Monday, March 31, 2008

A Rose for the Crown; Anne Easter Smith

Um. Ok this is a great book. Go buy it. Historical women's fiction. Richard III. Political intrigue. Mistresses. Illegitimate bastard children. Insurrection. Lice. Seasonal bathing. Mean evil stepmothers. Weird immature smarmy husbands.

Photo found on Simon Says

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday 13 #38- Family Updates

Click the link in the title to see a list of other Thursday 13 participants. Thursday 13's reason for being to help bloggers get to know one another. Leave a link to your TT in the comments and I'll link to you here.

1. College Student has quit his job to focus on his studies. Prioritizing is a skill many of us need to work on, students especially.

2. Anime Queen is planning to go to New Orleans for a week this summer with her church youth group. They will be rebuilding and passing out supplies for a week. Our parish has adopted a church with an identical name and we've worked with them over the last few years.

3. Pianist has become the school accompanist. He's played for the 6th grade play and the county spelling bee. His music teacher wants him to conduct a little, and has tried to get him to do it during Thursday night handbells. Pianist, though, was self conscious and uncomfortable.

3. The Husband is frustrated at work, staffing issues and his boss trying to juggle a serious family medical problem which is distracting her. School seems to be perculating along, which I'm glad to see. I think it helps keep him going, knowing that every day he's in school brings him one day closer to his goals.

4. Next weekend we're going into DC for the anime movie marathon held at the Freer. It's free (YAY!) and there will be fireworks that night too. Plus- College Student is coming home to go with us.

5. Anime Queen is begging to go to the street fest the following weekend (April 12th), but both Hubby and I have to work. I can't decide if she could go for a little while during the day while I'm working. Doubt it but she's very convincing.

6. I've decided to give my notice at work, probably at the end of April. Read this post to understand why. When I accepted this job I knew it might not last long because of the commute issues, but it has really snowballed out of control. I will stay through the end of Hubby's semester because I want to keep that promise.

7. College Student went to my sister's a couple of weeks ago to play with his little cousins. He says the little one (a toddler) is quite a firecracker and the older one (early elementary age) loves to play Grand Theft Auto. My Lovely Sister was working, but notre chere Grandmere, who comments here, made all the boys go outside.

8. No progress on finding a Japanese language class for the AQ. The one held by the community college begins May 19 and goes twice weekly all summer, but she'd still be in regular classes and needs to concentrate on those first. Not to mention having two trips away.

9. Speaking of AQ again, she has been promised a ticket to the Warped 2008 Tour. IF she gets a C for the year in IBMYP Algebra II. She's gone to tutoring all year and has still struggled mightily. I happened on this incentive by accident with prodding by College Student, but if it works more to the good. Poor girl's gonna get ulcers because of her math struggles.

10. Other than work and stress and high blood pressure and ulcers, the family life is anemic. April's going to be the longest month, I swear. I am regretful on the kids' behalf, but the Lord gave me this job when we needed the extra money to set College Student up and to pay for the car. It'll all work out in the end, I think. For everyone's benefit. Think positive and have faith. *That's me reminding myself*

11. The gentlemen in the family are hoping to go camping this summer, and are aiming for somewhere out in the Shenandoah Valley. They threaten to take the AQ- as the representative female and as one who whines at the start but beats the boys in enthusiasm in the end.

12. No the Wife will not go camping. She will stay home and play with her books.

13. Or visit the chere grandmere. Or garden. Anything but camp.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Post Up

Over at Access Romance. All about glomming and book collecting and cheering yourself up. Really. It works. Honest.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Big Box Bookstore News

According to Reuters Borders Books Music and Cafe is in trouble. Share price dropping fast and they've borrowed 42 million to keep going. They've started hunting for a buyer, Reuters speculates B&N but they're not exactly super strong at the moment either.

So Borders has been in business long enough to put indie booksellers on permanent life support and now Borders is in danger of sinking beneath the waves. I wish I could say I'm sorry, but the moment they put a former supermarket executive in charge of a bookstore, I knew they were in trouble. This was years ago. I hesitate to say it, but groceries and books and DVDs aren't the same. The ambiance in a bookstore is different from most grocery stores.

I'm not gleeful, but hope springs eternal that the little bookstores I love will benefit from Borders' trouble. I often go out of my way to get books from the few indies in our area.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Sword of Shame; Medieval Murderers

I found this completely by accident, it was shelved in the science fiction section (???). This title is an anthology of medieval set mysteries centered around a sword and what happens to those who own it or come across it over the course of several centuries. Individual stories are written by Bernard Knight, Ian Morson, Susanna Gregory and Philip Gooden. Not all of whom I have been able to find in my local bookstores. Jacket image found on The photo of the authors found on Michael Jecks' website.

The sword was crafted by a Saxon sworsmith before the invasion of William the Conqueror. Very soon afterward the sword affects the fate of the swordsmith's family. It is then passed on and sold and traded and so on. We watch the sword as its form changes and as it touches the lives of its owners. It moves from Britain to Italy and back to London over time.

Can an inanimate object be evil? Without specific intent by the smith or anyone else involved in crafting it? As an example, in some stories an object is specifically made as a ritual object and over time with use and intent it becomes imbued with atmosphere or awareness. This sword, which I don't think ever has a specific name despite being inscribed, somehow manages to involve itself in shady goings on. But does it influence it's owners in a negative manner?

