Friday, May 29, 2009

Save for your (and your family's) birthday

Free birthday stuff -- a huge list! Everything for your family, your kids...and you. All it needs is signing up here and there.

My Thoughts (and Bod) Are in North Carolina

Well.

The Nuggets won Game 3, and lost Game 4. Which nobody in Carolina cared about, because their team has lost its playoff run in hockey.

Hmmmphf.

It has been hot and humid here...I trudge about with a thin film of moisture coating everything. Opened a bag of Cheetos yesterday -- left it out for a few hours -- and what was crunchy suddenly was more like wooden sticks.

My buddies here in Raleigh (North Carolina) say this is extra hot for this time of year. We've had some hummers of thunderstorms, too. I've been impressed at how patient my students have been, even when they trudge through the heat, or duck out of thunderstorms. The people here at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium have been quite wonderful.

It was redwork this morning, a dating lecture this afternoon. Tomorrow, it's Quilts of the Pioneers all day...then Sunday, a dating/restoration class. Then home.

I am learning leaps and bounds about North Carolina culture, likes and dislikes. I even bought darling Husband a moon pie.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Animals You'll Wonder About

Check your stomach. Can it handle weird stuff?

Ok. Take a deep breath, and look at this photo gallery of truly freaky animals.
Including a seven-legged calf born in Steamboat Springs, CO. It lived only ten minutes...which is just as good.

I'm off to the North Carolina Quilt Symposium tomorrow...will be gone all week, judging and teaching. Come see me! I'll stop in regularly, and let you know how things are going.

A Revelation

Remember the New York Times financial reporter I mentioned, a few posts back? Well, it turns out that his sad story is actually deceptive, too: his wife has now declared bankruptcy twice, once during a previous marriage and once during Our Hero's time, with both carefully arranged between periods of higher income -- and spending. And including some of Our Hero's debts, as well, although she didn't acknowledge his income until she was forced to by a creditor. Read all about it here:

Oopsies.

What a woman.

Makes you wonder about OH's motives too, doesn't it?

* * * * * *

My accomplished webmaster showed me how to do links to other websites easily, like this one to Brickworks: thank you so much, WM! And I hope to do many more, instead of that messy listing I resorted to, more often than not. Should make things easier for you to read, too.

Blowsy, cloud-scudding day. Hopefully more rain, although the holiday weekend people are wishing for anything but... I picked up a touch of flu yesterday, so not as enthusiastic about it myself.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

The Nuggets lost. In the last minute of the game...103-97.

sigh...

Now they head to Los Angeles. Ah, well -- hope springs eternal.

And a lovely soft rain is falling on our thirsty garden and yard. This may seem commonplace to Everyone Else in the World...but it's a rare occurence here in Colorado.

Have a good weekend -- and don't forget those whose sacrifice made this Memorial Day weekend, spent in freedom, possible.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Graduation, Alex!

...which I went to. It was held outside in the stadium. With storm clouds gathering, the Powers That Be really shortened the ceremony -- and practically speed read through all the names, as the kids got their diplomas. Fastest graduation doings I've ever been to...and ironically, not a drop of rain fell.

After which we went to Casa Bonita, a very strange cavern-y place with a waterfall right in the middle of the restaurant. And cliff divers. And gorillas. And sheriffs chasing Black Bart. 'Okay' sort-of Mexican food. (Alex characterized it as "Tex-Mex with a whole lot of American thrown in." Yeah, I guess -- I do like their chicken enchiladas, done suisa style, with mild cheese and sour cream.) Lots of fun.

Get Rich Slowly has an especially good post today, on what makes you feel luxurious, even when you're being frugal:

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/05/22/ask-the-readers-what-makes-you-feel-rich-while-being-frugal/

For me, it's finding a designer label or unusual high-quality item at the thrift shop! Like the Peruvian label sweater I got last year and wore all winter -- for $4. And the designer sundress found just a week ago -- $3.

