Monday, September 27, 2010

Absentminded Monday

Just before you leave on a big trip, there are a million things to do...and you don't feel like doing any of it. Washing, ironing, packing... kits, handouts and classroom stuff...some appraisals and business stuff to finish. And all I want to do is hang outside, where there's a cool breeze to offset the sun. Maybe dig in the garden, maybe just laze about and read a book.

Bad girl.

I'm compromising by watching Horatio Hornblower (a movie my family heartily despises, but oh, that Gregory Peck) while finishing up the biz work and the ironing. At least HE understands!

You might prefer hanging out on the desert with Mystery Guitar Man, or figuring out new uses for a penny. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Fall Wreath...Fast!

Homebody Holly has a bee-you-tiful fall wreath (actually, it's a rectangle) she made with foam board and artificial fall leaves from the dollar store. Gosh, it's nice, and it took her just minutes to make. She was inspired by Thrifty Decor Chick's version. (Go to the Sept. 14 post for that one -- which actually looks a bit larger-scale than Holly's. I like both. This happens when I get back from the cruise!

It is warm and dry (again), but the fall colors are gently moving in and around Castle Rock. (The rock, that is -- a large butte that actually looks more like a big ship than a castle.) Friend Constance asked me over for breakfast, and we ate it outside, looking out at the shimmering golds, rusts and browns. Lovely.

Our local thrift shop is in the process of moving to a new location. I love this place, anyways, but right now they're holding a 50% off sale. Good enough...but then the volunteers in back opened a whole bin chockful of Chico tank tops, sweaters and pants. (Here's the brand website.) I bought at least ten, plus a multi-dozen set of antique "Woodlands Fantasy" dishes. (You can see the pattern here.) All for $97. WHOO HOO!!!! I am dazed, dizzy and excited.

This is really what Colorado looks like right least my part of the state. Have a great fall weekend yerself.

(thank you, spiroll from

Friday, September 24, 2010

Teaching Without Light - Living Without Money

Last night's talk at the library was one of the most interesting ever. We'd lugged in the books and quilts and started to lay everything out when BAM! The lights went out. And stayed out.
   A big chunk of town had no electricity, including the library room where I was speaking. Fortunately, the room next door had a little natural light from several windows. The librarians found a few flashlights, and we looked over the first quilts with flashlights playing up and down them. Forty minutes later (it was supposed to be only 10-15 min.), the lights came back on -- Hooray!
   At least the audience, and yours truly, got a better feeling of what it was like to make -- and view -- quilts in the Golden West.

And from the "Whoa, Let's Think About This" Department:
   Mark Boyle has lived for two years, he says, without using any money. He lives in a camper he got free; scavenges wild fruit and dumpster food; and cooks on an outdoor stove, using wood he chops himself. Here's the general scoop, plus another take on the subject (with some great photos). Boyle even wrote a book on the subject: The Moneyless Man.

I must be getting old -- because my first thought was that Boyle was lucky. Lucky to find a place he could park the trailer without having to pay rent; lucky that he even got the trailer in the first place. (They don't give 'em away in my neck of the world!) And good luck finding lots of food when it's winter out!
    He's got some interesting tricks for getting things free. (Including making maximum use of the Freecycle movement.) So why not pick up what you can from this interesting book...and gently leave the rest.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quilts of the Golden West -- in Castle Rock

Got some free time tonight? I'd love to have you join me to discuss Quilts of the Golden West -- and the Gold and Silver Rushesl. We'll see lots of antique and new samples, and talk about how quiltmakers have expressed their opinion about money, finances and politics in their quilts. I think you'll be surprised...

The talk's at the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock, CO -- 7 p.m. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Husband's Progress

Thankfully, it's optimistic -- he gets a bit stronger every day. But he is still not back to full strength. Hours spent at work mean that he comes home wiped out and sleeps for a few hours. And he can't put in a full workday yet.

That's okay. Beats the alternative...

Graphic courtesy of ppdigital at But don't think this is typical for Colorado -- we don't have much, other than gold and orange...and very few maples.

