Sunday, July 18, 2010

I will be reading from my Master's thesis and doctorial dissertation

First things first I have walked between 10,500-13,800 steps each of the past three days. Go Me!
Second things second, the sheets did not pop off! And I didn’t sleep well, but I was shocked when the alarm went off.
At breakfast, I asked about the linens without a good answer. I was with some Board member and gave some comments as they were discussing things for next year. I wasn’t criticizing, but we were talking about things that can only be learned by doing something once to see what happens and where the holes are.
The first speaker was Bill Anderson. He had a slide presentation of the home sites in the 70s and color photos of Laura. He mentioned that in his interview with Rose’s friend Helen Boyleston, she said that Almanzo was a world class cusser. She thought she knew all the swear words and he taught her some. I found it interesting during the authors panel, on some questions the authors would just pass the mic down to him as he was their source. Rebecca, Jonni and I were wishing to spend an afternoon reading scribbled notes and seeing never published photos that are in his basement. He did mention in October – December UM Dearborn is going to be having a display – I will get there. Some people may not know it yet, but we will be going.
There were simultaneous sessions next. Big surprise I went to the crafting one. Those women were just way more talented than I could hope to be. I loved seeing it.
At lunch, I ate with the woman from supper last night who still claimed she had never heard of Dean Butler before and is not on Facebook. OK, I believe she’s not on FB, but having never seen the tv show I find highly doubtful. The other two at the table were born in Japan and moved to Toronto in 1985. They had questions about current US politics, and it was an interesting discussion.
I went to the make and take crafts. Yesterday I had picked up the stuff to make a tin pail with candy, button string, and flour sack embroidery. Today I made 4 namecards and a corn husk doll. However, I was running late and missed most of Pamela Smith Hill. Bummer. It was announced that they were cutting the dinner to half an hour so that we could see both of Butler’s documentaries.
Sarah Uthoff was next talking about book design and the publishing industry. A little nerdy. I would have loved it to focus more on the graphical design and marketing, but again I’m a marketing major with librarians. I feel like I’m saying that a bunch, but it’s just that I know my perspective is different because of that background.
Kay Weisman discussed illustrating the books and the change from the Helen Sewell illustrations to the Garth Williams illustrations and the later small chapter books. It’s an interesting change how it goes from the adults and yeah there’s a child there as well to focusing on Laura and that the family looks like they are waiting to wait on her.
Gayle Abrahamson and Jane Palmer discussed temperaments and Sensing versus Judging and Thinking versus Feeling and classifying Laura and Rose. It was a little dry and I think they ignored how bull headed and stubborn both women were.
Emily Wooster presented and Gender and the books by comparing the description in Little House on the Prairie to women’s diaries from the Oregon trail. Interesting to an extent, but it included a lot of reading from her doctorial dissertation.
Next was a panel about Indians and the books. They first played a video of an Osage historian, who is 1/8 Osage. He thinks the books are factual and from a white little girl’s perspective influenced by said little girl looking back 60 years later. I did like his comment about “Did the Osage wear fresh skunk skins as Laura said?” His response was to think of fresh skunk skins as breech cloths? My goodness, they were human and no one in their right mind would do such a thing. That got a big laugh. Next was a guy who talked about the Minnesota Indian Wars. It would be nice if he had connected that to the books. Finally, the speaker was a woman who talked about the American Indian Movement occupying the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1972, and the press coverage. She did saying “I will be reading from my Master’s thesis and Doctorial Dissertation” at the beginning. This to me announces that we could take a nap. Then she talks and talks, as we watch dinner time creep up. She says “In Conclusion” and keeps talking and then says “Finally” a minute or two later she ended after cutting into our dinner time. We rushed to dinner.
I ran back to my room for my camera and newly charged batteries. The Almanzo DVD is really good. I may have cried when Father gave him Starlight. It was all filmed in New York and had a Morgan horse expert. The comments about the food are interesting. Then Dean Butler took questions. I’ll say he has a different perspective than most about the lawsuit between Friendly Productions and the Little House on the Prairie, of course consider he knows the Friendlies. Michael Landon did not have a beard because he didn’t want you to not fully be able to see his face. That the play may permanently go to Branson, and if it does there’s a good chance he will be playing Pa (Opposite Melissa Gilbert’s Ma?) These Happy Golden Years is his favorite for obvious reasons, though he does like the Long Winter as a book the best. I took several pictures because on the screen they looked so dark, but Rebecca was next to me doing the same thing. The next was the Laura DVD. I cried during it as well, when she died. The 15 year old that plays her in the De Smet pageant played her in it, and was so good. Many of the illustrations were done by the woman who did the coloring books, and were so good. I want a copy so bad!!! But it’s not on sale yet. He’s looking for a distribution channel. He financed the Almanzo DVD himself, and it’s only sold through the home sites in small quantities. He thinks this one may be of interest to the Hallmark Channel or History Channel or something that would repay him the $200K it costs to make. And of course he can’t sell it to us before those things happen. I really hope it happens quickly!!! One thing, I knew but I never heard the comment stated like this. After 4 years of grasshoppers, the Minnesota governor declared a day of prayer. It was very shortly afterwards that the grasshoppers took to the air and left. The show received a standing ovation and choked the director up. I will say this as well. He got rid of the bad 70s haircut, but he has put on some weight in the past 30 years. I know people want to know details, and I will, but I’ll add, I’d like to meet the person who hasn’t put on weight in the last 30 years.
