Saturday, November 29, 2008

money ... and breaking its horrible hold

I think my camera may have finally seen its last days. I'll buy a new one when my loan check comes (yes, it's STILL not here) ... well, not a new one per se, but from ebay or ubid no doubt. I want a Canon Powershot. I really like those.

so ... money's been on my mind a lot lately, especially now that it's christmas season which i always initially get angry at because i feel like it throws a wrench into a fairly steady responsible way of managing what little money i tend to make. and i hate that it feels that way, for many reasons including that i know deep in my soul this is NOT what christmas is about. so ... this year i've tweaked it a bit, and it's amazing how brainwashed we are into consumerism because even though i've made a no-gifts-for-friends rule i still find myself wanting, wanting to buy them beautiful, fair-trade, local gifts, or making them something handmade (which also costs money, especially at the LYS or craft store!) and angry that i just can't because i must keep this promise. it's ridiculous how just the notion of not buying makes us (i'm assuming some of you also have dealt with this frustration as you shift gears into a new paradigm of living) MAD. because we just *have* to to feel better/like we're doing the right thing, don'tcha know? GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. sorry. it's just so hard to shift. i'm doing it, but it's not without its teeth-grinding feeling.

with all that said, i have done some christmas shopping for family despite an ongoing battle with my bank, which i don't want to get into here. generally, i have focused now and in the past on practical, beautiful gifts the person will really go far with. this time, i spent $100 in the local fair trade shop and that made me feel absolutely wonderful. i found a gift for almost everybody in there. i am also handmaking three scarves for cousins this year. my goal is to use up whatever holiday paper i have lurking in my spare closet and get creative with whatever i need new (the scarves, for example, will be folded neatly in some spare tissue or wrapped with maybe some vintage paper or something else pretty close to hand, and placed into a wicker basket from some second hand or other shop, tied with a pretty ribbon around the handle, and paired with a bar of locally-made soap enclosed in a tiny flour-sack type bag made by fair trade artisans).

back to the money thing ...

i have a good plan, coming up, when both loan installments arrive (one now, one in january). i'm excited about it. but i still don't like the undeniably giddy feeling i get about still having "lots of money left over once the consumer debt's all paid" (some of which i've struggled with/been hampered by/angry about for years). I HATE THAT IT MAKES ME HAPPY TO THINK I HAVE ALL THIS MONEY TO SPEND, YAY, YIPPEE, EVEN THOUGH IT NEEDS TO BE PAID BACK and i know i won't spend it frivolously. still, that GD temptation is there!! i hate it!! do you all feel this way, at times, when money is sometimes presented to you?

here are some of my goals/plans:

pay off ALL consumer debt and bills i haven't been able to fully pay in months, like utility, car insurance, and cell phone (i'm also getting a new cell phone plan so my monthly bill will be $40 instead of $75). that's all about $5,000.

THEN, with the leftover money which will only be about $2000, I will keep that in checking to get me through being home for the holidays and taking mini-trips and backing up my next few monthly paychecks (though without the consumer debt and horrible cell phone bill i'll have about $700 left each month from my paycheck rather than the usual $200-300).

When my second loan installment refund comes (probably about $8000), I'll invest some of it in a high interest money market checking account so I can use to interest i gain toward a down payment on a house (and maybe some of the loan money, though the majority of it I get in 2010 and 2011 i will just return, i'm hoping to God).

I will also begin saving at least $100/month and putting it into a CD for a down payment on a house. I want to put 10 PERCENT down on a house, i'm assuming by the time I'm ready to buy a $100,000 house will be what I can reasonably afford, and I think that's about what starter homes here in KY go for, if not less (assuming i'm still here when i'm ready to buy). the reason for such a high payment is both due to the fact that my credit is not golden (though will at least be on the low end of GOOD at that point), and also because i think it will make monthly mortgage payments easier. it also makes me look good in lenders' eyes.

