Home > Archive: May, 2014

Archive for May, 2014


May 30th, 2014 at 02:05 pm

The books I ordered for our workshop were supposedly delivered on Wednesday, but no package. I ordered a replacement shipment, but I don't know if it will make it on time.

What really distresses me is having another problem with receiving a package. The other one turned up -- will this one?

All I can say is, if someone stole a package with 20 copies of a book on how to do prospect research, they're probably sorely disappointed!

Before I even realized that the package was missing in action, I made a second order of 10, since more people had signed up. I hope THAT package arrives okay.

If this proves to be a continuing problem - with others as well as myself -- we will probably all have to go to the post office to pick up our packages. Yuck.

Today was my weigh-in day and the scale showed a 2-lb. gain! What? I haven't been starving myself, but I thought I was holding the line. Time to be more vigilant.

(Of course I'm very tempted to blame the junky scale!)

Yesterday was a no-spend day, and I think today will be, too, unless I do some laundry tonight!

Dinner Recap

May 29th, 2014 at 02:35 pm

Last night's dinner went well. The bereaved mom seemed pretty much like her old self, only with a veil of sadness. She did not talk about her daughter, and we did not push her. She has always been a very private person and a very strong lady. I do hope there is someone in her life with whom she can openly share. I also hope it was therapeutic just to sit in the sun and have a good meal, some laughter, some gossip, and a glass of wine. It was good to see that she can still laugh.

My portion of the meal was $21.

The others were amenable to giving me cash and letting me put the whole meal on my Cap One Quicksilver card. I've put $309 on it so far and have two more months to get up to $500, so as far as I'm concerned, the $100 reward is in the bag.

One of them gave me a check. I'm going to use my app from the credit union and put it into savings (by taking a picture). I've decided to do this with all checks that I get. I don't get many, but it's easier than going to the bank, and it's another way to plump up savings.

It's the end of the school year and things are winding down quickly. Graduation is this weekend, but already the campus is cleared out. It's too bad -- when the campus is at its most beautiful, the students aren't here to enjoy it! But that means we 12-monthers get to enjoy it all the more!

Dinner Out Tonight

May 28th, 2014 at 04:02 pm

I forgot that I had it on my calendar, but I'm having dinner out tonight. It's with the mother of the young woman who died after a heart transplant. It's the first time I've seen her since the memorial service, and I think it will be difficult. Another friend will be going along, so that will help. I hear she is not doing well -- who would be? Just hoping we can make her day a little brighter.

I wish I had remembered, though, so I could have driven. Now I will be stuck with the hourly train schedule that starts up after six. Ugh. Late night.

I bought my train ticket yesterday ($135) but that was my only spending.

I ran into an "old" friend on the train -- someone I used to see quite regularly but who got on a different schedule. We rode together and caught up on each others' lives. It turns out he and his wife have just sold their house and are moving out West. They don't have a place to live or jobs lined up. They just want to be where there is more sunshine. They're not even sure what state they're going to, but they have to clear out of their house by July. There seems to be a hazy plan to start a business. What?? I tried to be non-judgmental but it sounds pretty crazy to me. They are not youngsters, either. I gave him my business card and told him to please let me know how it all turns out. They are very nice, very religious people and pretty certain that "God will provide." I hope they don't get a rude awakening!

The Fickle Finger of Fate

May 27th, 2014 at 02:47 pm

Well, I should never plan to get a lot of things done. Fate always interferes! I got sick on Sunday and remained sick on Monday, so I lost two days of my long weekend, plus missed all the Memorial Day festivities.

I'm feeling better today and am back at work. Tired, but functioning.

Before I got sick, I went garage-saling with my DIL and her mom on Saturday. I spent about $10 and found some interesting things. Probably my best buy was a McCoy teapot for $1 -- but once I got home I realized that the handle had been broken and glued, so it isn't quite as valuable as I thought. However, it's pretty!

I also got a Belleek vase for $5. It is perfect. I put it in my glass-doored cabinet with my white ware and I am inspired to look for more Belleek, I like it so much! For those that don't know Belleek, it is a lustrous porcelain made in Ireland, almost always white with a delicate clover pattern.

On the more practical side, I found some cookie cutters to give to a friend, some clothes for my granddaughter (including a brand-new Carter's jacket), and a very cool pewter coffee scoop.

