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Lazy Weekend

May 26th, 2013 at 07:37 pm

Haven't done much this weekend. Yesterday I went to church in the morning, but was so tired that I went straight home (didn't stay for potluck.) I slept pretty hard for a few hours, and then gave J a call (the lady I lived with for a few months two years ago.) She's a month out from her second knee surgery and is recovering pretty well from it. She was happy to hear about NE and I. Smile Then it was time for my weekly call to grandma. Pretty much same conversation per usual. Big Grin

I slept a bit more, then got up and caught up on about frugal forums (hadn't read in over a month!) Did some laundry too.

** Oh, I had to fill up before heading to church. I was on fumes again. Last tank was 34.4 mpg, even with the fast driving. $37.39 for 10.489 gallons

This morning I was supposed to go walking, but both people wimped out on me. I was going to make ableskebers for my two sometimes walking partners this morning, but shortly before heading over to Ns place to make them, I realized I didn't have buttermilk, good butter (all my tubs were dried out ...), salt or sugar!! So I had to go to the expensive mom and pop store and pick that stuff up (no buttermilk, but did get lemon juice --- didn't quite achieve the right results using rice milk ...)About $10. Ouch.

The first two batches didn't turn out great, but luckily by the third batch they were working out better. The ladies told me that it was my practice run for making them for NE. Smile (I hadn't made them in practically 3 years .. so was a little rusty.)

I redeemed swagbucks for a $15 AGC yesterday. Now have enough for my June 5 $5's.

Tomorrow I have a babysitting gig. The mom wrote me to let me know that her dh won't be going on the trip he was thinking about doing, but they'd like to spend some quality time together tomorrow. Smile

I can't seem to shake this tiredness, no matter how much I'm sleeping/lazing. I will be seeing my doctor again on Friday for retesting bloodwork (thyroid.) I'm hoping she can offer me some ideas on what is going on. Tired of being tired.

Almost forgot - got a call this pm from one of my walking partners about the loose neighborhood dog who always comes with us on our walks. She (the dog) has been accused of biting a child. Witnesses (all kids under ten ..) say that it was actually the child's dog that bit her after being sat on by the child ... but the child claims it was neighborhood dog. Frown Only consequence right now is that nd is going to have to be tied up all the time (which her owners have tried to do, but she constantly gets off the tie out.) The owner asked if we'd write a note to animal control stating that nd is NOT aggressive. She isn't - so I will be doing that.

Almost to the End of Second Year

May 23rd, 2013 at 08:16 pm

This week has been busy with end of the year activities and trying to recover all the checked out books (with one day left, still have 43 out!!)

I am still sad about my coworker leaving and my other coworker finding out about cancer, not to mention a third coworker who has decided to look for another job as well. Both of my walking partners may be gone next year. Frown However, a 3 hr Skype convo with NE and a sweet ecard the next morning, did a lot to lift my spirits. Smile

NE ... I knew he was a gem before, but he's showing himself to be a diamond. I had no idea what to expect with rekindling our relationship, but I am SO glad I jumped off the ledge and helped it along.

Today was field day. I got a bit of a sunburn supervising the Great Wall of China station (two kids stand in the middle of the playing field and try to catch all the other kids as they run back and forth.) It went pretty well from what I could see, and the kids had fun. TG our principal had told the kids yesterday that if they had books still out that they would miss one event for every book. At that time there were 30 kids with books still out! Today 22 kids had to sit out. I hated to do something so negative like that, but come on! It isn't like the kids aren't aware that the books belong to the library. I have a plan for next year which will hopefully alleviate this problem.

After work today I helped 3rd coworker scan a bunch of documents to apply for a different position. Then I went into big G and stopped at Walgreen's to pick up a thank you gift for my assistant. I ended up getting a few other things as well (of course.) About $24.xx or so altogether.

I had to get gas as well (both because I was running on fumes by the time I got to big G and because I'm taking the school nurse to the airport tomorrow.) I was truly on fumes - 10.458 gallons it took (at $3.49/gallon.) I had to switch pumps though because the first pump I was at wouldn't start fueling, even after I had one of the cashiers come out and look at it.

Well the past two nights the trailer has been very warm, almost uncomfortably. That's better though than last year where it became this way by the first week of May. I'm hopeful they'll set up the swamp coolers soon so I won't have to swelter too much. (I do have a fan, it just doesn't work that great.)

I am planning on taking it pretty easy until Tuesday. Then I'll have to go into uber prep mode for summer school. I'm totally refusing to spend any money on it this year. Just cannot do that again.

Home :D

May 14th, 2013 at 05:19 pm

I got back last night from my weekend adventure. Boy am I ever tired!!

The way to Colo Sprgs is pretty much a straight shot - 25 to 40. Unfortunately I ended up taking a "shortcut" which led me through the mountains of Taos, etc. on the way there. I was able to cut 30+ minutes off the drive by sticking to 25 to 40 on the way back. I am going to need to get cruise control installed in my car sooner than later though, otherwise that route is probably going to cause me to receive some speeding tickets sooner than later ...

(filled up w/gas a total of 3 times at a bit under $100 total)

Yes, I will be making the trip again, although this next time all the way to where NE lives. Big Grin We talked a lot about a lot of things and cleared the air about other things. Friday night a few hours after I arrived, we officially agreed that we were back together. We are both determined to be more open and forthcoming with any concerns or issues - this is especially on my part. So far, so good. Smile

We visited Pike's Peak, although we weren't able to get all the way to the top due to a recent snowstorm. It was quite beautiful, and even snowed for a short while. (It was outrageously expensive though - $12 per person just to drive the road!!) We also went through the Cave of the Winds. It was good, but I don't know if it was quite worth $18 pp for a 45 minute excursion. We also saw Iron Man 3 Big Grin -- It was his first 3D movie in a theater. ($12 pp!) I took care of the meals and outings, and he took care of the hotel. It was pretty even.

He's asked me to come spend a few weeks this summer with him in NE. It really makes a lot of sense. If he came here, he'd have to stay in a hotel, and would only be able to here for a few days at most. While if I go out there I can stay at his place and stay for a few weeks. The longest we'd ever had together in person previously was about a week, so it'd be good to have some length of time in the same zipcode!!

I figure I can bring my desktop and some planning books and work on the website/activities, lessons and Swagbucks while he's at work. That way I'll still get stuff done. Maybe I can also check out the local university library for book ideas, etc. I'm thinking of taking Kari .. it'll be a test to see if she can get along with other cats. He has 5 (two of whom he had when were together before.)(Will need to get some kind of sleep aid/relaxing agent for Kari. She can barely tolerate a 30 minute drive - can't imagine how overly stressed she'd be with a 16 hr one!!)

He was so sweet. Smile The first time he asked me to be his gf back in 2005, he met me with a rose. I'd mentioned to him in an email that I still had that rose (dried.) He gave me a new rose this weekend. Roses aren't my favorite flowers (snapdragons are) but they are still a special flower. Smile

My car ran with no problem (other than not having a lot of horsepower on some of the mountain highways.) I listened to my music off my phone via the mp3 plugin on my radio most of the way there and back. It was SO nice. Big Grin

When I got back here, there had been some drama due to a decision made by the mission office/principal. Of 50 staff members who said they were coming to a barbeque (staff appreciation) only 20 came. This was some lame protest. Ugh. I'm actually kind of glad now that I wasn't here, it would have just made me sad.

Oh! I also got a cool email from the lady who's asked me to babysit her girls a number of times this year. She is needing someone to take the girls to and from summer school because her mother in law is doing poorly and her husband is going to be going out to be with her for a few weeks. She told me that she'd prefer to have me do it over any other babysitter in the area. Smile That made me feel pretty darn good.

The yearbooks are selling pretty well - nearly 40 sold out of 76. So maybe we'll be rid of most of them ... (Somehow some of the staff/teachers got the idea that they get a yearbook for free. I have NO idea how they got that idea - didn't last year!! NE got to hear me be annoyed at the idea when I got the texts from my asst. about the whole thing. He was impressed at how seriously I took my job. Smile )

I forgot to take a camera with me to take pictures. Luckily NE took his. He's going to email me the pics we took. It was funny thinking back to 2005 - he'd taken pics back then too (and he had kept them! He brought them along to show me.) Only back then he sent me copies of the photos after having them developed, and now they can just be emailed.

I am so tired - haven't got much sleep this past week or so. Either too excited/anxious, too much to talk about, or overtired. I need to give my brother a call, as well as my aunt - they both want updates. Smile Probably will hit the hay as soon as I'm done with those calls. (Am going to attempt to catch up on blogs here too.)

Making plans and spending money

May 4th, 2013 at 10:02 pm

This coming weekend will be doing Pike's Peak and Cave of the Winds for sure, and perhaps something else.

NE found a hotel for $40/night which is within walking distance of Old Colorado Springs. When NE first mentioned CS as a location, I thought the name sounded familiar, but wasn't sure why. After reading some of the hotel reviews and seeing the name Old CS, I am thinking that it may be near where I attended a Pathfinder Camporee (similar to Boy/Girl Scouts) in 1985. My favorite memories from that camporee include seeing the "Huxtable" kids, the obstacle course, seeing an old friend from Iowa, and walking around in the downtown area of the nearby town - where I found an awesome fancy hat (but didn't buy). I also lost a camera there. If it is the same place, I wonder if the hat shop is still there? Big Grin

(At first NE found one for $70/night and I thought I could find a cabin or something at a KOA campground or the like for less. But everything I was finding started in the $90 range. Neither of us have any camping gear, so that wasn't an option either.)

I got a pedicure on Friday afternoon. The lady doing it asked me if I wanted her to use the slougher (not sure of exact term, thing that takes off dead skin). I told her that was the main reason I was going for a pedicure!! Wink With tip, it cost $33!!! I usually don't pay more than $30 for a mani & pedi combined. If I do this again, I'll have to do more research on other places (with hopefully better prices!)

