A blog about "nothing"!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

5 Things

It's New Years Eve day, and I'm sure many people are thinking about what they want to change, put in place or hope for in the coming year.  2016 has been a tough one in so many ways, ranging from changes in global leadership to the loss of so many big celebrity icons.  I'd be remiss in saying that I will never get over the loss of Prince, such an icon and gone too soon.
The New Year always brings with it a lot of optimism.  A fresh start, new opportunities.  I'm not big on resolutions because I think sometimes those just set us up for failure.  So I think about things on a broad scale.  Last year was horrible for me as far as how I felt physically, I had health issue upon health issue and as a result, my house is not clean to my liking.  So my long range goal for the year is to go (again) from room to room, cleaning from top to bottom, getting rid of things we aren't using.  The last part is probably going to be the easiest as I've been working on purging our home of unnecessary items for the past 4 years.  But there is always something!
I also have a couple of things that I want to do, but keep putting off.  After thinking about it a bit, I decided to make these my weekly challenge.  One item per day for 5 days and hopefully by the end of 2017, I will feel like I have not only accomplished something, but some of these things will help me reach my "clean house" goal.
So, here they are.  I always feel by putting this out on a worldwide scale, I'm much more likely to stick to it.  They may seem kind of silly, but they are things that I have neglected, and that upsets me because each of them has a place in my life or will make it easier.
1)  Add 5 questions to my Coronation Street Quizup Set.  Last year I started my own quiz on the Quizup platform for the popular British soap Coronation Street, and I did really well with it to start.  Then I got sidetracked, and it's been sitting at 300 questions since October.  That's not acceptable to me, especially for a show that has been on for over 50 years!!  So by adding 5 questions per week, that will add 250 questions to it by the end of the year.  I don't think that's too much to ask.  I have 150 followers so far, and I think I owe it to them as well.
2) Sew a doll item.  I have a rather big stash of fabric and patterns I've accumulated over the past two years with good intentions of making them into different things for 18 inch dolls.  This is sort of a carryover from last year, but I'm going to make a much bigger effort to stick to it.  Some items will be an all day type project, and some as little as 30 minutes.  I just need to get to it!  Doing this will also help me with my clean out project!  And no, I don't intend on keeping all 52 items I make, some will be gifts.
3)Clean out a cupboard/drawer/closet.  Again, part of the floor to ceiling clean out.  And one of those things that EVERYONE needs to do periodically. 
4) List 2 Ebay items to sell.  I don't have a ton of stuff to list now as I've purged quite a bit, but there are still a few things here and there that need to go.  More of the clean out.  Plus we all love a bit of fun money, don't we?
5)Take a box/bag to donate to charity.  All this cleaning means there is going to be stuff to go!  Sure, I could have a yard sale, but that just means it sits around here until I do.  Be gone!
The nice thing about all of these is if I have a week where I am going to be busier on some days than other, it's not unreasonable or impossible to do several, if not all 5 items in one day if necessary.  But I'm going to do my best to try and do these things every week.  Oh, and taking that stuff to donate does not mean I'm going to set foot in the store.  I don't need to bring anything back!!!
I hope this post has given some of you some food for thought.  I'll let you know at some point how it's going.  Fingers crossed!  And Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me...

Okay, it's not quite that bad, but whenever things go haywire, I frequently think of that song that they used to do on the TV show "Hee Haw".  I can't tell you how many times over the years that my mom and I would sing it whenever something went wrong.  So what has prompted this?
The Thursday before Thanksgiving, our hot water tank sprung a leak.  We knew it was old, so it wasn't completely unexpected, just bad timing.  $775 later we were good to go again, and we won't have to worry about that.  Not long after that, my husband got some bad news about one of his clients, another hit to the wallet.  And then the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I went to reheat some leftovers.  As I was preparing things to cook, I turned the oven on to preheat.  A few minutes later, I could smell the strong odor of natural gas.  It finally happened, our ancient stove decided it was all over.  Timing is everything.  The new one is ordered, but it won't be here until December 29th, so in the meantime I'm debating on what to make for Christmas dinner that doesn't require baking!
Last night we gave Laney a chew bone.  She loves them, and hasn't had one for a while, so she was really going to town on it.  Then we noticed some blood on it, so we thought perhaps we had better check.  She's missing a front tooth!!!!!  We're not sure if it was caused by the bone and just the rough surface rubbing on the gum caused the bleeding or the tooth actually came out then.  You don't notice it unless you pull back her lip, it's not one of her big canine teeth.  But I couldn't help but have flashbacks of the movie "The Hangover", I've been calling her "Nerdy Hillbilly Dog" ever since.  (If you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about.)
As Roseanne Rosannadanna would say..."It's always something!" 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Perils of Social Media...

I've been using the internet for a very long time, since about 1998.  I've been a part of chat rooms, bulletin boards, blogs, websites--you name it.  One thing I resisted against though were social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.  I had friends on both sites and after hearing some of their stories about what went on, I decided it wasn't for me.

A couple of years ago I decided I would give Twitter a try.  Seriously, how much trouble could you get into with a limit of 140 characters.  I started out slowly, following a couple of celebs I admired as well as a couple of friends.  All was well and good.  I even made a couple of friends through it and that was good enough for me.  I wasn't on there to see how many followers I could get.  For me it was just some good clean fun, keep up to date with what was going on in the world and to periodically tweet about my frustration with various things.

Earlier this year I discovered a radio station out of another country via Twitter.  I've become friends with one of the DJ's there and I'm a regular listener for a particular show.  I also discovered that being on Twitter while the show was on was almost as entertaining as the show was itself!  It was fun to see the different comments people made and interacting with them.  It became my weekly ritual.

As time progressed, I made some friends through the show. We had a lot of fun and it got even more interesting when another group that had listened to another show crossed over and started to listen as well.  It was like one big happy family.  Some of these people had even met in person.  All was fun and games, at least on the surface.

Then things turned ugly.  There were some actions and behavior from two of these people that were not only ridiculous, but incredibly hurtful.  I unfortunately found myself caught in some of the crossfire from all of this.  To say my feelings weren't hurt would be an outright lie.  And when I found out the whole scope of what they had been saying and doing, and the huge number of people affected by their actions, I was furious.  They had broken the trust of so many people.  Fortunately, their embarrassment caused them to leave Twitter and our group.  But there are still quite a few of the group who are very hurt and shocked by what they did, and I'm sure it will be a while before they get over it. 

I bring this subject up, not because I want anyone to feel bad for me.  I'm fine and over time, it will be just another blip on my timeline.  I am mentioning it because I want to warn everyone about this type of person and why they seem to think that this is acceptable.  It's because sometimes they are people who suffer from sociopathic tendencies.  They are narcissistic and they have no regard for the feelings of others because they just aren't wired that way.

