Home > Archive: September, 2015

Archive for September, 2015

Last Entry for a Few Days

September 29th, 2015 at 03:27 pm

I know I'm the most frequent contributor here, and my absence will not necessarily be missed, but while I am on the road to Florida, I don't think I'll be posting. Once I'm there, I'll provide an update on the trip.

I finally got a good night's sleep last night -- though it was interrupted by a caller from my alma mater who was asking for money. She asked for $100 and I'm not sure what I said, but I think I asked for a call at another time.

Anyway, it feels so good to be re-charged. I felt pretty awful yesterday. My plans for today are to do two loads of laundry, pack, blanch & freeze the green peppers, and clean the fish tank, as well as catch up on household chores. I'm so glad that I have my son close by to take care of things while I am gone, but I want to leave everything in good order, too.

I have heard nothing from the museum, so I'm not going to worry about it.

Now that I'm rested, I'm very excited about getting started in the morning. I'm going to get up, pack my cooler, load the car and get going early, so I can spend some time with BFF before continuing the trip the next day. It's very fortuitous that she lives right on my route. It's a good place to start the really long leg of the journey.

So, signing off till Saturday morning....

More News than Usual

September 28th, 2015 at 08:05 pm

Do you remember when I claimed some unclaimed property some time ago -- before I retired? I finally got the check! It was $1109.04. Since I am splitting the proceeds with my other three siblings, my share is $277.26. My brother, who is financially well-off, will probably forget to cash the check. My sister will cash hers and blow it immediately. The other portion will be split again among my late brother's four children. They will get about $67 apiece, so they might all go out to dinner or something. As for me, it will be a snowflake that will go toward my grandchildren's education.

I just got back from the store, where I got a free Stouffer's dinner with a coupon, and I paid $3 for a can of crabmeat. (And I found .13!) I'm going to make a dip with cream cheese, cocktail sauce and crabmeat and eat that with crackers today and tomorrow. I may have the Stouffer's dinner tomorrow evening. I'm done cooking till after vacation -- except that I have to blanch and freeze some green peppers. Wasn't thinking when I bought three of them!

I also went to the library and checked out two audiobooks for the trip. I've got all my clothing set aside to pack. Tomorrow I should do a couple of loads of laundry -- though I don't have to. I would just rather not have it staring at me when I get back. I need to clean the fish tank and write instructions for my son about feeding them. And then all the regular stuff like running the dishwasher and taking out garbage and cleaning the cat pan, so nothing just sits while I'm gone.

I would feel more excited about the trip if I weren't so tired. I've had two really bad nights of sleep! I don't know what's going on, but it's got to stop now.

I appreciate the suggestions about hotel rooms. What I am going to do is this: I'm going to stop wherever I am at about five-thirty or six, but I'll try to find a Choice hotel. That way, if I stay at one on the way there and back, I'll get credit for a free night some other time. Also, I have travel points on my BOA Visa card so I will get reimbursed $100 for the hotel stay.

I'm going to pay my grandsons a little something when I get back for helping with the care of my cat and the fish. I especially want them to give my cat lots of love, as she will be lonely. But it will still be less stressful for her than boarding, or trying to take her with me.

So, one more day of getting ready and then I'm on the road!

A Plan

September 27th, 2015 at 04:44 pm

On Wednesday I'm going to head down to my BFF's, stay the day and night, and from there head to Florida. It will take two days on the road. I will probably stop somewhere near Atlanta on Thursday night, and arrive in Gainesville on Friday night.

At least Gainesville is closer than where I used to go (Sarasota-Fort Myers area). I'm making a list of things to do, things to pack, etc. I will make it a challenge to spend as little as possible -- pack a cooler, etc. The hotel room is the only unknown -- I don't know where I'll be for sure, and I do want to stop in a safe area. I've stayed in a few cheap hotels that scared the life outta me! It is a good time for driving, not only weather-wise, but also because gas prices are low.

Went to my grandson's birthday party yesterday, and brought home the leftovers. I have a reputation! It is mostly veggies and hummus, which I will have for lunch.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: English muffin (the last one!)
Lunch: Veggies/hummus
Dinner: Cheese quesadillas (the last tortillas!)

Using things up before the trip. For the road, I'm going to pack hard-boiled eggs, cheese cubes, apples, green pepper strips, granola bars, cookies, and maybe a peanut butter sandwich. I'm not going to mess with drinks, other than water. I'll get coffee on the road. It will be my treat.

On Tuesday I'll go to the main library and check out a book on CD. That really helps me a lot with a long trip. I'll probably get a couple.

