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Blog: Pam's Pennypinching With STYLE

Pam's recounting of how her ancestrally thrifty habits have helped her in modern life in ways none of her foremothers could have imagined!

Showing 13 posts from January 2009 for this blog.
Knitting Away & Collecting
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

For some reason the knitting bug has gotten me again - I had gotten deals on needles last summer and even bought a large pair - and had found yarn at the thrift shop and 99 cent store - but I hadn't done anything with it!  I suppose it's because the weather here is chilly enough for scarves - and I had knit a nice "furpiece" on some chubby pencils a while ago which went very nicely with my yellow fleece winter jacket.

The success is a long muffler out of specialty fun yard from the 99 Cent Store - (usually $8 per ball!) It wasn't long enough, so I put on some long fringe - and voila! Very nice.

I then had a failed experiment with some fun fur yarn - it's hard to work with - and I don't even know if I can pull it all out and use it again or whether I am stuck with a large green dust rag! (Or maybe I could put it on a hat for St. Paddy's Day....) Hubby reminded me that it was "just a hobby."  Although he loves it when I do girly things - so feminine, he says.  I did marry a prince

Then I started knitting again last night (I have been working in front of TV after dinner) - on another sort of scarf project with fun fur.  This one is on even larger needles and working out better. 

Also went to today and downloaded some free shawl patterns, so I would have a better idea of what I was doing - Lots of cute things there - so maybe when the new yellow one is finished, I can go back to a green project....

The knuckle on my right index finger has been swollen - so I thought I would consult a colleague who used to do physical therapy and he thought it was just overuse. I do arch my index finger over my mouse - and I went and downloaded some more keyboard shortcuts to cut down on the use of it.

Then I favored my index finger all day by using a middle finger for the mouse - and in a day, it made a difference.  (I have also been putting on arnica cream and sometimes Tiger Balm and other linaments....)  My grandmother had arthritis in her hands - and my mother a bit, too - but my mother avoided the worst of it....So I watch it...

I also have been using a Tempurpedic foam sample on and off to support my wrist, which helps strain, too.  Just moving around the points of wear makes it easier on the joints. Just as rotating my shoes has always helped my feet.  If I am at all on my feet, it really is better to switch shoes daily.

Oh, a find!  Hubby and I were walking around the neighborhood. (we have found that it can be a nice peaceful walk at dusk) and I saw a pile of rugs at the curb.  It was getting dark, but I could see that they were fairly good ones, and I got hubby to go and get the car, so we could balance them on the trunk and get them the block or so back home.  After getting two - there was another one underneath, which looked even better, so I took that one, too.

The rug underneath had gotten wet - so we had to do something with it right away - and hubby took it to the little old rug guy down Western Ave. in the furniture district that my friend Eldon had turned us onto. Turns out the rug is a Bokhara - Pakistani, the man said - and new is worth $1500, as it is so large.  And I think this is an older one - which go for at least $1000 on EBay for that size.

That reassured hubby for the cost of cleaning it - the others can wait, but the Bokhara was beginning to run - apparently they do -  I researched it all on the internet...fascinating.

Now I have to figure out what to do with it!  It seems too big for the dining room, which is where I would like it - but I like my other rug in the living room!  But as I said at the time to hubby, I just couldn't pass it up - it was like money lying on the street!

Hubby is razzing me - but I say I don't want diamonds - just collectibles and insurance!  Seriously, good finds in antiques or quality collectibles just get more valuable sitting there - and you can always use them and then sell them off later.  (If I got near $1000 for this rug, then even with the cleaning there would be a profit. ) And who is going to STEAL a RUG?

I have made a couple of great coups in my collecting - including an etching I bought in the 70's for $40 which I sold off in the 90's for $1500! Not a bad investment.

Besides there is the thrill of collecting.  I could furnish a mansion - but have to keep it down to apartment scale.

Sadly the classical radio station here - KUSC has been all static.  I went to the website and it says it has been struck by lightning (?) causing transmission problems -  So I have cds on today. 

