Farewell to Thee But Not Goodbye…

5 Sep

This is my farewell to writing Molly On Money.  It’s been a blast journaling my way through getting my life back.  Really that’s what it was for me.  Along the way I found was an amazing group of people who were willing to read and comment on my stories as well as share their stories too.  Thank you all!

This by no means is the end.  In fact, it’s like a progressive blogging party!  I want to invite all of you to join Michael and I at our new blog called Mike and Molly’s House.  What I discovered over the last few years is that I love to write.  I’ve been feeling a little constrained by the focus of Molly on Money on well, money and financial issues.  Starting fresh with Mike and Molly’s House lets me expand and  pull together several other things I love to do- photography, drawing and writing.  I will write about personal finance but it will also include articles about our ‘mighty projects on our mini-farm’.  You can see what we are building, growing and cooking.  There will always be some sort of project going on as well as stories that will range from childhood memories to parenting our two kids and whatever else comes to mind.

Thanks again to all my readers and fellow bloggers.  I can’t wait for you to join us on our next project!

Coffee Talk: Lessons From My Dysfunctional Boss

30 Aug

  After almost two years of blogging I’ve decided to close ‘Molly On Money’.  This won’t be the end of me blogging by any stretch.  Michael and I are teaming up and creating a new blog!  I’m all a-quiver!  We’ve spent this summer designing, programming and writing a blog that is full of ideas on frugality, building stuff, gardening, cooking, parenting and all sorts of stories that cannot be contained into just one category.   Tune in next week and we can tool around the new site together!

Sandy over at First Gen American is hosting a great writers challenge called ‘Coffee Talk’.  Here’s my contribution.  Don’t forget to check out all the other bloggers posts.  It’s really interesting to see what others come up with!

 “What my dysfunctional boss taught me about achieving your vision.”

Years ago I was hired to work as a construction manager for a spa.  Going in I knew it was gonna be tough.  I had endured several rounds of interviews poking and prodding into every part of my personality.  All the while I was getting insight into the owner of this business.  He loved to build things and I would be his right hand gal to make those dreams come true.  There was no sugar-coating how driven and detail oriented he could be.  Before they brought me on they wanted to make sure I would be up to the task, at least for a year.  You see, no construction manager had lasted much more than that in the past decade.  To boot, they had never had a woman in this position.

In many ways it was love at first sight.   For him I was the shiny new penny and I loved the challenges that this quirky guy set before me.  It didn’t take long for the shine to tarnish though.  Pretty soon I was pushing back and telling him what I was thinking (I don’t have a great edit button).

He would give me pictures of structures with materials he liked and ask me to reproduce it at half the cost and time.  Simple?  Not when the photo is black and white and I can’t really see what it’s even made out of.  Time was of the essence and I had to find answers fast.  What he was asking me to do seemed impossible.  I was already having to build under huge constraints on the side of a mountain, on top of rocks and caves and the spa NEVER closed.  In addition to the pressure coming from my boss it felt like the massage therapy staff hated me.  I was the bane of their existence.  I caused noise and disrupted their schedules.  I’m a people person so I was always trying to make it better.  Communication with the staff became my main goal though I couldn’t forget that my boss’s priority was that I build an amazing world-class spa at all costs (except financial).    Often all of these things- irritated staff, material that didn’t exist in North America and trying to make a deadline would converge into an all out screaming match between the two of us.  There was many a Friday afternoon that I left wondering if I had a job on Monday morning.

He was asking for the impossible which I couldn’t deliver.  For him it wasn’t personal.  He had asked the same of every other construction manager that had come before me.  One hot September day we were installing two giant ceramic teacup tubs (yes, they looked like 3′ tall teacups). They needed to be set straight, level and in precise relation to each other and the plumbing.  The next day the contractor was returning to pour a concrete deck that would encase the first few inches of the tubs.  We couldn’t get this one wrong.  The day before had been spent fussing with them and it hadn’t gone well.  We were all hot and tired and very frustrated.  I was suddenly questioning if this was going to be done right.  It seemed so simple in the plans- so straight, so level…

