Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday Update - Week 20

Well, I'm 49 now.   We didn't do anything special for either the birthday or the anniversary.  Except I made cake, which you'll see more about later in this post. 

No writing again this week.  No editing either.

The only marketing thing I did was setting up a sale and advertising for the genie books.  The sale will run the 21st through the 27th in the US and the UK.  All four of the Once Upon a Djinn books will be 99c/99p each.  (So under $4 for the series. A $12 savings.) The ad will go out on the 23rd in Bargain Booksy and show Wish in One Hand only.

I did some reading.

I got more active this past week with some hard-target walks, some yard work, and some cleaning.  Still sitting right around 179lbs.  Probably because I can't stop baking and then eating what I bake.

Speaking of which, the baking thing is still ongoing.  This week, I made another batch of Oatmeal Walnut Caramel Chip cookies and I made a chocolate peanut butter marble cake (see below) for our Birthiversary.  Used the Super Fudgy frosting (see below) I had leftover from the last cake.  I had planned on making pizza, but after the cake project, I was pretty wiped out and sick of washing baking implements.  With the temperatures now getting into the 80s and the AC kicking on regularly, I expect the baking thing will come to a close shortly.

We had some more stormy weather.  Once again, they were calling for way worse than we actually got.  (I'm writing this Saturday evening, so if you don't see me after this post, they were right about this next storm.) 

And that's probably it for me.  Other stuff probably happened, but I can't think of it right now, so it must not have been that major.  Have a great week everyone.  Oh, and how did the world treat you last week?

---------------------
Recipes:


Chocolate/Peanut Butter Marble Cake

Chocolate Cake Batter:

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup margarine
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons baker’s cocoa powder

In a saucepan, combine margarine and oil.  Heat on low until butter is melted.  Stir in cocoa powder.  Remove from heat.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar and baking soda.  Make a well in the center.  Pour in cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.  With an electric mixer, beat the milk, vanilla and eggs into the mixture until just combined.

Peanut Butter Cake Batter:

1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup butter (softened)
1/3 cup milk

In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter, margarine and brown sugar until well combined and smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla.  Mix until smooth.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.  Alternating, gradually beat flour mixture and milk into wet mixture until just combined.

Marbling Your Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9x13” cake pan.  Pour half of the peanut butter batter into the pan.  Pour chocolate batter over the top of the peanut butter batter.  With a large spoon, add remaining peanut butter batter by dollops over the chocolate batter.  Using a standard butter knife, cut strips lengthwise and width-wise through the batter to ‘marble’.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.



Super Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

1 stick butter (1/2/ cup)
1 cup baker's cocoa (divided 1/3 c and 2/3 c)
3 cups confectioners' sugar
heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
In medium saucepan, melt margarine. Once melted, stir in 1/3 cup of bakers cocoa until smooth and un-lumpy. In large bowl, sift together confectioners' sugar and remaining 2/3 cocoa. With mixer on low, combine melted mixture to dry mixture until thoroughly combined. Beat in vanilla. Beat in whipping cream by tablespoonfuls* until you achieve the consistency you desire. (Should be stiff peaks, but easily spreadable.) If you like a sweeter frosting, add more sugar at the beginning and more cream at the end.
Makes enough frosting to put a thick layer on a 9x13" cake.
*I poured in a little, beat it, poured in more, beat it... until I got what I wanted.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 5/18/19

Well, hello there.  Thanks for stopping by the Reading Wrap-up this week.  It probably won't be as interesting as last week, but here goes nothing...

I picked up two new ebooks this week - a mystery and a suspense.  So, that makes nine ebooks to read - eight once I finish this one.  The oldest two date back to April 18th, so I'm not doing too bad on keeping up.  The two left from April are an UF (my current read) and a romance (up next).  I should finish those this week.  :fingers crossed:

Books read:

42) Silversword by Phyllis Whitney (5/16/19) - Romantic Suspense - 4 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  Paid 50c at St. Vinny's.
Review: "Pretty good, but I like her earlier stuff better."

41) Husk by D.P. Prior (5/15/19) - Western SF/UF*# - 4 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Picked up for free through Freebooksy.
Review: "Very well-written and gripping read. It's like a Western on another planet with demons. Which I thought was really cool. Definitely a different read. My only issue was where the author chose to go with MC at the end. Despite his flaws, I would've liked a happier outlook for Jeb. Maybe it'll all be redeemed in subsequent books, but I was left feeling a little bummed."

No DNFs.  Woohoo.

Currently reading... the UF leftover from April.  Although, as I'm reading it, I think it might be more paranormal mystery/romance than UF.  :shrug:  Either way, it's been a fun read so far.

What about you?  Read anything good last week?  Anything good on the horizon?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Thursday This n That

Life with an old cat means celebrating when she poops*. 

I'll be 49 on Saturday.  Who woulda thunk I'd make it to 49?  I sure as hell didn't when I was younger.  Hell, I didn't think I'd make 30.  So, woohoo.  No prezzies this year.  I'm going to try something different as a birfday dessert - brownies with peanut butter and chocolate frosting.

I just finished a total genre-bending book.  A Western set on another planet with demon hunters.  I think before I read it, I was calling it a SF with a F twist, but it really read more like a Western than anything else, so I'm running with that as the main genre.  Good stuff with a less than satisfying end. 

