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, August 22, 2011

Oh, Julia...

you know I adore you and all of your recipes - well, mainly your potage parmentier - but this one was a stinker.  I'm sorry, but your famous Cherry Clafouti tastes like a cyanide-flavored crap pancake.  Maybe it's because the cherries weren't French, or because I used almond extract instead of Amaretto, I don't know.  I might just be a crappy cook - but I don't think so.  I may not be Julia Child, but I'm certainly not without culinary skills.  And because I love you, Julia, I will give this another try - maybe with peaches or plums - and without the almond flavoring.
I dutifully ate it for dinner, so as not to waste a perfectly good two cups of fresh pitted cherries, but I didn't enjoy it.  Not one bit.  And neither did Aggie.  Just saying.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another great book...

to add to your reading list if you haven't read it already!  I had passed this sweet little book by on more than one occasion and when I finally found it as a bargain book, I snapped it up and added it to my reading table.  Between naps yesterday, I got lost in the 1968 world of twelve-year-old Cecelia Rose Honeycutt.  I hate to give any of the story away - but it had the same Southern flavor as The Secret Life of Bees - and was just as good.  This book is touching, heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny all at the same time.  The best part was a travelling brassiere that took on a life of its own - and that's all I'm going to say about that.  Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to an afternoon in Savannah circa 1968.  You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thank Heaven and...

some pharmaceutical company for sinus headache relief!  My stupid headache started on Friday morning and by the time bedtime rolled around, I was completely stuffed up and felt like a gorilla was sitting on my face.  Touching my eyes was even painful.  I've been taking Zyrtec and ibuprofen as often as allowable - with a couple of Tylenol thrown in for good measure - and no relief until about a half hour ago.  I don't know if it's the humidity or the pollen or - Heaven forbid the beginnings of a summer cold! - but I have been miserable.  Consequently, I have done nothing but read, nap and suffer all day long.  I am hoping to feel better tomorrow - I have work to do!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baked zucchini...

tastes so much better when you order it as an appetizer in a restaurant and they bring it to your table all crispy and steaming hot.  I decided to try making it at home for dinner - zucchini was on sale - and I was not altogether thrilled with the results.  I sliced the zucchini and threw it into a ziploc bag with some olive oil and some italian-seasoned bread crumbs.  After I had the slices pretty well coated with crumbs and olive oil, I spread them out on a foil-lined baking pan, tossed on some grated parmesan cheese and baked them for about forty minutes at 350 degrees.
They sure look a whole lot better than they tasted.  I mean, the zucchini was edible, but something wasn't right.  I need to try again with a little more salt and cheese in the seasoning, I think.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Profit and loss...

an enormous project is finally finished!  I am sure that while I didn't make much profit on it, I am not taking a loss either.  One of my clients owns a convenience store that is attached to a BP gas station.  Of all things, he is filing a claim against BP for loss of business due to the oil spill.  I haven't figured that one out yet - but it seems that nearly everyone with a business on the Gulf Coast has jumped at the chance to catch a ride on that train.  Anyhow, I have had to reconstruct his monthly income and loss for the past three years - since he is yet another small business owner who is a firm believer in not bothering with any sort of monthly bookkeeping.  I have prepared his tax returns for several years now and just recently convinced him to do his payroll and monthly sales tax reporting electronically.  Anyhow, I am so glad to have this project marked off my list.  And so next I am on to reminding my summer slackers about their 2010 tax returns!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Who'd have thought...

that it would be so hard to find a simple curtain rod these days?  Apparently everyone has jumped on the home decorating bandwagon and as a result, no one wants a simple wide pocket curtain rod anymore.  It would seem that everyone is interested in buying (and selling) decorative window hardware.  All I want a simple valance over the bedroom window - and to achieve the effect I'm going for, I need a plain curtain rod that will be hidden from sight.  Well, after a fruitless trip to WalMart - where I have purchased every other plain Jane curtain rod for eons, I resorted to searching online. I finally found what I was looking for at Lowe's - a place I never go.  And since I cannot make the valance until I have the rod (for the exact pocket width measurement) it looks like I'll be taking a trip to my local Lowe's Home Improvement store.  And I may just buy two curtain rods - while I was perusing their selection of window treatments and hardware, I found a lovely sage window valance by Waverly that would be perfect over my office window!
I was going to make a valance for that window, but I had yet to find a fabric or style that I really liked.  And then I saw this one - and it's only $30 for an eighty-inch wide valance.  I especially like the layered look and button detail.
What do you think?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Trying to do my part...

