Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Making a Buck

I've just created a new blog in order to sell some of the bits and pieces of my life.

Although I'm very happy with the judge's decision on temporary spousal support, I won't see any of that money for at least a month. In the meantime, I'm two months' behind on bills and doing a major job search. I'm hoping that releasing some of my belongings will help me make ends meet.

So please visit Piwacket Crafts Online Store for great deals on fabric, books, patterns, completed projects and household items. Become a follower so that you'll know as soon a new items become available.

All prices INCLUDE shipping and handling. I'll accept payment through Paypal, personal check or money order. 

Faithfully yours,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Coffee Math

I love coffee. It's part of my morning routine. I start looking forward to that first cup before I even go to bed at night.  The whole process brings me pleasure: The aroma while it's brewing, the sound of the drip into the decanter, seeing the perfect color when I stir a few drops of milk into the cup, holding both my hands around the mug allowing them to warm. Perfection!

On my recent visit to my parents' house my mom and I laughed because we had the same reaction to that first sip.....Ahhhh!  Very much like an addict getting the hit.

One of the most important areas of transformation I'm undergoing is a financial makeover. Things are bad right now. Really bad. The mortgage and car payments are being made; some other bills are in limbo while I wait on the court to implement spousal support. My credit as a single is a mess.  So I'm questioning all of my purchases and choices.  I'm berating myself for stupid decisions I've made that only time can reconcile. I absolutely must become a better financial steward or face disaster.

I'm happy to say that my coffee routine passes a thorough examination.

I brew at home and have been doing so for many years. On average I spend about $7 for a pound of coffee or beans (I have my own grinder, but often buy ground coffee when it's on sale).  There are approximately 75 tablespoons in one pound of coffee. Each tablespoon brews one 6 ounce cup.  That means two tablespoons = 12 ounces, or about the size of a cup of fresh brew from Starbucks or Panera.

The math facts:

1 pound = 75 Tablespoons
1 pound = $7 (on average) 
2 Tblsp = $0.18 = 12 oz. cup

That's right. The cost of a delicious 12 oz. cup of coffee at home costs me only 18 cents.  I generally brew 36 ounces every morning and use a take-along cup with me if I have a subbing assignment.

I could buy the most expensive ground coffee on the market and still be considered frugal compared to buying a cup elsewhere. Even the fast food places that are trying to compete with Starbucks, Panera, Barney's and other coffee stores can't compare to my cheap habit.

There's a lot of things that are not in my control right now and I've had to give up quite a bit. I'm thrilled that one of my greatest simple morning rituals makes economic sense as well.

Faithfully yours,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter Sunday, 2010

How odd to spend Easter Sunday alone at the beach.

Time moves differently here. Slower, more restful.

Thus begins my first full day of my solo vacation at Virginia Beach. Christ is resurrected and He's given me new life as well.

New life as a single. It's my first trip knowing that I will be solo for the rest of my days. As with all things now, my feelings are mixed.

Although I feel somewhat sad, I'm excited and relieved even more so. My selfishness is surfacing.

This morning I awoke at 9 a.m.  That's a far cry from the 5:30 pup/kitty alarm clock that I'm used to. It was bliss.  I stumbled to the coffee maker before even stopping to pee or brush my teeth.

I had left the drapes to my balcony halfway open so that in the morning the Eastern sun would glint off the Atlantic into my living room. There it is. The cold waves glistening, the sand in variegated shades of tan as the sun hits it.

By the time I finish my bathroom duties my coffee is ready. I sit on my balcony watching a near-empty beach. It is, after all, the morning of Easter Sunday. Most of the faithful are in church. Others are sleeping in.

I see a lot of dogs with their owners go by. Virginia Beach has a marvelous boardwalk. Most walkers stay on the concrete. A black lab and his master bravely play in the freezing surf.  Further down the shore another black lab dances on the wet sand as he fetches a ball for his mistress. She's also walking a Boston terrier who chooses to stay close to her heels.  Not the lab. He's bounding for the ball, then racing back to drop it at her feet again. The lady has quite a good arm. The dog is relentless in playing his game.

As I write this it is still but 11:30 a.m. I've showered and slathered on my sunscreen. It's time to take part rather than merely observe.

My day lies before me unhurried, unscripted, all my own. This is my very own First Day.

(In the top picture of the hotel, my room is on the left-hand corner, third floor up.  In the above picture my private balcony is just above the one on the far left with the patio chair.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Riding the Roller Coaster

I love roller coasters. Growing up in Cincinnati necessitated an annual trip to Coney Island. As I got older Kings Island with its Twin Racers, and more recently The Beast became de rigeur.  I've ridden coasters at Busch Gardens, Six Flags Houston and LA, Cedar Point, Disney World, Universal and probably a few that I've forgotten.

The fun I have on roller coasters surprises some people because I'm afraid of heights. I mean really, truly, paralyzed-I'm-gonna-pee-my-pants-and-die-right-now scared of heights. One time, when our boys were little, we took a day trip to Serpent Mound in our home state of Ohio.

This amazing ancient site can best be seen from the observation tower.  Here's the observation tower.  It's about 190 feet off the ground (okay, it's probably more like 30 feet, but I'm just sayin').

See the lady on the platform? She isn't me. As we reached that platform I had a total panic attack and had to push people aside on their way up so that I could get back down. Embarrassed much? Oh yeah.

Then there was the time we went to Natural Bridge in Kentucky.  I LOVE walking along nature trails. My happiest vacations have been spent in state parks walking in the woods.

One can actually walk across this bridge. There are no barricades. You just have to stay in the middle. My husband and sons strolled happily across. I practically crawled and cried with relief when I reached the other side.

I admit it. I'm a wuss. Except I like the roller coasters.  With certain exceptions....

The roller coasters I go on cannot:

  1. Go backwards
  2. Have 3-D effects
  3. Go upside down
  4. Have any loops
  5. Have a line that lasts more than 30 minutes
  6. Have you stand instead of in a seat with that wonderful bar across your lap
See what I mean? Basically, my requirement is that it's a straight-forward no-frills kind of event. (Sure, insert the word boring if you want. I'm okay with that.) It goes high, goes down low, I can scream and put my hands up, and then get off the ride without fearing for my life.  I have to be able to see what's coming.

I'm discovering that this divorce process is like riding one of those roller coasters that my stomach can't handle. Just when I think things are going one way, I'm flipped upside down, fear that my arm restraint is going to fly off, and there are scenes of animated terror throughout the entire ride.  I may as well be on a lunar launch. Terra firma feels just that far away.

My goal is simply to survive the ride. I'm dizzy. My stomach goes from my toes to the top of my head. I want it to stop.  I close my eyes, but that makes it worse. There are ugly things that I must see and acknowledge regardless of how desperately I want to look away.

Yet just as I am sure there is a loving God, I know this ride will end. I'll get off of it, shudder and cry, sit quietly as I get the nausea under control, and hug the ground. Oh! How I'm longing to get past this. Funnel cake anybody?

Faithfully yours,