Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mousey News...And Updates

     I don't know if it's because of the heat -- or the bushel basket of appraisals and gigs I've had this month -- but I am restless as all getout.

To make things worse, we had our own Western Emigration recently: a batch of mice that apparently decided living inside with us would be an improvement. I couldn't work late at night without seeing tiny brown bodies flash by, things moving in the kitchen, or paper rattling by the couch. The high point came when something light touched my foot by still-asleep Charley. It may have been his tail...and a dream. Or it was Mr. Mouse, trying to get to know me better. I jumped about two feet straight up in the air...and so did Charles.
     At that point, we had to do somethingMaybe we could have coaxed in a bull snake or two.  No doubt, though, the snakes would have decided to live in the bathtub. Instead, the Brick set up a boatload of traps baited with peanut butter, and some envelopes of poison, all stuffed way under the couch, counter, etc., so the dogs couldn't reach them.
     Snapping ensued. One little guy decided to make a point by staggering out from under the couch, and expiring dramatically in front of the Brick. (And Abby, who could have cared less.) The chickens got the mousetrapped ones for a snack; the rest went into the trash.
     It's been a few days now, and I don't hear rustling when I stay up late working. Like now.

What a relief.

                                                  Free-range chickens would clear out this lot.

Here are updates on the rest of our life, in case you're wondering:

*Yes, we're still moving. There are boxes and piles EVERYWHERE -- in part because, before moving furniture, you have to clean out the drawers of said furniture. We haven't put much back in the nearly-finished guest bathroom, either. Instead, it piles up in the hallway and corners like drifts during a snowstorm. I really wish I could walk down the hall without stubbing my toe on something. (Soon, Cindy, soon.)
     We'll get rid of several bags early next week...and I plan to have a huge garage sale in another week or two. We'll also start moving things into the trailer this least, that's the plan.

*The bathrooms are coming along. Son #1 only has to hang a few doors and screw on drawer pulls, and the first bathroom is done. Then it's on to the next. Unfortunately, we had a leak in the master bathroom...right on top of a suitcase containing some of my quilt collection. I was able to wash a few quilt tops, but the c.1850 silk skirt was a goner. (Not colorfast -- what else did I expect to happen...) A few old orphan quilt blocks bit the dust, too. Thankfully, Son #1 can easily fix this problem when renovating the bathroom.

*So what are plans now?  We'll be throwing a huge birthday party in Michigan for The Mama's 80th around August 16.  (You're invited, if you want to come!) It seems to make sense that we'll drive a rental truck full of business inventory, some furniture and books to Michigan about that time, to put it all in storage there.
      That should mean that the house could be totally cleaned out by then;  the floors could be refinished while we're gone. Then we should be able to put it up for sale, with no fuss. Tentatively, we'll be living in the trailer by early September. I think. Maybe. Kind of.

      We'll still be in Colorado most of the year. We'll keep a Colorado post office. box, and Brickworks' phone and e-mails will still work. We just won't be living at this specific house.

*Other than appraisals, I've only got one gig left in 2017 -- and it's Saturday. What? No more teaching? I actually turned down some work a while back, to make sure that we could finish up on the house, and still be available for Daughter #2's wedding later this year.
    Nonetheless, it feels strange to have an open calendar. Sort of. I am still getting regular appraisal requests, which is great. But I also need to finish up the recertification report for AQS this weekend. Life won't get more peaceful for a while yet. (Which is probably why I'm so restless.)

     Next year, though? I've got a LOT of work, scattered all over the country. Go figure. It's not like I specifically planned this turn of events, either -- it's just a God thing.

*You're not too late to get in on that gig, if you want to! I'm teaching Hanky Panky at Holly's Quilt Cabin from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. this Saturday, the 24th. A few spots are left in class yet. Special teaser: everyone in class will get to choose their very own Hanky Panky kit (retail value: $35) to experiment with!

Go here for more info. No mice allowed. 

It's okay -- I'm just a nice little...

Arapahoe Quilter Beauties

I've been meaning to show you a few quilts from the Arapahoe Quilters' recent show.  They are a wonderfully talented group.

There was a good mix of styles and colors...though I would say that modern took front and center status more than traditional. Ironically, every quilt I'm showing here has applique touches -- though it didn't seem to me at the time that applique was very prevalent. Maybe I mis-saw.

Please note:  I was careful to ask permission to show these pieces, from the actual quiltmakers. You should do this, too, when you visit various shows this year.  

