Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Had This Dream

Wait, I should lie down for this.

Dear Dr. Freud,

I have just started to realize that a lot of people have been saying "Hey you look good, did you lose weight?" when I've either got on nice or newer clothes, or even a haircut. Never just "Hey you look good" it's always, always followed by "did you lose weight." I used to be pleased that they thought I looked thinner, but since people are still saying that and I am actually gaining weight, I have just been wondering how long they have been thinking I am fat.

I had a dream last night where I went into a convenience store and selected eight candy bars - eight different candy bars - a Midnight Milky Way, Mr. Goodbar, a Hershey's Krackel, a Hershey bar with almonds, a Zero, a 100 Grand, a Twix, and a McDonald's fudge bar with chocolate chips (yeah I know it doesn't exist). I pretended I was buying them for other people when they were really all for me.

What does it mean, Dr. Freud, when I can't admit that even in a dream?

The candy bars cost almost $20 which I just happened to have in my pocket and instead of looking at the cost and putting seven bars back, I was happy to pay it.

Don't tell me veddddy interesting! I have a diet coming up, am I going to sabotage myself in my dreams too?

Sincerely,
Marti

Six Week Cure for the Middle Aged Middle

A week ago, I went to the library for a list of books I've been wanting to read. Of course, they didn't have a single book on my list so I looked over the new releases and brought home a couple. One of them was The 6 Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle by Mary Dan Eades, M.D. and Michael R. Eades. M.D.

I wanted to skip right to the diet part, but thought I'd scan through the introduction first. It was actually fairly interesting and informative and I kept reading. Most of it was stuff I've already heard, Americans are obese because of polyunsaturated oils and refined sugars, more specifically omega-6 fats and fructose. But it also said that middle aged girth has been around for centuries.

But it was these two paragraphs that made me decide to try this diet. Well, these and the part about the diet being only 6 weeks, and it changes every two weeks, a time frame I think I can do.

The primary cause of the expanding middle-aged waistline is the storage of excess fat deep within the abdominal cavity, in and around the vital organs, accumulating where fat isn't really supposed to be and acting in a more sinister way than fat is supposed to act. Visceral fat is not just a passive repository of extra calories as was once believed; it's a metabolically active organ that responds to neurotransmitters and hormones and sends out chemical messages of its own to the brain and other tissues. When its accumulation reaches a critical mass, it begins to behave more like a tumor than a storage reservoir, infiltrating the organs and muscles - mostly importantly the liver - and at least to some degree, wresting metabolic control from them....

Of the subtle changes leading to fat accumulations in the belly, the most common is the accumulation of fat in the liver itself. If you've ever seen foie gras, you've seen duck or goose livers filled with fat. Sadly, many middle-aged human livers often don't look much different. Though it's long been understood that heavy drinking causes the accumulation of fat within the liver, it may surprise you to learn the the livers of many nondrinking, middle-aged people look about the same as the liver of the chronic drunk collapsed outside the local bar. Like those of the overfed geese, those livers are stuffed with fat. The condition has a name: nonalcoholic fatty liver disorder (NAFLD, or simply a fatty liver).

The first two weeks of the diet is detoxifying the liver so it can function better and improve our overall health.

I already know from my earlier attempt to cut sugar out of my diet, that I felt better, had more energy, and was more alert. So what could it hurt to try this diet for a few weeks? It will take me a few days to accumulate some of the ingredients for the daily protein shakes, and to finish reading the book, but then after Thanksgiving, I'll weigh and measure and start the diet. I'll let you know if it works - or if it doesn't.

Until next time, may you have blessings and health,
Marti

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Job Decision

I need to make a decision. A job opportunity has fallen into my lap and I'm not sure what to do about it. It's full-time, starting soon, doing bookkeeping - which I haven't done in awhile, at least for someone else.

I'm supposed to be mulling it over, so I'm mulling, which feels a lot like stewing. Good thoughts and prayers would be appreciated in the mulling process.

