Thursday, January 31, 2019

Thursday This n That

I have three pairs of glasses now, but I'm still stuck in the mindset of only having one, so I keep thinking I'm going to have to get up and walk into the living room to get my glasses, even though there's a pair right here on my desk.  Derp.

I wrote an entire long paragraph on Monday night with no punctuation other than at the end.  My editor is going to go into spasms but I was trying to show the character was in hysterics.  The MC slaps her to make it stop.

There was something else here, but it was so long, I turned it into a post for next week.

I sometimes wonder what people would think if they ever read the sticky notes on my desk.  There's one there now that says 'bunnies killed cellphones--Landlines?'  I expect they'd lock me in a rubber room with an I-love-me jacket.

I've been calling straitjackets 'I-love-me' jackets for decades.  Think about it for a second.  Get it now?  Not sure where I heard it or if I came up with that one myself.  I so funny.

Today, we're having Thanksgiving dinner.  Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce.  Yum.  I felt like eating turkey and they had turkeys on sale.  It was only $2.50 more for me to buy a whole turkey than a pre-made package of turkey breast slices with gravy.  Lucky for me, Hubs is okay with making it. 

Some of the things I thought were hilarious when I was younger are not really making me laugh like they used to.  Laurel and Hardy?  Meh.  Abbott and Costello?  Meh.  I'm meh about the Marx Brothers, too, to a certain extent.  (Still love me some Harpo.)  I guess I've progressed beyond slapstick.  Which is kinda sad.  I do breakout laughing when I see a criminal get tased, though.  Especially when they stiffen up and fall over.  Or when they're being all Barney Badass and then end up shrieking like a little girl.  ROFL.  Kills me every time.

Nope, no plans on ever getting tased.  That shit looks like it hurts and as long as you do what the officers are asking you to do, you don't get tased.  I'm very into doing what I'm told when pain is on the line.  They tell you to put your hands in the air, you do it.  They tell you to get on the ground, you do it.  Don't run.  Don't reach for stuff.  Follow directions and no tasing necessary.  Funny how that works.  And if you think they're in the wrong, you still do what they ask and sort it out later - after you call a lawyer.  Better to spend a few hours sorting it out than face the pain of a taser.  Know what I mean?

And that's it for me.  What's it for you?





Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Chicken Veggie Casserole

Nothing much to talk about this morning, so I thought I'd give you a recipe I threw together last week.  If you already saw it on FB, ignore me.


Chicken Veggie Casserole

1 can white meat chicken (undrained)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tube Ritz crackers (crushed)
2 small onions (diced)
3 T butter
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 bag frozen veggies
pepper and paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. In large sauce pan, sauté onions in butter. When the onions are clear and a little brown around the edges, drain the chicken liquid into the pan. Set the chicken aside.  Stir in soup, sour cream, and milk until thoroughly combined. Add in frozen veggies. Stir until coated. Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until the veggies just start to get tender. Stir in chicken chunks. Pour into casserole dish. Sprinkle crushed crackers evenly over the top. Sprinkle cheese over the cracker crumbs. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until the veggies are fork tender. 

It's awesome as leftovers, too.  We got like 3 meals out of it.  And when you nuke it, the cracker crumbs thicken up the sauce.  Mmm.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Update - Week 4

Wow, January is kind of flying by.  I saw a meme the other day that called January the Monday of the year.  Yah, pretty much.

Okay, so I actually did some writing last week.  I picked the humorous SF project - tentatively called 'Evil Space Bunnies'.  It's rolling right along.  I'm averaging like 2K words a day.  And as long as I can keep the self-doubt away, I should actually be able to finish this sometime in the next 30 days or so.  I'm not promising this will be published any time soon or at all.  The positive thing is it has gotten me writing again.  Yay.

No editing other than what I do as I write.

I didn't do much in the way of marketing this past week.  I did set up a sale that will run from February 3rd thru 11:59pm on the 9th.  All of the Once Upon a Djinn books will be on sale and Bargain Booksy will be running an ad on the 5th.  Since my goal is to run one sale with advertising a month, I'm on track for that.  And with page reads, the SU sale has almost cleared the advertising, so I got that going for me.

I only finished one book last week - All Creatures Great and Small.  DNF'd a few others.  Not sure how much reading I'll be doing with ESB on my brain, though.

We do not want to talk about activity.  Despite my best intentions, I only did stuff like one day last week.  I'm holding steady at 180.0 pounds right now.  We had a little niggle with the exercise bike.  Apparently, it doesn't appreciate being continuously ridden for longer than 30 minutes at tension 6.  (That was Hubs, not me.)  It started to make a weird thumping noise on the down stroke of the left peddle.  We took the damn thing apart.  Didn't find anything.  Once we put it all back together later in the day - we had a something that interrupted the process - it worked fine with no thumping.  I'm guessing that when the flywheel inside overheats, it rubs against something.

The 'something' we had in the middle of the bike surgery was a cat thing.  Another UTI.  Yeah.  Not sure where those are coming from.  Anyway, they let me get meds without bringing the cat along, so that's something.  But I was warned that the next time this happens, I'll have to bring her in for a round of testing.  Meh.  She'll be 16 this year.  I expect the tests will show she's an old cat.  I give her the antibiotics and it clears right up.  Within 24 hours, she's back to her old self again.  Today, her only problem is that she can't figure out why I'm still giving her medicine.  Umm, because you have to use it all up, cat, or the infection will roar back.  Sheesh.  For the record, she's now eating IAMS urinary tract health formula kibbles.  She doesn't like it, but she is eating it.  A little.  I'm running on the theory that stale dry food is causing the UTIs.  She eats so little dry food that by the time she gets halfway down the bag, it's stale.  We throw out so much food.  Sheesh.  This time, I took the bag of food and separated it into freezer bags.  One bag to eat, the rest in the freezer until she finishes a bag.  Defrost and feed.  Should keep the stuff from getting stale and maybe prevent her UTI.  Right.

