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Archive for December, 2012

2013 Goals

December 31st, 2012 at 05:33 pm


Goal #1:

Pay car off. As far as I can tell, I think this will be a completely doable goal. I can manage $250/mo while still putting money in other savings categories, and then I'll have 3 months with an extra paycheck AND whatever I get back from my tax refund. So, completely doable.

Goal #2:
Get to $5k in EF. This means saving and additional $3500. I *might* be able to do this. I'll get more aggressive on this once #1 is finished.

Goal #3:
Put $3k in my ROTH. It'll really depend on my tax refund - I may take $600 out of it to put in the ROTH, which would make this a doable goal.

Goal #4:
$1k in FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Maybe ... This also may become my Moving fund eventually if/when I relocate. I want to do some investing in Vanguard I think, and need at least $3k to do the lower level fund.

Goal #5:
Find a way to earn extra income this summer. I have about 8 weeks in the summer which I could conceivably do *something* with - I'm just not sure what would be the most feasible. During that time though I also need to do some major downsizing of belongings, so that if I *do* end up moving the following summer, I can get by with a small moving truck (thus reducing moving expenses and helping me with housing costs wherever I end up.)


Goal #1:
Give up soda. I've done it before, and I can do it again.

Goal #2:
Go back to the NO S philosophy (at least in regards to junkfood - only on the weekends.)

Goal #3:
Consistently do 30+ minutes of exercise 5 days a week.

Goal #4:
Let other people's drama be theirs and not let it affect me negatively.

Goal #5:
Finish the stupid class. (without being too negative about it.... Big Grin )

December January Spending/Budget

December 31st, 2012 at 05:12 pm

So ... I spent a good bit of money in December. Some of it was reimbursed, some of it was money I received for birthday/Christmas which I distributed to various categories. My biggest expenses were in the grocery and fun money categories - groceries - I did a large stockup at Costco -- fun money ... some of it probably could've been categorized as vacation, but I generally use the vacation budget for actual travel expenses such as airplane/train tickets. So this was eating out, movies, a few items I've been wanting that I treated myself to which didn't fall into any particular other category ... etc.

I already allocated the $1k I received back from the dealer - but since it hasn't completely cleared yet, I haven't sent the check yet. That's why I have a sizeable balance in my car loan category.

January hopefully will be a much less spendy month. I doubt that I'll have all my tax info in yet for me to do my taxes, but I did add a little extra to my other category to cover tax fees. I'm really hoping that groceries will be significantly less than what I've budgeted, but in case it isn't ... I made the room. I doubt that I'll spend much in the fun money category in January - especially with as much eating out and movies as I've done the past few weeks. Hopefully that's mostly out of my system for awhile. Smile
We'll see. Smile

Out and About today

December 30th, 2012 at 06:59 pm

Instead of doing cleaning today like I'd planned, I went to a movie - Les Miserables - and returned a couple items to various stores.

The movie was superb! I've seen it on stage at least twice that I remember, but the movie adaptation was just spot on.

When I got home I had an email letting me know that the newest section of our course had been opened. (I just *barely* passed the last section. You have to get a B or better ... and well, I wasn't too into it for awhile...) This new section requires that we do yet another introduction post. Thankfully our instructor realized that we weren't exactly new to each other, so she is having us do a 2 truths/1 lie post. It's pretty interesting so far seeing what people are coming up with...

Here's what I put - I wonder if any of you can figure out what the lie is? (although one of them if you've read me very long you'll know right away ...)

1. I once worked in an adoption agency.
2. I visited Europe once with a singing group.
3. I made it through most of one-year with eating chocolate only on the weekends, with exceptions for special holidays/birthdays.

My brother called tonight and we had a good chat. I almost always feel better after talking with him.

We're supposed to get snow tomorrow (possibly starting tonight.) If we do, then I'll have to wait til Wednesday to take Kari to the vet. Her nails are in *serious* need of clipping. Ouch.

I feel like I am coming down with something. My throat is all scratchy and am feeling kind of nauseous. My allergies aren't helping matters either. What's helping right now is sitting in my office chair with the back massage/heat unit going.
I'd upped my GymPact for this coming week to 5 times, but I'm thinking I better lower the number in case I really do get sick/sick this coming week. Will have to do it tonight if I'm going to change it.

Almost have enough SB to order my next card. Mostly thanks to the SBTV iPhone app. Last night when I was watching a movie on Netflix I had it going, and then I've had it going while reading/surfing the net. So much easier to manage than the browser add on.

Glad to be Home

December 28th, 2012 at 09:48 am

I got into ABQ yesterday around 10 am and then after picking up my car ($24 parking for 6 days) I headed over to Costco. On the way I filled up my tank at $2.99/gal ($30.xx).

I spent around 2 hours in Costco. I picked up kitty litter, oatmeal, Amy's soups, Lentils, toilet paper, dishwasher pacs, brownie bites (cheaper than Walmarts), hummus, vegge patties, bananas, grape leaves, various veggies, cooking spray and a pair of gloves you can wear and still use your smartphone. All told .. $172. Ouch. The money comes from a variety of accounts though - groceries, household, Kari, and fun money.

