Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 4

Week 4 of the 2021 siege.  Just when you think it can't possibly get worse, it says 'oh, yeah, watch this'.  

No writing.

Sunday night, I couldn't sleep, so I got back up and worked on editing.  I adjusted the first 5 pages so Duke sounds more like himself.  Then Monday hit and nothing else got done.

I read one book last week.  I picked up ten new paperbacks at the thrift store, though.

In baking news, I made a batch of Oatmeal Raisin cookies, but this time I also added chocolate chips.  They're pretty yummy.  Then yesterday, I had the urge to bake and a box of yellow cake mix, so I gave Hubs the choice of either yellow cake with white frosting or coffee cake.  He chose coffee cake, so I made that.  I think I've posted both those recipes, so they won't be here.  If you want it and can't find it, let me know.

No activity.  No weight change.

I did a lot of running around this past week.  The vet Monday.  The bank, post office, convenience store, and thrift shop on Tuesday.  Then north for smokes Thursday.  Then south for groceries and another stop at the vet (Kira's ashes are home now) on Friday.  Then northwest to take all her unopened cans of food, etc. to the local shelter yesterday.  I probably put about 250 miles on the car last week.  Blerg.

One day, Hubs and I sat down and watched Citizen Kane together.  Neither of us had ever seen it.  (I thought I had, but I hadn't.)  I know it's supposed to be some cinematic masterpiece, but meh.  

Other than that, I played a lot of poker.  I went over 24 million, then lost back down to 23 mil, then came back up then went back down.  It was one of those weeks.

The world further descended into madness.

Yesterday, we had some weather fun as storms with rotational winds popped up and appeared to be headed this way.  We heard the thunder and saw the warnings, but all we got was the rain.  Whew.

Today, I hope to pull my head out and get some work done.  We'll see how the day progresses from here.

How did your week go?

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/30/21

Howdy there!  

No new ebooks this week, which is just as well since my Kindle is otherwise occupied with my editing endeavors.  I did hit the thrift store this week, though, and got ten new paperbacks - 7 old Zane Grey, 2 old Alistair MacLean, and an old copy of The Virginian - for $5.  Cha-ching.

Books Read:

5) Horse Heaven Hill by Zane Grey (1/29/21) - 5 stars#.  Not new to me and while it has loads of ratings, it has few reviews, which makes it underappreciated in my book.  50c at the thrift store.
Review: "Most excellent! As a horse lover, one scene was hard to bear, and definitely not for the faint of heart. In the end, though, the good guys win and the bad guys lose. And the heroine gets her hero. :happy sigh:"

No DNFs.

Currently Reading... I finished the Zane Grey last night and then sat down to watch a movie with Hubs.  I'll start something else today.

What was on your reading list this week?

Friday, January 29, 2021

Oh, Damn.

It's been a weird week.  But that's par for the course these days.  Huge thanks to everyone who shared their condolences over the past week.  

Now, on to the actual post... I saw something on MeWe this morning that shared the thoughts of an author I once enjoyed.  He thinks we all need to be cut out like cancer.  And just like that, more room was freed up on my fantasy shelf.  

It's not that the books themselves are no longer good.  It's that I can no longer read them without thinking about the dude and what he said.  I'll remember them fondly, but I can't even look at them anymore.  Off they go to St. Vinny's.  

It seems like every week some other numbnuts says something stupid and I'm like 'oh, damn, there goes another one'.  

It's really hard for me to turn off that part of my brain, so I can just enjoy the entertainment itself without thinking of the personalities involved in its creation.  If enough time goes by, I can kind of forget, but that's not guaranteed.  The other day, I was in the middle of watching a movie I've always enjoyed when the 'oh, damn' moment hit and suddenly I couldn't enjoy it anymore.  =o(

And yes, I realize there might be people out there reading my posts and then deleting my books from their readers.  Or not buying my books to begin with.  I can't help that.  I have to be who I am.  And the numbnuts have to be who they are.  It's still a free country and they can say what they like.  And people can patronize them or not.  That's how the free market is supposed to work.  

There are roughly 72 million people he thinks are 'cancer' and need to be 'cut out'.  Since I haven't heard of a new book by this particular dude in years, I'd say he's already gleaned his money off the market segment he's now saying should be cut out.  I'd love it a small part of that cancerous market segment found my books.  Hell, I'd love it if a small part of the other market segment found my books.  I certainly don't want them 'cut out'.  I'd wish they weren't so misguided.  I'd want for them to not have been brainwashed into believing the BS they've been fed.  But I don't want them dead.  I don't want them rounded up and put into 're-education' camps.  I want them to leave me to live my life and they can live theirs.  

Life would be easier if entertainers would keep their opinions to themselves.  But they can't, any more than I can keep mine to myself.  It would be nice if the entertainment industry wasn't rife with leftists, too.  But it is.  Wishing for it to be different now is like wishing for the moon.  =o(

Oh, damn.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Thursday This n That

Have you heard about the literary agent who got fired for simply having accounts at Parler and Gab?  Sounds like the lead-in to a joke, but it's not.  She had accounts at those conservative social media sites, and she lost her job for it.  I've known for most of my writing life that the publishing industry was rife with leftists, but I never would've thought they'd cancel someone over it.  Shun them, maybe.  Ignore them, definitely.  Blacklist, possibly.  But to actually shitcan an employee for their beliefs?  Anyway, being a mulish sort, I created a Gab account yesterday.  And I went to the literary agent's page there.  She became a member this month and had exactly one post which was a call for romance writers to submit their manuscripts to her.  An agent asking for manuscripts?  How could she?  Burn the witch.  I thought we were supposed to have something called 'Freedom of Association' in this country.  Huh.

I woke up this morning expecting to have to feed Kira and take her to the litterbox.  I expect it'll take quite a bit of time for that to stop.  

Oh, I contacted the local rescue shelter* to ask if they would accept a donation of all of Kira's perishable things - food, etc.  They're happy to have it.  The food I ordered that shipped the day before Kira passed, arrived yesterday.  When I put all the food together, there are 85 cans worth - 48 new and the rest recently purchased to try and find something she would eat.  (The same thing happened at the end of Max's life.  Lots of cans left. Which we gave to the vet to distribute.)  Those should help keep some shelter kitties happy for a few days at least.  Plus, there's an unopened bottle of Cosequin, a nearly new bottle of dry shampoo, and some kitty kibbles which they might or might not want.  I'll take it all over there and what they don't want, we'll bring home and throw away.  We're keeping the leftover litter because we can use that to clean up spills and provide traction.

