Monday, October 30, 2017

Alien Autopsy For Dinner...On Halloween!

This has got to be one of the strangest (and most intriguing) ideas for Dia de Los Muertos:

Your meal, presented as something straight out of Area 51:

Those are barbecued ribs, by the way...

Go to Mavis' blog, Hundred Dollars A Month, for specifics. (Actually, Jen, one of her readers, came up with the idea.)

Weird...and cool, too.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Cloudy and Colder

    Our part of the world (Colorado, between Denver and the Springs) is normally drenched in sunshine nearly every day of the year. It's a big change from the Michigan I grew up in, which seems to spit out two or three dreary days for every sunny one. In fact, whenever we headed east to visit the folks, we'd joke about dropping off the sun in Iowa, and picking it back up on the way home. 

     So what have we had here, for the past week? 

     Michigan weather -- but without the moisture. (Well, a couple of gray afternoons with a scraping of snow, including Monday.) Those of you who live back east, I don't know how you do it. Sheer courage.

     Halloween candy is out and ready for the trick-or-treaters. We even got carved pumpkins early, for chicken use. (Our neighbors had ground squirrels change their jack-o-lanterns into open-faced zombies, thanks to some snacking.) We don't celebrate, but my piano students and the neighborhood kids do. We'll probably do the usual: snuggle up by the woodstove with buttered popcorn and a scary movie. And wait for the doorbell to ring.

Visits are up again! This blog has held pretty steady at 5000+...even more than 5600 visits this month. Thank you, Gentle Readers, for being so faithful. I've got plenty to share with you. 

FREE Collector's Workshops Nov. 3...courtesy of Skinner Auctions, to advertise the Americana one they'll be doing Nov. 4. If you're in the Boston, MA area, don't hesitate to attend -- you'll learn!

Celebrities' dogs in costume.  And nearly all of them look miserable. Shades of...

And from the Department of "You Have Got To Be Kidding," comes the account of a Norwegian princess who really did sleep on a see if she was authentic or not.

Coney Island sauce for hot dogs? I'm in!  (From Vickie's Kitchen and Farm)

What if you don't get the 'thing' you really wanted?  (From Moneysaving Mom)

Make your own spray air freshener? My Abundant Life says sure.

What President Trump REALLY said to the Gold Star Widow. And it's not what most of the social media reported, either.

Two women and their dogs, rescued by the Navy after five months adrift at sea!

Restaurant-style meals you can make even better at home: 24 recipes, from barbecue ribs to tirimisu. (Thanks, Betty Crocker!)

Nine good financial hacks. Don't miss the extra links that lead you to yet more hacks. (From Budgets Are Sexy)

Frugality for very busy people with no time.  Lots of good stuff here.  (From Penniless Parenting) Speaking of:

It IS Just Stuff.  An enduring truth. (From Planting Our Pennies)

Flourless almond cake -- oh my. (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

Beautiful places in Ireland that the average tourist doesn't know about.  (From Irish Central)

A cougar visits a school principal and his wife in Woodinville, WA...nosy, or hungry?

Don't eat too much candy... and have a great week.


Have a restful weekend.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Frugal Hits and Misses: October Report

We did better, frugality-wise, in October than we have for months. We had to -- the bank account has been scraping bottom, thanks to bathroom renovations, phone issues and unexpected vehicle repairs last month. Work for the Brick has been scarce this month, because of hunting. I've had several appraising jobs, thankfully, which helped keep us on a fairly even keel. But there was little room to maneuver.
     We also made extra payments to the credit card to clear it off completely -- difficult for now, but it should be a huge help for November, since we're paying most of November's bills early. My teaching/appraising jobs evaporate as the holidays approach, so it will be a blessing in the long run. 
     Note what I'm saying -- we didn't make a lot of money this month, but we did save more than usual, to pay for higher-than-usual bills. Every bit helps.

*The bathrooms are 99.9% DONE. A few touchup jobs, and Son #1 needs to pick up his tools. (He was out hunting, too, so work had to wait. He got a nice fat cow elk.) Then we can clean off the deck, and start tidying up around there!

