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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Lyrical Wednesday

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It’s a nasty day out there and the winter that wasn’t is trying to make one last (one hopes) feeble attempt to blast us with its cold. It’s windy and there’s a bit of sleet and snow, but none of it will last long. Predictions are for temps to climb in the next few days, with the tantalizing prospect of low 60s one day next week. Ahhh. Not quite time to break out the shorts, but those days will soon be here, and this sun loving girl will be working on her sock tan and popping out a few new freckles. Here comes the sun . . .


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I hadn’t intended for this to become a frugality/personal finance blog but those matters are much on my mind these days so I’m just going with it. Everything, in any case, is part of the process.

I’ve been mulling over going to a pre-paid phone plan for some time now and pulled the trigger yesterday. I’d gone from using my phone a lot–several times daily, with calls and hundreds, if not thousands, of texts over the course of a year–to virtually nothing. My phone had become not much more than an expensive timepiece, and with other expenses lately, I made the decision to go pre-paid.

In all, I think this is a good choice for me and should save me a substantial amount of money. I’m pleased with that. I didn’t, however, think far enough ahead to realize that I’d probably lose some things on the phone when the switch was made. I still have all of my photos, but I lost all of the voicemails I’d saved.

This is a little heartbreaking for me because all of the voicemails I had were from Mr. F. I didn’t listen to them much because, well, that was just more heartbreak, but they were there, and now they’re gone. That makes me sad. So sad. It could be, in time, I’ll look back on this loss and see that it was part of the healing process. It could be that I’ll just be sad. Loss is inevitable, and I can’t change what’s been done. I can only get on with it. But I think I’ll be sad for a little while before I get on with it. That’s part of the process, too.

Car fix

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I got some news this afternoon that I didn’t exactly greet with shouts of joy, but it’s just part of life. My car has been making some odd, metal-on-metal pre-grinding noises the last few days so I took it in to my car guy and yep, I need new front brakes. I’ve also recently had a new battery installed and just had new tires put on last week. Throwing money at my car is getting a little old, but they do say that bad things come in threes, so this should be the end of it for a while.

This is the kind of thing my mom gets really upset over, and when I told her–she’s my ride when I take my car in so she kind of needs to know–she suggested that I get a new car. Because a new car would be so much cheaper than new brakes. Mom logic–go figure.

The thing is, if you own something with moving bits, those bits will fail at some point. I get that and I don’t get too bent out of shape when it happens. Not too much is built to last anymore, it seems. The most dependable things I own are the oldest–two TVs that I scrounged off my parents years ago, both of which are at least thirty years old and both of which work perfectly well. The picture isn’t as crisp as a new TV, the colors aren’t as true, and the sound isn’t stereo, but they both work just fine and I don’t see any reason at all to fix what ain’t broke. I’ll use them until they die or I move, whichever comes first, before I even consider a new TV.

But back to my car–I sorta like it. It’s the first car I ever bought on my own, without my dad or a male friend or relative giving me advice, and I’m convinced I got a heck of a deal on it. It’s been a good car, and I intend to do as I did with my last car–eventually drive it into the ground. I drove my last car for ten years before I had to junk it, and I felt I’d gotten my money’s worth. That’s not a bad feeling.

Things I shouldn’t do

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1. Go to bed without washing my face.

2. Go to bed without brushing my teeth.

3. Stay up watching retro TV so late that I’m too pooped to wash my face or brush my teeth before I go to bed.

4. Frog a more-than-half-finished, largish knitting project because I’m tired, lonely, out of sorts, and I’ve found a couple of mistakes in it. Looking on the bright side, however,  Elizabeth Zimmermann would say this only means more of my favorite hobby.

5. Use stuff that’s years past its “use by” date.

6. Try to figure some people out.

7. Keep driving my car when it’s making that funny noise.

Up and at ’em

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Up, at least. I’ve only had one cup of coffee so far, so the “at ’em” bit is to come.

I have Nice Girl Knitters at the library this morning and I hope they will be. I’m still on the fence about continuing the kind of involvement with the group that I have now. I’ve more or less had the lead in terms of contacting the group about regular meetings, working with library staff when library events necessitate a change of venue, and being there for every gathering. It’s just not as much fun as it used to be and it might be time for me to step back a bit. I’ve said that before but I may be closer to really meaning it now. In terms of my knitting life, the phrase “if it ain’t fun, it ain’t done” is a true one. We had a slight dusting of snow overnight and maybe that’ll be enough to keep the crazies away. A girl can always hope!

But! that’s enough whining for one morning. At least online. It’s a beautiful day, I’m hoping to get out for a walk this afternoon, and I’m looking forward to seeing some people I truly like and whose company I enjoy this morning. I’m making it a good day, crazies or not.

Update: There’s a reason I really shouldn’t do posts when I’m either not awake or crunched for time or both. Sorry for this poor example.

It was a congenial group for the most part this morning. Still a lovely day out as well and I’m a bit torn between wanting to get out for a walk and wanting to take a nap. Decisions, decisions .  .  .

