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Archive for March, 2012

Fun road trip though spendy

March 30th, 2012 at 12:21 am

My coworker and I took a road trip to Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. We left Tuesday morning and drove all the way to Taos, then stayed at a hotel in Santa Fe Tuesday night.

We ate at this neat French Bakery in Santa Fe where we both had crepes for lunch on Tuesday. My coworker also introduced me to Bubble Tea - it's the weirdest thing ... chewing on these little flavored bubbles while drinking ... We stopped at Pet Smart, Barnes & Nobles, Trader Joes, etc.

In Taos we visited Kit Carson's home/museum, a couple different churches, and this huge gorge. We drove up there one way, and took a different route on the way back. It was quite beautiful.

I spent more money than I was really planning on ... but overall I think it was worth it.

Here are some pictures I took:
A wooden bridge which was falling apart:



The bridge going over a huge gorge.

A hewed out log bridge with water running from one side to the other.

A sign in the park where the gorge was located.

Found Money, etc :)

March 28th, 2012 at 02:29 am

This morning I woke up feeling like death warmed over, but had to get up so I could meet the truck picking up the book fair stuff. They were estimated to arrive at 10, but I figured I should be there no later than 9:30 just in case they got there early. They got there at a bit after 12!!!

Oh well, I used the time wisely and got a good bit done in picking the library up and got most of our new books cataloged (ones bought from the book fair for our library.)

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When I got home I got several loads of laundry done, and a load of dishes. I also took out a couple bags of trash from around the house, swept the whole place, and scrubbed the bathroom.

My pastor and his family are coming for a visit on Friday .... Big Grin Motivation!!

Kari wasn't quite sure what to make of all my activity, not a usual occurrence here. Smile

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Well, in the midst of all this activity, I found an envelope on the floor and was about to toss it in the trash bag. Thankfully I decided to look inside of it first ... there was a $10 bill!! It was money someone had given me back in September to pay me back for covering their meal - I'd totally forgotten about it. Smile

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On Sunday a co-worker and I went to G and saw Hunger Games and ate at Golden Corral. I wasn't too enthused about seeing it, but in the end I actually did like the movie and am now probably going to read the books.

I also saw a preview for Men In Black 3 coming out Memorial weekend -- now that, that I AM majorly enthused about! Big Grin Big Grin (So May will have two hotties out in movies - Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr (Avengers) -- May will be my happy movie month. Big Grin

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Tomorrow my coworker and I are heading off to Taos and Santa Fe. We are probably going to drive straight to Taos and do sightseeing, then head back to Santa Fe where our hotel is reserved. We may stop at a hot springs and go for a dip on our way too. Smile

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It looks like I will not be needed to make the trip Friday night for the school kids in the state science fair. Whew! I wasn't looking forward to that (the driving nor the gas money.)

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I was going to go into G today to return the unused food from the book fair, but my coworker pointed out that I could return it at the other Walmart on our way to Santa Fe ... so that saved me a trip. Smile

It looks like I'll be going into April with a mostly full gas tank (after 2nd fill up.) That's good since I'll need that money to help pay for gas on our two-day road trip! Smile

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It sure is going to be hard for me to get up at a regular time again next week!

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I cashed in 7500 Mypoints today for a $50 Amazon gift card.

I also got my internet payment switched over to my Discover card. It gives me 2% cash back for paying my internet bill on it. Smile

Book Fair $$$ and budget and Summer School

March 24th, 2012 at 09:40 pm

Well ... the good news is that we met AND exceeded our $2700 goal for the book fair! The total is just a bit over $2800. So that means that SrN will be dressing up in a clown suit -- we did not make the higher goal of $3000 which would have meant two teachers dressing in tutu's and me dying my hair temporarily purple. Big Grin

I did spend my own money to help bump us up over the goal, however the majority of the books are ones I would have bought anyway. They were priced right (even when compared to Amazon) and if I waited to purchase them through the resource catalog, I would have had to pay shipping.

