Monday, August 31, 2009

Want to Learn How to Date and Restore Quilts?

This may be your final chance to attend a Quilt Restoration workshop taught by Nancy Kirk, one of the greats in the quilt restoration field...and getting ready to retire. Yours truly will be co-teaching.

The workshops are in Omaha, NE:
Beginning quilt restoration Sept. 23-24
Advanced quilt restoration Sept. 26-27

with a field trip to the International Quilt Study Center (always worth a visit!) Sept. 25.

Fees are extremely reasonable, and you'll come away from this with a remarkable set of skills for repairing and restoring not only your own quilts -- but with a start toward doing it as a business -- something that's desperately needed in many areas. Promise.

Two half-scholarships are mentioned on the website as still available, too...

Find out more at the Quilt Restoration site. Or ask if you've got a question.

* * * *

I spent much of today out and about with an appraisal client, so didn't get much done at home. This week, I have several irons in the fire that must be drawn out...but I'll be around.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Vacations -- Except We Don't Get One

...at least for a while...

going to Michigan several times this year (for Dad's sickness, funeral and checking on Mom) drained our extra funds badly. Husband also has two unpaid weeks during the summer -- most school employees do who aren't teachers. (They also have two unpaid weeks around the holidays.) We've kept the bills paid, but more because of my work than anything else. (God knows -- I mean that literally -- that we needed the extra cash to get through this summer.)

But we're hoping to go on vac soon. Maybe a day in Grand Junction, to pick up a bushel or two of peaches?

Or perhaps a few days in Capitol Reef, Utah, to go camping?

Husband would love to go to Panama. (He's curious about retiring there.)

I'd love to go to Ireland. (Our cousins are missionaries in Galway -- the same cousins I spent a summer with when they lived in Vienna.)

The Simple Dollar has some interesting memories about childhood vacations, cloaked under a question -- 'Is it worth making some sacrifices on vacation -- or should you go whole hog and who cares about the consequences?'

We did a lot of vacation traveling during my childhood. My dad was a mechanic and a farmer -- hardly a millionaire. (Anyways, he was too much of a Hollander to spend much money.) We did it by camping, eating nearly all of our meals at fireside or a picnic table. We spent our money on gas, not hotels. By the time I married, I'd traveled in at least thirty states, plus Mexico and Canada, but had only stayed in a hotel a few times.

Like Simple Dollar, we ate our share of bologna sandwiches. (I don't care for them now -- but Husband loves a good pb&j.) But he's right -- making your own food can save you big bucks. Does paying $10 for a sandwich make it any easier, if you're on vacation? I don't think so.

What were your childhood vacations like? How does that compare to your vacations as an adult?
Remember: post here by Sept. 15, and you're eligible for a kit giveaway. (See earlier posts.) Post as often as you want, as long as it's one per day!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Peace is Coming...

After Husband charges out of here, that is. I got back from coffee early this morning to find Husband, hair ruffly, saying he wasn't ready to leave for the men's retreat after work. I offered to pack -- he accepted!

Husband also said wistfully, 'Who am I going to snuggle with tonight?' I suggested his best friend (and hunting buddy) Tommy! Which got a snort from Husband...and a smile from me.

Cooler today. Oops, Husband just banged in for lunch. Gotta go...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Commencing On

It's a quiet life in the neighborhood. Not much to do right now, except wait, work and quilt. Yup -- you heard right. THE BOOK (Quilts in the Golden West) is at the printer's, doing its thing...and I'm supposed to see the results in a few weeks. Some biz work has been done...more to do this weekend. Being strung up by your toes is preferable, in my opinion, to double-checking customer entries...but after Staffer gets the info entered, that's my job. Sigh.

The pleasure is that I'm quilting a 19th century top for a client. I love this kind of meditative work, watching the blocks smooth into finished beauty as you carefully stitch. Husband is headed for a men's retreat Friday, and won't come back until Sunday afternoon. I intend to live in sweatpants, eat canned soup and pizza, and stay up as late as my little heart desires. To decrease temptation, Husband will be taking the Jeep -- the only usable vehicle on the Brick lot. (He got stopped in our other car for a defective taillight, and the headlight's out, too.) That means nothing to tempt me to wander around, instead of working.

