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...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Another weird movie...

But then, Steve Zahn (check out Happy, Texas) is in it - so what did I expect?  I'm not even sure how this one made it onto my Netflix queue, but it showed up on Saturday.  Aggie is game to watch just about anything, so this is how we spent our Sunday evening.  Talk about a bunch of oddball characters: Woody Harrelson played a former punk yogurt magnate named Jango and Josh Lucas played a porn star with relationship advice - but his scenes only appeared on the deleted scenes feature and the gag reel.  There was a Chinese-American guy named Al who pretty much stole the show - as well as a Vietnamese Buddhist monk that Steve Zahn kept calling Father.  I finally realized that the monk was The General from The Ladykillers (Tzi Ma) who kept swallowing his cigarette when Mrs. Munson would complain about the smoking in the basement.  Anyhow, it's sort of a cute movie - but I wouldn't classify it as a romantic comedy.  It's more of a screwball independent film - the kind my husband always hated to watch.  I have no idea what's on our agenda for tonight, but I just might dig out my DVD of The Ladykillers or some other crazy Coen Brothers flick...

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's closet day!

And no, this isn't my closet - yet...  Ariela and Marco are stopping by the office on the way to my house to pick up a van-load of stuff to put into my new closet shelves.  We are adding two shelves to the entry closet, with enough room underneath for my rolling carts of rubber stamps and craft supplies.  The rest of the closet will hold my office supplies and bins of seasonal decorations.  Marco is installing two long shelves in my bedroom closet for clothing bins and shoe boxes.  I had the Salvation Army take away my huge dresser, so I'm paring down the clothes I never wear.  I have a bad habit of wearing the same jeans and shirts over and over again because they're the ones in the dryer...  Anyhow, I have sorted out many more bags of stuff at home for our indoor garage sale at the office next week as well as several bags of clothes and shoes for donating to Goodwill.  Next week, Marco is going to move the wire shelves from the back room at the office to the huge storage closet on my lanai, where I will have plenty of room for Christmas decorations and other stuff I don't know what to do with, but can't make myself sell or give away.  I keep chanting: less is more, less is more...  I've even made room for my bins of fabric on the laundry closet shelf.  As I may have said before, I love it when a plan comes together! 
I promise to post actual photos of the finished masterpiece!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Strange, but worth watching...

I was pooped out last night!  Ariela did most of the lugging, but I sorted through boxes and boxes of stuff - and I only went back into the fabric give-away bin once for some denim I had paid good money for.  I'm envisioning tote bags... but I digress.  Ariela arrived at noon with her panini grill and she made turkey, tomato and cheese sandwiches for lunch. With banana peppers, even!  I tell you, I am spoiled!  Then we got to work and we now have a pile of stuff to go home and a pile of stuff for the indoor garage sale.  After work, Ariela's husband, Marco, came and looked at my closets and the shelving supplies to estimate the time it would take to install.  (I went to Home Depot on the way to work this morning to return the wrong parts and get the right ones...)  We're installing the shelves tomorrow morning and then we can just take the stuff home and put it right away!  I love it when a plan comes together.  Aggie and I had taco salad from Taco Bell for dinner and then settled in to watch our Netflix selection of the week.  I cut back to one DVD out at a time when I discovered I could watch most movies right on my computer - and save money, too!  Anyhow, and the point of this post, Passengers was actually pretty good - and I know I would have liked it better had Richard not already spoiled the ending for me when he recommended the movie.  Diane Wiest was in it, too, which was a plus - I have loved her ever since Footloose when she directed her minister husband to a multitude of scriptural references which encourage us to dance.  No dancing in this movie, but it was still worth watching.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Okay, last old photograph post for the week...

