader for the procedure. Before his death in 1972, he performed transorbital lobotomies on some 2,500 patients in 23 states.

 Walter Freeman believed that this surgery would be unavailable to the patients who needed it most: those that lived in state mental hospitals with no operating rooms, no surgeons, no anesthesia, and very little money. Freeman wanted to simplify the procedure so that it could be carried out by psychiatrists in mental asylums, which housed roughly 600,000 American inpatients at the time They’d advertise that Freeman was going to be in the area and put lobotomies on sale and do many of them in one day.

The Freeman-Watts prefrontal lobotomy still required drilling holes in the scalp, so surgery had to be performed in an operating room by trained neurosurgeons.

Freeman decided to access the frontal lobes through the eye sockets, instead of through drilled holes in the scalp. In 1945, he took an icepick from his own kitchen and began to test the new surgical technique on cadavers(if you can stomach it, go to Google Images and type in Lobotomy. Yikes!) A hammer or mallet was then used to drive the ice pick through the thin layer of bone and into the brain. This new form of psychosurgery was intended for use in state mental hospitals that often did not have the facilities for anesthesia, so Freeman suggested using electroconvulsive (that means they’d zap the patient with a bolt of electricity to knock them out-I believe thanks are in order) therapy to render the patient unconscious.

By the mid-1940s, Freeman was touring the country performing dozens of ice-pick lobotomies each day. Sometimes, for kicks, he’d operate left-handed. This is a picture of Freeman, he often had reporters watch the process and welcomed spectators of any kind.

At Cherokee State Hospital in Iowa, he accidentally killed a patient when he stepped back to take a photo during the surgery and allowed the ice pick to sink deep into the patient’s midbrain. Oops! My Bad!

As Freeman conducted more lobotomies, he advertised his dramatic results, promoting his technique as a 10-minute medical marvel. Nearly all his procedures included press coverage and before-and-after photo ops. In 1952, he made headlines by performing 25 lobotomies in a single day. His staff timed him as he tried to set speed records for performing the lobotomies. Freeman soon enjoyed celebrity.

Freeman performed his final lobotomy on Helen Mortensen.  It’s her third lobotomy by him.  She died from a brain hemorrhage following the procedure.  Freeman was banned from operating again.

Between 1939 and 1951, over 18,000 lobotomies were performed in the US, and many more in other countries.  It was often used on convicts, and in Japan it was recommended for use on “difficult” children. 

There have been a few famous cases over the years.  For example, Rosemary Kennedy, sister to John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy, was given a lobotomy when her father complained to doctors about the mildly retarded girl’s embarrassing new interest in boys.  Her father never informed the rest of the family about what he had done.  She lived out her life in a Wisconsin institution and died January 7, 2005, at the age of 86.  Her sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the Special Olympics in her honor in 1968.

Concerns about lobotomy steadily grew. (You THINK?!) By the early 1970s the practice had generally ceased. About time.

I know what you’re all thinking.

You can’t HANDLE the lobotomy–think Jack Nickolsen in A Few Good Men, NOT Jack in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest where he was given a lobotomy. And now that I’ve shared this with you, if you want to buy my books still… (I’ll understand if you’re afraid-there are no lobotomies in my book, I promise) …click on the books below and it’ll take you to Amazon. Even if you’ve had a lobotomy you can handle that!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are still many people living today who had lobotomies. One guy, Howard Dully (ironic name, huh? Dull?) wrote a book about his and got pretty famous for talking about his lobotomy, given at the request of his step-mother when he was twelve.  Okay, a couple of things.

1) If you’ve had a twelve year old, you can sympathize.

2) Hello wicked Stepmother

3) If the guy could write a book, how badly was he really hurt, c’mon!

Anyone ever heard of this? Know anyone who had one? (And no, I don’t want any ex-husband jokes here-unless they’re really funny)

So, how much of the weird medical science they’re doing today will be banned in a few years. And yes, I do include Michael Jackson in that question.