Thursday, October 31, 2013

Groceries on $30 A Week?

      You bet.

I saw a post recently on MoneySaving Mom that brought back old memories --

Can you make it on a $30-per-week grocery budget? 

 The answer: yes...but you're going to have to make some short-term sacrifices. Note the words "short term." You don't have to cut to bare bones forever! But saving $5 here and there will give you more money in your fund that can be used to buy extra when there's an excellent sale. (Make sure to read the comments on both these links -- many are from women who are actively doing just what we're talking about here.)

Other things that help:

*Find the best discount grocery in your area. A lot of people rely on Aldi's, a consistently good place not only for cupboard goods, but produce and frozen food. Unfortunately, we don't have one of those around here (Colorado) -- but we do have Sprouts (terrific for produce, and one of the few places that discounts organic groceries), as well as Save-A-Lot. (The latter can be a little seedy -- you've got to be careful on quality, and the produce leaves a lot to be desired. But I have found some good buys there.)
     Then, of course, there are sales at your regular store. Buy the most discounted (i.e., the "loss leaders") and you can do very well -- particularly if you buy extra with that money you set aside.

*Dollar stores help...if you're picky. Although they're generally still a great place for cards, party supplies and cleaning supplies, Dollar stores can have wonderful buys -- and so-so, or even bad ones. Examples: I found Dermasil hand lotion there in large tubes, and bought a case lot -- a great buy at a buck each. But the frozen peaches (12 oz. for $1) were tasteless. On the other hand, cans of corned beef hash were tasty, albeit a little greasy, and came shining through at a buck each. Go figure. You can't really go wrong with Italian pasta or familiar brands. But you may find those same goods at Wal-Mart or on sale for even less.

*Find a salvage or dented goods store. It took me a long time to locate the Friday/Saturday store (otherwise known as the Friday Store)  in nearby Denver. (Yep, it's only open on weekends.) And it's 45 minutes' drive away, so I only go there on the way to somewhere else. But they have incredible buys on imported groceries, as well as fancy cheeses, frozen stuff, coffee and so on. They've even started carrying produce. (Latest buy: asparagus for $1.50/lb -- in October.)

*Get it from the source. Farmer's markets are okay -- though ours can tend to be pricey. (Going at the last minute can ease the pain somewhat...they're more open to bargaining.) Even better -- go straight to the farm or orchard. You'll generally have to purchase larger amounts, but they'll be much more reasonably-priced.
     The area where I grew up is full of orchards. When the Brick made his recent trip there, the Mama sent a suitcase full of apples back home with him -- apples she'd gotten free from friends who have trees. We've been reveling in Macintoshes, both fresh and in pies and crisps, and giving them away, as well. Those same apples would be at least $2 a pound at the local grocery stores.

Once you're paying the least you can, then it's up to you to make the most of the food you've got. So:

*Stretch it. Buy a whole chicken and use it for several meals. (I'm not so sure I'd stretch it over 22 meals -- but that's what this girl did!) Mix a pound of ground beef (whoa, beef's skyrocketed in price lately!) with beans and/or rice. Protein goes a lot further in small amounts, especially in stews and stirfries.

*Simmer it. Once you've gotten everything you can from a steak, roast or chicken, meat-wise, cook the bones overnight in water in your slow cooker. Throw in carrot and onion peelings, celery ends and wilted veggies, as well. Filter it through a colander, then chill (take off the fat), and you've got a homemade broth far better than any can.
     Now you've also got the basics for a terrific soup. Vegetables, a little meat and some spices go a long way. (Add potatoes or rice in the last half-hour...or they get mushy.) So does a spoonful of sour cream or a splash of milk, if you like a cream soup. Serve with biscuits (easy to make, and can be frozen uncooked to bake later) and cheese for a hearty meal that costs very little. A whole series of soup recipes starts here.

*Dilute it. Whole milk goes much further than skim, and comes out close to the same, nutritionally, if you add 2-4 cups of water to the gallon. A little water or milk cleans out cans (you don't waste a drop!), and makes an extra cup's worth of soup for those "ready to serve" kinds. I'll add a little extra water to everything from salsa to ketchup...and my family has yet to catch on. (Works on shampoo, too.)

We've been cutting back on household groceries, partly because hunting season's coming (hopefully the Brick will get an elk!), our freezer is more full than I'd like it to be (need the space for said elk - cross our fingers), and we just bought a second car. Though we budgeted for the extra payment, I still like to have a beefier emergency fund than we do now. The money saved on groceries will help with that.
    But you don't want to always give up every convenience. My last grocery trip ferreted out Red Baron pizzas for $2.15 each. (On sale, and I had a coupon, as well. One pizza feeds the Brick and myself, for a quick "night out") I did better on the trip before that -- Tombstone pizzas for the same price -- but I had a coupon that not only cut that price, but gave me a deal on Halloween candy, as well.

$25-30 a week generally does it for the two of us, when I need to be careful. Here's a typical grocery list when we're tightening our belts:

$3.00    1 gallon whole milk
  1.50    3 peppers (thank you, Sprouts!)
  2.50    5 pounds of potatoes (these have really gone up in price, too)
  1.50    kale, spinach or other greens -- or a pound of broccoli (also Sprouts)
  2.50    1 pound of ground beef -- or a package of bratwurst
  2.50    1/2 pound cheese
  3.00     1 whole chicken (99 cents a pound)
  2.50     1 pound butter   (I'd skimp with regular margarine at a buck, if I had to)
  1.00     1 loaf bread  (or the equivalent in tortillas)

That's $20.  I'd buy sale produce or frozen stuff with the rest of the money, including something for sandwiches. (Or I'd save the extra for another week.) If we didn't have chickens, I'd spend some of it for eggs. A pound of beans, along with a can of tomatoes and some of that beef, would make soup for several meals...so would the chicken, along with veggie leftovers and some potatoes diced in.

     For years, both when we were starting out in college, and when the Brick switched careers from an engineer to a bus driver (a 75% drop in pay), we lived on less than $20,000 annually. My business was just starting out, and we had two daughters to feed, as well. And with God's help, my Hollander instincts, and a lot of finagling, we did fine. In fact, the Brick likes this kind of menu -- because it means more home cooking.
     We'll go back to it for a few months, while we build our savings back up some. We'll be fine. I know we can do it....because I've done it so many times before.

