Sunday, October 26, 2014

Season of Storms (Bartlesville, OK)

I'm happy to say that Dan and I decided to leave Amazon.  The pay was good, but the last two weeks have been some of the most intense and stressful times for us.  We were transferred from stocking/stowing bins to the packing area.  We were enjoying our job in the stowing area.  I thought packing would be fun too, but the job is too repetitive, not to mention, very noisy, and was causing both of us some problems.  We gave our new job a chance and decided it just wasn't for us.  We asked managers and HR if we could move back or to another area with no result.  Well, it is time to move on.
USACE Copan Lake 
We plan to spend a couple of weeks in Tinker AFB near Oklahoma City, OK and then on to see our granddaughters.

Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley

After reading several of Susanna's previous books, I was excited to receive this one and started reading it immediately.  I was a little disappointed in her latest book and it took me a couple of months to finish because it just did not capture my attention.  The questionable paranormal or time travel activities that were so prominent in many of her books was lacking in this one.  A couple of times as the main character was walking through the gardens or getting lost in the mansion, I expected her to stumble into some kind of time slip or witness a scene from the past....but no.  So disappointing!

So the story is about Celia Sands who is named after a famous actress who disappeared in the 1920s from a beautiful Italian estate owned by her married lover and a famous playwright.  He has written a special 3-person play just for the first Celia, but it never makes it to the stage due to the first Celia's disappearance.  Alex the great grandson of the playwright decides to open the play on the very same estate and offers Celia's part to the new modern Celia Sands.

There is a lot of details about how the actors prepare for theater starting with the first reading right up to dress rehearsals.  Not my cup of tea, really.  And except for one Tarot card reading with foreboding warnings, one séance, creaking boards, and maybe hearing the dead Celia murmuring late at night, this was just a couple of mysteries from the past and present with flashbacks to the lovers in the 1920s that no one saw or experienced.   This was basically a murder mystery.

I preferred Shadowy Horses or Winter Sea over this one, but I see Susanna already has a new book coming out in April and it sounds like it will be more to my liking with more Jacobite history in A Desperate Fortune.  I have already pre-order for my Kindle.

In the meantime, I started reading Marianna  and I am already halfway through it!  My imagination was captured in the first chapter with the strange coincidences that happened to the main character over a twenty year time leading her to buy a house that she claimed as a child was her house.  Ohhh, and it gets so much better the more I read!  And that's all I'm going to say because I want to get back to my book...

On The Cutting Board
Before I go...
I did get a little ironing and sewing done since my last post.  I just love the way these two owls are coming out!
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Defender's Day (Coffeyville, KS)

Once a year, Coffeyville reenacts the Dalton Gang's last bank robbery during their Dalton Defenders Day.  The Dalton Gang had been terrorizing the Oklahoma area by robbing trains for over a year and a half when they decided to try robbing two of Coffeyville's banks in broad daylight.  Thanks to quick thinking towns people and a brave bank clerk, the Dalton Gang's terrorizing days ended.  As some of the gang emerged from one bank, they were greeted by the town's people and a hail of bullets.  Three escaped down an alley from the second bank only to be shot down by a barber and a livery stable owner.  
All were killed except for one.  Emmett survived multiple bullet wounds and was released after 14 years in prison to become a Hollywood screen writer.

We did not make it downtown for the reenactments, but we did visit one of the two banks they tried to rob.  Quite a beauty, isn't it?  We took a quick tour of the inside.  The town has done a great job of keeping the bank's original look.
Well, I guess I jinxed our good weather.  A cold front came through and seems to like it here.  We have had heavy rains, very loud thunderstorms, and flash flood watches/warnings.  After spending hours listening to heavy rains drum on the warehouse's roof during our work night, people were beginning to worry about getting home.  There are a few low lying areas between Amazon and our campgrounds.  
We all managed to get home this time, but now I'm worried about the upcoming heavy rains when we are at work.  I always thought it was great to have our house on wheels because if there is a flood....well, we can just move our home, right?  I never thought we would be on the wrong side of the flood with our cats on the other.

Forget Me Knot by Mary Marks
I was quite excited to find a new quilt mystery writer!  The main character is Martha - an overweight middle-aged Jewish divorcee and an expert quilter.  Whew!  Quite a description for one character.  Martha has two good quilting friends that she calls her besties.  I can't see me calling my friends that, but okay a little digressive.

