About Me

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Bookkeeper, tax preparer, cat lady, blogger, organizer, mystery writer.


I've finally decided that I am a writer - all the other things I do just pay the bills. Someone eloquent once said that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Well, let's just see about that.

RIP Aggie

RIP Aggie
Aggie was my fifteen-year-old cairn terrier - or maybe I should say I was her 55-year-old person! She was my faithful companion, spoiled rotten and I am still trying to figure out what to do without her.

Peter the Cat...

Peter the Cat...
This is Peter the gingersnap tabby! He's seven years old and has just been promoted to Peter the Very, Very Good. He is working his way up to Peter the Great...

Bee - the Cat Who Came From Somewhere Else...

Bee - the Cat Who Came From Somewhere Else...
Bee is Peter's buddy. He's eight years old and has made himself right at home. I guess cats really do come in pairs or sets of three!

And Jasper makes three!

And Jasper makes three!
Jasper is our new guy - the Cat From Another Place. He's four years old and we think he likes it here - so far, so good!

Buzz about...

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Trying to occupy my mind...

last night, I dove into a box of papers and stuff and found this hilarious sketch that my college roommate drew over thirty years ago.  I wouldn't say that we were bad; I mean, what kind of shenanigans can you really get up to at a Christian liberal arts college?  We were, um, mischevious.  Yes, that's it.  Stuff like water fights and riding in the laundry cart.  I held the record for taking the stairs like whitewater rapids in the laundry cart - my only injury: a broken middle finger.  But I digress...  Anyhow, we had this particularly annoying RA on our floor who was a member of the Gestapo in a previous life.  She wasn't especially bright, either, and every night for a week I crept stealthily into her bathroom and put ketchup packets under the toilet seat, which would explode when she sat down.  A week!  Wouldn't you have started checking after the first attack?  I don't know if she ever suspected me or not, but Anne would get so fizzed about the way this girl thought she had to monitor everyone that she started drawing caricatures of her and hanging them on the bulletin board.  This one is my favorite.  In fact, I'm going to print it on some note cards and send them to Anne.  She'll get a kick out of old What's-Her-Name's resurrection.
I'm trying to avoid any labor that requires conscious thought today, so I'm finishing up my stash of client birthday cards for next year.  And I'm starting to aggravate my paper-cutter's elbow again...  I am also going to put away the office Christmas decorations - and since there are Hershey kisses still left in the jar, I guess I'll just have to eat some.  Does chocolate go stale?  I know it can lose its temper, but I don't know about how long it takes to go bad.  Can chocolate, being chocolate, even go bad?  That's my existential question for the day.
Finally, I remembered to wear my New Year's Eve socks today.  Our big plans: Aggie and I are going to have frozen pizza for dinner and watch The Last Shot with Matthew Broderick and Alec Baldwin.  Looks kinda funny.  Just looking at Matthew Broderick makes me laugh.
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It stinks to be a grown-up...

Monty came to the office with me this morning and we spent a little while putzing around.  Well, I did - he just laid down on his leash.  After while Richard came to pick us up and he drove us to the vet.  I had forgotten to specify that we wanted to see our regular vet, but I was thankful that he was there.  He's a wonderful person and he adores dogs and cats and he's always been very kind to us and all of our pets.  Monty had lost three pounds since July, so I know it was time.  Doctor even said that Monty seemed less than his usual happy self and agreed that the time had come to send Monty to the Rainbow Bridge.  My sweet boy went quickly and peacefully and Richard says he'll be back as a Welsh corgi in two to three weeks, tops.  If he does, well, I hope he ends up with the Queen.  I am thankful that we had nine lovely years with such a precious, loving little dog.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I've made an appointment with the vet tomorrow for Monty.  He's not been himself the last few days and I know it's time to let him go.  I don't want him to suffer one minute - so I'm going to be a grown-up about this.  I made a pork roast on Sunday especially for my boy; he and his grumpy sister loved it.  They had leftovers last night and there's some left for tonight, so Monty will be happy.  Please say a prayer for the peaceful passing of my sweet, sweet boy.  Me, too.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On my last nerve...

