Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday Update - Week Something or Other

It's morning and I'm a knuckle-dragging troglodyte right now.  Blerg.

As you know, I'm not currently writing, so let's move on.  I'm up to page 71 in editing and I have five and a half pages of notes left to go through.  I'd like to get that done today.  We'll see how it goes.  Right now, I'd happily curl up in a ball and forget that I have things to do.

Marketing fell apart.  Early Grave is still on sale, but I lost the will to market somewhere around Wednesday.  The cascading sale thing was a failure.  Eh, it was worth a shot.  We'll try something else next month.  Last night someone in the UK bought all three of the Model Curse books, so that was a happy surprise.

I read two awesome books last week.  One was Silver James' latest release.  Yay.  And the other was a new-to-me author.  Also yay.  

In baking news, I did Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies and something called Yummy Lemon Coconut Loaf.  Plus another batch of frittatas.  

On the activity front, I did something five out of seven days.  Two of the days were housework.  Two of them were working on the south plot (which we finished clearing yesterday).  And I got a mile long walk in on the other day.  I weighed myself last Sunday morning, before all the active stuff, and I was 182.6 - only two-tenths of a pound up from three weeks of doing nothing and eating like a cow, so yay.  I'll weigh myself later this morning and see if the week's activity made a difference.

Like I said, we cleared the south lot.  There's still some minor tweaking left to do - mostly pulling up Virginia creeper roots and shoots - but the big work is done.  While I was doing that, I found a bunch more garbage, including a pretty little butter knife.  It'll go with the fork I found last year.  I also found more interesting rocks.  I'm paying for that activity mightily this morning.  Yay Aspercreme.  

Speaking of rocks, I was doing some research and discovered we have scads of Mozarkite.  It's the state rock.  We also have something called Fortification Agate.  Cool stuff.  This lead me to looking at various ways to make my rocks pretty - tumblers and rock saws and junk.  Whoo that stuff is expensive.  Truly doing it right can take weeks or months.  Sheesh.  Anyway, if you're into rocks, here's a neat site.

The neighbor sent us a big tin of popcorn as a thank you for our help with their water situation.  Very nice of them, but unnecessary.  It's good popcorn.  I made the mistake of thinking the red popcorn was some fruity flavor - apple, strawberry, cherry - but nope, found out the hard was that it was cinnamon.  Red Hots type cinnamon.  Hubs can eat that.  

The world is further descending into madness.  I saw an old dude wearing two masks at the Wallyworld.  'Nuff said about that.  If you don't see the madness, I can't help you.

All the snow is gone.  We hit almost 70 one day last week.  There was like a 90 degree difference between the 16th and the 23rd.  We had a mild thunderstorm yesterday afternoon with some booming and loads of rain.  Crazy weather.

Well, for being a trog, this ended up being a long post.  Thanks for reading to the end.  What went on your world last week?

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 2/27/21

It was an interesting week in reading.  Here's the skinny...

This week, I picked up a few ereads by people I know.  A friend released a box set that I snagged, an acquaintance put a 'first book in the series' out for free, and a short story anthology a friend of mine has a story in was free yesterday.  I also snagged a couple other ebooks that looked interesting - a mystery and a thriller.  AND I picked up the sequel to the book I finished last night.  No new hardcopies.

Books Read: 

11) The Ambitious Card by John Gaspard (2/26/21) - Mystery* - 5 stars.  New to me, but with 85 stars, I can't really call it underappreciated for my purposes.  (It's still underappreciated if you ask me, though.)  Free off the ENT newsletter.
Review: "Wow. Pardon me while I gush, but it's been a while since I picked up a mystery this good and I'm kinda geeky that way. This is an exceptional story with an excellent mystery, awesome and quirky characters, interesting locations, and a thrilling plot. Plus, loads of humor. I actually did laugh out loud in a couple places. Also, I loved the insights into psychics and magicians, too. So much fun! I'm so glad I took a chance on this new-to-me author. I'm definitely looking forward to more of this series."
Note: Available in audio.

10) Fighting for Justice by Silver James (2/20/21) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense* - 5 stars.  Not new to me, but a new release so probably way underappreciated.  As good as it is, I expect that won't last long.  Paid full price - $3.99.  
Review: "OMG, I loved this book like damn and whoa. I loved Justice. I loved Jack. The two of them together? Amazing. Plus, such a satisfying end to the suspense part of the story. So much awesome."


2/23/21 - free - mystery.  I'm not even sure what kind of weird ass prologue I was reading there, and then it jumped to some kind of bizarre list of important events of the 1980s - I guess for those people who didn't live it - and by the time I was past that, I didn't care enough to read the actual book.

2/23/21 - free - suspense.  So many flaws.  I tried to muddle through, but then I reached a spot where the cops were supposed to be notifying an important man that his daughter had been kidnapped, but before they bothered, they got into a big conversation about the man's company's new product.  Umm, yeah.  I'm sure the author spent loads of time researching that, but that was not the time to put all that in the story.  "Oh, sorry we've spent valuable time chatting like fan dudes at a techie convention, but your chauffeur's in the hospital and your kid's been kidnapped."  If I was the dad, I'd have both their jobs and the MC wouldn't be the MC anymore.  