Then I headed to Walmart (right next door to Costco Big Grin )At Walmart I picked up floor mats for my car, a steering wheel cover, chair back massager (on sale), a dash mount for my phone (which I think I might return because I don't think it's gonna work), hand warmer (gift for next year - on sale), vegge corn dogs, various frozen meals, bread, a baking dish, cat food, OJ, some junkfood, sparkling cider (for NYE), auxiliary cable, etc. I can't find my receipt right now (must be in car) but I think it was around $130. Again, the spending will come from various categories - Kari, Fun Money, Groceries, Gifts, Car, etc.

**The groceries I picked up should give me a pretty good stash for a couple months. So I'm hoping that I can keep my grocery spending in January and February to $50 each or less. We'll see. Smile

I received $250 in cash for birthday/Christmas money, so I used some of that to buy some things I'd been wanting (baking dish, aux cable, floor mats, massager, etc.) I also used some of it to do some major stocking up on food goods.

Kari definitely was glad for me to be home. She pretty much has not left my side since I got back.

In the mail I had the $1k check from the car dealership, which I photo deposited this morning. It won't be available until around the 7th. Once it's available, I'll send most of it to my car loan.

I've been thinking about the advice I received on my last couple posts. I don't think I'd feel good about moving anywhere else as long as I still have debt. Plus I really would like to stick it out with the current group. So ... I think I'm going to give myself one more school year here. It would give me 3 years of experience, put me in a debt free situation again as well as give me time to build up a moving fund, and hopefully in 18 months or so I'll be on a more even emotional footing as well.

This coming ten days (including today) my goal is to focus on cleaning and decluttering my house/laundry/dishes/cooking ahead, (2 days worth of focused time), spend 2 focused days working on electives, spend 1 focused day working on final project, 2 focused days on work/school, and 3 days of just relaxation.

Next week I need to get Kari's nails clipped (sorely overdue!!), return the outfit I didn't wear, contact BofA about dad's estate, and possibly return the dash mount device.

Am I way off base?

December 26th, 2012 at 05:06 pm

It's not been a very merry time of it here in tx ville this week. I really wish I hadn't come. From some of the things my mom was saying prior to the wedding, it sure didn't sound like it was what she really wanted. ( the wedding) but its done and over now.

The best part of the wedding was getting to see some of my good friends I hadn't seen in a long time. The trying not to be a negative nelly when everyone was gushing about the married couple was not so fun.

So here's where I need advice. Sunday am before heading to the salon to have our hair done for the wedding, I came out of the shower to my area and found my mom going through my purse. Her excuse was that she was putting a fiber bar in it since we werent going to eat again until the reception. No fiber bar was put in it. This royally ticked me off and right then I was really considering getting a taxi and heading to a friends home til Thursday. But I sucked it up and stayed.

Today we went out to see a movie. I bought two groupon tickets for it. Only one voucher downloaded at the theater, so she had to pay for a ticket at two dollars more. I told her we could print out the second one when we got home and she could use it another time. She didn't seem to happy about it, but whatever.

After the movie we want to Costco. There were a couple books I wanted from there which I'd discovered yesterday at the family Christmas gathering. They both were there. I mentioned to her how dad had bought Costco gift cards for me so that I could use them the few times a year I get to Costco. So she offered to buy one for me as repayment for the dress I bought for her wedding. I agreed to it. The books and card came out to $15 more than what she was going to give me for the dress. I had $13 in my purse. So I asked her if the $13 plus what I'd paid for gas on Monday be considered a fair trade. She told me she hadn't known I'd put gas in the car. I told her I hadn't said anything about it since I'd been driving it all over everywhere. Then she told me that no, she didn't consider it a fair trade. That she just couldn't understand why I hadn't brought a gift for anyone or even a card. But that I was buying books for the library.

I didn't want to get into it, so I didn't say another word.

The thing is, I TOLD her I did not expect ANYTHING for gifts because I did not plan on doing gifts myself. She asked me to tell her what I'd like anyway - so I did.

I realize my first mistake was going to Costco here with her to get the books - I should have just waited til tomorrow when I'm back in ABQ.

I am SO tempted to pack up tonight, get a cab and stay at a hotel tonight and then have a super shuttle to the airport. Just leave everything here that they gave me and be DONE. She told me yesterday that she'd told new stepdad that if brother didn't shape up his act that he should be cut off from any money. New stepdad vetoed that. I told her that if she wants ANY iota of a chance with brother again, she better never mention that to him. All it would do is solidify in his mind that he made the right decision.

I still wonder if I should call my friend to come get me and take me to the airport in the am. I know she'd be happy to do it, but it would be WAY out of her way to come here. Plus it would really be me saying a final goodbye. If I'd driven here I probably would have left on Monday.

Am I just overblowing things? Am I acting like a selfish brat by buying books for the library, but not gifts or cards for mom or new stepdad? There's no way I can tell my brother any of this, because he would just say he told me so.

Irregardless, I think this was my last visit to TX unless I come to solely visit friends.

