Thursday, March 21, 2019

Garbage Plates...And Cincinnati Chili

It's been a long day, with lots of clouds and wind. The fridge is full of leftovers, and you've had plenty to do, without even thinking about what you're going to eat tonight.

It may be time for a Garbage Plate.




Before you register a mental 'ewwww,' bear in mind that garbage plates have a long and honored tradition. The first mention seems to be Nick Tahou Hots in Rochester, NY; Alex Tahou, Nick's dad, is said to have invented the original Garbage Plate in 1918.

    The Garbage Plate, according to Nick Tahou Hots, starts "with a base of any combination of home fries, macaroni salad, baked beans or french fries topped by your choice of meats and dressed to your liking with spicy mustard, chopped onions and our signature Nick Tahou's hot sauce. Each plates comes wiht two thick slices of fresh Italian bread and butter."

    Sounds like the perfect dish for a customer who can't make up their mind. ("Hey Nick -- give me a little of everything!") 
     Another site described Tahou's mixture as "two hamburger patties and a choice of two sides -- usually some combination of home fries, macaroni salad, and beans. The contents are often laced heavily with ketchup and hot sauce, and mixed together before eating. Rolls or white bread are served on the side."

New York's Tom Wahl's burger chain makes a similar dish, but calls it the "55 Junker Plate." So, to my surprise, does the national Culver's chain. According to one review, their "Hot Plate" is made up of three cheeseburgers, home fries and macaroni salad lumped together on a platter, with "sneaky good" meat sauce ladled over all. (Bread is extra.)

Culver's 'hot plate'

No fuss, garnishing or arranging here -- the food is lumped on, sauce poured over and the plate is slapped out on the counter. (I remember George Orwell asserting, in his 'arranged' memoir, Down and Out in Paris and London, that the less fuss paid to a dish, the more it was probably not dropped on the floor, picked up, moved around with sweaty fingers that had been licked, etc etc. Yum.)
     This actually looks a lot like what The Mama called 'Slop:' various leftovers mixed together in a frypan, then served topped with sauce or gravy, if we had any. Her comment, after that, was usually "Shut up and eat." Even now, that command is still used, with much giggling, at family gatherings. (The Mama generally blushes when it's trotted out.)

All this slopping and pouring reminds me of another regional specialty:

 Cincinnati Chili. This interesting dish features spaghetti heaped with a spicy tomato sauce that's not traditional chili... but something else. Word is it was invented, c.1920, by two Macedonian Greek immigrants for their restaurant, The Empress. (They'd been using the same sauce on their 'coney' dogs shortly before.)

I'm pretty sure this is 5-way -- see below


This is not your typical chili -- it's considered a Mediterranean thin soup, rather than a stew. It uses spices not associated with traditional chili, including cinnamon, allspice, bay leaf, cloves and nutmeg. Cumin and chili powder are in there too...but they show up in a lot of chili recipes, including Colorado's famous green chili. Some recipes even include a little dark chocolate, though Dann Woellert, author ot The Authentic History of Cincinnati Chili, says that's not the case for any chili parlor in Cincinnati.

The 'ways' are important in this dish. According to Wikipedia, they are:

  • Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili[4] (also called "chili spaghetti")
  • Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and cheese[4]
  • Four-way onion: spaghetti, chili, onions, and cheese[4]
  • Four-way bean: spaghetti, chili, beans*, and cheese[4]
  • Five-way: spaghetti, chili, beans, onions, and cheese[4]

*usually kidney beans

So what's served with it? Oyster crackers, of course!

Here's the recipe, as interpreted from AllRecipes.comdirect from a Cincinnati native.

CINCINNATI CHILI

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 chopped onions
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 square (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate  (optional)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
5 whole cloves
5 whole allspice berries (or a teaspoon of allspice)
1 bay leaf  (optional - I am not a fan)

Directions:

Step 1:  BOIL THE MEAT. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Cover the hamburger with water, then boil until cooked, breaking up the meat to give it a fine texture. Cool (preferably overnight), then skim the fat off. Keep the broth -- you'll need it.

