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Everything posted by Laurel-in-CA

  1. This week I've been reading Anne Perry (William Monk series of Victorian mysteries) and Anne Hillerman (Leaphorn and Chee series of mysteries on Navajo land). Really enjoying both but hate coming into the middle of a series. Anne Hillerman is following in her father Tony's footsteps and building on his characters, so it's interesting to see how another author handles the same fictional people. Anne Perry has a rather unconventional detective (with amnesia) and his female counterpart (a former nurse in the Crimea) and is definitely into looking below the surface at emotions, aspirations, motives, etc. Unfortunately, my library doesn't have the first books of the Monk series so I am having to intuit some things and I feel I am missing other things. Earthquake here this week, a small one but centered right under my house and gave us quite a sudden jolt. I squeaked in the middle of a meeting, LOL. All good though. Praying for Afghanistan, for those able to get out and those forced to stay.
  2. Geraldine MacCaughrean's retellings are illustrated but substantial, not kiddie versions. She has done lots of retellings, from Arthur & Canterbury Tales all the way back to Gilgamesh.
  3. Thanks for the good wishes for dh -- he had his post-op PSA test this week, very low but not yet zero so next retest in 3 mo. will tell the tale. Kareni asked about how my son got into ziplines. His first job was for the summer @ a christian camp that also had a commercial zipline course. When he turned 18 he applied to transfer there and has been a zipline course guide ever since. It was a great college job and he's been able to do some marketing and videography for them too, as well as training new guides in safety and course maintenance. A couple summers ago they built platform yurts up in the redwood canopy and he got to be part of the build team. The company that provided and directed assembly for the yurts also builds zipline courses around the world and they offered him a chance to help with the build in Alaska, all expenses and worktime paid! He'll video it too and provide them with some marketing content (his covid project was starting his own media company on the side). This week I finished The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe (which is a first book for a new book club), all about transitions in middle age for a group of friends who have...a book club. I have this in paperback...and discovered I find it a lot harder to pick up and read now that I am used to my kindle. Or maybe it's that I can't crochet while reading with a physical book like I can with the kindle? I also read The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah Eden, set in late Victorian times and populated by a cast of penny dreadful writers who have banded together to help London's needy in various ways. Interspersed with the story are episodes from two different writers' stories. I found that device at first distracting and then irritating. Doubt I will read more. And I enjoyed T.A. White's Firebird series (SF, space opera) and will look for more by her. About a broken hero who isn't and the secret investigation she's pursuing. My daughter was assigned Summary and Analysis of Caste by Isabel Wilkerson for her first history class at the CC. I think I'll see if the library has it and read along with her. Cheers to all and thank you for keeping my mind awake!
  4. Several weeks since I checked in. DH is recovering pretty well from his surgery; another couple of weeks until his final post-op appointment. We just saw young adult son off for a month in Alaska building a zipline course. I have so far taken 25 bags of books to the thrift store but still have 2 tables of history/english/science and several boxes of Sonlight books to deal with. Seriously procrastinating on posting them to web sites for sale, but the local interest has died out so I guess I'll have to get to it. Hoping revised covid guidelines will not interfere!! Joined an online book club, for which I am working on The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe--still working on it but need to be ready for discussion by the end of this week...underlining in pencil as I go so I can comment later. Haven't read a paper book in a long time and am finding it is harder to get motivated than with my Kindle, where I have been working on CJ Box mysteries -- they keep me reading late into the night. Just finished #11, Cold Wind, and have the next 2 on hold. Starting American Dreamer by Tim Tran, which is a memoir by a vietnamese refugee about coming to the US. As I have a friend whose husband has a similar story (just as much rags, but not as much riches), I am interested to read this. As my kids were enjoying some real, flavorful maple syrup this morning I commented on a sci fi story that had aliens and maple syrup in it, then had to go look it up. Turns out it's the start of a series by John Ringo, called Troy Rising. Rather fun. The first one is called Live Free or Die, which sounds right wing extremist, but really is not. As always, I read these threads with my library account open and add your recommendations to my wish list! Thank you, Robin, and happy reading to all!!!
