Home > Archive: November, 2015

Archive for November, 2015

Getting Ready

November 24th, 2015 at 04:21 pm

I worked yesterday, catching up on all my projects. There is one that I haven't started which will have to wait till after Thanksgiving.

I got clarification that $5,000 was set aside for my contract work. At the time I signed on, it was suggested that after I used it up, it might be renewed. However, now that they are hiring a permanent employee, that option has closed. I will earn $5K from the museum. I've already clocked $1735 (?) so I don't expect I will be working long past January or so. By that time they will probably be training the new person.

No, I haven't been paid yet, but I've been told that it is imminent. I hope that means that I will have a check when I return.

It was a bit of a challenging day, since I went to work without my badge. I was able to get in, explaining to the security guard and showing ID, and I was able to get around the building using my key rather than the badge. But I was really worried that I couldn't get out of the parking garage without paying $22 (which is what visitors pay). Luckily, one of my co-workers had some complimentary passes, so I didn't really have to pay for this big mistake.

I did pay for breakfast and lunch, though, but only $8 for both. I had coupons, and my lunch was rung up wrong, but the cashier just let me have it for the lower price he mistakenly entered. So I had some good luck, too!

I finally did the grocery shopping on Sunday, spending $23 at Aldi, $17 at Jewel, and $7 at PetSmart. Here is what I got:

Shredded mozzarella
Shredded cheddar
Cat Litter
Sherbet (2)
Chocolate chips
Cat Chow
Cream Cheese (4)
12-inch cheese pizza (free)
5-oz. Yogurt (free)
Parmesan cheese
Fish Food

I got four cream cheeses in order to use a coupon. I can always make a cheese cake if I can't use it up any other way.

Today I'm getting ready for my trip. I'm doing a load of laundry, packing, getting the bed ready for my sister, cleaning the fish tank, vacuuming, taking out the trash, and perhaps getting my hair trimmed.

It turns out I do not have to make the cranberry relish. My brother has come with another option. I thought that might happen! I'm taking 2 lbs. of Starbucks coffee as my contribution toward the meal. There is always way too much food, so I don't feel bad about not bringing any.

Tonight I pick up my sister at the airport and tomorrow morning we hit the road. I probably won't be checking in till after the holiday, so everyone have a wonderful, blessed, fantastic Thanksgiving!

So Lazy!

November 22nd, 2015 at 04:21 pm

It's time to break out of this lethargy. I didn't do much of anything yesterday. But I did watch "Little Women," one of my favorite movies, and with the Christmas scenes on the screen, and the fresh snow outside, it was a very sweet experience.

Today I'm going to finally go to the store. I need to get the makings for cranberry relish, as well as a few other things. I found a recipe that incorporates pears, maraschino cherries, pineapple tidbits and orange juice, and I think it might attract a little more interest at the Thanksgiving table.

I'm also going to get a free pizza and free yogurt with a virtually-clipped coupons.

There is snow on the ground, and it's cold, but I've got to do it. After I finish this load of laundry.

I've been letting the house go a little too much, too. I am doing the basic things, like making the bed, and loading/unloading the dishwasher. But I'm letting the things I really don't like to do slide. Like vacuuming, dusting, mopping, cleaning fixtures, tackling clutter, etc. I've decided I will set the timer for a half-hour every morning and afternoon, and just do things I don't like to do. I think it will make me feel a lot better! I've found that the timer is a great motivating tool.

I did get around to ordering my son's birthday present. Using a $15 gift card, I spent $27 out of pocket for a shirt and a pair of socks on Amazon. The socks were about $15, so I guess I got them free! They must be some socks. I'm not complaining; I like SmartWool socks myself, and they're worth it in the long run.

The package will arrive on Monday, when I'm working. I hope it isn't stolen before I get home. Packages are left in our vestibule, which is unlocked. When thieves are at work, they go up and down the streets and steal all the unprotected packages. I've lost two in the past (which were replaced by the sellers, no problem -- except the annoyance). I haven't had problems recently, but with the holiday coming, I'll bet the thieves are gearing up again.

My variables spending is only 58%, which of course isn't counting the car-painting. As a big ticket item, it will come out of Slush Fund/EF rather than the variables budget (when the Discover bill comes). Since I've started keeping track, I've underspent the variables budget by more than $2K, which is very good news. That will more than cover any Christmas overspending.

