About Me

My photo

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...

Friday, September 30, 2011


Just finished cutting the fabric for my bedroom window valance.  Finally!  And do you know why I was procrastinating?  It's such a stupid reason - I was afraid that this was the sort of fabric that it's hard to tell the right side from the wrong side.  Duh - look at it!  I finally unfolded it this morning (why didn't I just have a look at the bedskirt is beyond me) and it's printed checks rather than woven.  See, it's all just another symptom of my fear of success - but that's another story.  I bought two yards of sixty-inch fabric, so I cut it in half the long way and I'm going to stitch the ends together to make a 120-inch self-lined valance.  I'm using a wide pocket rod, so I'm leaving a couple of inches at the top for a ruffled effect.  I have a client coming by at one or I'd be in the bedroom stitching this fabulous window treatment up!  I am going to get it done tonight and hopefully get both the bedroom and office valances and rods hung next week - film at eleven.  One of these days.  Soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's a special day!

It's Aggie's thirteenth birthday!  While she didn't make the cover of People, or Dogs for that matter, she's still my favorite birthday girl.  In the cover photo, she is all of one year old - making the cute face.  Like every cairn, she's changed colors a few times over the years, and now she's back to her original puppy brindle grey.  She and Peter are both excited at the prospect of chicken for supper - and maybe birthday cake.  I know, she's a dog, but she deserves a birthday celebration, too!
She wasn't ready to smile for the camera yet this morning - maybe later.  Happy birthday, Agatha Christie!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A lovely surprise...

I was dashing out the door to go to the bank this afternoon - as much as I dash - and the postman had just left a parcel for me.  I pushed it inside the door and decided to open it when I came back.  When I returned and unlocked the door, Peter was sitting on top of the box, as if to remind me to open it.  Cats!  It turned out to be a lovely birthday box from my friend, Erin in Arkansas.  I am so thrilled - I just have to share the contents.  There is a wonderful Gooseberry Patch cookbook: The Cozy Home Cookbook.  I love those - just reading the recipes is fun!  And I am all set for 2012 with a Mary Engelbreit page-a-day calendar.  Love it, love it, love it!  And inside a little brown bag from Branson (don't the best things come in brown paper?) were some postcards and other treasures from Erin's recent vacation - including a paw-shaped magnet that says Cairn Terriers Rule!  It looks just like Aggie - and I have affixed it to near the bottom of the refrigerator door so it's right by her food dish.  Aggie probably thinks that it's to remind Peter who's boss around here, but I am sure he could not care less.  And two bookmarks - which a book person can never have enough of - believe me.  Even the birthday card is cute - bunnies from Holly Pond Hill.
Thank you, Erin, for the sweet surprise!  You made my day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I should not have to remind myself...

of the proper way to behave.
Just saying.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Not a paid advertisement...

Really.  I just love this Chicago Metallic pan and I want to tell you all about it.  I mean, how many baking pans have you owned over the years that have warped, scratched, turned black or rusted, no matter how diligently you hand-washed them after using them?  I even had a Calphalon non-stick baking pan that rusted!  Can you believe it?  But I digress...  Anyhow, for the reasonable price of ten bucks, I got this lovely (I know, I use that word a lot) professional grade, non-stick small jelly roll pan on Amazon (I know, I use Amazon a lot) and it is wonderful.  I've baked brownies in it, baked fish on it, baked dinner rolls on it - and it is baking pan perfection.  No warping - even at 425 degrees and it cleans up in a minute.  Several years ago, I dumped my awful AirBake cookie sheets for some professional Chicago Metallic pans with silpat liners - and I never regretted spending the extra money.  Same great, heavy duty quality - only this pan has a serious non-stick surface.  Anyhow, next time you are tired of looking at those tired old baking pans, check out the selection of reasonably priced Chicago Metallic pans on Amazon - and no, this is not a paid advertisement!  I just like sharing good things!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


from Wisconsin found their way to me via Tom & Al when they returned from their recent vacation - and they are so good!  After my recent failed attempt at a decent fresh raspberry two-crust pie, I decided to keep it simple and make an apple tart.  I used a pre-made rolled pie crust - and the Publix store brand is just as good as the more expensive Pillsbury crusts - and just added sliced apples (leave the skins on!), organic sugar and cinnamon.  I baked it at 350 degrees for about forty-five minutes because I hate over-baked crust and Aggie and I ate it warm for dinner with a little Cool Whip on the side.  This is the best Sunday supper I've had in a long time - thanks, guys!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blogging blahs...

