Sunday, February 27, 2022

Sunday Update - Week WTF

Okay, so it was Week 8, but I think you'll agree there was a bunch of WTF in it, eh?

For me part, I spent a lot of this past week editing again.  I got 125 pages done.  And as of last night, I am 38 pages from being done with this edit round.  Right now the book is 377 pages and just under 110K words.  I've been thinking about the next book and, yeah, the amount of work this one has been is scaring the crap out of me.  But let's take this one day at a time, yeah?

I still haven't done any marketing or reading of other people's books.  I've got tunnel vision for this book.

I did do some more baking/cooking, though.  This week, I made a vat of chicken soup and biscuits to go along with it.  I did French bread pizza.  And :drumroll: I made my own homemade hamburger buns.  Those totally rock, so the recipe is pasted at the end of this post.

On the activity front, I only got 3 days with something active.  One day, I did some woods work.  Another day, I vacuumed.  And finally, Hubs and I worked together to cover the car ahead of the approaching ice storm.  (Which we didn't get, by the way.)  Other than that, I've been a lump and I'm paying for it.  In case you're wondering what I mean by that, I hurt when I don't move.  So I am hurting this morning from my lack of activity.  Anyway, despite the inactivity, I lost a pound.  Weight: 181.2

A little while back, I talked about cutting the budget.  Well, this week, I went ahead and cut Anthem.  I went with a United Health policy that cuts my expenses by over $400 a month.  And it still covers everything I need, with a lower out-of-pocket.  Nothing irritates me more than paying for something I don't need, so yay.  Don't get me started there, okay?  Unfortunately, we also got the bill for our homeowner's insurance this week.  Yep, they jacked it up again.  If I can find comparable insurance there for less, I'm telling State Farm to kiss my wide, white hiney, too.

In weather news, we got sleet.  Enough sleet that it looks like a winter wonderland out there.  But the second you go to step on it, you know damn well it ain't snow.  It's inches worth of tiny ice balls that have now melted sufficiently to meld into a big block of ice.  It's hard to walk on, a bitch to drive on, slow to melt, and generally a pain in my ass.  But the temps are supposed to slowly rise from 50 today to 70 later in the week.  

As for the elephant in the room, or the WTF I alluded to above, I'm sure you've all heard about the Russia/Ukraine thing.  Thanks, Sleepy Joe.  Appreciate ya.  (Note sarcasm.)  After spending my formative years as a Cold War kid, and seeing Reagan set things on the course to right, this all depresses the holy hell out of me.  And I just have one thing to say in response to it all... WOLVERINES!

And on that note, back to regular life, such as it is.  I have a book to finish.  The plan is to have this edit round done today or tomorrow, do another quick read-through for typos, and call it good.  I'll be looking for beta readers shortly, so if you're interested and have some spare time in March, let me know.  I'd like to be able to get this sucker up for sale by April Fool's Day.  Maybe on April Fool's Day, since it's an important date in my life anyway.

How was your week?

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Thursday This n That

Still not dead.  

Yesterday, Hubs got the idea to cover the car ahead of the impending ice doom.  We used the boat cover (boat don't need it... it's in the garage with our Jeep).  While we were in the process of putting the cover on Cally Cavalier, a big blue RAV (Rural Assault Vehicle... looked like a little Humvee) pulled into the driveway.  She was looking for her little dog.  I recognized the car as one I'd seen parked in the newly-sold house here, so yay, met the new neighbor.  She seems nice.  Oh, and Hubs had to walk over to turn on the heater in the well house, so he stopped at her house to make sure she found her little dog.  She did.  Happy ending.  Yay.

Not sure yet if we got any ice yet, but we still have power, so yay.  We are as prepped for potential power outages as we can be at this point.  And Cally is about as wrapped against ice as we could make her.  Especially considering she's wearing a camouflage cover designed to be on a 15' boat.  I should take a pic of her in her new outfit.  (Yes, I talk about my car like it's a person.  I've had her longer than Hubs.)  

In the middle of the sleet-pounding we were taking yesterday, I looked out the window to see two deer standing in the woods, covered in white.  Poor babies.  Hubs went out to feed them.  He's such a nice guy.  He put out extra rations for the birds, too.  

Speaking of birds, we had a bunch of them hiding out on our covered porch during the worst of it.  Poor babies.  Winter is hard on animals, especially here where they aren't really used to it.  

Shit's happening in the world and I don't really want to talk about it.  Or think about it.  

