Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue Moon (er, Meteor) Over Argentina

Take a look here, or just watch the video below.

(The video on the link is especially vivid. Creepers...)

We've got a blue moon happening, too!

(A blue moon, if you're wondering, is the second full moon in a month. It happens every once in a while...but not often. Hence the title -- and meaning.)

Express Yourself -- Ironically

Ever had a crafting project that drove you crazy?

You'll need some of these sewing labels to sign it.

(Okay, there's some 'nicey' ones, too.)

These are on sale at Herrschner's through August 3rd -- only $3.00.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

An Odd Post

Oh my, it's been an strange week.

Hot, hot, hot. The dogs find the coolest spot on the tile, and stay there...hoping for a fan breeze.
 No rain -- or just a brief shower. Charley the dog (as well as the Brick and yours truly) have begun struggling mightily with allergies.

One of the 'baby' chickies -- who are very close to starting to lay regularly -- was dead in the yard late this morning. She'd managed to put her head through some frayed rope holding up the electric wire -- and strangled herself to death, the silly cluck. After the first burst of sadness, I had a momentary irritation -- we've been stuffing her with feed for weeks, for nothing.
     This is especially frustrating because the other chickens are currently molting. Which means that they don't lay that many eggs, either. Sigh...

    (The Brick did buy me an early birthday present: a chicken door that closes electronically just after sunset, and opens soon after sunrise. The chickens love being able to get out there early and fuss about. We love not having to rush out first thing in the morning, or kill ourselves trying to get back at nightfall in time to close the door. So far, it works great.) 

And I have had to deal with several difficult situations this week. In each case, when the person did not get what they wanted, they went after me, instead. Attack!

Except I'm not laughing about it.

I can shrug it off, to some extent. And this helps, I guess. Both personally and professionally, I try to do my best -- and not because I'm worried about human comments. Someday, I will have to stand before the Great Judge and explain my actions. I want to be able to say, before Him, that I did my best -- and mean it.

All the same, I haven't had a peaceful night's sleep for weeks. The Brick, who is undergoing some turmoil at his job, not to mention all the rushing-about to get ready for the new school year, is having similar struggles. (He works for the local public school system.) To make matters worse, we keep each other awake with all our thrashing and turning-over.
     And don't's hot. That's not helping, either.

All the fancypants apnea systems or sleep studies will not change this -- we need to get these situations resolved.

It can't come too soon.

I Must Have Been Dreaming...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


(in honor of Little Brother, who once owned a pig farm)

And if you think that's fun, try this:

50 weird things to do in an elevator

Monday, July 27, 2015

A New Kind of Summer Diving

     "We've got some goodies for your chickens," our new neighbors said, smiling. The next day, I came home to double boxes crammed full of apples, pears, squash, zucchini, potatoes, eggplant, peppers -- and a boatload of pumpkins.
      And if you think the chickens got all that, you're crazy.

It turns out that Jeff and Renee enjoy a rare hobby around here: dumpster diving. Our local grocery stores generally put all their leftovers in composting dumpsters that smash everything flat. But every now and then, the composters break down -- and then people like us (J & R have rabbits) can use the edibles for their animals.

     Others do this. Penniless Parenting's blogger makes a regular habit of checking, especially when she's headed to the farmer's market, anyway. You don't even have to look that hard; veggies are sometimes scattered near booths, or near broken crates. Take them home, wash thoroughly, and you'll have nutritious food for no cost.
     One day, on a walk with Daughter #1's dog Jack, I found the back of a Panera's...and a garbage can full of bags of bread. I loaded my arms and somehow made it back to her house. She was embarrassed -- some friends had seen this weird lady digging in the garbage bins, and they recognized Jack the dog. Daughter was shocked, shocked, I tell you, that her mom would be rummaging around out there.
     But the bread was delicious!

It's not just food. People stupidly throw things away all the time, especially when they're moving. The writer of one fascinating blog, "Things I find in Garbage," is forever finding antiques, furniture, cookware, and even gold and silver jewelry. Plus cash -- many of his posts include a handful or jarful of coins.
    He keeps the money and some of the more intriguing things, but sells most items on Ebay or Craigslist. And he has done very, very well for himself.

