26 September 2011

Yesterday I started using the e-cigarette. It's not bad but I am secretly sort of wanting a 'real' cigarette and contemplating a quick run to the newsie for a packet-an urge I shall resist fairly well since the e-cigarette does work to substitute for 'real' cigarettes for the most part. It is a bit strong and a lot heavier than a 'real' cigarette of course, but other than that it is remarkably like and I think I'll stick with it.

The battery is disguised as the business end of a 'real' cigarette and even has a logo at the top near where the filter attaches-just like a 'real' cigarette; the tip glows when the smoker inhales, and exhaling yields a very realistic smoke stream that is in actuality a harmless water vapor.

The filter screws in to the battery. In e-cigarette terms it's called a cartomiser (I chose to go with a company called VIP Electronic Cigarettes and they have their own names for things, the other companies call the filter an atomisers, a cartridge, and the nicotine in the hidden vial is termed e-liquid) that has a concealed vial of nicotine; when activated by both inhalation and the battery the nicotine becomes a vapor that is so low in nicotine the exhalation tests out to have only bare traces. The taste takes some getting used to, as does the weight.

I printed out the glossary, lol, there is an entire lexicon for using an e-cigarette. Users don't smoke, they 'vape', for example, and 'real' cigarettes are known as 'analogue' cigarettes, ROFLOL!

So I smoked the thing all over the house yesterday and there was no odor, no yellow film over everything, and it was fairly satisfying as a smoke. I wish I'd listened to my son while I was in the States, who tried mightily to get me to try the thing. He was so right about the e-cigarette!

Yesterday I also did something for Paul I never did for Crusty. I made real nachos for Paul to enjoy while he watched Formula1 racing. The nachos came out rather well, and now Paul is looking at the Betty Crocker cookbook I schlepped back to Scotland with a much less jaundiced eye. I've never made nachos before and I'm rather pleased at how well the recipe came out.

OK, I did substitute a small onion for the zucchini-who the heck puts zucchini in nachos?! And I used chile con carne instead of plain chile and beans, plus I used Red Leicester cheese instead of Monterey Jack-hey, this is Scotland, you can't get Monterey Jack at the Co-Op. Paul said he could get used to this kind of wifely activity.

Then for supper I made a nice beef roast with potatoes and onions, and broccoli on the side. Paul said he could get used to this as well. It's the second Sunday in a row that I've made a roast. We watch the sales and get them on offer, then I stick them in the freezer. In Scotland if one watches the sales one can fill the freezer with all sorts of goodies.

I had to laugh last week whilst sitting in the dentist chair trying not to think about what was going on in my poor mouth-the radio was on a talk show and the presenters were gasping about the tough lot of Baby Boomers who have to manage on a mere £24 ($37) a day. ROFLOL, Paul and I'd think we were living in the lap of luxury if we felt able to blow £24 every day!

I kept my thoughts to myself, however. The plain truth is that for most Baby Boomers there is still a mortgage to pay, credit cards and other loans (car, university for the children), and little to no skills at grocery shopping-veg gardening-making do/using up/repurposing. They're in a world of hurt because they owe-owe-owe, and have no clue how to cut down their expenses. It's so strange to think about, when I was a girl visiting here people were so careful with money, so frugal, and so sensible. Nowadays though, it's different here, everyone seems to have got this notion they need to have THINGS to prove they are worth something, and so there are almost as many McMansion estates here as there are McMansion subdivisions back in the US. While the 'fancy' pick-up trucks are not at all a common sight on the roads here, the behemoth SUVs are, and because the cost is so high, I know there are car loans on nearly every one we see.

Meanwhile Paul and I own the house with no mortgage, have a veg garden (which reminds me, hopefully we really will get that Indian Summer forecast for this week, and the tomatoes will be able to be left to ripen on the vine in the ground), have no car, and repurpose with ruthless skilz!

I can understand the problems in the US, there $37 a day is not enough most of the time. Having lived in several of the large metro areas of the US, I know from personal experience that using mass transit is almost an impossibility-it's dirty, dangerous, and unacceptably depressing. Decent grocery shops are few and far, far, far between. Housing prices were so high for so long that people are mortgaged and remortgaged to the hilt. Thrift shops are located in the worst parts of town and one needs personal transport to use thrift shops anyway for the most part.

But it's different here. Mass transit is clean and safe-I can get anywhere I need to go with a bit of planning, and we live out in the country. We don't have nor do we need a car available 24/7, it saves us no end of money! Every now and again we hire one for a couple of weeks, which is fun, but when it goes back to Arnold Clark (the Avis of the UK, lol), we are happy to see the forecourt (driveway) again.

We have and use bicycles, but it's simpler to walk down to the shops (which are clean, close-everything within a half mile including lovely charity shops, and did I mention clean?) towing a shopping trolley for heavier loads-LOL, Saturday morning I trundled off with a load of library books to return and my grocery list tucked into the trolley. I returned two hours later with a new load of library books, and several grocery items, I confess pulling the trolley up the hill to the house wasn't as easy as I would have liked. My point is that I was able to get a weekly shop and library trip accomplished on foot in less than two hours-without rushing. Never something I was able to do in the US.

Paul bought this house at a very good price and then worked himself to the bone to pay it off right away; he bought the house in '96 and by 2007 it was paid for. So, no mortgage.

I could go on but it's starting to sound smug and braggy. I really love my husband, it's great to be married to a man who appreciates the finer things in life-being debt free and living a simple life:)

Today I am sewing him a new pair of pyjamas, cut from flannel sheets in excellent nick bought from the British Red Cross charity shop. We've rearranged the furniture yet again-think we've finally got it where we want it now-and I have a dedicated workroom, YEA!!!!! Paul's old desk works perfectly as a cutting table and Saturday after I got back from the weekly shop I was able to get the cutting done, today I will do the sewing. It's fantastic to have the ironing board on permanent set-up, and the sewing machine in its cabinet awaiting a bobbin and some thread. The light in that room is amazing, too, so this afternoon I will be sewing to my heart's content!

Best part is that with the money we're saving by my not spending £6 a day on a packet of cigarettes, we'll be able to have a cat in the house. I feel guilty about that-I do feel I abandoned Mozart and Gonzo and wonder if I even deserve to have a cat in my life again. I think that's because I cannot get any information from the people who took them, they've changed their phone number and email addresses, and I can't get in touch with them. I have daymares about them out in the woods alone and frightened and wondering where I've gone...


  1. We live frugally too! Some people say cheap, but cheap is when you trick others into paying. Our house is paid for, I grow and can vegies, we don't buy clothes until the ones we have can't be patched any more and we don't owe on our cars...but one illness and everything can be wiped out here.

  2. Purrrrrring that Mozart & Gonzo are still doing well, where ever they are. Do you know anyone who knows those people? We're sure we would all feel a little better if we saw one photo of M & G sleeping on the couch somewhere.

    Do you deserve a cat in your life? Sure. You tried mightily to do right by Mozart & Gonzo. Their new beans let you down. We are purrrraying that they did not let Mozart & Gonzo down.



Regretfully I've had to update my blog to comment moderation to prevent spamming. LOL, if only the fools knew my blog is seen by a very small and select group-it might help them understand the waste of time it is to spam my blog! Oh well, it's not as though spammers are very bright, after all.