Larry by Regina Hoffman. Her husband, in cloth -- I was impressed by how few pieces she used,
to give him such a realistic effect.  Netting was used, too. A striking piece.

This is Jacquelyn Baker Mathews' A Walk In the Woods. Notice the 'bear paw' prints mixed in with the traditional pattern of the same name? I really liked the way that the quiltmaker used fusible applique to give a natural look to the center bear's fur, as well as the foliage around it. Nice.

Rebecca Musgrave calls this You've Got Mail. The cat lives with one of her friends. Isn't that closeup detail nicely done!!

And Best of Show:  Forever Garden by Lexie Foster, quilted by Myrna Ficken.
I'm betting you'll see this one again in the winners circle -- it's beautifully made.

Look at the detail on that quilting...

These Dresden Plates are appliqued, not pieced -- wedge by wedge.

Any fuzziness in the photos is the fault of the photographer (me)...the actual quilts are crisp and graphic.

Great job, everyone.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It's HOT

...I mean it.

I had two stops to make in Denver and Boulder...which meant driving in a steaming-hot car for hours. (Traffic is horrendous right now in the Denver metropolitan area, thanks to construction, tourists and Idiots of the Month.)  When I was almost home, and it was starting to cool down a bit, I checked the car's temperature gauge: 96 degrees.


My can of root beer was almost too hot to touch. Ditto the cellphone and steering wheel.

It's been this way now for at least two weeks. Breaking all sorts of high-temperature records, too. Either it cools down soon...or we're going to melt off the map.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

One of the Best Floral Hacks Ever

Want a gorgeous 'disco vase' for your summer flowers?

Dump a bag of sequins in an empty clear vase. Top up with water, and your favorite flowers.

That's it.

I'm serious.

This idea comes from Sania at the At Home blog, and is simply brilliant.

Simple. And brilliant.

Oh...and the sequins, when the flowers fade?

Strain them out and let them dry. Then they're ready to use again in whatever project you wish...including another vase.

Full instructions are here.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Dad's Delight -- And Hanky Panky

    The Brick is generally a calm and quiet sort of guy -- not very demanding. When it comes to his daughters, though, he loves having them celebrate Father's Day with him. 
    That makes being responsible so difficult -- because Daughter #1 had to cancel at the last minute, and Daughter #2 couldn't make it here until 8 p.m. (She had to close for the shop, El Loro, she manages in Boulder.) 
     We had t-bones, bacon-and-onion-garnished green salad, and yes, a Sachertorte, before she and Son #1 reluctantly headed out about midnight for the hour's drive home.
      Of course she has to go into work early tomorrow. 
     They gave their dad a t-shirt -- but the best present of all was having them here, laughing and talking, for hours. I'm so grateful that they realize how much this means to 'the folks.' 
     Father's Day, I always remember my own dad, gone now for more than seven years. The Mama reminded me that her dad, my Grandpa Cumings, had his birthday on Father's Day. Pa's father, Grandpa DeVries, died on or just before Father's Day, while I was heavily pregnant with Daughter #1. Our great-niece Adie was born a day later, on her parents Adam and Stephanie's anniversary. 

Now our niece Brianna and husband Kevin have welcomed their first child, Micah Vince, into the world. He was born last Friday night -- Grandpa Mike and Grandma Lori couldn't be prouder. 

Pondering the fate of the universe, no doubt

     Strange, that all these, new life and old, would happen so close to this holiday.

Cindy Thomas' graceful interpretation of Hanky Panky
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I'll be teaching at Holly's Quilt Cabin in Littleton, CO this week Saturday, June 24, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Information is here. The class is based on my bestselling handkerchief quilt method. You'll learn the Hanky Panky way, plus several variations -- and some, you don't have to cut the hankies at all! Space is limited; give the store a call if you're interested.

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

A deer crashes through a Denny's plate glass window in Rome, NY.
    Did he want a Grand Slam to go?

How to propagate roses -- from the ones you already have. I'm thinking of doing this for the Harison roses, especially. ( These Yellow Rose of Texas blooms are hard to find.) You've got several methods to choose from. (From the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society)

Or do it the pioneer way -- and use a potato.  (Thanks, Homeguides)

More progress on the summerhouse.  If you're not sure, here's the starting post on the subject.  She built this handy shed from leftover doors, windows and pallets!  (From Life After Money)

Who keeps sitting in seat J47 at Hibbing High School's auditorium? Even if you don't live in Minnesota, this is going to be interesting. (From My Paranormal Podcast)

Incredibly strange (and fitting) instances of karma -- or what we would call a "God thing."  (From Listverse) Plus:

Ten instances where a single vote made all the difference.

