It’s like having an insurance policy with no idea of what’s covered

I visited a local agency for help on my homeless journey.  Every church in the area at least mentioned it, most of them saying they support it and that’s where I must go for any help.

This is another journal entry.  I am using the name of the agency, as you would be able to guess it.  They are doing good things there, and like all other agencies, they’re under-resourced.

A trip to the food pantry

I feel the need to go someplace familiar.  I think I’ll go to the library next.  Or better yet, I’ll go to Frisco Family Services.  I’m not expecting much, but I need to see what all the hype is about.  When everyone in town is sending you to the same place, is there really any choice?  I need to eat for two weeks, and this is looking like my only option, besides dumpster diving.  I am reluctant to go, as I know they’ll have lots of paperwork and that makes pretending a lot more difficult.  I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Pretending to be homeless is stressful.  I can’t image how awful homelessness really is.  I took a deep breath and walked inside.   Continue reading

play plinko at the farmers market

I decided to go to the Frisco Farmers’ Market today.  As the words farmers’ market suggests, I expected to find lots of local produce vendors and maybe a few other food-type vendors.  Since the name starts with Frisco, maybe my expectations should have been a little different.

From Wikipedia:  A farmers’ market (also or farmers market) consists of individual vendors—mostly farmers—who set up booths, tables or stands, outdoors or indoors, to sell produce, meat products, fruits and sometimes prepared foods and beverages. Farmers markets add value to communities.

From the Frisco Farmers’ Market website:  Local growers offer juicy melons, peaches, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh corn on the cob and lots more. Also offered are baked breads, meat from local ranchers, honey, arts and crafts, and various other products.  Something for everyone.

I was surprised that out of 30 vendors, only 9 of them sold produce or locally grown items.

I enjoyed my trip to the outdoor market, which may be better description of it.  In my opinion, if it’s a farmers’ market, it should be farmers selling their fruits and vegetables.  Now, as it is described on the website, it’s all that including arts, crafts and various other products.  If that’s the case, call it what it is.  An outdoor market or farmers’ market and more.   Continue reading

rethinking good 5,723 times

My friend Lin called me a few days ago and asked me a simple question.

“I have a few coats I want to donate.  Do you know a good place where they can maybe help someone in need?  Maybe a homeless shelter?”

Well, if you’ve ever met Lin, she’s my sister from another mother.  So that question turned into this…

“How about if we both start collecting coats from everyone we know, see how many we can get and bring them down to Dallas in early November?”  Of course, we couldn’t stop there.  The it evolved into, “Let’s set a radical goal of 5,723 coats and blankets!  (The 5,700 is the approximate homeless ‘point in time’ count in Dallas and 23 is the day we started this idea)  We can get businesses, churches and individuals to help us out.  We’ll blast it out on social media and tell everyone we can!”

Thus projectwarm.us was born.  Here’s the skinny…

What is projectwarm.us?

Project Warm Us is just a way to get some much needed warmth to the homeless.  Our goal is to collect 5,723 coats and blankets to be distributed to the homeless population in Dallas.  We will be passing these on to ourcalling.org for distribution on Thanksgiving day.  See below for all our distribution partners.

How can I help?

Donate your new or gently used coats and blankets.  Any gender, any size, adults, kids, it doesn’t matter.  We need them all.  The drop-off locations will be posted as we arrange the locations.   Continue reading

is it really any different because you buy it somewhere else?

I said, “No fast food through the end of the year.”  Why?  Mostly because of the wastefulness of it.  The amount of disposable plastics, paper and styrofoam bothers me.  We do fast food places out of convenience.  I just wanted to see how badly I needed fast food in my life.  My kids have missed it a little bit, but not much.  I also miss it on occasion, but not too much either.

I had to work today, and right after work, I had to bring a main dish to a potluck lunch.  I went to Cane’s Chicken.  It’s clearly a fast food place, complete with a drive-thru and lots of paper waste.  I bought in bulk, only buying the tailgate 25 piece pack.  Now I could have stopped at Kroger and picked up some chicken that was already prepared.  It would also be in disposable containers, although I could have placed it in a reusable bag.  So my big questions is…

Is it any different buying prepackaged (prepared) food at the grocery store versus a fast food place?

I have to answer, “No.”   I will still continue my no fast food places, but I need to add on these simple shopping changes.