2/22/21 - Free - UF.  Argh.  I wanted to like this one, but it had so many flaws - misspellings, typos, etc.  It really could've used a good editor.  And it was like the author found one Scottish slang term, didn't bother looking for more, and then used it constantly.  I made it to 30% and then gave up trying to like this book.  =o\

Currently reading... I didn't pick anything new to read after I finished that awesome mystery last night.  I did buy the sequel, but I think I might insert something else between these stories and give myself a chance to come down from the high.

What was on your reading list last week?

Friday, February 26, 2021

Be Less...

You might've heard the news that Coca Cola was trying to train their employees to be less white.  Frankly, the only way I know to be less white is to get a tan.  But that's not what they're talking about.  There's apparently something bad about whiteness, something inherent to people with less melanin, so they want people to be less of that.  

Let's forget for a moment the obvious racism of ascribing traits to anyone based on the color of their skin.  I read the list of traits they want less of and it read like a recipe for the perfect slave.  Nothing so blatant as 'quit thinking for yourself' but then again, if you believe any of the things on that list are inherent to white people, you stopped thinking for yourself long ago and they don't need to be explicit about that anymore.

The first thing on the list was 'Be less oppressive'.  Oppressiveness is apparently directly related to whiteness.  I'm not sure how I can be less oppressive than my current attitude of leave people the hell alone.  Nothing I say or do is stopping anyone from doing anything.  And if it were, then I would be an asshole no matter what color my skin was.  I guess my simply being a pale peachy-pink is oppressive.  Again, I can't change that unless I buy a tanning bed and some SPF 0 lotion.  (You think I'm kidding.  Remember the chick who tanned herself up and proclaimed herself to be black in order to get a job at some university.  She made herself less white intentionally the only way she could've.)

Be less arrogant.  Know your place.

Be less certain.  Uncertain people are easily controlled.

Be less defensive.  :as they beat you to death:  We're not attacking you so stop fighting us.

Be less ignorant.  Ignorant of what they what you to believe, not ignorant of the truth.  They actually love ignorance of reality and facts.

Be more humble.  Know your place.

Listen. Only to them.

Believe.  Only them.

Break with apathy.  Care about what they want you to care about and nothing else.

Break with white solidarity.  But black solidarity is totally okay.  Actually, it's shit like this that makes people want to gather up in herds for protection.  It's a natural response to being treated like a prey animal.

Here's something to think about.  If you read something with a skin color inserted in it, ask yourself if you'd be offended if you changed what the words they're using to another skin color.  If there was a White Entertainment Television... If there was a show called white-ish.  If a company told its employees to be 'less black'.  If you're offended by one, why are you not offended by the other?  Why be offended by either?

What if someone put forth the idea that all liberals should be rounded up and re-educated?  Everyone everywhere should be offended at the idea of ANYONE being rounded up for ANYTHING.  It's happened before with horrifying results.  And before someone points to the Japanese internment, remember it was a Democrat who did that.  And even though those people weren't slaughtered, it was wrong, too.  

I'm not a racist.  I honestly don't give a shit what color you are.  But I guess these days, simply saying you're not a racist is racist.  Saying you don't take skin color into consideration when dealing with other people is racist.  Math is racist.  Grammar is racist.  The TRUTH is racist.  Everything is racist if it serves their purpose.  In this Orwellian nightmare forced upon is, up is down and the sky is in fact orange.  Except when reality gets in the way.  (Reality, by the way, is also now a hateful concept.)

I'm an individualist.  I treat each person as an individual, all on a level playing field until they give me reason to shift my opinion otherwise.  (And skin color is never a reason.)  If you're nice and seem rational, up you go in my estimation.  If you're not, you go down.  Go down far enough and you know what happens?  Nothing.  I stop associating with you.  I avoid you.  I don't wish for your death.  I don't scream nasty things at you.  I don't try to kill your sales or your business.  I don't threaten your family or your property.  I simply no longer acknowledge your existence.  

Unless it ever gets to the point where it's your life or mine.  Let's make sure it never gets to that point, eh?  Leave me to live my life and I will leave you to live yours.  I'd rather have pleasant interactions with other human beings, but if that becomes impossible because of the philosophy this culture is sinking to, I can proceed on my own.  Hell, I can create friends if I have to.  I'm a writer.  It's what I do.

Or I'll go buy a dog.  They don't give a shit what color anyone is.  Hey, look everyone, I'm a dog.  Instead of trying to be less white, be more dog.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thursday This n That

I saw someone on FB talking about it being almost the time to stop feeding birds for this season because the bugs are out.  I'd like to advocate against doing that.  Most birds that eat at seed feeders don't eat bugs.  Finches, for instance, are strictly seed-eaters, as far as I know.  (Sparrows are the only ones I can think of that do both, but it's early and I don't feel like researching that.)  We feed year-round - not because they necessarily need seed all year, but because we like to watch birds.  When they have plenty of wild seed to eat, they slack off on coming to the feeder.  We also leave out suet feeder up year-round.  Loads of people only do suet in the winter, but it's fun to watch the woodpeckers bring their fledglings to eat and teach them how to use the suet feeder.  Baby pileated woodpeckers are awesome to watch and the best place to see them is a suet feeder.  I can't wait until it's warm enough to put out the hummingbird feeders.  

Yes, I am a bird nerd.

Deer will also slack off on coming to us for food once the weather starts providing them with other food options.  When the weather is really bad, we've had like 33 deer in the yard at once.  When the weather is good and food is easy to get to, we might see one or two a day.  When we're able, we put out extra protein food during the fawning season to give the mamas an extra boost.  And there's a kind of food you can buy that helps get rid of intestinal parasites, so if we see them looking thin when food is readily available, we'll add that in.  

