My No Spend January and Some Random Things

For years, I’ve read about No Spend January.   After ending up in both November and December with less money than anticipated at the end of the month, I realized that there’s a “leak” or a “hole” in my wallet!      I decided to embark on a No Spend January.   I have an ambitious savings plan for the next 24 months as I’m going to redo my kitchen plus we have a spring vacation; a possible fall vacation; and a weekend get away with my sister planned and I don’t want to look at a bunch of $20 receipts for things that I have nothing to show for while sitting at home.    Starting off January in a positive way sets the tone for the year.  If careful, I can have those nice vacations, contribute to my ambitious savings plan, and still enjoy a lot of wonderful, enriching activities.     I want to be more purposeful in how I spend money and time.

Here’s something funny though that I should add…I was explaining all of this to Mike’s son and he said “hmm…are you and dad okay?  Do you need some money?”   I didn’t realize how I must have sounded.   I assured  him we are fine, but why not take the time to be purposeful and live well vs. just wasting money?   I choose to live well–but for less.

Here’s some things that have been so easy.

I put aside credit card purchases and pay cash (checks and cash) for everything and refrain from buying when I have a “want” vs. a “need.”    Of course, there will be times I give in to the “wants” but not in January and hopefully not as often during the remainder of the year.   While we always pay our credit cards off at the end of the month, we have not accounted for the charges as closely as we should while the month is happening.   If we did, I would not have been shocked in November and December!   By changing how we pay for our purchases, we become more mindful.    How am I doing on Day 7?  So so.  I had a little slip up last night at Target in an effort to buy and save at the same time.    More about how that came about later.

We are still doing things…although in some areas not as much.  We did go to the movies today — we go to the matinee since we’re retired and we can!  $9 for two people, and we had the entire theater to ourselves.   I could play on my phone during the previews that I don’t like as I wasn’t bothering anyone!

The first thing I did on January 1 was look at those charges on my credit card that are automatic.

  • Audible for $14.95 per month.  Do I enjoy it that much?  I do enjoy Audible, but the Washington County Public Library has audio books I can download on my smart phone for free or I can pick up a book on CD at the Mendota Branch (see below).    I currently have the Audible membership paused for 90 days. I’ll decide what to do with it later.  At this time, I think I will cancel it.   Meanwhile, I don’t need to be bored…
  • Bristol Herald Courier.   I love the newspaper, but in Mendota, we can’t get it on a timely basis.   Apparently it is hard to find a carrier out here, and if the post office is used for the paper, we get it one–or even two days–late.  At $14.95 per month with my news being old,  I discontinued it.    I have carefully considered the online version but I prefer to handle and touch the newspapers and I like to reuse them in the garden.    I may revisit the online version at some point.  Unsure.

There are still several recurring charges on my personal credit card that will remain, but they are for insurance — pet insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, AFLAC, etc.    I have them on the credit card because I earn points, and I pay them off monthly.   During a year, I receive about $250 in gift cards — I typically get Home Depot, TJMaxx,  Pottery Barn and Bed Bath & Beyond gift cards.  I love them all but I think Pottery Barn is my favorite.  Pottery Barn has the nicest, generously sized duvet covers and when they come on  sale; that is when I pull out the gift cards.   Duvet covers that are washable are very handy when you have pets.   I’ve either completely purchased or subsidized the purchase of all of my Pottery Barn bedding–and I have a lot–and all my Pottery Barn throw pillow covers.

Here’s one which is currently packed away.  It went on sale and I bought it for free with my gift card.

I wasn’t even aware of the points for a number of years, and when I discovered them, I gave everyone gift cards for Christmas.  Now, I’m greedy with them–they are real dollar stretchers.

  • Eating out.   Mike sometimes says “it’s cheaper to eat out then to cook at home.”   Actually, he’s wrong.  I will agree that it’s more fun!  It’s easier.  In our case, it  might even taste better.   However, eating out means we go to town (gas).  It means we leave a tip.    We can eat a little cheaper with fast foot such as Pals, McDonalds, etc, but the end result of that is weight gain (please pass the carbs) plus no savings in doing so.   I’m not a great cook but I am an adequate cook; and when I look at past receipts, I see that we are literally eating up our money yet spending a large amount on groceries.  Go figure.

