Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Chaos Diaries - 3/31/20

Hubs and I were talking yesterday about, you guessed it, the chaos.  He's been watching the actual data and by his reckoning, the peak of this crap will coincide with the end of our food supplies.  So we decided the best bet would be to try and pick up some things now while the number of infected in our area is still low.  Since I had to go out anyway - bank stuffs - I extended the trip to include the closest dollar store.

Unfortunately, the mail with my paycheck didn't arrive until late morning.  I figured by that time anything really good would be gone, but I had to try.  Still no TP on the shelves.  No eggs.  No flour.  No evaporated milk*.

I did manage to get apple juice.  A necessity here since we don't drink soda anymore and a necessity for the digestive system.  Also purified water - for the cat.  And cat food - the last two boxes of Fancy Feast pate** which is the only kind she'll eat.  With what I already have, that'll last her until I can get more.

The thing that struck me as I shopped was the shell-shocked look on everyone's faces - probably mirrored in my own.  It was like footage you see after a disaster or a bombing raid.  

As I got into the checkout line, I noticed the guy in front of me had TP in his cart.  Then the gal who got in line behind me had TP, too.  I swear, I searched the store for it and came up empty.  So I asked the gal behind me.  She said you had to ask the checkout gal for it.  I stepped up to the register and the smiling cashier, made the usual polite conversation, and then mentioned the TP.  A thunder cloud came over her sunny disposition.  "If you want toilet paper, you're going to have to get out of line because I have to go to the back and get it and I'm not making all these people wait on you."

I collapsed in on myself and mumbled my apologies.  By this time, there were easily six people behind me, so I began to get out of the line.  That's when the gal behind me offered me her toilet paper, saying she'd be happy to go to the back of the line.  And then the gal two people behind her offered her toilet paper up to the first gal with the same idea.  The checkout gal relaxed and told me they have to be strict with the TP because people from out of state have been swooping in and raiding their shelves. 

We had also planned on hitting Walmart at 6am this morning because Tuesdays Walmart opens an hour early for anyone over 65 - and just those people, not their spouses.  After yesterday's run, I didn't have the heart to do it again today.  Sure, it would've been Hubs shopping alone and me waiting in the car, but I couldn't take the idea of another trip so soon.  So, we decided against it.  Which is good because it's after 6 and he's still sleeping.  And I'm letting him.

I had a nightmare last night that the eggs I have in the fridge actually expired*** last week.  Woke me right up.  Good thing, too, because I had forgotten to switch the thermostat back to heat after last week's AC usage, and it was freakin' cold in here.  I wonder if The Night Owl (the Kid) was shivering her buns off in her room.

Now, I decided to write all this out as a way to reach out to other people who may be experiencing similar stuff as a way to let them know they aren't alone.  Not as a 'woe is me' thing.  Looking at it this morning, I probably could tackle Wallyworld today.  Obviously not in time to do the Senior Shopping thing since it's almost 7 and it takes a half-hour to drive there, but I could do it.  I bounced back.  I always do. Some days the bouncing takes longer than others, but I do it.  You can, too.  :HUGS:

How are things with you?

* Evaporated milk can be reconstituted into milk.  Use a one to one ratio of water to EM, then taste it.  Add more water to thin it to your tastes.  It's not the best milk ever - like I wouldn't drink a whole glass of it  - but it works for having a bowl of cereal and using in recipes.

** When I checked Anazon yesterday morning, it was on back order until the middle of next month.  

*** Expired eggs can be checked.  If you drop an egg in water and it sinks to the bottom, it's good.  If it sits up, use it soon.  If it floats, throw it out.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 12

Well, there went another week in 2020.  Week 12 of the year, Week... what?  2?  3?  of the madness. 

Still unable to think about writing or editing.  I had hoped that once I got the Kid here and settled in, the flow would start again.  Umm...

Also, no marketing.  I can't seem to bring myself to jump into the fray of 'hey, your world is falling apart, but here's a book to entertain you while you wait'.  I know books help take everyone's minds off this, but...  :shrug:

Speaking of reading, I finished three books last week with no DNFs.  Which is kind of amazing since for the first half of the week, I couldn't seem to focus on anything.  Actually, I finished two of those books on Friday, so if not for the last half of the week, my reading would've been sad.

In other news, you might have seen that the Kid is living here now.  So far, so good.  She's spending most of her time doing her college course work and keeping in touch with friends online.  Yesterday, she baked us up an apple Bundt cake that was pretty good.  I keep having to remind myself that while she is MY child, she is no longer A child.  She's been living on her own for 7 years.  If she doesn't do dishes the way I do dishes, so what?  "Chill out,you control freak,," I says to myself, "at least she's doing the dishes." Which is what I'm doing - chilling out.  =o)

In case you haven't guessed, we're now under self-isolation.  It really sucks not being able to go anywhere.  Sure, I've had 7-10 day stretches where I didn't leave the house.  But that was by choice.  And sure, we're able to take walks and junk.  But not being able to get in the car and scoot over to the store is driving me crazy.  I did manage to finally see my bestest in-person friend on Thursday.  It was through the drive-thru window at the bank, but it was better than nothing.  We chatted until someone pulled up behind me.  She and her husband and their extended families are well.

So far, I still don't personally know anyone who's sick and only know two people who know people who are sick.  Fingers crossed it stays that way.  Of course, the number of people I communicate with on a regular basis dropped precipitously in 2016, so my numbers are only anecdotal.

Got a call from Mom on Friday.  Which is weird - she never calls here, I call her and we'd spoken that morning.  She's fine.  She was making my chocolate oil cake and I forgot to put in the recipe whether to grease the pan.  You can, but you don't need to.  

Okay, that's probably enough out of me.  Hopefully, I'll have more interesting and writerly things to talk about next Sunday.  :fingers crossed:

How are things with you?

