Saturday, January 3, 2009

End of November... December

Majestic Mt. Blanca
December 31, 2008 - Wednesday
New Years Resolutions... of sorts...

Every year I attempt to make New Years resolutions... usuaally consisting of going out to eat less / cooking more meals at home, eating healthier, losing weight, reading my Bible more, giving more to other. I usually do okay keeping those resolutions - for a while. Since we spent 5 1/2 months living in Colorado this year - living a "more green" lifestyle, we've been utilizing the things that are on the following list... so... since we've already begun living these resolutions I figured it would be easy to stick to these!

v Recycling – consistently recycle any/all recycle-able items including clothes (this is great as I can clean out my closet & downsize the house... OR feed my thrift shop addiction buying second hand clothes for CHEAP)...and composting;
v Reusing – things like plastic containers sour cream & yogurt come in and Ziploc bags (terrible to use once the throw away!),
v Re-purposing – using an item in a way it was not intended instead of throwing it out (i.e. using old fruit crates stacked on top of each other for end tables or book cases). I know it doesn't sound like much but at least it's not taking up space in a landfill.
v The 100-mile rule: buying food grown within 100 miles of home. This is not always feasible. Of course there's the plan for the eventual garden and/or greenhouse… and chickens & maybe goats. I try to buy organic foods from the grocery store when I can (especially organic / fair trade coffee)… and buy from farmer's markets when in season. (Remember the Kris Kristopherson song "Jesus Was a Capricorn"? He ate or organic food… ! If he could do it, so can I!!) We're also hoping to keep our freezer full of venison or elk (is elk also venison or is it something else? Or just elk?). I'm not much for other wild game.
v Biodegradable: Last year I made the change to using biodegradable dish soap, laundry soap, shampoo, body wash, recycled napkins / toilet paper / paper towels (talk about another big waste – it's just hard to give up paper towels – they're just too convenient!). Usually the biodegradable soaps smell better because they are completely devoid of scent or have essential oils added… not chemicals! I use vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice & water for cleaning instead of chemical products. Quite frankly, most cleaning products make me sneeze or itch!
v Refuse plastic bags when shopping… use a fabric (recycled fabric) bag. I have some of these but don't use them religiously! I'm hoping that will change! My mom has boxes of fabric in her sewing room that she's not going to use (she broke her arm last year & has had two surgeries & physical therapy and still has lots of trouble with it – making sewing difficult)… so I'm thinking about snagging some of it & making fabric shopping bags… to give as gifts or maybe sell. I also have my friends saving wine corks for me… I'm planning to make trivets (it takes 35 corks to make one trivet!) – using discarded scrap wood or picture frames as the base.

Our hope is to leave the planet a little nicer than we found it...

December 27, 2008 - Saturday
Winter wonderland... wish I were there!

The picture above shows what will be the view from our bedroom & living room windows! I wish SO much that we could be there this winter to enjoy the snow, the wildlife, our friends... and most of all ~ our cabin! The temps out there have been warmer than here in Nebraska (they get over 300 days of sunshine there!)... but they've had MUCH more snow there... close to 4' from what I hear!
I guess for now we'll make the best / most of our time here in Nebraska... making sure our plans are all in order to get everything completed at the cabin to get us to an off-grid, living-green, self-sufficient life: insulating & interior finish, exterior siding, solar panels/batteries, windows, woodburning stove, a garden plot, composting pile, flower beds & grass, and chicken coop (condo) for starters.
There is SO much to get done. When we were there this summer we worked outside when it wasn't raining or too windy... and spent time reading up on construction, solar power, off-grid living, looking for resources when it was raining or too windy to work. When our financial resources were gone we'd spend a day or so on our lot in Forbes Park cutting dead trees. There are so many dead standing & fallen trees on that lot that cutting wood is fairly simple. We would then load the cut firewood (or sometimes 6 ft. pieces), hauling it back to the cabin (cutting it if we brought BIG pieces) then stacking it. We actually enjoyed that a lot & have quite a bit of wood seasoning for next winter! It was good exercise as the FP lot has quite a bit of an incline & we'd have to walk up into the trees to cut. It was nice to be away from the cabin for a while... but also knowing that what we were doing in FP was going to benefit us later. That strategy worked well before so I guess we'll implement that strategy again & we should be able to get the cabin to a point that we can live in IT instead of the camper.

