Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Second Day of School...

Sorry for the non-follow up yesterday -- my day was a little nuts. I ended up having to do some running around for stuff that DD needed: a combination lock, a copy of her birth certificate (Oy... I don't know what I did with her original -- I've torn the place apart), and more. I haven't had time to blog hop, I've barely had time to do the work that MUST be done, and even that has suffered some.

Yes, I took a picture of her ... no, I won't post it here -- sorry. She wore khaki Docker-like pants and a plaid collared blouse with sneakers. Nothing fancy, because today she HAS to wear a dress.

She is stressed out, scared because she doesn't understand how everything works, etc., but she'll survive. She's off on Friday (and Monday, of course), so it'll make easing into a routine a bit less painful.

Breeann is not doing well at all -- I am tentatively planning to make our final visit to the vet on Friday. I probably should be taking her in today or tomorrow, but I know that DD will want to go for a final goodbye. It's heartbreaking for us, but we're holding on to the fact that she's almost eighteen years old and lived a long, very healthy life until recently.


Your Word is Persistence

You are resourceful and capable. You have an ingenious way of getting things done.

You are prepared for whatever comes your way in life. You are highly skilled and highly adaptable.

Like everyone, you sometimes feel like giving up. You always remember that persisting pays off.

You finish most things you start. In general, you are very task oriented.

Yep :-)


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Day of School!

And the real post will have to wait. I have to get my daughter UP! As I crawled out of bed this morning, I thought about how *I* have to be on a schedule now, too.

Will post for real whenever I get back from dropping her off.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene Who?

There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat. ~Tay Hohoff

We were so very lucky at my place yesterday -- while we got VERY high winds, they weren't that bad. We got buckets of rain, but not for lengthy periods of time. Our lights flickered a few times, and my internet bounced up and down like crazy, but we never lost power altogether. I was a bit amazed at this because my SIL who lives very close, just a few streets over, lost power early in the morning and still wasn't on last night when we checked. Of course, she has above ground powerlines in her neighborhood, so her outage was probably local to her. We have underground utilities (which I think should be mandatory -- would save a TON of money and time with all the trees we have here).

In any case, though there were nearly 200,000 people in NH without power, we weren't one of them. I feel truly blessed.

In other news, Breeann (my cat) is very sick again. She started vomiting yesterday morning, and continued every few hours throughout the day. The vet warned me that her health would be cyclical -- good days, then a series like we had: vomiting, off her food, lethargic and then back again, until the bad days outnumbered the good.

DD and I talked at length last night about how long we'd let Breeann feel lousy before we finally agreed it wasn't fair to her to try to keep her with us. It's a hard, hard conversation to have. Breeann is HER baby. She loves that cat more than she's loved any pet, and she's distraught.

We agreed we'd try one more cycle to see how she does. So today, she'll get fluids. No food, to let her tummy settle. Tomorrow, we'll do fluids and force-feeding again and see if she'll perk up after a bit. It took a week last time, so we'll give it a week this time. But if she doesn't recover, then we'll have to face facts.

And it breaks my heart.

Pet ownership is full of so much joy, but also so much heartache. I suppose that's true of love in general, no matter what kind.


Technically today is DD's first day of school, though it's actually an orientation this afternoon. She'll meet her home room teacher (who she already knows), the kids in her class, get to set up her locker and tour the rooms so she knows where to go.

Then tomorrow it starts for real.

We're both nervous. And excited. But right now? Mostly nervous.


Beginnings Inspire You

You are independent and original. You are highly inventive and creative.

You love undertaking new and interesting projects. You have lots of ideas.

You have a delightful and colorful inner world. People would be stunned if they could see inside your head.

You aren't afraid of failure. Tomorrow is always another beginning.



Friday, August 26, 2011

A Little Weird-ness

Nothing much going on here ... just prep for the hurricane which is tracking pretty much right over my house. I'm hoping it's all an awful lie.

Otherwise, my friend, Michele and I were discussing Weird Al today (don't ask). A million years ago, I actually met the man. My friend, Cathy, had won backstage passes to the pool party for the Monkees "Pool It" tour, and Weird Al was their opening act.

I was a huge Monkees fan from way back and couldn't WAIT to meet them (Mike Nesmith wasn't there, of course, but the other three were). I was so disappointed.

Davy Jones was a snob. Mickey wasn't much better. Peter Tork was sweet but distracted. But then... there was Weird Al. What an AWESOME guy. He took time to talk to everyone like he was just people, yanno? Nice, well-spoken, interesting. The guy's a genius (seriously... he has a ridiculously high IQ) but so nice.

In his honor, I give you the video for the song that started it all this morning, "Like A Surgeon".


Have a wonderful weekend! Hopefully I'll be back on Monday declaring that Irene fizzled and went out to sea. Monday is DD's first day at school, and we'd really like it to go smoothly...


You Are Driven

You prefer to be around others, both when working and while relaxing. You are very socially oriented.

You are disciplined. You don't let yourself lose focus and get distracted.

You couldn't be someone else even if you tried! You're simply you - and thank goodness for that.

You are a born idealist, with more pet causes than you can count. You are determined to change the world.

About 50/50...


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Go East, Irene

"By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail." — Benjamin Fanklin

Looks like Hurricane Irene is tracking just right to hit us head on... granted it will only be a "1" hurricane, but even so, they're predicting high winds and 6 - 12" of rain. That's a LOT of water.

We'll be fine. We have no trees close enough to the house to hit us, save one. We have a generator. Plenty of food and water. But I'd really prefer NOT to lose power.


Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Tornadoes.

God is really displeased with the northeast right now.