Yes, Fall IS here!

Woke up this morning to sunny-but-crisp weather. WHEW. Fall has finally decided to show its lovely face around here. Now, if I can only get the geraniums repotted before a hard freeze!

Found an interesting webblog: Newlyweds On A Budget. Its writers are young, but more than savvy in ways to stretch their money for purchases. Good for them.

And I got a kick out of 11 ways to save on various household/cleaning items, thanks to baking soda. Did you know that baking soda can kill roaches, as well as gently clean your countertops? (Thanks, Money Crashers, for sharing.) If you like these 'number' lists, don't miss Money Saving Mom's 5 ways to repurpose newspapers, as well.

Today will be full of 'get-em-done' jobs...tomorrow, though, I've promised myself a long day of sewing on a Hanky Panky top that combines handkerchiefs and pieced cup and saucer blocks. Yummy.

photo credit by Lemar - 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Baking Cakes

A rainstorm cleared away the dryness this's been nearly a month. I called the Mama, yelling "I'm scared!" She fell for it. "What? What's happening? Are you ok?" I yelled, "I'm scared, Mom -- there's something wet falling out of the sky!!"  She started laughing...

This new coolness is so refreshing. It made me think more about fall-type projects, like baking. Our family has a tough time eating a full cake, but these tiered pans from the Lakeside Collection are the perfect size:

And the price? You're not going to believe this -- $7.95!

They've got an interlocking numbers cake set:

as well as giant 'cupcake' pans, that are intriguing, too. Other novelty pans available. Prices are extremely reasonable. (And nope, I'm not being paid by the Lakeside Collection -- I'm just a fan. You have to be careful to pick among the flotsam and jetsam, but there are some great bargains there!)

Monday Oddball Stuff

The World's Smallest Cow -- she's the size of a sheep! Swallow has had nine regular-sized calves, and is due with her tenth. Her size isn't the only unusual thing -- she also enjoys listening to BBC classical music.

A Brooklyn?? The recent storm left a 14-mile swath of destruction...

Randy Quaid arrested AGAIN??  For squatting in a guesthouse he and wife Evi owned some years ago? This goes hard on the heels of the couple's previous charges, for not paying a $10,000 hotel bill and other mayhem.  I've admired this talented actor's work -- what in the world is going on?

Odd and gutsy -- Phillipe Croizon, a quadruple amputee, has completed a swim across the English Channel.

And one of the decade's most clever, absorbing movies: Inception. It's a meditation on architecture, a spin on Escher's work, an engineer's love of gadgets and gizmos...and a James Bond-style thriller on a group who can steal -- and influence -- your dreams. It will be out on DVD soon, but the real way to view this complicated, absorbing flick is on the big screen. (Little details and comments do matter, in this case.) I finally got Husband to go last week, with only a few people in the audience. He loved it; you will, too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When Someone You Love Is in the Hospital

Things from Home That Help:
   *a clean set of clothes for wearing home (also acts as a mental reminder that they WILL go home)
   *their own pillow (enormously comforting -- and more comfortable, too)
   *a favorite snack for both of you (most of the hospital fare was at best edible. Husband craved, among other things, a Coke.)
   *slippers and/or comfortable socks
   *laptop computer, if you've got one -- you'll also need charger cords for it, as well as cellphones
   *something trashy for you to read while you're waiting  (a friend gave me the most recent issue of People, but I also found comfort in silly romances and 'haunted stuff' books.)

Don't Plan On:
   *understanding what's going on, especially at first. Just think what your loved one is feeling -- they're really out of it! You MUST listen carefully, for their sakes. Ask lots of questions until you do understand.
   *getting much work done while you're waiting. (See next comment)
   *getting much sleep while you're there. Everybody and their brother will come in to poke your loved one, take blood, check on them, etc. Your bed won't be very comfortable, to begin with. Plan on waking up every time the door opens. (Now you know why you won't be getting much work done -- you'll be dozing a lot more!)
    *having much done quickly. You'll have to wait for tests, doctor visits and even simple things like IV changes, Get used to the idea, as distasteful as it seems. (Husband's IV would 'beep' when it was finished -- and that beeping would keep on until the nurse stopped by. As long as 30 min. later.