Oh, and yesterday, we cleaned the carpet in the office.  Moved everything but the bookcases and the desks.  At any rate, I was offline between 8am and 5pm, when the carpets were finally dry enough to move everything back and plug everything back in.  Hubs did most of the work, except for moving some stuff.  Not sure why it all made me so tired.  LOL

Okay, well, that's plenty out of me for the time being.  What's been going on in your world?


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/26/19

Here we are again - the fourth time this year.  Hard to believe 4 weeks have already gone by.  Since I spent most of the week reading All Things Great and Small, I didn't think I'd have much to review this week. And I wouldn't have if not for the DNFs.

New books:  Picked up a free ebook and a 99c ebook - both mysteries, but one is historical and the other is set in Ireland.  I also picked up a free MG general fantasy and another free MG fantasy about genies. And a 99c thriller.  Someone stop me before I one-click again.  =oO

And now, here's the reading list for this past week...

 8) All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (1/25/19) - Memoir - 5 stars.  New for me to read, but I'd definitely heard of it.  And it is in no way underappreciated.  I picked this up for 50c from St. Vinny's.
Review: "Somehow, despite being totally animal crazy when I was a teen, with aspirations to become a veterinarian, I never read this book before now. It was pretty good. Fun and light for the most part. The other vet was more than a little annoying at times, but Herriot pulled through. And it had a very satisfying ending. =o)"

DNF - 1/25/19 - Tried one of the mysteries I had on my Kindle.  Got a little ways in and realized I didn't like the heroine.  Not even a little bit.  I think it was the 'shares custody of the dog with her estranged husband, and supposedly loves the dog so much she doesn't want to lose it in the divorce, but treats the dog like crap' thing.  Just give the dog to him already.  And the mystery hadn't even started yet.  Meh.  Got it for free, so no big loss.

DNF - 1/25/19 - Tried a UF about the fae.  Realized I totally was not in the mood for UF right now.   I'm saving this one to try again later, too.

DNF - 1/25/19 - Picked up a book I didn't remember reading.  Got a few pages in and the memories all came rushing back to me.  It's a really good book, but the memory's now too fresh for a re-read.  Maybe later in the year.

------------------

Not sure what I'll pick up next.  Three DNFs in a row yesterday made me not want to start anything new.  Plus, Live PD was on.

I'm also writing again, so we'll see how reading goes until that's done.  ;o)

What wonderful things did you read last week?  Anything I should swoop in and download?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Thursday This n That

There's a type of exclusive coffee, I think it's Sumatran, that's made after a particular animal has eaten the coffee beans and pooped them out.  Umm, not just no but hell no.  And I do not even want to know who thought it was a good idea to make a beverage made from pooped beans in the first place.  "Hey, if you thought regular coffee was good, try this stuff that's been in an animal's gut for a while."  :shudder:  It's a crime against coffee, I tell ya.  Or another major hoax perpetrated on the unsuspecting masses.

And now that I've grossed you out...

I cannot stand dry skin.  Drives me right up the wall.  Especially dry hands.  I have a big pump bottle of lotion in my bathroom to stave off dry hands.  And a little bottle in my purse.  I prefer Suave Advanced Care.  It moistens my skin without leaving a residue that will be on everything I touch afterwards.  Dry lips kill me, too.  I have various tubes of lip balm laying here and there - Chapstick, Blistex, and Carmex.  The best one, though, is a promotional tube I got.  It has no brand name - just the name of the company passing it out.  When it runs out, I'm screwed.  Unless I want to drive an hour and beg for another one.  Might almost be worth it.

Monday's government holiday kinda screwed me up.  It was supposed to be bill paying day, but I couldn't do that.  And there's a check I usually get on Mondays that I received and deposited a day late.  (Not that money's that tight.  It's just a thing.)  And I spent all day Tuesday thinking it was Monday.  Blerg.

Well, I guess that's it.  Shorter than usual, I know, but meh.  I have dry brain right now.  Your turn to tell me some things. 


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Only 30 Books? Heh.

The other day there was an internet dust-up over some girl saying people really only need to keep 30 books.  I think she was saying to pare down and get rid of the things that are cluttering up your life, but readers took it the wrong way. 

Meh.

First off, why the hell would anyone listen to some girl no one's ever heard of?  Or even some girl everyone's heard of when it comes to what you should and shouldn't do?  Hell, I wouldn't listen to someone I genuinely respected and cared about if they suggested I should only keep thirty books.  Look up at my header.  That shows three bookcases worth of books and I have 5 other bookcases.

I have all those books for reasons, and only I can determine the reasons I have each of those books.  (Well, Hubs does have a say.  Some of them are his, after all.  And while mine outnumber his, he has way more than 30 himself.  The majority of the non-fiction bookcase is his.)

The reasons?  Well, some of them I haven't read yet but still plan to.  Some of them are part of my collection of pulp crime novels.  Some of them I've read but loved enough that I'll read them again.  Others I don't plan on reading again, but I loved them, so they stay.  One case is my literary collection.   There are also reference books in there that I might need to refer to in the future.  And the shelf with the collection of the complete works of my favorite author - sometimes with duplicates (other editions with different covers). 

