As much as I love plaid and check patterns, polka dots patterns will always bring great joy to my heart. For example, I will smile or even laugh whenever I see them or think about them. Therefore when I see clothes or home decor in polka dots, I find it irresistible to buy them.
I was very curious to learn about the history of my beloved pattern since the only thing I knew about polka was a dance named the polka.
As a matter of fact, I wondered if there was any correlation between the two, the dance and the pattern.
Therefore, an online search should answer my question. But even before an answer to its history, I got side tracked.
It is undeniable that it has been very popular. Although one critic insisted that the pattern was childish, polka dots clearly have a much wider appeal than just to children.
The pose of Marilyn Monroe above in a two piece polka dots pattern bathing suit attests to the most outstanding quality of this pattern. That is its appeal to adults not just children. Similar to it is the appeal of the photo below of Victoria Silvstedt. Even more so, her polka dots bikini barely covers her.
MORE (OR LESS)
“Strutting her stuff: Victoria Silvstedt, who has worked with top designers including Chanel, Christian Dior and Valentino, looked incredible in the bandeau bikini which did little to contain her assets.”
Quote from The Daily Mail
Let’s Have A Party Polka – Walter Ostanek, Brian Sklar and Western Senators – Polkarama! from Youtube.
HISTORY OF THE POLKA DOT PATTERN
From PBS NewsHour: “At the Hirshhorn Museum, visitors are lining up to experience Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s world of whimsy, color, shapes and a peek into the beyond. Jeffrey Brown tells us why this new exhibit is currently the toughest ticket in Washington, D.C.”
“The nine decades of artist Yayoi Kusama’s life have taken her from rural Japan to the New York art scene to contemporary Tokyo, in a career in which she has continuously innovated and re-invented her style.” YouTube
What is installation art? Do art installations interest you? Without intention, I have created several art installation projects. Read about them in this blog post.
Because I have collected and created so many small to medium sized 3D objects, I have had several options of what to do with them:
1. Box them for storage
2. organized them in bigger collectibles
2. Sell them
3. Display them individually
4. Use thm
5. Create art installation projects.
In this post, I focus on the fifth option, installation art. In fact the only way everything I collect and love has a home is because I create art installations of them.
LOVELY TO LOOK AT
If I can’t resist, I can still take these purses off the wall and wear them one at a time. But I would rather look at them all at one time.
TAKE YOUR HAT OFF TO INSTALLATION ART
I love to wear hats. Over a century ago, when all women wore hats that were very fashionable and voluminous at that. Care and storage were a challenge. Hat boxes were essential, indeed. But they took up so much room. Those hats did not need to be part of art installations. They were installations, themselves.
So I created a new take on accessible hat storage and selection. This way I can choose at a moments notice which to wear for the day and which to hang up. But let’s go back just for a moment to over a century ago to what my Great Grandmother Annie Laber wore when she wore her finery.
A MINI INSTALLATION
Irresistible small items that imagine themselves into a mini installation.
When I start to gather these mini treasures, then put them together, I never know what whimsy will emerge.
This piece started as a small metal box, was decorated with whatever I could gather at the time. it is so much fun.
I wish I could make it ten times bigger. Imagine the size of a real magic bus big enough to sit it, enjoy the song magic bus, and capture to true meaning of an art installation.
Bittersweet love stories best describe much of the romantic love/hate relationships between Turkish actor, Engin Akyurek, and his leading ladies. Although these underlying themes are typical, they are expresses in sophisticated, literary, profound, and confounding ways as any romantically based compelling novel might be.
For example, there are Shakespearean themes, class friction, cultural mores, and deeply emotional issues. As a result, Omer gilts his fiance Elif at the altar. Although he loves her deeply, he has decided that it would be better to hurt her once with a lie than for her to have to face him daily reminded that his brother had killed her father.
