Monday, April 30, 2018

Frugal Hits & Misses: April Report

     Oh my, it's been both a short and long month -- short, in that the time went so quickly, but long for the amount of work I had to get done, often two or three jobs at the same time. The flip side of that is that I've been tired enough to make some silly statements -- like Saturday evening when, fresh from the airport, I asked Martin at the Fri/Sat store whether I could pay in cash. He looked at me quizzically and said, 'I'll take Krugerrands, instead!'  (I was thinking in terms of credit cards. Duhhhh.)

     The Brick had to make a stop at the local emergency room for kidney stones, but has recovered completely, thank God. My wrenched knee (thanks to Charley jumping up on it early this winter) was not helped by all the walking needed to lead the tour. But then again, maybe it did. I am walking stiff-legged until the legs warm up,and definitely slower than my family's pace, but with less pain. So that's good. 
     The extra work may have done havoc with my legs, but it did start filling up the emergency fund again. We were paid for a few events we hadn't planned on, which also helped. I honestly don't know how we went from broke to reasonably healthy so quickly -- but God is good. All the time.

    Now it's on to keeping up with the appraisals, clearing out the house for our upcoming move...and practicing on wedding cakes and such for Daughter #2's and Son #1's wedding early next month. I am having way more fun at this than I is a real joy!


*The Australian tour! Got to spend a lot of time with very interesting people. Ate out a LOT and stayed at nice hotels. (Although after a while, this gets old.) We went to Nashville, Branson, Paducah (for the full Quilt Week) and Hamilton, over a two-week span. It was an amazing time I won't forget.

*Met the book editing deadlines -- in spite of being two weeks late turning in manuscript. (Which was too long, to begin with.) I write fairly clean copy, which helps. So does a willingness to let your editor hack away at your poor 'baby.' John was reasonably gentle about it, at least, though I lost a whole chapter on one of my favorite interests: Baby Doe Tabor.
     Maybe that will turn into an article for someone -- or, as the Brick suggests, another book by itself.

*Applied for another writing job -- and made it into the finals. I should hear this week whether I got the job. If I do, it's 15 hrs/week steady pay. That would be nice.

*Picked up two shorter dogsitting jobs. Nothing huge.

*Sold a video on Amazon -- after a month-long drought for sales.

*The Brick (and I) did a few musical events, which we were paid for.

*Turned off the heat. Whatever we need from now on will be covered by the woodstove or electric fireplace.

*Bought a book, then some more during my trip -- 50 cents each for the latter, and $2 for the first one. I was reasonably frugal -- got some items, including fabric/thread/fusibles I needed. I did spend more on fabric than I'd intended to...but it's good stuff, and usable.

*Kept my aging cellphone going. It's quirkier than ever, though texts go through just fine. It does run out of power way too quickly now -- I must keep it charging whenever I can.
     I'm going to have to do something about this soon.

*The Brick fixed our dear friend's laptop. I am so proud of the Brick's skills and talents. He also fixed his own computer when it had a problem. (Do the computers talk to each that what happens, when the Brick's laptop shares physical space with our friend's laptop?)

*Kept up with our shows: finished up The Walking Dead, Blindspot -- and am continuing to watch Fear of the Walking Dead and Designated Survivor. I'd like to start watching the series based on the Franklin Expedition, The Terror. Saw an episode one hotel room night, and it looked very interesting.

*Work done: a few piano lessons. An appraisal day in Pueblo, plus more done at the home office.

*Made up project kits for the Australians from what I had in stock, rather than purchasing more.

*Brought home leftovers from meals out -- then made another meal or two from them. Stretched other food. We're not eating as much, on this ketogenic diet. Now extra food just makes me feel bloated and lethargic.

*Waited to stock up on dogfood and other staples. Tried to buy mostly produce and other items fitting with a keto diet. Got a boxful of Anaheim peppers for $3.

I would love to say that I've been buzzing around town this month, finding all sorts of good buys. But first, we didn't really need anything -- in fact, we're in 'getting rid of stuff' mode. Secondly, I spent much of the month with my behind parked by the laptop, finishing up the book. We ate out some -- but used up items from the freezer and pantry, too. Which isn't bad at all.


*I'm behind on a few jobs.  Hope to make those up this week.

*The Brickster went out to eat a fair amount while I was gone on the Aussie tour. Or bought tv dinners. Granted, he didn't spend as much as he could have. The stinker.

*Bought two more research books for my book -- but I needed them. Both were on Pueblo history, which I have learned so much about these past few months. Fascinating.

