Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted Hotels

Do you enjoy traveling? TRAVELZOO is one of your best bets for saving money on hotels, flights and resorts. (It's easy to sign up, by the way...just go to the website and leave your e-mail address. Free, of course - and no obligation to buy anything.) Every week, they host what they call the 'Top 20' deals. One of today's is a lulu:

Discounts on haunted hotels nationwide!

The Omni Parker House's founder, Henry Parker, likes to stop in guests' rooms and inquire about their stay.  He's been dead since 1884... but why should that matter?  [Boston, MA]

The Hotel Coronado's beaches are haunted by Kate Morgan, who committed suicide there after her husband abandoned there. Kate still enjoys strolling the beach, "the black silhouette of her long skirt leaving no trace in the sand." (She's probably shocked by the hotel's current offer: nearly 50% off!)  [San Diego, CA]

The Driskill Hotel's founder, Colonel Driskill, was so proud of the place he built that he continues to hang out there, leaving cigar ashes and burning lights in his wake. A few suicidal brides liven up the festivities, as well.  [Austin, TX]

The Sheraton Read House was a hospital for Union troops during the Civil War...and is still guarded by soldiers who don't seem to know that they've been mustered out for more than 150 years.  [Chattanooga, TN]

Go here for more information on these and other haunted hotels, including room rates -- and specials! Brrrr....

(Frank confession: I've been in at least three of Colorado's 'haunted' hotels, including the Stanley in Estes Park; the Palace in Salida; and the Peck House in Empire. Never saw, heard or felt a thing, other than some uneasiness. Darn.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy, What Are You Doing Now?

Boy, Hurricane Sandy's been busy.

After beating her way up the coast, she gave New York City a licking, including a thorough flooding of Battery Park. (I forget that NYC is really quite low. A good tidal wave would take it out - fast.)

More than one person is stuck -- like my appraiser friend, in a Philly hotel room. So far, so she has no choice but to wait it out:
     We are hunkered down in the Sheraton Suites hotel, half a mile from the Philadelphia airport, with Cheetos, a jar of peanut butter, some applesauce, peanuts, and two cans of tuna. The airport is closed, will be tomorrow too and our tickets have been changed five times. The latest redo was delivered via email from Delta this morning. But all four of us, fresh out of a dental conference this weekend in Philly, are warm, dry and kind of excited. We have suitcases of party clothes–men tuxedo’s and ladies outfits appropriate for the White House, or more correctly the Inn at the Union League. But practical hurricane gear? Not so much.

     I barely made it out of Atlanta Sunday evening -- our flight was stuffed full, and flights around us were being cancelled like crazy. It was a relief to know I was heading west, not east.

Prayers and thoughts are with you, friends on the East Coast.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: What Happened?

I'm home from Georgia. (Had a great time - more about this in a bit.) The Brick and Daughters are home from hunting, a little muddier and smellier - no animals in tow, but they also enjoyed themselves.
     Charley, Abby and presumably the chickens are happy we're home. (Who can tell with chickens, quite frankly. If they were human, that little crazy glint in their eyes tells me they'd all be planning a revolt and blowing something up. Or Running Amuck. They do that so well.)

But all is not right with the world.

How could the Tigers lose the World Series so quickly?!? They were better than that in the regular season. As a former Michigander, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the Tiggers -- I remember that around eighth grade, we actually had tvs in the classrooms during that World Series. (The Tigers won that one.) People take it very seriously. And they have some remarkable players. What happened?
    On the other hand, Colorado's Rockies have really done a crappy job themselves this season, especially if you don't include Dexter Fowler in the mix. (Gee, Rocks, isn't it time to trade Dexter off? You usually do that with your talent.) So I can't point any fingers.

While I'm washing stinky clothes (no changing or showers all week for the Mighty Hunters), you might enjoy these forays into Internet Land:

Is it 47% of American households really not pay taxes? It's all in the semantics, according to Tight Fisted Miser. (And I think he's right.) 

Rhoda, from Southern Hospitality, is finally moved in! I've loved watching her literally re-build a bargain house. It took 26 weeks, the help of her parents (especially her dad), and umpteen photos. If you want to see the house blossom, step by step, take some time to read her posts on the subject. Gives you ideas, if you know what I mean.

Sheet music placemats? Yes...and they're lovely. Check the link for how-tos. (Thanks, All Things Beautiful.) 

