Thursday, May 31, 2018

Amazing Cooking/Baking Hacks

I'm busy coming up with ideas for Daughter #2's and Son #1's wedding reception.... 

Including a geode wedding cake. 

More interesting cake decorating ideas here.

And especially appetizers.

We have a ton of fruit and veggies to cut. This video has some insanely brilliant ideas on how to do it more easily, plus other clever ideas for cooking and presentation.

These are interesting, too, though some are weird. (Guess you can't win 'em all.)


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Can You Help Find This Quilt?

This just turned up on Lost Quilt Come Home.

(If you've had a quilt lost or stolen, you know this wonderful site -- it advertises missing quilts. And found ones!)

This Turtle Ninja quilt was stolen from a boy, then sold to buy drugs. 

Let's get it back for him, shall we... click on the link above for more info.

There's a curious 'found quilt' story from Colorado, as well. 

On Oct. 19, 2002, a man's body was found in the Rio Grande Forest, not far from Saguache. The corpse was wrapped in this antique quilt:

If you can help, contact the Saguache County Sheriff's Office at (719) 655-2544.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It's Happened Again!

I really thought that the Sherita Dixon-Cole Incident was just a fluke, a fly in the ointment of life.

But a similar incident happened before hers, in April.

Jerrod Moultrie, a South Carolina pastor and NAACP leader, was stopped by a policeman.

Who he then accused of racial profiling, because he was in a luxury neighborhood, driving a fancy car.

Only the officer's body cam footage showed it wasn't true! Again.

No word yet on any repercussions about this incident... although there should have been.
     Maybe Shaun King could take up his cause.

Gee, maybe every police officer in the country should get body cam equipment...

I also found this interesting:  One of the largest Black Lives Matter Facebook pages was run by a white guy from Australia, whose fundraising efforts produced money -- at least some of it went straight to accounts in Australia (allegedly), instead of toward The Cause. It's shut down now.

NOW Who Should You Believe?

Whoa, it's a messy world out there. 

I told you recently about the strange case of Sherita Dixon-Cole, a seemingly squeaky clean professional who accused a policeman of sexual assault after she (Sherita) was stopped for driving erratically.

    After she did that, a writer and activist, Shaun King, began accusing said policeman, plus anyone else in law enforcement he could think of, practically, for perpetrating the same abusive environment toward black people, particularly black women, since time began.

There was one slight problem: the officer in question was wearing a body cam, which showed him acting very professionally. The entire time. (Ms. Dixon-Cole didn't seem too upset, either.)
     Take a look at the link above -- you can watch the entire one-hour-plus incident. Ironically, Mr. King has been one of the commentators advocating for more police body cams.

Since then, things have been vewy, vewy quiet. I've checked regularly. Not a peep from Ms. Dixon-Cole, apology or otherwise.
    Mr. King acknowledged that he'd been suckered, but seemingly tried to bluster his way out of it by arguing that this has happened plenty of times (so why not believe this case, too); he trusted sources who affirmed her story; and this was just like The Man, anyways.

     Is he sorry? Sort of. 
     Has he issued an apology to the Texas trooper whose life he tried to ruin? Well, he's thinking about doing it. 

Shaun King -- from Wikipedia

There are some interesting  nuances about Shaun King's background and credibility, that must be taken into account about all this, as well. (Frankly, his name didn't register to my internal radar until the Dixon-Cole incident, though he's been around for decades, and one of the sparks behind Black Lives Matter.)

*He presents himself as black or biracial -- though childhood photos show pale skin and red hair. His birth certificate and family background argue a solid Caucasian status. (King says his mom had an affair with a black man, which resulted in his birth -- and thank you very much for being so darn nosy about that painful part of his mother's history.)

*He says he was attacked and terribly injured by a 'gang of rednecks' in high school... which prompted his awakening to racial injustice. Only the detective involved in that incident says King picked the fight by accusing a girl of breaking a CD...and her boyfriend came to the rescue. (The policeman also says King's injuries were 'minor.')

*King has been involved in several fundraising efforts for various causes, including his position as Executive Director for Justice Together... only not all of the money raised has allegedly gone to the cause it was raised for.  (Some was finally refunded.)

Never mind the international publicity, writing jobs, pay and other perks Shaun King has earned, because of his statements. Is he a moral, ethical biracial activist who has been doing his homework, and Suffering for the Cause-- but just got trapped this time, and this time alone?
      Doesn't seem like it.

Shades of Nkechi Amare Diallo, the artist formerly known as Rachel Doelzal, who has had similar problems -- and ended up in more hot water recently. If you'll remember, Ms. Doelzal is the white girl who used products and subterfuge to bill herself as a black activist -- and got caught. "What I believe about race is that race is not real," she later explained. "It's not a biological reality. It's a hierarchical system that was created to leverage power and privilege between different groups of people."