  5. Hubby had to stay an extra day @ hospital due to very low blood pressure, so I started reading Westerly Gales to him--not a chapter in and he was released. He's home now, vegging out to TV and setting his phone timer to remember to walk around every hour. The steps are not the challenge I had feared they would be, but the foley bag and I have yet to have our evening close encounter, so we'll see. Needless to say, reading hasn't gotten much time apart from a Robert Heinlein: Beyond This Horizon. Then I have Sharon Kay Penman The Land Beyond the Sea lined up. That and the new online book club I joined should keep me busy for a week or two as dh recovers. Even when I don't comment or make it here in a given week, I go back and read all the threads, search my local library and recommend them if they're not in the overdrive collection. I so appreciate you for doing this, Robin!!
  6. Hello again! Weather cooler, surgery for dh tomorrow and he spends only 1 night in the hospital, so hurrah! He is surviving his fluids-only diet today with lots and lots of jello!! I am working on Who Speaks for the Damned (Sebastian St. Cyr, mystery) and enjoyed Mind Games (Eve Duncan series, a thriller). A sidenote to Kareni -- I really enjoyed that Nathan Lowell series too, and happy to see the character make Captain! I thought I had found all my old books to put on sale, but I found another box today -- a set of Spielvogel world history that I never used. I have a second group of 9 bags of too-used-to-sell books to take to the library; I may be able to reclaim my dining room table this weekend!! Two of my girls are off to camp in OR for a week, driving past those fires in Shasta and southern Oregon. I'll be happy to hear of their safe arrival!
  7. Checking in only periodically, yes, we are expecting 104 degrees tomorrow and no a/c in the house. I may go buy a wading pool to sit in. One of my kids is hostessing for outdoor dining and another is teaching swim classes in that! A couple of weeks back someone mentioned books related to sailing and immediately my favorites popped into mind. --the Steerswoman series - which has less to do with sailing and more to do with using the scientific method to solve a mystery from outer space --The Westerly Gales series - post-apocalyptic society surviving on a few islands, trying to expand to others beyond the southern seas (read it to find out why *just* islands I have been recommending many of the books mentioned here to my library and they must have made a big purchase because I suddenly have a bunch of "holds" that surprised me, including The Cybernetic Teashop (next up) and Chaos (just finished, thriller by Iris Johansen, very good). They also added a couple of Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries -- really enjoyed Who Speaks for the Damned and When Gods Die. I have started reading C.J. Box's mysteries about the game warden, Joe Pickett...very outside my suburban experience with unexpected and difficult endings, but I am enjoying them! Also read Catfishing on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer and am wishing my library had the sequel. A girl who's always moving on, whose "real" friends are cyberfriends...and then the *reason* she's been moved shows up (danger!) and her friends come together and help her in real life, not just cat pictures. Fun read! DH has his surgery next week and will be off work for 2-4 weeks. I expect we'll be spraying each other with water and sitting in front of the fan if this heat wave continues! Today we went to the mall for our lunchtime walk -- in the a/c!!
  8. Bonemaker by Sarah Beth Durst - I think the author was recommended here. There was a lot about teamwork, different kinds of magic with different kinds of bones, an evil magician against whom there were a number of setbacks before the final victory. I enjoyed it well enough. I also read the first Bridgerton Collection - books 1-3 - but I am not sure I will continue. A bit too much more than bodice-ripping for me. I think my adult kids gave up the series too for the same reason. And Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, I see Murderbot as mostly female....I think partly due to the fascination with media series (are women more likely to binge view than men?) and identification with female human characters. Scheduling dh's prostate surgery this afternoon -- probably a month out. And figuring out all the extra paperwork associated with not just one medical plan but a 2nd one (the cancer rider that only reimburses, so we have to submit billls in detail *after* paying them). Thankful to have it but implementation is more complicated and expensive than expected. Ain't that the truth!!
