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Sunday, September 30, 2012

For the Love of Lampshades

Antique shade
Good bones, don't you think?
Remember the floor lamp with the  base light? This was the shade on it when it was in the sewing room. It is clean, just old and stained. But, for my sewing room old did not matter. There is also a sort of cone-shaped globe that is attached to the lamp with the shade sitting on the open globe. I can remove the fabric and trim from the lamp shade and recover the wire frame. I paid $1 for this old lampshade. Don't you love the trim on the top? Okay, maybe not.

When I find my pictures (35mm) pictures, I will scan and show you the ones I made in the past. Someday, I hope to resume my lampshade ventures.

When I went to the Southern Women's Show in Birmingham, I saw lampshades that were $800, just my style and far out of my price range. So, I bought two videos and a book and formulated a better way to cover lampshades. No one covers new or old frames with the same technique I do.

An antique dealer gave me an old lampshade with a rotten cover and instructed me not to remove the silk fringe! she gave me a piece of black satin and an orange-y/peachy piece of silk. I had to line the lampshade and cover the outside, all without removing the fringe. She was thrilled and gasped when she saw the finished product. Since I had not been able to get the black or peach taut, the shade looked very old. That added a cool $100 for a weekend that gave me a very pleasurable task.

Silly me has fun ripping things apart and making them anew or repairing those things.

Are there any other lampshade lovers out there? Do you ever cover your own shades, refurbish old shades, buy shades at yard sales or thrift stores? I do and often tear down the shade to get to bare wire so I can start over. I made quite a bit of money from this before an injury to my hand. Sometimes, I buy a lamp, use the bulb and the shade, and donate the lamp.  When I was having yard sales, I would sell the lamp. That made the bulb and good shade free!

Once on The X Files I saw an identically-shaped lampshade. I was just so excited! The one on TV had fringe. (I think it was that series.)

Your turn
Raise your hand if you make, repair, or modify lampshades? Tell me all about your love of lampshades.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Large Pores? Zits? Red Spots? Need an Alternative or Cheap Solution?

Have you gotten older and notice the glow and translucency of your baby soft face is dulled? Is your nose and chin marred by crater-like pores that look more like your nose and chin has been peppered? Does the skin on your face look like a dull mask, dimming the joy you feel and belying your youthful feeling? Are you frowning at these age-related (or not) problems? Do you want to know how to stop a zit or just a red spot in its tracks, even if it shows up as you rush about to go out to an important party? Do you want the solutions to be cheap as well as effective? What would you do if you could not find your favorite solutions in the drug store? Can you ditch the apricot scrub, skin toner, or Clearasil?


Clear the pores by putting a tsp or less of plain cornmeal in the palm of your hand. Put one drop of shampoo on the cornmeal. Drip just one drop of water from fingers of the other hand into the palm with the cornmeal and shampoo. Make a paste then gently exfoliate your face. Do this gently! I get a little rougher on my nose and chin, the places where pores became large. Then, just use a wash cloth to wipe this off, rinsing the wash cloth over and over. Lastly, stick your face in the sink and rinse by splashing lots of water on your face. Set up your own schedule as for how often you do this according to how your face reacts. Too often and too rough may make your face red. After awhile, do it on the nose and chin only if that is where the pores are large.

2-Beta Hydroxy or egg whites from shell

On my nose and chin I use Oil of Olay Age Defying Daily Renewal Cream with beta hydroxy complex. The beta hydroxy is the key. So, I am sure your choice of brand with this would work. I did this every day at first. Then, I just did it when I thought of it. Use a pea-sized bit for the whole face if you like every once in awhile. I do the whole face once every two weeks and my nose and chin most days. I buy a pot of this once a year. It was about $10 last time I bought it. With the exfoliation, this is only a once a week O of O moment.

If the drugstores close, egg white on the nose and chin will do the same thing. Just rub your finger in the freshly broken egg and smear it on your nose tip and chin...whereever the pores are large. You do not have to whip the white from a whole egg, just get the white (moisture) in the egg.


For the breakouts: I take two aspirin and crush them in a coffee cup with the end of a dinner knife. Then, I transfer them to something small with a lid for the bathroom shelf. When I see the first red spot, I wet a finger tip at the sink, put water only on the red spot. Then, I wet the finger tip again and dip into the aspirin powder and dab it on the red spot. Use a cold wet wash cloth to get it off your face. Don't scrub it off; soak it off with the soppy washcloth.  Two aspirin last me for almost a year. Just a little bit works, just a smidgen.

I don't mean to brag, but my skin is perfection for a 66 yr old. Lots of that is good genes, and lots is paying attention and taking care of problems as they occur. The pores get larger as you become older if you don't take care of it early. Summer heat heats me up and my skin, even  my chest can start its own red places. I walk around the house often with little white dots of aspirin on my chest and cheeks...cheeks of my face. The heat causes these. They are different than zit starts. Even on an advanced zit, a bit of aspirin powdered stops it dead in its track.

Cut down on salt, fat, and The summer makes my skin try to break out. I stop it. I am seriously convinced that even a granola bar will make my skin start to act up. All kidding aside, sweating is good for your skin in a way, but on me it does increase the little red spots that try to become full blown problems. I am allergic to my sweat.

I told my dermatologist while she was removing a growth on my face about using the Oil of Olay. She scoffed. Then, she gave me a dozen minute samples of Tazorac and said it would work better on my nose and chin. I used it once and my nose looked like I had been in the sun for about 10 hours. I probably won't get a prescription. I may use it even more lightly on the tip of my nose and not at the sides of my nostrils where it looked like I had suffered a mild chemical burn. Besides, the pores become large only on the tip of my nose and a quarter-sized spot on my chin--lucky me.

(Removal of the growth was not just vanity. The growth was getting larger and looked dangerous.)

The worst part of all this is that friends know I use the Oil of Olay, Age Defying Daily Renewal Cream and laugh at me and say the only reason I look so young it what I use on my face. Not smoking, not drinking, no makeup, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and choosing the right parents and adopting a good skin care system might help. Notice that all the habits in the previous sentence are also very thrifty. I avoid the sun like a vampire. Okay, it is not that bad, but I quit sun-bathing when I was 35. All Daddy's brothers were dying from undetected skin cancer that led to further fatal complications.

