Saturday, November 27, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 11/27/21

Hey All.  Sorry I'm late posting this today, but I didn't wake up until 6.  Ten hours sleep.  Woohoo.  I actually feel like a human being this morning.  Yay!

Anyway, it wasn't an exciting week in reading.  The holiday and all that.  

I didn't pick up any new books.

Books Read:

59) All Wands on Deck by Mara Webb (11/25/21) - Paranormal Mystery* - 3 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  Free off the ENT newsletter.
No review.
Note: I don't review books under 3 stars.  Why harsh the writer's day with my opinion?  I don't usually even finish books if I think they're going to be under 4 stars.  Unfortunately, I didn't think it was going to be under until I got close enough that I thought I might as well just finish the book.  Bummer.  Anyway, most everyone else seemed to like this book, so it's probably just me.

No DNFs.

Currently reading... NEVADA by Zane Grey.  It's an old copy and I'm trying to keep it from falling apart as I read it, but it's pretty damn good so far.

What did your week in reading look like?

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Friday After TGD

First off, let's start by reminding people that 'Black Friday' has nothing to do with race.  It has to do with putting retailers 'in the black' for the year.  Which means showing a profit as opposed to 'in the red' or not making enough money to pay for expenses.  If someone's told you anything different, they're jerking your leash.  Color words can be used for things other than race, doncha know.

I know everyone' talked about how expensive Thanksgiving was going to be.  The meal itself didn't seem any more expensive than it had been.  In fact, by shopping early, I paid less for a turkey this year than last.  I paid more for the pumpkin puree because Wallyworld was out of offbrand and I had to buy name brand.  I paid more for the stuffing for the same reason.  I think the cheaper bird offset the more expensive fixin's.  The gas to get to the store to buy the groceries?  Way more expensive.

A curious thing happened yesterday.  The turkey was done way earlier than it should have been done.  14.5 pounds... 20 minutes per pound at 325F... 4.83 hours.  It was cooked in 3 hours.  Either our oven is running way hot, which is possible but unlikely since the other things I've cooked in the oven haven't cooked any faster than usual.  Or the turkey was smaller than they said it was, which seems unlikely based on the amount of leftovers now nestled in my fridge/freezer  Or there was some kind of timewarp vortex in the oven between the hours of 8 and 11am.  

Anyway, the turkey was tender and moist and cooked through, so that's all that matters.  Of course, we ended up eating dinner shortly after 11am.  Cheesecake was at 2.  Tiny turkey sandwiches occurred at 5.  

We were in bed by 8 last night.  Before that, though, we sat down to watch a movie called Wild America.  We'd seen it before, but that was years ago.  It's about the wildlife film producer, Marty Stouffer, and his brothers when they were younger.  It's a nice movie.  Kind of outlandish in places, but all in all, pretty true to the story of those boys.  If you haven't seen it, give it a whirl.

Yeah, because of impromptu movie night and then early bed, I didn't get any editing done.  Oops.  Maybe today will be a better day for that.

How was your yesterday?

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, wherever you are.  (Yes, even if you aren't in the US or celebrating it.  Just be happy and be thankful already.  Geez.)



Wednesday, November 24, 2021

It's Wednesday

For those of you who are like me, today is Wednesday.  (And yeah, Wednesday is usually an Outside the Box day to post, but I have nothing writerly to say, so here I am.)  Knowing the day of the week this week is especially difficult because tomorrow is a holiday in the U.S., so it feels like a Friday.  

So close on the heels of the time change, this week is a total clusterfuck for figuring out the day and the time.  Make sure to cut yourself some slack this week.  It's not your fault.  You're stuck in this weird timewarp thing.  

Personally, I had to remember to send my timesheet to the office last night because I usually send it out Wednesday night, but payroll is today instead of Thursday because of the holiday.  Which was something the office had to deal with, shifting the payroll day and all.  

Poor Hubs was on the phone yesterday making plans for things that have to get done and he started talking about getting together with the person on Thursday when it struck him that's Thanksgiving.  Oops and apologies to the other party.  It'll have to wait until next week.  

We have some stuff we have to get done today, because otherwise, it will either have to wait until next week or we'll have to venture out into the shopping orgy on Friday to complete our errands.  And nobody wants that.  Plus, one of the places we have to go will be closed on Friday, because it's not just a one day holiday for businesses that don't sell things people might put under the tree.  Which is why my office is closed until Monday.

I'll still be working.  I have a project the big boss handed over yesterday and I'd like to make some headway on it before the office reopens on Monday.  My part has to be done before they can do their part and all that.  

Not working a normal job certainly doesn't help with the whole 'what the hell day is it?' thing.  Writing and spreadsheeting can be done anywhere between when I wake up to when I call it a day.  And it frequently is done outside of office hours.  So holidays don't really make that big a difference in the flow.  They still screw up what day it is, though.  Blerg.

So, consider this post a kind of public service thing.  It is WEDNESDAY.  What you do with that information is up to you and whether you hold it in your head?  Well, by lunch I may be back to thinking it's Friday again.  :shrug:


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Thanksgiving Then and Now

I had an awesome idea for today's post.  But I didn't write the post or write the idea down and, of course, I forgot it.

So, let's talk about Thanksgiving.

I don't remember a lot of my childhood.  And not for the same reason a lot of people can't remember the '70s LOL.  I think Thanksgiving was always sort of a big deal, though.  What I can remember was a house full of family and loads of awesome food.  

We'd start the day watching the Macy's parade and then whatever was on - usually some movie or other on one of the four channels we got - to stay out of Mom's way in the kitchen.

Mom would make a huge turkey - which I loved.  Candied yams - which I hated.  Pumpkin pie, easy on the spices.  And cranberry sauce right out of the can.  There may have been other staples, but I don't remember those exactly.  Corn?  Green beans?  Mashed potatoes?  :shrug:  

We'd eat and then Dad would watch the Lions play whoever on TV.

As we got older, and hooked up with special someones, more people would be there.  Then the babies started arriving.  It was something of a madhouse sometimes in my parent's home.  I do remember hiding in my room to escape the chaos.  Then dinner would be served and we'd all sit down - the adults at the big table and the kids at the card table.  

We'd eat and then Dad and the other men would watch the Lions play whoever while the women cleaned up and then had coffee while they chatted around the big table.  At some point pie would be served.  Then everyone would depart for their own homes.  Taking leftovers with them.  

In 2001, I moved away from Michigan.  No more family holidays for me.  It was during these years that I discovered I suck at making turkey.  I never have the patience to leave it in the oven long enough so the center isn't still bloody.  (And I never trusted the pop-up thingy.)  Thank goodness I never gave anyone food poisoning.  Thank goodness I married Hubs because he makes an awesome turkey.  

These days, it's just Hubs and I.  He does the turkey, I do the dessert.  We have stuffing that he makes and crams into the bird.  And canned, jellied cranberry sauce because that's how we roll.  (I take care of that, too.  I'm such a chef.  LOL)  And that's pretty much it.  No corn.  No mashed potatoes.  Definitely no sweet potatoes.  Bleh.  Sometimes we have rolls that I've bought at the store, but usually the rolls are left for tiny leftover turkey sandwiches.  (Hubs puts cranberry sauce on his, I just use butter.  Butter and turkey sandwiches... mmmmm.)  After we digest some of the dinner, we have dessert.  This year, I'm making pumpkin cheesecake.  Last year, we just had pumpkin bread.  It's not like we really need dessert.  Lord knows, we're already pretty stuffed after dinner.  Which we usually eat around 1:00.  

And that's about it.  This year, I bought a 14.5 lb turkey, so we'll be eating leftovers for a good long time.  Woohoo.  

What about you?  Any good memories of Turkey Day?  What's your holiday like now as opposed to when you were a kid?

Monday, November 22, 2021

Busy Little Beavers


 

Yeah, we've been busy little beavers.  In a figuratively literal way.  Hey, it's wood and we're chopping it.

We started on October 7th with the tippy cedar tree and one pallet.  (Now the center pallet.)  Then we got the bug and started dragging things up out of the forest to chop up.  Hubs added a second pallet for 'other wood'.  Once those two started to fill up, he added a third pallet.  We have one more pallet available and just enough room to put it.  We'll see.

Those pics were taken yesterday afternoon.  We've got it all underneath the sun porch, where it can stay nice and dry.  If you look at the top pic, you can really see the difference between the cedar and the 'other wood'.

Here's where the magic happens:

That's the stump from the tippy cedar tree we pulled down and chopped up.  We use it and the cinder block as saw horses.  The wood laying around is what we dragged up to saw.  When we get the urge, we'll cut it into lengths and throw it under the house.  Just two old folks and a limb saw.