We will be taking the cash option, which gives us about $640! I already have ideas on how that money will be used - $60 or so of it will be used to purchase some books for this year (from a box of books we already have at the school - 6 books.) The remainder of it will go to purchase 3 or 4 Junior Library Guild subscriptions for next school year. That will basically give us 3 or 4 new books each month.

I have also spoken with the person who will be principal next year (it's official! I'm very happy with who it is) and she's ok'd a Fall book fair instead of a spring one. I think we might have done even better with having a day for previewing by all classes (which we lost due to the snow day this year.) Also, having it in the fall instead of the spring will help it to not be *right* on the heels of the yearbook deadline - AND people will be thinking of Christmas gifts about that time ...

$$I bought $258 worth of books. Graphic novels, novels, picture books, sports books, etc. I think they'll all be great additions to our library. Of course this wasn't really planned spending ... so I guess my state tax refund could cover it.

Oh - I wanted to let the person know who sent Crank (novel in verse) to me that I got it this week! Thank you!!

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At our teacher meeting on Wednesday I found out that summer school (our portion at least) will be from June 18 - July 6. That was good and bad news. Good, because it means an extra week of pay (at $30/hr from the county), but bad because I'd already gotten my dad excited thinking I'd make it out to CA for his birthday. Frown

Thankfully he was understanding and not too disappointed. I decided that I'll go to my brother's first, and then after the SA meet up, will head down to my dad's. I was going to take the train, but my dad and grandma insisted on covering the cost of a flight (from my brother's to my dad's). Can't say that I'm fighting them too hard on that -- I'll treat them to a meal at Cheesecake factory or something. Smile

TR, our principal to be, told me yesterday that she'd like me to do some classroom teaching for summer school - more specifically math!! I just about choked on my own tongue ... she clarified that it would be remedial math ... I swallowed really hard and in my most cheerful voice said I'd be willing to help wherever and however was most needed. Oy vey! There's a reason I taught first and second grade most of my teaching career ... and that the highest grade I taught where I was responsible for math was 5th grade ... Deep breath .. I can do this ... just have to take the book home and try to stay ahead of the lessons!!

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What sold the most at our fair (besides the junky items and posters ...) were Star Wars related books and of course Hunger Games related books. We didn't have ANY basketball related books/posters, which of course is what a lot of the boys were asking for. We actually sold out of one of the cookbooks (for adults) and I had many adults comment on Nicholas Sparks book Lucky One (coming out as a movie soon - never had heard of it previously though I love Sparks!) I had many comments on how much more selection we had, and how nice it looked. That was a relief to me, because I was so afraid that it was too crowded to be workable -- but it did work!

My 8th graders helped to set up the whole thing in 2 hours (and then I spent a few hours by myself doing finishing touches), and then it took us only 20 minutes to break everything down and put it away for the truck to pick up on Tuesday. One of the girls said when we were done - "it looks like a library again!" Smile

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It looks pretty positive that I'll have an assistant next year. More than likely it will be our current Technology Coordinator. She's been having some bad seizures, etc and has been told that she MUST limit her screen time to no more than an hour or so per day. We get along really well, and I know she is intelligent and works hard -- so I can definitely give her plenty to do that will have nothing to do with computers! I really really hope that this is approved!!!

Snow Day ... Sigh

March 19th, 2012 at 08:31 pm

Today was to have been the book fair preview as well as the day the mid-schoolers brought back their permission slips to help me out tomorrow during the p/t conferences (our first day of sales.) Of course it snowed something like 5 inches during the night, and the forecast showed another few inches of accumulation today (although that hasn't seemed to pan out.)

Oh well ... the bright side of it is I'm getting to have a Crossing Jordan marathon. Smile I also might be able to return some of the food I bought for the teacher preview (that was to be this morning.)