My grandmother (left) and my prim and proper great-grandmother are spinning in their respective graves at this moment.  An age-old photograph of them in their bathing costumes, as they called them, is now on the internet for the entire world to see.  My grandmother was a pip, let me tell you.  She didn't inherit one bit of her sainted mother's ladylike demeanor.  As she was fond of saying, she called a spade a spade - but my grandfather would reply, "No you didn't - you called it a g-d-d-amned shovel!"  She had this 1954 Plymouth which she drove like a bat out of hell and she was livid every time a bird left evidence of its presence on her little black car.  "There's bird sh-t on my car again!" she'd shriek.  I started pointing it out to her: "Look, Grandma, a bird sh-t on your car!"  She'd smack me on the bottom and say, "That's bird manure, young lady!"  Grandma invented the doctrine of Do as I say, not as I do.  I was at least ten before I knew that my Grandpa's name was Bill; she either called him Honey or You Son-of-a-B-tch.  Once she arrived alone at our house in Florida; we asked where Grandpa was and she said she had no idea - she had left him somewhere in North Carolina.  The next day he showed up on the bus.  He had, during my mother's childhood, been a raging drunk and once he got sober, Grandma still only put up with so much.  I don't ever remember Grandpa drinking until after my Grandmother died - but she had her limits after many years of putting up with his shenanigans.  I have, however, always thought it was quite funny that my tee-totaling  mother never would have even met my father if my grandfather hadn't been drunk and fallen off the hay wagon on the farm.  My mom went to the hospital to see her dad and my single, handsome father noticed her tight, red pedal pushers as she sashayed down the hallway or so the story goes.  Maybe she was a lot nicer then - I would hope so - and I guess that's where I came from.  Hee hee!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

For someone who hates her cell phone...

I sure started out life with the phone glued to my ear!  I'm giving away my age now - but when I was little, you could pick up your phone and have a delightful conversation with the operator.  When we lived on the farm, we had a party line and you could talk to a bunch of other people, too!  I'm stuck on memory lane today, I guess.  Ariela helped me to pack up an enormous pile of stuff bound for my apartment and an even bigger pile for our indoor garage sale next week.  That girl loves having garage sales - I'd just as soon call the Salvation Army and have them come and take it all away, but she has plans for this junk, bless her heart.
A true friend is rare and hard to find, that's for sure!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sorting stuff...

I've been in the back room at the office all day sorting through boxes of stuff.  Tim is coming to fix my network meltdown again tonight and he says he is going to take his stuff back to Tampa with him so his old boss can ship it up to Pennsylvania for him.  We'll see about that - it's been months since I cleared out the storage unit.  My network died again - it was fine when I left on Friday but when I stopped by on Sunday to pick up some baskets to take home - no internet, no nothing.  I'm just not a techie and repairing a network setup is simply beyond me.  Needless to say, I am finding other work to do that does not require an internet connection.  I found some old pictures and a lot of other crap I just pitched out, but I scanned this picture of me and my dad.  I must have been about four because there's no sign of my sister in the picture.  She showed up when I was almost five and I had to stop telling people that my stuffed monkey, Zippy, was my sister who looked just like my daddy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I knew I shouldn't have complained...

about the heat yesterday.  Karma - it bites you in the butt every time.  I came into the office this morning and it was eighty-three (count them!) degrees in here.  I had left the air conditioning set at seventy-eight when I left the office yesterday since I am trying to conserve on the electric bill and when I opened the door this morning, it was like a heat wave!  I immediately turned on the big floor fan and went to check the thermostat.  Yikes!  I called my AC guy post haste and he was here within an hour; he diagnosed the problem as most likely being the capacitor - whatever that does (I know Tim replaced the capacitor on the AC unit at our old house on more than one occasion).  He said it would be about $135 - which isn't bad; I knew I was taking a chance when I got the used unit.  In the meantime, Petey isn't speaking to me and I can't blame him.  I'm burning up and I don't have fur and a base body temperature of one-hundred-and two degrees - my poor little gingersnap guy!
Well, thank You, Lord - it was just the capacitor and Jason, the super-hero AC guy, has it up and cooling again already!  He was referred to me by one of my clients and he has been great.  But I am still hot and in my book, that is as good an excuse as any to blow this popstand and do something infinitely more fun that mundane paperwork and sitting here waiting for the phone to ring.  I have pictures to hang at home and a window to measure for a curtain rod.  I put my new pillow covers on my living room pillows, and I took a picture, but I have left my camera at home for the past week.  It might be a Freudian thing because I am completely horrified at how pink floral and green gingham patchwork pillows look on my brown leather sofa.  I am hoping that the matching valance I am going to make will help pull it all together.  If not, well, I'm not out anything but my time because I've had the fabrics I used for about ten years.  Ten years - no kidding.  My name is Dawn and I am a closet fabric-a-holic.  I am powerless over a fabric sale.  I've been known to buy entire bolts of Mary Engelbreit fabric at WalMart when it's marked down to $1 a yard.  I mean, it's such a deal...  And look at the money I saved over the regular price.  It's a disease.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Holy crap, it's hot...