Some of the wood we now have waiting to be chopped came from our oldest pile, where we've been throwing deadfall for 8 years now.  The pile was pretty tall and wide.  7 foot high by 10 ft wide by 15 ft deep.  It's now about half that and moved from between two trees to a more open spot.  We have three more deadfall piles as you go down the hill from the house.  We'll get to those eventually.  I don't look forward to dragging wood up from the bottom of the hill, lemme tell ya, but we'll do it.  

For the record, we are not taking down anything alive, except for tippy tree but he had to go.  And we're only working on land we own.  (Although I am starting to covet the deadfall on the neighbor's property.  When we finish with our wood, I'll ask him if he wants us to take care of his dead stuff, too.)

Anyway, like I've said, it's good exercise.  And it's an excellent way to leave the world behind for a while.

Are you finding ways to leave the world behind?  These days it's kinda necessary.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 45

I broke down and looked up the week this time.  Yay me.  Forty-five weeks in, seven left to go.  May 2022 be a better year.  (Lord knows, 2021 sure wasn't.)

Anyway, thanks to a kind and friendly poke in the ass, I got some editing done this week.  I input 7 pages worth of edit notes and I'm through to page 129 of the manuscript.  Don't get excited or anything.  I'll have to go through and make a whole 'nother round of notes and input those before I can even think about sending it to beta readers, whose notes I will also have to input.  

No marketing, no sales.  

I seemed to have a better reading week.  3 books finished.  But I'm still 8 books behind on my goal.  I've read 58 books and my goal was 75.  Oops.  

In baking news, I made a tube of cinnamon rolls I picked up at the Dollar General.  Those were pretty good.  I also did a batch of zucchini bread, but for some stupid, brainfarty reason, I only put 2 cups of sugar in instead of 3 cups.  It's not horrible, but it's also not right.  Oh, well.  We have two loaves of that, so those'll get eaten before I try again.  Luckily, Hubs likes it.  And I don't hate it.

Let's see... what else is there?  Oh, yeah, activity...  I was active 5 out of 7 days.  4 days worth of woods work and one day we went fishing.  Let's not talk about weight this week, eh?

The woods work...  Hubs and I dismantled our top-most wood pile.  8 years that thing has been sitting there, building and decomposing.  We pulled out the best logs and set everything else in a better place, where it's not brushing up against any trees.  The best logs are now in a couple of other stacks, drying out and waiting for us to saw them up.  Hubs figures we're at a cord of wood now.

Oh, and that tree I thought might be a persimmon, based on the bark?  It dropped a fruit near where we were sawing wood.  It was a persimmon fruit, so it has to be a persimmon tree.  Mystery solved.

As for the fishing, we went out knowing a cold front was on the way.  The front arrived just as we got out of the car.  Woohoo was it ever windy and COLD.  We weathered it for about an hour, got some bites but no actual fish, and then went home.  It was fun, but cocoa when we got home was so necessary.

The yellow-bellied sapsuckers are back.  Yay.  Now we wait for the eagles.  I thought I might've seen one on my last trip to Wallyworld, but I couldn't confirm it, so I'm not counting it.  The robins are also stopping on their way south.  They've cleaned the berries off all the spicebushes already.  Voracious little buggers, they are.

Thanksgiving is this week.  I have all the things needed for a yummy TGD.  And the turkey is now defrosting in the fridge.  It's 14.5 pounds.  The smallest I could find for the price of 78c a pound.  I thought I was pretty smart for getting it that cheap.  Then my mom said they got theirs for 33c a pound.  Doh!  We also have cranberry sauce (jellied and canned, of course) and stuffing (Stovetop) and rolls.  That's about it for our feast.  I mean, I have corn and rolls, but we've been ignoring those these last few years in favor of pigging out on turkey.  LOL

Oh, and I bought the stuff to make pumpkin cheesecake.  I'll get that done on Wednesday.  (If I make it sooner, we'll eat it sooner.  I'm trying to be good here.  LOL)

And that's about it for me.  What's up in your world?


Saturday, November 20, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 11/20/21

Hello again.  It was a pretty good week, reading-wise.  Three good ones finished, even if I did DNF a couple, too.

I didn't pick up any new books this week, but I need to rectify that since I'm down to my last unread ebook - a fantasy.

Books Read:

58) Duel of Fire by Jordan Rivet (11/18/21) - Fantasy* - 5 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  Free off the All About Books Divas Facebook page.
Review: "Gripping plot. Good story. Interesting premise. Nicely done all the way around. Of course, this is the first of a series and the overall story isn't finished by a longshot, which is kind of a bummer, but it was worth the read and I'll snag the next book down the road a ways."

57) The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide by Douglas Adams (11/15/21) - SF - 4 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  Snagged from the thrift store for $1.
Review: "I was sure I'd read all these books when I was a teen. But other than a vague feeling of familiarity, I don't actually remember the stories, so maybe not. I can say one thing... I don't remember any of this being so incredibly weird. Still, the weirdness was an enjoyable sort of weirdness for the most part. Maybe I was more attuned to the weird thirty-some years ago when I was a teen. :shrug:

Anyway, I'm keeping this copy. It's signed, after all. Not to me, but it's definitely signed by Douglas Adams, so it's got that going for it."

56) Montana Moon by Silver James (11/13/21) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense* - 5 stars.  Not new to me, but definitely underappreciated.  Paid full price $2.99
Review: "I read the earlier version of this when it was in another author's Kindle World. And it was awesome then. Now that the author got her rights back and brought Montana Moon strictly within her own world, it is awesome dipped in awesome-sauce with awesome-sprinkles. I love the characters of this story, as well as the characters that have populated the Moonstruck universe all along. If you haven't read these stories, you really should. And if you've already read this, read it again. It's so worth it."

DNFs:

11/19/21 - free - SF.  The story was good.  The writing was good.  The author kept tapdancing along a major pet peeve of mine so I quit reading.

11/18/21 - free - UF.  I'm not a fan of first person present, but I thought I'd muddle through.  I shouldn't have bothered.  I hated the MC within the first few paragraphs.  NEXT!

Currently reading... I didn't start anything new after that last DNF.  

What was on your reading list last week?

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Thursday This n That

First thing this morning, I read an inspiring story about a guy who did some amazing things in WWII.  Joseph Beyrle.  They need to make a movie about HIM.  Except I fear Hollywood would find a way to mess it up.  Anyway, it's good to start the day with something positive.  

Speaking of positive, my friend-editor was talking on FB about how hard it's been to get and stay motivated.  I said something about how we should try to push each other and maybe invite our mutual friend, too, so we'd be like a triad, but then we'd need special names like superheroes.  So she created a private group for us to do just that.  She's awesome like that.  

Of course, not too long after I joined the group and made my statement about what I'd like to accomplish through the end of the year, I received an email with four spreadsheets to do.  By the time I got those done, I was too pooped to accomplish my daily goal and I said so.  Then she poked me.  I didn't get two pages of edit notes entered, but I did get one done, so the poking was definitely helpful.

Things have been blerg lately, but I'm trying to get positive.  Getting positive isn't easy, but where I'm really falling down is staying positive once I get there.

I saw a funny on FB this morning.  What's the difference between Lebron and Kyle?  When he's under pressure, Kyle makes his shots.  LOL.  Yeah, if you don't think that's funny, can't help ya there.

I have a sink full of dishes that I don't wanna do.  I will, but not just yet.

Hubs and I went fishing yesterday.  It had been a pretty nice day so far, and even though we knew a cold front was coming through, we thought we'd give it a whirl.  On the way, we stopped for nightcrawlers and it was getting cloudy, but still quite nice.  Another five minutes to the lake, parked the car and started to get the stuff out of the backseat when WHOOSH.  Big, cold wind out of the north hit us.  Blew my hat right off.  (I saved it.)  Screw the wind, though, I wanted to fish, so we went to the kinda-sheltered side.  When I took the lid off the worms to get one out, the lid blew into the water and away it went.  My tackle box tipped over and scattered stuff.  I was laughing like an idiot.  Hubs was grinning.  We fished for about an hour and then gave up because we weren't catching anything and the temperature was dropping hard.  Eh, it was still better than an hour sitting here.

My camera battery died.  Not just needing a charge, but dead-dead.  So I put it my backup battery.  It was also dead-dead.  I ordered new batteries that came with a charger all their own, so here's hoping they work and that my camera isn't the problem.  I'd hate that.  I mean, the camera is 11 years old, but come on.  The batteries should be here tomorrow.

In order to make a big enough purchase for free shipping, I also ordered two CDs I've been wanting.  The Fray and The Head and the Heart.  Yes, I still listen to CDs.  I still listen to tapes, too.  =op

And on that note... after dragging myself away from the distraction of watching music videos... I'll let you get on with your day.  Unless you want to take another moment and leave a comment, of course.  


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Talking Wood Again

Okay, if you've been following along, this blog hasn't been much about writing lately.  Today's not going to be about writing either.  Yep, I'm talking about wood again.  Maybe someday I'll have a character who chops wood.  

