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Friday Morning

May 19th, 2017 at 08:12 am

I stopped at Food4Less yesterday on my way home from the gym -- bought fresh fruit and paper goods for $12. Variables - 84%.

Today I will continue getting ready for my trip. I have my clothing picks set aside. I need to pack a plastic bag of toiletries and stuff everything in my suitcase. Without my cats seeing what I am doing -- otherwise they might protest with their bladders.

I arranged with C to do pet check next Friday - Sunday. My son will do it this Saturday - Thursday.

Tomorrow will be a full day. A walk in the morning with the walking club, then a baseball game, then a drive to Indy. Flying out on Sunday.

I will probably not be posting; I think I will be very busy with grandchildren, as DIL is still on crutches and not very mobile.

Just want to report that I LOVE the L'Oreal Rosy Tone Age Defense moisturizer! I really see a difference in my face! Now, I will admit that the novelty of a new product may be making me more vigilant about my facial care -- but whatever works! So now I will have to be on the lookout for deals, since it is not cheap.

Pay day will occur while I am gone, but all bills are automatic except for credit cards and my mortgage. I'll take care of those when I get home -- plenty of time before due dates.

Today I will do boring stuff like cleaning the fish tank, vacuuming, hit-the-high-spot dusting.

Starting to feel excited -- not dreadful -- about my trip!

Vacation Dread

May 18th, 2017 at 07:31 am

In a way, I am dreading my trip to Florida. I hate to be away from home for as long as a week. I would be okay if it weren't for my pets at home. But I worry about them. My son checks in on them every day (and sometimes brings the boys to play with them) but, on the other hand, he is not the animal lover that I am, so I don't think it's a priority with him. This time he is leaving town for the last three days, so I'm going to ask C to check on them. She has offered in the past. Of course, I hate to have to ask her, but perhaps she will like feeling useful.

Anyway, that's why I had a another set of keys cut yesterday ($8).

I also worry about the temperature in the house. I don't have a thermostat to set. At this time of year, comfort is controlled by open windows and fans. I have to leave the house sealed up for safety's sake. I suppose the cats will just sleep a lot if it gets too warm.

Also, for some reason I am nervous about flying this time. (This is something that comes and goes.) If I flew more, I would probably get used to it, but I can't shake the feeling that it is unsafe, and I love to get back on solid ground again.

I am flying Allegiant, which only operates at smaller airports, so I have to drive to Indy to fly. That has the bonus of getting to see BFF, but I have to inconvenience her with parking my car at her house and getting a ride to the airport. (Parking for a whole week at the airport is beyond my budget.) So I worry about that. And of course it adds about six hours of drive time to my trip.

On the other hand, I get to see my son, DIL and grandchildren -- and I haven't seen them since last September! So I must get over these feelings and start looking forward to the treat in store!

I also need to start thinking about what to pack. I'm taking one carry-on bag. I want to pack a couple of outfits for the kids and my DIL's birthday present, which is a necklace and two paperback books. I think I will pack three outfits for myself (capris and t-shirts), one pair of pj's, and one pair of shoes. I'll be doing laundry there, anyway. Minimal toiletries, too.

Variables spending is at 82%. Since the end of this cycle will essentially come when I leave on Saturday, I'm doing well there.

Anyway, that's my rumination about vacation preparation. Thanks for letting me think out loud!

Wednesday

May 17th, 2017 at 07:25 am

SIL did come down yesterday and she did have a thorough tour of my place. So glad I cleaned up! We went to lunch at a barbecue place and she insisted upon paying. Later on I spent $2 on water for the two of us.

The auction we attended was high-end. Lots of gold jewelry and precious gems. SIL really wanted to see the furniture sell, since she is wanting to learn how to price it, but after several hours they weren't even close to auctioning the furniture. I had to leave for GS1's baseball game. It turned out he couldn't play, because he got his finger closed in a door, so I texted her that I could go back and sit with her. She replied that she was leaving soon anyway.

But despite all that, it was a good day, and it was good to see her.

I not only got a free lunch, but a free dinner, since there were enough leftovers to take home.

Today I'm doing some laundry, and I'm going to get another set of keys cut. My son has an extra set, but I want C to have one, too. She will help with pet care while I am in Florida.

It's finally gotten warm, and I slept with open windows and ceiling fan running last night!

Tuesday Morning

May 16th, 2017 at 07:18 am

Got my hair cut yesterday ($16 with tip) and mailed my packages ($15). Variables are now 79%.

My SIL is on her way from Michigan and we will get together for lunch today. I'm vacuuming and dusting in case she comes in to see my place, but she may be on such a tight schedule that won't happen. Funny how my place always looks fine to me until someone comes to visit.

I finished 1941 in my mother's diary. On December 8, 1941, she simply wrote, "WAR IS DECLARED!" Of course, she also commented on the Pearl Harbor bombing the day before. At this point, three uncles are in the service. She mentions that my father was "on fire" to join the navy, and even went to talk to a recruiter. This is something I never knew. He did not serve. Perhaps I'll find out why -- but knowing my mom, she might not mention the reason. I always thought it was because he was married with a child, but actually my brother hasn't been born yet.

I'm looking forward to 1942 to see about the changes war brought in their lives.

I watched the second episode of Victorian Slum House yesterday. I believe the third is airing tonight. The incredible struggle of these families makes me appreciate my own circumstances.

I think I'm going to stop posting my daily menu, because I so often deviate from it! Just going to be mindful of what I eat -- get my fruits/veggies, watch the calories, eat enough to be satisfied but not stuffed. And of course be very mindful of using up food that needs to be eaten.

No cooking plans today, as I will go out for lunch, and dinner is an unknown.