We had scads of robins in the yard yesterday.  As they migrate north, they stop by here for water and our yard is a nice open patch in the woods for them to search for bugs and worms.  If you're feeding critters, don't forget to have some water for them, too.  Yeah, we live near a lake, but when you're dining out, you don't want to have to walk across the restaurant for a drink, do you?

While feeding critters, I like to sing "You can get anything you want at Sanderson's Restaurant."  :gigglesnort:  If you didn't sing along there and have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sorry.

One Thanksgiving long ago, I was in my bedroom listening to my tiny, red, transistor radio and I stumbled across one station doing a broadcast of the full version of Alice's Restaurant.  (Warning: don't click the link and start reading the lyrics - which aren't really lyrics so much as a story - if you don't have a lot of time on your hands.)  I'd never heard it before and I was enthralled.  I don't remember if I heard it all or if I was called away to dinner, but it was a hoot.  I kinda got sucked into reading it just now and almost didn't finish this post.  

Arlo Gurthrie also did City of New Orleans, which I love even though it has a tendency to make me cry.

I listen to many different kinds of music.  Hell, even the occasional rap or heavy metal song.  When I'm reading, though, I like to have the "Malt Shop Oldies" channel on in the background.  It's mostly '50s stuff - Johnny Mathis, The Platters, The Crew Cuts, etc.  These days, when I'm writing, I like to have a kind of folksy alternative in the background - Mumford and Sons... stuff like that.  

And I see now that I've rambled on for a while, so I'd better let you get back to your lives and get this sucker posted.  ;o)  

What's on your mind this morning?

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Sometimes, The Idea of a Thing is Worse

I weighed myself yesterday.  It had been 3 weeks since the last time I weighted myself and frankly, I was sure I'd be disappointed with the number.  After all, I've been baking and eating a lot.  And with the weather being craptastic, I haven't been active.  And with the stress I haven't wanted to do anything inside either.  

I gained two-tenths of a pound.  That puts me at 182.6 - a pound up for the year.  Better than the four or 5 pounds I was sure I'd gained.  Which goes to show you that sometimes the idea of a thing is worse than the thing itself.  

I was going to say 'fear' there instead of 'idea', but I'm not afraid of gaining weight.  It is what it is.  Gaining weight just means more work.  And while I am terminally lazy sometimes, I'm not afraid of work.

It's the same with writing/editing.  Although there is a bit of fear there, it's the idea of being done and sending my work out into the world only to see no sales that, more often than not, keeps me from working.  And this is even when I've had some good feedback on said work.  

It's not the work itself.  Right now, it's me staring down the barrel of a net income of a nickle for the month of February. That's with holding three sales this month.  And that's only if the per page price in KU holds.  It might only be four cents.

Imagine if I'd actually exercised and eaten less this month only to gain weight.  That's what it's like.  

But let's turn that around.  What if the idea was instead that I bust my buns on this book, send it out into the world, and see loads of sales.  If I look at it that way, the only thing holding me back is me.  

Don't let the idea of a negative outcome stop you from doing your thing.  Don't let it stop you from even trying.  'Cuz the only way to consistently fail at anything is to not do it.

It's like I tell myself sometimes in poker: "You lose every hand you fold."  

Okay, so what's something you're not doing because the idea of failing is stopping you?  What's something you've lost in the past because you folded rather than seen it through?  

Personally, I would've had a straight flush the other day if I'd followed the cards all the way to the river.  Pissed me off to no end.  Here's hoping Duke Noble is a straight flush kind of book, because I'm damn well gonna see this through to the end.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 7

And here we are again...

Despite a firm commitment to working this week, I got nothing done.  Well, not nothing.  I sat down yesterday to work and managed to edit 3 pages before I let myself get distracted.  But hey, three pages is better than nothing.  And it's a start.  Here's hoping today goes better.

As for marketing, I'm doing it, but I'm not seeing any sales.  Fertile Ground is on sale now.  Early Grave will go on sale Wednesday.

I finished one book in time for the reading wrap-up and another book last night (which will be on next week's wrap-up.)

In baking news, I made mini-frittatas and coffee cake on Monday.  Those are all gone now.  I also made a vat of spaghetti and a vat of beef stew this week.  I should probably make cookies today.  Or applesauce bread.  Somethin'.

The big news of the week was the cold and the snow.  It got down to negative something and we got about 6 inches of snow.  We cheered when the cold snap ended and the furnace shut off for the first time in days.  It's blissfully quiet in the house right now - no furnace and no space heaters running in the garage.  Later we'll get the drippy noises of the snow melting, which is fine by me.

The deer look good.  It's nice to know we helped get them through the worst winter had to throw at us.  Arthur, Lear, and Midas all stopped by to eat yesterday - antlerless, but still recognizable. Yay. The birds also are doing well.  Mostly.  Unfortunately, Hubs did find a dead bird laying next to the car.  I suspect it ditched into a car window.  Hubs thinks it froze to death.  We also have a bedraggled looking wren hopping around on one leg who probably won't make it.  I hope that's it for the casualties.  

I don't want to think about what the cold might've done to my gardens.  :shrug:  Time will tell.

Due to the cold and my inherent laziness, I only got one day in where I did anything active.  Let's not talk about weight, eh?  