Did end up on KCRW the other day and heard an interesting interview with a Monica Lewinsky's ex pr-guy who has written a book about Having your 15 Minutes of Fame and how to handle it.

Seems that with the internet we are all public figures!  And as I know from my internet marketing, once it is out there, it never dies.  Think of that when you or your kids go to Facebook or the other social media!  As I am an actress, I do my own marketing and have done for some time, as I never could afford anyone better than myself...

Just succeeded in getting myself in Michael Levine's newsletter - as people sighted around town, as I ran into John Landis of Animal House at his wife Deborah's  presentation for her new Hollywood costume book at the Mikimoto Pearls of Wisdom Series.  We chatted about old movies becuase we all love them - and anything about them - Seems that Landis is uncomfortable with the kids lauding him like the Marx Brothers - and he is concerned that his wife's students don't know who Garbo is!   Don't they get Turner Classic Movies, I asked.

So it's weirdness as usual - but I am still here - How are you guys?







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Different Sort of Wkend & More
Sunday, January 25, 2009

The wkend started out on Friday with a lovely gratis presentation about pearls in classic Hollywood costumes in the Mikimoto Pearl store in Beverly Hills.  And after we drank champagne!  (Think I was invited to this from signing up on a Mikimoto site for a contest??) I had decided that I had to get OUT more - and freebie events was a way to start.

Heard that there was another costume exhibit by the same Deborah Nadoolman Landis at the relatively new Pickford Center in Hollywood. As we were in town, we checked it out on Saturday (the only day the public really has access there) . It was about costume in color and in its own way was a revelatiotion.  I was most impressed by a dress from a Star in Born (mid 1950's)-  I had thought that the colors of those films came from the saturated nature of the film - but the COSTUMES were actually in saturated colors!! That dress was an almost blinding saffron!  At the same time I signed up for the events at the Motion Picture Academy (they do the Oscars.)

We scored at the bargain table at the  local Office Depot across the street- and got some stationery goodies - some to use for work and some good deals on pens (orig. $5.99 reduced to $1) I rummaged through all the dollar bins....Got some little things for gifts - good deals....

We then went shopping at the local 99 Cent Store - and got lots of food - they have produce there now - I always get salad dressing and canned goods and so on and those little packages of pocket tissues - They had a bag of kiwis and a box of strawberries for 99 cents! And tins of imported cookies!  And packages of almonds (for snacks).

Then hubby and I walked up and down Vermont Ave. to see if we wanted to go to the movies - but nothing we wanted to see - we try to go to the movies so often and manage to miss the flicks we would really like to see. So we ended up perusingof offerings of the Skylight bookstore and having an early dinner at a little Greek place right next door.

I went into Squaresville, the vintage shop, to see how much they were asking for vintage 70's colored vinyl Samsonite luggage pieces -  I had gotten a little bag up in in Ventura in a thrift shop for $3?? whereas they were $20 there!  But they had a sale box - and I did find some great bargains - a silk georgette sleeveless top in an orange print and a rayon summer dress and a sequined tube top for $2 each.  (I had seen a similar top on the net for $30 down from $150 or so!) The top will look good eventually under a jacket. Seem to be able to judge my sizes more or by eye - as everything fit well when I finally tried them on at home. (These were all out-of-season things - always the best deals!)

When a woman next to me at the Mikimoto event on Friday asked me what my favorite vintage shop was (I had worn a vintage brooch and silk scarf) - I found myself saying the thrift shops of Ventura, as that's really where I have scored my best deals.  I am sure the antique pickers scour the place, too - to take their finds back to L.A. to be marked up, witness the markup of a piece of Samsonite.

Then that evening I found myself taking out some arcylic fun fur I had gotten at the 99 Cent store months ago and whipped up a little blk scarf with red and grey and pink bits in it.  It was too short - but I put on on a long fringe - which I ended up liking A LOT. 

