Back home, still busy.

Blue Woman © by Rob Lee

This is what happens when you don’t allow enough time to breathe: You turn blue, albeit in a vaguely artistic way.

I haven’t posted much lately, mostly because I was in Alaska. Meeting deadlines and spending as much time as possible with friends and loved ones sucked away most of my hours and all of my energy.

Last week I was so distracted that I never even posted a giveaway. More on that below.

The trip home was uneventful in that I got bumped only once instead of a dozen times. I was the fourth person on the list but only three seats opened up. Fortunately another Seattle flight was leaving about an hour later.

Hurrah for the buddy pass, despite its risk of inconvenience: My trip north cost only about $120 vs. the $600 to $800 I might have paid at this time of year.

Too much to do, but I do it anyway

When I walked through my door at 10:30 p.m. Friday I was beat, and very glad that my cupboards and freezer had enough in them to keep me going for a couple of days.

The freezer held bread, a jar of milk and various meats and vegetables, among other things. After fixing oatmeal for breakfast I pulled a ham bone and some diced onions out of the freezer and started a slow cooker full of pinto beans. For lunch I had a tuna sandwich and pickles plus the apple I never ate on the plane, then put a small pan of dried plums (which we all know are actually prunes — ah, marketing) on to simmer.

The pinto beans were my dinner on Saturday (and Sunday, and today). I’d planned to make a pan of cornbread once I got back from the store with eggs and other fresh stuff, but had other things on my mind by then. In addition to two months’ worth of piled-up mail I needed to write my latest post at Get Rich Slowly (which should go up some time Wednesday) and the Monday post for MSN Money.

Also to think about the Tuesday post, the Wednesday post, etc. It isn’t the writing that’s the challenge so much as the need to come up with five really good ideas per week – specifically, five ideas that my editor thinks are really good. Sometimes we disagree.

A few other things on my mind, too:

  • An editor from Woman’s Day magazine asked me to do a 1,200-word article, due at the beginning of August. Of course I said yes. Wouldn’t you?
  • I’m puzzling out plans to make a two- or three-day trip to Portland some time in July, to write about the concept of frugal road trips. Any of you Portland readers got hot tips for cheap fun?
  • I’m planning and re-planning a long-ish visit to see my dad in New Jersey and to house-sit in New York City.
  • I need to finish writing my presentation for the Financial Blogger Conference, which will take place Sept. 6-9 in Denver. (If you’re a PF writer, do try to attend — last year’s conference was a great big blast.)

I did manage to enter a couple of blog carnivals, both with posts from MSN Money’s Frugal Cool:

Time for back to school shopping – really” was chosen for the Totally Money Blog Carnival at Mortgages by Mark.

Get gift cards at below face value” is in the Festival of Frugality at Help Me To Save.

With so many irons in the fire you can see why I forgot to post a giveaway. Or, rather, why I failed to make it a priority. Watch for an upcoming post that combines two giveaways in one.

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  1. Reta Davis

    I’m glad you are home. Miss you when you are away. We all gotta have a life, though! Anxious to hear how you will arrange the NYC trip. I have new Internet dog rescue friends there and want to dream about a trip to visit. Long Island is calling to me. Congratulations on the Woman’s Day article–know you can do it! Look forward to seeing it!

  2. Holly Samlan

    Missed you too but I was not surprised since I remembered you were in AK. I KNOW you have much to do there.

  3. lostAnnfound

    Welcome back!

  4. Welcome back! We missed you!

  5. SherryH

    Yay! You’re home! And it sounds like you got in a lot of visiting and activities… do you need a vacation from your vacation? Looking forward to hearing more.

  6. karla

    Sounds like you’re going to have to schedule yourself a nap. Glad you’re back.

  7. Great to have you back, I have always enjoy very much your posts.

    Greetings from Mexico

    • Donna Freedman

      A Isela: Gracias para las palabras buenas. (I am forgetting my Spanish; hope I used “para” vs. “por” correctly.)

  8. You make my head spin! I thought keep track of the people that I live with is a hard job. You out do me every time. Impressive!

  9. Andrea

    Welcome home =) Missed your posts, but I’m glad you had a nice trip!

    For your Portland trip, the Saturday Market and people watching downtown is always fun (they elminated the free rail zone, which eliminates much of the traffic on the MAX). If you want some irony, you could tour the “Street of Affordable Homes” (we got our tix on Living Social)…the homes are still luxurious by most folks standards. Food carts!!!! Harass JD from GRS. One of the many festivals that take place on the riverfront. The 99W drive-in in Newberg.
    The husband and I are back in school full time and working full time so our life is pretty much studying and writing our papers (which has been pretty awesome for the budget…if I dont’ think about the students loans). We usually just join the family around their fire pit when it’s not raining

  10. Welcome Back! I am a local here in Portland, which is a great place for some frugal fun! There are free concerts in the parks around Portland all summer long. There is a large Farmer’s Market downtown on Saturday mornings. I have only lived here for about a year and am still discovering the city, but am happy to send a more detailed list of my favorite frugal activities.

  11. Cynthia

    You can make cornbread without eggs or milk as long as you have self-rising cornmeal or baking soda and plain cornmeal–just use hot water for the liquid. You made me want pinto beans and cornbread even though it’s 98 degrees!

  12. Another Portlander here! I don’t think the death of the Free Rail Zone has gone into effect yet, if that makes any difference. Anyway, summer is a great time to come as there is tons of free Shakespeare in the Park – check out Original Practice Shakespeare and Willamette Shakespeare, and I think there are a few others. There are two monthly fiction-writing competitions, with great prizes, offered by Indigo Editing, and free poetry readings each Saturday at St. Johns Booksellers in No Po. If you have willpower, or leave your money at home, browsing the stacks at the nearly-infinite Powells Books can be great frugal fun. And there are farmers’ markets and free outdoor movies EVERYWHERE. St. Johns’ free Jazz Festival runs the 2nd weekend in July, and every neighborhood seems to have some free outdoor music or other, almost every weekend.
    If you’re here in September check out the Portland Dragonboat Race the weekend after Labor Day. Free to attend, great fun, and you might just fall in love! Check out http://www.dragonsports.org. 🙂

    Don’t forget Bolt Bus! Would love to hear a review…


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