Friday, January 28, 2011

It's the Jayme Show!

Thank you so much for all the get well wishes yesterday.
It took all day for my stomach to settle down - and it wasn't too much birthday celebrating - it was just 'something'.  My stomach has been ailin' me on and off for a while.  Seems I can't have dairy products at the moment.

I decided to mix things up a little bit today and do a video.
I found myself dressed, with makeup on, and my chores done at 8am, so I thought I'd play a bit.
It's a whole new level of vulnerable....lord have mercy.
I had to put on extra deodorant!

Here's a photo of my German landlady, Anna Albertson - it goes along with the video.  Please note how similar my hair looks today, as it did in 1966!  When I think of what my mom went through every morning with the lot of us - she was a saint for sure.

I do hope you'll give the German Lemon Poundcake  (click on 'german lemon poundcake' for recipe) a whirl - it's not too sweet, and it's really not THAT lemony - but oh, the memories it brings back for me.

*has anyone tried my honey cookie recipe?  If so, can you please let me know how it turned out?  I had a reader recently contact me regarding them, and I wanted to find out how they turned out for you...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coop Keeper Down....

I'd hoped to have a new blog post for you - lots of news to share -
and I'm down with some stomach issues today.
Tea and crackers on the menu today.
Hope I'll be up and yammering in a few hours.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

If Benjamin Franklin Were' The Bachelor'

It's time to let you in on a little secret.

I have a mad crush on Benjamin Franklin.

It started when I was in my early 20's.

I became infatuated with his quest for knowledge, his industrious spirit, and his frugal ways.

I love his quotes.

I read any book I can find about him.

BFF?  Ben Franklin Forever.

WWBD?  What Would Ben Do?

I have his picture on my bulletin board at home next to his

Thirteen Virtues

Temperance - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

Silence - Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself, avoid trifling conversation (I'm so glad he didn't say 'avoid drivel')

Order - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have it's time.

Resolution - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Frugality - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing.

Industry - Lose no time, be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

Sincerity - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.

Justice - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

Moderation - Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

Cleanliness - Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes, or habitation.

Tranquility - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

Chastity - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's reputation.

Humility - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Benny makes me swoon.

If Benjamin Franklin were The Bachelor I'm quite sure I'd get the first impression rose.
I wouldn't be on a group date, I'd be getting the individual ones.
I'd be an early favorite.
I imagine that our dates would involve experiments and inventions instead of hot tubs and wineries.
I would so hold that kite string.

He'd be attracted to my modest dress that I'd made out of flour sacks to accentuate my ample figure.
He'd think me a 'stout and sturdy' woman capable of multiple births.
I mean - my hips just scream that.
My propensity to industry and frugality would win his heart right over.

Oh, I'd get that Final Rose.
And we'd last - not like Jake and Vienna, or 99% of the matches made on The Bachelor.

He'd be a doting husband, and I a doting wife.
I'd bring his supper in to his office whilst he worked late in the night inventing bifocals and stoves.

Oh well - a girl can dream.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Garlic Pepper Baguettes!

I wanted to tell you about the baguette recipe that I found in my Southern Living Cookbook - a treasure I wouldn't have found if still just 'Googling' recipes.
I'm enjoying going through my cookbooks, something I pretty much stopped doing with the Internet in the house.   Oh the Internet - how I miss thee.  At times.  And other times, I'm so glad I do not have you to distract me.  I've been riding the 'Bi-Polar Express' (thank you Nancy S!) over the whole thing.  I've had the phone in my hand twice dialing AT & T.
Back to the bread.
I'm always looking for a good bread that will last more than two days without turning into croutons, or breaking any molars.
This bread was super tasty, and fit the bill.  Made great sandwiches.
Easy peasy to make -
I can't remember the last time I 'bought' bread.
I'm going to play with this recipe, adding different spices, finely chopped sun dried tomatoes, etc.
I can't encourage you enough to start making bread.
Like anything worth doing, it takes a bit of practice, and may seem overwhelming if you've never done it.
Seriously - there is only about 12 minutes of 'hands on time' here.
You CAN do this!

Here's the recipe:

1 3/4 cup of water
1 T butter
3 3/4 to 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 pks yeast (or 4.5 teaspoons of instant yeast)
1 T sugar
1 T garlic powder
2 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t thyme
1 T cornmeal
egg white beaten with a little water

Melt the tablespoon of butter into water on stove top in a small saucepan.  Keep an eye on it - you don't want to boil it - just warm it.

Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the next six ingredients, you can just stir it with a spoon, or use your mixer.  I prefer to do it with a spoon, cause I enjoy the hands on work of bread making.

