Saturday, October 31, 2009
The ten most important things he's learned from life -- and finances.
These are really quite amazing, including:
The more time you spend improving and educating yourself, the better off you will be.
Blaming others for your problems is a dead-end road. It may be fun. It may even be true in part. But it's not going to get you anywhere.
And maybe my favorite: The single most important part of finance is truly knowing yourself.
Always spend less than you earn. (JD at Get Rich Slowly posits this, and I think he's right.)
Save a little every week -- even if it's only a dollar or so.
You weren't put on this earth to have it cater to you. We're here for a reason.
Big piles of snow are in the middle of the roads downtown, and people gingerly drive through the narrow lanes created. The sun is shining hard, in spite of the chilly air, and you can literally see the snow steaming down. We're supposed to be in the 60s next week, which should take care of the rest.
Now back to that sinkful of dirty dishes...have a great weekend.
Friday, October 30, 2009
It's beautiful out, but not much is melting. And we've got storm clouds still peeking over the mountains. On the other hand, we're supposed to have temps in the 60s next week. It's Colorado -- go figure.
Twenty of filmdom's creepiest little kids are listed in this unsettling photo gallery, including my own favorite -- the little girl in Bad Seed. She had no hesitation burning up a creepy janitor, or killing the little boy that wouldn't fork over the penmanship medal she craved. Wouldn't it be a relief to push somebody who was irritating the crap out of you down the stairs... oh no, I'm starting to think like her! Horrors!
The girlies saw Bad Seed when they were younger, and loved it. Then they'd get this speculative look in their eyes...
What a strange thing to happen. I would think it totally bizarre, if not for some of the odd animal attacks we've had here in Colorado. But for us, it's generally mountain lions...here's advice on what to do if you're ever in this kind of situation.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
oop, wait... I need to claw myself up and out of a snowdrift before I can do anything else!!
Seriously, we have been DUMPED on the past few days. School got cancelled; a blessing because Husband, who works as a trainer in the transportation department, could stay in bed and sleep in. (He still isn't over this flu completely...I haven't come back to full strength either, frankly.)
The tally, as of tonight, is 18". (I'd gripe more about that, but Evergreen and places further toward the mountains got as much as 39"!) It's enough to have big overhanging shelves of snow on the deck roof, and half the bird population of Douglas County hanging out on our back porch. (The bird feeder, nearly full earlier this week, is now about 3/4 empty.) The snow is past the dogs' bellies, and the boys flounder around happily, though they're quick to zoom back in.
We've stayed put. Today, I don't think more than one or two cars went down our road -- if that. (The snowplow only put in one appearance.) I finished quilting the top, after staying up nearly all night, plus a bunch of other hours, (yay!) and have started binding it.
Two solid days of snow and blowing, but it's moving further east, over the plains now. Looks like the snow's finally stopped falling here, as of 12:45 a.m. (this posting). I'm guessing Husband will go back to work tomorrow -- darn it.
Ah well. I've got a huge pile of Golden West books to take to the post office, anyways.
* * * * * * *
Some people around Wolf Creek Pass haven't been too thrilled that the area's under consideration for a new ski resort. So they (the people, not the developers) enlisted the support of an unusual champion -- Bigfoot! Take a look at this very funny video.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Your hero is any one of Con-Agra's brand characters, from Marie Callender to Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
LifeasMom has a nice post on cooking once and eating thrice. (I admire her organization.) Her chicken potpie recipe sounds amazing.
And another blogger, who in her 'other' life is a missionary. And a wife. And a mother. Honest, to the point, really living her faith. Wow. Check out Moms,Ministry&More.
And Cook for Good, who believes in using blocks of time for meals...I like the concept, though heating up baked potatoes seems a bit silly, when the house could benefit from the residual heat, anyways. She's a bit too vegetarian for our taste (the Bricks are big meat-eaters). But the ideas are good, and adaptable for about anyone. The price is right, too -- very frugal.
A celebrity who, for a week, takes the place of Elaine ---, a single mother (5 kids) in a housing project. She details all the horrors, including a dirty, unkempt house, and the fact that 'I had to do all the housework and cooking!' (She then weakly amends, 'that was ok because I do it for myself and my girls.' Yeah, right.)
She says that the welfare money was barely enough to live on, then just happens to mention that Mom is paying a "doorstep loan" bookie nearly 1/4 of that money. (Sounds like our 'Check Into Cash' places.) She then goes into a speech on how people have to borrow money at exorbitant rates, shouldn't the government pay more so this won't happen, yada yada.
