Category Archives: books

Pet Peeves

Anyone who knows me well knows about my pet peeves. I’m nearly as OCD as a high school band director, but without as much patience. Here are just my top ten.

  1. Do NOT interrupt anyone else while they are speaking.  My sweet husband is bad about this, so if I’ve been interrupted three times trying to say something important I just leave the room. Someday the house may be on fire, but he won’t realize it because he interrupts me at “The house is. . .” and rambles on for a while.
  2. Poor grammar, spelling, or punctuation. This is unacceptable in this day and age. We have spell check on our PHONES! Please do not put misspelled or grammatically incorrect phrases on your marquee. I will never go there for anything. Ever. Same with emails, internet ads, and flyers.
  3. Don’t assume I’m an idiot because I’m female. I truly didn’t think this still occurred until my husband’s newly-replaced rear window in his convertible shattered the very first time I put it down. Actually, I thought it should have been replaced free of charge since it was clearly mounted too tightly. But no. I called to get an estimate for yet another replacement. The price they quoted ME was TWICE the price they quoted my husband a day or two later.
  4. Don’t give me parenting advice if you aren’t a parent. A former step-brother used to do this when my eldest was about three. He gave me constant suggestions on what I should say or do. My eldest son was in a Ninja Turtles phase and liked to bounce around pretending he was a TMNT. He’s 26 now, and that was about as wild as he ever got. Last time I saw that ex-step-brother he was on my family farm looking for UFOs. Multiple religious sects rejected him. Thankfully, he has never fathered a child.
  5. Never say, “I know how you feel” unless you are in constant pain, are no longer able to practice in your career field, and have watched all your plans, hopes, and dreams dissolve in front of you.
  6. When I’m angry or frustrated do not pat me and say, “Now, now.” One of my father-in-law’s girlfriends (while my dear mother-in-law was still alive) did this the first time I met her. There’s really no coming back from that.
  7. Don’t insult my housekeeping or my pets. One sister-in-law (after I’d kept her dog for a week for free) insisted her husband call to tell us her dog had gotten fleas while at our house. My dogs didn’t have fleas, but I keep them on their flea/tick meds year-round because we have a very large, woodsy back yard. She clearly got over it, since we ended up taking care of the sweet pup every time they left town until he passed away – all for free.  Another sister-in-law called me up the weekend after Thanksgiving to tell me that their family would be unable to attend any gatherings at my home because with my dogs (two chocolate labs at that time) and my poor housekeeping skills her children had horrible allergic reactions. I apologized, and said I hoped to see her at a family gathering somewhere else in the future. Guess what? There was a New Year’s Eve party that year she really wanted to go to, but couldn’t find a baby sitter. They asked if WE could watch their kids overnight. Hmmm, so your children’s health ranks a bit below your social schedule? Or does your need to insult me rank higher than either of those?
  8. Speakerphone. It’s great! I use it so I don’t accidentally hang up on someone because of my tremor. But DO NOT do it professionally or about sensitive family matters when you’re not alone. I can hear that other person, or other people in the background. I don’t want to speak to random people. If I called YOU I want to speak with YOU. Not everyone who happens to be in the room with you. Common courtesy demands that you announce you’re on speaker-phone at the beginning of the conversation.
  9. As a nurse, spouses or adult children speaking FOR the patient. If a doctor or nurse asks the patient a question, they want the patient’s answer first. If you have something to add wait until the patient stops speaking.  And if you’re a spouse, NEVER bring up your own health issues. Talk to your own doctor on your own time (even if you both have the same doctor).
  10. Apathetic salespeople. My nineteen-year-old son told me he appreciates people ‘being real’ while working at a fast-food place, a movie theater, or a restaurant.  I was just stunned. At the very least I expect someone to whom I’m giving my money to smile and say please and thank you. Even on the phone. I know for a fact people can tell if you’re smiling while you’re talking on the phone. Common courtesy should be extended to EVERYONE. Of course my youngest is always terribly embarrassed when I’m walking out of a store with my cane (bad pain day) and hold the door open for some 15yo hoodlum. I yell, “You’re welcome!” with a smile. Most of the time the young man or woman will be embarrassed and say ‘thank you’. But many don’t, and some even mumble obscenities. #sadworldwelivein

What are your pet peeves? Please share, so I don’t feel like such a prissy-pants!