     I don't have Mr. Thing's luck, but I've found a WWII ashtray, some odd medical slides of infections and diseased body parts (yuck- trashed again fast), a decorative metal garden seat (promptly grabbed by Daughter #1), fishing gear, wrapping paper, a frying pan (found in a bag of grass clippings), bouquets of roses, furniture, windows, candy...and a beautiful embroidered quilt, neatly folded on top on the garbage can.
     I used to take the girlies out in their red wagon, looking for bags of grass clippings we could use in the compost pile. The girlies had a wonderful time doing this, and called it "Grass Patrol." I called it useful. Occasionally we'd find something else, but more often we'd take the stuff home, thankful there weren't more mosquitoes out. 

     Daughters #1 and #2 may tease Mom about her predeliction to dig through the garbage, but they've both found good stuff, especially toward the end of school. (They both live near Boulder, Colorado, the home of CU.) Some of the best items: mountain bikes, computer equipment, cooking appliances, even designer clothing. And lots of change too, no doubt. (A high number of CU students grew up in affluence, and aren't apt to stop and roll their money -- let alone get a job. Mom and Dad will replace everything when they get home.)

Heading by a pile of stuff put out for the trash? Take a quick look -- you might find something wonderful. Not only will you be helping your budget -- you'll be preserving something from being thrown away and wasted. And in today's yammering about being more eco-aware and "green," that's important.

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: An Unexpected Win - And Visitor

What a July! 

It ranges from hot to cool (but sticky), then back to hot. The chickens have responded by refusing to lay eggs, but stuffing themselves with everything we'll give them. The dogs deal with it by laying in front of every fan and swamp cooler they can find. And the Brick and I coped by going to a ball game -- which the Rockies deigned to win -- including an incredible 10-run 4th inning. For a team on the bottom of the bucket, that's amazing.
    We spend a lot of time in front of the fans, too. And drinking a LOT of iced tea. Unsweetened. A visitor stopped by mid-week: a bear that ripped apart our neighbor's thriving beehive.  He worked sooo hard on this. (The neighbor, not the bear.) Mr. Bear may have considered visiting the chickens, as well, but our 6-foot chainlink fence, sturdy coop and the tender attentions of Mr. Charles (the dog) seem to have persuaded him to look elsewhere. 
    I still feel bad for neighbor Tim, though.

     This week should be a strange one. We're waiting on the outcome of several things...and not sure which way they'll go. Meanwhile, I only have a dribble of paperwork and one appraisal to do. And the basement inventory desperately needs to be sorted through. By the way, if you're thinking of sorting through your stuff, as well, the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, CO could use any kind of sewing room-type donations you've got, for their annual garage sale. Go here for more, and contact info.

Another look at the 'deserving' homeless. What do you do, when they refuse the help offered? This essay from 1997 covers a New York program...and its results. Still applies today.

15 ways to save up to $500 a month...without trying that hard. Hopefully you're doing at least a few of these. (From The College Investor)

A minimalist's wardrobe. This started as a help for 'Tiny House' occupants, but has some good ideas for us all. (From the Tiny House Blog)

10 celebrity duos who couldn't stand each other. 

19 snacks that are supposed to rev up your metabolism. What, no cookies?

Medieval doodles. Yes, people fooled around on paper 700 years ago, just like us.

Man punches shark. (How mean, right?)

Cleaning white ironstone -- try denture tablets! I use this for spot cleaning on textiles -- there's a way to do it. (Ask if you're curious. From It's All Connected)

13 very weird final requests on death row. 

Antoine Walker. Big NCAA basketball star -- and bankrupt within two years after retirement.

Living in a grain silo? Yep, it can be done - and stylishly.

Captain Kidd's treasure discovered? One silver bar, at least.

25 ways to use vintage suitcases. 

11 cool uses for straws. You'll be surprised at some of these, including a great way to make small-portion 'sachets' for drink powders. (From Instructables)

Have a great week.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A New Shipwreck Surfaces

(sorry, couldn't resist.)

The John V. Moran was lost in an 1899 Lake Michigan storm. Now it's been found again.

Amazing condition!

 It was discovered by the Lake Michigan Shipwreck Association, and is being explored with a remote control vehicle (ROV). (It's 365 feet down -- tough for divers, although they're now going this deep. The Andrea Doria, a regular spot now for exploration, is 240 feet down. Though a diver has just gone missing on it, and is presumed dead.)

