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August 18th, 2017 at 11:49 am

I almost hate to say it and jinx myself, but my knee seems improved. I went to the gym yesterday to do my strength training, as well as a short stint on the bike. After that, I stayed holed up in my condo. I am seeing a difference now in pain and flexibility.

No spending yesterday. My variables are at 82%, with only four days to go.

On Monday I'm going to leave for Michigan. I think I will just make this a 2-day trip. It depends on what my brother and SIL are doing. They are retired, but they are usually busy with other activities on Wednesdays. At any rate, I won't be gone for more than 3 days, because that's as long my cats and fish can go without outside help.

After complaining about Pine Cone, I qualified for three surveys in a row, so I guess my complaints were unfounded! Nice to have that little bit of income for my snowflakes.

I am determined not to go to the grocery store before payday. I have plenty of food; however, I am finding it is not always the food I want to eat. I need to be a little more proactive about preparing meals, but with the knee pain I haven't felt like cooking. Maybe today I can turn that around.

On Sunday morning I'm going to a family breakfast at my ex's house, so that will help stretch my pantry!

Oh, and best news of all -- my phone fixed itself after I downloaded a system upgrade and I am now able to receive calls. Whew!

Son Went to ER

August 17th, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Last night when my son was biking home from work, he was cut off by a car, thrown off his bike, and he passed out briefly after the accident. A good Samaritan called for help, and he ended up in the ER. He only has a few bumps and bruises, and everything else checked out, but it was a bit of a scare. I went and sat with him for a little while as he was waiting to be discharged, more to keep him company than anything else.

I learned, through this incident, that my new phone is not ringing and is not even logging incoming calls. So when people are trying to contact me, I have no idea. Texting, however, works fine. I went through all the troubleshooting steps, but it didn't seem like any of them were the fix. But Motorola has pushed two system upgrades, so I am in the process of downloading and installing them. If the phone is still not working properly, I guess I have to call the company. Tired of this. So nostalgic for the days when stuff actually worked.

C and I took the boys to the $1 children's movie yesterday. I took the caramel corn I made for a treat. (Hidden away in my bag, of course!)

I had another PT session. The therapist seems frustrated, as I am clearly not improving as quickly as I should. I'm frustrated, too. He thinks it is osteoarthritis, but I'm experiencing a flareup, which should settle down in time. Weight-bearing exercise seems to be the worst trigger. But I'm stuck up here above three flights of stairs, and I can't help but aggravate my injury every time I go out, or go to the basement to do a wash.

I won't see him again until next Thursday, so I hope there will be significant improvement by then.

A Good Movie and Good Deals

August 16th, 2017 at 01:24 pm

I went to the movie yesterday on Discount Day, so paid only $5 for the ticket. On top of that, I had a free popcorn coupon. It was for the large size, which retails for $8! C and I did our best to eat it up, but at the end of the movie, half was left. I took it home and I made caramel corn, which turned out pretty good, if a bit sticky! Perhaps in humid weather you can't avoid the stickiness.

I also went to DSW to spend my $5 coupon. In the clearance section I found what I thought were three pairs of knee-high socks marked down to only $4. I bought them and sacrificed the extra dollar. (It was the last day to use the coupon.) Well, I got them home and unrolled them and - what? - they are actually two pairs of tights, and while they ARE large, they are GIRLS' large! Total fail! I plan to give them to BFF for her granddaughters (mine is too little.) If she is not interested, I may sell them online.

But another frugal win yesterday -- I stopped at Panera while waiting for DSW to open and got a free muffin. I didn't even know I had that on my Panera card, it was just a happy surprise!

Going through my inbox yesterday, I discovered I still have another $5 coupon at DSW for my birthday, so I'm going to try again. This coupon does not expire until the end of the month.

I'm going to the children's dollar movie today with C and the grandsons. That will only cost $1 each. Too bad I got the popcorn yesterday, it would have been good to have to share today.

Today's meals -- johnnycakes for breakfast, fried rice for lunch, grilled cheese for dinner.

Variables are at 82% and I have one week left till payday. In dollars, I have $156 to spend.

Back to the movie -- it was "The Glass Castle," which is a true story of a woman who grew up in a dysfunctional home. She dealt with an alcoholic father and a neglectful mother, extreme poverty, intermittent homelessness and a vagabond life. The irony is that the woman's mother was holding onto land which she could have sold for $1M, but she didn't because her father said she should never sell land. I had read the book, so I knew what to expect. It was inspiring that the children scrimped and saved to buy their way out -- also that the main character finally learned to be open about her past and accept the good with the bad. I recommend it -- and the book even more! The author is Jeanette Walls.

Spent $5

August 15th, 2017 at 12:47 pm

I was intending to have a no-spend day yesterday, but when I walked past a custom t-shirt shop, I saw a rack of $5 shirts for sale. They were mostly men's shirts with the Cubs "W" graphic. I bought one for my Florida son, to put in his Christmas box. I figured $5 was a pretty good price. And he loves the Cubs.

I had my first physical therapy exercise session. It was strenuous. At first I felt better, then later I felt worse. This morning, after a good night's sleep, I feel better again.

Today I'm going to the gym and then to DSW to use a $5 coupon. Planning on finding a pair of socks. Then, later in the day, C and I are going to see "The Glass Castle." I loved that book; I hope the movie does it justice. I'm going to get free popcorn; I got a birthday coupon on my theater app.