I am counting the days until I move to the other apartment - I am hoping that it will be a lot quieter.  I'd even settle for a little bit quieter!  I've gotten used to Pizza Guy and his coming home at 2:30 in the morning.  Aggie and Monty are even more tolerant of his walking his boxer shortly thereafter.  Everybody's got to work - I can deal with that.  But over the past week, the noise and traffic (I'm by the sidewalk and the back stairwell) has been horrific.  Apparently, the hot chickie upstairs (who incidentally dyed her dog pink - another story) has a new paramour and he drops by anytime between one and five for a - what do you call it? - booty call.  Okay - not my business, but it's the insistent knocking on the door that is making me nuts.  First, there's clump, clump, clump up the stairs.  Then, it's knock knock knock knock knock knock knock on the door.  No answer.  Then again, knock knock knock knock knock knock knock on the door.  Seven knocks - not six, not eight, but seven.  Still no answer.  Seven knocks again.  I don't know if it's some sort of code or what.  Last night this went on for eight cycles.  Fifty-six, count them, fifty-six knocks.  I felt like throwing open my door and yelling, "If she hasn't answered by now, buddy, she's either not in the mood or dead." 

Saturday, December 26, 2009


finally posed for a not-dashing-in-the-other-direction photo!

If you would be so kind...

My friend Heather knows a lady from her meetings who is dying and could use kind words and cheerful cards.  If you would be willing to send her a card with an uplifting note, please email me and I will give you the lady's address.  Our goal is for her to receive at least one card every day, until, well, you know. 

Aggie & Monty and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wishful thinking...

but it actually did snow here - twenty years ago!  We woke up to ice on the power lines and a dusting of snow on the cars and the grass.  It didn't last long - and it was nothing like the snow in New York when I was a kid or the vast amounts of snow in Michigan when I was in college - but it was snow nonetheless.

So much for my Christmas video fest featuring Tom Selleck (sensing a theme here?) - I watched both of my Jesse Stone movies last night - Night Passage and Thin Ice - so I am digging through the box of DVDs I had put aside for Tim looking for something to occupy me and the dogs tomorrow.  We are having either BLTs or knockwurst with sauerkraut for dinner tomorrow - Monty's favorite things.  We might have one for lunch and one for dinner - we'll see.  I'm trying to make his last days with me good ones, you see.  Please pray for my sweet boy - he's been looking sad and hiding under my desk off and on, so I'm starting to get worried about him - I know that dreaded time is coming.  But we're both okay with it - it's not like I'm never going to see him again.  God loves dogs - or else there wouldn't be so many!

Merry Christmas, everybody!  Have a wonderful holiday!
I wish it were beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The advantage of waiting...

until December 23rd to buy Christmas stamps
is that there is absolutely no line at the post office.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I know I'm always babbling...

about how God always seems to meet my needs just in time...  But He did it again today.  I started out yesterday morning with a flat-as-a-pancake tire and the nice man from AAA came and put the spare on for me, as well as air in the other tire that looked iffy.  I got sidetracked yesterday and didn't get the spare fixed- I do that sometimes.  Ha!  So today, I was having lunch with Richard when I looked out the window and realized that the front passenger side of my SUV was listing to the left.  Not good.  And so I had to get a new tire for the dang thing - and wouldn't you know, God had just sent me a client this morning who needed to do his 2008 taxes - so not only did I have enough cash for a new tire, but enough for my prescription and cat litter, too.  See - it's proof that God loves me, He's trying to keep my 190,000+ mile vehicle going, and He hates stinky cat litter boxes.  It's been a good day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Getting into the spirit of the season...

finally!  This morning I've been making up teacup gifts with herbal tea bags and dark chocolate bars.  I had an overabundance of teacups and saucers from my storage unit and decided that they would make great little Christmas gifts.  All they needed was clear wrap and some pretty holiday ribbons.  My retired friend Richard, who is as short on holiday funds as I am, had several ladies on his list as did I, so working together, we have made a bunch of holiday packages for a very reasonable price.  I have six left, so I'm wrapping them up and putting them on the Busy Bee Cards (& Gifts!) shelf in the front window.  You'll never know who might need a last minute gift!

And my good news for Monday is that I've gotten the larger apartment and I can move in on January 16; now all I have to do is line up some muscle to help me.  I'm excited because it's in a much better location as far as parking and it's solved a big problem for when my office lease is up in July.  My office landlord has been very understanding about the fact that I do not have my husband to subsidize my rent anymore - if only Florida Power & Light were so kind.  Ha!  Thank heaven (and the IRS) tax season is just around the corner.

Friday, December 18, 2009

And another thing...

