About Me

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

Welcome!

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, June 25, 2009

I love to cross stitch!

I only wish I had something at home to work on! I woke up yesterday morning with the worst sinus headache - it's probably the weather and the heat - but I was dizzy and sick to my stomach and there was no way I wanted to drive. Aggie & Monty were happy to have Mom at home - but one person can only sleep so much without making a bad headache worse - so I did laundry, putzed around the apartment and then I realized what I really felt like doing was cross-stitching - but alas, the small projects I kept out of storage were at the office! I am working on finishing a cute picture for Tim with a bunch of cats and dogs in it that says, "There's always room for one more!" If that isn't Tim to a T! I also have the dreaded rainbow trout on my floor frame - but it's literally been years since I put a stitch on that thing. I switched two colors when I was working on the pinkish part of the trout's body and I have since misplaced the chart and the floss (it was a kit - hence the color confusion) and well, there it is in the frame, taunting me. I have been going to search eBay for the same kit - but I guess my heart just isn't in it. I should - the fishing flies around the perimeter of the picture are done and I am halfway finished with the fish. And it would make a nice addition to Tim's man-cave walls with his trout chart and other fishing related prints. I stitched the picture with the beehive for our anniversary several years ago. Tim was enamored of it as much as a man can be, I guess - but I get to enjoy it on the wall above my desk in the office. I also ran across this cute raspberry picture I did - there are three other small patterns that do with it: grapes, blueberries and a butterfly. It was one of those free charts from DMC that comes with new floss colors - and it also has a large picture with a basket flowers, but I've never been that motivated. I have a kit for the Mary Engelbreit print above with my motto on it: Bloom Where You're Planted. Maybe I'll work on that when I finish the pet picture for Tim. I just put my project in my bag so I don't forget to take it home with me!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When I don't feel like thinking...



I organize stuff. My middle desk drawer was driving me nuts - so I took a few minutes and straightened it out. Then to further avoid meaningful work, I went through my file drawer and then organized all my current client files into a basket. Some days my OCD just kicks into overdrive and well - here you have it... I still haven't finished organizing all of my stamping stuff, but that day will come. I've been working on my bookkeeping clients' stuff; it seems like they drop it on me all at once and since they are mostly men, what they drop on me is usually a big, disorganized mess. An obsessive-compulsive's dream job!
Another thing I do when I don't feel like thinking is web-surf. I have added a list of websites that I frequently visit to this blog - it's always nice to share. I am a big fan of Alexandra Stoddard's books - the layout, writing style, colors - and of course, I adore Mary Engelbreit. Her site includes free screen saver and desktop background downloads of her cute artwork. Alicia Paulson is an artist I discovered in an article in Hallmark Magazine - she also has a cute blog. I am also a Vera Bradley collector; Tim knows he can never go wrong when he shops at Crowder Brothers for Vera Bradley for anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas... I saw Tom's Shoes on a phone commercial and wondered if it was real. It certainly is and for every pair of new shoes they sell, they give a pair to a child in need. The next time I buy a pair of shoes, they are coming from Tom's.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I think I hate the weekends...


and you'd think I'd be happy to be a lady of leisure with nothing to do but tidy up the apartment, read, watch television and play with the dogs. But - there it is - I hate when the weekends come around. I know, I could go to the office and work - but then what would I do during the week? I've also tried coming in on the weekends just to make cards, but people just can't resist trying to open the door - even when I lock it and put a CLOSED sign on it! I close the blinds - but dang it, when people want to bug the crap out of you, they want to do it when it's convenient for them! Now mind you, I'm not one to turn potential clients away, but the weekend people always just want information and they never come back. Maybe it's their way of passing the time - I don't know - but the plaza where my office is located is normally dead on the weekends - and I sort of like it that way. At any rate, I did bake a cake on Saturday - but it was lemon with lemon frosting - not carrot cake. I ate one piece and put the rest in the freezer. It wasn't that good. I also made some brownies, which I immediately cut up and froze in individual baggies. After I did laundry and a few other chores, I finished reading the David Baldacci thrillers I had stockpiled: The Simple Truth, Last Man Standing and The Whole Truth. Fifteen hundred pages of can't-wait-to-see-how-this-ends action - and they were actually all pretty good - but Last Man Standing made me want to see a sequel. There were a lot of unanswered questions at the end and it sort of left the reader hanging - not unlike several John Grisham books I've read. The main character was great and I'm hoping he returns one day soon. Last night I couldn't sleep and I tried to start reading Stephen King's new book of short stories, but couldn't get past the first one. I still haven finished Duma Key - his last novel - because I couldn't get past one of the first scenes in the book. Oh well - I think I need to do some light reading this week or work on my book of recipe clippings - I am all suspensed out!

