Sunday, August 31, 2008

Farewell 1971 avocado green range

You served us well. You still work, range top and both ovens. But you are so large at 40" wide and your colour, well, let us say its' day has come and gone.

Farewell old Kenmore dishwasher. You came from a long-gone tech-employee classified's forum, and you were a bargain at $90. You served us well also, though you were so very noisy. Goodbye.

Friday, August 29, 2008


I dropped off a couple of bags of donations at the Goodwill yesterday. Then, we went into the Goodwill.

I had three items on my list and, amazingly enough, found all of them. Jeans, a copy of the Associated Press Stylebook and the latest version of Writer's Market. I did buy two extra items not on my list: a copy of the revised version of Stephen King's "The Gunslinger (Dark Tower I)" and a boxed presentation version of The Bible.

Older daughter really wanted to buy something. She has a chess set and backgammon set on her list. She found a magnetic combination set, with all the pieces. But, I vetoed it. The price was high, the quality low and the magnets would have fallen out soon. She was disappointed. But I'd rather she learn to save her money and look for quality than spend it on something that will break soon.

Younger daughter was happy to play with the toys and only uttered a token "wah" when told I wouldn't buy the electronic gizmo she wanted.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Good old Costco

(Chief Family Officer has a guest post on the cost of buying items at a warehouse club versus doing the Drugstore Game)

I love Costco. Lots of reasons, but the main one is that there are so few choices. I've talked about choice before. I find having too many options to be stressful. At Costco, if I want powdered dishwasher detergent, I can choose Costco's Kirkland brand in a huge tub or a box of Cascade. That's it. No size options, just choose Kirkland or Cascade. It's easy.

Most items at Costco are like that. You can choose Foster Farms fresh chicken pieces or buy Kirkland Signature (via Foster Farms) frozen. Frozen vegetables? One size/brand package available, that's all. Milk? Kirkland Signature.

For someone like me who is easily overwhelmed by choices, Costco is perfect. I took the kids there this week. Thanks to the huge carts, if the kids get antsy, I can easily corral them. Plus, they get samples. And hot dogs.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reader, I went to Target

and I brought the kids.

It had been a few months since I went there. My list was the curious mix that Target is well-suited for. I'd been reading a lot of negative stories over at The Consumerist and didn't really want to go there. But I wanted to go to Fred Meyer or Wal-Mart even less.

It was a den of temptation. From all sides, products beckoned. And then we visited the school supplies section. Mecca and nirvana all in one. Pens, paper, pads, pencils, Post-It notes. All at reasonable prices. It took work to restrain myself. Heck, we weren't even there for school supplies--the kids' school hasn't sent a list!

It is a two-story Target and we had to visit both floors.

Here's what we bought. The list is from memory. That tells you something. The total came to about $56 and I had a couple dollars' worth of coupons. We got a lot, everything on the list with a couple of extras (the Bic pens, but I had a $1 off two coupon, final price about $.70 for both packs with the tax)

2 sets of 5 spiral notebooks @.50 each
1 package of notebook paper @.50
1 package Bic purple stick pens @.89
1 package Bic clear pens @.69
1 Ban deoderant 2.59
1 package of two rolls paper towels, Target brand @ 3.49
1 box of hair color, L'Oreal $7.89
1 package Fruit of the Loom kids undies @6.99 (but sign said $5.89, so I had to haul the kids all around the store to prove the price and then back to the cash register. Was it worth it for $1.42?)
2 packages juice boxes @4/$7
1 set of two kids belts @7.99
1 pair little kid chinos @7
3 boxes granola bars @2.18 each
1 geometry tool set @1.29
1 package index cards @.47
1 box colored pencils @.62
1 pencil box @.69

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nothing to see here

Nothing interesting to report. I have a couple of bags of donations near the door, ready to be dropped off. The living and dining rooms are relatively tidy and clutter-free.