One of the curious things about owning a stretch of wooded land is wondering what, in fact, these trees are.  This bring out the researcher in me.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I mean, I do have a guide to tree identification, but it only gets me close to what I might be looking at and it's not as comprehensive as I'd like.  So, off to the internet...

We have a tree up near the front of our property, stuffed in amongst the other trees, that has really gnarly bark.  This morning, I went hunting and discovered it's a hackberry.  Or I should say it WAS a hackberry.  I think it's dead.  I'm surprised it lived as long as it did with its trunk right up against another tree and its leaves not getting much, if any, sun.  Unfortunately, I also learned they don't burn well and they rot fast.  This one will not be going into the woodpile.

The other day I mentioned a couple big limbs with REALLY red heartwood that were not cedar.  Cedar has a very distinct odor and recognizable bark.  This stuff had neither.  It's black cherry.  We have a few of those around, so I'm not surprised.  Which tree these limbs came off of?  No clue.  We threw them into the wood piles years ago.  

By the way, black cherry trees are not like most other cherry trees and the black cherries you tend to see in ice cream are not these cherries.  These are small and mostly pit.  They have been used for medicinal purposes, so cough syrup flavor.  Bleh.  The deer and the squirrels love them, so they can have them.  Also, black cherry trees can get some height going on there.  We have one off the back that's easily 40-45 feet.  The old cherry tree we had when I was growing up would've never reached that tall.  The wood is awesome, though, and we've set it aside for perhaps turning into flooring or selling to a woodcarver.  (Or maybe I'll get a wild hair and learn to do woodcarving.  In my spare time.)

We're getting to the point in our cutting now that we can identify wood more easily.  We have loads of oak.  The black walnut is easy to identify, even if it's hard to cut.  American elm is prolific here and the bark's easy to spot.  We also have hickories, which you can sometimes identify by the smell of it when you're sawing it.  It smells like BBQ.  Heh.

The thing about oak... There are so many different kinds of oak.  We know it's oak, but what kind of oak?  No clue.  Black oak has darker bark.  White oak has lighter bark.  But once the bark has fallen off, oak looks like oak.  If we get a chance to see the leaves, we have a better chance of telling whether it's a pin oak or a swamp oak.  White oak varieties have leaves with rounded lobes and black oak varieties have pointed lobes.  

Over the weekend, we noticed a tall tree that had bark unlike any other tree.  And it has balls hanging in the upper branches.  But it's not a sycamore.  Sycamores have VERY distinctive bark.  This was more like the black cherry's bark, but not quite.  Into the internet for research again, and I think it's a persimmon tree.  So far, the only permissions I've seen were short.  Who knew they could get up to 70' high?  Not me, that's for sure.  Hubs still didn't think it's a permission, because there was no fruit laying around.  I reminded him that everything eats persimmon, deer especially, so even if the fruit made it to the ground, something would eat it up quick.  Unless a fruit falls while we're standing right there, we'll probably never see one.  

In case you haven't figured it out, I love trees.  Always have.  Used to hug them.  For real.  (Note: you can't, nor should you try to, hug a locust tree.  Spiky buggers, they are.)  If you're interested, here's a neat site I found that helps with identification.  It's out of Iowa, but sometimes trees are trees.  They have a pic of the locust tree that will give you an idea of how ouchy those things can be.  We have a few of those around here, too.  I've whacked the spikes off as high as I can reach so we don't skewer ourselves accidentally.

Anyway, it's not a writing post, but hey, paper is made from trees, so there's that.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

Here's a Picture

Since I don't have anything to talk about today, here's a picture:

It's a prothonotary warbler checking out the birdhouse I have hanging on my porch.  This was taken back in July and he didn't stick around.  Many birds have checked out the lodgings, but none have stayed.  Maybe this spring we'll get a bird in residence in there.

In other bird news, the robins are migrating through.  They're singing up a storm while they're here, which is awesome.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sunday Update - OMG, What Week IS it?

 I have lost track of the weeks again.  Oh, I could go look it up.  I could even just count backward from the end of the year and junk.  Right now?  Nope.  I need a coffee IV.

What did I do last week?  Oh yeah...

I'm still not writing new words, but I did make some small progress with the edit notes.  I've gotten 8 pages of notes input now and that's brought me to pg49 in the manuscript.  Go me.  If you knew the mental hurdles and roadblocks I'm trying to jump, you'd see this is a bigger thing than it looks like.  I need to just put my head down and soldier through.  First I need to be in a place where I can put my head down and soldier through, though.  

I thought about marketing.  Really, I did.  And I learned that Amazon does not let you do any Kindle Countdown Deals or freebies 30 days before a book drops out of Kindle Select and the book has to be in Kindle Select for 2 weeks after the KCD or free offer.  Or some such nonsense.  Except this morning, when I went to check my facts, they're now saying I could possibly put Unequal into one or the other and it's drop date is 11/29, so what do I know?  A friend told me she clicked the box to take a book out and when she went back, they'd put it back in.  Unequal is still showing as deselected, so I'm not sure what's going on there.  Anyway, I'm not doing it.  If you want one of my books, pay full price.  None of them are really that expensive - between $2.99 and $4.99.  You can get the four-book Once Upon a Djinn series for just under $16.  Which is less than one hardcover of most other books these days.  :shrug:

In reading news, well, I didn't finish any books before my Saturday Reading Wrap-up, but I did some other stuff that made a reading wrap-up worth perusing.  

On the baking front, I did a batch of granola bars and yesterday, I made scalloped potatoes with ham.  I also put cheese and bacon bits in it.  Hubs was pleased.  I was content.  I think it needed more of something tasty, but I'm rarely 100% pleased with my own cooking.

We spent some time in the woods this week, but not as much as I wanted.  It was too warm for really getting into the woods until yesterday.  And we sawed through all the wood we'd already gleaned, so we had to wait.  Yesterday, we spent a good hour dragging timber up the hill and then another hour sawing.  We only really got through a 3" diameter piece, part of another, and most of an 8-9" piece of oak.  That last sucker was a bear.  It needs one more cut and it'll be done, but we were tired and left it to today.  The other piece was a wood we'd never cut through before, so we set it aside to do some more research.  It's pretty dark pink inside, but it is definitely not cedar.  I'm guessing black cherry.  We'll see.  It's definitely not firewood.  We may find a way to make flooring with it. We'll see.  Weight: 180.4 - mine, not the wood. (Not sure where the pound and half went, but yay for it going.)

Did the Wallyworld thing.  I'm down to only going once a month, so it's a big deal now.  Anyway, I picked up the turkey for Thanksgiving.  I got a Honeysuckle White for 87c a pound.  Yay.  Unfortunately, the smallest one they had was over 14lbs.  We'll be eating turkey for a while after TGD.

Got an unexpected wrinkle this week which, oddly enough, set me to working on edit notes - just to give my brain something else to think about for a while.  It helped while I was doing it.  Too bad I can't work on edit notes while I'm trying to sleep because my brain went after the wrinkle with a vengeance that night.  Still not a thing I can do about it, but the ol' brain doesn't bother with that.  It just climbs on the hamster wheel and runs.  It would've also helped if I could've gone into the woods, but it was close to dark when it occurred and then the next morning it rained and by afternoon it was windy.  Blerg.

I also really need to go fishing, but the weather's been a turd for that.  If it's not raining and cold, it's windy.  Nerts.

Okay, well, that's enough out of me for today.  I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting.  If you want an update on something that's not here, ask.  I'll most likely answer you.  

How was your week?


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 11/13/21

Hello again!  It's been a busy, if unproductive week in reading.

I picked up five new ebooks this week - two fantasies, a SF, an UF, and a paranormal romance.  No new hardcopies.

Books Read:

I didn't finish any books this week, per se, but I did get through several more 'books' in the Hitchhiker omnibus.

DNFs:

11/9/21 - I started reading a hardcover copy After the Funeral by Agatha Christie that I picked up at the thrift store for a dollar.  I thought I hadn't read this story, but as I was reading along, it seemed really familiar.  Turns out I'd read this one under another title (Funerals are Fatal) back in 2019, so I stopped.  I'll just keep the hardcover on my collection shelf for now.

11/9/21 - free - suspense.  GAH!  Pet peeve time.  "You should do that, Mary," said John. "I don't think so, John," said Mary. "But, Mary, I think you should," said John.  "Why, John?" said Mary.  I think a lot of dialogue problems could be solved by reading it out loud.  Then the writer might hear it and realized people don't talk that way.    

11/9/21 - free - mystery.  Way way over-explaining everything.  I only made it a couple chapters in, but I was pretty sure the background of every incidental character was unnecessary to the story.  I mean a little of that is good, but come on.

Currently reading... I'm still working on The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide and I'm working that paranormal romance I picked up this week as a break from the weirdness of the Hitchhiker's world.

What were you up to in reading this past week?

Friday, November 12, 2021

Moron Pricing

Ahem... More on Pricing?  Either one works, prices are up and we have morons to blame for it.

