Friday, September 30, 2016

Monday (that's right, Friday) Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Retrenching

That's what Jane Austen's heroine's father said, after being presented with his list of debts.

      "You must retrench," says his kind neighbor in Persuasion. She then mentions moving to the town of Bath. Interesting things are going on there, including plays, lectures, blah blah -- including the plain truth that he could put distance between himself and his creditors. 
       Dad pauses, thinks...

      "I am for...Bath." (says he)

Boy, I wish I was 'for Bath.' (England, that is) We don't owe big bucks to anyone, but it would be soooo nice to retrench.

I'm now HOME. For a while, at least. I had to take a taxi in the Chicago rain to make the plane. (Amtrak was late.) And we had to pay extra. But I don't care. I can pick my own beans, snuggle up to the Brick, pet Charley (okay, the Brick, too) and pretty much do whatever I want.

Sort of.

A bunch of little tasks must be completed by this weekend. A quilt top for class needs to be finished up. (coming soon at the John C. Campbell School of Folk Art in North Carolina)

But at least I can be HOME while I'm working on them. And with the Brick...who's going with me to his home state. (He'll take a woodworking class while I'm teaching quilting.) And I don't have to leave him again for a long, long time.

Only a few Monday Stuff items -- next Monday will be better.

A no-bake peanut butter cup pie that looks absolutely amazing.  (SHAME on you, Crazy for Crust!)

Was your child still young when your spouse reached retirement age? They may be eligible for $$ through Social Security.  (From Liz Weston)

No-sew fall pillows -- for $5 or less.  (From Cleverly Inspired)

Nasa has decided that they, and only they, should add a THIRTEENTH Zodiac sign: "Ophiuchus." (pronounced "O-few-kus." Not even sure I spelled it right.) According to them, there's always been a thirteenth constellation to correspond-- the Babylonians, shame on them, ignored it. So if your birthday is between mid-November through mid-December, good luck.

Eight comfort food classics. (Betty Crocker, you temptress.)

This very funny look at a Big Mean Dog.

This one, too...

Easy ways to shop online -- and save even more. (Thanks, Apartment Therapy)

Elon Musk has a spaceship capable of -- and ready to -- send people to Mars in 80 days. Wanna go? "Then be prepared to die." Now, THAT'S an incentive!  (From Slashdot)

And life goes on...
     hope it's going well for you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Headed Home

    Caught Amtrak in plenty of time this morning, thanks in time for The Mama's predilection for being anywhere Early. As in Really Early. When you're talking a 6 a.m. departure, that translates out into getting up at 4:30 a.m. Fortunately, they go slowly enough (!!!) that there's plenty of time for sleep.

     The good news: my plane leaves hours earlier than I'd planned.

     The bad news: it's not the plane I had a ticket for. 

I couldn't understand why, last night, Frontier wouldn't let me print out a boarding pass. They were showing I had a seat.

Called the Brick to tell him I was on my way today. He said, "What do you mean, 'Wednesday?' You're supposed to be flying home right now. I was just heading to DIA to pick you up."

My ticket was for TUESDAY. Not Wednesday. Ironically, I'd just survived a long, bicker-filled day with The Mama, who made it abundantly clear that she wasn't happy with me, or any ideas connected with me. I'd spent the entire day wishing that I could go home.

And I could have. 

Stupid, stupid, stupid. 

So the Brick booked another plane fare. (I'd already paid for the Amtrak ticket to Chicago.) It's not as much as it could have been, but it's money gone. I will throw myself on the mercy of Frontier when I get home, and hopefully get a credit. To use on the next flight to check on The Mama.

Who, no doubt, will appreciate the effort just as much as she did this time. 

I've been praying, asking God for wisdom in dealing with her. What's next? What should we do? I guess I need to ask God for wisdom to know how to deal with me, as well.

 I feel exhausted.

Dog tired, I guess...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Monday Stuff Has To Wait

    I'm still here... how about that.

I leave from Grand Rapids (MI) tomorrow via Amtrak at 6 a.m. (groan) Into Chicago before noon, and wait until 8:30 p.m. for a flight home. To the Brick and the dogs...
          And home.

Can you tell I'm looking forward to it? 

The Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff feature will happen on Thursday. Sorry to keep you waiting -- it's coming.

