Friday, November 29, 2013

Dead Beat and Plum Tuckered Out

Thanksgiving is over. A huge pile of dishes awaits...but the turkey was delicious. Ironically, it was the easiest recipe of all that got the best results:

Want a nice moist turkey?

Drizzle olive oil over the turkey, and sprinkle with basil, marjoram, rosemary and sage. (I also put an apple and sprigs of sage in the chest cavity.)

Put it in a covered roasting pan. (Or tent with foil.)

Cook at 475 degrees for two hours. Don't look for at least the first 1 1/2 hours.

Let sit for 30 min.

That's it!

The family was emphatic that this was the best-tasting, most moist turkey I'd ever made. How 'bout dat...

"I do NOT approve this line of discussion. Let's talk zombies, instead!"

      Both girlies plus Keith, our security guy (he also moonlights as Angel's boyfriend), made a trip to Wal-Mart with yours truly last night. It wasn't exactly a madhouse, but there were plenty of people more than ready to bump/crash/mash into you. But hey, they said "Excuse me!" afterward...
     A pile of videos later (plus a very large Batman, a pillow, markers and assorted STUFF), I held our place in line while Angel and Keith went for the TV they'd gotten a wristband for. (Walmart did it this way, at least in Colorado -- go stand in line early and get issued a wristband for the Item in Question. When the wristbands are gone, the items are gone. Come back at the time it's available, and you'll be given it.) Wouldn't you know -- some employee got mixed up, and put the pallet of televisions out in the general crowd.

     The TVs promptly disappeared.

     The wristband people got nothing. Zip. Nada.

Fortunately, Walmart promised to honor it with rainchecks for a upgraded TV, instead. We'll see if they honor their promise.

Got home and collapsed, while the girlies and Keith went off for a few more hours of shopping at Target (which had roughly a 3-block checkout line, they said) and the local outlet mall. I'd gotten Gladiator, the last season of Fringe, and Season 3 of The Walking Dead -- good enough. We all went to bed around 1:30 a.m.

Today, our favorite thrift shop had a 60% discount on everything. (Yep, you read that right. And it goes on tomorrow -- Saturday -- in Castle Rock, as well! Go here for more info on Treasures - the thrift shop. Here for info on the Task Force, in general.) Since I had a 25% volunteer discount on top of that, we did very, very well.

    And then everyone went home. 
   Suddenly it got very quiet around here.

There's a handful of turkey scraps in the frig, and broth is simmering in the crockpot. The dogs are snoring by the fireplace, exhausted after playing with four other dogs all day. (One of Angel's and Keith's, and three of Jess's. Imagine six dog butts and waving tails wherever you go, particularly when carving the turkey.)
      My hands ache a little, but they've had enough rest to finish up the quilt restoration tomorrow. The Brick had a leisurely snooze this morning, a visit to a local recording studio with friends, and is working on the computer, yawning as he goes.

Time for bed. Thanksgiving -- and the day after -- is over.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm taking tomorrow off to spend with my family...hope you can be with the ones you love, too. (Or at least be with them in spirit)

Happy Thanksgiving!     

(If you're headed to take advantage of Black Friday and other sales this weekend, my post on Black Friday -- for Midlife Finance -- should come in handy.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Free Downloads on C.S. Lewis and His Work - Today Only

C.S. Lewis' books on Narnia have enchanted millions...but I was even more influenced by his matter-of-fact approach to his Christian faith. Now, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death (Nov. 22, 1963 -- ironically, the same day as John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley):

8 Downloads on Lewis,
        including one by his stepson, Douglas Gresham...

FREE TODAY ONLY, Tuesday, Nov. 26.

Go to this link, and order...then when checking out, put in the promo code 'JACK50'. You will have to open a (free) account -- but you won't have to put in any credit card information to order.

Thanks to Regent Audio for this wonderful offer -- and MoneySaving Mom for pointing it out.

Monday, November 25, 2013

'Elf Yourself' Is Back!

This is wonderful fun...put faces of people (and in our case, dogs) you love in these elf figures, and watch them dance. Office Max is sponsoring this fun app -- go here and you can make your own dancing elf video for free. (I threatened to put the Brick in one of these, and he promptly retaliated by threatening to do the same for me. Oops. Backed down from that one pronto.)

