Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ten Things I Learned (Or Was Reminded of Again) in 2012

Nothing big...but these discoveries all made a difference last year.

Thank you notes are invaluable. I knew they were good to do before -- and most of the time, you don't hear anything later on. But after taking the time to write a batch of notes to people who helped me do a Seniors Luncheon in December...well, the comments back reminded me they really were appreciated.
    I'm going to try to write at least one thank-you note a month, to people who've I've admired over the years. They may not know now how I feel about them...but they will soon.

If your feet are warm, the rest of you can stay relatively cold. And space heaters (or a nice electric fireplace like the one below) can make all the difference between chilliness and comfort, for a frugal price. (Some good sales here, if you're interested.) Last night, my nose was FREEZING, but the rest of me: very comfortable.

I love Jarvis Jones. Well...I like him a whole lot. (Something about all that prime defensive work just thrills my soul.) A friend who has season tickets to Georgia college football got me hooked on the Bulldogs -- goooo Bulldogs! (wuff wuff wuff wuff wuff) We're going to see more of this guy's amazing work in pro football -- I hope Denver picks him up. Meanwhile, I'll just have to make do with the Capital One Bowl (Georgia vs. Nebraska) on New Year's Day. Update: They won -- 45-31 over Nebraska! But Michigan lost the Outback Bowl to South Carolina literally in the final minute of the game. Sigh...Go Blue.

There really is a difference between fresh and storebought eggs. The fresh ones are firmer, and the egg yolks are brighter. A richer flavor, too. I pooh-poohed this before we got chickens...but it's true.

Fill your cup before you drink. The Brick started scalding our cups and mugs with hot water, and keeping them full until time to pour coffee. It's made an amazing difference in how long the drinks stay hot.

The hardware store is your friend, if you're into Steampunk. I still enjoy poking around in fabric and craft shops, but am paying more attention to the little things in life...screws, rings, little gadgets. They make fantastic embellishments.

Triple-check the small print. I learned this the hard way, after I redeemed a batch of 1992 savings bonds we'd had for two decades. They were earning about 5% -- not much, but way better than nearly all CDs or bonds in 2012. I thought I read that they stopped earning interest after twenty years. Wrong -- it's thirty years. We could have had ten more years of don't-think-about-it interest, if I hadn't been so darned efficient. (Goal: make up that lost interest on the cashed-in amount. Every single year.)

You never know what you'll find at a thrift shop. This year's haul included several books I sold for a good profit on Amazon; some very delicate (and expensive) cups; and Le Crueset vintage orange pans. (Those appeared just last week -- $8, but a 50% discount at the thrift shop made them two dollars each. Take a look here for typical pricing on this classic heavy iron enamel cookware.)

Some of the best quilts are all about details. Like Sherry Reynolds' incredible America, Let It Shine, which won Best of Show at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this year. Take a look at Dutchbaby's post on the quilt, including the many photos -- you'll see what I mean. This piece is a mathematical wonder.

Small things DO count. A small quilt is appreciated, if you don't have time to stitch a large one. Even a short note has meaning. Or a brief phone call. Or a quick compliment to a stranger. Thirty minutes of housecleaning does make progress.

I'm looking forward to learning more this new year!

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