     No interesting treasure, so far. The ship was reputed to be carrying flour, peas, oil cake (whatever the heck that is), and 43 tons of "misc. cargo." Fortunately, the crew were rescued before the ship sank.

Some mood music while you're pondering all this:

P.S. The Brick pointed out that this is a Lake Superior song...not Lake Michigan. Too bad.

Friday, July 24, 2015

It's Happened Again

Now that the jury in James Holmes' trial has decided that yes, he could be considered for the death penalty...

Another theater shooting has happened -- this time in Louisiana.

I feel sick. 

The only comfort, if you can call it that, is the shooter committed suicide. (Apparently he ran outside, heard the police sirens, went back in and shot himself. Two policemen who just happened to be there watching another movie were actually headed his way.)
     Now there won't be an expensive, drawn-out trial like the one Coloradoans have endured.

Over the screams of gun control advocates, I wonder:

    What if someone in the theater had a concealed permit? Would that have stopped this gunman that much sooner?

Thursday, July 23, 2015


I've been thinking about pallets again. 

If you've read any of my other writing on this subject -- and you're someone who likes to save money -- you know that this FREE source of wood can produce some mighty wonderful things.



Outdoor deck furniture.

101 has how-tos for these and more. (Yes, I'm guessing 101 of them.) 

99 has even more!

And if you don't find what you like there, has a 25-er article...with a link to 21 more ideas on turning pallets into "unique furniture." Oh my.

There's even a whole category on, that wonderful how-to site, that makes use of this versatile building material. 

Here's one of my favorites: an amazing shed . And yes, nearly all of it is pallets!

Or how about bottle planting towers hung on a pallet wall. (This one's REALLY clever.)

I like this outdoor lounge, as well.

Craigslist often has listings from people who are trying to get rid of their pallets. Or stop by a business that has them stacked in the back, and ask. Odds are good that you'll be able to try some experimenting with your own set of pallets, too.

     If you mess up, they'll make a nice bonfire!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Not That Guys EVER Do This...

...or women, for that matter.

(From Pinterest)

I Am (Tired Of) Cait

    Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, has had plenty of publicity lately.

As you already know.

Jenner's decided to 'become' female...though, interestingly enough, not to change out all those body parts that mark us as girls and/or boys. (Her Vanity Fair profile dismissed that as unimportant.)
     She's had a ton of publicity, well-worked into articles, profiles, a billion photographs, and even the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The first episode of her show, "I Am Cait," is premiering. (More on all this here, if you're curious.)

Here's what bothers me.

It's not the transgender issue. True, my faith makes me wonder whether some people are doing this out of mental struggles -- identifying with good 'ol Mom or Dad, for example -- than they really feel like a woman (or man).

It's the "Me me ME" issue. The Vanity Fair profile made it clear that if the celebration/award/event wasn't about Jenner personally, then she (and he too, sadly) had little interest in participating. He was a no-show at his children's birthdays, holiday celebrations and graduations, with very few exceptions. He was running out of media coverage, except for his connection with the Kardashians through his ex-wife. He was running out of money.

Now, lo and behold, everything's back. 

Not only is Jenner suddenly important -- everyone's photographing her and exclaiming over her beauty. (Which she probably loves, though I notice that her arms and hands, which betray her sex and age, are carefully minimized.) She has the show, a new house and presumably lots of $$. Even Jenner's kids on the Kardashian side are asking her to lay off picking on them

But did she make this incredible change because she really feels like a woman -- or she has an ego the size of Detroit?

   (  I'm not the only one who's suspicious about this, either.)

If she really believes in this, here's her golden chance to champion other transgenders. To make a difference. To put her time and energy into starting organizations, raising funds, appearing for the cause, etc. etc.
    Here's also her chance to make up some of those decades of neglect to her children...instead of just whipping them out at Father's Day. (Who goes off-roading in a cream silk dress, anyways?)

But I'm guessing she won't -- because then she'd have to share the limelight. 

 She'd have to focus on someone else besides herself -- and that would mean dealing with issues that she'd rather not face right now...or be able to dismiss on the excuse that she wasn't her true self Back Then.

Well, now she is. Right?

It will be interesting to see if Jenner considers herself/himself a man or a woman when the attention dies down. Five years from now. Shoot, a decade from now. My bet: keeping those 'unnecessary' organs has more significance in all this than she would care to admit.