You can, too.

Pumpkin pie or baked squash, anyone? It's especially cheap right now...right after Halloween.

   
  







Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Have Your Cake -- And Admire It, Too

One of my friends, Tina Madrid, does some amazing things with cakes. Her Sweet Nothings Bakery kicks out some of the most innovative designs ever.

Case in point: a Bottoms Up cake, for boys...



And if your little one is a girlie:


Here's Tina's version of Dora the Explorer.


Her  Rainbow Cake...


Her Pigs in A Barrel...




But she does elegance, too.





Gorgeous, huh?

Find out more about Tina's work on her Facebook page, Sweet Nothings Bakery.

Do It Right Away...Or Wait A While?

When the sun's out, it's still glorious around here...lots of fall leaves blazing, and the sun gleaming off the mountains (still snow-free, but not for long) and the glossy feathers of the chickens.

Can't stand around all day, letting her admire...got stuff to do!


      It doesn't take much, though, for clouds to move in -- and when they do, it's downright chilly, and a little foreboding. Where have the past few months gone? There is still so much to do. The chicken coop expansion must be finished -- wood cut and stacked. The front and backyards are full of all sorts of flotsam and jetsam. Action packers, tarps, supplies are out, waiting for the Brick's upcoming hunting trip. What should I do now -- what can wait?

Some things don't have much choice. Meals must be made, clothes washed, the toilets cleaned. Then there's the business -- orders must be filled, appraisals sent, commitments kept.

But I am starting to understand something -- that I need rest and a break from routine, as much as the basics need doing. That if I trudge through, and nothing else, some of the joy goes out of life. Better to go a little slower and sip, instead of slobber.

There...how's that for poetics. Now, if you'll excuse me, there are eggs to gather, cookies to make, and appraisals to e-mail. Life goes on.




Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Halloween -- Woof! (And Meow)



An incredible Halloween dog parade in New York City. Nearly all of these are little dogs, better known as "yipey dogs" in the Brick house. Only a few big boys are the size of Charley or Abby -- mostly, I suspect, because big dogs don't generally put up with this kind of nonsense. Buck and Goonie, our Weimaraners, would chew off even a bandanna in no time flat. Not that the littler guys are loving it -- most seem to have the expression of "the minute his/her back is turned, I'm going to bite somebody." Some, though, don't care.



Very few self-respecting cats would let you stuff a costume on them, then drag them out in public for a parade. Dogs must figure, "If it makes my humans happy [sigh] fine, I'll do it.  Cats -- no way.
     They're more the lazy, self-satisfied revenge type.


At least dogs and cats all get along together. Eventually. Sort of.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Brrrrr

It's getting chilly out. 
    We spent a chunk of Sunday night putting sides on the new chicken coop expansion. The Brick made it 6 1/2 feet tall, so we could get into it more easily...but trying to hold the boards in place, then screw them down while balancing on a stepladder, is making life interesting!
     If we don't get this coop done soon, the chickies are going to be pretty darn cold. The Brick hopes to finish it up in the next few days; he's going hunting this coming weekend. I want to paint it, as well -- but that can wait for a bit. 
    Now...how can I persuade the younger chickens that they should use the new coop, instead of their drafty (but familiar) old spot? 
     While I'm puzzling on this (any suggestions are welcome):

More than 100 pumpkin dessert recipes. (From Crazy for Crust, a new blog I've just started reading.)

Photos that bring a lump to your throat. I dare you to look at these, and not feel at least a little moved.

Who taught you to be frugal? A Penny Thots post from yours truly.

Six beauty products that are a waste of money...according to Reader's Digest. (I still am partial to q-tips, no matter what they say.)

And in honor of the week: lippy political insults and quotes from all over the world, also from RD.

A teenager finds a 3.85 carat diamond! 

The morons who knocked over a rock formation...then had the gall to say they did it to protect hikers. Watch the video -- do you think they're doing this out of concern?


 Raising chickens update -- at Penny Thots, via yours truly.

Avocado spring rolls -- but a different version than I've ever seen before. (Plus links to other spring roll recipes.) Courtesy of 101 Cookbooks.

Holding steady, even when times are extremely hard. The prizewinner entry at MoneySaving Mom's 'envelope budgeting' contest. Then, on the flip side:

Seven life lessons from the very wealthy. (Thanks, MoneySmart Guides.)

A UFO descends over Iceland. What the heck do you think this is??


A gator goes shopping at Wal-Mart. (He didn't buy much.)

A Nazi solid gold cauldron, found not long ago in a Bavarian lake. I sure hadn't heard anything about this...


Remember: if you have a tantrum, there may be someone lip-syncing behind you, and wrecking the effect!

And in honor of Halloween, the list of Scariest Horror Movies ever. I still have uneasy feelings about Alien, one of the first movies I ever saw in a theater. (Grew up in a family who thought movie theaters in general were bad.)
     Plus my favorite Monty Python sketch...well, other than the one where the guys pretend to be pigeons in Picadilly Square. This one, 'Bring Out Your Dead:' sick but funny.





Stay warm...and have a great week. 


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Crisp

The Brick got home Thursday afternoon from Michigan, lugging a suitcase full of apples from the Mama. We (former for me) Michiganders take our apples seriously...and these were Macintoshes, the queen of tastes, the only apple that snaps crisply as you bite into it, yet melts in your mouth.
     Macs don't travel well, so you don't find them much in grocery stores. And these, thanks to Southwest Airlines, were a little bruised, so they won't last long. But that's okay -- we've been giving some away, and eating the rest sliced and spread with peanut butter, or in the form of apple crisp.



APPLE CRISP

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
4-5 tablespoons butter
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
5 apples, peeled and sliced

Start your oven at 350 degrees. Dump the apples into a small baking pan or ceramic dish. Mix the rest until crumbly (with a fork, or even your hands), then sprinkle on top. Bake for 30 min., or until topping is browned and crunchy. Serves 4, especially when you give it the ultimate topping -- a scoop of vanilla ice cream or yogurt.  