I called home and took a walk afterwards, because it was only 9. I’ve downloaded my pictures, and typed this out, and it’s now 11:50, so I think I’ll sign off to make sure I’m ready for the Walnut Grove field trip and pageant tomorrow!!!
Does anyone have questions that I haven’t covered?

Crazy Obsessive Stalker Fan Girl

One of these nights when I crash, I am going to really crash. I’ve barely slept the past two nights. Right now I feel fine though. Last night, my fitted sheet came off my bed. I ended up sleeping on the plastic mattress cover. I think the sheets aren’t extra long. Remember that. I got up/got breakfast. We made our way over to the student center. Amy Lauter’s welcomed us. I realized that I was surrounded by people who were crazy fan girls, like me. Okay some boys, but John Miller even said during his talk that Cap Garland sounds like the frontier hunk. (I might have a small thing for Cap. It’s really too bad that he died in his 20s) Then Amy mentioned being OMG, OMG that Dean Butler came to the ice cream social and talked to her. He and John Schneider were the crushes of her childhood. I was too young I think for that, and most of you know that I was NEVER a fan of the show. But she was talking in the same manner I was last night. I did meet the woman sitting behind me who is an Ingalls and a cousin of Laura’s. “Squeal” in fan girl pitch.
The first speaker, Kelly Ferguson, talked about her upcoming book about traveling to the home sites wearing a pioneer dress. She announced she would be reading from the book. BO – Ooring, but it was hysterical. I think she should do something with Allison Angrim; they would be so funny together.
The second speaker was Ann Weller Dahl about “The Other Laura Ingalls Wilder: Journalist, Philosopher, and Poet. Don’t remember much, but she’s written some curriculums and had lots of questions. However, and I may not win fans here. She struck me as the type who asks questions in a tone that says she’s a teacher which gives her insight that the rest of us mortals can’t have.
The next speaker, Michelle McClellan, was talking about “Place” and how what was at the location was important. I see her point, but I understand in some ways why the locations present themselves the way they do. It is their history not just Laura’s.
Dale Cockerell, a musicologist was next. Interesting. Laura’s memories are so good because they were set to music. I so feel that’s true. In fact, I think I belong to a Facebook group called, “I wish important moments in my life were set to music like in movies.” He mentioned how unusual it was, especially out on the prairie, to be able to here live music daily.
I missed the beginning of the next speaker, Jenna Hunnef. She was speaking about risk in the books. At times, it was a little too angry about white males. I don’t think many of you would be surprised by my stand that yes, bad things have happened in the past, but as they don’t know, move on and focus on the future and making it the best possible one for yourself.
This brought us to lunch. We sat down a table away from the “Reserved” table. Guess who was there? Everyone was talking about how they didn’t expect him to come to anything but the premier of his documentary and the fan girl feeling. The LIWRA gave out its first life time achievement award to William Anderson. I had heard he wasn’t as old as people expected. I, also, knew his first book was published around the time I was born. And that I have at least a dozen of his books, some in more than one edition. (Are you getting the Crazy Obsessive Fan girl thing yet?) They asked Rebecca to pose handing him the award afterwards. I went to get a picture and an autograph on a book I had brought. I sort of managed to make sense when speaking.
After lunch, John Miller spoke. His biographies are probably my favorite, though I’ve not read the latest, though I did buy it. There were many references to the St. Louis Cardinals in his talk. He had strong thoughts about the Ghost in the Little House and Holtz’s suggestion that Rose wrote the books and put her mother’s name on them. And the recent “New Yorker” article that loved the Holtz book, ignored his latest, and called his other one pedestrian. I don’t think he agrees with Laura and Rose on politics, but I think he must know enough people that agree with her. To me, he comes across saying that because of “X and Y they believed Z, rather than look at those bitter people who cling to their guns and their religion” as I read other historians say when deconstructing the past. He does laugh about the fact that Rose if she was alive would be leading the Tea Party, and that Laura probably would appreciate them.