I spent some time at the shelter website yesterday, looking at dogs.  No, we're not getting a dog any time soon.  But it made me feel better.  

If you didn't know, I mentally 'adopt' certain animals at the shelter and root for them to get adopted.  They are 'my dogs' until they find homes.  Right now, they are  Jerry, Pluto, Roan, and Sour Patch (He's my favorite right now.  The look on his face!)

Yesterday, after I wrote the post, I shuffled books around and made space.  Although, if I pick up any more NF titles, I have no clue where I'll put them.

Okay, I think that's quite enough out of me.  Got anything on your this n that list today?

*If you're interested in supporting them, they're The Haven of the Ozarks - a no-kill shelter.  Alternately, the place Kira actually came from is here.  If you decide to donate in memory of Kira, don't bother telling them - neither place would know who you're talking about.  I thinks CAWS actually called her 'Smoky' or something like that.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Space for Books

I don't know about all y'all, but I am running out of space for books.  Okay, so I cleared off an entire shelf  of reference books for Kira's shrine, but that's beside the point.  (Those got moved to the now mostly-full bookcase next to it.  I think there's room on that entire case now for maybe two-three more books.) 

Even if you ignore the non-fiction cases entirely, I'm close to being full just about everywhere else.  The SF/F case - one of which is already full of books stacked horizontally instead of vertically - has room for maybe ten more paperbacks.   Same for the suspense/thriller/mystery case.  The literature case might take another fifteen.  Less if they're meaty novels.  

It didn't help that yesterday I hit the thrift store and came home with ten more books - most of them Westerns.  I didn't even have a spot allotted for Westerns.  The few I had were stuck in with the literature.  They're all moved into the spare room now, on top of the shelf with my own proof copies, my Phyllis Whitney collection, and books by friends of mine.  

I could glean down again.  I mean, do I really need that many dictionaries and thesauruses - especially when I use the internet for that stuff now?  Are we ever going to use those old textbooks again?  Is there really a reason to keep The Writer's Market from 2005?  I mean other than nostalgia?  (Notice I'm talking about gleaning NF and not fiction here. I've already culled out most of the fiction I wasn't planning on keeping.)

Hubs, being the great and wonderful man he is, suggested that maybe it was time to get some more bookshelves.  Except neither of us know where we would put them. The office is out of wall space.  I could, I suppose, moved some things around and stick a shelf or two more in the spare room.  And there's one more spot in the living room for a shelf.  

Ooo, the book on food remedies can go on the kitchen shelf with the cookbooks.  There's one new spot available!

Yes, it's a sickness.  No, I don't want a cure.  What I want is more space for books.

What about you?  Do you have loads of hardcopy books?  Or are you like my mom and get books from the library instead of keeping books of your own?

Updated 7:05am:  After I wrote this post, I spent some time shuffling things around and I have room again.  Of course, now the one non-fiction case is totally full and the other now has three out of five shelves with literature on them.  One is reserved for Kira and the last shelf is a mix of NF and F by the same author with a few other NF's to fill the remaining space.  And now there are books on top of the dresser in the spare room.  LOL.  On a bright note, Agatha Christie now has her own shelf.  She's gonna need it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A Greater Void

In the summer of 2003, I got the idea that we needed a cat, so in the days leading up to Owl's birthday, I went online to some local rescue sites.  (Local being the Salt Lake valley at the time.)  On one website, I saw two cats that sparked my interest.  One was a yellow tabby and the other was a gray and white.  For one reason or another, I called the rescue agency about the gray kitten.  Her picture made her look like she had the right kind of attitude.

Within a week, the rescue agency brought the kitten by my apartment to introduce us.  The woman set the kitty down once she got inside, and before the 'meet and greet' was over, I knew.  I asked the woman if she could just leave the cat with us, wrote a check, and we had this tiny, slim kitten.  

The woman told us the kitten had been left with her siblings in a box outside the pound, sans the mother.  The pound tried keeping the three-week-old kittens alive with wet cat food.  The rescue agency swooped in and saved them.  For ten weeks, this particular kitten had been fostered in a home with dogs.  Now she was with us.

We had no idea what to name her.  I made a list of possible names and narrowed them down and let Owl choose.  For the first few days, her name was Calliope.  But that didn't suit her.  She then became Kira.  

We went back 13 weeks from the day we got her and chose May 7th as her birthday.

When Hubs and I were talking about getting married, I told him I had a cat.  His reaction: Oh.  He wasn't against cats, per se, but he wasn't a big fan either.  It wasn't too long before she could be found curled up on his chest sleeping.  She won his heart without even trying.

Born in Utah, moved to Colorado with us, moved to Missouri with us.  She hated the moves, but she rolled with the new locales.  She was a cruiser-cat.  Totally laid back.  The easiest cat in the world to own and love and care for.

Kira passed on yesterday, January 25th.

In the end, we chose to let her go.  It was time.  She was tired and old and was ready to sleep.  She always did like sleeping best of all.

Kira was one hell of a cat.  She will be sorely missed.  Writing this post yesterday evening, I was struck by how surreal it is in the house with no Kira.  

These last few weeks were trying on us all.  And a great deal of our time was spent thinking about her, tending to her, carrying her around... doing our damnedest to return her to health.  It just wasn't to be.  And now that she's gone, the void is greater than I would've imagined.  

The house is quiet in a whole new way.  She was never a vocal cat... unless it was dinner time... but you could hear her breathing... and snoring... somewhere in here at any time of the day.  

Her things are still where they always are and there they'll stay until they start to disappear by dribs and drabs.  Sometime soon, I will take her uneaten food to a local pet rescue, along with any of her other things they might be able to use.  Paying them in kindness for the kindness a rescue agency in Utah showed her.  

We won't be coming home with a new pet.  It's too soon.  It might always be too soon.

Seventeen and a half years is a long time to be with a pet.  A friend.  A furbaby.  Kira Kitty, Queen of All She Surveyed.  

