Saturday, February 28, 2015

We'll Miss You, Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy dies at age 83.

We watched several episodes of Mission: Impossible tonight, as well, in his honor. What a brilliant, talented man. 

(from I Pick Up Pennies

Motherly Wisdom for the Ages

No, I've never said any of these. Especially #1.

 Add in the most-used Brick family phrase:
     "I am not your personal slave."

When Daughter #1 was in elementary school, her teacher asked the students to give their mom's favorite saying. While Daughter was telling me this, I hoped for "You're wonderful" or "I love you." Nicey mom stuff, right?
    Know what my most-used phrase was, according to Daughter #1?

    "Now you stop that."  

Friday, February 27, 2015

What's Next?

Come this spring, we will have been living in this house for more than 15 years -- and in Castle Rock for 27 years. Seven bedrooms. (No, I am not making that up.) Three full baths. Funny -- Zillow has us down as 3 bedrooms...
    Both daughters have been on their own now for about a decade. But the house really was too big for us back when they were living here, as well. A few things have kept us here:
     *The view is TERRIFIC -- about 50 miles in three different directions - and a rocky bluff in the fourth. Ask friends who've been here: it's a pleasure to sit out on the deck in the evening, and watch Life Going On.
     *The location couldn't be better, for a city person -- we're literally blocks from every sort of store you could wish from, from Home Depot to Sprouts (groceries) and Michael's. Etc. etc.
     *The downstairs half has been perfect for the Brickworks business. A separate entrance, a huge main room for teaching and lectures, side rooms with space for inventory...we could even put a kitchen in down there, if we needed to.

But we're feeling restless. 

The Brick's 60th birthday is a fond memory. Technically, he's got enough years in that he could retire tomorrow, if he wanted to. (He doesn't, not yet.) My work could go on forever, as long as I'm willing to travel and talk -- no pension to look forward though, like the Brick has to look forward to. And whatever income comes in on my side comes because I'm still working. (Besides, I don't want to retire either, not yet. I still have what we call Places to Go, People to See and Things to Do.)

We want to travel more. For longer periods.
We want to work on languages. Spanish, especially. (It's critical around here in the Denver area.)
We would like to visit family and friends for longer periods. Just a few days isn't cutting it anymore.

Then, of course, there's The Mama. Her health continues to be precarious. (And she refuses to consider moving from Michigan. I know. I brought the subject up again, this last visit.)

House sales are at a high here in Colorado. Demand is also at a high. But if we sell, where would we move that wouldn't entail spending extra $$?

Moving out of state is a possibility. We have strong family ties in Michigan, and they'd be thrilled. (But we both dislike Michigan's dreary gray skies and heavy humidity.)
    What if we went somewhere less populated? We both would like more land than what we live on now. Perhaps run some beef, or raise a pig -- meat prices are horrible. More room, more air...and Charley would love running on a bigger property.
    But moving would mean that the Brick would lose the work he enjoys so much. And what about contact with our girls, who both live in Colorado?

We've talked about an RV we'd park temporarily on friends' land. (The Brick did this for months as a teenager, while his parents built in North Carolina-- they ended up living in a barn that they converted eventually to a house. Never did actually build the house.) What about Brickworks inventory, then?

We've talked about a tiny house. (I am so intrigued by this concept.) Then again, what about Brickworks inventory? And what do I do about the business, meanwhile?

I've even considered living in a bus. (This girl sure makes it look like a possibility.)

Another possibility:  Living in two places. Somewhere warm (Florida or South America) for 6 months -- then coming back north to travel and see family/friends the rest of the year. We've scooted around the idea of Venice Beach, FL or Panama... Ecuador is currently on the Brick's horizon.

Neither of our families is particularly long-lived. (Heart trouble, mostly.) We have money saved. (Not a lot, but some.) And we're good at living frugally.

Do we go now -- or soon? 
Stay for a while? 
Sell now, while the market is good? 

So -- do we stay, or do we go?

The dilemma continues.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Guess What's Inside...

This 900+ year-old statue:

Read here, too.

