<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: November, 2009
 

Archive for November, 2009

Spending :( Due to Not Fully Awake; WAH opp

November 30th, 2009 at 10:26 pm

This morning I managed to get off to work with a new cannister of oatmeal, my frozen veggies and $.72 Michaleo's frozen meal, and a banana. Unfortunately, I forgot my new box of Stripples (vegge bacon) and container of egg whites.

I went to bed a bit after 9 last night, but didn't really get much sleep by 5:30 this morning when my alarm went off. Between not being able to turn off the thought machine and my allergies/maybe beginning of a cold ... ugh!

So ... I wanted more protein for my breakfast than just oatmeal. I headed over to the deli and though I did spend, it was controlled. I got one taquito (breakfast burrito - eggs and cheese); juice; and a banana. $3.33

In case you're wondering why I got a banana when I already had one ... well, I realized I hadn't gotten enough for the whole week this morning. So by getting a banana today, it gives me one less reason to go grocery shopping before Friday. Thus, more than likely, saving me money.

--
So the lack of sleep/rest also affected my driving this morning. I pulled on to the business highway where the speed limit is 60, and it didn't dawn on me to speed up from 45 until someone honked at me. Frown

The whole day at work I was just cold. I wore my jacket the whole day. Usually I can wait till around 10 a.m. or so before I get too cold.

By the time the afternoon shift came, I was feeling plumb miserable.

---
Got home and walked the dogs. That was a production and a half. I figured that if it was cold enough outside for *me* to wear my jacket, then little thin Nikki *must* wear one too. Yikes! She was just like a little kid who doesn't want to wear a jacket!! It took ten minutes of me wrestling with her before finally getting it on. Ugh!!

Kayla was so funny. She was acting like the patient older sibling (which she kind of is, older at least) who just wants to go for her walk! She kept coming up to me like she was letting me know that she'd be willing to do whatever it took for us to get out that door! Big Grin

---
I came across an interesting work at home site. I haven't tried it yet myself, but it looks good. livework.com

One of the options is doing short answer questions. You just need good writing and research skills.

---
It's only 4:25 right now, but I think I'm going to go to bed a little early. Maybe just rest a bit ... who knows.

No Spending, Found Money

November 30th, 2009 at 01:41 am

Today I helped E and one other person clean the gym location which is closing tomorrow. It took the three of us 6 hours.

I ate about 10 a.m. and got there a little before noon. By the time I was leaving (about 6) I was *starving* and thinking about all the fast food places I could get something to eat. I couldn't actually go *in* anywhere, because I was a royal mess thanks to 3 hours of cleaning blinds and dusting out lockers + powerwashing 6 shower stalls.

But, you notice I said today was a no spender? Smile I fought those thoughts of stopping with thinking about what I had at home that I could make quickly. I came up with a sweet potato, leftover cornbread muffin, and a veggie patty with cheese. Then of course today is an S day, so I wanted to have some chocolate. I realized I already had some chocolate at home, so there was no need to stop somewhere and pick any up.

Yay! So I made it home without falling into the trap of saying that I deserved a treat (fast food) because of how hard I worked today.

---

While dusting out the lockers, I found a dime and three pennies. When I asked E if it was "finders keepers" he gave me a dime he'd found earlier.

So, for children's offering this coming Sabbath, I have $.23 already!

Bit of spending, bit of not

November 29th, 2009 at 04:12 am

Today at church I put $1.70 in the children's offering, and $1 into the loose offering.

So I "spent" $2.70. Smile

----

Last night I was going to have some cottage cheese to go with my supper, but when I opened it up, it had gone bad. I'd forgotten to turn it upside down (a trick which has made cottage cheese last forever in the past.)

I debated about maybe going to get some tonight, but decided to see if I can hold out until Friday when I do my next shopping run.

----
I went to the animal shelter today. I almost talked myself out of going because I really wasn't feeling great - in fact, I almost left church early because I wasn't feeling good. But, I talked myself into going.

I am glad I did. Several dogs who I thought for sure would've been adopted by now were still there, so I got to walk them, which was great. Smile After I'd had my fill of walking dogs, I went into the cat room. There was this one cat, maybe a Persian, which was just gorgeous and super friendly. It even got up on my lap after awhile.

It's really good that there is no way that I can take either a cat or a dog home.

--
I thought about stopping for a soda on the way home, but ended up not doing it. I will get one tomorrow if I really want one, but I think tonight I was thinking about getting one just out of habit.

So, all I spent today was the offerings at church. Smile
---
Tomorrow is cleaning the gym. Yuck. But it will help pad my next paycheck a bit - which will be very helpful considering how many hours I'll be out in my next paycheck (due to vacation.)

Thanksgiving, Great Movie, Making A Video, Spending

November 27th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

I had a pretty nice time over Thanksgiving. Went to my mom's house on Wednesday evening. After supper we went shopping for a birthday gift for my stepdad's granddaughter. Then we watched "Sunshine Cleaning". I wasn't sure if it was going to be good or not, considering the scenes they were cleaning, but it was actually pretty good.

Thursday we all got up nice and late, and headed over to the dollar theater and saw "Julie and Julia". That was a fantastic movie, really one of the best I've seen in a good while.

After the movie we headed over to Cracker Barrel for our official Thanksgiving Dinner. I pretty much had to choose off the breakfast menu, because I read a nice little notice that most of their veggies and their corn muffins and their beans are all cooked in/with animal fats. Ugh!