There's the vintage engineering books Hubs found at an estate sale.  There's the encyclopedia set that belonged to my parents, that still has pressed stuff from when we were kids.  I don't think either of us will really be reading those ever, but they're there and they won't be going anywhere.

Oh, and the case of really old books no one will ever read again.  They're too precious to read.  I'm hoarding them for future generations.  And there's the books my father bought me and the ones that are signed and the ones... Well, I did say 'because reasons'.  I have a lot of reasons to keep books.

Sometimes, I go through and re-determine which books I want to keep.  Some of them have lost their meaning to me.  Some of them I can't remember why I kept them in the first place, and if I can't justify them taking up shelf space, off they go to St. Vinny's to find an owner who appreciates them more.

I'm sure the girl had her reasons for picking the number 30.  I'm willing to bet that even she thinks the number is subjective and arbitrary.  Not sure what the dust up is all about.  And I'm not sure why she felt the need to make her opinions public.  In this day and age, I'm willing to bet she's gotten some really nasty emails over it and perhaps a death threat or two.  I wonder if it was worth it.  :shrug:

My point is there is no point in getting angry over anything anyone says about how many of anything you should hang onto.  Go your own way.  If you want to have a zillion books and have to make tunnels through them to get to your bedroom, so be it.   Who am I to judge your book hoarding habit?

When we moved from CO to MO, I got rid of about 2/3rds of my books.  That sucked, but we had a tiny moving van to transport everything we owned, so it had to be done.  I miss some of them sometimes, but I'm finding those titles I really miss and buying them when I can.   I will rebuild it, I have the technology.  ;o)

How many books do you have?  If you had to pare down - you know, to move across country in a small truck with the rest of your belongings - how many do you think you could part with?


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday Update - Week 3

Hi again.

Third week out and I'm still not writing.  I've been thinking about writing a lot.  Not that it counts, but it's better than nothing.

No editing either.

Sleeping Ugly is still on sale.  Not sure what happened to the ad.  I mean, it showed up on FB and it's certainly on their website, but I never got the newsletter - even though they sent me an email showing me what it would look like.  And I know I'm signed up for the newsletter (they automatically sign you up when you book an ad, plus I actually signed up for it before I first started placing ads with them.)  :shrug:  Anyway, whatever happened, I only sold one book that day and that was in the UK.  Derp.

Made some marketing photos to post to FB along with my marketing verbiage.  They're just the print copies of SU in my bed.


Here's one I decided not to post:
I don't think Kira appreciated it.  And she refuses to sign a waiver.  ;o)

I read a lot last week.

We did a lot of woods work, too.  And then it rained.  I think I said the same thing last Sunday.  We're in a pattern now where it rains every Friday/Saturday.  Anyway, we now have 4 piles of deadfall down there, placed strategically for ease of use.  (I'll take pics if it ever stops raining.)  We drag stuff to whichever one is closest.  Made some major progress in killing the spiky, thorny vine things.  I hate those things.  They're evil.  We also made progress on eradicating the big vines.  I think they're wild grape, but since they have no leaves right now and even if they did, the leaves are way up in the canopy, I can't be certain.

I actually left the house for the first time in over a week.  There wasn't really any reason to not leave the house, but there also wasn't any reason to leave.  Four days of that was actually not even stepping foot out the door.  The rest was just not leaving the property.  I think the hermitude is getting worse.

While I was out, I ran into someone I hadn't seen in over a year, so we chatted for about 20 minutes while in a really slow checkout line.  I was already there, saw him pushing his cart by and called out.  He pulled in behind me and we chatted.  He's a great dude.  I told him he really should stop by and see Hubs next time he's in the area.  The height of my socialization so far this year.

Hubs got to socialize, too.  One of the neighbors stopped by.  We were social animals last week.  ;o)

On the activity/exercise front, I did 5 out of 7 days.  Cleaning and woods work for the most part, plus biking.  I'm up to 5 minutes at a time on the bike.  I've noticed a thing about getting lots of exercise, though.  The more I exercise, the hungrier I am.  Not really surprising.  You're burning more calories and the body wants to replace them.  Not helpful for losing weight, though.  :shrug:  I keep reminding myself I'm not doing this to lose weight, I'm doing it to be more active and get off my dead ass.  I think I'm seeing my gut shrink.  Probably would've helped if I'd done some measurements at some point so I could track progress.

Oh, and it snowed yesterday.  First real snow of this winter.  'Bout time.  LOL

Wow, that was a long post.  Must be that since I'm not writing, my words are coming out in blog posts.

What was up in your world last week?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/19/19

Hello again.

Hmm... I picked up one new ebook - a paranormal romance.  I still have 4 ebooks left from my new year book downloading spree.

Let's see what the week in reading was like, eh?

 7) Shoot to Kill by Brett Halliday (1/17/18) - - Hard-boiled Crime - 5 stars.  Not new to me, but definitely underappreciated.  I've had this for years in my pulp crime novel collection.  I'm slowly making my way through them all.  (Not slow enough, though, I'm running out.)
Review: "Mike Shayne novels are always good."

6) House Party Murder Rap by Sonia Parin (1/16/19) - Historical Mystery*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  On sale for 99c.  Don't remember where I found the ad for it.
Review: "Fun little mystery, especially if you enjoy the time period."

5) A Tiger's Gift by Ariel Marie (1/13/18) - Paranormal Romance* - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated.  Picked this up during a freebie.  Can't remember from where - I think one of the marketing newsletters.
Review: "Fun paranormal with a shifter twist - tigers. Good romance with the whole secret baby plot. And the big cat power struggle twist for tension. Definitely a 5-star read. For my friends who like spicy, this is right up your alley."