Soon, her ashes will come home and she'll have an honored place on one of the shelves.  Like Max does.  Except I can't put her next to Max.  She hated Max.  She would consider it a personal insult to spend eternity next to him.  Goofy cat.  

Best cat ever.

Goodbye, Kira.  Thank you for being part of my life.  Our lives.  You'll be in our hearts forever.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Be Warned: I'm Cranky

Late last month, we cancelled our trash service with Republic because they'd jacked up our rates again.  For the umpteenth time since they took over our service a couple years ago.  During my cancellation phone call, the gal informed me they were charging us $30 to come pick up their container.  I was suitably pissed and told her no.  When they took over our service after buying out our previous trash company, they never said anything about anything to us.  We had no contract with the old service and no contract with the new company.  They're the ones who stopped by and removed our old container and replaced it with one of theirs.  After much wrangling, I finally agreed to $15 just to be done with it.  They said they'd pick up the container on the 7th.  Hubs put it out to the road on the night of the 6th, just in case they came early.  No one showed.  Hubs called again and was told someone had stopped by but we didn't have our container out.  Umm... whoever said that was a lazy, no good, lying sack of crap who most likely didn't want to drive all the way out here for one container.  Mom was the office manager for a trash company for 13 years, so I know how some of those guys can be.  Anyway, they set up a new pickup time and actually came.  Friday, the bill for my container pickup fee arrives and they've tacked on a $5 fine for not having the container out.  GAH!  I'll be calling them today.  :flexes claws and bears fangs:

We were awakened in the middle of the night by a particularly large and loud crack of thunder.  It's been booming and raining ever since.  Pouring rain.  Deluge rain.  It's January for pitysakes.  

I'm ditching my PO box, so if any of you have that address, shitcan it.  I got a PO box because the newsletter services all require you to put an address at the end of your newsletter for some lame ass reason, and I didn't want the world at large to have my home address.  I haven't sent out a newsletter in forever and the only stuff I get in my box is junk mail and the two local papers, which we also get here at home.  At this point, having a PO box is just a waste of money.  

Since I haven't been sleeping, last night I figured why go to bed?  I played a little poker and then opened my manuscript to begin rewriting the beginning.  On a non-cranky note, it went well.  Duke is sounding more like Duke now.  Of course, it would've helped if I'd had a firm idea of who the MC was when I wrote the beginning.  :shrug:  The words come when they come and we fix them later.

I did eventually go to bed.  I was tired.  And then I laid in bed for an hour or so before I fell asleep.  The story of my life right now.  I broke down and bought some ZzzQuil, but I haven't tried it yet.  Stuff like that messes me up for days afterward.  I don't have time to be messed up for days right now.  When the not-sleeping makes me more messed up than I would be if I took the stuff, then I'll probably break down and take it.  For now, I'm still functional.  Just tired and cranky.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 3

The third week of '2021: Son of 2020' is behind us.  Only 49 more to go.  I don't know what fresh hell will come.  Don't even want to posit it.

In case you missed it, I finished Duke Noble: Consequences last Sunday.  No more writing for a while.  I'm supposed to be editing.  I got the first scene partway done and then wrote a note to rewrite the whole thing because at that point, it would be easier.  Started the next scene and already have notes to rewrite the first couple paragraphs.  I won't be changing the general gist, but Duke's voice at the beginning is way different than his voice throughout the rest of the book, once I had him walking around in my head for a while.  I need to change the beginning to match the rest of it.

Nothing going in the marketing department.  Someone read through all the books in the genie series this past week - I can see them reading by watching my Pages Read counter go up.  I hope they enjoyed it.  No new reviews.  Does anyone review books anymore or is it just me?

It was not a great week for reading for me.  DNF'd six books and only finished one.  

In baking news, I made a batch of cake cookies.  I also started making mini-frittatas so Hubs has something to eat without either of us having to make breakfast.  They're super easy - I mean, it's just baked omelet/scrambled eggs.  6 eggs beaten with about a quarter cup of milk, add in yummy stuffs like cheese and ham, season with salt & pepper and maybe some chives, fill liberally greased muffin cups to about halfway.  Bake at 350F until the eggs are set - stick a fork in the center of the center ones and if it comes out clean, they're done.  They poof in the pan, but shrink flat when they cool, so they're good for sammichs.  Little round yummy eggs you can put on a roll or eat right off your plate.  They refrigerate well and warm in the microwave for like 10 seconds.  

Let's not talk about weight or activity this week, k?

I crested 22 million in poker.  If only it were real money.

Lear stopped by the yard this week.  His antlers are gone now, but with his bent ear, we'll always know who he is.

Not much else went on this week.  I mean, there are things going on, but I'd rather not talk about them right now.  What's up in your world?

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/23/21

 Well, folks, it wasn't exactly a banner week for reading for me.  This might be a DNF record week.

On the upside, I have no unread ebooks left from last year.  On the downside, I only had 1 unread ebooks left - a mystery.  And I only picked up one new ebook this week - a paranormal mystery.  No new hardcopies.  Right now, I'm using my Kindle for editing, so I'd better find something to read from the shelves, eh?

Books read:

4) Just for Now by Rosalind James (1/18/21) - Romance* - 5 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  Free off the Book Gorilla newsletter.
Review: "A lovely story, good plot, and likable characters all the way around with just enough tension between the slightly bruised hero and heroine to make it hard to put down."


1/19/21 - After setting down The Prince, I tried picking up a classic I'd never read.  Nope, not that either.

1/19/21 - I started reading Machiavelli's The Prince.  Totally not what I thought it was and I didn't even make it through the introduction.  

1/16/21 - free - paranormal YA suspense.  It started out with this big disclaimer, read at your own risk, trigger warning thing.  Puh-leeze.  Fine, I won't read it.  

1/16/21 - free - paranormal something or other.  Gah, present tense annoys me anyway, but this had other annoying points.  

1/16/21 - free - ???. I never did figure out what genre this thing was.  All I know was that despite the intriguing blurb, what I read of the book was a dud.

1/16/21 - free - suspense.  I'd read stuff by this author before and loved it, but this wasn't blowing my skirt up at all.  

