Tuesday, August 11, 2020

My Morning Walk with a Little Excitement

Yesterday, I went out for my morning walk.  It was already hot and gross, but I need to walk, so off I went.  Now, in the mornings, I tend to walk what I refer to as 'the loop'.  Our neighborhood is basically a big circle that gradually goes uphill to the top and then downhill toward the river.  It's about a mile and takes me approximately 24 minutes to traverse.  I live partway to the top, so the beginning of my walk is basically uphill, then it's totally downhill in the middle, and uphill the rest of the way home.

In the morning, the loop is about 2/3 in the shade, which makes it nice. 

Anyway, it's a hard walk, but one where I usually see things and check out the neighborhood to see if anything's changed, sometimes cross paths with other human beings and loads of wildlife. 

Yesterday was an eventful walk.  First off, I encountered the guinea fowl, Harry and Henry.  I always say "Hi, guys!" when I see them.  And they'd accepted Piebald back into their acquaintance.  They kind of shunned him after he attacked Henry, but all is well in the trio once more.  So yay.

Then I crossed paths with a neighbor I'd seen but never met before.  I have a goal to meet everyone at some point.  Meet but not get to know.  It's a hermit thing.  Anyway, I'd incorrectly identified this guy before as being one of the Smiths, but one day I saw him in the neighborhood when I knew the Smiths weren't in residence, so then it was a matter of figuring out which un-met neighbor he was.  Yesterday, I solved that.  Yay.  He was headed counter-clockwise on the loop and I always go clockwise, so I knew I'd meet him again.  Unless he walked really fast.

A little farther down the road, on the decline toward the river, I got the most excitement.  (I've already told this part on FB, so if you're there, too, bear with me.)  I was walking along, watching my footing because part of the loop is gravel road, when something flashed across my path - about ten feet in the air and I'd say eight feet in front of me - and crashed into the hillside.  I stopped and scanned the area where it landed.  There was some rustling in the brush there.  After a short time, a BIG redtailed hawk popped out.  He looked around and then opened his wings and took off.  (His claws were empty, so I assume he was looking around for the prey he missed.)  A couple wing flaps got him up and then he soared across the road again in front of me.  I watched him go over the top of a house and then bank to the left and head downriver.  So pretty.  So majestic.  I kind of wish he'd caught whatever he was going for.  I mean, I would've felt bad for the critter, but it would've been cool. 

The rest of the walk was uneventful.  All is well in the neighborhood.  Everyone's crepe myrtles are blooming in a most spectacular fashion.  (Mine has two clusters of flowers.  :sadface:)   Nothing new to report to Hubs there.  I did cross paths with the new guy again.  He must walk way slower than I do because he wasn't as far along as I'd guessed he would be.  Either that or he stopped to chat with someone along the way. 

I did the walk in 25 minutes, even with all the stops.  And then I got to regale the Hubs with my little adventures.  A good morning.  And I get to do it again this morning.  I wonder what sights I'll see today.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Another Day in the Woods (Or the Hairy Incident)

If you've been around here long enough, you might know that I regularly rescue birds who've slammed themselves into my front window.  Probably 99% of the time, they're savable.  The other 1% never had a chance, so I do what I can to make their last seconds calm and quiet before I lay them to rest in one of my gardens.

So, yesterday, I was in here playing poker - on a particularly awesome hot streak by the way - when I hear something SLAM into the front window.  I sat myself out of the game and walked up front to see if any bird needed help.  Sure enough, there was an either female or immature hairy woodpecker sitting on one of the porch chairs, looking dazed.

I call back to Hubs that I'm headed out, slip on my shoes, and out I go. 

Now, usually, I scoop them into my hands, hold them and pet them until they're well enough to fly off on their own.  It usually takes a few minutes.  Sometimes, more.  One particularly loopy red-headed woodpecker took about 20 minutes of care before he flew off.  Occasionally, they recover enough to fly off when they see my hands approaching.

This one looked like a minimal care hit.  Still, I reached for it.  And it promptly flew onto my leg.

If you don't know much about woodpeckers, they have rather long and pointy talons made for gripping the bark of trees.  And it was using those long and pointy talons to grip onto my leg.  Only for a second or two.  Then it fluttered onto the porch and hopped over behind the chairs.

Still, not 100% back to normal bird behavior, so I followed it, grabbed it up, and sought to provide aid and comfort.  I know, I know, scaring the hell out of it so I can comfort it.  I get that, but it's necessary.  Basically, I want these birds to be able to fly off on their own like normal birds, so they don't get eaten by one of the neighbors' cats.  This one wasn't making it off the ground yet, so there you go.

And there we were, I was holding it and beginning my routine check to make sure there are no broken bones in the wings and that its eyes are both working, when suddenly its head flopped over like it had died.  Oh, noes!  I opened my loose grip to try and revive it.  As soon as my fingers unwrapped from it, it turned its head, looked at me, and flew off as fast as its wings could carry it. 

I had no clue birds could play possum, but I sweat that's what it did. 

Anyway, it was well enough to fly away and the scratches on my leg aren't that bad.  Way better than that hawk who scratched up my arm last year.  I applied plenty of antiseptic and stuff to keep the scratches clean and will continue to monitor them. 

Another day in the woods. 

Oh, and by the time I got back to my poker, it had removed me from the room where I was so lucky.  Damn it.  And oh well.  It was time to start dinner anyway.  ;o)

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 31

Ah, the end of another fun-filled week of 2020.  Yippee. But let's leave the rest of the world aside for now.  It actually was a pretty good week here.

First off, I was writing!  Every day.  6339 words out this past week.  Sure, that's not rolling thunder across the keyboard or anything, but it works for me.

I didn't read gangbusters either, but I read an entire book.  And not a short one either.  It was a 300+ page hardcover of Agatha Christie short stories.  I love Christie.  Yesterday, I started a newly published cozy mystery.  And I DNF'd it last night.  I'll share more about that on next week's wrap-up.

Also, I did seven days worth of being active.  Five of those days, I walked between a mile and 1.6 miles.  One day was cleaning.  One day was baking.  Yes, baking can be active.  You try making a batch of zucchini bread in the morning and then pizza crust in the afternoon.  Between the stirring and the kneading, my arms got a workout.  So there.  Let's not talk weight, though.  K?  K.

Other than that, life's okay.  I've been navigating Dollar General with a mask on and while it sucks, I've kicked the panic attacks out the door.  Okay, not entirely kicked, but I did shove them down and spit at them.

Nothing new to report in the deer department.  Or the fishing department.

If there's anything I missed, let me know.

How was your week 31?

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Sartuday Reading Wrap-up - 8/8/20

Hello and welcome to the first week of August's reading wrap-up.  It was a better week than most of July, but still not burning up the pages.

This week, I did get a couple new ebooks.  Yay.  One was a supernatural thriller and the other an urban fantasy.  I still have an urban fantasy and a mystery left from the beginning of July to read, so those will go first.

Books read:

57) Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie (8/7/20) - Mystery - 5 stars.  Natch.  I've had this hardcover compilation for years but never sat down to read it.  Rectified that.  Yay.
Review: "I always love reading Agatha Christie. And this compilation only had a few stories I'd read before, so it was even better."

No DNFs.

Currently reading... Nothing at the moment.  I finished the Christie and then it was dinner, writing, and walking.  Then some poker to chill out before bed.  I'll start something today.

What have you been reading this past week?

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thursday This n That

August the 6th.  So far, it's been six days in a row of writing and activity.  Good start there.  Now to keep this up.  Yesterday, after spending the better part of the day crouched down over some spreadsheets, I so did not want to do anything, but I made myself sit down and write.  Then when my hands got crampy, I made myself go for a walk.  I will do this.  See?  I have a thing over on the right now to show my progress.  Yay.

On the docket for today?  Zucchini bread again.  Some other neighbors are supposed to be bringing us tomatoes and peppers, and I'd like to have a loaf ready for them when they stop by.  I can't have a garden - not with all the deer - so it's nice when neighbors bring us fresh produce.  And I like to pay them back by presenting them with baked goods.  Or maybe I'll make them oatmeal cookies and save the bread for the neighbor who brings us zucchinis.  Hmm.  I still have to make the bread because the zucchini is already defrosted, but...  Hmm.  I have to think on that.

I cut my hair again finally.  It doesn't look bad.  A little longer on the left than the right this time, but my head tilts to the right so it's not noticeable to anyone but me.

I have a note on my desk that says 'SSA waiting outside' (the next scene in CU), which keeps giving me pause this morning because even though I know SSA means Society for Sorceral Activity, my brain keeps defaulting to Social Security Administration.  And I can't figure out why they'd be waiting outside.  Derp.