*DiGiorno pizza: 99 cents!  King Soopers had a screaming sale at $2.99 -- and I had two $2.00 coupons.
      I did almost as well with Red Baron pizza on a later trip. Had to buy 4, to get the $2.99/each deal -- but I had a $1.25 electronic coupon, plus a $4-off-pizza electronic coupon, to apply. Total: $1.68 each. I got another coupon printed during checkout, to use for a future trip. All right with me!

*Tai Pei shrimp fried rice entrees at Safeway: 50% off, and I had coupons for another 75 cents off, which was pushed up to $1.00. Results: 2 for $1.98. Not bad.
     Got some canned veggies at Safeway, as well -- 4 for a buck, thanks to an electronic coupon.
     These sale/coupon combinations are hard to pull off. But when they work: bliss.
*Don't forget about the Friday freebies, either. King Soopers/Kroger is more reliable about this, but Safeway will occasionally have one, too. These free product coupons can only be downloaded on Friday, but are usually good for at least two weeks. I've gotten several items for snacks, plus use in Christmas stockings.

*Good prices on potatoes. The best, so far: 10 cents a pound. Baked potatoes on a fall night are wonderful, and help keep the house heated. (During a winter the furnace was broken, this lady used her stove a great deal to keep her family warm.)

*Watched football and tv series for free: University of Colorado, Michigan and Broncos games, plus The Last Ship, Designated Survivor, Fear of the Walking Dead and that grand old man: The Walking Dead.

*Giftcards for Burger King, thanks to Swagbucks: $10 for me, $5 for the Brick. You can take advantage of getting free giftcards, just for doing your usual searches, by going here and applying. The best part: Swagbucks doesn't sell your info, or take advantage of you. We've been using it for at least three years (four, I think), and have earned an average of $100 yearly in Amazon and other giftcards.

*Attended two free talks on haunted local history. The research from these will come in handy for:

                  My new book!
    'Colorado's Haunted Front Range' will come out from Arcadia Press next fall. Their 'Haunted America' imprint is full of fascinating stories, and I'll be proud to write for them. If you know of any hauntings, Colorado-style, that I should know about, leave a comment and I'll get in touch! (Yes, I plan on adding a little Bigfoot to the book, too.)
     Don't think I've gone over to the Dark Side; this series leans heavily toward history and culture, with an emphasis on quirky stories. I love a good story, and believe that my readers particularly appreciate them, too. (You certainly show me this on the blog!)

     I am going to love writing this book.

*Halloween candy: on sale and half-price. It will come in handy for Christmas stockings and presents.

*Dried some sage for Thanksgiving turkey. It's good with antelope meat, too. Brought the planter with the sage plant and a flowering kale inside, to see if they'd continue to produce.

*Pumpkins and frostbitten squash left by the fence, for the chickens. (Thank you, neighbors.)

*A $6.99 haircut, using a coupon.  Thanks, Great Clips!

*Returned a defective 12-pack of Coke. (The altitude messes with soft drinks around here; going over the mountains, they can bulge or leak out their contents.)

*Half-price day at Treasures in the Park, our local thrift shop. Results: a handful of birthday/illness/note cards for 12 cents each; some Christmas presents, most new with tags -- less than a buck each; 5 shirts (3 for the Brick, 2 for me) at $1.25 each; plus a wool suitcoat with leather elbow patches, which the Brick will look distinguished in - $1.50. Tip: It's well worth giving places like this some of your time. Not only are you helping others -- at our shop, it means a 25% discount. So my total costs on this trip were 75% off! (Plus I got a few bags of free bread.)

*A very nice meal out, thanks to an investment-fishing dinner. (No, we didn't buy anything. Didn't pay anything, either.)

*I didn't shop much, while the Brick was gone hunting. (Boy, I wanted to.) He was careful about going out to eat, which was nice of him. Instead, I gave myself time to read Dickens, as a treat.
(Don't laugh -- it helped.)

*Got 20 pounds of birdseed, which kept the chickies alive. It didn't cost that much more than cracked corn, and won't be wasted: our bird population will enjoy what's leftover this winter. They also got food scraps, including half a pan of apple crisp the mice got into. (!!!)

*Bought a few dollar videos and books from the library used book room. 
           Sold one book on Amazon.

