Category Archives: Rant

Readers are Leaders

I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. Weekly Saturday trips to the library (where my mom would drop me off and pick me up hours later) were sacred. I scored very high on my first grade reading evaluation and often read books above my grade level. I preferred reading to visiting friends on weekends and after school.

But I didn’t like writing about what I read. In 5th grade Miss Jaderman evaluated our reading ability on small book reports we wrote for books we read. After 5 book reports we got a small pin, after 15 we got a better pin and after 25 we got a gold pin. While I eventually earned my 25 book pin, I got low reading marks for a few quarters and was recommended for the remedial reading class for 6th grade.

We were not expected to write much on the book reports, they were less than half a sheet of 8.5×11 paper. The top half was reserved for an illustration. After filling out the title of the book and author, there was maybe room for 100 words. But I hated doing it. I know I read more than 25 books that year, probably more than most of the class, but because I was so reluctant to fill out the book report forms, I was considered a poor reader.

At the end of the year we were given all of our book reports, bound between two sheets of construction paper with brass colored brads. I think my book report portfolio was orange. I think I still have it somewhere, I distinctly remember what it looked like.

A few weeks ago I found the book report pins. Strange how I kept them all these years, despite despising the method of earning them.

I guess this is one of these things I need to let go. My anger at Miss Jaderman for not realizing I was a good reader — just a reluctant writer and the shame I felt being placed in the low reading class in 6th grade (luckily my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson, figured out I was a good reader within days and brought me back to the regular/advanced reading group).

Things like this could squelch the love of reading out of someone. I am forever grateful to Mrs. Anderson for this, as well as for fostering an even greater love of reading.

Random thoughts about COVID-19

Listen to Tony

Listen to whatever Anthony Fauci says. He’s likely the leading expert in this right now. He is the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Over the past couple of weeks we’ve had friends and family ask my husband, (who works at NIAID) what he thinks about COVID-19, what he advised them to do. His response has been, “listen to Tony”. As of this afternoon, Dr. Fauci is saying don’t go to restaurants or bars or other crowded places, and of course wash your hands and don’t touch your face.

Also:

“You know, I would prefer as much as we possibly could,” Fauci responded. “I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, March 15, 2020

Our next crisis might be clogged sewers

Update:UK’s sewage system in danger of gridlock from toilet paper substitutes

With all the panicked toilet paper hording, many people have resorted to buying facial tissues and at least one Facebook friend posted a photo of dinner napkins she bought when she could find no toilet paper. I even heard that one newspaper printed 8 blank pages for emergency toilet paper. Other Facebook friends are discussing what to do when all the paper in the house is used up (take a shower for #2 was one response). My immediate thought is don’t flush those facial tissues or napkins or paper towels. Hell, don’t even flush “flushable personal wipes”.

King Arthur Flour is out of flour

Of course. The hoarders bought up all the flour in stores, but I never would expect the king of flour to run out of flour! But it has. I can deal with no TP but I really need to bake bread. If not for eating, to deal with anxiety.

I deleted my Facebook app

I had a meltdown Friday night after spending the past couple days and several hours on Friday reading articles people posted on Facebook. I was convinced I was going to die and not live to see my retirement date or sit on the brand new deck or in the brand new “lodge” in warm weather. I would tell you what the articles were, but I don’t want you to have a meltdown too. Listen to Tony…

Facebook is not all bad

I did see some amusing things on Facebook today after I recovered from Friday’s meltdown*. My favorite was someone who’d just cleaned out their deep freezer after 20 years: “Threw out old frozen foods, the freeze dried remains of two budgies and ten betta fish, and found where the good glass containers were hiding.” I told them that they should use this as the first line in a short story or novel.


*just because I deleted my app does not mean I am not reading Facebook sometimes…

My lucky day — or two companies that did it right and one that didn’t (from draft)

Original draft 2015. No changes.

