Monday, August 22, 2016

Horse Sense

My uncle called it "common ordinary everyday horse sense," and would bray after he said it.  (No, I'm not kidding.)

You know what, though? I think he was right.

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Cheyenne Heritage Quilt Show

We're just back from camping on Grand Mesa, a high-up area filled with lakes, forests and fields. Sometimes with cattle -- national parks around here often have grazing rights, as well. After a few days, we tromped down to Palisade and the real reason for our visit:  boxes and boxes of luscious, juicy, ripe peaches. 
     Oh my. 
It will take some time to get them all processed, but what a joyous activity, particularly since you can snag a bite now and then while you're working.

     First up, though, is a visit this week to the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters show in Cheyenne, WY.  I'm up for judging duties, as well as some days of appraising. With the caliber of these quiltmakers, the pleasure is all mine.
     Stop by Aug. 25-27 at the First United Methodist Church (108 E. 18th St.) in downtown Cheyenne. You'll really enjoy it. 

"How the wrong choice could ruin your spouse's retirement."  (From Liz Weston)

A birthday cake protein shake. Perfect for a natal breakfast.  (From Northern Cheapskate)

The first full human head transplant is scheduled and moving ahead. The operation is scheduled for Dec. 2017. Lest you think, "Whoa," it's already been done recently with a monkey's head. (But others have claimed to have done it successfully for decades before now.) Yuck. Speaking of..

Amazing reconstructions of ancient people, using their skulls. #4 looks a lot like our assistant pastor... (From Listverse) Also:

Ten archeological finds that alter history.   (I love this site.)

One ruling of Nazi-seized artwork that DIDN'T return to its disputed owner.  Or was it actually someone else's, seized by the Soviets before that? This one's a puzzler.  (From ArtNews)

A family with 13 kids is mortgage-free...and sending their children to college. With no extra debt.

Eating cheaper at Chipotle's.  Healthier, too.

Eight 'snack hacks.' Healthy AND clever.  (From Hungry Girl)

BAKED cinnamon sugar doughnuts. Oh my... (From Sweetest Menu)

Relive Usain Bolt's Olympic gold-medal-winning race...practically step by step.

Trouble in River (er, Olympic) City over boxing -- several refs fired for their crappy decisionmaking. (Though those decisions weren't overturned...surprising.)

Interviews with the women runners who collectively earned gold, silver and bronze...a first for the U.S. in this event. And what they thought helped them...

Piers Morgan blats off his mouth (again) -- this time on bronze and silver medal winners.
    And gets effectively shut down, I might add, by this economist's response.

The guy who brought ALL of his employees' wages up to $70,000. And, to his surprise, made his company even more successful by doing it.

The Statue of Liberty just got hit by lightning!  (Fortunately, she's okay.)

Daniel Norris, the Blue Jays' pitcher...who lived in a van.  (He's playing for the Tigers now.)

Pennsylvania's Attorney General goes down in flames: guilty on all counts of perjury, influence-fixing and more.  (She resigned last week Wednesday -- it's about time.)

It's been snowing in New Zealand.  (From Life at Barkalot Farm)

A dog...a dark figure...and Bigfoot?  (I doubt it, but see for yourself.)

Ten intriguing finds uncovered by storms.  Sadly, some were lost, too. (From Listverse)

Eleven money hacks that are worth trying.  (From Budgets Are Sexy)

"Why I love my smart meter."   He should -- it saves him money. (From Money Beagle)

Do you enjoy White Castle burgers? This made-in-the-oven version is fast and easy.  (From A Thrifty Mom) While you're at it, stop by her recipe index -- she's got a bunch of useful recipes, including some clever April Fool-type dishes.

Ten lunch sandwiches -- their price now, compared to their price in past years. (You'll be surprised at the price changes. From Len Penzo)

Make other birthdays the priority -- instead of your own.  (From Pretend to be Poor)

29 stars who fell -- or jumped -- to their death. Some surprises here, including Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Culp.

Art rivalries. From Manet to Degas, deKooning to Pollock. Plus:

Five weird facts about Edgar Degas. And they aren't nicey ones, either.

Have a great week -- stop by and see us in Cheyenne!

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Dog...And His Duck

George the dog lost his best canine friend, and was heartbroken.

He started going downhill, showing little interest in life. His owners were worried.

Until Donald Duck showed up. 


Donald Trump Apologizes

“Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing,” Trump told a crowd in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues." 

Go here for the link.  Interesting, huh...

His first official campaign ad wasn't too bad, either. 

My major question here -- Why is this suddenly occurring to you now, Mr. Trump?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

He Swam... I Laughed!

Poor old Michael Phelps. Win a bunch of gold medals at the Summer Olympics, and you're fair game for all sorts of teasing. 

Yes, I feel sorry for you. But I couldn't help snickering, anyways, seeing these clever memes. 

Swim like the wind, Michael!


And if you enjoyed those, there's plenty more where that came from. 

Hey, he can handle it.  (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Getting Ready for Christmas Presents -- Now

Merry Christmas, a few months early!

Did I scare you?

It may still be August, but nights are getting cooler. (We actually need a quilt again to stay warm!) The chickadees are back, their feisty 'dee-dee-dee's echoing through the scrub oak. Soon we'll lose the hummingbirds; they never stay much past Labor Day. And if all goes the way it often does, we'll have our first frost sometime in the next few weeks. (Then a month of warm weather...sigh.)

In less time than  you think, it will be the holidays. Time once again to figure out what you're going to get for your partner, the parents and the kids... as well as crabby Aunt Tillie who lives in faraway Poughkeepsie. (Make it a book or video for her. Ships cheaper.)