and recycling my aluminum cans - even though it goes against my perfectionist tendencies to have trash sitting around the house for too long.  Cardboard boxes come into the house long enough to divest themselves of their contents - and then on to the recycle bin with them, too!  See, I've got this bug phobia.  Cardboard and paper - out the door!  I thoroughly rinse the empty aluminum cans before I toss them into the sealed bin where they patiently wait until the bag fills up - then I tie it up and pass it along to Jonathan for his employee who redeems her collection of cans for extra money.  I have even switched to a smaller bag for the recycle bin so I can get the empty cans out of the house sooner.  How obsessive is that?  I want to do my part - but I also don't want a bug infestation!  Is it just me or does everyone who recycles feel this way?

Monday, August 15, 2011

There are great ideas...

everywhere, it would seem.  Isn't this bookshelf/table just the cutest thing?  And such a great idea on so many levels!  Recycling an old spool, spindles to hold the books upright, on wheels for easy moving and getting to your favorite books - you get the picture.  I'm not sure I'd go with white - I'm more of a natural or stained wood sort of girl.  And I'd use less obtrusive-looking wheels.  Of course, about the only place I have left for such a great thing is as a coffee table - and space is at a premium here at the Villa of Reduced Circumstances.  Still, I can dream...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My pet peeve...

or one of them, anyway, is good grammar.  Punctuation is good, too - but spelling and grammar are a reflection of a person's intelligence.  And attention to detail.  And well, just being a good person.  It appears that I am not the only one who feels this way...

I love it!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

If there is comfort food, is there also comfort TV?

Silly, right?  Now, you know I like murder and mayhem as much as the next person, but I am really tired of violence, bad language and gratuitous sex.  I think that's why I like to read - my imagination controls the decency rating of the images elicited by the words on the page.  Make sense?  No reality television for me, either.  I don't see the sense in rewarding people for behaving badly on camera.  Since I don't have cable, I watch what programs or movies I want to see online on on DVD.  I like the TNT shows like Memphis Beat, Rizzoli & Isles and Leverage - and I am disappointed that CBS cancelled CHAOS - I loved that silly show.  Anyhow, I've gone retro for the past week or so, watching the first season of Scarecrow and Mrs. King - very eighties - and I am sure that there are lots of kids out there who have never even heard of it!  I loved this show the first time around (fortunately I don't remember much of the story) and I still enjoy it: there's murder and mayhem but you don't have to see the blood and guts, there's mystery plots and intrigue galore, there's comic relief and there's even some sexual tension - but instead of wondering when they'll hop into bed, we're just wondering when Lee will finally kiss Amanda.  Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I am not ashamed to admit that I like wholesome television.  Maybe it's having been raised on Andy Griffith and Petticoat Junction.  Or maybe I'm just boring.  But I am still wondering when Lee will finally kiss Amanda.  On to season two...

Friday, August 12, 2011

All it needed was a couple of picture hooks...

I sometimes have a tendency to over-complicate things.  I bought this adorable chicken wire bulletin board on Etsy - isn't it cute?  I wasn't sure where I was going to put it, but I loved it and knew I would decide where to hang it once I had it in my hands.  It arrived and I carried it around the house looking for the perfect spot.  Well, I didn't find one and then it hit me - put magnets on the back and hang it on the refrigerator!  Off to WalMart I went for magnetic strips, but much to my chagrin, when I tried to attach the magnet strip, it wouldn't stick.  So I glued it on - problem solved.  Or so I thought.  When I hung the bulletin board on the fridge it looked great - for about a minute, when it slowly began to slide down to the floor.  Too heavy for the magnets!  I set the thing on the floor behind the recylce bin and decided to ponder another place for it.  Several days later, Ariela got some of those 3M stick-on hooks and came by to hang the bulletin board over my craft desk  Great solution - and it looked so cute until...  You guessed it - too heavy for the hooks.  I decided to embrace the crooked look until someone could reach to hang it more securely for me.  And to the rescue, once again, my friends Tom & Al who flipped it over so it would hang more evenly, found the right spot and nailed two big picture hooks to the wall.  As you can see, it's still straight and I can reach it to take it down to clip things to it and easily hang it back up.  Shoulda just hung it there in the first place!  Thanks, guys!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A little change now and then...

