A Collection of Disconnected Rambles from My Real Life


1. Yesterday, I applied for a job at Wal-Mart. I think this was the most difficult thing I’ve done in the entire past year, and not because it was a job at Wal-Mart but because it is so difficult to actually apply for a job at Wal-Mart. You can only apply using this computer program they have in the store (NO paper option!) and it doesn’t work very well. I had to get a manager and then try a second machine before I could even get past the part where you have to put in a password. (It kept kicking me off.) Approximately one hour later, after answering a series of questions like, “Do you think it’s okay to steal from your employer?” (I’m thinking NO is the right answer. I mean, do people answer, “Yes, I love to steal!” What kind of question is that?) then it got to the part about your work history. The computer program didn’t include options in the menu for self-employment. In other words, I don’t think they’ll be calling me since I appear to have no work history at all. And if they did, I’d probably be out of luck anyway. It’s very difficult for me to get a job. Interviewers always say, “You write romance novels?” Then that’s pretty much the end of the conversation since they are either, 1) impressed, but not in the way that makes them want to give me a job, or 2) not impressed yet still disbelieving that I want their job. To completely butcher the line, it is easier for a romance writer to pass through the eye of a needle than to get a real job. I asked 17 if he could get me a job at McDonald’s. After he picked his chin off the floor, he said, “WHAT?” And not in a good way. His girlfriend’s mother works at McDonald’s. Then his girlfriend starting working at McDonald’s. Then 17 started working at McDonald’s. Do we not see a pattern here? Can I not jump on this bandwagon? Apparently, working with his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s mother is just about all 17 can handle at this point. If I got a job there, I might as well bring Clover, Coco, his 12-year-old sister and a few chickens with me. That would be just as palatable in his view.

So I went home and started working on another book proposal.

2. The other day, I was just walking out the door to pick up Princess from practice and to swing by the old farmhouse to pick up 15, who gets off the school bus there, when 15 walked in the door and said, “You don’t need to pick me up.” I usually let him cool his heels for an hour or so at the old farmhouse after school so I can pick him up at the same time I pick up his sister at school after basketball practice. He does not like cooling his heels. It is nearly three miles from here to the old farmhouse. He walked. I said, “That is so cool. Do you know that your grandfather walked every day that same way when he was in high school?” I’m pretty sure not half of that sentence was out of my mouth before he had walked away. I don’t think he was in the mood for family history hour. Have I mentioned that walking the three miles from the old farmhouse to our house is, honestly, uphill both ways? And it was snowing.

3. I asked my 12-year-old for advice about my personal life last night. She told me to do what would make me happy. Man, she is SMART.

4. I ate some potato chips last night. Potato chips, where have you been? I love you, potato chips. I almost never buy potato chips. And actually someone else bought these potato chips. Wow, they were so awesome! That’s what happens when you almost never have potato chips. They taste so good when you do have them. I rarely eat out or buy junk food (for myself anyway–I do buy some for the kids, but I let them have it). It was so exciting, I wanted to eat the entire bag. But I controlled myself. Barely.

5. We were without water for three days this week. The electricity to the well was out. My dear 52 fixed it, in the snow. For me. Did you know that running water is a MIRACLE? It is. Go, right now, turn on a faucet and watch the water run. It is amazing, I’m telling you, amazing.

6. I figured out how to make Christmas presents for 10 people for under $100. I almost feel festive now. (Further details coming in some future posts.)

7. How do you stop a cat from pooping in the bathroom sink? Just wondering. No real reason. I’m lying. MAKE IT STOP, MAKE IT STOP.

8. Enough about me. I’ll post pictures of Clover eating cookies tomorrow. Promise.

Clover: “Cookies? I’m down with that.”


  1. Rooth says:

    1. Keep the sink partially filled with water. No poop!
    2 Book idea…. a childs picture book on clover and the kids?

  2. Patty says:

    You totally need to find SOMEPLACE to publish a kids’ book and a farm humor book and a photo book by you! You’re so talented Suzanne, they should be climbing over each other to get to publish your books! Also, have you considered storytelling? Here in nearby Jonesborough TN, they have the annual storytelling festival and a storytelling center and from what I’ve heard some of those people bring in BIG bucks. You don’t seem like the shy type to me afterall,

    I hope your personal life question ends up with a happy ending!
    … and totally unrelated.. really.. can you clone 52 and send me a copy??

