Books Read in 2014


78. Kushiel’s Avatar, Carey, Jacqueline
77. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Black, Holly
76. Meet Me in the Moon Room, Vukcevich, Ray
75. Kushiel’s Chosen, Carey, Jacqueline
74. The Golem and the DJinni, Wecker, Helene
73. Kushiel’s Dart, Carey, Jacqueline
72. Fearsome Journeys (The New Solaris Book of Fantasy 1), Bear, Elizabeth, et. al.
71. *Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman
70. The Beckoning Lady, Allingham, Margery
69. Dancers in Mourning, Allingham, Margery
68. Sweet Danger, Allingham, Margery
67. Mystery Mile, Allingham, Margery
66. The Fashion in Shrouds, Allingham, Margery
65. Look to the Lady, Allingham, Margery
64. Mr. Campion’s Lucky Day and Other Short Stories, Allingham, Margery
63. More Work for the Undertaker, Allingham, Margery
62. Tiger in the Smoke, Allingham, Margery
61. Death of a Ghost, Allingham, Margery
60. Police at the Funeral, Allingham, Margery
59. Flowers for the Judge, Allingham, Margery
58. Pearls Before Swine, Allingham, Margery
57. Miss Buncle Married, Stevenson, D. E.
56. Miss Buncle’s Book, Stevenson, D. E.
55. *Vampires in the Lemon Grove, (short story anthology),Russell, Karen
54. *Troubled Waters, Shinn, Sharon
53. *Wakulla Springs (Novella), Duncan Andy, Klages, Ellen
52. Sethra Lavode, Book 3 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
51. The Lord of Castle Black, Book 2 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
50. Peacemaker, Foreigner #15, Cherryh, C. J.
49. The Paths of the Dead, Book 1 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
48. The Manual of Detection, Berry, Jedediah
47. Summer at Fairacre. Book 2 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
46. Village Centenary, Book 1 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
45. Assassin’s Assistant, Hobb, Robin
44. No Holly For Miss Quinn, Book 3 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
43. The Christmas Mouse, Book 2 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
42. Village Christmas, Book 1 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
41. *Life After Life, Atkinson, Kate
40. Storm in the Village, Book 3 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
39. Village Diary, Book 2 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
38. Village School, Book 1 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
37. *Shadow Magic, Wrede, Patricia
36. Harfang Book #1, Demilly, Aurore (graphic novel)
35. Iorich, Brust, Steven
34. Book of Enchantments, Wrede, Patricia
33. Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille, Brust, Steven
32. Jhegaala, Book 2 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
31. Dzur, Book 1 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
30. Tiassa, Brust, Steven
29. Issola, Book 2 of The Book of Dragon, Steven Brust
28. Dragon, Book 1 of The Book of Dragon, Brust, Steven
27. Orca, Book 2 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
26. Athyra, Book 1 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
25. Phoenix, Book 2 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
24. Taltos, Book 1 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
23. Sector General, White, James
22. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, Watson, Winifred
21. Tekla, Book 3 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
20. Yendi, Book 2 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
19. Jhereg, Book 1 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
18. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, Cliff, Tony (graphic novel)
17. By Blood We Live, Adams, John Joseph, editor
16. The Tenth Gift, Johnson, Jane
15. *The Birthday of the World, LeGuin, Ursula
14. The Lantern Bearers, Sutclif, Rosemary
13. The Silver Branch, Sutcliff, Rosemary
12. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman, Neil.
11. The Eagle of the Ninth, Sutcliff, Rosemary
10. A Phantom Lover, Lee, Vernon
9. Talking to Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles IV, Wrede, Patricia
8. Searching for Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles III, Wrede, Patricia
7. Dealing with Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles II, Wrede, Patricia
6. Calling on Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles I, Wrede, Patricia
5. Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights, Toppi, Sergio (graphic novel)
4. *Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Allen, Mike, editor
3. *The Day They Brought the Bears to Belfast, Lee, Sharon (short story)
2. *Surfside, Lee, Sharon (short story)
1. *Life in a Tudor Palace, Gidlow, Christopher


Coolth Has Been Restored


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Evidently, I got a bum battery, because the brand new batteries I put in the thermostat were straight from the package.  One of them was dead, according to the handy man, who twiddled and fiddled with the thermostat for a total of five minutes and got it working again.  This was shortly after 10 a.m. (I probably was not holding my mouth right when I put the batteries in . . . ) Thankfully, the house had already cooled down somewhat since midnight and it was only 78F/25.5C inside when he got the thing working again.  It got cooled down to 76F/24.4C pretty quickly and I and the kitties crawled into bed and crashed out.