NOT YET BITTERSWEET
The growing relationship between Omer and Elif is at times very frustrating. It grows from an embryonic seed to full flower, blossoming with painful thorns. There are continual conflicts, misunderstandings, and then bursts of passionate forgiveness. As a result, emotions run cold as ice then hot as fire. This conclusively leads to viewer tension in one’s belly to tingling through one’s entire body. This seems to be the pattern in some of Engin Akyurek bittersweet love stories. Indeed, it is part of what makes them so bittersweet yet so irresistible.
The bittersweet is a reprieve from the bitter. Typical of this phase is the tension that builds up between Omer and Elif that leads to the relief of a romantic embrace. In addition, this is the kind of dramatic transition for Fatmagul and Kerin in FATMAGÜL’ÜN SUÇU NE?
In spite of those less than sweet times, we suffer through the bitter moments and even the bittersweet moments for those increasing sequences of unabashed visceral ‘oh so sweet’ passion. Using romantic creativity, an ardent Engin fan strung together a precious necklace of passion gems created by Omer and Elif romance in BLACK MONEY LOVE. This video is posted on YouTube courtesy of Sefirin Kizi.
A succession of romantic moments between Omer and Elif without stopping to take a breath. From YouTube.
Not all of Engin Akyurek’s acting roles have fallen into the bitter to sweet tastes. For example, in Olene Kadar, Engin starts with a promising future as a brilliant young medical student. Through a succession of tragic mishaps, including 11 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, an untrusting lost love, a child born out of wedlock found too late to bond with him, our hero ultimately dies an untimely death.
This is not your typical Engin heroic role. So when someone has the ability to capture the hearts of fans as well as his leading ladies chooses to cast aside his prizewinning charm, to play a dark role instead, he has the mark of a truly gifted and courageous actor. He exhibits extraordinary talent.
Although I prefer to be entertained by bittersweet love stories than one that ends in darkness, it is a privilege to view my favorite Turkish actor display such range and acting ability. From darkness comes new light. One can only wait with bated breath for what is in store for all of us Engin admirers in the future.
The phone rings. An online company representative is calling to offer me a free 7-day subscription to a credit score and computer fraud prevention service. All that the representative needs to know is my credit card number to cover a $1 processing fee. The red blinking light goes off in front of my eyes as a siren screams in my head. This has to be a scam.
More clever and devious minds than mine have figured out how to rig this game. The only thing I thought I knew was how to stop it before it starts. I did not give my credit card number. In spite of this, a charge showed up on one of my credit cards for $1. So I called the credit card company to report this mistake. They reversed the charge. But the next thing I knew, I was receiving a bill for $29.94/month as my regular subscription fee. How did this happen? I did not authorize it. In fact, my credit card company contacted me because they suspected fraud. My credit card was canceled and a card with a new number was sent to me.
Deja Vu All Over Again
But it happened again with the newly issued card. How did they get my card number? I was baffled and wanted a more proactive solution. So this time, the representative from the credit card issuer said that I needed to call the company directly to cancel my subscription. That was just what I did. Then I called back the credit card folks to report my action. At this point, I was told that I had done everything I needed to. Therefore I had no liability for this entire fiasco.
The Free 7-Day Subscription Is A Scam
There is a term used in poker called a ‘tell’. It is something that gives away a bluffer’s hand. The tell in this, as well as most internet scams, is the request for a credit card number. ‘Oh,’ they say, ‘it is just to cover a processing fee’. The next thing you know a substantial charge shows up on your card and it is a regular monthly subscription. Talk about adding insult to injury.
So my response to their ‘tell’ is to NOT provide a credit card number for a $1 processing fee for a 7-day trial subscription of their services. Remember, once a company has your card number, they can go to town. Then you have to find a way to stop them in their tracks in order to avoid any additional charges to this free trial. The story may not be over. The scammers may give their scheme another try. But if they do both my credit card company and I will be ready to stop them in their tracks.