I had to make a call to customer service for a nationally known company.  The gal I got barely spoke English.  Like I could understand maybe one in ten words out of her mouth.  I kept asking her to repeat stuff and she'd say it louder, but it was still mostly unintelligible.  It was like talking to a cricket on crack.  Chirp chirpchirpchirp CHIRP! CHIRPCHIRPCHIRPCHIRP.  I had called to ASK what would happen IF I closed my account - like timeframe and billing, etc.  Before I could figure out what she was saying, she closed my account.  I was all like 'NO NO NO', but it was already done.  Just as well, I guess.  I don't want to do business with a company like that anymore anyway.  The next call was to see if I could set up an account with a different company - now on super short notice so I don't have any break in services.  When the gal there answered the phone, I could've wept for joy because she spoke English.  She set me up and there's won't be any break.  Yay.  Would've sucked if she'd told me I had to wait a month.  

You know, I get why companies send their phone trees overseas.  But for pitysakes, find workers who can speak the language your customers use.  You wouldn't hire ME for a customer service line for Mexican customers, would you?  No habla.  (And no, the above cricket wasn't speaking Spanish.  It was just an example.)

I snagged a bucket of cheap ice cream the other day.  Neapolitan.  The last bucket the store had at a price I was willing to pay.  It's pretty tasty... but it has a weird after residue.  Like fat coating the roof of my mouth.  Sorry, that sounds gross.  But it's true.  I'll eat it all, of course, but I won't be buying that brand again.  Ever.

Okay, I should probably wander off to other parts of the web.  Have a great day.  And feel free to leave your this and that if you're so inclined.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Just So You Know, I'm Not Dead

Nope, not dead yet.  Not even close.  Just out here dealing with life.  And editing.  I didn't even think about writing a post yesterday because it was like Second Sunday or something.  I don't need to remind you that I hate government holidays, especially ones that land on a Monday.  I did remember to call the office, but beyond that it was totally a lost day.

I could tell you all about it, but I'm bored just thinking about it.  Why subject you to that?

So, how're things in your world?

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Sunday Update - Week 7

Okay.  So here we are again.  Sunday.  Hmm.  Let's see...

I've spent a lot of time this week editing.  I went from pg137 to pg214 - notes made and entered.  I have another page of notes to enter that I made last night.  Those should get me another ten pages along or so.  But the manuscript is up to 375 pages now.  I'm wracked with self-doubt and pushing through, because eh, what else is there to do?  I think it's helping that I'm treating this like it's not my book.  I'm just editing it.  That gives me the ability to set the work aside from the author.  Which is me.  If that makes any sense.

No marketing.  No reading.  Because editing.

I did bake some stuff.  On Monday, I did a vat of stew, granola bars, and homemade biscuits.  Thursday I did oatmeal jam squares.  Yesterday I made no bake cookies with oats and crushed pretzels.  Yes, I know it's not all baking.  :shrug:

The activity front picked up a little this week.  Two days of working in the woods.  Man, after a couple weeks of being lazy, climbing that damn hill was a bitch.  Especially the first day.  The second day was better.  I'll do it again today.  There's a lot of work left to do before warmer weather hits and I can't go into the woods.  Ticks and snakes, doncha know.  

Speaking of working in the woods, I found more barbed wire.  This time, I didn't get tangled in it, thank you very much.  But it was at the very bottom of the hill and there was a lot of it.  I considered how I was going to get it up the hill and then trudged back to the house for something to carry it in.  You can't carry strands of loopy wire, barbed or not, in a garbage bag.  Shreds the plastic and then what's the point?  So, I went into the garage.  My big bucket is filled with iris bulbs right now.  But hey, there's the plastic tub I had dirt in!  I grabbed that and headed out the door with Hubs telling me if I waited, he'd help.  Eh.  I wasn't in the mood to wait.  I trudged down the hill with the tub.  Hopped the wet-weather creek that was about 3 feet across with running water and went to work, bending and cramming and stuffing the wire into the tub.  Luckily, only the top strand was actually barbed.  I got it all and trudged back up the hill carrying this tub.  It wasn't heavy, just cumbersome.  And not a scratch on me.  Yay.

On a side note, I think this wire dates back to the late 1800s.  I'd sell it online, but the thought of trying to ship it leaves me cold.  

On another side note, I need to remember to tell the new neighbors about the possibility they have barbed wire in their woods, too.  So the kids don't run afoul of it.  

Anyway, that batch is gone so I don't have to worry about deer getting tangled up and hurt with it.  I think the recent deluge of rain uncovered it or they would've hurt themselves before now.  And then I went and really uncovered it, so it definitely had to go that day.