is a good thing.  Isn't that what Martha Stewart says?  Well, if she doesn't, I do!  I am crazy about these green apples - just like I am crazy about the real thing.  I love Granny Smith apples and they are absolutely perfect for my iron fruit basket - which is just the thing for the dining room table, along with my hurricane candle holder.  I think it looks really summery - and I can't believe I waited so long to make a little change.  We're good until Fall!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just dusting...

and remembering once again how much I like my little collection of vintage McCoy flower pots.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Another Target bargain...

I admit it.  I am a sucker for Target.  It's like going to a great big junk store that has lots of incredibly cute, reasonably priced junk.  Well, not junk - but you know what I mean.  Consequently, I don't go there often.  My most recent trip was actually Tom's fault.  After he changed the oil in my car on Saturday, I said I had to run to WalMart for some necessities.  He suggested that I go to the SuperTarget instead since I was in the area.  I didn't need much convincing - after all, Target's prices are about the same as WalMart and it's a much more pleasant shopping experience.  And then there are the sales...  I am drawn to the piles of things on sale - sometimes half off! - on the end caps of the aisles.  I am powerless over those little red tags; I just have to see how much I'd be saving.  On Saturday, I successfully passed them all by on my way to and from the bedding department.  I ignored the kitchen gadgets and dinnerware after my brief tour of the school supply area.  I was doing great - until...  I am inexplicably drawn to the indoor floral aisle and all those adorable Smith & Hawken garden accessories and fake faux house plants.  I browsed, I admired and then I came to the end of the aisle.  They had the cutest terra cotta strawberry pots on sale.  And the cutest smaller green glazed strawberry pots!  And then I spotted this adorable tray with three grow pots marked down to $13.98.  In my mind's eye I saw it perched on the plant shelf on my screened porch - perfection!  And so into the cart it went.  I motored on to the toilet bowl cleaner aisle and then to the check-out where much to my surprise and delight, my bargain rang up for a mere $9.98!  It came with soil disks and flower seeds, which I am going to try my hand at planting and cultivating once the weather gets a little cooler.
Along about November probably...

Monday, August 08, 2011

Not for the easily offended...

Isn't it funny how our brains work?  Last night I was thinking about my friend Kathy in Utah (and no, this donkey does not in any way remind me of Kathy) - we worked together many years ago.  I sent her an e-mail, read for a while and then I went to sleep.  Well, while I was sleeping I guess my brain continued to shuffle through the memories from that time in my life and I woke up this morning having remembered the most hilarious thing that happened back then.  If you're easily offended, stop reading now.  But if you like a good laugh, go to the bathroom if you have to and for heaven's sake, don't drink anything while you're reading.

My first job after college was at a doctor's office - a large ear, nose and throat group.  They also had a hearing and speech center where they conducted audiological testing.  That was my job - assisting the audiologist.  He wasn't a bad guy, I guess, but he'd worked with this gang of MDs for so long that he wanted to be a doctor, too.  So he got an EdD degree from some correspondence school and insisted upon being called Doctor BlahBlah in the most pompous and annoying way.  He also had a very pompous and annoying wife who fancied herself our office manager.  She was one of those people that just made you wish God would come along and thunk her on the head to put her back in her place.  Just a little wake-up call.  I know I've thought that about a lot of people and I'm sure a lot of people have thought that about me from time to time.  We all need the thunk from the Hand of Heaven now and again.  Well, this woman was on everyone's last nerve right about that time and seriously in need of a little thunk.

