Friday, July 31, 2009


We just spent two days at a conference at the beach. Whee! I love the beach and took sunrise walks on the edge of the water both days. We had a wonderful balcony overlooking the beach and I sat out there in the afternoons and into the night. It was wonderful--especially since they fed us and kept us entertained much of the time. Our cost was minimal considering the wonderful time that we had--a great way to have a mini-vacation!

The only problem was that the hotel wireless system was down most of the time I was there so my clunky old computer did not work at all. Their business office had two computers and only one worked and did not get the Internet except on a sporadic basis. I have decided that I really need to buy a new laptop that is portable (that is, weighs less than the 20 pounds mine seems to weigh when carrying it through the airport!) and is capable of picking up wireless signals in areas where the hotel is not cooperating. It was comical to see many businessmen at the hotel sitting out in the grass with their computers turned on, or in the lobby or front sidewalk of the hotel in the heat, trying to pick up signals. Of course, my battery does not hold a charge anymore so I would need a LONG orange cord to go outside with my computer to see if I could pick up a signal.

Being a frugal person, I have been considering my purchase of a new laptop for quite some time. I only plan to use it when I travel, so I want it to be truly portable, but adequate for acquiring e-mail and adding to my blog while I am gone from home. I would also like to look at pictures I have taken while traveling. Any suggestions would be mighty welcome!

Pictures will come later--I promise!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I read an article recently that said the average American family throws out 14% of the food they buy because of spoilage. That statistic reflects quite a waste of the money we spend in the grocery store! The following are a few hints that may help you extend the life of the food that you have picked from your garden or purchased at the store:

1) I read that apples give off a gas that speeds ripening so I don’t store them in my fruit bowl or in the refrigerator with other fruits and vegetables.

2) I keep tomatoes in a bowl on the counter because cold temperatures can actually damage them and they really do taste better than they used to when I kept them in the refrigerator.

3) I put meat in a plastic freezer bag with the air squeezed out to protect it from freezer burn because packaging from the grocery store is not strong enough to protect the meat.

4) I store flour, cornmeal, rice and other grains in the freezer where they will be safe from bugs that can contaminate them. I learned that after a couple of episodes of weevils in everything in my pantry.

5) We recently started chilling our bananas to keep them from ripening too fast. My husband sets one or two out each day to eat and the rest stay nice and firm in the refrigerator.

6) Fortunately, my husband does not mind leftovers, so I try to serve the leftovers within at least a couple of days.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I was reading my daughter-in-law, Kara's blog this a.m. and thought about how important fitness is in our family. My husband and I attempt to keep our bodies in shape to accommodate the aging process. We both exercise five mornings a week. He goes at 5:30 when the gym opens and I get up at that time, but spend some time journaling and eating a bit of breakfast. I go in at 6:30 and work out for an hour. On Wednesdays we go to a yoga class that is designed more for seniors and has restorative elements to it with lots of stretching that is so important as we age.
We believe that by exercising and staying in shape we are able to do many of the things we enjoy, like hiking in New Mexico with friends. The picture below shows my husband and me on a slope we climbed to see a petroglyph. I was using some REI walking sticks that our friends loaned me. They really helped on steep slopes and gave my arms and shoulders a great workout!

We also try to eat appropriately, avoiding fatty foods, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables--especially now that it is summer and so much is available locally. Yum! We also eat very little in the way of sweets, although I find it very hard to resist anything chocolate. I have limited myself to 3 chocolate chips each evening as a reward if I have been good!

Despite all my efforts I gained 10 pounds this past year. The 10 pound point on the scale is my benchmark to return to Weight Watchers. About 15 years ago I had gained 10 pounds that I could not lose, decided to try Weight Watchers and it worked wonderfully well! I find that when I write down what I eat, I realize how much "unconscious eating" I do. It is so easy to be talking on the phone and stop by the pantry and grab a handful of nuts or some chocolate chips (my downfall!!). When I have to write things down, it is a different story! I resist the urge to "graze" in the kitchen because I don't want to have to write it down and subtract those points from my daily allowance. It is a subtle psychology that really works for me! Sometimes I can do it without going to the Weight Watchers meetings, but this year nothing seemed to be working for me, so I returned to meetings. They also give marvelous strategies for keeping the weight off. I was about ready for some new strategies anyway because nothing seemed to work for me.

And so, congratulations to #2 Son, "WB" on staying healthy (we didn't name him that! See Kara's blog to find out how he got that nickname) ! We are trying to follow your example--or is it the other way around??

Friday, July 17, 2009


This week I have been working at saving electricity. I have heard tales about how the cost of electricity is about to go up, plus we are using plenty of electricity with our a/c going much more this summer than in the past. That has spurred me to think of ways to save electricity. Plus, the newspaper says that the last thirty days were the hottest ever recorded since records have been kept around here.

We keep all lights off unless we just have to have them on--this also eliminates another heat source in the house. In the evening we often go outside to water by hand and work in the yard (what's left of it!), so we turn all lights off. When we come in we only turn on lights in the rooms we are using. As I mentioned several weeks ago, I hang my clothes outside to dry (faster than my dryer in 105 degree temperature!). I wash dishes by hand unless we have company, I have unplugged all unnecessary appliances around the house, and I have turned the a/c thermostat up a couple of degrees.