4) Thieves' Honor by David Combs (1/13/19) - Fantasy*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  I don't remember where I picked this up.  Probably one of the book marketing newsletters.  Maybe FB.  Got it during a 99c sale.
Review: "Three men who seem totally unlikely as any kind of heroes thrown together on a quest when they pretty much can't stand each other. But they will become heroes. And friends. Add in a vampire serial killer turned megalomaniac and you've got some awesome stuff going on there. Not your typical fantasy novel, but one that took me back to my old gaming days and left me satisfied. Unfortunately, the book does have editing flaws, but they're easy enough to ignore. If a good story is your goal, this is the book to read.

Of course, there were a couple things in the story I wished hadn't happened. But despite not wanting them to happen, I guess they had to or the story wouldn't have been right. And this story was right."


DNF - 1/17/18 - I was trying to decide what to read next and grabbed a compilation of Bradbury short stories.  Got partway through the first story.  Umm...  Totally not in the brain space for that at the time.  It's back on the shelf for another day.

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I finally decided to read All Creatures Great and Small on Thursday night, so I'm working on that right now.  Considering how into animals I've always been - I was once leaning toward becoming a veterinarian - I can't believe it's taken me this long to pick up this book.  I'm glad I'm reading it now instead of when I was younger, though.  All the years of watching Dr. Pol has made the terminology easier.  ;o)

What reading were you up to last week?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Thursday This n That

Well, it's Thursday. 

For the past two days, I did some working in the woods.  Tuesday night I ached so much, I promised myself I would take it easy on Wednesday.  Wednesday came and both Hubs and I went into the woods.  We worked for about two hours.  Now, we're both sore.  I predict there will be no exercising for either of us today.

We had a thunderstorm last night.  Thunder.  Last night.  January 17th.  Umm, yah.  It was also pouring rain and it sounded like we were getting sleet at one point.  Bleh.  Needless to say I did not sleep well last night.

Sleeping Ugly is still on sale.  Despite my best intentions, I didn't do much advertising on my own yesterday, but apparently it was enough to take SU from somewhere in the millions ranking to the 160Ks.  (Must've been KU downloads - no whole book sales yet.)  Increase in rankings was what the intentions were all about, so it's a win.  Get it out of the bottom before the paid ad goes live.

Live PD needs to be on every day.  Some days we can get by watching COPS reruns.  Sometimes we get our law enforcement fix by watching Police Women of...  But, yeah, Live PD is the crack.

Speaking of crack, I made my crack dip the other day.  Hubs finally tried it and agrees that it is, in fact, awesome.  It's just refried beans, salsa, and cheese - microwaved until the cheese melts.

After we left the woods yesterday, the turkeys came in.  They really seemed to enjoy all the spots we disturbed.  The whole rafter was down in there, pecking and scratching with wild abandon.

A group of turkeys is called a rafter.  Seriously.  Look it up.  Also, baby turkeys are called poults.

And I'm outta here.  What wild and wonderful things do you have to talk about today?


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Randomosity Tuesday

Because I can't think of one topic to fill an entire post...

It's 5am and, like clockwork, there's the cat wanting to be fed.  I can hear her meowing at me from the kitchen. 

Okay, she's fed now.  What was I saying?

For some reason, I can't seem to make myself write at the computer.  I sit down with my notebook and the words start flowing, but here?  Nope.  Of course, I can't write in the notebook for very long before my hand starts to whine about the abuse.  Meh.

We haven't had any snow here since November.  Even then, only a dusting.  And I'm okay with that.

Hubs is loving the new exercise bike.  When I first suggested getting one last spring, he wasn't enthused.  So I didn't get one then.  We started talking about it again last month, and he went online to research the best one for me to get.  You know, for me.  He might use it here and there.  Right.  The last time he went out for a walk, which would be last day because the weather ahead was gross, I went ahead and ordered it.  Which is what I should've done last spring.  That'll learn me.

One should not use foaming cleaner in the dishwasher.  I was just so sick of trying to clean the damn dishwasher, I didn't think ahead.  I spritzed that crap all over in there and then turned the dishwasher on.  And ended up with a puddle of suds on the floor.  Which led to me freaking out, worried that the cleaner had eaten the gasket somehow and I'd ruined a $400 piece of equipment.  Went to the product website, and it actually recommends using it in the dishwasher.  (Just not the foaming kind.)  When the cycle ended, the dishwasher was still full of bubbles.  Ran it again.  Still bubbles.  Ran in on the full cycle with the extra rinse.  Took for-freakin'-ever, but no bubbles.  Yay.  But it's still not as clean as I would've hoped.  Eh, live and learn.  Oh, and once the bubbles were gone, the dishwasher stopped leaking.  =oO

Got a mouse this morning in the garage.  We get about one a month.  SNAP.

I'm using a 2016 day calendar on my desk.  The day of the week is always wrong, but I like the pictures.  I can't buy a new one just like this because they discontinued them.  Derp.  January 15th in 2016 was a Friday, btw.

Okay, that ought to be quite enough out of me.  Got anything to add?


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Update - Week 2

Two weeks down, fifty to go.  Woohoo.  The possibilities are out there, people.

Okay, now that the rah-rah is over, let's get down to brass tacks.

I didn't write anything.  I did go back to working on editing an old project, but then I started to think about ROI and whether it would ever make me back what I was thinking of spending on it.  And I set it aside.  Then I started the process of thinking which other project might blow my skirt up.  The jury's still out.  I might continue on with old project or go back and finish something else.  Or start something new.

I set up a sale and marketing for next week for Sleeping Ugly.  That checks January off of my 'one ad a month' goal.

Some reading was accomplished.