I had to reschedule my dentist appointment because my grandson's 4th grade graduation was scheduled at the same day and time. My new appointment is November 27! They said they will call, though, if there are cancellations.

I guess that's it! Time to pull out the vacuum.

Monday

May 15th, 2017 at 08:13 am

Our cake party yesterday was in a lakeside park. It was windy, so we ate fast and took a windy picture and left! Once home, we all played Yahtzee (I won!) and watched one of the kids' shows, Ronia the Robber's Daughter. Good day.

No spending aside from what I reported yesterday.

Today I'm going to get my hair cut and mail my packages, so it will not be an NSD. Variables are at 74%. Only have to make it till Saturday, since vacation activities come out of savings, not variables.

My son bought my airline ticket for June 18. I'm feeling guilty and will offer to pay at least half. I think it turned out to be more than he expected.

My SIL confirmed she is coming to town tomorrow. We will probably have lunch and may spend a few hours together at the auction she is attending, but she won't be staying.

Today's menu: Breakfast - eggs & toast. Lunch - tacos. Dinner - Loaded cornbread, clementines.

Mother's Day

May 14th, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Well, so far it's been quite a day. Here is the spending:

$26 - Kitty litter & fish food. I know I said I was set on pet supplies, but I had a $10 coupon for PetSmart that had to be used today. Since I am buying more expensive kitty litter now, I have to take every opportunity to save.

$14 - Mother's day cards.

$10 - Registration fee for walking program. This is something C suggested doing, so I'm all in.

I also reserved a car for my Florida trip, but will not have to pay the $46 till I pick it up.

There may be a second Florida trip brewing. My son has to travel for work on the week of June 19 and my DIL is not recovering quickly from her knee surgery, so she doesn't want to be left alone. My son is offering to buy a ticket so I can come down again that week.

I also may get a visit from my SIL next week; she is growing an auction business and may be visiting an antique warehouse in my area.

This morning my DIL, C and I took a long walk (along with the boys) up and down the lakeshore. It's a beautiful day. Later we will have a little Mother's Day cake party.

Today's menu: Breakfast - just coffee & cream. Lunch - Sausage biscuit, applesauce. Dinner - Tilapia, mashed potatoes, clementines. And there will be cake.

Hope all you mothers out there have a wonderful day!

Saturday Stuff

May 13th, 2017 at 12:38 pm

I was leaving for the gym this morning and realized I had not yet labeled the packages I was planning to mail. So I'll do that on Monday. I don't like to go to the post office on Saturday anyway.

After gym I went to Jewel and got $3 worth of MyMixx stuff; added $3 to my snowflakes. Then stopped at Walgreens and bought the moisturizer I've been wanting - $15. I had a rain check; otherwise it would have been $21.

Then it was time to shower and go to the baseball game. It was a long game, but our team won. My grandson pitched and struck out five batters.

After the game C and I took our other grandson to Subway for lunch (GS1 was going to a birthday party). We split the cost; it was $11 for me. So it's been a good day and it's only half over!

Yesterday was quiet and uneventful. I did one load of laundry and then got inspired to organize my closet a bit more. I've isolated all the clothing that is too snug, but that I can realistically wear with a little gumption. I rolled all the pieces and put them in a plastic bin. I can go down a whole size (or more) and still have a nice wardrobe. I also made some granola.

Today's menu:

Breakfast - Odwalla almond milk shake, apple slices
Lunch - Black Forest ham sandwich w/spinach & tomato, chips
Dinner - Omelet, clementines

This and That

May 12th, 2017 at 08:28 am

Went to the gym this morning and then stopped at Food4Less to "buy" quarters. I got there before customer service was quite open, so I chatted with the attendant for a bit. She is one month away from having her first child. It was nice to have a pleasant conversation with a stranger -- something I don't do enough.

I went to my grandson's baseball game last night. It was awfully cold on the bleachers, and my jacket wasn't warm enough. But it was a good game; our team won, and my grandson hit a triple, bringing in three runs.

It was another day of no spending. Today I'm going to box up some books and a jacket I picked up at Goodwill, and send them to my sister and her husband. I'll mail them tomorrow. This is a bit of an expense for me, but I think they appreciate it.

Today's menu: Breakfast - sausage biscuit & applesauce. Lunch - Hamburger & broccoli. Dinner - cheese & crackers, clementines.

Wal-Mart Shop

May 11th, 2017 at 09:44 am

I almost forgot I had the $15 gift card from Wal-Mart! I went today after the gym and picked up the items I was worried about running out of -- dishwasher detergent, bread and creamer. I also bought some frozen peppers & onions which I will use in tacos and omelets.

Upon the advice of a friend, I downloaded the Wal-Mart app and scanned my receipt. They will do a price-comparison and refund the money saved in the form of a gift card. (I imagine that would take a while.) I don't shop at Wal-Mart that often, but truthfully, it isn't that far away, and it's brand-new, so nice to shop in. I might do it more -- especially since they bag the groceries in bags I can use for cat pan cleanup. Honestly, it drives me crazy that our "green" ordinance banning plastic bags has got me constantly on the look for something to use for the cat pan. The only thing I can buy are plastic wastebasket liners, which are too big and too heavy. I want those little flimsy bags! They're perfect!

Yesterday I made gingerbread cookies and they were so bad I threw them out. There were problems with the internet recipe -- when I was in the middle of it, I realized that the ingredient list and the instructions didn't match. And it included a teaspoon of "baking," which could have been soda, but which I included as powder. Also I halved the recipe, and I might have messed up. But I think perhaps the worst thing was that the corn syrup was too old. The stuff can last forever, but I think the taste changes. Bottom line, the cookies were too awful to eat. It felt good to throw them away, and I hate to throw food away. Today I'm throwing the corn syrup away.