The woman who drove to the Atlanta airport, four-year-old daughter in tow, left her with strangers while she 'went shopping'...and disappeared. Hmmm. Contrast her with:

The woman who thought she'd won $43 million at the casino -- then was offered a steak dinner and $2.25, instead. (She's suing for the full amount.)

Paperwork required for the Y2K bug has finally been eliminated -- SEVENTEEN YEARS LATER.

A woman, a raccoon -- and a puddle. (Son #1 told me first about this one.)

Six movie/tv unsolved mysteries explained.  Yes, there really were backstories for these.  (Thanks, Cracked. Now explain that totally strange "dream" explanation for Dallas!) Plus:

Seven weird tv/movie problems that were actually explained in deleted scenes.

Have a good week. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

I Had A College Professor Like This...

     The class was called "Fine Arts" -- but derisively referred to, by most of my friends, as "Fine Farts." The professor, though a nice guy, was famous for not thoroughly reading submitted assignments. Students would trudge along on-subject until the middle of the paper...then launch into recipes, baseball scores, even free association.

He never seemed to notice. But after a while, I got the impression he was very aware of our collective shenanigans, after all. The 'tell' was when he said to someone (I think they 'fessed up):  'You're cheating yourself when you do this -- not me.'


Guess you taught me a bigger lesson in that class than I thought, Mr. Osbeck.

        (oh, and... thank you.)


    Gentle Readers, I messed up.

If you saw a strange post for a few hours tonight on June Frugal Hits and Misses...well, that's my working file. You weren't supposed to get it for a few weeks yet. I put up another post, and must have accidentally 'published' this one, too.


It's tiptoed back into the Ethernet for a while, until it can grow into a full-fledged post.

Sorry about that. 

Probably will, too...

For a Friday, today has been extra-hot and really busy. I did a bunch of errands in searing heat, then flopped down and had a root beer with ice when I got home.  (The Brick, both girlies and Son #1 all drink beer; I don't drink that stuff. Tequila, you bet.)

This weekend will be spent catching up on paperwork...and hopefully cooling off a bit. Everyone will stop by on Sunday to say hi to their favorite DAD. I've even promised him a Sachertorte.

Hello, weekend -- you're needed.

He's Got A Point...

If you hang around here, you know I've got a thing for Ryan Gosling and 'Hey Girl...'

He's far more interesting in this story -- direct from the Gosling's mouth.

Hey buddy -- if they're thin mints or samoas, you can throw me a box anytime.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cutting Expenses -- When You Think You Can't. Part V: Necessary Evils (Insurance, etc.)

     I haven't forgotten about the ongoing series on cutting expenses -- other issues had to be dealt with for a while. (Like packing. Clean underwear. Meals. Earning a living. Stuff like that.) 

You'll find the other parts here, starting with Part I -- the basics.  (Links to the other parts are included on the bottom of the post.)

Now on to the grim necessities we inevitably have to deal with, at one time or another --

                 Our health.
                              Dealing with medical costs. 

Obviously, first and foremost:
     The healthier you can stay, the less you have to worry about medical costs. Eating a reasonably good diet and exercising will do a world of good in this department. (I'm preaching to the choir here -- but looking at the roll of belly fat around my middle, I realize I don't always listen.)
     This does not mean jumping on the latest bandwagon. Or shoveling down special pills. Take the example of going 'gluten-free.' That's just plain healthy, right?
     Actually, no.

     Only a small percentage of the population actually needs to do this,  due to celiac disease or allergies/sensitivities, according to Dr. Sheila Crowe of the National Gastroenterological Association. According to Crowe, there is little direct evidence that sticking to a gluten-free diet will give you better health. (Are you listening, manufacturers who crank out 'gluten-free' items at outrageous prices? Of course not.)

     The key, in this humble blogger's opinion:  balance. Find the combination of foods that give you strength and energy, and make them the mainstay of your diet. It may be largely protein and veggies, with just a few carbs. Or minimal amounts of the food you do take. Or straight vegetarian, with or without dairy products, eggs and fish. (Seafood doesn't 'count' for some vegetarians.) There are all sorts of diets out there.The point is balance: some fats for good health. Some proteins. Some veggies and some fruit. Even some carbs.
     Experiment to find the right mix for yourself and your can figure it out.

Next:  insurance. 

Thanks to Obamacare (which is still on the rolls, despite the screaming, yelling and posturing pro and con), everyone is eligible for insurance.  (If you don't get it, you'll be penalized.)