Still, I got french toast, eggs, sweet potato casserole and pecan pie. It was yummy and I was quite full. Big Grin No stuffing though (only trust kind I make myself to not be made with turkey dripping or some such thing.) Maybe I can make some stuffing this weekend. Big Grin

After we got back home I printed out my running paper for my mom to read - she made a few suggestions, but overall said it was really good. Then I did a 20 minute recording of her talking about family history. We stopped at that point because my knees were killing me. Unfortunately, even though she was speaking loudly, the mike on the camera didn't pick it up very well.

We're going to try it again later - maybe see if we can find some kind of mike or another way of holding the camera when she's speaking ...

----
Of the $40 cash I took out, I have spent .... $3.30!

$.30 was for printing out a registration form

$3 was for the movie yesterday (I treated)

Today I stopped at Walmart and picked up $23.34 worth of groceries and some misc. items. But I paid for them with a remaining balance on one gift card, plus most of the remaining balance on a second gift card.
--
Tomorrow is church and the no-kill shelter, and then on Sunday I'll be helping E clean up the closed gym location. This time however, I *will* be accepting pay. Big Grin

---
Almost forgot. E had asked me several weeks ago to work this past Wednesday which is normally by day off. I had this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that I should call and doublecheck with him about it on Tuesday ... but ignored it.

I got to the gym at a bit before 8, and found that E had double scheduled the time slot! That's better than not having gotten anyone for it .... but still. Rolleyes

E was pretty fair I think. He said he'd pay the other person for 4 hours and they got to go home. I got paid for 8 - 3 (when someone else came). I just thought it was kind of funny.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26th, 2009 at 03:57 pm

I would like to wish all the wonderful people in the SA family a Happy Thanksgiving.

I am grateful that I found this place nearly five years ago where I have had the opportunity to know many people who share the desire to live differently from the norm. Our community here is very unique in the Internet world. We support each other in times of stress, give advice on financial and other life matters, and let new people know quickly that rudeness and meaness is not tolerated here.

Ouch! ... and Planned Spending

November 24th, 2009 at 12:43 am

This morning I woke up in major pain. I'm not sure exactly what I did, but the right side of my neck, down a bit onto my shoulder was in torturous pain this morning. It hurt to lay on my side, and it hurt to lay on my back. I was seriously wondering if I'd be able to get out of bed or not!

I made it out of bed, and once I was up the pain was 1/20th of what it had been - so I managed to go to work, etc. today.

I'm hoping when I lay down for bed tonight that it won't hurt like that again. Ugh!

---
After work today I stopped at the library and picked up some books (on how to study the Bible, etc.) And I printed out the application to join American Library Association and Texas Library Association. (Joining them is part of fulfilling a leadership requirement in one of my classes.)

So, two printed pages: $.30

I also stopped and got gas. My tank wasn't quite empty, but I decided to fill it up today in case prices go up tomorrow or Wednesday. $23.47

----

I needed to refill my prescription. The last time I'd refilled it, it had cost me over $40 at Kroger. I hadn't even asked how much it would be, just wanted to get my gift card.

This time I called around to find the best price.

Walmart had the lowest price without any gimmicks at $27.39

Walgreens had it at $24.95 IF you buy a $20 Prescription Club. So, with buying the Club plan, it comes out to about $26.62 which beats Walmart.

So, I dropped it off at Walgreen's and will pick it up tomorrow.

---
I stopped at Chase Bank to deposit my paycheck (yes, the one from the 15th!) and to get my $40 spending cash.

I asked about changing my account into a student account, but the age cutoff was 24. So, about 10 years too old for that one. Big Grin

Tomorrow I'm going to check and see what I need to do to get online access to Compass, and start switching out to it.
I'm also going to check into what credit unions are in the immediate area and their qualifications.

I think my university probably has one for it's students - but that is a 20 minute + one way drive in the opposite direction I usually go. It *could* work, but with getting two - three checks a month which have to be deposited ... it would be a pain.

---
Tomorrow I need to get my car inspected, and I need to pick up my prescription. Those two together will be roughly $90 (adding the Club plan to it).

Budget Thoughts - Reigning in and Getting Frugal

November 23rd, 2009 at 12:27 am

I haven't quite decided yet what I'm going to do about the tithe yet (posted about yesterday). But, I do think that I need to get refocused on living within my means, and below as much as possible.

So, I think what I'm going to do is each time I get a paycheck, or some other kind of income, I am going to post here exactly how that money is going to be used.

Two things which I'm going to change is the use of my debit card and my credit card.

My debit card I get charged a $6 fee if I don't have at least six transactions during the month. This is because I don't have a direct deposit going into it. So I have been making sure to get those six transactions each month ... but I think I've ended up spending a good bit more than I would otherwise. So, the $6 fee may be a less expensive way to go.

I've been putting pretty much everything on my credit card (except the 6 purchases a month for the debit). This made sense when I was paying my rent on it, and so was accumulating a good number of points each month. Without that, the points grow *slowly* and it doesn't seem as worth it.

I also think that I *do* spend more on groceries, etc. when I am using my card. I always pay it off each month of course, but I do think I'm a bit freer with spending.

So ... I have decided that I'm going to stop using my debit card completely.