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 3/28/20

Hello again.  It was a stressful week for me and I guess that means reading.

I didn't pick up anything new, though.

Books read:

30) Love You Still by Kat Bammer (3/27/20) - Romantic Suspense*# - 4 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Picked this one up for free from Book Doggy.
Review: "I bought this as a romance, but it's really romantic suspense, which is fine with me because I like those, too. Good premise and plot."

29) Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (3/27/20) - Mystery - 5 stars.  Got this at the thrift store in November.
No review.

28) Apprentice Fool by Aldred Chase (3/24/20) - YA Fantasy*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Free from the Book Barbarian newsletter.
Review: "Fun book! Great characters. Great premise. The story kept me turning pages. The only flaw? It ended too soon."

No DNFs.

Currently reading...  I finished that last book right before bed, so I haven't chosen what I'll read next.

What were you reading this past week?

Friday, March 27, 2020

The New Normal

Man, my internet is slow today.  I think in this time where internet usage is up like 70% (per something Hubs read) that the big sites like Facebook should scale down their bells and whistles so the sites actually load again.  Of course, it might just be me.  This is like our usual summer slow down.  Loads of typically summer people and weekenders are here for the duration.  Why not?  If they have to shelter in place, it's better to do it here than whatever city they live near.  Also, now we have 3 computers sucking bandwidth on the modem in the house.  :shrug:  So if you see me less, that's why.  Kid needs the internet for her classes.  Hubs needs the internet for his work.  I rarely need the internet for more than to entertain my brain.  I can read or watch the tube for that.  The few times I have to do stuff, I can wait until one or the both of them are done for the day.

This is the new normal.  I'd really like to go back to the old normal.  Please.

Yesterday, I introduced the Kid to The Match Game.  "Big money Match Game 78! With your star, Gene Rayburn!"  Applause applause applause.  It's on The Game Show Network from noon to one Central.  I love that show.  It's so not politically correct.  I also introduced her to The Chase.  Love that show, too.  I wish they were still in production.  Game shows... they're what to watch when everything else sucks.  Almost total escapism. 

Speaking of The Game Show Network, they have a new commercial where they talk about watching their shows during social isolation and then the camera pans back to show 6 people all sitting on two couches watching together and having fun. And I'm all like 'where's the separation?!  they're too close to each other!'

This, too, is the new normal.

I also find myself thinking 'do I really need to eat that?' because with the self-isolation, we're staying away from stores and anything I eat will need to be replaced down the road eventually.  Yesterday, the Kid was all like 'would you mind if I ate an egg?' because eggs are hard to come by.  Before this, I would've been all like 'if you want an egg, eat an egg'.  Which I did say, but after a long pause while I calculated what I might need that egg for before I can get out to buy more eggs.

This will pass.  This isn't like the USSR where you had to stand in line every day all day for years to get an egg.  Not yet anyway.

Let's try to make sure this new normal isn't a permanent normal and get back to the old normal as quickly as possible.  K?

How are you all doing out there? 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thursday This n That - But Mostly That

It was a gorgeous day in the Ozarks yesterday. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the tail winds way up high were advantageous.  The drive to the airport went well, her flights were all early, and the drive back was fine.  We made it home forty-five minutes early than expected. 

The roads were not as empty as I would've thought - plenty of people still out and about.  The traffic in Republic (a suburb of Springfield) was surprisingly heavy for 1:30pm on a Wednesday during the plague.  The airport, on the other hand, was creepy.  No hustle, no bustle.  Ghost town quiet.  All the little stores on the outside of the security checkpoint were closed.  The restaurant was closed.  Totally weird.  One airport worker I spoke with said he's been there ten years and has never seen it that quiet.  Lucky for me, I'm self-entertaining.  Also lucky that I didn't have to wait too awfully long.  Bored bored bored.  And the bench seating was too uncomfortable to sit and read.  I saw two people wearing masks.  Otherwise, the few people who I did see and/or talk to were social distancing. 

The only issue I had was that once I left home, there were no places to stop for a potty break until I got to the airport.  Fast food is drive-thru only and some places aren't letting customers use their bathrooms anymore.  Okay, I could've swung into the Wallyworld, but gah, who wants to go into one of those right now if you don't have to?

Purell is my friend.  (Actually, off-brand hand sanitizer is my friend, but Purell is a shorter word.)

Coffee is also my friend.

With all the rain we've gotten the river and the lake are swollen.  Not super-bad floody but definitely will make fishing interesting when I finally get to go.

In general, spirits are okay out there in the world.  I spent some time thanking people for doing their jobs amidst this crap.  The parking lot attendant was confused when I thanked him.  He sits in a box all day only interacting with people when they come out of the lot, but hey, he's doing his job. 

I hope your spirits are okay out there.  I'm doing a little better now that the Kid is safe here. 

Got any this n that for me today? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Kid's Coming Home

Since I have nothing writerly to talk about today, I'm posting here instead of at OTB.

About noon-thirty, I'll be heading up to the airport to get Kiley (the Kid).  Hubs checked the car out, made sure all the fluid levels are good, checked the air in the tires (which are relatively new), etc.  I gassed up yesterday, so no stops between here and there.  Might run through a drive thru on the way back because I'm pretty sure she won't have time to eat lunch along the way.  If all goes well, we should be home by 5.

I feel really bad for her.  In the space of a week, her whole world has been turned upside down.  And she was finally back on track.  But she'll weather through.  We'll help her weather through.  Patience and kindness.

Hubs and I spent some time over the last couple days moving the spare room around so it's less 'guest room' than 'Kiley's room'.  Then we cleaned the house.  Not full-on 'we've got guests coming' clean, but tidy enough for us.  She's not a guest.  She's family.  And it's not like she'll be going around with a white glove.  Then we set up an extra chair in the living room because typically, we only have two chairs because there are only two people here.  We're ready for the Kid to arrive.

