Back in the day… [day 18 & 19]

On my recent road trip, I found so many interesting things to photograph.  Most of the interesting things were vintage or antique.  What’s the difference?  My boss asked that question on Facebook a few months ago.  Vintage is 7+ years old and antique is 50+ years old.  Just for the record, I’m still vintage.

Life has changed radically over the past few decades.  Here’s a few photos I found interesting.

vw bug slugbugSlug bug!  I just had to stop and take a photo of this VW Bug, sitting in front of an auto salvage yard.  It’s probably out front because people still love these little beauties.  Some turn them into art projects, some restore them and some use them for parts.

This car, brand new, back in 1969 cost about $1,800.  The same car now (44 years later, for those of you who hate math), brand new, costs $19,995 for the basic model.  A restored 1969 model in decent shape is in the $4,000 range.   Continue reading

it’s hotter than… [daily good photo]

116°?!!??  I really have no idea how hot hell is, but I’m pretty sure we have to be close.  So how is this good?  I find a lot of good in this crazy hot weather.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired of it since it’s been over 100° for over a month now.  Okay, here’s my ‘good’ in it:

My mobile thermometer.  I’m glad my car has this temperature feature.  That might not seem like a big deal to anyone reading this, but my car is 15 years old.  I like simple ‘old-fashioned’ gadgets like this, not the complicated computers they have in all of the new cars now.  You can say I’m getting old and I like old stuff, but I love technology, so I don’t think that’s the case.  I just don’t need technology everywhere and on everything in my life.

Southern living.  I lived in Wisconsin and in Chicago, Illinois long enough to know I love living in the south.  I’d rather deal with this heat for a couple of months rather than the snow and cold.  Last time I was in Wisconsin, that little gadget said -17°.

Cool off!  Although the A/C in my car works, it’s not the coldest air ever.  And let’s not even talk about my electric bill even though I keep my thermostat set on 80°.  But we do have air conditioning.  Down in Mexico, only 8 hours away in drive time, there’s many people without this luxury.  They have hotter temperatures than we do… without anything to cool them off.  Sure, you can say, “They’re used to it…”, but really?  It’s good that I can afford, and have… air conditioning.

back to school… supplies & demand lessons

Yes, it’s time to start preparing for back-to-school.  My kids are in denial that they’re going back soon.  I’m in denial that I have to spend a lot of money on school supplies.  Of all the challenges a year of no retail shopping posed on our lives, school supplies was the most difficult and time consuming.  (You can read about this: Back to school [day 58] and School supply update [day 83])  I think the difficulty is because of the specific list of “must buys” from the school district.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to providing school supplies for my kids, I just don’t understand why they require brand names and why they don’t let the teachers make their own specific lists.  We have the technology now to do that.

Back to school for us means going through all of last years’ stuff.  On the last day of school, my kids ran in the house, threw all of their school stuff in the back of the closet and it hasn’t seen the light of day since.  I pulled it all out.  My 1st find was a lunch bag… with a partially eaten sandwich.

Lesson #1:  Go through this stuff before it goes into the closet.

On to the backpacks and reusable shopping bags that are filled with who knows what.  Yikes!  Could they really have used this much paper??!?  All of this went into the recycling bin.  Can’t these workbooks be designed to be used more than once?  Is there a way to use less paper?  I’m not a teacher so I’m not even going to pretend that I could suggest a better way.  I think teachers are a huge blessing to our kids.

Lesson #2:  Get backpacks with wheels to avoid future doctor visits for back problems.  Continue reading

gracie rockin’ the guitar [daily good photo]

[like… a lot]  Once a month on Thursdays, we go to the nursing home across the street to hang out and sing with the residents.  I love to hear their stories, like Flo who was an incredible artist and painter or Ethel, 99 years old that was a biker chick in her younger days.  Gracie, whom we’ve never met before, joined us last night to sing.  She kept looking behind us because she saw an extra guitar and she kept asking for it.  Finally Steve got up, gave her the guitar and Gracie rocked the house!  She was harmonizing, belting out the hymns with her beautiful voice and playing the guitar like she had been in a band all her life.  Her happiness quickly spread to all of us around her.  I can’t wait until next month to see Gracie again.  I’m thinking we need to find her a guitar, as it’s unusual that we have an extra one.

hours and hours of fun for only $16

The first thing I do when I’m on vacation in a new city is scope out all of the local thrift stores and resale shops.  It was raining yesterday, so the kids couldn’t do some of the things they had planned, so we hit the thrift stores.  The first one had some cool stuff, but way higher prices than what I’m used to.  The second store was a combo resale-thrift store.  I found a great t-shirt there, but they only take cash.  Of course I didn’t have any cash with me.  The boys found a treasure here, something I had when I was their age, but I said no impulse buys.  If they wanted it, they were going to have to return the next day to get it.  I was going back, after a bank run, to get my t-shirt.

The third thrift store didn’t have much that peaked my interest, that is until I turned the corner and found this little gem for $2.  A vintage Polaroid 600 camera.  Now that there’s a company making film for these, they’re not as easy to find.  These are selling on eBay from $10 to $50.  Replicas are going for up to $150.  This little beauty was only $2, an expenditure that was not part of the $16 hours of fun that I’m about to share with you.  I’ll have to order the film for this.  Did I need this?  No.  My kids and I will have some fun with it, then probably turn around and sell it.