As the afternoon progressed the owner came out.  He knew we were having problems so he had a ton of questions (as usual) and wanted to help. (Fabulous!)  Suddenly he’s taking over, pushing the tub this way and that and in my mind making a friggin’ mess of things.  We start squabbling and I eventually stomp off.  My mind was in a fury.  I was so pissed and feeling so inadequate.  I walked until I found myself on the edge of the property.  I started picking up large rocks and throwing them as hard as I could against the hillside.  I threw and threw and threw until I had calmed down.  My next thought was what to do next…I could go home but we still had these tubs to set.  I knew I had to return.  When I came back no one asked how I was, they just made space for me to help push the tub.  The owner was still there commanding each worker on where he should be maneuvering the tub.  I slowly started making suggestions, he made some space for me to take the lead and within an hour they were set.  Before I left for the day the general manager came up to me and congratulated me.  He had been out helping set the tubs and saw the incident in it’s entirety.  I asked him why he was congratulating me.  For god sakes, I had argued with the owner and ran off to throw a hissy fit!  He responded, ‘But you came back!  That’s never happened before.  Past construction managers would drive off in their truck never to be seen again…   but you came back!’.

HA!  I came back.  That was what I did.  You see, what I could never wrap my head around was that my boss was willing to sacrifice most things to achieve his dream.  He didn’t need to be my best friend or even respect me and he didn’t need it in return.  What he needed was someone to help him get that dream built.  He didn’t compromise for his vision.  I can think of so many times I’ve compromised my vision to preserve friendships and relationships along the way.  It’s how I’m wired.

When my first year anniversary came up there was a sigh of relief that I was still there.  I had found my niche in the place.  When my second year anniversary came up my boss joked with me, acknowledging that I had passed a milestone by still being around after two years.  During my tenure at the spa I had come  this close to being fired several times. There was no third anniversary.  As much as I loved being part of that vision I view the world so differently from my boss and my values were being challenged in ways that just made me very tired.

He asked me repeatedly why I was leaving.  I was feeling so used up at the time I couldn’t give him any more than, ‘I’ve decided to move on.’   I knew I was just collateral damage on the way to his vision.

I’ve worked for a few more bosses since then and they too have had no problem burning through staff in order to get what they (think they) want. I want success too but I don’t want to sacrifice relationships with my friends and family to get there.  This idea of success and how to achieve it keeps bubbling up for me.  How does someone like me with my drive to connect to people get there?

Other Contributors to ‘Coffee Talk’:

Invest It Wisely –What My Dysfunctional Aunt Taught me about Wealth and Finances.

Budgeting in The Fun Stuff – What My Dysfunctional Family Taught me about Personal Finance

101 Centavos – A few Things I’ve Learned from my “Old Contract” Grandfather

Growing My Girls- What My Dysfunctional Dog Taught Me About My Limits

Krusty On Chrissy- What My Dysfunctional Father Taught Me About Love

Coffee Talk Is Back!

22 Aug

Sandy over at First Gen American has started her writing challenge back up again.  I wanted to let my reader know about it because a handful of you are bloggers and it’s really fun to participate and read what others come up with.

Here are the rules:

  1. Write an article with the following as a topic:  “What my Dysfunctional ________ taught me about ________.”
  2. The article must feature a loved one and an interesting topic.  For example, it could be  “What my dysfunctional brother in law taught me about budgeting”  all the way to “What my dysfunctional grandmother taught me about woman’s suffrage.”
  3. If interested mark your calendar for Aug 30th now so you don’t forget about it.
  4. Try to go outside your writing comfort zone. Stretch yourself.  Pick two things that seemingly don’t go together and make it work.
  5. Help me spread the word.
  6. Post on August 30th.*
  7. Link back  to her site or email her so that I know you participated.
  8. She will post a master round up list at the end of my Aug 30th article. Others can copy and paste it into their own article if desired.
  9. Read other’s posts, laugh, have fun, and promote your fellow blogger.

For more details click here!

If you like what you see here, subscribe to my RSS feed and check out my fan page on Facebook.  Follow me as I make my way through daily life attempting to live frugally and simply!

