Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fun fact about me

I am a thesis short of a Master’s Degree in medieval history (or as they now classify the Tudor age – Early Modern History, (which makes the fact slightly less interesting in a current context but still interesting from a personal historic point of view))

None of that is the fun fact

The fun fact is that despite my spending the past 20 years reading & writing about medieval history and how I study medieval history, I still cannot spell ‘medieval’ without a spell check.

Medieval…medeival, meadevil, medieveal.

I had one teacher who insisted the biggest problem students of the Tudor era had was the spelling of Britain & insisted we write it over and over again that first day so we’d get it right. Not Britian, but Britain.

I never understood that because, Hello? Britain did not exist as a concept in Tudor times. You were English, or Welsh or the enemy up in Scotland. Medieval though was still very much a part of Tudor history (not that they used the word themselves, but historians used it about them) & it would have been useful to have the correct spelling drummed into me.

This fun fact brought to you because I am updating my Goodreads libray with the recent medieval mysteries I got from the library.

I like that Goodreads makes it so much easier to track what you have to read & currently are reading than Library Thing does. But I like Library Things tagging system better than GoodReads ‘shelves’. So I use them both but for different purposes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

They leave them unlocked?

DH & a co-worker, T, went at looked at cars Friday. T is in the market for a new car. He gets a new one every 2-3 years. He said he thinks that after putting 50,000 miles on a car it is time to trade it in. T asked DH what our number was for getting a new car. DH told T he was driving a 14 year old truck with 250,000 miles on it and my car is a 2001 with 140,000 miles on it. Generally we figure 3 years after paying the car off is a good time to consider getting a new one, assuming it is having mechanical problems. If it’s running fine there is no need to replace it.

We passed the 3 year paid off mark 3 years ago on my car and it’s not running well right now.

DH was sparked by this conversation so we decided to look at cars Saturday after dinner (to better avoid car salesmen). The plan was to drive around the 3 used car lots in town and see what was on offer in our price range to give me a feel for what is out there so that Monday I could stop by alone & check them out (alone because I have no income & therefore cannot be prodded into buying anything)

I knew in 2001 I wanted a PT Cruiser. I special ordered mine when they were just coming out & were on back order.  This time I have no clear idea except some more space for luggage might be nice.

We pulled into the Ford, Toyota, Mazda, Chevy, Kia, Honda, Subaru, Dodge, Chrysler dealership and cruised the rows along with 3 or 4 other people (Saturday night is a wild night in our town, you can tell). At some point we parked and walked around, brushing layers of pollen off the cars to see the pricing & mileage off the cars (it’s allergy season, it only takes about an hour to cover a car).

The boys are running around, climbing in the back of trucks and coming over to see what we are looking at & being their high energy selves. I see 4 or 5 cars I like (a CRV, a Prius, a Corolla and another Honda of some type) and say I should come back on Monday and see if the salesman would let me set up some of my pop up baskets in the back so I can gauge trunk space. Havoc reaches over and opens the door on a Subaru!

DH and I look at each other in shock. They leave them unlocked? Or is it just this one? Should we lock it?

Maybe after we sit in it to test the space…

We found the next car was unlocked, and the next! So we look in them and then move to the next row. We look in the Explorer and in a Mountaineer and the we open the side door of a mini van


Holy crap! That’s right! We’re NOT supposed to be opening these unlocked cars are we?

The four of us dash rapidly to another part of the car lot as another couple with a child enters the area and we look around like “What? What’s that noise? Where is it coming from? How did that happen? Who did that?”

Fortunately car alarms shut themselves off or it would still have been going off Monday morning.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Car shopping

This is the time of year when my car takes its annual week long rest cure at the mechanic, costing me between $1000-1800.

Last year most of the engine needed replaced (except the transmission and a/c) & between repairs and rental,it was $1800. 

The year before that had been the collision so the insurance picked up most of it but I still had a $500 deductible and even though the insurance was paying for a rental car, I still popped for the added insurance on it, which came to another $500 by the time I got my car back.

My collision had happened due to high winds blowing a tree branch into the road & my hitting it. It was still quite windy when I rented the car or I would have passed.

The transmission was replaced in 2006 for $1100.