Updated 11/21/09.  I found out that the current bookkeeper is the girlfriend of the owner, and neither he nor she knows that the manager wants to make a change. No way, Jose, will I consider that one!

Until next time, may you have blessings and mulling opportunities,
Marti

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Think I'm in Jewelry Love!

I was just blog surfing (would that be blurfing?) and read the newest post by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Susan is hosting a giveaway for Lisa Leonard Designs, so of course, I had to follow her link to see what Lisa designs, and I was blown away. Susan said these are the perfect Christmas gift and she's not kidding. (Or as we say in the South, she ain't just a-woofin' - I'm not sure what that means, I just like to say it to folks outside the South to keep their vision of the South intact.)

Anyway, here is the item she is giving away: A pewter leaf ornament, customized with your name and the date. Aren't they great?


Even if you enter and don't win, her prices are quite reasonable (dare I say cheap?) for handmade, limited edition artwork.

This is my favorite (hint, hint to Hubby if you are reading), The Sterling Ball Chain:


I think I may have found Hubby's present on her site too, so I can't post that picture.

Normally, I don't enter these blog giveaways because I never win anything anyway, but I am going to try my best on this one. If you want to join me, you can enter the giveaway. Just go to www.notgonnatellya.com and tell her I sent you. Ok, ok, that's not the real link. I guess I can take the competition, it's not like I'm first on the list anyway. Here's what you do:

Go visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, ooh and ahh over Lisa's art, and then comment on the post I linked. Easy Peasy.

Now off with ya, and may the luckiest person win.

Until next time, may you have blessings and sweet things,
Marti

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday's Flowers


Just had to share another long-awaited bloom. I had given up on this Confederate Rose this year, when it finally bloomed. Made my day.

Until next time, may you have blessings and simple pleasures,
Marti

A Walk About Waxahachie


Since I was already out taking pictures yesterday, I decided to take some pictures of the downtown square area of Waxahachie. Waxahachie is a little town south of me, but one I have been visiting more often lately.

Here is the beautiful courthouse, already decorated for Christmas.


Waxahachie is an Indian word meaning "cow" or "buffalo". There are many traces of this early heritage around town, from names of streets to the mascot of the Waxahachie High School, the Waxahachie Indians. The town was formed in 1850 on land donated by Emory Rogers. The current court house sits on a square with the Rogers Hotel across the street. This court house was built in 1897 and recently renovated. There is an interesting legend behind the construction that the German master stone carver fell in love with the daughter of the boarding house owner where he lived while working on the court house. He was so in love that he began carving her face into the exterior of the court house. But she didn't return his love, and as his feelings changed from love, to dispair, to anger, his carvings of her face changed too, from angelic to grotesque. While it's doubtful one man carved all the faces on the courthouse, it is a great story and a wonderful courthouse.







There are other faces carved into the stone also.


The court house looks large, but the interior is really pretty small, and a few buildings on the south side of the square have been taken over as court house annexes. The rest of the square has shops and restaurants that stay busy, although businesses come and go. Until just a few years ago, there was a drug store on the corner with a soda fountain just like the one where I worked as a teenager. Yesterday, several businesses were having sidewalk sales although those pictures didn't turn out well enough to post.

So here is a walk around the square (you can see Happy's Furniture in one of the pictures).













Just off the main square itself is Rogers Street with the Rogers Hotel. The hotel was closed for years with a few efforts now and then to restore it. That has finally been done, with a coffee shop at street level, and a salon on the second floor (if you look, you can see a woman getting hair coloring).



And across the street:


I wouldn't mind living in Waxahachie; it is a nice town where there is always something to do. Next time I'll show you some of the historic places. Waxahachie was once a prosperous cotton town and there are many beautifully restored Victorian homes.