Taking up my knitting again, I think.  Want just to make some shawls - easy stuff - I have a whole collection of shawls, as they seem perfect for California - I threw on a rose pink one I got years ago over my jacket to go out in the rain to the pearl presentation...I like to have them in all sorts of colors....maybe when I finish with the blue one I started I will do a yellow - don't have a good yellow one. I have an assortment of yarn deals I have gathered and needles, too! Even finally found my yarn needles, which I had misplaced.

There was supposed to be rain this wkend - but they were wrong - just chilly - and I want to get out for my walk before my standing Sunday gig - so gotta go, see ya.  What fun things do you do on your weekends?







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Rainy agin
Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hi - not much to report, except that I am keeping a scented candle alive by using matches as wicks and making sure that they don't drown.  The candle is in a tin - so I want to use up the scented wax.  (also have my aluminum pie plate behind it to keep the heat.)Signed up for a free candle from a freebie site- & saw that their scented candles in bottles cost $16!! Boy, am I going to make those scented candles LAST. 

Other than that I got an invite to a free cocktail party sponsored by Chambord for week after next - a free night out.  And I am going to try to go to the Mikimoto pearl costume talk tomorrow - but it's so damp & rainy here - One likes to stay home if one can to avoid all those who have forgotten how to drive on a wet street! And it's going to be rainy for the wkend - ugh - and when we spent the last sunny wkend in the city because of my alumnae function! Hubby is going to get boatitis...

Oh, Michelle Obama does wear her clothes well - but not my body type! I like her style - but who would have thought of a yellow ensemble in the winter?  Looked great, tho. Ditto the ballgown! Me? I went through the previous sheath period and it doesn't flatter me AT ALL and my arms get COLD. Wonder how Michelle kept herself WARM??

Oh my buddy sent me a RED clarinet which I have inherited from his cousin in Virginia, who sadly died last weekend.  I can actually PLAY it!  I used to be a good clarinet player, but let it go - but with this student instrument, I see the possibility of getting my "lip" or embouchre (sp?) BACK and playing.   Another project.  I got out my old music (& I mean OLD) - There is some sense to keeping things, but then I want to keep EVERYTHING - if only I had the room.  That's why we pay for a storage space!

Do you save everything, too?


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Back to the Grind
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back to the routine at the computer - looking for acting work and doing minor PR and my thrifty blogging and my freebie hunting and such.  I use the computer during the day, as hubby has it at night to do work.  Luckily it's in the living room, so I watch the tube and we chat on and off.  when I went to bed early last night he said that he missed me and didn't know what to watch on TV (seems I pick the shows mostly) and then he admitted that he used to be a network guy - But there is so little good stuff on the networks - and they seem to be going down. 

All production is off here in L.A. - fewer commercials - fewer sitcoms - fewer residuals.  Some folks I know who have depended on that $ coming in are hurting.  Luckily I am well fixed - and don't have to worry about just paying the rent right now.

As you know, frugality has been my byword for years.  Everyone thought I was nuts to hold onto my little apartment (I have lived here for 30 years!) - but there was never really a good alternative - and I kept it when I lived with hubby up at the beach - Thank heaven.

I am the oldest tenant in the building now - and as this place is rent-controlled, we have a good deal - and even protected by the city if the landlord defaults or something.  There is also some city oversight - I can call the Housing Commision and get action - especially being a 30-yr. tenant - so the landlord can't play games with me to get us out.  I learned the value of rent-controlled apartments in NYC long ago. 

But I have earned my rent. I have put a lot into this building over the years (Sometimes I thought I was the unpaid manager) - getting trash picked up - calling the cops if there were problems - talking the old landlord not to pave over the front garden - planting the sidebeds when they were just hay - all sorts of things - so this place is better than ever.  Although I mourn the blooms on the roses which the clumsy gardeners have inexplicably cut down to the twig - just when they were blooming so beautifully, too.  Go figure.  They will grow back, but it will take a while - poor plants.