The cat is adjusting already.  She's a pretty chill, little fur person.

I expect this will take some adjustment for all of us.  We haven't lived together for 7 years.  She's a full-grown adult and junk now.  We've become more set in our ways.  She's used to bustle and city life.  We're hermits.  Patience and kindness.

And once she's here, we'll be hunkering down.  Oh, there will still be outings - going to the lake, taking walks, etc.  Banking still needs to be done (via drive-thru).  Might need to get gas again, depending on the number of trips to the lake.  Everywhere else is off limits for at least the next few weeks. 

But we have cake.  And the makings for pizza.  We have plenty of food that will stretch to feed three instead of the planned-for two.  We'll survive. 

I joked with her yesterday that she gets to spend Spring Break with the old folks... err cool kids.  ;o)

Patience and kindness.  And a big dose of humor. 

How are things in your world right now?  Hanging in there?  :HUGS:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Other Things to Do Amidst the Chaos

Yesterday on Outside the Box, I did a post on writerly things you can do during this chaotic time.  But hey, there are other things we can do, too.

- Read.  Well, duh.

- Clean.  I expect this whole thing is going to go one of two ways - either your house will be sparkling or it'll be a total mess by the end of this.

- Organize your closets.  You know you've been thinking about it for months.

- Go outside.  Like I said yesterday, this whole 'stay inside' thing is to keep people away from each other to keep the disease from spreading.  Find a place outside where you're at least 6 feet away from people and soak up some outdoors.  Unfortunately, with all these governors issuing 'stay at home' orders, it makes it hard to get in a car and go to an open space.  I worry for my friend in CA who likes to take her dog for a walk and whether she'll be nailed for being away from her house.

- Organize your books.  If you haven't already, I mean. 

- Go online and look at art, listen to music, watch an opera or a play, learn a new skill, teach yourself something.  There is a wealth of information on the internet and some of it is pretty awesome. 

- Email a friend you haven't talked to in a while.

- Better yet, call.

- Bake stuff.  Well, as much as you can if you're low on supplies and can't get out to get more.

- Play games.  I found an online mahjong site that's kind of fun and distracting. (Note: wait until the green Play Now button comes up.  Do not click the blue Play Now button.)

- Draw stuff. 

- Be active.  Exercise.  Dance.  Walk, if you can get out anywhere.  

And if you need to, reach out to someone.  Forced isolation sucks and it can be hard on your mental health.  We all get it.  If you don't have anyone you can reach out to, there are mental health supports out there.  I hope none of you are in that scary place, but the Suicide Hotline is available for those who need it. 

Hang in there and stay safe.  :HUGS:

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 11

Well, it's been one hell of a week in the world and here in particular.

First off, I'm fine and so are all my loved ones. Or at least none of them are sick. 

No writing got done.  I did some editing last Sunday, but then my focus went almost entirely to either virus related things or escaping thinking about virus related things by reading or baking.

Wednesday, I heard from the Kid that they were closing her university, so the scramble came up to find a way to get her out of there before they kicked her out on the street.  My sister picked her up yesterday and took her to my mom's.  This coming Wednesday, Mom will take her to the airport and she'll fly down here.  She'll stay here until Fall when, hopefully, the school will reopen. 

To that end, we'll be working on rearranging the spare room (aka Kira's bedroom) into a more comfortable space for long-term living.  We'll move the bed so she doesn't have to share a wall with our bedroom, which means moving the dresser.  I've already emptied the dresser for her clothes and moved stuff around in the closet.  Kira will have to deal with her room being commandeered for the purpose of housing the troops. 

In the realm of virus related things, I found eggs and butter and vegetable oil when I took Hubs up to get his hair cut.  He had a nice chat with the barber and I did some shopping.  I also stocked up on cigarettes because I'm not sure how long the supply chain will keep working and my supplier will stay open. 

I have been dying to go fishing.  Unfortunately, it's been raining elephants and water buffalo lately.  Six inches of sky water in the past week and it's raining right now.  This makes the river and the lake all muddy and dirty and the fish go deep to avoid the crap, so no fishing for me right now. 

Right now, I am a flaming ball of stress.  The hamster in my head runs his wheel pretty regularly anyway, but he's got his whole family up there now and they're all running on their wheels.  Sleep is like trying to catch smoke.  We're napping when we can.

The cat is unaffected (well, except for the room stuff).  So are the deer.  All they care about is whether there's food. 

Yesterday, amidst waiting to hear how the Kid pick-up and move worked out and stressing about that, I did our taxes.  Umm, yay?  Then I paid bills.  woohoo?  Then I told Hubs I was done braining for the day.  Later, I was online booking flights, so I guess I wasn't done braining.  Got a one-way from Flint to Chicago to Springfield in the middle of the day so no one has to drive in the dark.  Fun thing about crossing time zones - she leaves Flint at 11:40am and gets to Chicago at 11:59am.  Heh.

In totally non chaotic news, my crocuses are blooming.  The lilac has little leaves.  The hydrangea leaves are getting ready to unfurl.  There are green seedlets on the elms and the black cherry trees are starting to show green, too.  Spring doesn't care about no damn virus or the panicking of humans.  Life goes on.

And it'll go on for us, too.  Might be a little weird for all of us for a while, but this, too, shall pass.  Hang in there.  :hugs:

How was your week?

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 03/21/20

Hello again.  Welcome to the Saturday Reading Wrap-up with your host, B.E. Sanderson.  :cue applause:  Heh, sorry, I've been watching a lot of game shows lately. 

Anyway, not a bad reading week.  Four finished and no DNFs. 

