Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow...and Ip Man

STILL snowing here...but worst is the cold. Even with a roaring fire in the fireplace, the living room has big areas of chill that only a warm cover and cup of hot tea can dissipate. The dogs are staying close to the fire...except for every 45 min., when Charley insists on going out to see if it's still cold. Fortunately, that roughly corresponds to when more wood is needed. Dumb mutt.
    The good news is that Husband automatically has the day off Tuesday -- school's cancelled for Douglas County! The bad news is that I couldn't get to the bank, the post office or any of the other errands I was supposed to do today. I got the Jeep started ok, but couldn't manage to get the windows to defrost before my fingertips started freezing. Tomorrow is supposed to be worse. Oh boy -- it's already -5 degrees F. (See what it looks like here.)

We saw the most amazing movie on Hulu tonight -- Ip Man , a semi-biographical pic on the popularizer of Wing Chun (a Chinese version of martial arts), and the teacher of Bruce Lee. The movie was a WWII triumph of a Chinese man (emphasis on the word "Chinese") over the cruelties of Japanese soldiers, using a 'fight-only-when-you-have-to' defense. The martial arts fights in this movie were AMAZING, but I also have never seen it treated in such a historical context. (Too bad the movie takes liberties with the real facts of Ip Man's life in spots, though his heroic stance, using Wing Chun, seems accurate.)
     If you enjoy Kung Fu-type movies, this is the one for you. It was released in Hong Kong, but not in America...why the heck not?!? Was it the unusual-sounding name? We almost passed on it for that reason, thinking it was just another cheesy movie. Now we're looking forward to Ip Man 2.

The Perfect Video for Monday...

this inspired goofiness of Mike Doughty -- take a look!

Good advice, too.

Things to Think About on A Snowy Monday

...and boy, is it snowing. The house is freezing, and my toes aren't far behind. Lucky I stacked up a triple wheelbarrow load of firewood last night, knowing this was coming. We'll have squash tonight for supper, baked to bubbling with a fat bratwurst inside. And I'll bet we can dig up a movie from the DVDs while the fire crackles. (Check out Always Home and Uncool's take on snow days...wish we'd had one today, Husband would be home by now!)

    In the meantime, there's work. And from the "Better Than A Spy Novel" department, this from-all-sides post on a company who got a frantic message from a Buenos Aires 'researcher:' 'Russians are holding me hostage, and have hacked into your site -- your customer info is all taken! But if you'll hire me and partner as a security company, I'll tell you where and how they did it.' Sound like blackmail to you? (And why would you want to hire someone who the Russians figured out how to grab, anyways?) Read more on this story, including the 'researcher's' take on things, here. 
     The subject of loans to family and friends is also hot on the market recently. Get Rich Slowly had a long post about loaning money, including pages and pages of comments. Now Donna Freedman, herself one of the most frugal bloggers I know, sent $800 to a friend who gave her one of the strongest reasons in the book: 'if you don't do it, we're lost.' Donna thinks, based on past experience, that she'll be repaid.
    Her commenters aren't so sure.
    I don't come to this subject with clean hands. When we were younger, we borrowed money several times from both sets of parents, for everything from plane tickets to a motorcycle. BUT we were very careful to set up a regular payment plan, and in every case, paid on time or early. (We usually had a written agreement, too -- something we should have insisted on every time.) Since our parents were not so sure that our getting married in the first place was a good idea, Husband and I decided early on that we would not give them any reason for doubting that decision -- or us. Our honesty was priceless.
    In turn, we've loaned family members money several times -- and once to a good friend. In most cases, we were paid back. One person took the same scrupulous care we did for repayment, and I have never had any hesitation in loaning her money again. For whatever.
    Another did not take the same care, but has really begun to show the maturity we thought was in there all long, and is much more careful now than she was. (We also appreciate her starting to send checks now and then, even though we technically don't need them.)
    Two other loans to a relative, plus a friend, were repaid -- but only when we pointed out that repayment was past due. I doubt if the money would even have been returned, had we not mentioned it.
    Would we loan money to family and friends? Only if Husband and I mutually agree on it. Most of the time, we just mentally 'give' the money now, even if we state verbally that it's a loan. And we don't give more than we can afford to lose. If they pay us back, it's icing on the cake.