Products from Lucky's of London -- some of the funniest useful items I've ever seen, including this handy bath plug:

And a key holder:

(I'm not showing the cat pencil sharpener. You'll see why. Check the link for some great stuff.)

Have a great week. Don't forget to check in on our free giveaway for Nurture Your Creative Spirit -- hardly anyone's entered, and it's a brand-new title. (Inspirational, too.) Deadline is Halloween night, midnight MST.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Georgia Warmth

It's been snowing like crazy in Colorado...but who cares! I'm here where the warm breezes blow, and red rosebushes nod against the window.
    Fall colors, too. It's so pretty here.

Well, I do actually care about those poor shivering Mighty Hunters, the Brick and our girlies. So far, Daughter #2 got off a shot - but missed. Meanwhile, one friend got a buck -- the other accidentally shot a spike bull elk, trying for a cow. He is an honest guy, and after field dressing the meat, called the ranger's station to turn himself in. They didn't even have the courtesy to come out to investigate (it was snowing hard, and an honest mistake), but demanded he show up at the office with the meat. When he did, all the meat was confiscated, and he promptly got a heavy fine. So much for rewarding honesty.

I got a chance to visit Melisa at the Sweet Home Quilt Co. in Conyers, GA. What a charming old house, and the shop is stuffed to the gills with patterns, samples and some of the nicest 19th century reproduction fabrics I've seen in a while...not to mention some very cool holiday-themed and brights fabrics. Melisa's store is a Featured 2012 Shop in the Quilt Sampler magazine, and it deserves the honor. (She writes a great blog, too.) Take a look!

Tomorrow is the Georgia Quilt Council's semi-annual meeting...some appraising and "Quilts with Secrets." I'll spend the night at friend (and fellow appraiser) Holly Anderson's before heading home Sunday.

P.S. The friend who is watching the dogs and the chickies tells me that they're laying more eggs! They also said that the chickens' first response to the snow (which they had never seen in quantity) was to try and jump up on sticks, the water trough -- anything to kick off that cold stuff. I guess this high-kicking was very funny...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A New Book Giveaway: Nurture Your Creative Spirit

I was fortunate enough to get a copy of Vikki Pignatelli's new book, Nurture Your Creative Spirit. For one lucky person, it will be yours!

Vikki is the bestselling author of Quilting by Improvisation, a wonderful book that deals with, among other things, how to quilt smoothly in curves. (Tough when you don't know how - wonderful, when you do.)

Her newest book not only shows many of her best-known pieces, but talks at length about their inspirations and themes. It's a rare chance to get inside the head of one of today's most interesting quilters.
    I am sorry to say I couldn't add the book cover to this post -- my IT guy is out hunting. But you can find out more about it -- and Vikki -- via her website. Go here for more. 

Interested? Leave a comment below -- on what you like about Vikki's work -- or your current project -- or whatever. If you subscribe to this blog via e-mail, mention that in a separate post for a second entry. And if you're a follower, mention that separately too -- it counts for TWO entries.

The giveaway ends Halloween night at midnight MST. (No, the book doesn't turn into a pumpkin.)
Good luck!

Marching (Well, Flying) to Georgia

I heard from the Mighty Hunters...Daughter #2 got a shot off at a buck yesterday, but missed. They only saw two doe today.
     A big storm is moving into the mountains: two days of much colder, snowier temperatures. I'm guessing that the animals are hunkered down already, waiting for the worst of it to be over. Fortunately, the MH are staying in a heated camper with a cookstove. Plenty of already-cooked chili, as well as chicken and dumplings. A ton of other food, as well. They'll have time to play cards and tell stories. They'll be ok.

It is amazing, how few interruptions I had yesterday. Put on the first Jimmy Stewart cowboy movie ("Naked Spur") and started sewing. The fabrics were singing together, and all the seams were fitting smoothly. Had a cup of tea, and remembered all over again how much fun it is to sew when things are going well. Put on another Jimmy movie: this time, my favorite, "The Far Country." Cut some more patches - they fit beautifully. Whoo hoo!
     Before I knew it, I'd watched 5 Jimmy Stewart Westerns, from "Night Passage" to "The Rare Breed." The top was done - wow. And the clock chimed -- 5 a.m. 