Until next time, may you have blessings and hometown memories,
Marti

Shopping Locally Update

I have been looking for a small table to put beside Hubby's recliner. It either needed to be a narrow table or a triangular table to fit in the spot. I had seen one at La Z Boy I thought would work, but ended up finding something similar and less expensive in a nearby town at Happy's Home Furnishings. It's a family owned business located in old store on the square and they have done a good job of preserving the history of the building. The people there are friendly and it was a great experience. They have more furniture than will fit in their two story location, and use a building across the street as their warehouse. Many, many years ago, Sears was located in that building and the people at Happy's still refer to their warehouse as Sears. Here's the table we bought, it has a little pullout drink tray and a drawer for remotes and other small things.


We've also been looking for flooring to replace our wood floor in the living/dining room that was damaged when the freezer quit and everything melted and leaked onto the floor. At the Dallas Home and Garden Show I talked to a vendor who said they could get the same flooring, so Hubby and I went to one of their locations. They could get it alright, at three times the price we originally paid! We thanked them and left. The other day when I was in town, I noticed a building that said Carpet, so I stopped in. They didn't carry this brand, but the man there picked up the phone and started calling, and found where he could get it. The price was right (more than we paid originally, but it's been a year too) so we will get it at Glenn's Warehouse Carpets. Maybe we'll even recarpet the master bedroom while we're at it.


I also realized I do patronize other local independent businesses when I got my hair cut yesterday at His & Hers. I've been going there for years. My stylist is extremely thin with thick, curly hair, but I like her anyway. *grin* She's the only stylist I've ever been to who doesn't try to plaster my hair with mousse and spray.


I wanted to visit the one store listed on The 3/50 Project website but it had closed. With Christmas coming, I think shopping locally with independents will be easier than I first thought.

Until next time, may you have blessings and pleasant shopping experiences,
Marti

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Table Setting


As pretty as they are, I don't do tablescapes. I tried, I really did, but events and family conspired against me. One time I cut some gorgeous fall flowers and greenery and put them in a big vase in the center of the table. During dinner, someone found a bug, or two, maybe three. I told them the bugs were natural, but they didn't buy it. The kids wouldn't eat anything on the table after they saw bugs. I didn't really feel like eating either, but I faked it.

Next time, I put a bunch of candles in the center of the table. Long, beautiful tapers in holders of varying heights. I turned out the lights and it was gorgeous. Then, a candle fell over, or maybe it was knocked over when someone passed a bowl of food in the dark. In any case, it caused a chain reaction and several candles fell. There was a little screaming, chairs turned over, possibly some unpleasant words were spoken. I don't know why there was so much fuss, most of the candles went out when they hit the gravy. No one would eat the gravy after that. Oh sure, they'll eat birthday cake with candle wax on it, but not gravy.

After that, I took the safe but boring route with glass and ceramic objects, and the masses complained they took up too much room. Our table was small at that time. Then the truth came out. My mother-in-law doesn't like anything fancy. She uses paper plates or Corelle even at Christmas, and she thinks it is silly to dress up for holiday dinners. Seems she passed on those exasperating beliefs to Hubby and he in turn openly ridiculed my efforts so our girls picked up the idea that decorating the dinner table was pretentious.

So I gave up, and let food be our centerpieces. My china is Noritake Reverie, which we got as wedding gifts. I've probably used it five times in thirty-four years even though I keep telling myself it is to be used, not just displayed. Actually, it's not even displayed right now because I don't have a china cabinet. It's hidden in a cabinet in the kitchen, one of those bottom cabinets that are so hard to get to. I made the mistake of looking for a few more pieces on ebay and replacements.com; after seeing the cost I was apprehensive of using it. In fact, I bought some Corelle in a similar style for the kids' table and told them it was china. I thought about having the adults use plastic knives so they wouldn't scratch the plates, or casseroles that don't need a knife, but what is Thanksgiving without turkey? I bought the stainless (yes, stainless, I don't polish silver) a few years ago, Wallace Continental Bead, so I wanted to use it too. It did freak me out when a relative sawed on his soft-as-jello (well almost) turkey with his butter knife until it ground into the plate. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and this year he either gets the same plate or sits at the children's table - by himself. Maybe I'll serve the turkey precut into bite-sized pieces this year.