One thing about having a new computer is that I keep having to add words to the dictionary I'd already added to the old computer's dictionary.  There's probably a dictionary file somewhere on the old girl I could transfer to this one, but I'm lazy. 

The fawns are accepting Hubs as part of the landscape now.  When he went to feed this morning, a mom and her twins were munching on the lawn and they didn't even run away.  In fact, one of the fawns approached him to see what he was doing.  And then it thought better of it and backed off.  Still, it's a pretty nice feeling for Hubs.  Me?  They at least don't run when I walk out of the house, as long as I don't walk toward them.

Okay, that's it for me today.  What's on your radar?

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 30

Well, July is officially in the can and good riddance to it.  Yuck, what a month.  Hello, August!  You'd better be better than your predecessor, lemme tell ya. 

On a distinctly positive note, yesterday I started what I'm calling AugNoWriMo, wherein I will attempt to write every day.  (Technically, I started Friday night by laying down over 1300 words and then threw down almost 1500 last night.)  By the end of this, Cinder Ugly will be done, and maybe another book will be worked on.  We'll see.  The point here is to write every day - however much I can, but hoping to get at least 1000 words out a day.  Feel free to join in if you're so inclined.  No pressure.

I'm also going to get off my dead ass and keep this damn house cleaner than I did in July.  Oh, it's not a pigsty or anything.  I was still tidying.  But things like dusting and vacuuming and scrubbing got left behind.  To that end, I vacuumed on Friday and dusted on Saturday.  Go me.

Reading, unfortunately, got left behind as well last month.  I'm still ahead on my yearly goal by 16 books, but I'm going to try to read more in August.  Which also means I need to spend some time going through the book newsletters and finding new books to read.

Umm, exercise?  Well, as with everything else, I was a toad.  Only 7 days where I was active out of the whole damn month.  On the upside, I lost over a pound somewhere.  Weight 177.0.  Now that the weather has slackened off on the heat a little, I need to start walking every day again. 

No baking this past week.  No fishing either.  Bleh.

Okay, so there's a lot of 'need tos' up there and still only the same 24 hours a day in which to get it all done.  Not a problem, really, just an adjustment to my TV viewing and my poker playing.  Less of both, I'd say.  Although, in the poker, I'm up to 1.6 million in play money now.  None of it purchased. (You can pay real money to buy play money, which I refuse to do.)

So, what's been up with you lately?  How was your July?  Got any goals for August?  

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 8/1/20

Well, there went the last week of July.  :waves buh-bye:  Unfortunately, July was not a good month for reading.  May August be better.

No new books of any kind.  No books finished.  No DNFs either.  And I'm not currently reading anything.  Nothing sounds interesting.  Blerg.

Sorry.  That was boring.  Here's hoping I have something more interesting to post on next week's reading wrap-up.

How was your reading week? 

Friday, July 31, 2020

A Poem for Us All

Borrowed from Famous Poets and Poems dot com...
Hail! Childish Slave Of Social Rules by Robert Louis Stevenson
HAIL! Childish slaves of social rules
You had yourselves a hand in making!
How I could shake your faith, ye fools,
If but I thought it worth the shaking.
I see, and pity you; and then
Go, casting off the idle pity,
In search of better, braver men,
My own way freely through the city.

My own way freely, and not yours;
And, careless of a town's abusing,
Seek real friendship that endures
Among the friends of my own choosing.
I'll choose my friends myself, do you hear?
And won't let Mrs. Grundy do it,
Tho' all I honour and hold dear
And all I hope should move me to it.

I take my old coat from the shelf -
I am a man of little breeding.
And only dress to please myself -
I own, a very strange proceeding.
I smoke a pipe abroad, because
To all cigars I much prefer it,
And as I scorn your social laws
My choice has nothing to deter it.

Gladly I trudge the footpath way,
While you and yours roll by in coaches
In all the pride of fine array,
Through all the city's thronged approaches.
O fine religious, decent folk,
In Virtue's flaunting gold and scarlet,
I sneer between two puffs of smoke, -
Give me the publican and harlot.

Ye dainty-spoken, stiff, severe
Seed of the migrated Philistian,
One whispered question in your ear -
Pray, what was Christ, if you be Christian?
If Christ were only here just now,
Among the city's wynds and gables
Teaching the life he taught us, how
Would he be welcome to your tables?

I go and leave your logic-straws,
Your former-friends with face averted,
Your petty ways and narrow laws,
Your Grundy and your God, deserted.
From your frail ark of lies, I flee
I know not where, like Noah's raven.
Full to the broad, unsounded sea
I swim from your dishonest haven.

Alone on that unsounded deep,
Poor waif, it may be I shall perish,
Far from the course I thought to keep,
Far from the friends I hoped to cherish.
It may be that I shall sink, and yet
Hear, thro' all taunt and scornful laughter,
Through all defeat and all regret,
The stronger swimmers coming after

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thursday This n That

Wow, it's Thursday again.  Which is weird because I spent most of Tuesday thinking it was Friday and Hubs spent most of Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday.  Yesterday was and is a blur, other than each of us reminding the other that it was, in fact, Wednesday.  (Necessary because Wednesday night is when we get the trash ready for early Thursday morning pick-up.)

Such a life.

Anyway, it's Thursday.  Again.  Not really a big thing.  Trash day.  The day I have to make sure my timesheet is at the office by the time checks get written.  (I did it last night before I shut my work email down for the day.)   It's the day we get our second, weekly, local newspaper. 

Newspaper is one word but time sheet isn't?  What the hell is up with that? 

Today is the second to last day of July.  Where did that month go?  Right in the crapper with March-June.  I'd hope for a better August, but let's be real here. 

On a happier note, the fawns are here most mornings and bouncing around like fawns do.  We do have one fawn we were worried about because every time it was around here, it was crying like it had lost its mommy, but we saw it with its mom and it was still crying.  It looks healthy, it's not lost.  It's just a whiny fawn, I guess.  I think I'll name it Wanda.

It's gotten cooler here for a bit.  Low to mid 80s, which isn't cool but better than mid to upper 90s.  I really need to get off my dead ass and go for a walk, in the rain if necessary.  As long as it's not thundering.  Not zappies for me, thank you very much.

I need a haircut.  I can't blame this mane on the 'rona either, because I cut my own hair.  This mess is all mine and I need to muster the will to deal with it.  Today.  Before my shower.  I keep remembering to cut my hair when I'm halfway through the shower, which doesn't do me any good. 

Gah, I need to muster the will to do a lot of things.  Cut my hair, write, clean...  Right now, I only seem to have the will to watch TV and play poker.  Umm, yah. 

So, what's going on with you?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Photo Time Again

Another day where I feel the need to randomly thump some deserving someone upside the head with my cane, so here's a pretty picture...
A northern oriole gorging himself on an orange I'd hung off our front porch two years ago May.  They didn't come last year, so I didn't hang oranges this year.  Maybe next year.  Hard to think about next year right now, though, eh? 

Monday, July 27, 2020

All is Well

I'm not dead and all is well.  I didn't post on Friday because I couldn't think of anything to port.  Of course, I did do the usual Saturday and Sunday posts, but those are easy.  I can't think of anything to post today that isn't a rant.  And I'm tired of pictures right now. 

What about you?  Have you got anything brilliant to share today?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 29?

I can't believe it's already Sunday again.  And I damn near forgot to post an Update.  Not that there's much to update.  Life amongst the chaos go on.  To what extent they'll allow it to go on remains to be seen.

When I look back at the week, I realize I did next to nothing.  No writing or writerly pursuits.  I did read a book.  Yay!  Also my activity log for the week only has one entry and that was last Sunday, when I went for an early walk before it got too hot to be outside.

A neighbor gave me zucchini, which I shredded into 8 cups worth.  I made a batch of bread, which promptly disappeared (one loaf to said neighbor and the other down our gullets).  Yesterday, I made another 2 loaf batch.  I still have enough shredded zucchini to make four more loaves.  (I freeze it in 2 cup increments for easy use.  The recipe requires 2 cups per batch.)  And I made granola bars yesterday, too, because I have been remiss in making granola bars and we were out.

I discovered on Monday that Dollar General was going full-on mandatory mask on Tuesday.  Thus, when I went to DG on Friday (I was in town and needed a couple things, so why not?), I masked up.  I managed to make it through without a full-on panic attack.  'Breathe through your nose and don't try to talk' seemed to work.  Both of these are antithetical to my person.  Yep, I'm a :gasp: mouthbreather.  And a talker.  The latter of which should come as no surprise.  But hey, if I have to do those things to get through wearing a mask, which I have to do if I want food for my family, I will do it.  Stupid as it all is.