Last night when I was thinking about what I would do if it was a snow day, I had these grandiose plans of watching an episode of CJ and then doing something productive for 30 minutes, and then repeat. Hah. Smile

Oh well .. at least I'm not spending any money today, right? Big Grin

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I tried out my humidifier for the first time last night. I think it actually did help me sleep better - even with the darn light. Someone on FB suggested I cover the clear/light section with duct tape. Sounds good to me! (I like a room to be as dark as possible when I'm sleeping -- and as quiet as possible. Always was a problem when traveling with my family and staying at a hotel - both my parents could only fall asleep with a tv on.)

So Close to Giving Kari Away :(

March 18th, 2012 at 05:21 pm

I am getting so frustrated with Kari (my cat). She is scratching at me and digging her claws into me in the morning to get me up to feed her (even before her normal wake up time.) Then I'll be sitting in my chair at the computer minding my own business, and she'll start scratching at the side of the chair until she makes contact with my arm. Or, like what's happened twice this morning so far - she'll jump up on my lap and start attacking my feet/legs - clawing and biting. I put her in her kennel the first time (all the while she was digging her claws into my hands and biting) then let her out after awhile. Five minutes after I let her out, she did the same thing over again.

Monkey (Siamese cat I had for nearly 10 years who died in surgery) was never like this!! He never bit me - I don't recall him ever putting his teeth on me. He did scratch me, but again, I don't recall him digging his claws in like this.

I really don't know what to do with her. In taking her in, I feel like I made a lifetime commitment, but I am worried that one of these days she's going to bite me hard enough where it breaks the skin ... and I'll have to get medical treatment for it.

I felt so bad last night ... as I was heading to bed it was really, really dark. I was going slowly because I didn't want to accidentally step on Kari ... but I somehow managed to step on her. I turned the lights on as quickly as I could get to them and sat on the floor calling to her softly. She came over and seemed to forgive me. Then as I was getting up, she ran off and humped her back/raise hackles. Frown Frown

I am having to keep a bag twisted and tied through the upper cupboard handles so she can't get inside them. (She figured out a few weeks ago that that is where I kept her dry food, and managed to get inside and tear a hole in the bag. Ever since she's been obsessed with getting inside that cabinet.)

I've tried to laugh off most of her idiosyncrasies, but the biting and scratching have gotten worse, not better. She is part Siamese and about 10 months old and was spayed in November. I'm her second home - the first person who had her was in the process of taking her to an animal shelter - supposedly because she'd discovered she was allergic to cats. I'm not so sure that was the whole story now.

I'm not really going to give her away ... I'm just feeling really, really frustrated and the option of giving her away seems like an easy solution (one I won't take though, because like I said, when I took her in, I made a commitment.)

I'd really like some suggestions on what to do to make this situation better. I've even thought about a pet therapist$$$ Sigh. My coworkers call her the demon cat just from a few of the stories I've told them (and seeing my arms and hands ..)

This is going to be a spendy month ..

March 17th, 2012 at 03:27 am

Monkey Mama's blog about life insurance reminded me that this was about the time last year that I got some. Then I was looking at my various credit cards, and I saw that I'd been charged my yearly premium. --Something I'd forgotten to include in my budget. Oops.

Then today I went into town and did some grocery shopping - both for myself, and for the book fair. On Monday (if we don't have a snow day!!!) I'm having refreshments for the teachers during the teacher preview. Then on Tuesday (again, if we don't get the monster storm predicted ...) I've promised to provide snacks for my mid-school helpers.

I also stopped at the Party store, Big Lots and Family Dollar ... all in search of cheap plastic tablecloths to cover the various boxes so I can put them on the tables. The least expensive one I found was $3.25. Ugh! I think I'm going to try just cutting one of the tablecloths provided in half (I get to keep them) and then if that works ok, I'll do the same to the rest of them. Total budget buster today of about $95 between Walmart and the other stores.

At Party City I did see they had some luau themed table trimmers .... at $20 each. NOT!!!! My tables will go undecorated thank you very much!

