Monday, March 31, 2014

Sunday Update (late) - Week 13

Leave it to the thirteenth week to mess me up.  Well, at least I did 12 weeks in a row without missing a Sunday.  I'll work on getting back on track this week - with everything.

Speaking of which, my writing is still derailed.  I did start re-reading my first Djinn book to get back into the flavor of the world.  So far, so good.  But would you believe that as many times as I've been over this damn book, I'm finding typos?!  Arrgghh.  They probably aren't any more numerous than your standard average published book, but it's still damn frustrating.

In reading news, I'm up to 32 books for the year.  I think that leaves me about 8 books ahead which means I could go an entire month without adding books and still be on track for my goal.  Which may be what happens so I can get my writing on.  Then again, I just downloaded the first book in Lynn Viehl's steampunk series - Disenchanted & Co., so I may not be able to go a whole month without reading someone else's books.

Yesterday, I finally watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - both parts, straight through.  Yes, yes, I am a bad Potter fan.  But hey, I got the Hubs to watch with me, so that's something.  I learned I really need to go back and read the book again.  I don't remember most of the shit that went down in the movie happening in the book.  Was it really that far off or was my memory failing me?  :shrug:  Made it really hard to explain to my husband what was going on.  (He's never read the books or watched the movies.  Fantasy ain't his bag.)

I spent some time this weekend playing with my image program 'painting' the house again.  I even tried the Valspar virtual painting thingie.  Meh.  My own way works better.  it's just that with the Valspar program, I know exactly which paint to ask for.  I wonder if the paint dudes will freak if I go in with HTML numbers and say 'Give me R211 G125 B34' (a shade of brown we may or may not use).  :shrug:  For his part, Hubs spent yesterday laying out the new plumbing schematics.  It's going to be a busy summer here, that's for sure.

How were things for you last week?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Maple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I'm home and back to baking again.  Saturday I made chocolate chip cookies to share with our neighbor who watched our house while we were away.  Those went fast.  Yesterday I pulled an old standby from a book I bought twenty years ago - Great Cookies You Can Bake: 365 Fabulous Cookie Recipes for Every Day of the Year* - and tweaked it.  (Because I can rarely leave a recipe alone.)  Here's what I came up with:

Maple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/2 cup margarine
1 egg
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Cover baking sheets with aluminum foil to facilitate clean-up**.  (Original recipe said to grease the sheets, but I hate cleaning up greased sheets.)  In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine until smooth.  Beat in egg.  Beat in maple syrup.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Mix half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.  Stir in oats.  Gently stir in remaining flour.  Stir in raisins.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges of the cookies turn a nice golden brown.  Cool a few minutes on the sheets before removing to your cooling area of choice.  (I use paper towels***.)

* The book the link goes to is a different version but it's basically the same book.

** I always cover my cookie sheets with foil.  I haven't had to wash a cookie sheet after baking cookies in years - and then only when the foil tears. 

*** These recipes always seem to say 'transfer to wire racks' for cooling.  I'm sorry, but I can't afford wire racks, don't have the space to store them, and really don't see the point.  We've cooled our cookies on either paper towels or clean dish towels since I was a kid and have never had a problem. 

Note:  These are not super sweet cookies, so they make a nice change.  If you're looking for sweet, throw some butterscotch chips in these suckers.  That might help.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vacation Pics

I promised y'all vacation pics...

That's inside the Springfield Airport.
There's the view from the balcony outside our room in the condo the family rented for our stay.
Above is the sun setting over the gulf as seen from the balcony.
Here's ^ a dude parasailing as seen from the balcony.
This is the view we had walking down the beach.
There I am at the public docks on Clearwater Lake.
Above is an osprey and her chick shot from the parking lot of Publix in Dunedin (pronounced Done-Eden).
And that, my friends, says it all.  We're home now and all that's left is a couch on the beach.  ;o)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 12

Well, I didn't tell many people this but I went on vacation last Saturday and was gone through late Friday afternoon.  (I'd rather the interwebs not know when my house is empty.  You know how it goes.)  As such, I didn't write a damn word, send a freakin' query, or read anything - even though I bought like 5 books for my Kindle. I carted the thing from here to FL and back without even turning it on.

Know what?

It was friggin' awesome being away from it all.  Hubs and I hung out with his family, walked on the beach, watched the gulls, ate good food and relaxed (for the most part... we were with family after all LOL).  I even took a day and went to meet JB Lynn - which was also frickin' awesome.