The fawns are coming into the yard regularly now.  We think we have 5 individual fawns*.  I'll know more as I succeed in getting pictures of them and comparing spot patterns.  The two tom turkeys are also regularly visiting the yard again.

Other than that?  Nope.  What went on in your life last week?

*Update: 6:55am - there are 5 fawns in the yard right now, so it's confirmed.  The light's still to low for pictures.  Sorry.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 7/25/20

Hello again!  I finally read a book again.  Woohoo!

I bought one ebook this week.  And I read it.  I also made progress in the book I'd started before the reading slump began and, ultimately, decided to DNF it.  I have two unread ebooks left - a mystery and a UF.  I really need to start scoping out other books to read.

Books Read:

56) Casket Girls by Seth Pevey (7/23/20) - Suspense* - 5 stars.  Not new to me but definitely underappreciated - especially since it's a new release.  One-clicked this after hearing from the author that it was up at Amazon and I paid full price.
Review: "Another thrilling and suspenseful addition to this series. Strong plot, awesome characters and rich scenery that make the story seem all too real, plus an intriguing mystery. What's not to love? These are one-clickers for me because I've enjoyed them all so much, and this one didn't disappoint."


7/24/20 - UF? - free.  I  dunno.  It started out good - set in the here and now with the murder of what was potentially a supernatural creature, then it kind of went wonky and undercut its own premise, then the MC got sucked into a fantasy world.  This is the second book that did that and I've discovered I don't like it.  Make it a fantasy from the start or make it UF and leave it that way.  Blerg.

Currently reading... haven't picked a new book to read yet.  I might read one of the ebooks or go with a hardcopy.  :shrug:  Tune in next week to find out.  ;o)

What good things have you been reading lately?

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thursday This n That

Just now I was looking up the definition of circumspect to see if it means what I think it means.  It does - watchful, discreet, prudent, etc., the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding. (That last one is my favorite and what I had in mind.)  However, the Google definition at the top of the page?  'wary and unwilling to take risks'.  Interesting take there, Google.  Luckily, there are usually plenty of other definitions below the one they suggest.  Like there are more hits than the ones they give you on the first page, and they massage the hits the fit their agenda anyway, so don't always take the first few as being the definitive answers.  The gold is sometimes buried several pages in.

BTW, certain entities changing the definitions of words to suit an agenda  - not saying that's what the Big G did there but my conspiracy senses are tingling- or for any other reason doesn't actually change the meaning of the word. 

When I hear something strange, I tend to try and look it up on the web before accepting it as fact.  The other day, an acquaintance asked me if I'd ever seen a jellyfish in the lake.  I was immediately suspicious and told her I'd have to look that up before I believed it.  (Her success rate for strange info is about 50%.)  Sure enough, the lake does have freshwater jellyfish.  Huh.  I'd never heard of such a thing.  They're about the size of a quarter when they're in their sexual stage.  Most of their lives, though, are spent in the asexual stage and then they're only about an eighth of an inch and hang out at the bottom of the lake, stuck to stuff down there.  Every rare once in a while, when conditions are right, they reach the sexual stage and float around.  They can still sting, but all in all, not much to worry about.  Don't pick one up and you should be fine.  Pick one up and you'll still be okay, but with ouchie fingers.

I really need to start wearing my glasses while I'm at the computer.  Gah, getting old sucks.

A few days ago, I got an instant message from an author I follow.  He does this when he has a new book out and he calls me his favorite reviewer.  Neat.  Anyway, the fourth book in his series is out and I have it and I'm reading it.  Yay.  Maybe this will kill the reading drought I've been going through.

Now if I can just kill the writing drought.  

Anything on your this n that list today? 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Baby Deers

Yes, I know, they're fawns.  But it's more fun and cuter to say 'baby deers', so we do.

Anyway, here are this year's one set of twins with their mama. 
The fawn on the left is Dart and the one of the right is Jumble. 
I think Dart is a male and I named him Dart because he looks like he has a straight line of spots headed for a circle of dots on his shoulder - like a dartboard.  Jumble might be a female and is Jumble because her spots are kind of all jumbled up in one area.  (Hey, it's tough thinking of fawn names every year.)

Update 7a.m.:  The third fawn just walked into the yard and up to Dart and Jumble, who were eating.  He then proceeded to get up on his hinds legs and kick the crap out of the twins, chasing them both back into the woods.  Definitely a buck fawn.  He's now christened Little Joe after the boxer, Smokin' Joe Frazier.   No pics of him yet.  The light this morning isn't good for pics.

Update 7:45a.m.:  We just had a set of twins in the yard and we're 90% sure they weren't Dart and Jumble.  For now, they will be Freckles and Fawn to be Named Later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Chaos Diaries - A New Wave

And when I say 'new wave', I'm not talking about around new round of 'rona.  I'm talking about the insanity surrounding the 'rona.

So, Wallyworld has mandated masks nationwide with people who'll be standing outside to enforce the rule.  Why?  Because there are like loads of places in the nation already with mask rules, so why not make all the stores in the non-totalitarian places enforce those rules, too?  Umm.  Yah. 

Today, all Dollar General stores follow in Walmart's locksteps.  Because it's what they do, I guess. 

Okay, here's the thing.  Yesterday, I tried the mask thing.  I had heard the USPS was enforcing a mask rule, so before I went into the post office to mail bills and pay for my PO Box, I put on a mask.  I walked from my car which was parked in front of the door, to the outgoing mail slot which is about 8 feet inside the store and by the time I dropped my mail into the slot I was hyperventilating and sliding into a panic attack.  I walked the few steps to the postal jail and slid my money for the PO Box through the tiny slot to the mail chick.  When I tried to talk to her, all that came out was croaking, so I ripped the damn mask off.  She looked at me kind of weird and I apologized saying "I'm sorry but I just can't wear it' and explaining how I'd heard it was mandatory masks in there.  She said she hadn't heard it was mandatory there yet. 

I'd also heard that masks were already mandatory at DG, so I girded my loins and went off to DG, telling myself it was something I was going to have to do if I wanted food, so I just needed to get over it.  I put the mask in my purse and headed for the doors.  No signs of any kind saying I had to put on a mask, so I didn't, but I was prepared to do it if someone said something.  No one inside was wearing masks, so my stress level went way down and I shopped, thinking perhaps my info was wrong.  When I was done, I talked to the cashier who told me the mask rule would go into effect the next day.  The guy behind me overheard us talking and was all like 'what?', so I explained it to him.  And he WENT OFF.  Can't say I disagreed with anything he said, although I might've said it quieter and with fewer expletives. 

The manager, upon hearing him, came out loaded for bear and totally on the defensive. With me.  I talked her down and the dude left, muttering additional worthy comments about America, freedom, and communism.  After she'd calmed down, because I assured her I was on her side and didn't have any intentions of taking my own righteous anger out on her or her staff, she told me that DG's new rules are to be enforced, no questions asked and no room for dissent.  Employees don't comply or enforce the rule, they're fired.  Period.  Then she told me she has the same phobia I have about things over my mouth and nose.  And she has to suck it up or lose her livelihood. 

That's where we're at in America, folks.  Follow the rules to avoid the chance you might catch a disease that, at the worst projections, is only slightly deadlier than the flu, or lose your job, be unable to shop for necessities, potentially face jail time...  The original guidelines were to stay 6 feet away, wash your hands, and stop touching your face.  I haven't heard anything that says 'those didn't work, so we have to wear masks now'.  We just have to.  No logic.  No rational.  Nothing.   

As I've said before, I have no problem with people choosing to wear masks.  If you feel like you're in the risk group, and you feel safer wearing a mask, go for it.  It's the difference between choice and force, folks.  And the underlying goal behind it?  Control. If they can get you to wear a mask by scaring the hell out of you, they can get you to do anything.

I have to go out again later this week.  While I was at DG, I bought a big handkerchief which I hope will be easier to deal with than the mask I had.  The new masks I ordered arrive sometime this week.  We'll see what happens.  If I totally spazz out inside a store because of the mask thing, I'll have Hubs drop a line here while I'm in jail.  (Not seriously concerned about that.  Well, maybe a little.)

Monday, July 20, 2020

Homemade Ice Cream w/o a Churn

The homemade ice cream worked out.  No churn needed.  I thought it was good but very rich.  Owl thought it was good but too sweet.  Hubs doesn't eat much ice cream, so he hasn't tried it.  Anyway, if you want to try it, here's the recipe:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate syrup
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Blend together condensed milk and syrup in a large bowl.  In a separate medium to large bowl, whip cream on high until it forms stiff peaks.  Fold whipped cream into milk mixture.  Pour into sealable container.  Freeze overnight or until ice cream is firm.  Scoop and serve. 