    I’m glad your water is back! I got the tweets about that and worried about you.

  3. TeresaH says:

    Most the places like Walmart have a website where you can go into and fill out applications. I did an online one for Walmart for a friend of mine recently. The computers at their store to use suck!

  4. Sue says:

    (Fist time I commented – hi Suzanne, I LOVE your blog! :sheepjump: )

    Regarding cat poop in the sink – be thankful – at least it’s easy to remove and clean up. If you stop the cat doing it there, who knows where you’ll find the offending matter next? Could be worse, believe me, it could be a lot worse. :fan:

    Rooth’s idea is great,
    “Picture book on clover and the kids.”

    Oh yes! :yes:

  5. G says:

    Watch out- sometimes cats going in the sink is a sign of bladder or anal problems- the cold sink feels good to them. Check for impacted anal glands (sorry!) as well.

  6. Leah says:

    #7 Keep the bathroom door shut. :cattail: :yes:

  7. Goat Roper says:

    It is but a short ride through some of God’s most beautiful work to come see you and help out whenever you need it. As you’ve blogged, “that’s just what folks here do for their friends and neighbors” Please call next time, I’ll even bring a bag of chips or maybe a bag of my personal favorite, Frito’s. As for the cat, I say banish it to the spartan realm of Spartacus.

  8. Becky says:

    I’m so glad you got your water back on!
    Good luck with the job search.
    I agree with the potato chip thing. I don’t eat them often, but when I do, I have to make myself STOP!

  9. Bee says:

    My cat used to pee on the stove! It was a bladder problem but it sure aggravated the heck out of me until we figured it out.

    I want a Clover!

  10. Diane says:

    Job hunting sucks. Have you considered working at the library?? Kids school? I love the idea of you writting a childrends book about the farm animals. You have some great stories to tell. Make them work for you girl!!!

    Cat pooping in the sink?? uggg yuck. ewww. He might need to take a trip to the vet or be kicked out side to live with the goats and chickens and Coco.

    Hang in there. You will find where you need to be. Have faith in your talents.

  11. Lisa L says:

    You are so talented – you must write a children’s book. Have you also thought of doing school tours and putting together some learning packages that would coincide with the different grades curriculum. Oh and what about a little Sunday market with local crafts and goods that you only open on the weekend. You must use your talents. Keep thinking. Hugs Lisa L.

  12. Blaze says:

    Walmart..*shudder* ugh.
    But I know how it goes. I worked there. And I know a couple of managers there still, if you need any reference/advice that sorta thing.

  13. Lucy says:

    I know exactly what walking uphill both exact ways means. There really are places like that.

  14. beth says:


    I suspect a lot of these interviewers think that being a published author means you actually make a lot of money! I know from Aunt Pat that this is really NOT the case. I can’t imagine doing it with 3 kids and a farm. I hope you find something soon.

    I also love the idea of a picture book.

    Good luck.

  15. DragonLady says:

    Suzanne: I agree with Patty. Coco, Clover, Nutmeg, Honey and eight cats would make excellent characters for children’s books. How exciting this sounds with farm visiting cows, deer, turkeys, etc. The illustrations would be beautiful!

  16. Pat Sieler says:

    In regards to your cat. Not to sound really out there, but the cat is reacting to your high tension level and this it his way of releasing tension. The idea of leaving the sink filled with water is a good one. My cat pooped in the kitchen sink during the time my ex-husband and I were arguing. He put her outside and a wild cat killed her. Be sympathetic and comfort him. Obviously, I am a cat person.

  17. Mary Lou Middleton says:

    Have you thought about being a substitute teacher? It gives you some freedom, because you don’t have to work everytime they call. Besides, it’s a great way to get back at your children…just show up at their school to teach.

  18. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Mary Lou, I’ve looked into that. You have to have a West Virginia teacher’s certificate to sub here.

  19. Cathy J says:

    Praying for the plan for the “next thing” to be revealed! ( I too am hoping for kids/farm/recipe books!) You are a blessing!

  20. Shari C says:

    Wow! Never a dull moment around you and your family is there.
    I have never, thankfully, been without water for three days, but last month we were without electricity for three days…not fun.