Today is payday, and I just ordered a vacuum.  My BFF has this kind and she likes it a lot, particularly the “pet brush,” which is a brush with motorized head that goes on the hose, which is for upholstery (and in my case, the bed spread). They promise it will be here on Saturday.  I guess I shall have to put a sign on my door, underneath that jive doorbell, “I am here, press hard.”  The doorbell does work, but it’s a mechanical bell, rather than an electronic one, so you have to press the doorbell button firmly to make it plong.

I’ve had my bowl of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest cereal and Silk vanilla almond milk, and that’s given me the energy I need to go back to sleep.  (A cup of almond milk, a container of yogurt, and a cup of appropriate fruit plus ice in a blender makes a great smoothie, by the way.  Just saying.)

When the white kitty woke me up (Did I mention what a little diva he is?), I was dreaming that the Queen and I were lying on our stomachs on the floor while I explained to her the intricacies of a particular treadmill.  This particular treadmill was a “tandem” treadmill and was linked to another treadmill.  Whatever the other treadmill did, this one did also.  There was a part that folded out, and when it was folded out on one treadmill, it would fold out automatically on the other one.  Evidently whoever had this treadmill was unhappy about this and and had nailed that part shut so it wouldn’t unfold.


Well, Of Course!


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I stayed up late Monday (didn’t go to bed until nearly noon Tuesday!) and I was hot when I woke up after 5 p.m.  Lay in the bed and read until 8 p.m.  Was still hot.  Got up to look at the thermostat to see what the temperature was, and it was blank.  Changed out the batteries.  No soap.  Still blank.  The blower still works, but there is no temperature control to turn the cooling function on, so it’s after midnight now,  it’s 80F/26.6C n my bedroom, and I’m sweating like the proverbial pig.  Did me a whole lot of good to take a shower and wash my hair.  I sent an email to my apartment manager to the effect that my thermostat is kaput.  Naturally, and most inconveniently, I have jury duty tomorrow and I have to be downtown and sitting in the jury pool room by 8 a.m.  We have to turn off our cellphones while we’re there so there’s no way the apartment manager can get in touch with me.  I am already worried sick because it’s supposed to be 97F/36.1C tomorrow, and the white one has such long fur, and he’s 15.  Even short haired cats don’t tolerate heat very well, and he’s already lying on his back which mean’s he’s hot.  So I’m going to be down town and my poor babies are going to be shut up in my bedroom in case they come fix my thermostat while I’m gone.  . . . .

Drawing © 2014 Doodlemum

Drawing © 2014 Doodlemum

This just in:  I checked the County website again — Jury Duty is Cancelled!!!  I don’t have to report.  WHEW! Now I can stay home and melt until they get my thermostat fixed.

I hope they can get it done tomorrow. Surely, they can . . .?  This weekend it’s supposed to be up in the 100′sF/37.7+C on both Saturday and Sunday.  I may have to empty and wash out out a spray bottle of something and mist us to keep us cool. That will not be popular with the kitties. If things get too bad I might can MacGyver a swamp box with a pan of water, a towel and a fan. . .

The Office: A Progress Report


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2014_07_19-012014_07_19-02The office closet is sorted.  All the plastic bins are in use now.  I took all the empty boxes (only 10) over for my mom to put in their attic.  I only have three boxes left, and those contain computer equipment, tape transcription equipment, and jewelry making stuff.  I may get some smaller bins for those.  Or not.  The white baskets are “project baskets.”  I only have two projects in baskets at the moment:  Sock feet that need the heels turned, the cuffs done, and soles put on, and I’m going to start a pair of two at a time baby booties in baby green using my sock foot pattern.  One of the tellers at my bank branch looks about 6 months pregnant.  Knitters are no different from any other makers.  We are people who love to make things just looking for an excuse to make something.