Step 2:  Stir in everything else, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for three hours. Check occasionally to see if more water is needed. Pull out your bay leaf, if you used it, and serve as a topping for freshly-cooked spaghetti. Makes enough for 4-8 hungry eaters, depending on how many 'ways' you add. (Variation: Serve 'coneys' first, with the sauce spooned over hot dogs in buns -- then use the rest of the sauce later in the week for Cincinnati Chili.)

     Plan ahead, and you can have just enough leftovers from other dishes to make a quick Garbage Plate or Cincinnati Chili some cold and overcast March evening. Top your meal off with a goold old Irish Eton Mess, and you've got a messy, satisfying meal.



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(This post was also published in my 'other' blog, Holiday Goodies. Our third blog, Christmas Goodies, is taking its annual long winter's nap.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Trip To See Terry Tedford...

Yes, he's our friend.

And also our dentist, at Tedford Dental.




We've known this guy since our girlies and his and Linda's kids were babies. We did a Brazil missions trip together -- Terry did his stuff, with the Brick as his assistant and me as his sterilizing technician.

We are very fond of him and his wife Linda.

But he drives me absolutely CRAZY.

I needed a good cleaning, x-rays and a front tooth was showing a yellow spot. The Brick also needed his teeth cleaned. Good enough.



It had been a long day, to start with. I still haven't completely beat this flu germ...and was feeling bad that I would be passing it around. (No matter: they take precautions, and wear face masks, as well.) I'd done a piano lesson. Worked on appraisal stuff. And had a crappy night of sleep, because I couldn't breathe that easily. Life was a bit fuzzy.

Nearly finished with all the scraping, buzzing, filling and polishing. Starting to relax now.. I'm thinking: GREAT. No huge problems this time around. It seems like the Brick and I alternate having crowns, cavities, etc. And though we have insurance, we always end up paying, as well.

Terry's kind voice interrupts my thoughts. I've got a huge cavity developing underneath a crown -- and another one starting under a second crown. He'll need to take both off, fix the problems, and put two new crowns back on. As soon as possible, of course.

AAARGGHGHGHGH.

At least I have a shiny new front tooth, and everything's suitably clean and polished.
And the Brick doesn't need anything fixed this time around. (Guess it's my turn.)






If you're looking for a kind and gentle dentist in the Denver area, Tedford Dental is your place. (They work with insurance, and payment plans, too.) Tell Brenda that Cindy sent you.



Sunday, March 17, 2019

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: The Fear Edition

     We made it back from Santa Fe, after a nail-biting trip along I-25 from south of Colorado Springs to home. At least the scary part was only at the beginning, and about two hours at the end. 
     After a work gig for me, we spent the weekend hunkered down, fighting off an attack of flu. It was then that I noticed -- there are an awful lot of scary things going on lately. 






On a serious note:

My heart goes out to the survivors of the mosque shootings in New Zealand. If they only had security guards -- they could at least have stopped the shooter at the first mosque. At least there were those who were brave enough to stand up to him.






Now on with the fun. 

'When your internet and your truck conspire against you:' the monthly report from the Frugalwoods. Hey lady, I've had a few days like that lately...

Diamonds and candy necklaces, worn together.  Do that all the time, too. (Okay, that's not scary. Weird, yes. Frightening, no.)

A moose home intruder. Yet another thing to worry about in beautiful Breckenridge, CO. And if that isn't enough:

Goats on the lam in Boise, ID. Lots of 'em.

Anyone can give you the finger now -- and it's protected because it's a right of free speech. Tell that to the teenagers who almost ran me over -- then expressed their 'free speech' most abundantly.