I do think I will give myself one long-deferred pleasure, though...I plan to paint the front door a deep, rich purple, to go with our grey-sage siding.

Speaking of pizza, the founder of Papa John's just paid $250,000 to get his old treasured high school Camaro back -- plus a $25,000 reward to the people who tracked it down for him. (He had to sell the car to help save his dad's tavern business...then he used the excess money to start Papa John's.) Somehow I don't think I'll ever want my first car back -- a bright blue Plymouth Duster. My brother drove it after I married Husband with his fahncy Ford Mustang. I wonder what happened to the Duster??

Back to work. Don't forget about the free giveaway!! (See my previous post.) It ends Sept. 15.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Free Giveaway...And Saving Money in Just a Few Minutes

Just realized I've done 500 posts on this blog...whoo hoo! Time goes by WAY more quickly than you think. To celebrate, I'm offering a free giveaway -- your choice of a Patchwork Joys kit (fabric, book and goodies) or a Crazy Joys kit (Crazy quilt fabric, floss and embellishments). It's perfect for stitching up a holiday present -- or just give the kit itself!
Leave a comment sometime before Sept. 15 -- one per post. The more you leave, the better chances you have for winning!

Almost Frugal has some fascinating ways to save time and money with just a few minutes effort. Check out her ideas here . One example: take 5 minutes and chop some veggies for the next meal -- it will go together faster, without the temptation of saying 'fuhgeddaboudit' and going out to eat.

I'd add a few that will give you quality of life!
Take 5 minutes and:

*write a postcard or short note to someone you love (they'll love you for it)
*clear off a tabletop or small area
*tidy up, on your way to bed
*start a load of wash. The next 5 minutes, you can throw them in the dryer or hang them up. And the final 5 minutes, fold the dry clothes and put them away.
*clean a toilet (it'll make cleaning the bathroom that much faster)
*file some stuff (this one is REALLY hard for me)

* * * * * *
Finally, from the Department of Really Weird Stuff, a photo essay of the "Tomatino." The city of Valencia, Spain has been holding a tomato fight free-for-all since the 1940s...and boy, does it look like fun!
Some Texans and Coloradoans do a smaller version of this every year. Wish I knew someone for an invite.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Eating for Less Than $100 A Month?

It would be tough, but...

perhaps the ideas in this post would be helpful. (Thanks so much, Living Almost Large!) Don't miss the reader comments, either...they're the best.

Quiet Millionaires

Mom and Joy are back in Michigan...a thunderstorm gave their ride home a gut-thumping thrill or two, and provided some needed rain here. Another is on the way...

J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly has a book review today on Brett Wilder's book THE QUIET MILLIONAIRE, advocating the merits of saving money by economizing, slowly and surely. He also has reminders about some of his previous posts in a similar vein, including this one on Jane Buri, a social worker that squirrelled away millions! (A video on Jane is here.)She drove an old car, dressed herself in long-wearing classics, and watched an ancient television. She also traveled whenever she wanted, including Europe, and gave generously to the charities she believed in. According to J.D., she saved because it didn't occur to her to spend more.
An interesting thought.

Other posts include one on a reader's "mathmobile" neighbor, 'John,' J.D.'s millionaire next door, and of course, those terrific reader comments. You'll learn a lot about deliberate frugality that way. 'John's' secret to wealth, for example? "The real secret is to spend less than you earn. I don’t care how much you earn, you spend less than you earn.”

One of my great favorites in this area is THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR, a matter-of-fact look at what could only be called "middle class millionaires:" people with bucks that don't really show it. Over and over again, they have the same habits --
*save up and buy quality, so it lasts for decades
*keep clothing and accessory purchases to a useful minimum (again, buy for classic longevity)
*buy your home -- and keep it forever
*buy your car the same way

Most of all, they save on the necessities of life -- so they can afford a luxury or two!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good Posts to Check

Desperately trying to keep my eyelids propped open, while Mom and Cousin Joy, packed and ready for their flight tomorrow, are chatting away.

A few interesting posts I wandered across:

Frugal ways for booklovers to save money.

Saving money by cutting way back at least one meal a week. (Simple Dollar calls it "hacking.") Some great connected posts to this one, too -- don't stop reading until the very end.

Zzzzzzz....

