Friday, December 31, 2021

Late Friday Reading Wrap-up - 12/31/21

Since this is the last day of the year, I wanted to set this post for as late as possible, so yeah, if you're seeing this Saturday morning, it's really a Friday post.  Really.  And Happy New Year!

No new books this week.  I still have six ebooks left from earlier in the month and scads of hardcopies.

Books Read:

70) The Reluctant Detective by Tom Fowler (12/31/21) - Noir Crime* - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated.  Free off Top 100 Free Noir list at Amazon.
Review: "It started with me not being sure I'd even like the main character, but all in all, it was a pretty good read and whether he came around to being likable or I just came around to appreciating him, CT's an okay guy."

69) Mystic Pieces by Ada Bell (12/28/21) - Paranormal Mystery* - 5 stars. New to me but not underappreciated.  Free from an Amazon recommendation.
Review: "
Cute and fun."


12/28/21 - MG Literature from my collection - I just couldn't get into it.  

Currently reading...  I didn't pick up anything new to read today because I wasn't sure what I wanted to start the new year with.  I feel like it ought to be something special, ya know?

Oh, and I didn't reach my 75 book goal for the year, but I made a valiant effort, so no regrets here.  We'll see what next year's goal will be.  

How was your last reading week of the year?

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thursday This n That

 The coffee maker I bought a month ago died.  It was a Toastmaster.  So, $15 down the drain.  Yesterday, I went to Wallyworld to get a new one.  They didn't have my usual Black & Decker model, so I picked up a Mr. Coffee.  And, of course, the less expensive models were all sold out, so I ended up with one that has more bells and whistles than we need.  (Literally on the bells... it chimes when the coffee's done.  As if we actually wait for the coffee to be done before we grab a cup.)  :shrug:  We have coffee.  That's all that matters.  And I really only spent $10 more than I would've.

You'd think with all the nifty things this coffee maker does, it would have a lighted clock.  But no.  And the clock is poorly designed because it's set back a little into the coffee maker and I have to lean over to look at it.  Thanks, Mr. Coffee.

In line at the Wallyworld, a masked-up woman rolled up behind me on one of their scooters - you know the ones the store provides - and she started bitching about how people weren't respecting the 6' social distancing.  She was about 3 feet away from me.  And every time I sidled away from her, she rolled closer.  Chattering away about her mother the nurse and the trials she's had to endure during her shopping experience.  I was pleasant and attentive, but eventually I had to turn my back on her and dealt with my purchases.  After I paid and put my stuff in my cart, I turned to tell her to have a Happy New Year and she said something like 'I'm glad I don't know you'.  Well, gee, the feeling is mutual, ya old bat.

Before that, at the cash register was another old woman on a scooter and she got really shrill when the cashier handed her bills but no coins.  A while back, Wallyworld went to a system where they round up on the change so if you're due a quarter, they give you a dollar.  I tried helping out the nice cashier, and explaining it to the gal, but it only made her madder.  As she rolled off, heading toward the customer service counter to bitch some more, the cashier told me she was only really due 8 cents and got a whole dollar instead, so she wasn't sure where the problem lay.  Maybe the lady collects coins.  :shrug:

Needless to say, the world is more than a little nuts right now.  I didn't let any of it harsh my day.  Hell, I got the dirt I've been wanting to buy and a new coffee maker AND donuts, so it's all good.  

Since it was raining yesterday, the dirt is sitting on the front porch and will go into the bed today.  Yay.  I got three more bags of Black Cow composted manure and two bags of what they're calling 'compressed potting soil'.  Supposedly there are 2 cubic feet in each 1 cubic foot bag and it will expand once it's open.  If it does what it says, I'll have 7 cubic feet of dirt to add to the garden and that should do it.  We'll see.  

You should've seen my little Cavalier yesterday.  Four 50lb bags of corn, five bags of dirt, all in the back seat.  (I have to put heavy things in the back seat.  If I put them in the trunk, it feels like I'm driving down the road doing one big wheelie for 20+ miles.)  I was riding low that day, lemme tell ya.  

I think the neighbors are finally moving into their new house next door.  It's been over two years since they started the project, but then the King Flu hit and supplies got harder to get.  Anyway, it'll be nice.  I wonder if they'll let me play with their dog.  He's a cool dog - like redbone coonhound mixed with Afghan hound.  He's all legs.  What a cute puppy he was.  

Gah, I need a dog.

Anyway, that's probably enough out of me this morning.  What's on your this n that radar today?

Monday, December 27, 2021

Saturday... err, Monday... Reading Wrap-up - 12/27/21

Sorry about the preempt, but Saturday being Christmas and all, I thought it would be best to move the Wrap-up to today.  The final Wrap up for 2021 will also be moved, but to Friday, ya know since next Saturday is New Year's Day.  

Okay, let's see how the reading week went...

I picked up one new ebook - a cozy mystery - and two paperbacks via Amazon.  

Books Read:

68) The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (12/26/21) - Crime Noir - 5 stars.  New to me, but hardly an underappreciated book.  Picked this paperback up new from Amazon.  Full price.
Review: "
Good story. Similar to the movie, but not quite the same. Enjoyable, even with the differences.  The five stars are for the story, not the edition. This particular edition came with various weird typographical flaws, so if those irritate you, you might want to find another copy. Personally, I'll still be on the lookout for a good, old, used paperback." 

67) The Guest is a Goner by Carly Winter (12/23/21) - Paranormal Cozy Mystery*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Free from an Amazon recommendation.
Review: "Cute little cozy with some fun characters."

66) Dhata Mays by Greg Dragon (12/22/21) - SF Crime Noir*# - 5 stars.  Not new to me, but underappreciated.  Free off an Amazon Top 100 Free list and because I'd read another book in this series.
Review: "I really do love these stories. The setting is intriguing. The writing is superb. And Dhata is kick-ass. A nice nod to the noir fiction I love, as well as the futuristic SF I enjoy."

65) The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (12/20/21) - Thriller - 5 stars.   Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  Picked this paperback up new from Amazon.  Full price.
Review: "I'd never read this before. A most excellent book and yes, better than the movie."

64) Anthem by Ayn Rand (12/18/19) - Literature Novella - 5 stars.  Definitely not new to me, but I always think this book deserves more appreciation.  I've had this book for years.
Review: "
I really needed this right now. I probably should make this a yearly read. It refreshes my soul."

No DNFs.

Currently reading... Nothing.  I was working on my own book yesterday.  I think I'll hit another paranormal mystery today.  I have 7 more books to read and only 5 days in which to do it.  I think I made a valiant effort, but I doubt I'm going to make the goal this year.  Stay tuned.

What did your reading week look like?

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 51

We're almost done with 2021.  Yay!  That's the great thing about the end of one year... There's always hope for next.

