I can’t avoid it any longer….

ice-971960_1280If you have read my Contact Me page or follow me much on Twitter, you probably know that I have actively resisted (that’s putting it mildly!) getting a Facebook account. As of sometime this week, that is finally going to be changing.

It has simply reached the point that I really cannot do what I want and need to do online without a Facebook account.

Am I happy about that? No, I am not. I still have serious concerns about privacy issues. I don’t care for some of Facebook’s policies. But unfortunately, enough  businesses and services that I need to use have developed models that are so integrated with Facebook that I am severely crippled by not having the ability to connect via Facebook.  Yeah, Spotify, for starters, I am talking to you….

That list of people disseminating essential information on Facebook now includes local public safety services in the community where I live, which has turned not having Facebook into a safety hazard. Needless to say, I don’t feel that I really have a viable choice anymore.

To start out with, I am probably going to keep the new account fairly locked down until I feel more comfortable with the service. I will be creating pages for my blogs, particularly the eBook Evangelist, and I will be posting links when I get everything set up. I still plan to be spending most of my social media time on Twitter. We will see how it goes.

So, anyway, I am getting a Facebook account – but under protest. I am still kicking and screaming all the way. This is about as close to Hell freezing over as it gets, folks.

New Year, Lots of Busy, Lots of Books

quill-Yes, I am still alive. I tweet, therefore, I am.

I still have all of last year’s books to talk about: I am that behind!

Part of the problem I have had is the work stuff (music and holiday promotions) and the Ebook Evangelist Blog writing come first. That doesn’t leave a lot of time.

Secondly, late last summer, I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited and found myself juggling my own lengthy TBR list of books I own, my Scribd subscription and my KU subscription. That is a lot of books to read!

What has been interesting is that I find that I really do need both subscriptions. I love reading indie authors. I also love reading series, particularly sci fi and mystery. Certain ones, like the Phryne Fisher mysteries, have the whole series available, either on Amazon to buy or on Scribd to borrow. The frustrating thing is finding only part of a series available on one site – or in one format or at a reasonable price. So most series I have to sort of cobble together, buying some and borrowing others to read.

I am still boycotting fiction priced at more than $9.99 for an ebook, so sometimes I feel that price is driving the reading as much as a particular title or interest. But  I am not paying top dollar for old books. On my wishlist, waiting for the price to come down, is James A. Michener’s The Source. Random House wants $12.99 for a book that’s 50 years old. Not going to happen.

Anyway, I will try to get back to blogging about books soon. I have a lot of them to tell you about!

Ice Box Rolls

I was cleaning out a box in my office and found this recipe for these yummy bread rolls my mother used to make when I was growing up.  I have seen various versions of this recipe floating around the Internet and it supposedly dates back to the early 1950s. The name comes from the fact that you refrigerate the dough before you bake the rolls. The recipe uses leftover mashed potatoes and the bread has a really unique taste because of it.

The recipe is supposed to make 36 rolls. But my mother always made them bigger. When baked, they were the size of a big hamburger bun.  Hot out of the oven and slathered with margarine, the taste was just to die for. This is one of the strongest flavor memories of my childhood.

Ice Box Rolls

¾ cup shortening

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk (luke warm)

½ cup water (luke warm)

1 package dry yeast (fast acting)

6 cups flour

1 cup mashed potatoes

Dissolve yeast in luke warm water and milk. Cream together sugar, shortening, and eggs. Add to yeast mixture. Add mashed potatoes. Mix well. Add flour and salt. Knead well. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, and place in refrigerator (overnight or for about eight hours). Take dough from refrigerator and roll into shape for individual rolls. Let rise until double in size. Bake in 425 degree oven until brown.

Remaining dough can be covered and stored in refrigerator for up to 48 hours, but, honestly, it never lasts that long around here….

Tears for Giovanni: The too short life of a special dog

Giovanni

I spent the day yesterday crying over the death of a dog I’d never met.  

I’d only seen bad cell phone pictures of him and occasionally heard him barking when I spoke to my son on the phone.  Nevertheless, I have spent the day heart-broken over the needless death of my son’s roommate’s dog, Giovanni. 

Giovanni and Jack
Giovanni and Jack

We don’t know all the facts pertaining to his death.  We may never know.  There definitely seems to be negligence on the part of the Albuquerque, New Mexico animal hospital that treated him.  There are indications the dog may have been poisoned.  Either way, at less than a year old,  he is still just as dead. 

Giovanni had not had a an easy life.  A pit bull mix, he was abused by his former owners.  Rather than becoming mean and aggressive, he was a gentle soul, playful and full of love.  My son’s roommate, M, adopted him from a shelter.  He made fast friends with my son’s dogs, Jack and Daisy.  He loved his new home and his new family.  I fell in love with his pictures and was looking forward to meeting him on my next trip to New Mexico. 

My son and his roommate are, of course, devastated at Giovanni’s loss.  

As a parent, it is hard to see these kids, on their own, halfway across the country, struggling to deal with the loss and the unfairness of it all after spending over a thousand dollars and doing everything they could to save the dog’s life.

As a person, animal lover that I am, to think that someone could have poisoned the dog deliberately is sickening.  To think that veterinary providers could be so uncaring and incompetent (and greedy for dollars) when life of a pet is at stake is absolutely outrageous to me.   I have been giving my Labradorable Retriever lots of pats and hugs.  He’s been glued to my side, because he always knows when I am upset.

I realize that many people do not share my view that pets are members of your family.  I really do get that.  But regardless of where you weigh in on that, animals deserve the right to live out their lives without being the target of a person’s hate or anger or as a target for revenge against someone.  And they do deserve competent medical care, especially when you are paying premium rates for those services. 

Many years ago, I found this tribute to a dog by George Graham Vest.  The first time I read it, it made me cry and has shaped the way I think about dogs as a member of the family.  For me, it always comes to mind when a dog is lost too soon:   

ONE MAN’S SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO A DOG

The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful
or treacherous, is his dog.

 A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground where the wintery winds blow,
and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s  side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the sores and wounds that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his Pauper master as if he were a prince.

When all other friends desert, he remains.  When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in it’s journey through the heavens. If misfortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies.

And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in it’s  embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true, even in death.

 -From a speech given by Former Senator George Graham Vest of Missouri. Delivered in 1870 when he was acting as a lawyer in a suit against a man who had killed the dog of his client. — He won the case.

If you have a story about a beloved pet who was lost too soon, I’d love to hear it.  And, if anyone has recommendations for a good vet in the Albuquerque area, please leave a comment and let me know.