Freeplay Friday

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Up early–for me–awaiting word on plans for the morning. The coffee’s hot and black and working it’s wake-up magic on me. The world outside sparkles after rain and snow last night. All in all, not a bad start to the day.

I’ve had this song playing in my head over the last several hours. An oldie but a goodie, and now out of my head and into yours.

You’re welcome.

Thrifty Thursday

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It hasn’t been a cheap week around here, and some may not call it thrifty, either. This is mostly because of the normal monthly bill paying that goes on around here at mid-month, but also because of the new tires I got this week. Cheap? No. Necessary? Yes. Still, I’m calling it a good week in terms of spending.

The last time I had my car in for an oil change and other normal maintenance, my car guy mentioned that my tires were looking kind of sad and would need to be replaced sooner rather than later. This was just before Christmas and I wanted to get through that, as well as the first of the year and taxes, before I scheduled anything. He quoted me an off-the-cuff price range which we agreed on, and the tires were put on this week.

My bill came in under the high end of the quote–$500.00–by about seven bucks, and that included a top-up of my gas tank.  I don’t know what gas costs where you are, but it shot up here another dime per gallon in the last few days, so I figure I saved a few cents there. In any case, the bill was less than I’d planned on so I wasn’t unhappy.

The good news is that I’ve had most of the money I needed for the tires squirreled away since last September. I’ll have to add a bit more, but it’s not going to kill me, I’m not going to have to dip into my savings, and I’m not going to owe one red cent on this needed purchase. (Debt is the devil! I’ll rant about that sometime, maybe, but just remember that. Debt is the devil!)

When I came into the money last fall, I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. Sure, I could have used it for daily living expenses or some frivolity, but it was a sizable chunk of change that I knew would come in handy someday, so I just sat on it and waited for “someday” to get here. When it did, I had most of what I needed and it may not surprise you to know I have the rest of it squirreled away as well. That’s why I practice thrift and save my money–so it’s there when I need it.

Lest you think living the frugal life is one of deprivation, think again. More on that later . . .

Lyrical Wednesday

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I was thinking a bit about my dad this morning and a phrase he’d often use popped into my head. I knew it was a line or two from a poem, but I couldn’t recall more than that. Google, my old and well-informed friend, helped me out and I spent a few happy moments reading while I sipped my coffee. It was also a sweet reminder of my dad, who must have been that happy barefoot boy in his youth.

I’ve posted only the first stanza; it’s a long poem, but if you remain interested and care to read more, Google will be happy to give you a hand.

The Barefoot Boy

by John Greenleaf Whittier

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim’s jaunty grace;
From my heart I give thee joy,—
I was once a barefoot boy!
Prince thou art,—the grown-up man
Only is republican.
Let the million-dollared ride!
Barefoot, trudging at his side,
Thou hast more than he can buy
In the reach of ear and eye,—
Outward sunshine, inward joy:
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!

It won’t be long

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It rained a bit last night, not enough to do anything about the soil moisture, which is low and which the farmers will be concerned about, but it was rain. Not snow, not ice. Rain.

I’ve already seen tiny tufts of grass greening up out in the woods, and the other day when I was out, there were bugs flying around. It won’t be long before the buds on the trees begin to swell with new life and that first delicate green haze of new leaves will cover the trees. The wildflowers will begin creeping up out of the soil, the birds will begin gathering twigs and string and grass for their nests, and new life will hatch and grow and fly.

It won’t be long–just a matter of days now–before the robins come back and I will be glad.  I miss their happy songs and their color and bright eyes and their cheekiness.

I will welcome spring, the season of life and renewal and a fresh start. If nature gets a chance to start over, why shouldn’t we?

Update: I drove past the two great (ha ha) bodies of water that are nearest my house this afternoon and the ice is in rapid retreat, weeks earlier than normal. I’m not complaining.


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Yesterday was a day for goofing off–knitting in the morning, knitting and eating and drinking and laughing in the afternoon and early evening, game night at S and D’s last night with more eating and drinking and laughing. Good times. Really good times, and I think yesterday may have been the first time since the break-up that I’ve felt unsullied happiness.

I’m not really sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I am glad I’m better. Really glad. On the other, I’m kind of reluctant to let go of the pain and the loss. It’s defined me for many months now. It’s been who I am, and letting that go, even a little, means transformation, moving from “this is me now” to “this is a new and unknown me.” That pain has been my safety net, and if that’s cut out from under me–well, who knows what might happen?

Which is what life is all about, right? Stepping out into the unknown, taking chances, transforming, living and being and savoring this one wild, scary, beautiful life. And which is what getting my sass back is all about.

We are funny, fickle creatures, aren’t we? Or maybe that’s just me, though I really think not.

Maybe Carly Simon had it right when she sang about not having time for the pain. Maybe it’s time to let some of that go, and move toward the being glad for what there was, as brief and heartrending and wonderful and sad as it was. Maybe what there was can be transformed into something good for him and for me. I hope that.

I hope. Still. Always. I hope.