P.S. Co-signing, that's another story. Same theme, same problems.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lazing in the Sun

For those of you poor souls who are sitting in a pile of snow right now...
    we'll be joining you soon.
    Yesterday's temps in the Denver area hit 67 degrees -- only 2 less than the record set in 1888. Today was pretty darn wonderful, too. People have been digging out their shorts and tropical shirts, playing frisbee and sitting in the sun -- I even saw a car pulling a boat, heading up I-25 for the reservoir!
    Tomorrow the party ends. By Monday, we're back around the 20s again, and the snow moves in.
    Ah well. It was wonderful while it lasted.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A (Really Fine) Chintz Star Quilt

This sold for more than $60,000 recently!
    See its photos here...and be sure to take a close look at the sign that explains its provenance. Strong 1840 dating, beautiful pieced chintz stars, and hand painted sections by one of the better-known illustrators of the period.
     Yum, yum, yum.

* * * * * * * * * * *
Also, you'll want to check out the upcoming exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum: Sue Reich's "Over Here: Quiltmaking That Saw the U.S. Through the War Years," opening Feb. 1 through April 30. It shows some of the pieces from Sue's book, World War II Quilts, and gives you a little taste of what it must have been like to keep the home front going during wartime. Don't miss it.

It's clean-up-and-keep-appraising day around here, once I can pry myself away from the Czech glass buttons on Ebay I've been drooling on. (Bought some ages ago at Road to California, and found matching dragonfly ones on Ebay when I couldn't find them at Road this year. Whew....I've got plans to put one in each corner of a Hanky Panky quilt -- and only had three to work with!)

      Once I'd mentioned her restaurant review and photo in Westword, Daughter #1 said she'd also been photographed at a band festival. She looks cute, either way!

    Back to work. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Denver's Hall of Shame for 2010

And finally (before I head for bed):

    Just a few of the zany characters that populated 2010 for this Wild West of ours. 

Thanks for the memories, Westword!

Japoix: A Review

Daughter works at this Japanese fusion place...we've been there once for the Sunday special, and waddled out of the place. (I LOVE their sushi, and the hot rock's pretty good, too.)
    Westword just reviewed Japoix, and did an extensive slide show on their food, which looks a heck of a lot more delicious than the reviewer's putting on. (Notice the server with the same last name...yes, we're related!)

No Trader Joe's in Colorado...Ever?

Well, now I know why we probably won't be getting a Trader Joe's anytime least, according to Westword.
    It's because our grocery stores, by law, can't sell anything stronger than 3.2 beer. Which leaves out TJ's famous 'two buck Chuck,' not to mention all sorts of interesting wines they usually carry.
   Well, pooh. IKEA's finally come into town -- why not Trader Joe's, too? Please?? (I am really tired of going to Albuquerque, eight hours away, for my TJ fix...)

A Silly Stock Story

Years ago, I told my dad that I wanted to buy some automobile stock. (This was back when General Motors was going full gun, and the auto industry was looking pretty good.) He suggested Ford -- it was lower-priced than GM and Chevy, and he said he'd never had trouble with Ford vehicles.
     So I did -- at $14 and change a share.
    Time went by. Dad had fun talking about my great wisdom in stock-picking, especially as the Ford stock prices went down. And down. And down.  It finally plateaued around $4. GM, in the meantime, was going up steadily.
     Then came the Great Recession debacle. GM took federal funds -- and tanked anyways. (If I'd bought GM stock, those shares would be worthless today.)  Ford refused to take federal money...we cheered! Gradually the company recovered, and the price of its stock started to rise. I bought more...sold some to take a profit...bought more. Not only that, but I collected dividends every quarter. Not much, but something.
     Yesterday, the stock was at $17.76. I've been feeling that we're going into a correction soon, and planning to sell off some chunks of stock. The Ford stock said, 'I should go.' In a click it was done -- I'd gotten some profit on all of it, and a healthy jump on some of it.
     This afternoon, Ford (F) closed at $18.85!
     I can feel Dad laughing.

Saturday Update: I was right to follow my instincts!! Ford declared a smaller than usual profit for this quarter. By day's end Friday, the stock price was down to $16.27. Nanny nanny boo boo.

Putzing Along

Mark Bittman, the New York Times' Minimalist columnist, has a list of his current 25 favorite recipes -- some of them perfect for a cold winter evening. (His steamed shrimp dumplings sound even better, though. Good with a zippy sauce of soy, a shot of ginger and some Chinese cooking wine.)