*Kept the heat turned off during the Brick's hunting -- even though it got a bit chilly. Made my own coffee. (Not terrible -- but not as good as his, either.)

*Picked up some new appraising; finished a lot more. I also had a weeklong cat-sitting job. Every bit helps.

*Free bags of baked goods from the thrift shop and friends down the street, plus hotdog buns from another friend. (Too bad most of it was only good for the chickens -- but it did help space their food out.)

*Lost a chicken. Only postponing the inevitable.

*Didn't buy food at the Bigfoot conference -- made do with snacks I'd gotten at discount from Amazon and the Friday/Saturday store. Offered a ride to a new friend, and she bought me lunch at our wonderful Vietnamese restaurant, New Saigon. A doggy box from that meal made the Brick very happy. (Yes, their food is that good. Thanks, Terry!)

Their bakery banh mi are delicious, too.

*Safeway did a loss leader: 89-cents/pound turkey breast. Even better: they were out, so I got a raincheck good for 90 days. Whoo hoo -- guess what we're having for the holidays!


     *We let the chickens go on longer than we should have. Part of it was inertia; the other part deadlines and other tasks that needed to get done. Nearly all of those chickens have just been lounging and hogging -- and laying no eggs. The stinkers.
      Thankfully, we had extra bread, pumpkins, etc. which kept us from having to use up all the birdseed. As of this writing, they're still alive -- but not for long.

      *The mice. We've tried everything we can think of, to get these stupid mice out of the house! The Brick has ordered more poison, which is supposed to be powerful. Hopefully that will work.

How about a mouse?

     *The scamming experience. Aargh.

     *Both vehicles' registrations needed renewing. We also paid for the dumpster, after finally getting a bill. As the Brick says, it all has to show up at once...

      *For only the second time in 35-plus years, we had to pay interest on credit cards. We firmly believe in paying our cards off every month. But this time -- we couldn't.  (I'm not saying this to brag -- I'm saying it because it's the truth.)
     The hard part: As some of you know, if you don't pay in full, whatever balance is left starts drawing interest, along with new purchases. And it keeps on until you pay it off in full. Not the amount mentioned on the next bill -- but the full balance.
      I. Hate. This. Fortunately, my appraising efforts let us pay off half the balance mid-month. (Far more, ironically, than the original amount needed to cover the monthly bill.) I think, if we really scrape and stretch, we will pay off the rest by this month's deadline. (With help...see below.) But it hasn't been easy.

     Doing this will get most of next month's bills out of the way early. If you are one of those many Americans who regularly pay interest on your credit cards -- please seriously consider cutting back. Interest paid, compounded over and over, really eats up available funds. Even if it means going without for a little while, you'll be better off in the long run. Then always pay your credit card off in full each month -- and you'll have room to maneuver more easily. Honest.

     What helped so much for us: having savings bonds we'd purchased over the years, while the girlies were growing up. They were meant originally for college costs -- when those happened, the Brick and I paid for them mostly in cash, which meant most of the bonds continued to grow and earn interest. In their case, that's about 4-5% -- a fortune right now, considering.
     We'll redeem only as much as we positively need to pay the credit card balance. Thankfully, we were able to use bonds that were either not earning interest anymore, or only earning 1%. I don't feel so bad about that. (The others will stay uncashed until we absolutely, positively need them...or they mature.)

We can all benefit from bloggers who share their savings hacks -- this Brit saved thousands of pounds in 2016, just by making small changes in her spending habits. A lot of the things I've mentioned here are small change -- but they DO add up. 
     Take a look at previous reports, to see what I mean. September's report is a good place to start.

Friday, October 27, 2017

How to Look LIke A Skeleton....And Updates

Here's the half-skull version, done in several steps. Perfect for Skeletor types -- zombies, too.

Or go here for the full shebang, thanks to Today's Style section.

    I do not go out for Halloween, because the Brick feels strongly about it. And I understand that. In spite of several innocent aspects about it -- I trick-or-treated as a kid, and so did our girlies -- some take it to an evil level that shouldn't be messed with.