Hopefully our electricity bill will reflect my more frugal habits and help balance the a/c usage. We are praying for a few cooler days and some blessed rain!!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Thanks to Joe, our Ranger guide in Chaco Canyon, I have a new profile picture. He suggested that I might need a picture that was a bit more casual, so he took this one of me on a windswept knoll out in the middle of nowhere. Another friend said it looked like "gone with the wind." I was glad that I had not started out the day with a specific hairdo because the wind out there was really wonderful! It reminded me of my growing-up days in the Texas Panhandle where the wind rarely stops blowing. I LOVED it!
I also think my picture was taken without any makeup. That morning we had climbed up a 300 foot cliff and I had "sweated off" all of the makeup I started the morning with.
When we reached the top of the cliff, the view was glorious! Thank you, Joe!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I have two groups of photographs that I need to put somewhere so that friends can look at them. One group of photographs is from our trip to Chaco Canyon and another group is from a party that we attended as a farewell to good friends and I want to share them with other party-goers.

I went to Flickr and looked at their website and then I went to Snapfish and looked at what they had to offer. Both seem similar but different. Today my nephew was here and I mentioned it to him and he suggested another online company--I have already forgotten the name (overload, maybe??).
Photo by Jerry
Choices, choices. Do any of you have suggestions for downloading photographs to sites where family and friends can view them?? I think I am about ready to tackle another new technological task--gulp! :)

Friday, July 10, 2009


Traveling frugally. We went on a wonderful trip that did not cost us too much money except for transportation because we stayed with and were fed by great friends and relatives both in Chaco Canyon and in and near Albuquerque. I am enjoying the pool with my brother:
Below we were touring a ruin in Chaco Canyon with our host, Joe, who treated us to some exceptional experiences and wonderful food!
Waving good-bye to our friends near Albuquerque after a wonderful visit and a sample of her gourmet cooking:
We went to very few stores where we could buy things on this trip. I did buy a tote bag in the Chaco Canyon book store, plus one book. I also bought a couple of cute handmade gifts in the Cuba, NM Visitor's Center while we were there--helping out the local economy. We also ate at El Bruno's on the recommendation of our friend, Joe--Yum!

Actually, the things I bought in Cuba were nice to put up for Christmas giving but also as ideas for making gifts for Christmas. The first item was a beautiful recipe book made "scrapbook style" with local recipes inserted in the pages.
The second was a cute Indian girl angel Christmas ornament made from a dried yucca blossom pod. Hope Kara and my granddaughters can find some of the dried yucca pods and save them for me. When I come up there I will bring supplies and we can make some of these for Christmas ornaments!

All in all we had a wonderful trip and came home with lovely pictures and, best of all, lasting memories!

Monday, July 6, 2009


One of my blogging friends, Terri Tiffany, asks three questions on her blog today, which is her third anniversary of blogging. Congratulations, Terri! Her blog is designed to help writers and has lots of suggestions, encouragement and discussions concerning writing and getting published.
I had to stop and think how long I had been blogging and finally realized that I have been doing this for almost a year and a half. Although I am involved in memoir writing, my blog has not been specifically designed to help writers. On my blog I tend to write about the things that are important to me and that I want to share with family and friends. I love the new dimension that blogging has brought into my life with the ability to share pictures, stories, and advice with those who read my blog! I also love the new friends across the country that I have "met" through blogging. My newest "blogging acquaintance" (also named Pat) has just about succeeded in nudging me back into the quilting I have neglected for several years.

Here are a couple of Terri's questions that I will pose to you:
1. How long have you been blogging?
2. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I left out the following question that Terri poses because my blogging is not specifically about writing. (3. How do you give back to other writers on your blog?)

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I continue to enjoy oil painting. This coming week I will begin a new series of landscape painting lessons. The instructor's literature says that she promises to teach me how to really paint an oak tree. That should be fun since the picture I chose to paint is a desert scene from our trip to New Mexico. Anyway I am looking forward to learning a new technique in the way of oil painting.
In the past few months I have been working on my first portrait which still needs a few finishing touches. I am not ready to photograph it yet, but I did finish my water lily. See the picture below.
I also finished a picture of the misty Oregon coast which makes me cool just to look at it.

And today I added a few finishing touches to a still life of some pots that my brother has in his kitchen. See the picture below.

Recently I have been working on a desert cactus that I saw blooming in New Mexico. I guess that is appropriate since we are hot and dry as a desert here now. The temperature was 105 today and temperatures have broken a record every day of July--so far. The weatherman promised it might be cooler tomorrow--only 96! I can only hope!

Friday, July 3, 2009


My sweet husband took me out for lunch today for my birthday and we each ordered an appetizer. He got crab cakes and I got Ahi Tuna. Both came with salad and were ample for a meal. We tend to eat lighter at lunchtime anyway, so it was very satisfying, not to mention the fact that both were delicious!

Recently I have found that appetizers are quite filling and are much less expensive than entrees, so I often order the appetizer for my meal with, perhaps, a small dinner salad. This works especially well when we go to an expensive restaurant. After the meal I don't leave the restaurant feeling stuffed either.

Perhaps you might want to share some Frugal Hints for eating out.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


The peaches are in the stores now and they are beautiful and taste delicious! I bought some this afternoon and could hardly wait to get home and taste them. I might even want to paint them they are so beautiful!

Coincidentally my daughter-in-law, Kara, published a delicious-sounding recipe for peach cobbler on her blog today. In addition, she is giving away a copy of Jan Karon's Hardcover Mitford Cookbook where she found the recipe. You can go on over to and enter your name for her excellent give-away this week.