My exercise bike arrived Wednesday.  We set it right up and got to work.  Needless to say, I haven't been on a bike of any kind since my time in the apartment complex gym back in Utah.  So, about 15 years.  In under two minutes, my muscles were squealing like the little pigs they've become.  I'm working my way up in duration and quantity.  One 2-minute session a day, then two 3-minute sessions, etc.  I might stand at two 5-minute sessions a day or every other day.  We'll see.  Hubs can go longer, but he's in better shape than I am.  If you're interested, the one we got was the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse.  Reasonably priced. Super easy to assemble, super easy to use.  Big seat.  Totally low impact. but man, can it get your heart pumping and your muscles working.

I also got glasses this past week.  I can see!  I can see!  After all the kvetching and angst about going to an eye doctor, I hit the eyeglass rack at Wallyworld and found out I can see to read at a 1.25x magnification.  They were only $5.88, so I picked up two pair - one for my desk and one for the living room.  My old glasses are now in my purse for when I'm out in the world - writing checks, reading the labels on items, etc.  And no eye exams or visit to dorkbutt optometrists needed.  (My former optometrist was a dorkbutt.)  Of course, I'm farsighted with no other issues, so your mileage may vary.

And we have new shower curtains.  Pretty exciting stuff, eh?  Hubs took the old ones out to the garage to use as drop clothes.  We reuse pretty much everything we can.

As if we don't have enough baked goods in the house, I made a batch of cookies.  I took my mother's old Oatmeal Cookie recipe (at least I think it was hers - it's in the book where I wrote a bunch of recipes before I moved away from home) and added the Nestles maple chips I picked up on sale.  They're pretty awesomesauce.  And since oats and raisins are good for you, it's a win-win.

I also did a pork roast in the new crock pot.  I love this new crock pot.  If you're in the market, I'd definitely recommend this one.  Everything I've cooked in it so far has turned out super yummy.  So much better than the old Crockpot brand.

I did a bunch of woods work earlier in the week, sawing and lugging and throwing and pulling and snipping and raking.  Then Friday and Saturday it rained, so it kind of stopped the progress there.

Speaking of rain, hooee, that was a lot of water.  Thank goodness it wasn't snow or we'd be buried.

Oh, and I cut my hair yesterday.  It turned out super-cute.  No pics, though.  Just imagine me with super cute hair. LOL

And that's it for my week.  How did things go for you?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday Reading Wrap-Up - 1/12/19

Hello and welcome to the first reading wrap-up of 2019.  Since I did a wrap-up of last year this past Saturday, that week's books are here, too.  I didn't read a lot of books, considering this is two weeks worth, but I'm on track with my goal, so it's all good.

At the start of the year, I had 10 new ebooks on my Kindle in various genres.  I keep promising myself I won't buy anymore books until I've read those.  But I bought 3 paperbacks at the thrift store on the 3rd, so that promise isn't going too well.  I also have a ton of hardcopy books left to read.  Should be a book-filled year.

Anyway, here are the reads from the past two weeks...

3) Code Onyx by Val St. Crowe (1/8/18) - Urban Fantasy*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Got it during a freebie off one of the FB marketing groups.
Review: "Fun and edgy with a different premise. Oh, and I totally didn't see the surprise at the end coming. I mean, I had a feeling, but I didn't see THAT. Definitely need to get the next one."

2) Bottling It by A.A. Albright (1/6/18) - Paranormal Mystery* - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated.  I picked this up when it was free from one of the FB marketing groups.
Review: "Super cute and fun."

1) Alfred Hitchcock's Daring Detectives by Various (1/1/19) - Mystery Anthology - 5 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  Rec'd as gift.
Review: "Loads of interesting and fun stories by the greats in mystery fiction. Not a bad one in the bunch."

DNF 1/4/18 - Stopped at about 35%.  I was having a really tough time getting through this, but I was forging ahead.  Then the author decided to, apropos of nothing, take a potshot at the President.  Meh.   I see enough of that crap on a daily basis in reality.  I don't want it in my fiction.

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I'm currently reading a fantasy from a unknown, underappreciated author.  So far, so good.  A thief, a wizard, and a barbarian are tasked to hunt down a vampire serial killer.  Nifty.

Read anything good so far this year? 

Friday, January 11, 2019

25 Years

Well, if you've been around here long enough, you will have heard the tale of January 11th, 1994.  About noon, I ran a red light on my way to work and got t-boned.  Don't worry.  I was alone in the car and no one else got hurt. 

Not sure why I ran the red.  I don't remember anything between New Year's Eve 1993 and about January 28th of '94.  It was a route I took every day and I wasn't in any hurry.  No drinking.  No drugs.  It was so unlike me that for years after, my father insisted the witnesses were wrong about the light being red.  :shrug:  Months later, I went to the police station and read the reports.  It was red.  Might've been just barely red and the guy who hit me might've jumped the light.  It's neither here nor there.  Red is red.

The only thing I can figure is that I was distracted somehow.  And not by a cell phone.  It was 1994, people, and while there were cellphones, they were huge and I couldn't afford one.

I used to semi-joke that I'd love to find the bitch who caused that accident and beat the hell out of her for what she did to me.

The nitty-gritty of it is as follows: broken thigh, broken pelvis, broken collarbone, scars on my face and hands from the glass shards.  I have this really interesting semi-circle scar on my right wrist from where one of my long fingernails from the other hand impaled me.  I have another scar that I assume is from one of the carpet tacks my car's previous owner used to hold the ceiling cloth on.

They put pins and a plate into the thigh.  Everything else they left to heal on its own.  They thought they might have to drill a hole in my head, but the inter-cranial bleed stopped before they had to do it.

