Monday, August 31, 2015

My Own Little Sharing Economy in Retirement

One of the participants in my knitting group makes beautiful earrings, and over the past couple of months I have purchased more than a few.  The other day she mentioned that she would happily trade me holiday cookie trays and baked goods for earrings. I, being my agreeable self, said "yes"!! 

I like my earrings bright, just like my clothing!

If you watch the news, there's an awful lot of talking about the sharing economy these days.  Most of what we hear in the news has to do with major players like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft, Relayrides, and Task Rabbit. In fact, I intend to explore some of these sharing options as I travel in the future.

A Land of Lakes recipe I intend to make my own. My knitting group get to be the testers, before anything else
However, as a frugal retiree on a fixed income, my perspective is more about that sharing economy at my local level. I tend to be one of those folks who want to take advantage of everything available in terms of discounts and freebies.  I just don't want it to eat into my time and effort for all those fun retirement things. This sharing thing makes that much easier, and this weekend I have been on a roll.

For example, recently, I joined Next Door. The website describes itself as a private social media platform for your neighborhood. I think it's much more. Basically, I signed on, and my address was verified. After that I created a profile-one that is only shared with my immediate community, East Heritage in Littleton, Colorado.  Once verified, I found that this was a perfect source for me to keep up on my local community and those near by.  One can post classifies, make general announcements, report lost dogs and more. 

In the past week, messages have included an all points cry for help from someone whose epileptic beagle escaped its confines and warning of a sales man knocking on doors at nine thirty at night. There was also a request for a recommendation for house painters (with many responses) and my own request for tree arborists/trimmers.  I got a notice in my email box about an upcoming festival that I had not seen mentioned anywhere else. I listed broncos quilts for sale. My son added mention of his odd jobs services and had some requests for information. A quick daily check in keeps me up to date with happenings in my community and those surrounding me, and to contact with neighbors I might not otherwise have met. 

Yesterday, a woman in a nearby neighborhood offered up for free 20 yards of improved dirt that she had been adding to and improving for ten years, as she was breaking down her garden beds. A quick trip this morning yielded a truck bed full of really good dirt, and about twenty paving/landscape flagstones.  In addition to making a new neighbor, we (and other neighbors) saved her from having to haul stuff away.  My son may have a new client!  With the cost of landscaping being what it is, this was my kind of deal!!  I wish I had something like this (instead of getting a million spam emails and calls from Craigslist) two years ago when I was giving away for free the immense play structure that the previous owner left in the lower lawn! 
Selling off of the front porch!

I'm into both the sharing economy and cottage business and Denver is pretty good about supporting both of those. Yesterday, I drove to visit a friend, who is the first person authorized by Denver to have a garden/produce/farm related business in their front yard. Debra has turned her urban back yard into an oasis that has chickens, honey, and a large garden with everything from tomatoes to figs. She is also looking to make seasoned rubs and healing salves. We bought honey, figs and more at a reasonable rate, and I plan to make garden aprons for her to use as well. She may have even inspired me to start a seasonal cookie and baking business-but more on that later.

After our drive to Green Gate Farms, we may a quick trip to Mile High Thrift, the absolute best thrift store in Denver. Some folks may not see thrift stores as a sharing economy, but I purchased four short sleeved tops, three long sleeved tops, two sweaters and a designer purse for an average of $2 each, some with the tags still on.  The person who donated the wrong sized/wrong color clothing could have sold them, cut them up or thrown them out, so I consider them to be shared-and always share my own downsizing results.
More yellow, with a little pumpkin added.

I recently discovered Facebook "groups", and I now belong to the Littleton Yard Sale group, the Littleton Swap and Sell group, and a group for those of us who make and sell things.  I had a boatload of sewing patterns including those for youngsters. A quick post had takers, and I left the patterns in a bag on the porch for pickup. I put the word out that I'm looking for leftover craft supplies for my homeless women.  I let people know that I would trade Broncos handmade quilts or other things I make for someone who would take pictures for me, and someone who would set up my online store.  I have takers in both areas.

And finally, a neighbor about half a mile away has built (or bought and installed) a mini library exchange at the front of the yard.  Available books depend on the supply.  Since when I do buy paper novels (as opposed to downloading them), it's generally at the thrift store, there is generally a walk to the mini library afterwards. 

