Sunday, April 23, 2017

Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

The fact that I was expecting a horror novel and got a thriller is my fault, not the author's or the publisher. And since I am not a big fan of thrillers, I went into this book with a feeling of obligation rather than excitement.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. While I wouldn't re-read it, the pacing was good, all the characters enjoyable (although the Russian Major General is a bit two-dimensional) and the plot kept my attention.

This novel might be an even bigger pleasure for someone who loves thrillers, but for me it was still an engaging read.



I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend To-Do List

Updated Saturday, 11/26/16

1.   Be thankful.  Doing that all day, for my family, my friends, my dog, my job, that there are books and food and music in my life.

2.   Take out compost.  Once, plus washed out the sink-side container and have started a box for floor sweepings and plant trimmings.  

3.   Take out recyclables.  I made two trips out on Thursday and one on Friday, and then took the container out.  After the pickup I realized I still had a bagful of stuff from work, so I went out and got the bin and re-filled it halfway.

4.   Load dishwasher, run dishwasher, unload, load.  I'll probably run it once more tomorrow night.

5.   Scan and e-mail stuff to Mom.  Done, despite an elderly and cranky printer

6.   Make my bed. Every single day, yay me!

7.   Make the dog's bed.  Also every single day, so another yay!

8.   Fold and put away clean clothes. Done, but will have to do it again tomorrow night after laundry morning at Mom's.

9.   Hang up and put away other clean clothes. Same as #8

10. Clear off flat surfaces. Didn't get done. :-(

11. Clean said flat surfaces.  Didn't get done. :-(

12. Hook up Magic Jack and call Scary Bear. Didn't get done. :-( But if I clean off the desk, maybe he can do it while he's waiting for the washing machine... }:)

13. Buy washing machine.  Got a great buy on an Electrolux from HH Gregg, and they surprised me by saying it will be delivered on Tuesday, which is too soon.  When I called to reschedule, the CSR told me my order had been cancelled and if I attempted to place it again it would be cancelled again and I should go to the store.  Ugh.

14. Get all plants in from the garage.  All 28 of them.  Ouch.

15. Get all plants arranged in house.  I've got one spider plant I don't have room for and am loath to toss onto the compost because it's healthy, damnit!

16. Go water-walking.  Gave this up in lieu of getting plants in and the breezeway semi-tidied because I am hoping Dad will be here to let the washing machine people in.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Six thousand steps before lunch and panhandled by a toddler

It's been a bit since I posted here, and I still need to finish my travelogue!  All I can say is that I haven't felt like writing.  Somehow, the day on Thursday made me want to write it up.  A couple of weeks ago I bought I cheap pedometer from Walgreens.  I've been averaging 4-5000 steps per day and hoping to get better as time goes on.  On Thursday I had 6000 by lunch and another 3000 by bedtime!

A little background: in 2014, the judge set up twice-monthly hearings where interested* parties have a chance to object to estate inventories and accounts.  I'm in charge of pulling the files, giving them to the magistrate covering the hearing, explaining the rules to people who want to object, checking folks in and sometimes explaining to people who show up that they don't need to be there when nobody has objected.

Some hearing days we have no cases, some days we have lots of cases, and on days like Thursday, we have only a few cases with a boatload of people.  They all need to be herded into groups and then into the hearing room one case at a time, and sometimes kept apart if there are strong emotions at play.  The magistrate took people into the hearing room on the basis of "First case with all their people here goes first" and once she had the first case being heard, I had a minute to call the attorney for one side of the third case, because she hadn't shown up yet.

The parties for our three cases were interesting.  One had a trio of African-American great-aunts, ladies who looked like they had seen some shit and weren't taking any, another had a really arrogant asshole attorney and the third had a guy who looked, sounded, and shook hands like he'd been living in a cave his whole life.  Damp, pallid, skinny and doughy.  ::shudder::

So in the middle of running back and forth herding cats and occasionally stopping at my desk to try to work on guardians' accounts, I was stopped by the gumball machine by an adorable little boy who asked me if I had a quarter.  Softie that I am, I gave him two.

