Saturday, May 26, 2018

Congratulations, Ana and Tyler!

Ana and Tyler Ferguson got married today. 

We were standing by the shelter at Daniel's Park, overlooking a lovely setting. Lots of white balloons bounced in the wind, tied to the railings...warm sun, beautiful clouds. Perfect setting for a wedding.

Those same balloons welcomed them out to their new life. May it be a productive one, as they share it -- and honor the Lord -- together.


As their parents, our dear friends Laura and Todd, said:
    "Life is crazy -- but God is good."

He is. All the time.

Frugal Hits & Misses: May Report

   Much of May, and a good-sized chunk of April, have passed in a haze. But May is nearly ready to drop into the hopper -- and Daughter #2 and Son #1's wedding is very soon. Then things should calm down some. We'll be working on the house, cleaning it out and getting it ready for sale. I don't have to go anywhere until mid-August, to the Cheyenne Quilt Guild's annual show. We've been feeling, as the Brick puts it, 'dead beat and plum tuckered out.' The break will help.
     The Book doesn't come out until October, but I am already getting speaking date offers! I am really hoping that the book sells well...and it's looking promising that it will do just that.

     We'll have fun playing during Daughter and Son's wedding...then back to reality. 

(these are out early, before months-end...but what the hey.)

*Renewed membership at Sam's Club. Our $45 payment got us: two $10 giftcards (one because the Brick is a veteran), $25 Visizo movie credits, a full pizza supper with leftovers (pizza, cookies, garlic bread sticks, Coke) -- and a free rotisserie chicken plus some other goodies via Sam's Club treasure hunt.  If you've been thinking of joining, now's the time to do it!  These specials last through June 6.
     We also figured out a way to keep The Mama on the membership, as well as the Brick, without extra cost.

*The Brick renewed a license -- and got a discount for being a veteran.  (He said, chest puffed up, 'So THAT'S what I spent six years in the Navy for!')

*A new dog! Ruby is now part of our family. The Buddy Center fee was cut in half, because of the Brick's veteran status. She gets a free wellness check, too. Yes, she'll cost in the long run...but after an adjustment period, Charley is starting to show new interest in life. He needed a friend to hang out with, after we lost Abby.

*Got a terrific Groupon for ProFlowers -- which let us order flowers twice, for the same price (or less) than if we'd bought them in a store. The Mama got a dozen roses, plus vase, delivered a few days after Mother's Day. She'll get a second bouquet for her birthday in mid-August.
      I also got another $30 value ProFlowers Groupon -- for $5!

*We took on a last-minute delivery job, driving parts down to North Carolina, for Brother's company. It was a grind: 24 hours of driving, in about 25 hours. (We slept a little.) But the pay was nice.

*Got the Brick's Father's Day present -- for half off on Amazon. I also ordered a DVD set of all of Emma Peel's adventures with Mr. Steed via the Avengers -- for less than $20, including free shipping.
     Now if I could only get Season 4 of Turn...

*Bought wedding cake stuff: rock crystals (candy), food coloring gels and a pretty little topper. All discounted, via Etsy and Amazon. Frosting and more came courtesy of King Soopers. (They're opening a new wine/beer section, and clearing out a lot of merchandise to make room right now.)

*Four Bicentennial blue glass goblets -- $1.25 each from the thrift shop. (Turns out they were Fostoria, offered by Avon.) Two have George Washington's profile on them, and two have Martha's. I collect George & Martha ceramics. (Don't ask -- I'm not sure why. You can buy your own set here.) Also purchased at the thrift shop: a lovely clear glass pitcher, for use at the wedding.

*Got a pillowcase order into Herrschners - discounts galore, plus free shipping -- with 3 min. to spare. (The Mama likes to do these for Christmas presents.)

*Turned a shawl into the poncho I wanted. (The Mama helped with this.)

*A bunch of food on sale, including ground chuck for $1.66/lb; 2 1/2 pound package of ravioli for 99 CENTS (zowie) the Grand Rapids version of the Fri/Sat store, Daily Deals. Love this place.

*FIVE different graduations - 4 open a wedding. All of these needed presents (mostly giftcards - which we fortunately had extras of). Maybe this should be in the Misses column...

