Oldfangled

The new site is up!  Take a look: Oldfangled.Wordpress.com

Changes!

Greetings, lovely readers.

Since it’s the season for giving thanks, the first thing I want to do is thank you for reading and commenting.  I really enjoy writing, and it’s nice to have an audience.  I think that by continuing to write, I’m developing my style and my interests, and that’s really fun for me.  I hope it’s fun for you, too.

I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half, and I’m ready to make some BIG changes!

As time has passed, I’ve realized that Small Town Runner isn’t the best name for my site or my online identity.  I am a runner, and I do live in a small town, but those characteristics are only a small part of who I am.  I really started thinking about what really, truly characterizes me, and the name Small Town Runner just doesn’t quite do it.

Also, I’ve been wanting to have my own domain name.  The idea for an online identity shift (sounds like a psychiatric disorder!) was affected by that desire as well, because as I looked into getting my own domain, there was already a blog called SmallTownRunner.com (although it hadn’t been updated in years) and a Twitter account with the user name @SmallTownRunner (so I had to change mine to @Small_Town_Runr, which I never really liked.)

In thinking about getting my own domain, I also decided that I wanted to shift to another platform that would give me more flexibility with what my site looks like (for example, having multiple dynamic pages and more control over design templates) while still remaining very easy to use.  I don’t want to learn HTML or CSS.

So the changes are coming in December!  I’ll be changing my site to one powered by Squarespace, and I’ll have a new name and a new identity.  The new site will still have much of what I have been doing — talk of food, gardening, home life, running, and becoming debt free — but I’m going to add some new things, too.

One of the first items I’m going to add is menu planning. I know that if I don’t have a plan, I tend to wander around the kitchen, staring into the cupboards until I’m ravenous.  I bet a lot of you are that way, too.  Planning my meals has been a huge sanity-saver for me.  I am very lucky in the fact that my husband is a fabulous cook and helps out a lot with meal preparation.  But a lot of households have just one person trying to plan and cook meals every day, and they would love to have a list of ideas to choose from.  While there may be more comprehensive menu plans out there, I hope the one I have will be a good starting place for fellow kitchen-wanderers.  And it will be FREE!

I’ve got other ideas on additions to the site, as well, but I want to do a little at a time so I don’t overwhelm myself.

In just a couple of days, I’ll put up another post pointing you to my new website.  I hope to import all my other blog posts to the new site, too, so everything will be kept together.

If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you’ve already started to see some changes.  But fret not.  You’ll get the whole scoop soon.

The Small Town Runner site will be quiet for a few days while I get everything worked out.  I hope it won’t take too long, and I intend to be blogging at the new place by the second week of December, and maybe even by December 1.

I hope you’ll continue to follow me in my new location with my new name!

Turkey Trot

This morning, I’m going to run a Turkey Trot.

When I went back to the doctor on November 12, which was eleven weeks post-op, he said I could do some light jogging.  I was ecstatic, and that afternoon I went out and ran a mile.

My foot was fine.  The rest of my body was wondering what the heck I was trying to do.

Thankfully, anything with the name “Turkey Trot”  is likely not going to be competitive.  I think the course is three miles, and I honestly don’t know how much of it I’ll be able to run.  I haven’t run more than a mile at a time since I had my surgery.  I could maybe push it and run two miles, but three?  I might collapse in a heap because my legs have forgotten what it is to run.  And by that time, my foot might be swollen enough to rival the gigantic Snoopy balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

But I’m still going to try.  Because it’s only two weeks until my second surgery, and then three months after that before I’ll be permitted to run again.

So, I might just be trotting, or even walking — heck, maybe just strolling.  But I’m going for it anyway.

Pattern: Knitted Hat

I was working on my Christmas gifts, and I knew I wanted to make hats for some of my family and friends.  I have a ribbed hat pattern that I make most often, but a couple of years ago I had found a pattern that I liked as a woman’s hat.  It just had a softer look to it.  The pattern was really easy and I made myself a hat from that pattern.

The only problem was that when I went to pull that pattern out to make hats this year, I couldn’t find it!  So I made my own pattern.  It’s easy, and all you need are a couple of circular needles.

Woman’s Knitted Hat Pattern

Materials: size 7 circular needle, size 9 circular needle, your choice of yarn (medium weight works well, and I think boucle yarn is best)

Cast 56 stitches onto size 7 needle.  Knit 2, purl 2 around (ribbing) for three inches.

Switch to size 9 needle.  Knit around for one row.  For the next 6 rows, knit around, increasing once per row, resulting in 62 stitches.  Continue knitting around until entire work measures about 9 inches.

(Knit 2, knit 2 together) around.

Knit around.

(Knit 2 together, knit one) around.

Knit around.

Knit 2 together around.

Knit around.

Cut yarn to about 8 inches and draw through the loops.  Pull tight.  On the inside of the hat, weave end of yarn in and secure.

