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  1. BookWoman56

    Authors You Used to Love, But No Longer Read

    I’ll admit to having a soft spot for Mary Higgins Clark, as I met her when she was one of the authors for a large book fair for which I was the author liaison. We were able to talk for a bit, and she told me about her life. She started writing mysteries primarily because her husband died, leaving her with children to raise and not much money. She had done some writing previously but mostly freelance articles. One thing she mentioned has stuck with me. She started attending murder trials as research for her murder mysteries, and recounted how the husband of one victim knew something horrible had happened. He came home and found his wife’s feminine hygiene products in plain sight in the bedroom or bathroom. In all their years of marriage, she had never left those where he could see them. Very different era, obviously, but MHC said for her it was a vivid example of how violence interrupts people’s established routines. She didn’t really hit it big financially until her kids were essentially grown, and commented how they would sometimes kid her about how nice it would have been to have those financial perks when they were growing up. From everything she said, she came from an environment where people didn’t discuss sex and violence explicitly, and she wouldn’t be comfortable writing gory details. All that said, though, her later books are very formulaic. I can’t remember the last one that I read, but at least her books aren’t filled with grammar mistakes and typos; however, they’re definitely tame and predictable. In person, she was extremely nice and easy to talk to, very down to earth.
  2. BookWoman56

    Dear Diary: Question of the Day(s)

    No photos, but I prefer farfalle to spaghetti for marinara or tomato-based meat sauces. It's already pretty much bite-sized, although mini farfalle is also available if you want very small bites. The advantage to me is that the sauce seems to stay on it better than on spaghetti noodles, and there's no need to twirl strands of spaghetti or cut it into manageable bites when serving to kids.
  3. BookWoman56

    Family: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Your dad's entitled to his opinion. But you're entitled to ignore his opinion and make your own choices.
  4. BookWoman56

    Worst Book Love Interests

    In the upper classes, women might marry a little later, but among other classes, especially in rural areas, getting married around age 15 was pretty common. My great grandmother was married at 15 and had her first child at 16. She grew up on a farm and in a setting where girls were taught domestic skills and had farming chores in preparation for that kind of responsibility by their mid teens. Reading about that sort of thing may seem odd given current sensibilities, but in novels set in the 18th and 19th centuries, for example, it would be normal for girls to be married that young, although less common among the upper class. In those cases, though, the expectation was that daughters, no matter what their age, married the man their fathers told them to marry.
  5. BookWoman56


    Yes, many banks chose to make risky investments at that time, although what most people don't realize is that there was a push from the federal level to loosen up lending requirements for mortgages, so that people with low incomes/less than stellar credit could more easily qualify for mortgages. With the current restrictions in place on mortgages, it's much more difficult for people with low incomes and lower credit scores to get mortgages. I'm personally unsure that making it harder for people with lower credit to get mortgages is the best answer in the long run, as those people still need housing and so are often forced to rent properties where they essentially are only enriching their landlords, rather than building any equity. But the topic of affordable housing is a bit tangential to the show under discussion here, other than just that it seems like some of the hoarders are going to face the necessity of finding a different housing solution because they've damaged the property or hoarding has taken over their lives to the point that they can no longer pay for their housing. My original point was that I don't feel sorry for someone, subprime mortgage or not, who has a property and then proceeds to devalue it by hoarding. If I owned a property and rented it out to someone who turned out to be a hoarder, and that person was hoarding at the level on the show, I'd probably give the hoarder a deadline to get the stuff out of the property or face eviction. With many of the properties shown, the interiors of the house have been damaged (fire hazards, rodents out of control, etc.,) and often the hoarding has spilled over to the exterior of the property. Most leases have clauses in them allowing eviction if someone causes significant damage to the property. Similarly, if I'm a bank holding a mortgage on a hoarder property and the hoarder quits paying the mortgage, I see no reason to make an exception to foreclosing on the property and salvaging what is left of the investment. I do feel sorry for some of the hoarders; in particular, there was one woman who grew up more or less wealthy but whose mental condition had deteriorated badly to the point where it seemed she couldn't comprehend that she needed to choose what possessions to keep rather than lose everything because she could no longer afford the property she was in. But for many of these people, it's hard to feel any sympathy for them because they seem to be extremely unpleasant people. And there is part of me that feels with many hoarders, they've already had time to deal with their hoarding. It's not like somebody has a normally organized house and wakes up one day, determined to become a hoarder and fill the house with junk in 24 hours. I could understand it to some extent if the person lived alone, but FFS, some of these episodes show hoarders who have spouses living in the same environment. Even if the hoarder has some mental illness, why did the spouse go along with it until it hits the level that outside agencies and so forth have to intervene? Is it just inertia on the part of the non-hoarder spouse, or are they too afraid of how the hoarder spouse will react to any efforts to stop the hoarding and get rid of the junk?
  6. BookWoman56