I'm going to stay in Florida until next Thursday morning (tentatively) and then make the trip back.

I will take my laptop, so I can keep in touch with you guys! And also keep in touch with any messages from work. But at this point, with no answer from the museum, I'm going forward with my vacation plans and will deal with them when I get back. After all the waiting they've made me do, I don't feel too bad about it.

Garage Sales

September 26th, 2015 at 06:11 pm

This morning I went to garage sales. It's a beautiful day, perfect for roaming around the city. I went to five sales and spent $19. I bought a board game to use as a gift for my son, a doll high chair for my granddaughter, three porcelain Dutch houses, and a new pair of khakis. And I found a dime! Just realized while counting up that one of the sellers overcharged me by a dollar. Oh well.

About the Dutch houses. I already have two, so now I'm starting a collection. I have some Dutch heritage (actually descended from one of the founding New York families -- but I'm not a Vanderbilt, or anything like that.) Smile It was very lucky to find three today. What is not so lucky is that I can't find the two I own already! Where are they? I remember moving them from the windowsill so they wouldn't get knocked over, but where did I put them? I'm baffled. Another reason to start going through all my drawers and closets.

Today is my grandson's birthday party. I am giving him a Snackeez to open and a $50 check for a fun experience, to be chosen by mom and dad.

Yesterday was a no-spend day. I didn't go anywhere, but I did take a walk by the lake.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: English muffin
Lunch: Migas
Dinner: Birthday food

Yesterday's shopping

September 25th, 2015 at 02:32 pm

Went to PetSmart yesterday and spent $5 on algae thins. I am well-fixed on cat food and litter, so didn't have to get either of those.

Then I went next door to Aldi. What do they say about never shopping when you're hungry? I was hungry. But I didn't do TOO bad. I spent $36 on 17 items:

Sourdough bread
Greek yogurt
Sundae cones
Paper towels
Green peppers
Canned mushrooms
Granola bars
Chocolate syrup
Jumbo biscuits
Cocktail sauce
Strawberry preserves
Horseradish sauce

The cookies and the sundae cones were definitely impulse, splurgy items. The other stuff I can justify.

I was only intending to buy a few things, so I wasn't prepared with a tote bag or box for carrying them home. I laid them out in the trunk and set up barriers so they wouldn't roll around. However, when I got home, I realized I was going to have to go up and get a tote. On my first trip up, I carried an armload of perishable stuff. Thinking I had a little time before getting the rest, I stopped and ate lunch. Then I went to retrieve the other items and found that the biscuits (which I had overlooked as perishable) were starting to burst out of the can.

So after taking all the stuff up, I immediately baked the biscuits, and now they are in the freezer.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: English muffin, raspberries
Lunch: Egg salad sandwich, apple
Dinner: Cheese quesadillas, salsa, green pepper strips

I'm doing laundry today and changing the linens. Later I must vacuum (which I tend to put off). Yesterday I pulled out a chest of drawers looking for something I had dropped and found an unbelievable amount of cat hair! It's too small a space for the cats to get there, so it's just hair that has drifted in. Amazing!

I felt very under the weather yesterday, but I realized late in the day that it was probably a reaction to the flu shot. I hope to be more productive today!

Variables spending is at 65%, with only a few days left in September!


September 24th, 2015 at 01:43 pm

Yippee!! I got my first SS deposit yesterday! Now I don't have to feel like I am in limbo any more.

I paid my mortgage and my Discover bill, which was $791. (I put everything on Discover and pay in full.) My $43 electricity payment was withdrawn.

I walked to Walgreens to get my flu shot, which was free, even the high-dose. Then I started to buy a watch battery, but no one was able to help me install it, and I was afraid to try. Later in the day, I was cleaning some of the crud off my watch with a straight pin, and the back of the watch popped off! I went back and bought that battery and installed it myself. It was $6. Watch is working great.

I also watched Elysium and then walked to the library to get new DVD's. The new batch is Interstellar, Blue Jasmine and The Kite Runner.

I made rice pancakes for dinner last night, using leftover rice. They were delicious! Here is the recipe: 1 cup flour, 1 cup yogurt, 1 egg, 3/4 cup cooked rice (mashed a little) and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Add enough water to make a smooth batter. I fried small dollops in butter. They are very tender, so you can't make big pancakes; they are too hard to flip. Served them with butter and syrup, and they were delicious. I put half the batter in the freezer to have some other time.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: English muffin
Lunch: Olive-nut sandwich, apple
Dinner: Green bean casserole w/ bacon

I am almost out of algae thins so I have to make a trip to PetSmart today. I think I'll stop in at Aldi as well (they're next to each other). There are a few things on my list, and I might as well get them cheap!