It has been a warm, sunny afternoon, the kind Colorado is famous for. The leaves are starting to fade now, sadly, and drift down, but there is still enough color to make the scenery joyous. I spent a few hours cutting up hardwood trimmings, with a break for the Mama's homemade doughnuts. (She sent those back with the Brick, too.) We're supposed to get snow next week -- have to cut and stack enough for use in the fireplace.
    The Brick is down the hill, sawing away at the chicken coop expansion. You could barely get into the old coop -- this new version will be much taller: "only 6' 6"," reassured the Brick. (He's 6-foot, and is sick and tired of bending over.) The chickies have been watching suspiciously, scampering back whenever they hear the saws. (Probably planning mayhem. Hey, as long as they keep producing eggs, I don't care.)
     Charley pooches around, looking in the woodpile for his buddy the snake. (He likes to toss it into the air, something Mr. Snake doesn't put up with for very long.) Abby just rests, watching the chickens with one eye, and me with the other. 
     The Brick likes to get in as much work as he can before the sun goes down, so I'll wait. After it gets dark, we'll head to Little Caesar's for a three-meat pizza and crazy bread. (These pizzas are amazing, if you haven't tried them yet, by the way.)

     You couldn't ask for a nicer day.




Friday, October 25, 2013

You've Been Warned

There's a squirrel out there with evil intent. 

It's been vandalizing bikes at one of Iowa's community colleges. So far, the score is 5+ to 0 -- a headlight, taillight, bike seat and two tires. No doubt, more are going down, even as we speak.

Authorities thought kids were doing it, until they saw a photo of this devious little guy, up to no good.

I know better. I've watched these rodents torture poor unsuspecting Charley, by running up and down the telephone wire, juuuust out of reach.

The little stinkers.

Monty Python warned us about furry animals...


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ten Ways to Eke Out...And A Really Good Joke

I try hard to be funny -- but the best I normally get, telling jokes to the girlies and the Brick, is a snort and eye-rollings. (Daughter #2 also likes to imitate cricket sounds -- 'See, Mom? No one is laughing.') It's when I'm trying to be serious that I get the bellylaughs. (Sad, yes. I know.)

All three of my harshest critics have laughed at this one. See what you think. (Thanks to Jeff Yeager for passing it on.)

     A rich man asks his accountant, priest and lawyer to come to a meeting. When they get there, he says, "I don't have long to live, but I'm going to bring my money with me, whether people like it or not. I'll give each of you 10 million dollars. You're my pallbearers; just before you set me down by the graveside, slip the money inside the coffin. I know you'll follow my instructions to the letter."
    After the guy's funeral, the threesome stop by for a drink. While they're talking, the accountant says, "I have a confession to make. I only put $9 million into the casket -- we're in the process of redoing our house, and need the money. I'm sorry I did it...but I did."
     The priest shifts around for a while, then says, "I didn't put the full amount in, either -- our church is funding an orphanage in Africa, and I just kept thinking about those kids. I only put in $5 million."
     The lawyer is aghast. "I'm shocked -- shocked," he says. "I would have thought you'd both keep your promise. I did -- I put a check for the full $10 million inside."

(The Brick said, "What would he do, if someone cashed it??")

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Are you paying off a debt or two? This is on our minds big-time, right now...new cars aren't cheap. (Well, new to us.) Both the Brick and myself HATE being in debt. Here are some ways we save on everyday expenses, that will help you save a buck or two, too. That means a few dollars more to be applied toward the bill.

*Add liquid. A few cups of water stretch your milk a little; a few cups of broth stretch the soup or stew. You've got enough not only for supper, but lunch tomorrow, as well.

*Cut back on going out. Instead of restaurant fare every other week, make it every third week...or once a month. (Use coupons and save even more.)

*Keep the heat off -- or down -- longer. (It's currently at 62 degrees at Chez Brick,and will pretty much stay there all winter, except in the mornings.)

*Get creative when it comes to firewood. Craigslist is full of ads for free firewood - all you have to is find a tree-trimming company who's clearing out their excess. Or an ad like this --

    Eight hundred pounds of hardwood trimmings, at $20 a bundle. It's what we've been burning in the fireplace for months now, along with leftovers from our recent roof and indoor renovation jobs.

*Clean and mend what you've got -- instead of buying more. Buy classic versions of your socks, shirts, sweaters and such, then keep them clean and in good repair. (Make them last even longer by not using the dryer, but hanging them up, instead. They'll fade and pill less.)

*Give a lesson...or perform a needed task. Do it for pay, and you've got extra money that isn't spoken for...

*Refill your print cartridges -- or buy refilled ones. We do this all the time for black ink, and you couldn't tell the difference. Turning in your used cartridges gets you credit at office supply stores, as well.

*Don't pay full price for anything you can bargain on.  Large appliances, hotel rooms, vehicles. Haggling can really save -- and keep you from having to borrow so much money in the first place.

*Plan for the holidays NOW. You've still got time to find baking ingredients, decorations and presents on sale -- it will be more difficult in a few weeks. (Hint: once Halloween is over, all those bags of little candy bars are going to be half-price...good for hunting, as well as Christmas stocking stuffers. Hint #2:  Thrift shops, more often than you think, have unused items still in their original boxes -- and ready for gift-giving.)

*Get inspiration from others.  Like Ken Ligunas, who lived in his van to pay for college, and has been living and traveling on a shoestring ever since. I wouldn't do everything this guy does to save money -- but he does help me think more creatively about it.

Save on the everyday stuff -- and you'll have money for luxuries.

The Biggest Dog in the World...

...is gone. 



Giant George was almost 8 years old, and from all accounts, a real sweetie. 

He looked a bit like Buck and Goonie, our dear Weimies. We lost Goonie in July 2010, and Buck in March 2011.



Good dog. Rest, now.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Thank you, Grand Forks!

Came home late last night, in the middle of a messy fat-snowflake storm, to a dark house and ecstatic dogs. I was so tired I forgot my keys in the door, but a hot bath and the first deep sleep in weeks helped a lot. It's lonesome around here...the Brick is still in Michigan at a transportation conference.