Tonight the grandsons are both doing activities -- a ball game and a Tae Kwan Do class. I'll have to choose. I think I went with the Tae Kwan Do last time this happened....

I signed up for a luncheon with my professional group next week. It's downtown, but easily accessed by the El. It's an Afro-Portuguese restaurant -- should be interesting! I go to these when I can, even when I'm scrimping, as I am now, because it's a social outlet, and it also keeps me in touch with my field.

My utilities have gone up over the past year, so I adjusted my variables down a bit. Even more of a challenge! I'm at 63% now. Really only have to last till the 21st, because that's when vacation starts, and none of that will come from variables.

Weather's warming up! We may have spring after all!

Got Better

May 10th, 2017 at 06:42 am

I'm much better today -- in fact, I got better yesterday afternoon. The cold that I thought was brewing just went away. Weird, but good. Maybe it was just fatigue?

Had a very quiet day yesterday, but went to my grandson's orchestra concert in the evening. He is in the highest level orchestra now, so we have to listen to all the little ones before we get to his performance. Very hard on the ears. But thrilling to see and hear how well he is doing. He may be concertmaster next year -- the youngest ever!

He had apparently had a long day, because his cheeks and ears were glowing with fatigue, and his eyes were glazed. Yet he did not appear to miss a note -- sat on the edge of his seat and sawed away on his violin. I was close enough so that I could hear him individually, and man, has he gotten good! And he obviously takes such responsibility to perform well.

The disappointment of the evening was the behavior of the audience. They were so noisy! Surely at times the performers could not hear themselves! Some of was from the kids who were not playing, but it was adults, too! Thank goodness most of them left after the little ones played. I shake my head at the lack of civility. And I live in a "cultured" suburb.

On the financial front, yesterday was a no-spend day. I actually got a little extra income, in the form of a $6 payment from Pine Cone.

Today's menu: Breakfast - oatmeal. Lunch - tilapia & peas. Dinner - lasagna casserole & broccoli.

Not planning to cook today, but I may make some granola if I have all the ingredients.

Under the Weather

May 9th, 2017 at 07:47 am

And the weather isn't good!

Yesterday I went out once -- to the gym -- and stayed in the rest of the day. I didn't even feel good enough to shower. I just went to the gym this morning, and I think I feel better, though tired. I WILL shower today! As for what my ailment is, I think I am coming down with a cold. Probably a doozy.

Today was free bagel day at Planet Fitness, so at least I got a free breakfast. Lunch today will be leftover lasagna casserole (which I made yesterday) and dinner will be blueberry pancakes and sausage. I will also have fruits/veggies with each meal but haven't decided what yet.

I watched Victorian Slum House on PBS.com yesterday. Wow, it really touched me. So many people lived such hard lives, barely scraping by. My financial problems, such as they are, seem paltry. Really reminded me that I have a good life.

My variables spending is at 62% with two weeks and a day to go. But before pay day comes, I will be leaving for a weeklong trip in Florida with my son's family, so the budget will be skewed by that. Between now and then I will only buy necessities. It shouldn't be too hard. I am well-stocked. It will be interesting to see what I can do without. For instance, I am down to one slice of bread. I don't plan to buy bread, because I have corn muffin mix and crescent rolls, as well as hamburger buns, and those should take care of any carb cravings. I am very low on dishwasher detergent, but I can wash dishes by hand. My creamer will run out soon, but I can use almond milk, or drink my coffee black. What will turn out to be a true necessity? We'll see.

Going to my grandson's orchestra concert tonight. Since I missed the band concert, this is a must-do. Hope I am a little more perky by then.

Back from Girlfriend Getaway

May 7th, 2017 at 11:11 am

I got home last night. We had a wonderful time together. We stayed two nights in a charming little house, ate a lot of good food, got facials at a spa, and did some shopping on the town's main street. And the cost, I think, was not too bad. I paid $22 for my share of the gas, $98 for restaurants, $131 for lodging, $48 for the spa, and $71 for the shopping. A grand total of $322. Another small expense, which I'm not counting as a vacation cost, was $16 to replace my phone charger for the car. My old one stopped working, and I really needed it for the navigation.

The only downer was that it rained the whole time and it was cold, so we didn't do the river walk and didn't do the exploring we thought we would do.

My shopping was $56 for dishes at an antique shop, $12 for a necklace, and $3 for a gift. I was delighted to find the dishes in my pattern --Johnson Brothers Willow -- and I bought 4 fruit bowls, 2 cereal bowls and 3 plates. And I even got a discount for paying in cash.

Today I'm very tired, and I'm taking it easy and de-stressing. I just did a $1.50 load of laundry, but that's pretty much my work for the day!

Today's menu: Breakfast - Sausage biscuit, clementine. Lunch - PB&J sandwich. Dinner - Mac & cheese, stewed tomatoes.

I did go to the gym this morning, so I'm getting back in the routine.

We are already planning the next one!

Getting Ready

May 3rd, 2017 at 06:19 am

It turned out that my hairdresser was booked all day yesterday -- surprising to me, since I thought Supercuts did not take reservations? I need to investigate that. So I trimmed my bangs myself and I'll get my haircut after I get back from my trip. (Can't do it today, as my hairdresser is off.)

I also couldn't buy the moisturizer I wanted; it was out of stock. So I'll also get that after I return.

I inadvertently saved money, but of course, I will be spending it eventually.

When I was pulling clothes from the closet yesterday to pack, I realized that some of the pants were covered with cat hair in places. Turns out my cat brushes the low-hanging clothing going to her new spot in the closet. She has hung out in the closet for a long time, causing no problem, but now she likes to sit on top of a bin inside the closet, so she brushes the clothing on her way.