Anyway, I went to Wallyworld yesterday.  Here are a few things I noted:

85% lean burger is now almost the price 90% was for the same size package.  I know this because they didn't have any 90% lean, so I bought the 85%.  I didn't bother checking the price for the 90%.  I also didn't bother looking at other cuts because of reasons.  Like I said, the grocery store had outrageous prices for beef in their 'sale' paper last week.  I joked with the greeter gal at Wallyworld about accidentally hitting a cow - they wander into the road often around here - and asking if I could take the meat home.

All the lunch meats have gone up about a dollar a pound at the deli.  Hell, bologna is over $4 a pound now.  I got deli-sliced ham and chicken.  They were both over $7/lb.

Xtra laundry detergent is a dollar more than it was last time I bought some.  Still the cheapest brand, but gah.

I picked up a pair of shoes for Hubs.  The same brand and style he's worn for years.  Used to pay just under $20.  They were just under $25 yesterday.

A 12 pack of GV toilet paper is up to $10.72 now.  Last year, it was like $6.79 or something.

A 4 lb bag of sugar is now over $2.  And didn't they used to sell sugar in 5 pound bags?

Gas at the Wallyworld pumps = $3.05/gal.

I wish I had saved a receipt from a year ago.  It seems like everything was so much cheaper.  

But if you mention how prices are higher because of the current administration, you get fact checked.  Like it's all just some kind of strange coincidence.  Umm... no.  It's a cause and effect thing.  And it's not going to get any better until something changes.  Unfortunately, we're in for another three years of this.  

To borrow a line from Atlas Shrugged: 'Brother, you asked for it.'

2021 - Books Read

Another year has begun.  And I finished my first book of 2021, so it's time to start the Books Read post for the year.  Over there on the left, you'll see I've done one every year since 2007. 

If you haven't been here before, here's the deal - Every book I read and finish goes here with links to the Goodreads page for it.  Most recent at the top.  Then I put title, author, date finished.  I list the genre I think suits it best.  * means ebook.  # means 'new to me and underappreciated'.  If there's a number after the #, it's where the book fits in the series (if I remember to do it).  

This year, I set the goal for 75 books.  That may change later in the year if I'm reading more than I expected to.  I never set it to less.

Update:  Oh, and if you're just seeing this now, I originally posted this in early January.  I keep moving the date of this post so it's easier for me to find and update it.  My new browser isn't giving me the option to update directly from the post itself.  :grumble grumble:

Okay, let's get started...

59) All Wands on Deck by Mara Webb (11/25/21) - Paranormal Mystery*
58) Duel of Fire by Jordan Rivet (11/18/21) - Fantasy*
57) The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide by Douglas Adams (11/15/21) - SF
56) Montana Moon by Silver James (11/13/21) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense*
55) Me & You Plus Two by Susan Coventry (11/2/21) - Romance*#
54) The French Fraud by Myrtle Morse, Ruby Loren (10/29/21) - Mystery*#
53) Centaur Aisle (Xanth #4) by Piers Anthony (10/26/21) - Fantasy
52) Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle (10/23/21) - Paranormal Romance*
51) A Brief Darkness (Alfred Hitchcock anthology) by various (10/21/21) - Mystery Short Stories
50) A Curse, A Key, and a Corkscrew by Anna McCluskey (8/8/21) - Paranormal Mystery*#
49) Never Came Home by CJ Grayson (7/23/21) - Suspense*2
48) Queen of Klutz by Samantha Garman (7/10/21) - Romantic Comedy*
47) Going All the Way by Cynthia Cooke (7/9/21) - Romance*
46) Smoke Rising by Craig Halloran (7/8/21) - UF*
45) Undiscovered by Anna Hackett (7/2/21) - Romantic Suspense*
44) Spirits, Pies, and Alibis by Nicole St. Claire (6/29/21) - Paranormal Mystery*#
43) The Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie (6/23/21) - Mystery
42) N or M? by Agatha Christie (6/13/21) - Mystery
41) Longshot by Blake & Truant (6/11/21) - SF*#
40) The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout (6/8/21) - Crime Noir
39) Ghosts & the Ancient Stones by Silver James (6/6/21) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense*
38) A Vow of Silence by Veronica Black (6/1/21) - Mystery*
27) Kiss Me Deadly by Jessie Thomas (5/28/21) - UF*#
26) The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (5/18/21) - Mystery
25) Dead Wrong (Cree Blue #1) by Kate Allenton (5/16/21) - Paranormal Mystery*
24) The Honeymoon Cottage by Barbara Cool Lee (5/15/21) - Romantic Mystery*
33) That Night by CJ Grayson (5/12/21) - Suspense*#
32) The Virginian by Owen Wister (5/9/21) - Western/Literature
31) Cracked: An Anthology of Eggsellent Chicken Stories by Various (5/3/21) - SF/F Shorts*
30) Curtains for Three by Rex Stout (4/29/21)
29) Equal is Unfair by Don Watkins and Yaron Brook (4/27/21) - NF*
28) Eye of the Monster by Andre Norton (4/26/21) - SF
27) The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie (4/23/21) - Mystery
26) The Source of Magic (Xanth #2) by Piers Anthony (4/20/21) - Fantasy
25) The Sound of Murder by Rex Stout (4/11/21) - Hard-boiled crime
24) Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie (4/9/21) - Mystery
23) Ogre, Ogre (Xanth #5) by Piers Anthony (4/7/21) - Fantasy
22) The Case of the Perambulating Hatrack by Cedar Sanderson (4/3/21) - Paranormal Noir Mystery*
21) Death by Chocolate by Sally Berneathy (4/2/21) - Mystery/Suspense*
20) Northern Affair by DK Findlay (3/31/21) - Adventure
19) Hot Under the Collar by Roxanne St. Claire (3/28/21) - Romance*
18) Defending Free Speech By Simpson, et al (3/25/21) - NF Essays
17) Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (3/22/21) - MG Literature
16) Salt in the Wounds by Mark Richards (3/22/21) - Suspense*#
15) Savaged Illusions: The Complete Series by Jennifer Lyon (3/19/21) - Romance
14) Boulder Dam by Zane Grey (3/17/21) - Adventure
13) Uptown Blues: Herbert and Melacon #5 by Seth Pevey (3/10/21) - Suspense*
12) The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard (2/28/21) - Mystery*
11) The Ambitious Card by John Gaspard (2/26/21) - Mystery*
10) Fighting for Justice by Silver James (2/20/21) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense*
9) Pawsitively Poisonous by Melissa Erin Jackson (2/16/21) - Paranormal Mystery*
8) Dead at Third by Gregory Payette (2/12/21) - Mystery*#
7) Twice the Temptation by Silver James (2/9/21) - Romance*
6) Fear is the Key by Alistair MacLean (2/5/21) - Suspense
5) Horse Heaven Hill by Zane Grey (1/29/21) - Western
4) Just for Now by Rosalind James (1/18/21) - Romance*
3) Five Complete Miss Marple Novels by Agatha Christie (1/15/21) - Mystery
2) Peonies and Peril by Sue Hollowell (1/5/21) - Cozy Mystery*#
1) Wholesale Slaughter by Rick Partlow (1/4/21) - SF*#

What plans to do have for your reading year?

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Thursday This n That

 I'll start out this morning with something I just posted to FB:

"Went into town yesterday.  The gas station closest to here was $2.99/gal but the pumps were occupied, so I figured I'd get gas in town.  The station in town was $3.19/gal and I hoped like hell they hadn't raised the price at the other station by the time I went home.  Lucky me, they hadn't and one of the pumps was unoccupied.  I shudder to think what the price will be by the next time I need gasoline.  At the beginning of the year, I could fill my tank for $25.  Now, if I want to fill my tank it costs almost $42.  For the record, I drive a Chevy Cavalier that gets awesome gas mileage.  I don't even want to think about filling the Jeep right now.  Thanks for nothin', Creepy Joe and all who voted for him.  =op"

Also, for the record, I don't fill my tank anymore.  

I can't imagine what my brother, the road warrior, has to pay for gas to do his job.  I know I was putting 150 miles on my car a day when I was doing the job.  And I had the smaller territory.  

We got the sale paper for the local grocery store yesterday.  Boneless ribeye?  $18.99/lb.  T-bone? $12.99/lb.  You can still get burger for $4.99 a pound there but only if you buy in the 'family value pack' which, if I remember right, is like ten pounds of burger.  I don't have room in my freezer for that.  Derp.  Wallyworld is a little better.  The 90% lean I buy was like $11 for a 2.5lb pack or $4.40/lb the last time I was over there.  But that was like a month ago.  I wonder what it'll be when I go tomorrow.  Blerg.

The other day, I watched Demolition Man again.  If you haven't seen it, watch it.  It's kind of silly and stupid, but it's also prophetic.  I especially appreciate this bit.  