Mucking About on Monday

A 'muck monster' has been sighted in Palm Beach...but you won't see much in this video, just a bunch of ripples. Can't it show itself? Look here.

Sorry I've been so quiet this weekend -- my momma, along with cousin Joy, have been in town. We went traipsing to Boulder on Saturday, then yesterday went to a Rockies game. (They won - oh joy! They didn't get 7 runs, so no cheap tacos...darn it.) Today has been mostly talking and getting some chores done.

Mom and Joy fly out tomorrow morning...I'll be back in touch after that.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wonderful Graphics - Free for Use!

I just found the Graphics Fairy, a blogger who generously passes on any number of old photos, scrapbook bits and other illustrations -- free for you to use! They're perfect for scrapbooking and home dec, quilts and other needlework.

I'm a sucker for Victorian era stuff, which she has in abundance. But there are plenty of other items too, including fancy bottle labels (which I recently priced in Tuesday Morning at big $$) and maps of Paris, the British Museum and London.

Sprint, don't walk here -- and take a look.

You go, girl! (And thank you.)

Trompeing Around...

on the internet, and found these interesting posts:

*Paul Michael of Wisebread has a mixture he swears will perk up any tired lawn:
1 can soda
1 can beer
1/2 cup dishwashing liquid (not the anti-bacterial kind)
1/2 cup ammonia
1/2 cup mouthwash

Mix together, then spray on your lawn twice a season to green it up. Michael says the ammonia helps the grass grow, and the mouthwash kills bugs and grubs. So...what's with the other stuff? The lawn's thirsty, and wants to clean up afterwards? Anyways, it's worth a shot.

*The New York International Gift Fair has some interesting trompe l'oeil items to show. I love the "3-D-but-not-really" look, but it's difficult to pull off. Have always wanted to paint a dollar bill or coin on the floor, to see if someone would try to pick it up.

*Model Iskula Cohen, hurt by a blogger who called her the biggest skank in NYC, gets Google to cough up the blogger's identity -- and it turns out to be a casual acquaintance who'd attended some of the same parties a year or so ago. "Thank God it was her...she's a pretty irrelevant person in my life," Cohen said. "I have pretty solid friendships, and I trust my friends," she added. "I don't know what I would have done if it had been somebody that I valued as a friend." More on the story here.
Cohen said that work the past year has "not exactly been a walk in the park," and she was often questioned by potential clients about the blogging posts. She also added that people wouldn't put up with being attacked on the street -- why should they take it from an anonymous online predator?
I know some people are going to argue that the term 'free speech' means you get to say whatever you want, whenever you want, about anyone, especially if they're in the public eye. There's got to be a stopping point, though:

Do kids get to threaten their local public school with another Columbine, regardless of whether they mean it or not?

Would you take 'fightin' words' from a crazed stranger with a knife, whether or not he said later it was just a joke?

And certainly President Obama's team takes VERY seriously any wild talk about assassination, whether the speaker is considered mentally ill or not.

For those who just like to shoot off their mouth because they can -- and do it anonymously -- this court decision is a warning shot off the bow. Seems to me that Jesus' words would be a good guideline here: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Don't say it out of jealousy or an urge to hurt. Don't say anything about them that you wouldn't mind being identified as the speaker. Say the truth -- not innuendo.
In other words, take responsibility for your words and your actions.


*And last but not least, an overview of the strange (and wonderful) things found in the leftovers from Andy Warhol's estate. (At least they're making progress, I guess -- Warhol died in 1987.)

And now, a tired guest bedroom calls, for vacuuming, a bouquet of cosmos from the garden and fresh linens. Ma's coming to town tomorrow night, with a cousin in tow!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Keep Your Clunker, Instead?

Frugal Dad (one of my favorite bloggers) has a guest post from Neal Frankle of Wealth Pilgrim - why you should keep your favorite clunker, vs. turning it in for a down payment on a new car.

Lots of examples and charts here to prove his point.

And for your basic used car, I think he makes a lot of sense.

Daughter #2 is debating this issue right now. She owns a '96 Jeep Cherokee (our old Jeep). It looks great, and generally runs well -- except it needs about $600 of crankcase work done right now. Oh yes...and it has more than 250,000 miles on it.
A couple of guys offered to buy it for $800 -- a third (or less) of its Blue Book value, even with high mileage. Daughter would like to get another car, but not a new one. (She's very good at understanding and practicing frugality.)