But we do still eat out.   We like to eat at Chili’s and we are there at least once per week.   So…when Chili’s has the occasional “buy a $50 Chili’s gift card and get a $20 gift card free,”  I am in.    We ate at Chili’s last week for about $6 for both of us.  Most of that was tip as I had two $10 gift cards that were free.   All year long, they have the buy a $50 gift card and get a $10 gift card free, so we always are buying gift cards.   If we are going to eat there, we might as well take advantage of those $10 gift cards that are free.

Like with audio books, use the library.   Check out my magazines and books vs. buying them.  This book actually relates to what I’m doing right now…being less of a consumer…being more thoughtful in my purchases.  Smelling those roses.

Have you ever laid aside a couple of projects and started another one just because it got your attention?   I have.  Many times.   I call those UFOs (unfinished objects).    I’m working through UFOs.

I made my first two quilt tops in 2018 and I have a lot of small pieces left.  I cut them into 9″ squares and I’m making a scrap quilt.    River loves to move them around when I’m working.    He’s so precious.

It’ll get rid of those scraps and it will be something someone will enjoy.    It’s my “sister” quilt as I am making it for my sister, Pat.  She looks odd each time I say that because she hates being indebted (she knows she’s not but still…) and it’s not her all-time favorite quilt–she eyes the hot mess quilt but it’s a twin and she needs a queen.

Here’s the hot mess…just waiting to be bound.

In December, I did buy some fabric to accompany my scrap quilt for Pat, and it’s how I came upon the idea of giving her the quilt.  She loves to sew, and look at what the alternate squares of the quilt say…

TV..we’re watching more Amazon Prime and going to the movies less.    Living in the country, even though I try and shop local, I still use Amazon Prime a lot.   It’s a must for getting things that I can’t get locally (outside of Bristol/Kingsport/Abingdon).    Prime has lots of shows and movies we enjoy.   We just had not noticed them before except for the show Justified which we binge-watched last year.

And speaking of Amazon, there’s been a couple of time I’ve been invited to write a review for a product or service that I’ve used.     If the review was selected, I received a $20 gift card which I’ve converted to Amazon.   I thought it sounded too good to be true, but I’ve written three reviews; two of the reviews were accepted and I have $40 in my Amazon account.  Go figure.  I’ll use that free money for something that comes up as a need–or a want–in the next 6-8 weeks.  I’ve actually got my eye on something but I’m $17 short.  Maybe another review will come through!!

I’ve got a pantry to clean…projects to work on that cost nothing but need to be done.  I’ve got the inside of a hutch that needs painted.  All of those are coming up in the next few weeks.  When I get up in the morning and look around and realize that  going somewhere is not an option, I start thinking of what else can be done.  My productivity increases.

But it’s not been perfect. There is that trip to Target.   I realized that I do not have more than 6-8 rolls of paper towels in the garage this week.  No way!!    For some crazy reason, I like to have a lot of those on hand.   I’ve wondered if other people like to have toilet paper and paper towels on hand like I do.    Then..I saw where Target had the “Spend $50 on household items and get a $15 gift card” and “Spend $15 on skincare and get a $5 gift card.”    I picked out what I wanted for my $50 — paper towels, toilet paper, dish detergent and SOS pads.  I picked out what I wanted for my $15.   I went to Coupons.com and got a few coupons.  I went on my Target ap and found any Cartwheel discounts and coupons.   I used my Red Card for an additional 5%.  I also bought catfood because I needed it.   I left spending $102 with tax but I had $20 in gift cards and all stuff that I need or will need.  I could have turned around and used the gift cards then if I’d broke up the order and spent about $82, but I hold onto them.  So far, with these cards, Mike and I bought for a child at Christmas (last year),  bought several Christmas decor items after Christmas for the following year, etc.   They come in very useful, and I typically get about $200 in gift cards throughout the year–I buy all my paper towels and toilet paper for Adventure Mendota at Target so I accelerate the amount of gift cards in the summer months.    It’s really fun the day I pull them out and pay nothing for approximately  $200 in purchases.    I feel like a thief!! The important thing is that I cannot charge any purchases at Target.  I have to pay for them as the Red Card I have  is a debit card–not a credit card.

