Sunday, November 11, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Veteran's Day & November Thoughts

     Yow, it's been busy. Every single day this past week, we've had something going -- and some days had multiple events. I don't mind heading out for this or that once or twice, but this week has been exhausting. Our friend's passing Monday night didn't help matters, either. Guess we're not the only ones.
      This week, in comparison, should be more peaceful. Yeah, right.

Happy Veteran's Day to those who served -- and served for us. Thank you, soldiers, sailors (including Coast Guard!) and marines. 

Uncle Archie Cumings' Air Force fighter squadron patch in WWII 

We'll go out and take advantage of a Veteran's Day meal special. (I wouldn't be surprised, either, if the Brick didn't get a free haircut coupon -- another VD freebie. P.S. He did.) The Brick's six years in the Navy entitle him to this. 
    It will be a nice treat. Early November is always tough for me -- I fight the blues. Unfortunately, it runs in the family -- The Mama really struggles this time of year. Doesn't matter how well things are going, or what the weather is. (And it's been gloomy, mostly.) Must be genetic.

Update on Charles le chien He's been limping for some time now. Unfortunately, it's the same problem the Brick and I both have: aging, with some arthritis mixed in. Charley is part Golden Lab, part Chesapeake Bay Retriever -- both large dog breeds that are apt to have hip problems. And he does, as well as a rupture on a hind leg. Both will probably never completely heal.

Dog butt hanging rack -- perfect for an animal clinic
   The vet was optimistic that Charley would continue to get along, with a little help from us, including chondroitin and (surprise) a marijuana byproduct, CBD oil. I should also keep giving him regular massages, which he loves. 
     Charley will turn 9 in January. The vet thinks he could easily keep going for at least 3 more years, maybe more. Hey, I still limp sometimes from the knee blowout Charley gave me a year ago, jumping across my lap. Guess we're two of a kind. 

Mama loves her little baby dog.

Why the Free Birth Society no longer least in a public forum. Having had two healthy childbirths without drugs -- but in a hospital -- I am not sure what to think about this. More on this soon...

Ten people who became real-life heroes...and often sacrificed their own lives, in the process.  (From Listverse) While you're pondering that:

Ten strange UFO reports you probably haven't heard about. Most, I have heard about, but there are two from 2018!  While you're at it, Ten UFOs said to be physically recovered. (By governments or the military, naturally.) Also:

Ten amazing creations inspired by dreams. Including Paul McCartney's Yesterday.

Winners from the 2018 Siena International Photo Awards contest. Amazing.  And not to be outdone:

Winners from the 2018 British Wildlife Photography Awards.

What's currently happening in the Georgia governor's election results. If you haven't been following this litany of name-calling, insults and allegations, you've been missing the fun. Oprah and other celebrities just had to insert themselves into the picture, as well. (Votes are not completely counted yet -- why not? -- but so far, the Republican candidate is ahead. Ironically, as current Secretary of State, he's also the chief election official in Georgia.)
    Florida has a similar mess on its hands.

31 easy ways to save money.  One example: use water softener salt to de-ice your sidewalk. (From Compounding Pennies)

Another viewpoint on the Bob Acosta Wars.  Or... is he a poor innocent, picked on because he wouldn't put the mike down? Yes, ladies and gentleman, let's blow this one way out of proportion, as well.

Funny (and sometimes wistful) last words from famous people.   Even stranger:

Celebrities who might have faked their deaths.   Yes, including Elvis. And leading from this:

Who really was buried in Jesse James' grave? Not the outlaw, says his descendant. Or so DNA seems to prove. (From Texas Monthly) Also from them:

The Hero of Sutherland Springs remembers the shootings at the First Baptist Church...and tries to forget.

A millionaire interview -- one in a series. (From ESI Money) Including this important comment:

Once your mind is open to the fact that wealth is achievable, you will find the simple formula for becoming wealthy: live off less than you earn, and invest the difference. You can accelerate your wealth building by earning more, investing more, cutting expenses (including taxes), and staying away from debt. None of this will happen overnight but you can make one step at a time in the right direction.

She's right! (And yes, I'm speaking from experience. That plan of action is how the Brick could retire at age 60.)

"My Grandma's Legacy."  (From Pretend to be Poor)

Scooter the Canine Hunter. A very funny photo essay on a victorious Mole-Killer -- funny, that is, unless you're dealing with the little buggers. Lots of tips.  (From Get Me to the Country)

In the flesh...Scooter hisself.
"What was the most bone-chilling thing a child said to you?"  A lot of strange and intriguing answers here.  (From Quora)

Crockpot mashed potatoes.   The turkey empenadas look good, too. (From Cheap Recipe Blog)

The Man Who Never Got A Real Job.  (From Mr. Money Mustache)

Have a great week.