I cleaned the pants off, and then I rehung all the others on hangers that support them in the middle instead of the top. So the pants hang doubled over instead of full-length. I have to get more hangers of that type -- I'm using plastic hangers now but need hangers that are less slippery.

Why not just deny the cat? It makes her so happy to hide away in there. I can't do it.

I was so focused on getting ready for my trip, I totally forgot that my grandson had a concert last night. Bad grandma! I got a "where are you?" call just as it was ready to begin. I was already in my pajamas! I was sorry to miss it, but there will be others. No one seems to be upset with me.

So today -- I need to work out, I need to finish packing, I need to pick up the boys after school and watch them for a bit, I need to clean up in general before I leave the house untended for a few days. I will be eating leftovers so I won't have to leave perishables in the fridge. I will take along the rest of the clementines and grape tomatoes for snacking.

I have to be ready when I go to bed, because I have to leave the house at six a.m. Ugh. Not sure what the rush is, since we're driving, but whatever.

I'm sure we'll have a great time!

Still raining

May 2nd, 2017 at 09:46 am

Get out the ark! It just won't stop.

After being so strategic about timing my visit to PF to get the free pizza -- it wasn't there. I arrived at about 5 and left around 6. I waited a bit to see if it would arrive, and when a delivery van from Sarpino's arrived I thought that was it! But the driver delivered a personal size pizza to one of the staff members. That made me think there was no pizza on the horizon. Why would a staff member order pizza on free pizza day? I thought I must have the day wrong.

But it WAS the first Monday, so somehow I missed the window -- or they just didn't do it. Which was totally okay; I really wasn't even that hungry.

This morning after the gym I went to PetSmart to stock up on cat food, cat litter and fish food. Spent $57 -- nothing was on sale. That pushed my variables up to 48%, but at least I should be set on pet supplies for a while.

I used my new AAA Mastercard, so that's the first $57 toward the $500 I need to spend in 90 days.

Later today I will get my hair cut and buy some moisturizer.

Today's menu: Breakfast - breakfast casserole. Lunch - Tomato bake, peas. Dinner - Tuna melt, broccoli.

I'm going to be doing the driving on our girlfriends' weekend, so I have to empty the car. Right now I have children's car seats, a quilt, a box of reusable bags, a case of water bottles, a sun hat, an umbrella and a folding chair in the car. I like to carry all those things, but I have to make room for suitcases. My one friend, in particular, always overpacks and will no doubt have a huge bag.

But I have to pick up the boys from school tomorrow, so I'll put off the process until they are safely home.

Haven't packed yet -- I'm still going over in my mind what I'll wear. I was picturing warmer and sunnier weather, so I'm going to have to make some changes.

I hate getting ready for a trip, but I love it when I'm ON the trip!

Rain, rain go away

May 1st, 2017 at 05:56 am

Yesterday my DIL was invited to a beads & bubbles party (bead craft with champagne on the side). She thought it sounded like something fun to do on a rainy day. My son, however, had to study. So I went over and watched the boys for a few hours.

I made them mac & cheese for dinner and tried prying them away from their video games/you tube with no success. (When dad finished his work, he said "No more screen time!" and they complied. I lack authority.)

It was still raining when I walked home (very short walk) and I got soaked, and had to walk through several puddles because there was no dry spot to put my foot down! This morning I hear there is widespread flooding in the area, and I believe it! It's still raining.

I have to cancel our planned hibachi dinner on Wednesday because my son will be traveling for work. We'll reschedule after I get back from my girlfriends' getaway.

Today is pizza day at Planet Fitness, so I won't go until around 5:30. Until then I will stick close to home and get things done (or not! -- retirement is great!)

One thing I got done yesterday was making a bunch of sausage biscuits for the freezer. They will be handy to have for those times I need a quick breakfast.

Today's menu: Breakfast - scrambled eggs w/red pepper & onion, clementines. Lunch - tuna salad sandwich, peas, strawberries. Dinner - pizza.

I missed "Call the Midwife" last night, so I'll watch that today. I may also watch "In the Line of Fire." I remember thinking it was a good movie years ago when I saw it in the theater.

I started a new 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and I have the edges done and a little bit of the interior.

Such is my life now. Isn't it great?

Craziness

April 30th, 2017 at 05:26 am

Well, in the middle of the night last night, I woke up and for some reason decided the heater in the fish tank was not working. In my groggy state, I forgot that the light goes out whenever the water is warm enough. I had it in my head that I had to get up first thing and go get a new heater at Wal-Mart (because PetSmart wouldn't be open at 6). Well, of course, it's working just fine. I could have slept more.

I'll go to the gym, and forgo Wal-Mart on a weekend.

Once again, it's really cold here, and it rained all day yesterday. The radiators are coming on but not staying on, so it's cold in here, too.

Yesterday I formed seven patties out of ground beef and put them in the freezer. Seven, because I have seven buns in the freezer. I cooked off the rest of the beef and drained it. Even though it was 75/25, there didn't seem to be a lot of fat when the draining was done. I divided the cooked beef into two containers and froze those, too. Later on I will use one to make a lasagna casserole, and I think I will use the other for tacos.

Today's menu: Breakfast - blueberry pancakes & sausage. Lunch - Potato/cheese soup, corn muffins & strawberries. Dinner - Tuna salad sandwich & peas, clementines.

I'll do a load of laundry today and I expect that will be my only spending.

Cold Saturday

April 29th, 2017 at 10:04 am

I think today may be a no-spend day.

I went to my grandson's baseball game this morning, but it was cancelled due to cold weather and the threat of storms. I was so glad I wouldn't have to sit outside in the cold!

