Saturday, January 31, 2015

In Honor of the Superbowl... More Bad Lip Readings!

I posted these last's the 2015 version.

Since we Broncos fans do not like to talk about the See... the Seattle.. well, you know. THAT team... we will not be discussing the Superbowl much. (Unless THEY lose, that is.) 

We like to think about other football subjects.

But we'll watch the game tomorrow night. For the commercials.


Heck, no!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Dog Economics

...No doubt what Charley would say.


Little Rock, Arkansas: Then and Now

What happened to the two girls featured in this photo -- the white one (Hazel) and the black one (Elizabeth). One of them feels especially targeted today. Surprising...and puzzling, too.

A new book out by David Margolick:   Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lebkuchen on Sale....Mmmmm

I don't want to tell you about this.

Lebkuchen, the absolute best cookies in the world, are a German treat most commonly seen at Christmastime. You could describe them (sort of) as gingerbread -- or a ginger-y cookie, at least. But really, they're a honey-light ginger cookie on gebakken (an edible disc that keeps them from sticking to the baking sheet), covered with a light sugar or dark chocolate glaze.

The Brick is a passionate imbiber of lebkuchen, and has been known to go into a swoon over a chocolate-covered cookie, especially when accompanied by hot, strong coffee.
      Ok, me, too.

Normally, these are expensive -- at least $5-10 a package, plus shipping. Right now on Amazon, though, you can get nearly four pounds of lebkuchen for $26.00. Yes, eight different kinds for twenty-six bucks!

Go here for more. (Click on the 'Schmidt' part of the item, and you've got plenty to choose from. The 'Pure' set, however, seems to give you the most lebkuchen bang for your buck.)

Save some for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What's On Mars?

 The 'Curiosity' rover has been photographing all sorts of odd things on Mars lately, including 'rats' and 'lizards.' Take a look here.   Or, if you prefer, in video form:

Though the internal clock has no idea what time it is, I am very glad to be home. Starting to put things away, and figure out paperwork. It's lovely to hang out with the Brick and the doggies. (The chickens, unfortunately, still don't care. Figures.)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Santa Ana Winds -- And Heading Home

I've been working in Ontario, California...and boy, has it been windy around here.

The Santa Ana winds have blown in, with a rush. Lawn furniture and trash cans (and larger items too) thrown around with abandon. (One of my student's chihuahuas had a seizure at all this, and couldn't even walk straight for a few days.) Traffic brought to a standstill on the highway. People struggling to walk against the wind. And that's not an easy matter, if you're lugging a suitcase that acts like a portable windsail. Thank God for wheels on suitcases!
     I head home this afternoon, on the heels of the upcoming storm on the East Coast. Some of my teacher colleagues have already had their flights cancelled, even though it wasn't snowing then. Hopefully Colorado airports are made of stronger stuff.

Greek pizza. Oh boy...although I'd put this on a pizza crust, rather than crescent roll dough.  (from Who Needs A Cape)

Bakso -- Indonesian meatball soup.  Plus a link to bibimbap -- hey with that name, you've got to try this Korean specialty! (From Penniless Parenting)

Eleven sandwich-inspired casseroles -- Reubens, Philly Cheesesteaks and more. (From Betty Crocker)

Carol Bryer Fallert's got an incredible show opening. A thirty-year perspective on her work, including her first art quilt, just started at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts. This '30 quilts for 30 years' runs through April...if you're in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by!

Why rushing leads to sloppy it slow, do it right. (From Money Beagle)

    And thank you, fellow 'Roadies' at Road to California. I had a great time -- hope you did, too!

Is Statue?

...sorry. Just really tired.

The Santa Ana winds have made life here in California a slightly unnerving experience. I keep thinking tornadoes, thanks to growing up with so many...but really, it's been easy for me. My students have had to cope with flying lawn furniture, and dealing with highways that screech to a standstill when the winds are really whipping.

     I just have to trudge through the block-long parking lot, and I'm in a comfortable room. One of the vendor areas is a large tent, enclosing some of the small shade trees from the parking lot. Makes it feel like an elegant indoor mall inside.
    It does feel odd, though, being in the land where palm trees sway. Where's the snow?

Road to California has been a wonderful time. And I've met (and re-met) a bunch of intereresting people who are just as curious about quilting as I am.

Four solid days of teaching will start to gut you out, though. I staggered back through the parking lot, dragging a suitcase that felt like it was full of lead, instead of quilts. Stopped to rest several times. Had a burger, then laid down for "a minute" for a nap...woke up around 11 p.m.

