Monday, February 18, 2019

Happy President's Day!

Thanks, Giphy.

Hey, you celebrate your way, we celebrate these president stick props. 

Amazon's got them, if you're interested. Oriental Trading's version is a lot cheaper...and includes President Trump.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

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

Cold weather...spits and spurts of snow. Lots of work. Several projects. Sometimes just continuing is best. Something exciting is coming -- but I have a lot of work to get done first. Meanwhile:

'How I paid my way through college -- with a dorm-room barbershop!' Maybe you're not planning to open a business like this (I'm not!), but it has some intriguing lessons included with the basics.

'How I saved tons of money during my baby's first year.' A LOT of helpful advice from The Frugalwoods.
One of the three wolves relocated to Michigan's Isle Royale to hunt moose walked back to her old home...via an ice bridge.

A sword from the Middle Ages -- found, still sticking up, during a sewer excavation in Denmark!

The importance of feeling (at least a little) uncomfortable, for growth.  (From Financial Samurai)

Foreign spots (25 of them) that accept U.S. currency.
More than $11 million extra in a teenager's bank account?!?  For a while, at least.

Mom and Pop Walton really DID love each other. Michael Learned explains...

A look at the old year -- and the new. The Queen of Fifty Cents shows effectively why careful attention at thrift stores and sales saves you -- big-time.

If the government sent regular payments, would those recipients look for and get a job faster? Finland's results probably won't surprise you: No. Why should we be surprised? It hasn't worked that well for welfare, either...

A British marine takes on an obstacle course -- by jet-pack!

Have a great week. Keep up the good work. (I will, too.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day

More Valentine's decorating ideas from

Friend Bert sent this wry celebration of the season...

Have a wonderful day.    P.S. David, Girlies and Son, I love you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Cinnamon Heart Biscuits for Valentine's Day!

Take just a few minutes to make these for breakfast or a quick dessert. They're faster than cinnamon rolls, and give a flaky, tender reminder of your love to your family. (Or yourself!)

The secret is how you roll the dough. See below. 
     And thanks, Add A Pinch, for mentioning these. Her recipe is here.


Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Use Add A Pinch's biscuit recipe (self-rising flour and cream), OR:

2 1/2 cups flour
5 tablespoons of butter, cut fine
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
sprinkle of salt
     Mix together quickly with your hands. Slowly stir in:

1 cup milk

Until you have a soft dough. (Add extra flour if it's too sticky.) 
Turn out on a floured surface, and LIGHTLY fold over six times. Press or roll out in an oblong shape -- as thin as you can make it. (It won't be - much.)

Melt or soften a stick of butter. Have brown or white sugar, and cinnamon nearby.

Brush the butter on the dough, then sprinkle heavily with sugar and cinnamon. Now here's the trick:

Roll the dough, starting on the left, toward the center -- then stop.
Now roll the dough, starting on the right, toward the center -- then stop.

Cut thick slices and place on cookie sheet -- bake for 10-12 min. 

Frost with confectioners sugar mixed with a little milk. Serve hot.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Up And At' Em

      The Brick is home. (Lovely.) Working on some stuff. Finishing other stuff.  Nose to the grindstone, I guess.
           Not much else to say -- some weeks are like this. 

Let the Crafting Chicks tell you how to do this -- click on their name fir nire,

Better those flowers than THIS...right? (Thanks GIPHY for expressing it so well.)


House poor to debt free in three years.  (From Making Sense of Cents) They should have paid more attention to something like this:

An incredible tiny home, designed and built by a single mom and her teenaged daughter. All right, girls!

The University of Iowa must let Christian student groups back on campus. A very interesting ruling...particularly when you read why.

Five frugal things for your food budget.  (From Living Richly in Retirement)

Ten 'unsolvable' unsolved mysteries -- disappearances.

Virginia's blackface scandals . If we're going to punish everyone who did this, though, there is a very long list of celebrities who also used blackface, including Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.
    Not to mention Laura Ingalls Wilder's father. (Look it up.) Then again, she's no longer considered worthy of an award honoring her work...

The Lost Ship In the Desert.  A very strange California lost treasure legend. (Be sure to read the comments on this post -- making it extra weird.) Plus:

A story from a man who said he had actually touched the ship.

