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Archive for December, 2009

Quick entry

December 24th, 2009 at 06:31 am

I made it in to San Jose safe and sound - experienced my first deicing while in a plane.

We went out looking at lights tonight - I took a bunch of pics which I'll share later, but wanted to go ahead and share this video I took of one particularily spectacular display.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfV1TaCRwYE&feature=youtube_gdata

in the background you can hear my brother and dad talking and me chuckling. Smile

Will write more later.

Merry Christmas!!

First day of travel - so far

December 22nd, 2009 at 11:58 pm

I was supposed to be getting on a plane heading out to Denver at 1:59 p.m. today.

At 12 p.m. my mom and I entered the Dallas airport and headed towards the check in desk. We'd heard from my stepdad that there was no info available for my connecting flight, so we had a hint of problems ahead.

As I handed the agent my ticket information, I asked about the second flight and why it was canceled. She then told me that I had been bumped from my 2 pm flight and rescheduled to a 7:30 p.m. flight to Denver - with a new connecting flight arriving San Jose about 11 p.m. (instead of 7:37 pm). I of course was not happy at all.

After a number of phone calls, we found out that I had actually not been bumped, but that the 2 pm flight had been canceled two-weeks after the tickets had been purchased. We also found out that Orbitz which had been used to book the flight had dropped the ball by not informing us of the change.

So, here I am sitting at a free internet terminal charging my phone waiting to board my flight. I'll be arriving in Denver about the time I was originally supposed to arrive in San Jose.

Here's hoping that my flights go smoothly and this is the end of traveling hassles today!

---
On a brighter note ... Mom and I spent our extra time today doing some various errands, and shopping. She bought me a beautiful red (light) sweater and tank set and a pair of black pants from Steinmart (part of Christmas). We also spent some time browsing in Barnes and Nobles. Last night I showed her how to use fotoflexer to play with her photos, and reminded her how to change her profile picture.

Overall, it was a nice time.

Packing and Cleaning - Business Idea??

December 21st, 2009 at 01:07 am

Yesterday I did go to church, and I did exchange the Terry's Oranges for the correct flavor, but I did not go to the animal shelter. I didn't go today either. I have however kept myself pretty busy.

I spent a great deal of time yesterday evening copying 5 audiobooks onto my computer, and then transferring them to my iPhone. I had to delete a few I already had on there (and had listened to already).

Today I got up kind of late (because I was up till past midnight loading the audiobooks!) I first went to the dollar theater for the early showing of Ice Age 3. It was really cute - well worth the dollar. Smile

Then I went to the library and dropped off the audiobooks from Saturday night, and picked up 4 more. I would've picked up 5, but several of the ones I was looking for were checked out.

When I got home, I started cleaning and sorting through everything, and then finally got my big suitcase out.

I had to empty that also - I'd stored most of my out of season clothing and some clothes which I'd not been able to fit into when I moved in here in September. But ... two pairs of jeans which were in that category, now fit again! Yahoo! (Thanks No-S!!)

While I was doing all this packing and cleaning and sorting, I was also working on loading up my next 4 audiobooks. I wonder if I'll really have time to listen to 7 books (8 if I get the one off the website). No matter how many I actually get to, it will make for a great head start for next semester! I just have to be sure to jot down notes about the various books.

My suitcase and laundry basket are both out in the car now. (I didn't think it would be much fun to try to drag them outside at 6 in the morning tomorrow!) So, I am pretty much all ready to go!

I've been keeping an eye on the weather in Denver, and am a tad bit nervous. My layover will be there on Tuesday afternoon. They are supposed to get hit with snow by Wednesday sometime.

---
Tomorrow I'm heading over to my mom's straight after work. I'm supposed to help her finish up her baking. She's making a bunch of cookies, etc. for my brother's Christmas present. She's already spent at least one full day on this ... I really hope she hasn't made a lot. There's only so much room in my bag!

---
I have a business idea in my head. I don't know if it would work or not .. or if anyone would be willing to pay me as much as I'd need for it to work.

I'm also not sure what the best title would be ...

My idea is to offer my services from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. Monday - Thursday; and from 2 - 5 p.m. on Friday's. (I may be willing to do an occasional Sunday as well, depending on schoolwork load.)

My services would include: grocery shopping; folding laundry; picking up dry cleaning; picking up a max of two kids from school; tutoring/supervising homework/music practice, fixing after school snack/cleanup, maybe fixing supper or starting it, etc; chauffeuring kids to after school activities; etc. During the summer, I would offer enrichment activities and taking kids to the park, museums, playdates, etc. Other tasks could be negotiated.

Pricing would start at $25/hour for the first 20 hours per week. Hours 21 - 30 would be priced at $15/hour.

If I could get even 20 hours a week doing this, I would be able to quit the gym. I would still have the morning hours, plus most of Friday and Sunday to do schoolwork.

My mom charges (and gets) $50/hour for tutoring. Of course she already has her Master's ...

I'd have to up my car insurance for carrying kids. I'd also need to put together a contract spelling out everything parents and I agree to. Probably would also need some kind of medical release and accident waiver, etc.

What do you think of something like -- Mom's Assistant? or Mom's Third Hand???

Do you think my rate may be too much?

Anyway, just kind of mulling the idea in my head. I really would like to get out of the gym, and it would be nice to make more money than I am now (wouldn't take much!)

Oh yeah, my selling points: Texas state certified teacher with 8 years of experience, in grad school working on Master's; excellent driving record; love to play games (board games, catch, swings, etc.) believe strongly in interactive learning; may be able to save money on groceries (clipping coupons for items frequently on their list - maybe sign up for grocery game for their favorite store, and make suggestions as to what they might want to stock up on ...)

Slow day

December 19th, 2009 at 02:47 am

Yesterday at the gym I only had 6 people come in the entire day. I was there from 7:30 until 7 p.m. Four of those people informed me that they wouldn't be back till after the holidays.