I picked up two new ebooks this week - a memoir and a SF suspense.  No new hardcopies and no new ones for the foreseeable future as my two main thrift shops have closed for the duration of the viral chaos.  I haven't checked the others, but it doesn't look good.

Books Read:

27) Grave Games by Skylar Finn (3/19/20) - Suspense*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Free from the Robin Reads newsletter.
Review: "This is more suspense than mystery, at least to me. Fine by me, I like them equally and this was a good suspense. Very twisty with less wondering who did it than how they would stop the murderer and what would be the series of events leading up to the justice at the end."

26) Fire Me Up by Alicia Street (3/17/20) - Romance*# - 4 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Free off the Book Doggy newsletter.
Review: "Neat little romance with a couple of interesting twists and a satisfying ending. I thought there'd be more fire fighting stuff, but that's on me for assuming. Reading this was a pleasant way to spend a morning. =o)"

25) Nemesis by Agatha Christie (3/16/20) - Mystery - 4 stars.  Yeah, I know it's a Christie, but it's a later Miss Marple one and I prefer Poirot or earlier Marple.  I've had this one longer than I've been keeping records of books acquired.  Funny how I missed reading it before now.
No Review.

24) Pancakes and Pleas by Gretchen Allen (3/14/20) - Cozy Mystery*# - 4 stars.  New to me and underappreciated as far as reviews go.  Plenty of ratings, though.
No Review from me either.  It just didn't inspire me to write one.

No DNFs this week.

Currently reading...  a YA (MG?) fantasy.  The premise sounded cute and so far it's living up to the promise.

What was on your reading list this week?  Do you find you're reading more now that the world has shut down or about the same?  If you say less, I'll totally understand.  Sometimes it's hard to focus when you're stressed out.  :hugs:  May the week ahead bring better things for us all.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Thursday This n That

And I thought I was distracted yesterday.  Well, the universe showed me, didn't it?  Things got way more interesting.  Maybe it was because we were talking and I actually said 'it can't get any worse'.  Heh.

So, yesterday, the Kid got an email from the president of the university that EMU is shutting down.  No dates with when they have to get out of the dorms, but that's coming.  And she can't go back to where she was living.  We sprang into action and have a plan to get her up to my mom's place for a little while.  Then the plan is to fly her down here for the duration.


Book?  What book? 

Hubs went for a walk yesterday and around about the place we released the hawk, there was a hawk in the trees.  He couldn't see it to tell if it was the same one, but he could sure hear it, chewing him out.  We saved your life, dude.  Chill.

My lilac bush has little leaves on it. 

The book I'm reading right now is pretty good, but the author did a weird thing - they started it in the now but then went back ten years which is where the rest of the story seems to be.  Sort of a 'this is how I became an FBI profiler' thing.  I'm not sure how I feel about it, but like I said, the story seems pretty good.

I miss having tulips, but apparently those things are crack for the deer here. 

We stayed up late last night to watch the finale of America's Top Dog.  I won't spoil it for you, but the dog we were rooting for won.  Yay.  Such a good dog.  Who's a boo?

I made chocolate oil cake yesterday with basic fudgy frosting.  So good.  I also made a vat of spaghetti sauce.  AND salmon salad.  What can I say, when I'm stressed I make food. 

What's up in your life today?  Any this n that going on? 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

We Saved a Hawk

Yesterday afternoon, Hubs went for one his hard-target walks.  He does those alone because he walks farther than I do and faster, and his stride is longer and well, it's his thing.  He does about 2.5 miles and it usually takes him about 45 minutes. 

So, he was gone about 20 minutes and I was sitting in the living room, reading Agatha Christie and watching Dr. Pol when the phone starts ringing.  I glance up at the TV and the caller ID has his cell phone number on it. 

Oh, crap, I think, because he never calls here.  He only carries the phone for emergencies, so this had to be an emergency.  I hop up out of my recliner and scurry to the phone on the other side of the living room.  All is well and Hubs is fine, but he needs my help.

As he was walking, he heard a flapping sound along the fence row in one of the old cow pastures.  When he investigated, he found a hawk trapped in the barbed wire. 

I got dressed in 'outside the house' clothes, then grabbed up a couple of towels and a pair of gardening gloves and a couple sturdy sticks (with which to occupy its talons, if need be).  I boogied my buns out to the car and went down to where Hubs had said he was. 

And there was the hawk, hanging upside down from the fence where his breast skin had become entangled in the barbed wire.  Mouth open in a standard pissed-hawk hiss, wings spread wide, talons out. Right then, I took over.  It's what I do.  I'm the bird nerd.

I pulled on the gloves and tried to cover the hawk with a towel to calm it down.  Nope.  He wasn't having any of that and the effort was making him struggle harder. So, I reached in carefully and got his wings tucked against his back with one hand, then I grabbed his two legs above the talons and held them together.  (Lucky for me, by that time, he'd grabbed onto the fence wire with both feet.)  Then I ran the hand that had been supporting the wings up over the back of his head and eased his beak toward his chest so he wouldn't bite anyone.  Once he was secured, Hubs took out his pocket knife and gently cut through the skin where it was attached to the fence.

Yay, the hawk was free, but I wasn't sure he was fine yet.  Holding it by his legs and supporting him underneath its wings, I walked out to the little cow driveway right there and looked the bird over.  He was an immature red tail.  The wings appeared unharmed.  The wound on its breast wasn't bleeding anymore.  A small wound on one foot was bleeding a little, but not overly bad. 

I tilted the hawk upright and let its wings go, while still holding its legs.  It started to flap, so I was pretty sure it was time to go.  Up he went and down he went to the ground, onto his back.  He laid there with his winds spread wide, staring up at me, pretty damned pissed.  But I couldn't just leave him there ten feet from the road and unsure whether he could actually fly. 

