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...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Already?

Is it the end of February already?  This month has flown by – but then I’ve been really, really busy – and it's been better than last year and I finally feel like I have my head above water for the first time in a long time.  I’ve learned that I never lost the ability to take care of myself – something I had come to doubt in recent years.  God has been so good to me this past year and I am so thankful for His guiding and protective Hand in my life.  I’ve finally learned patience and to be willing to allow God to provide for me in His time – He’s never failed to send me work and other opportunities yet and I have faith that He will continue to bless and guide me.  I’ve also learned that when I share what I have, He showers me with blessings equal to and most times greater than what I’ve shared with others in need.  My dad taught us to share many years ago – and it’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten.  Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful beginning to this new year.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Crispers...

Against my better judgment, I’m meeting a friend for lunch at Crispers today.  Yes, I’m looking forward to my Signature Summer Salad – I know, I’m in a rut – but I am not looking forward to the inane, incessant babbling of my friend.  That’s a terrible thing to say, I know, but it’s true.  My grandma used to tell us that the only way to have a friend is to be one, and I am trying, but sometimes it’s hard to be friends with someone you don’t have much, if anything, in common with.  One of my clients referred this person to me when she needed tax advice and I hired her to clean my office once a month.  I know it’s partly my fault for being friendly and listening to her amazing variety of problems and personal drama, but once you’ve heard all the gory details – and I mean all of them – you’ve sort of attained friend status without meaning to.  She’s over forty going on sixteen – mainly due to having fried her brain on drugs and alcohol when she was a teenager.  She’s had a million jobs, some of them probably unsavory, but she’s been sober for ten years, so I have to give her credit for that.  I have a history of taking on rescue projects and really, I didn’t mean to take on another one, but it looks like I have – whether I am happy about it or not.  Since I moved the office home, and I don’t really need cleaning help, I’ve managed to keep our contact to a minimum.  But, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to lunch and it’s far too late to cancel without being completely rude.  I know this makes me seem like an unfeeling ogre or something, but I like to have an uplifting conversation about books or movies or just life once in awhile instead of he-said-she-said drama, financial difficulties or all the bad news on television.  Maybe I’m the one with my head in the clouds – is everyone’s life so dramatic?  I’ve always tried to avoid drama – heck, I even quit working for the last guy I worked for because he had altogether too much drama in his life, from taking on a crazed mortgage broker partner to dating a pole dancer I called Stripperella.  I even try to minimize the potential drama in my own life by just letting things go.  I guess the other reason I’m not looking forward to lunch is that this woman insists upon asking me if I’ve heard from Tim or if I’m still upset about the whole situation.  It’s like she’s disappointed that I’m not crushed or brokenhearted.  And even if I were, I damn sure wouldn’t talk to an emotional forty-seven year old teenager about it.  The last time I saw her she asked me if there was anyone new in my life.  I actually laughed.  She’s amazed that I don’t want anyone new in my life – and I explained to her that I don’t define myself in terms of a relationship with a man and I never have.  And that she ought not to define her self-worth that way either.  She’s not taken my advice so far and I seriously doubt that she ever will.  I am perfectly happy on my own with my dog and my cat.  I have my own place and books to read.  I have friends that I can actually have a conversation with that doesn’t involve drama.  As mean as it may sound, I think it’s time to start backing away from this friendship; staying home, reading a book and eating a peanut butter sandwich with Aggie and Peter is much more appealing.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

All caught up...

I can’t believe it – I am actually all caught up!  I finished all of the work in this enormous pile of paper.  Now all I have to do is call the rightful owners of said paperwork and schedule them to come back to review their taxes, sign the e-file forms and pay me.  I know my goal for today was to catch up, but I can’t actually believe that I accomplished it.  It helps that I got started bright and early – and resisted the temptation to sleep just a little longer.  For one reason or another, my phone didn’t ring much today either, which I was really thankful for.  Telephone interruptions wreak havoc on my train of thought - I hate that!  And since I have done all of my work today, I can actually sleep late tomorrow and have a day off – rare in the middle of tax season.  What to do, what to do…  I’m sure I’ll think of something.  Or nothing at all.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I am pooped...

and I know just how this little kitty cat feels!  It’s finally Friday – and I am so ready for a weekend.  I have a lot of work to do and I haven’t gotten much accomplished except seeing clients and adding more work to the file.  I have no one scheduled for tomorrow, so I am going to work my way through this huge pile of tax returns.  I am fierce and determined and nothing will stop me.  Except Sean Connery at the door – but that is not likely to happen.  In this lifetime – or the next.  Aggie says I should just be content to have a Scottish dog in my life – who needs a man?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kids and shiny bones...