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Today we did the set up for the book fair. I had 5 8th graders and two 6th graders helping me. They all worked hard for most of the two hours they were with me. On paper my plan for the setup seemed like it would work really well, but in reality ... it is really really crowded. Frown I'm going to have to go in there on Sunday and spend a few hours++ to see if I can figure out how to get a better flow to the whole thing. Next year I hope to have the book fair in the fall (to potentially avoid snow days!!) and I hope to see if I can have it in someplace larger than the library.

I really hate to think how long it would've taken me to setup what we have done by myself ...

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I got my leis yesterday from amazon, which was relief. (Although at this moment I'm afraid they are buried somewhere in the library classroom ...)

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Today when I was in town, I decided to stop by Carl Jr's and get a shake (was really thirsty and out of water ... justify....) This white truck pulled up behind me with three people in it, and I was struck with the urge to do a PIF. So I told the lady at the window that I wanted to take care of the people behind me ... figuring it would be at least $20. After I got on the highway I looked at my receipts ... they'd gotten a small drink ... $1.50. LOL! (The only reason I share this is due to my expecting the bill to be so much more than it was. Too funny not to share.) Smile

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I think that this month I'm going to be doing good to save 20% of my income ... I guess that is okay, as long as it doesn't become a recurring theme. I'm not going anywhere in April (well, at least I don't think I am ... we do have a 4 day weekend -i.e. Easter - so who knows what might happen then ..) and May also shouldn't be too spendy (I hope!!)

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I'm really looking forward to my July trip. It already was going to be good, getting to spend time with my brother and other family, but now with the SA get together, it'll be awesome!!!

This and That - Catchup

March 14th, 2012 at 12:55 am

Today when I got home I checked ING just in case.... and found that my state tax refund had come in finally!! Yay!

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Today at school I was talking with one of the Navajo teacher assistants and she told me that the 8th grade teacher had a Roset@t@a St@ne program that teaches the Navajo language!! I had no idea that such a thing was available. I Googled it, and after much searching around I finally found it.

There are two options - Online subscription for $75/yr with no included headphones/microphone; or a one-time purchase of the software w/included headphones/microphone for $200 +$45 shipping.

I am very interested in this. If I really do end up staying here for a good number of years, I think it would be very good for me to know the language very well. This way I can learn it on my own, and then see if I can find people to practice it with in person. I'm kind of leaning towards the online subscription, because I think I could find a good pair of headphones/microphone for $50 or less. So I could subscribe online for 3 years and still come out ahead of buying the package deal.

I'm going to think about this some more, and perhaps talk to the 8th grade teacher and see if she's found it to truly be valuable or not.

Any suggestions as to a good pair of headphones/microphone for a computer? Really, I think I would only need the microphone aspect since I don't have to worry about anyone else being disturbed by it. I could use the cheap microphones I got from Walmart a few months back, but their quality isn't that great (hence the $8 price.)

What do ya'll think?

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I submitted the yearbook Monday night at 6:41 PM!! Yahoo! I'm glad I decided to go over it ONE more time before submitting, because I realized that one of the staff members had been left off the staff page!! I had his picture, but had just forgotten to check the box saying "use this picture." Oy vey!!

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All the materials for the book fair came this morning - thankfully about ten minutes before my first class came in. 7 carts full, plus boxes on top. Wow. We aren't setting up until Friday afternoon.

I really hope that we don't get snow Monday night (4" are predicted!!!) Our first sale day is Tuesday - it also is parent/teacher conferences.

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Today I wore my hair in a side braid. I like to braid my hair sometimes, but had not done it here so far (at least not where I wore it to work.) I had SO many adults and kids compliment me. I even had one of my 6th graders tell me that it made me look younger (not that that is exactly something I care to hear ... but I thought that was funny.)