*Medical bills from the Brick's ER stay. Fortunately, they weren't horrible. The insurance company has messed up some of our paperwork, which has meant extra hours by the Brick, trying to work things out.

*Bought some clothes. I felt guilty, but the Brick encouraged it. And I did get them at reasonable prices...

*Bought a lot of fabric, notions, fusible, etc. during the Aussie tour -- but they were also usable pieces I wasn't going to find too often.

*Went out to eat too much -- at least most of it was expense-paid. Daughter #2 and Son #1 treated us to a great Japanese/Tibetan meal.

For last year's frugal report on this month, go here. Last month's (March) report is here.

And now I'm going to take a quick nap.

All flower photos from Morguefile

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: HOME

After two weeks with my zany Australian tour, I am finally back. It was a great experience; I'm glad I did it. And I feel like I made new friends. But it's also wonderful to eat your own cooking (especially when it's not deep-fried, or out of a flash-frozen package), pet your dog and sleep in your own bed, snuggled up to the guy I love: the Brick.
    This week will mean lots of work catching up -- including a talk at the Castle Rock Quilt Club on "Good, Better, Best" Tuesday night. (New Hope Presbyterian Church -- starts at 6:00 p.m. Come on by!) But it's okay. 

Here they are -- they should be just getting home today.
Also, the final version of my book goes on to Production today. I have nine hundred bazillion reference books and all sorts of scribbled notes to clear away. I'd better let the 'other' Cindy Brick know I'm tidying up. 

On with May...

Friday touring Jamesport -- one final look at my Aussie friends and their adventures. I've been to this Amish settlement several times over the years; it was one of the Brick's mom's favorite places to go. Strangely, very little had changed! How often can you say that...   (From News From Jude)

Ten little-known natural wonders.  (From Listverse)

Rags to riches -- an oldie from Yours Truly about Horatio Alger.

Homophobic comments... hacked? Or not...

Ten things to love about Disney World -- and two not so much.  (From Money Beagle)

"All my ideas are stolen."  Artist Damien Hirst finally admits it. Seems a little too proud about it too, the bugger.

24 food prep tricks that are 'darkly brilliant.'  (From Cracked) If you liked those, here are 41 more.

Ten of the most valuable pieces Pawn Stars ever processed.

A trip to Brush via Limon, CO...with one of my favorite bloggers, Kevin and Ruth. Now you know what it looks like, too.

Terrific no-bake peanut butter bars. Five ingredients -- that's it.  (From Crazy For Crust)

Live debt-free on $40,000 a year. Or  less.  (From Len Penzo)

Four regrets to avoid at all costs. I'm not saying I completely agree with these, but they do make you think.  (From Bloglovin)

The Broncos announced their latest picks at... Casa Bonita?? If you've ever visited this wacky Denver landmark, you'd wonder about it too.

25 priceless pieces of art and history -- gone.  (From Listverse)

College is optional -- education isn't.  (From Surviving and Thriving)

8 flea market finds that turned out to be much more than thought! As in hundreds, thousands and hundreds of thousand dollars...

The husband who proposed, using a coupon!  (From Prudent Homemaker)

The best and worst of the art world this week, including a stunning $150 million pre-auction estimate for a Modigliani painting (wonder if they'll get it?) an auction of Madonna's hairbrush and underwear, and that stupid perfume bottle based on Kim Kardashian's body. Guess which one goes to which?  (From Artnet)

Have a good week.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Headed for Home Plate

Just finishing the last edit for Ghosts and Legends of Colorado's Front Range.

Whoo hoo!

I did it for the 'other' Cindy Brick, by the way -- she writes books, then leaves the technical details to me. It felt this way for the other six books, as well. Once the writing's done, it's the 'other' girl's turn to do the editing. I feel strangely exhilarated...and exhausted.

    It's like that for articles and blogposts, too.

I wonder if other writers feel this way.


...and hanging in there with the Aussies.

We spent the day at the Missouri Star Quilt Company stores -- and thanks to new friend Courtenay, got to see one of the buildings while it was still in renovation. (C.,  I stopped in and saw those tin ceiling panels you were talking about, too.)

                                         ( Courtenay's on the right in this video.)

Jenny Doan is amazing.

We had a very nice afternoon sitting in the sun, eating ice cream and solving the world's political problems -- for the U.S. and Australia, that is.

I like these women very much. 

On to Jamesport tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ducks, Cruises...And Friends

Last day in Branson.

A rattling trip in an amphibious vehicle (DUKW) -- Riding With the Ducks, they call it.

Shopping at the local outlet mall...

then a cruise on the Branson Belle.