Our local thrift shop occasionally has trays of baked goods out for the taking, as well. This week, I scavenged croissants, bagels and a loaf of Pepperidge Farm whole wheat bread. That's being elegant AND thrifty!

Also --
being able to divide perennials, and get more...or share with a friend

the luxury of fresh green beans or tomatoes -- from my own garden

picking strawberries, that I know my family will enjoy (will do that next month, when we go back to Michigan for our nephew's wedding)

getting a plane ticket -- at much less than we should have! Ditto for a hotel...or a meal at a really good restaurant. (Like Denver's 5280 specials, which come in December or January -- and let you stay at a luxury hotel for $52.80 a night...or go to a terrific restaurant, and get two full meals for $52.80. Well, someone's got to do it!)

And finally:
The freedom to work for myself. Sometimes we're doing great, income-wise, sometimes it's tight. But it is wonderful to be able to set my own schedule, even when I work long hours.

Now pass on your ideas...share nice!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Grab Bag of Stuff -- including Cheap Tacos!

Whoo hoo... not only did the Nuggets win Game #2 of the playoffs (go, Nuggies!), but the Rockies also beat Atlanta 9-0. That means 4 tacos at Taco Bell for a bright shiny buck, if you buy a drink, and order between 4-6 p.m. (If you ask for the Nuggets special, you only get 3 tacos...so make sure you mention the Rockies special instead.)

Half of Colorado is going to be munching on tacos Friday night!

More Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff:

The Bear Naked people are headed to Denver's May 22 arts festival: http://blog.bearnaked.com/index.php/2009/05/06/11th-annual-downtown-denver-arts-festival/
(and you thought I was going to talk about naked bods, instead of granola)

A very interesting post on the value of mending, from Lean Times:

http://www.theleantimes.com/?p=442

Free Money Finance talks about the worst thing that's ever happened to him, financially. Don't miss the comments, either:

http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2009/05/whats-the-worst-thing-thats-ever-happened-to-you-financially.html

He probably was inspired by the Wall Street Journal covering the same subject:

http://blogs.wsj.com/wallet/2009/05/18/what-was-your-biggest-financial-blunder/

And buy one of Wendy's new coffee-flavored "Frosty-cino" or Frosties...get one free:

http://frosty.com/posse/

I had one of of the Frosty-cinos Tuesday night...really, surprisingly good. And very refreshing on a steamy summer night.

Except now we're back in spring again. It's raining (hooray! It rarely rains around here), and I popped in the Harison's yellow rose I just got from High Country Roses in Utah, along with a catmint, a beautifully little white rose I got from Daughter #2 for Mother's Day, and some other odds and ends. Came in soaked, with the boys puzzled. ("Mom, don't you know enough to come in out of the... ?")
So our normally-hot Memorial Day weekend is going to be anything but. It will be chilly tomorrow for our friend Alex's high school graduation ceremony --

Atta boy, Bud! Congratulations!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some New (And Easy) Recipes For Your Files

Friend Marcie wrote me weeks ago with some favorite recipes...I've been intending to share these with you all, but they got shoved down in the bottom of my inbox. (Belated apologies, Marcie.) But they look delicious! Other than a tweak or two, I've left them in Marcie's distinctive voice. She wrote: "Since I'm really into easy (i.e. not much chopping or slicing, hurts the shoulders too much. I like to open cans and bottles when I cook), these make a lot and are good left over. We get at least 3 meals out of the ribs so you don't feel too extravagant buying ribs."
All I can say is: Yum.

Crock Pot Ribs

2-6 pounds ribs (country style just fine, have used beef also)
1-2 onions sliced

Mix
1 bottle of Ray's Honey BBQ sauce (abt 16 oz) any good BBQ sauce is ok
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown mustard

pour a bit of sauce in bottom of crock pot, add onions then some ribs, pour about half of remaining sauce over ribs, add rest of ribs and remaining sauce. Set crock pot on low and let it cook for about 9 hours. If you're home and ready to eat before 9 hours, the ribs are pretty much ready to eat by 6 hours. Just check them.