I will use my credit card only for online purchases, school tuition/books, gas, toll tag, car and renter's insurance, car repairs/inspection, cell phone and prescriptions.

Everything else will be paid for with cash.

School tuition/taxes/textbooks/car repairs all come out of savings.

Paycheck (Taxable Income) Budget:

10% Tithe/Giving/To Be Determined

10% Savings

10% Tax Savings

$290 rent

$120 groceries and miscellaneous
- to be taken out each week in $40 cash - remaining change each week put in children's offering at church

$5 - iTunes - songs, apps, etc.

$40 Tolls

$90 Gas

$40 Car Insurance Savings (paid every 6 mos)

$17 Renters Insurance Savings (paid every year)

$6 Netflix

$6 Bank Charge

$80 - Phone ($30/mo pd by dad as a gift)

Would like to add back in (maybe will restart in May after paying 2009 taxes):

$50 month IRA contribution

Total: 30% + $694 + $50 (IRA)

----
My last two paychecks gave me a total of $1108.

30% of that would be $332.40.

$1108 - 332.40 = 775.60

So ... that would work for the last two paychecks.

The "excess" money would go straight to savings - at least till May (after 2009 taxes paid).

"Extra" (Non-Taxable) Money Budget:

10% Giving/Tithing/TBD
40% Fun/whatever
50% Savings

My next paycheck will be short 12 hours due to Thanksgiving (off Thursday and Friday, but working on Wednesday which is my normal day off) - so, $87.

My Dec. 15 paycheck should be fairly normal, but my Dec. 30 paycheck will only have 3 or 4 days on it due to my vacation - which means it will be *really* low.

Upcoming bills:

(Nov. 25)
Car insurance 6 month premium: $213

(January 25)
Renter's Insurance: ~$200 (1 year prem.)

April 15

Fed. Taxes - estimating $1500

Two wants:

YNAB 3 - coming out sometime before the end of the year. $35

Extra iPhone charger - $50
*would be most useful in CA on vacation - not really sure about otherwise - maybe I should talk to my brother and see if he might be able to use something like that, and we could split the cost - I'd use it while in CA, then give it to him to use.

---
November 15 paycheck:

$479

$47.90 -- Tithing/Giving/TBD
$47.90 -- Savings
$47.90 -- Tax Savings
$40 - Cash Miscellaneous/Groceries

Remainder of $315.30 forwarded for December bills.

*Credit card is already paid off for the December 7 due date. So next payment won't be due till around January 7.

---
I am going to try to be more accountable to myself here regarding spending.

Other than refilling a prescription, gas, getting my car inspected this week, and a few groceries on Friday, I don't know of any other necessary spending.

Frugal?? Confession (kind of religious themed, but on a financial note) Long

November 22nd, 2009 at 04:30 am

I have been wondering lately if I really qualify anymore to be called frugal.

No, I don't have any credit card (or other) debt.

Yes, I got rid of a bunch of extraneous stuff and downsized majorly in terms of living space and monthly rent costs.

But ... even though I went from paying $660/month in rent to $290/mo ... I'm not really sure where that money has been going each month.

Considering the fact that I am having to chip into my savings, and soon my EF to pay for my school tuition, you would think that there would be NO extraneous spending .. and that I'd be doing my utmost to make my grocery bill as minimal as possible.

But ... that hasn't happened.

For example, the iPhone. I love it. No, I adore it! But ... it is *way* too easy to buy music from the iTunes store, or purchase apps from the App store.

One night I got into this huge spree in iTunes and bought $23 worth of songs. Yes, they were songs that I like a lot, but ... if I would have had a little patience, I could have found most of them on CD's at the library and gotten them for free.

Some of the apps I've purchased, have been really useful. For example I bought one called Pocket Tunes which allows me to connect to my local radio stations. (My car radio is non-functioning. I really missed having local news/weather/traffic.)

But then there's iTreadmill. At first it worked great, but after a couple weeks it started calculating the distance completely wrong. I'd finish up a two-mile run/walk and it would show 5 miles.

And then yesterday I purchased a budget app called Pocket Money. Even though I read on its forums that there was no way to make unused budget amounts "carry forward" to the next month's budget (ala YNAB). And after playing around with it last night, realized that there is no way to add "extra" amounts of income to the budget. So, unless I figure out a fix for this, I just wasted $5.

Then .... there's the groceries. Once a week I go to Walmart and get around $23 - 26 worth of groceries. It is supposed to be for the week. If that was all I bought during the week, I'd be doing really, really well.

But ... then I stop at the deli near the gym and spend $4 - $6 on "breakfast" -- even though I have a canister of oatmeal, Rice Dream, box of brown sugar and butter and Stripples (veggie bacon) at the gym. Sometimes if I'm in a really bratty mood (deciding for whatever reason not to follow NO-S that day) I can spend up to $9 at one shot there.

If I did that once or twice a month, well, not great, but okay. But I've been doing that *at least* once a week, and more than one week, two times in a week.

Still, that wouldn't be so terrible on my budget .... but then there's the stops at 7/11 or the Dollar General. 7/11 is for their egg salad sandwich, and the Dollar General is for their junk food (even though I try to get my weekend junk food at Wal-mart and say thats it.)

