About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

“What is a niddy noddy?” she asks.

This. We wants one. Girls, do you remember the windmill-looking contraption on top of my old spinning wheel? It was a skein winder, and it served the same function.

Another link ~ this time about energy and healing; interesting juxtaposition between this and one of Dr. Wally's columns about energy management v. time management. I wonder what Heaven is trying to teach me? This is a link to Dr. Gardner’s first article. Not much meat in his second one, but definitely an interesting array of facts. And I am looking forward to next week’s article.

If you know the movie “Chocolat”, you may remember the scene where the mayor of the town is discovered in the shop window, sheepishly rolling around in the bonbons. Yesterday was a little like that; just substitute yarn, books, and DVD’s for the truffles.

I am one of those women who could shop till she drops. In the Generic Years, I shopped to feed my tribe [Cost Cutter brand at Kroger], clothe my tribe [thrift shops and hand-me-downs; we “have often depended upon the kindness of strangers”], and entertain my tribe [Half Price Books, anybody?] For most of my adult life, I have been too poor to fall into debt; my excellent premarital credit rating vanished, as Elizabeth Zimmermann once said about something else, like piddle into the sand. At the time of the divorce I had miraculously not acquired my husband's credit rating; I wonder if one of my guardian angels was a CPA when he lived on earth?

About seven years ago, shortly before my gall bladder staged an insurrection, I succumbed to the blandishments of a major bank and acquired a credit card. On the one hand, it was good, because when I needed surgery the co-payment was $75, and I didn’t have it. And when I interviewed for my current job, I bought my interview suit. I had not had a suit in 20 years; you don’t need one if you’re milking goats twice a day and feeding the chickens.

And I did some shopping, and when things were really tight I put the rent on plastic, and before you can say Oh Denver Mint, What Have I Done? I had maxed [sp?] out the card. At which point I took out a line of credit from my credit union at work and paid it off. Life was manageable until the children’s father was out of work for over a year, and instead of telling the girls “sorry, we can’t afford it”, I put a year’s worth of child support on my born-again credit card. Which is why I did skincare and makeup for a little over three years; I had no interest in a pink Cadillac, I just wanted to be solvent.

We are getting there, slowly but surely. I paid off the credit card in 2006, largely because the bank cut me a good deal of slack on the interest and late charges. But it’s paid off, and the budget has recovered from last year’s tax bite because of the forgiven portion of my debt, and I am nibbling away on my line of credit balance, and my car is nearly half paid for. If you compare my 401K balance to my debt, I am in the black. If we are talking cash flow, then I have two or three more years of debt reduction.

The upcoming move is a Godsend. I will have a cozy nest, and a studio, and a minuscule garden. I will have two hours on the train, five days a week. I will have quiet neighbors [not that there’s anything wrong with the current ones, but none of my new ones will be overhead]. I will be walking distance from the museum district and my second favorite yarn shop. And I will be saving a minimum of $300 a month, more when I know enough about gardening to put up all my produce. Some of that will go into savings; some will go to charity [see the new list at left]; most of it will go into debt reduction. When the car is paid off, I will roll that payment into the line of credit, and once that’s paid off, into my savings account at the credit union, which is paying me considerably higher interest than you can get at your bank.

I don’t mind all the niggling economies, because I have my goals firmly in sight. I don’t mind knitting from my stash, because there’s good stuff in there. I don’t mind not buying a lot of new clothing [though I do so love finding something to clothe my spirit, on sale at 70% off!]. I truly have enough for my needs, and more than a few of my wants.

Nevertheless, it is fun to have a cash bonus once a year, and to go a little nutsy with it. What did I buy?

1. All four volumes of Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries. I have been wanting these books for 20 years.
2. Two more cookbooks, one from Amazon and one from the sale rack at Borders.
3. Seven DVD’s, bought when I noticed, really noticed, the poster in the window at Borders while I was knitting between dinner and game night. “Breakfast at Tiffany's”, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, “Roman Holiday”, “Sabrina” [the Bogie version; I have the Harrison Ford remake on VHS], “Sense and Sensibility” [Emma Thompson version]; “Shall We Dance” [American version, which I have yet to watch, and not the lovely, lyrical Japanese original]; and “Waking Ned Devine”.
4. A book on the connection between textile history and women’s history, over the millenia. I’ll let you know what I think.
5. A skein of Colinette handpainted 100% silk lace yarn, to be photographed once I receive:
6. Two skeins of Gloss Sock yarn, thirteen skeins of Gloss Lace in two colors, and my first Options needle, with accessories.

So, yeah, a serious falling-down in the textile department, and Not One Drop of guilt.

In other news, the game night was a success. When I went to work yesterday morning, it looked like there would just be four of us, but we ended up with eight or more. A good part of the evening was spent entering one another’s phone numbers into cell phones. I am so glad that I’ve started doing this. [It’s Brother Sushi's fault; remind me to give him an extra hug, next time I see him.]

And now if you will all excuse me, I want to rustle up some grub. And then I want to curl up on the couch with my knitting and one of the new movies. I’m about halfway done with the eighth ball of yarn on [Almost] Cozy. When I finish this ball, I will stand up and wrap the stole around me to see if it’s long enough, or if I need to wind up a ninth.

I am planning to pick up a pair of inexpensive walking shoes today, and maybe my train pass for May. And a few groceries, and then I will be done shopping until it’s time to fill the fridge again.

Tonight is the birthday party that my family is throwing for me. No promises, but there may even be pictures tomorrow.


leslye said...

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a niddy noddy in this area? Found lots of people who should have known what it is and didn't....

mama says: said...

Happy birthday ?! Your new nest sounds like the kind of place I want to come visit some time. I'll bring a sweet smellin' boy with me you know ... entice em with the newborn. THAT sounds like how I shop. Love McCart thrift, most of aaralyns cute jeans are from there & her holiday dresses. We've done pretty well avoiding CC's, I have one that i got for medical purposes and regret it but oh well, working on paying it off.

Jerry said...

Nice to see you treat yourself once in a while even while you work towards your goals. I like the US version of shall we dance better than the Japanese version because of the scene where he rides up the escalator and sweeps her off her feet and includes her in his dream of dancing. I well up every time I watch that movie.

I was looking at the skein winders but they cost as much or more than my wheel.

Eclectichick said...

Minuscule garden? We MUST talk! Square foot gardening all the way! With my moves & travels I'm behind in getting mine started, but I'll be getting dirt under the fingernails this week!

Jenni said...

It is good to hear you sound so happy. I am proud of you for being a grown up (financially)!