Didn't eat the salmon yesterday - I wasn't hungry at dinnertime - so I'll have that today, and probably my other meal will be fried rice. For breakfast, I may make johnnycakes, but I'm not hungry yet.

Anybody have solar eclipse viewing plans? Carbondale, in our state, will have the longest total eclipse in the U.S. But it's WAY downstate, and, anyway, I'm going to be in Michigan. If I didn't have other plans, I might be interested in viewing it -- such a rare event.

Ready for Winter!

August 14th, 2017 at 12:21 pm

My only spending yesterday was a load of laundry -- the basket of totes, scarves, hats etc. that my cat soiled. Not everything was washable. I lost three scarves and a pair of gloves. That's okay, I have plenty of both. The worst problem was the lint exchange -- white on black and black on white -- I should have never washed them together! But I got them all brushed and presentable. Good job done. Today I'm going to store them in their new home, the little chest of drawers I moved to the entryway, and I'll be all ready for winter.

Variables are at 80% and nine days to go. I do have a trip coming up, but if I'm careful, I should be able to come in under this month.

My DIL gave me a chicken carcass that she was going to throw away. I made broth yesterday, and I'll combine in with leftovers to make chicken rice soup today. My other main meal will be salmon.

I went to the library yesterday and took out the next Harry Potter and three more movies - "Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close," "Aloft" and "Aloha."

After waking up yesterday with no pain, I have to admit that it came back during the day, and I had kind of a rough night last night. I have physical therapy today; hope it helps and doesn't make me feel worse. I'm also going to go to Planet Fitness and work out on the recumbent bike, but gently, of course!

Sunday Morning

August 13th, 2017 at 02:35 pm

I went out with the kids to a Mexican restaurant yesterday in honor of my birthday. It was great. But the best present of all -- I got up this morning feeling something was strangely missing. It was PAIN! For the first time my knee feels significantly better. I'm not going to push it today, though I do need to do a load of laundry. Mystery got accidentally closed up in my hall closet and relieved herself in my basket of winter accessories and tote bags. I'm just going to wash everything and see what survives. That will mean at least three trips up and down the steps.

My son brought up the chest of drawers I bought at the garage sale. It's actually a little large for the space I was hoping to fill, so I put it in my bedroom, replacing a chest that's a little smaller. The smaller chest is now going in the entryway. I plan to put hats, gloves and scarves in the drawers.

Anyway, no spending yesterday!

My new phone is finally operational. It took a long time for the SIM card to be delivered. Since my son ordered it, it was delivered to his address -- BUT, even though it cost only $1, it could not be left without a signature, and at my son's house, everybody is on the move all the time. Well, finally this weekend he had the card in hand and he set up my new phone. I am happy to report that I can now use it in every room of my condo. Plus, I have TONS of storage now, so I downloaded and started enjoying the Scrabble game immediately.

I'm getting near the end of Harry Potter, and when I'm done, C and I and the grandkids are going to watch the movie. So I'm under pressure to get it done today! I'm going to the library today (materials to return) so I'll check out the second in the series.

Exciting stuff, eh? Life is good.

Garage Sales

August 12th, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Yesterday I hit the garage sales for the first time this year. C and I went together. I had some good luck -- at the first stop, I found a small chest of drawers for $5, a set of 7 placemats for $5, and a new set of curtains, which will look great in my bedroom, for $4. At the next I bought 3 figurines for $1 apiece. Two will go to BFF and one to GS2. At the third stop I bought a new jeans jacket for GD, $5, as well as a play iron for $1.

At about noon we got tired and went to IHOP to use my birthday coupon for a free stack of pancakes. We split the balance, so lunch was $4.

After I got home I got achy and supertired, so I took some Tylenol and went to bed; got up later feeling much better.

Birthday celebrating is being delayed, as my son was traveling yesterday and GS1 was at camp. I did get a package from Florida son -- a book I really want to read, plus a promise of "something else" to come today. And I got a nice long letter from my sister, which was wonderful, as we have been out of contact for some time. She tends to "disappear" when her life gets messy (it's messy a lot) so it was good to hear from her.

Variables have jumped up to 80% -- $171 left to stay on target -- 11 days to go.

Trucking Along

August 11th, 2017 at 02:04 pm

Just got back from the gym and PetSmart, where I spent $13 on cat food. That brings my variables up to 76%. I can only spend $200 before payday to stay on track.

I believe yesterday was a no-spend day. I did go to the gym yesterday, but spent the rest of the day at home.

Meals today: Steak bread for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, and chicken w/brown rice, quinoa & red pepper for dinner. This may change, as today is my birthday, and the kids might take me out today.

As befitting my birthday, I found .37 today -- .35 in the laundry room and .02 at PetSmart. Which reminds me, I need to go down and put my wash in the dryer. Too bad I didn't remember to do that on my way back from my outing! Oh well.

My Eyes and My Knee

August 10th, 2017 at 01:16 pm

My eye appointment yesterday went very well. I showed a little change in my distance vision but not enough to need glasses. The optometrist suggested I might get progressive lenses, though, so I wouldn't have to go back and forth with reading glasses. Really? Buy an expensive pair of glasses just so I don't have to put on reading glasses? Wouldn't even consider it. The appointment cost $20 - copay. That didn't seem right; I didn't think there was a vision option in my Medicare Advantage, but I didn't argue with them.

After the eye appointment I went to the physical therapist's and made an appointment for later in the day. After the evaluation, they signed me up for five more visits. I won't be paying that bill until they bill me. Usually that comes at the end of the series. But it will be $45 per session. Which I didn't think was so great until I saw the price chart and realized yesterday's visit would have been $261 otherwise!