She mentions that she grew up in a similar project ("council flat"); that her mom insisted on regular chores and keeping the house 'spotless.' Then she says something even more intriguing:
"Of course, I accept that there is also a culture of benefit entitlement that has killed ambition. Teenagers know that they will get dole money once they reach adulthood and girls learn from their parents that if they have babies they will become eligible for a council flat. It's little wonder that teenage pregnancy rates are higher in Britain than anywhere in Europe.
"I was fortunate in that I grew up with parents who always worked hard. We may have lived in a council house, but my father Martin went to work every day and at one stage, my mother held down three jobs. Danielle [her sister] and I learned from watching them that we could have better lives by earning our own money.
"I started working at 15, running aerobics classes at the local Mandela Centre in Chapeltown, Leeds, and I also had a Saturday job in a jeans shop.
"Yet Elaine's eldest child, 18-year-old Tyrone, was so uninterested that he didn't want to get out of bed in the morning even to sign on at the Jobcentre."
Hmmm. Is there a connection here? Especially since the next article I noticed was:
A whiny diatribe about being jealous of classmates/friends who've done better than you. The author knew Coldplay's Chris Martin in school, but is ticked off that they don't have a successful band, a pretty actress wife, millions of dollars, blah blah blah. (Whereas I was thinking that Chris would give a lot to walk down the street with his wife without a camera in his face.)
Fiona Harrold, a life coach quoted in the article, has this to say about peer envy:
"Successful people apply themselves and do what they say they're going to do,' she says. 'It's as simple as that. The majority of people are too busy thinking of why it's not going to work and making excuses.
Friday, October 23, 2009
She didn't know about this month's sales. In September, though, when the book first came out, the book sold...
nearly 5,100 copies!
After I picked myself up off the floor, I thanked the Great Editor for His help and encouragement. Then I called my mom.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Woods was in North Carolina, showing off his first golf course design. He hit two shots to 'open' the course -- both landed in the trees. When he invited the crowd to do better, the kid stepped forward...
and hit the ball 200 yards down the course. Woods said, "Do it again..." So he did!
See the video here, and Tiger's gracious response: "Good job. I'm proud of you."
The mark of a true champion.
But my heart smiled at the cat busy defending her territory...from a fox! Her 'pet,' a wildlife ranger, spent five months in a nature reserve in Kamchatka, and took Ryska (the cat) along with him. He explained, "...the animals were curious about the area's new residents, and drawn by cooking smells from the cabin. The foxes in particular would visit every day. When they came within 20m, that was her boundary and chased them. It was really funny - foxes were climbing trees to get away from the cat."
What makes you feel rich, while still being frugal?
For me, it's:
*Buying Good Stuff cheap or on sale -- like imported lebkuchen, curry paste (especially nasi goreng, an Indonesian spicy mix that's absolutely addictive), quality chocolate and coffee, Japanese rice crackers, etc. I rely on Cost Plus World Market, sales on Amazon (more of these than you would think in the grocery area), Trader Joe's and Andy's Discount Market, a scratch-and-dent grocery near my mom's house in Michigan. The latter has had everything from rice vinegar to imported chocolates, lobster bisque and canned crabmeat at rock-bottom prices.
*Sitting out on our deck, with the petals from our blooming rosebush drifting around. $15 for the (very large) copper container, 35 bucks for the rosebush, which I plan to replant in the spring. Worth every penny. (Yes, it's under snow at present.)
*Finding quality items at the thrift shop -- like a lambswool sweater, or a leather jacket. Or yesterday's find, 7 blue/green-trimmed glass goblets. (The 8th must have broken.) As a bonus, they were giving away day-old bread.... upscale, artisan brand baguettes, french bread and bagels. Yum.
*Finishing a big job -- or a nasty one I've been putting off. Then taking an hour to read in a snug chair, fur throw over the legs and a cup of steaming British tea nearby, while the snow falls outside.
So what's yours?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thankfully, I'd gotten home about 11:00 p.m., after giving a talk for the newly-formed textile history group meeting at the Creative Needle quilt/fabric shop. (A great place, by the way, to find not only the newest fabrics, but great stuff in needlepoint, cross-stitch and other needlearts, as well as a new sewing machine!) For more on the group -- which promises to be very interesting, and yours truly will be joining, too -- try the Creative Needle's calendar.
The night before, I spoke for the Alpine Quilters, in the mountains above Morrison.
And the night before that, I'd barely gotten home from California!
Needless to say, catching up is still a big part of this girl's equation. The bod doesn't know if it's coming or going yet.
