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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Do you really need this?

Toilet paper goes chic with designer covers

I just read an ad that confounds me. Who needs this? Go look and come right back.

There are several solutions:
*Make a cloth cover with elastic top and bottom. It would be a cloth sleeve sort of like the plastic bag socks.
*Take a can with lid and cover it with paper, cloth, glued on or paint the can.
*Put the extra roll in a basket.
*Leave the roll exposed.

Who would ever suspect this roll cover would be where the extra roll of tp hides? I would not if I were in a strange bathroom.

What is the real problem if the roll resides in sight? Well, I can think of a couple of reasons.

~The toddler might dunk it in the commode. People keep knocking it off.

~The exposed roll of tp ruins your bathroom design.

~Maybe you have faint-hearted guests who could not bear the sight of a naked roll of tp. Do you really want these people in your home? I mean, how could they bear the sight of naked wooden limbs on furniture, legs exposed to the top of the leg. (Victorians had similar views.) Never tell these people the symbolism of the egg and dart design. It symbolizes male and female anatomy. It's all over furniture, picture frames and home trim. Look around your home.

That brings me to another point, "looks"--just how ugly are these tp covers? Neither of them would fit my bathroom decor. Why? Because they are ugly in my opinion...ugly for my home. My bath is not themed or really matchy-matchy, but these covers could not live there in harmony with my present possessions!

Of course, there is the price. Even if I like one of these, adored it, coveted it, I would not spend $3.99 for an item that I could easily make. Okay, even if I could not make something, the poor roll would have to sit, exposed to the world if there was no other place close by in which to conceal the tp.

Lastly, why produce another product where none is needed? The company is creating desire to fill a perceived need. "ooops, looks like I have a need that not only is unfulfilled, but a need I have and was not conscious of having.  I better go fill this formerly, non-existent need."

If I really could not live without a similar item in my bathroom, I could quickly find something used, already manufactured to fill my need--old Tupperware container, tin with lid, canister from prunes or drink mix, any number of items from my trash, friend/relative's trash, thrift store, yard sale, all item free or less than $3.99. I don't have to describe the ornamentation of the outside--paint, decoupage, cloth, glue, sewing--all familiar to most of us.

The ad sort of negates the idea of putting the extra rolls behind closed doors. I check for tp before I start. That said, if I don't check and the roll is empty, I am pretty adept at finding the roll nearby. No, I don't want to walk around, dripping while I search!

End or rant. What would be wrong with a square container? Would the world end if the hidey place were not round?

I would share my tp hidey-hole, but there is no tp in my house. Really, I must acquire one for company. I am not sure what happened to that one roll! Okay, I just went and looked for my roll of company tp. Ha! It is hiding on the tp roller/holder on the

Your turn
Are you as outraged, amazed, dumbfounded as I am about this product? Have you seen anything equally outrageous lately? How do you hide tp?

Christmas Day 2011: Part 2

The beginning: how the day started
Christmas Day 2011: Part 1

dessert table at M's and J's house
This table has my chocolate pound cake to right of center and R's chocolate pecan pie to left of center. The chocolate pond cake has confectioner's sugar on top. Usually, the ACLU attorney brings his  chocolate truffles. And, the antique dealer brings fudge. I miss them and the folk who bring them...sigh. Usually, I make lemon curd for the chocolate pound cake. Usually, there are about a dozen desserts on this table. A lemon cream pie showed up after I took the picture. I forgot to ask where she acquired the art on the wall.

Mirrored wall with table for drinks of all sorts
But, there was only wine.
Water works for me.

Look to the far left and you can see the dessert table and art above it...all in the picture below. To the right are the pocket doors leading to the living room. Ooops, the kitchen stool and vacuum cleaner are still in the dining room. I took this picture before I had cleaned the drink table. Both the hosts have been ill recently. So, we all chipped in to clean just the last little bit. The flash in the window, above, is me, standing in front of the picture and taking the picture. It appears I sort of vanished behind the flash!

Dianne, professional singer: David, contractor: J, host, minister PhD, writer
M's and J's house is always a feast for the eyes as the art change often.
Rowdy is a Katrina "rescue dog." He was just a puppy when Katrina struck. Desi and Lucy are also "rescue dogs," but they must be confined because they would eat us all for Thanksgiving dinner or any other day they could get to us. Desi particularly hates me. He bit Rachel through the fence.

Everyone brought something. Menu: roast turkey, smoked turkey, two lamb roasts or something lamb cooked two different ways, smoked ham, baked ham, middle eastern green beans, another green beans, asparagus, dark rolls. Yes, it was meat and green heavy and no dressing, but it was all delicious.
I left M's house with two pieces of chocolate pecan pie, half my chocolate pound cake, green beans, turkey and ham...yummy.