  9. Just finished Kerry Greenwood's series of bakery mysteries from my library, about an accountant turned baker and what happens in and around her artisan bakery and associated quirky apartment and fellow equally quirky residents in Melbourne, Australia. Fun read, and only one of the endings was some what predictable. Also finished "Rogues" - a collection of short stories about enjoyable rascals in SF&F...I only liked some of them. Now working on "Little Comfort, a Hester Thursby mystery set in modern day Boston. I think it was recommended here. Lots of graduation stuff for my youngest over the next couple of weeks, as well as driving test. Child #3 has her CNA license exam this week, praying for a no-migraine day when she takes it! DH and I are researching prostate cancer treatment options. After this past year's unpredictability and unemployment, we are inclined to opt for the solution that does *not* require a 2-year treatment plan. Luckily, it's early days. He still has some follow-ups to ascertain extent of cancer before we make a final decision. Oh, topped off with a root canal.
  10. 4 of us got the 2nd Pfizer shot this week. Other than being really tired that evening and a slight arm soreness -- we are fine. Even my allergy girl with asthma had no other side effects; they did make her wait 30 min. before coming home and her sister drove because allergy girl had taken benadryl just in case. The rest of us had no pre-medication. SO GLAD THAT'S DONE!!!!
  11. Our experience was that art colleges generally look at a portfolio for scholarships and worry less about transcript. My oldest attended one and she just had to *take* the SAT/ACT, not present a particular score; she didn't even have 2 years of foreign language on her transcript. (We'd planned for dual enrollment for that and then missed the boat.) She did a BFA studio art, but then went back to the CC to study graphic design and make her skills saleable. She's working in a print/sign shop now. So my advice there is to make sure that if you pursue an art degree you also think about how to make your art skills marketable. Check out National Portfolio Day and local art contests, exhibits, benefits/auctions and county fairs for opportunities to show her stuff and see other artists. With her skills, you might also look into "maker" fairs and workrooms/studios. She could try a variety of things and see some really cool applied arts stuff. An art degree at a state school here in CA, though, will have all the standard state transcript expectations and she'd have to do GE for 2 years before getting to focused art classes, do the SAT/ACT, etc. Alternatively, you might check out what arts classes are offered at your local CC. My son took pottery at ours and had an excellent teacher. And there are lots of dance and music classes at our CC, music appreciation, choir performance, etc. There are also local artist co-operatives and small exhibitions. Our city runs a yearly art contest that my girls have entered and enjoyed. CC for high school science would *only* be appealing to my artsy girl for 2 reasons: finish a year in a semester, and do something other than the standard 3-year progression. She has her sights set on astronomy and, possibly, botany. But if your dd goes that route, I think her completing college courses in high school should speak for itself....but I am not an admissions expert. Hope all of this idea-bouncing helps somehow!!
  12. I heard Gene Vieth talk about TWTM at our homeschool convention the first year it came out -- and I was sold! First I tweaked my Sonlight and then I went entirely eclectically classical. I think I've been on these boards since they started, though I'm more of a reader and less of a chatter. I actually wrote an article on our mom-run mini-co-op, which met for 4-5 years at a park (or crammed into my house) for an Academy Day, and that was up on the web site for awhile. Not sure if it still is. All those kids are grown and busy adulting now and my last is a senior in high school. Time flies! Now I'm writing about "back to work" in my 60s, pandemic unemployment, and the discoveries of linkedin. LOL
  13. 4 of us got the first Pfizer shot this week, one with *multiple* allergies. She had to wait 30 min. under observation, got a bit of itching in her throat and was otherwise fine. Benadryl took care of it. We will pre-dose benadryl for 2nd shot and have epipen handy. The rest of us have mild soreness in the arm, nothing else. One of my kids who's a healthcare student got Moderna and she had 3-4 fluish days with the 2nd shot, stayed in bed with ice pack (she gets migraines anyway, but they were worse), but never had breathing issues, etc., even though she has shellfish and other allergies.
