Monday, October 01, 2012

Nothing to See Here or There or Anywhere!

Nope.
Not a thing.
But I promised myself I'd try to post at least once a month.
Remember the days when I was here every day?
And I had lots of fun and clever things to say?
Well, in my own mind anyway.

What am I looking forward to?

Andrea Speed has a new book coming out on my birthday. October 5th.
Christine Feehan has a new book coming out on Katrina's birthday on October 2nd.
Then I find out Nina Bangs has a new one coming out around the same time!
It's like Christmas in October!
And I STILL get presents!

Ok, yeah,  so I have to buy them. Still - it's grand.

Um, what else is there.

Still working.  Still working on my dust bunny collection.  The show Hoarders hasn't come to my
house yet, so I must still be in the range of  'normal'.

How nice, TracFone Wireless sent me a birthday card.  Well wishes and a reminder to buy More minutes so I can get 30 minutes free. Oh how generous.  Spend my birthday money, IF I get money, on them.  Um...no, stand in line.  Feehan, Bangs and Speed are in front of the line.

Oh-oh- I smell my corn bread burning.

Gotta run!!!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

What's up with Mickee?

I recently received a comment on an old post.  An ancient post. It was about the author Mickee Madden.

I want to heartily thank Elizabeth for alerting me to the awesome news.

I knew that Ms. Madden was looking to get her rights back so she could publish the books again. I wrote about that HERE.    They were out of print and as time went on, impossible to find.  So the possibility of being able to read them all again was exciting. However, more waiting was required.

Hence todays's post.  All thanks to Elizabeth.  The first five books of the Everlastin' series is available on Smashwords. 

What is causing equal excitement for me is the fact that there is a picture of Mickee.  Now I can put a face to the well-loved name!

If anyone has done any initial research on trying to find the sixth and last book in the Baird House series, they not only eventually ended up at my blog here, but they probably found things that claimed some very bizarre guesses about her.  I know I did.  

I've been fortunate to have been in recent contact with her.  So, fans new and old alike, don't despair.  The final book will be written.

I've been her cheerleader since 2005.  And I have good reason to keep on being so.

Speaking of cheerleading... MICKEE!!!!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How's 2012 So Far?

It's been interesting for me. 
Remember when I mentioned that I was working that insurance adjuster job?
The beginning of June, I got laid off.  
We had SUCH a mild winter, despite that horrid beginning with that freak snow storm in October. 
Spring was uneventful as well. 
So, no claims, no way to support my employment. 
I went bye-bye. 
Thing is - I wasn't unemployed for long. 
Our state's unemployment requirements are clear. Even if you are not collecting yet, you have to have already started looking for work and you have to prove you've sent out three resumes or contacts a week. 
I knew that. 
I immediately started looking and lo! I found a shipping clerk position.  It even paid more than the last job I had. 
It was on Craigslist, of all things. 
Monday, I sent my resume and cover letter. 
Tuesday, in the morning, I received an email acknowledging they got it. 
In the afternoon, there was another waiting, saying that there was something about my resume that had them interested and could I come in for an interview. 
Thursday I had my interview.
Friday they called my place of work, the little 8 hour one, and I answered the phone.  How ironic. 
The chat with my boss was brief. 
Monday, I was called, did I want the job. 
Tuesday, I started.  
And a month after that? My old boss from the insurance place died from complications from surgery. 
It was a shock!
It was bizarre to attend his wake and see my old co-workers.  There were hugs and tears all around. He was a good man and will be missed. 

Now, I've been at the shipping job for 2 months and it's flown. It's a small company and very innovative.

I work with tech geeks who wear shorts and flip flops.  I think I'm the oldest person there. Yikes!
I work with a transplanted Louisiana man who shared his bacon flavored grits with me. WAY too salty. EW
My computer got the black screen of death and the LA guy fixes computers.  At his leisure. Long leisure. It's been three weeks and it's still not fixed.  Thank goodness I bought a new one, all spiffy with Windows 7. Woot!

LA man says, I can fix it quick, I just need to remember to bring it home with me.  To that end, he put his keys inside the carrying pouch with my laptop.  Can't leave the office without keys, right? 
Um.  Well. 
He takes the bus. 
No need for car keys. 
I got an email today.  

Guess what? Remember where I put my keys so I'd remember to bring your laptop home? 
I forgot. 
Had to climb through a window to get into my house. 
I'll bring it home tonight. 

I couldn't help it.  It was a rainy, windy, miserable night last night, and here's this poor guy having to find a way into his home because he left his keys were he couldn't POSSIBLY forget them. 
I laughed when I read his email. And I giggled some more. 
I'm still chuckling. 
Guys make life interesting, don't they? 





Sunday, March 04, 2012

Why Isn't Nature Good Enough?

Why does man have to come up with the most complicated, chemically manipulated processes to alter our food for profit?

That's what it comes down to. The ability to maintain shelf life far longer than nature intended means more money for the makers.

Why am I on this tangent?

I was so excited when I bought Ortega flour tortillas. In a big fat yellow rectangle it shouts, "0g Trans Fat! Cholesterol Free!"