Yesterday, when we returned from the movies (LOVE Regal Family Film Festival) to find what looked like an exploded dog in the room with Dakota. There were piles of fur everywhere!!

I took her outside to spray more hot spot stuff on her, lifted her head and her throat was totally naked and bright red. So ... off to the vet we went.

She has bare spots on her head, her throat, her back legs ... rash is pretty much 100%. She has an ear infection from the scratching, too. So, she got a steroid shot and ear ointment.

She's feeling better today. Not well, but better. A little.

Now we just need a good, hard frost.


You Are Quiet

You focus on fantasy more than reality. You have your head in the clouds.

You're incredibly introverted and introspective. You live inside your head, and it's a pretty comfortable place to be.

You may seem quiet and withdrawn, but you're paying attention to every single thing around you.

You are secretly sensitive, but you often put up a front. Shy and private, you yearn for security.

Um ... maybe 50/50...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just Two More

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. ~Vita Sackville-West

Two more scenes.

That's all I need to finish for the sequel to "Kitchen Matches" to be complete. More, I've already sent it through a couple of CPs for crits on what was there and polished it up.

Two more.

Why is that so hard?



My dog is going to peel her skin off. This morning, she couldn't even walk to the door, her back legs were twitching with each step in the need to scratch. We gave her a bath with medicated shampoo and two kinds of soothing leave on spray and it helped for a while. Last night, though, she woke me up several times scratching. And she has a big, red welt on her shoulder.

I've never wanted it to freeze early before, but I'm kinda pulling for one good hard freeze. Then in can warm up again.


No, I didn't feel the earthquake yesterday -- we were driving, and I expect that hid it from us. My SIL felt it pretty significantly, as did others around here. Poor folks down in that area! Hurricane Irene is supposed to come through, too. God's not pleased with that area right now.

Of course, Irene is supposed to hit US, too. So if I'm offline, it's cuz I lost power folks. We're pretty far inland, though, so hopefully it'll just be heavy rain and a little wind.



You Are a Pretzel

You are reliable and dependable. You can be counted on, through thick and thin.

You enjoy relaxation and quiet. You don't have a need to make things exciting.

You are comforting and stable. You know what you do best, and you stick to it.

You prefer a steady life, but you have been known to add some spice when things get routine.

That's about right!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yadda Yadda

You've got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you're not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice. ~Steven D. Woodhull

Not much to say today. Yesterday was busy but uneventful, and hopefully today will be the same. The dog is miserable with allergies: runny eyes, rash, and SUCH bad itchiness. I bought a pile of new medicated shampoos, tea tree oil and oatmeal spray, etc., that we'll try. I despise steroids with an all-consuming passion (which is what the vet suggested), so we're just going to have to stick it out until it freezes (which considering it got down into the 40s last night, might be sooner than later).

My garden is pretty well done -- the chipmunks are eating the few tomatoes I have before they even get more than a blush of pink on them, the cucumbers are doing their "fat butt" game where they are bitter and full of seeds, and the squash borers did a number on my summer squash. My eggplant never grew one blossom. The butternut squash is still going gangbusters, but the rest? Finis.

Six days until school starts, and I'm ready to go back to homeschooling.

I've decided that the stores have figured out that people are coming in to buy their loss leaders only and have quit offering the really amazing deals. I haven't done much couponing the last couple of weeks because the bargains just aren't there.

So are the days of my life.



You Are as Laid Back as They Come

You are a risk taker. You love to roll the dice on everything.

You are surprisingly easygoing. You like to keep everything as low-pressure as possible.

You like to be in the middle of the action, although you don't purposely seek attention.

You are an easygoing person who feels very comfortable about others.

Mostly right.


Monday, August 22, 2011


If there were to be a universal sound depicting peace, I would surely vote for the purr. ~Barbara L. Diamond

First off, I have to update everyone on the cat -- she's doing MUCH better! Thanks to everyone for your healing thoughts, prayers and just plain good vibes. It was a long haul, and I'm sure we aren't through.

On Friday, I called the vet -- she still wasn't eating, and I was out of IV fluids. We talked for quite awhile, during which time he told me that I should pretty much resign myself to the fact that she was dying. He was especially concerned that she wasn't eating on her own. He strongly suggested hospitalization -- but the price was far more than I could afford, and I opted to continue with IV fluids and force feeding which is basically what they'd have been doing in the hospital. He did give me new antibiotics because the other ones made her gag and froth.

Then came the miracle.... just as we were deciding we might only have the weekend with her, Saturday morning she came upstairs and ASKED FOR FOOD. I put a couple tablespoons of canned food on a plate for her and she ate every last bite. Later, I noticed she'd eaten some of her dry food as well AND, after checking the litter box, found that all systems were "go".

By Saturday night she was starting to fight me giving her fluids -- she HATES being held in one place. Hates being held, period. And that gave me warm fuzzies as well because she was starting to act like herself again.

This morning, she's still eating (she ate three tablespoons of canned food this morning!), she's far less wobbly, and is back to being vocal, pushy and occasionally cranky.

I'm thrilled.

I'm not fooling myself -- she'll be 18 y.o. in January. I know her life is winding down. But we get to keep her a little longer... and that's a good thing.

So, thanks again to everyone. I can't tell you how much I appreciated you.


In other news, school starts a week from today. I still don't have everything I need, but we're getting there. She'll have orientation on Monday afternoon, then Tuesday it all starts in earnest.

We did discover that there's a little boy coming in new this year with severe peanut allergies and they have "no nut/seed" areas designated, but for me it'll just be easier to not send DD to school with a PBJ or granola bars with nuts in them. Kind of makes things a little tougher, but I certainly wouldn't want to be the one who makes the poor kidlet sick.