Happy Veteran's Day

...if you can say 'happy,' after all the sacrifices and time, energy and resources spent on our behalf by America's troops. Past, present and future.

I'd rather say 'grateful'... because I am.


Our flag is out -- hopefully yours is, too.

* * * * * * *
If you've served in the military, there are all sorts of Veterans' Day discounts, free meals, and freebies that you can take advantage of, including (depending on where you live) free carwashes and haircuts. Most are today (Nov. 11), but some are being honored tomorrow (Nov. 12), instead.
    The list of restaurants offering special meals is particularly long and varied. If you're a vet, this is a perfect time to save money -- and show your family a good time.

The Brick (6 years in the Navy) and I will head to Golden Corral tomorrow night (5-9 p.m.), to get his meal. We also have a good time talking to the many other military men and women who attend. That's even better than the food.

Pinterest photo

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Cats: Bathroom Follies

More additions to that wacky feline world we find so amusing...and occasionally maddening.

And, to end on a high (or low) note:

You're welcome.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Funny Bits and Pieces

Need a lift on this Friday-after-the-election? I've been collecting odd stuff ever since the trip to MichiganStrange coincidences happen... sometimes they're funny, sometimes frightening. But often, they're just funny. 

The Book. As you know, if you hang out here, I have a new book just out: Ghosts & Legends of Colorado's Front Range. It's doing very well, by the way -- the second printing is almost sold out. It's only been a month!

     The strangest thing happens, once I type the final words -- that piece of writing becomes the 'other Cindy Brick's' work, not mine. If someone praises it, great. If they ridicule it (which happens more than you think), it doesn't bother me as much.
     The Brick knows I feel this way, and thinks it's hilarious. He is also the primary photographer for The Book. After we got copies in at the Brickworks offices, he looked one over carefully. Then he announced that the 'other David Brick' did a good job! (I just snickered.)

     Other book-related items:

*I'm at one of the local Costcos. The table, for this pre-Halloween book signing, features a skeleton tablecover, orange skull cups, candy corn lights and a pumpkin.
     So what's behind me? Boxes of ceramic Christmas villages that automatically belt out carols whenever anyone walks by, or picks up a box.
     Talk about surreal.

See the red boxes on the right? Voila.

*While I was signing books at another Costco, a passerby told me about his experience on Riverdale Road. This winding road is up in Thornton, north of Denver, and said to be extremely haunted. (Yes, it's in The Book.) This guy took a skeptical friend with him for a drive. Along the way:
       *they saw ghosts trudging along the shoulder
       *a column of swirling smoke suddenly appeared in the middle of the road
       *someone (or something) left a child-sized handprint on the outside of the back window
       *that same whatever-it-was said "Hi" to the passenger in the backseat.

    "This really happened to you?" I said. He nodded -- and said that his friend was no longer a skeptic.

*The Brick says I must be a 'ghostwriter,' now The Book's out.  
     When we lived in Ann Arbor, MI during college days, a local bookstore displayed remainders out front on big tables. We often stopped there, looking for bargains. (Hollander instinct.) One day, the Brick was pawing through the books when he noticed a man standing there, looking at passersby strangely. Since there were all sorts of mentally-challenged people in Ann Arbor to begin with, he didn't think much about it.
     A dog was sitting nearby, tied up with a leash. It wasn't growling or even looking interested in the people around it -- just waiting for its owner to return.
     Someone started to go into the bookstore. Strange Guy said, out of the corner of his mouth:

     "That dog's gonna bite you."

     Would-be customer looked startled. Strange Guy gazed up at the heavens, as if nothing had happened. Dog was snoozing in the sunshine.
     Next person, same thing --
     "That dog's gonna bite you." 

     This went on for half an hour, with Strange Guy (and the dog) totally innocent. But the Brick was having trouble not laughing out loud each time SG made his little announcement.
     Why am I telling you this? Because now the Brick occasionally says to me, eyes looking elsewhere:
     "That ghost is gonna bite you."

Silly man.

Other reports, out in the world:

A very funny fall garden sum-up, thanks to Get Me to the Country. If you enjoyed that:

Another funny farm-type sum-up, this one on chickens, from Hundred Dollars A Month. Ours may be gone now, but I still can't help myself.

The guy running for a city council position in Irvine, CA... who drops his elderly mom off to panhandle!  One of the local businesspeople says they've been scamming sympathetic patrons for at least the past 12 years. Hey, at least he shows filial love by picking her up in a shiny new car.