Lately, I've been playing this online word game.  It's totally addictive.  I've made it as far as level 31.  I could probably go farther, but it resets every time I shut it down, so I have to start over from the beginning.  :shrug:

Yesterday, I was talking with a gal from the next neighborhood over and she told me she'd killed a packrat.  Here's hoping it was our packrat.  Probably wasn't.  Still, ours hasn't returned since I put the peppermint oil down.  :fingers crossed:

Speaking of local goings-on, some numbnuts broke into my favorite convenience store.  Backed his pickup truck up and pulled the front doors right the hell off so he could steal the ATM machine.  They finally caught him, but sheesh.  Some people.  They have new doors, but the building was damaged in such a way, they could probably easy be pulled off, too.  I hope they string the guy up by his thumbs.

Did you see the news story about the old guy who told a woman on a bus that she ought to try to be nicer and so she pushed him off the bus?  He died and she's charged with murder of an elderly person.  Maybe she should've taken his advice.  I'm thinking there's a lot of people who should take his advice, eh?

And on that note, I'm out of here.  Have a great day, folks, and try to avoid them what can't be nice. 

*Which she does almost every day.  It's the days she doesn't that worry us.  And then I break out the vegetable oil (a tablespoon worth in her wet food) and stand by the litterbox rooting for her.  But she turned 16 last week, so it's kind of expected.  I don't even want to think about what I'll be like when I'm 80.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Nothing Tuesday

I'm up to my passel in spreadsheets this morning, so I don't have a whole lot of time or branpower to spare on blogging right now.  Need about a tanker-truck's worth of coffee because the brain don't want to brain much at all.

I was going to give y'all my new focaccia bread recipe, but it needs some tweaking before I offer it up to the blogiverse.  Hubs loves it, but I'm not quite satisfied.  I can make it better.  But not today.  My hands need recovery time before I knead again.  Plus we still have 4 more pieces of the last batch.  It makes great sandwiches.  Yesterday morning I made breakfast sandwiches and then we had chicken salad focaccia sandwiches for dinner.  Good stuffs.

So, basically, I got nothing today.  What's up with you?


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sunday Update - Week 19

Hello again.  Welcome to another Sunday Update.  Oh, and Happy Mother's Day.

Still no writing.  And this week ain't lookin' good neither.  Editing?  Umm...

I did do some marketing, cuz like Blink is on sale and junk.  I also set up a sale and advertising for the genie books later this month.  Fingers crossed that keeps my May from tanking entirely because so far, May has tanked.

Reading this week was interesting.  I DNF'd like 4 books.  Bleh.  I finished three good ones, though, so it wasn't a total wash.

I was active 5 out of 7 days last week.  The scale said I was at 178.4.  Not great, but I'll take it.  And as long I remember that the scale used to say 194, it's all good.  Now that summer's coming, I'll be eating more fruit and salad.  Right now, though, I'm less worried about what I'm eating than whether I'm moving my body more often than walking from the office to the living room and back.  In positive news, I ran into someone I hadn't seen in a while and she asked me if I'd lost weight, so that's a good thing.

Part of the activity last week was fishing.  They opened the park for the summer.  Yay!  Unfortunately, they closed off one part of it because of the rising lake level.  But it meant more walking while carrying fishing equipment which upped my activity level a bit.  Sometimes fishing is just standing in a spot and casting.  Not exactly a calorie burning thing.  Oh, and I actually caught some fish.  Didn't keep any, but it was nice to get a few on the line.

Speaking of the rising lake level, it rained damned near every day this past week.  The week ahead looks drier.  That'll be nice.

No baking occurred.  Whew, I think my baking-spree has come to an end.  Maybe.  Who knows when the mad baker will strike again.  Probably after I go to the store and pick up more pizza sauce.  Or when Hubs runs out of cookies.

The deer are getting fatter by the day.  I can't wait for fawns!

And I think that's it.  If I think of anything else, I'll let you know.  In the meantime, how was your week?


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 5/11/19

Not the best of weeks for finishing books.  But I did knock down some of the unread books on my Kindle, so I guess that's a good thing.  ANd I did finish three, so not the worst week either.

I picked up 4 new ebooks this week - a paranormal romantic suspense, a fantasy, a fantasy suspense, and a mystery.  So I was back at 10 unread ebooks.  Except I read one already.  Then I DNF'd one.  Eight left to read.  I also stopped by the thrift store and got 4 paperbacks - a romantic suspense (Allison Brennan), a suspense (Helen McInnes), a kid's lit (The Secret Garden), and an old writing book (How to Write and Speak Effective English 1966) for my collection.

Books Read:

40) Crash & Burn by Silver James (5/10/19) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense* - 5 stars.  Not new to me, and a new release of sorts so definitely not appreciated yet.  Mine was the first review on Goodreads.  I hope there are tons more to follow.  Paid the limited time release price of $1.99
Review: " I read this when it first came out, and it was awesome then. This new version is awesome to the next degree. I love Derek and Kit so much, and I'm so glad Ms. James got a chance to expand on their story. Took it to a whole other level. SQUEE!"

39) Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh (5/9/19) - Mystery - 5 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  Got this at the thrift store for 50c.
Review: "I've loved every Roderick Alleyn novel I've stumbled across so far. This is no exception."

