Author Archives: Annie

My Book Killed Google Docs

Published / by Annie / 2 Comments on My Book Killed Google Docs

Hello everyone!

I think I killed Google Docs. Well, if it ain’t dead, it sure ain’t happy with me at any rate.

I’ve been having problems working on my current book for a while now. Google Docs began getting slower and slower, to the point where I would have to wait several minutes for my words to show up. The sad part is that I’m typing this sucker one-handed; it was taking longer for the words to show up on the screen then it was for me to type them!

Then it started crashing. Repeatedly.

After a lengthy battle I finally decided to download the file and start working on it offline using LibreOffice since I no longer own a computer that has Microsoft Office.

Google Docs would only allow me to download in RTF format and DOCX format. the RTF was, shall we say, imperfect? It was also over 100MB in size. The DOCX file refused to open due to an error. Simply copying and pasting left all my footnotes behind.

I still had a free account on Office Live from years ago so I used it to open the DOCX file.

It would only open read-only.

By this point I was ready to throw something out of a window. It was well past 2am, I wanted to work on my book, and nothing I tried worked. I called it a night. The next day I went in search of a buddy to happened to have a copy of Word.

We managed to get the DOCX file to open and converted to something usable. It isn’t perfect, but it is way better than what I had.

I’m leaving the book online for now in hopes that you can at least look through what’s there but I learned a valuable lesson: Google Docs does not handle large files well. Fellow writers, consider yourself warned.

Now I’m off to work on the book again. I will upload changes/new sections if I can. Sorry!

Remember this as you pursue a simpler life

Published / by Annie

This was originally posted on my blog back in May of 2010. The image is a new addition.

While you are pursuing simplicity there is one thing you must never lose sight of.

This one thing is simple yet complicated at the same time.  I can’t take credit for it however, Shakespeare said it best:

“This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Don’t follow my idea of simplicity.  Don’t follow your mother’s or the dude’s down the street.

Follow your own.

How I Survived Several Years Without Running Water

Published / by Annie / 5 Comments on How I Survived Several Years Without Running Water

In today’s modern age water is usually only a handle turn away. As a result it is usually taken for granted. But what would you do if that flow of water ever stopped?

Once, a long time ago, it did for me. This is how I survived.

After finding myself an unwed mother I really hated myself. I had failed in the one thing that I was raised that females were to provide: A loving father and family for her young.

So I dated, thinking to correct that issue. I decided to go shopping for a father for my daughter.

After a time I thought I had found him: A man who seemed like an industrious person, down on his luck but willing to sacrifice to come out on top. Being no stranger to sacrifice and knowing how hard it is to find someone with the strength to do without and struggle in pursuit of a greater goal convinced me that he was “the one.”

I was wrong and he was a lie, but by the time I realized this we were already married and I was stuck; forced to live in a house without basic utilities like running water and sewage I decided to make do.

At first we used a bucket instead of a commode, and when it would fill up my husband would carry it outside at night and return some time later with it empty. I do not know what he did with the wastes but if there was a compost pile he used – I never saw it, and I do not want to know.

Within a few months we dug a large pit into the earth, and I watched as my husband added gravel to the bottom of the pit, poked holes in an old metal barrel, and covered it up. We now had a septic system, and were able to use the drains in the sinks and the commode he obtained from unknown sources.

Water at first came from the homes of friends and family until time and distance removed that option and I became too embarrassed about my living conditions to ask other people. By this time most suspected I was in an abusive relationship, and it hurt to listen to the countless lectures on what I should do with my life. I became a recluse, and started getting water from a local gas station, carrying it home in re-purposed cooking oil containers given to me by a local restaurant.

Dishes were washed in hot water, by hand, in two plastic containers, but I digress. First all I had to wash in was a couple of large bowls, and everything was either dried by hand or placed on clean towels until it air-dried until I obtained a dish drainer.

Bathing was primarily sponge baths, done in cool water in summer and water heated on the stove in winter. Eventually the children and I would take baths in an oversized Rubbermaid storage container, pretending it was a bathtub. Every opportunity to bathe at friends houses was accepted graciously until the lectures became too much to bear.

As the years passed I would ask my husband when the oft-promised water meter was going to be dropped, volunteering to do whatever needed to be done to hurry things up. “You already have running water dear,” my husband would sneer. “Now run to town and get some!”