And that's my life.  Editing, baking, woods work.  Oh, and we did watch a lot of Olympics.  My god, I've never seen so much curling in my life.  It became a joke here.  "Look, honey!  Curling!  And I was afraid I might go all day without seeing it."  I think today's the last day, so back to my regularly scheduled programming.  I might just cancel TV because there are only so many reruns a brain can take and all the new stuff blows.

What's up in your life?

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 2/19/22

Nope, still no reading for me.  The time I would usually spend reading is now being spent editing.  24 out of the past 25 days.  Technically, I guess you could call that reading, since I'm reading my own book to edit it, but not really reading reading if you catch my drift.  I think, at this point, this month is a wash for reading because I still have about a third of the book left to edit.  Then maybe I can squeeze in some time for other people's books.

On that note, feel free to tell me about the books you've been reading.  Anything good?  Anything you're looking forward to?

Friday, February 18, 2022

Thursday This n That... A Day Late

Welp, I totally brainfarted out on the fact that yesterday was Thursday.  I blame the office.  Due to the approach of inclement weather, they did payroll a day early which set me up for thinking yesterday was Friday.  Thus, no Thursday post.  (I have no excuses for the lack of a Wednesday post, unless you count not having anything to talk about.)

I don't really have anything to talk about today either.  My life is boring.  However, I shall attempt to amuse you for a while today before sending you off to your regularly scheduled pursuits.

It is, apparently, skunk mating season around the area.  Thus, many many skunks are wandering around in a daze and getting smucked on the roads.  Please avoid hitting them.  They're not bad animals.  They just stink.  

The big snow event of the week never made it this far south.  Yay.  I guess there's some ice out there, but I have nowhere to do and nothing to do, so :shrug:  It'll warm back up by the time I do need to go out.

I shifted my internet radio over to a station based off the band The Offspring.  They are not for the faint of heart, so I'm not really recommending them, but they soothe the savage breast sometimes.  Yesterday, a song by them popped up I'd never heard before and the title made me ROFL... "Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell".  If you're not familiar, it's referring to a scene from Dr. Strangelove, wherein Slim Pickens does, in fact, ride a nuclear bomb after its dropped.  The song was only so-so.  Sad.  Their song Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) amuses me greatly.

I told Hubs what I was listening to and promised I'd never share any of the songs with him.  Yeah, this is where our age difference comes into play.  He's totally not in a space where The Offspring or any similar band would appeal to him.  And he never will be.  And that's okay.  I share songs from my folk rock station.  He likes what I share.  (I also send them to a friend and sometimes post them to my FB page.)  Here are a few of the songs I've shared recently:

Bees by The Ballroom Thieves (they also do Only Lonely, which I love)
The Night We Met by Lord Huron
Better With You by Kris Allen (which isn't folk rock, really, but it showed up and I like it)
Big Black Car by Gregory Alan Isakov
Down in the Valley by The Head and the Heart

That last band I liked so much, I bought the CD.  It's awesome.  Anyway, when I hear a song I like, I write it in my notebook (a little notebook, not the big one I use for editing), so I can go back later and look it up.  I have scads more I haven't shared yet.  

For the record, I do not know the backgrounds or the philosophies of these bands.  I don't want to, so if you know and they suck, don't ruin it for me.  I've lost so much entertainment, I'm clutching to what I have left.

Got anything on your this n that list today?  Feel free to be boring.  The boring are welcome here.  There's coffee in the back.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Cutting Back

With the economy slowly circling the drain, I thought I'd write a post about cutting back and making things work for less money.  It's not hard.  Okay, it is kinda hard at first, but once you train yourself to do without, it does get easier.  

This is a test month.  You know, just to see if we can do it and how much we can lower our expenses.

First things first, I've already cut out a lot of stuff.  No more bottled water, for one.  No more snack cakes.  (Sorry, Little Debbie, but your shit is expensive.)  No more KFC.   Slashed the book budget WAY down.  I mean, I was spending like $300-$400 a year there.  I think one year, I spent $600 on books.  Last year I spent $105.  Go, me.

But that was then and this is now.  To start, I took stock of what I was currently spending money on.  Decided what's necessary, then what's next to necessary.  Those shouldn't be things I have to cut unless we somehow find ourselves a hair's breadth from living in a box under the freeway.  