The therapist is confident I will be feeling much better in a few weeks. He advised me to get an adhesive wrap, to use the bicycle at the gym five days a week, and to continue my strength training, while avoiding any movement that hurts. Also to use heat, not ice. He said my knees are structurally fine.

So, while I hate to spend this money, I'm glad I went, and I'm looking forward to improvement.

I bought the Ace bandage this morning with my Walgreens gift card, so it was free.

I signed up to be a mystery shopper yesterday. I am disappointed at the possible assignments, however. I would say 98% of them are for car repair, which I can't use right now. Well, nobody can, since the mechanics are all on strike! There were a few for retail stores, but so far away it wouldn't be worth driving to for the little money it pays. But I'll keep checking every day.

Variables are at 71%. I will have to buy more cat food before I leave on my Michigan trip on the 20th. I can't think of any other necessity, but I really want to see the movie "The Glass Castle" which is opening this weekend. And I still have my free popcorn coupon, which I couldn't use before because of app issues.

Meals today: Breakfast - oatmeal. Lunch - Pizza. Dinner - Cheeseburger. (Note: I didn't have the cheeseburger yesterday because the burger was still frozen.) Sides, of course, will be carrots and celery!

An Uneventful Day

August 9th, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Not too much to report today. I went to PF yesterday and did my strength training, as well as picking up my free bagel. I didn't go out any more, hoping the R&R would help my knee. I was feeling pretty good at the end of the day, but then took a wrong step and pulled something, so I can't say I'm really improved. Today I have to go out to go to the eye doctor, so I'm going to stop at the physical therapist's, too. I'm playing phone tag with them and I think it will be more productive to just go there.

Had a nice conversation with another gym member over our bagel breakfast. She works at the YWCA. Sounds like they have a great aquacise program that might be worth investigating.

Meals today: Biscuits & honey for breakfast, Cheeseburger w/veggie side for lunch, Carrot Soup w/ celery sticks for dinner.

I keep getting emails from Pine Cone to participate in a survey, but lately I'm not qualifying. It seems the only thing surveyors are interested in from people in my age group are opinions about incontinence supplies and Viagra.

I guess the potential employer is not interested in setting up a meeting. I seem to have dropped from his radar. I'm not upset; I don't really want to work, but with the budget so tight, I do feel compelled to follow up when the opportunity presents itself. I'm not interested in beating the bushes, however.

I watched "Testament of Youth" yesterday, which was a little slow, but beautifully filmed and acted. It was based on the memoirs of a woman who lived through WWI.

I started the first Harry Potter last night. Still can't get into such an exaggerated story -- I like realism -- but I'll keep at it so I can discuss with the grandsons.

Zoo Day

August 8th, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Yesterday was an impromptu zoo day. I heard on the news that the zoo was having a free day for kids, so I called C to see if she'd like to join me and our grandson in a trip to the zoo. It was an absolutely perfect day, and GS had a blast taking pictures of just about every animal on exhibit.

Financially, the day set me back $29 for admission for us two seniors plus $6 for an Icee. C paid for parking and kicked in an extra $3 so GS could enter the petting zoo area. We chose not to go into the petting zoo ourselves, but watched from outside the entrance. GS seemed to enjoy his independence for those minutes.

Physically, the day beat up my legs, even though I took great care to sit every time I could. Consequently, I had an awful night. I did manage to dispel a lot of the ache with a heating pad, but I couldn't take away the throbbing pain behind my knee. This morning it is better.

I am still not able to use the new phone. The SIM card did not arrive yesterday. My son is traveling for work today -- not sure when he will be back, but it may be Friday, so I may not get the phone operational until then. At least I am able to use my current phone; it's just inconvenient.

Needless to say, I did not take advantage of pizza day at Planet Fitness yesterday. I did, however, pack a lunch for the zoo trip, using up the last tuna patty and some carrots and celery, thus avoiding that expensive zoo food. I ate my leftover hibachi food for dinner. Today is bagel day at PF, so I will try to get in on that this morning. Lunch and supper will probably be salmon, with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, and grilled cheese with carrot soup.

I got a $41 bill for medical services (ultrasound and lab work). I'm putting it aside to pay once pay day rolls around on the 23rd.

I'm firming up plans with old friends from the College to have dinner downtown on September 6. I'm also going to the botanic gardens with my professional group on the following Saturday, and the next day, to a barbecue. In two weeks I'm going to a baby shower for my nephew's wife up in Michigan. BFF is working on a trip for us up to Door County, where we will stay with a friend of hers. So a lot of socializing coming up! Which is good, but none of it will be free.

Variables are already a whopping 71%, and that doesn't even count the cost of the phone, which will come out of the EF. Nor does it count tomorrow's eye doctor appointment. The upcoming PT visits (if I ever get them scheduled -- that's another story) will probably come out of next month's budget.


August 7th, 2017 at 01:26 pm

Yesterday I went out to lunch at the local hibachi restaurant with DIL, C and one of the grandsons. I had a Groupon, which had unfortunately expired, but was still worth the $20 investment I had made in it. We split the remaining balance three ways and it came out to be $24 apiece. That was a bit more than expected. After thinking about it, I decided I'm going to offer some cash back to them, as this was supposed to be a "thank you" event and it turned out to be a bit of a splurge instead.

That said, the food was great, as was the "show."