38) The Devil's Pets by Alex Siegel (5/5/19) - UF*# - 5-stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Picked this up for free off the Reading Deals newsletter.
Review: " Wow, that was totally awesome. Urban fantasy meets serial killer thriller. Definitely not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach, but totally badass. I'd say more, but then I'd be dropping spoilers and I hate that. Suffice it to say, it was a wild ride."

DNFs:

5/10/19 - ?.  Despite being billed as a historical suspense/thriller, it hopped between back then and today - neither of which were either suspenseful or thrilling.  The first 10% seemed like all backstory and I wasn't in the mood to wade through it all to get to the suspenseful and thrilling part.  DNF'ing this one was too bad because I was really looking forward to this one based on the blurb.  Bummer.  Paid $0.

5/7/19 - SF.  Meh.  I was kind of into it and then some things occurred and I realized I didn't really care what was going to happen anymore. It did read like several other books I've already read all mushed together.  Not the author's intent, I'm sure, but that's the way it goes sometimes.  Paid $0.

5/6/19 - Chick Lit Suspense.  If you're going to write in present tense, don't litter it with so many flashbacks.  The tense changes were giving me whiplash.  Paid: $0.

5/6/19 - Suspense.  Ugh.  Does everything have to have a brand name?  I don't care which device he was recording the witness statement on, what type of shoes he was wearing, what kind of tea she drank...  I'm with Joe Friday - just the facts.  And how could anyone write "...he left the scene, his head shaking like a top heavy blancmange*."?  Let alone leave it in the final draft.  Someone should've flicked the author in the back of the head during editing.  My editor would throttle me soundly for even trying to keep a line like that.  I tried to keep going but when I got to that line, I shook my head and gave up.  Paid: $0

Currently reading...  I started a historical suspense last night.  Not far enough into it to know whether it'll be a keeper yet.  (ETA: It wasn't.  I DNF'd it and forgot to update this part before it went live.)

What things did you read last week?  I hope not as many DNFs crossed your reading paths as did mine. 


* it's a French dessert, by the way.  If I didn't watch cooking shows, I would never have had a clue what the hell the author was trying to say there.  And, I still have no clue how a top heavy one would shake.  It put me in mind of a shivering chihuahua and that's not a look you want for the MC of a suspense novel.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Thursday This n That

Rain rain rain... Ugh.  Lusty month of May my aunt's fanny.  Drippy month of May is more like it.  Almost 6 inches already this month.  Blerg.

And according to last night's radar, we've got another round of crap headed our way today.  Oh, joy.

The other day while I was out for a walk, I saw a turtle.  Not unusual as all that, except the turtles I usually see are box turtles.  I think this one was a cooter, but I've never seen a cooter outside the water, so you got me.  I think it was laying eggs about 8 feet off the road where the neighbor's yard meets the woods.  Or it was about to lay eggs.  All I know is it was sitting over a hole filled with water.  I may have disturbed it because it was gone when I walked back.  Either I disturbed it or it wasn't laying eggs after all and decided it wanted to take a walk, too.  Or the ground is so wet here, she didn't want to lay eggs in a flooded hole.

I've been trying to walk more often, but with all this rain, it's kind of hard to get out there.  I should use the exercise bike... or as I called it the other day, the coat holder... more often.  Or at all.  Yeah, we aren't exactly exercise equipment people.  Not sure what I was thinking when I bought it.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie crumbled over vanilla ice cream with caramel drizzled over it all.  Jus' sayin'.

I kind of collect old writing books, I guess.  At this point, I only have three.  And that was after buying one at the thrift store last week.  Three makes a collection, right?

It's hard work trying to find new to me, underappreciated authors to read and write reviews about.  It's become kind of a mission.  I know good books are out there because I've found a bunch of them.  Some weeks, though, are better than others.  And if I get disheartened, I can always go back to an old favorite author and refresh myself.

That's all I've got for you today.  What have you got for me?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Oh. It's Tuesday...

I slept late today, which means I didn't get up until quarter after five instead of quarter after four.  And I'm kind of brain dead this morning.  As in, it took me a bit of time to remember it was Tuesday.

As in sitting here wondering where the post I wrote yesterday didn't post this morning.  Umm, because I didn't write it.  I wrote some stuff for Saturday's reading wrap-up, but not an actual whole post.

As in discovering we had another thunderstorm last night.  Apparently it was a humdinger.  Totally missed it.  Thankfully, Hubs was monitoring it, so no worries about getting sucked up and dropped into Oz.

As in brainfarting out that I have a sale starting today.  I need to get started on marketing for that sometime soon.  After more coffee.

Thank goodness Hubs made me coffee or this morning would be a total wash.

In my defense, I took a forced-march walk after dinner last night.  One mile, twenty-two minutes. Probably tired me out enough to sleep like a rock and fog up my head.  Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket.  Now I need to find a way to lift the fog. 

The coffee must be working because I just remembered I have a spreadsheet I need to do this morning.  I'm slowly getting there... and I just remembered I can't complete said spreadsheet because some data got left out and I need that before I can finish the darn thing.

Brain fog.  It's real, man.

Need more coffee.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Sunday Update - Week 18

Where did the week go?  Wasn't it just Sunday like yesterday?  Gah.

So here we are at the beginning of another week.  Let's see what happened in the week that flew by...

I didn't do any writing or editing.  Or marketing for that matter.  An unscheduled week off, if you will.  I really need to pull myself together this week.