    Pet Peeves

    Regarding the email, I generally don’t pay attention to whether someone is on PTO or not. For the most part, any email I send to someone is information that person will need to have, whether it’s today or when they get back to work. I am absolutely not going to delay sending an email until the person is back in the office. Now, if it’s the rare email where I am requesting someone to take an action, and the action needs to occur before the person is due back, I will direct the email to an appropriate backup person and copy the original person as an FYI. Maybe I’m missing something here, but when I am on PTO, my auto reply states how long I will be out of office and a designated person if there’s something urgent, and otherwise, I will respond when I am back in the office . Nobody forces me to read work emails on my days off. If supervisors are insisting you reply to emails while you are on vacation or whatever, that’s something you should discuss to set expectations that you will respond when you are back at work. I realize, though, that assumes you have a reasonable supervisor/manager. ETA: If you are being forced to attend meetings and reply to emails, then you are not really off work. Your manager is just pretending you are.
  7. Not sure this is the right thread, but robot vacuum cleaners with wi-fi are gadgets, right? I finally broke down and bought a Roomba. It’s still teaching itself how to maneuver around my first floor, but I definitely see the advantages of maintenance vacuuming instead of letting the dog and cat fur pile up, especially under the couch and so forth. I really like being able to schedule cleanings, and being able to control the device itself using my phone. Now I’m considering getting the robot mopping device, the iRobot Braava jet. I love having tile floors, but mine are fairly light and really show any spills or whatever, that the vacuum will not get. For various reasons, time is always pretty tight, and I would like to cut down on any cleaning activities that can be done more efficiently by an automated process. Plus, downstairs is around 1800sf of mostly tile, which is a lot to mop by hand. Does anyone have any experience using the Braava? Any recommendations as to which model? It looks like a robot version of a swiffer.
  8. BookWoman56

    Pet Peeves

    Be very careful of mosquitoes. My father worked in the yard a lot, and roughly 6 years ago died of West Nile virus, almost certainly infected by a mosquito bite. Elderly people are much more vulnerable to it, but it’s not good for any age.
  9. BookWoman56


    But that assumes that the person does in fact pay back the loan. IIRC, the situation that started this discussion was a property where the hoarder flatly refused to make the mortgage payments. And full disclosure here, I work for an extremely large bank; spent about 2.5 years in the part of the bank that deals with customers defaulting on their mortgages. When people take out a mortgage, the property is the collateral on that mortgage. So when people refuse to make their mortgage payments for long periods of time, they should not be surprised that the bank forecloses on the property and tries to recoup the money they lent. I don’t see anything inherently wrong in doing so. Most banks will try to work with customers who are going through temporary financial problems, but many people just no longer have the income to make the payments. So what is the bank supposed to do, just write off the loan as a bad investment? They have a legal obligation in many cases to try to recover the loan amount, typically by foreclosing and then repairing structural problems, then selling the property to recoup what they can. Recovering that money is what enables them to keep loaning money to other people who want to buy a house, expand their business, etc. I sympathize with people whose circumstances change and they lose their house. But it’s not the bank’s fault that someone loses their job, etc. With a hoarder house, if the bank forecloses, they will either have to sell the house as is and probably take a loss, depending on the market, or spend the money to rehab the house and hope they break even.
  10. BookWoman56

    Love It Or List It

    I think I may have caught about 10 minutes or less of this episode. It was a large house next to water, and the husband was an ass who made snide comments about everything. If it’s the same one, then Hilary ran into the septic tank issue where if they added another bathroom, they would have to get a larger septic tank. That was the point at which I quit watching; I had missed the beginning and didn’t know what was driving the need to renovate. But the husband was obnoxious enough for me to start hoping that Hilary would find a ton of structural problems and then there would be no budget for whatever the hell he wanted.
  11. BookWoman56