Keep adding flour, a cup at a time until the dough forms a ball, dump it on on a well floured counter and knead away.  Keep adding flour if the dough feels sticky.

Do you know about the baker's window?
It's truly the key to success.
You MUST knead your dough until you get a 'baker's window'.
Click here to find out how...

Once you've achieved your baker's window, throw a dishtowel over the dough and let it rest 20 minutes.

Divide the dough in half, and roll out each portion into a 10 x 15 rectangle.
Roll up each rectangle tightly lengthwise.
Put on greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.

Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge for 2 hours.
(this makes a nice slow rise and a nice fine crumb)

Take the dough out of the fridge whilst the oven is preheating to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slash the loaves.

Bake the lovely loaves for 20 minutes - brush with egg white mixture, and bake another 5 minutes.

I'm a Pink Chicken, and I approve this blog post.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gloom, but Nary a Drop of Doom

Captured - the fleeting sun

Welcome to 'Thursdays with Jayme - the Early Edition'
I'm at the Central Library, here in good ole Merrillville, Indiana.
Meeting my friend Marilee here to discuss creative ideas.
Big snow storm coming, freezing rain, and all of that splendor, so I thought I might make my trip to town a bit earlier this week.

I've packed an Asian Chicken Salad - complete with placemats, plates, and chopsticks.  Marilee brought a Rustic Apple Pie.
We'll have a delightful lunch in the vending machine area. If the weather delivers what it's promised, we may need to ration it and sleep here for a day or two. 
I honestly can't think of anything I'd rather have happen - to get stuck at the library for a few days.
Well - ok - maybe a few things - but still - it would be a bit of a dream!
written Monday January 17th
I write this to you on Monday morning, about 9am.
I’m feeling a bit off. I don’t feel good, I don’t feel bad. I feel ‘eh’.
No motivation, no spark, no energy.
I can’t remember the last time the sun was shining in NW Indiana, and perhaps that has a bit to do with it. Even the chickens seem lethargic.
So last week I was all up in the house loving not having the internet.
This week – not so much.
I miss it.
I miss you.
I miss recipes, and Facebook, and
I miss Googling my obscure and various symptoms and diagnosing myself.
 I feel really isolated.
I’m no Thoreau after all.
I thrive on human interaction.
 No Internet and limited minutes on my cellphone?
 I’ve become one that holds up the grocery line talking to the cashier about the weather and her grandkids. Oh yeah, I’m that lady.
I’m jonesing for jibber jabber.
One week down. How many to go? Time will tell.
I’ve turned down a jewelry party, a Pampered Chef party, an invitation to breakfast, two lunches and one dinner.
I’m that much closer to freedom.
July 4th is my goal – and I’m hoping to make it sooner than that.
I might even get a part time job to hasten the process. I might be selling chicken note cards and biscotti, and my bike, and whatever else I can find around here! The day I become completely debt free, I’m going to the best BBQ place I can find and eating a slab of ribs.
 Then I’m turning the a/c on.
Then I’m planning a fall trip to Vermont.
 I’ve never been to Vermont, but I like the sounds of it, and I want to see New England in the fall.
I think it would be a fitting reward.
Good news on the dental front! It was just fillings my friends – just fillings.
I had such a gay ole time at the dentist that I’ve begun brushing my teeth with buttercream frosting and rinsing with Co-Cola. I adore my dentist and his staff, and I must say, the nitrous was extra special this time, and I hadn’t a care in the world. “Ohhhhh, he’s getting ready to put a big horse shot in my mouth.....ohhh, ok....ohhhh, he’s drilling a hole in my head now......that’s nice.”
 I’m pretty sure I called the dentist ‘Honey’.
You’ll also be happy to know that I’ve already made my six month check-up appointment, realizing that preventative dental work is more cost effective than emergency maintenance.
Nancy left me this comment....

As much as I can appreciate your commitment to frugal living, I do have one issue with it. The "poverty" name you've chosen. You live in a beautiful home, have a nice car, food aplenty and money. Self imposed or not I think it's a bit insulting to the poor people out there that really are living at or below the poverty line in this country. Just sayin'.....