Even after I was assured by phone and email of the cancellation of my $29.94/month subscription fee, something still bothered me. So I called the merchant back. This is what I learned. I suggest you pay close attention. First of all, even if I report fraud to my credit card company resulting in my getting a new credit card, the merchant can charge that new credit card number for the subscription. So the only way to stop it is to call the merchant itself to cancel.
In addition, after a barrage of questions by me to the customer service person, I was still not satisfied by his responses that I was the person who signed up for their 7-day free trial subscription which resulted in their $29.94/mo fee. The bottom line is that I am zero dollars out of pocket. But I was sufficiently inconvenienced. In addition, I have less trust in online security and more concern about how easy it is to be taken by less than scrupulous companies and individuals.
Worms and dirt are antithetical to tea, worm compost tea especially for many people. But for someone like me, who squealed with joy when my first order of worms arrived, it has been quite an exciting adventure. Everything about embarking on having an indoor farm has been thrilling and educational.
It all started when I decided to grow an indoor farm. I initially called it tabletop farming since I actually began my adventure on a regular round dining table. The reason I decided to become an indoor farmer were circumstantial.
1. I had no place to grow food outside.
2. I needed to have access to local, organic produce for both health and frugality.
Seed Mama Indoor Farming
So I began what became known as, Seed Mama Indoor Farming. The first few months were devoted completely to growing my crops of microgreens in soil. Black gold, or worm castings are the best fertilizer known to man. When they are used directly or made into worm compost tea, the provide super nutrients to anything that grows.
Soil Is Not A Dirty Word
For a time I switched my growing method to soil-less or hydroponic growing. I didn’t focus as much on fertilizer for that process. But I missed putting my hands in the dirt. So I resumed my original passion. That really made it necessary and desirable for me to learn more about composting. Most important was for me to learn now to make worm compost tea.
Making Worm Compost Tea
Compost tea is not just the liquid run off from worm castings. It has to be ‘brewed’ according to the many recipes I found. So I am just starting to learn this black gold alchemy. I will keep you posted on my progress and let my readers see how magical this potion is meant to be. For now here is a list of posts about making worm compost tea.
Compound cash rewards are an important part of Mastering The System of Extreme Credit Card Benefits. To begin with, the largest perks I have gotten are from the credit card sign up promotional bonuses. They start at $100 each with specific qualifications. Once they are met, not only can a customer receive this bonus in a variety of forms but it is also possible to get the regular cash rewards along with it. Here is the reason.
Increments of $20, $25 or even $50 are the minimum distribution levels applied to most credit card cash rewards. Those are the amounts when regular cash rewards are involved. But when someone receives their promotional bonus, the regular cash reward levels are automatically met. As a result, the initial bonus will include both the sign up promotional bonus and the regular cash rewards bonus.
Sign up Promotional Details
Credit cards require that the purchasing threshold be paid in 90 days to 3 months. I like to complete the process in much less time than that because I often count on receiving these funds to help pay my bills. One way I accumulate purchases while keeping within my budget is to pay all my bills for the month on the new card. Occasionally bills must be paid directly by my bank account. More times than not, I can charge the payment to the credit card I have signed up for to receive a promotional bonus. Between my cable, cell phone, contents insurance, gas, food, prescriptions and even medical bills, I can meet the needed spending threshold within a month. In other words, a card that requires $500 in charges to pay oui a sign up bonus of $100-$150 will net me about 20-30%. Not bad for a month’s work.
Read The Fine Print
One time I signed up for a card without knowing that it did not pay the bonus when the spending threshold was met. When I called the bank to claim my promotional bonus, I was told I had to wait. Their terms are different from any other bank I have gotten a sign up promotional bonus from. Usually I get it immediately. With this bank, I had to wait for the full 90 days. I was not happy about that because it sure put a squeeze on my budget for the month. That was money I had expected to help pay my bills. Fortunately, I would get it next month so it was not a substantial delay. But it was an inconvenience. So be sure to read the fine print or inquire when signing up for a credit card promotion when the bonus is paid out.