Now that the birthdays are out of the way, I can finally concentrate on Christmas. I'll let Amazon help me out; it's so hard to choose things that are really wanted and needed. The grandkids are getting college money and T-shirts. Boy, won't they be excited! But it's intentional -- they get so much stuff, way more than they need, even more than they are able to enjoy, in my opinion. But someday they will need education dollars.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Quiche
Lunch: Peanut soup, sourdough bread, carrots
Dinner: Fried egg sandwich, veggies, applesauce

A lovely snow, but melting as we speak

November 21st, 2015 at 03:33 pm

We had our snow last night! Late in the evening, it was coming down fast, the ground was covered and the trees were all heavy white lace. This morning, it's pretty much melted off -- just a light cover on the grass. I'm glad. I'm not ready for things like brushing off the car and driving through snowbanks yet.

They do say more is coming, however.

I didn't spend anything or leave the house yesterday. Today I'll return my library books and pick up a few items at the grocery. I've promised to make cranberry relish for Thanksgiving. Always the least popular item at the table, but that's what my brother assigns me! I'm going to troll around today for a tastier recipe. I'm also going to get cat food and cat litter so there's plenty on hand before the trip.

Cooking at home is going to be all about using up stuff before the trip.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Quiche
Lunch: Open face Swiss-style pizzas
Dinner: Egg salad sandwich & ants on a log

Chilling Out at Home

November 20th, 2015 at 04:50 pm

After two full days at work, it's nice to have a day at home again.

We're expecting a snowstorm tonight, and are being advised to run errands before it starts this evening. I don't have much to do -- just need to return some library books. I COULD go to the grocery store, but on the other hand, I can make do with what I have, and I've already overspent on groceries.

This morning I got into cooking mode. I made a cheese & bacon quiche, and, while the oven was hot, made a batch of granola. I'm also cooking carrots, which I will season with the bacon drippings.

My new cat is sneezing. I hope a vet's visit is not in the future. He was checked out before I got him, so I'm not too worried. He looks fine -- no discharge, no watery eyes -- so I hope it's just a feline cold which will pass. I will watch him.

On Tuesday I will pick up my sister at the airport for our Thanksgiving trip! I can't believe the holiday is almost upon us!

Today's menu:

Breakfast: English muffin
Lunch: Cheese & bacon quiche, carrots
Dinner: Spaghetti, garlic bread, celery sticks

Resolved, I hope

November 20th, 2015 at 01:40 am

Since none of my invoices have been processed, I was invited to start over and create one invoice for the whole time I've been at the museum. With a little bit of back and forth, we arrived at an acceptable format. I hope now that I will get a check soon. The good news is that this one check will pay for about half of my car rehab. Which means another month of work should pay it off.

The museum displays Christmas trees from around the world every year at this time. After this morning's meeting, I spent a little time looking around at them. There was Christmas music in the background, and a really cute holiday gift shop set up. It was so uplifting. I went back to work with a whole new attitude.

My only spending today was breakfast at the café for $2.54.

I didn't sleep well last night, and then, when I got on the road this morning, I faced some really rough traffic. It turned out there were TWO accidents ahead. Felt really appreciative that I arrived safely -- didn't fall asleep on the road and didn't get in a wreck!

Next week I will work on Monday, since I will be on the road to Michigan on Wednesday.

The museum is going to hire a new permanent full-time employee in my department. I don't know how that will impact my work -- whether I will have two people giving me assignments -- or whether I won't be needed at all! Today was too busy to even have a chance to talk about it. Guess we'll figure it out in the future.

However, at the meeting today, the campaign consultant asked for my business card -- she may be interested in hiring me for contract work. She runs her own freelance business in fundraising. Problem is -- I don't have a business card! But I will send her my information -- and I guess I need to get some cards made up.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Danish & coffee
Lunch: Yogurt, veggies, chips, clementine
Dinner: Cheese quesadillas

Pay Problems

November 18th, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Well, today my boss told me that I need to do my invoices differently. Yes, I did them just the way she told me to, but, in her defense, she is just figuring this out as she goes, and she didn't know what was required either.

I can't just turn in hours worked; I have to identify projects and how much time was spent on each. That's okay going forward, but I don't know how I'm going to catch up on what I've already done. I went back and forth among the profiles I was working on, and really have no clear idea of how much time I spent on each. Another problem -- quite a bit of my time was spent learning the procedures and troubleshooting problems with my computer and the remote connection. I hope they aren't going to say I don't get paid for that time! And what about meetings, and training? Is that a project?

I know they have a need for me to show accountability, but the truth is I've been extremely reliable and circumspect; they just don't realize it. They are also urging me to finish profiles more quickly so they won't "cost" as much -- well, that's not how I work. I do thorough research and work hard to be accurate and produce a quality product. I don't do fast and slapdash. Everyone pays for that, in the long run. I may not be the right fit for this organization. We'll see how it goes.