    Note to self: when you buy a new car, make sure you know what it looks like in the dark. The Brick left the car in the long-term lot, and I was supposed to pick it up. Late at night, dead tired, and with sloppy rain coming down. The Brick said 'LL3.' I got to 'L3,' and sure enough, there was a gray Subaru Outback in the line... but the keys didn't work. Over and over I tried, with the rain dripping down -- nothing. 
     A very nice man stopped, about the time I got the Brick on the phone, and drove me over to the real 'LL3'...where (miracle of all miracles!) the keys actually worked. (Thank you so much, Kind Stranger. May the 'deers' stay away from your lawn for all time.)
    I was just glad L3's Outback owner didn't stop by while I was trying to break into his/her car.

    North Dakota was wonderful. Some of the friendliest, kindest people live in that place of wide-open spaces. I had a great time! (Thank you, North Star Quilters Guild.) Met Mary Fons, the other speaker, Saturday night. She's the guiding force behind QUILTY magazine, one of the co-hosts for Love of Quilting...and an intriguing person in herself. We had an interesting conversation about books and parents and growing up in the business. 
     Mary writes a thoughtful blog on quilts and plenty of other stuff -- take a look at her revery on spiced nuts-- and North Dakota.  
    Oh...and Mary? I thought I was smelling cinnamon rolls....

     Time to go out and check on the chickies' latest productions. (They're averaging 9 eggs or so a day.) Meanwhile:

'Foolproof' Numbers: Can You Trust Them? Another Midlife Finance post from yours truly.

Malcolm Gladwell, on underdogs.  I've been a big fan of this guy's writing, ever since The Tipping Point. 

A 72-year-old hunter from California gets lost for 19 days...and lives. Amazing. Speaking of that:

Five celebrities who say they've seen a (or several) UFO(s). 

Ways to save money while you're traveling for business.   

This is a great tutorial -- learn, step by step, how to make tight jeans just a bit looser around the waistband...with little effort. Thanks much, Cotton and Curls.  (Not that none of us reading this ever would need it. Ahem.)

Spooky Eyes in the Bushes...with just a couple of glowsticks and toilet paper tubes! From Frugal Upstate...creepy, huh?


More clever Halloween costumes, done the frugal way.  (These got mentioned earlier...)

Nine people who were finally found dead...some literally decades after it happened!

Spider cupcakes...a little creepy, but easy to make. (They're calling them 'adorable.' I'm not sure I'd go that far -- but they are interesting-looking. Or if you really want to freak someone out, make 'witch finger' cookies!

Nine cursed treasures. Or so they say.

Nine hidden treasures which were found in recent years.


No target's too big or too small, where fraudsters are concerned. (From Get Rich Slowly)

 Bully a gorilla, and guess what you get...


Serves them right, the little brats. Where were the teacher and chaperones? (Filmed at the Dallas Zoo, by the way.)


Have a great week...and if you live in colder areas, get lots of stuff done. Winter's coming!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How Enthusiastic Are You About Life??

like this guy, during a Celtics game?




Hey, Jeremy Fry reallly gets into the half-time show...

Get Down and Drive!

Another day in Grand Forks, North Dakota, working for the North Star Quilters Guild.
    Now you too can see what it looks like around here...


Granted, it's been grayer skies, with some rain. Tomorrow we're supposed to get a few inches of snow before I head for home.

One more day at the quilt show -- if you're in the area, stop by. I enjoyed the general quilts...these quilters are above average in good construction, and wizards at well-made bindings! There's also the color challenge, and a fascinating exhibit that takes several of the same quilt top, then quilts them with different battings. The results are illuminating.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Civil War...In Color

While I'm in North Dakota, I'll keep sharing bits and pieces as I run into them. Here's one new way to look at an old event. 

The Civil War...in color. Look at the difference some color and restoration make to this antique photograph...and there are many others on the link. 


Gives this old subject a new take, doesn't it...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Paying to Save On Energy...Now and Later

I'm in North Dakota now, for the North Star Quilting Guild's annual show. It's beautiful here -- rich, dark farmlands, with fields that stretch on forever. The skies do, too, with wispy cloud shows and rich colors as the sun set. I'm on the 11th floor of the hotel, and it's like watching a show. Yow.
    I start the judging part of this gig tomorrow morning at 8. 



Taking me to the airport today, the Brick pointed to to the dashboard -- "More than 30 mpg." he said. We just got a 2011 Subaru Outback, as our 'major' vehicle. (Our beloved Jeep Cherokee is at 240,000 miles and climbing, with several new problems developing.) The Jeep only gets 13-18 mpg now. Just by driving the Subaru, we're making every gallon of gas stretch a little further!

This model looks a lot like our new baby

I thought about this more, about the windows we'd just had replaced in the house. In spite of the huge winds we've had this week, and the heat set very low, the house has stayed quiet and reasonably warm, with no telltale puffs of cold creeping in around the windowpanes.Yet our energy bill continues to go down, slowly but surely...

Yes, these all cost extra. Making energy-saving changes often does...at first. But how often can you spend...and gradually make that money back? The Subaru has a sterling reputation for reliability, and we got a better price on it than we'd hoped. The windows look classic and keep outside sound to a minimum. (And yes, we got a good price on them, too. You couldn't ask for better than Dustin at Prestige Products.) This is actually our second batch of windows -- we ordered the rest after the first set of windows weathered a winter, spring and summer beautifully. Even better -- they unlatch and fold in sideways, making cleaning much easier! (Yes, they do estimates, and they'll replace windows a few at a time, if that helps your budget -- click here to see more. Tell Dustin Dave and Cindy sent you.)


This idea, of spending to save, was hard for me, at first. After all, I belong to a family of Hollanders who are used to fixing things with spit and duct tape. Spending $$ is spending $$!
    But if your money is going for a quality product that promptly starts putting money back in your pocket...even my Hollander dad could go for that.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: It's Fall All Over

These next few weeks are going to be busy. Come Wednesday, I'm headed to judge, appraise and teach for the North Star Quilting Guild's annual show. (Whoo hoo!) If you're in the Grand Forks, ND area, stop by -- it's going to be a great time, with lots of wonderful quilts.
     Meanwhile, the Brick is headed east on Thursday to Grand Rapids, MI, to go to a conference there. (He'll stay with the Mama in Sparta on the family farm for a few days, then with our brother and sister the rest of the time.
     I get home Sunday -- he doesn't until next week Thursday. Then soon after, he heads out elk/deer hunting. Which means tons of packing, groceries and general mayhem. Welcome to Fall.
     The colors here are heart-stopping. We've had the most wonderful softly-clouded days, which just make the autumn colors glow all the more. It's a little chilly, but warm during the days, and the chickies have been having a great time, pecking at the remains of the garden. 
     The Brick spent much of this weekend working on expanding the main coop, so the younger chickens can start sleeping in with the older ones. Keeps everyone warmer, and gives us an easier way to keep track of what's going on, too.
     Right now, the babies are staying under a library table enclosed with chicken wire to make a sort-of tunnel. Tarps are on top, to keep them warm and dry. The Australorp chickens' feathers are filling in, and a deep, glossy black -- the Rhode Island Reds literally glow with all the russet shades of autumn.
     I love this time of year! 