Still more packing for Georgia to be done. I'm headed for the Georgia Quilt Council's annual convention. Two days of classes for the Chamblee Star (Oct. 25) and Misty Mountain quilt guilds (Oct. 26) (both days on memory quilts), then the state convention on Oct. 27: a morning of appraising and a talk on Quilts with Secrets, with an emphasis on flowers, fans and handkerchiefs. Curious? Come see! Go to this link to find out more. There are still a few open spots in the classes -- not many, but a few.

I can tell you one thing: it'll be snowing in Colorado later this week. But not where I'm headed!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Stuff: A-Hunting We Will Go

Ok, not me. I've got a date in Georgia with a bunch of quilters! (More on that soon.) The Mighty Hunters left at 5:30 a.m. this morning, after dealing with stocking up (propane, groceries and bullets), trailer problems (couldn't get the lights to work), and Jeep issues (non-working tail light). I watched piles of clothes go into the camper, knowing that if the Brick follows tradition, he'll wear the same outfit. All week long. 
     Both Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 are going with this time, to do some hunting and look after Dad. No doubt, they'll also get a lot of teasing from our friend Tommy, who's been there for a few days, and already bagged a 4-point buck. (He likes to order them around: "Woman, make me a sandwich!") 
    I'm just glad they can spend some time together. 

    There's a new giveaway coming, a book full of vivid color, by Vikki Pignatelli. I'll post it tonight! Meanwhile, noticed on the Internet this past week:

Acorns: an interesting (and free) nutrition source. The Best 50 Years even tells you how to prepare them. A Forties book on feeding chickens with scraps is a big advocate for acorns. Not to mention that the heroines of Into the Forest (one of my favorite apocalypse-frugal living books) end up living on them.

Another great gift idea: homemade bath bombs. I love these fizzy guys and a long soak with the book just mentioned.

They figured out the origins of the huge eyeball found on Pompano Beach, FL -- it originally belonged to a swordfish. The thing was softball-sized!

Haunted attractions that may really BE haunted. 

41 reasons why Len Penzo isn't going to loan you money. These may come in handy when you're hit up for a loan sometime.

A one square meter-sized house, thanks to designer Van Bo. ( When you're ready to sleep, you just tip it over. Honest.)

 Pieces from a rare set of Russian porcelain are coming to auction. (Actually, two sets.) When their aristocratic owner fled during the Revolution, soldiers moved in -- and used the pieces for target practice. Now they're incredibly valuable. (Stupid, stupid, stupid.)

Everything and everyone comes into your life for a reason -- so says Trent at the Simple Dollar. I think he's right.

Trying out a new waterbed. (Ahem) By the way, the sign says NOT to lay on the "Waterfall" model. But who reads signs -- German or American, for that matter:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Going Hunting...and HUGE News

A correction. I'm not headed out the door in stylish blaze orange. Daughter #2 and the Brick are busy getting out every other possession we own (at least the camping-related ones) and stuffing them all in the trailer. A container of chicken and dumplings is waiting in the refrigerator, and chili is cooking in the crockpot for another meal. They'll make do on sandwiches, hot dogs and canned stuff for the rest. And instant oatmeal - tons of it.

Plus... eggs!!!!! Yes, one of our chickens finally produced a tiny brown egg this morning. Hooray! We scrambled it up for breakfast - a firm golden thing next to the pale yellow eggs from King Soopers. I'm hoping the chickie in question is inspiring her fellow hens to go forth and multiply.

I've got my own packing to do, for next week's trip to the Georgia State Guild. (Plus two other day-long classes, both on memory quilts.) Should be fun!

Two Crazies for the Batik Butik need to be finished up, for their booth at Houston's International Quilt Festival this month. Now, if the hunters would go on their merry way, so I can get some work done...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Get Them Crazy Zombies!

Want to try something weird...and earn bucks toward Home Depot purchases at the same time?

Play Zombie Mulch --

     Have fun mowing your staggering zombies over, while avoiding potholes and construction stuff.

The more you play, the more you earn, up to $15 off. (And it's kind of fun.)

Go here to enter. 

Update: I played for about 30-40 min. to earn a $15 coupon. Running over these guys is strangely addictive...but you don't get points for that. You have to hit them head-on, so the chipper/shredder can do its thing. I know....sick. But fun!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How'd They Do?

Did you listen to the night's debates between Romney and Obama?

(Sounded like they were about to come to blows over the whole Libya incident. Gee, I love a good fistfight among our elected officials.)

There are more debates to come -- and some questions to consider. Take a look at my post on Penny Thots for more.