I went to the police station to turn in some prescription drugs I am no longer taking. I only had a few bottles, but I am happy to let them handle their disposal.

Then I went to the gym and did my treadmill walking.

I checked out the MyMixx deal today, but it is something I don't want -- coconut water.

So I am going to spend this cold day doing indoor things I like -- reading, watching movies, and catching up on my mother's diary.

Need to start thinking about what I will pack for my trip. I know I need one nice outfit for dinner. I have one in mind, but I have to try on all the pieces to make sure they fit.

I'm getting my hair cut before the trip, and I'm also going to buy some of that rosy tone "age perfect" moisturizer from Walgreen's on May 2, Senior Discount Day. I also have a $2 coupon; hope they will accept both.

Editing to add today's menu --

Breakfast - toast, peanut butter & jelly
Lunch - salad, mac & cheese
Dinner - tilapia, broccoli

(Note -- I didn't have the mac & cheese yesterday -- too nauseous at dinnertime to eat.)

Another Grocery Trip

April 28th, 2017 at 11:07 am

Today was my third ten-item trip. From now on I will only buy necessities. Today's trip to Jewel cost $31 and I got: biscuits, cream cheese, cheddar cheese block, sour cream, crescent rolls, shredded Monterrey jack, toothpaste, sherbet, grape tomatoes, blueberries, and strawberries. Which is 11, but I figure if I come real close to 10, I'm all right.

Took a side trip to Barnes & Noble to check on a book my grandson wants. It won't be out till June, so no purchase there -- other than a stocking stuffer (Pusheen eraser) for $1.

Also swung by Panera and got my free bagel.

Came home to find my new AAA Mastercard in the mailbox, so I'll start using that now to earn the $100 bonus.

I made a reservation for next Wednesday evening at a local hibachi restaurant for my son's family, C and me. I have a Groupon (which I got almost free due to their class action suit) which will pay $40. We will split whatever is over.

The day after that I head off for my girlfriends' weekend -- which is really Thursday through Saturday. I have already reserved a $40 facial as part of our spa outing (that was about as cheap as I could go). Not a big spa person myself but I don't want to spoil their fun. Anyway, it will come out of my vacation budget so it won't affect the variables. Speaking of variables, they are at 40%. Eek!

Got a college graduation announcement from one of my young cousins, so I will send her the B&N gift card when I get it.

Still have my $15 Wal-Mart gift card to use. I'll use it soon, when my dishwasher detergent runs out -- and I'll get some other household supplies to get it up to $15. Shouldn't be hard!

Going to watch "Gardens of Stone" on TV today -- along with the Frasier episodes on Cozi in the evening. I've become addicted to Frasier. Wish they still made TV like that.

Oh, and I must report, I DO like the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Lightweight for Multiple Cats. I am noticing very little tracking; dust seems to be very low. It's a keeper.

Menu today: Breakfast - bagel w/cream cheese, strawberries. Lunch - salad. Dinner - Mac & cheese, broccoli.

Late Night Worries

April 27th, 2017 at 09:00 am

I woke up in the middle of the night last night worried about my license plate renewal. I knew it was time to renew, but I had not yet received a renewal notice. I got up and checked both my email accounts to make sure there was nothing lurking there.

So this morning, I got my registration ID card out of the glove box and renewed online with the information I had there. The ID and pin I used last year worked this year, and my plates are renewed. (I think I will actually get new plates this year). the cost was $103.

I noticed there was a provision for a senior discount. I checked into it -- it is the same benefit that provides free rides on the CTA for seniors. You have to come in under a certain income level. I didn't qualify last year, but I could reapply this year with the info from my 2016 tax form. I filled it out again, but again, I am just over. Kind of surprised -- I thought my income had gone down more. I guess it's good news, but I would like the free rides and the reduced license plate fee!

After the gym this morning I went to Food4Less and picked up ten more items: 6-pack of Jiffy muffin mix, 5-pack of Kraft mac & cheese, 5 lbs. ground beef, Vidalia onion, cheese pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, tortillas, hamburger buns, clementines and egg noodles. Total cost was $32.

Have to do some laundry, so I'll get a load done and then take a nap, because it was another bad night, and I have a Tae Kwan Do lesson to watch this evening. I don't know why I couldn't sleep; I just seemed to have too much mental alertness. Note to body: I would prefer mental alertness during the day!

Today's menu: Toast, cereal & clementine for breakfast. Cobb salad for lunch. Hamburger & asparagus for dinner.

Variables are already at 35%! Shocking!

It's Pay Day!

April 26th, 2017 at 11:38 am

Pay Day! Hurrah!

First thing I did was sleep in. Smile

Then I went to the gym, and from there, to DSW to get the shoes I wanted. DSW wasn't open quite yet, so I went to Panera and had breakfast. Since I get a free bagel, I ordered one with schmear and coffee, and the total was under $4. Could have just had the bagel, but since I was sitting in the restaurant, killing time, it seemed weird not to get a coffee to linger over.

When DSW opened, I went in and found the shoes right away. Very thankful my size was still there -- even though I had to take the display model. I had a $20 coupon to put toward it, so the total cost was $66. I inquired about the $5 coupon I was supposed to have for giving them my email address last time. She said it should have come by email. I don't think it did, but I told her I would look. If it was there, I probably deleted it, as I've been trying to clean up my mailbox.

Then it was off to Aldi. I bought 11 items: almond milk, granola, eggs, creamer, butter, bread, bacon bits, croutons, salad, dried cranberries, and crackers. I'll probably go back again tomorrow, since there is much more on my list. Total was $25.

Last stop was PetSmart, where I bought kitty litter for $21.

