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Archive for October, 2010

10/31/10 NSD, Poor Buddy :(

November 1st, 2010 at 02:52 am

Today was a no spend day. Of course I'm almost out of gas, so will have to get that tomorrow.

Added $40 tutoring College Korean Boy. I helped him with writing a movie review of "Labyrinth." That was interesting, considering I haven't *seen* that movie! LOL!

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This morning when I should have been working on the big points assignment for one of my classes, I was instead distracted by our family's dog Buddy. I took him outside to do his business, then went back in to finish breakfast. SD was sitting at the table, and noticed that Buddy was licking one foot obsessively. Then we noticed that when he would sit or lay down, he was greatly favoring the leg - as well when he would walk. After awhile of watching (and trying to see if there was something wrong with his paw), we decided we needed to take him to a vet. The vet however didn't open until 1 p.m.

Mom was out at a tutoring job, and by the time she came home it was nearly 1. Buddy seemed to be doing much better at that point, and they (mom and sd) decided to not take him to the vet. The best we can figure is he got stung by something.

If he was my dog, and I had the money, I probably would have taken him to the vet today - even though he started looking like he was doing better. Oh well.

10/30/10 NSD, Swagbucks

October 31st, 2010 at 04:55 am

Today was a no spend day for me. Not too unusual for a Saturday since I spend most of it at church. Smile

I went ahead and signed up for Swagbucks. Unfortunately, I didn't realize you had to have the referrer send you a link for them to receive credit. I've already earned 78 SB. I can see how it would be possible to earn enough for a $5 Amazon card about once a week with not too much time. I'd rather the Paypal card (i.e. cold hard cash), but it costs a lot more in SB's.

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I had a frustrating experience this morning. The lady who had committed to being my assistant for teaching Sabbath School, and who had previously missed all of July, August and September ... called me as I was driving to church to tell me that she wasn't going to be able to help me, AND that she hadn't had time to do the ONE project I'd asked her to prepare. (The project took me all of about six minutes to do - but it was six minutes I needed to finish something else!)

Thankfully the other lady who's been helping me reliably the past four months agreed to continue helping me until I can find someone else. (She'd do it indefinitely, but her husband is wanting to church surf.)

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Tomorrow (Sunday) I am working with High-School and College Korean Boys starting at 2 p.m. The CKB could bring in anywhere from $50 - 75 depending on how much help he needs with his essay. That'll be a nice boost to the checking account.

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I have a crockpot of beans cooking tonight. They soaked since Friday afternoon until about 10 tonight. I changed the water once. Hopefully that will help to relieve some of the less desirable traits of beans. Big Grin

Swagbucks

October 29th, 2010 at 09:44 pm

A quick additional entry for today.

I've decided to sign up for Swagbucks. I'm pretty sure a number of people on here use it. So ... the first person who comments on my blog who has had an active blog here for at least one year - I will sign up under them.

I've seen a number of people mention it, but can't remember for sure who all it was.

Thanks!

10/29/10 Accounting; Budget Musings

October 29th, 2010 at 07:11 pm

Walgreen's

Hairspray - $1.08

Wal-Mart

Bananas, OJ, Brown Sugar, Cheese, eggs - $7.83

Total Spent: $8.91

I used a $.55 coupon for the cheese. The brown sugar should last for six weeks (unless my mom uses it!). The OJ generally lasts for two weeks - I drink 1/2 cup for breakfast. Bananas - I tend to buy them twice a week - both my mom and stepdad eat them as well. When I get the really green ones, my mom might eat 3 in a day!

*My eye was caught by a bag of hard-boiled, peeled eggs. $2.12 for 6 of them. I passed them by of course, and picked up the 6 pack for $.77. I'll have to boil them myself, but it's worth it. Smile


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I have two 2lb bags of pinto beans. I'm going to soak one of them tonight, and tomorrow put them in the crockpot.

I also have lots of quinoa and red lentils. So, I'm thinking I'll make some kind of a casserole with quinoa, lentils, spinach, beans and cheese.