Most of us who are in groups (church or otherwise), or interact with our neighbors share in one way or another. Sometimes we carpool. In Washington DC, there was a spot where you could stand and wait for a ride to the outer suburbs. Folks would recognize you or stop and say where they were going. To my knowledge this system is still in effect. We have potlucks where people bring different dishes and share different talents. We share seed cuttings, and some times had babysitting coops in younger days.  I've always been a big fan of sharing both as a way of saving costs and as a way of socializing.

It seems some friends and the good ole Internet have allowed me to bring all that to a new level!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jumping Back Into Life-Long Learning in Retirement

The past couple of days I've been looking online at various backpacks and totes. That's right folks, I said backpacks!  I've looked at the used market, at pretty Vera Bradley totes at briefcases and more.  I've even contemplated making something myself.  Why, you may ask?  Well because put simply, pretty shortly I'm going to have to carry lots of stuff-even more stuff than I tote now, and many of those things will be heavy. 

Some readers may recall that a few years back I returned to college as a full time student.  My intention at the time was to major in either German or Non-Profit management.  I loved that time. I found it energizing to go to classes with people of my daughter's age on up. The classes were interesting and challenging.  Unfortunately at that time I jumped in too early with both feet and after a year and a half, decided I needed to step back. I was still running a book business, treating my quilting as a full time job and the committee chair of four volunteer groups, all of which did things in different areas of the city. 

 Not too very long after that, I began to seriously investigate the relocation issue and classroom learning took a back seat.  While I was overwhelmed with fifteen semester hours of classes each term, I really did miss the classroom challenge. I did try to take classes online, and I enjoyed those classes, however, I've come to realize that for me real classroom learning (with the give and take involved) is a kind of communication on a different level.

For the past year, I've been involved in the beginnings of a four year intensive study of the bible and its cultural and historical significance that meets one night a week.  After taking that class, I realized that I needed more mental engagement-the kind I get by going out of the house. I really, really want to go back to college. I maybe want to get a degree. I just don't want do either full time. ( I've realized that getting a degree has value of it's own, whether I use it for "work" or not).  An hour north of me is a school that offers degrees at all levels in fiber arts.  I would really, really love to get involved with this program. That said, it's a degree commitment, a long commute, and I would need grants and scholarships. Too much to just jump into.

With that in mind, I have decided to test the waters with two "Olli" or Osher Lifelong Learning classes.  I had chosen regular college before because I wanted to interact with all ages.  Keeping an open mind, this time I decided to try a  couple Olli classes (which are close to me).  Everyone I know has had a good experience by going this route, and after looking at their catalog, I found classes that interested me and I figured would be challenging.  Of course, it's a chance to meet new friends as well! 

And so it is, that starting mid-September, I will be taking a total of three in person type courses.  In addition to my intensive (I read the entire old testament and Hebrew Bible, literally in 9 months) four year course, I am taking two fall semester courses through Olli by way of the University of Denver.  The first course jumped out at me, as it has to do with writing life stores (remember those family cookbooks and family memories?). The second class has to do with modern American Short Stories.

It may be that I've gone from not enough to too much, and as I write this, I'm considering whether one class is enough for this trial run and I should up and give someone else a chance (both classes have waiting lists). Perhaps one class is enough for me. 

I mean, seriously, for a low energy person, I have more than enough going on. I still volunteer one day a week, I belong to two weekly meet-up groups, I have a church bible study, I exercise four days a week and I now take physical therapy. Add that to my house, garden, sewing and the temporary madness that is having me considering a cookie business now that the cottage law has changed and well...........phew!!  And yes, I still keep Friday completely unscheduled, this is all Monday through Thursday

Either way, I've downloaded my book, started the first chapter and am truly exited about experimented with memoir writing and more. One half of this class will be small group sharing and critiquing each week, which is new to me, but I am ready to go forward. The more I look at the reading for the short story class, the more I tell myself, you can do this.  More importantly, you may regret it if you don't.

And so, as my low energy, totally relaxed, lazy summer comes to an end in two and a half weeks, I will be heading back to school. On my own terms.