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's finally Friday!



It's finally Friday - and I am looking forward to baking a carrot cake this weekend. Okay, so it's just a mix, but I've been in the mood to cook and a carrot cake sounded good. It's not like I really cook anything extraordinary for just me and the dogs - pasta is as fancy as we get! Yes, Aggie and Monty like spaghetti even if Mom doesn't put any meat in the sauce. Most of the time the "sauce" is just a can of seasoned diced tomatoes! One of their favorite meals - and mine, too - is hot dogs with sauerkraut. We haven't had that since I learned that sauerkraut is not a good thing to eat then you have a sore throat. So anyway, I'm baking a carrot cake this weekend - and maybe some brownies for the freezer. I also have a box of pound cake mix in the cupboard... It's not that I especially want to eat this stuff - I just like making it. Silly, huh? I have been keeping goodies in the freezer for when someone stops by - it's always nice to share.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'll get you my pretty - and your little dog too!

Sometimes I think that after I leave the office every afternoon - some days earlier than others I'll admit - little creatures come along and put up a flashing neon sign that says: Problems Solved While You Wait - No Request Too Bizarre. Then they sneak back and take it down before I get here in the morning and hide and watch while every weirdo from miles around just seems to happen along and ask for help with all manner of strange requests. These creatures - probably winged monkeys of some ilk - are laughing me as I type this, lurking to see what oddity today will bring. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind helping people at all. I just don't suffer fools gladly and it seems that lately I've seen more than my share of fools walk through the door. One of the strangest of late is the psychic who wanted me to help her figure out how to track her husband's whereabouts with the GPS on his phone. Honestly, if you're really a psychic, what do you need with a GPS? I have normal clients, thank goodness and all they want is bookkeeping or their taxes done, but once in a while even the seemingly normal clients wig out. Like the guy who thinks he deserves additional tax credits, stimulus payments, you name it for being a disabled veteran. After two tax years I am still unable to convince him that he is only eligible for the same things that every other taxpayer is eligible for - that only his disability pension is non-taxable. He's one of those people who listen to all of the "tax experts" who give out erroneous advice to anyone who will listen from January 1 through April 15 every year. I try to dissuade people of bizarre notions like being able to claim an unborn fetus as a dependent or filing jointly with their girlfriend - and when all else fails I suggest that they request Publication 17 from the IRS and read all about taxes in plain, amazingly easy to understand English - imagine the IRS publishing a document like that! Uh-oh - there's the door now...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tallulah Belle


Our little cat, Tallulah Belle (aka Vilula Velcro), has gone to kitty heaven. She was a most loving little thing, part of the Willie-Sam-Harvey-Tallulah litter before Gracie was finally spayed. We had a small feline population explosion back in 2002 and I'd get so attached to them, I couldn't give them away. Willie was a cow-cat, too and his mission was to come and escort my nineteen-year-old cat Woodie to the Rainbow Bridge. Willie left us about a month after Woodie in 2003. We knew he was an angel kitty because of the two halo rings on his tail. Sam was an all-black kitty with a shy, but sweet disposition. He passed away a couple of year ago; the vet said that this whole litter was smaller than average and had problems typical of inbreeding. Lula was a lover - and when you'd pick her up, her little feet just seemed to velcro on to you - clothes or skin - she wasn't particular. She was also a big snuggle-bug and you could always find her on top of a cat heap. Her favorite sleeping partner was her grey tabby Uncle Charlie, who is a good-natured grump. It's hard to imagine that Charlie (his twin Walter and their sister, Lucie Bee) turned twelve this spring. Lula's socially inept brother Harvey is still with us. He's a cow-cat and a klutz. He's never quite gotten the hang of jumping up on anything; he either bounces off or you can find him hanging on for dear life by his claws. For a while we called him Youssarian (too much Meerkat Manor!) because he'd sit like a meerkat and his fangs would show - and of course, he - like Youssarian - had some social problems. He stole one of Oprah's kittens once and Tim came home to find me chasing Harvey around the house yelling, "Drop that kitten, you little bastard!" Harvey did eventually drop the kitten, who miraculously survived - but our mother/cat relationship was rocky for a while after that. I was seriously worried that Harvey was a closet terrorist and was trying to start an Al Catta cell right there in our happy household! Eddie, our head boy, stepped in and provided Harvey with anti-terrorist deprogramming and now everyone gets along just fine. We will all miss Tallulah but I'm sure her buddies were waiting to welcome her into the fold.

