Friday, July 31, 2009

Quilts Quilts Quilts

Don't mind me...just making sure that some very inappropriate ads don't return on my blog! (sigh) Instead, let's talk about pretty quilts, happy bunnies, gardens and macaroni and cheese...

There. That oughta do it. Just mentioning the type of ads was enough to make them stick around. Even more ironic, isn't it...


P.S. Oh, and we just got our cable/internet bill. Remember I said Husband negotiated with them, or we said we'd cancel? The bill went from $140 to $62!

and the only thing I miss at all is one of the movie channels...

Annie -- continued

More on Annie Liebovitz's financial picture... partly grief (losing her father, as well as Susan Sontag), and partly careless. And it sounds like she has lived a little careless her entire professional life -- and now it's caught up to her.

All these parts...and 100% sad. Not to mention it could have been avoided all along the way. Even with incredible talent, you still have to be able to pay your bills.

Sad.

Money...And Annie

I'm drawing a deep, cleansing breath...my part in book corrections for Quilts of the Golden West is about done. It will very soon be time for my newest 'baby' to flap its little wings to the printer.

Seriously, it's looking terrific. And in some ways, different from any other quilt book I've done -- or, quite frankly, seen. It really mixes the history in with the patterns, but it also talks about the ways quilters discuss money in their work! Book's coming out early this fall. I think you'll like it.

Noticed this remarkable post from J.D. at Get Rich Slowly about things you wish you'd learned when you're younger. Don't miss the comments, especially.

The million-dollar question is, though: would I have listened?

I'm guessing photographer Annie Liebovitz is wishing that right now. She's up to her eyebrows in hock to a sort-of-fancy-pawn-shop-for-artists called Art Capital. She borrowed the money (about $15.5 million) after some financial problems, but apparently didn't think what she would do if she couldn't pay them back.

Read more about Annie's predicament here. The loan is supposed to be repaid (in full) next month. Good luck.

What was the collateral? Some homes; hard, but livable. What's worse: the rights to her photos -- past, present and future. The New York Times said, “One of the world’s most successful photographers essentially pawned every snap of the shutter she had made or will make until the loans are paid off.”

What in the world would have been so important for her to gamble away her lifetime's work? Why in the world would she think that Art Capital wouldn't go after her, if she reneged on repayments? (And from what I've read, the interest rate is steeeep... up to 16% or so.)

On the other hand, I have no clue why Michael Jackson would have done basically the same thing...only he put up a substantial share of his brilliant purchase of all the Beatles rights. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Now Annie's being sued for $24 million, partly because she just entered into a meaty contract with Getty Images -- without giving Art Capital its cut. Did she think they wouldn't notice?

* * * * * * * *

UPDATE: Apparently, Liebovitz got herself partly in trouble when her p---Susan Sontag died. (Ironically, I cannot use this word because if I do, strange inappropriate ads start showing up on this blog! How ironic can you get...) And Annie could not bring herself to give up any of the residences she inherited from Sontag. Even though she couldn't afford them all. Plus -- she was also dealing with extensive renovation work, and lawsuits from a photographer and stylist she'd hired. Maybe not the lawsuit, but these things are all elective stuff -- you can choose not to do them. Try to hang onto everything, especially when you don't have the money...and you lose it all. Sadly enough.

Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff

Could you use a free bottle of rice vinegar? (It's great for salads.) All that's needed: fill out a short survey, and give them your mailing address. Go here to start. (Thanks so much, Money Saving Mom, for mentioning this!) Rice vinegar was on my shopping list, anyways...

Don't forget about Taco Bell's special for Coloradoans -- if the Rockies score 7 or more runs, tacos are 4 for a buck, as long as you buy a drink, too. The Rocks are back to winning games (Yay!), so this actually matters. We practically had to fight our way through the crowd on Sunday night at our local Taco Bell, and nearly everyone was ordering the Rockies Special. Guess the word has spread...

Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl has one of the prettiest knitting patterns I've ever seen -- a sort of interlaced squares thing going on. It's called entrelac, and she's also posted instructions on her July 20 post. (Or go directly here.) I'm a sucker for Laurie's color choices -- she's big on heathery nature-based shades...and hey, I like her kitties. She also has some good salad recipes for that rice vinegar.

and finally, take a look at my editor's blog...she's got a very interesting 60s strip quilt featured right now.