Something else…  If you have ever seen Bellasforward advertise their Hallmark stuff, they have very nice pictures and they have sales that pop up on Instagram and Facebook.   They also have free shipping if you buy XX amount.  Here’s the warning.  The quality is okay but it’s not as nice as pictured; and if they tell you 14-16 days for shipping, plan on 28-30.   It is from China and I would not order from them again.    I ordered items which should have arrived just before Christmas.  They arrived today.   Sigh.  I’ll save them for next year’s gifts.  Here’s the picture in the ad.  It looks soft and lush with a rich, deep red.  

Here’s what I got when it finally arrived.   I paid $19.99 for that blanket and thought it was a bargain as it said it was 60% off.    Not so much.   I’m a little disappointed.  The socks are cute though.  I’ll save them for next Christmas.

Spending less, eating out less, using my gift cards wisely, being creative, being resourceful…all of these will help me meet my savings goal.  However, there’s the occasional misstep.   Sometimes no matter how hard you want to think you’ve scored a good deal, it’s just not.

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Some Upsides of Retirement + That Quilt Again!!!

This fall in Mendota has been cold.  Let me digress…it did not start off cold.  It started off hot.  Then…about two weeks ago, it turned cold.   Where are those typically unseasonally warm November days in Southwest Virginia where the temperatures reach 70 degrees?  I need to wash the mildew off of our fence and house.  We do this after we experience a heavy frost which kills off the bugs, but we haven’t been able to catch a warm day.

I’m not complaining.   We are retired, and we don’t really have to go out except to walk River.   During the summer, I work hard for the 90-100 days we operate Adventure Mendota, but during the off season, it’s a different schedule.

Here’s Tuesday.   “What do you want to do today?” asks Mike.   Me, “I dunno.  Maybe go see that Queen movie (Bohemian Rhapsody). ”   We did.  It was a trip back in time.  I remember hearing Queen in my junior year in high school from Lisa Benfield’s radio in her bedroom.  WQUT!!   On Friday…”What do you want to do today?” asks Mike.   Me, “How ’bout another movie?”  And so we did. We went to see Instant Family which was also good.

It is fun to have your days planned by the marching of what you want to do vs. what you have to do.  We still have to clean house, get groceries, cook, etc. but there is now time for things that interest us vs. things that we just have to do because it’s what we do.

Quilting.   I’ve been working on my fall quilt again.  I’m envisioning it on the bed now.    Linen/burlap Euro shams, mermaid pillow shams (not actual mermaids, but long flowing ruffled linen), throw pillows, a pretty duvet and my quilt.  But it is so darn big.  Here’s where I am out of about 80 squares…I have gotten about 15 done.

Taking pictures help me keep the quilt on track.  When I see the above picture, I realize I need more blues and green and some lighter print fabrics.

So that will be my marching orders for tomorrow.   Get more fabric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Broken Dishes Fall Quilt

I was on Pinterest and I found this beautiful quilt.   The pattern is called “broken dishes” and the quilter said she made it to get rid of her stash.  She had a heck of a stash!!  Her site is called saneandcrazyblogspot.com      It’s a nice quilting site.  She’s very creative.

 I fell in love with all those fall colors, and best of all, it’s a bunch of triangles.   I can’t sew much but I can sew triangles!    I have a goal of making 10 blocks per week.   With a little luck,  I will have two quilt tops made by the end of the year!     My other one is out for quilting.  Here it is (below).  It’s actually just a bunch of triangles.

Here’s my first two blocks of this current quilt in a very bad picture (below).  They look lonely, but you have to start somewhere, right???     I’m trying to have the discipline to have a little pattern vs. just sewing a bunch of triangles in a row.    I took the bad picture with my ipad on the floor late at night.  I’m not going to sew any of these blocks together until I have all of them finished, and then I’ll arrange them for the best color grouping.   I just have 70 more of these to go.   And…even though I’ve only done two, I’ve already made a mistake.  The one on the left should not have the same fabric in all four corners.  Now…am I going to change it?  I don’t know..I’m not going to fix it until the end.  If it’s not real noticeable., I’ll leave it or maybe I’ll place it in a corner and I’ll make three others like it.   Sort of like…”oh look…she’s a genius…she planned this.”