Diallo/Doelzal - Wikipedia

Ms. Diallo/Doelzal's arguments haven't held much sway with black interest groups or popular spokespeople. But she's tried, nonetheless. She's written a book, In Full Color, about the injustices against her. (She argued that her life experiences, growing up in a strict Baptist family, were similar to slavery. Hey, me too.) She's sold a painting that apparently was a copy of another painting  (something Ward Churchill also tried); has been shilling soap and artisan lollipops, and doing hair-weaving. ( I am not making this up. Really.) Just last year, she was moaning about being broke and homeless. What -- the craft endeavors didn't bring in big bucks?

I did not realize that she was billing herself as a professor before all this brouhaha , when according to the university she taught for...she wasn't.  Nor was she honest, of course, with her background when she was working with the local NAACP chapter, or acting as chairman of the Spokane Police Ombudsman Commission.

Now she's facing a charge of welfare fraud -- because she accepted thousands of dollars of help in welfare, food stamps and childcare, while (oops) not disclosing that she'd banked more than $80,000 in her account, from book royalties and other businesses. (She says she mentioned one job, at least. More here on this charge.)

So is Diallo, like King, also Suffering For the Cause, a 'black' woman (she played the bisexual card, as well) who's being discriminated against, just like her sisters of color in centuries past?
     Doesn't seem like it, either.

See what I mean?  Messy, messy, messy. 

There are enough strange and 'iffy' examples of King's and Diallo/Doezal's veracity that I've lost track. But my favorite concerns their education.

King got his scholarship to Morehouse because he billed himself as black. "Oprah Winfrey paid my way through Morehouse. The leadership scholarship that I received from her is why I have a college degree today," he said. "Five hundred other brothers have the exact same story."  (Obviously, he didn't have to prove anything -- a DNA test, birth certificates, whatever.)

Diallo/Dolezal, on the other hand, actually sued Howard University for showing black students preferential treatment...against white people like herself. Her lawsuit alleged that she could not receive scholarship funds, a teaching assistant position and more, because she was white.  (She lost, by the way.)

English journalist Dominic Lawson made a statement about Diallo/Dolezal that, it seems to me, could be applied to King, too. He called her "the most spectacular example of the growing phenomenon of people posing as victims," which he says are a "consequence of a culture which portrays victimhood as a form of moral superiority."  Or at least -- a valid reason to demand preferential treatment, money, position and power -- without being held responsible for your actions.

Do these people's lives back up what they say? I continue to believe, as my dad advocated, that a good reputation is priceless. Can King and Diallo/Doelzal make that claim?

Can these people be trusted?

Don't you wonder?

Monday, May 28, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Happy Memorial Day!

Plenty of heat yesterday. The clouds and thunder have moved in today, with a very welcome fall of moisture. We needed it badly. 
    It happened late enough that hopefully all the picnics and other shindigs finished up before it rained. We have a trip up to the mountains to check the lodge where Daughter #2 and Son are getting married. Fortunately, we're heading UP when everyone else will be heading DOWN.

10 chilling quotes from school shootings. A reminder that we've been dealing with this problem a long, long time.  (From Listverse)

How the Comic Patchwork became 'The Gossips.' A fascinating how-it-happened...

Billy Graham's will... and just what you would think this humble man would say.

Report from a quilt retreat -- including lots of photos. Some references to the Aussie tour, as well, which was nice. From my Australian friend, Jude.

The best Irish brown bread recipe.  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

Wilbury Twist, from the Traveling Wilburys. What's that, you say -- you haven't heard much of this group? That's because they had bands of their own that they devoted more time to -- Tom Petty, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan. The drummer, Jim Keltner, worked a lot with the Beatles after they broke up; his work is on solo albums by George Harrison, John Lennon (yes, Yoko Ono too), and, ironically, Ringo Starr. Rolling Stone Magazine listed him as #38 on the '100 Greatest Drummers of All Time.'
     It is wonderful to play with others who are talented -- and you can see that on these guys' faces. Too bad, as the Brick pointed out, that most of them are dead now. They could have contributed so much more.

17 things learned from living abroad. Which the Brick and I hope to do, some day.  (From Coach Carson)

Ten treasures that still haven't been found... we think.  (From Listverse)  Two more great lists are worth reading, too:

Ten stories from Star Wars' original filming.

Ten details from prominent tragedies that make things even worse.

'The day my mother died.' An amazing story.

Taste of Home's most-shared recipes. Topping the list: this cheeseburger soup.

A man gives a homeless woman $283...then follows to see where she spends it.  I was certainly surprised at her purchase! (But it makes perfect sense.)
Did Alexa record YOUR conversation, and send it to someone else?  This is incredibly creepy.
    Update: the company said it wasn't Alexa's fault. I dunno...the explanation sounds even stranger.

Useful ideas for a wedding registry.  (From the Frugalwoods. See? I DO like them and their blog.)

Words of wisdom, from a retiring marine.

