So, about six months ago, Hubby’s cousin’s wife posted a request on Facebook. She’s an art teacher for a inner-city school and she wanted to do a fiber unit with the kids. (She spins and knits.) Her problem was that while she had permission to do the unit, she didn’t have any funding to get either the “hardware” (ie. knitting needles etc.) or the yarn and fabric.

So, she sent out a request to everyone and anyone who had a “stash” in their closet to take a minute and clean it out. Her hope was to do get enough materials for the kids to be able to do something. (And she did.)

Well, I had a stash that wasn’t doing anything but taking up space, so I sent it to her. I also have tons of friends that knit or sew, so I shared her request. Quite a few of them also found stuff to send her.

A few friends even went as far as to share the request with some of their friends. And a few of them sent boxes to Hubby’s cousin’s wife. Some of those nth removed friends contacted me to find out more about where she taught (one of those actually lived in the same city where Hubby’s cousin’s wife taught) and where to send their boxes.

One of those nth removed friends and I ended up having a long conversation which happened to include the fact that she was a writer (yes, my ears perked up), and not only that, but that she wrote urban fantasy (something I enjoy).

Well, I had to go and buy her first book since she was helping Hubby’s cousin’s wife. And loved it. I promptly bought book two (they are part of trilogy) and tore through it.

So, imagine my pleasure last month when she mentioned on Facebook that her third book was ready. And, she was giving away a handful of free e-copies to people that were willing to read it quickly and then post something about it. (Yes, I do use the library. But with the stuff I read, the library doesn’t always carry the stuff and so not having to buy a copy is a valuable benefit.)

My one disappointment with Gwynneth Ever After by Linda Poitevin is that it isn’t an urban fantasy. Oh well.  It’s a romance novel.  And I don’t read many of those. But don’t let that stop you.

Linda sets up the story by having Gwynneth (with two ‘Ns”) taking her Sunday afternoon to work on a birthday present for her best friend and accidentally spilling all her drawing supplies under the feet of a ‘famous, handsome’ actor. Then, the two of them start to talk and get to know each other. And well,  it’s a romance novel.  I suspect that I don’t need to say where things go.

Was it deep? nah.  But it made for a very enjoyable evening read.  Linda writes very believable characters that feel like you’ve known them for years. Here was Gwynneth, the single mom with three kids whose first husband (literally) walked out after the twins were born. She works as a self-employed architect and keeps anyone new at arm’s length.  And here was Gareth, the so handsome actor that he never gets to just talk and be himself with anyone but the cousin he grew up with (and is currently visiting while he deals with some ‘issues’.)  And I was rooting for them to work out their problems just like their friends and family (in the story) were.

And now I wait for the third book of her urban fantasy to come out next fall!

Yep,

Read 82 books this year.

Most of them were audiobooks downloaded from the public library and loaded onto my ipod to listen to while I drive.

The blog is dead….long live the blog

Posted: January 1, 2012 in Books

I should give up on this blog and erase it, but even if it appears that I am ignoring it, I actually do keep one thing up to date. My list of what I’ve read. So if anyone is interested, here is the list from 2011, and I’ll be starting a new list for 2012.

Don’t let the excitement be too much for you.

oh, and there are other ways to see what I’m up to, so if you are interested, let me know.

NPR put together the list using a popularity contest, so these aren’t the ‘best’ books, just the most popular.

Let’s see how many I’ve read.

I will bold the ones I’ve read (or for series, am reading.)
I will bold, but crossout the ones that I’ve started and haven’t finished, and aren’t interested in finishing.

hmmm, looking it over I think I have some things to read.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

One month down

Posted: April 13, 2011 in Time for me to grow up

So I’ve been at the new job for almost exactly one month. And since I’m sure you’ll ask, I am enjoying it. There are days when I think I know what I’m doing and days when I barely tread water trying to figure out what in the world I’m suppose to be doing.

Not too bad for the first month.

As I said when I started, I work for a small office in one of the counties near to where I live. The office is kind of complicated because it is set up by state law, but funded by the county where it is located, but I’m actually considered an employee of the elected board that oversees the work that I do. (If you can follow that you are doing fairly well.)

Basically I am a government employee that falls in a crack as far as whether I should be lumped in with the county (I am for somethings) or the state (other things), but anyway you slice it, my office is a government workspace.

So Monday evening I was meeting with the town board for one of the towns in the county. I hadn’t been into their office before but imagine my surprise when I discover painted on one wall of their meeting room “God give me strength…”

ah what???

