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September 16th, 2016 at 07:27 pm

First of all, just a thank you to all of you who commented best wishes and prayed for my husband's double hernia surgery. It was Tuesday. He was given a spinal and of course, he was one in the thousands who had problems getting the numbness to wear off...we were at the hospital almost 12 hours for something that wasn't supposed to take half that long. But, he's home, he's feeling better, so that's good.

1. I have been blogging 6 years with SA.
2. I am married and have been for over 26 years.
3. I am currently (and happily) retired after teaching for over 30 years.
4. I love to read. I just finished book 77 for 2016 -- I belong to a Facebook group where we have a goal of reading a certain amount of books per year and we post what we read and if we liked it or not.
5. I love to cook. Unfortunately I love to eat as well.
6. I am a Christian and try to live my faith in such a way that others don't find me judging, but kind.
7. I grew up poor. I am not rich, but we are comfortable. I feel very blessed.
8. My parents were quite a bit older when I was born -- I was an accident and basically told that growing up.
9. I am shy.
10. I am often very sensitive and get my feelings hurt over silly things.
11. I have a slight hearing loss and it keeps me from wanting to be in crowds.
12. I really like Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. I often wonder if living in Illinois (being born and raised here) was a mistake.
13. Because of my love of reading, that is how I met my husband almost 30 years ago -- he worked on the public library's bookmobile.
14. I like the idea of traveling, but really hate to be away from home. I get homesick pretty easily because of it.
15. I worked in Chicago for a year at a publishing company. (I am from Central Illinois so being in the big city was culture shock.)
16. I drive, but I hate it. I don't want to be without transportation, but don't enjoy it.
17. I really like Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and Mission Style furnishings.
18. My mother canned when I was growing up, but told me I was stupid to learn how. I taught myself how to can vegetables about three years ago.
19. I am probably unAmerican, but I don't care for sports.
20. I have not met any SA members, unfortunately.

A Couple of Busy Weeks

September 11th, 2016 at 07:51 pm

Last week was kind of busy and this week may be as well. Last week I tried to get some things done before my colonoscopy. Fortunately I did complete my list before the prep and the procedure went well. The doctor said I didn't have to come to the follow up appointment which was good news, but my complaint is why would the nurse tell you that when you are so groggy?

DH is having double hernia surgery Tuesday and if you are so inclined, I would appreciate prayers for him. It is supposed to be outpatient so hopefully he will be home Tuesday afternoon, but I imagine he will be very sore.

I asked him to pick any tomatoes that are starting to turn so we have them. I canned two quarts of juice from cherry tomatoes and the others today and our counter has quite a few tomatoes that need to ripen. I think our shorter days is making it so they don't ripen as quickly. He mowed today and has pulled up the cucumber plant, all the carrots, and one tomato plant that had basically died back. I was out of jars when I canned carrots last week so I have been scrounging pint jars. I realized I had a couple in my pantry I was using to store dry herbs and baking soda. I emptied the contents into non canning jars and washed them up. We finished a pint of pickles this week so I used that jar. So, I finished canning the carrots we had and wound up with 3 more pints and a half pint. I really didn't want to buy any more jars if I didn't have to.

I was really tired after the colonoscopy Friday, but we went to the grocery stores anyway since we didn't need a whole lot. I have our menu planned for this week so that will help. I know it is already Sunday, but I'm starting with last night since that is how I planned:

Saturday: pork chops, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, small salad, fruit

Sunday: Sloppy chicks, baked beans, chips, pickles, sliced tomatoes

Monday: chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit

Tuesday: pork roast, roasted potatoes, carrots, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit

Wednesday: leftover pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit

Thursday: scrambled eggs, leftover sausage (from Sunday brunch), toast, sliced tomatoes, fruit

Lunches will be leftover sloppy chicks, pulled pork from the pork roast, and I try to keep sliced deli turkey on hand.

We normally splurge and eat on on Friday nights.

Misunderstood Mary

September 3rd, 2016 at 09:03 pm

Both DH and I enjoy history, and his favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. Fortunately we live less than an hour away from Lincoln's Presidential Museum, his Springfield home, and New Salem sites. I've learned more about Lincoln since being married to my husband, and there are lots of interesting facts about the man and his family.

Rumors have abounded that his wife, Mary, was crazy. Well, like many folks, I enjoy a good juicy tidbit so I have been reading up on Mary Todd Lincoln the past few years. I just finished a biography and with all the details and references, I hope the author told the real story. I truly think Mary was misunderstood. She grew up in a wealthy family, but being the third daughter, she was told they really wanted a son. When a son was born, she was sort of "forgotten" but still loved. Then her mom died and her dad married a younger woman who really didn't want anything to do with his first family. Mary was sent to a boarding school during the week although she lived close enough to ride a horse to school. But, she was well educated and made to feel appreciated. She had 12 years of formal schooling which was kind of rare for women of that time. Contrast that with Lincoln's only one year of formal schooling.

The book said she married Lincoln because not only did she love him, but she knew he had the ambition and intelligence to become president. She was quite the political figure herself and understood the workings of politics. She apparently didn't get along with the Washington ladies because she was a contrary person yet also they had little in common to talk about...most did not have the schooling and educational background she did.

Her life was pretty sad overall -- lost three children and her husband was killed in front of her and her eldest son was ashamed of her and had her tried for lunacy. Many of the rumors spread about her were actual lies to benefit the person and persons who told them according to the author. Mary wasn't without faults, but after doing all the reading I have, I don't believe she was crazy. I do think she was, as the author said, pretty narcissistic and prickly, but she wasn't a danger to herself or anyone else.

So, you are asking yourself why am I writing about Mary Todd Lincoln on a savings site. Well, although she did overspend the White House renovation budget and she did spend money, she also had some sense about her. Back at her time women rarely had the opportunity to control their finances. If there were no husband, then a grown son would, or an officer of a bank would. When they were in the White House, she saved over 50% of the president's salary. When Lincoln died, he had bonds and she kept them intact. She did buy a house in Chicago, realized she couldn't afford it, and rented it out. She then let her son purchase it at a very reasonable price and even lent him money for some of his financial deals, which most were not successful. Her net worth at her death was over $84,000 that in 2016 would be worth close to 1.8 million dollar according to an inflation site.

So, I think she was more misunderstood that crazy. She did have money. She did save. Yes, she spent money and did buy things she didn't need. But haven't we all?

Facebook challenge

August 21st, 2016 at 09:27 pm

I've been reading up a storm this summer. I finished book #67 for 2016 a few days ago. It was actually a fictional tome by John Grisham called "The Street Lawyer" and is about a very well paid attorney who decides to leave the big firm to help the homeless. I don't know why, but it truly spoke to me that perhaps I could do a little more than I do.

I put a challenge on Facebook asking people who crochet or knit to make either a hat or scarf and donate it to one of the organizations that helps our local homeless. I didn't ask for gloves because a friend of mine who manages the homeless center says that although anything is appreciated, they prefer specific lined gloves for the best protection for fingers. I did encourage anyone who didn't craft to perhaps purchase an item and donate it. I didn't want to leave anyone out.

It's kind of funny...the people who said they would get busy making something are the ones who aren't what you would call rich. Yet they are the ones who eagerly volunteered.

I found some beautiful soft yarn and started a scarf. I've made scarves before so I didn't go with a pattern. I wound up tearing it all out last night and starting over because I found an error. I really want it to be something nice for someone.