Today is free pizza day at Planet Fitness, so I'm going to try to time my arrival accordingly. I still have a tuna patty and apricot chicken, as well as leftovers from yesterday's lunch, to eat up. I will probably freeze the chicken, as I think it will freeze the best.

I went to the library and checked out the first Harry Potter book, so I can catch up with my grandchildren. No, I've never read them -- fantasy is not my thing -- but they are really into HP now, so I'm going to try to keep up. I also checked out three new DVD's: Suffragette, Testament of Youth, and W/E.

I'm really looking forward to the arrival of the SIM card so I can get my new phone going! It's really annoying to have a phone that can only be used in the kitchen!

RIP Old Phone

August 6th, 2017 at 12:06 pm

I had my son check my phone settings yesterday, just to make sure there was nothing amiss, and then he helped me pick out a new phone on Amazon. It was delivered the same day, since I have Amazon Prime. However, it is still not functional, because the SIM card from my old phone doesn't fit in the new one. So a new one was ordered, but it probably won't arrive till Monday.

The new phone is a fifth generation Moto G. I currently have the first generation, so this should be a big improvement, especially in storage. It was $255. Ouch! I did get a $50 discount for being a Prime member. I decided to go with the newest and latest, in hopes that it will last a long time. I don't want to have to buy a phone during my gap year, which will begin next July.

The news about C is not good. Her chemo is not working. They gave her a prognosis of six months. She could try another chemo, but it comes with a lot of side effects and would only extend her life by a couple of months. I don't know what she has decided to do. I saw her yesterday, but we didn't discuss her illness. It is clear she prefers not to. I can't even imagine how hard this must be for her.

I had a very bad night last night with general leg pain. I'm going to try to get my initial PT appointment set up today. My eye appointment has been moved again, this time to Wednesday.

My older grandson is leaving for camp this morning. He'll be there for a week, and he's very excited. I'm going to go be part of the send-off team, when the buses leave from the Y.

I watched "The Danish Girl" yesterday and have one more DVD to watch -- "Hell and High Water." They are all due today.

I have a load of laundry to do. I'm going to take it down and put it in my storage unit when I leave for the Y. Then, when I come home, I can put it in the washer before I climb the stairs again. I'm going to do the bare minimum of stair-climbing today until I get my legs working properly again.

Meals today will be tuna patties and apricot chicken for lunch and dinner (both leftovers). Not sure yet about breakfast -- maybe granola. The apricot chicken turned out great, even though I had to substitute honey for the apricot jam. I had plenty of fresh apricots, so it was suitably apricot-y.

I had a second dinner last night. When I was at my son's house, working on the phone replacement, they were cooking hamburgers and fixings. Even though I'd already had the apricot chicken, I was talked into having a half a hamburger. (So delicious!) And I took some fresh corn, cantaloupe and tomatoes, so I don't think the calorie damage was too bad.

Phone Troubles

August 5th, 2017 at 01:48 pm

I think I need a new phone. I did verify with Straight Talk that everything is all right on their end -- my phone is activated, my account is up to date, cell tower strength is good in my area. I have checked settings numerous times according to solutions offered on forums. I have powered off and on, I have taken out the SIM card and put it back. I have moved the router and moved it again. I'm at a loss.

The only reason I hesitate to get a new phone, despite the cost, is that I am afraid it will not solve the problem, and then I will have spent that money -- which I really need for other things -- for nothing. That said, it is an old phone -- in phone years -- and I have a significant storage problem with it in addition to the signal issues, so it wouldn't be a total waste to get a new phone.

I have to enlist my son's help, though, so I don't order something I can't use. It's all so confusing. This stuff is really hard for seniors; younger generations just don't realize how hard, and how isolating it is. I'm feeling like an old fogey -- I really wish the world hadn't changed quite this much.

I did take the boys to the Emoji movie yesterday, which set me back $19, and afterwards we went to McDonald's, where I spent $7.

DIL took C to the doctor yesterday, and when I returned the boys she briefly told me it was not good, and teared up. I wish I knew more, but I could not ask in front of the boys. I will try to learn more from my son today. But even in this state of knowing nothing -- but knowing it is bad -- I am pretty depressed.

I did not make the apricot chicken yesterday since I ate at McDonald's, so I'll do that today. I also have two tuna patties to eat up or freeze (but they didn't freeze well last time I did this). I need to deal with the celery and carrots, too. So I guess I will be spending some time in the kitchen today.

Senior Moment

August 4th, 2017 at 01:15 pm

Yesterday I had a classic senior moment -- I arrived for my 12:20 eye appointment at 2:20. It was correctly written on my appointment card, but when I transferred the information to my Google calendar, I dropped the "1." Needless to say, they weren't thrilled to see me come in two hours late, without a clue that I had been a no-show.

I rescheduled for Monday.

Today I'm going to watch the boys for several hours while their mom takes C to the doctor. We may go see the Emoji movie, if they haven't done that yet. I have a free popcorn coupon!

My knee continues to be a mess, so after my eye appointment I'm going to set up some PT appointments.

I finally finished the tuna salad and mac & cheese yesterday! Today's meals: blueberry pancakes for breakfast, tuna patty for lunch, and apricot chicken for dinner. Yes, more tuna. I bought a big can, and I have to use up the rest of it.

Babysitting always throws a wrench in meal plans, so the reality may be a little different.

Did some laundry yesterday. Variables are now at 55%.

The cool has arrived! I love the way the house feels right now, fresh and crisp. No AC, no fans.