I'm working to cut all the not-necessary.  Ruthless bitch that I am.  If I don't need it, why am I paying for it?  Derp.  For instance, I think DirecTV is on its way out this month.  That won't be easy, but more me than Hubs, and I think I can wean myself off.  I mostly watch reruns anyway.  And Hubs can watch sports online.  If we find we can't live without it, I can always switch to DISH.

Of the necessary and almost-necessary, I looked for places I could trim.  For me, and the safety of the free world, cigarettes are necessary.  You really don't want me going without.  Trust me on that one.  But name-brand cigarettes have jacked up to nearly $70 a carton here.  Hubs and I smoke about 7 cartons a month between us.  (3 for him, 4 for me.)  $490 a month.  Blerg.  So, we switched to an offbrand.  $25 a carton.  That'll save us $315 a month.  Cha-ching.  

Food is, of course, necessary.  And food prices are rising to GAH levels.  I'm trimming the budget by buying pork instead of beef, chicken thighs instead of breasts, pre-packed lunchmeats instead of deli sliced.  Cheaper cheeses.  No more M&Ms.  I didn't need those anyway.  And I'm trying to make snacks instead of buying them.  

I made my own bread.  It is a cost savings, kinda.  But it's inefficient.  And I'm saving less than 30c a loaf (saving almost nothing if I can find the loaves on the day-old rack) so I'm back to buying bread.  Plus, buying it requires no effort on my part with the kneading.  Saves the wrists.  Yay.  Good to know I can make it if bread becomes scarce, though.  Unfortunately, about the time bread becomes scarce, so will flour and yeast.  

I've been making my own french fries.  Those aren't hard at all.  Cut up potatoes, fry them.  To mix things up, I cut them different ways - regular fries, wedges, circles, thin and thick.  I've also done sweet potato fries, but I bake those.  Depends on whether the sweet potatoes are on sale.  Otherwise, regular spuds are cheaper.  

Head lettuce instead of bagged salad is also cheaper.  And big carrots instead of baby.  I'm still hoping to have a container garden and cut out the need to buy veggies, but last year was a bust.  We'll see how that goes for this year.  I need to buy dirt... but that's a whole 'nother story.

Anyway, it's amazing how much I can cut when I stop being so damn lazy.  I wish I could show a savings in the food budget, but right now, I'll have to be happy saying I'm holding the costs steady, even with the rising prices.  

What are some other ways to trim a budget?  Got any tips or tricks?  Feel free to share.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Baking is My Outlet

I've been on a baking/cooking jag again.  Yesterday alone I made beef stew, granola bars, and homemade biscuits.  In the past week, I've also made zucchini bread, pizza, roast chicken, chocolate oil cake with super fudgy frosting, and snack mix.  

Hubs thanked me for all the cooking I've been doing.  I told him I wasn't cooking, I was sublimating - wherein you 'divert the energy associated with (an unacceptable impulse or drive) into an acceptable activity'.  (I also told him that's what he gets for marrying a former psych major, a woman who uses words like 'sublimate'.)  

Basically, when I feel like there isn't anything I can control, I bake instead of running through the streets naked.  Screaming.  And on fire.  You know, or choking the shit out of a slew of idiots who desperately deserve it.  Or drinking.  Who knew the world would turn into such a raging shitball after I quit drinking?  

Of course, alcohol doesn't solve the problems, it just mutes them for a while.  And while doing so, it causes a whole range of other problems.  So, no, I won't go back to drinking.  Occasionally, I just long for the days of utterly blanking out when things got shitty.

Hubs has suggested that perhaps I should open my own bakery.  Umm, no.  Oh, I've thought about it.  Then I think about the long days, the slim margins, the overwhelming number of government officials who would be all up in my bidness, and all the joy goes out of the idea.  Also, I remember the time my mom worked in a doughnut shop and how much she hated it.  The smell of deep-frying still gives her flashbacks, I think.  

Nah, baking is my outlet.  Why ruin that?  Sure, it'd be cool to have someone pay me for the effort, but like writing, I don't see that happening in any major way.  I bake stuff.  If I have extra, I give it away.  Hubs eats most of it.  Lucky for him, he has the metabolism to eat it and not blow up like a fat-filled balloon.  If I ate as much of my baked goods as he does, I guaran-damn-tee that I would be HUGE.  

So, if you don't see me on the news after having snapped and taken out 2/3rds of DC, thank the cakes, the breads, the rolls, the biscuits, the pizzas, the stews, the soups, etc.  (Not pies.  I'm bad at pie.  Darn it.)

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Sunday Update - Week?

Sorry I'm late.  I forgot it was Sunday until just now.  Derp.