Go For The Gusto, Active and Passive Techniques
In my experience, compounding cash rewards is not for the meek. Some of the perks I have gotten have required being rather brazen.
For example, one card had a promotional bonus of $150. I met the terms and got my bonus. Almost immediately after that, a new promotional bonus appeared online for $200. As soon as I saw it, I called the credit card company and asked for the additional $50. They gave it to me! You never know what you can get unless you ask. I like to make a habit of asking as often as possible. Being part of The Former Middle Class living rather frugally is an incentive to explore every possibility to get additional perks.
Occasionally someone comes up with a passive, brilliant technique. For example, using something called ‘card linked offers’, Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks has come up with an impressive, passive (nothing to do after it is set up) triple whammie for cashback dining. Read Triple Your Cashback Dining Out at Restaurants for all the details.
Whenever you can, compound your sign up promotional bonuses and cash rewards. With the knowledge of the proper tools and how they can work together, this is possible. Behind every benefit there can be another bonus and even another cash reward. See how many you can collect. In future posts, I will be discussing compounding travel points card benefits and online coupon compounding.
Because my credit card accounts maintenance system is so effective, I can manage a substantial number of credit cards responsibly and profitably. Even as the number of credit cards has increased, it has not interfered with my accounts staying in order. In addition, my credit scores continue to hover between 780 and 800, my credit report profiles are in good standing and I have very good to excellent credit.
My Credit Card Accounts Maintenance System
I’ve developed a Credit Card Accounts Maintenance System that consists of a set of tools combining old fashioned manual bookkeeping techniques with up-to-date digital tools:
1. credit card information chart
2. manual ledger paper spreadsheet
3. digital bookkeeping program with checking ability
4. manual checking account with a colorful checkbook cover, checks and paper register
5. email access to and from all my accounts
6. online account access to each credit card listed in my bookmarks
7. online bill paying capability
8. telephone contact with each credit card company
1. Credit Card Information Chart
I created a table in Microsoft Word®. It consists of the data for all my credit cards. That includes every bit of pertinent information about each card. There are even icon size images of all my credit card for visual recognition and order. See the categories shown below this illustration.
2. A Manual Spreadsheet
Perhaps because I grew up in the paper world before the computer, I still find it easier to use manual ledger paper for my credit card accounts maintenance system. But if I become more comfortable with Excel, I might shift my spreadsheet to Microsoft Excel®. Digital or manual, it is possible and prudent for me to keep a tally of every dollar I have charged on each card. Actually, all my tools create a checks and balances system to make sure my accounts are accurate. It doesn’t matter if they are manual or digital. Use what works for you.
3. A Digital Bookkeeping Program
Because I have a Macintosh Computer, I got the only bookkeeping program that was specific to Apple many years ago. It was originally called, MYOB an acronym for ‘Mind Your Own Business’. The name was updated to Accountedge because it now has many accounting features in addition to its original bookkeeping features. Accountedge.
4. Manual checking account with a checkbook cover, checks and paper register
I still pay a few bills manually using checks. Doing this makes it possible for me to keep track of certain personal loans as I pay off them off. This way I have a check copy on my monthly statement for record keeping and documentation. The purpose of my Checkbook Register is to keep a record of every financial transaction I make. I even devised a system of color coded symbols that shows when:
a. a purchase was made
b. it is recorded online by my bank
c. I entered it into my online bookkeeping system
5. Email access to and from all my credit card accounts
The Credit card companies contact me by email. They remind me when bills are due and let me know if there is some other issue concerning my account.
6. Online Account Access to Each Credit Card
I bookmark every credit card URL so that I can easily check each credit card account daily. This is another way for me to make sure that the numbers online coincide with my manual spreadsheet numbers.