Do Plan On:
    *Being your loved one's chief defender. You're the one who will have to listen to doctors' comments, answer questions when your person is out of it, insist on clarity.
   *Their Primary Go-pher. If their ice runs out, the IV starts beeping (previous comment), or they're trying to get a shower (and need their IV detached)...guess who's going to be the one who either does it -- or goes to find the nurse? Yep, you.
   *Their Head Newsperson, Cheerleader and Reassurer. You'll be the primary one people call for information. But you'll also be your loved person's main conduit to The World Outside. Tell them about everyday life -- pass on the news. Tease and fuss over them.
      Remind them that this is temporary, that they'll be home soon. And you'll still love them just as much as ever. No matter what.

Want to Live in A Car?

This girl did, for months...but her decision to do so seems to be more self-motivated than actual need. (Crass...I know. I'm not showing much sympathy.) Nonetheless, it makes for interesting reading. Go to the first three months of 2006 -- by the fifth month or so, she's got a room.

I was rethinking the "living-in-a-car" syndrome while driving by Wal-Mart this afternoon. It's been steaming around here -- in the 90s day after day. Fall colors are starting to form, but they're pale; we need cold temps to produce those crisp golds and oranges for autumn. (Reds, except for sumac and imported weeds, are sadly nonexistent out here in Colorado.)

Anyways, the local Wally stands on a high platform above the road, surrounded by wood logs and a fringe of trees. A whole row of RVs and trailers rings the parking lot. Couldn't we live up there, if we had to?

I know...this whole line of thought is silly. But strangely comforting, somehow.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting Itchy...

Husband Dave actually went into the office on Friday....yay! He came home exhausted, and has spent most of today resting, but he is definitely doing better.
   I am so grateful.

Spent most of this week cleaning up and putting stuff away. The house was full of dusty piles of papers, clothing that needed to be folded and put away, stuff like that. I took a room at a time -- throwing stuff away (2 garbage cans' worth), filing the taxable receipts, and rearranging things as I went. Sweeping, cleaning and dusting followed. The living room -- the kitchen -- we now have clear surfaces! This hasn't happened in months...

Trying not to wonder about the medical bills which will be coming in soon. I've read a couple of books about people who lived homeless, as a reminder that this too will pass...and worrying about it won't help. I even found a blog, ImtheWorkingPoor, that deals a lot with living on a miniscule income. (Donna Freedman's blog has tips on the same subject, but handles it more cheerfully.)
   I found several Christmas presents for the girls at great prices this week -- one, from a store that was closing, was especially incredible. Was God reassuring me that we'd be ok? That He was aware and caring about us and our situation?
   I think He was.
   We've been short before -- we'll handle this ok. Dave's getting better, and income is coming in again. Orders have picked up for Brickworks, too. I've got some ideas for homemade presents. Fall is finally starting to kick in, in spite of hot temps and forest fires around favorite time of year. The Hawaii cruise looms -- two weeks of spending time with Mom, strolling the circuit, and four days of teaching.
   It will be all right.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bonnie Leman 1926-2010

A giant in the quilting world died back on Sept. 4. Bonnie Leman left as unassumingly as she'd lived. Yet this classy lady founded Quilter's Newsletter and a handful of other quilt-related magazines. She did so at a time when quilting was thought of as a 'little old ladies' field, and dismissed to back bedrooms.

Bonnie was inducted into the Quilter's Hall of Fame some years back; they have a thoughtful retrospective (including some great photos), including a link to a live interview.

I worked for four years (1992-96) for the company Bonnie founded, Leman Publications. During my time, Jeannie Spears, then Mary Leman Austin, were the editorial directors, and the business was sold to Rodale. But Bonnie was the person I interviewed with. Her name still appeared as author on Leman Pub. titles. And she still visited regularly. She had a quiet way of making her opinion known about the magazine pages of the current issue posted for review. (These lined one of the hallways, and everyone was expected to check and double-check them before actual publication.)