When next school year rolls around, I will try to contribute $100/month toward my retirement account. The first year, I gave $30; this year, I give $50. When I work my first year as head teacher, I want $200/month at least to go toward a house down payment. More hoping .... er ... $400. i'm serious about buying a house, as you can see!

I'm also going to start selling candles through a home party business, with all profit going toward my $10,000 house down payment goal.

The other thing I worry about saving for is a wedding, though every day I think of drastic and creative ways to not go into debt for a one-day ceremony. This is not a huge priority for me right now, especially as I'm not even in a relationship, but it is a reasonable thing still to expect and at least be thinking about. Some of my ideas to save include asking a friend with large rural yard to lend his property for a ceremony and reception ... having friends make centerpieces from a small stipend to a craft store ... asking fiance for conflict-free or estate diamond in a vintage setting .... making my own wedding dress. ... having all the food be vegetarian (which of course jives with my personal goals anyway, but it's also a lot cheaper) ... etc. etc.

hopefully you've made it through this far ... my goal was not only to show you my loose plans, but to maybe inspire you to something similar regarding finances in your own life. i didn't discuss those nagging temptations to be loose with such large amounts of money outside of these noble, practical goals ... for those don't really have practical solutions other than training the brain to think in a whole new paradigm. it's one of the hardest things i've ever done. my aspirations are in the right place, but the temptations to SPENDspendSPEND are ridiculous and often overwhelming. i'd take some advice on how to handle them here ... and don't say knit, cause i do that to calm myself already. i've also been trying to funnel some of that itch to consume and spend with getting more civic-minded and trying to find a good outlet for my passions (such as nutrition education/the beyond organic movement).

to lighten things up a bit, i have taken a fun memo from The Frugal Trenches. I'm sure she won't mind me filling it out.

happy weekend, everyone, and thanks for still reading despite my lack of coherent sentences and cache of cute digital pictures.

love and peace,


A is for Aprons - ideally, yes. i'd love to make my own when i learn how to use the sewing machine i'm getting soon from a friend. The more cooking and baking I do, the more i realize why they're necessary! I like the idea of sewing a towel onto the apron, too. so it's just there whenever you need to wipe off.

B is for Baking - lately, rhonda jean's cranberry walnut scones. they are just absolutely fabulous!

C is for Clothesline - no, unfortunately it's not that kind of apartment. i should get a drying rack, though. sheer laziness. i make up for dryer usage by only doing laundry once a month or so. yes, i own tons of underwear!

D is for Donuts -ever make your own? - no

E is for Every Day - one homemaking task you do every day.

sweep. i HATE walking through crumbs and cat litter on the kitchen floor.

F is for Freezer - do you have a separate deep freeze?

-- no but i sooooooooooo wish i did!

G is for Garbage Disposal Unit - do you have one?
No, wish i did. my apartment is too small to keep compost. or maybe that's just me in denial. yeah, that's probably it. now that i think of it, don't those use electricity? forget it ... i don't want one.

H is for Handbook - what’s your favourite homemaking resource?
all the simple life blogs i link to.

I is for Ironing - love or hate it?
Hate is not a strong enough word ... but maybe someday i'll come around to it. i just don't see the need to have ironed things ... however this is because i use a high heat dryer at the laundromat. this may change with my own home and line-dried clothes, of course! let's hope!

J is for Junk Drawer - yes/no? If yes, where is it?

yes, it's in a dresser in my bedroom closet. i hate it... but i just really think it's one of those things that's hard to live without, despite all the decluttering one can do.

K is for Kitchen - colour and decorating scheme?
pale, sunshiny yellow. i adore it.

L is for Love - what’s your favourite part of homemaking?
feeling like THIS is happiness, the joy of the everyday ... not something possible from hanging out at a bar or in the godforsaken mall.