   I'd love to make smart-aleck comments about the presidential debate...but quite frankly, we didn't watch it here. Too nauseating.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Welcome to Fall

   I'm in Michigan with The Mama...her health hasn't been that great lately. She is having increasing problems walking and standing for any amount of time. Which worries me.

    So far, though, she wants to live on her own. The time will come soon, though, when I'm not sure that will work.
     For now, we just watch...and wait.

The Mama enjoys quilting, so she and I have been working on a project together. She doesn't like my fabric choices, and gripes about my suggestions. I sew and cut...and listen to her fuss.

Don't be surprised if you don't hear much on this blog for the next few days. The Mama doesn't believe in the internet, so I have to make special trips to post. And that can't happen often.

More soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dye, Dye, Indigo!

This is interesting...pieces of 6,000+ year old fabric suggest that the Peruvians were dyeing with indigo long before the Egyptians and others did.

Hundreds of pieces ranging in size were found at Huaca Prieta, a dig site in Peru. No one can figure out what they were doing -- the textiles were too small to be worn as clothing, and they weren't correspondingly shaped that way. Not for kids, either.

Perhaps the textile samples were meant for ceremonial use. At any rate, the Peruvians apparently were experimenting with dye combinations long before any modern scients realized they were.

Go to the article here...

Ssee the faint blue indigo stripes?

and thanks so much for mentioning it, Holly Anderson.

UPDATE:   I can't stand it, I have to add this. It's jussst close enough:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Why?

I watched the news with a sinking feeling -- 29+ people hurt from a bomb explosion in New York City Saturday night. What kind of sick person would think it was a good idea to maim and kill people this way? (Fortunately, just one -- it should have been two.)
     Why?? What does this prove??
     I wish I knew.

Update:  I guess we know now. Sort of.

What Colin Powell thinks about both Trump and Clinton...from his e-mails. (Hacked, unfortunately, but accurate. Or so I would assume...he's not denying that he made those comments. Unfortunately, a lot of us agree with him.) Speaking of:

Here, too.

Adventures with a spider...and teeth. A very funny post -- unless you love spiders, that is -- from Living Rich On the Cheap.

8 modern-day miracles.  (From Oddee)

A trip to Houston's International Quilt Festival -- in 2014. Lots of photos and booth visits. (Thanks for sharing, Diary of A Quilter.)

Dealing with rude people - and school supply lists.  (From Money Beagle)

The Soviet doctor who removed his own appendix. Yes, this really happened. He was mentioned on:

What is the most 'badass' thing anyone has ever done?  Lots of incredible examples here. (From Quora)

Updates and new discoveries on various Viking-related archaeological digs. Including the piece of skin nailed on a church door that was said to be a Viking's, caught and flayed for stealing. (It was cowskin.)

15 windshield notes, ranging from outraged to hilarious.

"I can't even afford to eat."  Or can she?  (From I Heart Budgets)

Albert Einstein's leather jacket, and other Levi-related goodies.

A Colorado schoolbus driver rams into one of the DIA airport's support pillars. They're not even sure why. She died in the accident. Her passengers are still alive, though some are in critical condition. This one's a puzzler.

Ten Roald Dahl quotes -- an amazing writer who would have been 100 this year. Unfortunately, like most writers who leave an incredible legacy behind them, he also tended to be a pig. Hemingway, move over.  (From The Berry)

Tapping the Bank of Mom and Dad. Would you do that to your parents -- or let your kids do it to you?

Free tickets for Sept. 24 admission to any number of museums around the country. Check for your specific area!  (Thanks for the mention, Surviving and Thriving)

Baked eggrolls, and other Chinese food made a little healthier.  (From Hungry Girl)

The packet drawer...and other easy-but-slightly-quirky ways to save.  (From The Simple Dollar)

Eleven movie scenes you can't forget -- because they were acted so badly.

'Octomom' today!  My favorite strange celebrity...who says she's no longer the O-- word, that she had to 'kill' off that part of her personality in order to save her life.  (I hope so, for the sake of her kids.)

Cinnamon bread -- a new way.  Braided and twisted - easier than you think. (From Sprinkle Bakes)

Life After Money visits Lincoln Castle.  Gee, I wish we Americans had more sites like this.

