Sunday, June 24, 2012

Loon Lake

I discovered Victoria Houston's "Loon Lake" mystery series a week or so ago, and have been devouring them. I just finished the fourth one and started the fifth.

The books are set in a small town in Wisconsin, and center around a female police chief and a retired, widowed dentist, their families and neighbors. Like the protagonist of most cozy mysteries, the doctor finds way more dead bodies than one would expect. The doctor and the police chief have a slow sometime-romance, and the doctor has a nutty, yet philosophical, neighbor.

They also do a lot of fishing. I know enough about fishing to recognize the terminology, even if I don't do it myself, and the area she describes sounds much like a lot of the fishing spots I've been to with Bob. Also, they're set in an area close to where he fishes in Minnesota once a year.

I'm enjoying them a lot, but they're really making me want to live at the lake . . .
  1. Dead Angler
  2. Dead Creek
  3. Dead Water
  4. Dead Frenzy
  5. Dead Hot Mama
  6. Dead Jitterbug
  7. Dead Boogie
  8. Dead Madonna
  9. Dead Hot Shot
  10. Dead Renegade
  11. Dead Deceiver
  12. Dead Tease

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Life, life, death

The yarn slipped through her fingers like silk, her needles moving without conscious thought as she knit row after row, barely looking at her hands. The yarn was beautiful, sari silk in a multitude of colors, red, purple, burnished gold. She was knitting a simple slip stitch pattern, a scarf, one that she had made so often that her hands remembered the pattern even when her mind did not. Knit, knit, slip. knit, knit, slip. The bamboo needles made a pleasant ticking sound.

She didn't hurry, it wouldn't do to hurry. She kept up a constant rhythm, turning the scarf when she came to the end of a row, purling each even-numbered row. She could do it in her sleep by now, and sometimes she would dream that she *was,* the tick-tick of the needles soothing her.

"Mom?" The voice came from the front of the house, her son. He had let himself into the house using the key that she had given him years ago, maybe when she and his father had gone on a vacation, or maybe when one of them had been in the hospital. She would have asked him to come over and water the plants and let out the dog, the dog that was long gone. The plants were long gone, too. All that was left was the knitting.

Knit, knit, slip. Knit, knit, slip.

"Hi, mom, how are you today?" She didn't answer him. She never did. She was beyond answering. She was so far away already that death would just be a slipping over, like her knitting pattern. Life, life, death.

Her son sat down beside her, on the footstool that rested next to her chair. He reached for her hand, trying to still its motion, but she shook him off and continued to knit. "Mom," he said, "please. Won't you stop for a minute, just a minute?" When she ignored him, he shook his head and got up, looking around. On previous visits, he would fill his time by filling a watering can at the kitchen tap and go around watering the various plants that grew in the room.

There had been a wandering Jew on the windowsill, and a mother-in-law's tongue, and something that he didn't know the name of that crawled along the top of the bookshelf and trailed down the side until it almost reached the carpet. It had sharp, pointed leaves, and tiny berries like blood. It made him shudder, but he had watered it, too. But they had all withered and died, and he had bagged them all up and thrown them out with the trash.

He stood in the doorway and watched her as she knitted. The brightly colored yarn flowed from the basket at her feet, and the finished rows pooled in her lap. Knit, knit, slip. She wouldn't communicate with him anymore, so all he could do was bring her the most beautiful yarn he could find. Wool or silk or rayon, she didn't seem to care, as long as the colors were bright and beautiful. He never let her run out; if it looked like the pile of yarn in her basket was getting low, he would make a special trip to the yarn shop in town and fill a bag with anything that caught his eye.

As he stood and watched her knit, he saw her eyes close, and her hands on the needles began to slow their constant movement. Knit . . . knit . . . The needles fell from her hands and the beautiful silk scarf dropped from her lap. "Mom?" he cried out, rushing to her side. "Oh, no! Mom!"