I'll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, where to put all the totes in my life? One for each class. One to hold all the yarns and so on for my knitting travels. One for my towel and change of clothes after swimming. I'm beginning to think I need one of those by the front door cubbies-all for me!  Who knew!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

This Weekend In Retirement

 Just a quick note:  We have a winner for the SAS she gift certificate!

Once a month on Friday morning I meet for one of my two book groups. We are blessed to have a really good independent bookstore in the immediate area, and this grouping in front of the fireplace is where we meet weekly for knitting and drinks as well as for this particular group.  Our book this month was "The Light Between Oceans". It was not the best book, and I rated it a seven, but it was not bad for a first novel.

 After that I picked up two books (one of them downloaded to my kindle) for my Osher Lifelong Learning Classes.

After a stimulating book group, I figured "Why not?", and drove myself to the Village Inn.  I had french toast and sausage and an egg.  For lunch.  Because. 

Fortunately, I also took my daily walk, definitely needed today!  Afterwards I did some errands, and was remind of one of the many reasons I love living in Colorado: The mountain view, almost everywhere you go.  Even during errands on a hazy, summer day!

The rest of the day was spent reading, sewing, and eating leftovers-a typical summer Friday, although I did remind myself that we need to eat out on the patio more, while we can!

Saturday was a completely lazy summer day. I started and finished a book on the same day, reading it much of it on my perch on the glider (it is really hard to get reasonably priced glider pillows and cushions, let me tell ya!).

While I was outside, I also took some pictures, first of my pergola (above the swing), as we are looking to enclose it to be more useful year around-at this point I'm thinking corrugated plastic is the best option. I also took a picture of my tree-I have an estimate that says it can be saved, one that says it cannot be saved and one that says basically, let's just watch it. Either way there are broken branches from the winter above our reach that must be removed.  I really hope the tree can be saved, but the final decision rests with brother and sister in law after all the estimates.

I spent a few minutes and booked a September vacation-a long weekend to Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, and Deadwood - perhaps with a side trip to Sturgis or Wall.  Mid-September is late enough that some of the tourists should be gone, but early enough that weather should be in the sixties or seventies.  A trip to Manitou Springs is in the works for either next weekend or the holiday weekend. The photo below is from the NPS webpage, not mine!

Because it's that time of year I pulled out all of my Christmas fabrics on hand, and put it out in various forums, including my quilting Facebook page, asking for opinions on what to do with the various fabrics. The picture below is just one collection. Meanwhile I worked on some knitting, hoping to finish the scarf for myself and start on a Christmas gift. 

The rest of my Saturday was spent mindlessly reading, watching the dogs amuse themselves and appreciating the cooking of others. I also watched a tiny bit of golf and baseball because, well, preseason football is not football. I am counting the days down, people.

Today I went to church. This afternoon I plan to spend as much time as possible outside. I have a book to finish, dinner on the patio is planned, I could use an afternoon walk, and maybe, just maybe, I'll hit a movie this evening. 

I've been going to a second church, alternating with my other church (this one is closer and easier for weekday activities, so I now have two church families. Meanwhile, tomorrow is the "seniors" or young at heart trip to the botanical gardens. I ended up not doing this, because while I enjoy my new church, I think that still working family and friends would like to go this weekend, and I would rather join in that group.  I'll experiment with those "young at heart folks" another time!!

Image result for denver botanic gardens

And so it goes this Sunday in retirement.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Exercise, Oh, Exercise!!

My knees are much better today. It seems that my cortisone shot also included pain medication and so that made the injections much more tolerable.  This means according to my doctor that I can start moving again-or get back on the exercise treadmill as he would say.

Now, I have a confession to make.  The word "exercise" and the phrase "working out" both make me want to run  from the room. This is not something new. For years people used to tell me that the more I worked out the more I would like working out. To that one, my answer is just-nope!  Someone suggested that on some level my aversion has to do with four years of running on pavement with combat boots in my youth, and that person might be right.  In truth I was never into sports even as a kid, and the only actual sport I personally competed in other than dance classes was cross country in my twenties for a couple years. 