Tired, but it was a good day.

You can see a different viewpoint on the trip from Judy Simcock, one of the Australian quilters on the trip.  Take a look at her blog here.   A ton of photos.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Branson...And Baby

I'm in Branson the next few nights, with our Aussie quilters. We hit two quilt shops today (of course), plus:

Fantastic Caverns, which were quite good -- did you know they were used for auditoriums by the early country singers? Like the Presleys below.

and a nighttime visit to the Presleys music revue. (No, they're not Elvis impersonators.)
    AMAZING playing... guitar, mandolin, dobro, violin and last but not least, by any means -- piano.

The cast was very kind, stopping at intermission to talk and sign autographs. One of the cast members even got on the bus to shake hands with everyone! Impressive.

In other news:

Kate and William have a new baby!

Their third child, a boy, was born Monday...he was a big guy, too.

No word on his name yet. But he has been announced in proper fashion:


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Paducah, Branson and More

Still hanging out with my Australian quilter friends. After most of the week in Paducah, our tour went on to Branson, MO Sunday. We had to drive through several hours of rain to do it. Tomorrow, we'll hit Fantastic Caverns, a quilt shop...then see the Presley Family Show at night. 

More soon. I'm still running pretty low on sleep and energy. 

Mrs. Barbara Bush, dead at 92. A gracious, intelligent lady.

"Ain't nobody got time for this. For real."  The 911 emergency operator who disconnected THOUSANDS of phone calls...and went to jail for it.

Good dog #1:  Stayed with his 3-year-old mistress all night in the mountains, and kept her safe.

Good dog #2:  Bit a would-be mugger and chased him off.

Animals who simply Don't Care.

A bunch of weird animal stories -- plus an exploding ant. Hey, only quality items from this blog. (From Listverse)

Ken Burns' quilt collection!

Yep, show your class by attacking Barbara Bush after her death. And then brag that you can't be hurt because you have tenure, and can say whatever you want. Shame on this professor.  Maybe she should pay a little attention to this case.

22 products that don't make as much sense as they should. Especially computer accessories!  (From Cracked) Also from them:

12 very funny jokes hiding in the movie credits. You should always stay and watch these...

Best-loved cake for every state of the U.S.  (From Taste of Home)

Coney island hot dog sauce. Kind of chili -- kind of not. (From Vickie's Kitchen and Garden)

Have a good week.

One of the great quilts at the Rotary Exhibit in Paducah

Paducah - and the Rotary Exhibit

   Friend and colleague Mary Kerr curated a great exhibit, Southern Splendor, around her new book, Southern Quilts.

    She even did a tour for my Aussie friends. (Thanks, Mary!)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Coffee Wisdom

We're still at Paducah...last day. (sigh)

Headed for Marion, Kentucky's Amish festival this morning -- then back to the show for a last goodbye. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Taste of Paducah

We're having a great time at the American Quilter's Show this week in Paducah, Kentucky.

Today, we spent the morning at Hancock Fabrics. I bought way too much, but got some great deals. 

Lunch at Market Street -- 

Judi and Faye made a new friend
 Then back to the show.

The AQS main entrance

Loved this autumn detail on one of the prizewinners

Mont St. Michel -- Linda Schmidt's version

I take pictures too, when the quilts are this gorgeous!

Topped it all off with insanely good barbecue ribs at The Keg, a little drive away. (Thanks to Gary, our busdriver.)

Tomorrow: the Rotary Club exhibit. Looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I'm Still Here...

...though up to my hips in enthustiastic Australians. 

They are really very nice. And I can feel myself starting to say my "a's" flatter!

We're spending the day at the American Quilter's Society show in Paducah, KY. If you've never been to this, you'll want to... it's amazing.

Show winners have just been announced -- here's the list. Topped by Pat Holly's Turkish Treasures for Best of Show  - Congratulations, Pat!!

On another note: A Chagall has been recovered, from a theft in 1988. Its owners are long dead, but at least a criminal has finally confessed to taking it. The painting has been hiding in his attic for years in Maryland. Unfortunately, the story also suggests that, in spite of his noble words that he wants to die with 'a clean slate,' he's actually doing it because he couldn't find anyone to buy it over the years.

That's a slightly different angle, huh.

Here's the story. See what you think.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: DONE

Yes, Gentle Readers, the book is finished. I am so glad. 
   (well, finished in the sense that my writing's done. There will be editing and other changes, no doubt. There always are.)

We've finally solved our mousie problem outside, too. No scitterings for a blissful week now.
I leave tomorrow for Nashville, to meet up with 21 enthusiastic Australian quilters. I'll tell you about it as we go.
    But right now, I need some sleep.