Anyway, it was a week.  I managed to get 88 pages edited and I'm through pg 137.  Out of 371 pages, of course.  Everything is getting more fleshed out.  Deeper and richer.  Ditching crutch words and lame phrases left and right.  Since I started this phase of editing on 1/25, I've only missed one day.  And I'm still only a third through.  Blerg.

No marketing.  No reading.

When I wasn't editing, I was doing a lot of cooking.  I made a chocolate oil cake with super-fudgy frosting, a batch of zucchini bread, pizza, snack mix, and I roasted a whole chicken in the crock pot.  LOL, you should've seen that bird.  It just barely fit in the crock pot.  I sprinkled it with pepper, salt, and paprika.  Jammed a couple tablespoons of butter inside it, and then dotted more butter all over around it.  Jammed the lid on and let it cook for 5 hours on high.  So tender and juicy.  And we have tons left for other meals.  Plus, the bones and broth for making soup.  This morning, I should probably make a batch of granola bars.  Or maybe oatmeal fruit squares.  Or maybe both.  

I didn't get a lot done in the activity realm.  One day, Hubs and I took a short walk from our house to where the snow hadn't melted off the road yet.  Maybe a half mile round trip.  Other than that, nada.  But I weighed myself and I'm back down to 182.2.  :shrug:

Yesterday afternoon, I took a loaf of my freshly baked zucchini bread next door as a kind of housewarming gift.  We stood and chatted a bit.  It was nice.  They're nice people.  And they have a cute dog.  Copper is a red-bone coonhound.  Since they've lived here - in another house - for longer than we've been here, I actually met the dog years ago.  (And the husband, but not the wife or the kids until recently.)  When he was a puppy, he got loose and decided to visit us on one of our walks.  All floppy ears.  Awww.  They also have a nice little girl.  I think she's 9.  And a little boy who's like 2, so I haven't really interacted with him much.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  Yesterday, Hubs was getting ready to go outside and there was a downy woodpecker on the suet.  When he opened the door, the bird didn't move and he had to almost get within touching distance before it flew into the redbud tree.  I saw it land and crouch way down, like it was laying on the branch.  Then I saw a flash of brown as another bird swooped down on the woodpecker.  The downy darted off and the flash followed it.  I jumped up to ask if Hubs saw what I saw and he was pointing into one of the trees.  It was a merlin, which is what I thought might've been after the downy.  I ran to get my camera and got some really awesome shots of it.  Here's one:

To give you some perspective on the size, those oak leaves are actually past it by a few feet, and they might be 6-8 inches long.  Merlins are little as far as birds of prey go, but they're fierce.

Other than that, not much going on here.  Stuff.  Now that the snow is gone, I should probably get off my buns and go in the woods again.  Meh.  One thing I know is I should take my buns into the living room and get some more edit notes made.

How was your week?

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 2/12/22

Umm... I didn't do anything this week with regard to reading.  At least not other people's books.  I'm about 35% in on edit-reading my own book - Song of Storm and Shroud.  I'll try again next week to read someone else's stories.

On the other hand, you've probably been reading out there, so feel free do drop your titles and talk about what's going on in your reading world.  

Friday, February 11, 2022

Chaos Diaries

It's been a long time since I did a Chaos Diaries post, but I figured this fit.

I went to Wallyworld yesterday.  It was a fuckin' zoo.  And the price of damn near everything had jumped since my last visit.

Furnace filters... the kind I usually buy at $8+ are now $11+.  (I got a lesser filter for $4+.)

Burger...  90% lean is up to about $5.60 a pound.  

TP... a 12 pack of the Great Value is over $11.

Printer cartridges... the smallest single black is over $21 now.

Suet... the 8-pack of good stuff is almost $10, up from just under $7  (I bought 4 cheap singles at $1.22 each - they used to be 98c.)

To ameliorate the cost of those more expensive things I HAD to buy, I went cheap on some other stuff, but man.  I still walked out with less and paid more.

Going cheap, I bought chicken thighs instead of breasts.  And a whole chicken to roast.  I found pork roast on sale!  Got a huge one that I can cut into easily 5 meals.  They were out of pork burger, which I've been buying because beef is so damn expensive.  I need to buy a meat grinder, I guess.

They were also out of a lot of stuff.  The antacids I usually buy?  Nope.  Picked up a big jug of a different flavor.  (And the price of THAT was up.)  The tissues were almost gone.  I'm buying the cheap stuff because the name brand is pricey, and I got two of the last four boxes.  So many empty spots on the shelves that the cashier said a friend had remarked 'the grocery stores need to go to a grocery store'.

