I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Does a Santa hat change anyone’s attitude?



Okay, guys, I guess I do way more thinking than I should about some things.  And heaven knows I’m way past my prime, but the last two weeks before Christmas we were allowed to wear a Santa hat instead of our usual food demo hat.  Naturally, wanting to get in the holiday spirit, a few of us took them up on this offer. 

Now we all know people get more ornery around the holidays simply because there are lines in all the stores, lots of traffic and a lot of the time they’re already sold out of what you went to the store to get.  Some people are just stinkers all the time, but I think this happens more during the holidays.  I decided I would evaluate the situation while wearing the Santa hat





I really think seeing this hat reminds people that it is Christmas and it’s supposed to be a time of cheer and goodwill toward all.  The hat seems to have an effect on people because I found I had a lot of more mellow customers and none of the ones who spew garbage on a normal day if things aren’t going their way.  This is such a positive thing when we have to serve the public for hours at a time, smiling, engaging them in conversation, and standing on our feet the whole time, not to mention cleaning up all the messes people make that they seem to be oblivious to.

The holidays seem to bring out the worst in mankind as well as the best.  And we certainly see some odd things, such as dumpster diving in Costco.  In this case I’m referring to the trashcans we have everywhere in the store.  It amazes me the things that people will do for a free sample of anything.  I would never pick through a trash can, but it happens.  We have to throw away samples that end up on the floor because, of course, we can’t serve that to anyone.  My coworker had to throw away a piece of chocolate and two young fellows wanted it so bad that they actually fished it out of the trashcan and then split it.  So not only was the candy on the floor, but also in the trashcan.  Now I don’t want to tell you what also ends up in the trashcans, so I’ll let you use your imaginations.  With this sort of behavior I’m surprised more people aren’t sick around here.

Sadly Christmas is over now and we’re back to the normal attire, but I’ve decided I would kill people with kindness for a while and see what effect that has on their attitude.  Sometimes you can’t help change anyone, but sometimes there a few you can.  That’s what I’m striving for because rude people get old very fast.

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas holiday and all of you are enjoying the last week of 2016.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to all



I can’t tell you how happy I am that I made it to this day.  Working can be a real bear at times, although I must say there are the sweetest people that come around just at the right moment.  If it wasn’t for that perhaps many of us would have thrown in the towel long ago.

So we’ve made it to the end of another Christmas season, although we expect it to be somewhat busy next week as people stock up and prepare for New Years.

It rained all day today and the store was semi-busy.  But there were few messes except for the few shoppers who thought they could shake off the shopping cart in the middle of the store, which only made situations worse by causing big puddles for people to trip in.  What’s wrong with people’s thinking?  “But this cart is wet,” they complained.  Well no shit, Sherlock, it’s raining outside.  Of course we didn’t say this but, really, what do people expect?

I’m just so happy to stay home tomorrow and cuddle up with my cats who love me all the time and aren’t judgmental over anything.  Boy we could all take a lesson from our pets.

However you’re celebrating the holidays, have a happy and healthy one.  Relax and enjoy loved ones if you can.  I feel like such an awful fur Mama because I didn’t bother putting up the tree this year.  But then it’s easy to forego that when it’s only me, hubby, and the cats and no family.  Still that’s not much of an excuse because I do it for the cats who love to tear into a tree.

Have fun, stay safe and celebrate like there’s no tomorrow.  Real life is coming back real quick.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A celebrity in the house

This is screenshot of the magazine page.  Raven is in the bottom right corner.

Well, I don’t know what to say about my little boy.  He’s such a love and so photogenic.  I think he just loves all the attention.  In October I sent his picture in again for the holiday issue of our local magazine.  I was hoping he would get printed again because who can ignore this cute little face and he always poses for me.

Naturally, I’m a proud fur Mama and I had to share this.  I know all you animal lovers will know what I’m talking about.  So today I’m off to get my hands on a copy of this magazine and also to get one for the lady at PAWS who I adopted Raven from.

My husband is suggesting I make Raven a whole ensemble for Easter.  Hmmm…I’m not sure he’ll sit still for a body costume.  He has the hats down because I’ve been doing it since the day I got him and he’s very mellow, but I don’t know about this idea.  I guess I have a few months to get him used to it.  We’ll see.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

It’s Candy Time

Lindor Candy Balls

I did my first road show this year at work.  We usually do a two-shift event for a week or ten days at a time.  We do Lindor candy the first ten days of December.  This was great fun because candy always puts a smile on everyone’s face.

And we get to wear Christmas red aprons, no hairnets and no plastic gloves, so you can actually style your hair and feel like a candy fairy handing out candy from your “goldilocks” basket.  Oh my!

My co-worker and I worked until 9 PM.  Most of that time we had a line, but most of the people waited patiently.  After all we only have two hands a piece.  All the little kids had eyes as big as saucers.  You would think they were making the hardest decision of their lives when I asked them what flavor of chocolate they wanted.  It was smiles all around and that doesn’t happen often enough.