Today ... I was at the gym from 6:30 until 2. Two people came + 1 other person who paid their bill.

E and I were talking about the amount of people expected to actually be around during the next few weeks. He decided that he'd close G2 on Wednesday of each of the next two weeks, and just have G3 open till 3 pm those days. That makes a lot more sense, but kind of stinks for those who were planning on working those days.

K, the lady who takes over on Fridays at 2, told me she had a job interview and offer this morning. She is hesitating on accepting it for two reasons - one of the days she'd have to work is her church choir day; and the other is how far of a drive it would be. Otherwise, it'd be great - 24 hours a week with a certain and unchangeable schedule for $10/hour.

K is an older lady, recently divorced (ex-h was a cheating scoundrel), has two grown children, and has MS. We get along pretty well, and I'll miss talking with her if she takes the job, but I think it'll be better for her - much more stable than the gym. E keeps changing her schedule, and recently reduced her hours to 17/week. I'm just waiting for him to do that to me. Ugh.

--
My brother is finally on facebook! I tried to get him to get on it when I first did, but he obviously didn't.

---
Tomorrow there is potluck after church, and then I might be going to a get together at the SS leader's house. He mentioned it last Sabbath, but was kind of vague on the details.

I bought an apple cheese danish dessert for potluck tomorrow. I had been planning on making my corn pudding again, but the kitchen was overrun by teenagers making cookies. Oh well.

Depending on if I go to the get together, I probably will spend a few hours at the animal shelter in the afternoon. If I don't do it Saturday afternoon, I want to be sure to do it on Sunday. Although I'm thinking about seeing another movie on Sunday at the dollar theater - either Ice Age 3 or Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Ice Age has been there for awhile now, so there's more chance that Meatballs would still be there when I get back from CA.

I need to download the audiobooks to my phone, return them to the library, and get a few more and download them. Oh yeah, I need to pack too. Big Grin Maybe I won't have time on Sunday to see a movie.

---
Deposited my paycheck today.

My groceries today included a couple of things I could have put off till next year, the cheese danish, and a food gift for my stepdad - so a bit more than I'd really planned on.

Walmart - $14.69

I need to go and exchange the food gift tomorrow though. I bought a Terry's Chocolate Orange ... only I bought the Toffee Crunch version instead of the milk chocolate one. Not paying enough attention I guess.

--
I've been checking the weather in San Jose and Loma Linda the past few days. It seems like San Jose is about the same as Dallas weather wise right now. I really don't want to take my big new coat (a number of reasons - one being how bulky it is) but am not sure if my purple coat will cut it.

Are bags still $15 for the first one you check-in?

I'll be taking a box of food goodies for my brother from our mom. Any precautions I should make? (will be in my checked suitcase) I know not to have anything wrapped ... but other than that?

---
Almost forgot. I bought a Flashcards app from iTunes ($3.99). It'll come in handy next semester when I'm having to learn various terms for one particular class. But the reason I went ahead and bought it now is that I've started to get serious about memorizing Bible verses. I made up 18 flashcards this morning which I can study on the plane while in airplane mode, or of course during my 3 hour layover in Denver. My goal is to have all 18 memorized perfectly by January 1. Then I'll add more. I have two down pretty good already. I figure it's good brain work, and it's good for the soul too. Smile

(Also in the flashcards app they have a list of 300 GRE words/def/sample sentences you can download to study. I downloaded them as well - may as well work on my vocabulary too.) Big Grin

Various and Assundry: The Birthday Edition

December 17th, 2009 at 02:46 am

*Today my mom took me to her hairdresser and had me get a cut and highlights. It looks very nice. It'd been several years since I last had highlights put in - last time I think was at Fantastic Sam's for around $60. This lady charged at lest 4x that amount. :OO: If I'd realized how much she charged, I probably would have chosen my mom's other idea - spa pedicure and manicure. But irregardless, I really do like my cut and color.

*My mom went on a trip to Nashville this past weekend with two of her tutoring students who she watches sometimes on the weekends. The mom of the younger girl had bought her two four-inch ceremonial daggers, and had given her permission to take it to school. :OO: My mom did not know this. One of the daggers was still in the girls backpack as they went through airport security.

Luckily they chose to not call the police or any of the many other things they could have done. That was one lucky 11 year old!

*My uncle D who lives in Ohio and has never been sick a day in his life, went into the hospital yesterday with heart attack symptoms. He had surgery today where they placed two shunts in his heart, and appears to be doing okay.

* When I got to my mom's place on Tuesday night she wasn't there yet (out tutoring). So my stepdad and I had a chance to talk for a couple hours. That was really nice - we don't talk all that much usually because my mom and I tend to chat to each other mainly. We also watched a movie my mom would not have liked, but I liked it.."State of Play" with Ben Affleck, etc. I'd equate it with Primal Fear (Richard Gere) and perhaps Michael Clayton (George Clooney). Good twists and turns and an unexpected ending.

*I took my practice exam for school librarian certification on Saturday night. Today I got my results. An 80% was passing ... I got a 79%. I am very extremely happy with that, seeing as how I've only taken one class dealing with the subject matter on the exam. A year from now, I bet I'll be able to ace it. Smile

*We have a new housemate. *He* moved in yesterday afternoon. Apparently he sleeps during the day, and works at night. This should be interesting.

*My mom didn't have a 4 candle for my brownie cake. So, instead of turning 34 yesterday, I turned 35. Big Grin She told me my other two choices were 32 or 37. I was okay with the 35. Smile

*Payday was Tuesday: $549.xx

While I did get paid for the 6 hours of cleaning, it was at the normal 7.25 rate. Pretty cheap cleaning labor if you ask me. Although, I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it if E hadn't said that he'd try to get us $10/hr for that time. Oh well.