Sadly, one friend will not meet me after 35 years because she said I look too young, that she has to get a vat of O of O first.  I did not get the beauty luck, just skin luck. And, really, I don't look that young.

While I never had acne or zits as a teen, my mother and siblings did. Daddy did not. So, I won the lottery with Mendel's laws of segregation. independent assortment, and dominance. I am a lucky little pea plant. I have always taken care of my skin with good habits, and only after the age of 45 started using cornmeal scrubs, aspirin, and O of O.  Before that, my skin was subjected only to Dove, lots of water, and an inordinate amount of sun! Yay for winning the genetic skin lottery. Okay, once a month I had a zit or two that immediately went away, but not the continuous zits my siblings had.

My friend said to me, "I don't mind being 65, I just mind looking 65." So true!

Your turn
Have you suffered any of these skin indignities? Have you ever tried my solutions? Since we women are supposed to, by society's standards be dewy-faced, do you ever use or have ever used expensive solutions and then found that something cheap and ordinary did the trick better? At least more cheaply?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Free Candy for Trick or Treat

Candy--free to me

I know it is early but around this time of the year, I start thinking about Halloween candy for Trick or Treaters.  So, I got it free this year. One year, I paid almost $15 for candy, a paltry amount according to some people. But, I cannot afford even that now. I could not afford it even then. One year, I used Maxperks earned by recycling ink and toner cartridges and got candy for Halloween that way. This year, I have no cartridges for this quarter. So, worry worry worry. 
Do you take advantage of Maxperks by recycling cartridges? Several years, I turned in enough cartridges in order to get free Halloween candy.  I turned in no cartridges during June/July/August quarter to have Maxperks credit this quarter. So, no free Halloween candy from Office Max this year.
A friend showed me a full gallon bag of Life Saver-like candy. I am not sure it is the real deal. I am not sure it is ideal for kids. But, what candy is ideal for kids? (It cannot be any worse than Jolly Ranchers.) She asked me if I wanted it. Well, sure! I can always figure out what to do with it. I will not be tempted since it is not something I crave--hey, it is not chocolate!
Since exbf is diabetic, he needs a quick sugar source sometimes. He agreed to take all of them even though I only offered "some" to him. He was going to take them to work to share. So, I took out about a cup to give him to keep in his car. (He does not know this yet.) While I was filling the bag for him, I realized this solved the Halloween candy dilemma. It is all wrapped individually and securely in plastic, so it is going to be put out for costumed Halloween visitors.

Do kids like Life Savers? Won't these taste like Jolly Ranchers? I always got Tootsie Rolls for a treat because I love them, but TRs made the top of the list for candy that kids hate!  Okay, so parents can eat what kids won't or kids can trade for something they do like.  
Mostly, I only take things I know I can use. Ever so often, I decide to figure out what to do with an item after I take it. That is how I have so much candy. Do you ever take things you feel you can use, not knowing exactly how you will use it?
Your turn
Do you ever take free stuff, finding a way to use it later? Oh, I asked that. Do you have an economical way of getting Halloween candy for the munchkins who come to your door? Or, are you the type who turns all the lights off that night?   

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

And, Then There Was One + Identifying Raccoon Diggings

Remember this chicken?
For the last three days, there has been only one black chicken in my yard. Also, there have been no eggs, so I assume the hen has been caught and re-homed or a raccoon has gotten it. I have  seen evidence of a raccoon and heard one last night.

Last night when I went out, he was hanging out with my hens. As I approached with food for my hens, he squawked, ran, flew up on the six-foot fence and then into his own yard. From the way he was squawking in my yard, on the fence, and in his yard for a good ten minutes, you would think I had been beating him. It's progress.

I just keep going to the owner's house every few days and putting a container with a few hen eggs on the hood of her car. I suppose she is trying, or, like I said, the raccoons are helping me out.

How do I see evidence of raccoons? So far, I have not had to look for their scat even though I can recognize it. If I am out at dusk and later at midnight, and I see huge dug up areas of the yard, it is a raccoon. Squirrels dig small and different shaped places. Squirrels dig a hole that is about three inches across with dirt thrown out a few inches. So, the area is shallow and about six-inches across at the most. Raccoon digging is much larger and deeper, plus they have a trench-like extension on one side where their long arms rake through the lawn. Nice addition to the lawn when there are sometimes a dozen of these scars. My camera batteries are dead, so no raccoon digging to show. Maybe another day.

My neighbor down the block blamed these huge diggings on squirrels. Now, she knows.

Your turn
Do you ever find raccoon diggings, yet have seen no raccoons digging?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Saved: $1200 not spent

On a Tuesday before he was to come here, exbf said he was having transmission trouble. His car was driving sluggishly and the "check engine light" had come on or some light. So, he went to his regular mechanic and was sent to a specific transmission shop. The transmission guy attached some sort of machine under the dash. Then, he attached/used a machine to the fuses under the hood. Finally, the car was put on the rack and the guy was examining something under the car.

In the end, he told exbf to bring the car back as it would take two days to fix the transmission.  As you can imagine, exbf was worried about the expense and how to get to work since he has to drive all the way across Birmingham, from a small city on the west to a small city on the east, not an easy feat with no car. He would have to rent a car for three days, or take three unscheduled days off from work, plus having a $1200 bill to pay.

I begged him to take it to Joe's Transmission up here where I live. He has a sterling reputation in N AL. I have heard that people come from three counties away for Joe Carretti to work on transmissions. But, no, exbf has to be so independent. (one reason he is not married!) After much wrangling, he said he would just go to Joe's but had to get two other opinions, that he was NOT going to let my transmission guy choice do anything to his car, just examine it. He was not going to take my word. Since he was coming here the next day, we headed out Golf Course Rd as soon as he arrived. Joe's son, Jason, put some sort of gadget under the dash and then another under the hood. He showed me the wire from the dash that showed there was a blown fuse. He tested all the fuses and replaced one. He retested.

The car was mended. Then, exbf told Jason the story of the transmission guy in Birmingham. When Jason  heard the story of the dishonest transmission guy in another county who was not named, he was a little sore. Exbf asked what he owed. "Nothing." He expressed his pleasure at having saved us money.