I know a lot of Spanish-speakers who don't speak proper Spanish.  I mean, the Mexican pronunciation of Spanish words makes me nuts, and it's very difficult to follow, but it makes my Nicaraguan friend crazy!  The other day one of my clients, who is hispanic, asked me where I thought he could buy ahacks wholesale.  I could not, for the life of me, figure out what he was talking about.  He says - "look, it's on those receeps."  Well, it turns out he meant Ajax - but since a J is pronounced like a H en espanol, because there is ostensibly no J sound in the language (I'll get to that in a minute), it came out ahacks, with the accent on the hacks.  But then again, the same people who would leave the J in Ajax silent, will pronounce caballero ca-by-jero with a J sound for the LL instead of a Y sound.  And jora instead of llora.  And juvia instead of lluvia.  I mean, it would just be easier to say cowboy, cry and rain, but that's just me.  My Central American friend's pet peeve is the Spanglish words her father-in-law makes up: pushar instead of empujar (the verb to push) and mop-o instead of trapeador (those two words are nothing alike!).  Oh well, ain't none of us perfect.  Feliz Navidad!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lost in translation...

Don't you love the funny translations of our colloquialisms from people whose first language is not necessarily English?  My friend Long, who is Vietnamese, wasn't feeling well this week.  He just came down to see me and I asked how he was feeling.  "Better," he said.  "I stay home yesterday and took too much medicine and it make me itchy (twirling his finger around like he was dizzy).  Then I try to eat something and my stomach feel bad and I throw out."  You know, that's really a better saying than throw up.  Because we don't actually throw up, we throw out.  Just thought I'd mention that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Online shopping...

Okay, check out this hilarious t-shirt site, guaranteed to have a gift for that someone who has everything.  Crazy Dog Shirts.  Here's a few of the highlights...

For Chuck Norris fans:

just pretty funny: 

and my personal, oddball sense of humor favorite:

Do you think they have hockey in Heaven?

Another movie review or two...

I know - I haven't written about any movies in a while - but I am still getting my near daily fix from Netflix.  It's just that some of them have been stinkers and not worth writing about.  But I have watched a couple of thought-provoking films, so I will do my thing...

Lars and the Real Girl was offbeat - okay, it was weird.  But in a nice way.  Lars lives with his brother and sister-in-law and he's functional, but odd.  He goes to church and to work, but he doesn't really relate to people.  Margo, his work mate, has a crush on him, but he's not interested.  It turns out that he's working through some emotional issues (that's putting it mildly) and he orders an anatomically correct sex doll off the internet.  When Bianca arrives (she's Brazilian, you see), he asks if she can stay in the guest room because she's a missionary and they aren't comfortable being alone together in his garage apartment.  His brother is completely flipped out by the whole thing (since Biana can't walk, she is confined to a wheelchair), but his wife goes along with Lars and they end up taking Bianca (and Lars) to the doctor, who recommends treatment for the ailing Bianca (who oddly enough speaks only to Lars), and asks Lars to keep her company and chat while Bianca rests during the treatment she's prescribed.  If only all therapists were so clever!  Anyhow, the real story is that of a community that comes together to love Lars and help him through his "troubles" - whatever they happen to be.  No one understands, but they are willing to love him anyway.  As a result, Bianca becomes quite popular: she gets a job modeling in the store window, volunteers at the school reading to kids (via recording - she's shy) and is even elected to the School Board - which made me laugh because perhaps all good politicians and public figures should be silent.  Which, in turn, made me think: maybe Clarence Thomas is an anatomically correct sex doll.  But I digress...  Anyhow, the movie has a happy ending, for Lars at least, and it makes you wonder: who is the real girl that the title refers to?  Bianca or Margo?

I love Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, and they make an odd but believable pair in Last Chance Harvey.  He excels at the sad sack roles he often takes on - but I'm used to Emma Thompson playing a stronger sort of woman.  In fact, she made me think a bit of myself in this film - the way she allowed her mother to run over her constantly.  At any rate, Harvey is a jingle writer who goes to London for his only daughter's wedding, only to find that they rather wish he hadn't.  He goes to the ceremony and has to go back to NYC before the reception.  After several near misses at the beginning of the movie, he finally chats up Kate in the airport lounge and they have lunch and spend the afternoon together walking all over London as he has missed his flight (and lost his job).  She encourages him to attend the reception and he does, taking Kate along with him - and ends up mending fences with his daughter and his ex-wife - even the stepfather.  He and Kate have a tentatively happy ending - but I was left wondering if Harvey's last chance was the reunion with his daughter or the possibility of romance with Kate.    It was good, but it was no Midnight Cowboy

