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...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And it gets better...

because Season Two is even better than the first!  I have to say that I like Castle almost as much as I like Bones.  But not as much as Monk, but that goes without saying.  The characters are much more human than the cast of Bones, but maybe that's just because I find Brennan a pretty annoying cold fish know-it-all type.  It's fun to see the development of Castle's interaction with his daughter and mother, as well as the way in which Beckett regards her crime-solving partner has changed a bit over time.  I am looking forward to their eventually solving Beckett's mother's cold-case murder - I mean, you know they will.  I'd like to see more of the medical examiner character, Dr. Parrish, because she is as hilarious as her counterpart, Dr. Perlmutter, is curmudgeonly.
And once again - no commercial interruptions!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Holy mole!

I was invited to my client Jonathan's birthday celebration today and he promised authentic Mexican cuisine.  If he really meant hot enough to blow the top of your head off, he certainly delivered.  It is hard to imagine that something made of pumpkin seeds, chicken broth and any green vegetable you can imagine can turn out to be so incredibly hot.  Of course, I was the only Anglo there and the only person whose head was sweating.  Even the kids can eat that stuff like it's nothing.  Definitely an acquired taste, but mole verde is an adventure I can now mark off my bucket list.  No wonder Jonathan likes my banana bread - it probably soothes his flaming taste buds!
I also discovered today that this particular gang of Mexicans is seriously into UNO.  They also keep playing until everyone is out - not just until the first player uses all his cards.  And we played in Spanish, which I suppose is the way the game was originally played.  I mean, it is called UNO, after all.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Finally, back to the drawing board...

and making some cards again!  Believe it or not, these cards began life as the basic layout for Thanksgiving cards last November.  Seriously.  Then Christmas came along and I had cards to make for that and well, you know how things get pushed aside.  I dug this old Hello Spring! stamp out of my stash the other day and decided to put these cards to good use.  Nothing fancy - I glued the green background to ivory card stock.  I stamped the image on white card stock and then colored selected sections with watercolor pencils.  I experimented with watercolor crayons, but I wasn't happy with the colors.  I finished them off with a sage ribbon threaded through two holes punched in the top center of the card.  I was pretty happy with the way they turned out - and inside is a timeless quote from Ward Cleaver: You're never too old to do goofy stuff. 
Now if that doesn't say spring, nothing does.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Just back from Paris...

from a brief stay-cation with Mr. Monk.  And this stack of reading material is not all my fault.  You see, it all began one day during tax season when Tom & Al brought me Mr. Monk is Miserable.  The mystery takes place not long before Mr. Monk finally solves Trudy's murder.  I started reading it and then I realized that I'd missed some things - like the five stories that came before the trip to Paris, including Monk's following Dr. Kroger to Germany.  Well, what could I do?  I had to catch up.  And so right after I went to Germany with Mr. Monk & Natalie, we hopped the next plan for Paris where Monk solves murders left and right, samples French cuisine and gleefully cleans the rues des Paris on a riding street sweeper.  Yes, I'm a Monk-a-phile and the books are as good as the show, except I think he says hell and damn more.
Here's Mr. Monk's (and Aggie's) favorite French dish: a croque-monsieur.  Grilled cheese!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Entry level...

is something we've all experienced at one time or another.  It's especially excruciating right after college graduation when you are seemingly ready to take on the world only to be told that you have no experience and aren't even qualified for an entry-level position.  Talk about having your bubble burst.  Been there, done that.  Maybe that's why the title of this movie caught my eye on Netflix the other night - or maybe it's because it has both D.B. Sweeney and Kurtwood Smith in it.  At any rate, it was pretty good.  Sweeney plays a chef whose restaurant closes due to circumstances beyond his control and he is forced back into the job market.  He has made up his mind that he wants nothing more to do with being a chef or the restaurant business and his unemployment counselor (hilarious!) promptly informs him that he is not qualified for anything else in the job market other than an entry-level position.  Predictably, he goes on about a million job interviews, but along the way he makes friends with a group of people who are in the same boat.  Smith plays a homeless gourmand living on a park bench near Sweeney's soon-to-close restaurant; Sweeney feeds him leftovers.  After the restaurant closes, Sweeney continues to feed Smith (and the rest of his new found friends) a variety of his gourmet sandwiches.  I don't want to give any more of this delightful movie away - but if there's a feel good movie about being unemployed and eventually finding a job you love, this is it.  Aggie & I give Entry Level four kernels of popcorn - no hankies necessary.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A fun surprise...

from my friend, Kathy, in Utah!  I just love when my mail lady brings me a surprise package.  I mean, she comes to see me frequently because I am the queen of shopping by mail.  Basic laziness - and hating to brave the crowd at WalMart - but I find it a lot easier to purchase some necessities online at Amazon - and it's cheaper, too.  To say nothing of the time I save.  But I digress...  Kathy knows how much I love a mystery and she sent me this book of Whodunits - with more than a hundred mysteries to solve.  I love it!  A perfect gift for a Monk-a-holic.  Thank you for thinking of me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Right to your door...