* * * * *
QUILTS OF THE GOLDEN WEST is doing great -- we've already sold out of our first batch of books, and are waiting for the second batch, so we can fill more orders! (Nearly half are already spoken for.) If you'd like a copy too, they're $24.95, including free shipping...and a copy of the Grandma's Quilt Pattern Quilts of the Pioneers will be thrown into the mix, on the house. Just write or phone via the Brickworks website.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Anyhow, I am here...but very tired.
Had a lovely supper out under the stars -- leftover lasagne (but I didn't have to cook it!), a glass of champagne and some hot tea with a handful of pecans. And a long discussion about the effects of the human will on sickness. Oh yes, and whether Language of Flowers meanings had something to do with the ways herbs and flowers are used for medical purposes. (I'll bet they do...and could think of a few examples, at least.)
Thanks, Nancy and Clayton. It was wonderful.
Off to bed -- and dream of tomorrow, stuffed full of people asking questions, holding quilts.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Then they would grin and high-five each other.
They would LOVE this Cake-Wreckers' website, complete with poo, chocolate cake moose (moosi?), and very pregnant bellies with tiny feet pushing to get out.
I am not sure if I am laughing...or scarred for life.
Go take a look.
* * * * *
Appraisals all day -- a number walked in and just signed up. Yay!
More tomorrow...only they're signed up now. It's going to be a long, long day.
Judged all day today. (Why is it I keep hearing in my head, "Judge not, let ye be judged." I'm going to be in big trouble!) Dragged back to the hotel - fell into bed again, slept for a few hours. Had a snack, read more. If you haven't read Les Miz for yourself (seeing the movie doesn't count, though it helps), find a copy, pronto. Victor Hugo tends to take these huge leaps off into the unknown -- more than 30 pages on Battle of Waterloo, for example! -- but I am amazed at his vivid descriptions and clarity. More than once, I found myself crying or talking out loud. This for a novel published in 1862? How many books make you do that!?!
Now it's on to Day #2, and appraising. This will be a quiet one: only a few appraisals in the room, but lots of hanging appraisals.
The show has some beauties, including an incredible golden wholecloth quilt with shining embellishments, some really nice floral samplers (one in country fabrics on red!), and some of the prettiest bustier/formal wearables I've seen in a long time. If you're in the area, a trip to Pacific International is well worth it.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
from Pacific International. Taking the plane away from this drearyness to the sunny temps of Santa Clara, California. And working like crazy -- judging the first day, then three days of appraising. This show is one of the best on the West coast, including an amazing display of modern quilts. Find out more about it here.
I'll be checking in now and then. Or stop in at the appraiser's room and say hi, if you're going to Pacific!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Frontier changed my flight reservation for coming home. I was supposed to work all day at the conference -- and the little dears at Frontier changed my flight.
To 11 a.m. In the morning. Without letting me know, until I got the notice from Orbitz last night.
See why I was so mad?!
Thankfully, the folks at Orbitz were able to reschedule me to the redeye flight next morning -- 6:52 a.m. Oh joy.
Meanwhile, the Mancusos cleared my Saturday schedule and stuffed everything on Friday, instead! I'll be very busy then...but now I have Saturday for more work, plus finishing up the hanging appraisals, as well.
And if I'm lucky, a quick visit to the Winchester Mystery House Saturday afternoon, as well.
There's no use adding another night at the hotel, since I'd have to be at the airport so early next morning, anyways. I'll just go to the airport after supper, and do some work there.
But I'd love to march down to the Frontier offices and personally spank whichever yahoo thought to cancel my later flight -- and not let anyone, including Orbitz, know until yesterday. That was not appreciated.
Had a sudden brainwave this morning. I plan to go to an appraisers conference in New York City Aug. 5-8. Both daughters' birthdays are in early August; why not take them with as a birthday present? They could explore while I'm in class, and we could spend a little time together. I love them dearly, and all three of our lives mean we don't spend much time together.
I called and texted them. Still waiting to hear what they think.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
J.D. at the always-interesting Get Rich Slowly has a take on this: feeling guilty about being able to say that his needs are met, and now he can indulge some of his wants. It's not exactly wealth that he's talking about, although he characterizes it that way. It's more about having extra...and knowing that some of your friends and family don't.
Read the post here. And don't miss out on the comments -- they tussle with the issue much more than J.D.'s original post does. The essence of J.D.'s advice: don't spend more than you make.
Does your approach to this issue change if you grew up poor in the first place? I think it does. Being aware of what you didn't have -- and noticing some of the same people in your world still don't have much -- can certainly skew how you feel about what you've accomplished.