The United Airlines pilot who got busted for walking naked around his hotel room! He thought the frosted windows meant no one could see him -- we would have assumed that, too. I did wonder whether the slightly-sheer curtains in our room at Cabo Pulmo were hiding everything.
     Next question: why did the District Attorney's office wait for a judge to dismiss the case? This seems a clear-cut mistake, but it went on long enough to partially ruin this poor guy's life.

Visiting your folks' grave -- then the ground opens underneath you. That would freak anyone out.





Ten amazing liars -- who should have stopped while they were ahead.  (From Listverse) Listverse is good at this game, including:

Ten horrifying things doctors don't always tell you.

You can't even trust a television game show?!? Actually, we knew that a number of these had been rigged in the past. (Or people cheat.) One more to add to the list: Olivia Jade Loughlin, she of the 'I-can't-make-it-into-college-so-my-mom-has-to-pay-somebody,' lost a trivia competition. But executives insisted the ending be re-shot, showing her as the winner. Can't this girl accomplish anything on her own? (At least her news is taking the heat off Jussie Smollett. For now, at least.)

Seven viral stories that didn't have quiiite the ending they implied.  (From Cracked)

Eating eggs increases your risk of heart attack. First they're good...then they're not. Then they're good...


And in case that didn't do it:





Eleven things you're afraid of -- but shouldn't be.


Let's all get out there and panic this week. Or not.





Happy St. Patrick's Day!


We didn't do much today...but hey, we're still Irish. Erin go bragh.







Yup...




Thursday, March 14, 2019

Rude, Rude, Rude...






...but as a person of Welsh extraction (and a larger woman than I would like to admit), I still laughed!

Home -- Again

There's been a big conference for personal property appraisers via ASA down in Santa Fe, NM, this week.

The American Society of Appraisers is one of my two affiliations. The conference was GREAT, filled with seminars about Southwestern art (one good example -- how to tell a repro Remington bronze from the 'lifetime' real one); posters and photographs as art; case studies; and even a final couple of seminars by IRS agents. (Okay, they were a little scary.)

It was a lot to jam into 3 1/2 days, but I also had the pleasure of the Brick, not to mention Charley and Ruby, since we brought the fifth-wheeler down. We stayed in a Sam's Club parking lot, next to a walking trail. It was surprisingly peaceful and quiet. What a nice break --

Until it started to rain.




Which meant that our solar power array wasn't charging properly, thanks to the overcast skies. The Brick was having to start the truck up periodically to charge the batteries enough to give us a little heat and some lights.

Tuesday night, it snowed a couple of inches. We woke up to temperatures of 49 degrees inside the trailer. (Fortunately, we all slept warm.)

Wednesday was the last day of the conference -- and I really wanted to hear what the IRS ladies had to say. But it was also the start of a big blizzard in Denver. DIA cancelled its flights. All the schools and many of the businesses closed their doors. We were planning to leave right away after the last seminar -- when we found out that I-25 was closed, as well.



Visits to a couple of thrift shops, and a relaxing lunch out. Then a nap. One more night in the trailer. The batteries weren't holding their charge at all, but at least the propane was going strong. We had supper, talked a lot and made some plans, then went to bed.



Two more inches of snow when we woke up this morning. Lots of big soggy puddles by now. (Santa Fe doesn't get much moisture normally.)

With the highways STILL closed up north, we crossed our fingers and took off out of Santa Fe, anyways. It was rainy, snowing and a bit scary until Las Vegas, NM -- then dry, albeit windy, until about Colorado Springs. The highway must have opened just an hour before, because there was still plenty of ice here and there on the roads. A few stranded cars decorated the gullies, and we made a snail's pace crawling north, along with umpteen semis and other vehicles who obviously had been waiting. We were moving. Sort of.


No, I didn't see Bigfoot. Darn it.


We finally pulled in late this evening. The huge drift by the garage has to be shoveled out first before we can pull the trailer back in and clean it out. (Memo to self before we start living in the trailer: Get more batteries for power storage. And  more solar panels.)