I have to go back tomorrow because there is a training session/meeting. I hope I get paid for it! What am I saying, I haven't been paid for anything (she said peevishly).

Anyway, I'm really tired. I'm going to have a glass of wine and go to bed early!

This and That

November 17th, 2015 at 02:58 pm

Yesterday was a pretty low-key day. I didn't go out; didn't spend anything aside from $3 for a load of laundry. I did rearrange my hall closet and put my air conditioners away. They are very heavy, but I could manage it myself. Now I just have to have my son pull down the storm panes for me. I can lift an air conditioner, but I cannot manipulate those windows!

I recalled that I had finished a Pinecone survey but didn't remember processing the $3 payment. So I went to their site and found the 300 points sitting there. I must have accidently deleted the email.

I made the sloppy joes and also made a batch of spaghetti sauce. That used up all the ground beef. Probably will freeze most of the spaghetti sauce.

I got an email late in the day from my boss saying that Acrobat Pro has been installed on my work computer. That means I can log in remotely and finish the profiles I was working on. As long as I can figure out how to use Pro. I know learning something new is a good thing at my age, but getting a lot of new stuff thrown at me makes me nervous.

But I can't do that until I get through a board finance meeting this morning (via phone). I'm so ready to be done with that, it's hard to get prepared for these meetings.

I'm actually excited about going to work tomorrow because I can drive there! What a pleasure that will be!

I still haven't been paid, so I sent an inquiry along with my invoice yesterday. I know that I will be paid eventually, and I keep very good records, but this is frustrating. So far I have earned $1,350, and I would like to see it!

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Cornbread, fruit
Lunch: Sloppy joes, veggies
Dinner: Spaghetti, garlic bread

Party, Plans, Pets, Books

November 16th, 2015 at 03:29 pm

Shoot! Just lost my entry, and it was my fault!

So, to recap....

Yesterday was my grandson's birthday party. He hosted friends at the university game room, where they played video games, pool, air hockey, pinball, etc. A good time was had by all!

He got many gifts, even though "no gifts" were requested on the e-vite. Why do people do that?

I got a free dinner of pizza, chips, fruit, and cupcakes.

I'm going to clean out my hall closet today, so I can fit the air conditioners in there. I'm done with taking them down to the storage unit.

Iggy is still doing well. Mystery still growls when she sees him, but I hope time will soften her attitude.

I basically read a whole book the last two days, which I didn't even record on the side, because I just tore through it so fast. It's "Longbourn" by Jo Baker. I had requested it at the library, and it came in, so I temporarily shelved "The Golden Bowl." "Longbourn" is the story of "Pride & Prejudice" told through the viewpoint of the servants. Really good.

Another Austen take-off has come in as well. "Sense & Sensibility" by Joanna Trollope -- it's a modern retelling of the story.

AND, I bought a full edition of "The Chronicles of Narnia" -- my beau who doesn't know he is a beau is a scholar on C.S. Lewis. I thought it was time I got up to speed. I read "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" to the kids when they were little, but never anything beyond that.

I guess that's it!

Today's Menu:

Breakfast: Cornbread
Lunch: Sloppy joes
Dinner: Potato bowl

Grocery Shopping, Parties & Presents

November 15th, 2015 at 02:09 pm

Yesterday I went to the grocery store again, spending $66. That takes me up to $144 spent this month, which is more than I typically spend in a whole month. But I had some catching up to do, after some record low spending on groceries in previous months. Here is what I bought for $66: Spaghetti, two bags of chocolate chips, sugar, popcorn, bread (two loaves), crushed tomatoes, 3 bags of coffee, crackers, Swiss cheese, cream, bacon, coffee creamer, English muffins, butter, snack chips, frozen pizza, carrots, and celery.

I was asked, "Are you making cookies?" Yes, eventually, but mainly I bought the chips and the sugar because of the good prices. I bought 3 bags of Starbucks coffee so I could get a $5 Starbucks gift card. I'll take 2 bags of coffee to my brother's for Thanksgiving, and the gift card will go into a Christmas stocking for my DIL.

I bought a 5 oz. bag of snack chips -- some kind of veggie-infused healthy chip, which I will use as part of a brown-bag lunch at the museum. It was on the clearance shelf for half price.

So I think I made some good decisions, but it still adds up.

My new kitty was delivered to me at about 1 o'clock. He was very distressed with all the change and moving about, I think, and I let him chill in his carrier, and then in the bathroom, until he felt more relaxed and comfortable. I wish I could tell him he is in his forever home, but he is just going to have to learn that.

At about 4 he wanted to be let out of the bathroom to explore. He and my little lady have done a lot of staring and circling. There has been a little hissing and growling. But overall I think it's going to be a pretty easy transition. Both of them joined me in bed last night -- on different sides, of course!