After years of freeloading, a 30-year-old-man is forced to move from his parents' house. It took a lawsuit to evict him... Poor baby...of course, it's not his fault. (Or so he says.)  His parents expected him to pay rent, help out with household chores, and get a job. How cruel.
     Now he says he can't move, because he can't afford moving boxes to put his stuff in . Do what we've always done, Buddy -- head for the local liquor store. They've got plenty.
     Next excuse? This guy is sooo messed up.

Official royal wedding photos. These are lovely.

Recreate the royal breakfast -- for a lot less.

"Why no bones and bodies?" An examination of one of the most serious Bigfoot questions. (The author's conclusion: the bodies and bones ARE out there -- they've just been taken away by The Government, reburied...or taken away by fellow Bigfoot.)

23 heroic animal stories. (Type in the number as you click from page to page -- it's faster.)

Ramen noodles = delicious, frugal meals.

When it's not your time to die -- this is one amazing video.

Editing and writing strategies that should help you improve.  I'm not sure that it's going to inspire you to heights of brilliance, as she implies...but it should be helpful.  (From Making Sense of Cents)

Loriwallbeds.  Ooh, I love this idea. Could we translate it in trailer-ese?

TWO-INGREDIENT banana pancakes? Yes, and they sound delciious.  (From Kitchn)

Have a great week.

Happy Memorial Day!

To all who have served... thank you.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Congratulations, Ana and Tyler!

Ana and Tyler Ferguson got married today. 

We were standing by the shelter at Daniel's Park, overlooking a lovely setting. Lots of white balloons bounced in the wind, tied to the railings...warm sun, beautiful clouds. Perfect setting for a wedding.

Those same balloons welcomed them out to their new life. May it be a productive one, as they share it -- and honor the Lord -- together.


As their parents, our dear friends Laura and Todd, said:
    "Life is crazy -- but God is good."

He is. All the time.

Frugal Hits & Misses: May Report

   Much of May, and a good-sized chunk of April, have passed in a haze. But May is nearly ready to drop into the hopper -- and Daughter #2 and Son #1's wedding is very soon. Then things should calm down some. We'll be working on the house, cleaning it out and getting it ready for sale. I don't have to go anywhere until mid-August, to the Cheyenne Quilt Guild's annual show. We've been feeling, as the Brick puts it, 'dead beat and plum tuckered out.' The break will help.
     The Book doesn't come out until October, but I am already getting speaking date offers! I am really hoping that the book sells well...and it's looking promising that it will do just that.

     We'll have fun playing during Daughter and Son's wedding...then back to reality. 

(these are out early, before months-end...but what the hey.)

*Renewed membership at Sam's Club. Our $45 payment got us: two $10 giftcards (one because the Brick is a veteran), $25 Visizo movie credits, a full pizza supper with leftovers (pizza, cookies, garlic bread sticks, Coke) -- and a free rotisserie chicken plus some other goodies via Sam's Club treasure hunt.  If you've been thinking of joining, now's the time to do it!  These specials last through June 6.
     We also figured out a way to keep The Mama on the membership, as well as the Brick, without extra cost.

*The Brick renewed a license -- and got a discount for being a veteran.  (He said, chest puffed up, 'So THAT'S what I spent six years in the Navy for!')

*A new dog! Ruby is now part of our family. The Buddy Center fee was cut in half, because of the Brick's veteran status. She gets a free wellness check, too. Yes, she'll cost in the long run...but after an adjustment period, Charley is starting to show new interest in life. He needed a friend to hang out with, after we lost Abby.

*Got a terrific Groupon for ProFlowers -- which let us order flowers twice, for the same price (or less) than if we'd bought them in a store. The Mama got a dozen roses, plus vase, delivered a few days after Mother's Day. She'll get a second bouquet for her birthday in mid-August.
      I also got another $30 value ProFlowers Groupon -- for $5!

*We took on a last-minute delivery job, driving parts down to North Carolina, for Brother's company. It was a grind: 24 hours of driving, in about 25 hours. (We slept a little.) But the pay was nice.

*Got the Brick's Father's Day present -- for half off on Amazon. I also ordered a DVD set of all of Emma Peel's adventures with Mr. Steed via the Avengers -- for less than $20, including free shipping.
     Now if I could only get Season 4 of Turn...

*Bought wedding cake stuff: rock crystals (candy), food coloring gels and a pretty little topper. All discounted, via Etsy and Amazon. Frosting and more came courtesy of King Soopers. (They're opening a new wine/beer section, and clearing out a lot of merchandise to make room right now.)

*Four Bicentennial blue glass goblets -- $1.25 each from the thrift shop. (Turns out they were Fostoria, offered by Avon.) Two have George Washington's profile on them, and two have Martha's. I collect George & Martha ceramics. (Don't ask -- I'm not sure why. You can buy your own set here.) Also purchased at the thrift shop: a lovely clear glass pitcher, for use at the wedding.