Finally, even though I don't particularly like that Shia LeBoeuf kid, at Richard's urging, I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  Harrison Ford and Indy have aged quite nicely - must be genetic since Sean Connery is Indy's late father.  Alas, no Sean in this film, but no movie is truly perfect.  It's hard to say much about this movie without giving too much of the plot away - but it was almost as good and suspense-filled as Raiders of the Lost Ark, which makes a brief appearance in Hangar 51 (hint, hint) in this film.  Cate Blanchett makes an excellent Russian villain, who was apparently Stalin's top scientist who has an interest in all things paranormal.  I like her anyway because she's so chameleon-like.  She can be beautiful and in another role, she can be homely as a mud fence.  She's very talented; I thought she was Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator, although the rest of the movie was a dud.  And Karen Allen is back as Marion Ravenwood - and Indy is as smitten as ever.  I mean, didn't you just want to be Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark?  It made me rethink a career in archeology anyway...  She's still feisty and well, I can't say any more about this movie.  If you haven't seen it, rent it.  It's very entertaining!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm just not that kind of girl...

who is inclined to deal with a yard sale, I mean.  I often stop at yard sales and sometimes I even buy things (although Tim was the sucker for that) but the thought of hauling all this stuff anywhere to put it on tables and price it and then make about $20 bucks is just not my idea of a great way to spend a Saturday.  Too many books to read, too few weekend afternoons...  Consequently, I've decided to put an ad on our local craigslist in the garage sale section and try to attract a buyer who will take the whole lot.  There's lots of great, perfectly usable stuff: Christmas ornaments, baskets, dishes, teddy bears, Longaberger basket liners, music CDs, coffee mugs, fishing equipment - you name it.  Surely someone who loves to hold yard sales would be happy to take the junk off my hands for resale.  I'm just sick of looking at it - and it is sort of depressing - the final clean-up from our marriage.  And here I am, doing all the clean-up.  Men really are colossal butts.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Making progress...

on the client Christmas cards.  On the left - ready to go.  On the right - well, waiting for finished cards - which are on the last step.  They will be done today!  And I finally sold that danged violin!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's a small world...

and it gets smaller all the time.  I just met (and did a tax return amendment for) Stephen King's housekeeper.  And she says he's really, really nice.  And so I had something exciting to write on my blog for an otherwise unevently Saturday at the office.  And now I really can't wait to read his new book!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Never shoulda...

put the Hershey kisses in the candy jar.
I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Aaron Neville and I...

are still cutting green and red paper for Christmas cards and singing soulful holiday duets.  I am sure the neighbors next door are loving it.  Ha!  The CD is called Aaron Neville's Soulful Christmas - and we are currently bopping to Oh, What a Night.  Not too loudly.  Well, not very.  My favorite is Louisiana Christmas Day.  Tim, of course, always hated this music - his favorite Christmas CD was, and I am not kidding, Now It is Christmas Again by Garrison Keillor and the gang from Prairie Home Companion.  The tune he would always sing along with was The Sons of Knute Christmas Dance and Dinner.  Very strange.  And yes, I know all the words, too.  Not that I could ever get him to listen to Prairie Home Companion on NPR, but he was completely enamored of the Christmas CD.  Go figure.

Today, since it is Thankful Thursday (thank you for the theme, Yoli, from Apron Senorita), I am thankful for my friend and client, Cari.  And for her little restaurant just four doors down.  And for hot dogs with mustard and onions.  There is a distinct advantage to being close by: a fully stocked refrigerator and kitchen that will make you just about anything your little heart desires - and bring it right to you.  She's been pretty busy lately - which is great in this economy - and she has a loyal following of regulars who are hooked on her philly cheese steak sandwiches and great salads.   So what happened to my giving up meat, you might ask?  Well, I have convinced myself that a hot dog, which does not come from any one animal, isn't meat in the classic sense of say, steak or chicken.  And it bears no resemblance at all to any living thing it might have once been.  And they were left over from Monday's chili dog special - so I was helping out by eating the last two hot dog buns.  Yes, yes, justification, I know.  I do regularly eat the salad and when my friend, Heather, and I had dinner there a week or so ago, I had the eggplant parmesan, which was excellent.  Cari is a hard-working, enterprising young woman and I am thankful that she is continuing to thrive while small restaurants are closing all over town.  She refers clients to me quite often and I try to send people her way every time someone asks me for a suggestion on where to have lunch or dinner.  So if you're ever in the area...
And check out the giveaway at Lemonade Makin' Mama's blog.  Too cute!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Too cool!