and I must say, it did strike a chord within my soul, and I can see where there is a negative connotation stating ‘self imposed poverty’, and how it could offend those that are poverty striken by no choice of their own, and I apologize to any and all that may have offended.
 I don’t feel ‘poverty’ at all – I feel rich beyond measure that I’m able to stay home and pursue the things I love.
How is that poverty?
 I’m going to re-coin my ‘catch phrase’ and I’m not sure yet to what – but so far I have
‘volunteer simplicity’
 ‘choosing simplicity’
 ‘bi-polar impulses’
 Which do you think is the best?
I also wanted to add here that if I were still carrying a mortgage that was years from paying off, I wouldn’t be as hardcore as I am now. I doubt very much that I would have disconnected the internet. I am quite sure I would have axed the TV, cause I’m giving Directv $40 a month for a garbage package. It’s not worth it.
Knowing that I’m just a few months away from financial freedom, gave me the impetus to shed every weight that was prolonging my pain.  (That and being impulsive is like a huge symptom of Adult ADHD, seriously, just Google it) It’s temporary, and I can live with that. So – I suppose I’ve said all of this, to say to you – please don’t feel like I’m ADVOCATING that you should get rid of the Internet, ok?
 I am advocating that you spend less time on it.
That I will stand up and shout from the rooftops.
It's a time robber, and a sneaky one at that.
A minute here, an hour there, next thing you know your husband's home and you are still in your nightgown and the bed unmade - not that I would know anything about that personally.

You see, this Pink Chicken Revolution isn't just about being frugal with money.
It's about being frugal with your time, your attention, your affection, etc.
It's about spending your money, time, attention and affection in a way that is focused - maximizing your life's enjoyment.  Living life in a conscious manner.
There are all differents shades of pink my friends,
I just happen to be hot pink at the moment.

Thank you all - from the bottom of my heart for all of your fun, sweet, kind and challenging comments.
How I wish I could sit and talk with each of you face to face.
Remember to Think Pink this week!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Caught My Eye....

On one of my last thrifting excursions, which was back in November - this was purchased.
Professionally framed, nicely done.

Here's a pic of the whole thing....

Can I just interject this here now -
Why do I take photos like the camera is going to self destruct in my hands within seconds?
I take no time in taking photos, and I really wish I would.

I happened upon this in a large PILE of framed crewel work, obviously done by the same person.
Cardinals, koalas - you name it - this lady stitched it.
I'm assuming it was a lady.
It broke my heart in a way.
These all looked to be very 1970's, and my assumption was that the stitcher of these stitchings had died, and the family was cleaning the house out.

And here they were.
At the Goodwill on Main Street in Crown Point, Indiana.
For me - a little.

I often wonder what will happen to all my 'traysures' after I'm gone.
Will the things I painstakingly created be sold for pennies at a yard sale?
Thrown away?

I bought this for two reasons.
I liked it - I did.
It's colorful and happy.

But I also bought it to keep alive the lady that made it.
I've named her Florence.
She had a small dog, and three cats.
She was a light smoker, and enjoyed an evening cocktail.
She only grew red geraniums, and she made a mean nut roll.
She was beloved in her neighborhood and wore tan stretch pants with the little seam sewn down the front.
She was sleeveless at all times, even in the winter.
She passed away peacefully at home.
She's missed by all that knew her.

I haven't forgotten you Florence, or all the hours you spent stitching this while you watched the Carol Burnett Show and Archie Bunker.
Your stitchery makes me happy everytime I look at it - and reminds me to love the things I'm doing - cause if I don't - then what's the point in the doing?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursdays with Jayme

Hey friends! 
I'm here, I'm here!
I'm at the library, in the coziest chair you can imagine, surrounded by books.
I adore it. 
The smell, the ambience, the potential of learning and getting lost in good stories.
I've managed to live without the Internet at the house for four days now, and I've lived to tell the tale.
I can't begin to tell you how much I've accomplished, and how peaceful I feel.
As I sit here now - at the library, blogging, returning emails - I'm focused and don't feel that I should be 'doing something else', almost guilty feeling, like I did at home.
This is the time I've set aside for this.

This was written Tuesday, Jan. 11th

I've just finished lunch.

No - I'm joking, this is really what I ate....

I'm sitting here in my second favorite chair - hoodie-fied and covered in my cranberry and white afghan that I made for my mom, circa 1983. It’s snowing, and I’m looking out the window at the old scraggly tree near the road. It looks like it’ll topple if one more snowflake were to land on it just right.

Oh, that tree. It worries me.

Branches have fallen a few times, blocking the road. Once, right as I was leaving the driveway, a big branch -  big enough to kill me - fell. Why, it’s enough to make ya mess your drawers. I’ve measured the distance to that tree several times, with my survey in hand. It’s not mine. It’s my neighbors. I think he thinks it’s mine. It’s not. It’s his. I hope it doesn’t come to blows when it finally gives way.

Cream of broccoli soup is in the makings, and the house has that awesome cabbagy smell. Chicken is poaching, baguettes are rising, and when I finish this blog post, I’ll get up and start the key lime pie.