    Christmas presents for 10 people for about $100. I definitely want to hear more about that.

  21. Betty says:

    Please, please, please don’t sell out to Wallyworld. Try a grocery store chain. I started working at one a month ago and haven’t had this much fun in a long time. The pay is pretty good (better than Mickey D’s), the people are interesting and the work is appreciated. I’ve moved to cashier now and enjoy making people who come in grumpy, smile.

    And I agree about the children’s book.

    And being from Jonesborough TN, I highly recommend checking out storytelling.


  22. Cyndi B says:

    I’m agreeing that the cat may have a health issue.

    My husband & I have always been able to find jobs through temp agencies. Once you get to working somewhere, you’ll wow them and they’ll hire you on. And I found my current job on Craigslist…not kidding!!

  23. Joanna Wilcox says:

    If you consented to a background check on the application then your work history doesn’t matter so much. The background check is the biggie. I think WalMart employees get good discounts.

  24. FringeGirl says:

    Make the cat live in the barn…no more poop in the sink.

    It stinks that you’d have to go to Wal-Mart to work. I mean nothing against Wal-Mart, but you’re a great writer. It’s too bad you couldn’t pick up some freelance work. My mom just got a second part-time job as a Wal-Mart greeter. We’ve wondered if it’s a reflection on her age. :snoopy:

  25. Heidi says:

    WELL – I always tell the Milk Man when times get tough I can go dance at the local strip joint…I may not get bills but someone will throw some loose change because they feel sorry for me!! Hey – your svelt remember – its an option baby!!!! LOL

  26. Jill S. says:

    I’m glad you’re going to write again!

  27. Rose says:

    Have you thought about writing a column for one of the Charleston newspapers? Either a food and recipe column on a humor column on farm life. Your recipes and daily blog are so enjoyable. I’m sure it would be a hit with people who’ve never heard of your blog. Please, give it some thought.

  28. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    I’m also brainstorming about how to find a job/make more money. If I come up with anything viable you’ll be the first person I contact. By the way, working at WalMart does not qualify as “viable employment” – trust me on this one. I did 7 years HARD TIME in their employ because they offered pretty good health insurance and my family needed health insurance. I was fully vested at seven years and a week later I escaped into a better job.

    OH….I just thought of something. My better job was moving to a position at the local newspaper. I know that newspapers are cutting back but maybe you can write as a stringer. Just a thought.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  29. Judy Mitchell says:

    Suzanne! In MHO, you’d be better off selling Grandmother Bread at the farmers’ market than working for (ack!) Wally World! Your self esteem would thank you for nixing that idea. “Do what you love, and the money will follow.” I am donating a little to your site today, hoping it will keep you away from Walmart another few hours! God bless!


  30. Abiga/karen says:

    Here’s hopng and praying you find the right path to go on. I was in the same spot over a year ago and couldn’t get hired by anybody since I am a degreed teacher with no other experience, over qualified, noone would hire me, not JoAnns, Kohls etc.(Never tried Wlamart) I had to do grocery demonstrations which is very tiring to be on your feet 8 hours and online teaching for Sylvan which was hard and subbing. I had to go back in the classroom last year but hated it. I love children but not the discipline issues anymore and parent problems. So this year here I am again wondering what to do till social security starts if it still exists so I just exist as a live-in grandma/cook/cleaner with my daughter’s family which I really love doing. Try applying everywhere, call them back all the time, how about e-books teaching different skills on the farm, writing other books like people suggested, temp agencies, apply online to anything locally that has online applications, cleaning houses, sitting with the elderly, babysitting, let everyone know that you need added income. I am not that outgoing so it has been harder for me to do stuff like that. But I will pray for blessings to come your way as I know how hard it is to be a single mom and handle it all. Blessings.

  31. RosieJo says:

    VOLUNTEER, VOLUNTEER, VOLUNTEER til something good shows up!! If you “prove yourself” as a great worker by volunteering, people will notice! It worked for me.

  32. Wammy says:

    What about tutoring kids with their English? Or maybe an aide in the school system? Childcare in your home? School bus driver (well, on second though, maybe not)school lunch lady? Bed and Breakfast? Farm tours? Esty? Just some random thoughts…

  33. margiesbooboo says:

    Don’t worry about the self employment and Wally’s, my bil cuts hair, plays organ for churches, works at a wedding hall and is full time on nights at Wally’s. It will work out.

