“To the Neighbor Building a Fence” (A 50-Word Story)

Thanks for helping me to break my habit of sleeping in. The pound of a hammer on nails at seven worked better than any alarm. It punctuated my dreams. It’s not my favorite way to wake up; my favorite is when David brings me a cup of coffee in bed.

Adding a "Coffee Ice Cube" turns lukewarm or cold coffee into an iced Coffee!

Adding a “Coffee Ice Cube” turns lukewarm or cold coffee into an iced Coffee!

What I Do When I Am Not Writing…

If you followed me over the last 5 years, you would find there were many gaps. It could be a week or two between posts. Unfortunately, during those times I was sick in bed. I would read or watch TV while I recovered.

I pray those days are behind me and I have been able to write every day for some time. I try to schedule posts far enough in advance that I can skip writing for a week or so. Although that is not an option during the Writing 101 course!

My other blog, thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com, is easier to handle when I am going to be gone for a few days. I can pull a post from a previous year about the chapters we are reading that day. It is harder with frugalfish.org because I just don’t have that many ideas! They seem to come to me one at a time.

Taking this writing course has given me a nice break from writing about ways to stretch your money. Sometimes I think I have shared all of my ideas and a new one will pop into my head.

The one thing I need every day is to have time to read. Reading a book is how I hit my reset button.

I get some ideas from the foolish financial mistakes I read about in novels. I can escape and travel in a book. Since I have been reading mostly Debbie Macomber this month, I have been spending a lot of time in Seattle! Lol

I can experience adventure without the expense or danger! Reading about some characters makes me more grateful for my husband.

I love reading westerns. I’ve read all of Louis L’Armor and Zane Grey that our library has in stock. Those two authors not only give you a compelling story, you learn something in the process. Their cowboys survived with the stuff in the packs on their horses: coffee, bacon, beans, jerky, and biscuits.

I would love to live on a ranch and work from a horse. (I can hear my doctor gasping from across town.) A ranch is the last place I should ever be because of allergies.

But in a book, I can ride the horse or the bull and never sneeze once.

My coffee with frothed milk.

My coffee with frothed milk.


If We Were Having Coffee Right Now…

If we were having coffee right now…I would tell you I am frustrated with technology! I didn’t realize how popular I would become to hackers when I started writing blogs.

I jumped into the blogosphere with both feet. I even paid for a web site for one of them and was overwhelmed from the git go. I bought the book, “WordPress for Dummies” and forced myself to read a little bit every day. I learned a lot, but still hate the technical side of blogging.

I took an HTML class and learned enough to lock myself out of my web site three times. (Sigh.) After four years of frustration, I let the web site go and switched back to blog format. Now WordPress does the heavy lifting for me.

I don’t really like change. I am using the same email address that I set up in the 90’s. Today that email was hacked twice. I change my password every week and type out gibberish to use as a password.

Still they come.

When I went to the support page for my email, I was told it might be time to get a new email address. I don’t want to because I registered all of my warranties to that email and it is on my business cards. I don’t want to start over.

I have a backup email address from another provider, but I forget to check it.

My husband thought he was being sweet when he bought me a smart phone. I’ve wanted to throw it against the wall more times than I care to admit. I still hit the “caps” button when I want to type in a symbol!

I went without a cell phone for six years (see here) and never did get into texting. I’m usually home and I would rather screen my calls with the answering machine!

I was supposed to deal with today’s hackers this afternoon and I am embarrassed to admit I spent two hours playing Spider Solitaire instead. I guess I like the technology when it comes to games.

I wonder what email format other bloggers use?



An Open Letter to Tyler Sash

Dear Tyler Sash,

Since I hate sports, you know this is not a normal fan letter.

I won’t remember your athleticism as you beat our home team during playoffs when you were in high school. I won’t remember you wearing the black and gold of the Iowa Hawkeyes. I won’t even remember you as a Giant winning in the Super Bowl.

I will remember you as a good man.

You were pointed out to me at an Indian Hills Community College basketball game. I was told you were the brother of the assistant coach on the opposing team. Oh yeah…and you happened to be on the team that won the Super Bowl that year.