One more thing: if you see a large group of people standing in line at Wal-Mart's pharmacy window, do not -- I repeat, DO NOT -- go anywhere near them. It could well be a signal that the latest version of flu has hit town, and if you get close, you will be walking through a fog of coughing, sneezing, snuffling, etc..
And then guess what happens?
Lesson learned -- the hard way.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Dancin'!

Have you paid a visit to any of the "Where the Hell is Matt" videos, since I've started yammering about them? Matt does this goofy dancing step all over the world...I mean literally all over the world. And since he picked up Stride gum as a sponsor, he's been able to travel even more. Here's the 2008 sample of his work. (His outtakes are just as endearing.) I can't watch this stuff without a little grin breaking forth...and Lord knows, I need a grin today.

I found another dance video, this time from a group of kids that call themselves N.A.S.A. The dancing's great -- if you watch the first few minutes, then skip to the last few minutes. In the middle, they're doing typical kid stuff, preening, strutting and mugging for the camera. But it's worth it to see how seamlessly these scenes are edited into each other. There's also the Eiffel Tower to admire. Cool...

And the wedding dance video, mentioned a few posts ago, is past 10 million hits now. (Oops, more than 11 million!) Maybe some of them were contributed by multiple runs to the view by yours truly...ya think??

Yow!

The world record for kayaking over a waterfall has been shattered -- 186 feet. Picture dropping the equivalent of a multi-floor building...fast.

It's not the Sears Tower, but hey, I'm impressed. Nobody kayaks down the Sears Tower!

Overcast the last few days... an incredible blessing. We even got a bunch of rain. I've had a big batch of quilts to appraise, and it is much easier doing it in cool weather. Husband even went and got a jacket for supper last night while we were eating out on the terrace; we were drinking hot tea and he said, "I think this is a sign of fall coming." Don't know about that -- we have such dog days in August -- but I'm willing to hope.

The zucchini plants in the pots on the terrace are huge, with little fruits the size of my little finger -- and growing fast.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Original Fly Girl

Some people are hooked on sunsets...trip to Mexico...a good bourbon.

Me? I'm an Amelia Earhart freak.

Ever since middle school, I (and about a bazillion other people) have puzzled over what happened to this aviator, who disappeared on the next to the last leg of her around-the-world trip. (Talk about luck running out!) She and her navigator Fred Noonan were aiming for tiny Howland Island...they never arrived.

Some people think they ditched their plane in the ocean after running out of fuel.

Some think they were captured by the Japanese (it was very close to the outbreak of WWII), and executed. (Fred first, Amelia after she had been held in prison for some time.)

Some think she actually managed to sneak back into the U.S., and was living under an assumed name.

I spent a lot of time reading books and examining maps. I wrote a paper in high school about it -- and interviewed my Uncle Archie, who was in an aviators squadron, and remembered guys talking about the military discovering Amelia's plane. He didn't know what had happened after that.

Another book I read said that the author was eyewitness to AE's plane being torched. Why, he didn't really say. Because she was spying on the Japanese while she flew that world trip...and the U.S. didn't want anybody to know? I've heard that, too.

Ric Gillespie's organization,The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), now says they know what happened to AE...she was stranded on Gardner Island and died there. Bones were found about 1940...although they apparently have now disappeared, Gillespie has what he calls "early 20th century makeup" and two pieces of glass he argues are a makeup mirror. He says they'll be able to tell via DNA who used the makeup, thanks to a direct relative of AE being willing to provide her DNA.

Hmmm.

I'd be thrilled to death, except:

*Although some radio transmissions could have come from Gardner Island, it was searched by air soon after the Electra disappeared in 1937. Although "recent habitation" was noted, there was no sign of the plane -- or Earhart and Noonan.

*Gillespie's group also said they'd found parts of Earhart's plane some years ago. (Oops. Construction didn't match Earhart's Electra, and the bits and pieces were inconclusive)

*Gillespie is sure a shoe sole found on Gardner Island is Earhart's...because it's a woman's size. (So guys don't have small feet?)

*He says that the bones of the castaway were definitively identified as a woman about Earhart's size. Oopsies. The long and drawn-out report about the bones -- posted on Gillespie's site, no less! -- initially mentions Earhart. They bring up the possibility it's her, but the medical examiner concludes by saying they're the bones of a middle-aged Polynesian man. In 1998, some researchers concluded the bones were really from a northern European white woman. (Mind you, they didn't examine the bones, which were just a small scattered collection, anyways -- not the full skeleton. They made this pronouncement based on the reports about the bones.)