I ventured that $1200 would be the cost exbf saved. Jason and exbf both agreed that was about right.

In the past I have had occasion to hear guys give each other advice about where to go for transmission work. And, these guys told us women who to trust. I file all the guys' names away, good, honest mechanics and rip-offs. Do you do this?

Exbf was very concerned about this extra, costly repair. We were both relieved that a ten-cent fuse was all the transmission he needed. Have you ever faced a potential financial catastrophe and then were relieved to find things were not so bad?

Later, Charlie told me that Auto Zone can do the same diagnostics. I don't know about that because I have never asked for that service.

If you live near N AL, a trip to Joe's Transmission might be worth the tow or drive. I would have my car towed from almost anywhere to get back to his shop if I were diagnosed with transmission problems!

Once, a mechanic told me my reverse or  third gear (memory from 25 years ago) in my transmission was about shot and I should bring it back and have him check reverse or third or something, so he could repair it for me before the whole transmission failed while I was on the interstate some dark night. Yep, that's what he said. I drove straight to Joe's. Joe himself laughed and said if third were going, I should not just have it fixed, I should have the whole transmission replaced or repaired or whatever. He drove my car and said it was fine. I knew before I went there that I would find the truth. I drove that car eight more years and never had a transmission problem.

Another bit of advice: Even if you do not need transmission work or any specific job of any kind done and men swear a guy is the best and most honest around, write it down. Do not trust yourself to remember it. Consequently, I am aware of the best workmen in town. I don't go for the one who is cheapest.( When I was in school and people were complaining about a professor, I made a note in the back of my notebook. I did the same for the ones who were praised. I did check out the preferences later, but it sure saved me grief.)

Oh, yes, exbf was greatly relieved that he did not have to spend money!

Your turn
Do you keep up with the best auto mechanics. plumbers, and electricians, sewing machine repair guys? Or, do you search for one when you need one? Or, do you just go to the one with the shiniest tools and best personality?  Did you share this with the guy in your life who takes care of these things?...well, unless you are a guy? If you are a woman alone like me, will you keep a list of people you trust? Anyone want Joe's Transmission's phone number?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

For Want of a Washer....

Here I am. Saturday at 3 pm and the water is off. Mike the Plumber has gone to Lowe's for this very special washer that he says is rare enough. It seems this is a very old faucet. I was looking online for the washer that is different from any I have seen. I may have to order it in a 12 pack! The water is off, but he will return with or without the washer and turn the water back on.
When he left, he said he would be back even if he did not find the washer. I asked, "Why will you come back if you cannot find the part?"
"To turn your water back on." Then, he left. Thirty seconds later, I was at the kitchen sink, wondering why I could not turn on the water. I am exhausted!
There were three leaks behind the tub and one from the drain. Can you see the new drain, all shiny? It has a shiny stopper too. I am already missing my rubber stopper. He showed me how to screw off the shiny, metal stopper so I can use my rubber one. I may.
The tub does not look as bad as the picture shows. At any rate, I have not had a bath in it for about nine months because of the lack of ability to rise from the tub. So the lines of rust are from taking a shower with the little hand shower. Without a shower stall or shower curtain, this is tricky.
Reminder: I have torn meniscus in L knee, torn rotator cuff in L shoulder, last vertebrae sits on bone, two herniated discs, L5 is pushed forward out of place. The orthopedic surgeon could not believe a year ago that I could still drive the 50 miles to his office and walk.
Okay, Mike the Plumber returned with a Chicago stem that will not fit a Chicago faucet. ??? Now, the washer from a $12 stem is in my faucet's old stem. I can order 12 washers for less than $6. He just took the washer out of the new stem and put the washer into my perfectly fine stem.
Monday, I will call the company and see if these are available anywhere in the vicinity. If not, I will order the box of a dozen and have spares. Mike the Plumber laughed, said  that he will just come buy them in the future from me if he needs one.
Next, he moved to the commode. He actually showed me how to fix it as he worked. "Now, you will be able to do this yourself. It is not hard." Wow! I thought I had to rip out things from the commode that were puttied in, stuck in so hard I would have to rip it out. Not so.
Nothing in the plumbing anywhere drips. This is a new condition for me. It seems that there was always a drip drip drip somewhere. Of course, the last steady stream was the worst. Still, by turning off the cutoff behind the commode, I stemmed that steady flow.
Now, there is the cleaning of the tub...sigh. That will take me days since bending for more than three minutes leaves me in tears and shaking from pain.
Oh, about the free faucet. I was looking for the washer today and came across the same faucet--$
The bathroom fix will continue in another post, after I find the faucet washers. So far, most of the cost was covered by a gift. Thank you!
Your turn
For some reason, the post can only be typed with the text centered! Have you ever in your life had so many leaks in one tiny bathroom? Do you have a plumber person who does this for you or do you have to do without or pay for it? Okay, I am just not a plumber type. Electrical or woodworking things are more my thing. At any rate, my disability makes it impossible to sweep the floor, much less do anything more strenuous or involves bending!

Friday, September 21, 2012

This and That and the Other

This--proof positive that the black hens are still here

Wednesday, a man and woman friend of the woman behind me who owns the black hens came to my house and tried to catch them. They succeeded in chasing them over the fence. When the couple went back to to yard behind me, there was lots of squawking from chickens and yelling from people. Obviously, three people cannot catch chickens in a fenced yard. So, today, I had unwelcome company once again! (It is Friday, and they were still coming to my yard, laying an egg in my next box, one on Thursday and one today, Friday.)
Her friends suggested I call Animal Control to the chickens. Nope. She can do that. After all, they are uncontrollable in her yard. This depresses me!
By the way, Thelma's egg is taken from the end, so it looks smaller than its gigantic size.
That--tub repair in progress