     The problem: it may not cover much. 

Our insurance plan is very reasonably priced: about $150/mo for both of us. On the other hand, it covers pretty much nothing, except for something catastrophic. The first $12,000 of medical expenses comes right out of our collective pockets. (If you count both of us, the total is $20,000.)
     I'd gripe even more about this -- except the plan we had while the Brick was employed, and afterwards as a retiree, had nearly the same coverage, for 'only' $400 or more a month.
     When the Brick's liver began failing, the majority of his stay in intensive care was covered...but we still owed more than $10,000 by the time he came home. When I called the hospital business office to arrange a payment plan, the representative said incredulously, "You still owe this much...and you've got insurance?!?"   Sadly, yes.

What has helped us:

*An HSA /FSA account. Set this up -- often your employer will do it for you -- and you can pay for medical costs before taxes, rather than afterwards. Be warned, though: you generally have a deadline for using the funds -- and if you don't, they may disappear. (One of my readers says this has changed, and the money stays. I wonder if different states do it differently. Not sure.) Estimate your costs, based on previous years, and you'll be safer.
     (Update:  Reader Virginia (see comments) points out:

you have HSA in your post which is Health Savings Account, you can set one of these up if you have a qualifying insurance policy. There is a limit to how much you can put in them per year but you can take the money and earnings out, tax free, to pay for health costs and you get a deduction on your tax return for putting money in. And you never lose the money, it rolls over until you need it.

The description you have in the post however sounds like you were talking about FSA which is a Flexible Spending Account which is thru your employer, pre-tax money and if you have not used all the money within the tax year plus a couple of months, you will lose it (it goes back to your employer). 

    She's right. We currently have an HSA account (because the Brick is retired, and no longer has an employer). But we used to have an FSA account. Apologies for mixing the two together.)

*Use a clinic, rather than a doctor's office. Many of the grocery chains, like King Soopers and Safeway, now have medical areas for minor things like flu, bumps & bruises, etc. And they're generally a lot cheaper.

*Pay cash. The Brick's last visit to our regular GP cost $75 -- versus the usual $150 -- because he offered to pay cash. (Would that we had known this the past four or so years we've been going to this medical center.)

*DON'T use the emergency room, unless it's absolutely, positively necessary. If you don't need to be admitted to the hospital, you'll pay for all sorts of tests -- and depending on the night, get only basic care. We've been to the emergency room four times in the past three decades -- twice for the Brick, twice for Daughters. We've gotten soaked every single visit.

     If you do end up in the hospital:

*Pay attention. If at all possible, have a healthy family member by your side as much as possible, asking questions and requesting explanations. Probably you'll be in no condition to completely understand what's going on -- but they will. (These tips should come in handy for them.  Try these, too.)

*Don't just agree wholesale to procedures or 'just in case' medications, no matter what. Some of those tests (like those in the emergency room) may not actually be necessary -- the doctor is just covering his bases. (I know this from hard experience. Sometimes, the side effects of the new meds are worse than the original symptoms, too. Ask a LOT of questions.)

*If you used an item -- take it home. You'll be charged for it -- and it gets thrown out, otherwise. But:

*Check your bill carefully. Hospitals are big, complicated places -- and it's very easy for them to charge for all sorts of interesting things -- including procedures and medications you never actually received. (Prices for items like kleenex and aspirin are heavily jacked-up, too.)

The Mama, during heart surgery a few years ago.

*Don't pay your medical bills. Right away, that is. For one thing, you need to let insurance companies, who generally move at the rate of a slow glacier, get the bills and process the claim. For another, you need to check the bill. If your income is miniscule, this pause gives time to explore what programs may be available for low income individuals. (The hospital will generally not tell you about these up-front. After all, it's in their interest to get every penny you're willing to pay. Unless the rep generously tells you about a program, you'll have to be the one to ask.)
      You may also be able to negotiate that final cost down. More than a few places will give a discount if you pay in cash -- or in full. Others will, after you've paid regularly for months or a few years, be willing to write off the rest of the debt. The key, though, even if you can only afford to pay a small amount every month, is to make that payment faithfully. It marks you as a person of integrity who follows through, and makes them more willing to work with you.  It took us years to clear away the Brick's hospital bill -- but we did it. (We're still working on the dental payments for his and my crowns -- but they're almost done. Just a few more months.)