So, I reached down toward him again, attempting to tuck his wings and grasp his legs again.  Of course, he did this nifty little ninja move - HI-YA! - and slashed my arm, but I managed to get him secured again.  I picked him up, petted him for a couple more minutes, and then tried to put him upright again.  This time, he flapped his wings hard.  Man, those wings were strong.  And he took off into the air.  Off he flew toward the nearby woods. 


Then I went to the first aid kit in the car while Hubs picked everything up.  I managed to get two shallow talon slashes, one little dig, and a puncture on my right arm.  Lucky for me, Junior Hawk didn't actually latch on,  Band-aids in the field, a really good washing with antibacterial soap and hot hot water, then Neosporin when we got home.  They're uglier than they are hurty.

They don't matter, though.  We saved a hawk. 

Thankfully, he wasn't hurt worse.  The last time I tried to find help for an injured bird, I learned no one would come out here and the closest bird rescue is a couple hours away.  We couldn't help that heron, but we helped this hawk.  Yay.

You know, we're probably been watching his parents for years now.  It was a good thing to help their offspring have a chance.  If Hubs had decided he didn't want to walk today, that guy would probably have died hanging from that fence. 

Fly and be free, bud. 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 10

Well, it was a week.

I got some writing done.  Not nearly as much as I would've wanted to do, but something is better than nothing. 

I got the edits back for Ugly and the Beast.  I had intended to start them yesterday, but...

I spent a fun-filled morning trying to buy stuff before the panic-stricken lunatics left me wiping with washcloths and trying to make my own catfood.  Here is that story:

In the wee hours, I spent some time reading the laments of people across the country of their inabilities to buy basic necessities.  Hubs and I then decided I would go forth into the world.  It was sprinkling when I left.  When I got to Walmart it was raining... remember that for later.  Inside Walmart it was like Florida before a hurricane or up north before a blizzard.  Empty shelves, people desperately trying to acquire their needs while others were bent on hoarding.  I managed to get the things I really needed to weather this panic out - cat food, meat, soups.  Most of the people there were chill, but a little annoyed with the circumstances.  (Apparently Friday's customers were rude and mean.)  As I walked away from the cashier, I said I hoped it wasn't raining as hard as it had been when I arrived.

It was raining harder.  I pulled my coat off and laid it over my groceries so they didn't get soaked.  Cuz, like, I'm drip-dry.  Lucky for me, I had found a close parking spot.  Unlucky for me, I had pulled a muscle in my back about halfway through Wallyworld.  Big fun. 

But I wasn't done.  I decided to drive through the torrential rain to check Dollar General for bottled water and toilet paper.  (The water is for Kira.  She can't drink our hard water anymore.)  So, I make it to DG with the wipers on full blast and small lakes all over the roads.  I left my super wet coat in the car, because hey, I was just running in and running out.  I got TP and water.  Yay! 

Then I went back out to the car.  I reached into my right pants pocket, where I keep my keys.  No keys.  I reached into the left pocket.  No keys.  I looked at my car seats.  No keys.  I loooked high and low, and there they were, hanging from my ignition.  Doors locked?  Yup.  I always lock my car doors. 

Back into the DG I go.  Lucky for me, Hubs has an extra set of keys to my car.  Unlucky for me, he was a half hour away at least and it would take him time to get the old Jeep down there to me.  So, there I am at the DG, soaking wet, cold, and irritated with myself.  I haven't locked my keys in the car in probably 20 years, and never with them hanging out of the ignition.  Stupnagle.  And it's still pouring rain.  Thankfully, the gals at the DG were extremely sweet to me.  One of them offered to give me a cigarette so I wouldn't have to pay the outrageous pack price there.  I paid her for 4 of them because one was not going to do it.  They watched my purchases.  They let me use their bathroom - even though they'd stopped letting customers use their restrooms because, I assume, people have been stealing the TP.  Super nice gals all of them.

Hubs finally arrives after driving through the pouring rain and floody spots.  He unlocks me, puts the water and TP into the car, and off we go for home.  If I don't get at least a cold after this, I'll count myself extremely lucky.  I finally made it home about noon after 3.5 hours of fun.

After that, I didn't really feel like doing much of anything. 

I read stuff this past week.

And I lost a pound somewhere in there.  I haven't weighed myself since the yesterday debacle.  That has to count for another pound, though, right?

That's more than enough out of me for one day.  I hope you're all well and safe and happy out there.  Here's hoping this craziness doesn't last as long as I fear, but I'm stocked up if it does.  If it lasts longer?  :shrug:  We'll deal with that when it comes.

How was your week?

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 3/14/20

Hello.  Welcome to the Saturday Reading Wrap-up.  Not a huge reading week and I don't really have any excuses.  The two DNFs didn't take up too much time.  I could've read more.  :shrug:  On the upside, the two I did finish were both new to me and underappreciated.

I picked up four new ebooks this week - romance, 2 fantasies, and a mystery.  I still have two left from before - suspense and romance.  I hope to get through more of those this week and find some more new ones, too.

Books Read:

23) Finny's Star by Sam Bartram (3/13/20) - MG Adventure/Mystery*# - 4 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Free through the Kindle / Book Club FB group.
Review: "It's just a nice book to read - good characters, a fun plot, and an ending that made me smile. Just what I needed. And I'd be happy to have any young person read this one."
Note: If you're thinking of this one for your young person, the protagonist is 13, so maybe not quite MG, but not YA either.  Read it first and then decide.  And there's not really anything to make this not G rated - maybe some deeper stuff like dealing with death - but there are large words.  If your kid is ready for words like 'ostentatious', then go for it.

22) Retribution: Lucky's Mercs #1 by Joshua James (3/9/20) - SF*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Got this one free off the Book Barbarian newsletter.
Review: "This is a kick-ass SF with awesome characters and a particularly nasty bad-guy. Loved it!"


