Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thursday This n That

So, a local store offers really yummy fried chicken.  Same store is often tagged in the local health department report for various violations.  I took a chance on Tuesday because I was in town and I knew I wouldn't feel like cooking dinner when I got home.  Chicken, pasta salad for me, coleslaw for Hubs, chunked cantaloupe.  Everything was really yummy.  We had leftovers yesterday for lunch.  And I was miserably last night.  Just me.  Hubs was fine.  Which means it was the pasta salad.  Moral of the story.... The health department report is probably right and no matter how yummy their fried chicken is, I should probably never purchase in-store made food from them again.  I'm gonna miss that chicken.  =o\

I don't go out of my way to read the health dept report, btw.  It's published in the local paper.  And reading it makes me never want to eat out again.  Sometimes my laziness tramples over my good sense.

Speaking of health, I went to the doctor Tuesday - which is why I was out of town - and I lost 2 lbs since the end of April.  My blood pressure was also down.  Yay.  I'm still not doing anything more than increasing my activity.  Of course, increased activity means I'm not snacking as much as I used to. And when I'm out fishing, I'm not sitting here drinking copious amounts of Dew.  (I take jugs of water or Gatorade when I go fishing.)

I went fishing the other morning and the fog was so thick I could've cut it with a knife.  Scary driving but I enjoyed standing on the shore fishing in it.  Very calming.  Very solitary. 

There's an old man who must live near where I fish because he uses a small tractor to put his boat in.  I get there are see the tractor and boat trailer backed up into the river.  Then, in a little while, he boats past and up onto the trailer, and off he goes, dragging the trailer back into the neighborhood that surrounds this fishing area.  I think it's pretty cool.  I haven't spoken with him yet, but I expect he's a neat old dude.

What on your this-n-that radar today?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Saving My Sanity

Yesterday, I posted this on Facebook:

"The world is becoming a sad, strange place. But I made zucchini bread that almost tastes like Mom's. It doesn't make the world any less sad or strange, but I found a happy spot in the midst of it all, so, for right now, I'm good.

Saving my sanity one slice at a time."

And, as I looked this morning at who responded to that post, I thought about the fact that the world is a sad, strange place to different people for different reasons.  Some of the things that make me think it's sad and strange might be the good things about it for other people.  And that makes it sadder and stranger.  :shrug:

But I have my zucchini bread.  And I'm going fishing.  No matter what view you have of the world or currents events, you have to find those little things that make you happy.  It's the only way to defeat the sad and the strange.  It's like a little life preserver, keeping you afloat until it blows over.  And giving you a hope that it will eventually blow over.

So, to share my little happy, here's the recipe for the bread I made last night.  It's not strictly zucchini bread here.  I didn't have enough zucchini, so I used some summer squash, too.  But it does taste almost like Mom's, like I said, so it's all good, baby.  Enjoy!

Squash Bread 
(makes 4 loaves)

6 eggs
4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups zucchini (peeled then shredded)
1 ½ cups summer squash (peeled then shredded)
4 cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F.  Liberally coat four 8x4” bread pans with cooking spray.  Beat eggs until light and fluffy.  Beat in sugar, oil, and vanilla until thick.  Stir in shredded zucchini and squash.  In a separate bowl, sift together remaining dry ingredients except coconut.  Add dry mixture to wet mixture.  Stir in coconut until well combined.  Pour equally into prepared bread pans.  Bake for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out  clean.  Allow to cool 15-20 minutes.  Turn out from bread pans onto cooling surface.  Slice and serve, or package and refrigerate for later use.  Can be frozen.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 25

Nothing witty to say here, so let's just jump right into it...

I got the deep edit for Up Wish Creek done on Thursday night.  Then I took Friday off.  I was supposed to jump back in yesterday for some more little tweaks, but I couldn't muster the will, so I took that day off, too.  I still should have this to my editor on the 30th.

Someone awesome sent me the neatest prezzie last week.  It's a little leather-bound notebook with my initials on the front cover.  It's my BS notebook!  =o)

This is the last few days to take advantage of Accidental Death being on sale.  It's 99 cents right now.  I'll be raising the price back to $2.99  on Thursday.

Wish in One Hand is now 99 cents and probably will be until I launch Up Wish Creek.  Although, I might throw in a few free days when it gets closer to release day.

Just because... here's a teaser of the Up Wish Creek cover:

I haven't been writing anything new lately.  Not sure what's up with that.  It's almost as if I can't seem to put new words out until all of these other books are set free into the world.  I really need to get over that.

You've already heard of my car troubles, so no sense rehashing that.  All is well.  Except when we were poking around under the hood, I noticed something has made a nest up in there.  Not sure what until a couple days ago when I was pulling out of the driveway and noticed a mouse running out from under my car.  Umm, yeah, she's getting evicted this morning.  After Hubs wakes up and has his coffee.

