Thursday, May 21, 2015


Day 1 of self-employment.

Laundry, laundry...
ok, time to think very hard about changing the cover on the newest book, in order to better match with the first Laredo book.
While folding clothes.

New art found; Peter's readers asked which they prefer

More Tea.
And now for something completely different: sorting mail!
Brain break: making a loaf of bread from scratch.

...the sudden blinding realization that I can have poppy seeds again, without worrying about random drug tests!

Followed by the call to ask if I can help medicate Gremlin, as he is putting up a very effective feline protest. "When you're off work." Ah, the temptation to say 'I'll never be off work again!'

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Low Carb Hot Chocolate

It's come to my attention that there are women out there who are desperately unhappily under-chocolated, because they think the low carb diet precludes chocolate. However, if you remove the sugar, it's not that carb heavy. So, here, make yourself and the rest of the people in your life happier!

Hot Chocolate:

1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup half & half (or cream)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 squeeze from a bottle of sucralose, or packet of splenda if you must
salt (kosher is best)
vanilla extract
optional: 1 Tablespoon protein powder, vanilla

Boil water.
Dump cocoa & pinch of salt into mug (Salt removes bitterness.) Add water, stir. Add dairy goodness. Stir. Add splash of sucralose or the splenda packets, a tiny bit of vanilla extract, stir. Taste. If bitter, add more salt. If not chocolately enough to satisfy, add more cocoa & salt.

It's 8 grams usable carbs per mug, which is quite low for chocolate. If you add the protein powder, you can call it a breakfast shake at 15 grams of protein to balance the carbs. If you add a little bourbon (or rum), it's a happy, happy way to take an edge off. Instant coffee crystals make it a mocha...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

On being awesome

In an exchange with Cedar Sanderson and the lovely Mrs. Correia this morning, they helped clarify something that's been rattling around the back of my head for a while: Awesome is in the eye of the observer.

The core of being awesome is this: "I wanted to do it, so I found a way and did it."

To the person doing it, whatever it may be - writing a book, keeping a blog going ten years, learning to swim from youtube videos, flying a plane four thousand miles, staggering the last five yards in a timed 12-mile march in full combat load after your body has flat given up... this is rarely awesome. Mostly, it's a lot of frustration, a lot of time and effort and pain and just getting up again and again after every setback. And then figuring out what went wrong or could go better, and tackling fixing that. Then, getting up and doing it all over again.

It's everyone else who hasn't done that but always wanted to, who judges the effort and often the results awesome.

Keep doing. Keep finding a way. Keep going. You'll get where you want to go. But you won't recognize just how awesome you are to other people... because it's not your judgement.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Because she's awesome

It's a friend's birthday today. I'm planning to make cookies for him. Where do you go when you want a great cookie recipe? I could go to allrecipes, to find reviews by other bakers and adjust the written recipe to suit. Or, I could go to one of the best bakers I know, a woman who still takes the time to make croissants from scratch.

Come to the dark side. Brigid has cookies!

Oh, what cookies!

and then there's the brownies...

She also has a new book out!

Saving Grace is a series of thoughts, writing almost poetic in its ability to create a song and assemble entire pictures out of shadows on love, and the family we're born with, the family we meet along the way, and the families we make ourselves.

Kindle book should follow in the next few days!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Low Carb BBQ sauce

It's not absolutely low carb, but it's a whole lot less without sacrificing the flavor. As always change to your taste.

Low Carb Barbeque Sauce

1 tsp minced garlic
1 onion, diced fine
1/4 cup butter (even better, if you have it, substitute 1 tablespoon of this with bacon grease.)
2 Tablespoons baking splenda (the bulked-up stuff), 2 packets normal splenda, or two squirts of liquid sucralose
1 teaspoon salt (If you have penzey's smoked salt, use this and skip the liquid smoke flavouring)
1 teaspoon dry mustard (the spice, not the prepared condiment. If you don't have this, add a tablespoon of mustard condiment and cut the vinegar further down the list by the same amount.)
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika is better, if you have it)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 Tablespoon liquid smoke flavouring
1 Tablespoon Bourbon

Saute the garlic and onion in a saucepan until soft, preferably just short of caramelized. Stir in everything but the last 3 ingredients. Combine, let simmer 15-20 minutes. Add the last 3 ingredients, and stick the stick blender in. (Or whisk it all together. Either way.) Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Let cool, transfer to jar with tight-fitting lid, store in fridge.