3/10/20 - suspense.  Okay, that was weird.  This was a later work from one of my favorite authors, but man, it was like a newbie who just had to get every bit of research they'd done on the background topic in so they didn't feel like they had wasted time researching.  It was awful.  I really didn't need a doctoral dissertation on the industry to understand the story.  Seriously.   And seriously bummed.  Blerg.  Note to self: don't read anything by him written in or after 1979.

3/9/20 - western.  I picked this 1978 paperback up cheap at the thrift store because the title amused me.  It might've been good if the author hadn't been anti-pronoun.  Sort of like 'John did this.  John did that.  Mike came in and John shot Mike before Mike could draw his gun.'  He was also very into detailed but unnecessary description.  Too much so.  Blerg.

Currently reading...  I snagged the cozy mystery I still had on my unread ebook list from earlier in the month.  So far, so good.

What was your reading week like?

Friday, March 13, 2020

For What It's Worth - My Take on The Kung Flu

Just when I thought the world was already nuts, it's gone totally whackobananas.  The Kung Flu has totally taken over - not as a disease, but as a panic.  Here's what I know and what I think...

COVID-19 is not THE coronavirus.  It's A coronavirus.  So is the common cold. 

It's less lethal and less contagious than the flu.

Tom Hanks has it.  He got it while he was filming in Australia (as in totally not here), he's still there and self-quarantined, and he and Rita have mild cases of it.  From the statement he had his son read, it seems like they're in good spirits, despite the Kung Flu.

Most people who get it will have a mild case of it. 

They say the hardest hit will be the old, the infirm, and the young.  (Although I haven't seen stats on children getting it and dying from it, so I'm not sure there.)

Most of the people who have died from it in Washington state were old and were from the same nursing home.  (19 out of 28) 

Italy is getting hit harder than most countries because 1) 22% of their population is over the age of 65, and 2) the region where the most people are dying has had a huge influx of Chinese and has direct flights to the Wuhan area, and 3) they have very liberal immigration policies.  You know 'open borders' and shit. 

The way to combat it is with normal everyday 'I don't want to get the flu' procedures - washing your hands, etc.  If you're old or infirm, take extra precautions.  Everyone else?  Carry on with your lives.  Except where the panic means you can't.  You know, if you need toilet paper, or have to travel, or have tickets to an event.  (They cancelled the Players Championship this morning.  Bastards.  I didn't have tickets, but I was looking forward to watching it this weekend.)

The liberal culture seems to be egging this whole panic thing on.  And they're actively celebrating the hits our country is taking to its economy.  Personally, the hits to our economy scare me far more than the Kung Flu. 

I think our President is handling this correctly, given the panic. 

I think the fact that our culture adores zombies and apocalypses in its fiction is making the panic worse, and has given rise to a strange mindset where something pretty basic has turned into a global freak out.  This is not THE STAND people.  Even Stephen King says so*.

All of the normal people I've talked to aren't panicking.  They might be washing their hands or using hand sanitizer more than normal or than is needed, but generally, they're just pissed about the lack of toilet paper on the store shelves. 

Yeah, I could be wrong.  Tell ya what, if I get the Kung Flu and die from it, you can say 'I told you so'.  If I get it, I'll probably be miserable and a total bitch, but considering I'm a fairly healthy gal who's already pretty much a hermit, I'm not worried about dying.  What I am worried about is the economy failing and throwing us into a Depression.  (Yeah, they're talking Recession, but I always think of the worst.) 

You know, I don't even know anyone who has it - in person or online - or have even heard of anyone who knows anyone who has it. 

Anyway, hang in there.  Keep calm and carry on as best you can amidst the panic. 

* To which some moron on Twitter replied, "How would you know?  Have you even read the book?"

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Thursday This n That

Yeah, it's early (even post time change) and I'm writing this now rather than having set it up beforehand.  So, here I am, after only a few sips of coffee and one cigarette.  Be warned.

:eyeroll: :facepalm: :headdesk:  I just saw a post to one of the book marketing groups on FB.  It went along the lines of 'can someone help me find a publisher or an agent or both or is there a difference?'  I felt bad for her and I thought about commenting that she needed to spend way more time researching the industry before thinking about agents or publishing, but I know how that would go.  I'd say something and I'd be the bitch.  I don't need that kind of crap in my life.  Educate thyself.

Actually that last bit is good advice no matter what you're doing.  The internet holds a wealth of information.  Sure, a lot of it is crap, but there are a lot of good places to educate yourself, too.  Hell, Hubs taught himself how to plumb this house and then did it.  Now, he was already pretty handy, but you can do stuff like that, too.  And a lot of it is free.  Just set your buns down and put in the time to learn what you want to know but don't.

Don't get me started on COVID-19.  We'd be here all day.  Suffice it to say, I had an interesting conversation with a stock dude at Wallyworld yesterday.  He got yelled at by someone for being out of hand sanitizer.  As soon as he puts it on the shelves, it's gone.  It's not his fault - it's the fault of panicky, misinformed people.  And when I got over to the TP shelves, they were nearly empty.  I managed to get a 6-roll pack - cuz, like, I needed TP - but it wasn't my brand.  Bottled water, on the other hand, had full shelves.  Now that I think about it, the cold medicine shelves were full, too.  I didn't think to look at the Kleenex stock.  It's getting ludicrous out there, folks.  Everyone needs to chill out.  And educate themselves from somewhere other than the main-stream media and Twitter.

Speaking of which, I posted about the TP thing on Facebook.  My niece in Virginia replied that her store was also out of cleaning supplies, and she wondered whether people were just now thinking about cleaning their homes.  Personally, as a matter of course, I have enough cleaning supplies already in my house on any given day to clean for weeks.  When I get low on anything, I buy a backup.  I ended up buying enough groceries for a couple weeks - not because of COVID-19, but because I don't want to have to deal with the Wallyworld again any time soon.