Currently reading... I haven't picked anything else up - what with the DNFs and then reading my own work for edits.  Maybe I need to read some non-fiction and clear the pipes.

What's up in your reading world?

Friday, January 22, 2021


I read something about a new place (new to me anyway) to find audio books - Chirp.  I don't do audio books, but I know some of you do, so there ya are.

Using Brave as a browser instead of Firefox is going okay.  For some reason, it won't let me comment on Blogger blogs - including my own - so I still have FF on my computer for that.

Using DuckDuckGo as a search engine instead of Google is going okay, too.  I learned this morning that if you don't like the search results, you can riff off of the Big G by type !G (that's exclamation point and the letter G) then your search terms.  Haven't tried it yet because like I said, DDG is doing fine.  

As more people switch to MeWe, it's becoming better.  I'm splitting my time about 75/25 between FB and MW now.  I heard about another alternative to FB called Minds.  I haven't looked at that at all yet.  We'll see.

Whether any of this makes any difference remains to be seen.  I did hear that Twitter usage dropped.  (I haven't actually logged into Twitter in a couple years.)  And FB is taking a hit in the bank account, which is where it counts.  Vote with your dollars and if it's free, vote with your patronage because that means money to them in advertising revenue and stocks.  I know I'll never pay for another ad on FB.  Not a big hit for me since I never actually tied any sales to any money I paid FB for ads.

There are no viable alternatives to Amazon.  Not for me, anyway.  Not for shopping and definitely not for selling.  

Also, no viable alternative for me with regard to Gmail and Blogger.  I have Yahoo Mail for work and it blows.  And I have heard horror stories about switching blogs from one place to another.  

Little things are all I'm able to do.  I joked with a friend that perhaps we should jump in a car and roadtrip to DC - old lady rebels, I guess.  It'll never happen.  I have no interest in traveling anywhere.  Soon, if they push through the virus passport thing, I may not be allowed to travel anywhere anyway.  

Hang in there, folks.  Maybe this will all pass.  Maybe it's a tempest in a teapot.  No, I don't actually believe that, but I'm hoping.  Prepare for the worst and hope for the best, that's my motto.

If you're anywhere alternative, leave your info in the comments so we can hook up - if we haven't already.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Thursday This n That

There's an old quote I've been thinking about lately that goes 'It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.'  Unfortunately, the quote is attributed to a communist (which I didn't know until I researched it just now... gah).  Not sure what BS she was peddling when she said it, because communism makes more people live on their knees than just about any other political system, but the words themselves are meaningful.

I saw something posted this morning that detailed where exactly we're at right now, so we can look back this time next year.  The only data point I remember is gas price.  It said $1.95 a gallon.  Yesterday, gas here was $2.08 where I usually get gas and $2.22 at the place where I buy feed.  (They're always more expensive because it's all straight gas - no ethanol.)  My friend at the feed store said 'It's starting.'  Remember where we're at right now.  This is as good as it's going to get.  

How soon the masses forget $4 a gallon gas under the current ruling party.  We'll see it again shortly.

By the way, gas with ethanol is only cheaper because of government subsidies.  You're still paying for it - just with your taxes instead of your cash.

Someone said something rather poignant when I was standing around talking with friends about things and we got around to the political climate.  "I don't really pay attention to all that stuff."  I'm sure she's not alone.  And that's why we are where we are today.  People don't pay attention until they're in line to load up the cattle cars.

The other day, Mom was telling me a story about the squirrels and the hawks in her apartment complex.  One day, several squirrels were running around the green space outside her apartment when a hawk landed nearby.  Initially they scattered, but soon they came right back to where they were.  Oblivious.  With the hawk still standing there.  We figure the hawk was either too young to know what to do or it wasn't very hungry.  Everything's fine until the hawk that's watching you decides to flex its claws.

This is just me, talking.  Will I still be allowed to talk four years from now?  We'll see.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

New Releases from Cedar Sanderson

Today, I'm bumping up the signal for a new release I read at the end of 2020 (you know, a couple weeks ago) - The East Witch by Cedar Sanderson (no relation).  It was a helluva good read with great characters, an awesome plot, harrowing adventure, fun mythology, and a little romance.  

Click the link and snag yourself a copy.

Also, for the younger set, there's a children's book that Cedar illustrated coming out 1/31/21 - The Hungry Werewolf.  (She's a woman of many talents.)  At the time of this posting, it's #136 in Children's Scary Stories.  Not sure if it's actually scary or not, but I was totally into this stuff when I was a kid.

When you're a werewolf, you make your own friends...
Step inside the covers and meet the monsters so creepy and so adorable that you may want to invent a new word to describe them! We like "creepydorable" but you could come up with your own.
Inside you'll find blobs, a mad scientist, and an awful lot of bats, but we invite you to begin at the beginning, with just...
One Hungry Werewolf.

I haven't read the above, but I assume if Cedar's associated with it, it's got some pretty good stuffs in there.  Pre-order a copy for your little reader of scary tales today.  


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 2

Well, it was another week of 2021.  I saw something on the webz that went like this: 2021 = 2020 won.  Umm, yeah.  It sure feels that way.  But enough about that...

I'm over here still plugging along.  I wrote 8167 words last week, writing every day but yesterday.  I needed a day off.  All I have left to write on this book is the denouement.  Wrap everything up in a neat little bow.  Anyway, I took yesterday off partly because I wasn't sure how to proceed with the end.  Then, as I was trying to go to sleep last night, it hit me.  I got up and wrote the idea down.  Then shortly after I went back to bed, it hit me some more, so I got up again and wrote that idea down, too.  I can write the ending today.  Yay.

And I think I have a title finally:  Duke Noble: Consequences.  We'll see if I come up with something better before I'm ready to go to publication.

And I've been pondering cover art.  Actually, I can picture the cover in my head.  It all depends whether I can pull it off.  

Marketing?  Umm, no.  My brain is all into the creating right now.  

Last week wasn't bonza for reading.  I only finished one book.  Well, actually, it was a five book omnibus, of which I'd already read three.  So I read two of the others all the way through and the beginnings of two others to the point where I realized I'd already read them.  But yeah, technically, only one book.  Yesterday, I DNF'd four books.  Blerg.

I got in 5 days with active stuff last week.  But I didn't weigh myself at all.  It probably hasn't changed from my last record: 181.6.

