Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Marconi Peppers

Yep, I've turned into one of those ladies who adores her dogs as evidenced by Junebug's appearance at the table. As if?  Tabby sweetly moved the dog out of her seat at supper.  I'd sauteed a great deal of onions and garden peppers (Marconi Sweet) from my gardens, whole wheat linguini, and tomato sauce also from the garden, topped with Fire Hot pepper Sauce for me while the kids prefer grated Pepper Jack cheese on their piles of pasta.

CW came in from UNG inhaling happily as I was drying cayenne peppers in the oven.  "Now that smells like home," he pronounced.

JoJo fell apart yesterday afternoon, crying his eyeballs out at the thought of our elderly dog Rosie's descent into very old age.  I think she's still fine, but JoJo is right in that she's aging, she's nearly 15, she's been here JoJo's entire life with us, and he truly adores her.

"Ya think maybe you're also upset over your childhood ending?" I asked him and he nodded, knowing in less than two weeks he will leave for Youth Challenge.  The plus side is that he'll finish high school now on time and he is truly excited to go, yet for severely traumatized children like mine, transitions just simply suck.  I'm gonna miss him more than he's gonna miss us.

"Honey," I began, sitting there on the floor with him, "I'm still your Mama, nothing changes except where you'll sleep at night for five months.  I'm still gonna be here waiting on you, visiting you and bringing you home on passes."

"I know," he said,  "I get it, I really do."  Here's hoping Rosie lives another year or so. She's a sweet, lovely dog we've had since she was a puppy, but she's slowing down a great deal.

I get up when I wake up generally, for some reason it was at five this morning, so I started reading this blog about hiking the Continental Divide Trail.  She's already hiked the Appalachian Trial and the Pacific Crest Trail, thus now earning her own Triple Crown.  Also she's earned her PhD.

Goals are fun y'all, just fun.

Contrast it with the aimlessness one sometimes sees where folks wait for stuff to happen rather than making it happen for themselves.  Everyone's in charge of their own choices and lives, and yes, some may be hampered by a lack of drive or even knowledge, but I simply believe everyone has a spark within them waiting to be ignited.

My couch surfers disturb me a bit, not getting jobs, or rather not holding jobs for very long, and therefore not carrying their own weight, full of excuses, yet they find the time available for ample and useless partying.  Explain that to me.

Even when I was a young lady, partying bored me, too much sitting around and chatting when one could be doing something fun, like getting a good night's sleep so one could garden the next day, or go hiking.  Hey, no one ever accused me of being too much fun.

I was nerdy enough to like studying, knowing that this education would help me earn a good living someday.  I was very motivated from within, high octane energy coursing through me then and now.

Even then, as a young waitress earning my living expenses while my parents paid my college tuition, I was always figuring in my head, how much money I'd need for rent, food, car expenses and utilities, always thinking ahead and planning.  Calculating how many tips I'd need plus my hourly wage, reading and learning about personal finance, not having a clue how much I'd later need this knowledge as the mom to 39.

As such, I'm still at this old age stunned at the "I dunno" mentality I see in some who have no idea what they're gonna do that day, much less in the future.  Sometimes I feel that I failed to get gumption and guts instilled in my kids, yet I know that the massive trauma crippled them in so many ways.

Nine years and four months ago I began this adoption blog, which evolved more into my consternation and trials into dealing with mentally ill kids, or merely those with significant emotional issues.  A dump site so to speak.

Nowadays I'm bored with all that turmoil we'd experienced.  I'm left shaken and different, yet still forging ahead with some ideas and plans.  I don't check my readership stats anymore, as they're unreliable what with various ways to access my blog, but that was never my goal anyway.  It was a bit of motivation at one time, but I learned that I simply like to write merely to process my thoughts.

If no one is left here reading, I'm good with that too, because selfishly it's is all about me right now anyway.  What I wanna read and write about, or grow in my gardens, or whatever.

I'm always intrigued with long hikes, with backpacking, and covering ground.  When Tabby has finished high school, will I be too old?  Nah.  I can't wait until this movie comes out, the book was superb.

I won't be gone for months at a time, due to my passion for gardening, but I do envision myself being gone from home December and January each year, I'll hike where it's warm, I'll just do what I wanna do, because by then it'll have been nearly 50 years that I would have had kids living at home with me.