The Brick is soaking his tired muscles in a hot bath, after a steak and grilled shrimp dinner. I can barely keep my eyes open -- but have a full appraisal day tomorrow, Friday the 15th, at Holly's Quilt Cabin in Littleton. There are a few openings left in the afternoon -- come on over and show me your quilts.

Then, maybe tomorrow night, I can draw a deep breath and crash. For a little while, at least.



This might be me tomorrow...except for the stabbing, of course.
But the quilts will be wonderful.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Snowing Again -- Big-Time

    I honestly cannot remember this much snow and cold in Colorado for a long, long time.

Sure, we get storms -- but after two or three days, they drift on their way (usually in the direction of Michigan and The Mama). And the sun comes out.

Not this winter.


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Back, and Busy

     Where did all that casual living go to? I guess it stayed on the Baja Peninsula
We're back now, and taking care of several different commitments, all at the same time...but at least we're taking care of them. 

So far, all the balls are still in the air. Which is good. 




Ten sunken cities. And no, they're not Atlantis. (From Listverse)

You don't have to always be frugalI Pick Up Pennies makes a good case for her argument, too. (Although she could save a bit more on food costs...)

Learning more about Chinese textiles -- a free March 21 talk and gallery walk in Boston, MA, sponsored by Skinner Auctions.

Representative Omar protests that she never made disparaging comments about former president Obama -- but the interview clip she posts to 'prove' it only confirms what she said. ?!?! (She later deleted the tweet. Hey, that solved everything. Right.)

Interview with an art conservator.  (From Appraiser Workshops). But first you need to read the original interview in The Federalist, which is not only more detailed -- but shows you the painting they're working on. (Hmmm, watercolors and/or acrylics to restore an old oils painting...hmmm.)

A quarter-million in debt -- paid off in less than five years. How they did it...

An alert waitress catches a child abuser. Good for her.

Some Very Bad Puns from Donna Freedman's partner. We're big fans of bad puns, too. (Thanks, Surviving and Thriving)

Hate crimes by Trump supporters -- 23 of them. Only they weren't. Ironically, all were done by the 'victims' (who made it up), by people who should have known better because they complained of biogotry themselves (but hey, they're troubled, after all), or by those who were 'outraged' by the 'perpetrators.' Shades of Jussie Smollett...who, now that he's been indicted for 16 counts, is in big trouble. (I'll bet his lawyers work out some sort of plea agreement.) 

Have a good week.







Awwwwww

This just really ripped my heart out...




Now THAT'S a classy dad...

Thursday, March 7, 2019

AQS Daytona Week Prizewinners

The American Quilters Society Daytona Beach show is over...

and here are some of the prizewinners.

Several are veterans of the quilt show circuit, including the Best of Show winner:

Eternal Beauty by Sherry Reynolds of Larmie, WY.  See here for more info.


She is an amazing artist whose attention to detail is one of the very best in quiltmaking today. The round medallion is one of her trademark styles, used successfully in other Best of Show pieces, like America, Let It Shine.  (One of my favorites.) And she does it all with a basic machine. Wow.


Some other beauties that caught my eye:

Dance of the Twirly Girls by Andrea Brokenshire.



I've been a big fan of this quilter's naturalistic style for years. She has an incredible grasp of color and shading.


Espalier by Joann Webb -- Best Original Design, and you can see why.




Diamond Effervescence by Beth Nufer and  Clem Buzick



The traditional Bethlehem Star, with rainbow effects.



Two Hearts by Becky Brown



Becky did a wonderful job on her version of the 'Civil War Bride Quilt.' also known as the 'Bird of Paradise' top. Someday I am going to applique this design. Maybe when I'm 90.


The Photographer by Constanze Botel



Note the quilted detail around the frame. This is one very effective pictorial that betrays a lot of affection for its subject.



Muttons & Buttons & Pearls, Oh My! by Janet Stone


If this isn't reminding you of a 19th century coverlet...it should.



