Monday, February 28, 2011

Healthy eating

I stopped at the store to load up on lots of fresh fruit and veg today. It looks like a lot but the fruit will disappear quickly when a certain 19 year old college student comes home on the weekend. The bananas are a bit too green even for my taste, but that's all the store had and these won't be green for long. Yes, I bought 3 pineapples! Who knows when they will go on sale again.
The sticker shock came from the romaine lettuce; it's gone up nearly a dollar in a week. I'll be eating more salads and I don't like iceberg so...

I can't wait for spring when I can start getting greens out of my own garden!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Slimming World

We are getting a nice (by our low standards) bonus at work this year. I've decided to take the plunge and invest in three months online with Slimming World. I just hope I have the success my friends have!

Dreaming of the garden

Literally, I dreamt about clearing out and prepping the garden last night. So I get up, look outside... and yes, it is snowing... again.

I think I will do some puttering around with my seed starting supplies today. I can pretend spring is coming!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Randomness

Today I had to shovel a path to the dog pen and inside it to open the gate. That ten inches of snow we got last weekend blew into some amazing drifts back there. The garden is now buried deeper than before we had the melt-week. I hate that tingling/itching feeling I get in my fingers when they get too cold.

I stumbled across a British show called Fast and Loose; it's a lot like Whose Line so I figured my son would like it. Some of the skits they do get a bit tedious and it makes a big difference which comedians are on, but there is one part that is on each time and makes the whole thing worth while. David Armand's interpretive dance is absolutely brilliant. Some of his stuff is on youtube, but he's gotten better. The last episode with him doing Don't Stop Me Now is the best. Watch it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wisconsin protests

This is a big item in the news lately and a lot of tempers are flaring over it. I've never been around unions and they aren't common in South Dakota. One of the guys at work used to be in one and hated it. According to him everything is seniority based and merit has zero impact. A person hired one day before him could have first shot at all the best jobs even if they were totally incompetent.

Historically, I think unions had an important role to play, but they seem to have outlived their usefulness.

As to the Wisconsin mess, these are my opinions (it's my blog so I can talk about what I want). :) First, the teachers are under contract and should get their butts back to school and teach. Second, the democrats hiding to stop the vote should be ashamed of themselves. Wouldn't they howl if it was the other way around and the Republicans were pulling this stunt. They lost control at election time and need to deal with the consequences...their current actions are undermining the entire process. Third, it's a RECESSION. There are going to be a lot more painful budget cuts coming but this is the reality. They aren't going to get any sympathy from me because they are suddenly expected to contribute to their own health insurance and retirement funds...like everyone else already does!

I don't think people are aware of just how bad the economy is and how drastic cuts will yet have to be made everywhere. We all wish the cuts wouldn't affect us personally, but that's not realistic. Be grateful for the jobs we still have and be frugal. It's the best way we can lighten the troubles to come.

white-out

No, not for correcting typos, just typical winter weather. Snow, ice and strong winds have caused the interstates to shut down. Nice that tomorrow is a holiday so all the schools were off anyway. I can work from home as long as my boss makes it in to turn on my computer there.

The dog is loving it because not only did he get to stay inside all day, but for a bonus his boy is home too!

For the fun news: yesterday I took my mom to Sioux Falls and we got our hair done and went out for Chinese. Yummmmm! I even splurged big time and bought a new purse, which I haven't done for years. It was sheer luck that we got to go since the last time we tried a few weeks back she was snowed in and we missed this blizzard by one day. It's nice to get the heaviness cut out of my hair and bring back the blonde. It was also long past time for my mother to get a real stylish haircut. Some things are worth the cost.

Monday, February 14, 2011

a puzzle

I ran across a puzzler today. Why would someone (anyone) spend 80 pounds (128 dollars) on a pen? Not just one pen either: pens, ink, pen cases...totaling 360 pounds (yep, over 570 dollars).

Even before I turned into the cheapskate I am today it never would have occurred to me to buy anything like that.

Speaking of money.... I paid off Chase credit card today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy dance!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

This and that

We've had three entire days of warmth...as in: above freezing! It's amazing and I could definitely get used to this. I even saw a bit of bare ground. Of course, it was where the plow had moved the snow away, but it still counts. :)

I was reading a post where someone listed an inventory of things they had stockpiled. The ones that stood out to me were 400 rolls of toilet paper which they estimated would last nine months and 5 CASES (!!!!!!) of toothpaste. Why on earth would someone buy more toothpaste than they could use in the rest of their lives but less than a year of toilet paper? Someone out there might have deep issues with oral hygiene.

Inflation: corn has taken a significant leap up in price. This is going to reflect in most food prices because so much out there contains corn products or is fed corn. In the last week I noticed some fresh vegetables were selling for as much as 30% more than normal. A couple months ago I bought a new bra; last week I decided to pick up another of the same style (after all, how often do you find one that is comfortable?) and found the price had risen by $2. This just confirms the warning that cotton prices were up and clothing would follow... it has.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Exhausted, knackered, dragging feet...

You know it's been a long day when you fall into bed before 8 p.m.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Aha





I found an empty flower vase while cleaning my counter top this afternoon. Suddenly I was swept up in a longing to bury my face in beautiful, fragrant blossoms. Looking at pictures helps a little, but it's like talking to an old friend on the phone when what you really want is to squeeze the stuffing out of them with a bear hug.

Aargh

Yes, it is snowing again.

Rocket stove

Here it is! My very own homemade rocket stove. I've been enamored by the concept since I first heard of it, bought the materials last summer and finally got around to putting it together today. Now it's at my parents waiting to swallow up the ashes from their wood stove as insulation. The lid has been cut down to fit inside, over the ashes and around the stovepipe.


All I need is a metal grill to place across the top for the pan to sit on and a few twigs to burn and I'll have a highly efficient (and cheap) cooking appliance.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I love vacation

Sleeping in, staying up late, taking naps, staying home and loving it!

I read about a challenge recently that called for people to go a full month only eating the food already in their homes. I thought it might be worth trying for a week to start with...and tomorrow will be a week already. It's probably not fair since I've been home all week and there aren't any places around here that do delivery - no temptation.

Something I've been wanting to try my hand at is writing a story about an EMP strike, but written from a female perspective. Most out there are very masculine (guns, guns, gun fights, and a little about food). I used to really enjoy writing; unfortunately, I'm about 25 years gone to rust and it's not easy to get back into. I'll keep trying, but it will be slow and pretty rough.

I got delivery on propane for the furnace today...$500!!! It's enough to make me howl. Now the challenge is to make it last the rest of the winter. I'm hoping we're past the worst of the cold. We had wind chills in the -30s and -40s this week! My son's dog loved being inside all the time. :) I didn't enjoy walking him quite so much.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tax time

I did my taxes tonight. There were a couple of 'huh?' moments; first when I realized I earned less in 2010 than I did the year before. Then I figured out it was because I began contributing to retirement (before the company hadn't required any matching from us but they used the poor economy to wriggle out of that benefit). Our income dropped another 20% when my son finished high school and no longer qualified for survivor's benefits. It's good that I had already gone frugal and begun the debt payoff by then.

Because of the American Opportunity credits on tuition I'm actually getting a decent return this year. No wild plans here though, it's going straight to debt. In fact, if it shows up in the next three weeks I will finally be saying farewell to Chase credit card for good. I hope I've been a huge disappointment to them; I believe they increased my minimum payments to 5% in the hopes that I wouldn't be able to keep up and they could increase the interest rates. Ha! It's still at 4.9% and once it's gone I'm never going back.