Using gutters to add to your greenhouse's growing capacity. I'm flirting with an adaptation of this for the trailer.  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

15 celebrities who vanished. They're still missing!

35 villains -- and their childhood photos. Most look like any kid...

10 unusual panhandlers. Including one that gives money, instead of taking it.

Feed yourself for $20 a week. (From Delishably) Plus:

This one, on the same subject.  (From Cash-Only Living)

Paul Lynde's best one-liners -- vulgar warning -- but funny.

The biggest coin treasures ever discovered.  (From Cool Weirdo)

Gene Kelly and Singing in the Rain -- a look back by his widow, dealing with some of the movie's myths. Fascinating. "I wasn't very nice to her [Debbie Reynolds]. I'm surprised she still speaks to me," he said on one occasion.

How will the California Resale Act affect artist values? Appraisers are going to need to know.

Bigfoot takes on the Air Force!  A wacky but intriguing Colorado story, involving a BIG Bigfoot and a U.S. Air Force helicopter, up in the Rockies. (Start watching it about 3:25, and you'll skip a lot of this country yahoo's musings. He's done by 7:30, but launches into another interesting story after that.)

Ten movie moments prescient of  actors' lives years later.  (From Listverse)

All I can say is:
    Winston Churchill was right.

Have a good week.

Baby Doe - my buddette  (Wikipedia)

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Catty Look At Life

...while I'm finishing up The Book, here's more fun stuff to think about, feline-wise.

One of our kitties would do this -- but only the tail. Ewwww.


I agree about the nap part...

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Progress - Slowly

I am still plugging away at The Book -- Castle Rock and Parker are done, now I'm headed south to Palmer Lake and Monument. That will be a short chapter...which leaves two to go. (And one of them is about Bigfoot! Which will be fun to write.)

I just got done writing about the Flood of 1965, a horrible time here. People blithely assumed that it would never flood that much -- until a 20-foot wall of water, with another close behind it, decimated Colorado from Monument to Denver, including much of downtown Castle Rock. Which was, of course, on a floodplain.

Colorado's tendency to flood -- and quickly -- is one of the reasons the Brick and I have insisted on living high on the hill...instead of at its bottom. We've seen the house at the bottom of our admittedly-steep street endure flooding (including hail that plugged up the storm sewers), lightning strikes and a Douglas County schoolbus that Just Couldn't Stop. It smashed through their fence, and literally moved the house some on its foundation. Yow. 

One of the 1965 flood results - from

The Brick had a second attack of kidney stones. Fortunately, this one was lighter. He seems to be almost through it, and the infection that accompanied it. No time for him to cook or clean up -- he just doesn't feel well.

So that means I set aside the work and go make soup -- or whatever. Soothe his fevered brow. Put some laundry in the washer. Start the teakettle.

Then try to go back to concentrating on whatever I was writing at the moment.

Life goes on. Just one more day or two, and things will ease up around here. In more ways than one.

(Thanks for listening.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Emergency!

Oh my, it's been a zany weekend. Week, for that matter.

I spent all day Saturday with the Pride City Quilt Guild ladies, doing appraisals, looking at their show (which was wonderful), and learning all sorts of stories for The Book. (Which is still in progress. Yes, I'm late.) If you're in the Pueblo area, visiting or living there, take some time to get to know the guild, which has regular meetings (and welcomes new members). Also, we were at El Pueblo, a museum overflowing with history and exhibits. While we were there, a tribal dance promoting healing for veterans was going on -- lots of drums and chanting. Fascinating. 

That was the fun part.

Yesterday, I was busily typing away, headed to Highlands Ranch (in the writing!) when the Brick started to hurt. Really bad. By early evening, we were in the emergency room, where we stayed until 3 a.m., when the pain finally let up. Kidney stones. I am so grateful that we now have an emergency room and hospital just a few minutes drive away. 

     He is feeling MUCH better this morning, thank God, but still a little wobbly. Having that much medication pumped through you, while you're hurting, as well... it takes a lot out of you. I'm just relieved he's finished with the worst. 

But it also means that the time I'd set aside for The Book needs to be made up, somehow. No, I didn't get that much sleep, either.

Meanwhile, Colorado is going through its usual spring fling: rain, then snow, then sun...then rain again. Don't look away, or you'll miss something. 