Just to give you a sample of what's possible...
      You can see what Daughters #1 and #2 (who are usually good sports about this sort of thing), Daughter #2's boyfriend (hopefully who's ALSO a good sport), and Charley the dog (who could care less) are up to during the annual Brickworks office Christmas party.

Click on:

Sorry, I normally imbed videos like this right in the post. But in this case, I couldn't get it to work. One additional click takes you to the link. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Relaxing for Thanksgiving

We missed the snowstorm that hit the West -- it went further south, into New Mexico and Texas. But a lot of people in Colorado are headed elsewhere for Thanksgiving, and worrying about hitting snow on the way. All the better reason to stay put.
     I need to do some grocery shopping, finish up some business stuff and a quilt restoration. Girlie #1 and boyfriend will be here Wednesday night, with Girlie #2 ringing in on Thursday morning. Can't wait to see them. Meanwhile:

Good advice for would-be authors....from Michael Hyatt, a former publisher at Thomas Nelson.

Getting the most out of Black Friday. A post from yours truly for one of the other sites I write for -- Midlife Finance. Speaking of...

Ten freebies out there for Black Friday. Check out the free coffee sample especially, if you're working on Friday. (From Parade magazine)

Five-plus meals out of a ten-pound turkey. (From Parenting Miracles)

How one McDonald's employee lives on her wages. I know I'm supposed to feel sorry for this girl and her four children -- but I keep getting the feeling there are a lifetime of bad choices behind this woman's current predicament. Too bad her kids have to pay for it, as well.

Yes, it's possible to over-save and scrimp too much. The Brick is much better than I am at this -- the willingness to not just squirrel away, but enjoy life, as well. It's why we've got a Subaru Outback, instead of a junker for a few hundred bucks....every frigid morning that I flip on the heated 'bunwarmer' seat button in the Subaru, I'm thankful for the Brick's insistence on a little luxury, as well as necessity.  (From Financial Samurai)

Celebrity deaths by age. Oddly mesmerizing, especially for the younger ones. (Did you realize that Jessica Dubroff was only SEVEN when she tried to set a piloting record? And crashed on only the second leg of her cross-country flight?)

Jessica Dubroff -- from Wikipedia
The 2013 Medal of Freedom recipients.

 An amazing low-cost solution when poor countries (and people) can't afford incubators.

The world's oldest different than you think. And the age? 507 years.

Ten billionaires...who aren't anymore. (Well, sort of.)

The tale of a new dishwasher... purchased two years after the old one sprang a leak! In other words, he figured how to jury-rig it enough to get by for a while, while he researched, saved and found the best replacement possible. Looove that kind of Hollander thinking. From Money Beagle, a favorite blogger.

How one student lived on $400/month in college. (From Reach Financial Independence)

Raising kids - and strapped for cash. (From MSN Money.)

Seven weird photos from Mars. (The 'girl' one is the most intriguing...)

The world's ten most incredible discoveries...from weird-but-intriguing friend, the Hybrid Librarian. See if these don't puzzle you, too:

Weeks like this only come once a year...relax and enjoy, okay?


Friday, November 22, 2013

A Dog's Life

If you've got a half-hour to spare, you'll enjoy this classic Charlie Chaplin flick -- 

    "A Dog's Life"

It's very funny...and typical of Chaplin, a little wistful, too.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

First Big Snow of the Season

It's here!

We've got about a foot of snow...and it's still coming down. In addition, it's cold, cold, cold.

Which reminds me -- be careful what you wish for, because you may very well get it.
    (See the traffic cam close to our house here.)

Other than a few brief forays, the chickens have refused to come out of the coop. Not that I blame them -- they've got a heat lamp in there, and the air is warm. I even put in a fresh pumpkin (they love pumpkin) and a pan of warm beans.

Ironically, one of the other sites I write for, Penny Thots, just happened to publish a post I'd written on what it felt like during the first snow. Today, of all days!

A fire in the fireplace, chicken enchiladas (and beans, of course) for supper, and we're warm in here, too.