What I did do was a bunch of reading.  Sure, it was only three books, but those two SF novels weren't quickie-reads.

This was the week where the Spring rains splooshed the hell out of us.  We got like 4.5 inches during the week and the lake level went up 4 feet.  It's not quite totally floody yet, though, so it's all good.

I went fishing on Friday and while there was water into the park's parking lot, I still managed to park and fish.  Didn't catch anything, but it was nice to be in the park again.

Oh, yeah, they opened the park on Wednesday.  The new park hosts seem nice.  He's British (didn't meet her other than to wave at her) and they have two cute, fluffy dogs.  We'll see how it goes.  I'm trying to be super good and obey all the weird rules so I don't get rousted again.  I parked in an approved spot and humped all my gear around to my fishing spots.  Sure enough, one of them drove down to where I was fishing to check me out. 

With all the rain, I had to go out and snip off a bunch of flowers to put in vases.  It was either that or let the flowers rot on the ground.  I have vases full of irises and peonies now.  So pretty.

In the baking arena, I made a pizza.  Homemade pizza crust really is da bomb.  Then I put pepperoni and mushrooms all over it, with extra sauce.  Yummers.  And I made another batch of cookies.  Hubs does love his cookies. 

I had to drive up and get my new plates and license on Monday.  It all went easy-peasy.  Which makes me feel bad for people who have to wait in long lines at their license office.  Here it's the local county clerk's office.  Hubs was pretty sure that since I was going on Monday morning, they'd be slammed and I'd be stuck waiting, but nope.  Yay.

Not much in the way of activity this week.  I only managed 3 days out of 7, but the weight is holding steady at 179.4, so I'm not getting after myself too hard.  Maybe I should, though. 

That's it for me this week.  How did your Week 18 go?


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 5/4/19

Welcome to the first reading wrap-up of May.  I hope this month is as much fun as the last.

Let's see how the week went...

I downloaded one new ebook, but I didn't get any new hardcopies.  So, I'm at 10 unread ebooks right now.  Three SF, four suspense, a romance, an UF, and an epic F.  But hey, only one of those is left from March, so I'm doing okay.  I went through kind of a SF buying spree there for a bit (read two of those this week and I still have three left).

Books read:

37) By Dawn's Early Light by Jason Fuesting (5/3/19) - SF*# - 5 stars.  Snagged this at full price based on the recommendation of someone I know and trust to give me good reads.
Review: "Action packed SF with characters I could really care about and ideas I could get behind. Can't wait to see what's next for Eric and the crew."

36) Flaming Tree by Phyllis A Whitney (5/1/19) - Romantic Suspense - 5 stars.  Picked this hardcover up at St. Vinny's for 50c.
No review. 
Apparently I read this 3 years ago, but as I was reading it this time, I had only a vague feeling I'd read it before - like decades before.  Since it was only three years, the whole thing was a little disconcerting. 

35) Ronin (Col Sec Thriller #1) by Jan Domagala (4/29/19) - SF*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Picked this up as a freebie after seeing it on the 'Kindle Krazy! Authors Actively Seeking Readers' FB group.
Review: "Interesting story. Thrilling read. Awesome characters. Perfect? Nope. But still a damn fine book."

No DNFs.

I'm currently reading...  Oh, I don't know what's next.  I finished the SF last night, plugged my Kindle in for the night, and watched Live PD.  I was too tired to pick out another book before bed.

And that's about it for me.  What kinds of things did you read last week?  Do you go through genre spurts or do you usually stick to one genre anyway?  

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Thursday This n That

We spent a large part of Tuesday prepping for the big storm.  It was pretty wild there for a bit, but the things we prepped were not needed.  I hope they're never needed, but it's nice to have everything in place in case the big, bad wolf ever does blow the house down.  I suspect this prepping comes from 9 years of living in Kansas-lite (ie eastern CO) where tornadoes were a very real possibility.  Here?  Not so much, but even a slim chance isn't one I want to take.  One funny thing - my prep kit from CO still had snack bars in it.  Snack bars that had expired in 2012.  Eww.  So, I guess I need to pick up some emergency rations for the kit.  Other than that, we're good.

I hung oranges out yesterday.  Here's hoping the orioles come before the ants do.  ;o)

I read something this morning about how a series based on a popular book series somehow made one of the central characters different than they were written.  Made him more SJW* acceptable, I guess.  This.  This is why I don't want any of my books made into movies or television shows.  Reminds me of a time when an author friend was in talks to have her series made into a TV show and they wanted to change a couple characters and make them a lesbian couple.  If she'd wanted them to be lesbians, she would've written them that way in the first place.  I know as a reader this sudden change of a character's persona would totally piss me off.  So, as a writer, I'll be happy to have Hollywood keep their damn hands off my stories. (Not that there's any risk of them touching my books any time soon. LOL)

For the past week or so, I've been intending to make pizza but stuff keeps derailing my intentions.  Mainly, the afternoon passes and I forget to make the dough until it's too late to make the dough and have dinner ready on time.  Derp.

Hubs and I drove out to the lake to take a look around and see how the water level is doing.  The lake's up two feet since the storms and still rising.  The water's brown and detritus is starting to float down it.  I still should've brought the fishing poles, but it's just as well I didn't because my back was feeling a little squonky.  But the park appears to be open.  I mean, the gates were open and the park host RV was there but the 'closed for season' signs were still up.  We drove around in there and then back out again.  I can't wait until I can fish in there again.