Some of the Pride City ladies...from their website
On to the Stuff:

Ten disappearances (some of them permanent) attributed to a strange mist.  (From Listverse)

Three free sessions on how to deal with scams -- April 11, 17 & 19, so sign up soon. I just got a phone call this morning from the 'IRS:' magically they no longer know how to speak plain English. (Some odd twists of sentences and word use that automatically signalled, 'This is not my native language.') If they're right, I'm going to have 'cops' on my doorstep tomorrow morning, just waiting for me to get up. Yeah, sure. Would the IRS even USE the word 'cops???'

    A strong reminder here: The IRS would NEVER call you by phone -- they send letters. They WILL use proper English. They WON'T make threats to instantly have you hauled off to jail. And they WON'T demand instant payment in odd ways, like gift cards, transfers and such. Just sayin'. Don't believe everything you're told by a stranger, without checking it out. Me included.

Homemade 'flock blocks' for your chickens. Yes, I hope to have some again someday. (From Hundred Dollars A Month) Speaking of...

A steady chicken cam? I don't know what to think about this...

How old, really is the Log Cabin quilt pattern? A classic from yours truly. (And it's a lot older than you think.)

I just found this, too -- a live webcam of Vail, CO. Notice they've still got snow? Ours is gone, even though it snowed last night.

Plus a live bald eagle cam.  From Minnesota. (I can't seem to get our Colorado ones to work.)

People having a bad day:

More next week, when the dust settles. 
       Have a good week

Thanks, Pinterest

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Weekend Work

But I gotta. 

Spent a very enjoyable day in Pueblo yesterday, appraising and hearing oddball/ghost stories. The girls in the Pride City Quilt Guild are great.

But now I have a big pile of books to my left...and a big pile of scribbled notes to my right.

And a coffee cup inbetween. Plus a slice of poteca ("po-teets-za"), thanks to my wonderful Pueblo friends. (See? I am a "bojon" now!)

The Denver chapter is done. The Baby Doe Chapter just has a few tweaks to finish. The Highlands Ranch/Boulder/Parker chapter is partly written; just need to get it all down on paper.

(Yow -- the Brick's Windows disappeared! He was worried mine would go -- and I'd lose all that writing. Crisis averted: he got his problem fixed, and my files saved to the Cloud.)

I'm itching to skip down to Pueblo, instead... but need to restrain myself.

Back to work. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sad, But True...

My poor friends have heard so many yammerings lately about Baby Doe Tabor, Soapy Smith and other people who've been dead for more than a century, not to mention floods, fires and Bigfoot. I'll bet I'm the only one in the universe (other than the Brick) who got excited about finding out the Tabor mansion was razed in 1920.

       Hang in there, Friends -- almost done.

P.S. It's snowing. Like crazy.

Updates: Writing, Swimming...and Mousies

I don't even have time to think about being bored right now.

The book is coming along -- but it's late. I'm late. I've been sending my editor a chapter at a time, thinking this will keep him quiet for now. Kind of like throwing Charley a dogbone, hoping it will distract him.

It hasn't... and it doesn't.

Ghosts and Legends of Colorado's Front Rang
e covers a pretty big area -- literally a couple hundred miles down the backbone of the Rockies. We don't even think about navigating it, because that's what you do, when you live in Colorado: you drive.

     And if you're headed north to Denver, or south to Colorado Springs, you sit in traffic.

Deciding to write a 130-page-or-so book about this area is nuts. What was I thinking?!?

Fort Collins, Greeley and Johnson Corners are done. Longmont, Louisville, Boulder ditto. Even a bit about our beloved Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden. After a long and painful slog through the Denver chapter, it's done, too. I'm headed down toward our town, Castle Rock, then further south to Monument Hill and Palmer. (No, not driving. Writing.) I've learned so many odd facts and stories, I'll be the life of this year's parties.

     We eat bits and pieces...or Little Caesar's Pizza. Everything else gets done when it has to be done. Including sleep. I used to keep this kind of schedule in college, but this late 50s body just can't do it anymore. I need regular sleep.

Which is another reason why I'm late. 

Hemingway said that when he was writing, it was like being 'a blind pig in the jungle.' For me, it's like stepping into deep water and having it close over your head. I sink down, down...blowing a few pathetic bubbles as I go. As the work progresses, I start to swim up. It's there, the light bouncing off the the water -- I can see it, but am still too deep to take a breath. Gotta keep moving,  taking those regular strokes up toward the surface.

Or running, as the case may be.

The landscape outside is gray. Gray clouds and gray-brown yards. The mountains are snowy-topped, but we, down here on the Flatlands, are looking at dry, sandy hills and leafless trees. Thank God for the daffodils; they and the hyacinths are blooming cheerfully.

