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Archive for June, 2017

Pension problems and state budget woes

June 29th, 2017 at 11:50 pm

I live in Illinois. The land of Lincoln. I'm sure he is spinning his grave at this point. For over two years we haven't had a budget and it looks like it will be another year without one. The fiscal year ends June 30th and we are getting depressing news of what is going to stop or be delayed if there is not budget in place by midnight tomorrow. We have a governor and the speaker who are basically holding our state hostage because neither one wants to compromise. I would like to drive to Springfield and in my best teacher voice tell them to grow up and get along.

I'm not overly impressed with our news media. I have emailed our local television station complaining that there are so many "filler" stories and less local news or news that really impacts us. I'm not trying to be someone who doesn't want to know what is going on elsewhere, but I would like news about our community and nearby too. Each night they say we don't have a budget, but not much else. Today the state comptroller shared a video stating all the things that would be stopped or delayed if there is no budget. My pension is one of them that may be delayed come August. There are lots of teachers here in Decatur who get a teachers' retirement pension, not to mention around the state but not one news media has mentioned it. I found this little video on Facebook. I called teacher retirement to find out if it is true and was told that although we have to get our pensions, it is true that it could be delayed. I asked how much of a delay and was told they didn't know.

So, hubby and I are wondering if this is going to come to pass. He also has a state pension and has heard nothing about it. Fortunately all of our big bills have been paid (property taxes, homeowner's insurance, long term insurance, car insurance) so it will be the basic bills of power, water, phone, groceries, etc. that we will have. And we have money in the bank if we need to dip into it.

But I knew some folks who won't be so fortunate. One person makes a far bigger pension that we do and at this point he can't live on it and has to borrow money and put things on credit cards to buy everything he wants and thinks he needs. I emailed him about the possibility of the delay and said we were cutting back our July spending just in case. Haven't heard a word from him. Probably won't.

So, now the waiting begins. Will we or won't we get a budget? Will our legislative leaders learn to get along and work together? Personally, I'm not very optimistic.

Papers

June 21st, 2017 at 08:29 pm

That six letter word is driving me crazy. Or crazier. We have so many of them and so many of them say don't discard. I have been going through drawers and did get rid of a bunch of stuff.

I have two boxes of stuff to donate (non paper items). I recycled a bunch of stuff that could be. The shred pile has grown considerably as well, but still have a ton of papers that we are keeping. It is discouraging. I threw away some photos. They were photos I took, no people in them, and although at the time I thought they were great, now I don't think so . I had a scrapbook of things when I first started teaching over 30 years ago. I pulled out the photos and have either mailed them to the people who were in them if I could find their addresses or dropped them off to local folks.

One of our stops today was the library. As my husband was getting in the car, a guy wanted him to roll down the window. I told him not to because I knew it was a panhandler. They hang out in the library parking lot quite a bit. One of the guys who was associated with the homeless shelter has been on the news saying not to give them donations because their needs are being met at the local homeless shelter and they want the money for drugs and/or alcohol. One gal argued with me the other day. She said she needed money for coffee, I told her the shelter which is about 4 blocks away has free coffee. She told me she was thrown out and I just walked away. You feel sorry for them, but I don't want to give them money for drugs.

Change

June 18th, 2017 at 07:48 pm

Every year we take our change into the credit union. We are fortunate that they have a change counter, but you have to have an account there for them to use it. This year we had $162.49 in change. DH uses cash for just about everything so he has far more change than I do. I use some cash, but often I'm paying for things like groceries or stuff at the home improvement store so I use the credit card. If I find change I put it in our trusty pickle jar. I was cleaning the other day and moved a chest and found a penny so you know where it wound up. We would have had more change, except we used quite a bit of quarters in January when we went to Tybee Island - Savannah. You pay for parking everywhere and according to the locals, the meters are strictly enforced. We also did laundry there since we were there almost two weeks. We put the money in our Christmas Club Account from our change jar. This gave us over $900 in our Christmas Club account.

Speaking of Christmas, I'm happy to report I've bought two gifts this week. Yay, me! LOL I have also made a few gifts so far. Plus I bought a gift in January too when we were on Tybee Island.

The knitting group I belong to at church has over 300 hats made so far. Most of us are making hats outside of the 4 hours a month we meet. Our intention is to give them to classrooms in high poverty schools in our area.

I used to enjoy doing crafts like crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, etc. Then for awhile between work and my hands going numb, I gave it all up, even after having surgery on each hand. I started crocheting again a couple of summers ago -- I made star ornaments out of crochet thread for every staff member at my school for Christmas. Our mascot was the Super Stars so I thought it was appropriate. I discovered if I didn't overdo, my hands didn't hurt. So, I again have found the pleasure in crocheting and now knitting on the round loom. My goal for this Christmas is to crochet a small ornament to put in our Christmas cards. I do one or two here and there, but I have a ways to go. We send out a lot of cards. I thought it would be something nice anyway and keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. Smile

I found a brand new package of pillowcases at our church's rummage sale. These are the kind you embroider upon. I'm looking forward to working on these. I know they aren't popular, but for $3 and my work, they will do. Some of those sites on the Internet talk about how out of style Baby Boomers are. Guess I fit that bill. Who needs to be in style anyway?