Insomnia. What fun, eh?  I saw a commercial for a menopause supplement of some kind that said sleeplessness is a menopausal thing.  Oh, yay.  As if the hot flashes weren't enough of a pain in my ass.  On the upside, I'm rarely ever cold at night anymore.  

Anyway...  It's the start of the last week of February.  Two months down, ten to go.  Not that I think getting rid of 2021 will do us any more good than ditching 2020 has done so far.  =o(

As to not end on a bummer note, the birds are singing, the squirrels are looking fat and fluffy, as are the deer.  Spring isn't too far off.  New growth.  Green stuffs sprouting up.  Flowers blooming.  Fishing again.  Yay.

How are things in your world?

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 2/20/21

Oops, I forgot to schedule this and I woke up late today.  But I'm here now, so here goes what little there was...  Needless to day, it wasn't an exciting week in reading for me.

I only picked up one new book this week - a paranormal romance new release.  I'm reading it now.  I still have 4 unread ebooks - urban fantasy, suspense, and two mysteries.

Books Read:

Pawsitively Poisonous by Melissa Erin Jackson (2/16/21) - Paranormal Mystery* - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated.  Free off the ENT newsletter.
Review: "Super cute paranormal mystery with an interesting premise. Loads of fun to read."
Note: Available in audio.


Currently reading... the above mentioned PR romance.  So far, so yummy.

What was on your reading list this week?

Friday, February 19, 2021

Chances are No One is Coming to Save You.

I'm amazed at the number of people around here who wait for the government to do something for them.  It's usually people who aren't actually from around here.  Yeah, I'm not originally from around here but I fit right in with the locals.  You know, self-sufficient people.

This morning a gal from Minnesota was complaining that her road was only plowed until the blacktop ended.  Around here, that means the dirt part is probably not a county-maintained road and it's up to the residents to take care of it.  Someone on her road probably should've already thought of getting it plowed by a private entity.  If she's the only one on the road after the blacktop ends, that someone is her.  

In other news, the neighbor's well guy came out and looked everything over.  The diagnosis?  The pipes are roached.  So when it thaws, there will be water everywhere but in his home.  Years ago, the same well froze and Hubs helped them thaw it out, using a space heater.  It was assumed they would do something to stop the well from freezing again.  Umm... nope.  Here we are again and this time it's so much worse.  Blerg.

In other other news, Texas is also roached.  Poor planning combined with leaning toward 'green energy'... but I repeat myself... is to blame.  The poor planning part reminded me of a time when Hubs was pushing for the city he managed to buy more wells, but he got blowback because the wells they currently had were sufficient for all the residents to have water.  Forget the chance the city might actually grow or anything.  Forget the chance that one of the wells might go bad or have a problem or anything.  He eventually won and they bought two more wells, which, if I remember right, was good because one of the old wells had a problem not long after.  Stuff happens.  It's better to be prepared than to get caught with your pants down around your ankles.

This is why we have R-30 insulation in the house now.  When we got here, it was like R-5.  That first winter here was freak-nasty cold like this, so that spring we re-insulated.  We didn't actually need that much insulation again until this cold snap, but we're damn glad we have it now.  We're also damn glad Hubs re-plumbed the place with PEX rather than PVC.  The one thing we didn't do that we should've done was put in a wood-burning stove.  You know, in case we lose power in a cold snap like this.  Thankfully, we never lost power, but it could've been bad.  The stove is on the list of things to do ASAP.

Self-sufficiency, people.  Oh, you might have nice neighbors.  One of our other neighbors told us that if we lost power, we were welcome at their house because they have a generator and a wood stove.  (Generator... on the list, too.)  But not everyone is as nice as that.  Be prepared. Chances are when the shit hits the fan, no one is coming to save you.  

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Thursday This n That

Me: Crap.  Is it Thursday?
Hubs:  Yep.

Of course, I knew today would be Thursday when I sent my timesheet to the office last night, but upon waking this morning, I had no clue.  Wednesday was a wash.  So was Tuesday, I guess, since I don't remember it at all.  

We're getting at least a couple dozen birds at a time at the feeders these past few days.  Juncos, cardinals, blue jays, white-crowned sparrows, fox sparrows, crows, nuthatches, woodpeckers (downy, hairy, red-breasted, and piliated), Carolina wrens, and one lost-looking, lonely goldfinch.  The sparrows are singing, which gives me a happy.  

We're also getting inundated with deer right now.  Both this and the above are due to the cold and the snow and the fact that finding food on their own is harder than coming here for a free meal.  Moochers.  Heh.

Fertile Ground is on sale now.  I made a pretty graphic and what I think is a grabby blurb to use in my marketing posts.  You can see it over at Outside the Box.  Here's hoping it gains me some sales.

Hubs, bless his heart, thought about contacting our elderly neighbors to see how they've been faring in all this.  Their pipes froze and they'd been without water for 3 days.  Derp.  Hubs to the rescue.  We've been storing extra water for a while now and have added to the stash quite a bit in recent days, so we took jugs to them to tide them over until they could get their water running again.  (With a reminder for them to call us if that stuff runs out so we can give them more.)  We saw a plumber dude over there yesterday, so here's hoping he could do something.  With the temps the way they've been I expect their whole system is frozen solid.  =o(

I'm over 30 million in poker now.  Yeah, I know... stop playing poker and get back to work.  I would if I could, but I can't seem to muster the will right now.

How are the this-n-thats in your world today?

