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        )

)
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Birthday Musings and Benefits

January 5th, 2020 at 07:58 pm

Today is my birthday. I"m 59. I'm sitting here thinking I had no idea what my life would turn out to be and how incredibly blessed I am.

DH is going to treat me to a supper tonight at a restaurant we rarely frequent. I'm looking forward to it. Yesterday we went shopping. Clothes shopping is not something I enjoy, but did find a few things that fit that I liked. That was my birthday.

I don't go into detail about our investments and such, but growing up, we didn't have much. My folks worked hard, but most of the jobs didn't pay squat. When I started out, I worked two or three jobs to make ends meet until I could resort to one. My dad constantly drilled into me, get an education and if someone offers to teach you something, learn it gladly. All these things paid off for me. I look at some of the people I went to high school with and they had better opportunities and many didn't take advantage of them. I don't want that to sound like a snob, because I don't mean for it to be that way. Just that some had parents who would have paid for them to go to college and they didn't, and now complain they don't make enough money or that life is unfair. Anyway, we are comfortable. I can basically buy whatever I want and as I grow older, there isn't really a whole lot I honestly want because I have so much now.

One of my friends gave me water color pencils and a book to journal and color in as I read the Psalms daily. Neither of these things I would have purchased for myself, but I'm sitting here thinking, what a thoughtful gift and I'm going to enjoy using these items.

Amber was talking about her credit cash back and I recently had $150 credit cash back on my credit card. I was waiting to get it up to a decent amount and then applied it to the bill. I'm getting ready to use some Ibotta credit at Kohls to buy some new sheets to replace some that have worn out. I was thinking about how old these sheets were and I know one set has to be at least 10 years old. I think we got our money's worth out of them. The other set I'm not sure and I've mended them a couple of times, but the stuff keeps ripping out. I'm using one of the sheets as a cover for DH's chair when he comes in all dirty and sweaty from working in the yard so he can sit and rest before going back out. There' something exciting about cashing in these items that are found money. Like CB I pay off our credit cards each month so we don't owe any interest. I prefer making money instead of giving it to credit card companies.

Having read LivingAlmostLarge's entry about Saving Advice folks being friends as we share our ups and downs, how exactly correct that is. I feel like I have shared many things with so many of you. What a blessing.

Well, I've probably written more than I should, so I think you'll find me coloring!

2019 into 2020

December 31st, 2019 at 09:49 pm

Sitting here reflecting a little.

Twenty years ago there was such fear because of the Y2K. Looking back on it, we were told to be fearful since the changing of the year could damage computers, cause power outages, etc. Glad none of that came about.

2019 was a good year overall. Some ups and downs, but overall, very blessed.

Glad to see the market closed up today, the last day of 2019. I'm hoping our investments did well this month. Last year this time we lost money the last few months of 2019.

It's been great that DH's cataract surgeries were both a success. Fortunately neither of us had any big problems health wise.

I think I've spent more money this year than last, but not because I was being crazy and spendy. Certain things needed to be fixed or replaced. But, it is wonderful that we had the money to do so.

We spent some time going through some things and we made our last donation to the thrift shop we donate to. I had received some things that were brand new, but I knew I would use them. Perhaps someone else can get some good out of them. I should get rid of more stuff, but sometimes it is difficult to let go. I need to work on that.

We plan to meet a friend and eat out tonight and be home early. We hope 2020 is a happy year for everyone and a prosperous one as well.

It's been awhile

December 15th, 2019 at 09:54 pm

I haven't blogged too much lately. I guess I haven't had much to share. I've tried to keep up with reading the blogs.

Like many of you have posted, my Christmas shopping is finished. In fact, I have purchased some craft kits to start on things for next Christmas. I gave a lot of canned items away as well. My Christmas cards have been sent. I do have a little more baking to do, but not a great amount. I always give some sweet breads to some of DH's former coworkers and I'd like to do that this week. For my birthday last January, a friend gave me some holiday ceramic loaf pans because she knows I like to do that.

We had our Christmas bazaar at my church last weekend. I baked lots of cookies and some sweet breads for it as well as made a few things to donate to sell. This one of two fundraisers for our ladies' guild and after expenses, profits are used for missions both locally and worldwide. I do the publicity and I think I have figured out the best ways to get free PR.

On the financial front, we seem to be doing OK. We have a Christmas Club account that we put money in each month and then in November, draw it out and use it for Christmas. So, Christmas is paid for and we won't owe. I was glad to see our investments showed an improvement for the month of November. Like Disney Steve wrote when he said theirs reached over a million, it doesn't change anything. Same with us. We continue our frugal ways. We had a CD come due and our financial guy called us and wanted to know if we wanted some of the money to spend and I said that I knew he had to ask us, but no, what did we need? He laughed and said he wished more of his clients were like us. He doesn't get rich off of us, but I'm sure every little bit helps. He finds better interest rates than what we can get around here and at this point, we aren't ready to do online investing. We prefer brick and mortar banks.