M is for Mop - do you have one?
not yet ... i want a Swiffer! (vinyl floor. ..ick)

N is for Nylons - machine or hand wash?
never wash. i don't wear them nearly often enough. and they usually rip when i do, so i just toss them.

O is for Oven - do you use a window or open the oven door to check?
no window ... so it's open the door for me!

P is for Pizza - what do you put on yours?
i love mushrooms and any kind of pesto. and goat cheese. and spinanch. and tomatoes.

Q is for quiet - what do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?

R is for Recipe Card Box - yes/no? If yes, what does it look like?
no, but good future project idea!

S is Style of House - what style is your house?
haha ... it's an old carriage house which sounds more romantic than it is, but when it's clean it is pretty cozy. You walk into a tiny living room with fireplace, then into the kitchen, which is eat-in with two big windows, then into a very cute little bathroom. A flight of stairs up from the living room leads to a huge living space/bedroom loft. perfect for one. ... and not for one and three cats. oh, well. oops!

T is for Tableclothes - do you use them?

U is for Under The Kitchen Sink - organised or toxic wasteland?
mostly organic ... mainly switched over completely except for some ant killer... i couldn't help myself there!

V is for Vacuum - how many times a week?
at least once. i HATE having carpet in the apartment.

W is for Wash - how many loads of washing do you do each week?
none ... i try to do one or two loads about once every 4 to 6 weeks. again i hope this justifies my use of one large, high-heat dryer.

X’s - Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
not to cross off, just to get out of my head.

Y is for Yard - who does what?
god ... i wish for a yard and garden. someday ...

Zzzz’s - what’s the last homemaking task you do before bed in the evening?
knit ... does that count? ; )

Monday, November 24, 2008

The things I'm grateful for

it's that time of year again ... to reflect, give thanks, and look inward to see what the future can bring.

MYSELF ... i've been incredible to myself as i've grown. thank goodness i've always taken care of me pretty much the best i could (except in those few wild party girl days ... lol ... but even then i always kept a future perspective)

my parents

my AWESOME best friends from home

great network of friends and community here in Kentucky

every blog i link to, for all you've helped teach me about simple living

the public library

public radio

fireplaces (though i have yet to use mine!)

goose down comforter with flannel duvet

henna (this is a new venture, maybe i shouldn't be grateful just yet ... lol)

hot baths: especially with bubbles, lavendar and rosemary salts, and a big shower cap for the hair!

three cats i call Buca, Loca, and Tigger

being invited to a happy go lucky family gathering of vegetarians (though turkey will make an appearance for the meat eaters, lol) only a mile from my home (the fair trade coffee shop owners i babysit for)

being invited to two more dinners i can't go to b/c of the above

my local yarn shop

being able to knit (thanks, Angie!)

PRESIDENT-elect Barack Obama

the sewing machine i'm getting FREE (thanks again, angie)

my student loan check, and the GREAT plan i have to pay off all my consumer debt (leaving only school debt) within a couple of MONTHS ... yes, the loan check is finally on its way to me!!! this opens up the door for things like: yoga membership, swimming and Y times, a little facelift to my apartment (paint, used couches) to make it more guest-friendly for potlucks, get-togethers, what have you. and, of course ... a little bit of savings built up.

an opportunity to start my own home-party candle business ONLY to save up cash for a large down payment on ... my first home!! (hopefully a few years out from now)

the mind to donate to those less fortunate

my thirties, and a trip through happy sanity ; ) (and hopefully the happy insanity of kids .. .though ... i know ... be careful what you wish for!! lol)

.............. so ... there's my list, in a nutshell. my birthday was amazing. FIVE great friends wound up joining me for the most wonderful sushi dinner, and i got some great little gifts. unfortunately my old digital camera has been acting up so pictures are on hold. .. a bit.

