Monday, March 31, 2014

Review of A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

The very short version of this review would be “Where have the Julia Quinn books been all of my life?”  But I feel like I need a little more than that to call it a review (or a blog post), so here’s the slightly longer version (I’m not going to waste too much of your time with a long review because you really need to read the book).
I read A Night Like This as part of the Historical Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Anna at Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  I also first heard about the book when she reviewed it on her blog (thanks, Anna!). It’s a cute, quirky, happy read.  Anne Wynter is a governess with a past, her charges are hilarious, and their cousin, Daniel Smythe-Smith (Anne’s love interest), is an all-around great hero.  
A Night Like This has a great cast of characters.  The secondary characters are more than just fillers because the main characters have to interact with someone else; they’re interesting on their own.  (Apparently some of the secondary characters have their own books, and I can’t wait to read those as well.)  It was also nice to read a romance that had some humor woven in.  The girls in Anne’s charge are hilarious, and there’s a good bit of banter back and forth between Anne and Daniel that really adds to the story.
I used to read historical romance novels almost exclusively, but I started to feel like so many authors just recycled the same stories over and over – boy meets girl, they’re of different social classes so don’t think they can be together, blah, blah, blah, then it all works out in the end, so I took a long break from reading them.  A Night Like This is enough to restore my faith in historical romance authors, though.  How many books feature historical romance, really bad musicians, a run-down of the fates of Henry VIII’s wives, unicorns, and attempted murder? 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

AT&T, A to Z Blogging Challenge, and Catching Up

First of all, I’m back from a forced blogging hiatus.  Our internet wasn’t working for over two weeks.  We currently have AT&T, but are likely going to be changing providers within the next month or two.  I realize I haven’t responded to any comments this month, and for that I apologize.  Thank you very much for taking the time to read, and comment on, what I write.  It is always appreciated. 

Apparently something happened with the DSL lines, which I totally understand, especially given the bad weather and crazy wind we’ve had.  Mother Nature gets mad, stuff happens.  I get it.  But, the reason we are planning to change providers is their rotten attitude about the whole thing. 

Nick called them and explained the problem, and they basically treated him like a blithering idiot who was just too stupid to realize that the internet was working.  Now, I understand that they get a lot of calls from a lot of people who aren’t very technologically savvy.  I’m sure it’s frustrating, and I’m sure there are questions they have to ask to make sure they’re not dealing with someone who has accidentally unplugged something before they send out a technician.  I’m one of those people.  I admit that.  Nick isn’t.  He called and tried to explain what the problem was and what he had tried to fix it (which by the way, if they’d listened, would have told them it was a DSL line problem), but they treated him like an idiot and decided to send a new modem to solve the problem after several days of phone calls.

They sent the new modem (which wasn’t the problem) to the wrong address.  About ten years ago, the county re-numbered our street, and we went from 737 to 718.  This was done long before we moved in, and long before we signed up for AT&T.  All of the other utilities have been able to grasp this change, but not AT&T.  When Nick talked to them, he reminded him of the address issue.  Once again, they didn’t listen, so they sent the modem to 737, which doesn’t exist.  UPS left a notice that they couldn’t deliver the package because it had the wrong address, so we’d have to pick it up from their distribution center.

Nick picked the modem up the following Monday, and (surprise, surprise) it didn’t solve the problem.  He called AT&T on Tuesday and, once again, tried to explain the problem.  They finally said they’d send a technician out on Wednesday afternoon before 4:00.  When no one had arrived by 4:30, Nick called them back and was told that the technician had probably been tied up on another call and would be there by 8:15 Thursday morning. 

Thursday morning turned into Thursday afternoon, with no technician, so Nick called AT&T back and was told that they couldn’t dispatch a technician to 737 on our street.  He explained, once again, about the address change, and they said they’d send someone “soon”. 

That was the point at which I saw red.  I logged into Facebook from work and posted our issue on their wall.  I had a response within an hour asking me to email them with the details, which I did.  They finally forwarded our issues up to the next level, and three technicians later, our internet service was restored on Friday evening.  They’ve said they will credit us for the time we didn’t have service, but given their history, I’m not sure that will happen without a fight. 

On the bright side, we have a lot of other options for internet, and they did get our service restored in time for the A to Z BloggingChallenge

I’ve signed up for the A to Z Challenge this year.  I waited until a few weeks ago, but I really, really need and want to get back into a regular blogging schedule, and this seems like a great way to do it.  If you’re not familiar, basically you blog every day, except Sunday, during the month of April following the alphabet (the 1st is A, the 2nd is B, etc). 

I completed the challenge in 2012, and really enjoyed it.  I planned to participate in 2013, but life got a little scary and crazy, so I backed out.  But I’m back for 2014.  I’m not doing a theme, but I have written some posts already, though I haven’t done that in any logical order; my W post is written, my A post is not, and I’m super excited about my J post.  Are you participating this year?  Are you going with a theme or more freestyle?

In other catching up news, Emma had some less than great blood work results, and we’re still trying to figure out what’s going on.  I took her to the vet about a week and a half ago because we thought she might have a UTI.  She’d had a few accidents in the house, which is NOT at all normal for her, so I took her for what we thought would be a urine sample and antibiotics, but the urine sample revealed no signs of infection.

