Sunday, March 31, 2019

Trusting



Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Keep On Keeping On

    Work continues. So does working on the house. We've spent some time with family. It's been helpful. Needed, too.
     I'm feeling some better, as well. Thanks to our warm sun (and melting snow), I'm daring to plant some spinach and peas this week. Maybe other greens, too.

Now, to lug all those bags of donations out to the curb...




April 1st is my dad's birthday -- a true April Fool who was also born on Easter. The tricks my mom played on him... and he let her, with great amusement. 
     He has been gone for a decade now. Happy Birthday, Pa, with love-- see you soon.

Building a bed -- by herself! One of Penniless Parenting's new accomplishments.

Restaurants that got even with their internet trolls. 

A family is harassed by a near-constant parade of deliveries, people to do work for them, ranging up to criminals looking to buy drugs or provide sex. Who's the stalker...and why?

Didn't pay your bills in China? Then most probably you will not be able to rent a flat, take the high-speed train or buy a plane ticket.

Rich people acting 'poor.' But it gets an audience to read, and react in outrage.  (From Cracked)

Make your own shoes -- a little leather (or another material) and cording. That's it!  (From Craftster)

Weird yet delicious dishes...thanks, Quora folks, for sharing.

The Sierra Club's six favorite bird cams.

'I will survive:' an oldie but goodie from yours truly, back in 2008.

These people decided to retire early -- then life got in the way.

Rob Gronkowski is retiring! And he's doing it with his $54 million career salary earnings intact. How? He lived off the money he made in endorsements this whole time. (wow)

Frugal living tips you'll benefit from -- even if you pride yourself on already being careful with money.  (From Little House Living)

The latest entry from the "Department of Stupid:" Duck under a fixed rope at a ski resort, warning of avalanche danger. Do it anyways, assuming that since you didn't notice anyone below you...there wasn't. Why would signs like that apply to you, anyways?  Trigger a huge avalanche and barely escape with your own lives -- but kill someone who WAS skiing down below.  Congratulations, three snowboarders -- this one's for you.

An underwater restaurant that just opened in Norway!  Plus twelve other insanely cool things from Messy Nessy's weekly post, "13 Things I Found on the Internet Today."



Katy's Gingersnaps -- an easy recipe from the Nonconsumer Advocate.

"Would becoming homeless be a good strategy to cut costs?" A thought-provoking question (and answers) via Quora.


Have a good week.



Saturday, March 30, 2019

Dog Biscuits -- Easy!

    Jersey Momma surprised the heck out of me with this great recipe --

homemade dog biscuits for Charles & Ruby, but only two ingredients:
               whole wheat flour
               jars of pureed baby food

Yum, Mom!


You could even substitute blenderized supper leftovers for the babyfood.

Recipe's here -- brilliant.  (Be sure to click on the link in the post -- it takes you to another version, with more variations.)
      "Believe it or not," Jersey Momma says, "You can eat these, too."



Frugal Hits & Misses -- March Report

Things are starting to disappear around here.

Fewer books. Tchotchkes. Clothes. Furniture. It's all part of the get-rid-of-stuff program we must do, in order to get the house ready to sell. The freezer is gradually emptying -- especially as I ignore grocery store sales each week. (Which is tough.) The shelves hold fewer canned goods. Surprise: I've been finding items I didn't even know we had...'good' stuff I'd been holding back for something special. Guess using these up now will be special enough. 

We had a very relaxing time in Mexico. Not so much in Santa Fe -- but I learned a great deal that's going to help me do an even better job as a personal property appraiser. A third trip is on the horizon, to Michigan to see The Mama and take care of some other business. We plan to bring two full suitcases each: more items for storage.

And you know what? All this cleaning out, using up and putting away feels really, really good.


From Styled Snapshots, via Pinterest

Gentle Readers, you've been hanging out here more often -- up to 8,100 hits a month! Thank you; I'm honored. P.S. If your friends would enjoy a mix of treasure, recipes, crafts (especially quilts), antiques and Bigfoot -- ask them to join us. I'd love it.