How do I know about this personality?  Because I've encountered it several times in my life, both online and in real life.  I never knew a whole lot about the psychology related to it until several years ago and a bad experience that left me very emotionally scarred.  A friend who also was involved in that experience later recommended a book to me that had been recommended to her by a therapist.  I truly think that this particular book was a game changer for me in how I regarded these types of encounters with these people, and helped me look back on several different experiences in a completely new light.

The book is called "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout.  I liked it because it was easy to read, giving just the right amount of scientific information, mixed with several different case studies.  One of these case studies hit home for me too, just confirming that my experience was just as my friend evaluated.  In fact it was almost scary.  But it also gave me the ability to separate my emotions from what had happened and move on.  Plus I learned a lot of valuable information that has helped me deal with situations like I had on Twitter.  I know that it's not me, it's them, and there isn't a darned thing I can do to change it.  They are just wired that way. Move on.

If you'd like to check out this book, it is sold on Amazon.  I don't know how many different countries it's available in, but I highly recommend it for anyone who has either had a bad experience or simply wants to understand a bit more about how certain people operate and why. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Quick Trip!

Sorry for that extended break everyone!  I've been busy with all sorts of odds and ends and unfortunately my blogging suffered.  Another two weeks and everything should be back to normal--whatever normal is!
One of the things that occupied my time was a trip to Connecticut.  We also visited Massachusetts and Rhode Island briefly, but the bulk of our trip was to Connecticut.  Specifically, Mystic Seaport.  We were there many, many years ago, and it was someplace I'd always wanted to go back to see again. 
Mystic Seaport is a museum of sorts, set up like a village would be, where shipbuilding was the main industry.  It's interesting because they have several different ships from different era's, not a specific time, so you can see how things evolved.
Keep in mind that all of the boats on display are functional and used periodically.  Due to the age of some, that requires a certain amount of maintenance and even periodic restoration.  The pride of Mystic Seaport is the Charles W. Morgan, a former whaling ship.  It just so happened that when we were there, they had it out of the water for some maintenance work.
It amazed me just how large the ship was!
The weather unfortunately was less than cooperative, it rained quite a bit.  We did get a few breaks here and there.  At one point we were out on the coast of Rhode Island where I took these photos.  There are only two, and I had a hard time taking those without being blown over by the wind!
We did drive around an old cemetery in Mystic, it was actually quite interesting. 
From the cemetery you could see the seaport from another angle:
It's a very nice area to visit and quite a few things to do--when the weather cooperates!  Even so, it was nice just to get away for a couple of days.
Hopefully it won't take me quite as long to post again!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One man's trash...

Almost 8 years ago, we bought matching recliners for our living room.  I joked they were "his and hers".  We moved them to the new house and they got a lot of use.  Earlier this year a spring went on the one my husband used.  Not too long after, the whole recliner assembly in mine broke.  I had my nephew look at it to see if it could be repaired, but it could not.  Fortunately we had another recliner in our now unused basement family room (hubby converted it to an office when his job changed) so we brought it up.  We still needed another one though, so this past weekend we went shopping and I found one that I really liked.  It was delivered today and I'm sitting in it as I type.  :)

Last night in preparation for it's arrival, we had to do some re-arranging in the living room.  The plan was that my old chair would go out to the curb since it was in the worst shape.  My husband's old one would go in the spot for the spare chair, and the recliner we already had would become his.  It worked out well that the delivery was today as garbage collection was this morning, so we could put the broken one out for garbage pick-up and not have to look at it for long. 

When we went to take it outside, we didn't get it started through the door right and it got stuck.  We had to do some moving it around to get it out, and while we were doing that, the neighbor across the street saw us and yelled over to see if we needed help.  We managed to get it out and my husband drug it to the curb.  As he was doing so, he yelled back to the neighbor "it's broke, so I don't care what kind of shape it is when I get it there."  The neighbor responded with "I bet it's gone within 2 hours!"  I laughed.

Not even an hour had passed when I heard something outside.  My husband looked out the window, and sure enough, there was someone loading it into their van!!  Not sure what they were going to do with it, I'm hoping perhaps pull out the metal parts for recycling.  It certainly wasn't repairable, and it wasn't comfortable anymore either.  Whatever.  It's gone and someone else's problem now.

I told my sister about it, and she remembered an incident with a sofa sitting out along the curb.  She actually stopped to check it out, only to discover it smelled to the high heavens!  She said that later on, she saw a bunch of college kids loading it up.  The funny part was that further down the road, there was the sofa again, apparently once they got it inside the vehicle, they discovered it's bad aroma and ditched it.  At least the chair didn't stink, it just didn't work.  Perhaps it's headed to a fraternity house somewhere and will live it's days out by having beer spilled on it.  RIP chair!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Sewing Frustration!