We had a family gathering with in-laws and extended in-laws up at my DH's uncle's lake house yesterday (uncle will herewith be called "UB"). All kinds of people were there, including friends of UB. One of them, a lady named Cathy, came up and introduced herself and then said, "Oh, are you the writer?"

I'm pretty sure I stood there, mouth hanging open like a hungry guppy, before finally managing a "Um, yes."

She said, "I have your book! I can't wait to read it. UB read it and said it was wonderful."

You see -- here's the thing. I don't discuss my writing life with the in-laws. They are very, very, very, VERY conservative and while my writing isn't exactly erotica, it's still not something of which they would approve. UB is a little different -- the black sheep of the family, I suppose, so I have talked to him a bit and to his wife. But I was still taken aback.

Later, I put on my other hat (promotions company owner) and spent a great deal of time talking about promotion with UB's wife, who owns her own business. She's hired a promotions company to "brand" her and to get her set up on all the social networking sites, etc. We talked about marketing herself and so much more.

I really enjoyed them. I could talk for hours with UB, his wife and Cathy. They're well-traveled, very intelligent and interesting people.

How was your weekend?


You Are Blueberry Yogurt

You are fast-paced and energetic. It seems like you have a limitless supply of enthusiasm.

You are very mentally and physically healthy. You take care of yourself, and it shows.

You are a very open person. You are both open to the world and open about who you are.

You are energetic and even adventurous in the face of adversity. You have a lot of inner strength.

Mostly right...


Friday, August 19, 2011

Updates and School

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. ~Attributed to both Andy McIntyre and Derek Bok

First off, a quick update on Breeann... I tried her on baby food yesterday and she threw it up, so I'm back on the egg, chicken, cat food mixture I did on my own, which she seems to tolerate. I gave her 2 cc's this morning. If she doesn't throw it up in a couple of hours, I'll give her some more.

She's acting fairly perky, though, despite not eating. It's heartening, but I'm well aware that I have to get food into her. I've stopped giving her the antibiotics -- they make her gag and froth at the mouth -- and am focusing on basic needs for now: food and water.

She has NO issue with the fluid IV at all. She doesn't fuss, or try to move or even give me the evil eye. So that's something.

Even so, I'll be very honest: if things keep up this way, she's not going to make it much longer. And while I realize she's an old lady, and I've been blessed having her as long as I have, it's never easy to face the loss of a furbaby.

::::deep breath::::

Moving on ...

The school where DD is going has coed soccer, girl's basketball and track and field. I told her I wanted her to compete in something. Soccer is first, and I just got the equipment list of things I need to get if she participates:

Soccer Gear Requirements

Required Equipment:

■Cleats (at least 1 pair, but 2 would be better)
■Mouth Guards (2) - required to play. Must not be cut down.
■Cup & supporter for boys
■Shin Guards - must have labelling indicating NOCSAE approval and size

■Soccer shorts (3)
■Soccer socks (3)
■Practice t-shirts (3)
■Soccer Ball (put your name on it) - required to practice on your own
■Running or cross training shoes

Recommended Equipment:

■Rain gear
■Sweat pants
■Sweatshirt (hooded)
■Soccer warm-up (pants/jacket) - optional

Seriously? How on earth do parents not go broke sending their kids to school?


Wishing you all a good weekend.


You Are Thunder

You are slow paced and steady. You don't rush to be the first to get anything done.

You have your own method of doing things, and it has worked pretty well for you. You are a systemizer.

You are hard working. You are industrious with an amazing work ethic.

You don't often make a big bang, but when you do, everyone pays attention.

Mostly right.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Anniversary and Updates

In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage. ~Robert Anderson, Solitaire & Double Solitaire

In the good news column: DH was able to get out of work a little early yesterday so was home by seven -- we actually got to spend our anniversary together :-)

Fifteen years has flown by. I *know* it's been that long -- I have a twelve y.o. daughter to prove it, it just doesn't feel like we've been together nearly two decades. It's amazing how fast time flies by.

In more good(ish) news: I was able to force feed Breeann a little yesterday. I have a friend IRL who had similar problems with her kitty and suggested using a liquid syringe with baby food. About the time I was going to go buy baby food, Dakota decided HER tummy was upset, so kept eating grass to vomit. I didn't want to leave her in the house (or the car) while I shopped -- I didn't want to come back to a yucky surprise -- so I thoroughly pureed up some chicken with broth and added some of her soft food (it smells like fish). She didn't love me doing it, but she did take about 5 cc's of food. I really need to get more like 40 - 50 cc's into her daily, but I wanted to make sure she'd keep it down. She's acting a little more perky today -- was actually waiting at the basement door this morning and wanted to come upstairs (though I carried her up). She ignore the food I offered and curled up on the dog bed to sleep, but I'll take any positive I can find.

So today, I'll be feeding her four or five times a day with the syringe, jabbing her twice a day with a needle for fluids. Interestingly, she isn't bothered by that at all. Last night, I did it on my own without help and she just laid there and purred through the whole thing. the only thing she really, really hates are the antibiotics. They make her gag and almost vomit, and then she drools for about fifteen minutes after.

Truthfully, I realize this is probably the beginning of the end for her, but we're just not quite ready to give up on her yet. Hey, I have more time with her than I do with my husband!

Thanks to everyone for your support and kind words and ideas. They mean a lot to me.


The Left Side of Your Brain is Dominant

You are a verbally and mathematically adept person. You notice details, and you are very precise.

You are analytical and linear. You are able to not get overwhelmed and do things one step at a time.

You follow through on the plans you make. You like to have everything neat and finished before moving on.