heading into the weekend, everything was looking great, but then on saturday i got sick (from both ends, as they say) while babysitting of all things. just stuff that's passed around school and i'd already had a touch of. spent the next two days recovering, drinking HFCS-cursed Gatorade and eating applesauce and carrot/ginger soup from Trader Joe's. and sleeping hours and hours. by today i was mostly alright and figured if i could be okay to bake and cook sunday (mmmm....homemade bread with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and an inspired Indian lentil dal) i could make it to school on monday if i took it easy. good thing ... there was watermelon for snack! i was sad to miss the school's annual performance, though.

here's how i made the dal:

1 cup dried green lentils, boiled in 3 cups water and then simmered for one hour till of a pureed, souplike consistency. then i stirred in massive amounts of ground ginger, and a tiny bit of turmeric and cayenne pepper. And some chopped green beans from last week's farmers market (darn my sick self for missing this week's one, thank goodness i had plenty of leftovers!) stir-fried in vegan butter and curry powder. Enjoyed over brown rice. YUMMMYLICIOUS!!!

I'm thinking of doing a cake from scratch to bring to Thanksgiving dinner rather than the old standby bottle of wine. will keep you posted if that's what i decide to do. haven't done it in ages, think it could be fun!

well ... that's about all for me. hope you all are well and have a great thanksgiving. i have a busy just over two weeks ahead of me, starting a very small amount of christmas shopping (FINALLY, i was getting worried!), babysitting, cleaning the house and filling it with cat supplies for my housesitter (yes someone will actually live with the cats this time i'm gone! a good friend.), sending unwrapped supplies ahead of me to new england, paying bills, a friend's housewarming party, a haircut, getting donations out... etc. etc. i'm sure it's much the same for all of you. just remember to also take the time for yourself: to breathe. knit. bake. read.

namaste. (i'm off to make homemade horseradish hummus, which i'm positively craving!)

peace to you all,


Sunday, November 16, 2008

lazy sunday post

It's been a very relaxing weekend so far, after a decent week bolstered by my utmost determination to have it be ALL ABOUT THE KIDS, and nothing else. I am still annoyed at my student loan check being in limbo somewhere rather than in my checking account. But ... it is my birthday on Wednesday, and at the risk of sounding less than humble I will have some extra money to deposit then, thus greatly reducing the risk of overdrawing my checking account for the third month in a row. yessssss................ unfortunately today i wasted SIX DOLLARS on a sandwich at the coffee shop ... but its been a terrific chance to truly read all of your beautiful blogs and see all of your great pictures, so ... i'll have made up for it with the dinner i'm planning tonight: brown rice-stuffed sweet dumpling squash (and breakfast was homemade oats with cinnamon, honey and a tbsp. of chocoloate chips, and 2 tbsp. wheat germ).

friday night was babysitting for four great kids, two of whom knit. pizza and mediterrranean food and popcorn were had. i'll have to remember the camera next time. i spent some time flipping through a great kids' knitting book. i think these are the types of books i'll try to refer to when learning new stitches, etc. so much easier to follow than the "grown up" books! also thank goodness for online tutorials.

saturday was spent in the rain at the farmer's market, where i picked up more beautiful spinach, more apples (though i'm kind of sick of apples by now), two huge sweet potatoes, and a dozen local eggs. all set for another week or two. okay.... then i picked up a new skein of yarn for the seed stitch scarf i'm making for my cousin for christmas (pics to come), and acquired two AWESOME new books ... free, courtesy of my gift card from last year's teacher appreciation lunch, from my local independent bookshop (from Wendell Berry and National Geographic, see picture below). i attended a Prop 8 rally (let's say an AGAINST Prop 8 rally) downtown thanks to seeing a flyer in the neighboring coffee shop while waiting for the LYS to open ... it was freezing and drizzly but a couple hundred people showed up nonetheless, all chanting their support. rather than people getting mad and arrested, as happens in some major cities, this was a typical louisvillian affair: coffee donated by the coffeeshop i'm in right now actually (and coincidentally i babysit for one owners' kids ... the same knitters i just mentioned...they go to my school) .... and people just having rather dull (sorry but true) chants and friendly chatter (interrupted by yelling when people drove by, honking their horns in support). got home, knitted and read more from Anne of Avonlea, napped, and made dinner: two Morningstar farms tomato basil and pizza burgers topped with fresh jalapeno slices and a can of diced organic tomatoes (don't buy these burgers, they contain TBHQ ... i just had them and didn't want them to go to waste, plus i was seriously craving pizza type food). i went to bed by 11 ... exhausted but able to wake up at 8 a.m.