You wore a hat and did nothing to draw attention to yourself. It was all about your brother and his team that night.

But IHCC is a small community college and it didn’t take long for the entire crowd to know you were with us. After the game, I met the real Tyler Sash.

You greeted each person as if they were your greatest fan.

My husband and I brought over our son who was a college freshman. When your high school team played our high school team he was the ball boy. He got that coveted position because his dad had been running the chains for the local team for a couple of decades.

When I introduced him, you stepped forward and stuck out your hand as if you were meeting a celebrity. I asked for a photo and you put your arm around him and smiled as if you ran into a long-lost friend.

You were patient with me because I was unsure how to take a picture with my husband’s phone. I think it took three tries before I got that picture.

We stepped back and I watched as you greeted each person the same way. I saw the same wide smile captured on several other phones. You even looked around to see if anyone was too shy to approach you and nodded to encourage them.

You didn’t act like a celebrity that night. You acted like the friendly Iowan that you were.

It was appropriate that they laid you to rest on 9/11. That is the date so many lives were cut short in 2001. We will never forget them.

We are heartbroken that your life was cut short and we will never forget you.



Tyler Sash and my son, Derek.

Tyler Sash and my son, Derek.

Found a New Friend

Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: What! You too?

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .””
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I am really enjoying the Writing 101 class. One of the surprises was I have more to say than just sharing ways to stretch a dollar.  Another surprise was the other blogs I have discovered. As I read their “About” pages, I think we have nothing in common, but when I read their posts I find we do.
I’m amazed at the variety of folks who enjoy my posts. When I receive a “like” I go check out their blogs.
One of my discoveries was “Simply Marquessa,” www.marquessamatthews.com. On Day 2 of class we were asked to write a list. As I read her list, I realized I had felt the same way when I was ten and…
…I made a new friend.

Write A List

In response to Day #2 prompt, Write A List

write a list pic


For this assignment, I have taken a slightly different angle.

A List of the Top Ten Things I Learned Before I Was 10 (And Then Spent Years Unlearning):

1. You can’t be smart and pretty at the same time so make a choice and move on;
2. Only blond-haired blue-eyed girls are pretty;
3. Everyone else’s feelings are more important than yours;
4. When you share your passion for something with someone else and s/he laughs at you, don’t ever “share” again;
5. You are a geek if you read more than one book a week;
6. If someone has negative things to say about you, believe them because it must be true;
7. Keep it to yourself when your instincts tell you that a situation doesn’t feel right;
8. You’ll eventually learn to live with doing what is expected of you;
9. Crying is a sign of weakness that gets you nowhere so suck it up; and
10. If you do the same thing over and over again, maybe you’ll get a different result.

What were some of your “truths” as a child that you later realized were far from the truth?



©2015 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

My Husband Lost His Job

When I signed up for “Blogging 101,” I knew it would be difficult. I had no idea how heartrending the first assignment would be. We are to write who we are and why we are blogging.

I went back to my “About” page, http://wp.me/PKNzn-2, in this blog and made adjustments. I was able to add two more goals met: paying off the house and paying cash to replace our van. But I had to add, that after working for 30 years at a Lumberyard, my husband was laid off last Friday. The Lumberyard is for sale and his former boss is hoping the new owner will rehire him, but there are no guarantees.

Why am I blogging? My friends asked me to write down the little things I do to make things last longer, organizing my home, decorating my home and doing it without spending money. I worked as a bookkeeper for a church for almost 25 years and I learned how to stretch a dollar just to survive!

That is still my goal – to survive during this time that we both are unemployed and our youngest finishes up college. Odd, the only one in this house that is gainfully employed is our son!

I would like to connect with others who are surviving without running up a large credit card bill; those who live beneath their means. Unfortunately, today I am not even sure what our “means” will be.

I do know it is a new year and we have a totally blank page with which to work.

The filler paper I made for my Day-Timer using my kids loose leaf paper.

The filler paper I made for my Day-Timer using my kids loose leaf paper.