That may have to wait til next weekend though, since my Sunday afternoon is already spoken for.

I also am going to go through all my food supplies and make a list of what I have. Other than fruit, juice and brown sugar, I want to see if I can use up everything in my stockpile. That will be a good thing anyway for when I move.

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I think instead of limiting myself to beans, rice and oatmeal, I'm going to give myself a weekly budget of $20. This is for groceries and anything else, other than gas or other required bills.

I think I'll track it here -- Sunday to Friday. Friday is usually my biggest grocery shopping day -- so whatever is left is what I can shop with that day.

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I'm also thinking about what things I might be able to sell. One of my current textbooks I'll be able to sell in January, but the other two I think I actually may want to keep. I bought a Wii game back in March (I think) that has only been used twice (fitness game.) I'm going to try again to sell the box of 10 Brita Filters (need to find where they are though.) Maybe I could sell my elliptical - though it might fetch a better price in January.

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Before my reality check, I bought some items from Lakeside Collection for Christmas. A total of $36.xx which took care of everyone. One of the items are these polyperene (sp?) bags. I want to put the individuals name on it to personalize, but I'm not sure about what the best/most economical way of doing that is. Would fabric pens work? Something else?

Btw - One of the main items I wanted, is of course back ordered. AND it took them 6 business days to send my billing information to the warehouse. These items were ordered on Oct. 16. I received them today.

First and Last order.

A Grim Reality Check

October 29th, 2010 at 02:30 am

This afternoon I was working with the Korean Boy. His sponsor came home and started talking to me about working with him in June to help him finish two classes via home study. At first I was saying, well it will depend on whether I've been hired on somewhere else or not. Then she mentioned, wouldn't my job start in August (if I got one!)? I realized that she was right - even if I did get hired somewhere, the earliest I probably could go and start putting the library together would be July. So, I told her that I would be willing to do it.

On my way home I was thinking about our conversation. It dawned on me that most public school employees don't get their first paycheck until the end of September. Frown

So, when I got home I updated my budget, making sure that all my accounts matched, etc. Then I took the positive balance and subtracted my Spring tuition (roughly $900). I then subtracted my 6-month car insurance premium due in November ($216). Then I subtracted other expenses for November, other than the rent (which has already been paid). It left me with roughly $1000.00 total.

November is going to basically have 3 weeks of tutoring. December is going to have maybe 2 weeks of tutoring. So, that means that in January, I'll most likely have to use some of that buffer. Feb. should be a full month (wait no, it might not be - my big test week will probably be in Feb.) March will be 3 weeks (Spring Break). April and May should be full months. If Korean Boy stays, June will be an extra month. That leaves July, August, and September. *If* I get a library job, I will have moving expenses, setting up the library expenses, and of course, living expenses.

This is of course assuming nothing goes wrong with my car.

I am going to have to cut my costs wherever I possibly can. I've spent way way too much on stupid things.

The only places I can really cut are food and Netflix. I don't really use Netflix that much, so putting it on hold for a while won't kill me. Food ... I think I'm going to have to go to a beans and rice, rice and beans, and throw in some oatmeal diet.

If it weren't for the fact that I have two responsibilities at church which I've committed to, I might consider changing to a church that is closer by to save on gas. But overall, it wouldn't really save that much more. I will definitely have to not do any extra trips though.

I really can't do *any* extra spending. No more .99 apps. No more junkfood (will fit in with the challenge!). No more $1 movies. Nothing that I can't unequivocally post here and defend as a necessary expense.

I think I may ask my family to pay the renewal on my iPhone AT&T driving app for birthday/Christmas. For me, it has become an essential. It saves so much gas and time in my not getting lost.

If I don't do this, I may still be in the clear by June -- but come August ... (or July if Korean Boy doesn't happen in June).

I am going to attempt again to post all my expenditures. If you see something that you question, please feel free to question me.

Also, please feel free to offer any suggestions.

*Something I've thought of that might help when/if I do get a library job -- Take with me only what I can fit in my car, and leave everything else in storage. Then rent a room from someone short term. Once my paychecks begin, pay for movers to load the truck and have someone drive it to wherever I am. That would also give me time to really investigate the least inexpensive places to live in my new town.

