Thursday, July 25, 2024

Thursday This n That

 I just saw a hilarious meme on FB.  It was an old-timey, book cover like picture of a guy holding off a tiger with the butt of his rifle and the caption had the guy saying something like 'I don't want any frosted flakes!' and the tiger saying 'but they're great!'  Well, I laughed.  In comments there was a guy spouting off about how horrible frosted flakes are for you.  Dude needs to grow a funny bone.  He must be a riot at parties. ROFL

Ricky Gervais - who I sometimes agree with and sometimes I think he's a butt- said something along the lines of 'You found it offensive.  I found it funny. That's why I'm happier than you.'  Bingo.

People really need to chill out.  Yeah, there's a lot of stuff to be unchill about. That's why you need your sense of humor more than ever now.

I keep seeing this idea running around social media about how despite having differing ideas, we can all still be friends.   (I just this second saw another meme about it.)  Umm... not really.  Hey, I'm all for everyone having opinions of their own.  I'm also all for not having to give one more second of my time to opinions that wildly diverge from my own.  :shrug:  You do you.  Just do it in another room.  Or from behind my block list.  And yes, I realize this is not a popular attitude to have when you're someone who wants people to buy, read, and review your books.  But I gotta be me. 

An armadillo wandered through our yard a couple of days ago.  It's been a while since we saw one of those in the yard.  They're kinda destructive little buggers, but a guy's gotta make a living somehow.  The next day we saw where he'd been digging.  It's kinda trashed over there.  On the upside, he uncovered a large rock that I can dig out and move.  

We also saw a little fox.  Yay.

Last night, when I was supposed to be falling asleep, my brain decided it was time for a slideshow of everything I've ever done, followed by a discussion period, with the jukebox set to autoplay every song I'd ever heard.  Fun times.  I eventually fell asleep, but man, sometimes my brain is annoying.

Okay, it's about that time, so I'm off for my morning call to Mom.  Have a great day, folks.

Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The Brightspeed Saga

If you haven't been following along on Facebook, or don't actually use Facebook, I'm currently having issues with Brightspeed - the phone company in these here parts.  It's reaching 'epic saga' proportions at this point.  (Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but hey, I'm a writer. We exaggerate stuff.)  

Let's see... a week ago yesterday, we woke up to no dial tone.  Nothing.  But we still had internet - which travels along the same lines as the phone, so go figger.  I was not in the mood to call the phone company, and I assumed someone else would do it.  It's never just us when these things happen.  I called in the afternoon and learned NO ONE had called.  :shrug:  I was unsurprised.  They gave me an appointment time of Thursday between 8am and 5pm.  Woohoo.  

Wednesday afternoon, I picked up the phone to see if it miraculously healed itself and the phone read-out said 1 missed call.  Well, if we're missing calls, then we have phone.  Yep, dial tone.  But we couldn't figure out how we could've missed a call because we didn't hear it ring.  Shrugging, we figured we must've been out in the smoking room at the time and went merrily on with our day.  That night, we're watching TV and see the phone light up like it's getting a call, but it's not ringing.  Okay, well sometimes it does that when the satellite is reaching out for data.  Except the answering machine picks up and starts giving the standard greeting.  So it WAS a phone call.  It happened two more times that night.  Hubs and I used our cell phones to call the landline, and it's not ringing.  

Thursday morning, I reach out to the Brightspeed technician - cuz I was smart enough to take down his number from one of the many other times we've needed service.  I tell him that we have phone but that it's not ringing, so we still need a service call.  He comes out.  He works on it off and on Thursday.  He works on it off and on Friday.  Late Friday afternoon, he tells me that he can't finish fixing it that day, but they'll be out on Monday.  If time allows.  He also kinda hints that his supervisor is telling him he's already spent too much time on this issue, so it seems like anyone getting out here is iffy.

Monday... I get a notice that a technician will be here between 1:45 and 5:45.  A totally different tech than before shows up at 1:45 and he's out messing with the box on the outside of our house.  He's got his supervisor on the phone with him and they're bouncing ideas, I guess.  Then I get a call from the supervisor telling me that the tech's butt-set is ringing outside, so the problem has to be inside the house.  (Inside the house problems are the responsibility of the customer, and cost like $99.)  Whatever.  The tech comes in and starts messing around with our jacks and wiring inside the house.  Still, no ringy-dingy.  Then he decides that it has to be the other jack in the house that's causing a problem with the jack our phone is plugged into, so he's in the office now messing with that jack and wiring.  Still no ringy-dingy.  He leaves to go check the big box at the beginning of our neighborhood.  When he returns, he lets us know that the problem ISN'T just us after all.  Several other houses in our neighborhood have the same problem.  Which he can't fix that day.  His supervisor will be out personally on Tuesday to fix this.

Today... As I was typing this, I got an email and a text message that they are very sorry but a technician cannot come out today.  The appointment has been rescheduled for tomorrow.

We have some of the oldest equipment on the Brightspeed lines and they're having a tough time finding parts to fix it.  Seems to me the answer would be to replace the old equipment - which might be pricey at the start, but it wouldn't certainly cost less in the long run when compared with the amount they're paying in labor.  Short-sighted turds.

Anyway, if you've read this far, thanks for letting me vent.  There's really nothing we can do but ride it out and continue to demand the service we're paying for.  Unfortunately, crappy service seems to be the norm rather than the exception these days - across the board and not specific just to Brightspeed.  They're just a symptom of the larger disease.  =o\

ETA: Final Update... fingers crossed... I got a call and the phone rang.  It was the tech letting me know it was fixed.  When I sat down at my computer, I had an email that the tech was working on it and another one sent two minutes later that it was fixed.  I guess whatever it was, it was quick fix.  Thank you, Brightspeed techs for working the problem until you resolved it.  Now, if only you can fix the internet so it's not so damn slow.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Jealous of Younger Women? Nah.

This morning, I saw a meme on FB that went something like 'for all the twenty-somethings who think older women are jealous of them, enjoy your next 240 periods.'  

Jealousy is an odd little monster.  So, yeah, I guess there could be younger women thinking older women are jealous of them.  It's a silly thought.  First off, who cares?  Second, it would be perfectly natural if we were.  For starters, they still have long lives ahead of them - and they're closer to the beginning than the end.  They probably don't have to put their glasses on to read labels at the grocery store.  Hell, they probably don't care what's on the labels at the grocery store because they don't need to watch their salt intake or their cholesterol. They can stay up late and go to work the next morning without looking like an extra in Jackson's Thriller video.  (And they might not even know what I'm talking about there.)  So, yeah, older women might, in fact, be jealous of them.

The whole 'enjoy your next 240 periods' thing does indicate a bit of jealousy.  They have what you want, so you wish them ill.  :shrug:

Personally, I'd love to be younger... Scratch that.  I don't actually want to BE younger.  Rather, I'd love to have my body still work as well as it did when I was younger.  I'd like to be able to eat whatever I want and not gain weight.  Or if I did gain weight, just start increasing my activity and have the weight melt off.  I'd like perky boobs again.  I'd like to not have to put my glasses on to read a label or write a check or see my freakin' computer screen.  I want my joints to not ache.  I want my intestinal track to work with efficiency again.  

The rest of being younger?  They can keep that.  I don't mind my gray hairs.  I earned those.  And I don't really have any wrinkles to speak of, but if I did, I would've earned those, too.  

Still, I don't think I'm actually jealous of younger women.  Like I said, there are things I miss about being younger.  But to me, that doesn't rise to the level of jealousy.  I don't begrudge them their youth.  Have at it.  Enjoy it as much as you can because it doesn't last forever.  

If you're older, what do you miss about being young?  What can you live without?  If you're young, is there anything you think you'll miss when you get this old?

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Sunday Update 7/21/24

Welcome to the Sunday Update with B.E. Sanderson...  

Writing: I wrote six out of the last 7 days for 235 minutes and a total of 5595 new words. I added a new high of 1198 words last night.  Unfortunately, I'm paying for those words this morning with ouchie hands.  Eh, it's the price one pays.  Total word count for the book: 19693.

Reading: Finished reading two books, DNF'd two books.  All in all, a pretty good week.

No baking.  I had thought about making a sour cream coffee cake, but it needs two sticks of butter and that's all I have in the house at the moment, so nope.

Activity: Well...  I overdid it yesterday.  So, in addition to the ouchie hands from writing, I have ouchie other things from gardening - which I attacked with a vengeance right after walking for 3/4 of a mile.  In all, I was active 6 out of 7 days.  Loads of that was cleaning. My stamina is slowly creeping up, but not enough that yesterday wasn't a 'you're gonna pay for this' day.  I haven't weighed myself since last Sunday - 168.4.  I'm up to 28.65 miles walked this year.  Yay.

Gardening: On the upside, the retaining wall for the cedar bed looks amazing.  The bed itself looks like crap, but the wall is awesome.  I had plans to clean the bed today, but it's raining.  Yeah, yeah, that's the reason I'm taking today off.  Derp.  In other gardening news, my lilac bush took a shit for the most part.  I need to hack all the dead trunks off and hope what's still alive can struggle its way back.  To that end, I ordered a hand-held limb saw which should get between the dead stuff and the live stuff with ease.  We'll see.  Not today.