This candy is fabulous.  If any of you haven’t tried it, you should.  It’s Swiss chocolate and is chocolate over a chocolate truffle.  Every piece of Lindor candy is wrapped in shiny, bright foil paper. 



 What a great marketing idea.  This thing is almost the size of a volley ball.  But it's a candy dish filled with candy and wrapped like a giant candy.
We sold lots of candy that evening.  This is what got the most attention.  You can imagine this giant piece of wrapped candy.  Everyone thought it was a huge candy ball but is, in fact, a candy dish filled with milk chocolate candy and perfect for gift giving or setting out for company during the holidays.

The store was closed by the time we left so they had to let us out a side door.  The night crew was busy restocking shelves on their forklifts but, from the looks of it, I think they were having fun racing around on those things.  I had to smile.  When we got up front they had pulled out all the seating and tables from the snack area and were mopping the floor getting the store ready for tomorrow.

Everything was quiet except for the engine hum and the faint tooting horns of the forklifts in the distant.


Isn't this nice?  Why can't everyone be this thoughtful?

On another note, a few days later, a customer brought us each small gifts of holiday chocolates she makes for us every year.  What a wonderful thing to do for a complete stranger who doesn't even really know any of us outside of the store.  This small gesture makes the holidays special.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Did someone throw me a life raft?

My breakfast frittata and smoothie

Ha!  Not exactly but that’s what crossed my mind when I put this great breakfast on a plate.  Wow!  Not that I don’t always eat real food, but things like this are a treat.  My usual fare is cereal, kale and fruit smoothies, big salads and peanut butter and rice cakes.  When the scale said 106 this morning, I thought I would splurge.

I love eggs scrambled up frittata style with onion, peppers, carrots, artichoke jalapeno dip, cheese and tomatoes.  Wow!  It’s so good but most of the time I don’t have the time to indulge in stuff like this.

The bread you see on the side is an Indian flat-bread called Naan.  It can be heated in the toaster and is great with anything.  You can even make mini pizzas with it or wraps.  I discovered it a year ago at Costco when I was doing a demo for it.  And it’s such a bargain at 18 pieces for $4.99.

Anyway as stated, I’m not one to eat much but I thought, I’m home sick and starting to feel better so I better eat a little more and as always, something nutritious.  I’m back at work while you’re reading this today.



 Have you ever seen a bottle this size?  I think I have enough for the whole city.
 
I’m sure after this big bottle of antibiotics I’m bound to be well from anything that ails me.  All these antibiotics do have me a bit worried about my immune system, as antibiotics aren’t a lot of good for that.  I’ve never ever heard of this many being prescribed before.  I almost wanted to call the doctor to see if he made a mistake in giving me 84 capsules!  I do have asthma so maybe he thinks this sickness might evolve into bronchitis or pneumonia.

So today I’m running down to the herb store to get something extra to boost my immune system.  It can’t hurt and I sure don’t need any additional sick issues.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Life takes fortitude

This doesn't hurt either

Now if that’s not a true statement I don’t know what is.

I’m sorry I’ve skipped a couple of posts.  I’ve been dealing with this health issue, which turns out to be a nasty cold plus a sinus infection on top of that.  Yikes!  I’ve been working when I can but have taken a couple of days off in between to gather myself and try to get over this.  What a nasty business.  I’ve tried every cold med out there and also hot toddies at night.  I remember my grandma making those for us on the farm years ago.  They warm you up and put you to sleep…for a while.

So to fill you in a little, I got sick a week ago Monday.  Naturally, I was working in the coldest spot in the store that day and I think it did me in, or perhaps I wouldn’t be in this shape, even if I did end up with a cold.  I’m rarely sick, but when I am, I’m really sick.

I wore four layers of clothes that day, plus insulated socks because December and January is the worst for cold around here.  I want to be as prepared as I can be because you never know exactly where you might end up working that day.  I was thankful I had all those clothes on but…as it turned out; I was shivering for the last hour and a half of my shift.  Truth be told, I really didn’t think I would make it…but I did through fortitude.

It didn’t help that I had a nasty customer that was so upset because I actually had to cook something before I could put it out.  That never ceases to amaze me that people think they can eat things frozen, or raw.  It was obvious he was eating and not shopping.  He had no shopping cart.  Most of the eaters don’t unless it’s to stack samples in.  I did my best to be polite and told him to come back for a sample.  Of course, this type never does and just stomps off after some choice words. 

I was feeling bad enough anyway because I was getting sick.  The next customer was a gem of a human being and the reason why it’s worth doing this job.  She and her husband came up next and couldn’t believe the way the man acted.  She told me all of us were under-appreciated, but she sincerely appreciates all our dedication to the job.  She was so nice and so was he.  She even gave me a hug.  I really needed one about then.

There are always nice people out there and ones having a bad day.  I thought about that many times since.

