The best thing that's happened recently is that Tech has awarded me the Arte y pico award, for “those who are creative or have a penchant for art.”
Tech received the award for his wonderful blog, 51313 Harbor Street. If you haven't visited Tech at his place, please do. He is an accomplished writer of novels, plays, poetry and blogs. He's also a great human being with a wonderful sense of humor and can say without reservation that my life has been enriched because of him and his blog.
I am humbled that he would nominate this blog for the Arte y pico award.
In return, I wish to nominate the following five blogs for the award:
Frenzied Feline at Life Happens (When You're Planning Something Else). I've "known" Frenzied for years through this great invention called the Internet. She is a whole-life artist and tells great stories about her family, life in California and her incredible church service. How she has the energy to do all of this, and do it so well, is an art in and of itself!
Ree at The Pioneer Woman. She has several blogs under the umbrella of her site. Ree is an incredible writer, photographer, cook, wife and mother of four children. Her blogs are outstanding works of art.
Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy. Alicia, I have to say that you have produced not only the most beautiful blog I've ever seen, but also the most beautiful life. Your incredible personal story, your creativity, your photography and writing -- heck, your whole beautiful life is the stuff from which my dreams are made. If I could wave my magic wand and have the life I dream of, it would be yours, living in Portland with a man like Andy and a precious doggie like Clover Meadow or her auntie Audrey, the beloved. Seriously, cheers to you and thank you so much for giving me the vision to believe that happiness can be created, even when life throws rocks.
Kuky at Kuky Ideas. Oh what a funny, loving woman! Her drawings/cartoons are sweet and funny and adorable and are the air I breathe some days. She's not posting as often right now, but I hope she can return soon. She is so creative and has such talent in so many areas. I'm glad I found her charming blog. You should all read it NOW. Just because it will make you feel happy to know people like Kuky are out there adding to the universal goodness.
Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl. Another fabulous, funny writer; not only does she produce a hilarious blog about her life with her cats, but she's also recently published "Drunk, Divorced and Covered In Cat Hair, The True Life Misadventures of a 30-Something Who Learned to Knit After He Split." The book is funny, sad, heartbreaking and victorious, as is Laurie. I can remember when I first started reading her blog about her hand-knit hats. Now look at her, a star!
And here are the official award acceptance rules:
1. Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog.
3. Each award winner (upon acceptance) should show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.
4. Show the link of Arte y pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5. Show these rules.
And now, back to my mundane life:
It seems like I've hardly had time to breathe since the fire I posted about previously. I hope to post some more photos of that in the next post just for your entertainment.
As it turns out, the fire was set. Three young men (the oldest is 18) were arrested in connection with this and a laundry list of other things that have been happening here. The fire is estimated to have caused $1 million to $2 million in damages and wiped out a business that has been there for almost 40 years.
The day after the fire I helped my minister and his wife move to Oklahoma City. Their U-Haul truck came from the business that burned. The plastic tag attached to the key was melted from the heat of the fire. It's fortunate the truck keys were in a separate storage building next to the business.
Sunday after the move, I played a piano concert between services at my church, the first in the new welcome center addition. The weather was extremely bad that morning with heavy rain and winds up to about 60 mph. Lo and behold, as I was getting ready to play, drip. Drip, drip! Right down my back and onto the piano from our brand new skylight. I moved the piano to an area without a skylight and notified the building committee so they can have that checked.
That afternoon I played in a handbell concert that was a fundraiser to help rebuild the music program of a United Methodist church in Newkirk, OK. Their church burned several months ago and all of their instruments and music burned. Their handbells melted. This will be a small step to helping them cope.
That Monday was an incredibly long city commissioners' meeting at which the city budget for the coming fiscal year was passed, as was a controversial spay-neuter ordinance that has been on the table for several years. This is probably the single most argued issue since I've been here.
Other highlights of the week were an arrest of an Israeli national by the Department of Homeland Security, the arrest of the suspects in the building center fire, a state historic preservation meeting held here.
Honestly, things have become a blur, there's been so much happening. Much of it wouldn't interest people outside of my town -- probably wouldn't interest everyone here, either. But what can I say? It keeps me off the street most of the time.
Weather has been rather harsh too, with flooding rains and high winds often.
But what about those hours when I'm not working? Well, I've made a mid-year resolution not to spend money on anything but the essentials -- utilities, food, gasoline for getting to and from work, and other absolute essentials. Here's my post from E.R.'s blog ( Erudite Redneck. He had asked how we were coping with increasing fuel costs.
I've had to limit my out-of-town trips because of fuel costs. And I'm seriously considering walking to work when weather and schedule permit or getting a bicycle.
I'm doing like you -- making the cuts from my food budget, intentionally not shopping or buying anything but necessities (even cutting back on some of those like medications because I just can't afford to refill scripts until payday.) I live 10 blocks from work; it's cheaper for me to go home for lunch than to eat at one of the few choices I have in walking distance. Plus that gives me almost a full hour to relax in my own house in the middle of the day.
I go to the farmers' market on Tuesday afternoon and Saturday morning to make the food dollars go the best place possible and I'm growing my own herbs because it's cheaper than buying them in the store. And I'm making my own bread more often, with flours I've bought from local millers. Small changes, but it adds up.
Oh, and I have not watched TV in a year, so I do not have cable. I go to the library instead of the bookstore and I have decided that there's nothing on video worth renting (because I was collecting late fees.)
I'm working more hours (more than 50 a week) so I don't have time for much in the way of recreation.
When I moved here, I intentionally bought Energy Star appliances, including low-water use front loading washer and dryer. And I have nothing but CFL bulbs through the house.
The biggest thing, though, has been a Mid-Year Resolution not to make any purchases except for essentials for the rest of the year. I'm trying to limit that to groceries, prescriptions and things like toilet paper, shampoo and deodorant. Anything else will have to go on a list which will be evaluated at the end of every month. If it's still something I want/need after a waiting period, I'll consider it more seriously.
It's a shame to have to be so tight-fisted, but I'm making about a third of what I did during my previous full-time employment. I'm now making exactly the same number of dollars that I made when I worked for another small newspaper 22 years ago! That certainly does not take normal inflation into account, not to mention the sharp increases in fuel and grocery prices we now face. It's hard to be in this situation.