And that's about it.  I'm gonna go slather myself with Aspercreme.  Getting old blows, but the atrophy part of this I did to myself.  Suck it up, buttercup.  

How was your week?

I keep forgetting this...

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo Day 20
Starting word count: 18495
Ending word count: 19693
New Words: 1198

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Saturday Reading Wrap- up 7/20/24

 Books Read:

13) Mystery of the Haunted Pool by Phyllis A. Whitney (7/19/24) - YA mystery - 5 stars. I'd never read this before, but I love the writer, so I wouldn't exactly call this new to me or underappreciated.  Found this at a thrift store on sale 2 for 25c.
Review: "What a fun story. Well-written, interesting, with sympathetic characters. Then again, I love Phyllis A. Whitney. I wish I'd known this existed when I was 12."

12) The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie (7/15/24) - mystery* - 4 stars.  I hadn't read this before, but it's Christie, so not new to me or underappreciated.  Found this at a thrift store for $1.
Review: "Not your usual Agatha Christie novel.  It started out weird, but it was all resolved quite well by the end.  I still prefer Poirot, though."

DNFs:

7/17/24 - cozy mystery - free.  Oh, great Godfrey Daniels.  Not every single thing needs to be described ad nauseum.  If they open a door, I assume they closed it.  I don't care about the backstory of every character.  Or if it really is necessary, make it interesting.  Mary's cat died last year and they were all sad about it and wondering if she would ever get another cat because she must be so lonely, so she gets a cat.  :yawn:  Unless Mary's new cat killed the victim and is now using Mary's place as a hideout, I don't care.

7/15/24 - romance - free.  I swear to everlovin' pete, if one more writer describes their character as wearing Manolo Blahnik* shoes, I will explode.  It's like it's the only brand of shoe these people know.  And by the way, I don't give a hoot what brand shoe someone is wearing.  *proof of that: had to google the spelling of the dude's name. *further proof: didn't know it was a dude until just now

Currently Reading... Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  I'm on pg 136 (at the time I wrote this post) and it's really good so far.  Fingers crossed it stays that way.  And this book is totally not what I thought it would be.  Surprising and good.  Score.

What have you been reading lately?

Friday, July 19, 2024

2024 Books Read

 Yeah, yeah... this is way later in the year than I would've started one of these lists, but I was working and not reading up until recently, which meant I didn't actually finish many books before now, so I didn't see the point.  However, I'm reading again, so I thought I'd make a reading goals thing on Goodreads.  And this post.  If you've been here before you know the drill...

15) The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie (7/24/24) - mystery

14) Cinder by Marissa Meyer (7/21/24) - SF dystopian

13) Mystery of the Haunted Pool by Phyllis A. Whitney (7/19/24) - YA mystery

12) The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie (7/15/24) - mystery

11) Sweet Smell of Revenge by Pam Clifford (7/10/24) - mystery*

10) The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brook (7/8/24) - fantasy

9) Midnight Clear by Silver James (7/1/24) - SF holiday romance*

8) Hercule Poirot's Casebook by Agatha Christie (6/30/24) - mystery

7) Perfect Pending by Lucia Ashta (6/25/24) - paranormal romance*

6) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (6/14/24) - mystery

5) The Case of the Mythical Monkeys / The Case of the Angry Mourner by Erle Stanley Gardner - mystery

4) The Goggle-Eyed Pirates by Lee Falk - adventure/mystery

3) The Case of the Green-Eyes Sister / The Case of the Spurious Spinster by Erle Stanley Gardner - mystery

2) The Case of the Darling Divorcee / The Case of the Runaway Corpse by Erle Stanley Gardner - mystery

1) Award Science Fiction by Various - science fiction

0) Rumor Has It (Duke Noble, Private Investigator #1) by B.E. Sanderson - hard-boiled crime

Relief Valve

All in all, I'm a pretty happy person.  Okay, so I do like to bitch, but that's more of a relief valve than anything else.  Open up the valve, let the bitchiness out, and voila! everything is happier.  Holding stuff in is never good, if you ask me.

It's the same with writing.  I mean, it's a relief valve.  It's a relief valve in a couple of ways, though.

One, if I am feeling kinda GAH!! I can sit down here, type words, and the GAH!! slowly drains onto the paper.  I have this shirt that says 'WRITING because murder is wrong'.  It's not incorrect.  (No, if I wasn't writing, I wouldn't turn into a mass murderer or anything, but it helps.)  If someone pisses me off, I can just kill off a character or write a really tense scene.  Get it out and get on with my life.  And the plus is that some really good writing can come out of it.  

The other way it's a relief valve is that there are times when I need to get words out.  They're all jammed up in my head like mental constipation, and I need to put them onto paper (or a white area on my screen) or I just don't feel right.  This is what happened for the past two years.  I had so many things I needed to get onto paper, but I just couldn't.  This, of course, meant that after the bloke stopped, I have been laying down a lot of writing sessions.  Not long ones, because my hands still aren't up to that, but almost daily.  

My brain is also throwing all sorts of scenes at me from several different stories.  And I'm all like 'I can only write one book at a time here, dude'.  The dam has broken and things are flowing like they ought to.  Per Hubs when I told him, "Good.  This is what you're supposed to be doing with your life."

Do you use a relief valve from time to time?  What is it?  

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Thursday This n That

 I woke up late today, and I'm not all that bright yet, so bear with me.

Also, both cats are currently desirous of my attentions.  Finn wants loads of pets and so does Sawyer.  Makes it hard to type. Okay, now Finn has gone to eat and Sawyer got distracted.  

It's been over a month since I resigned.  I'm still thinking about the day-job, but not as often and it's all got a fuzzy haze around it like a flashback in an old movie.  

Our phone went out again.  It was out when I tried to call my mom Monday morning.  They said they'd have at tech out to look at it today between 8 and 5.  Then yesterday, I picked up the phone to see if by some miracle we got it back early and it said 'missed call'.  Strange because we hadn't heard it ring.  Still, I was all like 'yay, we have phone again'.  Later, the phone starts lighting up like someone is calling, but it's not ringing.  Well, crap, who turned the ringer off?  Turns out nobody.  Whatever magical crap is carried on the line to make the phone ring ain't being carried.  It's also not triggering the caller ID onto my TV like it's supposed to.  Good thing I didn't cancel the appointment, eh?

Not working means a bit of belt tightening for the foreseeable future.  It's okay.  It's good for me to get back into being budget-minded.  It's still less stressful then working.  

Speaking of belt-tightening, I ordered a meat grinder.  Got it on Prime Day sale and there was a 20% off coupon attached, so a $39.99 meat grinder was only $20 something.  Yay.  I picked up something else, too, to get free shipping, so cha-ching.  Anyway, with ground beef being so damn expensive, I figure I can save money.  That grinder will pay for itself in no time.  By the way, it's a hand grinder.  No electricity needed - just good ol' muscle power.  

Speaking of free shipping, I keep getting a notice from Amazon that I spent $11 last year in shipping, so I should really consider getting Prime.  Umm, Prime is like $14.99 a month, isn't it?  I think I'll carry the $11 a year shipping burden, thank you very much,  Sure, I'd like to get my packages quicker and be able to get some of those deals they talk about, but not when it involves a monthly fee.  Budget here, people.

Okay, I've run out of time this morning.  Time to call the mama and then decide if today is grocery day or not.  I love not having to shop on the weekends, lemme tell ya.  

Have a great day, y'all.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Waxing Philosophic

Not sure what I want to write about this morning.  I have a couple of things I could wax philosophic about, I guess...  Here's one...

I've had a lot of writer friends over the past 20 years.  I've retained very few of them.  In fact, I could probably count my current writer friends all off with both hands.  I lost a lot of people in my friends list in 2016 when it was clear our philosophies of life didn't mesh well.  I lost more in 2020 for the same reason.  And here we are again in 2024, and the few of differing philosophies that I had still held onto for one reason or another, are making it known they should probably be shunted off where the others went.  :shrug:  I'd probably have more sales if I could stomach associating with all of these people, but I don't have that kind of intestinal fortitude.  

The most recent one I lost was a gal I once considered a good friend - not Silver, Deb, Jenn, and Janet good friend level, but good nonetheless.  I loved her writing and I thought she was basically a good person with some mildly wrongheaded ideas.  I was wrong.  I mean, she's probably still basically a good person, but her mildly wrongheaded ideas have grown like a cancer and the result isn't pretty.  :sadface:

Everyone is entitled to their opinions.  I am entitled to not have to allow those opinions into my life and those people into my inner circle.  I've heard them all before and I am so over entertaining differing opinions searching for their merit.  :shrug:  If that makes me closed-minded, then I'm okay with that.  At a certain point in life, I figured out my opinions were no longer open for business.  They are what they are.  I also figured out that most other people are the same way, so why bother debating things?  I'm not going to change my opinion and neither are they, which makes debate just a whole lot of wasted time, effort, and breath.  

