The Rising Cost of Everything

Inflated Dollar Bill, Retrieved on June 6, 2023 from

Everywhere you look, prices are rising. It seems that everything you buy keeps going up in cost. How is the consumer supposed to keep up with all of the rising costs? I jokingly ask colleagues what we need to do to try to get ahead, even though I am very serious about it. Do we need to sell our souls to make money? On an ethical and moral level, I definitely cannot do that and be able to sleep at night. Therefore, how can the average Joe or Jane get ahead in today’s economy? These are definitely challenging questions and even more difficult to answer.

When I look around, and in my everyday experience, I read about inflation, rising prices, increasing interest rates, etc., etc. Reports are that inflation keeps holding steady, but I don’t really see that. It seems to me that – in my area – it keeps rising. It is not holding steady and it is definitely not decreasing. When I go to Kohl’s to buy a plain old T-shirt that should not sell for more than $5 and is not even worth $3, but the price is marked $9.99, that is inflation. When I go to WalMart and price a party bag of chocolates that used to sell for $9.98, and is now marked at $13.98, that is inflation. When a customer service agent with AT&T tells me that my Internet price will remain steady at $69.99, but then, one month later, another $5 gets tagged on, that is inflation. Inflation is not holding steady.

I have also seen the rise in prices for services. In the past six months, I have experienced price hikes in several different services. My dog groomer’s price went up by $5; my son’s college math tutor’s rate increased by $5; and my hair salon is now charging $5 more for a haircut. My favorite Chinese restaurant is charging about $2.50 more per meal, making my previous bill for two increase from $20 to $25. What about health-related services? My dentist’s charge for an oral evaluation of my teeth increased by about $25 this year. And, my health insurance company did away with the plan that I liked, and replaced it with a plan requiring both a higher co-pay and deductible. And, these are only a few of the services that I have experienced an increase in pricing. Where will it end? When will it stop? Unfortunately, the answer is ‘never.’

I remember when my parents used to talk about going out to the ice cream parlor and soda fountain in their youth and paying 25 cents for an ice cream cone, and maybe a little bit more for a banana split. Today, you can’t go to Dairy Queen or Bruster’s and get out of there without paying at least $5 for a Blizzard or waffle cone. The last time I took my son out for ice cream, I told him that we could’ve bought two pails of ice cream at Kroger’s for what I had just paid for two cones. And, as I write this, I wonder how people can go to places like Starbucks, daily, for coffee that tastes great, but is super expensive.

The concern about the rising cost of everything doesn’t even begin to address the decreased quality of everything, as well. The cute Bob’s doggie sneakers that I bought from Rack Room Shoes last year already have holes in the sides where they came apart from the soles. I don’t overwear them and I don’t abuse them – they just came apart. It is not worth taking them to the shoe repair or upholstery shop to fix them because it will likely cost just as much to sew them up as to buy another pair of shoes. Normally, I wouldn’t buy the same kind of item again, especially after a similar item came apart, but because they are so cute, I gave in and put down another $40 for a new pair. Each sneaker is a piece of canvas sewn onto a piece of rubber; they aren’t even worth $40 at all.

On a different scale, during the winter, I was house-hunting for a high-quality home that would’ve been smaller than my current residence. I searched approximately 300 homes in my area – either online or in-person – and didn’t find one that I was satisfied with – not one! This relates back to the lesser quality of things, not to mention the high prices. Around the Atlanta area, I searched for homes up to and including those that were priced at half a million bucks, and found that the quality of my own home surpassed all of them! And so, I took my home off the market and have decided to stay put for now. I am thrilled with my home, but wish I could find others of similar or higher quality out there that I would be happy with.