The cure for insomnia!

Eureka! I have discovered the cure for insomnia - just read Caleb Carr's The Italian Secretary - A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. I love to read, and I will admit that I have read some stinkers over the years, but this is the first book I can ever remember not finishing. It's not that it's poorly written - on the contrary, it does Sir Arthur Conan Doyle proud with its flowery Victorian prose. It's just boring! I've tried for the past month off and on to finish it - and it knocks me out every time. Last night I vowed that I would either finish the damn thing or pass it along to a reader with more determination than I. This morning I tossed the book into the bag with the other weekend fare and promised myself to bypass any future such offerings from Mr. Carr. I just don't get it - I loved Angel of Darkness and The Alienist - both grand examples of historical thrillers, if you will. And I love Sherlock Holmes - my husband calls them "dull old mysteries" - so I figured that the combination of a great author and a wonderfully readable character would be perfect! Wrong - but then maybe it's just me. I've been reading a lot lately - catching up on all of the books that were piled up at home - and I'm rather quickly making my way through two jam-packed drawers of books: David Baldacci suspense, John Grisham legal thrillers, a few non-murder "cozies," a Dean Koontz from my friend Dorene, and a few others. This past weekend, I read Digital Fortress by Dan Brown, which was not nearly as good as Angels and Demons. I was not much on The DaVinci Code either. I also finally read Ya-Yas in Bloom - Rebecca Wells' follow-up to Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood and Little Altars Everywhere. It was funny and a tear-jerker - but as enjoyable as the first two books. I will have to say that I like the books better than the movie - but then, Hollywood and I do not always agree on casting. I mean, Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire is eternal proof of movie casting gone horribly wrong. Ah, movie reviews - a post for another day...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Trying to get out of my blue funk...

It's been over a week since I've posted anything to my "daily" blog - guess I've been in sort of a funk. I'm trying to dig myself out of the slough of despond, as Bunyan wrote, and I've had a pretty good day here at the office. I sorted out some more craft stuff, did some meaningful work, got a couple of packages ready to mail, and had a nice visit with Petey the cat, who still will not let me take his picture. I guess he's just an orange recluse.

One of my clients stopped to see me last week to drop off his monthly bookkeeping and brought me a new cookbook - which features his barbecue sauce. Perry's Original Roadside BBQ Sauce comes in original and spicy and it is great on pork and beef. His sauce got a great write-up in this cookbook and they included his recipe for fried okra. You can get his sauce directly from him or order it online. He also has a catering business - and people love his soul food cooking.

I have another client who also makes barbecue sauce and salsa. His sauce, Kenny's Fresh Ginger Root Barbecue Sauce, is available at Albertson's and Sweet Bay Supermarkets. He also has several other flavors - but I love the ginger flavor on chicken. He also makes mild, medium and tropical salsa.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

End of an era...