Currently I have no a/c, which I didn’t have last year and somehow survived but was miserable, and the car makes ominous groaning noises from time to time in certain situations, like it’s shocks or suspension need oiled or replaced. I’m speculating $1500 and a few days with no car. But I am reluctant to take it to the mechanic to find out for sure.

The car was paid off in 2005. We have since paid out about $5000 in repairs and things like new brake pads, belts and oil changes since then an have now reached a point of wondering if the repairs are worth it. Given what we have to spend on a new car, $1200 is 4 car payments, which is cheaper than 48 car payments. We have after all, only paid about a year’s worth of car payment in 3 years & that is a good thing because it has let us save up $4000 in down payment.

So we are at that point where you wonder….do you take $1200 of the $4000 you have saved to fix the car you have, knowing that a year from now you will have $5000 and be facing the same question, because it is inevitable with a 2001 PT cruiser with 140,000 miles on it that more repairs will be needed.

Or do you buy a new (to us) one? Now is the time in the economic world picture to buy. We get a good deal and Ford or whoever gets a boost in sales. Everybody wins. Except for that pesky car payment thing that will follow us around for 4 years. It’s hard to accept the car payment thing when you are personally going on 4 years with none and DH’s truck was paid off 15 months ago

Most cars we are considering are around $18,000-20,000. At our current rate of savings/payment we will be able to buy one outright (which is the ideal) in 15 years. Somehow I don’t think the Cruiser will make it to 2024.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 17

It’s just the daily photos this week.

Apartment buildings near the airport. The tallest building in our town is only 4 storeys. Buildings are HUGE in the metropolis.


Overzealous yeast in a batch of bread dough


DH took a corner too wide on his bike. Fortunately he was only doing about 15MPH and there was a bed of mulch where he landed


I have a new job


Reading to Daddy


My to be read stack is getting sort of low


To see more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom! Thanks!   

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another dental visit

Mayhem had his second tooth filled today. It went really well apparently.

DH goes with him to the chair. I have issues & don’t want to expose the boys to my mental dental hang ups. So I only get second hand info on how it went.

He wasn’t very happy about the shot, but who is really? And it was his 3rd shot in 2 days, which would be making me fairly unhappy if it were me. he had a physical on Tuesday and needed 2 vaxes.

But all the shots are done. All the doc & dental visits are done for at least 6 months, short of sudden ear infections. A doc & dentist free summer is something to look forward to.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Do as I say

Not as I would ever do personally.

My recent vacation involved flying out of Reagan National airport.  Reagan National is a reasonable enough distance from my house but I never think of it when making flight plans. I immediately jump to BWI or Dulles. Reagan National isn’t even on my radar. In fact, I think about it so little, in my mind it is still simply National airport. The last time I flew out of it was early Sept 2001 and the time before that was about 4 years before that.  But I’ve been in and out of BWI and Dulles many times (and almost always at come gawdawful hour of the morning)

Here’s the one thing about National everyone knows - it’s on the Metro line.

“Oh it’s so convenient!” everyone says when you say you are flying out of National. “it’s on the Metro” “You can just hop on the Metro for that” “Oh yeah, you don’t have to deal with parking. You can just get on the Metro”

Then I say “Oh, have you taken the Metro to National then? Where do I change lines? how long does it take on average?”

and I am met with silence


Everyone thinks *I* ought to get dropped off at the nearest Metro station (which is over an hour from my house) figure out the pricing structure (is it peak, off peak, is Mayhem free or a $1.65?) and then drag myself, 2 children, 2 backpacks, some rolly luggage and a purse the size of a dufflebag into a train, get off at  L’enfant Plaza or Metro Center or where ever it is I change lines, haul everyone & everything around said station to the next train, get everyone & everything on to it, keep them occupied & in their seats the whole way and then get it all off the train at the airport.

But none of them have actually done it themselves.

Why not?

Because the reality is much more inconvenient than the suggestion.  Maybe if you were alone, with one bag it would be possible.

But as I recall from that trip in 2001, we 3 adults, each with one bag, rejected the Metro idea out of hand in favor of long term parking and the hassle of airport buses & remembering lot names & keeping track of tickets.

Yet, people seem vaguely disappointed I didn’t do it. Even somewhat accusing. “You had your DH drive you all the way into National? Why not use the Metro?” 

Which is annoying when they themselves have never tried it.