This post took five or more hours over three days. Blogger posts the pictures anywhere it pleases if it even will load them. My "u" key is stuck, so I have to redo words all the time. So, who knew I use so many words with a "u"? My frustration with Blogger is at an all-time high this week. Just great! B also took some of the text away....(primal scream in Alabama). I refuse to type anymore.
My Christmas Day is not over yet. Stay tuned for Part 3 which will have pictures in whatever Blogger wants them.
Your turn
Because of unforeseen events was your Christmas scaled back this year? 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Day 2011: Part 1

Red bag holds cake; Nahim is dipping my mac and cheese.

Christmas Day can be divided into three distinct parts. All three were frugal.  Food Not Bombs was my first stop. My friend, Jeff, runs the site. The food is free, beans--vegetarian, and warm. They did have mac and cheese. (Anyone recognize the red gift bag?)

Last summer, I gave a friend from Birmingham 100 pounds of dried beans to bring a rocker from Birmingham to me after he visited his father about 20 miles south of here and north of Birmingham. It turned out, I had counted his beans out, by bags and not by the bean, and then used part of his stash. So, I owed him. He did not think I was indebted.

He runs a Food not Bombs site. By the time I arrived the sparse crown had dispersed. It was extremely cold and rainy and Christmas Day. He did not expect many people.

Into the rescued bag I had put a chocolate pound cake and the three pieces of rescued candy. The guys were really happy and cut themselves a piece. I told Jeff where I got the bag. He was pleased. When I had emptied the bag, he asked me if I wanted the bag. I declined. When he told me it would be tossed, I reluctantly took the bag with me.
gift bag and candy on top of trash on Christmas Eve
The guys offered me beans. They looked cold an unappealing by this time. However, I did have some mac and cheese since I was starving.
Finally, Jeff said he was going to eat cake. All three appeared to enjoy it immensely. Oh, it was so cold and John had on sandals. I envied him because I had on socks and shoes, all bundled up, trying to fight off the sinus problems. My fever was down, but I felt crummy.

Your turn
Have you ever participated in or seen a  Food Not Bombs event? How would beans suit you on Christmas Day? Stay tuned for Part 2.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve Safari

The story starts late on Christmas Eve with picking through a trash can's contents for good, free items. Ever on the lookout for free goodies, even when I don't want to be vigilant, I found a minor goody. Alright, it's an affliction. On Christmas Eve as I pumped gas for a trip to Birmingham on Christmas Day, I saw a new, used gift bag right on top of the trash. "This cannot be dirty." Then, a surprise! (Actually, since it was right on top and I dug no further to find anything.)

As I tried to surreptitiously dumped the contents of a small, red, shiny, unwrinkled gift bag, I made a discovery. First, it was a noisy job and I had to keep shaking it to get the stuff out, so there was no subtlety in my actions. Then, the bag was full of candy and the candy box and other candy wrappers. I should have looked instead of quickly dumping. Each safari provides a new learning experience! Only three pieces of candy landed on top of the clean trash. The rest slid down where I could still see it but did not want to go. A bag and three pieces of candy were my bounty from my unlikely safari aka dumpster diving. (People were looking.)

My note to Kayla: "Chris did not like all that candy you gave him. Instead of sharing it, he threw it out at the gas station!  I know who did this because the name tag you attached gave me information!"

gift bag, two peppermint candies, peppermint ring

I had a plan for the goodies that involved giving it all away after I put a gift into the bag. It was perfect for my purpose! Those specks on the bag in the picture are not really there.

That was my biggie activity for Christmas Eve, other than baking chocolate pound cakes and putting color on my hair and listening to Christmas music and basking in the pink glow of my pink tree. I have the gift of being able to entertain myself easily.
Your turn
Can you top this? LOL, hope so. Would you have gotten this from the top of the trash can, a trash can with trash obviously new. New trash? Great concept! On the off chance anyone is nutty as I, did you find anything on Christmas Eve, something bound for the landfill, something you rescued and brought home or used?

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Some Mall Santas"

Okay, this is the title of a blog post that is hilarious. I am not sure if I have posted the link to the blog or the post. So, look for "Some Mall Santas," written on December 18th. Then, come back here and tell me if you found this hilarious. First, get something to wipe away the tears from your eyes. Okay, now go read. Okay, the first time I got it wrong. Now, it is the right post.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Parsimonious New Year's Snacks

After Christmas snowflake-shaped Ritz crackers are marked down drastically. If I am taking something to an event after Christmas and before New Years that needs crackers, this snowflake box is the cracker I take. Snowflakes don't say "Christmas" to me. Even if these were Santa faces or reindeer, I would still consider them a holiday item.

This is not an attempt to sell Ritz; this is an attempt to help your budget if you are going to buy crackers anyway.

If you have a coupon, these Ritz crackers might be almost free.

Your turn
Have you ever found Ritz snowflake crackers on sale after Christmas? What means do you employ to save money on holiday treats?