  • Compare.  If the paper waste is the thing that’s bothering me, whether I shop at the grocery store or anywhere else, I need to consider the waste involved.  Just because I buy it at the grocery store doesn’t mean that I’m not being wasteful.
  • Call it what it is.  The grocery store has fast food.  It’s in the form of deli sandwiches, sushi, fountain drinks and many other forms.  If I buy a ham sandwich already made at Tom Thumb, that’s the same as buying a burger from a fast food place.  Same container, same pre-made food, same waste amount.
  • Plan.  I should have done a better job planning ahead for my potluck meal.  I could have made something the night before and picked it up on the way over there.  My bad.

There’s a new container-less grocery store opening this fall in Austin, TX called in.gredients… if they meet their fundraising goals.  I love this idea!!  Listen to the radio talk about it.  This is such a cool concept!  See how it works.

This is greatness.  Maybe I should help them get rolling in Austin, then I’ll open one here.  Check out the in.gredients website.

downsizing your house

I recently looked into downsizing my house.  This idea came into my head for many reasons, which we can visit another time.  I decided to do a little research and see if this was feasible.  First, there’s a few things you should know about where I live.

  • Frisco, Texas
  • Population: 122,000+
  • Average income: $101,000+ (over twice the national average)
  • Average house size: 3,100 sq. ft.

My house is less than 1,800 sq. ft.  I won’t get into my salary here, but I’ll just say God has a great sense of humor having me here in Frisco… for many reasons.  Still, I decided to look into downsizing my home, just a little bit.

My options were slim to none.  I could buy a foreclosure, a smaller sized one, but by the time you add in the repairs (new house and existing house), realtor fees, cost of moving and the emotional toll on my kids, it’s just not worth doing.  I have seen a few people downsize their house, many of them upsizing again.

This whole process intrigues me.  I want to know more about it.  Who downsizes?  Why?  I’m doing some research on this topic and I would love your feedback.

  1. Have you ever downsized your home, or anything else?
  2. What were the costs?
  3. Were there any unexpected results?
  4. In the end, did it accomplish your financial or simplification goals?  
  5. If you looked into downsizing, but it wasn’t a good option, why not?
If you hate typing, but would be willing to answer these for me, please contact me.

rethinking good in frisco style magazine

Thanks so much to Frisco Style Magazine for rethinking good in their August 2011 arts issue.  No retail shopping for one year has proven to be a great way to rethink no only shopping, but the way we live life.  Here’s a few of the blog posts related to the article if you would like more details.  Thanks again for rethinking good!

What is the no retail shopping challenge? [info]

Back to school [day 58]

School supply update [day 83] 

To Infiniti and beyond! [day 175]

Airing my dirty laundry… and clean laundry [day 235]

My new minimalist challenge [day 266]

Cost analysis, kid style [day 309]

Do you share your household budget with your kids? [day 337]

Continue reading

road trip adventure

18 hours in a car?  Not a problem for us!  Yeah, I would love to fly and get to my destination quickly, but I’m good with a road trip.  There’s more adventure in driving.  (Texas to northern Colorado)  I don’t have photos of all the beautiful sights along the way, but I have some.  God was showing off His beautiful art yesterday… lightning, rainbows, rain, sunshine, deserts, mountains, clouds, storms, trees, rocks, sand…

Continue reading

shhh! I’m a spy in the witness protection program!

Procrastinating is something I try not to do, but I seem to do it well.  Apparently it’s one of my many gifts…  Procrastinate.  Watering my plants, returning the 1,000 emails in my inbox or renewing my drivers license.  The plants are dead, I have a few people not so happy with me and I now have to change my name.  Yes, I have to change my name because I waited too long to renew my driver’s license.

It’s bad enough that the procrastination cost me an entire day of vacation, but I have no one to blame but myself.  Actually, the procrastination started about 13 years ago.  I got married.  Yes, changing your name on your social security card is part of the deal, but a part that didn’t work out for me.  I got the paperwork, filled it out, mailed it in and they lost it.  “We’ll send you another set and you can do it again.”  Really?  Yeah, because that’s gonna happen.  I thought as long as I get my tax refund, who cares?  Uncle Sam doesn’t care, why should I?

Fast forward to today.  My drivers license is about 3 weeks expired.  The window of opportunity to renew it online is closed.  I came to stand in the long, outside line to get my license renewed early in the morning.  It’s going to be 100 degrees outside today.  Wait.  Wait some more.  Keep waiting…  After standing in line for two and a half hours, I finally get to the front of the line and made it to the counter.  Yes!  It’s almost over!  No.  It’s not.  I was denied a renewal.  What??!!?!  The name on my license did not match the name on my social security card.  She said I could get a licence in my old name, but only if I showed my social security card.  I don’t carry my social security card with me.  My aliases have caught up with me.  Sadly, I’m going to have to give up my career as a spy in the witness protection program.  At this point, I would have taken a license in any name.  I just want to drive legally, I don’t care what name they call me. Continue reading

a sign of peace [day 363]

I decided to take the day off yesterday and spend some time playing.  I haven’t been to a thrift store in a while but I needed to find some flip flops for my boys and boots for all of us.  Yes, I know it’s summer, but I’m tired of ruining shoes on my urban explorations and them when they go hunting with their dad.