AE's greatest skill seems to have been more her ability to reach people. She never promoted herself as the world's greatest pilot; in fact, some of her famous trips were made as a passenger, not the person flying the plane! But she had courage. She didn't hesitate to try, even if she was going to get dirty and tired and hungry.

Maybe it's her guts that I really admire the most.
For more about her, as well as many of the theories about her disappearance, read here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Finder's Keepers, Losers Keepers?

Didja hear about the Brits who found a lottery ticket -- that won 30,000 pounds?! They apparently found out pretty quick who was the original owner (who accidentally lost it on the floor of a supermarket), and did their darndest to keep her from getting it back.

Didn't work. But the original owner also only gets half the value of the ticket -- 15,000 pounds, plus some interest. Ironically, that's all that's left from the prize-- the finders spent the rest of the money already.

Gives a new meaning to "money burning a hole in your pocket," doesn't it!

P.S. to the Previous Post

Just heard from my editor. What a sweetheart...she thought she should apologize to me for being so short in another e-mail, after I'd answered a question she'd asked! Gee, after all the trouble I put her to, and she's apologizing to me?? So I sent an apology right back at her.

I was so grateful not to be lectured for being such a doofus. She said that it was ok, we caught it in time, and the needed changes can be made. No worries.

Yours truly heaved a huge sigh of relief.

See what I mean? What a sweetheart.

A Discouraging Setback

I was trudging through the final pages of the proofs last night, when I came on a note from the technical editor -- she thought I'd miscalculated on a block size. I was figuring cutting requirements, etc. for a 12" block -- but she thought it was 14".

She was wrong, in that it wasn't 14". But she was right -- it was really 13"!

Sigh.

And of course, it was the ONE BLOCK in the book that's used in three different quilts.

Double sigh.

After kicking myself up and down the boulevard, I set to and refigured all the sizes, yardages, cutting and assembly instructions for the three quilts. It took all night to carefully check everything, then continue on with the regular proofing. I e-mailed the last of it this morning to my editor...who, I'm sure, would be more than happy to cheerfully strangle me. And I deserve it.

Thank God, though, this got caught before the book went out in print.

And now I think I will take a quick snooze, before the heat shuts me down altogether. I need to make a quick run to the post office, and be available for questions on the book. I will be very grateful when this finally makes it to the printer.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Children...and Coffee

Don't forget...McDonald's is still offering a free mocha, hot or iced, on Mondays. I've intended to get my heinie down there, but tomorrow will be the first time. Haven't had the car much on Mondays.

Our children -- I have been thinking the past few days on how proud I am of the girlies. Daughter #1 just started work as a waitress for a Denver area sushi/Japanese grill, and has been working her tushie off. In the same period, she also found a nice place to stay that is 1)more comfortable, 2)more congenial roommates (Jack and Tim), and 3)is closer to work. Plus, instead of paying rent PLUS utilities, she'll be paying just a little more than Boulder -- and getting nearly all the utilities thrown in!
And she is planning on how she'll go back to school.
This is a kiddo who has struggled this year with some very difficult situations. The only way she could get through them was patience -- over and over and over again. And she's been doing it. I have confidence the job and the living quarters are the start to a much more rewarding life. I'm proud of her for continuing to plug away at it.

Daughter #2 is still working at the Boulder jewelry boutique (with increasing responsibilities), and trudging through a jeweler/appraiser course, assignment by assignment. It's not the the most pleasant around here to be tapping away at the computer late at night, after you've already put in a full day's work. But she's kept on and persevered...and I'm proud of her, too, for continuing to plug away at it.

Daughter #2 turns 21 in little more than a week, and her older sister turns 23 less than a week after that. It's hard to believe they're this old. Wonderful, nonetheless, to see them making thoughtful choices -- adult choices. We love them both so much.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dum, Dum, te-dum...

There are serious weddings (like our recent trip to Adam's and Stephanie's wedding in Michigan), and there are silly weddings. I've been to one where the minister talked about what underwear the groom was wearing underneath his tux! (Remember that, Spencer and Jessica??)

Guess parts of our wedding would be characterized as the latter -- we got married in a forest. INSIDE a church. (It was the day after Christmas, and parents and I went to a Christmas tree lot, got all the leftover trees. Dad nailed stands on them, and set them up across the platform. I'd been backpacking and teaching rock climbing the past two years, and wanted to give that 'outdoorsy' feeling, I guess.)

I don't know how to describe this wedding, but it's put a huge grin on my face for the past few days. It might for you, too.