This past week... the week of Christmas... went about as expected.  I did some editing, but not as much as I would've liked.  I got thirty-seven pages done and added about 300 words.  I'm at pg 116 out of 351 pages now.  I spent part of Friday undoing some things I did book-wide because I got to a part where the changes didn't make any sense, so I undid them.  

I uploaded 5 books to Draft 2 Digital.  There are only 4 books still wide with Amazon - the SCIU books and Project Hermes.  If you haven't read them in KU, you better get started.  DE and EG drop out on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.  FG drops out on January 14th and PH drops out on 1/20.  

It was a pretty good reading week, but with Christmas, my update was delay to tomorrow.  I hope to finish the book I'm currently reading today so it can go on that update, too.  We'll see.

On the baking front, I did cake cookies with chocolate stars pressed into the middles and another pumpkin cheesecake.  (Note, do not buy cheap brown sugar again.  It's missing flavor.)  I also did a stuffed turkey tenderloin, a pot roast, and yesterday's big ol' ham.  Wow, that ham was amazing.  If you can find the, I totally recommend Frick's Meats... a company name that lends itself to my calling it 'the best frick'n ham'.  (I think it's a waste the company doesn't use that slogan.  Hubs says it's in poor taste and they don't want their hams to taste poor.  Ba dump bump.)

In activity news, we spent four days this week working on the front flower bed.  It's all dug up and new dirt/fertilizer/etc. has been added.  Hubs has about 2/3rds of it turned so the new dirt mixes with the old.  He'll do that to the rest of the bed today.  I also did a little cleaning.  Weight: ?  I'm not crazy enough to weigh myself right now.

One day this past week was spent driving to the county seat, so we could visit the title company and close on our new strip of land.  .32 acres worth.  It was our Christmas present to each other.  This coming week, we plan to take our pretty pink string and run the property line, drive a few stakes in... you know, mark our territory.  Part of the problem with that is a few large trees that have fallen across the line.  We'll figure it out.  We always do.  

This coming week ought to be filled with year-end stuff.  I never did work on those spreadsheets like I wanted to earlier in the month, so I have to do them now.  And I have to clean.  I've been such a toad about cleaning lately and the dust is starting to pile up to the point that I got sick of it and did some spot cleaning yesterday afternoon.  Gah.  Christmas cleaning?  No one is supposed to clean on Christmas.  Hell, I didn't even do the dishes.  Which I need to do right after I get this post finished.  LOL

Anyway, I hope you all had brilliant holidays and I hope the end of the year does right by you.  If not, there's always next year.  :hugs:

What were you up to last week?  Get anything good from Santa?

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas to All

Yep, Merry Christmas to All... even those who don't celebrate... because it's about peace and love and hope and joy.  Those are things I wish for everyone, across cultures and religions, over mountains and oceans, all around the world.  

May you all find every one of those things, wherever you are.



PS.  If you're wondering about the Saturday Reading Wrap-up, it was preempted by the holiday and will show up on Monday.  

Friday, December 24, 2021

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...

70) The Reluctant Detective by Tom Fowler (12/31/21) - Noir Crime*
69) Mystic Pieces by Ada Bell (12/28/21) - Paranormal Mystery*
68) The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (12/26/21) - Crime Noir
67) The Guest us a Goner by Carly Winter (12/23/21) - Paranormal Cozy Mystery*#
66) Dhata Mays by Greg Dragon (12/22/21) - SF Crime Noir*#
65) The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (12/20/21) - Thriller
64) Anthem by Ayn Rand (12/18/19) - Literature Novella
63) North One by Darren Wearmouth (12/15/21) - SF*#
62) I, Angel by JC Andrijeski (12/14/21) - Urban Fantasy*#
61) The Daughter of a Magnate by Frank H. Spearman (12/9/21) - Historical#
60) Nevada by Zane Grey (12/1/21) - Western#
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, December 23, 2021

Thursday This n That

Today's bird of the day is a Common Loon.  I love loons.  

Yesterday, Hubs and I were out.  We went up to the county seat to do some stuffs and to have lunch.  We did the stuffs, but then the restaurant we wanted to eat at was packed, so we drove over to another restaurant we liked once and they were closed.  So we drove around some more and then we headed for home.  Along the way, we stopped at a local woodstove/fireplace store.  We weren't buying, but we wanted to window shop.  The dude there laughed at the phrase and asked if anyone actually 'window shopped' anymore.  Apparently, yes, because there we were doing it.  

The stuffs we had to do?  We went up to the title company to do the final stuff to make a little strip of property our very own.  Unfortunately, the wife couldn't show up - health issues and well, ultimate hermit lifestyle - so they gave him the paperwork to take to her and have her sign and get a notary.  Basically, the trip was pointless for us.  On the upside, dude took the papers, went all the way back home, met the notary there, wife signed the papers and the notary notarized them, then he took them all the way back, so we actually did close on that yesterday.  He stopped by the house afterwards so we could finish the last of it.  Long story short, this now belongs to us:

Yes, the garage was partially built over the property line and a several of my gardens were also not on our property.  And the south yard we mow.  And a third of our driveway...  Although our neighbor is awesome, it's nice to not have to think about that anymore.  We went from an oddly shaped rectangle 132x409x140x409 to a parallelogram that's 160ft front and back by 409ft on the sides.  Everything that belongs to us now belongs to us.  And those are our black walnut trees there.  Mine mine mine.  Bwa ha ha.  Our empire grew by a third of an acre.  Yay!  Today a little strip, tomorrow the world.  ROFL

By the time the day was through, I was not inclined to edit.  So I didn't.  =op

Not too far along the highway from here, we saw two eagles circling in the sky.  Beautiful, big baldies, with their white heads shining in the sun.  And I could hear them screaming to each other.  Too awesome.

We finished digging up the front bed.  And after we were done and had removed all the rocks, the bed is lower than before.  And it was too low before.  So we need dirt.  I went to Wallyworld to get some last minutes stuff before the holiday and thought I'd get dirt while I was there.  Dang, dirt has gotten expensive!  I ended up getting three cubic yards of  cow poo.  It's supposed to help the soil, and that soil needs it, lemme tell ya.  I expect that today, I'll be spreading poo on the garden.  Then I'll put the remaining dirt we already had on top and hope it gets close to the height I actually want for that garden.  

Okay, that's it for me.  Now I'm going to chill out in my recliner, read some and watch a little TV.  How are the this n thats in your world?

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The First Step is Loving Yourself

Yesterday, a FB friend of mine posted the following statement: "A woman needs a man who will make her feel beautiful & loved every day."  I was all like 'yep', liked it and moved on.  This morning, I read the comments.  

Oh, don't worry.  No one's gone after her for the whole binary thing.  (Although I did see that elsewhere in a different post sharing the venom a certain writer is receiving because she defended someone else's right to have an opinion and the opinion was that there are only two genders or some such verboten truth.  But I digress...)  The comments were mostly guys talking about being good men and not finding women who actually want them.  Or finding women who say they want a good man, but then treat those good men badly.  

