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No-Spend Month: Over

Today is October 30th. I do not care. No-Spend Month, I am so done with you. Am I glad I did it? Sure. Did I save a bunch of money? Damn straight. Am I ready for some Thai Food and Ice Cream? Why, yes I am.

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I prepared a post last week, which I then failed to publish, detailing the $88 spent on groceries. $88 still within budget. With $134 remaining for grocery spending, I was feeling pretty smug about my no spend success. But, this is about more than groceries. It wasn’t until this week, when I closed out the entire budget, that I realized how good and bad we did.
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And Then I Fell Off The Face Of The Earth

For a week. Or so. Accidentally. Accidentally, on purpose. I’ve never wanted to be ‘that blog’, just as I’ve never wanted to write ‘that post’. You know the one. Flakey blogger writes heartfelt apology for their absence and recommits to a relationship they are clearly finding unsustainable. Only to produce substandard, hurried content and inevitably fall off the wagon again, and again, and again. I’ve endeavored to do it differently. Since this blog is so much about my life, more so perhaps then I ever realized or intended, I thought I could keep the lines of communicado open. Keep peeps in the know. With what’s going on in said life, and how that may or may not impact my posting schedule. That theory worked pretty well when I posted 5 days a week. Then four. Then two or three-ish, under which circumstances I really could no longer live with myself. Momentum gone. Blog interrupted.

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My life has not embarked on some exciting new trajectory. Not hardly. Not yet. Rather here’s where I’ve been. Rain and afghans, old favorite books, not iPads, dogs, always with the dogs, and no writing. I find myself in need of input, unable to produce any output. There are things in my life I can not share with you. Read more

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Multi Dog Management

When people learn how many dogs I have, (which is inevitable, it always comes out) I get a variety of reactions: disbelief, revulsion, amazement, questions about my sanity, and less frequently curiosity and a little bit of “How would I do that?”. Not usually. Usually it is wrinkled noses and pointed questions about my marital status (like I am the crazy lonely cat lady, only with dogs). By now, I mostly ignore the predictable responses. I continue with what I’m doing and give them a minute to collect their social game face, providing only confirmation, “Yep, that many dogs”. More interesting to me (and worrisome) are the people who wonder about doing it themselves.

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This many dogs, even if they all fit in one large Bowers bagel, they aren’t for everyone. They aren’t even for most. Or some. Only the tiniest percentage of families would be interested in this shit show. And that’s good. I will say it again and again, don’t be like us. If you are interested, maybe not in my level of crazy, but in pushing the boundaries of one or two dog acceptability, there are tricks to this. Ways to master multi-dogs, to keep them from revolting en mass, when you are hopelessly outnumbered. Read more

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No Spend Month: Week Two

How to survive No-Spend-Month (or at least 2 weeks of it):
Do not go shopping. Send The Husband to the Grocery Store, with a list, and perhaps some threats.
Do not do much leaving of the house. It helps if you’ve been feeling generally crappy (I have) and have to work too much (ding, ding).
Day dream about restaurant meals you will have in T-Minus 17 days. To the point of planning a weekend of Thai, Cuban Sandwiches, Burgers, and Japanese. Maybe not in that order, but the order will be oh so important.
Fully engage your inner Scrooge McDuck, maximizing the pleasure taken in the money going into your coffers. Laughing maniacally might help. Never mind that it was your money to begin with.

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“Free” food, onions from neighbor and the first of our very own parsnips certainly won’t hurt, but isn’t strictly required.

Most importantly, constantly remind yourself that it is No-Spend Month. There are no ‘extras’, no miscellaneous. Only the usual suspects will exist during this month of anti-spend. If its not gas, groceries, dogs, or our meager entertainment budget, I don’t want anything to do with it. Even those acceptable categories, I’m on limited speaking terms with.
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Coffee with Chickens

It’s become something of a morning ritual around these parts. I used to kennel dogs, turn on my heel, and run out the door headlong into my day of rush and drama. No longer is that a possibility. These days there are a flock of Ladies that need me. Ever so briefly. My mornings are punctuated with a little of this.

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Boots, gloves, a few more sips of coffee, Gaga, Blondie, Joanie, Little Bird, Cherry, and more recently, the almost integrated (and now depleted) B-Squad. Read more

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What’s It To Chew?

That title is pretty horrible. I couldn’t help myself. Very sorry. But, not really.