As usual, I went for most respected worker in town, the plumber who started this on Tuesday. As it turns out, there are three leaks. Lucky me! There are three drain sizes for the drain he took out and for the pipe underneath. Lucky me, I have the least available, hardest to find size. He had to beat the drain out. The pipe underneath was easy, but it had the elbow attached. In other words, a pipe with a bend. He was not thrilled to find that.
The plastic hose is to divert the drip from the faucet to the tank to the commode which also drips. I have to keep the cutoff on the commode off until I want to flush it. Then, I have to reach into the tank to pull up the flapper. Yes, I have replaced flappers, chains, and ripped out my hair. Now, the whole mechanism has to be replaced if I can afford it.
He was supposed to return Wednesday but did not due to not being able to find he part....sigh. Thursday, I was not home and he did not call. Friday, no news or contact even though I called.
How can I afford this? A very generous person put enough in my PayPal account to hopefully cover all this. I will only have the repairs done that the donation will cover.
Oh, the expensive faucet--given to me from an old It is a long story as to why it was free. I will relate that some day! I am very hopeful.
The other--vent hood in place
About three years ago, the vent hood over the stove fell down. At first, it was an eighth of an inch down, then, a fourth of an inch, then and inch. Finally, it just fell down and dangled by the electrical wires, blocking my view, making cleaning the hood or wall impossible since I was afraid I would make it fall all the way off or start a fire.
Charlie lives an hour from me and will not just travel here to help me. That's okay. But, Tuesday night about eight o'clock, he called and said he had a date with a woman about 6 miles from me and would come by if I wanted him to. When? He was not sure. She might turn him away at the door; she might send him packing after a few hours; she might have allowed him spend the night in another room/bed..
UGH! I went to bed in a state of uncertainty. At 4 am or so, he called, asking if I wanted him to come. OF COURSE! When he got here, I had a list:
*carry two heavy boxes in from the car
*drag/roll extremely heavy garbage can to road for pickup
*put up vent hood
*we had a trade to make
*there was a box of items for him that I had been stashing in a box
*something else I forgot because I threw away the list.  
We went to Lowe's for screws.. After much wrangling the dangling vent hood and my holding it up, he got the screws in and the properly placed vent hood makes me feel better. I am ecstatic!

Does something like a dangling vent hood, especially for three years, make you a little down? 
Your turn
How is it going with your chickens, your neighbor's chickens, your plumbing, your vent hood, your life?


Thursday, September 20, 2012

UPDATE: So Gross and Such a Waste & HELP!!!

This is so expensive and now wasted.

After finding this worm thing, I will not use these cottonballs!

I had opened this bag last week and resealed the ziploc bag closure. I cannot imagine what this many-legged creature is, but this bag is worthless to me. I am afraid this creature will get into my house, or it's comrades are loose somewhere. It just moves around and looks like a centipede. These things poop and I will not use poopy cottonballs. Wasted: 298 cottonballs.
IF I wanted to save these until spring, I would put them out for birds to make nests. But, I really don't want this in my house. Aaaack! I don't know how it got in the previously factory-sealed bag and don't know how it will get out. Eat plastic?
This just feels like a personal attack and feels so personally invasive. Plus, it is making me waste cottonballs I cannot afford to replace. Aaaack! Yes, I am upset. I feel like I have been violated or soon will be. Where else could these be in my bathroom? (rhetorical and my out-of-control reaction)

Update: I took the package of cottonballs back to Walmart. Friend and employees who spoke to me, withdrew and shrieked at the centipede (???).  So, I was not so out of bounds in my reaction--a girl thing? I dumped it on the counter to get a better picture, all over the objection of the customer service woman. I took back 300 cottonballs and got the only size there, 400 cottonballs. These go into the freezer in a two gallon freezer bag.

Here is a closer picture.

 life-size picture
Your turn
HELP! What is this? How would it get into a sealed package? I am going to dinner and will return, hoping for a million responses and sympathy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Recycling Opportunities: CFL Bulbs, Rechargeable Batteries

Lowe's Recycling
compact fluorescent bulbs, rechargeable batteries, plastic bags

I have never seen a receptacle or heard of a place to recycle CFL bulbs. So, I did a double-take when I saw this bin that also recycles rechargeable batteries and plastic bags. I only have used one CFL, one that stays on for long times. Now, I know what to do with it. Do you have other recycling places I have not seen? Somehow, wrapping a CFL well and sending it off to a landfill just seemed so wrong. 

I can recycle any kind of tuna, soup, or Coke can at the curb or at one of the two salvage places in town for cash. Receptacles for plastic bags are in some grocery stores. The glass recycling place in Huntsville accepted glass after having people drive the glass to their site, yet they did not haul it to Atlanta like they advertised. They received a huge fine and no longer accept glass.  I reuse almost all glass containers I bring into the house.

There is another place I just discovered that takes plastic bags. I think that place recycles only plastic, paper, and cardboard. This town has plentiful opportunities for recycling, except for glass. How are your recycling opportunities? Does your Lowe's have this recycling bin?

Your turn
How are the recycling opportunities in your area? How about a specific CFL recycling bin?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Recipe: Yummy Green Tomato Pie + How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

It seems summer will be ending early for folks north of here since some are reporting they are picking the tomatoes green. Soon, all the Southern tomatoes that are not ripe will be picked before the frost. If I had green tomatoes and did not want to try to ripen them or fry them into Fried Green Tomatoes, I would bake a green tomato pie.

Google "green tomato pie" and you will find one from Paula Deen, amongst others. I have never tried this, so the recipe is just a suggestion. I am sure tomatoes could be dehydrated or frozen to enjoy a Green Tomato Pie in the winter. I hear it tastes like apple pie. I am sure it could be adapted to make a Green Tomato Betty using an Apple Betty recipe. Green tomato cobbler, anyone?

Storing Green Tomatoes
My friend always picked the green tomatoes, small or large, and wrapped each green tomato separately in newspaper. Periodically, she would unwrap them and see which were ripe, if any had a bad place, wrap them all back up and eat ripe tomatoes until after Christmas. Of course, we won't have frost for another month or six weeks. I don't remember if the boxes of tomatoes are stored in a dark, light, cool, or warm place. She died, so I cannot ask her.

Your turn
Have you ever made green tomato pie? Is it delicious? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Sabotage a Yard Sale Deal

See? Howitzer

A truck was on a huge vacant lot with goods spread on and around the truck. I pulled over and exbf and I got out of the car. As I wandered around, I saw little that interested me. Exbf asked me if I saw the ammunition boxes. NO! So, he pointed them out and told me that one held howitzer shells. I had never seen such a thing and tried not to let my mouth hang open, gaping at the writing on the box. I walked away so as not to appear too interested. When the owner of the goods had finished with another customer, exbf rushed over and asked how much the ammunition boxes were.