Our indoor mousie issue has been solved for several weeks now, thankfully. A few outdoor mousies dug a hole under the front steps, though, and have enjoyed emerging outside at 1 a.m. or so, and pattering around until 3. (How would I know this? Have I been up to hear them, under the windows outside? Hmmm...) The Brick caught one in a live trap, and he/she is sputtering like crazy inside the bars. No doubt his/her mate is equally pissed at us for the imposition.

 Charley is fascinated. He keeps wanting to sniff the mousie, and paw the trap. The last time we caught something in a live trap -- a squirrel -- Sir Charles knocked it down the hill, rolling over and over. By the time we got the squirrel out, he was thrilled.. and very dizzy.

     Of course Charley wants to do the same thing this time. I'm just hoping he doesn't get bitten. (Update: found out it was a Norway rat -- but it was big and fuzzy, more like a hamster. The rats in the folks' corncrib were scary-looking guys who would kill and eat you for supper. This one had big eyes and looked soft. As the Brick said, "It was almost cute.")

Back to work. 

Everything feels sideways now, but relief is coming soon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Frugal Hits & Misses: March Report

     We scraped the emergency fund's bottom this month, thanks in part to property tax due, medical expenses and our new business relationship with Lord & Richards. The Brick needed an emergency root canal done, and both of us got to go see our favorite person: Doctor Kasunic at Castle Rock Physicians. This last ordeal was made even more interesting by Bright Health, our insurer, alternately telling the doctor's office and the pharmacy that yes, we were, we weren't...yes, we were. By the time they got done, I wasn't sure anymore, either. (We are, actually.)
     My appraising and teaching, as well as a few piano lessons to fill in the cracks, helped keep us out of serious trouble...that, and God's grace that we didn't have many bills, other than the ones mentioned. The Brick's pension pays the major stuff, and our HSA account helps out, too. We are still trying hard to live on just those sources of income -- and not take anything out of the retirement accounts. But it wasn't easy this month.

April will be easier, at least financially.. I have a day appraising in Pueblo for the quilt guild show there, and a 2-week tour soon after that to lead 21 enthusiastic Australian quilters through Paducah, Nashville and elsewhere. Both those gigs will help start filling the emergency fund back up. 

      The house will go on the market soon... and we'll be selling our Outback in May, after we head for North Carolina for a week. (I'm teaching again at the John H. Campbell Folk Art School, and the Brick is going with me.) 
     Those sales will make all the difference in the world.

Patience, patience...   (Pinterest)


*Covered the contributions we normally make every year. (Oops, one to go -- that will happen in April. Then we're all paid up for 2018, except the monthly tithe.) Paid the trailer loan again in mid-month, plus an extra $90 on the principal. Except for the loan, we didn't pay interest anywhere else... again.

*Kept our use of the electric fireplace, space heater and other utilities minimal. Our wood is gone, except for bits and pieces in the backyard...which I've been gathering up in a wheelbarrow. It makes the yard look better, and the doctor said at least 20 min. exercise a day. There's nothing like a fire in the fireplace, even if it's small.
     I've used the washing machine a lot, but not the dryer. (3-4 times a month, if that.) I like the smell of wind-dried clothes too much. This month's high winds have been trying to send whatever's on the clothesline to people there need them worse than us?

*From 'Sally's' (Salvation Army) in Boulder: a warm teal nightgown ($2), t-shirt ($1) and black-and-white plaid shirt ($2) -- plus a beautiful heavy silver mother-of-pearl cuff bracelet ($2). All for half-price! I had to pay full price for the popcorn popper I also got, but $3.42 is bearable.  :)

*A $35 Pendleton wool shirt -- purchased by the Brick via Ebay. I realize the price isn't that outstanding -- but it was certainly better, when the seller took more money off because the shirt had a hole in it. Once I fix that, the Brick will have a quality shirt that should last for a long time.

*Several appraisals...including finishing a long-overdue report. Two small restorations. Working on one more - and this one's bigger. But it's had to stay on hold until the book is done.

*Worked on the book -- over and over and over. Only needed to order one book (via Amazon) -- got the rest of research books from library, or my own collection. (There are books scattered EVERYWHERE throughout this house, sorted in piles by subject. Dozens of books. Ergh.)

*Ate a fair amount out of the freezer and pantry. The frozen peaches and chopped onions are really coming in handy right now.

