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.

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


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)


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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review for The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

A sad tale with a bit of redemption in the end
3 stars

I read this book because it was a novel written in first person.  The story is narrated by three women, each with a past and something to hide.  The main narrator is Rachel, an alcoholic who is barren, fat, and feels very insecure and worthless.  Her husband divorces her and she loses her job, but keeps this job loss a secret for half of the novel. She’s too ashamed to admit that she was fired for consistently being drunk on the job, so she takes the train to work everyday as she lives in her dream world.

A lot of “in your head” talking goes on in this story and especially on the train.  Rachel can view her old house and neighborhood from the window and watch her husband and his new wife and child on the balcony.  She’s upset that they live in her house and have the family she always wanted.  She also watches another house a few doors away and imagines the happy life that couple have.

Rachel becomes obsessed with a pile of discarded clothes next to the railroad tracks and then reads in the paper about a girl who goes missing off the street of her old neighborhood.  She’s lonely and has no life of her own.  She drowns all her pain through various alcoholic beverages daily.  But Rachel’s interest is perked when she reads about the disappearance.  She emerges herself in this unfolding story as the police investigate the vanishing of the girl from the happy couple who live a few doors from her old house. 

Rachel so desperately wants to fit in and feel needed that she lies to get close to the husband of the missing girl.  As we all know lies eventually catch up with us.  But Rachel isn’t the only one lying throughout this book.

There are lots of underlying factors in this story of love, lies, divorce, jealousy, lust, betrayal and fear.  At first I found it a bit hard to get into this book because of all the internal narration going on in the heads of Rachel, Anna and Megan.  There’s very little dialogue.

Rachel finds herself in many wrong places at the wrong time.  The fact she doesn’t remember a lot of things because she was drunk eats away at her as she tries to figure out what really happened.

In the last seventy five pages, the story really starts coming together with a lot of the blanks filled in.  I enjoyed this part the best.  I know this book was made into a movie.  Perhaps the movie will be better than the book this time.  Usually books are always better, but I guess I got the message that Rachel was a lonely drunk trying to find a way to fit in and be happy early on in the story.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What a way to start the day

Desert Sunrise 27 Sept 2016

I really have to share this with all of you.  It’s not often I’m up to see the sunrise but I’ve had to get up earlier than I would like lately due to work.  A lot of the time it’s still dark outside and me, being the night owl I am, I’m trying to shake the cobwebs out of my head.

Desert Sunrise 27 Sept 2016 
Anyway, once I did make my way to the kitchen to start the coffeepot, I saw all this early morning color blasting through my window shades.  I peeked out and had to grab the camera and step out onto the patio in my skimpy PJ’s.  I couldn’t let this shot pass me by.  No one lives behind us anyway and if they did, who would want to look at an old lady.  What other idiot would be up at this hour also went through my head.  Most of my neighbors are retired.

 Desert Sunrise 27 Sept 2016
Of course the old verse red sky in the morning, sailors take warning crossed my mind as well, but I don’t know any sailors.  I stood in awe looking at all this beauty and snapping pictures in a panorama across the backyard.  Finally, I went back into the house so I could get my coffee and get ready for work.  That old clock never stops ticking, you know.  We don’t often get a sunrise this pretty.  Most of our skies like this are sunsets.  I guess getting my four hours of sleep was worth it that morning.