Anyway, I am posting this table setting so my daughters can see the Gramercy goblets I bought for my birthday. I guess technically they are from my mother or mother-in-law since they gave me money for my birthday. I was really pleased to find these lead crystal goblets because they are thick enough to use without fear of breaking and big enough to hold a good amount of tea or water. My other crystal is paper thin and I have already had a casualty when two relatives clicked their glasses together in a mock toast. And these were inexpensive so I won't freak out if one breaks. I might even use them at the children's table.


Now if you want to see some lovely tablescapes, go visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her Tablescape Thursday. I am not participating in it because I think my simple display is sadly lacking in the frou-frou-edness necessary to impress those who like to look at such things.

Until next time, may you have blessings and non-violent centerpieces,
Marti

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Answering Your Questions

Some people email me instead of posting in the comments section and there have been several of the same questions lately, so I thought I'd just answer here in case there are more of you wondering. Since they were emailed to me, I assume you either didn't want your name known or you didn't want to embarrass me by putting it in the comments. Very little embarrasses me in case you haven't noticed; I'll talk about just about anything. But I do appreciate your consideration.

The most common question is "why do I end my posts the way I do?" It's a kind of accountability for me. I can be pretty sarcastic in real life and enjoy poking fun at myself and others, and I found that it had slipped into my entries here as well without thinking that other people might not enjoy my warped humor. A while back, I was reading a friend's blog called "Being Mrs. Clark." It was funny, and kind, and she ended each entry with best wishes that tied into the subject. I miss her blog and wish she would start it again. As I read, I thought how neat it was that she did that, and realized that I couldn't end some of mine that way without feeling hypocritical. So I went back, reread each entry, and if I couldn't end it with a blessing, I took it out. There are some I should probably still take out, and I may go back and reread them later and do that. I'll probably still cross the line from time to time, or teeter on the edge, but I'll try to behave. Although, there is a house I pass daily with the most ridiculous gate.....

The other question(s) I have been getting lately concerns my weight, weight loss, and dieting. By the way, it doesn't bother me that you ask. I'm fat, it's a fact, although in my dreams I'm always thin - and young. It's having those bloomin' kids that made me fat. That's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it. Either that or staying home full time and finally eating home-cooked food. My mother couldn't cook. Actually, she cooked, it just didn't taste good. In any case, I've gained a lot of weight over the years and can't seem to drop it, and if I do lose some, I gain it back along with a few more pounds. Most of the women on my mother's side of the family are short and overweight, and the women on my father's side of the family were tall and thin. I grew up thinking the two were connected because the shorter the woman, the bigger she was, and since I am just over the five foot mark, I figured I was doomed.

No, I haven't found any diet that I could stick to, and I guess that shows how lazy I am. Diets take a lot of planning and work and Hubby generally wants no part of it, so I start out ok, but then give in and eat the good stuff he's eating. When I was cleaning a closet in the spare room the other day, I found a pair of jeans that I thought must be a child's size and wondered why I kept them. They were a size 6! I guess that was my someday-I-will-wear-this-again wishful thinking. Bwa ha ha ha ha. And yet, I didn't toss them. What does that mean, Dr. Freud?

The last time I went to the doctor, I was told to lose 42 pounds, and since then I've gained even more, so now I need to lose 55 pounds. According to this calculator at NowLoss, I am Grade 1 obese. That word alone should motivate me, but instead it just immobilizes me. I don't feel obese, (isn't obese where you can't get out of bed?) and most of the time I don't even feel especially fat - just when I see those obnoxiously skinny people at the grocery store. Even though I have the regular clothes, skinny clothes, and fat clothes in my closet, they are more for comfort than a target for losing weight. I had even forgotten that in some delusional state, I kept some size 6 jeans.