I was so glad to get out of there that night and once home, I ripped off all my clothes (like peeling an onion - there are so many layers) and I went straight to bed.  Hubby took my temp and it was 102.  I couldn’t get warm, but finally did.  Needless to say, I called in sick the next day.  The first time I’ve done that at this job.  I really didn’t have a choice.

I’ve been to work a few days since but finally went to the doctor yesterday after they told me at work I sounded horrible.  Laryngitis had set in by the end of my shift on Saturday.  Now, I have lots of meds and am doing very little talking because of all the coughing, so I communicate with hubby using sticky notes.  I’m sure he’s fine with that because I always do talk too much.


Next post will be about my candy road show experience at work.  Stay tuned and stay warm and well.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cold Season is upon us


I’m not one who gets sick very much either and now I have hubby’s cold.  I’m so disgusted by that and am a terrible patient I’m sure because I hate to be sick, really hate it.




Yesterday I had a rough day at work.  I was supposed to do popcorn and instead ended up right outside the dairy door doing potato soup.  I might add the dairy is the coldest spot in our store, aside from probably the meat room, but we never have to work in there.  Thank goodness.  I’ve done soup many times and did my best to serve up over 700 samples of hot potato soup.  I couldn’t smell it, or taste it, but everyone said it was wonderful.  I was so thankful I had gone to work in four layers of clothing and insulated socks, just in case.  We’ve played some “musical chairs” with demos lately so I really have to think about the worst case scenario when getting ready for work.

By the time I left work yesterday, I could hardly talk I was so stuffed up.  I was very happy to have a day off today and it was really needed so I could stay inside and medicate myself and do my best to get to feeling better because I do the next six days straight at my job.

Hubby went into work today to do lunch breaks.  He called a minute ago to tell me I’m doing beef tips tomorrow.  Wonderful!  I’m in the deli area again, but at least not by the diary door.  I’ll be in a spot about ten feet away instead.  This is a popular dish that I’ve never done before but it’s like a beef stew that you heat in the microwave and cut up and then serve in little cups with forks.  I hope I’m feeling up to the task as its holiday season and everyone we have is working.  I’m not one to disappoint so will do my best as always.

Last night I was up every four hours to take another shot of Nyquil.  I’m doing the same today, plus taking extra Vitamin C and also Colostrum, an herb for the immune system.  I’ll kick this thing out fast, I hope, or I’ll be very miserable at work for the next week.


I hope everyone out there is staying well.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Coyotes on the prowl



Among all the critters that inhabit the desert is the coyote.  We usually see them in winter months when they come to lower elevations looking for prey, although I do have a nice pic of one I took in the middle of the day during May a couple of years ago.  I was as shocked to see him as he was to see me, but he wasn’t afraid at all as I went outside with my camera.

He's in the center of this pic and hard to see


About three days ago right about sunset we saw three coyotes hunting in a pack in the back desert.  The back desert is really a part of my backyard although we have a block wall up to separate the two.  I’m sure these guys were out looking for pets in the backyards of the houses in our neighborhood.  I could only get a pic of one of them, as it watched the other two further down the bluff, because it was getting dark.  They meandered down the hill to my back wall and then went off toward the neighbors.  I prayed all the people had their pets in the house that night.  The policeman next door lets his cats run all over the neighborhood and isn’t concerned at all telling me “they have nine lives?”  What?  He makes me so disgusted because he has small kids who care for the cats and it would be devastating to them to see one run over in front of the house.  He’s very insensitive to that.  The lady on the other side of us, further down the street, lets her cats out during the day but brings them in at night.

Now we don’t know if any animals in the neighborhood became prey to these coyotes that night or not.  We had the TV on, windows closed, and it was just as well.  We’ve heard the howls in the desert on many a night since we’ve moved here and the last screams of animals that became dinner.  It sends shivers up my spine even though I know that this is nature and it’s been going on way before me and will go on way after I’m gone.  After all, animals can’t go to the grocery store like we do, can they?  It’s all about survival and you have to eat to survive.


On an unrelated note, I had a flat tire today that took up most of my day.  I haven’t had a flat in twenty or thirty years.  Even my spare tire was flat.  I was glad I have an honest mechanic I could call to the rescue because hubby was at work.  So now I have to buy a new tire and they aren’t cheap for my car.  That’s a whole other story.  At least my rim is okay and I’m safe so I’ll deal with the rest of it tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

We’re in for a stormy week



As much as I hate winter, it’s on its way.  I wish we were getting ready to start February instead of December.  Big sigh…

There’s not much happening here except work and more work, but I’m not complaining.  However, it seems like the older I get the more difficult it is to do repetitive things for six hours at one time.  I’m talking about the cheese demo I had on Friday.  It’s now Sunday and my arms feel like they’re falling off and I feel like I did about a hundred sit-ups.  I had to cut hard cheese wedges into small cubes.  I bet I cut approximately 900 cubes of cheese with a pastry cutter.  The only way to do this was to rock it back and forth and lean into it.  I probably should have taken a big, sharp knife instead and will try that next time.  Anyway, needless to say, after Wednesday and then Friday I’m glad to have a couple of days off.  The holiday season is in full swing with shoppers.