Pics, however, are still loaded onto Hubs' laptop and I haven't transferred them yet.  Wanna know why?

Because I seem to have left my gumption somewhere over eastern Missouri... maybe Alabama...  :shrug:  All I know is it hasn't made it back home yet.  Perhaps my gumption is partying hard in Atlanta.  I pull it back home soon.

I mean, I did read 2 books last night.  That's a start. Right?

Anyway, we're home now.  I'll write a post about it all later.  (Because I can't even find the gumption for that yet.)

Later days, dudes.

How was your week?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 11

I told ya last week that this week wasn't looking too good.  So, I'm postponing this week's update to next Sunday when I will surely have something interesting to say.

See ya then!

Friday, March 14, 2014


Lately it seems like there are a shitload of people who are offendsensitive - which, to me, means so sensitive to some particular thing that they get offended to the point of mania.  (I didn't coin the term, but I heard it so long ago I can no longer attribute it to the person who said it or wrote it.)

So, let's take a moment and think about all the things that you could say to potentially piss someone off...

Ya know, I started to make a list, but I'd need to reproduce the damn dictionary.

Tell ya what.  Instead, let's everyone figure out what offends us personally and then examine why it offends us.  Personally, I'm damn hard to offend.  Stupidity offends me.  Intentional mean spiritedness offends me.  Graphic sex with overtones of unkindness offends me. 

There are other things, but they all have the same key item in common.  ME.  They offend ME.  Sometimes the things I find offensive make ME uncomfortable.  Sometimes they piss ME off.  Sometimes they make ME sad that the human race has fallen to such a low point. 

Know what all that means?  It means I'm the one whole controls what offends me and I how I respond to it.  These days I respond to it by shutting it off, hiding it on Facebook, blocking the offensive person, etc.  I respond to it by NOT responding to it.  I make it go away from my life - and if necessary, I do so by making the person who put it in front of me go away from my life, too.

I don't rail and shout.  I don't report people to Facebook (not unless I saw something really really awful like child pornography which isn't just offensive, it's wrong across the board).  I don't try to get people kicked off Blogger, or Twitter, or G+.  I don't write nasty letters to editors, or boards, or committees, or companies.  I utilize my power for good by no longer patronizing the person or the business or the organization that offended me.

I sure as hell don't let something some numbnuts I never met effect my outlook on life, my self-esteem, or my well-being.  Jesus, people, if I did that, I'd be a fucking basketcase.

So, don't be a basketcase.  Switch off the offendsensitivity.  It's not doing anyone any good. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 10

I finally remembered to update, so not a perfect record, but I have posted every Sunday for 10 weeks.  Go me!

However, this is the second weekend in a row that I don't have much to update y'all on.  And I can already see next week ain't looking good neither.

Let's see.  I rearranged my office...

My desk used to be facing the curtains - which made the curtains really hard to open.  Now I feel like a receptionist.  ;o)

I read three books.  I'm up to 26 for the year.

I sent out a few more queries, but I haven't heard anything from any of them recently.

Hubs and I went clothes shopping together - and no one died.  We're both outfitted for summer now.  Plus, we got him a camera of his very own, so maybe I'll have some shots of myself to post here eventually.  We also went to lunch and no one died, but afterwards, I kinda wanted to.  Last time we eat there.  Ugh.

I got my hair cut the day we went shopping.  At a real hair salon.  They did Hubs' hair first so I had plenty of time to pick out a hairstyle.  And what she did looks nothing like the picture I showed her.  Maybe she felt weird about taking that much off.  (I've had hairdressers who admitted they were leery of taking me from long to short, so it could happen.)  It looks good, though, so I'm not complaining.  It's about 5 inches shorter than it was, so that's something anyway.

In writerly news... Well, I got nothing.  I hit a spot in Djinn 3 where I wasn't sure how to proceed and while I have been thinking about it, I haven't been forging ahead.  Maybe today I can just push past it.  I also haven't done any editing.  I think what happened is I overloaded my plate and once I realized that, I just sorta dumped everything.  Silly, I know, but I'll get back at it.  Honest.

Your turn.  What's gone on in your weeks?  Anything good?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Embracing the New

Okay, so I got a wild hair yesterday and went to get my hair cut after like 9 months of only trimming my own bangs.  And I got the idea to swap out my old shitty keyboard for one that still has all its letters.  And this morning I got the bright idea to rearrange my part of the office...

Embrace the new.

The keyboard isn't giving me fits anymore.  So that's a good thing.