Of course, exercise is a necessity of life, and especially as I enter my sixties. The truth is that I enjoy walking and movement, as long as it's not scheduled and I don't have to think of it as working out, if you know what I mean.

We are certainly all different. My energizer friend and former blogger Tamara makes the exercise/sport/active thing the primary part of her retirement lifestyle. Some folks get their dose of exercise through high energy sports. I know folks older than I who still do black ski runs on a regular basis.  Many, if not most, of the retirees I know get their exercise through other ways, and so it is in this house.
Front yard mini garden in progress, we still need to paint the concrete!

 My twenty something college student belongs to the YMCA and works out at almost the same time every morning (or after work if he has an early job). My sister has no scheduled exercise. However, she is the one who landscapes and cares for this three tiered backyard, as well as the front yard that is the envy of the neighborhood. Her exercise includes including carrying water down to the level where there is no sprinkler system twice a day (we are working on that one). She also has a dog who thinks that her daily walk should be a ten miler. I on the other hand choose to fit my exercise into different times of the day, depending on schedule and energy.

Our lower yard is obviously a work in progress, but some readers may remember that two years ago this was a play ground with rocks and weed mesh underneath. This is my sister's form of exercise!

I did try to regularly attend a silver sneakers class, and I even tried at one time to walk at the same time every morning. It was not for me.  Partly I suppose because I get up when I feel like it and partly because I am just, well, not a scheduler.

This is not to say that I don't need to exercise.  I am, after all, the person who purchased that  Fitbit Flex to measure steps and sleep levels. I'm also the woman who lowered her blood sugar (some) without diabetic drugs. Even so, I am always working on new ways to get a little more exercise in my day.  I figure this is especially important for me because too many of my hobbies and interests are of the sitting down type in the average week. When I sit down to sew or quilt something like the quilt below, I am sitting in place for a long period of time. The same is true of my two Olli classes, my evening college class, and my knitting group, just to name a few! 

Two days a week, usually at the same time, I walk in the water for close to an hour.  Sometimes this is a solo activity, sometimes social. Both I and my knees enjoy this hot therapy pool experience, but frankly, two days is the most that I am willing to "schedule" that kind of activity. The rest of the time?  It is easier and more enjoyable for me to fit it in among the activities of the day than schedule a specific time period. It's easier for me (and probably healthier) to divide up my days and intersperse the other things I'm doing with walking.

In general, I prefer to walk alone. I know others are just the opposite, and would prefer walking buddies or a group. But in addition to exercise, my walking alone outside time is a time for me to let my brain go on autopilot-its great for creativity and clearing out the cobwebs. 

Yesterday, as usual, I dressed in my uniform of black knit pants, my comfortable SAS shoes, and a bright top and jewelry to carry me through the day. These shoes are called "Relaxed" by the way, and now that I've worn them for awhile, my previous opinion is the same!! Of course, as you can see I have that other accessory, my Fitbit, on my arm. For me, this kind of outfit will take me from my sewing table to knitting to walking to lunch.

In the morning and afternoon, I worked entirely on line in my chair looking out the window. My day REALLY needed to be broken up before I headed to my studio to finish the quilt below.  I also realized that all of my large 22 oz drinking glasses (I like a big water glass) had disappeared, so I took a quick trip to Target to get a few Libby glasses.  I did grab lunch out, as I enjoy eating solo on occasion.  I also walked around the outer walls of Target four quick times-the place was full of back to school shoppers and all kinds of new fall products so I had plenty to look at as I walked.

Today, I have knitting in the afternoon. I hope to take a walk up the path to my favorite quilt store, book store and bakery (a little less than a mile each way), and then come home and grab my knitting bag-a Vera Bradley purse-and head out for my afternoon of scarf making and visiting.  

The Young at Heart group at my church has a bus trip scheduled to the Denver Botanical Gardens to see the Corpse Flower and the Deborah Butterfield horse sculptures. I'll probably walk a few miles, enjoy friends and the weather as well as the view. My kind of exercise!'

I am sure that for many of my readers the exercise I do is not enough. One to two miles of walking on an average day is my limit, with at least twenty minutes of that being at one time.  Some retirees prefer jogging and high aerobics, and some get exercise from sports. My late husband used to walk the golf course for eighteen holes with his bag instead of using a cart. For me, walking is the right exercise on so many levels, on land or water.