But then I don't like the gardeners - because things in the garden plots appear after they have come - A friend told me about someone in the hills who had huge urns disappear!  The best way is to have things somewhat damaged out there that can't be recycled so easily!

But on the other hand, if you want to dispose of something large - leave it on the curb marked FREE. 

But back to the tale of a friend who has retreated to the boonies somehow - It's amazing that the tables are somewhat turned on him and others whom I know - Again, everyone thought I was nuts - but see how it's all turned out.  I have a nice little life - and still in the city, too.  And my husband just got a raise!

And we are used to our used cars and shopping for goodies in thrift shops - and all the thrifty measures I blog about -  Someone else we know works for the State of California and his work week has been cut to 4 days - & he loses that pay - Don't think he is prepared for that -

Sure our lives may be small - but snug and "bug in a rug" as we say to each other - and that's not half bad - no?  How do you make yourselves comfy?

(And I really impressed hubby by getting the fax machine via - no, not FC, I was mistaken - but ReuseIt - a local Yahoo group.)





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An Evening Out
Monday, January 19, 2009

My hubby has been saying that I needed a night out - and the reception in Santa Monica for the new Prez of Barnard College was just the ticket. And a freebie! (but of course, there is always a pitch for contributions.)

My outfit worked out more or less as planned - the short silk kimono jacket I got in Ojai a while ago in the b/w checked pattern with bits of pink and green - over my shiny black nylon pants and an aqua sweater top.  The pants were from the Saks 5th Ave. outlet long ago and the sweater was a Nicole Miller from a S.M. thrift shop - and my little silver ballet flats a deal from long ago and a knock-off Chanel-type purse from heaven-knows-where.  I get to take out my little treasures - like a string of vintage black beads , a sparkly barette I got at a coffee house - and an Indian bracelet in black and silver and gold bits of mirror - and a pair of funky vintage 50's clip earrings with rhinestones, gold-toned mounts and a plastic fringe!

Bargains all, of course.  We drank soda water and red wine and ate the lovely canapes in the backyard under picturesque regularly placed palm trees and with heaters and waiters in black with trays milling about. Some others were going off to dinner - but I decided just to eat the canapes - as they were scrumptious!

I reconnected with the Alumnae Association and the Club here, with which I was at one time very much involved - and volunteered to do some more work for the college.  That's always stimulating. (And at one point led to trips to NYC - that was fun.)

You can get a lot out of volunteering - if only occasional cocktail parties! But seriously - I like win/win situations - so if you can find a place where you could get trained and gain experience in something you would like to pursue - like ESL tutoring - then by all means go for it.  I used to try to get as much computer time as I could - and being a college rep surely helped mly public speaking skills.  (Whew, the first time I made a presentation - was I nervous - seems like a million years ago...)

The fact that Michelle Obama is emphasizing volunteerism appeals to me -

What have you volunteered for lately??





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Untitled Post
Friday, January 16, 2009

Just been commenting on other blogs here at myfrugallife - it's fun to commune with others who are on the same thrifty wavelength as I am.  For so long it was really taboo and I had to be a closet pennypincher!

Sent off for free theatre tix which come from my Emeritus theatre class  - They are for the Geffen Theater here - really top notch drama and pricey! I do miss going to the theatre and other cultural events - but the tix are so expensive - so I comb the net looking for freebie events and free tix and discounts.  And we do manage to get out.  The Geffen is on the W. Side - which makes it a schlepp for us - but every few months it is worth it! 

I miss my trips to NYC when I would go to the TKTS booth in Duffy Sq. and get discount tix for the dramas I like - which are ALWAYS on sale (unlike the musicals).  If you are in NYC - remember to bring enough CASH for the tix - and if you like musicals on the last trip we found we could get cheaper tix at the box office - because only premium tix were at TKTS.

Getting freebies - today a full size natural deodorant sent via UPS??? And yesterday several of my free mags.