Joy. Right?

Not so fast. While eating supper last night I turned it over to look at the ingredients. Yes, I'm a reader while I eat and will read anything just to read.

Lo! What should my horrified gaze land upon but the ingredients of Interesterified Soybean Oil AND Hydrogenated Soybean Oil - with Monoglycerides no less!!

WTH?

Fully Hydrogenated? Are they nuts? And actually have the audacity to add Interesterified fats on TOP of them? 

I'll  tell  you what. Until both of those health dangers are removed, I am never going to by another Ortega product again. As currently made, they are not safe for my family, especially my husband who suffered a heart attack.  Never mind the 300mg of salt for one taco.  Who eats only one taco for supper?


Interesterified Oils are starting to appear in more and more products - buyer beware.  I'm not going there. It's a chemical  from a chemical process.  It's too new and research is bouncing all over.  I won't be a guinea pig for corporations if I can help it.  I don't need nasty health surprises ten or fifteen years down the road when they finally figure out what all this manipulation of enzymes actually does to the human body.

Age is manipulating me all on its own.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Bye To a Series

I picked up a book in a series that I used to like.

I say 'used to' because lately, the tone of it has gotten darker and darker. The bad guys are getting so twisted, vile and vicious, and the tortures are getting to be so over the top, it's depressing and disturbing. Even the romance or goal of an HEA isn't worth the trouble or the stress. The enjoyment factor is severely muted.

Add to that the smut language - used to be there wasn't overly much or of a kind and level that was tolerable because of the characters' personalities and backgrounds, now it sounds ...trashy and .... sort of porn-ish. I mean really, "quim"? I used to read that when I sneaked looks at porno magazines when I was younger. If I was reading erotic romance, then I'd have no bone of contention but this is mainstream. This isn't even in the "hot" level of writing so why's a word like that even necessary? And I sure as heck don't find it sensual or pleasing to the ear. I really wanted to make the "hero" eat a bar of soap after that one.

Instead of feeling excited for the hero or heroine, I rolled my eyes in exasperation. I didn't find it romantic in the least but disrespectful - what happened?

As for the heightened and ever increasing sense of violence, why did the author go that route? I understand conflict-stories NEED conflict - but to go into such graphic detail when it comes to torturing the main characters ::shakes head:: - crap likes that goes on in real life. Women are abused, maimed, scarred and sold into sexual slavery, for real. Why would I find that entertaining? Why would I want a romance, of all things, to have such long and drawn out paragraphs of deviant and psychotic actions? If I was reading horror, I'd expect it. If I was reading about a biography of a Holocaust survivor, I'd expect things to shock me, make me cringe and make me want to hide, and to cry. But not a fantasy fiction that is supposed to celebrate life, love and the trials that one goes through to get to their happily ever after.

There is conflict, yes, but then there is pushing the envelope so hard that I have to stop and draw the line in the sand. I respect myself too much to endure such drivel. I read to escape the harshness that can happen in my own life. Why would I want to live someone else's hell? Since when is hell fun? Even Dante knew better.

So, I read the first 2 chapters, and the last five - and that gave me all I needed without being dragged through more torture while reading... the torture. The beginning helped me understand how the protagonists ended up being separated. I understood the curse. The ending was dramatic with the big sacrifices and the pivotal moment when the bad switched to good and all the players breathed a sigh of relief. And the book set up nicely the next character's story. Which, I expect will be equally, if not more so, depraved and horrific.

::waves::

Bye to a series that initially was fresh, new and unique with fun moments and daring do, populated with quirky characters with amazing and inventive talents, following strong women who tamed men just as strong and equally stubborn. Because now, it's like every other book that's out there. Seen that torture, Been to that scene, and watched the light fade to black.

Ho-hum.

And no. I will not reveal the author or series. I will not promote it nor revile it. The early books in the series will continue to be on my keeper shelves, they're that good. If the story lines tip back into the light, where there is more positive than negative, less depression and more hope, more power to the good and less to the omnipotent evil, then I might reconsider.

Good thing I discovered a new series that has great entertainment potential.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Good News That Made Me Faint!

And then jump up for joy and squeee like a fan girl.
Ok, so I am a fan girl.
:-)

Quite a few years ago, I blogged about a favorite author of mine, Mickee Madden.
She wrote an amazing and thoroughly engrossing romance series that captured my imagination, my heart and my loyalty. If I could give a Best Book to a whole series, it would have been this one.

Don't remember? I can't blame you. It has been years. Here's the link to my blog post that believe it or not, still gets visitors who wonder, like me, how Mickee was doing. EVERLASTIN' LINK

Imagine my surprise, my giddy explosion of joy and excitement induced heart palpitations when I saw that she not only commented but what she said basically means that all our questions will be answered because the final romance tale is going to be told.

Not only that, but for those of us who are going on sheer memory because we can't get actual print copies of the books we've read in the past - all the books are going to be re-issued!

Folks, this is momentous news.  Truly wonderful and I'm tickled she found this blog.  Sort of makes me want to get it more active again, you know? :-)

There are books.  And then there are BOOKS, the kind that talk to you long after you've turned the final page, or in my case, returned them to Kentucky.  And 2005 is a LONG time to hear a book whispering of dreams yet untold.

