Friday, October 28, 2011

You won't go broke at the Farmers market

Yesterday I had to go to the dentist.  The news was NOT good.  I've been stalling on yet TWO MORE CROWNS (one is to replace an old leaky one) for three years now and can't put it off any longer.  (Wahhhhh!)

So what do I do to celebrate the loss of a ton of money?  I go to the local Farmers Market.
Let me tell you, it was COLD.  I was only there for about 15 minutes and I froze. I can't imagine what those poor farmers feel like at the end of a long day of selling veggies.  And quite a few of them have given up for the season, for there weren't half as many vendors.  Still, the brave few that were there sold enough to empty my wallet.

Potato leek soupI bought leeks and potatoes.  Guess what I'm having for lunch today?  Leek and potato soup. (And you can find the recipe for it here on my website.)

I bought two acorn squashes and one butternut squash (they were on special: 3 for $2).

I bought Brussels sprouts on the stalk.  Can you say roasted in olive oil with a little fresh ground pepper?

I bought a lovely (and huge--the size of a bowling ball) cabbage for $1.  We're going to make our own version of cabbage rolls (with the same thing we stuff green peppers.  Yum-EEEEE).

CauliflowerLast night we had the most delicious cauliflower.  I made enough for my mom, and there's still enough for a bunch more meals.

We are going to be eating our veggies for the next week.
The grocery store charges by the pound.  The Farmers Market charges by the item (and usually less than what the grocery store is selling it per pound.)  The market will be open this year until November 19th.  Can you say "Thank Goodness For My Chest Freezer?"

What did you get at the market?
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Witnessing a new low when grocery shopping

Man in robeYesterday I went grocery shopping . . . and saw a man in his PJs and robe.

YES--his PJs AND ROBE.  He was returning his empty pop and beer cans ... probably so he could buy more pop and beer.

This was at about 11 a.m., too.

And this guy wasn't a teen or college student. He was in his late 40s or early 50s.

What is wrong with people?

Heck, I don't even go shopping in shorts.

Have you ever seen those Walmart shopper pictures?  (He didn't look anywhere near as good looking as the guy above, either. He looked ... scruffy.  Hadn't shaved, etc.)

This guy was a candidate to join those shoppers.

What weirdness have you seen at the grocery store?
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A shopping I must go

Catfood102008Do you put things off?  I really need to do some serious shopping.  First of all, I need cat food.  We buy from the pet store because it's (a teensy bit) cheaper than the grocery store.  So we usually buy it by the case.  We're talking 15-20 cases at a time.  (And I'm the lucky one who gets to schlep it to the basement because I have two real--not replaced--knees.)

I need a new door handle for the pantry door.  That's a trip to Home Depot.

I need some new socks.  Haven't figured out where I'll go for them.

I need a new flash drive.  Lost the other one.  That's a trip to Staples.  (Which is right next to Home Depot.  Hmm...)

Shoping cartI need a bunch of other stuff, too.  But I just can't seem to get myself OUT of the house and shopping.  What a pain.  Get in car.  Drive.  Park.  Get out of car.  Go in store.  Don't find what I'm looking for.  Get back in car.  Drive somewhere else.  Get out of car.  Go in store.  Don't find what I'm looking for.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Maybe that's why I do so much shopping online these days.

A few years ago, our grocery store chain did have online shopping.  I think they were ahead of the curve.  Nobody used it so they discontinued it.

Today is grocery shopping/errand day.  By the time I get back (lunchtime), I won't want to go out for another week -- and then it will be grocery shopping/errand day again.

Do you like to shop?

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P.S.  I'm guesting today on two different blogs:  Lori's Reading Corner and Crazy For Books.  (They're giving away copies of Recipes to Die For and Murder On The Mind!)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Flip the switch and get warm

If you live in the Northeast you know . . . IT'S GETTING COLD!

It's actually been heat season for about a month now, that is, we've turned on the big furnace.  (Which ran most of the summer running the air conditioning.  I hate that.  I feel trapped in the house.  It's as bad as being stuck here in winter.)

Anyway, my office is on the opposite end of the house from the furnace.  That means my office is COLD.  In it winter, it sometimes gets down to 50 at night (when we turn down the furnace to 65).  That's a bit chilly to when you have to try to be creative.

EdenpureSeveral years ago Mr. L bought me an Edenpure heater. (Yeah, the kind that Bob Villa sells on TV.)  This little baby does a great job, if a bit slowly (for me at least).  On really cold mornings, it takes about 4-5 hours before the room gets up to a toasty 70.  (Okay, 70 really isn't toasty to me ... but others in the house seem okay with that temp.)