He is eating well and taking an interest in everything. He is fascinated with the aquarium, which my other cats have completely ignored.

In the evening, I went over to my son's house to celebrate my grandson's birthday. His real party is today, but his real birthday was yesterday. We had his favorite meal (shrimp and mac'n'cheese!) and then he opened his gifts from his parents and grandmas. I gave him a science kit that I found at a garage sale. It is one of those kits where you can build a clock, a windmill, a radio, a crank -- all kinds of things, with electronic parts. Beforehand I went through it piece by piece to make sure all parts were there and to verify that it had never been used. I think I paid $5 for it, but it is worth much more. Then I also gave him a $50 check for a fun adventure. I did the same with his brother last month. My DIL expressed a wish for less stuff, more experiences, so I hope she remembers saying that! The two of them may have a joint adventure -- mom & dad will plan, of course.

His "real" party today will be for his friends and more extended family. It will be held at some kind of a game room at the university, where the kids can play video games, etc. I believe they are renting the room by the hour.

One more birthday this month -- my son's. I have a game called Chronology -- another garage sale find. But that's just something to open. I need to get on Amazon and order something he wants.

And there is a Thanksgiving trip to plan. And that will be the end of an expensive month -- but the next month is December, and I have done basically no Christmas shopping. The grandchildren -- I am just going to get each one a t-shirt from the museum and then dole out the college money. That's what I do with my snowflakes, so each one will get $295, even if I don't earn any more snowflakes this year. That's a little better than last year, when each one got $250.

For my own kids -- I haven't even thought about it yet. I guess I will be relying on Amazon; it is so hard to know any more what they need and want.

I do plan to make kraeklingen for everyone -- trusting that I can master the recipe! I guess I should start practicing.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: English muffin, clementines
Lunch: Chili, cornbread
Dinner: Sloppy joes, veggies

(I didn't make the sloppy joes yesterday, since I was invited to dinner. They're a maybe today, too, since I don't know what will be served at the 3 o'clock birthday party!)


November 14th, 2015 at 03:16 pm

That's what they are calling the attacks in Paris. How shocking, and sobering at the same time. I can't understand how ONE person could be a cold-blooded murderer, much less how there is an extensive network of people who join the club because they delight in the kill. Oh right, and because their religion demands it. Yeah. Disgusting.

I picked up my car yesterday, and it is BEAUTIFUL! It is spic & span, inside and out. It was expensive, but I'm so glad I did it. The total cost was $3,411. The extra $400 was for bumper replacements and a few parts, like the gizmo that holds the antenna. I charged it to Discover, so I should get some decent cash back.

Before the retreat, I made a quick stop at the grocery to buy quarters, and also got some kitty litter and a birthday card for my grandson. ($10)

The sandwich I ordered for the retreat was so big, I took half of it home and ate it for supper. So that was a free lunch and supper. I was lucky enough to find free parking, too.

Today I'm doing laundry, and going back to the grocery for food. I'll have to get gas, too.

At noon, my new cat will be delivered by the foster caretaker. So it might be an interesting afternoon! Smile Hoping they will resolve their inevitable territorial issues quickly.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: French toast, apple
Lunch: Chili, cornbread
Dinner: Sloppy joes, veggies

Couch Potato

November 13th, 2015 at 12:20 am

It was one of those days I stayed in all day. I worked for three hours, but I hit another snag. I have to modify a PDF but don't have Acrobat Pro on my loaner laptop. Nor on my own computer, for that matter. So I'm going to offer to go in on Monday so I can get it loaded and then complete some of this work. This is getting ridiculous. I get so close and then something else holds me up.

It was a good day to stay in all day -- cold and blustery. I didn't even step out to do laundry! I've heard that a lot of people are out of power after the storms, so I'm feeling lucky to be warm and toasty.

I got a call from the shop today that my car is almost ready and I can pick it up tomorrow. And they are going to detail it for me! The guy I talked to said, "It looks a-MAZ-ing!" I can hardly wait.

Then I have to spend the afternoon in a board retreat. This will be my last face-to-face meeting before I cycle off the board. There will be a couple of phone meetings, and I will have to go to the bank with the new Treasurer to transfer the account, but after that I'm done!

I will continue to serve on the programming committee, though, mainly so I can keep in touch with people who have become good friends.