Good Mail, Snow Day, and an interesting phone call (car)

December 20th, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Today I went over to teh PO to pick up my mail since I'll be heading out as soon as I can get packed and awake in the morning. Smile

In the mail I had a birthday card from my aunt with a nice check in it, and a birthday gift from my mom/soon to be stepdad (book from Amazon.)

Tonight we had our Christmas program, an dit went pretty well I think. I made a video of it at the request of one of our staff members - although I don't know how good it is - there were multiple times where people walked in front of me, as well as just STOOD directly in the line of sight ... plus a portion where the people standing next to me started talking loudly about homework ... Should be an interesting video.

Yesterday we had a snow day, which was really nice. I didn't get even half of the things done that I should've (like packing ...) but I did get some schoolwork done which was good.

I also received an interesting phone call (which actually relates to a piece of mail I received today which I didn't mention earlier.) The person who sold me my car called and asked me if I remembered how much I'd written my check for and how much I'd paid on my credit card. I told him the numbers, and he told me that they matched their accounting. However, the number I was given a loan for was $1k off! (This is because both the car salesman and I thought I was only charging $2k on my credit card, but the finance lady actually made a $3k charge.)

What this means is that instead of my loan being for $4,497 like I thought, it is actually for $5,497. I hadn't actually seen the full numbers/set up *until today* when I received my first loan statement from my credit union! I'm glad I got the call first, otherwise I might have freaked out a bit.

Car guy is going to send me a check for the overage amount.

I will put $650 of it straight towards the loan, and keep the remainder to pay Bofa if I have to (dad's estate stuff ... I used some of the money I inherited from his estate for the car down payment, so I'm not really using my own money to pay for the Bofa thing if I end up really having to do so.)If I end up not having to pay Bofa, then that money will also go directly to the car loan without hitting Go.

So, that is around 3 1/2 months of payments. Which will be quite helpful in my goal of paying off the loan in 12 months or less. (36 months term total) (My tax refund as well as 3 extra paycheck months will also be quite helpful.) Big Grin

I was buying some books for the library today on Amazon (using gift card money only!!) when I found out that my cash back rewards from my car purchase had posted. It showed I have a reward of over $75 available. Sweet. Guess what I'm going to do with that money? Big Grin (No, it won't be spent on books for the library ... though I admit I was severely tempted ...)

I am not really looking forward to either the drive to ABQ tomorrow, or to the flight tomorrow night. However, I am looking forward to eating at IHOP (only in ABQ not in either G town) and doing some shopping at the Schol Warehouse. I will *not* go over $125 in books (~$50 Schol Dollars, $50 approved purchase order + $25 coupon on $100 purchase.)

I'm also thinking that I might spend a little bit of my birthday money at Wal-mart and pick up floor mats for my car, and maybe one of those chair back massager units before they're stored away for another year. Smile Something practical and something luxurious. Big Grin Perfect combo I think.

And my mail today

December 17th, 2012 at 09:19 pm

Today I received two pieces of mail - the first one I was very happy for that was from my grandma and it was a birthday card with the best thing in it - cash. The other piece of mail was also from my grandma but not such a great thing. It was a forwarded letter from my Dad's former bank. Essentially,, it said that the Social Security administration had sent two checks to dad's account post humously. And they want us to pay the money back NOW or they'll report us to CHEX systems. Since all his accounts were frozen as soon as we notified them he'd died and from what I recall his June SS check hadn't posted yet ... Well, I guess I have some phone calls to make before heading to ABQ on Friday. Rolleyes

Otherwise the day was pretty good ( if I forget about the 190 wasted minutes on google maps and google earth...) We had a two hour delay this morning which was nice. I had several of my third grade girls come ask if they could give me a hug which was unusual for them, and I think related to this weekends events.

I managed to find out my account number for my car loan thanks to the delay, and sent my first payment.

One thing I did during my google seminar tonight was use my Swagbucks app on my phone , so I was able to cash out for another gift card. Now that the app is working right, I'll have to use it much more often. It doesn't require too much babysitting.

Hey, anyone who's already id'd me Smile want to collaborate on a google document? I need someone to just basically make a few comments, etc. I think.

Thanks again everyone for all your support and suggestions on my last post. It was greatly appreciated.

37 and Maudlin (long/introspective - may want to skip)

December 16th, 2012 at 09:10 am

So .. I'm 37 now. I had way too much time to think yesterday since I'd done all my running around on Friday. (which turned out to be a very good thing because the weather was quite bad yesterday afternoon/evening.)

I was thinking about whether or not I'm really happy with my life as it is. And if not, what, if anything, can I do to change it? Most of the time I like my job and am happy to be doing something that helps others. But then I wonder if this is something I can realistically *do* long term financially wise. I make less than 50% of what I'd make just about anywhere else at a public or private school with my degree. And sometimes the attitudes I get from certain kids make me wonder if by everything they're given, and everything that's done for them .. if we're not creating entitled monsters instead of actually helping them/giving them a step up.