Eventually flood damage caused our last source of easily available water to close and I was desperate for a solution. Grasping for an idea – any idea, my eyes fell upon the creek just yards away from the back door of the house. I thought in desperation – why not?

Bucket by bucket I would carry that water into the home, and its unlimited supply enabled me to keep things so much cleaner that I would thank God for the wonderful bounty of that little creek. All water would be boiled before being used for washing with a little bleach added to the rinse water, just in case. I refused to take any chances.

One day I decided to use that water in our old washing machine since we had no money for the Laundromat. Bucket after bucket I carried that day, first filling up the tub to wash and then again to rinse load after load of laundry. I was delighted at my industriousness, ignoring the blisters on my hands, thinking of how proud my husband would be that I had not begged for money to go to the Laundromat but had instead managed to care for our laundry needs at home. I lost track of time, however, so when husband came home his dinner was not ready. He was not impressed.

My next door neighbor sensed my plight; a few weeks later he caught me outside with my buckets and volunteered his small sump pump for my use. Gratefully I accepted the small device, rigged up enough extension cords to cover the span, and as the pump was not strong enough to push water all the way to the house created a holding area halfway between with re-purposed trash cans. It was a slow process but my daughters and I were delighted. It was the closest we had been to running water in years.

Eventually my husband gifted me with a sump pump of my very own, one powerful enough to reach all the way to the back door with a trickle of water, and I felt like a queen. I could easily wash laundry during the day, though the trickle of water meant that it took a long time for the laundry tub to fill up.

Drinking water was purchased at the store after beginning to use the creek.

I had given up asking about the water meter when one day there was a knock on my back door. A man from the water company was outside, where did I want this meter?

Oh, happy day!

 

What Were You Doing Eight Years Ago?

Published / by Annie / 4 Comments on What Were You Doing Eight Years Ago?

Time has a way of flying by when you get older. Ev Bogue reminded me of this in his latest post, as he reminisced about what he was doing eight years ago.

Just for fun, I’m going to look at the old me from eight years ago, in January 2009.

In January 2009 I was living in the projects in Western Kentucky. We had a nice home but I didn’t enjoy the person in charge of the place. It was a beautiful apartment, however–the most beautiful home I have lived in before or since.

I started writing online on Christmas of 2007 so I had been writing professionally for a year. My first submissions didn’t go online until after the new year had arrived. I wasn’t making much, just a couple of dollars a month, but I was proud of that income.

I was working at home in the Internet troubleshooting department of a major cable company. I would wake up on weekdays, log into the system, and help customers troubleshoot their internet connectivity problems. I enjoyed that job.

I had yet to start my first blog. Several of my friends were encouraging me to give it a try. I would do that shortly before I was laid off from my job in May of 2009.

I had never written a book. I didn’t even believe I had a book inside of me at that point, though it had been a dream to write books for most of my life. I could see myself with a whole bookshelf filled with the books I had written.

I had discovered minimalism so I had thinned out my possessions to what I believed was a manageable size. I wouldn’t get drastic until early 2011 when I moved back to Central Kentucky. I still owned a vehicle back then, though I rode my bike to work when the weather allowed.

Thinking back

Thinking back, I am amazed at how far I’ve come since then. I’ve published 30 books and am well on the way to writing my 31st. I’m finally working out the best way for me to write longer fiction as well.

I’ve seen great times and awful times; throughout all of them I have just kept writing. I still remember the thrill when the first person purchased the very first book I published. I remember the delight when I said farewell to my day job and spent several years living on my royalties.

I recall my disappointment when I went back to a public job when my royalties dropped and the fear I’ve had about paying my bills since I got hurt there.

And now, with my pain levels dropped, I am writing again. I believe that this is going to be a very eventful year.

What about you?

What were you doing eight years ago? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Don’t Throw Your Pickle Juice Away

Published / by Annie

Pickle juice is one thing in this house that never gets thrown away. In fact, we occasionally run out of pickle juice before we empty the pickles from the jar (we have to eat fast then!).

One of our main uses for pickle juice is to drink it as a dietary supplement. It helps with digestion and stomach upsets much better than the stuff you find in the store marketed for this purpose. Also, pickle juice provides potassium, which can help with muscle spasms and other things.

Did you know that pickles were used back in the Wild West days to help prevent scurvy? It contains Vitamin C; the lack of which causes this ailment.