Little Economies

August 3rd, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Only made one financial transaction yesterday -- I returned the unopened bottle of glucosamine/chondroitin to Walgreens. Since I bought it more than 30 days ago, they gave me store credit in the form of a gift card. $14. I'm not counting it as a snowflake, since it was just a return on money already spent. I did adjust my tracking for last month. And of course the $14 card will help me get something cheap when another need comes up that can be met at Walgreens.

Oh, and one more. I filled out a rebate form for the wine I bought for DIL. I will get $3 back.

I also did my strength training yesterday, and I got a new card at Planet Fitness, because my original was so battered it wouldn't swipe any more! So I guess that is a sign that I am getting the use out of my gym membership.

Speaking of Planet Fitness, I've noticed there is a man living in a car who parks under a tree right next to the gym. I've seen him three or four times now. He kind of spreads his stuff out (drying in the sun?) so he really isn't trying to be surreptitious. Is it Tabs? Smile No, it's not a Prius. Whenever I see him, I wish him well in my heart. I hope he does not get harassed by the merchants.

Meals today -- would you believe I'm still eating mac & cheese and tuna salad? That's the trouble with living alone. I also think I will make blueberry pancakes for breakfast today to use up the last of the berries. I will probably finish the strawberries today, too. I expect that tomorrow I will make apricot chicken to use up the apricots. I've GOT to remember not to buy so many perishables at one time! After those are done, I need to concentrate on the celery and carrots. Not too excited about the idea of making more soup, as I have a big batch already made and sitting in the freezer.

Looking forward to a nice drop in temperature tomorrow! I've been pretty disciplined about not turning on the AC, but sometimes it just gets too uncomfortable. According to the weather reports, we will be in the 60's tomorrow! I'll probably be too cold. Smile

Errand Day

August 2nd, 2017 at 02:12 pm

Yesterday I mailed a package ($7), bought a baby shower gift ($40), and made a Walmart run, where I talked to the StraightTalk rep, then bought gift wrap & card, hangers and a bottle brush for $12. Then I stopped at the eye doctor's and made an appointment for Thursday.

The StraightTalk rep thought my phone problem was a Wi-Fi problem. He recommended I call customer service. I guess he is not customer service, but a salesman. I am still stumbling along with my phone. I can only get a signal in the kitchen and the bathroom, and sometimes in the bedroom. Never in the living room. Which is where I ALWAYS used my phone before -- and it's also where the Wi-FI is. Weird. I looked into cell phone extenders, but they are expensive.

The baby shower gift was two pairs of shoes from DSW -- one, a pair of Converse sneakers and the other, soft pink cowboy boots. They were on clearance, and I had a $5 coupon to apply. My sales receipt says I saved $24. I hadn't been thinking shoes at all, but I ran into these while I was looking for a way to use my coupon, and I decided to go for it.

After getting home, I relaxed the rest of the day.

C was discharged yesterday and she is feeling good. That new stent is doing its work. I haven't heard about the MRI yet. I don't press. She tells me what she tells me.

Meals today -- much the same as yesterday. I had biscuits & berries for breakfast, and will have mac & cheese for lunch, and tuna salad sandwich for dinner. Or the other way around.

I made a very nice fruit salad yesterday with blueberries, strawberries and apricots, and I will probably do that again.

So, no cooking today!

I got my electric bill. It was $55, which is higher than the usual $36 or so, but not too bad considering the AC usage.

Variables are at 53%. And three weeks to go! But I hope I have gotten most of the necessities out of the way. I still have to get gas, I have a trip up to Michigan in a couple of weeks, and the eye appointment to pay for, which will be out of pocket, since I have no vision coverage anymore. But at least they will give me the AARP discount!

No word yet from the potential employer. I assume he is slogging through email, and setting up a meeting for a potential backup researcher is not high on his list of priorities.

C is Better

August 1st, 2017 at 12:32 pm

C was feeling sick yesterday because, it turned out, the stent in her bile duct was blocked. The hospital was able to squeeze her in for a procedure to replace it yesterday afternoon. She was hoping to come home today, but they have scheduled her for a brain MRI this evening, because she has been having headaches. I assume she will be discharged tomorrow. We are all relieved, but, of course, hoping the MRI doesn't show anything bad.

It was a spendy day for me with the grandsons. I took them to IHOP for lunch because I had a coupon for a free stack. Even with that price break, it cost $24. For dinner, I bought pizza for $11, a "daily special." I also bought them gum and mints for $5, and I picked up a $10 bottle of wine for my DIL to enjoy after she arrived home from a week working in Vancouver.

The reason I took the boys out to eat twice? Because it really helps to break up a long day. And I wanted to keep them happily distracted from what was going on with their other grandmother.

Today we will probably go to the Emoji movie while DIL visits her mom in the hospital. Today is discount day at the movies.

Meanwhile, my joints continue to feel bad. The glucosamine/chondroitin hasn't helped, and in fact, I have gotten worse, and a cruise on the internet indicates that others have had that reaction, too. There is also some indication that g/c may make LDL cholesterol worse, so, bottom line, I shouldn't take it unless it is dramatically helpful. And it isn't. I have one unopened bottle I will try to return.

Meal plans today: oatmeal for breakfast, leftover mac & cheese for lunch, and a tuna sandwich for dinner. Sides of berries, carrots, celery, etc.

Change in Plans

July 31st, 2017 at 04:04 pm

It turned out C was not feeling well, so I had both boys last night. And I will have them today until DIL gets home this evening.