So, with a mournful farewell, I unfriended another writer today.  She'll never know.  Hell, she probably unfollowed me years ago because that was the last time she liked my posts or commented.  No loss for her.  No loss for me.  The mourning comes from my remembrances of our friendship which died years ago.  =o(


Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo stats
Starting word count: 15018
Ending word count: 15717
New words: 699

Monday, July 15, 2024

What a World

 What a world we're living in today, eh?  And while it is new it's certainly not brave.  Brave isn't cowering on a rooftop, taking potshots and people you don't agree with wounding some and killing others.  That just might be the poster-child for cowardice.  

Maybe some would consider it cowardice to sit idly by and watch shit happen around you without lifting a finger to stop it.  Some days I feel like a coward because I cannot take up arms against this ever-increasing sea of troubles and end them.  Other days, I just feel powerless.  I would rise up and fight, but what difference would the actions of one little old gimpy white woman actually have any effect on?  

I could stop paying taxes in protest.  Well, the income I made at the day-job was taxed before it got to me.  And, let's face it, the untaxed income from my book sales wouldn't even be a molecule in a drop in the puddle.  "Whoa, look out, B.E. Sanderson didn't claim her $47 dollars this year!  The government can no longer function."  Umm, yah.

I guess I could rile up the populace.  If we all stopped paying our taxes together, we might get noticed.  Unfortunately, if the people within my sphere of influence all stopped paying their taxes, it would be like a fleabite on a T-Rex.  It's there, but not really noticeable.  I could work at getting more noticed, but I fear that any attempt to gather together people like me would only get me noticed by the government and their lackeys :cough: FB:cough: and put on some list where I'm blocked, banned, or jailed.

I do wish I could harken back to the old days.  Take up arms, fight against this tyranny like the men who built what was once a great nation.  Throw some tea in the harbor and actually make a difference.  

I'm all for voting.  The last presidential election pretty much showed where that gets us.  I'll still vote, but I have no illusions that it will make any damn difference.  I'm also for voting with your dollars.  I'm sure the companies I no longer spend at are feeling the burn.  Not.  I don't have enough dollars to make a difference there either.  Oh, some of the places have felt the collective burn from many of us voting with our dollars.  Some have reversed their stupid policies to please their customer base.  It's something, but not enough of anything.

I'm not sure what the answer is.  Keep plodding along and living our lives the best way we're allowed to until the feds show up and tell us we can't live that way anymore, I guess.  Unless a whole lot of us all over the country stand up at once together and say "we're not going to take it anymore:, it'll be what it is.  

Sorry for the downer post.  It's not really as bad in my little world as elsewhere.  I'm supremely grateful I don't live in a city at all and that I live in a state that's still pretty free as states go.  I can't wrap my brain around why anyone would still want to live in California, for instance.  One good thing I did was to get the hell out of Colorado.  At least my tax dollars are no longer funding anything in that leftist sinkhole.  :shrug:

Anyway, have the best day you can out there.  Fight the good fight where you can fight it.  And hold tight to each (and to your principles) and maybe we can make it through this.  

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo stats
Starting Word Count: 14098
Ending Word Count: 15018
New Words: 920

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Sunday Update 7/14/24

 Welp, it's Sunday again.  If you don't know what happened in the news yesterday, some asshole tried to assassinate Trump.  He'll be fine and at least two other people fared much worse.  If you want to know more, there are a million articles about it out there now.

Onward to my world...

I wrote every day but one this week.  I took Tuesday off.  Still, I ended the week with 5058 new words added, and the book is at 14098 total.  I'm trying to remember to make a little note about Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo at the end of every blog post here, but I'm also adding it the widget over there on the right.  In addition to actually putting words on the page, I have notes of things that may or may not happen farther done the storyline, which is always a good thing to have.  It's kind of money in my writing bank.

The PROJECT HERMES freebie thing ended with me moving a total of 82 books.  No sales or page reads off this yet.  (And if it hasn't happened by now, it most likely won't.)  Derp.  

In reading news, I finished two books this week and I'm currently working on an Agatha Christie I've never read before.  Yay.

I didn't do too much in the activity column.  Two days walking, one day cleaning and rearranging my closet.  (I cleaned and rearranged my closet because Hubs found a brown recluse spider in our bed, so I made it a less welcome environment.)  I also cleaned other areas of the house that day.  Also, I went grocery shopping, which sorta counts as an activity because it involves a lot of walking and pushing the cart, etc.  

On the baking front, I didn't.  It's too hot to bake.  I did make a batch of no-bake cookies, though.  Also, yay.

The fawns are getting bigger and we're seeing them more frequently.

I really need to clean the house today.  Regular cleaning as opposed to 'OMG there's a nasty spider in our bed better clean where I don't usually clean' cleaning.  I also need to figure out my next move in the book marketing scheme of things.  I'll probably go with the genie books.  We'll see.  Right now, though, I should probably get dressed and go for a walk before it gets ungodly hot again.  

What happened in your world last week?  

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo Day 13
Starting Word Count: 13285
Ending Word Count: 14098
New Words: 813

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Saturday Reading Wrap-up 7/13/24

Hello again.  It's Saturday and that means time for the reading wrap-up.  Yay!

No new books this week, but that's okay.  I've got plenty to keep me busy for a while.

Books Read:

11) Sweet Smell of Revenge by Pam Clifford (7/10/24) - mystery* - 4 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  Picked this up for free from a post on the Crime Fiction Addicts page.
No Review.

10) The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brook (7/8/24) - Fantasy - 5 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated, although I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would give this one star.  Heathens.  I picked this up used off Amazon for $5.84.
Review: "I finally got a new paperback copy of this. Still just as awesome."

No DNFs this week.

Currently reading... an Agatha Christie paperback - The Pale Horse.  It's not her usual fare and it's a tad weird, but I'm muddling through.

What was on your reading plate this week?

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo stats 7/12/24:
Starting word count: 12791
Ending word count: 13285
New words: 494

Friday, July 12, 2024

Digging Things Up

 I've been working on my family trees on and off for probably about 15 years.  I mostly use Ancestry.com for the research and the main tree.  Ancestry got me hooked with one of their free month things.  Unfortunately, you can only use that once, but hey, they're a business and they deserve to get paid.  

I also use My Heritage.  My Heritage has a good downloadable program for my desktop, so I can use that when I can't be online.  And they also have an online search thing that I use on occasion.  

From time to time, I use my search engine.  Type in some information and you can sometimes find out things that Ancestry doesn't have or have yet.  For instance, Mom know that her cousin Shar had passed away earlier this year, but Ancestry didn't have that information yet, so I googled it.  (Duckduck'd it?)  Found her obituary and filled in the appropriate info.  

Obits are great stores of information.  You can find out the names of children, spouses, etc. and fill out your tree that way.  This is especially helpful because places like Ancestry won't show you the names of people who are still alive.  So, from reading Cousin Shar's obit, I could fill in her kids and grandkids names.  (Mom only remembered one son's name,)

Speaking of Mom... she has been super helpful doing all of this.  Thankfully, she also remembers things about Dad's family.  I wish Ancestry had been around back when he was alive.  (Actually, it may have been but I didn't know about it then.)  Dad would've loved this.  Lucky for me, I still have Mom and I utilize her as often as she is willing to put up with me.  I think she likes it, too.  This morning, I used Ancestry to look up some gals she went to school with and give her information on what ever happened to them.  Plus, I think it helps keep her memory sharp.  She's going on 84, so that's an important thing these days.  

I'd like to think this will be important to the younger generations at some point down the road.  It's here if they ever need it.  I did see that my cousin's oldest daughter now has her own tree because I stumbled across it yesterday.  I've never actually met the kid - 30 and she's still a kid... derp - but it'll be nice to reach out to her and see if I can give her info she might not otherwise have.  Unfortunately, she lost her grandmother last year, so she doesn't have access to the stories like I do.  Maybe I'll tell her to call Mom and talk about the old days with her.  

Anyway, if you can afford it, Ancestry is cool.  It's like storing the memories of generations past.  I find it all very interesting.  But I'm a nerd.  

And no, I don't ever plan to submit my DNA.  I know the basics of my genetic makeup just from all the research I've done.  If it ain't in there, I don't really need it.  

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo Day 12
Starting Word Count: 11797
Ending Word Count: 12791
New Words: 994

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Thursday This n That

Since we got the boys, I can no longer keep pens laying around.  They LOVE pens and would very much like to nom on them.  The pen caddie that used to sit on my desk is now on the top of a bookshelf and the one pen I use is in my desk drawer.  But hey, they're a writer's cats, so the fact that they love pens should come as no surprise.

I'm trying not to think about the fact that this book I'm writing has no clear direction and I have no clue where I'm going.  (And I'm pretty sure that it's awful.)  Thank goodness for edits, eh?