You are a perfectionist in almost every aspect of your life. Errors and mistakes drive you crazy.

That's mostly right, except maybe the math part -- though I did like math up through algebra. Then geometry appeared and I fell to pieces...


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Breeann and a 15th Anniversary

Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~George Eliot

So ... the vet called yesterday and updated me on Breann's blood work. Looks like her kidneys are starting to fail. I looked it up, and it appears that kidney failure is the biggest killer of cats outside of feline leukemia and accidental death, and it's especially prominent in older cats.

I was given three choices: euthanasia (we said no), hospitalization to get fluids (massively expensive, so we said no) and giving her IV fluids at home (still not cheap, but we might still be able to eat and pay the electricity, so we said yes).

So, yesterday I went to the vet's office and got a crash course on sticking a needle under the cat's skin. :::shudders::: I hate doing it, but you do what you have to, right? Twice a day for probably the rest of her life (which I expect to be measured in months, sadly) I'll be giving her subcutaneous fluids.

My biggest concern now is that she won't eat. We've tried her soft food, cooked chicken and ham so far. She sniffs, then curls up and goes to sleep. A little later today, I'm going to try tuna. I hope that once she starts eating again, she'll eat her regular food. I hope it's just a matter of getting her appetite stimulated.

DD fell to pieces last night. She hasn't had a great last few days anyway, and she's an incredibly sensitive and emotional thing on the best of days, but last night she sobbed and sobbed. And sobbed. And then, when I thought she'd gotten it under control, she sobbed some more.

Kinda puts a damper on my fifteenth wedding anniversary. But then, we aren't celebrating today anyway -- DH has to work from early this morning until the wee hours tonight. Pretty much it'll be, "Happy anniversary, here's your coffee, have a good day."

I never realized how YOUNG DH looked when we got married. He's almost five years younger than me and he looked like a baby.

Neither of us look like babies anymore ... but we're hanging in there!

Have a good day.


You Are Somewhat Self-Reliant

You rely on yourself most of the time, but you're happy to rely on others and have them rely on you in turn.

You are a very social creature. You like having a large network of friends and acquaintances.

You take pride in being able to be counted on. You consider yourself to be a reliable and responsible person.

You believe that no person is an island. You try not to need other people, but you are glad when they are there for you.

Um ... 50/50, I guess...


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Still Worried

Breeann still isn't feeling well. The doc checked her out and suspects Pancreatitis, but isn't sure. He took blood, gave her IV fluids and I took her home.

She crawled into a chair and didn't move all day. At about 8:00 she jumped down, went into the basement, curled up on the sofa and is still there in the same spot as I type this.

To say I'm worried would be an understatement. The results of the blood test will be back today, but I'm wondering if she shouldn't go back in for more IV fluids. She shows no interest in ... anything. She hasn't had anything to eat or drink in almost 48 hours (the IV fluids will keep her from being dehydrated).

Poor, old kitty. I'm not ready to lose her yet, so I hope she perks up soon.

The dog is having issues, too -- less serious, but annoying to both of us. Just like last August, Dakota has "the itchies". We're assuming they're allergy related again to something that's in bloom this time of year. She has a rash on her skin around her shoulder blades and her entire body itches. We can barely pet her because it makes her start scratching, and I swear she's trying to peel the skin right off herself.

I put her back on the same antihistamines she was on last summer and I hope they work. Poor critter is just miserable.

DD is being affected by allergies, too, so there is definitely something in the air. Last night was the first night she was able to sleep without taking Benedryl. We'd thoroughly cleaned her room over the weekend (and I mean THOROUGHLY -- moved all her furniture, vacuumed, dusted, wiped everything down then washed all her bedding, including pillows and comforter) which I think helped.

I'm so grateful I don't have allergies.

It's been raining and will be raining for most of the next ten days. They expect a short break maybe tomorrow, then rain through the weekend. Maria, I wish I could push some your way.

We're still in prep mode for school, so between that, the cat and the dog, I've been barely able to focus on much else, including my 15 year anniversary which is tomorrow.


You Are a Leader

You are impulsive when the occasion calls for it. You make decisions on the fly.

You are a visionary. You see the big picture instead of all of the trivial little details.

You are a very inspiring person. You show others that dreams can come true.

You are a provider. You like the satisfaction that comes with a hard earned paycheck.

Mostly right.


Monday, August 15, 2011


Everything I know I learned from my cat: When you're hungry, eat. When you're tired, nap in a sunbeam. When you go to the vet's, pee on your owner. - Gary Smith

Worried about my kitty...

She spent all day yesterday vomiting. I pulled her food after the first two times, but she didn't stop. This morning she's lethargic and wobbly -- probably dehydrated and exhausted. She threw up again at some point last night and shows no interest in food (and she's usually a pig), though she did drink a little.

The vet opens at 8:00 ... I'll be calling immediately. My girl is seventeen years old, so we worry. DD is sure she's going to die and is distraught.

All thoughts and prayers are welcome.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Writing, a Doe and Bugs

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt

Yeah, I suck at titles... lol...

I got my weekly writing tips newsletter from Holly Lisle. This week she answers the question, "Why write fiction" with this (in part):

Reality was a caveman freezing.

Fiction was that same caveman wondering, "What if a god were to give us the magic of fire?"

And then telling his imagined story to someone who saw past the gods and figured out a way that a man might capture fire, and touch the realm of gods in the doing.

Fiction---good fiction, anyway---is dream made flesh, given purpose and drive, and set on a quest to show us the best in us and to give us the power and the tools to dream beyond reality's 'merely good enough' to a vision of what is truly great...