You can also email me your feedback & ideas.

I love to hear about new books, chocolate chip cookie recipes and blogs I should check out!


The 7 Link Project

11 Aug

Mutant Supermodel tagged me to write on the 7 Link Project.  This project got started by Katie from Trip Base.  She says her idea is,

“To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again. Then the blogger is to nominate 5 other bloggers to participate.”

The 7 link project is like a writer’s chain mail.  ( How unusual for the internet. ) You pick seven of your favorite posts from the past based on a set of criteria then you tag five of your favorite bloggers to do the same.  Going through my old posts gave me a few surprises.  The biggest one is how held back I appear.  I don’t reveal details in some of my stories that when I reread them would make it that much richer.  I know a big part of that is because I’m not anonymous.

Most Beautiful Post:

Middle Class Girl– This is  a post from the first six months I was blogging.  I had a pretty small readership at that point and was writing a post once a week.   I’d spend hours crafting the post, having Michael take a look at it and rework it some more.  I like the fact that I’m not so precious with every post now but this is a great reminder for me why I started blogging.  I like telling stories.

Most Controversial Post:

Dependence Sucks Ass–  Michael was surprised I used the words ‘sucks ass’ in the title.  I actually have a real potty mouth but I typically like to edit it out or flower it with more creative terms.  I received the most emails ever from this post!  Asking people to edit a post is just asking for it.  I have to say the emails were all very nice but with specific opinions.  I just don’t write controversial.  I’d like to be more controversial in my writing like Nicole and Maggie (god, I love how they get the ball rolling!)  but it just doesn’t seem to click for me.  In my day-to-day life I’m a walking potty-mouth-can’t-keep-my-ideas-to-myself kinda’ girl.  I don’t have a great edit button in conversation and have been known to spout out whatever I’m thinking.  If any of my friends are reading this feel free to give examples!

Most Helpful Post:

Any post on the white board.  The First Step In Saving Money explains the idea behind the white board- I hear from more readers that this is one idea that really stuck for them.  Having the white board in our kitchen is a regular reminder what our goals are.

Post Whose Success Surprised You:

Yes, the Blind Chicken is Alive–  The popularity of my Blind Chicken was a surprise.  I’m not packing her up to stick her in a carnival (yet) but you all seem to like to her updates on her antics.

Post You Feel didn’t get the Attention it Deserved:

Social Currency– I was so convinced people had inadvertently overlooked this one I re-posted it 8 months later.  Neither time did it get the feedback and response I was expecting.  Cest le vive! This is one of my favorite concepts and if you get me talking about it you’ll have to hear me go off for hours!

Post Most Proud:

Dumbest In the Room and Proud of It…Sometimes– This comes off as a very positive post but it was difficult to write out (to the blogging world) my weaknesses.  Early on Michael had encouraged me to publish a post pre editing. (which I later did- Dependence Sucks Ass).  I write not just to reveal assumptions about money but also to examine ideas about myself that hold me back.  This post was that.  After reading this post my friend Steve lent me some audio tapes on grammar. I haven’t listened to them but they make a great insulator to keep my laptop from burning through my thighs.  After reading my unedited post another friend walked me over to the public library to check out Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss.  I’m reading it and will make my way to the tapes next.  I may not end up to be the most incredible writer ever but I have the resources to improve what I love doing.

The 5 Bloggers I’m nominating:

I’m nominating people who have yet to be nominated and who I may read but have not really gone through their archives.

Lily’s Locutions– I don’t even know how I came across her but she fascinates me.  She’s now about 20 years old.  She started her blog 3 years ago.  Her writing throws me back to when I was her age.  It’s two-fold also.  I see my girls coming of age and I’m wondering how they will walk-thru there late teens.  I see bits of them in Lily.

101 Centavos–  He’s been blogging for about a year now.  I started following him about six months ago and I have not gone through his archives.  I’d love to see what he comes up with- I’m sure there’s a few gems that I’ve missed.

Lori Dyan–   Come on, Lori!  Do it for me!