     *You must look for the best prescription deals yourself . No one's going to do it for you -- not even your insurance company, even if they may end up paying less because of it. Go to this post for several helpful programs, like the '$4 plan' from Walmart and RiteAid's $9.99 generic offers. But beware: Wal-Mart will offer certain sizes at the $4 price -- and the same pills, slightly larger or in different amounts, at much higher prices. We found this out the hard way when I needed antibiotics to combat a abcessed tooth. The doctor prescribed one size of pill -- which Wal-Mart filled as specified. When I questioned why the cost was triple what I'd expected, the truth came out. Ask your doctor to double-check the plan before prescribing.
     Another option that's saved us money:  order from Canada.  The same prescription, same brand and everything can cost less. Why? I'm not sure -- only that we've paid hundreds less on some of the Brick's essential meds.

     I don't have space in this post to cover dental costs and care -- but the basics still apply. Keep your teeth and mouth healthy, don't authorize unnecessary procedures, and ask about discounts and payment plans. (Take advantage of new patient specials, too.)

Kiplinger's came up with 50 ways to cut medical costs -- other sites have suggestions, as well.

          Stay calm. Rest and get better, so you can deal with this. 
                     It may take time...but you will get through it.

Please note: I am not a doctor, medical or insurance professional. (I don't even play one on TV!) You are responsible for your own decisions and actions -- just like we are. I'm merely giving advice on what's helped us and others.

Next time:  Necessary Evils (continued) -- long-term care insurance, nursing homes, hospice, end-of-life...and funerals

Flag Day -- But Make It Stand For More Than That

More shootings...

    and there would have been a lot more bloodshed, had two Capitol Hill policemen not taken the shooter out. (And were shot themselves, for their pains. Tell that to the people who say bad things about cops.)

Maybe, now that Republican congressmen (and others) have been hurt, we all will STOP this silly, hate-filled bickering and start to work together. 

One way to show your willingness to move on would be to celebrate today's holiday:

     FLAG DAY.

Although the idea originally began in 1777, as a way to commemorate the adoption of the U.S. Flag, it was informally celebrated until President Truman signed it into official life in the 1940s. (Actually, it's been National Flag Week from  June 11-17.)

Take a minute. Put your flag out now. 

(Saying a prayer for the Alexandria victims would be good, too.)

Let's stand together --
        or frankly, we go down together, instead.

Poppies...for remembering

Monday, June 12, 2017

How to Mess With Someone's Mind

...not to mention their text messages.

Dare to Be Different

In fact, it's what has made my work 'different' in the world.

How about you?

Sweet Baby Alert

Here's the new baby who decided to arrive a few weeks early...

Welcome to the world, Ezra James!

Here are his (tired) parents:  James and CarylMay, along with big sister Layla.

Proud grandparents:  our friends Thom and Chris.

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Busy June

After the rigors of the Arapahoe County Quilters show most of last week, I didn't feel like doing much of anything. 'Dead beat and plum tuckered out,' as the Brick puts it. A good long rest helped. So did going away mentally for a while, thanks to a movie from the other side of the world. Operation Chromite: about Douglas McArthur's attack on Incheon during the Korean War. An unusual war movie if you're American -- but interesting. The bad guy should give lessons -- he's scary/amazing.

Back to work. I'll be posting photos from the show sometime this week...there were some beautiful pieces there. 

Thursday this week (June 15), I'll be teaching for the 

                       Quaking Aspen Quilt Guild in Boulder, CO. 

     Subject? Something I rarely cover, except in asides:  all about handkerchief history!
 I'll be showing many examples, including handkerchief and regular patchwork quilts. Come on over; meeting's from 12-3 p.m. 
                 Info is here. Stop by and say hi. 

This is what Hanky Panky looks like, quiltwise! Photo courtesy of Barbara Brooks

Five companies that want you to work from home.  (From Moneysaving Mom)

Cold-brew coffee.  Just what's needed on a hot day. (Go to Question #8 -- thanks, Simple Dollar)

Before: a garden shed. After: a guest cottage!  (From Apartment Therapy)

What the USDA thinks you should be spending on food. Are you anywhere close?

The guy who climbed Yosemite's El Capitan with just climbing shoes, a chalk bag...and himself. In less than four hours. No ropes or pitons, either. (This site takes a closer look at how he did it.)

Ten near-deaths in space. Not counting Challenger and other blowups, that is.  (From Listverse) And if you're interested in this train of thought:

Weird stuff that's happened at the international space station. Most of which is NOT publicized.

An interview with the frugal dad of the blogger at  Penniless Parenting. (Honestly, I got more out of his advice than hers -- she has a thing, for example, about chicken gizzards that I'll skip. But I still learn things from her, as well.)