Yesterday was hot enough to cook eggs. On the sidewalk. On me. We saw "The Proposal" last night --a way better comedy than I'd thought possible, but only because Sandra Bullock and her guy friend are soooo good at what they do. Husband kept sidling up, hissing "chick flick!" and laughing. But HE was the one who wanted to go see it... oh my. Just remembered. There's a wedding in that movie, too!

Today's cooler, but lots of stuff to do. Have yourself a great weekend.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yawn...

Yes, I'm a little quiet this week. It's hot. Not much breeze (except in the evening, thank God). I have a bunch of little tiny fires to put out, plus some restoration to do, when I would rather be lazing away the afternoon in the hammock outside. (The same hammock Husband slept in while we were on the riverboat in Brazil.)

Take a look at Daniel Suelo, the man who lives without money. He dumpster dives, forages wild foods and isn't averse to scavenging up roadkill now and then, either. He lives in a cave in Utah, near a coldwater pool for swimming. (That part sounds especially nice right now.) The journalist also pointed out, when touring the cave, "Daniel Suelo has lived here three years, and it smells like it." (No soap for the cave man.)

More on Daniel here and here.

Maybe this old post on eating on a Really Tiny income would help Daniel. Nope, you're wrong -- I know what you're thinking. He doesn't have a computer...how could he read it! Actually, he does access the internet, via his local library. Even has a blog! (Oops, I take it back...that was his statement of belief, I guess -- don't know what else to call it. His real blog is here.)

Also, did you hear that the huge earthquake near Australia actually moved New Zealand 12" closer to the big A? In just seconds, a land mass is now in a different place than it was. Amazing.

More interesting "Animals in the News" photos...

And Henry Gates Jr. is still demanding an apology from the white cop who arrested him for disorderly conduct. I admire Gates' work very much, including his wonderful documentaries that use DNA and research to tell more about famous black people's origins. It seems logical, though, that there's more to this story than Gates would like to admit. He refused to show his I.D. at first. He persisted in yelling at the cop, even when the officer was leaving. He admits that his neighbor may have done the right thing when she called police after noticing what she thought were two men breaking into a house. (They were -- Gates either forgot his keys, or couldn't get the lock to work on the house he was renting from Harvard.)
So why is he still insisting that the whole incident comes from black typecasting? A little politeness and explanation would have gone a long way here.

Then finally, the author of Angela's Ashes died last week: Frank McCourt. In the long tradition of fine authors, he could be a bit of a pig...but his writing, oh my. He didn't write his first book until he was in his 60s...but what a book. The others -- 'Tis and Teacher Man -- were pretty good, too, especially when McCourt wasn't bragging. (The sex machine stuff gets pretty old, after a while.) Too bad we won't have another classic from himself, though.

Stay cool. I mean it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fly Me to the Moon...

Brand-new on Google: now you can land on the moon!

Check out the various Apollo missions' landing sites and examine the Moon, section by section.

Close-up.

Wow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Meanderings in the Wake of a Storm

Didja hear about the guy who found some valuable Mexican artifacts in the 'trash' he gleaned from an estate some years ago? Their estimated value: more than $15,000.

And the five-legged puppy? What a cutie. Plenty more strange animal photos in this gallery, mostly multiple-legged types.

We are still here, which is a tad amazing, considering the thunderstorm that roared through here late last night. The trees were lashing about like a tropical storm, the rain falling in sheets, and we had tornado warnings like crazy. (See a creepy photo here. Thankfully, this tornado went down east of us, and no damage was done.) Our oldest dog, Buck, hates any kind of storm, and he nearly had a heart attack trying to squeeze between us for protection. (Why that would save him, I have no idea.)

At any rate, we're fine...and the house roof, that we put so much sweat and effort into last fall?

Not one leak.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lazy...Or Just Zany?

J.D. on Get Rich Slowly has a long and involved post on the damage laziness does to us, from not getting a rebate form sent in time to missing out on the best interest rate...things like that. See it here.

And wouldn't you know it -- the Wisdom Journal pops in its five cents by mentioning the various forms of procrastination, and what you can do about it!

I can think of a few of my own shortcomings --
*delaying repairs on the car, until they become more serious.
*snagging something special, food-wise, then letting it spoil in the refrigerator because I'm 'saving' it (for God-knows-what)
*putting off sending out paperwork (I REALLY struggle with this one). It's done...I just don't get it in the envelope and mailed in a timely fashion. I'm ashamed to admit this...