I believe I know what I want for "Christmas in July" 2012.  Or whenever in summer it comes out.  I can't wait to write all about it here! 
**VBG**

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ready for an Update?

Let's see - I've been at one job 4 1/2 months and the second 4 months.
The insurance job is interesting.

At first, because of the crisis caused by that freak snow storm, the claims had to be processed fast and furious. That was the first bottleneck. I learned a great deal at that time and just when I was about to be taught another aspect, I was grabbed for doing reports. It's what I was originally hired to do but it took this long for the next bottleneck to hit. Again, fast and furious processing. The drawback is time. It takes the adjuster up to 10 minutes to dictate his/her report but it can take up to one HOUR to process one. There are so many forms to create, details to change, clean up of grammar and "form" statements to include. Every insurance company has its own special handling and I have to be aware of each and every one. The final product that gets sent to the company has to be PERFECT.

I've learned how to manipulate PDFs.
I've learned how to create a contents sheet using Excel with formulas for addition, depreciation and tax for taxable items and how to handle non-taxable items. Holdbacks and drafts, Time and Expense billing and Flat Rate.

Thank goodness for blogging all these years. And for writing reviews. Why? Because my typing skills have become integral to the jobs I do.

At the other job in the conservation office, I've discovered fun. Yes, it's hard and detailed work, from checking maps, making sure files are coded right, fixing old files, updating their database and organizing the currently used maps. And when I'm lucky, I get to attend meetings and learn more of the impact conservation has on my town AND people watch. Very cool.

I've learned about RDAs and Notices of Intent to buffer zones and wetlands protection. I have learned to value the beaver and what vernal pools are. I've seen town politics in action; some good, some quite exciting and controversial.

The amazing thing? The difference between working in the private sector versus working in the municipal sector. The difference between a workplace that requires confidentiality versus a workplace that is public, everything is a public record and open for review, has been a major education for me. For most of my professional clerical career, I've been in confidential workplaces. The switch to being able to SPEAK is a weird experience.

The work ethic between the two varies greatly. The level of technology available to both is nowhere near equal. The budget of one is based and set by people who are on the other side of the state with no leeway. The private sector is based on the level of competency and service satisfaction the insurance company and its insureds get from our company. We work hard, we work well, and we see almost immediate results with feedback that helps us do better to meet their needs.

The municipal job does not get that benefit. There are no job kudos or compliments for a job well done nor an acknowledgement by anyone who can make a difference in the budget. It has no bearing on financial allotments. It seems irrelevant. It is what it is, so deal. Not a very encouraging atmosphere to my way of thinking, but that's the reality.

The dichotomy between the public and private sector is huge. It certainly has been an education for me. In more ways than one.

I enjoy both workplaces. My boss at the conservation office makes me laugh and I think she's terrific. She speaks her mind, doesn't tap dance around subjects and you know where you stand with her.

The insurance job is different. I don't work directly with the boss, nor do I report to him. If I do my job, and others tell him so, there's no reason to speak to me. He expects to have adults working for him, not children. There is hardly any idle chit chat, goofing off or lag time. I get in, sit down and work. I eat at my desk, and work. The only time I stop is when one of three things happen: I visit the ladies room, I make my lunch or I leave for the day. Oh, make that four. COFFEE!! They provide coffee from a Keurig. Those things are AWESOME!

On the more personal front. I shattered a molar. I had a root canal done on it about 24 years or so ago. The doctor said I didn't have it taken out a moment too soon. Seems it fractured into ten pieces and every time I was biting down on it, the shards would shift enough to have sharp pieces digging bone out of my head. It's been a week post-op now. It feels weird and still very sore. Physically the worst is over. Financially?
Ha!

I'm one of the uninsured Americans. No dental insurance. The whole process of getting the tooth out was roughly around $300.00. Cheap.

To prevent my teeth shifting, my jaw reshaping and my bite going wonky, I have two serious options.
A bridge made up of porcelain crowns - $3,300.00 +/-
An implant, which is like surgery - $8,000+

Then there is the stop-gap.

The Flipper. A little device that will "hold" the space and hopefully slow down any shifting until I can decide what to do - $450.00
I can't eat or sleep with the Flipper in place due to it's being a choking hazard. Still unclear if I'd have to use Polident to hold it in place. EW!

I'll find out how I'm healing later this week.

As for winter 2011-2012, it's anti-climactic. After October's horrible snow storm, the ramifications of which are still being felt, we've hardly had any snow. We've nothing on the ground and in fact, have enjoyed balmy temperatures that make a person want to wear shorts. I'm not complaining. I'm still traumatized by that storm.

I guess that's it for now. I'm still reviewing and I still love books. I am enjoying flooding my NOOK with freebies from B & N and I read a really really good one the other day. Of course it was paranormal and a vampire, but the author captured the essence of her characters so they were three dimensional and interesting. It's a self published book and it read so fast and easy, I never noticed it was over 800+ pages. Imagine that!

Hope 2012 is shaping up to be a good year for you!