Bibliophile Spring Cleaning

Today I will . . . That’s the Mama Kat writing prompt I’m going with this week.

Today normal people are probably doing Spring Cleaning. They are washing windows, cleaning out closets, washing baseboards, and perhaps even alphabetizing their canned goods. I’ve never claimed to be normal. I do alphabetize my spices, but only because I have so many of them and no patience.

Instead of Spring Cleaning (which I really should be doing) I’m reorganizing my bookshelves. Yes, I buy nearly all the books I read in Kindle format and read them on my iPad. I also borrow a lot of library books in both print and eBook. But I still buy my favorite authors in hardback, and I buy local authors in hardback/softcover so I can get them signed. There are books in every single room of my home except the bathrooms. The rattiest shelves are the ones with books the whole family enjoys: Harry Potter and Stephanie Plum, to be specific!

Earlier this year my husband’s aunt passed away. She was an incredible woman, and her home reflected that. I have wonderful memories of visiting her with my mother-in-law and thinking that being there was my version of heaven. We sat and drank tea, talking about fifty different topics within a two-hour visit! Every single room (except the bathroom) was a library. Every wall in every room was covered with shelves. After she passed away her children opened the main house to family and friends, letting them take whatever books most appealed to them. I couldn’t go that day (damn F*$%ing pain), but was blessed with an opportunity to go a few weeks later. Her collection was eclectic, to say the least!

My youngest son, John, drove me over. He’d been at the memorial service, and so was already familiar with the house. I’d warned him in advance that the first-floor hallway had been narrowed by bookshelves on both sides, but since I’d been there she had also filled every closet with books! Her children had printed out hundreds of labels with her name, date of birth, and date of passing to be put into books taken home – that’s how she will best be remembered by generations of people.

I’m a bit OCD about my books. I’m about 95% Fiction, while my husband Michael is 100% History. Mine are all arranged by author, and then chronologically by year of publication. But the order of authors is pure favoritism. When Stephen King announced (several years ago) that he would continue writing but would not publish – well, I stopped giving him shelf space. Liar, liar, pants-on-fire!! He’s still publishing (for which I am very thankful), but now I need to spread his books out and move Anne Rice AND John Grisham. And since SK’s son, Joe Hill, is incredibly awesome he needs his own dedicated space.

I even have a special spot for local authors, most of which are signed First Editions. Every bookstore should have this, BTW, but odds are you’ll only find it at locally-owned shops. But that’s where you should be shopping anyway.

Tiffany Reisz gets her own section, which will expand exponentially now that I don’t have a teen boy in the house 24/7. I’ve read all of her books multiple times on Kindle, but the only print copies I had were from book signings I’d attended. Now I can indulge myself with print copies of all her books. I may even be able to get signed copies of all of them from a small bookstore near her home. YAY!

I was spoiled for many years by having a large, wonderful family-owned bookstore (Hawley-Cooke) five minutes away. All the employees were bibliophiles, and if they didn’t know how to find what a customer was looking for they took it as a personal challenge to find it. Better yet, I could tell any one of them what I liked and they’d introduce me to a new author in that genre. That’s particularly helpful in Children’s Books. If you like Richard Scarry you will not like Mo Willems. Mo Willems rocks, IMHO. And I have plenty of room to expand my collection for visiting kiddos:

What will YOU do today??

My Favorite Online Stores

Did you know you can buy local and support small businesses while still enjoying the convenience of buying online? Sometimes you have to go with a huge store, but not always!

GlassGirlJen on Etsy – gorgeous pieces. We’re not talking “etched glass” here. She deeply engraves into a wide variety of glassware. This is still one my favorites for wedding gifts, but great for a first Christmas, first Christmas in your own apartment, etc.

Clever hand-crocheted items. I met this woman and her daughter at a local craft fair. She doesn’t work from patterns, she just creates it. And all of her work is beautiful and baby-proof! Message her ASAP to let her know what you want. Her prices are very reasonable!