I'll admit it.  I'm a sucker for delivery.  There's just something about having someone knock on your door and bring you lunch in a paper sack.  I mean, pizza delivery is sort of passe, having been around for years now.  But lunch delivery is another thing.  I was spoiled at my office because Cari's restaurant was three doors down and I could order just about anything weird I could think of - from a large order of coleslaw - yep, that's it - or hot dogs with mustard and onion.  Now that I'm working at home, unless I elect to keep the fridge stocked, it's peanut butter & jelly for lunch.  Enter Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches.  It's about two blocks away and when they say fast delivery, they  mean it.  Well, they say subs so fast you'll freak!  Richard and I ordered lunch from there last week - the tuna is excellent and get this, they have rabbit poop ice just like Sonic!  They offer fresh veggie toppings like cucumbers and alfalfa sprouts (which taste like dirt, if you ask me), onions and a wonderful avocado spread.  This is not a paid advertisement, but if there's a Jimmy John's near you, you should try it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I love popcorn...

and I seem to have forgotten that fact when I gave away my microwave.  Having read all of the alleged dangers of microwave popcorn, I had pretty much sworn that particular treat off anyway - but popcorn is still our preferred snack of choice around here.  Several years ago, we had an air popper, but Tim hated it because the salt wouldn't stick to the popcorn.  The popper went to Goodwill and we went back to microwave popcorn.  I guess things really do come back around - or so they say.  We are back to air-popped popcorn and we are loving it!  Peter even takes a treat now and then.  I'm not a big salt fan so we use Butter Buds for popcorn seasoning instead.  It's even good with a bit of Mrs. Dash.  So far I've even resisted the urge to put the butter melting cup to use, although I'm not saying that I can't be tempted by butter.  Isn't everyone?

Monday, May 23, 2011

ME Monday...

and I am so ready for my annual stay-cation.  I've got the books piled up, the DVDs next to the television and the pantry stocked up.  I just still have too much work to catch up on to shut the world off for a few days.  Soon!  Soon this will be me, with my feet on the ottoman and my nose in a book, with Aggie and Peter snoozing contentedly by my side and on my lap.  Ah, heaven!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another guilty pleasure...

like I don't haven enough of those already...  Richard recommended Castle to me a long time ago, but for some reason I never took the time to watch it.  What was I thinking?  This show is great - and I'm only in the middle of watching Season One.  It's funny, suspenseful, well-written and the cast is great.  Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic are new to me, but I have always thought Susan Sullivan was an amazingly classy and funny lady.  The rest of the supporting cast is great, too.  It's a police procedural with a twist - the mystery writer is helping the cops solve crimes by getting them to imagine the story.  I love a mystery - and it doesn't get any better than this - with no commercial interruptions!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Or not...

I had to laugh at this cartoon.  I imagine there are a lot of disappointed people all over the world today.  I've never understood the obsession with Judgment Day.  If you are confident of where you stand with your Creator, when Judgment Day arrives - whether it's like a bolt from the blue or meeting your Maker on the other side of death's doorway - it shouldn't be any big deal.  I like to think that life goes on, one way or another.  It would appear that Mr. Camping, the world's most recent vocal harbinger of impending doom, failed to read the Scriptures when he was determining his latest erroneous doomsday prediction.  I guess it would be easy to miss: "For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night." (I Thessalonians 5:2 NIV)  My personal favorite is "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36 NIV).  I used to work with this lunatic gentleman who was obsessed with the end of the world.  He was a seemingly devout, practicing Catholic who attended Mass daily but apparently took no comfort from his faith.  Admittedly, between believing that his roommate brother was a demon-possessed pedophile who had put a hit out on him and that every woman he met desired him "in a biblical way" (his words, not mine) the guy had more issues than a magazine rack, but based on his religious fervor, the end of the world shouldn't have been at the top of the list.  Vermin magnet that I am, I finally resorted to attempting to insult him about anything so that he'd stop coming by my office.  Even now I shudder as I ignore his name on my caller ID and shove the phone in the desk drawer until it stops ringing.  I don't even speak his name aloud for fear of conjuring him up.  Still, I wonder if He Who Must Not Be Named was disappointed at all today.
One way or the other.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I really do like housework...