Great.

But that got topped on Tuesday night when my board had a meeting.  I had been in the meeting room all of twice since I started.  Once for a general check out and then again to look at some old stuff piled on the side of the room.

Last night I sat down across from this:

psalm 118:24

Good grief.

Needless to say, the poster came down first thing this morning. I didn’t bother asking anyone so we’ll see if they notice it and comment.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.

After a full year of subbing and then over half this year subbing and job hunting, I start a new JOB in TWO days. I’m feeling just a bit in over my head and it’s not helping that we have a day trip to Chicago planned for tomorrow (theater tickets so we can’t postpone it) and I’m fighting a cold.

This JOB I’m starting I actually interviewed for last June. They ended up hiring someone else and when he took another job they readvertised it in December. I jumped on reapplying, but figured it was a long shot (it’s a government job in another county and I’m not willing to move – at least not immediately).

and waited (they were accepting applications until mid-January)

and waited

and waited…and applied for other jobs. One of which asked me to come interview with them a couple of weeks ago. It was doing sales, but the base salary was nearly what I made as a sub. And they offered me a job – dependent on passing a background check and a drug test. And with nothing else, I said to go ahead.

Only to come home to a phone call from the JOB explaining why they were not ready to precede, but that they were interested. They’d need two more weeks (they thought) before they’d be ready to consider candidates. (It’s a government job, two weeks has to be optimistic.)

Okay, no guarantees there. It sounded good, but I was not going to lose out on a job waiting to see if they would hire me. And then the sales job couldn’t get their act together and delayed and delayed doing what they needed. Wonderful.

During which I got called for an interview with a local car dealership to be their customer service/sales person handling email and internet contacts. It was to be a new position and what became clear quickly was that they really didn’t know what they wanted and wouldn’t be making any sort of decision for a few weeks…Okay.

And the two weeks ended last Thursday with another phone call.

They had reached a decision, could I start on Monday?

ummm, YES! (I don’t think they would have appreciated me screaming into the phone, but I wanted to.)

So I don’t want to be clear where I’m going to be working and for whom because to be honest I don’t want this searchable, but I’ll say that it is administrative and is working in environmental conservation.

When we finished homeschooling nearly two years ago I had no idea of what I wanted to do now that it was time for me to ‘grow up’. This job is a nice fit to both my pre-motherhood education and skills and to my current interests and abilities.

And yes, I’m pretty pysched about it.

Freedom from Religion Foundation has opened up their college scholarship competition for 2011. Depending on which age level you are in (there are three) the application deadlines range from June 1 to July 15.

The first age level is for graduating high school seniors who will be entering college in Fall of 2011.

Their essays are to answer the question: “Describe a Moment that Made You Proud to be a Freethinker (Atheist/Agnostic/Nonbeliever).” The dictionary definition of freethinker is ‘one who forms his or her opinion about religion based on reason, rather than faith, tradition or authority.’ Maybe you had a moment, experience or ‘epiphany’ that led to or affirmed your rejection of religion. Maybe you stood up for freethought or spoke out against the encroachment of religion at school social events, in government, in classroom instruction or in your family. Use that moment to illustrate why you are a freethinker.

They do require you to some how verify high school enrollment, but there doesn’t appear to be anything explicitly eliminating homeschoolers.  (Wouldn’t it be nice for a homeschooler to win and break some stereotypes?)

The next age level is for current college students who are under 25 years of age.

Their essays are to answer the question: “Why I Am an Atheist/Agnostic/Unbeliever — Why I am Not a (‘Fill in the Blank’).” In honor of Bertrand Russell, who wrote the classic, ‘Why I Am Not a Christian,’ write your own essay about why you are a nonbeliever, not a ‘fill in the blank.’ Submit a persuasive essay about why you reject religion and choose reason over faith. Use a personal (first-person) approach. Experiences with being a ‘heretic’ in a religion-drenched society may be included. Or you may wish to employ your best arguments against religious belief.

And the last group is for mature college students (including grad students).

Their essays are to answer the question: “Why Thomas Jefferson Got it Right! Why the endangered ‘wall of separation between church and state’ must be defended.” The Jeffersonian ‘wall of separation between church and state’ is endangered. Write a persuasive or advocacy essay defending the constitutional principle of separation between religion and government. You may wish to debunk myths such as that the United States is a ‘Christian nation’ or address ongoing threats to the Establishment Clause. You may wish to use examples of the harm created by religion in government from a personal, legal, topical and/or historical perspective.