So, should she fix the car, then keep it?
Should she fix it and sell it?
Should she sell it as-is?
Turn it in under the 'cash for clunkers' program? (which I THINK has been reinstated)
Should she donate it, instead? (She doesn't really need the tax deduction.)

I can see possibilities with every decision....but it's not my car. Daughter's not sure what to do. What would you decide?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's Coming!

I just came across this great recipe for fudge bars, thanks to GroceryCartChallenge...but my motivation for making freezer treats is rapidly waning.

Fall is definitely starting to move in here. The trees are already showing patches of yellow and gold. (Our dominant fall color -- orange and red are at a premium.) A cold breeze wanders through in the afternoon, and we've had two days of rather nasty thunderstorms and wind.

I'm not sad. It's no fun to lie in bed, wishing you could breathe, or putting off supper to keep the house cooler. I love fall -- the visual grandeur, cooler weather, the sense of excitement (after all, the holidays aren't far behind). And even the tiny bit of sadness as the garden ends, and stews and soups begin.

I just hope we don't get a killing frost for a week or two, so the tomatoes and zukes have a chance to bear more.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Very Sad Story

One of the saddest unemployment stories I've read in a long time...
and one of the best to learn by.

called "Nowhere to Go But Down."

He can't find work. She can't, either. They've lost their rented house, and are forced to move into Her mom's basement, now occupied by boxes, cat litter and a few small windows. Two-year-old Daughter and 17-year-old Son will be living with them.

But wait...

That's not the whole story.
Here are some other truths that eventually come out:

*He was making good money at his old job...and spending it fist-over-pocket. Blowing it on treating the whole bar to drinks, lavish meals, stuff like that. No savings. No retirement. No nothing. Just paycheck to paycheck.

*Education is a misnomer -- he got some training, but isn't using it. She isn't, either. (No sign that they're encouraging Son to even think this way.)

*She gets a job offer during the course of the article -- and turns it down. Not as much money as she can make getting unemployment.

*What do they do now? Basically nothing, unless you count video games and watching television. Why fill out job applications? They cost gas and effort. (Hmmm...especially at the very end of the article, where one of his friends gets work at His old employer, and thinks there may be other work there. Does He go check before they leave town? Nope.)

*How do they eat now? Stack beer up there toward the top of the food groups. Lots of processed stuff, and tons of carbs. (This, after mentioning he's gained 40 pounds since he lost his job.)

*Teenaged son is failing school, but finds time to play XBox (which parents conveniently ignore). Son has no job. No goals. But he DOES have a girlfriend.

*Her mom is giving them a place to stay -- but is this new town full of better opportunities? Nope. And they sure haven't been looking for any, either.

I am trying hard to feel sympathetic toward this family. Obviously, they're in deep trouble. But have they stopped and looked at the patterns that put them into this situation? Are they trying to change anything?

Eventually, out of sheer inertia, He'll get a job. (Probably the unemployment benefits will run out, and He or She will be forced to Do Something.) But will they start to put money aside for the next hard time? Naahh. Too many people to treat down at the local bar.

It's Coming...

Cloudy and much cooler...fall is definitely starting to make inroads.

Tell that to the tomatoes and zucchini, lazily growing fruit in huge pots on the terrace -- "Hurry up, guys! You don't have much longer!"

The dogs know it. They stand, ears flapping in the breeze, and sniff and sniff. Then they race us to get in the house first.

A perfect afternoon for a long snooze, cuddled up to Husband.

Then he finishes installing the ceiling fan...and I'll do the dishes!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Making Progress

Husband spent a hot and sweaty chunk of this afternoon installing a ceiling fan in Daughter #1's old bedroom....after I put away some more stuff in there. It still is messy, but I'll clean up after the fan is in and running.

Gee, it was hot. Again.

I put on a sleeve (on a quilt! a quilt!) for a friend, worked on the two bedrooms, and washed clothes. Loads and loads -- over and over.

The freezer beckons...my pig is at the butcher's, and I need to chip out the freezer so it's suitably empty.

