Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas all!

That's it really. We have a snowy day today and will just be tucked in together as a family.  My husband Gerry, my mom Barbara, my sons Kenneth and Mitch, my daughters Brenna and Emerald.  May you have peace and joy today, no matter what your religion.

I will write a better, longer post later, maybe tomorrow.  In the meantime, be good, be frugal, be green, be true.  Hugs to all of you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Winter Solstice

Still slogging through ill health to be ready for Christmas Day.  My mom is now here and the visit is going well. She washed dish after dish for me yesterday, and today she is taking me shopping.  Animals are all well and happy.  Gerry is deep in a writing project and doing his level best to care for me while being totally focused on his writing.  In fact, I changed furniture around in the living room while he was sitting there writing at his laptop and he NEVER NOTICED!  That is focus when you don't see chairs floating about the room!  We shared a good laugh over that one.

Tonight there is a lunar eclipse, AND it is the Winter Solstice!  How often does that happen?!  My daughter Emerald said that this is what gives rise to apocolypse fears, and I think she is right.  Of course, it is comforting to think that kind of thinking was only "back then" and modern people have it more together.  But is that absolutely true? It does make you wonder how many times people see things they take as a bad sign, and remember that "sign" when something bad happens, as bad things will.  Anyway, Kenneth and Emerald are planning a party tonight, a Lunar Eclipse and Winter Solstice Party. There will beverages and a fire,  but no animal sacrifices!  I do hope the weather cooperates for them, but it looks cloudy and rainy right now.

Talk to you soon.  In the meantime, be good to each other, be frugal, be green, be well, and be happy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gerry's book, and other words

Exciting times yesterday and today for Gerry.  This year he changed publishers from a small, wonderful concern who wanted out of the business to a larger firm.  The first printing, from the NEW publisher, of one of his books became available on amazon and has met with much success.  I am so proud of him I could just bust!  Being with a new publisher was exciting for him, but also a bit uncomfortable.  He has also been stretching his wings exploring new venues for his other writings, for which I am also very, very proud.  He is an excellent writer, with much to offer the world.

Very far behind on my house cleaning. I know, it is entirely my own fault that I did not start earlier. 

More of my procrastinating chickens coming home to roost.  I was planning to get a bunch done this past week, so I did not have a long maintenance period with everything having to stay ship shape for a long time while we are still living in the living room at the same time.  Then I got sick, and have stayed sick, and Gerry is STILL having to do everything.  I cook all suppers in the crockpot, I bake bread every other day, and operate the door while Gerry brings in the night's worth of firewood.  And that is about it. I can't think,

 I can't even read anymore because my eyes and head hurt so much.  The computer monitor screen is hurting me right now.  I watched a movie today that had in the credit roll at the end, "Music performed by the Prague Philharmonic"  I read it, "Music performed by the Pagan Pneumonic"!!!!  Lord knows what I thought a pneumonic was, maybe a Mnemomic?  Pneumatic?  And what was with the Pagan stuff?  Anyway, I did figure out that what I was seeing made no sense, but what an effort.

Anyway, I am going to do my best to get the guest room ready for Mom tomorrow, and if the weather improves like it is supposed to, we can go back to sleeping in the unheated bedroom while she is here, rather than the living room in front of the nice cozy fire.  Or not, we may just stay in front of the fire.  Gerry has already said he will take all the laundry in to the laundromat for me so I won't be using the hand washer for all this piled up laundry.  What did I ever do to deserve him?  Kind of bonkers about my husband at the moment, can you tell?

Come January, we are going to have a post or few about useful skills, both traditional and modern.  We believe that the only way out of the current mess is to stop depending on "Plug and Play" technology, and learn how stuff actually works.

  I am one of the worst at this, by the way.  I have always been one who wants to be able to flip on a switch and not have to know how exactly that light is suddenly there.  As we continue to take steps to go completely off the grid, I find myself embarrassingly nonplussed by my inability to understand what all those words (amps, volts Kw, KWh) actually relate to one another.  And the confusing numerals!  12V 24V 120, 220, 240,  I seriously need to actually understand this stuff.  That is not all I don't understand, it is just a really convenient example because I was wrestling with it yesterday.  Now, I am not a complete numbnuts when it comes to skills (spinning, weaving, horse training I am really decent with), but there are many, many things I need to learn about, and maybe you need to think about some also?

Have to sign off now.  You have a great night, and we'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


This country has the most confused ideas of freedom imaginable. We shriek about freedom at every turn, at every holiday, and at every political gathering. We fought a revolution for “freedom” while holding one-sixth of our population in bondage. Throughout the Antebellum period freedom was shouted from every street corner in the South: The freedom to own slaves. We Southerners still mourn the loss of our freedoms (states rights), and what freedom were we talking about.