*Not much from the grocery store -- but 99-cent catfish nuggets come to mind, 99-cent boxes of cereal, pork loin roast for $1.60/pound (which went into a big pot of green chili) and pork chops for $1.29/LB. Cans of frozen limeade and lemonade (for Daughter #2's and Son #1's wedding in June) -- 25 cents each. (Yowza.) The grocery stores had a lot of good sales this month -- are people holding back because they're waiting for tax refunds, so the grocery moguls need the cash??

    Our Friday/Saturday store did its best to keep up, too, including several British items (which we'd seen for sale in Ireland for MUCH more), 8 eggs for 48 cents a carton, and peppers from 5-20 cents each. (Also into the green chili.) Head lettuce for 35 cents, tomatoes for 25 cents a pound...and surprisingly delicious 'smokies' baby sausages (8 oz) for 50 cents! He even threw in 10 extra for 25 cents each.

     I held back from buying corned beef for St. Patrick's Day. In our neck of the woods, it was either $7.99/lb (from the deli) or $2.47/$3.99 lb (from the meat dept.) Almost as much as steak! We had colcannon, instead.
     Spiral-cut ham is a big favorite at our house. Yes, it's more expensive, but I am convinced it not only tastes better, but goes further and lasts longer -- for $1.27 pound. A steal in these parts.

I got some other items at deep markdown (50% off, then 50% off of that) for the wedding. They'll keep nicely until then.

*Started with Lord & Richards. Will tell you about that soon.

*Did a teaching gig in Cheyenne, WY...I'm headed back in August to judge their competition, and also do some appraising. I love those girls.

*Earned a $25 Amazon gift card via Swagbucks.  (The Brick earned another $25 card by doing a ten-minute survey via Craigslist.)

*Started watching Designated Survivor and Walking Dead again. (For free, that is. The Last Ship is coming...but not airing yet.) We found a new show that looks intriguing: Counterparts. The Brick continued to catch up on Blindspot.

*Brought home doggy bags several times - used BOGO specials at Red Robin, and other lunches someone else paid for. I noticed on our credit card bills that totals for eating out were extra-reasonable this month. We used a LOT of coupons and specials.
     Example: Sunday's lunch at Smashburger. We had a BOGO on entrees, bought two $4 French onion burgers, and shared the upgrade. (The Brick likes his pop or beer when going out to eat.) Total: approx. $8, for two full eat-out meals of burgers with fries and a drink.

*Given some veggies by our friends down the street. (We passed on some of it to other friends, who were very pleased.)

*I bought a few videos and a book at the library's used booksale room... no visits to the thrift shop this month, except the Sally's gig. We did do at least two large donations, while starting to clear out the house. (I figured we were donating so many items, we didn't really need to replace anything right now.)

*Swapped piano lessons for two  drawings I needed for the book. (The photos they were based on were either too blurry, or I couldnt' get permission to use them.) Thank you, Little Chris. (He's actually a good bit bigger than his mom, Big Chris. But it amuses us to call them that, and they gracefully put up with our silliness.)

*Got a $25 giftcard from Safeway -- but I had to work for it.

*Friends took us out to Rodizio Grill -- and wouldn't let us pay a cent for it. The sweethearts. We're headed to their house to watch the Michigan/Villanova basketball championship game. (Update: Michigan lost. I don't want to talk about it.)


*Sold two items on Amazon, but had to refund money for both. Did you know that magazines cannot be sent using media rate? (I didn't, either. How do the publishers do it?) Anyways, the post office wanted $12 and change to send a $5 Oprah/first issue magazine. I refused, and tried sending it media rate. (I'm SURE I've done this before.) It came back. Rather than lose more money, I just refunded the entire shebang.  (The other, a book, disappeared into the maw around here. Sigh.)

*The Brick's bill for the root canal: $525. That's with insurance kicking in. Ouch.

*Didn't get any greens planted.  I still hope to. It's been extra-warm this spring; the two snowstorms we got this month quickly melted. We've only had a little rain down on the flatlands, though the mountains have gotten a lot more moisture. Even they are a little dry this year.

*Two relatively expensive events: a whiskey tasting and Easter brunch.  They were worth it: we got to spend time with Daughter #1 and her boyfriend, and the food was delicious. They did give us a 'friends and family' discount, which was nice of them.

*Had to take a USPAP class, in order to keep my training current: $150, plus $17 for parking. (It would have been more, had I not brought lunch with. So glad I did -- because I had time to spend with several other experienced (and wise) personal property appraisers.
     Dreading the fact that I have four more classes to go-- the cost, not the classes themselves. They're all going to be more expensive and time-consuming than this one.