Made the $70 Milestone

September 23rd, 2015 at 12:47 pm

On my found money, that is. I found a dime in the laundry room yesterday. I wonder how long it will take to get to $100?

Yesterday was a pretty quiet day. Aside from doing a load of laundry, I didn't do much. I intended to get back to my novel, but instead I opened up a kind of stream-of-consciousness document I wrote once about riding on the train. It needed a lot of editing and I decided to practice a bit on that, before diving back into the novel.

I did watch "Saving Mr. Banks," which was interesting. Emma Thompson was a hoot. I also watched the first episode of "Blind Spot."

Today I think I'll get out and get my flu shot, and get my battery replaced on my watch. I need to get these little things done, before they pile up and it just seems like too much to do!

Yesterday I walked to the post office to mail a birthday card. I need to walk today, too, to take advantage of this wonderful weather.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: English muffin
Lunch: Olive-nut sandwich, green beans
Dinner: Rice pancakes, stewed apple

Not Working Yet

September 22nd, 2015 at 01:38 pm

I got an email yesterday apologizing for yet another delay at the museum -- a contract to be signed (which I don't have in hand yet....) Then it has to be signed by the CEO. My boss said she hoped it wouldn't take more than a week. I answered explaining my plans for the Florida trip, and asked whether it would be better to start after the trip. No response yet. (I had previously spoken to her about my plans, so it wouldn't have been a surprise.) This is all so crazy.

Yesterday was a no-spend day. I did go out to lunch with my DIL and her mom, but she treated. It was a fun morning, dusting her living room (and yes, it took all morning; it is a big room with lots of knickknacks and nooks and crannies. It is more fun to clean someone else's house rather than your own! And lunch was fun; we went to LePeep, and it was a gorgeous day, so we walked a little.

I have not gotten back to my novel yet, but I hope to today. In answer to those who were curious, my novel is about a financially-challenged woman who loses her job and her home. I am still in the early stages. I really don't know if it will be any good at all, but I just want to complete it for my own satisfaction.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: English muffin
Lunch: Cobb salad
Dinner: Orange chicken over rice

This will really be only the second time I've had the orange chicken, though it keeps appearing on the menu. Still, I think I will freeze the remainder after today.

Ah, Beauty!

September 21st, 2015 at 03:09 pm

I haven't spent anything in the way of personal grooming lately, but yesterday was the day. I went to the hairdresser to get my hair trimmed. I'm letting it grow out a little, but it was pretty clear the ends needed some work. It looks so much better! While I was there, my hairdresser talked me into buying special shampoo for platinum blondes. I am not a platinum blonde, but my hair is pretty white, and I have noticed yellow tones in it lately. The cut was $12 (for seniors) and the shampoo was $13. I don't need to use the shampoo often -- once a week is fine, so it should last a long time. After it runs out, if I find I really like it, I'll get it at Ulta for less.

Then I went to Walgreens and bought a fresh tube of undereye concealer for $14. While I was there, I bought two birthday cards ($7) and a Minions Snackeez for my grandson's birthday, which is this Thursday (though the party will be on Saturday). I already have some Minions squeezy toys to give him -- thought they might be fun in the bath. Those are just things to open, though; my real gift will be a check for an "experience" of his choice. I'm figuring $50 is about what I can afford to spend.

I went to my older grandson's soccer game yesterday, and afterwards went to my son's house, where we all had burritos from a local shop. I chipped in $5.

Variables spending is now at 58%.

Today I'm going back to help my DIL clean up a little. Believe me, her house isn't dirty at all, but she's feeling the need to deep clean, so her mother and I are going to pitch in, hopefully make it fun instead of drudgery.

Tomorrow is my first day of work at my new job! It's been a long time coming!

A Quiet Day

September 20th, 2015 at 01:51 pm

I did take another walk yesterday, but it was late, going into twilight, so I did not go far. It got very cool. My idea about taking the camera made me realize I don't even know where the camera is. Got to find it.

I got out my recorder last night and played a little. I am so rusty I have even forgotten some of the fingerings, though I do still seem to know how to read music. I'm going to look up the fingerings and doodle a little bit every day. It's relaxing. I hope my neighbors don't hate it! They are probably assuming a child is playing. I would like to find better music. Last night I was playing "America," from an old choral book, but I would enjoy it more if I played early music more suited to the recorder.