No real financial news, I guess. I think I'll charge the car work to Discover to get the cash back, though it seems those rewards are getting smaller. Too bad I didn't get around to getting a new credit card so I could earn a bonus, but those are the breaks.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: French toast, apple
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich, mixed veggies
Dinner: Chili, cornbread


November 12th, 2015 at 12:51 am

What a day. First of all, I was so despondent about having to take public transit to work for the third time! But what made it worse was at the last minute I could not find my transit card. I looked EVERYWHERE -- I thought. I finally just left home and bought full-fare tickets for the day. I was really upset, thinking about how I would have to call and have the card cancelled (there is money on it) and then have to go through the process of getting a new one. As a senior, I'm entitled to reduced fare, but you can't get a reduced fare card at the station. You have to do it by mail.

I got about halfway to work when I finally remembered that I had worn a jacket last week whose pockets I hadn't checked. Sure enough, when I got home much later, the card was in the pocket.

So I was only out $6 for the fare; not really a tragedy, but so upsetting at the time.

Work was no fun either. The woman I report to seemed a little short with me because I am working slowly. It's not really my fault; I couldn't do any work at home until I was issued a laptop, and then I was issued the wrong power cord, so my laptop died. There was really nothing I could do, I was bound by their own rules and incompetencies. Plus, I am hitting that same old wall of trying to find something that isn't there. Some things are just not published! Some things cannot be found on the internet! Believe it or not, some things are still private! Tomorrow I have to send in a short report explaining why I cannot find information on a foundation that hasn't filed a 990. Aauuughh!

I didn't even get my free lunch -- it has to be rescheduled. So I spent $7 on a hot dog and fries, which was the cheapest lunch I could get in the museum café.

Oh well, I'm finally home, and feeling really grateful that I made it home before the storm rolls in. We're supposed to get very high winds this evening. Planning to get a GOOD night's sleep tonight and wake up feeling cheerier!

Need to Get to Work

November 10th, 2015 at 02:09 pm

Well, I have to get some work done today, I didn't do it yesterday. But I did get a bunch of little things done and out of my way. I mailed my granddaughter's birthday present ($10) and I deposited some checks for the board. Then I went to the drugstore and bought some insoles for plantar fasciitis. ($11) My foot is getting no better. I hope these will at least make the heel pain more bearable. I also stopped at the library and picked up a book, Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, her modern take on the classic. All of this had to be done on foot, so it took some time.

So today I can't procrastinate any more; I have to get some work done. What is making me drag my feet is having to work on an unfamiliar laptop and having to learn to use some unfamiliar web-based services. I just have to plough through and do it. After all, I have to actually go to work tomorrow!

I looked at train & bus routes again. I was sure there was a bus that went straight to the museum. I was right -- it runs on weekends! So I'll be taking the same basic route, but I'm going to try a different bus that will take me to the same stop. Maybe it will be less crowded. I'm also going to transfer trains earlier in the route, in hopes of getting a seat.

This really, really, has to be the last time, doesn't it?

Tomorrow my boss and her boss are treating me to lunch. It will be a lunch meeting, to touch base on how the projects are going. But I'm super glad to be getting anything free!

My variables spending is now at 32%. With the month 33% gone, that's perfect! But I still have the cat adoption fee coming up, and Thanksgiving travels. My son's birthday -- and then Christmas right on its heels! It's amazing how time is flying.


November 9th, 2015 at 04:59 pm

Whew! I'm really tired after a weekend with my BFF! We had fun, though. We ate out, we went to a movie ("Room"), we shopped, we went to my grandson's violin recital, we went treasure-hunting at Goodwill, and of course just talked, talked, talked. She also took me to the grocery store, since I am still carless. Here is the financial damage:

Eating out: $22
Movie: $8
Shopping: $52
Groceries: $90

We actually ate out twice, making good use of coupons. The shopping, for me, was $20 for a book, and $32 for gifts. I bought an "Elsa" nightgown for my granddaughter and a sparkly silver tutu, taking advantage of a $10 in Kohl's cash. I'll need to get them in the mail SOON!

The groceries, well, I had a lot of catching up to do. These should get me through the week, and longer, I hope.

Grandson's recital was adorable, and the movie "Room" I highly recommend. It is not easy to watch, but worth it. The little boy's performance is absolutely amazing.

I also found .46 in change! Just kept finding it.

Now I have to get back in the real world. I have to catch up on work, but I'm allowing myself the morning off to rest and recoup.

Oh, I also got to visit my adoptive kitty. He is everything they promised, sweet and beautiful; now I just have to do the paperwork. Once I am approved, it will cost $110, but that covers his vet bills, neutering, and chipping.

I changed my mind on his name. I'm going to call him "Iggy." It just suits him. And it doesn't seem to me that he responds to "Smokey" at all.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Toast
Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Sloppy joe's?...or eggs, if I decide not to cook