Owl pointed out that I might have whipped the cream a smidge too long, so watch out for that.  She also suggested I try using cocoa powder next time to cut the sweetness and making up the loss of liquid by adding a 1/4 cup of unwhipped whipping cream to the condensed milk.  :shrug:  Your mileage may vary.

Also, apparently, you're supposed to whip cream in a cold bowl, preferably metal.  I don't have any metal mixing bowls.  I'll try chilling my plastic bowl next time.  If there is a next time.  I still prefer store bought ice cream.  But this is a good substitute if you're out of IC, have the ingredients handy, and don't mind whipping cream. (Not by hand.  Good lord, that would be a huge pain.  Use a mixer.)

Next time, I think I'll try just making vanilla and see how that works out.

Oh, and I used a gallon plastic ice cream container.  We wash them out and use them for all sorts of stuff, and it's perfect for this.  It was less than half full, but better that than overfull.  Blue Bunny sells their half-gallons in plastic containers, so those would work, too.

Good luck!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 28

Nearly forgot it was Sunday again.  Everything blurs together lately.

I wrote about a thousand words last week.  I told a friend that I had the words but not the gumption.  Turns out I don't have either.  When I sat down to write, I got the thou out and it felt shitty.  I know, I know, you can fix shitty, but it's hard to keep writing when you know what's coming out is shitty.

No reading, marketing, or editing.  Blerg.

The other day, Hubs and I took apart the pipes under the kitchen sink and cleaned them out.  The sink was backing up, so it was a must-do.  Talk about gross.  And there was one bend that had something I can only describe as a bezoar in it.  When it hit the bathtub, it clunked.  (We put the pipes in a bucket and scrubbed them out in the bathtub for ease of post-cleaning cleaning.)  No clue what the hell that was.  And it's not like we've never cleaned these pipes, so it was our mess and not the previous owners'.

Yesterday, I made ice cream using a recipe Silver James posted on her blog a while back.  As of bedtime, it wasn't quite hard enough to eat yet - more like a firm mousse than ice cream - but I have hopes for today.  (My freezer* has this thing it does where it freezes most things solid, but other things - like those liquid freezer pops - not.)  If it works, I'll drop my tweaked recipe here.  Hers was coffee ice cream, I made chocolate.  

Other than that, I have been thoroughly unmotivated for a couple weeks now.  It's hotter than Blue Billy blazes which makes exercise, fishing, and baking unpleasant.  I'm disheartened by the world which makes me want to crawl into a hole and pull the dirt in over myself.  Stuffs.  As such, I've been spending too much time playing free poker.  At least there I have the illusion of productivity and have almost $800K in chips**.  (Over a million in the play-money slots.  Woohoo.)  Friday I took 20K in chips and built it to over 200K.  Yay.  Would that it were real money. 

Here's hoping the next week goes better.  How did your week go?

* My freezer and fridge are on the same control.  If I turn it up (which is actually down), things in the fridge start to freeze, too.  Poorly engineered.  Gah.  On the upside, all the meats are solid as a rock, so no worries about food poisoning.

** All without buying chips, which you can do at this site.  I took the amounts they gave me and built them up to where I am now.  

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-Up - 7/18/20

Umm, yeah.  It's another week with no reading.  Call it the mid-summer blahs.  I'm resting my eyes... yeah, yeah, that's the ticket. 

No new books.  No DNFs.  No nothing.  And I guess you could say I'm still currently reading that UF I was reading last week, but since I haven't done any reading... 

What about you?  Are you reading anything good these days?  Or are you stuck in the blahs like I am?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Thursday This n That - Chaos Edition

Ir may sound silly, but I've been drinking tonic water as a kind of prophylactic measure.  Not sure if the quinine is helping stave off the 'rona, but hey, it can't hurt.  Plus, it's yummy.  Two-thirds OJ, one-third tonic.  It's like a gin and tonic without the pine.  I wonder if there could be some kind of study to see how tonic drinkers rate in the 'rona numbers.  :shrug:  No worries - I don't think this makes me invincible against the crap.  I'm just hoping it helps tamp the shit down a bit.

Well, they finally did it.  Wallyworld caved to the fearmongers and, starting Monday, everyone everywhere will have to wear face masks to shop there.  And so I caved and ordered face masks.  I'm tempted to write things on the outside of mine, but I don't want to smell permanent marker on top of the whole 'I know I'm not suffocating, but I'm suffocating' thing.  I get panicky when I'm breathing my own air.  And then I start to hyperventilate, which isn't good on any given day and can't be good while wearing a face mask.  Bastards.

Note: After thirty minutes of trying to find face masks that were made in America that didn't cost me a tit and a half, I caved again and bought a 50 pack of China masks that are sold and ship out of Dallas.  Only $19.99 and free shipping.  Amazon, of course.  They're due to arrive around the 23rd.  Until then, I'll just avoid Wallyworld - which isn't that hard since I'm pretty stocked up from the last run.

The Kung Flu is still on the rise again here.  Hubs is keeping track of it all and giving me updates.  As I said before, if I wasn't worried about bringing it home to him, I wouldn't give a rat's ass.  At this point, I'm so over it all.  Bring it on.  Except no.

For the record, I don't have a problem with individuals choosing to wear face masks.  You want to wear one, more power to you.  You have to wear one because you're in a high risk group, you do what you have to do.  The problem I have is people, myself particularly, being bullied into wearing one.  America - the land of the kinda free when there isn't a virus about and home of the no-so-brave anymore.  =o(

By the way, even if you're wearing a mask, stay six feet away from me - even after this is over.  I don't want your cooties.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Another Pretty Pic

Another pretty pic today.
It's a snowy egret at a lake in eastern CO. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

It's Too Early for This Shit

I woke up this morning to find that the screensaver program that I'd used for years with no problems, and which I'd recently re-downloaded,  had taken over my new computer.  Uninstalling at 4:30am is not the way I wanted to start my day and my desktop is still messed up.  Blerg.

Then while doing my morning routine of checking sales and updating my spreadsheets I noticed I screwed up the formulas on my Daily Pages tab so July is all pointing to the wrong cells.  (Notice it's the 14th and I'm only noticing now because lack of sales this month. Gack.)

Both of those should've been a clue that I never should've opened Facebook.  Ugly ugly ugly shit going on out there. 

I need more coffee.  And a Valium.  Okay, no Valium since I'm allergic to it.  Vodka, perhaps?  Except I stopped drinking ages ago and there's no liquor in the house. A ball-peen hammer to the head maybe.  Only I'm not into the pain thing.  A ball-peen hammer to their heads sounds better.  Boink. Boink. Boink.

:crawls off in search of calm music and pretty things:

5:59am:  Okay, so the calm music idea ended up with me trying to rip some more of my classical CDs only to have them completely disappear from my Windows Media Player.  It said they were ripped, but no.  What the hell is up with this morning?

Update:  The desktop screw up has been fixed.  The spreadsheet formulas have, too.  I haven't figured out the music thing yet, but I'm hoping once the computer comes on again in the morning, everything will be hunky dory.  As for the world?  I don't know what could fix it, so I'm trying to keep my head down and muddle through.  Good luck out there, folks.  

Monday, July 13, 2020

Sunday +1 Update - Week 27

Hey all.  Sorry I totally brainfarted about yesterday's Sunday Update post.  Like total brainfartness.  I didn't even realize I'd missed it until it was almost dinner time and then I figured I could hit it this morning instead.

So anyway...

I managed to get about 2500 words added to Cinder Ugly last week over 4 days.  Not exactly burning up the keyboard, but better than nothing.  I'm still trying to find my way from here to there and it's slow going.

The free thing for Project Hermes ended.  I moved 40 copies.  No residual anythings.  :shrug:

I didn't read anything last week.  Partly because I've been trying to keep my brain focused on Cinder Ugly.  The thought is that it doesn't need any fictional distractions right now.  :shrug:

The world has become such an ugly place, Hubs and I have been listening to pretty classical music before we go to bed at night.  It helps distract the brain from all the ugly and it's good to affirm that pretty things do exist, that man is, in fact, a heroic being, and that we can create beauty.  Don't believe me?  Go here and listen to this.  If you don't find that beautiful, I can't help you.

Other stuffs happened, but right now, I can't think of anything else I want to talk about.  Is there anything you'd like an update on?  How'd your week go?

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 7/11/20

Well, this is going to be a short post.  I didn't finish any books last week.