    You’ve discovered the reason I’m so jealous of you and your home. Hubby and I each had to drive into Charleston for our jobs and we couldn’t car pool because of the shifts and the kids. It was 65 miles each way.

    You have to have a teachers certificate for the public schools, but not for the private ones, Suzanne. I know thats probably a drive into Charleston for you.

    Ok another story line for you, I thought that Stringtown would be a cool center for a series of books. You could develop a whole new group of ppl.

    Talk about cat poo..my kitten is having issues with poo atttaching to his fur and scaring him and then he runs to me to help him and this morning i was all asleep when i start smelling something not nice and there the little fella was crying help me help me getting my quilt all messed up so after i bathed the cat i showered and threw the quilt in the washer and then found the pee where the little dog couldn’t wait any longer because in all of the cat poo, i forgot about her tiny bladder…all before 8.


  34. Leah says:

    I’m posting again, now that I’m awake. What about starting a small photography business? You could schedule photo shoots around the other things you have going on. Your clients could view their photos on line and order from there. You could let them choose the site of their choice for the photo shoots Would be some extra money without having to comit to full time hrs. You could offer sayings or titles to add to the photos too. Good Luck, God Bless.

  35. Jodie says:

    Good luck with getting a job and with the cat poo problem. The economy being bad right now, it’s a hard time for people to find jobs.

  36. Susie says:

    How about a book about farm life with old fashioned, farm-house recipes… I am sure you could fly with that and make it awesome… basically a book version of your blog!

  37. Kris says:

    Hi Suzeanne,
    You must do a children’s novel. The comings and goings of your animals would be a hit with the K- 5th graders. My son loves books about animals – his favorite is “Marley – A Dog Like No Other”.
    What fun.
    Also I know it is different in every state but I think all you need for a sub license is a college degree – not necessarily in teaching. Or teacher’s aides usually do not require any degree or licensing.
    Best of luck to you – I know looking for a job is already difficult, not to mention being in a more rural area.

  38. catslady says:

    Both my grown daughters don’t understand why I don’t just go out and get a job (could definitely use the money) but I haven’t been in the work force for over 20 years! Who would want to hire a 58 yr. old with no current experience. Know of anyone that wants someone to take dictation – my obsolete experience.I think I’m just scared to death that it would all be too much for me now. I sure hope you are looking into the children’s book idea!!

  39. Kris says:

    Oh – other thought – what about a nursing or retirement home setting? Like an events coordinator. You could plan activities, read to the folks, etc. You seem to have such a big heart and look how you are able to help Georgia and enjoy doing so.

  40. Susan D. says:

    I also agree that you should write a children’s book about the farm and the animals. I would definitely do that before I’d go work at Walmart. I’d much rather be working on the farm and writing books than going out to work at a store or office. You won’t have the time to devote to your website!


  41. Donna says:

    I substituted as a teacher, between jobs and worked once for a temp agency. Here, you get called alot to sub for teaching..not sure about out there…and this was back in the 80’s. I heard too, that you should volunteer and it leads to a job.
    However, I was hoping for “Suzanne’s Stringtown store” of goat products, food items…or a coffee table book of photos of the animals, farm life…(my friend just made a coffee table book of her family pics, for her mother in law’s 80th birthday).
    Potato chips…oh how I love them. I am not a chip person, but when I have some about twice a year…I Love them with HOMEMADE garlic dip. I get a pkg. of cream cheese, beat it, add milk and a tsp. (or to your liking) of garlic POWDER (not garlic salt)…chill and enjoy…LOVE IT. :mrgreen: :rockon:

  42. Donna says:

    Oh, and I LOVE that precious “guard dog” kitty outside 15’s door..and the sweet goats! :mrgreen:

  43. Gayle says:

    A trip to the vet’s is in order for the cat! If he comes back healthy then put some water in the sink. :purr: :catmeow:

  44. Jake says:

    :hug: Prayers that another money making idea comes your way very soon. Lots of good ideas about the childrens farm book and cookbook. Put out feelers to childrens book publishers and see what they think.

    Hard times are hitting everywhere and it is a sad thing for us all. I never thought i’d see the day but its here.