I was thumbing through the January issue of Family Circle this morning - a gift from the mailman - well, it was in my mail...  And I was amazed to find that the Bauer Pottery Company is still in existence!  Only two small dishes have survived from my grandmother's collection and I have looked longingly at the vintage plates and teacups and teapots on eBay for years.  But now I am thrilled to discover that if I should ever decide that I cannot live without say, a Bauer water pitcher or teapot, I know where I can get one.  They even have flower pots - which I never knew.  I have a small collection of vintage McCoy flower pots that I once dared to display on my living room mantel - for about a day - until I realized the imminent danger they were in from cavorting cats.  I had them on the baker's rack by my front office window, but I noticed the other day how nicely the blue pots would match my bedroom quilt, so they are going home with me.  I snagged this cute photo from the Bauer website - this kitty looks just like my cat, Charley, the grumpy grey boy.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A new revelation...

And no, it's not that there is indeed a place for everything; everything in its place.  Although I have, for the most part, tried to live by that rule.  Nope, it's something completely different.  After I grumped my way through yesterday, I left the office in a huff with my two Netflix DVDs in hand and headed home to the mutts.  I was feeling tired and old and lonely and, all in all, pretty hopeless about everything in general.  As I was driving along, trying to keep from further expressing my pent-up hostility at stupid motorists through the use of my horn and possibly rude hand gestures, I got to thinking about my client and his throroughly improbable sentence with regard to either a) his former daughter-in-law's unscrupulousness or b) his son's athleticism (I still haven't figured it out!) and I started to laugh.  Seriously.  I'm sure people passing me by thought I was nuts, but I was just tickled.  Extremely.  And it was then that I realized this:
I have a happy heart. 
Or a happy soul - or mind, or whatever it is that God has blessed me with that keeps me from letting the events of life or, heaven forbid, depression overtake me.  Maybe I am just not in my right mind, but I can always find something or someone (Lord, forgive me) to laugh at.  I mean, I even laugh at myself.  I am a child of the Reader's Digest generation and I know that laughter is the best medicine.  I am looking forward to the start of a new year and a new beginning.  I plan to laugh my way right through 2010.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Rained out!

No flea market on Saturday - it rained like cats and dogs!  So, all of my stuff from the back room - and the rest of the stuff from my storage unit (finally empty!) is all piled up, waiting for me to finish going through it all.  The mess is the office is going to make me crazy until I get it out or here or put it away or take it home to my apartment.  I about can't stand it already!  Everyone who comes in thinks I'm moving out - and I am just  not thrilled at the prospect of hauling part of this stuff home, because I really have nowhere to put it - or even to a flea market.  Part of me just wants to take all of the stuff I don't want to Goodwill or the Salvation Army and be done with it.  It's that time of year to be charitable!

I've been trying to concentrate on getting some work done this morning, but my eye keeps going to the pile of crap in the middle of the room.  Like a chipped tooth you cannot keep your tongue away from...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Yet another survey...

Only this time, it's Target.  A lovely store that I would actually prefer to win a shopping spree from...  They have such great stuff - I was in there the other night to get a card to re-charge my new cell phone (Lord, I miss my Blackberry, but that's another story) and I looked at all the funky Christmas stuff.  I didn't buy a dang thing except more Paul Newman dog food for my babies.  My friends, Allen and Tom, were looking for boxes or tins for their clients' Christmas treats and Target had a great selection.  I dutifully passed the information along, without buying samples.  Most of their stuff was very bright and glitzy, which isn't me, really - I go for the more country Christmas look.  Although, I admit do like glitter.  I mean, it's all right in its place, but then, what isn't?  Even the Christmas card design I came up with this year is a little glittery - it's opaque pearlescent embossing powder on green.  Of course, I am not finished with them yet, but I'm working on it. 

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sentences you thought you'd never hear...

I'm in a funny mood and you know how some things just strike you as too funny?  Well, one of my older clients was just here telling me his tale of woe and his soon to be divorced son's tale of woe and well, here's a sentence I never expected to hear:

"She got pregnant on purpose; he's very athletic."