I took C to the ER this morning. She is getting tests now, and I will know more in several hours. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She is frightened. I am, too, but I am keeping calm for the boys' sake.

Later on we will go get pancakes at IHOP. No movie today, as I want to keep my phone on.

I spent $4 last night to rent "Angry Birds" from xfinity. This morning I paid $3.50 to park at the hospital. Variables are already up to 38%, but I am not worrying about that now.


July 30th, 2017 at 01:07 pm

After grocery shopping yesterday, I did no more spending. I spent the rest of the day at home, since my leg was acting up again. I did a lot of reading, and I watched "The Skeleton Twins," which was rather depressing. Guess I'm tired of indie films about young, privileged people contemplating suicide. Seriously, it was very hard to feel sorry for the characters in the film, who so clearly brought about their own problems.

One more DVD to watch today. "Grandma" with Lily Tomlin. Pretty sure it won't be depressing, but may be silly. After I watch it, I'll take them all back to the library and get more. I have put together a list to work from now, so I might make better choices.

Just watched a brief spot about the "Summer of Love" -- 1967 -- on the Today Show. I was between high school and college that summer and I was deeply influenced by that movement. Now it looks kind of silly, but it was such a breath of fresh air! Such an innocent, idealistic, hopeful time. I did not do drugs or get into any of the sketchy areas of that movement, but I remember fondly listening to the great music, growing my hair long and shortening my skirts -- all to the shock of my parents, who apparently thought I was going to continue watching Lawrence Welk and getting bubble haircuts. I remember really believing we could all band together and stop war and racism. Ah well. Now I'm cynical and tired, and I miss those days.

Tonight I'm going to have one of my grandsons overnight, and tomorrow C and I will take both of them to see "Emoji." Probably there will be some eating out as well. Both parents will be out of town for work -- Dad in Nebraska, Mom in Canada! But Mom will get home sometime Monday evening, so I don't expect the sleepover will extend to two nights.


July 29th, 2017 at 03:24 pm

Yesterday I went to PetSmart and spent $33 on cat food and kitty litter, as well as feeder blocks for the fish. It's been a spendy month for pet supplies, but I hope I'm done.

I have a 48-lb. box of kitty litter in the trunk of my car. It was a good deal -- $4 off and a $3 coupon to boot -- and it is the brand I like. But there's no way I can get it up the stairs. I'll have to enlist the help of my son.

This morning I went to Jewel and got two free MyMixx items -- a nutrition bar and ice cream bars -- and I got 10 other items as well: sourdough bread, cookies, laundry detergent, a box of wine, apricots, dried cranberries, celery, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. It was $48.

I haven't bought wine in quite a while, but now that I am off the statin, I can imbibe again. I only drink 5 oz. in the evening. It's good for my heart, so they say. It's also good for my spirit! Buying a box that I keep in the fridge is the cheapest way to go.

I also haven't bought cookies in a while, but it's too hot to bake, and I find myself trolling the kitchen looking for a sweet bite after meals. The trick is to keep it down to a bite.

I did a load of laundry yesterday, which involved three trips up and down the stairs. I also bicycled on the stationary bike at the gym for a half hour, and just getting out involved another trip up and down the stairs. Anyway, it was too much, both knees are aching. I know I should not cease exercise, but I'm having trouble finding the happy medium between rest and exercise.

As I recall from my other bout with knee pain, it was finally time that did the healing.

I got all my Amazon items delivered yesterday. I'm especially pleased with the cookie cutters -- one in the shape of an eagle, one in the shape of a cat's head. At Christmastime, I'm going to make cookies for the grandsons -- one is into birds, the other, cats. I already have one shaped like a fleur de lis. That will form cookies for my ex and his wife, who like to travel in France. Cheap gifts, but pleasing, I hope.

I still have two DVD's to watch. They are due on Monday, but I'd like to return them tomorrow, when the parking is free. So I may watch them both today. I already watched The Dressmaker, which was a little strange and dark, but I pretty much enjoy anything Kate Winslet does.

Friday Musings

July 28th, 2017 at 01:11 pm

After the gym I went to Food4Less yesterday and bought ten more items: 4 packages frozen veggies, tortillas, biscuits, spreadable margarine, frozen pizza, vinegar and tuna. Total was $18.

Today I'll go to PetSmart for cat food and kitty litter. I also have a package of books ready to be shipped to my sister.

Meals today: Migas for breakfast, salad for lunch, Spanish rice for dinner.

It's supposed to be cooler today. Yesterday was comfortable enough to go without the AC, but I was a little warm at times. Today should be lovely.

Variables budget is at 25%. I've promised the Emoji movie for my grandsons, I have shower gifts to buy, a trip to Michigan in August, and I need to get my eyes checked. Plus a couple more grocery trips. I think all that will take care of the rest of the budget.

I do hope the eye exam doesn't lead to more expense. Last year I was told I had the very beginnings of cataracts. I am hoping little progress has been made in that area!

Amazon orders

July 27th, 2017 at 01:51 pm

Yesterday I made my three orders from Amazon, in order to activate the $10 reward. Actually, there was a $7 reward already sitting there on another card, so I used that, too, so it was really four orders. I bought two large cookie cutters, which I will use at Christmastime, and fish food and aquarium filters. Total was $35, so with the discounts, $18. And it will be nice to be stocked up on fish supplies.

I have both soup and fettuccine Alfredo left over. I think I will combine the soup with rice to make Spanish rice, and I'll probably freeze that. I'll have the FA for dinner again, and I'll have salad for lunch.