It's that time of year again when the turtles are moving around and finding themselves sitting in the road.  Please try not to hit them.  On our drive to the lake, we saw someone had hit a big ol' snapping turtle.  Come on, people, it's not like something that big is that hard to see and all you had to do was drive so it was centered under your car and slow down a little.  If I'm on a road where I can safely stop, I'll do so and get them out of the road.  Poor buggers don't know any better.  All they're looking for is a warm sunny spot and the soft shoulders on road are perfect to lay their eggs.  Give 'em a break.

The eagles have migrated north, but now the summer birds are arriving.  =o)

Oh, well, I guess I should go do something else for a while.  Have a great day.  And if you're inclined, drop a comment with whatever this-n-thats might be on your radar.

*SJW = Social Justice Warrior

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Yesterday's Adventure

Tomorrow May begins.  And that means it's that time again.  Time for new plates and a new driver's license.  So, yesterday, I took the trip. 

It's not a long trip.  I was there and back in 90 minutes, and 2/3rds of that was drive time.  Half hour up, half hour back.  In the remaining thirty minutes, I hit the bank, got the car safety-inspected, did the plates and then did the eye/sign test. 

The worst part of the trip is the drive.  It's all hills and curves.  The kind of hills that have the warning signs for trucks and the kind of curves where you'd better slow down to 20mph or you'll go shooting off into space (cuz, like, you're driving in a small mountain range). 

Oh, it's a very pretty drive.  Everything here is green.  It's like nature is trying to outdo herself with how many shades of green she can create.  Plus, the dogwoods are still blooming, so you have occasional bursts of white alongside the road.  And the sun was dappling through the trees.  Unfortunately, sun through trees at any speed tends to give a strobe-light effect. 

Anyway, I did the trip.  This year, Missouri decided it would be a good idea to give us all new plates instead of just a new sticker.  What a waste of money.  Plus, now I have to memorize a new plate #.  I liked the old number because part of it made a funny word.  The new number?  Blah.  The old plates had a blue bird on them which I loved.  The new plates are to celebrate the state's bicentennial... in two years.  1821-1921.  Umm, yah.  They're kind of boring. And no bird.  =o\

This year, Missouri is also shifting to the Real ID program thingie.  It's a federal government thing that's supposed to make it harder for assholes to fake the ID.  In order to get a Real ID, I had to present my old driver's license, birth certificate and my Social Security Card to prove I was who I said I was, and a utility bill to prove residency.  Kind of a pain, but if the program helps to keep our nation safe, I can deal with it.

While I was there, a gentleman was also trying to get his Real ID.  I overheard the gal talking to him and apparently, he tried to hand her a piece of paper with his SSN written on it instead of his SS card.  Nope.  Need the card.  Says so right on the postcard they send you.  Oops.  He did not seem happy.  :shrug:  Follow the rules and you'll get along fine.  I had all my shit together.

With one exception.  When I started handing all my paperwork to the first gal to get my plates, I didn't have proof of insurance in my Big Folder of Information (tm).  I mean, it was in my car, so not that big a deal, but it was especially funny because right before I left, Hubs said I should take the thing out of the glove compartment and put it in the BF of I.  And I was all like nope, I have this.  Which ought to teach me to listen to Hubs. 

The license thing went smoother.  Handed over all the stuffs and was directed to the nice young gal in charge of the eye test and taking the license photos.  Did the eye test - which consisted of reading the top line and then being able to identify six signs by their shapes and markings.  Passed it all with flying colors.  She said I would be surprised at how many people don't pass.  I said something about people needing glasses and she said that wasn't the part they couldn't pass.  Dude, if you can tell what signs are by their shape and markings, you need to maybe review that shit before you get behind the wheel.  Stop, merge, do not enter, signal ahead, no left turn, and no u-turn... simple stuffs. 

Anyway, she gave me an A+ and then shifted me over to get my picture taken.  I had thought about doing my hair to make me pretty before I left, but then I thought that these licenses are supposed to look like you on an average day.  Getting all dolled up would not have looked like me on an average day.  And the picture actually turned out better than my old license.  Go figure.

She punched holes (they spell out the word VOID) in my old license and handed it back.  Then she gave me a printed temporary license to carry around with me.  A paper license.  For three weeks.  Considering when I fish I usually only take my license with me instead of my whole purse, and I often get rained upon... Guess I'll have to carry that sucker in a baggie for a while.  :shrug:

On a side note, watching Live PD in Greene County, MO makes me wonder if we're the only people in the damn state who actually have licenses.  So many people on there don't.  Derp.

So, that's done for another two years on the plates and another six on the license.  Plus, I'm a legitimate person in the eyes of the federal government.  Umm, yay. 

And that was my adventure yesterday.  Gotta take the adventures where you find them.

What big adventures have you been on lately?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday Update - Week 17

The last week of April.  Not sure where the first third of the year went.  Bleh.

I got a lot accomplished on this phase of editing.  Finished it yesterday morning.  And now I have pages and pages of edit notes to input and an ending to rewrite.  Once that's done, I hope to get back to writing new words again.

The sale for Accidental Death finished up on Monday.  This ended up being the second best April I've had.  Which isn't saying much, but hey, it's something.