It is no different today. the people who scream the loudest about freedom and the Constitution are the same people ready to rewrite the Constitution to remove someone else’s freedom. Look at the examples, the Second Amendment advocates that I know are the first to want to do away with the First Amendment. We want the freedom to own guns. The same people, want to outlaw same sex marriage. That is a religious issue, not a governmental issue. What happened to the First Amendment here. Or, I have read three or four op/ed pieces lately that have decried the morality of the media. I don’t want porn on my TV or computer, but I choose not to go there. That’s not the governments responsibility. It’s mine. If the government gets into it, its censorship. What just happened to freedom of speech, another First Amendment right.

Businesses want the freedom to outsource. This is really what free trade has come to mean. It throws Americans out of work. They cannot pay taxes and they go on the welfare roles. Meanwhile the business that sent the work overseas brings the product back here to sell without paying a tariff. So freedom destroys the economy and the businesses get away clean. Hey, that’s the American way, enrich the rich.

We have had a responsibility problem as long as we have been a country. We don’t think what this stuff means. We are the people making the choices. We choose who we buy from. If you don’t like GM shipping jobs overseas, don’t buy GM products. I, personally think it is criminal for CEOs to be paid 400 to 500 times the wage of a worker while at the same time sabotaging the economy. Should the government step in? I don’t know. We can make the change though. We vote, and we buy. If you don’t want the government meddling in you lives, be responsible, handle it. Freedom without responsibility is worthless.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter is here.

Been quite ill the last few days, and under the weather for several days before that. I no longer have a job to get to, so have just been trying to get lots of rest and fluid rather than taking drugs to make me feel better.  Being Sick Sucks bigtime.  I did get a small load of laundry washed, we were running out of our toilet cloth! and I did get bread baked yesterday, which was a hit.  Gerry has been doing everything else, or it isn't getting done.

Update.  The above was written 2 days ago, and I was too sick to finish it.  Yesterday, I did not write at all, barely went on the computer, to tell you the truth.  Today, I am much better, and tomorrow, I should be able to help move hay for the horses, who are going through the hay MUCH faster than the oxen are.

We have lost Jake, he had to go back home. We miss him, and hope to see him again in January when he will be taking his GED test.  We miss you, rottinkid!

We have 9 inches of snow on the ground, 8 of which fell yesterday and last night.  No birds came out to eat yesterday in that storm, and we have been entertained all day  by the flocks today.  Tomorrow, the snow is supposed to stop, but it is still falling right now.  Yin and Yang have been unwilling to be outside at all today, the babies!!!

Gerry and I talked it over, and we decided to go ahead and order Morgan Spurlock's entire 30 Days series we were liking it so much.  Some people may think that Netflix is a waste of money when we are getting out of debt.  Au Contraire!  It has saved us so much money while allowing us to continue to become educated about things that matter to us.  And I used to buy DVDs that sounded like I would like them, or Gerry would like them.  Now, we watch them and only if we REALLY want them to we go ahead and find them on Amazon.  Serious money savings,   WELL worth the $10.00/month.  So far, this is what we have found we don't want to do without because we saw them first on Netflix.

Earthlings-documentary. Seriously, you MUST see this.  It is even free on the internet.

Food, Inc.-documentary.  Seriously, you MUST see this, too.  but it is not free on the internet.

Stupidity-documentary about stupidity.

30 Days Series- television show of documentaries of people going into situations that would make them uncomfortable and learning about other people who live that way.  FANTASTIC!

Vicar of Dibley Series- English television series, stupendously funny, tears streaming down our cheeks, Gerry laughing out loud funny.

Forgiving the Franklins- Comedy with a sobering message/lesson.

We've seen gobs and gobs more that we loved on Netflix, these are just the ones we weren't content to watch and not have always.  So far.

Well, that's all for tonight.  Until we meet again, be good to yourself, be kind to your loved ones, be frugal, be green, be cruelty-free, be wise.  I'll see you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Just to catch up on a few things that I had said I would keep you posted on, and have not, and also just some randomness that makes up my days leading to the big Christmas get together here at my home.