Amazon – I do have a caveat, however. Amazon lets OTHER companies sell through them now. Unless you have bought from that particular company before don’t chance it for a holiday gift. I ordered a cute Tshirt in an XL. I’m not a fan of the skin-tight T. This one is so small enough for a ten-year-old. So now I’m searching Pinterest for a way to up-size the shirt.  I do ADORE Amazon Prime though, since I do MUCH more last-minute shopping these days. ALSO, it’s one of the best places to find the best new indie-published books you won’t find in bookstore! SO many great authors are going the indie route. Lisa Tapp, Joan Kayse, and Ian Eviston to name just a few!

Target – I love Target because I can order online and select “ship to store” for free. This means that even if everything is already IN my store someone will gather it up for me. I pay online and just pick it up at the service desk. No impulse shopping, no forgetting I went in with a list and a price limit. Which is good, since THIS just happened:

Primary – This is my new addiction. Right now they only make basic clothes in solid colors (MANY colors!) with no labels (school-friendly) for kids. I want an adult line. I wouldn’t wear anything else most days. And it’s very high-quality with reasonable prices. They even have two weights for many of their pieces, so I can buy a hoodies for kiddos in Texas AND Kentucky. Sew on a few jingle bells for Christmas, add make temporary Contac paper or Duck Tape cut-outs for holidays, and one red T shirt can be cleverly current all year!

ThinkGeek – Is there anyone in your family who loves Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Fallout, Game of Thrones, or other things not everyone else is quite as passionate about? I owned a communicator pin and Vulcan ears when the folks at ThinkGeek were in diapers, so I could spend hours browsing this store. This may well end up as a gift this year for one of my Fallout fans.
SteveSpanglerScience – This is a great gift site for adults and kids. Once I bought several items from this shop and left them in the Reading Room – kind of the home base for our docs, where they’d hang their coats, pick up their patient lists, and do computer work. They were a hit! My dad LOVES all these things. He’s an Engineer, and uses a couple of the toys to analyze his new students or faculty while he’s chatting with them. – I don’t go here without being given a link. It’s computer parts. As in, you take your CPU apart and put things in. My sons tell me they have GREAT deals. If you have a computer nerd on your list send them the link to browse. They’ll be excited!

Nerium – Awesome stuff. My husband uses the same cheap shampoo to wash his hair, face, and body. I swear. I only very recently got him started on a leave-in conditioner, which he LOVES. After thirty-one years I’m finally getting him to take a couple of baby steps towards taking care of himself. He takes EHT (brain booster) daily because his mother died of Alzheimer’s. He uses the Youth Factor powder because I told him he could drink a bottle of this fruit-flavored stuff a day or he could eat a variety of fruits and veggies every day. He chose the powder. I ADORE leafy green veggies, and my memory loss is all pain and medication induced.

So I use the stuff that makes me look good 🙂 Night Cream and Firm are the products that someone would have to pry from my cold, dead hands. This time of year we always have discounted Gift Packs for as long as they last. If I had to guess I’d say 75% of sales are people stocking up on their favorites for cheap and 25% actual gifts. Have you ever bought something intending to gift it. . . then kept it for yourself? *waving hand wildly*

So shop, shop away! But since my sweet, wonderful grandmother went full-out crazy every Christmas (which led to a woman she hired to do her shopping maxing out her credit cards her last Christmas at home and then just saying everything was stolen from the trunk) I’m a calm shopper. I plan ahead, I shop evenly for my children, and Michael and I have never shopped for each other. Not since the year we got engaged.

Some people do three gifts, for the three wise men. My personal favorite (and the one Michael is holding me to even though this is our first year with a granddaughter) is Something they Want, Something they Need, Something to Wear, and Something to Read. Yes, of course both Michael and Mom have asked me exactly HOW I know what Emma wants. Well, I’ve known it since before she was born. They’d just better take pictures in Austin to PROVE it!


I took creative license on this one, but it works.I hope everyone had a geat Thanksgiving!

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