Not burning up the pages on reading, but I did get two books finished last week.  I'm 7 books ahead on my Goodreads goal.  Yay.

I started back on my walking routine Friday.  We'll see how that goes.  With that, I managed 5 out of 7 days being active.  The scale's still not being friendly to me.  But that's the way life goes sometimes.  On the positive thinking side, I haven't put back those 14 pounds I lost last year - only the weight I lost so far this year.  I'm trying to get back on the wagon with both my activity and my eating.

Which brings me to...  I made another batch of cookies.  Oatmeal Walnut Caramel Chip.  So good.  And oats and walnuts are good for you.  I also made a batch of lemon bread.  (Recipes at the end of this post.)

Hubs and I went fishing one afternoon.  He caught two bass and I caught three panfish.  All of them were too small to keep, but it was nice to have some outside together time.  And we saw two ospreys circling each other in the sky over the river.  One was holding a fish.  I assume it was some kind of mating thing.  Him: "Hey, baby, look what I got you."  And her: "What, you couldn't get me a bigger one?"

Okay, I think that's all I have for you today.  What have you got for me?

And here are the recipes I promised:

Lemon Loaf with Lemon Glaze

½ cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup milk

Glaze:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup confectioner’s sugar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease one 8x4” loaf pan.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter.  Beat in eggs and lemon juice.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Add flour mixture alternately with milk until all ingredients are combined.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from oven.  While loaf is cooling in pan, combine glaze ingredients – stirring until smooth.  Once bread has cooled for approximately 10-15 minutes, turn bread out onto a plate and drizzle with glaze.  Allow to cool completely – so glaze sets.  Slice into ¼-½” portions and serve.

Oatmeal Walnut Caramel Chip Cookies 

1 c caramel chips
1 c walnuts
1 ½ c flour
1 t baking soda
¼ t salt
½ c butter (softened)
1 c sugar
1 egg
 ½ c milk
1 ½ cup quick oats

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease or line baking sheets with tinfoil. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg. Beat until fluffy. Alternately combine flour mixture and milk with wet ingredients until smooth. Stir in oats, walnuts, and caramel chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls on prepared sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes approx. 3 dozen.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 4/27/19

Not a lot going on in the reading this week.  I was busy making progress on the editing.

I had 6 unread new ebooks left on my Kindle - two SF, a suspense, an UF, a chick-lit suspense*, and a romance.  One of the SF I paid full price for, the rest were free. Then I picked up 3 more freebies - historical suspense, SF with a F twist, and UF. 

Book Read:

34) My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara (4/23/19) - MG Coming of Age - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated.  Picked this up in hardcover for $1 at the thrift store to add to my old-book collection.
Review: "Definitely a must-read for just about any kid. And pretty much a must-read for adults, too. Positive story, positive ending - although I was a little afraid Ms. O'Hara was going to let me down at several points along the way. She didn't, though, and whew. I would've hated this book if she had let me down. I only wish I'd read this decades ago."

33) Blues, Butterflies, and Murder by LouLou Harrington (4/20/19) - Cozy Mystery*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated as far as reviews go.  (Less than 50 on Amazon and Goodreads.)  Got this as a freebie off the ENT newsletter.
Review: "Picked this up on a whim not paying attention to the fact that it was a #5 and I hadn't read the first 4. But I read it anyway. There were a few things I probably could've benefited from by reading the other books, but all in all, this stood alone quite well. And it made me want to go back and read the other books when I have the time and money. Loads of fun, but with heart. Good mystery. Great characters."

No DNFs this week.

I'm currently reading a SF I picked up last month.  So far, so good.  We'll see.

What have you been reading lately?   

*Don't ask me about chick-lit suspense.  That's how it was marketed.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Thursday This n That

Mother's Day is two weeks from Sunday.  Gah.  Gotta get cards so I can mail cards so the cards have time to reach their destinations.  Gah.

It's also like three weeks to my birthday.  No Gah there.  It is what it is.  There will be no cake, no prezzies, etc.  I'll get a card from my mom and one from his mom.  Hubs will tell me 'Happy Birthday' and give me a hug/smoochie combo.  And it will be good. 

Speaking of birthdays, I have to go get my driver's license and tags renewed.  What a pain in the butt.  This time, because reasons, I'll have to bring several forms of ID to get my O-fficial 'federally recognized' license.  Bleh.  Like somehow those can't be faked.  :shrug:  Oh, well, at least it'll be a pretty drive up there.

Today, I have to go get cigarettes. In the rain.  Derp.  Poor planning on my part.  On the upside, the pharmacy near the smoke shop carries greeting cards.  Barring that, the dollar store is just up the highway from there.  Maybe I can kill two birds with one stone.

I just had an idea for how to keep my peonies from falling over when it rains - stakes and yarn.  We have a boatload of both.  Yay.  And now that I've written the idea down here, I might not forget it.  ;o)

Finally installed my new mouse.  The roller thingie on the old one was going bad.  The new one is slightly bigger - even though it's the same make - and it's weird in my hand, but I'll get used to it.  Still haven't painted new letters on my keyboard, though.  Umm, yah.

Out at the lake a few days ago, we saw a couple ospreys circling each other and one of them had a fish in its claws.  I think he was trying to present her with a prezzie.  She wasn't having any of it.  Later, he left and she started calling - whether for him or in joy because he was gone, I don't know.  It was pretty cool.