I woke up late again today.  Of course, late for me is 6am.  Derp.  I can't remember the last time I slept until 8.  I slept until 7 once last year.  It was a weekend, so yay.  When I was a teen, I could sleep until 10 in the summer and that was awesome.  Oh, well.  Getting older sure does have its quirks, eh?

I saw a fox in the neighbor's yard on Monday.  

Gah, the heat.  I mean, it's been a lot cooler these last couple of days because of the storms, but it's jacking back up again.  :shrug:  It is July, after all, and this is generally a hotter region than either Michigan or Colorado, so I guess it's not unexpected.  Still, we do like to gripe about the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter.  It's a national pastime.  ;o)

Why does pastime only have one S?  Since it's used to pass the time, shouldn't it have two Ss?  

Don't get me started on the upcoming election or we'll be here all day.  Okay, just one thing... if a person is not mentally sharp enough to be held responsible for their actions, then how can they possibly be sharp enough to hold the fate of a nation in their hands?  Jus' sayin'.

Sawyer is an attention whore.  And he generally prefers negative attention.  I try to give loads of attention when he's being good, but he enjoys getting into trouble.  He actually purrs harder when he gets caught being naughty.  Silly boy.  Finn on the other hand is such a lover muffin.  Yesterday morning, all he wanted was pets.  And when I stopped, he'd head-bonk me until I started up again.  And when I tried to go do something else, he followed me - head-bonking and rubbing against my legs all the way.  Also, Silly boy.

Today's post has been a kitty sandwich, I guess.  Start with cats, end with cats, with layers of other stuff in the middle.  Hope you enjoyed it.  

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo Day 10:
Starting word count: 11063
Ending word count: 11797
New words: 734

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Digging in the Tree Again

 Ancestry.com got me again.  They made me an offer I couldn't refuse, so I'm back to digging in the tree again.  Well, trees actually, because I do my family and Hubs' family and Owl's family from her paternal side.  I also did a tree for my sister's ex-husband's family so she could have it for her kids/grandkids.  Hell, I'd do anyone's trees if they asked me and were willing to pay me for my time.  They'd only need to provide me with information that I can use to research.  It's fun.

In case you didn't know it, I'm a writer and writers love research.  At least this writer loves research.  

Anyway, I've got a three-month membership this time, so no hurry for me like there was in the past with one-month memberships.  I'm not sure how much more I can discover, but it's an interesting pursuit.  I've been spending some time this time trying to learn about my great-uncle Ray.  He was in WWII in the Pacific.  He was also married 5 times and I don't have much information about his wives, so there's that.  My mom didn't even know the names of two of them, so I did give her that info.  

So, I do have these little projects.  For instance, we don't know what happened to Hubs' great-grandfather after his divorce from great-grandma S in the early 1900s.  He just sort of disappeared.   I'm trying to figure out where he went.  I'm also trying to figure out when the Sandersons came to America but I haven't made it back farther than the 1800s because it just sorta stops there.  It's a mystery.  And I do love me a mystery.

The really hard things are looking for information BEFORE ancestors came to the US.  My grandfather was a tot when he came here, so information about his parents prior to their arrival, and any information about their parents, etc. is hard to find and even harder to read because it's all in German.  My maternal great-grandmother came here as a baby, and she wasn't really talkative about things when she was alive, so finding ANYTHING about her family and their life before is damn near impossible.  I keep trying, though.  Someday maybe I'll find it.

So, in addition to writing this month, I'll also be doing genealogy.  Woohoo.  Nothing like a challenge.

Speaking of writing, here are my stats from yesterday:

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo Day 8:
Starting word count: 10026
Ending word count: 11063
New words: 1057


Monday, July 8, 2024

The Mine-Laden Landscape of Publication... BOOM

People make mistakes.  I make a lot of them because reasons.  Unfortunately, the landscape of publishing gives one a boatload of opportunity to make mistakes... little land mines to step on and blow off an appendage.  Okay, nothing so tragic as that, but it does make one feel like a moron from time to time.

For instance...

Project Hermes is a freebie through the end of today. Friday, as I was trying to see where I was on the rankings and failing - which led me to try and figure out why this book had no rank (deep and unsatisfying rabbit hole there) - I noticed that the paperback version of this is not showing as available on the ebook page.  So, I go into the Bookshelf and then into the paperback details and things, and wouldn't you freakin' know it, the damn paperback that had been imported from CreateSpace many moons ago was somehow marked as a 'low content book' (basically like a notebook or sketchpad).   The only way to fix that is to delete the whole damn paperback and start over from scratch.  What a huge pain in the ass.  But after almost 3 hours (super slow internet and large files), I got it uploaded to Amazon.  NOW I have to go check every other freakin' paperback to see if that little box that marks it as a low-content book is checked.  Fark.  

I also noticed that when my books were imported from CreateSpace, the cover files didn't make it over, so Amazon just used the image they had from the ebook.  Basically, all my paperbacks just have a front cover.  Derp.  So, I'm doing that, too.  

Shame on me for assuming the conversion process was smooth and trusting to Amazon that it was done right.  I don't know if it made an ass of U, but it sure feels like it made an ass of ME.  Thankfully, no one has bought any of these wonky-cover paperbacks.  Maybe that's the reason they aren't selling. I have no clue.  

Anyway, this issue is getting fixed.  Along with any others.  If I find 'em, I'll fix 'em.  Until then... 

BOOM

JuLoWriMo - Day 7:
Starting Word Count - 9040
Ending Word Count - 10026
New Words: 986

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Sunday Update 7/7/24

Sorry I'm late, but I had marketing stuffs to do.

In writing news, I'm plugging along on Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo - writing every day whether I feel like it or not.  Like last night and the night before... totally did not feel like writing.  Did it anyway.  More about that on Monday.  Since 7/1, though, I've added 3772 words to Duke #2.  So basically, this is working.  It doesn't add up to a lot of time spent writing, but that's good for me for now.  My hands need to get used to the activity or I'll write a whole bunch and then spend the next day in pain - which will make me not want to write, which will keep my hands atrophied...  It's a vicious circle.  

In other writerly news, I've been doing a shitload of marketing.  Project Hermes - Kindle version -  is free. I've been posting to various FB groups about it.  Thus far, I've moved 60 copies and I still have two days to go.  Last time I looked, PH was #4 in one of the ranking lists - either medical thriller or conspiracy theory.  I'm really hoping this will equate into KU page reads.  

In other other writerly news, I discovered some issues with the paperbacks I imported from CreateSpace eons ago.  More about that tomorrow.  Suffice it to say, it's taken up hours of my time these past couple days and I ain't done yet.  Derp.

On the reading front, I finished a couple books last week and I'm most of the way through a large book.  I've also picked up some new ebooks, so yay.

I wasn't the most active person this past week.  I walked once and did some gardening one morning.  Weight: 170.4

Last Sunday, I made an apple crisp.  Woohoo.  Then on Monday, I made an awesome pork roast in the crockpot.  Best one yet.  Yummers.

Basically, I'm a boring person.  But if you've been here long enough, you either know that or you think otherwise.  Thanks for staying with me either way. LOL

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo Day 6
Starting word count: 8210
Ending word count: 9040
New words: 830

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Saturday Reading Wrap-up 7/6/24

Well, here we are again.  Between the holiday and the stay-at-home life, I have little idea what day it is anymore.  Independence Day didn't help.  But yay, I remembered today was Saturday.  Not that I have a lot to talk about, but at least I remembered.

I picked up 4 new ebooks this week - 2 mysteries, an urban fantasy, and a romance.  Woohoo.  No more new hardcopies for a while after last weekend's book binge.

Books Read:

9) Midnight Clear by Silver James (7/1/24) - SF Holiday Romance* - 5 stars.  Not new to me but definitely underappreciated. Paid full price at the time - $1.99
Review: "A totally different premise from Silver James, but in keeping with all of her books, this was awesome. I bought it and downloaded it when it came out, but I just now finally got Amazon to put the darn thing on my Kindle. As soon as it was actually on there, I inhaled this story. It rocked. I loved it - loved the characters, the premise, and the romance."

8) Hercule Poirot's Casebook by Agatha Christie (6/30/24) - mystery - 5 stars.  Neither new to me, nor underappreciated.  Picked this up for $2 at the thrift store.
Review: "This is a total binge on Hercule Poirot and I loved every minute of it."

No DNFs this week.

Currently Reading... The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks.  One of my favorite books of all time.  I just shelled out for a paperback copy so, of course, I'm reading it again.  Yay.  When this is done, I'll pick out one of the ebooks to read.

What was on your reading list this week?  

ETA: I forgot the update on Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo Day 5.  Oops.

Starting word count: 7685
Ending word count: 8210
New words: 525


Friday, July 5, 2024

Freebie Friday

Oopsie... I splashed this all over Facebook yesterday and then totally forgot to say anything about it here.  Project Hermes is FREE as of yesterday and through the end of Monday.  Worldwide.  

Here's what I posted yesterday:

Starting today, PROJECT HERMES - a political / medical thriller - is FREE.  (Always free with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.)  It's a big book with big ideas, but readers say it's also a fast read. 