In the activity was a bout of clearing the south plot.  And then it snowed, so no more progress on that.  I'm still not sure if I'll do a garden there, but the work will keep me busy.

On the baking front, I made applesauce bread yesterday.  I also planned on making cookies, too, but I ended up vacuuming and then the gumption ran out.

Not sure if I mentioned it before, but Pierre the skunk seems to have moved on.  The leaves we packed around the wood pile haven't been moved.  I'd move, too, if my whole house smelled like moth balls.  Sorry, Pierre, but your stink was becoming an issue.  May you be happier elsewhere.

Yesterday, Lear the buck stopped by for some noms.  He's antlerless now, but that broken ear will always tell us who he is.  He looks good and yay, he made it through all the hunting seasons.

That's it for me for the week.  How did things go in your world?

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/16/21

Hello.  It wasn't an exciting week in reading for me, but some weeks are like that.

I picked up four new ebooks this past week - mystery, paranormal mystery, romance, and something I don't have the genre figured out for yet.  I still have two unread ebooks left from last year - a paranormal and a suspense.  No new hardcopies yet this year.

Books Read: 

3) Five Complete Miss Marple Novels by Agatha Christie (1/15/21) - Mystery.  5 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  I've had this hardcover for years, but only just now read it.  Unfortunately, I'd already read three out of the five novels, and didn't realize on two of them until partway through.  :shrug:  The other two were fun.
No Review.

No DNFs, since I spent all week reading one book.

Currently reading...  I finished that one last night and didn't have time to start a new book.  I'll probably start one of the books leftover from last year sometime today.

What did your reading week look like?

Friday, January 15, 2021

Getting Older Sucks

Gah.  I feel like someone spent the night beating me with a bag of oranges.  Of course, I did this to myself.  No, not the bag of oranges thing.  I have other ways of abusing myself.  

For instance, I spent about an hour yesterday clearing brush from the neglected south plot.  That's the one we worked on last winter and then let go fallow again over the summer.  Eh, it gives me something to do.  

Then I helped Hubs with finishing the toilet repairs.

Then the cat bit my thumb while I was trying to give her an aspirin.  Molar chomp.  (Yes, I super disinfected it.)

And lastly, I wrote over 2K words last night.

So basically, I hurt this morning.  Getting older sucks.

Might do it all again today.  Well, with the exception of the cat chomping on my thumb.  You shouldn't give a cat aspirin more than every 48 hrs anyway.  (Baby aspirin.  Coated.)  Of course, we're supposed to have shitty weather, so maybe not even all of the other stuff.  Writing definitely.

Speaking of writing, I left off last night at the very beginning of the climax scene.  Then there has to be some denouement.  Not long before I get to THE END now.  Of course, lately it's been 'write a whole bunch one day, and only write a little bit the next couple days' because of hands and wrists.  Lucky for me, I am a fast typer.  Unlucky for me, the faster I type, the more it hurts to type*.  But when I'm on a roll, I don't consider typing slower.  And hey, it almost never hurts while I'm typing.  That comes later.

I took an anti-inflammatory last night before bed.  Fat lot of good that did.  Probably should've taken two.  Eh.

Fortunately, the more I move around this morning, the less it hurts.  Sleeping does that sometimes - makes everything seize up.  I should be right as rain... or as right as an old gimpy chick can ever be - by sunrise.  

Like I said, I'll probably do it all again today.  If not today then soon.  The alternative is laying around the house being a lump, and that never does anyone any good.  But oh, how I long for the days when I could do anything physical I wanted and not pay for it the next day. 

Getting older sucks.

*No, voice to text software wouldn't work for me.  I have considered it.  My brain doesn't work that way.  I'm constantly editing while I type.  'Type type type delete delete delete type type delete delete, reword this move that go back to earlier in the text looking for something find a typo there fix it go back to the end and start typing again get up to get coffee forget where I was and have to go back and read several paragraphs to get in the groove again.'  I don't think you can do that in voice to text.  I can't imagine what the actual text would look like afterwards.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Thursday This n That

Since they don't make the bird-a-day calendars I love anymore, I've been re-using the two I have - 2016 & 2017 - alternating years so the pictures aren't as fresh in my mind.  I'm using the 2016 one this year and guess what?  The days of the week are correct for this year.  Yay!

Little things can still amuse me.

If you've never tried them, Marie Callendar's pot pies are da bomb.  We had beef ones for dinner last night.  Yummers.

Kira seems like she's most of the way back to normal now.  She's still not interested in standing up to eat, though.  I suspect that since she's learned she can lay down while she eats, she's going with it.  It's probably not good for her, but she's 86, so she gets to do whatever the hell she wants to do.

I spent some time yesterday learning about composting.  Yes, I lead an interesting life.  

I want a chainsaw.  You'd think we already had one, but no.  Everything I do in the woods right now is by sheer muscle and hand tools.  I love my bow saw.  Unfortunately, I'm getting to the point in my life where using a bow saw makes me pay for it the next day.  Plus we have some thick trees that need whacking up and the bow saw just ain't cuttin' it.  Gonna have to go with power saws soon.  Look out world.  Heh.

Yes, I am on the fringe of becoming a prepper.  I mean, we were already pretty prepared for emergencies, but last year upped the game.  And this year is already looking worse.  I'm still on the fence about getting chickens and/or rabbits.  They are so much work. So's a garden, but I'm leaning toward plants rather than animals.  If I get lazy and neglect a garden, the plants might die, but it won't be cruel.  We'll see if any of this comes to fruition.

I also spent some time yesterday learning about terraced gardens.  We live on a hill.  Terracing seems like the logical choice unless I want to take over the one kinda flat spot in the yard.  Right in the middle of the yard, by the way.  If I terrace, I can put gardens on either side of the yard.  Again, it's a lot of work.  I'm not allergic to the work if I'm doing a project, but long-term maintenance makes me lazy.  Which is why I haven't dusted in a month.

And that's it for me.  It's more than enough, I think.  Got anything to add?  Any this n thats in your world?

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Chaos Diaries Revisited

Things have gotten weird enough again that I figured maybe it was time to revisit The Chaos Diaries.  This time the chaos isn't just about the virus.