Yes I should exercise, and I have been trying, though not as much as I should. I've been walking, taking a timer with me and increasing my time every day. But some days my hips or knees hurt too bad to walk very far, so I don't. I know the joint pain is caused in part by my weight too. So in answer to your question, "do I exercise?" no, not really. But I did check out a book from the library: The 6 Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle. Does that count?

No, I haven't really considered Weight Watchers, mainly because I'm afraid I won't stick to it and it will just be a waste of money. Also, I don't want to weigh in front of other people. (See? I lied, I only said I'll talk about anything.) Actually, I wouldn't mind the first weigh in, but every one after that where I gained weight and got chewed out - those would bother me.

And for those who wanted to know if I will make a video showing how to change out the electrical outlet, no. I don't have a video recorder, just my digital camera with no tripod. Besides, there are already tons of videos out there. For those who wanted to know how to change out the light switches, yes, I am going to do that soon and will photograph it.

I hope this answers your questions.

May you have blessings and an inquiring mind,
Marti

A Little Weirdness

My tomato plants quit producing for the most part so I have been buying tomatoes from the grocery store. Today I cut into this tomato and found that the seeds have sprouted in it! (you may have to click and enlarge to see it)


I thought it would make an interesting blog picture, but then didn't have anything else to say, so I picked up my camera to take more pictures.

Below is a group of three trees in my neighbor's front yard. They have grown together so it looks like one big tree unless you look at the trunks. I love it because one of the trees stays green longer than the others. I've been waiting for better color, but this year it appears the red just isn't going to be very bright.


I think I've been blessed by the 'weird gene' because I delight in seeing unusual things, even if I see what no one else sees. In these next pictures, you might need to also possess the 'weird gene' to see what I see.

In 1990, we bought some property in an undeveloped area, with many outcroppings of sandstone. Lil found a perfect fossil shell, then another, and another until we all became trained to look at the ground when walking. We have found some petrified wood and even petrified bone along with many fossils. But I began to find rocks that looked like other things, and so my interest in rocks began.

This is my first 'find', which I call the petrified brain of prehistoric man (woman's brain being much larger of course).


Petrified prehistoric foot:



Petrified egg: (I have two more that are actually much better but I couldn't find them.) I don't know what that light splotch is, it won't come off. Must be a petrified rotten egg.


This is a rock my neighbor (who knows and enables my quirks) gave me. From this angle it looks just like a rock - ok if you insist, it is a rock:


But from this angle, it is a petrified dinosaur:


A heart (although at this angle I see a bicycle seat):


A small grouping with another heart, a peanut, and something I haven't identified yet. It is a real fossil, but the ridges on the side kind of look like something else, maybe dentures.


Petrified soap. Irish Spring, I think.


This one has several possibilities. It is round on top and comes to a chiseled point on all sides. I couldn't decide whether it looked like a top, a tooth, or a pencil nub, what do you think? Lil used to spin it like a top when she was young.


I haven't identified these next two, but I am sure they are something. The first one kind of looks like the end of a finger. Maybe you see something else? Here are two views of it.




This one is just interesting. Any ideas what it might be?


And no, I don't look for faces in potato chips. I leave that to folks with even more imagination than I.

Until next time, may you have blessings and the ability to see the unusual in the usual,
Marti

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Year Has Gone By

It just doesn't seem possible, but this year has flown by so fast. Lil graduated from college, both girls took jobs and moved to other states, our beloved Gordon Setter Roxie died, and we have accomplished many of the goals we set in January. I have successfully wiped my exact age out of my memory bank, so unless I do the math, I'm not quite sure how old I am today, and that's a good thing.