On the upside, I was nice to an assistant manager who was looking particularly harried and she opened a lane just for me.  Another gal checked me out and then went on her merry way.  Sometimes it's the little things.

So, I leave the Big W and go to the feed store.  They're out of whole corn.  Again.  Still $2 higher than I was buying it a year ago.  I ended up getting chopped corn for $9.55 a bag.  (10c more than whole.)  I also bought a bag of birdseed.  The 25 lb bag of cheap seed was nearly as much as a 50 lb bag of sunflower seeds used to be.  

I'm sure you're all facing the same stuff.  I'm just venting.  Or commiserating.  And I'm longing for a couple years ago before the Chaos started, before we got our new feckless leader, when things were looking up and the price of everything was going down.  

Which reminds me... gas was $3.06 a gallon yesterday.  Up from $2.99 last week.  Up Up Up from the $1.78 I was paying prior to inauguration day last year.  Hubs just said it's gonna keep going up for a while here yet.  So hang onto your asses.

But it's not President Sniffy's fault.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Thursday This n That

Scars... I haz 'em.  A friend of mine posted yesterday about an ungraceful thing she'd done that ended up with an ouchie.  It got me to thinking about all of my ouchies over the years and then all the scars I have.  Like I said in her comments, my life has been a journey of ouchies and my body is the map.  I can pinpoint where most of the scars came from - starting with the one on the back of my neck from when I was small.  Spook the cat got me when I tried to carry him.  Or maybe the two on my chin were first.  Those came from a poodle bite when I was like 4.  I actually have a dent in my jawbone from one of those.  :shrug:  My mother is amazed the experience didn't make me fear dogs, but nope.  (I still don't like poodles of a certain size, though.)

I've been bit by too many animals.  The poodle started it.  Cats, of course.  Snakes - of the garter variety.  I have a scar on my hand from Zeus the German Shepherd, who was a goofy, sweet dog - unless he was chained up and then he was on guard duty.  I didn't see the chain attached, so I tried to pet him and he engulfed my hand.  Luckily, only one tooth got me.  I also had a Doberman nip me in the face, but he didn't break the skin, thank goodness.  I got bit by a horse once.  JR was as dumb as a stump.  One day I was cleaning his stall while he was still in it - don't ask why, I don't remember - and he bit the back of my leg.  Thank goodness for denim or he would've taken a chunk out.  Left a baseball-sized bruise instead.  I think he's the only living thing I've ever punched.  He bit me, and I turned around and nailed him in the neck.  He never bit me again.  Of course, I was never stupid enough to be alone in a stall with him again either.  

Sometimes, I don't know when to keep my thoughts to myself.  It's usually when I think I'm helping, so it's not with evil intent, but the results are the same.  I'm sorry.  A while back, I had a friend who spent a lot of time talking about what seemed to me to be her mentally/emotionally abusive relationship with her husband.  One day, I suggested she find a way to leave him.  Never heard from her again.  She's still out there, but I'm blocked.  Maybe she just wanted someone to vent to and not advice.  I'm bad at figuring that stuff out.  

And people wonder why I'm a hermit.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022


It occurs to me that I haven't been talking much about the fantasy I'm working - not here anyway.  (If you want to stay up to date on that stuff, follow Outside the Box.)  I've already done a cover reveal and posted a snip of the beginning over there.  Go read that and then come back.  I'll wait.

Okay, so you're back.  Yay.  Anyway, here's another snippet of Song of Storm and Shroud to whet your appetite.  

(click on it, it should get large enough to read)

And if you really weren't inclined to go over to the other blog, here's the cover.  (If you already looked, here it is again.  I just think it's pretty.)


Anyway, I'm working pretty hard on getting it edited so you can read it all.  In fact, I'm about to go create some more edit notes.  Have a great day and I'll see ya later.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Sunday Update - Week 5

Welcome to Sunday.  For some reason, I keep waking up at 4am.  Which makes me want to go to bed extra early, which makes me want to wake up early... Blerg.


I'm making progress on Song of Storm and Shroud.  This third round of editing is not going any faster than the second, though.  Still, I'm at the part where I make notes and then enter them right away, instead of the part where I make all the notes and enter them when I reach THE END.  So, what I have now is pretty close to what's going to be there when it goes out to the world.  (Unless I go totally nuts and decide to make this one book into several by fleshing out shorter scenes and delving deep into the characters and the world.  Which would be kind of cool.  But if I do that, I'll never get this book done.  Except it might be better for it.  GAH!)  Anyway, I'm 49 pages into what is currently a 370 page Word file.