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Yeah, I'm Still Alive

 I forgot to post yesterday.  No real reason.  Maybe my brain was too wrapped up in this weather crap.  :shrug:

Speaking of which it's negative 9 outside right now.  Nine below zero...  41 below freezing. :shudder:  And it's just under 64F in the office.  The furnace - which isn't really a furnace, it's a heat pump - is having trouble getting the house up to it's usual 68F.  Plus it's always colder in the office.  But the thing is running and as long as it's running, life is good.  The two space heaters in the garage are keeping the areas where there are pipes at 40F.  Anything above freezing is bonus.  I do not want to see the electric bill for next month.

Having a bathroom in the garage is kind of a pain in the ass.  I mean, it's good for washing yucky things in the sink out there rather than in the nice bathrooms, but I don't think either of us have used the toilet in there in 8 years.  If there were no bathroom out there, we wouldn't give a rat's furry, white hiney how cold it was out there.  

We got about four and a half inches of snow from the first round of snow dumpage.  It's supposed to start snowing again tonight.  Maybe an inch or two more from that.  Blerg.

From a FB page I follow about local weather, I got a link to a site that tracks power outages.  We haven't lost power at all.  I saw someone on FB talking about potential rolling blackouts in the area due to shortages of natural gas (due to the NG wells freezing), and a neighbor stopped yesterday to tell Hubs he heard our power company might be considering doing that, too.  Fingers crossed they don't actually have to do it.  I mean, it would only be for 30-60 minutes at a time, but blerg.

One upside to all this is that I've been making yummy things to eat.  For instance, yesterday I made frittatas for breakfast and then stew for dinner and also coffee cake.  Sunday, I made a vat of spaghetti with a side of garlic bread.  Saturday I made chili and cornbread.  I now have a freezer full of leftovers and Hubs will have to roll me out of here when this is over.

In other news, the weather is making people cranky.  I watched people basically yelling at each other in several threads on the area road conditions.  Dudes, chill.  Yeah, people are asking the same questions over and over without reading the other threads where the questions might be answered.  Yeah, it's pretty logical to think if road X and road Z are crappy, so is road Y.  But for the most part these days, logic has flown the coop.  More so when people are concerned about their safety and their needs.  They're hoping against hope that THEIR ROAD will be okay because they need to get to work or to go buy milk and bread and baby formula.  While their asking might be annoying, it's not really hurting anyone.  Sheesh.

On a lighter note, I saw someone made a meme that shows a snowy road.  In answer to the question 'how are the roads?', it has a dialogue bubble popping up from the road itself saying "I'm fine. Thanks for asking:.  Humor is the key, man.  I saw another one that showed a snowy, steep road and said something like 'Texas Driving Tip: Stay Home.  Y'all aren't conditioned for this.'  It made me LOL because my brother in OK messaged me yesterday with something along those lines.  We're Michiganders, folks.  The pictures I'm seeing of the 'bad roads' are pretty tame compared to what I used to drive through on a regular basis.  It's all relative.  I saw another meme that said something about 'don't laugh at southerners for not being able to cope with the cold and snow, we don't laugh at you northerners when it gets hot up there'.  Umm, yeah, you do.  And you should.  Share the laughs.  Sometimes laughing is all you've got to keep from crying.

Know what I mean?

What are you finding to laugh about today?

One last thing that I hope makes you smile.  Through all this snow and frigid temps, we have sparrows singing their little hearts out.  They're all round like feathery tennis balls right now, but they're finding something to sing about.  Maybe they're just happy we're leaving them loads of sunflower seeds so they have stuff to eat without having to scratch through the snow.  And we're happy to do it for them.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 6

2021 Week 6, the siege continues...

I know I said I wasn't going out again for the duration, but there were a few things I needed to carry me through to next weekend, so yesterday, I went to out.  I had to.  It was the last possible day to go before the snow and the cold arrived.  Since we'd already had cold and ice, there was some worry about the state of the roads.  Fortunately, I have a friend who lives and works along the route I needed to take, so I reached out to her for a road condition update.  She said the highways were fine, so I bundled up and chanced it.  The worst part was, of course, the mile and a half drive out of my neighborhood to the highway.  But I did it.  Little Cally Cavalier is good for motoring through.  And no other cars on the road, so no worries there.  Walmart was a zoo and out of stock on a lot of things, but I managed to get most of what I needed.  I also picked up food for the deer and the birds, and snagged cigarettes (not from my usual place, though, so not exactly what I wanted and at a higher price).  Starting today, snow like they don't usually see down here and colder than we've seen here in eight years.  Blerg.

And now for your regularly scheduled stuff...

No writing.  I finished up the notebook stuff on Monday, but haven't touched the notes since.  

In marketing news, Dying Embers is still on sale.  Crickets.  I may have reached market saturation with this book.  At least with the markets I have access to right now.  Fertile Ground goes on sale in the wee hours of Wednesday.  

I finished a couple of good books last week.

On the baking front, I was a busy girl.  Lemon oil cake (no recipe yet - it's not perfected), granola bars, pizza dough, and cornbread.  I also made a vat of chili yesterday.  I might make beef stew today.  I also made sure I have the ingredients for coffee cake, so I'll be making that in the next day or two.