One comment struck me... He said something along the lines of having to get past women's self-doubts and that no matter how many times a guy tells a gal she's beautiful and loved, she won't believe him.  Been there, done that.  And I'd like to address why.

Okay, so I'm not exactly sure WHY why.  But I do know that by the time I reached dating age, my self-esteem was so screwed into the dirt, I not only couldn't actually tell a good guy from a bad guy, but I didn't think I was worthy of a good guy.  How that came about is the why I can't quite put my finger on, but I'm pretty sure it's not all that different from the majority of the women out there.  Or maybe it is.  

Beyond that, I was such a rube.  I was so busy trying to find a mate, because the culture says you have to find a mate or be worthless, that I hung my hopes on the slightest positive attribute and ignored any negative attributes.  If he was nice to me and actually WANTED little ol' unlovable me, I was all for him.  I learned the hard way that sometimes the biggest shits are the nicest guys... at first.  And then when things went bad, I put it all on me.  I believed I was at fault and I was the reason they turned into shits.   

Umm, no.

Between 16 - when I was allowed to date - and 33, I went through a tragic amount of bad relationships - good guys and bad guys, them fooling me or me fooling myself or both.  The central failing all along was that I didn't like myself.  Over the years, I got better, but not better to the point where I stopped the cycle.

After the last relationship before Hubs, I worked on being happy being single.  Loving myself and my own company.  Once I got there, I waded in again, because being single is lonely and man was not meant to be alone.  I got lucky and found Hubs.  Now, there's a good man.  

Even then, though, the self-doubt crept in.  That first year, I was terrified I would do something or say something and everything would fall apart.  I'd be the stupid one again.  He was very patient with me.  He's always very patient with me.  And I was patient with him.  Because that's the way a real relationship works.  Patience and understanding, setting aside your baggage and helping them set aside theirs.  Until you've been together long enough that the baggage fades away.  

Yes, there are good men out there.  There are good women out there, too.  Finding them is as easy or as difficult as wading through the bad ones, and the not-quite-right ones, until you make it.  But the first step is loving yourself, recognizing your faults and working to either fix them or make peace with them. Loving yourself is the ultimate path to find someone else who loves you, too.  I discovered that being okay with being an individual alone is the best way to become part of a duo that endures.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Gardening in December?

It's the Tuesday before Christmas and all through the house... Actually we aren't doing anything 'all through the house'.  We're sitting here in our office, Hubs at his computer and I at mine, drinking coffee and screwing around online.  He's waiting for the markets to open and I'm waiting to call the office...

Yesterday, we went out and finished digging up the front flower bed.  It's about 20ft long from the front porch to the north end of the house by about 6ft deep from the block border to the house.

The first session, I dug up all the plants I wanted to keep - mums, peonies, lariope, columbine, and bugle weed.  I also saved some of what I think are wild violets.  (The leaves were all gone, so all I have are the rhizomes.  We'll see if they are what I think they are come spring.)   Then we dug up about a quarter of the bed at its narrowest point and chucked all the rocks bigger than say 1 inch into the wheelbarrow.

The next day, we spent a couple hours digging the middle and throwing rocks.  

On the third session, which was several days after the previous one because we got a lot of rain, I went out by myself and dug maybe a couple of feet worth from the other direction, working from the porch toward the middle.  

Yesterday, we had about 5 feet worth left to go.  And we tackled that like champs.  We should've stopped before we did, but we only had a couple feet left to go and neither of us was inclined to leave that little bit to the next day.  We're no quitters.  Of course, we paid for it.  

We easily pulled three wheelbarrows worth of rocks out of that damned bed.  This is very rocky land here.  The biggest one was probably 8-9 inches by 5 or 6 inches.  And I thought we'd dug that bed down when we put it in.  Rocks migrate up, doncha know. 

Anyway, it's sitting there all cleaned up and waiting for more dirt.  Which I will get soon.  I have the dirt I used in last year's container garden to dump in there.  (I'll get more dirt for this spring's garden.)  But it'll take more than I currently have on the property.  And dirt had gotten really expensive the last time I checked.  Not sure exactly how much I'll need, but, hey, I can always get more dirt.  

Once I get the dirt, I can put the plants back.  I think most of them can wait it out.  They're in pots in the garage for now.  The peonies are just roots and can overwinter like that if they need to.  The mums are also dormant, so they can wait.  Not sure about the columbine or the lariopes.  I might just go ahead and move the lariopes to another bed.  They like full sun and they were getting crowded by the peonies anyway.  

I'm playing with the idea of moving my one Charlie Brown peony from another bed to this one.  And I'm also thinking about moving the one hydrangea that's not doing so well into the front bed.  We'll see.  The only thing that's going back right where it was is the columbine.  It liked where it was and grew well there.  

So, that's what I'm up to this week before Christmas.  Yeah, gardening in December.  Lord knows, it's been warm enough.  It's supposed to get up to 63F on Christmas Day, for pitysakes.  

What are you up to this holly-jolly week?

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 50

Well, hello again.  Only two weeks left of 2021.  Yay.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up for '22.  Don't want to jinx it, doncha know.

Anyway, I got some editing done.  Got through 46 pages and added about 500 words.  No clue how many I deleted, so that's a net number.  The book is now 348 pages and 102174 words.  That'll change.  Of course, I've only edited through pg 79, so there's a long row to hoe, there.  Eh, it's worth the effort.

I didn't get the genie books uploaded to D2D yet.  And now Duke has dropped out of KU, so I've got that to upload, too.  Blerg.  Maybe today. 

In reading news, I made a little progress.  I read two books (sorry I forgot to detail them in the wrap-up before I posted it yesterday) and DNF'd a few.  I finished Anthem yesterday, so there's one more.  I'm still 11 books away from reaching my goal and with only 13 days left in the year, I doubt I'll make it.  Especially since I received and started reading Silence of the Lambs in paperback yesterday.  Never read that one before.  I won't finish it today unless I spend all day reading and I have other stuffs to do.  Oh, and I also bought a paperback copy of The Big Sleep.  I've been trying to find that one locally, but I finally gave up and just ordered it online.  It's not an old copy for my collection, but at least I'll finally be able to read it.

On the baking front, I did a batch of pumpkin pie bread earlier in the week and cake cookies with mint patties yesterday.  Damn those cookies are good.  (So's the bread, btw.)  

It wasn't a banner week for activity.  Only three days worth - one in the woods and the other two working on a gardening project.  Don't talk to me about my weight right now.  Let's just say, it ain't pretty.  