Sunrise in the desert




 

A lonely bird surveys the desert
 

I managed to get this beautiful sunrise the other morning and also one of a lone bird sitting on a tree branch in the backyard.  Then yesterday the storm clouds came in and I got these pics at sunset.  Today it rained and then the sun came out but it’s a chilly 45 degrees right now with upper 20’s expected tonight.  I’m not at all excited about that.



Storm clouds gather out back as the sun is setting

I’m not in the holiday spirit at all this year, but at least I got my ornaments and will get them in the mail in the morning.  My sisters and I exchange them every year.  We have quite a collection now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

There’s always something new to learn

These are the potatoes and they are really good

Yesterday I was doing a demo for scalloped potatoes. I served over 900 samples.  The potatoes are excellent and taste homemade, plus they’re on sale.  I’m not sure how many I sold yet, but I know it was a lot because they had to come and refill my case once.

You can never work fast enough to keep samples out no matter how much you try.  Sometimes this gets to be frustrating, but all you can do is get into the rhythm and keep going, making sure you put a new pan of potatoes in the microwave every time you take one out.  They take eight minutes to cook.

Of course everyday I meet some interesting people.  But I actually didn’t know what to say when a lady asked me if I was serving funeral potatoes.  I’ve never ever heard that term before.  She went on to explain to me that Mormon ladies make scalloped potatoes for funerals.  Hmmm…Of course I’m not Mormon so I didn’t know this. 

It was good to learn something new because I love learning things I don’t know and always have been this way.  However, I don’t know if I’ll ever look at scalloped potatoes the same way again.  I’m sure that conversation will always pop into my head.

It was such a busy day with a never ending line of people so it was good to walk out of the store and to my car parked in the south forty.  I didn’t even want to get up out of the seat once I pulled the car into the garage.  It felt too darn good to sit down.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The beauty and the fury of Mother Nature


We’ve seen it all in the desert, or so it seems.  The other night we had strong winds that rattled the windows and battered the house all evening and through the night. I laid in bed listening to all the noises and wondering what was going to disappear into the desert (chair cushions, barbecue cover, plant pots, etc) and also what would be broken the next morning.





I figured we wouldn’t go totally unscathed because that rarely happens no matter how you try to prepare for acts of nature.  The biggest tree in the yard lost a huge branch.  This branch is probably about eight inches in diameter.  But at least we didn’t lose the whole tree, which has happened in the past.





When I came out of work about three days ago there was the most awesome sunset.  I really wished I had the camera but I knew it would be gone once I drove home…and it was.  Then yesterday (Saturday) I got to snap a pic of this, almost as awesome as the other day.  I could look at these sunsets forever, but if you don’t act fast they’re gone.  There’s about a five minute window to get some nice photos.

I was off Saturday so I had to go and get more black shoes for work.  The soles are coming off my black sneakers.  I dearly love them so will take them to be fixed at the little shoe repair about ten miles away.  But I can’t do this now because of winter and working in the coolers and outside the dairy door, which is freezing even on a summer day.  Those shoes were the only ones I have that I can get my foot into along with insulated socks.  I put the thinking cap on a couple of weeks ago and decided to use my black gorilla tape and tape the soles on.  So far this has worked pretty well, but I’m still unsure how long I can get away with that, so it was time for new shoes. 

Naturally this is what happened once I got home and took the shoes out of the bag.

Raven will play with anything

Everything in this house is a cat toy.

And to bring you up to date, we have started the ham demos.  So far my name isn’t at the top of the list.  Hurray!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bats in the Belfry


My house doesn’t have a belfry but we do have a tall entry and it’s a favorite place for bats in the winter. This is especially cool if it happens on Halloween, adding to the spooky atmosphere of the evening.



 Bats are always a bit creepy looking
 
I know it’s hard to believe that bats can live in the desert, but like most things, I think they can be found anywhere.  They stay in the rock crevices out back in the desert and take flight at sunset during the summers.  They feed on insects and leave people alone.  I know I found it strange when I moved here and wondered if they’d land in my hair, etc.  But so far they haven’t, although at times it seems like they come close to my head as they buzz by in summer evenings.  I have to say I’m more comfortable having them around now, but I still wonder about bats and leave them alone if they show up in daylight hours.  I’m told they could be rabid if they do that because they stay in sheltered places during the day, much like the desert toads we have here that only come out after sunset.


The picture above was taken by hubby a few days ago.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Be thankful everyday for all your blessings


I really can’t stress this enough as we enter the frenzy of the holiday season.  Things may not always turn out the way we think they should but things can ALWAYS be much worse.  Most of us can see, hear, have our wits about us, walk around unaided, and drive to where we want to go.  All these things are blessings because there are many people who don’t even have these small overlooked luxuries we all take for granted.