or homekeeping, rather.  Hasn't Martha Stewart taken credit for coining that term?  Or for at least making it more popular in today's vernacular?  That being said, maybe it's homekeeping I like as opposed to housework.  While there is something to be said for the simple satisfaction of a job well done, like a gleaming kitchen floor or shiny bathroom faucets, for me it's the nesting aspect of keeping house.  That's not surprising, considering I spent a lot of my free time as a teenager arranging and re-arranging my bedroom - my own personal space.  When I first owned my own home, making it perfect - and keeping it that way - was a priority for me.  Only in my old age have I discovered that dust isn't some infectious disease and that no one really cares whether I do laundry every day or not.  I like the fact that my home is organized and relatively presentable, but I don't obsess over it any more.  These days I appreciate the visual appeal of my surrounding as much as I ever appreciated being able to eat off the kitchen floor.  Like anyone but the dog ever really does that.  If you've ever checked out Home Made Simple's website, you'll find that it's about cleaning, but mainly about simplifying your routines and your life.  Their book, Home Made Simple, is a compendium of tips on organizing, cooking, decorating and gardening.  Not that I do much of the latter, but I do a fair amount of the first three.  So far I've put several of the ideas I found inside to good use around here.
And that, as Martha would say, is a good thing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And they're back....

trimming even more of the shade from the trees around here, if that's even possible.  I would have thought that they'd removed enough debris to last an entire growth season when they were here earlier in the week.  The noise has been horrific, beginning around 7:30 this morning when they fired up the mulcher - way too early, if you ask me.
If the chainsaws and the mulching weren't enough, Aggie views both the men and their machines as a threat to her happy home and has been barking off and on all morning.  It's especially bad when the Princess of Quite A Lot goes out to her little playroom to do her thing and survey her realm.
Hopefully the work will be finished soon!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cairns love rock and roll...

or ZZ Top anyway.  It's funny how Aggie and Peter seem to be more social, or awake at least, when I have the music on.  Normally, they don't seem to care what's playing.  But this afternoon, when I pressed play on the CD remote, Aggie came alive.  Rock and roll is apparently her thing.  Let me explain: today I actually bought a CD for the first time in years.  I was at WalMart looking for a USB cable and when I drove past the music & video department to get to the computer accessories, I took a shortcut down the music aisle.  And there it was: ZZ Top's Greatest Hits - all eighteen of them - for the low, low price of nine bucks.  Fifty cents a song - cheaper than downloading them all from iTunes.  And let's face it, all eighteen are bona fide, lots of airplay hits.  Now, Aggie knows Sharp Dressed Man because it's in heavy rotation on the iPod - but she really seemed to like Gimme All Your Lovin' and Cheap Sunglasses.
Who'd have thunk it? 


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Those Geico commercials...

are a crack-up!  I just saw the "Do dogs chase cats?" commercial the other day for the first time.  That cat looks just like Peter.  He may be moonlighting as a stunt cat and I just don't know it.  I'll know for sure if the royalty checks start arriving in the mail.  Then I discovered that you can watch all the Geico commercials on YouTube - a boon for those of us who like to waste time on the internet.  I'll admit it - I've watched them all.  At least once.  I really love the "Is the pen mightier than the sword?" commercial.  Especially when the delivery guy asks for his pen back.  My dad used to say that when I was a kid, I could be running around the house making a general nuisance of myself when everyone else was trying to watch television (Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare or Sing Along With Mitch, probably) but when the commercials would come on, I'd be right in front of the screen watching with rapt attention.  In kid time, a commercial is just the right length.  I still get a kick out of them.

Monday, May 16, 2011

ME Monday...

I've rediscovered an old Mary Engelbreit cardboard suitcase!  Somehow it found its way into the bedroom closet and I forgot all about it.  I've been looking for something to store cards-in-progress - and there it was in all its ME glory.  I've had it forever - probably ten years or more.  Funny how we sometimes forget about things we have and then when we rediscover them, we remember why we liked them so much in the first place.  The artist Anne Estelle and the little scotty just make me happy!  Check out more ME fun over at Cherry Chick!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ever wondered...

just how companies really market their goods to an unsuspecting America?  It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they do it just like stealth marketing is depicted in The Joneses.  While I am not a big Demi Moore fan, I do like David Duchovny and I kept seeing this movie pop up on my Netflix suggestions because apparently I do like the occasional dark comedy.  Doesn't everyone?  Anyhow, I finally watched it (Richard also recommended the film) and I thought it was pretty good.  Darkly funny - with a little bit of sadness thrown in - but isn't that always the way?  Glenne Headly turned in a great performance as a pseudo-MaryKay type; Gary Cole was good as her husband who really did try to keep up with the Joneses.  Unfortunately, it didn't end well for him, but someone always has to meet their end in one of these dark comedies.  Lauren Hutton was nearly unrecognizable as the head of the marketing company - her supermodeling heyday was a really long time ago, it would appear.  At any rate, the movie is worth watching if for no other reason than to see exactly how we've been enticed to buy those things we really didn't need but thought we couldn't live without.  Aggie and I give it four kernels of popcorn and one hanky.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ray Isuzu and I...