I was in spring cleaning mode yesterday. I mopped all the floors, cleaned the radiators, vacuumed, and thoroughly cleaned the closet where the litter box lives. What a mess that was. I've made a pledge to myself to buy only dust-free litter from now on, no matter the price. I looked online, and of course there are many varying opinions, but it looked like there was some agreement about Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Lightweight for Multiple Cats (whew!) It claims to be 100% dust-free. We'll see. I know the cheap Aldi stuff was very dusty, so I'll just have to abandon that.

Really pushed myself to get ahead of the rain -- then it didn't rain! I think we're still in for it this afternoon, though.

Oh, and of course, I paid my mortgage, assessment fees, and paid two credit cards in full. Variables are now at 16%.

Menu today: Breakfast - bagel, schmear & coffee. Lunch: Salad. Dinner: Scrambled eggs & asparagus.

I applied for another credit card -- the Barnes & Noble card through Barclay. Just because you get a $25 gift card for B&N after using it once. It also gives a discount on B&N merchandise (kind of like Target) so it might be handy to use for that. I often end up buying gifts there, though I don't buy much for myself.

One Day Till Pay Day

April 25th, 2017 at 08:51 am

I always love this day! I'm so excited to have money on the horizon!

I'm not going to spend anything today, so I did my April recap.

Housing - $695
Utilities - $196
Clothing - $194
Vacation/Travel - $184
Groceries - $85
Gifts/Charities - $78
Eating Out - $76
Gas - $53
Phone - $52
Medical/Health - $46
Personal - $46
Vet/Pet Supplies - $44
Entertainment - $40
Furnishing/Equipment/Decor - $35
Laundry - $24
Household Supplies - $6
Fares/Parking - $1

Grand Total - $1855

My variables came in at 97%. I need to do that a couple more times to even out previous overspending.

Notes on my spending:

Utilities were high because the electric bill came twice during this period.

Clothing included two pairs of shoes which were not bargains -- but were the right shoes to buy.

Vacation/Travel was the cost of an airline ticket for a trip yet to be taken.

Gifts/Charities included a birthday, Easter, and some donations to fundraisers.

Eating Out - all meals with friends and family; no solitary fast food!

Personal included a haircut and a special shampoo.

Entertainment - I saw three movies this month. At one I paid for my grandson, also.

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - I bought myself a new frying pan, and I also got myself some bowls and utensils at Goodwill.

Laundry - Unusually high. I didn't visit anyone with a washer/dryer and thus didn't get a "free" load. I seemed to wash a lot of sheets this time. Combination of company, and barfing cats.

I'm always pleased when the grand total is below $2,000.

Tomorrow, my "deal day," I'm going to go the DSW and get another pair of shoes, using a $25 coupon. I will go to Wal-Mart and use my $15 gift card. Later today I'll go through my coupons and such to see if there is anything else I want to do. For sure I will go to PetSmart and Aldi and beef up my dwindling supplies.

Today's menu: Breakfast: oatmeal w/raisins & brown sugar. Lunch: Bibimbap beef fried rice. Dinner: Tilapia & veggies.

Just have to add that my grandson was MVP at his game last night. He hit a triple, bringing in three runs and pitched a no-hit inning. He was beaming!

This and That

April 24th, 2017 at 10:42 am

Just had to transfer $374 from savings to checking. Not really a loss, but it looks like the assessment fee is going to hit about the same time as my SS deposit; I want to make sure if it hits first, it won't put me in the red.

After my good night's sleep the night before, I had a lousy one last night. I'm going to try get a nap before this evening's baseball game. Since I had to miss the last one, I want to be sure to make this one.

Saw a HUGE beetle walking around my floors in the middle of the night. Now I don't know if it was a dream or for real. If it's real, it must have come in where the pipes do. Hopefully, he went back down and is visiting one of the neighbors.

Today's menu: Migas w/red pepper, mushrooms & salsa for breakfast, Pizza for lunch, Tilapia and mashed potatoes/w mushroom gravy for dinner.

Got through October 1941 in the diary yesterday. Two of my uncles have reported to Fort Harrison, a former army base near Indianapolis. One was sent on to Georgia and one to Nevada. Mom is celebrating my father's $2 raise. She gave him a pen & pencil set for his birthday. She in turn received a "Henny Penny flower pot" from her in-laws when they returned from a weekend trip. I tried to figure out what that was on the internet, but I can't find one. Probably a pot with a chicken design. Or perhaps it was a strawberry pot planted with "hens & chicks" succulents. I remember some of those in my childhood. She always liked hens & chicks -- and plants in general.

They bought new cabinets for their kitchen -- probably free-standing. No price -- BUT, she did mention that she paid her yearly taxes - $7.01. Not sure what kind of tax. Wrong time of year for income tax, and they didn't own property. Maybe some sort of county tax. I would love to know more about what things cost, but she just doesn't go there.

Forgot to mention, I got my OTC order yesterday. To my surprise, there were two big packages of wipes -- I guess I accidentally ordered two -- so I took one down to the car. Helps to explain why the order so quickly reached the $50 limit.

Sticking Close to Home

April 23rd, 2017 at 03:14 pm

I am feeling much better today, after a good night's sleep. Other than a trip to the gym this morning, I haven't gone anywhere. I haven't spent any money.

I've got two days before my Social Security check is deposited (not counting today), and I've spent 97% of my variables budget. I thought it was lower than that, but I made a few underestimates. Anyway, I just want to come in below. I went over two months in a row, and I need to know that I CAN come in under when I put my mind to it.

Menu for today: I finished the bread pudding for breakfast. For lunch I made a mashed potato bowl with chicken, red peppers, mushrooms & turkey gravy. For dinner I will finish the macaroni au gratin.

