Saturday, May 30, 2015

Home Security, the Bubba Way

Need a good security system, but are short on cash? Try this one:


1.  Go to Goodwill and buy a pair of size 14-16 men's work boots.

2.  Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns and Ammo magazine.

3.  Put four giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines. 

4.  Leave a note on your door that reads:


Me and Marcel, Donnie Ray and Jimmy Earl went for more ammo and beer.  Be back in an hour.  Don't mess with the pit bulls. They got the mailman this morning and messed him up bad.
      I don't think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of 'em in the house. Better wait outside. Be right back.



(passed on from friend Bert. See if you can get through it without laughing!)


Duck Hunters, Beware...

 (both from Facebook)

...I'm speechless.

Friday, May 29, 2015

S'Mores... or Shot Glasses. Your Choice!

Yes, you really can do both -- with marshmallows. 

Here's the process.

Toast the marshmallow.

 If it's a s'more, your next step is easy -- mash it between two graham crackers and a slab of chocolate (preferably dark), and eat quickly. (Michelle Obama recommends sliced strawberries and vanilla yogurt on graham crackers, and calls them Strawberry S'mores. Okay with me...but they're not s'mores. Sorry, Mrs. P.) 

If you need a shot glass instead, carefully hollow out the marshmallow. (Eat the gloppy stuff inside, or anoint a graham cracker with it.) Let cool a bit, then fill with your favorite beverage -- and not just alcoholic, either. Chocolate syrup, milkshake...your imagination is the limit. (I personally see Kahlua in these little guys.)

It works. Really. Go here for more.  Or watch this, courtesy of The Watering Mouth:


Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Colorado Theater Shooting Trial... WHY??

(To take a page -- actually, 8 pages -- from the shooter's notebook.)

James Holmes is on trial for his role in murdering people at a theater showing in the Denver area. 

(There are dozens of related videos on Youtube, by the way -- put in 'James Holmes theater trial,' and you'll be inundated, including day-by-day recountings.)

The latest: pages from the notebook he mailed to one of his psychiatrists, just before he did it.

The irony: both the defense and the prosecution are pointing to notebook pages as proof that Holmes was insane or sane -- depending on who's arguing the point.

Holmes, of course, wants to be thought of as insane at the time of the shootings -- so he won't be held accountable for any of this. After all, he didn't know what he was doing. Right?

Unfortunately, some of those notebook pages show an incredible amount of planning, for someone who didn't have a clue...including calculating how long it would take for the cops to get there. (Holmes estimated 3 minutes.)

The very latest: Holmes told a court-appointed psychiatrist during a 2014 interview that he cries himself to sleep now, thinking about what he's done. When does he have the "regrets" he admits to? "Just before I go to sleep," he says in the interview.
     Poor baby.

I feel a little sick.

More why's come to mind about this whole sordid affair:

*Why in the world did it take so long for all this to come to trial? 
       Holmes admitted he did this horrendous act right away. (He might as well have -- too many people saw him, and the police arrested him at the scene.) His lawyers admitted it, too, though they were reluctant to post it at first.

*Why is the state of Colorado paying millions of dollars for this to drag on -- for Holmes' lawyers' work (yes, they're court-appointed), as well as the DA? Even the judge was sick of the delays.  
     In case you're wondering, the admittedly well-off parents are not funding Holmes' defense. Nope, he's an adult (26). He's independent. So who's paying all that money for lawyers, expert witnesses and other hoopla, for a crime that's already admitted?
     We are.

*Why did his defense lawyers come up with a boxcar-load of motions and objections from the getgo, on how he wasn't going to get a fair trial, this or that evidence couldn't be presented, poor James, he was so badly treated, etc etc... Did they think this would endear him to either the jury, the judge...or the people of Colorado?