* * * *
Watched an incredible movie tonight: Flash of Genius, starring Greg Kinnear, about Dr. Bob Kearns, the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper. Kearns, a college professor, showed his invention to Ford, thought he'd reached an agreement with them, only to be shoved aside as Ford released its newest model cars -- oops, with a brand-new innovation: intermittent wipers!

It took Kearns decades to finally sue Ford and win a little more than $10 million for his invention. (He also sued Chrysler, and eventually got more than $18 million from them --I wondered, what about GM?) In the process, though, he had a nervous breakdown. He spent millions on legal counsel. And he divorced and was estranged from his family for much of that period.

If the movie is right, Ford offered to settle several times with Kearns -- but they just wouldn't acknowledge that he was the inventor. Husband, who also watched the movie (and is an engineer by trade and temperament, like Kearns), differed with me. I said, "What if Kearns had taken one of those earlier settlements? He might still have had his wife and family with him."

Husband looked at me in surprise. "But it wouldn't have been justice. Kearns wanted that more than the money. His wife left him." (Implying, of course, that she should have hung in there. Even though, if Kearns was portrayed accurately by Kinnear, his life was controlled by little else than the wiper issue. Which would have made life hell for his family.)

"He got the money,instead -- lost his family, and more than a decade of productive life. Was it worth it?"

And yet as I said that, I thought how I would feel if someone had put their name on the books I've worked so hard on. How gaining rightful recognition as the author would mean more to me than $10 million, or $18 million...or whatever.

I still don't know what would have been best. But I do know that others, including Elias Howe (the inventor of much of the parts of a sewing machine), Philo Farnsworth (the inventor of television), Edwin Armstrong (the regenerative circuit and FM radio) and others have also had to fight to win recognition for their inventions. Sometimes, in the case of Farnsworth and Armstrong, they get that honor posthumously.

The movie struck a personal note, too. Sometime before 1976, my dad, who was working for a Case farm equipment dealer at the time, figured out an addition that would not only make Case tractors work more efficiently, but was not difficult to implement. News of his innovation somehow got to corporate headquarters in Racine, WI, and the Case people sent out men to talk with Dad and check out his idea. He showed them everything.

Lo and behold, the next year, the newest Case models showed an interesting new detail! You guessed it...my dad's invention.

He never got any recognition for it -- and not a cent.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Doldrums

Boy, it's quiet in Internet-land. Many of my favorite bloggers, including Messy Thrilling Life, Frugal Babe and Like Merchant Ships, haven't posted in days. (It's getting pretty bad when you read through back posts, just because you miss their voices.) Even Tight-Fisted Miser, having given up his Appalachian Trail hike (it's hot, muggy, and his expensive equipment broke down), has been surprisingly mum.

A few interesting bits:

Nesting Place (a new favorite blogger) is advocating a swap meet: where you meet with a group of friends, and swap out decorating stuff you no longer need or want. (I'm thinking of bringing this up with the women at church!)

Man vs. Debt advocates the power of resourcefulness...and a new Brazilian campaign to pee while you're showering, thus saving water.

* * * * *
It is hot. As is "lie down and let the breath run out of you" (Husband's phrase), sticky, stuffy HOT. Even the dumpster swimming pools sound nice.

Staffers are all off this week -- not a real problem, since it's been so quiet. I let the phone collect calls, and put in time doing some long-needed cleaning up.

Mom and my cousin are coming for a visit next week. Although I'm comfortable with a certain amount of 'piles,' (often prep work for the next gig) Mom enjoys fussing about them. I made it my goal to have both Daughter #1's bedroom and the guest bedroom tidy for their visit.

While working on that, it suddenly occurred to me -- why not store the overflow buckets and bins of trim and embellishments in there, gift basket items, etc. until they're needed in the business downstairs?

That's meant raising clouds of dust, paper and pieces EVERYWHERE, and sorting ribbons, trim, buttons, handkerchiefs for future use, bit by bit by bit. I come out of it covered with sweat, dust sticking to me.

The only thing that's helped is waiting until late at night when things cool down, then jumping into the hot tub. A short soak calms down the back muscles and lets me sleep. If I don't do that, then I'm up until 2 a.m. mopping (which I did earlier this week), because I CAN'T sleep.

