J.K. Rowling writes Harry Potter Halloween tale profiling ‘malicious’ Dolores Umbridge – Books – TODAY.com

J.K. Rowling writes Harry Potter Halloween tale profiling 'malicious' Dolores Umbridge – Books – TODAY.com.

Smashing character profile of Dolores Umbridge!

Dolores has always scared the heck right out of me, even more than Bellatrix Lestrange .

If you love the Harry Potter series, I guarantee this story will not disappoint!

And Happy Halloween!

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read | Banned & Challenged Books

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read | Banned & Challenged Books.

I will not get a chance to post this next week, so here’s my 2 cents:

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot read.

Censorship is NOT okay in a free society.

If a book offends you, don’t read the damn thing.

But please, don’t tell me what I can and cannot read, because is it none of your dang business. I will read what I like, when I like.

And personally, I feel that if you are going to restrict what your children read, then you’ve never spent any time in a schoolyard, playground, or other areas where children congregate.

When I was a child, if my parents told me I could not do something it automatically became the one thing I MUST do.

But again, that’s my two cents.

Celebrate Banned Books Week, by reading (or rereading) a book on the Banned books list.

I’ve decided to finally read “Fifty Shades of Grey” this week and next.

Because that’s my right!

‘Festive in Death’ by JD Robb

Must-read romances: 'Festive in Death,' 'Malachim'.

When it comes to reading, I am not a romance buff, with one exception.

Festive in Death is the latest JD Robb story about Eve Dallas and her gorgeous (and filthy rich) husband Roarke, and it’s available September 9.

OF COURSE I have my Kindle copy pre-ordered.

Here’s why the In Death series is so awesome:

–Amazing characters. I’ve watched Eve Dallas fall in love, work on conquering her demons, and generally become a stronger human being as the books progress. The other characters in these books are also well thought out, interesting, and as human as hell. Hell, I even love their cat, who has as much spunk as Eve.
–Each book has Eve solving another case, usually with her husband Rorarke by her side. The cases are lots of fun, kind of grisly sometimes (well, Eve IS a murder cop), and always very interesting.
–The dialogue uttered by these great characters moves along quickly, and their words ring true.
–The stories stay on target, from beginning to end. The scenes from Eve’s personal life do not detract from the story, they add to the story.
–This series is fun to read, and allows me to escape for a few hours as I devour each book like a crack junkie.

If you read this, and you have not read any of the In Death books, I hope you give one a try!

Happy Labor Day, USA

This is it.

The end of summer.

As I prepare to start working again (part time, yeah), I’m thinking of this new path I’m on in my life.

Creating a new normal for myself is exciting and at times scarier than hell.

But hey, I asked for this, right?

I thought through this new path for months before actually taking the leap.

Be careful what you wish and plan for, girlfriend!

Today I’m wishing you all a great Labor Day holiday, if you are in the U.S. If you work, then I hope you only have to work for a few hours.

I’m going to do laundry and work on a writing project, and take a bit of a walk this afternoon.

Cheers to you all!

labor day2

 

Burned by the job? What to do, what to do…

Great article from the Mayo Clinic about Job burnout.

As many of you know, I retired from my nonprofit job after 12 years.

I worked at my agency from 2001-2006, then went back in the spring of 2007 and made it until the end of this June.

As a master’s level social worker, I know what job burnout is all about. I can recite all of the signs that one is burned out from the job. I worked for over a year knowing it was time for me to move on. For awhile I resisted making any changes, I think because I loathe (and fear) making any changes in my life!

So here’s what I experienced in my months of burnout:

  • Coming home at night so tired all I could do was crash on the couch after dinner, and then wanting to consume large bags of Lay’s potato chips and sugar-laden foods.
  • Turning down social invitations because I was so emotionally and physically fatigued.
  • Absolutely dreading Sunday afternoon, because it was time to get ready for another week of work.
  • Increasingly impatient, irritable, and angry with everyone–my agency, my coworkers, clients, and myself.
  • I always had a headache, or backache, or some kind of damn pain, somewhere in my body.
  • I was always complaining about my job, to anyone who would listen.
  • My sleep was poor; I would fall asleep with no problems, then wake up a few hours later, unable to get back to sleep.

I floundered for awhile, wondering what the hell to do next. As a “mature” woman, I had to take into account ageism. If I quit my job, how long would it take me to get another one?

That’s when I started thinking about retirement. My full retirement age is next year, so I needed to assess my situation. In the end, I decided to take early retirement and start looking for part time work after a short break.

