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A great afternoon for a cup of tea and a book

March 21st, 2019 at 11:49 am

Here it is the official second day of spring (first full day if you want to be accurate) and it is gloomy and cool. I'd say cold, but I guess 41 is a lot warmer than it has been this winter.

One of my favorite things to do is go to the library and we did. I returned 4 books and checked out 5. So, after I finish here, I'm going to go back to reading.

Amber asked for a list of books I've read so far and here it is:

Title & Author
The Christmas Wedding James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
The Skeleton in the Closet M.C. Beaton
Amish Promises Leslie Gould
Amish Sweethearts Leslie Gould
Standing in the Rainbow Fannie Flagg
This is the year I put my Financial Life in Order John Schwartz
The Next Millionaire Next Door Thomas J. Stanley and Sarah Stanley Fallaw
Christmas Cake Murder Joanne Fluke
Plum Tea Crazy Laura Childs
A Highland Christmas M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came M.C. Beaton
Raspberry Danish Murder Joanne Fluke
The Dead Ringer M.C. Beaton
An Amish Family Reunion Mary Ellis
Waking Up in Dixie Haywood Smith
A Plain Man Mary Ellis
Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body M.C. Beaton
A Christmas by the Sea Melody Carlson
The Essential Tea Companion Kim Waller
Winter in Paradise Elin Hilderbrand
You Don't Own Me (#6 Under Suspcion) Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
As the Pig Turns M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener M.C. Beaton
The Blood of an Englisman M.C. Beaton
Winter Stroll Elin Hilderbrand
Winter Solstice Elin Hilderbrand

I tend to get on an author and try to read everything they have. I did the same with Grisham, except for his non legal ones. I also tend to like the Amish fiction because sometimes I need something easy, even if it is predictable.


I finally finished up all the teas that were given to me that I wasn't particularly fond of and I did splurge and buy a box that was a holiday tea that was on sale. It is a sugar cookie flavor and it has a hint of it and is a nice change when I don't want regular tea. Today is just plain hot tea and I'm getting adventurous and having some with some milk.

There is something immensely gratifying about having a cup of tea in a china tea cup and saucer and have a pot of tea brewed. I've done the mug and tea bag bit too, but every once in awhile I like to treat myself to a fancy tea cup and a pot of tea. I collect blue willow dishes. Well, I should say I have collected. I won't buy anymore because I have more than enough, so I have plenty of tea cups and saucers as well as tea pots. Why have these things if I don't use them?

I have always wanted to go to a real tea room and have a pot of tea specially brewed, but never had that opportunity. There is an author by the name of Laura Childs who writes a mystery series based in Charleston, S.C. and the owner of the tea shop solves mysteries. Every time I read one of her novels, it makes me wish I could go to a real tea room.

Potpourri

March 18th, 2019 at 07:58 am

First, I want to thank everyone who responded about my last entry. I appreciate the support. I guess I'm sensitive, but it really bothers me when someone posts hurtful comments. One thing I wonder is, does this person or persons realize that those of us who wrote the blog can see their email? And if so, do they know you can research who they are by the email? Anyway, I appreciate the support of those of you who kindly responded.

It was an expensive week last week. My headlight went out and knowing how car places work, we made an appointment to get it replaced. I guess with modern cars, you almost have to take the darn thing apart to get to the headlight. It was high density and the cost was $455 for the very expensive bulb and the hour and a half it took to replace it. Yikes! We had the money in savings so that wasn't the case, but it sure is hard to part with it. A friend teased me I could have just opened the car window and used a flashlight. Now, that would have been a sight, and I'm sure the police would not have found that a bit amusing.

Also in the expenses was the home care insurance policy for DH. Fortunately we have not had to use it, but It seems the spring is fraught with lots of insurance since we have homeowner's, home care, flood, and then both car insurances coming due. Again, we have the money, but it is tough seeing it go out at such a fast pace.

We did get our taxes done. We didn't have to pay either the feds or the state, but not sure about next year. I say this every year, but I honestly feel like if you live below your means and you save and are honest, the tax laws really zing you.

One thing that wasn't as expensive was groceries. We bought some fresh fruit and vegetables and some milk, but we ate from the freezer and pantry which helped a lot. We tend to have a couple of weeks of large grocery bills and then a couple of weeks of cheaper ones. I like it when Kroger has a buy one get one free when it comes to meat because I take advantage of it and then freeze one for later consumption. Guess it evens out. Tonight I'm going to use some chicken and I'm going to trim it and use it and some chicken I have in the freezer that I did the same with and make some chicken broth. I like keeping it on hand to make chicken and noodles as well as soups.

DH and I continue to make good use of the library. I have read 24 books so far in 2019. According to the library receipt, I have "saved" $855.27 by using the library. It looks good at least. I know we get our tax money's worth out of the library anyway.