*Got a pillowcase order into Herrschners - discounts galore, plus free shipping -- with 3 min. to spare. (The Mama likes to do these for Christmas presents.)

*Turned a shawl into the poncho I wanted. (The Mama helped with this.)

*A bunch of food on sale, including ground chuck for $1.66/lb; 2 1/2 pound package of ravioli for 99 CENTS (zowie) the Grand Rapids version of the Fri/Sat store, Daily Deals. Love this place.

*FIVE different graduations - 4 open a wedding. All of these needed presents (mostly giftcards - which we fortunately had extras of). Maybe this should be in the Misses column...

*We ate out at those graduation parties. A Little Caesar's Pizza and supper out with friends at Red Robin, too. Paid for a meal for The Mama (and ourselves).

*Didn't turn the heat on, even when it got chilly. Used the electric fireplace and the woodstove, instead. (And it got cold around here.)

*Sold a more expensive book through Amazon -- nearly $30! (I got it as part of a group purchased on Ebay, long ago paid off through other book sales.)

*Bought two videos I'd been intending to order from Amazon -- but found them at the thrift shop, instead: $2 each. Whoo hoo!

*Several shirts and a dress from Mel Trotter Mission thrift shop in Michigan. My size, in colors I favor - and that doesn't happen often. They were reasonable, too: $4.29 each for the shirts, $7.95 for the dress! Also found some birthday presents for Daughter #2.
     I lost out on a wonderful Rembrandt print; trying not to buy paintings or prints right now, because of moving into the trailer. I debated, left it there and went back the next day -- it was gone. Only $14.95, too.  (I'm still mourning.)

Rembrandt's The Storm on the Sea of Galilee --
still missing from the Stewart Gardner museum heist (Wikipedia)

*Expenses and gas for the Michigan trip were minimal. We were  careful on food  (MickieD's and SteakandShake), skipping lunch. Found the best gas prices we could. The trip made for Brother's company paid our other expenses.

*Free subscription to Real Simple magazine, for doing a survey. Did another survey, for $50.

*Hanging baskets on sale - $10.99 each, for The Mama. Plus golden begonias for us.

*Four new tires, for less than $100 each. (Sam's Club came through.) This could be a miss -- but with a new windshield for the Outback, it will help us sell that car even more quickly.

*Some appraisals done. I"m not sure how -- just know that it got done. Also, checks for previous gigs came in. Nice.


*We had to spend for the trip to Michigan. Doesn't matter -- it was worth it. This family is special to us.

*New glasses (for the Brick). He also bought a suit for the wedding (on sale at J.C. Penney's -- with 5 min. to spare before it expired. A little toooo close.)

      Now the Frugal Hit part: So yes, he had to spend the money -- but we got his three-piece wool suit for 50% shoes for him and a $10 clearance pair of black boots for me, in the bargain. Free shipping. Because he went through Swagbucks first, we'll also get enough SB for a $25 giftcard!

      This is easy for you to try, as well. Just go here for more. You'll be earning your own giftcards in no time, just by doing business and searches like you regularly do.

*Spent extra to send books to everyone at the Pueblo quilt appraisal day. They deserved them.

*Spent extra for the wedding, in general. Mostly on food and accessories for the rehearsal dinner and reception. Whenever we could, got it on sale.

*Paid the second half of the property taxes. At least they're done for the year.

*Missed out using a few free product coupons. Life just got too zany there for a while.

*Spent more than we probably should have this month, considering the property tax payment -- I wasn't keeping track as closely as usual. We did need to get some things for future projects. Not to mention the wedding.

Thrifty Mom in Boise makes a point -- that sometimes you need to spend less, in order to save more. Or sometimes the opposite. That gives me comfort on the extra $$ spent. The Frugalwoods aren't the only ones who research, research, research.

For last month's report, go here. You'll find 2017's May report here.


...from Pinterest. Try not to laugh!

Here's the cover!

The Book is now officially in production...and here's what the cover looks like.

It comes out the first week of October.

 (Yes, we'll be taking advance orders via Brickworks. Just not yet.) 

I'll let the 'other' Cindy Brick know if you have any comments.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Musically Speaking

C'mon, music students...can you figure this one out?

Who Would YOU Believe?

She got stopped because she was driving erratically... at 1:30 in the morning. 

The Texas trooper who pulled her car over suspected she'd been drinking, thanks to the bottles in the car and the open cup. She performed all his tests, albeit slowly, and blew just under the limit for a DUI.

He booked her for a DWI, instead. (She blew a second test just under a DUI limit, two hours later.) Eventually her family produced bail at the station, and she was released...

Only to accuse the policeman of groping and attempting to rape her. Her accusations were graphic and shocking. She said she barely got away from him, and went to the hospital. Her fiance, who had been there for part of the traffic stop, 'strongly backed up' her account.

Little did Sherita Dixon-Cole realize that Officer Hubbard, the trooper she was accusing, had a bodycam on that recorded everything. 

