Lessons

Saturday (Christmas Eve), December 24, 2022

After Central Oregon’s string of icy cold days, through which I mostly stayed inside, today’s opening temperature is a tolerable 39 degrees. Everywhere, the weather through last week was a short wild ride. Today, if as predicted, this area’s high approaches 50 degrees, tomorrow might be a balmy Christmas Day.

At least, a hefty snowpack in our nearby mountains might provide adequate water for next season’s farming. The last couple of years, with drought conditions and water rationing, meant fewer farm yields and frighteningly high prices. We with large animals worry about finding enough (and affordable) hay. This year’s snowy wet weather might increase water availability, yield more good hay, and reduce the costs to produce and purchase.

Weather outside aside, and what’s doing inside: I’m reading a fun first novel, Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus. An ex-copywriter, Garmus is an excellent writer, creative and confident. Her novel takes place in the early sixties when women workers were unequal in every way (except for intelligence) to men. They received lesser working roles, less pay, fewer promotions; and they had to dress certain ways, not become pregnant, and were victimized by lechery.

Garmus’ character model for the book was her mother, who during the 1950’s could not write a check without her husband’s co-signature on it, had no legal right to her husband’s paycheck, could not hold a job while pregnant, and could not have her name added on the home’s title. In the book, the lead character is a productive woman scientist who manages to ignore some typical workplace restrictions. She’s helped by a male partner, a famously productive chemist with any workplace arrangement he wants.

The two leads have a mongrel dog, named “Eleven-Thirty.” I laughed aloud, and even more, on learning that Garmus’ own real-life dog is named “NinetyNine.” I happen to have a little Collie-X, named “Osix,” and for years have fielded questions about her name. Now I’m vindicated, with kudos to Garmus!

I recommend this book, a straightforward, easy read with twists and humor. Its sixties setting will remind some readers of times past and will inform others. Great cold weather, indoors entertainment.

Dear Friends: It’s good recalling times past and progress made, by women, but no ERA. Diana

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