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Leftovers and a vent

March 15th, 2017 at 10:10 am

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

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

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

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

So very frustrated

March 14th, 2017 at 02:55 pm

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

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

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

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

Well, Phooey!

March 2nd, 2017 at 12:52 pm

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

Stamping

February 28th, 2017 at 12:24 pm

As I go through some of my desk drawers, I have a bunch of stamps and a few stamp pads. I really used to enjoy stamping things. I never got into it hot and heavy like some, but usually at Christmas I would stamp some Christmas decoration on the envelope, and the same for birthdays and greeting cards.

Just for fun, I priced stamp pads the other day when I was at a sewing center. Holy cow! They have certainly gone up in price since the many years ago I purchased a couple. I also looked at an office supply store and they were cheaper, but they only had black and red.

I still have a couple of stamp pads and I have some ink to refresh one of them so I did that and have been using the stamps on a few of my cards and letters.

I guess I'm a dying breed because I still send birthday cards, sympathy cards, get well cards and even thank you notes. Of course with schools not teaching cursive, people may not even be able to read cursive in a few years. Sad commentary when you think they will not be able to read historical documents like the Declaration of Independence. Anyway, I still write letters to some people and I like embellish the envelopes.

Do you know if folks still enjoy using their stamp pads? I figure since I'm not spending anything, I can still enjoy using them.

Potpourri

February 26th, 2017 at 11:10 am

This will be a potpourri since I don't have one really important thing to say.

Every so often, we share food with a few of our friends. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy sharing food, even if we can't meet for a meal. We had a surprise this week...someone called and said they had a surprise. They had grilled pork and gave us enough for two meals of pulled pork. Yum!

Someone on Facebook posted about instead of giving up something for Lent, how about collect a plastic bag of stuff to donate each day. That sounds like a great idea, but we have been giving stuff regularly anyway, so I'm thinking maybe of finding something each day to donate instead of 40 bags.

When I retired I joined a group at church called "Stitches of Love." The purpose of the group was to knit and crochet items to donate to various places. In the past they had crocheted lap robes. They recently started working on round knitting looms and made hats. We made hats and I took them to a few schools and they were passed out. It was fine and the schools appreciated them. However, a friend and I decided to adopt a classroom this year and we made hats for the whole class and the teacher and took them in. The kids loved knowing they were made for them. So, I brought this idea to the group and it has been interesting about the reaction. We decided to try and ask other Lutheran churches to join us and suddenly there is a zeal we haven't seen. It is pretty exciting to see people wanting to get involved with this. My DH said it is like we have a new purpose. So, that is kind of cool.

As far as grocery shopping, I've just been buying fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, and dairy. I'm trying to use up things in the freezer and pantry. It has certainly made our grocery bill go down the past few weeks. I have tried to be creative in using some of the stuff too. Hopefully that is a good thing.

Zombie Preparedness Month

February 9th, 2017 at 04:28 pm

OK, only in Illinois would there be a piece of legislation stating October is Zombie Preparedness Month.

http://www.illinoishomepage.net/news/capitol-news/lawmakers-approve-apocalypse-plan/654167056

Granted, the person wants folks to be prepared for natural disasters, but even that goes beyond the norm for sensationalism. Yikes!

I'm on House Arrest

February 9th, 2017 at 01:51 pm

OK, I'm not really on true house arrest, but figured if the news can be sensational maybe I should too.

DH suggested I remain at home today and out of the cold air so instead of my volunteering and grocery shopping, I remained inside. I will say it was a nice day. DH left to volunteer and walk at the mall. I watched a movie he wouldn't have liked, did some crocheting, and watched a television show he doesn't like as well as some laundry, and breathing treatments. I can honestly say it was a no spend day for me. Smile

Supper is going to be sausage and cheese quiche with a green salad. I'm using up some sausage and eggs have been really reasonable lately. I am struggling with the fact I'm out of my routine of grocery shopping...I do find that rut so very comfortable.

Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2016 at 02:53 pm

Hope everyone in the SA family is having a lovely Christmas. We attended Christmas Eve candlelight service last night and again I was amazed at having the lights turned down low and everyone with a candle, how special it was during the last hymn. Funny how the simple things can make the biggest impact.