So ..$55 - Giving; $55 - Savings; $55 - Tax Savings. That leaves $384 for other bills, etc.

My Dec. 30 check is going to only have 5 days on it, so will be quite small.

*I am probably going to have to up my texting plan for my phone. Before getting the iPhone, I very rarely used the texting function. Now though, I have a number of people who I text back and forth with regularly - including E (mostly about gym business - easier to make sure he has a written record of what I relay to him than just verbal).

My last bill I was 199 texts over my 200 limit - which equaled to about $20 extra dollars. So, I paid $25 for 399 texts. I have the feeling that this months is going to be similar, if not more.

So ... I think that I'll have to go to the $15/month plan for 1500 texts. I don't see myself ever using that many texts in a month ... but then again I never thought I'd actually use up the full 200. Ugh!

*Spending Dec. 15/16

Deli: $4.68 - Breakfast/lunch (treat)
Costco: $16 - 10 pk Rice Dream milk sub.

I have two dollars cash + some change left of my spending money. I don't think there's anything I'll need to get before Friday when I'll take out my next cash infusion (and deposit my paycheck).

Groceries this week should be extremely minimal, since it'll basically just be for the weekend. I'll be going back to my mom's Monday after work, and then Tuesday fly away to San Jose! Big Grin Big Grin

Early Gift :) YNAB 3

December 15th, 2009 at 03:26 am

My invitation to purchase the beta version of YNAB 3 came around 5 p.m. today. Big Grin

I purchased it quickly. $34.95

I don't remember exactly when I first started using YNAB, but it was before I bought my current computer, and this is at least three years old. When I first started with it, it was a very effective spreadsheet program. I'd been getting so frustrated trying to find a program that would do virtual envelopes like I wanted to do them. Then I saw the link in a SA poster's signature (Jesse) - someone who was pretty active in the forums and seemed pretty intelligent.

I checked out his program, and instantly was jazzed! Live life on last month's income! What a concept! Plus it did perfectly what I'd been looking for with virtual envelopes, without paying the monthly fee (Mevelopes - I'm looking at you!)

One thing that has amazed me from the beginning is how customer service oriented Jesse has been. A number of times I had questions, emailed him, and received a personal response in less than 24 hours. A few years ago he started a forum for YNAB users. There are many long time users who are more than happy to help out new users with questions. Some of them have become employees of Jesse in growing the YNAB business and product (because they love it so much!) Customer service is still top notch.

One thing many Ynaber's have been asking for is the program to work on a Mac. With the YNAB 3 version, it will now do just that!

Right now with paying tuition and buying textbooks, etc., I'm not really able to use it as well as I'd like -- but even so, it is helping me to assign my actual incoming dollars jobs until they're gone, and I have to go to savings.

YNAB is what helped me be able to not panic (too much) when I was laid off in February, and to not worry (too much)when it took *forever* to get unemployment checks to start, and not to worry overly much when paychecks from the gym bounced or were late.

I'm really looking forward now to the upcoming iPhone app - but that'll probably not be till they get most of the bugs worked out of the beta desktop version.

---
I received my last textbook today. So now I have all the textbooks I'll need for next semester. That's just one less bit of pressure.

--
I tried a new strength training routine today. Used a bunch of combination moves -- *attempted* an elbow plank w/donkey kick -- will be sore tomorrow I think. Smile

---
I better get going - need to pack to go to my mom's tomorrow. Mmmm brownie cake! Big Grin

Third Time *was* the Charm! :) -- YNAB 3!!!

December 14th, 2009 at 12:40 am

This morning I made my Oatmeal/Quiona/Chocolate pancakes. I hadn't made them in awhile, and since I'd made the recipe up myself in the first place ... I wasn't thinking too clearly. I put *all* the dry ingredients in the blender, and then added the rice milk and water. Ooops. Let's just say that it was pretty thick. I ended up pouring half of it out into a measuring cup, and then adding more liquid to the other part.

In the end, I didn't put a banana in - it still turned out pretty tasty, and I made enough for probably 4 more breakfasts in the future.

---
As I was making the pancakes this morning, I was wondering if they make pancake molds. Something you can put down on the pan/griddle and pour the batter into so that it holds a certain shape - make a uniform size. Mine turn out to be many shapes and sizes - especially after trying to flip them. Smile

---
As the title states, the third time happened to be the charm today. I found the dollar theater! (with a little extra help from my step dad)

I saw "Invention of Lying". It was *SO* good! Seriously, I loved this movie. I walked out of it just feeling happy. I probably wouldn't recommend it for kids under 15 because there are some scenes with pretty frank sexual talk (not explicit - just frank). This is one I might look into obtaining a copy for my limited collection.

---

When I got home I found out that Jesse (he used to be very active on the SA forums - jrmsg (something like that) ) has started releasing the beta version of YNAB 3. I might just get it for my birthday. Big Grin Big Grin

For those of you with iPhones or iTouch's ... he also is going to be releasing an app based on the YNAB principles soon. Big Grin
I am very much looking forward to that!!

---
Spending:

Movies: $1
Walgreen's: $6.42
Gas: $19.01 (saw $2.29/gallon and grabbed it!)

Bed Being Taken Over! ; No More Schoolwork - Bored!; No-S update

December 13th, 2009 at 01:51 am

Earlier this afternoon I wanted to take a nap. In order to do so, I had to carefully manipulate Max who was sprawled completely across the middle, and find enough space on the edge. Later, Nikki came and jumped up - she found space behind my back.

I eventually had to get up (to take my practice exam) and both animals left as well.

While I was taking my exam, both animals returned and were trying to get my attention. I told them I couldn't pay attention to them right then, because I was taking a timed test. They both eventually ended up on the bed again. Max on top, and Nikki wrapped up under the covers - peeking out her head once in a while.



---
The practice exam, my very last assignment for the semester, had a time limit of 3 hours. So, I figured if I started it around 6, and finished by 9, I'd have time to mess around on the internet for a bit and then head off to bed.