  14. This week I read Driving the Deep by Susanne Palmer, sequel to Finder. Enjoyed this just as much as the first one and was happy to find the main character DID find belonging for himself...more than just a repo job. I highly recommend both books in the series. I wonder if there will be more to come? Also read Jacqueline Winspear's memoir, This Time Next Year We'll be Laughing. And now I know why her WW1 and WW2 mysteries feel so real. Story-telling is in her blood. Really enjoyed the read, as I have really enjoyed her mysteries. And nice to find out she's friends with Rhys Bowen, who I also enjoy. I ordered Jordan Peterson's book 12 Rules for Life as I wanted to know what all the fuss is about him. So far I haven't gotten past the intro, which may over-praise him. I am so out of the habit of reading real books, but I think I am going to want my pencil on this one (one of the joys of having *actual* pages is to make notes on them). Oh, and almost novellas, two by T. Kingfisher that have YA heroines: A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking and The Seventh Bride both fun fantasies with heroines who use magic in rather creative ways. All the non-healthcare workers in the house got their first vaccine shot this week, and my youngest had her first job interview and was offered the job, front counter at a local fancy bakery. It will be mommy transport until she gets her license -- the test is on her 18th birthday. This is something that got postponed due to covid and unemployment, but soon she'll be borrowing Dad's car (now he's working from home) and saving for her own vehicle.
  15. Taking a break from library books on Overdrive to read the Star Kingdom series by Lindsay Buroker on Kindle Unlimited. I really enjoyed her Emperor's Blade series, which is fantasy, and am finding her equally enjoyable with technie space opera. Her characters are fun! Two of them are clones of an ancient military hero....who grow up and turn out very, very differently. And that's just for starters. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45353889-shockwave?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=ZsDjMJp0oJ&rank=1
  16. We're already in our mid-60s and our last kiddo graduates high school this year. DH will probably work until she finishes her BA -- 3 to 4 years. By that time, hopefully the two 20-somethings still house-sharing will be on their own too. We plan to move to a cheaper state but would like to be near family -- which would mean not that much savings in housing costs. Otherwise, it's start over somewhere newer, cheaper, and probably much more expensive for our kids to come visit. DH will probably survive me as I have more "conditions" than he does, LOL. Right now we think that if we can cover housing by buying something within our equity and social security doesn't go away, we should be able to manage retirement. Probably. But like all of us, we're seeing life as a lot less predictable after this year...so only God knows for sure. Man proposes, God disposes, eh? My mom was in assisted living until she started falling (she had parkinson's and diabetes) and then moved to a small family care home. Very stressful for my sister making the move, but it was a wonderful place for her to spend her final years. They took her to dr. appts., chose menus she liked, in the end fed her spoonful by spoonful and helped her swallow (yes, PD affects those muscles too). Lovely people with a gift for kindness.
  17. Your comments about the fitness difference between you and your dh are spot on. In our case, I'm the less fit one but we've started walking together at lunch and then he goes out evenings to play ping pong for a couple hours with friends. I work on not feeling abandoned -- after all, it's not that I *like* ping pong. We've recently added pickleball doubles once/week and there he can play against friends and if need be I can sit out a game. My brother is fiercely fit @ 60 and his wife has rheumatoid arthritis. They go to a local park where he runs while she walks and they chat whenever he runs past her. And then he has a group of guys he hikes/cycles with. Just wanted to say, good for you for working it out!
  18. I chose to pull all my homeschool years under one heading as Writing coach/tutor. I did teach co-op classes during that time, even designing my own curriculum for some, and that is relevant to my area of expertise. I was also told to take off the dates of my degrees, as that's a dead giveaway as to age. My resume includes only my current work (freelancing), my homeschool "work related" tasks, and my Before-Kids corporate job. I left off the other stuff before that. I have been told to use the cover letter to explain my detour into home education...or at least the reason I was working p/t for 15 years....like they couldn't guess at that? Really, I want to tell them that I was improving my relevant skills during that time. Pay equal attention to your linkedin profile. Once I had a solid resume I could use that to fill in the linkedin profile but I wanted linkedin to be shorter, sweeter, more focused on the type of job I wanted. And then connect with anyone in previous jobs and/or with the job title you want or who will be your reference. Linkedin became my dh's rolodex when he was job hunting and it worked even better than a recruiter.
  19. I will add that our county has a FB page for gardeners and there are always exchanges of seeds/suggestions on there. NextDoor also lists overabundances of fresh produce to be shared/traded.