A prominent activist, Shaun King, immediately jumped on the bandwagon, accusing the Texas Department of Public Safety -- and Hubbard -- of horrendous crimes. This was just another example, King said, of the treatment that black women had to endure everywhere, ever since antiquity, practically. He was regularly contacted by people who'd been victimized and he stood up for them, with his heart on his sleeve. That was just the way he was.
     According to him, he'd vetted the story carefully. Dixon-Cole had a sterling reputation. The person who stood up for her was a source King had trusted for years. Everybody said she was a wonderful person, no way this could be made up.

But he didn't bother to view the bodycam footage. 

To his credit, he says he eventually watched the hour-plus footage (3 times), but he also brought it to an editor, to see if it had been doctored. (The editor said it had not.) Unfortunately for Dixon-Cole, the entire tape shows nothing but a professional, respectful policeman who was doing his job.

    See for yourself.  (It's pretty matter-of-fact. Boring, even.)

And now King is sorry.  "I can't even begin to make sense of why someone would concoct such an awful story," he says in a followup article he wrote, 'When the Victim Turns Out to be the Victimizer.' "Particularly in light of the reality that both police brutality and sexual assaults are a very real crisis in this nation. It does a tremendous disservice to actual victims when something horrible like this is fabricated. It provides an unfair spotlight to a good cop and undeserved cover for the bad ones who will try to use an incident like this as false proof of their innocence."

Does this sound like an apology to you? An admission, perhaps -- but does he ever address the real issue, that he jumped on the bandwagon without bothering to double-check the facts?

The Texas Department of Public Safety, who released the bodycam footage, had this to say:
Following the arrest, spurious and false accusations related to this traffic stop were made against the Texas Trooper. Upon learning of those allegations, the Texas Department of Public Safety immediately took action to review the video in connection with this traffic stop and arrest. The video shows absolutely no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations against the Trooper during the DWI arrest of the suspect. The Department is appalled that anyone would make such a despicable, slanderous and false accusation against a peace officer who willingly risks his life every day to protect and serve the public.

More here on this shameful incident.

More on Sherita Dixon-Cole herself. She continues to insist that it really happened, and the bodycam tape was somehow edited. At least her lawyer apologized. Kinda. Sort of. I guess that's something. (Here's his statement, along with King's.)

Charges are being considered...

This brings all sorts of interesting questions to mind. 

*Who would you have believed, had Officer Hubbard NOT been wearing a bodycam?

*How many black journalists are admitting that they may have jumped to conclusions, based on their predeliction to certain beliefs?

*How many assault and rape accusations are actually true? (Or, for that matter, police brutality incidents.) How many have another side to the story...or never happened at all?

*How many true incidents -- that deserve public anger and prosecution -- will now be dismissed or ignored because of this one?

I keep thinking of the #MeToo campaign; it is sooo easy to make sexual abuse accusations now, without actual proof from things that happened months or years ago. Sadly, it gives the real criminals an 'out' by saying that their accusers made it up. (Harvey Weinstein rushes quickly into view.)

If they didn't, this will be even harder to prove. 

True rascists are sprouting up everywhere now, saying that all accusations are false, people are just going for the $$, 'they're all the same,' etc etc. Plenty of crude language and swear words adorn these lovely tributes to idiocy. (Who 'They' are isn't always clear -- sometimes it's the 'people,' sometimes it's the police. Or 'The Man.' Depends on who's making the comments.)


Who's apologized to Officer Hubbard, for trying to ruin his life?

Certainly not Sherita Dixon-Cole.

(See the update on all this -- NOW Who Would You Believe?)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

There's A New Dog in Town!

Welcome to the Brick family, Ruby.

She's part Australian shepherd, part Great Pyrenees...and all female. We found her at the Buddy Center, the Denver Dumb Friends League's local spot. She's not as big as Charley is -- but then again, he's a BIG dog.

Charley wasn't thrilled when she first arrived. (Ironic, since he originally came from the same place; his moniker was "Chester." Hers was "Peaches.")

    He seems to enjoy having her around now.

             We definitely do.

"Meet the Frugalwoods' Review

Have you ever read the Frugalwoods blog?

You should. 

It's the story of Nate, Liz, their two kids, dog -- and their land out in the East Coast woods. They used to live in town, but through massive saving, scrimping and whatnot, they were able to afford this 60+ acre property.

Now Liz has written her first book, Meet the Frugalwoods. It's a sort-of "how we got where we are" recapping of their story, complete with tips and ideas they used, in order to save so much money.

I love the blog. Didn't care that much for the book.

Liz, who refers to herself as a "constantly recovering perfectionist," is also a control freak. When things don't go exactly as planned -- and when do they? -- she tends to obsess. She jumps the gun a lot about the difficulty of finding work and an affordable place to live;  Nate's marriage proposal;  getting pregnant (or not); her first child's birth (she seems surprised that it would hurt);  her job commitments; etc etc. She fusses about snow, icy roads, vehicle reliability, gardens, trees (how dare the wild creatures eat off them!?!); too cold/too hot; tracking in dirt; and everything else you can think of. Worry, worry, fuss, fuss.