I'm not sure my delaying tactics stem from laziness, so much as I try to keep several balls in the air at one time...and inevitably one of those balls drops. I scoop it up and send it back in the fray -- but really, I should quit trying to stuff everything in, and just concentrate on a few things. I'd be better off in the long run.

See what you think...are your delays based on laziness, procrastination...or both?

(And now I need to read through the book proofs...a prime example!)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Weekend!

It is insanely green here. Normally, by late July, the landscape turns to tan, punctuated by a green bush or two. Not so this summer...even the hillsides are green, green, green and wildflowers are blooming like crazy. I've rarely seen our trees and flowers so healthy-looking.

But it is hot. Wipe-your-brow and fall-down-panting HOT. I'm headed out to mow the lawn. Pray for me.

Hope your weekend is filled with a cool breeze or two...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff

WHOOSH...it's some kinda hot around here. The fan's going, the boys sprawled underneath it to use every centimeter of cool linoleum underneath. If I had a permanent fur coat on, I'd be taking advantage of it, too...

Moolany has a great post on making your lifestyle a homemade one, including detergent and other helpful products...some really good ideas here.

Tiger Woods did NOT make the cut on the British Open! (Poor guy.)

Get a free novel for summer reading from Random House. Your choice of 3 books...all you've gotta do is fill out a short form!

And the Rockies taco special is still good at Taco Bell, if you live in Colorado. Whenever the Rocks score 7 or more, you can get 4 tacos for a buck, provided you order a drink, too. The Rocks won last night, with a score of 10. Guess who's munching on tacos tonight?? (But the special is only good from 4-6 p.m.)

Speaking of munching, giant squid seem to be starting to get interested in People Food: "Scientists are not sure why the squid are swarming off the Southern California coast, but they are concerned." Yeah, me too.

And also in its own special place on the food chain, one of the best Mac & Cheese recipes ever. Cooks in a crockpot and is one of the creamiest versions we've tucked into. Frugal Upstate, bless her heart, gave me the original recipe, but I've changed it a bit.

ALL DAY MAC AND CHEESE

16 ounces cooked pasta (until barely al dente)
4 cups cheese (I use cheddar, plus whatever's leftover in the fridge)
1 can evaporated milk**
1 1/2 cups milk (2 cups make it slightly more liquid)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry or jarred mustard
salt and pepper

**if you don't have evaporated milk, substitute this -- 1 1/2 cups warm water, 1 cup powdered milk, 1-2 tablespoons butter. Heat until butter is melted, mix, then use or store.

Spray your crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Dump the ingredients in, mix. Cook on 'low' setting 2-3 hours. (Frugal said 2-5 hours, but ours got too brown around the edges after 4 hours.) Stir and serve. That's it!

Frugal Upstate will throw in a bit of wheat germ; a few tablespoons of sour cream, stirred in just before serving, are a good addition, too. If you're gone all day, try setting the crockpot on 'warm' instead of 'low' -- it should weather a 5-7 hour period nicely.

Yum. And doesn't heat up the kitchen too badly, either. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Win A Summer Read! (Or CD or DVD)

Want to win a $10 Amazon card? Saving Cents in the City is celebrating her one-year blogging anniversary, and giving one away. You'll find the blog enjoyable, too....

I'm Melting...

Got a kid going (or going back) to college? These tips from a mother-and-son duo may be of help. (They won't hurt for high school students, either.)

And some everyday tips from a "bargain stalker."

Once again, it is hot hot HOT. Thank God for smoothies, a cooler breeze and a waterhose.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So What's Good on a Frugal Weekend?

Picking fresh vegetables out of your garden...or getting them at a farmer's market.
(Our wonderful neighbors just gave us a sackful of peas and onions...stirfry for supper tonight!)

Smoothies made with fresh fruit.
(Especially Michigan strawberries and Western Slope peaches.)

Sleeping in! (Pure luxury)

Homemade pancakes and waffles...to make it extra nice, pure maple syrup on top.

Beef stew or chili, slowly simmering in the crockpot all day.
(And knowing all that's needed for supper is crackers and cheese.)

Watching a Five-Buck-Club movie at the nearest Kerasote theater.
($5 for first-run movies, once you've got the free club card! Go here for yours.)

Swimming at a friend's pool. Or spending the afternoon at one of the town pools.

A vase of flowers on the dining room table, courtesy of your garden. (Or nearby meadow.)

A Really Good Old Movie, enjoyed with homemade popcorn (the dogs begging for snacks), snuggled next to Husband.

A Really Good Book, like The Glass Castle (an amazing frugal memoir), plus a hammock...and a few hours of uninterrupted time. (Best enjoyed after you do something strenuous, like mow the lawn.)