It is true that if you don't move it you lose it, and the walking I do keeps me limber enough that on those rare occasions when I am willing to push the knee (knowing I will pay for it later) I can do so if I think it is worth the effort. I did climb all the way up to the caves at Bandelier National Monumentt (although not walk through them), and I did walk up and down and down and up those hills in downtown Seattle. In neither case were those things I could do on a regular basis with my knee injuries, but continued exercise allows me to do things like this while traveling on special occasions. It works for me. 

Oh, and just to show that I know aerobics is not the only path to health, I recently picked up two, three pound weights.  Yep, a weakling am I! Hopefully, however, by using my little weights and my U-tube video, some strength will appear in these arms of mine.

And so it goes....................a single walk at a time!

Monday, August 17, 2015

About Those Knees................

 Note that while this post is about knee health, no knee photos are included. Discretion being the better part of valor, I deliberately avoided photos of elevated, chubby, bruised knees with iodine stains-hopefully to the benefit of all. 

It's a beautiful Monday here in the neighborhood, with a high in the mid eighties for a change.  Nevertheless, I'll be spending my day in the sitting position, mainly with knees raised.  This morning, joy of joys, I had cortisone injections in both my knees.  This particular Monday, I'll remain close to my chair and knee pillow, yes I will.

After three years in Colorado, I finally met with a new orthopedic doctor.  Although I have not mentioned it here, I have a very sensitive spot on one side of my tail bone, leading me to believe I had started walking unevenly, perhaps favoring one leg over the other.

On the bright side, my new fellow signed me up for rehab to six to eight weeks and a massage therapy appointment.  He also, to my surprise, let me know that he fully approved of my marijuana experimentation.  Yep, this fairly conservative, mainstream surgeon said he would rather see me taking marijuana than he would Tylenol Arthritis or a prescription such as Celebrex.  I have been given validation and encouragement to continue my alternative journey!!  (Since I am in a legal state, I always mention this drug use when ask to list medicines for any doctor or clinic, just as I would aspirin).

For those wondering, I'll post a follow up eventually.  Right now, I am using an edible brownie or cookie about three hours before I plan to go to bed, and I am sleeping much better and through pain.  I'm also using topical remedies and rubs, experimenting with various strengths and uses.  More to come on that.

The down sides of my visit?  The realization that in the next three years, I may need to more seriously consider a knee replacement (although not before a good fifty pound weight loss). It is still something that is out there in the future, but it is now on my long term horizon, general anesthesia issues or no. As Scarlet would say though, I'll think about that tomorrow.  Meanwhile, the other downside/upside of my day is cortisone injections in my knee.  Having  the pain tolerance of a four year old, I did punch the pillow and swear rather than hurting the nice technician.  However, as often happens, the knees feel worse before they feel better (for about four days) and today will be extremely painful.

So here I sit on a bright Monday morning. This will give me time to list all of the books I have read in the last year (on Pinterest or the blog), blog about my mid year financial and lifestyle evaluation, quilt a design on the two quilts I have ready to work on, read and maybe even nap.  

Or maybe.....................................I'll nap first.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Dog Days of Summer and Other Thursday Thoughts

A quick reminder, please don't forget that the San Antonio Shoemakers gift card giveaway is still going on (through August 24), so check it out if you haven't had a chance, men and women both!!   

It seems that I have now entered full "I'm on summer vacation mode", if I wasn't before. Now you might think that being retired, I would not have need of that mind set. Apparently just the opposite is true. Other than my trip to visit family, the past couple months have been full of, well, not much.  And that has made me very content.

For whatever reason, I've decided that this summer is my summer of just being.  Don't get me wrong now, I'm still sewing and crafting, and I have not become a hermit.  But a great deal of my time, the majority of my time, has been in my garden (or my house) doing completely relaxing, non energetic pursuits.  I'm sleeping late, reading a lot, sitting and day dreaming in the garden, doing a lot of creative and designing, taking in some movies and a day trip here or there, and just generally appreciating summer.