     Meanwhile, here's what I noticed via the Internet:

A blog dedicated to acts of kindness.

Make butter...with a mixer! Get your cream at a reasonable price, and it's actually much cheaper. (From Homemaker-Mom2)

Housework done as exercise -- including approx. calories burned. Now, that's an actual reason to want to vacuum and scrub. (From Apartment Therapy)

Libby Lehman's improving! The last I'd heard, she was sleeping nearly all the time and making no effort to communicate. Here's the Oct. 12 post from her Caring Bridge journal:
      Libby was awake, alert, and talkative today, and my hubby Bill and I were so excited to see her more herself than we have seen in several weeks! According to LVN Lisa, Libby did experience some vomiting when they were dressing her today, but Lisa thinks this may be because Libby has a full tummy from the all night feeding tube regime. That seems to make sense since recently Libby has only been sick in the "getting up" process first thing in the morning, and luckily not every day. 
      Libby is still physically weak which impairs her ability to speak, and it seems to all of us on Team Libby that she has many words in mind but the difficulty is in physically expressing them. Her new speech therapist Ellerly, was pleasantly surprised with Libby's progress today during a good therapy session with her. During our visit today Libby volunteered many one and two word responses, accompanied by appropriate facial expressions. Today's visit was closer to a real conversation than we have had in weeks. 

    She even tried to sing along with Jimmy Buffett's "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" a day or so before this journal entry. Wow.
All I can say is...thank God. And I mean that literally.


Do you know someone who's actively serving in the military -- or retired? They've eligible for a free stay at a B&B Nov. 11! Go to the listing for more info; thanks for the heads-up, Moneysaving Mom.

Halloween costumes for pets. I couldn't torture Charley and Abby, our Golden Labs, by stuffing them in these costumes -- but they're amusing, all the same.  Maybe your pet would put up with it....ours would chew and scratch until it's OFF, including this funny little 'hot dog:'


Yours truly continues to write for other blogs, especially Midlife Finance. Take a look at the articles, including bathroom renovations and 15 ways to cut your food budget.

My recent work for Penny Thots included how to write an effective 'complaining letter'doggy allergies (Charley was miserable with these until just recently); and how to dry herbs and flowers. 


Now if you'll excuse me, I need to start packing. Have a great week -- 

 


Not That You'd Do This...

Yup, that's me...dedicated and disciplined.


Just Sayin...



Thanks for passing this on, Karen Combs!  Not that I'm anything like that...ahem, er, harrumph.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Textile Icons of American History

We finally had to chance to view Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln...both he and the movie are amazing. If you get the chance to rent the movie, do it -- you'll learn so much.


 For example: know what Lincoln's final words were, spoken even while John Wilkes Booth was shooting? From author Stephen Mansfield:
     " enjoying a newfound tenderness with his wife, Lincoln returned happily to the theme he and Mary had touched upon during their lovely afternoon carriage ride. In a gentle whisper, the president assured that after the war, “we will not return immediately to Springfield. We will go abroad among strangers where I can rest.”
“We will visit the Holy Land,” Lincoln continued, leaning toward Mary so as not to disturb the others... In the sacred seconds that remained, Lincoln spoke again—before the assassin’s shot entered his brain just inches behind the left ear...
“We will visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footsteps of the Savior,” the president said.
And then, nearly as the Derringer ball cracked the air, “There is no place I so much desire to see as Jerusalem.”
    
Surely, critics will say [Mansfield continues], to insist that these words are true or that they are any reflection of Lincoln’s faith is part of a religious re-working of his life, part of a misguided attempt by the pious...
      Yet there the words are, and they are no invention. They come to us, indirectly, from the only person who could know with certainty: Mary Lincoln. Apparently, in 1882, Mrs. Lincoln reported her husband’s last utterances to Noyes W. Miner, the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springfield, Illinois. Miner reported his conversations with Mary Lincoln in a manuscript entitled “Personal Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln,” now kept at the Illinois State Historical Library... 
     Respected scholarly volumes, such as the oft-consulted Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln, include the Lincoln/Miner version of Lincoln’s final words in its pages. Eminent Lincoln scholars—such as Allen C. Guelzo in Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President and Wayne Temple in Abraham Lincoln: From Skeptic to Prophet—regard the words as true. The popular Doris Kearns Goodwin alludes to them as well in her best-selling Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. [the book the movie Lincoln was partly based on]...
     Dr. James Cornelius, curator of the Lincoln collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois... has said, “We believe the words to be substantiated.”


While wandering around afterwards, I came across Mary Lincoln's inaugural gown, along with four other pages of distinctive textiles and other mementos, including Marilyn Monroe's kidskin evening gowns, Andrew Jackson's military coat, one of Babe Ruth's baseballs, and so on. Five full pages of items, including, of course,

      ...Mary's purple velvet gown, trimmed in imported French lace.

Thought to have been made by Elizabeth Keckley, her longtime seamstress
(Elizabeth made a quilt from dressmaking scraps, too -- more in this article.)

These items are from the National Museum of American History; take a look. Don't rush: they're worth savoring, page by page.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Flu....

Achy joints, periodic sneezing fits, a fever that comes and goes...feeling "plum tuckered out," as the Brick says.

Guess I've got it. The flu, that is.

For the past few days, I've been minding the store for a few hours at our friends' insurance agency. Thankfully, it's been rather quiet, so I have time to sit, hunch up and generally feel miserable. Wait, maybe the quiet has given more time to think about this being sick business.

