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Archive for April, 2016

Day Sixty-Seven

April 28th, 2016 at 07:10 am

Calories: 1158

Wow, my calories were low yesterday, but I felt satisfied. Must have been the broccoli! Smile

This morning I transferred $ from my e-fund to pay off my credit card. My net worth has taken a hit, but I will work my way back. I should get the $200 bonus at the end of next month. I'm also expecting to get the $200 bonus from Chase (for the new savings account) any time now.

I got a manicure yesterday, no pedicure. It is so cold here, and I had to park several long blocks away. I didn't want to walk back to the car in those temporary sandals. Clearly, it will be too cold to wear sandals this weekend. So I will save the free pedicure for another time. I paid $4 for a tip and $2 to park.

Iggy threw up on my bed, so I have to wash all the sheets and the mattress pad. Luckily, he didn't hit the comforter or quilt. That is one of today's chores. Also, I will go to the library to return some materials and check out an audiobook for the trip. Then, in the early evening, I will once again watch my grandson's Tae Kwan Do class. And I have to pack; I'm leaving early in the morning.

I probably won't be blogging in Michigan, but I will definitely track my calories and catch up on Monday.

Day Sixty-Six

April 27th, 2016 at 07:19 am

Calories: 1404

I'm starting to feel different. The roll around my middle is going away. I'm feeling stronger and more toned, even though I am not doing much exercise. I AM doing leg stretches every day, and I walk sporadically. But the real difference is that the diet is working. Slowly, maybe, but it's working. I heard recently that people who stick to a diet for a year are most likely to keep the weight off. That's my plan. Actually, I could eat this way forever....

No spending yesterday. But today is pay day! I'll pay my mortgage and my credit cards; everything else is on automatic.

I went to my grandson's spring concert last night, and today my other grandson's kindergarten class is putting on a show. I really love having all these activities to attend.

I'm going to make an appointment for the mani/pedi today, a day earlier than planned -- just in case. I don't want to go to my reunion unpainted because I couldn't get in! I have a gift certificate to get it done free, but at a place I've never been to before.

I trimmed my own bangs last night. That was overly courageous, maybe, but they turned out all right.

Day Sixty-Five

April 26th, 2016 at 07:25 am

Calories: 1356

Yesterday I took my passport application to the post office. I was directed to another one, farther away, if I didn't want to wait for an appointment. (I didn't!) So I got my application turned in, to the tune of $165. $110 for the passport, $30 for a passport card (which will be required next year in Illinois) and $25 for the processing fee.

Since I was driving right by the testing emissions site, I drove in to get that done. Turns out I don't have to do it until next year! I thought it was an annual thing.

Since that is not necessary, I can proceed on renewing my license plate. I think I'll do that after May 1. My variables budget is at 86%, and I didn't count the cost of the passport or the car repair.

I was thinking of getting a haircut, but, really, I think it's okay. I'm still a couple of weeks away from needing it. Tomorrow I'm going to get a mani-pedi, but I have a gift coupon for it, so there will be no cost other than the tip.

I'm going to head up to Michigan early Friday morning.

This evening I'm going to my grandson's spring concert. His baseball game last night was canceled soon after it started, as there were threats of lightning. Luckily, he got to pitch before it ended -- unluckily, he was hit in the head with a ball, but he seems to be fine!

Day Sixty-Four

April 25th, 2016 at 09:14 am

Calories: 1321

I seem to have found the sweet spot between too much hunger and too many calories! Having distractions help, too, when I don't sit around and think about what I can eat next.

Today I'm doing laundry -- I spilled salad dressing on a sofa pillow so that prompted running a new load. Hope it comes out, but it won't be any tragedy if I lose that particular pillow..

I have another baseball game today. Since the weather is good, it's a nice diversion to sit outside and watch.

I talked to a couple of lenders this morning about the possibility of switching to a fixed rate mortgage. Both of them felt it was a wash -- I could do it, but the payment would go up. I'm so close to the bone right now, I don't want a bigger mortgage payment. When my SS payment goes up in 2019 -- that would be a better time to switch.

I got my package of OTC freebies, which includes a LARGE bottle of sunscreen lotion. I will try to remember to use it every time I go out, as I have read it doesn't really keep well from year to year. I also have a large bottle of aloe vera. I've never used it before. I probably won't need it for treating sunburn, since I'm not going to burn this year Smile, but I tried it out as a moisturizer last night and I liked the feel of it very much. Anybody here use aloe vera?