My Pink Christmas

I'm dreaming of a pink Christmas
Last year I found this tree for $5, reduced from $20. On a whim I bought it, thinking I might set it up in the bathtub for a Christmas party. This year, I could not afford a live tree or any other, so this is my tree. I have never had a pink tree, an artificial tree, or a small tree, so this is all new to me.

(When I am sitting down, the tree looks better, larger at the bottom. I had to stand to take this picture, and somehow that makes it look less tree-shaped. Weird)

Only the fact that it is pink makes me okay with this reduced celebration. There are no white ornaments to be had in town. Every box of ornaments possible for this tree just didn't quite suit me. Making ornaments seemed cheaper, anyway. I have too many perfect ornaments stored away for  me to buy more.

At first, I thought curling ribbon adorning the tree would be perfect. I got out the curling ribbon from my gift wrap supplies and lost interest. Then, I bought tinsel, discarded that idea, and took it back for a refund. I have several boxes of new tinsel in my Christmas decorations that were bought for a dime. This new tinsel was a whopping $0.67, a sum I am loathe to pay now and never have. Lastly, I bought white doilies for their lacy look. Those went back to the store for a refund. I could not bear to spend the money. See where my parsimony is kicking in?

The topper was a white, angel Christmas refrigerator magnet that fell out. I only noticed that after the picture was posted. The make-do Christmas tree skirt does not show. The lace curtains in the picture window are a perfect backdrop. If the tree had been shorter or the curtains hung higher, the tree would be shown to its best advantage. The light cords and sockets are even pink!

Your turn
Have you ever had a pink tree or another unnaturally colored tree? 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa and Mrs. Claus in Walmart

Santa found a little girl who has been good all year

The picture was much better in profile when the little girl's face was lifted up to Santa in all innocence. THEN, Santa saw me taking a picture and told her to "look up." She did and the idea I saw and wanted to capture was ruined. He told her to "look up" each time, and she did. He must have been deaf because I told him what I wanted and each time he instructed her to "look up." Mrs. Claus was in the background. I took more pictures of Santa with a child and each time, he made the child look at me. That only served to have the child try to escape or look into space. "Look up" for a child means "up" not at me. sigh...sigh...sigh

I was surprised to see I had taken a picture at the Coca Cola display.

This couple said they had dressed up for a friend's child and decided to shop before going home. They must have spent hours because they talked to all the children I saw in my short time there.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Your turn
Have you seen Santa yet? Were you a good little boy or girl all year long?

Easy Last-Minute Gift

Here is a 45-minute gift--a crocheted a Karlo beanie. Kayla K always has something interesting.

Since I am running a fever, I think I will just try to head this off. Remember, I was in bed ill with high fever from Christmas Eve through New Year's partying for me.  This cannot become my new tradition!

Your turn
What last minute gifts are you making?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I won a book!

I won a book from Frugal Down Under. Yes, that's right, I am getting a prize from an Australian blog.

I don't suppose anyone will care if I use this picture to show you what I won. Check out the blog through the link above. I have not had a new book in ages. I just love to win, even if I don't get a prize.

Your turn
What have you won lately? Have you heard of this author? I had not. What do you want to win?

Moola and Free Cooler

As you may remember, I do a little research/survey once in a while. The pay is not a lot, not a king's ransom. But, there are a few perks. Yes, this can mostly be done slouched down in the chair so my back will not ache. Occasionally, besides the $3 for the survey, I am sent a product to try. If I am lucky, I get an extra surprise.

There is a Styrofoam box in this package
Inside the Styrofoam box...paper
Underneath the paper?

A product for me to try

I was paid $9 for my bit--$3 for first survey, $3 for trying the product, $3 for answering the second survey after trying the product. It's not a lot, but I can do this almost lying down.  For payment I have a cc type card. I swipe it and spend the money accumulated. At first, I was going to save this during the year and have some Christmas money, but I managed to dribble it out when I get $12 to $15. I cannot stand to write a small check just because I don't have enough money in my pocket, so I use the card where they deposit money--the cc. No problem. Next year, I intend to do better. At the end of the next year I should have between $$75 and $100.

This is the third cooler I have received while trying products. The first box and cooler are somewhere. I leave the cooler in the box to protect the Styrofoam from damage and to provide extra insulation. The second cooler was approximately 12"x12"x10" high. It lives in the very clean trunk of exbf's car, always ready to carry food in the summer. A gallon of milk will fit in this latest cooler.

Little perks help. I am sure the cooler will be used, especially when it gets warmer.

I found a penny last Thursday. Before that on Tuesday, I found two pennies, one each in different locations. Ooops, this is not the little 'perk' I meant. People are really indiscriminately tossing that money around!

Your turn
Do you have something that earns you minuscule amounts of money? Do you let the benefits accumulate until you can get something? Or, do you spend it in dribs and drabs like I did this last bit, just so I won't have to write a small check?  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Charlie's Dehydrated Eggplant (aubergine) Report

photo from Wikipedia
Remember the post about yellow peppers? I had dehydrated 8 for Charlie.  The 1 eggplant (aubergine) was omitted in the post. He asked me to dehydrate it and see what happened. Today, I gave him the glass jar of yellow peppers and a plastic bag with the dehydrated eggplant, about 10 slices.