Now that I have gotten back into music, I'm going to keep another promise to myself. I'm going to get back to working on my novel. I don't know why I have been so reluctant to do it -- I think maybe I have the notion that I have to be in top mental form to approach it, but really, I just have to dive in and plug away. I do know that nothing makes time fly like writing, for me, anyway.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: English muffin
Lunch: Peanut soup, sweet potato fries
Dinner: Orange chicken on rice

I burned the rice last night! I was using up the last of the brown rice, and forgot to set the timer. I realized my mistake when I smelled it scorching! It was just the very bottom that burned, so I had enough for dinner. The orange chicken was good, by the way. I added some dried cranberries, and they not only made it prettier, they added a nice taste.

Oil Change

September 19th, 2015 at 05:25 pm

Just got back from the auto clinic, where I got an oil change and safety inspection, in preparation for my big trip. It was $70, even with a $10 coupon! Oh well, at least I know the car is in good shape.

While the car was in the shop, I walked over to the grocery store and got a free bag of Earthbound Organic salad (with a virtual coupon) and a bottle of coffee creamer for $3.

My variables spending is now at 51%. Still good, since we are 63% of the way into the month. And my October will essentially start on the 23rd, when I get my SS payment. Though I think I will still record everything strictly by the month; it's just easier that way.

I am proud to say that even with some challenges, I have not tapped into the $12K lump sum payment I got from the College in June. My slush fund is a little higher, and my e-fund/mortgage fund is only $100 lower. So I essentially cash-flowed everything even without the SS pyament!

The $12K is not represented in my sidebar, because it is still sitting in checking! I was planning to put $15K into a new Chase savings account, in order to earn a $500 bonus, but the unexpected delay of my SS check made that move too close to the bone. I need to do something with it, once I get a regular income again, but I'm not sure what. Add to my scrawny Cap One Sharebuilder account? I think I may have missed the best time to buy. I guess I'll put it in my e-fund -- I really fear not having liquidity during this four-year stretch of austere living.

It is a beautiful, beautiful day. I love it when the temperature drops below 70 and there is low humidity. I guess I am just not a summer person. Even though I already had a bit of a walk today, I will take another later, just to soak in the beauty. Talk about free entertainment! Maybe I'll even take my camera, which has not had much of a workout in the last five years. I need to reacquaint myself on how to use it.

I posted today's menu yesterday, but I'm going to alter it, since I now have a salad to eat.

Breakfast: Quiche
Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Orange Chicken on Rice

About the latter, I slow-cooked a bunch of chicken legs yesterday. Today I will skin and debone them. I'm going to make an orange sauce from marmalade, and let the chicken marinate in it before serving over rice. I'm going to throw in some sweet onion, as well, and I would add peppers if I had them! I think it will be pretty good. One of my experiments.

I have eaten my way through about 60% of the quiche, and I'm tired of it, so the last 40% wedge went into the freezer this morning. Cooking for one is always challenging that way.

Found two dimes at the grocery store! Lucky day!

Some Financial Updates

September 18th, 2015 at 07:53 pm

When I got my stipend from the College a few days ago, it was about $70 more than it was last time. Not sure why, but I adjusted my budget.

I did a Pine Cone survey today for $3. So far this year I've earned $27 from Pine Cone.

I gave $2 to a panhandler yesterday. He asked for money for food. It was gratifying to see him later, eating a sandwich on a park bench. At least I know it didn't go for drugs this particular time.

I parked at the library today to return my DVD's and paid .25 for parking. I was going to walk, but it started raining just as I went out the door.

Other than that, it's been no spending today.

My variables spending is at 43% with 60% of the month gone.

Pay day in five days. Yay!

I LOVED "Philomena," which I returned today. My new checkouts are "Elysium" and "Saving Mr. Banks."

Editing to add today's menu:

Breakfast: Egg burrito
Lunch: Ham & cheese English muffin
Dinner: Cheese & crackers, grapes

And tomorrow's menu:

Breakfast: Quiche, stewed apples
Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwich, sweet potato fries
Dinner: Orange Chicken on Rice, green beans

A Walk to the Store

September 17th, 2015 at 07:43 pm

Today I walked to the grocery store. I'm ashamed to say I never made it on my walk yesterday; I just couldn't seem to get moving. Today it was kind of hot, with a wind that was sometimes refreshing and sometimes irritating. I took a short breather about 3/4 of the way home. I sat on a low wall and deleted all the junk email on my phone. The whole walk, there and back, takes me about an hour -- no problem in nice weather, but tiring when it's hot.