The project?  We're redoing the front flower bed.  We're digging the whole damn thing up, turning the earth, added more dirt, and removing all the rocks bigger than an inch or two.  Hubs and I made some good progress.  We've already pulled a wheelbarrow worth of rocks out and we're only about 2/3rds done.  But then it rained and we had to put the project on hold.  All the plants I want to keep are in pots now, sitting in the garage.  Hopefully, they're all as dormant as I think they are, so they won't die between now and when I put them back in the ground.  Digging up those established peonies was a bear.  Hopefully, I didn't kill them.  Ever higher hopes that the roots that broke off, which I saved, will grow into their own plants.  You know, like irises do.  If so, I may have a ton of peony plants around the property.  Yay.  If I lose plants, I'll have a sad, but we'll buy more.

Speaking of buying stuff, we're working on something that I can't talk about here until after it's done.  It was supposed to be done already, but due to issues and because of events, it got pushed back.  Maybe this week, if all goes well.  Needless to say, a lot of brain space has been devoted to that lately.  It'll be good to have it done and finally be able to stop thinking about it.

As for rain, we got 4 inches worth on Friday.  That put everything outdoors on hold because the ground is like mush for both digging and trying to walk around in the woods.  

Yes, Christmas is only 6 days away.  I don't want to talk about it.  Maybe I'll be in a holly-jolly mood come Friday.  We'll see.

Oh, and I FINALLY got the replacement paycheck for the one that went missing.  If showed up two days after I called the post office and bitched, and one day after I cornered the postal gal at the mailbox.  Huzzah.  The original check?  Who the hell knows where that one went.  I know I got a piece of mail yesterday that looked like it had been folded, spindled, AND mutilated.  Maybe the USPS machinery is eating my mail to the point where it's no longer mailable.  Turds.

And that's it for me.  Whew.  How was your last week?

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 12/18/21


I ran out of of unread ebooks Thursday afternoon, and nothing was good in the newsletters that day, so I hit the Amazon 'Top free' lists and found 9 books that sounded worth downloading - two paranormal mysteries, 2 regular mysteries, 2 thrillers, a regency romance by an author I used to know, a noir, and a SF noir prequel to a book I'd already enjoyed.  

Books Read:

63) North One by Darren Wearmouth (12/15/21) - SF*#
62) I, Angel by JC Andrijeski (12/14/21) - Urban Fantasy*#


12/17/21 - I thought I'd found an Agatha Christie on my shelf I hadn't read before.  It started feeling familiar about ten pages in.  Oops, actually read it back in October of last year.

12/16/21 - free - suspense.  The beginning was confusing and then when the central characters came in, I didn't like them.  I wasn't sure if they were stupid or rude or stupid and rude.  Meh.  

12/16/21 - free - thriller.  Umm, no.  I mean, the beginning started with a thrilling episode, but by the time the killing got around, I didn't like the people getting killed.  And I'm old, so forgive me if I can't wrap my head around a mom talking to her 8th grader about what boy might be taking her to prom?  Prom.  We were shocked when freshman got asked to the prom.  Middle schoolers were flat out.  Yuck.  And the mom's giving her opinion on which boy is hotter.  With her 13-yr old daughter?  Not only yuck, but ew.  And that was just the opening scene.  When we finally meet the hero, it's one long slog of backstory.  I know this was a book 2, but even if I'd read book 1, I'd be irritated.  

Currently reading... Anthem by Ayn Rand.  I've read it many times in the past 35 or so years but it's been a while, so I thought I'd do a refresh.

What was on your reading plate this past week?

Friday, December 17, 2021

Meat Don't Grow on Trees

Okay, I'm going to foray into something that isn't necessarily my bag.  It's a post Hubs should write*, but he doesn't do social media, so here goes...

Right now, live cattle is about $1.40 a pound on the commodities markets.  Now, that's a whole cow.  On a 1200 pound cow ($1680), you get about 500 pounds of meat you can get at the store.  About half of that is made into burger.  Which leaves the other half for roasts and steaks, etc.  

Now, of course, you're not going to see as low a price as a $1.40 a pound for the meat.  There are butchering costs - about 80c to a dollar a pound - and packaging and transportation. There's overhead for the seller and they have to make some kind of profit, otherwise what's the point?  

According to Hubs, twenty years ago, live cattle (or fat cattle) were 60-80c a pound.  But hey, everything's gone up, right?  Not as much as you'd think.  April of 2020 live cattle was 83c.  You know, pre-'rona and pre-Biden.  By July, it was up to 92c a pound.  A year ago (or 12/24/20), they were selling for $1.08 a pound.  

Going by their sale paper (effective 12/15-12/28), the local grocery store is selling ribeye steaks for $12.99 a pound.  Lobster is also $12.99 a pound.  Let that soak in for a moment.  Where I'm from, only rich people ate lobster, but the average joe could still afford a ribeye every once in a while.  Lobster was expensive because they don't grow on trees, ya know.  You can't just go down the road and get a lobster.  They have to be caught in the ocean and then shipped, etc.  They aren't standing in a field in middle America - or pretty much any other state.  (Florida, for instance, has a ton of cows.)  Hell, if the world suddenly went to hell and we were full blown dystopian nightmare, I could walk less than a half mile and bag myself a cow.

Now, over at the local store, you can still get 95% lean burger at a fairly reasonable price... if you buy in the 'family pack', which is too big for people with small families or small freezers.  Then it's $4.99 a pound.  But even the 80% is $3.99 a pound in the big pack.  Get the mix pack of pork and beef, it's $2.99.  

Speaking of pork, pork ribeyes are on sale for $2.99 a pound.  And that's not a family pack price.  Which brings me to a question... why the hell is pork so much cheaper?  You have basically the same supply chain issues to deal with - butchering, packaging, transportation, overhead, etc.  Pigs are smaller, so you have to deal with more pigs for the same amount of meat as you'd get off a cow.  

For comparison, lean hogs (the pig equivalent of live cattle) are 80c a pound right now.  A year ago they were 68c.  A 12c jump as opposed to the 32c jump cows took.  (Over the moon.  The little dog ain't laughing now, baby.)

I'm not sure exactly what to make of all this.  All I know is everything's gone up since last year's election.  Oh, it had gone up a little since the Kung Flu kicked the nation's ass, with help I might add, but not nearly as much as since President Feckless took office.  It's just that Hubs and I were talking about it and I thought y'all might be interested.  

*Hubs is a very good and eloquent writer.  Of course, he is, I married him, didn't I?  He just doesn't often do it for other people.  If I could show you the letter he wrote to a friend for Christmas, you'd know.  I asked, he looked at me like I'd grown a third arm out the middle of my forehead. I tried to talk him into blogging it himself, but no.  Sorry.  

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Thursday This and That

Oops, sorry.  I woke up late and I've been dragging ever since, so I'm late doing this.  

I want a dog.  Not just any dog, but this... Crap, I went to get the link for her and she was gone.  I should've figured she wouldn't last long.  She was an awesome 7mo old that looked like a mix of lab and Leonberger. :sniffle:  Both of my favorite kittens got adopted, too.  That's good, though, right?  They got homes and I don't have to be sitting here wanting to go get them anymore.  