Thankfully, to help pay for the rising cost of everything, my teaching salary increased by about $2,000 this year, and will go up by about the same amount next year – and I have a job! Obviously, that is the most important thing. But, just when I think I’m catching up, all it takes is for my 20 year old car to break down and I’m back in the hole again, paying for repairs that typically cost $1,500 to $3,500 each time. Of course, this is easier to take than making payments on a new vehicle, but there also comes a limit on how much to keep pouring into an older vehicle and wonder if it is still worthwhile.

That brings me back to asking how is the average person supposed to make it in today’s challenging financial environment? You know you’re alive when you have bills to pay. But, I am not rich. I have to work. Sometimes, I feel like I will have to work until I die and will never be able to retire. Even if I do retire, I wonder how much of an impact the retirement money I have saved will support me when the rising costs of everything keep going up and continue eating it away. I think, therefore, that one must spend less and save more. However, I wonder how many people can truly do that in today’s world where it is so difficult to get ahead.


How about some Meat Loaf?

My meat loaf, May 13, 2023

I wanted to write about something today, but I didn’t really know what to write about. And since I was cooking today, I thought it might be appropriate to post about what I made. I hadn’t made meat loaf in awhile, so I thought that would be something good to have for a change. It’s tasty, and my son and I both like it. I make my meat loaf from my mom’s recipe, which I will also share to follow. In the above picture, you can see the finished product, and although it is a little bit overdone, it hasn’t caused a negative effect. It still tastes just great!

My meat loaf before baking, May 13, 2023

In the above picture, here, this is how my meat loaf looked before placing it in the oven. I know it doesn’t really look that appetizing, and in fact, it may actually look somewhat disgusting, but I tell you, it is delish.

Off the top of my head, the recipe is as follows:


1.5-2 lbs. ground beef, preferably 90+% lean

2-3 slices of bread, in small pieces

small onion or half of large onion, chopped or cut into small pieces

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup ketchup

2 eggs

Note: No salt needed

I just combine everything by tossing it into a bowl and stirring it up well. It will create a nice pasty, mushy mess, but is oh so good when you eat it. Bake at 350-375 degrees F for about 45 minutes. Take a look at my dinner plate below, along with my mashed potatoes and cucumber/tomato salad.

My dinner, May 13, 2023

So there you have it. I had time to cook today and made a nice tasty dinner. I didn’t use my fancy fine china today because I didn’t feel like having to be careful with it, so I just used the cheap plates. Oh, and of course, you can also add more ketchup to the meat loaf once it’s done if you like; it’s good either way, but adding more ketchup just seems to drown out the yummy taste. Enjoy!

Beautiful Rainbow in Snellville

One side of the rainbow in Snellville, January 12, 2023

For most of the day today, there was a tornado watch in and around my area, just another sign of global warming as this should not be happening here in winter. We experienced high winds, heavy rain, and thunder and lightning under an eerie sky. Prior to the storm, the sky appeared to be light green and light yellow. I’ve observed light green skies in the past in my area, as well, and always heed them as a warning of a possible tornado. This is not something I ever experienced in the area where I grew up, so it is something that I’ve had to learn and look out for.

Other side of the rainbow in Snellville, January 12, 2023

After the storm and once the skies broke, the Sun shone through the clouds very brightly. I happened to look outside because it became so bright and there was a beautiful rainbow, stretching from one end of my neighborhood to the other! Wow, how gorgeous it was! I have never seen a rainbow such as that in my neighborhood, though I have seen rainbows in this area before. The rainbow lasted for only about 10 minutes, just enough time to get outside and take some pictures, however clear or blurry. It was wonderful to see this beautiful rainbow today!

Polar Vortex Freeze Damaged my Gardenia Bushes

Bush damaged by Christmas 2022 Polar Vortex freeze in Snellville, Georgia

I have begun to notice this week that several of my gardenia bushes in my yard and around the house were hard-hit by the Polar Vortex that went through Georgia at Christmastime. I noticed a couple outside the picture window in my dining area, and another near my mailbox where most of the leaves were brown. On doing more investigating, I discovered that at least one dozen of my gardenia bushes have been severely damaged by the deep freeze from the Polar Vortex. I believe it was Christmas day or maybe the day afterwards when the low here in Snellville was 5 degrees Fahrenheit with about a -20 degree windchill due to all of the wind.