If I don't get a job .... I really don't know what I'll do. I guess that would be about time to cash into my retirement money. Frown

***I just had another realization hit me. All the above figures don't take into account travel expenses for interviewing for the supposed jobs. When I was a teacher in the SDA denomination, those expenses were taken care of. From what I've heard, that isn't the case in the public school system. Oy vey.

***Edited to add - My dad pays my phone bill. At first he was just going to pay the difference ($30) for the iPhone, but he's ended up actually sending more than enough each month for the entire bill. So cutting that wouldn't help.

An Agreement with My Mom

October 27th, 2010 at 06:00 pm

So my mom had been making some annoying comments about my weight recently. While at the same time, she was acknowledging that her Diet Coke habit probably wasn't very good for her.

So, instead of getting fed up with her comments, I decided to do something proactive. Something which would help both of us.

I challenged my mom to drink only one 12oz soda per day, and I would limit my sugar intake to a spoonful of brown sugar in my oatmeal. Until the day before Thanksgiving.

So far, so good. Smile

I'd done pretty well with No-S (no snack, sweets or seconds except on days that begin with S) over the last year or so. But lately I was finding myself following the guidelines ... every other week. My clothes were/are showing the effects of that, as was/is my grocery budget. Weekdays won't be so difficult for me, because I've proven to myself that I can go without my sweets for 5 days at a time, multiple times over. The real test will be Saturday and Sunday. (This isn't cutting out carbs. This is cutting out chocolate, ice cream, etc. Someone sent me a message on FB thinking I was cutting carbs. Big Grin )

This challenge will benefit my pocketbook, and most likely my waistline. Plus it has the added benefit of maybe finally breaking my mom of the Diet Coke habit - which will be good, especially for her bone density.

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In other news, it looks like I might have a new tutoring student. Another Korean boy (actually, I think he's a freshman in college??). If it happens, I'd meet with him once a week on Fridays.

This works out very well, because I don't need to meet with my mentor librarian anymore. Smile I'm finished with my Proficiency Checklist. Big Grin

I registered on Monday for my very LAST class, and am just waiting for registration to open up for Capstone (one week, three essay questions - graded on a pass/fail basis.)

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This past Saturday was the church in the park. Sabbath School went pretty well. I had 10 kids by the end - only 4 of them were ones I'd had before. It really makes it hard to plan when you never know who is or isn't going to show up .. but oh well.

I ended up having to leave a little early from church. The weather was really rainy (everyone was seated under an overhang/gazebo thing.) I was getting a horrific headache and feeling nauseous. So, I get to my car, and for some reason didn't put it in reverse. Drove right up over the concrete stop block, that I did! Ugh! I managed to back my car off of it, and drive away. But all week I've just been waiting to see if I did any damage to my car which will significantly shorten its life.

Thankfully the headache went away not too long after I got home.

Christmas, Seven Days, etc

October 22nd, 2010 at 01:58 am

This week I booked my airplane tickets for Christmas vacation. Although I'm doing two one-way tickets, through a lot of searching and good timing, I managed to get them for about $20 more than what round trip would cost to one city.

I'll be starting out in San Jose again for Christmas Eve/Day, and spending some time in San Francisco and the Napa Valley area (where my brother lives.) Then dad, grandma and I will head on down to the LA area.

I'm looking forward to having some time away from Texas.

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At church this past weekend the principal/main teacher of our church school told me that she had this huge grading project she needed to get done before the first parent/teacher conferences. I told her that I thought I could get all my schoolwork finished for the week by Wednesday, and help her out on Thursday due to not having my normal tutoring students. Well, it turned out that one of my tutoring students miserably failed one test (one he insisted he didn't need my help on) and so I ended up having him Wed., today and tomorrow. I still did manage to get all my schoolwork finished early.