Nicole is Better– She drops the F-bomb a lot and she has a ‘The Life Less Bullshit Manifesto’.  She’s the kinda’ girl I’d hope to have behind me if I ever got into a bar fight.

Fabulously Broke in the City– She’s a 20-something Canadian Girl living in hotel rooms.  She’s incredible prolific and writes on a range of topics.

What did I learn from this little exercise?  I’m becoming better at something I love to do (write).  I’d like to write more spontaneous and  more thoughtful posts (not so many in the middle).  Also I can see that I could let out my sassy-potty-mouth self out more (Michael is shaking his head ‘no’ to that idea.)

If you like what you see here, subscribe to my RSS feed and check out my fan page on Facebook.  Follow me as I make my way through daily life attempting to live frugally and simply!

You can also email me your feedback & ideas.

I love to hear about new books, chocolate chip cookie recipes and blogs I should check out!


Blackjack Quesadillas

4 Aug

My cousin and his girlfriend came out for a short visit last month.  Both are bloggers and love to cook.  In fact, Terumi is a food blogger!  We ran around town visiting some of my favorite haunts like the Santa Fe Farmers Market, The Shed Restaurant on the Plaza, hamburgers at Bobcat Bite and an awesome firework show in Albuquerque.  One night they decided to cook.  The recipe that was the lucky winner: Blackjack Quesadillas!

Since I’m more of a bystander when it comes to cookin’ I decided to break out the video camera.  It was hours of slicing, dicing, marinating, roasting and frying.

Everyone was taking pictures of the food being prepared for their blogs.  It was the most documented meal in history!

Mid-way through the process I decided that margaritas were in order (I’m great at accessorizing).  Terumi, H.H. and I packed into the car and went off to the store.  As we marched in I noticed what great purses we all had and wished we had someone to take our picture (yes, I did have my camera with me 🙂 ).  Thank god I live in a small town with an even smaller community because sure enough I ran into my good friend Noelle and her daughter.  After taking a few shots of us they joined us back at the house.

(Rt-Left) Me, H.H. and Terumi at the grocery store. Thanks Noelle 😉

The sun went down and the cool air came in.  We all sat back eating and drinking while being entertained by Noelle’s 7 year old daughter.  She was so excited to stay up late she figured it was the least she could do!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Go check out Corey and Terumi’s blogs.  Yes, her’s is in Japanese but that’s what the translate button is all about on Google Chrome, people! .

Update:  Corey has a post more on our black jack quesidilla night which includes the history of the recipe and more photos!

And just in case you want to make your own black jack quesadillas here’s the recipe:  (some of these quantities seemed totally wacky so my notes are in parenthesis -Michael)


Spicy Pork:
1 quart Korean chili paste       (1 cup – I used Siracha garlic chili paste)
3 jalapeños, stemmed
1 cup sugar                                     (1/2 cup)
1 cup garlic cloves                       (1 head)
1 pint soy sauce                             (1 cup)
1 cup chopped green onions
½ cup sesame oil                          (1/4 cup)
1 cup orange juice                         (1/2 cup)
1 can Sprite soda                           (1/2 can)
2 pounds pork belly, sliced      (found this at a Mexican grocery/butcher)
4 cups diced onions

Salsa Verde:
1 quart canola oil                         (1 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, peeled
5 jalapeños, stemmed
¼ onion, peeled
10 bunches fresh cilantro, chopped   (1 1/2 bunches)
1¼ cup lime juice
1¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup roasted sesame seeds

To Assemble and Serve:
½ cup canola oil
4 12-inch flour tortillas
4 cups shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese
4 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds
12 sprigs fresh cilantro


For the Spicy Pork:
Puree all the ingredients except the pork belly and onions. Marinate the pork belly in this mixture for at least 2 hours. Cook the onions and marinated pork belly on a hot plancha or griddle until slightly charred, about 8 minutes. Chop the pork into bite-sized pieces.   (I cooked the onion in a pan w/ some marinade til soft and barbecued the pork.  I diced the pork after it was cooked.)