Do actors ever actually watch the movies they're in?  Do they pay any attention to the plot or the theme or what's being said in the movies they act in?  I'm not sure Sandra Bullock paid any attention during Demolition Man.  And I don't see how any of the actors in the Harry Potter movies can behave the way they do if they'd paid attention to the movies/books themselves.  If Delores Umbridge isn't a cautionary tale about taking away people's rights under the guise of safety and protection, I don't know what is.

A little soundbite keeps running through my head: You are the villain in someone else's story.  Not sure where I heard it or read it or if that's even the right quote from it.  I guess it's all about perspective.  I still haven't heard from those people we helped all of September and part of August.  I think somehow I became the villain in her story.  Considering how she told me the stories of other villains in her life, I can well imagine the story she's telling now.  :shrug:  

Anyway, it's probably time to do something with my day.  Or maybe it's just time to grab another cup of coffee and continue to vegetate online.  What's up with you?

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Curve Ahead

Apropos of nothing, really.  I mean, it could be a metaphor for something, but at the moment, it's simply a curve on the highway heading home. I could be all deep and meaningful and philosophic about it.  That's not my style this morning.  It's just a picture.  Really.

Monday, November 8, 2021

How Much Wood Could Two Old People Chuck?

 Okay, so a while back I said I thought Hubs said we had about 3/4 of a cord.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  He never said that and my estimation was totally off.  Turns out a cord of wood is a frickin' lot of wood.  4 foot wide by 4 foot high by 8 foot long.  Umm, yeah, we have a lot of wood chopped up, but it wasn't even close to that when I said it.  NOW we probably have 2/3 to 3/4 of a cord.  (A neat article about firewood can be read here.)

I think the reason I assumed it was a cord was because over the span of my life, I've seen people selling 'cords' of wood that weren't true cords.  'Face cords' and 'stove cords' and sometimes they say 'cord' when they're just trying to sell the pile of wood in the back of their pickup truck.  But it's not a cord unless it fits the above dimensions, so if you're out there buying wood, beware.

We had these old pallets under the house.  They came with the load of paving blocks we bought back in 2015.  He dragged two out and set them under the sun porch (so they're out of the elements) on cinder blocks (for better airflow) and we started stacking.  One pallet was initially for the big cedar that fell over and we chopped up, but now it has all the other cedar limbs/trunks we've found and chunked.  The other pallet was put into place to hold all the other types of wood.  

As those start to fill, he dragged out another one and set it beside the first two.  

I really need to take pics of these things.  

Anyway, the two initial pallets are stacked in three rows about 4 ft deep.  The two closest to the wall are probably 3.5 feet high.  The ones farthest from the wall are only about 2 ft high and contain the smallest in diameter limbs.  The third pallet is a staging area right now, but we're starting to slop over onto it.  

We're cutting the limbs into roughly 14" pieces.  And the cut wood ranges from about 1" to around 9" in diameter.  We haven't split any of it.  We need something called a maul or a wedge or something to do this.  Right now, it's just a bunch of 14" logs.  

Now, you might be thinking we're being all advanced and using a chainsaw for all this work.  We're not.  We started out with a bow saw and a hand saw.  When the old bow saw and the old hand saw started to get tired, I went out and bought another bow saw.  Then I got another one so we could both be sawing at the same time.  We aren't but we could be.  The reason we aren't is because it's way easier to saw when one person is sawing and the other is holding the limb steady.  (I'm usually the holder.)

You might also be thinking we have some way to burn all this wood.  We don't.  Not yet.  We're in the research phase.  Wood stove?  Fireplace?  Wood burning furnace?  And which one would fit our needs and our budget?  :get distracted looking at furnaces:  Sorry about that.  

Anyway, like I said before, it's good exercise for these two old people.  And it's cleaning up the copious amounts of wood we have laying all over the property.  We'll burn it later.  And eventually buy a chainsaw, too, for the really big tree that fell down in there.  For now, it is what it is.

Do you have a woodstove or a fireplace?  How's that working out for you?

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 'Time Change'

 Well, my computer says it's 5:51, but my brain says it's almost 7.  Stupid time change.  I just saw on FB where a local news station asked how people felt about the time change and like a dozen people gave it a heart.  Those people should be slapped.  Just sayin'.

Anyway, here's the week that was...

I finally got some editing done.  Last night.  One and a half pages worth.  Then my brain started with the whole 'I'm never going to get this done' and the 'even if I do get this done, it's still gonna suck and require weeks more work and pages more edit notes and even then it will probably still suck'.  It's rough inside a writer's head.

If you missed it, I now have four books in wide distribution.  Blink of an I went first, then I did all three books in A Model Curse.  I wish I had a universal link for the series as a whole, which would be so much easier, but alas, I haven't found a way to do that yet.  I still need to fix all the blog links so they point to the ULs for each book.  I've posted the links to FB though.  So that's something.  

This wasn't the most exciting week for reading, but I did finish one book, DNF'd one book, and made progress in the omnibus I'm reading.

In baking news, I made applesauce bread one day and chocolate oil cake yesterday.  There I was doing the oil cake and I fucked up majorly.  I sifted together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Then I began adding the wet ingredients.  Stir stir st... this doesn't look right.  CRAP... I forgot the baker's cocoa in the dry ingredients.  I chucked it in and did my best to incorporate it.  Needless to say, my cake still has lumps.  I added chocolate chips to try and mask the lumps.  Then when I was making the frosting - chocolate peanut butter, by the way - I fucked that up, too.  After an interminable amount of time trying to get it right, I finally gave up and dumped it on the cake.  Except it was way too wet and started running over the edges of the pan onto the counter.  GAH!  I got the flood stopped and threw the whole thing in the fridge.  It ain't pretty, and it'll never win any awards, but it's pretty yummy, and that's what really counts.  And I was right, the chips hide the lumps.  Yay.

You know, when you're making frosting and you're totally screwing it up and it's like lumpy soup, so you add more powdered sugar, but then it's too thick, so you add more milk, but then it's too thin again, so you add more... Umm, I now have a heavily frosted cake AND a big bowl of leftover frosting, too.  I think it'll make a good ice cream topping.

On the activity front, I did 5 out of 7 days.  One day was a walk and the other four were throwing logs.  We have a sizable stack of firewood now.  Someone asked me if I was getting a woodstove for Christmas.  Umm... no.  For now, we're just accumulating wood.  It gives us both an activity where we're getting the hearts pumping and doing something constructive, so it works for us.  Weight hasn't changed: 181.6.

The big bucks are starting to wander through the yard lookin' fer love.  Magnificent.  Fingers crossed they make it through hunting season.  If they don't, here's hoping they lose their lives to people who hunt for food and not for trophies.

I think that's about it for me today.  There's probably more, but it ain't coming to me at this time.  What's been up in your world?


Saturday, November 6, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 11/6/21

Good morning, fellow readers.  I currently have too much blood in my caffeine system, so let's just get started on this.

No new books acquired this week.  I'm down to two unread ebooks now - mystery and suspense so I probably should start scanning the newsletters again.

Books Read:

55) Me & You Plus Two by Susan Coventry (11/2/21) - Romance*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated as far as Goodreads reviews go.  Free off the Freebooksy newsletter.
Review; "
Pretty fun story. Of course, it helped that it was set near my old stompin' grounds. All in all, a nice little romance. With sexy bits, if you're into that. "

DNFs:

10/31/21 - free - romance.  I'm not a fan of first person present in a romance.  I made it a few pages in before I gave up.  :shrug:

Currently reading...  The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide.  It's got like 4-5 books in it.  I finished The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and I'm on The Restaurant at the End of the Universe now.  I'm stopping between each book to read something else, which is where the read book and the DNF came from.

I'm still eight books behind with 20 books to be read before the end of the year.  Whether I can do it is now in doubt.  

What did you read last week?  

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Thursday This n That

Ever since I got my new monitor, I can't see the outline of this box where I type in my blogs anymore.  It's like typing out into space.  Derp.

I'm actually typing this at quarter to eleven at night, after lying in bed for an hour and then getting irritated with myself enough to make me get up again.  Played a few hands of poker, read some crap on FB.  Now, I'm listening to classical music and drinking milk in an effort to get tired.

On a side note, listening to classical music to get myself to sleep means I can no longer listen to it in my car.  It makes me drowsy.  Not a good thing to be while I'm driving.  Blerg.

Hubs and I have been dismantling our wood piles.  We have four piles and we've started on Pile 2.  Anything big enough to be firewood is getting dragged back out so we can cut it up.  And we've got some big-ass logs in there.  Loads more wood to cut up.  Yay.  It's mostly oak and cedar wood, but we do have some elm and ash and hickory and black walnut on the property.  Unfortunately, once it goes into the pile, we can't really tell what the other stuff is.  Cedar is easy to identify because the wood is red in the center.  I'm also trying to keep whatever hickory we find separated.