Anyway, do you respond to challenges like this? I do sometimes, but I don't like the ones that ask for a lot. Most folks I know unless they are broke don't mind donating one small thing or making one small thing.


July 30th, 2016 at 08:09 pm

Today didn't turn out the way we had a anticipated. We were supposed to see a play in St. Louis this afternoon, but DH got up with a severe tummy ache and we didn't think we could chance it. He's still pretty weak and tired. We had to lose the money, but better than getting hours from home and getting really sick.

I am trying to stay quiet while he rests so I've been doing some decluttering and organizing. I had a drawer where I kept writing paper and cards. I had gotten an accordion file free a number of years ago, so I decided to organize the birthday, thank you, sympathy, get well, and plain cards using it. I also had holiday cards, but not enough spaces to put them. But, I sorted everything before I started. How in the world I have ended up with about 25 extra envelopes is beyond me. I'm not throwing them out. I'll probably find a use for them somewhere down the road. Most of the cards I purchased at thrift stores and flea markets. One place we frequent, I had bought a package of different cards and the next time I came in, she gave me two more packets and said she noticed I bought cards the last time and since we frequently come in to look, she thought I'd like them. That was especially kind of her. I guess I'm old fashioned, but I like sending cards and notes. I write an elderly friend of mine once a week and I try to use different paper or cards so it gives her something different to look at.

A number of years ago DH and I went on a trip and he found a hand painted lighthouse clock that he liked. The clock itself was just a round clock, but when I had looked around at different shops, I couldn't find a replacement. I was looking today at a clock I had purchased at a thrift shop a couple of years ago for a dollar. While I was dusting it, the clock popped out. It made me think maybe it might fight the one DH really likes. It does and DH is a happy boy. Wish I had thought of it sooner!

Years ago I found some small pillows and my mom had made cases for them. DH uses one in each vehicle to support his back. He claims they are too soft and folds them up. I took an old shirt of his and recovered one and put more stuffing in it to make it more solid. He says he likes it, so I'm going to do the same with the other. I had been saving that shirt for a couple of months until I got around to doing it. I don't have a sewing machine so sewing it by hand takes awhile. Unfortunately DH has gone through his closet since then and has donated a bunch of clothes so I don't have another shirt. We were out thrifting yesterday and I found a shirt that I think will work. It was far cheaper to buy the shirt than it was to buy the material. The funny thing is the I bought the stuffing at a garage sale one of DH's friends was having selling her mom's stuff. The stuffing must have been purchased in the 80s or 90s because that's when the store closed. It was very clean, still sealed, and the whole bag was 50 cents. I bet I didn't even use half of it so I'll have enough to do this other pillow.

I did some canning this week. I added to the pantry by canning some green beans and tomato juice.

Supper will be bland tonight since DH isn't feeling his best. That's OK. I don't mind bland. It was kind of nice catching up on some housework and organization today.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Busy Hands...

June 11th, 2016 at 09:37 pm

Well, not just my hands, actually. It seems like things are going by very quickly. I'm trying to get caught up on projects, some fun, some not so much.

We had a new roof put on last month. We saved up for it and I think it looks great. We've had some rains and so far no leaks, so that is wonderful. DH is the gardener and one of my retirement gifts was a gift certificate to a local garden place. We bought some lovely flowers which DH planted both in the ground as well as in pots and he has his small vegetable garden going as well.

Last week we cleaned the siding and windows. We don't have a power washer so this meant doing it by hand. I think the house looks better. DH wasn't thrilled with the prospect, but he does like the results.We figure it was a money saving procedure since we used what we had (Dove dish washing soap and elbow grease). I'm glad we did it when we did because the temps are in the 90s with heat index being nearly 100.

We hit some rummage sales the past few days. One had crochet thread so we bought some of it. I recently made a small dresser scarf out of a skein we bought at a thrift shop so I have some more to work with. A couple of months ago I bought a candlewicking kit for a Christmas stocking. I have the candlewick and embroidery finished and am now working on sewing the stocking together and finishing it. I don't have a sewing machine so it takes me longer, but that's fine...it keeps me busy. I plan to donate the stocking and some of the things I crochet to my church's Christmas bazaar.

I just finished book number 38 for this year. We go to the library regulary and we also check out magazines as well as books.

We succumbed to advertising and bought a bottle of Recolor which is supposed to bring back the color of things. Our front door is fiberglass and it had faded. It was stained to look like a wood door. I put that on this afternoon. It helped some. It wasn't the miracle worker stuff, but we didn't expect it to be either.

Since it is so hot, I put a pork roast in the Crockpot with potatoes and carrots for supper instead of heating up the house. I made a fruit salad for dessert.

We've spent a little money here and there, but nothing major. I hope keeping my hands and the rest of me busy, keep me out of trouble. Smile

Happy Memorial Day!

May 30th, 2016 at 06:56 pm

Another Memorial Day here in the United States. I'm not sure if other countries have the equivalent and if so, if it is on another date. I know I'm tired of all the "Memorial Day Sales." Somehow I just can't get into shopping for Memorial Day furniture or whatever when Memorial Day means so much more. Leave it to businesses to commercialize it.

In other news, I'm officially retired. A week ago today was my last day. I finished up paperwork and had a marvelous day. School districts aren't fancy dancy like businesses and usually the staff at one's school takes care of these type of things. We had a luncheon in our gym. Another teacher was also retiring and we have three other staff who are either moving to other schools or leaving teaching. The social committee decided to set up the gym as a "tea room" and it was very clever. They brought in good dishes and glasses and a local place catered the food. They even had cloth tablecloths and cloth napkins. I thought it was delightful. One committee person thought I'd be upset because we didn't go out...this is so fitting with how I live my life. We couldn't go out because we had an hour for lunch (half day for kids as a make up of a PLC day in March) and the rest of the day was meetings. That afternoon they had a "tea" for the two of us retiring and many of my friends and former colleagues came by. It was very nice and well planned. I felt very special. One of my friends said I looked very happy.

It's been almost a week since then. DH and I have enjoyed the time together. Part of the time was spent trying to fix stuff -- we had three things break...a hinge on one of kitchen cabinets, a wheel on the tray in our dishwasher, and my modem went out. Two of these are now fixed. One was an absolute pain...we live in a middle sized town with cabinet shops and hardware stores. No one carried this hinge. I finally went online. There was a distributor in a small town near us. This is an Amish owned business. We take the hinge and he proceeds to show us that the hinge wasn't broken, but the plate and instead of purchasing a whole new hinge, just replace the small piece at a whopping price of a buck. Gotta love honesty!

My first day of retirement we celebrated by eating leftover pulled pork from the school luncheon and then went to one of my favorite places...the library. DH retired from the library so we still know some of the employees. They were kidding me on my first day of retirement, here I am checking out magazines and books. Of course I did...I love reading!

We did go take flowers for some our family members' graves. One cemetery is a very old one and there are some graves that don't look like they have been visited in years. Kind of sad, but understandable if there is no one left. At one cemetery there were flags for Veterans. That is always nice. DH's dad was in WWII and has a military stone as well as a family stone. I try to take cleaning things to clean the stones.