sunday: woke early, did a few chores, spent a half hour on my yoga video, ate breakfast, walked a mile to the local bookshop to get some birthday cards i must send out tomorrow, then walked three or four steps back where i've been the last almost three hours, reading blogs. my lower back was killing me today, but sitting with correct posture a while and wearing sneakers while walking has seemed to help. not sure what's going on, but part of me thinks me laying and sitting all convuluted while knitting/reading for hours is at fault. that, and not enough yoga. i'll monitor but don't think it's serious. the rest of today i'll cook, do some homework, watch a way-overdue library documentary on 1968, knit, fill out birthday cards ... and get to bed early to jumpstart the week.

monday night: hit the library after child care to return way overdue stuff and check out more stuff that will likely be overdue in turn, lol

wednesday's my 29th birthday. i'm going to see if i can switch my normal after school child care hours to tuesday. i'll open cards, and maybe take myself out for sushi (hopefully a friend can join!!). i also have a card for free dessert from the local dessert cafe. yum. i just want it to be a relaxing, feel-special sort of day.

thursday: knitting club with angie and kathy and one of the other moms from the school

friday: ??????????????????????????????????????

if the loan check comes this week, i'd like to start christmas shopping for the family by the weekend. nothing extravagant, but i'm going home early this year so i want to get this stuff done early. i can't wait to be paid this month ... i'm finally going to purchase my bus ticket to New England!!

without further ado, here's my "recently" pictures:

gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. sadly, blogger seems to be having some issues and i can't upload right now. ... check back in a few days. sorry for this, loves. here are just a few:

third time's a charm!! added cinnamon and cloves to the top this time. YUM!! that's my christmas list to my parents next door. they still ask me for one, every year.


demonstrating for equal rights ... NOW.

here i am, sideways and wet but happy ...

catch y'all soon!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Vintage beauty

I just could not resist this buy, though I tangled with myself. Eventually, helping another crafter, fellow Obama supporter and Nutmegger won out. And it's a practical gift to myself (to hold knitting supplies), something that will further encourage my own budding craft hobby.

Thanks so much for your beautiful work ... from Beauty that Moves.


taking a break from the politic ... and getting back to the personal. after all, CHANGE happens from the bottom up!!

watching obama's acceptance speech in louisville ....

I wanted to thank Soule Mama for inspiring my post this (rare) cloudy, chilly, perfect-for-staying-in-a-warm-place-knitting-and-blogging afternoon in kentucky. I only wish she hadn't closed her comments section ... but I completely understand. After many months of buildup and anticipation, I feel I want to hear almost nothing about politics until inauguration day. It's just ... too much after such a terrific climax of events ... and history-making. I, too, have felt a little guilty about recently posting politics to my blog, but hey it's our american right ... and i do believe the outcome of this monumental election is PIVOTAL to the way in which we are all trying to live here. I feel like Obama will help us along, and won't be consumed by "big Washington." Still, just like Amanda ... i'm ready to settle back into my own life for a bit while Obama gets some quick training for the Oval Office. He'll be fine. I'm not worried about him a bit. He's got a steady hand, a quick mind, and a GREAT BIG heart. I love him so very much ... and i don't think that's strange to say at all.

but, alas, moving on ... what's been going on around here? Well, lots of cooking, baking, and knitting, for one thing. And NO homework... yeah, I need to get on that, especially now that my application for the master's degree portion of my training has been accepted and I am awaiting a huge loan check in the mail that will be the answer very much to my short-term bill-paying woes. And that will allow me to travel and have a few family gifts picked out for christmas in new england this year. I haven't seen much of friends, but i think everyone's kind of "nesting" and looking inward. that's ok; it was a very social summer, and now it's time to take stock of where life is, where we want it to go, and how, of course, we can get there.