Her passion for quality and excellence -- something she passed on to the editorial people under her -- had a huge influence on my own work as a designer and editor. I was fortunate to learn the trade from writers, editors and artists who not only cared how the patterns and quilts looked on the page. (Great photos and layouts weren't encouraged - they were demanded.) These were practicing quilters, who also demanded that the patterns and info be accurate. If that meant tweaking and revising, or sewing the pattern yourself, so be it. Our magazines had a reputation for being ready to use -- pick up an issue, cut out the patterns, and sew the blocks, with no problems. Bonnie (and we) were proud of that.

No doubt Bonnie is choosing materials for her next project, or picking out a favorite book from the Heavenly Library. Find one from the Library of Alexandria for me, Bonnie...and rest in peace.
              * * * * * * *

Bonnie Hale Leman, 83, of Arvada, CO, passed away on Saturday, September 4, 2010. Born in Purdin, Missouri on September 28, 1926, to Rex and Laura Hale. She left home for college at 16 and graduated from Park College three years later. She moved to Denver in 1953 and met her husband George Leman while they were both pursuing master's degrees at the University of Denver. She was a mother, teacher and freelance writer until she found her calling in the publishing business, when, in 1969, she founded Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. Through her magazine she helped revive and foster an appreciation of quilts as a great American art form that continues to this day. Bonnie grew her magazine readership to more than 200,000 subscribers in over 100 countries, as well as writing and publishing numerous books and other publications on quiltmaking. She travelled much of the world in the course of her career, made hundreds of friends, and contributed to the growth of the quiltmaking art in many countries. She retired in 1995 to enjoy her children and grandchildren. Preceded in death by her husband George Leman (1986), she is survived by her daughters Megan O'Gorman (John O'Gorman), Mary Leman Austin (Milton Austin), Emilie Leman, Georgianne Holland (Ted Holland), David Leman, Andrew Leman (Glenn Alfonso), and Matthew Leman (Tara Williams Leman). Her cherished grandchildren include Jerome and Pauline DeFelice; Jessica, Laura, and Eric Bender; and Avery Leman. Also survived by her beloved brother Roy Hale and family of San Francisco; and the Jack and Betty Most family of Carlsbad, New Mexico. A Rosary will be said Monday, September 13, 7:00 p.m., Mt. Olivet, 12801 W. 44th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033, 303-424-7785. Funeral mass will take place Tuesday, September 14, 10:00 a.m., Sts. Peter and Paul Church, 3920 Pierce Street, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-4942, (303) 424-0402. Reception information will be available at the funeral service.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Best Financial Books

J.D. over at Get Rich Slowly posted a bit ago about his favorite "money" books -- and lots of people (including yours truly) threw their ideas in the pot, as well. I've only heard of some of J.D.'s book suggestions, but I intend to find some of them -- especially The Incredible Secret Money Machine, which he raved about.

Here's my list --

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley (but don't miss his Millionaire Mind and Millionaire Women books, as well. (His most recent book, Stop Acting Rich, is good -- but I got more from the others.)
How to Live Without A Salary by Charles Long

The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced "decision")
Possum Living by Dolly Freed  (A profile on Dolly is here)
Debt Free Living by Larry Burkett
The Courage to Be Rich by Suze Orman (I learned a lot from her 9 Steps To Financial Freedom; her other books are good too, except the Road to Wealth -- don't bother.)
Frugal Indulgents by Kera Bolonik and Jennifer Griffin (a bit too obsessed with sex, and obviously just fine with getting wasted from drugs and alcohol -- but I enjoyed quite a bit of this book)
Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride (Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons is also great)
You Can Live on Half Your Income by Camilla Luckey

Good Old Days' series books are inspiring because they're based on real-life accounts -- I thought the Thrift, We Survived And Thrived and Kitchen titles especially good. (Try the Thrift title first.)