Just about every Friday we hit the thrift stores. We don't usually buy a lot. I have a couple of people who have given me wish lists of things to look for and that's something we do. Well, just want to report I was the big spender last Friday. My total was $1.62 and tax beating DH's total of 40 cents.

It has started snowing and the weather forecast is calling for 4-7 inches. I'm not thrilled. I hate shoveling snow and in a subdivision full of kids, apparently none of them want to make any extra money. We keep some cash on hand just in case we would find someone to shovel when it gets deep.

Hope you all have a wonderful full week before Christmas.

Catching Up

December 1st, 2019 at 10:44 pm

Not much to report overall. DH and I went on two day bus trips this week. Not exactly great planning on the travel agency's part, but they were things we wanted to do.

The first was to go to Joliet to the Jacob Henry Mansion. It is a Victorian home that has been kept up and there was a luncheon complete with Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln visiting. After a delightful meal (usually these aren't all that great, but this one was) the Lincolns talked about how Christmas was celebrated during Victorian times, especially in the White House during 1861 - 1864. Then a Civil War General and his wife talked about Christmas music during that time. Following that meal and program, we walked across the lawn to an old church for a holiday pipe organ concert. The pipe organ was original and was lovely as was the stained glass windows. It was a nice day get away and other than spending what the trip cost, we spent nothing else. It was just an experience.

Yesterday we took a bus trip to the Galleria Mall in St. Louis. We honestly didn't need to shop for anything, but just wanted the chance to get to someplace else for a little while. We had a nice lunch and walked around the mall admiring the decorations. I noticed that leopard print is in this year for both men and women. Just in case you were interested. We didn't buy any. Lots of dresses with sequins as well as men's sports coats with sequins. We didn't buy any of that either. Good thing the mall didn't depend on our spending. Our local mall is dying a slow, painful death, so it was nice to see that every store front at the Galleria was occupied. It was just nice to do something different without spending a whole lot of money.

Our Thanksgiving was marvelous. Another couple joined us and we had a great time visiting. I made extra stuff so I could send plenty of turkey and other sides home with them. We have had 2 meals off the leftovers and tonight is another. By then we should be about done with the leftovers. I don't mind leftovers and it sure makes fixing a meal a lot easier since it is already cooked.

I have been working on our Christmas cards. Most of the people I send cards to don't do social media so the cards take awhile. I about gasped when I counted them...51. That's a lot of postage. Egad. Oh, well, It's a nice way to catch up with some folks.

My shopping is finished. I do have some baking to do for our church bazaar which is next Saturday, but I want to wait until closer to the date so the cookies and baked goods are fresh.

We didn't participate in the Black Friday shopping. I have found it is a perfect day to grocery shop since people are at the other stores rustling up bargains. I guess I've gotten to the point in my life where there really isn't anything I want to get up early for or get out on Thursday night to buy. I must be getting old.

Hope you all have a terrific holiday and weekend.

Monday Musings

November 4th, 2019 at 10:48 pm

This works out to be a very busy week. Today was running a couple of errands and DH having his pre op appointment for his second cataract surgery. For the first eye, we had to pay $1500 for a special lens. Today the eye doctor said he didn't think this eye would need it. We had the money saved, but I can't say I'm super disappointed. I had taken the money out of savings and transferred to checking so we would have it. I'm glad some of it will be returned to savings.

A friend of mine is a local reporter and she was complaining that she has a very long day tomorrow and won't be able to get anything for supper. After I retired, I had given her one of those ceramic mugs with a plastic lid to microwave soup. She said that between her running for different meetings she wouldn't be able to even do that. So, I suggested heating some soup up and putting in a Thermos. The issue is they only have one Thermos and her husband uses it. I had a couple, one is a wide mouth one, so we took them to her so she can heat up her soup tomorrow before she leaves for work and have it tomorrow afternoon before she sets off to her many meetings. I gave her a regular mouth one too so if she wants to take coffee or tea at some point, she can. I have been blessed that I had these things and I'm more than happy to help her out. The nice thing is she was grateful. Plus, it gives me an excuse to get a couple of things out my cabinets because I know they will be put to good use.

This afternoon I baked two sheet cakes. One is a belated birthday cake for DH. Someone had made him fancy decorated cookies, so I told him I would make him a cake later. The other is for church for a funeral dinner. I cleaned house today and other than cleaning the bathrooms, and doing a couple more loads of laundry. that is done for the week. DH worked in the yard and put away the hoses so they didn't freeze. It's supposed to get really cold by the end of the week.