On a side note there, dead cedar trees are dangerous.  Spiky, super hard, dry limbs.  We are using great care not to fall on anything.  You'll put your eye out.  (Yes, I was channeling A Christmas Story there.)  Or you'll become perforated.  Nobody wants that.  And our property has loads of cedars - both living and dead.  

We're having a freeze warning tonight.  My last three little tomatoes are still pretty green and my other plant is still blooming.  They will probably be toast.  :sadface:  

I really should write a wrap-up post for my container garden blog for this season.  

...I went back to bed and laid there until around midnight.  This is me finishing the post at 6am.

It's actually about 36 degrees F right now, so not quite a freeze.

I made a to-do list yesterday.  It's still sitting there.

Hubs just started laundry.  He's awesome like that.  Get up and get 'er done.  

What this n that things do you have to talk about today?

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Stuff to Do, No Urge to Do It

So, it's morning again.  Funny how that keeps happening.  Thank goodness there's coffee.  

Okay, so I sat down to write this post about 40 minutes ago and then got distracted by the internet.  Derp.  I think I'm having a Short Attention Span Theater kind of morning.  This does not bode well for the rest of the day.  

I have this problem.  It's not a unique problem.  It's also a pain in my ass.  Every time I have a shitload of stuff to do, I get stalled by the amount of things I have to do.  Where to start?  How am I ever going to get it all done?  And then I give up and go watch TV.  It helps sometimes to write a to-do list and just start tackling items on it.  Sometimes making the list is about as far as I get.  

This happened to me yesterday.  I had a bunch of stuff to do and did nothing.  Okay, so I did the dishes.  Gotta do the dishes or we won't have anything to drink from, eat off of, or eat with.  That and the piles in the sink get to me after a while.  Every time I walk into or past the kitchen, there they are... judging me.  Also, the longer you wait on dishes, the worse they are to do.  

Sometimes I have a load of things to do, but bypass them all for some other task that I don't really need to do.  Clean the house or go outside into the fresh air and sunshine to throw logs?  Easy choice.  We have quite the stack of firewood now for a home with no fireplace.  Meanwhile, the house is covered in dust and the floors need vacuuming again.

And now I have all this writerly business work to do.  Did I do any of it yesterday?  Not a chance.  And the weather sucked, so I didn't even do outside stuff.  

On occasion, I can get myself to do stuff simply by bitching about not doing stuff.  (Hence, this post.)  For some strange reason, it helps if I sing Bruno Mars' The Lazy Song in my head.  (And there went another 5 minutes looking up and watching that video. LOL)

In reality, I know I need to approach all this like eating an elephant... one bite at a time.  Maybe that's the way to accomplish it all.  Stop thinking about how much I have to do and pick one thing.  Do that.  Pick another thing.  Do that.  Slowly but surely, it'll all get done.  As long as I don't give myself time to think about what a slog it all is.  

Oh, hey, look at the time... the morning 3-hour marathon of Grey's Anatomy is starting...

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 43

 Hi there!  I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning and I'm jacked up on coffee!  Yay!  And now it's time to wrap-up last week and look forward to next, so let's do this thing...

I didn't get any writing done, but that's okay because I'm not in a writing place right now.  What's not okay is that I didn't get much other writerly stuff done either.  Half a page of edit notes entered and a few hours of attempting to get things ready to load in Draft 2 Digital, at which point I got frustrated and went into the woods to make firewood.  I'll attempt the D2D thing again today.  And I'll talk more about that tomorrow on Outside the Box.

I did manage to get some reading done this week.  Yay!

In baking news, I made To Die For Coffee Cake - with the Butter Pecan cake mix as originally and most beautifully intended*.  Yummers.  (Recipe here.)

As for activity... Like I said above, I made firewood yesterday.  I also threw logs and dragged logs, all of which made up for 4 of my 5 active days this week.  The other day was devoted to unclogging the drain in our kitchen sink.  Yes, that counts.  Unfortunately, I gained two pounds.  I blame the cake.  And the ice cream.  Or rather the 'frozen dairy dessert' I bought at the Dollar General.  Weight: 181.6

I would've been more active, but the weather wasn't cooperating this week.  Splooshy splooshy rain for three days.  Yeah, I could've done something inside, but after working outside, riding the exercise bike is boring.

Oh, while we were out throwing logs, etc., we saw Chester Chipmunk running around in the woods gathering food for the coming winter.  So cute!  Yesterday, he actually came right up to where Hubs was working on reorganizing under the house and watched for a while before Hubs got too close and even then, Chester didn't run far away.  Such a good little critter.  I may have to take some birdseed down to where he's gathering and give him a nice treat.

One of the bigger bucks wandered through, lookin' for lurve.  I didn't get a good look at the rack, but he was built like a brick shithouse.  The girls aren't quite ready for him yet, though.  They can't be bothered with romance and prefer to just eat.  

In other news, I received an interesting letter via email.  I'm sure the sender thought they were being helpful.  However, unsolicited advice from strangers rarely goes off well.  (If you're here reading this blog and seeing my advice, it falls under the 'you asked for it' category.  I would never invade your space and send you an email with advice unless you asked for it.)  I spent some time thinking about how to reply - when I should've been sleeping - and ultimately deleted the email unanswered.  No good can come of engaging.  As for taking the advice, I can only say that at this point, to follow the advice I was given, I would need a big bag of moolah for new cover art and rebranding and a big marketing thing.  If you're a wealthy philanthropist, donations are always welcome via PayPal**.

Oh, crap, I just realized it's Halloween.  Happy Halloween!  I was supposed to do some marketing things this week to take advantage of the holiday, but I crapped out on that.  I also don't really celebrate since I don't have a kid anymore.  (I still have Owl, she's just not a kid.)  I thought about buying a pumpkin, but more for baking purposes than decor for the day.  If you're into Halloween and/or have kids and grandkids, have fun tonight!

And on that note, I'll let you go enjoy your day.  Time for me to try and hit the D2D thing again.  Maybe I'll have better luck and more patience.  ;o)

How was your last week?


*to borrow a phrase from The Philadelphia Story.

** totally kidding there... I probably still wouldn't make the changes, even if I won a cool million in the lottery.  But if you ARE a wealthy philanthropist, I wouldn't mind having a silent and anonymous benefactor of my arts.  ROFL

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 10/30/21

Hi there!  Finally a week worthy of your visit!  

I didn't get any new ebooks this week, but I did swing by the thrift store.  Got a Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker omnibus and an Agatha Christie I didn't already have.  Yay.  I still have four unread ebooks leftover from before - a suspense, a mystery, and two romances.

Anyway, I'm so glad to be reading again.  Yay!

Books Read:

54) The French Fraud by Myrtle Morse, Ruby Loren (10/29/21) - Mystery*# - 5 stars.  New to me and at fifty Goodreads reviews, it just meets my criteria for underappreciated.  Picked up free from Reading Deals.
Review: "Cute and twisty mystery with plenty of fun stuff and interesting characters."

53) Centaur Aisle (Xanth #4) by Piers Anthony (10/26/21) - Fantasy - 5 stars.  Neither new to me not underappreciated.  Saw in the book rack at Dollar General for $3 amd just had to snap it up.
Review: "Just as awesome as I remembered it."

52) Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle (10/23/21) - Paranormal Romance* - 5 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  I was given a copy of this by a friend.
Review: "This was a pretty good book. Probably would've been better if I'd read the preceding books, but I can't fault it for that. I enjoyed the characters and the premise was interesting. The plot was solid and I enjoyed the romance. All in all, worthy of five stars."

DNFs:

10/27/21 - free - mystery.   The book started out okay.  A little reminiscent of a show I watched on Masterpiece Mystery, but passable.  Then I got a several paragraph dissertation on how awesome the prisons were in European Country vs how awful actual punishment was elsewhere and moved on to the next book.  Unfortunately, I had already also downloaded the sequel which I no longer have any interest in reading.  Bummer.

10/27/21 - free - mystery.  OMG, seriously.  I was trying really hard to wade through this, because it had a solid premise and some good writing.  The hard part had to do with the MC's strange affectation of breaking into Hispanic slang even though he was a white dude with a Wonder Bread last name.  I tried, but after he did something profoundly stupid and then claimed to be a Law & Order addict, I had to shut the book.  Come on, man.  If you ever really watched L&O, you'd know what you were doing was stupid.  Writer shoulda known better.  Meh.

Currently reading... After I finished the mystery, I dove into one of my the Douglas Adams omnibus.  I might only read one book in it before moving on to something else.  First up, the book that began it all - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Hopefully, it's as awesome as I remember.

What was on your reading plate this past week?  Looking forward to anything awesome?