Everyone will be over 18 by that time.

This Autumn I'm using a row cover on one garden bed, in which I'll try and extend my Swiss Chard growing season, plus also I'll do so out in the greenhouse.  I plan to spend this fall and winter doing some heavy duty catch-up chores in my garden areas.  In my mind's eye I have many, many plans.

We faced a bizarre situation that I'm not yet ready to discuss, one that enraged me as some very dangerous and idiotic lies were told by a disturbed kid in this county who doesn't even know us.  Word came back to me and I simply exploded in astonished outrage.  I even called an attorney in order to help this grown kid of mine who was as bewildered and shocked as me.  That this kid didn't go through enough already in his birth home and in foster care?  Why dump on him like this?  You don't even know him.

Listening to the news this morning, I was sad and dismayed on behalf of this family.  This beautiful young woman was the victim of a drunk driver, she was once a college soccer player, now in a wheelchair.  And I wanna whine about the laundry?  Get over yourself, Cindy.  I muted the TV to pray for her, to pray for a miraculous recovery.

Yes, I do believe that strongly in the power of prayer.  That's why when anyone asks us what we need, I answer that we need prayer.  Prayer opens the right doors for us, protects us, and sustains us.  I know many of y'all have prayed and I'm forever grateful to you.

I haven't cranked my truck since Allen's soccer game on Sunday after church.  That feels so good to me.  I cleaned, did laundry, cooked, and worked outside, nothing I'd rather have had on my schedule to do.  Today, not so much.  Dumb errands beckoning, soccer practice tonight for Nando, and I need to get Tony to and from his job.

Tony is being moved from cart boy at Sam's Club inside to groceries and I'm proud of him for working so hard in carts.  It's been a back-breaking job for the physically able, that he has some CP plus major developmental delays makes his accomplishment all the sweeter.  Doing so in our sweltering dog days of August is all the more impressive.

I'm weary of getting him there both ways during the week, but it's my job as a parent to do so.  How else could I expect him to earn money for a car.  He's stashing every penny away in his bank account, getting closer and closer to his goal.  I'm proud of that too.

Allen gave me his $60 share of his car insurance yesterday, getting his own policy would likely be double that cost.  Same for Martin.  I'm helping CW still with his, as he's younger than the others plus is taking a full load of classes at UNG, unable to work full-time, but he is working enough to pay for all of his other expenses.

I believe that my own financial need to work during college likely kept me from idle time or partying, but since I don't like alcohol, partying just seemed right pointless to me, it still does.  Who wants to get wasted?  To feel bad the next day?  I don't feel like I've missed out on anything by not drinking.  If anything, I feel as if it gave me a boost.

I pray that my grown kids will someday learn all of this, that self-medicating just doesn't do it.  The majority of my grown kids are living properly, thank God.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Burger Joint

I just said we never go out to eat, and what'd we do yesterday?  After Allen's soccer game, my son, Big Joe, asked to take the Bubbas to Burger King since they'd driven separately from me.

Well, sure.  I'd gone too for a little bit, not eating, but just enjoying Big Joe being silly, and my boys, Martin, Allen and JoJo were so bewildered at the choices available.

Seriously, we just don't do this, we eat at home.  I'd downed a quart-sized Mason jar of a pineapple/banana, chia seed and almond milk smoothie to tide me over.  I always tank up before I go anywhere so as not to be caught out hungry and depending upon fast food.  I always bring my water with me too, it's just a habit, but it's one that's saved us thousands of dollars over the years.

I'm sure I learned it from my parents, as we'd never been restaurant eaters either.  My mom still has the same round oak table that she'd refinished when I was still in elementary school, it's just where we eat, not in orange plastic booths.

Allen didn't play all that well, not his usual self, I could see that he was uneasy at first on this new team, but I know him well enough to know that he'll soon be in top form there.

The weather went weirdly chilly, we were scrambling to find sweatshirts that we'll likely not need again for another month.

Gina came by to dump her stuff in my compost pile, and I later worked until dark digging in a long neglected garden bed between the house and Mom's house out back.  I beat myself up for being a terrible gardener, but I know I only have X number of spare minutes each day, it's a wonder I've been able to plant or harvest at all for these last 25 years of extreme parenting.