I looked them over more closely and saw that the rope handles were all replaced. Some of the wood on the box was new, also. I pondered the value. In the meantime, exbf told me they were $7 for the two boxes.

Still, I was thinking. Exbf and I walked in different directions. When we were about 15 feet apart, he found something and yelled to me.

Exbf had walked to the bed of of the truck, and very loudly said, "This looks like something you would love." He held something high as he yelled at me. I cringed and went over. It was a half gallon decorative square jar with a top that had a removable rubber gasket, glass top, and metal closure--airtight. Yes, I would like that. Exbf held it high again and yelled to the guy and asked him what was the cost. $1. At this point, I knew I could never get it for 50 cents.

The guy came over where I had come back to the boxes. Exbf said to the guy, "You should have seen her eyes bug out when I showed her the box held howitzer shells!" Feeling defeated, deflated as well as being very tired, I just decided to leave.

Right now, I have no idea if I would have bought anything there, but I feel as though my bargaining power had been stripped away by exbf. I had no power, no bargaining power.

Never act excited to find something. Be cool. Stay low key. Do not hold an item to your chest, and sob, overwhelmed you finally found the doll just like the one you lost. If you do, the price goes up or just never comes down. Jump up and down after you get home! Cry your heart out--just not in front of the seller.

Got it?

I shopped with a female friend all the time for several years. I would be bringing her an item because I knew she wanted it or was looking for the item. She would turn and get all shrill, saying that she wanted it so why did I get it first. This idiot thought she should have first dibs on anything I saw even when we were on opposite sides of a yard sale. Needless to say, she paid top dollar for everything I brought her because she was so loud, proclaiming her love of the item. She never caught on.

Neither has he. We have had the discussion several times.

He has been "instructed" before on yard sale cool. I was too tired to be nice and not get shrill and terse. So, I let it go. I said nothing to him about what he had done. I suppose I will have to remind him every time we stop to be low key.  He cannot hold things over his head and yell that this is something I will want....ever....ever...again. I will lose my cool.

Your turn
Do you ever have a shopping companion ruin a good deal by being eager for you? Or, for herself? Or, for himself? Do you ever lose it and express your delight before you pay for an item?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Update on $25 saved + Giveaway

This is a picture of my haircut, not combed out for the picture.
If I had combed it, you could see the bottom is more even than it looks.
The early morning sun put some strange highlights in it.
Two women examined it up close and said the layering is good.

I made exbf cut my hair. Well, he did not object. He was not dragged out there. My desperate  pleas of "I don't have any money, PLEASE!" persuaded him. I was sitting outside in a chair with a towel, and he was standing cutting.

Before I went out, I made big loopy pin curls all over my head except for the very bottom and the front sides and bangs, securing the curls with roller pins. He trimmed the bottom, hopefully the half inch I told him. Then, I took down one curl at a time and combed it and he took the strand and cut. He tried to get the whole section of hair into the angle of the scissors. I explained that little snippy snippy cuts with the tips of the scissors were okay and did not have to be exactly straight. He did better after that.

Near the end of the ordeal (for him), I told him he could go with me for the next haircut and see how they cut it, exactly how they hold the hair out and cut. He said, "Now, this is okay for now, but I don't want to be doing this anymore."  (getting all stern and balky on me)

"You are saving me $25!"

He was shocked, "What? $25?!!! They charge $25 for this ? (I appreciate their acquiring their skills more than he does.)  I think I was whining. (Seriously, I don't have a life so I can have a good haircut--$20+$5 tip.)

I think he might cut it again. It probably needs to be done every other time by my beautician. There is a high school senior going to the local college to be a beautician. I befriended her when she was having a horrid time in high school and being bullied. She has offered to cut my hair for free at school. I may only go to the beautician every other time and let exbf and the student cut in between cuts.

Yes, I know, my cheaper beautician moved away, so I need to find a cheaper shop with a great beautician. I had been trimming bangs and getting a haircut at her shop. I could sell something and afford the $15 with no tip the last shop owner charged me.

I usually have to sell something or give up buying food I need/want to get a haircut. This time, there was nothing to sell or give up.

At this point, two days later, I need to wash it and put hair color on it. I will be the first on the bandwagon for gene therapy if the solution to graying is every solved. I still have thick enough hair if I use hair color, but it is a thin shadow of its former self because of thinning with age. Of course, not taking my thyroid meds for two years might be a reason. I have hypothyroidism and only half my thyroid. I think hypothyroidism causes hair loss. It costs money to grow older! It's a pain but beats the alternative. Yes, I know not taking the levothyroxin will make me lose hair.

I digress. I saved $25 by allowing a non-professional to cut my hair. It needed an inch off the length all over, even in the layers. But, for caution's sake, I had him cut 1/2 inch. I really wanted to leave something for a professional to work with in case he really botched it.

I was talking to a favorite employee at Walmart and a customer chimed in on hairspray choices. Then, I told them that exbf cut my hair and asked how it looked in the back. Both were amazed, saying it looked really good, especially for a guy to have done it, one who had no idea what he was doing. So, there.-- Success and $25 saved.

He did lots better than I did when I was about seventeen and cut my fourteen-year-old sister's hair--at her insistence, I might add! She brings it up almost 50 years later.

Go here for a paracord giveaway. Are you good at guessing what is in the picture? Try Angela's contest.

Your turn
Have you ever had anyone who had never cut hair, EVER, layer your hair? How did it turn out?  Are any of you non-professionals into butchering hair?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Eat Your Elephant Ears: Hiding Food in Plain Sight

Elephant ears picture.
Elephant Ears
Central and South Americans use the tubers of elephant ear tubers in various meals. Hawaiians make poi wiht it.The tuber is one of the most popular foods in the country and provides a basic diet for many. The tubers can be harvested and stored for several weeks if refrigerated. Elephant ear is cultivated in many of the Central and South American countries. Taro is native to Africa and was brought as a food crop for slaves. It is also widely eaten in many areas of the Pacific.

