My Novels

Friday, September 26, 2003

Erm, long time, no post. I DO have a reason -- I've been busy with my newest hobby, home winemaking. And while I HATE cooking (food), I find this activity very interesting and absorbing; it's sort of like a scientific experiment sometimes! :-)

I had my first batch of homemade wine mature at the first of the week, quite a lot of work with that...and found that one batch was okay, but another one was truly exceptional! That encouraged my efforts, so I started up other varieties and that took most of my week. If you haven't tried it, you should. Lots of fun, and a great way to get some wine. (As an aside, I live in a dry county -- ridiculous, yes! -- so it's over 50 miles to the nearest wet county...and making my own wine -- since I LOVE wine -- is also a productive and inexpensive enterprise.)

What else? Not much to report, just the same old, same old. I AM reading a fascinating novel, "The Midwife's Tale"....and enjoying it greatly.

I do think DH and I are going to take a break from house/property hunting, as it seemd fruitless in these times of low mortgage bank rates. Maybe later when it becomes a "buyer's market" we'll start looking again. After all, it isn't as if I'm miserable here; I really like city living, especially in our modest-size southern town. Besides, what would happen to all the stray cats I feed?

I read that poverty has increased in the USA since the Bushie has been Prez. Is anyone naive enough to be surprised by that? The Repubs enrich themselves at the expense of those less fortunate; that should be Repub 101 in any college course and/or life in the USA course. And in the meantime, the poor (mostly) are suffering the loss of loved ones over in Iraq; you don't think RICH folks allow their kin to go into ACTUAL combat, do you?

I'm still riding my bike every day, and my weight is holding steady at 93 lbs. I can't complain, since I eat almost all I want, except sweets. I wonder if everyone gave up sweets, how much weight they'd lose? Perhaps that is a great weight-loss secret -- one that even Dr. Phil might not have discovered!!

Here's a quote I came across that is so true: "Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." --Robert A. Heinlein

That's a wrap for today.

Monday, September 22, 2003

I was VERY disappointed last week when we learned that someone else had already bought the older house/land! I think we're jinxed on timing, when it comes to real estate. We'd looked at that place about 15 years ago, but someone else bought it before we made an offer. It IS a beautiful old house (over 100 years old), and a perfect location... Alas, sometimes you just have to accept the loss and move on...

We did get a lot done around our home last week, but still have other projects in progress (that's part of the deal when you own an older home)... DH may take another week of vacation in October, and we'll finish whatever tasks we must then.

In the meantime, there is another foreclosure we're looking into: only $36,000.00 for an older house about 7 miles from the city. But I am not sure if it has any land; if not, perhaps some could be bought adjoining the small plot available.

We also placed an ad about what we're looking for...and should get some responses when that comes out on Wednesday. It'll be interesting to see if ANYONE is eager to accept CASH instead of having all the hassle of going through a bank loan. In this low-rate interest market, I don't know if there's an advantage to having cash! :-(

GREAT visit yesterday with my sister and brother-in-law. I love their new house, although it's in a new subdivision (and I'm not partial to new houses/subdivisons), but a pricey, exclusive area of the large city where they live.

That's it for today!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Not much time to write this week. DH is on vacation, we've been working around the house/property, doing all those "ownership" tasks. We will visit my sister and brother-in-law on Friday, and I'm looking forward to that. They live 50 miles away, in a large city, so we plan to enjoy the day and evening together, maybe go out to eat. They have recently moved into a new house, and I'm eager to see it!

We are having glorious weather, so I've been able to ride the bike every day. And all the work must have helped me lose a pound, cause I'm back to 92 lbs, though I'm eating around 2,000 calories a day!

We are also going to look at an older farmhouse with five acres later today; it's for sale by owners, and we actually nearly bought this same place about 15 years ago, but let it get away from us. It's in an IDEAL location, only about five miles from the town where we currently live, as well as only about a mile from another smaller town which has a strip mall with necessary shopping places. Best of all, we could buy it CASH, and not have a loan and still have some savings left. Perhaps keep our house in the city, rent it out.

Enough for now, have to get busy!

Saturday, September 13, 2003

I'm doing MUCH better, thank you muscle relaxers! In fact, I do believe the awful pain has subsided, and hopefully I'm on the road to recovery. (Cliches, sorry) I was able to go on my morning bike ride, and it was GREAT! Nice and cool, the scent of pine and cedar trees lining the trail, no one in the park but me. I sure missed the biking!

