Sunday, March 28, 2010


Mrs. Roy's granddaughters sent these pictures they had made at school for Mrs. Roy's birthday present.  They are treasures (the girls and the art). 

The top one is tessellating - look it up.  The official definition will not say quilt design but this is a quilt design if I've ever seen one. 

The solar system piece is just out of this world, don't you think? 

Mrs. Roy is so blessed.  Life is good.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Mrs. Roy loves snail mail. Now don’t get me wrong; I pay most of my bills online. It’s so much easier. But I still love getting and sending snail mail cards and letters. I love the idea of putting something in the mail and having it show up on the other end in a couple of days, creating smiles. Admit it, it makes you smile when you get a card or letter or gift in the mailbox.

Mrs. Roy comes by her love of snail mail honestly. My Grandma was a world class postcard sender. Whenever she went on a trip, we could count on receiving a postcard from the area. Thankfully, my generation has continued that tradition.

Letter writing is becoming a lost art in this day of email (and blogs) and twitters. I remember having actual classes in school about signature lines and salutations and the different types of letters that were appropriate for specific situations. I don’t think they cover stuff like that in school much anymore. However, Mrs. Roy believes it is good to sit down and organize your thoughts. It is good to practice good grammar and punctuation and spelling. And there are lots of folks who still don’t have email - so how are you going to communicate with them except by phone or mail!

I like being able to stick little surprises in an envelope. I like looking through my stash of note cards and picking out just the right one. I like buying the different kinds of stamps at the post office. I like writing my own birthday wishes on the inside of a blank note instead of using a regular birthday card.

I’ve read that it is bad manners to send a thank-you by email - but lots of folks do it. I like knowing that someone took the time to sit down and write me a note and put a stamp on the envelope and looked up my address. I like walking to the mailbox and something being there besides junk mail. I like the anticipation of knowing there is a letter or package on the way to my mailbox. I like the whole delayed satisfaction aspect of snail mail, both giving and receiving.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Mrs. Roy believes in fair play so I'm posting the response I got to my email about the pre-census letter.
Thank you for your e-mail.  Secretary Locke and Census Bureau Director
Robert Groves have asked me to respond on their behalf.

We here at the Census Bureau certainly understand your concern, and I want
to assure you we care a great deal about being good stewards of the
taxpayer's money.

The short answer to your question is that even on the eve of census forms
arriving this week, as many as 45% of Americans are unaware that this month
is when the Census starts.  That's probably due to the fact we only do a
Census once every ten years.   Based on historical response rates, we
expect roughly two thirds of households will mail back their form.  The
rest we will have to send an enumerator to collect the data required by the
Constitution.  You can imagine that follow-up is an expensive proposition.
In fact, every one percent increase in the number of households who mail
back the form saves the taxpayers about $85 million in expensive
door-to-door follow up.  That's why we advertise and promote, to increase
the mail back response rate and help save on expensive labor to follow up.

We have extensive research that shows additional mailings alerting
households to the arrival of the census form increase response rates by
about 6 to 12 percentage points. The savings from that increase more than
pay for these mailings.  It costs about $85 million to print and mail the
advance letter and reminder postcard.  The potential increase in response
rates demonstrated by our research could result in a savings of more than
$500 million.

After the 2000 Census we returned to the Treasury some $305 million in
savings.  Then Secretary of Commerce Don Evans testified in 2001 to the
U.S. Senate that those savings came about from our advertising, promotion
and PR efforts encouraging households to mail back their forms, increasing
response rates over the prior census for the first time in three decades.

The total we spend on all promotion and advertising is about one dollar per
person in the U.S.   It costs just 42 cents to mail back the form.  But it
costs $57 for follow up with non-responding households, many of which we
must visit several times to reach someone at home.   We wish we did not
have to advertise, and that 100% of households mailed their form back, but
that is just not the case.  Not everyone is as active and engaged as

We appreciate your civic minded spirit, and your concern for our current
fiscal situation.  I hope this information helps explain the steps we are
taking to reduce the burden on taxpayers of meeting our Constitutional
mandate to count every person in the country.