Fortunately, it's almost time to go home. And also fortunately, Safeway had its largest pizzas on sale for $5 last week. Not to mention, I scored roasting chickens at King Soopers for 69 cents a pound. (The chickies ate the leftover bones and fat from chicken #1, which was cooked for broth in the crockpot, then the meat frozen. The chickens didn't seem to mind at all that they were eating a compatriot. Little cannibals.)

Pizza for lunch. (Leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.) Another of those chickens will go in the oven for supper tonight (350 degrees), along with a tablespoon of marjoram, a cup of rice and three cups of water. (If I'm feeling more energetic, a cup each of chopped celery and onion will go in, too.)The roasting juices will trickle down and moisten the rice even more. In a few hours, we'll have a hot supper -- with little effort on my part. (Thank God.)

Also, some roasted asparagus -- Daughter #1 turned her skeptical mom onto this prep method.  It's so good this way, you won't want to eat it any other. This bunch was $1.50 a pound at the salvage store.

ROASTED ASPARAGUS

1 bunch asparagus (leave long)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove chopped garlic (or dried garlic - about a teaspoon. Or garlic salt)
black pepper, fresh-ground, if possible.

Dump the oil on a baking sheet. Wash the asparagus, then roll it around in the oil. Sprinkle with garlic or garlic salt and pepper. Bake at 350-375 degrees for 20 min. -- or just put in the oven 20 min. before your chicken's done. Garlicky, crunchy...yumm.


The point made here --
    If you see groceries, especially ready-mades or basic items, for a good price -- even if you don't have specific plans for them at the moment -- nab them, fast! Perhaps you'll come down with the flu. (Or your family will.) Have an extra-long working day you didn't plan for. Find yourself stuck somewhere, dealing with errands or a family crisis.
    And if your week goes better than planned, these can always go in the freezer for a future crisis. (Trust me, it WILL happen.)  Otherwise, you've got an easy-to-cope-with meal, ready to go. It's much cheaper, and better for you than dragging yourself out for fast food.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go take a nap, before I fall down.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Me and QuiltersTV

Ever wonder what I've been up to, quilting-wise?
    Back in the spring, I taped a segment on my newest class, "Memory Quilts," for the Quilter's Newsletter online channel, QuiltersTV. It was featured all through August, and previews of the three sections are now on Youtube. Yes, you get to see yours truly yammering about how to preserve your favorite fabrics and textile projects, by incorporating them in a multi-style sampler format. (That's the official description, anyways.)
    Oh yes, and looking like a deer in the headlights. Here's Part I:



and Part II:



and Part III:


Take my word for it -- I've done several shows now, from Simply Quilts to the Quilt Show, plus some HGTV specials, and it doesn't matter where or when -- doing this is SCARY.

     Have fun - but be gentle.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Thinking of Libby

I have not forgotten about our mutual friend, Libby Lehman. I hope you haven't, either.

If you remember, Libby had some strokes and seizures some months ago. (Here's my first post on the subject -- more here and here. Especially the latter, since it gives ways to help.)
     She still has not recovered from the effects of those, although she has responded some with words and smiles. Lately, her therapy has had some setbacks, from her lack of responsiveness. (She sleeps a lot, especially.) An October 6 entry by her family:

Report from Libby's room ..."Another sleepy morning for Libby. Woke up briefly as they tended to her and for a minute as softly washed her face with cool moist hand cloth. No nausea, no trembling but no talking. Wheezing deeply now so getting some good sleep. Lotion on hands & feet, lip balm applied as well as eye cream applied. They got her roommate in her chair which was noisy but she slept thru the whole ordeal. Wish there was more to report but again a peaceful & silent Sunday morning. "
Hopeful that she will be more alert tomorrow for therapy.


You can read postings from Libby's family on their Caring Bridge journal here.

And if you'd like to send cards or a note:

University Place Nursing Center
Libby Lehman
7480 Beechnut, room 625W
Houston, TX 77074
(713) 541-2900

Also, a florist nearby:
Elaine's Florist
Www.elainesflorist.com
(713) 661-6788
1 (800) 951-4545

I have nothing but admiration and respect for Libby, especially now as she fights one of the hardest battles of her life. Please keep this wonderful woman in your prayers.

 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Go Broncos!

Football is one of Autumn's greatest pleasures...especially our beloved University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and the Denver Broncos. (I'd love to brag about the CU Buffs...but about the only plowing-over they do is when Ralphie the buffalo charges onto the field at the start of the game. Sigh.)
     Crisp air, warm buttered popcorn -- and a close game against the Dallas Cowboys. You couldn't ask for a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile:

A curious interview with Bernie Madoff, back in May. His advice: stay away from hedge funds (they're accountable to few people), invest in index funds...and ask for your money back every two years, just to make sure your investments are actually there.

Musical clues may be the answer to a famous lost Nazi treasure.  Speaking of strange...


Ruins of a city emerge from the saltwater lake that's held it captive since 1985. Take a look at this Argentinian spot.

9 houses built for spite (and revenge sometimes).  (From Mental Floss)

A freak rockslide kills 5 Colorado hikers. A man, his wife, their teenaged daughter and two cousins died...but the couple's 13-year-old daughter survived. (She said her dad threw himself on top of her while the rocks were falling...and saved her life.)  Ironically, they were hiking toward a falls named for a girl who died while trying to climb Long's Peak.
     The funeral service was this weekend, with the daughter attending in leg cast and an arm in a sling. Poor girlie.



Strange (but interesting) ways to quit a job. Did they ever ask for a reference?



52 meatless meals to stretch your budget.  Including some interesting 'rock-bottom' dishes. One of these (the mushroom sub) brought me to a new-to-me-at-least blogger, Kimberly at Poor Girl Eats Well. This blog is crisp, delightfully written, and the recipes are amazing. I just wish she'd post more.

Still dealing with zucchini 'clubs?' The happy days of extra zukes are almost over, at least in my neck of the woods. But here's a delicious way to take care of them: zucchini potato pancakes. (You might actually regret not having them anymore.)

A serviceman reunited with his loving puppy....I love these happy videos.


Little peeks at everyday life in New York City, via the New York Times' Metropolitan Diary blogposts.