I stopped at the grocery store afterwards and picked up 5 items - bananas, orange juice, treat, and two other things I can't remember. $15.xx (forgot my savings card for Safeway)

I also had to fill up with gas - $33.xx. According to my Gas Cubby app I got 34.2 mpg this last tank. Nice. Smile

I was SO tired this afternoon when I got back from church that I took a 4 hour nap. I didn't really want to get up, but I knew I needed to if I was going to get a good nights sleep.

Funny Smile When I was walking with my two co-workers this morning, one of them told me that the preschool director (who is a Sister) had asked her about how my Sabbath works - because she'd seen me out walking at 9am on the past 4 or 5 Saturdays. My coworker let her know that my church service doesn't start til 11:30, so I have plenty of time in the morning for a walk! (Just a taste of what it's like living in a neighborhood where 30+% of the residents are co-workers, and about 30% of the student population are also residents.)
Tomorrow I'll be volunteering at the free portrait event at my church in the afternoon, and also need to put together 4 days worth of morning worship activities (my 3rd morning breakfast/worship duty this year.)

I also need to find a place that details cars in big G (and work on getting my car cleaned out ..) Smile

Six days. Big Grin

Tired, etc.

March 11th, 2013 at 07:35 pm

Well I knew better than posting without copying first ... Ugh!

At any rate today was a long, busy day. I had three extra periods of having kids - 4th grade girls came in to check in/out books; journalism kids came in to work on yearbook (per my begging their teachers...), and 5th grade came in and did the photo study presentations (which greatly impressed our principal as well as the parents of a new potential student who was visiting.)

I didn't get much sleep last night thanks to my tooth/teeth/sinuses/whatever it is acting up again. Hoping to have a few minutes to call and get doctor/dentist appointments tomorrow.

Am seriously considering quitting 6 month cohort program. I already have earned 6 credits and one certificate, and the electives I can finish this summer for another 9 credits. By quitting now I'd lose out on 3 credits and one certificate. But I'd also lose a lot of stress and gain back my evenings.

Yearbook deadline is on the 18th, and there is still a LONG ways to go. This Thursday we're having a library discard book sale (same day as p/t conferences.) I just have no energy to try to catch up with last weeks assignments, or deal with this weeks 2 1/2 hr webinar and whatever assignments will go along with that ... then of course doing the final project (which I don't have much done on at all.)


Last night I did something I'd been thinking about for a long, long time. I wasn't sure if it was a good thing to do or not, but it seems to have opened up a new, more open line of communication. We'll see I guess.

On Sunday I went to town and spent my $15 in coupons, plus another $20 at Safeway. Looking at the receipt later I realized that I was supposed to have spent at least $75 to use the $10 coupon ... oops!

On the way back I spent some time with my pastor's pets - they're out of town for a week. Thankfully they only asked me to check on them Sunday and Friday, otherwise I might have freaked out. (not really, but I do think I would have had to tell them no.)

Ok, trying to post again. Smile

New Snowflake Generator, etc

March 2nd, 2013 at 09:44 am

I don't know if there is a version for Android phones/tablets, but I discovered a new app which allows you to earn giftcards/paypal cash. It is called App Trailers. I downloaded it last night and already redeemed and received a $1 AGC! All you have to do is watch short videos advertising various phone apps, or tv show trailers, etc.

Nice Smile I haven't seen a way to use / get a referral code, but I thought some of you might be interested. Smile

I have cashed in for my first 4 AGC's from Swagbucks. Tomorrow I'll get my 5th one, and probably a $25 one as well. That will give me $50 in AGC money just from SB this month. Smile I'll have around 800 leftover towards April's giftcards.

I'd like to see if I can earn enough to get $40 of gift cards in April. (This month I was able to do a large deal, but I can't count on that happening too often.)

Yesterday I went into town and spent $80 at Safeway. $23 of that was spent on Morningstar products. There was a deal - spend $20 on certain freezer aisle products, and get $5.00 coupon towards your next order. So, I got that, plus another $10 off coupon and a $.50 coupon for Stouffer's (I love their spinach souffle.) It wasn't all groceries, I also got asprin, cat food, and a birthday card.

I'm thinking of going back on Friday and if the same deal is still on, buying another $20 worth of Morningstar products (they have the corn dogs!!) which would only really cost me $5... Hmm... Will have to make sure I have enough freezer space.

The only reason I went to Safeway instead of Walmart is because I realized that the 5% grocery deal with Chase probably doesn't include Walmart... oops. I used 3 coupons I printed from SBs - asprin, cat food, and some snack food. I probably would have done better on some of these deals at Walmart, but I also wouldn't have gotten the corn dogs or the $15.50 in coupons!!

I also filled up my car - $3.39/gallon. According to my gas buddy app, my last tank gave me 32.9 miles/gallon. Not bad at all. Smile

I am so glad it is the weekend! It was a long week. I was kind of sad on Thursday afternoon because I had my last technology club session (I'll be in ABQ next Thursday, and then the following Thursday is PT Conferences .. and then no more after school activities.)

I'm mostly looking forward to the book seminar I'll be going to on Thursday. The seminar itself I'm majorly looking forward to, it's just all the lesson plans I'm going to have to leave for the assistants and wondering if they'll actually even do them!!

I'm debating the wisdom of sending the $2000 from my refunds straight to my car loan. I'm thinking about holding it out as an emergency fund, which I could then use to send to the car loan in June or July if I see that everything appears to be stable here. I've just been hearing some unsettling rumors about the finances here ... I'm still going to do at least a double payment, but I think I'll be holding off on sending anymore huge extra payments. I'll still have the money to send if everything still looks good, but I think it would help me sleep a little better knowing I have a good stash in cash .. just in case.

$$ Spendy Day

January 19th, 2013 at 08:59 pm

Today on the way into town for church, my gas indicator reached the final little cell and started blinking about 12 miles from the first exit with a good gas station. I got there, and filled up for $2.95/gallon (much better than the $3.09/gallon in my mini town, but NOT better than the $2.82/gallon I saw on the road to church later!!) ~$31.xx -- first fill up in January Smile

After church I debated whether I should hold off on my grocery shopping til Sunday, or go ahead with it. I figured all I was going to pick up was some OJ and a few treats, so not worth making a second trip.

Umm.... $90 later .... Admittedly, $34 of that figure was replacement shoes for my good dress winter shoes which were falling apart .. but still ... that's a lot of OJ and treats. (OJ, bread, bananas, granola bars, junk food, sweet potatoes, etc...) This will of course be my only grocery trip for January, other than visiting the small mom and pop place in mini town for bananas (and egg salad sandwiches when they're in stock!)

Next up was Walgreen's to get my prescription. I contemplated going inside so I could pick up a jar of Nutella (something I wanted at Walmart, but the only small jar they had had a cracked lid - nope!) However, I decided I'd got enough junky food and did not need to spend any more money on food. So ... $24 for the prescription.

Then tonight I got an email from Choice Privileges which reminded me that I needed to decide whether I was going to stay in a hotel on the 14th before heading out to Baltimore, or hoof it out the morning of the 15th. Looking at the time of my morning flight -- 10:45, and thinking about leaving the house around 6 a.m. .... and then paying $24 to park my car.. I decided to see what I could come up with for a hotel.

I found a hotel with airport shuttle service, free Wi-Fi, a very good comp. breakfast, and Park & Fly service for a total of approximately $60. I think it's the same place I've stayed at before, but it has changed its name for whatever reason. This way I'll have a good nights sleep, a good breakfast, and not have to worry about parking in a tight space in one of those shuttle lots. (Parking was a nightmare last time - I had to have someone guide me into the space .. and I have a tiny car.)

If I leave right after my last class on Thursday, I can be in ABQ by 5 at the latest, and maybe enjoy a nice dinner somewhere (esp. somewhere that can't be found in big G!)

I almost have enough SBs for my 5th $5 AGC this month. I have met the goal now 19/19 days. My plan is to hit the goal 31/31. This will give me ample SBs to go into Feb with, esp. since for 5 days the most I'll be able to get is with the mobile SBTV app and a few search wins.

My $10 from GymPact hit my Paypal account. I've emailed them to ask for a way to add a referral link into blog posts rather than have to post it on a person's FB wall. So far, I haven't heard back.

All of us teachers were given notice - get our NM certification transfers started or completed ... or no new contract. Gulp. I keep procrastinating on doing this .. but must stop! I doubt the NM ed dept. will be open on Monday. I've tried to figure out if I'll still have my TX licenses in addition, or if those will be gone? I don't see why I'd lose the TX licensees ... but stranger things do happen - esp. in education.

I am GLAD for this 3 day weekend. I know we've only been back in school for two weeks (and not even that, with a snow day and two two-hour delays ...) but I am READY for the extra time off. (Of course, I *really* need to use that time wisely - i.e. working on my electives assignments and my final project ... time is moving fast!)

Almost forgot!

I signed up with this presentation site a month or so ago thinking I might be able to use it as part of my final project. Tonight I got an email from them saying that if I create a presentation with certain details, that I will be given a $50 AGC!!!! It has to be made by 1/23rd. It is only for new users who receive the email, so I don't know if anyone else could get the same email, but if your interested in trying ... here's the website: presentation tube net

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

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.

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.

Good Money News :)

September 20th, 2012 at 08:23 pm

This afternoon I went to the dentist for my second of two fillings. It went quickly, and when I went up front to pay, I got a nice surprise. I was fully expecting to pay upwards of $90. I was charged only $35! When I asked about it, I was told that I actually had a credit from my first filling. So .. I guess the new dental plan (which our school switched to this year) is pretty good for fillings. Smile

I moved the extra money from my Medical category to groceries and to car repayment. After the dentist, I went grocery shopping - I spent $38.xx. Some of what I got was stocking up type things - such as 3 cartons of Rice Dream (Enriched), which my other Walmart in big G had been completely out of last week - and 2 boxes of my after school snack granola bars, which for whatever odd reason were $.25 cheaper in small G's Walmart. I forgot to get more hummus (which I've been using in my salads this week - makes salad SO much more palatable!) and orange juice. I'm going to try to make what I have just last til next Friday.