So today I arrived at the school a little after 9, and was kept quite busy until 3pm. She offered me gas money (it is a 40+minute one way drive) but I told her I didn't need it. I'm planning on asking her to write a letter of reference for me when I start library hunting. That, I think would be much more valuable than $20 gas money. Big Grin I also got a free lunch from Panda Express - it was leftovers from what the school kids had ordered. Yum. Smile

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A few years ago there was this great science fiction show played on Spike TV -- about the same time as Journeyman. My Tivo alerted me to it. In the last month or so, for some reason I got it in my head that I wanted to see it again. However, for the life of me, I couldn't remember its name. I searched through all of Netflix, and did some heavy duty Google -- to no avail. Yesterday evening I got the idea in my head to try imdb.com (internet movie database). In searching the site, I had no luck. However, I posted a message on their messageboard. Within 3 minutes I had my answer --- "Seven Days"! I also had a link to a Youtube channel where someone had posted most, if not all of the episodes. (not on DVD yet) Woo Hoo!

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Momcents -- I found the Mandie movie on Netflix - my library doesn't have it. As soon as I watch the one I have now, I'll get to see it. Smile Yay!

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This Sabbath we are having outdoor church. Which, of course, means outdoor Sabbath School. I'm not really looking forward to it, but my mom found a book on nature activities which might help.

Anyone have ideas on how to keep a group of 6 - 9 years olds occupied for an hour outside, without them going wild? Smile

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Almost forgot -- for those of you who are fans of the television series "Little House On the Prairie" there is a very funny and touching book by the actress who played Nellie Oleson. "Confessions of a Prairie B*tch" you might want to pick it up from your local library. Smile

My First Earthquake!

October 14th, 2010 at 02:20 am

This morning a bit past 9 I was working on some classwork when suddenly a loud noise startled Buddy and I. At the same time as the noise, I felt like I'd moved - my equilibrium felt just a tiny bit off for a few seconds. I stepped out of my room and was like "What the Heck was that?!" My stepdad said he thought maybe it was a large flock of birds on the roof getting into a fight.

A few hours later I got a text from stepdad asking me about what time I'd heard/felt the noise. Turns out there was an earthquake in Oklahoma (possibly near OK City) at 9:06 a.m. People in Texas as far as San Antonio reported feeling something.

I know it may be kind of silly to be excited about having experienced my first earthquake ... but here's a couple reasons why:

1. I lived in CA for two years. Before moving there (for my first teaching job) I'd been petrified about living in CA and being in an earthquake. None happened (at least that I'm aware of).

2. Two different times in the past two years when I went to CA for a visit, two to three days later that area experienced an earthquake.

3. It's pretty far out that an earthquake could happen here/be felt here. It happened in an area with no mapped fault. They're speculating that its a result of the injection wells in OK.

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In contrast to my tutoring rant from yesterday, today's two students were awesome. Both moms had the money out and ready to go (one even paid me for the next two weeks.) The first boy with ADHD was in a good attitude, and was getting what we were doing. And the second boy who I work with on essay writing for timed tests as well as vocabulary, really seemed to enjoy our session today where we wrote a descriptive essay on his moms table centerpiece. Smile He also told me that he used one of his vocab words at school - they were working on adjectives - he gave the example of "glum". Big Grin

Hmm ... Ego Booster or Worthwhile? + rant

October 13th, 2010 at 02:34 am

In today's mail I got a nice little surprise. An invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi. I was nominated by my university because of my grades. If I pay ... $70 initiation fee, then in December I get to attend an induction ceremony where I'll receive a certificate. I also can use their seal on my resume, they have some insurance discounts, as well as discounts at other places.

I was inducted in the Psychology honor society when I was in college (can't remember its name) but I don't think I had to pay anything for it ... I'm not really sure how I got in that one, since at that time my overall GPA was barely hanging on to a B- -- wait, that was the semester before my two C's (Statistics and Chemistry.)' Smile

When I was in high school I was nominated for the Who's Who in High School. That one my parents actually paid the money for a book - my picture and a bio. That was definitely an ego booster only thing.