The closets have sliding doors.  One of the sliding doors on this closet does not want to slide.  It will if you force it to, but I don’t know if the wheels are old and shot, or if the top of the door binds against the bottom of the track or what.  It does not bother me enough to do something about it, though.

2014_07_19-03I still have not put the foam board over the bedroom window yet.  Next week. I still have one pegboard to do, and in order to put it in place, I’m going to have to take everything off the plywood and pull the board out from the wall (which will be a pain in the butt to do) so that the pegboard will be resting against the floor and not the plywood.  This will help keep it upright. I’ve also got a few more pictures to hang, and I still haven’t sorted my books out.

I have a summons to report for jury duty this coming Wednesday.  We are not allowed to bring pointy objects like scissors, knitting needles or anything that can be used as a weapon. (Good think I don’t know Kung Fu, or I’d have to leave my hands and feet at home!) Naturally, I’m in the mood to be knitting.  Guess I’ll have to bring a book instead.  I have to be downtown at the jury selection place before 8 a.m., which means I have to leave here by 7:30 a.m. so I’ll have time to park in the lot and then schlep to the place we’re supposed to go.  I went to get my mail this afternoon and guess what?  I had another summons to report for jury duty next month!  Of course Wednesday has a forecast high of 99F/37.2C.  Our lows this week are forecast to be between 71-73F/26.6-27.7C.  I hear southeast England is getting a taste of what it’s like here most of the summer, every year.  Welcome to our world, sort of.  I’ll bet their humidity will be a lot higher than ours, though.  I saw where the weather they’re forecast has been compared to the weather in Houston, Tx.  That’d be about right.  Heat-wise as well as humidity-wise.  At least, most of the time up here in the flatlands, perspiration does what it’s supposed to — cool by evaporation.  However, people will have to be sure to keep themselves hydrated in any case because they’ll be perspiring like crazy, regardless of whether it evaporates or not.  Dehydration is a real danger when it’s hot.  Wear hats, people.

On a brighter note, I get paid Wednesday, and when I get home from Jury duty, I’m buying a vacuum.  I should get it by Friday.   In the meantime, I’m going to get my size 2 (2.75mm) circular needles and a couple balls of baby green yarn and do some two at a time baby booties for the lady at my bank branch.  позже, y’all.

Killing a Small Stone


“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

William Faulkner

So, die, you darling, die:
I lift to my lips a cobalt blue glass and sip raspberry tea, rattling with ice cubes.  The glass is sweating profusely in the unaccustomed humidity; droplets of condensation drip from its nether edge and hit my tee-shirt like tiny water balloons.  If I were to go out walking this very minute, what would passersby think of my tee-shirt speckled with dark blots of moisture just in this one small area of midriff ?  I imagine Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock glancing my way, his eyebrow rising, one corner of his mouth quirking wryly,  putting period to his deductions with a single soft Humph! of amusement.

Madder Than the Proverbial Wet Hen*



First, AT&T billed me for a full month for the month of May, when my service was discontinued on the 19th and my equipment was mailed back on the same day via UPS per their instructions (and I have the UPS receipt to prove it).  Then in June, they tell me they owe me $91.17 and change because I overpaid.  Duh! So I call them the day I got that bill and asked them, “Where’s my $91 bucks.”  Oh, it’s company policy that they won’t send it until they’ve verified that they have my equipment, which they should have gotten within 10 days if it was sent by UPS ground.  Oh, you’ll get it at the end of July.  So I called again Monday to ask where my check is.  They said, oh, it’ll be mailed out to the duplex address — which is where I haven’t lived since 05/19.  So I gave them my forwarding address.  Today I got the check $91.17, mailed to my forwarding address,   AND I GOT ANOTHER BILL FROM AT&T FOR THE BILLING PERIOD 06/07-07/06 CHARGING ME A $5 “CONVENIENCE FEE”!!!!