I try to be mindful daily and not just during the holiday season when it’s more prevalent to think in this frame of mind.  We never know when some of these things will fail us down the road making us dependent on others for our daily needs.  My mother comes to mind.  She has dementia and is now living in a nursing home.  I always wonder if I’ll end up that way, but then I see people that age that are my co-workers and they are spry and full of life and have all their wits.  I would never know they’re as old as they are because there’s nothing wrong with them in mind or body, only gray hair giving them away.  So how did my mother end up with the short straw?

I don’t know what makes a person susceptible to dementia and then eventually Alzheimer’s.  I imagine the genes you inherit are partially to blame.  I make sure I exercise daily and use my mind to read, write, work puzzles, etc.  I’m too independent to end up at the mercy of others in my old age.  My mother is lucky to be well taken care of with lots of family visitors, but I still don’t want to see a nursing home in my future.

I’m always reading up on all the latest research I can find on keeping your mind sharp.  I don’t know of any other relative that had dementia so that leads me to believe that maybe it’s lifestyle that’s part of the culprit.  My mother had a rough life.  All of my siblings will agree with that.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her shoes for all the money in the world.  But she always made the best of the situation and instilled that in all of us.  Even in poverty there are good things and lessons to be learned.

Some very famous people also ended up battling this disease.  So maybe lifestyle is a wrong choice of words.  Look at Ronald Reagan, an actor and then our president who ended up with this and also Robert Falk, the actor who played Columbo in the TV mystery series.  I’m sure neither of them had to raise a big family on a remote cotton farm making due with the bare necessities of life.

So everyone out there be thankful for all your blessings however small they may be.  If you have your health, a roof over your head and clothes and food, what else do you really need?

Happy early Thanksgiving to all.  Please take time for this important holiday that seems to be overshadowed by Christmas this year.  The Yule decorations go up earlier each year.  It makes me want to scream, “What’s the matter with all you people?  How dare you put up a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving.”

I was in a thrift store last week and they had a Christmas tree covered with decorations and lights.  I was appalled and told the girl it was shameful to put that up before Thanksgiving.  She told me “everyone else does it” to which I replied. “Does that make it right?”  I guess I’ll never understand this way of thinking.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Skipping down the happy road

Doesn't a happy road have flowers?

We all know the road is paved with flak and happiness.  Right now I’m on the happy part of the path.  We all deserve that once in a while and we appreciate it more when it isn’t an everyday thing.

First, my guy won the presidency so I can’t be happier about that.  All the Trump supporters are so overjoyed at work that we talk about it in the lunchroom.  What I don’t get is why people actually need therapy…supposedly…because the election didn’t go their way.  What has happened to our society?  I was disappointed in 2012, but I never needed therapy.  I can hardly believe the things I read and the things I hear on the news. 

Sometimes our team doesn’t win but that’s life.  We pick up the pieces and go on hoping to win next time.  Whatever happened to that philosophy?  I can’t decide if we’re becoming a nation of wimps or not.

I’m so stoked over this election and finally see some hope for America’s future.  I really believe we elected the right man for the job.  Only time will tell, of course, so we’ll see.


Oh my!  There is so much beauty all around us.  This is the path behind my house into the desert.

The next thing I’m very happy about right now is that I helped my sister get a second job by greasing the wheels for her with a guy I know.  She interviewed today and he hired her on the spot.  I’m as happy about this, as happy as she is.  She needs the money because her other job has cut hours and we all know the bills never stop coming, whether we’re working or not.  She’s such a wonderful person and I know he’ll be so glad he hired her.  Right now I’m so proud of her.

I got this pic over the internet but think it's so pretty.


Number three is that the weather is to die for right now.  It’s been 80 degrees during the day.  I love every minute of it and wish it never got any worse than this over winter…but I know it will as sure as I’m typing this.  However, I’ll take this everyday if it wants to keep coming.  I know all the wildlife are grateful they aren’t huddling under bushes to keep warm.

So I’m on the happy part of the road and I’m going to take that as long as it last.  How are the rest of you doing?

Lastly, the desert is full of gorgeous sunsets.  I must have a hundred pictures of the beautiful skies.  So I'll leave you with this.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Well I finally did it despite a little protest




I’m talking about this year’s politics and this sign I posted in the yard a week before the election.  Things are so radical this year that I don’t know if this was a smart move or not, but so far so good.  I’ve been bringing the sign in at night for fear of some defacement to the sign or my house because of all the crazy people out there.

We do still have first amendment rights the last time I checked and everyone has a right to their own opinion and shouldn’t have to suffer consequences if the opinion they have is different from their neighbors, friends, or others that pass by. 

I have no idea what will happen in two days when we elect a new president to lead the country.  The whole thing is a little scary.  I think more so this year, but then perhaps people have felt like this for years.  When all of us were growing up, I remember Mama and Daddy glued to the little TV we had during political season and discussing the candidates and all the issues of the day.  We kids never paid much attention in those days and just wanted to watch something else. 