No marketing this week.  I'm too busy.  

No reading for the same reason.

I did do some baking, though.  I made white bread.  It turned out pretty good.  It could be better.  I screwed something up early on and I also probably should've kneaded it more.  Hubs likes it, so it's all good.  I also made no-bake cookies and added tiny pretzel sticks to them.  Those are tasty, but gargantuan, so eating one is like eating three or four.  

I also got some log work done.  That was 3 out of my 4 active days this week - sawing logs and working on restacking the stacks.  We've pulled out a fourth pallet and we're putting all the smaller wood pieces on that, which means taking the smaller wood pieces out of the other three pallets and restacking those.  

The fourth day was shoveling snow.  We got about 8 inches.  It looks pretty, but it also looks like the reason I left Michigan.  Derp.  

In other news, Beauregard the Broad-winged Hawk took down what I think was a Brewer's blackbird.  I got some awesome pics of him eating it in the snow.  

We've been having flocks of blackbirds (I think they're Brewer's) pass through over the last week or so.  Easy pickin's for a hawk like Beau.  

We're also having larger numbers of deer stop by.  The snow draws them in because they know they can get food here without having to dig through the white stuff.  I think we counted 24 at one point yesterday.  

Okay, we've been watching the Olympics.  I know, I know.  They shouldn't be holding an Olympics in China in the first place.  Here's my thinking on the subject:  The time to boycott this crap was when the Olympics committee was thinking about awarding China with the prize of holding this winter's games there.  When there was still time to change the location.  It's not like any of China's crap hasn't been going on for years.  So, the games are there now and our athletes - the ones who've been working for years to get to this point - are there now.  So, I'm watching.  If you want to hurt China, beat the crap out of their athletes by winning.  Win everything.  And highlight the dirty, rotten, nasty things China has done and is doing while celebrating the achievements of all the other athletes.  Not watching and not cheering on the good people who had no part in China's abuses doesn't hurt China.  It hurts the good people.  

And besides, I'm already boycotting so many things.  It's tiring.  I want to watch people achieving their goals and winning awards.  I want to get excited when they do something awesome.  The world is a shitty enough place.  Leave me alone with my little bright spots.  =op

Not much else going on here.  They still haven't plowed my road.  But I have nowhere to go, so I'm not that twicked about it.  (Twicked... it's something I used in my book, so I'm trying it out here.  On a personal note, I need to cut down on my swearing.  New neighbors have little ears and I swear a lot when I'm working outside.  It's not an easy task, lemme tell ya.)

Okay, your turn.  How was your week?  

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 2/5/22

Gah!  It's Saturday again?  Already?  

Sorry, folks, but I got nuthin' for ya today.  No new books.  No books read.  No DNFs.  And the only thing I'm currently reading is my own manuscript.  (Which is coming along awesome, by the way.)

I'll try and fit some reading in this coming week.  Hell, I meant to fit some in this week, but the week got away from me.  

What was on your reading schedule this past week?

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Thursday This n That

We never lost power.  The huge ice they predicted was only a glazing.  Basically, enough to screw up the roads and make it so I'll need either a warm spell or hot water to get my car doors open.  Thankfully, I have no plans to go anywhere.  Snow, on the other hand, is supposed to start tonight and dump white-cold hell on us.  I've heard as low as 3" and as high as 8".  Again, not going anywhere any time soon.  I talked to Mom yesterday morning and she was getting an inch of snow per hour up there.  

Yesterday, I made bread.  Just plain ol' white bread.  There's nothing quite like homemade bread.  Hubs had a piece with jam and butter for dessert.  

The day before, I made no bake cookies with pretzels in them.  I had one for breakfast.  Yeah, I'm such a rebel.

Today, I might try my hand at baking hamburger buns.  Because like a stupnagle, I forgot to buy those when I was stocking up on supplies.  Bought burger... no buns.  Derp.  I also forgot apple juice.  Double Derp.

I also may wimp out on the buns and just put burgers on my fresh-baked bread slices.  Maybe I'll make patty-melts with them.  Crap, now I'm hungry.

Needless to say, I had a boatload of dishes to do last night.  I hate doing dishes.  But I hate dirty dishes in the sink more.  