(Update: he was dead last in the vote results. Guess Mom had better get out there and earn more cash.)

Tony Joe White died recently. You may not recognize his name, but this "swamp rock" musician wrote one of the Brick's favorite songs to tease me with: 'Poke Salad Annie.'

*A conversation Owen Wilson had with his two sons:  Robert (Ford), age 7, & Finn, age 4.

     Owen mused that "I'm already sort of seeing how they're gonna be as teenagers, where they're gonna be sort of ganging up on me." 
     "[Some years ago] we went to Sequoia National Park, and they have the biggest tree in the world. I'm like: 'Guys, this is the biggest tree in the world,' and Ford's like: 'I've seen bigger.'
     And I'm like 'Well, no, Ford, actually you haven't seen bigger. This is -- this is the General Sherman tree. This is the biggest tree.' And he's like: 'If you say so.'
    And I'm like: 'No, it's not if I say so! There's the plaque right here!'

         And he's like: 'I can't read.'

Go see for yourself. Wow.   (NPS photo)

Some airport stories, from the recent trip:

*A large bag of apples is in my carry-on bag. (More in the suitcase. Hey, Michigan has the best apples!) Going through security at the Grand Rapids airport, the guy asks me if I have apples. (Does everybody, this time of year?) Then he asks me to send them through separately. When I ask why, he responds:

      "Because they're too round... and freak the x-ray people out."

              I'm still puzzled. They look like hand grenades? Bombs? Apples?

*I have a psychic experience in Chicago's O'Hare airport.  Supper in the foodcourt. I'm having a Chicago dog, naturally. They're wonderful.

A lady comes up and asks if she can use the plug-in to recharge her phone. She asks me all sorts of questions: where I'm from, where I was at, why I was there, etc. etc. Before I can respond, she supplies the 'answer' each time.
             She's 100% wrong. 

    After this barrage, I politely ask where she's going. Las Vegas, she says, to do some gambling and take a vacation with her daughters. She then hands me her business card:

     The Psychic Boutique.

    "I hope you can guess better there than you did here," I find myself muttering.

And finally:

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Ghosts & Legends Talk Tonight in Castle Rock... And Updates

    I'll be talking about my new book, Ghosts & Legends of Colorado's Front Range, TONIGHT, Oct. 8, at the Philip S. Miller library on Main St. in Castle Rock.  Refreshments at 6:45 p.m., talk starts at 7 p.m. Come hear some of the weird stories from the book -- hopefully it will inspire you to do some exploring on your own!

Learn more at the Castle Rock Historical Society site.

It has not been an easy week.

A member of our family died at the hospice center Monday night, after a short but brave fight with cancer. She was far too young to go through this: 61. (As if it's fair to anyone...)

     Now you can rest, Christine. Your family will never forget you.

I've been working on a lot of reports. Slowly catching up. Dreary days around here, for the most part, with threats of rain and snow. The moisture is heartening, but bare ground, clouds and leafless trees do not combine for cheeriness. How do you do it, Midwestern states??

We're taking Charley to the vet  -- he's been limping. We had thought it was hip disease -- a lot of big dog breeds struggle with this. But just in the past few days, it occurred to the Brick that Sir Charles might have dislocated his hip, instead. We'll find out this afternoon.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Tucker Carlson is bushwhacked at home, terrifying his wife and kids. (Carlson wasn't there at the time.) Lots of threats made, as well. According to the articles, the protesters were 'dispersed,' but no arrests were made.  ?!?!
    I guess I should be happy that Twitter thought to shut down the protesting group's account (Anti Racism D.C.), at least. Whoopee. And others on both sides of the political fence are 'protesting' (couldn't resist) the group's actions, even while they're badmouthing Carlson. But still...

His latest column calls for both Republicans AND Democrats to start paying attention to everyday people's problems.

Voters care about campaign promises. If you don't fulfill your campaign promises, it turns out they notice, they remember, and they don't care for it. In 2016, Republicans in Congress promised to, I don't know, build a wall, get rid of Obamacare, de-fund Planned Parenthood. They got elected on those promises. They didn't do any of them once they got elected. Maybe that's one reason they lost the House last night..

For them [the voters] and for many others, the economy is not measured in stock prices and GDP numbers. Their concerns are tangible concerns. What does gas cost? Can I afford to live in a safe neighborhood? Will I go bankrupt if I get sick?

These are real questions for tens of millions of people. The party that effectively addresses these questions generally wins elections.

Whether or not you agree with his conservative opinions, Carlson has an excellent point. (He's got some interesting comments on the Acosta Affair, too.)