There is nothing worse than wanting to sew and not being able to.  Or to be afraid to even try because you know that it is going to end in disaster.  That was me recently.  A pile of projects I wanted to do, but no incentive to do them because of previous experience.
Just over 4 years ago I bought myself a new sewing machine.  It wasn't a case of my old one not working, but more a case of wanting some features I didn't have.  After doing some research I found out which machines had what I wanted and which ones seemed to be the highest rated.  As luck would have it, I found a place where the one I wanted most was not only on sale, but I also had received a coupon for an additional discount.  I ordered it, it came and I sewed like crazy on it.  I made a rag quilt, countless scarves, tote bags, a few clothing items, doll clothes--you name it.  All was good.
Then I started having problems about 2 summers ago, but I realized that the problem might be with the bobbins I had.  I had purchased bobbins not made by the same company and after doing some comparisons, I confirmed my suspicions.  I replaced all of the Dritz bobbins (which are thinner) with Singer bobbins and my problem seemed to be mostly solved.  For a while.
Last fall I noticed the problem seemed to be back and getting progressively worse.  Last week I decided to give it another go and this time I was completely frustrated, to the point of tears.  After ruining several pieces of fabric, and about ready to toss the machine in the trash, I e-mailed a friend who sews all the time.  She gave me a piece of advice that turned out to not only be an inexpensive solution to the problem, but confirmed what I suspected all along.  And now I'm going to share it with you!
The bane of my existence...
The sewing machine I have is called a Singer Superb.  It is a top loading, drop in bobbin style machine.  It has a lot of nice features, ranging from a multitude of stitches to the ability to sew without a foot pedal.  I did a lot of research before buying it and because of the good reviews and several features, it seemed to be the ideal machine for what I wanted to do.  I was impressed with how well it sewed straight out of the box and how easy it was to use.  My other machine is an old school Pfaff, so it had some big shoes to fill.
The problem with the bobbin begins with the location of the thread within the bobbin case.  It's an easy machine to thread, both for the bobbin and the upper portion, but keeping it that way is the trick.  The thread from the bobbin has to go across the bobbin, and if it doesn't, there is going to be hell to pay.  Side effects range from just bumpy/uneven stitches to full out knotting/nesting of the thread.  It totally messes up all of the tension.  What I discovered with the Dritz bobbins is that because they aren't the same size, the threads end up where you don't want them because the bobbin jumps.  Not good.
However, I started having this problem with Singer bobbins too.  Not sure why it wasn't an issue to begin with, but I've read several comments from people who are having the same problem, and I suspect it's because the bobbins aren't heavy enough.  They are made from plastic (or something similar) and they just don't have the weight to keep them from moving too much from within the bobbin case.  Plus, because they are plastic, they tend to warp from the heat built up.  I suspect that is more of what my issue may have been because I'm someone who sews at a high speed most of the time, and all of that friction was wearing them out quickly.  Combine that with the jumping issue and it was wreaking havoc.  
This week I was sewing some fabric that wasn't the easiest to work with, and between that and the bobbin issue, it was disastrous.  At one point, this is what it looked like:
Yeah, it's as bad as it looks.  I had already cut away most of the fabric and then removed the top plate that covers the bobbin case.  It took a little bit of work, but I finally got it cleared from the machine.  Keep in mind that this was the 3rd time this happened.   Stupid machine keeps on sewing, even after an error message, jamming it further in!  Not impressed.
My friend Maggie has been sewing for years and has a business on Etsy selling doll clothing, that's how we got to know each other.  Her machines get a ton of use, so I e-mailed her with several questions, ranging from what brand of machines did she have to asking her if she ever had this issue.  Lo and behold, she had!  I really hadn't gone into great detail, nor did I give her my suspicions of what was wrong, so you can imagine how surprised I was when I got an e-mail back from her, not only describing the exact problem I was having, but also what she suspected the problem was, confirming my initial thought.  And she took it one step further, a solution!
Would you believe that it was as simple as buying METAL bobbins?  I had thought about doing this before, but was hesitant because I couldn't find an explanation on if it was safe or not, but also didn't know anyone who had tried it.  She had and said that it seemed to be the only thing that made her machine work properly.  I was definitely willing to give it a try, a package of bobbins costs under $3.
I will warn you, this will not work with all machines.  Some machines have magnetized parts that will prevent this from working, but in my situation, it worked better than expected.  My machine now works like it did when it was new out of the box.  I sewed multiple items after and had little to no trouble, I didn't have to cut a single piece out of my machine!  I also noticed that my stitches were much more consistent, better than they had been in quite a while.  And, when I'm filling the bobbins, they seem to be much more balanced than the plastic ones, another issue I suspect caused by the lack of weight.
I'm not sure how hard this is going to be on my machine, but to be honest, I don't care.  Prior to this I had a big white paperweight, so just being able to use it at all is good.  If it all turns into a disaster, I'll be sure to update this.  I have my doubts that it will though, I'm sure Maggie would have warned me of any impending doom.  I still have my old machine if something does happen.  I suspect that the only issue may be that my machine may need serviced at some point and perhaps some parts replaced, but even so, that is to be expected with any machine.  I'm just happy to be able to sew again!  Thanks Maggie!!
All of this made me think back to the sewing machine that my mom had that I learned to sew on.  It was a Singer Golden Touch and Sew (frequently referred to on different sewing forums as a "Golden Touch and Scream!), a machine that was better than a basic machine but very temperamental.  My mom spent a lot of time toting it to the repair shop.  However, one issue she had with it was solved with a Band Aid.  Yes, you read that right!  She was having tension issues with it and one day while sewing, she noticed it had a tendency to throw the thread from the top part WAY out and that is when it would jam.  As the saying goes, "necessity is the mother of invention" and she figured out by running the thread under the padded, non-sticky part of the Band Aid, it prevented the thread from being thrown.  Crazy, huh?  Whatever works!  I'm sure the guy she took it to for repairs/maintenance wondered what the purpose of that Band Aid stuck to the top was.  Sometimes simple solutions are the best. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

I've been doing things right and I didn't even know it!

Hi everyone!  I just got home from the hospital on Saturday after having a procedure done to correct/eliminate the heart problem that landed me in the hospital back in March while I had the flu.  Glad that is over with, feeling good, just a bit sore.  I have to watch what I do for a week or so, but other than that, back to business!  Fingers crossed that what they did will take care of it.

I encountered something while I was in the hospital though that I definitely did not expect.  I can't tell you how many times I had someone tell me how healthy I am.  I'm not going to lie, I am overweight, but when I have my bloodwork done, usually the only thing that is even close to being an issue is my cholesterol, and it's not even bad enough to consider medication.  I take no medications at all and several of the nurses as well as the person who took my data when I was registering said that it was extremely unusual for a person of my age not to have to take any medications.  For once in my life, I'm the exception and not the rule! 

I'm not someone who watches what I eat continuously.  I do have to watch to a certain extent because of my food allergies, but otherwise, I generally don't deny myself something.  I'm not in the habit of eating deep fried foods, my oven is my best friend, but I do eat them periodically.  Most of my weight gain I attribute to inactivity because of my completely screwed up knee.  I never had a weight issue until that happened, I've always been a fairly active person.  I actually think that is part of the reason my doctor is hesitant to refer me for a knee replacement just yet, he knows me well enough to figure out that it wouldn't take long for me to wear it out. 

I come from a family with a not so great history of heart disease as well as respiratory ailments.  However, most of those people also smoked for a period (if not all) of their lives.  The only cigarettes I've had in my life were 2 that I bummed back in my (much) younger days during a night of heavy drinking.  Smoking is one of those habits that I've never quite understood, plus I'm too cheap to spend that much money on something like that.  I used to tell my mother that it was just a dirty habit, why not pick your nose instead, at least that is free!  I also learned very early on that salt is the enemy.  I use table salt very sparingly, there are only two things that you will ever see me salt before I start eating them: cottage cheese and corn on the cob.  Otherwise, it's not very often you will see me salt something.  I think we still have the same container of salt that I bought when we moved in here 6 years ago and most of it has been used either by my husband or when I disinfect the sink.  I really do think that by not eating much salt, I have managed to avoid some of the heart issues that other family members have had to deal with.