Oh, read about young people burdened by student loans who are moonlighting at second jobs.  But the young woman they profiled had a $300 per month car payment!  If she is strapped, why in tarnation is she forking out $300/mo for a car when she could save some $ and get a good used one?? Doesn't make sense to me.  Wonder if other young people I know will end up working their a**es off because they remain willfully ignorant of thrift???

Signed up for a FREE Mikimato pearl even in Beverly Hills because a Hollywood costume person is going to a presentation about the use of pearls in classic costumes.  Turns out they are giving us champagne and a gift certificate! (Not that I could afford those pearls, even with a certificate - but who knows?)

Just feel like a night out.  Maybe the reception in Santa Monica for the new President of my old college, Barnard, will give me a fix.  It's being held in the house of one of the wealthier alumnae - so we get a glimpse of how the other half - or is it 5%? - live.  I am such a voyeur!

Listened to a very interesting interview online at KCRW's site with Matt Miller about his new book THE TYRANNY OF DEAD IDEAS.  Miller agrees with me that in this time of rapid social change, we just have to give up some of out assumptions that just don't WORK anymore.  (One of his is employee-based healthcare.)  It's probably my study of sociology - but I think that we all have to keep our eyes on the ball and distinguish what's really going out there as opposed to what conventional wisdom is telling us.  (Like the stockmarket isn't risky!)

History helps a lot here - To back to the BBC program on PBS The Ascent of Money - the econometrics geniuses who crashed a few years ago had only used FIVE YEARS of data to base their formulas on - 5 years?  That doesn't even go back to the Vietnam War - not to mention WW II & maybe just barely the invasion of Iraq!  It's building a tower of numbers on SAND! Yet they received a Nobel prize before everything went south, which just goes to show  common sense is always a good thing!

I was urged to invest some of my money with Merrill Lyncha few years back  - boy, am I glad I didn't do THAT!

And so it is for many common kneejerk ideas.  Friends thought I was nuts to hold onto this apartment and pay rent while I was away - but coming from NYC I knew the value of a rent-controlled place - and my reasonable rent relfects that today (plus the benefits of some city oversight!)  And I knew it was cheaper to re-paint and refurbish this place than move - Why should I pay twice as much for a very similar apartment with new paint when I could paint it myself?  I got even got some mney from the old landlord - (the new corporate one wouldn't have done that...)

I also elected to refurbish the vintage stove in the apartment and claim it as MINE ( I had seen others just toss the same stoves out on the street) because I knew that those stoves were built like battleships and the gas technology hasn't changed that much - and celebrities were paying top dollar for similar refurbished stoves!  So we got a MUCH nicer stove than a gimcrack new one for about the same $. (At the same time we got a very nice frig from the same folks - works great...There is such a trade in used frigs, etc. in L.A. that I don't know that ever buying a new one would be totally worth it.) I could go on - but you get the idea - Think for yourself and reason things out for yourself - It pays.

Wish I had someplace to go for the inauguration - The events near me are all bars - and as my hubby had been sober for years, I dunno....Maybe we will watch it at home on TV.

Oh - applied to have a nut houseparty - (go to - they will give us nuts, etc.  Think it's a good excuse to entertain our friends - either in the city or at the beach....There is also a charity houseparty deal on the net (for Nepalese children)- and if I get the nuts, maybe I could combine the two.

That's it - have to get my outfit together for Saturday - How you all doing???





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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Had my first real Freecycle experience - I have had subscribed to the local emails for a while but it has never worked out.  (Freecylce is an internet network that posts items to be given away and items to be taken.  Internet barter, in other words.) Aha! someone was offering a FAX machine just when our old one was dying and needed to be replaced! So I talked my hubby into driving over to Silverlake to pick it up.  It came all neat and clean and in a box, too! "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," I said to hubby.  And then hubby called me an old hippy - which is sortta true, I guess -

We have to re-program the machine, etc. - but I LOVE the idea.  For so long my network for exchange was just my immediate circle and I am glad that I can widen that, given the power of the internet.  This new cooperative spirit is great.