My own background comes from a small farm; my dad worked full time at a repair shop on the side. Eventually he became the parts manager there, then part-owner, along with my cousins. Due to some financial shenanigans from one of the cousins, the shop went bankrupt and shut down. (This happened in the early 1980s, not long after the Brick and I were married.) My dad said, though, that this was a hidden blessing -- the farmers who attended the auction refused to bid on equipment they saw Dad bidding on. As a result, he was able to start his own repair business -- make a better living -- and not have to worry about partners. (It took me years, though, to forgive the cousin in question from doing this to my own father. As far as we know, Cousin has never apologized or acknowledged his part in this fiasco.)
Dad was determined that my brother and I would get a better education than he did. (He never got past 8th grade.) Bro and I, thanks to lower income, were eligible for financial help -- but we also both worked through high school and college, and my parents helped out, too. Many of our cousins financially were in the same pot that we were -- most chose not to even try to attend college, but went directly to work.
Some did very well -- some 'okay' -- and some not so well. But in most cases, the ones struggling today are doing so because they blew their money early on bigshot purchases like large tvs and fancy stuff. The ones who paid for things as they went are doing just fine.
Brother and I both got our degrees; his, a B.S.; mine up through a M.A. After working as a salesman for years (and building his own house), Brother started his own business. He then bought two more that produced parts needed for business #1 -- then sold all three. Brother currently still works for the new owner, but he does it on his terms. He could afford a much larger house and a fancy car, but he still lives in the same house he built himself -- and drives a truck.
Our house is larger than his -- but it's also older, and we had to do a lot of work to it. But for years, we lived in student housing, or rented places. It wasn't until our youngest was born that we bought our first house. Our current place is actually our second house, paid for with the profits of home #1. (Which we also renovated considerably.)
Should I feel guilty because the Brick and I learned early on to pay our bills first -- then started saving for the luxuries? For example, We still don't have a big-screen tv, something I know the Brick would love to watch football on. (Cable is a necessity out here because you don't get tv out here otherwise -- the mountains cut us off from nearly all channels.) We drive a nicer Jeep Cherokee...but we also bought it used, and the Brick did a heck of a job bargaining it down to an incredible price. (Sshhh, don't tell the Brick that I've been looking for a big-screen tv on Craigslist; we'll find someone that's moving, or needs a quick sale! )
Same thing has happened for the house we live in now. (Although I wish we could have been able to afford remodeling it right away, rather than piece by piece as we can afford it.) We could have never afforded it right off -- but a substantial down payment from the profits of House #1 (plus scraping to keep paying off the principal, bit by bit), made it possible to live here.
One of our cousins came for a visit this summer, and I could see the pleasure (and a bit of envy) in her eyes as we sat on the patio, looking out toward the mountains. How could I communicate that the house had to be totally rewired, and scrubbed out when we first bought it from Ma and Pa Kettle? (They kept rabbits in the basement. On the carpet. I am not kidding.) The house was on the market for more than a year, and the realtor was so desperate to sell the house that he actually cut his commission to meet our offer. (Ma and Pa were so deep in debt that they refused to budge. For years after, we had people trying to serve us papers, on the theory that we were them.)
We lived with a dirt driveway, yard and cracked concrete for years, until we could afford to pay a friend to pour the driveway, tear out the sidewalk, then re-pour it and the patio. We spent a decade enduring an ugly blue paint job until we could pay for good-quality siding. The patio set was an end-of-the-season clearance steal...but we made do with crappy stuff until we could even afford that.
So when I saw that look in my cousin's eyes...
Well, I looked around, at the tall copper pot full of roses (found at King Soopers for a steal); the dishes (presents, discount and thrift shop); the hot tub (a gift from a friend); and the yard and garden, all painstakingly built up over the years. (Well, the grass still has a ways to go!) I didn't feel guilty about it at all -- only a deep, sure feeling that our hard work over time was starting to pay off. And an even deeper feeling that if we lost it all, it wouldn't matter. Being poor was -- and is -- nothing to fear.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
It's just opened at the New England Quilt Museum -- see an exhibit description and sample pieces here. And here's the press release. You only have through Nov. 15 of this year.
Kim Wulfert has a review of this unusual exhibit...take a look. Lots of photos and descriptions.
Wish I lived closer! I'd visit several times...you hardly ever get a chance to see the humbler objects of our lives expressed like this -- both as useful objects, and as expressions of imagination. Wonderful!
Oh, and Colorado (almost) beat 2nd place-in-the-country Texas. Note I said "almost!"
As I write this, Michigan's still hanging in there. Go Blue!!