Well, I think I've yattered on enough this morning.  Got anything to yatter back at me?








Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Little Things That Make Me Happy

In no particular order...

- Hubs
- A new tube of toothpaste.
- A new mouse.
- When my hair looks good.
- The arrival of the mailman (even better if he's brought a check and no bills)
- Thursday morning trash pickup
- My bird-a-day calendar
- Flowers all around the yard - ones I've planted and wild ones.  Even dandelions.
- Seeing a hawk in our woods
- The call of a kingfisher
- Baby bunnies
- Puppies
- Kitties
- Learning one of my favorite animals at the pet refuge got adopted
- Finding really awesome used books at the thrift store
- Finding food I really like on sale
- Peanut butter on chocolate ice cream
- Selling books
- Buying books
- A new review
- Learning one of my reviews made the author's day
- A freshly washed floor (even if I hate washing floors)
- Baked goods
- Homemade pizza
- Finding a really good song on the radio
- Singing along
- When the eagles arrive in the fall
- Spring
- When Hubs and I are making each other laugh
- Good friends
- A nice day at the lake when the fish are biting
- Long walks in the countryside
- Helping and chatting with old people at the Wallyworld.
- A newly-mown lawn


So no matter how crappy things can be every now and again, I have plenty of things that can and do make me happy.  Some days are better than others.  Today is a good day.  Hell, every day you wake up is a good day.  =oD


What are some things that make you happy?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Update - Week 16

Here we are again.  Tada!

Once again, I did no writing, but I did get some editing done.  I really do love this book.  However, I've loved all my books.  Whether I love a book is not indicative of whether the world will love them, apparently.  Derp.

I've been marketing my wide ass off.  (Not literally, unfortunately.  Would that marketing could reduce ass size... :sigh:)  The ad generated 28 sales.  Hopefully I'll see page reads from that in the next week or so.  I sold 5 books I'm going to attribute to a combination of FB marketing and the increased rank from the ad sales.  AD hit #48 in Hard-Boiled Mystery, which is always good.  It also reached the top 100 in Noir.  Of course, those rankings didn't last the day, but hey, it was nice to see them first thing in the morning. And the sale is still going - today and tomorrow.  Woohoo.

I did a bit of reading.  Finished two and DNF'd two.

Kind of fell apart on the activity and the eating this week.  Only 4 out of 7 days of active stuff and some of that could barely count.  I mean, I got up off my dead butt and did something, but whether 3 of those days burned any calories?  Meh.  I know I burned calories yesterday because I scrubbed the kitchen-stove rug by hand and then I scrubbed the floors and shook all the other rugs.  Good upper-body workout, lemme tell ya.

On the other hand, I ate like a cow last week.  Which leads me to...

I made a bunch of foods last week.  Three straight days of baking - pizza, cake, and cookies - Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  Finished the pizza Thursday, but we still have cake and cookies.  It's not so much eating things that's getting me, though, it's the amounts of things I'm eating.  I really need to cut down on the serving sizes.  I'm a firm believer in 'it's not what you eat, it's how much of it you eat'.  Gotta find some will power to eat less.  And exercise more, of course.

We went the entire week with no rat!  Peppermint, clove, and cedarwood oils did the trick.  I think.  I plan on doing an experiment starting tonight where I don't spray for a week and see if the furry bitch comes back.  If I don't spray and she comes back, it was the spray that drove her away.  If I don't spray and she doesn't come back, it's possible she got tired of rebuilding her nest.  Or a predator ate her.  I'm hoping it's not the latter.  She really was cute as a bug's butt.  And as annoying as she was, I don't want her to be dead.  Still, she's a prey animal and we do have coyotes, bobcats, foxes, snakes, and owls who would all find her to be a yummy meal.

Other than that, not much going on out here in the back of beyond.  What's up in your world?

ETA:  Ahem.  Totally forgot today would be Easter when I scheduled this post last night.  Happy Easter, Everyone!  


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 4/20/19

Hello again and welcome to another week of reading.

I was bored, so I went through the newsletters Thursday morning and picked up a bunch of free ebooks.  Plus, an acquaintance I trust mentioned a new release SF, so I snagged that, too.  Four books leftover from last month and 5 new books.  Yay!  I also still have most of those Agatha Christie's to read, a couple Phyllis Whitneys and... well, scads of other hardcopy books to read.

Books Read:

31) Ready to Were (Shift Happens #1) by Robyn Peterman (4/13/19) - Paranormal Romance* - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated.  Picked up off the Freebooksy newsletter.
Review: "Loads of fun."
30) The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (4/13/19) - Mystery - 5 stars.  First time I read it, but Agatha Christie is definitely not new to me or underappreciated.  Purchased at St. Vinny's for 50c.
Review: "Agatha Christie's first book... I can't believe I'd never read this one before. Interesting to see how it all began. Definitely shows why she's the Grand Dame of Mystery."

DNFs:

4/19/19 - Paranormal Mystery.  It read more like a travelogue or the beginning of a bad romance where the author is trying to show how much research she did on the location without giving a hint of the plot.  I gave up waiting for something to happen and moved on.  Too much to read to waste time on this one.  Luckily, it was a freebie I found on Ereader News Today.