December 27, 2008


Merry CHRISTmas to you all! While we were really hoping to spend CHRISTmas in Colorado this year it didn't happen. Those of you who follow my blog know why that didn't happen so I won't go into it. I was rather disappointed in the description my dad gave of our cabin in their CHRISTmas letter: "Marcy & Jerry are in the process of building a 'shelter' (small house with a loft) on a mountain in SW Colorado... they didn't get it livable by cold weather so they are back... for the winter". I wish he could see the BIG picture! It's so much more than a "shelter - small house with a loft". It will be a HOME! Here's a link to the PB catalog - and what our goal is for the front entrance of our cabin. I'll have to send a retraction of sorts to those I have email addresses for so they can appreciate what we really built!
Sunday before CHRISTmas we shared a huge meal with Jerry's sons & their children. We had WAY too much food but the leftovers were certainly appreciated!
We spent a quiet day CHRISTmas Eve... doing pretty much nothing. With the snow & cold we decided it would be a great nite to enjoy the CHRISTmas lights so we drove around town enjoying the beautiful lights. We used to take the kids out to look at the CHRISTmas lights when they were younger.
CHRISTmas Day we spent with FRIENDS! We enjoyed tur-duck-en... you know... a turkey stuffed with a duck that's stuffed with a chicken! More leftovers! Yum! I enjoyed, particularly, visiting with one friend's mother who was also there. She is a lovely woman who grew up during Depression years & can appreciate the kind of lifestyle we're hoping to create in Colorado - because she lived that way for part of her life as well. The six of us exchanged "white elephant" or re-gifted gifts and share lots of laughs in the process! We're lucky to have great friends to share holidays with! It was a fun day!
Yesterday... the day after CHRISTmas (is there another word?)... on the farm in Kansas with my family. Our little Hayli Grace was in town with her dad so we picked her up & off we went. Due to plans already made by his family we only got her for the day. It was too long to leave Skeeter by himself in the house... and we really weren't keen on the idea of Skeeter & Hayli sharing the backseat of the truck so... we opted to kennel Skeet at the vet's... he needed a vaccine booster & his nails clipped so it was good all the way around! Hayli was a joy to travel with - she sang songs & told me all kinds of fun things including how she wanted to make snow angels! We shared a great day on the farm in Kansas with my parents & my brother's family. The house was busy & noisy with all the activity of the little ones! We sang a few CHRISTmas carols and the kids unwrapped presents. Unfortunately (or not) it had warmed up to the point of about 60 degrees and the snow we'd had the week before was all but gone... so there was no chance of doing any kind of outdoor snow activities. Oh well... maybe another year!
Today... we are spending another quiet day at home. This morning we picked up Skeeter from the vet... he seems to have fared quite well & is lying on the floor beside me... they must've worn him out!
We're gearing up for New Years Eve. We're planning to spend it with our FRIENDS at a local Country Club. One of our favorite bands is playing and although at $40 per person it is a bit "spendy" ... it does include lots of food (heavy hors d'oeurves), party favors & champagne at midnight! It should be a fun time. New Years Day we'll be watching the Huskers play in the Gator Bowl.... GO HUSKERS!!!!!

December 4, 2008 - Thursday
Thrift stores... recycling...

Well... Jerry's son got moved out of our old house & found a little house to rent. He's lucky - he found a tiny house there's lots of storage space in the form of an unfinished basement & a two-stall garage. He didn't have a whole lot but his neighbors across the alley moved out leaving furniture to be picked up by the garbage collectors... so we checked out their leftovers & found a kitchen table, 3 chairs, a microwave stand, an office chair & some throw pillows. He was a little nervous, it seemed, about taking stuff that was left for garbage pickup... but I convinced him that since it was going to the garbage & would end up taking up space in a landfill, we should recycle what we could since he needed those things anyway! Jerry & I went to an auction last nite (just for the heck of it) and came back with a sofa for him as well. I've been scouring the thrift stores in search of things he needs or things I think he can use! Of course, this serves two purposes: he gets his house furnished and I get to shop without spending a ton of money! Thrift stores are GREAT!! I found a couple Janet Evanovich books I've been looking for and picked up a couple heavy sweaters for 50% off!

