Frugal Fable – The Pantry

pantry-416596_640After I quit my marriage and full-time job my pantry lasted about two and a half years. I didn’t know it was a good idea, but while I had money I overstocked the pantry.
Pantry items include spices and herbs, salt, sugars, vanilla extract, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, tins of beans and tomatoes, bouillon cubes, molasses, flour, dried beans, pasta, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, etcetera.
Amazingly it was about two years of frugal living before I noticed the larder was bare. And when the shelves did begin to empty I started to accept hand-outs. For example I took a big box of stuff home from a cottage closing. And any time someone was tossing something out that was just taking up space in their cupboard, I took it, and if I didn’t know how, I figured out how to use it. I learned that expiry dates on most pantry items mean best before, not poisonous after.
The best thing about pantry items is they’re often on sale at the grocery store so they’re easy to pick up cheaply and keep in storage and they last a long, long time.
The moral of the story – there’s no such thing as too much pantry.

Frugal Fables Begins

widow-1148929_640The idea for Frugal Fables came as I was filling in for the receptionist at my local naturopathic clinic. The most challenging aspect of the job was booking appointments for busy career women. Some women told me they started work at seven in the morning and they wouldn’t be home until past our closing time of 7 p.m. Scheduling was tricky.

One day a woman expressed to me her fear that she would soon be pushed into retirement. I peered up at her from behind the reception desk. Pushed?

Personally, I would love to retire. I can’t believe people actually dread it. Some say they don’t know what they will do with themselves, but most say they fear they won’t have enough money to retire.

This might be an assbackward way of looking at things but I have figured out how much income I will have at age sixty and beyond and decided I can live on it. So what’s to fear?

Anyway, I told the woman that was being pushed into retirement that it’s not so bad if you can live on next to nothing. I laughed and told her I’d been doing so for years. She said, “You should teach a class.”

And so I should, but in the meantime Frugal Fables was born.


Getting in Shape for Free – Sustaining my 1st Fitness Injury

photo credit Nick Albufairas

This walking thing is not child’s play. After downloading a pedometer to my cell phone I proceeded to pound the pavement, the lumpy, ice and snow covered payment. I walked to the library, I walked to work, I walked to a couple of evening meetings, I took the stairs, I went for an afternoon walk with a pal and her dogs. My friends, I walked!

I was proud of myself for clocking almost 7,000 steps rather effortlessly on Wednesday despite it being one of the coldest days of the winter. It was a 300% improvement over my previous feet up on the ottoman routine.

On Friday night, I dreamed I was receiving a foot massage – a deeply tender foot massage. On Saturday morning when I slipped my foot into my boot, I felt a pain that jolted the dream into my awareness. I walked gingerly all day feeling as if I had a fallen arch. Ever had one of those?

Last night when I got home, I began to give the old tootsies a massage and lo and behold, there protruded an angry purple bulge on the sole of my foot. Of course, I instantly diagnosed a combination embolism/plantar fasciitis, which would most likely require amputation. That’s if it didn’t reach my brain and kill me by morning.

Today I hobbled in to the walk-in clinic. The professionally trained physician’s diagnosis: hematoma. Now before you go Googling I’ll tell you his diagnosis resulted in a referral to a plastic surgeon. That’s if the hematoma doesn’t resolve itself in a couple of days, which the kind doctor seemed confident it would.

He asked me if I’d been doing any unusual activity and I realized, yes! I’ve been walking! To further impress him with my fitness prowess I told him about the pedometer. He rather promptly sent me on my way.

I looked up hematoma when I got home. It’s sort of a bulgy bruise. And that’s exactly what it feels like. I’m hanging up my walking boots for a couple of days. And when the hematoma heals I’ll be experimenting with the next part of Getting in Shape for Free: Fitness Videos from the Public Library.

Stay tuned. And walk safely!

Getting in Shape (for free)

Yesterday I came up with a whole new chapter for the book I’m working on (How to Live on Nothing and Have Everything). It’s called, Getting in Shape. CAUTION: This material is untested.

I found myself believing the horseshit that if I only had money I’d get in shape; I’d join a gym; I’d hire a personal trainer; I’d take classes. The reality is that all I get from this false belief is fatter.

Therefore, number one on my list of Getting in Shape (for free) is WALK. It seems obvious enough and easy, hell, I’ve been walking since I was a toddler. So yesterday, I had fifteen minutes to kill before meeting a friend for lunch. As I walked down a short street to Lake Ontario, the sun shone and the unfortunate homeowners chipped at the ice on their sidewalks. I descended to the deserted, windswept beach and crunched my way across the treacherous leash-free zone for dogs and their intrepid owners, to the next street over.

I’d forgotten about the set of stairs leading up but there was no turning back now, and besides, taking the STAIRS is also on my list of Getting in Shape (for free). Thirty, or so, steps later, winded and with heart pumping (nice cardio!) I paused at the top and took some photos. Lake Ontario beachThen off I went to meet my friend at the restaurant (my thighs were actually burning from the street’s slight incline).

Holy out of shape, you say! Yes, I am. That’s why I’m working on it (for free).

How about you? How are you staying in shape this winter?