7. Internet bill paying capability
Each credit card websites is listed on my Internet bookmarks to be accessed easily. Most of my bills are paid on line. Some are even on autopay. When I get a new card, I have my closing and bill paying dates adjusted so that my payment is due shortly after my monthly fixed income arrives. This way I can get all of my bills paid on time and not have to think about whether or not I paid them all month long.
8. Telephone Contact With Each Credit Card Company
Having telephone contact is very important. One can use any phone, a landline or cell phone. I make telephone contact with each credit card company when I have questions about my balance, closing or due dates.
Since most of these companies are open 24/7, I enjoy calling very early in the morning. It is usually the quietest time at their end. I’ve enjoyed hours of what become personal interest conversations with their staff who are located around the globe. It is fascinating and one of my favorite tools. In fact one call was such a delight for both of us that the customer service person from Capital One actually sent me flowers!
As I mentioned in the previous post, if a person needs or desires to have many credit cards, it is prudent to keep a very close watch on them in order to maintain a good relationship with each company as well as the credit reporting bureaus. This involves accurate reporting to keep my credit score high, to pay all my bills on time and stay within my budget. Because having many cards is based on need, I am very careful about using them responsibly. It is essential for me to be able to I continue to make use of what has helped me to make ends meet since we became part of The Former Middle Class.Extreme credit card benefits have been a tremendous help to me in making ends meet.
Frugal bread pudding is made from a frugal food recipe. The two main ingredients are stale bread and sour milk. This is what differentiates the recipe from regular bread pudding. In other words, they are ingredients that Middle-Class people would normally throw away. As part of The Former Middle Class, we make frugal family food. We work with what we have and we do not throw usable food away. In addition to that group, I have started another group that will increase and reiterates helpful information from the first group. Th new group is called, Healthy Frugal Food Resources & Recipes.
Why Frugal Food Recipes?
We were victims of The Poor Middle Class Crisis resulting in our becoming One Day From Homeless in 2009. This was a result of the 2008 stock market crash. My husband lost his job the same week as the crash. By 2009, we had depleted all our equity and savings. We had to turn to the social services system for help. This meant we had to learn to live a very different way from the past. This is where frugal food recipes eventually came into the picture.
Frugal Bread Pudding
The second thing that makes a recipe frugal is that as many ingredients as possible come from a food pantry or other donated source. In the case of this frugal bread pudding recipe, most of the ingredients are from our food pantry.
Let’s compare the ingredients in the regular recipe with my frugal bread pudding recipe:
THE ORIGINAL INGREDIENTS
16 slices bread, cubed
1 cup raisins
2 cans (12 fluid ounces each) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Caramel sauce (optional)
MY FRUGAL INGREDIENTS
2 loaves of whole-grain bread* (I got 4 loaves so I made double the recipe)
a cup of raisins*
one can of condensed milk*
1 can of coconut milk*
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup packed sugar (a mix of brown sugar/stevia)*
nutmeg *ingredient is from a food pantry
Comparing a Regular Recipe to a Frugal Recipe
What makes a regular recipe different from a frugal recipe:
1. using what is at hand only
2. making no store purchases for the recipe
3. relying upon food pantry or other donated items
4. making a recipe as healthy as possible
Our lives have changed dramatically since we became members of The Former Middle Class. Actually, in many ways, these changes are for the better. We do not rely as much on consumerism for joy and entertainment. Instead, we focus on simple, cost free pleasures. Life itself has more meaning and more value. We appreciate and have gratitude for all the miraculous things that constantly happen in our lives. This is not to say that it is easy or without major challenges at times. But we have become much more self-sufficient, less wasteful and more resourceful.
We know how important it is to ask for help and participate in giving it in community. Learning to make cost effective food like frugal bread pudding is the proof that we are living a blessed life. Frugality is not a punishment. It allows us to see and experience life in a very different perspective. It is a perspective that has much more room for what is really of value in life.