Makes you wonder what other statues hold secrets, doesn't it...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Know. This Is Awful.

But in honor of Daughter #1, who never met a pun she didn't like...

Sun's shining...and a good share of the snow has melted. 

The Mama flew home to Michigan this afternoon, into a waning storm there...and on the heels of the net storm here. Perfect timing.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Snow, Snow, Snow

Friday night, after the festivities ended, the snow began here in Colorado. And went on. And on. 
     As of late Sunday night, it was STILL snowing. So far, we've got 18+ inches. Who knows how much will be on the ground when it finally stops. 
    The nice part of it: the weather was so bad that church was cancelled -- which meant that instead of getting to Worship Team at 7:30 a.m., we got to sleep in, have a late breakfast, and lazily read the Sunday papers. I even got a few tasks done early, instead of later in the week. Ahhh. 
     The chickies also took the day off -- they haven't MOVED from their snug coop, in spite of all the usual inducements. Charley the dog loves all this white; he plows through the yard with all the glee of a circus clown...then lies down in it to cool off his hot belly. (Thick coat, warm heart.)
     What will today bring? School did get postponed for 1 1/2 hours. (And the Brick works for the local school system.) Other than that, though, it should be back to business. (Update: it was. See for yourself here.) This is what it looked like on Sunday:

the Brick and Abby -- exploring


The 2015 Oscar winners. If you didn't know, now you can find out.

A monument to Hachiko, a faithful dog who loved his owner dearly. You'll want to read this story.

12 secrets behind famous 'I Love Lucy' episodes. Did you know that Fred and Ethel secretly hated each other in real life? (Now you do.)

Ten recovered treasures that weren't worth the fuss and effort. Darn.

Dealing with snow. A lot of it. (From The Frugalwoods)

Velveeta Nacho Bake -- easy Mexican food from Frugal Upstate. I'd substitute regular cheese for Velveeta, but otherwise, this sounds tasty.

The real story behind the invention of Monopoly.

A beautiful DIY marble tray -- for a heck of a lot less than retail. (From Jen Woodhouse)

 Missing ships, planes, unsolved mysteries...this article is a bit too flippant about how they're all 'solved,' but interesting, anyways.

It all started with a stale box of cornflakes... (It's All Connected)

This designer stitches souvenir pieces of her travels.  

A coffee sack furniture table (from Stow and TellU)

Five elements of British home dec design. (From Apartment Therapy) I'd argue that most of these actually originated in America...but then, I'm probably one of those rascally Yanks the Brits are well rid of. (At least that's what my British friend David says.) The photos are particularly informative.

What to avoid in cruise ship cabins -- and what to ask for. 

The trick to edging flowerbeds with a sharp, clean profile. (From Funky Junk Interiors)

Some great workshop how-tos. Her furniture ideas are slick, but I learned more from the simple things -- printing images on tissue paper (so they adhere better for decoupaging) and hanging tape from a bungee cord! Simple and effective.  (From Scavenger Chic)

Animals play in the snow. (From All sorts of fauna, from tigers to puppies, frolic in the snowflakes.

Hey, life's short -- go out and play in some snow yourself! And have a great week.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fire Extinguisher Alert!

So what else would you do with 60 candles on three cakes?? 

Happy Birthday, you crazy guy! 

P.S. His party was a great time.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, David!

The Brick is 60 years old...but how can that be? 

He's still my young 'buck.'

A big party's planned for tonight -- lots of music, food, friends and goofing around. (Just in time, too -- Colorado's got a big snowstorm moving in over the weekend.) But somehow I need to get a batch of errands done first -- and the house cleaned up here and there. Will do the best I can. 

I love you, David -- Happy Birthday. And many, many more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Are Diamonds Forever?

Want a perfect diamond for your perfect sweetie?

Sotheby's is auctioning off a 100-carat diamond in late was mined by DeBeers in South Africa, and the owner took more than a year to carefully polish and shape it.

It is lovely...

You'd better hurry, though -- the diamond's low estimate is at a value price:
      $19 million USD.