The table looks like this.

And this….

My interest in making a quilt started in Cary, North Carolina.   The quilt shop is no longer there.  It may now be called the Cary Quilting Company, but I’m not certain if it’s the same place.  Cary has changed so much since we lived there.   At any rate, a friend and  I went twice to a quilting class.  We dropped off after flying geese.  It just wasn’t us.  They did everything by hand and we were intimidated.  These were die-hard hand quilters and we just wanted to have a quilt.    I’ve been to a lot of quilting classes since then, and I’ve never stayed for more than one or two classes.   Obviously, I have a commitment problem.   But now there is You Tube, and I can make a “layer cake” with the best of them!   It’s not really a cake.  It’s a cutting procedure.   Throwing around these quilting terms makes it all real! 

I’m blogging about this because it helps me with my commitment problem!  If I tell you I am doing it, I’m more likely to do it!! 

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Recovered Dining Room Chairs

When you are retired and have a little time or maybe a lot of time, it’s so easy just to drift.  Days can go by and nothing gets done.   I’m trying to live more purposefully — setting goals and doing them.   My goals are pretty achievable but even so, they  take effort.    One was recovering my dining room chairs.

They are finally done.   Mike actually did them but I take full credit as I pushed him along.   Those Queen Ann style chairs are not in style.  They probably won’t be again for a long time, but I don’t care.  I actually am quite fond of them!

So this is off my list.

Some good things from today:

  • Attended Washington County Chamber meeting.  Great program by Major Ashbrook and Sheriff Newman of the Washington County Sheriff’s office.
  • I am taking my quilt next Friday to turn over to the long arm quilt person, but I am currently organizing and working on my stash of fabric.   Today I cut a lot of 7 inch squares.  I’m planning on starting a small quilt throw for the bedroom in the coming weeks.  I don’t have to buy any fabric as I have so much left over from my quilt.

  • Last, I’m so thrilled I have slip covers.    The cats spewed on TWO chairs.  Instead of getting aggravated at them, I’m just thankful that I can wash these and put them right back on.  Yay!!  It’s all about the perception.    But…as I go to bed tonight, I’ve got  chairs that will need to be put back together.  Here’s how they currently look:

Yep…I’m thankful.  Maybe not overly thankful but still thankful!  

 

 

 

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MiMi

From March of 2018 until August 13, 2018, folks driving to and from Mendota saw a little dog if they came and went on Nordyke Road.  The little dog was so cute.  It was hard to imagine that it did not have a home, but it did not.  For a bit, Creed Dye fed the little dog, and I believe he called it Brownie.    Unfortunately, Creed died on June 12.  He was 96.   Creed’s neighbor Sherry Fleenor attempted to feed the little dog when she saw it.  The trouble was that it would not allow itself to be touched.  Skittish was the word I  kept hearing.      I tried repeatedly to catch it; and began, along with many others, giving it food.    If I had went to Chick-Filet for the Adventure Mendota staff, I’d be short one chicken sandwich when I arrived at base camp, as I’d leave it for the dog if I saw it along the road.

Its eyes spoke to many of us, and we all wanted to catch it and give it a better life.  I let it be known via Facebook that should anyone catch the little dog, I would take it.    Whatever anyone has heard about Mike and me, one thing that can be said is that we take good care of our animals, so I hoped they’d respond. I just knew the dog was meant for me.  As the summer progressed, the dog grew thinner.  It got ticks on it.  I gave up and started leaving Mendota from another direction just so I would not have the heartbreak of seeing the little dog.

On August 13, a neighbor named Marilyn borrowed a humane trap from Happy Tails;  and lo and behold, she caught the little dog!  She took it to Broadwater Animal Hospital for a flea treatment, de-worming and a rabies vaccine.   She learned the dog was a female.    Then..she called me.  “Are you the person who said they’d take the little dog on Nordyke?”   I replied yes!!  This little girl blew in like a hurricane on the back of Marilyn’s truck.

Here is the wonderful Marilyn who saved her.  When the little dog arrived, she ate a rotisserie chicken, a doggy ice cream and two bowls of Blue Buffalo kibbles.  She was very hungry.