STOP: Do not touch until you read the rest. 

Did you know that the Elephant Ear corms in your garden are edible. Much of the world eat thems regularly.  Elephant ears corms are abundant in vitamins and minerals. "Esculentia" in the scientific name means edible. Do not touch without gloves. Do not eat leaves or corm without cooking! Poi is the traditional food made from these in Hawaii.

Name Origin of Colocasia Esculenta:
Elephant ears' species name, esculentia, is the same term that gives us "esculent," meaning edible. Indeed, elephant ears are an important food source around the world, in warm climates (for more, see below).

Elephant Ears and Edible Landscaping -- Taro Root:

For those of us interested in the ornamental value of Colocasia esculenta, the common name, "elephant ears" is apt, since we are impressed with the size of its leaves. But those with a culinary bent think of the plant as "taro" or "coco yam," in which case the focus is usually on its root, or corm.
According to Wilfred Lee ("Ethnobotanical Leaflets," Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 1999), "Taro constituted the staff of life for the Hawaiians when Captain Cook arrived in the islands in 1778. At that time an estimated three hundred thousand people in the islands lived chiefly on poi (a fermented or unfermented taro paste), sweet potato, fish, seaweed, and a few green vegetables and fruits."
Nonetheless, all parts of elephant ear plants can upset the stomach if ingested without being properly cooked first. The sap, moreover, can be a skin-irritant. From this site.

All the preppers who suggest hiding  a few vegetable in the regular flower or decorative gardens can now plant taro or just eat the ones already existing. This article also has recipes.

One article distinguishes between taro and elephant ears. The same article also indicates corms of both are eaten:

"Central and South Americans use the tubers of elephant ear tubers in various meals. The tuber is one of the most popular foods in the country and provides a basic diet for many. The tubers can be harvested and stored for several weeks if refrigerated. Elephant ear is cultivated in many of the Central and South American countries. Taro is native to Africa and was brought as a food crop for slaves. It is also widely eaten in many areas of the Pacific."

Another article on eating the leaves and roots:

Q: I have question about a plant I picked from a nursery recently. The name of the plant is BLACK MAGIC ELEPHANT’S EAR (Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ ). It is a tropical plant. On the information attached to the plant it says the roots are used as food in Hawaii. My question is whether the leaves are edible. I want to make sure before I use them to make an Indian dish from my homeland.

"A: Cook away! The plant commonly called “Elephant Ear” has been cultivated for thousands of years. The root is pounded into an edible paste called poi and the leaves are used to wrap steamed meats and vegetables.
There are several common and ornamental varieties of elephant ear. The green-leafed form has been grown in the South for centuries. They need hot summer temperatures and plenty of water during dry weather. In our part of Georgia, the roots should be dug up in early October and kept from freezing indoors.
Be careful removing the leaves from an elephant ear plant: the sap contains calcium oxalate crystals that can deliver a mild sting or even a severe rash. Cooking the leaves before ingestion eliminates much of the irritation."

Preppers here is a plant to grow in plain sight, trusting most people in the neighborhood won't know you are planting food in the front yard.  For the rest of you who already have them, eat them if you run out of food! Although some sites say to dig the roots up in the winter and store, planting in the spring, here in N AL, I think heavy mulching and other protection keeps them viable for spring.

Check this information on your own before you eat these leaves or corms!

Your turn
Has anyone eaten their elephant ears or taro? If you have eaten poi, what does it taste like? Do you grown elephant ears?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012



I was invited to a luau at a church. It was a beautiful event. The food was delicious! The silent auction was fun. There were other prizes that just required dropping in a ticket into a cup. When the ticket master picked a ticket from the cup, the holder of the ticket won the item by the cup. There must have been 100 prizes. I donated a prize even though I don't go to that church..

There are two slices of bread that I did not eat, four slices of turkey, four slices of tomato,  cubes of cheese, two huge lettuce leaves, two kinds of chicken salad, macaroni and cheese, two different chicken salads, ham salad, five slices of squash. I cleaned my plate except for the bread. 

The big glob at the top of the plate was banana pudding. Under it are lots of fresh fruit, more than you can see--green, red, purple grapes; watermelon; strawberries; pineapple (lots of it); and a dressing for the fruit that was too sweet. I ate all but the fruit dressing.

decorated straws

I know flamingos are not Hawaiian birds, but they were pretty. They rest in unsweetened tea, and I had some water. Unfortunately, I ate all this except for the two slices of bread. However, the mixed salads were such small amounts of each that I still had a healthful meal.
You just know that I brought home scraps for my hens. They love sliced turkey. The salty taste really appealed to them. I ate my turkey, but two plates that people gave me had slices of the turkey. The only "scraps" on my plate was the two slices of whole wheat bread and most of the fruit dressing.
In the drawing, I won tickets to the Peinhardt Living History Day. Since I only was given three free tickets, I thought winning one item was good odds.
This was a great, free diversion. I did not buy extra tickets because I did not have money! It was loads of fun. Some of the women had on grass skirts. Most people wore colorful clothes. AND, everyone 50 and older got to get their meal first. WIN! Those 20-50 had first dibs on the dessert table. I did not visit the dessert table, just the fruit table.
The last luau I went to, I was lucky to find very small bananas. I took two dozen of those and children were so eager to get them. This church always had too many processed foods to entice the children. I sort of proved kids like fruit.
Your turn
Do you love a luau? Even inside  a building? What food do you take to a luau? 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Birthday

No, there are no candles. I did not want to burn down the house.
That's right. September 11, 2012, is my 66th  birthday. It was filled with minor surprises and goodies that were small economies. I just talked to my daughter for an hour and a half--whew. I am full of cake and ice cream!

a dozen red roses

There was no ice cream, so I picked up a pint. I do NOT need a gallon of ice cream around here. Milk with suffice with the rest of the cake. Exbf will take some cake home tomorrow. I really need to share it so I won't eat it.
Today, I did nothing of any consequence. But, it was a good day, unlike September 11, 2001, when my daughter in NYC called me screaming in terror. No, I am not comparing my agony to that which was evident in NYC that day. However, the horror my daughter was going through affected me greatly. No one likes a child so far away to be in anguish, wondering if her husband who worked 2 blocks from WTC was dead or alive.
I feel proud and lucky today to live in the US.
Today was a beautiful balmy day in the South, the best kind for a birthday.