FRUGAL HITS

*Found money: 15 cents at LAX airport! Plus a nickel in Santa Fe...and a peso (about 5 cents) on the ground in Mexico. My lucky coin! In January, I wondered if gathering nickels would make it a lucky year for the Bricks. Every time I find another nickel, I smile to myself.

*A surprisingly inexpensive supper -- at an expensive Italian restaurant. The secret: a combination of coupons (free appetizer), half-priced beers (happy hour)...and a 10% discount because we paid with cash!
     We got free entertainment thrown in: our friend Sal Mancini, who plays weekly at Rose's Bella Cucina.




*Free financial dinner at a very fancy restaurant, with friends.

*A couple of great food buys: $4.99/lb for jumbo shrimp and three lobster tails marked down to $6.99. (Thanks, Sprouts.) Didn't shop much, except for milk, butter, eggs.We were gone a lot, anyways.

*A BUNCH of $2 videos, including several seasons of Star Trek Voyager, from the library's used-book room. Some are going on sale, others into our collection.



*Invested $17 in six months of International Living's The Savvy Retiree, plus several free reports. Supposedly it's going to tell me how to make our round-the-world cruise practically free. I hope so.

*Two beautiful wool sweaters at a Santa Fe thrift shop: $10 each. Upscale clientele = high-quality merchandise, even if you have to wait for someone else to 'break it in' first. We have this same fortunate coincidence in Douglas County -- one of the highest-income counties in Colorado.

*Watched how many times we went out to eat...even when we were out of town. One meal at Burger King, and another at McDonald's. (A third at one of Santa Fe's best 'homey' restaurants, the Pantry.) The rest were either part of the conference, or homemade in the trailer.


* * * * * * * *The Mexico Trip* * * * * * * *


Cabo Pulmo, via Coastalliving.com

*We saved on food for this vacation, as well. Specials helped, like 'Dos Pollo: $160':' a little less than $8 for two grilled chickens, tortillas, sauce and macaroni salad, that stretched into two meals. Bought shrimp for 290 pesos a kilo -- so less than $15 for 2 1/2 pounds worth. Bought fruit juice and water at the grocery store, instead of getting it at a restaurant.
     We made supper in the room for several meals. (See an upcoming post on that.)
     Our major splurge was breakfast every morning at the only restaurant in town that served coffee -- 20 pesos ($1) a cup.

Mexican food - yum. Generally cheaper, too...and the seafood was fresh.

*Entertainment: spent our time at the beach (40 pesos a person/$2 daily), and went to two museums (10 pesos and 100 pesos). We also bumbled into a free concert, including dancers, one evening. Otherwise, just drove where we wanted to -- when we wanted to.

*Rented a car away from the airport -- took a shuttle to pick it up. (I'll have a post soon on how we saved in Mexico.)

*Used the ATM to pull money in Mexico -- cheaper this way, including a better exchange rate, than to try and change money.

*Used vouchers to pay for plane tickets. (Mostly - you still have to cover taxes and such.)


Snorkeling was another moneysaver -- because we own our own equipment.
Learn more about Cabo Pulmo on
A Luxury Travel Blog.
* * * * * * *


*An incredible buy on lebkuchen: one of the best cookies in the world.

*Swapped dogsitting -- the neighbors we dogsat for last month took care of Charley and Ruby twice this month for us. They now have a free 'bye' coming! (They got some lebkuchen, too.)

*Did some mystery shopping -- a lot of work for very few dollars, unfortunately. I did find two pretty knit dresses for $6.99 each, though, for spring and summer use.

*Won a free needlework pattern from Thrifty Mom In Boise. Thanks, friend!

*Sold some books. (Gave a few away, as well.)




*A bunch of appraisal reports. Whoo hoo! Also -- did an appraisal day for Holly's Quilt Cabin, a local shop. If you live in the Pueblo area, I'll be there April 6, doing an appraisal day for the Pueblo quilt guild.