*Why is someone who was in one of the most difficult medical school programs out there -- by all accounts a brilliant man, raised in a well-educated family, with all sorts of opportunities -- now arguing that he's little short of a self-absorbed idiot? Granted, the pages in his notebook reveal a nasty tendency to focus on himself in nauseating detail, including monologues about his face, hair, nose and other body parts.
*Why are his parents now saying that their son is mentally ill (and they knew it all along, sort of) when they don't seem to have taken much action on his behalf before he stepping into that movie theater, and started shooting? 
     They are arguing that he could be kept in a good mental institution for the rest of his life, and that will take care of the problem. (They don't believe in capital punishment, anyway -- especially not for him. No matter what he did.)

     One of the huge problems with this: Colorado is notable for letting people who use the insanity defense off easy. They're often let go after only a few years, allowed to take long 'vacations' and 'field trips' from the mental facility, that sort of thing. If you've felt outraged at John Hinckley's current 'treatment,' (here, too) you ain't seen nothing yet.

     From the Denver Post article:
A Denver Post review found that three-fifths of 41 killers determined "not guilty by reason of insanity" over the past 25 years in Colorado have been moved from the mental hospital into halfway houses and homes across the state, sometimes as soon as three years after their commitments.
An insanity acquittal in Colorado, as in other states across the country, means that killers are not responsible for their acts and therefore are not punished. They are held indefinitely until they no longer suffer an abnormal mental condition that is likely to cause them to be dangerous to themselves or others.
Unlike in the prison system, the time patients spend at the state hospital has little to do with the crimes they commit. In some cases, those accused of relatively minor crimes spend more years locked up at the hospital than those who commit multiple murders.

Will this trial drag on for months?  It seems inevitable.

 Is  it possible that James Holmes is smart enough to fake mental illness, because he knows what will happen if he doesn't? 

Or is it that he knows what will happen (at least in Colorado) if he does?



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Moral of the Story: DON'T Take Your Dog Everywhere

Here's a weird one.

Extreme athlete Dean Potter died this month when his 'squirrel' wingsuit apparently didn't operate properly. He and a companion were killed, BASE jumping off Yosemite, in an area they'd done before. (His body-mounted video camera apparently caught details...but it's being analyzed by the police right now.)

What makes that strange, as well as weird, is that Potter had become even more famous recently -- and not because he'd improved his technique. Instead, he was taking his dog on his back during jumps.

Fortunately, the dog wasn't with him on the fatal plunge.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monday (er, Tuesday) Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Where Did May Go?

Yow, last week went fast.

We spent all of it in Michigan, for my uncle's funeral. Not only were we able to spend time with The Mama and my brother and sister-in-law, but we saw a ton of cousins and their kids, plus plenty of people I knew growing up. And for a quick bonus: an old boyfriend. (I still wonder what he thought about meeting the chubby, wrinkles-around-the-eyes gray-haired version of me!) 
    The Brick came with this time, which was a pleasure. He had a wonderful time shooting guns off with cousin Phil and a crowd. I helped The Mama put out Memorial Day flags at the local cemetary; our family has helped with this ever since I can remember, though The Mama had a lot of trouble physically walking between the graves. 
     It was unnerving, though, to hear the shooting at the nearby range -- blam, blam, BLAM -- while we were doing it.
    We drove 18 hours both home early Saturday morning, and crashed. Sunday, we left for a few days in the mountains -- and a stop at Hot Sulfur Springs

Yes, it really looks like this

Although it was just a tad freaky to be standing at the hotel window Sunday night, watching the snow pelt down. (We drove through a snowstorm to get there, as well.) 
     At least you can use the hot springs whatever weather you're having. Fortunately for us, the sun was shining (and alternating with rain now and then.) We brought home an unexpected souvenir: sunburn. 
     The Brick is dealing with his own case of sunburn -- plus, his kidney stones are back. Poor guy. We have lots to do to catch back up, including piano lessons, thank you notes and some business paperwork. At least it's not snowing here anymore...just up in the mountains. I'm glad for that -- I need to plant the garden, too.