My suggestion to Charlie: try two slices of the dehydrated eggplant with a bit of olive oil and garlic salt to eat in the place of a chip. He called and said that worked. He liked it. Just next  time it needed to be peeled as the skin was bitter.  Charlie liked the yellow peppers to eat as a crunchy snack besides using them in cooking.

My next suggestion to Charlie: cook the eggplant and see if taste and texture are acceptable/pleasing after rehydration. I had no idea that eggplant needed to be peeled. My mother never cooked one that I know of. Since I cannot stand eggplant, I had never had one in my kitchen until his came here.

UPDATE: Charlie likes the eggplant chips so well that he does not want to cook them.

The eggplant was dehydrated until crispy (24 hours for 1/4" or less slice). Now, you know. It makes a nice chip when a smear of olive oil and a dash of garlic are added before eating. (I told him not to put on too much olive oil, maybe just a smear with his finger.) He said the olive oil was sucked right into the dry eggplant. Maybe you should not try to store them with the oil. Maybe the garlic can be added before dehydrating. This is limited information on outcomes, so you can run with this and make it your own.

Charlie does not know it yet, but when he gives me produce to dehydrate, half the results are mine! LOL...or, he can get out his dehydrator and do it himself...he will readily agree to my deal.

It's fun to dehydrate vegetables that can be eaten for snacking.

Did you know that "eggplant" and "aubergine" are colors?

Your turn
Have you ever dehydrated eggplant for snacking or cooking later? Does it REhydrate to your satisfaction?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My First Broth

Free, too!

People on their blogs talk of making broth. I never have and never have bought broth, except for chicken broth when I have sinusitis. It is good for my head, so I drink it and rather enjoy it. This should be different.

Today, I baked a hen. Exbf was given the thighs, legs, and wings. I kept the breast and carcass. His portion will make at least four meals for him. So will my breast portion.  That makes 8 servings from one hen, a tiny hen at that! Actually, a possible 10 meals is more like it.

All the skin, bones and meat left on the carcass went into a pot, along with the juices from the baking. Next, celery, dehydrated carrots, dehydrated onions, red peppers, and a bit of pepper went into the pot. Right now, it's boiling away. Only the bit of celery was something I had to pay for. I should have gotten the rest of the meat from the carcass. I will strain the whole pot of broth, cool, remove grease on top and give grease to the chickens. I can salt my broth when I am ready to use it if it needs salt. Tomorrow, I will remove the skin and rest of meat. Hens will get the bones with bits of meat left.

I have someplace to go all day on Thursday, so they need food for the day left in the morning. It helps them not to get bored if they have something to pick at all day. This carcass and a head of discarded lettuce will be just the thing for them.

Now, I don't know what I will do with the broth. Maybe I will use it to cook brown rice. Maybe I have let this romantic, homey notion of making broth go to my head.

Your turn
All of you broth-makers, what do you do with this now?  I have made chicken and dumplings, but don't want these seasonings in that dish. The one thing I know I won't do is to make a soup with beef in it with chicken broth....ewww. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Target Did What?

If you blush at strong language, or are offended easily, or have religious compunctions about scatalogy, profanity, vulgarities, obscenities, or blush at those, you might not want to read this post from Busted Knuckles.  Target, it seems, turned away children with money to spend, lots of money. Thankfully, I have been in Target twice. It seems like a place I do not want to spend money. Oh, read the comments because there is one comment about how the guy's adult son was treated.

Fear in the Time of Yellow Peppers

     A Meditation on Waste~~~~~
done--a little more than one cup when dehydrated
As I was cutting yellow peppers to dehydrate for Charlie, I was cognizant of what I threw out. Well, it goes to the hens--the inner part which consists mostly of seeds. I am proud that I waste nothing. The connective part that is thick in several places, like ribs inside, is given to the hens. They love pepper seeds and innards. (Yes. These sat here a little too long and got wrinkly. Remember, I was stressed about hen security and also fell down.)

As I washed, dried, halved and seeded the yellow peppers, I wondered why I consider the ribs inside as inedible or worthy of discarding. Who told me that? Where did I see it discarded? Are the seeds edible? I imagine so. Yes, seeds and connective ribs are edible but maybe a little bitter, I read. Are they okay cooked in food or raw? Probably? Actually, yes, they can be eaten raw or cooked.

As I pondered my actions, my mind wandered. I imagined someone had small children to feed and few chances to get much food or nutritious food. Would she give them a soup with seeds and inside ribs/connective tissues? I imagined she would. Every calorie and every bit of nutrition would be eked out of what I had in front of me.  Imagine you are afraid. Imagine you have children to feed. Imagine that you have extreme food insecurity.