    On the other hand, both Daughters #1 and #2, as well as Son #1, will enjoy dressing up and partying this weekend. Why not...if the beer stays in moderation. At least they don't participate in Boulder, Colorado's Naked Pumpkin Run.
     Don't watch this, if you are offended by the sight of bouncing bits, but it really is what happened for a number of years. I believe the police shut it down...but you never know, in Boulder.

              Stupid college kids. 

We had a scraping of snow yesterday, and it's still chilly and overcast today. The Brick and I have been so busy that the chickens have had a temporary stay of execution. Fortunately, we've had plenty of stale bread and frozen pumpkin to give them, thanks to friends and neighbors. Probably this weekend, we'll Take Care of Business.
     We've both been dealing with ear infections all week. The pressure's not fun, but the loss of balance is harder to deal with. I feel most embarrassed, going to the grocery store and tacking down the aisles like a drunken sailor, clutching at the shelves to steady myself. What do shoppers think: 'Can't she wait to go out drinking until afterwards?!?'

     I have been busy signing and sending out paperwork this afternoon...including the contract for my new book:

Colorado's Haunted Front Range

    Scary...but exciting! And the perfect time to begin. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Think About It...

Halloween Costumes

Halloween's less than a week away...but it's not too late to come up with a great costume.

Woman's Day came up with some last-minute costume ideas...

and more, from Instructables. (I'm a big fan of the 'half-a-person' look at top right.)

Plus (God help me), more costumes to torture your favorite pet. 

Have fun.

Hear what the cat is saying?
 'The second Halloween is over, I am scratching up the person who put me in this stupid outfit..."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Scammed - Five Becomes Fifty!

     Of course, she was very nice.

The teenager who stood on my doorstep was cute and enthusiastic. She was in a competition to provide care packs for 'Wounded Warriors,' and she needed juuuuust $50 more to win.

     We get more than our share of sleazy salespeople in our neighborhood. The highway runs a few blocks away, down the hill; it's easy to drop off someone and let them canvas the area. But this girl didn't look like the usual -- she was younger (19-21), with long brown hair and friendly brown eyes. Her grandparents, "Fred and Shirley," lived "down the street." Could I help?

     I had some twinges of doubt. She wouldn't say Wounded Warrior Project. I knew what that was -- an organization that's done a world of good for veterans since 9/11.

Wounded Warrior Project logo.svg

     An older couple lived at the bottom of the street -- and they had grandchildren this girl's age. Surely she was one of theirs...right?
     Our money's been tight this month, thanks to bathroom work, computer and phone problems, and car repairs. I could only offer $5. She wanted $50, but finally said, 'every bit helps.'

      I wrote her a check.  (No cash around. Thank God I asked for a receipt, as well.) Told the Brick about her visit...and promptly forgot about it.

Until yesterday.

     The check cleared. Only -- the $5 had magically changed to $50!

My 'friendly' girl had added a few zeroes, and scribbled over the written number. I could hardly believe it. Guess I was lucky -- she could have socked me for $500, or even $5000.

     The clerks at the credit union agreed that the check was doctored. They'll dispute it. They suggested I file a police report -- which I did. Spent pretty much all day traipsing around, filing reports and talking to people about it. The receipt gave the girl's agent number, and the company's name: Priority Choice Marketing in Dillon, Colorado.

(By the way, a forged or altered check, even as little as a dollar, is a felony. The cops were clear about that.)

Will Priority Choice Marketing show that they're a quality company, and refund my money? (They do sell a lot of magazines to people...and yes, they do have a project to support the troops.)

What about 'Gib,' the pretty teenager? Has she done this to someone else? (I wouldn't doubt it.) Did she think I wouldn't notice... a Hollander who values every dollar?

Will they shut the little dear down?

Stay tuned.

UPDATE:  They did! See the interesting conclusion to this whole mess. (I hope.)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Goodbye, Chickens

It's time for them to go.

We're all out of feed. I bought 20 pounds of birdseed, and have been giving them that sparingly, along with pumpkins neighbors kindly gave us. 
      Not that they're any more grateful, though they love the birdseed.

Gratitude is irrelevant, Missy!

Out of 13 chickens, they only lay an egg every other day or so...if we're lucky. Which made Sunday's offering even more surprising:  two whole eggs!
      Do they know what's coming?