 Except, I have no limes, so it’s going to be Key Lemon Pie, or perhaps if we are going to be sticklers about it, I’m actually making– The Lemons Are Shriveling Up / Use Them Before They Mold Key Lemon Pie’.

 Girls, I’m up in here SCRAPING the cupboards. Not a grain of rice shall escape my scourings. I made my menu plan for the week, based on what I have here already. I shant need much at the store this week.
Not having the Internet at home is also forcing me to use my cookbooks.
I love it.

Yesterday morning when I called AT & T and asked that my DSL line be turned off – I was offered $10 a month off for a year. Temptation. Serious temptation. I hard cored it and thanked her for the offer, but refused it. She asked in an astonished voice ‘ What will you do for Internet service?’ – almost like a panic in her voice asking ‘What will you do for food and shelter??’. “Um, I just won’t have it, and I’ll go to the library once a week.’ Oh I’m a rebel folks, a real pioneer around these parts.

Think Pink.

A couple of times yesterday, I came to the computer to Google something. I almost called my cousin to ask him to check my emails.

I said almost.

I missed Facebooking about ‘The Bachelor’ drama.
*rolling eyes*
I knew Melissa should have been eliminated in the first round, and I knew that Emily would be an early favorite. 
 I've got a good knower about these things.
My heart was warmed to see that Ali and Roberto were still a couple. 
 This gives me great hope in mankind.
And ABC.

This morning – I woke up feeling awfully peaceful. I’m getting so much done. It’s nice not having the distraction in the house at the moment. I miss y’alls terribly.
 Guess what?
 I’ve gotten two, real life paper letters up in the mail this week from a couple of you!
I also had the joy of actually talking to a few of you.
 Brightened my day right up.

 It made me think of my mom – how excited she would be to get a letter from one of her sisters, or a phone call. Law – do you remember the day when long distance was so much per minute? I remember the ‘calls’ she would get from her sisters. You knew to keep yer yap shut and stay out of her way. They were so precious to her, and now that I think about it – sad really – to think now in this day in age of constant communication – how much our parents, and grandparents suffered in a way, just missing each other.

Let me just tell you this – this Pink Chicken Revolution, or whatever it is that you want to call it – my ‘Self Imposed Poverty’ – has become just as much as a spiritual, for lack of a better word, yay, even an emotional journey, every bit as much, and perhaps more than a ‘physical/financial’ one. It’s just as much as about wanting less as it is about having less. Want to save money on groceries – do I really need to say it? Eat less. For reals.

And now for some random drivel....(I apologize for the length of today's post - but bear with me - it's been four days since I've driveled!)

I had my first hot flash in my flannel gown last night. It was at 2am. I was still kinda up due to my Stash Tea Experiment and a toothache (more about that later) I wanted to find out exactly how many cups of satisfying tea one could really get out of A teabag.
 Folks – it’s five.
 For me anyhow – each time it needed to steep more – but it was five.

And to think I’ve been disposin’ of the bag after one. A pox upon me.

Five cups of caffeinated tea at 4pm is not a good idea for the Coop Keeper. Nay, ‘tis not. I couldn’t sleep. When I did, I dreamt of a projectile vomiting rabbit. I was scolding Glen for feeding it too much cardboard. I’d love to get that one interpreted.

I sleep over there on the left hand side - this photo is from Christmas - cause that would just be weird to have lights on the bed all year - seriously.

When one is in a full sized antique bed, up against the wall, in a flannel gown that is now twisted about your body every which way to Sunday, and there are enough blankets on the bed to pin you down like a high school wrestler – it’s REALLY not a good time to have a hot flash – or to be the spouse of said hot flasher. I think that’s all I’ll say about that.

On to the tooth. Or teeth. Remember my Italian mood over the weekend? Law. I made Anise Almond Biscotti. They were fabulous – until Glen cracked a molar whilst eating one. Now – it’s NOT my cooking – I’m sure that the tooth was ready to go. Homeboy wants a dental appointment. I told him to walk it off. He told me it hurt to drink his hot coffee. I told him to drink it lukewarm, or on the other side. I told him I’ve had a toothache for a month – suck it up baby!

Photo from last year's root canal -post Xanax - pre gas

We both have dentist appointments on Thursday at 2:30 in the pm. His is first, so that my Xanax can take full effect before I see Dr. Dimples. I’m so not happy about this – I mean – I’m happy about the gas and all, cause it’s FABULOUS – but I’m so not happy about the financial repercussions. We’ve no dental insurance. This was absolutely not in the budget – and even though I have emergency money set back – this doesn’t seem like an emergency. I’m a mess. I actually cried for about 40 seconds after I made the appointment. It’s a setback. I thought for a minute – ‘screw it’, I’ll just do what everyone else does and get used to living with debt.
And then I thought pink.
And then I picked myself up by the bootstraps and found some shrively lemons in the fridge, and decided that if life wanted to give this Pink Chicken lemons, I was gonna make a pie.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Spring Fever?