There has been one thing that I've done my whole life that I never thought about in a million years as being a good thing.  Every morning for breakfast since I was in grade school, I've had a glass of chocolate milk.  I love milk and I love chocolate, so it just seemed like the best thing in the whole world.  When I was in grade school we had chocolate milk available to go with the lunches.  Then someone decided to take away chocolate milk because it wasn't good for us.  We rebelled big time!  I don't know of many instances when a class of 140 sixth graders got their point across as well as we did, but we got our chocolate milk back.  We organized our own form of protest by having everyone bring their own lunch on that day instead of buying the one the school offered, it even trickled into the 5th grade.  We were mad and we wanted our chocolate milk back.  I shudder to think about how much food was thrown out that day because it went unsold.  But it worked and we got our chocolate milk back.  After reading an article this past weekend about chocolate milk, I'd love to find the moron who made that original decision so I could shove it into their face as to just how wrong they were.

Turns out that chocolate milk is fantastic for you!  I was really surprised at the info in the article, I never in a million years would have thought about the benefits.  In fact, chocolate milk is better for athletes to drink after a work out than most of the sports drinks available or even water!  Take that misinformed person in 1976 who took our chocolate milk away!! I've since read several articles that are similar in information, and I now understand part of why I may be heavy but healthy, I may have a higher muscle tone than the average overweight person.  Who knew?!?!

So, now I just have to make it to 100, for no reason other than to have someone ask me "what do you attribute your long life to?" My reply: "CHOCOLATE MILK!"




Friday, July 15, 2016

I'm still here...and random stuff!

Hi everyone!  I feel bad that I've been neglecting this blog, but I'll be honest: I didn't have much to write about lately.  I don't think everyone wants to hear about me cleaning my house! 

Let's see, what's new since I wrote...I'd been feeling very horrid since the end of May when I had a horrible realization and thought perhaps it was related to the medication they gave me for my minor heart issue.  I was right...I had gout!!  I actually realized I had gout before I figured out what caused it.  It's not a fun feeling to look at your feet and think "gee, those looks just like my mom's did when she had gout", put 2 and 2 together and come up with 7.  The reason I say that is because I don't eat most of the items that cause it, so I had to do some logical reasoning, and you can imagine how surprised AND annoyed I was to find out that this medication can definitely cause it.  I'm not taking it anymore and with managing my diet, I am thankfully on the mend.  I've never hurt so much in my life before though.  I don't know how people who have regular bouts of it can deal with it.  Hopefully I'm not going to find out.

The doll blog has been keeping me busy, but it's a lot of fun.  I got backed up on things back in March when I initially got sick, so I've been catching up on things.  It's definitely much more "high energy" than this blog, and sometimes I feel bad that this blog gets neglected because of that.  Someday I'll find a happy medium!

I've found a new "guilty pleasure".  Fortunately it is only on Friday for 2 hours but it's a blast.  And I've made a new friend because of it.  I have Twitter to thank for it too, that surprised me.  Last year sometime I started following a woman from Scotland and one of the things she re-tweeted from another user frequently were things from the 80's, sort of a "remember this" kind of thing.  I love stuff like that, so I favorited and retweeted some of them too.  Before too long, I had another follower who shared this love of 80's stuff, a woman from Ireland.  I followed her back and she posted a lot of fun 80's stuff.  What I didn't realize at the time was that she was a DJ for a radio station there.  As I followed her posts, I noticed a post about the station and that I could listen to it online.  I decided to give it a try.  What a fun time!  They have a very social media interactive show, taking online requests, reminiscing about different 80's subjects each week and just having a good time in general.  I'm hoping to make another trip to Ireland one of these days and get together with her, I think that would be so much fun.  Now if airfare would just come down in price...

I also managed to do some thrift store shopping the past few months that yielded some fun stuff.  This past week I went to the city, bought 7 items, 5 of which were brand new!  I'm still amazed at the things I can find.  3 of those items were shirts with the price tags still on them, had I paid full price I would have spent $50, instead I paid $14.  I also found a brand new pitcher for my kitchen, I had one but I really wanted a second so that when one is sitting in the sink dirty,  I don't have to hurry up and wash it if I need it!  Lazy, I know, but I couldn't resist.  Also brand new.  I took my husband with me on one of my thrift store runs, stuck him in the men's department and he ended up spending more money than I did!  Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.

No gardening this year, and boy am I glad!!  It has been SO hot, the few flowers I did plant are now looking dreadful.  We need rain desperately, it seems like every time we have it in the forecast, it ends up missing us for whatever reason.  It's a shame, up until about two weeks ago they looked great, now they are a mess.  I need to go deadhead most of it, give it a good drink and hope for the best.  What can you do?  Just Mother Nature being a bitch again.

That's about it for now.  I'm not sure when I'll have anything else to write about, but when I do, you'll be the first to know!  I hope you are enjoying your summer (or winter depending on where you live)!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Feasability Studies: Not Just For Business!

When someone hears the words "feasibility study", they most likely think of it in a business context.  I myself had to do several after I took over my supervisor position in my last job.  I filled several jobs that had been done by the same people for many years, and as times changed and new ways of doing things emerged, as is often the case, they were still doing them the same way.  Not only were these old ways of doing things not time efficient, they also weren't cost efficient. 

It's not difficult then to think of how well this way of thinking might affect things in your home as well.  One thing I've found that helps in several areas is doing a larger than average grocery shopping trip.  It saves me in time because I'm making one trip as opposed to making several.  That in turn saves me gasoline.  It also saves me time once I get home because I'm only having to haul the groceries in from the car to the house and putting them away once.  AND, the biggest savings is money not spent on impulse items because I'm not in the store to begin with!  Interestingly enough, I find that we also eat better when I shop this way.  It may take a little planning to begin with, but once implemented, it becomes second nature. 

At the moment I'm dealing with something that is not so fun.  I'm suffering from severe arthritis pain as a result of menopause.  Some days are good, some are not so good and once in a while it's horrible.  As a result, I've been doing a lot of thinking about easier ways to do things.  For the most part I'm still able to do the majority of things around the house, but one task in particular has become a pain (literally).  Laundry.

Our house is mostly one floor.  Unfortunately our laundry is downstairs.  When I'm having a bad day, that trip up and down the stairs can be absolute agony.  This got me to thinking about how I did laundry and how I could change it to make it easier and more efficient.  I'd been doing alternate week laundry--one week I did nothing but clothing items and the opposite week I did linens.  I would do one load a day until they were all done.  Once in a while I would make an exception if something was dirty that was needed, but overall it worked well. 

Then I got to thinking about how that was wasteful in a "trip up and down the stairs" way.  If I'm washing towels, sheets, blankets, it's a two trip load, one trip to put it in the washer and one trip to move it to the dryer.  I wouldn't bring it up until the following day when I went downstairs to do the next load.  However, with clothing it often ended up being three trips for one load--the trip to wash, the trip to dry and then the dash to the dryer when it buzzed so it didn't end up a wrinkled pile of clothing.  Hmmm...