Damaged gardenia bush due to Christmas 2022 Polar Vortex, Snellville, GA

I’m not used to having to look out for my outdoor plants, and now I’m saddened that so many were hit. Had I realized they would have been damaged, I would have covered them with sheets or tarps. I didn’t even think about it until I saw a few azalea bushes covered at a business in Norcross. By then, it was already too late for mine. I also had several large azalea bushes that were damaged, as well. I literally have 100s of azalea bushes in my yard that my parents planted throughout the years, but the ones that were hurt were big ones around the house.

Another damaged gardenia bush from Christmas 2022 Polar Vortex, Snellville, GA

The majority of the leaves on these damaged bushes are brown instead of green now. I’m worried that they won’t come back. I’ll just have to wait and see at this point, and hope for the best. I just love the scent of gardenias and the beauty of all of the azaleas. I hope they will be able to bounce back, but they don’t look good right now.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Winter Holiday Evergreen Tree in Sweden – These are the types of Christmases I remember, growing up in Western New York’s Snow Belt (Retrieved December 22, 2022 from

It is already that time of the year – the most wonderful time of the year! While I like summer and all of the sunshine here in Georgia, the holiday season and Christmas are really my favorite time of year. Christmas brings to mind many happy memories, occasions, events, gatherings, reunions, gifts, and experiences. I am a person who enjoys experiences most of all, and those experiences that include memories of beloved family and friends are the best of all for me.

I remember Christmases of old, growing up in Western New York State in the Snow Belt, filled with family, food, shopping, gifts, skiing, snowmobiling, and, of course, attending church services, giving thanks to God for His love and all He has provided. I remember music, songs, laughter, and youth that has flown by so fast that even my own son is now a young man.

In my own childhood, I also recall so many Christmas seasons when my dad would string the colorful Christmas lights on the bushes and decorate the front yard with Santa, his sleigh, and reindeer that he handcrafted and handpainted. One year, he won a monetary award for having the best Christmas decorations in our community.

I remember bundling up as if we lived in the Arctic; making snowmen, women, and children; fashioning snow angels; eating icicles; decorating Mom’s yummy Christmas cookies while sneaking spoonfuls of frosting; and getting frostbite on my hand one bitterly cold evening that I went snowmobiling. I remember the hot onion soup with mozzarella that my mom used to make to warm my brother and I after returning home from skiing. Wow, those were the days, and of course, while they were not all great, I choose to hold onto those happy memories of old times.

Times are different now, and while still good, the holidays and Christmas are “smaller” and more compact for me now. My family, consisting of my son and I, already held our Christmas this year so that we could incorporate other plans on the actual day of Christmas. It was our first Christmas with ‘only’ each other, reflecting the changes in both of our lives, while keeping in mind that our love for each other will always be strong, holding us closely and dearly.

I wish you all a happy holiday season, regardless of the faith you may or may not hold, or the holiday that you may or may not celebrate. I would like to remind everyone to cherish the memories and good times with family and friends, and always hold those wonderful, yet fleeting “experiences” in your hearts. I like to believe that God generally places good people in our lives to help us and support us, and I hope and pray the same for you. Merry Christmas!

Fall Foliage Colors in Gwinnett

I took some time today (October 29, 2022) to enjoy the beautiful Fall foliage colors in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

This weekend has been the perfect time to take in the vibrant colors of Autumn.

There is one particular tree that I am familiar with that turns yellow each year, and this year was no different.

So many maple trees are showing in such a deep red that they are astounding. I was on a schedule this morning and drove past one at a church in Lilburn that was absolutely beautiful. I would have loved to get a picture of it, but don’t plan to pass by there again for a couple of weeks.