I keep running my hands through my hair and wondering where it all went.  I got about 5 inches taken off.  It was down to my shoulder blades and now it hangs just above my shoulders.  (No pics yet.)  It's cute and sassy, so I'm liking it so far, but I haven't washed it yet.  You never know until after you wash a new cut whether it was the right cut, ya know.

The rearrangement of the office was finished about fifteen minutes ago.  I'm adapting.  The worst part so far is that my monitor is on the opposite corner of the desk from where it was so I keep looking up when I should look over.  Sometimes it's the little things that get ya.  I'm giving it a week and if I don't like it, I'm putting it back.  One upside is the light is behind me now, so it's not reflecting off the keyboard anymore, and the keyboard isn't directly under the monitor, so that light isn't reflecting off the keys.  (No pics yet of this arrangement either.) 

I asked Hubs if he liked the new arrangement... He was patiently working at his desk while I was manically moving things around in my space...  He said "Whatever makes you comfortable" but I could tell he didn't understand.  I told him it was a girl thing.  ;o)

What new things have you embraced recently?  How's that working out for you?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Geology Time with Commander Geode

Okay, not really... I just thought that subject heading was funny.  I know not as many people are jazzed about Geology as I am, so I'm not going to get all nerdy on y'all.  I just wanted to show you this neat rock I found...

If you click on it, it gets larger so you can better see how weird it is.  I believe it's some kind of geode with sparkly crystal beads - like grains of rice or tiny balls of pasta - all over the face.  Pretty cool, huh?

Or am I the only one who geeks out over stuff like this?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I don't know if any of you have caught the show Diggers on the National Geographic Channel, but it's probably one of my new favorite shows.  Last night, Hubs and I were watching a new episode, though, and the thought occurred to me...

"This show would be totally boring if not for the rabid enthusiasm of its hosts."

I mean, two guys with metal detectors going over historic sites looking for treasure*, but mostly finding buckles and buttons and bullets and old coins and what they refer to as UFO (unidentified ferrous objects) but what are mostly just rusty lumps of iron.  But almost every object they unearth is TOTALLY AWESOME to them.  And their enthusiasm is infectious. 

These two guys are like big kids out there.  They shout and jump around and just generally enjoy their work.  I've never seen anyone above the age of 10 get that excited about anything.  Last night, they were searching for the lost gold payroll General Custer supposedly buried before Little Big Horn.  Every single hit they got on the metal detectors was THE GOLD... Well, at least before they dug the hole and found it wasn't.  And every item that wasn't the gold wasn't disappointing to them.  It was AWESOME!  (Okay, there was a glimmer of disappointment there at the end when they found a cast-iron stove door instead of the payroll box, but they handled it well.)

I need some of that enthusiasm today.  I need to expect to find gold in every hole I dig and not get so damn grumpy-butt when all I find is a lump of iron. 

The guys also have their own language out there - like UFO.  And it kills me.  We've even taken to using some of their phrases around the house. 

Roundness - any round object they find (rings, coins, buttons)
Roundness in the hole - an exclamation of delight at finding the above round object
Nectar - any good find, and since they're all good, nectar pretty much refers to finding something
Nectar Sector - an area where they're finding lots of stuff

So, if I bring a bowl of cookies into the living room to share, I tell the Hubs I brought 'roundness in the bowl' and we both laugh. 

See?  The enthusiasm these two guys show for their work brings joy to our household.  And life is good.

Of course, now, I want to buy a metal detector and see what I can find on our property.  Hubs already dug up an old horseshoe when he was waterproofing the foundation.  It could be civ!  (Civ - dating to the Civil War) Especially since the Civil War ranged all over Missouri.  I think it's a mule shoe probably from rebel troops trying to find a way north across the river**. 

What gets you enthusiastic? 

* They get permission before they dig and they give all their finds back to the historic societies in charge of the sites.

**Hey, it could be.  Part of the fun of the show is them making up background stories for the items they find, so it encourages me to think maybe my horseshoe was on a mule carrying supplies for the troops while they made their way north - and got stopped here because they couldn't cross the river.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Average Day

Okay, so I said I would make a post about how I spend my time, so all y'all can see that I'm not really as busy as you think, and so I can figure out maybe where I might be more productive.  (Yeah, I know... during all the TV time.)

Anyway, since I don't really have a schedule and I pretty much do what I want when I want, here's how my average day might break down...