Children don’t seem to realize that some things are decorative.  Case in point: my jar full of colorful dominos.  It seems like every child that darkens my door and spots them on the desk wants to play with them – and their indulgent, anti-disciplinarian parents are more than willing to let them.  This is the third time this week that I’ve caught Aggie in the living room with a wayward domino in her mouth.  I know they’re too big for her to choke on, but still.  Guess I’ll have to move the jar to a spot where it will be unseen by little eyes looking for toys - like my reading table in the living room.  I say lash the troublemakers to their car seats, roll the windows all the way down and leave the little rugrats in the car, but that’s just me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is silence really golden?


I’ve been reading the recent news articles about Clarence Thomas and his tenure as a Supreme.  I really can’t think of anything good to say about him – or anything bad.  The problem is he doesn’t do anything.  Or say anything.  Unless he’s taking the proverb about opening one’s mouth and proving oneself a fool to heart.  I remember listening to his confirmation hearings on NPR – and all that flap about Anita Hill.  My friend Beverly said that Ms. Hill was just mad because Mr. Thomas dumped her for a white woman.  There may have been some truth in that, but you'd think that someone who went through such personally revealing confirmation hearings would work harder at proving himself worthy of his appointment to the Court.  Just saying.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Graham crackers...

I’ve rediscovered graham crackers.  When I was a kid, we always had them in the house and they were my dad’s favorite snack.  A serious treat was putting left over cake frosting on them.   After he died, we didn’t buy them anymore.  Just another reminder, I guess.  Last time I went to the grocery, they were on sale – buy one, get one free.  You know I can’t resist that kind of bargain, so I got a box of the HoneyMaid and a box of the cinnamon sugar variety.  I’d forgotten how much I like them.  They’re a relatively wholesome snack and they remind me of my dad.  It’s a double good thing!

Monday, February 21, 2011

ME Monday...

and today I'm sharing one of my first ME things - this tote bag from one of her early book signings.  I am not even sure where I got it, because it wasn't at a book signing - but it's pretty cute.  And I've resisted coloring the illustration in over the years - although I often wonder if it was meant to be.  This bag has toted a lot of books around - even a lunch or two.  Vintage Mary - and I have gotten a lot of comments on it.  For more ME fun, check out the goodies over at Cherry Chick!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Trash...

You know what I’d like to know?  How one person, one dog and one cat can generate so much trash!  I'm part of the less garbage revolution, really.  I try not to buy things with too much packaging and I bring my own bags to the grocery store – and even to WalMart.  I put food waste down the garbage disposal and try to flatten and recycle cardboard as much as I can.  I recycle my aluminum cans.  I shred my scrap paper and documents that have been scanned.  But I still manage to come up with an entire bag of trash – or more – every single day.  I wonder what I’m doing wrong – or does everyone produce this much trash every day?  Enquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nap time...

Well, my last client has been here and gone for the day.  Finally – I’ve been busy since about eight-thirty this morning.  And now to take advantage of one of the greatest benefits of working at home: I’m about to lock the door, turn the ringer off on the telephone and take a nap.  I don’t care that it’s almost five o’clock and that I probably won’t sleep tonight.  I’m tired, and like this sweet kitty, and I’m having a much-needed nap.  So there.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hyacinths...