We had regular worship service today and then DH and I came home and I finished Christmas dinner. DH has been fighting a sinus infection and it doesn't appear he is getting much better although he has been taking some antibiotics. With the cool, damp weather, my breathing is becoming a problem so after our lunch, we both napped. I will pay for that luxury tonight when I won't be able to sleep, but it was delicious nonetheless.

Hope all of you had a happy time and feel valued and loved.

Merry Christmas!

Million Dollar House

December 11th, 2016 at 02:30 pm

I live in Central Illinois. In our city of around 73,000, a decent house can be purchased for around $150K. Some more, some less. Of course this isn't high end finishes and such, but a decent home in a nice neighborhood. I wanted to preface what I'm going to describe by telling you these facts.

Yesterday, my husband's brother and sister-in-law took us through the house they are staying at that belongs to their friend. It is a million dollar house. It is a few miles from our house, but it is in a small community just outside of city, like a suburb, and the taxes are high, high, high. As is the water bills. This house has huge timber beams, quarter sawn oak trim, cabinets, and even doors. No hollow core doors here. The kitchen has a six burner gas cooktop that I drooled over. Many of the floors are hardwood, and the steps going into the lower level are slate. The floor in the lower level is tile. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, but the two second level bedrooms each have a vanity in them. The lot is fairly large and backs up to the woods. It has a fancy screened in porch with windows as well. The garage which isn't attached, is two car and the garage doors cost $10,000 each. It really was a show place. And part of me was just a little jealous.

Then, I thought how much the taxes have to be. And how much it would cost to heat, cool, water, and maintain this property. My little 3 bedroom ranch is just fine. But, it is just funny to see such an expensive house with all high end finishes. Except for one thing...the two shower stalls didn't have glass or doors. She had cheap vinyl liners. No curtain over them. So maybe life isn't perfect after all. But I'm still coveting those six burners! Smile

Our town has Millikin University. James Millikin is a big name in our town and there is a manse called the Millikin Homestead that has been preserved. Each Christmas they have tea and you can walk through the house and look at the furnishings and decorations, and enjoy either a cup of hot punch (rum if you want it added), coffee, and some cookies. A few blocks over there is the former governor Richard Oglesby mansion that also has a Christmas tea. Oglesby was a buddy of Abraham Lincoln so it is always cool to go through his house and see the furnishings. We were teasing one of the guides that Mrs. Oglesby truly had a master suite because in the bedroom was a washstand and a chamber pot. For its time, it was a "suite." Both of these houses really put on quite a spread and you can donate if you wish, but basically they are free. It was a nice way to spend some time on a raw, rainy afternoon.

The first photo is at the James Millikin Homestead Christmas tea. The other two are at the Oglesby Mansion and I thought the punch bowl was unique.






Some Thoughts on American Housewife

November 20th, 2016 at 04:10 pm

ABC has a show this season called American Housewife. Not sure if you have watched it, but each episode makes me like this character so much more. Basically, she is a slightly overweight normal gal who loves her family, but feels inadequate because most of the women in this fancy neighborhood are stick thin, exercise constantly, and are basically snobbish.

I think this program sort of mirrors society to a certain extent. Unless you, as a woman, are drop dead gorgeous, stick thin, and travel with the in crowd, you basically feel left out.

I've always been overweight. Well, I take that back, I was born underweight, but that didn't last long. Smile I've dieted and exercised and I have lost weight, gained it back, lost it, gained it back, and gotten frustrated. At one point in my life when I was a lot younger I ate one meal a day and exercised faithfully. I did lose quite a bit of weight, but I never was stick thin. Of course when I started eating regular meals again, I gained it all again.

Being an overweight woman isn't fun. When the program "What Not to Wear" was on, I always understood when the heavier gals would go shopping and burst into tears because they couldn't find things that fit or made them look decent. I have had that issue most of my life. Shopping in the plus section is often an insult because it is usually tucked into a basement or upstairs which just adds to the shame. Most of the stuff out there is just plain butt ugly. I'm overweight, I don't need even bigger patterns to accent that fact. So, I can either go for the potato sack fit which is no fit, or have stuff that is so darn tight I'm afraid to move so it doesn't rip out a seam. Most of the stuff in my closet has some age to it because I lucked into something and am keeping it, stylish and trendy or not.