It's the little things that kill

The highest levels of the government believe Project Hermes is the best way to control America’s immigration problem. A simple microchip carrying a citizen’s information will allow officials to sort out who belongs—and who doesn’t. Harmless.

Unless the chip carries more than just information. 


I kinda suck at this marketing thing.  Otherwise, you'd also know that Accidental Death is now only 99c.  Not a deal, it's just priced that way now.  Loss leader and all that.  I'll be having a sale on Natural Causes soon.  

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo Day 3:

Starting word count: 6854
Ending word count: 7685
New words: 525

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Suckage

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo... Day Three.  Or as I like to call it 'The Day of the Suckage'.  I wrote 298 words worth of total crap last night... then I deleted 208 of them and started over.  I had a net gain of 452.  And even those aren't my best.  

But that's all okay.  It's all about giving myself permission to suck.  As I've said before - still true even though it's been a while since I've said it - you can fix suck.  What you can't fix is a blank page.  You gotta put the words down before you can fix anything.  

I guess last night I just wasn't feeling it.  Like I said, that's okay.  I started off down a wrong trail and it felt wrong, so I deleted it.  I set off down another trail.  Not sure if this one is right either, but it's less wrong than the other one.  I should be able to find my way tomorrow.  We'll see.  If this one is wrong, too, I'll fix that.  

Let the suckage flow.  The good stuff will come out eventually.

Oh, and Happy Independence Day.  This day will be spent like any other, but it is a holiday.  I'd be more inclined to celebrate if I were happier about where this country is right now.  Maybe I'll just celebrate it as my own independence and leave it at that.  


Wednesday, July 3, 2024

You Do You

I really should get into the habit of writing posts at night instead of in the morning.  I'm better at writing at night.  My brain is more set for writing.  And my hands don't hurt.  (Plus, the cats aren't as interested in attracting my attention.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Everyone has their own way of writing. We're different people... Individuals.  And I like it that way.  Each of us our own little island, building bridges (and burning them) or using little boats to connect with other islands, but still wholly on our own. So it's no wonder that there are a billions of ways to get things done.

I write at night.  Some people write in the morning.  Others write throughout the day.  

I start at the beginning of a story and write straight through until I reach the end.  Other people write bits here and there, then sew the bits together like a glorious quilt.  I heard once that JK Rowling wrote the end of Deathly Hallows before she finished Philosopher's Stone (UK version of Sorcerer's Stone), so she knew exactly where she was headed with the whole series.

I never know where I'm headed.  Sometimes I think back over what I just wrote and wonder where the hell I'm going next.  (Sometimes I think back over it and wonder what the hell I just wrote.)  I have this thing where, if I plan out too much of the story ahead of time, I can't write it.  I need to not know where it's going.  It's almost like I'm telling the story to myself and if I already know where it's headed, I get bored with it.  

Some people would be horrified at my methods.  I'm sometimes horrified at theirs  :shrug:  I do me.  You do you.  As long as we all get where we're going, what does it matter how we get there?

Speaking of getting there, here are my stats for Day 2:

Starting Word Count - 5438
Ending Word Count - 6402
New Words = 964
Time: 45 minutes

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Looking Forward to the Olympics

I'm not sure if you pay attention to these things, but the Olympics are coming up.  Over the weekend, Hubs and I were watching the Olympic Trials in Men's Gymnastics, Women's Gymnastics, and a bit of the Track and Field.  They picked the teams for the gymnastics and those are fine.  Not great, mind you, but fine.  We'll see how they stack up against the competition later this month.  

I'm not sure how they go about picking the actual individuals that get sent for the teams.  I get the whole highest overall score thing, but even that seems a little odd to me.  I know there were several individuals who rocked harder in their specific event more than others who didn't make the team.  Sad that, really.  I'm all about the individual, so... :shrug:

I was really pulling for this one girl - Tiana.  I thought she was pretty much flawless in her execution, but I guess her difficulty wasn't high enough to get the points.  Personally, I'd rather see someone nail their routine with a lower difficulty then flub the thing with a higher difficulty, but that's me.  Flawless execution is a thing of beauty on its own without all the extra tricks that may or may not come off.  Jus' sayin'.

There was another girl - Joscelyn - that reminded me of Mary Lou Retton.  She made the team as an alternate. I expect she'll kick ass at the trials in 4 years.  

The new blood to watch on this year's team will be Hezly.  She's a little spitfire.  

I don't remember much about the guys, to be frank.  In that case, I was rooting for Shane Wiskus.  He only made it as an alternate and he looked kinda crushed.  Frederic did well and he's probably our best shot for a medal.  I wish him the best.  

Previously, we'd watched the swimming trials.  Katie is kicking ass as usual.  I love to watch her.  She makes it look like she's just out for a swim and she's so far away from the other swimmers it's like she's swimming alone.  

All in all, I'm looking forward to the Olympics.  How about you?

And for my own 'Olympics', here are my stats from Day One of Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo

Starting Word Count - 4564
Ending Word Count - 5438
New Words = 874
Time: 35 minutes

I also put a widget up there on the right to keep track.  

Have a great day!

Monday, July 1, 2024

Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo Begins

Welcome to Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo... and no, I don't know what it stands for other than 'we're doing a writing thing this month'.  Join in if you want to.  If you don't want to, feel free to stop by and watch the progress here and at Silver's blog.  

Right now, the plan for me is to work on the next Duke Noble book - which, right now, is called Thicker than Water.  If I catch my stride, I may be able to get pretty far along in a first draft.  I'm not promising anything at this point, though.  

This month is all about no pressure, no expectations - for me.  You do you.  The only thing we're pushing each other toward is 'write or edit every day', and even then I don't think we're going to be too hard on each other if we stumble.  Might shake a stern finger over the internet.  :shrug:

Okay, so starting out... Thicker Than Water is at 4564 words and page 14.  Since I generally write in the evenings between dinner and bed time, I'll post my progress the following mornings - probably at the end of whatever else I'm posting for the day.  Then we'll see what I have accomplished on August 1st.  Woohoo.

I'm finding it hard to be all excited, but it's early and I need more coffee.  :half-heartedly waves pompoms:  Good luck!

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Sunday Update 6/30/24

Yay, I remembered to do this on a Sunday for a change!  :muppetflail: You have to celebrate the little successes, doncha know.

Not much to talk about in the writing sphere.  I wrote two days out of seven for 1866 words.  Tomorrow, Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo starts, so I better get over that shit in a hurry and set my ass down here to work every day.  Again, Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo is about 'no expectations' other than to write every day.  I had said something about no editing, but as Silver (who's also participating) pointed out, she's editing, too.  Like I said, no expectations.  This month is to do whatever you want to do as long as you're writing every day.  My problem is I sometimes use editing to avoid writing, so no editing for me.  Basically, Silver and I are using this month to get back into writing since we've both been on our own hiatuses for long enough that it's hard to find the groove again.  If you need this, too, join in.  It doesn't matter what you write.  It doesn't matter how many words you put down.  It doesn't matter if you get to the end of anything in the next 31 days.  Personally, I'm planning on working on the next Duke Noble for those days.  If I get stuck, though, I'll happily jump over to any of the other unfinished books I have.  Or I'll hit something totally new.  

In reading, I finished an ebook and I'm almost finished with the 866 page omnibus of Hercule Poirot stories.  I also picked up 12 new hardcopy books yesterday and a book I ordered from Amazon arrived in the mail.  So yay.  

Not much baking this week, other than I made a pan of chicken enchiladas.  We ate them for dinner one night and I have enough leftovers for two more hearty meals and one lunch.  Today, I'm planning on making apple crisp.  

On the weight/activity front, I did 4 days out of 7.  Weight: 170.4.  Yeah, I'm gaining since I stopped work.  I expected this to happen, so I'm not berating myself for it.  I need to get back to eating smaller portions and increasing my activity.  To that end, I'm going to try to start walking in the mornings.  (It's too damn hot to walk any other time of day.)  I also still have a lot of garden work to do which can also only be done in the mornings.  We'll see.  

The fawns are here.  They're all so tiny and cute.  We've seen like 3 single fawns, but yesterday, I actually saw a verified set of twins, so yay.

I'm still not fishing.  It's too damn hot to fish.  And, like I said, I'm busy with other stuff first thing in the morning which is the most likely time for fish to be biting this time of year.  Oh, well.  There'll be plenty of time to fish this Fall.

My gardens are pathetic right now.  Aside from the neglect they've suffered, we had a hard rain the other morning that knocked my new tomato plants over.  I need to cage those suckers, but that's a task for another day.  The coneflowers I bought look tragic.  They may be at the end of their growing season, which is part of it.  The other part is the deer have discovered them and have gotten over their fear of NEW THING, and they're munching on the plants now.  Derp.

Well, I think that's it for me today.  If I missed anything that you have a burning desire to get on update on, let me know.  Have a great day!  And feel free to leave a comment letting me know how your week went.  



Saturday, June 29, 2024

Saturday Reading Wrap-Up 6/29/24

Saturday Reading Wrap-up?  Well, if it wasn't broken before, why fix it now?  So here we go...