I spent $15 for 9 items: Salsa, gravy mix, 3 packages of sandwich bags, nacho sauce, eggs, sponges, and fresh green beans. Everything was on sale. I bought 3 packages of sandwich bags because they are being discontinued. If I had driven, I would have taken them all, but I only had so much room in my tote. They are the fold-type bags. I like them better than the Ziploc, because I can close them easily with a clothespin, less hassle and less air trapped in the bag. And they are so much cheaper. Well, I have 450 bags now, and after that I will have to figure out a new system. Or find a supplier of fold-up bags.

I had to get the price adjusted on one of the items. I've learned to memorize the posted sale price on clearance items, because they often ring up wrong. I am not ashamed to fight for every penny!

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Breakfast casserole
Lunch: Blue Chip Nachos
Dinner: Quiche w/ green beans

I just watched "10 Items or Less" -- an independent film starring Morgan Freeman. I enjoyed it, mainly because I like him so much, and it had an uplifting message of hope and the power of self-confidence.


September 16th, 2015 at 04:58 pm

Ah, a good night's sleep! What a difference that makes!

I don't have much on tap today. I just finished a board conference call (yep--two in one week, different committees). I have a little bit of work to do from that, but not much. My big plan is to make a quiche from scratch, using up my ham. I need to take a walk -- and the weather's beautiful, so no excuse. And I really need to watch a DVD, since I have three to watch before they are due on Friday! This week's selections are "Thanks for Sharing," "10 Items or Less," and "Philomena."

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Ham & cheese on English muffin
Lunch: Coconut shrimp tacos
Dinner: Ham quiche

No decisions yet on the Florida trip. I'm leaning toward driving; I like the control of a road trip as opposed to the demands of flying. And I wouldn't have to pay for anything until the turn of the month, which would be good for the budget.

I might even be able to get my car painted in Florida, where I am sure it would cost less! We'll see. Nothing decided.

Home Again, Dragging a Little

September 15th, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Got home this morning after a few (tiring) days helping out my BFF. The trip cost $45, for gas and food. And BFF gave me some groceries others bought for her and that she is not going to use, so that was a bonus! She is doing well, but still needs a lot a help with household tasks; her mobility is still pretty limited.

Once home, I phoned in for a board conference call. That led to some online tasks. I also had to do laundry, unload the dishwasher, clean the litter pan, unpack, and now, at the end of the day, I'm feeling pretty tired. It's probably mostly the drive catching up with me.

Just to follow up on earlier posts -- I never did get that flu shot. My insurance wouldn't cover it. I think it MAY be covered if I get it at my doctor's office, so I'm going to get it there. Or, I might investigate whether a retiree is entitled to a free flu shot at the College. Employees are.

I'm not any closer to a decision on when and how to travel to Florida. I think I really just need a good night's sleep in my own bed!

A Glitchy Grocery Trip

September 13th, 2015 at 12:57 pm

I went to the grocery yesterday and asked about the flu shot and grocery discount. They said I could get the deal even without the coupon. There didn't seem to be any restriction on what I buy. I didn't actually get the shot because I wasn't wearing the right kind of shirt. I'm going back today in a sleeveless top with a jacket, so they can get to my shoulder without stripping me!

I spent $50 on nine items: toilet paper, English muffins, almond milk, croutons, walnuts, apples, pantiliners, a greeting card, and a Lean Cuisine that I didn't bring home! I had "clipped" a virtual coupon for a free Lean Cuisine, but it didn't come through on the register as free. So I said I didn't want it. Now, looking at the receipt, I see that the clerk didn't take the price off, so instead of getting a meal free, I paid for one and didn't get it! GRRRRR. I'll get that fixed when I go back today.

I also paid $5.99 for a bag of organic apples, but I thought the sign said $2.99, so I'm going to check on that, too.

I did two loads of laundry for $3. Will do another load today.

Variables spending is at 35%.

I sent the $250 to my new grandson, but that doesn't come out of variables spending.

I'm buying pizza today for my kids before the soccer game. Then I'm going to Indiana to spend a couple more days with BFF.

Yesterday's menu (forgot to post):

Breakfast: Toast & peanut butter
Lunch: Ham & cheese grilled sandwich
Dinner: Fried rice

Today's menu

Breakfast: Fried rice in tortillas
Lunch: Pizza
Dinner: Road Food

Grandson is here!

September 12th, 2015 at 03:50 pm

My grandson arrived last night. 9/11 -- he will have a very easy to remember birthday! He is beautiful and healthy, and mother and family are all doing great. He is named after his father, which is sweet.

Today I will get a card and mail my college fund check to him. I already gave $250 to each of my other grandchildren, so this will even things up.