On Monday I dragged myself to Supercuts. My hair was already overgrown and I didn't want to wait another week to get it trimmed. I actually felt pretty good while I was there, but afterwards I went home and went straight to bed. The cut was $17, including tip. I've found a wonderful hairdresser at Supercuts; she cuts my hair perfectly. I just hope she stays a while.

I tried to get my train pass for next month this morning, but there was a huge line. I'll try to get it this evening, when there is more time between trains.

I went through a bunch of papers and mail this weekend, and found a $5 bill in a letter from Nielsen. Thank goodness I looked! It was payment for a survey I had done. I wasn't expecting cash. I'd been looking for an email from them.

Well, it's a short week. Tuesday already! Hump Day tomorrow! I can do this!

First Day of a Long Weekend

May 23rd, 2014 at 11:42 pm

I had a bad night because of pain in my legs, but I was able to sleep in this morning.

I did three loads of laundry, then went shopping. First stop was PetSmart, where I spent $40 in the process of trying to get a good deal. I needed fish pellets and kitty litter. The fish pellets are cheap. The kitty litter -- I decided to go with a 27 lb. container of scoopable litter because it was on sale AND there was a $5 coupon. Well, it turned out the $5 coupon was for ProPlan cat food, IF I bought the kitty litter. So I bought the cat food. I had to get a 16 lb. bag to use the coupon. And ProPlan isn't cheap, but I do know it's a good food -- I've used it before, with good results. So that's how I ended up spending $40. I now have three bags of cat food because of various deals. With any luck at all, I shouldn't have to go near PetSmart again for quite a while!

Oh, and those big bags are still sitting in my car. I may have to use my dolly to get them upstairs.

Next I went to Kohl's to use the $10 gift card. I also had a 30% off coupon. I decided to buy two wooden frames, which were 2-for-the-price-of-one. I will give them to my grandniece for her high school graduation. I figure she will want some pictures on her desk at college! The full retail cost was $40 and I got them for $10.

And then to the grocery store. It was difficult to make the choice of only ten items, but I settled on:
ground turkey, bacon, eggs, butter, granola, an onion, pantiliners, detergent, bread, and hamburger buns. Total bill was $26 -- and that was after two weeks of not shopping! (I do have plenty of food in the freezer).

At home again, I made some chicken noodle soup from scratch, and cut up and sauteed some onion and celery to use in sloppy joe's tomorrow. I guess they will be sloppy tom's, since the meat will be turkey!

For breakfast I made an egg casserole, and for lunch a tuna melt. I'm very strategically using things up.

I was pretty tired in the afternoon, but I cleaned out my hutch and put in more seasonally-appropriate dishes etc. (Read that as, yes, I finally packed up my Santa collection!)

My new oven stone was delivered and I washed it and found a place to store it.

I swept all the floors, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, made the bed, and just did a bunch of little housewifey things that I haven't been good about doing lately.

I'm actually looking forward to giving the whole house a through dusting tomorrow!

New card, AC, and weekend plans

May 22nd, 2014 at 02:21 pm

Got my new Capital One Quicksilver card and made my first purchase -- $15 for Garrett's popcorn -- graduation party at work.

I'm taking tomorrow off, so I'll have a nice, long weekend. That's good, because I have a lot of "home" work to do. Being away last weekend put me off schedule. My laundry is piled up, the mail is piled up, and the house is generally a mess.

It was very warm last night, and I managed fine with the windows open and the ceiling fan on -- but it reminds me that I need to address air conditioning soon. I have two very old window units that I would like to replace. They are not very effective, they are energy drainers and very noisy! So I need to look for a good sale to get something small, quiet and efficient. And I think I need three units -- living room, dining room and bedroom. It may sound weird that I need one in the dining room, but it is a large central room and the sun really beats in the windows. It gets very, very warm, and when company is here, that room is the hub of activity.

I haven't grocery-shopped in two weeks, but I'm still going to try to keep it down to ten items. I do have to make a run to PetSmart as well, to get kitty litter and fish food.

And I'm due for a haircut! I think it's going to be a busy weekend, even if no cookout or family event materializes!

My New Shirt

May 21st, 2014 at 01:37 pm

Well, yesterday I averted disaster (i.e. going to meetings in a stinky sweater!) The first morning meeting I did by phone; the second one I skipped (optional). At noon I went out and bought a new top and then went to my two afternoon meetings.