We knew nothing about the little dog so we placed her in a 20 x 18 enclosure and tarped it for shade and bedded it with fresh straw.    Marilyn’s partner Jeff, with help from Mike,  cut a hole in the barn and we placed a large cage inside so that she could go into the barn during the evening or if she wanted to hide.   We ran a fan out to keep it cool and placed two chairs inside so that I could go spend time with her and attempt to bond so that we could take her to my vet and move her into the house.   I made 6-8 trips out there each day with ice water, treats, etc.

Marilyn, my sister, my niece’s daughter, Mike, Gerald and Nancy and others would slip into the enclosure and read and talk to the dog.   A special friend who had been involved in her capture named Peggy came and visited.   The little dog loved this time with all of her new friends and enjoyed the treats.   She’d climb all over Marilyn and me nibbling on chicken that we’d place on our chests, legs, stomachs, etc.

I thought of the lesson I was learning from this little dog.  I wanted her to trust me because I had such good plans for her.   Does that sound familiar?

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I started thinking of her as my Jeremiah dog.   How could I expect her to trust me if I did not thoroughly  trust in God myself.    I was certain she and I would be learning trust together.

I thought she’d run away. She never attempted.   I started to call her Miss Minnie,  a shortened version of Miss Mendota, but her name became MiMi and it stuck.

MiMi was about four years old.  Her teeth were worn down from chewing on something.  We surmised she may have been tied up at one time.   I hope not.    She weighed about 35 pounds.

Marilyn and I fell completely in love with MiMi.   Mike was reserved until he could have a better understanding of how she and River would do.   Mike brought River out to the enclosure to test the waters. They were fine!     Mimi was scheduled for her surgery just over three weeks from the day that we got her.   We had wanted to see if we could leash her; then my vet was on vacation, etc.   During all of this time, she never allowed me to pet her unless I cornered her although she did show affection in allowing us to touch her nose, wagging her tail when she saw us, etc.

We could not leash her but we could not wait for that to happen to get her to the vet.   I wanted her out of that enclosure and into the house.   I bought a crate at Pet Smart and started putting bits of chicken in it to lure her in.   We did this for a few days and then, on surgery day, Marilyn popped her bottom in the crate as she went in for the chicken.   She went for her spay surgery and to possibly address her teats which hung down like pears.  The surgery was difficult.  Mimi had tumors in/surrounding her little breasts and infection surrounding the tumors.    We determined not to send the tumors off for a biopsy as, with her mental state of not allowing us to touch or leash her–how would I transport her back and forth for chemo if it were cancer?     Dr. Dotson suggested waiting, and if it was cancer, it would return and by that time, we’d probably have MiMi tamed enough to be much easier to transport.  So..that was our game plan.   She came home.  Our first night we slept in the garage; however, by the second night, MiMi did not want to sleep in the garage.  I believe she was claustrophobic.   Fortunately, the next morning, she walked into the house. She was feeling much better and she liked the house.   She moved in with complete assurance.   She slept near River and stayed near him.  Here they are beside my bed.

She started behaving more like a pet than the “little Nordyke dog” that had ran the road for six months.   We caught her surfing the counter.  We didn’t correct her.  We wanted no set backs on her rising self confidence.   In fact, we thought it was  hilarious.

Marilyn used the name “velcro dog” to describe the relationship MiMi and I were developing as she stayed right with me.   I was so pleased.  Because so many people had seen  MiMi on Nordyke, I kept everyone updated on her progress on Facebook.   It was turning out to be a “feel good” story, and we were all enjoying it.

However, two weeks after the surgery, she asked to go outside and she hid;  Mike went to check on her and found blood seeping from one of her teats.  It was a Wednesday.  I texted Dr. Dotson immediately and he told me to bring her in.    He performed surgery the next morning.  Following her surgery, which was comprised of a complete mastectomy and areas which had mastitis/continued infection, he was cautiously optimistic–only because she had survived the surgery.  However, when I asked when she’d be coming home, he said it would not be until after the weekend.  I was crestfallen.   I stayed by the phone and texted back and forth with worried him to death him all weekend.  There was a neighborhood barbecue at my friend’s house.   I did not want to go while MiMi was in danger.   I was restless all weekend waiting.