I'm finding, as I approach my second anniversary of becoming a vegetarian, that this must have been the change that really, truly sparked all of my half-asleep yearnings for nonviolence and peace and a more awake consciousness for all people. Ever since I originally stopped eating meat altogether -- ONLY for reasons of food safety -- my views have expanded outward in these beautiful curves.

Now there are numerous reasons I don't eat meat. And I'm acting on some of them with others in mind: I want to help educate a largely ignorant (in many cases through no fault of their own, but because of a brainwashing, nontransparent industrial system aided by terrible marketing tactics) populace about the great necessity to eat close to the earth, seasonally, and from scratch. To be careful and choosy about where they buy their food. To learn how to grow at least some of it themselves. I also want to work to make GOOD food a possibility for ALL people, especially those in low-income areas where fast food restaurants and shoddy supermarkets run rampant. Why does my local supermarket chain here have a "buy this bag to feed the hungry" program for the holiday giving season, but the bag is full of overprocessed junk? It kind of defeats the purpose of truly giving, in my opinion. How about donating a bag of organic food to a local shelter, or family? Or buying a CSA membership for someone in need? EVERYONE deserves this right. Just because you're poor doesn't mean you should just eat anything. We must change even that, really looking at what we give. Let's improve health, not just sustain and prolong life. So ... these things have been on my mind, and I've grown a great passion for them. I read more books, and articles. I attend meetings of like-minded food reform and social justice groups. I try to learn about good farming practices by working at and volunteering for local farms. Now, in truth I've just taken baby steps toward most of these. But just last night, I had the organizer of Earthsave Louisville tell me I could be a real leader in this field. Which got me thinking ... maybe when I do get my pH.D in some type of sociology/anthropology research field (I've been mulling this over for a long while now, despite my yearnings to become a literature professor), I can specialize in some kind of good food for all kind of thing.

We'll see .... isn't it amazing what just changing the way you eat can do to your entire worldview? I think so ... in just a few short years, I went from being completely clueless (and could care less) about recycling. I was a party girl in search of the next place to have drinks, the next boy to mess around with, how fast I could spend my money on new clothes and makeup and hair treatments and perfume .... to this simple life, where my top priorities are few, but great: cooking and baking, reading, knitting, getting enough sleep, dressing comfortably in beautiful secondhand and handmade clothing. shopping mainly local and fair trade (here's one of my favorite shops), and eating the same. Not loading my body up with fancy smelling cosmetics and soaps in pretty bottles. Now I use simple things: apple cider vinegar, baking soda, sage oil, simple moisturizer with SPF. (i do still wear mascara, guilty pleasure!!) Burt's Bees for my lips.

I still run into problems here and there with impulse purchases (though I've virtually stopped all $4 coffee drinks, and my impulse purchases are generally useful things, like a $5 picnic basket just calling my name at goodwill). But the urge to go out and spend on the weekend gets less all the time. I used to feel like I had to fill up my weekends with this, that and the other thing to pass time ... gee let's look around Target and see what I might "need" to buy. Learning how to knit, and getting involved with free events with groups I believe in around my local community, have become bigger priorities. More money stays in the bank that way, but I also don't feel like a slave to the buybuybuy mentality. I try and get all of my necessary errands done all in one fell swoop, on one day. I ask myself whether I really need to go to such and such place on a random weekday afternoon. And usually, the answer is no. Opting out of the brainwashed American mentality is a difficult process that doesn't happen overnight. But, dear readers, it is possible. It is. Keep at it, and you'll succeed and find a lifestyle that's right for you.