Pasta Salad

1 lb cooked vermicelli noodles or any good pasta, does not need to be noodles
2 6 oz. jars artichoke hearts drained and chopped lightly(I save the oil and use in the dressing but it's a choice)
5 scallions chopped
4 chicken breasts (or equilivent) cooked and cubed (I cook them in about 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 TBS butter and lots of garlic)
1/2 a bunch of fresh Tarragon or dried to taste

Dressing:
2 TBS rice wine vinegar (I use Tarragon vinegar)
1 TBS mayo/miracle whip
4 cloves minced garlic

Mix dressing in bottom of large bowl then add pasta, chicken, scallions, artichokes and tarragon. I mix with my hands. Can be served warm or cold. But I like it slightly warm.

Salmon Salad

Salmon, cooked and flaked into BIG chunks
Pasta, any kind, cooked and drained
Tomatoes - cherry, grape, whatever you have on hand or is available at the market
Artichokes OR olives (your choice) probably not both
salt and pepper
Newman's Own Italian Dressing, NOT Balslamic

Can add broccoli or any fresh veggie
If you're making your own Dressing, add garlic to taste

Joy Philbin's Original Pasta
Yes Regis Philbin's wife; she came up with this after his first "affair of the heart."

2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound skinned, boned chicken breast sliced or cubed
1 1/2 cup broccoli flowerets
3/4 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, sliced and drained
1 tsp dried basil
Pinch of red pepper flakes and salt
1/4 cup white wine (not white wine vinegar)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 TBS butter
1/2 pound bow tie pasta cooked and drained

Saute garlic in oil, add chicken, cook
add Broccoli, cook slightly
add tomatoes and seasonings in order
may serve immediately or simmer 5-10 minutes
toss with pasta
may garnish with Parmesan cheese

Kathie Lee Gifford's Mother's
Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 chicken cut up (or equivalent number of pieces)
Mix:
1 8oz bottle of Russian Dressing
1 8 oz Apricot Preserves
1 pkg onion soup mix
use 1/4 cup water to rinse out dressing bottle.

Pour over chicken, cover and bake 1 hr at 350

Uncover - add pineapple chunks (to taste) green pepper strips or carrot strips or almost any variety of veggies. Bake, uncovered until veggies are warm/hot.

How Much of A Mess CAN You Get Yourself Into??

Not me, guys...not me! I'm fine, if a little behind on stuff...but still fine. And the book editing is going well. Hot here, but not unbearable.

It's this man: a New York Times reporter whose specialty is (you guessed it) financial matters. He's now eight months behind on a fancy-pants mortgage he says he knew from the beginning that he couldn't really afford. But the good folks at the mortgage company, according to Our Hero, are so inundated with other behind-payments loanholders that they haven't come knocking on his door.

Yet.

When they do, will the humiliation be any less? What if he'd done what common sense was practically shouting to him in the first place: get a mortgage he could actually afford?

Read his sad little story here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/magazine/17foreclosure-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coping With Setbacks

I'm headed for the Pieceable Friends in Greeley tonight, to talk about Civil War era and Crazy quilts. Will be fun! But I need to get through some biz stuff, iron some things -- and do some other things. There's stuff to plant. Stuff to ship. And stuff to Finish UP!

J.D. at Get Rich Slowly has an interesting post on minor setbacks...and keeping them from leading to major ones:



Good stuff. And a good reminder that even if the shirts don't get done, the world won't end. And just because the sink backs up, someone does NOT Have It In For Me.

You, either.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A New Lease on Life

Didja notice Britain's oldest mom is close to giving birth? Age 66...

http://news.aol.com/health/article/britains-oldest-expectant-mother/487724?icid=mainhp-laptopdl3link4http%3A%2F%2Fnews.aol.com%2Fhealth%2Farticle%2Fbritains-oldest-expectant-mother%2F487724

My first thought was "Are you NUTS?!"