Not a lot of action on picking up new books this week, but I did get a new ebook - the first one this year :gasp: - so that's something.  I also discovered that one of the ebooks I bought last year never made it to my Kindle.  I'm working on fixing that because I still want to read it and I did pay money for it, dammit.

Books Read:

7) Perfect Pending by Lucia Ashta (6/25/24) - paranormal romance* - 4 stars - new to me but not underappreciated.  Picked up for free last year from a freebie list on Amazon.
Review: "Good story. A little too explicit here and there for me to be able to give it 5 stars, but your mileage may vary."

DNFs:

6/24/24 - free - paranormal romance - it just didn't blow my skirt up and that was obviously in the first few paragraphs.  Blerg. (This was sitting on my Kindle from July of last year, which makes me sad.)

6/24/24 - free - cozy mystery - it was the second book in a series when I never read the first, so I'm not sure if it really was this book's fault, but the allusion to all the different things that happened in the first - not a recap but hinting at it all - definitely turned me off.  Needless to say, I am not inclined to go looking for the first book so I can read this one.  (This was sitting on my Kindle from July of last year, too.)

Currently Reading...  A compendium of Hercule Poirot stories.  861 pages of it.  I've been reading this for well over a week now and I'm almost done.  I needed a break midweek, though, so I tried reading some other stuff, too.

What's on your reading wrap-up this week?

Friday, June 28, 2024

Friday This n That

Yep, forgot to post yesterday.  Yep, forgot it was Thursday, too.  I'm all messed up in the timeline.  Derp.

In my defense, yesterday morning, I went outside to mow.  I was all prepared to get 'er done.  Mowed for like 20-30 minutes and was too pooped to continue.  I am a pathetic loser.  (And one, big, atrophied muscle.)

Night before last, I wrote 1122 words - which is the most I've done in one sitting since June of 2022.  Go, me.  Woo.  At least that muscle is recovering from its atrophy.

At my day-job, I typed a lot, but it was all short spurts - messages, emails, etc.  Every rare once in a while, I would type instructions - especially at the end there when I wanted to leave procedures for the next person who had to do my job.  I increased my typing speed by a lot, but only in short spurts.  Oh, and I can also take dictation of a sort.  They'd talk, I'd type while they were talking, and it ended up pretty much word for word.  (Sometimes, I'd edit what they were saying while I was typing because people don't always explain things in a linear fashion and they umm a lot.)

Accidental Death is now only 99c.  Have at it.

Project Hermes will be free starting July 4th for 5 days.  Have at that, too.

Just now, I was watching a doe and her itty-bitty fawn.  OMG, so tiny.  Nature is a beautiful thing, ya know.  And then you see her licking its butt and like... ew.

There's a photo being passed around on FB that supposedly shows a coyote with a deceased dog in its mouth.  Looks like a Jack Russell.  I guess the photo is some kind of warning about wildlife and your pets.  It doesn't look real to me.  Like where the coyote is holding the dog and the way the dog is hanging there, the physics are off.  Unless the dog was dead before the coyote picked it up and rigor mortis had already set in.  In which case, the coyote most likely found the dog carcass and is carrying it off, and didn't actually kill the dog.  I'm not exactly sure a coyote of that size could kill a Jack Russell of that size.  Jack Russells are pretty feisty.  Sure, it could happen, but I'm suspicious.  Anyway, look at everything you see online with a critical eye.

And yeah, be careful letting your pets out where wildlife can munch on them.  A gal who used to live here had her cat snatched right off her porch by a bobcat.  Or at least that's what she said.  I'm suspicious of that, too, because she wasn't always the most honest person.  It's believable, though.  We have bobcats and they wouldn't hesitate to much a house cat if they could.

And that's about enough out of me today.  Have you got any this n that to share today?


Wednesday, June 26, 2024

The Boiling Frog Who Jumped Away

This post was written a few years ago and never published.  It's more of a cautionary tale than anything.  I talk about this stuff so maybe someone else can take my experiences and help themselves out of a similar situation.

***

I'd like to start off by saying that never in my life have I ever been struck in anger.  But abuse doesn't necessarily have to take that form.

Sometimes I wish he had hit me.  From the time I was old enough to be interested in boys, I knew to never put up with anyone hitting me.  If he'd hit me, I would've gotten the hell out of there immediately.  But he never hit me.  Never hurt me... Not with his fists.  

When we first met, he was charming.  He treated me like an equal. He cherished me.  He loved me like I was supposed to be loved.  And then I moved in with him.  

Even then, it didn't happen all at once.  If he had treated me like shit right off the bat, I would've packed my stuff up and left him.  It happened little bit by little bit.  An unkind word here, a quiet dressing-down there.  By the time I realized where I was, it seemed like it was too late to leave.

You've all heard the story of how to boil a frog...  If you put a frog in hot water, it'll jump right out.  But if you put a frog in cold water and bring that water to boiling, you can easily boil it.  It doesn't realize the water is heating up.  It doesn't try to get away.  It just sits there until it dies.

He never came right out and called me ugly or stupid or fat.  He implied it.  He played on my own fears.  Are you sure you really want to wear THAT dress?  I can't believe you embarrassed me like that.  Don't touch that.  Don't do that.  Stay away from that.  

An example...  When we first met, he was almost computer illiterate and I was working a job in computer training and consulting.  I trained him on how to use his computer better and more efficiently.  I spent hours setting up a database for his business and inputting all the data he'd been keeping in a Word document.  But after I was done with that, I was no longer allowed to touch his computer because I might screw something up.

When I tried to read a book, he sulked and made life unbearable, so I stopped reading.  Reading, you see, took my attention away from him.  Even when he didn't need or want my attention.  

If I tried to be with my friends, he sulked and made life unbearable to the point I no longer saw my friends.  Until I had no friends.  Hell, he didn't want me to be around his friends either.  And heaven forbid, I had something to do with my family.  If he went, he was sullen.  If he didn't go, I came home to sullen.  

This was, of course, not the case when we were with his family.  He was so loving and attentive around them.  He morphed back into the man I first met.  I was beautiful and smart and he loved me.  He was that way around strangers, too.  Suddenly, he was the man I fell in love with again.

Except the man I fell in love with was an illusion.  

One night about two and half years in, we had one hell of a fight.  I don't remember what start it.  Maybe I tried to stand up for myself.  Again, he never hit me.  The words and accusations he threw were far worse.  So vile and disgusting, I won't repeat them here.  I was ready to leave him then.  The next day, he came to me on his proverbial knees, apologized with some excuse or other, and suggested we go into couples therapy.  I was all for it.  Maybe I'd get the man I fell in love with back.  Maybe a therapist would finally show him that not everything was my fault all the time.  

Therapy never happened.  It was just another trick of his to make me stay.

Another 6 months down the road, everything was happy on the surface and we talked about buying a house.  He went and looked at houses without me.  He picked the house without me.  He bought the house in his name.  He picked out all the furniture.  And we moved into his house.  He didn't want me to meet the neighbors.  He didn't want me to walk around the neighborhood.  We'd moved into a pretty cage.  I swear if he could've he would've fix it so I didn't work, so I'd never have to leave my cage.

Shortly thereafter, I was away at a sales conference in a dinner meeting and all I could think about was not wanting to go home.  After the meeting, I would have to head for the airport for my red-eye flight back to him.  I prayed for the plane to crash so I wouldn't have to go home.  That's when I finally woke up.  I would rather die than go back to that man.  So, why die?  Why not just get the hell out of that hellacious relationship?

Still, I didn't immediately go.  I'd just been tired that night.  It wasn't really as bad as I was thinking, was it?  A couple days after I got home, I invited my parents over for dinner to see the new house and stuff.  He was working when they came over.  It was always better to see my family when he wasn't home.  Unfortunately, when he got home and heard they'd been over, he blew up.  How dare I invite people over to HIS house when he wasn't home?  

The camel's back finally broke.  I told him I was leaving.  I spent the night in Owl's room and the next morning, before he woke up, I took her out of there.  We went to breakfast and then to my parent's house where I asked if they wouldn't mind watching Owl so I could go move my stuff and whether it would be okay if we stayed with them for a while.

When I got back to his house, he was waiting for me.  He didn't believe me the night before when I said I was leaving.  He still only thought this was some kind of game I was playing, looking for concessions or sympathy or something.  I set him straight, then started packing my stuff and moving it to my car.  After the first trip to the folks', when I got back, all my stuff was in the hall and he was gone.  Whew.  

Then the calls started.  Every night, him trying to get me to come 'home', so nice and so apologetic.  Eventually, I told him if he didn't stop calling, we were getting the phone number changed.  He stopped calling.  Then he happened to see me out and about and decided to follow me.  It was like a lame car chase in a bad movie.  Rushing down the freeway with him yelling out the window and scaring the holy shit out of me.  I drove straight to the state police post and sat in their parking lot until I was sure he was gone.  I never saw him again.