The bats are back under my bathroom window casing.

No fawn sightings yet.

What's going on in your world?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thursday This n That

Today's bird on the Bird a Day calendar is the red-legged honeycreeper.

If you're not on FB, you missed my adventure in car-trouble.  I went fishing on Tuesday and when I was ready to go home, my car wouldn't start.  No even a cursory click-click.  Dead battery.  Totally dead because even after Hubs drove the 20 minutes out to where I was stranded, it wouldn't jumpstart.  Thank goodness we weren't fishing together that day.  Thank goodness we got that second vehicle last year.  BIG thank goodness I have an understanding and wonderfully handy husband who knew how to change out a battery.  AND he took my car out yesterday when he ran his own errands so I wouldn't worry that it was more than the battery.

It's too hot here.  Too hot to fish.  Too hot to garden.  Too hot to think.  Even with the AC.  I just want to lay in the recliner and watch TV.  Because it's apparently also too hot to read.  Bleh.

Yes, it's also too hot for coffee.  Well, coffee past like 8am.  Good thing I keep waking up at 5-ish. LOL

That's all I've got today.  What do you have to share with the class?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 24

First off, Happy Fathers' Day!  (I never know where to put the apostrophe there.  It's a holiday for all fathers, right?  :shrug:) 

This past week...  Ummm... 

I made it all the way to page 104 in the deep edit of Up Wish Creek.  Tackled one particularly gnarly scene where I couldn't tell what the hell I meant or who was speaking.  Slapped that one around, cut and pasted, deleted and rewrote until it did what it was supposed to do and furthered the story.

Sales are dwindling from my Memorial Day Weekend advertising.  I supposed I should be glad it lasted this long, but I need to find a way to get some kind of momentum so sales aren't a total roller coaster.  I haven't managed to secure any new advertising this month.

I read some awesome stuff this past week.  My friend and colleague and all around awesome person, JB Lynn released the 15th book in her Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman series - The Hitwoman Under Pressure.  It was awesome.  And I need to write some reviews.  I also read a book by Ngaio Marsh called Overture to Death, which was loads of fun.  One other book I read was by Helen MacInnes.  The first one of hers I'd read.  It was really good until the very end, when something happened that I didn't think was bloody-well necessary to the story as a whole and kinda ticked me off.  :shrug:

I spent Wednesday morning scouting new fishing locations and taking awesome pictures - like this one:
And this one:

I saw my first baby deer this week when I was out scouting new fishing locations.  Twin fawns crossed the road with their mama, an aunt, and probably an older sister.  Unfortunately, I was in the car and did not get the camera out in time to catch a shot.  (It usually rides in the car in its carrying case.  That'll teach me to care more about the camera than a potential awesome shot.)

I also went fishing on the last not-grotesquely-hot afternoon until probably September.  Caught about a dozen little fish.  I thought they were baby rock bass.  Nope.  Upon further research, I have learned they were baby green sunfish.  All about 3-4" long, so no keepers.  Oh well.  I had a lot of fun. 

Umm, yeah, about that further research.  Turns out what I thought were too-small rock bass all along were actually really nice-sized green sunfish.  So I didn't need to throw them back. In fact, the one 8.5" 'rock bass' I threw back would've been a nice meal as a sunfish.  Better safe than sorry, though.  I do not need to get slapped with a fine for keeping a too-small rock bass (they have to be over 9" inches here) and in my defense really big green sunfish (no size limit there) do look kinda like the rock bass I remember catching when I was a kid.  Live and learn.

That's about it for me.  What's the update with you?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thursday This n That

I'd forgotten how much I like crawdads.  (Crayfish, crawfish, crawdaddies... whatever you prefer.)  Not to eat!  To watch.  They're like little freshwater lobsters.  We used to dig for them at the bottom of the hill behind our property.  Yes, dig.  We lived near a couple swampy areas and somehow the crayfish would be there in the dirt.  Not sure how or why.  I'd totally forgotten about all of that until the other day when I went fishing and saw a couple crawdads in this little pool I was using to wash my hands.  Lucky for me, I saw them before I put my hands near their hiding spots.  Crawdads pinch hard.  Yesterday, I saw another one in a different spot.  It was huge as crawdads go.  Probably 6-8 inches.  See if you can spot him in this pic:
(Hint: upper right, partially under a rock.)

I've decided that sanity has taken a staycation this year.  I don't believe it's left the world entirely.  I just think it's not working right now.  What does one do when sanity has stopped working?  Muddle through.  Carry on.  Go somewhere and sit on a rock and watch nature. 