And life goes on...see you tonight.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Busy Week

      We have something every day this week but fact, several somethings on most days. 

The Brick is recovering from a nasty flu -- short-lived, fortunately. I've been flirting with it myself. Outside is especially dreary for Colorado, which is usually lovely -- most of the trees are stripped bare, with only a few faded leaves hanging on. Some rain, some snow. Typical November. 

If you're in the Denver area, come on over to the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock Thursday night, Nov. 8 -- I'll be telling stories from my book, Ghosts & Legends of Colorado's Front Range, for the Castle Rock Historical Society. The fun starts at 7 p.m.

Before I get to the rest, don't forget: Please vote on Tuesday!! 
It's really important.

Professor Blasey-Ford garnered more than $800,000 in donations after she testified during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. And what's she doing with all that money? Keeping it, naturally. (Her reps say she'll donate a little, but are surprisingly quiet about the rest.)

Judge Kavanaugh got nearly $600,000 in donations during the same period. What's he doing with the money? Giving it away -- because keeping it would be wrong, his reps say, particularly for a judge. No doubt he had legal and security expenses, just like Professor Ford -- but he's paying those himself.
Stolen Valor is alive and well, sadly.   Click on the link for a whole lineup of candidates, including some tv celebrities.
Van Gogh paintings stolen 14 years ago are finally recovered.

Veteran's Day specials -- including free meals, car washes, coffee, etc. Be sure to take a look. Most are only good on Nov. 11, so you'll need to plan ahead. Some do cover Nov. 10 and 12, as well.

Ten great pumpkin recipes.  (From 101 Cookbooks)

The fight over the Campbell Soup CompanyWho's going to win -- the heirs, or the investors?

One of the stranger meals I have ever heard of -- Christmas dinner in a can. It was an actual product in 2013...

A Christian woman, set to be executed for blasphemy, is acquitted in Pakistan. Thank God. Many people, myself included, have been praying for Asia Bibi and her family. Click on the link for a whole lineup of candidates, including some tv celebrities.

Unusual connections revealed by DNA test results... including the guy who's a direct descendant of Genghis Khan!

The amazing self-sown watermelon plant...and an interesting way to tell if your melons are ripe. (From Get Me to the Country) Speaking of:

Winter sowing: an interesting 'new' way to start your planting months earlier. (From Reid Homestead)

The Temecula Album Quilt -- and a whole line of fabrics based on it. From Marcus Brothers.

Weird urban legends that turned out to be true.  (From Cracked)  Also from them:

Really creepy discoveries people stumbled onto -- 24 of them.

Quilt block designs taken from the Jewish Temple. A classic from yours truly.

The couple that died, falling off a cliff in Yosemite? Apparently they slipped while taking a selfie, a family member says. (Although I wonder if it could have been suicide.)

Ten strange things that have happened on planes recently. Including the lady with her emotional support squirrel!  (From Listverse)

Can you eat for less than $20 a week? Cheapskate Cook did it, for her family of five.

Remember the episode where Oprah Winfrey gave a car away -- to every member of the audience? Here's what happened afterward.

"The way I do things:" a fascinating look at dealing with utilities when you're really strapped for cash.  (From Life After Money)

Ten ways to save money that the average person can do.  (From Making Sense with Cents)

Some of the all-time best outfits worn on the Emmys red carpet. Wow.  (From Bazaar)

Classy, high-quality gifts that don't cost a lot. Be sure to follow the links on this page, as well. (From The Simple Dollar)

No-fail yeast rolls...these look delicious. (From My Frugal Home)

Have a great week. Come on over for the Historical Society talk Thursday night!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

We're Still Here

    It's been yet another strange week in a series of strange weeks.

We've had some snow.

Spent a night at a hospice center in Denver.  (I'll explain this soon.)

The Brick has picked up some sort of weird flu. 

And I keep working, business-wise. The Book continues to do well. 
I keep slogging away at appraisal commitments. Life goes on. 

We've had several twists and turns we didn't see coming -- some we were able to fix, some we just deal with.


Am I giving up?

Far from it. I'm making progress. Sure, it's coming slower than I planned -- or hoped. But it's happening. Next week: something going nearly every day. But I'll deal with it as it comes.

Welcome, November. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Fiddling Around

A 14-year-old fiddler leaves his companions in the to speak.

By the way, the song is the 'Orange Blossom Special,' performed by the Kempters.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018


In honor of Oct. 31, you've got to watch Michael Jackson's opus macabre:

(be sure to full-screen it to get the best effect)


It's coming.

We've had temperatures in the 60s and 70s for a few weeks. Tonight, while I was taking clothes off the line, the wind picked up. A huge bank of clouds started to move in.