In lieu of the temps dipping into the single digits this week, and the impending snow...
I thought I'd share a few photos to remind us that it's a temporary situation.

But everything is temporary, isn't it?

Your beloved children - grow up to be men and women.

In a world of perpetual summer - would the first season's strawberry be as sweet?

In a world of perpetual summer, would there be 'spring chickens'?

So I say - let the January winds blow-let the snow fly and drift -
let my bones rest, and my mind scheme -

Have another cup of coffee, bake another loaf of bread -

Do I have Spring Fever?
Not a smidge of temperature here my friends.
I'm bundled and hunkered.
Haven't even looked at a seed catalog yet.

I'm going to drink up winter, and try to enjoy each day of the bone cold weather, warming myself with the company of friends, the accomplishment of indoor projects completed, and the entertainment of BBC miniseries and new books.

Cause it's temporary.
And if I rush this winter away, I'm in fact rushing my very life away.

I think not.
Hey winter - bring it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

More Excitement

More excitement.
See - here you thought you wouldn't hear from me, and I'm up on the InterWeb being a bloggin' fool.
Perhaps it's cause I know me days are numbered.

Don't you love it when you wake up excited about life?

I woke up wishing I were Italian today - I know that sounds crazy.
I'm Irish/German.
Do you Italian friends ever wake up feeling Irish?  Do you ever wake up hankering to make Colcannan and watch Riverdance?

I want to listen to Andrea Bocelli, simmer sauce, and make biscotti.

I have to tell you - I'm feeling really excited about this 'Pink Chicken Revolution' that we are starting.
Whether you go hardcore, like I am for now - or whether you just pause for a moment before you purchase something that's truly not necessary - please join the revolution.
Please know that my 'self imposed poverty' isn't about living without - or suffering - it's just about getting priorities straight - not spending yourself on yourself - and make wise choices.

I just thought of this song.  It's how I feel right now - I know there are a lot of people reading this that probably think I'm insane, or lazy.  Do any of you think I should just go get a job?  Are you one that thinks 'Hey Nerd, put the knitting needles down and join the ranks of the employed!"?
It only makes sense, right?  You want to get out of debt - make more money!  Well - since my debt at the moment is pretty minimal, I'm more excited to cut more spending than to make more money.  I don't know if you are like me - but when I'm working - I have such a great tendency to spend so much more - I justify it by saying I deserve it, or I need it - or I'm just tired and not really spending consciously.  Plus, being home for me is so important right now - I want to be available for Aaron - should he need anything at all - I want to available to my friends, if they need anything. 
I want to be:

And today -

But, that's neither here nor there -
My beloved John Lennon says it best.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Richest Chicken in Town

It's come to my attention that some hormonal, radical Dave Ramsey fanatic has hacked into my blog, and talked about things like 'no eating out' and 'no internet'.
My apologies.
The same hacker showed up around here last winter talking about not buying Ziploc bags and paper towels.

Ahhhh - I'm sorry folks - I'm that hacker, and 'tis true, 'tis true.
Last night, after reading all of your comments for the umpteenth time, and the sweet emails that you sent to me - I went to bed with the image of George Bailey being toasted by his brother Harry as 'the richest man in town'.
Truly - that is how I felt.
Well, that and a bit twitchy thinking of not having the Internet.
One of my readers - Mary - thinks I'm being impulsive - and yes Mary - you are SO right, I'm being ridiculously impulsive.  I fight my 'impulsitivity' alllllll the time.

But, I can't help to think that I need to be right now.
Glenco and I are in complete agreement (even though I keep finding him turning up the furnace to 67)
We feel so excited that barring any emergencies, we could be completely debt free in a few months.

I feel that going to the library, one of my favorite places in the world - will help me to focus on the task at hand - answering emails, which I'm HORRIBLE at doing now - blogging - and then the rest of my time at home, will be spent on things here.  I still find myself horribly distracted by the computer during every waking moment.

I have a pile of unfinished projects, two dresser drawers of yarn, loom materials galore, a basement that I've been threatening to clean out for years, and a few friends that could really use an extra pair of hands for a while.
  The quilt I started 23 years ago will be finished!

 I'm quite loving the idea of Thursday morning, after dropping Aaron off at school (he spends Wednesday nights with me) I can hop over to the library, with my Curious George lunchbox packed - and get all my blogging (I'm planning on doing a few, and scheduling the posts so that they'll post throughout the week - see!  I haven't forsaken you!) 