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

Update: Jenner has just released a video, showing her up at 4:30 in the morning, worrying about all her fellow transgens. On the eve of her show airing, she just 'happens' to have the camera ready to go...because she's worried about them. (Cue sad music in the background.) Nothing to do with her -- or the show. Uh huh. Sure.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Want something totally different from the usual, to serve at your next outdoor event?

     -- What about taco cookies? 

    (Thank you, The Kurtz Corner...not to mention The Angry Chicken, that steered me there)

Serve them with quesadillas and a nice cerveza.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Homey-ness

Life is quiet right now. 

I have been loving it, staying home for a while. Putzing around in the garden, picking up eggs, packing away things...even in the heat, it's been ok. I can stay with the Brick and the dogs, see the girlies now and then, and maybe even get some stuff done!  

10 minutes = 100 calories. Ten minute workouts that burn it -- fast.

A dumpster -- as a swimming pool? Yup. (Actually, it's one of those big storage containers.)

The new photos of Pluto and its moon are AMAZING. Just think how jealous our ancestors would be of us, finally getting to see this secretive planet up-close!  (Am I the only one who thinks it looks more than a little like the moon?)

Chicago dogs. I get one of these at the airport every time I fly in...yum. This version isn't exactly right -- but when you can't get your hands on bright green relish, you make do.

Villagers in a small village in Kazakhstan keep having weird nightmares. They fall asleep for long periods, have strange hallucinations and other strange side effects. People thought they were making it up...until evidence emerged that they were being slowly poisoned by a nearby uranium mine. (The 'Sleepy Hollow' effect, it's now being called.)

Eight weird things celebrities have done (or do) in the name of beauty. 
 Well, at least two aren't that bad...

Growing lavender -- actually two posts that will help you grow it successfully in your garden. Here's one part, and here's the other. (From It's All Connected)

Thirteen healthy mason jar meals...that aren't salads. Like this chicken potpie from Cooking with Jax:

Ten amazing recently discovered photographs of historical importance. (From Listverse)

'Goodnight Stories:' people living in San Francisco...any way they can.  (photo essay)

A DIY mosquito trap -- all you need is a pop bottle and a few common household items. (From Instructables.)

Make your own pillowcases. As near as I can tell... only two seams! (From Notes from the Patch)

Have a great week.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Now you know what this strange little planet really looks like, instead of just guessing, like we've been doing for millenia.

A day after New Horizon's historic flyby,  NASA released the first photos of Pluto and its satellites.


Funny -- it looks surprisingly like our old friend, the Moon!

Of course, Pluto doesn't really look like THAT. Pluto actually looks like this:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

News on the Colorado Theater Murder Trial

After less than two days of deliberation, the Colorado jury has found James Holmes..


Here are specifics. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, look here and here.)

Can't say I'm surprised. 

Now we get to endure at least a month of further dithering in the court, wherein the Powers That Be argue whether Holmes should be executed -- or gets to wither away in jail for the rest of his life. (He deserves much, much worse.)

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Get Down and Boogie

Can this guy dance...or can he dance!!

(He's moving to the Vamps, by the way.)

Our girlies would have been shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- if their dad busted moves like this.

What I Believe -- About Responsibility (And Freedom)

Recently, I put up two graphics -- here and here, if you missed them.

Yes, I think they're right... but it depends on how you look at it, too.

And a lot of my beliefs about this have to do with one big word:


Are you willing to stay off drugs, and limit your alcohol -- even if no one else you know is doing that? 
    That may mean limiting your contact with 'friends' whose major aim in life is drinking themselves unconscious every weekend, then posting Facebook selfies, bragging about it.

Are you willing to keep studying and educating yourself -- even when no one around you thinks that's important?
    Youtube is filled with videos on fixing appliances, growing productive gardens, building things. Books not only educate you, but let you 'go away' for a while, from situations you can't control -- like staying 2 1/2 months with a mom who needs you. 