(The napkin with pink lilies is one I made. Surprisingly, it is the favorite napkin, chosen by men who attend picnics or parties here.)

Your turn
In any of these circumstances would you use the whole pepper except the green stem?  Do you already eat the seeds and ribs inside yellow, green, or red peppers?

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm That Woman

Not that woman

Nope, I am not one of these women.

I am the woman who will yell at you in the parking lot so I can take your picture because I love your headgear. It was their idea to take it with this truck they passed as they went into the store. The guy was getting into the truck to leave, but he was very friendly. He explained that he purchased the truck over the internet. He said the guy showed him pictures from every angle except the tailgate of the truck.

He purchased it because the seller in Georgia was having hard times. This is a another sign of crisis. I don't know what kind of truck this is, whether it is a high-end vehicle or not. But, the painting on the back indicates the former owner was not very frugal. I can only surmise.

Do you recognize the skyline? That is Hotlanta--Atlanta, Georgia.  I am about three hours from there and gain and lose an hour, going to Atlanta and coming home. By a combination of watches in different time zones, it takes me four hours to get there and two hours to get home. Hotlanta is a marketing campaign to promote Atlanta.

Back to the ladies. Don't those look like fascinators? Fascinators are popular with the British, from what I can tell of the fashion news. The were so happy looking, smiling, and laughing as they passed me, coming out of the store. When I asked for their picture, they were even more happy, thrilled to pose for me, suggesting the truck and then sort of looking to me for approval, " Oh, we should have our picture made in front of the truck we passed going into the store". When I said, "Let's do that," they were even more thrilled. Oh, see their jackets and blouses that match? ~~~all decked out for Christmas. It's not my style, but they were so joyful.

How many of you express sheer, unabashed joy this time of the year? All I have to do the gain attention and appear festive is wear one of my two red coats, don one of my two red sweaters, wear one of my two pair of red gloves, or wear my red scarf and people comment how festive I look. No, I don't wear red gloves with the red coat.  I wear black gloves. Okay, right before Christmas, I do wear red gloves with either of the red coats.  And, they do match. I paid 25 or 50 cents for the RED scarf at a yard sale. One pair of RED gloves was free. The other was on sale. I made one of the RED coats. The other is 15 yrs old.  Oh, I am never looking for attention. People just looove my coat. Before Thanksgiving, no one ever comments.

These two ladies expressed a secular joy. But, I would bet that come Sunday morning, they are obediently in church, celebrating religious concepts with the same joy. Yes, the two can co-exist.

Okay, this stream-of-consciousness that I am floating in has me thinking about the Christmas corsages that were popular in the late 50s and early 60s. They were for coats, much like Christmas pins are worn today. I had a pink one and wore it for several years. Some girls got a new one every year, but I could not afford to discard the old one. Besides, I like the pink one. I never saw another pink one. Most were the colors of nature. No, my holly was pink!
Let's wade to shore.

I was conservative about waste even as a child. Of course, the Christmas corsage was a teen thing, emulating adults.

Your turn
Did you ever wear a Christmas corsage on your coat? Did your mother? Do you still have it? Remnants of mine are tree ornaments now.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

200 Christmas Trees in one Home

200 Christmas trees fill this home. A friend said her mother loved Christmas so much that everything except some of the furniture was stripped from all but the bedrooms. Every picture, book, some lamps, art objects were stored for a month. Her mother's house looked like a Christmas shop. While her house did not look like this one and was not as fine, I imagine it might have been filled to the brim like this one.

I have a friend who takes all the pictures from his walls and wraps them to look like gifts and replaces them. His house is not this filled and is tiny, but he adds to the decorations each year. I only wonder how his girlfriend who moved in several years ago feels about all this.

I would love to have lots of trees.  When I could, I was a decorating fiend. I never had lots, just more than my friends. Every room had something or several somethings that were Christmasy. My children were so thrilled each year. It was for them that I decorated and the child in me.  I love the abundance of Christmas themed items, not that I come close to this lady.

Okay, it would take a pickup truck to get it all out of here. A reindeer ($1 at a yard sale)and an outdoor Christmas tree (on sale) reside in the basement.

This year, Christmas decorations will be at a minimum. That post is coming soon.

Your turn
Do you like excess when it comes to decorating for Christmas? Or, are you a minimalist? Or, a Scrooge?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

So, I had to lick it.

I had to lick my phone, my RED phone
My policy is "waste not; want not."....just so you know where this is coming from.  Why throw away what you buy.?

Christmas without Hershey's Kisses would be sad. I always get three kisses when I have a little chocolate break--a red kiss, a silver kiss, and a green kiss. This is not a matter of ocd, just aesthetics. It all works out, usually! This day, I popped a kiss into my mouth. Then, as I left the kitchen, I wanted both hands free. So, I ate ate another one and put the green one in my pocket for a second.