Other freebies were ear drops, brushpicks, throat spray and ibuprofen. BIG packges, not samples. I really like this service!

Now that I'm finally set with a decent passport picture, I'm going to the post office today to get the process started.

Day Sixty-Three

April 24th, 2016 at 03:55 pm

Calories: 1298!

I thought I wouldn't do any spending yesterday, but when I went to the baseball game, I realized I was quite close to both Walgreens and PetSmart. I went to Walgreens and got a retake on my passport photo (much better!) for $14, and then went to PetSmart, where I spent $48 on cat food, cat litter and fish food. I bought a large jar of cat treats (which I thought Iggy, at least, liked before) but neither cat will touch them. I spent $10 on that jar! Today I returned it for a full refund, even though it was opened. Yay, PetSmart!

I also stopped at the grocery and spent $22 for nine items. I was supposed to get a free yogurt, but I see on the receipt that I was charged. So I'll have to go back and fight about that. I did save $1.75 using virtual coupons and $4.08 on promotional items.

Let me go back and say that despite the extra expense, I'm so glad I had my passport picture retaken. I just know that every time I glanced at that other picture of me looking like Rocky Raccoon, it would have been a downer. Yes, I will pay a little for vanity.

It was a beautiful day and I took full advantage of it, attending a soccer game for one grandson, and playing in the park with the other. Very nice day.

Day Sixty-Two

April 23rd, 2016 at 06:06 am

Calories: 1412

Now that's more like it!

I have been picking up jigsaw puzzles at garage sales for some time, but I haven't actually worked one in a long time. I always thought it would be a good retirement entertainment. Well, yesterday I finally started one. The picture is a Tiffany glass window, and it's very challenging. I managed to put together all the edge pieces. Doing the inside is going to be harder.

My cats like to jump up on the table and walk on the pieces (with the ultimate goal of knocking them off the table), so I have to put the table pads on top of the puzzle when I'm not working on it, but I don't think that will be too much trouble.

I have a baseball game to attend today, and I still have two DVD's to watch before I have to return them tomorrow, so I have plenty of entertainment lined up for today.

No spending yesterday. Today I will pick up a free yogurt, but I don't intend to do any other "shopping."

Retirement is good!

Day Sixty-One

April 22nd, 2016 at 05:21 am

Calories: Cheat Day!

Yesterday I was so hungry I just kept grazing until at some point i just stopped counting calories. I don't know why I was so hungry, but I didn't have the gumption yesterday to push through it.

I'm feeling renewed today and I expect I will do well. I definitely see a difference in my silhouette in the mirror, so that is encouraging.

I spent $26 on groceries at Aldi, and did a load of laundry.

I went to my grandson's Tae Kwan Do class at the Y, which was seriously cute.

No big plans today. I'm going to make burgers out of half the ground beef, and cook off the rest. The weather has turned cold again, so I'm probably just going to stay inside and read and watch movies. Yesterday I watched Cold Mountain and Lucy. Today I'll watch Emma. I've seen it before, but I'd like to see it again.

Day Sixty

April 21st, 2016 at 08:23 am

Calories: 1603

I seem to be gravitating toward 1600 no matter what. I'll try to rein in today. Yesterday's culprit was ice cream. My mistake was thinking that the new premium ice cream I bought was about the same in calories as what I had before. It's about twice as much. Really delicious, though.

Yesterday I tried to print off a document, and it was smeared and sloppy. But according to the dialog box, I had plenty of ink. My printer was old, a big old dinosaur, and I decided not to put any money into figuring out what was wrong. For $20 more than the price of new ink, I bought a new printer at Office Depot.

I bought a display model because the price was so delightful. Only $39.99! Unfortunately, once I got it home, I found it was defective. The test print would not run.

I packed it up this morning, expecting some pushback from OD, but they were wonderful about exchanging it for a brand new still-in-the-box printer, a grade up from this one, for the same price! Needless to say, I'm pleased with their customer service.

I'm in the process of setting up the new one now.

The total price, with a two-year warranty and setup kit, was $72.

I got my birth certificate in the mail yesterday, so today I'll work on completing the process to get my passport. Dare I admit I want to get a new picture? The one I had made was awful -- made me look like I've never slept in my life. I'd really like to get a retake; it would make me feel so much better.

Well, back to hooking things up! Wish me luck!