Now I need to nail down my trip down there to visit. I found a Spirit flight to Orlando for only $120, if I stay almost a week. I need to find out if that is okay with them. Flying to Orlando means having to rent a car, but I don't think there is any way around that. There is no nearby airport. So whatever I do, this won't be cheap. I still have driving in the back of my mind (I prefer driving over flying) but that wouldn't be cheap, either.

Yesterday when I walked to the library, I stopped at Walgreen's and bought two bottles of body wash for $3.

Today I am doing laundry, and I may go to the grocery, too. When I looked at the coupon for 10% off groceries for getting a shot, I realized that I saved an older coupon and must have thrown away the more current version. The one I have expired in August. I hope the deal is still available; I'll have to ask about it. I also have a virtual coupon for a free Lean Cuisine. I don't eat them much any more, but it may come in handy some time, and it's free! While I'm there I'll get the few things that are on my running list.

Tomorrow, after my grandson's soccer game, I am going back to BFF's to stay a few days. Her brother will come on Tuesday, so I'll come back then. She is doing well, but still needs help with household things.

I just realized I am only 11 days away from my first SS payday! Really looking forward to regular income again!

Chinese Dinner

September 11th, 2015 at 03:35 pm

My dinner at the Chinese restaurant last night cost $14. We all ordered different entrees and shared them family-style. It was great fun! I was very disappointed in the tea, though. They gave me hot water and a tea bag! Definitely not worth it. Chinese restaurants used to always serve great brewed tea.

Plans for today include a walk to the library, but first I have to watch one more DVD. I've watched two -- "Another Life" and Woody Allen's "Match Point." "Another Life" sounded good, but it was very amateurishly produced, clichéd and tedious. "Match Point," on the other hand, was masterfully done (even though the story was a bit disturbing). Love or hate Woody Allen, his talent is undeniable. The movie I'm watching today is "A Long Way Down," based on the Nick Hornby novel. Supposedly "beautiful, funny and inspiring." I have high hopes.

I found a dime yesterday. I'm inching very close to the $70 mark in found money!

I got a coupon from my grocery store for 10% off a $200 grocery trip, if I get my flu shot in their clinic. My flu shot is covered by insurance; it will be free no matter where I get it. So I'd like to get the 10% off groceries, but I don't want to spend $200 all at once. I wonder if they would object to me buying a gift card, so I could spend it a little at a time?

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Oatmeal w/cranberries
Lunch: Deviled eggs, applesauce, veggies
Dinner: Fettucine Alfredo


September 10th, 2015 at 04:58 pm

This morning I went downtown for the Treasurer's meeting, which went well, but lasted a long time. I skipped breakfast to get there on time and I was starving at 11 when it adjourned, so in desperation I bought cookies and chips at a vending machine ($5). Grossly overpriced. I could have waited, but I was feeling so bad. Now I feel bad in a different way!

Planning on having dinner tonight with friends at a Chinese restaurant.

My start day at the museum is September 21.

No baby yet!

Hump Day Doings

September 9th, 2015 at 04:45 pm

Just came back from mailing a package and buying bread. I should have walked, but the package was too heavy to carry.

Postage: $9
Bread: $3

Also put .18 into a parking meter. Now I know. Adding pennies makes no difference in the time given.

Variables spending is at 28%.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Cereal w/almond milk
Lunch: Egg salad sandwich, applesauce
Dinner: Fettucine Alfredo, veggies

The weather has cooled off a bit, so that I can open the windows and turn on the fans. Looking forward to a big cooldown this weekend. I love the fall! Hoping to take a lakeside walk this evening, if the clamminess goes away.

I found a penny this morning, and a dime this past weekend.

No word from the museum; no word on the baby.

Guess that's it!

Walmart Again

September 8th, 2015 at 08:07 pm

So, I promised my BFF that I would try to find more of the pants she liked the best at my own Walmart. I went out first thing this morning to get it done -- and I did! I went to two different Walmart's, but I found four more pairs of pants. Texted her and she was delighted.

I don't get to Walmart often, so I took the opportunity to get a few things. I bought hooks for the condo for $8, a pancake turner and a whisk for $3, and I also bought cat food, cat litter and fish food for $30.

My variables spending is at 26%.

I finally heard from my museum boss this morning. She said she is finalizing my hire in a meeting today and will email me more papers to sign at the end of the day.

I have a Treasurer's meeting downtown on Thursday morning, and will meet friends for dinner at 6 at a Chinese restaurant here in my town. Should be a busy day.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Cereal w/ almond milk
Lunch: Yogurt w/marmalade; steamed veggies
Dinner: Cheese quesadillas w/salsa

Still no news on the baby.