Last night was the coldest night of the winter thus far. When it was light enough to see the thermometer, it was 10 deg Fahrenheit. We now have the electric heat tape going on the water pipes that run through the guest room from the Kitchen to the Bathroom (designed for efficiency, my house is NOT) and the heater in the bath room is on 24 hours per day.  The heater in the well house is now on 24 hours per day as well.  My Mom is coming for 1 week at Christmas time which means that the electric heater will have to be on in the guest room 24 hours per day then.  We will also be turning on a heater in an upstairs room for overflow of guests Christmas Day. My electric bill doubled the last time, it will rise again and again now until Spring.  We want very much to keep our electric bill down to $100.00 per month So I am becoming a perfect bitch about people not turning off lights, computers, etc, as I seem to be the only one paying attention to that lately.  My next plan is to get clear plastic shower curtains and hang them up on windows to cut the cold air coming off of them into the room but still allow some light into my really dark house.  I don't put plastic up for all of winter because in my part of the country, you can't count on the weather staying cold.  It could shoot up to 80 deg. Fahrenheit at any point, then I am stifling.  So this year I am trying the clear shower curtain idea because I can hang them, then take them down and store them until next year (haven't actually tried this so it is theoretical).  Truth is, this is just a badly designed house, and not a good spot to have a Christmas celebration in, simply because we tend to completely move into the living room and the kitchen, with all our projects, etc.  Then we have to move it all out again for the get-together, then we move it all back in again.  And with my procrastination problems, guess how much fun that is?

My NOW! campaign seems to be working out, but it is in its early days.  I have not given it a chance to get old yet.  Keep you posted there, too.

Gerry and I are doing VERY well in the "talk over all purchases beforehand" area.  I have slipped a couple of times, mainly because I am the one doing most of the "out and abouting", but Gerry has stuck to it like an absolute trooper.  Our budget is so grateful!  Honestly, when you are in serious financial straits, or in serious relationship straits, or in any serious straits at all, really, then an iron clad commitment to communication is the bee's knees. 

In the Losing 52 Pounds to Save Petroleum campaign, I have to report that I have actually gained 2 pounds, rather than lost 2 pounds, so I am in fact 4 pounds behind schedule.  My plan is to up the water intake, up the physical movement, lower the cheese, bread, and sweets.  Still believe I can lose it by next Thanksgiving.

Let's see, what else?  I think I may be all sundried out at the moment.  I may edit this later to reflect new reflections, but probably won't have a new post on sundries.

Have a great day, and may all your various deities bless you.  Or not.  As you would have it, let it be so.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Year Resolutioning, updated

I did it!  I found my best one word theme for 2011! So obvious, So clear and clean.

Are you hearing the drumroll?  Here it comes.....


Isn't it perfect?  Instead of holding onto my hurts from the past, I will work on letting them go and starting NOW.  Instead of dreaming about the future, which I can't count on, I will notice and apreciate my life NOW.  Instead of putting off what I need to do and so making it a much bigger, messier task,  I will do it NOW.  Instead of expecting that my husband and other loved ones know how I feel, I will tell them NOW.

NOW!  Yes, perfect!  In fact, I'm not even going to wait for New Years.  I am going to start.... NOW!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Year Resolutioning

One of my favorite bloggers has recently posted a most excellent idea for a NYR I have ever read or heard of.  I like the idea of New Years Resolutions, like many people I make them from time to time, like many people, I allow them to be swallowed up by Who Knows What.  But this is one I think I can truly get behind.  I'm gonna do it!

Now, I can hear many of you puzzling (bet you did not know that puzzling was audible, did you?)  "For Frickin' Sake, Maria!  You haven't finished making your Christmas happen yet!  (Making Christmas happen is harder when you are making everything, or at least refurbishing everything, the siren call of Wal-Mart. Sigh.)  What are you bothering about New Year's for?  And more important, Why are you bothering ME about New Years?!"

I am bothering, because I know how my mind works, I have a deep thinking well in my brain where the really good, important, vital stuff percolates and ferments and occasionally erupts all over my loving husband who didn't see it coming. (He had a very interesting homecoming from a trip and found out I had become an animal rights activist and a vegetarian!!!  Sorry, Honey.  He still married me after that, so he knew what he was getting into!)

 Anyway, although I am by no means slow-witted and have been known to snap-decision with the best of them, I really do my best work when given time to cogitate on the important stuff.  I ran across a brilliant idea, recognized how perfect that would be for me, snap-decisioned that I shall do it.  Now I am giving myself the time to ferment the perfect New Year's bon mot.

I am bothering you, because, well, your mind may work the same way, AND this is my blog.  So I can.

The main difficulty will be finding 1 concept that I feel is important, AND that I need to work on.  Don't get me wrong, There are MANY things that I should work on myself.  How do I choose just 1?  Also, like many people, I find it much easier to get fired up over things that OTHERS need to work on, than myself.  I can't make a difference coalescing for other people, now can I?