I love green plants and flowers.  Unfortunately, after years of living with cats and witnessing the destruction of all of my beautiful African violets and other assorted houseplants, I gave up and resorted to fake foliage.  I’ve been lucky enough over the years to find some really great real-looking potted plants and other decorative greenery that doesn’t look fake.  The potted purple hyacinth on my desk fooled clients for years – a mere $20 at Target.  My potted red tulip even has realistic looking moss “growing” on the outside of the pot - $6 at Home Goods.  All of the potted plants on my lanai, including the gingko tree are fake – and they even fool the lizards.  A couple of weeks ago I was in Publix and as I left the produce department, I glanced at the floral counter and spied a beautiful white hyacinth.  I wondered if I dared take a real plant home – even one that wouldn’t bloom for long – and if hyacinths were poisonous to cats.  I picked the plant up to look it over and only then did I realize that it was indeed a faux hyacinth.  That sealed the deal – along with the maroon pot which would go perfectly with the red glass in my dragonfly lamp.  I guess I’m not destined to grow real flowers – but I can live with dusting my plants instead of watering them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Don't judge a book by its movie...

As I am sure I've said before, I’m not a big Brad Pitt fan.  I mean, he has grown on me a bit over the years – particularly when he stopped taking himself so seriously and got in touch with his inner idiot in the Ocean’s movies.  A big change from the Look-at-me-I’m-Brad-Pitt in Legends of the Fall, when we all knew the real star of that film was Anthony Hopkins.  But I digress…  I took a break last night and watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  All three long hours of it.  Long, long hours.  To say it was based on Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name is like saying that the world is flat.  Anyone who has ever read Tales of the Jazz Age, a collection of  Fitzgerald’s short stories, would recognize only the title and Benjamin’s odd aging disease, if you could even call it that.  There is no Daisy, no daughter, no old folks’ home – and he was not abandoned by his father.  Yes, Dad owned a button factory and Benjamin ended up working with him.  The original story is not nearly as far-fetched as the movie – and infinitely more believable.  Why does Hollywood take a perfectly good story and think they can improve on it?  The next thing we know, Hollywood will remake Jane Eyre, in which Jane discovers that Mr. Rochester has been hiding an alien life form in the attic – who ate Mr. Rochester’s wife – and she helps said alien escape to his hidden spacecraft in the woods.  Should she stay with Mr. Rochester or leave the solar system with the alien?  Coming soon to a theatre near you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Out of control...


Is there a paperholics anonymous?  This paper avalanche is getting completely out of control.  I am so thankful for the work – and I know I will be sorry when tax season winds down and my phone stops ringing constantly – but enough with the paper.  I try to print as little as possible – save toner, save paper, save a tree!  But people keep descending upon me with more and more paper – sometimes boxes of it.  I have limited space as it is, but I am practically drowning in tax papers and supporting documentation.  My goal for this weekend is to finish up everything that involves these stacks of paper and get the owners of said paper to come and take it off my hands.  This place is starting to look like I’m some sort of eccentric packrat.
At least I don’t think I am!
Oh well, the pay is the same.  On to the next stack of paper...


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A thing of the past?

I read a funny article today.  Apparently the makers of Guitar Hero are discontinuing their product.  It seems that the young generation is not as enthralled with air guitar as we were thirty or so years ago.  In fact, the only way some of these kids have even heard of rock and roll greats is by playing this video game.  How is that even possible?  Can today’s youth not know who Eric Clapton is?  AC/DC?  Foreigner?  The Beatles?  Not that I have occasion to play Guitar Hero, but it sure looks like fun.  And yes, I’ll admit, I played my fair share of air guitar (complete with wild headbanging) back in the day.  Hard to imagine, but I was well acquainted with Boston, Yes, Aerosmith, Heart and Led Zep.  I wanted to be Ann Wilson.  Right now I am probably the only person within a five mile radius who even knows who Yngvwe Malmsteen is.  Sad, but true.  The history of rock and roll should be a required course in high school.  Or college.  Especially college.  Of course, I am so old and demented that I have never heard the music of the Black Eyed Peas, Lil Wayne or, dare I say it, Lady Gaga.  And I have no desire to – not as long as I have my ZZTop CD and all those rock and roll classics on my iPod.  I mean, I may like old music, but there’s no reason not to utilize new technology.

Monday, February 14, 2011

ME Monday...

and since I already posted my ME valentine decorations - I am instead sharing this lovely Valentine cake that Ariela made for me.  It's chocolate with whipped cream frosting - covered in coconut!  Almost too pretty to cut, but...
we couldn't help ourselves.  I'd never eat it all anyway - so we cut pieces for Ariela to take home and I've called Tom & Al to stop by and pick up some cake to share, too.  I'm sure Mary would approve.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New old dresser...