Another positive: we found four copies of the Hanky Panky book (now in woefully short supply) that we didn't know we had!

Ah well. Daughter's bedroom now has the photos of smooching couples removed, the cow fabric drapes are nearly out...and by week's end, there will be tasteful new curtains stitched, hopefully for both bedrooms. Extra books, tins, jars and shipping envelopes are now in tidy stacks across the shelves. Much better.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Good Stuff!

Yes, I have other things to do...but this is the first time in weeks I've not had a Huge Pressing Deadline on my back. So surfing the 'net feels like fun.

Not that I don't have two rooms to clean out, so Mom and Cuz Joy actually have a place to sleep when they visit next week...

Anyways, here's the first: a New York Times article on dumpster swimming. You read that right! People in New York City are cleaning out and lining dumpsters, then making them into temporary swimming pools.

Weird, but brilliant!

And here's a shoe garden for plants...a hanging shoe caddy that holds plants.


(and thanks, Tracey at Frugal Luxuries, and her buddy at Dirtdujour!)

Wyoming

I enjoy the heck out of WalletPop's "Cheapest Person I Know" slide shows. Here's one to get you started. Sure, they can be disgusting, like the old lady who starts her woodstove with her used toilet paper. (If you've been to certain parts of Mexico, this isn't nearly the stretch you'd think -- since tp can't be flushed, but put in the trash basket, instead. I am not making this up. It's too hard on their septic systems.)
But I also take notes: like the guy who put his car in for an oil change, when told them he'd pick it up the next weekend. Saving, as a result, days' worth of parking charges while he went on vacation!

* * * * * *
I love Cheyenne, WY. It's just so clean, so matter-of-fact country...and so wide-open. The sky seems to go on forever over the plains.

The people there are wonderful, too...warm, friendly and very thoughtful. Three days of appraising reminded me of that. I've been appraising for them now for at least 3 years -- 4, actually, I think -- and the quilts are changing. Much less emphasis on flannel and 'for-the-bed' quilts (although large ones are still being made at a faster pace than some other places). More emphasis on experimenting with fabric and color -- especially, to my surprise, ocean themes and shades. (Like Colorado, there ain't much water around there, folks.)

They have their share of antique quilts, as well, though most I see have definitely been put to use for decades, keeping the family warm and comforted. Not much waste or frivolous stuff goes on around Cheyenne. Even the capital building is much more matter-of-fact than Denver's flibbertigidget gold-leafed dome.

I am missing you already, my Wyoming friends.

Good Stuff on a Hot Summer's Day

Video Goodies from the Great Beyond:

Remember the exuberant wedding dance entrance I...and about 18 million other people... have been smiling about?

Well, in typical American irreverence, here's the divorce dance, six months later. (One of those situations where you shouldn't be laughing, and can't help yourself!)

A couple took photos of their son Lex, beginning a week after his arrival home from the hospital: every day for a year. Here's how he changes, in video form.

And a very silly version of the Four Yorkshiremen, bragging about how bad things were when they were kids. Courtesy of Monty Python and Rowan Atkinson.

It doesn't touch the Queen Victoria Handicap, the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Spam Sketch, though, or my own favorite: The Lumberjack song. (The latter is a favorite for microphone-checking during Worship Team practice.)

And don't forget pigeons.

I'm late, afraid my walk has been a bit sillier than usual....but I'll be back.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hail Yes...Or No?

Didja miss me? I've been appraising in Cheyenne, WY for the past three days. It sounds like it's forever and away, over the plains. Well, it is -- but only a two-hour trip. On the drive home tonight, the poor Jeep Cherokee got pelted with golfball-sized hail...yeowch.

The debate: if I stop and wait, then won't I just have to drive through the storm again when I catch up with it?
OR
If I keep going (albeit slowly), will it do less damage in the long run?

About half the people stopped. The other half, including truckers (and me), kept going slowly and eventually outdistanced the storm.

I was a lucky woman. The windshield is still intact (though I don't know how), and there are only a few scratches on the hood and one suspect dent on the top of the Jeep. Where it doesn't show.

whew.

I'll be back in touch tomorrow. Hope you're enjoying yourself this weekend. And one final note:

Happy 23rd Birthday, Daughter #1! I love you so much, and wish you well on this special day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Free Food! And A Guest Post

Tight Fisted Miser has a guest post from yours truly about eating on $10 a week. It's not a thrilling ride, but can be done with a minimum of sacrifice. Take a look.