A Knights Templar tunnel, only rediscovered in 1994.

A personal look at experiencing Michigan's Polar Vortex. Just a look at the Eben Ice Caves video on this post is worth it, though I wonder: does giving someone a name -- particularly a dramatic one -- make it sound more eventful?  (From Misadventures of Widowhood)

"It's never a mistake to stand up for what you believe in:" VP Pence. I admire the heck out of this guy.

Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles. This sounds terribly exotic. Really, all you need, though, is peanut butter -- and some loose peanuts. (I'd use almonds.)  Thanks, Hundred Dollars A Month.

Aliens? Creatures from another planet? Check out these strange intruders. (From Moving with Mitchell)

A 22-foot long iconic Western painting...found stashed in a janitor's closet. (From Artnet)

A man plans to sue his parents for giving birth to him without asking his permission first. I am not making this up. He should talk to the guy who had to be evicted by his parents -- maybe they can form a hate group or something.

The blue-skinned people of Troublesome Creek.  (From Atlas Obscura, one of the stranger places on the internet)

'Stained glass' windows -- with fabric, hot water and cornstarch.  (Thanks, Dresden Lane, for this unusual idea.)

A man plans to sue his parents for giving birth to him without asking his permission first. I am not making this up. He should talk to the guy who had to be evicted by his parents -- maybe they can form a hate group or something.

"We're living on 10% of our Silicon Valley income." A good reminder that money isn't everything -- time and freedom are much more valuable.

The head of a crypto currency exchange has died -- but no one else knows how to access his password to unlock customers' accounts. This seems impossible -- but $190+ million is at stake.

Ten best protein-rich foods to help you lose weight.

Polar vortex essentials -- how to stay warm, no matter what.  (From Survive and Thrive)

A lock of George Washington's hair? $35,000...$35,763.60, to be exact, via Alexander Hamilton's family line. Note: the Father of Our Country was a redhead! (Or at least auburn)

Keep a failure resume -- it not only keeps you humble, but helps you do better (or at least take a different approach) the next time.

Chicken gnocchi soup. A copycat version of Olive Garden's. Oh my.  (From Creme de la Crumb, via Thrifty Mom in Boise)

Have a good week.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Think About This...

Would the world be a better place if we asked questions, and actually bothered to listen to the answers...rather than trading insults?

I think so.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Sole-ful Comments

So that's what happens to all the socks that disappear in my laundry room...

Shades of this Orphaned Sock Quilt from Pinterest:

(If you know the maker, comment on this post -- I'd love to give credit where credit is due.)

Monday, February 4, 2019

Quilting Silliness

Quilters can be a wacky lot. Here's proof, starting with a Groundhog Day mention:

True, true...

There's more truth here than you think...


According to Time magazine, the divorce rate in America is actually lowering: 16.9 divorces for every 1,000 women 15 or older in 2015. Compare this to nearly 23 divorces per 1,000 in 1980.

    Tell that to a number of well-known bloggers who have experienced divorce in the past year, or in recent years, including Abigail at I Pick Up Pennies; The Queen of Fifty Cents; Penniless Parenting and Mr. Money Mustache. JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly is the old man of the group, having asked his wife back in 2012 for one.


    It's simple to come up with reasons why divorces are happeningAnd there is plenty of speculation why it's happening, too. (Spouse-cheating is surprisingly not the major focus.) Because the bloggers I've mentioned tend to focus on frugality, there's also the accusation that being cheap ruined these marriages. (Mr. Money Mustache refuted that quite neatly.)

     The irony in that is that divorce is never cheap -- in spite of what some of these bloggers would suggest. Mr. Money Mustache, who's never slow to blow his own horn, bragged that he and his ex-wife used a do-it-yourself divorce kit (less than $300). But he also mentioned that she kept the he had to buy another one. Bet that cost him an extra penny or two. There are all sorts of interesting ways to waste money while going through the cycle.
     What feels so strange about some of these divorces is their insistence that in spite of it all, they're going to remain good friends -- in fact, they'll be hanging out with each other! (J.D. Roth made a special point of emphasizing that they were even going on vacation together -- something that, I noticed, quietly went by the wayside a few months later.) Celebrities talk about this a lot, too -- in fact, they have such glowing comments about their soon-to-be-ex that it makes you wonder why they're getting divorced in the first place.
     Would their kids have the same happy feeling about it all? In some ways, I'm grateful that a fair amount of divorces don't involve children, as well. (Don't even bring up pets in this equation.)