It was after a bit of thinking that it dawned on me just how wasteful this was!  So now my new way of doing the laundry is to do two loads a day, the first load being clothing that needs to be hung and the second load being something that doesn't.  I still have to make three trips, but I'm doing double the laundry!!  DUH!  My hope is to eventually get it caught up enough that I'm only doing laundry either every other week, or 2 loads every couple of days.  The other bonus to this is that it will be more energy efficient in the winter months, it won't take the dryer as long to heat up for that second load. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.

Do you have an area in your life that you think could use a personal "feasibility study"?  Or do you have an example of where one worked for you?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The best 25 cents I've spent in a long time!

Let's be honest here: in this day and age, 25 cents isn't going to get you much.  You can't even buy a candy bar for that anymore. (unless you happen to find a clearance sale)  About the only way you are going to find anything that cheap that's worth buying is in a thrift store.  You see where this is going!
I haven't been doing as much thrift store shopping recently for a number of reasons.  I need nothing, I've been busy and being sick made it difficult.  A couple of weeks ago I was really itching to go, so I checked out my favorite Pittsburgh haunts.  I found some doll stuff and a few personal/household items: a tie for hubby, a summery shirt for me and a coffee mug to replace the one I broke a couple of weeks earlier.  Nothing very exciting though.
Last week I decided to go again, this time sticking a little closer to home.  About 20 minutes away we have a placed called "Easter Seals Yard Sale".  It's all donated items and the proceeds go to the Easter Seals organization (they work with a variety of special needs folks).  They have a space in an abandoned mall storefront which is only opened several times a month.  I hadn't been there for a while, so I decided that it sounded like a good place to start.
I found a few cute doll sized things which I was excited about.  The last thing I picked up was something I've been curious about for quite some time.  I'd never bought one because quite frankly, I never needed one before and I was skeptical about how well it would work.  The crazy part is I almost missed it because it was brand new, still in the box, and I picked up the box to read what was in it.  So glad I decided to do that!  Are you curious as to what it is?  A brown sugar disc.  I know some of you are saying "what?!"  Maybe you've never heard of one, so here is what they look like:
Basically it's a formed piece of terra cotta that is placed in a container of brown sugar to keep it from getting too hard to use.  I'd never had an issue with my brown sugar doing this because I generally kept it in a bag, but the last time I bought a bag, I decided to place it in a storage container I had to make it easier to get to.  BIG mistake.  I don't use a lot of it, so it takes a while to use up a bag of it, and my bag had progressively gone from being a nice, soft sugar to a solid lump that resembled a brick.  The last time I needed to use it, I literally had to chisel it out of the container.  When I saw this disc for 25 cents, I figured it was worth a try.
After I got it home, I took it out of the box.  No instructions, but something told me that you didn't just go and plop it in and hope for the best.  I was right, and after poking around on the trusty internet, I found instructions.  All you needed to do was place it in a bowl with water for 15 minutes, then pat the outside dry and place it in the container.  At this point I was still skeptical, but what did I have to lose.  It didn't help that I asked a friend if she had ever used one, to which she replied "I had one, but I don't anymore.  I don't remember, but I assume because I don't have it now, it wasn't impressive."  Hmmm...
That was on Thursday.  Yesterday (2 days later) I decided to check and see if anything happened.  I was not at all prepared for what I was going to experience.  I opened the container and looked inside.  The sugar appeared to be softer, so I got a fork and poked it.  WOW!!!  It really worked!!!  I now have a container of brown sugar that looks like brown sugar again.  No using it for construction purposes! I was impressed.  :)
The online instructions I found said that it lasts for about 3 months per soaking, so sometime in late summer I will need to get it out and do the process over again.  So worth it in my opinion.  And I'm so glad I decided to take a chance with my quarter.  Probably a better payoff than if I'd put it in a slot machine!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sorry, but no, your screaming/misbehaving child is NOT cute!

Recently a fellow Twitter user posted her frustration involving her wedding and her decision to make it an adults only affair.  Apparently someone invited is all upset because she isn't allowed to take her children to the wedding.  So much so that she's refusing to come.  While the bride is hurt, she is not letting this bullying affect her decision.  Good for her!  As she explained, she is getting married in a place that is not suited for children and as she put it "had to sign my life away" when she booked the place.  She doesn't want children "running around breaking things".  I totally get it.
She isn't alone.  It seems as though every time this subject comes up, there is always someone who falls in the "well, that isn't fair" camp.  Life isn't fair.  Suck it up.  I personally don't understand the need to drag your children everywhere with you, especially to something that A)they are more than likely going to be bored stiff with and drive you bananas and B)won't remember anyhow.  I personally would look forward to having an adults night out for something like that.  Perhaps I should start dragging my dog to things like this and see how people react?  There are plenty of times I've left her at home, even though I know that the place is dog friendly.  While I think she's cute as a button, she has some personality traits that I'm well aware would drive other people nuts.  I'm not about to inflict that on anyone else.
This brings me to my point:  while you think your child is adorable, I hate to tell you this, not everyone else does.  Parents need to realize this.  Many do not.  And they tend to turn a blind eye/ear to a misbehaving child instead of doing something about it.  I've never forgotten a Christmas eve service I went to several years ago.  It was a packed house, and seated near me was a woman with an infant.  Part way through the service, the child started crying, very loudly.  The mother DID NOTHING.  She just let the baby scream, to the point that we couldn't hear the service.  An intelligent and courteous person would have gotten up with said child and left the sanctuary in order to allow the other people there the ability to hear, and perhaps investigate why the child was screaming.  Not her.  The sad fact is that this woman is not alone in her rudeness, I've seen it at so many functions and public places, it's almost epidemic. 
Let me just tell you folks, allowing your child to misbehave is not doing it any favors.  You may be doing more harm than you realize.  I know of someone who let her child do whatever she wanted and made no effort to discipline her.  Several years later I learned of multiple instances where the child was not invited to various things (parties, clubs, etc) because of this.  It wasn't the child's fault, it was the parent's.  Unfortunately because of this child's continued bad behavior and lack of any guidance, she was excluded. 
I grew up as one of 5 children, and we were taught at an early age how to behave in public.  Keyword in that sentence is "taught".  I guess that has all gone out the window!  My parents weren't abusive, but we were told "if you misbehave, you won't get to go again."  I have friends and family who fall on both sides of the fence on this, some have kids who are holy terrors and others have children who can be taken anywhere.  The funny part is that the ones with the well behaved children think their kids are "bad" at times.  They don't know what bad children are!  I'm a firm believer in letting kids be kids, but there is a time and place for that.  Just like you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, running around, screaming like a banshee at an event where the majority of the guests are adults is also not appropriate. There is a fine line between cute and annoying.  We as adults need to guide children into what is appropriate behavior.  They don't naturally know this.  Remember, they are kids!! 
To those parents who continue to let your children run around like wild animals at inappropriate times and places, perhaps I should lock you in a room with my dog and let her bark for 15 minutes.  Then you'll get what I'm talking about.  It's not cute, it's not amusing, it's downright annoying.  Be a parent.  And those people who smile and then turn their heads...hate to tell you, but they are just being polite.  Been there, done that.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