I also did my first fill-up today for September - $3.65/gallon - total of $32.88 (not a full tank's worth ~8 gallons.)

I signed up for the Citi Forward Netflix deal. I had planned on cancelling Netflix at the end of September because I didn't think I'd use it enough to justify the expense in the next 6 months. But if I am getting it essentially for free ... well then it sure will be nice to still have available for when I need a break from studying. Plus, once my course is finished, it will equal roughly $51 extra to my savings (6 months @ $8.53.) Every little bit helps. (I noticed that their 5% rewards are geared towards restaurants - since I don't eat out very often, that probably won't be much use for me.)

**I just have to make sure I don't start ANY tv series on Netflix until my course is over. Movies are a one-time thing, tv series I have this obsessive need to watch episode after episode to see *everything* in as short a time as possible ...)

When I decided to *not* upgrade my iPhone 3GS, I moved the majority of the tech fund money to my car replacement fund. (I left enough to get a good case/cover for the iPad.) I also decided to up my ROTH savings to $200/mo, and reduce my Fun Money fund to $20/mo (for most months, except my birthday month. Big Grin )

I also realized today that even though my ed award money (which is paying for my 6 month course/iPad) is taxable income, I *may* qualify for the Hope tax credit (I think that's the one.) So .. it may not be such a big bite after all. Smile

Ok, off to watch more episodes of Ocean Girl. Big Grin (about 6 left I think)

Thinking (Ramblings)

September 15th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

After posting in one of the retirement savings threads on the forum, it got me rethinking some things.

There aren't a lot of ways I can cut back on expenses, but I think there are some things I can do to cut back a little as well as help myself if for some reason I become unemployed again.

So .... I think I have decided to stick with my current phone and not upgrade. I had found a good case for the 4S on amazon for $6, so the total cost of upgrading would be $106. However, that would lock me in to a new two-year contract. That's not something that would bother me generally, but with the iffy situation here with the sewer system ... as much as I'd absolutely HATE to do it, I probably should keep the option open of downgrading from my current phone plan to a prepaid plan. (I'm not sure that a prepaid would really save me all that much, but even $20/mo if I have no income coming in would be better than nothing.)

If my current phone really starts acting up on me, then I might look into seeing about buying an unlocked phone from Ebay, etc., or ... see if my brother would sell me his phone (he has to wait til March to upgrade.) Either way, I'd still not have to get locked into a new contract, so if the worst happens, I could downgrade my plan.

I've also decided that I'm NOT going to pay for Hulu +. I waste enough time as it is with Netflix streaming, and the one main show I'd like to watch on Hulu (DWTS) will be available for free at some point. I just will have to be patient. Also, once I start the 6 month program, I'll probably go ahead and cancel Netflix until the program is over at least. My free time will be focused on classes and stuff for school/work.


I was thinking about selling enough of the stocks I have in the taxable account to finish out maxing my IRA (traditional, so I could rebuy the same stock, only in the non-taxable for now account) for this year, and then saving what I'd normally put in to add next year. This was of course when the particular stock was down nearly $3 below what it was June 6 (when my dad died.) So it would have been a capital loss (which would have netted me some extra tax refund money, which could have also been put back into Roth/Trad IRA's next year ...) But I waited too long to do more than think about doing this. If I sold now, it would be a small capital gain instead.
(If I even know what I'm talking about here ...)

Today was very cold. When I finally got up around 10:30 a.m. it was 39 degrees out. It warmed up some by the afternoon, but not much. I have the feeling that I'll be putting my sandals away very soon, and we'll have our first frost, if not first snow shortly.

Looking on Amazon for iPhone/iPad stuff is very very dangerous. I found a $40 case/stand which I think will be quite good for the iPad (which I'm getting with the 6 month course) especially since I'm planning on letting the students in the library use it (for educational purposes of course!) I also found an awesome portable projector unit which can be used with either iPhone or iPad ...droollllll.... ($200) It would be so nice to have a way to do presentations without *having* to be in the computer lab ... Like I said, dangerous surfing.

Today is my grandma's 91st birthday. She and her daughter are in Hawaii (they got there on Thursday and will stay for two weeks - staying at a timeshare unit owned by one of her sons and his wife.) I talked with her today and she sounded like she was having a good time - lots of walking. Big Grin

I really need to work on cutting my grocery costs. That could be one area that I could use to add more to my savings (for new to me car.) Spending $55 on Friday was really ridiculous - unless I can make it two weeks (other than fruit ...) And of course if I actually *use* everything I bought *before* it goes bad. (I bought fresh asparagus, humus, spinach mix, bag of pre-cut butternut squash ... have a history of fresh asparagus rotting before being used --- quick easy ways to prepare would be great...) It of course didn't help that the store brand OJ was all out, so I had to go with the name brand (extra $1.25.)

Buying frozen fruit is also quite expensive ... but with only the freezer above my fridge, I don't know that I could freeze enough fruit in season to really offset the amount of frozen fruit I'd want for smoothies.... Maybe I should look into getting a smallish free standing freezer?

I need to get pro-active about listing some books on Ebay (maybe half.com??) to see if I can get back any of the money I spent this past summer on books for summer school. Most of them were not even used ...Frown Some of the teacher resource books might sell too .. eventually.

Tomorrow I need to make sure I have everything lined up for the coming week at school, and then maybe get myself to do some much needed housework - possibly even make a casserole or something.

Btw - I've asked this before (and googled it as well) but ... if I cook 4 or 5 sweet potatoes in foil in the oven, what/how can I do to keep them good over a period of 4 or 5 days?? I've heard that bacteria grows fast in wrapped cooked potatoes - but that there is a way to prevent it - just haven't been able to figure out what that is yet. Any suggestions??

Since I rode with people yesterday, and ended up skipping church today, I am probably going to end up with excess gas budget money this month. I'll put the first $20 of it back to tithe (since I took it out of tithe to cover my extra gas from last month for taking care of pastor's dog/cat) and then whatever's left will need to go to the medical category (to help cover the second filling I'll be getting on Thursday.)

Ok, enough rambling about .. better go hit some zzzz's.

Sick, Debating Options

August 31st, 2012 at 06:55 pm

This week wasn't that great of a one for me. The internet at school was still being persnickety and I got only maybe 40% of what I'd planned to do with the kids done. Then Wednesday I started feeling sick - scratchy throat and body aches - by Thursday morning I realized I had to take the day off. I'm still not feeling too great, but did manage to do school today. So thankful for the long weekend!

I was frustrated that things didn't work out for me to start the Graduate Academic Certificate this semester that I wanted to do. However, it may turn out to be a good thing. I have found a 6-month online program through Fresno Pacific University where you are able to earn 18 credits for a total cost of about $3750. For one of the classes you are required to have either an iPad or and Android tablet (included in the cost.) I checked, and the costs would be covered by my Americ*orps money. This would leave me with approximately $7500 left (after this coming year's stipend) to pursue other continuing ed courses.

This 6 month program would start in October and finish in March - I'd have to work through all the holidays. But in the end, I'd have 18 credits and one or two technology certificates. These certificates *could* qualify me to teach online classes. If I did this, then I think I probably would need to forego any holiday traveling this year.

I think I still would go for the GAC I was looking at doing at my alma mater, but I would put it off til next school year. My AmCorps stipends wouldn't fully cover the GAC after paying for this 18 credit course, but it would cover enough that I could save up for the rest by the time I'd need it.

I also looked into the possibility of getting a second Masters in technology. The program I looked at however told me the cost for an out of state person would be $11k for 9 semester credits. The MA is 31 credits. As helpful as I think that might be in the long run, I can't see putting that much money out for a second Master's - especially since my stipends would only pay for the first 9 credits!!

If I stay here, then no matter what kind of extra certificates I get or degrees, my pay will remain the same (+1% raise every year...) However, the technology 6 month course could give me the possibility of making extra income by teaching a course per semester online. I have my Master's, and if I had the extra certification, that might be enough to be noticed by one of those programs.

So... what do y'all think? Should I do the 6 month consortium (and get the iPad?) Or, should I wait til next semester and see if my alma mater has it's act together on the GAC program I wanted to start? The out of pocket difference I think would be around $4k if I did *both* the 6 month/18 credit consortium and then did the GAC program.

One way or the other, I *do* need to get some continuing education credits soon. I have 4 years left on my certificate before needing to renew it.


I'm looking forward to 3 days off. I hate to say it, but I'm not enjoying my job as much this year so far as I did last year. Mostly due to internet frustrations I think.

Question - If a kid complains that there aren't any books to check out, and then later complains that computer class is boring (6th grade girl), would it be a totally inappropriate response to say - "Ok, you don't have to check out any books or do the computer class activities - go back to your classroom and I'm sure your teacher can find work for you to do." --- I'm sure the child in question is mostly saying this to try to get under my skin .. I'd kind of like to call her on it (i.e. call her bluff, if that's what it is.) I'd check with her teacher first of course, and make sure that whatever she did when she went back to the classroom was as boring as all get out - to get the point across. I'm just not sure if I'm letting this comment get to me more so than usual because of how completely frustrated I am with the internet at school right now, or if this is something I should really call this child on. (Today I essentially pretended I didn't hear it.)

Bought groceries, gas and stopped at Sonic today. Also stopped at Walgreens to get my prescription which I called in last night - only to be told that they were out of stock and had no record of me calling in!!!!! So they transferred my prescription to Walmart where I picked it up (and finally returned the car charger!)