*We ate out at those graduation parties. A Little Caesar's Pizza and supper out with friends at Red Robin, too. Paid for a meal for The Mama (and ourselves).

*Didn't turn the heat on, even when it got chilly. Used the electric fireplace and the woodstove, instead. (And it got cold around here.)

*Sold a more expensive book through Amazon -- nearly $30! (I got it as part of a group purchased on Ebay, long ago paid off through other book sales.)

*Bought two videos I'd been intending to order from Amazon -- but found them at the thrift shop, instead: $2 each. Whoo hoo!

*Several shirts and a dress from Mel Trotter Mission thrift shop in Michigan. My size, in colors I favor - and that doesn't happen often. They were reasonable, too: $4.29 each for the shirts, $7.95 for the dress! Also found some birthday presents for Daughter #2.
     I lost out on a wonderful Rembrandt print; trying not to buy paintings or prints right now, because of moving into the trailer. I debated, left it there and went back the next day -- it was gone. Only $14.95, too.  (I'm still mourning.)

Rembrandt's The Storm on the Sea of Galilee --
still missing from the Stewart Gardner museum heist (Wikipedia)

*Expenses and gas for the Michigan trip were minimal. We were  careful on food  (MickieD's and SteakandShake), skipping lunch. Found the best gas prices we could. The trip made for Brother's company paid our other expenses.

*Free subscription to Real Simple magazine, for doing a survey. Did another survey, for $50.

*Hanging baskets on sale - $10.99 each, for The Mama. Plus golden begonias for us.

*Four new tires, for less than $100 each. (Sam's Club came through.) This could be a miss -- but with a new windshield for the Outback, it will help us sell that car even more quickly.

*Some appraisals done. I"m not sure how -- just know that it got done. Also, checks for previous gigs came in. Nice.


*We had to spend for the trip to Michigan. Doesn't matter -- it was worth it. This family is special to us.

*New glasses (for the Brick). He also bought a suit for the wedding (on sale at J.C. Penney's -- with 5 min. to spare before it expired. A little toooo close.)

      Now the Frugal Hit part: So yes, he had to spend the money -- but we got his three-piece wool suit for 50% shoes for him and a $10 clearance pair of black boots for me, in the bargain. Free shipping. Because he went through Swagbucks first, we'll also get enough SB for a $25 giftcard!

      This is easy for you to try, as well. Just go here for more. You'll be earning your own giftcards in no time, just by doing business and searches like you regularly do.

*Spent extra to send books to everyone at the Pueblo quilt appraisal day. They deserved them.

*Spent extra for the wedding, in general. Mostly on food and accessories for the rehearsal dinner and reception. Whenever we could, got it on sale.

*Paid the second half of the property taxes. At least they're done for the year.

*Missed out using a few free product coupons. Life just got too zany there for a while.

*Spent more than we probably should have this month, considering the property tax payment -- I wasn't keeping track as closely as usual. We did need to get some things for future projects. Not to mention the wedding.

Thrifty Mom in Boise makes a point -- that sometimes you need to spend less, in order to save more. Or sometimes the opposite. That gives me comfort on the extra $$ spent. The Frugalwoods aren't the only ones who research, research, research.

For last month's report, go here. You'll find 2017's May report here.


...from Pinterest. Try not to laugh!

Here's the cover!

The Book is now officially in production...and here's what the cover looks like.

It comes out the first week of October.

 (Yes, we'll be taking advance orders via Brickworks. Just not yet.) 

I'll let the 'other' Cindy Brick know if you have any comments.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Musically Speaking

C'mon, music students...can you figure this one out?

Who Would YOU Believe?

She got stopped because she was driving erratically... at 1:30 in the morning. 

The Texas trooper who pulled her car over suspected she'd been drinking, thanks to the bottles in the car and the open cup. She performed all his tests, albeit slowly, and blew just under the limit for a DUI.

He booked her for a DWI, instead. (She blew a second test just under a DUI limit, two hours later.) Eventually her family produced bail at the station, and she was released...

Only to accuse the policeman of groping and attempting to rape her. Her accusations were graphic and shocking. She said she barely got away from him, and went to the hospital. Her fiance, who had been there for part of the traffic stop, 'strongly backed up' her account.

Little did Sherita Dixon-Cole realize that Officer Hubbard, the trooper she was accusing, had a bodycam on that recorded everything. 