Then there's all the spur of the moment spending. Such as buying this ebook on barefoot running which I knew didn't really contain anything new, but I just wanted to read it (it was 9.95). Or, like right now I'm really tempted to buy this extra battery doohicky for my iPhone ($50) so that during Christmas if we're traveling a good distance and I can't get to an outlet to recharge my phone, I have a backup.

--
My dad has been SO generous with sending me surprise amounts of money - he had told me he was going to only pay for the extra charge on my phone bill due to the iPhone, but every month he's been sending me enough to cover my *entire* bill + a bit more. He tells me to get clothes with the extra money, or go out and do something fun.

The problem is, the extra money is generally going towards paying off my credit card bill each month. Those checks have been what have helped me to stay away from reaching into my EF (until now.)

I feel as though I am still living on the income I had before. That even though my actual living circumstances have changed drastically, my mindset of how much "room" I have to spend each month hasn't really. It's like intellectually I see the fact that I'm having to break into the top part of my EF - and the sick sinking feeling hasn't been enough to wake me up.

Tonight I went to the Dollar General and to 7/11. Between the two places I spent around $18. I walked there, and walked back.

Walking back a young man was coming down the side street. I was more than slightly uncomfortable. He started approaching me and even greeted me. I said good evening to him and hurried on my way before anymore interaction occurred.

But ... as I was going on I started thinking... what if the young man had been about to ask for money for food? I could have honestly told him I didn't have any cash on me ... but to say I didn't have any *money* to help him with ... when in my bags I had $18 worth of junkfood, egg salad sandwich, shampoo/body wash, and a cat toy .. in other words, things I really didn't need ... would be totally dishonest. (maybe a better word would be disingenuous?)

I truly *can't* afford to be spending frivolously like I have been. Not if I want any chance of my savings (EF) to outlast my tuition (and taxes!) Somehow, just knowing I have so much money to draw off of when my spending outgoes my income, has made me not be careful. That was okay when I had enough income to be a *little* frivilous with and still have a good bit left for savings. Not so okay when I don't have much wiggle room at all to be able to put some in savings.

*warning - Religious theme ahead. I understand not everyone has the same viewpoint. Some may even strongly disagree. That's okay, but I am not saying any of this to start a debate on it. Please.

Although I have been feeling kind of hypocritical for a few months, and have really tried to reign myself in a number of times, today in Sabbath School (similar to Sunday School) part of our lesson was on tithing.

I believe in tithing. 100%. The money in my bank accounts, etc. is not mine - it is God's.

However, I have not paid tithe in about 5 years. At least not in the way God really intended. I stopped paying it about the same time I lost faith in the Conference administration. (Our denomination is divided up into regional conferences. Most of Texas is called the Texas conference. There is also part of Texas and New Mexico which is called the Texaco Conference. All the conferences in the US and Canada make up the North American Division. etc., etc.,)

But today, the SS leader said something which really hit me. I had expressed my reasons for not paying tithe. Had said that I had given money to the local church body and to the local schools, etc., but just couldn't stomach the idea of putting money into the hands of some of the people in the higher level administration.

Paraphrasing -- he asked me who's money was it? God's of course. So, if it is God's money, and we are faithful in giving back the 10% portion he asks (as a show of our faith/trust/obedience), then do I think He will make sure it gets used in a good way?

So, this afternoon I took the dogs out for a long walk. During this walk I had a long talk with God. I acknowledged that the real reason I haven't let myself get past my feelings towards the conf. admin. and feel right in tithing really has nothing to do with them, but has to do with a lack of trust on my part.

My fear that if I really take 10% off the top of my already meager paychecks, that I'll have to tap into my EF for more than just tuition and tax bills. That the money will run out before I'm finished.

Then I got to thinking about how I've been spending the money I've been entrusted with. 10% of my monthly income would be roughly $85 - 95 Gross. Net I think would be maybe around $70?

I think I could easily say that I've been spending $70+ month very frivolousy/needlessly. Probably closer to $100 - 120.

So, my choice is to continue to spend 10 - 12% of my gross income each month on things that either add clutter to my life or add unnecessary calories to my body - and ignore the fact that I'm using what I've been entrusted with this way. And probably end up tapping out, or coming close to tapping out all my savings.

Or ... cut way down on the needless spending, and start to give back to God a portion of my income. (Of course then the question is, should that be of Gross or Net? Something I've never been fully satisfied on about the answer.) Doing this *may* help my relationship with God because I'll feel more in tune / in step with His will. And maybe that will help me in other areas of my life / walk which still get me down at times. I may still end up tapping most, or even all of my EF, but ... maybe not.

----
In a totally unrelated note....

Today we had a Thanksgiving potluck lunch at church. I made my family's traditional corn pudding (aka cornbread casserole). Muy easy and muy delicious. It was a hit. Every bit of it was gone -- and best of all, I had someone ask me for the recipe.

Better yet, the person who asked me for the recipe turned out to be a relative of one of my former students (a real sweetheart of a girl.)

Registered for classes, etc.

November 20th, 2009 at 03:00 am

Last night I registered for my 3 Spring Classes. $2,167 for 9 credits. I'm going to have to make the first official transfer out of my six-month emergency fund to pay for it. Up till now I've only used my other savings.

This summer I'll take a 4 credit class, and then next fall I'll take 9 credits, and in the Spring 2011 I'll take a 3 credit class + the Capstone (1 week "course" where you write 3 1800- 2500 word essays - pass/fail). So, it looks good right now that I'll be able to graduate by May of 2011.