And then I was thinking about how I've put myself into this isolated nowhere land where I am a minority among minorities (SDA white woman amongst a group of Catholic white teachers.) It in a sense is the ultimate isolation. It is in a sense a way of me saying that I've totally given up on ever NOT being alone. Sure, it's *possible* I could meet someone while on vacation somewhere, or someone passing through, but realistically it's not very *probable.*

And then I was thinking about the 6 month class I'm taking and about half-way through with and how much I'm really hating it. How much I wish I could just quit and be done with it. But I've already spent $3750 of my AmCorp money, plus another $150 or so on textbooks. I've made a big deal about it with my family. How could I quit it? (No refunds are available at this point.) If I felt like I was actually learning something useful and new it might be different ... but so much of it is a rehash (99+%) of things I already know how to do, or trying to BS my way through "discussion" questions about things I don't care about. I wonder how much of this has to do with how I'm dealing with my dad's death. Everything seems harder this year.

And then there's the whole situation with my mom and my brother. It is killing me. I feel like I'm on tenterhooks. Anytime I mention anything about mom to my brother, he then doesn't talk to me for a week or more. I told my mom that the best thing to do with him was to NOT bother him - to give him space. What does her fiance do? Call him and start crying and begging him to forgive and let go/make peace/come to the wedding. Boy was that NOT a smart thing to do. I want to tell my brother to think about how he's behaving and compare it to how our youngest uncle behaved towards our dad ... but then I'm afraid he'd be mad at me and cut ME off too...

I realized something else yesterday .. I have lots of "FB and internet friends" acquaintances and people I knew in other places .. but not really any real life true friends anymore. 3 of the people I at one time considered to be my *best* friends in real life didn't even acknowledge my birthday. Of course one of them I haven't had even a phone conversation with in years, a second one I've had no contact with at all since June (and that was a single text message with the previous contact at Thanksgiving a year ago), and the third one we've had hit and miss FB conversations. Seriously, if I were to somehow by some miracle meet someone tomorrow and get married soon after ... I really don't know who I'd ask to be part of my wedding. At one time I knew *exactly* who I'd want. I think I'd probably just elope to avoid the whole drama of how my dad's side of the family feels about my mom. (not that it is something I really need to even think about ...)

I wish I knew how I could actually change things. I wish I wasn't scared to death that if I went anywhere else I'd be totally exposed as not knowing what the heck I'm doing as a librarian and not lasting long anywhere else. I don't know that going anywhere else would really help that much anyway .. because like is said .. wherever you go, there you are. (Part of this too I think is the panic I feel at being in debt once again with very little cash reserves, so if I were to lose my job again ... )

I've thought about seeing if I could get some therapy or something .. but then I've tried that before off and on with no results. I had one person tell me I was a bigot because I wasn't wanting to date people outside of my faith (after telling her that I *had* done that with abysmal results.) I had another one that devolved into a book discussion - of a book which I had big problems with because of how the author dismissed God ( and the therapist dismissed my concerns). Then I also think of all the therapy that my mom has had through the years, and well, I don't see that it's done her much good. (Plus I don't really want to spend the money on it - seems like it is better to put money towards the car loan!)

I know I need to figure out something. I've been starting to cry at the stupidest things and stupidest times. Like last week when I got the email about the assignment I didn't know about being due that day - I was bawling as I wrote the professor about it. The assignment itself was ridiculously easy. But it wasn't about the assignment. This was in the library, just minutes before my 3 year olds were coming.

I wish I knew how my life had ended up like this. I thought I was being accepted here, but now, lately, I'm wondering if it's more of a tolerance. If people feel about me the way I know they feel about one of the other people here. Barely tolerate her. There is this one teacher who I thought liked me, who'd made many positive comments to me ... but I'm not sure now if she was being serious or being exaggerating (not quite the term I'm trying to convey... but can't think of how to describe it) What made me think this? Right before the Halloween festival she made a comment out of the blue in front of a large group of staff regarding the fact that I wouldn't be at the festival due to my religious convictions, and that she'd like to take off early herself for a Saturday afternoon mass. (Why she posed the question to me/the group instead of just the principal??) Then there's the many comments while getting ready for the Christmas dinner last year and this year where she singled me out to say how hard I'm working ... when everyone else was working just as hard. Maybe the word I'm looking for is sarcastic?? Up til she made that remark about the Halloween Festival, I thought it was strange how she was making those comments, but didn't really think much of it. Now though, I wonder. (I checked with my co-worker AL to see if she heard the festival comment the same way I had, and she agreed with me that it was weird.)

I just wish I could figure out how to make things better. This is not anywhere near what I'd imagined my life would be like at 37. Single, childless, pretty much alone in the world. (Yes, I do have family. But I have to watch what I say now to both sides. Mom - because I don't want to say things to her that my brother should relay himself. Brother/dad's family - because they have strong feelings against Mom.)

A Good Snow Day, but Sad too

December 14th, 2012 at 06:43 pm

So this morning I received two phone calls - one at 6 a.m. and one at 7:15 a.m. The first one confirmed what I already suspected - a two-hour delay. The second surprised me with -- Snow Day! Looking outside I saw maybe two inches at the most of snow on the ground - even though the forecast was calling for snow throughout the day.