Yes, it sounds like a good idea to everyone, except cynical worst case scenario me, who actually has to do it. And even I see an appeal in the idea. But I have no idea how long such a Metro journey will take and airports and the time involved with airports stress me out enough without adding Metro time stress.

I’m sure people who use the Metro regularly find that National station incredibly helpful & use it when they fly. But I have not met one person out here in the exurbs who have done it, though everyone thinks it is a perfectly marvelous idea, just not for themselves.

Please, please if you haven’t done it yourself, don’t harp on about me doing it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 16

We’ve been on vacation this week.

We flew to Florida.


to visit my parents


who have interesting landscaping


Naturally we did not travel alone.


They played hide & seek


My mom made her super special secret spaghetti sauce. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.

417We also went to Build a Bear, though no one got a bear. Havoc chose a monkey


And naturally Mayhem went with this guy


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom. Thanks!    

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Writer’s Workshop - I’ll take that for $400

One of the prompts today at Mama Kat's site is “what would you do if I sent you $400 today”

I’d buy upgrades to first class for the flight home. That would be $300 plus tax and I’d send the rest off to Mama Kat.

The airline hadn’t assigned seats when I made the reservations.  Oh, it *looked* like they had but it turns out those seats I reserved can’t be reserved online, they have to be reserved at the gate or maybe by phone of the 16th. Why? Is it some sort of crowd control or some sort of power trip?

I had 3 seats together in row 6 reserved but no, actually I only have 1 and the boys have no seats. So I called today and they said “well row 4 is open but they can only assign that at the gate. We’ll put you in the last row, which is also open & we can assign."

Have I mentioned I am claustrophobic? I’m not wild about flying because of fear of crashing but also because all these people on this plane are sucking all the oxygen out of the air and I am going to die if I don’t get out and into some air soon. Oddly, I’m ok in the air. The oxygen masks will drop if there is a problem & that seems to switch off the fear.  but they don’t drop if we are on the ground. So the fear sets in. If I am in the first 10 rows generally things move at enough of a pace boarding & exiting that thoughts doesn’t get time to really develop & I can talk myself down. I have real problems with rows about 18 and up. I start sweating & breathing funny, which is why seating arrangement is a deal breaker for booking flights.

I’m in the last row. The whole freaking plane gets to leave before me – taking all the breathable air with them.

I know that is nonsense. The door is open. But the door is way way way over there and there are all these people between me and the air from the door.

In first class you are right by the door. And you have all this space around you that you don’t get in coach. The air flows much easier in first class due to all that space instead of getting trapped between the seats in coach.

They wanted $100 a person to upgrade on the flight down, if Mama Kat gave me $400 I would certainly use it for an upgrade our tickets.

Please check out some more writing prompt linkies over at Mama's Losin It!

Monday, April 13, 2009

On vacation

It’s 8:30am and I’m sitting at my computer eating Cheerios and drinking coffee. The main difference is there is a pool and it’s about 80 degrees already. At home it would only be about 50 and no pool.

We got to the airport about 2 hours before the flight left, because you never know with traffic and security and the general airportiness just how long things will take.

For the record they have ALWAYS taken considerably less time than we plan for but you and I both know that as soon as I decide to leave an hour later than usual there will be a massive construction slow down on the interstate and 2 of the security scanning machines will break resulting in a 45 minute wait there.

We passed the time rather well. The boys entertained themselves and were not disruptive to others. They did ask when were we getting on the plane rather frequently but that is to be expected. They let us board at last & they waited patiently for the time they could watch a movie on the laptop. They were very interested in the take off & watching stuff on the ground.  Then at last, the movie The Clone Wars catoon (a surprise) was put on. They settled in to watch it and read my book.

For 23 minutes.

Then the battery died on my computer.

The FULLY charged battery, by the way.

I always imagine worse case with this sort of thing – whiny, hyper, fighting kids bored out of their mind because they are stuck in barely enough room to sit and have jack to do.

The nice thing about this is I can be pleasantly surprised when only half of it happens, rather than annoyed. “Oh that wasn’t that bad after all” rather than “Oh those DEMON children”

And actually less than that happened. They talked between themselves, watched out the window and asked me a few dozen or so times when we were landing. Havoc listened to his mp3 player. It went well.