And before the world could wind down, a young woman on the other side of the world picked up her needles.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Seller beware

I am SO angry right now. I sold a Vera Bradley quilted backpack on eBay for about half of the retail cost. I had used it a couple of times, but you couldn't tell. The buyer gave me positive feedback, said it was perfect, then she decided to wash it, and ruined it.

So she filed a dispute with eBay saying it wasn't as described, and was damaged, when it was her who damaged it! She wants a refund (even though eBay allows you to specify no returns, and I did), and eBay has put a hold on my Paypal account until I do. So she's ruined it, I can't sell it to anyone else, AND I have to give her back $53! SO pissed off.

I'm sorry, it's too bad, but it definitely isn't my fault. eBay has made it so you can't leave negative feedback for a buyer, but they can sure leave negative feedback for sellers. Ebay always side with buyers, no matter what, so buyers are free to lie and say whatever they want. I don't know why I'm surprised, but I am. I always expect the best of people. I guess I'm just naive.

Here's what it looked like when I shipped it, I'll post a picture of it when I get it back, and we can compare.

Out of touch

Came home last night, turned on the television to watch something while I ate dinner, and there was nothing but static. Tried to get on the Internet, nothing. Tried the phone. No dial tone. We have new neighbors, and when I went to work yesterday, there was a cable strung across the yard; when I got home, it was gone. So I figured the cable company came out to bury the cable, and in the process, cut ours.

Called the cable company, the earliest they can come out for sure was next Wednesday, but said they would try to find something sooner. So about 10:00 my cell phone rings. It's the cable company, and they can come out today (Friday) in the afternoon. It's a terrible time for me, I'm supposed to be talking at a meeting then, but if I don't take it, I won't have television or Internet all weekend. And even though the problem is outside, they say I have to be here.

So I said okay. I'll go to work, come home, and if they come on time, go back and maybe make my meeting. All for something that they caused.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Clearing out

I spent most of the weekend sorting and clearing out and throwing away. I don't know if that counts as "cleaning," but I guess it does. I washed all of the salt and pepper shakers on my shelf, dusted the shelf, and put most of them back. I don't dust them very often, but when I do, I switch them out, and put different ones out, put some of them in storage.

My grandmother--my mother's mother--collected salt and pepper shakers, and some of these were hers. She received most of them as gifts, souvenirs from relatives and friends when they returned from trips, and she tried to write the giver's name on the bottom of them. Most of them are unreadable now. When I posted the picture on Facebook yesterday, one of my cousins mentioned that my other grandmother collected them, too, an said that the picture reminded her of Grandma's house (Great-Grandma, in her case). I like that. It's a connection to another generation.

I also cleaned the glass shelves of my etagere, and the things that were on it, and a server that sits in the dining room. So many things to dust! I'm trying to put things away, and get rid of things, but it's hard. I also spent a lot of time today going through books and CDs, checking on Amazon to see if I could get a decent price for them, and if not, if Amazon wanted to buy them. They don't pay much, as a general rule, but sometimes they do, and they pay for shipping. I came up with about $40 worth of stuff that I'll send to Amazon, and they'll deposit a gift certificate in my account. It makes me feel less guilty about all those ebooks I buy . . .

I filled a big bag for one of the charities that comes through the neighborhood periodically, and I also put a few things on eBay. Oh, and I sold my Bluetooth keyboard on Amazon, about 30 minutes after I posted it. I just found that I didn't use it as much as I thought I would (not at all, really), so I priced it at 5 cents less than the lowest price, and it sold. It'll be out the door tomorrow, along with a package of rubber stamps and the box of books for Amazon.

It makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something. I probably would have done more, but my back scared me this evening. I got a twinge that let me know I needed to stop, or I was going to throw my back out. I definitely don't want to do that, even more than normal, because Bob's out of town. It's happened a few more times when I move, change position (sit or stand), but I think it'll be okay as long as I quit the bending and lifting. I've got a big pile of stuff that needs to go to the basement, but I won't do it tonight. I'll leave it for another day, or maybe next weekend if my back doesn't feel better. I'll take some ibuprofen when I go to bed tonight.