I might just do a braid more often. Smile

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I've been showing my classes the Book Fair video this week for class. Most of them seem to have been pretty interested in it. Some have had more reactions than others. Both my 7th and 8th grade classes got free time on the computers after checking out books - something neither grade had gotten at all this year. I hadn't realized that til yesterday - so I figured it wouldn't hurt. Smile

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My Spring Break seems to be filling up little by little. At first I'd been planning on it being rather low-key and home bound. But now I have a two day road trip with a co-worker, and then I have agreed to go with our students who qualified for State (Science) the second weekend of break. It'll probably just be that Friday night to make sure that any papers that need to be signed are, but it'll still make for a late night.

I normally wouldn't agree to do something like this on the Sabbath, but there are several reasons I decided to: 1. It's the first time our school has had students qualify for State, and they need someone from our school there supporting them; 2. The mid-school science teacher, not knowing that kids would qualify for State nor when it would be, had already made plans with friends in Phoenix for that weekend - two of whom are flying in *just* to see her -- so co-worker was majorly stressed about choosing to not go to the planned for weekend (6 months in the works) or not going to be there for the kids, and 3. I'm pretty much the only teacher who'll be around that weekend.

I'm hoping that most of it can be taken care of before sunset (especially now that the sun sets after 7 p.m.) but if not, I'm not going to stress about it. I feel like I'll be doing a good deed.

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I ordered the Hawaiian leis for the book fair today. I'll be giving one to each person that buys something on Tuesday. I tried calling our local party store this morning to find out if they had any or not, but I never could get an answer. I'd been planning on ordering from Oriental, but the cost of the leis ($16.99) + the cost of 3-5 day shipping ($15) was more than I could get them for on Amazon. So, I ordered them from Amazon for $24, with guaranteed delivery by this Thursday. I also ordered the book "Bad News for Outlaws" which a student has been asking me about over and over ... Smile

My giftcard balance was down to $13.xx, but then I had my AGC come in from irazoo and from Swag, so I am back up to $23. Big Grin

I also got my payment from Beezag a few days ago - so I have $8 in Paypal that I need to transfer over to put in my EF.
==

We have a bit of a scary situation here. Last night some gunmen shot and killed a number of people. It's not on the news - but people say they (the gunmen) started near our town, then went up to G, and are now out and about on the reservation. There's a rumor that they might do more shootings tonight. Schools in G had a two-hour delay and then were on lock down all day. We had quite a few students absent - quite possibly due to the shootings. Hopefully these people will be caught soon so everyone can breathe a bit easier.

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I never did get a call in to a dentist - but my tooth/teeth are feeling better. Who knows what is going on - just glad it's gone for now.

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I've been watching season one of Crossing Jordan on Netflix the past few days. Jill Hennesey is so awesome. Smile I didn't remember Woody being so ... different when he was first introduced.

Tooth :( Sweet Potato

March 6th, 2012 at 03:21 am

My tooth is really bothering me. Frown I'm not stuffed up, so I'm thinking it may be a real toothache. I SO don't need this right now/don't have the time for it! The yearbook deadline is in 6 days!! I'm still scrambling to get all the photos I need. Then of course as soon as the yearbook is done, I've got to get on the ball for the bookfair. Ugh! I'm hoping that SrN will let me out of one of the two teacher in-service sessions this coming Friday so I can work on the yearbook. Otherwise I see a *very* long Friday afternoon, Sunday and Monday.

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Speaking of the book fair ... a school in Chicago which made blankets for all the students/staff at Christmas time has offered to donate to the library their profit from their own upcoming book fair!!! That's really huge because they are a large school (maybe 500+) so they probably have double or triple our sales. So today I went through the catalog (where you can spend the non-cash dollars) and made a wishlist of 50 items/sets. Big Grin I told SrN that it is a good thing I wasn't making a wishlist from books *outside* of the catalog. Big Grin This will make it a lot easier for me to take the minimal amount in Sch$ and the rest in cash.