*Some piano lessons. (A new adult student is starting soon.) Played for some church services. Finished some restorations; hoping to get another, longer restoration done soon.

*Haven't spent much on the trailer. We're waiting until 1) the house sells, and 2) we live in the trailer for a while. That should make clear what's essential -- and what can be worked around, at least for now.



FRUGAL MISSES

*Didn't go to the doctor (again) because of flu. Same old story if I had: 'It's just a virus. Rest.'
      The coughing has been the worst. I wake up in the night, can't breathe. We haven't had a night of uninterrupted sleep for weeks. Not only is it discouraging -- the lack of sleep contributes to feeling blue. (Mustn't grumble.) I'm finally starting to cough less; it will be good to see the back end of this.

*Dental appointments. Two crowns need replacing. Necessary -- but OUCH.

*We could have stayed home and saved even the frugal amounts of money we spent on vacation. But it was worth it.

*Wasted some food -- again. (Sigh) Including a little bacon overlooked before Mexico ('Bad girl, Cindy -- bad girl!') and the pumpkin debacle: I went to scoop out and cook the pumpkin that's been sitting on the counter for months now...and found it had rotted underneath. I am a bad kitty. (The birds enjoyed it, instead.)
     On the plus side, I saved a gallon container of too-soft ice cream by mixing it with bags of frozen strawberries. A quick whiz in the blender, and voila: milkshakes or smoothies! The leftover ice cream stored surprisingly well in the fridge until the next session.

*Some repairs and additions are needed on the trailer.  Okay, these are essential: a leaky roof, some damage on the side -- and extra batteries for power storage, so we don't freeze to death the next time it's cloudy.

Or raining. Or snowing. Who knows what it will do here.



This was a busy month...and despite the pleasures of the Mexican vacation, not the easiest. If you keep pushing, though, it's amazing not only what you can finish -- but that you can continue to trudge forward. That's an accomplishment in itself.

Here's last month's report, and the March report for 2018.



Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Denver Deals This Week!

Colorado Rockies ticket deals.  Also, Taco Bell will continue its special whenever the Rocks score 7 or more runs: 4 crunchy tacos for $2.00. (Yes, the price has gone up a little.)


     More good Denver-area deals here, including 50-cent corn dogs at Sonic on the 27th!

One of our favorite players...Smack 'em, Charlie!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Small Miracle

     I love staying up late. (In fact, this is being typed just after 1 a.m.)

So it's not uncommon for me to be out at night, doing errands and taking care of business. Sunday night was no exception -- I'd stopped by Safeway, the credit union and was headed to the post office.

A handful of letters needed posting -- I'd just go through the drive-through and drop them off.

Go inside and mail them there, a small inner voice prodded.

Naaah, I thought. It will take just a minute to drop them off at the outside mailbox.

No, the small voice insisted. You need to go inside. 

But why? No reason given -- just the urge that I should go into the lobby area and mail the envelopes there.

I've learned from past experience to listen to my instinct/conscience/impulse. And I've regretted it when I didn't.  Fine. With a little inner sigh, I got out of the truck and went into the lobby.

The envelopes went into the mail slot -- and it was then that I noticed the black wallet left on top of the mail machine. Uh-oh. A young guy had just been using the machine to mail a package; it must be his. I opened it, glanced at the license -- and the face of a dear friend stared back at me.

In fact, we'd just had lunch and a movie together only a few hours before. What the...? 

I stopped by her house on the way home. Not only was she unaware she'd left her wallet at the post office -- but it held all her i.d., credit cards, etc. (Not a thing was missing, by the way.) She was shocked and very grateful.

Here's the sticker. 

I would have never found her wallet, had I not stopped and gone into the post office lobby. But I would not have done that, had I not paid attention to the little inner voice urging me to go. 

Was it a God thing? I definitely think so. God has used that little voice before in both the Brick's and my lives. My friend could not have afforded to lose a penny right now, let alone replace everything in that wallet.

I'm grateful I listened. So is she.



What's At the Bottom of the Great Blue Hole of Belize?