It's around 64 grams of carbs for the batch. You do your own figuring on what a "serving" is.

The basic start for this recipe came from Dana Carpender's 1001 Low Carb Recipes, which has a much higher ratio of recipes I like and recipes that don't need much modiufication to be great. Look it up!

1,001 Low-Carb Recipes: Hundreds of Delicious Recipes from Dinner to Dessert That Let You Live Your Low-Carb Lifestyle and Never Look Back

Friday, April 10, 2015

Scattered NRA Notes

Viridian now has an answer to my biggest objection on their lasers: their C-series lasers have the on/off button under the tip of my pointer finger when drawing the gun. This isn't just much better, this is Actually Useful. The full-frame guns' X-series switch switch is still well forward of where my tiny hands can reach, so it's only useful if I have time to stop and fiddle.

On the other hand, the "activates when moved away from holster" sensor is now available as an adaptation kit for custom holsters! I'll bet Dragon Leatherworks could build that in to the next holster. (I saw Dennis today, though all too briefly. If I'm not careful, I might slip and accidentally order another custom holster... and Calmer Half might not fall for "It followed me home, I have to keep it...")

The lady running the Gun Totin' Mamas booth was delighted to see one of her purses was holding up fine and pretty after 3 years of use. Also, though I never paid attention, the heavy-duty hardware securing the straps is apparently a giveaway for people who know what they're looking at. This is the second time I've been stopped by someone who recognized my purse. This time, it was an older gentleman, terribly polite, who wanted to know if they were at the show as "My wife ordered me to find their booth."

You know you're in the media room when you're watching the keynote speeches, and the phrases around the table include "He's going off-message again", "Man, the lawyers certainly scrutinized that speech carefully!", "Excellent speechwriter, flat delivery." and so on. The critics of The Voice, we were not, but the politicians were getting graded on content, delivery, and actual performance.

It was wonderful to meet bloggers I knew only in comments before, and the company for dinner was awesome. On the other hand, when the music is so loud the server gets your orders wrong, well, I end up spending most of it trading pilot and Alaska stories with Murphy's Law, because pilot stories are half hand-motions anyway.

Sadly, this means I didn't get to hear Old NFO, Ambulance Driver, LawDog, DW Drang, Aaron of The Shekel, or any of the other awesome people there talk, because I could hardly hear myself think.

At least we did get caught up with DaddyBear's Den earlier in the media room!

I should post a lot more, but my throat is declaring a mutiny from trying to shout over the music, and I'm tired. I fall down go boom now, and see if I can speak in better than a croak tomorrow.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


I've been an attendee at conventions. I've been a staffer. I've been a volunteer. I've been a boothie (also called merchant or vendor, depending on the convention.) That only leaves media and sponsor.

I just picked up my media credentials for the NRA annual meeting. No, not for this tiny little corner of the internet - I'm affiliated with my Calmer Half's blog, Bayou Renaissance Man. I'm still shaking my head and giggling over the idea of me as media, but the NRA is pretty social-media savvy, and they wanted to make sure everyone on the high-traffic blog authors were included.

It's promising to be an interesting convention: the vendor floor is huge and easily as crowded as The Alaska Airmen's Annual Trade Show, with lots of small business booths and few huge dominating ones. No gigantic floor displays, though, unlike the auto or construction conventions. The programming tracks are very sparse and have a lot of repeats, completely unlike GenCon or Dragon*Con.

The entertainment track, though, is taking over the arena next door, as well as a street festival outside. The mind, it boggles slightly at the logistics. I'm impressed at their scale.

My main focus will be keeping Calmer Half in as little pain and as much enthusiasm as manageable. We've scouted out parking, food, places to sit down, the comfortableness of intended shoes, and medical resources.

Anything y'all want me to find or go see and tell you about, from the non-gunnie spousal viewpoint?