Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday This n That

I ordered a new crock pot this week.  My old one developed a crack in the ceramic liner.  Oh well.  Time for me to try one that doesn't have a tendency to go nuclear on Low.  I went to Amazon.  Found a Proctor-Silex model with really awesome reviews.  Went to order it and there's no order button.  Because it's only available to Prime members.  :eyeroll:  Clicked over to the white version of the same damn crock pot.  About a $1.50 more expensive, but available to lower life forms like me.  Sorry Big A, but I order so infrequently that Prime doesn't do me a damn bit of good.  And I ordered my new keyboard, too, so I got free shipping.  They should be here next week.

Yes, I will post a review of the new keyboard once I get used to it.

And the crock pot, if anyone's interested.

The day the crock pot cracked, I was making barbecue chicken.  Put some apple juice in the bottom of the crock pot (enough to cover the bottom by about 1/4"), slap a couple chicken breasts in there, season to taste (salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder).  A couple hours later, liberally dollop some peach jelly on those suckers.  An hour later, pour your favorite BBQ sauce over them.  Once you can push on one of the breasts and have it start to flake apart, take the chicken out (another hour maybe).  Put it on a plate and use a fork to pull it apart.  Slide the meat back into the slow cooker.  Add more BBQ sauce and peach jelly.  Season to taste again.  Wait about another hour and serve.  I did mine over toasted buns and Hubs put his over mashed potatoes. 

Sometimes without warning I am known to say 'yippity skippity boink-boink-boink' in relation to nothing.  Sometimes I sing it.

For some reason, we've had a lot of praying mantises around lately.  Gross.  I was weeding and had one jump out onto my arm.  I got to show off my ninja moves then.  That night, I had three of them on my bathroom window as I was brushing my teeth for bed.  The next day I was weeding again and one popped out of the pile I was raking.  The other day Hubs was mowing and there was a HUGE one in the grass.  He went to move it and it stabbed him with one of its claws.  Lucky he was wearing gloves.  :shudder:  I hate praying mantises.  I mean, they're kind of interesting to watch - especially when they're eating their mate - but... :shudder:

We have far too many bugs here.  As far as I can tell, it's the only downside to living here.

Okay, that's probably quite enough out of me this morning.  What have you got going on in your this n that world?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Culling the Book Herd

I spent part of yesterday looking through my shelves, trying to find something to read.  Instead, I keep finding books that I have no idea why I am holding onto them.  And I now have a big stack to take to St. Vinny's.  With the added benefit of more room on my shelves now.  Yay. 

But yeah, I'm finding books that I pull off the shelf and go 'why the hell do I even have this?'  I expect some of it comes from the move.  At one point near the end of packing, I was throwing stuff in boxes.  As a result, I lost several books I wanted to keep, so it stands to reason I kept several I wouldn't have if I'd thought about it harder.

A few of them I have because I know I meant to read them at some point, but now I'm all 'meh' about them.  Like Bill Gates' autobiography.  Meh.  Into the thrift store pile it went.  I'm still debating the Jack Welch autobiography and the Guiliani book on leadership.

I did start to read a memoir about moving to Alaska, but it wasn't thrilling me.  That one went back on the shelf, because I know at some point I will want to read it.

I'm trying to go through all my unread books and either read them or get them off my shelves.  Unless I have them for some other purpose - like research.  Or they're old and I can't bear to part with them, even if I never intend to read them. 

I'm also discovering I have a lot of non-fiction that I bought with every intention of reading, but haven't.  And I haven't the heart to toss them.  Someday I'll read them.  Someday.

And then there are the books I've read, have no intention of reading again, but can't part with.  I've been porting them over to the shelf in the spare room.  I really need another bookshelf or two.  Ack.

Or I need to be more strict about culling the book herd.  If I have no intention of reading it again, why am I even keeping it?  Gah.  So many reasons... err rationalizations for my hoarding habit... Umm.

And then there are the books I would gladly toss, except they belong to Hubs.  I culled some of his books years ago - with his permission - and he stills wonders from time to time what happened to them.  "Where'd such and such a book go?"  And then I have to remind him about the cull.  =o(

I wish I never had to cull again, but there's only so much space on the shelves and only so much space in the house for more shelves.  :sigh:

Do you cull your books?  How do you decide?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 36

So, here we are in the middle of September.  Not sure how that happened.  I guess publishing four books in a year (three down, one to go) will do that to a gal.  Well, that and other things.  :shrug:

Okee doke, here we go...