I went to Kohl's -- and kicked myself for not having my Kohl's $10 gift card in my purse! The shirt I bought was $26. I did check the 60-70% off clearance racks, but there was nothing suitable in my size, so I just decided to go for something I liked and that I would wear a lot. So I bought a navy camp shirt with a little bird print in apricot and teal -- very cute.

I almost ALWAYS buy secondhand so retail prices are shocking to me! The $26 shirt was marked down from $36 but still way more than I ever pay.

I also stopped at Barnes & Noble on the way home to order the books -- found out they couldn't order 20 copies, so I went home and ordered on Amazon instead. There was no shipping charge, so it will work out. The only bad thing is they will be delivered to my home and then I'll have to get them to the workshop by myself. Oh well. I have a little dolly that will help.

Sometime back I mentioned that my immediate boss was interviewing for a position at a big museum in the city. She is still on track for getting that job, though they haven't completed the process. She says she will hire me if she gets it. I don't know if this will really come to pass, but it would be a godsend. I would have to put in a few more years of work, but it would certainly make my eventual retirement easier, and the commute would be much better. But as I say, everything is nebulous right now.

Kind of a stinky day

May 20th, 2014 at 02:34 pm

I drove to work today, since I have to stop on the way home and order books for a workshop I'm helping to present. The books are gifts to the attendees; our professional association is footing the bill. I could order online, but for something like this, when I'm ordering in bulk and want the merchandise shipped to a specific store, I would rather talk to someone in person. I'm old-fashioned that way!

I STINK today! Yes, really. I put on a sweater that I air-dried flat. Apparently one of the cats took a leak on it. I didn't notice until I was already here. I sprayed it with air freshener from the bathroom, but it still smells bad -- just a different kind of bad! I think I will simply have to go buy a new top at noon; I can't stand it.

I also have four meetings today (ick!) and my boss just asked me to update a profile ASAP. I hate days like this. I'm only checking in because the very act of posting grounds me and calms me!

Hope everyone out there is having a better day than I am!

Long Weekend with BFF

May 19th, 2014 at 03:03 pm

I had a nice weekend visit, Friday through Sunday, with my BFF. We did our usual -- shopping, eating out, movies -- all the stuff I don't usually do alone. I didn't hold back on spending but it wasn't too terribly bad:

Gas: $45
Food: $60
Shopping: $124
Entertainment: $7

The bulk of my shopping was buying jewelry and a shawl for the wedding I'm attending -- a bit of a splurge but all stuff I will be able to use again. My outfit is done, so no more spending there. We also did our Goodwill run, and I bought some summer clothes as well as some bargains for the grandkids, and some housewares.

We went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel -- hilarious! And watched Twelve Years a Slave on demand. It was hard to watch, but definitely worth seeing.

Mostly we just caught up on girlfriend chatter; it was a great time.

Now it's time to get back on track -- not just spending but calorie counting!

Me, Too!

May 15th, 2014 at 01:56 pm

I updated my settings, and my blog name and settings disappeared. Just so's you know....

I had quite a day yesterday. Everything was going fine and then, as I was walking at the station I tripped over some rough payment and fell. There was no way to catch myself and I went down hard. And I fell on my knees. It's been my biggest fear....

Luckily, though I have scraped hands and knees, and a bump on my "good" knee, I don't seem to be any worse off. I was so afraid that this would set back my progress on my knee, but so far, so good.

I ruined the shoes I was wearing, however. I scraped off the dark "skin" of the leather, exposing a light, rough patch on the toe and it looks pretty awful. I can wear the shoes around home but not to work any more. And they were only a few weeks old.

I also got some blood on my pants -- hoping it will come out in the wash.

It was a hard day to come to work. Not only am I scraped up, but the weather is cold, windy and rainy. I got in my car to drive to work, but when I neared the station there was a perfect parking place, so I took it as a sign that I should park and ride!

But it's pay day! I paid my bills and transferred $1250 into savings. I deposited a check via smartphone into my credit union account, which puts me in the running for a $500 prize. I wonder how good my odds are?

This afternoon we are having an ice cream social at work. I am guessing they will move it inside. I am still up for ice cream, despite the dreary cold, so I hope they don't cancel!