Ah, summer....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Giant Creatures Slide Show

These are wayyyy cool, including a shark and tarantulas I wouldn't want to meet up with in a dark alley. Go here.

How Americans Spend

...at least based on a 2007 survey.

This seems woefully out of date, but here's JD's post on it, in case you're interested.

And a closer look at the 'official' diagram.

We don't seem to fit much of anywhere on this puppy. We don't smoke, don't spend anywhere near what the 'average' is on alcohol, probably do about 2% of our income on clothing. (Mostly Husband's taste for expensive shoes -- though he even buys those on clearance, and wears them to death.

Maybe you're closer to the mark. But I doubt it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Perfect Weekend

...according to J.D. at Get Rich Slowly. (And it does sound wonderful.)

What kinds of things do you choose for a frugal weekend? I'll post more on this shortly.

No, I'm Not Goofing Off...

...well, sort of. That is, if not keeping a serene schedule is messing around.

Right now, it's mostly appraising, weeding, doing a load of laundry or two, and trying to get several reports finished up, especially some ideas for future books. Get the current book done -- heave a big sigh of relief and go off to clean out the closet (or do the dishes, or scrub the toilets) -- swear you'll never do this to yourself -- and lo and behold, you're back at it in a month or two.

Go figure.

I've found a new homesteading blog, thanks to Frugal Babe ...this one is by Doug Fine, a journalist who enjoys messing with compost, arguing with chickens and posting the "Green Lifestyle Contradiction of the Month." (The current one compares the Prius' energy-wasting tendencies with the a Hummer. The Prius, according to Doug, wins!) His posts wander about a bit (hey, so do mine)...but hey, when they get to the point, they do it beautifully.

It is soooo hot here until about 6 p.m. Then the evening breeze comes up and blows gently through the house. (Sometimes we luck out and get a rainstorm before that, and things cool off a bit earlier.) And we give thanks for having survived yet another stifling day.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Restaurant Deals

You'll find ten good ones here, including Subway's $5 footlong (good for lunch for both Husband and me!) and Starbuck's $3.95 'pairings.' (We're big fans of the ham sandwich. BIG fans.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Backyard Doings

This Old House's competition for backyard renovations is done, and the results are in. Take a look at these wonderful changes.

This year, instead of trying to plant a Great Big Huge garden down in our lower backyard, I decided to concentrate on the 'house bed,' a rounded area that used to be shaded by a large (former) tree. That and the herb garden would get my attention.

I cleared around the perennials, then slowly started adding more. Beans have been planted in the cleared areas, and instead of petunias, tomatoes and zucchini populate the large pots on the deck. I put my flower funds into a large climbing 'Gypsy' style rose ($29.95) in a waist-high copper pot...a $15 steal from King Soopers. KS has some large green pots with frogs spouting...they'll be perfect for a small fountain when the pot's on deep clearance!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Feverish Meanderings

Now I know why I've been feeling what Husband calls 'peaked' the past few days...

It's called flu.

Nothing tastes good...except tea and Tostitos lime tortilla chips. (I could be going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and Tostitos lime chips would still be wonderful.)

Husband keeps saying I don't look well. He kissed me goodbye this morning on his way to work: "Whoa, you're hot!" (And it wasn't a compliment, either.) Hey buddy, better that than spending most of the time in the bathroom, which I "enjoyed" earlier this week. (The nausea remains, but you handle that better.)

Not much enthusiasm for anything...a perfect time to catch up on business paperwork.

Skies are gray, but it's a welcome change from the 80s-90s temps we've been having. Time to finish up that paperwork...then it's back to working on some quilt restoration in the company of buddy Sherlock Holmes. (The PBS version starring Jeremy Brett, that is.) He's been strangely comforting. (Maybe that's where the tea urge is coming from.)

* * * * *
Before I dive back into the pile, though, take a minute to read:

Frugal Dad, on places to hide extra cash in your house. (My mom uses the freezer method. We used to keep an envelope slipped between drawers in our bedroom chest of drawers. This can be a real issue when someone you love dies...because you're not quiiiite sure you found all their hiding places. Dave's mom stashed cash everywhere from a tobacco can to under the mattress -- between it and the boxsprings. I still am not convinced we found all of her hideyhole spots.)

Marc and Angel Hack Life, on making everyday days memorable. "Right now is life," Marc says. "Don't miss it." Good stuff here.