Oh, yeah, the brain injury.  Let's not forget the brain injury.  :cue laughter:  Out of all my injuries, it was the one I was least concerned about when I came back into my head and it's been the worst injury of all.  Broken shit and lacerations heal.  The brain doesn't heal.

The brain is an interesting thing.  Cells that die never grow back.  BUT... and it's a big but... the brain can find ways to work around an injury.  Takes a lot of time.  A LOT of time.   Over the years, I got a lot of the stuff back.  Still working on finding most of those childhood memories I lost, but hey, we can exist without those.  And every once in a while, I get glimpses of them out of the blue.  They're like little special surprises. 'Tada! You get to remember Halloween when you were four or five today!' Or 'Here's that time you and Middle Sis killed that garden snake with a lawn dart'.  It's kind of like a slot machine.  If all the wheels line up just right, you get a prize.

Today, most of the defects of both brain and body are negligible.  I don't think I forget stuff too much more than the average 48 year old woman.  It frustrates me more, maybe.  Forgetting anything irritates the crap out of me.  I don't limp.  Haven't used my cane in years.  Oh, sure, when the barometric pressure is just right, I can predict the weather using the various broken things.  And I never know which broken thing will act up at any given time.  (I really hate when the pelvis breaks decide it's their turn.  Feels like someone kicked me in the crotch.) 

Even though I don't remember the accident, I get a kind of PTSD reaction to seeing car accidents - in real life or depicted on TV.  Those Allstate commercials wreck me if I'm not expecting them.  A couple years after my accident, I rolled up on the aftermath of an accident in the same intersection.  I had to pull into a parking lot and wait for the storm to pass before I could get back on the road.  But that was a long time ago and I'm less shaky now.

I never got the 'afraid of driving', which some people asked me about afterwards.  I love driving.  Hell, I took a job in outside sales and it never bothered me.  Then again, I was bitten by a dog when I was small and never got a fear of dogs either.  :shrug:

I guess if you look at the sum total of the past 25 years, I did okay.  I'm about as normal as anyone.  I don't even really think about it that much anymore.  Except on this anniversary day.  Twenty-five years ago, my chances of surviving the day were less than 50/50.  And my chances of going on to live a normal life were almost nil.  Look at me now.  I've published 13 books - which kinda prove the ol' brain is okay*.  I walk, I throw logs, I clamber over rocks - which proves the body is okay. 

Took a lot of work to get here, but life is work.  And every day you wake up is a good one. ;o)


*For varying definitions of okay.  Some may doubt my sanity, but they can never doubt my thinking skills.  ;o)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thursday This n That

The other day I saw a book on how to drink less or quit drinking alcohol altogether.  If you can't just do that on your own without a book to guide you, you already have a problem and perhaps you should get in touch with AA.  I quit drinking like 6 years ago.  My drinking had already dwindled to like once in a blue moon and then I just never made myself another drink.  Don't miss it.  In fact, I look back and wonder why I ever drank in the first place.  Oh, sometimes I miss the taste of a gin and tonic (yeah, I know, it's an acquired taste but the good stuff doesn't taste like paint thinner) or a nice Riesling, but I don't want the alcohol anymore.  Now, if someone made non-alcoholic mixed drinks, I'd probably drink those.  I've had NA beer here and there, if I can find it locally - which ain't easy these days - but I don't need it.  It's more for nostalgia.

I pay all my bills on the 20th of the month.  It's a habit and it usually serves me well.  Since our local trash service got bought out by Republic, their bills arrive around the 25th.  And so, I forget to pay them until it's almost too late.  Usually in a panic.  Stupid Republic.  Silly habits.  Ugh.

Around here it seems like every other dog is a Heeler mix.  Now, I did extensive reading about dog breeds when I was a teen and never ran across that breed.  Then again, they've added a bunch of breeds in the past 30 years, so what do I know?  The other day I googled it.  Derp.  Heelers are Australian Cattle Dogs. Why they can't just call them that, I don't know.  Blerg.

I got an expected package from Mom.  Well, actually, it shouldn't have been totally unexpected.  She told me about it early last month.  It was a flannel lap blanket I'd given my dad for Christmas one year.  She's paring down things she doesn't need and she thought I might like to have it.  I opened the box and tada.  Got a little sniffley over it - partly because it was Dad's (he's been gone since '02) and partly because it smells like Mom.  Even though I talk to Mom almost every day, I haven't seen her in almost 5 years.  I hugged the blanket.

I have a photo of Mom and Dad at their 40th anniversary party.  It's sitting on my desk, so I can be close to them.  They had a 40th party because Dad didn't think he'd make it to 50.  He was right.  He didn't make it to 45 either. 

Gah, not sure why I got so trapped in sad memories right there.  Might be because tomorrow is my 25th anniversary of 'almost but not quite getting dead'.  That there's a reason for reflection, if ever there was one.  If it was a wedding anniversary, I'd be getting silver stuff. 

:shakes self like a wet dog"

Anyway, let's not dwell on that for too damn long, eh?  Like I said before, wake up every morning and go "YAY! I'm alive!"

Got any this and that going on today?  What's the skinny?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Being Active in the Winter Sometimes Means Equipment

It's winter.  And while the weather has been unseasonably nice here lately, winter provides a ton of excuses to not be active.  It's too cold.  It's too rainy, snowy, icy, windy... you get the gist.

I could do my dance-exercise thing, but sometimes I'm too achy from the weather to want to dance around the living room.

I have been doing the exer-clean thing, but there's only so much cleaning a house and a gal can take.