But it wasn't for the reasons you're thinking...it comes from bearing babies (both our girlies) in August -- which meant carrying them in utero through hot, sticky summers. Staying cool was a near-impossibility, even though I carried a spray bottle and wore a lot of sundresses. Both babies enjoyed turning somersaults and backflips at a moment's notice, even while I was laying down. (Both Husband and I got little sleep those past few months.)

So this dear lady is carrying a baby around Memorial Day? One of the warmest times of the year?

That's why I said it.

* * * * *
We got back last night around 9 p.m., after two days of tooling around four-wheel-drive trails, hanging out at the St. Elmo general store, and soaking (aaahhhh...) at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. No snow around the pool, like these photos:

http://www.mtprinceton.com/pool_spa.html

But we did get turned back twice on trails, blocked by snow. Spring comes late to the mountains; the St. Elmo clerk told us they don't even get mail delivered until June!

We stayed in this 1878 cabin:

http://www.fourteenernet.com/orchidcabin/

No running water yet, just an outhouse this early in the season...but electricity at least (some places we've stayed at, that's not an option). And just plain relaxing.

I came home with sunburned shoulders, and a whole new attitude.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Freaking Out of Control...and Ireland

Simple Dollar is really plugging into the Kindred Spirit department lately, including this post on being a control freak:

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/05/12/letting-go-how-being-a-control-freak-costs-you-money/

He argues that trying to organize everything by making lists, dictating, etc. -- and then doing nothing -- costs more than if you lightened up in the first place.

Husband is taking me off for a cabin/hot springs/fourwheeling weekend...in between working on The Book, finishing up some appraising and some other commitments, I am trying to remind myself of this! ("Just pack fast, throw in some stuff for meals -- and FORGET IT.")

Maybe Husband (and hopefully Little Brother and his wife) will consider an Irish vacation in the future -- look at the price on this. $499 covers airfare, place to stay and car...wow!

http://www.sceptretours.com/vacations/adare-townhouse-villa?utm_source=travelzoo&utm_medium=top%2B20&utm_campaign=dir%2Badare%20package%20travelzoo%20top%2020%20may13

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Want to Save Money? Haggle...

Simple Dollar mentions an interesting letter on haggling -- at the dollar store!

Letters responding to this are priceless:

http://letters.salon.com/mwt/feature/2009/04/27/pinched_reiter/view/?show=all

Husband is the master of this. He's the best on big ticket items...or bargaining with other guys. Here's the typical patter:

Husband (puzzled look on his face): Well, this is nice, but...it's more than I thought.
(scrapes ground with his toe. Looonnng silence)

Seller: (breaks silence first) Well, what would you think was a fair price?

(another long silence)

Seller: How about....?

Husband believes that he/she who speaks first...loses! (Or at least doesn't get as high as price as they'd hoped)

And generally he's right.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Paula Nadelstern's Kaleidoscopes - Come and See!

Need a trip away? Take time to visit the American Folk Art Museum's April - mid-September exhibit: "Kaleidoscopes: The Art of Paula Nadelstern."

if you're not headed to New York City anytime soon, you can also visit some of the quilts online:

http://www.folkartmuseum.org/default.asp?id=2384

Oh, my, her work is wonderful. Lots of inspiration here. Did you know that the earliest Crazy quilts -- cotton-pieced, c.1840 -- were also called 'Kaleidoscopes' by their makers? Fits, doesn't it...

Marching On

Nuggets lost by just a few.tiny.points. Last night. (sigh) At least they're headed back to Denver for the next game!
(and then it's good-byyyyy, Dallas.)
If you're a Coloradoan, sprint to the nearest Taco Bell. The Nuggies got more than 106 points -- that means 4 tacos for a dollar, when you buy a drink, too! Good today, from 4-6 p.m.

* * * * * *
I am back in Book-land again...but it's The Wonderful World of Editing now. Not too bad, and you can actually sleep at night. (Although I had a strange dream the other night about Daughters #1 and #2 introducing me to various characters they thought I should write about.)

