Monthly Archives: March 2019

Free & cheap things that have come my way recently

It’s time to for a little show-and-tell of interesting things I’ve gotten for free or cheap.

I found this dress/tunic at Ross earlier in the month for $2! I’d seen the style earlier in the season at regular price and thought it was cute. It isn’t all that well-made but for $2?! Why not! I love the colors and they are good on me; this works well with tights or leggings and a pair of boots. The necklace is kinda cheap; I have better options.

 

 

Someone gave me this Croton plant last fall. I re-potted it and kept a light on it all winter. If you want colors, like the red, on this particular plant, it needs good light. I am glad it likes life with me which is evident because it just started producing new leaves! (I am proud.)

 

 

I found this sturdy step stool abandoned.

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Just before Christmas I found this wreath abandoned on the curb. I was happy to have it and before the holiday season no less. (Christmas stuff is usually dumped AFTER.)

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This little shelf was left on the curb. I snapped it up and added it to my closet shelves for just a bit more shoe/purse/miscellaneous storage. As noted in previous posts, I store my boots above my clothes which is a bit unorthodox but it all fits better that way and I can SEE what I have. (Why are some of the hangers backwards? I tried a little experiment this winter where if I wore a top once, maybe for just a few hours and if  it was fresh & clean, I turned it around on the rod so that I’d be sure to put in the laundry hamper the next time I wore it. This worked out rather well.)

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Earlier this month the local yoga studio held a clothing swap. You didn’t need to be a member (I’m not) but only needed to bring one article of women’s clothing to participate. I filled a plastic grocery bag with offerings and went to the studio on a Friday evening. I knew in advance that there’d be a “place to try things on” and a “mirror” but the way that was phrased gave me the idea the two might not be in the same place (which was the case). To go prepared, I wore boy shorts and a sports bra under my clothes so I could easily try things on, figuring chances were I’d be surrounded by other people. I realize not all women would be comfortable with that – undressing in front of other people, strangers no less – but I didn’t mind. It made things a lot easier.

Since it was held at a yoga center I was hoping/figuring that the women donating clothes might be smaller sizes and my guess paid off – I found LOTS of stuff for me. Look at all this!! Among the finds were several pullover sweaters, three Old Navy “go-dry” long-sleeve athletic tops that say “semi-fitted” yet fit snugly like they were made for me, a pair of Levis, two dresses, a pair of “Smart Wool” ankle socks (a good, pricey brand), yoga pants (of course), a delicate scarf, and several other tops. Maybe at some point I’ll get a post up to share all my booty in detail. Going to the swap was well worth my time and it was fun too.

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I just got these for free! We have a community “yard sale” group on Facebook and someone offered them. I pounced.

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About two weeks ago I saw this planter box on the curb and thought I could use it. When I got closer, in addition to finding it full of weeds, I discovered a small hydrangea in the middle. Who throws out a hydrangea?? I got the weeds out and put it in my yard. I decided to leave it in the planter for now and am curious what the blooms will look like. (I have several hydrangeas and they have wonderful colors.)

 

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I’ve needed apron for awhile but I didn’t want to pay much. And I wanted it to be cute. I landed this apron on Amazon for $3! I love it. It’s “currently unavailable” so don’t get your hopes up, sorry, if you’re in the apron market. The trick to finding bargains like this on Amazon is to do a search with a really low maximum price, such as “aprons $3 and under.” If you don’t find anything, bump the figure to $4. It may take awhile – I look for a list of things at any given time – but eventually I land many good deals.

 

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Short Thought 234

I never heard my mother use the words “good years” in relation to her marriage to my father until after he was dead. “When exactly,” I asked, “were those?” After all, I’d lived with the happy couple for twenty years and had plenty of opportunity to witness them beyond that, and I hadn’t seen anything that could be described in those words.

What Does Colette Eat?

This post might seem a little strange, coming out of left field, but what the hell. Food is very, very important to me. I am one of those people that definitely lives to eat. You might not think it to look at me because I stay fit and lean but if you knew me in real life and asked, “Are you hungry?” or “Do you want to eat?” at any given point of the day, the answer is usually “YES.” (It’s a safe bet.)