I did snag one new book - an UF that sounded fun.  So, I have three unread ebooks - that UF, another UF, and a mystery.  Still no new hardcopies because while the thrift stores are open again, they're requiring masks and I don't need old books bad enough to wear a mask.  Yet.  I am jones'n for some new old books though.

No DNFs this week either.

I'm currently reading that most recently acquired urban fantasy, but I haven't made much progress because I've been trying to focus on writing. 

What was up in your reading life last week? 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Thursday This n That

We're hitting Wallyworld today.  Should be interesting.  The Owl has all sorts of fashion statement masks she ordered online to choose from.  I will still be maskless unless they make me wear one.  (I still have one in the car.)  The plan today is to go in, get everything that doesn't require refrigeration, put it in the car.  Then go back in and get all the perishable stuff.  It's supposed to be wicked hot again, so the plan is necessary.  Since I already picked up deer food last week, we should have plenty of room in the car.  :fingers crossed:

We're also supposed to get a storm system rolling through, so I have to get my butt in gear and get the shopping done early.  Blerg.  I need more coffee.

Our daylilies are thriving.
I've been coveting this bunch of daylilies for a while now because we thought they were on the neighbor's property.  Then the neighbor got his property surveyed and they're actually ours.  Yay.

The world is such a fucked up place right now.  Look for the beauty where you can find it. 

I might make a cake today.  I need cake.  My ass doesn't need cake, but the rest of me does.  Chocolate oil, I think.  I already bought frosting because I knew I wouldn't feel like making it.  I have cream cheese frosting and chocolate frosting.  We'll see which way I go.  Woohoo.

Not much else going on right now.  Ranty stuffs.  So, I'll leave it here without going into that.  Got anything on your this-n-that list today?

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Picture Day... Because the Alternative Would be Ranting

So, rather than rant, which doesn't do anyone any damn good, here's a picture of my stargazer lilies.
I had to snip them and bring them inside after something... wind, rain, critters... knocked one of them over  The photo doesn't do them justice.  So pretty.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Ramblings on a Braindead Tuesday Morning

I am slightly braindead today.  Shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.  Some mornings are better than others.  This is not one of the better ones.  More coffee!  STAT!

In computer news, I figured out what the hell is up with my image software.  It's a long story I won't bore you with.  Suffice it to say, it should be fixed later this morning.  I also discovered that I need to transfer my Outlook data - even though we're not using Outlook at the office anymore - because I have old emails in there that I still need.

After not having written for quite some time, I'm writing again and discovering that the writing muscles in my hands and arms have atrophied.  I cranked out a thousand words last night and oh, ow.  If not for the hand cramps, etc., I probably could've written at least another thou.  Stupid atrophy.

You know when someone says something and you can't think of an appropriate response right then, but later you think of all the things you could've said only now it's too late?  I'm like that all the time.  I'm still finishing arguments in my head that occurred years ago.

I was out in the world yesterday.  I only encountered one couple with masks on, and they were sufficiently old that I could understand why they felt the need.  They weren't wearing them right, but if it makes them feel better, more power to them.  I still haven't worn a mask and I won't unless I'm backed into a corner.

I'm not sure what's up with the half-shaved head craze, but I don't think it looks good on anyone.  It's like they're prepping for Thunderdome.  Of course, I'm also not thrilled with oddly-colored hair.  Blue?  Seriously?  It's reminds me of that scene in Jumpin' Jack Flash where Terry is hopped up on truth serum and she runs into a punk couple... "Oh, look!  A tropical fish and its mate!"  Then again, I still want to yell 'Fleet's in!' when I see someone with tattoos.  Yeah, I'm an old fuddy-duddy.

Speaking of Whoopie, she's totally ruined her movies for me.  Which sucks because I really loved Jumpin' Jack Flash.  Stupid celebrities and their shitty opinions.  Can't watch Lethal Weapon anymore.  Can't watch Silence of the Lambs anymore.  Can't watch a lot of things anymore.  I can't divorce the actor from the character long enough to just enjoy the movies.  Wish I could... can't.  Bleh.  And don't get me started on The Simpsons

And that's more than enough out of me this morning.  Hopefully I'll think of something less random to talk about tomorrow.

Monday, July 6, 2020

A Nearly New Computer

A short while back, I ordered a nearly new computer.  (Nearly new, as in refurbished.)  First off, I'd like to thank Newegg for another good shopping experience.  And I'd like to thank the seller on Newegg's marketplace for shooting this sucker out so fast and getting it here nearly a week ahead of the earliest delivery date they gave me.

This is my third Lenovo desktop.  I keep buying them because they're so damn good.  The first one was new, the other two were refurbished.  This one is so quiet, it's creepy.  Is it on?  Is it off?  It was particularly hard to tell before I got the monitor settings to stop sending it into sleep mode every 15 minutes.  I'd walk into the office and see the monitor off and think 'what the hell shut my computer off?' 

Anyway, I'm on the new 'puter now.  I spent most of the weekend transferring files and setting things just the way I like them.  I still have one thing to fix - my image software - and some little niggling things - like having all my go-to files show up in the 'recently opened files' section of my softwares.  And adding my words to the freakin' dictionaries again.  Writerly is too a word, dammit. 

I think I have the answer to my image software issue.  We'll see later today.  If I can't fix it, I'm going to have to teach myself GIMP or something.  Blerg. 

I'm still running Windows 7.  Yes, I know it's old.  But it's stable and I know all its ins and outs.  Also, I don't want to have to pay for a new version of MS Office to go with Windows 10.  And I sure as hell don't want to learn new software.  I hate that shit and I ain't got time for it.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  And Windows 7 was never broke.  Hell, I was using Windows 98 until 7 came out.  I still miss DOS for petesakes.  (Okay, only on occasion.  Windows is better than DOS, but it has limitations on what it will let me do sometimes.)

Anyway, the transition has been pretty seamless.  I was up on this computer within like 48 hrs of its arrival.  And I wrote new words last night like this wasn't a totally new and unusual computer.  (Another reason to get one exactly like my last one.)  Yay.

So, if you're like me and need a new computer but don't have the fundage for a new computer, I'd recommend a refurbished one.  This sucker cost me $160 out the door - free shipping and all.  I could've gone a little cheaper with less RAM, and gotten it for around $130.  Seriously.  Don't break the bank if you don't have to. 

And now it's time for me to start my day.  The same way I started my day with the old computer.  Yay.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 26

We've reached the halfway point of the year.  Here's hoping the second half is better than the first.  I don't expect it to be, but I have hope. 

I didn't do any actual writing this week, but that's okay.  I did a lot of sitting down with my notebook and trying to figure out the course of the story for Cinder Ugly.  I had a brain quasar that will come much later in the story and a smaller flash that will come before it, but getting from where I am now to the flash to the quasar is still up in the air. 

Since I had a wild hair, I put Project Hermes for free the 3rd through the 7th, so I did some marketing for that on Friday.   Then yesterday hit and I got derailed.  The internet was obscenely slow making it really hard to upload graphics - and I have such a lovely graphic someone awesome made for me, too.
I'll work on using it for marketing today. 

I did get some reading done.  Which is always good.

The big thing for the week was the arrival of my refurb computer on Friday afternoon.  It wasn't even supposed to be here until after the 9th.  UPS pulled into the driveway and I was all like 'what the hell are they here for? must be something Owl ordered', but it was my 'puter.  So I spent most of Friday night and yesterday working on getting it set up.  Most of the time was spent on transferring files - pictures to be specific.  42.6 gig of picture files took 4 hours to put onto a thumb drive and then another hour to move from the thumb to the new harddrive.  Ugh.  I'm still on the old girl, but I'm 90% of the way on the newbie.  I just have to get my bookmarks over to Firefox so my internet isn't screwy and I still have to set up my screensaver and also get my image program loaded.  There are probably other little things that need doing, but nothing on the radar yet.

It's been too hot for baking or for fishing, so nothing's up there. 

Let's not talk about exercise or activity, k?  I did get a walk in on Friday, but it was a shorter walk because I've been such a toad I couldn't do the whole walk.  Blerg.

Okay, I'd better get my buns in gear this morning.  Things to do and all that.  What were you up to last week?

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 7/4/20

Happy Independence Day!  And welcome to another reading wrap-up.  Just a quick aside... Ain't it great to live in a country where you can read whatever you want without fear of recrimination?**

I did pick up three new ebooks - urban fantasy, cozy mystery, and mystery.  

Books Read:

55) Pixie Me Up by Willow Mason (7/2/20) - Paranormal Cozy Mystery* - 5 stars.  New to me and could be more appreciated, but not quite underappreciated.  Free off the Book Adrenaline newsletter.
Review: " So cute and fun!"