By the way, if you can't tell -- this is CB!

Oh yes, just remembered -- I applied for and was accepted for a new CitiBank Quicksilver card. $100 reward after $500 spending in three months. Easy peasy.

Interesting Things Going On

May 14th, 2014 at 03:40 pm

1. My boss just confessed to me that she is one of two candidates for a job at another organization. She wanted to know is she should tell her boss -- I said no, not until an offer is made. I think there will be some changes around here!

2. I found a stack of nine pennies on a ledge on my way to the station. I pocketed them, of course, but I wonder why someone would do that? Do people just hate pennies?

3. I think I'm giving up on the crystal cat litter. It smells really good for a week, and then it starts to smell really bad, and then it's really difficult to clean the box. It lasts less than half the time it's supposed to. And it's so expensive! However, I still have 3/4 of a container to use.

4. I took a Nielsen survey that will pay $5.

5. I think I'll go with that oven stone for my recognition gift!

Recognition Breakfast

May 13th, 2014 at 05:16 pm

I was recognized this morning as a five-year employee. Got a free breakfast, and I get to choose a gift from a catalog. I think I may go with an oven stone -- I've always wanted one and never had one!

Later in the week there will be a free ice cream social. Love this time of year for the free food!

Planning a getaway this weekend to visit my BFF in Indiana. We haven't been together since before this awful winter, so it will be good to catch up.

Pay day is coming up in two days. It looks like I will be able to transfer $1250 into savings.

Mother's day weekend

May 12th, 2014 at 02:41 pm

The highlight of my weekend was going to an amazing Mother's Day brunch at a local restaurant. I ate WAY too much. I can't even name all the dishes they offered, but for me, the best ones were the crab cakes and Bananas Foster. And we got free mango mimosas, which really didn't matter to me, since my son paid, but I guess that was good for HIS budget!

I wasn't expecting a gift as well, but my son also gave me garnet earrings, which he ordered himself! And my DIL gave me some little vases in the Old Britain Castles pattern I am collecting for my hutch. My Florida son honored my wishes and sent a nice card. The good news I learned from him is that they might be enough ahead that they can fly up for my niece's wedding! That would be so wonderful.

I watched "The Pianist" on Xfinity. I had seen it long ago it the theater, and remembered it as a stunning Holocaust movie. Seeing it for the second time, I think I got even more out of it. It is really an amazing movie -- not a bit of whitewash or softening the horror, yet it was still uplifting in the end. A true story of a survivor, it really shows what it took to endure those times, and at what cost.

This morning I applied for Medicare. This makes my coming retirement seem a lot more real. It is only a year and three months now. That time will pass quickly.

Dreary Indeed

May 9th, 2014 at 03:11 pm

I agree with Deacon's Wife. It is a dreary, dreary day.

I really didn't feel like going to work today when I woke up, so I forced myself ahead with the promise of a muffin at the station ($4, with coffee). After my walk to the station, it was especially welcome. I got SOAKED. Even though I had an umbrella, I was drenched, especially from the knees down. Three hours later I am still damp.

A muffin packs a big punch calorie-wise, so I'll have to be careful today.

Friday is my weigh-in day. There is no change, but since I lost 4 pounds in the last two weeks, I didn't expect any change today. Just glad I didn't gain anything back!

I'm expecting a Mother's Day treat this weekend -- possibly a breakfast at a Southern-style diner -- the idea has been bandied around, anyway!

I'm also looking forward to getting some things done around the house. It's been one of those weeks when I came home every night and did the bare minimum before going to bed. I will feel a lot better if I can get things more orderly.

Chase it is

May 8th, 2014 at 01:36 pm

Looks like I will go with Chase for my new credit card. Just have to fill out the form this weekend. $500 spending in three months, $100 bonus.

That Wells Fargo deal looks good, but I can't commit myself to that much spending.

I made plans to have lunch with a colleague today. I was expecting that she would want to go out, but she wanted to brown-bag it and eat outside, since it will be a pretty day. Have I found a frugal friend?

I normally bring leftovers or frozen entrees that have to be heated up, but today I brought cheese, crackers, an apple, a banana, and granola bars. Might not eat it all, but I am prepared!

I think I have scratched the Las Vegas vacation. I was hoping to meet up with friends attending a conference, but it looks like they won't be going. Next year's conference is in New Orleans. I think that might be something more up my alley, anyway! I've been to New Orleans, once, but didn't get to see very much.

