Sunday, May 17, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: In A Hurry

   See this darling man?

My uncle, Vernon Cumings, passed away Friday. He had a good long life, but his family -- including the Brick and yours truly -- will miss him. We need to go to the service on Tuesday -- which has meant a whole lot of pushing back some tasks, and cancelling others. In fact, we'll be on the road to Michigan in a few hours. You'll be hearing from me this week -- but from Michigan. Staffers will hold the fort here in Colorado.
I'm glad I've been collecting goodies for you all week, so I can still share Stuff:

Eating -- and spending  -- less. A lot less. (Check the comments.) From Budgets are Sexy.

20 copycat recipes for everything from Panera's tomato soup to chili cheese fries.

Three planters -- cut from soda bottles. Easy how-tos are on Our Peaceful Planet.

A man struggles with 'allergies' for decades -- then sneezes a play dart out his nose!

The most filling 100-calorie snacks out there. 

 Corn-chile tamales -- an easier-to-make recipe. (from Good Cheap Eats)

'Two-can' tuna tacos. (From San Francisco Magazine)

Making decorative use of that wasted space behind your doors. (From Distressed Donna Down Home)

Ten spending habits of the famous and frugal.   Including a football player who still drives the car he bought for $2.

Treasure in a marble-topped chest bought at an estate sale. Don't forget to check for hidden drawers!

Swing beds -- and just plain swings -- made from pallets. The blog's Russian -- but it won't stop you from figuring out these brilliant ideas. (From Styleitchic)

Vietnamese-style banh mi -- meatball sandwiches, in this case. (From My Bare Cupboard)

Have a good week.  

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Three Dog Night

It's been a little busy around here. 

Daughter #2's dog Karma has been staying over this week, while her parents have been soaking in hot springs, and getting some work done.

Which means, instead of just two, we currently have THREE large dogs to trip over, feed -- and let out.
(Karma can actually open the screen door to let herself back in, the stinker.)

    I can't go anywhere without at least one pair of eyes checking out what's happening. 

And whenever I fix any food:

Karma goes home tomorrow. I'll miss her...but our screen door will finally stay CLOSED.

I have no idea what you're talking about, Grandma...

Al Rogers: Bows to a Boss

     Al Rogers died this past week. He was the owner of  Rogers Hardware, a Sparta, Michigan business begun back in 1928, and still going strong today.

Al was my boss.

He didn't talk much. A tall, gangly man with dark hair, kind eyes and a slight chuckle when he heard something funny, he wore his red HWI jacket as if it was a doctor's coat. I began working for him at 15, dusting the shelves and helping local farmers find the right parts. An amazing amount of tools, bugspray, screws, bolts and plumbing parts poured out of that store over the years.
     His dad, Mel, helped out now and then. So did Al's brother Roy.
     I grew to love that dusty, cluttered place. I spent four afternoons a week there. Charley Harnish and Doug King, who worked at the local grocery store, would walk downtown with me after school, cracking jokes and laughing all the way. On summers and Saturdays I generally worked all day, washing flies off the windows, and arranging displays of wooden spoons, mixing bowls and pickling crocks.
     When the blizzards came, we stayed open, so people could buy kerosene lamps and snow shovels. (Working in the dark, adding things up on paper or an old manual machine was no joke, either.) When harvest was on, farmers would send their hired men in for parts on account. (The guys couldn't quiiiite meet my eyes as they asked for fittings with male or female ends.) We scooped up pounds of bean seed and corn kernels for rosy-faced farmers' wives, while their kids eyed the gumball machine up front. At Christmastime, we wrapped up mixers, blenders and other equipment for 'romantic' last-minute presents. (Nothing says love like a nice humidifier.)
     The work wasn't hard -- and many times, it was interesting. What it did, though, was day after day, week after week, was to fund the college training I so desperately wanted.

     And that education gave me opportunities I still use today.

I will forever be grateful to Al and his job offer to that snot-nosed 15-year-old. He didn't know it at the time, but his kindness and generosity -- repeated throughout the years, and even during college breaks -- changed my life.

Thank you, Al. Thank you so much.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What's in Your Wallet?

Have you ever thought how the contents of your purse...or briefcase...or wallet... reveal what's important to you?