I think I'd rather have Larimar, though.   (Go here for more on the diamond.)

American History Quilt - Up for Auction

Take a look at this beautiful piece! 

 The quilt was stitched by Camille Nixdorf Phelan (1882-1946), an Oklahoma quilt artist. According to the American Quilter's Society, " It chronicles the history of the United States from its founding until 1937...Phelan produced two major quilts during her lifetime. The first is a quilt detailing the history of the State of Oklahoma, which resides in the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. The second, and the quilt up for auction at Cowan’s, is the American History Quilt. It combines the knowledge of the historian with the genius of the artist, and portrays the history of the country vividly by artistic embroidery."

More details are here. The quilt will be auctioned off at Cowan's Feb. 21 -- detailed descriptions and more photos are here. (For those of you who keep track of this sort of thing, appraisal value is estimated at $15,000-25,000. We'll see what it goes for.)

What a treasure!

(thanks to AQS and Cindy Zabuska for mentioning this)

Who's Going to Argue with Him...


Monday, February 16, 2015

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

Usually the heaviest snow hits in the mountains -- but we spent the weekend in Rifle, complete with tan grass, dry as a bone. A half-hour on the way home, near the Continental Divide, the snow hit...and hit...and hit. No one was going very fast, thankfully, but it took us twice as long to get home. We found more snow here, but the chickies were warm and dry, and the dogs were very happy to see us.
     Daughter #1 picked up the Mama at the airport this morning. She came to celebrate the Brick's birthday on Friday -- more about that later. We made it home through slow traffic, made even slower by accidents and spinouts every ten miles or so. I think we may be staying home tomorrow, until the ice melts some. Meanwhile:

Odd secrets taken to the grave.

An ultra-easy snowman cake. (From Who Needs A Cape?)

French dressing (the orangey kind) -- gluten-free and delicious. (From Penniless Parenting)

21 lottery winners who lost it all -- or nearly all. In weird ways, too.

Some of the strangest hotel room guest requests -- including penguins in the room (with Morgan Freeman narrating), wild goat's milk (for a bath) and pictures of Nicolas Cage. (Ok, after viewing Moonstruck recently, maybe photos of Nic aren't tooo strange.)

Chop a table in half and mount it to the wall -- less space taken up, and an intriguing look! (From Apartment Therapy, via Wonideen)

(Am I the only one thinking of Willy Wonka?)

The body in the basement -- an anthropological murder mystery.

This filmmaker says goodbye to his dying dog. Oh, my heart hurts.

A big stash of diamonds -- found in an old jewelry store!

Spending $4 for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner?? (From Brent Vosa) And in honor of Valentine's Day...a George Clooney cover from Vanity Fair that practically has steam rising off the page. So much effect with just a light touch and what Cher would call "those eyes like a wolf."

A lake suddenly appears in the Tunisian desert...and no one knows why. (But they're enjoying having it there.)

A pendant light that's a real beauty. Easy to make, too. (From Sugar and Cloth)

Spaghetti Carbonara...yet another pasta dish in the Bare Bones II series of our Holiday Goodies blog.

And from Midlife Finance, yours truly weighs in on finding the best hotel, as well as a potpourri of updates. 

Have a grand, snowy week.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Passionate Kisses

Vanity Fair picked out what they call the 20 best kisses in TV history. (Go here for multiple smooches.)

But they pale next to these:

George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day:

(some other nice ones here, too)

And Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank in P.S. I Love You -- twice:

(Ooh, that man makes my blood boil. Throw a little Ireland in, and you've got a perfect match.)

Better call up the Brick and tell him to forget about the office today...he's the best kisser of them all!

Be My Valentine?

Getting ready to go away with the Brick for a few days... he is more apt than I am to spend money, and he made the arrangements. So we're headed to a Hampton Inn to luxuriate in fancy pillows, hot breakfast and movies viewed at all hours of the night.  (Our staffer will stay over to watch the dogs and chickens.)