I'm going to digress on to another topic...today's paper had Mary Hunt's "Everyday Cheapskate." Her starting paragraph stated that research indicates that many Americans are spending $1.22 for every $1 they earn. A very scary statistic, but I don't doubt it one bit. I look at the way some folks spend and continue to spend. I know my Thermos and lunch bag were kind of made fun of by many, but it saved us a bunch of money. I know I have to buy some things and I do buy things I don't always need, but I figure eating leftovers, making do with things, trying to repair things, and finding joy in what others consider simple things has certainly helped.

Hope you and your family had a wonderful day whether you observe Memorial Day or not.

Spring break

March 25th, 2016 at 08:56 pm

This week has been our school district's spring break. It has been a pleasant time off for DH and I. We didn't do anything extremely exciting, but did get somethings taken care and had a chance to relax.

When I was in college and if we had any type of spring break, I went home. There wasn't money to do anything extra and I didn't think I was missing out much. I guess, from what I've read, that many felt spring break was a time to travel and party. Guess I missed that memo. Of course some of the people I know who attended college and participated big time in spring break festivities are also the ones with huge school loans because they apparently really couldn't afford to go anywhere either, but added it to their school loan amount.

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I like seeing and keeping up with friends. But, there are times when seeing some of the posts, I get a feeling I'm missing out. For example, some of the people I work with left town on spring break. They are posting photos and talking about what a great time they are having. I guess it is the media version of the post card: Wish you were here.

One friend has the money to travel. But a couple of them I don't think really do. Yet, the posts continue. Drinks, food, partying.

Part of me thinks I'm missing out. Then I sit and think and realize I am not. Five years ago DH and I went to Charleston, SC, over spring break. It was a planned vacation and we went then instead of taking a vacation during the summer. It was fun, but the whole time I kept worrying if the weather got bad, would we get back in time. It sort of made the trip a little less fun.

DH and I have gotten things done around our home this week. We went to Teacher's Retirement System to talk over some details, and we have eaten some meals out. We shopped and found some bargains on things we needed. Each night I had the privilege of sleeping in my own comfortable bed. So, no, I didn't miss out.

This is also Holy Week and attending Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services are important to us. I wouldn't want to miss these services.

Maybe I should post a photo sitting in my chair drinking my glass of water...nah...they wouldn't get my point.

It's a shame

March 12th, 2016 at 10:13 pm

It's not mine. Supposedly it is for progress. But it is a shame nonetheless.

I shot this photo last June. That's my husband standing in front of this beautiful Burr Oak. It had been on his family's property. There was a twin at one time, but it died. Yet this majestic tree has been standing tall and proud.

Not for long, apparently. A developer said he has to cut it down for a fire line for the new hotel he's putting up.

An arborist thinks this tree is between 200 to 300 years old and was probably mature with Abraham Lincoln rode the circuit through Macon County and Central Illinois.

My husband and I were married under this tree and its twin. Last summer we renewed our vows under it (with permission from the land owner).

It's sad that progress often kills natural beauty. As I said, it's a shame.


March 6th, 2016 at 08:54 pm

A couple of weeks ago when reading someone's SA blog, it was mentioned that someone was reading a book, "A Year Without 'Made in China.'"

So, I wanted to read that book and it worked out because our library had it. I checked it out and read it. It was an interesting read. I know that not everyone lives the way I do, but I think she could have been more creative in some areas of purchasing. It is scary how much China made items have flooded our lives. I looked for her email and there wasn't one, but I would have suggested that on some items she try thrift stores and consignment shops to buy used things.

Most of the things in my kitchen are not new. Yes, I have a few things from China, but very few. Many of my pots and pans are older. I've been going to estate sales and thrift shops and finding pots that were made by Revere in Clinton, Illinois, a number of years ago. (I live 30 minutes away from Clinton). Most of my casserole dishes are Pyrex and Corning from years and years ago. My dishes are blue willow and came from England or USA. Granted, I can't get away from China on some of the electronics, but I sure have made an effort.

I continue to count down until retirement. We are down to 52 school days. Each weekend I rush around thinking I've got to get this, this, and this done before Monday and I'm looking forward to not having to do that.

Last weekend I dropped off some books to a friend who was going to read to a class at my school for Read Across America and were talking about this and that. He is probably one of the cheapest people I know and I was shocked to learn he buys his laundry detergent. I don't judge people on stuff like that, but the fact he doesn't like to spend any money, I was kind of surprised. So, I told him I would give him some of the stuff I make and see how he likes it. I made a big batch yesterday because I was getting low, so I gave him a small bottle to try. I wonder if he will decide he likes it well enough to make it.

I made a big pot of chili today. I like chili, but DH doesn't. A friend of mine is spending a lot of time at the hospital with her husband so I thought I could give her part of it so she can heat it up for some meals and freeze whatever she doesn't eat. This will give me some for lunches too. It was nice being able to use some of the tomato juice and tomatoes I canned late last summer for the chili and some of the basil I dried.

A month or so ago I gave another friend my extra cast iron skillet. He was wanting one and I happened to have an extra that I wasn't using. I wasn't perfect in appearance and I was afraid he would be turned off by it, but he wasn't. I made sure it was seasoned before I gave it to him. He retired last year and is doing more cooking and he told me he has used it for so many things. I'm glad because I'd like to think he is getting some enjoyment out of it. He did credit me with getting him to cook more. That was kind of him.

I've paid bills, reconciled the checkbook, put money in savings (yahoo!), and updated our church's Facebook page. Hopefully I'm ready for another week.

Happy 2016!

January 1st, 2016 at 09:58 pm

Hope you all are having a great start to 2016! So far, mine has been very good.

DH and I went out to eat last night and then to church. We came home and relaxed. This morning was a relaxing morning as well. We didn't eat any of the foods that are supposed give us a lucky year; we had leftover vegetable soup. A friend gave us a Pike's Peak Roast and we had it for supper the other night and I used the broth and the leftover meat for soup. We've had three full meals out of it and I still had enough to freeze for another small meal.

We did go out and do a little shopping. Found a couple of things on sale and used a coupon to save a bit more. It was stuff we would have bought anyway. Just happened to find it on sale. We also bought furnace filters which weren't on sale, but necessary nonetheless. I figure maintaining the furnace is important and hopefully saves us money by not using a clogged, dirty filter.

We did go to the grocery store and pick up bread, milk, and fruit. We will be eating from the freezer and pantry for everything else. We need to use things up so they don't go bad or get freezer burn.

I know some make resolutions for the new year. I do not because I usually tend to "forget" them and do whatever. So, I'm just trying to make wise decisions as the days go by. I am trying to get things organized. I tidied up my closet today and believe me, it needed it. I have been going through drawers and areas so I can donate things. The other day I organized my thread. I have been buying spools of thread at estate sales and garage sales. I don't do serious sewing, but I do hem my slacks and I do some mending. I have amassed quite a few spools and it was getting to be a problem seeing what I had. So, I decided to put them in a shallow drawer on their sides so I can see their colors. It sure makes it easier to find what I need. Lately I seem to be mending quite a few things.

I did splurge yesterday and bought some crochet thread. I have an old bureau that I have had for over 40 years. I like it, but the top is narrow (it has three drawers on the top, two stick out further than the center one) and I have used a folded runner for the past few years over it. I decided to buy some pretty crochet thread and crochet myself a runner in the right width. Yep, I'm living dangerously, aren't I?

Hope your New Year is a fabulous one filled with many blessings.

Bread and Joy

November 22nd, 2015 at 07:45 pm

Bread...not the cold green stuff, but the stuff you eat. This is the time of the year I bake it with some kindergarten classes and it's funny to hear the reactions from not only the little ones.