The only goal I feel a miserable failure is weight loss. I put on a pair of jeans yesterday that just didn't fit, and I thought I had grabbed a pair from the "small size of the closet", looked at the tag and no, they were my usual size. I was bummed, and chalked it up to eating junk while sitting home alone all weekend. So today I am wearing a pair from the "large size of the closet", a pair I have been meaning to take up, but now I'm grateful to have.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Yesterday I went out to stack the patio chairs and found a West Nile virus incubation center in a flower pot on the patio. (When I bumped the pot, a huge cloud of mosquitoes came out of it.) Evidently the drainage hole had plugged up and all the water from the last rain had filled the pot. Armed with a shovel, I tried to remove the soil from the pot so the water could drain out. I call it soil, but it was actually sloppy mud, which I got all over the patio, all over the shovel, and all over me. From the knees down I looked just like the Mister Rogers mud monster statue, but smelled like swamp thing.

Until next time, may you have blessings and good drainage,
Marti

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day in My Neighborhood and Other Random Thoughts

Not much going on in W-ville today. Neighbors mowing yards, people riding bikes, woman walking her dog, boy walking his goat... Yes, that's right, a boy walking his goat. I didn't catch the boy's name, but the goat's name is Paco and is a three month old show goat. His attention was on the neighbor's dog who was barking and jumping on the fence - guess the dog had never seen a goat on a rope either.



I was having one of those blah days, probably because I have been eating junk food with sugar. I know I'll pay for it tomorrow, but today it doesn't seem to matter. I'm just blah and alone and a bug bit me when I was mowing the yard. Even the cat has deserted me. KittyTom hasn't been here for two days and I have called and called and searched under all the bushes. He doesn't come to "Tom", only to "Kitty", and not in a normal tone, only when called in a high pitched voice like an alien Dilophosaurus. So my crazy cat lady title is intact in this neighborhood. "Won't you be my neighbor?" sung like Mister Rogers. Have you ever noticed that when you call a dog, it jumps up and runs to you, but a cat will just sit where it is, and when you finally find it, it meows as if to say "Oh crap, you found me"?

Speaking of Mr. Rogers, did you see the statue of him in Pittsburgh? I loved Mister Rogers. His show wasn't on when I was a child. Not only was I older when it started, but our little town didn't get PBS channels. Later I heard all the Mister Rogers jokes and satires on tv but never knew who he was. But when Brownie was about a year old, she used to crawl in bed with me in the morning and I'd flip on the tv and cuddle with her while it was on. I loved his message and the way he talked to kids, well, except that one time when he had one of his puppets say "dang" but I did forgive him later. I know, I say crap all the time and I have got to work on that. But I don't say it to children. On national tv.

Now back to his statue. I know art, especially modern art, is all about interpretation, but I just don't like this statue. It's scary, which would be fine for George Patton, but not Mister Rogers. It looks like a mud monster.

Blah, blah, blah. Maybe I'll change my mind tomorrow. But I doubt it.

Until next time, may you have blessings and interesting neighbors,
Marti

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Butterflies


While I was waiting for the cat to come eat today, I saw a group of butterflies flitting from one flower to another. There were several colors and sizes, but of all the photos I took, these are the only ones that turned out. They were quite camera shy.


I followed the monarch from the aster to the blue mist, and caught this other guy on the lantana (which is really blooming, just no blooms in this picture). If anyone knows what kind this one is, please let me know.


Afterwards I was admiring my red oak tree which is turning a lovely shade of russet, when I noticed that my Yellow Bells aka Esperanza (Tecoma stans) is finally blooming. I transplanted it last year and it has NOT been happy. I was about to give up on it when I noticed two clusters of blooms, kind of ironic since its leaves are turning and falling off.



Then I walked around the corner and once again heard the squeaky toy sounds of startled frogs jumping into the little critter pond.


I also startled a little rabbit who jumped a few feet and then sat still as if he thought he could blend in with the grass.


Then the neighborhood stray cat sprung into action and scared off the rabbit, but he's a pretty lazy cat and didn't give chase.