To borrow my friend Linda's words, I've been suffering from the blogging blahs.  I started out 2011 with good intentions and then I'm not quite sure what happened.  Life, I guess.  I was thinking today about things in general and I realize that over the past few months I've spent more than a little time ruminating over what I've lost rather than being thankful for everything I have.  I haven't written a word in my gratitude journal in a couple of months and that's not like me.  I know that I am the one who has to choose happiness - it is not automatically going to come my way.  When I started blogging, it was my attempt at choosing happiness during a particularly low time in my life - it made me think of something positive, uplifting or even funny to write about every day.  I'm determined to get back to that.  Yes, indeed-y.  And so in that spirit, this morning I perused the craigslist antique ads.  That's right - a major source of entertainment for me, as I've mentioned in the past, is the horrific grammar and spelling that runs rampant on craigslist.  And, in case you've been wondering about the photo above, I found an hilarious one this morning:  Bainet Authentic $150.  Puzzling, huh?  I always let my imagination run a bit before I click on the link - it's more fun that way.  What could this person mean?  An authentic beignet?  That didn't make any sense.  Something from Haiti?  There is a town called Bainet in Haiti - but I couldn't imagine what sort of antique would come from there.  A bonnet, perhaps?  I clicked the link and imagine my surprise when this is what I saw:
A bayonet.  Honestly, this person wasn't sure if he was advertising a doughnut or a weapon.  And $150 for a glorified knife?  It just goes to show you that anyone can operate a computer these days whether they are literate or not.  He probably even owns a dinning table.  Made of mehoggenie.

P.S.  And I just noticed that I have two new followers - so I guess I'd better get back to blogging - a few people really are interested in my recipes, book reviews, craft ideas, movie picks and general smart-aleckiness.
Who'd have thought it?

Friday, September 23, 2011


I got a letter from my college roommate, Anne, today.  She sent me a funny clipping and asked me to send her a copy of a English paper I wrote during our freshman year.  My professor loved it - he gave me an A+ - with the following notation: In a stack of very serious papers from a group of very serious freshman, I was pleasantly surprised with your essay.  I look forward to reading more of your work.  Of course, his kind comments haven't spurred me on much over the years, but one day...  I wonder if publishers take into account that a writer got an A+ in her freshman English composition class?  At any rate, re-reading my essay, I thought it really was pretty good, after all, and I thought I'd share.  By the way, Consumer Reports has nothing to say with regard to unhygienic eleven-year-olds.

(written in the fall of 1976)

Once or twice a year, my 11 year-old cousin Lester comes to visit, and it's like entertaining the skunk works. Mom says that Lester is simply a typically untidy 11 year-old, but I say he's a slovenly slob who ought to know better. Lester, I firmly believe, wears the same pair of socks from January to June and the only thing he doesn't eat with his fingers is soup. The real corker, though, is that when you criticize old Les, he starts reciting the books of the Bible backwards, like he's so holy you can't touch him or anything. Aunt Agatha paid him 50¢ to learn to do it, and now you can’t shut him up.

This time, I said to myself when he arrived for week’s stay, I am going to get Lester into the bathtub if it's the last thing I ever do.

First, I bought him a bar of soap that looked like a baseball and washcloth shaped like a catcher's mitt. I told him that it was a gift from me and suggested that he use it. He promptly took them both outside to play catch and lost the soap in the bushes. Next I gave him a book of mystery stories and suggested that he relax in a tub of hot water and read it. An hour later, he emerged from a dry tub where he had camped out on the sofa cushions with a box of crackers and a jar of peanut butter. In desperation I offered him a dollar to take a bath, but he offered me five bucks to lay off.

There was only one thing left to do. As I was carrying a pitcher of lemonade out to the pool, I tripped over Lester’s feet and spilled it all over him. He began screaming and yelling and Mom came running out.