I slacked off last week on writing.  I'm at just over 27K words.  I hit that thing I talked about earlier in the week over at OTB and fell flat on my face.  So, I spent some days not thinking about it.  Friday and Saturday I sat my ass down with a notepad and really thought about where I was at and where I was headed. I'm hoping to get some major writing done today.

Work began on the cover for Unequal.  Umm... yah.  I know what I want to do, but I don't think it'll be what dystopian readers are looking for.  Lord knows, I thought the first cover I did for Blink was awesome and it flopped.  The second cover of that ain't blowing people's skirts up either.  If my cover artist wasn't up to her eyeballs in work, I'd see what she could do.  I do have a slot in her schedule next month, but that's supposed to be for the cover of UatB.  And I need that done, so I think I'll leave it.  Cross your fingers for me on Unequal's cover.

I finished reading four books last week.  Three of them are on my reading update and the fourth got finished yesterday.

I've been trying to think of some kind of marketing plan for this month, but meh.  I should've been thinking about Sept marketing in Aug.

The ol' activity thing fell down last week, too.  Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday I did some form of exercise.  Wednesday I cleaned.  The other days I sat on my ass for the most part.  Still, I managed to reach a milestone on Friday and finally got below 180.  Two-tenths of a pound below, but hey, there's a seven in the tens spot after about a decade, so I'm ecstatic.  Anyway, I think I lost some weight (technically, about a half a pound overall) despite my laziness because I ate smaller portions of smarter foods.

Oh, hey, one of this year's fawn has tiny baby buttons*!  He's so cute!  I love it when you can finally tell their genders.  Unfortunately, they're all losing their spots, too.  My babies are growing up.  :sniffle:

We've been seeing a lot of different birds in the yard again, so I'm declaring migration is in session.  At least here in MO.  We've had a girlie tanager hanging around (not sure if it's a Summer or a Scarlet) and a vireo (either a Warbling or a Red-Eyed) and some different little warblers.  I love migration season.  Soon, we'll have Bald Eagles again!

Well, I guess that's it for me this week.  How are things in your little corner of the world?


*Antler buds.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 9/15/18

Hey, All.  It's time again for another Reading Wrap-up.  Woohoo.

I'm still reading books I have on the shelves rather than ones on my Kindle.  I was doing a pretty good about not downloading anything new, too, until a certain someone sent me the link for a free ebook that sounded awesome, so I downloaded it.  I also bought a bunch of books at the local thrift store.  Mostly romances, but a couple NF (non-fiction).

Anyway, here's how my reading week shook out:

66) My Life Among the Serial Killers by Morrison and Goldberg (9/13/18) - NF- 4 stars. 
Review: " Interesting. I picked this up strictly for research and it did it's job in that capacity."

65) Rascal by Sterling North (9/9/18) - Memoir - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated since it was first written in the '60s.  I've had this one one the shelf for years.  Glad I finally sat down and read it.
Review: "A nice, interesting true story about a boy and the year he spends raising a raccoon during WWI. It has some funny scenes and some touching ones. And it ends well. (No 'Old Yeller' ending. Thank goodness.) "

64) Secret of the Lost Race by Andre Norton (9/8/18) - SF - 4 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  I've also had this on the shelf for years.  I'm slowly making my way through all my unread Andre Nortons.
Review: "It was a good story, but gah! it just... you know... ended. And with a confusing paragraph. Maybe Ms. Norton intended to write more books in a series with this world, but I'm showing this as a single title. Which is sad. There should've been more."

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I'm currently reading one of the romances I bought.  It's set in Australia, which always was a favorite of mine when I was inhaling romances as a teen.  Eh, it's brain candy, but I need that after reading about serial killers.   

What about you?  Read anything interesting this week?  What's on the menu for the days ahead?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday This n That

Hubs and I were looking for something to watch on Sunday night, so we checked out The Miniaturist on Masterpiece.  Wow, was that ever weird.  So, afterwards, I went to the internet to see what it was all about.  Read the reviews of the book.  From the sounds of it, it doesn't get any less weird, so we're done watching.  Plus, it's 'critically acclaimed', which always makes me want to run.  If I'd done the research beforehand, we wouldn't have wasted an hour being confused.