Additionally, there was a Halloween witch that made a face plant into a tree and is now an official tree hugger! Check this out!


I Love You, Dad: Bruce Babcock, 1943-2021

Bruce Babcock in August 2020 in Lilburn, Georgia

Bruce Everett Babcock, of Snellville, Georgia, and formerly of Gowanda and Collins, New York, died at his home in Snellville on February 19, 2021 due to natural causes. Babcock was born in Collins, New York on August 13, 1943 to Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock (Sprague) and Charles Albert Babcock. Babcock graduated from Gowanda High School and was married to Anna Krakowiak Babcock for nearly 55 years until her death in 2018. As an employee of the State of New York for 37 years, Babcock worked in different roles. He began as a mental health aide, and later worked as a fireman and stationary engineer at the Power House of the Gowanda Psychiatric Center. After the Center transitioned to a prison, he was employed as maintenance supervisor for the Gowanda and Collins Correctional Facilities until his retirement.

Chuck and Bruce Babcock, July 4, 1987 Parade, Gowanda, New York

Babcock enjoyed hobbies such as owning, restoring, and showing classic Ford Thunderbirds for many years. He was a member of the Buffalo Thunderbird Club for several decades, taking his black T-Bird to an international car show and being awarded third place. In Snellville, Babcock was a member of the Georgia Cool Cruisers car club, showing his restored Ford Ranger. Babcock was also skilled in carpentry, electricity, painting, welding, plumbing, and stained glass. He apprenticed and worked with Robert Peglowski and Sons of Collins, New York in carpentry for many years as a young man.

Babcock was a wonderful and generous family man who lived for his family, always doing more than what was necessary to help and support them in whatever ways possible. He was the rock of the family. He and Anna moved to Georgia in 2006 to live near their only grandchild, John Robert “Bobby” Nice, III. Babcock loved the outdoors, warm weather, Gaelic music, and NASCAR racing. He additionally enjoyed swimming, boating, landscaping, and Boy Scouts. Babcock loved animals, raising and showing guinea pigs and rabbits in his childhood, and spoiling his Yorkie poodle in later life. He was a merit badge counselor and supporter of Snellville Boy Scout Troop 548. He further enjoyed supporting Bobby in Boy Scouts for conservation and eagle scout projects, as well as Roman Catholic religious accomplishments. Babcock was the godfather and confirmation sponsor for Bobby’s Catholic sacraments.

Babcock is a former parishioner of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Gowanda, and most recently, of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Lilburn, Georgia. Raised a Quaker, he converted to Catholicism at marriage. Babcock was predeceased by his parents and had no siblings. He is survived by his daughter, Michele Babcock-Nice, of Snellville, Georgia and son, Charles “Chuck” Babcock of Gowanda, New York, as well as his grandson, Bobby, of Snellville, all of whom love him deeply and miss him dearly.

A memorial service was held for Babcock at St. John Neumann Church, and a burial service was held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Gowanda, New York, with arrangements by Wentland Funeral Home of North Collins, New York.

February Snow in Georgia


Snow on the cherry tree, Snellville, Georgia, February 8, 2020

We haven’t seen snow here in Georgia for the past few years. For me, as a Yankee, it’s always a treat to get snow in the South! I definitely miss it, especially the skiing. Both the North and South have their advantages and disadvantages, though I don’t miss the brutal cold of those Buffalo winters.


Snow in Snellville, Georgia, February 8, 2020

Last weekend, though it was 39 degrees Fahrenheit, it was snowing here in Snellville on Saturday morning, February 8, 2020. It snowed for most of the morning – a heavy, wet snow with huge snowflakes. It was so pretty – and was more like what winter should be – rather than the 65 degree Fahrenheit temperatures we have today, less than one week later.