There...that's a start. If you've got additions, I'd love to hear them!

Picking Up the Pieces

You've been so patient with me...thank you. And thank you for your kind comments. I'm not unaware at how close I came to losing my husband.

Dave came home Saturday afternoon, in time to watch Michigan (barely) beat Notre Dame. Ever since, he's been on the pill version of the antibiotic: the pills are about $35 each! (On the other hand, that doesn't seem like much now, since Hospital Standards kicked in. We both know a big bill is coming, and our deductible is huge.)

In spite of an occasional fever and getting exhausted easily, he gets a bit stronger. Every day. Thank God. He actually put in some time today on the computer system he's been working on...a good sign.

In the meantime, I've been picking up the pieces leftover from trying to cram business stuff in the tiny bits of time I had after hanging out at the hospital. That's getting better...but somehow it doesn't matter that much right now. Just waking up next to a warm back is far more important.

You should be hearing more from me in coming days.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The End is In Sight


Only minutes after I'd typed the last post, Dr. Carson (the doctor who'd first seen Dave in the emergency room) stopped by, and asked if Husband would like to go home tomorrow.

Would he!?!

Klebsiella oxytoca, the nasty "hospital" bug that I'd come to think of as the secondary infection, actually caused all the trouble all along. Husband picked it up somewhere -- possibly weeks ago, when he first started struggling with stomach pain. (No way to tell, since there were no tests done then.) K.O. literally did that -- somehow escaped from Dave's digestive system, and proliferated in his blood. This sepsis, or infection, spread like crazy throughout Dave's body, concentrating on his liver and slamming him into the hospital for a week. The good doctor confirmed what I'd suspected when we first hit the emergency room -- they had seen people not recover from a fast-moving infection like this, and were worried for Dave.

So, unless his liver 'bad numbers' skyrocket, it's home for the Bricks tomorrow morning. Although today's procedure pointed out nothing amiss, the specialist did clear out and dilate those troublesome ducts...which should also help with future stomach issues.

I have every confidence that the God of Creation knows and allows events in our lives, both good and bad, which help shape and guide us in wisdom. Why in the world did Dave get so sick this time, of all? Why couldn't I make that teaching trip to Washington? Why this incredible expense? (Our deductible is huge. But at least we have insurance...) Why??
     Can we trust Him, that this week happened for our greater good? 
     We must.

So it's one more uncomfortable night on the chair, and one nasty night for the Brick, with tubes and yet more blood samples. (They want to be sure.) But it will not be for much longer.


Another near-sleepless night, trying to sleep sideways on the pulled-out chair. It would fit if I was 5-foot or less....but at 5'7", I'm out of luck and perpetually hanging off the edge.

But both Husband and I were feeling hopeful, for once. This new 'rotor rooter' procedure would solve Dave's problem!

Well, hours later, it's finished. Husband has a headache and a scratchy throat, from where the camera tube went down his throat and into his digestive system. According to him, the doctor said they didn't find anything wrong -- "everything was normal."

But Husband talked to the doctor just after he'd come out of the anesthesia...was that it? Did the doctor say anything else?

I don't have a clue...because even though I was sitting in the waiting room (waiting, like I was instructed to), no one bothered to let me know. The doctor didn't come out. Repeated requests to the women at the desk only brought the response that Husband was ok in the recovery room and "they'd let me know when I could go back there."

Hours went by. Fortunately, friend Jo was there to keep me company. After two hours had gone by from the 'husband in recovery' comment, we'd had lunch and read everything in sight, I finally went back up to the desk and insisted I would like to see Husband. After some time, the front desk lady said, "Oh, they already took him back to his room!"

Husband, who HAD requested I be told, was unaware why I hadn't shown up sooner. Friend Jo, who is much more patient, was amused. (And taught me a good lesson in patience in the meantime.) And I was ready to bite someone.