Can't Think of a Title :)

August 10th, 2012 at 07:55 pm

Sorry, I just can't think of a title.

Yesterday I put in another full day at the library. I stopped at 5 p.m., went home and grabbed a bite, then headed up to big G to attend a small group meeting (my pastor/his wife, another couple and myself were the only ones in attendance.)

I spoke with the newbie teachers during lunch. I really should've made an outline of what I wanted to cover - I felt like I was all over the place. But today one of the other teachers who also was intro'ing herself told me that she thought I'd done really well. So, who knows.

My principal did something really thoughtful for me. At the lunch she had bought Blimpie subs for everyone, and she bought a veggie sub especially with me in mind. At the oil and gas company where I was for 3 years, we had free lunches many, many times, and very very rarely did they ever do anything to acknowledge that my eating preferences were different.

After my small group meeting, I went grocery shopping. I was nearly 9 p.m. when I started and I was already SO sleepy.

I made it out for $24.99:
bananas, oranges, diced butternut squash, carrot shreds, Kashi ceral, Kashi frozen spinach/pasta meal, etc.

I also filled up with gas ($32.xx). My tank of gas lasted for 2 1/2 trips to big G, at an average of 30.2 mpg.

Today I had my assistant work with me for the first time!! She got a lot accomplished.

I also had the chance to talk with the person who took over lead mid-school teacher for summer school. He told me that the kids really had a blast, and that there were way more ideas than there was time to do them in. He also told me that one of the books I'd bought for them to read had some questionable language/scene description about two chapters into it - so they scrapped that book and went with the two others. He showed me the section ... oops. The reviews I read didn't mention anything about this - and it was recommended by middle school librarians and the school library journal!! It doesn't sound like there was any backlash from parents about it, so that is good. All the books still look brand new, so I hope that I can sell them for most of what I paid.

This morning after I finished my 45 minute run Smile I went into the office and saw the maintenance man. When I'd come in I'd found the lights and swamp cooler already on, so I wanted to tell him about that. When I said, "Good Morning!", he nearly jumped out of his skin. I apologized profusely. I really thought that he knew I was in the building since he'd seen my car parked out there before and found me in the gym ... Later I found out from AL that our maintenance guys had supposedly been "seeing" someone/something in the gym/chapel, so that may have contributed to his edginess.

I am so glad that I can take the next 24 hours off without any guilt. My throat was feeling scratchy today and I really just wanted to go home, but had so much to do. Tomorrow I'll be sleeping in, going to church, staying for potluck, and then probably go sing at the nursing home. Then I will probably come home and take a good long nap!

Sunday I plan to do a 90 minute run/walk. I think I can do it. Next Sunday my brother is doing his tri-athalon and I want to do a 2-hr run/walk around the same time he's doing his event - so to kind of be in tandem. Smile

I've been watching an episode of EH: Weight Loss edition most nights this week. Today I watched an episode where a man that weighed 493lbs got down to 313lbs in 6 months and completed a tri-athalon in 4:20. Seriously, if these people can do some of the things they show, then I sure can push my body to do more as well! Chris (the trainer on the show) constantly talks about how it is all about mind over body. If your mind believes you can do something, your body will comply no matter how difficult.

August NSDs: 5/10

Cashed in for $5 AGC from SBs.

Car's Finished! Groceries, Doctor, Kari

August 3rd, 2012 at 07:41 pm

All in all with labor, parts and tax, it cost 616.xx to change the timing belt, replace the pulley, and replace the drive shaft. I was without a car for 3 days which was interesting .. I had planned on going into the library/school today after my car was finished .. but it wasn't finished until nearly 4 p.m. I'm just glad to have it done. Smile

I did my grocery shopping today.

I bought:

Groceries = $34.70
large container of baby spinach
7 bananas
3 oranges
6 apples
a bunch (is that the proper term?) of asparagus
a frozen Kashi meal of whole wheat pasta/spinach/artichoke/beans
a bag of milled flaxseed
a box of Kashi Go-Lean cereal
a 12 pk of Fiber One brownies
a bag of green grapes
a tub of Smart Balance Omega 3 butter

Kari budget --- $13.71
a door hanging scratching post
a bag of cat food

Misc. budget -- $23.76
Car charger (will probably return - just want to test the cig lighter to see if it works or not)
A pack of colored pens

My grocery budget for this week doesn't have much left (I'm trying to keep it to $40 or less per week) but as long as I actually eat what I purchased before it goes bad, I'm okay with that. Smile

I am considering taking any desert type purchases out of my fun money category instead of groceries. If the bulk of my grocery money is spent on produce, then I won't have much left over for the non-healthy stuff, so that may work out fine. Smile

Tonight for supper I steamed half the bag of spinach I purchased on Monday. I hadn't opened it all week ... ooops! I also microwaved the bag of cut up butternut squash. Then I microwaved the Kashi dinner and mixed all of it in one large dish. It was really pretty good (and helped to not let the spinach or squash go to waste!!)

I'll probably steam the remainder of the spinach for supper tomorrow night (and maybe have an eggplant patty with it from my freezer.) MMMM.... Smile

I really don't like the medical clinic here. I don't know that going to someplace in big G would be any better, at least not better enough to make a 35+ one way drive worth it. I was supposed to *just* get bloodwork done today (checking thyroid.) When I was taken back they weighed me as usual (down 5lbs since last doctor visit) and then the NP took me into one of the doctor's exam rooms. ??? She took my blood-pressure (which was on the rather high-side, rather unusual for me) and then told me the doctor would be with me in a few minutes, then she'd take my blood.

Remember, all I was supposed to be there for was bloodwork!! The doctor comes in and asks me if this was the first time she was seeing me. Mouth drop. This is the same lady I saw back in February, and then the office denied refilling my prescription a few weeks later because I hadn't been seen by this doctor. Ugh!!

She asks me some various questions, and then tells me that she's going to have my blood tested for diabetes as well - due to my weight. I can understand where she is coming from, and probably not a bad idea to check that again -- but not one word of acknowledgement that I had *lost weight* since my last visit? I don't know, I guess it just rubbed me the wrong way.

So I got my blood drawn (first time stuck, thankfully!) Then I went to the receptionist to pay - but apparently there was no co-pay (or they just didn't charge me one?) I had to tell her that I had a balance due (I'd gone in to pay it before leaving for CA, but no one was in the office.)

So ... $13.17 Medical

Kari was attacking my feet again today. I got really fed up, and decided to see what options there are in big G. I called several places, and made an appointment for Monday afternoon with the one that actually had a live person answer. I told them that I needed to find someone who could trim Kari's claws *without* putting her under. If they can do that, then they'll have my business probably once every six weeks or so. (They charge $10 + tax.) It's worth every penny of that to me if they can do it.

I was thinking of going to see a movie on Sunday (Wimpy Kid probably ...) but since I didn't get into the library/school today, I should do that on Sunday. It'll save gas money and maybe a better movie will come out that I can use my fun money for this month. Smile

August NSD's - 2/3

Thanks MEC! Interesting Day so far (Car). August Budget

July 31st, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I went over to the school today to check my mail and see what if anything was happening. To my surprise, I received a card from My English Castle. Big Grin I guess I've given enough clues for someone to figure out the name of the school I'm at (not that there's many in this neck of the woods ...or should I say, desert?) Thank you MEC, that was very thoughtful.

This morning I used my elliptical for the first time since moving here. Blush I managed to make it 30 minutes - the little computer on it said I'd gone 4.3 miles, but ... I kind of find that hard to believe.

Kari was slightly scared of the machine, but was also very interested, so kept coming near it. Thankfully not near enough to get hit though!

Last night I was really wanting to eat some ice cream I have in my freezer. Instead, I ate a banana!

This morning I took my car over to the place my co-worker recommended. I asked them to go over it with a fine tooth comb and see if there was anything they thought was a possible problem (safety wise.) They spent a good two hours on it! The end result was that they told me that my car looks like it is in good shape - they didn't see any potential problems.

So ... that is now two mechanics/places that have told me the same thing. Neither of them mentioned anything about the things holding the engine in - so I'm not sure what to make of that.

I also asked for an estimate of how much to change out the timing belt/water pump. $300!!! Including labor!! (I really thought it would be closer to $8 or 900 - at the dealership they charged me $1100 back in 2003/4.) I also asked them how much it would cost to fix my cig lighter. $10 - changed the fuse. Big Grin Now I just have to find my car charger (if I still even have it...)I also asked about fixing the windshield wiper - that would be $90, so I passed on it. (It only works on two speeds - medium and fast.)

They charged me $20 for the fuse and tightening my a/c belt plus the two-hours of looking over my car. I thought that was very reasonable. I'm going to take it back tomorrow to get the timing belt changed.

In case you haven't guessed already, I have decided to take a chance on getting another year out of my car. Big Grin

Tithing $135.00
Offering $15.00
Phone $75.00
Internet $30.00
Netflix $9.00
Food $160.00
Auto Fuel $90.00
Fun Money $40.00
Medical/Dental $100.00
Clothing $10.00
Household/Misc. $30.00
Car Ins. $12.00
Life Ins. $16.00
Renter's Ins. $14.00
Gifts/Christmas $15.00
Professional $15.00
Kari (CAT) $25.00
Car Savings
Vacation $50.00
ROTH $100.00
EF $20.00

Most of these categories will stay the same going forward, except:

Medical/Dental -- I have a Dentist appt. and a blood draw this month. Normally this would be $50/mo

Car Savings: Should be closer to $388/mo.

ROTH - This is what I have been doing, but starting next month I plan to increase it to $150/mo.

EF - I'm mostly concentrating on my car savings right now, but going forward this will be $50/mo.

Car/Life/Renter's are all paid either annually or 2x a year.