54) Hide by Lisa Gardner (6/30/20) - Suspense - 5 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  I picked this up last year from one of the thrift stores for 17c.  It's on my keeper shelf now.
Review: "That was awesome. If you like suspense, and you haven't read this one yet, read it. I'm sorry I had never read it before now. So good."

53) Live Fae or Die Trying by Jenna Wolfhart (6/27/20) - UF* - 5 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  Free off the Book Barbarian newsletter.
Review: "Ooo, I really enjoyed this one. Different premise with interesting characters. A bit of romantic stuff and loads of snark, plus suspense and thrills and twists. I wasn't sure who the real villain was until the reveal at the end. Just what I like."


7/3/20 - Historical Mystery.  Free.  The whole beginning of the book felt like the author didn't want to waste one little bit of the research they'd done and they were going to shove every last morsel of it into the book.  It definitely needed more story and less tiny detail.  Meh.

6/27/20 - Suspense.  Free.  Meh.  I read through the prologue and part of the first chapter, but something was off about it and I didn't want to read anymore.

Currently reading...  I haven't started anything since I DNF'd that mystery.  Not sure where I'm going from here.

**Unless, of course, you get caught reading the 'wrong' book.  Then there'll be hell to pay.  =o(

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Thursday This n That

There's something hinky with my toilet.  It's making weird sounds like it's pissed and is digesting its enemies.  Either that or it's become a portal to another dimension where the inhabitants are pissed and digesting their enemies.  I suspect it's just mineral deposits and I need to clean the tank again. 

I saw baby turkeys yesterday!  For the first time in years.  Four little poults and their mama.  Only four probably means she lost the rest because I think they usually hatch out about eight.  But poults!  Yay!

Since the world has become such an unpalatable place, I'm spending too much time playing online play-money slots.  Click, spin, click, spin, click, spin.  With the one I'm playing there are so many different ways to win, I'm often not sure how I won.  Or how I could possibly not win.  :shrug:  Totally random.  Totally out of my control.  Totally mindless entertainment.

The other day, Owl wanted to try a new recipe for chocolate cake with root beer in it.  When it came out of the oven, I was a little concerned it was so low in the bundt pan.  She had the first piece and commented it wasn't quite right.  Hubs and I had our pieces and yeah, something about it was weird.  Really dense and the texture was strange.  It tasted good, but yeah.  So, I sat down with Owl to brainstorm what might've gone wrong.  After a time, she realized she'd forgotten the baking soda.  No leavening agent made it basically a chocolate rubber brick.  Yesterday, I figured out if you cut a thinner slice and then nuke it and eat it hot, it takes away the weird texture, so the cake will get eaten.  It takes a lot to get me to throw away food.  Especially chocolate flavored food.

I'm having a tough time finding new ebooks to read right now.  Not much is really exciting me enough to click through.  I think I might have to bite the bullet and pay for some books in series I've enjoyed in the past.  I'm also down to one book in my pile of random paperbacks.  Oh, I still have loads of paperbacks, but the random pile is too damn low.  I need to get into a thrift store soon.

Fish sticks for dinner tonight.  I haven't had those in ages, so when I saw them at the DG, I snapped them up.  Am I the only one who says it fishticks?  I also say sammich instead of sandwich.  And breffishnook instead of breakfast nook.  :shrug:

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

Monday, June 29, 2020

Another Picture Post

Back in 2003, I lived in Utah.  Here's a pic from one of my many exploration ventures out into the Wasatch Mountains.
If I remember right, this stand of birch was on the east side of the mountains, south of Park City.  But it's been 17 years and the memory ain't what it used to be.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 25

Creeping up on halfway through the year.  And what a year it's been.  Ugh.

I did manage to get some writing done this past week.  Not a lot, but better than nothing. I also did a little editing when I opened Cinder Ugly and this new thing - tentatively called Suicide by Murder (lame, I know) - to see if I could write new words.  No marketing.  I still can't seem to muster the will.

I read a couple good things last week and only had one DNF.

In baking news, I made a pineapple upside-down cake.  So yummy.  And nothing else because it's too damn hot to bake unless I get right at it first thing in the morning.  And I don't know about you, but baking isn't high on my list of stuff to do first thing.

Last week was not an active week.  It was hot and I was lazy.  There were several mornings that would've been nice for a walk, but meh.  

Monday, I went fishing.  The lake level is still pretty high and I was fishing the parking lot of my favorite spot while standing in what is usually the east driveway.  I caught 5 nice bluegills by casting to where I would usually walk back to stand on ledges overlooking the river.  The ledges are underwater now, like everything else.

We've now seen three definitely individual fawns now.  A single and a set of twins. 

In 'I hate to have to do this' news, I ordered a new computer.  Well, a new refurbished computer.  It's exactly like the one I'm currently using (Windows 7, yay) except it has more RAM.  Which is not the reason I ordered a new computer, but I chose to pay about $20 more to get more RAM this time.  The reason I need a new computer - and it's a need - is because this one is starting to make noise when it starts up and when it gets overloaded, it whines.  I just have to limp this one along until the new one arrives sometime between 7/9 and 7/13.  Please don't let it be delayed.  By the way, a refurbished computer costs less than $200 at Newegg and they work just as well as a new computer.  So far.  :finger crossed:  I bought this refurb in April of 2016, so four years ain't bad considering I smoke next to the damn thing.  Lest you think I am nuts for going with Windows 7 still, I have my reasons.

There was the well problem this week.  That's taken care of.  The construction company was supposed to come out the next day and fix the line to the new house.  Or so we were told.  They never showed.  Big surprise.  Oh well, it's fixed on our end.  Not our freakshow, not our dog-faced boys.

Last night set a new benchmark in the 'I didn't sleep well' category.  Thus, I am draggin' ass today. 

I'm sure other stuff happened last week, but like I said, I'm draggin'.  Tell me about your week.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 6/27/20

Hey All.  I'm still rolling right along on the reading goals.  In fact, I'm way ahead of my goal right now with 52 books read and 18 to go for the year.  I'll probably readjust my goal next month, depending on how the reading goes.

I didn't pick up any more new books this week.  With only 2 unread ebooks left, I'll probably do that sometime this weekend. 

Books Read:

52) The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (6/25/20) - Literature - 4 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  It's a classic, duh.  I've had this book for probably 20 years.  Funny that I hadn't read it until now.
No review.

51) Steeped in Suspicion by Eryn Scott (6/20/20) - Cozy Supernatural Mystery*# - 5 stars.  New to me and while it has plenty of ratings, it has less than 50 reviews.  Free off the Book Doggy newsletter.
Review: "A nice little mystery with a supernatural twist and a thrilling climax. Definitely a fun read."


6/21/20 - Fantasy? - Free.  This was billed as a YA fantasy, but for the first like 10% the MC was an adult (although that's not clear until many pages in when he mentions his wife).  Then it switches to what amounts to backstory.  And there really wasn't anything fantasy-like to it.  More like an alternate history set after Roman times.  I got bored with it and wandered away.

Currently reading...  I'm almost through an urban fantasy.  It's pretty exciting with some romance and a good mystery going on in there.  I should finish it today.

Your turn.  What was on your reading to-done list this past week?

Friday, June 26, 2020

A Whole Afternoon of Fun

So, yesterday, I was in the bathroom, doing my thing, when I heard Hubs in the kitchen issuing expletives.  I called out 'what's wrong?' but he either didn't hear me or was focused on the problem to the point where he didn't answer me.  I stepped out of the bathroom into a pile of fun.

Note sarcasm.

Hubs had turned on the water in the kitchen sink and it only came out of the tap at about 1/3 pressure.  Shortly, we discovered it was the same all over the house.  Crap. 

He goes under the house to make sure we don't have a blow out somewhere.  Nope.  He checks the pit with our water tap.  Nope.  He checks with the guys building the house next door to see if they're running an obscene amount of water.  Nope.

He goes down to the well house to see what he can see, which is not much, other than the turning it off and on again doesn't help.  Visually, everything appears to be fine.

Time to call the well guys.  He is informed they are booked solid and they can't give him a timeframe as to when they'll be out but we're 'on the list'.  Peachy.

Since Hubs is in charge of the well now, we start getting calls from the other people on the well.  One gal stops by.  We're getting flashbacks of the time he was a city manager.  Nothing we can do until we hear back from the well people. 

About 90 minutes later, the phone rings and the caller ID shows a name I don't recognize, but hell, I need to answer it in case it's someone about the well.  Sure enough, it's the well dude and he's sitting across the street at the well house that isn't ours.  Hubs directs him to our well house and then off Hubs goes.