I’ve made three hats like this.  The one I like best is made with a boucle yarn, which is very soft and flexible.  Because the yarn isn’t stiff, the hat has a nicer shape, I think.

The first one pictured is made from basic worsted weight yarn (in black) and some sparkly silver stuff my mother-in-law brought me from Spain.

The second one is made from some random yellow yarn that someone gave me.  It was a remnant at a fabric store, so the original label wasn’t on it.  I’m not sure the details.  It was fuzzy, but a little bit stiff.

The last one is in the purple boucle yarn.  It’s definitely my favorite.  I think it looks the nicest, and it’s the most comfortable to wear.

Buying Brand Name

When I go to stores, I’m always looking for the cheapest prices.  I don’t want to pay more than I need to, especially if there isn’t a big difference in quality.  So I go for generics on a lot of things.  But I’ve discovered a few things that I will always buy brand name.

Laundry Detergent. I’ve purchased generic detergent for years, and I always wondered why my clothes looked dingy.  Duh.  All my synapses weren’t firing on that one.  I have just a few more loads left with the cheap-o detergent I bought last time, and then I’m going with Tide.  (After all, it’s what God cleans the oceans with!)

Batteries. Let me tell you, Dollar General batteries aren’t worth snot.  They just don’t last.  From now on, I will buy Duracell or Energizer or something.  But no more generic batteries.

Light Bulbs. Generic light bulbs also don’t last.  I stick with GE, Philips, Sylvania, or Westinghouse.

Plastic Wrap. More curse words have been uttered in my house because the stupid store brand plastic wrap won’t tear on the stupid store brand metal strip, and then the wrap gets all wrinkled and you can’t put it on the food, which hardly matters because the plastic won’t stick to the bowl anyway.  I now buy Saran Wrap.

Plastic Baggies. For the fold-over kind, generic is okay.  But if you want the kind you can re-close, go with Zip-loc or Glad.  I’ve had generic baggies that won’t close, or they close, but then they won’t open and I end up tearing the bag above the zipper which means that now there’s not enough for the fingers to grab onto in order to open the bag, so you have to tear the whole thing open.  Plus, the store brand bags get holes in them a lot more easily than the brand name bags.

I figure I’m not saving money if I have to throw stuff away more often, which is what happens with the items I’ve listed when I buy generic or store brand.

That’s my list.  Did I miss anything?  For what items do you insist on brand names?

House of Lords

Usually, our dogs are just called Gracie and Gryffon.

Sometimes they have nicknames like Gryffie-dog and Gracie-girl.  Or Sweetie-pee and Sweetie-poo.  Or when they are in trouble, sometimes we call them by their full names, Gracie Capella and Gryffon Arcturus.

But in the fall, they become Lord and Lady Leafbottom.

Want to know why?

Take a look:

Masquerading as Rich

The last thing I do for work each day is stop by the bank and make the day’s deposit.

The weather was beautiful last week, so I had my car windows down as I sat in the drive through at my local financial institution.  I had pulled up behind a beautiful, shiny, new-looking black Lexus ES330.  And while I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, I overheard the woman in the Lexus talking to the teller about accessing money in her line of credit.

When I see a Lexus, I always think of Wealth.  Luxury.  Money. And I suspect that’s what Lexus — and Lexus owners — want me to think.  So it was rather amusing (in a sad sort of way) to hear this Lexus owner discuss getting deeper in debt.

The transaction between the teller and the owner of the ES330 was taking a while, and as I waited, another car pulled into the next lane.  This one was a beautiful, shiny, new-looking black Lexus ES350.

The two Lexus owners seemed to know each other.  They rolled down their windows and greeted one another.  And again, while I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, I couldn’t help but overhear part of their conversation.  ES350 was talking to ES330 about some sort of bill (property taxes, perhaps?) and she said, “Oh, crap.  It’s the 10th, isn’t it?  Well, I’m late again.”

And it just struck me that here are two women, both owners of really nice cars.  One is deepening her debt and the other doesn’t pay her bills on time.

And I sat there, in my 1999 Volkswagen with the cracked leather interior, the heated seats that don’t work, and the temperamental transmission sensor, knowing that we are paying our bills on time and reducing our debt as quickly as possible.  We stick to a written budget.  If we don’t have the money, we don’t spend the money.

I’m not trying to sound all arrogant here.  We weren’t always so responsible with our finances.  We have purchased things in the past that we really couldn’t afford, and we’ve paid more money in interest charges than I care to think about.

But we are done pretending to be rich people. Instead, we’re starting to ACT like rich people, which means that we’re getting rid of debt and figuring out ways to make money grow.  We’re not going to buy fancy cars when serviceable cars do the job.  Most of my clothes are several years old, and I’m not the best-dressed person around.  I don’t get hundred-dollar haircuts (and if I can get them for free, even better!) and I don’t have a fancy cell phone.

But we’re making progress.  And someday, when I can really, truly afford to buy a Lexus…

I’ll probably still be driving my old VW.

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