Who would I vote for, if the election was tomorrow? 

Honestly, I'm not thrilled with either candidate. I'm not sure Governor Romney has ever known what it's like to be hungry...or working at a job he can't afford to lose...or feeling that no one is listening to what he thinks. How much will he consider the worker's needs, as well as the company?
    On the flip side, I don't believe President Obama has accomplished a lot of the things he promised. The mounting deficit worries me -- not so much for the Brick and myself, but for our daughters, who surely will have to deal with it in coming years. How do I know the pattern won't continue: big companies making stupid decisions, then expecting the government to bail them out. Where's the discipline, the sacrifice here? We're expected to behave ourselves -- shouldn't they be under the same expectations?

More fights -- and insults -- and rhetoric -- to come. Just makes me glad we don't have cable at present; listening to the political ads on the Internet is irritating enough.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: He Did It!

A human has broken the speed of sound -- without a plane! Felix Baumgartner jumped more than 24 miles up from a capsule attached to a weather balloon -- and landed safely, thanks to his pressurized suit, a lot of chutzpah and the grace of God. Wow. Read all about it here

These tidbits from the Internet are more down to earth...but I found them interesting:

  18 Spooky Facts You Didn't Know About the National Debt, courtesy of Len Penzo. You might not be happy you found these out, either...

Making your own herbal vitamin and mineral tincture. I don't know whether to be grossed out, or intrigued. (Growing up on a farm, and haying every summer, has given me a totally different perspective on putting alfalfa in anything. ) The Brick is a huge vitamin-taker; maybe a shot of this would cut down on all the pills. (Thanks, Keeper of the Home.)

Halloween tombstones that have become masterpieces. (via the Chicken Blog.) These are amazingly realistic. 

What's the stupidest thing you ever spent money on? Gather Little by Little has some oldie but goodie.

A trip to George Nakashima's studio. If you love wood or Japanese-influenced eclectic design, you're going to really enjoy this.  Part 1 is here; part 2 is here.

31 days to make extra money for Christmas. Some of these are a tad wacky, but hey, one should strike a responding chord. The link will take you to Day #4's offering, but they're running all month. (Thanks, Money Saving Mom.) 

An insanely cool hydroponics system from Yes, I am Cheap. In other words, the plants feed the fish, whose waste feeds the plants...and so on. Mother Earth News had a similar system for this, incorporating rabbits and chickens. (Yes, I've thought about doing it. Greenhouses don't fare very well out here, thanks to Colorado's high winds and hailstorms. My last greenhouse literally ripped off its foundation. Maybe it's time to try again...)

Four life lessons we need to learn. I wasn't surprised at the lessons -- I was surprised that Martha Beck, a national figure on Oprah's network, was advocating them. (Especially the one that argued 'fitting in' wasn't that important. Oprahites are big-time conformers to her status quo.) Interesting, nonetheless. Even better, read:

Ten life lessons you should unlearn. These make sense. (So do the others.)

Staying warm this winter. The basics, from yours truly, at my other job (Midlife Finance). Including a link to a surprisingly easy way to stay warm, a kotatsu table

Seven amazing animal rescues -- by other animals!

And off we go, for an interesting week...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hooray - it's the weekend!

Gray skies...the rain's beginning to spatter on the panes. (I'm not griping; we don't get much of the liquid stuff here in Colorado.) A great day to stay inside and finish off the taxes. (groan) That's what we get, for putting it off.

You might enjoy this visit to a Venetian monastery...and their recipe for rose petal jam. 

Have a good one...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vice Presidential Debate News

Darn, I missed this one. (Got home late from work, and everything else piled in.)

Here's the overview, courtesy of ABC News. Senator Biden really called Ryan's statements "a bunch of malarkey??" So much for professionalism...I'd guess that he felt laughing after he said it was supposed to soften the comment. Hmmm.
    And here's one comment on the debate results. Who knows what these really prove. 

Image from ABC News

If you missed it too, here are 8 VP debate shockers from the past.
 I remember some of you do, too.


Stayed up until 3 a.m., finishing up some things.

Got little sleep -- but definitely making progress now.