This morning I am off to the gym, and then will go to Food4Less for ten more items.

I heard from the potential employer. It is a fundraising consultant business and the good news is that they have an office here in town as well as in Chicago. The interviewer said they already have someone for their current project, but would like to talk to me as a possibility for future projects. We were in the process of setting up a meeting, but he had to leave for a conference, so I am on hold. I don't expect to hear from him until next week.

I tried to buy a baby gift for the shower I am invited to, but when I looked at the Target registry (which was referenced in the invitation) I saw that it was all wedding registry stuff, nothing for babies. I could call the organizer, but I think I will just get something generic and useful, like diapers. In fact, there was a laundry basket in the registry; I may just get that and throw in a couple of boxes of diapers. This couple doesn't have a lot of money, and there are already three children from a previous marriage.

Variables are at 23%. I wonder if I can financially squeeze in an eye appointment this month. I am definitely due.

Pay Day Activities

July 26th, 2017 at 03:56 pm

It's pay day, and I've done a lot this morning. I paid my property taxes, paid two credit cards in full, contributed $100 to a scholarship at my alma mater, and I grocery-shopped at Aldi. My ten items for $28 included: chicken, almond milk, granola, croutons, salad, butter, eggs, creamer, honey and carrots. I also stopped at Walgreens to spend my $5 rewards. I paid $2.50 out of pocket for two 48-ct. packages of panty liners.

My July recap:

Car Repair/Maintenance: $884
Insurance: $337
Housing: $321
Utilities: $164
Medical/Health: $132
Fees/Services: $131
Clothing: $81
Groceries: $76
Eating Out: $73
Gifts/Charity: $70
Vacation/Travel: $59
Phone: $52
Vet/Pet Supplies: $39
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $38
Personal: $23
Laundry: $17
Household Supplies: $8
Entertainment: $7
Fares/Parking: $1

Grand Total: $2572

It was my second-highest spending month this year. The first was February, when I also had big car repairs and paid property taxes. Can't do much about either of those.

Because I drew money out of savings, my net worth took a mild hit -- about $1500 less than last month. Hoping I can make that up soon.

I had potato pancakes and applesauce for breakfast. On tap for lunch is chicken tortilla soup, and for dinner, Fettuccine Alfredo with mushrooms.

One of my credit cards will credit me $10 if I add my card on Amazon and then make three separate purchases. I've already added the card, and today I will try to figure out three cheap and useful purchases to make. I won't have to pay shipping, as I am a Prime member.

I redeemed my $100 reward yesterday from my AAA credit card. It's actually $106, because of point credit for things I bought. I arranged to have it transferred to my bank account.

Knee is improving. I walked on the treadmill at the gym this morning with no ill effects. The pain in my toe has gone away.

I guess that's it!

This and That

July 25th, 2017 at 01:43 pm

Yesterday I returned the compression sleeve with no problem. Then I went to the library and returned my DVD -- and checked out three more! The Dressmaker, The Skeleton Twins, and Grandma. Haven't watched any of them yet.

Later in the day I washed sheets, so, combined with my errands, I had three trips up and down the steps. And spent $1.50.

The hot water was restored very quickly after they realized it was just a breaker problem.

The outdoor temperatures have dropped and the weather is beautiful.

I got an email from my colleague which was copied to the new potential employer. I replied with a very brief summary of my experience, a request for more information, and my telephone number. No call yet.

This is my last day before pay day. I'm going to do my July recap later on, as I don't expect to spend anything today. I'm really looking forward to a clean slate tomorrow!

My knee continues to improve slowly, but now I have developed a shooting pain in my little toe, of all places! It doesn't sound like much to complain about, but it really hurts! It helps to ice it, but it took me a while to figure out how to do that. Finally put a little bag of ice cubes into the toe of a sock, which worked pretty well. I'm pretty sure this is nerve pain, while the knee pain is from injury. I'm tired of all of it!

Getting Out a Little

July 24th, 2017 at 01:16 pm

I went out yesterday. I was very strategic. I took my laundry downstairs, then went straight to Walgreens and Jewel, then came home, stopping to tend the laundry before I went back upstairs. When the laundry was dry, I took my garbage down at the same time. That was only two trips up and down the steps.

At Walgreens I bought a knee compression sleeve, but I think I will take it back today. It actually makes my knee feel worse. That was $12. At the grocery, I bought Slide kitty litter with a coupon and rebate offer attached. I've already prepared the rebate request. So that will not only be free, but will earn me a dollar (because of the coupon). I also bought one can of cat food -- it's a new brand, and I want to test it with the kitties before I commit to it. And I got three free MyMixx items -- cucumber water, ice cream bars, and dressing. My total spending was $8 but I'll get $7 back. The MyMixx items were worth $7, so I added that to Snowflakes.

Today I need to wash sheets. I'll combine that with my trip back to Walgreens and a drive-by at the library to return my DVD.

My knee is feeling better, but it is not back to normal yet. When I get in the wrong position, I definitely feel that "catch" which is so painful. I just have to be patient and wait for the healing. I'm doing mild stretching exercises, but for the time being I'm forgoing the gym. Maybe tomorrow I can go do my strength-training.

I got a text this morning from a former colleague who asked me if I was interested in part-time work in Chicago. If so, she would recommend me to the person who contacted her. I am willing to at least investigate. I'm now awaiting a followup email which will tell me more.