Flying home tomorrow, to Colorado cold, the Brick and the doggies. I'll send Monday Stuff then.

Hope your weekend's been a good one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

California, Here I Am!

Left for Road to California this was snowing like crazy in Castle Rock.

We spent a half-hour being de-iced, then had a bumpy farewell to remember Colorado by. Ironically, it was just as bumpy, coming into Ontario. (Lots of fog.)

The show starts tomorrow. I took a nap, got the handouts ready for class...and went to a teachers' reception. Lots of names and faces I've heard and admired before.

On to class tomorrow: Easy Embellishments for Memory Quilts. Crazies will be a small part of it...but more about my work for the Quilter's Newsletter Channel. Like this:

Stop by and say hi. I'll have had more sleep. (Only got a few hours last night.) I miss the Brick, too -- he stayed home to mind the office and the dogs.
     And chickens.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Road to California

That's where I'm headed Wednesday morning -- off to Ontario, CA for the annual Road to California show. Oh my, it's intense -- exhibits, classes, lectures...and vendors that you can't find anywhere else. (I always look for one girl who has access to a warehouse full of antique laces, buttons and trims -- delightful.) 
     Three of my classes are filled -- but I've got a few spots in the "Quilts of the Great Depression" class. Come on along, if you want a good time. Meanwhile:

Looking at expenses for 2014. (And comparing them to 2013.) And why. (From Mr. Money Mustache) A compelling argument for some of his quirks -- like using a bike wherever he goes. Only two tanks of gas for the year -- wow!

Espresso...and morning musings. A graceful ode (and a recipe) to really good coffee. (From Pretty/Hungry)

Scenes from a frugal weekend. A relaxing take on what you can do, when you think 'frugal.'  (From Donna Freedman.)

A beautiful way to rehab a 'boob light.'  (From My So-Called DIY Blog) From this:

To this!

20 ways to raise a baby on a budget. (From Moneysaving Mom)

Side jobs to supplement your income stream. (From Brad's Deals)

A new protein source: roadkill!  (From The Penny Hoarder)

His dog gets a lottery ticket in its Christmas stocking -- $3 million.

This dog fell into a pool of tar -- see what happened. (Poor puppy)

20 ways to save on vacation, once you're actually in Europe. (From Brad's Deals) These would work elsewhere, too.

Seven pantry staples you can make...instead of buy. An outgrowth of the annual Pantry Challenge.
(From Good Cheap Eats)

Baked beef Middle Eastern-style 'kofta' kebabs. Gosh, these are good.  (From Penniless Parenting)

A trip to Disneyland -- for 50% less than you 'have' to spend. Some great ideas here, especially if you have kids. (From Pennies to Pancakes)

How to make thousands of dollars a year in side income. (From Doctor of Credit) I'm not saying you want to do all of these...but a few might not hurt. He plans to make this an annual report, which should be interesting. (His 2014 results are included.)

"Better than a box of chocolates." A Valentine's Day present idea that will make the sweet-lover sit up and take notice. (From Life As Mom)

An oversized vintage-look fancy apps! (From Bless'er House)

Bathroom storage that's thin, classic...and you can build yourself. (From  Shanty-2-Chic, one of her top ten projects for 2014.)

Have a great week. And if you're going to Road, stop by and say hi!

Friday, January 16, 2015

A New Use for Scraps

Got a few minutes, and some of these?

 A few minutes, plus the tutorial on You Can Call Me Gwen blog, and you can turn them
into these:

 Full instructions for 'pincushion rings' here. 

I can already see where my leftover scraps are headed!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Am a Bad Girl least, that's what "Curt Stevens of the Dept. of Legal Affairs" says.

According to him, we have a lien filed against us. We need to talk to him (or our lawyer does) asap -- or Bad Things Will Happen.

He must have been speaking with that "IRS agent" who phoned a few weeks ago, also saying we had a complaint against us. When I had the chutzpah to ask the guy why he was calling, when the IRS normally mails everything, he hung up.

No doubt a bad connection.

Scam phone calls are an epidemic right now. (The IRS is particularly sick of them.) Most often the callers threaten to wreck your taxes, credit score, have you arrested, deported, etc etc, unless you send them money Right Away. (And they're not nice about it, either.) Most times, the caller either has a bad English accent (so far, it's been Indian -- as from India-- or Hispanic for us) and doesn't know their terms very well.
     Which should be a giant red flag that they're bogus.