#27

June 15th, 2017 at 08:02 pm

Any of you remember the show Grizzly Adams and Denver Pyle was a character and he named his mule a number instead of a name?

That, of course, has nothing to do with my post, except today is number 27 for me. Not mules, but wedding anniversaries. DH and I married under an oak tree 27 years ago in his mom's backyard. I don't know, maybe my husband thinks I'm as stubborn as a mule. Smile

It's been a good 27 years. We have had our struggles and our triumphs.

Two years ago we renewed our vows under that 200+ year old oak tree. Last year the oak tree was cut down to make room for a hotel. The property had been sold a number of years ago when DH's mom died.

Our wedding was very simple. We wore clothes we had. My parents, godparents, his mom, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew attended. We rented a community room for the reception and my parents bought the cake and I made Chex party mix (you couldn't buy it already made then) and bought mints and bought the stuff for punch. Friends helped me set up the room beforehand with paper tablecloths and paper plates. We could rent the room for $15 but you had to move tables and chairs out and move them back afterwards. The key rental was an additional $15, but it was returned when you returned the key. We had a place that sold discounted cups, plates, flatware, and paper tablecloths and that's where I bought them. The punch bowl was borrowed from a friend. We brought the cake server from home. A teacher friend videotaped the ceremony and the reception for free for the practice. My teacher friends served. I think we spent less than $200 on our wedding altogether and here we are still married 27 years later.

We decided instead of spending the money on a fancy wedding and reception, we would put our available money as a downpayment on a house. Am I sorry? Not really. Yes, there are times I wish I had the fancy dress and the church wedding. But afterwards, I probably would have kicked myself for such needless spending.

So, happy anniversary to us. No big trip for us. We are going out to dinner. And it will be enough.

And you saved...

June 12th, 2017 at 07:34 pm

Do you read those messages on your receipts from some of the stores that tell you how much you saved by shopping there?

Our public library is now putting that on the bottom of the checkout slips. Last week I checked out some magazines and some books and at the bottom it told me: "You just saved $89.89 by using your library. You have saved $513.71 since April 14, 2017."

Pretty cool!

Sunday Catch Up

June 11th, 2017 at 07:57 pm

It's Sunday afternoon. The outside temp is hot and it's windy. Glad we have air conditioning and can afford to run it.

I've paid bills and updated a few things. I'm getting ready to enjoy a book for part of the afternoon. I know I certainly get my money's worth from the public library. DH has watered some of his vegetables that are in pots that have dried out so quickly. I picked a little lettuce and washed it and put it in the chill chest for tonight's cold supper of sandwiches.

I was doing a little research the other night. I'm not dedicated enough to actually buy a subscription so I just search for stuff that I can find that is free. Just for kicks I typed in the name of a great uncle who died in World War I. I knew very little about him other than his name and that he died in the war. Well, I discovered that he is buried in a cemetery in Iraq and that he fought for England. I knew the family had come to America in 1902, but didn't realize he was in the English military. I also didn't know there was a cemetery in Iraq for casualties of World War I and World War II. Unfortunately the cemetery isn't in very good shape due to folks looting and tearing it up. That's unfortunate, but it isn't limited to Iraq. Why people feel the need to desecrate cemeteries is beyond me.

Hope you all had a great weekend. I hear that book calling!


Sunday Catch Up

June 11th, 2017 at 07:56 pm

It's Sunday afternoon. The outside temp is hot and it's windy. Glad we have air conditioning and can afford to run it.

I've paid bills and updated a few things. I'm getting ready to enjoy a book for part of the afternoon. I know I certainly get my money's worth from the public library. DH has watered some of his vegetables that are in pots that have dried out so quickly. I picked a little lettuce and washed it and put it in the chill chest for tonight's cold supper of sandwiches.

I was doing a little research the other night. I'm not dedicated enough to actually buy a subscription so I just search for stuff that I can find that is free. Just for kicks I typed in the name of a great uncle who died in World War I. I knew very little about him other than his name and that he died in the war. Well, I discovered that he is buried in a cemetery in Iraq and that he fought for England. I knew the family had come to America in 1902, but didn't realize he was in the English military. I also didn't know there was a cemetery in Iraq for casualties of World War I and World War II. Unfortunately the cemetery isn't in very good shape due to folks looting and tearing it up. That's unfortunate, but it isn't limited to Iraq. Why people feel the need to desecrate cemeteries is beyond me.

Hope you all had a great weekend. I hear that book calling!


Nice day to make jelly

June 7th, 2017 at 07:43 pm

It's isn't super hot and humid here today (this weekend it was horrific for the first of June) so I decided to use some of the apple juice I've made to make apple jelly.