----
Monday night I got home to find my landlady had acquired another dog! If you've seen the Legally Blonde movies, or Beverly Hills Chihuahua, then you'll have a good idea what the dog looked like -- except much, much skinnier/bonier. An old friend of hers showed up unannounced and told her that she couldn't take care of the dog anymore -she'd found it in a Wal-mart parking lot - and she wanted my landlady to take it.

So ... she took it. It was a very sweet and affectionate and extremely needy (male) dog - probably about six-years old and possibly used as a breeding dog (ahem..certain er.. actions constantly repeated around the female (spayed)dog Nikki ...)

Landlady put an ad on Craigslist on Tuesday, and today someone followed through and came and picked him up. His name was Bruno the Bruiser, but I thought a more appropriate name for him would be Shadow. Big Grin (as in wherever the main human went he went, or wherever Nikki went, he went (until she growled at him))

---
Not much else going on really. Classes are winding down. I'm still working on putting together my barefoot running paper, and have two assignments left in another class, and then a practice exam in a third class. I'm getting a few extra hours at work tomorrow, and again on Wednesday - which will be helpful since Thursday and Friday we'll be closed.

Just over a month till I see my brother again! I am really, really, really looking forward to that! Big Grin

---
This weekend I'm planning on putting some more hours in at the animal shelter. On Sunday I want to finish a rough draft of my running paper so my mom can help me proof it over Thanksgiving.

Animal Shelter, Books from Library, Soaking Wet

November 16th, 2009 at 12:10 am

Yesterday afternoon I went to the no-kill animal shelter. I spent about 2 1/2 hours walking/interacting with 5 dogs. The last dog I took out was a 1 yr old large Chihuahua named Penny. She was so funny/sweet. As soon as I got her outside, she started running towards this garden area and jumped up on a bench and sat down. So, I sat down next to her, and she jumped up on my lap. We sat there for the next 45 minutes. Finally, I had to get up and take her back inside. I think she'd have been perfectly happy to have stayed much longer.

After Penny, I went into the cat room and petted cats for about 30 minutes.

I might go back on Wednesday, depending on how much I get done on my running paper.

----
I stopped at the library today to pick up two James Patterson books on CD which were on hold. One is "Alex Cross's Trial" and the other is "Swimsuit." I've loaded the first into iTunes, and am working on the second one.

I also put my name on the hold list for another James Patterson book, "I, Alex Cross" which isn't out in stores yet. (I came across a free excerpt of it in iTunes - didn't even know he had a new one!)

--
Heading towards the library it had been looking a little dark, which I'd thought was weird because it was only 3:30 or so. When coming out of the library, I found out why it'd been getting dark. It was pouring rain! I was completely soaked from head to toe on my way to my car.

Fun! Smile Luckily I'd taken the dogs for their walk already.

---

I stopped at Dollar General to pick up some body wash's and spray deodorant for the gym. Unfortunately I couldn't get them, because their card machine was down and they could only take cash. I hope E actually got the supplies I told him we were out of!

Checked My Receipt/Book Rec.

November 14th, 2009 at 02:35 am

After work today I stopped at Wal-mart to get groceries. In the back they had a rack with a bunch of things on major discount.

I got 3 cans of new potatoes for $.34/each, two tubes of Total toothpaste for $1, and 3 3-packs of Trident gum marked $1/each.

When I checked out, the total was *much* higher than I thought it was going to be. There were a lot of people behind me, so I didn't want to challenge it at the register. After paying, I stopped by the door and checked my receipt.

Sure enough, the gum had been charged at $2.97 each.

So I stopped at Customer Service. Thankfully there was no line. The person gave me one free, and then took of $4 for the other two. In total, I received back $6.38.

Today was a good reminder to *always* check your receipt. Smile

---
I downloaded an audio book from my library's website a couple days ago called "Chocolate Beach" by Julie Carabino. I've been listening to it - mostly Thursday, then in the car during my commute, and finally finished it today.

It was really good, and funny, and sweet. I could've read the hard copy much faster, but it was kind of nice to be able to just lay back and close my eyes and let the words flow over me.

Brianna is a beach loving, Christian mom of one teenage son who is married to an extremely busy attorney. She works as a tour leader for a bus tour company in Ventura, CA. One night at Bunco, one of the ladies at her table makes a catty remark which becomes a catalyst for many changes in her life. Oh, and yes, chocolate is mentioned often, and even plays a semi-important role. Big Grin Yum.

Job Interview update

November 12th, 2009 at 02:03 pm

Frown

So E asked me to open the gym today. He's put the time clock from the location that's closing here. Blech!

J, the lady who reccommended me for the job came in a bit ago. As I figured when I didn't get a call yesterday nor an email- didn't get the job. The lady they hired started yesterday. Apparently. shed been laid off for a year and could start right away.

She probably had more exp. and the fact she didn't need to give a notice ....

Oh well. It wouldve been nice if they had let me know yesterday. Guess it tells me I'm better off not getting the job. With only 5 cannidates it isn't that hard to at least send an email.

So tonight I'm going to go ahead and register for the 3 classes. I think I'm also going to look more into the ideas of tutoring or working with housebound kids.

I kind of wish I hadn't even tried for this.

It's life, right?