An hour later, I decided to take my cell phone from my pocket and encountered a yucky feeling. This is what I saw. I was horrified on two counts. I wasted chocolate, and my phone could be ruined. So, not wanting to waste a kiss, I licked my phone. It was so cold in here that the chocolate had hardened again! It was not coming off. I was not willing to sit around like a cat and just lick it clean. Besides, the phone tasted funny. I never knew that before now.

As I got up to go clean the phone, I felt something else. The key was even gooey-er and had the green foil paper stuck tight. The green foil still has some chocolaty goodness inside it. I am not licking foil. I know better. I tried to lick the key, but key metal is not good in the mouth. I put the whole chocolate mess  down to record for posterity, right on the notebook, wasting two sheets of chocolaty paper and getting chocolate on my RED camera.  Can you see the chocolate is on the key clip? Yes, there is some on the lanyard, something I did not see until now. Bummer!

Finally, I turned my pocket inside out. Not a speck of chocolate was on/in my pocket. I had not decided if I was going to lick my pocket or not. When I pulled the phone out, I must have grabbed the almost-liquid kiss and crushed it with my fingers.

Why is my car key on the phone? Because I kept locking my key in the car. If I were talking on my cell as I drove up to the gas pump and got out to buy gas, the phone in one hand and a bill in the other assured me all was well. No, the key needed to go with me. I have gotten rides home with strangers, friends I called, and done everything not to call the locksmith AGAIN.

I buy keys by the gross...jk. Losing keys is an ongoing problem around here. The locksmith and I became close friends. But, I am lovable, so I forgive me. There are three car keys and three house keys on me at all times.  They all live in my purse because I am afraid to put one under the car in the magnetic holder. Yes, I have locked all three in the house or in the car. sigh...sigh...sigh.  This is not an old age thing. I have done this fairly regularly for decades.

There are house keys hidden all over the yard. Since I have a new door knob, I don't worry about anyone finding them anymore.  Someday, someone with a metal detector will have fun discovering keys.

Don't waste chocolate!

Your turn
Do you ever forget you put chocolate in your pocket? Have a mess? Leave chocolate somewhere and forget it and make a mess?  Okay, anyone else lick chocolate off whatever it's smeared on? Fingers don't count. Okaaay, if someone else licks it off your fingers, that counts. But, we don't waste our chocolate, do we?

"Merry Christmas Tree"

When my son was two, his greeting at Christmas was "Merry Christmas Tree." We kept trying to get him to just say, "Merry Christmas." You know how that worked out. Finally, we just let it go, much to the delight of friends and complete and total strangers who were wished a "Merry Christmas Tree."

Explanations don't last the year at this age. So, next Christmas Season, he asked about Christmas. I explained celebrating baby Jesus birthday. From shortly after Thanksgiving until New Year's Day, we had to sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus at each meal of the day. It was trying, to say the least. How could a parent say, "No" to this sweet-faced child who finally said "Merry Christmas."

Your turn
Share some Christmas cuteness of your small child. Make me smile.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sasquatch Clothed; Chicken Defense; Men at Work; Murderous Thoughts

Charlie (L) Mark (R)
I took this picture from inside, through the dirty kitchen window. As you may remember, my hens have been coming into the house in a small cage every night since October 18, 2010. When I have surgery, I cannot use the left arm after the torn rotator cuff is repaired. I hear it is horrendous.

I took pictures early in the process, but cannot figure out what happened to them. So, in the picture above, we are about four hours into the process, a process Charlie said would take two hours.  AND, he has put Mark to work, something that was not supposed to happen.

Remember Jamming with Sasquatch? This is the same Charlie.

Blogger will not load pictures now, so here is the end. Pictures come later. I hope. (Okay, got it working somewhat.)

Charlie made the frame at home, disassembled it, and brought it here. It is two 5'x10' sections, a lid of sorts for the hens. He reassembled it in my yard. Then, half-inch hardware cloth, galvanized after welding (GAW). They are using a crummy pair of J-clip pliers to attach the strips on hardware cloth. I wrote this as they worked.

Oh, this picture is the only one that loaded and stuck. What weird thing have I done to get this picture.
Charlie and Mark both left. Now, I am expecting three days of rain. The cage is not secure. The tarp will not protect them or their nest boxes from rain. I had to buy more supplies--wire and things, using more money than people have given me.  I am just depressed and stressed because surgery is set for Thursday. Maybe I should cancel.

Okay, blogger will allow me to post pictures. Luckily, they are all at the bottom this time instead of the top. So, I am going with this.
Charlie explaining

one finished--5'x10'

Two of the pieces above cover the pen. It is made of electrical conduit, corners made of pvc pipe, and 1/2 inch hardware cloth covering it. I don't think it is attached securely enough, but they voted me down.......muttering, " but I know I am right." 

and, it got dark
okay, late evening, pictures definitely not in order!