Geez, Mrs. Frugalwood, you're living out in the boonies. What can you expect?

Maybe the book was written when she was much more nervous. Her most recent posts on the blog, like this one on using time wisely, are more relaxed. Do what you can...and leave it at that.

Are you starting to mellow out, Mrs. F.?

If life gives you lemons...

The Frugalwoods point out that things take up our time and energy, as much as anything. "You can afford to buy the things that are most important to you and you have enough time to do the things that are most important to you," she says. "In order to do this, however, you have to eliminate all of the unimportant time and money drains from your life."

Not only that -- eliminating them means you give yourself more time, not less. In other words:

Fewer things (and only keeping things that are truly useful) = 
             more time & energy for what's really important. 

As we get rid of more and more, in preparation for moving into the trailer, I see the wisdom of her urge "of wanted less, of needing less, of being truly content with less."

She's right.

Meet the Frugalwoods is worth reading -- but at arm's length. Jobs like theirs are found more in hippy dippy places like Boulder or other college towns, than they are in average America. Their food purchases are anything but frugal, with their emphasis on 'organic,''artisan' and such. (Easy labels to slap on, harder to prove.) And there's always the sense, 'If we can't get it to fit/do exactly what we want, then we'll discard it or make it fit.' People and circumstances don't always work that way.

However, I did pick up some helpful ideas:

*Buy it secondhand.  Only pay for new when you can't find what you want in pre-used condition.

*Budget and save for what you want - but don't be afraid to grab an opportunity when you see it, either. When you're buying secondhand (and nearly all their possessions are), this is crucial.

*Spend more, if need be -- but only if that item works/operates/lasts better than a lesser brand. (This is one of the Brick's favorite tenets.)

*Frozen pizza saves the day.  Keeping extras in the freezer means quick suppers, when you're tired or not feeling well. (Or live miles from the nearest restaurant or takeout.)

*Partners take turns. If he does the meals, you clean the bathrooms. He cuts wood, you pick apples. A true marriage is a give-and-take partnership who are better in tandem than they are separately.

*Don't skimp on what you really love - just find a way to get it cheaper. They're huge fans of  carbonated water, but hated paying for the cartridges in their machine. Voila, Mr. F. figured out a way to hook up a tank, instead! That simple act saves them hundreds of a dollars a year.

*Research, research, research. Not only will you find the best buys -- you'll learn how to repair and replace, using Youtube videos and such.

*If you're at a garage sale or Craigslist search -- ask if they have anything else they'd like to sell. Baby items and furniture particularly benefit from this simple question.

*Grow or gather your own food. Not only will it fit your fussy requirements -- it will cost less and keep you healthier through exercise.

     And it will give you an even stronger connection with the land and people you've grown to love.

Maybe that's why Mrs. Frugalwood is calming down. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Advice for Grads

    I wish someone had told me these statements when I graduated from high school. But maybe they did...and I wasn't listening. They would have helped me avoid several stupid decisions and life mistakes.

*Always save something -- no matter how little. Even a dollar a week adds up in the long run. (In fact, saving regularly through my high school years, working at Rogers Hardware, meant I could afford to go to college. And that definitely changed my life.)

*Never spend more than you earn. No matter what. If you're not making enough, cut back, or get other work.

*Credit cards are great,  provided they have no annual fee, and offer rewards. BUT pay them off every single month, without fail. The month you can't is the month you should stop using them...until you can.

*Learn at least three skills that you can use to make money. Even if these aren't what you want to be doing all your life, they'll keep the bills paid. One of the skills should be food-related, if possible -- people, whatever the situation, will always need to eat.

*No job, if it's honest work and pays the bills, is ever beneath you. Be willing to scrub toilets, dogsit (including picking up poop),  wash dishes (and people), and clean up. Often these jobs are tests, to see if you're trustworthy. And they're almost always available, when other work isn't.

*Be willing to help out. Even the Queen  schlepped her new granddaughter's dog to the palace for the festivities. 

*Always be reading or studying something new -- preferably unusual or controversial. It gives you something different to think about during hard times, and provides an interesting source of conversation when meeting people.
     It may also open the door to a new opportunity you never figured on. My hobby of Bigfoot sightings certainly has done this. The latest book has had a lot to do with my collection of oddities, as well.

*Learn a foreign language. Or two. Or three. Even a few sentences come in handy. (In our area, Spanish is first...but I also speak a little German, French and a few words of Portuguese and Romanian.)

*Talk to strangers, particularly older people. You will learn so much; just be careful about where and when you do it. Public places, around other people, are best.

*Listen and ask questions -- you will learn so much more than if you try to impress them with your auditory brilliance. Even if you're sure of the answer, ask questions -- you may learn another reason or nuance that's important. (Secondary note: never assume that someone who does ask questions doesn't already have a pretty good notion of the answer! Like Steve Jobs, for example.)