Twenty minutes later, Hubs comes back.  It's not the well.  Somehow, somewhere along the line, there's a leak.  Well Dude has narrowed it down to the line going out to the west of the well house (our side), but that's as much help as he can provide.  He's a well dude, not a line dude.  It's up to us to find the leak.  Yummy.

With a glance at the stove clock - 4:23pm - and a shrug because I can't preheat the oven for dinner when I don't know how long we'll be, I get into 'out among people' attire and head off with Hubs - me driving slowly and him walking the line from here to the well house to see if we can see anything.  Nope.  We go into the well house - me armed with a fly swatter because the wasps are en masse.  He fiddles with the valve going to our side to retard the flow so there's some water but it's not overloading the pump.  We both hop into the car and head back, stopping along the way to talk to the two other homeowners who are effected.

Oh, I totally forgot.  Hubs washed the car the other day and for some reason, the bargain car washing soap had totally squicked out my windshield, making it really hard to see and windshield washer fluid didn't help.  So while we're home and he's checking other things, I grab some stuff called 'Invisible Glass' and clean my car windows.  I just get done with that when I hear him say 'Found it'.  He's over at the well tap near the construction site, so I walk over there.  Sure enough, there's a puddle in the tall grass. 

Between him, the two guys working on the new house, and the other neighbor, they get that tap turned off (it's in a pit and you need a special tool to get to it) and figure out what the problem is.

Weeks ago, when the company installed the line from the tap to the new house, they must not have let the adhesive set sufficiently, so when the guys turned on the water at the new house, air in the line jiggled the line enough to pop it apart and thus caused the leak.  We watched that company install that line and Hubs noted at the time that it didn't seem like they'd let it set long enough before they filled the hole.  Not our circus, not our monkeys - or so we thought. 

Anyway, we have water.  And it's flowing at the right pressure.  And everything.  Dishes are being washed as I type.  Shortly, Hubs will do our laundry and then Owl will do hers. 

By the way, I finally ate a bowl of cereal for dinner at about 7pm, after a whole afternoon of fun and sweating in the 90+F heat and angst and not flushing the damn toilets.  All because some questionable company couldn't wait for the glue to set.  Fucktards. 

Thank goodness we'd showered before it all went to hell.  Of course, after all that, we both needed showers again.  Derp.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Thursday This n That

We now have three fawns.  The single I took a picture of and a set of twins.  Yay.

Yesterday, I made a pineapple upside-down cake.  We're out of ice cream again and that's one cake you can eat without it. 

Speaking of ice cream, what the heck?  Owl and I are blowing through that stuff like it was nothing.  Unfortunately, unless I want to expose myself... hush, not like that... I'm pretty much home bound.  So I'm wrapping trips together for maximum efficiency.  Since we don't need anything else right now, the ice cream will have to wait.

On a happier note, the other day I went fishing and caught 5 fat bluegills.  We had them for dinner on Tuesday and I'm planning on using the leftovers to have a fish sandwich for lunch today.  Yum.

There was a rabbit in the yard last night.  Yay.  And there's been a raccoon regularly visiting the deer corn at dusk or dawn.  It's not a fat one, but it's not thin either.  Just a nice sized, healthy looking coon.

Well, folks, it's bedtime here and I've run out of things to say, but I want to get this scheduled so early risers can read it with their morning coffee.  Have a great day and if you feel like it, leave some of your this and that stuffs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Chilling Out

Sometimes you just have to lay in the grass in the shade and chill.

Monday, June 22, 2020

More's the Pity

It's glaringly obvious to me, but I'll say it anyway...

George Orwell's books were not meant to be how-to guides.  They were how-NOT-to guides.  This passage was not meant to teach people what to do...

"Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

But they're doing it.  Wiping out history with the toppling of each statue and the banning of each book.   The media is rewriting history as it happens.  Sometimes, they're writing it ahead of time to make it happen the way they want to.  And all of this is marching toward one goal: control for 'the party'.
And for those who weren't paying attention, the pigs in Animal Farm were THE BAD GUYS.  But I suspect the little, goose-stepping assholes will be rewriting or banning or burning that book soon.

Yep, the world has gone fucking nuts.  If you can't see this or you're okay with this, then I can't help you.  More's the pity for us all.

Welcome to mid-2020.  I hope you buckled up early, because the ride doesn't stop and you won't be allowed to get off any time soon.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 24

Hello.  We're 24 weeks into 2020.  I say we stop here and have a do over.  Reboot the year and maybe it won't be crashed went it loads up again.

I wrote some words.  And then self-doubt got me.  Nothing else writerly got done.

I read some good books and DNF'd some not-so-good ones.

I finally got my computer backup into the safety-deposit drawer, so that's checked off my to-do list.

Yesterday morning, we saw the year's first fawn...
The light was low and it wasn't standing still for the photo, so yeah, it's blurry, but hey, I got a pic.

I managed 5 days out of 7 for activity - cleaning, walking, yard stuff.  Unfortunately, the activity stuff is not showing on the scale, so we won't talk about that right now.  Suffice it to say, I have gained back all the weight I lost in March.  I expected I would, but I'd hoped I wouldn't.  :shrug:

Speaking of yard stuff, I started doing block work under the deck.  Unfortunately, there's been a recent blow-up of 'rona cases in the area, so skipping down to the building supply store for more blocks is 'unnecessary' and therefore, on hold.  At least until I can't stand the self-imposed incarceration anymore and get all 'let me outta here before I snap'.  Then it will be necessary for the safety of all mankind.

The Owl informed me that she needs some stuff the next time I go to the store.  I'm all like 'what do you need' and thanks to my extreme hoarding and inability to throw stuff away, I actually had what she needed tucked away already.  Score one for me.

If you've been stopping by, you'll see there've been a lot of pictures going up here lately.  It's either that or rant.  So, pics it is.  And I have LOTS of pics I can share. 

So, tell me, how was your last week?  Anything good to share? 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 6/20/20

Is it Saturday again already??  Sheesh.

No new books of any kind this week.  I still have four unread and one I'm currently reading out of the ebooks I had already downloaded.  And, of course, I have scads of hardcopies to read.

Books Read:

50) Modern Sorcery by Gary Jonas (6/17/20) - UF* - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated, per se.  Free off the Freebooksy newsletter.
Review: "Awesome book. Great characters. Interesting premise. Thrilling storyline. Terrific end. What more could anyone want? I loved it."
Note: Available in Audio from Amazon.

49) Moonstruck: Betrayal by Silver James (6/14/20) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense* - 5 stars.  Not new to me, but a new release, so it needs way more appreciation.  Paid full price because it's Silver James.  Duh.
Review: "So much awesome! I read the original books years ago and loved them so much, but this compilation with its extra material is like damn and whoa. It made the whole thing richer and fuller and so full of feels that I inhaled it. And when that... umm, bit... person... got what was coming to her, I cheered. So satisfying. Yay!"


6/16/20 - Free.  UF.  The first sentence was missing a word or needed to be reworded to make sense or something.  I mean, the first sentence, folks.  It's the one a writer spends the most time angsting over and getting just right, right?  I didn't hold out hope for the rest of the book, so I swiped to the end and closed it out. 

6/16/20 - Free.  Cozy Mystery.  Ugh, I really wanted to like this one and I kept reading longer than I should've, but bleh.

6/15/20 - Free.  Paranormal Mystery.  It started out well enough, but then I decided I really didn't like the MC.  Full stop.  Move on.

Currently reading...  A mystery with a paranormal twist.  It's pretty good so far, so expect to hear about it next week.

What did you read last week?

Friday, June 19, 2020

Watching Where You Step

Yesterday, as I was moving the three landscape blocks I already had to the project location, I happened to set one down to get a better grip on it.  (Those things aren't light.)  And as I bent down to pick it back up again, I noticed a small, gray, ropey looking thing in the grass.

Snake, of course.  Probably about as big around as a pencil.

I knew from the lack of pattern on it that it wasn't anything venomous, but I still searched for the head.  And there it was a few inches from the spot I first noticed.  A pretty little ring-necked snake with a bright, red-orange ring.

Okay, so maybe the ring-necked snakes are slightly venomous, but not harmful to humans and totally non-agressive.  Anyway, I picked it up - knowing this because I'd already encountered and researched the species.  It just looked at me like 'oh, hello' and then did the whole 'see my belly?' thing in my hand to try and dissuade me from eating it.

And here was me:  "Oh, you so kewt.  Wook at your scary belly.  Eek."

