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[sticky post] Welcome to Wonderland

In one way or another, I have kept a journal since age 12. I've kept an online journal called Musings since late 2002. My topics range from things that happen in my daily life to my thoughts on pop culture to my ponderings about everything from dreams to the secret thoughts of pets. In November 2007, I began mirroring it here, although I often included extras to this version, such as memes and quizzes. In February 2010, I stopped updating the original journal on my home page and instead started a writing journal there.

For some insight into who I am, read Intro to Alyce. For a guide to the many nicknames I use in my online journal, check out Who's Who in Musings.

The beautiful, sweet dog in one of my icons is Una, my best friend and nurse dog for nearly 11 years, who passed away on October 22, 2010. She was my inspiration, and she taught me how to be a better friend and mother; a better person. My son, Kung Fu Panda (KFP for short), benefits from all the caregiving skills I learned in those 11 years. My husband, The Gryphon, probably does, as well!

The goals I established when I first begin an online journal remain the same: this is a way to explore the tangential, the seemingly accidental observations many of us overlook but which may, ultimately, be where all life and all mystery hinges.

My Philcon 2017 Schedule

I got my panel requests in late this year, so I'm not sure they'll be on the official schedule. Here they are:

Fri 7:00PM in Plaza V (Five) - Learning to be an Effective Panel Moderator

Moderating a panel is more than just showing up and asking people to quiet down if a discussion gets out of hand. Learn what the best mods do to prepare for and handle the panels they are responsible for managing.

Sat 2:00PM in Plaza V (Five) - SciFi from the Parents' Eye

How to shepherd our children through the modern age of SF.

Sat 3:00 PM in Plaza II (Two)—If Christianity Had Never Come Along

Imagine what the 21st century would be like without Christianity in history. Would we be worshipping a different god or gods? Or would society have developed in a different direction? What fiction is already exploring this idea?

Hope to see you there!


Vote - Week 22

The poll is really tight this week for LJ Idol, and I'm currently in danger. Just three to four votes would be enough to keep me in the competition. If you haven't voted yet, could you please take a moment and do so? You can vote from the embedded poll in this post.

Originally posted by clauderainsrm at Vote - Week 22
A few words from clauderainsrm:

The Top 20!!

I know I said “Top 21”, but as many people pointed out to me, I had left mrstotten off my goodbye list. Everyone seemed to have figured that out though!

It’s been a journey to get here, but now the end is within sight.

There were 2 topics this week, “Turn Back or Forge Ahead?” and “Trespassers William”, which clearly means that there is going to be 2 polls this week and we are going to be eliminating 1 from each… since that is clearly what is going to happen, that is *NOT* what is happening this week.

There is only 1 poll. We are losing 2 contestants though. So you got it half right!

You know the drill - Read the entries. Comment on them. Vote for your favorites!

The poll closes Thursday, June 29th at 9pm EDT

Good luck to everyone!

Click here to Vote!Collapse )


This is my entry for Week 22 of LJ Idol (therealljidol), Season 10. We got to choose one of two topics. I chose "Trespassers William."

And here's my favorite one, and she's my favorite.Collapse )
This is my entry for Week 21 of LJ Idol (therealljidol), Season 10. This week's topic was Current Events. It's supposed to be inspired by a story in your local or state news. Mine was inspired by this story about the Philadelphia soda tax being upheld: https://billypenn.com/2017/06/14/pennsylvania-commonwealth-court-upholds-philly-soda-tax/

The sweet one is booted from town.Collapse )

LJI 10 Week 20: Filaments

This is my entry for Week 20 of LJ Idol (therealljidol), Season 10. This week was an Open Topic.

A tapestry of souls surrounds us.Collapse )

LJI 10 Week 18: Party Planning for Dummies

This is my entry for this week in LJ Idol, Season 10 (therealljidol). The topic was "Invitation."

One of these days I'm going to get it right.Collapse )


LJI 10 Week 18: Family Harvest

This is my entry for Week 18 of LJ Idol, Season 10 (therealljidol). We partnered up. I wrote about the topic, "The distance between us."

Traveling together into the future.Collapse )

LJI 10 Week 17: Fugue for Violin

This is my entry for Week 17 of LJ Idol Season 10 (therealljidol). My topic was "Surrender Under Protest."

The front of a music book, reading John G. Marshall

Music hand written by John G. Marshall

Through the violin, he spoke. A cadence at first in adagio, slow and plodding, then an allegro gallop of dissonance and counterpoint, followed by an elegy in harmony. His wife, sometimes, would accompany him on voice. His dark-haired granddaughter, toddling into the room, watched with wide eyes. She had inherited, he thought, his son's kind eyes. He met them with his own, conveying to her through music the things he could not -- would never -- tell her.


On the first day's march, the young men of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry marched from Nashville on the Nolansville Pike, feeling almost relaxed. To young John Graves Marshall, whose heart was light in the bright sunshine, the ride was quite enjoyable. Up on his trusted horse, he felt safe: after all, to a mounted man, foot soldiers posed little danger. Despite a few close shaves, his company was unhurt.

"It's like fox hunting," one of his friends told him, and he had to agree. So easy it seemed, but not for long.

As they neared the Confederate Army in Murfreesboro, the young men charged forward, yelling, as John would describe it later, "in the highest glee." They ran through the wood and up to a fence, where they encountered the Confederate infantry, and then came disaster.

The rifles belched fire, and John's brothers-in-arms fell. One was pierced with fourteen bullets. Others were met with volleys right in their faces. As John would later recall, "Men seemed to fade away like frost before the morning sun, and many empty saddles was the sad result." The worst moment was when he witnessed his dear friend, Sergeant Frederick Herring, shot through the head, riding right next to John at the time. "He lingered in the saddle a moment, then fell with a thud to the ground, and his blood saturated my shoulder." At that instant, John's gray horse was shot and fell on John's leg. The rest of the battle he witnessed, he saw from the cover of his steed as he fought to free himself.


If only that had been the worst suffering he would encounter. Wordless, his music told his granddaughter about his later capture, the long march to Andersonville. A muddy dirge, this part of the tale. Washing in a river, despite the winter cold. Coarse corn or uncooked food. Inadequate shelters. He and his fellow men survived by making tents out of their ponchos, three foot high and with no ground cover.

This musical slog put a look of concern on his granddaughter's face, so he was glad he would not have to explain to her in words how the men would draw straws for the dead animals who would sometimes float down the stream, devouring them raw.

He ended the piece with a flourish of celebration, a triumphant arrival home, free to enjoy Pennsylvania green.


His brothers never forgot him, and one day, after he had played his final note, his funeral procession was met by members of the 15th Cavalry, described by a newspaper reporter as "fine looking well preserved men." They would carry on his song.

John Graves Marshall, at right, and an unidentified friend and fellow member of the 15th Cavalry

My great-great-grandfather, John Graves Marshall, died when my grandmother, Miriam Ivy Marshall Wilson Heritage, was only 2. She wrote that he loved to play the violin, and she preserved some of his violin music, written in his own passionate, strong hand, with the genealogical materials she collected and which I now possess.

John gave an account of the battle of Stone River, which I've paraphrased here, in "History of the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry Which Was Recruited and Known as the Anderson Cavalry in the Rebellion of 1861-1865" by Charles H. Kirk. The details about life in Andersonville Prison Camp, where the Confederate soldiers kept captured Union soldiers, comes from a fellow soldier, in that same book.

You can click on the photos above to see larger versions.


The voting page is now online: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1012526.html. Remember: if you do not have a LiveJournal account, you can login in with Facebook or Twitter account in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Then refresh (or reopen) the link, and you'll be able to vote!

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