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I also received today in the mail the brand new 2012 caldecott and newberry posters. Big Grin I'd asked how to get ahold of those kinds of posters to update ours on my librarian listserve about a month or so ago. I had a Follett rep contact me for my address .. and now I have two of the posters I wanted for free! It is surprising to me how often the kids actually look at the posters and then actually ask me to help them find books off of them.

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I baked a sweet potato in my oven last night and tonight. Last night it took 75 minutes at 400 degrees, and tonight I had it in there for 70 minutes plus another 10 minutes in the microwave. I poked it thoroughly and wrapped in aluminum (took out of course for microwave!)It was delicious, but I was kind of annoyed with how long it took. Kari of course was going nuts - she heard the microwave go off and sprang off my lap. I took my time getting there, and found her sitting on the counter next to the microwave watching for me. Guess what? She likes sweet potatoes too. Smile

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Only 9 weeks of school left after this week (not including Spring Break). Wow! Today my 8th graders did their presentations - they'd created a chart and graph which they then put into a one - two page newsletter and wrote a paragraph+ explaining their graph(s). SrN came by and got to see most of them - she said she was impressed with their work. Most of them did either sports figures or musicians/bands, while a few did candy (which color Skittle is your favorite, which candy bar is your favorite, etc.) The 8th grade TA and I figured out that I'll probably only have them in class maybe 6 more times this year. Frown We're not going to be able to get very far with the website unit. Oh well, at least I'll get them started, and if they're interested I can show them where to learn more.

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Last night I read "I've Got Your Number" by Sophie Kinsella. LOVED!!! I could not put it down til I finished it (past midnight).

I also had a very welcome visitor about 8 pm. One of the maintenance guys from the mission - he got my pilot light on my water heater working again AND showed me how to do it myself. It was sweet relief to have hot water again! (It went out probably on Friday due to the high winds we were having. It'll more than likely go out again.)

Spring Break and Summer Travel

March 4th, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Last night I had a blast with several of my coworkers. We had "game night." We played two games from start to finish (Redneck Life and Quelf) and partially played Pop Culture Trivia DVD (it was getting really late.) One of my coworkers made homemade burnt brownie ice cream (something she discovered last year when she attempted making brownies here for the first time) and I brought soda. Smile

I hope we do this again soon. Big Grin (Kari wasn't very happy with me - gone pretty much all day, breeze in for five minutes, then gone again for 3 hours ..)

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I filled up my car yesterday - $3.48/gallon. I'd only made 234 miles on the last tank, nearly 80 miles less than normal. I asked one of my coworkers if she thought it was possible someone was siphoning gas. She told me that she'd been getting less gas mileage too - most likely due to driving against the wind.

I also stopped by the library and dropped off the two latest Evanovich books and picked up a new Kinsella book (author of Confessions of a Shopaholic series - LOVE!)

Then made a ~$30 stop at Walgreens (prescription+), and a $44 stop at Wal-mart.

While I was waiting for sunset in the Wal-mart parking lot, I had a chance to talk to the lady I'd stayed with the last few months I lived in Texas. She and her daughter had moved into a new home over Christmas, and are really loving it. They've had a spate of bad luck though with cars - two cars wrecked by drivers running red lights - but thankfully no one injured!! It was really good to talk with her.

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I went to take a shower Saturday morning and found out that the pilot light on the water heater was out -- so no hot water. Frown Then found out that the mobile home park manager quit last week ... doh! Still trying to get in touch with someone to relight it. I have several places to go to take a shower, so am not worried about that - just can't do my dishes.