     More snow predicted tomorrow. Good -- I've got lots of inside work to finish up.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thinking About Christmas

Got the chicken coop painted! It was interesting, considering my Charlie Chaplin impersonation:

The temperature kept dropping, causing numb fingers. And the chickens kept coming over and scolding: "Move it, girl -- I've got an egg to lay!"
     I was washing my hands, when I saw a lazy flake of snow coming down. Didn't see any more...but they're coming. Oh, they're coming.
    Which puts me in the mood for CHRISTMAS.

I've been dragging the Brick (a confirmed member of the Scrooge club) to watch holiday-themed videos, including Elf. (An endearing, yet lippy way to celebrate.)

 The bed in Daughter #1's old bedroom is piled with presents...which need wrapping before the girlies show up for Thanksgiving next week. Meanwhile, I'm having fun thinking about menus. And decorating. And fun ways to celebrate, without spending a lot of money. Here are some inspiring links:

 Some really cheap present ideas.

More ideas here.

And FIFTY here! 

Have fun...we'll talk more about this later, when I can get the Brick to quit grumping about it. He's close to cracking, though...I heard him actually humming a Christmas carol while he was shaving the other day. 
     Though he wouldn't admit it. Yet.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hybrid Librarian...And Snow

We've got a snowstorm brewing. 
    I managed to get most of the coop painted with one coat -- but had some trouble. I borrowed an old pair of the Brick's long underwear -- and my pants kept falling down! 
    Tomorrow morning, I'll finish up, hopefully before it starts snowing. Meanwhile, thought you'd enjoy these doings from an unusual Youtube channel called the Hybrid Librarian. We'll start with:

 Ten Most Mysterious Photos

Ten Most Enigmatic People  (this one was especially intriguing)

And the world's Ten Most Mysterious Events:

There's more weird stuff on the Librarian's Youtube channel -- lots of fun speculation for a snowy afternoon.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Drawing A (Deeper) Breath

     I finished the last gig for this year on Saturday...staggered home, and finished up work on a quilt restoration. Crossed off a few additional items on the list, as well. There are more to go, but I'm finally making some progress. What a relief!  
     The chicken coop expansion is done, thanks to the Brick and some additional 2-by-fours. Not that the chickies are of the chickens got stuck this morning in the pallet leaning by the garage. Did the others help their buddette extricate herself? Nah...they stood around and watched, according to the Brick.
     One more quilt restoration, and some scattered jobs here and there. The coop 'palace' needs painting, too...I just hope I can get it done before the snowstorm hits on Thursday. Meanwhile:

Donna Freedman gets snowbound. Almost makes we wish we've got snow. (We will, we will.)

Punch Debt in the Face shares something intensely personal -- his faith. (Which I also share.)

College - and regrets. Not just for student loans, which they focus on, big-time: 'she had no idea she'd borrowed so much money,' etc. My big question: WHY NOT?? Also covered: poor choices of majors, for producing income, etc etc. One of the whinier Get Rich Slowly posts I've read. Good, though, for showing to high school seniors and college student wannabes.

Incredibly easy refried beans. Got a crockpot, two pounds of beans and a few spices? Make them easy, for burritos and such -- and save a ton of money. (From Pennies and Pancakes.)

P&P's got some yummy-looking cinnamon rolls, too...

...and some very frugal living tips. Think I'd better subscribe to Pennies & Pancakes' blog!

Thirteen freebies. You've definitely heard of some of these -- like a free library card -- but some should be new to you. (Thanks, AARP.)

A wedding and honeymoon for under $5000? Some good ideas here from Len Penzo.

 An all-cash Christmas, courtesy of Moneysaving Mom. I'm not a fan of just sticking to cash -- the reward funds from my credit cards are too helpful. (I pay them off each month, so no interest.) But the ideas in this series are very, very practical -- and good.

Have a great week. Get some rest!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stumbled-on Science

Some of our most interesting (and helpful) discoveries were made totally by accident:

(Thanks, Mental Floss.)

Take a Friday break...

and watch this commercial. See if you don't get a lump in your throat, too.

If you're wondering what they're talking about (I did) --
    The Partition of India was a sad time -- learn more here.

