Tuesday, March 23, 2021


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To
participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.  
1. What are you currently reading? The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I chose this one for its workplace setting. It appears my working-from-home days may finally be winding to an end, and I want to get my mind back into things like commuting, skyscrapers, a shared refrigerator in the coffee room and wearing something other than sweats and Crocs every day (don't judge me). 

Lucy and Joshua are two highly effective executive assistants who are stuck sharing an office. They become competitors who can't resist pushing one another's buttons and their rivalry festers into obsession. (I enjoy when Lucy changes her passwords, currently it's IHATEJOSHUA4EV@.) Of course they're going to fall in love. If that's a spoiler for you, you've never picked up a volume of chick-lit. But the fun will be seeing how author Thorne gets us there. And I am having fun so far.

2. What did you recently finish reading? The Adventures of Ellery Queen by Ellery Queen. Ellery Queen is a famous and influential character in the mystery genre. For example, Richard Levinson and William Link were acolytes who went on to create Columbo and Murder, She Wrote. That's why I've been itching to read some of these stories, and now I finally have. 
The fictional Ellery is the Harvard-educated son of Inspector Richard Queen, NYPD, Ellery believes that crimes can be solved using deductive reasoning, and he often puts his estimable intellect to work to help his dad catch killers. 
The stories are brain teasers, reminiscent of the cases that confronted Hercule Poirot and Nero Wolfe. While the pair of writers who collaborated on the Queen stories were good at crafting mysteries, I simply didn't find the writing as engaging as those other series.  
They simply haven't aged well. The newest stories here are from 1941, which means that the contents of this book are at least 80 years old. I don't mind that the characters didn't have TV or cell phones, or even the way Ellery practically fetishizes cigarette smoking. That kind of thing doesn't bother me. (As I say, I've read a lot of Agatha Christie and Rex Stout.) But Ellery is written as an effete snob  who looks down his nose at women -- always defined by their physical attributes -- blacks and Hispanics. Also, as an animal lover, two of the stories had plot points that made me terribly sad.

Which is all my very long winded way of saying, "OK, so I tried Ellery Queen. I won't be back."

3. What will read next?  Time for non-fiction.

That was interesting

Last week at this time, I was drowning. I had five client blog posts to write in four business days. Specific, detailed posts on a topic I know nothing about: car maintenance. 

I'm supposed to make them "friendly and conversational," yet to accommodate SEO* I have to incorporate phrases that make me sound like Borat.

I had 20 workday hours to do a task that is alotted 40 hours on our scope of business. This left me working into the wee small hours every night. I had my meals and groceries delivered,† only going outside to take out the trash. 

I woke up Monday morning freaking exhausted.

Satisfied, too, maybe even a little proud of what I'd accomplished with the resources I'd been given.

And reflective. There was a time in my career where I ate stress for breakfast. I loved being the "go-to girl." I always had capacity for more work. My friend Henry used to remind me of those long-ago days (20 years maybe?) before cell phones where he caught me checking my work voicemail from a payphone on a Key West pier on New Year's Eve day.

I'm 63 now and looking at the finish line. I admit I won't miss not being asked to do the impossible (I billed 50 hours but remember, I had 20 workday hours). But I do wonder what will give me that same feeling of satisfaction after I retire. I'm curious about my next chapter.

I only have enough saved to live six years without money coming in. Maybe seven, because I haven't included Social Security in my calculations. When covid is behind us, and I see the local economical landscape, I'll have to get a part-time job doing ... something. Will it be fulfilling? 

Oh well, gotta go. Another project on my plate and I have to get organized!

*Search Engine Optimization comes from words people like us type into Google. Using the exact phrases used in Google will make it easier for consumers to find my client's posts. Unfortunately, today most of us are searching on phones, keystroking with our thumbs, and do not use perfect grammar. Or any grammar. (Example: "Reasons windshield cracked." Go ahead. Use that exact phrase in a friendly, conversational sentence.)

†Thank goodness for the $30 Uber Eats credit I got ... somehow. And I was happy to fill my kitchen from the independent grocer on the other side of town and have them deliver. They don't have everything I like and the bill was more than 20% higher than if I'd shopped at one of the nearby chains. But here's the thing: this grocer is fighting for his life, and he's part of this community. He supports the local food pantry in a big way. I can't afford to shop there every week but I can do it every month and it makes me happy to do it.