My kids were talking the entire time about the vintage toy back at the second shop.  Honestly, I knew they would appreciate it and it was a cool flashback for me.  When we returned, the nice lady working there greeted us with a big smile and said, “You’re back!”  We bought the vintage toy…

Meet Rex, a 70’s vintage string puppet named after our favorite restaurant in Steamboat Springs, CO.  He cost $16, a price that seemed fair for a real vintage toy.  My boys have a great appreciation for vintage things, as they love our 12 rotary dial phones as much as I do.  We decided to take Rex out on the town!  Continue reading

peacock feather [daily good photo]

[like]  I like, okay, love peacock feathers.  The colors are bold and beautiful, but more than that, they are a sign of protection.  I’ve studied Persian rug art and the peacock feather is a sign of protection.  This particular feather is wrapped around my happy tree.  The happy tree is a dead tree that is stained bright blue and stands tall by my front door.  It’s an art piece that I love to look at every time I enter or exit my house.  Luckily I don’t have an HOA and I have really awesome neighbors.

bird singing on the roof [daily good photo]

[appreciate]  A cardinal sitting on my roof, singing for over 10 minutes.  I got my phone out and opened an app that plays bird sounds and I talked to him.


away from the metro mess [day 353]

I’m behind on blogging. Saturday, I was in San Angelo picking up a pop up camper. It was an awesome trip… away from the “metro mess” and away from the electronic devices that seem to have too much control in my life. Spending a day enjoying God’s creation is just just what I needed. I’m blessed to have a great friend that really understands how to appreciate everything in life. I should thank him again for the escape. :)

do I look fat in this dress? [day 348]

Okay, so maybe I have taken this paperless thing a bit too far… or have I?  Yesterday, Lindsey, my friend and coworker, said the most awesome thing to me.  She said, “Happy Mother’s Day!” and followed that up with something like, “I was going to get you a card, but then I thought you wouldn’t like a card because it’s paper, so I didn’t get you one.”  That completely made my day!  When someone takes the time to get to know you and expresses that in some form or fashion, it just feels really good.  That’s the perfect example of “it’s the thought that counts.”  I spent time with my boys for Mother’s Day, no cards, no flowers, just quality time.

Some of the best and most meaningful thoughts on paper that I’ve ever received were written on recycled paper scraps, on the back of a daily devotional or on the inside of a book.  These aren’t paperless, but they also didn’t cost $3.99 and say Hallmark on the back.

Later in the afternoon we went over to my friend Shannon’s house for waffles.  I told my boys to get plates and get their food.  Next thing I know, they’re both standing in front of me, looking angry, holding the paper plates in front of them like they’re showing me some art pieces.  Cole starts in on the “wasteful” speech.  I quickly realized there’s some sort of balance here that I have neglected to teach my kids.  Yes, stand up for what you believe in, but I guess I need to work a little harder on teaching them to take people’s feelings into consideration.  And manners?  I’m teaching my kids to always be honest.  If I ask, “…do I look fat in this dress?”  I’m looking for an honest opinion, not fishing for a compliment of lies about how thin I’m not.  It’s okay for my kids to stand up for what they believe in, but I guess I need to help them with some filters.  Be honest, but find a nice way to do it?

I know I’m teaching them everything against what our culture is teaching them.  I guess I should teach them something like this; let people know what you’re about and what you stand for, but don’t impose your beliefs on others.  Show them your reasons in pleasant, non-aggressive ways, be open minded to other viewpoints and appreciate any differences. I’ve started their therapy funds just in case.  😉

how’s it really going? [days 45 & 46]

So 45 days into this, and how’s it really going?  I think it’s going well.  Here’s a few situations and challenges I’ve run across over the past couple of weeks.

Superstores… :(

Even though I can buy groceries and toiletries in retail places, I’ve tried to avoid the superstores.  I grocery shop at Kroger, which is a chain, but there aren’t any grocery stores that are not chains.  I did recently go into Target for a few groceries and Walmart for a few toiletries.  This was not my first choice, but the person I was with chose those stores.  Again, I can go in, but I can only buy groceries or toiletries.  In both stores, I got what I needed and left.  I had no desire to look around or shop at either place.  The trip there did make me think though.  I need to find some non-chain retail places to buy groceries and toiletries.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

Oooo, I want to buy a… nevermind.

There have been a few times where I have wanted to buy something.  Once it pops into my head, I quickly dismiss it, knowing I can’t, well, have chosen not to.  I want welding equipment really bad, some miscellaneous art supplies and a leaf blower.  I don’t need them and I’ll live without them.  I have to say, I have the welding equipment in the back of my mind though and have thought that might be a purchase I could make once my year is up.  It feels very wrong to be thinking that way, but if I wait, I sure won’t be anything close to an impulse buy, right?


I seem to appreciate the things I do have much more now.  I’m not quite sure how this happened or when, but I just feel more content.  I’m so blessed to have shelter, food and all of the things my kids and I need.  If we do want something new, we usually just forget about it and play with our old stuff.  I like this.

Services vs. stuff

I had someone tell me, “…so you’ll pay for services (referring to my lawn guy) but you won’t buy anything.”  Yes, that is true.  With a service, I’m not collecting more stuff and by using services, I’m helping keep people employed.  It’s like when my kids want something, I’d rather take them to a movie and spend the money there.  We’re doing something together and not accumulating more stuff.  I could take that money and buy them toys that will sit in the bottom of a toy bin after a week or spend it doing something as a family.

Overall, I’m glad I chose to this challenge.  :)