Also trying to revive some music books which were water-damaged - Sprayed them with spray disinfectant to kill the mold , swept the remainder of the green stuff away, and put them to dry in the sun outside.  I figure in a couple of days of S. California sun they will be dried out, and be crinkled and somewhat stained, but usable. 

Spraying with disinfectant spray and putting items out in the sun is a great way to deal with anything that has gotten moldy.  The sun itself is a great disinfectant - the reason, no doubt that the old-fashioned way of dealing with carpets and so on it to clean them and then leave them in the sun.  (If the items are plastic or somehow sturdier, you can wash with regular bleach, another great disinfectant - I use it to clean my toilet.)

Sad news - they are closing the hospital and nursing home sections of the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills - (the retirement and assisted living segments remain.)  My fantasy has always been to be able to live out my last days there among other crazy show biz types - You would be surprised how many STARS have ended their lives there! 

So the motto "We take care of our own" of the Motion Picture Fund is now empty rhetoric.  I agree with the comment in the L.A. Times this AM that the billionaires who run the fund could afford to dig into their pockets and the pockets of their friends to keep this going.  What do you say, fans?  Write Spielberg and Jeff Katzenberg!

And you wonder why Thrift Week has to be revived!


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Hoorah for Thrift!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009


 Thrift  - In Search of the Art of Living

There is a group trying to revive "National Thrift Week" -  which seems to be next week - (See the note at the left sidebar of today, January 14, 2008.)

What a great idea!  It really coalesces what I have been thinking about for the last few months.  On the one hand I was raised by a daughter of an immigrant who grew up in the Depression and the family handed around children's clothes,and baby furniture and plant cuttings, etc. - and in elementary school I had a little savings passbook and a tin bank shaped like a cash register. (Wish I stil had that.)

Then in the mid-60's there was somehow a big disconnect! I ended up gravitating toward the hippies and counterculture and environmentalists, because they shared some off my values - And I honed my thrifty skills because as an artiste, my purse was always slender! We lived as perpetual college students, with a few perks.  And I never really did put it all away and "sell out" - and my thrift allowed me to continue in my artistic pursuits.

But what is this thrift we are all talking about anyway?  The organization ( which is sponsoring the revival of National Thrift Week describes it in the brochure to their new traveling exhibit entitled Thrift and the Art of Living Well as:

 "Put most simply, thrift is the moral discipline of wisest use. It suggests a set of principles and ethical guidelines intended to orient us toward the best use of our resources. Thrift concerns not only the material world—the world of material goods and the money to buy them—but also the natural, spiritual, and aesthetic worlds."

It recognizes that we are interconnected, all part of a community.  As I saw on a PBS program on money last night, the savings of Chinese workers are being lent to the U.S. to shore up its finances! So let's confess that it's been a boom time.  And in boom times there are certain sorts who cash in BIG without any regard for any havoc they may be wreaking - economically or environmentally. We have just seen out own "Gay 90's" and our own particular robber barons.

But we know that there are people out there who DO care and want to be part of a thriving community, not a society with insanely rich folks partying in the castle, while the people below go hungry and lack medical care.

That's why I think I put my blog posts in the "Better Living" category....

For me it's about living wholly and well and responsibly and making my own small contribution.  In my housewife role, I can promote thrift and financial management - I can continue to learn and to investigate my financial choices.  I don't think I will ever make a killing.  Very unlikely.  But my life is quite satisfactory, thank you very much - and I have worked to make it that way.

Ok - so much for philosophy - altho I will come back to this.  On the make-use front, I finally took all the fragrance strips from the free magazines I have been getting and put them up to make paper potpourri.  Put 1/2 in a basket on top of the TV hoping that the slight bit of heat will help the scent get out there - and 1/2 in the bathroom. (It does help to mix around the paper bits occasionally - and you could throw in some pods, etc. on top for looks....) Smelled  great last night.  This place can get stuffy.