This morning I was loading the dishwasher and noticed, as I rinsed the dishes, that the hot water wasn't working. I tried the bathroom sink, and sure enough, no hot water there either. I guess it will be a while before I take my shower. Hope it gets resolved today!

Day of Rest

July 23rd, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Yesterday was my day of rest. I did not venture out at all. My knee is getting better, but healing will be a slower process than I would like.

But I think I can manage the stairs today, so I'm going to do some laundry and go to the store. I'm planning to get kitty litter, cat food, and some free MyMixx items, if they're still available.

I looked at knee compression sleeves online. I did not order one, but I may do so after payday on Wednesday.

I got a $2 cash settlement check (can't remember what for) so I added that to my slush fund, which definitely needs some pumping up. But this payday is going to be all about making ends meet, as I have to pay my property taxes and a Discover bill which includes the $884 car repair. I will have to tap my e-fund.

I've done several Pine Cone surveys this month, but the $3 payments go to snowflakes, which will go to my granchildrens' college funds.

I may sign up for an AARP driver safety course. I would supposedly receive a discount on my insurance. But I would also have to pay $15 for the course. I assume my discount will be larger than $15, but I think I will check with my agent, anyway! The course will not be held until next month.

Other frugalities: I made cornmeal pancakes for breakfast yesterday, and there is enough batter left over to make them today. I also made a tomato casserole for lunch, which will also be lunch today. Dinner was salmon and Ranch mashed potatoes. I ate all the salmon, but there are plenty of potatoes left for another meal. I may do a potato bowl, with a filling of peppers, onions and mushrooms.

I watched "Sully," which I borrowed from the library prior to BFF's visit. We never got around to watching it while she was still here.

I am using my AC minimally, despite high heat and humidity. I am able to stay pretty comfortable with fans and open windows. I am lucky to live near the lake, which keeps the temperatures about 10 degrees lower than neighboring areas.

Obviously, yesterday was a no-spend day!

Here We Go Again

July 22nd, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I was watching the grandsons in the park yesterday and decided (foolishly) to shoot some hoops with one of them, when I felt a R-I-P in my knee. Any progress I had made is gone, and more.

I'm going to take the weekend to rest up and baby it before I decide whether I should go to the doctor. I know I didn't really break or tear anything, because I wouldn't be able to walk. But walking is painful, and the stairs more so. Today I plan to stay in all day and not even tackle the stairs, in hopes that will facilitate healing. And maybe tomorrow, as well.

I do have a full hamper of colored clothes, but laundry can wait. It's not like I don't have enough clothes to wear!

A larger urgency is kitty litter and cat food. If I were feeling normal I would get both today. I'm going to try to hold out until Monday.

So, the bright side is, no temptation to spend, and I should have a nice weekend reading and relaxing.

And I need to start thinking about what to do about getting into a first-floor condo or a building with an elevator. I love this condo, but it's clearly a problem every time I injure my legs, which I seem to be doing more and more frequently. Sigh.

Friday Morning

July 21st, 2017 at 11:32 am

Yesterday I was unpacking one of my purchases -- a bundle of 25 "velvet" hangers -- when I realized that three of them were cracked. I had bought them at T.J. Maxx. I took them back, intending to get a new pack, but they didn't want to do an exchange. They refunded the money, and told me I could then go buy a new pack. Well, I realized that at this time I'd rather have the money back in play, so I didn't get a new pack. Later. I do still need them, but that project can wait.

So that put $11 back into play. I spent $1.50 yesterday on laundry, so I have $36 in cash to make it till payday on the 26th.

I was invited to a baby shower up in Michigan for the wife of one of my nephews. That gift will come out of next month's budget. The shower isn't until late August.

I also got a solicitation for a donation to a scholarship honoring my friend P's retirement. I will donate to that in next month's budget as well. (I was not individually targeted; the solicitation went out to all former students.)

It turns out I will not be needing physical therapy; my knee has improved dramatically in the past few days and I expect to be completely back to normal soon. What a relief.

I still haven't gone to the grocery store. I had some leftovers from eating out with my BFF, and yesterday my grandson brought over a quarter of a watermelon. I got some free cherry tomatoes on a MyMixx deal, so I'm good in the produce department.

Today I'm going to watch the grandsons from about 9 to 1. Planning to make lunch at home and perhaps go to the park in the morning before it gets too hot.

My grandson's team lost their tournament game last night, so baseball is over for this year. I guess that will save me a little gas, as some of the games are 1/2 to one hour away. But I'll miss the free entertainment.

Visit Aftermath

July 20th, 2017 at 01:40 am

BFF has gone home, and in her wake, my poor budget is on life support. Not her fault. We just had a lot of fun together and I lost my perspective and spent too much.

We both love to go Goodwill shopping, and generally I hold it down. But this time, I found so much stuff. Having a $5 coupon and 15% off for being a senior made it all seem sensible. But I spent a lot -- $102. Some of it was for gifts, but I also bought some brand-new boots, two blazers, three jackets, eight tops, two scarves and a bracelet. I love everything I bought. Strictly speaking, I didn't need clothes, but my wardrobe was looking tired, and I'm pretty excited about these additions.

But of course it was exactly the wrong time to do this. My variables budget is now 110%. (Because I also ate out, got gas and went to a movie.) That said, I still have $26 to spend before pay day, because of coming in under budget in past months. So I will just do my darnedest to spend nothing, though I think I MAY have to cave on kitty litter. And I'll have to do laundry.

So, six days of belt-tightening. I choose to think of it as exciting!

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