About Me

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Bookkeeper, tax preparer, cat lady, blogger, organizer, mystery writer.


I've finally decided that I am a writer - all the other things I do just pay the bills. Someone eloquent once said that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Well, let's just see about that.

RIP Aggie

RIP Aggie
Aggie was my fifteen-year-old cairn terrier - or maybe I should say I was her 55-year-old person! She was my faithful companion, spoiled rotten and I am still trying to figure out what to do without her.

Peter the Cat...

Peter the Cat...
This is Peter the gingersnap tabby! He's seven years old and has just been promoted to Peter the Very, Very Good. He is working his way up to Peter the Great...

Bee - the Cat Who Came From Somewhere Else...

Bee - the Cat Who Came From Somewhere Else...
Bee is Peter's buddy. He's eight years old and has made himself right at home. I guess cats really do come in pairs or sets of three!

And Jasper makes three!

And Jasper makes three!
Jasper is our new guy - the Cat From Another Place. He's four years old and we think he likes it here - so far, so good!

Buzz about...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Where did June go?

That's the question I've been asking myself all day today - and what did I accomplish this month?  On the surface it doesn't look like I did much, but I am all caught up on the bookkeeping I let slide during tax season, the spring cleaning is done (yes, I know it's summer...) and I finished my photo scanning project.  So I have been working hard, just not working very hard at blogging or writing.
Which I plan to begin again in earnest - tomorrow.
I've also spent my evenings reading.  I discovered M.C. Beaton and her Agatha Raisin mystery series.  And her Hamish MacBeth mystery series.  Very Agatha Christie in style and substance.  I like them both very much - the only problem is that I am waiting on Agatha Raisin book number nine - I found a used copy for cheap - and the postal service keeps disappointing me!  I've read some Hamish MacBeth in the meantime; his adventures can be read out of order without too much disruption to the continuing story line.  I'd download the Kindle version, but it really irritates me off that the digital edition is often more expensive than the paperback.  I've been getting the paperback versions because then I can share with my book buddies.  I know that defeats the purpose of digital books and saving trees and all that, but what can I say?  I'm an avid reader, but I'm also a cheapskate!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A new good thing...

I thought I'd share: SanPelligrino sparkling blood orange soda.  It was on sale at Publix this week and I thought I'd try it.  It's excellent!  I also got a six-pack of the grapefruit flavor but I haven't tried that yet.  Fizzy, not too sweet - very refreshing!

Monday, June 18, 2012

I guess hoarding is more widespread...

than one would think.  Yes, I admit to hoarding a few cookbooks, but they are all stored neatly in the cupboard over my range hood.  My friend (who shall not be named) is a self-confessed hoarder who has vowed to get her life in order this year.  I've been promising some inspiration photos for my friend's own kitchen for some time now - and having completed my annual spring cupboard purge, I have decided to post them here for her on our little blog.
I am fortunate to have a fairly large pantry in the kitchen and I was merciless when I sorted it out - if I hadn't used it in a year, away it went.  Crockpot, toaster, you name it - gone to new homes.  I'm still sort of a hoarder when it comes to provisions - but I prefer to think of it as having a well-stocked pantry.
Baking pans, mixing bowls, mixer.  I try to make use of plastic bins to organize like items and keep the clutter to a minimum.  Lord, I'm sounding like Martha Stewart...
Silverware drawer just above the baking cupboard.  Yes, I got rid of the ugly white plastic trays and went with the pretty bamboo.  I think it just makes putting things away more fun.  Really.
As you can see, I hid the ugly-after-I-really-looked-at-it Keurig cup carousel.  It was a good idea in theory, but not so visually pleasing to have on the kitchen counter.  I also pared down my glassware to six glasses and four teacups.  No - five!  I moved one to the top shelf with my antique coffee pot.
I've discovered that the drawer under the oven makes a great spot to store canned goods, rice and soup mixes.  My panini grill is also tucked in there out of sight - along with my little frying pan.
Some of these cupboards are so small and oddly shaped that it's a challenge to make good use of them.  Two plastic bins fit nicely in this one: I use the top for foil, waxed paper and zip-loc bags; the bottom is for baking mixes and oil.  Also a great place to stash the peanut butter!
This small drawer has turned out to be perfect for spices and other cooking necessities.  The can opener, pizza cutter, and measuring cups have finally found a permanent home here as well.
Under the sink is pretty ugly, but the storage bins help corral bags, water filters and cleaning supplies.  Unfortunately, it's the only space where the pizza stone and a couple of platters will fit.
Finally, I've pared down a multitude of dishes to one set of Mary Engelbreit stoneware and one tea cup and saucer of each ME design.  The top shelf is a great space for my colorful colander and a couple of rarely-used snack baskets.  I like opening a cabinet and seeing color and organization!  I hope my little kitchen tour encourages you to purge, organize and beautify an everyday space!