We met up with my folks & were at their house in a half an hour. 15 minutes after that the boys were in the swimming pool.

today there will be more swimming, some bike riding …and a trip to Best Buy to see about getting a new battery for the laptop.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 15

I was playing some more with my macro lens. Plastic army men make good macro subjects


So do brownies.  Just look at the chocolaty cheesecakey goodness 403

I took some standard close ups also


This is Smoke, the kitten of the litter we are keeping


The boys have been into the Wii Fit latley


These guys have been feeling neglected, so they took the wiimote hostage


They were eventually bought off with taquitos and the new Lego catalog


For more Weekly Winners please check out Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The problem with optimism

It’s hell on packing.

I end up dragging a bunch of stuff I never use a thousand miles down the length of the country because I think I will have time to do things.

Things like organize and tag 6 years worth of photographs or 28GB of kits (which I now have to redo since ACDSee apparently needs more than 2 days copy them to a new drive). Which means packing my EHD. It’s a WD passport so it doesn't take up much room.

Things like work on the shawl I am crocheting. Which means packing the 1000 yard ball of yarn, the hooks, the stitch markers, and gods help me – the scissors. Do I even have TSA approved scissors? Will I need them on the plane or I can I just wait & use my mom’s?

Things like read. Which means deciding which books to take and how many of them because I’d rather have too many books than too few. My parents library is mostly political thrillers and I don’t enjoy them & so I’d have NOTHING TO READ which makes me a bit panicky at the very thought. So that’s like 3 books in the suitcase and one in my purse for the flight.

Because I will have plenty of time on the plane to read right? Or listen to an audio book and crochet. I’m flying with a 5 & 6 year old. They’ll quietly watch a movie on my laptop the whole time and I’ll be able to read.

hahahahahahaha! I crack myself up. But still, it *could* happen so I have to have the book & the yarn just in case.

Speaking of movies I have to pack the laptop & it’s power cord & the mouse and at least 1 USB cable. And the boys’ headphones. And the headphone splitter. And a selection of movies because they’ll probably watch a couple each way unless they go with Walking with Dinosaurs.

Speaking of heaphones, I need to pack mine and the charger for my Zen player and Havoc’s SanDisk. And the charger for my phone because for once I am actually going to need it, since DH will call me on it. And the battery charger for my DSLR and the one for the POS camera. And the cameras themselves. And their assorted paraphernalia. Because Havoc and I take lots of photos when we visit Grandma. Even Mayhem takes photos but I will refrain from bringing our even older POS for him.

Then there is the shoe issue. I packed my sandals in the box I sent by UPS because I am not actually using them right now. But I’ll need sneakers and maybe some slip ons and maybe flats if we go somewhere nice. (I have no idea where we might go ‘nice’ enough my other shoes wouldn’t be appropriate but it *could* happen, so I need nice shoes.)

Then there is the boys’ must have items that don’t fit in their backpacks – Shushi, Gaggy, Big Bear, Silly Dog, blankies, and Grandma’s birthday present, the pink monkey Cutie Pie. And I more or less promised the boys a trip to Build a Bear while we are down there. So I need to leave room.

And juice boxes and goldfish crackers and possibly a sandwich for me.

And 2 booster seats because my mom can’t find any car seats to rent this time and there is just no way I can get 2 boys, their backpacks, my carryon and 2 full size car seats from the security check point to the terminal and then from the plane to where ever we will meet up with my folks at their airport.

My carry on is going to be crammed and the only thing I can bring myself to let go of is the EHD.  Deep down I know I won’t find time to tag those photos. Not with all the reading, crocheting, photo taking and mp3 listening going on. On top the swimming and go carts and water parks and you know…talking to my parents, that we will be doing. But because it is so small an item I feel like why bother taking it out? Maybe I’ll need it. Maybe my mom will want to print photos from it?

I overpack all the time but on the rare occasions I force myself to admit I won’t need this, this and that, it turns out that I really do need all 3 of them. Like not bringing them guarantees I’ll need them.

I suppose I could leave the crochet at home, possibly the nice shoes too….

*sigh* I hate packing.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mayhem sayings

Mayhem has been trash talking the Lego Star Wars game a lot lately

“I’m too good to stop. Watch me smash you”

“I’m the Jedi master. I master Jedi. You’re nothing storm troopers”

“I’m gonna power force you back to nowhere”

“You can’t catch me, I am made of awesome.”