Some poor guy died after falling in a vat of chocolate in New Jersey. Poor man. Perversely, I keep thinking about a Jack Benny radio show episode...Benny, pretending to be Fred Allen, interviews Silas Moody, about a friend who fell in a vat of molasses -- "sweetened to death. Yep, months later, they're still fighting the ants off his grave."

And another poor man -- Ward Churchill, a University of Colorado professor who's been boo-hooing his dismissal from CU ever since he was caught falsifying his credentials (not to mention plagiarizing and 'rewriting' research for his academic work). A few months ago, a jury ruled that Churchill had been dismissed more for his nasty stance on 9/11, than his academic missteps. (In case you're not sure, Churchill is the bonehead who announced that people who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 deserved it -- because they were "little Eichmanns" in cahoots with the imperialist US government, anyways.)

The jury awarded Churchill damages -- one shiny dollar.

Churchill announced he wasn't interested in the money (yeah, right) and crowed that he had been vindicated. His prancing was somewhat subdued, however. And it slowed down some more a few days ago, when a judge nullified the jury verdict because it awarded damages (yay for Ward!), but refused to give any money OR force CU to reinstate Churchill in his job. (Boo for Ward!) After all, the judge pointed out, in spite of his protestations that he would 'play nice,' once he got his job back, Churchill had been quite vocal in denouncing university officials as idiots and con men.

So...
No money.
No job.
No fee for his attorney, whose work was contingent on an award or settlement.

And now CU has announced that they plan to bill him for part of their attorney fees. Only $50,000, though it's certain they spent much, much more. (Good for CU, who refused to let its collective knees buckle, or what would have been much easier -- pay Churchill in a back-door session just to Go Away.)

Poor misunderstood, persecuted Ward Churchill. Poor man. Read about the latest verdict here.

* * * * * * * *

Now where's that English Breakfast...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Not Enough Cash? Try these...

An interesting batch of posts, in case you've got a minute --

this forum focuses on "What They Did When Times Were Hard."

some good ideas on surviving with less cash.

Update on the Fate of QN, McCall's and Quiltmaker...

It's better than I feared.

The official press release is here. In short, New Track Media has just purchased CK Media's quilting titles, which were primarily located in Golden, CO. That new ownership also meant layoffs (of course), and a ton of uncertainty for the editors on staff of those magazines.

Many of whom were good friends, both when I was an editor for Quilter's Newsletter, and the years afterward.

I talked to a buddy at QN...and felt a great sense of relief. Although a few people were let go from Editorial -- including Irene Berry, a fine and capable editor -- most are just fine. There were approx. 13 layoffs at the Golden office, but 4 were bigwigs, and the rest of the hits primarily in circulation and accounting. Actually, my friend said, the Ogden, UT office took more hits than the people in Golden did. Still not great...but much more bearable than having the Golden office -- and the magazines -- shut down completely.

My friend is "cautiously optimistic:" a good sign.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Coping Financially with Life After Divorce...

not mine! (I am a very lucky woman in that respect.)

But Maggie McGuane's story in the June Style.com Vogue is a fascinating one.

Although I don't understand how someone with a $500 limit on her one (and only) credit card would consider a $300 pair of cross earrings necessary. At least she waited and saved for them.

My Friends May Be Losing -- Or Already Have Lost -- Their Jobs

Just read online that CK Media sold its quilting titles -- including Quiltmaker, McCall's Quilting and Quilter's Newsletter. Other titles produced at the Golden, CO office were also part of the buy. (They've been on the market for a while now.)

What makes my heart drop about this?

A massive layoff was announced for the Golden office (as well as the Ogden, UT office) -- which means that I will have friends losing their jobs. Good friends.

I need to make some phone calls.

Planting Beans

Yep, that's what I've been doing. Beans and more beans. There's nothing nicer than a fresh-snapped bean lightly steamed, or snuggling in a stir-fry. I can plant up through next week, and still get a good 'mess' of them before it freezes.

Sorry I've been so quiet, though. We spent a lot of time away from the house over the weekend of the Fourth...got an invite from friends for dinner, went to the flea market (and found a Sunbonnet pillowcase, as well as a Sunbonnet crocheted handkerchief, for my pattern files), went to the church picnic...and were lucky enough to have the rain stop in time for the fireworks. The temperature dropped, and we watched fireworks with our own sparkles in the woodstove. (First time I can remember needing warmth on the Fourth for a long, long time.)

The 80s/90s temps are back, though. Luckily, it cools down in the late afternoons...because our big storms are back, as well. No matter-- the plants love it.