And the truth is, I'm probably going to need it. In a moment of what may be temporary insanity, I signed up for a chair yoga course, and two academic courses through the Osher lifelong learning center.  I'm also taking  six credits of college level classes, volunteering a day a week, going to a weekly bible study brunch, walking in the water at three days a week and filling up September with a day trip and along weekend to South Dakota.  What have I done???? Regular readers know that I am a generally low energy person, so I may have to cut at least one of these classes to give myself time have more of that "just being time", I talked about.  Just being, in my case, meaning sewing, reading, relaxing and doing all the at home stuff I love.

As far as the things I HAVE done in the midst of my summer relaxation and day dreaming, this scarf has come a long, long way.  Since at least eighty percent of my clothing is green, shades of blue or yellow, somehow I think this scarf well get much use, and my knitting is seeing improvement! 

I've cooked large batches twice this week, trying to be frugal AND lazy when it comes to meals. By experimenting with our grill, we were able to grill two full pork tenderloins, corn, potatoes and other vegetables, giving us more than two delicious meals.  Two large pork loins wrapped together were just six dollars at sprouts and I froze a bunch.  Unfortunately the picture is not the best, but I hope to share the recipe for this and some other summer cookin' next week or this weekend.  Last night I made a large slow cooker full of chicken thighs, green beans, carrots and potatoes using this recipe, again eliminating the need to cook on a hot day.  Let me just say that slow cookers are not just for winter!

Because I must forever quilt, I have cut up one of the fabric bunches I purchased and am over half way through a fall quilt, with pictures to come. I'm also making a list of every book I've read since the first of the year (even I don't know the number), listing every project I've made and doing the same with every film I've seen. This is all for one group I belong to and mainly so that we can compare and come up with ideas to steal and use-I'll probably share some of the results in a later post.

Finally, of course, I've been to the movies-the IMAX actually, to see Tom Cruise.  Who I don't even like, and yet whose action movies I cannot resist.  Supposedly there's another Mission Impossible on the way-it almost scares me.

Meanwhile, I'm still looking for long weekend opinions of what to do in South Dakota.  Can I do Mount Rushmore in the morning and Badlands in the afternoon, realizing that I'll be driving it and not hiking it?  Who knows.

And so it goes.........

Monday, August 10, 2015

End of Summer Giveaway and a Little More Texas!

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Today I am happy to announce a sponsored giveaway from San Antonio Shoemakers™ (SAS shoes)! I tend to keep giveaways and sponsored posts to a minimum on this blog, so I can spend my time blogging about having a rich retirement on a budget.  That said, I love to share special deals and goodies and opportunities with my readers and this is definitely one of those cases. 

A few weeks ago, in another post, I shared about purchasing my first pair of SAS shoes and how happy I was with that purchase.  The kind folks at San Antonio Shoemakers™ saw that missive (the Internet is a wonderful thing, is it not?).  They generously offered me a free pair of the shoes of my choice, so that I could wear them and share my experience.  They also even more generously offered me a $270 gift certificate to give away on this blog, so read on! I have info on how to win this gift certificate along with more about my Texas trip below. 

This was not my average trip to Texas if you know what I mean. Usually I take time to skip off the highway and sight see a different place, or take a slightly different route. I also divide my time between my daughter, old friends and my church once I get there, as she is working and studying full time these days. This trip was slightly different

On this particular trip, I had massively injured my knee, causing a spiral strain, so that sitting and standing was difficult. This meant that the trip was a straight drive, with me relying on cruise control, and walking the dog minimally. Even my nightly hotel pool visit was put on hold.

While the knee was slightly improved upon arrival, I still was not up to much driving in traffic. I  decided that a forty minute to an hour trip each way to church or the women's group I used to attend was not going to work and just checked in via email, letting them know the next time I would be coming do.

Instead, I was more than happy to elevate my leg on my daughter’s reclining couch, check out the house, help organize (at least in spirit) and offer some suggestions as to rugs and color matching (only when invited, of course). That plus four dogs in one house, kept me busy and happy.
Meeting our new cousin!
Oh, and my daughter now lives in the country-at least nominally and temporarily. Prosper, for you Texas folks.  While she now is in a small area with houses just three years old and with cows, chickens and goats down the road, I can see her in five years.  “I remember when……….”  