So... what do you all think? The invitation sounded really salesy. Like it was really trying to puff me up and consider it a great honor. If it's something that might actually be useful, as in getting a job, maybe I'll go for it. But if all it will be is something I can say about -- oh yeah, I'm a member of Phi Kappa Phi. Aren't I so smart? (Not!) Then I think I'll pass on the $70 initiation fee, and then the membership dues which increase each year up to the third year of $130.

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Korean Boy made me really mad today. I got a couple emails from his math teacher asking to get together with both of us. So, at the time we normally tutor, we met with his math teacher. She pretty much was saying that she doesn't think he's ready to do Pre-AP Pre-Cal due to a couple different homework assignments he'd completely failed, as well as the fact that he'd have to read and understand the extra material mostly on his own. He stubbornly did not listen and insisted that he could do it. I reiterated that Pre-Cal is Greek to me, seeing as though the highest math I had was Algebra 2 and Statistics.

So we get in my car. He doesn't have any homework to work on because he's taking the PSAT tomorrow. So I'm just going to drop him off at home. I tell him that we'll stop by the bank so he can pay me for the week. That's when he tries to tell me that I shouldn't be paid for today, since I'm not working with him.

Arghhh!! Really? I'm there at the school at 3:30. I met with you and your teacher about your classwork. I'm driving you home. Do you really think I'm doing all that out of the goodness of my heart???

So I said to him that although we may not be working on schoolwork together, I still have given him at least 30 minutes of my time. That is worth at least $15. So, $90 total for the week, since we won't be working on Wednesday (due to the PSAT). He agrees that's fair. We stop by the bank and he doesn't have enough money. Arghh!!!

Next week they're having a 2 1/2 day Fall break. So I'll be working with him only two days. as well as Korean Girl. Between the two, that means a loss of $100 for that week. 60% of my weekly income.

In some ways I really enjoy tutoring. In others though, I really, really, hate it!

Teacher Store Garage Sale & Updated Blogs (Finally!)

October 8th, 2010 at 09:42 pm

Today when I got home from working with Korean Boy (we were reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) my mom told me that the local teacher store was having a garage sale - everything 40 - 70% off in their yard. So, off we went!

It turned out that the majority of the items in the garage sale were those of one teacher. It was really interesting going through all the boxes and piles. I felt as though I was getting to know this teacher a little bit. I could see that she'd been teaching for a long time - at least since teaching reading via Whole Language was popular, and then back to Phonics, and then on to my personal favorite, Four Blocks. I could see that she'd mostly taught Kindergarten and First Grade, and perhaps pre-school as well. Although there were quite a few reading books which covered older age levels (such as the "Christy" books which are based on the book "Christy" by Catherine Marshall, as well as the mini-series by the same name.) There were lots of materials on Navajo Indians, and various other tribes - as well as tribal legend books.

My mom had to leave before I had a chance to look through everything. I ended up taking a huge stack of books (mostly real reading books, the "Christy" books included) as well as a few teacher resource books. All of it cost me about $15. Some of the items I'll probably give to my Kindergarten teacher friend the next time I see her.

If I was still teaching right now, or if I knew for sure I was about to have my own library soon ... I would have taken a lot more!

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I found a great app for my iPhone recently. The sabbath school materials for both teachers and students. So now if I don't have my teacher's manual with me for some reason (like last Sabbath when we got locked out of the church after potluck!) I can just look it up on my phone! It uses a pdf format which makes the print a bit too tiny for regular usage. But in a pinch, it will definitely do!

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I updated both my book blog and my frugal blog. (Links in sidebar.) In fact, I added two new books to the book blog this last week. I'll probably be adding some of the books I got today to it as well in the near future.

School is keeping me uber busy, but sometimes I just have to take a breather and do something else!

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If you are a user of YNAB and have an iPhone, I hope you'll understand my absolute LOVE of the YNAB app. Seriously, love. The only receipts I keep anymore are the ones I need to turn in for reimbursement (for Sabbath School supplies.) With just a few swipes I can see a list of ALL the money I've made since January for tutoring (Income Available Next Month), or money I've gotten for other purposes (generally put in the Income Available This Month). Love!