Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time to tighten the belts!

With the economy being what it is, and what looks like rough times ahead of us, it's a good idea to start learning the art of being "frugal". However, if you were lucky enough to have had parents like mine, no lessons are needed! All that is needed are refresher courses! In some cases, minimal frugality has become a way of life, woven into the very essence of us, childhood experiences that devloped into adult behaviors. When I was a young child, (yesterday) my mother and father struggled to "make ends meet". My father was a milkman and worked long hard hours, and my mother worked at home. (She was a house wife, mother, bookkeeper, seamstress, chef, well... you get the picture). I can't say we weren't below the poverty level, but we were sure close. I saw my mother, skrimp, save, recycle, stretch, pinch, substitute, do without, for most of my childhood. I don't think I ever saw her throw ANYTHING out! There were drawers full of used aluminum foil that had been washed and folded to use again. There were butter tubs that were used for anything from cereal bowls to leftover containers to small hardware organizers. There was a drawer for plastic lids, of every imaginable size; empty coffee cans under the sink, out in the garage, down in the basement. Everything was used until it just couldn't be used anymore. Every scrap of cloth was saved, washed, sewn into some sort of quilt, curtain, sofa cover; clothes that had rips and tears were patched, socks with holes were darned. We were able to buy new clothes for school occasionally, but hand-me-downs from older cousins were the norm. My mother used to "stretch the milk" (yes, even the milkman's family had to pay for milk!) by adding Carnation Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk to each gallon that we drank. I used to love the little milk cartons we would get at school with our lunch because it was REAL WHOLE MILK! I have to give my mother credit, she always came up with something for us to eat; even making it seem like we were getting a treat when we occasionlly found the butter and jelly sandwiches in our lunch bag! She would cook a ham, chicken or roast beef on Sunday and then make the leftovers last for days. Hotdogs and beans were served on Saturday's and many times we "fished" for our dinner, when my father had time; weather and tides permitting. Trips to town were consolidated, even before the gas crisis of the 70's. Christmas must have been so stressful for them! My father's hand made wooden doll chair, door stop, and numerous other wooden carvings come to mind when I think of how they managed to make our holidays special. It must of killed them to watch my brother and I pour over the Sears Christmas Wish Book, knowing that they wouldn't be able to give us what we had written on our Santa lists. We were such selfish little children! Later, when my father became ill and unable to work, the money that my mother had managed to save, kept them from total despair.
So, as I sit here clipping coupons and doing my best to follow in some incredible footsteps, I can be thankful that I am in a much better position than my mother and father were all those years ago. I am thankful that I have the knowledge of how to be frugal; although I do not possess the many talents that my mother has, to do what she did. I can't make couch covers, or quilts, but I can stretch a dollar and I do possess the willpower to live within my means. And I also have a drawer of lids, and a few folded up pieces of aluminum foil tucked away.
Thanks Mom.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Its a Muppet Kinda Day

Thanks to Buckfor giving me the idea for my post today!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Here!

The photos above were taken last week.

Here's today's picture.....


Monday, November 17, 2008

At Last!

Finally, a moment's peace....

In the wee hours of the night, after work is done, daughter is back in the dorm, cat is in for the night, kitchen floor is mopped, trash is out in the can, laundry is folded, bills are paid, tomorrow's to-do-list is made, I sit here with my back to the television. In the semi-darkness of the room, I type and listen to the PBS program about eagles. If I close my eyes for a moment, I can picture how the night sky looked tonight when I got out of the truck to come into the house after work. Sometimes I forget how beautiful the stars look and how crisp and clean the air smells when it's cold outside. Seems like I've been going non-stop for days. Honestly, I think it's because I haven't been alone enough to hear myself think. So now, this is the time for me to relax~ and let the random thoughts fly!

I'm a devote follower of theDaily Coyote blog. Shreve Stockton is a talented writer/photographer. Her story is rather unique and her animals have captured my heart. She, just recently, was featured in People Magazine! I just discovered another blog, accidentally, simply by clicking on a link that appears under "My Favorite Blogs" on another blog I check in on regularly... Sharon is Sharing. The blog I discovered, Sevensto, is written by a wonderful woman who came over from Sweden in 1946 at the age of eighteen. Her stories about her childhood, growing up, later as an immigrant in America, and her life as a physical therapist are fascinating and poignant. She's a "name dropper" as she is first to admit, celebrities and even a president are in the list of names! She also happens to be Shreve's grandmother! Talk about a small blogosphere!