Let it Snow! Snellville, Georgia, February 8, 2020

On February 8, my son was training fellow Boy Scouts at his troop’s bi-annual leadership training event. They also took some time out from their instruction to step outside and have a friendly snowball fight. That’s another good memory to include in my Eagle Scout son’s wonderful experience in scouting! Oh – and by the way – the daffodils are blooming in full force now and the maples are budding out, too…

Early Daffodils & Azaleas in January


Daffodils, Snellville, Georgia, January 13, 2020

Last Monday, January 13, 2020, the first daffodils blossomed here in Snellville, Georgia. Their blooming is about three weeks earlier than usual. There was a warm spell here for about five days prior to their blooming. Temperatures got up to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit as a high.


Small pink azalea bush blooming, Snellville, Georgia, January 13, 2020

Coincidentally, nearly all of the dozens of azaleas on our property were starting to bloom. In the pictures I took of a couple of them, they don’t appear very full of blossoms, but many were just starting to come out.


Small white azalea bush blooming, Snellville, Georgia, January 13, 2020

By this week, we were back to the cold again. The cold snap that got down to about 25 degrees Fahrenheit two days ago took all of those azalea blossoms away. There are none now. Surprisingly, however, the daffodils are still in bloom. They survived the cold, for now.

Global warming is real. This weather is definitely not normal. There were even two Japanese maples that were trying to bud out last week. Now, they’ve been frozen back into hibernation again. This is definitely not good. Thankfully, Greta can put a voice to the concerns that so many of us have!

Anna Maria Krakowiak Babcock (July 25, 1943 – March 7, 2018)

Mom and Dad 2002

Anna Maria Krakowiak Babcock (July 25, 1943 – March 7, 2018)

Anna Maria (Krakowiak) Babcock died on March 7, 2018 at her home in Snellville, Georgia after a long illness. Anna was a survivor of ovarian cancer. Shortly after her recovery, she was diagnosed with primary peritoneal cancer, which took her life.

Anna was born to Wladislawa “Lottie” (Bulera) Krakowiak and Janek “John” Krakowiak on July 25, 1944 in Schelerten, Germany. Anna’s parents, both Polish, endured two world wars in Europe, and decided to immigrate to the United States. Anna and her family came into the United States through Ellis Island, and moved to Gowanda, New York, near Buffalo in 1950, where Anna spent most of her life.

Anna graduated from Gowanda Central High School in 1963, and married Bruce Babcock, originally of Collins, New York, on July 6, 1963. Anna attended Jamestown Community College, studying business and psychology. She was employed at the Gowanda Psychiatric Center, and, with her husband, co-owned and operated the Sears Retail Store in Gowanda for many years, where she retired in 1982. In 2006, Anna moved to Snellville, Georgia, to be near her only grandchild, J. Bobby Nice, III.

Anna is survived by her husband, Bruce E. Babcock; her daughter, Michele E. Babcock-Nice; and her grandson, J. Bobby Nice, III, all of Snellville. Anna’s surviving son is Charles J. Babcock, of Gowanda. Anna is also survived by her sister, Maria (Krakowiak Spires) Walker, of Delray Beach, Florida, and Larry Krakowiak, of Gowanda. Anna’s surviving nephew is Phillip Spires, of Gowanda; and her surviving niece is Desiree (Spires) O’Malley of North Carolina. Anna was predeceased by her parents, and her brother, Peter Krakowiak, of Chicago, Illinois.

Among Anna’s favorite pastimes were gardening, cooking, baking, and spending time with family and friends. Anna was very religious and spiritual, and regularly prayed the Rosary. Anna, also known as “Mimi” to her family, was loved dearly by her husband and family, and will be sorely missed.

A memorial service for Anna will be held at St. John Neumann Catholic Church Marian Chapel in Lilburn on March 16, 2018 at 11:00 am. Funeral arrangements are by Wentland Funeral Home in North Collins, New York, and burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, associated with St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, in Gowanda, New York. Memorial donations may be made to St. John Neumann Church or the American Cancer Society.