But tell that to The Mama, who got a call from an "IRS agent" and was terrified, until we talked it through. These scumbags feed on our willingness to be good citizens. They love getting older people, for that reason...and keep pushing for a quick conclusion, i.e., a payment.

For them, it's M-O-N-E-Y. (They managed to extort more than a million dollars just the last year alone.)

For you, it's peace of mind lost. (And a faint worry, in the back of your mind, that you really DO owe somebody -- or the IRS -- something.)

Well, you don't. Don't pay them a cent. Tell them to mail a notice. If they are who they say they are, you would have gotten one already. Normally, I would add the sentence "Take my name off your list" -- but I doubt they'd care. After all, they're already doing something illegal.

Can we make these scammers stop? I doubt it. After 30 min. or so of trying to get a live person at Verizon, so I could complain, I gave up. But you CAN file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.  (It will just take a few minutes.)

Feel free to call "Curt Stevens" back at 760-298-4491, and tell him I said so. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2014: What Went Right, What Went Wrong

      I would like to say that 2014 was one of the best, most rewarding years of my life. 

I would be wrong. 

     This past year was a real challenge for the Brick family, both personally and collectively.
      Let's start with the good stuff:

*I continued to write. Not just for this blog, but I wrote for several others, including my mainstay Midlife Finance. I love being able to scribble on a wide variety of subjects (including Bigfoot and buried treasure!), but am making my name in 'PF' (personal finance). Frugal stuff, if you will.
     I have been a writer ever since I could read. And that was age two or so. I will stop writing when I stop breathing. I love words...their power, beauty and what they can accomplish.

*I met my professional commitments. Teaching, appraising, judging -- I did them all. Sometimes I was later than planned (just on appraising)...but I got them done.  (Goal for 2015:  get them done quicker!) The teaching and judging went fine.
     I finished with a stint on the board of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum -- and picked up a second term as president of PAAQT, an appraisers organization.

*Our side businesses continued. Sales of the chickies' eggs paid for their feed...and part of their coop extension. ('Free' eggs and a few simmered chickens for us.) I taught piano to some students. (In 2015, I'll have even more.) The Brick and I both played and sang for some events...and he did some computer work. These all added to the coffers.
     Our business expenses were largely covered by my professional work. Sales from Brickworks did the rest -- and more.

*We didn't have any huge medical costs. A colonoscopy for the Brick was the biggest expense. (Poor guy.) So were two crowns for yours truly. (No root canals, though.) We're paying these off, a hundred or so a month.

*We kept current on costs -- actually got ahead on some. We owe less money at this time, and have a stronger emergency fund, than I can ever remember. Which is nice.
     Nothing terrible happened, weather-wise, to our house or vehicles, either.
     Our expenses, with the exception of a mini-crisis every now and then, remained under control, as well. Unless the world ends, or one of us has a medical emergency, this should hold steady.
     One of our best buys: our silver Subaru. It's used a lot less gas than the aging Cherokee -- and that savings has shown up big-time in credit card charges.

*We got to travel -- a lot. I spent the summer in Michigan, and teaching in North Carolina (including a surprisingly-fun gig for the John Campbell School of Folk Art), Williamsburg (plus an appraisers conference) and Maine. More on this in a bit.
    We also spent most of December relaxing on back-to-back cruises, with the Mama and Cousin Joy in tow. A lifesaver. In spite of picking up a monster case of flu on the plane back, and trudging through the holidays because of it.. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
      Both of us love to travel -- particularly if we can just wander. Enjoying the local views and food, talking to people...we'd do this a lot more, if we could.

*I have a big batch of teaching and appraising commitments for 2015. Judging, not so much. (This does seem to come in large swaths when I'm doing it. Weird...) Plenty of work to look forward to, including an increasing amount of personal property appraising. I hope to commit to even more.
     It did seem strange, though, to realize that this is the thirty-first year of teachings and lecturing for me. The appraising is a less -- only eighteen years. Time goes by fast.

*The Brick's business commitments are going well, too. Retirement possibilities are starting to be discussed... but on our terms. He may keep working even during retirement -- but thanks to the years of frugality, he can choose to do so, rather than be forced to.

And now the bad stuff...

*The Mama's health. It wasn't good. She had open-heart surgery in June. Although she initially continued to improve in the summer, she hasn't done so well this fall or early winter. I'm not sure we could have gone on the cruises in December, if she hadn't gone with us.