Suffice it to say, we had some interesting patients.  You know the kind: a lady who complained that she'd lost her hearing overnight (turned out to be a roach in her ear), kids with beans or macaroni in their noses or ears - you get the picture.  One interesting patient in particular was an older woman named Jeannette Wright.  She was a gnarled, wiry and perpetually frazzled sort of a woman with tightly-curled grey hair that went in every direction.  Some people are just odd, I guess and Jeannette was certainly that.  We never knew much of her story until the day she brought her son Steven along with her to an appointment.  Steven was about 40 and developmentally disabled.  Suddenly, Jeannette's frazzled, stressed-out behavior made a little more sense - here she was nearing retirement age and was unfortunately one of those people who had spent all of her life caring for someone with no end in sight.  Steven was a quiet sort, but when he did speak, he had an alarming tendency to make inappropriate comments.  To our receptionist, Trudy: "Does your husband like that you're so skinny?"  He once announced to me: "You have big boobs."  Inappropriate, yes - but a statement of fact.  We just let these comments go, understood Jeannette's strangeness a little better and tried our best to be nice to Steven and make him feel welcome.

On the day that Doctor BlahBlah's wife was so very desperately in need of her much-deserved comeuppance (as my Grandma would say), Jeannette arrived with Steven in tow.  I was asked to escort them into the testing room and the doctor said to his wife, "Come on in on this one, Blah, this should be interesting." I followed them back into the room and leaned against the closed door.  I didn't want to miss whatever interesting comment that Steven surely had in store for Blah.  The audiologist took Jeannette into the booth, adjusted the headphones and then proceeded to give her yet another hearing test.  It was a routine patient visit until Steven leaned toward Blah and said, "Psst."  She ignored him.  He leaned closer and said, "Psst!"  That got her attention.  "Yes?" Blah asked, innocently enough.  At that, Steven said, "You suck."  Blah's mouth fell open and she responded with an aghast, "What did you say?"  Steven repeated, very calmly, "You suck."  Blah began sputtering, obviously unsure of how to respond.  Even more calmly, Steven said, "You suck donkey dickies."  I was having a hard time controlling myself at that point, having actually witnessed the Cosmic Breeze finally blow some crap in Blah's direction, but Dr. Blah was completely oblivious to his wife's shock and dismay at Steven's pronouncement.  And finally, in a finish I will never forget, Steven leaned in again and said, "It's okay.  All my friends do."  I don't know what happened after that because I was out the door and dashing down the hall to my office where my shrieks of glee couldn't be heard by Dr. BlahBlah or his wife.  All I knew was, the Hand had delivered its Thunk.  Big time.

I owe Steven for that; we all had a good laugh (well, except for Doctor and Mrs. BlahBlah) and I learned that we are all instruments of God's work, whether we are aware of it or not.  Thank you, Steven, wherever you are!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

ME Sunday?

Since Vicki over at Cherry Chick has finished her ME Monday blog posts, I guess I'll just have to do my own little ME Sunday.  Not that I'll make a habit of it, but I did find yet another piece of Mary Engelbreit Bloom artwork to add to my ME bathroom.  The top framed print is actually her original Bloom Where You're Planted card design.  It was a thrift shop find and I couldn't believe my luck - professionally framed in perfect shape - and just perfect for my ME-themed bathroom.  I just had to make a couple of adjustments with the other two things on the wall and voila! - the "rule of three" rules again.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Thanks, guys!

As you may recall, inept mechanics murdered my Expedition a little over a year ago and I had to buy a new vehicle.  Ray, the Isuzu Rodeo, I adopted and I have become friends, but I have put off having his oil changed.  I don't drive him much and never on the highway so I figured his innards weren't in any imminent danger.  Tom & Al were talking about changing the oil in their new truck for the first time and I asked where they would recommend my taking Ray for service.  Tom graciously volunteered to do it for me - they even picked up the right oil and filter for me!  Well, this morning Ray & I took an early morning jaunt to their house where freshly made apple cinnamon scones awaited.  Tom not only changes oil in cars, he cooks!  Al, the dogs and cats and I had a nice visit while Tom labored over Ray out in the garage.  The old oil wasn't too bad and he found no evidence of impending problems with my little car.  Thank goodness!  I really appreciate both Tom & Al taking the time to help me out - and for not having to worry that Ray will die a slow, unexpected death in the next week.  Thank you, guys, for everything!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Like I need any more encouragement...