Slept in, snuggled against warm Husband. Now, hours after waffles for breakfast (his absolute favorite) and a hot bath (my fav!). Chicken soup bubbling on the stove. (Friend is sick with the flu that's taking so many people here.) Candles burning. Hot tea. Classical music swirling through the house. And a talk with you.
Brace yourself for some of the nicest (and most unusual) pictorial quilts I've ever seen. This is a German museum's exhibit, but you'll be able to figure out an astonishing number of titles. Zowee.
The orders for QUILTS OF THE GOLDEN WEST are coming in! And the kind words, as well...thank you so much.
I still am behind, but somehow am not so discouraged, anymore. An encouraging feeling.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
* * * * * * *
I've spent the past few days washing (yes, I spoil poor neglected Husband), ironing...quilting an indigo 25 Patch top (it's sooo close to being done!) Trying to catch up on business before I leave again -- this time to judge and appraise for the Mancusos' Pacific International Quilt Show. (For those of you in California, stop by and say hi. I'd love it. We're in the convention center at Santa Clara.)
I spent last week with Mom. She's not doing well, I hate to say, though she has better days...and worse ones. I can't blame her - I miss Dad, too. She'll be coming here for Christmas, which will hopefully help some. We putzed around a lot, went out to eat, and picked a few bushels of crisp Macintosh apples. (My share got banged and smacked around in the airport, but there is always apple crisp to fall back on.)
Husband, meantime, went antelope hunting in the Colorado backcountry with Daughter #2 -- and got a big buck within an hour of their arrival in Maybelle! Amazing, almost unheard of. THEN they got a flat tire on the popup camper they borrowed for the trip. Changed that, and put on the spare...going out the next morning, the second tire blew. Got that fixed...and the bearing froze up.
They spent two extra days because of a popup camper they never used. (They decided to sleep in the back of the Jeep instead. Didn't want to mess the camper up, I guess.) Monday night, they came home in the same storm I flew home in -- only their version was snowy, sleeting and filled with trucks that had jackknifed up at the Eisenhower Tunnel. (Which was closed westbound -- but thankfully not eastbound.)
They got home around 10:00 p.m. -- the same time I did.
* * * * * * * *
QUILTS OF THE GOLDEN WEST is finally at the Brickworks offices! And the books are lovely. You can see them, including sample pages, here.
You'll find a mix of history about pioneers; the Gold and Silver Rush in various states, including California; the fight over the Gold and Silver Standard; financial panics (there have been many -- at least one every decade of America's existence); and how quilters expressed their opinions about money, silver, gold...and life. Ten quilt patterns are featuring, including Girls of the Golden West, containing nine famous women who were involved with gold, silver and copper.
Want a copy? Everyone else is offering the book for $28.95 PLUS shipping -- but Brickworks is selling it for $24.95, INCLUDING media rate shipping. We'll even throw in a copy of our "Quilts of the Pioneers" pattern booklet -- a $2.95 value. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll-free 1-888-48-BRICK. We accept MASTERCARD, VISA, Paypal, checks and money orders.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I flew back Monday night in a horrendous batch of clouds as we came down toward DIA. Thankfully, the pilot warned us beforehand. Not so thankfully, the clueless guy in the row ahead decided to recline his seat -- so I spent the time with literally about a foot of personal space between me and the tray table.
The trip down should have been a new ride at Elitch's, our local amusement park...first rollercoaster down, slam to a brief stop, then have the plane shake from side to side. After a few minutes of this, my seatmate turned green, and...
Well, you can guess. Mostly in the convenient bag...
But not all of it.
So I spent the rest of the time looking out the window, breathing shallowly through the mouth and desperately trying not to join him. I succeeded...but barely.
It's one of the few times I felt like kissing the ground when I got off. What a pilot!
More tomorrow. It's so nice to be back and sleeping in my own bed.
Friday, October 2, 2009
That would be just fine -- except the quilts made for the Golden West book were just in top form! And the antique quilts had either gone back into the museum collections, or were returned to their owners.
My Machine Quilter Extraordinaire, Tammy di Pasquale, finished one top and shipped it off. Mom and I have been busting ourselves quilting a second and third top...both are quilted, and we're busy stitching on the bindings this afternoon. They'll be in the mail, and on to a hotel in Houston.
I'm blowing kisses their direction, and waving them Godspeed. Hopefully they'll do their job.
It's been raining here in Michigan (north of Grand Rapids) today, but just an off-and-on drizzle. Kind of refreshing; we see so little rain at home in Colorado. The Brick and Daughter #2 are antelope hunting this weekend. Hope they bring home a nice juicy, hairy friend.