     Bear in mind that in Hollander terms, this is big-time splurging. If it had been me making the reservations, we probably would have ended up in a Motel 6. Which is just fine for me -- but the sheets do tend to be a bit scratchy.
     The Brick only spent a few bucks more per day to book us into luxury. I keep reminding myself of that. (Oh, and we won't have to shell out extra for breakfast or evening snacks, either.)

We'll also head to Glenwood Springs for some hot springs soaking. Colorado's Western Slope is full of hot springs spots. If you have any aches and pains, these take care of matters -- pronto.

So as far as Valentine's Day tonight goes, it will be pretty minimal. A steak by the fireside, a glass of wine, a few chocolates out of his fancy heart (sshh, don't tell)...a movie. We usually watch one on Friday nights -- I'm hoping for Moonstruck. Soooo romantic.

     I know. Valentine's Day is tomorrow. But romance for the Brick means driving in the backcountry for hours, scouting for deer or elk. (Did I say that the Hampton Inn is in Rifle?) And we both hate standing in line at restaurants. It's bound to be crowded at the fahncy places. (Did I say I hate to spend that money?)

     It's okay -- I love being with him, wherever we go. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Something to Savor

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Palmer Divide Quilters, Thank You!

    I spent Thursday night with Colorado friends -- the Palmer Divide quilt guild. They were showing off their latest quilt challenge -- monochromatic quilts. Very cool ones, too.  (Here's some of their work with another teacher.)  
     An evening of their kindness and enthusiasm was just the pick-me-up I needed.
     This week: finish up a big batch of reports, do some minor restoration work, and spend a lot of time cleaning up and putting away Stuff around here. The Brick's 60th birthday is coming up soon, and I want the house to shine during his party. 

Doings from the Grammys...including weird clothes and winners. Pharrell Williams won for his music video, "Happy."  ( I liked it, too!)

Dean Smith died. We've been fans of this North Carolina basketball coach for decades. (The Brick grew up in Jacksonville, NC, and we've watched an awful lot of Smith's work.) A classy, dignified man who was Michael Jordan's coach -- and personified college b-ball.

Ten tips for sleeping safely at the airport. Sometimes your flight is delayed...or cancelled. Or there's only a few hours until the next one. Just don't try it at places like Midway in Chicago -- they close up the airport at midnight and boot everyone out. (I know, from experience.)

A new copy of the Magna Carta is the archives of Sandwich, England. It's worth millions and millions of dollars.

Cleaning your house out -- and making money in the process. Some good sources who buy videos, books, clothes, etc. here.  (From One Frugal Girl)

Nine freezer-to-cooker meals that don't need cooking prep ahead of time. (From New Leaf Wellness) This blogger loves freezer and slow cooker meals that are easy to make -- so don't wander off her blog until you look around a bit.

 Spaghetti alla Puttanesca -- the latest in the Bare Bones II pasta series in Holiday Goodies.

A Colorado couple that stole more than $100,000...from her parents. The wife even had her parents' calls forwarded to her cellphone, so she could keep track of their doings. And if you think the money was pretty much wasted, you're right. Shame, shame, shame.

10 places to find lost money -- at home. 

The broke person's guide to decorating. (From Apartment Therapy)

Dear Mom in the tunnel -- a sweet (and wry) celebration of what it's like to be a mom. (From Red and Honey)

Get a family member to cut your hair!  Step-by-step instructions and photos make this extremely helpful. (From The Frugalwoods)

Another 25 ways to save a buck or two. (From yours truly, via Midlife Finance.) A post about keeping (or quitting) your job, too -- same place.

Famous last words. The actors' version is here, but if you scroll down, you'll find plenty of others to choose from, including writers, religious figures and U.S. presidents.
"I want to die like my father, peacefully in his sleep, not screaming and terrified, like his passengers."
                     Bob Monkhouse, English comedian and actor

Kanye West did it again -- This time, he decided that Beyonce should have the Grammy Beck was awarded! It's hard to believe that a guy would have enough cojones to march up to the stage and actually start to demand it. (Well, he did.)