I debated for a few minutes whether I should use this as an opportunity to sleep in a bit and do some housework/school work, or get all the stuff done that I was going to attempt to do after sunset tomorrow. It wasn't a difficult choice - especially when a co-worker agreed to go with me. Smile

We started off by making our first foray ever into the local mall. I was actually quite surprised by the variety of shops in the mall. We checked both JCP and Beall's for an appropriate dress (royal blue for mom's wedding) and found absolutely nothing. Before leaving the mall though, I checked around to see if someone could put a new battery in my dad's train watch for me. The jeweler at JCP did it - $10.xx So now I have a working watch again. Smile

My co-worker reminded me of the Cato's near Wal-Mart, so we went there to see what we could find. No dresses, but did find a very pretty blouse/tank combo and skirt in something pretty close to royal blue. $58.xx I sent a picture of it to my mom, and she liked it. I plan to look for alternatives when I get to ABQ next Friday, but at least I have something on hand in case nothing turns up there. (If I do find something, then I can return this outfit here.)

Next we went to the bowling alley. My friend had never been bowling before. I love to bowl, but am not very good at it. Unfortunately, the bowling alley was not open. Frown

So we decided to go eat lunch. This was my first time eating at a sit down restaurant since this past summer, so that was very nice. I got a veggie burger w/swiss cheese and mushrooms, sweet potato fries, and a slice of cheesecake. Mmmm mmmm! The waitress put my friend and I's bills together for whatever reason - my friend already gave me $7 towards it, and will give me another $5 on Monday. Our total bill was $32.xx + a $5.67 tip. (I didn't ask my friend to pay tax or tip.) (This came out of my Fun Money budget and is my pre-birthday treat to myself.)

Next we headed to Wal-mart. My friend did her shopping for her students Christmas presents (using money donated for that purpose) and I did my grocery shopping. My first real grocery shop for December. I bought a few special things to celebrate my real birthday tomorrow. Smile Sparkling grape juice and Russel's French Chocolate Mints. The total was around $40 - but included cat litter which had a $1.50 coupon on it. I need to crunch the numbers to figure out what the actual grocery cost was.

On the way back we saw gas for $2.98/gallon. I had filled up on Wednesday for $3.19/gallon. Frown If I'd realized the huge price difference, I would have only gotten a couple gallons. Oh well.

We were planning on doing our walk tonight after getting everything put away, but the wind had gotten super bitter cold. So I'm hoping that tomorrow will be MUCH warmer. If not, I'll still have to walk in it in order to complete my pact for the week.

One thing I did not get taken care of today due to being out all day was calling my car loan credit union to figure out how to set up an account. I guess I will have to try them in the morning. (If they're open.)

When I checked my mail I had an envelope from my grandma - forwarding a piece of my dad's mail. I was kind of surprised I didn't have any birthday cards. When I saw the one from my grandma, that's what I thought it was. I think part of me was kind of expecting to see one from my dad... even though I *know* that won't happen.

Throughout the day I kept getting alerts on my phone telling me the latest updates on the school shootings. I usually have my volume off, but had it turned on last night so I could hear when the phone rang for bad weather news. It just got worse and worse as the day wore on.

My heart is so heavy for the families who lost their little ones today, and for the families who lost a brother, sister, mother, father ... It is just totally senseless. Frown

Second Fill Up and other spending

December 12th, 2012 at 09:21 pm

Today I filled my car up with gas for the second time since I bought it over Thanksgiving break. It was a little bit over 10 gallons and cost about $32. When I entered the information into gas Cubby I found out that my MPG was a bit over 33! Of coarse, when I told this to our nurse here she told me "You're going to cry. My car I regularly get 50+ miles per gallon." Oh well, I'm still very happy with my car. Smile

I had to stop and buy some bananas again tonight. But I managed to get out of the small mom and pop store with only spending $3.86. So not as bad as it could've been.

I got my license plate in the mail today. So now I guess I have to go and find some bolts so that I can put the license plate on my car. The school nurse suggested I go to Napa and ask them if they have bolts. So I may just ask them if they'll put them on for me. Smile

I still have not received my final account number for my credit union account where my car loan is. And I need that so I can set my account yet so I can make my first car payment ! I must give them a call tomorrow and figure out what's going on. I really don't want to have to worry about this when I go on vacation.

I'm doing really well was spending this month. I guess I needed the motivation of a real car loan to get me to finally stop doing all the extraneous spending. I just hope that I can keep up with that motivation.

What a couple of days!

December 10th, 2012 at 08:42 pm

So Saturday was the Christmas Dinner/give away. We had a record number of people show up - 1,123. Last year we had under 900. We'd planned enough food for 1,000. The ones after the first 1k got mashed potatoes, stuffing and cookies - the turkey was gone.

Santa's workshop was a different place than last year. I don't know if there were less kids, or if it was the new way they were having people come through. (Had to eat first, do your shopping, and then send your kid(s) through.) Due to the oversize crowd, we stayed open until 2 pm instead of 1 pm.

Although I was very tired and it was *very* cold, I went for my 30 minute walk. My legs were practically frozen solid by the time I got back.