Did your garden not do so well this year? Can weeds, purslane.  I've read about Depression era cooks doing this out of necessity. (From Frugal Upstate)

have a good week...peace out.

the chickens - not a care in the world except for the next mouse

A'Hunting We Will Go

    We got a text yesterday afternoon, from up in the boonies...

Our new son Keith got a cow elk!  

It's bow season here in Colorado.

  Good onya, Keith -- now you and Angel can enjoy healthy lean meat this winter. (And no, they don't waste a thing, including the hide. We take this responsibility very seriously as a family.)

    Invite us over...I love a good elk chili.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Oh, The Dilemma...

We have a huge problem.

The University of Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado Buffs alternate logo.png

are playing the Michigan Wolverines (Go Blue)...

in college football today. (Saturday, 9/17)

2-0, 1st Pac-12 - South Division
2-0, 1st Big Ten - East Division
Home Record: 2-0
Away Record: 0-0

    We LOVE college ball.

Normally, I'd assume that the Buffs will get creamed...but they actually have been playing quite well so far, this season.

    But so has Michigan.

If Michigan wins, we get to hear it from The Mama, who's been a Michigander nearly all her life.
   And secretly, we'll be happy about it, too.

If Colorado wins, instead...we'll probably be happier. After all, the Brick graduated from CU. (His M.S.) And we've now lived here longer than any other state.

But (gulp) we also both graduated from Michigan.  (My M.A. and his B.S.)


So...    GO BLUE!!!


And may the best man (er, buffalo) win.

Ralphie, CU's mascot, on a tear  (P.S. She's always a girl)

UPDATE:  The Buffs lost, 28-45, to the Wolverines. At least they didn't make idiots out of themselves. Reports make it clear that Michigan was down twice -- they had to work to win this one. (All right, Buffs!) We're looking forward to seeing what both teams do this season.

Ironically, The Mama (who lives north of Grand Rapids) could not watch the game -- it was on a specialty channel.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ambition, Thy Name Is Dog

Charley understands...

Who... me, Mom?

Quilt Block Designs...From the Jewish Temple?

    Recently, the Temple Mount Sifting Project announced that they had found hundreds of inlaid tile pieces -- fragments, they believe, of Solomon's Temple (the rebuilt version from Jesus' time).
    According to Dr. Gabriel Barkay, co-founder of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, the tiles are 'marble-like' (actually used several different types of stone), and most probably covered the porticos in the Temple, as well as its courtyards. More than 600 fragments have been found so far, and at least 100 are definitively connected to King Herod's time: the half-Jewish monarch who rebuilt the Temple. Frankie Snyder used math calculations to fit the tiles together -- like a giant jigsaw puzzle with no directions.

    Here's one set of restored tiles:

photos from the Temple Mount Sifting Project

And here's the cool part, at least to us textile people. Recognize that pattern?  (It's Square Within A Square, among other names.)

Remember: This is the second Temple. Solomon's Temple was destroyed hundreds of years before. This version was King Herod's, destroyed shortly after Jesus' crucifixion. Jesus himself predicted that not one stone would stand on top of another -- which may have happened in part because the Roman soldiers, led by Titus, were trying to get at gold which melted down between the stones. I could not find a direct reference to this online, but it was horrendous. The Temple, along with Jerusalem, was looted, set on fire and so thoroughly decimated that for years afterward, it seemed as if it had never stood. Any further efforts to rebuild the Temple were stymied...

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts (Wikipedia).  What a mess.

Until now.

Some Messianic groups are actively exploring the idea of rebuilding Solomon's Temple yet again. The Temple Institute has already built the main altar, and other details are in progress.

The problem:  Most scholars would posit that the Dome of the Rock, another sacred site, is built directly on top of where the original Temple stood. And there are strong feelings that the Temple must occupy its original site -- or it isn't 'right.'

But did it?

Another reconstructed tile -- Octagon Star

A growing number of people believe that the Temple Mount actually was the site of a Roman hilltop fort...and the real Temple was built in the City of David, at a site hundreds of yards away. A site, incidentally, which the Israeli government has access to today.

If that was true, then the tiles archaeologists are excavating (out of piles of rubble from the Mount itself) are most probably from the Roman fort. And the Romans were very fond of floor mosaics, as we know from other places. Like Pompeii and a number of sites in Great Britain.