Let's not talk about activity and weight, eh?  The cold makes me lazy.  And it makes me eat... a LOT.  And it makes me not want to strip down to step on the scale.  And since it's cold, I've been showering in the afternoon after I've already eaten, so the weight is askew anyway.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Deer know ahead of time when the weather is going to get nasty.  Thus, we're getting large gatherings of them, all looking for food.  That's part of the reason I needed to get out to the stores.  Now was not the time to put them on rationing.  Those poor babies now have plenty of corn to help tide them over until this crap passes.  Huge thanks to Hubs for braving the cold to get the food out to them.

As for the rest of the world, it's a madhouse out there.  The sheer idiocy and hypocrisy of a large section of the populace makes me... sad?  pissed?  crazy?  All of the above and then some.  

Anyway, I'm NOW in for the duration.  We have plenty of food and water for humans, deer, and birds.  The furnace is working fine.  We have cigarettes. And electricity.  And internet.  We'll probably lose the satellite service again when the snow hits, so we'd better have electricity and internet or I'll go whackadoodle.  If you're in the path of this weather, hang onto your asses.  Stay safe and warm.  :hugs:

What was your week like?  How's the week ahead look for you?

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 2/13/21

Hello again.  Here's how my reading week went...

No new books.  I still have all those hardcopies I picked up the other day and all those ebooks I got back on the 5th.

Books Read:

8) Dead at Third by Gregory Payette (2/12/21) - Mystery*# - 4 stars.  New to me and underappreciated as far as reviews go.  Free off the ENT newsletter.  
No Review.

7) Twice the Temptation by Silver James (2/9/21) - Romance* - 5 stars.  Not new to me, but definitely underappreciated - even if it is a new release.  Paid full price at Amazon - $3.99.
Review: "SQUEE! This book was awesome, as are all the Red Dirt Royalty books. I loved Coop. I wanted to give Britt such a pinch, but it all worked out in the end. Yay!"


2/10/21 - literature, hardcover.  I read this book as a teen and loved it.  I tried reading it again and nope.  I'm keeping it as part of my collection, but I'll never read it again.  =o\

Currently reading...  a paranormal mystery I got back on January 22nd.  So far, so cute.

What did your reading week look like?

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Here in southwest Missouri, the temperatures are frigid and they're set to plummet to ungodly levels starting tomorrow.  Additionally, they're calling for like 3-9 inches of snow next week.  Right now, we're looking at roads covered in ice with little hope of that changing before the snow flies.

Yes, I am from Michigan.  Up there, this would be just another yucky day in the month of February.  Hell, in the upper peninsula, that weather would be defined as 'Tuesday'.  Down here, it's bad.  

Since southern Missouri and the entire state of Arkansas don't see weather like this but once... maybe twice... every decade, it means they just aren't prepared to deal with icy roads and more than a dusting of snow.  They can't drive in snow and ice, and they don't do well keeping the roads clean.  (For the record, Missouri is better at it than Arkansas, but not by much.)

Add in the fact that the roads around here are mostly hills and curves, and you've got a recipe for disaster.

So, we're staying home.

Oh, I have no doubt I could safely drive to pretty much anywhere around here.  Might be a little sketchy getting out of the neighborhood, but after that, I'd be golden.  The main problem is other drivers.  They can't seem to maintain their lanes on gorgeous days.  What will their craptastic driving be like when the roads are bad?  Personally, I don't want to find out the hard way.  Nope nope nope.  I have never ended up with my car in the ditch and I don't want to start now.

Yeah, it would be a little sketchy getting out of the neighborhood.. that's the other thing.  You see, they don't send the big salt trucks and plows in here.  Ever.  There's one dude in a brown pickup who comes through with a spreader attachment in the truck's bed, sporadically shooting salt as he goes.  When we have snow, he has a plow attachment on the front and a spreader on the back.  I think the county contracts him to do it.  Lord knows, it's not a county vehicle.  He'll get here when he gets here.  

And until he gets here, the hills my little car has to climb to get out to the highway are going to be slippery as hell.  And I don't even want to think about that S curve right before the BIG hill.  Blerg.

So here we are and here we'll stay.  We're pretty well stocked up on the necessities.  The only thing we're going to run out of before too long is deer food.  Which sucks for them.  And I feel really bad that I wasn't more on the ball last week and got loads more corn to carry them through.  =o\

How's the weather where you are?

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Thursday This n That

One of the unfortunate things (out of many) about this whole chaos crap is that I have been unable to locate my preferred type of soap locally.  I prefer Lever 2000 Aloe and Cucumber.  It's the only soap that keeps me from being itchy.  (I'm an itchy person.)  When I couldn't find it, I bought regular Lever 2000.  Nope.  Shunted that over to Hubs and picked up Dove for sensitive skin.  Nope.  Still itchy.  So, I broke down and ordered my damn soap through Amazon.  A 12-pack there was about $11 more than I used to pay at Walmart, but a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do.  That's about a year's worth, so no big deal.  And on the upside, Hubs is set for soap for a while.

Speaking of Amazon, why do they keep telling me things are available for free shipping and then when I go to check out the only free shipping option is to sign up for Prime?  I don't want Prime.  I don't order enough to cover the cost of Prime.  Gah.  Lucky for me, the damn soap was free shipping without meeting the $25 bar.  Unfortunately, a CD I really want and a book I really want are NOT eligible like they said they were.  Bastards.

By the way, aloe is awesome.  I swear by it for sunburns, cooking burns, dry skin patches, bug bites...  I'd slather myself with it if it didn't leave a residue.  Some people even eat it.  I haven't gone that far yet, but you can find jugs of it in the pharmacy area at Wallyworld, so it must be medicinal.  