You’d think all I do is look on craigslist for used furniture to feather my nest.  Well, I admit I do check the ads every day, but it’s mainly for the entertainment value of weird stuff and misspelled ad headlines.  But occasionally…  Remember my closet with the rubber stamps in the rolling carts?  Well, it might have looked nice and organized, but getting the carts in and out of the closet and finding anything was not as convenient as I had imagined it would be when I came up with that particular plan.  So – guess what I found on craigslist for a mere $75?  This lovely antique oak dresser which fits perfectly in the space between the sofa and my craft desk – and it provides a much better place for my rubber stamps.  Easier to access, easier to find what I’m planning to use – what more could I ask for?  And it’s pretty too!  Al & Tom picked it up for me – furniture is, after all, their business and delivered it a few days ago.  Tom even tightened up the drawers and polished it up for me.  I have since filled it to the brim with stamps and other tools – and sorted out some more stamps that I don’t want for donation to someone who might – and I am loving it!  I used little plastic trays in the drawers to separate the stamps by category and amazingly, everything fit.
And – the bonus here – it’s the perfect spot for my dragonfly lamp, some framed photos, my small Harmony Kingdom box collection and my white hyacinth.  I love it when a plan (and a room) comes together!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another craigslist find...

Finally – I am rid of those ugly nightstands.  Yes, I miss the drawer space – and it’s been a bit of a scramble trying to find a place for pajamas, shirts, socks and underwear, but this little table ($25 on craigslist) is so much cuter.  At least I think so – and Tom remarked (bless their hearts, they picked it up for me) that I have finally gotten rid of the last piece of bedroom furniture from my old house - and my old life.  I hadn’t really thought about it until he mentioned it – I mean, I hated the heavy look of the things and the way the top drawers wouldn’t pull all the way out.  Putting things away in the drawers was a pain in the butt – but he’s right.  All the sad reminders of the home we gave up and the life that I thought was so happy are gone.  I no longer have anything in my new home that I don’t like – or that I didn’t specifically choose.  The living room furniture and my desks were at the office, but I picked them out because I liked them – and I still do.  I’m really the only one that spent any amount of time at the office, so there are only those good memories associated with those things.  And – the ugly nightstands went to a good home.  Jonathan’s mother wants to use them in her living room as a television stand.  He’s picking them up this afternoon.
See – we’re all happy with the way things turned out.


Friday, February 11, 2011

I almost had a heart attack...

when Tim came home with this new vacuum several years ago.  I love the vacuum - it was the price tag that nearly killed me.  I am happy to report that I survived and so has the vacuum - I love it.  It's small, quiet and uses these great HEPA bags that hold the dust inside.  Imagine that!  I change the bag once a month and while they tend to be pricey, it's worth it for how well the vacuum itself works.  I know I should use it more often, but I'd rather spend my spare time reading.  Is that a crime?


Anyhow, I am happy to report that I have now found a bargain source of bags for Vera the Vacuum.  I don't know why I didn't look on Amazon before - I mean, I find all sorts of other cheap inexpensive stuff online there - with free shipping!  Six bags for $12.75 - so I ordered two boxes and got free shipping and I am set for a year.  And I didn't even have to leave the house.  Am I becoming an agoraphobic vacuuming hermit in my old age?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

You know I love a bargain...

especially when it's a designer handbag.  Isn't this the cutest little Kate Spade bag you have ever seen?  Well, maybe not, but it's the cutest one I've found.  And for twenty bucks, I snapped it up.  I almost passed it by because I thought it was an animal print - not one of my favorite looks - but I realized the design is a large flower.  I was not a fan of her original black Sam bags - too plain and sort of cheap looking - but her later work is cuter - especially the leather stuff, which sadly I cannot afford here at the Villa of Reduced Circumstances.  I will also admit that I never stop at yard sales - they're not the same in Florida as they are up North; in Florida it's mostly the junk that's left after the people who moved down here sold the good stuff in Ohio or Michigan.  Tim loved yard sales and I gradually disposed of the useless or tacky finds over the years.  But on this particular day, the day of the Big Bargain Find, I was driving down the street and saw a pile of handbags on a table at a yard sale in front of a rather upscale home.  I actually turned around and went back - for twenty well-spent dollars I brought home this cute purse that just needed vacuuming out and a little Febreze.  Maybe I'll pay more attention to yard sales from now on...