Interestingly enough, the tile pieces are geometric, and correspond to the Roman measurement of a foot: 29.6 cm. (In other words, constructed in Roman style.) And:

This style of flooring is consistent with those found in Herod’s palaces at Masada, Herodian, and Jericho among others, as well as in majestic palaces and villas in Italy, also attributed to the time of Herod.

Also from the Temple Mount Sifting Project blogpost on the subject:

The possibility that large expanses of the Temple Mount during the Second Temple were covered with opus sectile flooring was first raised by archaeologist Assaf Avraham in 2007, director of the Jerusalem Walls National Park with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
Avraham’s theory was based on a description given by the Romano-Jewish historian Josephus (1st Century CE) who wrote, “… the uncovered [Temple Mount courtyard] was completely paved with stones of various types and colors…” (The Jewish War 5:2) Additionally, Talmudic literature records the magnificent construction of the Temple Mount, describing rows of marble in different colors – green, blue and white.

So possibilities could go either way. (I do find it interesting, though, that the tiles excavated so far are NOT "green, blue and white." Maybe they're from the courtyard, instead.)

Full report's here.  Check out the video. (Not the photo below -- you'll have to click on the report link at left to access it.) You'll see more tile designs, including stars and compass rose designs. These would make a wonderful sampler quilt with an interesting historical connection.

Hmmm...I'm thinking about it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Do Me A Favor...

How does someone knock at your door?

They're probably using the doorbell -- but in Ye Olde Days, provided you had extra income, they used a doorknocker. These ranged from plain to often decorative, and were cast in all kinds of metals, including brass and copper.

I have a thing for hands, and often look for them in charms and graphics.

  Like these...

Ivory and bone, in case you're wondering.

 Luckily for me, the Victorians were fond of hand motifs, as well.

This one's actually a handle.

But doorknockers come in all sorts of shapes and themes, including animals:

Classical themes:
Medusa, Theseus' archenemy

This one's a "grotesque." (Think gargoyles.) Found in Cartegena, Columbia.

And Just. Plain. Weird.

How-to's here on custom work:

More here.   Some particularly interesting stuff here.

    About a bazillion examples here, as well.

See something you really like? Many of these designs are still available -- check Pinterest or Ebay.

I had to end with this:

Strangely, we have a brother Jon...and married cousins named Phil and Dawn!
 No sister Susie or Uncle Ernie, though.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Life-Changing Anniversaries

September 11 has come and gone. Fifteen years since that horrible day -- yet we're still here. That in itself says something. 

    Tomorrow will also mark a year since the climax of a difficult event for me personally.  I was being threatened with all sorts of dire consequences, professionally and emotionally. (Now you know why I posted this back then. This post probably makes more sense now. This one, too.
     The Brick had just retired, so we were still working out finances. And I wasn't sleeping well at night, in spite of knowing I'd made the right decisions. I wondered if I could ever rise above it. 

    Turns out, with God's help, I could -- and did. 

At the time it happened, I had no idea that the mid-September salvo would also be the last. None of the threats were ever carried out. Nonetheless, it cost us a great deal to protect ourselves, in case they were. And I lost a good deal of income and momentum because of it. 
    Like the events of 9/11, I will always carry scars from this time. Certainly I'm more cautious, and less trusting. But at least it's in the past.

"Drop dead gorgeous:" a blogpost on the beauty of women -- when they're dead. One of the weirder posts I've ever read, but fascinating.  (Early Modern Medicine has this one)

How to negotiate for yourself -- and do it well.  (From Millenial Moola)

9 party dips to make (and keep warm) in the slow cooker.  (From Betty Crocker) Including this bacon cheeseburger dip...oh boy.

Slow-Cooker Bacon Cheeseburger Dip

Negotiating a severance -- and what you can do for payback as an employee, if you're treated badly. (From Financial Samurai. This guy has IDEAS.)

A thousand-year-old Icelandic sword found...just laying on top of the ground. Hey, these were important.

Knocked over by love...and lots of licking! Amanda Holden gets plenty of affection from one of her Animal Hero recipients. Wouldn't you know it, he's a golden Lab. (Take note, Charley and Abby. Sir Charles would do the same.)