Dad didn't understand why I left him and kept encouraging me to patch things up.  After all, I'd been with him for three years.  The guy's friends and family didn't understand why I would do such a thing.  I was certainly a horrible person for hurting him so bad.  None of them ever knew what went on behind closed doors.  No one ever saw because the marks he left weren't visible and I never told them what was happening to me.  I was ashamed I'd let myself get into that situation.  I always thought of myself as a strong woman.  I was the first person to advocate for abused women to get the hell away from their abusers--to wonder why the hell they stayed.  And there I was in an abusive relationship myself.  For three years.  I felt like a fool. 

And even after I knew I was being abused, it wasn't 'real abuse' because he never physically harmed me.  He rubbed my soul raw, he flayed away at my sense of worth and of self until I lay in tatters. On the inside.  I was his pretty doll to dress up in sexy clothes and show off at parties.  And as long as I kept my mouth shut and toed the line, he was happy.  

Now, after reading all that, one would think I would never let that happen again.  Sorry to disappoint, but I did it again.  Not quite to the same extent, but I got Mental Abuser 2.0 a few years after I ditched the original version.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Lucky for me, after I got out of that relationship, I spent a year learning how to be alone and like it.  And then I found Hubs.  Twenty years of awesome... you know, once I understood that Hubs was a good man and stopped cringing every time I thought he might be mad at me.  And learning it was okay if he was mad, because he still wouldn't treat me like shit.  

I didn't write this for sympathy or for pats on the back.  It happened.  I survived it.  It's done for me.  I wrote this because there are far too many people out there living through the same situations I lived through.  I want them to know they can get out.  I want them to understand that they don't deserve to be treated poorly by anyone - especially by someone who is supposed to love you.  Being alone is better than being with someone like that.  Really, it is.  

And abuse is abuse - even if you can't see the marks it leaves.  

(I don't mention Owl much in this, not because she wasn't part of it but because we'd be here all day if I included my thoughts and feelings about her in all this.  I tried to hide as much of it from her as I could.  No child should be exposed to that stuff.)

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Sunday Update 6/22/24

Okee dokie, I ate something yesterday that left me feeling gross this morning, so this might not be the most awesome of Sunday Updates...

First things first - because it always comes first... writing.  I wrote twice this past week for a total of 1684 words.  I had intended to write more, but I didn't.  The first writing session left me with an ouchy hand the next day, and being the big baby that I can be sometimes, I put off writing again for several days.  The next session wasn't nearly as hard on my hands, so yay.  But I really need to get myself into the writing groove, so that every night I am sitting here for at least a half hour, banging away at the keyboard.

Another writerly thing is that I set Sleeping Ugly up with a three day freebie deal.  Friday - Saturday - Sunday.  Which means today is the last day and if you haven't taken advantage of this, then your time is running out.  I've moved 42 books as of this morning.  Small beans in the scheme of things, but considering I'm only reaching people through Facebook groups designed for this type of marketing AND considering those 42 books are more books than I moved all of last year and a good part of '22, I'll take it.  Maybe those freebies will encourage people to buy the other two books in the series.  Maybe it'll get me a new review or two.  I have hopes.

To that end, I'll be running freebies and sales a lot over the next three months, just to make something happen.  Keep following this page or follow me on Facebook for up to date info on that jazz.

In reading news, I've been reading the same book all week - Poirot's Casebook.  It's a boatload of short stories by Agatha Christie, all involving Hercule.  It's pretty awesome, but I've read like 350 pages so far and I've only reached in the middle of the volume.

I was active 5 our of 7 days this week.  Cleaning mostly, but I did get a walk in.  I did what I call Loop +, which means walking the entire neighbor circle, plus the little short road.  That makes it 1.1 miles and puts me at 24.4 miles for the year so far.  My calf muscles are still protesting that walk.  I didn't weigh myself this week.  Mostly because I've been eating like a horse, so I don't expect to see a downward change and I don't want to see an upward change. LOL

In baking news, I made Parmesan-encrusted pork chops.  Then I got a wild hair and made brownies one night.  Both of those... so good.    It's really getting too hot here to bake a lot, which is why I try to do it in the morning, but sometimes a gal just has to have brownies.  Warm, with ice cream.  

Other than that?  I'm sure other stuff occurred, but my brain is toast today.  

How are things in your world?

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Saturday Snippet

Saturday Snippet... Hmm... sounds like a plan... But what to share?  Would you want a snip of something I'm currently working on?  

“You don’t even care that your brother is lying in a ditch somewhere.”  The voice coming over the phone line wasn’t an unwelcome one, but Duke Noble’s head was pounding after a night on the town and the shrillness of the tone was one he could’ve done without.

 “He’s not lying in a ditch somewhere, Mother.  He’s probably on a three-day bender,” Duke said as he tucked the receiver against his shoulder and lit another cigarette.

“But he hasn’t been in his apartment in weeks.”

“I’m sure you’re exaggerating.”

“There’s dust all over everything and the food in his refrigerator has spoiled.”

Duke sat up.  “What were you doing in Harry’s apartment, Mother?”

“I was worried.  And it wasn’t as if I was breaking and entering.  He gave me a key, after all.  I thought I’d just pop over and check on him.”

The thought of what his mother could’ve encountered upon entering Harry’s apartment almost made Duke spit his coffee across the room.  Harry was a died-in-the-wool bachelor and more than something of a lady’s man.  On any given day, all sorts of individual ladies could be found in various states of undress in his brother’s abode.

Or would you rather have something older?

A cute and fluffy bunny hopped across the meadow toward me.  His shiny button eyes twinkled and his tiny velvet nose wrinkled.  Next thing I knew, the little bastard whipped out a laser pistol and shot me in the ankle.  “That’s the last donation the ASPCA gets from me,” I thought.

Looking back, that’s how this whole thing got started.  One minute I’m enjoying a beautiful summer day, the next, I’m running for my life.  It was as if the whole species  of lagomorphs suddenly decided they’d had enough of being darling, and decided it was high time they took over the job of King of the Forest.

It wasn’t until much later I found out about the space ship.

(Everything is, of course, unedited. So cut me some slack.)

Do you guys need a lead in for these things - like what it's from or some kind of basis for the scene?  In the case of both of these, they're the beginnings of their Chapter Ones, so they really should already give you an idea.  :shrug:

Friday, June 21, 2024

Freebie Friday

Hi Everyone. It's morning here and you know what that means? Well, beside the fact that I am a half-awake troll, mainlining coffee and fending off overactive kitties? It means SLEEPING UGLY is free starting today.

Looks aren’t everything… And curses aren’t real… Yeah, right.

(Go here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GM24Q48 )



Thursday, June 20, 2024

Thursday This n That

You ever see one of those math problems on FB where it's like this picture plus this picture equals this amount and you get several lines of that with different pictures and then you have to figure out the ultimate answer using pictures?  I'm usually okay at those, but I saw one this morning on a whole 'nother level and it hurt my brain.

I heard from my MIL yesterday.  The bank contacted her about the check that was stolen out of Owl's mailbox at Christmas.  Sounds like they've caught someone and are moving forward with prosecution.  Yay.  I took all the information and sent it to Owl, in case she doesn't already have it, and I'll give it to my mom this morning.  I hope they throw the book and her/him/them.  Stealing little old ladies' Christmas checks... how low can you go?

I took a new pic of The Boyz...

You can really see Sawyer's markings in this one.  They both have such interesting markings.  And even though they're both tabbies, Sawyer's tabby is more brown-gray and Finn's is more gray-gray.  Totally brothers from another mother.

We've seen at least two fawns now.  Yay.

I actually got some words written last week, but the next day, my hand hurt so bad that I'm shying away from writing.  I need to suck it up.  My hands will get over it if I make them get over it.  So there.  I'll get some writing done today, you can guaran-damn-tee it.

I also walked the loop yesterday for the first time in over a year.  It took me 28 minutes instead of the usual 25.  I expected it to take longer because I really was taking it slower.  It felt good to do it, but I am paying for it a little this morning.  Gah, atrophy sucks.

Okay, that's probably enough out of me this morning.  Have an awesome day wherever you are and feel free to leave some of your this-n-thats behind before you go.  =o)


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wednesday

It's Wednesday.  In my recent-past life, Wednesday was meeting day.  Not for me, but for everyone else in the office.  I got a bye to not attend because someone had to answer the phones.  Yay.  I hate meetings anyway, so it was all good, baby.

In my other job - the spreadsheety thing I've been doing for like 20 years for the family business (aka pay-job) - Wednesdays are the days I have to get my timesheet to the office so they can mail me a check on Thursday morning.  Yay.  (Don't get too excited. It's not enough to live on. LOL)

Otherwise, Wednesdays don't have a purpose that's any different from any other day.  I'd like to change that.  (See yesterday's post.)  

Maybe Wednesday is a good day to talk about writing...

First off, I'm probably not the first person anyone should come to for writing advice.  Any advice I give take with a grain of salt.  If it seems sound and it works for you, take it.  If not, that's fine, too.  After all, it's not like I'm flashing my Bestselling Author card.  I don't have one.  I only have the 'been in the trenches for twenty years' pin.  It's around here somewhere... probably hiding underneath a pile of unfinished manuscripts.  