She looks great, and seems to feel fine.
Our regular vet was out of town, so we saw the other vet in the practice.  She’s a good vet, and she’s nice, but she’s just not our regular vet.  I know my fellow pet parents will understand this!  She mentioned possibly returning to potty training since Emma is an older dog and there was no infection.  I know Emma, and I knew it wasn’t a potty training issue.  She’s old, but she’s not senile.  The vet then suggested blood work since Emma is a senior dog. 

The blood work showed really high liver enzymes, and slightly high cholesterol.  The vet suspected Cushing’s Disease based on the blood work and Emma’s other symptoms, so we had more blood work done to check for that.  That test ruled out Cushing’s Disease, which is good and bad.  Our next step is an ultrasound of her liver, etc to look for any masses or anything abnormal.  We have that appointment on Tuesday. 

Unfortunately, they don’t do ultrasounds in our vet’s office, so we’ve been referred to an internist for it.  Emma doesn’t always do well seeing a new vet, so I’m a little nervous about that.  I’m also trying really hard not to dwell on the bad things an ultrasound might show.  Emma doesn’t seem to be in any pain; she’s eating and playing normally, and is acting like her usual happy self.  She’s not worried at all, but I would definitely appreciate any good thoughts for her. 

I hope life, pets, the internet, and everything else is well in everyone’s little corner of the blogging world. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It Takes A Village

Sometimes it seems like the people mistreating animals far outnumber the folks working toward keeping animals safe, healthy, and happy.  And sometimes it seems like the task of animal rescue is overwhelmingly huge, and doubt that it can be done begins to creep in, just a little.  But then something happens that makes you realize that while sometimes it takes a village to rescue one animal, there IS a village out there willing and able to make it happen.
Monday was one of those “it takes a village” days.  Around 3:30 in the afternoon I received an email from the no-kill shelter asking if I could pick up a dog, named Bear, from a local vet to bring to the shelter.  There wasn’t much information about the dog at the time, just that he needed a place to go, and a spot had finally opened up with the shelter. 
Bear turned out to be an eleven month old lab mix.  His first owners intended to take him to the county (kill) shelter because he jumped on them and is terrible about walking on the leash.  I’m just going to take a minute to go off on a side rant here: those are 100 percent fixable problems AND they’re usually caused by the owners not taking the time to teach the dog proper behavior.  Furthermore, an eleven month old dog is high energy.  They jump and they pull.  You just have to accept high energy as part of having a young dog.  You have to exercise the dog and teach them to walk on the leash and not to jump on you.  It takes time and patience, but it can easily be done.  End rant.
Someone else took Bear in, temporarily, just to keep him out of the kill shelter and contacted the vet about trying to find a home for him.  The vet contacted the no-kill shelter and agreed to keep Bear until a spot opened up for him, which ended up being a little over two weeks. Bear’s place in the no-kill shelter opened up on Monday. 
Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me since I left straight from work, so I have no pictures of Bear.  I promise he was adorable!  He was super sweet, too.  He rode in the car well, and seemed to want to please once he figured out what was expected of him.  He tried to get in the front seat at first, but after a few times of firmly telling him to stay in the backseat he caught on, and was a perfect gentleman for most of the car ride. 
Bear will most likely be placed in a foster home, at least for a while, so that he can be taught proper leash behavior and not to jump on people when he’s excited.  And the shelter will work hard to find the right family for him.  So, yes, it’s taking a village to save Bear, but there IS a village committed to saving Bear and other pets like him. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

No Kitchen Sink, But Part of the Shower

I’ve been accused of carrying everything but the kitchen sink around in my purse, and in moments of total honesty, I will admit that there’s some truth to the accusation.  I carry a big purse, I rarely clean it out, and I tend to use it as storage.  We’ve weighed my purse a few times (don’t judge, we don’t have cable, okay?) and it very often tops 10 pounds.  It has inched closer to 20 pounds before. 
I almost always have a book in my purse.  I have a Kindle, but we don’t get along, so I need a purse that has room for a real book.  You never know when you’re going to end up waiting for someone or something, and life is just too short to waste time when you could be reading.  I usually carry around some kind of notebook.  I also carry a paper calendar that I love. Technology and I aren’t the best of friends.  I like this calendar, and I’ve been using this style for six years.  It isn’t broken, so I’m not fixing it.  Then there’s the usual assortment of “purse stuff” – keys, makeup, gum, pens, receipts, etc. 
Yesterday, though, I think I pulled the weirdest thing yet out of my purse; a shower faucet.  Yes, a shower faucet.  The shower faucet broke on Sunday.  Nick is currently working nights, and I felt bad enough waking him up to turn off the water, so I went to the hardware store to buy the new faucet.  I don’t have the best record for getting the right thing at the hardware store, so I put the old faucet in a plastic storage bag and took it with me to compare to the new one.  I just tossed the old one in my purse when I left the store and didn’t think about it again.
Until yesterday, when I checked out at the grocery store.  I pulled out the shower faucet in the process of getting out my debit card.  That got me a few strange looks.  The cashier actually asked if it was part of the shower.  Yes. Yes, it is.  No kitchen sink, but I do have part of the shower in my purse. 
So what about you?  Do you keep your purse nicely organized?  If so, HOW?  Or what is the weirdest thing you’ve pulled out of your purse?