I was wheeling a cart with a mixing bowl, flour, and other things and staff members would comment, "If you have extra, I'd like a piece."

Amazing that homemade bread is such a commodity! The custodian after eating a slice told me if I opened a bakery when I retired, he would be a loyal customer. Through the years it has been interesting to hear people talk about the family members who baked bread and what glorious memories it hearkened. The class I worked with Friday gave me a thumbs up after they ate some warm, buttered slices. Hopefully tomorrow will also be successful.

I wrote the last check for my Roth today and I'm fully funded for 2015. Now I need to save up to start for 2016. Yay!

My pastor today was doing a children's moment and he asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. One said he wanted to babysit puppies which was a cute answer and the congregation chuckled. He then commented about Jesus being a carpenter before starting His ministry. I know this next thought wasn't what he intended, but I was thinking how pleasing it is to make something with your hands and see the progress. I'm sure a carpenter has that sheer joy. I was crocheting Christmas star ornaments last night and thinking the same thing. I might be an educator, but sometimes it is fulfilling to make something and see a finished product. It's even better when it is a gift and the person receiving it appreciates it. Just a simple joy, but a joy nonetheless.

As we gear up for Thanksgiving here in the U.S., hope you have plenty for which to be thankful and plenty of joy in your life.


October 30th, 2015 at 07:11 pm

The last few weeks have brought about a slew of envelopes, phone calls, and door bell ringing as people ask for donations or fundraise. It's been bad in the past, but this year is has totally overwhelmed me. I know the mail part has to be because our name and addresses were sold and I'm not happy about it. One particular charity sends something almost weekly. I looked them up and only about 5% of the money donated actually goes to the folks they are supposed to help. Fat chance they are getting anything.

I work in education and I understand the concept and necessity of fundraising, but the district I live in has gone crazy. The neighbor kids have been selling so much stuff.

Today we received what I think was a telemarketer call at 7:08 a.m. Normally I would be up and gone, but today is a day off because we had parent-teacher conferences until 7 two nights this week. I had looked forward to sleeping in. DH didn't answer the phone; I would have and let the person have it. We had someone about a year ago call about that time to inform me he wanted to help me fix the virus on my computer. I informed him I didn't have a computer virus and how absolutely rude it was to call before 9 a.m. in America and if he was calling from another country, he needs to find out what time zone he was calling.

Locally we had a community food drive a couple of weeks ago. My school was collecting and DH went and bought 3 cases of canned goods so I could take them in. Then the other building I work in decided we should donate too and started browbeating us to donate money. I said I had already donated and this person said I should donate more because it was a good cause. I kept my mouth shut, but I wanted to tell this person that yes, it is a good cause, but we consistently donate to a food pantry every month and belittling me because I wouldn't donate even more wasn't influencing me. It's none of this person's business what I do with my money.

In other news, I have been struggling with my asthma. That was one of the reasons I had hoped to sleep in because I haven't been sleeping well. Since I got home after 7, I couldn't do my breathing treatment until after then and it kind of wires me up. I needed the treatment, but I also need some sleep. Guess the telemarketer didn't think so.

Right now I stand at 126 school days until retirement. Some days fly by and some just crawl. I imagine with the holidays coming, these days will fly.

Busy few weeks

September 27th, 2015 at 07:12 pm

School has kept me very busy. We had assessments and deadlines to hit. Of course with that comes stress and as I call it, "woman drama." One unfortunate thing about working in a profession of mostly women is we sometimes don't get along and tend to hold grudges. Sometimes I need a score card to keep up with who isn't getting along.

We've had some things break around here. Yesterday we purchased new heads for DH's shaver and wouldn't you know it after we put them in, his first attempt to use it, another part broke. I pulled a drawer out on our Hoosier cabinet Friday and the front of the drawer separated and splintered from the drawer. And the list goes on. Nothing major, but annoying.

Today is DH's birthday. We actually celebrated last night with dinner out and a movie. DH had a gift certificate for a local theatre and we used it, plus he had the senior discount. We saw "The Intern" and it brought up some thoughts.

I don't want to ruin it for anyone who wants to watch it, but what I will write about one can see on the trailer. A 70 year old becomes an intern for an up and coming business and sticks out with his suit and manners and work ethic. Although it was written to be humorous for the movie, I think it has become a sad commentary on many work places.

I work in an educational setting. I remember my teachers being dressed nicely and acting professionally. I have tried to dress decently and act like I have some sense. But, I'm not seeing that as much anymore. And it isn't just an age thing. I'm seeing teachers who look like they threw on what they are wearing from the laundry basket. A work ethic is non-existent, and anything goes when it comes to conversation. I admit I have a potty mouth at times, but never at school or at church. I try to act like I have some sense most of the time. I try to give my employer my best work and often "donate" time (I don't get paid by the hour) to get things accomplished. It is just discouraging.

Back to better things. I baked a cake for DH's birthday and made soup for our supper. DH loves soup so that was a win and he certainly loves cake. I'm blessed to have a wonderful spouse and a nice home. So, instead of grousing, I should be thinking how fortunate I am. And being busy shows I have something to do.


September 7th, 2015 at 09:35 pm

Years ago my folks bought a small grocery store building. This was in the early 1960s when little neighborhood stores were still going. My dad had the dream of opening a used furniture store in addition to his full time job of working for the Coca-Cola plant. I was three years old when they bought the building. We lived in the apartment above the store. My parents worked very hard and when I was old enough, I helped out too. Even as a small child I learned to sweep floors and dust furniture.

Because of the Labor Day parade and a train blocking a crossing, we had to venture into this neighborhood. There stands the old store building. It is empty. Kind of sad and forlorn, really. The neighborhood was kind of sketchy when we moved out in 1972 and it has gotten far worse. The apartment house next to the store building was bulldozed a number of years ago so there sits a vacant lot. The house across the street has also been bulldozed; the space if vacant. I was telling DH about both sets of neighbors when I was growing up. The couple who lived across the street was always cleaning. I bet you could have eaten off her front porch. He was meticulous cutting his yard even if it was tiny. The owner of the apartment house (there were 4 apartments) planted geraniums in the window boxes, changed storm windows and screens every spring and fall, and kept things very tidy. Now both places are gone and what is left is a shadow of its former glory.

I know there's a saying about "you can't go home again" and in some cases it is true. I'm not sure I would feel safe even walking around the block now. In this case change isn't good. But it is change.

Thinking back on these neighbors does give me a warm feeling -- one lady was like a mom to me and taught me many things including how to cook and clean. I learned by example from these neighbors how important it was to cherish what you have and take care of it. So, in this instance, I would say change was good.

It's Easier to Complain

September 6th, 2015 at 09:54 pm

It is easier to complain than to do something.

OK, that isn't a novel idea, is it? Personally, I'm just about fed up with the whining and complaining of some of the people who call themselves friends. Maybe it is because I'm just tired. Between work and home, I've been very busy and with the extreme hot temperatures, my patience is thin.