*I had to travel -- a lot. A leisure trip is one thing. This was another. I spent 2 1/2 months away from home, which covered the Mama's surgery and recovery time, as well as the teaching/judging/appraising commitments. The latter covered my expenses, but only because I drove everywhere. This meant hours and hours and HOURS on the road. (More than 7,000 miles.) Without the Brick. I missed him desperately.
     The Mama came back with me at summer's end, to spend more weeks with us. 
    There were some wonderful days...and hours...and moments. I got to spend more time with much-loved cousins and family than I have for a long time, and see our new nephew, Dietrich, grow up a little. But most of this summer and fall slipped by in a haze.
     I'm sure the pressure contributed to more than my usual share of flu this past year. At least I didn't lose my voice -- you can still teach with a fever.

*Our family spent more time texting than together. I hated not being able to love up the Brick, the girlies and even the dogs in person. (We did have some very funny pun-wars, though.)

*We had some scary moments. The Mama's health...some near-misses in car accidents...some family arguments, caused in part by the stress from this summer...a few work laptop crashing...frozen pipes. (This was a special panic since broken pipes flooded the Brickworks workspace a few years ago -- and caused thousands of dollars in damages. In this case, though, they thawed just fine. Thank God.)

*We lost some chickens. One got stuck in the roost and died upside-down. Another was just found dead. (Beats us what the problem was.) One disappeared, with parts found in our next-block neighbor's yard. (The culprit? Probably an eagle who was hanging out in another neighbor's tree, looking interested.) And a chick died. Not too bad, considering we still have 19. (Three also got butchered.)

* I had writing plans I just could not meet. The Hanky Panky sequel isn't done. I didn't get as far as I'd hoped on the Scrap Quilts history I've been working on for some years. My uncle's WWII memoir isn't completely edited, nor is a family cookbook I've also been working on. All of these (with the exception of Scrap Quilts) need to be finished by the end of 2015. 

What's ahead? 

More travel -- to Road to California, a major quilt conference, next week. (All but one class is full, but I'll be at the Friday night sampler, if you want to stop by and say hi.) 

    A huge birthday party in February, to celebrate the Brick's 60th.

A quick trip to Michigan in spring, to check on the Mama, girlies hopefully in tow. Then on to Paducah, KY for the AQS show there...Conroe, TX...Cheyenne, WY...back to California...and some other stuff in between, including some gigs in Colorado.

A garden. I managed a few pots, but couldn't do much for being gone nearly all summer. The chickies decimated what was left. The chickies are cozy in their fenced-off area...and not eating up the rest of the yard. I hope to have a BIG, flourishing garden this year...helped along by said chickies' manure.

So life goes on. The girlies have their own plans...this should be Daughter #1's final year in college, which she is hugely looking forward to. Daughter #2 is thinking about expanding her Etsy business. It will be interesting to see what happens.

With them...and us.

Monday, January 12, 2015

When the Music Stops

from Bass Players United's Facebook page...

as one commenter pointed out:

"The staff doesn't look too friendly."

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: What's Cookin', Good-Lookin'?

Dry, tan ground. Or mud. Warmth. Fog and cooler temps, with rain turning to ice. Snow, lots of it. 
When the music -- or the weather -- changes, twirl and repeat..

We've been through the "Weather Waltz" several times now. Thankfully, it's a lot more moisture than Colorado (at least us on the 'flatlands') normally get this time of year. How can you keep warm or stay cool, with all this going on? Ah well, the flu, and its accompanying fever, have skipped back so often, with hot flashes filling in the mix, that I don't even know what temp it is anymore, bodywise.

     For some reason, 'Monday Stuff' this week is heavy on recipes. I've been trying to use up leftovers, and clean out the cupboards some -- shades of the annual Pantry Challenge. Maybe that's why. So far, it's succeeding, with the exception of eggs. But who would gripe about the chickies laying extra! Weather changes don't seem to bother them that much right now -- they just go in the coop. 

No, I am not going to talk about the Broncos being knocked out of the playoffs. I can't hear a thing about the Broncos and the Colts...what'd you say?

Had to start with this, of course.

An interactive version of the Aurora Borealis. I've only seen this was amazing and a little scary, all at the same time.  Both times.

How to make a Viking tent. (And get yourself into a Viking festival, too.) Actually, they look a fair amount like Indian tepees... from Chicken Blog.

Want to live in a castle? Bleckinsopp Castle's up for sale, in England. You can move there, for only 325,000 pounds.  (That's about $493,000 and change.) It's even got 14th century ruins, and a reputed ghost.

Breakfast eggrolls? Why not -- they look delicious. (From Betty Crocker)

24 photos that don't seem to have gotten the point. 