A prominent activist, Shaun King, immediately jumped on the bandwagon, accusing the Texas Department of Public Safety -- and Hubbard -- of horrendous crimes. This was just another example, King said, of the treatment that black women had to endure everywhere, ever since antiquity, practically. He was regularly contacted by people who'd been victimized and he stood up for them, with his heart on his sleeve. That was just the way he was.
     According to him, he'd vetted the story carefully. Dixon-Cole had a sterling reputation. The person who stood up for her was a source King had trusted for years. Everybody said she was a wonderful person, no way this could be made up.

But he didn't bother to view the bodycam footage. 

To his credit, he says he eventually watched the hour-plus footage (3 times), but he also brought it to an editor, to see if it had been doctored. (The editor said it had not.) Unfortunately for Dixon-Cole, the entire tape shows nothing but a professional, respectful policeman who was doing his job.

    See for yourself.  (It's pretty matter-of-fact. Boring, even.)

And now King is sorry.  "I can't even begin to make sense of why someone would concoct such an awful story," he says in a followup article he wrote, 'When the Victim Turns Out to be the Victimizer.' "Particularly in light of the reality that both police brutality and sexual assaults are a very real crisis in this nation. It does a tremendous disservice to actual victims when something horrible like this is fabricated. It provides an unfair spotlight to a good cop and undeserved cover for the bad ones who will try to use an incident like this as false proof of their innocence."

Does this sound like an apology to you? An admission, perhaps -- but does he ever address the real issue, that he jumped on the bandwagon without bothering to double-check the facts?

The Texas Department of Public Safety, who released the bodycam footage, had this to say:
Following the arrest, spurious and false accusations related to this traffic stop were made against the Texas Trooper. Upon learning of those allegations, the Texas Department of Public Safety immediately took action to review the video in connection with this traffic stop and arrest. The video shows absolutely no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations against the Trooper during the DWI arrest of the suspect. The Department is appalled that anyone would make such a despicable, slanderous and false accusation against a peace officer who willingly risks his life every day to protect and serve the public.

More here on this shameful incident.

More on Sherita Dixon-Cole herself. She continues to insist that it really happened, and the bodycam tape was somehow edited. At least her lawyer apologized. Kinda. Sort of. I guess that's something. (Here's his statement, along with King's.)

Charges are being considered...

This brings all sorts of interesting questions to mind. 

*Who would you have believed, had Officer Hubbard NOT been wearing a bodycam?

*How many black journalists are admitting that they may have jumped to conclusions, based on their predeliction to certain beliefs?

*How many assault and rape accusations are actually true? (Or, for that matter, police brutality incidents.) How many have another side to the story...or never happened at all?

*How many true incidents -- that deserve public anger and prosecution -- will now be dismissed or ignored because of this one?

I keep thinking of the #MeToo campaign; it is sooo easy to make sexual abuse accusations now, without actual proof from things that happened months or years ago. Sadly, it gives the real criminals an 'out' by saying that their accusers made it up. (Harvey Weinstein rushes quickly into view.)

If they didn't, this will be even harder to prove. 

True rascists are sprouting up everywhere now, saying that all accusations are false, people are just going for the $$, 'they're all the same,' etc etc. Plenty of crude language and swear words adorn these lovely tributes to idiocy. (Who 'They' are isn't always clear -- sometimes it's the 'people,' sometimes it's the police. Or 'The Man.' Depends on who's making the comments.)


Who's apologized to Officer Hubbard, for trying to ruin his life?

Certainly not Sherita Dixon-Cole.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

There's A New Dog in Town!

Welcome to the Brick family, Ruby.

She's part Australian shepherd, part Great Pyrenees...and all female. We found her at the Buddy Center, the Denver Dumb Friends League's local spot. She's not as big as Charley is -- but then again, he's a BIG dog.

Charley wasn't thrilled when she first arrived. (Ironic, since he originally came from the same place; his moniker was "Chester." Hers was "Peaches.")

    He seems to enjoy having her around now.

             We definitely do.

Congratulations, Ana and Tyler!

Ana and Tyler Ferguson got married today.  We were standing by the shelter at Daniel's Park, overlooking a lovely setting. Lots of whi...