Meantime, you'll enjoy this analysis of SOUTHERN WOMEN, courtesy of my North Carolina "mom," Marie. (She adopted me while I was teaching in Virginia in February.) Husband grew up in Jacksonville, NC...and he says some of this stuff, too. Especially "right near," "be back directly," and his favorite: "whatnot." (used to express a group of something)


Southern women appreciate their natural assets:
Clean skin.A winning smile.That unforgettable Southern drawl.

Southern women know their manners:
"Yes, ma'am."
"Yes, sir."
"Why, no, Billy!"
Southern women have a distinct way with fond expressions:
"Y'all come back!""Well, bless your heart.""Drop by when you can.""How's your Momma?"

Southern women know their summer weather report:
Humidity
Humidity
Humidity

Southern women know their vacation spots:
The beach
The rivuh
The crick

Southern women know the joys of June, July, and August:
Colorful hi-heel sandals
Strapless sun dresses
Iced sweet tea with mint

Southern women know everybody's first name:
Honey
Darlin'
Shugah

Southern women know the movies that speak to their hearts:
Fried Green Tomatoes
Driving Miss Daisy
Steel Magnolias
Gone With The Wind

Southern women know their religions:
Baptist
Methodist
Football

Southern women know their country breakfasts:Red-eye gravy, Grits, Eggs, Country ham
Mouth-watering homemade biscuits with momma's homemade jelly

Southern women know their cities dripping with Southern charm:
Charleston (Chawl'stn)
Savannah (S'vanah)
Fort Worth (Foat Wuth)
New Orleans (N'awlins)
Atlanta (Addlanna)

Southern women know their elegant gentlemen:
Men in uniform.
Men in tuxedos
Rhett Butler, of course!

Southern girls know their prime real estate:
The Mall
The Country Club
The Beauty Salon

Southern women know the four deadly sins:
Having bad hair and nails
Having bad manners
Cooking bad food
Wearing too much makeup in the summer

Only a Southerner knows the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit, and that you don't "HAVE" them, you "PITCH" them.
_____
Only a Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up "a mess."_____
Only a Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder."
_____Only a Southerner knows exactly how long "directly" is, ... as in: "Going to town, be back directly."
_____Even Southern babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.
_____All Southerners know exactly when "by and by" is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.
_____Only a Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large banana puddin!
_____Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and "a right far piece." They also know that "just down the road" can be 1 mile or 20.
_____Only a Southerner, both knows and understands, the difference between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.
_____No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.
_____A Southerner knows that "fixin" can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.
_____Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines, ... and when we're "in line," we talk to everybody!
_____
Put 100 Southerners in a room and half of them will discover they're related, even if only by marriage.
_____In the South, "y'all" is singular, "all y'all" is plural.
_____Southerners know grits come from corn and how to eat them.
_____Every Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.
_____When you hear someone say, "Well, I caught myself lookin'," you know you are in the presence of a genuine Southerner!
_____
Only true Southerners say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and lots of it -- we do not like our tea unsweetened. "Sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk.
_____And a true Southerner knows you don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway. You just say, "Bless her heart" ... and go your own way.
_____To those of you who are still a little embarrassed by your Southerness: Take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart!And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff, ... bless your hearts, I hear they are fixin' to have classes on Southernness as a second language!
_____And for those that are not from the South but have lived here for a long time, all y'all need a sign to hang on y'all's front porch that reads "I ain't from the South, but I got here as fast as I could."

Southern girls know men may come and go, but friends are fahevah!
If you're a Northern transplant, Bless your little heart - fake it! We know you got here as fast a you could!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Great E-Book...Free!

Trent at the Simple Dollar is offering some of his column's best wisdom (which is saying a lot) in a free e-book. Go here to download it:

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/05/06/everything-you-ever-really-needed-to-know-about-personal-finance-on-just-one-page-download-my-personal-finance-ebook-for-free/

I like this guy so much. He is very practical, but without that austere, don't-you-DARE-spend-money approach.

