"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March Madness (or, Where I've Been and Why I Haven't Posted)

Wow, March is almost over and I only posted once :-(

My Muse is no longer missing, but she has been told to sit quietly in the corner for a bit longer while general living takes precedence. 

I'm over whatever crud I suffered from in February, which is good, because I spent a week this month cross-training at the office.  What an eye-opener!  I learned that I indeed still enjoy learning new things, but that absorbing information and putting it into daily practice are two very different things.  I also learned that I function much better in a solo environment (I had totally forgotten how loud a call center environment really is).  Yet another lesson is that it is much easier to keep a positive attitude about work when exposure to negative attitudes is kept to a bare minimum.

I also found a fantastic place to stay--Homestead Studio Suites.  Clean, neat, friendly staff, reasonable pricing, and even "green"...they use toilet tissue made from recycled paper and CFL bulbs in all the light fixtures.  The kitchenette was super clean and as I had a refrigerator, stove, microwave, toaster and coffeepot, I only ate out because I chose to and not because I had to.  I couldn't ask for anything more from a hotel, especially since the bus stop was right at the end of the driveway and there was a Walgreens as well as multiple restaurants within a block's walk. Next time, I may even remember to ask for the senior discount, since they consider 55 a senior (I didn't learn that until after I got home).  The only downside was the dearth of decent TV...they lean heavily toward ESPN and news channels.  Thank the Creator I had my Kindle with me LOL.

So, I read.  I've added the titles to my 100+Book Challenge list at the bottom of my blog and I may eventually review the titles, but this post is already lengthy.  And life will be changing even more in April; I was notified today that my schedule is changing at work.  No more Saturdays off.  Instead, I will be off Thursdays and Sundays.  It does break up my week and it provides a differential for the Saturday hours, so all in all I am looking for the Blessings.

While I will no longer be able to attend any Saturday educational seminars at the library, I will have weekday bus travel available to use the larger University libraries in the Metroplex.  Many of my friends are retired, so we can still get together for the occasional lunch.  Actually, the more I think about it, the better it sounds LOL.

March was a madcap month.  April will be a month of adjustment, so posts may still be a bit sporadic.  At least some of my down time in April will be dedicated to Royal-watching, so don't be surprised if my blog turns a bit British in the coming days...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Muse is MIA

Try as I might this past week, no creating with paper was done :-(

Lots of general living occurred--work (of course LOL), the cleaning and bill-paying and shopping that had not happened recently due to illness, and the beginnings of a slight rearrangement of my crafting area.  For me, organization and creativity only co-exist when outlining chapters for my novel (and I did manage to roughly sketch out a couple of chapters this week, so all is not lost).

I was Blessed to receive a tax refund this year and chose to use a portion for Stampin' Up! products during Sale-A-Bration, primarily because of the great free product available with every $50 purchase.  The down side to ordering cardstock and stamps and ribbons and embellishments comes when you have to find a place to put all the goodies LOL.  So, instead of using the creative side of my brain (the part that was MIA anyway), I organized my dies and stamps and paper.  My brain stayed incapable of designing cards--what's up with that??  I even watched a few videos on You Tube to inspire creative thought, but all I could find was a blank slate...

That's not entirely true--I did conclude I had a few needs.  I need ribbon storage.  I need to find the instructions to my sewing machine (it has been unused so long, I can no longer remember how to set it for a zigzag stitch, much less use any of the more decorative stitches).  I need to find my muse...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Billy Boyle WWII Mysteries

One of the first books I downloaded after I bought my Kindle last year was "Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery" by James R. Benn.  Granted, at the time, I was looking for free or very low-cost Kindle titles having just dropped a chunk of cash on the Kindle itself.  This looked interesting and was free at the time.  Now that I've read it, I'm hooked on the whole series (and they are definitely worth paying for).  Great action, just a hint of romance (not too much for male readers), strong characters, and lots of information on WWII incidents that are not at all well known.

Billy is an Irish police office in Boston when America enters WWII.  His mother is a distant relative of Mamie Eisenhower and believes that the family connection would be enough to keep Billy safe from harm if he could only join "Uncle Ike's" staff.  Then General Dwight D. Eisenhower is appointed Commander of the US forces in Europe.  Oops.  And since Billy just made Detective, "Uncle Ike" decides to use him for certain investigations best left way out of the limelight.  Oops again.  Even though Billy isn't the desk-job type, he hadn't planned on any of this.

I recently read the next three books in the series:  "First Wave", "Blood Alone" and "Evil for Evil".  Each could be read as a stand-alone although the character development from one volume to the next certainly enhances the series.  We travel WWII Europe from England to Norway to Algeria to Sicily to Ireland.  Each incident is based on actual wartime events. 

I don't write spoilers, but I do give praise when it is deserved, and this series deserves great praise.  I'll be reading "Rag and Bone" between now and September because "A Mortal Terror" launches then.  Somebody needs to make a movie/mini-series/TV series from these tales!