I'll start this out by saying that I'm not a huge fan of Walmart.  I have issues with how they treat employees as well as some of their merchandising methods.  But I live in a medium sized community with only a few shopping options, and on certain things, Walmart not only has the best price, but sometimes it's the only place I can find some of these items. 
Unfortunately, our Walmart is what they call a SuperWalmart.  Not only is the store huge, but so is the parking lot, and it can take you almost as long to get in the store from the parking lot as it does to do your shopping!  Ridiculous.  For that reason, I only go there about once a month because not only is it hard on my poor, wonky knee, but I hate wasting that much time for shopping.  Plus it is clear on the other side of town, so it can take me as long as 15 minutes to get there, depending on traffic.  I remember many years ago someone I know saying that she shopped in the grocery store that was closest to her home even though it was more expensive because "my time is worth something too."  I have to agree.
Last year we had the winter from hell.  Again, thanks to my bad knee, I worry about falling.  If I injure it any further, I'm more than likely looking at surgery, and not only do I not relish that thought, because of several factors, neither does my doctor.  So I'll do whatever it takes to keep from doing that!  I try to time my shopping around the weather forecasts at that time of year, but sometimes even that isn't always foolproof.  Enter Walmart.com
I'd ordered things online from Walmart before, but when their site first started, it wasn't a full offering of everything (or almost everything) they sold.  Now you can get just about anything they sell in the store through their website.  I decided to give it a try, making sure that I met their $50 minimum to get free shipping.  About a week later, my order arrived on my doorstep.  Talk about convenient!  I was hooked.  Now I order from them about once a month.  So far this year, I haven't set foot in their store since early January.
So, what do I order you ask?  I have a list of staple items that I regularly order.  Breakfast cereal, gluten free pasta, tissues, toiletries, you name it.  And I almost always order a large package of toilet paper because that quickly adds $13 to my cart, and let's face it, you ALWAYS need toilet paper.  It's not like it's going to go bad either.  Periodically I order something that isn't grocery either, recently I ordered a bunch of nightshirts because I needed them and the price was good.  It's not difficult to come up with $50 worth of stuff.
Just because...
Any caveats?  Yes, there are a few.  Not everything is available on their website.  I'm not sure why, but I suspect it's perhaps because some items are more difficult to ship than others.  Obviously, perishable items like milk, vegetables, meat, etc. aren't available.  They sometimes have stock issues, with items being out of stock for extended periods of time.  You also have to pay attention to make sure that the item is actually being sold by Walmart and not by another outfit because that can result in additional shipping fees.  And you also need to know what you have been paying for an item at your local stores, once in a while I'll see an item turn up on the website for way more than what it would be if I just went to the store and bought it.  Fortunately for me, most of the items I buy are fairly stable in their pricing.
The benefits:  saves a ton of time (driving to the store, wandering around to find things), saves you money because you aren't as likely to put impulse items into your cart and it's delivered to your front door! Sometimes it's interesting trying to juggle that box into the house if it is a large one, but it still beats having to push the cart to your car, loading multiple bags into your car and then having to carry them all into the house.  And the boxes--wow!  They aren't flimsy cardboard, they are super sturdy and are great boxes to reuse for storing things or shipping items that might need extra protection.  At the moment I have one sitting in my dining room that I am saving for a craft project once I get to feeling better.
Over the past few weeks, shopping online has been a godsend.  I haven't felt well enough to go much of anywhere.  It's also my husband's busiest time of year, so I hate to make him run to the store to get things when he is already kind of frazzled.  Point and click has made it possible for me to get a lot of our essentials (and a few not essentials LOL)  and not have to bother him.  He just has to pick up perishable items and the rest turns up on our doorstep. 
I have shopped online since the 1990's, but I have to say that sites like this have definitely changed the way I shop in recent years.  Statistics show that traditional brick and mortar stores are seeing a decline in business due to online shopping, and I can see why.  I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing though.  To me, online shopping can be a tremendous time saver, allowing someone to spend more time on more important things.  To those who may have problems with mobility it gives them the ability to shop without fear of injury, or better yet, avoiding the frustration.  If you have ever had to shop from a wheelchair or assisted someone with a wheelchair, you know exactly what I'm talking about!  I don't know that online shopping will ever completely replace traditional shopping in a store, but I think it will absolutely continue to change how we shop in the coming years. 
Do you shop much online?  And if you do, what do you shop for and what are some of your favorite sites?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Stay home dammit!!!

I'm still recovering from my bout with the flu, and today I am grumpy.  Very grumpy in fact.  I had a major sleepless night recently because I couldn't stop coughing.  Earlier today I got a phone call from the state health department, because I tested positive for Type A flu.  They have to collect information to report to the CDC.  So they got information from me, but what about the person who I got this from???  Not only do I feel like crap, but I'm not very happy about the monetary expense involved with this whole ordeal.  I dread getting the bills from the hospital because I swear they did every test known to man.

This brings me to a VERY sore subject.  People who are sick who choose to continue about their business, infecting the rest of us.  Before you go all "well, there are shots for some of that" on me, that isn't an option.  The majority of vaccinations are in an egg base and I am HIGHLY allergic to eggs.  We're not just talking a tummy ache or a rash here, we're talking full out, anaphylactic reaction.  So it's not possible.  As a result, I've had to get everything the hard way, including all of the childhood illnesses.  Grrr...  Let me just tell you that having chicken pox when you are 39 isn't much fun and horribly dangerous.  Thanks so much for whoever passed that one on. 

Yes, I realize that some people don't have sick time where they work, and have to go to work or fear for losing their jobs.  That is just awful and something that needs to be addressed.  But what about people who just flat out refuse to admit they are sick or that they are too "important" to their job to take the day off?  STAY HOME! 

I used to work with a woman who came to work sick every time you turned around.  Inevitably it would result in me getting it and I would miss a couple of days of work.  I wasn't sorry when she finally left.  When I had the aforementioned chicken pox, I couldn't believe the number of people who thought it was ridiculous that I didn't go out in public.  Excuse me???  As I said to several people, how would I feel if I accidentally exposed a pregnant woman who also couldn't have the vaccine to it and she ended up not only getting them from me, but ended up giving birth to a child with birth defects because of it? 