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

It's tulip time...

and it always makes me thing of two things: Easter and the annual Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan.  Just imagine yourself in a sea of fresh, blooming tulips and you're there.  It's amazing.  I never buy fresh flowers - and all the plants in my home are fake because of the way cats like to eat greenery - but Publix had these amazing potted tulips on sale for only six bucks, and well, I couldn't help myself.  I crammed the ugly plastic pot into a Longaberger tissue basket and instant spring!  Of course, by morning they were wilting a bit because I'd forgotten to water them just a little - but they are still beautiful.  So far, Peter has left them alone and my clients and I are really enjoying the fragrance and their happy presence on the corner of my desk.
It makes me want to buy fresh flowers a little more often!


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Beets sucks...

and I know that sounds grammatically incorrect to you, but if you went to Calvin College and happen to be reading this, you will understand completely.  For the rest of you, Beets is the name of a residence hall (named for Clarence Beets, I believe) and well, its residents were always dweebs of the highest order and consequently, Beets sucks.  I know this because I have been personally fined for shouting this very thing out my Eldersveld Hall window in the general direction of the open windows of Beets Hall.  And five dollars was a lot of money in the seventies.  But I digress...  I am not enamored of the vegetable either.  I've tried to eat them because of their iron value, but let's face it, beets suck.  Seriously.  Badly.  Almost as much as a rutabaga, which my grandmother always tried to pass off as potatoes.  Gag me.  Ariela has been telling me forever that the way they prepare beets in Nicaragua will cure me of my beet hatred forever.  As you can see, she tried to tempt me with grilled beet salad.  It's pretty, and I did try a bite while she was here.  Not too bad, but then it was only one bite.  One very small bite.  I put the salad in the refrigerator and decided that I would eat it for lunch today.  Figuring it would be at its optimum taste potential at room temperature, I put the container on my desk at about eleven where it sat menacingly for about an hour.  Lunchtime came and the moment of truth had arrived - my fork poised above the colorful mixture - the scent of grilled beets assaulted my senses.  I can do this, I thought to myself, as I speared a small sliver of beet.  Resisting the temptation to hold my nose in a juvenile attempt to avoid the noxious flavor of beet, I dutifully chewed the nearly microscopic portion of vegetable flesh in my mouth.  Yuck!  Yuck, yuck, yuck!  I swallowed and dropped my fork.  Beets in any form really do suck.  Completely,  Incontrovertibly.  I'm fifty-two years old and I've gone this long without eating beets - why start now?  Damn their nutritional iron content, I hereby denounce beets forever.  I'll just take an iron pill.  Sorry Ariela - beets are just as bad in Nicaragua as they are in the USA.

Monday, February 07, 2011

ME Monday...

It's that time of the week again - and I've been scrounging around for some ME stuff that I haven't already shared.  I found this cute little frame in the drawer with my sewing stuff - and I'd always been going to put a photo in it.  I put it on the desk to take a photo and I realized that I really like it with the existing quote - just the way it is.  It's true: life has no blessing like a good friend.  For more ME fun, check out the links over at Cherry Chick.  Have a wonderful ME day!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Lately, I feel like...

my living room has exploded.  I'm in the process of transferring my rubber stamps from these carts in the hall closet (which were a pain in the butt to get in and out) to the old dresser I got for a song on craigslist.  Where else do I do my shopping for home furnishings?  The guys were kind enough to go and and pick it up for me - and it's lovely.  I promise I'll show it to you as soon as I put everything away and come up with a suitable tableau for the top of the dresser.  It is the just the thing that I needed for between the end of the sofa and my office area.  Just the right height, too.  I didn't need to move any of the artwork on the wall - which is a good thing because I can't reach it by myself anyway.  I'm thinking it's the perfect spot for my dragonfly lamp - but that remains to be seen.  Oops!  Time to get back to some meaningful work...