Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Blogiversary to me!

I can hardly believe it…this blog is four years old! Yup, four years ago today I was wondering if anyone would ever read it. Amazingly, the answer turned out to be yes!

Over that four years I’ve done 245 posts. Which rather makes me laugh, because one of my initial fears was that I wouldn’t find enough to say to have a blog. I had a lot of fears that kept me from starting sooner, and the one I remember most was the fear I’d either get bored or not have anything to write about. As I mentioned on my first blog anniversary, I finally got myself to start by giving myself permission to stop if I found I didn’t like it.

Writing as the Queen of Fifty Cents has turned out to be one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. Almost as much fun as actually going to the sales I write about. The amazing variety of incredibly inexpensive stuff I’ve found over the years has been gratifying,

181_8179 182_8285 184_8492 IMG_1142 IMG_1216 yixing teapot vintage red rocking chair IMG_2706 glass snow woman IMG_6680 Lion dance mask

but the real fun has been the people – both the ones I encounter at sales and the ones who stop by here. As of this writing, I’ve had over 268,000 visits. A whole bunch of you are regulars – 389 followers and 576 subscribers via Google Reader. And y’all have left over 2600 comments! All of you who have blogs of your own know how wonderful it is to get those comments. I can hardly wait to read them each week.

Four years. I was about four when this picture was taken.

SH 161-2 cr

Yeah, we’re smiling, but we were probably seconds away from fighting over who got to sit in the front seat.

Four years is long enough to get a bachelor’s degree. (At least in theory. It took me 7 years and 4 universities to get mine.) These past four years have seen a number of changes in my life. We created a pretty wonderful garden and welcomed about 500 people during a garden tour. I finished my library career and retired. We bought a house in Oregon and finally got to move into it. Our sweet dog Lizzie left us, and now Zoe  is here.


I wrote three novels, two of which are currently available, and the third should be out this year. I’m glad to say I’m still hanging out with the same husband. (There’s only so much change you should have to go through!)

I was bemused a few weeks ago to discover I’d been included on Women’s Money Week’s “Ultimate List of Women Money Bloggers.” Honored, but bemused. Most everyone else on the list writes about how they are getting out of debt, and how they budget, and how they’re doing with their goals.My blog is probably the only one on the list focused on taking pictures of people’s dogs

IMG_0863IMG_2453 IMG_1338  IMG_5908 IMG_6600

and getting folks to tell me the stories of the things they’re letting go. Most of the time they have made me laugh with their stories, and come to think of it that may be why my frugality has been successful. It’s no hardship to spend so little when it’s so much fun.

So here’s to my blog’s 4th birthday. Many happy returns of the day – and of you!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Zoe’s New Ambition

Like most younguns, Zoe keeps changing her mind about what she want to be when she grows up. A cowdog, a firedog, the usual. But thanks to an item I brought home yesterday from a garage sale free box, she has a new aspiration.

She wants to play basketball for Duke.

free box basketballready for my free throwb-ball 1b-ball 2

Well, actually, since she’s only 4 1/2 months old and about to get her big-dog teeth, she really just wants to eat basketballs for Duke.


Don’t you love a good free box? Bringing this home made me think about other good free finds over the years. The Aztec lily bulbs that started growing as soon as I threw them in some dirt…I had a great time taking arty pictures of the blooms through a lens I culled from an old filmstrip projector.


The amazing vintage linens that had belonged to Mikey-the-insurance-agent’s wife’s aunt.


The rubber Viking helmet with attached braids that Edward was kind enough to model.


A wonderful cat pull toy.

cat toy

One of my faves was the pair of Italian leather shoes. When I pulled them out of the free box I just knew they’d fit. And after I covered them with bits of fifty-cent origami paper, they became real attention getters!

Shoes before 2finished 4heel

It’s a good thing I find so much great stuff for free. If Zoe is planning to go to Duke, I’d better start saving in her college fund now!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy second day of Spring!

This is what Spring looks like at our house today.


But we get to hang out at home and do stuff like this.


Just wanted you to know that Zoe does take naps!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Progress Report

Or as my sister-in-law put it, Zoe’s first school pictures!

Recess time at Puppy Kindergarten!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Monkey Puzzles and Motorcycle Stories, and a Monster at Home

Ahhhh. I feel so much better now. Got to go garaging today after a month’s absence, probably my longest hiatus in years. Spent a whole $1.10!

Of course I had to get out on Friday since we have two more puppy kindergarten classes for Zoe on Saturday morning.

Which I assure you she needs. This week she turned into

TP monster

the TP monster! Yes, she discovered the delights of nice squishy rolls of toilet paper that she can sink her teeth into and run around with, leaving a trail of white tissue behind her. I’m hoping the sign on the bathroom door will curtail this particular form of fun. I’m retired…can’t afford all that TP!

Going out today was no hardship, since the rain stopped a couple of days ago and it’s beautifully sunny. Make that rain…and snow. This is what we had on Leap Day.


There were a number of sales today but quite scattered around town, so I narrowed my list to five. The first was an estate sale, and I was surprised to see a line still in front of the house since I got there about 20 minutes after the start time. That’s usually long enough for things to settle down. But it gave me a chance to admire the monkey puzzle tree in the front yard – not something you see all that often.


There was nothing I wanted in the house, but on the way out I pulled a couple of items out of the free box – a hand towel that will be fine for drying puppy feet, and a pillow I can recover as needed.


At another sale I shelled out a dime


because it fell open here.


More free stuff at the next place. When I asked how much magazines were, she said they were free, and grabbed a box hoping I would take them all! I limited myself to just these.


I did pick up a shirt I might try to resell


and a piece of vintage ceiling glass. It really needs cleaning, which I’m sure the dishwasher will be glad to undertake.


She had an interestingly-shaped pot that I asked about, but it wasn’t for sale. But it started the conversation and I got to see her wonderful backyard, almost half an acre. “Some friends are going to use the back section for a community garden. I had a bad accident a while back and can’t work in the yard, but this way I’ll get to share the vegies.” I agreed this was a great plan, then heard more about the accident. It seems that she and her sweetie were on a motorcycle ride in southern Oregon, and probably hit something on the road like silver pine needles. They went off the road, her sweetie flew over a bank, she landed on the road, the motorcycle flew up in the air…and then all 800 pounds of it landed on her. “It’s more than a miracle I’m alive,” she said, and I had to agree. She was not only crushed, the exhaust pipe was pressed against her face and burned her. She lifted her hair to show me her cheek. “Look at that,” she said. “Didn’t they do a great job on me?” Yup, hardly a scar. By now everyone in the garage was riveted, listening to this story. “Oh, but let me tell you the GOOD part,” she said. “I was wearing my favorite sunglasses, these Oakley glasses I’ve probably had for 20 years. They’re designed so that the side pieces pop off if they’re hit. So somehow my sunglasses ended up in my purse, but just the lenses. So six months later we were back down there getting stuff from the bike so the insurance company could write it off, and we went back to the place the accident happened. I was walking along the road, kind of scuffing leaves aside with my foot, and then I saw a little silver ‘o’ glinting in the sun. But it was just one of the side pieces, so I kept looking, and about fifteen minutes later I found the other one!”

Guess it pays to buy good quality sunglasses. And to have the kind of resilient attitude that makes you want to tell the GOOD story instead of the horrors.


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