I guess little has changed for me today because I always want to watch something else too.  I’m so tired of hearing about all the political garbage day after day.  I just want to relax when I get home from work and chill out.  Even at work there’s some political talk in the break room and the TV has been turned to a political news show most of the last week or two.  Sometimes the atmosphere can be downright nasty and disrespectful if there are differences of political opinion.  There seems to be no place to hide from all this stuff.

I have to agree we have two very different candidates to choose from this year than we’ve ever had before.  Neither one of them has come right from Sunday school, but people do things in life they probably have regrets for later.  No one is perfect.  I’m a registered libertarian but am voting for Trump this year because drastic changes are needed to turn this country around.  He’s a businessman and not a career politician.  I think he’s the only one who can make real change.  He has shown us he does know how to run a business. 

In my mind, we definitely have to get away from business as usual, which is the way all the Washington people and career politicians see things.  They all have it good because they’re paid off and are in positions of power they don’t want to give up.  Their lives would change drastically and maybe they’d have to live like us common folks for a change.  Oh my!  Should Trump win, how are they going to do that I wonder.

It will be business as usual if Hillary gets in there and nothing will ever change.  I fear we’ll be on such a downhill slide that no one will be able to turn things around after four years with her in office.  But everyone has to weigh out everything and make their own minds up and vote your conscience.  It’s more important to vote than ever.  This writer is voting Republican this year.

I usually stay away from politics and religion on this blog because those subjects are personal, but this year it’s really important to exercise your right to vote.  Don’t let someone else make this big decision for you.  However it all ends, half the people will be upset over it.  That’s just life.  I think we’re far from politics not being discussed in this country.  That won’t die down until we have some other crisis that captures the journalists and talking heads attention.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

No one has to tell me…I already know I’m crazy!


It’s hard for me not to step up to the plate and accept a challenge.  Sometimes this isn’t a good thing to do, but I do it anyway…all the time.

From NaNo Website

Right now I’m talking about November and another NaNoWriMo that is upon us.  Wasn’t it just November?  Time goes by way too fast for me to keep up.  For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s the National Novel Writing Month and it happens every November.  Those of us goofy enough to enter this competition get 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel, or the beginning of a novel, or novella.  The goal is to write 50,000 words in thirty days.  That’s only 1667 words a day so quite doable.  If you can write more than that, I suggest you go for it.  That way you can take a day off here and there if you find yourself way ahead of schedule.

For any writer out there, this competition gets you in front of your computer daily and keeps you in your chair until you reach the goal of 50,000 words.  It’s okay to outline a story first and come up with your characters and do character sketches and plot points, but the actual writing doesn’t start until November 1.  We are all on the honor system for abiding by these rules.

I’m not usually an outline writer, but I do make a few notes ahead of time.  I like to write by the seat of my pants and see where the story takes me as I go.  A lot of times it’s in an unexpected direction.  Sometimes I can really run with this using my imagination and other times it’s a struggle.

The point of this whole exercise is to get in the habit of sitting down to write everyday.  During this month, you write only.  Do not second guess yourself, go back to fix type-o’s, research things for your story, or edit as you go.  All those things can wait until later.  The main thing here is to get your 50,000 words on paper by November 30.  DO NOT GIVE UP!

This is my fifth NaNo.  I’m not sure why I can’t skip one but I’m always up for a challenge.  I usually know full well from the get-go that it’s all going to be a struggle from day one because I have little time to devote to this activity.  However, this knowledge somehow doesn’t stop me.  I doubt it ever will.  I’m too much of an optimist and always think “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”  I guess this thinking was ingrained in me as a child. 

So I’m jotting notes wherever I go and will keep a pen and paper handy all month for ideas that come to me, or for writing a few lines as I have time that I can type into my manuscript later.


If anyone else is doing this, keep yourself away from social media as much as possible or you’ll get distracted and never make it to the end.  If you haven’t signed up yet and would like to, it’s not too late.  Here’s the link:  http://nanowrimo.org/

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Enjoy the Indian food because the ham is coming

From Maya Kaimal website

This is quite a true statement at work.  None of us are thrilled about doing a demo for the vindaloo and coconut curry but this is easy compared to the ham demo.  For those of you who don’t know, this is an Indian simmer sauce that’s good over rice or with chicken.  Serving with naan bread is a great way to enjoy this meal.  It’s quite messy and usually you go home with a stained apron and smelling like an Indian restaurant.

Last year we all had a stab at the ham at least once during Nov and Dec.  What a messy, intense demo.  Talk about people standing three-deep to get a sample of this ham.  You would think that people are absolutely starving at times and haven’t seen food for a week.

Last year between hubby and me we sold over 15,000 pounds of ham during the holidays over a two-day demo.  That’s a lot of ham and we had this demo running daily for at least two weeks at a time, off a day or two and then back on again for another two weeks.  I’m not looking forward to this year.  I can seem to get ham in all the places it doesn’t belong due to pressure from customers when we must work fast and furious all the time to keep samples on the trays. 