And Emily C cracked up my family sending me a special pair of garden gloves to protect myself against poison ivy as my exposure therapy method sure isn't working to build me up any immunity.  "Can I read the card?'  Scotty asked me, laughing at how Mom needs a teacher too.

Jesse and Lena, such a photogenic family, sent Grandma and I their newest family photos, as did Daniel with his Captain's Promotion.  Way to make a Mama proud, sons.

I'm proud of Big Joe too, he's helping yet another grown son of mine who is struggling mightily, plus he's wanting to ride with JoJo and I to Youth Challenge Academy when JoJo starts in two weeks.  "Best thing I ever did," he crowed to JoJo.

Big Joe looks menacing, he's tattooed heavily and has a grumpy outward appearance, but he's one of the funniest guys ever when he lets down his guard.  He's also highly charming, flirting with the counter girl right in front of us all, the girl grinning and blushing.  I left the burger joint after awhile and my other sons stayed there cutting up with Joe for another hour or so.  JoJo later telling me, "I can't wait to go to Youth Challenge."

"I'll go to Family Day with y'all too," Big Joe suggested to JoJo.

And in unrelated news, I'd heard on the news that Pop Tarts are a $800 million dollar industry.  Unreal, just unreal, not an iota of any nutrients available within, just completely empty calories in such an over processed item, that in calling it food would just be a joke.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Green Is The New Black

Recently at a yard sale, Scotty offered to track the expenses so that I could concentrate on driving, using his phone in the Notes App, questioning me, "You really have two different categories for shoes and clothes?"

Well, yes I do.

I have a detailed line item zero based budget that tracks every penny spent, saved or earned.

Otherwise I'd just piss it all away, right?  I personally need to know exactly where it's all going, so I can fix the leaks, revise the categories, and continue moving forward.  What I do each month is basically financially impossible for a family this size with a limited income, but we don't spend like other families spend.  We simply can't.

We never go out to eat, we have take-out pizzas once a month, I don't buy sodas, and most of what we own was pre-owned.

My sons who are now earning money are spending a bit unwisely such as buying slushy drinks, but I say nothing, knowing life will teach 'em soon enough that they best buy gas for their cars instead.

I keep reading and learning.  These roommates spent nothing for a year, socking away a great deal into their savings account.  A good read.

From another article:

Now we buy to extend our personalities and express of ourselves. Everything from your car to your clothes and even where you shop are lifestyle choices. 

Goods also infer social status. We love the expensive and the new. The quality of a high-fashion handbag is never proportional to its expense.

Yet we’ve been tricked. Consumption doesn’t even make us happy. Study after study show that above a relatively modest income of $37,000 there is little correlation between wealth and happiness. Any gains are negated by the stress of work, a lack of leisure time and the embrace of a culture of things rather than people.

Well, son of a biscuit bum, who knew?

I'm guilty of lusting after beautiful homes on HGTV, or envy over a new Iphone that I truly do not need at all.  I notice nice sporty cars, I compliment women I know about how good they look because they do look good, but, honestly?  My lifetime of borderline chosen poverty level living?  I'm fine with it, totally fine.

Yes, I stress over some large and somewhat ridiculous bills, but I get it done.

This Professor is living in a dumpster.  Professor Wilson went to the dumpster not just because he wished to live deliberately, and not just to teach his students about the environmental impacts  of day-to-day life, and not just to gradually transform the dumpster into “the most thoughtfully-designed, tiniest home ever constructed.”

A fascinating article.  All of these articles today came from a blog I read, and on the weekend it's Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads. by Becoming Minimalist.

I've read of people who spend their Saturdays tending to and managing their massive clothes and jewelry collections, their accessories seeming like a second job to accomplish.  No, thank you, that's not for me.

Sure I'd look better if I had, or did, all that, but I'd bore myself to bits.  And, of course, my lifestyle alone would stress folks out, everyone's gotta find their own niche.

Tabby owns more'n a hundred shirts, all lined up in her large, long closet in the original master bedroom suite of this house.  She's happy with it because she once came from lack.  I understand this.  My closet is a fourth the size of hers and I'm happy as a lark with it.

Jack and CW, who've always lived with me, are spectacularly disinterested in clothes, actually all of my sons here at home don't care about fashion yet they're all handsome, decently dressed, more than decently dressed.