I've never forgotten an incident at one of my first jobs.  A woman who worked in the same department as I did came to work with a dreadful sore throat.  She thought it was no big deal.  Glad she did because it was a big deal, I ended up with strep throat and missed 3 days of work as a result.  Thanks a lot.  I had no sick time at this job and ended up having to borrow money from a family member so that I could pay my car payment.  The kicker of it is this woman had no financial obligations to speak of, she could have easily taken the day or two off necessary for her to recover, but instead, I ended up paying the price, both health-wise and moneywise.  It shouldn't have been that way. 

So, in short, if you are sick or starting to get sick and it's not going to break the bank, STAY HOME!  Think about others who you may be exposing to whatever germ it is you are incubating.  You don't know if they may have underlying health issues that could make what seems like no big deal to you a serious health threat.  Right about now I'd like to get my hands on the guy who was on the plane with us, hacking his head off and choke him to death.  Or send him a bill...

Monday, March 14, 2016

"Rampart...this is Squad 51..."

If you recognize the title of this post, chances are you were probably a fan of the television series "Emergency" back in the 1970's.   The series focused on the paramedics and firefighters from the fictional Squad 51 in Los Angeles, back when paramedics were a new idea.  The show was immensely popular during it's run, and recently I discovered it was being rerun on a local channel.  I was thrilled, I was a huge fan as a kid, I can remember my friends and I pretending to be Squad 51.  What I never realized is just how important this show was to how first responders were perceived and how the job evolved.
When "Emergency" premiered in the US back in 1972, there were only 12 such paramedic units in the entire country!!!  10 years later, more than half of the people in the country were within 10 minutes of a paramedic or ambulance unit.  Imagine the number of lives saved just from that improvement.  Response times under certain circumstances can be crucial and this increase improved chances considerably.
What I also found very interesting is that several of the actors who played some of the parts were firefighters in real life!  Those that weren't went through training sessions to make what they were doing on screen look accurate.  Actor Randolph Mantooth, who played Fireman/Paramedic John Gage throughout the run of the series continued speaking on behalf of various firefighting organizations and has educated/influenced many young people in pursuing careers in these fields long after the show ended.  I don't know of too many television shows that can say that they were such a positive influence in the health and well being of so many.
I recently had my own experience with first responders, and I just have to say thank you to this show for changing the face of medicine.  We came home from Mexico last week and I was sick with the flu, so sick that before it was over with, I was having major medical issues and my husband had to call for help.  There was absolutely no way he could have gotten me to an emergency room without assistance.  I was amazed at the speed in which the paramedics showed up, assessed my situation and helped me out.  It made what could have been an incredibly stressful situation much easier to deal with, and I have to thank these guys for their professionalism.  I spent 3 days in the hospital, but I can't help but wonder how much longer it might have been had it not been for the knowledge they had and their quick response. 
So, now when I watch one of my favorite old shows from my childhood, I will most definitely see it from a completely different angle.  Thank you to the creators, writers, actors and all who helped make it a success.  What a tremendous contribution this show has been to the paramedic field and the lives of those who benefitted.  I bow to you all.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Break From the Winter Weather

We had a nice little get away weekend last week, we went to Cancun, Mexico!  The company that my husband works for sponsored a contest for their sales force and that was the prize, so about 80 employees and their guests flew down last Thursday, we all came back on Sunday.  We had never been to Mexico before, it was interesting to say the least!  I didn't take a ton of photos, but here are some of the resort we stayed at, just to get you in a warm weather state of mind!
The best part is we came back to much warmer temperatures at home too, we like to think we brought the warm weather with us.  Spring is just around the corner!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Moving Right Along

Here we are, halfway through February.  I can't believe it, a month and a half of a new year already gone.  What has everyone been doing?

I for one have been trying to clean out some stuff.  I say trying because at the moment, Ebay is moving at a snails pace.  I've had a few things go, but other things that I thought would go flying out the door are still sitting in the pile in my dining room.  Ugh.  I'm hoping that it's winter doldrums and the fact that all those folks who got their credit card statements from Christmas are still recovering.  I know many years ago when I worked in retail, January and February were always slow, but once income tax season got underway, we started to see business improve.  Fingers crossed that it will work that way.  In the meantime, I'm still plugging away.

My current project is my kitchen.  Over the past few months I've been paying closer attention when I'm getting into a cupboard and drawer at what is in there that hasn't been used.  We moved just over 5 years ago and I'm looking at things from the "if it hasn't been used since we moved in, it definitely has to go!"  Anything under the 5 year mark has to be evaluated.  I've gone through 3 cupboards and 4 drawers and I already have a large box full of stuff to go to charity.  Collanders I didn't like, a set of pots that the handles get hot on (and burnt me, grrr!), a few kitchen gadgets that didn't work all that well-gone.  I'm probably close to halfway, and I know of a number of other items that will be gone when it's over with.  I think I'm going to need more boxes.

It used to be hard for me to get rid of things, I will admit it.  As I've gotten older though, I tend to look at things from a much more practical angle.  Last year a friend of mine got on a purge kick and she said something that really resonated with me.  If you haven't used it, get rid of it.  Don't keep it with the idea you might need it.  Get rid of it with the thought that if you never need it again, look at the space you gained.  Worst case scenario is that you might have to go buy another one if by chance you did need it.  Chances are you won't!

In the spirit of the title of this post, I thought I'd share a video.  Enjoy!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Turkey Dinner Redo!

I'm cooking a turkey dinner today.  No special reason.  When they had turkeys on sale around Thanksgiving, I bought a second and kept in the freezer with the idea to cook it sometime during the grey and gloomy days of winter.  Little did I know that it would be such a great idea!
Our Thanksgiving dinner went fine except for one hitch which prevented us from having our traditional dinner of left overs after the holiday.  Everything turned out great...except the gravy.

Because of my wheat allergy, I use corn starch to thicken my gravy.  I've never had an issue before with lumps, but this time it was a bit of a mess.  I put the first round of corn starch in and it didn't seem to thicken AT ALL.  So I did it again, and next thing I knew, I could see these giant lumps forming, yuck.  I got out my immersion blender and managed to "repair" the problem, but the worst was yet to come.  My husband went out to the kitchen to get seconds, and when he came back to the table he said "boy, that's some weird gravy, it has an inch of skin on it already!"  By the time we were done eating dinner, the whole pan had solidified!!!!  My nephew's comment was that I had made "Turkey Jello" for dessert. (Ewwwww)  I left it on the stove until I cleaned things up in the morning and I literally just walked over to the garbage can with the pan, turned it upside down, and solidified gravy came out.  I was not only highly ticked off, but also puzzled as to what went wrong.