Home Again

September 7th, 2015 at 10:42 pm

I'm back after my weekend trip to help my BFF. She is doing very well, moving around (with a walker) and the incision is healing great. She is only taking ibuprofen for pain, and seems pretty comfortable.

She needed loose pants -- she is basically a jeans-wearer, and didn't have anything suitable for lounging around in comfort -- nor anything for the physical therapy that will follow. So I made several trips to Walmart, bringing her armloads of pants and returning the rejects. She ended up with two pairs of "dazzle pants" (athletic men's shorts), two Danskin capris, and two pairs of lightweight sweatpants. She likes the sweatpants so much I promised to look in at my Walmart to see if there are any more in her size.

I also did some grocery shopping and cooking for her. She basically spent $100 and insisted on giving me a $10 tip, since I'm such a good deal shopper!

My own costs for the weekend were: $9 for parking downtown, $18 for gas, $9 for road food, and $9 for two cute onesies I found at Walmart for my soon-to-arrive grandson. Wow, that's weird, isn't it? All those 9's and an 18, which is a multiple of nine! I also gave $1 to a homeless man who directed me to the parking lot.

I picked up SIL at Union Station without incident, and we had a nice getting-to-know-you visit on the way down.

Came home through heavy traffic today, tired but satisfied. I'm going back on Sunday and will stay till Tuesday. After that she should be pretty stable on her own.

Ya gotta take care of BFF's, you know!

Holding Pattern

September 5th, 2015 at 02:42 pm

My allergy medicine cost me $20 yesterday, and I also did a load of laundry for $1.50. My variables spending is at 16%.

I looked up parking around the train station, and it looks like it will cost $20, unless I luck out and find a place on the street. (In which case, it still wouldn't be free, but less.)

Today will be devoted to getting ready to leave. I'm mostly packed already, but I also want to make sure that my perishables in the fridge are handled -- frozen, or cooked, or whatever. Even though it's only a few days.

I checked out three DVD's yesterday, which I will take along in case we have time to watch.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Salad
Lunch: Veggie Stirfry
Dinner: Road Food

I will pick up SIL at the train station around 3:30, unless her train is delayed. Looks like traffic may not be as bad as expected, since construction has been suspended for the weekend. We will probably get dinner at a fast food place, maybe pick up something for BFF at the same time.

No word yet from the museum.

No word yet on the baby.

Not sure if I'll be checking in this weekend; taking the computer is such a pain.

This and That

September 4th, 2015 at 02:19 pm

I spent the day yesterday mostly inside, only taking a walk in the evening to mail a letter. I continued walking along the lakeshore. It was breezy and pleasant, despite the high temps we endured during the day. Reminded me that I need to get outside every day; it so improves the disposition!

My only spending yesterday was $1.50 for a load of laundry.

No other financial news, and I guess there won't be much until my payday on the 23rd.

Today I'm going to take a late morning walk. I'm going to Walgreen's, to get allergy medicine, and then on to the library, to check out more DVD's.

Tomorrow I will pick up my BFF's SIL (how's that for stacking acronyms?) and drive her to Indiana. I'm picking her up at the downtown train station, so I have to figure out where I will park.

I will pack to stay for a few days, though I really don't know what my schedule will be -- whether I will be a help or in the way; we'll see. My BFF is recovering from hip replacement surgery.

They say that travel on the road will be heavy, so I'll just have to get into my zen mode.

Looking forward to cooler weather next week. I've been circumspect about running my air conditioners, because they really do run up the electricity bill. I only run them during the day, and I don't turn them on until I start to feel uncomfortable, which is usually late morning. Fans help. I'm really happy with my $10 garage-sale fan; what a good find that was!

I find that with more food on hand, it's actually harder to decide my daily menu! I have to try to think in terms of what to use up first. So here is what I've decided for today:

Breakfast: Cheese & mushroom quesadillas
Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Salad

Yep, I've really got to hit the salad, to keep from wasting it. I'll try to make the salads different -- one with nuts, cheese and cranberries, and one with bacon bits, cheese and hard-boiled egg.

Tomorrow I may try to stirfry the remaining lettuce. It is the mixed artisan-type lettuce, so I think it may work to saute it lightly with onions and mushrooms and serve over rice.

Successful dinner

September 3rd, 2015 at 02:45 pm

Last night I hosted dinner for my son's family. It went well. I had plenty of time to prepare, and it was a simple meal, anyway. The kids even ate the sandwiches I made, which is a first! Usually, I have to make something separate for them. I hope they are finally getting less picky.