In an attempt to stop thinking about dogs, I've snoozed all the pet sites on FB for the next 30 days.  I mean, it was getting obsessive.  I even renamed one while I was supposed to be napping.  (Sour Patch, who I am totally in love with, is now Callahan.  Partly for his 'Dirty Harry' sneer and partly for the fun book Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, which was loads of fun to read.)  Sheesh.  What a neurotic nelly. 

The other day, Hubs asked, purely for theoretical purposes, whether if we could get a pet, whether I'd rather have a cat or a dog.  Didn't even have to think about it.  Dog.  He was a little stunned.  Oh, I like cats, but in truth, I am a dog person.  Hell, my Chinese zodiac sign is DOG.  The only reason I had a cat was because I was renting and they didn't allow dogs.  And then once we owned our own home, we couldn't get a dog because of the cats.  And now that we have no cats, we can't get a dog because reasons.  Maybe some day.  Not in the foreseeable future.

I belong to a FB group about local road conditions.  Yesterday, when the weather was nasty, people kept posting questions about road conditions.  They were kind of repetitive, which led some other people to get frustrated and snotty.  Yes, the askers could have just looked at the previous posts and extrapolated that their particular route would be nasty, too.  But these days, that's asking a lot.  Critical thinking skills are lacking just about everywhere, and that's what you need to extrapolate anything.  Shrug your shoulders and move on.  There's no point in being snotty.

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

Monday, February 8, 2021

Dear Brain

Dear Brain,

I love you like the dickens, but you really have to shut up at night.  I mean, you're like a kid who chugged an entire bottle of Mountain Dew and chased it with those paper tubes filled with flavored sugar.  Yes, I know... they're called Pixie Sticks... hush, Brain, I'm talking here.  

Despite your insistence, I do not need to revisit minor events in college, rename all the dogs at the shelter, hash over a phone call gone wrong ten years ago, wonder whatever happened to my high school friends or that kid that ate paste in Kindergarten... Yes, Brain, his name was Kevin, and that's a lovely picture of him, but I don't care right now.  Hush.  

Neither do I need to plan a garden, rewrite a scene in this book or figure out scenes for the next, organize my cupboards, or go over that hand I lost in poker.  I don't need to plan for tomorrow or next week or next month at 10pm.

Stop showing me videos of past events, people, pets, vacations, and tragedies.  Stop playing songs I haven't heard in years.  Stop trotting out the photo albums.  I don't want to look at them when I'm trying to sleep.

If this doesn't cease, I will be forced to medicate you into silence.  And no one will be happy about that.

If you love me half as much as I love you, you'll just knock it off already.  Please.

Too Tired to Function

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 5

Five weeks into 2021.  I'm trying to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  So, basically, nothing new.

I'm not currently in writing mode, so don't expect any of that any time soon.  As for editing, I pulled my head out of the mire and got back to work.  I'm at 48% done with my first round.  Pages and pages of notes accumulated.  Some of it as simple as adding or deleting a comma.  Some of it as deep as rewriting whole scenes.  (Just the note to do it, not actually rewriting it yet.)

As for marketing, Dying Embers goes on sale Wednesday to celebrate its book birthday on Saturday.  Just the one book this time.  It'll be 99c/99p through the 16th.

Once again, I only finished one book in reading last week.  It was a REALLY good one, though.  I'd totally recommend it.  (And it is in Audio format, for them what does that.  Warning: if you follow the link, the description has spoilers.  Damn them.)

In baking news, I made a meatloaf (recipe below) and a batch of drop biscuits.

On the activity front, I cleaned and organized three times and walked once.  Eh, it's better than nothing.  Weight 182.2.  

It's been almost two weeks since we lost Kira.  It's still pretty hard to not wake up thinking I have to feed her or take her to the litterbox.  Or to look for her when I get ready for bed.  It still throws me when I walk into the office and she's not laying on her bed.  And to not look at her dishes and think that she needs kibbles.  Yes, her dishes are still out.  So's her litterbox.  Seeing those spots empty would be sadder than having those things in place right now.  I've been obsessed with thinking about dogs.  I need to stop that.  We can't have a dog right now, for most of the same reasons we couldn't get one before.  With the exception of not wanting to stress out Kira.  I still don't have the time, the patience, or the fundage to have a pooch.  I'm being an adult here.  Sometimes being an adult sucks, but it's better to be one than to regret not being one.  Once upon a time, I had two dogs and in retrospect, I never should've gotten them.  I didn't have the time to devote to them.  I know better now.

Okay, I think that's it for me today.  How was your Week 5?



1 - 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tube saltine crackers (crushed)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese (the dry stuff)

Preheat oven to 275F.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but the Parmesan - using your hands to squish it all together.  When it's all combined, squish in enough Parmesan to make the mixture dry enough to form a ball - usually about a quarter cup for me.  (The wetness of the mixture will depend on what grade beef you use, how much beef there is to mushroom soup, how big the egg is, etc.  Too wet a meatloaf won't hold its shape, hence the Parmesan.) Spray the inside of of whatever baking receptacle (I use a blue glass casserole dish) you're using with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for 2.5 hours uncovered.  Slice and serve.  Great hot.  Awesome cold for sandwiches.  Also yummy inside a grilled cheese sandwich.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 2/6/21

Not the most exciting week in reading - reading paperbacks takes longer and there's the editing I'm doing which is taking up reading time - but here goes...