Persistence by Margaret Solomon Gunn. She, like Reynolds and others, won multiple prizes this year.






And finally --

The Jump by Christina Arcenegui Bono. You have to examine this piece up close to see all the detail.



What a great way to segue off the wholecloth tradition!  A friend just recently got me to looking at wholecloth quilts again -- and there are several in this batch of quilts.


I'm not highlighting everything wonderful, by a longshot. Take a look at the AQS website page for the full list, and more photos. Yowza.

We're Home!

    Based on the hints in the Monday Stuff post, you might have guesssed that we were off somewhere besides Colorado...
    And you would have been right.

We just got back late last night from 11 days in Baja California, Mexico's continuation-peninsula from 'our' California. The Brick and I love this area -- it's dusty, more than a little rustic...much more easygoing, and an outdoors-lover's dream. It's also a good bit cheaper.. if you're a Hollander, and search for the deals, that is.
    Take our room, for example: $25/night at Alicia's Cabanas in Cabo Pulmo. The huge bed took up a good share of the space, but it had an attached bathroom and lucky for us, electrical outlets. We were told the town didn't have electricity -- which was true. But they did have plenty of generators and solar arrays to keep the power going. The only weird part: the town was pitch-dark at night. No streetlights, and the few restaurants turned their lights off with the last customers. Fortunately, Alicia's compound used LED lights at the entryway.
     I'll be telling you more about our time there, including snorkeling and trips out and about. Cabo Pulmo is smack-dab in the middle of a huge national park known for its diving and snorkeling. In fact, Coastal Living calls its beaches some of the best in Mexico.

All I know is -- they're beautiful. (From Coastal Living)


The hard part was returning, to cold and snow in Colorado. Heading down to baggage claim at DIA, we both saw a notice for a flight to Cabo (where we'd just come from)...and both had a momentary urge to hop back on and head back. But life is important, too. (Not to mention dogs Ruby and Charley, who were very happy to see us.) Even if you slip and slide and freeze your toes trudging through the snow in sandals still dusty from beach sand.

Ah well. It is nice to be able to sleep in our own bed, and drink the Brick's coffee. (There was only one place in Cabo Pulmo that served coffee -- Caballeros, and only in the mornings.)

    But we'd like to go back.


Photo from terratrekkers.com, via Pinterest

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Making Progress


For those who feel you're trudging along right now...

This song was a real encouragement to me. Hopefully it will be for you, too.


Jerry Sailey's Pullin' A Heavy Load:






Hang in there.


Speechless

...probably breathless, too.




Monday, March 4, 2019

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Ahhhhhh

We had a break this past week -- the first in ages, and much appreciated. I'll be telling you about it soon. Meanwhile, I haven't had a chance to spend much time online, so the Stuff list is a little thin. No worries -- I'll make it up to you next week. 


One of our February sunsets -- cool, huh


28 things you can do now to help yourself become more professional.  (From The Wealth Advisor)

Five strange methods real countries have used to pay their bills.  (From Cracked)

What if a piece is sold at auction for big $$, based on one attribution -- and later, experts claim another? If that piece is then donated to a museum, how does the donor value it for tax purposes? Appraisers go through this struggle all the time -- here's a good chance for you to consider the all the prickly sides to this issue.  (From Appraiser Workshops)

Ten American frontierwomen you did NOT want to mess with.  (From Listverse) If you liked that:

Ten speeches that really shocked their audiences.  And some of them really deserved it. Some, not so much...

The first snow -- in more than a decade! Prudent Homemaker's from Las Vegas, NV; it's a delight to see her kids enjoy what our girlies have always taken for granted.


Have a great week.




Saturday, March 2, 2019

Brrrrr...

It's like this all weekend in Colorado. Charles and Rubes do NOT approve.




It's Not A Mystery to Me...

Mystery Fiction collectors (and personal property appraisers) everywhere, take note -- Otto Penzler's landmark collection will be sold at auction March 6. 

Why is this important?