Saturday evening I made brownies, and on Sunday I made Cottage Cheese Roast and Corn Pudding.

I didn't spend any money since Friday that I remember.

Sunday afternoon it snowed - about two inches here. Very cold, but still had to do my 30 minute walk. Brrr!!

Today was very busy at school, but the kids were well behaved. That was good because I wasn't feeling very good.

After school we didn't have a faculty meeting (well, we stood out in freezing air and talked for about 6 minutes ..)

I did my 30 minute walk (I couldn't log in to GymPact last night to change my Pact to 3x a week, so I'm still at 4x. Ugh. More snowy walks in my future.)

Then I got on my computer while I ate supper and read and surfed, etc. I was thinking about heading to bed and finishing TOUCH (last two episodes) when I got an email from my professor saying something about doing evaluations for the last two synchchronous sessions. That's when it hit me! Today we were having our first Monday session!! And I was nearly 90 minutes late!!! UGH! So I signed in and was there for the last hour. I was kind of lost at first, but then she gave us the assignment to create a google site, and that was easy. I hope the session goes online soon so I can see what I missed. I can't believe I did this.

I'm really wishing that I had NOT signed up for this thing. Too late now to cry over spilled milk, though. Frown

I found out that I am officially going to be going to the AmCor conference in February. Leave on a Friday and return on a Tuesday. Some people here are telling me that I need to get a passport to fly after Jan 15 since I have a NM driver's license. I've done some research on it, and can't seem to find a definitive answer. I'd really hate to get a passport if I don't need one... although I might need it in 8 years for my dream cruise, and a passport is good for 10 years if I remember right.

*The deal with the license is that NM gives out dl's to legal and illegal residents with no differentiation on it. So the Real ID law says NM has to shape up its act. Since it isn't likely to happen before Jan 15, that means possibly that a NM dl won't be enough id to get through airport security.

This whole thing seems totally bizarre to me which is why I'm trying to see if I can get confirmation that I'll really need one. The sooner the better for getting a passport, since it could take up to 6 weeks (unless I pay an extra $60 to expedite..)

**sorry for typos - cat is in front of screen and keeps returning every time I move her off

This and That

December 7th, 2012 at 06:38 pm

So Wednesday I chose the books I wanted out of the two boxes of librarian candy that came shortly before Thanksgiving break and added them to our collection. 28 books for approximately $500. Gulp.

I showed my 5th graders the stack of books and told them that they cost about $500 and that the money for them came from the book fair. They were duly impressed. Smile The main books that were competed for (had to choose numbers between 1 and 25) were the two cookbooks, the origami books, and the drawing books.

I think I've done my duty adding to our non-fiction collection and updating the average age for this year. With the bit of money left I'm going to work on adding more graphic novels (which the kids *really* go for) and other good fiction. I still will add more non-fiction as kids or teachers express interest - just won't be so focused on it. Smile

Yesterday I was showing my second grade group how to do various things in PowerPoint. I was using the Smartboard (touchscreen) to show them how to do different things. At one point as I was looking around the room to see if the kids were following/understanding, I noticed one of the new boys touching his screen in the same spot he was supposed to click. Big Grin I quietly went over and told him that they didn't have touchscreens, but that he had to use the mouse. It was just so cute and sweet. Smile

Yesterday and today most of the staff at our school worked on setting up for the Christmas Dinner. Today we had teacher inservice in the morning (which included a presentation on suicide prevention - white youth led in % of attempted/completed suicide per year, while Native American youth came in a close second! Sad.) The afternoon was working on setup. In Santa's workshop we have 3 huge boxes full of beanie babies. It was really cute/funny - one of the beanie babies had a sign "Prom of 1988" or something like that. The 5th grade teacher assistant jokingly asked the 5th grade teacher when his prom was - and then when he saw the year, he said that he hadn't even been born then! Yikes, that sure made me feel old! (It was funny how into beanie babies two of the teachers seemed to be - they were making a game out of seeing how many of them they could correctly name - and were getting LOTS right.)

So, it looks like I might be making a trip out to the D.C. area President's Day weekend. All expenses paid. It is for the Ameri Corp program. Since this is my second year in the program, it is also my last chance to go. I wasn't planning on going due to my class I'm taking, but my principal talked to me today and sounded like she *really* wanted me to go. She told me that she thought I'd "be a really good representative for our school." So, I guess I'm going - will just have to make sure to find time to work on my class work while I'm there!

I also will have to see if a good friend of mine from high-school who lives near there can come see me. I haven't seen her since ... 1994? Yikes.

I'll also have an overnight trip into ABQ in March for that same seminar on good children's books I went to last year (only for 2013 books.) That will also be all expenses paid. Smile

I talked to my mom tonight and it sounds like I'm going to have some crazy days when I get to TX. For the wedding I'll be getting a mani/pedi, haircut/highlights and my makeup done. (I don't even own hardly any makeup anymore since I rarely wear lipstick and even more rarely mascara ... so for formal pics, I guess I should go for having my makeup done.) Then Saturday late afternoon my soon to be stepdad is taking me and the other out of town guests out to Olive Garden. (Yum!!!) Sunday will be the whirlwind of getting ready for the wedding. Then Monday I'll be taking one of the guests to the airport and returning a bunch of rentals ... and hopefully have time to work on classwork (if I can get an extended deadline for the previous week's work.)