And it's only May!  I didn't feel like doing a lick of work at a snake (or anything else, for that matter) so I took Ray for a little ride and then we went home to have lunch with Miss Aggie.  Well, she hasn't actually met Ray yet, what with her propensity for making a run for it whenever I put her on the leash to go outside.  Thank goodness for her puppy potty and willingness to use it!  I am hoping I can get the lanai barrier put up this weekend so we can move the puppy potty closer to the great outdoors.  Not that it's even remotely cool enough - or breezy - to sit out there!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yep. It's true...

and I'm going to frame this print as soon as it gets here.  I had an identical framed print that was ruined in my move from my house to the first apartment - and now that I'm finally nesting and embracing my new life, I'm going to re-purpose a black metal frame (reuse & recycle!) and hang this up in my new home office - over the craft space - ah, the luxury of two desks!.  I'm thinking green mat - like the sweater, but I usually listen to the sage advice of my framer friend, Susan.  She is very talented and never steers me wrong on color.  Although green would coordinate very nicely with the big green chair...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Feel good movie...

Aggie and I watched New In Town last night - it was cute!  There were some great characters - and some great character actors (J.K. Simmons, for one) and another take on life in small-town Minnesota.  Sort of like Fargo without the murders.  Ha.  I liked it.  And Harry Connick, Jr. does scruffily sexy really well.

Monday, May 17, 2010

To clip or not to clip...

that is the question.  Okay, Hamlet never subscribed to Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, but I have lovingly perused, pondered and preserved every issue ever printed and well, my desk drawers are full of them.  I really have nowhere to put these magazines, and in keeping with my new less is more philosophy of life, I am considering looking through them one last time and saving only the articles and photographs that inspire me.  I have a style notebook that I've been saving magazine articles and pictures in for years (thank you, Alexandra Stoddard!) and I think it's time that MEHC went the way of all of the Southern Living and Country Home magazines.
What do you all think?

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's one of those days...

and I feel like a dark cloud has settled over me - everything aches: my neck, my shoulders, my hands, my knees - and I am out of Tylenol!  I took some before I left home this morning and I thought I had some in my bag, but alas, no!  I've been sort of busy today and can't leave because I am waiting for my Friday payroll client to come in.  He cannot write his own checks for one reason or another.  I do direct deposit for most of his employees but he has a couple of people who don't have checking accounts and I have to write checks for them.  So he brings the checkbook and I write out the checks and he signs them.  Oh well - the pay is the same no matter which way I do it.  I just wish he'd hurry up and get here. 
Mind over matter and deep breathing are not helping at all today!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I love Stanley Tucci...

but he was really creepy in this movie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Churros and losing one's way...