* * * * * * *

I spent the morning cleaning...funny how nice it felt to get the dog hair swept up and the kitchen floor mopped. The boys' doggy-haired mats got thrown in the washer, and they got pushed outside, to their consternation. ("Mom? Whadja doing in there...are you having a snack?? Mom!!!") Everything will be fresh and clean when Husband gets home tonight. At least in the kitchen.
I hope to do a room a day, until a lot of the crap around here gets sorted, sent downstairs, or sent AWAY. Then what's left gets ironed, vaccuumed and polished to an inch of its life. Must be spring cleaning.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Weekend...And A Fresh Grip on Things

Oh my, oh my, oh my...
Text has been handed in for the new book!
I don't know who's happier -- my long-suffering editor, or me.

Just a few diagrams remain to be finished...those will get done tonight. The wonderful light from the tunnel is blazing true and clear. Thank God.

I can plant daylilies and roses this weekend with a clear conscience. Oh, and snuggle up to the husband while eating popcorn, and watch the Nuggets trounce Dallas. Go, Nuggies!

* * * * * *
J.D. Roth has an important reminder about balancing your miserly bent with your generous one:

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/05/09/the-misers-peril-why-you-should-save-for-tomorrow-and-enjoy-today/

This is tough. I always worry whether we're going to need the extra cash somewhere else. Giving to others is not so bad -- we've been giving away 10% of our income for so long now, that I don't even think about it. (And yes, we've gone without it just fine -- even when money was extremely tight. God honors that kind of commitment, I believe.)
It's the spending on stuff -- a shirt that isn't from the thrift shop, an upgrade on olive oil or wine or chocolate. (Yes, there's a difference.) This is not such a struggle for Husband, but it is for me. I think, "Gee, that's another buck toward the Panama vacation/house taxes/etc." Then I post it on the frig, and think, and wait. And eventually it goes away under the stuff...no longer for sale, or the sale goes off.

I need to loosen up. Yes and no...what if we'll need the money for something else?
And so the cycle continues...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ancient News

Now an expert's saying that the famous Nefertiti bust is a 20th century fake:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hesdEvM5E_PC4GzRm3iHA9fAYdQg

For more ancient finds, including an amazing "millefiori" dish, go here:

http://news.aol.com/article/fake-nefertiti-bust/465482

I didn't get much sleep last night...but am hanging in there.

Hope you are, too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crime x the 20th Century

Here are the Top 25 Crimes, according to Time magazine:

http://www.time.com/time/2007/crimes/index.html

Crime may not pay...but it sure is interesting!

The "New" Frugal...or Just the Old Jazzed Up?

Get Rich Slowly has a far-reaching post on thriftiness:

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/05/04/the-new-age-of-thrift/

In short, all the big magazines are suddenly recognizing that it makes sense to economize...so does this mean that thrift is 'in?'

(I grin to myself, remembering that Budget Living magazine tanked just a year or so ago...and even it, with all its great ideas, had a bad habit of announcing that $200 dresses and $300 shoes were 'inexpensive.' Yeah, right.)

The already-doing-it person can certainly learn from some of the new tips offered. But other than cheering these new-frontier types on, it's still the same truth -- living on less than you earn makes sense. And helps save, not only for you, but from waste.

I can hear my grandma cheering already. She absolutely hated wasting ANYTHING, from beef tongue (sliced for sandwiches) to old clothes (slice 'em, fold 'em, braid into rugs). Even the least bit of leftovers went into shepherd's casseroles, and old bones were buried under rosebushes for fertilizer.

I think of Grandma often this time of year, when the lilacs start to bloom. She often had a large vase of them scenting the dining room. A frugal way to celebrate spring.

Beautiful Day...But How Would I Know?

I'm mushing through the Klondike with Nellie Cashman this morning...

and trudging toward California, so I can be first at the goldfields.

(In other words, finishing up The Book.)

Wish me luck.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday...Spring!

aaahhhhh...

It's nice to be home.