In my experience, dill pickle juice works best. We try to always purchase the kosher versions because we believe it to be healthier. I’m not sure about that fact, however – it is simply a personal belief.

On the rare occasions we find ourselves with a surplus of pickle juice, we toss some hard boiled eggs into the brine to make pickled eggs. My dad taught me how to do this as a child. We always had pickled eggs in our refrigerator as a snack.

Because of the many uses of pickle juice I urge you to reconsider before you pour it down the drain. You can find some great uses for your leftover pickle juice on this site. It has some good tips.

Cheap Rent: Man lives in storage locker for two months

Published / by Annie / 3 Comments on Cheap Rent: Man lives in storage locker for two months

Talk about cheap rent! Here’s a video about a man who actually lived in a storage locker for two months!

This is actually doable; I know a family who lived in a storage building for several months after a job loss caused them to get evicted. I wouldn’t want to do that around here when the weather was cold; my friends did this back during the summer a few years back.

Enjoy!


Updates and Thoughts

Published / by Annie

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to let you know what has been going on.

I’ve been slowly tinkering on the Shoestring Girl book (you can see my progress and help edit it here). It’s going slow but at least it is still going. Sending thanks and great big bear hugs to everyone who has helped so far with the book!

I’ve also been practicing with my fiction writing as both a reward and a break from the book. Friend and fellow author Ronnie Virdi (he is a great author, check him out!) is doing really well with his fiction works; in time I would like to add some more fiction titles to my repertoire in order to boost my income and get the stories out of my head that I’ve harbored there since I was a kid.

I’ve had a lot of trouble drafting longer works so I decided to play with fanfiction as practice. I’ve gotten good reviews and learned a lot. For me, I apparently work best without much of a draft. If I just focus on one scene at a time I do much better than I ever have; one of my current stories (split up into parts) is getting close to 60,000 words. Considering that most of my stories fizzle once I reach the 1,000 word mark, I am delighted with the results of this experiment.

For the record, the change might simply be the result of the head injury; my Shoestring Girl book I’m working on has topped 70,000 words, making it my biggest book to date. Either way, I’m delighted with the results.

Since I have been feeling better I had a very long talk with some friends and family members. I suggested that I might want to try going back to a public job in some fashion because, frankly, I’m sick and tired of being broke. I was shot down faster than a guy with a lame pickup line. Each and every one of them said that I have quite a ways to go before I’m ready to go back to work. I might not see it (being on the inside) but they all pointed out some serious communication and mobility issues that I still have. Due to their very valid points I am still off work.

Sigh. Did I say that I’m tired of being broke? I don’t mind living cheap but this constant struggle to pay for the basics (and not having enough to even cover that) is getting ridiculous!

On the bright side, my Social Security Disability claim is apparently still going, thanks to an attorney I hired but didn’t remember (I know, my memory stinks). A friend of mine who has helped several friends with their disability cases (she fought for seven years to get hers after being injured) has volunteered to help. She has known me since before the accident and has been one of the most vocal about not letting me drop the case to try to work. As she put it, I still have a lot of trouble understanding verbal conversation, especially when there are distractions, as well as trouble remembering and following instructions. She said that someone trying to train me in a new position would likely suspect that I was on drugs, despite the fact that I don’t take any. Ouch!

She also pointed out that while I am trying (via my writing) to pay the bills, that I have worked my whole life, am thus qualified for the assistance, and that said assistance would make things easier while I strive to get my writing royalties back up to a living wage and get on my feet overall.

As for my current situation, I have had to sacrifice my MagicJack because I could not afford to pay the annual fee. I am currently using the Talkatone app on my old iPad mini to make and receive phone calls as a result. It doesn’t ring in half of the time but it is better than nothing.

I’ve managed to keep the water and the Internet turned on, and while the electric bill has a balance I have yet to receive a disconnect notice. Thanks to you guys I’ve managed to keep the landlord happy but here soon I’m probably going to have to seek assistance to cover that.

We’ve got food, though, so that is a very good thing. We’re still doing laundry in buckets so we have clean clothes as well.

I am going to warn you, however. If I can’t pull a rabbit out of my hat I will have to relocate this blog to a free host if I can’t come up with the renewal fee in a couple of months. I will work to keep the website name (I believe I should be able to manage that). I’m also considering the creation of a mailing list to keep in touch with you in the event that worst comes to worst. I will keep you posted on that, so don’t worry. If you check the website and my Facebook page you will know how to find me.