So, life with all of its challenges go on - And is it just me, or....when I saw that program The Ascent of Money - modern "finance" looked like big time legalized gambling to me!  With as many bells & whistles as a slot machine.  Sure we can take calculated risks - but let's not ever be lulled into a sense that the risk isn't THERE.



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Walka/Walka & Flowers
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Walka/Walka is what hubby and I call our walks - and since today was a lovely day, I walked around the old neighborhood near my therapist - Such lovely old gardens and large trees! I even picked some rosemary that had strayed onto the pavement.

One home, I picked some of the white rambling roses that seem to do so well in our little side garden and some of the fresh mint - combined it with the sprigs of rosemary and made a rather nice flower arrangement, if I do say so myself.

With these blooming rose bushes outside, I had found myself wondering why I had been denying myself sone flowers for the inside?

After all roses do love to be cut - that makes them bloom all the more - the reason I always deadhead the one outside my door to keep it blooming.  (Some gardeners here - they don't deadhead the roses!)

I thought as I was walking around the picturesque old neighborhood with its flowers that I had roses by my front door, too. (That wasn't the case for many years until I started to cultivate the dry plots out front until it was all taken out of my hands...)  I have roses, too! And a tree outside my window - not to mention the generous hanging fern that hubby rescued from the clearance table, and which just loves him!

January can be a dull month - so we all have to do whatever we can to add some grace to the season. Well, I do, anyway!  And you all?


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Monday, January 12, 2009

Hubby used to ski a lot & still longs for the snow here in S. California - so we drove up to the very funky ski area at Mt. Waterman (Up on the Angeles Crest past - an old-fashioned ski lift and warming hut, etc. )We did see the snow on the mountains - And the towering pines - We are above 5,000 ft.! But it was far too windy to go up the hill! The wind chill factor really makes the experienced temperature go DOWN.

We then had an early dinner at Newcomb's Ranch - a nice restaurant quite near there - You really get an Alpine Experience - and all within an hour or so from L.A. - albeit along a winding mountain road!  The sight of the sun going down and the moon coming up was fantastic!

What sort of budget getaways can you get into within reasonable distance of your home?  Check out any nearby forest or wilderness area and let's all fight to keep as much green around us as possible!

When I am either in the mountains or at the beach - I wonder why the whole city isn't there, too! Enjoy whatever season you have.




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Calendars for the New Year
Friday, January 09, 2009

Things have been slow around here - as I have been laid up with a cold or a similar bug - but it does occur to me that I HAVE made progress on the new year of 2009 in terms of my CALENDARS! 

I  have one for the entire year sent to me by the Calif. Oil Museum of Sta. Paula hooked up to my desk hutch - and a pocket-sized one leaning up against the nice calendar stand from last year next to the computer monitor.  I found a nice bargain wall calendar of sea scapes at the Dollar Tree for Mark - we always hang one up in the dining room for him - and before Xmas I picked up a pocket calendar at the 99 cent store and then another one with one month per page, bcause it's easier to scope out the flow of the month that way...

I try to keep track of what's going on with my pocket calendar (which should be small enough for my purse) and I have a little address book I pickedup at a Oaxacan restaurant years ago and covered in clear plastic which has my phone numbers in it and is easily transferred. (I also have a larger permanent red address book next to the telephone for important #s and addresses - you can just put them in with post-its, if you like..)

Some people have elaborate tracking devices to keep track of all the contacts that they have made - but I try to just put it all into my date book for further reference....

I flirt with planning every so often - but as my schedule is so terribly unpredictable - I can only plan in a general way - I have signed up for my gratis acting class at Santa Monica Emeritus College (Bless them, I wish I were closer so going over there more often would be practical....)

A guy named Bob Frasier on the net is giving away templates for theatrical recordkeeping if you sign up for his newsletter -  (See "Show Business How-to") and there is also expensive software like the Holden Log - (also available in paper)....

I am also on the social networking sites - and have had some requests from LinkedIn - one from a classmate in my German classes of 40 years ago who was kind enuf to say that I hadn't changed - (Wish I could tell myself that same...)