Easier-than-usual cinnamon rolls, courtesy of Betty Crocker.

A charity quilt spotlight. (the Modern Quilt Guild)

The dirty little secret of living in small spaces. I know this one well -- both our girlies practice it regularly. (From Apartment Therapy)

Ten tips for first-time home buyers. (From The Simple Dollar) You'll enjoy their "Sometimes" post, too.

The $25 Shopping Cart feature from Poor Girl Eats Well. I love reading about this amazing blogger's battle to keep both her chronic illness and her bills in check. She comes up with delicious recipes, too, using basic ingredients. Expect her to be both honest and entertaining.

Save some bucks -- walk from your hotel to the airport when you're in Vegas! One of my favorite bloggers, Andy from Tight-Fisted Miser, tried this...and found that it was only 1.8 miles. Granted, he was only schlepping a small backpack, and had plenty of time to do it. Taxis charge big bucks to take this short trip -- I think I might try walking next time.

The ten-item wardrobe. (From Moneysaving Mom) What do you think -- could you live like this? While traveling (which we've done a lot of, lately) -- you bet. At home...I'm not so sure.
     Here's the video, for you to make up your own mind.

Dealing with the 'ugly side' of your yard. Although if that's ugly, it's still got plenty of bonus points, compared to my Pile O' Trash. Plenty of photos from the 'pretty side,' too.  (From Thrifty Decor Chick)

Have a great week.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: In A Hurry

   See this darling man?

My uncle, Vernon Cumings, passed away Friday. He had a good long life, but his family -- including the Brick and yours truly -- will miss him. We need to go to the service on Tuesday -- which has meant a whole lot of pushing back some tasks, and cancelling others. In fact, we'll be on the road to Michigan in a few hours. You'll be hearing from me this week -- but from Michigan. Staffers will hold the fort here in Colorado.
I'm glad I've been collecting goodies for you all week, so I can still share Stuff:

Eating -- and spending  -- less. A lot less. (Check the comments.) From Budgets are Sexy.

20 copycat recipes for everything from Krispy Kreme doughnuts to Outback's brown bread. 

Three planters -- cut from soda bottles. Easy how-tos are on Our Peaceful Planet.

A man struggles with 'allergies' for decades -- then sneezes a play dart out his nose!

The most filling 100-calorie snacks out there. 

 Corn-chile tamales -- an easier-to-make recipe. (from Good Cheap Eats)

'Two-can' tuna tacos. (From San Francisco Magazine)

Making decorative use of that wasted space behind your doors. (From Distressed Donna Down Home)

Ten spending habits of the famous and frugal.   Including a football player who still drives the car he bought for $2.

Treasure in a marble-topped chest bought at an estate sale. Don't forget to check for hidden drawers!

Swing beds -- and just plain swings -- made from pallets. The blog's Russian -- but it won't stop you from figuring out these brilliant ideas. (From Styleitchic)

Vietnamese-style banh mi -- meatball sandwiches, in this case. (From My Bare Cupboard)

Have a good week.  

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Three Dog Night

It's been a little busy around here. 

Daughter #2's dog Karma has been staying over this week, while her parents have been soaking in hot springs, and getting some work done.

Which means, instead of just two, we currently have THREE large dogs to trip over, feed -- and let out.
(Karma can actually open the screen door to let herself back in, the stinker.)

    I can't go anywhere without at least one pair of eyes checking out what's happening. 

And whenever I fix any food:

Karma goes home tomorrow. I'll miss her...but our screen door will finally stay CLOSED.

I have no idea what you're talking about, Grandma...

Al Rogers: Bows to a Boss

     Al Rogers died this past week. He was the owner of  Rogers Hardware, a Sparta, Michigan business begun back in 1928, and still going strong today.

Al was my boss.