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One of my co-workers and I were talking about Spring Break plans and ended up deciding to take a bit of a road trip. It'll be her last year here, so I let her pretty much decide. We're going to go to Santa Fe and Taos. I found a hotel room in Santa Fe for only $38 which allows dogs (she has two dogs.) I'll have my Discover card by then which will give me 5% cash back on gas purchases. Big Grin I've been to Santa Fe before (when I was in elementary) but I don't remember ever being in Taos, so that should be fun. Smile Even with gas, I don't think the trip should cost me more than $130 or so, since we'll be splitting the costs.
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I looked into Amtrak tickets and airplane tickets for my summer trip to CA. Going to where my dad/grandma are, then up to where my brother is, and then back here on Amtrak would cost $265. Doing the same route/dates via flying would cost $370 + driving to/from Albuquerque and a hotel stay (so getting pretty close to $500). So ... I think I'll be doing Amtrak this summer. Big Grin I just need to find out for sure when summer school ends to finalize my dates. I'm hoping to be able to be there for my dad's birthday (July 5.)

I checked what the amenities are on Amtrak nowadays (last time I was on it was in 1988?) It looks like the seats have electric plugs, so I'll be able to plug my phone in and enjoy myself reading or watching movies. Big Grin That'll be good, because I'll be having a lot of travel time. (The one thing I'm wondering is how you secure your luggage if you're traveling alone and need to use the restroom or go to the lounge car, etc? No checked baggage on most of the trip.)

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I've now redeemed 5 $5 AGCs from Swagbucks for March. I have enough left for 5 in April and almost enough for the first one in May. (I applied for a Discover card - 3600 SBs and then actually *completed* two surveys and did an offer that cost $.99 which netted 408 SBs. Nice!)

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I've had a tooth that's been bothering me for the past few days. I'm really hoping that it'll pass soon. I have no desire to find a dentist in the area just yet. Frown

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Just talked with one of the teachers who does summer school. The last day will be June 29 - will only be two weeks long. The pay is $30/hr, so somewhere around $1800 - $2100 for those two weeks (before taxes of course.) Sweet! If I go to CA for two weeks, then that will give me a month or so here to work on various projects in the library before school starts again, plus the boost to my EF/car fund. (So in two weeks I'll be making almost as much as I make in a normal month at the mission school - summer school is paid by the county.)

With the rising cost of gas, I'm thinking that the sooner I book my summer travel, the better. I'd also maybe even book my Christmas tickets, but without knowing exactly what my mom's situation will be then ... (she's broken up with person she was with at Thanksgiving ... again.)

Received SBs/Redeemed; BofA Story

March 3rd, 2012 at 12:34 am

On Tuesday (I think) I applied for a Discover card, mainly to get the 3600 SBs (translates into $40 of Amazon gift cards). I was credited on Wednesday - So yesterday and today I redeemed 1800 of them for 4 $5 AGCs. Big Grin

Today I had two more of my AGC's from SBs come in, bringing my total in my Amazon account to $25. If I can control myself from spending my balance, I'll have around $60 in gift cards within a few weeks. Nice. Smile

Of course I have a list of books I'd like to get a mile long ... Big Grin

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Over Christmas I'd opened an Ebanking account with BofA. The thrust of it was that to avoid any fees, there must be NO interaction with a teller by *anyone.*

There were two reasons I opened this account; 1 - I needed a bank with an ATM nearby to deposit cash and checks, and 2 - I needed a way for my dad to be able to deposit his "gifts" easily. And of course, I wanted to do away with the monthly fees that Compass had started charging.

So both the person who opened this account and I explained to my dad that he *could not* use the teller at the bank to make a deposit into this account. He had to do an online transaction - which he was walked through.

He's made two deposits since then - both of them via the teller. Smile I can't say that I was surprised.

Today though when I checked my account, I saw that a monthly maintenance fee had been charged. So I chatted with an online customer service rep to confirm the reason for it. After she confirmed that it was due to the two teller transactions, she asked me if I had anything else she could help me with.

I jokingly replied, "Sure, you could reverse the fee for me!"

And .... She did!!

I know it is unlikely to get my dad to make further deposits via an online transaction unless I am there walking him through it step by step a few times, so I'm going to ask him to just send me checks as long as he continues to "gift" me.