November 30, 2008 - Sunday
Good Sunday morning

Good Sunday morning! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!
Friday I called my hair stylist with a "hair crisis" but he couldn't get me in until yesterday afternoon. Jerry & I went to Omaha to a gun show (yup, that was pretty exciting) and then to one of our favorite antique malls in the Old Market. I made my hair appointment... I don't know why after all these years I'm still amazed at how thick my hair is & how much is lying on the floor in a pile when I get done! Anyway, my hair is much lighter now & hopefully much more managable! Hair crisis is over - for now!
Jerry's son was at our old house getting his stuff together to move out ... and that's where they are this morning. His previous plan for a place to live fell thru so I guess he'll be apartment hunting this week. I'll be glad to finally have EVERYTHING out of the house so I can quit worrying about it.

I just let Skeeter out... and it's beginning to snow. I saw on the weather last nite that we were supposed to get snow but I never actually believe it until I see it for myself! Wonder what kind of weather we're having in Colorado.
Hope everyone has a great day! Stay warm...

November 29, 2008 - Saturday
How ’bout those HUSKERS?!

Just a quick note about the HUSKERS!! What a great game!
We didn't go to the game... but enjoyed it on TV at the home of one of our friends. Most of us held our breath during the first half as the score went back & forth... the third & fourth quarters proved to be pretty intense & exciting but in the end - we were all thrilled with the outcome! We resisted the temptation of calling the coffee shop in Ft. Garland to see how the CU fans were doing after the game! Buffalo steak anyone?
We're anxious to find out in which bowl game the Huskers will play and what team they'll be playing!
GO BIG RED!!!!!!!

Is the music THAT loud?... or am I THAT old?

I never thought I'd say it... but the last few times we've gone out with friends to hear bands - they've been SO loud that you can't talk to the person next to you, even if you scream they can't hear you - heck, you can barely hear yourself! Last weekend we went to hear a band that was so loud Jerry wrote his drink order on his hand to show the waitress because it was so loud she couldn't hear him! Tonite was no different. We went to hear a little blues combo and it was REALLY loud. Needless to say after the music started we stayed for one set & left. Luckily, there was no cover charge for this one. It's really the pits when you PAY to hear a band and it's so loud you can't enjoy yourself & end up leaving early. Further entertainment tonite was: a couple who had had too much to drink & had evidently won $100 playing shuffleboard. He tore the $100 bill in half & gave one half to her. It seems she didn't want half of a $100 bill... she wanted $50... and gave the half back to him... which he promptly threw into the fireplace. We watched in disbelief as half of this $100 bill burned. It just goes to show that people do stupid stuff when they've had too much to drink. I'm sure he'll wake up in the morning with half a $100 bill in his pocket & smack himself on the forehead when he (finally) remembers where the other half went!
Some in our group have resorted to taking earplugs when we go out. How sad is that? Well, I guess it just goes to show that our group of friends has apparently reached that milestone age where we'd rather listen to background music, have the option of dancing or not, but still be able to visit without having to scream or talk loudly & repeat ourselves! Omigosh! We've become our parents!
Rock on my friends!!

November 28, 2008 - Friday

Yesterday following a second interview (I got the job!) we did some last minute shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. While in SuperSaver we happened across the Spirits department giving samples of Kahlua... Mocha, Hazelnut & some kind of Vanilla. The Hazelnut was outstanding & I had to get a bottle of it! Anyway, we finished up our grocery shopping then headed home to start the cooking process. With the sweet potato casserole & scalloped corn & oysters made and the turkey seasoned it was time to turn in! This morning everything went as planned... everything was timed perfectly - however, my parents & Jerry's dad showed up before noon & I wasn't expecting them until about 1:00. Oh well. Mom brought homemade dinner rolls & her famous cinnamon rolls as well as some of her equally famous Swedish pancakes (for Spencer). We spoke to Hayli on the phone... she had to wish us a Happy Turkey Day. After dinner entertainment was provided by Jerry & the backyard squirrels (no they're not a band!). He had put out a live trap & caught 3 squirrels between noon & 5:00... this was great fun for Skeeter who spent quite a bit of time outside tormenting the poor squirrels as they were trapped in the cage... er... trap. After a rousing game of Phase 10 (I won & mom came in second!) we had warm raspberry pie & ice cream... Skeeter even had some ice cream! Our company left just before sunset - about 5-ish - and now we're just enjoying the quiet, having a glass of white & watching (ugh) football.
Tomorrow is Black Friday - for those of you who shop. While I won't be taking part in any retail therapy - we will be going to Menards as they have a couple things that we could use for the cabin. Unfortunately the thrift stores don't really have Black Friday/Day after Thanksgiving sales... but we might hit a couple providing the traffic isn't too crazy. We also are going to a football party at the home of a friend tomorrow to watch the Huskers play Colorado (CU Buffaloes). I'd better take the wings out of the freezer so I can get those made tomorrow morning!
We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day!