I almost brought him up to the front door to show Hubs, but I didn't want to stress the little bugger out.  I mean, he was pretty chill in my hand, but no clue what traveling with him would've done to his overall outlook.  Instead, I put him in the iris bed so I wouldn't risk trodding upon him as I trudged up and down the hill.   Have a nice life, little dude.

Then I went back to work under the deck.  A short while later, I was moving some crappy broken cement block pieces when something jumped at me.  And I jumped with a little actual eek.  It was a toad.  Just your standard American Toad who was trying to get away from my big, lumbering feet.  They blend in so well, I didn't even see him before he moved, and I am so careful about watching because it would wreck me to step on something cute and kill it.  I tried to catch him and move him, but since he was actually hopping away from where I was working, I gave up the chase and let him be.  Hop and be free, my friend.

So, yeah, around here, it pays to watch where you step.  Aside from not wanting to hurt the small critters we share our yard with, we have plenty of venous snakes around here.  Not sure if those can bite through a tennis shoe, but I'm not interested in testing that out either. 

Interesting and wondrous things abound all around us, if only we watch where we step.  ;o)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Thursday This n That

I totally brainfarted out on the whole 'today is Thursday' thing until a few minutes ago.  Good thing, because my timesheet is due on Thursday morning and the office just opened.

And then I got distracted for an hour, so this is even later.  Derp.

There are so many rant worthy things going on right now, I could rant all day and not touch them all.  To the people jumping on the 'get rid of the police' bandwagon, be careful what you wish for.  Criminals don't ask what your opinions are before they commit crimes against you and they aren't going to thank you for making their criminality easier.  In fact, I suspect they're laughing at you right now.  Suckers.


The next part of the 'under the deck' project requires blocks of some kind.  The kind Hubs wants weigh 70 lbs each but would only require 10 of them.  The kind I'm leaning toward is lighter and would require like 30.  His blocks would match the ones we already have in place and would do the job better.  My blocks wouldn't throw either of our backs out and since it's under the deck, they don't have to match the ones in the front.  His would cost a total of like $50.  Mine would cost a total of like $100.  Until we settle which block wins, the project is on hold.*

Please be careful driving right now.  Many animals are having babies or have babies dependent on them, so if you hit one and it's a mom, you've sentenced her babies to a horrible death by starvation.  Slow down.  Pay attention.  Keeping that in mind, though, don't do anything stupid like swerving to miss a critter and getting yourself killed.

I really need to go fishing.  Unfortunately, it's too hot and all the fishies will be too deep for me to reach.  =o\

Maybe I'll just go for a walk.  Right now, I'm waiting for the butter to soften so I can make oatmeal cookies, and it's kind of cool, so it would be a good time to get outside.

You, too.  Go outside or something when you can.  K?

What's on your this n that list today?

* 10:10am.  I was mistaken when I wrote this earlier.  I got to thinking about it and about three smaller blocks I was using for something else and then I went out and started messing with it.  I need about a dozen more smaller blocks to achieve the look and utility I was going for.  Not today, but soon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Feeling Ranty Again... Photo Time!

This Cooper's Hawk seems to be my spirit animal today.  Good thing I don't have a stick like his with which to poke people.  Or to beat them soundly about the head and neck.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Another Horrible News Day, Another Picture

It's time for another picture...
Taken in Colorado back in 2012.

Monday, June 15, 2020

An Update of Sorts

Yesterday's Sunday Update was shunted aside in favor of something more important.  Not that there was much to cover from the previous week.  Nothing writerly got done.  I read some stuff.  I baked some stuff.  I did some active stuff.  Mostly, I sat on my ass, growing increasingly angry about things outside my control.

I'm thankful every day that we chose to move out to the middle of nowhere.  Less chance of getting the 'Rona here.  Less chance of getting in the middle of these stupid riots.  Less chance of getting looted, etc. 

I'd be a whole lot better off if I avoided the news, but I don't.  I keep as up to date as my sanity allows because I don't want something major to go down and be caught off guard.   I mostly read the news in the mornings.  Then I scan through headlines off and on throughout the day.  I can only take about 7 minutes at a time.  Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. 

Right now, almost all my stress relief valves are squonky.  Walking?  Too damn hot.  Baking?  Too damn hot.  Cleaning?  Too damn hot.  Fishing?  It's too damn hot and the water's too high. Thrift shopping?  Well, the 'Rona has that all fucked up.  Writing?  My brain's spending too much time swirling in the chaos to focus on putting stories together.  About the only things I have left are reading and TV.  And TV ain't lookin' too good these days either.  So, I'm reading.

In better news, I'm starting to see deer with slimmer waistlines and full udders, which means BABIES!  They're out there somewhere.  Hopefully, it won't be too long before we see them.

In other nice news, my original hydrangea is covered with big, beautiful, clusters of white flowers that will turn pink and then darken to rose over the course of the summer.  And my second hydrangea is doing well, considering what it's been through.  Maybe that one will bloom next year.

And that's it for today.  But it's early yet.  Fingers crossed today brings something better for us all.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

I Support the Police

I support the police.  It's a scary thing to say that in today's climate of rampant hate and unbridled ignorance.  Just hitting publish on this post could bring a shitstorm down upon my head.  Not from my friends, but from the scads of internet trolls with nothing better to do.  (Case in point, the young woman who is getting death threats because she makes teddy bears for the families of fallen officers.  Death threats because of teddy bears.  If that ain't nuts, I don't know what is.)  Lucky for us all, I moderate the comments so no one but me has to see it, if it occurs.

Anyway... here goes nuthin'.

I support the police.

I know the majority of law enforcement is made up of good people doing a job most of us would not be willing to do.  Day in and day out, they risk their lives to make our world a safer place.  And every day, they take a tremendous amount of shit for it.  Still, they do the job to the best of their abilities.

Condemning the entire police population because a few bad ones wear the same uniform is like condemning all blacks because some criminals have the same skin color.  Or condemning all Jews.  Or condemning all gays.  All are painted with the same brush because of a few?  Not in my world.   

True, I haven't had a lot of contact with the police.  There's a reason for that.  I'm a law-abiding citizen.  I don't touch things that don't belong to me.  I don't trespass.  I don't get drunk or violent or loud.  I occasionally drive faster then the speed limit, and if I should get pulled over for it, I will take my medicine and pay the ticket without bitching because I know I'm breaking the law.  And we are, after all, a nation of laws.

In the times I have had interactions with law enforcement, both outside and inside of things I have done wrong, they've all been fairly positive.  My grandfather was the first Chief of Police in a Detroit suburb, so I've had a positive slant toward police my whole life.  I never met my grandfather, but from all accounts, he was a good man.  I spent a summer working with the City of Marquette police department, with their animal control division but still.  Those officers were a good group of people.  The officer who pulled me over for speeding when I was thinking too hard about my niece's car accident and whether she would survive long enough for me to see her, was super nice, even if she did give me a ticket.  The officers who handled the accident I caused and then had to transport me to where my wrecked car had been towed were super nice, even if I probably deserved a harsher interaction for being that damned stupid.

When Owl was young, every Sunday we would get dressed and go to breakfast at a Big Boy in Flint, MI.  The local police officers also ate breakfast there.  They would come and go as we were eating and would sometimes stop to chat with me and my daughter.  A super positive experience I hope she remembers to this day.

I had one less-than-positive experience with a deputy back in the summer of 1988.  Not super bad, just a Barney Fife type with short man syndrome who decided he was going to try and roust my large boyfriend.  Barney's partner brought him in line and my boyfriend walked away with a warning.  Well, we both got warnings, since we were doing private things while parked on the side of a public road.  =oO

Are there bad officers out there?  Sure.  Take any group of people and you'll have a small percentage of shitty individuals in there.  If the officers in Minneapolis did what they are accused of, they should pay for their actions.  And before you point to the video evidence and accuse me of being racist for even suggesting the possibility they might be innocent, the internet isn't a court of law - even if some are using it like one.  Every accused gets their day in an actual court, before a jury of their peers, who will decide their fate.  Not me.  Not you.  Not the media.  Twelve individuals tasked with doing their damnedest to get to the truth.  If the truth is that those men did what they are accused of, then they should face the penalties for their crimes to whatever extent the law allows.

I support the police as a whole.  I support humanity as a whole.  And humanity as a whole needs laws.  Oh, if we lived in a perfect world, people would do what was right without the law, but we don't live in a perfect world.  We live in this world - where there are murders and rapes and thefts and assaults and...  Yep, we need laws.  Which means we need people to enforce those laws.  We need the police.

So, yeah, I support the police.  As unpopular as it might be right now to make that sentiment public, I like to think I'm in the majority, despite what the news, entertainment, and academia would have you believe.  I don't want to think about living in a world where I am in the minority.  =o\