Friday, October 30, 2015

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse book review..."The Ghost Writer"

It's time for my monthly book review hosted by The Cephalopod Coffeehouse  over at

For October I decided to review The Ghost Writer by John Harwood.  It wasn't the best book I read this month, although there really weren't any standouts. Since tomorrow is Halloween I thought that a horror novel would be appropriate.

Well. This book was definitely creepy in parts. It's the story of a young boy named Gerard growing up in Australia whose mother had immigrated from England before he was born. Her early life is a mystery, and she refuses to tell him much of anything about her past. He sneaks a look inside a locked drawer one day and discovers a photograph of his great grandmother, who wrote and published ghost stories in the 1890's. His mother goes absolutely mad with rage when she finds him going through the drawer but still won't tell him anything about why there's the need for such secrecy.  Shortly afterwards, a mysterious young girl named Alice writes to him and wants to become pen pals. Then things get really weird....

Things get a bit confusing sometimes  because several of Viola's (the great grandmother) stories are told in the course of the novel. Her children and grandchildren find and read them, and it's quickly apparent that some of them are actually coming true. The characters are hard to keep straight after a while, and the ending is kind of messy. But there are some genuinely spine - tingling favorite is when a woman is reading in a library, and a thick fog starts to creep up around her. Then she realizes that a porcelain doll is coming after her in the fog....and she can hear the rustling of it's dress....and as she tries to feel her way out, she keeps waiting to feel it's cold little porcelain hand touch her....the thought made me shudder! There's not much creepier than porcelain dolls, in my opinion!

Overall, The Ghost Writer was a good Halloween read, but not something I would bother re-reading.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Grandma in the Window

I found this touching story at the Huffington Post and wanted to share it to offset the negativity of my last couple of posts. It made me feel good, and I hope it spreads a little cheer to you all as well!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

One photo says it all...

I got a photo in the grocery store today that illustrates everything that's wrong in the USA in 2015. The fact that we have idiots like this walking around in public, proudly displaying their ignorance for the world to see...

In case you have trouble seeing it, the full caption reads: "ASSAULT it or get the hell out!!!" And there's a picture of two assault rifles along with the ol' stars and stripes, and a skull.

That about sums up our culture, right on the back of a fiftysomething guy in the produce department of Food Lion.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The longest week of the year so far

This week has seemed never-ending, and it's been stressful and a little bit weird, too.

At work, the holiday store set is poised on the horizon.  Starting tonight, we have several overnight shifts (that I'm in charge of) to complete literally hundreds of projects. The tsunami of work bearing down on me is stressing me out. I'm not sleeping well. I feel overwhelmed and unappreciated. I hate my job to begin with, and this is the absolute worst time of year for retail workers. And I had really hoped to have a new job before the holidays rolled around again. I'm disappointed that that hasn't happened.  But at least when Tuesday morning gets here the transition should (theoretically) be done and I'll be able to relax a little.

Then there's some stuff going on in my husband's family that's downright......weird, to say the least. Apparently our 19 year old niece down in Florida just had a baby that no one in the family knew was coming. My brother-in-law and his wife have been totally distancing themselves from everyone for almost a year (including his mother) and I had started to wonder why......I guess now I know. I'm not really offended that no one told us, but I'm disappointed. I had hoped to be close to Gregg's siblings and nieces and nephews, being an only child myself. But you can't have relationships with people who refuse to do their part to maintain them---that goes for his sister and her family, too. Everyone has become distant and non-communicative. And to keep a new baby a secret until the child is actually born is the strangest thing I've ever heard of. My mother-in-law was the one who called us on Wednesday, having just heard herself. So we still haven't talked to our niece or her mother or father. And I'm not exactly inclined to call and offer congratulations since they haven't bothered to talk to us at all!

So that's been my week so far. Here's hoping the next few days are both uneventful and go by quickly!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My little amigo

Over the past year I've made friends with a little boy from Guatemala. His daddy brings him to the book store every now and then, and since he's only 4 years old and hasn't started school he doesn't speak any English yet.

 I'm still working at learning Spanish so I always take the time to chat with them as much as I'm able (the father's English isn't much better than my Spanish so we struggle a bit sometimes).

A few months ago the little guy came in with a cast on his right hand. There was some sort of accident (I'm not entirely sure what kind but I think it involved a lawn mower) and the poor baby got his hand mangled and ended up losing the little finger on that hand.