I mean, do you even get that?  It's like:
"Hand me that piano."
Or, to quote George Carlin:
"I don't care what you do to the girl, just leave me alone."

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Odds and ends...

First, a tale of three bears.  I have had these artist bears by LoriAnn Corelis  for years.  Aren't they cute?  Well, I discovered when I was packing to move that one of the cats had been very naughty on these bears and if you have cats, you know how hard it is to get rid of that smell.  Anyhow, I was faced with the prospect of having to throw them away - Febreze was not working.  So I decided to put them in the washing machine and hope for the best.  And here they are!  None the worse for wear, with all their eyes and paws and buttons and smelling like little bears ought to smell.  There is a lot to be said for handcrafted things!

I'm still rummaging through the stuff from storage, trying to get ready for the flea market (and making some cash!)  this weekend.  I ran across my two crazy Mary Engelbreit dolls and decided they looked pretty good on the bed with my prized Mary Engelbreit embroidered quilt.  Are you sensing a theme here?  I rearranged some pictures on the bedroom wall - adding some, you guessed it, ME prints that I always liked.  The three of them make a neat little vignette (there's a two-dollar word): the top one has a boy giving a girl his heart (Open it! Open it!), the middle one shows a couple looking at one another (I said Yes! Yes!) and the bottom one shows an older couple sitting together (Grow old with me - the best is yet to be).  You can see why I like them, even if we don't all live happily every after.
During all my free time for rumination (there's a three-dollar word) this weekend, which was good and bad, I tried to focus on positive thoughts and how letting go of stuff was good - and I am trying to think of this as an opportunity to unclutter my life.  I looked around and realized that I am surrounded already by my favorite things.  The stuff I'm trying to figure out what to do with is just extra stuff.  Some of the things that really make me happy are very simple:
One of my grandmother's surviving Bauer ringware bowls filled with Scrabble tiles...
Oddball stuff grouped together on the wall and a basket of bears...
The other surviving bowl (which actually has a lid!) that makes a great jewelry keeper...
More bears basking in the fluorescent glow of a tiffany lamp...
More Mary Engelbreit prints and three teddy bear friends.  They are sitting on top of the empty cabinet where I am planning to put the one set of dishes (ME, of course!) I am rescuing from storage.  The rest of the dishes are going to the flea market.  I am sure someone is looking for a set of vintage Hull brown dinnerware - with every serving bowl and plate known to man.  Priced to move - cheap!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

You would think...

that for as many WalMart receipt surveys that I have responded to online that I would have won something by now.  No.  Nada.  Zilch.  Not a dang thing.  Zip. Zero.  Bupkes.  And just when I start to think - forget this, I am not wasting any more of my time, I am going to throw this worthless receipt away - the little voice in my head says, well, now - what if you didn't respond this time and this is the lucky winner?  And so I waste another five minutes responding to their survey.  I am a creature of habit.  And not always good habits.  Wasting time on the WalMart surveys is one of the stupid habits I need to break.  But, well, what if...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Paper cutter's elbow!

Okay, I love my Cricut Expression machine, and I used it last year to make my Christmas cards, but it's just more work to use it when you're just cutting squares of paper, so... I've resorted to my trusty Fiskars rotary paper cutter and I've been cutting out the squares for the cards - all weekend long...  As of this moment, I am suffering from what I call paper cutter's elbow.  Stiff shoulder, tired elbow and stiff right hand.  I want to jump head first into a vat of Tylenol!

All right, maybe I didn't cut paper all weekend.  But it sure seemed like it.  I did some meaningful work on Saturday at the office and a client did come in to do his weekly invoices.  The dogs and I watched Quigley Down Under for the umpteenth time - that movie never gets old and neither does Tom Selleck!  I did some writing and then I re-read The Tightwad Gazette looking for money-saving ideas.  Yes, I re-use zip-loc bags but I draw the line at re-using aluminum foil.  You can check out the website here.  On Sunday, we had Big Hug Sunday - that means Mom stays home with Aggie & Monty and we play and snuggle all day.  I know, I know - they probably don't care, but I do.  When I ran out of things to do around the house, we watched Silverado.  I get a kick out of Kevin Kline and Jeff Goldblum trying to be cowboys - but I really enjoy Kevin Costner's stellar performance as an idiot.  I watched both of my Netflix movies (3:10 to Yuma and Journey to the Center of the Earth) on Wednesday and Thursday so I had to resort to movies in my cabinet at home.  Both of those movies were pretty good; I was surprised to learn that 3:10 to Yuma is based on a story by Elmore Leonard!  I am not a big Russell Crowe or Christian Bale fan - and now I want to see the original with Glenn Ford.  Brenda Fraser was his goofy self in Journey to the Center of the Earth - it was entertaining - a great kid movie.  I love him in the Mummy movies - but my favorite is Blast from the Past. - especially when he dances.  Yikes!  Enough movie talk - I'd better get to work!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday...