    I wish I could say that divorce was a new development -- but you, I and everybody else in the civilized world knows that's not true. When the girlies, now in their early 30s, were in elementary school, one of their teachers took an informal poll of the parents in that class: we were one of three couples still married to our original partner.

And that was back in the early 1990s. Double ouch. 

     Marriage is never easy. It requires ranking another person's needs and desires as highly as your own -- or moreso. And that's hard. We were born thinking that our priorities should be #1 -- to everyone. That's just what being human entails.

So how can you help your marriage...or at least go into it with a clearer focus?
One word comes directly to mind -- and I'm saying this with 36+ years of marriage under my belt:


     Back in December 1981, I promised the Brick that I would be faithful -- not only physically, but emotionally. No matter what. That promise has held through unemployment, hospital stays, nervous breakdowns, children (who didn't cause the breakdown, I should emphasize), changes in careers, years of prosperity...and pennypinching just to survive.

It wasn't easy. It never is. But I made a promise then, and I intend to keep it for the rest of my life -- or his.

That means patience. A willingness to try something new. An insistence on staying -- even when it would be so easy to walk away. An emphasis on doing and sharing together.

I am very fortunate that the Brick feels the same way. From the start, he has valued my input and contributions. Not every man does that. (Nor every woman, sadly.)

This is a partnership, as much as it is a marriage. It has been, for a long, long time. It also means that we work on it daily, weekly, monthly...and adjust as needed to cope with hard times, as well as good.

It also means that when we're apart, even for a few days -- and this happens often, when I'm teaching out of state -- that I wander around, missing him. (He's been gone for almost a week now, visiting in North Carolina.)
     Library books and videos pile up...I can't sleep, anyways. Meals are tater tots and cheese, or canned soup. (Frozen pizza's next -- probably for breakfast.) I call, or he does, and we put the dogs on the phone to talk to Mom or Dad. (They always look confused: 'Why is Dad's voice coming out of that little box?')  I get really absentminded.
     Do I have Work and Stuff to keep me occupied? Of course. Does the Brick talk a lot while he's here? Not really...he's a quiet sort of guy. But I love hearing what he has to say, feeling his warmth and quiet breathing at night, and watching his face while he's thinking. He drives me crazy -- and makes me laugh out loud. His input has made my writing, teaching and even appraising better.

     He may be my husband -- but even more, he is my friend. And partner. And I love him more than I ever did, 36+ years ago.

And that, I'm guessing, is where these other bloggers crashed.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Earning A Spot on the Doofus Patrol

     The Brick had a chance to go see his brother and sister-in-law for a week in North Carolina, his home state. (He's been having a great time, by the way.) It would be lonesome without him, but being the smart, efficient person I was, I was going to get lots of work done while he was gone.
     Well, maybe. (He's not back yet.) But the smart, efficient part? 

We left at 4 a.m., to get him to the airport for a 6 a.m. flight. Neither of us are early morning people, and it wasn't fun. But we did it. 

I got home around 5:30 a.m., dogs in tow, and fished out my house keys to open the front door.

No keys.

It was then, at that opportune moment, that I looked in the window and realized:
    I'd put them on a lanyard to give to our neighbor for dogsitting a while ago.

They were still there, hanging on the rack. I could see them.

It was pretty cold by this point. Ruby and Charley were puzzled: "C'mon, Mom, open the door!"

I tried banging on the glass with a shovel. No go. (Which is a good thing, really.)

Then the back door. Nope - locked tight.

The Brick was on the plane by now. Even if he overnighted his set of keys, I still couldn't get inside. And I had an appointment at 10:30 a.m. to do some appraising in Denver. 

Daughter #1 had a spare set of keys, I thought -- but she was 30 min. drive away. (Update: Turns out she didn't, after all.) She isn't a morning person, either; I would have had a heck of a time getting her attention. (I should tell you, at this point, that I'd also locked my cellphone inside.)