“Lester, darling! What in the world?”

“She did it on purpose,” Lester bawled, while Mom glared at me.

I didn't answer. I'd suffer the consequences no matter what if it would only get Lester into the bathtub. But I didn't know old Les. He spent the rest of the afternoon on the patio, licking lemonade off his arms and legs like some senile old dog. All during the rest of his visit, he stuck to everything he sat on. Even worse, the flies swarmed about his marinated clothes and I wanted to puke whenever I heard him coming. The only pleasure I got out of it was following him around with a fly swatter and whacking him every time he said, “Revelation, Third John, Second John, First John. . . “

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Color my world...

Can you tell I'm tired of bland taupe walls?
And that I've been perusing Pinterest?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Here's a great, easy recipe...

2 bags of sugar cookie mix
butter - can't forget the butter!
eggs and
a lovely bag of toffee bits.
Mix all these together as directed on the cookie mix bag and press into a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake just until they smell wonderful - about thirty minutes - in a three hundred fifty degree oven.  A non stick pan is best.  Cut until square while they are still warm.  In fact, try one while they're hot.  Amazing.  And they freeze well, too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Comfort food in a can...

When we lived on the farm when I was a kid, my mom and grandmother were always canning something - whatever was in season.  One of the big canning sessions involved zucchini (whose garden doesn't have lots of that?), tomatoes, onions and celery.  This staple was an appetizer, a side dish and spaghetti sauce.  I loved it!  Later, after we moved to Florida, my mom would buy DelMonte canned zucchini - which by the way - was just as good as the homemade stuff.  It seems like the grocery doesn't always have it, but the last time it was on sale I stocked up on a dozen cans and stashed them away.  Every now and then I open one and eat it for lunch - straight from the can, just like I did today.  Childhood comfort food at its best!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, Monday...

Can't trust that day...  I mean, have you ever tried to sing this song?  Which part do you sing?  Or do you, like most of the free world, try to sing both parts?  I watched this crazy Craig Ferguson movie last night called The Big Tease.  He's a Scottish hairdresser - in a kilt, no less - who receives a letter that he mistakenly believes is an invitation to compete in the world championship hair show in Los Angeles.  A British filmmaker decides to document his adventure and the hilarious story goes from there.  At one point, he's singing California Dreamin' (equally difficult for one person to sing) and then he sings Monday, Monday - just like I do - trying to sing all the parts at once, or together, or sequentially - I don't know how to describe it - but it surely isn't pretty.  What about you?  How does your personal rendition of the Mamas and the Papas Greatest Hits sound?

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's official...

I'm old.  Well, not ancient, but I never imagined being fifty-three.  It seems to have happened pretty fast, too.  Just last week, I was thirty-seven.  I still have all my marbles, or at least I think I do.  I can't tell you what I had for lunch on Monday, but I can still recite the preamble to the US Constitution and intelligently discuss the collected works of T.S. Eliot.  Priorities, you understand.  There was a time in my life when my birthday was an event; now it's just another day.  I had a lovely lunch with my friend, Ariela, today.  I shared my chicken burrito with Aggie and we had fried ice cream for dessert.  It was a nice, quiet day.  The way all birthdays should be.
And I am thankful for another year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years ago today...

Friday, September 02, 2011

I've always wondered...

about this: if the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, what is the road to Heaven paved with?  I've probably had enough good intentions to pave the road to Hades and back about a dozen times so far - maybe I'm destined to be CEO of this company!  Of course, my good intentions this week included catching up on my blog posts, but I haven't done that and now the weekend is upon me.  So many books, so little time...  I just downloaded about eight free Kindle books and I pretty much have my weekend mapped out - and then I looked at my list and blog catch-up is right there at the top.  It might not seem like a big deal, but blogging is something I've been doing for me; it makes me think positive thoughts (most of the time) and it makes me take time to write - even if it's just a paragraph or two.  One of my resolutions way back in January was to blog every day this year - and well, tax season got in the way.  I have about three months worth of half-written blog posts - ideas whose time probably came and went, but those paragraphs matter to me.  The new books will still be on my Kindle next weekend.  Time to rethink my plans...

Oh - and I really want one of those three-wheel bicycles!