We're supposed to have a high of only 40 degrees for the next few days. Snow, too. 

What a way to finish October!

P.S. It's been snowing since noon today (Tuesday)...but nothing collecting. Yet.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Book Signings and Such

We're back, from three book signings...and some surprises. 
    The most successful spot? The Costco book signings! Both times, we sold LOTS of books.

The worst? Ironically, Barnes & Noble. (My guess is that it has something to do with volume. Hardly anyone was wandering around the Friday before Halloween in that store.)

And the most fun? The Firefighters Museum. The kids were fascinated by the misting machine. (Thanks, cousin Joy, for the suggestion.) No ghostly visitors, but lots of real ones. 

Plus a strange one...
 This week, it's back to appraising...and continuing to catch up. Okay with me. 

Remember him? A long look at William Pratt... better known as Boris Karloff.  (From Sightings At 60)

Five ghostly encounters people say they experienced. (The presentation and photos are scarier sometimes than the actual event. But hey, it's Halloween...why not.)

From, via Pinterest

Dozens of quotes about the Devil! These are illuminating, and often remind me of C.S. Lewis' memorable Screwtapes Letters.

"The creepiest thing that ever happened to you.  From Cracked readers.

'Christmas creep.' Why is Christmas sneaking up, when Halloween isn't even over yet?  (From Surviving and Thriving)

Perfect cooked rice...25 minutes.  (From Thrifty Mom in Boise)

What everyone is getting wrong about FIRE...according to Mr. Money Mustache. Including Suze Orman...

But she may have changed her mind. (According to Afford Anything.) Of course, ol' Suze is also insisting a million isn't enough -- you need at least $5 million to retire. I'll remind the Brick of that, as his 3 1/2 year anniversary comes up. (No, we don't have $5 million, or even a million in our accounts. Oh well.)

The Arctic explorer who wanted to 'do' the South Pole solo -- and paid for it with his life.

One of Julie Swetnick's 'corroborators' says she was clear from the getgo that she did NOT back up Swetnick... and told her high-powered lawyer so. (A second source cited by Swetnick also denied her claims.) NBC News knew this from Sept. 30 and didn't mention it...sick sick sick. Makes you wonder even more about the 'fairminded' coverage of Kavanaugh's hearings, doesn't it.

BUT -- one of my new blogger friends, Barbara at Living Richly in Retirement, pointed out:
    "It occurs to me that if the current candidate for higher court had just said something like 'I was young and stupid in college, and I partied and I drank. I don't remember this incident but I apologize to Ms. for any pain I caused her,' or the equivalent [ed. like 'any pain she endured'], he would probably be sitting on the bench now. His mistake..."

I think she's right. A lot of agony and accusations would have shut down pretty quickly. Then again, we've seen pride get in the way before. 

The dog at McDonald's who pretends to be a stray...for burgers!

Revenge for having your lunch stolen at work. Don't miss the comments -- they're almost as good as the article!

Ten money mistakes that will keep you from retiring.  (a guest post from ESI Money)

The oddity cabinet -- a classic from yours truly.

An 11-acre Hawaiian island wiped off the map.  Thanks to a recent hurricane.

How to stay faithful, according to Michael Caine: Take your partner with you. The Pence Rule is looking better and better. (The Brick and I try very hard to follow this -- and it helps.)

A University of Maine professor offers course credit to students willing to bus down and protest Kavanaugh's selection in the Supreme Court hearings. Hey, that's showing an impartial response! (She's no longer teaching, for some shocking reason...)

Lavender pills ease anxiety?!?  I dunno...but lavender's smell is very calming.

Signs that your employees (or someone else) may be stealing from you. Aarghgh.

Three 'new' (actually, incredibly old) shipwrecks found -- that may change history!

Lotto winners through the years -- a slide show.

Rice and beans -- a much-requested recipe made famous by the Frugalwoods.

Does Bigfoot roam Yellowstone? This video is from the Old Faithful webcam, shot on Christmas Day...looks like he brought his family with.

A history of the London Zoo, including this interesting tidbit: in the 18th century, you could pay your admission by bringing a cat or dog to be fed to the lions! (Ewww...)

'My favorite book inscription from 76 years ago:' a review of  Marjorie Hillis' Live Alone and Like It is included. One of the most practical entertaining how-tos out there, even if it's gained antique status now.

Have a great week. Go out and enjoy the warmth, if you can...our temps have been in the 60s and 70s, here on the flatlands in Colorado. But there's always this little edge in the air, once the sun goes down. 
     Winter's coming.

Were You Surprised, Too?