I finally got the paycheck my payjob mailed to me on 12/31 yesterday.  While I was at the bank, my BIPF (best in-person friend) told me they're getting inundated with phone calls from people missing the bank statements that were mailed last month.  In happier news, my nephew-in-law who's deployed in the Navy finally got his Christmas box last week.

Recently, I got an email from my credit card company saying that bills might be late this month due to the mail.  Nothing about whether card holders will be exempt from late fees due to not receiving their bills.  Derp.  I have no excuses.  I get my bill in the mail AND in my email.  And I pay it online.  For those people without that luxury, I hope they don't get screwed.

From what I hear, some country in Europe - Denmark, maybe - is moving ahead with 'virus passports'.  As in if you don't have a paper saying you were vaccinated, you won't be allowed to move around, go to stores, etc.  That's crazypants.  

I saw something on The Babylon Bee about Gavin Newsom promising to stop the lockdowns as soon as they find a cure for death.  If you're not familiar with The Bee, it's satire.  Unfortunately, sometimes the satire hits too close to the truth.

What isn't satire... An executive at PBS is on video saying all conservatives should be rounded up and their children put in re-education camps.  PBS shouldn't worry about the kids.  Most children have spent a large portion of their lives in re-education camps called public school.  And the ones that got missed by public school are now in colleges getting a more intense re-education.

As for rounding up us adults, bring it, asshole.  I know enough about the Holocaust to know I will never let myself be 'rounded up' for anything.

My go-to convenience store has gone masked-only.  I didn't notice the signs until I was on my way out of the store the other day.  Yesterday, as a gesture of cooperation (and because I didn't want to take any shit about it), I wore a mask inside.  As soon as I got out the door, I whipped that sucker off.  A man in a red pickup said something to me.  I didn't hear what he said but I waved and told him to have a nice day.  My next stop was the feed store.  As I was walking up to the doors, I heard someone say 'are you following me?'  It was the dude from the red pickup. He was smiling and joking, so it was all good.  He wasn't wearing a mask and neither was I.  (Because the feed store doesn't require one.)  Later, I was chatting with my second BIPF at the register and he stepped up to thank me for not going all mask-nazi on him.  :shrug:  It's a strange world we live in.

On reflection, he may have been flirting with me.  Again, strange world.

In an effort to stop patronizing companies that hate me, I moved my browser over to Brave.  I can't complain.  The only mildly irritating thing is it keeps trying to spellcheck my email and URLs when I plug them into boxes.  The squiggly red line is driving me nuts.  Unfortunately, I can't move out of Facebook entirely, because that's where I sell books and also where a lot of people I know are, but I am spending more time at MeWe.  As people shift over, it should become a better place to be.  I also can't ditch Google entirely because that's where this blog is located and my emails are through them.  But I'm using DuckDuckGo now as a search engine.  We do what we can.  Vote with your dollars and if it's free, vote with your patronage.  

I heard there are writers out there celebrating the censorship of conservatives.  (I don't know this from personal experience as I have squeegeed off those types from my social sphere.)  Writers should be the last people to celebrate any kind of censorship.  They come for me and you celebrate, but they'll be coming for you next.  Unless you're the kind of person who only writes what they tell you to write.  Then you're not a writer, you're a puppet.  

How are you doing in the chaos this time around?  

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Late Night Ponderings for a Morning Post

It's a quarter to ten and I'm writing this to post in the morning.  I'm kinda tired, but I'm waiting for the cat to use the litterbox so I don't go to bed only to get up in an hour.  Life with a geriatric cat.  :sigh:

The world has really gone batshit crazy.  It's like 2021 looked at 2020 and said 'hold my beer'. 

People... or a certain subsect of people, I should say... are calling for another section of people to be put on a list, or rounded up, or blacklisted somehow.  It's a creepy glimpse of Germany in the late 1930s.  I saw and shared a meme thingie on FB with a made-up quote from George Orwell about how he'd written a book to warn people against behavior like this.  He wasn't alone.  Aldous Huxley, Ayn Rand, Ray Bradbury... myself, if I can include myself in that list of literary greats... all wrote books warning against this stuff.  Pity not enough people listened.

The company I've used for years as my internet browser said something about the tech companies not doing enough to censor people, or something like that.  As of today, I have a new browser.  It's called Brave.  We'll see.  I had thought, you know, browsers... how can they do anything political?  Umm, yeah.  

I was thinking today about building a vegetable garden and maybe getting some chickens or rabbits.  I found an article that was really into the whole critter-proof garden thing, complete with diagrams and lists of tools you NEED to buy to do it.  Umm, no.  Then I found another article that was totally relaxed about the whole thing and didn't make it seem like a major home improvement project.  That's more my style.  You don't need an engineer or a wad of money to put something together that won't blow down in a stiff breeze or collapse at the sight of a deer.  I have ideas now.

I'm still writing my book.  44291 words as of tonight... err, last night... err... maybe I should just set this to post and go to bed.  Here kitty kitty kitty.  Time to go to the litterbox so mommy can go to bed.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 1

Well, the first week of 2021 didn't go so well.  But I really don't want to talk about all that this morning, so I'll just deal with me and my stuff.

On the writing front, I plugged along for most of the week, except for Thursday when I hit a stride and wrote 3100 words.  After that, I hit a wall.  All told though, I wrote five out of seven days for 6461 words.  Not bad, but not the best week I've ever had.  I'll try to get some words out today.  I might've thought of a way around the wall.  :fingers crossed:  I'm thinking if I keep my head down and write, I should be able to finish the book this week.  Current word count: 41531.

No marketing to speak of.  Someone bought each of the last three books in the genie series (Once Upon a Djinn) one day after the other.  I assume they got a free copy of the first and liked each of the successive novels enough to read all the way through.  Yay.  I wish that would happen more often, but I'll take what I can get.

I had an okay reading week for the start of the year.