Because Penzler has one of the largest collections of detective fiction in the world. He also founded the Mysterious Bookshop in 1879 -- the oldest American bookshop dedicated to (what else) mystery liberature.

This is his library.


There's good stuff inside Penzler's collection, including The Big Sleep, signed by Raymond Chandler himself, and a rare edition of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Ooooh.




Penzler said his interest was first caught by The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.  (One of my favorites, too.) He began collecting first editions when few others were noticing detective fiction -- he said that he could pick up several within his $5/week budget. Lucky him -- because a number of those titles are now valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.  The Maltese Falcon, for example, is currently appraised at more than $30,000.

The March 6 auction, hosted by Heritage Auctions, will only offer part of Penzler's collection. The second half, focusing on British fiction, will be auctioned off Sept. 5. If you're a booklover, you'll want to add the date to your calendar.

Go here for more. P.S. You can start bidding now.




Currently valued at $4400... 






Monday, February 25, 2019

Oscar, We Salute You!

 Once again, our world has been deluged with Oscar, including the good, bad and just plain weird.

Were you surprised by the winners...and losers?  

The 2019 winners are here.  Congratulations, Green Book! We thought this movie was wonderful...although Viggo Mortensen should have won for Best Actor. (That guy was AMAZING.)



Black Panther won a well-deserved spot for Costume Design. (Also amazing. The fights were good, too -- but you don't give Academy Awards for fight choregraphy. Too bad.) At least A Star Was Born won for a song. (Poor old Lady GaGa.)
     I still think A Quiet Place was cheated out. Then again, who in Hollywood listens to yours truly.

The 2018 winners are here, as well as previous years. Some surprises in those years, too. I don't think many people thought The Shape of Water would win in 2018. It's a curious movie -- amazing in some ways and strange in others. It wasn't a moneymaker -- The first weekend of Black Panther's earnings beat out its entire run.



And here are  10 embarrassing Oscar mistakes. Oops.

 If you're a costume admirer, you'll also enjoy the sexiest Oscar dresses of all time, all 27 of them. Surprisingly, most are not nearly as revealing as some shown on the red carpet. Ample proof that  'suggestion' can often be sexier than actuality.

Now, to watch some of the award-winning movies I never heard of before this.






Saturday, February 23, 2019

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Back On My Feet

Friday afternoon, I was walking to a restaurant when I slipped off a curb; wobbled, and *BAM* landed on my hands and knees in the snowy parking lot.
    My balance is somewhat uneasy nowadays, thanks to a nagging ear infection. Darn it.
Thankfully, I fell right in front of a rowdy group of guys, coming out after lunch. They scooped me up, found my glasses and asked in concern if I was okay.
    "Just embarrassed," I muttered. 

The strange thing: other than the usual bruises and stiffness, the accident seems to have done my knee some good! It actually feels better than it has for a while. Is that possible??


At least it wasn't as bad as this. (I hope they lived.)

This will be a strange week, in some ways, activity-wise...but I'm definitely picking up speed in the "Department of Progress." And that is wonderful. Hopefully you're gaining some feistiness back, too.
     By the way:  visits to the blog are up considerably! Thank you, Gentle Readers, for spreading the word. It's much appreciated.

So what does the 24-year-old ISIS mom thinks she deserves, for all her violent tweets against Americans? "Therapy time" -- which the U.S. would pay for. (P.S. She wants to return to America with no jail time, too, now that she and her child have run out of food.) The official response from the State Department: "No way."

Weird developments that accompanied historical events. Like a European town's memorial for...a latrine. (They thought it was a war grave.) Thanks, Cracked, for the history lesson. Ya liked those?

Here are twenty more.

A whole boatload of ways to subtly mess with people.  (From Quora)

"Losing arguments with your wife after she has brain surgery." A very funny commentary from Jim Gaffigan.


From the Department of "Really?!?," the strange case of the guy who finds a woman inside his house, wearing his wife's clothes. Apparently she moved in, kids in tow, while he was at work.