But then I’m not looking forward to winter and the holidays at all.  Didn’t we just have them?  It sure seems like it.  I hate the shorter days and the cold weather with a passion.  I wish we were on the other end and spring was beginning instead.  But we can’t do anything to change Mother Nature, can we?

Me and my cats

A very happy Halloween, Samhain, all Hollow’s Eve to all of you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sandpaper kisses and slobber in my hair



I’m talking about my little black fur ball.  It’s been at least twenty years since I’ve had a cat that slept on my head every night.  The last one was a Turkish angora, solid white and this one is solid black.  I don’t have the heart to throw this cat off the bed so I let him share my pillow, or perhaps he lets me share his pillow.  If he could talk I’m sure that’s how the story would go.



 Raven in bed with me
 
He’s so dear so I can lay my head on the edge of the pillow so as not to disturb him in his slumbers.  Somehow we both manage to sleep like this.  He wakes me before dawn by licking my hair and face and then biting my head if that doesn’t get a reaction out of me.  Sometimes part of my hair is wet with cat slobber when I get out of bed.  But how can I mind when he’s purring away happily?

After he eats he’s more than happy to crawl back in bed and snuggle in, if I have the day off work.  This doesn’t happen often, but my hubby caught these shots of Raven in bed with me the other day.  I’m sure Raven would like to do this everyday.  He has the kindest heart and is very social and emotional.  He really gets his feelings hurt if we reprimand him for something.  I imagine I’ll continue to put up with his cat slobber.  He could do a lot worse things than that.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sometimes technology can try your patience

This is my HP all-in-one printer

I know most of you know what I’m talking about.  Things always decide to go on strike when you really don’t have the time to coax it along and you just want to get on with it.  Sometimes things test our patience and persistence. 

Yesterday I had some paperwork to catch up on while I was off work.  The first thing I noticed is that I needed more forms to perform the task at hand.  Wouldn’t you know that first, I had to make copies and second, none of the copiers in the house wanted to work.  I didn’t want to drive into town to the office supply store just to make copies, so I had to put my thinking cap on.  How could I get around this without leaving my house?

It’s about 10 miles to the closest office supply.  So after racking my brain I was hoping the scanner on my “new” printer was still working.  What I mean by new is that I just bought this printer in Jan and you would think it would still work, but I’m having issues with the black ink.  I need to call them and see if I can straighten it out because I already tried all the troubleshooting I can think of.  I’m pretty disgusted with this printer at the moment.

But on the plus side, the scanner still works, so I was able to scan the document I needed copies of into my desktop and then copy that to my external drive and load it from there into my laptop so I could carry that downstairs and hook it up to my hubby’s laser printer and print the form I needed.  What a big mess, but I was successful in the end, although this put me about two hours behind schedule.

I know you may be wondering why I didn’t scan the form right to my laptop.  I could have but it’s new and I don’t have the wayward printer loaded into it yet.  At this time I don’t think I will load the software over there until I get the printer straightened out. 

So if you are ever in a position where you encounter this type of problem, just think it out and come up with a solution.  I think this was still faster than driving into town and waiting at the office supply to make copies, plus it didn’t cost me anything extra except time.


I always seem to have printer issues of some sort.  I had the same problem with my old printer but I’d had it for years so I wasn’t entirely surprised when it acted up.  But I expect better things out of something not even a year old.  I hope HP has some ideas for me on how to fix this thing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

This one might be a winner


At least it looks like it is right now.  We made two trips on Monday to pick up a new washer and dryer.  We discovered the power was out in the neighborhood after we got back with the second load (the washer).  So of course nothing was happening as far as hookup was concerned.  I grabbed a book light and headed out to the patio to sit and read where it was a bit cooler than the house.  The power was restored a little after 9PM.  I was happy because sleeping would be better with a fan and I could set the alarm so I’d get up for work in time.

Speed Queen washer and dryer

After work on Tuesday we got the dolly and hauled the washer and dryer into the house and hubby got them hooked up.  We ran our first load in them today and they work as expected.  Yippee!  This set is old-fashioned looking, but I really don’t care as long as they work.  We decided on Speed Queen because it’s the most durable one we could find with the best warranty.  This set is made industrial strength, so everything is metal.  There are no plastic parts or fancy electronics.  I think we’ll be very happy with this and it should last us the rest of our lives, I hope.

Snuggles, my neighbor's cat

As far as other news, I’m taking care of the neighbor’s cat again for the next three days.  This is Sherry’s last trip of the year, supposedly.  The cat, Snuggles, was very happy to see me tonight.

My new laptop

I’ve been saving for months and finally got my new laptop today.  I’m thrilled with it so far, but spent most of the day loading programs and getting to know the computer.  The screen sure is small compared to my desktop.  My other laptop quit working little by little quite a few months ago.  This one came with a nice Office 2010 program so it’s quite different than my old Word 2003, which I loved.  Now I have to learn this one when I have time.  At least this gives me mobility so I can take it when I go to Texas to visit family.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A new visitor to the patio

 Tarantula on patio

We haven’t seen one of these guys around all summer.  We caught him on the patio a few nights ago.  I think tarantulas are generally harmless unless they’re cornered and then they can inflict a nasty bite, but the good news is it won’t kill you. 