Slow cooker buffalo chicken soup. (From Who Needs A Cape) Like buffalo chicken wings? You'll enjoy this.

A time capsule, from the 1790s, is rediscovered and opened.

A set of 1870s baseball cards. Value, according to Antiques Roadshow -- more than a million dollars. (Note the big grin on the owner's face when you click through on the link.)

Weird bits of family history...from

A platform bed with storage? Yes, six different DIY ways, using IKEA. We have got to do this... (From Apartment Therapy)

Skillet beef stroganoff. She says for 89 cents a serving...I'd say a little more. But it looks good. (From Pennies & Pancakes)She's got some five-minute fudge worth checking out, too.

Real paella, step by step, as made by Adoracion in Spain. (From Tomatoes on the Vine)

Thumbtack pumpkins. Sounds weird, right? Look at these beauties... (from MomAdvice)

She's got another interesting post about making money by organizing your closet. Hmmm...

An easy way to help you meet those New Year's resolutions. (Also from Money Saving Mom. What a girl.)

I am a big fan of Al Sharpton to begin with. But to read this report on how he (and his organization) conveniently 'forget' to attack organizations who pay him (or his organization)...I feel a little sick. (And it's not the flu, either.) Someday this man will pay for the misjustice he's done, in the name of justice.

There are a million weird ways to die -- and New York City's medical examiner has seen them all. My favorite quote -- “Your faithful golden retriever might sit next to your dead body for days, starving, but the tabby won’t,” she writes. “Your pet cat will eat you right away, with no qualms at all. I’ve seen the result.”

Confessions of a former TSA official. And they're not nice...

Have a great week.

Let's go play in the mud/ice/snow, Mom!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Another New Color of the Year for 2015

Benjamin Moore, thankfully, spit in the eye of Pantone (who picked their own weird Color of the Year), and chose another color, instead.

Guilford Green. 

Kind of a 'silvery sage ' they call it.

Soft, classic...and very versatile.

All I can say is...whew. I don't have to wince so much anymore.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Now That's A Buy!

Yet another reason you should consider thrift shop furniture...

Three college roommates buy a $20 sofa, but can't figure out why it's so lumpy.

They start digging around underneath the cushions -- and find more than $40,000 in cash.

I don't want to ruin the rest of the story...but it's an interesting one. Click on the link for more. Except the real couch didn't look like this wonderful photo via Apartment Therapy.

Nope, it looked like this. Ewwww.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bits and Pieces, Gathered on A Chilly Day

After a few days of incredible warmth (yes, in the FORTIES), we woke up to ice-coated trees and a fine mist of snow in the air. It's still snowing, but at least the sun comes out now and then.

Welcome to January.

I thought I was completely recovered from the flu...I'm not. Easily chilled. Aching all over. Head banging. No energy. I can read now (couldn't even do that when I was really sick), but can't seem to force myself to finish up jobs. I get part way, run out of energy...and stop.
    I have reports that need to be done. I have to get a quilt bound and shipped out -- it's overdue now.

These need to be finished. I need to force myself to keep going.

The dogs stay close. They are the goofiest, most endearing personalities right now. Is it because they know I need the warmth and doggy love?

The chickens burst out of the coop like clowns in a circus car every morning. Then they realize it's still cold; many times they'll try to fly over the snow to get to the food and watering dishes. (Hilarious when they run out of steam -- but not snow!) They're still laying fairly regularly - between 7-11 eggs daily for 19 chickens. Not bad...but not outstanding, either.
    A smackerel of feed, a quick drink of water...and if it's chilly, back in the coop. Not that I blame them -- it's got a heat lamp in there, after all.

Food prep's been minimal. Mostly, I've been trying to hold off on a trip to the grocery until Friday, and use up bits and pieces leftover from holiday dishes, instead. We had oyster stew last night (finished off the oysters from Angels on Horseback), plus 'Spinach Spheres,' a goofy-sounding dish. My variation follows -- try these, they're good, even if you're not a spinach-lover.


1/2 bunch chopped fresh spinach (or 1 10 oz. pkg frozen) -- use the stems first
4 chopped green onions
4 mushrooms, chopped
2 cups breadcrumbs or stuffing
            (I used stuffing-flavored bread, about 7 slices, ripped into small chunks)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 tomatoes, sliced thick

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Nuke the spinach and butter until butter is melted, then mix in everything else but tomatoes. (It's easiest to mix by hand.)
    Arrange the tomatoes on an ungreased baking sheet. Form the stuffing mix into balls, and place one on each of the tomato slices. (I know. This sounds weird. Do it.)
    Bake for 20 min., or until lightly browned. After you taste the first one, concentrate hard on trying not to wolf the others down. Makes about 8; serves 4 (or two wolves).