One Frugal Girl has a fitting post on penny-wise, pound foolish. She saved a buck on the price of an item -- and because she stayed longer than 'a minute,' she got to pay a parking ticket.

Get Rich Slowly has a similar post on a pair of boots at $10 -- a 'bargain' price, except the boots didn't fit!

My 'saving' decisions? Wait until the last minute to ship something...then pay extra to get it there on time. Let dishes pile up in the sink, instead of taking a few minutes every day to wash them up. (And pay for it in smells and extra effort.) Wait to write a check, send a note...then not be able to find the bill, or the note never gets sent.

I'm working on improving, even though it may mean sending a note six months later...and apologizing en route.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Musings...and Saving a Bundle on Cable!

Rumbling in the thundering...and the sky over the mountains is a strange shade of metallic blue. Looks like rain. But also looks like hail.

I've made progress out there (in the garden, that is). The tomatoes are all in, and a big batch of beans has been planted. The zucchini are up and scrambling to get ahead. Everything seems to be alive. I had hoped to put in one raised bed, but it may have to wait.

Today's the last to be Insurance Girl. It's been DEAD. Apparently if people haven't finished what they planned to before the weekend of the Fourth, they just decided, "Ah, stick it. I'll do it when I get back."

Slowly, slowly am beginning to drag myself back into life. A few piles are gone. (More soon.) Next week, I can concentrate on finishing up some restoration/quilting jobs, and help whip the biz inventory back into shape! At least it's cool downstairs in the biz area

* * * * *
The Brick accomplished something wonderful this week --
he cut our cable/internet bill in HALF!

We wanted to see if we could cut the fees any -- we decided to sponsor a Brazilian son through Compassion (a terrific charity), and needed to find the extra $36 monthly fee. And our cable bill had been steadily rising for some time.

Here's what Dave did to get their attention: he started the process to cancel our account. Before long, he was connected with a very nice voice that was more than willing to cut fees, if we'd be willing to stay on! Here's what he got:

*Our cable pkg price (pretty basic, but with History, Travel, AMC, Turner Movie Classics) was cut in half. Not the package -- just the price.
*Our internet access -- ditto. (We have no landlines, just cell phones, so need to get access via cable.)
*Turned in the second receiver, and cancelled the 'second room' coverage. (We don't use it, anyways.)
*Turned in the HD DVR...and got a regular one, instead! (This will save you $7-8 a month, just by itself. The service doesn't change, and we don't have a HD television, anyways.)

Our last month's bill was $145. What do we pay now? $70 for six months...then $90 the next six months. And then, we look at the process all over again!

Could we cancel cable altogether? Well, sure. And if things got really tough, we would. (There is Hulu, after all.) But the Brick enjoys his sports, especially the Rockies and college football. I like those too...but we both enjoy the CSI: NY and NCIS, the Mentalist and other cop shows. I love the History Channel. And it's nice to be able to watch Judge Judy whenever I feel like it, thanks to the DVR. These are niceties, though -- and we could live without them. (Both our daughters do...their great pleasure is Netflix.)

The other issue is the mountains -- TV coverage out here in Denver really stinks without cable. You just can't tune many channels in.

For now, though, saving more than half on our cable bill feels mighty good.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summertime, missing Dad

Hot hot HOT again. No rain, though we have a bit of a breeze at night.

I'm still an insurance girl -- today and tomorrow. No huge crisis (thankfully), but lots of people adding vehicles...is that a sign that the economy is definitely improving, maybe? So it's busy sometimes, quiet most times.

Brin over at MessyThrillingLife came to a crossroads in her life yesterday -- she lost the house she's been working on for more than five years. But more than that, she lost a much-beloved grandfather. My heart hurts for her -- I know what it is like to lose someone you love. A tv show last night...the character called, and on the phone said, "Happy Father's Day, Dad." So what does yours truly do but start sobbing...I suddenly realized I cannot do this anymore, not until I see him again in another world.

Most of the time, I'm fine. I miss him, but I'm ok. Then in one unguarded moment, I'm a puddle of tears again.

It will pass. It will.

* * * * ** *
Slowly beginning to Put Stuff Away. I have paperwork to do, including several contracts. (I hate contracts, but they mean $$ in the long run.) And I must write up a wonderful report on an amazing Harrison campaign flag.

But the insurance work comes first.

Things I STILL Don't Understand

    There are plenty of weird, sometimes frightening, sometimes silly things out there in the world that I just don't understand. Here&#...