My favorite of his little sayings is something he started recently. He comes up to me and says

“Look out mama! There is a hug behind you”

Which is possibly the most adorable thing ever to date.


In other news I am trying to copy my 120GB WD passport contents over to my new 320GB WD Passport drive. BUT!

The Passports both insist on being connected directly to the laptop, not to a USB hub.

BUT! That doesn’t matter because the laptop absolutely cannot cope with having 2 WD Passports connected at once. It’s willing to see both of them but not copy between them.

SO! I have to use my ancient back up EHD, which is the hard drive from my old desktop, now in a case to convert it to an EHD. It doesn’t mind being connected to a USB hub and the laptop doesn’t mind copying to it from a WD or vice versa.

Meaning I have to copy everything twice.

AND! Because I have everything (scrap-51GB & photos-13GB) tagged in ACDSee, I have to use it to do the copying or I lose all my tagging. So it takes more than three times as long to copy (I know because I did direct drag & drop & realized I lost my tags)

And I have to do it twice.



Even now, 18 hours later, with about 3/4 of the FIRST round of copying done, I am still wondering if those darn tags are worth it. I got a little carried away when I started tagging. I am a kit scrapper. Apart from alphas & stitches I don’t pull much from other kits. I don’t really need to know how many red crumpled ribbons I have. If this copy reaches the 24 hour mark I think I may need to intervene & either decide to retag or do a quick purge of my supplies.

This is ridiculous.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Book Purge 09 – final totals

Today I went through the outlying bookshelves – the ones in the bedroom and bathrooms – and purged them. Then I did some final rearrangements of the books and shelved the new books. I now have the equivalent of about two and half shelves of open space and shelves that were packed 2 deep are now single packed for the most part, allowing for some grouping issues (I have all the Agatha Christies piled on top of one another on one shelf for instance and all the books relating to Tudor England are crammed into another shelf as well). 

I’m now going through the LibraryThing booklist & matching up books. I now see I should shelve things in an alphabetical rather than an aesthetically pleasing manner. It makes tracking them easier

These are the final purge totals. (I found a stash of books from the last purge on the bottom shelf of a bookcase blocked by my sewing machine cart)

History 59
Esoteric 38
Fantasy 6
Science Fiction 35
Mystery 42
Romance 32
Humor 10
General fiction 18
Random non fiction 12
Grand total 252


About half of them are being donated to various places and the other half will soon be listed on ebay, or If they are still in my house come the autumn equinox they will be donated as well

I feel good. I feel lighter. I feel….


those shelves look so empty…



I…I…need more books!

I have a burning desire to go buy books to fill those bare spots in.

Look at the lovely open spaces, just waiting for more books. They want more books. What are bookshelves for if not to be stuffed to overflowing with books?

Must resist call of empty shelves….

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 14

We had some beautiful weather this week so I was able to get out and photograph spring

The crabapple treecrabapple

The forsythia bush drooping after the rain


A Bradford pear tree

pear tree

I forget which fruit tree this one was. We have a lot of fruit trees.


I decided the kittens were big enough to handle & took some photos for scale

“Oh nos! The triceratops is bigger than me”

oh nos

“Don’t you roar at me buster!”


Havoc after helping take the cap off the truck


oh, and a bought a macro lens this week

“I’m ready for my close up”

close up  For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Friday, April 03, 2009

Book Purge 09 - romance

The romance books are on the shelves in the far corner from the door, behind the pile of random boxes and collapsible chairs. They are the last group bunched together on the shelves and the second to last group I have to purge. After this is just general fiction and general fiction is scattered all over the place.

Romance is a denial category for me. For some reason I always think I have fewer romance novels than I do. I had every intention of claiming this subject had suffered heavily in the previous purge, along with fantasy & science fiction. But the numbers just don’t bear that out. There are 197 books tagged with ‘romance’ in my Library Thing library. 189 are on the booklist. I stopped keeping up the booklist in 2005, so I have only read 8 new romance novels in about 4 years. That probably accounts for why I think I have so few. Romance novels are just a drop in the book bucket.