We'll just ignore the fact that I had on un-matching earrings.  All day!

While the two hour round trip to visit friends was out on this trip, some things cannot be denied while in Texas.  Good restaurant food (while my daughter is still in the business) and quilt shopping desires must be satisfied at all costs and in all medical conditions.  Grabbing a friend, my casual clothes, comfy shoes and a cane I headed for the stores. I managed to hit four quilting stores and a clothing store that has no location in Colorado, as well as have lunch.  The highlight and last stop of the day was my favorite quilt store, Quilt Country, where the owner’s favorite color is lime!  For the quilters among my readers, I have a pile of row by rows that I would be happy to share!

The best quilt store!

Enough for two Christmas quilts, a fall quilt, something for Halloween, and more!
I also took advantage of a couple of really good restaurants, as I talked about in my other post, and I’m concentrating on experimenting with that deconstructed lemon meringue pie recipe. The food was delicious, as was the bar in our pre-reservation wait.  I was happy that my father in law was able to go with us to one restaurant, although bless his heart, he has lost much of his social filter (but is still as smart as a tack and the original punster)!

New skirt to match the new shoes! I may need to stop purchasing blue!
Other than my shopping outing, a few dinners and helping my daughter with her house, my time was spent sleeping in the extreme, reading (three books in a week) hitting the pool, and allowing others to cook a meal here and there. For me, visiting family is always something that’s not exactly travel but almost a vacation, whether it’s someplace new or old. There really is nothing like visiting family, you know?  

An unusual color scheme, but very calm.
 My trip home was also fairly quick, although as the picture below shows, even on a repeat driving trip, it's amazing how the landscape changes with the seasons, and surprising you can learn about or see a new thing, even on a road well traveled!

A new rest stop for me, where I learned this is the largest inactive volcano in New Mexico.
Now I’m back, and relaxing at home for the rest of the summer.  I even tried a new church today, wearing my very bright dress also purchased in Dallas. Hopefully no sunglasses were needed! I'm back in my relaxing "summer break" routine-reading, enjoying the patio, grilling, attending craft fairs and farmers markets and generally enjoying my summer break before my classes and fall engagements begin again!

The shoes that San Antonio Shoemakers™ sent me were the handcrafted Iskia shoes that were on my original post. These come in a variety of colors, with mine being, of course, in turquoise!  

Although I knew SAS™ shoes were extremely comfortable, I was surprised at how well these fashionable shoes fit me. They did not require any breaking in as such. The three Velcro straps are adjustable and the little studs on the straps gave them some oomph, if you will. This shoe is definitely not the workhorse that my other strapped shoes are. I would not use these for long term walking or unfamiliar terrain for example. That said, for every day and evening use, these shoes were soft as could be. I've been driving, walking working around the house, and to school, and work and out to dinner.  These shoes have been extremely comfortable in all occasions, and I can definitely see me getting these in a second color!! 

For the many men who read this blog, just let me add this thought. While this review has been about my beautiful, comfy shoes, SAS is not just for women, I promise you!  In fact they also have a wide variety of shoes for men, as well as accessories. So men, feel free to enter this giveaway as well.

This is the window of my local store, where they measured my feet before showing a single pair of shoes.  Customer service was exceptional in every way.

All San Antonio Shoemakers™ (SAS) shoes are handcrafted. Scroll down and enter the giveaway for a $270 San Antonio Shoemaker ™ gift certificate.  You can find a specific shoe store location by clicking HERE, and the SAS shoe factory and general store is located at:

101 New Laredo Hwy. in San Antonio, Texas.
Store Hours are:
Monday-Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm
Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday closed.

This is a sponsored giveaway and review with San Antonio Shoemakers™(SAS). San Antonio Shoemakers did provide me with a free pair of shoes and compensation, however, this review was completely my own.  Thanks for stopping by. 

Good Luck with The End of Summer Giveaway! 

I welcome comments!  While I try and respond as soon as I am able, meetings, school and quilting may delay my response a bit.  Do feel free to comment on my Facebook page as well, as I answer those comments on my phone, generally in real time (or close).  Comments that are unkind, uncivil or spam will be removed.  Thanks, Barbara!

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