It looks like spring is finally coming here in Central Illinois. It has been a harsh winter. DH spent part of the weekend working in the yard cutting back stuff that he didn't get to in the fall. He said all the garlic he planted is starting to come up and some of the herbs that come back each year are showing they want to come back. Yay! I'm ready for homegrown stuff. I know we have enjoyed using the stuff I canned this winter.

Hope you have a delightful week and can find some economical ways in your days!


What do you think?

March 11th, 2019 at 08:17 am

I feel like I've gotten a lot done already this morning. Emptied the dishwasher, exercised, cleaned up, read a magazine so I can return it and my other large pile of things to the library, and wrote a letter. I like days like this when I get quite a bit done early.

I noticed that there is someone who sometimes comments on my blogs and they are not very nice comments. Either that person is really cranky or someone who wants to comment and then start something. I deleted the last comment. I notice when I get an email, I get an email address for them. I sort of wonder if this is their way of capturing our email addresses to send spam. It seems in the past when I've done that, I get a bunch of spam from a different website. What do you think?

Bargain Hunting

March 9th, 2019 at 01:04 pm

Usually on Fridays we hit the thrift stores. We found some great finds yesterday. One had everything 75% off. I found 3 craft things I wanted. I had seen them a couple of weeks before, but refused to pay the price on them. One is an apron that you embroider. I thought that would be a nice gift for a friend. It was still in the package and had the embroidery floss. We paid 63 cents and tax for it. I started it last night. This year I started something and that was to give a friend a gift for each day December 1-25. Most are just simple things that I either picked up very cheaply or made. I look for things all year. She enjoyed opening something up every day. On Christmas the gift was a little more substantial, but I don't think I spent any more than I normally would have. I've already made a couple of things so far and I think this apron will be appreciated.

DH found a like new polo and then he found me a new pair of Keds for the summer. I'm glad because the shoes I wear during the summer have started looking pretty ratty.

I'm trying to get used to taking my own bags with me. Glad I made a few. I was telling the lady who was checking us out at the thrift store that we would soon be paying for bags and she hadn't heard that the governor is hoping to pass that tax on plastic bags.

We went to a home show in a small town near us. We like it better than the one we have in our city because of two reasons. One is there is no admission. Second is they have Amish made stuff and we like looking at it. Other than getting a couple of free pens, we didn't purchase anything and had a delightful time looking. We had some other errands to run in the small town -- funny how they have things we don't have where we live -- and then came on home. We hit a thrift store and I found a package of Easter sticks unopened. I am making an Easter basket for a friend's granddaughter and she likes stickers. S I was happy to get out of the wind and rain and brew some tea.

My folks were great bargain hunters and could often find things used at a very reasonable price. Hopefully I've picked up some of their talent. DH has no qualms about buying secondhand -- he says he likes the thrill of the hunt.

The Care and Feeding of Volunteers

March 7th, 2019 at 07:59 am

Sadly, I'm about fed up.

I volunteer in a classroom and to be honest, I'm tired of feeling like I'm being taken advantage of. The teacher doesn't want to prepare anything for when I come and wants to me to come up with stuff.

I get that the teacher is busy. But, is asking that there be two copies of a book to read too much? He wanted me to listen to kids read and I was expected to read from the same copy. That strains my eyes too much. I said why not have two copies of whatever.

Then, I was doing art for the big part of the year. All stuff I bought, I planned. After I finished the last project before Christmas, I suggested we go to something else. So, his answer was to read some in a textbook and I had to come up with the questions there on the spot. I finally said something about this and that perhaps he should come up with materials and questions and actually have them assigned for a grade. Because otherwise the kids don't feel like what we do has any value.

Now, it seems the teacher isn't good about letting me know when I can come in...just takes it for granted I will show up. I didn't hear from him until Sunday about this week and he didn't tell me that the school was closed on Monday for Casmir Pulaski Day and I had to learn that on my own. He then wanted me to reschedule a time. I said I had other plans. I'm tired of being taken for granted. I'm feeling like a rebel. I know I never treated a volunteer like this. Sadly, there are not a lot of volunteers in the district where I worked and where I volunteer. I just don't get how people don't appreciate someone willing to come in and help. The operative word being help. I know I can plan stuff, but I retired. I don't want to plan everything.

DH reads in three different schools. One teacher of the three is good about letting him know about upcoming things. The other two teachers aren't. We received a phone call this morning at 7:15 asking if he could come later today. I'm sorry, getting a phone call that early scares us -- we think it is bad news.

The other teacher never lets him know about changes either. I don't know if this is just the way society now functions or what, but I find it rude. I have to check school calendars for updates, but not everything is on the school calendars.

As a volunteer, I just think the people who are benefiting should be a little nicer.


Senior Discounts

March 5th, 2019 at 08:33 am

Today is senior day at our Walgreens. If we need stuff, this is the day I try to go and get it. Ours is 20% off stuff not on sale. Too bad it doesn't cover prescriptions. It is a good time to buy those necessary items like deodorant and stuff like that.

We try to utilize any senior discounts we can. The last time we stayed at a hotel, we asked for the discount.

I do with our grocery stores would offer senior discounts, but they don't.