Needless to say, I pinballed between the floor and ceiling four or five times and got on the phone to AT&T.  The first time I called, they wanted me to take a survey to be eligible to win a Caribbean vacation, press 1 to begin.  Press 1 to begin.  Press 1 to begin.  When I refused to press 1, they hung up on me. So I called again, and after it rang six or seven times, I got the phone tree guy. I must say it only took two “branchings” for me to get to a live American human being.  It usually takes four or five.

First, I explained to the lady that I mailed every piece of AT&T equipment I had back on 5/19, and that I had the receipt from UPS to prove it.  Secondly, I explained that I could not have been using AT&T TV and internet services until 5/21, which is when the bill showed they had been discontinued, because in the first place, as of 5/19 I was no longer residing at that location, and in the second place, neither were my phone, computer and TV, and even if they had been there, I had no AT&T equipment to hook them up to because I’d sent everything back on 5/19.  And then I explained to the lady that in addition to the check for $91.17, which I got today, I also got a bill for the billing period of 6/7-7/6 charging me a $5 “convenience fee,” which amount was due in full by 7/31, and where do they get off charging me a “convenience fee” after they’ve drawn interest on my $91 bucks for a whole month and a half?

I managed to keep a civil tongue, and the AT&T lady was very nice and contrite, and saw in her records that, yes, indeed, my equipment had all been surrendered to UPS on 5/19, and she professed puzzlement at them charging me a “convenience fee.”  The upshot of the phone call was that they are going to issue me a check for $22.25, which was what they tried to overcharge me over and above the $91.17 they said I had overpaid them, and I do not owe them the $5 “convenience fee.”  I was going to say that actually, THEY should pay ME a $5 INconvenience fee, because it took four phone calls over the course of three months to get this mess straightened out, but I was able to restrain myself.   I will say this, though.  After the billing department had tried to pull a fast one on me, she then had the brass to ask me if I knew that I could get Dish satellite service at my present location.  (Dish is a subsidiary of AT&T.)  No, I don’t want DISH.  I’ve had it.  That’s why I changed to AT&T Uverse in the first place because I was tired of fooling with service outages every time it rained.  And besides, AT&T Uverse wasn’t available where I was currently living. Then she asked me if I wanted them to call me when AT&T Uverse was available in my area!  I did not say, “Not bloody likely!” but as I politely declined that’s what I was thinking.  I told her, no, Suddenlink was giving me the same services I had through AT&T but were charging me $20 a month less for it.

I hope I get my $22.25 by the end of next week.  That plus the $91.17 I got today will just about buy me a new vacuum cleaner for carpet.  I think I’m going to get one like my BFF has.  In the meantime, I think I’ve had enough aggravation for one night.  Guess I’d better shut the computer down and go take my shower and wash my hair.

*The proverbial wet hen.

Pausing To Take A Calming Breath


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It took until 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to finally get my pay sent to Paypal.  Whoever had copied my email address had put in an extra “L” in the @ part.  Sigh.  However, I did get the bill paid on time, and I am paid in full across the board — for the moment.

I had two onions that needed to be used, so I made another bowl of beet salad, and did some Carving Board roast beef in my chopper and made a sandwich spread with it, plus onions plus pickles plus mayo.  It was delicious on a toasted ciabatta bun, as well as spooned on crackers.

I was daddy sitting Sunday, and on Dish, there’s an arts channel they get that shows “arts” videos — clips of opera singers, classical music, ballet, etc.  All of them are from last century (weird to realize that “last century” was only 14 years ago) and most of them are pre-1980.  There are some clips from the old “Bell Telephone Hour” and clips of Van Cliburn winning the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and all sorts of famous opera singers — Callas, Nilsson, Te Kanawa, Sutherland, Sills to name a few of the ladies.  My mom loves it.  I watch it when there’s nothing else interesting on, especially on Friday and Sunday mornings, and particularly if I’ve brought a book.  I was watching it the other day and saw the below video.