Tarantula on patio


One year we had these guys all over the back wall of the house.  We heard later it was some sort of mating ritual.  Evidently, a lot of people saw them.  These spiders stay in the desert most of the time and rarely come into the yard.

You can see him behind the water dish.  I imagine he comes to drink like all the other critters

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Do we really need saving from ourselves?


Apparently, the government thinks so.  They have so many regulations that it’s impossible to buy almost anything that fits your needs these days.  I’m talking about appliances, folks.



 This is the new Samsung washer and dryer set.  We even got covers to protect the tops from scratches
 
All we wanted to do was get a new washer and dryer.  Our old washer bit the dust a little over a month ago.  We sold the dryer, which still worked, so we could get a matching set.  We figured it would go out soon anyway since we bought both units at the same time.

We spent our next day off shopping for a new washer and dryer.  We did look on Craigslist first, but found nothing.  The prices of appliances today will make you faint from shock.  Nothing is even reasonable.



 This is the new Samsung washer
 
We finally bit the bullet and bought one at Lowe’s.  Whatever you do, do not buy a Samsung.  The nicest thing about this set is the little song it plays when your clothes are done.  I’m serious!  The washer has a nice big stainless tub but it doesn’t get hot water in it, even when the hot button is selected.  I can hold my hand under the water because it’s lukewarm.  The water in my laundry sink two feet away has scalding water.  The next issue is the water level, which doesn’t even cover the clothes.  So to do that, I have to fill a bucket with water in the laundry sink and then add it to the washer once it’s started going.  Another issue with this washer is that it does a crazy dance in the beginning, which is supposed to even out and balance the load.  Well you guessed it, all the clothes end up on one side of the washer tub.  I have to put the machine on pause to get it to unlock and then redistribute the clothes by hand.

Now for the dryer, it doesn’t dry.  I swear you can set it on hot and run it three hours and the clothes still aren’t dry.  The people at Lowes and the manufacturer said it’s to protect the consumer and use less energy.  It's designed to be less hot.  Well, running it three times as long is not saving any energy!  Please, please STOP trying to protect us from ourselves!  By this stage in life, we know how to use a washer and dryer.

Naturally, we’re very disgusted with this whole issue.  The best thing about it is that it looks nice and the song it plays, as I mentioned earlier.  We’re getting Lowes to pick up this piece of crap and give us our money back.  But this took a lot of negotiation.  Naturally, at first they wanted us to contact customer service.  We only had this set a month.  There was no way that was happening.

This is the inside of the Samsung washer

So now it’s back to washer and dryer shopping again.  The only good thing that’s come out of this whole mess is that I got to wash the king comforter instead of having it dry-cleaned.  The tub on the washer is huge, but even then I had to add several buckets of water during that process and the thing would never dry so we brought two ladders into the house and hung it over those overnight.

I think we’re looking at industrial this time so it will last the rest of our lives.  The government hasn’t gotten their hands into those yet, at least not that we know of.  More on all this later.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Here’s a Recipe for a change


The weather is cooling off and so we’ll all be cooking more than we did in the summer.  This dish is warm and comforting, but yet still healthy and easy to make.  Most of this stuff I usually have around the house, so hopefully you do too.  Brussels sprouts are very good for your eyes so I try to eat them as often as I can.


Pic from Averie Cooks


Balsamic Chicken, Brussels sprouts, Cranberries and Pumpkin seeds

INGREDIENTS:

3 T of olive oil (divided) plus more as necessary
About 15-20 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut lengthwise
About 1 and ¼ pounds of chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 large shallot, peeled and diced small
Salt and pepper for seasoning to taste
¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
2 T honey
½ cup of sun dried tomatoes (dry, not packed in oil)
½ cup of dried cranberries
½ cup of candied or roasted pumpkin seeds (I use the raw sprouted ones you get at Costco.  You can use as is or roast in a dry frying pan the way you would pine nuts)

DIRECTIONS:

Use a large skillet and add half the olive oil and the Brussels sprouts with the cut side down.  Cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes until seared and light, golden brown.

Turn sprouts over and move them to one side of the pan.  It’s okay if you have to pile them on top of each other.

Add remaining olive oil (and more if necessary) to the bare side of the pan.  Add the chicken, shallots and salt and pepper.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes and chicken is about 80-90% done.  Stir and flip the chicken intermittently.

Evenly drizzle the balsamic vinegar, honey and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sprouts are crisp-tender.

Evenly sprinkle with sun dried tomatoes, cranberries and pumpkin seeds and stir to combine.  Serve immediately.  This dish is best warm and fresh but will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

Yield – serves 4

Total time – Approx. 20 minutes