This has been the Week of the Flies. For some weird reason, we've been inundated with big black ones -- and averaging about 25 kills a day. Winter is hovering close by: do the flies know what's coming, as well?

Our local Wal-Mart has its Christmas section up and in full rush. The only thing lacking (and I'm sure that's coming soon) is constant holiday music. (I did have fun picking out little trees for the next Bigfoot terrarium, and playing with the little village figures.)

A 9News report on the Bigfoot conference I attended recently. I'm in the big audience photo -- but with my back to you. (Ha)

Spooky Eyes in the Bushes -- an easy, scary effect revisited for Halloween.  (an old favorite from Frugal Upstate)

Ten people with surprising (and secret) multiple families. Not including Lindbergh, surprisingly.  (From Listverse)

An oldie but goodie:  Debt -- or No Debt?   (From yours truly) Another classic:

All sorts of Christmas and other occasion gift ideas -- fast, frugal and easily made.

"Always getting ready:" a word poem to autumn and the coming winter, beautifully written.  (From Surviving and Thriving)

The biggest wave ever recorded off the Irish coast, thanks to Ophelia: 85.6 feetMore about this storm, as well...considered the strongest East Atlantic storm since the 1800s. (Thanks for the heads-up, Irish Central.)

Anne Frank's family may not have been betrayed, after all.  This one's a bit of a shocker, but is possible.  (From Smithsonian)

A BUNCH of dinner specials and other bargains...including meal specials at Outback and Olive Garden, and a free $5 giftcard from Target when you shop for Halloween there. Most don't need coupons, but you'll want to double-check.  (Thank you, Be Frugal.)

Ten objects and places seemingly untouched by timeIncluding a 106-year-old fruitcake!  (C'mon, Gentle Readers, I know you can make the best of that revelation from Listverse.) Another entry in the 'slow' category:

Ten flowers that take a long time to bloom. As in years. Decades. Centuries, even.

A beautiful princess cake, from Tina Madrid at Sweet Nothings Bakery. (Her Facebook page is here.)  Even the tiara is edible!

A prepper's Dollar Store trip, stocking up.  Not a bad idea to be prepared for emergencies the frugal way. (From Living Life in Rural Iowa)

Some of the most unusual (and poignant) wedding photos out there.  (From Huffington Post)

Planning ahead to save money.  (From The Frugal Queen)

The most underrated science fiction movies of the past 15 years. Some real gems here. I am wondering, though -- why do nearly all have single-word titles?  (From Looper)

Stupid decisions (seven and counting) made by the Walking Dead. Personally, I'd add the Negan beatdowns in the Season 7 premiere. The camera seemed to be loving the horror and the gore, rather than just recording it. I've never felt the same again about this series. Abraham is STILL missed. (And no, the flashbacks about him don't help.)

A Bigfoot found burned in the 1990s during a Battle Mountain forest fire? (This was mentioned during the conference I attended. Shades of the BFRO report  --  Also in the 90s...hmmm.)

In keeping with that, six very weird unsolved mysteries.  (From Cracked)

Here's another mystery. Prior to last year's election,  Russian 'troll' factories were paying U.S.-based activists to put on protests. It wasn't for pro-Trump demonstrations, either -- they focused primarily on race relations, Texan independence and gun control! Wonder what those Russians were up to...

Another mystery: why did the couple who've been held hostage for years reappear with so many children? Because they wanted to start a family early, says the husband.  (Hmmm...not having access to birth control had nothing to do with it, right...)

Loonies and toonies.  (From Things I Find in the Garbage. Btw, he did.)

Twelve Boxcar Children books...for only $3.79?!  Yes, thanks to Kindle and Amazon. Prices may change quickly -- buy these classics right away, if you're interested. I loved these stories of the kids who ran away, and lived in a boxcar out in the woods. (For a while, that is.)

and finally, this police blotter tidbit, shades of Things I Don't Understand, courtesy of Len Penzo:

  • A man reported that a squirrel 
was running in circles on Davis Drive, and he wasn’t sure if it was sick or had been hit by a car. An 
officer responded, and as he drove on the street...he ran over the squirrel.
Have a great week.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

A New Book's In The Future!