"Meal planning advice I learned from the most frugal family I ever met."  (Moneysaving Mom)

'Top takeaways' from James Comey's testimony in front of the congressional committee last Thursday. (Wish I could have heard it directly, but I was working.)
      You can read his prepared testimony here.
                 Frankly, I'm still confused. All sorts of left-out and hinted-at stuff here.

Don't forget --
Free coffee for teachers all June & July at Krispy Kreme!  Must show school employee i.d., and purchase a regular menu item.

Have a great week. Watch a movie!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Free Coffee for Teachers This Summer

Hey, teachers out there -- if you buy a regular menu item during June & July this year, your coffee is automatically free at Krispy Kreme! (Be sure to show them your school employee i.d.)

I've known several educators who work very, very hard, including my dear friend Chris. It's good to see others recognize their efforts.


Arapahoe County Quilters -- Last Day! And More

Yow -- what a week.

I've been working at the Arapahoe County Quilters show up in Centennial, CO. 

              And loving it.

    A ton of beautiful quilts, in a variety of techniques and styles.

    A healthy mix of vendors selling fabric, threads, kits and more.  (Yes, I bought some.)

    Great food.   Whoa, try the homemade cinnamon rolls -- they are amazing.

This is the show's last day (Saturday) -- if you're in the Denver area, or visiting here, it's at the First Plymouth Congregational Church at 3501 S. Colorado Blvd.  (Go west on Hampden -- yes, toward the mountains, fellow Coloradoans! -- from I-25. You only have a short time before turning south - left - on Colorado. The church complex is right on the corner. You can't miss it.)

* * * * * * *

Life has been extra interesting. We've been stuffing a lot in.

Our dear friend Thommy landed back in the hospital for surgery and recuperation all week. But Thom and Chris also had:
        *a severe reaction to one of the meds, with an itchy rash resulting, plus a fever. (Thom)
       *their fourteenth grandchild  (born mid-week). Welcome to the world, sweet baby!
       *a supper for 18 people (next day)
       *another son's family visiting from Alaska -- which meant DIA pickup/return trips, entertaining the kids...and figuring out where everyone sleeps
      *taking care of those same kids while son and his wife enjoy a cruise all next week. 
             ( Thom said, "She'll be watching the kids. I'll be resting." Of course, this was all planned months ago, when everything was hunkydory.)
      AND Chris had to finish out her last few days of teaching for this year. 

I asked Chris, "Why does your family have to do everything at the same time?" She smiled: "That's just how we do it."

We still have Son #1 working on the bathrooms, the usual mix of dogs and chickens, plus jobs and music for Worship Team. (The Brick is leading this Sunday.) 

     Every minute either the Brick or I could carve out has been spent staying at the hospital with Thommy while Chris valiantly took care of kids, grandkids, food and work. Thankfully, Thom's recovering nicely and headed home today. 
     It's been mostly me at the hospital during the show. (The Brick did it earlier in the week.) That's meant 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. days pretty much all week.. And a LOT of driving.
    Then I get home, hack through the jungle at the house... and fall into bed to do it again the next day. 

Today's the last...for both the show and this crazy schedule. Then I can 'relax,' and just do the normal things:
     Like washing clothes. 
     Drinking coffee, instead of rushing off somewhere.
     Petting the dogs.
     Sweeping the grit off the floor.  
     Meals that don't come out of a can, cobbled together from leftovers, or grabbed from a restaurant.
     Plus finish off the results of three days' worth of appraisals...and more

Stuff like that.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Paintin' and Weedin'

In true Colorado fashion, it's gone from chilly/rainy to broiling/sunny -- fast. The plants are loving it -- you can almost hear them growing. I am well aware that I have about a week (two, tops) before the ground gets too hard and dry to do much good in the weeding department. So I spend an hour in the morning, and another one (or two) in the evening, pulling out grass. The flowers look grateful. I've also found several bushes and perennial clumps that survived the winter, but were cowering under all that grass. The bullies. 
     Son Keith is pretty much finished with the guest bathroom. He was painting in there tonight, and will finish installing the mirrors, lights, towel rack and such tomorrow. The tilework looks especially nice. (Look for a post on this later in the week.) So far, we've spent less than feared -- but still, no other room in the house has had so many new items in it at the same time.

      Then it's on to the master bathroom. 

Special Note:  I will be appraising at the Arapahoe County Quilters' annual show, the Festival of Quilts, this week, Thursday-Saturday. If you need a quilt or textile piece 'done,' I'm your girl! 
     The show is going to be quite wonderful -- if you're in the Denver area, be sure to stop by. 