The hallway is clear. I can (sort of) kick a path through the kitchen. (Husband still needs to put in an electrical outlet for the new dishwasher The Mama so generously provided, so there's an extension cord to trip over yet.) Clean underwear and pressed shirts for all. Coffee's perking, and a tiny pot of yellow roses blooms cheerfully in the morning sunlight. Aaahhhh...

     It's been a pleasure to begin to catch back up. Now if I can keep things at the same steady pace...

   Just finished The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. More than 800 pages (!!!) but infinitely worth it. In spite of good birth and privilege, this man had several huge failures in life. He lost several elections, and could only get a lackey's appointment as a Civil Service commissioner, not long after a winter of snowstorms decimated his income as a cattle rancher. His first wife died; his second, nearly. He was forced to spend a great deal of his time away from his family, working. Many of his decisions, made on the basis of ethics, caused him to endure ridicule and alienation.
    Yet he kept on. At book's end, he faces yet another challenge -- he has just become Vice President, in March 1901. (The previous VP, Hobart, died. I had never known this. Roosevelt, the mayor of New York, is appointed to take his place.) Then in September 1901, his boss, William McKinley, dies from an assassin's bullet only a few weeks after his visit to the Pan American exposition.
    Roosevelt is on a camping trip with his family. He sees the messenger coming with a yellow paper. 'I wanted to be President,' he says, 'but not like this.'
    I can't wait to read the next in Morris' cycle, Theodore Rex. Amazing, minute details, and all backed up with footnotes and references -- perfect for a 'suck-it-dry' type sponge like me.

"It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself. But he can put himself in such shape that when or if the opportunities come he is ready to take advantage of them."
                                              Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Mutterings

Why is it that when you first start to plow through an accumulated pile of Things To Do, it seems to get bigger before it gets less?

I'm finally showing some progress, but it's taken two days...and I've got plenty left. Got an e-mail from a person who HATED my Quilts of the Bible lecture. Then an e-mail from a student who LOVED my class done the same day! Go figure. (Then an invite to judge at a large quilt symposium, which made me especially happy...)
   So life goes on. Especially in the quilt and textiles world.

From the "What Was He Thinking!?" Department:
   A well-known Lincoln expert is busted -- for changing the date on a Lincoln pardon document. He did it back in the 90s, and only confessed recently. Said he wanted to be known for discovering something important. Well, he lost something else in the process -- his good name and reputation.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Home Again

Couldn't get a crack at the computer while I was at Road to California -- I literally was starting at 4:30 or 5 a.m., and finishing as late as 9 p.m. every day.
    Got back tonight, beat. But happy!
    It's nice to be home.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Buy One, Get One Free Minute Maid

Want a free carton of orange juice? Go to Minute Maid's page on Facebook, push 'Like,' and bingo, there it is -- a BOGO coupon! Enjoy...and thanks for the heads-up, Coupon Cravings.

This is too good an offer to last for head there fast.

A Place for Everything, and Everything in its ------

Packing for the Road to California gig...and it's amazing. Every time I lift up a box (that should have been put away weeks ago), I find something in it that I need for teaching! Partly it's because I'm doing some of the same classes as the last gig. And partly I have become slightly more organized. When I get home Sunday night, I plan to spend the next week really cleaning up and putting things away. It's a perfect time for us to do inventory as well, for Brickworks.
    Country Living's got some great storage ideas here.  (I'd love to have a wall of built-in cabinets, instead of the open shelving we keep Brickworks inventory on right now. ) Real Simple's ideas repeat some of the same concepts, but they have a refreshing way of utilizing Things You'd Never Consider. Take a look here for all sorts of articles and ideas.

    I do know that when I get back, we plan to move an old-fashioned high boy (a set of drawers on high spindly legs) into the dining room. Our new printer needs a sturdier place to rest, and I can visualize those drawers filled with paper, cords and all the misc. stuff that clutters up the area by the printer right now. It may be 'bedroom' furniture, but it matches the finish of my china cabinet -- and has decorative brass pulls for each drawer. Should look just fine.

    Off to photocopy handouts and make photo-transfers for class...have a good one.

It's doing this up in the mountains, but down on the flatlands here in Colorado, we're dry as a bone. Lots of wind, though.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Road to California -- Here I Come!

I'll be teaching and lecturing in California this coming week, at the Road to California symposium in Ontario -- come join me!

    Specifics: show goes from Jan. 20-23... but classes start on the 19th. Go here for more information, including classes. (You can still sign up for the latter, but you'll need to do it at the registration booth. Info is here.)