So the next big event is my niece's wedding in July. Not sure how much that will cost me. I have most of my outfit figured out -- just need a scarf, or jewelry. I think I may be able to stay at my brother's house, so no hotel cost, if that is true. I'm driving; no airfare. I'll buy a nice gift, but this event shouldn't break the bank!

My Evening in the City

May 7th, 2014 at 01:27 pm

The plan started to fall apart just as I was leaving to catch the train. DIL emailed that she'd had a terrible day and wouldn't be good company. I texted to make sure she was okay, and she said it was only that -- a bad day, and no baby-sitter, and she couldn't face bringing the boys into town on her own. So I went ahead and met my niece and her fiance for dinner on my own.

Since it was not too cold and windy yesterday, I decided to walk from the downtown station to the hotel -- about 1/2 hour. From there, the three of us walked to Elephant & Castle, about 3-4 blocks away. E&C is a British-themed restaurant -- it serves Yorkshire pudding, beef pie, bangers & mash, poutine, and other British delicacies as well as the usual burgers and salads. We shared poutine and I ordered a steak sandwich, and it was all good. I gave them $20 toward the bill, which they protested but finally accepted. We all had a good time, did a lot of catching up, and got our pictures taken so my niece could post it on Facebook. (Wouldn't be real otherwise, right? Smile )

The restaurant was very close to a CTA stop. The CTA is not my usual train. I take the Metra, which mainly services the suburbs. CTA goes all over the city and into some of the near suburbs as well. It's cheaper, but seedier. The clientele can be a little daunting, and the stations are very rough and dirty.

My niece and her beau walked me to the stop and then continued on to the hotel. I went up and bought a ticket and got out on the platform and waited. And waited. Finally I looked at the schedule. (Duh!) I realized that I had missed the last train for my line, even though it was only 7:30.

With a sinking heart, I talked to a CTA employee, who explained how I could get home if I took three different trains. Yikes! Not knowing the lines at all, I didn't feel at all confident about doing that. I decided to walk back to the Metra station, which, remember, was a half-hour away.

Granted, I could have taken a taxi, but even though I saw a few, they were always in the wrong place, or already had passengers.

So I walked. I was so grateful to have my smartphone to orient myself correctly. I think otherwise I would have gone the wrong way altogether.

It was daylight when I started, but darkened quickly into twilight. I was probably never in danger, but I was scared. I don't mind walking downtown alone in daylight, but the big city feels pretty threatening when it gets dark, and I felt very vulnerable as an older woman alone. I just tried to walk with a lot of confidence so no one would guess how frightened I was.

Obviously, I got to the station just fine, but I was so relieved to get back to familiar territory. I had one more walk to make when I got back to my suburb, but even though it was very dark then, I wasn't afraid on my own turf.

I was aware all this time that my toes were feeling pinched, but when I got home and took my shoes off, I found that a sharp toenail had drawn blood and the toe of my sock was soaked with it. New socks, too! I also had a bad surprise waiting for me at home -- I had neglected to change the cat litter, and the cats let me know it by peeing on a plastic bag in the closet. Copiously. And they had diarrhea on the rug. So I had that mess to clean up and the disgusting litter box to clean before I could relax.

And when I got in bed, my knees (which had felt all right until then) started aching, and I couldn't sleep until a pain pill took effect.

As I was settling in, I reached to the bedside table for a glass of water, which I proceeded to pour all over myself. I think I screamed, "Worst day ever!" But of course it wasn't, just a bad ending to a good day. And it felt awfully, awfully good to be safe at home.

So that's it, the good, the bad and the ugly!

An unexpected visit

May 6th, 2014 at 01:41 pm

No spending yesterday, but.....

I went to the ATM this morning and withdrew $60. Yesterday my niece texted me that she and her fiance are in Chicago, and we are making plans to meet downtown this evening. My DIL and grandsons will come, too. No plan yet but I assume we will go out to dinner somewhere. I'm letting my DIL take charge, as she is good at that!

This is an unexpected expense, but I would never turn down the opportunity to see family!

I woke up this morning in the wrong part of my sleep cycle, and I just feel drained and out of it. Hope I will improve before tonight.

Other than that, not much is going on!