Today's Spending:

Car Stuff: $20
Auto Fuel: $31.71 (will come out of August's budget - I was on fumes otherwise I would have waited til tomorrow.)

I am seriously loving YNAB 4! I entered my transactions on my phone at the gas station and the auto place. When I got home, they were both already updated on my desktop version. Big Grin Also, it is a lot simpler now to copy and paste my budget numbers now. So Yay! Great job Jesse!!

Summer! Revamping budget ... again ... Short trip

May 26th, 2012 at 06:53 pm

Yesterday was the last day of school. Yay! Big Grin Wah! Frown I am happy for the break, and the chance to get a lot of projects done in the library on my relaxed schedule (i.e. not at crack of morning), but I am going to miss the teachers who have left for other pastures. They mostly are the ones I hung around with and did things with this past year. Frown

One of the new hires seems like she might be someone I could get along with, so I am somewhat hopeful. (Although she won't be here til August.)


Today at church we had a guest speaker. He was really good. One quote I especially liked was, "God does not push or pull people, he draws them in." I need to remember that when it comes to various people in my life.


So ... I have decided to do my budget a little differently. I divided my categories into two sections - The MUSTS and The Fluctuators. Included in the MUSTS is a Car Payment category an EF category and a Roth category. I then created a "loan" of $10,000 for my car. Using my total savings, I "paid" off $2000 of the loan, then subtracted another $2000 (from summer school) and then finally divided the remaining $6000 into 14 payments. This way I will have my car (mostly) funded by September, 2013. (My goal is to purchase my next car in October - end of month/fiscal year - purchase last year's model.)

Then I changed my EF goal to $2500, subtracted the amount I have right now in my BOFA account, and divided the remainder by 6.

Next I figured out how much I'd need to send to my ROTH each month to have $1800 sent by December, and divided that by 6.

After allocating money to the other MUSTS, the remainder goes into an unbudgeted slush fund which will be used to fund the Fluctuators. At the end of each month (by the 2nd) half of anything left in the slush fund will go to the car payment category.

I am going to treat the car "loan" as a real loan (minus interest). If I *really* had a loan, I'd be throwing everything I had at it till it was paid off ... so I'm hoping that same strategy will work here. Smile

Will see. Big Grin

I've bought two Groupons recently - one for a 2 hour horseback ride and one for a Trolley tour of ABQ. In total, they cost $26. My grandma when she learned of these purchases and that I was planning on doing it in one day, insisted on sending me money to make it an overnight stay and a relaxing trip.

So ... I need to call the horse ranch to make sure, but I am thinking of going out Thursday morning for the horseback ride, maybe take in a museum or see if I can find the ABC (Adventist Book Center which sells vege meat products), spend the night at a hotel, do the trolley ride Friday morning (late!) do a Costco run and come back home. My Grandma gave me enough money for a nice hotel AND a meal out, so I might do California Pizza Kitchen again. Smile While there I'll also probably stop at the Apple store and pick up a second battery charger for my phone (I have one, but think I better get a second one for the train trip.)

I think it'll make for a nice short vacation. Smile


I saw Men in Black 3 on Friday with several of the outgoing teachers. It was awesome! Love me some Will Smith. Big Grin Big Grin I paid for one of the teachers tickets (we bought them online just in case of it being sold out like Hunger Games and Avengers were.) Discover is paying 5% on movies ... so I was more than happy to help her out. (She paid me back in cash later.)


Tomorrow I am going to have a day of major house cleaning. Laundry, dishes, sweeping, scrubbing, etc. My house needs it badly, plus I invited a couple from church to dinner on Friday night!! (They had me over for lunch a couple Sabbaths ago.)

Oh! I filled up on gas yesterday for only $3.52 gallon!! That was nearly $.20 cheaper than in T! Sweet!

Weird Entry on CC statement - Vegan CC?

April 22nd, 2012 at 09:59 am

So I was checking my Mypoints CC statement on Friday and I noticed something strange. There was a charge for $36.xx at a gas station, and then for that same day/time/station there was a credit for that same amount. I know I got the gas, and I don't remember anything weird about the transaction. I'm not sure who I'd ask about why I got the money credited back - someone at the gas station I guess ... though unless the manager is there I don't know who else would have a clue by 4. The gas station is about 20 miles from here, so not exactly a place I can just "stop by" til I find a person who knows what happened.

I'm considering going 95% vegan. I'm not interested in being 100% vegan because that would be really difficult here, plus I don't want to have to think about every bite I put in my mouth that much or every article of clothing I purchase ...

So anyway ... one thing I'm trying to figure out is how to make a cottage cheese substitute without using tofu. With my hypothyroidism I need to limit my soy/tofu intake as much as possible (which is hard but not impossible as a vegetarian.) I found one recipe that used soy milk instead of tofu, and am wondering if I could use Rice Milk instead for the same effect?? Vegan Soy Milk CC Mostly I want to use this for making casserole dishes (such as my favorite Special K roast.)

I was invited out to the home of one of our church members yesterday. It was a lot of fun. She'd made Asparagus soup - yum! As well as vegetarian tamales (again - yum!) As we were talking, I found out that she'd met her husband at Weimar while attending an 18-day Diabetes reversal seminar. Weimar is run by the Seventh-day Adventist church and has at it's foundation the idea of NEWSTART. (She was pretty impressed that I remembered most of what that stood for - from 7th grade science.) Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance (moderation), Air, Rest, Trust (in a higher power.) What you eat while there is essentially a vegan diet, and you learn how to cook numerous vegan dishes. You also get daily massages and hydrotherapy (hot/cold water treatments.)

I've thought about going and participating in a session before, but never had done any real research into it. After talking with her and hearing first hand about it, I was even more interested. I did some research last night on it (i.e. cost) and realized it is probably not something I'd ever be able to afford unless I develop health problems where my insurance would be willing to help with the cost to allay the health problems.

So ... I already know that eating ice cream doesn't agree with me very well anymore and I rarely if ever drink real milk ... so cheese, eggs and cottage cheese would be the main things I would need to figure out how to do without. Even with eggs though I generally use the egg substitute ...

My plan is to finish eating what I already have in my cupboards/fridge/freezer but then from now on, whatever I purchase will be non-dairy.

Two things I won't give up will be honey and chocolate. (Which is part of why I'm not going 100% vegan -- really, technically, I'll just essentially be a bit stricter of a vegetarian. Currently I'm considered a lacto-ovo vegetarian (dairy products.)

I was told we have a health food store in big G - so I may try looking that up and see what they have to offer.

I think by doing this, my grocery bill will actually eventually go down. I'm hoping that my cravings for sugar/junk food will be reduced the more healthily I eat, and I'll feel better overall so will have more energy (mental and physical) to actually *make* food rather than be a mainly microwave cook. (I still would do a lot of microwaving - just of food that I prepared ahead of time myself and froze.)

---Anyway, I probably won't get too serious about this til school is out and I have time to really figure everything out. All I know is that I need to do something to stop the direction of my scale and something to give myself the energy to not be a computer potato.

This week we have a male candidate coming! I imagine he's interviewing for a mid-school position. I bet our PE teacher would LOVE to have another male teacher at the school so he wouldn't be so outnumbered. Smile

My hot water went out sometime in the last two days. I discovered it Saturday morning as I was about to take a shower before going to church. No one knows the number for the new maintenance person of course. One of my coworkers has already offered me the use of her guest shower, but it still leaves me with a sinkful of dirty dishes (which I'd planned on washing last night.)

I tried relighting it myself (like the person showed me how to do last time) but I couldn't get it to work. Arghh!

When I was at Walmart Friday I saw a summer dress with beautiful beading on it's front. I tried it on and it fit perfectly. Smile It'll be a great dress for SrN's special retirement assembly (has a very native american feel to it.) As I was heading to the fitting rooms, I came across a display of flat sandals (the kind with enclosed heels and criss cross open straps.) They had a pair in my size!! Normally it takes me months and months to find a shoe that I like and that is in my size - but here I found *exactly* what I'd been looking for last summer, before I'd even started to formally begin my latest search. (the sandals I wore last summer/early fall are pretty much shot - even with the $50 price tag!) The dress and shoes cost $26 together. I'm thinking of maybe going back and getting a second pair of the sandals - just because I know how hard it is to find them (and because I'm thinking of using one pair for church/dressy occasions, and one pair for every day wear.)

I called the medical clinic on Monday about my prescription not being refilled. No apologies were offered, but they said they'd take care of it. I finally got a message from Walgreens on Thursday that my prescription was ready for me! I was going to stop by on Friday, but forgot until it was too late. Then it became too late yesterday as well. I'm going to call them today to make sure it isn't the generic, then I'll go in a 3rd time to town - maybe take in "Lucky One" while I'm in town so it's not a trip *just* for a prescription!!

Fun Friday!

April 6th, 2012 at 09:41 pm

Today I went to ABQ with three of my coworkers - 5th, 6th and IT. The impetus for the trip was to go spend the available Sch $$ before they expired, but of course when you make a 90 minute one-way trip you want to include as much else as possible. Smile

Our first stop was the book warehouse. Big Grin I ended up spending $134, $91 of which was covered by Sch $$. The remainder I plan on being reimbursed from our book fair cash proceeds. The others with me also bought some books. We all had way too much fun. Big Grin

6th had a haircut appt, so we headed towards the mall. But first we stopped at Pet Smart where 6th bought dog supplies and I bought cat supplies (including a felliway type collar that is supposed to help calm anxiety in cats ... we'll see ...) At the mall we all got something called Bubble tea - so called because they put these little chewable bubbles inside your drink which you get with most all of your sips. It's good, but different.

While waiting for 6th to finish her hair appointment, the rest of us went to various stores. One was Old Navy where I got a native style top for 60% off. Smile

We were all ready for lunch by this point, so we stopped at Sweet Tomatoes - kind of similar to Souper Salad. It was very good.