I went to Half Price books to look around while waiting for the nail place to open.  What?  It’s my once-a-year pedicure.  It’s a service.  I found this while browsing the store.

Charge Large.  A board game that encourages you to borrow money to buy big and build big.  Ages 12 and up.  First of all, my kids would chew me out for buying something like this, which is good.  Second, isn’t this teaching your kids that credit is good?  And fun?  I can’t believe this even exists.  And the people that buy it, do they put it on credit?  It would seem a little wrong not to.

So I made it to the nail place, started getting my pedicure when the girl asked me, “Do you want me to do your eyebrows?”  I said, “No.”  I don’t tweeze my eyebrows and I sure don’t let anyone else do it.  I like my eyebrows.  She then asked one more time, only this time she said she could fix them.  Fix them?  I had a flashback of a Mary Kay thing I went to for a friend, with the promise that I didn’t have to put on any makeup.  I remember this complicated chart of what my eyebrows are supposed to look like.  I’m pretty sure God knew what he was doing when he made my eyebrows.  I like them, so I’m not ‘fixing’ them with tweezers, string, lasers or any other crazy methods.  If my eyebrows are so hideous that you can’t look at me, just look away.  I really don’t get most of this girl stuff, and although I do participate in a small amount of it, it just seems like a lot of work.

Then I went to the thrift store, found the flip flops, had lunch with Elizabeth, then I decided to visit the Henna Salon.  I turned really old yesterday, so the henna place was to get a tattoo.  A tat that lasts only two weeks is not much of a mid life crisis, but it was something out of the ordinary.

I went inside the Henna Salon, which is typical Frisco, with the addition of an Indian flair.  I asked about the tattoos and they were reasonably priced and it didn’t take a long time to do.  The girl said I could bring my own design or choose from one in their book.  I wasn’t prepared with my own design so I chose one from their photos.  I asked the girl if she could add a peace sign to the middle of the one I chose.  She said that would be no problem.  I sat down and she started working on my henna tattoo.  It was difficult to be still but I managed.  The tat is on the side of my left leg, so I could see her working, but not the work itself.

After a period of time, she looked up and asked if I would like a large peace sign next to the design.  She pointed to the side of it and I said, “Yes, that would be great.”  She went back to work and in a minute or so, she pointed to my leg and asked if I liked my peace sign.

I looked down expecting to find a peace sign, but I had a “P” sign.  ??!!?!?!?!?  Well, something was definitely lost in the translation here!  I now have “P” on my leg.  Actually there’s two P’s…  I wanted to burst out in laughter so I had to rush to get out of there.  I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe!  Good thing it’s not permanent!  So to answer the question most people are asking, no, I didn’t say anything or ask her to fix it.  I decided not to get one on my hand, as there’s no telling what that would have had on it.  As my friend said, “You wouldn’t want “P” on your hand!”

I plan to go back.  I did have someone challenge me on this being a retail purchase.  I see it as a service, tinting my skin.  I didn’t buy some object that will sit around my house, and no, the henna wasn’t used.  I keep laughing every time I look at it though.  You just need a sense of humor in life.  I think I like the “P” better than the peace sign.  My friends are using and emphasizing all “P” words and it’s just a funny story to tell.  Some other person might have been angry or asked them to fix it, but I’m personally enjoying it.  I will go back there again, but next time with my own artwork.  Oh, the possibilities!  Peace is a choice.  I’ll embrace my “P” for two weeks, and who knows, maybe I’ll ask for another “P” sign.

grass for my yard gnomes [day 328]

Anyone who knows me, knows I love my outdoor living space.  My backyard is one of the reasons I bought the house I live in.  It’s small, but it’s one of the few houses in Frisco with trees.

I’ve been fighting with my yard for 4.5 years now.  There’s so much shade, I can’t seem to grow any grass.  In Wisconsin, I had to shovel snow.  Here, I shovel mud.

My yard guys said they have a solution.  Fine fescue grass.  The price was awesome and having some grass will keep my yard from eroding, and me from being the ugly neighbor.

They seeded yesterday… right before the rain.  I hope it didn’t wash away.  My yard gnomes, Caron and Diane, really need a nice yard.  I’m starting to loose hope… having grass might not be possible.  Astroturf?  It might be in my future.