Appraised all day at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. They've got a terrific exhibit of political quilts in the main gallery, and an eclectic (and slightly quirky) selection of quilts from Pat Moore's collection. I admire that woman's fine instincts for intriguing quilts! (In fact, I have two in my own collection that I purchased from Pat. She's got a great 'eye.')
   You only have a week or so left to see these exhibits -- they're getting ready to change soon. The main gallery will feature a large selection of Crazy quilts, many of them from the collection of Allen and Patty Brown. Beautiful. 

If you've never been to this place,you won't regret it. Take time to visit both gallery areas -- the one in downtown Golden, and the other at the RMQM offices.

Teaching Hanky Panky tomorrow -- a private lesson. (No smart remarks about that!) Then a few piano lessons to give -- and maybe a short nap.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Supper was sizzling away in the frying pan when the Brick got home the other night. "I've got something bad to tell you," he said.
    My gut twisted. He'd lost his job? One of our girls was terribly hurt? He'd run over one of the dogs in the driveway?
    Turns out he was 'fired' -- sort of. The program for one of his favorite volunteer positions was being shut down. It hurt more because he'd really loved this work, and had put a lot of time and effort into it.
     But it wasn't the end of the world.

I keep reminding myself about that. It's been a rotten week, with business deadlines looming, and an argument in a group I belong to, eating up time, energy and sleep. (The Brick and yours truly woke up at 2 a.m. this morning when a particularly loud train roared through town, some 3 or 4 miles away. Couldn't get back to sleep until 3:30 a.m. or so.) We need to finish off taxes and get them submitted. I have two Crazies in progress that must be finished (and mailed) by this weekend. The hallway is full of boxes, waiting to be put away. (The staffers for Brickworks have been on vacation the past few weeks, which means yours truly tidies up and deals with orders.) And somehow, some way we've got to get our roof replaced soon.
    Whenever I get one job done, my mind immediately starts yelping about the next one. I've started taking an hour to read a book -- on anything but what I'm involved in at present. A portable vacation, so to speak. (Just got back from an ocean voyage, thanks to Clive Cussler's The Thief -- which sadly wasn't that good. Spent a year recovering with Betty MacDonald in The Plague and I, and am headed out soon to paddle down the Nile, stopping at historical spots along the way.) 
    Two of our friends last night were coughing and sneezing -- the flu's starting its annual visit to Colorado. I ache all over. Is it the flu announcing its presence -- or am I just frustrated -- or just a new storm coming in? 

There are good things happening. For one, most of the upstairs is reasonably clean. (I sweep and scrub when I'm working out problems. Go figure!) Clothes are washed. We're still eating. And I have been completing deadlines, though more slowly than I would wish.
    I haven't been spending hog-wild, unless you count a few trips to check out the thrift shop's free box and 75-cent books. (They have great bread, too, if you get there on the right day -- artisan loaves and such.) I haven't written insulting messages to anyone, or screamed at the chickens. (Although I could cheerfully strangle the young blue jay who kicked out a week's worth of seeds in the bird feeder, then scattered them all around.) Still no eggs yet, by the way. (Another sigh.)
     Life goes on. It will get better.
     I just hope it happens soon.
           Mustn't grumble.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Stuff On the Way To Other Stuff: Winter, What Winter?

     Well, it's late summer again... sort of.  After our rockbottom cold temps (and a rush to get a heat lamp set up in the chicken coop), it's back to warmth and sunshine. Go figure. Needless to say, our frostbitten landscape is not getting the full benefit.
     The chickies have a new hobby: sitting on top of the 6-foot wire fence, and rocking back and forth. Did we click their wings earlier this summer? Yes. Do we want them to do this?  Guess who's getting their wings clipped again Real Soon...
     No eggs yet. Sigh. 

While I'm plugging away at Stuff to Be Done, here's the latest gleaned from the Internet, beginning with a fitting song:

A whole bunch of do-overs and redoes, thrifty furniture-wise, thanks to Southern Hospitality.

A ton of reclaimed-wood and pallet projects, channeled through Funky Junk Interiors

Fattoush, home-style, thanks to Heidi's 101 Cookbooks blog. Think a kind of bread-and-yogurt cucumber salad.  

Will a missed or late payment negatively affect your credit score? Not if you deal with it quickly, according to Financial Samurai. We've even had penalty fees waived, after we pointed out that we paid regularly and on time for years.

A new Charles Dickens letter has been found...stuffed in an old Bible!

Homemade laundry soap, courtesy of Keeper of the Home. Three ingredients, and I already have them...I might actually be able to make this! 