I didn't do a post on Tuesday because it would've either been 'business as usual' or 'heavy-duty ranting'.  BAU seemed inappropriate for the day.  And HDR seemed pointless. 

Two weeks ago a package was supposed to arrive at my home address through the USPS.  It never showed.  It wasn't sent with tracking, so we had no idea where the hell it went.  Inside was some work for me to do and a check.  After waiting, the office re-copied all the paperwork and cut me another check.  That package - exactly like the missing one - arrived Monday.  I took the check to the bank on Tuesday and while I was out that way, I skipped over to the post office to check my PO Box and clean out the usual crap.  (I never get real mail there. I only have one so I can have a physical address to use online without putting my actual address out there.)  Lo and behold, the missing package was in my PO Box.  Some numbnuts had taken it upon themselves to rubber stamp it with a notification to let people know my address was a PO Box.  Umm... it had an actual physical address on it and we receive mail here, so I'm not sure what the hell...  As you can see, I'm still pretty riled up about the whole thing.  Just deliver my freakin' mail to the address written on the goddamned envelope, will you?  Luckily, the office did not stop payment - which costs them $30 a pop - or I would've been really pissed.

On the upside, I have an advance payment on my next group of work.  (Office wanted to do it that way, and who am I to argue?)

Living in the back of beyond has many advantages and a few disadvantages.  Like the local businesses can't find quality help.  Or maybe that's not just rural.  It seems like the quality of the workforce is dropping everywhere. 

Speaking of which, my local Wallyworld seems to be having issues.  There are whole sections of shelving with nothing on them.  For instance, I needed mousetraps.  I went in one week and there were no mousetraps, so I brought it to someone's attention.  They said the computer showed they had 11 in the back, but since they came in 16 packs, that couldn't be right.  They were sure there'd be some next week.  Next week, still no mousetraps.  I found the manager for that area - she's a cool gal - and showed her what was going on.  She was still showing 11 in the back, and yeah, that wasn't right.  So she was going to order another 16.  I told her to order more than that because mouse season is approaching.  She did so.  Lo and behold, the next time I went in they were flush with mousetraps and I bought 12.  (We go through a lot of mousetraps here.  Those buggers love our garage.)  So, are the empty spots on the shelves all there because they think there are more in the back, but there aren't?  Computer error?  Maybe.  But shouldn't some human be checking on that?  Makes me want to go work down there just to fix the errors.  Know what I'm sayin'?

Yesterday morning, Hubs found a toad in his bathroom.  Not sure how the little bugger got in there.  It was sitting on his toilet seat between the lid and the seat.  (We keep our lids closed so Kira won't be tempted to play in the water.)  Now the question is: If a toad can get in, could a snake also get in?  :shudder:

Okay, well, that's probably quite enough out of me for one day.  What's on your radar today?


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 35

It's time again for another Sunday Update.

I've been chugging right along on the writing.  Ugly and the Beast is now at 26K (I started last Saturday with 13K).  I know who the beast is now.  I think.  It may be a kind of 'one actual beast, one metaphorical beast' thing.  We'll see what my brain comes up with along the way.

I haven't done much writerly stuff otherwise.  Very little marketing, which means very little sales.  And I'm not at a spot right now where anything needs to be edited.  It's all about the writing, baby.

Right now, I feel like I'm writing total crap.  Somehow I got spun into this alternate storyline running concurrent with the plot and I'm not sure if it works.  But I'm running with it.  For now.  If it sucks, I'll fix it in edits.  Oh, and I came up with the ultimate plot twist, game-changer, shocker of all shocks.  But it might not be revealed until Book 3.

I read some last week.  One of the books was a totally awesome urban fantasy, which sort of lead me to a problem.  It was so good, I felt the voice of UatB changing.  So, I'm swearing off anything paranormal until after I get this book set in my head.  This hasn't happened in a while.  Maybe I'll talk about it tomorrow on Outside the Box.