Well... it was 80 multiple choice questions. Even with the animal interruptions and taking my time on each question, I was finished in roughly 50 minutes.

No more schoolwork (assigned at least) until January 19!

-----

So now I'm trying to figure out what to do the rest of the evening.

I think I've used up my allotment of Netflix streaming for December (I'm on the $4.99/mo plan - two DVD's at home a month + 4 or 5 hours streaming). So, until I figure out how to get the DVD program working again, I can't watch movies on my computer.

Really don't feel like watching t.v.

Eh.. I'll figure out something I'm sure.

Tomorrow I'm thinking that I'll make my Oatmeal/Banana/Quinoa/Chocolate pancakes for breakfast, plus some to freeze for later. Then will try to find the dollar theater to see "Invention of Lying."
Then I suppose I could put some time into organizing my room better. Maybe I'll go over to the animal shelter too and volunteer some ..

-----

Recently I've gotten a hankering for The Cheesecake Factory's Eggplant sandwich. I've had it twice, and it was *so* good, yet definitely not cheap. I wonder how difficult it would be to make that myself? I've bought eggplants before with the intention of making something with them ... but they completely deteriorated before I got to them. Maybe because I was just too intimidated to figure out how to actually cook one - so I procrastinated??

---
So far no spending today .. but it's only 7:42 and I'm bored.. hopefully I can figure out something to do for the next few hours that won't cost anything.

--
Oh yes, the No-S update - or "Why I Love the Weekends!" I started the No-S eating plan on July 23rd. It went well for the first month or so, and then had a few bumps and bruises for a few weeks. Since then though, I've done well on it.

As of today, I have lost 12.8 lbs since starting! Which is 17.2 lbs less than my highest weight (reached in June).

I just can't express fully how happy and content I am with this way of eating and living.

I'd Like Your Opinions Please; groceries, etc.

December 11th, 2009 at 11:03 pm

So ... this morning as I was getting ready to leave to head off to work, I managed to crack the toilet seat. (go ahead and laugh manically here - I did, silently.)

I left a note saying what happened and asking if landlady would like me to get a new one, or if she wanted me to just give her whatever an equivalent one would cost. (I didn't use the word equivalent ... I guess I kind of thought that would be understood.)

I got home today and asked if she'd seen my note. She told me that she had, and that she'd gone ahead and bought one at Wal-Mart for $20.

As she said this, I was thinking that sounded like a lot of money for a toilet seat. Then she told me, "They had toilet seats from $5 all the way up to $70. So I decided to get one near the middle in quality." She also told me that if I couldn't afford the $20, to not worry about it.

I was the one who broke it, so I feel like I should pay for at least part of it. I'm not so sure that I should have to pay for an upgraded version though. Am I being cheap? Is $10 a fair amount, or should I just bite the bullet and give her the full $20?
----
I stopped by the bank today and got out my $40 for groceries/misc. + I decided to take out an extra $20 to treat myself to something(s) special for my birthday (15th).

I'm not sure exactly what I want to do yet - maybe go to a first run movie and eat out at IHOP? Or go to a movie at the Studio Movie Grill and get a grilled cheese + dessert? Get a pedicure before heading out to CA (although with the weather they're having, not so sure I'll be baring my feet all that much)? Get a new pair of jeans? Or maybe just use part of it now, and save the rest for spending money on my trip... (Can you tell what are some of the things I'm really missing being able to do?? Not that I did any of them often, but it sure was nice to be able to do it once in a while without having to think about it *too* hard.)

---
I didn't really have much I had to get for groceries today. I just needed enough to get through for the next 8 days (really 7 - I'm going to be at my mom's Tuesday for supper - she's making a brownie cake for me! Yum!- and also Wednesday for breakfast and lunch).

I was really wanting some marshmallows for my hot cocoa last weekend, but I'd already done my shopping for the week. So today I was looking at the marshmallows and saw the store brand for $.92 (minis). But then I saw a new product which intrigued me. A bag of chocolate coated marshmallows for $1.00. I *almost* bought those instead. But then the frugalite in me said that there was only enough for two cups of cocoa, while the other bag had enough for at least 10, and for less money.

So, anyway, my groceries today totaled: $17.38.

I also put some change in the bell ringer's thing - not sure how much, maybe $1.xx.

---
I am now completely finished with two of my classes. On Sunday I'll be taking a 3-hour practice exam, and be finished with the third class.

Today I picked up from the library 5 books on CD which are on the book list for my Children's Lit class next semester, plus another book on the list. I can only check out 5 audiobooks at a time, so I'm planning on getting them loaded onto my iPhone this weekend, and then getting 5 more. (I found a total of 15 audiobooks from the list.)

---
I've been really trying to work on certain ... words ... in my vocabulary. 99% of the people who know me probably have never ever heard me mutter them out loud. But *I* hear myself mutter them, not to mention think them. I feel for me, especially as I'm getting older, those words are an immature response to situations or descriptions. (Not passing judgment on anyone else - this is *just* for me.)

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking. There's a particular forum on Delphi which I have slightly participated in, but read very regularly since 2004. It mostly consists of women. The frequent posters can be very funny - and I find myself frequently laughing out loud at some of the things they post. They also can be very caring, rallying behind posters who are in some trouble or another (whom they're able to verify as a real situation). However, they have a tendency to use certain words a lot. And, they can be quite biting and critical and sarcastic.

I'm debating on whether I should continue to read there. If I fill my mind with some of the topics (and words they use) there, how am I going to be able to stop myself from thinking/muttering some of those same words/sarcastic attitudes?