We’ve been in the market for new everyday glassware. We like the glassware we have, but several glasses have broken and they are getting a little scratched up. We’ve owned these Duralex Picardie Glass Tumblers since the kids were small. The batch we have now may or may not be our second set. Anyway, we needed new glasses and I first looked at Williams-Sonoma’s online storefront because we’d bought them at Williams-Sonoma in the past. The price was not bad for a set of 24, but the shipping and handling was a little too high for me. I am used to free shipping from Amazon. Amazon also had the glasses but for much more than William’s-Sonoma.

The other day I saw an email from William’s-Sonoma offering 20% off and free shipping so I ordered the glasses that evening. My William’s-Sonoma box arrived today, but it contained a (very nice) pizza stone instead of tumblers. I checked the invoice which clearly said Picardie Glass Tumblers and then went online to see how to return them. Because it would seem I was returning glasses I didn’t order, I called customer service and before too long spoke to a young man who said he’d send the tumblers out immediately and we’d get them by Monday. I asked if there would be a sticker to return the pizza stone and the young man said to keep it — and asked me if I liked pizza. I said thank you, I like pizza and have two pizza stones already.

A number of years ago we received items from Amazon that we didn’t order (this was the year that sort of overwhelmed Amazon during the holiday rush). When I telephoned Amazon to see how I could return them the person on the phone asked if I got all my orders. I said I had gotten them but how should I return the items I received. She told me to keep them. The items were nothing I wanted — a country and western CD and a game for preschoolers, so I gave the game to our neighbor and the CD to charity.

Both Amazon and William’s-Sonoma did the right thing. They made a mistake and took the blame by telling me to keep the item(s). I had to do nothing as a result of their mistakes except to enjoy the items I didn’t order. Last Christmas this was not the same with another company I do business with.

Last December I ordered several Barnes and Noble gift cards for Christmas gifts and had them sent to my mother’s house. I also ordered a Nook GlowLight™ for myself. When I opened the packages and envelopes from Barnes and Noble I found an extra gift card for $50 and a Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4 NOOK® 7.0 that I had not ordered. Nor were they charged to me. The gift card was addressed to a Donna somewhere in Missouri or Tennessee (my mother opened all of the gift cards before I got there — we won’t talk about how they were almost recycled) but the Nook was addressed to me yet had another address on the invoice.

I am basically a good person, but I don’t necessarily want to go out of my way to be that good person. I called Barnes and Noble to see what I should do and if they could send someone to pick up the items. I said I was worried that the folks who ordered these were hoping to have them in time for the holidays. They assured me that replacements had already been sent. They also said it was not possible for the packages to be picked up and that I should either send them back via UPS or drop them off at a Barnes and Noble store. So right there Barnes and Noble was not taking the blame in their actions. Granted — the gift card was probably the USPS’s fault) but still, I don’t think I should have gone out of my way to return the items. My sister-in-law (well, ex- but who’s counting?) offered to take them to UPS where she works and drop them off, but the hours she works did not match the hours the store was open so that didn’t work.

I eventually brought the Barnes and Noble items back to Maryland and dropped them off at a Barnes and Noble nearby, but the encounter was less than pleasant. It took a while to explain the situation to two different managers. All I wanted to do was to make sure the folks who ordered the products got them. But everyone seemed confused. It took longer than I planned to simply drop off something I didn’t order.

Barnes and Noble should have told me to keep the items or sent a UPS person out to pick them up. They did neither. I already owned two Nooks, so I didn’t need or want one, but could have given it away to charity or a family member.

The whole Barnes and Noble issue came back to me the other day when I ordered a book on barnesandnoble.com. In order to download it on my Nook GlowLight I had to jump through the hoops of entering my username, password and credit card I used to buy it. Amazon is not like that. I can seamlessly switch from a Kindle Paperwhite to a Kindle Tablet to my computer to my Nexus tablet.

I shunned Amazon for years over Barnes and Noble, but not any more.