*Bought more photos for the book. Thankfully, these are the last. I'd estimate I have about $450 invested in photos...the cost is not that different from my other books, actually. You have to pay first, then hope the royalties eventually pay you back. This figure would have been far worse, had the Brick not been a terrific photographer. (Borrowing Daughter #1's photography equipment helped a lot, too.)
     One of the postcards I bought arrived bent -- and the Ebay seller apologized and refunded the price, without even being asked! Now THAT'S a quality businessperson.

*Had to pay for extra meds. Plus doctor appointments for both of us.  At least I'm feeling some better.  It took us part of March to start recovering from that nasty flu in February.

As the Frugalwoods keep reminding me, this saving-money business is an ongoing process.  Sometimes what you save on eggs and pork chops is eaten up in medical expenses. But if you stay strong -- and consistent -- it all evens out. 

Here's February's report, in case you're curious. Plus March's report from last year.

                 After a long winter, Spring is definitely on its way here. Sort of.

Writing A Book

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”

                                       -- Winston Churchill

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Monday Stufferino (On the Way to Other Stuff): The BOOK

It has been a zany few weeks. Any time I had, other than the usual wash/cook/Brickworks business has been taken up with trying to finish text for my upcoming book, Ghosts and Legends of Colorado's Front Range. I am soooo close to being finished. Meanwhile, my editor waits patiently (or not) for me to get my act together. 
     The Brick has been a champ through it all. He took many of the photos for the book, then scanned them, tweaked them and sent them. He's also listened to all sorts of yammerings and thinking-out-loud questions, and patiently corrected some very silly geographical errors. Not to mention the sad fact that I can't remember what certain items are called right now. (Like 'manhole covers' and 'dry' vs. 'wet' counties. I know. Pathetic.) 
     I plan to do something wonderful for him when all this is done. Maybe brownies, and my full attention to whatever he wants to tell me. And a movie.

We are both astonished (and pleased) to see our beloved Meechigan toeing the line at the men's college basketball championship! Villanova, you'd better watch out...

Go Blue!

Update:  Michigan looked great in the first half, but something went wrong by the time halftime was over. They missed shots repeatedly, and ended up losing 62-79 to Villanova. 

An intriguing mystery: was a Viking longship seen in the California desert? Read this carefully before you just dismiss it out-of-hand.  (From The Wanderling's blog)

A couple decides to remarry -- 50 years after they divorced!

Free fishing days in 2018.  What days does your state offer?

The Frugalwoods -- before they were the Frugalwoods. This is fascinating reading for us frugal types, and really explains a lot about their lifestyle -- as well as how they managed to save all that money for a Vermont homestead. Amazing.

Should the Second Amendment be repealed? An interesting discussion about the subject by someone who's obviously not fond of guns...but isn't pro-repeal, either.

Another megachurch pastor finds himself embroiled in financial controversy. Even if he's innocent of the $3.5 million fraud accusations, there's a lesson here: NEVER EVER invest in stuff your pastor is marketing!
     In fact...why is he marketing stuff, in the first place?? 

Inside the secret workshop of the Louvre.  (From Messynessy)

Eighteen amazing celebrity answers to (often stupid) questions. Or obvious ones.  (From Cracked)

These are very funny, too: People (and animals) that immediately regretted their decisions.

Comfortable travel clothes... for your next trip.

John Mahoney left behind $5 million in his "surprising will" to 38 people. If you watched (and loved, as I did) Frasier, he was the dad -- with the ratty chair he refused to get rid of. Ironically, of the cast, he was the one best-acquainted with opera, fine wine and other cultivated pleasures.  (From the Wealth Advisor)

A poor lady in Longmont, CO comes home, to find people ransacking her house. They thought she was holding an estate sale, with everything free! (She wasn't.)

A mongoose, a snake...and a fight-it-out at a pro golf course. Who will win?

What ever happened to Heritage U.S.A.? Turns out Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's 'Christian Disneyland' is still there... sort of.

A lady leaves a tidy sum to her hometown. Turns out she was a millionaire...but no one knew it. Smart.

Pizza potato toppers...and other pizza-flavored delights.  (From Taste of Home)

Financial lessons learned from the NBA.  Or the NCAA.  A classic from yours truly.

Josh Childress explains WHY NBA players and other athletes go broke. This was particularly illuminating.  (Childress, who played for Stanford and the NBA professionally, avoided it, by the way.) This article on the same subject is even better.

The best investment advice I ever got.  I agree on this's what we did, and it helped -- big-time.

Movie lines that were never meant to be said -- but we're glad they were. Like this one, when a taxi driver accidentally turned in front of Dustin Hoffman, while filming Midnight Cowboy:

Have a good week.