On the baking front, I made stew... yeah, that's not baking but to go with it, I made drop biscuits.  I started out with my usual recipe, but in the beginning, I had a major brainfart.  For some daft reason, I thought a stick of butter was only a quarter cup, and the recipe calls for a third cup, so I added in two more tablespoons of butter and started cutting that in.  Partway through cutting in the butter, my brain turned back on and I realized that instead of a 6 tablespoons, I'd put in 10 tablespoons.  Ack.  In an attempt to save my biscuits, I added more flour and, after I cut all the butter in, 1 1/2 cups of milk instead of 1 cup.  I dropped them onto the baking sheet and crossed my fingers.  And they were the best biscuits I'd ever made.  Recipe below.  I also made a chocolate oil cake with peanut butter frosting yesterday.  Yummers.

Let's not talk about activity.  I started the week out pretty good with a big trip to the store and a 1.6 mile walk.  And then nothing.  Weight unchanged at 181.6 lbs.

In Kira news, this cold has been kicking her furry gray butt.  I probably didn't mention it, but we got another round of antibiotics for her a couple weeks ago and it didn't do squat.  Which led me to believe that she did not, in fact, have an upper respiratory infection but rather some kind of virus.  I hit the internet and discovered that cats can get colds.  It's a different virus from the ones humans get, but it acts the same.  And as with humans, the quicker you catch it, the sooner it goes away.  Well, since we were treating her for something else, the cold dug in deep.  Plus, she's like 86.  (17 equals 84 and two years for the half.)  Anyway, the internet said L-Lysine might work, so we're trying that.  250mg crushed into her food twice a day.  I also did the steam thing, which seemed to help.  And I upped the temperature in the house.  And I started warming up her food.  Some combination of all of that seems to be working.  She's breathing easier and starting to walk around the house more.  And eating way better.  It's hard to eat when you can't smell your food, doncha know.  

And there's my week - writing, reading, baking, cat slave.  What went on in your world in this first week of 2021?  (I don't want to know about the rest of the world.  I mean, I know, but I don't really want to know, if you catch my drift.)


Drop Biscuits

2 1/2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 T white sugar
1/2 cup + 2T butter (cold)
1 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425F. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into slices, drop them into the dry ingredients, then use a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly. Add in milk a third or so at a time, mixing well each time, until you get a uniform, sticky dough. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-26 minutes or until the biscuits are just starting to brown around the edges. Makes about 12 biscuits.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/9/21

Good morning and welcome to another episode of Saturday Reading Wrap-up, with your host, B.E. Sanderson.  

Heh, feeling a little like John Houseman there for a moment...  Anyway, let's get started.  

I didn't pick up any new books this week,  I still have two unread ebooks left from last year - a paranormal something and a suspense.

Books Read:

2) Peonies and Peril by Sue Hollowell (1/5/21) - Cozy Mystery*#. 3 stars.  New to me and few reviews. Free off the Book Doggy newsletter.
No Review.  In case you're new here, I don't review books unless I can give them at least 4 stars.

1) Wholesale Slaughter by Rick Partlow (1/4/21) - SF*# - 5 stars.  New to me and while it has loads of ratings, it has less than 50 reviews, so it counts.  Picked this up for free on Christmas Eve from ENT.
Review: "This is a fun book. People who like the technical side of SF will love this one. I really enjoyed the characters and the interactions between them, the interesting premise, the awesome plot, and the way the story moved along, sucking me in and keeping me reading. (Although it did make me stay up late to finish it and I was dragging the next day. Darn it.) Plus, good guys win and bad guys lose - an important point for any book I read."
Note: This one is on Audible.


1/5/21  - free. Cozy mystery.  I read to 13% and it was all chick lit with no mystery, and it felt way too close to a chick lit movie I'd seen.  Meh.

Currently reading... a compilation of Miss Marple complete novels.  I skipped the first one because I read it not too long ago, but I think that's the only one in there I've read.  

What's was on your reading list last week?

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Thursday This n That

Yes, yes, I know what's happening out there in the world.  I'd rather not talk about it. (Or it would turn into a pages-long rant.)


I know all y'all don't play poker, but there are an amazing number of people with 69 in their screen names.  Either they're all a year older than me, or they're channeling Bill and Ted.  69, dude!  There are also quite a few people using alternate spellings to get around the 'no swearing in your screen name' thing.  fuh_q seems to be the popular favorite.  :eyeroll:  What are these people... twelve?  (BTW, my screen name is my name.  If I'd been paying attention, I would've chosen something cute, but I was just testing out the site and afterwards, I discovered I couldn't change it.)

I sat through a commercial - muted, of course - for a new show wherein people do stupid and dangerous things in front of judges.  And I was reminded of the old 'bread and circuses' thing.

Speaking of bread, did you get yours?  I came home from the store the other day with more than I intended and told Hubs I was feeling particularly stimulated. 

I haven't been sleeping lately.  Well, not sleeping when I'm supposed to sleep anyway.  I go to bed tired and lay there.  Then 60-90 minutes later I finally fall asleep.  Then I wake up to tend to the cat and can't get back to sleep until the wee hours.  Which is why I keep oversleeping.  And posting late... like today. Although, today, I actually got up at 4am and went back to bed at 4:45, THEN I slept late and missed posting this.

Lumpy Jaw the doe lost her lump.  It was there for nearly a year.  Then a couple weeks ago, it seemed smaller.  And smaller.  And smaller.  Then it was gone.  We only know who she is because she still has her twins with her and they're all fairly tame for wild deer.  The little buck fawn walked up and starting eating at one pan while Hubs was filling the other pan yesterday.  Like 8 feet away.  We'll have to take care around him come next fall when he's all hormone charged and ready to tussle.

Last night we watched Death on the Nile with Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot.  Good stuff.  I keep thinking if I stay up later, I'll fall asleep with less time laying there.  Umm, nope.  

Okee doke.  There's my this-n-that stuffs.  What are yours?

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Don't Care. Write Me a Good Story.

A blog I used to follow by a prolific reader who shall remain nameless posted their yearly reading wrap-up for 2020 and one of the first things they decided to point out was how many books they'd read by 'persons of color'.  

Umm, yeah.

I have no clue what the skin color is of the author I'm reading.  And I don't care.  Give me a good read and you could be purple with green spots.  You could have antennae sticking out the top of your head.  You could have three eyes and an arm in the middle of your forehead.  Wouldn't care.  

Shouldn't care.

I recently posted my 2020 reading wrap-up.  If I were tasked to list the various check-box attributes of the authors listed there, I'd be at a loss.  Because I just don't care enough to find out.