It's too freaking hot right now.  Mid to upper 90s for the foreseeable future.  This means everything I want to do will be limited to the mornings.  Which isn't that much of a relief.  It's already 76F here headed toward 98F.  Umm, yah.  As soon as Hubs gets up, I have to get ready to go to Wallyworld.  Ugh.  Kind of craps out fishing.  I went picture taking at 6:30 yesterday morning.  In no time, I was soaking wet with sweat.  Yep.  Bleh.

In the summertime, I take a cooler with me when I go shopping.  It's the only way to get the ice cream home without it melting.  Or the milk home without shortening its life by several days.  I absolutely hate when milk goes bad before the sell-by date.  Ticks me right off.

What's on your mind today?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Hermit Goes Exploring

I love to go exploring. Which probably sounds a little weird coming from a hermit.

I mean, we've lived here for a little over 3 years now and I've never been to Springfield - unless you count the airport, which isn't in the city proper.  I've never been to Branson.  I've never been to Rogers or Fayetteville or even little Harrison, AR.  The locals are shocked to discover these facts about me.  "What?  You've never been to Branson???" 

Umm, no.  And I'm not really interested.  Oh, I joke about going to the Andy Williams Theater.  And who wouldn't want to see Barry/Greg from the Brady Bunch live on stage?  Or Yakov Smirnov?  (That last one is probably most interesting to me.  I always thought Yakov was a hoot.)  Not interested.  There are too many people doing stupid things.  I get panicky in crowds.  And the panic increases when stupid is thrown into the mix. 

Seriously.  What is it about being on vacation that makes people lose all common sense?  Too many times I hear news reports of someone walking in front of a car in Branson.  They have clearly marked signals and crosswalks and everything.  Ugh.

No, I'm more interested in exploring the non-populated places.  Show me a trail.  Give me a boat launch in the middle of nowhere.  Present me with an out of the way park.  I'll be happy exploring that.  Sans people.  If I want company, I'll talk to the chipmunks.  Or Hubs, if Hubs is along - which is nice, but not necessary.

Gah, give me a dirt road pointing off into nowhere.  (And a better car, but beggars can't be choosers.)

We've been here 3 years and there's still so much untouched area to discover.  Using Google Earth this morning, I located at least three more potential fishing spots within fifteen minutes of home.  I'll go check those out sometime soon.  And when I get bored with discovering stuff within 15 minutes, I'll go out 30 minutes.  That should take me another decade or so. 

Why exactly would I need to go into a city again?  :shrug:  I have plenty to keep me occupied here in the back of beyond.

Have you explored where you live? 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 23

I pulled a muscle in my shoulder this morning trying to wrestle the sheet out from under my cat's butt. At a quarter to 5am. Which made me yelp and thus woke both of us up. So, I might be a tad crabby this morning. 

In other news, I have not done much of anything in the writerly sphere this week.  I got some pages edited in Up Wish Creek

I thought about SCIU3.  In this thinking, I have determined that the last scene I wrote is awesome.  And the rest of it sucks rocks.  There's not a suspenseful thing about it.  Nothing to make the readers care and nothing to make their hearts beat faster at the thought that the killer could be coming for them.  Total yawn fest.  Time for a total rewrite but I just don't have it in me right now.  Maybe I'll go back to writing the second Dennis Haggarty book.

Sales are still seeing a surge after that ad in Robin Reads.  Unfortunately, Accidental Death has been turned down for an ad with them.  AD is still available at 99 cents, though.  Through at least the end of the month, so have at it. 

My copies of the paperback of Fertile Ground have arrived.  They look good to me.  I did have one person ask me what the cover was all about.  It's an old fashioned baby's bassinet draped with white clothes next to a bed in a creepy cabin.  Sorry if that wasn't entirely clear.  Then again, the image on the cover of Dying Embers doesn't exactly jump out and say 'burning car' to everyone.  :shrug:

I got some major gardening done this week.  My new bed - which will eventually hold irises - is now in place and filled with annuals until fall when I separate the iris bulbs again.  I also bought two pots of coneflowers which will remain with the irises.  They're really cheerful and super hardy. 

The deer have been stopping by with greater regularity again.  We saw 6 bucks in the yard the others day.  And the does are stopping by in singles, and they've all lost their baby bumps, which means fawns are out there in the area somewhere. Fingers crossed the mamas bring those babies by for a visit soon. 

I read a bunch of stuff.  Mostly old stuff again.  BUT, I also read Silver James' latest Harlequin - The Boss and His Cowgirl.  It totally ROCKED!  Go forth and get thee a copy forthwith.  Right now, I'm reading Assignment in Brittany by Helen McInnes.  I've never read her before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  It's a historical suspense set in 1940.  So far, so good.