For the Salsa Verde:
Stir oil and garlic in a pot on low heat until the garlic browns. Roast the jalapeños and onion in a dry pan until almost black. Cool the garlic, oil, onions and jalapeños, then puree with the cilantro, salt, juices, and sesame seeds. Reserve.

To Assemble and Serve:
Pour 2 tablespoons of oil on a griddle and place a tortilla flat on top of it and add 1 cup of cheese on half of the tortilla. Add the spicy pork (and onions) on top of the cheese and fold over, cooking until the cheese has melted. Cut the quesadillas into four triangles and top with 2 tablespoons of salsa verde and 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds. Garnish with 3 sprigs of cilantro.

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You can also email me your feedback & ideas.

I love to hear about new books, chocolate chip cookie recipes and blogs I should check out!


Krispy Kale

30 Jul

This Spring Michael more than tripled the size of our vegetable garden.  The idea behind this expansion is that we want to eat more from our garden and less from the grocery store.  Last Spring we cut our spending on groceries by almost 1/2.  Last year at this time we went an entire month without going to the grocery store.  It was challenging but expanding our garden makes it possible.

One ‘problem’ I’m finding is what do I do when a veggie comes into harvest.  I blanch many of the greens and freeze them for winter; we eat tons of salad and when I go to a friend’s home I typically have an armful of veggies to hand out.  This past Monday I cut back a bunch of the kale, and I wanted to find something different to do with it.

Kale Chips

Salty Kale Chips

My friend Allesandra brought these crispy babies to dinner one night.  I lorded over the bowl and chowed them down as fast as I could.  Since than I’ve been waiting to make my own.

2.75lbs of Kale

cut the center vein out of each leaf and then cut into small 'chip' size pieces

In a bowl I mixed the kale with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of gray salt

Thanks to a gift from Allesandra we have many salts to choose from. I went with a gray salt. You can also add garlic salt, paprika or any other spice that you thinks sounds appetizing.

Lay the kale flat on a cookie sheet. I like to put it on parchment so it doesn't stick so much. Cook at 350 degrees for about 15 mins.


I’m not a girl big into substituting healthy food for crappy (I’d rather just skip it) but this one has replaced the chips and crackers I typically nosh on.  And…it’s so CHEAP!

If you like what you see here, subscribe to my RSS feed and check out my fan page on Facebook.  Follow me as I make my way through daily life attempting to live frugally and simply!

You can also email me your feedback & ideas.

I love to hear about new books, chocolate chip cookie recipes and blogs I should check out!


Dependence Sucks Ass….

24 Jul

I’m in a trap…the trap is  called technology dependence.  I’m sure you’ve experienced a  trap of technology.  Please say ya’ have….I can’t be alone on this one!

My budgeting software, Quicken, has a corrupt file and it’s not a quick fix.  I’ve spent the last month troubleshooting and procrastinating.  Today (which is the next to the last day of my vacation) I’ve sat my ass down to try to figure out the problem.   I’m on my 3rd tech support person (Hey, I never claimed I’m easy to deal with).   God, it sucks.  Sure I could go back to my Excel spreadsheet or do it by hand but I DON’T WANT TOO!  I’ve been spoiled and I don’t want to go back!

My other dependence I’m dealing with today is not having my editor Michael around.  He’s off at his cousin’s farm in Maine getting advice on how to process poultry in  a more efficient manner.  The only other time I posted something without having him do a quick look at it, he made me promise never to do it again (really, it wasn’t that bad)…The hell with it- I’m posting! (please make your corrections in the comments, much appreciated).

If you like what you see here, subscribe to my RSS feed and check out my fan page on Facebook.  Follow me as I make my way through daily life attempting to live frugally and simply!

You can also email me your feedback & ideas.

I love to hear about new books, chocolate chip cookie recipes and blogs I should check out!


Summertime Garden

18 Jul

101 Centavos recently had a great post with other blogger’s gardens.  I love perusing the backyards of others to see what they have growing.

Michael has outdone himself this year expanding our vegetable garden but the weather has not been co-operating.  It’s the driest it’s been in over 100 years and the winds were fierce and long this spring.  Even with all of this we have more growing than any other year.  Every morning we walk around with a cup of coffee in hand and look at what’s coming up, what’s not, plan for what to plant next and when should we harvest.  It’s a lovely way to start the day.