And if you'd like some free food, check over at my other blog, Savings Site. Today you can get 2 free tacos at Jack in the Box!

Plus -- Schwan's has a free food special worth trying. Buy any food item $10 or less, and it's delivered FREE...all you have to do is order it via this site .

And, I presume, listen to a pitch by the deliveryman. Which I can handle.

Enjoy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Weekend doings

I don't often talk about the Brick, for a good reason. He already has people knowing more about his business than he cares to, partly because I'm a writer (and writers often blab about their lives) and partly because I often tell stories about my life while teaching. People can relate better if they know somebody else has been through the wringer...or struggled with a certain method...or is beginning to learn something, and feels awkward about it. I am very human, and it makes my job better because I am.

Anyways, the Brick is just tickling the heck out of me tonight. His profession: a bus driver trainer for the school district here. What did he find on the internet but a bus driver driving game! He has been having a wonderful time banging into things, so his 'passengers' scream (then sneering, "cmon, get over it"); swerving on rainy roads...yelling "Oops!"and giggling. As he is a fairly big guy, and is normally an incredibly safe, careful driver (I drive fast, he doesn't), the cumulative effect has been most amusing!

J.D. Roth on Get Rich Slowly has his favorite posts of the month on, including a very helpful post on living with an irregular income. (What a writer and quilting teacher deals with regularly. Trust me. I know.) Well worth visiting.

The urge to review must be catching. Trent at the Simple Dollar's doing the same thing -- only he's reviewing a full year of past favorite posts. I thought the one about being 'broke' and being 'poor' not necessarily the same thing...well, it makes you think.

There's an unsettling report on the king salmon stocks in Alaska...they're way down this year. Don't blame global warming -- it seems that large commercial pollock fishermen are accidentally catching a whole lot of salmon in their nets, too. These are salmon that would eventually return upriver to spawn. Do the math. Fewer salmon to spawn...fewer the next year...and the next...and the next. Don't let yourself cultivate a taste for salmon teriyaki unless you have the money to indulge it.

It's hot again. Very, very hot. The garden has a very short memory. In spite of cool, wet conditions only a few days ago, it's now looking dry and peaked. But the fields gasslands around us are, for the first time I can remember, still green. Almost unheard of in a Colorado summertime. (Bear in mind -- we live in what is known as 'high desert.')

Not much much happening online, and it's pretty quiet at home right now, too. This week, though, will be different: two birthday parties (Daughter#2's birthday is tomorrow, Daughter #1 turns 23 on Sunday), two restoration jobs, some business stuff...and three days of appraising in Cheyenne for their annual show this coming weekend. Ah well. Had better get to it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ad Doings...

You can see, from the evidence left by posts last night, my first serious brush with AD POLLUTION. Hopefully you weren't hanging about here last night...but after I'd mentioned Annie L had a p------, suddenly ads for a certain part of the male anatomy dominated the blog!

Sigh.

And I couldn't get rid of them until the last (very silly) post, which re-oriented the key words to something more G-rated. Late last night, the ads suddenly switched to...

Disneyland.

What a jump, huh.

And I learned my lesson. Never talk about certain things with double meanings unless I'm suitably vague about them.

I don't mind having ads on this blog that may be of help to you. (We took a similar tack on the Brickworks website.) Income from this is truly minimal -- it doesn't even pay for website hosting costs. It's when 'interesting' ads suddenly show up -- ones that I wouldn't let in my home, let alone out to you -- then I begin tearing my hair out.

So thanks for being patient. This has been the only time it's ever happened, in years of blogging. And thanks to avoiding certain key words, it should be the last time.

* * * * *

The flu has let up, thank God. It was just a quickie, apparently, though the Brick got to enjoy his few days of it, too. He's outside on the back deck, working away at the chainsaw. One of our buddies noticed a cut-down cottonwood and a 'free firewood' sign...so this afternoon, you can guess what we'll be doing!

Bigfoot's Back in Town?

I haven't forgotten  Our Mutual Buddy.  He's been kind of quiet lately -- but I suspect he's not back yet. ( He seems to...