Are you willing to take a lower-paid or less flashy job, even if it's 'demeaning,' to pay the bills until you can find a better one? This includes (oh, the horror!) minimum wage.
     The Brick and I have both worked at jobs that weren't fun...including scrubbing toilets in a church, scrubbing produce at the grocery store, shredding cabbage for umpteen eggrolls at a Chinese restaurant. Even working at Walmart's corner grill -- I became a dab hand at cotton candy, even though it meant coming home late at night covered in stickiness, with a light accent of hotdog juice.
     We have good friends and family who washed dishes, cleaned houses, babysat, walked dogs, worked at Taco Bell, slopped pigs...all to pay bills and save a little extra.
     One of our young friends refused to apply for any jobs that paid minimum wage, "because I'm better than that." She has continued to live at her folks' house, rent-free and with her hand out, for years. (She's still there, in fact.) 

Are you willing to give up some things now, for more security later? Are you willing to save, even a little bit, for the future?
    You don't HAVE to have cable, a fancy car or the latest cellphone. You can live in a smaller place -- or even just a room! -- until you can save up enough for a down payment on something bigger. 

Are you willing to stretch your money as far as possible?  Use every trick in the book to keep yourself solvent and debt-free? Keep your food budget down so you can use the money for other purposes? (Even though technically you don't have to.)

Are you willing to get up and go to work, even when you don't feel like it?

Are you willing to chip away at larger bills, even medical expenses, a bit at a time, until they're paid?

Are you willing to make your family a priority -- even when it's difficult, or you don't feel like it? Are you willing to do this, over and over and OVER, until you are well-nigh sick of it?
    That may mean sewing up ripped seams at midnight, after you've put in a full day's work at a crappy job. Cooking, when it would be so much easier just to go to McDonald's. Cleaning up -- over and over again -- a child with the flu. Refusing to date people who are less than reliable, even though you're lonely. (Think of all the child abuse cases out there, including this horrendous one recently in Denver. They're almost always the boyfriend, who, like this case, has already been in trouble many times. Blame the system, if you want -- but it was the mom's poor decisions that let this monster near her child.) 

If you're willing to do these things, you're acting like an adult. And that, in turn, gives you:


It lets your mind grow stronger, even when you're currently in a hard place.

It teaches you patience and perseverance. 

It shows you what's most important in life -- and that ain't MONEY.

And with time, it gives you the opportunity to choose what you want -- perhaps because:
    *You have the money to do so
    *You've learned to live on less money, to begin with
    *You've taught yourself so many different skills that you can find a job practically anywhere

I'm not just saying these things out of pompousness. I know them -- because
I've been there.
    Others have, too.

And in time (it didn't happen overnight), following these 'willings' has let the Brick and I take advantage of opportunities that we never dreamed of -- to travel, to try new things, to make friends in unexpected places...and even to consider retiring early. (More about that soon.)

Now -- how does that affect my responsibility to those nebulous 'POOR?'

It means I share my good fortune. 
    We both strongly believe that a certain percentage of our time, money and energy goes to help someone else who needs it. In our case, this is at least a tithe: 10%. But that's just the starting point.

It means that I don't waste it. 
     We worked hard for this. Why would we donate that to an organization who lies about how they use their money, pays their executives big bucks, and isn't nearly as quick to respond to emergency situations as other groups?
     In this case, it's why we won't be donating to the Red Cross. -- but we will donate to the Salvation Army.

     We look especially for groups whose members are donating their time and energy -- like:
    Habitat for Humanity --whose recipients are required to put in their own time working on the homes they benefit from
     Mennonite Central Committee --especially proactive on clean water and better living conditions for small villages around the world, with nearly every penny of your donation going directly to the cause
     Samaritan's Purse  --yearly Christmas boxes to kids all around the world -- and Johnny-on-the-spot for emergency situations, like the earthquakes in Tibet, faster than most organizations

The Bible is crystal-clear about helping the poor and needy. (It also talks a lot about encouraging people, especially singles, the elderly, 'widows and orphans' -- have you done that today?)

 But it is also straightforward about the importance of responsibility:

    Even while we were with you, we gave you this command:
          "Those unwilling to work will not get to eat." (II Thess. 3:10)

The Brick and I are both Christians. We owe our lives and hearts to our faith in Jesus Christ. In return, the Lord has given our lives back, to be used for Him, and to help others. If He gave His life for us, would He want that sacrifice to be wasted, or taken lightly? 

He said:
   "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free."  (John 8:32)

And that, dear readers, is true freedom -- and responsibility.

Your comments are welcome -- even if you disagree with me. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: So This is July. Kinda.

