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Archive for March, 2017

Rediscovering an older pleasure

March 17th, 2017 at 09:08 pm

Years ago I had a sewing machine. It was my grandmother's. Big heavy "portable" thing that you had to be a weight lifter to put it on a table. I used it. A lot. I then decided to buy a newer machine with a cabinet. My mom was an expert on machines and she picked it out and we brought it home. We both used it. She used it far more than I did. When I moved out, I gave it to her since she was using it more than I did. When she died, I didn't have room for it, so I gave it to one of her friends who had a daughter who wanted a machine. It's been ten years since my mom died.

Since I am retired, I have time to do more than just sew on a button. I decided I wanted a machine. I found one at a thrift store for $20. It isn't perfect, but it works. It also isn't as heavy as my grandmother's. I have no idea what happened to my grandmother's machine, by the way. This one has a few problems, but for the little bit of sewing I plan to do, it is workable.

Yesterday I decided I wanted to try and make a cloth grocery bag. I had no pattern, but I measured one and made my own pattern. As I'm pinning the pieces together I just felt a degree of satisfaction. I won't be making anything big or fancy, but it certainly is nice to make something I can use. I bought some scrap material for $1 and I didn't use it all, so my bag will be less than a $1 when I get it finished. I decided to crochet the handles so I'm not quite finished with it.

There is something so satisfying to creating something and finishing it, isn't there?

I think I may have mentioned a group from church where we knit hats on looms. One of the reports for the local paper is a school chum and I told her about our goal of making more hats than this year and adopting some classes next year and giving them hats. The story did make the paper and as a result, we have had four people donate some yarn and a couple more promise. It's kind of nice when people like to get involved. Anyway, here's the link to the story if you are interested:

http://herald-review.com/news/local/stitched-with-love-lutheran-women-knit-hats-for-decatur-students/article_92359267-25af-5b5a-b3d7-35d95df884cf.html?haa=123&utm_content=bufferfeddf&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=LEEDCC

To follow up on an earlier post, I did cancel the subscription to the Sunday Chicago Tribune. It wasn't easy. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Trib and I haven't seen it published, but received another phone call this morning begging me to reconsider. I refused. DH said he didn't want me to have to bother with it anymore and I'm relieved.

Hope your Friday is a good one and if you are Irish or Irish wannabe, hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day!

Leftovers and a vent

March 15th, 2017 at 05:10 pm

Fixed lunch a few minutes ago. Used leftover pork roast to make pulled pork. It was pretty decent. Tonight will be leftover pork chops with baked sweet potatoes and a salad. Last night we had chicken I lightly breaded and baked. The chicken breasts were so thick that I sliced them in half so we have enough for another meal. Yesterday for lunch we had chicken noodle soup which was leftover from Sunday's supper. We tend to repurpose leftovers around here. I do like the idea of cooking once and getting a couple of meals out of it. I still have so much soup left I will be freezing it for another time. A pretty good deal for a whole chicken I got for 69 cents a pound.

Now that I am retired, I try to volunteer. I was not a happy camper yesterday. State testing is going on in the public schools in Illinois and I know how stressful it can be. I volunteered to help out. That means more than just showing up. I had to watch some required videos and sign off on them before the testing. I asked what time I needed to be there yesterday and was told 8 a.m. I got there a few minutes before and the person then realized the first set of testing wouldn't start for an hour. She hadn't bothered to check her schedule. I was not pleased. I realize I am retired, but that is a waste of my time to sit around for an hour. Schools aren't exactly comfortable spots to just lounge around. She sort of apologized, but I didn't say too much. For years I had run the state testing in the buildings I was assigned to. If I had anyone kind enough to volunteer, I made sure they had the exact time they were needed, followed up if things changed, and made sure they were felt appreciated.