I make our own juice and apple sauce because I don't want product grown in China. I've read about where many of the fruits and vegetables grow there and it scares me. Plus, I don't use as much sweetener for either. I use cinnamon and nutmeg while the apples cook and add a little sugar, but not much. When I make the applesauce, I put in a little maple syrup while blending it and it gives is a good flavor, but not too much sweetness. Anyway, I've made quite a bit of applesauce and I have far more apple juice than my husband can consume. So, jelly it is!

I use the jelly throughout the year and I try to make up extra to give away at Christmas. I've been kind of fortunate that I've found jelly jars at the thrift stores lately. I have a few friends who save the jars for me, but many don't, even when I ask them to. I hate to appear cheap, but besides the work, jars, lids, and rings do cost money.

It's been a productive day overall. I washed, dried, and ironed the kitchen curtains and washed the kitchen window which is a pain in the patootie for me to wash because I'm short and have to stand on a step stool to wash the windows as well as hang the curtains. I've done some laundry besides, and some cleaning, made the jelly, and penned three letters.

I think I felt like I needed to really be productive because yesterday we drove to Chicago to visit a friend of mine from college. It was a nice visit, but I'm not sure driving 3 hours each way for a two hour visit was worth it. We didn't do anything else because we had to meet my friend at a certain time and by the time we finished our lunch and visit, if we had ventured any farther, we would have had to fight rush hour. I wasn't in any mood to do that, so we came home. And I was exhausted from the driving so I was ever so glad to be home. My friend was generous and bought our lunch so our trip was basically for gas. Is wasn't the cost of the trip, but the weariness of all the driving that makes me wonder if it is worth it.

I Hear the Cha Ching!

June 4th, 2017 at 07:10 pm

It's downright hot and humid here in Central Illinois. The a/c is running and I can almost hear the bill going up. But, being asthmatic and allergic, I will pay it, perhaps not happily, but knowing I can afford it and feeling blessed that I can. And although I gripe, putting in extra insulation a couple of years ago really did help.

I'm working on some decluttering. It never seems to end. But the yarn stash is going down. Between yarn donations from friends and some yarn I've purchased at thrift stores, I had quite a bit of it. I have mentioned before knitting hats with the church group and then I use the the bits and pieces leftover to crochet dish cloths and Swiffer covers. Every two weeks when the group meets, I take the hats I've completed in so I'm getting those out of the house anyway. Today was the paper monster. I save all the credit card receipts and then reconcile them with the statement. Finally got through that pile and they can be shredded. I also have some other paperwork I had to finish before seeing the end to it. Plus paying some bills. And here we were promised that we would have less papers with all this technology!

My heart goes out to those in London with all the sadness.

Hope you are having a lovely Sunday.

Not much to report

June 2nd, 2017 at 07:51 pm

It's a warm Friday down here in Central Illinois.

My church was having its annual rummage sale. We dropped by and found a few things. I bought an unopened box of stationery. I write to three shut ins and I try to find nice cards and papers. My husband says that I'm probably one of the few people who still write letters. I also found packages of sheer curtains that had never been opened. I have been looking for some for a window, but didn't want to pay big bucks for them. I spent $6 for both of them and they were new in the package.

We do a weekly tun through the thrift shops and I found a summer dress and jacket for $5. My husband reads to classes during the year and he found a kid's book for 45 cents that he wanted for his library.

I finished book #49 last night. I have been keeping track of all the books I read. I belong to a Facebook book club which we just tell the title and author and if we liked the book or not. The goal is to read 17 books since the year ends in 17. That is one of the joys of being retired...I can read far more.

Yesterday we received a bunch of calls from an unknown number. My curiosity got the better of me and I answered it today. I was greeted with "grandma" and the guy started in on his sob story. I could tell he was calling from a call center because when I answered, I could hear all the other callers in the background. He went on to say he didn't sound like himself because he has a broken nose. I asked him how he broke it and he told me he was in an auto accident and that some lady ran into him. I asked him where he was and he said Fort Wayne and that he was going to his friend's, Mark Fisher's brother's funeral. The brother had leukemia. I asked him why he left town with his ankle bracelet because he wasn't supposed to. I think I stymied him for a couple of seconds and he said he knew, and he was sorry. I asked him if he had told his dad and he said no and I asked him why not and he hung up on me. Some rude "grandson." I make light of this because I don't have grandchildren and I knew it was a scam going in. I think he realized I was messing with him. Hopefully they will quit calling. I'm tired of all the calls we get and there are so many. I bet we answer the phone maybe once every couple of days or so because most of the calls are basically scammers or people wanting to sell us something. Personally, I think it is darn rude of them to even think to waste my time. Although I do think the ones calling from Microsoft and are pretty bad. The second to last one he was telling me my computer was sending him messages and it needed to be fixed. I asked him which computer and he said what did I mean and I said which one, we have more than one and I need to know the ID from it so I can use the right one. He asked to speak to my husband which is even funnier. My husband doesn't touch the computer. What scares me is he knew my husband's name. I told him that my husband hates computers so it would be a bigger waste of his time and he hung up. The last call I just said we don't have a computer and hung up. I'm sure they will call again.