Working in the woods is an option, but when it's nice enough to not freeze my ass off, it's also nice enough to bring out the bugs and potentially the snakes.  Ugh.

What's a gal to do?

Well, I'd talked before about buying exercise equipment.  Sunday, I finally did it.  I ordered an exercise bike.  Hubs researched them and I already had the one we wanted in my wish list.  It's due to arrive here sometime between Friday and next Wednesday.  A little assembly required and we'll be good to go.

I ordered the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse.  According to Hubs' research, it's the best bike for the price and even beats some of the more expensive bikes out on quality.  It's pretty simple.  Set it up, get on it, put your hands on the sensor plates, and ride.  It tells you your heart rate and how far you've biked.  It's not for spinning or for beating the hell out of.  You sit, you ride.  Gets your heart rate up and burns calories.  Totally low impact, which is what my crappy joints need. 

And Hubs is planning on using it, too.  Total win.

Anyway, once we get it and start using it, I'll let you know how it works out.  I plan on still walking and maybe dancing, but it'll be nice to have something else to use when I want or when I can't do those things.


Oh, and since I ordered it through the Amazon Smile program, my local animal shelter gets a bit of funds, too.  Win win.

Do you use the Amazon Smile program?  I do for the big things, but I always forget to switch over to Smile when I'm buying books.  Derp.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday Update - Week 1

The first week of the new year.  Yay.

I wrote about 200 words last week.  I'm still not feelin' the love.  It's been suggested that I try writing something else for a while to maybe get the juices flowing, but I can't think of anything I want to write.  The well is still dry.  With the desiccated remains of small critters at the bottom.  I've been giving myself pep talks, which usually helps.  :crickets:

Sold some books last week.  Part of the residual stuff from last month's sales, I think.  Not a lot of sales, mind you, but enough to put me on track for a better January than I've had before.  As part of my goals for 2019, I have to find somewhere to advertise this month.  

I finished one book last week, so the reading hasn't been there either.  I DNF'd another and started a third.

The activity goal worked out okay.  I did the 4 days out of 7 this week.  Some walking, some woods work, some heavy-duty cleaning.  It's all good if it gets the muscles moving and the heart pumping.  Starting 2019 weight = 180.4.  The eating went well, too.  But that's because all the Christmas goodies are now gone.  Buh-bye Reese's Trees and chocolate cake and coconut bon-bons.  It being the time of the year, though, the fresh produce has been sparse.  I'll get back to that later in the year.  I still haven't gotten back into the dance-exercise thing.  I'd say 'maybe next week' but the weather is supposed to be nice, so I'll probably do outside stuff when I can.  And there's loads more cleaning to do.

Speaking of cleaning, I scrubbed my bathroom to within an inch of its life on Friday.  It's so clean it's scary.  And man, was I sore afterwards.  If I cleaned more often, it wouldn't be such a trial.  It's not that my house is a pigsty, but it certainly has that lived-in look.

The woods work is going well.  We moved down the hill and started cleaning down there.  Ugh, what a mess.  Nobody's tended these woods, like ever.  Bunches of dead things laying all over and big ass vines everywhere.  But we're making progress.  Two new piles of deadfall have been started and loads of vines cut down.  It looks better already.  We should have most of it cleaned up by the time it gets warm again.

Speaking of warm, it's supposed to be in the 60s here this week.  That might put a bit of a damper on my lumberjack activities as it might wake up the ticks and snakes.  We'll see.

Okay, I think that's it for the week.  How did you first week of 2019 go?




Saturday, January 5, 2019

2018 Year End Reading Wrap Up

Hello.  Thanks for being with me on these reading wrap-ups every Saturday.  This week's books will be on next Saturday's post.  For today, I'd like to go over all the books I read last year.  No, not individually.  95 books and reviews would be a mega-long post and I won't do that to you.  This is just a sort of wrap up of the wrap ups.

Like I said, I read 95 books last year.  Which is 25 more than my goal at the start of 2018.  I expected it to be a much harder year to read, especially since I started with that monster - Shogun.

I read widely this year.  Here's the breakdown by genre:

Romantic Suspense - 6
Thriller - 8
Hard-boiled Crime - 9
Romance - 7
Mystery - 18
Suspense - 7
Urban Fantasy - 10
Non-fiction - 4
Science Fiction - 6
Paranormal Romance - 7
Fantasy - 8
Horror - 3
MG - 1
Epic Historical Adventure - 1

If you put all the crime based novels together, that's obviously where I did the most reading.  48 there.  Then if you put all the SF/F books together, that's another 35.  And there you see the basis for what I write.  Tada.  But I like to read anything that draws my interest and I like to mix it up a bit.  If you look at my 2018 - Books Read post, you'll see I rarely read the same genre twice in a row. 

I surpassed my goal of reading one 'new to me, underappreciated' book a month.  I did 17 of those before year's end.  That was fun.  I'll do the one a month thing again this year, and I've promised myself I'll also read at least 6 'underappreciated book twos' of the series I enjoyed the first books of.

Going back over the wrap-ups, it looks like I DNF'd 24 books last year, but I didn't start keeping track of those until partway through the year.

All in all, I think I read some really awesome books this year, though.

And that's that.  Here's to a good reading year for us all.

Was 2018 a good reading year for you?  What's your most-read genre?  What are your reading goals for 2019?

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Goals for the New Year

Yeah, I don't do resolutions, so here are some goals I'm setting for myself this year:

1)  Read 90 books.  I read 95 last year with a hard publishing schedule, so I should be able to do at least 90 this year.

2)  Do something active at least 4 days a week.