A little about polka dots.  (From Inspired by Fabric)

Debt...or no debt?  An oldie but goodie from yours truly.

Our dog friend Nitro died yesterday. We will miss him...sleep peacefully, Big Boy.

Lending Club: a ten-year overview.  In other words: is it worth it to invest your own funds? (From Financial Samurai)

Grilled chicken & rice casserole? Actually, it sounds -- and looks -- rather good.  (From Betty Crocker)

Seven beauty tips for older girls -- from AARP.  (They're good ones, too.)

One room challenge reveal.  I love the cloud painting, especially.  Would she like to stop by and work on one of our messy rooms? (From The Nester)

Ten mythical things that actually existed. Like Moby Dick and the Kraken.  Listverse also has:

Ten famous people who didn't. Exist, that is.

This tickled my fancy:

I'll have more Stuff  next week -- just have been kind of busy. 
                        Have a good one.

Charley, Abby and Nitro -- On Patrol

Display Your Textiles A Whole New Way

...all you need are swim noodles or cardboard rolls, some extra muslin or cotton batting --

and a big pot, basket or other holder.

I saw this first at friend Cindy Thomas's house:

She bastes muslin/batting around a noodle or cardboard roll, gently rolls the quilt around it...and stores it upright.

Noodles are only a buck each at your local dollar store. Cardboard rolls are often free! 

Just make sure to have muslin or batting wherever the quilt would touch.
 (Not a bad idea to have the quilt rolled onto a second piece of fabric, 
wherever it normally would have contact with itself; it would touch the protective layer, instead. Helps prevent crocking and other problems.) 

Roll don't want your quilt to stretch too tightly! (This method keeps it from developing foldlines, too.) Secure the roll with a ribbon or scrap strip of fabric to finish.

It's a wonderul way to enjoy more of your quilt collection when space is at a premium.
It's useful for rugs, coverlets and other textiles, too.

Thanks, Cindy, for sharing. 

Her website is at Colorado Creations -- patterns, finished quilts and more. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

An American Tragedy

Oh boo hoo... Kathy Griffin is scared.

Ever since she held up a bleeding severed head of President Trump, she's been picked on.



'Bullied' by Trump's family.   ("[They are] trying to ruin my life forever," she cried.)

Checked on by the Secret Service. (Yes, they investigate threats against the president, Ms. Griffin. Holding a replica of his severed head would qualify.)

Even her mom hates her.  (If she has pets, maybe the they feel the same way. Who knows.)

She lost a boatload of comedy appearances and hosting opportunities, too. 
      Her career may be over -- permanently. (Be sure to say this dramatically.)

During an interview, accompanied by her lawyer (hmmm), Ms. Griffin tried very hard to turn all the blame elsewhere. (Have we seen this before recently??)

'"He's a bully," she said of the president. 'I've dealt with older, white guys trying to keep me down my whole life, my whole career. I'm a woman in a very male-dominated field. I love what I do, I love making people laugh more than anything in the world.'
     Griffin admitted that there are some things she would change about the photo shoot. 'I feel horrible. I have performed in war zones. The idea that this made people think of this tragedy -- people that have been touched by this tragedy is horrifying and it's horrible.'"

The poor self-appointed "in-your-face comedian," who Wikipedia describes as "ultimately best-known for her caustic commentary on D-list celebrities," then broke down in tears. After all, she didn't mean anything by it... except to be rude and cutting to the same person many media types enjoy doing the same thing to. They're all doing it. Why can't she? (After all, she's been screwing over "D-list celebrities" for years.)

Well, let's see.  Like it or not, HE'S THE PRESIDENT.

There are rules about that sort of thing, including dignity and respect for the office. I would still say this if Bernie Sanders, Al Gore or Jim Carrey won the election, instead of Trump.

The million-dollar (unanswered) question:

      No one forced you, Ms. Griffin. 
                           Why in the world did you think
                             it would be a good idea, in the first place?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Even More Things I Don't Understand

Ever since I posted the first version of this, more have come to mind. 

Somebody explain these -- please!

*Why do you run out of sauce long before the rice/potatoes are gone, no matter how hard you try?

*Why does my sewing machine run out of bobbin thread just before the last seam or two?

*Ditto for lawnmowers and gas.

*What exactly does "boogie woogie" mean, anyways? (See the B-man mentioned below.)