That’s all I can think of right now. If you have any questions just leave them in the comments.

Take care!

~Annie

Mental Peace

Published / by Annie / 2 Comments on Mental Peace

This post was originally published September 26, 2009.

~~~###~~~

In our pursuit of simplicity, we will meet a lot of people who live and think a lot different than we do. These people may even try to convince us that we are wrong in wanting to pursue a simpler more peaceful existence. We may watch others doing this or that and think how silly they are to be doing this, while they are looking at us with the same disdain.

That is not peace. Nor is it simplicity. When we worry about what others do or think, we rob ourselves of energy better spent on making our own lives as peaceful as possible. We waste time better spent on us by worrying about what these folks are doing and saying.

Let’s be frank here: Who cares what they think or do? Honestly, in a hundred years, who’s gonna care what these people have done? In a hundred years, who’s going to care what YOU have done?

Since in the end it really doesn’t matter what you or anyone else does, why waste your time on it? Why not instead focus on having the most peaceful existence that YOU can have?

Plowhorses are frequently fitted with blinkers to keep their focus on the row ahead. This helps the farmer to keep the rows straight as he plows. The farmer has to do his part as well, for if he is distracted he may guide the animal in an unwanted direction. He has to pay attention to where he wants to go.

We are like that. If we are worried about what the field near us looks like, we won’t be paying enough attention to our own field, and thus our rows will be crooked.

This is true for any pursuit, but the pursuit of simplicity, frugality and minimalism concentration is very important. We tend to lose track when barraged by those who don’t understand, who don’t share the same goals as we do.

Instead of worrying about them we need to spend that time focusing on ourselves, focusing on what we want to accomplish.

The less we worry about what others want and are doing, the more peace we will have in our lives.

How to Tenderize Meat Without a Gadget

Published / by Annie / 3 Comments on How to Tenderize Meat Without a Gadget

This is one of the earlier posts that has been salvaged.  It was originally posted on September 24, 2009.

Meat tenderizer

If you have ever dealt with a tough piece of meat, you know it can be frustrating. The temptation is high to buy that hammer especially designed to tenderize that piece.

You don’t have to. In fact, you already have something in your kitchen that will tenderize that cut of meat just as well as a mallet. It’s called a plate.

Yes, the average run-of-the-mill ceramic plate. Turn it on it’s side and it becomes the perfect weapon against meat toughness!

I sprinkle my meat with a bit of tenderizer on each side before tapping it multiple times with the side of one of my plates. In the picture I use a saucer cause it’s smaller and easier for me to manage, but any type of plate or saucer will do, provided it’s solid and not plastic or paper. Then again, some of the more solid plastic plates may work as well!

Just whack on that tough piece of meat with the edge of a plate until you think it is good and tender all over. I enjoy taking out any frustrations so mine get beat up pretty bad, flipping mine over a couple of times just to make sure I’m done!

Remember whenever you think you need a new gadget – you may have something already at home that will already do the job, sometimes even better than that shiny new thingy at the store. One less thing cluttering up your drawers, and a bit more money in your pocket!

Enjoy!

Old Posts

Published / by Annie

Thanks to the efforts of reader JG, I am now able to go through the old posts that I sacrificed to defend this website.

I am slowly going through them and plan to put the best of the stand-alone posts up one by one, Throwback Thursday style.

As for the rest, since they are a bit like a journal, I am going to put them all together and release them as a journal of sorts. This way those who are interested can start at the beginning and read all the way through to where we are today. Please be warned that it is going to take a bit for me to do this; I want to finish up my current book project before I start.

Thanks to everyone for sticking with me!

AND…

Thank you my friend for rescuing the posts. You are wonderful!

~Annie

P.S. How do you like the new website design? Katie is the one that designed not only the header image but the little icon that shows up on your tab. That girl has some serious talent!

 

How to Eat Your Christmas Tree

Published / by Annie

Okay, folks, time to recycle that tall piece of greenery you have stuck in the corner of your living room. While most of us just toss it out with the trash, did you know that you could actually eat it?

I’m serious, you really can.

I’ve known for a while that you can actually eat pine trees. In fact, you should never starve if you are stuck in a forest with pine because seriously, the trees! Eat them!