A lottery winner collects food stamps, even after she wins more than a million dollars. (She was forced to pay it back -- the food stamps, not the lottery.) Now Amanda Clayton is dead, from a possible drug overdose. Very sad. 

A Connecticut man shoots and kills a masked teenager apparently intent on burglarizing his neighbor's home -- only to find out it was his own son.

Could you sleep in your car, if you needed to? My Frugal Miser did it for a night...and it wasn't so bad. Considering that my former boss at Tight Fisted Miser does this regularly (he bought a van for the very purpose), it doesn't seem like that big a deal. We've done it ourselves on occasion, when we were driving to/from Michigan to see family. And one night, we got stuck out on a dirt road during hunting season. (Now that experience, I could go without again.)  

Five painless ways to help your kids. (Grown kids, that is.) From yours truly via Midlife Finance.

Have a warm, sunshiny week.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Take Your Fabrics In A Brand New Direction!

Spoonflower Fabrics is hosting a Zombie contest. I'm not making this up. Dozens of cute little blood-dripping, slack-jawed zombie dolls (including "Zombie Mommie," evil twins, "Contagiously Cute" and one vacant-eyed guy with plumber's butt) that you can cut out and stitch together. Vote for your favorite!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Getting Through the Election - And Other Prickly Issues

We're seeing our share of verbal fistfights in the pro-Romney/pro-Obama supporters right now.

Nasty commercials. (On both sides.)

Even nastier accusations. (Again - both sides.)

And there we are -- right in the middle.

It's not just them, either. I've had to fight my way through other people - groups and organizations -  who disagree with each other. It's worst when members of the same group -- people you normally respect and admire -- go to arguing, then insulting, then move on to downright enmity.
    What usually happens? A huge fight that proves nothing. A church split right down the middle. A group that accomplishes little, because it's so busy putting its energy into drawing battle lines.
    Nothing good comes of it, either. The opposing group doesn't change its mind. (You certainly wouldn't!) Hurt feelings, harsh accusations and a generally bad taste in the mouth.

 I recently came across this comment from Randy Cohen's book, Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything.
     Cohen wrote a column called "The Ethicist" twelve years for the Washington Post. "Readers will endure - will welcome - views unlike their own if those ideas are expressed without contempt," he says. "I tried to make the column a place where people could argue amiably, could disagree without discourtesy."

   "For the first few years of the column, I tended to respond in-kind to angry e-mail. (I suspect many of us have a tendency to treat others as they treat us, for good or ill.) When I received a particularly hateful screed, insulting, ad hominem, SHOUTING AT ME IN ALL CAPS, I would think, You call that vicious? It's amateur work. I am a trained professional; I can compose something a hundred times more venomous. And I would.
    ...When I sent one of my tormenters a savage response, I felt great. It is a pleasure to thrash a bully. (And by "bully," I mean anyone who is unkind to me.) But it is an ineffectual pleasure, one that solidifies disagreement, makes enduring enemies, changes nobody's thinking, garners no dinner invitations. And so eventually I forsook the pleasures of the punch-up for another strategy: a soft answer turneth away wrath.
[Yes, he's quoting Proverbs in the Bible. No, he's not religious.]
    Turns out, it doth.
    I began ignoring the tone of even the angriest e-mails and responding courteously to the sense of it. Just as an experiment. Often, even the author of a barbarous e-mail would then reply politely. Sometimes he'd apologize for his initial intemperance. My first, unworthy, though, I'd hit upon a cunning way to make my tormenter feel guilty while I seized the moral high ground. Brilliant!

What if all the sides actually agreed to work with each other, even if they disagreed? 

We might actually get something accomplished. 

Presidential Debate Tonight

Don't miss it! 

Oct. 3, 2012  
9 p.m. Eastern Time   (7 p.m. Mountain time, of course.)

at the University of Denver in you-know-where, Colorado.

Subject: Domestic policy.

(And anyone who's going to try and drive up in that area is totally nuts. Street and exit closings galore. Traffic jams aplenty.)

Go here for more information
Full ongoing debate coverage here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall, Please Don't Leaf!

Fall leaves -- oh my, they're beautiful right now. 

A trip down Castle Rock's main street this afternoon was a pleasure, with the warm sun causing the trees to glow all along the way. Mostly yellows -- we have a lot of those in Colorado -- with a few warm reds and oranges chiming in.