Man, I went to Wallyworld on Tuesday morning and it was a madhouse all up in there.  Pre-storm people panic-buying.  I went down to stock up on corn at the feedstore because the deer will be eating a lot over the next few days.  Anyway, I only stopped at the big W to top off a few things we were out of, and GAH!  And there was this one woman who insisted on yattering at me in the checkout line.  Except she had a mask on and I couldn't understand half of what she said.  I spent a lot of time smiling and nodding.  I was kinda mesmerized by the way her mask poofed out and sucked in with every breath.  She definitely didn't act like she was getting enough oxygen to her brain.

By the way, they jacked whole corn in the fifty pound bag up by $2.  Which kinda sucks.  Fifty pounds lasts us two days.  Less if we're feeding heavy due to the weather being craptastic.  I wish I could claim those furry buggers on my taxes.  Sixteen dependents would help a bunch.  LOL

Anyway, I'm here and inside for the foreseeable future.  Drop a comment.  If I don't approve it within a reasonable time, we lost power for some reason - like it's wet, heavy snow and it dropped a limb on the lines.  Derp.

Have a great day and stay warm wherever you are.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Ahead of the Storm

I'm posting this now because we're due for a winter storm with ice and then snow, starting after midnight and running through Thursday.  If you don't see me, we've probably lost either power or phone/internet or both.  If we're fine, I'll add an update in the morning.

If you're in the path of this thing, hang in there.  :hugs:

No worries here.  I laid in supplies yesterday and this morning.  Plus, we have plenty of water already tucked away for emergencies.  Flashlights, batteries, a way to make coffee... And ways to stay warm.  It's all good.  

I'm hoping all of my pre-planning will make the storm go elsewhere.  LOL

Update 5:42am.  Still here.  One weather site is saying only .01-.1 inch of ice.  Another is saying .35-.57 inch. Could be 3-8 inches of snow after that.  Or less.  Who knows?  

Dang, I Love English

I'm at a loss for what to post this morning.  It's Tuesday. It's the first of February.  Not sure where the hell the month of January went.  Woosh.  But here we are at a whole 'nother month.  

A whole 'nother.  Do you say it that way, too?  A whole other just sounds wrong.  Another with the word 'whole' in the middle.  :shrug:  Maybe it should be written as a-whole-nother.  LOL, that sounds like a-hole nother, so maybe I'll just keep on the way I've been writing it.

I also say 'I could care less', which apparently irritates people to no end.  But I've said it that way my whole life and now 'I couldn't care less' sounds wrong.  I look at it this way:  I don't care much, but if you keep on the way you're going, I could care less.  So if the way I say it bothers you, get over it.  K?

And why do people have a problem with the word MOIST?  I don't get it.

Language is a funny thing.  

Once, I got a note from someone who'd read one of my books, asking where I'd gotten a certain phrase I used.  I don't remember what the phrase was, but whatever it was, it was part of my vernacular for as far back as I could remember.  So that's what I told her.  

Proof that the internet is forever... I remembered who the person was from the above and that we'd talked in chat messages, so I scrolled back through all of our messages and there it was.  Back in 2015, she'd asked about the phrase 'to touch off'.  As in 'her attitude really touched him off' or something.  Set him off, riled him up, mad him angry, etc.  

See?  There are so many different ways to say a thing.  That's part of what I love about the English language.  It's also part of what I hate about it, especially during editing.  Which is where I'm at right now.  Edit-brain.  It's deep and it's real, baby.  Finding the exact right way to say a thing so that it conveys exactly what you mean and provides the reader with the experience you're hoping to provide.  'She had dark hair.' ... 'She had ebony hair.' ... 'Her hair was as black as the night.' ...  'The way the sun shone off her hair made him think of a raven's wing.'  Dang, I love English.

English also gives us a way to say something entirely new and have people still understand what we're talking about.  Take the word 'writerly'.  It's not a word.  I made it up years ago.  (Other people have probably used it, too, but I was the first one I heard it from, so for me, it's my word.)  But when I say something like 'I'm working on writerly stuff today', you know what I mean in a very general way.  I'm working on stuff related to writing which may or may not include writing itself.  Editing, publishing, research, marketing, etc.  And writing.  It's all writerly.  

And it gives us a chance to play with words.  Sandwiches... Sammiches.  Spaghetti... Sketty or Skitty or Pasgetty.  People still know what you're talking about, even if it's not exactly correct. 

Since I don't know any other languages, maybe you do that with those, too.  All I know is English and all the things you can do with it.  Combining those 26 letters into all those words and phrases to make sentences and paragraphs, pages and chapters, turning it all into a story.  Awesome stuff there, people.

Do you have any favorite words and phrases you use that not everyone else uses?  Do you make up words?