No-Kill Shelter

November 11th, 2009 at 04:54 am

Tonight I attended the orientation meeting at the local no-kill shelter. There were about 12 women varying from 14 to 60's in the group. We were taken on a tour of the facilities, and got to go in the kitty room and the cat room, as well as the small dog and large dog rooms.

There was a couple Siamese cats that were just adorable. And there was a 10 year old Maltese who just looked so sad. Can you imagine a 10 year old dog in a shelter? How likely is it he'll ever be adopted? I'm almost tempted ... just so he'll have a home, even if only for a few years.

You don't have to sign up for particular times, just show up when you have time and they're open.

I need to volunteer at least 8 hours, and then I can take another training session to learn how to train the dogs to do various tricks and commands. Or, I can also take another class to work with the big dogs.

The shelter is about a 20 minute drive, so it's not something I could go to on a whim, but maybe once a week would be doable.

I'm really looking forward to spending time with the animals there.

----
Today B, one of my co-workers at the gym told me he tried to cash his paycheck today (the one that was over a week late) and he couldn't. His check was about the same as mine. I deposited mine yesterday.

Oh joy. I wonder how long it'll be till I find out how far it bounced? At least I found out the great possibility *before* I started moving money out of the account!

A good YA book and Shoe Shopping

November 10th, 2009 at 03:39 am

I obtained the list of children and young adult books that I will have to read for one of my classes next semester, and today read one of the high-school level ones.

It is called "If I Stay" and is by Gayle Forman. A very powerful book about the love of family, and the choices we all make. The main character is a 17 year old girl named Mia. I would not recommend reading this if you are in a sad mood. I also would suggest a box of tissues nearby.
It's short, less than 200 pages, but very well worth reading.

-----

I stopped by the library today to print out some discussion guide questions for the books I'm reading for my class. (We have to post thoughts about the books and do blog posts - so I'm taking notes as I go to be prepared.)

I was going to print out the booklist, but it was 15 pages long, and at $.15 per page, just not worth it.

I checked to see if there were any books on running that I could use as a source for my project, but there weren't any usable ones. I do have "Born To Run" by Christopher McDougal on hold, which will be a great source.

--
I also stopped by Wal-mart and by Payless to check out any shoes they had to replace my sandals. Wal-mart had a slim selection of sandals for $5, but none of them fit my wide feet. Frown Payless had some, but all of them had way too much heel to be a comfortable walking shoe.

I was going to stop by the Dollar General, but breezed right past it on the way home without realizing it. (It is less than 1/4 block from my street.)

---
I stopped by the bank to deposit my gym paycheck and the check from my dad (iPhone fees). I attempted to do both checks via the drive up ATM, but it couldn't read my dad's check. So, I had to go inside to deposit it. Not painful, just annoying.

I also pulled out the $30 I need to bring tomorrow when I go to my orientation meeting at the no-kill animal shelter.

I am feeling uber exhausted right now - maybe left over from Saturday? - but need to have much more energy for tomorrow night!

Took My Shoes Off and Ran! :D

November 8th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

My sandals which I have been wearing now for about three years have recently developed quarter size holes in the mid-foot area. The only reason I can think of is that as I have been learning and practicing barefoot running with a mid-foot strike instead of a heel strike, my walking has also become more mid-foot.

So, since I still haven't gone and replaced the $5 sandals yet, when I took the dogs out today for their walk I wore a pair of ballet flat shoes. About half-way in my pinkie toe on my right foot was really being rubbed the wrong way. So, I took my shoes off and walked barefoot the rest of the way.

I got a few strange looks from passing cars, but the majority of the sidewalk was free from debris, and I was enjoying myself quite a bit.

I put Kayla back in the house, and took Nicki back out for our second walk. Shortly after starting, I just felt like running! So, we ran. Smile Smile

On our way back, Nikki actually was acting like *maybe* I'd succeeded in tiring her out just a little bit and was actually keeping almost pace with me. So, I put a little burst of speed on, and of course, found out she wasn't so tired. Smile She did NOT want to let me run ahead of her. Big Grin

It was truly a beautiful day, and I was really happy to have a chance to do some barefooting. With all the rainy/cold days we were having for awhile, I had stopped doing my barefoot runs and gotten out of the habit.

I'm planning on doing my final paper for one of my classes on barefoot running - how to get started, why it's better for you than shod running, things to watch for, etc. If anyone's interested, I can put it up as a google doc *after* it's graded. Smile (I wouldn't want my professor to google it to see if I copied some other source and find it already online!!)

Financially speaking, barefooting is great on the pocketbook. No shoes to buy! Big Grin

If you are interested, a great place to read up on it is at Runner's World online in the Barefoot Running forum.

---
In yesterday's mail I got my $50 gift card from mypoints for Walmart. That pretty much wiped out all my points. I may use it for some clothes for work (if I get the job) or for groceries, then put the same amount into savings.

If nothing happens to my car this month, I think that this will be the first month since January of this year that I'll actually be able to put money into savings!!!!

Although ... I need to register for my classes for Spring semester, and they usually require a portion upfront. Well... at least I won't have to take out the full amount from savings for it!!

8 1/2 Hours on Saturday

November 8th, 2009 at 05:59 pm

Last Monday the gym manager E asked me what I was doing this weekend. I told him I didn't have any plans. He then told me that they were closing one of our three locations due to the building that location is in wanting to start charging rent. (Apparently their business model includes not paying rent, but just managing a fitness center for the building.) Then he said that they would need help moving. I told him I would be willing to help.