I counted the romance books on my shelves. There are 153.

minus the 8 new ones….145

subtracted from the prepurge total of 189….44.

which is… um….x/100=44/189…x=4400 divided by 189…or is it 189 divided by 4400?…either 23% or 42% of the books being purged last time… or some other total entirely because I am completely off on method. I’m inclined to 23%

sooner or later we all regret failing basic algebra.. yes Sister Ethelraeda you were right, someday I would need to know how to figure out percents but you see I was far too busy thinking about Valerie Sherwood’s latest novel Rash, Reckless Love with the dashing buccaneer Van Ryker swashbuckling his way around my adolescent fantasies to give a rap about percentages.


I still have that book and the 3 others in the series – Bold Breathless Love, Wild Willful Love and Rich Radiant Love. All with the required 18 year old tousled blond wearing a slip in a windstorm while a dark handsome, sword wearing, piratically dressed male (oddly, not in a windstorm himself, romance covers being subject to quirky localized weather events) looks down her with longing. I was 13 when I read the first one. I’ve been dreaming about swashbuckling men ever since. (possibly even since I was 10, see Han Solo reference). I loved Jennifer Wilde’s and Rebecca Brandywine’s books as well.  Romance in the 80’s was a lot less…PC I suppose. More sweeping off the feet in the literal sense rather than the romantic. Pirates & buccaneers were assertive types, commanding. None of this flitting around at balls during the Season and taking women for drives in the park to let people know this woman is yours. Pirates grabbed their woman and whisked them off to their cabins. Persuasion was not a bunch of distracting touches and witty repartee. It was more insistent and to the point.  I enjoy today's more sensitive males but I miss swashbucklers. My formative years were shaped by them. I can’t toss these books. Mostly they are not in print anymore & I’d never find a copy if I wanted to read one again.

Other books from my formative years are Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley series. I loved them for their heroes and heroines, for their Tudor setting and for their sex. Despite all the sweeping, grabbing and whisking the buccaneers did, the sex wasn’t described hardly at all. Skye had SEX, lots of SEX. She was a lusty woman, so were her descendants. She had several husbands and twice ended up in harems. Harems are big in Small’s books. Nearly all her heroines up through the 90’s end up spending some time as a harem slave. Heck, she has an entire book about one, The Love Slave. The women in the Friarsgate series don’t. But those were written after 2000 I think and harems are passé now.  Blaze Wyndham didn’t either come to think of it and that was the early 90’s. They still have a lot of fully described torrid sex though.

Sometime around 2000 I discovered Stephanie Laurens and Regency romances. I like her books, they are witty and fun and have mysteries in them, not just kidnapping & relationship complications. Though they have fully described sex too, it’s not as much and it’s less torrid. The heroes are all masterful males and I find masterful males, that are not swashbuckling, a bit irritating over time, especially in their need to protect the not in the least bit helpless heroine.  Despite that,I enjoy them enough to buy them hardback as soon as they are released, so obviously they are not too irritating. The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn is similar (only not in hardback)

I think most of the 8 romance books I have bought in the past 4 years have been Laurens’. She has two series going right now. I think there might have been a couple by Victoria Alexander in there as well.

I found a dozen or so books by about 9 different authors I had probably set aside during the last purge, intending to either reread or get rid of them. I seem to have done neither, so they are going out now. I could probably let go of some of the Amanda Quick hardbacks too. She settled into a set of characters the last few books I bought and I’m not that fond of the characters. They are in the library if I want to reread them.

14 books to go out, that’s not too bad. I’d try working out the percentage but then I’d start thinking about buccaneers again.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Flight things

Last night I packed up our clothes for our week in Florida. We are not leaving until April 12th but since I am privileged (ahem) to be flying on an airline that charges you $25 to check your bag if you don’t belong to their special club, I am shipping my bag down by UPS.

I had to balance the need to pack 2 weeks before we actually leave against having to deal with the airline check in procedure.

This was no contest.

I did have to buy new bottles of shampoo, toothpaste, hair gel, etc and pack them in the box because of the TSA carry on regulations, but it’s not like I won’t use the stuff and it doesn’t expire. I even managed to get one of my firm full pillows in the box. (My folks have pillows that are either super flat or feather stuffed and I’m allergic to those so I bring my own)

This leaves me just needing to pack medicines, make up and electronics into my carry on, plus whatever toys the boys want to take and a couple of books.

And it was only $17 to ship the box.

And I trust UPS to keep track of my stuff more than I trust the airline to do so.