You'll be surprised...



Monday, March 25, 2019

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Colorado Did It!

('Have you gone nuts?!? What do you mean?')



Saturday, our beloved state achieved the near-impossible: rain, snow, sleet, hail, sunshine and thunderstorms -- all on the same day. 
    How many other states could win gold in the Weather Olympics? Yay, Colorado!! 

Can it be done again? Wait 24 hours...we'll find out.





Our first daffodils bloomed this weekend. Poor things, they won't know where to turn the next time the weather goes bananas.

Now on with the Stuff:

The story of a garden. Multiple gardens, actually.  (From Jembella Farm)

Twelve ways to save on groceries. I'd never thought about estate sales... from Surviving and Thriving.

Poor ol' Anna Sorokin will be deported, whether or not she's found guilty in her upcoming trial for fraud. Turns out the fake socialite, or "Anna Delvey," as she's been called, has overstayed her visa.

Emotional spending -- sometimes it IS the right thing to do.  I agree with Prudence Debtfree on this one. (We at the Brick house call this 'being bad kitties.')

Ten unusual mummified animals (birds, too) discoveredI find this subject fascinating, especially when it pertains to quilts.  Thanks for the heads-up, Listverse.

Could you stand up to relentless bullying, and not fight back? This 12-year-old schoolgirl did...good for her.

Nine cities that will pay you to move there.

A nasty way to treat military veterans, post-deployment... at least the Doubletree management realized and did something about it.

Norman Rockwell said it well.

Did she do it on purpose? One figure skater nails another in the leg during warm-ups; the 'nailer,'  an American, ends up 6th in competition, the 'nailee,' a Korean skater, takes 5th. The question now is whether it was done accidently...or intentionally. (The American didn't apologize; says she didn't even notice. The official Powers That Be said it was accidental, and didn't penalize the American. The Korean's coach accuses said American of bullying for months. Hmmmm.)

Some of Kim Kardashian's makeup tricks -- from the guy that does them for her. Some are surprisingly inexpensive.

Menu planning when the fridge is empty. Or seems to be.  (From Under the Median). She includies this tasty-looking:

Smoky White Bean Soup -- a dead ringer, she says, for the 'bean with bacon' canned soups the Brick likes so much.




Five ways to spot a moneymaking scam(From Make Money Your Way)

"What is something you didn't notice until someone else pointed it out?" A fun question, with some very amusing responses, from Quora.

Are you a lucky optimist?  Although one of the points made in this interesting post is: You have to work for it.  (From Retire by 40)

When luxuries become necessities.  (From Budgets Are Sexy)

Some of the easiest Chinese food ever, thanks to Mrs. Crunch via the Sun. I'm going for her sweet-and-sour chicken, pictured below.




The very funny tale of a thrift shop table found...then lost...then found again. Never mind that 'somebody died on it.' You'll have to read to understand. (Thanks, Mavis at One Hundred Dollars A Month. P.S. Mavis -- My husband agrees with yours.)

It's the Poppy-pocalypse! A bazillion poppies are blooming on the hillsides near a California town...and practically everyone is coming to see them.

Some of the funniest (and brutal) breakup messages you'll ever see. Including billboards...whoa.

The turkey security guard. We've seen them do this...


Perfect items for traveling -- from a flight attendant's point of view.


Have a great week. Maybe, just in case, you should take along a heavy coat, umbrella, sunscreen, hoodie, a rain hat, snow boots, sunglasses, heavy coat...




Sunday, March 24, 2019

Happy Spring!

Now the first day of the season has officially happened...






no more snow, right?



Friday, March 22, 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019

More Things I Don't Understand: The Animal Version

     You all may know my love of things strange and wonderful -- even if I don't understand them. I've been collecting, but haven't had much of a chance to pass them on. So here we go...four-footed-style.




I don't want to know.

Picking your nose will do it, too.




Godzilla sets a good example (albeit under duress)








And there you go. Like Vin Diesel says,


 -- it's an animal thing.

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.