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.

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.)

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.