Every time we see one couple, they have to go into great detail about their illnesses. Even when we receive an email it is a laundry list of this and that. The gentleman tends to exaggerate his problems...it is like when he is tested for cancer, he wants to have cancer. If a doctor says something could turn into cancer, he brags he is a cancer survivor. I think it is ridiculous; we have friends who are cancer survivors who fought bravely and some lost the battle. I think his is more attention seeking. As we age, I know our bodies start breaking down. I am not denying that, but some of the problems they have could be prevented by making other choices. They, of course, do not want to hear that. I wish I could find a nice way to say I don't want graphic details of their health issues. There is another couple we associate with that if she doesn't turn the conversation to how much she hurts, she must consider it a waste of a conversation. I no longer ask these people how they are because I don't want to hear more details than I can handle. Yet they persist in telling me. So, I have the struggle of being a friend and listening yet inside I'm screaming, "Noooo. Don't tell me anymore!"

This is the same with with money issues. One couple always complains they have studied their budget and they need to save money. So, they use coupons when they eat out. Of course they eat out every day. It has gotten to the point it is embarrassing to eat with them because they want to use a coupon and press the server in letting them use it even if they don't follow the standards the coupon states. I don't mind the use of coupons -- I just don't like people to try and cheat by using them. If I suggest they eat at home, I get excuses on why they need to eat out.

We know this other family that is always complaining they need more money -- she left for the weekend to go to a party in Chicago. Meanwhile they need some major home repairs and she will soon be whining about that. Her justification is she needed to get away and be with the girls.

For so many, Facebook has become Whinebook.

OK, rant over. Thanks for reading. sorry I whined.

In other news I have been figuring out new ways to use bell peppers. DH planted just a few plants, but have they gone to town. What a great problem to have, right? Supper tonight is sweet pepper and tomato soup. Last night I made sweet pepper jelly (found the recipe on Pinterest) and we will be having it over cream cheese and having crackers. We have shared some of the peppers with friends too.

My pantry is filling up. I canned one quart and two half pints of tomato juice last night, as well as having some of the juice for our soup tonight. Last weekend I canned 3 quarts of sweet pickles -- I gave one quart to the lady who shared the cucumbers with me.

One of the local stores had quite a flyer out on sale items. We bought quite a few things to stock the pantry on things we normally buy. I spent a couple evenings last week inventorying what I already had and then matching coupons to stuff on sale.

No school tomorrow so that is a wonderful holiday to look forward to. Plus, the stock market won't be open which the way it has been dropping, that might be a good thing.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend.

Catching Up

August 23rd, 2015 at 06:20 pm

It's been a busy couple of weeks. School started for teachers August 13 and students returned August 17. We had some very hot days (most of our schools are not air conditioned.) But, like most educators, we are optimistic about a good year. We have a new principal at our building this year and if the last 7 days are any indication, he's going to be a winner! A strong leader makes a workplace so much better.

DH planted a small garden and we have been enjoying tomatoes, peppers, onions, and herbs. We had hoped to get more tomatoes this year so I could can quite a few, but our tomatoes have really dropped off. A friend and her brother have kept us supplied in green beans. Another friend gave us some sweet corn. And I have acquired cucumbers to make pickles from a variety of places. I have canned what I could and have quite a few things for our pantry. There is something about looking at what we have that makes me feel good. Weird, eh?

Before school began, I had meetings in the district. It was funny how old habits pop up. We were given ample time to go out to eat. I took my lunch and ate there and worked and I took my coffee instead of stopping and getting some for the morning. It was interesting because some of the folks were already complaining how money was tight. Imagine that!

I plan on retiring at the end of this school year. I didn't get a special deal or retirement bonus or anything. Someone asked me how I could plan to retire so soon (I'll be 55.) I said we saved and paid off things. Our home is paid for. Both vehicles are paid off. Other than our every day spending and bills, we don't have any outstanding bills. Basically, we have lived below our means. We met with our financial advisor last summer and when he saw our budget, he was astounded. He said that so many folks "finance" everything and are never prepared at this stage in their lives. So, unless we have some major thing come up, we should be doing OK.

I was telling a young person the other day I was planning on retiring and we were talking about Roths and 403bs. He said he and his wife don't have money to save. I told him he needed to find money to save, even a little bit, because it is over the years that it increases. I could tell he really didn't want to think about how to save money; it is far easier to complain you don't have it instead of trying to figure out ways to save it.

Our meals for this week:
brunch: scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, toast, fruit
Baby back ribs, mashed potatoes, greens beans, fruit
Pork tenderloin roast with carrots and onions, roasted potatoes
Leftover roast with sweet potatoes and green beans
Quiche with leftover sausage, sliced tomatoes
Chicken with barbecue sauce, roasted potatoes with peppers and onions, roasted vegetables, fruit

Looking over our treasures

July 19th, 2015 at 08:48 pm

I've been looking over my treasures...our garden and our canning jars. I'm anticipating the thrill of putting stuff up. Our weather lately has been so wet that our garden has been suffering. We had two very hot sunshiny days so I hope that helps. I like having canned tomatoes to use throughout the year.

This summer has been a busy one...we closed our booth at the antique mall. We never anticipated making a profit, but had hoped to make booth rent and a little to pay for the stuff, but most months that was not a reality. I inventoried what we had and boxed it up and sent it to a thrift store for a tax deduction. They were happy to get the stuff. One woman told me she was delighted to find clean, usable merchandise and then said how they hate plastic garbage bags of clothes because they have found people throw stuff they have worn in and not laundered it (think dirty unmentionables!). Yuck. Anyway, the booth was fun, but a lot of work and not a lot to show for it. One of the volunteers whom we know showed us a weed whacker someone donated...it was filthy dirty and in pieces...very disappointing to the shop, but I'm sure this person took a big tax write off for it. So, this one less "treasure" to worry with.

Our menu this week includes some treasures:

Brunch - scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, toast, fruit

Baby back ribs (in Crockpot) with barbecue sauce, potato patties made from leftover mashed potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes

Pork chops, sweet potatoes, salad, sliced tomatoes

Baked chicken, roasted potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes

Pork chops (left over), mac and cheese, corn on the cob

Lunches will include left over pork roast from Saturday night, and probably a frittata with leftover sausage, as well as leftover chicken

I really like the curtains I purchased cheaply for the sun room. They are up and the sun room is clean. We spent some time this afternoon reading and enjoying nature until it got steamy when the sun came out. Our sun room is a treasure because it means I can sit and read and not get bitten by mosquitoes.

Another treasure: I did something today I haven't done for awhile -- I crocheted. I found my hooks and some thread and thought I'd try to crochet. The last time I did, my hands went numb (I had surgery on both of them a number of years ago for carpal tunnel) and I was sad I couldn't crochet. But I made a small Christmas ornament and my hands did OK. Maybe if I start slow and a little at a time I can do this again. I miss it because it was a way to relax. I use to crochet, embroider, and do counted cross stitch.

My final treasure to share is about my husband. I have written about the bunnies and his garden. Well, he has been nothing if not entertaining...even the neighbors agree. He chases the bunnies out of the yard. He doesn't want to hurt them, just keep them out of the garden. All the neighbors smile seeing him clapping his hands and running after them. He is a treasure in an of himself, but he does entertain me too!

Catching Up on This and That

July 15th, 2015 at 08:51 pm

I haven't blogged lately because I haven't had too much to say. Life is going well and I'm staying busy. There have been a few snags here and there, but just little bumps, not major pot holes.