Now you have to realize, I was also reading a book and missed the opening credits, so I didn’t see who the pianists were.  That one at the front caught my eye.  I did a double take . . . I thought, that looks like . . .yes, that’s exactly who it is! Oh, wow, and the other one is Michael Tilson-Thomas!  Based on how young (and drule-worthy!) cellist Steven Isserlis is, I would say this video was made sometime around 1976-78. People who know Dudley Moore from his acting often don’t know that he was a very accomplished piano player and composer. The piece they are playing is very famous in the ballet world as well:

“The Dying Swan” was made famous by Anna Pavlova who danced with the Ballets Russe.  Here, we see it danced by Maya Thickenthighya, from Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo, choreography by Michel Fokine, music by Camille Saint-Saens.

Anyway, thus endeth the lesson in culcha for today.

In other news, the white one is still hopping about on one forepaw for the most part, but he will walk gingerly five or six feet on the ailing paw more and more often.  The weather is still overcast and, we hope, rainy.

Squeaking By


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Worked all Thursday night (46 minutes of dictation = 18 pages), and all Friday night trying to make $80 to pay my electricity bill.  I would have done it, too, except, after having typed since 10 o’clock Friday night, I ran out of gas at 9 o’clock Saturday morning 5 minutes into a 34 minute sound file (worth $22).  I’d already transcribed 50 minutes of dictation (=16 pages) by that point, and I’d reached the pushing-a-chain stage. (Reference a Cousin Minnie Pearl routine: And hyar come Brother a’draggin’ this heavy ol’ loggin’ chain down the road a’hind of him, and I said, “Brother, why are you a’draggin’ that ol’ chain around ‘ahind of you?” And Brother said, “Did you ever try pushin’ one?”) I was looking at another 3 or 4 hours of typing and I just couldn’t do it.  I was just too tired and my finger joints hurt.  The 71 minutes I’d typed over the two days worked out to $61, and I had enough in the bank to take up the slack and still pay my “Oz”* water bill and buy two ink cartridges for my printer. (The magenta cartridge was empty and the cyan cartridge is almost empty).  I’ve taken to working at night because the choice of sound files is better, and the three kids that live upstairs (none of whom are in school yet) are asleep.  Even so, all four sound files were taped phone conversations — you can hear the person making the call fine, but the sound quality of the person they’re talking to can be problematic. Out of the four, one transcript was graded, and I got a 5/5, which is the best score you can get. However, rejecting that one sound file Saturday morning means I have to type the next six sound files I take and can’t reject any of them or I screw up my average.

I wrote the above early Sunday morning.  It’s early Tuesday morning now.  I went to Paypal to check the exact amount that had been deposited so I would know how much I needed to take out of my other account when I paid my electricity bill.  Guess what.  My Paypal account, which had been empty last week, was still empty. No deposit had been made.  &^%$#*&)@#!Q!@.  I just emailed that jive outfit I work for about this and now I’ll be cooling my heels until they get around to replying.  I doubt I’ll be going to bed any time soon since they’re in San Francisco, and two hours behind us, I can’t call them until 10 o’clock my time, assuming I can get anybody to answer the phone, and assuming I can get a straight answer.  %^&$%$#!@#$% and furthermore, #%*&^@$#@!  Needless to say, if they had a problem with making or processing the depositing, they didn’t bother to let anybody (like me!) know about it.

In other news, for the past couple of days, the white one has occasionally been putting weight on his gimpy foot.  He’ll walk on it for maybe five or six steps, then go back to hopping on the one foreleg.  However, when he is walking on his foot, you can tell he’s not putting his full weight on it.   Since he didn’t start limping until last week. That argues he’s not done anything very serious to his foot, and that it was probably just a sprain.  The little dweeb has been up on my computer desk again, and has chewed on my earphone cord.  Fortunately, he didn’t break through the insulation.  I get so perturbed at the little beast sometimes.

It was thundering earlier.  My weather widget shows it’s raining.  Looked out the front door a while ago and the parking lot is wet, so it has been raining.  If it is still raining, it’s not raining very hard.  More like drizzling. We’re forecast for more of the same for today and the next two days.  Yes, please!




*”Oz” – reverse osmosis


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