*Why do dogs and cats sleep so much... are they bored? Do they really need that much sleep? Charley & Abs are clocking in a good eight hours or more, just during the day.  Abby has this weird habit of clicking into the bedroom about 1 a.m., staring at us, then clicking back out to her blanket. She repeats the action about 4 a.m. Is she afraid we're going to the Bahamas in between?

*When it comes to us and sleep:

Don't forget about your toes, too.

We've mousetrapped a couple of denizens from the Spring Rush. The other night, I dreamed that my pillow side of our bed was full of little brown bodies. A few more were dangling from their tails off the bedside light. Woke up the Brick, thrashing around to get away from them. 
      Maybe it's their revenge, from us feeding them to the chickens. (Who love them, by the way -- they're delicious..)

*How come I can tell by the smell when baking items are 'done'... but the Brick could cheerfully walk by until they're actively burning? (This one REALLY puzzles me, since he is quick to catch too-brown items on the grill.)

*Why is it that a watched pot really doesn't boil that much? (Do pots know you're watching?)

*Kathy Griffin apologizes for being crass and disgusting. (Although ISIS, with its policy of decapitations, no doubt is proud of her.) Did she really think holding a bloody 'head' of Donald Trump was in good taste, to begin with...was she just sorry she got a huge negative reaction? Or did she suddenly see the light?  (Frankly, I think it was dollar signs. She lost some lucrative work because of her actions.)

     See what you think.

*Why does the Denver International Airport (DIA, otherwise known as 'the bra commercial')  feature a red-eyed, rearing, snarling Bronco, full 'tackle out,' as a welcome? The Blue Mustang, also called Blucifer, has the honor of having killed its creator, sculptor Luis Jiminez, during construction. For more on the Bronco statue, and other DIA conspiracy theories, you'll enjoy this. 

     If you're wondering, "Is it really that creepy?" Yes, yes, it is. Especially at night.

For more fun things to do in Denver, besides stare at Ol' Blue, go here for a good-sized list.
Be sure to reassure him I didn't mean anything personal by it.

*When you've got a multi-connection plane ticket, why are the gates practically miles away from each other? Atlanta is especially good at this. Kansas City and Chicago are right up there, too, but DIA also does its part.

*Speaking of airports:


Little kids are known for staring under the stall doors when you're in a public bathroom. (Particularly little boys.) But what about this?

Must have gotten lost.

*Why is Hillary Clinton blaming everything and everyone she can think of, for her November election loss? Her recent interview is highly illuminating. High on the list are everyone who think the "nothing burger" of her e-mail system was important. (After all, James Comey cleared her by declining to press charges, right?) Next on the list are misogynists; anyone who has a problem with her getting big fat speech honorariums; Those Mean 1,000 Russian Agents; Wikileaks; the New York Times; and finally her own party. From the interview:
     "She complained that when she became the Democratic nominee, she inherited a data machine from the Democratic National Committee that she described as 'bankrupt' and 'on the verge of insolvency.'
     'I inherited nothing from the Democratic Party,' she said.
     By contrast, Clinton noted, her opponent had access to the resources and data of the Republican National Committee -- a sentiment the RNC immediately took note of and began circulating."

Let's see. Who else can go on the list, to prove she had nothing to do with it? "I take responsibility for every decision I made," she said. "But that's not why I lost."
     Maybe she could blame a heinie or two. Or make a little list:

*Why is Donald Trump playing so much golf? And why is he charging the American people for staying on his own property, the Mar Lago resort?  Isn't this the man who promised to be straight and open...and stop wasting money? Recent figures suggest that more has been paid on the Trump family's behalf for lodging, security and other expenses  in the past six months, than the Obamas spent in years. (And I thought some of their trips, like Mrs. O's and the girls to Spain, were way out of line.)  As of late February 2017, he'd made three trips, at a cost l of about $10 million to American taxpayers. And he's been there a BUNCH more times since then.

     Couldn't he stay home in the White House for awhile, and save us some money? (Barron's school year should be done by now, too.) 

(See, Gentle Readers -- I told you I was an equal opportunity griper, politically speaking. I'm actually registered as a Democrat, but have voted independently for years. Regardless of Mrs. Clinton's assertions, it's the person, not the party.)

Speaking of President Trump -- would people please stop worrying whether he and his wife are holding hands in public?  Pleeaassee?

Now, on the economic front: the perils of being polite.

I've apologized to a car door and one of those revolving automatic doors, too.

And finally...

Mousey News...And Updates

     I don't know if it's because of the heat -- or the bushel basket of appraisals and gigs I've had this month -- but I am re...