3)  Publish at least two books.  I did four last year and two the year before, so somewhere between those should be doable.  :knocks on wood:

4)  Take more pictures.  I kind of got out of the habit of taking pictures last year.

5)  Read at least 12 new-to-me authors again, BUT also read at least 6 sequels to books I've already enjoyed and review those, too.  Sequels always have so many fewer reviews, but they need some lovin' too.

I think that pretty much covers the major goals for the year.  I had some weight loss on there, but since losing weight isn't the point of this, I dropped it.  If I lose weight, awesome.  If not, as long as I feel good and stay active, it's a win.

I also thought about putting some sales goals out there.  Umm, I don't have a lot of control over that, so why set myself up for failure?  I might still put something over at Outside the Box - publishing goals, etc.  We'll see.  I'm being leery this year about setting a publication schedule.  :shrug:

What are some goals you have for the year?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 - Books Read

First day of the new year and first book finished.  Yay.  Much better than last year when I didn't finish a book until February.  Ugh.

My goal this year is to read 90 books.  I set my goal last year at 70, then had to up it to 80, then up it to 90, then up it to 95.  I hit that, but just barely.  So, 90 this year it is.  :fingers crossed:

As always, the books are listed in reverse date order with the newest first and the oldest last.  An * means ebook.  A # means 'new to me and underappreciated' - same goal there as last year, one a month.  This year, I'm also going to try to read and review at least six 'Book 2s', because the second book almost never gets the same lovin' as its older sibling.  I'll mark those with a !.

And now, without further ado, here's the list.  (It's short now.  Give it time.)

44) Twice Shy by Mona Ingram (5/18/19) - Romance*#
43) Crescent Calling by Nicole R. Taylor (5/18/19) - Paranormal Romance*
42) Silversword by Phyllis Whitney (5/16/19) - Romantic Suspense
41) Husk by D.P. Prior (5/15/19) - Western SF/UF*#
40) Crash & Burn by Silver James (5/10/19) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense*
39) Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh (5/9/19) - Mystery
38) The Devil's Pets by Alex Siegel (5/5/19) - UF*#
37) By Dawn's Early Light by Jason Fuesting (5/3/19) - SF*#
36) Flaming Tree by Phyllis A Whitney (5/1/19) - Romantic Suspense
35) Ronin (Col Sec Thriller #1) by Jan Domagala (4/29/19) - SF*#
34) My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara (4/23/19) - MG Coming of Age
33) Blues, Butterflies, and Murder by LouLou Harrington (4/20/19) - Cozy Mystery*#
32) Gardenias and a Grave Mistake by Ruby Loren (4/14/19) - Cozy Mystery*
31) Ready to Were (Shift Happens #1) by Robyn Peterman (4/13/19) - Paranormal Romance*
30) The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (4/13/19) - Mystery
29) Lights, Camera, Action by Heather Silvio (4/10/19) - Paranormal Mystery/Romance*#
28) Timothy Williams Demon Hunter by Iestyn Long (4/8/19) - MG UF*#
27) Roots of Misfortune by Seth Pevey (4/1/19) - Suspense - Suspense*2
26) Dig Two Graves (Solomon Gray #1) by Keith Nixon (3/31/19) - Suspense*
25) Life with Father / Life with Mother by Clarence Day (3/27/19) - Memoir
24) All Those Lies by Emmy Ellis (3/21/19) - Suspense*#
23) Taken (Rune Witch #1) by Victoria DeLuis (3/21/19) - Urban Fantasy*
22) Valley of the Butterflies by Anne Shore (3/15/19) - Romance
21) Death on Tyneside by Eileen Thorton (3/10/19) - Mystery*2
20) Empire's Scion by BC Kellogg (3/8/19) - SF*#
19) Billionaire Country by Silver James (3/8/19) - Romance
18) The Holly House Mystery (Inspector Chance #1.5) by John Bainbridge (3/1/19) - Mystery*2
17) The Glass Flame by Phyllis Whitney (2/28/19) - Romantic Suspense
16) Target: Mike Shayne by Brett Halliday (2/19/18) - Hard-boiled Crime
15) The Horrendous Imaginings: Theft of Sapphire by Joseph Daniel (2/16/19) - MG Fantasy*#
14) Mind of a Killer by Dan Padavona (2/14/19) - Suspense*#
13) Evonne and Vraag: Bounty Hunters by Jeremy Hayes (2/10/19) - Fantasy*#
12) Dial P for Poison by Zara Keane (2/8/19) - Cozy Mystery*
11) Agent of Enchantment (Dark Fae FBI #1) by CN Crawford (2/7/19) - Paranormal Suspense*
10) The Seafront Corpse (Inspector Chance #1) by John Bainbridge (2/2/19) - Historical Mystery*#
9) Unofficial Detective by Kathryn Wells (1/28/19) - Magical Mystery*
8) All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (1/25/19) - Memoir
7) Shoot to Kill by Brett Halliday (1/17/19) - - Hard-boiled Crime
6) House Party Murder Rap by Sonia Parin (1/16/19) - Historical Mystery*#
5) A Tiger's Gift by Ariel Marie (1/13/19) - Paranormal Romance*
4) Thieves' Honor by David Combs (1/13/19) - Fantasy*#
3) Code Onyx by Val St. Crowe (1/8/19) - Urban Fantasy*#
2) Bottling It by A.A. Albright (1/6/19) - Paranormal Mystery*
1) Alfred Hitchcock's Daring Detectives by Various (1/1/19) - Mystery Anthology

What are your reading goals for the year?  Did you reach yours last year?

Happy New Year!

May this year bring you more sun than clouds and more blue skies than rain.