6:00am - wake up
6-6:15 - bathroom, making coffee, turning on computers, brushing teeth, etc.
6:15-8:00 - surfing the blogosphere and Facebook, reading the news, query stuff
8-9:30 - 1-3 times a week calling Mom, otherwise further internet fun and this is when I do more agent research and sending queries.
9:30-10:30 - not quite sure what I do here...
10:30 - eat lunch while watching TV
10:30 - 6:30 pm - watch TV and read.  Sometimes during this stretch, I go outside and fart around with yardwork or woodsmanship. 
4:30-5:30 - somewhere in here I make dinner and we eat
6:30 - 9:00 - on a good day, I write in this space.  On not-so-good days, I watch more TV and read.
9-10:00 - If I've been writing, I usually stop here and go watch TV and read.  If I haven't... well, you know.
9:00-10:00 - I go to bed somewhere in here.  Usually about 9:30, but if there's something good on, I'll stay up until ten.  If not, and I'm tired, I go to bed at nine.

Other things that can crop up during this schedule are: grocery shopping/errands (which I do in the morning and which usually takes me about 2 hours), cleaning (sporadic at best and again takes me about 2 hours), walks (taken in the afternoon for about an hour), making breakfast (hey, there's something I do between 9:30 and 10:30 - but not every day), baking (again, not every day - but it usually takes about an hour).

In two and half hours of good writing, I can crank out around 3000 words.  And if it's a good book, I can read it in one or two sittings.  So you see why I seem like I'm being all productive writing-wise and zipping through the books at an ungodly rate, and why I still think I'm a slug.

Yeah, this exercise didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know.  That huge chunk of time in the afternoons is where I could increase my productivity.  Man, if I had half the drive of some people I know, I could've cured male pattern baldness by now.  Or written several more books.  Or had a spotless house.

Have you ever done this figuring out where your time is going thing?  What's your biggest time wasting activity?  How could you be more productive?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Banana Nut Oatmeal Bread

Hey all!  Here's a new recipe I tried over the weekend.  It's great for when you have bananas laying around going brown.

Banana Nut Oatmeal Bread

1/2 cup margarine (softened)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large overly ripe bananas (mashed)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (ice cream topping works best)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Thoroughly spritz one 9x5" loaf pan on all sides and bottom with cooking spray and set it aside.  Cream butter and sugar together.  In a small bowl, beat eggs together with vanilla.  Add to butter/sugar mixture and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in mashed bananas until combined.  In a separate bowl, sift flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients - alternating with the milk - until well combined.  Stir in raisins and nuts.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out of pan to finish cooling.  Slice and serve.

If you're not keen on raisins or nuts, those are optional.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 9

Hello again.

First off, sorry I've been a toad about posting lately.  I don't know where my head's been.  Certainly not in the writing.

Anyway, here's what little I did last week...

As of last night, I kicked myself in the ass and got back to writing.  I'm still at a piddlin' 3000 words on Djinn3, but it's progress from the 2100 I had last time, so I'm not complaining.  Much.  And hey, I completed the first chapter.  Yay.

I'm still sending out queries in dribs and drabs.  Kicked myself in the butt over that, too, and I'm getting back on track.  I did have some query news but nothing I want to go into in front of the world wide web.  Not bad.  Not awesomesauce either.  Just a further holding pattern with a minor bit of hope attached.

I haven't done anymore editing on Wrongful Termination, but the last I checked, I decided to completely redo the beginning - which kind of derailed me a little.  But I found a better way to start it, so it's all good. 

Perhaps I bit off too much last month or maybe I just need to quit whining.  I'll put my head down and re-evaluate.  No suggestions here, please.  This is something I have to figure out myself. 

I know several people have commented on how very busy I am, but really I'm not busy.  What I am is fast at certain things and profoundly lazy about others.  Most of my time really is spent watching TV and reading with brief spurts of activity.  Maybe I'll do a post about what my days actually look like and all the places where I could be working when I'm not.  Might up my productivity.

If I had half the drive of a normal person, I'd probably be published by now.

In other news, I bought some lovely hyacinths that'll be going in the ground sometime later this week.  I also made a pan of layer bar cookies. 

Oh, and I got our taxes done.

I think that's enough for one week.  Wish it could be more... or actual progress... or something to shout YAY about.  Right now, I'm just happy both cats are alive, the Hubs is doing well, and the Kid is safe and warm.  And some weeks, that's all a gal can ask for.

What's up in your world?  And hey, since I came up with some positives for this bleh week, the least you can do is try.  ;o)