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, 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/