Still working on the cookbook situation. Not sure why it's so difficult. A commenter wondered if there might be emotions hanging around the cookbooks and memories of cooking with my mom. Well, that's a good theory, but she didn't use cookbooks. We rarely cooked together. In fact, I didn't know how to cook until about my second or third year in college when all of a sudden I started experimenting and the concepts began to gel. Very cool feeling, I still remember it. The cookbooks from that era are keepers, there are only a couple of them.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Little towns full of stuff

I was in La Conner, WA yesterday. It's a quaint little town, founded over a century ago, right on the Swinomish Channel. It's one of those little towns that used to be fueled by industry and now mostly relies on tourists to survive.

My sweetie had been there before and thought I would like it. Perhaps I was just in a mood, but each little shop struck me as full of junk. Boutiques with unique clothing, art galleries with sculptures, paintings and jewelry, even a cookware shop all seemed...superfluous. Useless. The browsing crowds (and it was quite crowded, I had to circle the main block twice to find a place to park) felt avaricious, filled with the desire to acquire. Um, did I mention I might have been in a mood?

Despite browsing through several shops I bought nothing. Not even a book at the well-appointed book store. Not even a chocolate at the candy shoppe. We had lunch and that was that.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


What is stuff anyway? Why is there so much of it?

Sometimes, I'll have an almost out of body experience looking at a display of merchandise. The questions start to come...who designed that? why? what's the purpose? how did they feel when they created it? did they know it would break after only one use?

Stuff. Can we just heave it all into space?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to those cookbooks

I'm having a hard time letting go of the excess cookbooks. I'm not sure why, can't yet pinpoint it. I have the cupboard set up for them, and I just need to choose which to keep and put them in the cupboard. So what is the hold-up?

I suppose I could choose the ones I think I'll use most, put them in the cupboard and store the rest for a set amount of time, selling them if I haven't referred to them in that time. I could do that, couldn't I?

They're just books. They're not magic. They're just paper and ink, and who knows if the recipes are even any good? I sure don't, I haven't tried most of them. How could one? To cook every recipe in a cookbook could take years. Years. Remember that book I mentioned a while back, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, about a New Yorker who decided to give her life meaning by cooking every recipe in volume 1 of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One? It took her a year, and it was sometimes a miserable one, to cook every recipe in that admittedly large, book. I do not want to spend a year of my life doing that. In fact, most of what I cook is made up by me, as I'm doing the cooking. Why do I even have cookbooks?

Still, I'll move these books. I'll stow what fits upstairs. The rest will be tucked into a basement storage cupboard, to be reassessed in three months. Seasons change after all, and I do almost no baking in the summer. I might need those cookie books in a few months, when the fall holidays come.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Cupboard clutter

Our basement has a lot of built-in storage cupboards. There are six in the laundry room alone. I decided to tackle two of those, and I managed to cull a large laundry basket full of items I don't use now, never did use, or won't use in the future. I've found homes for a couple of the items; the others will go out to the street with a "Free" sign or perhaps Freecyle. I'm a little down on Freecycle just now, as it took a long time to dispose of the last item I offered.

I don't have a before shot of the cupboards but here's an after and below is the laundry basket-O-junk.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The bench is clear, the bench is clear!

That cluttered bench is clear! Guests actually sat on it today. I had a deadline of yesterday to clear it off, and I met it. Admitedly, the library books are still close by, but at least they're in a spot that really can't be used for another purpose. I suppose we could try some houseplants in that window, but the cats would chew on them and that would be bad.

The cubbies under the bench still need some work. I cleared and sorted one of them, the other two will have to wait for another day.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Reading Review

Here are some of the books I've read recently...

This book made me cry. Older daughter read it too and thought it was sad. Criminy.

This is a great read, funny and poignant.

Another page turner from prolific Nora Roberts. She follows the writer's rule (i.e. insert butt into chair, put hands on keyboard and write) and it works.

How did folks cook two hundred, one hundred years ago?

Very human memories from a still-active Catholic priest.

That's about it this time. Get 'em from your local library.