Well, that reprieve from wanting a particular dog didn't last long.  I found this one.  Okay, admittedly this one has been there a while and I'd seen it before, but the original pictures didn't do it justice.  The new pics make it look totally awesome.  It has two siblings there, too, but the pics of them are also not good and no new ones have been uploaded yet.  Not that I could take all three.  Gah.


I'm currently pissed at the USPS.  The paycheck my office mailed on 12/2 never arrived.  So last week, they cut me a new check.  Actually, they cut me a check for last week's pay and mailed it Thursday.  Then the replacement check went out Friday.  I got the Thursday check on Monday.  The replacement check still hasn't arrived.  AGAIN.  Then yesterday, we got two Christmas cards mailed to us from other states.  Both of them had stickers on them... 'unable to forward'.  WTF?!  One took 11 days to get here and the other took 9 days - from CO and VA.  WTF?!  So I called the local post office.  Poor dude sounded harried.  He had no clue what happened other than to intimate that somehow some letters are getting put through as forwards when there's no forward order.  Ostensibly so whoever is sorting that mail won't have to deal with it that day.  Off it goes and good luck with all that.  GAH!  Since the problem is from several different states, I'm laying the blame on the Springfield, MO postal sorting location.  I have half a mind to drive up there and slap the crap out of someone.  Paychecks, people.  You're messing with paychecks.  Fuckers.


We had another stormy thing blow through last night.  Lots of wind.  A little hail.  No big deal.  Once again, we're fine.  Not sure what the hell is up with the weather these days.  It is NOT, no matter what our feckless leaders says, due to manmade climate change.  What a dork.


I can't seem to drop a this or a that without wanting to go on and on or rant about it, so I'll leave you here.  Have a great day and stay safe wherever you are.  :hugs:

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 49

Yeah yeah yeah, I thought last week was #47, but counting back from the end of the year, this had to have been #49.  At some point in the year, I stuck a number in there and hoped for the best.  I must've been off.  Oops.  

Anyway...  I'm pretty pleased with myself for working on editing almost every day.  And that one day I took off?  Well, I figured out what was wrong and got back to work the next day, so it's all good.  I'm not making huge leaps in the progress department, but overall, I'm pleased with the work.  The manuscript is getting better by the day.  Unfortunately, some of my flashes of insight make me have to take a few steps back and do rewriting.  It's like a bizarre dance where I take several steps forward, then a few steps back, then a couple steps to the side, erase my footprints, and move forward again.  The Dance of the Plum-Crazy Writer.  

I got another book uploaded to Direct 2 Digital - UNEQUAL.  Unfortunately, I learned that you can't put a title with all caps into the system and then I learned you can't change the title once it's uploaded, so I had to delete it and go through the process again.  It's available now at B&N and Kobo (and a few other places).  This week, I'll be uploading Accidental Death and Natural Causes, as well as the genie series.  

I didn't have a great reading week.  I spent a lot of it finishing a book I had wrongly assumed would be a quick read and then I DNF'd several.  I'm on a good one now, so I'll have at least one book to review before next Saturday.  My hopes of reaching this year's goal are dwindling.

In baking news, I make granola bars again.  And I did scalloped potatoes with ham.  Yummers.  I was going to make cake or zucchini bread, but a neighbor brought us a big cream cheese coffee cake, so we've been eating on that instead.

On the activity front, I did 4 out of 7 days.  I actually got two walks in!  The other days were woods work stuff.  I haven't recorded a weight yet this month.  The last time I weighed myself, I didn't like the number.  LOL

Yesterday, Hubs and I went into the woods and cut a really big sycamore limb into thirds, then dragged those up the hill.  Woof, that was a workout in itself.  Then Hubs cut the biggest third into 14" lengths for firewood.  I think we had 6-7 logs worth out of that.  And then I called it a day for us both.  Good thing, too.  We were pooped.  The other two thirds will keep or we'll do them today, depending on how we feel and how the weather is.

Speaking of weather, we caught the beginning of that horrific storm system that killed all those people and did all that damage.  It didn't drop hell on our heads here, but it sure was a nasty bastard after it left.  My heart goes out to all those poor people.  I saw a drone video of that town in KY.  It was awful.  =o(

In deer news, the bucks are starting to drop antlers.  We saw one walk into the yard with only the right side and the space where his left was looked fresh, so we went looking for the left.  Alas, he probably dropped it on the neighbors' property.  The good news is that now that the rut is over, the does are starting to herd back up again and they aren't as testy with each other.  Yay.

Oh, and I finally saw an eagle.  Yay.  It was making lazy circles over the house one day when we were out on the deck.  This is actually pretty late in the year for my first eagle sighting, but I'm okay with that.  

And I think that's about it for me this week.  I probably did some other stuff, but it's a blur.  How was your week?

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 12/11/21

 It wasn't the best of weeks for reading.  And I'm pretty sure every DNF brings me that much farther away from the chance of completing my goal.  But... :shrug: it is what it is.

I haven't picked up any new books this week, but I'm down to like 3 unread ebooks - thriller, SF, and UF - so I'd better get cracking.  

Books Read:

61) The Daughter of a Magnate by Frank H. Spearman (12/9/21) - Historical# - 4 stars - This was a book that used to belong to my daughter.  She didn't want it anymore, so it ended up on my shelves.  I finally got around to reading it.
Review: "
Pretty good story. The writing was okay, but didn't blow my socks off.


12/10/21 - romance - free.  It read like it was written by a tenth-grade girl so she could share it with her friends.  I mean, she was probably a straight-A student, because I wasn't finding errors all over the place, but totally not for me.

12/9/21 - cozy mystery - free.  It opened to the end even though I'd never read it.  Weird.  So, I went to the beginning and it was lame, which meant I ended up DNF'ing it anyway.  What a waste of time.

12/9/21 - fantasy - free.  Meh.  It wasn't blowing my skirt up.

Currently reading... that UF.  I haven't made it very far, but it's not giving me a reason to DNF it yet, so yay.

What was up in your reading world this past week?

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Thursday This n That

Yesterday while I was out running errands, a neighbor stopped by with a big coffee cake thing to thank Hubs for something.  Streusel goodness on the top, stuffed with a cheesecakey type mixture.  So yummy.  But it needs something fruity.  I'm thinking cherry pie filling.  Or strawberry.  I forgot something at Wallyworld, so I'll be heading to Dollar General anyway.  

Heh, like either of us needs coffee cake or pie filling.  Eh, who cares?  I'm eating it.  Test me, and I'll put ice cream on it, too, just for spite.  LOL

I've spent the past two days basically on my ass.  Here in the desk chair or in the recliner or in the car.  I wasn't feeling bad, I'm just lazy.  But, here's the kicker... I am stiff and sore today.  I have to move this body or bad things happen.