My dear friend Ariela stopped by this morning with a piping hot bag of homemade churros - such a nice surprise and a delicious treat!  She used Paula Deen's recipe with a hint of orange zest and the flavor was excellent.  She said that she made the first batch when the kids were home and Baby ate them as fast as they came out of the fryer.  I can see that - he's a real pill.  I would have been right there with him.  We had a nice visit and a blackened tilapia caesar salad for lunch.  With raspberry vinaigrette - yum!
I know it sounds like I'm food-obsessed - but it's so nice to actually have someone to have a meal with.  Aggie is good company, but not much of a conversationalist over dinner.  And cooking for one and a little dog isn't a whole lot of fun; I end up with a lot of leftovers and by the time I finish them off, I'm sick of whatever it was I made.  I spent four days eating yellow rice last week.
And finally, I think I've really discovered the root of my blue funk of the last several days.  Being upset about my mother-in-law's passing started it, but I realized in looking around my space at home (and the office, to some degree) that I really have lost my way over the past year or so.  Probably longer than that, if I were willing to admit it to myself.  I used to be more together and my home was a real reflection of my creative self - and since moving from my house to the condo, I've never really settled in and made the space my own.  More than once, Ariela and I have talked about how much I miss the way my home used to be; we met after I had essentially given up on trying to be the Martha Stewart magazine-ready version of me.  Part of the problem was that I was living under the assumption that it was merely a stopover on the way to our new home in Pennsylvania, but it's been more than that.  I've stopped doing a lot of the little things I used to do that made me who I am.  I've been remiss in sending birthday cards to family and friends, I have let my sewing and crafting pretty much go by the wayside and I haven't put my personal stamp on my surroundings at all.  Sure, my stuff is there - but I haven't made a point of hanging artwork or making window treatments.  I don't even bake things for people the way I used to.  And I miss those things - I really do.  So I've made myself a list of all those things I want to accomplish over the next couple of weeks - mainly in the time it takes me to get the office moved home.  And the words of a sweet friend encourage me; Ariela simply said, "I will help you." 
And I know she will.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm nesting...

now that I have some free time - and getting ready to move even more stuff into my new place - and I have these two great silk plants from the office (that everyone has thought were real for the past three years) to find a spot for.  I had them in these hammered copper pots that I bought for cheap at Target way back when, but they never looked just right.  The other day I got a ceramic pot for the ficus at WalMart and it's perfect in the living room - after I moved the ginkgo tree to the lanai.  I have tried to find a suitable pot for the chinese evergreen, to no avail.  My shopping mantra is now: when looking for just the thing, go to Target.  I browsed the whole store, as I am wont to do, and in the garden shop (where else?) I found a lovely terra cotta pot for $14.00.  My only problem was getting it into the cart from the top shelf.  You can do it, I encouraged myself and prepared for a hernia.  And when I got a good hold on the thing, I realized that it wasn't pottery at all.  The thing sure had me fooled! 
And the best part is that when I got to the checkout, it was only $8.99!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A sense of the familiar...

Okay, this will sound absolutely crazy, but I had the best time this afternoon cutting fabric squares for some quilted pillow covers that I am going to make tomorrow.  I had forgotten the familiar feel of fabric under my hands; it reminds me of the many Saturday afternoons of my youth spent at the blackhead Singer handed down to me by my grandmother.  She taught me to sew by stitching threadless straight lines on notebook paper.  When I could do that to her satisfaction, I made napkins.  Then an apron.  I graduated to making Barbie clothes, which I churned out for years - spring and fall collections made from scraps leftover from whatever Grandma was making.  I made hand-embroidered hippie tunics when I has in high school (yes, I'm old!) and in college, I made wrap skirts to order for extra spending money.  When I went to work in the real world, I had less time to sew but I often made quilted pillows as birthday and Christmas gifts for family and friends.  I detoured to cross-stitching for awhile and took up card-making with rubber stamps and stuff, but I really think that sewing is still my favorite hobby and creative outlet.  My sewing machine and serger were in storage for a year and well, now that I'm not so busy with work...  After spending yesterday afternoon watching a movie sacked out on the sofa with Aggie, I realized how incredibly ugly the green ultrasuede pillows in my living room are.  I had them on the sofa at the office and they migrated to the apartment with the furniture - and I have finally seen that my living room is not at all me.  For inspiration, I went to my bookshelf and grabbed Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard and spent the next couple of hours re-reading her excellent advice.  I envisioned pink and green patchwork pillows to match the quilted throw on my sofa and so first thing this morning, I sorted out some appropriate fabric from my stash in the back room and after lunch, I set about cutting my squares and arranging them for four different pillow covers.  I'm so excited - stay tuned!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Old(er) people...