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Thursday This n That

 I woke up this morning to a dead coffee maker.  Poor Hubs was making coffee by boiling water in the teakettle and then pouring it over the grounds in the machine.  He had about a half a pot ready for me when I woke up.  Then I went into the storage closet and pulled out the backup machine.  Yes, I have a backup coffee maker.  It's an older one that wasn't quite dead when I bought the new one, so I tucked it away for emergency usage.  So, we have coffee and the world is still safe.  You're welcome.

I will be going out and picking up a new coffee maker today.  Because the backup could die without warning and no one wants that.  I drink coffee and smoke cigarettes for your protection.  Again, you're welcome.

I also have instant.  For larger emergencies.

So, I finally heard back from Amazon about my missing page reads.  They're still not paying me for those, but Amazon assured me my account is in good standing.  Umm... yeah.  So, because they (or their bots) decided someone was using KU to... what, fake read books?... I'm screwed.  I'll talk more about that tomorrow.

It's totally splooshy here.  Big band of rain stretching from the Gulf to Canada and it's sort of stalled, so it's wet wet wet here.  I'll need to find something else to do rather than throw logs for a while I guess.

I did do some edit notes yesterday.  A half page worth.  Which sounds pathetic until you realize on that half page were a couple of things that needed to be changed in the whole book.  Find and replace is a wonder, but each instance had to be carefully reviewed and reworded to make it work.  One of them was the hair color of an important secondary character.  And there was another character with the same hair color, so I had to make sure I was changing the right person's hair.  Blerg.  The other was how the mages address each other.  Yeah, still sounds easy when I type it out, but it wasn't.  What it was was tiring and tedious.

My luck has truly sucked lately.  My poker account went from 330mil to 120mil.  And I'm not doing anything different.  Just getting a heapin' helpin' of bad luck.  Thankfully, it seems to only be in the poker.  Not that my luck is awesome elsewhere, but at least it's not bad.  :knock on wood:

I had a dream the other night that made me totally not want a dog.  Something about two little yappy dogs and my entire house covered in urine and feces.  :shudder:  But I'm over it.  I want a dog again.  I like the looks of this one.  Or this one.  Or this one.  Or this cat.  

And that's about enough out of me this morning.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

News Bits and Other Junk

So, Cambridge University and the University of Florida have come together to sift through books and authors determining which ones might need a trigger warning.  Cuz, ya know, people shouldn't have to read things that upset them in any way.  Even if they're getting upset over things no one got upset about 10...20...100 years ago. Hell, some of these things are things no one got upset about prior to last year's election cycle.  And by the way, it's censorship, but they're not going to let that stop them.  Writers everywhere should be pitching a bitch, but it's crickets out there for the most part.  =o\

Hey, did you hear the latest thing about Fauci and the puppies?  Spoiler alert, it's not cute or nice.  I find it funny that all the people who have no problem whatsoever with what Fauci and his policies are doing to human beings are suddenly upset and surprised that his actions resulted in puppies being used as lab animals.  Beagle puppies, if I read it right.  Look out, Fauci, John Wick is coming for your ass now.

In happier news, I read a headline that talked about how quarterback Tom Brady tossed the game ball to a 9-yr-old cancer survivor he'd recognized in the stands.  That's nice.  Not a fan of Brady, but it's still a nice story.

In other news, a police K9 was shot over the weekend.  In the head.  It's okay, though, because the bullet glanced off the skull and didn't enter the brain.  Poor dog's skull got cracked, which has to hurt like hell, but he's expected to make a full recovery.  Last report had him out of the hospital and recovering at home.  Good dog.  I don't remember what happened to the suspect.  Hopefully, they lit him up and he's dead now.  If not, I hope they prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.

In my own news, I moved the entire pile of cast off limbs to the big brush pile this weekend.  While I was doing that I saw a tiny frog.  I tried to catch it and move it to a safer locale, but he disappeared into the limbs.  Here's hoping he hung on while I was dragging the limbs down to the pile and didn't get trod upon.

Hubs took a break from sawing firewood to reorganize the room under the house.  He built a shelfy-thing on which to lay lumber and stuff.  I haven't been under there since he finished, but I bet it looks nice.  

Note: Do not watch any of the Final Destination movies right before you help your spouse cut lumber.  The whine of the circular saw as it's approaching your unprotected fleshy bits will freak you out.  A little.  I obviously trust Hubs with my life, and he's the most careful and safety-conscious man alive, so I wasn't really worried.  But yeah, I shouldn't have watched any of that movie that morning.  LOL

How were things in your world this weekend?  Got any news to share?

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 42

Forty-two weeks in... ten weeks of 2021 left.  Blerg.  Oh, well.  I guess I'll start shifting my hopes that 2022 will be better.

In writerly news, I did start working on those edit notes.  Don't get excited.  I only did two pages so far and it's making me want to rewrite the beginning.  Don't get excited there either because I always feel this way when I start editing and I rarely rewrite the beginning due to it.

 I really should set up some kind of freebie/sale thing for this week, what with Halloween fast approaching and junk.  We'll see.  I'd hate to set up a sale and have my internet be all Mr. Poopyhead on me.

Speaking of internet, it's been fine so far this weekend.  We'll see what it's like tomorrow morning when we really need it.  We're still playing with the idea of satellite internet in place of or in addition to DSL.  

On the reading front, I finally finished the anthology and I also read another book.  So, I'm only like 8 books behind now.  I also picked up a paperback I've been casually looking for when I'm out and about.  It was surprising to find it in the Dollar General book rack, but yay.  I started reading it last night.

I didn't do a whole lot of baking this week.  A thing of baked spaghetti and a batch of granola bars.  

Not much baking because I've been in the woods every day, except yesterday.  Only a couple hours each day, but it kind of makes me not want to do anything else.  We're dragging logs up out of the woods and sawing them into firewood.  Then we stack the wood.  We've got quite a goodly amount after 6 days, which is cool.  When we get a wood stove, we'll have the fuel all ready to go.  And it's awesome exercise.  Nothing quite like getting some productive exercise going on.  I mean, I can walk/bike a hundred miles and go nowhere or I can make firewood and end up with something.  I'd rather have something to show for it when I'm done.

With the internet being a bastard all week, I spent a lot of time watching TV.  Funny since there really isn't anything on - even though we have free movie channels right now, too.  We're debating getting rid of the TV altogether.  Can we do it?  :shrug:  I certainly wouldn't miss the $114 for Direct TV every month.  And I can live without the reruns, which are about all I'm watching these days anyway.  

Ahem... anyway, the deer are fine.  They're getting ready for the rut, so we're not seeing them in large groups right now and they're not eating as much corn.  This is cyclical, so we're not worried or anything.  They'll be back.  They always are.  We are starting to see glimpses of the larger bucks as they wander through looking for the gals to love on.

The chipmunk has moved out of the flower bed and now seems to be inhabiting the wood pile.  We've seen him and another one chasing each other around it.  We're only removing the big logs we can get to easily, so no worries for them in their winter accommodations. 

Oh, before I forget, when I was on the phone with CenturyLink, I got a customer service rep who sounded EXACTLY like Martin Short doing Franck in Father of the Bride (the Steve Martin one).  I about fell out of my chair trying not to laugh.  Seriously.  I was slapping my leg and holding it all in.  I wrote a note so Hubs would know why I was acting so weird.  And then after I hung up, all the laughter came out at once in this sort of weird cackle.  I don't know if the dude actually sounded like that or he was doing the accent to sort of break up his day, but if it was the latter, he did a most excellent job and he stayed in character for the whole conversation.  Goid one, phone dude!  Made a horrible task almost enjoyable for me.

Anyway, that was my week.  How was yours?

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 10/23/21

Gah, I almost forgot that it's Saturday morning and I actually have things to talk about on the Reading wrap-up.

I picked up 1 paperback (which I already had) and a set of home improvement books this week.  The home improvement books are for Hubs, but I might read them at some point.  No new ebooks yet.  I still have the 9 I had from before, although I'm currently reading of those.

Books Read:

51) A Brief Darkness (Alfred Hitchcock anthology) by various (10/21/21) - Mystery Short Stories - 4 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  Bought from the thrift store for $1.
Review: "
This has some pretty interesting stories overall, but it wasn't my favorite of these anthologies."

No DNFs.

Currently reading... a paranormal romance.  It's like the third book in a series that I hadn't read before, but a friend gave it to me, so I'm jumping on in.  So far, so good - even with not quite knowing what's going on with this world due to jumping in late.

What was on your reading plate this past week?

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Thursday This n That

I have had exceptionally slow internet for the most part of this week.  Like dial-up slow and worse.  When I do have internet, I'm trying to hit the high spots.  Alas, the blogs haven't been one of them.  Sorry about that.  CenturyLink dude was all like 'suck it'. Okay, that wasn't what he actually said, but that's what it boiled down to.  According to him, there's nothing wrong with our internet, so they refuse to send anyone out.  He kept talking about the DSL slowing down 'during peak times'.  I told him 'I don't know where you're at, but this started at 4 o'clock in the morning and we live in the middle of nowhere, so it's not a peak time here'.  We're looking at options.  Probably Hughes Net satellite internet.  Let's hope that doesn't suck, too.