I wasn't too happy that within the first chapter the writer felt a need to add a snide political remark against Republicans plus she insinuated that most of those types were prone to stealing other quilter's tools.  Really??!  I saw no need for such a comment.  I understand that quilters can be competitive and there will always be politics inside quilt guilds and shows, but this was beyond the common quilting ground.   I decided to finish this book since I had it with hopes that was the end of the political comments.

Well, it wasn't the end, but the political comments were not as bad.  I soon learned that one of Martha's besties was not only a Republican, but she and her husband carried licensed hand guns.  Later, Martha is also taught how to handle and shoot a handgun even though she does protest that as a Democrat, she should not have a gun.  Again - Really?

So, did I actually like the book?  Yes, after I got over the remarks and realized that Mary Marks was just giving us a different kind of quilting character.  I found I was enjoying the murder mystery quite a bit.  I learned a few things about Jewish traditions from Martha and her family.  Martha turned out to have a big soft heart for animals.  I think I am more in love with the animals than I am the quilters.  The big twist at the end was not just who did it, but how the victim put messages in her quilts.  Very interesting.

There's a little romance and it was very funny at times.  Yes, I do believe that I will be reading more books by Mary Marks.

On The Cutting Board
My hands are aching so much today from our work week that I need to take a break from hand quilting.  Yet....typing doesn't bother them...go figure.   I'm not sure what I did to them.  Lifted too many little boxes that were too heavy for one hand or maybe I gripped the scanner too tight.  Whatever it was, I plan to be extra careful next week, because I can't grip the needle to pull it through the fabrics and batting.  Yep, a little frustrating.
So, I will stick to doing some light embroidery and resting my hands.  I ironed a couple of more happy campers together.  Hopefully, I will be able to embroider the edges later this week.
Last week, I pulled out the sewing machine to finish the border for my Macaw's welcome wall hanging.  I'm glad I did the basting last week!
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Closing Date (Coffeyville, KS)

Coffeyville Amazon - Closing
Last Tuesday evening (Sept 30), Amazon officials told the Coffeyville employees with the Camper Force seasonal temps in a meeting that they will be closing this fulfillment center in February.  It was a sad night to watch the reactions of these hard working people.  Shocked silence.  Some crying while others tried to give comfort.  For Dan and I, it was a surprised shock.  Granted we are not in the main stream of rumors, but there was absolutely no hint that they were thinking of closing this center.
Some of the reasons given:  lack of manpower and low productivity.  Since Amazon started offering 2 day shipment, they want to have their centers closer to their customers.  They did this recently in Nevada.  It does make sense when they explained the time that they will save by not shipping items by trucks out to a small town with no city nearby.  The time spent to ship to the center for stocking, processing, then packed to be shipped right back to a city for distribution cost valuable time when we are talking about a 2 day shipping promise.  

I can see their point, but still, I feel real bad for the employees.  Amazon is offering different packages for leaving or re-locating with Amazon.  We have talked to a few of the employees and so far, they say they plan to stay here.  Some plan to go to college with their Amazon package while others are not sure what they will do.  Hopefully, it will work out for all of them.
For us - the Camper Force, we have our contracted jobs up  to 23 December.  Work will be normal until January when Amazon stops inbound shipments and slowly empties out the warehouse from orders until February.  Of course, Amazon's motto seems to be 'everything is subject to change' we shall see.

On The Cutting Board
I finished the embroidery on two more Happy Campers.  I have been working on other ones, but I haven't taken photos of them.
I have the hardest time with this grey fabric.  It is very light weight and never wants to lay flat.  I'm glad I'm almost out of it.  I need to look for a heavier weave next time.

I'm especially happy with my new window box.  It's fun filling the box with different flowers.  Yes, the heart is from the green trailer.  
Speaking of flowers....I can't get over all the flowers I have been seeing around here.  It is October, right?  I see butterflies floating around and birds singing.  The rose (photo above) is from our campground.  We have had a few rain storms and cold fronts come through, but for the most part - the weather has been gorgeous!  Warm sunny days with cool nights.  I suppose I am asking too much for it to stay like this for the rest of the time we are here.  Yea, I didn't think so.

In the meantime, we are sitting outside when we can with the cats.  I'm getting a little sewing done in between chasing exploring cats.  So far, Dusty has found one turtle and one non-poisonous snake.  Hmm, I wonder what will be next.  

Anyway, with some luck, I might finish a few more Happy Campers soon.
Happy Quilting!

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