The next two were right up my alley. I think several of you know that I find the apologetics of the Bible fascinating. These two speakers basically talked about the apologetics of the Long Winter. The first was Jim Hicks, a physics teacher who found the settler who sold Cap and Almanzo the wheat. He’s pinpointed the date as 2/14/81-2/16/81, as there was a full moon at the time. He measured the speed of horses, angles, weights, co-efficient, friction and decided that the settler was probably 6-10 miles away, rather than the 15-20 in the book. However, we know Laura was way off on the distance of the Prairie house to Independence. She gave the name of the settler as Anderson, that he might sow oats the following year, and some nearby ridges. When he looked that distance from town, he found a settler named Neils Anderson, who filed the claim in the beginning of 1880, planted 10 acres, the following year planted oats AND he bought out the claim and filed on the next section, like he came into some money, by I don’t know selling some wheat, he was working in the Great Lakes the next summer (didn’t have time to get seed?) The next was Barbara Mays Boustead from the National Weather Service, who studied all the data to see if the winter was the snow Armageddon that Laura describes. From Minneapolis, SD army forts, Omaha, Des Moines, and El Paso all say it was one of if not the coldest & wettest winters. And that blizzard before meant a torrent of something, but after 1881 was used almost exclusively for snow. She pinpoints the date of the seed wheat trip to probably 2/16/81-2/18/81, but the comment was that look how close those dates are. I think it’s the accountant in me, but I wanted copies of their talks.
Next was a homesites panel. They need more money, they have plans, nothing earth shattering to me. Some details about past lawsuits. I think some people don’t understand and it reminds me of some Miami Alumni stuff, that these are businesses. Yes, they can apply for grants, but that money has to come from somewhere. There’s part of me that would love to have a Laws Hall & Associates type class develop a plan for them. I think a lot of the fans and volunteers are librarians and teachers, who haven’t learned about public relations/accounting. This starts to get on the authors panel. I understand how Laura left Rose the rights. Rose left them to Roger Lee MacBride, her adopted/honorary grandson. He left them to his daughter. This outrages some people, but I understand that it was their property to do as they wish. It might be nice if they would do some things, but I don’t really see that they have a moral obligation to do so. As well, some people seemed to think that the Iowa School for the Blind is sitting on records about Mary. Why would they have kept them? The off chance in 50 years her sister would be famous? There was a suggestion by the author’s that Holtz’s conclusions in Ghost shocked MacBride into being tighter with the source documents.
I followed Rebecca and Jonni out after it. They were talking about dinner. I was going to tag along to the dining hall. They had a special dinner to go to for board members. I’m not a board member (whine, not that I’ve done anything to be invited) I went to dinner with some people I had talked to before. Fun, but I did find out that the Dean Butler who is my Facebook friend? That’s not a professional page, it is his page. This means it is possible that he has read us joking about me getting my picture taken with him. Not crazy obsessive stalker fan girl at all. And long story to digress from here, but some can tell you that I greatly fear appearing as crazy obsessive stalker girl about a variety of things at times. I did find out the woman sitting next to me had never seen “Who’s the Boss?” (Seriously how has one never seen it? Classic 80’s tv), so she didn’t remember him playing Mona’s much younger boyfriend.
Next we had a reception to meet the authors. I bought a book about Pepin that is autographed, and a Little House coloring book autographed. I had two authors autograph the program. Two authors were autographing and giving away the pamphlet. I bought two CDs from the musicologist and had them autographed. I had John Miller autograph a book I had brought from home. I mentioned that we follow the Cardinals, but to make sure that they stay behind the Reds. We talked for a few minutes about baseball and the similarities between St. Louis & Cinti. I liked that because I think he’ll remember me as not just someone who liked LIW. Then I went to get in the long line for Dean Butler, everyone all day was talking about it. It just seems weird that this Hollywood celebrity would want to hang out with us in Mankato, but he was at all the sessions. And yes, I have a picture!!!! Then I found out the Board dinner was with him! Jonnie was talking about how she was good during dinner, but hyper aware that he was sitting next to her. But she saved the fan girl behavior until this time, I figure at least it’s got to be good for his ego.
We came back, and I went to get new towels as the website said we wouldn’t be brought new towels, but that we could go get them. I went because I had showered with the washcloth so using it to wash my face just grosses me out. The guy at the desk told me that we weren’t entitled to them. I may tell Amy about that tomorrow. Anyway, I decided to go buy towels (yes literally this is how much it would gross me out) Target closes at 10, I was there at 9:50 buying three sets of towels and an extra long set of sheets. It looks like it fits the bed better, let’s hope they don’t pop off.