Tomorrow we drop off the cake for the dinner and fill all the candles around the altar. I also plan on making my grocery lists. I will be baking soon for our bazaar and I'm trying to stock up on stuff a little bit at a time so it isn't one big bite at the grocery store. A friend is going to have knee surgery and she asked if we could bring her some yarn from the supply at church to make hats, so we will do that Wednesday when we grocery shop. I also offered to pick up stuff at the store for her as well.

On Thursday we will make our first delivery of hats to one of the schools. It is supposed to get really cold at the end of this week with a chance of snow on Thursday so it might be a very timely delivery.

Right now Friday is pretty open. I'm sure something will come up. Saturday is our long anticipated "Gone with the Wind" Supper. We were going to have it earlier, but then one of the couples had some things come up. The nice thing with this group is we like fixing food and eating together and it is far cheaper than going out.

So, it is a busy week, but a good busy. I'm glad to have the bulk of the cleaning done. No one says I have to have it done by a certain time, but I do fret over it. I try to keep things pretty tidy and dust even if it doesn't look really dusty so things don't get real bad. I vacuum the floors at least once a week and then use one of those squirt mops on the hardwood and vinyl. It's scary how much dirt two people with no pets drag in.

Frost, Shopping, and the Weatherman

October 13th, 2019 at 06:21 pm

We have a new weatherman for our local station and I think he believes he is entertaining. I do not need to be entertained when watching the weather...I want the forecast basically, but he likes to think he's clever. Well, Mr. Clever kept saying we were not going to have a frost Friday night. DH happened to go outside Friday evening and came in and said he believed it would frost. So, here we are out with a flash light so he can pick bell peppers and Rosemary in case it did frost. I picked a few tomatoes that were starting to ripen just in case. Fortunately we had picked a majority of the herbs earlier that we wanted to dry.

Well, it did frost. It wasn't a killing freeze, but some of the herbs got it as well as some of the other plants and flowers. DH normally pulls up stuff when they predict a frost because he doesn't like dealing with the plants that get kind of soft and slimy after. That stupid weatherman was wrong and he assured us in the viewing area we would not have a frost. Glad DH was smart enough to go check.

We did go to an outdoor market yesterday that is about an hour and half away from us. It is in Morris, Illinois, along the Illinois-Michigan Canal. We also like to visit the downtown of Morris and go through the shops. It wasn't a huge spend day. We bought an acorn squash from the Morris FFA for $1 and some cinnamon rolls for our breakfast this morning as well as a cupcake from the local bakery to enjoy there. I had taken a Thermos of hot tea with us since it was a bit chilly and that was a nice treat. It was basically just a trip to get us out and about. I liked looking at the booths. I noticed that some had some knitting and crocheted items and I like looking at them.

When we came home I took some vegetable soup that I had in the freezer and heated that up for our supper and made herb cheesy biscuits. Not a super big spend day and we had a nice time.

I noticed that someone had posted that Christmas is 74 days away as of yesterday. I'm already thinking about all the cookies I need to bake for our church bazaar the first Saturday in December. Yikes! Most of my Christmas shopping is finished. DH picked out some clothes from Lands End that he wanted and they sent an email with a huge percentage off just that day so I took advantage of it.

DH will probably be pulling up the rest of the plants this afternoon. It supposed to warm up later this week, but you never know when the frost will be, especially with this weather man!

Requests For Money

October 8th, 2019 at 03:48 pm

Between the robo calls and the mailings, we must be considered rich because they are so many requests for money. I was tricked last week, there was a name on the caller ID I recognized and I answered it, only to be spoofed. Grrr.

I normally don't answer the phone when I don't recognize the number, but this one got me. I politely declined, asked that our name be taken off the list, and hung up. Grrr.

I know this makes me sound selfish, but I'm about ready to quit giving to anything because if you do, they apparently sell your name to others and then you get more requests. Egad.

If the charity sends envelopes with postage paid, I am now sending back a note asking to be taken off their lists. I guess some of these organizations are given money just for the sending out for requests, but to be honest, I'm tired of the constant begging. There are lots of charities out there that do great work, but we cannot give to all. Then, of course, there are those are scams.

We do support certain charities, both national and local, but we can't give to them all. When do they stop sending them out? I know my mother-in-law and my mom kept getting requests even after they died for a year or so.

I'm easily amused

October 6th, 2019 at 07:26 pm

I loved Lucky Robin's latest blog title, "Blah, blah, blah! because I too struggle with coming up with something witty and creative and I'm often unsuccessful at both!