   Want to be a part of my classes? Some are closed, but there are still openings in Quilts of the Great Depression, Hanky Panky, Memory Quilts -- and a Sunday morning 'how to' on Quilt Restoration. Lots of other classes are available, too, including a few I wish I could take!

What Do You Do To (Not) Save Money?

Frugal Dad has an interesting little thread going on about all of his non-frugal habits, like throwing away soap slivers, refusing to scrape out peanut butter jars and (gasp) keeping the thermostat up!

His commenters apologize for everything from having their hair professionally cut to buying name brand milk. How can they ever make up for these awful transgressions...

Seriously, we have all little luxuries that keep us sane, even in the middle of cutting costs. I've already mentioned my prediliction for real spray whipped cream, but have a few others:
    *long hot baths
   *Yardley lavender  (other Brit or French brands come in second)
   *Boudin sausage (especially the New Orleans stuff)
   *Pens with an old-fashioned quill point tip, used with
   *Luxuriously-bound leather journals.
  *Heavy, thick towels  
   *Real cheese (no Velveeta or cheese food around here) 

   *Fresh flowers. In the winter. 
         (Get freesias, chrysanthemums or carnations -- they'll last 2-3 weeks)  

And some frugal enjoyments?
   *A fire in the fireplace, using cedar scavenged from a neighbor's sidewalk
   *A ham bone in the fridge, waiting for tomorrow's long-simmered soup
   *A day-old loaf of Panera bread, rescued from the bin
       (Slice it thin, brush with olive oil and garlic and bake at 400 degrees for 10 min.)
   *Dishes, laundry and ironing done...temporarily, at least
   *Tucking my feet under the warm coat of a large, friendly (time and food-consuming) dog, while he's busily chewing his latest bone 
    (ok, maybe this should be on the previous list instead)  

As one guy in Oliver & Co says, "If this is torture, chain me to the wall!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Three Frugals

...two to be taken with an ounce (or more) of salt.

Frugal-themed books have just exploded onto the market in recent years. I just got done reading three of them -- and all three have a different approach.

The Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money by Sharon Harvey Rosenberg (DPL Press) is by the author of the blog of the same name. (A very good blog, I might add, which has moved to Wise Bread. See here for more.)
    Sharon's book isn't bad. It recycles a lot of hints and tips I've heard before, though she goes into greater detail about dressing fashionably and well on a limited budget. (Not that Ms. Robe and Longjohns - my Sat morning outfit - would ever need this!) And she shares quite a bit about her life and financial decisions, good and bad.
    What drives me crazy, though, is her fixation on a nearby luxury house she had a chance to buy decades ago -- and passed on. Many of this book's chapters are built on 'what ifs:' if I owned this house, I would decorate like this, garden like this, etc. etc. At first, the wistful references are amusing. (She visits it regularly during its frequent real estate open houses, so you get lots of them.) But after a while, you want to say, 'Buy the stupid house already -- or just learn to live without it!' If she were honest, she probably couldn't have afforded it back then, either.
    I keep thinking of The Princess Bride --

Inigo Montoya: Who are you?
Man in Black: No one of consequence.
Inigo Montoya: I must know...
Man in Black: Get used to disappointment.

Book #2 is worse: Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier & Healthier For Less by Leah Ingram (Adams Media). Leah, who made her name in lifestyle articles and books, seems to have gotten herself and family into big financial trouble a few years back. After they dug themselves out, she began preaching the new (to her) gospel of frugal, with herself as senior pastor.
    That would be all fine and good, if her actions truly were money-saving. I have a hard time, though, with someone who advocates buying the most expensive/scarce/'green' groceries, with the idea that "hey, who cares how much it costs -- it's your health." (What about coupons, Leah, or buying the same brands at less expensive places? Or just buying them from a local farmer, instead?)
     Her "spend-to-save" philosophy is particularly grinding in clothing. For example, she brags about spending $200 on a Eddie Bauer winter coat, reasoning that it's guaranteed for life. Oh yeah, Leah -- will you, the social butterfly, be willing to wear the same coat for the next thirty or so years? Even if you'll put up with that (which I highly doubt, given your butterfly responses to decorating and such), couldn't you have purchased the coat secondhand for much less,  and still gotten the same assurance?
     Some good tips and ideas from this book, too, but you have to wade through an awful lot of self-satisfied crowing to get to them.
     She's got a blog too, which is more helpful.