So - it's BACK TO WORK!

P.S. If you like, there are loads of FREE 2009 calendars available as downloads on the net - I got a lovely one last year from

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January - ??
Thursday, January 08, 2009

My husband made the comment that this is "fitness month" because of all the ads & offers for all sorts of weight loss products and invites to various gyms and so on. 

Read elsewhere on I think the "PointClickHome" site that with the glitz of the holidays put away that we could still add some shine to our surroundings.  I would really like to do that!  I am still burning candles - albeit in new 99 Cent Store ceramic turtle candleholders...and my Dollar Tree Angel shines behind them...

Maybe I will dig out the little mirrors I collected for the apartment at the beach, where I tried to reflect all the sunlight I could...

This holiday season was lovely - and I do miss it already...Need a dress up event to cheer me up - I do have an alumnae reception next weekend in Santa Monica (how the other half lives) - Have to think what outfit to pull out for that....

The rest is all the housework I SHOULD do and just don't have the wherewithall to do so - not to mention that my lungs are wonky - and with my allergies that's a lousy time to start stirring up dust - alas...

No, perhaps this is just the season for as many old movies on TCM as I can find!  Saw a luridly technicolor musical last night! Now that WAS a shiny era!

P.S. Someone commented on my use of "xmas" - Well the symbol "X" is a traditional one meaning "Christ" coming from the very early Christian it's not far off...

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2009 Starts
Monday, January 05, 2009

We actually ended up spending a week at the boat - from Sunday to Sunday and came home last night.  Mark is back to his Special Ed work and I am back to whatever I do here.

I won something else!  There was a fairly large box on the doorstep when we arrived and it contained 2 bottles of fancy anti-dandruff shampoo - It was for hubby and even he remarked positively and said that "there was about $25 in shampoo there"! (from Pureology)...and some samples and oodles of magazines.  I have already started recycling the free magazines at my doctor's office and put some in the laundry room here -

(I do feel that the freebie stuff is part of my JOB now!)

Playing a bit with fire again, as the apartment is chilly - and have hooked up that aluminum pie plate leaning over the back of 2 pillar candles - it does heat up - and I would recommend it as a minor heating alternative - IF you are CAREFUL and IF you WATCH it and IF you have no kids or pets around! (I do have the electric heater on the other side.)

Always a bit hard getting back into the routine - We played hooky over the holidays - but hubby works so hard - he bring home work every night  - and so I thought that just getting away from it ALL would be good for him.

Now I have to address my activities - At home I buy very little - most of my shopping is on the fly - and I get into pennypinching and stretching resources - Find myself stretching out the life of my candles here with careful poking and prodding and draining of extra wax! (Wonder if I can recycle them into other candles? Have to research that.) Did get some nice ethnic non-holiday candle holders at the 99 Cent store - made in Thailand - that I want to use for my red tapers - I have enjoyed having candles around! And I got some more bargain tealights, too. Will take out my tealight candleholder, too.

Oh - on Saturday we played with our friend George LeMire (as George LeMire and Friends) at the rustic Deer Lodge restaurant and bar in Ojai, CA - We jammed and jammed and ended up playing for HOURS.  One the way I checked out a new thrift store and picked up a wood block and a sort of lazyman's castenets - both of which must have been the only bargains in the store! (That's what I get from window shopping a lot in music stores - you get acquainted with the going prices...and almost all of my music equipment is a bargain of one sort or another, as is everything else in this life!)

We did percussion (me using my new equipment) and I sang backup harmonies - and Mark played guitar. The wood block sounded good when tapped with the side of the little toy tambourine I have! (But we have been known to play glasses on tables with forks...)

We let George have all the tips - but the Deer Lodge fed us a nice dinner - so a good time was had by all.  I don't mind at all playing for my supper! We will be able to do Boomer oldies until we ourselves are in the Luther Home! A reassuring thought.  In the bigger world I think I call it diversification.

They seemed to like us - so I wouldn't be surprised if that happens again -


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