A secondary difficulty is my vocabulary.  It is large.  I am talking immense. Vast even.  The Vastness even ranges into the idea of monotony, like our frontier families encountered whilst crossing the American plains.  One of my nicknames in high school was Dictionary.  And they did not mean it kindly.  They did not know the word (or work) Thesaurus, or the jokes would have been more cutting.  Once I settle on a concept, I then have to settle on the word!

So, you see, I HAVE to give myself time for this, as there is a definite deadline approaching.  It is not like someone's birthday, where I can be late, say I'm Sorry, and be forgiven.  No!  New Year's does not care about my procrastination proclivities.  New Year's is Merciless.  If I come up with my word on January 2, it is too late!

Plus, like many people, I like the opportunity of healthy self examination.

Have a splendiferous day today!

Friday, December 3, 2010


History may not be kind to us. George Will, a columnist with the Washington Post, made the statement in a piece published on ArcaMax, November 28, 2010:

"But looking up from the weeds at the clouds, McCarthy has a dismaying desire to bring a "futurist" to speak to the Republican caucus each week. This betrays an unconservative faith in prophets -- pursuing prophecy is a recipe for forfeiting the present -- and is a depressing reminder of Speaker Newt Gingrich's swoon about Alvin Toffler's books "Future Shock" and "The Third Wave." Gingrich said of himself, oxymoronically, "I am a conservative futurist." Fascination with clairvoyants is, however, symptomatic of an unconservative hankering to surf supposed "waves" of history, and to put government in the service of, and society in harness to, Big Ideas."

This is horrendous, but it illustrates perfectly the problem with conservatism in the United States today. Maybe the whole idea that there will be a future is depressing to conservatives. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there will be a future. We, every one of us, need to be aware what the possibilities are and prepare for them. I am not talking about cataclysm; simply trends. We cannot turn the clock back, it has been tried countless times in history. It does not work. Countries can be drowned in their conservatism. They die. History shows us that growing cultures use new ideas, and generate new ideas. This does not mean there aren’t any good ideas among the conservatives. There are. But if conservatism stops us from thinking, it will kill this country.

We are a country beset with problems. If we do not look at them clearly, we have no chance of solving them. Calling attention to these problems is not a traitorous act. It is simply reality. To ignore the problems, to deny their existence, to engage in willful ignorance is traitorous.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Buy Nothing Day streak is over!

I spent a LOT of money yesterday.  I had to take our car to Bowling Green to the shop.  Jake followed in his car (to bring me home) and then, since we were off the farm, already, we went shopping.  We stopped at the feed store to get grain for the oxen and horses, then went on to the car garage, then to Hobby Lobby for art supplies for Gerry's writing/illustration needs.  Then to GFS for some bulk food purchases, and finally to Chuck's Liquor for a month's supply of libations (yes, we have to drive 2 counties away, 1 1/2 hours, to buy alcohol.  That's what we get for not understanding what a dry county is!)  And finally, HOME.

I forgot to mention that all of this was AFTER finding out that the horses had escaped from jail, tracking them and walking them home, in the rain.  All of this was in a fierce rain, did I mention that, at all?

Schoolwork and chores for Jake, Supper for me and Gerry (I made tortillas for the first time, it was a qualified success, and finally we sit down to watch the latest offering from Netflix.  Nice reward after a long, cold wet day.

This past year I have become a complete and total Documentary Junkie, and so I was delighted to find out that the disc they had sent was Disc 1 Season 1 of Morgan Spurlock's television show, 30 Days. A television show of Documentaries.  Better than chocolate, but not better than sex. The premise is that people would agree to go into unfamiliar situations, for 30 Days, in order to learn about that segment of humanity.  Really like Morgan Spurlock, he has a heart to make a difference.

We were tremendously impressed by the 3 stories on the disc.  We liked episode 1 _Living on Minimum Wage_ and episode 3, a Christian goes to live with a Muslim family, much better than episode 2, which was about anti-aging programs.  But we got a lot out of that one too, because the couple featured displayed 2 traits that we feel are running rampant in the developed world today.  He displayed an incredible ability to depend on wishes and ignore problems, and then he felt betrayed that the problems really would not be ignored out of existence.  The wife, on the other hand, displayed a disconcerting ability to rewrite history as she wanted to remember it, and was really bitchy when she was not the center of attention, thus becoming the center of attention.  All 3 episodes have sparked deep discussions amongst us, and we eagerly await Season 1, Disc 2!