I went to see her. In typical MiMi fashion she did not want to be touched and she ignored me.   She was mad at me.  I made this little update for everyone.   At the time, I thought my little one would be coming home and this was just part of her recovery.

On Monday, I spoke with Dr. Dotson and we talked about Thursday as a potential “go home” day.  He had been concerned on Saturday because she wasn’t eating, and then she seemed to get her appetite back.    We were both excited.   She had had a bowel movement and she was sitting on the chair in Dr. Dotson’s office.   Progress!  We thought MiMi would definitely be coming home soon!

However,  Tuesday, things didn’t go well.  She quit eating.   He took some blood and sent it off to determine what was amiss.  He did x-rays.  His hope was it was the medication which seemed possible.

On Wednesday I visited and I asked Marilyn to come as well.  MiMi did not look well.  She allowed me to pet her.    Her ears were so soft.  I snuggled and kissed her.  She allowed it.   This was not her normal nature.

The next morning, Dr. Dotson called early.  MiMi had died during the night.   He asked to do an autopsy and I agreed; however, when he got the bloodwork, he discovered what had occurred — acute rental failure.  Her kidneys shut down.  He was distraught.  I was heartbroken.  He had kept her in his office the entire time she had been there, and he told me how he had become attached to her as she walked about his office and sniffed of him.

I have had several dogs that I’ve loved completely.   They’ve been nothing but joy for me. They lived to be 14, 15 and 16.  They lived such good lives.   When they passed, I grieved, but nothing like the feeling of loss I had for MiMi.   They lived so well, yet she didn’t have a chance.    I had so wanted to give MiMi this kind of life — one of no worries, of boundless love, lots of food, etc.   I wanted to gain her trust and love.   It was not meant to be.

I had MiMi cremated, and yesterday I brought her remains home.    I wanted her to live in the house with me and she will until such time that Mike or I go, whomever goes first.  She will be buried with one of us.

I am so grateful for the friends that reached out to me following MiMi’s death.   A few sent flowers and this meant so much.   Their kind words underscored MiMi’s importance in my life.   It underscored that she was more than “just that Nordyke dog.”   She was valuable.  She was precious.  She had purpose.

MiMi. Loved and cherished by me and so many others during the time she was with us.   August 13, 2018 – October 4, 2018.

And finally…

 

 

 

 

 

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What Is Up With Joanne’s Shipping?

I am recovering the dining room chairs.  I had planned to paint the dining room.  It’s currently terra cotta and I was thinking vanilla cream.  Then…that seemed like too much work.  I’ve also read that terra cotta is coming back!!   However, it still needs some attention.   Mike and  had recovered the chairs with whatever we had on hand last year.  It was yucky.   I wasn’t blogging then so I don’t have any pictures.  Basically it was a crawly yellow fabric that kept stretching after we put it on the chairs.

When Joanne’s Fabric opened in Kingsport I saw this fabric and really liked it.

 

I like all those colors!  Cheerful!  I covered four of the chairs.  I started to paint the chairs as well, but again, I am too lazy.

 

It brought some life back into that old chair, didn’t it?

Here’s the thing…to keep from being all matchy matchy, I decided to cover two of the chairs in a complementary fabric.    I only needed one yard, and I ordered it online as it is not in the store.   Just one yard, mind you, and it came in a box this size.  Sorry for the blurry picture.

 

Why did it take a box that big to send one small yard of fabric, that folded up, looks like this?  It’s irksome because when I am redoing things in my house vs. buying new, I feel as if I’m doing the right thing — I’m not being such a consumer; I’m being thoughtful about how I can reuse things; and I’m not sending things that are perfectly useful to a landfill.

 

It is no stinking wonder we have so much garbage!   That would have fit into an envelope and it could have been left in my mailbox instead of out in the rain.

Just weird.  I do like my fabric though!

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Are You One Of Those People?

Are you a someone who stops and moves box turtles across the road or are you a person who aims your wheel at them for the crunch like Pat Conroy’s Great Santini did?  If you are the first, you are my friend.  If you are the other, well…shame on you!