A number of years ago a group of us from my district went to present at an educational conference. One of the women was short and stout and was an expert in her field. When the two ladies before her spoke briefly, they had the audience's attention. When my heavier friend spoke, people quit listening. They judged her not on the merit of her words, but how she looked. She wasn't sloppy or dirty. She was overweight and therefore most of the audience didn't give her the time of day. She had on nice clothes and her hair and make up were well done.

I struggle with my own self esteem, but I have decided I'm going to try and look at things differently. Perhaps if I walk in with a confident stride and pretend I'm decent looking, maybe I'll feel better about myself, even if others still judge me.

It would be so nice if we didn't judge people so much on how they look. The biggest share of my dearest friends are not model beautiful. Their beauty lies in their character. The folks who know me best kid me about what attracts me to a man. Muscles? Nah! Height? Nope. I've always had a weakness for guys in glasses. I think it is because I'm drawn to men of intelligence. DH says I don't suffer fools gladly so perhaps that is my prejudice.

So, as I watch the American Housewife, it makes me look at things a little differently. Have I become an education snob? I sure hope not. I hope I have not made someone uncomfortable because of how they speak or act or look. I am going to watch myself more closely. I don't like being discriminated against because of my weight so I needn't discriminate against someone because of something they do or say or are just because it is different from me.

Where or where is my Chicago Tribune?

October 23rd, 2016 at 01:13 pm

I know this is not life changing, but I'm just plain frustrated. DH loves the Chicago Tribune on Sundays. He loves reading it from cover to cover on a Sunday afternoon after we fix brunch and clean up. We used to have a news stand that was open 7 days a week and each week we would go and pick one up. The owner ran it for many years, but finally decided he was ready to retire and his family didn't want to continue without him. A local business bought it, and in less than a year, closed their doors including the news stand part of it. We thought we would still be able to find the Trib at Walgreens.

Well, our local Walgreens gets about 4-5 papers and sells out within an hour. They open at 9 and by the time we get out of church around 10, they are usually sold out. We asked if they could get more each Sunday since we aren't the only ones missing out and one of the employees said he would find out. True to his word, he did ask the distributor and the person said no, they won't give them any more and they really want people to subscribe.

Two weeks ago we stopped at Walgreens -- it was before ten -- and they were sold out. So, I called one about 10 miles away where we had gotten one before and they said they hadn't even gotten any papers. I called another one a little farther away and they said they had 4 copies and all were sold out. We tried one more store and they said they didn't have any either. So, I bit the bullet and called Chicago Tribune and said we would like to subscribe to just the Sunday paper. Last Sunday was supposed to be the first delivery. I was told it would be on our doorstep by 8 a.m.

DH was excited thinking that after 3 or 4 weeks, he would actually have a Chicago Tribune in hand. But, 8 came and went and no paper. I waited until 8:30 and called their 800 number. No live person, but a computer that said it recognized my phone number and to press buttons to confirm we didn't get delivery and wanted it delivered. Then allow 60-90 minutes. We went to church, came home, and yet no paper. I called again and went through the same message. I then went onto their Facebook page and messaged them and they sent me the email to customer service. I could not find it on the webpage. I emailed and received a very nice response from someone in a few minutes. But, because it was after 11, they could not have it delivered on Sunday, but would deliver it on Monday. We did get it on Monday, but for some reason, it just kind of bothered us that we had to wait until the next day. Well, we said, justifying it, it was the first day of delivery, maybe wires got crossed.

Well today is Sunday and at 8 we looked out. No Chicago Tribune. I emailed the customer service person and received a response 30 minutes later. Again, very polite. But, we were at church. When we got home, I responded that there was still no paper although it had been scheduled for redelivery. She said she would email again. Three or four emails went back and forth between us. I don't blame her at all. She responds. But, it makes me wonder what kind of distributor we have here in our town that they don't want to sell newspapers at Walgreens when apparently people want them and don't want to deliver them. Anyway, we did not receive the paper today. So, I'm very frustrated. I plan to call the customer service folks tomorrow.

DH loves reading the paper. I like the extra coupons. I have discovered that there are different coupons in papers. I think our local paper gets the packets that have the least amount of coupons because the Chicago paper usually has the same brand name packets or catalogs of coupons, but there are other coupons in it.