November 25, 2008 - Tuesday
Holiday... blahs or blessings?

My friend Alex posted a blog about the holidays and how he seems to get the blues around these times. I have to say that I have been the family scrooge for quite a while.
I'm so disheartened that everyone gets sucked into the shopping trap... buy this, buy that, wait - that's not enough, look at this sale, 50% off, buy one get one half off, better yet buy one get one free... what the heck just buy more!
Last year, knowing we were going to be downsizing, we opted to give away things that we knew or thought some of our family members could use. It was a great knowing that our previous belongings were going to good homes & would be well used! I'm thinking about doing that again this year! Gift cards are rather impersonal, however, they do make shopping much easier but now with so many stores closing shoppers will have to be careful where they buy. Most of us are able to buy things we want when we want them so it makes it difficult to come up with a "wish list". We did use that concept a couple years at Christmas... we each wrote down our name on a piece of paper with three or four ideas of things that would make a great gift... then we drew names. It worked out quite well. There are so many little ones in our family right now that it makes it difficult (expensive) to buy for them... and they all seem to have too much of everything... just like the adult kids... me included! At this point in my life I'm just as happy to get together with family and friends for holidays without all the shopping & gifts.
Anyway, we all have SO much that it seems like giving way our excess makes sense. Maybe we should be a blessing to others & just load up our "excess" and take it to the City Mission or the Friendship Home.
The other point my friend Alex was making was that he didn't feel like he was getting any direction from God. My suggestion is crawl up on HIS lap, let HIM know what's on your heart & listen to HIS heart! There's a verse in the Bible that says: Be still and know that I am God. We just need to be still... very quiet... and listen!
Today (after all the time I've spent on MySpace) I discovered the music portion of MySpace and downloaded some of my favorites. This music is great praise & worship music... some of you may be inclined to check out my favorite songs and I hope you will... and that you'll be blessed by them!
Tomorrow is Tuesday. I'll be taking the turkey out to thaw. Wednesday will be housecleaning day then in the evening I'll start preparing the side dishes so they're ready to go in the oven Thanksgiving morning. Menu: Turkey, scalloped corn & oysters, sweet potato casserole, stuffing with cranberries & apples, dinner rolls. Raspberry pie & ice cream, coffee & hot tea for dessert. I love the smell of holiday dinners, don't you?!
Hope everyone has a very blessed Thanksgiving day!

November 24, 2008 - Monday
... etc. ...

Yesterday we spent most of the day with family at the baptism of our newest "grand"! It was a nice day and I think everything went just the way it should... unfortunately, the guest of honor will have no memory of how her family gathered to celebrate her baptism... she slept thru most of the event!
Someone who was at the baptism was showing his new AmazonKindle. I saw this on Oprah --- one of the FEW times that I actually tune in to watch her --- and was intrigued that this "book" is maybe the size of a day planner but can hold a few hundred to a few thousand complete books depending on how much memory one gets! One can even subscribe to newspapers & magazines. It's quite an amazing piece of technology! The cost for it is about $350... plus the cost of books which, if I understood correctly, is $9.99 each -- not the usual twenty-something charged in bookstores. I was thinking about how many books Jerry & I have & how much space they take up. But... I also know that MOST of the books I have were bought at garage sales, thrift stores or by the box at an auction so other than my Bibles and a few other books I've bought "in stores" the rest of my books may have cost what two of these purchased-online-books would be. I guess it's kind of a toss up: spend money for the Kindle and the downloaded books and save a TON of space -- OR spend very little and have lots of books that take up space, collect dust and have to be given away / sold at garage sales or stored / moved. Unfortunately... option two works better for me...
Maybe I mentioned it previously but my brother & his wife won't be coming back from Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving so we're having my parents come from Kansas & Jerry's dad come from central Nebraska to spend Thanksgiving with us. It should be a quiet day... I hope. Friday we're invited to the home of a friend for the CU / NU football game. Sadly I've not kept up on how CU is doing this year so I'm not sure how we'll do.
Sounds like the coffee is done brewing. I need to shower & get moving so I can get lots done today! Have a great week!

No comments:

Post a Comment