He didn't talk much. A tall, gangly man with dark hair, kind eyes and a slight chuckle when he heard something funny, he wore his red HWI jacket as if it was a doctor's coat. I began working for him at 15, dusting the shelves and helping local farmers find the right parts. An amazing amount of tools, bugspray, screws, bolts and plumbing parts poured out of that store over the years.
     His dad, Mel, helped out now and then. So did Al's brother Roy.
     I grew to love that dusty, cluttered place. I spent four afternoons a week there. Charley Harnish and Doug King, who worked at the local grocery store, would walk downtown with me after school, cracking jokes and laughing all the way. On summers and Saturdays I generally worked all day, washing flies off the windows, and arranging displays of wooden spoons, mixing bowls and pickling crocks.
     When the blizzards came, we stayed open, so people could buy kerosene lamps and snow shovels. (Working in the dark, adding things up on paper or an old manual machine was no joke, either.) When harvest was on, farmers would send their hired men in for parts on account. (The guys couldn't quiiiite meet my eyes as they asked for fittings with male or female ends.) We scooped up pounds of bean seed and corn kernels for rosy-faced farmers' wives, while their kids eyed the gumball machine up front. At Christmastime, we wrapped up mixers, blenders and other equipment for 'romantic' last-minute presents. (Nothing says love like a nice humidifier.)
     The work wasn't hard -- and many times, it was interesting. What it did, though, was day after day, week after week, was to fund the college training I so desperately wanted.

     And that education gave me opportunities I still use today.

I will forever be grateful to Al and his job offer to that snot-nosed 15-year-old. He didn't know it at the time, but his kindness and generosity -- repeated throughout the years, and even during college breaks -- changed my life.

Thank you, Al. Thank you so much.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What's in Your Wallet?

Have you ever thought how the contents of your purse...or briefcase...or wallet... reveal what's important to you?

When life is full of harried hustling (like right now), scribbled notes and ideas jostle for room in my purse, along with half-used packs of gum, toothbrush/toothpaste -- and a protein bar, just in case I miss lunch. A checkbook, too -- I must be one of the last six people in the universe who still write checks.  (My girlies sure don't.)

What do I keep in the wallet that competes for space with kleenex and a sometimes drippy pen?

*Nine hundred bazillion reward cards, for everything from Red Robin to Tuesday Morning

*Airline reward cards -- but only a few. And those have scribbled account numbers for other airlines

*The wholesale tax license for Brickworks

*A note from my dad -- one of the last he wrote. (It's a list of tractor parts he was looking for. Nothing mushy -- this was a stolid Dutch farmer, after all.) 

*A list of addresses for family, friends and my piano students. (I currently have 5 -- piano students, that is!) Libby Lehman introduced me to a habit: sending postcards to Brother and Sister, the Mama, nieces/nephews and the girlies, and piano students, from wherever I've got a teaching gig.
     I've been doing this for years. Though it's rarely mentioned, I see the postcards on bulletin boards and refrigerators, and have heard how much they like this. The hardest part: finding good postcards.

*License, credit cards...and a very little cash. (I rarely carry much.) If possible, an emergency $20 is stashed somewhere deep within.

*A cellphone -- if I wasn't absentminded, and left it at home.

So... what's in your wallet?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Springtime

Well, we got nailed, all right -- at least 8 inches of wet, heavy snow, and freezing temps to boot. It made the roads nasty, and gave Keith, Daughter #2's partner, one last chance to make some bucks by plowing parking lots. 
     It also seems to have killed the three tomato plants I was hoarding under a coldframe. Poor babies. (Everything else looks ok.) 
     The baby chickies did great, thanks to a heatlamp. They're being let out of their coop this afternoon to mingle with the other girls. It's time for them to grow up, figuratively and literally. 
     We're supposed to have temps in the 70s by tomorrow. Welcome to Colorado. Meanwhile:

One of the better thought-out small space homes I've seen. Check out the storage possibilities, especially. (From MoneySaving Mom) 

You can live off half your income -- these people did it.  (From Budgets Are Sexy)

Drawers -- out of steps? And using a leftover cabinet for the drawers,-- extra storage space at no extra cost except elbow grease? You've got my vote! (From Houselogic)

The best jokes David Letterman never used... by his former staffers.