A few years ago my husband who is retired from the library and quite a fabulous reader of children's books volunteered to read each week in one of my schools. The two teachers decided they couldn't set a time that he could read back to back so he read at one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon. I told him not to agree to that because it wasn't a good use of his time, but he didn't want to upset anyone. So, he would show up in the morning, read for 30 minutes and then leave and show up a couple of hours later to do the same. These same teachers would conveniently forget when they were going to be gone on field trips or something else came up and he would show up and they would tell him he couldn't come in or one time they weren't even there and he walked into an empty classroom. The following year I told him not to even think about volunteering for those teachers. I lined it up for him to volunteer in another teacher's room. She stayed in the room with him (which is what teachers are supposed to do), thanked him profusely every time he read, and if something came up, told both him and me ahead of time.

Being disrespectful of a volunteer's time is one way to make sure one doesn't eagerly volunteer again. Sorry I had to just vent.

So very frustrated

March 14th, 2017 at 09:55 pm

Earlier I wrote about our struggles with receiving the Sunday Chicago Tribune. It has been ongoing. We would get it a Sunday or two and then not get it. I would call, email, message, and it never seemed to help. I have decided it isn't the paper carrier. I believe it is the same one who delivers our local paper and she is top notch. I believe it is whomever distributes the paper downstate. We haven't received the darn thing the past three Sundays. DH stopped into Walgreens where he can sometimes snag a copy and they were sold out, but the clerk told him something interesting...the week before last they didn't get the Sunday paper until Tuesday. We haven't had horrible weather around this time, so there really isn't an excuse.

I have called their number on Sunday mornings and get the blasted automation system which says we will receive a replacement paper in 90 minutes. Yeah, right. Call me skeptical because it has never happened. And it didn't.

The past three Sundays no paper and I call on Monday, and get it promised it will be delivered if not later in the day, on Tuesday. No paper, Then I call on Tuesday and they will credit my account. What good is it to credit my account when I don't get a paper. It isn't like I'm going to get interest on this so called credit.

Each time I call, I get someone who cannot pronounce my first name correctly. It is Debbie. I can't imagine that being THAT hard. They can't pronounce our street name nor our city. I finally asked where their calling center was located. He said Philippines, but I really think it is India. The guy yesterday promised me a newspaper within an hour and a half. I told him we are three hours away from Chicago and I rather doubt if anyone wa going to speed and drive here to give us a paper. I asked to cancel and was given he same spiel I was given last week. Basically, give us a chance, we promise you will get the paper Sunday. etc. I told them I wanted to talk to someone from Chicago and he promised someone would call me later in the day. I kept my cell phone with me and no call. Not a surprise. I called this morning, got another person who couldn't pronounce my name or city or street name, started in with the same verbal garbage about giving them another chance and I just said I was tired of it all, I had better things to do with my life than call about a newspaper that wasn't being delivered and no, I didn't want to access it online. My husband wants a real newspaper, he doesn't read things on devices and I wanted the coupons, so cancel. She argued and I told her again I wanted it canceled and the credit to be returned to me. Supposedly it is done. We shall see.

Sunday Musings

March 12th, 2017 at 06:14 pm

Sunday afternoon here in the Midwest. We didn't get the snow they predicted yesterday. It wasn't going to be much, but still glad it missed us. Overall, we haven't had too bad of a winter so far, but we do need some precip. I would just prefer it wasn't snow or ice. Picky, aren't I? There's a chance of snow tomorrow. Fortunately if there is snow, we don't have to go anywhere.

We went to a small town near here (Arthur) for the Home and Garden Show yesterday. Other than the money for gas, we didn't spend anything at the show. We go most years because we like to look at the booths because many of them are Amish businesses. Some of the handiwork is nothing short of amazing. We did stop by the Amish bulk grocery and buy a few things. They were planned. We stopped at a thrift store too, but didn't buy anything.

After church and brunch here at home, I usually pay bills, and update our church's Facebook page and then head over here. It seems like I'm visiting old friends as we keep up with each other.

Not much to report new really. Last night I fixed a pork roast and we will have pulled pork sandwiches from the leftovers for a lunch or two. I also made chicken noodle soup for tonight's supper. I bought some whole chickens on sale about a month ago and fixed one that week and put one in the freezer. It made it's appearance this week for a couple of meals and I used the leftover chicken and broth for the soup we will have tonight and probably for lunch one day this week. I did our weekly grocery shopping on Thursday (one big advantage of being retired) and I planned meals for this week before going. I just can't imagine not planning meals to some degree.