I forgot to ask which day he was planning on this move. Ooops. It turned out that it was Saturday. He knows that I go to church on Saturday, so when he got back to me with the day, he asked me if I could come by 2:30.

Because I had already said I would help, I didn't want to back out on my word. So, I agreed to be there by 2:30.

I've mentioned before that I'm a Seventh-day Adventist. Our beliefs on the day of worship is similar to Jews, in that Sabbath is from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. Working for money, watching t.v. etc., is not part of that time.

So, I decided to consider this an "ox in the ditch" situation, and also not accept any pay for the time I put in. (He was going to pay me my regular hourly wage.)

Well, when I got there at 2:25 there was NO ONE else there, except for him. Earlier that day one of the male "sometimes worker" and his son had come for a few hours and helped him load the heavy equipment, but everyone else had not been willing to come help. His dad, the owner, was at home "supervising" some contract work being done on their house.

So, about 2:30 I started loading up all the boxes of books (the dad/owner had co-written a book a number of years ago - there were LOTS of copies still left unsold.) About 4:30 his dad came and started to pack his office down. By about 5:15 I had finished bringing all the boxes in the gym out to the truck where E had been loading them. About that same time another helper M showed up. He helped E take down and load one last piece of equipment.

About 6:30 we finally got in the truck and headed out to the storage facility (after stopping at Taco Bell for food and drink.) A 10 minute trip took about 45 minutes because of a semi overturned in the ditch.

We finally get to the storage place, and unload everything that was to go in the "dry" building (non-climate controlled.)
About 7:30 S, E's now maybe ex-girlfriend (long story) showed up to help.

Then we started to look for the climate controlled unit. After 20 minutes of fruitless searching, we figure out that E had mixed up the numbers! He called the storage place's manager and worked it out.

About 8:00 we started unloading the book boxes into the climate controlled unit. About 9:30 M left. We closed the door of the storage unit, and the rental truck a little bit after 11 p.m.

----
It was a LONG day, but the weather was perfect for it, and I feel good that I decided to help. If I hadn't shown up to help, he probably would not have finished before 5 or 6 this morning! Every muscle in my body aches, and I slept really, really well last night.

E joked that he'd have to be sure to hire all Seventh-day Adventists because they wouldn't accept pay for working on Saturday's. I told him that might be a good idea, except that it'd be hard to find one who'd work on a Saturday in the first place. (unless unusual circumstances)

I did tell him though that he can be expecting a phone call from me around May to help me move wherever I end up going then. Big Grin

--
Oh, I also finally got my paycheck yesterday. (One week late with a $20 bonus for it's lateness.)

My Interview

November 7th, 2009 at 01:06 am


Above is a picture of me in my new suit just before heading off to my interview. Smile K, the person who took over at the gym took the picture.

Overall the interview went pretty well. I answered the questions fairly easily, and the interviewer seemed to like me.

Near the end she told me that one thing they were looking for is someone who can look her in the eye and say they'll be there two years. I told her that I could say that with confidence, because my master's program will take that long (especially if I'm working a real full-time job.)

She then told me that if I was truly interested, that she had a test she wanted me to take. A test only given to candidates she feels are a good possibility. Smile

oh, she also asked me if I thought I'd get bored up there, having a degree, etc. I told her that I had done a similar job at TO, and hadn't been bored.

Ok, now the test. Ugh!

First 20 questions were pretty normal ..
Gave me a list of 4 words and I had to mark the word in each set that least/most described me. Ok, no problem.

THEN there were FIVE Analogies!!!! Errghhh!!!!

white is to black: blue is to ____

5 - 66: 7 - ___

Then there were Five questions about completing patterns.

One example: 298, 209, 129, 58, -4, ___

Another: A, F, Z, U, G, L, T

My eyes were bugging out!

Then to complete my fun ... 10 statements which I had to say if I Strongly Agreed, Mildly Agreed, Agreed, Mildly Disagreed, Disagreed, and Strongly Disagreed.

One statement said: I never miss an event in a series I've subscribed to.

At first I was like, what in the world?!
Then I realized they probably meant like a symphony series or a playhouse series where you can "subscribe" for a season. Well... if I could afford to subscribe to a series, darn right I'd not miss any that I'd paid for!!! But I figured out they were looking for attitudes of rigidity or judgmentalness, so I put "mildy disagreed."

When I was finished, she told me that there are four other people they are looking at, and they should make a decision by next Wednesday or so.

Oh, forgot.. benefits Smile

Paid health insurance
Paid long term disability
Paid 15k life insurance
401k 50% of every dollar to 5% :bug eyes:
8 pd holidays including Good Friday

I didn't bring up about my upcoming vacation. I couldn't find a good way to bring it up. If the offer the job to me, then I'll tell them. Maybe something like "I'm interested in the job, however, I have a trip over the holidays which has been planned and paid for since early October. Is that going to be a problem?"

We didn't discuss salary, so I'm not sure what that'll be. Though I imagine it will be more than min wage! Rolleyes

Thanks everyone for your well wishes and encouragement. Ya'll are awesome. Big Grin

Job interview!

November 5th, 2009 at 04:58 pm

I have an interview scheduled for Friday at 1:30!