I also went to our Salavation Army Thrift Store today. Before you think I'm a total cheapskate, I'll tell you that I truly enjoy shopping there. First, it's less personal than a "Yard Sale" and second, it's easy to browse and just take your time. I've found some VERY good bargains there. I buy skirts for spring/fall wear, which are real bargains; I found a few that still have price tags on them, and have NEVER been worn! Sometimes people (myself included) buy stuff in stores and decide later they hate it -- and then donate it to the Salvation Army. I also buy pillows there for my cats to lie on, and get those for 25 cents each. You cannot beat that. Then I toss them out when they are soiled. (Note: being thrifty has allowed DH and I to save well over $100,000.00 in the past ten years).

Soooo, what's new in the news? :-)

Looks like our troops f*cked up big-time in Iraq. I DO NOT blame them, for I KNOW it MUST be awfully confusing trying to determine the "enemy" from the "friend"(sort of like Vietnam, eh?)...but I also completely UNDERSTAND and EMPTHATHIZE with the enraged and grieving Iraqis!

Here's a link/excerpt to the latest disaster:

U.S. Apologizes for Friendly Fire in Iraq

On Saturday afternoon, the eight coffins were carried into a mosque for religious rites before they were given to family members for burial. Outside, gunshots erupted throughout Fallujah as mourners fired into the air. Some in the crowd chanted: "There is no God but Allah, and America is the enemy of Allah."

In an ominous message, Fawzi Namiq, the mosque's imam, said through loudspeakers: "Save your bullets for the chests of the enemy."

In the streets, angry residents roughed up reporters who came to witness the ceremony. A clergyman grabbed one armed man and prevented him from shooting at a departing Associated Press Television News car as it sped from the city. A CNN cameraman was beaten and an Associated Press photographer was hit in the face.

The U.S. military issued an apology for the shooting and said an investigation had begun. However, military spokesman Lt. Col. George Krivo said the Americans only fired after they were "attacked from a truck by unknown forces."

"Coalition forces," he said, "immediately returned fire and the subsequent engagement lasted approximately three hours. Regrettably during the incident extensive damage was done to the (Jordanian) hospital and several security personnel were killed, including eight Iraqis and one Jordanian national."

I guess the Iraqis are not buying our "Oops" and "Sorry" too well, huh?

As for the 2004 election here in the USA, surely today I've become a total Dick Gephardt supporter.

Take a look at this: George W. Bush -- A Miserable Failure

And if you are concerned about our SOARING health care costs here, as well as the insurance costs, take a look at this and see how much it can save you: Health Care Plan

You can enter your income and find out EXACTLY what you will save. I did it, and our savings would be:

What you'll save with the Gephardt Health Care plan: $1,982

What your state will get under the Gephardt plan: $2,306,535,000

What you "saved" under Bush's tax cuts for the rich: $600

What your state got under Bush's
"miserable failures" on the economy:

more lost jobs than the last 11 presidents COMBINED

Yeah, I'm for Gephardt!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Soooo, the dreaded Sept. 11th reminder of our weakness comes around again. It IS a sad, bad day for America, and I suppose that all of us here have our own opinions about why it happened. I'm sure EVERYONE though feels the sadness of so many lives lost -- yet at the same time, I would hope that Americans aren't so arrogant as to think that OUR lives are more valuable than any other human beings on the planet. If so, then that IS part of the problem that led up to the violent death and destruction of that day.

Let me clarify (as I have in other journal entries) that I DO love my country; I am as sentimental and patriotic as most Americans when I hear the national anthem, see the flag waving or hear my kindred citizens say how great our country is. I am not sure though that I think our country is the greatest one on earth, though we are powerful and mighty. However, even though I believe democracy is the best we humans have devised, I think a few other countries have better all-around democratic policies than the USA -- the Netherlands, England, Canada (at the very least those countries seem to understand that humanitarian social programs, such as necessary basic health/medical care are essential). This country has a hard-edged, downright mean, rampant capitalism creed that is not tempered by humanitarian social policies. That, you see, is perhaps partly WHY Sept. 11th happened, and if our leaders fail to realize this, then I am absolutely positive that terrorism will continue -- and not just the threat of 'foreign terrorists' but our own freedom-born citizens who will become frustrated and explode in devastating acts of destruction (such as Tim McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing). Alas, there IS much that is right with my country; and much that IS wrong. It is up to US, as citizens, to correct the faults and flaws...if possible.