Day Fifty-Nine

April 20th, 2016 at 07:18 am

Calories: 1655

Tough day. There was a bag of potato chips I couldn't leave alone. The good news is they are gone. They bad news is they are gone in my stomach.

Still, since I think my normal eating is easily 2000+, even the 1600's are a success, of sorts.

Iggy's visit to the vet yesterday was $25, and it was the last one. His ears are clearer, if not completely clear. He seems to have a ball of wax in one ear which may loosen on its own. I still have drops to put in. He'll get a re-check when he goes in for his annual.

I did another load of laundry yesterday.

In the interest of trying to keep my credit card bill payable, I'm not going to buy an airline ticket. I will make the trip to Florida by car, after the CC is paid off. I have the time, and I have the skills to make it cheap. Last time I did this I saved $$ over what the plane fare would have been. And I rather enjoy a road trip, even though this is a long one.

I have ten items on my grocery list, so I guess it is time to go shop. I've been doing well at stretching my food and avoiding waste, so I'm not feeling any urgency to shop. But I have to remember that if I buy more than ten items, I have a hard time carrying them up the stairs. I had enough of a struggle yesterday, carrying Iggy in his case. (Glad that's done for a while!)

I've settled on my reunion outfit. Plain slacks, a dressy top, kitten heels. I hope I hit the right blend of dressy and casual. But if not, I won't worry about it.

I have a coupon for a free mani-pedi, so I'll be getting that before I go. I'll probably need a hair trim, too.

HBO is airing its free watchathon on Xfinity on Demand this week, so I am enjoying some good movies. 5 Floors Up, A Little Chaos, The Fault in Our Stars. I have a couple of DVD's from the library, but I may just try to renew them so I can take full advantage of the free movies this week. I think Cinemax (?) is also free this week. I may never leave the couch!

Day Fifty-Eight

April 19th, 2016 at 07:12 am

Calories: 1598

Too many carbs yesterday; they add up so fast.

No spending yesterday other than $1.50 for laundry.

I went to my grandson's second baseball game. He was opening pitcher and he made a couple of strong hits, one that brought in the winning run. He loves the game -- he's so into it. Fun to watch.

This morning I am taking Iggy back to the vet to see if his ears are any better.

I have made no decisions yet about Florida, but I am leaning toward driving.

I guess I'd better start trying on clothes to figure out what to wear to my reunion. Perhaps I can even figure out shoes. I do have two pairs of kitten heels, one bronze, one black, but they are not comfortable. I would really like to NOT buy anything when I have this huge car repair cost looming on my credit card.

I haven't reported on my variables for a while. I'm at 59%, with 63% of the month gone. So far I am cash-flowing the vet bills, but of course the car repair payoff will come out of savings. I'll be glad when that's done.

Thought I found a coin yesterday, but it was a euro! I'll give it to my grandson for his treasure box.

Day Fifty-Seven

April 18th, 2016 at 06:14 am

Calories: 1435

Yesterday I went to the big library (I usually go to the nearby branch). I had a book to pick up. I also picked up two DVD's - Still Alice and Mockingjay Part I.

Then I stopped at Jewel and got a free box of Nature Valley butter biscuits.

I ordered my $50 worth of free OTC supplies from OTC Essentials. (It's a perk of my Medicare Advantage plan). This time I got sunscreen lotion, brushpicks, personal cleansing wipes, and ibuprofen.

I added $53.49 to my snowflakes for the free biscuits and OTC supplies.

I printed off my order to OTC and it looks like I need printer ink again. Either that, or my printer is failing. But it's probably the ink. I sure seem to use it up fast, while not actually using my printer too much!

I have another baseball game to attend today. My DIL also added my other grandson's events to my calendar -- looks like it's mostly Tae Kwon Do.

I have a couple of contenders for the reunion outfit in my wardrobe, but I think I'm going to have to buy a new pair of shoes.

Day Fifty-Six

April 17th, 2016 at 06:57 am

Calories: 1638

Several challenges yesterday -- after my grandson's baseball game my ex took us all out to Steak N Shake. I ate only half of my sandwich, but I did eat the fries. Also, remember I said I wanted to avoid the vending machines? Unfortunately, the vending machines came to me. Family members bought stuff and passed it around. I ended up eating some licorice.

Aside from the mild overeating, it was a good day. My grandson pitched, and did well. It was his first day with this particular team. The weather was beautiful and perfect for spectators.