This little guy gets quite a workout from October until late March.  And then we take it to the cottage in April, because it gets downright cold.  (The cottage isn't winterized.)  We might end up using it until late May.  And then it gets revved up again in September.  (It's not the only form of heat we have there, but it is certainly appreciated.)

The little guy is chugging along behind me as I type this.  I figure the room will be warm in another hour or so.  Then ... let the creative juices flow ... because it'll finally be warm enough.

Do you use an auxiliary form of heat in your house?
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Friday, October 21, 2011

I've Been Hacked!

HackedIf you've ever communicated with me -- you might get some kind of inappropriate email with my return address.  Why?

I've been hacked!

I've changed my password in hopes that fixes things ... but ...

In the meantime, my apologies for the inconvenience.

Lorraine's signature

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Like Jerry Seinfeld says, "it's got a taint!"

Scones & Tea bookMore than a month ago, I ordered a book from Hoffman Media called Scones & Tea.  Yes, it's by the people who put out Teatime and Victoria Magazines.  Now, I've ordered stuff from them before and never had to wait more than a couple of weeks to get it.  This one ... took 6 weeks.

When I opened the package, I noticed there was a bill inside and a note that said I had ordered via check and underpaid.  No, no, no.  I ordered right from their email and paid via my credit card.  Now, truth be told, I don't remember if the shipping was free or not, but since I've ordered from them before (and since) and there was never a shipping fee before, I assumed the shipping was included in the $19.99 price.

Nope.  Now they want $4.

I sent them a note telling them that I did NOT order by check and that I believed the shipping was free.  Guess what--it wasn't Hoffman media that answered my email.  It was some fulfillment house.  (Probably they're the ones who sat on my order for 6 weeks.)  Make no mistake, they want that four bucks, and there was no "Dear Customer," no apology for whatever misunderstanding that may have happened, no explanation, no nothing--just a statement that says I owe and I need to pay it ASAP.

This is NOT good customer service, and not what I expected from a company that prides itself on Southern hospitality.  First of all, they should have acknowledged that I didn't pay by check.  They should also have given me some explanation as to why when ordering by credit card the shipping was NOT included. They did neither. "PAY UP SISTER" was their message.

It's too bad I really enjoy these magazines, or I could just ignore them and never order another thing from them again.  But I still want to read those magazines.

I tried to call and was on hold so long that I was in danger of using up my cell phone minutes for the month.  (Which is why I ended up emailing.)  But I'm not happy about this situation.  Would I have paid an extra $4 for this book had I known the cost was $4 more? Maybe -- maybe not.  But having to pay extra after you've already received the book?  Not amusing.

SeinfeldAnd I haven't even opened the book.  Now, to quote Seinfield, "it's got a taint."

Have you ever had an experience like this before?  If so, what did you do?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'm a one-woman cleaning machine

Cleaning ladyWe're having company!  Company coming means one thing to me:  CLEANING.

Did I ever mention how much I loathe house cleaning?

Yesterday I did the BIG loads of laundry.  Our greasy hairy cats love to sleep on the guest bed.  That means stripping the very cute (white vintage) chenille spread and the pillow shams.  I decided to go even deeper and washed the mattress cover, too.  This time I was smart, once everything was nice and clean, I covered the whole bed with an old sheet.  This way when our guest arrives today it'll be nice and fresh -- and no (black) cat hair.

Washing_machine_clipartI washed all the towels.  I washed all the dining room place mats (I have a lot, so I can save them up for weeks and do one big load).  I even washed all the throw rugs.

I tidied the kitchen.  I tidied my office (it needed it). I tidied the living room. I'll tidy the living room today (why do our cats scatter all their toys but refuse to play with them?) and vacuum. (Our baby suck (small shop vac) bit the dust yesterday.  I tried to fix it, but it's lost the will to live.)

Our guest will only be here two days, but our house should be clean and shining and inviting.  And then later this week we can go back to real life.

How do you prepare for a guest?
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why can't I find any pants in my size?

I've got an "occasion" coming up and I decided to go online to try to buy some new pants.  Guess what.  There are no pants in my size with a high waist.  They cannot be bought for ANY PRICE.

I have been buying my jeans from JCPenny for at least the last 15 years.  Why?  Because they sell to tall women.  Okay, I'm not all that tall (5' 7"), but I do happen to have long legs.  I need pants that are at LEAST 31 inches.  Guess what?  The average length is 29 1/2 inches.  So what's an inch and a half, right?  Well, it might as well be 6 inches in the winter when your pants are far above your ankle.

But now that Penny's has gone out of the catalog business--there went my source for pants that actually fit.  (I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS, JCP!!!)