The girls at the guild were wonderful. I enjoyed getting to know them -- and their pretty quilts -- very much. I also re-found a pattern company with amazing Civil War repro quilts: Bonnie Blue Quilts.

http://www.bonniebluequilts.com

Woke up this morning, went out to Home Depot and got a huge bag of potting soil, some perennials, and a $30 splurge: a four-foot climbing bush of gypsy red and yellow roses. The latter is going in a large copper planter I scored at King Soopers ($15). Doesn't that sound lovely?

This is a lot for chez Brick. I usually only buy a rosemary plant, some (more) perennials, a few petunias and a tomato plant or two. But I could just visualize those roses blooming softly at dusk while we sit out on the patio this summer...oh my.

And then, on the way home, I stopped to talk with our neighbor...who just happened to be toting out a garbage can full of daylily roots. Bingo.

A few are planted...but the rest, and everything else, has to wait until The Book is done. It's close...so close. It comes first. And the birds, the garden, the grass have to wait.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sliding Into the Weekend

Almost done in Humble, TX...one more (very busy) day of appraising, then I jet home to Colorado...and Husband's waiting arms!

No more lounging about in the warm air, either. Husband says it's been close to freezing again. This weird Colorado weather -- we get enough warmth that the plants start to come up, and Mother Nature slams the door again on their hopes. Weird.

One Frugal Girl is cleaning out her leftovers:
http://onefrugalgirl.blogspot.com/2009/05/fridge-full-of-leftovers-and-most.html

Notes from the Frugal Trenches has been struggling with health issues, not to mention a snotty receptionist...check, and you'll see:
http://www.notesfromthefrugaltrenches.com
I love this cheerful Brit's blog. She's been sounding a little discouraged lately, for good reason.

Nellie Cashman and Nancy Kelsey want to go HOME to my editor; they've let me tweak their stories long enough. And a few hours need to be spent in the California Gold Rush before I go to my other work this morning. Have a good time in your weekend.

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Bones Solve An Old Western Mystery

They finally found Everett Ruess...

I am glad the mystery of this dreamy wanderer has finally been solved...but a little sad, too.

He had such talent, and would have been interesting to follow as he matured.

Now we find out he was robbed by some Indians (what a petty reason to die), knocked on the head and his body stuffed in a crevice.

Part of me would prefer to imagine him forever wandering about the back canyons, sketching and thinking...and signing himself 'Nemo' as he goes. Never aging...mysteries are like that.

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20090501/US.Finding.Everett.Ruess/

Frugal, The Quilt Show...and more

Getting organized does help you be more frugal: Lynnae's got an excellent point!

http://beingfrugal.net/2009/04/30/a-look-back-one-must-be-organized-to-be-frugal/

Several times, I've re-purchased the same item because I needed it "now" and couldn't find it on the crowded shelves of Brickworks inventory. On one hand, we can always use the 'missing' stuff later. On the other, we're not able to use it when we can't find it.

Going on a trip helps with that. You make do with what you have.

I apologize about the gripefest a few days earlier...I like planes, but you are so STUFFED into them. I am starting to feel like a pimento.

Houston is an interesting place. Flat as a pancake, compared to home. Some flooding, too -- this week, they had 12 inches of rain in 12 hours. Wow! It's not bad in Humble, where I am. Some worries about the flu -- in fact, they shut down a few schools here to disinfect them. Lots of worries about the flu migrating over from Mexico, which is so close. Mostly just worries, though -- not reality.

Appraising is going well. Some lovely quilts here...and sterling work. But I feel a little sad at the dearth of hand quilting. Not much evident in the quilts hanging in the show. (One huge lovely exception that won the hand quilting award.) I understand this...I understand why. But it is still a touch sad.

It is strange, though, to enjoy so many beautiful flowers...palm trees...people in shorts strolling about...

and know that Sunday night, my favorite flowers were covered with 6 inches of snow.

Back soon. Welcome to those who got here from THE QUILT SHOW: My Crazy Quilts episode is running this week!

If You Love Animals...

This is one of the most heartwarming videos I've ever experienced. You'll like it, too. A little kindness goes a long way.