  20. This happened to us last February, right before the shutdown started....after 10 years on the job and completely out of the blue, living in a very expensive part of the country. We did have severance but not COBRA and I had been out of the work force for 15-plus years. Our kids are a bit older, but you are right, yours are old enough to notice and old enough to be told, in fact, old enough to help you plan for possibilities as a family. In our case, we were very open, which helped all of our anxiety. Because of the shutdown, I feel, the job hunt was twice as long as it would otherwise have been. I do think things are better now. What we did, in no particular order: -- Start praying for our ideal job solution (unlikely as it was) and ask our friends to pray with us. Hold possibilities lightly (don't over-invest in them). -- Invite a realtor over to suggest ways to improve the marketability of the house, what we did/didn't need to do. We completed some very small projects but mostly she told us we could probably get at/below market without major investments. LOTS of book decluttering (took us forever and still at it); every box to the thrift store is a deduction on taxes and less to move if you eventually have to. -- Investigated my return to work. In fact I was able to connect with a former work colleague and do writing/editing for him remotely and he paid me by the hour....that got us through. Because I am working from home, there was still some flexibility in my schedule and we were able to work around other family stuff. -- The difference between COBRA and covered CA basic plan for us was a couple of thousand a month. We went with the cheaper option. Likewise we postponed my then 16yo's driver's liscense...little did we know it would be put off for a year and a half! Just getting started back on that. -- The best tip dh got about job hunting was to pay for a professional membership to LinkedIn and use it like his own personal networking platform to connect with people he used to work with, find out about job leads, post his resume, etc. The job dh eventually got came up on linkedin, an old colleague was the hiring manager, and even though it took 1.5 mo to get hired has been a great fit. Recruiters and indeed.com were not nearly as effective as LinkedIn., -- And yes, the food pantries are there for "people like me" in all situations. Don't hesitate to ask for, show up for, accept help. In a previous layoff, when our kids were little and I found out I was pregnant with #4, we also had a formerly homeless friend living in our patio and his contribution to the household was to go to all the food banks in the area weekly...he was our forager. Foraging made him feel valued and valuable. --If you garden, if your neighbors garden, plant food. It is very therapeutic in such circumstances to be able to gather something from your garden for dinner. Often there are neighborhood exchanges. This year my community is giving out seed start sets to people who will agree to donate that food. In our case, dh finally got a job offer just before Thanksgiving and started 1/1/21. It turns out to be the job we were praying for, although I was convinced it was a pretty big ask of God; slightly lower salary so it's good I am working a bit too. We didn't have to move, which was good because mid-year my 28yo lost her job and moved back in with us, bag and baggage and shed. I think the job hunting situation is much better now than it was the first 6 mos. of shutdown. I encourage you to hope for the best and plan for the possibilities. ❤️
  21. Been off a couple of weeks. Just finished this: The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Though it has a winter month in the title, that is actually the name of the main character/narrator. This one would get 5 stars from me! The author has won a bunch of SF awards. In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow's spellbinding debut--step inside and discover its magic.
  22. I just finished Finder - recommended here. Quite enjoyable, though I have trouble with keeping all those habitats in my head and which goes where. I have the next book on hold at the library. Read the Art of Detection (Det. Kate Martinelli) for a change of pace from Laurie King. Did not like it as well as the Mary Russell series. On to Rivera Gold next week.
  23. I used to take my Sonlight catalog with me everywhere, looking for all the books on the list at every thrift store in town, once/month or so---what joy when I found books for 25 cents! And I poured over catalogs -- this was 20 years ago, of course. Now it's all online, including samples. It used to be I would only get my math and spelling/handwriting workbooks new, plus maybe the instructor's guide, but I realized when we hit high school that "used" was going to be a lot harder to find. At first I incorporated TWTM stuff into Sonlight, but after awhile I realized that I did want my kids to learn to learn from textbooks. (Their first encounters involved a great deal of whining about boredom, as expected.) And, for me at least, it was easier to arrange things to match with state high school course plans and I wasn't going to do a good job at high school foreign language. We settled for latin in upper elementary and middle school with spanish @ the local community college. And I used to think of buying new curriculum as an investment, but nobody seems the least bit interested in buying it these days, even in near-new condition. (Wishing I were better at emptying my garage!) And there's never enough time for all the good books, all the good materials, all the discussions you want to have -- so make the most joy and learning you can out of every moment.
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