I'm thinking of going to ABQ as soon as the Christmas program is over and staying in a hotel -- that would get me in to ABQ around 9:30 p.m. Then the next morning I would need to find my dress and if time, stop at the Schol Book Warehouse (Winter Sale - have about $60 in Schol dollars to spend.) That way I'd also be able to park my car at the hotel while I'm in TX for just $15. If I can't find a suitable dress here in big G next weekend, then I'll probably have to go this route. If I can, then I'll just go in the morning and hit the warehouse sale before my flight. (and then also need to check to see if I could still park my car at that hotel ...)

I stopped by the local mom and pop store this afternoon to pick up bananas and bread. If it was just bananas I needed, I would have made myself wait. But I needed bread to make my lunches for the next week ... I managed to get out for less than $15! I bought bananas, bread, two brownie mixes, 3 orange juice bottles (the 15oz kind - biggest they have), and a few other junky food stuff which will count towards my fun money. They didn't have egg salad sandwiches, otherwise I would have spent a good bit more.

I finally got the paperwork from the place that owns my car loan today. In it, it says that you can have a deductible of $1k on comprehensive/collision. Big Grin So I called my car insurance and changed my deductibles, thus saving me $30/6 months. I have to wait for the letter with my customer number before I can set up my online account with the credit union. I understand why they do it that way, but it is annoying. (I wanted to get it done and setup!!)

It's supposed to get really chilly here the next couple nights ... lows of 5 degrees or less. Brrr!!! But no snow in the forecast for the near future.

I finally watched my training video for the evaluating breakout session proposals this afternoon. It isn't too hard, and I'm looking forward to seeing what topics might possibly be included at the 2013 librarian conference. Smile

I received a $5 AGC from Swagbucks yesterday. So right now have about $60. I'm really going to try not to spend it for awhile. We have lots of new books in the library, so the money can just rest for awhile. Smile

Not a No Spender

December 5th, 2012 at 09:39 pm

Well I was going to try to make it to Dec 15 with no spending, but today the mid-school had a bake sale. Smile So I bought a rootbeer float for $.50 and gave them a $1 (no change.)

We are working on setting up for the Community Christmas Dinner which is this coming Saturday. Last year I was Mrs. Clause, but we're not having Mrs. Clause this year. Everybody who was here last year was surprised because the kids really got a kick out of it. Oh well. Frown I guess it is a money saving measure.

Tonight I had the pleasure of spending 2 1/2 hours (after staying at school til 5 setting up for Dinner) of "learning" about Google search, gmail and calendar. What did I learn that was new to me? How to make a label. I get to do it again next week, so hope there'll be *something* new for me.

I got a postcard from the credit union that took my car loan, but nothing else. I am going to try to call them tomorrow and figure out what is going on - why I haven't received any paperwork or emails yet to set up my payments.

I earned $1.43 last week with Gym Pact. Today my co-worker and I did our 30 minute walk after everyone left - on the school campus - because it was getting close to dark. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to complete my 4 walks for the week (and then would owe money!)

The same co-worker I mentioned wanted to set WiFi up at her home to run her phone on, but did not have her computer here yet. (She'd ran out of room in her car coming here.) So I took my netbook over - could not set it up with FireFox (which is the only browser on the netbook. The customer service lady I think thought I was a computer dummy when I insisted that NO there was no IE on my computer!) So instead I got my dad's laptop and brought that over - that one worked perfectly (has IE of course!) I'm letting her borrow it til her computer gets here.

I got my PenFed card in the mail yesterday. When I went to activate it, I saw they had an offer to change it to a different type of card. The current card offers 5% cashback on gas and no annual fee. The other card offered 5 pts on gas and 3 pts on groceries - but no cash back, only gift cards. The % and points worked out to be exactly the same (I checked the rewards out.) The problem I saw was that there was an asterisk by grocery store - which more than likely means that Walmart would NOT be counted. I was thinking until I saw that, that maybe that card could completely replace my MyPoints card. But nope - not if Walmart isn't considered a grocery store.

I thought it was weird that I received the card before finishing filling out the paperwork they'd mailed me... Also, I noticed that for the checking account there is a fee if you have less than a $500 balance .. so need to check that out. They pay less interest than ING, so I don't know that I really want $500 sitting there - although the 5% gas rewards might almost make it worth it.. (especially since I have money sitting in an account not earning anything at all in BofA that I could move over ..hmmm...)

Ok, it is way too late and I need some sleep.

I found a new program on Netflix the other night which I am LOVING. It had the prediction that I'd give it 5 stars, and I think they are right. It is called "Touch" and is about an 11 year old boy with autism who communicates with his dad via numbers. There's only 12 episodes which makes me sad because I've already watched 4.