However, I need to find something else to fill my time that I've spent there. Part of it maybe I can use to work on memorizing scripture. I'm not sure though where I can find a good, *clean* source of humor though. Any suggestions?
--
Oh, for any of you who are fans of Goldie Hawn or Chevy Chase. Last night I watched (from Netflix Instant) the movie "Foul Play." If I read correctly, it was the first big part Chevy Chase had in a movie.
It's a comedy/murder mystery somewhat similar to Alfred Hitchcock style. It was really funny - Goldie plays a librarian. Smile Chevy plays the detective who protects her from ... the Albino; the Dwarf; and Scarface. Big Grin Oh, and I *loved* the Johnny Tidbits character - comedic gold!

It's set in the 70's. I think Goldie is sporting a Farrah Fawcett (sp?) do.

In the Mail; DVD program

December 11th, 2009 at 01:59 am

Tonight when I got home I found that I had another textbook arrive. 3 down, 2 to go. Smile

I also had a package from a dentist's office. They sent a brochure, a letter worth $50 off my first appointment, and ... a toothbrush! I can always use a free toothbrush. Smile

---

A few days ago I downloaded the newest version of AVG. As it was downloading, it told me that I needed to update a DVD playing program called Roxio something or other. I looked everywhere in my computer, but didn't see anything by that name. So ... thinking that Windows Media Player plays DVD's, I made the oh so smart decesion to just delete any programs with DVD in the title. :bigeyes:

AVG finished installing perfectly at that point.

Last night I decided I wanted to watch a movie. I put my movie in, and hit "play DVD" in WMP. I got the error message saying it couldn't play DVD's - that I needed to change my screen resolution and colors. So ... I tried that. I tried all possible combination. Still didn't work.

In the end, I watched a movie off of the Netflix streaming.

I'm hoping there's an easy and inexpensive solution to my dumb mistake. Anyone? Pretty please?

---
Spending:
Deli - breakfast: $3.01

Second Time Trying To See A Movie; Will the Third Be the Charm?

December 10th, 2009 at 01:48 am

About two months or so ago, I decided that I was going to go see a movie at the dollar theater after work. I wasn't totally sure where it was, but knew it should be close to 35.

So, I plugged the address into my iPhone's map function and set off. The directions had me exit off of 35 and then continue along a road that changed names three times. It had me going, and going, and going. Finally it had me turn into a swanky residential area. The name of the street/subdivision *was* the name of the street for the theater, but obviously there was no theater there.

This past Thanksgiving, my mom, stepdad and I all went to Julie & Julia at this theater. It was fairly near Cracker Barrel. I tried to fix in my mind where it was so I could find it again on my own.

Tonight I was bored and had finished everything I possibly could finish as far as schoolwork and laundry, so I decided to go see "The Invention of Lying."

I took off along the frontage road because I wasn't positive which exit it was off of. When I found what I *thought* was it, it turned out to be one in a mall. Not a dollar theater.

Frustrated, I turned around and headed back home (and stopped by Taco Bell!)

I'm going to have to get precise directions of how to get there from my stepdad. Hopefully, the third time going there will be the charm!

----
Today, two of my textbooks arrived. Yay! One of them (the $66 one) arrived in a wet package. There was some water damage on the top and bottom edges, but it still looks good - and will still read just fine! Big Grin

---
My heater:

While the heater isn't exactly making my room *warm* it definitely did it's job last night by helping to take some of the chill off. We got down in the low 20's.

I was fairly comfortable today sitting at he computer with just a sweatshirt, etc., and a throw blanket on my lap. (gloves on my hands)

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A little bit ago the city's fire department had one of its trucks drive through our street. They do this every year. When you hear their sirens, you run out with a canned good. They then throw candy out on the street and go on. It was kind of exciting. Smile The fireman on the truck didn't have a coat on - yowsa! He must have been cold!

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Spending:

Taco Bell: $3.75

Got a heater! (bit of a vent too)

December 8th, 2009 at 11:41 pm

This afternoon of course it has warmed up to about 50 degrees and it's okay in shirt sleeves in my room. Smile Tonight though it's supposed to get into the 20's, so a little heat will be good!

I stopped at Home Depot on my way home from work. They didn't have the DeLonghi model in stock which was highly recommended to me by a number of you. So instead I got something that I think is fairly similar, and was about the same price. I have 90 days to return it if it doesn't work like I need it to.

I got the Pelonsi Convection Oil Filled Radiator HO-0218.

I'd read for the other model that you're supposed to run it for a number of hours outside to get rid of the chemical smell. However, when I read the instructions for this one, it didn't say anything about that. After setting it up (with the ever so unhelpful diagram) I put it outside anyway. I'll probably just leave it out for two hours or so.

I'm not sure that my landlady was too happy with me getting it. She made the comment that it is pretty big, and wondered about the wattage. I assured her that I'd only run it when I was actually here.

---
Last night as I lay in bed dressed in three layers (shirt, sweatshirt and fleece jacket) trying to get warm, I felt very frustrated about this living situation. I don't really mind the smallness of the room. I love having the animals to interact with, etc. There really are a lot of good things about here.

What is really starting to grate on me though is having to pass by all their rooms anytime I need to use the restroom. Or getting up in the morning and having to find my way around in complete darkness because the nightlight has been turned off. Or having the daughter come and tell me to turn the kitchen light off, as I'm standing at the back porch door waiting for Kayla to come back (twice within ten minutes she came to my room whining to be let out). Or the whole dishes situation ... yes, that is still not really resolved. And then there is the fact that the landlady is almost always either in a bad/sullen mood or in a talk-your-ear-off forever with no understanding of cues that you really really need to go.

Ugh. Sorry about the vent. I guess this whole freezing room thing has just culminated my other little frustrations.

*I think I'm going to add to my prayer request list that I'm able to find some kind of small mother-in-law type apartment for $400/month (including utilities) or less to move into this coming May. That way I won't have to deal with the owner's family too much, and have a bit more privacy.

