National Black Book Festival


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Black Kindle - Still a bit lost but it's coming up roses soon!

Remember when I said I felt a bit lost after losing the part time job yesterday?  I guess I should explain more.  I was mentally and physically getting ready, after my return from my vacation in September in DC, to going back to a seven day a week work schedule.  Well things changed.  I was let go of the Asylum job.  Was I worry, a bit.  I took that job to stay on my Dave Ramsey plan.  After the lost and I re-worked the figures, that's when I realized that I had accomplished more than I could have imagined.  I was not completely there yet, but I knew I could move forward, stay on track and reach the finish line.

Then it really hit me: I can sleep late on Saturdays (Not really. Tommy my dog gets me up at 5am).  I don't have to rush after church on Sundays to get to work.  Not rush after the full time job on Thursdays and Fridays to get to the second job on time.  Hangout with my friends on Friday & Saturday nights. Actually come home on time everyday. Walk Tommy more. Cook healthier dishes.  Read more.  Blog more. Watch all of those DVDs I paid $5.00.  Clean up my house and start donating items to the Goodwill.  Since the holidays were coming, start attending the holiday parties and other functions I missed in the last three years.  I was ready, but something was missing.  I could not figure out what.  I could not slow down and enjoy the time. I felt lost.  

Then an e-mail arrived on October 23 from the Dave Ramsey Team.  “Thank you for volunteering to work our live event in Greenville, SC to be held on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at Brookwood Church, 580 Brookwood Point Place, Simpsonville, South Carolina 29681. You are helping us change our nation!.”  

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

My heart stop.  I jumped up and down so excitedly in the room that Tommy (my dog) thought I was attacking him.  I thanked God, jumped again, laughed and screamed.  I was so excited, so awesomely excited. I had forgotten all about when I signed up.  I'm always signing up to volunteer somewhere in the world.  Sometimes I make it, like Houston, DC, Miami and now Simpsonville.  Where the hell is Simpsonville?  I never heard such a place.  I was scheduled to be there from 4 to 10pm, with dinner to be served.  I checked out Simpsonville on the map, it's very close to Greenville.  I looked at Tommy and screamed, "ROAD TRIP." Booked a hotel that accept pets and got more excited as time went by.  I could not wait to go.  

A week later, another e-mail arrived and I'm thinking, Oh, crap, it's been canceled.  They wanted to know if I could come at 11am instead of 4pm. Some volunteers backed out at the last minute.  No problem.  When I found out how far the drive would be, 3 hours, Tommy and I left at 6am and took our time.  I've driving up and down the coast many times, so I was familiar with the area.  It's is very close to my kid's college, Clemson.  Go Tigers!!!! 

When you check out hotels on the Internet, it is never as it appears when you arrive. The hotel was a bit sketchy outside and not too dirty as well as not a "hooker" hotel.  Also was not far from pretty good strip mall and behind it a Quality Inn. Sketchy hotels/Motels don't bother me.  I got my dog and my policemen stick.

Oh, yeah, I carry a serious policemen stick with my trusted pepper spray.  No women who travels alone should be without something to defend herself and since I have always had to fight, growing up with 13 boys surrounding you.  You learn how to fight early and where to hit, grab and pull the hardest. I was driving down to Miami one time and stopped at one a rest stop.  Come out of the bathroom and was approached by a large, big belly, older and stinking to high hell funky black guy. He made a crack about being a women alone there.  I just kept walking to my car.  He may have found some young filly or some idiot women to fall for that line, but not me.  He then started to follow me and continue to talk crap, while I continue to walk to my car.  

I walked slowly because I knew what I was going to do, but I know he didn't.  I hit the car alarm button and Tommy started barking out the window like he was going to have this man's ass for dinner.  I turned around and told him to back the hell off or he was going to become sushi for Tommy.  He then saw Tommy and saw the policeman's stick in my hand when I turned around slowly, while I pounded it gently in my other hand and said he was sorry and walked back to his car.  I have watched a lot of Pam Grier's kick ass movies. 

No, I may not had been able to really hurt him, but I was going to damn sure try to ensure he will never have kids. Take one of those free defending classes at your local police station.  It works.

Once we got to the room, it was amazing inside.  Clean and I mean clean with Clorox bleach.  52 inch TV (since I don't have a TV a home, this was awesome).  Coffee/Tea maker, refrigerator and a nice sitting area.  I was surprised and I had brought my own Pine Sol mixture. Thinking, as I have done so many times before, clean the room first before I get comfortable.  Yes, I travel with my own Clorox bleach and Pine Sol.  Many and I mean many hotels are using cheap cleaners and don't change the damn sheets. They probably wash them in soap instead of soap and real bleach such as Clorox.  

After I settled in, I walked Tommy outside the hotel for a while so he could take care of his business.  I then left him in the room to finally, finally meet the one and only Dave Ramsey.

OK, too long of a blog.  Will continue story tomorrow.  

KILLER LIBRARIAN - MARY LOU KIRWIN - $6.83 - - - You know every British murder mystery should always have the most suspicious and creepy characters.  Now, it does not take away from the murder nor finding out who kill the person or persons, but when you add a group of “asylum” characters, it just makes it funny and you know one of them did it.  