The box will arrive Monday, which just blows me away because the delivery policy times say 5-7 business days to FL from where I live. Had I known that I would have held off until next Tuesday.

I had to call my folks to make sure they would be around on Monday to receive the box. You never know with my parents.

Do you know where my parents are?

They are on a spur of the moment 7 day cruise around the Caribbean. Apparently they needed to take one more 7 day cruise to reach the next level in the cruise club the belong to and they found a last minute deal so off they went.

I so want to be my parents when I retire.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Book Purge 09 - mystery

My largest genre by far.  There are 592 books tagged ‘mystery’ in my Library Thing library. The next closest number is ‘history’ with 246. According to my booklist, I had 398 mystery books in my house prior to my last purge. I got rid of about half of them, but because it is my favorite genre I’ve probably added about a third of that number back. Giving me roughly 260 mystery novels currently.

I read historic mysteries, my favorite settings being until recently, the medieval/Tudor era and the early Roman Empire. Lately the 1920’s have been growing on me, with 12 of the 15 books I recently purchased being set in that era (the Daisy Dalrymple series and the Phryne Fisher series).

I approached these shelves with some dread because the vast majority of these books are old friends. All the Agatha Christies, gathered from used bookstores around Morgantown while I was in college. I remember packing them up every May (more of them every year) and carting them to yet another apartment, finding new spaces to tuck them in. Many are the times I chose to reread a Miss Marple mystery rather than translate my Old English homework or work on essays. Many are still the time when I choose a Hercule Poirot over cleaning the bathroom.

mystery books

The Brother Cadfael novels, collected over time from Morgantown and then used bookstores in northern Virginia. At some point I gave many of them away and then found myself desperate to read them when I was pregnant with Havoc and had to re-find them all.

The Falco series by Lindsey Davis. I found the first 3 at a mystery book store in DC and ended up buying the next few from Amazon UK, having them shipped with the Dr Who novels. Then I stopped working and had to wait a year each time for the newest ones to be published in America because I could no longer afford the exchange rate & shipping.

The SPQR series by John Maddox Roberts that I came to late, relatively speaking. I didn’t discover them until Havoc was born and I ran across the first 4 at a book overstock warehouse event. I tracked down the other 3 that had been published on and since then it has become my annual Xmas holiday gift to myself to have the latest release sent to me while I visit my folks in Florida so I can read the whole book largely in one long mostly uninterrupted session.

The Thomas & Charlotte Pitt books; the paperbacks & first couple hardbacks bought at a used bookstore in the shopping plaza across from my first professional job. I bought the first 3 on Friday afternoon, devoured them in 48 hours and went back on Sunday to get the rest they had, but the store was closed so I had to wait until Monday.

There are also the Sarah Kelling mysteries and the first 4 Irene Adler mysteries (I ditched the others in the last purge), and the Hilary Tamar books and the Ben Franklin series, not to mention all the Mrs Pollifax books.

I can’t get rid of them. Maybe if I reshelve them they’ll take up less space

begins rapidly sorting books into piles by author, grouping eras together, pausing to glance at plot synopsizes…

You know, I did more or less lose interest in the Pitt novels when he was fired from the police and went to work for the Special Branch. I suppose I could get rid of those books in the series.

Then there is the Sister Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne, not to mention the Sister Frevisse books by Margaret Frazer… good stories, I like the settings and protagonists & the secondary regular characters. They are well plotted & interesting mysteries. But I have no strong bond of affection for them. No fond memories of finding them and reading them. I think I found both series from recommendations on an elist & then just bought them from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Plus they are all in my local library.

Then there are a few random mysteries that I picked up & didn’t much care for, they should go to. I could probably get rid of the Sarah Kelling & Mrs Pollifax books too, but I do find myself called to read them at odd moments & the library is not fully stocked with either series. I should probably hold onto them for now. The Ben Franklin books are in the library though and it’s been a while since I have wanted to read them.  I think I went on a reading bender with them and the Justice Fielding series a year or so ago. I could probably safely list them on ebay too.

So let’s see. There are 30 mystery books going out. This is offset by the 35 mystery books that have come into the house in the past 6 months, 15 of which arrived in the last 2 weeks, giving me a net gain of 5 mysteries.

Somehow I don’t think the point of a purge is to come out ahead.