Just got the news -- this winter, I'll be working on a book for Arcadia Press! 

It comes out in Fall 2018.

It's a great opportunity, full of history, with lots of good stories. And I LOVE a good story.

You will, too. 

More on the October Frugal Hits & Misses report. Whoo hoo!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Things I STILL Don't Understand

    There are plenty of weird, sometimes frightening, sometimes silly things out there in the world that I just don't understand. Here's the first batch -- but they were still clogging up the pipeline, so I added a second batch.
     Regarding Batch #2: I particularly don't understand Kathy Griffin's 'I'm taking my apology back' stance. Although I note that most people didn't give her the "attagirls" or publicity she no doubt craved, for holding up Trump's severed head. So when she retracted her groveling apology -- and pictures surfaced of 'Ol Kath happily sucking up to the President -- they just thought she was vindictive and foolish.
     Which she was.

Update:  Now Ms. Griffin is griping about her lawyer -- and the lawyer is griping right back.

Here are more things for you and me to puzzle about. 

I don't want to know.

Why does Charley the dog dislike doves so much? Birds in general? He will happily spend hours barking threats at them. (Chesapeake Bay retrievers are supposed to be bird dogs, by the way. Which Charley is, if you count hating them.) 

Quit talking smack about me, Mommmm!

Why will Abby the dog go retrieve the paper...but Charley, the true retriever, refuses to? (He will cheerfully steal it from her, however.) Speaking of:

Miss Abs, in motion. (She's a Golden Lab, btw. So is Charley - partly.)

Abby does this all the time. Sir Charles -- nope.

Why do dogs go and pee over spots other dogs saluted? Don't they know that yet another dog will be by soon to erase their contribution?  How come cats don't make as big a deal of this? And what's the fuss about dogs and fire hydrants? They'll pee on anything.

The sad part about this lovely film -- the dog died not long after it was made. Chaplin had gone back home; it was said she died of a broken heart after he left her. She is a darling -- reminds me of Abby. (Who is lying on my foot while I'm typing this.)

Why is it, when one of your favorite football teams loses -- the others often do, as well? This pondering comes after a week when the Broncos lost, Michigan got creamed by Penn State...and now we're watching the University of Colorado get flattened by Washington State. Sigh...

German chocolate cake doesn't require German chocolate. Why not?
     Update: A Gentle Reader informs me that it's made with German's chocolate; i.e., a brand name. I always wondered. Thanks, Judy!

You know those tasty silver balls used to decorate cakes and cookies, especially at Christmas? They're called silver dragees. What the heck are 'dragees'...and why are they usually only silver? (I know they come in other colors -- but you hardly ever see them.)

Potato chips aren't chips -- they're slices. The British version, 'crisps,' aren't chips, either. Most of the time, British 'fish and chips' is really french fries. (I have seen occasionally some we would probably call 'homefries.') Speaking of Brits:

Oxford lunch isn't -- it's really a kind of fruitcake.  Some call it Dundee cake, as well. Which makes more sense...I guess.

Having 'enjoyed' my share of screaming babies on planes, I wish someone would do this for me...

What's with the writing on this car, seen while at the library? (It wasn't election time, by the way. Andy probably wasn't running for anything. From -- that's a different story.)

Why, when you're best-dressed and trying to impress, that's when you usually trip and fall? (President Jerry Ford knew this the hard way, poor guy.).
     Or spill coffee in your lap, on the way to the meeting? Dribble something down your silk shirt? Find spinach in your teeth afterwards?  I once was interviewed for a tv documentary, only to find, when it was finished, that my shirt was unbuttoned, aptly enough, right over the bellybutton. Who knows what the camera picked up. Speaking of:


Why do I suddenly 'lose' names, places and dates during conversation...then they suddenly come back hours -- or even days -- later? (Names, especially. Arrggh.)

Must we have to continue to put up with insults and innuendo about both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?  Hasn't enough been said already? Surely I can't be the only one who's tired of this. 

I'm getting sick and tired of gratuitous headlines about Harvey Weinstein, too. The man's (allegedly) a pig. Leave it at that.

And finally...

Why do silly, often unimportant things like this drive me totally nuts?!?