It's probably a long shot, but really, finding this place for $290/month with all the storage space, was quite a long shot - and He worked it out. Smile

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In other news ... today I found out that my brother has both a car charger and the extra battery pack charger for the iPhone. And, he said that he'd let me use them both while I'm out there. Yay!

---
Spending:

Space Heater: $38.98 Home Depot

I think, that maybe, just maybe, having the move out plans for May just might be a good thing. Though I sure will hate leaving the animals.

Various and Assundry

December 8th, 2009 at 12:08 am

Back when I first moved in, I managed to capture pictures of the two dogs and one of the cats. However, the second cat proved to be quite elusive to having photos taken of him. On Sunday, inexplicably, Max, the cat, came into my room and laid on my bed. That is where he stayed for a number of hours, mostly sleeping.

Without further ado, here is Max:



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In the forums I asked for ideas on how to best winter proof the sliding glass patio door which my bed is right next to. Several people suggested plastic, and another suggested insulation plus plastic.

When I made the suggestion to my landlady last night, she did not care for the idea of insulation out in the open. Said something about fiberglass. I didn't push it because at that point I could tell she wasn't in a good mood.

Today when I got home I found this:



My landlady had covered up the sliding glass doors with plywood and cardboard (as well as the windows on another wall). It is actually warmer in here. Now all I need to do is get a little space heater and I think I'll be able to live with it.

Any suggestions for space heaters for small spaces? (100 square feet or so)

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The knit hat ($1) I'd bought last week at the dollar store was good, except that it didn't cover my ears. So today after work I went hunting for a hat which would cover my ears. I found this ($5) at Big Lots (and got a scarf ($4) too):



Love my fashion statement? Hah! So do I! (At least my ears will be nice and toasty when walking the dogs!)

Oh! They also had the gloves where you can take the top off and expose your fingertips - pre-made for $3!

I'm quite happy with my $1 solution I made by cutting off the fingertips of just the thumb and forefinger. Smile

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And last, but certainly not least ... drum roll please ...... I got my grade back on my Barefoot Running paper! Big Grin If you haven't guessed already, I got an A.

If you care to give it a gander, you can read it here: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfc49ps8_0dqx4mjdf

I need to probably add some pictures and such to it to make it easier on the eyes when reading - but for my assignment I could only do 4 pages for the position statement, and I used every bit of that. Smile

It passed! Yay!

December 6th, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Well I finally took my car for it's inspection today. One day past the grace period. Ooops. I took it to a Quik Car place (mainly because it was open and it had car inspection people.) Less than 15 minutes, and I had my new sticker on my car, and was all legal to be on the road.

There was a *huge* sigh of relief from me. Some of you may have heard it. Big Grin

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I took my new coat out on it's debut mission today. Mmm! Mmm! Was it ever warm! When I took the dogs on their walk, the only thing more I could have asked for would've been a hood. But the collar stands up pretty far, and I had my hair in a braid on one side over one ear - I could divide it into two braids - one over each ear, as natural earmuffs. Smile

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I think I may be okay with that one assignment I was worried about (procrastinated on). I read a number of leadership reports from other students who also are still waiting for their membership information ... and just wrote a report on what they could. So, I think that's what I'm going to do as well. Even if I only get partial credit for it, it *should* be enough for me to pass.

Another class I am finished with everything except taking the practice certification exam for librarians. I can't do that until the professor releases it as an assignment - otherwise I'd be finished with that class.

I should hear about my grade on my barefoot running paper by tomorrow. Once I have a grade, I will put it up on Google docs and link to it here. Big Grin
---
It sure is nice not having any schoolwork pressing on me to do. I may even watch a movie or two from Netflix (online).

I don't know if any of you saw the article on yahoo news the other day about Comcast taking over NBC. But for those of you who love to use Hulu, or watch programs on NBC online, you may have to start paying for that privledge, or waiting over a week after the episodes aired on live t.v.

Again, another reason I'm glad I've pretty much stopped watching t.v. (Now of course, there is Lost starting Feb. 2 .... but I can watch it live this year and not worry about when it comes online.)

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Spending:

$39.97 -- Car Inspection

$4.69 - CVS (soda/ice cream)
$5.29 - Burger King (BK Veggie Burger/Onion Rings)

*I decided to treat myself a bit today as a celebration for my car passing inspection and being so close to being finished with the semester. Smile

Lazy Day, *Nice* Gift!

December 6th, 2009 at 05:02 am

Today I decided to take it pretty easy in order to try to get past this cold or whatever that has had a hold of me this week. Had a pretty nice day, sleeping in and relaxing.

This afternoon I took the dogs out for a walk. Before I left, I checked the temp. on my iPhone and it said 47 F. I figured that was a lot better than the 28 F it had said at 8 a.m.!

I went out wearing this coat:



To put it mildly, the wind was *cold*. It whipped right through my coat and my sweatshirt I had on. We had a very short walk.

When I came back in I mentioned to my landlady how cold it was outside, and how the wind just went right through my layers like I had nothing on. She then asked me if I had a warmer coat. I told her that I didn't.

So then she asked me what size I wore, and I told her. She then brought out this:



I tried it on, and it fit perfectly. She told me her ex-husband had bought it for her a few years ago and she'd never liked it and only worn it a few times. The jacket is now mine!

****Warning: Religious slant ahead***

The funny thing is that I have been praying for the last few weeks to be able to deal better with her. I've been asking God to help me find ways to show her his love, and give me patience in dealing with her talkativeness.

Well, he kind of turned it right around on me with HER showing me God's love! He sure has a sense of humor. Big Grin

****End Religious slant****

I watched two Lifetime Christmas movies tonight. The first one had the stereotypical two people are thrown together who are seemingly vastly different. They both end up spending *two days* together with one of their families. They end up falling in love. The end. Rolleyes

The second one was a *little* bit better. This time it was the stereotypical two people who are completely at odds with each other from the beginning. Big town girl with high-power job and great fiance finds fiance cheating with her boss. Loses temper and job. Finds a job in a small town. Small town guy is sexy man in town. Rep as a player. Then over a period of 9 months or so, they grow to like each other - and even end up sleeping with each other. Then one of them gets a phone call with an enticing job offer. They fight, and the one takes the job offer in anger. They miss each other terribly. Small town guy gets in some kind of bad accident. Big town girl finds out (both about the accident and that small town guy really isn't a player), and rushes back. Happily ever after. The end.