My husband loves his garden and his yard and is so frustrated that we have a squirrel (or more than one!) who has eaten tomatoes and dug holes in the yard. So, I've watched DH chase the squirrel around the yard. Talk about cheap entertainment! I bet that squirrel thinks my husband is a crazy man.

We went to a downsizing estate sale at a really fancy house yesterday. DH did find a beautiful history book for $2 and I was entertained with seeing this lovely home and all its room and fancy furnishings. When I was growing up, my dad drilled into me I needed to get an education so I could get a good job. Our guidance counselor was no help -- he told all the girls in high school they were too stupid to go to college and to become secretaries. I didn't mention he was the football coach and that's all he really wanted to do. I told DH when I was in high school and had no one who had gone to college in the family, that I didn't realize there were many careers for women besides teaching, nursing, and secretarial besides factory work (our town had major industry at this time.) I wonder if I had chosen a different career that paid more if my life would have been way different.

Last night I peeked at SA and could hardly wait for today when I could read the blog posts and catch up with my SA friends. So glad we are back even if entries were lost.

It isn't super cool, but cooler than it has been and I'm looking forward to chili tonight. I pulled some out of the freezer.

Ah, the joys of being easily amused!



111 Books and counting

October 4th, 2019 at 07:59 pm

I just finished John Grisham's "The Reckoning" and it is the 111th book I've read so far this year. I enjoy Grisham's court novels and this one did not disappoint. I am not going to spoil the story, but it showed how some people's decisions can effect others even when they don't think it will.

I think that is true in real life as well. How many of us had been involved in an auto accident through no fault of our own?

I joined Goodreads awhile ago and it suggests you set a goal for the year. I have to chuckle about it. My goal was 100 and I met it. They sent me an email last week and said I should check some of my friends' posts for encouragement. Really?!? I surpassed my goal.

Not a whole lot to report money wise. We did hit the thrift stores and I found 4 blouses that were like new and a new kitchen towel. The blouses were marked $4, $5, $5, and $6 and they were name brand, and when I took it to the cashier, she recognized us since we come in about every week, and said, I'm marking them all $4. That was a nice surprise. The kitchen towel has a goofy looking turkey on it and although I didn't need it, I wanted it to hang on my stove's handle. It amused me and cost a buck and tax. This thrift store is kind of high end so I imagine the towel was probably more expensive than what I paid for it.

I will be happy when the city finishes the parking lot at the library. Right now it is a pain to get in because there is little to no parking. I will be happy to get more books and not struggle to find a parking place. I see where John Grisham has a new one coming out. I liked his page on Facebook and I see where he left one of his books in one of those "free little libraries" in one of the cities he was traveling to. I bet someone got a nice surprise. Do you have a favorite author? He is one of mine, but I also like some of the cozy mystery authors like Laura Childs, Amanda Fluke, and Diana Mott Davidson.

Go Away, Murphy!

April 2nd, 2019 at 07:13 pm

Murphy apparently thought we invited him for an extended stay. He can leave at any time. Nothing super major, but nothing minor either.

A few weeks ago DH noticed he has a low tire pressure. He thought it was from the constant temperature changes so he filled it up. But, it kept going down, slowly.

So, we made an appointment at a tire place to get it checked. I took it in since he had was supposed to volunteer at a class. The guy said the vehicle was done and it was $62 and some change. I asked incredulously "to fix a tire?" He said they didn't fix a tire, but changed the oil and rotated them. I was chagrined to say the least because we had just had the oil changed and tires rotated three weeks before and they should have noticed that when they went to put the sticker there. I said we didn't ask for that, but to check a tire. He asked did I still want them to check the tire? I wanted to make a snarky remark at this point, but held back and said that was the real reason we brought the vehicle in.

So what should have taken 30 minutes according to the original estimate appointment time was over 2 hours. He acted like he was doing me a favor for not charging me for anything, but I had news for him, I wasn't paying for the oil change and tire rotation since I didn't order it.

And the tire still has a leak. Grrr.

Then a couple of weeks ago my headlight burnt out and it cost over $450 to replace.

Now our 8 year old dishwasher has decided to leak. Not truly unexpected because we've read that appliances don't last long and 8-10 years is a typical lifespan and I use my dish washer a lot since we eat at home a lot. At least it didn't ruin the kitchen flooring.

So, for awhile I'm going to do all dishes by hand why we figure out our next step. I imagine a new one will be on the horizon. I can live without one, but it just didn't come at a good time. A lot of our normal expenses came due last month and this month like homeowner's insurance, car insurance, home health care insurance, and then I had a big bout with Vertigo. Couldn't see my doctor so had to see an Express Care and then do a follow up with my doctor. Fortunately, the Vertigo was short lived, but still an added expense.

I think Murphy has overstayed his welcome!