I try hard to plan for presents throughout the year. Why? Because we can afford them easier this way, picked up one or two at a time, especially if I find them on sale or at the thrift shop. (Don't laugh at the many taped, unopened boxes have you donated after Christmastime? I rest my case.)
      I also buy a good many things with gift cards I earn by using Swagbucks. Usually a hundred dollars or more...every year!  I've mentioned this before, but it's worth emphasizing -- this program lets you earn by just doing the searches you normally would make. And I have had NO PROBLEMS with them passing my name on, or pestering me. In several years. How many programs could say that? If you're curious and want to find out more, click here. It's worth it.


This year's present-hunting expeditions have been different. For one, presents are slowly scaling down in favor of experiences -- meals out, movies enjoyed, trips taken. For another, both daughters (28 and 30, respectively) are at the stage that they appreciate one or two larger presents much more than a shower of smaller ones.
    Okay with me -- fewer things to wrap! 

I'm also more apt to buy "you mentioned this" presents (or their coffee) for good friends now and then. It seems more meaningful to remind them I love them all through the year -- not just at Christmas.
    There's also Operation Christmas Child.

I still look for bigger presents throughout the year; in fact, one is coming shortly from Amazon for Daughter #1. But the major items I'll get from now on are stocking stuffers:
             *unusual canned or jarred foods -- especially sauces
             *black olives on sale -- we go through these like a house afire, and both girlies appreciate a can in their stockings
                 on Christmas day. (They eat them while reading the Christmas book(s) they also got.)
             *free samples -- I request these all year round
             *a small bottle of wine, beer or whiskey  (not for The Mama, who's a dedicated teetotaller)
             *dark chocolate -- plus favored candy bars
             *imported truffles or cookies (if securely packaged)
             *socks -- heavy wool ones are the big thing now
             *small flashlights, especially maglites
             *CDs or DVDs   (often purchased during Walmart Black Friday's scramble)
            *knit slippers and gloves  (Someday, girlies, I'll knit these myself again. Promise.)
            *gift cards   (Starbucks, Qdoba and Red Robin dominate, but I'll buy anything useful that also offers an extra bonus.)

Our new son Keith loves all things hunting and fishing, so I usually look for small items on clearance after those the stuff mentioned above. Both daughters and the Brick hunt, too, so I'll look for fourpacks.  (But NO pink camo stuff. Real women don't wear that for hunting. Ridiculous.)
     The Brick often gets a package of cookies or chocolate -- but I've held off giving much more than that in recent years. He is a lovely man, but stocking presents have never meant that much to him... which translates to few or no stocking presents for me. I merely return the favor. He has more than enough sterling qualities to make up for this tiny glitch.

I'd felt a little guilty for leaning heavily on practical stocking presents, until I read Frances Stroh's memoir, Beer Money. (Yes, the people originally connected with Stroh's Beer.) Her parents had a ton of money to throw around, especially during the holidays. So what did they put in their kids' Christmas stockings? Practical things, like batteries, flashlights and socks. Go figure.

If you're looking for more budget ideas, try these posts. (They work for birthdays, too.)

Christmas presents just for guys.   (From The Bluebirds Are Nesting)

Easy homemade gifts to make at the last minute. Perfect for "Oh no, I need a present tomorrow" panics.  (From Don't Waste the Crumbs)

Prudent Homemaker has a 'Make A Gift A Day' series that's been running for years now. (She's got some great ideas for birthdays, too, including 'Harry Potter' and 'Frozen'-themed parties on a low budget.)

Six gifts under a buck.  (From the Fundamental Home)  In fact, this blogger has an entire section on frugal Christmases that's very helpful.

I also have fun rereading through Meredith's holiday posts for her 'resting' blog, Like Merchant Ships.  (This section, a 'gift closet,' is especially helpful. See, she shops from thrift shops, too.)

A post devoted to stocking stuffers.  From Thrifty Mom in Boise, who's famous for posting Christmas DIY projects year-round.  These snowmen candy bars would be great for small gifts, package decorations -- and yes, stocking stuffers.

More ideas here.  Here, too.  And yes, here too.

Get your act together now. Then when November and December swing around, you'll be able to relax and enjoy the holidays, instead of running around like a chicken...well, you know.

Gloria Vanderbilt -- On Quilts

Or what used to be quilts.

The September 2016 issue of Architectural Digest has a reminiscence of Horst P. Horst and the celebrity homes he photographed. One of them: Gloria Vanderbilt's 'famous' patchwork bedroom, photographed back in the Seventies.

Check out the September AD to see true colors on these -- they were much more vibrant than this graphic.

I feel sick.

I swear to you-- I don't think I'd ever heard of or seen this room up to this point. (Maybe I wasn't paying attention -- blame it on teenage airbrain. I graduated from high school in 1976.) Not only were perfectly good quilts (or at least what seemed to be in excellent condition) chopped up and glued to the walls -- the floor was layered with them, too.
    And then they were varnished. 

Other magazines fawned all over themselves on how distinctive and special Gloria was to do this. (In fact, Valentino based his 2015 fashion collection on the memory. No doubt more quilts were sacrificed for that cause, as well.)

    Normally, I am not that averse to wearables and home dec items made from quilts -- PROVIDED those quilts were too damaged to preserve in other ways, and the items are treated with respect. It is clear, however, based on the photos, that quilts in excellent condition were used for this fiasco.

All I can think of are the quilts chopped up, gutted, vandalized and, no doubt, discarded so Ms. Vanderbilt could show off.

Respect for antique textiles? Hardly.

Shame on you, Gloria. You should know better.

"Decorating is autobiography...All the rooms I have ever lived in reflect the evolving taste of my hopes and dreams."
                                      --- Gloria Vanderbilt