Analysis of a Viking warrior's grave: the warrior was female.

A number of interesting Viking-related discoveries have been made in recent years, including a sword found by an 8-year-old in the muddy edge of a Swedish lake;   and a jewelry find at the site of a Scottish fort burned by Vikings.

If you're not into Viking stuff, try:

Thirteen bizarre items washed up on beaches. ...including giant squid and a robot hand! Kewl.

Everything you've practically ever wanted to know about various celebrity wills and estates.  I understand...I'm nosey, too. (From The Balance)

Did you know that Swedish crown jewels were stolen last year? Nope, me neither, but one of the guys who did was just sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison.

For the Coloradoans who read this post:  CU's 2019 Shakespeare Festival lineup. *Gasp,* men are playing the 'male' parts, and women the 'female' parts! Of course, back in Shakespeare's day, young boys played the female parts. Go figure. 



'How we pulled off a no-spend weekend, even in the dead of winter.' (From She Picks Up Pennies)

Some good bookmarks on this blog to read -- when you've got time.  (From Budgets Are Sexy)

Ten cents a year for 99 years -- that's what the Obama Foundation would pay for the Chicago waterfront park land it wants to build on. (So far, a judge has ruled that Protect Our Parks, a group opposing it, has a right to continue their lawsuit.) Sounds amazingly similar to other Chicago political shenanigans over the decades -- they're famous for it.

Prices have doubled in Haiti, after weeks of anti-government protests. Wonder why we haven't heard more about this?

Politicians with high bank balances. Sadly, there's a lot of them on both sides of the politicial spectrum. How did 15 of them make their money? Go here.

High-end IKEA dresser hacks.  Great decorating ideas for less $$. (I wish I'd seen that bathroom cupboard version before we remodeled.)

Maybe fear SHOULD motivate your financial outlook.  (From I Pick Up Pennies)


Have a good week. Stay upright!






Friday, February 22, 2019

Frugal Hits & Misses: February Report

What a month. What a winter, really.




After the excitement of Christmas, I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything. I haven't been blue, exactly -- just not motivated or enthusiastic. It was difficult to get anything done but the basics. 
     A vacation is in the planning -- it may help. Meanwhile, more snowflakes are drifting down as I write. Snow is great -- we always need the moisture. I keep telling myself that.




Castle Rock, where we live, is a thousand feet higher than Denver. We often get snow when they don't.
(Sometimes it's vice versa.)

(Note: this list got posted early -- because I didn't have time to do it later. )


FRUGAL HITS

*Didn't go out to eat while the Brick was in North Carolina. Oh, I wanted to...

*Our fruit and vegetable needs were helped out by canned and frozen stuff -- particularly some small packs of mandarin oranges I'd gotten for about 25 cents each from the Friday-Saturday store ages ago. I also got 8 peppers, green and red (5/$1) and three-packs of romaine lettuce ($1 each) from them.  We need these crunchy salads right now, to balance out the heavier meals. Bacon bits help, for some reason. Both the Brick and I are really craving meat above most other foods. (Okay, maybe not peanut butter cups.)

You sweet thing, you.

     We ate quite a bit from the freezer this month -- partly because it was getting overcrowded; partly because it was snowing outside, and the roads were slippery...and partly because I was too tired to schlep to the grocery stores. The sales weren't that great, either. (Shame on you, King Soopers and Safeway.)




*A $3.99 marked-down bouquet of roses, snagged as a 'welcome home' present for the Brick, lasted for nearly FOUR weeks! Ironically, way longer than the beautiful bouquet of roses and alstromeria he got me for Valentine's Day.

*More $2 videos from the library used bookroom, including multi-DVD sets for The Maltese Falcon, Season #2 of House and a five-pack of James Bond movies. (These still sold as $2 each!) Several were used as birthday presents for the Brick. I also continued my usual pattern of checking out and requesting books from the library for current writing and research. We also watched nearly all of the Wallender series, which was wonderful. I love our library.