When life is full of harried hustling (like right now), scribbled notes and ideas jostle for room in my purse, along with half-used packs of gum, toothbrush/toothpaste -- and a protein bar, just in case I miss lunch. A checkbook, too -- I must be one of the last six people in the universe who still write checks.  (My girlies sure don't.)

What do I keep in the wallet that competes for space with kleenex and a sometimes drippy pen?

*Nine hundred bazillion reward cards, for everything from Red Robin to Tuesday Morning

*Airline reward cards -- but only a few. And those have scribbled account numbers for other airlines

*The wholesale tax license for Brickworks

*A note from my dad -- one of the last he wrote. (It's a list of tractor parts he was looking for. Nothing mushy -- this was a stolid Dutch farmer, after all.) 

*A list of addresses for family, friends and my piano students. (I currently have 5 -- piano students, that is!) Libby Lehman introduced me to a habit: sending postcards to Brother and Sister, the Mama, nieces/nephews and the girlies, and piano students, from wherever I've got a teaching gig.
     I've been doing this for years. Though it's rarely mentioned, I see the postcards on bulletin boards and refrigerators, and have heard how much they like this. The hardest part: finding good postcards.

*License, credit cards...and a very little cash. (I rarely carry much.) If possible, an emergency $20 is stashed somewhere deep within.

*A cellphone -- if I wasn't absentminded, and left it at home.

So... what's in your wallet?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Springtime

Well, we got nailed, all right -- at least 8 inches of wet, heavy snow, and freezing temps to boot. It made the roads nasty, and gave Keith, Daughter #2's partner, one last chance to make some bucks by plowing parking lots. 
     It also seems to have killed the three tomato plants I was hoarding under a coldframe. Poor babies. (Everything else looks ok.) 
     The baby chickies did great, thanks to a heatlamp. They're being let out of their coop this afternoon to mingle with the other girls. It's time for them to grow up, figuratively and literally. 
     We're supposed to have temps in the 70s by tomorrow. Welcome to Colorado. Meanwhile:

One of the better thought-out small space homes I've seen. Check out the storage possibilities, especially. (From MoneySaving Mom) 

You can live off half your income -- these people did it.  (From Budgets Are Sexy)

Drawers -- out of steps? And using a leftover cabinet for the drawers,-- extra storage space at no extra cost except elbow grease? You've got my vote! (From Houselogic)

The best jokes David Letterman never used... by his former staffers.

Buddy the conehead -- and having Mom diagnosed with Alzheimer's. (From Living Rich on the Cheap)

Stylish furniture -- for your dollhouse. Funky Junk Interiors shows you how.

Flower patterns DIY -- make homemade flower designs look professional in just a few steps. (From the Tender Garden) 

Extra uses for baby powder. (Making your eyelashes look thicker?!?)

Pepperoni rolls. An old(er) recipe, but delicious -- and easy. (From 24 Hour Menu)

Five paintings stolen in WWII are American heirs, after seeing the movie 'Monuments Men.' Good for them.

Eating like the Rock -- and I'll tell you one thing: he has a real thing for cod. 

An interesting look at NOT wasting food -- penalty labels, a restaurant and store dedicated to aging produce?  Plus a cook who feeds her large family on less than $300 a month.

Planked floors -- done with real 1x6 planksThis sure makes more sense than buying and installing fake wood. (From Shabby Creek Cottage)

'Cheap' pieces that look at home in expensive decor.  (From Apartment Therapy) Like this living room, which mixes a $70 floor lamp in with rare art and fancy armchairs.

From cheap laminate throwaway to sturdy storage bench. (From My Repurposed Life)

Scents, memory...and how it affects your purchases. (From A gai shan Life)

McDonald's history...and it's not pretty.

My mom, the frugal role model -- from Donna Freedman.

 Have a great week. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015


It's May? 



Three or four inches are on the ground, and more are coming.

Take a look here, and you'll see.

Welcome to Colorado. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Did You Go To Prom?

(Actually, I didn't.)

26 hysterical prom photos, including this one -- which I'm sure the Brick chickens would approve of:

Especially the moony-eyed girl on the left.

Go here for more.