I realize you might not be in the same age bracket as me, so here’s what I suggest you do if you think you have job burnout:

  • Start by assessing your situation and what you want to do next. I do not know if this will work for you, but when I admitted to myself that I was burned out, and needed to make a change, I started to feel like I was taking control of my situation. I told myself, over and over again, that I would know what direction to take next at the right time for me.
  • Get some support–family, friends, coworkers (if you feel comfortable doing so), a therapist, minister, or perhaps someone who does career advising for a living.
  • Consider talking to your doctor, and see if your health insurance covers any therapy sessions or support groups. If your company participates in the Family Medical Leave Act, do you qualify for some time away from work?
  • Get your resume spruced up and get it out there–on Monster.com and Indeed. Join LinkedIn and start connecting with others. Spend some time on Craigslist and troll the ads, just to see what’s out there.
  • If you see some jobs that appeal to you, apply for them and see what happens.
  • Take a vacation if you can!
  • Better yet, get some exercise! I took some Pilates classes, and they helped me manage my sleep. Yoga and walking helped me a lot also. Getting outside in the fresh air is a great mood booster.
  • Even better, try some meditation, especially if you are having trouble sleeping.

I have classified myself as semi-retired right now. I will admit that I’m starting to feel a little anxious, and hope to get some part time work soon. But I am certain that I did the right thing for myself–my mood is improved, I have caught up on my rest, and I feel in control of my life again. I miss my work mates something fierce, and plan to see them socially whenever I can.

But I’m also happier than I have been for a long time, at peace with my decision to leave a job that I was ready to leave.

And if you feel you are burned out by your job, I’m sending you a virtual, side-type, Granny hug. Try my ideas, or Google job burnout.

There’s hope for all of us, I’m certain of it!

And here’s my latest iPhone pic, that I took today while I was out walking in the sunshine:

tree1

Campaigns for #MikeBrown #Ferguson

boomergrl49:

Some of us have been wondering what we can do to help. Here are some ways to help out the folks in Ferguson, Missouri!

Originally posted on Spaceship Dreaming:

 
Here is a list of donations, protests, and petitions that you can do to help the people in #Ferguson and to assist #MikeBrown and #EzellFord all others who have been killed by the hands of the police. I will try to update as much as possible.
 
Donations for Mike Brown’s Family:
 
Michael Brown Memorial Fund:
These funds will assist his family with costs that they will acquire as they seek justice on Michael’s behalf. All funds will be given to the Michael Brown family. http://www.gofundme.com/justiceformikebrown
 
 
College 4 MikeBrown’s Siblings:
This effort will help support Mike Brown’s siblings, 2 younger sisters and a younger brother go to college. It is run by Sara
Goldrick-Rab, UW professor of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab ( http://www.wihopelab.com) and Michael Johnson of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County (Madison, WI) can vouch that all funds will go directly to…

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Shaving: Getting rid of unwanted hair + shaving bucks as a semi-retired person

I’m not sure if you have heard about the Dollar Shave Club, but it sounds pretty cool to me.

For a few dollars a month, you can have razor blades razor blades delivered to your home.

There are three different shavers, and prices:

-The Humble Twin; you get 2 stainless steel blades and 5 cartridges per month for $1 a month. Shipping and handling are added to this option.

-The 4X, which gives you 4 cartridges and 4 stainless steel blades for $6 a month, shipping and handling included

-The Executive, which comes with 6 blades and 4 cartridges, for 9 bucks a month, and the cost also includes shipping and handling.

The Dollar Shave Club also offers shave butter and after shave options, in addition to butt wipes for men.

As I was looking over the Dollar Shave Club, I wondered if women could use these razors, so I Googled “can women use dollar Shave razors?” and learned that women are trying them! I may try some razors myself, once I use up some of my pink lady-type razors.

As many of you know, I am now semi-retired. I’m looking for a part-time job, but my income has certainly taken  a nose dive in the past few months. This means my budget is a lot tighter, and here’s how I am saving money:

-Making coffee at home. When I was working every day, I stopped at Starbucks every few days. Even when I bought drip coffee, it sure added to some bucks throughout the week.

-I’m buying fewer books, both Kindle and print, and using the Seattle Public Library more. Seattle also has Half Price Books, a cool used bookstore, and I’ve actually gone out of the house to buy a book!

-I’m eating out less, and cooking at home more. When I was working, I bought my lunch 2-3 times a week, and ate dinner out weekly.

-I love to buy clothes, and I’m looking out for more sales, checking out lower priced clothing stores and consignment shops. Wow, much cheaper!