And thanks to Kevin and Nancy Mills of Help! My Apartment Has A Kitchen!
     I will not doubt you again.

The other leftovers show up mixed into other things, like soup and casseroles -- sometimes disguised, sometimes not. I am beginning to see bare space on the shelves again, thanks to concentrating on using the extra food up.  Well, except for the crisper, which still holds 25 pounds or so of apples, stashed away in the fall.

Maybe I'll make apple crisp for supper

Monday, January 5, 2015


If you're feeling discouraged...tired...or intimidated, this song by Mercy Me is a great reminder:

We don't have to do this alone.

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Tidying Up

If you're  living on the east coast, you're now getting our low temps and snow dumping sessions. For most of us in Colorado, we're now in 40-degree weather. Get out the bikini and the lounge chair!
     The flu is finally slinking out the door. (Good riddance, I say.) The Christmas tree is out on the patio, looking forlorn. And I've actually tidied up several piles. Surprise: while doing that, I found several items I've been looking for!
     To top off the good news, the Brick managed to get 'my' laptop working again, which is wonderful. You don't realize how much you get used to working with the same equipment. He said, "why are your 'j,' 'k' and 'a' keys nearly worn off?" Guess I must type words with those letters more than the others.

One chicken -- six meals. (From Heavenly Homemaker)

Kettlecorn -- made easy!   (From Penniless Parenting)

Best projects from 2014. (From Funky Junk, one of my favorite how-to bloggers...and a bunch of other people)

Make nailholes disappear on white (From The Frugal Girls) Speaking of walls --

A WWI soldier's room left untouched for nearly a century. Talk about freeze-frames.

The high-school senior who made millions from stock trades -- but it was a lie. 

A man pays off his parents' mortgage for a Christmas present -- and videotapes them when they find out. Touching and funny, all at the same time. 

13 (gross) things advertisers do to make food photos more appealing. (From

The 60 funniest moments of 2014...courtesy of the Huffington Post.

An amazing gospel flash mob...on a subway!

Make a name necklace...all you need is wire and a pliers. (From Frugal Upstate)

18 easy cooking lessons for all sorts of dishes.

Preserved lemons -- for all sorts of Middle Eastern dishes. (From Larder Love) A visually festive way to enjoy your lemons, without having them harden up or go bad.

Her clementine sorbet looks deliciousFar easier to make than it sounds.

Two million dollars' worth of paintings -- discovered in a basement!

And finally... zero sum budgeting -- or the art of making every dollar work. (From The Simple Dollar)

Have a great week.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


     Since we got home, just before Christmas, we've had more than our share of the White Stuff: flittering, floating and just plain dumping. Today's flurries were more of same -- somewhere around 8", being pushed around by a brisk wind.
     True to form, the Denver forecasters said our accumulation would be "negligible." They said the same thing about the last storm -- and that one produced about a foot of snow for us. It's gotten so laughable that if the forecasters pooh-pooh any snow building up, people around here make a beeline for the grocery store or other errands. They want to get it done, before the inevitable hits!

     What makes this especially ironic: a typical Colorado Christmas on the flatlands (i.e., not in the mountains) usually means, brown worn-out landscapes. We rarely have snow until later in the season, although we will have these gutbuster, humdinger storms that roar in, drop a foot or so, then disappear quickly.
     It's also been FREEZING. Until yesterday, we only had a top high of about 10 above. Our hot-water pipes froze up earlier this week; thankfully, they didn't burst. Daughter #2, who lives up in Nederland in the mountains, has had the same problem -- but worse. We only had a few pipes freeze; nearly all of hers went into ice mode. Fortunately, she was also able to thaw them out. But it means she'll have to keep her faucets dripping at night to make sure this won't happen again.

     The flu finally let up -- but leaves me exhausted after the smallest task. I've been putting away things a little at a time; the Christmas tree (after only a week up) is down, as well. (I just didn't have the heart to deal with it later in the week...though the Brick was disappointed to have it gone so quickly. He felt a little differently after he had to spend so much time vacuuming up dried needles!)

Work is starting to pick up again. I have several reports to finish up, and some articles to write. It's easier to do them when snow is banging against the window...and the warmest spot in the house is in front of the fireplace. Now if I could only keep from dozing off. And Charley and Abby from hogging the space in front of it...