But even if I can find pants that are long enough, I can't find them with a high waist.  Someone my size does NOT look good in hip-hugger jeans.  Every week I go shopping and see heavyset women in low-riding pants with rolls of excess flesh hanging over the top.  That's not a look I want.

Before I could find tall jeans, my Mom used to add a length of denim to the bottoms of my pants.  This was not an elegant solution, and you can't do that with dress pants.

I have searched the web and can't find any pants I can wear.

Don't tell me to wear a dress -- I gave that up years ago because I couldn't find anything flattering.  (It doesn't help that I don't know how to pick clothes.)

I may have to go to this party in my yoga pants.

Are you hard to fit?  If so, where do you buy your clothes?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bargain priced--Jeff Resnick Mysteries Volume 2

At least one person expressed interest in the ebook second volume of the Jeff Resnick Mysteries.

Yes!  It's now available--two books for the incredible price of $5.98.

You can find it for/at:

Jeff-box-set-2.med
Kindle

Nook

Smashwords (for all e formats)

(Coming soon to Sony E Reader, Kobo, Diesel, and iTunes.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yup, that's the entire crop

For the past few weeks we've been drowning in tomatoes and green beans.  Not a bad was to go, eh?
Friday I realized I had forgotten about my potato crop.

The potatoes had a rough summer.  Mr. Groundhog kept eating them down to about the 2-inch level.  Then one day, he said, "I've had enough potato leaves" and went out to the farm to destroy a large part of their eggplant crop.

So, the potatoes soldiered on.  They never had flowers and I figured we'd never get any potatoes, so I more or less forgot about them.  Until Friday.

By Friday, most of the leaves had shriveled up.  I looked around the weed-strewn patch and thought, "I'll never find them."  But, I dug where I thought they might be and sure enough I found them.  Aren't they cute?  We had some (with parsley from the yard) the other night.  Yum yum!

Potato crop 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

What a fabulous cover!

Marketing is everything.  It is.  Which is why I sent my character Katie Bonner (from the Victoria Square Mysteries) to grad school to get a degree in it.  She was determined to do a fabulous job of marketing her B&B, The English Ivy Inn ... of course, she never got to own the old Victorian House where she'd hoped to open her business ... and that's the first book.  (A Crafty Killing.)

JeffBoxSet1.med But I'm talking about ME marketing my work.  And one of the things I decided to do was offer the first two Jeff Resnick Books as a 2 fer.  Buy both books in one package and you save $2.

Look at the detail on this fantastic cover.  Isn't it wonderful?  (Done by the fabulous Pat Ryan Graphics.)

It's currently available from Kindle and Smashwords. (Nook always takes their time about these things.  But Smashwords sells all e formats, so everyone is still covered.)  And the cost for these two books?  $5.98 -- that's less than one paperback!  Such a deal!

As soon as I get my butt in gear, I'll be offering the other two books in the series as a 2 fer, as well.  (I already have the cover for that box set, too, and it's just as fabulous.)

COMING SOON:  A Jeff Resnick contest. 
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Where are all the pretty leaves?

On of the most depressing things about the changing seasons is the light -- or lack thereof -- in the mornings.

In the spring, the sun comes up waaaaaay too early.  Do I really need birds chirping outside my window and the sky getting lighter before 5 am?

But now, it's just the opposite.  Do I really want it to be pitch black out at 6:30 am (and even later come December)?

Maple blight This is usually the pretty time of year.  When the leaves turn yellow, gold, red, and orange.  Only too many of our maples have blight this year (too much rain and then not enough) and so the leaves are turning brown on the trees and just falling off.  (Even our pin oak is dropping leaves like crazy and usually it doesn't do that until November.)

Is fall happening differnt in your area, too?
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BTW, did you miss my last newsletter? If so, you can find it here:  http://p0.vresp.com/hqTemM
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My weapon of choice . . .

No sooner have I turned in one book (yesterday), when it's time to start the next.

Right now, I only know what several of the subplots will be. (That's because I'm writing an arc for the characters that won't be finalized until at least book #9.)

Still, I need to turn in a synopsis this week.  YIKES!

As of now I don't know who is killed, with what, or why.  Some day that will all be clear, but in the meantime . . .

Over the summer I purchased an old telephone similar to the one I describe in the Booktown Mysteries.  You may remember that I blogged about it back in August. (And you can read about it here.)
  Black Beauty Phone
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a big community sale and found the following solid brass letter openers.  I knew I had to have them, and I knew one of them would eventually find its way into one of my books (and one of my characters).

2 brass letteropeners

Now the problem is ... which one do I use for this next book?

Anybody got any strong feelings one way or another?
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