Oops, it's Tuesday... I had some unexpected things to take care of that took longer than planned. Daughter #2 is on her way to Tucson, to the gem show there and pick up inventory for her business. I took her and companion Keith to the airport this morning. Then back to the races. 

Have a great week. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What Does Your Mom Say in the Car?

Josh Pray (a comedian) takes his mom for a ride...or is she the one giving HIM the business?

My mom wouldn't act this way in the car. No, unh huh. (I can say this, because she doesn't go online and read my blogposts. Otherwise, I would stand a clear danger of getting smacked.)

Oh my.

What Mondays Should Be Like (And Aren't)


Go, Charley, Go!

That's what he would say, anyways...


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Yet Another Bigfoot Story!

If you've hung out on this blog for any length of time, you know I have a strange hobby:

Collecting Bigfoot sightings. Or Sausquatch. (Otherwise known as 'Mr. S.')

I've had some doozies lately, thanks in great part to Daughter #2 and her boyfriend. 

But I heard a new one, while teaching at Road to California!

One of my students remembers seeing "Him" (or "Her," or "It") standing in the bushes, watching her family while they were camping. (They lived then in Washington state.) She could see him clearly from the shoulders up -- and she described a hairy-looking 'man' who was just curious. She said she got the strong impression that he "just wanted to be friends."

The student, now in her late 20s, was a kid at the time. That's how she described her experience to me.

He wanted to be friends, huh? Tell that to my daughter. 

For more BF reports, go to the BFRO site. You'll find a ton of them -- including one from your particular state.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bare Bones is Starting Up Again -- Pasta

It's a warm day in Colorado -- and I ache all over.

The Brick came home yesterday, feeling flu-ish. Apparently he was generous, and shared it with me. No matter -- I have stuff to do. The flu's gotta wait.

Maybe I'll make a pot of the steaming, tomato-based meatball soup featured on our other blog, Holiday Goodies.  Pasta Fazool is easy to make, and full of veggies that may help fight this sickness.

Then of course, you can sing:

Go here for more. Enjoy.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: So They Won (or Lost...)

Watched the Superbowl with the Brick and our friends...what a wacky ending! The commercials were mildly amusing, including this one from Sprint. I actually laughed out loud on this one!

I also laughed out loud at the Brick, along with our goofy friends. All of them were wearing Broncos shirts, caps and sweatshirts...and the food was garnished with Broncos napkins. The Broncos may not have been playing this year -- but hey, devotion persists! 

(If you want to see what some people think are the 50 best Super Bowl commercials, go here...)

All sorts of food freebies for February. (From The Simple Dollar)

Getting a credit card refund when you've been scammed. (From the Brad's Deals blog)

An oral history of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation -- by the people who made it and were in it. One of my all-time favorite movies. And while you're at it:

Cary Elwes' take on Princess Bride. Another terrific one. (Did you know that Andre the Giant could down more than 100 beers in one sitting?)

The 32 greatest unscripted movie scenes. From The Godfather to Zoolander.

9 things you'll need for a rich DIY life. (From Living in Rural Iowa)

Why you should consider "shorting." (If this guy is right, we are in BIIIG trouble.)

Saving money on heating costs this winter. (From Penniless Parenting)

The best ways to pay your expenses while traveling overseas. I don't agree with all of these; travelers checks, for example, have been hard to cash, in our experience. But generally there's good stuff here. (From One Cent At A Time)

Hidden door bookcases. Dickens had one of these in his study in Gad's Hill, complete with funny book titles: The Virtues of Our Ancestors (1 thin volume) and Lives of a Cat (9 volumes), etc.  I wish, I wish... I'd love to have one of these.

the dummy book door in Dickens' study

Eating on 80 pence a day. What is that...about $20 a week? 

Frugal eating revisited -- practical ways to eat well, and cheaply. (From Womanhood with a Purpose)

Making your own 'Girl Scout cookies'...including thin mints! (From Blogher)

Why is this woman calling 911...and ordering a pizza? A Super Bowl ad that needs to be heard:

A cabin with a wall of windows...for $500? Yep, from Apartment Therapy.

Have a great week...regardless whether 'your' team won or not.