Gotta love 'em.  One of my oldest clients was just here, along with his new wife, and the entire time she was here, she called me Sandy.  Now how did she get Sandy out of Dawn?  She was a little hard of hearing, so I could see how she might misunderstand and think I said Donna, but Sandy?  (I once knew a lady, years ago in a former life, who thought my name was Doris.  That is ten times worse!)  Oh well, I gave up on correcting her and just smiled at my client, her lovely and kind husband -  who didn't want to correct her either.  Isn't love grand?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Knit two...

and yes, the sequel is almost as good as the first book in the series, The Friday Night Knitting Club.  Aggie and I read the whole thing last night after a dinner of fresh tamales with green bananas for dessert.  I love green bananas - the minute they're yellow, too ripe for me!  I see more banana bread in the near future because when I get home tonight, those four bananas on the kitchen counter will be well on their way to yellow.  But I digress...  Knit Two was good - but didn't have the same flavor as the first.  I still don't like a couple of the characters and not much has really been resolved.  I understand there's a third book...  And now I'm wondering if there's going to be a movie.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

More hot tamales...

One of my new bookkeeping clients is a career fireman who owns a tortilleria - his retirement plan when he has his 25 years in - three more years, he says.  He came in today to sign his 2009 tax returns and brought me a dozen steaming, homemade tamales!  Yum!  They are excellent; Tim used to buy tamales at his bakery, but I just met Julio during tax season when another one of my clients recommended me to him.  I've never tried their tortillas, but Ariela says the corn tortillas are great.  I'm more of a flour tortilla fan - so I'll have to try those one day soon.  Free tamales and I got paid for my work.
Life is good.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

More Billie Letts...

Last night I read Shoot the Moon, by Billie Letts.  Good book - a little mystery, a little romance, a little murder, or two - or three.  And great down home writing.  Tonight we are reading
and I'll let you know tomorrow how it is. 
The Honk and Holler Opening Soon - just the title made me want to read it!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Shirley Wuest Smith Rubino 1928-2010

My mother-in-law passed away last night.  She would have been 82 in July.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2008 and had been in a nursing facility in Pennsylvania near her sister's home since early 2009.  About a month ago when I spoke with her, she told me that she had a new boyfriend named Jack.  She sounded like a guilty teenager.  Who know what those little old people get up to after the lights go out...  Anyhow, they had taken her to the hospital on Saturday because she was complaining of stomach and back pain.  Tim talked to her about 8:30 Sunday night and they called him around midnight to tell him that she had died. Shirley, the oldest of three sisters, was born in Pennsylvania and lived there until she retired to Florida in the early 1980s with her husband, Al (Tim's stepdad).  Pop was a gem.  When Shirley was young, she and her sister had a local radio show called Shirley and Curly; they sang "country-western" music, she called it.  She and her first husband had a son named Harry.  When Harry was ten or so, they adopted Tim.  Tim said he was terrorized raised mostly by his grandmother.  After she and Tim's dad divorced, she married a man named Ronald Whose-Last-Name-I-Can't-Remember and they adopted Tim's sister, Kris.  Kris is another story entirely, which I will save for another time.  Apparently, Ronald didn't last long and one day Tim finally got his wish: to have Al as a dad.  Shirley and Pop had been married over twenty-five years when Pop went to his reward.  Shirley was always nice to me; my own mother tried to convince me that there was some unwritten rule about hating your mother-in-law.  I mean, Shirley could be weird; she once gave me a farting teddy bear for my birthday.  But she was never mean.  My own mother had cornered the market on meanness.  Shirley also did and said a LOT of funny stuff - some of which I have written about and other things which I have stored away for future writing, like the mind-controlled Roomba and the time she nearly choked to death in the Mexican restaurant.  When Tim called to tell me, the first thing he said was, "I guess now she knows that Lucky didn't make it."  I had to laugh.  Shirley had this cat named Lucky, which Kris had rescued from Death Row at the shelter.  When she went to the rehab in 2008 with her broken arm, Lucky came to stay with us and our cats.  Well, one day I went home and Lucky was laid out on the kitchen floor.  He was alive, but barely.  I rushed him to the vet who informed me that this old cat was suffering from kidney and liver failure and there was nothing we could do for him.  So I did the humane thing and dispatched Lucky to his heavenly home.  But I couldn't tell my mother-in-law.  She asked me every day, "How's Lucky?" and I would say that he was just fine.  That wasn't really a lie, since Lucky was indeed fine.  So for the better part of the last year and half, every time she asked about Lucky, we would say that he was fine. 
Tim's right; I guess now she knows.