And finally, Thrifty: Living the Frugal Life Style by Marjorie Harris (Anansi). Marjorie writes:
    "I was trained to respect and use money very carefully. Money is partly the subject of this book. But it's more about what smart people do with it: how they use it wisely and make very little go a long way. It's about finding pleasure in small economies and the large ideas that can come to fruition with attention to details."
    Sure, there are the usual ideas for saving and cutting down expenses. The vast majority of these, however, are practical ideas, written by someone who lived them -- or knew a friend who did it. Harris grew up in a poor family with a wise mother who taught her to manage well. She continued that practice through periods of low income, and now she's teaching us. I loved the unusual approaches, and the many 'how I did it' stories.
   (She also has a blog, but it's devoted to gardening -- Harris made her name as an editor for Fine Gardening, and books. The blog doesn't seem to have regular posts. Some stuff here, though, on the author and her book.)
    Of the many frugal-themed books I've read lately, Thrifty is the only one I purchased for my own library. (Bought it secondhand on!) And yep, I used some of its ideas right away. Not so for the other two, who are on library return pile, with very little regret.

* * * * * * *
Thanks to blogging buddy Donna Freedman, who shares so generously -- a chart on the best times to buy airline tickets, etc., as well as a mention of Bargain Babe's new (and lucrative) contest. (Don't miss BB's post on being a freezer diva. Ouch - a little too close to yours truly's usual doings.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I am smack dab in the middle of a messy, snorty cold...trying to keep going while sporting a damp wad of Kleenex. Which meant an appraisal client and piano lessons today, as well as laundry, ironing and a few hours of quilt restoration.
    Oh joy.
Tomorrow, I schlep Husband to the hospital for a colonoscopy. He has been belting down fluids, and wishing for green jello. (I made the wrong kind -- strawberry-banana -- which hardened up nicely. But it's red, which is not in the instructions. Then I quick-made lime green, which is still too liquidy. Ever try to make jello get harder faster? It doesn't work, not even with ice cubes added.)
     We're quite a pair tonight -- him looking morose, me going off on sneezing fits and feeling I'm propping open my eyes with toothpicks to stay awake.

I just wandered onto a fascinating discussion: what to do when you're invited to a group event at a fancy restaurant -- and your wallet is lean. Have an appetizer? Just soup? Show up late, and just order coffee? Some terrific ideas here. What do you do if the group agrees to just split the final bill evenly? (I never thought that approach was fair to frugal types, and have just refused to play ball when it happened to me. I'd pay just for what I ate -- but add extra for my share of the tip.)
     We've eaten at restaurants wayyy more than usual this week, thanks to The Mama (who insisted, and wouldn't take no for an answer.) Munching on leftover sushi from Daughter's restaurant, Japoix, is a delicious way to stay awake. They've got a number of specials, including a $19.95 five-course special on Sundays. Yum.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Still Here...

The Mama and Cousin Joy have been visiting since Wednesday, and I've had a merry chase keeping up with them and getting other stuff done, as well. We hit the local outlet mall, went to Boulder to see Daughter #2, and today, we spent the second of two days reupholstering Daughter #1's couch. (The Mama is very, very good at upholstering.) 

    The upshot of it, though, has meant I've had very little time to spend online. To make things even more complicated, our second laptop bit the dust. Husband hates sharing computers, and argues that when I'm home during the day, I should be able to get all my work done online -- therefore, when he's home in the evening, he likes to have the computer handy for his own use. Preferably all evening, until nearly midnight. Then when he heads to bed, I have a quick few minutes to check e-mail, etc. I got to use the computer tonight after 9:30 p.m. to check in the Mama and Joy's flights tomorrow, without Husband getting upset about it. He takes this quite seriously.
     (Before Faithful Readers get all hot and bothered, and fire off suggestions to Tell Him Who's Who and What's What -- and such -- please bear in mind that Husband is generally a good ole boy, and really a dear in many ways. He asks very little of me most of the time, and he's bent over backwards helping out during Mom and Joy's visit. I'm trying to be accommodating, too.)

    Is this jockeying frustrating? Yes. Does it keep peace in the family? Yes. And that in itself is important. Fortunately, he bought another laptop, and it should arrive soon. Not soon enough, though. It's now 1:45 a.m., and I have to make a trip to the airport in not too many hours...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Great Joy

Two of the greatest treasures in my life: Daughters #1 and #2.

