Coming Soon!

Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh is the companion novella to My Adventures As Brother Rat. Jiang Li is now available; for a signed copy, please contact me via my website Contact Me button. Price is $7.00 plus s/h of $2.20 for envelope and postage, or $4.90 for Priority Mail (6 copies will fit in a Priority Mail envelope).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Two TV Reviews

How the States Got Their Shapes

While surfing the tv the other night for something to watch before bed, I came across a program on one of the “educational” channels called How the States Got Their Shapes. I don’t remember who narrated the show, but Mark Stein appeared several times, and is the author of the book. The narrator was born and raised in Ohio and started there, taking us on an odyssey across the country from top to bottom, coast to coast, in no particular order, explaining why the individual states are shaped like they are. The reasons run the gamut from religion to politics to old King George drawing lines on a poorly (if) surveyed map!

I thought rivers played a major role in state borders – but it is much more than wandering rivers. The colonies were mapped out for a variety of reasons, including religion. (Incidentally, the Mason and Dixon Line did not separate the North from the South, contrary to what most of us were taught in school). California got so big because they had gold and presented a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude to Congress. Idaho has a skinny top because they had gold, and didn’t want the rowdy miners who would come to dig it out, so they gave it to Montana. Congress didn’t trust the Mormons so carved their Territory of Deseret into the much smaller state of Utah. (There we go with the religion thing, again.)

If you go online and google How the States Got Their Shapes, something lie 29M entries will come up. Including several for Mark Stein’s book, a copy of which will soon reside in my library ;-)

America: The Story of Us

With much ballyhooing, The History Channel began their epic 6 part showing of this 12- hour docu-drama last night. While I do watch The History Channel, I admit I am not a great fan of them. I have seen too many shows where they got the history flat out wrong, or strongly implied it was wrong, so I came to the tube last night with more than a tad of skepticism. I managed to stay awake for most of the show, dozing off while George Washington was frozen in Valley Forge. I don’t claim to be an Historian with a capital “H”, but I do love history, and must admit, I was very favorably impressed with what they presented. I found the presentation quite riveting and in fact learned a few things. Or, in some cases, possibly re-learned them.

Check your local listings for reruns of both shows, and set your clock to remind you about America: The Story of Us next Sunday night! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by either.

Also, check your local library for DVDs of the programs and or the books!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


My friend and travel buddy, Kay, came for a visit a few days ago to see and bless the new kitchen. Of course, she loved both the new kitchen AND the new bathroom! We thought we'd go out to the McNary Wildlife (Bird) Refuge, but the clouds were coming in and rain in the forecast, so we went to the duck pond down by the Columbia. Where we saw lots of gulls....

...and a skunk. We think Mz Flower is a female, because she was quite busy gathering grass, etc., and hauling it into her den when she wasn't drinking. We figure she either has babies, or is about to. However, we didn't get close enough to ask ;-)

We also saw many geese, including this family who so generously posed for us, on several occasions. Ah, spring....!
The family that swims together.....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Now and Then

You may have to do some mental shifting with photos and captions. The operator isn't working with all buttons this morning ;-)

Then....and now!

Then...and now!
I can't take these pictures from quite the same angle. I stood in the door for the old one, but the door has moved -- as well as just about everything else!

Self Portrait! Note my illuminating personality ;-)

Ever wondered what it looks like under a house? This is what it looks like under mine. Marco took the picture. Believe me, I was not, am not nor will I ever be, willing to crawl under my house, nor anyone elses!

And there it is! My new kitchen and bathroom. There are still a few nits to be fixed, but basically it's all over but the shouting - and writing of checks! I am absolutely thrilled with both room. And if any of you are in the Tri-Cities area and in need of any kind of construction (or destruction), I give my whole-hearted recomendation to Bill and his Triple C Construction Company! And if you need new cabinets, you will not go wrong with Columbia Cabinets!

Now, don't forget to check out my new website:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Almost Finished!

We are down to the final bits. The guys are short a wee bit of trim - it will be delivered Thursday, in the meantime, they are taking care of last minute bits and pieces -- framed in the window, finished trim above the stove,

sanded the patch in the hall in preparation for putting the texture on and painting it, as well as the the end of the tub wall in the bathroom.

There is touch up painting to be done in both kitchen and bath, the hall wall needs repainting and the one bedroom wall in my room needs repainting.

Bill is pretty sure it will all be finished by close of business this coming Friday! Hooray! I am sooo ready for the Before and AFTER pictures!!!! ;-)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

It Works!!!

What's the old saying? Something about Red Stove at night, Cook's delight...?

Well, the stove was checked out by the stove adjuster, a couple wee adjustments made, then the ceiling was repainted white (you can see a bit of blue over the hood), then the fan on the roof was connected to the hood in the house, and I can now cook! Once I relearn how ;-)

A happy coinkydink is my red pot rack matches the stove, as does the red timer (far right on the hood).

Monday they will finish up - a piece of wood that matches the cabinets will go above the hood, the window will be framed in, and little touch ups, etc. At least, I hope they finish up on Monday.

I don't know what the 'grates' over the burners are made of, but they cool down pretty fast, unlike my other stove. By the time I ate dinner last night, they were cool enough to handle so I could clean up. When the adjuster came out to be sure all was proper, he also told me Emeril Lagasse uses Viking ranges. But, I bet Emeril's aren't red!

A friend of Vince's came by yesterday to see the work in progress. He is a Home Stylist (ie, interior designer). He just came back from a dealer's show in 'Vegas and was telling Vince about how color is finally coming back in style and Vince told him about the job he was working on and how colorful it was. So, Jarrod came by to have a look see. He loved it! He will come back when it's done and the mess is cleaned up;-)

When all the touch ups are finished, etc., I'll put pictures up of the Before and the After.

Y'all have a Happy Easter and a Marvelous Spring!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

slim pickins

Well, slim pickins yesterday. About the only thing going on yesterday is 'young' Alex came and grouted the tiles (not to be confused with slightly older Alex who put the tiles in), and I spent all day figuring out where to put stuff in the kitchen. Mostly, I knew where I wanted to put things, and I now have almost everything unpacked and put away. There are a couple boxes I am going to put in storage - my aunt's crystal, my cousin's unicorn collection, and some misc. stuff, otherwise, it's mostly unpacked. Am waiting to hang the pot rack (they have to repaint the ceiling), and they need to connect the hood to the motor on the roof, then I can remove all the plastic on the hood and use the stove. Whoopeee!!!!

So, no pictures today, but should be more tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow's pictures will be the totally finished project!