Anyway, enough about that.  They've finally started mowing the cow pastures again.  I hope they'll be putting cows back in there.  They removed the cows after that horrible dry summer a couple years ago.  I miss seeing cows on my walks.  The local hawks are jazzed about the mowing.  They've been really circling those mowed fields.  The shorter grasses have to make hunting easier, so I don't blame them.

It's nearly Spring and Randy Roadrunner his singing his sad-puppy song of love again.  Yes, the roadrunner has a mating call that sounds like a puppy crying.  There's now a roadrunner hanging out at my bank.  I call him Rudy.  Not sure if that one is actually male, though.  I haven't learned how to differentiate genders on roadrunners yet. 

The way to tell the difference between a male pileated woodpecker and a female one is by the facial stripe.  Males have red in black and females are all black.  I know you guys really had a burning need to know that one. 

And one cup of coffee and three cigarettes later, that's it for me.  I'll be here all week, folks, and don't forget to tip your waitress.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Baking Competitions and Me

Last night's writing was pre-empted by a Spring Baking Championship marathon, ending with last night's season opener.  I totally didn't even think about writing until about 7:15p and by then, it was creeping up to the new show, which I didn't want to miss.  For some reason, these baking competition shows are my crack.  The Kid's Baking Championship, The Holiday Baking Championship, the spring one, The Great British Baking Show...  So much crack.

Anyway, so far, it seems like a good crew for the 2020 season.  No real stand-outs yet - to the good or the bad.  I like Sarah - she seems cheerful and nice and funny.  We'll see if she has the baking chops to stay.  I thought the tall, skinny, young guy would be a stand-out, because his pre-heat was so good, but his final bake was disappointing to me. 

In case you haven't been paying attention, I bake.  A lot.  Oh, I could never be in a baking competition.  My stuff is more about flavor than looks.  Decorate?  Meh.  That and none of these competitors have recipes laying around their workstations, so I assume they're all cooking from memory.  Blerg.  I can't remember recipes. Even after all the batches of cake cookies I've made, I still have to go to the cookbook for the measurements.

I have decorated a cake a couple times - mostly for the Kid's early birthdays.  They weren't bad, but they weren't competition worthy either.  Her first birthday cake, I made a rainbow.  Making 6 different colors of icing had to be fun.  Here it is with her enjoying herself before she tore into it.

Still, I like to watch people who can bake and decorate.  It's nice to see people accomplishing stuff.  And there's no politics or what have you.  There's also no real backstabbing or trash talking on the ones I watch.  That stuff gets old.  Bake neat stuff, be courteous to each other... that's all I want in a baking show.  If that other stuff creeps in, I quickly lose interest.  And if I even get a hint that a baker is a snot, I root against them. 

I don't need anyone to root against on these shows.  I'd be perfectly happy if all of them are nice and when it gets down the final three, I can be satisfied with whoever wins.  Like this last season of Kid's Baking Championship.  Those last three kids were all awesome.  I was happy for the winner, but I would've been happy if either of the other two had won.  They were just good kids - which, if you ask me, is a rarity on television these days.

I did enter an online recipe competition once and I won.  But I never got the prize and any attempts to try and find out why were met with silence.  Live and learn. 

So, yeah, you'll never see me on any of these shows. I'll just be watching them and baking over here in my own way.  And eating the results of my efforts.  I know Hubs thinks all my recipes are winners.  ;o)

How about you?  Do you watch these shows?  Do you bake?  Or do you just enjoy eating the results?

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 9

Hi!  Thanks for stopping by!  Here is the week that was.

I started off the week by finishing the round of edits on Ugly and the Beast and sending it out to peoples.  Now I wait.  And while I'm waiting, I made some good strides in writing Cinder Ugly this week.  I was up about 7K words by Thursday night, then I took Friday night off to watch Live PD.  Then last night, my hands were too squonky to write, so I had to take it off, too.  Better luck tonight.

In marketing news, UNEQUAL is still free through today.  I've been posting things on FB and have moved X copies as of the writing of this post.  To that end, a friend of mine took some time out of her busy schedule to make me a pretty graphic:
SQUEE!  It's way the hell better than anything I could've done.  I'd pay her to do all my books, but, yeah, budget.

In other marketing news, the SCIU books will go on sale Wednesday.  99c each.  Woohoo.

Other than that, I did a little reading - very little.  I only finished one book and got about a third of the way through another.  When the writing goes up, the reading goes down.  =o\

Of course, I baked stuff.  More applesauce bread.  Yay!  I need to do a batch of oatmeal cookies today.  We'll see.

Last Sunday, I went fishing.  I finally caught a fish!  It was only a 5" bluegill, but it's better than getting skunked again.  I meant to go fishing Friday, but... :shrug:

Instead of fishing, I was uncovering my garden beds for Spring.  Those poor plants were getting all funky from hiding under the leaves.  They'll do better now.  Even though Hubs helped yesterday, I didn't get all the beds done yet.  It's a pain in the back (and the wrists and the legs and the feet) to do it, so I do it a bed at a time.  Four beds down, two to go.  (One bed doesn't need uncovering, since it never got covered to begin with.)

In diet and activity news, well, I bought ice cream.  And I ate it all.  :shrug:  I went almost two months - missed it by a day - and I didn't really see a change in my weight or how I felt.  We'll see if I start buying ice cream again.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  No weight lost this week and the activity was mostly clearing the gardens.  Now that the weather is getting warmer, I need to start walking every day again.

And that's it for me.  How are things in your world?