After a week of very strange weather for Colorado (cold, gray, rainy), we're back to our regularly-scheduled program: Hot, hot hot. Technically, it's 'high desert' around here -- usually, our landscape this time of year is gray, tan and brown. But our backyard and the surrounding area is a rich, dark green. I only wish I could have gotten more pumpkins and squash planted, to take advantage of the moisture.
     The paperwork is nearly done, so it's on to the next jobs: binding a quilt (and cleaning a banner), and putting in time on the basement inventory. At least it's a little cooler downstairs. Meanwhile:

Greece may finally have a workable bailout plan. At least it was approved by world leaders yesterday. Go here for the first post, and here for more. 

How he went from debtor to millionaire -- by J.D. Roth, the founder of Get Rich Slowly. I suspect that this article ended up being a lot more personal than J.D. planned...but it's illuminating, nonetheless. (Courtesy of Financial Samurai)

ESPN's in trouble. It lost 3.2 million subscribers last year alone, as people cancelled cable or trimmed their packages. Oh boo hoo -- ESPN's been on a gravy train for decades. Maybe it will start providing affordable coverage now.

Free summer movies for the kids -- and you. (From Cha-Ching on A Shoestring)

The cheapskate's (or financially challenged) person's guide to a clean home. (From Apartment Therapy)

Lessons learned after a decade of work. It's not too late to benefit from these now, either. (From Mindful Riot)

30 weird world views, courtesy of Google Earth. And Danger Dolan:

10 extremely cool products from IKEA. They were great to start with, but now they've been tweaked and multipurposed by designers. (From Apartment Therapy)

A four-carat pink sapphire valued at $12,500. Only it's a fake. The owners bought it in good faith...and now want it replaced. But the jeweler, who is saying that the statute of limitations is up, anyways, only wants to replace the stone. The family counters with 1)they don't trust the jeweler anymore and 2)they want the updated value, anyways -- not what it was originally worth.
     The appraiser's getting sued, too.
     Be sure to click on the link's link, to get the full story. Especially if you're an appraiser.

A chicken photo essay. Maybe it's just me...but this is a charmer. (From Our New Life in the Country)

Amelia Earhart -- was she and Fred Noonan taken prisoner after her plane crashed...or wasn't she? The debate continues.

10 funny realities about famous movies. Like Predator's eerie green blood -- it was actually a mixture of a broken glow stick and K-Y jelly!

Have a great week. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Steam Heat

This has been on my mind ever since the Monday Stuff column...
    except it's from Pajama Game. I thought Fred Astaire did it!

Nope. It was Doris Day.

Fred, on the other hand, did an engine room scene in Shall We Dance. I'm sure "Slap That Bass" was plenty sweaty during performance.

Now you can have these songs stuck in your brain, too!
    No need for thanks -- my work here is done.


 What do you think?
     I'd like to hear.

I'll tell you what I think shortly.

(From Blue Nation Review on Facebook, via Daughter #1. Thanks, girlie...)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Dealing With the F-Word

     Ha, got you, didn't I!

Actually, it's the OTHER F-word: the FLU. I brought it home as a little present from the teaching-in-Texas gig. (Chilled, then broiled, chilled, then broiled as I moved from air conditioning to the outside -- I don't know how they do it. Even the hallways in the hotel were sweatboxes.)

Fortunately, after two-plus weeks spent dragging myself around and doing the bare minimum to get by...I seem to be doing better. Certainly I'm not perched over the toilet anymore. We were getting to be good friends, Mr. Porcelain and I, with uncomfortable reminders that I wasn't cleaning and vacuuming as closely as I should. (Yuck.)

     So how do you get rid of this unpleasant house guest? Here's what helped:

*REST. Admitting that I was sick -- and it was okay to just lay there. I only got up to drag myself to appointments (thankfully sparse), let the chickens and dogs out (and in), and cobble together some easy meals. I didn't even read that much.

*Lots of fluids. Tea in all its forms, fruit juice, coffee...whatever.

*Keeping the house as even a temperature as possible...especially compared to the outside.

*Warm baths. Some of our bath salts have eucalyptus -- a boon when you can't draw a deep breath from chest congestion.

*Hot toddies.  You need something to help you sleep. Most people would use Nyquil. Not only do I hate the taste (yuck!), it tends to leave me dull, headachy and groggy in the morning.
     Try a hot toddy, instead. There's even a Brick hot toddy, which sounds like hot buttered whisky. (I keep thinking of Clarence the angel in It's A Wonderful Life, listing the warmups that would make him happy, including "hot buttered rum, heavy on the butter...")