From what I understand in ages past pine trees were called the feast of kings because when kings would go out with their armies to invade other lands they allegedly relied on these trees to feed themselves and their armies even when there was meat around (I guess to supplement the meat).

Now I’m not sure about the legend but if you’re hungry and you’ve got a tree that you’re about to toss in the trash, why not try it? Can’t hurt.

Here is the link to eating pine trees: http://tacticalintelligence.net/blog/how-to-eat-a-pine-tree.htm.

And last but not least here is a link specifically aimed at teaching you how to eat that Christmas tree instead of tossing it away: http://wholefedhomestead.com/how-to-eat-your-christmas-tree/.

Enjoy!

Happy New Year

Published / by Annie / 6 Comments on Happy New Year

Happy New Year my friends. For my next trick I plan to rise out of the ashes of what has been a really crappy couple of years and flap like a chicken or something.

Katie and I rang in 2017 by throwing away our old calendars. I took my 2016 file folder and archived it. I was tempted to give it the round file treatment but I realized that I might need my tax records even though I’m broke.

And while I lost Princess Leia, Charlotte the spider, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and a ton of others that I loved I found out tonight that the Cubs WON the World Series for the first time in 108 years!

I was born in Chicago. That’s my team right there. Doesn’t quite make up for Leia but it’s a start.

Anyway, last but not least I now have 65,776 words written on the new Shoestring Girl book so I’m very happy with that.

So here’s hoping everyone has a great year!

Hugs!
~Annie

You Know You’re Poor When…

Published / by Annie / 4 Comments on You Know You’re Poor When…

During Christmas I found myself surrounded by family and friends when the subject of my cheapskate ways (and thus my website) came up. One of my companions made the comment that the majority of folks really don’t know what it is like to be poor and to do crazy (and sometimes illegal) things just to get by.

Time went on and we started discussing the crazy stuff we have done and seen others do just to survive. Some of the stories were simply mind-boggling so I asked permission to create this list so that others could get a glimpse of the other side of the fence.

To make this easier (and eliminate any potential identifying markers) I asked them to finish the phrase “you know you’re poor when…”

Here is what they came up with.

These items are in no particular order. For the record, some of these things are harsh and dark, but others are simply hilarious. I have done some of these things personally; as for the others, the only requirement was that it had to be something that they had either done personally or had actually seen done.

I make no judgment about the stories shared to me that night and I trust that you won’t either.

***

1. You know you’re poor when dumpster diving is an acceptable sport.

2. You know you’re poor when you never lock your door because you have absolutely nothing to steal.

3. You know you’re poor when $5 on the Dollar Menu is all you have to feed your entire family.

4. You know you’re poor when the neighbor’s fights are your version of reality TV.

5. You know you’re poor when you know how to use a box of Sudafed to pay your electric bill.

6. You know you’re poor when your grandmother celebrates every time she refills her Percocet prescription.

7. You know you’re poor when your whole neighborhood shares the cable bill.

8. You know you’re poor when you learn how to hack just so you can steal your neighbor’s internet.

9. You know you’re poor when sugar daddies are a viable source of income.

10. You know you’re poor when you envy your local drug dealers.

11. You know you’re poor when all of your tires are donut spares.

12. You know you’re poor when all of the DVDs you own are bootlegged.

13. You know you’re poor when you close your car windows with duct tape.

14. You know you’re poor when you really do live by the motto “duct tape fixes everything.”

15. You know you’re poor when all of your presents are purchased on an EBT card.

16. You know you’re poor when the most successful member of your family is a drug dealer.

17. You know you’re poor when you visit the website of your local jail to find out where your friends are.

18. You know you’re poor when you are more afraid of the cops than the dope fiends.

19. You know you’re poor when you look at the dope fiends as a source of cheap merchandise.

20. You know you’re poor when “reduce, reuse, recycle” also includes cigarette butts you pick up off the street.

21. You know you’re poor when you pray for snow so the landlord won’t come knocking.

22. You know you’re poor when a medical card means you can finally get a phone.

23. You know you’re poor when you catch a rat in the kitchen so your kids can have a pet.

24. You know you’re poor when you consider the stuff set outside after an eviction to be a free yard sale.

25. You know you’re poor when a happy meal is whatever you can buy with the change in your couch cushions.

26. You know you’re poor when you dig for change just to make it home.

27. You know you’re poor when you look at a fellow smoker and ask to share the wealth.

28. You know you’re poor when you can’t afford to eat at the restaurant you work at.