I won’t say I hoard food so much as stockpile.  I think of hoarders as people who have no clue what they have and who won’t ever get to all of it (i.e., if it’s food, a lot of it will expire or go bad) – that is not me.  I eat what I buy, keep track of expirations, write the date on foods in the freezer and so on. I do tend to deliberately load up on  supplies pre-winter because I like the comfort of knowing that even if there’s a 3-foot snow storm and I can’t get anywhere, I’ll still have food to eat. And even shy of that, since I don’t have a car, I just like knowing that I have stuff, and won’t necessarily have to trudge out in the sub-freezing temps or ride the bus to get groceries (which I seem to be doing like clockwork anyway, but…).

Last year I was what I considered a bit indulgent in my grocery shopping. I treated myself to foods I wouldn’t otherwise buy. It was nice and I enjoyed it. I did also keep track of what I spent on food and come the end of the year, it was about $2,200. As a lump sum, that kind of jumped out at me. I had no sense if that’s about par or what (anytime I’ve seen food cost charts, they usually are calculated for a “family of four” or something). Anyway, I decided I’d like to bring that figure back down this year, more in line with previous years.

These thoughts about cost are somewhat extraneous so far as this post – the post is just a list of the foods I have on hand right now. I thought it would be helpful to me to make it and it was.  I don’t know if it’ll be helpful to anyone else but maybe it might. (I like to know what other people eat and to get new ideas, especially from people who are fit and health-conscious.) I don’t follow any “diet” that has a name but I try to eat well and I really, really enjoy food.

FREEZER

2018 Farmers market Yams = 3 jars

2018 Farmers market Turnips = 2 small bags

2018 Farmers Market Butternut Squash = 2 small bags

Mixed Berries = ½ bag, about 1.5lbs

Blueberries = 3lb bag

Strawberries = 2 or 3lbs

Blackberries = ½ bag, about 1.5lbs

Red & Green Peppers = 2 1lb bags

Okra = 1 old bag

Spinach = ½ 1lb bag

Peas = 2 1lb bags

Green Beans = 1 1lb bag

Homemade Refried Beans = 3 small jars

Whole Wheat bread = 1 open bag, 1 unopened bag

Whole Wheat Pita Bread = 1 open bag, 1 unopened 12oz bag

Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas = 4 small bags

Homemade Pasta  dish = 7 portions

Homemade Egg Sandwiches = 4

Homemade Spinach & Artichoke Heart Quiche = 2 portions

Homemade Pie = 2 slices

Homemade healthy cookies = 6 small bags

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks = 34 1oz sticks

Colby & Montery Jack cheese = 14 1oz cubes

Feta = half a jar

Cheddar Slices = 3

Brown Rice = 1 5lb bag

Wild Rice = 1lb

Arborio Rice = little left in container

White Rice = 1lb

Whole Wheat Flour = 3.5 5lb bags

White Flour = 1 5lb bag

Walnuts = 2 16oz bags plus small 4oz bag

Brown Sesame Seeds = 2 1lb bags

Almonds = 2.5lbs

Raw Sunflower seeds = a lot

Pitted Dates = a lot

Homemade Soup = 3 jars

 

CANS

Green Beans = 4

Peas = 1

Corn = 4

Pickles = 1

Salmon = 6 15oz cans

Tuna = 10 cans

Crushed Tomatoes = 8 28oz cans

Diced Tomatoes = 11 28oz cans

Whole Peeled Tomatoes = 2 28oz cans

Evaporated Milk = 1 can

Pineapple = 2 24oz cans

Peaches = 2 15oz cans

Pears = 2 15oz cans

Tomato Paste – 2 6oz cans

 

PANTRY FOODS

Panko Bread crumbs = ½ box

Peanuts = 5 jars

Date Paste = 1 2lb bag

Raisins = ½ carton

Brown Sugar = 1 peanut jar full

White Sugar = ½ 4lb bag (plenty)

Cocoa Powder = about 34oz (1 23oz unopened container plus 2 open containers)

Dark Chocolate Chips = 1 open bag, 1 unopened bag

Unsweetened Coconut = 1 10oz bag

Taco Shells = 2 boxes

Tofu = 12 boxes (Amazon sells it by the 12-pack)

Pumpkin = 2 boxes

Boxed Milk = 2qt boxes

Dry Milk = 2 envelopes plus 2 unopened boxes

Baking powder

Baking Soda

 