You know those silly people you see on tv with their dog, and the person is trying to convince you the dog is saying "I love you" or something equally ridiculous when the dog is just making ordinary dog noises? Well lately I've thought this cat mimics my "hello" with a hello of his own. You know you have waaaaay too much time on your hands when you hold a camera in front of a cat saying "hello" over and over waiting for him to say it back. And no, I know he doesn't say it, it's just an ordinary cat meow. I think. But I do have video. And this picture. Doesn't he look like he is trying to communicate?



The click of the camera scared him and then he sat glaring at me for a few minutes.


I really do have video.  This cat usually doesn't sit still for me, or even show his face during the day, so this is really unusual.

Until next time, may you have blessings and nature's joy,
Marti silly cat woman

Why Does It Matter?

I’ve been thinking about something lately, so this is going to be one of my serious posts. I’ll try for frivolity next time.

With our recent push to get projects done around the house, I've been shopping a lot lately - or at least a lot more than I usually do. I've been looking for a few special items and have been searching outside my usual range of stores on the edge of town, and I've been shocked to find that many of the businesses that were here two years ago have closed. I know that times are hard for businesses, but it seems that the locally owned and operated businesses in my area have taken the biggest hits while the big box stores still seem to have a lot of customers.

What I see is that we are losing our local character and our local business leaders. The small town atmosphere that drew us here is changing. With population growth has come expansion, big box stores, and smaller chains arranged in shopping centers that look the same everywhere, making one town indistinguishable from the next. I don't want to live in Mayberry (well, I do but with my luck I'd have all Barneys and no Andys); I do want to live in a town that is friendly and interesting.

Many small towns have signs outside town imploring residents to shop their local businesses and keep their money at home, but it goes further than that when big companies take root in small towns. Trading with local business no longer means that money remains in the community. Oh sure, some of it does because the company has to pay local employees and local taxes, but the bulk of the money spent goes to management and banks located outside the city and maybe even outside the state. I could make several points why shopping locally benefits our community, but I don't think I could say it better than this article at Sustainable Connections. Even though smaller stores are often a little more expensive than the big box stores, they also provide customer service that often saves time and money.

So it's simple, just trade with locally owned and operated business and keep all my money in the community, right?. That's what I thought. But it's harder than it sounds. There is a difference in an independent business and a locally owned franchise. All of the profit from an independent business stays in the community. Besides the hefty franchise fee that the local owner paid, a percentage of the profit goes back to the parent company as a royalty. Also, an independent business has the freedom to run their business as they want, to make it a place unlike no other, and to change to meet the needs of the residents. Franchise owners do not have that freedom.

Knowing this, I decided to make a conscious effort to trade with as many locally owned and operated as I could, especially the independents. But heres the rub. How can I tell which ones are company owned and which ones are a locally owned franchise? I called the local chamber of commerce for a list of local businesses but it doesn't have such a list, and other than doing a search for each business online, I really didn't have a way to tell anything about it. It's a little easier to spot the independently owned business because they still have a unique look.

I'm going to start shopping more outside my comfort zone and ask about the operation at every store until I get to know my town again. I'd love to hear from any of you who have already made the decision to support your locally owned and operated businesses.

Until next time, may you have blessings and community,
Marti

Monday, November 2, 2009

Night Brought More Than a Chill



Even though our days are still warm, our night temperatures are dropping into the fifties. Saturday night I walked out to the garage around midnight and found this little guy on the deck. He wasn't moving and I wondered if I had stepped on him in the dark, but then I touched him and realized he was just too cold to move.

I started to put him back on the ground near the pond where he could get warm, but then I realized that he was a bullfrog. Uh oh.



Bullfrogs eat goldfish, koi, and even small birds, so he can't stay here. After a night in the house in this plastic bucket, Hubby I drove him to his new home in a bigger, natural pond. Since bullfrogs are also like homing pigeons, we made sure his new home was miles away and on the other side of the highway.

Wonder how many of his brothers and sisters are still in our pond?

Until next time, may you have blessings and simple pleasures,
Marti