The Metropolitan Museum's in financial trouble...but why?  (From Appraiser Workshops)

Thirteen ways to make your front door stand out. (Okay, a few of them are weird.  From Hometalk)

Ten human test subjects who gave their lives, so you could benefit from medical advances. Including the guy with his own private lice collection.  (From Listverse) This is cool, too:

Ten real-life ghost ships.

An Iranian tycoon worth an estimated $120 million has been getting foodstamps for two years...and even got an operation paid for by government aid. (He's broke, he says. Can't sell his land -- so he needs help.) Are you hoping that this schmuck is benefitting from some other country's welfare system? Nope...he lives in Ohio. Darn.

Discount grocery outlets around the country. Who and where they are, state by state.

How Melissa Mayer earned more than $100 million -- by not doing her job, or listening to advice. Who pays? Yahoo -- and its shareholders.

The college student who ran a four-seat tasting restaurant out of his dorm room. (He's starting at a new restaurant now, at age 22. See his take on that, courtesy of Urban Daddy.)

Restaurant copycat recipes.  Yum.  (From Pillsbury)

"How to get girls, even though you live at home with Mom and Dad."  Urban Samurai's irreverent take on the subject. (Here's his version for girls.)

"How growing up poor made me a badass."  (From Millenial Revolution) Speaking of...

Tom Brady and the Manning family read letters from their bright boy, Peyton. Try not to laugh!

And have a great week.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Little Oddity is Good for the Soul

The Victorians were very fond of 'oddity cabinets:' decorative pieces that held stuffed animals, birds, unusual rocks...and all sorts of odd pieces. My grandma's house had an upstairs bedroom that intrigued the granddaughter who visited there. Grandma didn't do taxidermy, like her Victorian forbears. But the bookcase held petoskey stones, a chain of links (carved from one piece of wood, I was told), a weird little box (a gift from a missionary), rocks, coins and all sorts of old books.

     I enjoyed creeping into the room on hot summer afternoons; it was cool and still, with only the buzzing of an occasional fly in the window. I could handle all the bits and pieces and read to my heart's content -- as long as I was quiet, and no one knew I was in there. A 19th century copy of Jane Eyre still lives on my bookshelf, as a reminder of that magical place.

I have an oddity cabinet now, sort of. Only mine holds a squirrel statue, amethyst crystals, a copper Statue of Liberty, little boxes filled with beads, sequins and spools of thread...and most of our DVD collection. The quilter must be vying with the packrat.

You could collect items for your own oddity cabinet -- or make one, instead: a 'sort-of' taxidermy display cabinet.  Thanks to Knock Off Decor, it's surprisingly easy.

Or go here for the video tutorial:

Friday, September 9, 2016

Something To Remember

Something Jesus Christ reflected in His own life, over and over.

"Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve..."
                     Matthew 20:28

Upward and Onward

Those big tough Broncos.

They played hard during last night's game with the Carolina Panthers. They worked at it. And they had the temerity to 'hit' -- actually hit Cam Newton, the Panthers quarterback. 

And they hurt him, doggonit! They're so mean... it's just not fair.  (Poor baby.)

How dare they... especially when few people outside Denver apparently thought they could win this first game of the season?

Probably the very same people who said they were going to make fools of themselves at the Superbowl. 

And you know where that went. 

It was close, but...

Final score:   Denver Broncos 21, Carolina Panthers 20.


Investment Cooking And Stocking Up

    'Cooking the books,' right?

What it means is simple:  buying or gathering what's in season (or on sale) now -- for use later on.

And boy, can you save money.

Our peaches, bought at $13 for a box (about 18 pounds, or roughly 1/3 of a bushel) two weeks ago, are already up to $1.50 a pound in the stores -- and that's on sale. Hmmm... how much did we save?
      72 cents/lb for our box vs 1.50/lb:  $13 vs $27. 
                                                         (or $53, once they go back up their usual $2.95/lb)

Even at sale prices, we've already more than doubled our money-power!

I did even better with my recent onion purchase.  A 50-pound bag for $5: .10/lb.  Here in Colorado, onions are at least .99/lb, and often more. Gee, $5 vs $50 -- how many of your investments pay ten times over the initial cost? Even if some of the onions go bad (and they won't, in a cool basement closet), I'm still making out like a bandit.

You can stretch your money this way every day of the year, provided you pay attention to what's in season and/or on sale that time of year.