     Who knows...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Another New Color of the Year for 2018

Benjamin Moore's at it again -- telling us what the trendy colors are, and how we should all be using them. Big-time.

Their choice for the Color of 2018:

Caliente, #AF 290.

(You knew that meant 'hot' or 'spicy' in Spanish, didn't you? I figured so. 'Lipstick red,' I'd call it.)

Go here for more.   Here's Architectural Digest's take on it: "stop you in your tracks." (In a good way, they're saying.) I dunno -- it seems like another Aunt Corrinn shade to me. 

If you were wondering whether we're moving away from the muted grays, mints and limes of the Fifties, past the avocado greens and harvest golds of the Sixties, and heading at lightspeed into the flashy brights of the Seventies...

Yes. Yes, we are.

Compare that with the saturated tones of last year's choice, Shadow, and you'll definitely see what I mean.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Another Take On the Subject

Shades of what I was discussing yesterday...

The Brick came home early from hunting. (Yay!) He didn't bag an elk, but I'm so glad to have him back. It was too quiet around here.

When we were talking about the Weinstein Affair, he laughed and mentioned this scene from Casablanca:

He's right!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Life As Usual... Sooner or Later

More cheering reflections from the messy world of Harvey Weinstein:

    He says he's confident the Pantheon of Stars will eventually forgive him -- and he'll be back to making movies again, sooner or later.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised.

He'll disappear for a while... and the accusing crowd yelling in his direction will be very pleased with themselves. The lawsuits will begin. (Actually, they already have. No doubt there are actresses kicking themselves for not having been propositioned by him -- they're losing out on publicity and easy pickins.' )
     He'll lose face -- temporarily, at least -- and a bunch of money. But then it won't be long before he reemerges, and declares he's rehabilitated. He has seen the Error of His Ways. All's well - now back to work.

But will it really change anything? 

I was pondering this while rereading Edgar Johnson's Tragedy and Triumph, a biography of my mentor, Charles Dickens.  

      (Mr. Dickens and I are old friends. My Master's paper at the University of Michigan was on his satiric Hard Times, and every book I write has a secret reference to him in its pages. Now you know who our feisty dog Charley is named for.)

When he began his career, Dickens was one of London's many journalists. A master of shorthand, he took down speeches as they were made, then transcribed them for his newspaper, writing in a notebook perched on his knee in a fast-running, jolting carriage. He was said to be the quickest and most accurate of all the Fleet Street reporters.

No wonder he looks exhausted...

    Although Dickens had not yet published Sketches by Boz, or written Pickwick Papers, this 1834 account of a special banquet to honor Earl Grey (the lord, not the tea) is pure genius:

     'The guest of honor and the principal visitors, as usual, were late, and one gentleman, the account says, overcome by the "cold fowls, roast beef, lobster, and other tempting delicacies...appeared to think that the best thing he could possibly do, would be to eat his dinner, while there was anything to eat. He accordingly laid about him with right good-will, the example was contagious, and the clatter of knives and forks became general. Hereupon, several gentlemen, who were not hungry, cried out, 'Shame!' and looked very indignant; and several gentlemen who were hungry cried 'Shame!' too, eating, nevertheless, all the while, as fast as they possibly could.
     " In this dilemma, one of the stewards mounted a bench and feelingly represented to the delinquents the enormity of their conduct, imploring them for decency's sake, to defer the process of mastication until the arrival of Earl Grey. This address was loudly cheered, but totally unheeded; and this is, perhaps, one of the few instances on record of a dinner having been virtually concluded before it began."
                                                          -- Morning Chronicle article, 9/18/34 (Johnson, pg. 96)

It happened back then; it happens today. Give it time, and we'll return to Life As Usual.

Unless some institutions are willing to acknowledge the injustices here...and make permanent changes. 

photo from Wikipedia

Monday, October 16, 2017

Open the Door to Autumn

A nice way to decorate a door for autumn...with inexpensive merchandise. All you need are sticks, two-sided tape and a package of artificial leaves.

Thanks, Dollar Store Style via Hometalk, for this simple, brilliant look. She uses this method for an interior door, but it could work for a protected exterior door, too.