This summer, a group of Virginia Naturalists kayaked at Adventure Mendota.  Katie Cordle put the group together.  We were busy when they left so I did not know that someone left with them.  It was a wounded turtle.   The turtle had a “place”…an infection.. near its ear and it was severely dehydrated.  They found it on our property.   Box turtles may live longer than humans. An adult male with the date 1874 carved on it was found in Rockingham County in August 1985 (Daily News Record, Harrisonburg), indicating an age of >111 years.    They have some predators but their primary danger is humans — automobiles on the roads.  Without Katie’s intervention, this turtle would most likely have died.

About a month after the kayak trip,  Katie called and told me about the turtle.   She had sought help from someone who knew exactly how to treat the turtle, and now it was healthy and ready to return to the wild.   She wanted to return it near where she got it.  She brought it out and held it carefully.

She pointed out the “E” on its shell.

I love the tender-hearted Katie who has an affection for turtles (and all living creatures).    She was careful where she wanted to return it.  She sought a shady place where the grass might still be a little damp so that it could hydrate.

And she did just that.

So the next time you see a box turtle in the road, please try and not crunch it.  If you can, stop and move it.  Keep it in the same direction it was headed if at all possible.

You’ll be doing a friend a favor.

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Jambusters

Over a year ago PBS had a Sunday night series called Home Fires.   It was part of the BBC Masterpiece series.    The show was cut short and not renewed (that was irksome) so I started looking for the book that it was based on.    It is called “Jambusters” by Julie Summers.    At first I was disappointed as it is not a story at all but a historical narrative of the work of the Women’s Institute (WI) in the era of World War II.

Originally I’d got the book from the public library; but I did not read it thoroughly, so I bought it on Audible.   As I said, first I was terribly disappointed but at a low point when I had nothing to listen to or to read, I started listening to Jambusters.

It went from very dry to being very interesting and the lives these women led and the responsibilities they were given by the government during WWII is nothing short of a miracle.     They gathered around the cause coming together across party and social lines.

As Julie Summers writes ” They ran canteens for troops, baked pies for farm workers, and collected hundreds of tons of rosehips and herbs for the pharmaceutical industry. By their joint effort, members contributed millions of knitted garments to keep troops and refugees in Europe warm. They made 12,000,000 lbs (5,445,000 kilograms) of jam and preserves, helped to set up over 1000 pig clubs and made more than 2000 fur-lined garments for Russia. And in amongst all this major activity they sang, put on plays and organised parties to entertain their villages and keep their spirits up. The Second World War was the WI’s finest hour.”

Can you imagine?    And they continued after WWII…how about the featured act in this WI event?

This is a book you can leave and return to from time to time.     It’s on my phone so I Bluetooth it to the car’s audio and listen to it when I’m driving.   In our nation today, we are so divided.  While I would never wish a war to bind us together to support a cause, but it would be nice if there was a reason that we could all work together for the good of something.   These women are a shining example.  Heck…I want to join the WI.

The Women’s Institute still has a presence and is still advocating for women.

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The Quilt Top

My sweet little rescue dog died last night.  She captivated everyone, and now she is gone.  I can’t even think about this so I am trying to stay busy.

I put the border on my quilt top and it is ready to go.   I talked about the quilt last week here.   The colors are so pretty and I love the designs on the fabrics .    All of the fabric came from fat quarters — most purchased at the Virginia Highlands Quilt Shop.  Kim, the owner, is wonderful.  In the picture below, there are lots of flowers, but I also see some red shoes, lemon slices and sheet music.   There’s also a cat sleeping by the quilt.

Let’s see what is on this side of the quilt top…the bright blue has beach flip flops, there are orange cats, and there is some Alice in Wonderland fabric.

Here’s another…lots of flowers, some cursive writing, more flip flops…this time on white…and peppermint candy.

And finally…there’s that sheet music again, some gold and black butterflies and lots of flowers.  Everything is bound by by the back and white border.  I believe that the fabric did not repeat more than once.   That was my goal.  Some fabric did not repeat at all.

I’ve pressed the quilt and folded it along with the backing (paw prints) and the black and white stripe which will bind the quilt.  It is ready to go to the quilter.  This will be machined quilted by a long-arm quilter.

This was on my list of something I wanted to do.   I’ve checked it off.  It will be January/February 2019 when I get the completed quilt back.

I will put this in the RiverCliff Cottage AirB&B.   It will be durable and I think guests might enjoy looking at the different fabrics.  I hope so anyway.