Getting older blows.  But it's better than the only alternative reality offers us.  Wouldn't it be great if we could just stay a good age physically while we grow mentally?  Alas, it doesn't work that way.  We age, we corrode, shit falls apart.  In my misspent youth, I used to say something like 'I don't care about my body.  It's just there to carry my brain around.'*  Well, stupid, it's not good for carrying around your brain if you don't take care of it.  Like maintenance on your car.  If you don't do basic maintenance, it won't be able to carry you around for as long as it should.  Derp.  Sometimes I'd like to go back in time and flick my younger self in the ears.  

*Of course, I was saying that before my car accident when both my body and my brain took a hit.  

My mom and I have been enjoying some lovely chats lately.  Going over the past - both hers and mine.  I like to think talking with her about all those things from long ago helps keep her sharp.  I know it helps keep me sharp.  And she's been telling me stories I'd never heard before, which is awesome.  I'm getting stories about her time as an Air Force wife and her time stationed with Dad in France.  Post -WWII Europe stories and pre-Vietnam stories.  Interesting stuff.  I should probably write it down somewhere so it doesn't get lost.

One thing we were talking about yesterday was my childhood and how I lost most of my memories of it in the car accident.  About the only memories I have of certain portions of it are the bad parts.  Bad stuff sticks more firmly than good stuff, doncha know.  I don't have any good memories of my grandmother, for instance.  Oh, Grandma was a pip, but she couldn't have been all bad.  I just wish I could remember the good times with her.  Dudes, hang onto your memories tight.  You'll miss them when they're gone.

And on that wise note, I'll let you go for today.  Have a great one.  And if you aren't doing anything worth remembering today, take a moment and reminisce.  Jus' sayin'.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Super Easy Christmas Cookies

Want a super-easy Christmas cookie to make?

1 box chocolate cake mix
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
enough small mint patty candies* to equal the number of cookies you're making

Preheat oven to 350F.  Dump the first 3 ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl.  Stir until well combined.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with foil, leaving about an inch or so between to allow for spreadage.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until not gooey in the center**.  Remove from oven and immediately press a patty into the middle of each cookie.  Let cool for a couple minutes then remove to your cooling-down location of choice.  (I use paper towels.)  Do NOT touch the patty part until it cools completely.  Repeat until all the batter is used.  Should make around 25-35 cookies, depending on how much batter you drop in each spoonful.  

Note: You can also use Hersey kisses or little peanut butter cups instead of patties, if you're anti-mint.  I'd recommend turning the peanut butter cups top down before you plant them in the cookies, but that's me.

*Not the big York ones.  I use cheap Zachary brand ones I get at the Dollar General.  They're about an inch in diameter, so perfect for the center of a cookie.  And you get a couple dozen in a box, for like a buck, so win win.

** if you've made cookies before you probably know when that is.  If you haven't, you might want to start with yellow cake mix and cook until lightly browned on the edges.  At least until you get your cookie legs under you.  Chocolate cake doesn't show the browning very well, doncha know.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Spreadsheety Stuffs

There's a flaw somewhere in my big sales spreadsheet for 2021.  I've got three different yearly totals going on here.  Derp.  This close to the end of the year, I'm wondering whether it's worth trying to find the flaw or to just say screw it and move on with my life.  I mean, I did check the obvious spots and it wasn't there, so any further investigation is going to take up a lot of time.  And I do know which one is the correct total, so it's not like figuring out the others is crucial.

As it's a formula error, it will not carry to next year's spreadsheet.  When I create a new spreadsheet for the year, I only move over the formatting and the text.  The formulas get rebuilt as the year goes along.

I am thinking about redoing the whole damn thing.  But only thinking about it.  Because it would be a huge pain in the buns, that's why.  I did get rid of all the graphs last year.  Graphs can be fun when the data is good.  Otherwise, they're just depressing and who needs that?

The whole flaw problem is, I think, the amount of data I'm trying to juggle with one spreadsheet.  16 books, 12 months, 18 columns of various ways each book can be sold and prices for such.  (And that's not including the smaller spreadsheet and its daily information.)  It's a beautiful swirl and dance, but it can also be a headache.

There are probably easier ways to deal with some of this, but I'm working with the knowledge I have.  (Don't even suggest macros.  I hate macros.)  Relearning stuff at this point would take away the benefits of having learned it.  And this old dog might not even be able to learn new tricks.  Just ask my 81-yr-old mom who's still doing all her stuff with paper ledgers while also trying to grasp the ins and outs of Excel.  Poor mom.

I'm working with Excel 2007.  It's pretty stable and since I've had it this many years, I'm pretty comfortable with what I know how to do with it.  Gah, can you imagine if I tried to teach myself each new version of Excel to handle any of this?  I'd be so bogged down with learning, I'd never get anything else done.

Oh, I'll probably wade in and try to figure out where the flaw is.  It'll drive me nuts until I do.  Something somewhere - maybe several somethings - is pointed at the wrong place.  Eh, it'll give me something to do when I'm not doing anything else.  Heh.

And yes, I will do a yearly wrap-up of the sales data.  Look for it after the first of the year.

Monday, December 6, 2021


So, I watched Die Hard With a Vengeance last night.  It was on TV, so I wondered how they were going to handle the whole scene where John's standing in Harlem wearing a sandwich board with a racist statement on it.  Sure enough, when they finally did show the sign, it said "I HATE EVERYONE".  Umm, no.  They also cut out the part where Zeus says what's on the sign.  

Seriously, people.  It's ridiculous.  Yet, notice I refrain from using it here.  Because I don't want a rain of shit to come down on my head for using it.  And no, I won't do the whole 'stars in the middle thing'.  Sometimes I have the serious urge to run around just saying the word over and over again so people see how ridiculous it is to fear or hate a word.  Say it enough and it becomes meaningless.

Honkie Honkie Honkie Honkie... oh wait, that's not the word.  That word's okay.  Mybad.  

The one I'm talking about is pretty much the only word you can never ever use.  George Carlin's 7 words You Can't Say on TV have become every day oatmeal words.  Personally, I don't think tits was ever that bad, but what do I know?

It used to be that you couldn't use the word fuck.  :shrug:  Just about everyone I have ever known has used that word since I was like ten.  (My mother being one of the rare exceptions.)  We used to hang out under the big tree at recess saying fuck.  Just because the playground attendants never bothered to climb the hill and monitor what any of us was doing underneath the tree.  We could've been doing ritual sacrifices up there for all they knew.  

Of course, in public you have to put some stars in the middle of it there.  F*ck, F**k, F***.  Everyone's brain fills in the missing letters, so what the purpose of those asterisks is?  Who knows.  The stars are protecting someone's delicate feelings, I guess.  Fuck that.

As my mom says, it's just not a nice way to talk.  I respect that.  I try not to use that word when I'm talking to her.  Sometimes, though, it's just the right word at the right time.  