 

PASTA & NOODLES

Rotini = 1.5lbs

Penne = 3 1lb boxes

Farfalle = 3 1lb boxes

Orzo = 1 1lb box

Linguine = 3.5 lbs

Angel Hair Spaghetti = 2.5lbs

Spaghetti = 4lbs

Whole Wheat Spaghetti = 1 open box (not excited about this)

Rice Noodles = little bit left

Long Udon noodles = ½ bag

Whole Wheat Egg noodles = 12oz bag (ok, I might not eat this😐)

 

BEANS & GRAINS

Red Kidney = 1 1lb bag dried

Pinto = 1.5lbs dried

Lentils = 2 1lb bags

Great Northern = 2 1lb bags dried

Chick Peas = 4 1lb bags dried

Black Beans = 3 1lb bags dried

Old Fashioned Oats = 1 open 42oz box, 1 unopened 42oz box

1 Minute Oats = 1 open 42oz box, 1 unopened 42oz box

Oat Bran = 1 18oz bag

Bob’s Red Mill Five Grain Hot Cereal = 1 16oz bag

Bob’s Seven Grain Hot Cereal = ½ 1lb bag

White Cornmeal = most of a bag

Chia Seeds = 1 bag

Wheat Bran = 1 8oz bag

Barley = 2 open bags (oops)

Popcorn = 3 2lb bags unpopped

 

OILS, VINEGARS, CONDIMENTS, ETC

Canola Oil = 4 48oz bottles

Sesame Oil = 1 16oz bottle

Coconut Oil = little bit

Extra Virgin Olive Oil = about 95oz (I REALLY like olive oil 😊)

Balsamic Vinegar = 1 open bottle

Red Wine Vinegar = 1 open bottle

Rice Vinegar = 1 open bottle, 2 unopen

Liquid Aminos = 1 open bottle

Lemon Juice

Lime Juice

Blackstrap Molasses = 1 16oz bottle

Molasses = 1 11oz bottle

Honey = 1 24oz jar

Tabasco sauce = 2 2oz bottles

Garlic = 1 open jar

Peanut Butter (no salt, no sugar) = 1 open jar

Peanut Butter Powder = a lot

Nutritional Yeast

Yeast = a lot

Pure Vanilla = 2 2oz jars

Mustard = 1 12oz bottle

Catsup, no sugar added  = 1 open bottle

Pesto = 2 jars

Marinated Artichoke Hearts – 1 large jar

Capers = 2 2oz jars

Peppercorns = 2 2oz jars

Kalamata Olives = 1 open jar

Green olives = 2 open jars, 4 unopened

 

FRESH FRUITS & VEGETABLES

Onions

Kiwis

Bananas

Cabbage

Lettuce

Oranges

Broccoli

Green Onions

Red Onion

Carrots

Although I have canned salmon & tuna, you may have noticed the absence of any meats, chops, chicken etc. I am a mostly vegetarian. I’m not hard core but rarely buy meat or poultry. I don’t buy frozen dinners or much that’s ready-made.  What’s missing and I need to buy are:

Non-fat, Plain Yogurt

Raisins (why has the price jumped so much lately?!)

Salsa

Flax seed

Black Olives

Black-eye Peas

Frozen fish fillets

Potatoes, any kind

 

 

 

 

 

Things Men Have Said To Me (#31)

I liked talking to him when I ran into him but, although I’d never met his wife, I knew he was married. He told me he was looking for friends, someone to do things with, such as go to museums. He thought I was a good candidate.

ME: Would you tell your wife?
HIM: Maybe. Or I’d just say I was going with someone from the office.
ME: How’s that going to work? She’ll say “Have a nice time and here’s some money for popcorn??”
HIM:

I never did go anywhere with him.

Makin’ progress on my 2019 “resolutions”

It’s time for a little update on my kinda, sorta, resolutions for 2019. I’m off to a good start.  I’ve read 9 books (the year’s goal is 20) but I actually think nine isn’t that many because I started several I didn’t finish so they don’t count. I’ve been having trouble finding books that really hold me. My attention wanders or I’m not anxious to pick the book up again after starting it. I know completely what it is to fall into a book, to be absorbed and excited and unable to stop turning pages. THAT’S what I want but lately that hasn’t happened so much. The books are “okay” just not blowing me away. Best one so far was Kathryn Harrison’s book of essays, True Crimes: A family album.