    A case of the Mondays: vent your work spleen here

    This is more or less what happened in my old position a few years ago, before I transferred to the area I'm in now. My manager thought our lead tech writer could do no wrong; this was someone he had hired with minimal qualifications to be a tech writer, and then proceeded to promote him to the highest tech writer level available (a TW4) a few months before I left. The manager put this guy in charge of the SharePoint site not just for our team, but for the entire area overseen by the person our manager reported to. This was done despite this tech writer having had only the slightest bit of training into how to be an admin for a SP site. Not surprisingly, the tech writer fucked things up royally; accidentally deleted the entire SP site that everybody who reported to my manager's boss used, and it was a week before the site could be restored. During that time, a fuckton of work came to a screeching halt. The result was that this tech writer made my manager look really bad for having recommended him for this position. In the meantime, I was offered a TW4 job in another area of the company. As soon as I accepted, this manager got on the phone to his former protege, and told him, "BookWoman56 has accepted a TW4 position in another area, so that means her current TW3 slot will be open, and I strongly encourage you to apply for it." So yeah, as soon as this person made the manager look bad, all bets were off and the manager essentially told him to accept a demotion or get fired. @hoosier80, I know your work environment is completely insane, but maybe your boss will get tired of the fuck-ups, especially if they are high profile enough to make him look bad, and cut his losses.
  12. BookWoman56

    TV Envy: Characters, Lifestyles and Things We Want

    I absolutely covet the library/study that Hannibal Lecter had on the Hannibal series. It's my ideal combination of a study with lots of space, some seating for work or reading, and an open library accessible by a ladder. It looks incredibly calm and peaceful. ETA: View of the library/study from a different angle.
  13. BookWoman56


    No, there's no polite way to say, "Sorry, I refuse to eat at your house because it's filthy." If your concern is sparing their feelings, then simply decline with an excuse such as you've got too much going on right now for social occasions, or you're on some new diet that is ridiculously difficult, or you have problems with pet dander, or any one of numerous reasons that are polite if not strictly true. You might consider offering to bring something, such as a large salad, and then eating only what you made while pushing the food they prepared around on your plate, assuming you could bring yourself to eat from a plate from their kitchen. Or persuade them to just order pizza or other takeout for dinner, and eat directly from the containers. I really wouldn't put that much thought into refusing their offer for dinner. If you've previously hosted them for dinner at your house and now they feel obligated to host you, it's a trickier situation but you still should be able to just pretend to be too busy until they give up. This somehow reminds me of when I was much younger and wanted to break up with someone I'd been dating for a short time, and hit upon the "I'm sorry, but my life is really complicated right now and I don't feel I can give you the time and attention you deserve" line to use so as to break up with someone with minimal hurt feelings. Or if you really want to clue them in as to why you would feel uncomfortable eating in their house without being super rude, just tell them you're germaphobic and it's difficult for you to eat in someone else's house without compulsive cleaning, and that you've found that doing so often offends people.
  14. BookWoman56

    Pet Peeves

    You're a grown-ass woman; your parents can't "force" you to do anything without you allowing them to do so. Sorry if that comes across as harsh, but you seem to be at an age where I've seen a lot of younger adults have issues about making their own decisions. From someone who's been through other instances where my choices/preferences didn't align with those of my parents, I'll say this: You need to decide what matters more to you, being comfortable with how various people address you or catering to the expectations of people that you interact with F2F only on special occasions. As long as your parents feel they can pressure you to behave in certain ways and you cave in to that pressure, they will continue to foist their decisions on your life. That unfortunate aspect of parenting seems to be present across all cultures, albeit not true of all parents.
  15. BookWoman56

    Pet Peeves

    If you're uncomfortable with being called by a particular title, then just ask them to call you by whatever title/name you do feel comfortable with. It's not the end of the world if you decide that you're not comfortable with some aspect of your parents/extended family's cultural norms and instead implement your own custom. My paternal grandmother, for example, decided when my oldest sister was born that she didn't want to be addressed as "grandmother" or anything similar, so all of my siblings and I grew up addressing my grandmother and grandfather by their first names, because that was their preference. My great-grandparents (that grandmother's parents) preferred to be addressed by a combination of their role and surname, so it was "Grandma ABC" and so forth, but if they had any issues with us addressing my grandmother by her first name, they got over it. My daughter's friends are all college age, and so for the past few years, I've asked them to address me by my first name. Prior to that, there was sometimes a bit of awkwardness as they might address me as "Ms. ABC," and I would have to explain that my daughter and I don't share the same surname, so it was actually "Ms. DEF." But frankly, I'd say 95% of the time, they didn't address me directly by name/title, and would refer to me in the third person (when needed) as "XYZ's mom" rather than my own name. I'm currently trying to get my grandson, whose mother is from Hong Kong, to call me by my first name. Right now he doesn't call me "grandmother" either, although he does call my mother "grandmother."