Anyway... where was I?  Oh, yes, the WORD.  The derogatory word for a certain race that no one - except those who are members of that race - is allowed to say or type without stars.  Funny how the derogatory terms for all the other races aren't as carefully monitored.  Oh, sure, I had an editor give me the stink-eye for using 'spic' once in Accidental Death.  I ignored her and left it in.  Right word for the right time, doncha know.  

So, there's John McLain... and this dude who hates him wants him to have a horrible day and possibly get the crap kicked out of him, so he drops John into Harlem wearing a sign that says 'I hate... EVERYONE'?  That wouldn't even get him noticed.  I think hating everyone is a pastime in NYC, so it wouldn't make him stand out.  At all.  Feh.  Hell, it might even get him a few new friends.  "Hey, that dude hates everyone.  So do we!  Let's buy him a coffee."

You know what word I hate?  Cunt.  Now there's a word Carlin missed.  It doesn't offend me.  It's just nasty.   Why?  Who knows.  Something somewhere in my history made it so that word is hated.  Poor word.  

So, we can't use THAT WORD.  Or any word closely resembling that word.  I read a news story about a professor who was teaching a foreign language - Korean, I think - and an innocuous word of that language sounded similar enough that the professor got slapped around (figuratively) for using it.  What a bunch of scheisskopfs*.  

Eh, I'm a writer.  Words are my trade.  The mere fact that I am not allowed to use a particular word burns my ass something fierce.  

*Scheisskopf - German for shithead.  I learned that one at a pretty young age, too.  Thanks, Dad.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 47

Well, it was another week.  We're in the home stretch now.  Unfortunately, I'm sitting over here saying pretty much the same thing I said last year: I hope next year will be better.  

Anyway...  I finished that round of edit notes on Friday.   The book is now standing at just over 101K and 347 pages.  Yesterday I started in making the next set of edit notes.  I didn't get far.  The beginning prelude to the book is irritating me.  I may just chuck it and start with Chapter One.  It's only like two pages and I'm not certain it's necessary.  

I need to get working on uploading Unequal to D2D... you know, since it dropped out of KU last month.  Most everything else will drop out this month, leaving two to drop out in January.  Blink and the Model Curse series books are now officially 'published' to everything but Hoopla.  I still haven't figured out a game plan for getting sales at these new outlets, though.  Derp.

Reading's been slow.  I'm 15 books away from completing my 2021 goal.  I don't see that happening.  Especially since my Kindle is now tied up with 'edit round 2'.  

No baking this week, but I did make a vat of chili and vat of turkey soup.

On the activity front, I was sawing logs and holding logs while Hubs sawed them for 4 days.  And on one day, we worked on another outside project.  Weight holding steady at 180.4, but I haven't weighed myself since Tuesday.

One day, I put up my Christmas tree and some of the decor.  I went a little light this year.  But it still looks nice: 

I need to do Christmas cards.  I bought a new box of really cute cards.  They'll get out sometime this week, after I buy stamps.  LOL

I cut my hair again.  Exciting stuff in my life, eh?

We still haven't seen any eagles, but I did hear one yesterday morning.  I know they're in the area because other people have seen them around, but not me yet.  =o\

And I managed to finish that big project for the office.  Yay.

That's about it for me.  What were you up to last week?

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 12/4/21

Hello again.  Not many more of these reading wrap-ups for 2021.  And then I'll do the big wrap-up.  But until then, here's another one.  Not an exciting one, but there it is...

No new books.

Books Read:

60) Nevada by Zane Grey (12/1/21) - Western# - 5 stars.  Not new to me, but it doesn't have many reviews.  I see that a lot in older, not well-known books.  Picked this up for like 50c at the thrift store.
Review: "
Another amazing book by Zane Grey."
Note:  If you haven't read Zane Grey, his books are filled with heroic characters, thrilling plots, and sweeping descriptions that will make you feel like you're right there in the story.  I started with Riders of the Purple Sage years ago.  It's a pretty good one, but since then, I've read others I liked better.  YMMV.

No DNFs.

Currently reading... an old hardcover that used to be my daughter's, but she didn't want it anymore, so I kept it - Daughter of a Magnate by Frank H. Spearman.  (Not the 1903 edition I've got as 'currently reading' on Goodreads, but they didn't have the edition I'm reading, it was the only hardcover listing, and I didn't feel like making a new book listing.)

I'm still 9 books behind on my goal.  Unfortunately, I'm getting ready to start another round of edits using my Kindle, so using it for pleasure reading is temporarily stalled. 

What's on your reading list for this week?  

Friday, December 3, 2021

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Okay, so the other day I was at the pet rescue site and they have a brother/sister duo of kittens that I feel like are my spirit animals.  And I was going on and on about these two.  Later, as we were laying in bed, Hubs said that if I really wanted those kittens and not having them was going to make me unhappy, we could go get the kittens.  And I felt really bad that he thought he was making me sad by not letting me have a new pet.  

Now, thinking about having kittens and actually having kittens are two totally different things.  When I think about having them, I picture all the fun and the love and the kitty pets.  And that makes me happy.  Actually owning kittens means litter boxes and clawing furniture and... Well...

When I was in college, I lived in a tiny cabin for a while.  It allowed pets, so I went and got a kitten.  Jinx.  She was mostly feral and would happily claw the crap out of me.  And she had intestinal issues for a while there, which means my entire little cabin was speckled with diarrhea on a daily basis.  She also had a penchant for creating confetti out of any toilet paper she could get to.  And if I forgot to shut the bathroom door before I left for class, I would come home to a blizzard of white paper everywhere.

Hell, Kira was a carpet shredding kitten.  If it was carpeted, she wanted her claws in it.  Kitten?  We have spots in this house where the carpet is shredded and we didn't move here until she was well past the kitten stage.  

Anyway, I assured poor Hubs that I wasn't sad about not having a kitten.  I was just happy to think about having one.  And he said he would do anything to make sure I wasn't unhappy.  :cue awwww:  Which is when I let out an evil cackle and rubbed my hands together like a cartoon villain.  Once he laughed, I sobered up and told him 'No.  I won't do that.  With great power comes great responsibility.'  ;o)

Long story made shorter... we're not getting two kittens.  Or even one.  

(But I did name the girl kitten* in my head.  Ophelia.  And then I could sing her song to get her to come to me.  O-O-phe-li-a.  :gigglesnort:  Her brother is named Quentin at the shelter, and I think that suits him.) (I just went to find a link to Quentin.  He must've been adopted.  Yay for him.  Boo because they didn't get adopted together.)

*She just looks like she's got 'tude and check out the middle picture of her.  Isn't she awesome?  And NO, we're still not getting a kitten.  Even if I want one and now she's all alone up there.  Ahem.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Thursday This n That

Every time I see a non-book post in a FB book group - like people trying to sell furniture / real estate / clothing /etc. or throwing up videos of all sorts of crap - I get the urge to comment with 'This book sucks.  1-star.'  I haven't done it yet, but the urge is growing stronger.  For now, I just 'Hide All' from the person posting.  