I picked up five ebooks this week - romance, UF, suspense and 2 mysteries.  Plus, I still have a mystery and a paranormal mystery left from last month.  Not sure when I'll be able to read them all, especially since my Kindle is still occupied with editing.  

Books Read:

6) Fear is the Key by Alistair MacLean (2/5/21) - Suspense - 5 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  50c at the thrift store.
Review: "A most excellent novel - all the way through. I was a little concerned at first, what with the main character seeming so shady, but I knew MacLean wouldn't let me down. The end was awesome, if a little sad. Oh, the good guys win and the bad guys lose, but I would've been happier if there had been a happy ending for the main character. :sniffle:
Note:  The main character does not die.  I just wanted him to be happy.  But of course, it wasn't to be.  =o(
Extra Note:  This one is part of my collection now.  And it is now treasured as one of my favorite books of all time.

No DNFs.

Currently reading... Since, once again, I finished the book late on Friday, I didn't start a new book yet.  

What were you reading this week?

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Thursday This n That

In case you're not on FB or MeWe, here's a picture of Penelope O'Possum...

...when she stopped by the yard a couple afternoons ago.  Mom's reaction "she's so clean".  All in all, I don't think opossums are dirty.  Sometimes they just look that way because they don't have access to laundry detergent to make their whites bright.

I'm up to 13% on my edits as of last night.  Slow progress is still progress.

And I vacuumed yesterday.  And I walked.  Pulling myself out of the mire by my bootstraps.  (Okay, so maybe Hubs had to poke me in the metaphorical ass to get me to take a walk... but I did it.)

I'm in the middle of an Alistair MacLean novel right now.  I was reading along, wondering what in the hell he was thinking about when he wrote the MC as a criminal who shoots a cop and runs from the law.  Umm, long about the middle, you learn it's all a set up so the MC can infiltrate the bad guys.  Yay.  I was worried maybe ol' Alistair had gone off the rails, but nope.  

Yesterday, I forgot to defrost anything for dinner, so long about 5, I was trying to figure out what the hell to do.  I made a meatloaf the other day, but we'd both had leftover meatloaf for lunch.  Then it hit me - grilled cheese sandwiches.  Then another thing hit me - put slices of leftover meatloaf in the grilled cheese sandwiches.  Thank goodness for my Foreman Grill.  I just assembled the suckers, slid them onto the grill and closed the lid.  Two-three minutes later, they were done.  And they were awesome.  Mine had Swiss and American cheeses, Hubs' was Cheddar and American.  Yummers.  Not sure why I never thought of doing that before.  

BTW, there's nothing quite so yummy as leftover meatloaf.  Am I right or am I right?

And that's enough of that.  What's up in your this-n-that this week?

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Tuesday Stuff n Junk

I do posts like this when my brain is incapable of holding a single thought long enough to write an entire post on one subject.

Yesterday, a comment to yesterday's post arrived in my inbox for moderation.  They said something nasty about me and then tried to coax me to their religion by implying it could fix me or some such nonsense.  ROFL.  You'll note the comment did not make it through moderation.  Comments like that are deleted.  My readers don't need to see that crap.  

I'm kinda derailed with my writing/editing/etc. Thus, my previously stated schedule for having Duke Noble out is on pause.  This may be due to my not being able to hold a single thought in my head for any length of time.

In release news, my friend Silver James' latest Red Dirt Royalty: Twice the Temptation (through Harlequin) is available in ebook format as of yesterday.  (Paperback due out on the 9th.)  Also, the children's book my friend Cedar Sanderson illustrated - One Hungry Werewolf went live today.  And another acquaintance Sarah A. Hoyt has a new book out today, too - Draw One in the Dark (urban fantasy).  Yay for all of them!

Facebook keeps trying to suggest pages that are supposedly 'for me'.  Umm, no.  About one in five, they get it right.  Like the Michigan photography page or the lighthouse page.  Eco-freako pages?  Nope.  Feminist pages?  Nope.  Trans-whatever pages?  Ut-uh.  Leftist loony pages?  No way.  Football pages?  Yeah, they missed the part where I quit football cold turkey and never looked back. 

Speaking of football, until this morning I had no clue who made it to the Super Bowl.  The Chiefs, apparently.  And that was because they're Missouri and a news-weather site I follow said something about the weather on game day for the Chiefs.  Meh.  I have no clue who they're playing and I don't really care.

I know I mentioned thinking about creating a garden.  I'm not sure if I mentioned I'm leaning toward a container garden I can set up on my deck.  It would get rid of the need to fence the damn thing to keep the deer out of it.  Anyway, it's an idea.  It wouldn't be too hard, either.  And we have most of the stuffs to get it going, or we can get the stuffs cheap at the thrift stores.  Basically, I need dirt and seeds.  And probably those platforms with casters so I can roll the plants around to get the best sun and protect them from storms.  

PBS is showing a new version of All Creatures Great and Small on Sunday nights here.  It's a pretty good show, if you can distance it from the books.  (If you never read the books, you're home free.)  They've also got a show called Miss Scarlet and the Duke - a mystery set in the Victorian era, I think - that's kind of fun.

Okay, I probably better get a start on my day.  What's up with you?

Monday, February 1, 2021

I Am a Vegetable Today

I am a vegetable today.  I can't seem to muster the will to do much of anything, including writing a blog post.  So here's a picture...