...and then to give us the stories of men and women of character who in turn inspire those of us who dare to reach for the truly great within ourselves.

Inspiring... thanks, Ms. Lisle. I do like her newsletter -- it's never very long, comes weekly, and usually makes me feel motivated and happy.

Yesterday we had a huge doe (a deer, a female deer) in our backyard. My DH hasn't cleared back there this year (the way things grow here, it'll be a forest by next spring) so there was plenty to eat. She just walked along munching on all the saplings, maple and oak appeared to be her favorite. She saw and heard us, but didn't appear to be overly spooked. It's pretty amazing how large they are -- especially their ears, which are a bit like satellite dishes.

Since my garden is pretty well caput anyway, I didn't mind having her there.

Speaking of my garden, my summer squash is infested with squash borers. The bases of all three plants is rotted and covered with frass. I sprayed the pogees out of them with some natural pesticides I have (used about half a bottle to make sure it soaked in really well and got those buggers) and then covered the base with dirt. The plants may not make it, but I don't want any babies surviving. :::grumble:::

I may mark summer squash off my gardening list next year, too. At this rate, all I'm going to plant is beans and cucumbers...

Not a lot planned for this weekend. Hopefully it'll be peaceful and stress-free. Wishing you all the same!


You Are an Amaretto Chocolate Cherry Cupcake

You have a deep desire to leave your mark on the world. You want to change things for the better.

You are an object of fascination for many. You shine brightly and boldly.

You are youthful in spirit and appearance. You refuse to grow up!

To be honest, danger excites you a little. You believe that anything that is worth doing has some risk.

Maybe 25% right ...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Blogging

I'm blogging at All Day, All Night Writing Divas today. Come by and visit -- I'd love the company.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The way of the pioneer is always rough. - Harvey S. Firestone

So, I found this awesome vine of blackberries on my street ... not enough to can, but enough for a decent snack. I snagged a few on a walk recently, but when I went back a few hours later? It was covered in yellow jackets.

I swear, those bees are the bane of my existence.

DD pickled an egg a few days ago, because I had leftover brine from pickling and she wondered what it tasted like. She declared it "good". I wish I had enough home grown beans to pickle, because those are yum... I may end up buying some at the farmer's market instead. We'll see.

I think, though, that my canning days are largely over. I plan on making applesauce next month, but otherwise this summer's harvest was a bit of a bust. I'll have butternut squash, but that stores (whole) in my basement. We've had some beans and peas, but barely enough to eat, let alone can.

I think I'm going to have to reimagine my garden next year. I have never had a real bumper tomato crop, so I may cut down on the number of those plants next year to make room for the things that DO produce. I'll plant more beans (lots more), more squash, more peas. I think I'm going to plant potatoes in a couple of large containers instead of in the garden. We have a wireworm problem that precludes my planting root crops, but a container with new dirt might at least cut back on that.

I have a deep admiration for the pioneers. Every year when I have a crop fail I think of them. I can go to the store when that happens. They died.

Today, we tackle clothes shopping for back to school. We went through what she had that she could wear to school already and made notes. The painful part is going to be shoes... sometimes I wish we were still just homeschooling. It may be harder in some ways, but I didn't have a dress code, lol...

Have an awesome Wednesday.


You Are Allspice

You are not as complex as you seem to others. You really just like to keep things simple.

People think you're something you're not. And you're getting a little sick of being misunderstood!

You enjoy the company of others, and you appreciate people from all walks of life. You love to learn about different points of view.

You seem familiar to strangers. People probably tell you that you remind them of someone else.

Um ... okay .... hmmm

On a side note, I always assumed allspice was a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. -- and when you buy cheap spices, sometimes it is. BUT, did you know that allspice is a spice all by itself? Real allspice is not a mixture of different spices but the ground berry of a tree.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

What do they think I am? Dumb or something? Why, I make more money than - than - than Calvin Coolidge! Put together! - Lina Lamont in "Singing in the Rain"

Quiet day yesterday. It was nice... didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but even so it was relatively without drama. So it's all good :-)

Brandy asked if anyone nearby had an abundant tomato crop to share. My SIL is getting a few, and she brought me four on Sunday. They were yummy... but I'm still sad I can't make sauce. Between the deer coming and chomping them down to only a few inches in June, and the lack of water and high heat, etc., my poor plants are pathetic. DH is going to rig some kind of ongoing watering system for me next year, because going out once a day to water just wasn't enough.

Brandy also mentioned that her summer squash plants were thriving and then just up and died... this happened to me once a few years ago, and it was conveniently when my friend, Michele, to visit. SHE told me it was squash vine borers -- something I'd never heard of. She was right.

Brandy, if your squash plants wilted for a few days before they just died, if, when you pulled up the plants it looked like their stumps had rotted or were spiderwebbed and not solid, you probably had squash borers.

Since then, we look for the moths and kill them on sight. Here's what the moth looks like:

And if we see "frass" (it looks like wet sawdust) at the base of our squash vines, we'll use a knife to dig a hole into it and spray Neem or Pyrethrin spray until it's soaked then wrap it in old pantyhose or bury it in dirt... that may be why the old-time gardeners would mound dirt around the base of their squash plants as they grow -- it helps defend against the buggers.

I watched "Singing in the Rain" with DD yesterday -- I'd promised her a movie -- and I'll leave you with her favorite song because it always make me smile. I tried embedding it, but everyone decent has embedding disabled -- that really annoys me. *sigh*

Anyway ... Have a great day :-)


You Are Wise

You are a prudent and rational person. You try not to do anything you regret, and if you do, you learn form your mistake.

You are educated or at the very least knowledgeable. You have a perception that most people lack.