All of the stories are well written, but as is usual with anthologies of any type, possibly excepting those edited by Datlow and Windling, some appealed more than others.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Stressed and Conflicted

Work is still kicking my my butt, although at this point it's due to schedule changes which have resulted in closing one night, 10 pm and later, and opening the next morning, 6 am. Repeatedly. I'm looking for another job, the constant schedule changes and high stress levels are pulling me down into the abyss. The Husband took my blood pressure on a whim last week. According to the American Heart Association online, I'm now in the "pre high bloodpressure" category. Borderline. How fabulous! Hubby sat me down for a big lecture on stress reduction and eating better (as if) and maybe I oughta reconsider this line of work.

I'm really conflicted about the whole employment issue, to be honest. I found a job so he could return to school while he's already working full time. I didn't want him to have to work extra hours to make ends meet, especially while he's in school. I want to keep my promise. He points out that only four days of extra work per month and he can equal what I'm bringing home. He didn't say it to put me down, although it is discouraging, only in an attempt to help me feel like it's ok to let this one go. So that's one arm being pulled in one direction.

Another arm is held by the kids, who in the last two weeks, have seen me only a couple of days because of school. Meaning, to be clear, that I'm off mornings and then go to work right before they come home. I don't return until after 11 pm, long after they're in bed. Husband works late evenings as well, so over the last few weeks they've been home alone for the afternoon and evening three nights a week. Which isn't what I signed up for.

I know that most of my problem is simply whining. There are women I work with who can't quit, who are the main breadwinners or who have a financial situation where their income is absolutely required. While we'd have to be careful and Hubby would have to be sure to get his four days in, I could simply leave without finding a job first. I'm in a better situation than many others and I know it.

The third problem is that my schedule has greatly interfered with our church activities, most importantly Sunday attendance. I think I've only managed to get to Sunday services four or five times since Christmas. The kids' activities have been sharply surtailed too, because of transportation problems. We live 30+ miles away from the parish, so carpooling is out of the question. No one lives as far out as we do. Like all people, I'm made of clay. Skippinig church if I want to is ok, not great but ok. But having my option to attend or to stay home taken away is like a pebble in my shoe.

So Hubby's added four days to his schedule this next few weeks. I've not given notice yet. I've not made up my mind. I'm job hunting. I miss my kids and I miss my church. There's a huge part of me that says that I just need to grow up and get with the program, all adults have to make compromises with work and family life. I know that and it's ok. I just feel like the job is winning.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Visiting the Fam

Otherwise known as visiting the grandparents in the Tidewater area, most importantly the Graduate. Who signs his emails Coolidge Stoodant so that is what I shall call him here. Earlier this week he spoke with hubby and sounded homesick, so off we went. Only to arrive in the middle of a windstorm. My parents had no power.. So we ate Chinese- sort of. The kind of Chinese takeout that you can only get in semi rural America. Neither Chinese nor American, an odd kind of hybrid only found here.

Well, let me back up a little. I'd worked Friday closing shift, which is 2:00 to 10:00. Saturday I open, which is 6:00 to 1:30. It takes 45 minutes to get from home to work & vice versa. I think I got 4 and half hours of sleep if you're generous. So hubby scooped me up after work yesterday and we stopped off and got the kids and our bags. I didn't dare sit down at home for fear I'd fall asleep and be dead to the world for hours. I napped in the car along the way, about an hour and a half or so I think.

Anyhow. It was a great evening. We lit every candle we could find, which was plenty..My mom likes candles. Listened to Prairie Home Companion and talked and laughed for hours. My parents' house is pretty big, so normally we would've scattered all over, but with no power we sat together and visited. It was nice. That's a pathetic word, but it was nice. Coolidge Stoodant sat next to me and I ran my hands through his hair just like when he lived at home full time. Thick and wavy and soft, enough to make any girlfriend jealous. The big brown mole just inside his hairline that I always think is a tick is still there.

My mom knitted me a prayer shawl, a beautiful thisck yellow yarn just big enough and heavy enough to drape over my shoulders and it won't fall off. Now she's knitting me a silk and cotton short sleeved green sweater. It actually looks Asian, a Mandarin collar and frog closures down the front. When she's done I'll post an image if I can.

Map image above courtesy of Old

Thursday, March 06, 2008

February Reads

I read and posted about the following:

A Lady of his Own, Stephanie Laurens

Much Ado about You, Eloisa James

I finished three others, but haven't had time to post about them. I hope to write them up this month.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Schedule Change

Work has preoccupied nearly my entire waking life these last two weeks. All of the computers and machines and programs and whatnot were changed overnight. Literally. Overnight. With approximately 4 hours training apiece we were essentially left to ourselves and the public. Who expected the same level of service as before, with no allowances for lack of appropriate training, software problems, mechanical problems, etc. We were supposed to get an additional three nights of OJT (on the job training) on other systems only a few of us use primarily in the late evening. However, the training team was from Ohio. All they wanted to do was investigate the nightlife downtown (DC, obviously). Therefore they did everything possible to shortcut the training so they could clear us the hell out and go party. Fabulous.

They left a week ago Sunday night. None of us had any idea what we were supposed to do or how to do it. Other than the instruction manual and the help line number. Which we discovered closed at 10 pm. So if you are an American taxpayer and wonder if your money is being well spent, rest assured your money is being thoroughly abused by the government contracting system.

And no this is not some fly by night little company who changed everything out either. This is a major, Fortune 500 international US company. Whose employees really don't give a $&^t what we needed because we've no say on their annual review. This is a huge contract with a government agency who is spread worldwide. This technology rollover will be/has happened all over the world. Hopefully other training teams actually did their job.