It's windy out -- the chickens, flags flying, are looking for anything to eat -- to the point of chasing poor Charley around, if he's got a snack.  Clouds are coming up over the horizon...but hey, no rain since the weather people are saying it's bone-dry...right? (And we all know they're never wrong.)
     Feeling restless. Maybe it's the wind.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nope, Cats Rule!

When I posted an earlier dog-approved post, I took some guff from cat-lovers. So, in their honor...


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Best Treasure Stories Ever!

I just found an amazing treasure blog.

It's chockful of all sorts of interesting tales, including the man who found an 8.7 egg-sized gold nugget! 

The sad part -- the writer only collected stories during 2009. (So what they term as a $10,000 nugget is actually worth a heck of a lot more today.)

The good part -- there are dozens of posts, including:

*People who discovered treasure in odd ways.

*Indian construction workers who found a cache of 62 silver coins (and promptly lost it to the government because some of the men were too greedy)

*A 14-year-old boy who discovered an ancient Jewish shekel while sifting through mounds of dirt at the site of the original Temple.

The blog is called simply "Treasure." But it catalogues finds all around the world, and some of the stories are almost unbelievable. If I hadn't heard of some of these before, I'd even say they were made up! But they're not...

     Take a look.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Happy Veteran's Day

This past weekend was warm, sunny and very dry....bad news for the hunters in the family, who came home skunked. (The animals stay high when it's dry. Really.) I stayed home, and got a bunch of work done, instead. This week will be a catch-up-on-stuff time. Meanwhile:

Very freaky hunting stories.  Expect some vulgar stuff -- hunters aren't exactly dainty. (From The High Road. )

Banksy, a New York artist, paints a Nazi onto a thrift shop painting -- and it sells for big bucks. 
    (But there's a twist to this'll have to check out the link to find out.)

Ranker has all sorts of fascinating lists, including 16 celebrities who died while skiing (including Natasha Richardson and Sonny Bono) and 22 celebrities who died while actively filming something. (The kicker on this one is Redd Foxx, who, if you ever watched Sanford and Son, was always clutching his heart and staggering around, proclaiming, "I'm comin', Elizabeth!" It actually happened.) Sad -- far too many of the death lists are drug-related.
     More fun stuff on this site, too, including cultural firsts -- and 13 idiots who climbed the fence at the zoo. (Some lived - some didn't.)

Five 'hidden' beds, for smaller spaces. (Thank you, Apartment Therapy.)

Bacon deodorant?? Yep, not kidding. (Charley the dog will be thrilled.)

Quirky animal photos -- prizewinners from a wildlife photography contest.

While we're at it -- amazing photos that haven't been Photoshopped. But you this one:

More cool photos here, including an opal Daughter #2 -- who is a jewelry appraiser -- would flip for.

A lottery winner (and other kind people) who prove money isn't everything -- honesty and kindness trump it every time.

A quick look at annuities. If you're thinking about investing in these, this is a good starting point. (From My Money Design.)

'Junk' storage ideas, hosted by Funky Junk Interiors. Including this wall crate idea (ooh, I like this):

And more dog photos only an dog-lover would understand. (What can I say...)

 Have a great week.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Free Meals for Veterans on Veterans Day!

The Brick comes from a military family -- his dad was career Navy, one brother career Air Force and the other, career Navy. The Brick himself spent six years in the Navy before I met him.

My own dad did his military stint in the Army, and my grandfather and uncles also served in the military. Their work -- and the sacrifices of the many who've served over the years -- have given us a warm spot in our heart for anyone who's a veteran.

That's what makes all these specials, offered by many different restaurants on Veterans Day, so moving. I'm glad they recognize our heroes' (and heroines') service, too.

If you're active or a veteran, take advantage -- the list, so far, is here, and includes many of the major chains, from Applebee's to Red Robin.

Enjoy. And thank the next soldier, when you see them, for what they're doing on our behalf.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Colorado in Late Fall

This amazing photo, from the YouReport Gallery:

An Oct. 30 look at Golden, CO by Theresa Smith

Our fall colors are sadly depleted, though -- strong winds in the past week have pretty much stripped the trees. We had an amazing season this year -- take a look at the full gallery here.

Free Beginning Quilting Lessons! don't come across this very often.