You've learned to be vigilant in your life. You are pretty much always on guard.

No matter how old you actually are, you are quite seasoned. You are experienced and worldly.

Mostly right.


Monday, August 08, 2011

Unwanted Neighbors

It's wonderful to me that bees have this simple, age-old thing going on. -- Peter Fonda

Remember when I mentioned Dakota had been stung by a yellow jacket? I knew something was up, because every time anyone walked on the two steps leading off my back deck, a few yellow jackets would buzz around. Yesterday, I asked my DH to see if he could find the nest.

He found it... and it was amazing.

Directly underneath the top step, those buggers made their home! How could we not have noticed earlier? Why did we only see real evidence of them a couple weeks ago? Incredible. It was truly beautiful and a work of art. Is it just mind-boggling that hundreds and bees could create something this complex? I wish there had been a way to eradicate the bees and keep the hive to look at, but alas there was not.

DH spent a couple hours getting rid of it. First he emptied a can of wasp killer all over it. He had to crawl under the deck to do it -- it's higher on that side, but he still had to squat and it didn't allow for being able to shoot and then RUN, so I was terrified he'd get stung. He didn't, though he did whack his head on the deck once.

After a few applications of poison, he pulled out the hose and soaked it. Next, he dug out a 8' long 1 x 1 stick we use as a poker for our burn piles, stuck it in and yanked it out then whacked it like he was played croquet.

Here's what it looked like at that point:

We had larvae all over the lawn and some really angry bees, so DH turned on the sprinklers... but first he ran the mower over the nest a couple times, just to make sure it was demolished.

I've been told that they tend to return to the same spots, so I'll have to keep an eye out there next year, because I really REALLY don't want something like that to happen again. We are so lucky none of the rest of us were stung and that Dakota only had ONE.

In other outdoorsy, nature-type news, I'm pretty sure my tomato crop is history. I went out yesterday to pick the two tomatoes I finally had ripe and discovered that chipmunks had helped themselves to those two lovely, red fruits -- eating half of each one (why they couldn't have eaten ALL of one and left one for me I'll never understand). I have about a dozen green roma tomatoes, but that is all. My dreams of canning several quarts of sauce have disappeared. And I had planted thirty plants! *sigh*

My squash and cucumbers, on the other hand, appear to be coming along famously. We picked another dozen cucumbers yesterday, and two nice summer squash. I have at least half a dozen butternut on the winter squash plants, and depending on when we get our first frost, I may have more.

But I really, REALLY wanted tomatoes...

How was your weekend?


You Are Mashed Potatoes

You like the simple things in life. You think complexity is a lot of fuss and often overrated.

You take the slow and steady approach whenever possible. You never like to be in too much of a rush.

You are conventional and orthodox. You are the most normal person you know.

You like and prefer solitude. You are your own best friend.

That's surprisingly close to right!


Friday, August 05, 2011


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Craziness abounds!

I spent yesterday working on book video creation. I've been inundated with requests to make them, which has been a "good news / bad news" thing. I skipped agility both nights to try to blast through the backlog and got several done. I still have seven more, but I'm getting there.

We're planning a massive overhaul of the LASR/WC site in order to make it better for the reader, but less labor intensive for us. The problem is, I need time for that and I'm so backlogged, I have none. But Judy and I would like at least a little of our lives back, so that's what we're working toward. Currently, if we're breathing, we're working and that's just a little crazy.

On a related note -- while most of the authors we work with are absolutely wonderful, occasionally we get a rotten apple. It's amazing how unprofessional some folks can be and it really makes working myself to the bone for nearly nothing a difficult task. It's sad how a few bad apples can spoil everything. But I'm so grateful for the 99.9% of authors who are just amazing.

My mom got to participate in one of DD's meltdowns yesterday. My poor daughter is SO emotional and sensitive. She always has been, but being this close to puberty is just exacerbating the problem. Poor kiddo...

Today, I'm gathering together a care package of self-care items for the Salvation Army. Every week I get free or nearly free toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. And really, who needs 50 tubes of toothpaste on hand at any given time? Especially when I replenish the supply so regularly? For those who snicker at folks who coupon, for the merchants who get irritated at us, for people who call us "hoarders", THIS is why I do what I do. Not only do I save my family money, and we never have to run out of the things we need, but I can help others.

So, yes, my linen closet is full of 30 sticks of deodorant. I have every kind of razor known to man. My DH could wash his hair daily for the next year and have enough shampoo. I'm proud of my stockpile. And I'm even more glad I can share my bounty with others.

And now ... I have to go wake up the family, so I wish you all a wonderful weekend!


You Are Quirky

You don't think you are weird but others do. You have your own definition of normal.

You have a strong personality. You are who you are, and you're darn proud of it.

You act spontaneously, without planning. You don't like to commit to any one thing.

You are a calm and steady person. You may be whimsical, but you're also well grounded.

About 50% right....


Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Dog Dish with Debora Dennis

Hi everyone!! Today I'm talking to some cats that own author Debora Dennis. I have to admit, I'm a little worried -- my cat will swat me sometimes just because, so I'm not sure how this interview will go. Maybe I should have let Breeann do it, but she's too busy sleeping.

Debora Dennis is on a tour promoting her books, one of which has an awesome cover and a yummy name, The Kandy Shoppe.

I like kandy, but Mom doesn't let me have any (especially chocolate).

I hear Ms. Dennis is also giving away a $25 Amazon GC to someone who comments, so talk to her!

And now, without any more jabbering from me, let's welcome Oreo and Rocky.

So, Oreo and Rocky, your human writes books. Does this mean she is home all day and easy to access? Elaborate if necessary.