  45. Gail says:

    I’m not a potato chip person, but today I was craving them
    and wanted some with lunch. Of course, none in the house! I
    have a driveway that is uphill both ways, regardless of the weather. (sorta describes my life most of the time! HA!)
    I’ve walked it once to get the mail since moving here. If you are over, say 16 – 19ish yrs.old, and not applying for a six figure salary, you’ll be considered over qualified for most jobs. Ask me how I know.
    How about doing one of those do-it-yourself published cookbooks to start with. I know all who visit the blog would purchase one, and you could sell them at events in Walton and surrounding areas. After that I see Oprah calling you for a guest spot on her show and cooking demos!
    Also, don’t forget the large coffee table book with beautiful photos of the farm, critters and countryside! I’ll
    put my order in now for that one too! It’s OK, you don’t have to have the books for sale before Christmas, but how about January 1st 2009! Just remember, those who follow your blog and appreciate it, are kindred souls and we are
    always sending our love and encouragement. YOU can do anything! Hugs to the cat. The feline sounds stressed.

  46. Brandy says:

    It does sound as though the kitty has a bladder infection.
    As for working for WM, I worked there as a teen and young married person. It was awful, but I understand where you’re coming from. Hugs and Prayers you find something.

  47. NYMari says:

    yah, I have a cat that would use the bathtub! and of course the kids wouldn’t keep the door closed . somehow she stopped.

    I’m wishing you all the best with the job hunt/bringing in money and keeping up with the festive front for the kids, my hubby just joined the ranks of the unemployed with a layoff so we are doing the same. But you have such great writing and cooking skills so I hope you can keep going with the blog thing!

  48. Suzette says:

    Suzanne – I’ve found that networking is THE single best way to get a job. Start letting everybody and anybody know that you’re looking. Even people who you believe couldn’t possibly help. You never know who they know.

    As for the kitty…one of my “kids” just totally gave up the litter box. Sure enough, a couple of months ago, his anal gland ruptured. Apparently, he had been having a problem for a while. Now that he’s healed, he’s back in the box. Maybe your kitty does have some sort of problem going on. OR…she just likes doing it in the sink. At least it’s easy to clean! 🙂

  49. Netherfieldmom says:

    Ask the vet if they need any part-time help–your sink experience could be valuable! 😉

    Wallyworld might not be so bad–you’d be able to pick up stuff you need on the way home. Consider it a means to an end, and a temporary one. I’m thankful there is a place to get things we need, cheaply.

  50. mim says:

    Can’t recall how big your place is but…. How about a B&B?? Build a couple of small/medium size cabins/buildings… Offer workshops for writing, cooking, goat milking etc.. Anything you would charge/make on this venture would be clear profit since you are usually doing these chores anyway… Some of our state parks offer specials for Red Hat Society, Scrapbookers, quilters etc…. You probably could get Tim Morgan’s wife to hold the quilting workshop. She has a shop over the store. This is what I would like to be able to do when I retire. :treehugger:

  51. Cathy J says:

    What a great idea the B&B is! You could sell your future cook book and children’s book there as well! The way you love to cook! You could even, for an added fee, give people the real country life experience…. let them gather their own eggs and help milk the goat!!!!

  52. NorseCookie says:

    Copyediting/copywriting! You can do it with a cat on your lap and a giant puppy at your feet. Check out Craigslist for opportunities. Since you can do it for any location, thanks to the wonder of the intertubes, you can find lots of good prospects.

    On another note, I think all your readers, me included, know you’re very gifted and very resourceful and you will get through this. Remember how many different approaches it took before Clover gave you more than a teaspoon of slightly stepped-in milk?

    (Also – you deserve TWO pieces of pie today.)

  53. Sunnid755 says:

    good luck, you are so talented and smart, good things are bound to come your way.

  54. Kelly says:

    An historical picture or chapter book set in Stringtown . Then you do book signings and readings at schools, libraries, and social groups ( Women’s Club, Red Hat Ladies , Rotary Club , historical societies. A section of Tamarack is set aside for regional titles.
    You could start a writers retreat on your farm for Romance or writers . Let your farm become as beloved a destination as your Blog is :cattail:

  55. Karen H says:

    Elise (Blog Title is My Journey Begins Now) at https://iwantahomenow.blogspot.com/2008_09_01_archive.html got a job via Elance as a virtual assistant. It’s mentioned on the 9/10/08 entry.