I'm currently grooving on We Don't Know by the Strumbellas.  It's an awesome song...  "We don't know the roads that we're heading down, but we all know if we're lost then we'll find a way."  Deep stuff, man.  And the video cracks me up.  I remember that video game.  LOL

When I was a senior in high school, I spent a lot of time hanging out at the local arcade.  Playland, if I remember right.  It had video games and a go-cart track out back.  It was fun.  Made a lot of friends.  Then I went off to college.  I grew up and changed and it was over.  :shrug:  But I rocked at Tetris, man.  And there was this game where you could be one of four characters - barbarian, dwarf, etc. - and fight D&D type monsters that was cool.  I wish I could remember the name of that one.  Ah, the glory years.  ROFL

Speaking of D&D, I wasted untold hours playing that when I was in college.  I also think spending that much time on that game probably was a contributing factor to both my not getting a degree and to my ever-lowering GPA.  Live and learn, eh?  Shout out to Tim and Matt, though.  They were awesome friends to me and cool players.  Also, nods to Mike, Chris, Otis, Mark, and Mary Jo.  Go, them.  Last I knew, Tim was a teacher, Matt worked for the government doing forensic audits, and Mike owned a bar.  Mark and Mary Jo ended up getting married - I was the maid of honor - and they're still together.  I lost track of Chris and Otis.  (I don't remember Chris' last name and Otis... who was actually Jim, but we called him Otis, has such a normal name I can't find him online.)  We were a hella-good bunch of characters, lemme tell ya.

It's sad that I've lost contact with all the friends I've ever had.  In person friends anyway.  I've got a few internet friends I've known a long time.  :waves:  But like my best friend from high school... Margaret...  I lost touch with her and it makes me sad sometimes.  I don't think if we got together right now, we'd have anything in common anymore.  But man, we were thick as thieves in high school.  And my friends from the computer club in college - Kathy, Curtis, Pat...  Okay, I screwed that one up bigtime... long story.  Along with a bunch of people I only remember by their user handles - Beez, Coastie, Boo.  (I was Razz.)  And those D&D friends... I know where they are and what they're doing because I searched them online, not because I'm in touch with any of them.  Every job I've had, all the places I've lived, and we try to stay in touch but we don't.  Bummer.

Wow, I didn't mean to go down that rabbit hole this morning.  Regrets... I haz them.

On a happier note, I put up my Christmas tree yesterday.  I should snap a pic.  It's about the same as it always is, but this year I got to put on ornaments my mom sent me last year.  They're three little hummingbirds made with real feathers.  So pretty.  She bought them for her own tree, but they're too small, so she sent them to me for my little tree.  I'm not really in a Christmassy mood yet, but I needed to look for my cards and since I already had the boxes open, I figured why not?  Maybe it'll help me get into the holiday spirit.

What's on your this n that list today?  

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Yesterday... It's Just Life

Wow, I didn't even think to post yesterday.  Big ol' brainfart there.  No excuses really.  I mean, I could say I've got a lot on my mind, but it's not really anything that wasn't already on my mind.  And nothing worse than what's been on my mind in the past.  Just life.  

I did finish the big project I was working on for the office.  So there's that.

And I had errands to run.

And I'm still a little under the weather.  (Something I ate, folks, not something I caught.  I think it was the chicken sandwich I bought at DG.  It's the only thing I ate that Hubs didn't.)

And I'm not sleeping good.  Again.  Still.  

Like I said, nothing unusual or truly bad.  Just life.

On the brighter side, I'm only 5 pages of notes away from completing this round of editing.  I had hoped to finish it by the end of November, but that was right out.  I got 3 pages done yesterday, though.  Not sure I can do 5 today.  So, I should finish that tomorrow.  And then I can start all over again with re-reading and the note making.  Progress is progress.

Now, I really have to start working on my spreadsheets.  I have to do December, for one thing.  Then I have to work on the big spreadsheets for 2022.  They aren't hard, just tedious.  I also have several spreadsheets for 2022 that I need to do for the office.  Woohoo.  

And I should probably clean.  Or something.

Well, that's my life.  Exciting, isn't it?

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 46

Hello again.  It wasn't the busiest of weeks because Thanksgiving dropped right there in the middle of it, but let's see what else went on this week...

I only did editing on 4 days, but I managed to get through 6 pages of notes.  I'm through page 191 of the 342pg manuscript.  And last night the edits pushed the word count over 100K.  :shrug:  It's a big book.  It's an intricate book.  It may be the death of me.  

As for reading, that was just one book.  And it wasn't anything to really talk about.  Bummer.

In baking news, I did a pumpkin cheesecake on Wednesday.  Then threw some rolls in the oven on Thursday night so we could have tiny turkey sammies.  Yesterday, I made no-bake cookies.  Yum.

On the activity front, I really only did two days of burning the calories and both of those were raking.  We're still not done, but the yard looks way nicer than it did.  One other day, Hubs and I wandered the yard.  And another day, we started working on the south property boundary, which really only consisted of standing there, holding a string.  But hey, it got me out of the house.  I weighed myself Thursday morning and it was 180.4.  I haven't weighed myself since but I feel like a cow after all I've eaten.  

I spent a fair amount of time this past week working on a project for the pay-job.  They're looking for a new outside sales person.  And the boss is reconfiguring the sales territories, so he asked if we could pull together numbers for the new territory.  Which is basically my old territory minus the Thumb.  For my part, I needed to go through every spreadsheet I've done (I don't do spreadsheets for everything) for a year and pull sales numbers for all the zip codes included the replotted area.  Minus a list of specific accounts.  And one account that will be split between the two salespeople.  I got it done yesterday.  Go me.  I'll take today off of that and then tomorrow see if I can help the office with their portion.  By the way, if you know anybody who is interested in an outside sales job in Michigan and has some background in electronics or electrical or engineering, let me know.  I don't expect anyone to respond to me.  But they do have an Indeed listing, so maybe they'll find someone good.  :fingers crossed:

The raking is totally freaking the deer out again this year.  They come into the yard and things looks different, so they spook easily.  They'll get over it.  One of the bucks is limping on a front foot.  Another is limping on the back.  The rut isn't kind.  It's brutal.  But it's nature.  Still haven't seen an eagle yet.  I'll let you know when I do.  Shouldn't be long now.

Oh, we finally got a new coffee maker.  Our old one wasn't dead, but it was iffy.  This is a cheap one from Dollar General.  But it works.  As long as I have coffee the world is safe for another day.  

This week ahead, I'll try and finish the edit notes.  Then I'll do another re-read and start a whole new batch of notes.  Woohoo.  I've also got to start thinking about Christmas cards and getting the tree up.  I'm so not ready to think about Christmas, though.  Blerg.  There will also be more raking and we'll get back to working on firewood again.  

And that's about it for me.  How did your week go?  Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?  We didn't do anything but eat, but it was nice.  What's ahead for you?

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?