I think that’s everything. I’m still looking for a way to get online, but I’ll post this as soon as I can.

Getting There

I am typing this out in Word tonight until I can figure out in the morning how to get online. I left for the airport straight from my tennis lesson (where I hit some really good volleys, BTW). After missing a flight a few years ago, I’m always nervous about getting to the airport. I was doing 60 down the highway and have often commuted through there doing 20 mph, but it felt like I was crawling. I parked at Airport Fastpark, since experience has taught me that they are much, much better than long term parking (as in I probably wouldn’t have missed the previously mentioned flight). When I checked the bags, the guy told me I had plenty of time. Since I was a little hungry and a lot thirsty I got a strawberry kiwi smoothie at Smoothie King. Highly recommend. I drank it, read some of People. We boarded the plane I felt it was a little late, but not too bad UNTIL the pilot said that a battery charger wasn’t working in the cockpit, which wasn’t a big deal but since we were still connected to the jet way, it had to be fixed before we could leave. I will give them credit they did give out water, let us use the restrooms and our cell phones. We finally left about 70 minutes late, for a 90 minute flight. I was not happy, but knew my issues were nothing like the people who had connections. I finished the “On the Way Home” portion of “Little House Traveler” and started “West from Home.” I really wish we could still go see the Tower of Jewels from the 1915 World’s Fair.
We arrived at terminal C and had to wait for awhile to pull up to the gate. I got my carryon that was gate checked and started out the concourse, then took a tram, and went down an escalator then past 8 baggage carousels. Got my bag, went down the elevator, around the corner, down the hall, to another tram, up two escalators to the long car rental line. I ended up doing self check-in. I said one person, 2 bags. I had reserves a Focus size car, as that’s what got me to the airport. It suggested the perfect fit would be a Suburban. I’m not sure why except they wanted to make an extra $55/day. I received an Impala. I dug out the GPS and tried to put the car in gear. Chevy (with yes, uncomfortable headrests) has the gearshift between the seats, but no letters those are by the speedometer. Whose freakingly stupid idea was that?
I entered rush hour traffic to find that the power point wouldn’t always feed out a charge. This renders the GPS useless. Luckily, I had Yahoo directions. Except the car took away the odometer replacing it with “Calibration Complete” I have no idea what the hell that means, except that it makes it difficult to judge how far you have gone. So as you can tell, you should by a Ford. I picked up dinner at McDonalds while driving. I do have XM stereo and was encouraged when Tobymac’s “Get back up again” started playing. I’ve wanted to adopt it as a theme song, so good sign!
I passed the KOA we stayed at in 2008, but fairly uneventful drive. I checked in and dropped my computer bag in the room. I wanted to go talk to Rebecca and meet Laura (and everyone else). I could tell my roommate had checked in, but didn’t know who she was. I went down to the ice cream social. After getting my ice cream, I sat down with Laura, her husband, Rebecca, and Rebecca’s friend Jonni. Another man came up to sit down and talk to “the other man” there. Found out he’s John Miller. Who? He wrote “Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder”, “Along Highway 14”, and “Laura’s Little Town on the Prairie” (which I have brought with the hopes of getting it autographed). Everyone chitchatted. I was noticing a man talking to one of the nearby women. I thought it looked like, but no, he’s a celebrity surely he’s not coming to the whole conference, but it was – Dean Butler!!!, Almanzo from the TV show. Even those of you who think my interest is weird, know who he is.
After a while, I went to move the car, get my suitcases, and call home to tell my Mom to quit worrying that I had died in a plane/car crash. On my way back in, I had one hand holding the phone and the other pulling the two suitcases that were latched together. The man coming out held the door for me. I tried (and I think was successful) at not giggling like a 14 year old girl because Almanzo had held the door for me!!!
I put my suitcases in the room. It’s nice, but I’d forgotten the things that hotels provide that dorms don’t. It has A/C which I’m grateful – the car told me at 6pm it was 94 degrees. There are a few other things it has that are nice, but a few things that Miami had that this doesn’t. I went back down to the social to talk to those lingering. I met some nice ladies. One woman’s son and her friend had already gone up to the room. It turns out that the friend is my roommate! They seem nice, and they got to know each other when they were adopting two boys who were friends in Calcutta, but didn’t meet for 18 years, while one was visiting Burr Oak. Stories like that are really interesting to me.
It’s now 11:30 and everyone’s asleep as I type by the light of ye olde laptop, so I think I’ll sign off for now. I’m getting up at 5:45.
Good Nite!!