Fresh fruit   (peaches are almost done here in Colorado, but apples are coming in - buy from a farmer, warehouse or fresh-air market for best prices)
Pumpkins, post-Halloween    (good for pies and soup, easily frozen. Our chickens will kill for a pumpkin.)
Soda, chips and other outdoor/picnic goods, post-Memorial and Labor Day  (napkins and paper plates, too) Look for these around Superbowl in late January, as well.
Candy and other sweets, post-any holiday  (use the colors to your advantage -- red and green Christmas kisses can be separated as red -- for Valentine's Day -- and green -- for St. Patrick's.)

       As for chocolates -- what else do you have to do, except eat them...

You can even follow this principle if you pay full price, provided you make full use of every scrap of food you buy. It's especially effective for protein -- which is getting increasingly expensive these days.
    *Get a roast chicken, then make broth from the bones and freeze it. Many recipes call for this -- and now you've got some handy. Or add leftover vegetables, plus a handful of the chicken, and you've got a second meal. Cost: nothing.
         Works for beef and pork, too. (I had to restrain myself from mentioning this to a girl ahead of me in line at the checkout counter. She was obviously on a limited income, yet a can of beef broth was in her cart.)

    *Serve less the first time around. Chop or simmer the extra meat, and you've got enough, mixed with veggies, for a stirfry or pasta. As little as a cup of burger can make all the difference in beans or a Mexican dish.

Once again, if you can squeeze 2 or even 3 meals out of an expensive item, you've doubled or tripled its buying power. This is easiest to see in meat, but you can do it in all sorts of ways.
             And once again, the money saved adds up.

Can you spare $5 a week? Even that small amount will buy cans of fruit or vegetables -- something that's often on sale this time of year. Once they move out, then canned soup generally moves in.
      Ice cream. Ice cream bars. (On sale big-time right now.)
     Or meat that normally goes for much more. Especially steak.
     Hot dogs.  A Labor Day favorite to put on sale...and perfect for 'pigs in the blanket' (recipe coming soon) on a cold fall day. (You can even do them fancy-pants style -- but they're also good just wrapped in a corn tortilla and baked until crunchy.)

Not me - I don't even like blankets!

    Buy a can of tomatoes now at 50 cents -- and you've just saved 100% when it goes back up to a buck off-sale, and you need some for chili or sauce. A consistent return on your money. How  rare is that in stocks!

Stash the money saved in a sugarbowl (if you want to follow your foreparents' lead)...or at least keep notes. You'll be amazed at how much it adds up in the long run.

There's another plus in this equation:  Now you can afford to be generous.

*Share a bag of those sale items with someone else.  Bring a bowl of your 'leftovers' soup to someone with the flu, or leave a loaf of banana bread on your neighbor's doorstep. (Made with clearance bananas, naturally).You still come out ahead financially, which is great. But even better, you've helped someone who badly needed the food -- or encouragement.

Now I'm off to buy beans...on sale right now at $20 a fifty-pound bag. I'd expect to pay $1/pound; even this store normally stocks them at .79/lb.  And they keep literally for years. (If the world ends, come on over to our house for bean soup. We've got 'em.)

     Hmmm... $20 vs $50.00, or $39.50?

     Now that's my kind of savings.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Do You Ever Have Times Like This?

It's been zany lately.

I was going to say a weird 'month,' but our strange period ran over the last few weeks of August, then bled into September. I'll explain -- are you ready?

Grab a cup of coffee and brace yourself: it's going to be a bumpy ride.

*Friday - Monday: went camping on Grand Mesa. (Very peaceful, since everyone and their brother were down in town for the peach festival.) Stopped in Palisade the last day -- even better, since most people had gone home the day before. Got a boatload of peaches. (And they're ripe. Really ripe. Oh oh, need to deliver and process these -- fast.)

*Home late Monday night. I have to be in Cheyenne, two hours drive away, at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

*Worked all day Tuesday - Friday, judging for the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters show, then three full days of appraising.

*Meanwhile... Dave had started a dogsitting gig we'd promised to neighbors down the street. Our puppy of the week was a golden Lab named Nitro, 15 years old (that's 105, in human terms).  The deal: we'd stay there as much as possible, and sleep overnights.

Nitro the wonder boy. (He doesn't like photos.)