We love stories. We can read a book or have one read to us. Perhaps a story is online or viewable on the multiplicity of media available. Ultimately, the result of the creation of an authentic story is a treat for us all. Besides entertaining, a story can be informative. In addition, it can promote a business or a product. Whatever the purpose, the process is basically the same. In this post, the focus is on the process.
The Creation of a Story
The process of creating an authentic story requires intensive research and lots of writing. I’ve created several stories containing the required elements. In all four authentic story situations, there was access to primary sources and extensive research. Sometimes having access to primary sources is impossible. So when it does happen, it can be very special for both the writer and the reader.
Four Authentic Stories
The authentic stories here touch upon four different non-fiction topics:
• business-a multi-million dollar corporation that started in a janitor’s closet
• social issues-The Middle Class Poor Crisis, a serious situation that exists today
• creativity-a creative-organizational process called Knolling
• music-some very special musicians
Each of these stories is set up as a series of blog posts. To read each of them, click on their link. That will be the first post of the story. You will be able to read the additional posts from there.
The Story of A Corporation That Started In A Janitor’s Closet
Poor Middle Class Affordable Housing is hard to find. But it is a top financial survival toolkit priority. Without it, poor middle class people can fall into the following crises:
• unable to pay bills
• end up in debt
• go hungry nutritionally by eat mostly cheap, unhealthy food
• become homeless
• unable to get proper medical care
• suffer from all of the above
What Is Affordable Housing?
According to Wikipedia, affordable housing is:
Finding Affordable Housing
Our search for poor middle class affordable housing was a nightmare. In fact, it was the hardest part of our financial survival journey. This is because of the following aspects of it:
• the amount of paperwork involved
• a time-consuming application process
• the bureaucratic qualification procedure
• pressure due to our tight deadline
What Is Subsidized Housing?
According to Wikipedia, subsidized housing is:
• a government sponsored system of economic assistance programs
• designed to alleviate housing costs and expenses
• meant for people in need
• designed for low to moderate income families, seniors and the disabled
• often called, ‘affordable housing’ in the United States
According to Wikipedia, subsidized housing is:
Subsidized Housing Programs
There are several forms of subsidies:
• direct housing subsidies
• non-profit housing
• public housing
• rent supplements
• some forms of co-operative and private sector housing
Those who qualify to apply for subsidized housing must be:
• Families in financial need
• Seniors aged 55 and above
• Disabled people over a certain age
There are two types of management, either government or privately run.
What is Senior Housing?
Senior housing is housing available to independent seniors, aged 55 and older. It is usually subsidized. As a result, it is more affordable than market value housing.
Seeking Senior Housing
There is a huge amount of research and paperwork involved in applying for senior housing. In fact, it is the worst part of the process for us. Each housing project requires its own application. Because of this, I was very overwhelmed. Just the thought of it stopped me from applying originally. But eventually, relocation became an emergency. We were hard pressed to find an affordable place to live. Because municipal senior housing units had several years waiting lists, we did not know what to do. We were on the verge of homelessness.
Here is our strong recommendation. Don’t let this happen to you. Apply for senior housing years before you think you may need it.
Fortunately, a private senior facility had a vacant unit. Much to our relief, we were accepted within two weeks. But there was one drawback. The only units available were studio apartments. In spite of the size, we grabbed one. As a result, we were set up in our new home within a few weeks. After that, it took another two and a half years to get a one bedroom apartment. When that happened, we felt like we had moved into a palace. In the summertime, we see nothing but tree. It feels like we live in a tree house. It is like heaven.
Section 8 Housing Vouchers
Large apartments buildings and multi-family homes accept Section 8 Housing Vouchers. According to Wikipedia:
A New Home
Our subsidized apartment is modest. There is no dishwasher. In addition to that, there is no terrace or yard for growing food. There is nowhere to make a compost heap for food garbage. But best of all, having a roof over our heads is a blessing. In addition, we have made a home here. There is a saying, ‘home is where the heart is’.