After I thought about it, I remembered that the last batch of something I made with gravy in it had issues with minor lumps.  Hmmm...then I realized that when I made that batch, I had some corn starch from an old package and some from the new one I had just bought.  So I got the can out--Clabber Girl, which I had used before with no issues.  Then I noticed something on it that I hadn't seen before: "fortified with calcium".  It really made me wonder, so on my next trip out, I bought a totally different brand of corn starch and next time I made gravy, I used it instead.  No lumps! 

Anyone else ever have an issue with this???  I still have the can of Clabber Girl, I thought maybe I could use it for baking, but now I'm thinking I probably should just toss it in case it's a bigger issue than just the calcium.  Very strange.  Looking forward to my turkey dinner today though...and leftovers over the weekend!!! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Best Movie Ending...Ever

One of my all time favorite movies is "The Usual Suspects".  I was thrilled to pieces when Kevin Spacey won the best supporting actor award for it because he was fantastic in it.  The whole cast was.  And the storyline was superb.  I will warn you, if you haven't seen it, it does have some rough language and more than the periodic moment of violence.  But it isn't what I would call gratuitous, it all fits the story, and it doesn't go on and on like some movies I've seen.  But enough about that.

The ending makes what is a very good movie great.  I don't want to give too much away just in case you haven't already seen it.  But it does leave you thinking "whaaaa??????"  Every time I watch it, I totally love the ending.  And let me just say that if you haven't watched it yet, make sure you have time to watch it again because the ending leaves you feeling like you missed a lot.  It's storytelling at it's best.

This movie has been out for a while, long enough that I had originally taped it on a VHS tape!  I'd been telling a co-worker about it and how I thought she and her husband would enjoy it.  She agreed, so a few days later, I brought the tape in for them to watch.  I told her there was no hurry to get it back.

Several weeks passed.  One day while we were at work, she handed me the tape, but as she handed it to me, she told me that she had a confession to make.  There was another movie on the tape after "The Usual Suspects", and they decided to watch it too.  She told her husband to go ahead and start the tape and she would be right in.  When she walked into the room, "Wheel of Fortune" was on the TV.  She asked him what was going on.  He said he'd started the tape.  Well...he'd accidentally hit the record button, and was taping "Wheel of Fortune"...right over the end of "The Usual Suspects"! 

She was very apologetic, and I was laughing my head off.  It got even funnier after I got home and put the tape in the player.  He couldn't have timed it any better as to when he hit the record button, there is a scene where one of the characters comes to a key realization--and suddenly Pat Sajak is saying "give the wheel another spin!!!"  I started laughing again, it was without a doubt the funniest thing I'd ever seen, it put me in mind of an episode of "Seinfeld" where Elaine tapes herself dancing over the end of a movie.  Then of course, all sorts of crazy ideas started running through my head, where you could lend this copy of the movie out, with the ending totally ruined and see how confused you could make someone with it.  I still laugh hysterically when I think about it.  As the saying goes, "timing is everything!"

Anyhow, if you haven't seen it already, I highly recommend it.  But not the "Wheel of Fortune" ending version!  I did eventually throw the tape away, but every so often, I wish I'd kept it for a good laugh.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Subtle Benefit of Thrift Store Shopping

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know I love to shop at thrift stores.  The reasons are varied--finding unusual stuff, saving money, the thrill of the hunt.  But there is a benefit that isn't so obvious at the time of purchase--learning the pros and cons of a particular brand or style without the expense.
I've mentioned before that a huge benefit of thrift shopping is being able to try brands I might not otherwise try because of the price.  One example was a t-shirt that I only paid a few dollars for that was brand new, but would have been closer to $20 had I purchased it from a retail store.  It was a nice shirt, but not worth $20.  With another purchase I discovered a brand that I wasn't familiar with because it was made for a large retailer that I don't regularly shop at.  Now that I know, I seek out this brand when thrift store shopping because it not only fits me well, but holds up well too. 
Several months ago, I bought this sweater set.  It was brand new, and at full retail would have been over $100.  I paid $7.95 for both pieces.
I am really glad that I only paid $7.95 for it as opposed to the $100.  Why you ask?  Because after a couple of trips through the laundry, it is looking rather dingy.  Not what I would have expected for items that cost that much.  I have other similar items from other companies that didn't cost as much that are holding up better.  This isn't my first experience like this with this particular line either, a year or two ago (can't remember) I bought another sweater made of the same fabric (same company) at a thrift store (also brand new) and it pretty much did the same thing. 
Yes, disappointing.  But not to the point of being distressed since I don't have $100 invested in it.  At the end of the season I will donate the items to charity, there will still be plenty of wear left in them if someone else doesn't mind it.  For me it does bug me, but that's just one of my "things".  The upside is that from this set and the other item I purchased, I've learned NOT to buy them at full retail, or simply not at all.  For the 3 items I have just over $12 invested, had I purchased at full retail, it would have been close to $150.  I can deal with $12, $150-not so much!
The new year is here, I hope everyone had a great holiday season!  Our holiday was a bit messed up, just after I wrote the last post, Miss Laney got sick with some sort of intestinal bug--and then so did I!  A trip to the vet and some medication and she was fine, but it was a bit of a messed up Christmas.  Someday I'll learn not to write posts like that! LOL!  What I did learn is that recent studies are showing that Norovirus may be transmittable between dogs and humans, makes me wonder if perhaps that is what we both had.  Fortunately we are both back 100%.
Do you have anything you want to work on in the New Year?  I'm still working on getting rid of some of the excess around here.  I've come a long way since I started, but there are still things that can go, and I'm going to work on that.  My word for this year is "clean"--I think it applies to so many areas in my life, and now that we are getting things thinned out, it's time to do a floor to ceiling cleaning.  I spent some time organizing things in 2015, now it's time to finish that and fine tune it.  We are getting there.  I have to say that I definitely like this "word of the year" concept a whole lot better than resolutions. 
In the spirit of "clean", I'm going to attempt to limit myself to one thrift store outing per month.  I will go to several stores in the same day, but that's it, when the trip is over, no more till next month.  I'm also going to be far more choosy about what I buy too.  Most of what I've purchased has been useful,  but I've had a few things that I've ended up hating or getting rid of because it was a frivolous purchase.  More fine tuning I guess.  The upside is at least I didn't pay full price.  It makes it a little easier to donate those items knowing I don't have a lot invested.  I simply look at it as a monetary donation to the organization I originally purchased it from.
I hope all of you are well and I just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!  To 2016!