Yesterday I started reading Chuck Klosterman’s collection of essays X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century and I’m happy to say, it’s going fast. He is so readable especially to anyone prone to analyzing, particularly pop culture.

The yoga is off to an excellent start. I’ve done the “Sun Salutation” sixteen times (the goal for the year is 50) and I’ve done 30 minutes of yoga eleven times (the goal is 25). I never used exercise videos before but to teach myself yoga, I’ve been checking DVDs out of the public library. I’ve done five different ones. My impression so far is that yoga is no different than anything else; instructors have very different styles & approaches. For instance, one instructor says always breathe through your nose and out your mouth while doing the poses and another says always breathe in through your nose and out through your nose. I don’t really care one way or the other; the breathing aspect is not my concern. My exhaling while practicing yoga is most obvious to me; it’s a sign I’m relaxing.  I like teachers I can relate to, who have a sense of humor, and aren’t overly rigid; to that end I can already tell I prefer Tara Stiles over Rodney Yee, for an example (of two well-known instructors).

To me, yoga is exercise focusing on balance, strength, and stretch. The way I see it, most of us over time limit our range of motion which doesn’t serve us as we age. Yoga positions aren’t ones you’d typically find yourself in on the average day. Like, how often does any of us make a point to bend over backward or remember to stretch out our spine or balance on one foot or swing our feet over our head while laying down? I dunno about you but these things aren’t in my usual day’s repertoire of motion. Yoga gets you to make a point of these things and much more.

I’m not going to tell you my life is transformed but I am sure yoga is good for me, physically and mentally. However much I do of it. I think it helps you to not take your body for granted and to become aware of it and everything it does for you. And — quality of life is often attached to strength and range of motion. The longer you  can remain strong and agile, the better off you will be as you age. This is my take. I am the one taking care of me so I have a BIG investment in staying strong and capable.

I made simple loose leaf lists to keep track of my progress. In my experience, things – of pretty much any stripe – are always longer ago than I remember them, so the lists keep me on track. I can take a quick look and see, “Oops, I haven’t done yoga in a week!” Since I’m far more a when-the-spirit-moves-me-person than one-who-adheres-to-a-strict-routine, this works well.

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I’m more active in warm weather so, since I don’t belong to a gym (and never have) I really need to make a point to keep moving in winter. I wanted this to be a year of getting physically stronger. Not that I’m any slouch, but I wanted to do more. I’ve been walking a lot and using my treadmill, a manual one someone gave away in 2017, on days I don’t walk outdoors. I’m doing pushups (the man kind) and using my hand weights. I didn’t include this in my resolutions, but I’m also regularly using the hula hoop I picked up at Target a couple years ago. I’d like to think it works your mid-section but even if it doesn’t, any kind of motion, I figure, is good.

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Switching gears, I have to make fun of myself yet again for thinking it might be “hard” to find fifteen things to get rid of this year. See, I’ve already done all kinds of de-cluttering in years past. I read Throw Out Fifty Things and Peter Walsh’s book and more recently even Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy (although I’ve never seen her show). No one would walk into my home – I promise – and think I had a clutter problem or needed to get rid of stuff. And YET…. I’ve already put 97 things on my list!! I’ll grant you, almost all were small items, but still, that’s 97 things given away, recycled, or tossed. Here’s a small section of the list to show you. (As you see, I editorialize myself occasionally with things like an UNHAPPY face, which is basically me rolling my eyes at myself.)

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I’m slacking on the Italian CDs. I have the Conversational Italian CD set out of the library but I haven’t gotten past lesson 6, meaning basically I haven’t done any in 2019. My goal was to get through all the lessons but I’m no longer sure I will. I’ve never felt I had a knack for anything other than the English language and trying these Italian lessons, sadly, hasn’t changed my mind.  I haven’t learned nothing exactly; I can say – poorly – that I speak a little Italian. I should probably learn how to say I speak VERY little Italian.

On whole, I’m feeling good about all this. I might do some yoga, and I might read some books, and I might throw out stuff  with no resolutions and no lists but with the resolutions and my simple lists, I KNOW I’m doing it. 2019 is about pushing myself physically and mentally, preventing drift and being more focused. I like it.