But enough about that.  It's all sound and fury signifying nothing.  I write books.  Sometimes I dabble in short stories, but that's rare.  My brain isn't wired for short.  I always have something more I want to say or another twist to throw at my characters.  To paraphrase Sir Mix-a-lot, I write big books and I cannot lie. A thing my readers can't deny. When a book pops into my little bitty head with a round plot in my face, I get sprung.  (All apologies for that. I couldn't help myself.)

I write big books.  You may right short stories.  You could write limericks on the subway wall for all I care.  Are you writing?  Awesome.  If you've got words burning in your head to get out, then let's do this.  To that end, Silver and I are pushing each other next month.  We're calling it Ju-Lo-Wri-Mo and basically we are going to write something every day.  Word counts are optional.  We'll probably tell each other the amounts, but it won't really matter as long as we can say 'I wrote today', we'll win.  Feel free to join along.

This has been somewhat of a rambling post.  Sorry about that.  My brain still needs some rewiring after a couple years of shunting my focus elsewhere.  Give me time.  

What say you?  If you're a writer, what do you write?  If you're a reader, what's your go-to thing to read?  If you're neither, feel free to pull up a chair and watch the weirdness.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Blogging Suggestions?

 I'm hoping, at some point, to have regularly scheduled blog posts on various weekdays.  Sunday will be the Update, of course.  (When I remember.)  Thursdays will still be This n That posts.  I'm open to suggestions on the other days.  Having themes might make it easier for me to think of things to talk about.  :shrug:

Old Movie Monday?  Wicked Wednesday - for crime posts?  Freaky Friday - for weirdness posts?  Would Topical Tuesday be too lame?  I could do Fantasy Friday, too - and talk about fantastical things.  I dunno.  Should I devote a day to writerly topics?  Readerly topics?  In the past I've done fishing reports and also reading wrap-ups on Saturdays, but I stopped each of those because I wasn't fishing that much or reading that much.  

Anyway, I'm open to suggestions.  Have at it.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Monday Update

Apparently, I'm not quite into the swing of being 'retired' again because I totally forgot to post yesterday.  Bear with me.  I'm workin' on it.

So, last week was my first full week of being back to being a private citizen / hermit again.  Here's what happened:

I wrote words!  Not every day, but I did manage to write twice for a total of 1733 words.  Not great but not horribly shabby either.  I learned that I am totally not up to any kind of marathon writing yet.  My hands start to be little, whiny babies at about 800 words right now.  That amounts to about a half hour of continuous typing.  I'm hoping that, by the end of July, I can be back to a sustained 60-90 minutes at a time. 

The story my brain wanted to work on was Duke Noble's.  I ended up restarting the next book in the series.  Right now, it's called Thicker than Water.  Once before, I started this story, and I may end up using some of what I wrote previously.  But since I got stuck, I probably needed to just jumpstart this sucker.  We'll see.  

I'm also working on getting back into the swing of reading.  I finished a Sherlock Holmes compilation and started a Hercule Poirot one.  Right now, I'm feeling mysterious... what can I say?  

On the activity front, I did something active 5 out of 7 days.  I'm not back to walking yet. There's so much other stuff I'm behind on that walking seems unproductive.  Instead, I spent time either cleaning or gardening.  Weight: 166.4

Cleaning is more exercise than you'd think.  And man, am I not used to doing it anymore.  I found muscles I forgot I had.  Oof.  It's not like Hubs wasn't doing it and doing a good job at it, but I'm a control freak sometimes, so as soon as I could take that job back, I did.  He's still doing dishes, but only because he gets to them before I think about it.  I did dishes once since I've been back and oh my aching back, I'd forgotten how much doing dishes hurts.  Oh well.  The job needs to shift back over to my list and get off of Hubs' list.  Jus' sayin'.

Gardening was mostly weeding and digging up beds because they are in such a state.  My poor shade bed... the astilbes are down from 6 to three and those were getting choked out.  I thought my two coral bells were toast, but one of them send out shoots and there are two little bitty live shoots from that.  The other variety is gone.  The lily-of-the-valley that was doing so good is left with one shoot that the deer have munched.  On a positive note, the tomatoes I planted a few weeks ago appear to be growing right along.  No signs on flowers yet, but I have hopes.

I made homemade cinnamon rolls on Friday.  I have had such a craving for cinnamon rolls like you wouldn't believe.  But I can't ever seem to find a recipe that makes me want to dive in.  Cinnamon rolls are such a pain in the butt to make, after all.  What I ended up doing it modifying my recipe for Tasty Buns.  I made the dough per the recipe, but then instead of making buns, I rolled it out into a rectangle, covered it in a butter/brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, and made cinnamon rolls.  They turned out super yummy.  The recipe ended up producing two pie pans worth or about 14.  Mmmmm.

Okay, I think I've bent your ear (bent your eyes???) for long enough.  Go forth and have an awesome day.  I'll try to remember to be back tomorrow.  How are things in your life?

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Thursday This n That

 Yay!  Thursday this n that!

We saw the first fawn of the year yesterday.  And it was Lumpy's!  Yay!  (If you don't know about Lumpy, she's a doe with a huge lump on her jaw.  It comes and goes.  And the first time we saw it was fall of 2019, so it's obviously not effecting her life or her ability to raise babies.)  In previous years, she always had twins, but she's getting up there, so I'm not surprised she's only having singles now.

I'm still decompressing after being gainfully employed.  Thankfully, the thoughts of what I have to do at work in the morning have stopped hitting me every night.  

Hubs had jury duty yesterday.  I had planned on going into town with him and then just dinking around until he was done.  But they don't allow cell phones inside the judicial center, so we nixed that idea and I stayed home.  He didn't get picked to sit the jury.  He called about 11:30 and told me he was coming home, but first he was stopping at the Chinese restaurant.  We'd already planned for this, but I left it up to him because I wasn't sure if he'd feel like stopping after the rigmarole. He was home by 1 and we ate Chinese for lunch and then again for dinner.  We'll have it for lunch today, too.  That ought to quiet my Chinese cravings for a while. LOL

I haven't gone fishing yet.  Soon.

Tuesday, I went to the thrift store.  I only found two books, but it was still a good trip.  One book was a collection of Hercule Poirot mysteries and the other was a 'junior' collection of Sherlock Holmes from 1956.  I'm reading the Sherlock Holmes now.  It's been a long time since I sat down with Sherlock, so it's all good.  One thing that strikes me about this book is that it totally is not dumber-down for the younger people.  Hell, the first story talked about Holmes' cocaine addiction.  You couldn't get away with that today in anything targeting a younger market.   The stories are also chock full of hard words, just the way they were originally written.  Actually, I'm not exactly sure what makes this a junior edition, but it says that on the spine, so there ya go.

I do love the wonderous swirl of words by some of the old time writers. 

Okay, that's it for me right now.  Have a great day!


Saturday, June 8, 2024

Checking Things

 Part of getting back to writing... a big part of it... is the business side.  To that end, I went into Amazon and was scrolling through my books, checking to see where they're all at with reviews, ratings, etc.  I immediately noticed that one of my books had more than it did the last time I looked, so I zipped over to see if any new reviews were left or it was just those silly ratings*.  Sure enough, there was a new review.  But it wasn't actually a review of the book.  It was someone saying that the file must be corrupt because it's blank when they open it.  

So, I went in to see if everything was okay with IDW.  Looks okay to me.  Nothing especially hinky.  :shrug:  Oh, well.  I re-uploaded the book anyway, just in case.  Last night, I got the idea to check whether this person was a Verified Purchase.  Nope.  Then I went into the person's profile and it appears as if they have only done a few reviews - several of them were bad and those were due to some technical issue with the book.  I went into one of those and from what I can gather, the person is using the Kindle for iPad app.  Therein probably lies the problem.  

Unfortunately, authors have no control over whether our books are available or work right on anything but the Kindle.  In those cases, the reader should probably contact Amazon customer support and work it out there.  Leaving poor reviews - or even taking a star off a good review - does the author a disservice.  Those stars are our lifelines to sales.  The more we have, the better our books do.  And conversely, the fewer stars the poor the sales.  

I thought I'd leave a little note saying, ever so nicely, that the issue is with the app, but I can't find where I can reply to reviews.  Maybe that's an ebay thing and not an Amazon thing.  :shrug:

And yes, I do remember that I'm not supposed to address reviews, but I hate having incorrect and potentially sales-damaging information out there.  

Anyway, I'm getting back in the swing of things.  Checking things out and working to rebuild my writing career.  It's not going to be easy.  I'm not sure if I can ever get where I was with the old books.  I guess the only thing to do is write new books.  To that end, I'll be doing a NaNoWriMo type thing in July.  Fingers crossed.


* Don't get me started on Amazon 'ratings' where any old Joe with an opinion can click one star without repercussions and there's no way for the author to even know the whys and the whats of it.  Feh.