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's a good year for plums...

apparently, and my friend Erin in Arkansas made a big batch of plum jelly!  She was kind enough to send me a jar - along with some blueberry muffin mix.  Guess what we'll be having for breakfast on Sunday...  Thanks so much, Erin!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Cabot Cove of England...

is the fictional county of Midsomer and its various little villages: Badger's Drift, Martyr Warren, Haddington, and many others -as well as the larger county town, Causton, where DCI Tom Barnaby lives with his wife, Joyce, and daughter, Cully.  As with most shows of the cozy genre, it is ever amazing how many seemingly normal people are willing to commit murder for one odd reason or another.  We watched murder and mayhem for years on Murder, She Wrote and just imagine, it's been going on all along in England, too.  I tell you, I could watch the BBC every day and be perfectly happy.  Having watched every season of MI-5, I've moved on from terrorism to more mundane crimes on Midsomer Murders.  It's available for free on AmazonPrime and I've watched five or six episodes - and so far, it has not disappointed.  It's not so much mysterious, thrilling suspense as it is the mildly humorous business of the classic whodunit.  DCI Barnaby is a good judge of people and does most of his work through observation rather than direct questioning of the suspects.  His assistant, Detective Sergeant Troy, is good sidekick material and provides a good deal of comic relief with his lack of driving skills and brilliant perception of the obvious.  The coroner, George, is almost too good-natured for a man who spends the vast majority of his time with dead bodies.  Mrs. Barnaby cannot cook, much to her husband's chagrin, but is passionately interested in the arts and the theatre.  Their daughter, an actress, appears to be more like her father.  And then there's the oddball cast of what seems like thousands: the victims, suspects and various other individuals who inhabit the fictional jurisdiction of the thoroughly likeable fictional detective.  Midsomer Murders is not only entertaining and funny,  it's lots of fun, too.  Check out the pilot episode, and if you're even remotely a fan of Agatha Christie, you'll be hooked.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Time to read is a gift...

that I am really grateful for this quiet time of year.  While I still haven't completely caught up from tax season, I'm working on it and I've taken advantage of a few phone-free hours to indulge my inner bibliophile.  I read the latest in the Isabel Dalhousie series from the wonderful Alexander McCall Smith and while it's not a murder mystery, it's still a mystery.  It's a gentle sort of story - that's the only way I can describe The Forgotten Affairs of Youth.  A couple of ongoing plot issues are resolved, a couple of new ones are introduced and Isabel helps a young woman find her biological father.  Or so she thinks.  As always, I recommend anything by this wonderful author and this book is no exception.
Eleven-year-old sleuth, Flavia deLuce is back in I Am Half-sick of Shadows, the fourth mystery in Alan Bradley's series set in 1950s England.  Christmas is coming and Colonel deLuce has rented out Buckshaw, their crumbling country estate, to a film company in the hope of boosting the ever-dwindling family fortune.  Of course, there is a murder and Flavia is determined to expose the killer - and maybe catch Santa Claus while she's at it.  A fun read, but still not nearly as good as Flavia's debut in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
And finally, rounding out today's reviews: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - a delightful first novel by Helen Simonson.  The retired (and widowed) major lives somewhere south of London in the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary.  Sounds vaguely Christie-esque, doesn't it?  Mrs. Ali is the widow of the Pakistani shopkeeper in the village.  The two strike up an unlikely friendship; will it turn to romance?  You'll have to read it and see - it's a lovely little book and I am looking forward to Simonson's next novel.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Something has been bugging me...

lately and well, it's time to vent.  And please bear in mind that I mean this in the nicest possible way...  I'm tired of reading plagiarized blogs.  There, I said it.  I know that the prevailing public opinion is that bloggers are a bunch of self-promoting narcissists.  There may be a grain or two of truth in that statement, but if you're going to be a self-promoting narcissist, at least be an original one.  I follow a few blogs religiously, and do you know why I enjoy them?  These bloggers write about their lives - their uncensored, original lives - and their writing is uniquely original.  I'll admit, the English major in me finds a couple of them not terribly well written and one is actually intensely boring, but I appreciate the content because it is entirely original thought.  But others, well - if you have nothing to say, don't copy an article from some fluff women's magazine and paste it into your blog.  This type of blogging happens quite frequently - haven't people ever heard of attribution?  A copied post is blatantly obvious; originality is, at the very least, the art of concealing one's sources.  I saw this print on Etsy and loved the Melville quote:  It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.  
I'm getting off my blogging soapbox now.