A few posts back I think I mentioned a friend who spent $1500 on custom made curtains for the kitchen...two windows and they were cottage sets. I'm still pondering that expense for them, but glad it isn't my expense. We replaced the valances in our sun room and found some reasonable ones at K-Mart. They were originally $6.99 each, but with the $10 off and points from Shop Your Way, they were far less. I needed 10 of them, could only order 9 because that's all the warehouse had, but got free shipping. We found the tenth at our local K-Mart -- it was the sole one they had and it was marked down. I spent less than $70, tax included, on 7 windows (some are double wide, that's why I needed 3 more than 7), so I didn't think that was bad. I didn't want to spend big bucks because these will get faded soon from the sun, but liked having something new and bright.

DH is still battling the bunny. Big Bunny Big Ears was out munching on his lettuce and even when I shouted at him, he sat there chomping as big as you please. DH went out and chased him with a stick and sprayed some stuff that smells like rotten eggs around the garden. He had sprayed it many times before, but we had so much rain, it kept washing away. Hopefully this will keep BBBE out for awhile. We are enjoying the tomatoes, radishes, onions, lettuce, and herbs from the garden. A friend gave us some green beans she picked; we've been sharing some of our garden with her, so we've been eating pretty healthy.

I've finished book 45 so far this year. I usually read mysteries and so many of my books are fiction, but I do have some that are nonfiction. All but two of these books are checked out from our library. One is mine that I inherited years ago from my aunt and the other one I bought at a thrift shop for 59 cents. I'm planning on donating it back.

The little blip on the screen is I'm still fussing with the city. I have a half brother who owned some property. He died over a year ago. We did not associate with each other. His grass wasn't mowed so the city mowed it and sent a bill to me. I've been calling and talking to people and was told the property is associated with me. It isn't -- the city worker who claimed that found my dad's will with my name on it, not my half brother's. I thought I had this cleared up, but I received a letter today stating I not only owe for the mowing, but now an additional fee since I haven't paid it. I have called the city's legal department and the lawyer who said he dismissed it, said it should have been fixed and he would take care of it. I hope he does. This is getting to be a nuisance. I don't own the property, never stepped foot on it, and had nothing to do with it. The original city employee wouldn't own up to the fact she was in error so it has been a pain to get this figured out because when I call to talk to people at the city, they act like I'm a deadbeat. DH says if I get another letter I should just contact my lawyer. I'm thinking of contacting the city council members first...maybe that would get a fire lit under some of these people.

Cool and dreary Tuesday

July 7th, 2015 at 07:53 pm

Here in Central Illinois it is cool and dreary. Overnight we received 1.6 inches of rain. Instead of receiving April showers, we've been getting them pretty heavily in June and now. It was warm and muggy yesterday but it is in the low 60s today. Just the perfect weather for a cup of hot tea which I am enjoying as I type. Friends often gift me with tea and that is a delight!

It was a busy morning at our home -- we were donating some things to a thrift store and they brought a truck which was helpful since we couldn't get a table in our vehicles. Then we had the air conditioner checked for the season. I learned a number of years ago it was far cheaper to do this than to wait and then have the silly thing break down on a very hot night or weekend.

We seem to watch quite a bit of home improvement shows and there seems to be a lot of people out there who always say they are looking for a new home for entertainment space or their yard needs to be fixed up so they can entertain. I'm curious. Are we the only ones out there who are not constantly entertaining people? When we bought our home 17 years ago, we weren't looking for some place to entertain. We wanted a nice living space for ourselves within our budget. We don't do lavish dinner parties or big cook outs. Maybe we are the few in the U.S. who don't entertain a lot. Thoughts?

Sunny Sunday

July 5th, 2015 at 06:51 pm

Here in Central Illinois, we were wondering if we had suddenly hit Monsoon season, but fortunately not. We also have had hazy days due to the smoke from Canada, but yesterday and today seem nice and bright.

Lots of odd jobs have been taking up a lot of my free time. It seems a lot of things need a coat of paint. I used up a small can of paint the other day and wanted to buy another small can as well as a small can of blue paint. Sheesh, what an ordeal. Went to one place and they didn't have anything in small cans except paint for metal...this was wood, so I didn't need it. And blue apparently isn't a big color to ask for because I had to resort in getting a sample bottle mixed. But, that part of painting is completed and so that is good.

We mulched around our sun room and it looks far better.

The garden has been producing. DH has a small garden because we don't have a large area. He has what I call a one hit wonder for a bell pepper plant -- the bell pepper growing on it is almost as tall as the small plant. No other blooms, so it is the little plant that could.

Hope to get out and pick some lettuce and radishes...nothing like a crisp salad with fresh veggies and a lovely day to enjoy it in.

Thinking things through

May 17th, 2015 at 06:44 pm

Last week we ate out with another couple to celebrate birthdays. It was a reasonably priced meal and planned in our budget.

The conversation was about what this couple was planning on doing. They've always been spenders, not savers. But they laid out their plans...a fancy vacation and taking the whole family. This is in addition to going south for the winter, and all the other things they are constantly doing, not to mention all the things they are buying.

After we parted, I asked DH if we were too careful. This summer we are planning a short vacation in addition to celebrating our 25th anniversary. After hearing all the things this other couple were doing, it made me feel like a stick in the mud.

Yesterday we went to the library and checked out some magazines and books. We went to the grocery store and bought things on our list for our planned menus. DH bought bell pepper plants to put in his garden. We came home and he worked in his small garden. I picked radishes, green onions, and lettuce and made a small salad as I prepared things for two meals: roast pork loin for supper and Italian wedding soup for Sunday's supper. Hubby mowed and I did laundry. Last night after cleaning up and showering, we watched some television and read some magazines, and went to bed satisfied we had a nice day.

Thinking back on Friday's conversation and my original thoughts, no, we aren't boring. I think we are more satisfied. Upon reflection, these people are always telling us all the cool things they are doing and how their family is superior and their other friends are better and so on and so forth. DH and I are happy with each other. Unlike this couple, we feel financially secure. We know that this couple will have to finance this vacation.

Knowing that things don't bring happiness, sort of helps me put things in perspective. I don't have to one up these folks on things to be happy. I don't have to finance my vacation because we save and plan for ours. And, finding enjoyment in the simple things I think is important because then we don't have to continue searching for bigger and better things to make life more exciting.

Thanks for letting me sort this out.

Saturday Happenings

May 9th, 2015 at 08:03 pm

The past two weekends we have been to two estate sales. Both were pretagged. The same person ran them. Prices are 100% on Saturday, then 25% 9-12 on Sunday and 50% off 1-5 p.m. The first one, we didn't go on Saturday and hit it up Sunday afternoon. We bought a bunch of things. We decided to change the stuff over the couch in the family room and DH fell in love with some of the cross stitched samplers this woman had worked on. Her handiwork is beautiful and they are lovely and all were professionally framed. I also bought a small hand stitched, hand pieced quilt. I will use it as a throw. Due to my allergies, I cannot use any of the throws that are being sold because I'm allergic to anything with acrylic in it.

Last week we went on Saturday. It was a smaller sale. I bought a new name brand purse, two pairs of brand name shoes that had never been worn, and a vintage pot with lid that had been manufactured a few miles up the road. We are happy with our finds and I have no problem having some of these items that were preowned. We donated the print and shelf we had over the couch to our church's rummage sale. Both sales had lovely items and for the things we bought, reasonable prices. I'm buying things I'll use.

This weekend I'm happy to be home. Work has been exhausting so I am trying to catch up on my housework and laundry. I did finish a book (number 30 for 2015 so far). We did hit the grocery store earlier. DH is out puttering in the yard. We have church tomorrow.