29. You know you’re poor when you steal ketchup packets so that you can make spaghetti for your kids.

30. You know you’re poor when you gather up extra napkins after you run out of bathroom tissue.

31. You know you’re poor when you call up your brother and ask him to reconnect your water meter.

32. You know you’re poor when you know how to make a pack of hot dogs feed your kids for a week.

33. You know you’re poor when you use shampoo and dishwashing liquid to clean your laundry.

34. You know you’re poor when you call your dog your official bed warmer.

35. You know you’re poor when the creek is your swimming pool.

36. You know you’re poor when you carry a fishing pole to hide the fact that you live by the river.

37. You know you’re poor when your phone is over 10 years old and you are still using it.

38. You know you’re poor when the pawn shop is on speed dial.

39. You know you’re poor when you give the scissors to your toddler and ask her for a haircut.

40. You know you’re poor when you use kool-aid to color your hair.

41. You know you’re poor when it takes five people to buy one 40-oz.

42. You know you’re poor when your second job is a phone sex operator.

43. You know you’re poor when you’re afraid to own upholstered furniture because you are so afraid of bedbugs and fleas.

44. You know you’re poor when 13 people live in a one-bedroom house.

45. You know you’re poor when the cockroaches move next door.

46. You know you’re poor when you have to take stuff back to the store just so you can buy your kids a birthday cake.

47. You know you’re poor when you have to use your dirty socks for feminine pads.

48. You know you’re poor when you are banned from getting money from the pop machines.

49. You know you’re poor when you have to pass around a 2-liter bottle because you’ve had to sell all of your glasses.

50. You know you’re poor when you go to Ruler Foods and ask to put away carts just so you can collect the quarter.

51. You know you’re poor when you exchange food stamps for cash to pay the water bill.

52. You know you’re poor when you grow your nerve medicine in the back yard.

53. You know you’re poor when you have to wipe your butt with a coffee filter.

54. You know you’re poor when you know just how far 50 cents worth of gas will take you.

55. You know you’re poor when you stick your own hair in your food to get a free meal.

56. You know you’re poor when a seafood dinner is what you’ve managed to catch in the creek.

57. You know you’re poor when you try to claim your pets as dependents.

58. You know you’re poor when you start smoking just so you can get a break at work.

59. You know you’re poor when you sell your dirty panties for gas money.

60. You know you’re poor when you raid the local tobacco field every time you run out of cigarettes.

61. You know you’re poor when you pimp out your daughters just to get the finder’s fee.

62. You know you’re poor when you count on your food stamps just to pay your bills.

63. You know you’re poor when you know exactly how long it takes for a check to hit your bank.

64. You know you’re poor when you know how to use the memo field on your checks to escape a debt.

65. You know you’re poor when you consider the weeds in your yard to be a food source.

66. You know you’re poor when you know how to make a tampon.

67. You know you’re poor when you know how to curl your hair using bathroom tissue.

68. You know you’re poor when there’s a tree in your town that everyone calls “the pooping bush.”

69. You know you’re poor when you eat dog or cat food on crackers.

70. You know you’re poor when you eat Kibbles and Bits as a breakfast cereal.

71. You know you’re poor when you’re still breast feeding your six-year-old because you can’t afford to feed them.

72. You know you’re poor when you smoke a cigarette every time you are hungry.

73. You know you’re poor when you drink a cup of hot water every time you are hungry and tell yourself that it is soup.

74. You know you’re poor when you decide to keep drinking because there is no food in the house.

75. You know you’re poor when everyone you know works at McDonald’s.

76. You know you’re poor when your job doesn’t cover your medical expenses.

77. You know you’re poor when you have to sell your dog to pay for dinner.

78. You know you’re poor when your commode sits at a 90-degree angle.

79. You know you’re poor when you have to reuse your bathroom tissue.

80. You know you’re poor when you stick stuff in empty soft drink cans just to increase the weight.

81. You know you’re poor when your cat adopts the neighbor because she’s hungry.

82. You know you’re poor when people judge you because your parents bought you an iPhone.

83. You know you’re poor when people judge you for wearing nice clothes even though you bought them at a thrift shop.

84. You know you’re poor when you are grateful that the wealthier members of your family purchase your children or grandchildren expensive toys.

***

Do you have anything to add to this list? Please share your stories in the comments below.

 

Sign of the times

Published / by Annie / 7 Comments on Sign of the times

