Thursday, October 30, 2014

Garden report: All done!

      Time has run out on the garden, it seems.   The two frosts didn't hit my area, but the weather report tonight calls for below-freezing temperatures.  So I spent part of yesterday clearing out the garden.

      My haul:  Four peppers, a handful of baby green beans. and about 6 pounds of tomatoes!  Four pounds of that were from the tiny plum tomatoes that I've been using in salads. 

     I pulled in the three cantaloupe ... not sure keeping the plastic over them did much for ripening.  I'll put them in a warm room and hope for the best.  If not .... well, I tried.

     Anyway, a batch of tomatoes I picked last week is now ripe, and I have some fresh basil to harvest bruschetta is on the menu for dinner. 

     And speaking or gardens ... (Alert: more shameless promotion as I try to put my sabbatical to good use.) here's another story, this one on green beans.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Garden report: near the end

  We're winding down for the year, it seems.  We've already had a couple of frost warnings, though it looks like the freeze may hold off for another week or so.

   I've picked off the little peppers and the last of the green beans.  I still have lots of green tomatoes, and need to start pulling those in.

   I am in a quandary about my cantaloupe.  I have three rather green ones, and I doubt they'll ripen in time to escape the freeze.  From what I understand, they won't ripen if I pick them.   As a last resort, I'm leaving them covered, hoping that it will create a mini-greenhouse and speed them on ...

And speaking of gardening, and I bit of shameless promotion, check out this story I wrote.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Small frugalities

   Just a few things we're doing ....

    CD envelopes ... DH wanted a few paper envelopes (rather than plastic boxes) for some data CD's.  Rather than buying, he took one apart and made a template so he can make his own.

    Using it up ...  I'm focusing on baking from the pantry (as well as cooking from it) these days.   I now have time to run the bread machine, or bake lunch-box treats, rather than hit the stores. (Even markdowns can get expensive after awhile.)  My latest creation was red velvet cupcakes (from a mix bought on sale), with leftover orange icing.   They kind of clashed, but were tasty, LOL!

    Off with the lights ...  Having  someone at home all the time does not lower the light bill, so I'm trying to offset that.  I've gotten religious about turning off unused lights, and I've cut back on dryer use.  I've also turned off or reset some of the lamp timers in the house. (I don't have to make the house look occupied ... it is :)

    One room with a timer is where Senior Gal spends her time (away from her obnoxious brother).  I want some light in there, but didn't want a lamp going all the time. So I had a brainstorm:  I bought an inexpensive nightlight, and turn that on for a few hours.  It produces enough light to see by, but should use a lot less electricity.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday supper

   A pot of corn chowder for an overcast fall day ...

   I lightened it up a bit by using half the bacon and substituting a mix of evaporated and fresh low-fat milk in place of  cream.  Also cubed up some leftover ham steak and added it to the mix.

    Served with deli turkey sandwiches on homemade (savory) pumpkin bread ... quite filling!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Insurance decisions

   The enrollment information for health insurance arrived ... and as expected, it's going up again.

    DH and I have always carried our own insurance, since it was less expensive, among other factors.  That will continue for a few more months, until my severance runs out.  

    Once it does, if I haven't found a job with benefits, we'll have to make a decision:  go on DH's plan or continue my insurance through COBRA.   Premium-wise, it makes sense to go on DH's plan -- the cost for both of us would likely equal what I would have to pay alone.

   But the rub is we're both on high-deductible plans, and the maximum out-of-pocket costs for the family plan are double those   for a single. If I'm understanding correctly, should one of us became seriously ill or injured, we'd be on the hook for something in the neighborhood of $10,000.

    I'm going to have to figure out what makes the most financial sense -- pay higher premiums to hold down costs in a "worst-case" situation, or pay lower premiums and gamble that we'll stay well.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

And it begins ...

   Those of us with "senior" fur babies know that somewhere down the road, we'll get a vet's report that doesn't say, "all's well."

    Senior Gal, age 15,  had her checkup and blood work this week ... which showed she's in the early stages of kidney disease.  The vet stresses that it is very early, and that a change in diet and some supplements could help to hold off the progression of the disease.

    I'm hopeful, but also a bit distressed. It hasn't been all that long ago that we went through this with Elder, and the memories are still a bit too fresh.  

   Budget-wise, that's an ouch, since her new food is nearly triple the cost of the old food, and we have more blood tests in the future.  But we'll adjust. 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In the cards

  I'm going to a job seminar/networking event later this week. And today, I realized that, D'oh, I should have a few business cards.  

I thought about using a template to do my own, then realized that no ... I couldn't produce anything that looked professional ... let alone cut it straight.

      So I tried the Web site of my favorite big-box office supply store. Found a design I liked and set it up.  Then found it would take five to seven days to deliver.  Nope.

      But all was not lost. Big box advertises same-day printing. Figured it would cost me more, but I did have a rebate coupon. So I made a print of the designed card, noted the typefaces and point sizes and headed out.

      The print shop guy was happy to help, but there was a problem:  He couldn't use my design.  Seems the online designs can't be accessed by the in-store print shop.  (Really?  Talk about a missed opportunity for sales!)   But print shop guy had another idea.  He found a similar design and is working it up for my card.   And best of all, he's charging me the Web site price!  

     So now I won't be embarrassed if someone asks for my card.   And since the cards won't cost an arm and a leg, I used the rebate coupon to buy printer ink ... which does cost an arm and a leg.