I actually got to go to a Boston Bruins hockey game November 5th, but haven't had time to even write one word about it until now. I hadn't been to an ice hockey game in more than 20 years. It was a great night, we had great seats, it was a great game, and I fell in love with the game all over again!

I also got a chance to spend time with my mother, brother and his wife, when we took a scenic train ride on the Cape Cod Railroad. It was a nice trip, seeing the cranberry bogs, marshes, views of areas that one doesn't usually get from driving the streets.

I had Jimmy Johnson #48 in the last NASCAR pool of the season. The race was this afternoon and Jimmy was favored to win, not only the race but the Chase points as well. I had every hope of coming into some do re mi, but alas, it was not to be. He won the Championship (points leader) but not the race... .

I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. Not a huge crowd mind you, just five or six people. I am a bit nervous about it, as I haven't cooked a Thanksgiving Dinner in 11 years. (The same length of time I've been back on Cape - ten minutes from Mom and Dad's house). So of course, Mom's been cooking every holiday and I've been sucking it up like a spoiled brat. Well, this year, I don't have to work on Thanksgiving and I thought it would be nice to give her a break. Only it's not REALLY a break because she's still baking pies, making her famous jello fruit salad, bringing rolls, V-8 juice, stuffed dates and lord knows what else. All I have to do is cook the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and a couple of vegetables. Oh and clean the house so it passes inspection. Ha ha.

And of course, I have been following all the news blogs, seeing some things that are very disturbing - an increase in racism, legislation being passed by the state that borders on the unbelievable and well,the general state of the country... and now the change in the bailout plan.

Watch CBS Videos Online
I sure hope they know what they are doing.

Well the cat is snoring, I'm getting sleepy so I'll take my leave of you now...
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Wish and a Prayer on Veterans Day

Sunday, November 9th: The elderly man stood by the front door of the grocery store. When I saw him, I immediately was reminded of my father. He was wearing a VFW hat and he had a bunch of little silk flowers with tags on them to hand out to those who put money in his cup. As I was approaching the door, I watched the few folks ahead of me, stopping to drop some change in the cup. I overheard one woman speaking to him say, "My dad was in the Korean War", he nodded and thanked her for her contribution. My friend and I rummaged through our pockets looking for a one dollar bill. Neither one of us could find one so I walked on by him, with the intent of giving him something on the way out. And then something happened. I stopped dead in my tracks. I reached into my purse, turned and put what money I had with me, into that man's cup. It didn't matter to me how much it was. I felt the need to give what I had; just as he had given what he had, and much, much more, all those years ago, when he served our country. He looked at me, and said, "Thank you for your generous gift". Do you know what I said? I didn't say a word. I couldn't even look him in the eye. I turned and walked away from him and into the store. How could what little I had given him, even come close to repaying him for what he had done for me and for our country?
I am a member of a group called Soldiers Angels. (There is a link on my right side bar to their website.) This is the time of year when I and my co-workers get involved with their Christmas Card drive. Please take a moment to visit their site, and consider volunteering some of your time. Even if you can't give alot, even if it's just words of encouragement, hope, and caring; you will have made a dent in the huge debt that we owe our servicemen and women.
I never told my father how proud I was of him. I never thanked him for his service to our country. We used to talk often, about his days as a Navy enlisted man. I don't think he would have known how to respond to being thanked. He never looked at what he did as anything special. To him, he was just 'doing his duty'. He explained it to me once like this; "There is a price to pay for freedom. Each one of us is responsible to do our part to make sure that all of us can continue to enjoy living in a free society." Thanks Dad. And thanks to all who serve and have served. May God Bless You.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Big Bad Wolfs Blog: The Bear resurgent...

Big Bad Wolfs Blog: The Bear resurgent... Take a moment to read about why I'm having nightmares.... let's just hope our new President can grow a set and step up to the plate. Yet, we still have 45 more days with someone at the helm who already has a HUGE set.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted and I Hope You Did Too!

Thank goodness I live in a country that allows me to have a voice.

Thank goodness I live in a country that gives me a choice.

Thank goodness I live in a country where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is my right.

Thank goodness I live in a country where people feel that freedom is worth the fight.

Thank goodness I live in a country where I can vote and have a say.

Thank goodness I live in a country called the U.S.A.!