While Katie and I forgo decorating our home to celebrate the holidays we still enjoy walking around our little neighborhood to examine the festive atmosphere. We may live in the ‘hood but several of our compatriots enjoy going all out for the season.

I wasn’t up for last year but since I’m feeling a bit better we resumed our little tradition this Christmas Eve. We anxiously awaited dusk to arrive, grabbed our coats, and started walking.

Our first stop was a pair of houses just a couple of blocks away. The folks who live there team up to create a fabulous display complete with music and the occasional light show so I was excited to be able to witness their annual offering.

As we approached I noticed that the lights weren’t on. “That’s odd, “ I commented to Katie. “They’re usually lit by this hour.” Disappointed, we continued our walk expecting them to be alight by the time we came back through.

The second house we approached was just as dark as the first. So was the third, the fourth, and so on. Slowly we realized something sad.

Only two houses in our little hood had even bothered to decorate. Even the brightest houses were dark and what displays we saw were muted.

It is a sad time when nobody decorates for Christmas, not even the ones who savor the season.

In my experience, people in this area don’t decorate when money is tight because they are afraid of the electric bill. It is a sign that jobs have been lost, income decreased, and fear prevails.

I wonder what next year will hold.

Were there any changes in how your neighborhood celebrated Christmas this year? Did you do more or less this year? Why? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Simple Christmas

Published / by Annie / 3 Comments on Simple Christmas

Katie and I tend to make our Holidays simple but this year we’ve went a bit lower than usual. Since money is tight Katie made some edits for the website and gave them to me as her gift. She is the one who designed the new logo, actually. Isn’t she talented? I bought her a box of hair bleach since she wants to go back to her natural blonde. Grandson is getting a coloring book, an art book, and a pack of tracing paper since he likes to draw and everyone else focuses on getting him toys.

Katie also played Secret Santa at school this year so one of her friends received a mug decorated with her favorite animal and an assortment of food treats. Some special friends and family members received Christmas cards from us since we’ve been neglectful about keeping in touch over this past year.

So that’s the bulk of our Christmas, purchased for under $30. How much did you spend?

Shingles Made of Recycled Tires

Published / by Annie / 2 Comments on Shingles Made of Recycled Tires

I recently found a web page where a creative frugalista used old race care tires instead of shingles on a roof and my inner cheapskate fell in love.

I’m not exactly sure where you would get old race car tires but I still wanted to share this. Some of you might be able to figure out a way to use other tires for this as well, and if you do, please share how you do it in the comments below.

Anyway, click on the link here to read all about it and help share the love by sharing this post if you like it.

Hugs,
Annie

Second Chances

Published / by Annie / 2 Comments on Second Chances

It dawned on me this morning that I have been blogging since early 2009. It started as an experiment after I got laid off because my friends told me that blogging was a BIG THING just to pass the time.

Long story short, I realized that I deleted almost eight years of my life just to defeat some hackers and protect my friends.

That is terrifying.

The worst part here is that I’ve got a backup of most of it. I could stick those back up if I could figure out how.

But you know what? I can either look at this as a loss or accept it for the second chance that it is. I now have the opportunity to completely start from scratch without the burden of my past.

It’s not really different from the time I tossed the things that would fit in my old van and moved across the state to start over. The only difference is that I lost my history instead of physical items.

When was the last time you started from scratch? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Last Chance for FREE Books!

Published / by Annie / 1 Comment on Last Chance for FREE Books!

Okay guys, before the latest round of excitement I told you how to get a bunch of great books for absolutely FREE.

Well, that deal is almost over.

Tonight it all ends. All you have to do to get this wonderful collection of books and courses revolving the eco-sustainable lifestyle, including a FREE copy of my book The Minimalist Cleaning Method is to click this link, type in your email address, and wait for them to send you a link to the download page.

Grab it while you can.

Pissed off and starting over

Published / by Annie / 4 Comments on Pissed off and starting over

I just had a bit of a battle here. Somehow hackers managed to get back in and contaminated a bunch of my files.

Rather than risk endangering you I deleted it all. It just wasn’t worth it. You are much more important than this stupid page.

As a result I am going to have to ask you to resubscribe. I’m sorry, but it was the only way to make sure you were kept safe from the hackers.

Peace, Annie