Stuff never made me happy.  Except my Iphone.  My Iphone made me happy.  My kids make me happy, my gardens thrill me, my grandkids are spectacular and good food too is a thrill.

Today is Allen's first game on an adult league, that makes me happy and yes, I'm going to cheer him on.  He asked me so so I emailed the coach to make sure.  I neither want Allen to be the only one without his mama there nor do I want him to not be the only one with his mama in attendance.  The coach reassured me.

Nando's team shut out the opposing team yesterday, the Bulldawgs lost to SC, and the Braves literally suck this past month.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rain, Please

My grandbaby's class got a surprise visit when David Chandley, my favorite Atlanta weatherman, showed up at her class.  His sister is Marissa's parapro and his nephews all have gone to school with my kids for years and years.

My post disappeared yesterday as I didn't save it, let a kid on my computer, who closed out the window, whatever. Just didn't feel like reprising it.

"Here's some information about adoption you might be interested in," a bright-eyed, chipper lady handed me at a yard sale fundraiser.  I used to be that bright eyed and optimistic one.

"Thank you," I answered.  I've got nothing to say, but a man who knows me snickered loudly and punched me in the arm.

I'd had dreams lately about foster care and adoption.  Do I think God's trying to tell me something?  No, I don't.  That's not how I hear from God, for me it's instead a very strong impression in my heart and mind, in which I simply can't NOT do what I feel led to do.

Now I only feel led to continue working here within my own family.

I watched the radar screen again for the last two days as my force field seemingly drives away massive downpours that un-materialize anywhere near me.  Gully washers to my left and to my right, leaving me green with envy, needing the rain so dadgum badly.

I took Scotty to look at the fence height extension that UGA uses in their trial fields out here in my deer-infested county, I'm gonna need to do here this winter to keep the deer gone.  We can do this.  22 years of gardening in this one spot, and this was my first year ever to have such major damage.

Daniel's having a party at his house 80 miles away to celebrate his 29th birthday, the UGA/SC game and his captain's promotion.  CW went yesterday to spend the weekend there, along with Yolie and her family.  Both Daniel and Chuck have been lifelong mentors to CW ever since his birth, amazing brother and brother-in-law, and CW knows he's blessed.

I can't go as Nando has a soccer game, and I've got to get Tony to and from his job today.  It'll likely rain on me at the soccer park while not a drop will fall here.  I might need to readjust my attitude.  Raise my expectations, lose my negativity.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


"I told y'all," I hollered, "How many times have I told y'all!"

Yep, using exclamation marks, I was again pointing out the obvious to two grown girls who'd come over in the middle of the day for beans and tortillas.  "See!"  I kept crowing, "No one makes beans like yo mama!"

Yes, it's Mayra and Sabrina.  Don't even ask...

"Mom!" Mayra yelled, because Mayra's loud like me, "I dream about your pantry all the time."

OK, weirdo.

After work, Chuy, Martin and Allen drove to Goodwill, a lifetime knowledge of very inexpensive clothes.  "Where's Mama when you need her?"  Martin was reported to have hollered in the store, because we are all a loud, boisterous and exuberant family, indeed finding several dozen shirts he wanted to buy, but in doing the math, he didn't wanna part with his money.

Imagine in a real store what it'd cost?

They were telling me this story later, and I pointed out that one simply doesn't shop at Goodwill except on Tuesday for the Senior Citizen Discount.  25% less, y'all.  Silence for a few minutes as they digested it, and clearly added up the years in their minds before they got to that magic age of 55.

Oh my y'all, I gotta say it sure does fly.

And the deer?  I'm losing my mind over the destruction, walking around the large already fenced in area that's gonna need to be heightened, doubled in height actually.  I'll slowly buy the stakes I need as I'm gonna cash flow it, but I best have it done by February 1.  I can do this.  I picked peppers, the only survivors at this point since I replanted with store bought plants, much to my chagrin.

Lowes is offering a 10% discount on fence installation.  "Dude!" I yelled at the TV, I'm giving myself 100% discount on the installation, I'll do it my own self.  I own a heavy fence post pounder thingy, and we've fenced and cross fenced several areas over the years.

Jack is as dependent upon crushed red peppers via cayennes as I am to my Fire Hot Pepper Sauce via jalapenos, a dietary necessity.