My ex told me that my college class was having a reunion the weekend I was already planning to go up to Michigan. I was not aware, because I did not graduate with my class (one year later) so they never inform me. I got online and I registered! I'm going! It was $30. Now I have to figure out what to wear.

I also talked to my Florida son last night about making a visit down there. He recommended that I come the first week of June. When I started looking at flights, I realized suddenly that I don't have the cash flow to buy a ticket. I'm already in the hole, what with the car repairs. (I do literally have the money, but I don't want to upset my spending plan). I'm thinking about driving, like I did before. It worked out well, moneywise, and I rather enjoyed the experience, even though it was a long time in the car. If I drive, there will be no expense until the time I begin. I might ask my BFF if she wants to go along. She has expressed interest before. All this is speculation!

Day Fifty-Five

April 16th, 2016 at 07:25 am

Calories: 1452

I made chicken-mushroom fettuccine Alfredo last night. I only got in a few bites before I dropped the bowl on a tile floor. It smashed and my dinner was ruined. Probably saved myself a lot of calories, though! I substituted celery sticks with peanut butter.

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

I sent in some class action claims -- Snyder pretzels, Cape Cod chips, and Tom's of Maine toothpaste. All are small payouts, but every little snowflake will benefit the grandchildren's college fund. I'm also expecting a $15 Walmart gift card for participating in UnitedHealthcare's Housecall program.

I got an email notifying me that my birth certificate is "in process." That was a relief; for a long time I heard nothing. Hoping "in process" means it will be here in the next few days.

Today is the first day of my grandson's baseball season. It's going to be a nice day weatherwise, so it should be fun. I'm taking a bottle of water and pear slices and celery sticks, so I don't get distracted by the vending machines or the ice cream truck.

Day Fifty-Four

April 15th, 2016 at 08:18 am

Calories: 1600

I spent the whole afternoon in the auto repair shop. I expected to be there only a couple of hours and it stretched to five. I ended up getting a candy bar to tide me over; otherwise my calorie count would have been right in line.

So, the car. I knew that I needed some filters and some work on the suspension. But the check engine light was on, and when they checked that out, it turned out I also needed a new sensor as well as a new battery. I also needed to have the transmission and radiator flushed, some work on the power steering, and have the fuel injectors cleaned. Since I was due for an oil change, they did that, and washed the car as well. So I'm set! I hope! The total cost was $1596 -- that was after about $200 worth of coupons were used.

So, the good news is, my bonus on my new credit card has been earned! (I won't see it till the end of this cycle; what I mean is I've met the requirement.)

But I spent a lot more than expected, so I'm going to try to live austerely for the rest of this credit card cycle (which just started, unfortunately!)

I have already committed to visiting my brother on the last weekend in April, so I will carry through on that. But I'm going to try to cut in other areas; mainly, I'm going to eat out of my pantry and only buy necessities.

I canceled Netflix yesterday. I hadn't been using it much, anyway, and the new billing structure just pushed me off the edge. I will use the library and Redbox. And I will go to movies more. That's the way I really enjoy them -- in the theater -- so I'm giving myself permission to do that. Not now, though, while I'm living austere!

Baseball and soccer are starting up for my grandson, so there will be plenty of free entertainment coming up.

I'm feeling surprisingly upbeat about this big bill. I suppose it is because I have the money, and while I will have to rebuild the slush fund after paying it off, that feels a lot better than going into debt. Or wondering how I will make ends meet. I am so happy to be at this stage of my life.

Day Fifty-Three

April 14th, 2016 at 08:06 am

Calories: 1726

Last night's dinner was a spread from Naf Naf Grill. I had to estimate the calories, so I estimated generously. Think I am close to the mark, though.

Yesterday my Kaspersky subscription renewed (internet security) - $32. Also my $52 phone bill hit the Discover card. That was my only spending yesterday.

I took the El to the dinner downtown. Since I had $ on my card already, it was no cost to me. The ride down was easy; getting back was a bit of a challenge, because I entered a terminal that didn't have my line, so I had to take a different line and transfer. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring it out!

I'm planning a visit to my brother's house late in the month. Now that spring is here, more or less, I'm in the mood for a drive and it's been a while since I've seen him. Also planning a lunch with man friend.

I found the paperwork for the car repairs that I need, so today I'm going call and see if I can get in.

Other than that, it should be a quiet day.