Buddy the conehead -- and having Mom diagnosed with Alzheimer's. (From Living Rich on the Cheap)

Stylish furniture -- for your dollhouse. Funky Junk Interiors shows you how.

Flower patterns DIY -- make homemade flower designs look professional in just a few steps. (From the Tender Garden) 

Extra uses for baby powder. (Making your eyelashes look thicker?!?)

Pepperoni rolls. An old(er) recipe, but delicious -- and easy. (From 24 Hour Menu)

Five paintings stolen in WWII are American heirs, after seeing the movie 'Monuments Men.' Good for them.

Eating like the Rock -- and I'll tell you one thing: he has a real thing for cod. 

An interesting look at NOT wasting food -- penalty labels, a restaurant and store dedicated to aging produce?  Plus a cook who feeds her large family on less than $300 a month.

Planked floors -- done with real 1x6 planksThis sure makes more sense than buying and installing fake wood. (From Shabby Creek Cottage)

'Cheap' pieces that look at home in expensive decor.  (From Apartment Therapy) Like this living room, which mixes a $70 floor lamp in with rare art and fancy armchairs.

From cheap laminate throwaway to sturdy storage bench. (From My Repurposed Life)

Scents, memory...and how it affects your purchases. (From A gai shan Life)

McDonald's history...and it's not pretty.

My mom, the frugal role model -- from Donna Freedman.

 Have a great week. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015


It's May? 



Three or four inches are on the ground, and more are coming.

Take a look here, and you'll see.

Welcome to Colorado. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Did You Go To Prom?

(Actually, I didn't.)

26 hysterical prom photos, including this one -- which I'm sure the Brick chickens would approve of:

Especially the moony-eyed girl on the left.

Go here for more.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Work, work, work

30 ways to be silly (or weird) while you work. Like this one: 

Go to this link for more. 
Don't forget your pants.

Lawyers, Note:

Think you know everything about matters legal?

Mental Floss takes a long look at popular misconceptions about the law:

Now that I know about free speech (and drove barefoot much of the way home this weekend) , I feel much better.
     Maybe I'll go draw on a dollar bill to celebrate.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: HOME

Got back early this morning from Michigan, after driving all night through a series of flashy thunderstorms. Lighting crashed on each side, lighting up the road...and if I looked, then I couldn't see the night items. If I stopped, then the driving rain made it almost impossible to see -- if I kept going, most of the time I could outrun what was happening. 
    The Mama also mentioned I'd traveled through an area with tornadoes. I'm not surprised. 

Got home to stopped-up toilets and sinks -- apparently we have a backflow problem with the sewage and gray water output. I'm not surprised at this one, either -- the Brick has had this happen several times while I've been gone on other trips.
     Why? I've no idea.

At any rate, it's lovely to be home -- and staying for a while.

BTW:  This week's Monday Stuff is a little thin -- staying at the Mama's means I can't access the Internet much. (She thinks it's a waste of time, and crabs if I take much time on it.) It will be more substantial next week.

Catching a crook -- and making sure he doesn't do it again. Wish we could do this with every mischarge we've had. (And there have been several.) From Money Beagle.

Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Chex Mix.  Bacon, bourbon, pecans and crunchiness -- what's not to love? 

19 one-liners on parenthood. Like this one: "88% of parenting is saying 'it's bedtime' 150 times between 8:00 and 9:00 every night."

Gourmet herb butters -- for steak and other meat -- you can make. (From It's All Connected)

A beautiful fruit tart -- use it for decor, then eat it for dessert! (From Pennies and Pancakes)

Frugal snacks -- from yours truly via Midlife Finance. From the same site:
    Important facts from the student loan forgiveness program.

Have a great week, while I start to catch up again.