Charlie said he did not need  light, "have plenty of light," until it went pitch black. I brought out a lamp and strung the extension cord from the outdoor electrical outlet, gave Charlie my headlamp, and they were off again. Mark actually had to say, "I cannot see." before Charlie called for light. Mark is attaching strips of 2 ft hardware cloth to other strips of the same.

There is more. Blogger will only allow me to add one picture, close the blog, open blog, add another picture. Otherwise, the blogger picture thing just keeps spinning and not loading if another picture is present. One time, somehow I wiped all the pictures from the post...sigh.

Surgery did not happen because the lift chair is $999.00.
Your turn
Do you think this will work? Can raccoons rip J-clips from the hardware cloth. Can you see that it took longer than the two hours? Can you see why I had murderous thoughts? Okay, Charlie and his sister will read this. I was really upset.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Free

How do like the size of this button? Now, you can sign up for Swagbucks through the Swidget at the right. I absolutely love Swag bucks! I have gotten a camera and an itunes card for my grandson with Swagbucks I have earned this last year.  I wish I could make the swidget smaller!

All the way to the right is a "sign up" button. You may have to scroll over to the right.

Searching is the only thing I have done to earn Swagbucks. There are other ways and codes to find. Maybe I will figure it out and do more one of these days. And, no one is paying me to praise Swagbucks.

Your turn
Do you get free merchandise through swagbucks? What did you get? How do I make the swidget smaller?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And, I Fell Down

It's not as bad as it sounds since it has been almost twelve hours since I fell. Having done too much yesterday, I decided that a pain med was in order last night. Actually, for a week or so, I have been trying to get something. The pharmacist has refused to fill two prescriptions called in by the doctor. I'm allergic to them. Okay, I hallucinate on codeine. Living alone is not the best scenario for hallucinating. Right?

Yesterday, after helping Mark get the tarpaulin on the pen and just sitting on a hard chair outdoors, I was in pain. So, I decided to take out the bottle of 60 diclofenac (75 mg) and give it a whirl. It made me so sick in March that I refused to take it. At about 6 pm yesterday, I took one.

This morning I slept through 30 minutes of the alarm. I awoke to exbf pecking on my bedroom window. I jumped up, sort of, hurried and was going to open the door. I started staggering just because that is what I have done all my life in the morning. My husband was fascinated about the way I weaved through the house, seemingly unable to walk a straight line or get through a door without running into a door facing. That's just me.

Of course, I had this pain pill still with/in me, so there was no correcting my course, and I started getting dizzy. I hit a piece of furniture, knocked it over, and screamed and moaned as I fell on top of it. Exbf was shaking the doorknob, asking me if I were okay as I cried. Finally, I disintangled myself and got the last two feet to the door, bawling as I went.

All day, I had trouble focusing my eyes, focusing my thoughts, trouble walking straight, just plain trouble. Exbf had to spot for me when I got into the tub to shower off with the hand shower attached to the tub faucet. I told him just to let me fall and call 911, but he stayed close and vigilant. I made it. I lived. The bathroom was soaked since this is a claw foot tub and not a shower enclosure and has no curtain. I hate showers anyway. No soak in the tub for me has been a trial. He has held onto me all day, helping me up and down the steps to go outdoors.

It is no problem to function and have no pain. I just cannot do anything! Nothing!  That is my plan. I am officially a slug.

Today, I did get a turkey in the oven. Okay, exbf put it in the oven after I had it all ready. I tried rehydrating sweet potato medallions I dried that came from the Thanksgiving Box. We had potatoes and cabbage that was left from Saturday. He does not like gravy, so I will make that later. Same with cranberry sauce. I had a box of dressing from the Thanksgiving Box and made that. I was not up to making dressing. Besides, my time just ran out. He took home lots of all I cooked/reheated. Actually, I gave him potatoes and cabbage that had not been reheated.

All three were alive this morning. I sent exbf out to check on them as soon as he determined I was not seriously hurt. Tonight, they gathered on the fake-grass doormat. He had to try to lure them to their pen with honey dew pulp and seeds. Fancy and Thelma refused to go past the near corner of the house.  He finally got them out there by shaking oats in a cup. They can hears oats shaking from the front

I promise

No more pain pills. Finally, at about 8 pm tonight, the effects have almost worn off.  That is 24 hours! according to the bottle, I could have had another this morning. No thanks!

I am not a person who takes meds for pain. So, this foray into pain is not something I relish. No, I won't be falling down again. It was the sudden awakening from sound sleep and the fact I am like a drunk in the morning AND the pain pill that made me veer off, crash into furniture, and fall. No scolding.

Your turn
Do you have bad experiences with pain meds?  Have you ever fallen from the action of one pill? Do you walk around in the morning in a fog?

I Miss My Hens

Tonight was the first night in their almost-secure pen. As I sat here talking on the phone to a friend, I sobbed to her that I missed their sitting five feet from me in their little cage, that I was lonely. I shed a few tears. I had no idea this would be so difficult!