ETA:  Gah.  Totally forgot that it was going to be the hell of time-changing this morning.  Will they never stop this madness?

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 3/7/20

Another week gone by and not a lot to show for it this week in the reading realm.

I did pick up two new ebooks - a cozy mystery and a suspense/mystery.  I only have one other ebook left to read on my Kindle - a YA adventure novel.  I really need to snag some more free books, but I haven't seen any that really excite me this week.  Maybe next week will be better.  And hey, I still have all those hardcopies left to read.  =o)

21) The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot (3/4/20) - Memoir - 5 stars.
No review.  This one took me a while to read.  Still, it was worth the time.  Finished the series, though, so that makes me a little sad.  I didn't like this one as much as the others, but it was still a 5-star.

No DNFs.  Because I spent most of the week reading the Herriot and then I dove into what I'm currently reading.  Also because I've been writing again.  The writing goes up and the reading goes down.  I need to figure out a way to fix that.

Currently reading... a SF novel I picked up last month.  It's pretty good so far. :fingers crossed:

What did you read last week? 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Thursday This n That

The primary here is on Tuesday the 10th.  Woohoo.  We're an open election state, so you don't need to be affiliated to vote.  When you walk into the polling place, you tell them which ballot you want and then go fill it out.  I'll probably go, pick up a ballot, and vote just as a show of support.  I doubt any of the other yahoos will amount to anything.

I don't get political here.  If you've been around long enough, you have probably sussed out where I stand by now. 

Sometimes Kira is such a furry freak.  Occasionally she doesn't want the wet food she's previously enjoyed.  Sometimes if I put kibbles on it, she changes her mind.   This morning, I put a few kibbles on it and she still turned her nose up.  So, I gave her 'magic sprinkles' wherein I rubbed my fingers together over her food as though I was adding something.  Yep, that did the trick.  Yum, magic sprinkles.  Silly cat.

Dang, this coffee tastes good this morning.  Maybe I got magic sprinkles, too.

Yesterday, I started cleaning the protective leaf cover off my gardens.  The silly plants are already coming up through the leaves, so I kind of had to or they'd all end up retarded.  Got the front beds done - uncovering the sedums, the mums, some bugle weed, the peonies, and the columbines.  I also got part of the rose bed done - freeing the daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths.  One bed down, six more to go.  It's a chore, but I do love my flower beds. 

One of my hyacinths already has a bud cluster.  Yay.  Fingers crossed this year I'll get some flowers on those daffodils.

I love Spring.

How are thing in your part of the world?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Scatterbrained Again

I'm still pretty scatterbrained again.  It's an editing / writing thing with me.  The more my brain is fixated on writing or editing, the less I'm able to focus my efforts into a longer thought stream about non-writing related things.

Another thing that happens when I've been editing is the urge to edit everything.  Stuff I'm writing, stuff I'm reading, stuff I'm saying, stuff other people are writing or saying (which includes newspapers, ads, tv shows, news, and commercials) - nothing can escape my editbrain.  Luckily most of the corrections I make stay in my head.  And otherwise, Hubs is the only one to hear it and he's used to it.  The cat don't care.

Speaking of the cat, we've settled into a nice 5-6 hour litterbox schedule now.  As long as I wake up around 2-3am and take her to the litterbox, life is good.  And we haven't had any accidents since I started this. 

We heard an owl last night.  It was a great-horned.  They're so cool.

I broke my vow yesterday and bought ice cream.  And I ate a bowl as soon as I got home.  Almost made it two months without ice cream.  Actually today would've been two months.  I picked up something called Candybar Crunch- which I've had before.  It's not as good as I remembered.  I should've just gone with chocolate or vanilla, but if I was going to break my streak, it was going to be with something special.  Oh well. 

Last night, I wrote almost 2900 words.  I just sat down and started writing, without thinking about where it was going or what I was going to do.  Woo, getting all those words out was a relief and I really like where I headed.  Whether any of it makes sense in the whole scheme of the story will be decided in edits.

Why do I keep thinking it's Wednesday???  Argh.

How's your brain these days?  Scattered?  Walking the straight and narrow?  Gone?  Talk to me, people.  Give me the skinny.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 8

Here we are again at the end of another week.

I haven't been writing because I have been very intent on getting Ugly and the Beast ready to send to other human beings.  I had a goal to have it into people's hands by the end of February.  Umm...  That didn't happen.  As of last night, I was on pg 150 of 227 of the final read and fix bits thing.  I had to stop last night because my eyes were getting wonky and I was afraid of skipping over something.  I will have it done today.

No marketing this past week.  This coming week, Unequal will be free for Kindle Wednesday through Sunday, so there'll be some marketing efforts there.

I did a bit of reading, but not loads.  Because I was working on edity stuffs.

The baking front was busy this week.  I made a batch of granola bars for Hubs.  And I made another chocolate cake.  (Because we finished the last one and I wanted more cake.)  I also made homemade pizza.  This time I froze half of the dough and went with a smaller pizza.  I've never frozen this dough before, so we'll see how it goes.

Let's not talk activity this week.  Or weight.  Although, I did discover that if I place the scale to the right of the toilet, I weigh a pound less than when it's on the left side.  Kind of harsh because after I moved the scale, I thought I'd lost a pound.  Nerts.

My bathroom faces north, which was never a big deal because to the north was a vacant lot.  Now they're building a house there and I have to watch what I do in front of the window, as in not be naked there.  Which is why I moved the bathroom scale.  I weigh naked, and don't want to scare the neighbors.  I suppose I could buy some window cling stuff to block that window out, but I love having it clear.  It's our deer-watching station.   Eh, I'll just restrict my naked activity to the windowless side of the room.  Lucky for me the shower is on that side.  ;o)

It's early and I can't think if I did anything else this week, so there you have it.  What were you up to last week?