French Breakfast radishes

We’re still getting radishes although they are so hot I can barely eat a whole one.

Turnips larger than my fist

Last year we tried turnips and got small spindly things.  We got more out of the green tops than the root!  This year we are having success.  Later I will post a recipe for one of my favorite soups- Potato Turnip soup (the only reason I plant turnips is to make this soup!).

Wildflowers after a little rain

Finally we’ve gotten some rain and the wildflowers are popping out.  This flax is one of my favorites.  It typically shows up in June and the bright blue is gorgeous coming out as one of the first spurts of summer color.

We used to grow everything in the side garden.  For the last two years the tomatoes we grew here got some sort of fungus.  We are trying other things now that Michael expanded our growing area.  This year we are making it the corn, potato and squash garden.  The corn is doing good.  This is another first for us.  I grew it years ago (before I knew Michael) and it was really spotty- the corn, that is.

Corn- 'knee-high by 4th of July'

For perspective here's a our cat, Buji, next to the corn

Lesson 1: veggies like humidity

This is a garden bed Michael kept covered in plastic up until a week ago.  Compared the beds that were open this one went gang-busters.  The long term plan is to glass it in.

40 Something Molly

4 Jul

I’m 42…..some days I feel like a young 42 while other days I feel like there is a huge gulf between who I was 20 years ago (yes, I’m talking 1991) and who I am now.  I think one of the reasons I feel so far removed from 22 year old Molly is the fact that I had very few responsibilities way back when compared to now.  I’m also old enough to potentially be a twenty-something’s mother so when I meet one I am very aware that we are from different generations.  Things have changed in twenty years and it’s not just the extra smile lines I have!


The US invades Iraq.  Later on this will be called the 1st Iraq War.

The lead singer of Queen, Freddy Mercury dies of AIDS.

The average cost of gasoline was $1.12.

I was listening to Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Nina Simone and Tom Waits.

Clarance Thomas confirmation hearings were going on.  The following year I got to hear Anita Hill talk about sexual harassment in the workplace.

William Kennedy Smith went on trial for rape.  Immediately after he was found not-guilty he came to medical school at my university.

Rosanne was one of the most popular TV shows.

20 Something Molly:

  1.  I didn’t have a personal computer (although my brother and Michael both did).  I got my first personal computer when I was 32 (Thanks Dad!).
  2. I didn’t have a cell phone.  They were around but they were those large bricks that only the privileged few carried around.  It cost around $1/minute to talk on one!  I had this one friend that would call me from her cell phone and I would hang up on her as soon as I realized she had called me from her cell.  I got my first cell phone when I was 30.

    In 1992 my boss had a cell phone just like this one...

  3. I didn’t have a credit card.  I got my first one when I was 27.  It had a $500 credit limit.  I followed it up with a credit card from Sears.  My first husband loved Sears.  We always paid the balance off on both cards every month.  There might have been an exception here or there but it was rare.
  4. Cars were cheap!  I had a hand-me-down 76′ Cadillac Sedan de Ville from my parents (which was handed down to them from my grandparents) it eventually died on the side of the road.I then purchased a Dodge Omni for $150.  I’m sure my Dad was freaked out every time he heard that I was taking another trip out to CA in my Dodge Omni.  At one point I lost 5th gear just as I was driving into Flagstaff…..it was fine I didn’t need 5th gear anyways! After a couple of years the Omni died too.My first husband bought me a lowrider truck instead of an engagement ring.   While we were married we purchased a Jeep Cherokee for $7000.  My first step into real debt.  When we divorced I told him to take the lowrider and drive into the sunset.

    Ahh...The Omni!

  5. CD’s were just becoming affordable.  I mostly owned record albums.
  6. No health insurance.  I didn’t get any of that until I was 30.  If I got sick I paid for it out of pocket.  When I was really sick I went to the county hospital and paid sliding scale.

So how did I manage to get through most of my twenties?  Pretty damn well!  The only overhead I had was rent, a few utility bills and car insurance (although each of those were hit or miss from time to time!).

