The financial crisis was not our fault

The family car

My husband and I are, as we like to call it, frugal. We live within our means. We save. We use our stuff until it is completely used up. We bought a new bed frame only after the old one collapsed under us. My husband, Todd, used his 25-year-old ski boots until their brittle plastic cracked, first on one boot and then the next, during two successive runs down the mountain. We still use the vintage couch that I found at Goodwill more than 12 years ago.

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Gardening without guilt

Every spring, I tell myself this is going to be the year. The year that I dig up my withered and weed-infested gardens and really get things growing. And every summer, I realize that I have failed even to throw down a scrap of mulch. By July, the weeds are knee-high, the ivy is taking over the yard and my few plants are struggling to survive. Every time I drive by a lawn ablaze with black-eyed susans and heavy with blue hydrangea blossoms, I sigh with envy. My style of gardening involves a lot of guilt, but very little actual labor.

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