Things were calmer once the magistrate cleared all the cases.  I call her "The Fastest Pen in the Midwest" for good reason--in one of the cases, she had her decision to me before my colleague had even docketed the attorney's notice of appearance. :-)

I did manage to get all the accounts and inventories published or approved that afternoon and cleared my desk of a boatload of work.  I also got a notification that a library book I'd been waiting on had come in, so I stopped on my way home to pick it up.  My phone rang when I was two blocks from home, but I knew it just meant Mom had beat me to the house, so I didn't answer.

Mom and Dad have been emptying the attic, so Mom brought over a bunch of unused carpet scraps for me to put out for the fabric recycling company to pick up Friday morning.  I fed the dog and let her out and put her away again while Mom was stuffing bags and carrying them to the curb.  I helped with the last bag and then we were off to Home Goods.  Mom had a bunch of rewards, so she gave me half, and I got the softest new blanket and a shedload of hand soaps (for home and for work) and three yummy-smelling Halloween candles.

After that we had dinner at Aladdin's and then went to Gabriel Brothers, where I found a gorgeous fall jacket for only $12.99 and Mom looked at all the bras and didn't buy any because they were all push-ups.  I got home about 9, lit the juniper and clementine candle and was glad that Mom & I had gone out, even after a very busy day.

*"Interested" is used here as a legal term--someone has to have a stake or share in the estate, not an interest in the sense of curiosity.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bordeaux to Britain, Days 6-8

Day 6, 4/28/16

After coming back to the ship from Guernsey, getting cleaned up and eating dinner, Mom & I skipped the reception line for our distinguished guest and spent a quiet evening reading, writing notes on the day (Mom) and downloading photos (me).  Thursday, April 28 was a day at sea as we moved from Guernsey to Normandy, France.

Mom and I had our usual breakfast, hung around for a bit afterwards and talked to people, and then went back to the room to get ready to face the day.  Dressed and made up and all that jazz, we headed up to the little theater to listen to a talk from our guest lecturer, David Eisenhower.  I'm sorry that link doesn't have a current picture, because he does look very much like his grandfather.  His wife, who is equally recognizable, is Julie Nixon Eisenhower.

The lecture was good, mostly about Normandy, both the history and then the events of WWII, culminating of course in D-Day.  After the lecture, we had lunch, then spent a quiet afternoon, including a nap for me.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Get off mah lawn!

The good news is that I now have a cane to wave at any young whippersnappers, plus I have really adorable knee dimples. The bad news is that I have a fucking cane on the day I am reading at the wedding of my oldest friend in the world because I wasn't paying attention last night and missed a step into the garage. One. Damn. Step. I got up, got the dog food out of the car, came in the house and went about my normal routine, including evening meds and bed at 11. I woke up at 3 with horrible pain, and because my knee wouldn't support my weight, it took me an hour to get dressed and put the dog downstairs and drive myself to the hospital. After x-rays, ibuprofen, an ice pack and some shade from a young male doc about my weight, they set me free at 6 to go pick up more meds and a cane. I have to give a huge thanks to the pharmacist on duty at my local Walgreen's. He let me wait in my car in the drive-through, went out to the retail side and got me a quad cane, filled my prescriptions and ran it all through my insurance while being incredibly nice. Then we worked together to get the cane through the drive-through window so I didn't have to go inside.

So I got home, fed LMPP, took some ibuprofen and fell asleep for a few hours. I am going to this wedding and I am stopping to pick up a frame for the magical wedding certificate Violante de Rojas made for the brides.

Of course, I am also going to look like a damn fool, because I am one.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bordeaux to Britain Days 4-5

Day 4, 4/26

Day 4 was St. Malo, France, where there is a medieval abbey, Mont St. Michel.  Our daily info sheet warned us the walk was pretty rugged, and my ankle still hurt, so I opted to stay on the ship.  There were only 2 other wimps, but we had a nice lunch and I read a lot, put my foot up and took a long nap.  The only thing missing was a hot bath!

Day 5, 4/27

On day 5, we got an extra hour, due to being on British time rather than French, and so we got to see the ship approach Guernsey, one of Britain's Channel Islands.


More words and pictures after the jump!