I put my drive to be “responsible” on my kids.  Suddenly not getting dinner on the table equated to being a mom who didn’t care about the welfare of her babies.  Not caring about my own welfare was perfectly acceptable, not OK for the kids!  Cleaning up, driving safe, being dependable became the model of who I was trying to be.

There were trying times in my 20’s.  Lots of crying over boys/men who would come and go (and then come back again).  Marriage/divorce.  I’m sure my life  would have been less stressful if I had had a steady job, some savings and a little stability but the flip side of it was that because I had little overhead I didn’t have to spend a lot of energy trying to come up with cash.  Just lots of time for drama!

In my thirties I expanded everything.  Money, cars, computers, a mortgage….   it all exploded.  In the end it wasn’t who I was.  I realized that I don’t like a lot of overhead.  I like having fewer responsibilities.  In my forties I’ve been paring back down to the essentials (although it is a work in progress).  With the exception of the man drama I think I’m closer to my twenty year old self than I first thought!

Are there things you just can’t imagine living without; can’t imaging how the world kept spinning without?

If you like what you see here, subscribe to my RSS feed and check out my fan page on Facebook.  Follow me as I make my way through daily life attempting to live frugally and simply!

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No, My House Has Not Burned Down…yet

29 Jun las conchas fire

How's this for dramatic? (Image from Act Naturally)

Michael and I saw smoke on the horizon when we pulled out of our driveway on Sunday:

We’re getting used to it since there are several huge wildfires going on in New Mexico.  We live in Santa Fe and one of the fires is up on our ski basin about a 30 minute drive from us.   Another is blazing right next to Los Alamos (yeah, the nuclear facility).  The fires are no surprise, if anything I’m surprised it’s taken this long for us to have another really substantial fire in the area.  When Michael and I moved into this house 10 years ago the area was just starting to show signs of drought.  Within 3 years we had lost almost 1/2 of our pinon trees to the bark beetle which kills trees when they are stressed from not having enough water.  We spent the next few years slowly clearing out the dead trees but in the end when we looked at our neighbors and saw they were not doing the same we gave up.  In defense of my neighbors many of them don’t have the resources to take on clearing acres of dead trees.

This past Mother’s Day we came home to a fire burning across the road.  The good news was that the fire department is only a mile away and was able to contain the fire early on.  About 20 acres and an empty structure were burned.   After watching the fire for a few minutes Michael and I came home knowing we should pack up a few things just in case we had to evacuate.  We didn’t ….we opted to garden.  That night when we talked about our strange reaction we both agreed we were OK with letting go of all our stuff.  The big concern was gathering up the animals and grabbing some important documents.

Sometimes I feel like an intruder on our land.  There should be fires every so often for a healthy wilderness.  Here, trees have been allowed to grow too close together.  The trees get unhealthy, diseased and large.  Living among all these trees and wilderness I’ve had to come to terms with fact that I might lose my house.

Los Alamos is hidden in the forest.  Back in the day it made sense to stick a super-secret government lab out in the middle of nowhere.  Now it can be a problem especially where fire is concerned.  Once again a huge (69,000 acres and counting) wildfire is coming right up to the labs.  Sure, they prepare for the worst but I don’t think I’m being a cynic when I say, ‘we’d be the last to know’.  There are emails going around saying radioactive waste has already been compromised in the wildfire.   Although they are unsubstantiated they add to the sense of uneasiness around here.  The National Forest does perform ‘control burns’ in an effort to thin the forests.  An out of control ‘controled burn’  caused the last Los Alamos fire ten years ago.

Here’s Amy Goodman from Democracy Now talking about the fires and the potential hazzards of having a nuclear facility smack dab in the middle of an overgrown forest:

Tonight I’m out on my porch watching the black thunder clouds building up.  It’s like they are practicing for the coming monsoon rains.  The air smells like rain and the air is cooling down fast.  This is what will stop the wildfires.  It’s what just about everyone here is waiting and praying for.  And just if you were wondering,  the firework stands are still open for business…….

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