Edit: I got a $50 gift card to the grocery, if I had one for gas!
Your turn
Are you enjoying the end of summer with a taste of autumn? You want some chocolate cake with chocolate frosting? Come on down. There is no ice cream.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Whole Grain Brown Rice for Longterm Storage: Healthier Alternative

two-pound bag of parboiled, whole grain, brown rice

one-pound box, parboiled, whole grain, brown rice
Both these packages of rice are whole grain parboiled brown rice. Both will store as long as white rice and have 80% of the food value of brown rice that is not parboiled and much more than white rice. Neither  poses a health risk like white rice by causing you to develop diabetes or by hastening the onset of diabetes or raising the blood sugar to dangerous levels.    
Once, I accidentally had acquired 24 pounds of brown rice in boxes and 36 pounds of brown rice in bags. I could not find the packages in the pictures above and ordered some.  Twice. After two or three years of rice sitting in their original packages in my sewing room, a room not heated in winter or cooled in the summer except sporadically, I decided to put them in the freezer. It took me five or six years to eat all that rice! It never spoiled.
People who store food for long- or short-term could be choosing a better, healthier rice to store than white rice. All preppers I read recommend storing white rice because the brown rice spoils in six months. Not so. At least, not this rice.
I will wait right here while you read from All About Rice , at a food service site:
"Milled rice (white, parboiled or pre-cooked) will keep almost indefinitely on the pantry shelf. Once opened, rice should be stored in a tightly-closed container that keeps out dust, moisture and other contaminants."
And, again at the All About Rice site above, scroll down to the Par Excellence , the last rice on the page to see information about storage. This site sells rice in 25-, 50-, and 100-pound bags.
Parboiled brown rice is more expensive, but so is diabetes and beriberi.  You now the ravages of diabetes: heart disease, blindness, amputation, dementia. Read this Wikipedia article  on beriberi. It is interesting that beriberi was common in Asia.
For the thousands of preppers storing white rice instead of brown parboiled rice, this important information could mean the difference in illness and health. A vitamin a day will not be as good as obtaining nutrients eating as real food. But, if a vitamin a day gives a person all the nutrition missing in white rice, there is still the issue of rising blood sugar after eating white rice.
Both the pictured packages of rice are brown rice. But, the ingredient list is: parboiled brown rice. If you shop by pictures, make sure it says "whole grain brown rice" on the front and "whole grain parboiled brown rice" in the ingredient list. That should be the only ingredient! Yes, some days, I shop by the picture. We all do. But, if this is your first time looking for parboiled brown rice, read the ingredient list, too.
Does anyone already eat parboiled rice? I have the two-pound bag in a quart jar and a pint jar in the freezer where both will reside for 48 hours. Then, it will sit for 24. After that, I open the jars, put them in the oven and turn the oven on 350 degrees. In order not to overheat the oven and the rice, I stand there for two minutes and then turn off the oven. After several hours, I will put the lids onto the jars.  I don't want to overheat the rice, just make sure all moisture is driven off after its rest in the freezer. Since I have canning/freezing lids tightened on each jar, I doubt any moisture is in the jar. The slightly warm oven is just a precaution. After that, I will store it in the cabinet and use from the jars. Am I being overly-cautious?
If you have other food storage methods you prefer, use those methods to store your rice. I don't have five-gallon buckets or oxygen absorbers. I do have several sizes of Ball canning jars, so this method works for me for right now. I don't have mylar bags, gamma seals, five-gallon buckets, or oxygen absorbers.
Right now, there is a $1 off coupon on the two-gallon bag, so it cost me $2.72, $1.36/pound. Brown rice "sticks with you" longer. Plus, there is no high blood-sugar spike caused by white rice.  If you can afford to get whole grain, parboiled, brown rice in bulk, GREAT! Today, I am going back to purchase while the coupons are present!
Check this site for information on the benefits of parboiled brown rice over white rice. The article is written by someone not fluent in English, so if the syntax sounds off, it is. But, I believe the information is correct.

Choose your favorite site from this web search to find the same information. Skip the ad section at the top and go to web results
How I Use Parboiled Brown Rice
*throw 1/4 cup uncooked rice in a pot of soup when there is only 30 minutes left to cook
*make enough to store in portions in the freezer
*add sugar, vanilla, and butter to hot rice for a little dessert or treat.
*rice pudding
*cook rice and beans
Isn't that about the same way you use white rice? The recipe below is a very loose recipe. You can adapt it to your tastes.
I make 12 servings according to the recipe (+ 1/2 cup water) on the bag, using the microwave. You can use any heat source you want.
Add 1/2 cup more of water than called for in the directions on the package.
About ten minutes before it is due to be done, cook a diced onion in an iron skillet in a little oil until the onion goes from clear to wanting to turn darker.
Add tbsp butter when the onion is clear, starting to darken. Pull the skillet from the heat but make sure it is piping hot when you add rice..
Make sure this is all piping hot but not burned when the rice is done.
Pour the cooked rice with  extra water into the skillet.
Stir in order to infuse the rice with the onion flavor and allow extra water to evaporate.. Extra water helps the process of infusing the flavor into the rice. This will take about three minutes after dumping the rice into the hot skillet of onions and butter.
Add a few sprinkles of chicken bouillon according to your taste. (Or, cook rice in broth.)
Add all or any of these: red, green, yellow peppers or bottoms of green onions.
Stir continually until the extra water is gone and any onions or flavor on the bottom of the pan is now in the rice. Remove from the heat and leave the lid on.
Add chopped green onion tops at this time, if you have them. This way, they stay green instead of turning black.
Most important element--extra water in the rice in the skillet to cook/infuse the flavor into the rice. If your rice cooked perfectly with no extra water, throw in 1/4 cup of water after the rice is added to cooked onions.
While I had the abundance of rice, I was going to school without an abundance of money. I took this rice dish to potluck dinners for about three years. The Corning Ware dish was always empty. Everyone ate it, and complimented the flavor, even when they did not know I made other words, no sympathy compliments for the woman who could only afford rice. Vegans and vegetarians ate it in spite of the chicken bouillon.
Make this recipe your own by changing it to suit your taste. It is a great side dish. If you are using dehydrated vegetables, put those in the rice while it cooks. If I don't have anything for color, I just make this with onions! Usually, I put only a quarter cup of chopped bell peppers because I don't have lots.  You can throw more vegetables or meat in this rice dish. Do it your way.
This post is featured  on the Prepper Website on September 11, 2012.
Your turn
Are you a fan of parboiled brown rice like I am? Are you storing white rice in long-term storage or even short term storage because of advice that brown rice spoils too quickly? 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oops! Links are here

I accidentally published this and retracted it. So, it shows up waaay back in my posts.