IT had never been inside of a Krispy Kreme store, so of course we had to stop there and let her see it in action. We all left with donuts. Big Grin

I was really wanting some more veggie corn dogs, and 6th grade wanted to go to Sunflower?? Market - so that's where we went next. I didn't find my corndogs, but I did find my very favorite Amy's dish - Brown Rice and Veggies! I got 3 of them at the sale price of $3.99 (Her meals can be up to $5.50 at some places.)

Next, we headed to Costco where I filled up with gas ($3.61/gall ~8 gallons) and also bought 8 veggie/rice burritos for $10.

Our final stop was Papa Murphy's. 5th grade's family has a Good Friday tradition of eating pizza for supper and she was really missing her family. IT and I also both got pizzas (additionally, I bought a $3 S'Mores dessert pizza - couldn't resist for the price/size!) Total for me there was $14 (I added two extra toppings to my pizza - spinach and pineapple.)

Overall I would say that it was a very good day! And I still have 3 days left of my weekend. Big Grin **Best of all, everything I spent today fits into my budget. Smile

March Budget Wrap Up

April 1st, 2012 at 06:35 pm

*I think most of the March charges have come in and have been accounted for (other than the hotel charge.*

Income: 2 paychecks, dad's gift, state income tax refund, SB AGC giftcards


Offering/Tithe: $170
Groceries: $230.78
Eating Out: 49.08
Phone/Internet: 129.01
Netflix: 8.65
Life Insurance (1 yr premium): 194.50
Prescriptions: $23
Miscelaneous: 42.02
Kari (cat): 40.07
Library: 369.65
Entertainment: 18.52
Gas: 71.13

Savings/Rainy Day
ROTH : 100.00 (300/1500 goal)
EF: 130.94 (1853.75/5000 goal)
Car Fund: 250 (500/5000 goal)
iPhone: 15 (75/210 goal)
Summer Travel: 190 (190/500 goal)

ROTH + EF savings is more than 10% of income this month, but definitely not where I'd like it to be. Part of the reason it's less this month is because I spent more than I'd planned on my two-day trip, and partly because I spent more than I'd planned on books at the book fair. (Otherwise I'd have an additional $258 from tax refund put into savings.)

I also am now starting to divert some of my funds into travel savings/spending categories, so my total % saved (actual savings with no spending goal in mind) is going to go down.

Groceries/Eating Out - Ugh. Double ugh. I *must* get a handle on this. A big part of the expenses is that I didn't really budget for my two-day trip. When I decided that I was going to postpone the trip I *really* wanted to do for Spring Break, I kind of stuck my head in the sand about planning money for what I'd do instead.

*Must Not Stick Head in Sand!!*

Life Insurance: This is a $50k 20 year term policy. It will expire when I'm 56. I got it partially so that if anything happens to me my funeral expenses are covered. Now of course with Kari, it will also help cover the expenses of whoever takes her in. I figure by the time I'm 56 I'll have enough other assets to definitively cover both instances (funeral expenses and pet care.)

*I had forgotten about this coming up ... so it also came out of what would have been savings this month. I now have set up a category for it so I'll be ready next March and not have to dip into that months savings!

Miscellaneous: A humidifier, a PIF, and an app. *I realized as I was doing this that a $64 hotel charge has not been accounted for. I thought that the first $40 had already been charged, but I can't find
where I accounted for it. (The last $20 is for the pet fee. My coworker paid me for her part + the pet fee in cash.)

Kari: food, toys

Library - hawaiian leis for book fair, food for the book fair, books from book fair, etc.

Entertainment - "Hunger Games", audible.com, app

Gas - two fill ups

Overall, I'm doing okay. It still looks like I'll be able to make my savings goals for this year. I need to be careful though, and watch my spending more closely. **NO more overspending in the library category!!**

Spring Break and Summer Travel

March 4th, 2012 at 03:37 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 ..)

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.

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.

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.
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.)

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!)

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

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.)

The Lost$ is Found!

February 5th, 2012 at 03:03 pm

When I got home today from working at the school (fixing the grading program that was messed up Friday) I looked under the driver's seat for whatever reason. Guess what was there! My $20 bill that I thought was gone forever. Yahoo! I will be so happy to be rid of the cash in my purse so I have no more chances of losing it.


It took me about 2 hours today to recreate the spreadsheet that was totally messed up on Friday afternoon. All I can say is .. nobody but me from now on is messing with those spreadsheets!

Saturday I made the mistake of venturing to Walmart - not only the night before Superbowl, but the first weekend of the month when everyone's gotten paid. Yikes!

I spent a bit under $50, but feel pretty stocked up for the next two weeks. I will have absolutely NO more visits to Family Dollar or the mom and pop grocer here - one exception - may need another can of wet cat food (though maybe I can have Kari go without the wet stuff for a few days, or just give her smaller portions ...)

I also filled up with gas - $3.09 - a bit over $28 in all.

Then I went to Walgreens to pick up the photos a friend dropped off for me yesterday. The photos were from 4 of the 6 cameras that I'd given the journalism kids. $60!!! later I had the photos. I'd say of the 4 sets, maybe 15 photos are usable. Next year I am going to insist on getting a couple inexpensive digital cameras for the journalism class. It would be a whole lot less expensive!!!

I finally watched the two DVDs I've rented twice - they were due back today. Post Grad and 500 Days of Summer - I liked both of them. I stopped by the video store to return them, but it was locked up tight. I'll have to be sure to get by there tomorrow.

I rented a cute movie (All About Steve) from iTunes (I saw previews of it on one of the movies - Sandra Bullock). I've tried downloading it several times now, but it keeps saying the file is corrupted so won't download. I'm not sure if I should try from my phone, or see if I can get a refund. (Netflix doesn't have it except on DVD.)


I redeemed points for a $5 AGC on SBs yesterday. The last 30 points were earned via SBTV while reading a book. Big Grin

Now have 400 or so to go to another one.

On irazoo (similar to SB) I'm about 600 points away from a card (need 3000 for them) I mainly just go there when they have treasure codes and then check for videos, etc.

Having fun, fun, fun Book Temptations ..

January 18th, 2012 at 08:41 pm

This morning started out with a made to order omlette and a danish for breakfast. Yum. Smile Then I was off to Judy Freeman's seminar about the best children's books of 2011. A few of them I'd purchased for the library (Okay for Now, Charlie Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading, and another one ..) but most I had not heard of before. There were two or three that I'm hoping Scholastic will have so I can use some of our funds to purchase - although I saw great possibilities in numerous books. She showcased 80 of her 110 best book picks.

I didn't get any free books, but the seminar guide has about a dozen Reader's Theater's which will be helpful.


For lunch several of us ate at this Mexican resturaunt next door. I had the vegetarian enchaladia. It was good, but it was supposed to come with sopapillia's and honey - the waiter never brought them. Frown As I was checking out, I mentioned it to the cashier and she gave me a to go bag. But of course I was full by then and several hours later after the program, they were cold. Yuck.

After the program I went to Costco. I filled up with $2.79/gallon gas (about $10 worth - I'd filled up in my town on Tuesday for $3.09/gallon!) Then I went into Costco. I bought 3 containers of kitty litter, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, shampoo, oatmeal, spinach & something patties (vegetarian), broccoli soup, rasins, bean/cheese burritos, cinnamon, diced onions, and garbage bags.

Total -- $129.xx

I had 90.12 left on my Costco gift card, and then paid the remaining balance with my ING debit card. I think I am pretty well set for most things for a good while. Big Grin

Seminar reimbursable expenses:
Seminar - $299
Hotel - 89.xx
Per Diem - ~~$30.xx (only get back what I spent)
Mileage - ~$150.xx

So I estimate that my EF will soon be about $568 higher. Big Grin Just have to get all the receipts turned in. Big Grin

I got a nice little vacation out of this - stayed at a NICE hotel, day off work, eat at nice places, shop at Trader Joe's and Costco PLUS got to put more than 600 rewards points on my credit cards (food and gas places are double points.)

Sweet. Smile

The only NON-Sweet thing about my trip ... When I did my first fill up on Tuesday, I somehow got distracted and forgot to put my gas cap back on. Ooops! So, that means I need to buy a new one. Ugh. Unless by some miracle the gas station still has it! I will have to go by and check tomorrow. *cross fingers*

Just checked my Chase rewards points balance -- I had enough to redeem! So I chose a statement credit. Then I sent that money directly to my EF!

EF addition -- $23.63

I also signed up for the current points promotion - gas and Amazon. I wish I'd known gas was part of it -- already filled up (completely) twice this month, and probably won't again til Feb. Oh well - will make sure to use it in Feb and Mar, then back to MyPoints for gas. I wish now I'd waited to order my dishwasher til January too - that would've been a nice bit of extra rewards points. Really, other than gas in Feb and Mar, I don't see myself buying anything off of Amazon. Oh wait - I think there is a book I pre-ordered (5th in a series one of my 8th graders is way into) that comes out in March .. however I have enough gift card money for that already. Will have to see how the months go I guess. Smile

Another busy week gone

November 19th, 2011 at 07:27 pm

This last week I stayed late at school 3 days - Mon, Tue and Th -- though Wednesday was also a bit of a late day. Why? Monday was our staff meeting, but both Tuesday and Thursday I stayed late to give the 7th and 8th graders the opportunity to finalize their projects during after school study hall. Quite a few took advantage of it - though some I think saw it more as an opportunity to listen to youtube while "working." We are very lucky to not have youtube, etc., blocked at our school -- I let the older students listen to videos ... as long as they are working AND with the caveat that I *will* check the lyrics at any time. Smile None of them have abused the privilege .. yet.