As you know by now, I am a serious, serious bibliophile.  When I saw this book in the library, a bell went off.  I figure, well let’s see, my favorite place - Library, my favorite city - London, my favorite British authors; Agatha Christie (Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot), Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey), and a new black British writer I found recently, Mike Phillips (black journalist Sam Dean).  So it was inevitable that I would borrow this book.    

Karen Nash, a librarian in Minnesota, is getting ready to take a long dream trip to London with boyfriend Dave.  Hours before the plane takes off, Dave dumps her.  Hurt and confused, she manages to pull herself together and still take that trip.  Guess what, Dave and his new younger girlfriend are on the same plane.  Why are men still leaving their girlfriends or wive for a younger model?  Have they learn yet that it's cheaper and safer to keep her? Dumb ass!

In London she meets Caldwell Perkins, owner of the B&B that she and Dave were scheduled to stay in.  And the suspicious and creepy characters are also staying there: Betty and Barb, older women from Nebraska who completes each others sentences as well as dress alike; Howard, a very old gentlemen, 70s, with his new very young wife 30s, (yuck!!!) and Francine, a french woman who owns her own business selling linens whose an eccentric nut.

Her first night in London, Caldwell takes her to the local pub (I just love that word "pub") where she meets two blokes, Twad and Tweed, who drinks with her and Caldwell.  May add that she drinks a bit much than she could handled.  While Caldwell is getting her and their new friends more drinks, Karen blabs to another customer in the pub, Guy, about how she wishes she could kill Dave for what he has done.  Guy understands Karen's heart break and tells her, "You'll will be surprised. Dave will be taken care. I'll make sure he is."  Don't you just love it when a man takes charge?

This starts things rolling and one person is dead, someone is after Dave and his new girlfriend and Karen is feeling all of this is her fault.  She stays focus, looks for the killer and continues with the scheduled planned she had for her vacation in London. The plan she had for her and Dave (Dumb Ass!).  Now this is where I truly enjoyed reading about: Caldwell is a serious bibliophile and she start to fall in love with him, she visits the National Gallery to see her favorite painting Rain, Steam and Speed; Trafalgar Square; a trip with Caldwell to see Macbeth at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; and shopping at the small shops.  Karen gets real close to Caldwell and starts a growing fondness towards him. I would too with a man who loves books, reading and his B&B has books in all of the guest rooms.  Love it!

The best and more exciting thing of her adventures, other than finding the killer and falling in love with Caldwell is Hay-on-Wye.

What is Hay-on-Wye, Karen says, "A small town located on the border of England and Wales with at least thirty antiquarian bookstores.  Mecca to book collectors.  I was dying to go there.  When I had planned the trip with Dave, I hadn't dared suggest we go to Hay-On-Wye.  I knew Dave would have died of boredom,"

You see when I read stuff like that through out the book about Dave - Mr.Toad-Mr. Plumber, I'm glad he dumped her.  He was definitely not a reader and in my book, I would have not wasted my time.  I think I would have dumped him first. Dumb Ass!

OK, back to the book.  Snippets here and there about her adventures with Caldwell and London were funny and so romantic.  Of course the killer is found out and of course the book ends happily.  It's a great cozy, hot toddy in a big comfy chair book.  I'm getting the second book.  Some body else has to be killed. It's no fun if no one is killed.

A KISS OF A DIFFERENT COLOR - BETTYE GRIFFIN - $3.99 - - -  30ish old Miranda has had it looking for employment in Racine, Wisconsin.  It's been nine months. She takes a job offer in Bismarck, North Dakota.  Have you noticed lately in many books, women are leaving town to find a decent job and a decent man?  You think something is up with that?

There aren't that many African Americans in Bismarck.  I can understand that, it's too damn cold.  Once she is there she looks around for something to keep her busy after work and finds a ballroom dance class to sign up.  Miranda has always love dancing and some of her favorite musicals:  Band Wagon, Singing in the Rain, Silk Stockings and Till the Clouds Roll By (one of my favorite with Lena Horne).  I instantly like her because of her fortitude to keep her childhood memories of old musicals and taking a chance to move to another state.

At the ballroom dancing class, she meets and is partnered with Jon, a white guy.   The attraction is obviously and they begin to make great music together their dancing.  Jon, another out of state mover, is handsome, endearing and smart.  He is also from a family of failed marriages which causes him to do the "love them and leave them seasons relationship."  

They work for the same company, which restricts dating among employees, but you know that does not really stop them.  They have a extreme attraction to each other and are careful to not be seen together.  In the interim they noticed how much they have in common.  Reading, skiing, movies, food and dancing.  Miranda, though, is not interested in being a "season" girlfriend for Jon.  She wants more.  One of the best things about Jon, he comes through as a knight in shinning armor for Miranda when certain people, oh, let's just call them "jack-asses" dismiss or treat them badly because their an interracial couple.  Jon comes through each and every time and each and every time Miranda gives a little of her self to him even though she does not want to.  Her heart has a different story.  

I enjoyed the slowness and believable aspects of the characters and how they relate to what's going in the world today.  Bettye did a great job in showing how down to the wire, no job, new city, new challenges, can become a blessing if you just take a chance.