This I think is why I've pretty much stopped watching t.v. Most romantic movies, whether Lifetime or other, follow about three or maybe four different formulas. Rarely do they ever end without the two main people getting together by the end. (One notable exception was with Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn "The Breakup.")

Romance fiction, whether Christian or non, also pretty much follow set formulas. But somehow I can stand that a bit more than with the movies .... not sure why.

Anyway, watching these movies tonight just kind of got me into a bit of a rant about it all. Smile

Textbook shopping; Groceries; Fingerless Gloves; Possible New Roomie

December 5th, 2009 at 12:03 am

Today at work I decided that I probably should go ahead and start finding my textbooks for next semester in order to find the best possible deals. So, I entered either the ISBN#'s or the title (to find the ISBN) into Google and searched through a number of different comparison sites. Most of the books I was able to save between 29% - 50% off of retail. Even the one with a copyright date of 2010!

Even so, it was a LOT of money going out! I found a coupon for half.com ($5 off $50) and that helped a *little*. I ended up buying 3 books from half.com; one book from Barnes & Noble; and one from textbooks.com.

List price at half.com: $225
Paid (well, will pay)*: $140.97

List price at textbooks.com: $43
Paid: $31.93

List price at Barnes & Noble: $60
Paid: $29.47

Total List Price: $328
Total Paid: $202.37

The 2010 book comes with a DVD -it's list price alone was $108. I just about choked when I saw that.

*I thought my address was changed with my Chase cc. I guess I was wrong. When I tried to pay at half.com it would not take my card. I thought maybe a fraud alert had been put on (due to unusual amount of spending activity.) But it turned out they had my old address still!
I will have to wait til tomorrow to purchase the items, because their system won't "fully update" until tonight. Ugh.

These all should arrive before I leave for California, so it will be nice to be sure that I have them ready and waiting for me to start class in January.

---

I went grocery shopping at Walmart after work.

I'd been making a list all week - anticipating both getting cottage cheese (to replace the rotten one I found last Sunday!) and a Terry's Chocolate Orange.

I had a coupon from the All You magazine (freebie the gym gets) for Peter Pan pb. I needed more pb, so that was good timing. Smile

So, I got: sweet potatoes, bananas, sour cream, cottage cheese, swiss cheese, Terry's C.O., Peter Pan PB, and 8 pkgs of frozen veggies.

Total cost: $20.60

You may be wondering why I bought 8 packages of frozen veggies. The large bag of mixed veggies is $2.06. The bag that is exactly half its size is normally $.98.
Today, they were marked $.75. Big Grin I won't have to buy frozen veggies again until probably late January or perhaps February. Big Grin Big Grin

The coupon was a bit of a pain though. It was for a 28 oz container. I prefer crunchy pb to creamy, so I picked up a crunchy. When I got to the register, the coupon wouldn't take. Come to find out the coupon is only for creamy. So I went back and exchanged it for a creamy. Stand in a different line. Coupon won't ring up again. Cashier takes pity on me and just goes ahead and takes the $1 off. Whooh!

Before I'd gotten to my first cashier, I had the displeasure to witness a woman being extremely unpleasant to the cashier. The cashier had placed a number of items in a bag, and the lady was upset that it wasn't double bagged. Instead of politely saying "please double bag these items" she *very* snidely/angrily/rudely/condescendingly told the cashier she didn't know what she was doing and that she didn't want the bag to break. (The words themselves were fine - it was the tone of voice and look on her face - her whole attitude about it.)

When I got to the cashier I asked her if she'd had a long day. She told me that her shift had just started. And that she doesn't let people like that bother her. Most people don't want there items double bagged - so she doesn't do it automatically. Those that do, usually ask much more nicely.

As I left I told her that I hoped the rest of her shift went better.

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It was *freezing* cold *all day* at work today. Thankfully I had the gloves I picked up yesterday at Dollar General. I cut off the fingertips of the thumb and forefinger, and it worked *perfectly*!!

Then today when I took the dogs for a walk, I put my other gloves on top of the other pair. A double layer of gloves made for toasty warm hands. Big Grin

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The potential roommate who was supposed to stop by on Wednesday flaked. But we have another very likely one. A male.

My landlady said that she hasn't rented to a man before, but she picked up good vibes from him. Like he seemed to be a good person.

He may be moving in as soon as this coming week, because the lady who'd been renting the other room moved out completely today.

This will be interesting.

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Oh, almost forgot. I made my annual required Snapfish purchase. (To keep my "free" photo storage on their site, I have to make one purchase per year.)

So, I chose a picture, and had one copy made - sent to Wal-Mart. $.21

I can live with that. Smile

Again with the Procrastination + A surprise at the gym

December 4th, 2009 at 03:24 am

For one of my classes I was supposed to register with the American Library Association and Texas Library Association as part of a "leadership project". Then I'm supposed to explore the sites and write a report on it.

Great, not hard at all right? Except ... when you wait until 8 days before the assignment is due and find out that you can't register online nor over the telephone. You can however register over fax. Then you find out that it takes up to 4 weeks!!! for your registration to process.

Oh, oh!

I emailed my professor and asked him what my best course of action would be. I'm not sure he understood what I was asking, because he emailed me back and told me I had to register with the associations! (after explaining that I *had* registered that morning, but it wouldn't be complete for up to 4 weeks.)

This seriously was not smart on my part. I should have registered way back in August. I just didn't want to pay the $35 fee... so I drug my feet.