A very disconcerting thing happened on Thursday. One student who is in a group of 3 opened their groups presentation to work on it. It was completely blank. She and I searched for 30 minutes to see if we could find another copy of it with no luck. I felt so bad for her ... she's a new student and on the quite large side ... kids this age don't need a reason to pick on other kids... I alerted our school counselor so she can keep an eye out for any repercussions. I also spoke to all 3 girls and let them know that I'd grade their project on what I'd already seen completed plus whatever they are able to reconstruct before Tuesday (when it is due.)

Computer gremlins ... or a mean student with some technical know how ...

I had some great happenings with kids and books this week. Smile It is so addicting when you see a kids eyes light up when you put a book into their hands that they're excited about. It's why my savings aren't quite growing at the rate I'd hoped ....

This week while I'm in Dallas for Thanksgiving, my mom and I are going to Half Price Books. I'm giving myself a limit of $150 --- cash. I can get quite a lot for that amount ... and then I'll force myself not to buy *any* in December. (although ... while I'm in CA I may check out SA or Goodwill ....) Ugh! I'm hopeless. Smile

I realized that it probably is a good thing I'm going away for Thanksgiving ... otherwise I'd probably spend most of the break working in the library. There sure is plenty to do!!! I won't be getting back til late Sunday night, so I'll need to be prepared for my classes before I leave. I envision a long Sunday in the library, as well as a long Monday ... We have a staff "stuffing party" where we stuff bags of goodies which have been donated for the kids/community members on Monday ... then I'll probably have to spend some time finishing up lesson plans. I want to leave right away after school on Tuesday.

Some of my coworkers were wanting to go see the new vampire movie tonight. I counter suggested seeing Happy Feet. There were no takers. Smile Just as well ... I'm enjoying staying in .. watching the latest Person of Interest, maybe watching a Netflix movie, catching up on my reading, etc. Big Grin

Tomorrow I hope to be at school by ten. I have a good number of new books to catalog (roughly 25) and then of course working on the week after Thanksgiving plans. I also need to create the video/project evaluation forms for the plagiarism project. The 8th graders present on Monday - their homeroom teacher will be coming to check them out. Smile I think her coming has motivated them more than any grade I may give. Big Grin

Oh! Something really cool for Jeff Kinney fans! On the library list serve I'm part of, there was a notice a few weeks ago that Jeff Kinney was doing an author talk at a school in New York City. The School Library Journal partnered with them to make a live streaming video, which then was archived. I of course registered for it Smile but due to time differences (and SrN wanting me to watch the presentation first ...) we didn't see it live. The archived version went up on Friday, and I've already watched it. Big Grin It was pretty interesting, and even included an appearance from two of the main movie characters. There is a 3rd Wimpy Kid movie coming out on August 22(? I think that's what he said.) And of course, the newest book came out on Tuesday. (My copies arrived on Thursday - I rushed over to the PO on after my last class and was back in plenty of time to wave the buses off. I offered the teachers first dibs at the copies, and quickly had two takers.) Big Grin

-- On my way back from church today I was running on fumes. I found a gas station and filled up for ....

$2.95/gallon!!! It's been a long time since I've seen gas under $3!!!

All Moved In!

August 8th, 2011 at 05:09 pm

What a LONG week this has been! I'll give you the highlights:

Sunday (July 31) - Guys I hired get to Uhaul place nearly 40 minutes late (lost.) Instead of taking a total of 3 - 4 hours, it ended up taking a total of over 6 hours (after driving the moving guys back to their car - only one of them felt comfortable driving the truck.) Between the rental truck, trailer, and moving guys = total ~$1150!

Monday night - Picked up brother from airport at midnight. Didn't get to bed till nearly 2:30 a.m.

Tuesday - Brother and I on the road about 9:30 - 0nly 30 minutes later than planned. As soon as we passed into the New Mexico state line, we had RAIN! Something I hadn't seen in way too long. Total cost of gas ~ $350

Arrive at destination a little after 10. Are met by the Mobile Home Park Manager - very nice. LOVE my home (with the slight caveat of NO DISHWASHER!!!)

Wednesday - MHPM comes by and lights the hot water heater. Brother and I want to get the internet set up (I know, priorities!) but in order to do that need my bag of cords - somewhere on the truck. We end up unloading the truck *completely* by ourselves!! (Even though I'd been reassured a couple times that there'd be people lined up ...) While I go sign the lease and get a PO box, my brother takes a nap and sets up the internet. We have WiFi!!

Head out to the big town 30 miles West and do some major damage at Walmart and Home Depot. I got a power drill!! One thing I needed but *still* have not located is a lockable trash can. We ate a late lunch at Sizzler (last time I ate at a Sizzler .... elementary school!) Damage ~ $220

When we got back, I worked on unpacking the kitchen boxes and my brother put together my office/exercise room and setting up my stereo. Fell exhausted into bed around midnight.

Thursday - Head to airport, and along the way stop and see the elementary school we attended (I graduated from in 1989!) and also one of the two houses we lived in.

Got to airport just in time to meet mom as she's coming off the plane. Eat a light lunch. See brother off. Mom and I head to the teacher's store -- light damage $62. Then we head to Costco ($238) and again to Wal-Mart ($111). Ouch, ouch, ouch!

Friday - Do tons of loads of laundry. SO thankful for a washer and dryer!! After second load realized that there is no hot water. MHPM comes by - says it is kaput. Will have to order a new hot water heater on Monday. Gives us the key to the empty home next door to use to shower (till Sunday afternoon.)

Manage to unpack all but two boxes before calling it a day.

Sunset - Sweet relief and rest! Guilt free no messing with the house!!

Saturday - After driving around for over an hour, finally manage to find the church. Sweet people, although they are in the middle of an evangelistic series which isn't my favorite thing. Eat potluck in the "hogan." Find out the new pastor's wife used to attend a church I taught school at in Texas. Found some visitors who used to be church members of a TX church my dad pastored.

Sweet sleep.

Evening - Hung almost all my pictures ( a few had frames that are falling apart.) Got the living room and kitchen looking picture perfect.

Sunday - Mom woke up feeling drugged - had to stop 3 times for a bathroom on a two-hour trip. Finally after drinking a lot of water, she started feeling better.

Stopped by the church/school. Then ventured to find a nail salon. Mom's "friend" was treating for both of us to get a mani/pedi. Over three hours later my simple mani/pedi was finished, and I was feeling yucky. Went to Walmart and picked up a thank you card. Got back to the nail salon. 30 minutes later my mom's nails were done ( a fill???) Rushed like speedy gonzoles to the airport and dropped mom off.

On the way home I stopped at a Denny's. They were *really* short staffed. At one point I had to go grab silverware off another table so I could eat.

When I got home I was feeling extremely lousy, and did something I hadn't done in years - lost whatever food I'd had that day. Went to bed, though didn't sleep very well.

Monday - Forced myself out of bed around 10. Called the various places I needed to change my address at. Then got my documentation together for registering my car and changing my drivers license. After driving around for over an hour, and finally stopping at a police department, I found the MVD. Nearly 90 minutes later, I had my car registered, and a dl. Damage = $73. Attempted to go to Walmart, but the GPS led me to some forlorn warehouse, so ended up just going home.

Tomorrow will have to go to Walmart to take back a couple items, and get a few groceries I forgot.

I forgot - on Sunday while I was at Denny's I got a call from one of the ladies at the church who is a school teacher. She told me that the librarian at her school is looking to retire in the next few years - so that might be an opportunity for me if I'm still here. She also offered to let me spend the night at her house on Saturdays so that I wouldn't have to make two trips (one for church, and one for groceries.) I thought that was really sweet of her. Smile

I've pretty much wiped out what was left of my savings with this move. So I am looking very much forward to my first paycheck on the 17th. I don't forsee any more big expenses coming up, so will be able to restock savings pretty quickly -- and restart my ROTH again!!

Storms, New Mexico and more

May 26th, 2011 at 06:46 pm

I had a very scary experience Tuesday night. Probably one of the most terrifying so far in my life. It may not have felt so terrifying were it not for the string of tornadoes ripping their deadly path through the US the past month. I don't know about y'all, but I think most people are extra nervous when the severe weather warnings sound.

So I was sitting outside the house of my Tuesday evening tutoring student. I'd arrived a few minutes early and was going to give them time to get settled. That is, until I heard the warning sirens going off! I quickly made my way to the house and saw that the family had the news on with the Doplar Radar. It sure didn't look good. The husband was looking out the window into their backyard. I went over to see what he was seeing.

I questioned and requestioned myself if I was just imagining things, or really seeing it. Finally I turned to the dad and asked "Is that what I think it is?" He asked me if I thought it was a funnel, and I told him that was sure what it looked like to me! At this point the mother started putting blankets and pillows in the bathroom, and we all (4 of us) decided to huddle up in there. Nice and cozy. I was trying to find out if a tornado had been sighted in Denton county, and was not finding anything.

We stayed there for about ten minutes, then decided to venture out and see if anything was happening. When we looked again, the funnel looked much more distinct .. and closer. We all scrambled back to the bathroom. Ten minutes later all was quiet, so the dad left to check and gave the all clear.

For the next thirty minutes the tv was on with the forecasters talking about the progress of the storms and possible tornado sightings and touchdowns, as well as hail as big as softballs. Needless to say, it was difficult for me to concentrate on working with my student.

About 9:20 it was lightly raining and I started home. By 9:30 it was raining so hard I could just see the road in front of me. For the next 30 minutes there were intermittent periods of hail - ranging in size from pea size to much larger. By 9:55 I was less than a mile from home, and the roads were just about completely invisible. It was only by GPS that let me know when my turns were coming up. Five minutes after I pulled in and got in the house, the rain completely stopped.

I can emphatically say that I do NOT ever wish to personally get that up close and personal with a funnel cloud again. (It was confirmed by numerous people that at least one funnel cloud was sighted in the area. So ... it wasn't our imagination.)