Dubs is sharing my truck while his car is being repaired.  I'd not heard from this most trusted mechanic so I texted him for an update, only to find his wife is in the hospital.  "That trumps car repairs," my usually insensitive CW remarked.  Yeah, no kidding, son.  Enjoy the truck.

Allen was invited to join an adult soccer team up at the soccer park last night, his social anxiety so acute that when his former coach approached him about it, he gave the man my phone number rather than his own.

"Why?"  I asked.  Dang, I hate phone calls.

"I just want you to deal with the details for me," he came up with, here at nearly age 19.

"Honey,"  I began, "You have a phone and a car.  You don't need Mama to handle this for you."

This is how I know they're not ready to move out yet.  The upstairs area over the 3X garage has five bedrooms and a bathroom, to the boys up there it's almost like a separate apartment, or maybe they just tell themselves that story.  But interestingly enough, after all these years, they're all taking an interest in doing more for themselves, even coaxing JoJo into getting out of lazy mode.

I'm not unhappy with this arrangement at all.

They're good kids.

We finally have a decent chance for rain this weekend.  The chard I replanted is up, I was happily toiling away yesterday, ripping out the aggressive Four O'clocks that reseed rampantly, still fighting several intrusive areas of poison ivy, my wrist aflame with the bumps once again.

Still barefooting it, still feeling emotionally better overall, due to so many factors, like no violence.  I still have a situation here that I'm praying about, a kid nearly 18 with some heavy duty issues, and on the other hand, my Tony, has put all of his earned income from Sam's Club in the bank and is close to buying a car.  Suits me, I gotta drag myself out at 9 p.m. every night to pick him up.

He's so happy and proud of himself, he'll be 19 in January, and he told me yesterday that he was reading about cyclothymia and was bothered to learn that shopping sprees are prevalent when one is in the 'high'mode of this disorder,

He knows I've raised everyone to be fiscally conservative, that he learned all of this on his own regarding cyclothymic disorder, is impressive to me.  He's still in high school, a senior, because I'd held him back one year, a very good move as he's delayed both physically and emotionally, this gave him time to catch up with his peers.

I've observed huge and major progress in him over the last 15 years or so.

And Darin had tagged me on Facebook regarding an article.  The advocacy for our kids is something my always brilliant caseworker had long ago stressed was necessary.  No kidding, y'all, so very necessary.

Imagine not knowing how to learn? This was what my son’s life was like. He was passed from school to school, with notes in his file about his inability to perform his work. Never a solution and never any follow up.

Great post y'all, advocating for your children will become your job.

I'm particularly blessed here to have had awesome teachers and incredible administrators here who understood, who cared and who bent over backwards to accommodate my challenging children.  A therapist told me last month, "That one would've already been kicked out of school if you didn't live in your county that helps you so much."

I totally agree.  I've heard some horror stories from y'all about the issues you face in your schools.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Have I never had an original thought?  Gotten all of my ideas from books, studies, and newspapers? Maybe so, but I'm learning at least.

And finally an explanation that makes sense to me.  Personality type is also a big factor when it comes to who experiences discomfort from being alone. Introverts -- who lose energy from being around others -- may find alone time more desirable than extroverts, who instead gain energy from the company of others.

I knew it!  I do like people, I really, really do, but I desperately crave, and truly need, my alone time.  I've always been this way, it didn't spring from trauma, it's a good inner feeling that I've always cultivated.  It is where I get my enegy, being alone and not sapped by others.

Yesterday as I walked through my wooded path for 3.2 miles barefoot, loving the peace, the solitude and quiet, watching my dogs romp, I simply felt good.  I felt real good.  And it carried over all day long.  Shoe-less, bra-less, make-up-less, does it get any better?  I don't think so.  I've gone the distance, but really need to improve my speed.

And, big whoop anyway.  I'd read a book several years ago about a man who's basically trotted the entire Appalachian trail barefoot and in shorts, no expensive hiking equipment for him.  One of the best books I've ever read.

I watched the video of the Apple watch, $349, that'll measure heart rate and much, much more.  "It tells people who you are," exclaimed the ad.  Really? It tells people I'm an emotionally banged up 60 year old mom of 39?  No, thank you.