Here are some things I'm thinking of doing for this holiday season:

donating to the nielsons (some of you know they are the parents of beautiful young children, and were recently involved in a very horrible plane crash). here is the address if you'd like to help:

Christian & Stephanie Nielson Rehab Fund
P.O. Box 8850 Mesa, AZ 85214

donating to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital located in Memphis, TN. They take all children, regardless of their ability to pay.

knitting a scarf and donating it somewhere

buying a bag of healthy, organic food and donating it to someone in need to put together a care package for our brave soliders overseas

baking some bread or cookies or something similar (cake, pie) and donating it to the police, or maybe local firemen ... or someone similar who helps keep us safe without ever asking our thanks

these are just some ideas ... and certainly enough for me. we can all give of ourselves, and it's also important to remember to do this in some small way, year round ... remember that there are likely tens of thousands of people in this great big world, many in its forgotten, dark corners, who'd give anything to be in our place, a place we sometimes are wont to complain about. don't. give back. we are so very fortunate.

I'll leave you with some recent pictures of foods, finds, and fun. It's a happy, restorative, nurturing, giving time of year. Let's do all of it, and above all be peaceful and happy with the time that we are given.

I love and am inspired by all of your blogs, which tell the story of your own very precious lives. Thank you again and again.

Peace and love and pumpkin bread (which I'm making this afternoon),

Karen <3

halloween ... sarah palin (yes, me haha) and papa smurf. i loved this guy's costume!

yesterday's farmer's market ... which continues till Dec. 20!!! picked up some gorgeous leafy greens, and tons of apples.

i'm such a foodie ...

my GREAT goodwill find. I used it last night to transport my goods to the monthly Earthsave Louisville vegetarian potluck.

Monday, November 3, 2008

the good vibes are here ... for me and for BARACK.

... put on yer dancin' shoes ... lol

don't feel like uploading too many pictures tonight... though don't you worry, i have plenty stored up!! I just wanted to stop in and say Happy Election Day eve to you all ... i am plenty nervous but optimistic nonetheless.

I feel that things are finally on an upswing after going through what's hopefully my very last "bottom" financially for a while. I've been accepted for thousands in financial aid, and now i'm just awaiting the check in the mail. I've had some great gifts and "finds" arriving in my life lately ... will update on those soon. Some of the finds include truly amazing people I'm so lucky and grateful to know. Some are shall we say, rediscoveries. I'm taking more vitamins and eating more veggies and getting more sleep and knitting more. I just baked my second loaf of bread and it was much better than the one I baked last time. I'm walking nearly every night after dinner and trying to do a yoga video at least once a week. I'm spending .... almost nothing beyond what I *need*. I'm babysitting THREE times this week. I'm making a big batch of vegetarian chili for an Earthsave group potluck dinner saturday. Fall is here, but the weather will be in the 70's all week gas heat needed....yeahhhhhhhhhhhhl!! My new neighbor wants to share the cost of an Internet connection. I reorganized my entire apartment with the idea of making it more of a "social" place and realized I now will have room ... and $$$!!! ... for three small sofas and a couple of coffee tables (used, of course!!)

I have much to be thankful and happy for. Life is overall, always, so sweet.

Now we just have to put one Mr. Barack Obama in the White House. please, please, providence, fate, god, the Force, whatever. WE NEED BARACK OBAMA.

More of an update soon. Love and peace to all of you in your own very special lives. Where there is always goodness, if we but open our eyes to it ... why ... there it is...!!! right in front of us, all along!!



me and my daddy ... yep that's his high school photo!! we look alike enough i think!

p.s. Thanks vegetarian knitter for the squash recipe. i mashed mine, and mixed it with brown sugar, vegan butter, cinnamon, and raisins. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. it was like dessert for dinner. pictures to come!!

p.p.s. Brian THANK you. you are beyond sweet for this perfect gift.