Black, brown, white, cream, olive, yellow, pink, peach, burnt umber?  Don't care.  Write me a good story.

Are you an innie or an outie?  XX or YY?  Want to be something else?  Don't care.  Write me a good story.

Straight or one of the alphabet soup categories?  Don't care.  Write me a good story.

Wear men's clothes or women's clothes or no clothes?  Don't care.  Write me a good story. 

Old or young?  Don't care.  Write me a good story.

Is that your real name or are you a pseudonym?  Don't care.  Write me a good story.

Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic, worship a fern named Ferdinand?  Don't care.  Write me a good story.

US or other country?  Don't care.  Write me a good story. (With the caveat that the writing has to be in English, because I don't know any other language.)

I'm a chick who likes dudes - and I've been married to the same one for 16 years.  My skin is a pale peachy-pink with slight tan overtones depending on how much sun I get.  I'm 50 years old.  None of those things should matter a whit as long as I'm writing a good story.  And if those things do matter when it comes to choosing whether to read or not read my books, then shame on you.  

If the story is good, you shouldn't notice the writer behind it.  The writer should fade away in the telling of the story.  It's what good storytellers do.  Good storytellers don't jump in front of the story shrieking 'look at me, look at me'.  Be the man behind the curtain and hope no one pays attention to you.

If I'm reading a story and the author is getting in the way of it by shouting about all the things they are and all the checkboxes they fit, I DNF the book.  I might've read your books and enjoyed them, but then you start shrieking about your otherness, at which point I stop reading your books - not because I care what you are or what you believe you are, but because suddenly YOU have become more important than your stories and when I try to read your work, all I can think about is you.  I can think of at least three authors I once loved who've done this to me and I hate them for it.  Don't be that author.  I beg you.

So, yeah, I stopped following that blog.  Kind of makes me sad.  But now I would question every book the person reviewed and wonder whether she wrote them a good review because they checked a special box or if the book was actually good.  I don't have that kind of time and I don't want to waste any more mental real estate on trying to figure it out.  

Write me a good story.  I don't care about anything else.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

2020 Reading Wrap-up

Time to wrap-up the reading I did in 2020.  

I read 88 books last year.  My original goal was 70, but I upped that three times, ended up with a goal of 90 and missed it by two books.  

Of those 88 books, 27 were new to me and underappreciated.  30 were hardcopies.  

The genres shook out like this:

Mystery - 27
Romance - 15
Suspense - 13
UF - 7
Hard-boiled Crime - 6
Paranormal - 6
SF - 5
Thriller - 3
Lit - 3
Mg/YA - 2
Western - 1

I tried to pick the genre that suited the book best, even when it was something like Paranormal Cozy Mystery or Paranormal Romantic Suspense.  If I added all the subgenres, we'd be here all day.  If you want a better break down, go browse through my 2020 Books Read post.

I totally forgot to note when I read subsequent books in a series.  Oops.  I know there had to be a couple of those in there.  

I'm surprised I didn't read a single non-fiction book last year.  I tried to read one but didn't finish it.  Not a year for NF, I guess.  More like me trying to escape into unreality on a daily basis.  ;o)

This year, I set my goal at 75.  I'm also going to try to get some more NF in there, and some more Westerns.  Maybe hit a couple more literature, too.  We'll see.  As always, I'll gravitate toward the mystery and the suspense and the paranormal.   I finished reading the first book of the new year last night, so I'll get the new Books Read post up sometime this morning.

How about you?  Did you meet your reading goals for the year?  Do you have new goals for this year?

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 53

Yep, it's the 53rd week of this horrible year.  I checked.  Figures 2020 would have an extra week.  At least it's days were over as of Friday.  Yay.  Here's to a better this year.  K?

For a horrible year, I did get some writing done.  In fact, I wrote 73044 news words in 2020.  Not gangbusters, but not bad all things considered.  Last week saw me writing 6538 new words for Duke.  Right now, it's at 35070 total.  Yay.  I only wrote 5 out of 7 days, but that's okay.  Each day I missed, I wrote the next day.  Fall off the horse, get back on.  I'd like to get this book done this month, edited next month, and in your hands in March.  Sooner, if I can swing it, but I'm not making promises about anything this year.

I didn't do any marketing this past week.  I did, however, sell three books yesterday - the last three of the genie series.  I assume this was residual from giving the first book away last month.  I'll do my year-end sales wrap-up over on Outside the Box sometime this week.  Tomorrow maybe.  We'll see if I'm up to looking at depressing figures today.

I read a couple good books last week.  Yay.  Unfortunately, I also missed my updated yearly goal by two books.  Read 88 instead of 90.  Oh well.  I set my 2021 reading goal at 75. 

In baking news, I tweaked the apple-cranberry crisp recipe again.  And we have a winner!  It turned out super yummy.  Recipe below.

My activity level blows.  I only did active things 3 days last week.  Here's to getting back on that horse for the new year.  According to my activity spreadsheet, I walked about 88 miles last year.  Let's see if I can do 100 miles this year.  Starting weight for 2021: 181.6.   A pound less than I started 2020 at.  So yay.

Not sure what this year will bring.  I'm taking it day by day right now - hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.  I'll keep doing these weekly updates and my reading wrap-ups.  And like I said, look for wrap-ups of 2020 throughout this week.  Wrap it up and put it behind me, ya know?

How was your last week of 2020?  Are you looking ahead?  


Apple Cranberry Crisp

6 medium apples (Granny Smith 5, Gala 1)

1.5 cups whole fresh cranberries

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 T white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp Apple Cider mix


1 cup brown sugar

2 T white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup quick oats

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp Apple Cider mix

6 T butter (cold)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Peel, core, and slice apples to about 1/4" slices.  In large bowl, stir together apples, cranberries, both sugars, cinnamon, and cider mix.  Set aside.  In medium bowl, stir together both sugars, cinnamon, oats, flour and drink mix until well combined.  Cut in butter with pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly.  Pour fruit mixture into 9x13" pan, spreading it out so it's evenly distributed.  Sprinkle topping liberally over fruit, making sure you get it into the corners and along the sides.  No fruit should be visible.  Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until topping is browned along the edges and the fruit is fork tender.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.