That's it for me.  What have you got to update about this week?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday This n That

I don't understand the whole Keurig thing.  It only makes one cup of coffee at a time, right?  I need a whole pot.  And what happens when you've made your one cup, but get distracted and only end up drinking half before it gets cold?  Do you dump the neglected half so you can make a new cup?  I am unable to waste coffee that way.  With a whole pot, you can top that sucker off and keep drinking. 

Today's bird on my 'bird a day' calendar is the American Robin. Totally cool.  I love those.  But I'm a little confuzed about why they would have a picture of one sitting in a blooming cherry tree on June 9th.  Should've been for an earlier Spring date, imo. 

Yes, I spelled confused wrong.  I did it on purpose.

I live in an area with a lot of man-made lakes.  When man makes a lake from a river that has spent centuries cutting its way through the mountains, you end up with a lot of cliffs and rock formations.  Hence, the name Table Rock Lake.  Anyway, a popular activity for young people around here (according to a recent news report) is jumping from these cliffs into the waters below.  In the past couple weeks at least three people have died or been injured engaging in this 'popular activity'.  One teenage girl jumped and missed the water, breaking her legs.  Yep, sounds like big fun to me.  Additionally, there's been a rash of people walking along the edges of these cliffs and falling off.  I know it's lovely out there and the already- amazing views can get more amazing the closer you get to the edge, but let's pay attention to where we're putting our feet.  M'kay? 

Watch, now that I've said that, I'll fall off the cliffs where we fish.  Lucky for me, though, where we fish is at most 5-6 feet up from the water and the water is deep there and I can swim.  I can't go on the taller cliffs.  I get vertigo.  Plus, fishing up that high is problematic for actually getting the fish up to you so you can take the hook out of its little mouth.

I'm debating on whether to go to the store today or wait until tomorrow.  I don't care either way, but we are almost out of milk.  Hubs does like his cereal in the morning. 

What's on your this-n-that radar today?  Do you like cereal?  Have you ever been cliff-diving?  What's the airspeed velocity of a unladen swallow?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 22

Here we are again at the start of another week.  Time to look back on what's happened in the past seven days...

I went fishing three times last week.  Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  That last time, I went by myself because Hubs had work he needed doing, but I was driving myself nuts, so I loaded up the gear and took off.  It was totally unproductive fishing-wise.  I caught three fish in four hours.  But I finally managed to clear my head.  I'm still not sure where SCIU3 is going, but last night, I got back to work on my edit notes for Up Wish Creek.  Got those finished finally.  Now I need to read through it all again, add some flavor, and then I can send it to AWE. 

My ad for Dying Embers in the Robin Reads newsletter did pretty well.  I gained 148 sales on the day of the ad, and I've had some nice residual follow-through afterwards.  So, that paid for itself.  I sent a request to them for another ad - this time for Accidental Death.  We'll see if they accept my ad and how sales are for that book.  I also sent a request to an different and untried marketing venue I heard about on Kboards - Reading Deals.  Fingers crossed with that.

Dying Embers, btw, is back at $2.99, and Accidental Death has now been dropped to $0.99.  I'll probably leave AD there for at least a month.  Or a sufficient time after my ad runs on Robin Reads (could be end of the month... they'll let me know.)

I broke the left nose-guard thing off my glasses.  Not a huge deal, but it does remind me that I need to go get new glasses.  Probably bi-focals.  Ugh.  I'll set that appointment up tomorrow. 

That's all I got this morning.  There were probably other things, but the coffee hasn't kicked in all the way yet.  What's up with you?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thursday This n That - Fishing n Dad Edition

Today would've been my Dad's 80th birthday.  I like to imagine him fishing with his dad today.  Here's Dad on a fishing trip back in 1985:

Fishing is addictive.  I know some of you don't get it, and that's cool, but for me, there's just something about sitting on the water's edge, watching a bobber, that relaxes me.  And if something bites, well, that's even better.  It's me against the fish.  Will I set the hook quick enough to catch it?  Or will it steal my bait?  Fun stuff.

One of earliest memories is fishing with Dad.  I don't remember a whole lot of it - I was like 5-6 and I lost a lot of my childhood memories in the Great Head Injury of 1994.  I do remember sitting on the bank of Kearsley Creek with my rod (Dad's rod that he was letting me use) set up on a Y stick, watching the bobber.  And then someone said something about food.  While I was distracted, a fish took the bait... and then the whole rod and reel, right down the creek. Man, was Dad mad. Mom said yesterday that she thinks Dad was more mad about the potentially large fish we didn't catch than the lost rod.  ;o)

The other day I bought a new pole.  One with a closed reel like I used when I was a kid.  And it's pink.  Because having a pretty pink fishing pole amuses me.  We took it out on Tuesday.  I still like the other rod I use, but this one is cool and nostalgic.

Any this n that for me today?  Any fishing stories?  Do you even care?