Later, I will post pictures of the raccoon proofing. Even with a few generous donations, I am still suffering from what I had to spend out of pocket and  what I owe Charlie.

Mark came Monday and Tuesday to finish what he and Charlie did not finish on Saturday. sigh...but the hog wired laid on the ground and slipped under the sides of the pen have not yet been tied to the pen's bottom rail. Mark will return on Thursday to finish the job. I certainly hope raccoons do not breach the bottom. I have landscaping pins to hold the four-foot wire down so I won't trip on it and so the lawnmower will not suck it up or get tangled in it.

I was getting so tired of chicken gas or poop late at night, filling the I am not missing that. Sometimes, one of the hens squawked in her sleep, a dream I guess.  Hens snore! You did not know that? LOL I could barely get in the back door with them in the cage, behind the door. I struggled.  They hated music I played, especially the them to Little House on the Prairie. They hear me get up and called to me to take them out. The cage was so heavy I felt I hurt myself, shoulder, knee, and back, anew each morning and night. But, I miss them. Maybe someday I will have a house with a chicken room attached so they will be close but I won't feel like I am living with livestock.

This afternoon, about 4:15, I found all three hens sitting on the green, fake-grass doormat in front of the side door, the door I carry them through each morning and night. I loaded them into their house cage, put the cage in my wagon, and took them to the fortified pen. Mark put the cageful of hens into the wagon for me. They jumped right into the pen when we put the wagon in front of the pen door and opened the cage. They just hung out as I twisted wire to keep the raccoons from flipping up the bar.

As we walked away, all three ran to the door, fussing to get out and come with us. Fancy was the most vocal. It made me sad. I had pretty hens who wanted/needed to come with me. They were very vocal, bukking to me. As we stood at the side door, all the way on the other side of the house from them, I could hear them sort of wailing, not a usual chicken noise at all, just begging for me to come back. As I tuned and watched them at the door, I thought they looked dejected.  It broke my heart. What did they think?

Surgery for Thursday has been postponed because I cannot afford the lift chair I need to help me get up with only one arm and walking where I need to go after surgery, mainly, the bathroom. No, I cannot afford a used chair.  Right now, I am just wanting a Christmas tree and cannot afford one. I think I need hen ornaments.

Maybe my Fancy, Thelma, and Louise will be alive tomorrow.
If not, I trap raccoons!

Your turn
These are my pets. Do any of you have hens that you are missing for any reason? I am not talking about missing your layers. I am talking about missing sweet little hens. Do you have hens you are attached to that you would miss?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Me? Cut my own Christmas tree?

I cut this tree about 1983

It is funny that I do not remember the details about cutting the tree above. But, it says so on the back of the photo, so it must be I was only about 37 when I performed this feat and was in much better shape. This will require a little delving into the memory to see where I stored this event.

I used a machine that belonged to my friend-- NeatWorks to copy the photo. Or, maybe it is NeatDesk. Yes, it is NeatDesk, but the link will take you there. I will have to see if the quality of the original photo is comparable to what I received from the machine. The tree was covered with tinsel, per my habit, and had ornaments that don't show up. The machine cut off the bottom of the tree and the tree skirt. Hmmm...okay, still okay.

The ceiling in this room where I sit (and where the tree was) is only 7' tall  as opposed to 10' ceilings elsewhere in the house. It is an addition that is not my doing. You can see the star touches the ceiling. The mystery mark on the door is part of what happened (can't remember) that caused me to need a whole new door, facing, and part of the floor repaired. A leak that was here before we bought the house finally manifested itself. See, I can remember things if I

Cutting the tree was quite a thrill....see, I am a big girl. I remember now, I was given a saw and told to cut a tree and bring it up to my car. I paid first.

Edit: The brown mark by the door is foam from a old playpen pad that I used to stop a draft. It worked but was not pretty. I did replace the door and all that was damaged. It was so nice to get rid of the unsightly and drafty door!

Your turn
Have you ever cut a Christmas tree all by yourself, with no help? Does your family have a tradition of cutting a tree each year? From your land? From a tree farm? 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dumpster Dive: Free Poinsettias

seven or eight plants on a glass tray

This picture was taken several years ago when I was an active dumpster diver. I found a whole dumpster of small poinsettia plants. I put seven or eight on a glass tray and put them on this cute table, within sight. These made me very happy. I could not have had a poinsettia if I had not found these.

Since I had about six more, I shared with friends who were glad to get them.

While on a foray into a huge dumpster that is higher than my head and has no doors, I found yard plants galore. I had to climb the side of the dumpster as best I could and just reach in and pull plants our by their tops. First, I climbed and strained hard to see inside, then I knew in which directions to grab. Ah, for the good old days again. ??? three years ago.

Your turn
Have you ever found poinsettias in the dumpster at a grocery or at a nursery? Any plants?