Speaking of coupons, I find it ironic that our local community college will be teaching an extreme couponing class this week. I have no idea how they expect people to extreme coupon when our local paper has fewer coupons and it one can't apparently get papers with the bigger coupon packets.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Chirp, chirp, chirp at 3 a.m.

October 21st, 2016 at 01:50 pm

I'm dreaming a decent dream and there's this weird chirping noise in my dream. As I come out of dreamland, I realize the chirp is real and I figure it is either a smoke detector or the CO2 detector telling me the battery was about to go kaput. It was the CO2. I do wonder why they always pick late at night or very early in the morning to decide to give up the ghost!?!

A snarky rant

October 2nd, 2016 at 01:45 pm

Life is going pretty well here. DH is recovering although he is impatient and thinks he should be like he was before the surgery. Yeah, at 70, he's doing remarkably well, but Mr. Stubborn doesn't want to hear that. Smile

We went out with a couple this week to celebrate DH's birthday. Most of the time we feel like we are pond scum by the woman. I don't know why. It isn't like she has a reason, but she can be cruel. Anyway, every time we meet with them, she has to go on and on about whatever they did that was a good work. It is like we are being told they are better than us because they donated some canned goods or tithed to their church or whatever it happened to be.

I guess I look at things weird. We do things too, but feel we shouldn't brag about them. I know most of you at SA have helped people out and if you blog about it, it isn't to brag, but to inform such as those loans to the women in third world countries. Most of the people we are friends with do things for other through their church or organizations or individually. It isn't like most people are just self centered wretches.


Anyway, I feel like I can rant safely here because I'm tired of being put down by this person. So thanks for letting me express my feelings.

Thankful for Crockpots

October 1st, 2016 at 01:08 pm

I think many of us use our Crockpots. A lot. I know I do. I hate to admit this, but I have 5 of them, all different sizes. One of them is getting some age on it, but the rest aren't too old. One replaced another one I had that was about done -- the handles had chipped away. Two I have bought used.

This morning I peeled apples to put in one of the Crockpots to make applesauce to can. Put one Crockpot away from being washed that I had made chicken broth in a day or so ago.

I kind of drool over the new one that is a casserole shape, but I don't need it and truly do not have a place to store it. Can't imagine I'd use it that much either.

Speaking of storage, I'm having to go through my cabinets and go through my dishes and pots and get rid of those items I don't use very often because I need the storage for the canned good. Certainly a good motivator. We don't have a basement and I don't want to put the canned goodies in the garage. So, I guess it is a good problem to have.

I'm ready for fall, y'all!

September 25th, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Another hot day here in Central Illinois. Supposedly we are to have a cold front and a little rain. I'm ready for fall and at least what is termed as normal temps and humidity. I'm glad I'm not in the unairconditioned school buildings this year, but I feel for those who are.

DH continues to improve after his surgery. He still isn't to bend much and isn't to lift much weight, but at least he isn't in a lot of pain. His 70th birthday is this Tuesday and he already has his day planned -- he wants to hit some out of town antique and thrift shops and eat at a buffet called Yoder's in Arthur. It isn't a large buffet, but has excellent food. I already promised him a chocolate cake so I will bake it tomorrow and I'm counting on it being cooler to turn on the oven!

Hot or not, I am using up vegetables and made vegetable soup. We have been blessed with bell peppers this year and I don't want them to go to waste. I've already cleaned, chopped and frozen a bunch and put them in the freezer. Today for brunch I sauteed some and then put them with scrambled eggs. I keep a bag in the freezer of vegetables we don't finish. I put them in a soup. Most of them are fresh vegetables I've cooked or roasted so it gives them a better than canned flavor anyway. So fall or not, we are feasting on soup tonight.

My List

September 16th, 2016 at 12:27 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 12:51 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 02:03 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 02:27 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.

Saturday

July 30th, 2016 at 01:09 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 02:37 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 11:56 am

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 01:56 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 02:13 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.

Potpourri

March 6th, 2016 at 12:54 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 01:58 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 11:45 am

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.

Overwhelmed

October 30th, 2015 at 12:11 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 12:12 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.

Change

September 7th, 2015 at 02:35 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.


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