If you're a big leaves fan, too, take a look at this slideshow of fall photos from around the country, courtesy of (Click here to start.)

And know it's going away soon.

Yep...looks like this around here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fight Over A Renoir

This is a complicated one. Ready? Here we go:
    A woman buys a painting at a flea market for $7. She assumes it's a fake.
    After two years in storage, she wonders whether the painting is authentic, and decides to have it appraised.
    Turns out the painting is documented as a Renoir.

Still with me?
    The woman puts the Renoir up for auction. It's expected to fetch in the neighborhood of $75,000. (It's a small piece - 5 1/2" x 9".) Every flea market enthusiast is green with envy.
    Only a few days before the auction, the painting is pulled. Turns out:
    A Washington Post reporter discovers it -- or a painting very similar to it -- was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1951.
    But an insurance company already paid the Baltimore museum for the stolen painting back in 1951. (It was valued then at $2500.)
    The original owner had only loaned the painting for the exhibit back in 1951 -- though it's believed she planned to give it a permanent spot at the museum. (She'd donated many other works.)

    So who owns the painting? 

The original owner...or the museum...or the insurance company?

 Or is it the lady who purchased it at a flea market, and inadvertently brought all this to light?

    That's the big fight right now.

  The flea market painting, documented as "Paysage Bords de Seine," or "On the Banks of the River Seine" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Photo from the Washington Times link.

Trader Joe's in Colorado? Yes, But...

A while back, I posted a whiny message, begging Trader Joe's to open a location (or two, or three, or four) in Colorado. Why did they keep making us go out of state for our groceries, fruit and 'Two-Buck Chuck' fix?

Well, now they're planning to.

Boulder will have Colorado's first Trader Joe's, at where the Applebee's currently is on 29th St. See the report here. 

But not until 2013.

What about the upcoming holidays? They're missing out. Thankfully, I have a teaching gig in Albuquerque in early November -- guess I'll stock up before leaving town.

Darn it.

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Chicken Update

Frost warnings are out for this week. Just in time, the Brick got the furnace fixed and running. (It's been out pretty much all summer.) We keep our house cool, compared to most; last winter, the temp was 67 during the day, and 62 at night. Surprisingly comfortable, with a sweater or a little boost from a space heater, as needed. We'll also build a fire in the fireplace now and then, too. And the energy savings are great.
    What are the chickies doing?
From our standpoint: absolutely nothing. Oh, they enjoy running around the yard, chasing after scraps and grasshoppers. They're certainly eating and pooping on schedule. (Just cleaned out the coop yesterday -- I know.) We actually caught our neighbors watching them with binoculars the other day. (The neighbors thought a mountain lion was on the other side of the fence. I think they probably just saw Charley, whose fur is yellowish.) 
    But no eggs. Not none.
What do I have to do: schedule laying sessions? Exercise therapy? Pep talks??

While I'm brooding about this (get it?), you might enjoy the eggs of wisdom laid here and there on the Internet:

 Jeffrey Gundlach got his $10 million art collection back! Police arrested the manager of an Autosound store in Pasadena, CA, among others; the paintings were found in the building. (Another painting was recovered from a home in Glendale.) Hey, offer a reward of more than a million dollars...I'm sure that didn't hurt. (See the original report here.)

From the "Now I've Seen Everything" Department: a cat who eats with a fork. Really. 

Freezer cooking for the busy mom -- from Keeper of the Home.  Using freezer meals has saved my bacon several times during busy deadline periods. Also, take a look at her post on 10 Easy Meals When You Forget to Plan. Not that this ever happens to me... :)

An interesting airline brouhaha...the airline wants to charge parents $60 extra, so they can sit next to their 5-year-old child. Hmmm...

A bulldog, a trampoline -- and bliss.

Paying debt on a really tight budget; a guest post from Stacy Makes Cents. (One of the questions in The Simple Dollar's mailbag also pertains to this, big-time.

Celebrating birthdays the frugal way, a post from yours truly on Penny Thots.

Helping a deer in distress. What a kind thing to do. (It's not uncommon to see dead deer out here on the prairie, stuck on the fence.)

Thirteen Halloween treats kids would rather trash than eat, according to Len Penzo. Plus 10 treats they'd do anything for. The Mama will be thrilled; she hands out popcorn balls every year, and these were on the 'good' list. She even made us a batch before she left. (How long did they last? Errr cough harrumph...well, let's talk about something else.)

Have a great week.