Steak House Cafe

Steak House Cafe

Here’s a great place to eat in Tatum, New Mexico, especially on a dreary day. The food and service is wonderful, and you can’t leave without having a piece of pie. Whenever you need to drive on US Route 380 near the New Mexico and Texas border, this is the best place to stop for a break.

Here are more reviews on Yelp:

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Shiny Objects

Shiny Objects

I have decided to embrace my shiny object syndrome: the tendency to get overly excited about a new skill, become an expert at it, and then drop it for a new unrelated skill. Some may call it ADD mixed in with serial OCD, but I prefer to call a side effect of a multi-faceted life. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, and almost all the things I’ve learned to do have ended up making money.

At my “day job” I’m a mostly freelance classical double bass player and private teacher. It’s possible to make a good full time living as a freelance classical musician in a city the size of Phoenix, but I’ve spent too many hot summers here. I would love to travel before I have to retire, and especially get out of town between May and October, but I will need to make money while traveling to make up for the work I’d leave behind.

In 2005, an orchestra I played with went out of business, and things were not looking great for the classical music scene, but I had lots of private students and still played a solo show at schools and concert series. I made a website for myself in 2006 to help increase my visibility. I started a web design business in 2008, and have been building web sites with Drupal and WordPress ever since. I also bought a DSLR camera so that I could take pictures of my clients and their work.

My husband and I tried to make a go at a portrait photography business in 2008, but he lost interest in it when he discovered that the business would be about 80% doing business-related work and 20% taking pictures. I continue to make the pictures I like to make, and sell some of my landscape and tabletop photos at stock photography sites.

I have been knitting, crocheting, and sewing since I was a child, and have gone gung-ho over several crafting mediums through my life. I made a lot of jewelry and sold it at craft fairs and online. In 2007 I looked around my crowded house–full of stashes of craft supplies, fabric and yarn–and started selling it on eBay. Now I have almost 1,700 positive feedbacks and have become a bit of an expert on how to get back the money you spent on stuff you don’t need anymore.

In 2013 I bought a stack of vintage magazines, and have been editing patterns and publishing them as books in paperback and digital formats. I also started making fill-in-the-blank books for musicians and crafters. Without much marketing, I’ve been making a small but steady monthly income that goes up every time I publish a new pattern or journal.

Somewhere between there and here I started learning about internet marketing, and have done several things to try to make enough money to pay off non-mortgage debt and have enough left over to buy an RV to travel in.
I’ll use this blog to state my goals and keep myself on task. I will track and report my progress here. I will tell you about any internet marketing products or courses that I buy and let you know what works for me. And I’ll try to help you decide if the shiny objects that I buy are right for you.

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Road Tripping with Audio Books

I don’t like listening to music in the car, so I have been listening to podcasts for the last 10+ years whenever I travel. The problem with podcasts is that the sound quality can be iffy, and trying to skip around on the phone they’re stored on can be dangerous at 78mph.

I recently discovered audio books. It’s weird that it took me so long. I am a voracious reader. When offered a choice at the library through Overdrive, I used to always choose the ebook version. A few months ago a book was only available in audio and my reading life was transformed.
Instead of podcasts, I had some great audio books for my trip to Ohio and back this July. For 4,000+ miles, I listened to books from Ben Bova’s The Grand Tour and Voyagers series, which are read by the inestimable Stefan Rudnicki and others.

Ben Bova is one of the best science fiction writers of all time. His characters are three-dimensional personalities and his future worlds are plausible extensions of our own world. There are more than 20 Grand Tour books. I haven’t been “reading” them in order and I don’t think I have missed much. There are four books in the Voyagers series, and you should read them in order, but save the last until you’re into The Grand Tour series.

How I Use OneNote and Evernote to Stay Organized

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I have learned how to do lots of things over the years, and have hobbies that come and go. It’s possible that I am a bit ADD. I get distracted by some cool new thing to try, then learn all that I can learn till the next thing comes along. I do come back to old skills and hobbies, though, so I like to save instructions and memories. Whenever I learn a new skill, I keep track of how to do things in Evernote and Microsoft’s OneNote. The programs are similar enough that I could use just one for everything, but I love them both. I use them together and separately to schedule my days, write out step-by-step processes, store ideas, and more.

I love OneNote

I use Microsoft OneNote for: planning, ideas, daily journaling, how-to instructions, and info about the websites I run. I use the desktop version most of the time to take screen shots and scan old notes from when I used to use paper. I also use it as a digital scrapbook to directly scan programs from concerts I played in, and keep other memories. When I travel, I use a tablet or my phone and a small keyboard to write in my daily journal. Here’s a link to the program: (May open a pop up window).