TV - I shall not miss you.
We are keeping our Netflix account.
Is that cheating?
I have my queue loaded to the gills baby.
It's $9 a month, compared to the $40 I was paying Directv for a horrible selection of channels.
Even when we were debt free, I had a difficult time paying for television.
Am I the only one that can't find something to watch when I have 300 channels?
I truly think that we have 'too much' to choose from in life these days.

Home phone - I'm going to miss your unlimited local and long distance minutes.
I'll be limited to 1000 minutes a month, and for my blabbermouth - that's not much.
Law - I may feel like a monk that's taken an oath of silence.

T Mobile cell phone - I can't wait to be rid of you on June 10th.
I hate your contracts and the $50 a month you've cost me for nearly four years.
1000 minutes a month and I've only used about 100 a month.
I'll finally get my money out of you for the next five months!

After the debt is gone - I'll have a home phone, and a cell that is only used for emergencies.
For me to be spending $100 a month for phones - like I have the last several years - is maddening.

I'm adjusting well to the heat change in house - and have even begun to sleep with fewer covers.  We just pop the electric blanket on for an hour before bed, and then turn it off. I actually have been sleeping better now that the heat is turned down.

Allied Waste Service - I miss you not.  I like being responsible for my garbage.  It's too easy to be a consumer, and fill the trash cans unconsciously when you come and pick up my waste.  3/4 of our trash was paper and/or recyclables.  Glen burns the paper and cardboard.  The remaining one small bag a week that we generate is thrown in the dumpster where Glenco works, with permission from his employer.

I'm beginning to live with eyes wide open.
Slowing down and being conscious.
The 'oh, it's only $30 a month for this - and for that - and this - etc.....adds up my friends.
I'm not willing to get up and leave my home everyday, to work a job, to pay for fluff.
I'm not willing to give up my nights and weekends with my husband and friends, just to work a job to pay for fluff!  I can save as much as I make, by staying home and being frugal.
And who knows - maybe one day I WILL sell my chicken drawings! Ha!

Oh, I'm not suffering folks - not by any stretch of the imagination.  I sit here now with a Life is Good hoodie on - sweet, fuzzy fleece stockings, covered in a hand crocheted afghan on a soft cozy chair, in my cozy paid for house - eating a slice of homemade cherry pie, cherries from my very own tree, and a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.
That we all would suffer so!

I'm very excited to share this journey with you.
I'll have the Internet through the weekend, to my knowledge it'll be turned off on Monday.
I'm going to make a gallant effort at cleaning out emails by then.
I can do this.
I'll be sharing fun tales of frugality.
I'll video tape the fit that Aaron will have when he comes here Wednesday and finds no wi-fi.
I'll share menu plans and recipes with you that help me stay in the $50/$60 a week range.
I'll show you the house projects I'm getting done with things I have about the house already.
(the upstairs bedroom is almost done!)
I'll keep you abreast of my debt reduction.
And I'll draw a heck of a lot of chicken pictures.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Pink Chicken

I'm prefacing this post by stating the fact.
I am 'unwell'.
That's what my female relatives called it when they were 'menstrual'.

So I've been thinkin' and thinkin'.
And then.

Last night I penned
 'Twas the night before me menses and all through me brain - the thoughts they be racin' like a crazy steam train."

I want to talk to you today about something I've begun.
It started with a trickle, and now it's become a mighty force to be reckoned with.

I call it -
Self Imposed Poverty.

Now, before y'all start sending donations to my cause - please rest assured that I have plenty to eat, my bills are paid and I'm warm at times here in this drafty old barn of a house.

Let me explain.

For those new readers that may not know - I lost my job in Sept. of 2009.
Then - Glen's hours were cut almost in half.

It was ok.  We had the house and all other bills paid off.
It was discussed among Glenco and I that I wouldn't go back to work unless it was an absolute neccesity.  We were really enjoying the quality of life we had with me here at home. (translation - nice meals, clean house, clean underwear and a happy wife)
Then - due to some seen and unforeseen circumstances - we had to take out a small home equity loan.

I 'thought' I'd done everything to cut the budget.
I thought I was being all pious and frugal.
I thought.

And then the other night I had this dream, this dream so vivid and real that it's stuck with me still.  I was swimmng in an ocean, and the current was so strong, that I could barely make headway.  I kept ending up at the wrong destination.  I felt exhausted.

Last night, as I was lying awake in bed - thinking about that stinkin' dream - I realize what the current was.
It was the way of life that most of us lead.
Things that have become normal.
The way we spend our money.
The debt we incur.
The comfort level we've been accustomed to.
The things we think we need, or deserve.
Our addictions.