Karen Shipley
U.S. Census Bureau
Phone: 301-763-6537


Mrs. Roy came across a blog title today:  Homemade Bread: Cheap, Delicious, Healthy and Easier Than You Think.  I see a lot of articles that make those promises - Easy Artisan Bread, etc.  I’ve tried a few of the recipes and I’ve got to tell you - either Mrs. Roy is the worst bread maker on the entire planet or homemade bread isn’t really cheap, delicious, healthy or easy. 

Cheap.  I have a friend whose brother is an executive for a major bakery.  She, as a single person, would get frustrated that her loaf of bread would go stale before she could eat it all so she told her brother they should market half loaves of bread for people like her.  Mr. Bakery Executive says that a loaf of bread is so cheap, there is no incentive to sell half loaves.  Just throw out the stale stuff and buy another loaf for $1.00.  He has a point.  Mrs. Roy loves saving money more than most but bread is cheap and readily available.  If I want to get really frugal about it, I’ll go to the day old bread store and buy it.

As a side note, I can now go to Publix and buy half loaves of their bakery bread - seems like someone else had the same idea as my friend.  And the price is very reasonable.

Delicious.  Most of the recipes I’ve tried for artisan bread just don’t taste very good.  They are heavy and chewy and yeasty.  I do have a really good recipe for sourdough bread but I get tired of having to feed the starter and make the bread or give away starter, etc.  We don’t eat enough bread to go through that process and I feel guilty if I let my starter die.  It’s too much unnecessary stress for Mrs. Roy.

Healthy.  If you want to eat healthy bread, there are about a zillion different kinds to choose from at the grocery store these days, everything from whole grains to organic to fortified white and back again.

Easy.  Mrs. Roy works full time so making bread is actually a time consuming process that is not usually easy.  It’s messy and I have to plan the rise time so that it will be ready to bake at a time when I’ll be home and then I have to clean it all up.  As I said, way too much stress. 

So, here’s Mrs. Roy’s pointers for cheap, delicious, healthy and easy bread.  Go to the bakery section of a good grocery store and just pick up whatever strikes your fancy.  Buy some real butter, cut yourself a thick slice and spread the butter on thick and then just sit back and enjoy every bite.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Lord Provides

Mrs. Roy has written before about how we burn wood around here to heat the house in the winter.  Mrs. Roy had a big pile of wood - about the size of the one in this picture - but we burned through it this winter.

Last week while Mrs. Roy was at church, a friend came up and said he had been cleaning up some limbs that had fallen at his mother's house and would I like to have some wood?  Not only did he give it to me - he delivered it to my house!  Just so you will know, Mrs. Roy did offer to come get it.
 So Mr. Roy and I spent this beautiful Saturday morning cutting the wood to stove size, splitting what needed splitting and stacking it into a humongous pile.

The Lord is good to provide for us; He knows our needs before we do.  Thank you, Lord, for good friends and good firewood.  I'm sure we'll be thanking Him again when winter rolls back around.  For now, this wood pile is a testament to God's love for us.  

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thank you, Census Bureau, for wasting my money

Dear Mr. Secretary of Commerce:
I just received my letter telling me I will receive the census next week. 

Have you people totally lost your minds?  I shutter to think how much 
money Mr. Groves and his staff blew through to send out these worthless 
letters.  I wonder how many people that money would have fed, how many 
months of unemployment insurance it would have funded, how many life 
saving medical procedures it would have covered.  Instead, it's going 
straight to the recycle bin. 

This is an example of everything that is wrong with our government.  You 
should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Mrs. Roy

Monday, March 1, 2010



Mrs. Roy is thankful this morning for her mother-in-law.  Mom left for heaven a couple of years ago but she left behind lots of love.  Right now I’m in my office with a crocheted shawl she made draped over my shoulders.  You wouldn’t believe how warm and cozy I am.  We have several afghans she made and many, many pieces of filet crochet that she spent untold hours making - everything from tablecloths to coasters.  I even have this crocheted curtain in the spare bedroom. 

Mrs. Roy also has a confession to make - I always liked Mom's gifts but I think maybe I appreciate these things more now that she’s gone.  I wish I had told her more often how much I enjoyed the things she made me.  I hope she knew. 

Mrs. Roy hopes whoever reads this will take the time to tell someone they love them today.  Don’t just assume they know.