I love Evernote

I use Evernote for: my daily schedule (every day is different when you’re a freelancer, but I like to have structure), step-by-step processes for complicated repeating projects, check lists, my goals, and trip planning. It’s easy to check things off with my phone when I’m out and about. Here’s a link to the program:


OneNote notes are easy to format by using familiar Word commands. Words after periods and I are automatically capitalized. Tables look great. You can choose which notebooks to sync to different devices. It has macro capabilities through a plugin called Onetastic. And OneNote has limited but useful integration with your other Microsoft Office products.

Evernote is very simple to use. You can save searches in the sidebar to make things easier to find. Checklists are very easy to set up and use.


Both OneNote and Evernote are available from anywhere. You can install them on your desktop computer, laptop, phone and tablet. Both sync with the cloud, so as long as your device is synced, you can access all your information no matter where you are.

They are actually freeform databases, so the programs run pretty fast and efficiently.

Both programs are great for online research using web clipping.

You can find anything in your notebooks by searching, so there is no need to try to remember where you put something. Both programs are fast and accurate when you search.

Both have multimedia support. You can record or insert audio, insert video, or use a finger or mouse to draw inside a note.

Both programs provide easy ways to make internal links between notebooks and notes.

Both are backed up to the cloud by default; I feel that my information is safe because both programs have been around for a long time. And I use strong passwords for each.


Whether you choose to use Evernote or OneNote, you will be happy. You can set up notebooks like file cabinets, or like binders with tabs, or like random pieces of paper. Both of mine are jam-packed full of information, and I open them both almost every day.

In the coming months I’ll show you how I use each program.

Website Changes Are Coming


I will be redesigning this website over the next few months, and will convert it to WordPress from Drupal. It will take a while, but I am practicing consistency so you will see progress over time.

Here are two reasons for the change: I have been building websites with Drupal for the past 10 years, starting with version 5.6. More than a year ago, I decided to use the then-new Drupal 8 platform to build a new website for a new client, even though most of the modules that I wanted to use weren’t ready yet. Well, some of them still aren’t ready, and upgrading modules broke the site a few times. I am not happy with Drupal Commerce, and will convert my websites that have ecommerce to a different platform.

In the past, I chose Drupal over WordPress because it is easier to customize, and because all modules on the website are vetted for security. All Drupal modules are free, and many useful WordPress plugins are not free. But many times Drupal is more than I need for a simple website. More people use WordPress, so more people have figured out how to customize it with minimal fuss. And media such as images, audio and video just simply work out of the box with WordPress, and are a drudge to set up in Drupal. So, I need to learn more about how to customize WordPress, and I’ll let you know about the courses and tutorials that I end up with, and whether they were good enough to help me achieve my goals: to be an expert at setting up and customizing WordPress. I will start with some free WordPress courses on, and continue from there.

RV Dreaming


I want to live in an RV while traveling around the United States, while publishing more books and photos so that I can support myself. I have been working on this goal for about 7 years, but I keep getting waylaid by obstacles. I used to think it would be great to do it full time and year round. Now I want to live in Arizona from October to June and go north during the hot months. I want to be a snowbird!

Inspiration for this wild idea

I took a long road trip by myself in 2009. I drove to Ohio from Arizona, and took 10 days to get there instead of the usual rushed 3 or 4. (It’s 2000 miles). I spent 2 days at a conference, took state highways most of the way, and went to one or two botanical gardens each day. I took thousands of photographs and put them up on stock photo websites to sell. I made back some of the cost of the trip with stock photo sales. The things I didn’t enjoy about the trip was hauling my stuff in and out of hotels every day, and having to eat at restaurants too often. Though most of the hotels were nice, a few were very dodgy. I’ve made several rushed trips back and forth to Ohio, and I’m still wishing I had an RV to travel, eat and sleep in. The last two trips I left my car out in the sun for a day before unpacking it for fear of bedbugs.

Role models for this dream.

My bass teacher at The Ohio State University, Theron McClure, traveled around the country with his wife in an RV after he retired in the 1980s. Here’s a link to a book by Andy Kohn.

Some time ago I discovered Linda Claire Puig and Natalie Sisson (The Suitcase Entrepreneur), two ladies who make a good living while traveling.

There are several online forums about RVs. Here are two forums with great information about living in an RV: the very active IRV2 Forum, and the somewhat active Forum.

I don’t want to wait until I retire to travel.