*Be careful who you commit to. Make sure your friends and partners worth it. Once you do, though, give them your complete loyalty and faith.

*You are not perfect. You never will be. All that's asked is that you do the best you can -- and forgive yourself for not being flawless. That's Someone Else's job...

*Use your time and energy wisely. You only get so much -- wasting it on getting drunk and high is just that -- a waste.

And most importantly:

*Ask God for help and guidance in everything, large or small.

He has never failed me. Not once. He cares about you, too.

All photos from PInterest

Twenty best graduation ideas here, including announcements and parties --
          from Fine Crafts Guild.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Home Home Home

    ...and so glad to be here. I'm still not sure what time it is -- at least my body isn't -- but it's a pleasure to be able to sleep in my own bed, and drink the Brick's coffee. (He makes the best - stop by, and he'll brew you a cup.)
     On to work, but at least we're doing it here. And not elsewhere. 

By the way, did you watch Prince Harry's and HRH Meghan's wedding? If you're female, you probably did -- or at least checked up on various tidbits about it. (Particularly Meghan's beautiful gowns.) 
     I mentioned this to the Brick. He looked at me strangely: 'Why in the world would I want to know about that??'   Gentle Readers, here is one of the major differences between the sexes. 
     Although there are always exceptions.

Treasure!  Hundreds of blog entries on all sorts of discoveries -- some you've heard of, some not. I just bumbled onto this fantastic History Blog; it has a wide variety of posts on all sorts of subjects. Including:

Catherine de Medici's hairpin -- found in a communal toilet.

A very funny -- and sassy -- excuse note written by a mom for her tardy daughter.

Eating paleo on an extremely limited budget.  (From Penniless Parenting)

Finally, some good news about a Texas kid -- who held an umbrella over an elderly woman's head while she was waiting at the bus stop.

Some very funny (and silly) memes on Prince Harry and (Princess?) Meghan's wedding.

Princess Kate is frugal?!? She wore the same coat (oh shock) she's doffed on several occasions to Harry and Meghan's wedding. (Not to mention the same shoes.) Good for her!

'A day in the life of my (supposedly) frugal stomach.'   Don't miss the reader comments -- they're some of the best part of this post. Revelations from Mr. Money Mustache.

Strainers as flowers?  Ummm... I guess so.  (From Hometalk)

Young and debt-free -- good for them!  (From NerdWallet)

'What was your lowest point, financially?'  Lots of good stuff here, including in reader comments. (Mine too, quite frankly.)  From Retire by 40.

Whatever you put into life is what you get out.  (From Diary of a Stay-At-Home Mom)

An easy strawberry pie.  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

Celebrity wedding cakes of all types and sizes. Some are surprisingly modest...

Canceled and renewed tv shows for 2018-19.  'Designated Survivor,' one of our favorites, got the ax. (Sob)

When frugality gets in the way of living your life the best.  (From Financial Samurai)

'The best election night coverage report of all time.'  Warning: plenty of rudeness. Plenty of irony to send it down, though.

37 crazy ways to pay off debt.  Hey, if they work...  (From Making Sense of Cents)

One of the the more creepy Halloween decorations I've ever seen --

Weird stuff that works.  A classic from yours truly.

Have a great week.

Thanks, Pinterest

Weekend Rain

That's what it's doing here... little fog-curtains of raindrops, pushed by the wind. 

The mountains have pulled the covers over their heads, and the sky is gray.

   We see this so little in our high-desert area that it's a cause for celebration, not dreariness. 

I do too, Langston.
Growing up in Michigan, rainy days were the reminds me of there, too.

We have church and a graduation party to go to -- then a nice long nap, listening to the drops hit the windows, tinkling softly as they slide down.   Aaahhhh...

graphics from Pinterest

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Easy Knit Slippers

These are a good start for Christmas presents...and even a beginner can make them beautiful. Try variegated yarn, like the examples shown, for a particularly effective look.

Go here for specifics.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Shocking Royal News: A King Has Been Chosen!

Queen Elizabeth apparently is beginning to -- or thinking of -- stepping down.

And her recommended successor?


Prince Charles. 

Photo via PureWow
From the article:

'Queen Elizabeth, who turns 92 years old tomorrow, issued a formal request for the Commonwealth Heads of Government to appoint her son Prince Charles as her successor during an official meeting at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
She said, “It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949.”'

Lest you think this is old news... the Queen has NEVER, up to this point, requested that her son be appointed. Her successor has been assumed, but never confirmed. And with all the brouhaha about Charles and Diana's divorce, there's been plenty of speculation that he would step aside and let the monarchy pass to son William, instead.

The 69-year-old Prince of Wales has been waiting practically forever for this opportunity. Queen Victoria's son, Bertie, had the same struggle. He held the throne less than a decade after his accession in 1901. (Actually less, if you count his being crowned in August 1902.)