So here we sit -- me, determined that I will wait it out until a doctor finally decides to bless us with his or her presence. And we STILL do not know exactly what is going on with Dave's infections, only that they're continuing to slowly recede. Today's day nurse, Gabrielle, sensing our frustration, has gone way out of her way to offer help with little things like tums for Dave's upset stomach, a fresh bottle of saline solution, a pat and encouraging word. She's a champ.

Thank God for all those small encouragements. Prayers are welcome.

Update on Husband Dave

See earlier post...

   Finally -- finally -- we are seeing a ray of light. The doctors finally isolated the 'bug' that was cultured from one of Dave's blood samples -- and it turns out to be one that hangs around in hospitals (and often turns into pneumonia). How it found Dave and decided to take up residence is a mystery neither we nor the doctors can figure out at present.
   They've been pumping antibiotics into Dave intravenously ever since Monday night, and finally both the liver infection and the 'bug' are starting to back off. Today, Dave went most of the day without a fever -- the first since he got here. The 'bad' liver infection numbers have gone from around 1000 to 150, today's score. ('Normal' is less than 50.)
    Also, after reviewing the tests, one of the specialists realized that Dave's bile ducts are far smaller than they should be. (2.5 mm vs a more normal 5.5 mm) This morning (Friday), around noon they'll send a camera down his gullet and do what Dave calls a "rotor rooter" operation, checking down through, plus scraping out any gunk and gently enlarging the ducts. (They also may take a liver biopsy for further tests.) The specialist thinks this problem may have been growing quietly for years, and God willing, this procedure will take care of it permanently.
   She thinks the bile backup may have been causing the liver infection, too...Dave's got through a whole battery of tests, with little showing as a problem. Thankfully, the tests have proven that his heart is strong. (His dad died from a heart attack at age 55.) The tests are also showing no sign of tumors, cancer or gallstones -- another persistent worry.
    In the meantime, he continues to slowly improve. Today was the first he actually sat up and showed any interest in ANYTHING.
    It's been an incredibly surreal week. But we are grateful he's still here and finally starting to improve. The doctors say he can't leave ICU until the infection numbers are down, the fever stays gone, and they figure out what in the world happened. Please pray that all will go well with this procedure, and Dave can improve enough to be allowed to go home.
    Thank you so much for your prayers, visits and kind words of encouragement. We are both so grateful.

Updating for This Week

...and what an incredibly surreal week it has been!
   Daughter #2 is ok. Nederland, the little mountain town where she lives, has been left alone by the fires that are STILL burning around Boulder. But now they are starting to threaten the sections of town closest to the mountains, with high winds forecast back onto the scene.
   Stay tuned.

And why my strange silence all week?
    Husband has been in the hospital in ICU.
He has not been feeling completely well for some weeks. Monday night, just as I was packing to go teach for Quilters Anonymous in Washington state, he had an incredible bout of pain. I barely managed to get him to the emergency room in time; he ended up in ICU (the Intensive Care Unit) on an IV pumping antibiotics into him...a situation he still is in, as of early this morning (Friday).
    The diagnosis has been part of the problem -- the doctors know he has a massive liver infection, but they are still not sure, in spite of a whole battery of tests, what caused it. how to completely fix it...or even how to keep it from coming back.
    They have, at times, talked about taking out his gallbladder -- doing a liver biopsy -- and trying to insist that he must have hepatitus. (The tests for that, btw, all were negative -- something we tried to tell them, since we'd had all sorts of hepatitis shots in preparation for the Brazil trip a few years ago.)
    His fever has stayed back today -- the first long period since Monday night. He actually showed some interest in what was going on today -- also a first since he first checked in. He even watched a movie all the way through without falling asleep!
   Daughters and several friends have been wonderful, coming to visit and helping keep things done at home. I take off every day or so, go home, pick up the mail, check on the dogs, take a shower, then cram a few tasks into the time remaining. Then I head back for the hospital.

Thank God he is finally, finally starting to improve. It was touch and go for a while there.
Many thanks to the guild, who has been incredibly thoughtful and understanding over my last-minute cancellation. (Southwest Airlines, bless 'em, has even said I can apply the plane fare to another ticket.) 
And I am so grateful for friends and family who have been praying for us. God knew -- He knows now.