I have LOTS of salad left over, so I'll be eating a lot of that! I tried to give some away, but no one really wants lettuce, I guess, even if it's fancy baby lettuce.

I had a nice long talk with my Florida son yesterday, and made a tentative plan to fly down there at the end of the month. He feels the baby's birth is imminent. I'm trying to time my visit around others, so I am waiting to get the OK before I buy a ticket.

I got the reply from the flex plan yesterday. The person I was communicating with clarified that I had the rest of the year to file claims INCURRED BEFORE RETIREMENT. Well, that makes sense; I just wasn't understanding correctly. So I've lost the $200+ that was in the account. It couldn't be helped, really. I put in too large an amount, no knowing that I would be retiring halfway through the year, and I simply had very few medical expenses, which is actually a good thing! Even the things that I tried to get done were mostly covered by insurance, and my out-of-pocket cost was minimal. In the whole scheme of things, it doesn't matter; I still came out ahead taking early retirement. I lost $200 but gained approximately $17K. Granted, I'm dealing with a few months of no income, but I'm still way ahead.

I went to Kohl's yesterday and returned my watchband, and bought another. The new one cost $4 more, but is well worth it. It is an expansion band, which I prefer, and much nicer-looking. And it fits the watch!

While there, I took a 40-minute walk around the mall. I don't know how I will exercise today. It's still hot. It's too hot already to go outside. I don't particularly want to drive to the mall again, with no other reason. Maybe I can take an evening walk by the lake.

I also went to the grocery and bought ice cream and and sherbet and toilet bowl cleaner. (Not to serve together!) About $8.

I plan to have a pretty low-key day. I'll do a load of laundry, but that's my excitement for the day. Don't think I'll go out at all, except for the walk.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs & mushrooms
Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Ham sandwich, applesauce

Aldi trip

September 2nd, 2015 at 12:52 pm

My trip to Aldi yesterday cost $59. I bought 31 items, three times my usual trip! It was my stock-up shop for the month, I hope.

I bought:

Baby Lettuce
Chipped beef (2 packages)
Swiss cheese
Bacon bits
Salad dressing
Sweet potato chips (2 bags)
Spreadable margarine
Corn muffin mix
Greek yogurt
Shredded Mexican cheese
Granola bars
Cream Cheese (2 packages)
Canola oil
Dish detergent
Sourdough bread

Today I'm going to the local grocery for a few items not available at Aldi.

I'm also going to return The Imitation Game (great movie!) and go to Kohl's to return the watchband I bought. It must be the wrong size; it keeps detaching from the watch face.

I also need to clean the house. My kids, grandkids and Other Mother are coming for dinner. Sandwiches on the griddle, salad and chips -- so not a lot of prep. So I can spend the day sprucing things up.

Hope to get in a walk, too, but it's hot! Maybe at the mall, when I go to Kohl's.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Greek yogurt w/marmalade
Lunch: Cheese quesadillas w/salsa
Dinner: Ham & cream cheese butter-fried sandwiches, salad, chips

I have to send a $34 check to my cousin for the football pool. Counting that, variables spending is at 11%.

August Recap

September 1st, 2015 at 01:24 pm

Housing - 677
Vet/Pet Supplies - 595
Medical/Health - 264
Utilities - 152
Groceries - 91
Gifts/Charity - 84
Eating Out - 72
Vacation/Travel - 60
Phone - 50
Furnishings/Equipment/Décor - 40
Gas - 26
Entertainment - 26
Clothing/Accessories - 17
Household Supplies - 15
Laundry - 15
Fares/Parking - 9
Personal - 1
Grand Total - 2194

There it is in all its glory. The big vet bill, the dentist, both tipping me over the edge. Other categories are pretty much in line.

I emailed the flex benefits administrator who said my flex account was accessible for the year. I got an "out of office" message. We'll see if anything happens there. If I get a reimbursement, I'll come back and adjust the August record. Till then, I've spent 156% of my budget. Ugh.

But it's September, so today it starts over! Later today I'll grocery shop. It will probably be double the usual, since I am low on lots of things and will be making dinner tomorrow for the fam. Since it's hot, my plan is to make ham and cream cheese butter-fried sandwiches (on the griddle) with salad and sweet potato chips.

I already did my walk this morning, to take advantage of the cool temperatures. I walked to the library to return "Love is Strange." It was a recommended movie, but I found the story line a bit too wandering; too much left out. Like how did a major character die? Inquiring minds want to know!

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Blueberry pancakes
Lunch: Pizza bread (again)
Dinner: Omelet

I found 3 pennies yesterday, but nothing today.