I feel quite compelled to fight the current.
I feel quite compelled to be a 'pink chicken' in a world of yellow ones.

Why do I feel this way, you ask?

Cause as of Feb 9th my Directv is no more (date my contract is up)
I'm cancelling my home phone tomorrow - only because I can't cancel my cellphone until June.
I turn down the thermostat to 60 at night and 65 during the day.
(in this old brick house - you have no idea how cold that feels - although cause I'm active during the day, I'm fine - and I realize I sleep better at 60!)
I have no credit cards.
I budget $50 a week for groceries.
I leave the house twice a week for errands to save on gas.
I cancelled the trash pick up (three months without it - don't miss it - email for more info if you are wondering how I do it)
I renewed no magazine subscriptions this year.
I make my own laundry soap.
I don't eat out.

As of Monday this week - I've decided to stop thrifting until my debt is paid.
I've decided no more yarn until my debt is paid.
If it's not ESSENTIAL to life itself, it shant be purchased.
Until the debt is paid.
Now, last week, I truly believed that thrifting and yarn purchases were indeed essential!
But this is the big one.
Drum roll please.

I'm cancelling my internet service this weekend.

Can we have a moment of silence please?

Thank you.

I'll go to the library once a week for the afternoon and blog - and answer emails.
$40 a month savings.

I know.  It seems so piddly, doesn't it?
It's just $40.
But $40 x 6 months is $240, and that's 4.6% of my debt.

This isn't forever.  It's just for about six months.
That's my best calculations of how long it will take to get completely debt free again.
Then I shall enter the land of milk and honey, and have the internet again, and I'll go on a fabulous tropical vacation.

My friends - if you've experienced the feeling of owing no one anything - you will understand it when I say - there is no other way to live.

I'm sick of spending money needlessly and letting that debt just drag on.
I want it ended, and I want it ended now.
Oh, I could say - Jayme, Jayme - don't be so hardcore!  Keep your internet and your phones and your tv, just pay off your debt in a year or so.
But I want to be a pink chicken.

I have romantic visions of me driving to the library with my laptop in a cute quilted cover, with my lunch packed.
Those romantic visions are often tempered with visions of  me in the corner, sucking my thumb rocking back and forth with my eyes and fingers twitching, trying to form aluminum foil into a wi fi receptor.

Call me crazy - but it's so Dave Ramsey hardcore crazy that I love it!

As I close this blog today, I realize how important you've all become to me - and how much I value your opinion, and even thought I don't want to admit it - I worry some about what you think.

I hope you'll support me in my journey to financial freedom, and perhaps some of you will join me.
I'll be posting regularly about my progress.
It ain't easy being pink.

6:00pm CST update - y'all are the best!  Never fear - my plan was to prepare blogs at home - and then at the library, schedule them to post - a few a week - you ain't gettin' rid of me that easy!!
THANK YOU!  I feel empowered and encouraged.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Living Life in Limbo

Ok - if this picture doesn't calm any hopes you had of my artistic career - I'm not sure what will!

Before I get today's post started - I wanted to give you an update on Lawrence Welk.
When it failed to 'get a rise' out of me - the channel was changed to 'Hee Haw'.
Homeboy knows I was raised on 'Hee Haw' and it got quite a chuckle.
But now it was time for serious television watching.
You know?
We settled in on some PBS thing about your brain - I was just half watching it.
All I know was that there was a bald man telling me what to eat and what supplements to take for a healthy brain.  He claims that the higher your BMI (Body Mass Index) is the smaller and older your brain is. 
Holy crapamoly.  I'm pea brained and ancient.
16 years older, and 8% smaller - that's my brain.
Glen's remark 'Thank God.  I don't know what sort of mayhem you'd have going on around here if you had a bigger brain.'
True story.
It sorta seemed like a compliment.  : - /

What I wanted to talk to you about today was my decision to give up worry on December 2, 2010.
I didn't read a book.
I didn't have an epiphany - although I seem to have them every half an hour, on the hour.
It was just a realization that I felt like I 'couldn't be happy' until everyone else was.
I was a chronic worrier.
The line in my heart between care, concern and worry, was so smudged I had no idea where I was standing.

I had decided that I couldn't be happy until Aaron was getting really great grades.
What if he never did?  All four years? 
I wouldn't be happy for four years.

I decided then, what about after school?  I couldn't be happy until Aaron got a good job, and found love, and a nice place to live.

How many years is that going to take?

I decided I couldn't be happy until a loved one drank less.
What if they never did?