We don't do a lot of fast food, so we don't get the senior discounts for any of them.

We have an AARP card and we use it whenever we can. It saves us money on our cell phone bill with Consumer Cellular.

DH often times his Kohls shopping to Wednesdays when there is a senior discount. He found a great buy last week.

So, do you take advantage of discounts, senior or otherwise?

I got riled

February 28th, 2019 at 07:41 am

As a retiree, fortunately I can now express my opinion with little retaliation.

Last Tuesday was a school board meeting for the district from where I retired. The district is at 66% poverty rate with some individual schools having some even higher levels. At this meeting, the issue of reapplying for the grant to give every student free breakfast and free lunch came up. One of the board members said she didn't think they should because it doesn't give the district a positive image.

OK, I'm not going to talk politics here as far as entitlement programs and stuff. But having worked in high poverty schools for over 30 years, children cannot control what their parents do. There should not be an issue with feeding kids just because being poor might have a negative connotation.

I commented on the article on the newspaper's Facebook page and I had some current teachers inbox me to thank me because they were shocked at the comment, but didn't want to comment for fear of retaliation. So, I decided to write a letter to the editor pointing out the data for the district and if this board member is unaware of it, perhaps she should either study the data or resign. Egad.

I guess part of this is fueled by a local case where a 2 year old was starved and froze to death in a home while her mother and boyfriend let her. Kids should not go hungry because their parents are jerks.

And school board members should know their population.

Sorry for the rant.

Bags

February 24th, 2019 at 12:29 pm

For some who live in towns and even states that already do this, it won't be a shock, but I guess Illinois is going to have a new tax of 5 cents for plastic shopping bags.

I get why. As a state we need money. And hopefully it will help with the fact there are all these stupid plastic bags littering so many places. Although I imagine people will still litter.

I already have a stash of cloths bags we use when we grocery shop in my car. DH said he needed some for his car so we can get in the habit of using for more than groceries. I looked at the stash of material I have and decided to make some bags.

People who sew often buy material and I hate to admit, I've done this, but mine is basically from thrift stores and estate sales. I bought some to make curtains for our bathroom and kitchen windows and I have some left. I bought some to recover some hot pads. Plus I bought some to recover some seat cushions. I'm not a great seamstress, but then again, I'm not selling my stuff nor am I putting in for a home decorating show, so I'm just using things and reusing things. So, it only makes sense to use the material I have. I had to get creative on a couple of bags, but they are for use, not show.

Anyway, I was busy for a couple of days making bags and I decided to give one to a friend since she has been collecting bags for her grocery shopping. It was kind of nifty material and she put it on her arm and said, "Thanks. They will see me coming at Aldi with this bag!"

That really tickled me!

This and That

February 19th, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Been busy around here trying to get things done. One thing was to work on decluttering. I still have a ways to go, but at least I made a little progress.

On Sunday I begged my husband to help me. I cannot get rid of towels. So, I pulled all the bath and hand towels out of the linen closet and let him go through them. There's a bag of them on the way out. The decent ones will go to the homeless shelter that allows daily showers. The decrepit ones went in the garbage.

I then got rid of some raggedy throw rugs.

Then the kitchen towels. I struggled, but I think I got rid of 5 of them. One of them I was still using. A couple went in the garage to clean up messes and the rest are history.

Yesterday I messaged a friend who had admired one of our chairs that we replaced a few months ago. I asked him if he wanted it. He did and he was over in less than 2 hours. I helped him load it and it is now in his house and he struggles with figuring out how he's going to get rid of his old chair. Better him than me, right?

The last couple of days have been spent house cleaning and laundry. The hardwood floors and laminate were vacuumed, then dust mopped, and then wet mopped. They sure look nice. I'm ready to meet DH at the door telling him he can't wear shoes inside. LOL

A couple of times a year I use orange oil on my kitchen cabinets to clean and preserve them. I think that will be a project in March. I had a brand I really liked, but can't find it, so I guess I'll have to use another type. Our cabinets are 16 years old and I don't think they look half bad. I do think taking care of them has helped.

Well, the dryer went off, so unless the laundress suddenly appeared, I guess I better go get the laundry out.

"Spirit of Central Illinois" segment

February 17th, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Last week my church knitting group was featured on the local news as part of their weekly segment "Spirit of Central Illinois" which features people doing nice things. Here is the URL:

https://www.wandtv.com/news/knitted-hats-bring-love-comfort-to-kids-in-need/article_b5f32a56-317d-11e9-9633-4f4c24614ad3.html

I was featured as was my Pastor as spokespersons for the group. No one else wanted to talk and to be honest, I was scared to death, but the reporter did a good job of not making me look stupid.

So far we have made 458 hats for 2019. A guy at church asked me today where we get the yarn for our hats and scarves and I said most of us buy our own and he was shocked. I said we do get some donations of yarn here and there. He was really surprised.

Usually when we get some sort of publicity we have new people wanting to join and that's cool. Hope that is the case this time too.