My heart and soul told me who I was yesterday as I walked, and I'm good with that.  I do love Apple products, I just don't need 'em all.  I'm even over my IPhone 6 envy, more'n happy enough with my own phone.  I always wait 24 hours before making purchase decisions anyway, except for groceries, usually by the next day I don't want that something anymore.

Time with Dr. Mandy late yesterday afternoon, always a place where I soak up her knowledge and experience, her take on what's going on.  Mainly we were discussing the extraordinarily self-sabotaging latest antic that I'd gotten wind about, when I'd received that crappy phone call in the Philadelphia airport in July.  I'm still not ready to blog about it, still so deeply disappointed in what happened to someone by that same someone who has tremendous potential.

And Brian T's Jeep I mentioned yesterday?  He's fared 5 times better than I money-wise, keeping his expenses over 11 years to $34.56 a month, mainly because he works on it his own self, making me wanna go back now and subtract out all my labor expenses just to compare, but it'd probably just frustrate me.  His jeep has 339,000 miles on it.

Why am I so impressed?  I'm not sure, other than it indicates excellent stewardship of money, great priorities, their children, now teenagers, are super nice and very smart children, could it be because their main emphasis is on family, and not on things?

And yes, you can do both, I get that, but the vast majority of young families are struggling financially, and to see it done this way with vehicles ought to inspire others to not be making car payments on that which is unaffordable and unsustainable.  Good article here too on this issue.

A couple of men I know, driving big ole Chevy trucks, also have very impressive high mileage on their vehicles, which surprised me.

I'm listening to too much Dave Ramsey?  He takes phone call after phone call from people who are struggling desperately financially, and more often than not it is due to both the mom and the dad saddled with super high car payments.  I also listen to the happy "Freedom" yells from folks who call in to exclaim they are now debt free.

A surprising article yesterday.  Millennials are 60% NOT having charge cards.  I salute y'all, my generation is only 30% not.  I was surprised at that too, that there's 30% of folks not having charge cards, I thought it was much lower, I'm intrigued and happy about these numbers.

But then this, "But being too averse to credit may be a mistake, she says, because having a credit card is one of the easiest ways young consumers can build their credit histories."

Bull poop, and this is where I really love Dave Ramsey.  A credit history just indicates that you borrow money.  Mortgages can also be accessed by having no credit history at all.  It's harder to prove you're a good bet, but it can be done.  My son-in-law, Preston, did it.  Many others nowadays do too.

And even if I could afford car payments, I likely wouldn't do it anyway, having been raised to comprehend that cars are depreciating items.  Raised by parents who'd gone through the Depression certainly affected me.

Years ago Sarah and Ray had attended a recycling tour over in Athens that I'd then later peppered her with questions that are finally answered for me here.  How does single stream recycling work?  See it here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Striving To Own Less Junk

This is my entire make-up collection, plus more tubes of Chap Stick.  Why own more if I'm never gonna use it?  Why do I even bother using this?  At 60, it hardly matters.  Ten tons of makeup could be used, but I'll still be 60.  Being 60 frees me up in so many ways.

Counting the original purchase price of my used 1999 truck, bought in 2007, plus repairs, tires, and oil changes, it turns out that my truck has only cost me $152 a month for the past 7 plus years (88 months) - including what I'd paid for it. Yes, it's a 15 year old truck, but those numbers sing to me.

If I'd bought a brand new truck, the purchase price alone would've run some $483 a month for the past 7 years - that's the average car payment nowadays, plus there'd have still been new tires and oil changes, tune ups and other incidentals, probably pushing it closer to $550-600 each month.

Heck no, I'll happily drive the older truck and save the money I didn't have in the first place anyway for a new truck.

I just did an eye-opening spreadsheet on CW's 1993 car too, he'd filed all of his receipts in a folder on my desk, it was an easy matter to input figures into a spreadsheet, and he was duly surprised.  He'd estimated he'd put in about $500 a month into his Prelude money pit, but it turned out to be $273.13 monthly, including the purchase price.

I'd read some saying about if you don't teach your teens about money you're gonna end up with 30 year olds living in your basement.

I do teach, they just don't always listen, nor heed my old fogey advice.  Do they think I'm too uncool?  They have a point.  But, I'm stable, right happy overall, and secure on the inside and the outside, doesn't anyone else wanna be so?