So, my chores include laundry, ironing, cooking, and cleaning. I'm looking forward to a relaxing evening. Overall, it will be a low spend weekend. I'm also going through some of our things so I can donate them as well to the church rummage sale.

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

Pity Party or Exhaustion?

May 4th, 2015 at 11:41 pm

I'm sort of feeling sorry for myself. Then I'm beating myself up over feeling sorry for myself.

Our school district started state testing last week. I am in charge of it for my school so I get to work early and get the computer lab ready and I help each classroom teacher as the class tests. I shred scratch paper, and fill out paperwork. Then, before and after testing, I do part of my regular job.

On Friday I was exhausted. After supper we went to the grocery store (DH had already made the Aldi run earlier in the day) and came home, put things away, and tried to relax. I wanted to watch Dateline, but found myself dozing off.

Went to bed and slept hard for awhile, then woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep thinking of all the things I needed to do at both home and work. Saturday was running errands and cleaning. Sunday was church, cooking, and paying bills and reconciling the checkbook. I then checked emails and Facebook and saw all these photos of folks having all this fun.

Hence, the pity party. I have to go to bed early because I need lots of rest or I become ill. I keep to a cleaning schedule because of my allergies and because I like a clean house. I keep to a bill paying schedule to keep tabs on my finances. I attend church because it is important to my faith.

Yet, I see some of these same people who complain about their homes and upkeep, claim to be more involved at church than I am, and gripe about money. I don't know if I'm truly jealous because I can't go out of town on a weekend during the school year or do a bunch of fun things because it would exhaust me or if I'm just so tired that things are getting on my nerves.

Deep down I know I am truly blessed. So, I start telling myself I'm not very grateful for all the things I have in my life. I have a wonderful husband. I have a lovely home. I'm lucky to have a nice home that I can clean. With my health history, I'm fortunate that I haven't had too many illnesses lately. I have to work on the keeping healthy party -- eating right, exercising, and getting enough rest.

So, now I grapple with this...am I feeling sorry for myself or am I just irritable because I'm tired?

Just rambling on...

April 25th, 2015 at 06:02 pm

It's just rainy Saturday.

DH and I did a couple of errands and were pleased to get home and dry off.

I'm enjoying myself with a cup of tea and reading SA blogs before I begin house cleaning. That silly maid didn't show up again and neither did the laundress. So, it falls on me. But, seriously, I am blessed to have a nice home and clothes and sheets to wash.

Work has been all encompassing and I have come home exhausted both mentally and physically. We begin state testing again next week so meal planning is very important.

Last time we had state testing (about a month ago) there were some nights it was very tempting to go out. DH offered and I refused. Afterwards I point out that we wouldn't have eaten any sooner (I really don't like fast food), and it would have cost more and certainly wouldn't have been healthier.

My principal was kidding me the other day about my big Thermos of coffee. He said he sees me with it every day. He's correct. I do have it. I "fix" the coffee pot every evening so all I have to do it turn it on when I get up. No, I don't set the timer because I unplug it after I get my coffee and plug it in when I'm ready for it to brew. Anyway, he was sort of making fun of me in a meeting about it and I said, well, it's far cheaper than buying coffee at the gas station every morning...you see, he buys his every morning. I know he looks at me like I'm a crazy woman for my Thermos, but it not only saves me money, but I get to fix coffee the way I like it.

Yesterday's lunch was basically a clean out the fridge type lunch...some leftovers and an apple. I take a lot of leftovers though and my lunch buddies have gotten to the point where they ask me for recipes because they like what I'm eating. Every time I eat something repurposed, I feel like I've saved some money.

Not much on the horizon as far as my life...trying to get through to the end of the year and stay healthy. Although people were complaining about the rain today, we are below our average for this time of the year. DH has started his garden and was kind of hoping a nice rain would help his plants. He's looking forward to a little warmer weather and has been planning on what he's going to grow...we have a very small area...and what he wants to eat. Truly, the way to his heart is through his stomach.

Heard lots of conversations at work about all the places people were going this weekend. Lots of shopping was involved. Other than groceries, there isn't much we need or want at this point.

I'm wondering if I'm getting old when I don't have to been entertained every minute and I don't have to worry about going out, but am happy with being home with my love and enjoying a cup of tea. Or perhaps I've just become a little more wise.

A Little "Catch Up"

March 16th, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Life seems to be flying by lately. We are doing PARCC testing and my days at work seem to be getting longer and longer as I go in even earlier to get the computer lab ready before we begin testing. Testing means walking and monitoring and trying to keep both students and teachers calm. It almost seems like my life is a little out of control since I am so busy with the testing and can't get too much else done. I'm coming home totally beat and my back and legs are tired and sore. I've been wearing sneakers and have two different pair I alternate.

This weekend I was trying to play "catch up" with stuff at home. I haven't felt like doing a lot of cleaning or laundry during the week so it means I'm trying to do all of this on the weekend. I've done fairly well on keeping dinner on the table most nights. It means a lot of planning which I don't mind.

Yesterday I was so tired and achy that after church and brunch I relaxed on the couch for an hour and took some Ibuprofen. Right now strep throat and the flu seem to be taking our school by storm and I don't want to get ill for a number of reasons, one being my missing testing would be a big problem since there doesn't seem to be anyone who would step up to manage it. Fortunately the rest and the meds seemed to help. I was still tired, but less achy and I did get my housework and laundry completed. I also put together the dough for some homemade bread. And I put short ribs in the Crockpot for tonight's supper and I can say they were delicious.

I was thinking last night about a neighbor of mine. When I was three, my folks moved from a country setting to the city and bought an old store building. My dad worked for Coke, but he also wanted to run a furniture store. So we moved and I stood in the back yard (not really a yard because it was all gravel) calling "Simon! Simon! Simon!"

The Chipmunks were popular when I was younger. A neighbor thought at first I had a brother, but when none showed, she finally said, "Yes!" and she became Simon to me for the rest of her life.

She was quite the blessing to me -- taught me many things including how to cook.

Every week she would bake bread. She had a certain recipe that she baked for her husband because he was diabetic. I remember smelling the wonderful aroma and if I were lucky that day, she would cut off part of the end, or heel, and butter it, and that would be our treat. It was wonderful and she was wonderful.

Yesterday as I put together the ingredients for some bread, I thought how fortunate I was to have had her in my life and the fact that I watched her and learned how to bake bread. A friend of ours had a bread machine and she said she couldn't get a decent loaf out of it. DH says he is amazed how easy I make it look. I've even demonstrated bread making for some of our classes at school because we think it is important for our children to realize bread doesn't just come from the store.

My friend, Simon, also taught me about making use of things and not wasting and stocking up when things are on sale.

More importantly, she loved me and made me feel like I had worth. I just hope that I do the same for someone else.

Ice ice -- not nice!

March 3rd, 2015 at 09:25 pm

We had freezing rain and ice this morning. Area schools were closed. DH nicely turned on the television so we could check about my school district.

Nope...nothing there. So, I rush to get ready and leave. I slide down our driveway. Our street is like a skating rink.

The main road was better, but the parking lot at school was treacherous. I got in and was greeted by the custodian asking why I was there.