Hubs is reading me reviews from Hughes Net right now.  It doesn't look good.  =o\

Aside from that, we've been throwing logs all week.  Woods work is extremely cathartic when you're frustrated as hell.  And sawing cedar smells good.  

I saw a teeny-tiny frog a couple days ago.  No clue what kind.  Brown.  And about the size of my pinky nail.  Itty Bitty Brown Frog... Ittibitticus brownius if you want to get technical.  LOL

The other day I went to the thrift store.  Picked up a framed mirror about ten inches long by 4 inches wide. Perfect for a spot in my bathroom where I wasn't sure what would work.  I also got another Vince Flynn novel that I already had.  (It's becoming a running gag now.)  And a set of home improvement books for free.  Cha-Ching.  Hubs was pleased with those.  And they had a new manager, which is awesome.  The last dude was the one who jacked up all the prices on everything.  I bet sales dumped and that's why he's gone.  Anyway, the new dude is way friendlier.  He's from Indianapolis and he has family in Michigan, which is cool.  

The thrift store is hiring.  I mean, they're always looking for volunteers, but this is for pay.  When I asked the oddly-haired (no hair should be that color) girl at the counter about the job, she leaned in and lowered her voice to let me know it was for... the back... which means moving furniture and stuff.  Like she was trying to warn me off.  ROFL.  If she only knew what I'd been doing all of September and part of August.  I have half a mind to go apply and get the job just to show that girl what an old lady can do.  I think it would be kinda fun working a thrift store.  But I'd have to get used to listening to Christian music all day.  It's hard enough to ignore while I'm shopping.  I wouldn't mind if it was GOOD, but it's rarely good.

Okay, time to see if this post will actually save and post.  Have a great day, if you can see this.  I'll be watching TV and throwing logs.


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 41

 It's Sunday.  I'm still low on caffeine, but it's loading.  

I finally finished the edit notes.  30 pages worth for roughly 97K words.  So, like a page of notes per 3200 words.  The date at the top of the first page is 7/12.  Three months... but not really 3 whole months because I took all that time off to help a friend.  I plan on starting to input those pages today.  We'll see how that goes.  

After I finished the notes, I got back to reading.  I'm still on that anthology of mystery/suspense stories, but I'm making progress.

In baking news, I made corn bread.  That's because I did a vat of chili and corn bread just sounded yummy.  I also made a batch of scalloped potatoes.

On the activity front, I did active stuff 4 out of 7 days.  Mostly woods work - cutting up limbs and trees and tromping through the woods.  Some weeding.  Weight: 178.2

As to the woods work stuff, we took down the tippy cedar tree last week and Hubs decided he was going to cut it into firewood.  For when we have a woodstove.  That led to cutting up other sizeable deadfall into firewood.  So, while he was sawing, I was dragging because I can't saw well.  At least I couldn't saw the size he's sawing.  Or even the smaller stuff.  Then I stopped at the building supply place and picked up a new bow saw.  Yay, it wasn't me.  It was the saw.  I can saw again.  Best $9 I've spent in a while.  Woohoo.  So, yesterday, I was sawing small stuff while he was sawing big stuff.  We're such the little lumberjacks.  We now have a couple of pallets with firewood stacked on it.  Not quite cords worth, but one has cedar and the other has 'unknown' wood.  (Because most of the time, we don't know which tree the deadfall came from.)

Yesterday, while we were sawing I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  Two chipmunks were chasing each other all over the pile of deadfall.  So cute.  And yay, Chester's got a friend!

And the bucks are starting to tussle.  We saw Sonny and another young buck racking antlers the other day.  And down in the woods, you can see from the messed up leaf litter where there was a big tussle.  Soon, the rut will begin and then next spring, more babies!  Yay!

Let's see... Oh, I had a monitor problem on Friday.  I was checking out an online map when suddenly the whole screen shifted to a slight shade of blue.  It was legible, but irritating.  I tried several different things to no avail.  Hubs finally talked me into driving down to Wallyworld and buying a new monitor.  It's a 22" monstrosity.  And it's very bright.  As someone on FB pointed out, I can change the brightness.  As soon as I figure out how, I probably will.  Or I'll just get over it.  One other sticking point is that the base is too big to fit on my dictionaries, so it's a tad too low.  I think that's what gave me a neck ache last night.  :shrug:  This too shall pass or I'll figure out a fix.  

I've been torturing myself by looking at dogs and cats again.  I found a puppy I want.  And a kitten.  Still not getting either one and definitely not both, although that would be awesome.  (And a pain in the butt, but still awesome.)

And that's all I have to say about that.  What's up in your world?


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 10/16/21

Okay, so I don't have too much to talk about this week.  Again.  But I'm here, so let's do this.

I didn't pick up any new books this week.  I didn't finish any books this week.  I also didn't DNF any books, to that's good.  On a more positive note, I did finish making my edit notes for Untitled Fantasy, so I'll have more time to read now.  To that end, I did read several more short stories in the anthology I'm reading.  I'm about halfway through that sucker.  Should finish it today or tomorrow.  Then I'll get to reading some of the many ebooks I have waiting.

To that end, I have 4 mysteries, 2 suspenses, 2 romances, and a paranormal ready to go on my Kindle - all acquired between July 12th and August 20th.  Yep, I've been a bad reader for the past couple months.  I'm like 9 books behind in my reading goal.  Not sure if I'll make that up, but I can try.

How's your reading going?  

Friday, October 15, 2021

Am I Blue

I had great plans for this morning, but as I was checking out a map to see where exactly the tornado warning was in relation to me (it wasn't headed my way, btw), my monitor screen suddenly acquired a blue cast to it.  I've spent the past hour trying to make it not be blue, so there goes my train getting all derailed and junk.  

Of course, I haven't succeeded.  The monitor company isn't even supporting this model anymore and it's not even that damn old.  I tried to find somewhere else to get the damn manual so I can at least try to see if I can fix it myself.  Oh, it's out there, but it keeps getting hung up and I keep having to re-prove I'm not a damn robot.  

Luckily, it's not the computer.  I plugged in my old computer which, due to my being lazy, is still sitting underneath my new computer (year old is to new), and it's blue, too.

Hubs told me to just go buy a new monitor.  Feh.  Not until all other options are exhausted.

Unfortunately, I'm exhausted already.  And trying to see everything in a slight blue tint isn't helping.

I so did not need this today.

To end on a positive note, the edit notes for Untitled Fantasy are almost done.  I was at like 95% last night but it was bedtime and I wasn't in the mood to stay up, even to finish that little bit.  I'll get it today and then start entering the changes.  On this bluish screen, if I have to.  =op

How's your morning going?

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Thursday This n That

I'm at 80% on making edit notes on this book.  The end is near.

I keep finding old metal things on my property.  I have a horseshoe, part of a pitchfork, a piece from a saddle buckle,  part of a hitching post.  It's like a little museum of rusty things.  I also have a totally rusted set of pliers I found at the lake that looks as old as the things I've dug up out of the ground or found in the woods, which amuses me greatly.

Why is it 'set of' with pliers when there's only one?  I tried typing 'found a pliers' but that was just wrong, man.  

Hubs sawed up the cedar that tipped over. Every bit of it but like 4 ft of the stump are now stacked on pallets under the house drying for when we have a woodstove.  Now we're dragging other limbs and trees up and he's sawing those up, too.  Excellent exercise.  We're taking a few days off, though.  It's raining and we need the break.  Cuz we're old and junk.  Teehee.

Woodstove should be one word.  Jus' sayin'.

"Coffee is a potable plant." - Hubs

I only had two in-person friends.  One of them moved away.  The other retired from where I always saw her.  Yesterday, I ran into the latter friend.  It was nice seeing her again.  I just happened to pull into a parking spot across from where she was talking with another friend of hers.  She waved like mad and I waved, and then I walked over and chatted with her.  Like old times.  But yeah, that's about the extent of me hanging out with people these days.

The person my friend was chatting with... well, I didn't know her... but she was all like 'you must know my dad, everyone knows my dad' and I was all like 'Nope, I don't know anyone.  I'm a hermit.'  

I'm making chili today.  I bought the stuff and was going to make it yesterday, but by the time I recovered from the shopping, I was tuckered out.  I was also going to make pizza this week, but I forgot the damn mozzarella.  Dollar General, here I come.  But not today.  Cuz rain.  

For years, I've heard about the movie 'The Big Lebowski'.  I tried to watch it yesterday.  Nope.  Not for me.  :shrug:  I did catch a weird little thing - cuz we have free pay movie channels right now - called "Pieces of April' that was strange but nice.  I also watched a movie called The Quartet that was nice.

Okay, well, that' probably enough out of me this morning.  Have a great day wherever you are. Drop a comment if the mood strikes you.