Oreo and Rocky: Debora is up early in the morning (probably due to our constant meowing and whining that it's breakfast time!) After checking her email, she spends some quality time with us before she leaves for the day job. We especially like it when she rubs us behind the ears. During the summer the kids are home and if we're persistent enough, we can get them to spend time rubbing our necks and bellies, too.

What are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments, just because it's fun? Whose primary job is it? What do the rest of you do to support the one doing the main distracting?

Oreo: I'm embarrassed to say, I am just a little bit overweight, so jumping on her desk and sitting in front of her monitor is a thing of the past - I can however sit at her feet and tap her leg with my nails if I don't feel like she's spending enough time with me!

Rocky: One of my favorite places to be is stretched out across her keyboard! I've found it's impossible for her to get anything done without access to her keyboard (This technique is easier than chewing through her keyboard wires - which I've done in the past and wasn't looked upon favorably!)

What indignities and neglect have you suffered because of your human's writing career?

Oreo and Rocky: Sometimes even rubbing against her legs gets us no attention. We've been forced to beg by sprawling out on the nearest table on our backs, just hoping for her to notice how adorable we are. She's also a little cheap on the cat treats. Would it be too much to ask to a handful of those tasty bites instead of one or two?

On the off-chance your human has yet to incorporate animals into a story, what are your plans for making sure she rectifies this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?

Oreo and Rocky: Wow, thanks for bringing this to our attention. We never even realized this was happening right under our noses. Now that we know and can see the error of her ways, we plan to use our cuteness to our advantage. We've planned a two-pronged attack at the computer as well - a few well-timed licks to the fingers, laying across her keyboard and purrs should do the trick!

What movies involving animals does your human enjoy sharing with you? Books with animals?

Oreo and Rocky: We've noticed she loves movies that involve romance and we've also noticed many of them feature cats! The Ugly Truth featured a particularly daring cat who loves to climb trees. Since we are inside cats we love to watch the adventures of outside cats in movies!

If you could make one change to your human, what would it be?

Oreo: Since she brought Rocky home I don't think she pays enough attention to me - and only me!

Rocky: If I had to pick one thing to change, it would be the toenail polish! Those colored nails drive me crazy!

Are you happy with your human? If you could tell your human one thing, what would it be?

Oreo: I love my human and I know she loves me. If I could tell her one thing, it would be that even though I'm not the kind of cat to curl up in her lap while she watches TV - it doesn't mean I don't love her back! I just prefer to show my love at a distance.

Rocky: One thing? You want me to pick one thing? I love that she wants to pick me up and snuggle with me all the time, but honestly, when I whine it means I'm not in the mood. There, I said it. I don't want to be picked up constantly.

I'll be honest and say I don't understand that about cats! If I could be cuddled and scratched and petted every moment, it wouldn't be too much...

What things does your human do that would mortify her it if known? What does your human do that most annoys?

Oreo and Rocky: She talks in her sleep. Even when she falls asleep on the couch watching TV, she's mumbling. When the other family members point it out, she says she's plotting her novels, but we're not so sure…

Has your human named a character for you? Are you pleased? If not, why?

Oreo and Rocky: Obviously this is not something she's thought to do, there aren't even any cats featured in her books, YET…

And did your human name you for a fictional character? Hate it or love it? If you could rename yourself, what would your name be?

Oreo: I was named after a cookie and since I've put on a few pounds (the vet said I really need to lose some weight) they call me "double-stuffed." I have to admit I'm a pretty pampered kitty, so I think I like the name.

Rocky: I'm not named after any famous characters either - I got my name because my tail resembles a raccoon. But, they also call me "rocket" because of how fast I run through the house! My favorite thing is the "hit and run" on Oreo's nose!

One sexy repairman, a little melting ice cream, and a lot of red-hot desire just might give dessert a whole new meaning.

Kandace Parker wants nothing more than to have a thriving ice cream parlor, but her run down equipment isn’t cooperating. Watching her profits melt away each time her freezer breaks is only half her problem – the other half is her sexy repairman, Jason Chapman.

Jason is man enough to admit he’s made some mistakes in his personal life; the biggest one was pushing Kandy away years ago. He knows the Ice Cream Queen won’t willingly give him a second chance, so he devises a plan to keep him front and center in her life with the hopes of wearing her down.

How far will Jason go to get his second chance? How far will Kandy go to keep her freezer running? When desires collide in The Kandy Shoppe, they'll have to decide if decadent sex is enough or if love can be the best dessert.

Hooked on all things romantic for as long as she can remember, Debora Dennis has never stopped believing in the fairy tale dream of a Happily Ever After. Since picking up her first Barbara Cartland novel from the middle school library so many years ago, she’s rarely been without a romance, either in her bag or on her nightstand (and now on her Nook!)

A firm believer in happy endings, she writes romance sprinkled with spice and adventure.

Debora and her own hero live in New York and spend their days raising their three kids along with Godzilla the lizard and two spoiled cats named Oreo and Rocky. She can usually be found at her computer early in the morning and late at night with a mug of coffee and a bag of Lindt chocolate truffles keeping her sane.

To learn more, please visit her at

And to visit the other stops on her Name Before the Masses Tour, click here!


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Drama, drama, drama

Adolescence is perhaps nature's way of preparing parents to welcome the empty nest. ~Karen Savage and Patricia Adams, The Good Stepmother

I'm sitting here smelling eau du skunk this a.m. -- a few minutes ago, Dakota was "oofing" (her quiet bark) and now I smell this lovely odor. Don't worry, she is inside, but I wonder if she saw something get skunked? Is it evil and wrong that I hope it was my neighbor's nasty little schnauzer that they let run loose all the time?