    I agree with a children’s book idea but that’s something to work on and will bring you money in the future. You need income now. As much as people rag on Walmart, thank God for their low prices — and if I needed money to pay bills and to buy food, you’d bet I fill out an application. After all, it’s a temporary income and not a career (yes, I know some people have chosen that and that’s fine!).

    Good luck! I LOVE your blog! You are a great writer with a terrific sense of humor! :rockon:

  56. IowaCowgirl says:


    This is what I have done for 10 years in addition to running our farm….might be an option.

  57. Kacey says:

    Good luck with the job hunt…or money making hunt. We do what we have to do to survive. Hope you can find something you enjoy.

    But now I’m craving potato chips…

  58. Suz in the Tules says:

    Looks like a classic case of cabin fever to me. Better get off the farm for a while…

  59. Kim W says:

    Maybe if you left the toilet lid open the cat would start going in there. I knew of someone who did that! The cat would straddle the toilet w/all 4 legs – it was pretty commical, but it worked!

    Blessings from Ohio…

  60. Madeline says:

    HI SUZE>.LOVE your site– you are an inspiration —

    More money: I know in my part of the world home health aides are SOOOOO needed..The agencies often will train you.. sometimes it’s just household help the elderly or the infirm need.. just a thought– after you know the ropes sometimes you can just work what shifts you want..

    And, of course you’re working on a book proposal..

    Blessings and hugs that you find exactly the right avenue for some added income..after all you have to keep Clover in cookies!!!!!

  61. IowaCowgirl says:

    I love Shakespeare too, but unfortunately the first photo is of an alien child.

  62. IowaCowgirl says:

    oops, that last post was meant for 12-4….not 12-5…

  63. Susan says:

    You forget how amazing it is to have running water and/or lights until you have to go without!

  64. Amy says:

    No water? YIKES! WTG 52!

    LOL on 15 walking the three miles instead of cooling his heels. It’s just such a teenager thing to do. My 14 would do the same thing. In the snow. With shorts on.

    WTG on the gifts. I used your vodka/rum recipe for vanilla extract (with some, uh modifications in the amounts) and managed to get gifts for 16 for <$50. So, thanks!

    Good luck with the job hunt.

  65. maddie says:

    Wow, Suzanne. You’re a romance writer looking for a job and I’m a romance writer trying to figure out how to let my day job go.

    Somewhere I think there is a lesson in that for me. I don’t want to think about it….

    By the way, I saw that Magdalena Scott had great things to say about your last book on her blog a week or so ago. I’ve now got to go get it!

  66. maddie says:

    Oh, and I forgot to say, “pass the potato chips, please.”

  67. Kris says:

    If Walmart does call, please don’t become one of those Walmart employees. The ones that never smile, have a look of pinched bitterness, and don’t look at you when they talk to you because, well, you’re just not important enough. Where do they find these people?

    Hope the pooping is medically related. If you’re inclined to tolerate a litter box, put a small box of litter in the sink. Let them use it for a few weeks, then move it to the counter and fill the sink. After another 4-5 days start moving the box where you WANT them to go, but veeeeeerrrrry slowly. A few feet each day.

  68. Carole@Fowlvisions says:

    Now that you have given all your subscribers and readers an example of your recipes, take them off the blog and turn them into a cookbook and sell them online. It would be easy to get testimonials to include in the promotion of your cookbook; just ask your readers. According to Willie Crawford, a big internet cookbook selling guru, there is big money in it.

    I’m in somewhat the same situation as you (self-employed/low income) and am working hard to figure something out. Problem is I don’t cook very well and sure know nothing about creating and modifying recipes. But I would be glad to give a testimonial about some of your recipes. Easy to make and delicious!

    Best Wishes!

  69. carsek says:

    A childrens book is a totally great idea. And of course we will buy it if you put it in your website store. What about adding all your other romance books to your store here. There are some people who only purchase on line and don’t go out to shop. I think a coffee table book of your funny life happenings and photos would be a big hit. What a great gift idea for an older person no longer able to live on a farm.
    Keep up the great work, I love your website and upbeat outlook.

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