I wonder how it got that name?  I, for one, am not shopping today.  At all.  For anything.  Anywhere.  I wouldn't, even if I had some extra money to spend.  The stores have had Christmas stuff out since Halloween.  It's deplorable.  Down with commercialism!  When I came to the office this morning, the Target parking lot was full to overflowing at 10:00 am!  I wonder what these retailers would do if we all decided to make homemade gifts one year?

My phone hasn't rung and no one has come in, but I've had lots of time to work on Christmas cards and catch-up work.  I'm in a better mood and so I've decided not to be so bah-humbug this year.  This isn't the first holiday season I've been alone and I am sure it won't be the last.  So, I'm getting out my decorations on Tuesday - I have to wait until at least December first!  A Merry Christmas will be had by all. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for another beautiful day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An amazingly productive day...

For getting a late start, I have had an amazingly productive day so far...  I say, so far, because I have to stop at the store on the way home - and I hate battling the crowd.  I'm just as guilty of waiting until the last minute to get my Thanksgiving stuff, but...  It was raining this morning and I didn't want to get drenched going out to the car, so I putzed around at home for a while.  I toyed with the idea of staying home, but I trudged off to the office, rain or no rain, and I actually got a lot of work done.  And I finally came up with a design I like for my Christmas cards!  I think I kept procrastinating because I didn't really like the stamps I had chosen.  I'd never used them before - so I knew they wouldn't be a repeat - but I just didn't like the whole design.  So, when I was rummaging through my other Christmas stamps, I found one that I haven't used in years - and never for client cards - so I came up with a simple design and I liked it!  I ordered my red card stock today and it will be here on Monday - so this weekend I can work on the embossing part of the card and all of the paper cutting I need to do.  I also found this great (cheap!) source for envelopes online.  Maybe when I have some extra money I'll order some of the cool translucent envelopes.  I sometimes mail my cards in clear envelopes, but the postman looks at me like I'm nuts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


My holiday baking is sadly curtailed by the size of my kitchen and the fact that I gave away my KitchenAid stand mixer.  So I am reduced to making pecan bars from a mix and scooping cookie dough from a refrigerated tub.

Oh well, my heart is in the right place, even if I am lacking in counter space and small appliances.  I made some goodies for my friends Cari and Linda.  I have to stop at the store on the way home tomorrow and get some cheese and milk for my holiday mac & cheese feast, so I will probably just buy a pumpkin pie.  Tim's daughter still has my two prized Longaberger pie plates from two years ago - I don't expect I'll ever see them again.  Don't you hate when people don't return your dishes?  I had made two sour cream apple pecan pies for Christmas at their house - did I say two years ago? - and the pie was well received.  Apparently, so were the pie plates.  Don't mind me, I'm just grumpy today.

Here's the apple pie recipe, if you're so inclined:

1 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cold butter, cut in small pieces
3 to 4 tbsp. cold tap water

3/4 c. sour cream
1 lg. egg
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 lbs. tart apples (Pippins, Granny Smiths or Greenings) peeled, quartered, cored and cut in 1/4 inch thick slices (10 cups)

1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. (2 oz.) pecan pieces, chopped coarse

To make crust: mix flour and salt in a medium size bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle water over flour mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring lightly with a fork after each addition to distribute moisture evenly. Press lightly to form a ball. Flatten into a 1 inch thick round. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate about 1 hour until firm enough to roll. Have a 9 inch pie plate ready. Roll out dough; line pie plate.

To make filling: whisk sour cream and egg in a large bowl until blended, whisk in sugar, flour, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir in apples. Spread in pie plate, mounding mixture in center.

To make topping: mix flour, sugar and cinnamon in a medium size bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle evenly over filling, then press down lightly. To bake, place oven rack in center of oven; heat to 400 degrees. Bake pie 50 to 60 minutes until topping is dark brown and apples are tender when pierced. (If topping browns too quickly during baking, drape a piece of foil over pie). Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.