We had a good day yesterday, celebrating Mom's birthday. Busy but fun, started with a road trip to Trader Joes and it ended with a seafood meal, so what's not to like?

DD did have a complete breakdown again last night. She has terrible self-esteem, and I truly don't understand why. "I'm ugly, I'm stupid, I'm fat, I can't do anything right, everyone yells at me all the time." And copious amounts of tears.

I suspect her problems about her appearance are coming up because of school. I've already promised her a new haircut and a manicure. I think we might do that today. Of course, that means I'll have to get her a new manicure right before school starts. We'll see... she also needs new glasses. So, I'm making an appointment for that today, too. Hers are kid sized, and she really needs to have grown up sized frames now.

I swear, I'm not going to survive the teenaged years. Or she isn't. One or the other... it's all drama, all the time.

In other news, she named the smallest of our indoor tomato worms ... I think it was because I kept trying to get rid of him and this was her way of making sure I didn't. His name is Bob. I joked and said the other four (they're all about the same size, so I can't tell them apart) should be Larry, Darryl, Darryl and Darryl.

Ignore the fact that whoever posted that video can't spell, please...

And so, another day filled with work and drama begins. :-)

Hope you have a great day!


You Are a Dreamer

People usually totally love you or totally hate you. You are extremely intense.

You aspire to great things. You dream big, and you have the self-confidence to make your dreams come true.

You are a total brainiac who enjoys learning new things. You think studying is just plain fun.

You try not to go overboard on anything. You are down to earth, and you aren't easily swayed by emotions.

Um... hmmmm.... this is almost completely right.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011


There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me. ~Thomas Jefferson

Okay ... many of you (especially gardeners!) expressed some, shall we say, surprise at the fact that we're raising tomato hornworms.

The main reason I'm doing so is because of the amazing moth it becomes. Beautiful and incredible to watch, I give you -- the Hummingbird Moth:

Yesterday, inside one of the jars, I found the tiniest little mama crab spider carrying the tiniest little bitty egg sac (if not for her egg sac, I probably wouldn't have seen her at all). She couldn't stay there, so I scooped her out and put her and her eggs outside. She was SUCH a good mama... she held the sac with her to hindmost legs, and once as she was trying to get away, the sac came loose. You could tell she wanted to run (she probably thought I was going to eat her!) but she scurried back for her eggs anyway, picked them up and moved away.

I know, I know you're all thinking: spider? But nature is incredibly amazing (if brutal) and if you take time to just WATCH sometimes I think you'd be swept away by its beauty.

Most of my day, however, was spent deep cleaning. Why? Because Sunday night I found a cockroach! UGH!! We generally don't see them up here, though they can live here, and we've NEVER seen them in our house. It was an American Cockroach and after some research we found that the German Cockroach is what usually lives here. Our assumption is that it hitchhicked in on some imported (from California or Florida) produce).

My house is pretty dang clean, but it can always be cleaner. So I pulled out the appliances and scrubbed the floors, emptied the pantry and scrubbed, emptied my cupboards and scrubbed. Then I deployed more than a dozen roach bait traps.

Despite my love for nature, I do draw the line at cockroaches (mostly because they try to live in my house... :::shudders:::).

I wasn't online but an hour or two yesterday, and today is my Mom's birthday, so my online time will be reduced as well. Hopefully, tomorrow things will mostly be back to normal.

Have a great day!


You Are Dominant

You take on huge projects and see them through. You lead the way when it comes to success.

You are a leader and a good one too. You are as fair as you can be.

You have a defiant streak. If someone tells you that you can't do something, it makes you that more determined.

You are impulsive when the occasion calls for it. You make decisions on the fly.

About 75% right


Monday, August 01, 2011

An Odd Sort of Pillar Place

Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine. ~Jeffrey Glassberg

What a weekend! Sheerly crazy and nothing worked out as planned on any of the days. We discovered quite an infestation of tomato hornworms on our already emaciated tomato plants ... and DD is so desperate to raise SOMETHING that I let her select a few to bring in to raise (but I'm going to have to get their food from another garden because my tomatoes are pitiful). She wasn't allowed to have them all, which was tough. What a choice for her: "you live, you die". I'm sure there's a life lesson in there somewhere, but mostly it just made her feel guilty.

We didn't name them... but they are kinda cool. I'm afraid at least some of them are going to overwinter (I had her choose the largest ones to try to keep that from happening, but you never know). It's a learning experience for us, though. Interestingly, there is information on raising them, and they turn out to be one of the coolest moths ever, the hummingbird moth, which is the only reason I caved.

In other insect news, we had to rehome about 200 Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars on Saturday. They've completed decimated my milkweed and were nowhere near fully grown. So we took a container and scooped off as many as we could, then took them over to the library area. There is acres of milkweed there. I still have several dozen tussock moths, and only four or five milkweed leaves yet, so another batch may need to find a new home.

It's an odd sort of Pillar Place this year ... lol.

The time I didn't spend playing with pillars I spent working on getting the LASR/WC Anniversary Party up and running. This morning, I gave away our first grand prize (a Nook/Kindle/$150 GC) and we're doing a Nook Color next. Fun, but crazy!

We're also doing a retrospective on the LASR side in the author spotlight -- a look back at our firsts. It was a fun trip down memory lane (Charity Tahmaseb, if you're reading this, you should check out Wedenesday's post).

How was your weekend?


You Are Oxygen

You are highly observant. No detail slips past you.

You follow the rules - even if you don't particularly like them.

Beyond being a good leader, you are good at inspiring others. You push everyone you know to be a little better.

You are polite and courteous. You always mind your manners.

Mostly right...