For the next few days I have leftover pizza, frozen tilapia, mac & cheese, potato soup, canned tuna -- as well as plenty of frozen vegetables. I will be all right. But it will be nice to feel a little freer.

I've started looking ahead to see what I want to watch on TV, and it's keeping me from doing that aimless search on the remote. Today I watched a special on Auschwitz on PBS, and I'll watch Call the Midlife this evening. I've done some reading, some housework, including cleaning the fish tank, some work on the diary, and I also watched another episode of "Further Back in Time for Dinner" on my computer. I've gone through the 30's now. Very interesting. I like getting an idea of how my mother was living during the time she was writing her diary. Even though she was in a little Midwestern town, not England. I'm sure there were similarities, just the same.

In her world, there is not much to report. It is interesting to see my aunts and uncles appear, and to get a view of my grandparents as mother- and father-in-law. My poor mother can't figure out what to call them -- sometimes it's Mom & Dad, or Mom & Pop, sometimes it's "the folks", sometimes it's the M...'s, or Mr. & Mrs. M.

It sounds like they all spent quite a bit of time with each other, having dinner, going to movies and amusement parks, playing games, golfing -- all were living in various small towns just south of Indianapolis, very close to each other. I never realized before that my father and mother were the first married couple in the "young" set; all my aunts and uncles are either courting or very newly married.

Money is not mentioned very much. It seems they are doing all right, financially. My mother does mention that her aunt made her a dress for 30 cents. Hmmm, that wouldn't buy a button today. I expect leaner times will come with the addition of children (my brother will be born in 1942) and the privations of the upcoming war years. I have gotten through September 1940, so we are just a couple months short of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Terrible Night

April 22nd, 2017 at 09:26 am

Had a really awful night. My legs were aching and throbbing terribly and I couldn't sleep. Finally got up and took Tylenol, but before it could work, I had diarrhea, very similar to what I had a few days ago. This time I'm not blaming the food; I think my kidney disease is speaking.

When I was ready to go back to bed, I found that my cat had thrown up on my newly-washed sheets. I moved to the couch (which is really too small to sleep on). After tossing around on that, I moved back to bed, stripping the sheets and covering up the wet spot on the mattress pad with a throw. I will wash the mattress pad and sheets today.

I woke up at 7 am and all told, I think I only got a few hours of sleep.

I'm supposed to go to a baseball game in a few hours. Once I get through that (if I feel good enough) I can come back home and sleep more. May not make it to the gym today.

I made bread pudding for breakfast, and it was pretty delicious, and used only a few ingredients. It was the Betty Crocker recipe.

Not sure what I will eat today, considering the state of my digestion. I still have pizza and mac au gratin, as well as a little cooked chicken.

Today's free MyMixx deal is just a can of cola, so I won't be bothering with that.

Just going to stay home and enjoy a quiet day.

Nothing Much

April 21st, 2017 at 08:14 am

I got my free bagel at Panera this morning before my stint at the gym. Then I came home and checked out garage sales -- not much going on yet; I'm not going to bother. Just as well, since I really don't want to spend anything, anyway.

So it should be another nice lazy day.

Menu for today is leftovers: pizza for lunch, chicken fajitas for dinner. I already had the bagel for breakfast. So no cooking to do. I am toying with the idea of baking bread, since I am down to a bunch of ends in the freezer. Not sure if my yeast is fresh enough, though. If it isn't, there goes that idea.

I also might make bread pudding from all those ends.

Trying to think of anything I accomplished yesterday, but all I can think of is more transcribing in the diary. No new revelations there.

Hmmmm -- I wonder why I made an entry? Force of habit, I guess!

"Family is a Gift"

April 20th, 2017 at 08:00 am

Not much happened yesterday, and I did not spend anything other than $1.50 for laundry. (That is happening today, too.) In the evening I babysat the boys so mom & dad could go out, but I came just before bedtime, so hardly got to see them. I did get to see GS1's essay "Family is a Gift." It was very well-written and enormously touching, mostly about his fears for C's health and his appreciation of his whole family for their support and love. Gosh, he is such an amazing kid.

I transcribed three more months of my mother's diary. I am sad to see some patterns emerging -- my father going out and doing his own thing, my mother at home, going to bed early. I remember my father as being very distant from the family; he seemed to have no interest in interacting with the kids, especially the girls. Now, my father had MULTIPLE problems, not the least of which was alcoholism. I suspect that a lot of "going downtown" which is recorded in the diaries is "going out drinking." I am sad to see it happening so soon in their marriage; I guess I had hoped that they had some happy times before it all went sour. That said, they never split up -- they just had an unhappy marriage.

Today's menu: scrambled eggs with peppers & onion for breakfast, chicken fajitas for lunch, macaroni au gratin for dinner.

Yes, I did repurpose the macaroni salad after learning that no one else got sick. I added some white sauce and peas, put it in a baking dish and topped it with parmesan and bread crumbs and baked it in the oven. It's pretty good! And I had no reaction after eating some of it yesterday.

I got a notice from Kohl's yesterday that I had a small bill to pay, only $9. Even though there is plenty of time to pay it, I went ahead and paid so I wouldn't forget it. This does not come out of my variables -- the expense was recorded at point of purchase.

I am glad to have less than a week to go (finally!) before pay day. And nothing big on the agenda. Nothing on the calendar today. Tomorrow C and I may check out some garage sales. It's that time of year!



A Fun Day

April 19th, 2017 at 09:30 am

Yesterday was a good day. Somehow a good day always involves spending, though. On top of the $28 gas purchase I already reported, I spent $6 at the movies and $10 for dinner at Chili's. It's not a lot of spending, but I am getting very near my maximum for this month. 94%. At least I have only a week to go, and I can hunker down. I feel I have everything I really need.