Tuesday I thought I saw some telltale signs of Kira coming down with a urinary tract infection again.  But Wednesday she was fine, so I thought maybe I was just being a Nervous Nelly.  Umm, nope.  Thursday I woke up to a messy kitty.  I'll spare you the details.  Anyway, I waited until 8am and called the vet.  He's on vacation until Monday.  Awesome.  They give me a referral to another vet.  They're full-up.  I google and locate a vet I didn't even know existed about ten minutes from here.  She's been in business for 22 years at that location.  Derp.  She can get Kira in at 11.  Woohoo.  Long story shortened a bit, the drive was easier on Barfy Kitty, she seemed to be more relaxed through the whole thing, and the people there were very nice.  She's got a long-lasting antibiotic shot and life is good.  I guess we have a new vet now.  Yay.

Friday, I bathed the cat.  I didn't have the heart to put her through a bath on top of the vet visit, and truth be told, I wasn't really up to bathing her that day either.  Upside is she's a really good cat, so baths aren't an exercise in filleting the mommy.  She just sits there in the tub and meows pitifully until it's over.  But I do have to kneel over the tub for 15-20 minutes.  I counted that as my exercise for the day.

Speaking of which, I did something active every day last week.  Most of the days were actual exercise and walking.  I even walked the day I bathed the cat. No weight change at this time.  :shrug:

Okay, I think that's it for me.  How'd your last week go?

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 9/8/18

Welcome to another week of reading.  Albeit, not quite the reading extravaganza of previous weeks.  I spent the majority of my reading time with DNF books.  Bleh.  Eh, some weeks are like that.

63) Cambodia Clash (Mack Bolan Executioner #65) by Some Writer (9/7/18) - Action/Adventure - 3 stars.  I've read Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan novels.  This was not one of them.  It had no Goodreads reviews until mine.  Bummer.
Review: "Meh. Not really what I expected from a Mack Bolan novel. Of course, it wasn't actually written by Don Pendleton, so I should've expected as much. All the hairy situations Mack found himself in... they just didn't feel organic. It was like some editor somewhere said 'throw some more stuff at him', so the writer did. But it felt forced. Anyway, I was disappointed with this one."

62) Shade Chaser (City of Crows #2) by Clara Coulson (9/3/18) - Urban Fantasy* - 5 stars - No longer new to me and as appreciated as it should be.
Review:  "Ooo, even better than the first! These books are freakin' awesome!"  (Yeah, not the most eloquent, but when I'm excited, I'm exited.  K?)

DNF (9/7/18) - SF.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  This was one of my old Andre Norton paperbacks - Sea Siege.  The premise didn't thrill me, but I thought I'd give it a whirl.  I got about two pages in and put it back on the shelf.

DNF (9/5/18) - Romance.  New to me.  Not sure if it was underappreciated because I never checked.  Made it through about a quarter of the book.  This was one I picked up at the thrift store last time I was there.  I didn't quit reading it because it wasn't well written.  In fact, it had a lot of things going for it.  I stopped reading because it was giving me nightmares of sick children - which probably proves it was well-written.  But nightmares are really not what I'm looking for in a romance.  

DNF (9/2/18) - Cozy Mystery*.  New to me, but had plenty of reviews.  I talked about reading this one in last week's wrap-up, but I deleted the title out.  If you read it and remember the title, keep it to yourself, please.  I'm not out to dent anyone's sales or get blowback for my honest opinion.  But yeah, this one had a couple major problems for me.  1) Over-explaining everything, and repeating the same explanations they'd already given.  I have a bad memory, but this was ridiculous.  2) A scene where they felt the need to hash over what must've been a hot-button issue for them, or they were going for a virtue-signalling merit badge.  And it didn't have anything to do with the plot.  At almost 2/3rds of the way through the book.  Come on.  I was getting close to DNF'ing anyway, but I still wanted to know who the killer was.  After that, I really didn't care.

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Last night, I started an old Andre Norton paperback.  Well, actually, I started two different ones, but the first one wasn't blowing my skirt up, so I put it back and grabbed another one.  So far, so good.

Since all the new books on my Kindle are paranormal, I'm setting them aside while I work on Ugly and the Beast.  Which is fine.  I have plenty of books to read otherwise.

So tell me... Whatcha readin'?