My rampant love for raw meaty bones (or rather my dog’s) begs some questions. The world of the dog chews is not limited to raw meat and femur bones. In actuality, they are the exception. When shopping chewing options for their dog, most people do not go directly to the freezer case. This is unavoidable. Raw meat is not without its limitations. Bacteria. Location. Longevity. Not appropriate for all occasions and circumstances. Yet, chewing is still an excellent way to keep your dog quiet and busy when you need it. Just not always with a slimy knuckle bone.

All those other products on the market – the rawhide, the rings, the dentals chews – most of them are no good. Worse than no good. They are disgusting, poorly processed, and potentially dangerous. If you are lucky, they’re just a big fat waste of money. Sorry to be the one to break it to you. But, (again) not really.

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An assortment of well-loved recreational standbys in our house, where we prefer our chews not sprayed with preservatives and processed in parts unknown. Although spending a little time fermenting out in the yard, is perfectly acceptable. Read more

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No Spend Month: Week One

I started day zero of this challenge rip roarin’ to go. Down-right inspirational. A month of no money, lots of goals, ending with a triumphant bank balance. Yes! But, this is supposed to be hard. It’s gotta be uncomfortable. Otherwise how much of a challenge is it really? I’ve been questioning that, along with my $400 for two people admittedly ridiculous to most grocery budget. Then I doubt. I doubt my capabilities and at the same time as I doubt my willingness to really put it all on the line, truly not spend, for the greater good.

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All that swirling in my head. Discomfort. Doubt. Challenges. Budgets too high or too low. And I totally rocked it. If I do say so myself. Prepare for a litte horn tooting. Read more

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Over and Over Again

I’m running the risk of repeating myself. The same content creeps through my fingers and threatens to swallow this blog in a tide of repetition. Too many posts are becoming the redux version. Thoughts I’ve thought before, translated into content you’ve read before. Or that would at least be eerily familiar.

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How’s about a picture you’ve already seen to top it all off? Well, it was only on Facebook, so that doesn’t really count. (Does it?) Lady Gaga and Rocco face off via Chicken Tractor. They’ve since come to terms with the act of mutually ignoring each other. Good for them. However, their temporary stale mate reminds me of my own. Why am I writing about the same topics over and over? Is it because I’m not making any forward progress? Am I stuck in a rut of my very own creating? Am I not giving myself the time to work my way out of those (perhaps imaginary) ruts to find the shiny new content on the other side? Are my post really that similar or do they just seem that way to me? Have I taken the act of navel gazing blogger to a new high (or low, as it were)? Read more

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Senior Dog Worries

I’ve already written about caring for senior dogs. But, it’s something I’m doing more and more of. Something on my mind. Often. Frequently. A lot. Ancient dog concerns used to be a small slice of the pie around here. A ‘special circumstance’ incorporated into the pack. This is no longer the case. I’m a little slow coming to that realization. Slow to come to grips with the fact my dogs (my girls) are not going to ‘get better’. They aren’t going to start running around like 3 year olds again. Their hearing and vision won’t be restored to its former glory. Navigating stairs is going to require an escort. Until the time we just cant do it at all.

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2 of 3 senior gals in question. Abbey and Hannah do not hang out together as a general rule, making this picture a rare (and staged) thing. I’m excusing Winnabelle’s absence for that reason.

There is no fixing this. Not even with my wonderful, miraculous Holistic Vet. The achy, limpy, craggy old ladies go in for acupuncture, chiro, herbs, vitamin B shots, and general eastern medicine love at least once a month. It helps. We aren’t on rimadyl (or a similar NSAID). I’ve got no worries about liver damage vs. their comfort. They clearly feel better after the fact. I do too. Even if I fret and worry and do mental gymnastics over it not being enough. Read more

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The No Spend Month: Day 0

Since making my personal commitment to this form of insanity I’ve become uber sensitive to every dollar leaving my bank account. And the challenge hasn’t even started. What am I buying? Why am I buying it? Will I be able to buy it in a transaction dated October anything? Answer: Varies. Some of this preparation is really just deferment. Inevitably, there will be a flurry of transactions in late September and Early November to compensate for the non-consumer landscape of October. Except, late September hasn’t been that bad.

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FYI, I find pictures of eggs appropriate illustration for any number of topics. In this case, it was merely the fact that they aren’t purchased. Correlation enough for me.

I’ll admit Saturday involved a haircut, a latte, and a vist to the BFF. I will repeat none of those activities in October. The haircut and the BFF visit were required. The latte was just a fond farewell. See ya soon snooty coffee drink. October and I, we’ve gots plans! Read more

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