Well, it's official - I threw my monkey pajamas away today. They were totally worn out and completely unsalvagable. I love pajamas. I have cat pajamas, jammies with clouds, a celestial print, pajamas with hearts and shamrocks, dog pjs, Christmas pajamas - even Halloween. But the monkeys - well, they were my all time favorites. And here's why: Tim and his movie lines. I need to explain. Shortly after we were married, Tim and I started going to the movies every Saturday afternoon. On July 3, 1996, we saw Independence Day and Eraser. Both great movies - and some memorable movie lines. A couple of weeks later, we were in Tampa and saw Multiplicity with Michael Keaton. Anyhow, you know how he clones himself to get more done and ends up with a clone who is a total guy and a clone who is really in touch with his feminine side. Well, the clones end up cloning the total guy and they get they total retard. Of course, I was amazed at how accurately the clones summed up all the aspects of a typical man's personality - but I digress... Anyhow, the third clone does stuff like folding pizza up and putting it in his wallet and calling people by the wrong name - but he does have some great lines, like "She touched my peppy" and "Did you bring me a monkey?" Needless to say, the "Did you bring me a monkey?" line has gotten repeated around our house (and airports) for the past thirteen years at opportune moments. Hence, the monkey pajamas - and other monkey gifts over the years. In fact, Curious George rides around in the back seat of my SUV, along with Jerome the sock monkey and several other monkeys of the stuffed variety. In fact, I got my first monkey many years ago - even before I knew Tim. I'm going to miss those pajamas.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Three things today...

I've been working on sorting out my craft supply mess today. As you can see, it is steadily encroaching on my workspace - and has been since we moved from the house to the condo. All of my sewing stuff - sewing machine, serger, fabric, patterns - went into the storage unit, but I brought all of the rubber stamps and card-making supplies to the office to join my Cricut, which I have been unable to get to for the past couple of months! I've made a lot of progress - although it's hard to tell from this picture!

So as a reward for finally putting my nose to the grindstone, I ordered pizza for lunch from A Taste of Philly - a great little restaurant three doors up from the office. Cari makes wonderful pizza and Ariela and I finally availed ourselves of the vegetable pie during tax season - practically orgasmic! Okay - I don't get out much, but it was good. I have since moved on to the italian pizza with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions and olives. Excellent! And, if I have pizza for lunch, then I am still full at dinner time - much to Aggie & Monty's chagrin.
And finally, and most importantly, an update on Monty. When I got home last night both dogs were happy to see me (as usual) and I was pleased to find that Monty was still wearing his e-collar and his incision looked good. His pain med-induced buzz had worn off and he was a little frisky, once again barking at anyone who walked by the window, so I slipped his pills into a treat and he was calm again in no time. I actually prefer the frisky Monty to the calm one, but I don't want him to get too rambunctious just yet. Aggie seems to be laying low, too - almost like she senses that Monty needs to take it easy for a few days.

Monday, June 01, 2009

So much for my resolve to blog daily...

I wanted to give an update on Monty. I took him to the vet on Thursday and the news wasn't good. The doctor said that the lump was most likely a fibrosarcoma and recommended that we remove it right away. Since he had nothing on his schedule for Friday, we decided to go ahead with the surgery then. I left Monty with them since he would have to have no food or water after midnight anyway. When I got home, Aggie was extremely puzzled as to where her Bubba was and kept looking for him most of the evening. Needless to say, I was upset too and cried myself into a miserable headache by Friday morning. So, I stayed with Aggie and we moped together until the vet called to tell me that Monty had done just fine with the surgery and could go home on Saturday. I went and picked him up on Saturday morning and armed with antibiotics and pain pills, I was instructed to keep him as calm as possible. Fortunately, the pain pills are a big help in that regard and he spent most of the afternoon sleeping on my lap. Aggie was pretty good about not riling her brother up on Sunday, so I gave Monty his medication this morning and decided that it was okay to leave them alone for awhile today while I came to the office. The incision is pretty big, but the lump is gone - thank goodness and Dr. Walstad! They have sent the tissue out for analysis and if it is malignant, we will just have to be vigilant and hope it doesn't reoccur. Monty doesn't seem to be any worse for wear - but I feel sorry for him with that ridiculous collar around his head. He can eat and drink with it on, so that's all I'm worried about - and he can't reach his incision. It doesn't look bad and he goes back to have the stitches out in a week. Please remember my little guy in your prayers!