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Archive for September, 2015

Last Entry for a Few Days

September 29th, 2015 at 04:27 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 09:05 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 05:44 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 07:11 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 03:32 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 02:43 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 01:47 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 02:38 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 04:09 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 02:51 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 06:25 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 08:53 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 08:43 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.