A hot toddy, sipped slowly, can do wonders for a good night's sleep.

*Easy food. This is where your emergency pantry and freezer meals come in handy. (Hey, you needed to use them up, anyways. Using up your available food helps when you're trying to save money, too. Not that this ever happens...) Canned soups and stews, mac and cheese boxes (with a little chopped protein or some broccoli thrown in, for vitamin purposes), potpies...if you can stir it up or bung it in the oven in five minutes or less, it works. 
       And of course, chicken soup. If you're not a chicken-and-noodle fan, try Zuppa Toscana-- it's wonderful.

*Admitting you're not Superwoman. Or Man. Or whatever. Unless you're currently in talks about the Greek financial crisis, you probably could take a few days off without the world coming to an end. Stop trying to be you can get better.

Now that I'm feeling better, guess who's got it?
    The Brick, of course. 

Guys and the flu -- now, that's a whole different story.


Every now and then, I like to keep you posted on subjects I've brought up. After all, aren't you curious about new developments?

Well, here they are. 

The defense has finally rested in the James Holmes theater murder trial. After going on for umpteen weeks, not to mention millions of dollars of taxpayers' money, it ended by Holmes making a one-sentence statement: "I do not choose to testify." After more than 20 hours of video of him rambling on, who cares -- we got plenty of his opinions, already.  My favorite: that murdering people would increase his self-worth. (I'm not kidding. He really said that.)

            Final arguments are Tuesday, then it goes to the jury on Wednesday. Good luck to them.

 Greece is finally doing something about its troubles. Although Greek citizens voted no to any austerity measures, the Greek government introduced a new bailout plan that will have them anyways, including higher sales taxes on certain goods, and a cut in pension plans. The new plan was submitted only a few hours before a deadline that would have thrown Greece out on its keester from both use of the euro, and inclusion in the European Union, or EU. (Now referred to more often as the Eurozone.) No wonder, when even EU's president, Donald Tusk, said the country needed a "realistic" proposal, to be taken seriously.
    Better something than nothing, I guess. But this is far from over. 

Another update (7/13/15):
   As of Sunday the 12th, Greece's bailout plan has been approved by other countries in the EU...provided Greece takes some serious austerity measures, and gives up much of its right to approve or disprove what's going to happen. Greek banks are set to reopen on Thursday.

The chickens are not behaving. (What, you don't think that the Bricks' chicken doings are on a par with Greek financial crises??) The 'babies,' who have stopped peeping and now look and act like regular chickens, have stopped laying eggs. Just eating, pooping and making pests of themselves. Unfortunately, that's mostly what everyone else is doing, as well. I've tried everything, including fresh cans of catfood (a cheap source of protein), leftover watermelon and a healthy serving of grass and weeds each day -- but the eggs, for a flock of 30-plus hens, remain at 4 or 5 each day.
     We're talking a butchering session this weekend for inspiration -- hopefully in full view of the flock. But then, they're meat-lovers. They'll probably just stand around, hoping for a bite.
     The strange thing: we've always had a 'Mrs. Bossy.' This chicken hustles the rest in the coop at night. Then she makes two or more patrols around the outside, marching as if she's on guard duty, before going inside, too. I don't know if the chickens have elections for this position -- but the same chicken does it for long periods of time.
     So who's our current Mrs. Bossy? One of the babies! 

     And finally:

Omar Sharif has died. Probably from the shock after Diane Von Furstenberg's nasty comments about him in her new racy memoir. I have rarely read about someone so proud of herself, including the many drugs she took, all the liquor she guzzled, guys (and girls) she bedded and the (current) husband who sank millions into her business when it was tanking. But hey, it's ok -- she got what she wanted.
     How many people did she walk over, to do it? How much money, time and energy did she waste?

Well, we won't talk about that. Think about His Majesty, instead...


Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Hand-y Project

One of the odd things you probably don't know about me is... I collect hands.

Glass ones that stand on a shelf and hold jewelry (or not).

Graphics that point here, there and everywhere in my books and booklets.

Hand charms that dangle off my quilts...when I can force myself to use them, that is.
    (They're hard to find, especially the Victorian styles.)