just got back from a little ride and some errands.  One of the errands was to fill Ray's twelve-gallon tank with gasoline.  I shouldn't complain, because I haven't treated Ray to a fill-up in over a month - but it cost me $47!  The poor guy was on E, but he started right up and off we went to the gas station.  Obviously, Ray and I don't get out much - but it looks like we'll be getting out even less if the price of gas goes up any more!  We made a quick pit stop at the bank for an ATM deposit and then got a chicken sandwich for lunch.  We were planning to stop at Publix for some essentials and then the sky clouded up and by the time we got back to our neighborhood Publix store, the sky was black as night off to the north.  I love a good rainstorm as much as the next person, and Ray was in dire need of a good rinse, but we both prefer to enjoy the rain from the comforts of home.  So here we are, snug as bugs in a rug.  Aggie and Peter are happy - they are not big storm fans.  Guess this is a good afternoon to get lost in a book. 
Mr. Monk & The Two Assistants awaits...

Friday, May 13, 2011

We are in the 21st century now...

So here I am in the living room, in my usual reading spot with my feet on the ottoman – typing on my new HP netbook.  Odd that I would buy a netbook, in that my goal is to not be on the internet with it – but rather to be able to write from the comfort of my evening spot with Aggie and Pete snuggled up next to me.  I love this thing!  For a tiny computer, it has a nearly full-sized keyboard which is great.  The price wasn’t bad and it’s red!  I can use a flash drive to copy my work and transfer it to my desktop computer for editing and printing – I am beyond thrilled with my splurge.  I have to say I wasn’t even tempted by iPads or tablet PCs.  I had a laptop once a long time ago; I don’t even remember what kind it was, but it had a small keyboard and a trackball mouse that I could never get the hang of.  I ended up giving it to Tim and I got a new Compaq all-in-one desktop model that was something like a Mac.  As I recall, my mom ended up with that one and Tim got me a strawberry pink iMac, which I loved and he hated.  Of course, he now has an iPad that he is completely enthralled with.  Technology changes so fast – I am aware that my Dell that was the server at my office is completely outdated, but I don’t look forward to replacing it any time soon.  I don’t even have a wireless network because of security concerns – I take the protection of my client data very seriously.  Another reason I got this netbook – I can’t even log onto my own internet connection!  Aggie isn’t even remotely concerned with what I’m doing; Peter sniffed at the screen a bit and then curled up by my feet.  It seems that my associates approve.  Everything is right with my little world.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It would appear that I underestimated...

the task at hand the other day and well, it's taken me until this morning to finish scanning my 2009 paperwork.  All the more reason to remember that it's easier to keep up than catch up.  As you can see, it's all ready for the shredder - bags and all.  I just have to run a system back up and I am good to go, er, shred.


And I am reminded, by this cute bookmark that my friend Dorene sent me years ago, that no task is insurmountable - even scanning a bunch of paper.

Monday, May 09, 2011

ME Monday...

and it's time to share another bargain ME find with you all.  Aren't these hatboxes too cute?  Believe it or not, they are empty!  I'm sure I'll find something to store in them eventually - but for right now I'm just enjoying their colorful addition to the nightstand shelf in the bedroom.
For more ME fun, check out Cherry Chick!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Wishing you...

a wonderful Mother's Day!

Friday, May 06, 2011

I love technology!

Yes, I know.  I complain sometimes, but I am so thankful for scanning and digital storage.  I have lots of paper after a tax season and nowhere to put it.  I started scanning back in 2007 when I started my own business and I kept up with it quite nicely - you know what they say: it's easier to keep up than catch up.  Well, I scanned everything.  Receipts, correspondence, you name it - it's on my hard drive in a PDF format and easy to find.  This system was working quite well until my network went haywire in the spring of 2010 and I couldn't scan anything to my PC over the network.  The person responsible for setting up the network was no longer on the scene and I had no clue how to fix it.  Eventually, I connected the printer to my computer with a USB cable and I had limited scanning ability, but it was very cumbersome.  And so the client files that needed to be scanned went into a box and ended up under my desk here at home after the move and the procrastinator in me just ignored it.
The annual tax jinx took out the Dell multi-function printer permanently and I was thrilled to replace it with my amazing new HP all-in-one.  I absolutely love the scanner and the scanning software.  It makes scanning client files a snap - and I kept up with my scanning every day during this past tax season for tax year 2010.  I kept looking at the box under my desk - and stubbing my toe on it - but it finally saw the light of day this morning.
This is what I've scanned so far - in the space of about two hours.  Scanned, saved and filed neatly away in my digital filing cabinet.  Can you tell I love this?
And I have this much more to go.  I am determined to finish scanning all of tax year 2009 today so I can back up my computer tonight.  Then I can shred and dispose of all this paper tomorrow.  It's a plan!