4/18/19 - Romantic Suspense.  I wanted to like this, really I did, but I found myself making excuses to not read it rather than being excited to pick it up again.  At about a third of the way through, I finally decided to read something that did excite me.  I only paid 50c for it at the thrift store and that goes to a good cause, I guess.  It'll go to St. Vinny's on my next trip.

I'm currently reading the fifth book in a cozy mystery series I hadn't read yet.  :shrug:  I didn't notice the book was #5 until after I downloaded it and I thought I'd give it a whirl.  So far, so good. 

What did you read last week?  Any keepers?  Anything you couldn't bring yourself to waste time on?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday This n That

Yesterday afternoon, I got a wild hair and made cake from scratch.  And then last night, I made frosting from scratch.  Unfortunately, the frosting kind of took on a mind of its own and I probably have enough leftover to frost an entire other cake.  No, I did not do this for Easter dessert.  I did it because I wanted cake.  The cake turned out a little dense, but the frosting is to die for.

Speaking of Easter, I didn't even think about it until I realized earlier this week that it is, in fact THIS SUNDAY.  So, I asked Hubs what he wanted to do about dinner and he shrugged.  And then I shrugged.  Guess I don't have to panic then, huh?  We're not doing anything.  We pretty much deleted ham from the diet.  We stopped eating holiday candy.  I've been making all sorts of yummy things, so making something yummy Sunday wouldn't be super-special.  Meh.  Easter was more fun when the Kid was still living at home.  And I could gorge myself on Robin's Eggs.

I think Ms. Packrat is gone for good.  :knocks on wood:  Here's what I used: about 60 drops of peppermint essential oil and probably about that much of clove essential oil with lavender and cedarwood in a 32 oz spray bottle with about 16 oz of water.  (The peppermint said 20 drops per 5oz of water.)  Screwed the nozzle back and shook the hell out of it.  Sprayed liberally all over inside my engine compartment, paying special attention to the underside of the hood and the specific places the rat was nesting.  I do this every evening around sunset - which is when she starts getting active.  Fingers crossed it keeps working.  We're going to try an experiment and stop after a week.  See if she comes back.  If she does, back to spraying every day.  If not, every few days until we're pretty sure she's not coming back. 

I'm hoping the spray also keeps the deer from eating my lilies.  Wouldn't that be lovely?  Couldn't hurt, eh?

Also, I read somewhere that moles don't like coffee, so I bought some cheap coffee grounds and sprinkled them all over my gardens.  Time will tell if it works.

Saw my first hummingbird of the year.  I put the feeder out and the next day, a hummer.  Yay!

Okay, that's probably enough out of me.  What's up with you?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Self-Sufficiency and, Oh Yeah, a Sale

Before I get started with the real post, here's the opening salvo for the Accidental Death sale.  Someone in the UK bought a copy before I even got started, so that's a good thing.
 
"
Nothing exciting ever happens in Serenity, CO. Especially not murder...

Starting today, Accidental Death is on sale for only 99c/99p. (Always free on Kindle Unlimited.)

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XM6VJ9U
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Accidental-Death-Dennis-Haggarty-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00XM6VJ9U"
 
Now, on to the actual post of the day...
 
I'm a big fan of self-reliance.  Whenever possible, I put my little thinking cap on and figure out how to do things with a minimum of fuss and expenditure.   

Take that picture up there.  Did it myself.  Oh, if you blow it up and really look, it's not perfect, but it works.  Made the cover of the book, too.  I like it.  

This weekend, I used some old insect repellent to drive away a rat.  Then I went out and got the stuff  in the insect repellent and made my own rat repellent.  Fingers crossed it works.  I haven't checked yet this morning.  That was not exactly cheap, but probably cheaper than paying someone to come out and trap the little bugger.  

The way our house is laid out, the morning sun comes through the sun porch window, through our office window, and smacks Hubs right in the face.  I thought and thought about that one, and tried some things that were lame and didn't work.  Then I got the idea to use a piece of black felt cloth I'd picked up years ago for another project, hang in from the plastic shelving unit and slide the unit in front of the sun room window.  Tada.  When the sun goes past a certain point, slide the shelving back.  Easy peasy.

Years ago, I sliced my finger open.  Probably could've used stitches, but it was Easter Sunday and who wants to face an ER bill?  Cleaned it up, put some bandaging on it, and then used to two popsicle sticks to keep my finger in place so the wound wouldn't keep popping open.  Barely have a scar now.

Hubs is the same way.  The bracket holding my muffler on rusted through and snapped, leaving my muffler hanging there with no support other than the pipe itself.  He took some wire and gerryrigged a fix.  That's held up for about three years now.  Then, when the grill had a rust problem, he found a way to fix that, too, using a couple metal brackets.  Good as new... well, almost.  It works, and that's the important thing.  Hell, after we moved here, Hubs taught himself everything about how to re-plumb a house and then did it.  Why pay a plumber, right?

Where there's a will there's a way.  

Self-sufficiency.

Sometimes, it would be easier to just pay someone else to do stuff.  Sometimes, it's necessary.  Like with anything electrical.  Neither of us wants to have anything to do with that, so we call our electrician.  He's reasonable and he's got loads of experience not electrocuting himself.  I also am willing to pay people to do covers I don't think I can pull of by myself.  And, of course, I pay an editor because I can't see everything that needs to be fixed in my own work.

But, still, I do whatever I can whenever I can do it.  

How about you?  Are you likely to do things yourself or find someone else to do it?