Wait a minute -- I thought the King was not allowed to marry a divorcee. Wasn't that the whole point of another Edward's abdication? Guess it doesn't matter when they've both been divorced, like Charles and Camilla...what a mess.

Hopefully, Prince William doesn't have to wait as long for his turn at the crown!
Hopefully he will remember the promise he made to his mom when he does...

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

An Insanely Cool Chalkboard

Cleverly Inspired's got a great idea for a chalkboard. It lets you keep lists and experiment with other ideas -- all on a large surface.

Don't like what you came up with? Clean it off and start again.

How-to's are here. Have fun.

We got back in town around noon -- had to stop and sleep for an hour, but otherwise, we drove straight through from Michigan. 
     What time is it? My body has no idea.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: A Very Weird Few Months

Here's what the past six weeks or so have been like for yours truly:

*Prep work, an appraisal day, other appraisals and a lecture before flying into Nashville. Hustle, hustle, hustle. (The book manuscript must be finished during this period, as well.)

*Two weeks of the Australians tour -- 24/7, Nashville to Paducah to Branson to Hamilton to Kansas City. I didn't realize how absorbing this was until I kept dreaming about it for days afterward.

*While on the tour, The Book must be trimmed, edited and finished. Plus some other work done. Which means less sleep, on the time I have at night. 

*Three days after I get home, our dear Aunt Mary dies. If you haven't guessed it, we've been in Michigan for her funeral -- 18 hours' drive, with only gas and potty breaks, but we made it in time.

    We then stayed longer than planned to celebrate Mother's Day with The Mama. (And visit Holland's Tulip Time Festival, which was fun.) 

Dutch dancers -- both photos from

*While we're in Michigan, Brother's company has a machine break down -- and parts must be delivered asap to North Carolina. With a half-hour's notice, we head for the Brick's natal state, driving all night. We get there about 10:30 a.m., drop off the parts -- then turn around and head back to Michigan. Twelve hours drive each way, in little more than 24 hours. (Mission accomplished: the technician got the machine up and running again.) 

*We leave this afternoon for Colorado -- another 18-hour drive. The roads are clear, rain is minimal --and we'll miss Chicago's rush hour traffic. All good things. 

*Then it's back to work: on the business, the house and  plans for Daughter #2's wedding in just a few weeks. 

   Have I finished what I need to, while we've been here? Does my body have any clue what time it is, thanks to all the time changes over the past month? Are the Brick, myself and Charley together?

Nope, nope --and yup.

photos from

10 stories of love during the Holocaust. Reminiscent of the mother's letter I mentioned a few days ago.

Great ways to stash money -- and save on bits & pieces here and there.  (From Budgets Are Sexy)

Almost 100 discounts and freebies for teachers.  (From Brad's Deals)

Regrets of a former online troll. I'm glad she's sorry now, but how much better if she had never started in the first place...

A $50 dress and a whole bunch of blue roses = a beautiful prom gown!

Bears make a visit to a Colorado news station:

Mitt Romney brags about saving money on his tuxHow often do you hear about a celebrity doing this...

"My daughter's homework is killing me."  (From The Atlantic)

44 Pinterest fails that are...hilarious.  (From Good Housekeeping)

16 kitty snapchat photos...also very funny.  Like this one:

Abraham Lincoln's bloodstained gloves from his assassination may be up for auction. 

Taking a vacation - by going back to work.  (From Financial Samurai)

60+ restaurant and retail card deals you should check out TODAY.  (From Brad's Deals)

Like the Outback deal we got for the Mama's Mother's Day present.

The Brazilian mom who foiled a robbery attempt, and saved lives.

Really picky -- and startlingly accurate -- details in famous movies and tv.  (From Cracked)
Laundry room -- in a closet.  (From The Inspired Room)

13 things found on the Internet -- including the Antarctic's hidden mountain range.  (From Messy Nessy Chic)

The world's going to end -- Jim Bakker knows! And the only way you'll be protected is to live in one of his Missouri cabins, chugging his bottled water and eating the emergency foods he's so thoughtfully provided. (At a price, of course.) Btw, this is NOT the way Christians should be acting about (or profiting from) this issue.

10 incredible street performers:

16 essential slow-cooker recipes.  (From our buddette, Betty Crocker)

Monroe Steele, fashionista.  I should add -- practical fashionista.  Good ideas here. (From Pure Wow)

Making a book out of 'rubbish.'  (From Life After Money)

28 BUCKS for a rent-controlled apartment in New York City??  Until recently, this was true.

No-knead dutch oven bread.  As Prairie Home Companion says, 'Heavens, it's tasty..'  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

   Shirley's iced cinnamon raisin bread runs a close second on tastiness.

An unassuming legal secretary dies at age 96 -- and leaves millions.

Here's what I keep thinking:

Have a great week.

Our dear puppies, Abby (now gone)  and Charley