Seems school was closed a few minutes after I left home. So, I checked with the principal, and another teacher came in too. We discussed a couple of things and I decided to go home. He offered to walk me to my car and I thanked him because I was afraid I would pull him down if I fell. He did stay at the door and make sure I got to my vehicle without mishap which I thought was very nice. I came home and had to park in the street because our driveway was still very slick.

Right now Facebook is lit up with folks complaining about the late notice.

I am glad the people in charge decided to close school. I know it inconvenienced people for the late notice, but the forecasters had originally said it would be slick, but the temps would rise and by mid morning it would be melting. Well, by 7, it didn't look like it would be melting anytime soon. I worried about the kids having to be out in it and the people driving. We have many staff who live many miles from our district.

Last week a teacher in our district was killed on her way to work -- her car had stalled and someone fell asleep at the wheel and hit her car. It certainly gave me a different perspective...how much better to call school, even late, and to keep people safe?

Although I dread having to make up this day at the end of the school year, I spent the day working around the house. I used orange oil on our kitchen cabinets (they are wood) which cleans and moisturizes them. I have mopped the kitchen floor, cleaned a bathroom, and worked on laundry. For lunch I used leftover mashed potatoes to make potato patties and fried eggs and served with bacon and toast -- hubby was very pleased. Supper tonight will be chicken stir fry.

Fortunately it has gotten a little warmer and things are melting. After a big snow this weekend and ice, I'm ready for winter to subside. Of course, I'm sure New England would have more to complain about.

Sunny Sunday

February 22nd, 2015 at 08:32 pm

After yesterday's snow storm, today it is clear and sunny, but cold. Hey's it's winter in the midwest and I'm blessed to have a snug little home with central heating! Yesterday was certainly a no spend day because we didn't leave the place.

Tomorrow DH goes to make the last car payment on his vehicle. We did get a loan for three years, paid it off in two, simply because we figured we better have some kind of loan to keep our credit scores going. After this month, the car "payment" goes into savings so we have money for a good down payment on the next vehicle down the road.We haven't had a mortgage for a number of years so we thought we ought to "borrow" a bit of money for a little bit of time.

I was glad to see the stock market closed up on Friday due to Greece working out some financial deal. It sure would be nice to get some money on investments since interest rates for savings and CDs are so darn low.

After church we had brunch and then we did some house cleaning. I try to clean by a certain schedule and touch up in between.

After cleaning it is bill paying then I reward myself with some email, Facebook, and SA time.

I check my spam folder every so often to make sure something hasn't gotten in there that shouldn't before I clean it out. I have to chuckle at some of the things in that folder...I guess the spammers must think I'm a guy because there are lots of emails for enlargement of a piece of anatomy I don't currently possess, "ladies" wanting to meet and marry me, women wanting to date me and sleep with me, as well as the usual garbage of credit, insurance, Dr. Oz treatments, and printer ink. I often wonder how these folks get my email since I'm not visiting singles' sites, insurance sites, or ink sites. It would be amusing if it really wasn't so sad...I haven't gotten any from the contests lately...for awhile I was getting bombarded with I was a winner. I don't enter many contests so I don't think I'll fall for any of that.

Supper will be sloppy chicks. I have two after school/evening meetings this week, so I had to think what I could fix that DH could heat up for himself and I could take and heat up at work for my menu. The pork roast and the soup will make up two meals for us so the menu looks sparse:

Scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, toast, fruit salad
Sloppy chicks
Pork tenderloin roast with carrots, onions, celery, and mushrooms and baked sweet potatoes and roasted potatoes
Chicken and rice soup

Routine or Rut?

February 8th, 2015 at 08:28 pm

There's a certain comfort to a routine, but does something stay a routine or become a rut?

We do the same thing about every Sunday. Get up, eat breakfast, read the paper, clean up and dress for church, attend church, get the Chicago paper, fill my gas tank for the week, come home and I fix brunch (and usually the same thing), clean up, and do housework. Fortunately DH likes doing the same things because he likes ruts, he says.

We did do something different today. We stopped at the grocery to get something. No, I didn't forget to buy something or put it on the grocery list. Seems a friend of ours was released from physical therapy rehab and got to come home. I wanted to make a big pot of beef and barley soup and I lacked the beef. So, that was something different. And it was for something good -- so glad my friend is home and can be with her family.

I will admit I am not a spontaneous person. I plan, plan, plan. I plan at work and I plan at home. It worries me if something pops up. I have a relative who plans for nothing. He has asked us to go out to eat at the last minute and is dismayed when I say I already have something cooking. For a big anniversary nothing was planned until the last minute by them. I guess they like living their lives that way.

I try to plan my expenditures. I plan our meals. I plan by saving for things. I plan my lessons at school and I try to plan my medical visits. Maybe I'm just boring.

So, am I in a routine or rut?

Music and Misc.

January 18th, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Last night a friend treated us to tickets to a play put on by our local theatre group. It was well done and an amusing way to spend the evening. In the play, one of the characters celebrated every holiday by dressing up and writing a song -- the lyrics were set to a well known song. It was funny and it was also fascinating how knowing the tune made it even funnier.

It got me to thinking when I was in college in a Chicago suburb, one of the music classes I was enrolled in required we attend a concert. I had the opportunity to attend the Chicago Symphony conducted by Sir Georg Solti. It was a sweet deal...you wait until the day of the concert and get a voucher for an unsold seat for a very reasonable price. I remember sitting in seats which seemed very close to the ceiling (read: nosebleed) and enjoying the music. A lady sitting a row ahead of me was bedecked in fur and jewels (I wonder now why she was sitting so high up) starting crying during one of the movements of a piece. I thought it was odd, but never forgot it.

Two summers ago a group took a bus trip to New York City. We had a chance to see a Broadway show and we chose "Jersey Boys." We sat in balcony seats and when the first vocal harmonies came through on the first song, tears streamed down my face. The beauty of the harmony as it rang off the walls was such a sensory pleasure. I understand, over 30 years later, why the lady at the concert cried. It is fascinating how music can effect us.

In other news, DH and I have been throwing pennies into a pickle jar. We also add a few other change. Last summer when we took our coins into the credit union to deposit into an account, there was a couple ahead of us who had a large glass jar with change. DH said he wanted to save change for a year and see how much we get. We don't have a huge jar, so I'm using our pickle jars.

After church we cleaned house and DH is working in the yard. I'm getting ready to go back in the kitchen and start supper. I am still working on organizing the kitchen and I thought maybe I should figure out a way to get the plastic spatulas out of the drawer and into a container. I already have a container with wooden utensil sitting near the stove. I found one of those ceramic wine coolers a couple of years ago for $3 ... perfect height and I didn't have much invested. But, I didn't want to buy anything. I kept looking around and I thought why not use the extra glass pitcher I have sitting on top of the fridge? I use glass pitchers to make iced tea. I have three I use regularly and I had this one when I made lemonade last summer. So, it is now housing our spatulas. It also gave me an excuse to clean and tidy up the area near the stove. Now I have more room in a drawer.

Menu planning for this week:

Scrambled eggs, grits, sausage, toast, and fruit salad
Sloppy chicks with potato chips
Pork loin roast, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, cottage cheese, apple sauce
Skillet chicken lasagna with cottage cheese and fruit salad
Short ribs and rice, green beans, cottage cheese, fruit salad
Tuna cakes, mashed potatoes, green beans, and peas

I had hoped to buy tilipia this week, but I refuse to buy it if it comes from China. No such luck.

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