This could very well cause me to have to retake the class because leadership points are 25% of our grade. (It does include a few other assignments, but as far as I can figure, this counts for half.) You have to retake any class you get less than a B in.

What a waste of money and time on my part if I have to retake it! It's totally my fault. I'm usually much more proactive on this kind of stuff - especially when it comes to grades!! ARghh!!

At least it's only a one-credit course.

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I thought I was working at the gym today from 6:30 to 6:30. When I asked E about my schedule last week, he said this week was normal, except for opening on T and Th.

So when he gave me the actual December schedule, I glanced at it briefly and didn't see anything pop out at me.

Then today a bit after 3:00 A walked into the gym. He said he was there to relieve me. I'm like, "what?!" Then I took a closer look at the schedule, and saw that he was scheduled.

When I got in my car I called E and as calmly as possible asked what his reasoning was. He told me that he didn't want any of us working 12 hour days, and since I was opening, he put A in to close.

If he would've asked me, I would have told him I had NO problem working a 12 hour day - especially considering the fact that my Jan. 1 paycheck is going to be paltry due to my California trip. Extra hours right now are a *good* thing!

Seriously, it's things like this that really, really make me *strongly dislike* working at an hourly job. The flexibility is great for some things, but it can be a two-edged sword.

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Spending:

Not actually spent yet, but put into motion: $35 on Credit Card for ALA/TLA membership.

Gas: $21.33 --- Could have waited until tomorrow, but I saw a station with $2.19/gallon gas (at least $.20 less than anywhere else) and decided to jump on it in the likelihood of it being a one-day sale.

Dollar General: (cash) $3.31

two pairs of gloves (only sold in sets of two) and a knit pull-over hat (says "one-size" but doesn't cover my ears at all!)

Landlady: $1 -- two AAA batteries so that my keyboard would start working right again (I offered the money - didn't want her to feel like I was taking advantage.)

And They Call Me ... Procrastinator...

December 2nd, 2009 at 11:56 pm

I woke up to snow on the ground this morning. Big Grin I love snow, but this batch didn't last very long and was pretty wet.

It also was very cold outside - the actual temp was around 38 F, but with the wind it must have been closer to 25 F!

So ... I spent the majority of my day finishing up my barefoot running paper. I really thought I was much closer to finishing it ... but kept revising it or double-checking facts ... etc. that it was nearly 4 pm before I finally said "enough!" and uploaded it.

Then of course I needed to walk the dogs. They'd been impatiently begging for the last 40 minutes as I was finishing my paper. Funnily this time Nikki was ultra cooperative getting her sweater on, while Kayla kept butting in and making it hard for me to get it on Nikki.

I'll say it again. It was *cold*! Walking for 40 minutes with two dogs who keep insisting on stopping and sniffing - my hands were frozen! (I didn't wear my gloves because well, you know, you gotta clean up after the doggy messes, and I'd rather not take a chance of getting
*that* on my gloves!)

So, it was nearly 5 when we got back.

What had I not done yet? Got my car inspected! Ooops! I'll still be okay to do it on Friday or maybe Sunday - I'm pretty sure the grace period is at least 5 days.

---
I tried to start the process of linking my Compass account with ING, but since it'd been less than 15 days since I changed my address, I couldn't do it online. So, will have to remember to check back next week.

---
No spending today (thanks to my procrastination!)

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Tomorrow will be a long day at work - from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fun. I think I'll leave all my money at home to avoid the temptation to go to the deli. Smile

NSD; Closed Chase Checking; Payday

December 1st, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Today was a no spend day.

I also felt much better than I did yesterday, although it was colder outside.

On my way home I came across two accidents. One of them closed an entire intersection, and I had to follow someone in front of me to figure out a detour. The second one was right before my street. It looked like a 4-car chain reaction accident.

Texans don't know how to drive in slick and cold conditions very well. It is supposed to maybe snow tonight. I think I might need a hat (whatever those knit hats you pull over your ears are called.)

--
Today at work I was wearing one glove most of the morning. I had four different people ask me if I was sporting the Michael Jackson look. LOL! No, it was more like wanting to be able to navigate on my iPhone and turn magazine pages look! Big Grin

There are gloves where you can separate the finger tips while still wearing the glove - but they're in the $25 - 30 range. My gloves were in the $2 range.

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I stopped at Chase today and closed my checking account. I told the person who helped me that I would have stayed there if it wasn't for the $6 monthly fee if I didn't do so many debit transactions a month. She didn't give me any hassles, which was good.

Then I went over to Compass where I had opened an account last November for the $25 account bonus and "free" mp3 player. (turned out it cost shipping and handling, so I never got it.) I deposited my funds from Chase + my paycheck in there. I also asked for a new debit card because I'd shredded the other one (thinking I'd never use it.)

*I am going to look into opening a student account at the university's credit union - but will probably do that after the holidays when I'm on school break. Spring semester doesn't start till Jan. 19!

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Today was payday. Ouch. I sure took a hit from having Thursday and Friday off. Roughly $110. It would have been worse if I hadn't worked on Wednesday.

So, my Nov 15 paycheck was $497.49, and my Nov 30 paycheck was $405.73.

I have $30 cash left from my last cash outtake, and kept out $36 from today's deposit (what was left over the hundreds from Chase). That means I have $76 for groceries and miscellaneous to last until December 11 when I'll take another $40.

$40.50 x 3 (Savings, Tax Savings, Giving)

That leaves 248.23 for other bills.

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Tomorrow I need to get my car inspected (yeah, procrastinated on that!) Finish and turn in my barefoot running paper, and complete another assignment for a different class.

I'm also going to be meeting a new possible roommate. My landlady's daughter is ok with continuing to give her room up so someone can rent it - at least for a short time. It doesn't sound like this person will need fridge or pantry space - which is good, because I'm using all my allotted space!