On Wednesday night I talked with the Sister in charge of the mission school in New Mexico and a colleague. I'm not totally sure how well it went, but in the end they did ask me to come out and visit for a face-to-face interview. They also mentioned that they are interviewing one other person. Gulp. I'll be leaving on the 20th and getting back either the 22nd or 23rd of June.

I did something kind of foolish. Later Wednesday night I realized what one of the ladies was actually asking me about during our conversation. I wanted to make sure that I addressed the issue quickly ... so I got my phone out and started typing out an email. Before I had two sentences finished, somehow the email sent!!! So, I started a second one. I got about a paragraph into this one, when it too seemed like it sent (later found out it had saved to Drafts.) So, I started a third one, which I was able to finish and send properly. However without the second one, the third one would make little sense. Ugh!! This morning I wrote a fourth email explaining that my phone had been acting up on me, and reiterating the entire message (after asking her to delete the other emails.)

I hope she doesn't think me a dimwit. Frown

Oh, they asked me what, if any, dietary preference I have. So I told them that I am a vegetarian. From their reaction it doesn't sound like there'll be many options for me in the cafeteria. I told them that as long as there's veggies and fruit, I can easily get by (adding my own entrees, etc.)

So ... how does one deal with a 3 - 4 day interview - especially where you'll be staying in the home of the head/principal??


My aunt booked a flight for me to San Jose in September. It'll be my grandma's 90th birthday as well as a celebration of my graduation. I'd tried to hold off on nailing down a date considering I have no idea what my employment situation will be by then, but my dad kept telling me my Aunt really wanted to lock it in now because prices were going up, up, up. I found out from my Aunt that my dad was thinking I'd come out for a few weeks. In the middle of September. He was keenly disappointed when I let him know that I was thinking more along the lines of a long weekend. Going for two weeks in December is one thing, but in September??? Luckily my Aunt understood my position.

My Dad is being very negative about my going out to NM for the job interview. I don't know if it is that he really dislikes the area, or if it is more that he is really disappointed that I'm not finding anything in CA. Either way, it is really frustrating.

I finally heard back from the new HR department of the insurance certificate processing company on Monday. I was asked to fill out some paperwork and email it back by Tuesday night. I emailed it all back Monday night. Smile Now it is just a waiting game to see when they'll schedule the next training class. I really hope it soon, considering that after tomorrow I only have one for sure tutoring student, and one or two possibles - all totaling not more than 6 hours a week. Not much to live on - especially after gas.

Speaking of gas --- Since moving here at the beginning of May, I have spent nearly $200 on gas. GULP! My highest before (excluding traveling out of town) was just under $100. I *really* don't make enough to afford that much in just gas! After tomorrow my driving will be greatly reduced though (along with greatly reduced income!)

Back from my Trip

March 20th, 2011 at 06:54 pm

And I had a GREAT time!

I left Thursday around noon after dropping Buddy off with my Mom, and then arrived at my friend's home just before 4 p.m. Immediately I had her two kids all over me ... and that didn't change throughout the whole weekend. Big Grin

On Friday morning I made aebleskebers for everyone. The kids couldn't get enough of them - they ate them just about as fast as I could make them. Smile

I let them play games on my iPhone. The biggest hit - for both the almost 5 year old girl and the 7 year old boy ... was the Barbie Memory game! It uses a lot of "outdated" words. I had to explain "Jeepers" and "Toodles" plus a few other words. It was quite funny actually.

My friend and I somehow managed to get in 5 games of Flinch - she won all of them!

Saturday after church we took the kids to the Lufkin Zoo and park where we had a picnic. Not even 5 feet from our blanket was a lake ... with warning signs about alligators!!! That was quite exciting. Smile
The church's pastor and his two kids joined us to go into the zoo (his wife was in a meeting of some sort). I somehow ended up having not 2 kids all over me, but 4! I loved every minute of it of course. Smile

It didn't cost me anything to get in to the zoo because my friend had an extra guest pass. Really, just a perfect way to spend a Sabbath afternoon.

I got lots of reading time in ... out loud to the kids! We read about Zacheus and Goliath and the little Maid who helped Naaman ... and we read an older book about how Goofy got his name (it was called something like "The Princess Who Never Laughed"), a book of Mother Goose rhymes, and LOTS more. Smile We also played quite a bit of Wii. The little girl is quite skilled at the swordplay!

So ... anyway ... the trip was well worth the ~$60 in gas and $24 (treated for a meal at CiCi's Pizza) that it cost.


I have heard diddly squat from any of the places I have applied to so far for jobs. It is frustrating - quite frustrating. Nevertheless, all I can do is keep on looking and trying. Eventually something will turn up (I hope).


I should know the Capstone results by this Friday. Just slightly anticipating the end of the LOOONNNGGG wait.

Now that my trip is over, I am stipulating that I will not spend more than $20 for the remainder of March (other than gas and one celebratory meal if good results from Capstone). I think I should be able to manage that.

Beezag payout! Low Spending Week! New Student!

March 4th, 2011 at 08:16 pm

Last night after getting lots of sweepstakes entry videos, I got a 300 point video which put me to 8,000 points. So I was able to cash out for my second $8! Yay!
I'm already up to nearly 700 points - they've been throwing out the videos. One really cool one I just watched called Bravia - a bunch of synchronized color splotches. Put a smile on my face, although I had to watch it twice since I was too into the video and missed the first number. Wink

I actually managed a pretty low spending week. Other than buying a copy of Sixth Sense, groceries, and gas, I didn't spend anything extra. I was really tempted by the Fandango movie deal on groupon, but with the Redbox deal and the previous Movie Studio deal, I think I have more than enough to keep me through June. Smile

I only had enough Swagbucks this month to cash out for 4 $5 Amazon's. I'm about halfway to my fifth for March.

I'm still waiting on my payout from Sidetick. Getting impatient.

I finally have over 1,000 Zoombucks. Only 987 to go for my first cashout. Maybe by May ....(would go faster if I attempted more surveys and qualified, but they are pretty much a waste of time for someone with my demographics)

Today I was sitting in the lobby at the school where most of my tutoring students attend. The senior girl I tutored last semester came up to me with another girl - a sophomore. We are going to start working together on Monday - Mon/Tue/Th. The senior girl also told me that she was accepted into the college she wanted to go to. Yay!

This extra money will be a big boost to my bottom line - a much needed one.

I've decided for sure that I'm going to go to Houston over the last part of Spring Break. My friend has already challenged me to a rousing game of Flinch. Big Grin I might just bring my aebleskeber pan along and make breakfast for her family one day. Smile

I can't really afford the gas there and back, but on the other hand, who knows when I'll be this close to her and her family to visit again??

Speaking of gas ... today cost $3.37/gallon w/ Walmart discount. I'd put $30 on a gift card, and it didn't fill my tank. :0 Never had that happen before. Made a sick feeling in my gut.

Half Com Sales, Health Center, Good Mail Day!

January 18th, 2011 at 03:58 pm

While I was waiting for my Junior tutoring student today, I got two email messages letting me know I had sold both of the textbooks I'd put up on half . com! That'll be roughly $80 towards my extra funds goal when the money is transferred. Nice!


This morning I finally made it up to the student health center. After I got up there I found out that since I wasn't going during one of the "lab specials" time period, that I *had* to see the doctor first! Miracle of miracles, I was able to get an appointment right away. I told the doctor I'd been out for four days, so she just went ahead and wrote me a prescription for two months. That way I can come back and have the blood work done during a lab special. Even better, when I went to checkout, I didn't have to pay anything! I thought I was going to have to pay a $15 copay ... but there was no charge!

I'm glad to finally have this at least partially taken care of, so inexpensively.


Today in the mail I received my box of books from Barnes & Nobles. My brother gave me a $25 gift card for my birthday - I bought 5 books with it. Big Grin Gotta love them sales!

I also received a package from my dad and grandma. They were walking around Macy's last week waiting for something, and found two tops that "had my name on them." I really like one of them, but am not too sure about the other one. Still, that was pretty sweet of them. Big Grin


My new class started this morning. Whoo boy! It sure looks like it is going to be a doozie of a class for 3 credits.

My procrastination in getting gas yesterday cost me $.13/gallon. After finishing at the health center, I was completely out of gas. Gas cost $2.95/gallon. I could have gotten it at Walmart for $2.82/gallon. Frown
Hopefully, lesson learned.

A Bit Awkward ...

December 13th, 2010 at 08:33 pm

Tonight I went out to dinner with five other ladies from my church. 5 of us had birthdays in December, the sixth one was the daughter of one of the ladies. 4 of the ladies with birthdays brought gifts for everyone else. Guess who didn't bring anything? Guess who didn't *know* that was part of it?

If I would have known we were supposed to bring gifts, I would have said I was not able to come. This was arranged for late Sunday afternoon. Why did they feel like gifts had to be involved? Isn't just getting together for a meal enough?


I played a bit more on one of the websites I mentioned yesterday. So far my verdict is that it is one to skip. I won't be wasting anymore time on it. (The one where you supposedly can earn $15/mo easily.)

Last night I was up pretty late, and decided to get on Swagbucks at midnight when the clock changed over. I actually qualified and completed a 30 minute survey. Oy vey! My eyes were rolling out of their sockets. I hope my answers were halfway intelligible. Anyway, I finished it and got credited. Really paid for it though when Buddy started begging to go out at 7:30 this morning.

On my way to the birthday dinner, I stopped as Walmart to get gas. (It was the cheapest I'd seen it, and I was getting low.) I went in to reload my card. When I swiped it at the gas pump, it said I had a $24.57 balance. That made me do a double take, since I'd only put $20 on it. Then I looked at the card. It was my $50 walmart card from Mypoints I'd gotten in 2009, but had never used up the remaining balance. I'd tried to use it up in the store, but it wouldn't take. I must have accidentally loaded that card! Good thing too, cuz my car took all of it! LOL!

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