I went to see "Going in Style" with C, and we both enjoyed it a lot, and then we went to Chili's for supper before GS' baseball game. We took a ride around the cancer center to see if we could figure out free parking for her, since she has to pay $3.50 every week when she gets an infusion, and she is on a budget as strict as mine. We found a street with free four-hour parking but it is a bit of a walk. I told her to be sure and call me if she ever feels like she can't make that walk. For now, she seems very well, though she is experiencing some of the usual side-effects of chemo.

The baseball game was the first of GS1's new season. He is on a new team. Even though he told me he is giving up on pitching, he pitched last night. He struck out two and walked two, so he did all right. It makes me so nervous when he pitches, but he assures me he is just fine. Sometimes I think he is more grown up than I am!

I ordered my free OTC items - $50 worth, which included generic Zyrtec, generic Tylenol, insect repellent, and Aloe Touch cleansing wipes. Added $50 to snowflakes.

This morning I made chipped beef on toast with the last of the corned beef (which had been frozen). I have another serving for tomorrow. For lunch, I'm going to bake a frozen pizza and sprinkle the leftover chopped olives on top. For dinner, I'll do something with the cooked chicken. Probably will make fajitas, since I have frozen peppers and onions in the freezer.

I am in a continual challenge to use up food, and it's not easy. It makes me wonder if others throw away a lot of food. I hear the statistics, and I know the spendthrifts do it big time, but I wonder if it's really a rarity to actively avoid food waste the way I do. Everyone in my family sure thinks I'm a little odd!

Of course, most people have other family members to help eat things up. Cooking for one is a challenge in itself!

I have nothing on my calendar today, so I'm planning to read, work on the diary, work on genealogy, do a little laundry, and tidy up in general. It will be rainy, a good day to stay inside.

Feeling Better

April 18th, 2017 at 09:47 am

Spent $28 on gas this morning, then, after the gym, went to Panera for my free bagel. I can get one every day this month, but frankly, it just feels weird to go in and ask for a free bagel every day. I've taken advantage of the offer twice.

Gas was $2.45, even with the discount I get from shopping at Food4Less. It seems we always have high prices this time of year because of some foolishness at the Midwestern refineries along with the switch to "summer blend." Don't know why they can't ever solve that.

Later I'm going to see "Going in Style" with C, and then we will go to our grandson's first baseball game of the season this evening.

I finally got over my bug, but I think I will take the advice to throw out the macaroni salad just in case. It's not like it's terribly expensive, anyway, and I have lots of other food to eat.

I took a little walk to the mailbox yesterday, but other than that, I missed two days of exercise. I'm glad I got back to the gym today.

I also need to get back to working on my mother's diary. I'll be starting on 1941, which should prove to be an interesting year.

The gas purchase pushed variables up to 91%, and the movie will push it up to 92%. But I still think I can make it.

Easter Dinner Backlash

April 17th, 2017 at 07:44 am

Well, Easter dinner was very good, but this morning I woke up with some real discomfort that you don't want to hear about, but it makes me wonder about food poisoning. I took some generic Immodium just so I don't get a replay. I haven't heard if anyone else got sick. Of course, I wasn't feeling well, anyway, so it may be I just had a bug and it finally manifested itself that way.

C. was not there because she was not feeling well. Of course, that makes me worry. I texted her about seeing a movie tomorrow, but I haven't received an answer yet.

Meanwhile, I'll just take it easy. No laundry has to be done today, and, while the house needs a good cleaning, it's not going to happen. Not today.

I will order my items from OTC Essentials today, since it's the second quarter of the year already. And I'll apply for that AAA credit card that offers a $100 bonus. That will be my financial work today.

I brought home the macaroni salad that was uneaten. I was planning to mix it with cubed chicken for some meals this week. Now I hesitate, even though I am sure it could not have been the culprit. I used all fresh ingredients, and it did not sit out -- the only time it was not in the fridge was when it was out on the table to be served, and that wasn't very long. There was a broccoli salad that might have been at fault -- or it may have just been my "bug." Hmmm, to eat or not to eat?

Happy Easter!

April 16th, 2017 at 11:47 am

I'll be heading out for the family Easter dinner soon. I got up early this morning and made the macaroni salad and brownies to take. Looks like they both turned out, except the brownies are a bit too baked on the edges. And I even cut short the cooking time!

I don't actually feel well, but I can't even say what's wrong. Just very tired and groggy, but I've been sleeping, and I'm not overexerting myself in any way. Hope it is something that passes and my energy comes back.

After yesterday's spending my variables budget stands at 87%. Ten days to go. I still have my $15 Wal-Mart card to get any necessities. Getting low on gas, so some money will go there. (But I can't get gas at Wal-Mart -- not mine, anyway.)

I've decided after next pay day I'm going to go ahead and get another pair of the Remonte sandals I bought recently. The same style comes in navy, which would look good with jeans and other blues and pastels. I feel I am going to be wearing those shoes a LOT, since most other summer shoes just won't work with the orthotics. I should have another pair to switch it up. And I have a $25 coupon this time. Or I could see if online is even cheaper.

That said, I did dig out some old Skechers which I wore while my ankle was healing. I tore out the liners and the orthotics do fit in those. They will give me something to change into as well -- but they are showing their age. They would be more for knocking around.

I got an offer for a AAA credit card, where I can earn $100 for spending $500 in 90 days. And the $100 is not a gift card, but cash. Pretty sure I'm going to do it. My snowflakes need a boost. I don't know if I'm going to be able to raise the $300 per grandchild this year, at the rate I'm going.

Can't think of any other financial news, so I'll check out!


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