That's why I fell in love with this project from DIY Fun Ideas:

Hands concrete planters!

It's not that hard, either. A bag of casting cement, some plastic gloves...and you're on your way.

Now where did I put those gardening gloves...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Foil Packs for Dinner

Don't really feel like cooking? Make these up ahead, and you won't have to.

Thank you, Betty Crocker, for  9 meals you wrap in foil, grill, open...and eat! No messy cleanup -- just throw the packs away when you're done.

Grilled Meatloaf Dinner - one choice

They work great in campfires, too.

Grilled Salmon Paella -- another

 For a nice dessert, try a little apple crisp -- made the usual way, but portions wrapped in foil, instead. Bake on the grill for 10-15 min., break open and serve with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Oh boy...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Greece -- What's Going On?

Greece just missed its debt payment. 

What this portends is far more serious than it sounds. Greece has been teetering on the edge of insolvency for years, with seemingly no hope of getting on a firmer stance.

The country tried to soften its "Screw you" message to the world's banks and other lenders by holding a referendum Sunday. Hey, let the voters decide whether they should undergo austerity or not.

Big surprise -- they voted "no."   (Sarcasm, dear readers, that's sarcasm.)

What does this mean? 

Well, for one thing, Greece's finance minister is no more -- he's been replaced. And other countries are making it clear that they are not pleased. (Germany seems to be leading the charge.)

Greek banks are staying closed, although their ATMs are letting people remove the equivalent of $66USD at a time. (Long lines are forming, according to the news media.) Greece's lenders are continuing to provide money, but only enough for a few days at a time.

Will Greece be kicked out of the European Union? (Whether they should stay in the EU was part of Sunday's vote.)

Will this developing crisis cause another big drop in stock markets around the world? 

Other countries are also in dire straits. (19 so far, according to this prognosticator -- and the U.S. rates a shining C- on the list. Oh goody.) Will this start some sort of domino effect?

Stay tuned...and pray.

Update:  As of Sunday the 12th, Greece's bailout plan has been approved by other countries in the EU...provided Greece takes some serious austerity measures, and gives up much of its right to approve or disprove what's going to happen. Greek banks are set to reopen on Thursday.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Steam Heat

Steamy skies, weird thunderstorms practically every evening...and finally, after weeks of it, both the Brick and I seem to be coming out of the flu. I've almost caught up on paperwork...which means I can go back to working in the cool basement, checking on inventory and putting stuff away.
    Oh, and vacuuming a floor or two. We've got drifts of dog hair practically everywhere. Meanwhile:

Lime sorbet...sugar, water and limes, that's all you need. (From Who Needs A Cape)

Have we lost our ability to be open-minded? Well, it's certainly getting a workout, if we haven't. (From Money Beagle)

Escape from Hotel Hell. (From Club Thrifty)

Climb out of $186,000 in debt, and become a millionaire before you're 40? This couple did it, according to Forbes. (I'm skeptical, but hey... )

A judge recognizes her former middle school classmate -- while he's a defendent in her courtroom.

Become a digital nomad. We've talked about doing this, at least for a month or two at a time. It's tempting...  (From Financial Samurai)

Quit your job -- die alone. In other words, don't believe everything everyone tells you, especially if they're trying to sell you something. And get yourself laid off, instead of being fired or quitting. (From Untemplater)

Dear Investors -- we lost your money. All $640,000-plus of it. Oh well. (From So, Erica, are you paying any of it back?

Five-minute frozen strawberry yogurt. Make it -- five minutes later, it's ready to eat! (From Pretty Plain Jane's)

Hitler had a smattering of Jewish and African backgrounds in his bloodline. DNA tests from 39 relatives don't lie...

Remember the couple who found $10million in gold coins during a walk on their California property? Turns out the coins may have been stolen during a 1900 heist from a U.S. Mint.
    And if that angle doesn't work out, the IRS is itching to get their grabby little hands on half for tax purposes. Either way, the government gets their share.

20 most mysterious ghost photos:

 Have fun....                                

Friday, July 3, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Quilt-Loving People, Unite!

Friend Ellie sent me this photo of a quilter's t-shirt...

Not that I'd recognize myself -- or any of my friends -- in any of this. Nope. Unh-unh.

(You can order one of your own at Viral Style -- just go here for more. )