*Made the Brick's birthday cake myself -- from the last of the now-frozen carrots in the back-porch cooler. It was good, too. Here's the recipe.  Both the Brick and Son #1 are big fans of carrot cake -- it was the featured 'groom's cake' at our wedding. Son's and Daughter #2's wedding, as well.

*Free Black Panther ticketsUnfortunately, all four of us fell asleep during the movie -- a telling review. (I did enjoy the wonderful costumes and fights.)

*Sold some books, plus a couple of videos. Always nice.

*We're in the 'household sharing' plan of Amazon Prime now. This let us see movies and series, including Stargate: Atlantis and Liam Neeson's terrific The Commuter.  We're also getting into Justified. (I know -- this 'cowboy in Kenucky' has been doing his thing for years. But we just found it.)



*Two petsitting gigs. These are part of a swap that will cover our dogs during an upcoming vacation.

*Finally got a haircut!  $6.99 at Great Clips.

*A 50-cent sweater for Daughter #2 from our local outlet mall. (Actually, it was a penny more.) Bought a few other things during my recent mystery shopping gig -- all bargains.

*Kept paying our trailer loan early each month -- and putting a little extra on principal. This wouldn't add up to much...right? That extra, over time, has covered our payments for at least four months ahead. If something went really wrong, we'd be okay. Nice.


Our baby

*Free birthday burger at Red Robin, thanks to the Brick's birthday this month. We also earned a free burger from previous visits. Red Robin has a great special: use its rewards card, and every 10th burger is free!

*A $10 bonus at Outback...along with using up a giftcard. This finished up our Christmas bonus restaurant cards. (The Brick's leftover steak was featured in next morning's breakfast, sliced thin and stirfried with onions, mushrooms and peppers.)

*'Free' Valentine's candy. (Actually half-priced Christmas candy in disguise.) Yes, Daughters who read this blog, once again your mama fed you previous-holiday candy. And you enjoyed it, too.




*99-cent packages of cookies and chips. Also, multiple pkgs of York peppermint patties, peanut butter cups and other 'pogeybait' for marked-down prices -- courtesy of the Friday/Saturday store.

*I did a few appraisals, some restoration work and piano lessons. The usual.

*Some mystery shopping, as well. Not sure I'll continue this -- it was an awful lot of work for a $5/per store payoff.

*Daughter #2 and Son #1 went to Tucson without us. This annual trip is their stock-up on rock specimen's for their online store, Phenomenal Gems. We often go to Tucson, too-- but both felt we weren't supposed to this year. (Last year, we both got terribly sick from flu we picked up while there.)
     Phenomenal Gems is a wonderful shop -- and it's filled with bargains right now, thanks to the trip. Take a look.

And one final stunning revelation:

*Found a penny in a parking lot!


FRUGAL MISSES

*The aforementioned petsitting gigs. It was for our neighbors -- some of the nicest people in the world. Their cat is on the shadow side of 15, though, and going downhill. For a while there, I was averaging cleaning up 3-5 poop and/or throwup 'accidents' a day. This got old really fast.

*Our vacation. More on this soon. Actually, it belongs in both the Frugal Hits AND Misses categories.

*Paid the first half of the annual property tax. Thanks to putting the house up for sale soon, we shouldn't have to do this again.


I may not be as specific on goals as Mavis on Hundred Dollars A Month...but she still inspires me to get my act together. (So do all the 'no-purchase' or low-purchase comments on this post.) It's also encouraging to realize that a lot of people have trouble being motivated in February. No matter -- March and spring are coming. So, unfortunately, is a heck of a lot of work on the house. 

Here's last month's report -- and here's February's report from last year.



Garbage Plates...And Cincinnati Chili

It's been a long day, with lots of clouds and wind. The fridge is full of leftovers, and you've had plenty to do, without even think...