I decided I couldn't be happy until I lost weight.
What if I never did?

That's not even the tip of the iceberg of the things I'd lose sleep over.

On the morniing of December 2, 2010, my fleece covered feet hit the hardwood floor under my bed and I realized that I'd set up my life to never be happy.

Perhaps happy is the wrong word.
I'm pretty 'happy' all the time.

Maybe 'settled' is the word - maybe 'at peace' is the word.
It didn't matter - cause I was doomed to never have 'it' - whatever 'it' was.

I was in limbo.

I decided right then and there it was over.
I couldn't keep it up.
I have no control over people - barely have any over myself!
I can't change the world - only myself.
I started turning my worry thoughts into prayers.
I had to shake things off, cut things off.
It was really hard for a week.
I had to capture each thought, and examine it before I let it settle in my 8% smaller brain.

One month later.
It's much easier.
Perfect?  No.
I can't let myself think or talk about certain things just yet.
It's like a dandelion seed head of worry blowing in the breeze.
So there are some things I won't talk about right now.
Some things I won't think about right now.
Seems silly, doesn't it?

I'm guarding my heart carefully.
I'm realizing my limitations.
I'm surrounding myself with positive people, positive reading materials.
I'm taking this very seriously.

I feel 'happier'.  I feel more settled, and I feel peace.

Have any of the things I've been worrying about changed?
I've changed.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shanghai'd in Indiana

This morning I woke Glen up and told him he needed to be ready to leave by 9:30 in the am.
He had no idea why, and I wasn't about to tell him.

I'd made plans for the whole day, unbeknownst to him.
In true Glenco fashion he said 'I'll try not to ruin your day.'
For those of you that don't know us in 'real life' - Glen is pretty much my polar opposite.  I'm hyper - he's mellow.  I get excited over everything, it takes a lot to impress him - I'm talky, he's quiet.

I had spontaneous fits of clapping and giddyness as I packed our lunch.
It may or may not have been the 'Bacon Lover's' Dietz and Watson turkey lunchmeat.

I got a bit gussied up.
I put on the necklace.
I only put on the necklace when I'm going somewhere - like a funeral, a wedding - or to see blogging friends.

It's not a fancy necklace, it's just somewhat fashionable - and that word is usually not used in the same sentence as my name.

We went to church y'all.
Glenco was quite surprised. 
In a long drawn out story that I shant share here, I haven't gone to church in about seven years.

photo from

After church, we parked at the Square and had our lunch.
I'm cheap like that - and I like my food better than most restaraunts.
I find no pleasure in spending $25 on a mediocre lunch.

None -  in like zero.
Did I mention the Bacon Lover's Turkey?
Did I mention the Peanut Butter Banana Bread??

photo by Cooking Light

Law - this stuff was good.
It's from Cooking Light - so it's semi-healthy.
There's even flaxseed meal in there.

Our next stop was the Barker Mansion in Michigan City, Indiana.

It's a mansion built in 1857 by a local millionaire industrialist.
One thing Glenco and I share is a love of old homes.
38 rooms of opulence.
Unfortunately we were unable to go in all of them.
And - unbeknownst to me - we weren't allowed to take photos either.

                            I got two before a post-menopausal woman stopped me dead in my tracks.
My first thought was that she needed moisturizer.*
After two minutes with the woman, I realized that she needed more than that - yea, her very soul needed moisturizer.

This was the butler's kitchen, and the spot I was busted.
I was so determined to show you photos of the interior that I kept taking pictures, with my camera hanging down....

Great shot huh?  Nice sleeve.

After a couple of gas station coffee's and a quick stop at a thrift store (Glenco likes thrifting too - he's just not really aware of it yet) - we were on the way to the next stop.

I really wanted to see 'True Grit' today - but don't you know - Glenco wasn't feelin' it.
And afterall, it was 'Glenco's Day' - so I didn't push the issue - although now I'm reallllly wishing we'd have gone.

Can I just say how happy I am that Jeff Bridges is enjoying a comeback?
I've loved him since 'Jagged Edge'.

So here I sit in this drafty old house, wrapped up in afghans, snuggling with a little banty chicken and typing away to you.  Glen has 'The Lawrence Welk Show' on, and I know it's just to get a rise out of me.
Dear Lord, I hope it's for that reason, and not that we've crossed that invisible line of oldness where we'd rather be in the house with chickens and blankets and Lawrence Welk than out among the English watching a movie.

* Tomorrow I will be speaking at the Lowell Garden Club - held at the Lowell Library - on Natural Skin Care - or 'Skin Care from the Kitchen' - at 6:30pm.
Would be great to meet some local blog readers!