to while away my waking hours reading...  Isn't this sign just the cutest thing?  I got it on Etsy - where else?  The seller has a website called Oh Dier.  They make the neatest stuff - check it out!  Everything is made from reclaimed wood and they have such a great sense of style.  I appreciate that in a person - it makes someone seem more whole.  Or something like that.  I like to think that I am in touch with my own sense of style, if I have one, that is.  That spot on my living room wall was just begging to be filled and read turned out to be just the thing.  The very thing.  Yes, indeed.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Ow, ow, ow...

I overdid it somehow...  While I wasn't performing on the jungle gym - imagine that, will you - I somehow twisted my left side and I can hardly move today.  I did some work tidying up the bedroom closet yesterday and ran errands - hauled stuff in from the grocery store - but I can't pinpoint exactly what I did...  Hopefully this annoying discomfort and stiffness will wear off soon - I have stuff to do!  In the meantime, I've been sitting at my desk trying to do some meaningful work and ranting about bad grammar and spelling.  Not a bad day, but I didn't get my bedroom window valance made...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Three things...

First, we are happy to announce the Peter the Mediocre has been promoted to Peter the Very, Very Good.  He is still working on the title of Peter the Great and we will notify you when he achieves that goal.
Second, I gave in to the chocolate calling my name at the grocery store this morning.  I made brownies yesterday afternoon and somehow, for a cook that normally underbakes everything, I burned the damn things!  They were palatable when they were warm, but they are terrible cold.  The rest of the batch may become a brownie trifle - they are in the freezer waiting for culinary inspiration to strike.
And finally, have I mentioned how much I love Etsy?  I've discovered all sorts of vintage stuff that I never knew I'd ever be able to find anywhere.  This cookbook is just like the one my mom had - published in 1933 by General Electric.  It's called All About Home Baking - and full of great old-time recipes for things like Lady Baltimore Cake and Clever Judy Frosting.  Fun!  I also found this vintage cookie press (same Etsy seller - saved on shipping!) with a dozen different discs.  Tim had gotten me one at a yard sale several years ago and the press was lost in the move - all I could find were the discs in their wooden holder, which were of absolutely no use to me - so I donated them to Goodwill.  And lo and behold, the day I found this cookbook - I found the cookie press too!  I was extremely pleased with my under $20 find - and a good dose of nostalgia, too.  Have I mentioned how much I love Etsy?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I want...

a decadent chocolate cupcake.  I'd settle for a Hershey bar.  I want to take a nap.  I want to go to the movies and get a big tub of buttered popcorn.  I want it to snow.  I'd be happy with  a big cup of Sonic ice.  I want to live near a grocery store that delivers.  I don't care if I ever cook again.  I want Aggie to be a puppy again.  I am thankful that she's a sweet, healthy twelve-year-old little dog.  I want all this paperwork to miraculously do itself.  I'm glad that I have work to do.  I want these dumb asses to stop blowing dirt from the sidewalk under my door.  I really mean that.
Nothing else will make me happy.
Except for the chocolate cupcake.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Half a loaf and a migraine...

I woke up this morning with a migraine - I thought my head was going to explode.  Another round of ibuprofen and a nap didn't do much to relieve it.  Eating lunch helped a little - but not much.  I decided that I had to do something productive, so after puttering around in the kitchen for a little while, emptying the dishwasher and tidying up, I decided to try and make a one-pound loaf of bread in the machine.  The two-pound loaf is pretty, but it's still too big for just me and Aggie.  How hard could it be - half the ingredients and away we go!  Amazingly, two hours later, this pretty little loaf was ready to come out.  My associate and I sampled it and we were happy with the results.  Guess it's a one-pound loaf for me from now on!