*I got home Friday evening to Nitro and company. Stayed there as much as I could. Jammed all the peaches into the refrigerator (no time yet to process them, hoped for the best), worked on appraisals and hung out with Nitro and our dogs. Did this for a full week.

The Brick, meanwhile, came over for supper, stayed the night, then breakfast before leaving for the 'other' house. Because he needed to practice all week for...

*Friday's wedding rehearsal for our friend Ana's wedding. (Nitro's owners got home just in time for me to head to the rehearsal.) Supper was fun, too.  Next day:

*Saturday afternoon: Ana and Jerred's wedding, in a lovely outdoor garden in Sedalia...near the railroad tracks. This didn't seem like a big deal until halfway through my rendition of "Ave Maria," we had a Very Big Visitor. So what the wedding guests got was:
     "A-ve Maria..."   HONK HONK HONK chug chug chug chug chug.

Not as graceful as this:

Oh well. At least I got the first half of the song in.

*Once the ceremony was done, schlep the keyboard, amps, stands, wires, etc. upstairs for the reception. (The Brick had already lugged everything down once from the parking lot, for the ceremony. Poor guy.) 
     Set everything back up. Ate -- fast. Then we played keyboard for four hours-plus straight: classical, Beatles, love ballads, John Denver, you name it. We spelled each other -- but really, the Brick did most of the work. A cheerful crowd, lots of music...

*Got everything stuffed back in the car, headed for home. Exhausted. Arrived, only to greet our friend Mary...who decided to make a quick trip to Colorado to see her family. (She only had a day or so warning herself.) She came in on Friday evening, and was perky...we, on the other hand, were brain-dead.

*At this point, stuff is EVERYWHERE in the house. Groceries, books, name it, it's probably stacked on a chair, hogging space on the table or elsewhere. Dirty dishes in the sink, dirty clothes to wash. At least Mary's bed had clean sheets. (She was very understanding, even when we had to hand her a key and tell her to let herself in all weekend.)

*Sunday morning:  Worship Team for church. Downtown in the park. (Creekside Bible does this every year.)  Drag the keyboard out of the car AGAIN, and the Brick went to practice. (I, on the other hand, spent a blissful hour doing nothing but read the paper.)
     Got home early afternoon -- and took a nap. We both conked out, practically unconscious.

*Sunday evening, with Mary, decided to go see a movie with other friends. (Florence Foster Jenkins, which was surprisingly good. Friend Tommy and the Brick, who had words about having to go to a 'girlie' movie, wanted to know where the explosions were. Sure, guys.) Came home late...

      To find three dogs in the backyard, behind the 6-foot chainlink fence.

We only have two dogs. 

One of the biggest Great Danes I've ever seen was barking at us, along with Charley and Abby. Where in the world did he come from? No markings...was he a neighborhood dog? No collar or tags.

The Brick booted him out, and we went to bed. Come 2 a.m., and...

Right under our bedroom window. INSIDE the yard.

The Brick got up, booted him out again, back to bed.

*Seven a.m. -- you guessed it. Barking away inside the yard again, and now hanging around our back door.
           Only this time, he has a snoutful of porcupine quills. 

*We'd planned to sleep in Labor Day...fat chance. Gave up, and called Animal Control. They came and got Big Boy, who by now, had calmed down some. He was huge -- half again as big as Charley, who is no tiny puppy in his own right. But a very sweet dog.

The animal control guy came back later in the morning -- the quills were out, and Big Boy's family, from the next town over, had picked him up. Whew. How he ever got in our neighborhood, we never found out. (The guy was laughing; on the way into our subdivision neighbors had stopped him and said that 'a horse was running loose up there.' That's how big this dog was.)

Charley, Abs and Nitro -- on patrol

The rest of Labor Day was spent hanging out with Mary, grilling steaks and watching another movie.
     And just plain vegging.

*She left Tuesday morning -- out the door, just as appraisal clients were coming IN.

Since then, I've been trying to clear out the rest of the appraisals, and the piles off the floor. Picked beans and delivered eggs. Washed a boatload of clothes, and started in on three weeks of accumulated ironing. We're making progress -- slowly. But a few days ago, the Brick came down with the flu.

Guess what? I now have a sore throat and headache that won't go away.
               Oh goody.

Welcome to the fun-packed world of the Bricks.

We spend all our time lazing about. Just like this.