I don't miss packing lunches for work. I would often take leftovers, but I still don't miss that. I have a friend who is always complaining she has no money, but often puts on Facebook where she had lunch. Granted, she hits fast food, but even that can rack up quite a bit if you eat out every day. If she has to work overtime, she moans and groans on Facebook how hungry she is. I really want to tell her to grow up. She knows she has to work overtime on these occasions so why not pack something to heat up or eat later? Guess I'm kind of snarky. I have suggested she read stuff on this site when she has complained about being broke and she informed me she knows how to save money. She might know, but unfortunately she doesn't use that knowledge if her posts about being broke are true. That is the key, isn't it? Use what you know.

The newspaper came out to do a story on the knitting group at church. It is supposed to run sometime this week I think. We are making hats to donate to the public schools next fall. I counted the hats we have made so far on Thursday and we had 70 made. That's pretty good for just a few ladies working together. One lady joked if we keep up this pace, we might be able to adopt a whole school. Wouldn't that be something?

Hope you all have a great week!

Feeling blessed

March 5th, 2017 at 07:42 pm

It's Sunday afternoon and there's a routine around here. We attend church in the morning, come home and have brunch, clean up, and then DH goes to finish the newspaper and I head to the computer. I update our church's Facebook page and then pay bills, then relax by perusing SA blogs. Not a bad routine at all.

After reading folks' blogs and then seeing a gal I went to high school with, I realize both DH and I were very blessed to have the jobs we had for as long as we had. DH graduated college and intended to be a high school history teacher. Well, he didn't coach and in the late 60s and early 70s, that was pretty much an unwritten requirement. He worked a couple of different jobs here and there and then found a job on the public library's bookmobile. He worked there 35 years and loved it. He enjoyed books, liked helping people, and every day was different.

My start was a bit different. I wound up working about 5 different jobs before I was hired full time as a teacher for the public schools. There were times I worked two jobs and did some free lance writing to make money. But, I never forgot what a struggle it was. When I was hired, I remember what my dad told me when I was 16 and getting my first job -- go in early, do more than they expect, give more time, and never stop learning. He said you never want to give your employer a reason to fire you. I realize there are always circumstances beyond one's control, but he was right. I never was fired from a job so I guess I was very fortunate.

As I mentioned, I saw a friend I went to high school with and she just was laid off from her current job. She had hoped to stay with it until she retired at 62, but no such luck. It wasn't too long ago she was laid off from another job because of money problems with the place she worked. They had to cut back and she and a couple of others lost their jobs. I told DH I guess we were really lucky to have the same jobs for over 30 years.

I'm not sure what I would tell someone starting out looking for employment other than to not stop learning. When I was home on break during college, I worked as a reporter for a small newspaper. Back then, there were typesetting machines that you typed into and you saw one line at a time. You had to learn different keys to center stuff and to quad left and so on. One of the typesetters called in sick and the other one asked me if I wanted to come back and learn to fill in. I did with the editor's blessing. It worked out for all of us because when we would get close to deadline, he would put me on the typesetting machine because I could edit and type at the same time when time was short. Back at college I worked part-time for both the publishing company of my college and then for another publishing company which helped me pay for my school. Now typesetting is defunct with all the fancy computers, but because I was willing to learn it helped me finish college with no debt.

Anyway, just thought I'd say I feel very blessed and hope others seeking employment find worthy work of their talents and skills.

Well, Phooey!

March 2nd, 2017 at 08:52 pm

That sums up my feelings right now. I thought digging out DH's old pedometer would save me some money. I don't want to invest in an expensive FitBit or anything. So, I went and got a new battery...DH hasn't used it in years, went through all the trouble to unscrew all those little dinky screws to get it replaced. Then, it took me about a day to figure it out since DH has no idea where the little instructional book is. I finally got it figured out yesterday afternoon and did record some steps. I was all primed today to use it...did my morning exercise, went grocery shopping, and while cleaning, knocked the darn thing off my waist band. I will be giving it a proper funeral in a few minutes after I dissect it to get out the nearly new battery. Well, phooey! No good deed goes unpunished.