Housework kind of day

December 2nd, 2012 at 08:21 pm

I got several loads of laundry washed, hung/dried AND put away (that doesn't always happen right away.) I also did several loads of dishes. Then I went and swept most of the house (still need to do some pre-work in the office before I can sweep in there.) Kari was getting anxious because most of the times I've gotten on a sweeping kick, it's been right before I leave her for a few days (or months...)
I don't remember if I mentioned this or not, but I got "paid" for my first week of the GymPact app. $2.30 for 5 workouts. Not bad. Smile I also found out that the My Weight app can connect with the Achieve Mint app and the Achieve Mint app connects to RunKeeper. (All free!) The long and short of it -- every day I enter my weight, I earn 40 points on Achieve Mint. Every time I do an activity tracked by RunKeeper, I also earn a varying amount of points. These points can eventually be traded in for Visa gift cards. So I'm kind of double dipping with RunKeeper. Big Grin (Plus it will motivate me to do more than my 4x a week pact I have with GymPact. I can and should do more - but wanted to give myself some flexibility.)

So far 1 non-spending day in December (today.) I'm debating on getting the bananas. It is hard for me to go in there and *just* get bananas. It probably wouldn't kill me to go without bananas for a couple weeks (til the 15th when I'll next go into town.) I have apples and oranges I need to eat .. so I could still have fruit ... just not bananas. It probably would end up saving me $20 to not step foot in there between now and my next grocery store run. Yep. I think I'll do without the bananas. Smile

I have a bit of a dilemma with my 6 month course vs work. We have our Christmas program on Wednesday, December 19. I have a 2 1/2 hour synchronous session scheduled for Wednesday, December 19. If I miss the synchronous session, I will have my grade docked. If I miss the performance ... well, I'll be missing the performance of my kids and I more than likely will be assigned some kind of job to do since I don't have one particular class I'm in charge of. In other words, it would probably be bad mojo with my principal and co-workers. I'm going to talk with my principal as soon as she gets back (her dad died on Monday.) Maybe there's a way to change the date - I'd thought it was going to be on the 20th until I saw the calendar from the mission office.
Always something.

I was debating about what I was going to do with my Kinders this week - then I got an email from a librarian blog I'm subscribed to. Big Grin I'm going to read them a non-fiction book about weather (which they're studying in Kinder class), have them draw a picture of something they found interesting, and then write their interesting fact on a sticky note. They'll then copy it onto their drawing. I'll then scan the pictures and upload them into this digital story website, and next week have them record themselves "reading" their writing. Big Grin Woot! Woot! That takes care of two weeks, and then it can be Christmas theme all the way! (Kinder is the hardest to plan for sometimes.)

I need to call the dealership where I bought my car tomorrow. I haven't received any information about my loan or the CU that took it yet. I'd really like to have that all set up - the sooner the better. Big Grin

Like a Ton of Bricks :(

December 1st, 2012 at 01:28 pm

Before I left for church this morning I decided to go through the mail I'd picked up yesterday. One of the items was from the Loma Linda Uni Hospital talking about how to handle the holidays after a loved one dying. They've sent a number of things in the past 5 months.

Then after church today our head elder came up to me and asked me, "How'd it go car shopping with your dad last week?" In my head a ton of answers surfaced, but I calmed myself by reminding myself that 1. the fact my dad died in June is most important to me - so people on the periphery are less likely to remember that fact, and 2. I'd told him that my family had vetoed my plan to buy a cheap car, so he may have interpreted "family" as "dad" (which definitely would've been the case if he'd still been alive.

I didn't want to embarrass him because there were other people around, but I also wasn't sure if I should clear it up. In the end the only answer I could come up with was, "No, a co-worker came with me last week to car shop." Then he asked what kind of car I got, etc.

I got out of there as soon as I could.

Then I turned my car stereo on. The first song that came on (the Christian radio station) was "One Last Christmas." I had never heard it before and don't know who the artist was, but the combination of all the above ... and I just lost it.

I've already been dreading my birthday coming up here knowing there'll not be any silly cards with my dad's messy scrawl or his phone call with his signature "singing". Last week when I was car shopping I felt like my dad was with me in a sense - I wore his train watch. I know if he'd been alive that he would've made every effort to have come help me with it. That's just who he was. Monday I went to put on the train watch and realized the battery was dead. Then the whole thing with my brother getting sick this week ...

You think you're dealing with things ok and it's not hurting as badly. Then stuff like this happens. I'm ok really, just feeling sad right now.

On a different note ...

I took my wallet out of my purse this past week to help me avoid spending temptations. It worked quite well - no spending the whole week (Saturday - Friday.) Today I had to pick up my prescription from Walgreens and planned to pick up a few groceries. When I got to Walgreen's I realized that I'd forgotten to put my wallet back in my purse! I had my debit card from BofA with me that I'd never used, so thought I'd try that. When I went to the counter, I found out that I had somehow or another signed up fro something called "express pay" and they had my CC info on file. I'm not really sure I like that, but it worked out for today.

I'll go to the mom and pop store tonight and pick up bananas and maybe some brownie mix. That'll be enough to make it through the next week and *really* force me to use my food stock.

Next weekend is our Christmas Dinner here. So I probably won't be able to make it to town at all next weekend. I have the feeling my grocery spending is going to be really low this month.