Olive Plants and Cornerstones is offering a 6-lesson E-course on for you, if you sign up to 'follow' her blog! Six how-to videos should be of help along the way, as you hone your quilting skills.

Go here to start the process.  


Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Strange Update

Jay Miscovich, one of the guys behind a huge tussle over whether hundreds of pounds of emeralds are his or Mel Fisher's family's...
     committed suicide around Halloween.

Was he an honest treasure hunter...a liar...a con man? The legal proceedings have been continuing, with allegations slung around from several directions. Apparently it was all too much for him. What a shame.

Full story's here -- it's long, but worth reading.

Oarfish Away!

Back from Cheyenne...I've been there so often, appraising, that it was more like visiting old friends. (In fact, it was, when staying with friend Bea. Thanks, Cheyenne Heritage Quilters!

Daughter #2 came on the trip. She used to travel with me a lot when she was little, and I loved having her along this time.
     Fortunately, the much-ballyhoed snowstorm we were supposed to get never materialized. Just a scraping of snow on our car, and clean (though crowded) roads. After taking Daughter home, I got back around 10:30 p.m. Exhausted. While I get my act together, more weird news out there:

In recent months, two oarfish washed up on shore in California.

What's interesting about that -- we know very little about these long, snaky-looking fish. They live deep in the ocean, and are rarely seen. Scientists actually got to dissect these examples -- and found that one was close to giving birth! (They don't seem to know exactly what killed them, though. Maybe parasites.)

Here's a live one:

And reports on the two that washed up -- one was EIGHTEEN FEET LONG. Yikes. No wonder they call them the "sea serpent" fish.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Headed for Cheyenne

Normally, Mondays are a catch-up day for me...laundry, getting writing ideas, and picking up the business reins again. Today, though, I've got a two-hour drive to Cheyenne, Wyoming with Daughter #2 in tow to help out. Tonight: a trunk show on antique quilts for the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters Guild. (Would love to have you stop by, if you're in the neighborhood.) Tomorrow: appraising all day -- then the drive home.
    The difficult part: we'll be heading out on the heels of a big snowstorm for Colorado. Hopefully, it's just staying in the south...and we make it to Cheyenne before the weather gets nasty.  Meanwhile:

Natural gas workers find something besides pipes -- a mammoth! 

A shopper whose wallet is stolen does an incredible thing in response. Talk about living your faith...

...and more acts of kindness.

Using up Halloween candy -- suggestions and some surprising recipes. (Including infused vodka!) From Frugal Upstate.

Top executives who lied on their resumes -- and paid for it.  

A diamond-paned wall? The Nester makes it look beautiful -- with just duct tape.

The best reasonably-priced cities to visit. Now that Ireland has receded some in our memories, I'm getting the traveling itch again...

Eight misleading claims people and companies make to close a deal. From Len Penzo, my favorite skeptic.

The weird (and not-for-public-consumption) things you can overhear while on a train. I used to work for Boulder's newspaper, and would regularly overhear newsworthy stuff while eating lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant. After lunch, I'd head directly for Editorial to pass on the latest tidbit.They got some interesting articles out of it, I think...

An academia blogger I've not heard of before: Historiann. Good for rude remarks about odd things, Great Literature and grad school. I knew an awful lot of people who prided themselves on snappy comebacks and putdowns while I was going to the U of M in Ann Arbor -- sometimes yours truly included.  (Just realized she teaches at a Colorado university -- I'm guessing Colorado State. Oh my!)

Ten wonderful windowseats, thanks to Apartment Therapy. I must be in the mood to read and snuggle -- these look wonderful. This beauty is inspiring, too. But pricey.

Ten easy clean-out-the-fridge dinners. Not to mention, helping clean up your budget! ( From

How one woman coped with her bare pantry. (From Parenting Miracles.)

And another one, as well. (From  Cookin By The Seat of My Pants.)

British food with weird names. (I recognize some of these from our Irish jaunt, too.)

This has got to be one of the strangest vintage commercials I've ever seen, courtesy of Moo & Oink, a meat market in Chicago. Get down and boogie...and have a good week!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dogs Rule

The dogs are I can dare post these, from (Woke them up laughing a few times!)

Goonie could literally clear a room, doing this...

Charley. Definitely Charley.

What can I say...