Monday, September 6, 2010

HUGE Fire Over Boulder

It's cool and breezy here -- too breezy. A fire's started up in Boulder's Four Mile Canyon area. Could be arson or accident, but it's moving -- and fast. A huge plume is over the Flatirons near Boulder, and a gigantic cloudbank frames Denver. Take a look here for the latest, including photos. (Here's the local station's report.) Thank God no one's been hurt so far, though a number of structures (as well as a firetruck) have burned.
   Daughter #2 lives in Nederland, way too near to the flames. She was down to our house to celebrate her birthday, and spent the night. She insisted on going home...I'm worried, but she promised to take special care.
   More as events develop.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tearing Conclusions

It's getting cooler around here. The sky is even changing somewhat -- instead of the warm blues and golds we often see in summer, paler shades predominate -- cool white, pale blue. The local hummingbirds have flown the coop. Do I see leaves starting to change, as well?

Ah....Fall. My favorite time of year.

Spent most of the day double-checking a quilt I've been restoring (for way too long...poor client), and going to the doctor with Daughter #1. Her big toe nail needed to be ripped out (ewwww) so it would grow in properly. She came out crowing from the examination room: "Mom, you should have seen the blood -- it was spurting out all over! You would have been crying like crazy!"

   She's right. Ever since the girlies were babies, I've bawled whenever they got shots...stitches...whatever. Daughter is 24 now, but that wouldn't have stopped me...I would have been sobbing, and trying desperately not to grab at the doctor's arm.
   At least it's over. Daughter's got a 'new playing field,' so to speak, and a prescription for Vicodin. I try not to think too much about the French Resistance fighter in WWII, who was captured by the Germans and during torture, had all 10 toenails ripped out. Seems way too close for comfort.

And wouldn't you know it, we got hit up by a panhandler at King Soopers while filling the prescription. I gave the lady $3 to buy some groceries. I never do this. (I should have followed my impulse and just taken her into the store to buy a few things. But there was no time.) After I got in the car, Daughter said, "Mom, I've seen her here before a few months ago. She gave me the same story then...I gave her a buck. And I think she was high on crack today."

      Maybe I was affected by yesterday's panhandler post. Maybe I wasn't thinking clearly. (The fever STILL has not gone completely away.) Maybe I was thinking about someone else's daughter, alone and asking for money in a parking lot, shivering under her dirty sweater. And with my darling close at hand, clean, well fed and greatly loved, the comparison was too much not to give.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Panhandlers...And Free Stuff

Speaking of which, my very own panhandler is still hanging around, demanding my time and energy. I wish this fever would GO AWAY. (Although he does slink off now and then.)

Did you see this newspaper article, about a reporter who offered street beggars prepaid credit cards?  Most used at least part of the funds for food, although liquor store bills often showed up as part of the transactions. (J.D. Roth commented on this story in his Get Rich Slowly blog today -- the real value in his post, though, are the reader responses.)

Castle Rock, our own town in Colorado, has no street hucksters -- the city council passed ordinances against them after one too many eager guys insisted on walking out in the street. (We used to have guys in white uniforms soliciting for 'youths against drugs;' turns out this was a 'pay-me-first' scam, where nearly all the funds collected went to the guys in uniforms -- who, based on their comfortable girths, weren't hurting.)

Denver, on the other hand, practically has a person on every corner, and they're all asking for change. Often the signs stay the same (or similar), though the face holding them is different. Daughters once saw what they described as the "shift change:" Panhandler #1 gave his sign to Panhandler #2, who took up the station. Person #1 then drove away in his vehicle, parked nearby -- a Cadillac!

I've given away granola bars, bottles of water and juice. And I've also brought meals back; one hungry-looking guy said, after receiving his McDonalds sack, "For me? This is for me?" To watch his pleasure in that hot meal on a cold, drizzly day was much more delicious than any burger I tasted that night.