I can deposit them easily via PayPal, and thus avoid the $8.95 monthly charge.

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I still haven't received my state tax refund. I need to see if I can figure out if they have some kind of website with an estimate. I'm anxious to add it to my savings!! Big Grin

February Recap

March 2nd, 2012 at 03:32 am

In my effort to be more consistent with taking care of my finances and to be more accountable, I am sharing my end of the month budget recaps and thoughts.

*I use YNAB 3 to track my income and outflow. The money I budget to spend in February was earned in January (other than gifts or tax refunds which I budget to the current months savings.)

*Categories with overspending are generally funded by "Whack a Mole" - i.e. taking money from other categories which are "plump" and can withstand losing a few dollars.

* I put everything I possibly can on credit cards, and pay them off in full each month (usually two weeks before the due date.)

Inflow:

2 paychecks, Tax Refund, Gift Money, Swagbucks AGCs

Expenses:

Tithe: $150
Offering: $20
Groceries: $176.32 ($56.32 over budget)
Restaurants: $32.77 (2.33 under)
Phone/Internet: $130.98
Netflix: $8.97
Doctor/Dentist: 47.80
OTC Meds: 6.90
Kari (Pet): 9.00
Library: $166.08 ($150.08 over budget!)
Miscelaneous: $26.62
Entertainment: 30.20
Gas: 29.51
Car Insurance: $155.10
ROTH: $800

Savings:
EF: 933.67 (1757.81/5,000 goal)
CarFund: 250 (250/5,000 goal)
iPhone: $15.00 (60/215 goal)

*EF savings represents roughly 39% of total inflow.


Expenses:


Groceries: It really should have been a much cheaper month than
last month. However, I succumbed to the lure of the
nearby stores more than once. Also, I bought some things to
contribute to a bake sale, and then of course bought some stuff
at said bake sale ... For March I am setting my budget at $150
and hope to actually meet that, even with the longer month.

Restaurants: $20 gift card, plus several cheese subs at local sub shop.

Phone/Internet: I think this will be the cost going forward. If I could find a cheaper internet service, I would. Unfortunately, this is it here.

Netflix: After not using Netflix in January, I realized that it was much cheaper and simpler to just do Netflix.

Doctor/Dentist: This was partially a co-pay from a doctor visit this month, and partially paying the remaining amounts due on previous visits (after insurance paid.)

OTC Meds: After finding out that NM refunds the cost of prescription meds and copays, I decided to seperate any OTC purchases. This is stocking up on generic Nyquil.

Kari (pet): dry and wet food

Library: This is 3 technology programs, 4 point and shoot cameras film processing, and a $1.01 balance after gift card for a book.

Miscelaneous: GPS app subscription (1 yr) and State Tax efile fee

Entertainment: 2 movie rentals (physical), 1 month reduced fee audible . com (probably am going to cancel), and $11 worth of music from iTunes ($.69 cent songs)

Gas: Somehow I managed with one tank of gas again this month. I only went to church 2 x, which is probably why. This was one of the places I "whacked a mole" from to cover my overspending in other areas.

Car Insurance: my 6 month premium (I set aside money monthly for this)

Retirement: My normal $100 plus an extra $700 to take advantadge of the savers credit

Savings:


EF: Most of this comes from the tax refund since I used part of what I'd normally put here to fund my ROTH.

CarFund: This is where I've decided to put the money sent to me by my dad each month until the EF is funded.

iPhone: This category may need to be speeded up ... am going to give my current phone another week to see if any more issues occurr. Frown

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All in all not the best month. I still need to get the grocery category under control. I have plenty of food in the house - there truly is no need for me to get more between grocery store trips. I am truly thankful the closest pizza delivery place is 35 miles away - otherwise it might be worse.

The library budget is also a black hole. But ... it is much much better than it was a few months ago. A few months ago that is where most of the money was going which should have been going to savings instead.