-Finally, I’m making fewer impulse purchases, and asking myself if I really need to buy a fancy new perfume or pair of shoes.

I hope you will check out the Dollar Shave Club, and if you do, let me know about your experience!

I would also love to hear your own tips for saving money!

And, as always, I’m amazed at what can be ordered online!

Why I deleted Skype from my computer

I’ve been a Google Chrome user for a long time.

Google is my search engine, and I have no desire to use any other search engine.

A few months ago I got this wild and crazy idea to use Skype.

So I downloaded Skype, and things went okay for awhile.

Then, all of a sudden one day, I signed on to Google and Yahoo came up as my start page, with Bing as my search engine.

So I went to my Google chrome settings, and deleted Yahoo and Bing from my start up page.

After doing some online research, I found that Skype downloads could make this happen, so I deleted Skype and reinstalled it, being careful to uncheck the options for Yahoo to be my start page and Bing my search engine.

Guess what, sports fans?

It happened again, maybe the third or fourth time I signed on to Google.

So here’s the deal, Yahoo and Microsoft: I’ve got nothing but love for both of you.

But I do not want Yahoo to be my start up page, and I do not want Bing to be my search engine.

With respect, Microsoft, please take Skype and stick it where the sun don’t shine!

Thank you!

raspberries

photo from http://www.metroparent.com

Trolls and social media

picture from the guardian.com

I’ve been thinking about mean people today, the folks who use social media to go off on other people/situations/news stories.

If you are using social media, you probably know that FOX News has called Robin Williams a coward, and that Robin’s daughter Zelda has quit Instagram and Twitter because of trolls who unleashed their abuse on Zelda and her dad.

As someone who has dealt with trolls in the past (two people I knew years ago who bullied me via email), I know how much online bullying/abuse can traumatize you, especially when you are going through a tough time. In my case, I was just starting to come out of a difficult period of grieving over the death of my mom. I was using blogging as a way of coping, and I got hit right between the eyes with threats and abuse. 

I was finally able to work again, getting back on track financially, and I had to deal with two abusive people.

Great.

I dealt with the situation, somehow, the best I could at the time. I should have just blocked both of them right away, but I truthfully didn’t think of it at the time! One of my trolls threatened to have me fired from my job, the other one just used her email account to unleash a barrage of mean, hateful communications that made me realize that this was a person I needed to avoid, now and forever. 

My boss at the time was very supportive, and put me in contact with law enforcement and legal eagles who gave me some really good advice. I also deleted my blog, because it was just too much for me. I was looking for peace and support, not hate.

When I think of my situation a few years back, I’m sure it was really easy for these folks to bully and harass me long distance. It was also a way for both of them to direct their unhappiness at some hapless twit (i.e., me) who had her own issues at the time.

It took me a long time to shake off this whole situation, and to feel comfortable blogging and being on social media. I understand why Zelda Williams quit Twitter and Instagram; she’s not only dealing with her personal grief, but also the very public suicide of her father. Despite the thousands of supportive comments, she has to deal with a news agency and anchor who will say anything to get mentioned on social media, in addition to private trolls who enjoy just being plain old mean.

Speaking only for myself, I think that I’ve developed a thicker skin, and should trolls bully me again I will block them immediately, file a complaint with their email providers and/or ISP’s. 

At least that’s what I think I will do, because we never know how we will actually deal with situations, do we? I may be tired, or not feeling well, or stressed out about something going on in my life. 

This online life is a strange beast, isn’t it? I find social media a wonderful way to interact with people from around the world, yet by doing so I put myself at risk of being bullied, having my private information stolen, or just flamed by trolls.

As someone who’s been online almost daily since December 2004, I wish that I had some foolproof way for people to protect themselves. As a person who gets a lot of pleasure from social media, all I can do is caution you all to be careful whilst communicating online. And if you feel you must delete some of your social media accounts for awhile, then do so. I’ve deleted a number of blogs, quit and rejoined Twitter a few times, and come back when I’ve felt ready to do so.

Trolls are here to stay, I guess.

But–so are the good people who also use social media. It’s those people, many of whom I have communicated with online for years, that brought me back to blogging and tweeting and pinning. I hope y’all have access to these good people also, and that your social media experiences are always positive!

To Zelda Williams and her family, all I can do is voice my support during this time of unbelievable loss for them, and to hope that things get better for them soon. I applaud Zelda for doing what she needs to do for herself during this difficult time.

Okay, meandering personal discussion over.

picture of the troll from guardian.com

One reader responds to the Amazon-Hachette feud

my copy of

Beth Allen: One reader responds to the Amazon-Hachette feud.

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