It was even colder. Every neighborhood dog was wide awake, alerted by my shovel banging. Guess I could go knock on one of our neighbor's doors, and freak them out. 

What I did, finally, was open up our trailer, temp 36 degrees inside, but thankfully unlocked. I crawled into bed, clothes on, and shivered myself to sleep for an hour, the dogs curled up nearby. When it got light outside, I thought of one more option: the basement door. Both the Brick and myself had checked it not long before, and it was locked tight. 

Yep, still locked. I tried banging on the glass -- wouldn't break. In frustration, I shoved hard on the door...

and it opened. Slightly.

For some weird reason, one of us hadn't quite shut it as firmly as we thought.

Thank God.

It took a long time to get warm again -- and I picked up some flu, to celebrate. (I didn't even think about this possibility.) Nonetheless, I am soooo grateful for the gift of a comfortable house. Warm clothing and heavy boots. (I'd worn flipflops and light pants to go to the airport.) Hot coffee and tea.

That makes me a full-fledged member of the Doofus Patrol...and even more aware that some don't have those privileges on a frigid winter morning.
    P.S. The house keys are back where they belong.

Monday Stuff is going up a day early, for you non-Superbowl fanatics:

Free tickets to Black Panther, courtesy of Disney and AMC theatres nationwide:  Hurry, though. The offer's only good through Feb. 7, and tickets are going fast.

Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow on Groundhog Day this year -- whoopee, an early spring!

Flatiron Freddie in Boulder, CO did see his shadow, though.

Eating breakfast may be the reason you're gaining weight.  Really??? Some studies suggest that's the case.

Make-Ahead Butterhorns. You don't even have to bake these before you stick them in the freezer. (Or bake some for immediate use.) An easy way to have warm bread with your meal on short notice. (From Moneysaving Mom)

Cheesy chili dip. Quick and delicious -- this is what I'm taking to friends' while watching the Superbowl. Serve it with Easy French Bread, if you want to skip the tortilla chips. (Thanks, Thrifty Mom in Boise.)

Half a million in gold coins, found inside an old piano -- by the piano-tuner!

Results from several unusual coin and gold/silver auctions. 

159,000+ texts...all after one date. Including threats and stalking. Whoa. Needless to say, the recipient did NOT want to see this girl again.

A fascinating interview with George Clooney...back in 2000. He sounds like a nice guy. Really.

Petra the parrot talks to Alexa...

She even has her own shopping list. Tell that to Harrison Ford:

Did three men survive their escape from Alcatraz in 1962?  A letter, sent to authorities, suggests they did.

A Scottish tourist takes a five-minute taxi ride in New Zealand. The bill? $930. (He's trying to get it adjusted -- but so far, no luck.)

The 2019 SAG film award winners. 

The biggest snubs and surprises of the 2019 Academy Award nominees. Including A Quiet Place, which won SAG awards for best picture and actress, and deserved both. It wasn't even nominated for an Academy Award, except a stupid category: 'best sound editing.'

Two teenagers decide to be cute and throw rocks -- and a Kentucky trooper pays for it. Fortunately, he'll recover, albeit with a broken nose and totaled cruiser.

Go to an art exhibition and see a painting you like? Just help yourself -- or so a Russian thief assumed. (P.S. He got caught.)
    This couple got away with it. For three decades, at least.

Does this statement by an abortion doctor make you think twice? Note: I didn't make it up -- she really said it.

I'm a big fan of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. (You've seen it here before.) Here are:
    Intriguing quotes from Stephan Pastis, the comic strip's creator.

Here's a short with Pastis and Scott Adams, Dilbert's creator, going mano a mano:

Pastis' response to a troll is priceless.  His post on Cathy Guisewite is even better. 
    What a guy.

A classic from yours truly, about presents on a budget.

And to finish things off -- a pre-Superbowl look at the M&Ms commercial. Moms everywhere will relate!

Update: The Patriots won the Superbowl. Yay. Woo-hoo. (Limp wrist waving a wrinkled flag.)

Have a great week. Stay warm.

Happy President's Day!

Thanks, Giphy. Hey, you celebrate your way, we celebrate these president stick props.  Amazon's got them, i...