Bob Dylan's daughter is getting married. This one may surprise you -- I didn't even know he had kids, let alone six of them.

And last but not least, how to zombie-fy your nails for Halloween:



Have a great week.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

For Halloween, Dress Like They Did...

Here's a new way to get dressed up for Halloween!


Now, thanks to Mental Floss and the Public Domain Review, you can now dress the same way for Halloween (and other costume parties) that people did in 1887! The costumes range all over...



Everything from a pack of cards to Anne Boleyn. A passenger pigeon to  a Brigand's Wife!


Here's the direct link to the 1887 how-to book:

"Fancy Dresses Described: Or What to Wear At Fancy Balls"

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bigfoot Lives!

I have some odd hobbies. One is trying to eat onion rings wherever I'm teaching. (So far, the best are in Corpus Christi, Texas -- and nearby Parker, CO!) Another: visiting the local thrift shops, or scavenging from the bargain outlets.

    And my favorite odd thing to do -- collect Bigfoot/Sausquatch sightings. 

Now a team of researchers are showing a new film from Kentucky, and suggesting that100+ pieces of organic matter -- hair especially -- prove that Bigfoot has a DNA connection to humans.

Take a look here at the researchers' footage, plus more.  
(the film looks a little wacky to me...)


Sadly, though Colorado has more than its share of Bigfoot sightings in the past (even less than 10 miles from the Brickworks offices!), it's been extra-quiet lately. Maybe it's been too hot...or the fires and flooding have made things too hot (ahem) for Him/Her/It this summer and fall.

Darn.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tom Clancy: Gone, But Never Forgotten

Tom Clancy died Tuesday. He was just 66.

The Brick served for six years in the Navy, some of it on the submarine Batfish.



Nope, not this one..it was considered the best hunter of WWII, but decommissioned in 1959. Dave served on the next-named one. Here's the diesel-powered Batfish, the dear old girl, now the feature of an Oklahoma museum.


 And here's Dave's 'baby,' the nuclear-powered fast-attack USS Batfish (SSN-681). Sadly, she was scrapped in 2002.

What a beautiful boat...

His brother Jim served on the Ben Franklin (out of Pearl Harbor). He commanded the Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) out of Charleston for years.

Another sleek beauty...photos from Wikipedia
Why am I burbling on about submarines? Clancy never served on a sub. In fact, other than ROTC classes in college, he never served in the military at all. Yet this insurance salesman wrote a taut, nailbiting thriller about a Russian sub and its captain engaging in a guessing game with an American boat and its skipper.
      That book was "Hunt for Red October."

No one wanted the book, at first. Finally, the Naval Institute Press published it, and eventually, Ronald Reagan mentioned it, saying Red October was one of his favorite books. This info-packed, technically-engaging military thriller. (Guess our former prez wasn't such a dimwit after all.)

     After the book was published, Clancy was asked how he got his information so accurate, including some things people weren't supposed to know. Clancy said he'd studied, and done research in public information files. Also, two sub officers read the manuscript for him.
     Frankly, I couldn't tell a sub detail from a surface ship. But the Brick loved Red October because of its crisp moments, its tense action, and technical accuracy. He liked the movie, too.




Clancy went on to write many other military thrillers. (I read his Patriot Games right after Daughter #2's birth -- it was a refreshing break to think about something other than pushing!) He sponsored some video games. But I will always have a soft spot in my heart for his first book, because of my beloved submariner. (And the book is wonderful, though I liked Patriot Games and Cardinal of the Kremlin, too.)

Rest in peace, Tom Clancy.


For more on his books, including his latest, Command Authority, visit his website, tomclancy.com.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“I tell them you learn to write the same way you learn to play golf...You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired — it’s hard work.” 
                                              - Tom Clancy

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Spiraling Down

To paraphrase MacArthur:

Great bloggers never die...they just fade away. 

Brin, over at Messy Thrilling Life, disappeared for more than a year, then started up again sporadically. (She's been much more faithful lately, because she's getting married, and loves talking about it.)

Meredith, from Like Merchant Ships (and one of my very favorites), disappeared back in March 2010. Thankfully, she does contribute now and then to a Tumblr (shortened) version of her former self. Or it would just be too hard. (sniff)

J.D. Roth sold his blockbuster site Get Rich Slowly a few years ago...and promptly got a divorce, as well. (Many of his readers expressed the same confusion and hurt that J.D.'s wife was apparently going through.) The site's gotten better...and J.D.'s writing for it again, after an absence of at least a year...but it's still not the same.

Laurie, over at Crazy Aunt Purl, hasn't posted since April. (And she was getting sporadic before then.)

Jenn at Thrift Shop Romantic has been a no-show since last fall. I am getting mighty tired of looking at the same autumn tableside arrangement, over and over.

And another of my favorites, Ms. Golightly and her buddies over at the Thrifty Chicks, hasn't posted for at least a few years. Golightly was (is?) from Denver, CO, so it made me extra interested. And occasionally jealous.

Andy at Tight-Fisted Miser has been gone a lot, hiking. He says he'll make it up to us this month, since he isn't currently working. I won't hold my breath. (No offense, Andy.)

Oh, and there are others, too.

I'm grateful for people like Crystal at MoneySaving Mom and Trent at The Simple Dollar who post nearly every day. (Or in Trent's case, every day. I don't know how he does it.) Most of my favorite bloggers, though, are down to once a week -- or much less. Sure, I could (and do) read through back posts now and then. But the truth is:

I miss them.

It's not easy, keeping up a blog. (Especially when you're gone, or don't have easy access to the Internet.) You don't need to worry, though -- barring occasional weirdnesses, I'll keep on writing, though, and more than once a week.

 I'm too glad for your company, not to. Poor grammar -- but heartfelt, nonetheless.



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What Can You Say...


Updates Galore


Lots of things have been happening about the Brick house...thought you'd want to know.

Hey, J.D. Roth can update his life. So can I. (It's good to know that the founder of Get Rich Slowly is still out there and doing stuff.)