Go here for two easy reads. Guys, let me know about this bike strap configuration.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Morgellon and GMO foods

Research seems to show that the strange disease, Morgellons, often treated with psychotropic drugs may have a plausible cause. People afflicted with Morgellons disease are sure there are fibers growing from their skin. Doctors have previously dismissed these people as having mental problems. Then, the fibers, having been studied, are really growing from the bodies of the afflicted people.

"The researchers concluded that the fibers "are clearly biological in nature and are not implanted textile fibers." It may be probable to assume that since these fibers under the microscope which contain floral and root-like structures that the origin may be via a cross contamination of DNA from plants and humans by way of GMOs."

(I have always been convinced there was something happening that was not yet evident to researchers and doctors. However, I never even thought about our food supply.)

Read the whole article.

Learn more:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

You won't pick it up? Lost and lonely!

You won't pick this up as you pass by?

I was leaving a store and saw something huge and shiny, guessing it was just a seal from the inside of a bottle, I was not hopeful. But, I took a a closer look. It was a new quarter. Yes, I gladly picked it up. Last week, I found this on a Thursday.
On Saturday I picked up a penny.
Then, on Tuesday I was checking out in a store and watched an unbelievable sight. I heard a little yelp and coins hitting the floor, simultaneously. As I watched the mother was stooping and picking up coins far and wide. The teen girl with her crossed her arms and hunched her shoulders. You would have thought she was in danger. She was. She was in danger of being embarrassed to death by her mother right in front of Walmart's registers.
The mother instructed her to help. The girl just did a little ducking of the head and stepping here and there. Then, to my amazement she watched as a coin rolled about thirty feet. I watched as she then turned back to her mother and they both left in the opposite direction the coin rolled..
After I finished my transaction, I rolled over to see if the coin was still there. Yes, it was. A quarter was not valued by the girl because of her embarrassment.
So, in less than a week, I found 51 cents. That is the most change I have ever found in a week. Does this mean he economy is improving? People "lose" quarters. Other people won't pick them up.
What's up? I drive everywhere. This is not a walkable city. I am not very walkable either! If I were in a walkable city, I imagine I might find more change and bills.

Donna Freedman, author at Surviving and Thriving asks the question, "Are Dimes the New Pennies?"  My question this week: "Are Quarters the New Pennies?" I would have used that for the title of this post, but it seemed like such a ripoff!

Does stooping to pick up small amounts of money mean you are poor? Desperate? Don't know the small value of found coins? Does it mean you have no pride?
Your turn
Will you pass up a penny but pick up a quarter?  Why do you ever pass up money on the ground? Or, are you like me--pick up anything you see, even if it is pennies only?


Monday, September 3, 2012

Recycled Jewelry

Tie pin to tie necklace

When I noticed this young clerk's necklace, I complimented her on the tie necklace, asking her if she bought it in the Belk's where she was working. She turned it over to show me it was a tie-shaped pin with a jewlry pin behind the tie knot.. Her aunt makes jewelry from old jewelry and sells the new jewelry. Her aunt did make the necklace and wired it to the tie.
I have disassembled jewelry to make something new.  However, I did not sell it. I worked for a boutique, taking parts customers liked from pieces of new earrings and making earrings the customer wanted.
Your turn
Have you ever recycled jewelry and remade pieces? For sale? Or just to be thrifty? To salvage favorite elements from favorite pieces?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Gift of Garlic

Elephant garlic

I was discussing garlic with a vendor at the local farmer's market. He just picked up a piece and said, "Here, see what you can do with this. Plant it." I was stunned and pleased. That was back in May.
Since I have never planted garlic, my plan is to get this into the ground at the end of September. A few cloves will go into containers, but I am not sure about container growing garlic. I welcome any and all advice.
I love garlic but rarely use it because, just because. In the future, this will change. I believe garlic is good for a body. I really fear the garlic from stores is from China, grown in toxic sludge. Food from China frightens me.
Your turn
Have you ever planted garlic in a container and had luck with the crop? 

only two links

Wo plans to be in a riot? Get hit by tear gas? I am a big chicken, so I will stay home. It might be handy to know how to defeat tear gas in a riot. I really am not the type to get into a riot situation. But, I have never known there was anything a person could do.

Sorry, I am not about to ride suspended by a strap , running along and call it riding a bike. Really, who wants this wedgie strap? Guys, would you like your junk held like this?  It would take an athlete to ride this bike.

This post was accidentlally posted last Saturday when it was half done. However, it is my post for Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012.

Double Rainbow

The less obvious rainbow is above the more prominent one.  This photo, taken in the country would have been so much nicer--no man made foreground.

The weather today was funny. Rain would come from seemingly nowhere, fall straight down for three minutes, no wind, no warning. Then, it would stop after three minutes and the sky would be clear. It is not obvious in the pictures, but straight above me and behind me the sky is clear and there is brilliant sunshine.

This actual sight was more spectacular than the photos.

Today, we had the only rainfall so far from Isaac. The clouds on the leading edge of this "storm" were tall, fluffy,. and magnificent.

I was outside a store where there was lots of talk about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I wish.

Do you love rainbows? I am not talking rainbows, kittens, and lollipops!

Good Links

This is a short but sweet list. Enjoy

Using a watch to determine North and South I am still confused.

Another about food safety:

Why I am afraid of my never-used, four-year-old mandoline.

This bird knows how to use bread as bait to catch a fish instead of just eating the bread.