I’ve been looking at blogs that are for retirees.  Most are centered on the finances of retiring.  So few are centered on the living of being retired.  As I am retired, I want to be productive and I want to see the results of my efforts.  This quilt is a good example of something I did not have the time for when I was working.   Now, I do.  And I’ll have a pretty quilt!!

 

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Molly and My Slipcovers

I’m having a bad night. I suspect I’m about to lose a dog that I’ve learned to love in a short time. We’ll know more tomorrow. Ugh. I’m trying not to think about it.

I used to be a cat person. I had one cat I dearly loved. Her name was Molly. She lived to be 21. She had an interesting life in that I found her on the farm that Saturn Corporation purchased. I lived in Franklin, Tennessee, and the farm was in Spring Hill, Tennessee. It was truly another life ago. Molly was one of the Haynes Haven farm cats, and when General Motors bought the property, we had to find homes for the cats and kittens. Molly had kittens and she was in pretty bad shape. Members of the UAW helped with the kittens, and eventually Molly did not have mama responsibilities and I took her. I learned shortly thereafter she was diabetic. Molly was an insulin dependent cat for all of her 21 years. Yes, she lived to be 21. In fact, she lived longer than Saturn Corporation survived. Pretty amazing. She looked just like Chrissy. I knew her so well, I could look at her and determine if her blood sugar level was in trouble.

Molly also went in for a flea bath one day to Cary Veterinary Hospital in Cary, North Carolina, when we lived there. Somehow, there was a mistake made and they attempted to spay her only to learn she was already spayed. I have never been so angry. I actually yelled at the vet. If you know me, I’m pretty laid back so you can only imagine how angry I was. Someone had harmed my pet.

Another time, still in Cary, North Carolina, Molly and I were headed to the vet and a car pulled out and hit us. The man was very nice, but again, I was scared for my cat, and I was not as nice. It turned out he was the CEO of Burroughs-Welcome which later became Glaxo Welcome and now Glaxo Smithkline. He normally had a driver but he was driving himself on this day. I told him he should have stuck with NOT driving.

And yet another time, we moved and she was let out by Mike’s son and was missing for 13 days. I found her under a vacant house. Two friends, Herbie and Patricia Quick, and I got her. I took my shirt off and walked home in a sports bra carrying Molly wrapped up in my shirt. She lived and thrived.

Molly lived in Franklin, Tennessee; Cary, North Carolina; Leesburg, Virginia; Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Acton, Massachusetts, and Boca Raton, Florida. She rode in her cat carrier in the front seat, and when I pulled up at Wendy’s for her grilled chicken, she would stick her paw out the cage anticipating the chicken as soon as I placed the order. She knew! Finally she lived in Virginia where she is now buried in our back yard.

Obviously, this cat was a survivor with many lives.

If you have cats, you undoubtedly have gotten up in the middle of the night and stepped in cat puke. This happened to me last week. I woke up when I heard the cat–Chrissy– throwing up. I got up to clean it up…stepped in it, said a bad word that rhymes with smit,  cleaned it up and went back to sleep. The next morning, I saw that she’d thrown up on the chair as well as the floor. She’d thrown up on my WHITE slipcovered chair.   Yikes.

Here’s one shot of the damage. It smelled like fish. She managed to get it on the ottoman cover, the chair cushion cover and the chair cover. Very thorough but she could not help it.

I got slipcovers so that I could wash them if this type of thing happened, but I always wondered “would they really wash up well?” It was time to test them.

I took the slipcovers to the laundry mat, and I put the $5 in coins in, turned the machine on hot with a Tide Pod, and I crossed my fingers. When I brought them home, I hung them across the clothes line. I could not tell top from bottom. BUT, this story ends well. They cat puke and fish smell were gone.  I wrestled those slipcovers on and I’m happy with the result!

I’ve got that chair dressed up for fall. The living room is so pretty this time of year.

At any rate, yes, slipcovers (at least slipcovers that are well made…thank you Danette Mayfield) do wash well. I did use a steamer on them to help relax wrinkles, but it was not difficult, and as you can see by the picture, a few wrinkles do not bother me.   Cat puke bothers me. Wrinkles do not.

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