Go here for specifics and step-by-step photos.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Weinstein and Other (Alleged) Animals

    I am amazed at the trouble Harvey Weinstein finds himself in nowadays. Not only has he been fired from his company and expelled from the National Academy of Arts & Sciences -- it looks like he'll be losing his Legion of Honor medal from France. 
    All because many women (past the dozens, headed toward the hundreds) are accusing him of sexual harassment over several decades. Big-time. 
     There's little doubt in my mind that he's probably guilty of the accusations. What bothers me most, though, is how long he's gotten away with it -- and how many entertainment icons and political figures (particularly those who have benefitted from his patronage and donations over the years) are suddenly very quiet about it all.

      *Why are the accusers (with only a few exceptions) suddenly speaking up about this? Am I supposed to commend them for their 'honesty'...when they should have said something long ago? 
      *Is it because they were scared -- of what he could do to them, or their careers? Obviously. (I have spoken up about inequities several times in my own career -- and been punished for it, too.)
      *Why are some of those same women jumping all over others, on the grounds that they should have said something, instead? 
      *Why has his wife chosen now to start divorce proceedings? (She must have guessed something long before this.) Was she enjoying the money and the status enough to put up with it?

      One of the few heroes in this sordid affair is, of all people, Brad Pitt. His girlfriend at the time, Gwyneth Paltrow, claims she was propositioned by Weinstein, and told Pitt about it. In spite of his youth -- and the fact that Weinstein could have easily destroyed him in Hollywood -- Paltrow says that Pitt had a showdown with Weinstein, threatening him with a 'Missouri whuppin' if he didn't leave her alone. ['Whuppin,' Gwyneth - not 'whooping!']
     Now that's courage.

     The clock is ticking for Mr. Weinstein. Hopefully he can unload his houses (and hide the money somewhere quick) before the lawsuits begin. The party's definitely over.

A dozen freaky dog costumes. Don't get any ideas for our granddog Karma, Daughter #2 and Son #1! (From Cracked) Not to mention:

Don't let them do it, Grandma!

Six conspiracy theorists who got nowhere.  Like David Irving, Holocaust denier, who sued in court...and lost.  (From Cracked) Also:

Six iconic costumes that made their wearers' lives a living misery. Hey, at least they became famous for it, right?

New admissions from Kobe Steel. They were falsifying tests that said the steel was okay -- it wasn't. Then selling it for use in various transportation systems, including railroads. Hopefully this doesn't have real-life implications...because it probably does.

An amazing look at dealing with defeat -- and trusting God, no matter what.  (From Short Little Rebel)

A 300-year-old math puzzle -- solved.

A 1 1/2-inch crucifix may change the 'real' date Christianity made headway into the Viking world.

Pumpkin seed brittle. Oh my!  (From A Hundred Dollars A Month)

Old-time home remedies that STILL work.  (From Reader's Digest)

Seven ways to use curtain hardware at home.  (From Apartment Therapy)

Eggroll noodle bowl -- fast, easy, low-calorie. If you enjoy Oriental foods, this is for you. (From Taste of Home)

Dolls (and dollhouse rooms) that help solve crimes, thanks to a tractor heiress.

Skillet spaghetti -- one pan, less than 30 min...supper's done!  (From Living in Rural Iowa)

"Here's what I learned from working for millionaires."  (From Making Sense of Cents)

Ten historical rarities that should have produced big bucks at auctions -- but didn't.  (From Listverse)

"I regret where I bought my house."  Location, location, location.  (From Trulia)

Holding to a $40/week food budget. With ideas for a $30 budget, as well. (From Moneysaving Mom) Also:

Transfer $25 to Amazon...and get a $5 bonus. 

Lessons learned from interviewing nineteen millionaires.  (From Budgets Are Sexy)

Have a great week.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Things to Ponder (And Purr About)

Cat stuff we may not want to know the backstories for...

Our Weimaraners used to do this. All the time.

And the winner:

One of our cats, pestered too much by her sons, moved the next block over. The girlies would go by the house on their way to and from school. She would come out to greet them, then go back inside. Maybe he fed her liver and Little Friskies, instead of the generic food?

All I can say is... cat stuff happens.