Love you, girlies.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Looking Forward to 2011

Well, here we are. 
Another brilliant, sunny day...Jackie and Charley cavorting out in the back yard, with Buck looking on in disgusted fashion. ("Those whippersnappers!") Jack's much better, but yours truly has a snuffly, achy case of the flu. Husband is nursing something, too. And wouldn't you know it -- Mom and cousin Joy are due in from the airport tomorrow.

And here are our plans for 2011:

*Go back to saving -- and pay off the hospital bills from Husband's illness steadily
*Get a luxury now and then -- but buy it on sale. Like the Warehouse deals currently going on at Amazon -- Terra's exotic veggie chips are a case in point. Crunchy, tasty, low-calorie...and at this price, they're actually reasonable. Or extending my subscription to ReadyMade magazine -- the most creative how-to projects mag in the world -- for just $6.99.
*Keep on following the good stuff in TV -- like "V" (I wallowed by re-watching the original series when it recently showed on SyFy). This series is an excellent reminder not to believe everything you're told, with no research or reason.
      We really like shows that make you think, especially when they have historical ties ( Warehouse 13, for example) or force you to watch for clues. (Like The Mentalist.)
*Start planning for the next Panama trip -- this time, a multi-week gig to learn Spanish better, and live with a local family.
*Exercise more. We both need this -- big-time.
*Step back from some of our 'regular' commitments -- a once-in-a-while break would mean all the world, at this point.
*Finish up some home renovations. Glass tile for the kitchen countertop splash area. (Got it, just need to install it.) Floor tile for the kitchen/living room and bathrooms. Replace several windows, and paint several rooms. Replace the garage doors.
*Grow a much larger garden this year. Beans, squash -- anything I can put up for the seasons to come. It would help in the exercise department, too.

And business goals? Keep up with teaching, appraising and judging. Revamp and update all of the inventory, so we know to a straw what we've got. Write more articles. Finish up the Hanky Panky sequel for once and all -- and put in a heavy dose of work on the history of scrap quilting I've been researching on.

   There's still plenty of stuff to be concerned about. But life does go on -- and it has such promise waiting for this new year! We've got our faith, our health, our family and brainpower; it's enough to keep going.

Monday, January 3, 2011

An Aviary Mystery

Did you hear about the approx. 2,000 blackbirds who just dropped out of the sky in Arkansas? Weird...

There, But for the Grace of God...

After I'd finished today's post about our 'interesting' year, I ran up against this lady, who lost her home -- but, thank God, not her family -- in a fire shortly before Christmas. What a way to cap her year! She is plugging away, but understandably dealing with her share of darkness...

Life in Grace is a fascinating blog, and I intend to make following it one of my new year resolutions -- you might, too.

Looking Back Through 2010

Boy, was that a year to live through. 

Business-wise, it went fine. In spite of the economy, my teaching gigs were much more successful than the years before. We made some progress in cleaning up excess inventory, and organizing the remainder more effectively. I taught on my first cruise -- to Hawaii. (Someone's got to do it! :)

Vacation-wise, we had that lovely trip to Panama in December. And there were a few others to enjoy, as well, including Michigan in the fall.

Other good stuff happened: Daughter #1 lost her job -- and got a better one, only a few blocks from her apartment. Charley joined the household. Some nice things were said about my work. Husband's hardest task to date -- designing a bus-pass system, the first in the country, for his school system -- was a rousing success.

Ah, but in between -- emergencies for the girlies, my mom's continuing struggle to live life without Dad. (it will be 3 years in February.) Losing our 'boy' of many years in July. And foremost, Husband's health struggles this fall. (Whenever I hear about someone losing their life in just a few days because of 'flu,' I understand better now -- because Dave almost died of that fast-moving infection.)

I thank God (and I mean that literally) that we were able to keep going and keep our bills paid. (With the exception of the hospital bill, which will be slowly chipped away at.) Somehow, we also kept up our commitments to our family, work, friends and church. I'm not sure how.

But here we are -- Husband off to work again this morning. Me with a tree to take down, stuff to clean up and appraisals to do, with the sniffles in close attendance. The sun is just blazing away at our snowy Colorado landscape. A gleeful (and recovering) Jack is chewing away at Charley in the backyard, Charley reciprocating. 
And life goes on.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The First Post of 2011

Happy New Year!!! 

2010 wasn't our best...but we survived. Hope you did, too.

And may this coming year be your happiest, most fulfilling yet. Enjoy.