Thank God, I don't have a basement.

I showed both spreadsheets to Martin and Allen, both new used car owners nowadays, plus Daniel's extremely detailed one on his 20 year old Jeep.  Daniel's spreadsheet makes me look like a slacker.

An aside:  I'd love to see Brian T's figures on his Jeep that has more'n 330,000 miles on it.  Seems like it probably owes him money. A lotta bucks.  I'm very impressed.

We'd had to again tow CW's car off this morning, he's very frustrated with being a car owner, he'd had to take my truck to classes, which means I'm stuck driving the gas-guzzling 15 passenger van to get Tony to work.  Being me, I'd even found an online $5 off coupon for college students to use at the tow truck place.

I'd called my health insurance company and the ambulance company to argue, to try and settle a bill that's gonna be tough to pay.  No one budged.  So now, at $35 a month, it'll take me 18 months to pay it off, but I'll dadgum do it.  If I owe it, I will pay it.

But honestly, as I deal with this one kid's huge emotional issues, and no Medicaid, it's added up to nearly a third of my annual retirement income, but it's a necessary expense.  I can only hope and pray that it's gonna help somehow.

I can't crow that I'm debt free, as I'm paying this bill off and my roof bill, but Thank God for no charge card bills, but, really, how is this any different?  I still owe money, but I did finally pay off the psychiatric hospitalization bill.

"I'm gonna need you to grow me a garden and track all my financial stuff when I'm grown," CW had stated flatly.  As if?

"No Dude.  Get you a wife," I responded, "I can't keep up with what I've got to do. But don't get one yet, wait another ten or so years."

I'd literally prayed him out of his last relationship, as I totally didn't approve for reasons any other mother would balk at, the deceit of this girl was astonishing.  CW knew I didn't approve, but I didn't push it, knowing he's smart enough to come around eventually.  He just walked away from another girl he met at college because she's in remedial math.  I cracked up at that one.  "Honey, you're young, take your time."

Daniel's long been his hero, he's listened to Daniel talk to me for CW's entire 18 years, he even knew Daniel wanted a UGA wife someday, not a transfer student, but a bona fide UGA-in-her-blood wife, and that's who he ended up with to all of our joy.  She even has a Master's Degree from UGA.

Nando's been released from knee rehab after months of work.  Good job, son.

Allen shocked the tar out of me, voluntarily deep cleaning his room and the upstairs boy's bathroom.  "MVP!"  my lazy JoJo crowed.

Reading several minimalist blogs, I'm always decluttering, but with the 12 of us, we still have too much stuff.  I'm guilty of my thousands of house plants and a ton of books.  I let the kids have and keep what they want, this is my desire, not theirs.

I got lost today reading some posts from this woman, Nyamka, how cool is this?  The Internet that is, that allows us all windows into the minds of others, just as books have done for so long, to get new ideas from others, this is why I read and re-read all of my farming and gardening books, still learning after all these years.

It's snowing today in Montana, y'all are way hardier than I am.  I'd flat out fall apart, hissy fitting it due to the cold, at the very sight of snow in September. Gonna be another humid, sweltering day here.  I'm gonna clean out my tiny greenhouse and plant some Swiss Chard in there, while putting a floating row cover on my outside permaculture garden bed of chard.

And Ray Rice?  What in the world is in your background to make you act like that?  Why is your wife still with you?  Who hits women?  Why do women remain with a hitter?  If I was your mother-in-law, there'd be a UHaul backed up to your house and your wife would be leaving in it.

If I was your Mama, I'd be dragging your adult aggressive butt to a therapist.

If I owned the NFL, this'd be a permanent suspension, a disbarment.  Dude, don't let the screen door hit your violent butt on the way out.

It's not clear what exactly led to the incident, but Rice's wife still showed remorse for what happened. "I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night," Janay Rice said.

Oh, Honey, you're the victim, stop apologizing, and go get some help.

Apparently they are in counseling, I can only hope it's not for show, and that they'll do the necessary work.  And, one might point out, this isn't any of my business.  That's true, but I hate for my 18 daughters, and all the young women in the world who see TV news, to ever think this is acceptable in any way, shape or form.

Women, get educated, be able to take care of yourselves.  Puh-leeze women, be an example.