It would be awesome to get this - no more late or bounced paychecks! ( still no paycheck for the 2nd - supposedly will get it tomorrow. )

This and that

November 5th, 2009 at 12:40 am

Monday night I stopped at Ross and bought a suit, a business casual outfit, and a new pair of dressy shoes. Total: $60

I needed the suit because none of mine fit right now. It was only $15. The outfit I'll need if I get the job - if I don't get it, I'll take it back. The shoes - my only pair of dress heels have part of the sole coming off -so not a good thing to wear to an interview.

---
I finally heard back from the no-kill shelter I applied to volunteer at. I'll be going to an orientation meeting on Tuesday night. I'm looking forward to that!

---
I also heard back from the receptionist job I sent a resume in for on Monday night. The contact asked me to fill out an attached application - only there was no attachment! So I replied to her, and she sent me the attachment yesterday.

I printed it out today and typed it out at the library. They didn't have a fax or a scanner. I attempted to find a Kinko's, but after fruitlessly driving around for 30 minutes, decided to wait till tomorrow and fax it from work.

Tonight I got an email asking me for an interview tomorrow at 1:30. I had to say I couldn't do it - I work from 9 to 6:30 tomorrow, and 1:30 is potentially a busy time period at the gym.

Hopefully she'll take the 1:30 slot on Friday I said I could do (would have to get K to come in early, but she usually has no problem doing that.)

---
Today was my brother's 29th birthday! I called him and sang Happy Birthday. Then he told me that he'd just been showing a friend of his my video text I'd sent him a couple weeks ago, when the phone rang. Big Grin Spooky.

I told him about dad buying the Wii for Grandma. He was pretty impressed too. Wink

---
I made macaroni and cheese for supper tonight. I'd thought about it before, but hadn't wanted to open up a Rice Dream (milk sub). Tonight though I really wanted some, so I opened up a box. I'd never tried it without real milk - it was yummy. Smile (For added protein I nuked a Bocca Veggie Chicken Patty and tore it up.)

--

The gym I work at is closing one of our three locations. E asked me on Monday if I had plans this weekend. When I told him I didn't, he said he might need some help with moving. I thought that he meant *he* would be moving. But I found out later that it was moving their stuff out of the closing gym location.

I'm not sure how much help I'll be - but I'll be on the clock, so the extra bit will be nice.

(in March they're supposed to be opening a brand new facility -- should be interesting)

---
paychecks were late this week because E and his parents (check signers) were out of town. To make up for it, they've added $20. I'll have to see my check tomorrow to see if the money actually was added. Rolleyes

---

I was accused of being rich on Monday - by the lady who takes the 3 - 7 shift. I had said something about the paychecks being late being more of an annoyance than a hardship. I had a real good laugh about being accused of being rich. Smile

(It was kind of one of those under the breath things - not really directed towards her - just commenting out loud {I think I spend too much time alone sometimes} - she's not really someone I like all that much, though I suspect the feelings mutual -- K on the other hand who comes in on Tuesdays and Fridays, is a sweetheart {frugal} and we get along really well)

---
This was my first Halloween since I've been out on my own that I've had a chance to see a lot of kids/costumes. Usually where I've lived there were very few trick or treaters that came by.

Here, we probably had close to 70!! My landlady had to go out and buy more candy because she'd made candy packs for 35 kids.

I'm not sure why, but she pretty much let me be the one to answer the door and hand out the candy. I didn't mind, because it was cool seeing the variety of costumes (and ages!), but I thought it was kind of weird.

--
I'm really trying to get back into the mindset of making my food and not just nuking it. It's just so easy to nuke the burrito or the Lean Cuisine - little cleanup and little fuss. But that mindset isn't helping my food budget much. So, the past couple nights I've been actually *cooking* supper! I made quinoa M and T, and then of course tonight, mac and cheese.

I'm going to try to keep the frozen meals just for lunches, and do actual cooking for suppers. Maybe eventually I'll cut out the frozens for lunch as well ... I got back into some bad habits....

My Dad Surprises Me

November 2nd, 2009 at 03:03 am

Today I was talking to my dad about Christmas plans. We have all agreed that we're NOT going to exchange gifts this year, but that instead we're going to *do* things together. Smile It's been a long time since my brother and I and Dad have all been in the same place at the same time, so that is an amazing gift all by itself.

However, what surprised me was this: Dad bought Grandma a Wii for Christmas!!!

Apparently they were at the gym (where grandma has a free membership due to being over 75) and they wandered over into the video game room. Grandma was playing this bowling game and just loving it. So my dad asked what it was ... it was the Wii. Big Grin

I told him he's going to have to ask my brother to bring some of his games with him (he has a Wii) and we'll probably end up spending a lot of time playing with it. Smile

--
Mostly spent today working on schoolwork and laundry.

When I had the dogs on their walk this afternoon we came across this lady walking three small dogs. We stopped and let each other's dogs sniff each other. It would've been fine, but she had to go and make not one, but three! comments about Kayla's weight! (the pudgy Beagle/Basset) Seriously, one comment is more than enough -- especially when my response was "Yep, that's why we're out walking."

Oh well, more than likely will never see her again.

---
Even though it's only 9 pm right now I'm feeling as though it's 10 and am ready to hit the hay. Was thinking of watching a movie, but nothing sounded really appealing. Maybe I'll start a book ... but that's dangerous to do at 9 pm .... hummm..