I also want to clarify that IF I could trust our President and the neo-conservatives who claim to be trying to start a democratic Iraq as an example of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, then I would applaude their efforts AND be for the continuing war there. However, IF all that is needed in the Middle East is a REAL example of democracy, then please tell me WHY Israel isn't inspiring ALL the other Muslim countries to be like their country? No, it's my suspicion (and Americans are, and should be, a suspicious lot about government) that MONEY and, yes, you got it: rampant capitalism/greed is behind the Iraq war. Oil you know, black gold (to use the lyrics of an old song)...which can make millions for...well, various cronies of the Prez. Therefore, I think the whole situation in Iraq is doomed...unless we get MORE American troops over there. And I really don't think even the redneck Republicans will be signing up for duty -- and will not approve a draft. Ah, I feel a draft blowing in the wind...and since I lived through the Vietnam Era, I know exactly what that means: killing off the poor boys and helping the rich get richer (while their sons never serve). to my own personal news. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and had some x-rays done on my back/spine. I'm still hurting, very sore and was worried that I'd caused worse damage by that fall than I thought. The x-rays didn't show anything alarming, but the doctor said he wanted a radiologist to examine them. I overhead him talking to the nurse when they were looking at my x-rays (in an adjoining room) and she said something about a "hairline fracture." I suppose the doctor will call me if anything serious should be found by the radiologist. I certainly hope not. I got a prescription for some muscle relaxers and that helps somewhat. At 51 you don't just bounce back like when you were 25 or 30 OR even 40! It takes time to heal.

I haven't been able to bike since the accident, and have been eating fairly well...but have only gained one pound, now weigh 93. I can't complain about that. But I DO miss the biking, because it was fun to get out and ride the bike and it helped me sleep better. Of course, our weather has turned glorious, very mild and sunny, in the 60s at night, low 80s during the day...perfect for biking! I hope I can resume that soon.

That's it for today!

Friday, September 05, 2003

Ouch! Had a fairly bad fall off the steps on my cat's porch Wednesday afternoon. I have fallen before out there, and always try to be careful...but alas, sometimes it can't be prevented. I fell off the steps when my foot slipped out from under me, thus I landed on my back, which meant a step hit me just to the side of my spine. It's a good thing the hit wasn't direct to my spine, or I might be paralyzed! :-( Anyhow, as it is, I'm VERY sore, and having to hobble around most of the time. My toes on one foot were also scraped, and hurt like hell. I guess I'll survive, but it'll take some time for the soreness to go away.

Also bad news about the stray kitten -- it died. I couldn't get my hands on it, since the little thing was a feral cat and scared of humans. I could tell it was sickly, but all my efforts at capture for assistance (putting out my carrier with food in it) failed and then I found it dead Wednesday morning. It just breaks my heart to see these strays become sick, and die...but at least I KNOW they aren't starving to death, since I feed them well. Additionally, Old Fellow (a tom I'd been feeding well over a year) began to look extremely thin (though he did eat) and then the last time he was here, seemed ill. He did eat a few bites though, then left before I could try to capture him. Haven't seen him since, and that was over two weeks ago. I'm fairly sure he died too. I'll miss him, since he'd been a regular at the feed tray for strays.

Not much else to write about, unless I want to be even MORE depressing about the latest current events, nationally and worldwide, so I'll stop here for today. My back is hurting, and I am going to move to my laptop in a nice, comfy chair, get away from this desk!

I'll end with this quote: There's an old joke about the optimist who said that this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist who said, "Yes, I'm afraid you're right."

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Just a brief update to suggest a blog you must read. I'm not sure this is legitimate, but it sure has the ring of truth to it:

Baghdad Burning --
Girl Blog from Iraq... let's talk war, politics and occupation.

I'm also going to add a permanent link to this blog at the bottom of this page with my other links. This blog gives Americans another perspective, and as a fiction writer, I've always found it is quite enlightening to "walk a mile in the other person's shoes." Empathy is a good start on understanding. Try it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Hmm, I was going to post some more grim news today, rehash how I dislike the Shrub AND his entire administration, worry about the latest bad news from Iraq (which is ALWAYS bad!), and end up describing the sad, bad problems I'm having with a stray kitten that will probably die. But instead, as I was reading the alt.cats newsgroup (looking for solutions to the kitten problem) I found this post that made me laugh -- and I thought I'd share it, so other cat lovers could get a good chuckle! Enjoy!!

This was told to me as a true story.

Seems a man in our town was having trouble with his wife and decided to drown her cat in the toilet while she was gone. He picked up the cat and carried it into the restroom. The cat displayed nervousness as the man didn't normally come near. When he flipped up the lid and thrust the cat down, the cat immediately grew four extra legs (direct quote!). Thirty minutes later the only thing in the restroom that had not been in the toilet was the cat! The man gave up and went to sit in the den. When his wife came in he was soaking wet and the cat was napping under the TV. He told her he had plumbing problems. Apparently the cat told a different story as she took the cat and left.

My question is should the man be shot before breakfast or after lunch?

ROFL!!! I suggest the hubby be spared -- or maybe just neutered. No person in their right mind would try such a dumb stunt, and the wily cat taught him a lesson! ;-)