He's going to be ok. There have since been two surgeries and now he's in physical therapy to regain use of that hand. Whenever I see him now, I say to him (in Spanish), "Here's my big brave friend! How are you?" And he giggles and is too bashful to answer. His dad says he always looks for me first thing and gets upset if I'm not at work. He's such a sweetheart. And I spoil him as much as I can, giving him stickers and little toys left over from events in our children's department. I also take him over to the cafe in our store and buy him cupcakes and cookies.

 Last night when he came in I told him to pick out a snack and he chose a Rice Krispy treat. When his dad asked him, "What do you say?" he looked at his feet and whispered in a tiny little voice "Gracias..."

My heart melted right there on the spot.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sunshine and big blue skies

Here in South Carolina the flood recovery is underway, and for the first time in several weeks, we have bright sunny skies. Everything  seems fresh and clean after the record setting rainfall we've had.

I was off today so a friend and I went to lunch, and then browsed around the farmer's market. We both enjoyed the gorgeous weather, and resisted the urge to spend money on fall flowers and decorations. Everything is so pretty at the market this time of year! I wanted to buy some of everything!

After so many days of rain and gloom, sunshine and blue skies are good for the soul!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

State of emergency---Flood!!

Even though South Carolina has been spared the hurricane, another emergency is unfolding...floods!

This area has already received anywhere from 14-18 inches of rain in the past two days, and between 8 and 12 more inches are expected through tomorrow night.

I've never seen anything like this in my life. My city is under a mandatory curfew and parts of this county are being evacuated. Most of the counties in Eastern and Central South Carolina are experiencing flooding on an historic level. I couldn't even drive back home from work this afternoon in my small car. My husband had to come pick me up in his truck, and we weren't sure we were going to make it, the roads were so bad. It was a relief when we finally found a way into our neighborhood. Several access roads were absolutely not accessible.

Here are some photos from around the state. It's a very serious situation.

These next two photos are fuzzy, but I'm including them anyway. It's an old cemetery in Mount Pleasant, SC, and you can see what's happening to the graves.....

The next few photos are from my front door. This is my front yard and the street in front of our house this afternoon and just after sunset.

I'm thankful that my friends and family are all safe at home right now. I hope things don't continue to go downhill tonight, but with several more inches of rain forecast I must admit that I'm nervous. I'll try to update the blog tomorrow.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Up in the air

Well, everything here is still up in the air.

We can't tell yet what the hurricane might do, but most of the forecasts are now predicting it will make landfall north of us. I hope so, the storm is now category 4 with winds of 130+ mph. It's very, very dangerous and I hope it just spins out to sea and peters out over the colder North Atlantic ocean.  It could still head this way, though, so we're watching it closely and hoping for the best.

As for the call I got on Tuesday with a message left asking me to come in for an interview, I haven't been able to get back in touch with the lady. I called several times that afternoon and yesterday, and left two voicemails. No response. Today I decided that I've tried enough; I didn't call and I'm just waiting to see what happens. It seems really odd that someone would leave me a message asking for an interview but then not respond at all when I try repeatedly to get back in touch. The position is for this woman's secretary. She's the superintendent of curriculum and education for a local public school district. I'm hoping she's just busy and in dire need of a secretary. Maybe she'll call tomorrow. It's not the end of the world if she doesn't but I really want the job.

So, today has been all about taking a "wait and see" approach....on all fronts.


Well, it looks like we're going to be starting October off with a bang--a great big hurricane is headed our way. It came as a surprise to me, since I haven't been following the local weather forecast very closely.

My husband called me in to look at the storm track projections tonight and there it was: hurricane Joachim, growing bigger by the minute and headed our way. They're saying it might end up as a category 3 storm by the time it makes landfall, and believe me, that's no joke. A category 3 hurricane can have sustained winds of over 120mph, and my area is expecting anywhere from 12 to 18 inches of rain no matter where the storm comes ashore....that's going to mean serious flooding.

So the next day or two will be spent going through emergency supplies and preparing. We have plenty of non perishable food, bottled water, and the like, but we need to stock up on batteries and candles, gas up the cars, remove any unsecured items from the yard, and make sure that we have everything we'll need if we're stuck at home (possibly without power and/or water) for a few days.

We're old hands at this stuff. You can't grow up on the East Coast and not know how to handle a hurricane.

If we don't blow away first, I'll keep you all updated!