Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Win a Free Christian Fantasy Book:

Okay, I spazzed on the CSFF Blog Tour of THE BOOK OF NAMES by D. Barkley Briggs. I have the book on my sofa, and have had it there for two weeks, and yet I haven't read it. The mango flowering season has me on triple steroids and on prescription eye drops for all the itchies and wheezies. Reading in short spurts is okay. Reading a novel, not so much.

But I want to give you the tour links so you can visit people who have lots to say on the novel. And, as an act of support for a Christian fantasist, and my own little mea culpa follow-up, I'd like to give away ONE COPY of THE BOOK OF NAMES.

NOTE: You gotta live (or have an address) in the continental U.S. and be willing to give me your full name and snail mail address, as I'm gonna be ordering it from to be sent directly to YOU.

So, just leave a comment with your disguised email (ie, JohnDoe atsy yahoo mail dot com). I'll pick a name at random. If only one person comments, then, you win. :)

I'll take names on comments under THIS BLOG POST until the end of next week. I'll choose a winner (if anyone enters, that is) by Feb 2.

And do drop by Mr. Briggs' blog.

The Tour's Bloggers:
Sally Apokedak
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Rachel Briard
Valerie Comer
Frank Creed
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Alice M. Roelke
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Timothy Wise

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Going for Quality Homemade Brew,
Which Officially Busts The Budget!

Well, I decided to really become an official coffee snob. :)

I figure that I really enjoy my 2 to 4 cups a day, so I'm gonna upgrade to really good equipment and make to-die-for coffee from fresh ground beans. When I have to deprive myself of other indulgences due to high cholesterol and a fat bum, coffee is worth splurging on for nearly zero calories per cup.

Plus, I'm mad right now. And when I'm mad, I change things.

For the last year, I've had a Flavia Fusion machine. I've been quite happy with it. It makes one cup at a time. I can make assorted types of coffees and teas and "indulgences", including lattes and moccachinos. And there are no grounds to clean up. A snap. Coffee in 30 seconds, one fresh cup at a time. And while I've been happy with the machine, the coffees themselves left me hanging. I was happy with the House Blend, an enjoyable "working class" sort of coffee.

I went to make my breakfast cup didn't taste like House Blend. It tasted like hazelnut flavored coffee. And I detest pre-flavored coffees. When I drink my breakfast cup or after dinner cup, I want my coffee black and sweetened, but not flavored. Ugh. I checked the packet (it's a pod type coffeemaker), and it said it was House Blend. The new case it came from said "House Blend." Me so confuzzled by that. I made another one from a different pod in the same case. It also tasted flavored with hazelnut.

I called Flavia. They couldn't seem to address the issue, and tech support was so busy, I couldn't expect to hear from them until maybe tomorrow.

Do they know what it is to have a coffee jones? I mean, I'm used to my cup or two at breakfast, maybe a cup with lunch, maybe a cup with dinner. It's part of the ritual.

Here is what they SHOULD have done, had they really cared a big fat bowel movement about customers: "Oh, sorry Mrs. Doe. We certainly understand how frustrating it is that you expected your usual House Blend coffee, and it was an improperly packaged flavored one, instead. How vexing. We will immediately ship out a case of House Blend at no cost to you--since you already paid for your case of coffee--and make sure you get it by Friday via UPS. We are so sorry for the inconvenience."

They can do all their tech and what-not checking later. Leaving a coffee lover hanging is not cool business.

So, today, in a fit of massive pique, I went online and spent THREE HOURS researching coffeemakers and coffee beans and grinders, and I got myself a top of the line combo that I hope I get by next week. I will no longer be dependent on Flavia and their crap customer service.

I will have one of the handmade Dutch TECHNIVORM thermal carafe coffeemakers sent to me (cost $265 ouchie dollars). It's one of only two coffeemakers I saw out there that got certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, guarantee to brew coffee at the perfect temperature. Coffee snobs rave about it. So, my birthday is exactly a month away. Here is my early gift. I will be telling hubby this is what he got me. As usual SOP in our household. :)

I also got a Baratza burr grinder. Apparently, this type of grinder makes for a much better and non-bitter cup. Which is good, as I'm gonna be ordering gourmet coffee and I don't wanna ruin expensive beans. (I used to order from Torreo, but I'm trying Terroir this time.) I got three bags of highly-rated whole beans roasted coffees (all with more than 92 points at Coffee Review website).

See what happens when lousy customer service ticks off The Mir. The Mir upgrades. So, no more orders of coffee from Flavia, and in a recession, they may feel it. I mean, I spent about 400 bucks in the last year with them on coffees, teas, and water filters, on top of the $99.00 price of the machine. Say bye-bye to those 400 bucks yearly of ongoing business, Flavia. Adios!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Helping Haiti While Buying Brew

January 17 is the Day of Giving to assist a town on Haiti. This is sponsored by World Vision:

Starbucks and the City of Miami’s “Operation Hope for Haiti” have committed to “break the silence” and respond in solidarity. Join us in a special day of giving to raise support to rebuild an affected rural community in Hinche, Central Plateau. Funds will be used to support ongoing transformational development including reforestation, flood prevention, and economic opportunities. On January 17, stop by the World Vision table in Starbucks stores to speak with a volunteer to learn more about the Haiti partnership.

You don't have to be in Miami to help. Donate here.

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Image Issue

My blog is looking weird. Sorry. I only just noticed now. It may be related to my blog's designer (Hanna) having her domain name expire. Her blog is looking off, too.

I hope this will be resolved soon. Bear with me for the bloggy ugliness.

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Keith Green - Make My Life A Prayer To You

Keith's music is always good for my day's attitude adjustment when I get up all wonky and blurry and cranky.

Big blessing here.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Waiting for my Word and Trying to Breathe While Waiting

The mango trees have been flowering, and this means that I have not been breathing well. For a month, it has been a struggle to get air in. My inhaled bronchial steroid's RX strength has been tripled. I've returned to using my nasal inhaled steroid (which I hadn't used all 2008, cause I'd felt fine most of the year, nosewise). I'm using nebulized albuterol a couple times a day. I even had to resort to Patanol eyedrops to stop the awful itching in my peepers. (All in all, I've filled 8 allergy/asthma Rx's this month).

Today was pretty good, though, for which I am soooo grateful. The 40 pound cat is off my chest. The invisible person strangling me seems to have taken a break. I actually did some laundry.

And my mood is good. I haven't suffered a big setback since my depression lifted almost exactly a year ago. I praise God for that.

So, it's a new year, and if an old health plague continues to harrass me, at least I can focus on other things as it's a time of beginnings. I'd like to get back to my writing, which I've totally dropped for going on 1.5 years.

I've spent a lot of time off this blog, too, and I feel bad about that. I had to attend to other things in 2008 and online stuff was just taking too much time--all those blogs, listservs, groups, etc. It's dangerous to get addicted to all the online events. Real life starts to become clogged.

But I'm feeling like I want to reconnect a bit. I've missed some old "faces". We'll see how well I do with retreading familiar bloggy grounds.

And like a gazillion other people, I'm resolving to lose weight. Heh.

Meantime, I'm waiting for this year's word or phrase or verse or command. I like to ask for something of the Lord to serve as guide. Last year was "hope."


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