Regarding the flooding in Colorado: We are fine. Castle Rock is also fine.  When the Brick and I bought this house, we deliberately chose one near the top of a very steep hill. All the years of our marriage, we've either lived at the top of a hill, or on the second or third floor. The family explanation: "So we can see the Indians coming." (And ask them in for coffee, I guess!)
      Anyways, when we get a lot of rain -- and everywhere in the Denver area did -- it all runs off and down the hill. We get damp, of course, but not flooded. Our poor neighbors at the bottom, however, have a whole 'nother story.
     The flooding has now largely subsided, but now residents are busy digging inches of dried, smelly mud out of their basement. The unusual humidity is also causing mold and mildew, ruining furniture, photos and such. Nasty. (We know this experience all too well from our own basement flooding a few years back.) 
     Many of the roads up in the mountains are still unusable -- partly because the canyon walls themselves have been undermined, and the authorities feel they're unstable. That means that anyone who lives up there has a 2-hour commute, versus a half-hour. This hits Daughter #2 hard. She's been coping by going down and staying with friends for a few days, while she works back-to-back shifts. But that means she can't go home for much of each week. We keep hoping that things will change soon, but who knows.


     The other difficulty: nearly everyone in this area does NOT have flood insurance. It's expensive, and most years, there's no reason for it. (Also, one lady who checked into it was told her policy would not cover damage unless the water came in through the door and windows. Her water entered via the basement. No dice.) What does that mean? That these people have lost nearly everything, with no insurance to cover it. FEMA is helping; so is Colorado and the government. But that money will be slow to arrive. Meanwhile...people continue to try to live and work, the best they can.

The chickens:  The 'babies' are now full-grown hens, and difficult to distinguish from our older Black Australorps. (I should take that back concerning the three Rhode Islands Reds, who stick out from all that black. They're bossy, too.) Although they began to lay a few days before we left for Ireland, the older adults had slacked off some, due to molting. But things are looking up. Last week, we got a dozen eggs twice! One customer has increased her weekly order, and we have others standing in the wings, ready to start ordering. Also, the Brick can have as many fried eggs as his heart desires.
     We haven't had as much trouble as feared, getting the two flocks to mix with each other. Sometimes there's a little fussing and pecking, but it's stayed at a minimum. And it's more individual chickens than it is old vs young.  What we have trouble with are finding all the eggs -- these are sneaky little guys! And strangely enough, the nesting box the older hens all insisted on laying in has been abandoned. Instead, it's now the second and third nesting boxes that rate the attention. (That, and a corner of the big coop, by the door.)
     Why? I have no idea. They all look the same to me.

     We're getting ready to expand the big coop to hold all of the hens. Which means pulling off the front of the coop, building literally a two-sided box, then attaching it to the older coop before nailing the front back on. It's going well, but slowly.

Hurry up -- it's getting chilly out here!

The garden: What garden? The chickens saw to that. Even though I netted the raised beds, they managed to squeeze in, nonetheless. (One 'baby' has been laying a bantam-sized egg each day in the pumpkin patch for weeks now.) They decimated nearly everything. By the time I figured out how to keep them out, summer was nearly over, and we were leaving for Ireland. The beans and zucchini came on recently...but it was almost too late.

Maybe we didn't get fresh veggies, but we did have a great time in Ireland with cousins Tim and Joan.

     Next summer, the chickies will find themselves much more limited on how much of the yard they can use. We have plans to enclose the chicken yard with cedar pickets, which should protect them more from the neighborhood fox. And our flowers. And vegetables. The little terrorists.

The Mama: After a month spent with us and the "rugs" (her name for Charley and Abby), the Mama is glad to be home. (Several friends were kind enough to call and spend time with her, while we were gone. Those are good friends for you!) She flew back in early September, the same day I went to teach in Georgia.

The Mama, hard at work. Wonder where I get my rapidly-graying hair from?

     She's been griping some about the fall colors being late in Michigan, but otherwise is very happy to sleep in her own bed and use her own toothbrush. (She's loving spending time with my cousin and her friends, too.) She left just in time -- soon after, we had nearly all the rest of our windows replaced, and it was nutzo around here.
     She'll be back around Dec. 18, to spend the Christmas holidays. (And probably worry about the plane trip out, as well -- she does NOT like planes.) No doubt Charley will go back to spending every night sleeping on the floor beside Grandma's bed.
     The Brick is headed to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a transportation conference in mid-October, and will stay with brother Mike and sister Lori, as well as the Mama, for a few days. I can't go, though -- am headed to North Dakota about then, to judge, teach and appraise for the North Star Quilting Guild's "Quilting on the Red" annual show.)  This will be the first time in memory that the Brick has gone to Michigan without me. (Although I stopped several times between gigs at his mom's in Trenton, MO, while she was still alive.) He's naturally a bit quiet, much like my dad was -- I asked him to talk more! He is a wonderful guy, and every opportunity my family has to get to know him better, is just another chance to appreciate his sterling qualities. (Yes, I love this man. Very much.)
     Then after that, there is:
               HUNTING.


The Brick, with daughters at last year's hunting camp, looking forbidding.

And our dear (flaky) friends, Little Chris and Thommy, looking...umm...goofy. Yes, that's snow.

Must keep one's priorities in order.

The work:  Fall is the busy season for quilting teachers, and it's been that way for me, compounded by the few weeks spent in Ireland. I've done extra appraising, too, which also slows life down. I only have three more gigs (Grand Forks, ND; Cheyenne, WY; and a local 'antiques roadshow'-type day in Castle Rock) Everything eases up just before Thanksgiving.
     The writing continues. I had really hoped to get Hanky Panky with A Flourish done by now.  (The sequel to the original Hanky Panky.) It's not, but I have hopes.



 I'm also working on some ideas for a 'Bible Quilts' book, and continuing to collect and do research for a history of Scrap Quilts, similar to what I did for Crazy Quilts. 


     Crazy Quilts is still selling extremely well, considering how old it is. Quilts of the Golden West is nearly out of print (we just bought 500 copies for Brickworks).



We've only got a few dozen left of the original Hanky Panky Crazy Quilts book. Life goes on.

Charley at left, along with his buddy Jack. Jacky was killed in a landslide about this time last year. I still miss him.

     Meanwhile, you'll still see my PF writing over at Midlife Finance, Penny Thots...and of course, here. I'm grateful for you to talk to!

Zzzzzzzz...

After four hours at Tuesday Morning's checkout line today, I can honestly relate. Okay, maybe a nap AND a cookie.