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Archive for March, 2010

Squeaked Under Food Budget; tailgater's :(; book reccs

March 31st, 2010 at 08:39 pm

Yesterday I went to my ASL class. The children who'd been there last week that I'd ordered two candy bars from (fundraiser) weren't there. So that meant I managed to squeak in *just* under budget (less than $.30 under - but still, under!)

For April, I'm going to try to cut $20 from my food budget, as well as not spend money on *anything* else that I absolutely can't avoid.

On my way to class Tuesday night there is a section of road that has a work zone limit of 40 mph. Every time I go through that section I see at least two or three cops. So, I try to keep my speed right around that mark.

Some lumber truck got behind me last night and didn't like how fast I was going. So he tailgated me for at least five miles, maybe more. Then the road (two-lane, double yellow line) was "clear" and he passed me. As he was passing me, I was praying that there'd be a cop seeing this, and that there wouldn't be anyone coming up over the hill.

Well, no cop, but no head-on collision either. Passing me didn't do the guy much good, because for the next four miles I caught up to him at every stoplight until he turned off. Smile

I'm all registered for my summer class now. It requires that I spend 4 days on campus. The first day is a Sunday, so I'll just drive from home (about 25 minutes with light traffic.) Then Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night I'll be staying in the dorm so as to avoid morning traffic (a good hour or more on a weekday.) The room is single occupancy with a shared bathroom for $22.50/night. Plus, an extra $5 for internet access. I think it's worth it. I don't need a tv, and I can get by without a fridge - which is the only thing I could get better at a hotel. I may bring my own microwave though, so I can have my oatmeal in the morning. (They have a fridge/micro for rent - $39 a piece. Can buy a micro for that!)

My allergies are really kicking my posterior. I finally gave in and started taking my allergy medicine. I hate taking it, because once it's gone, it'll cost at least $70 to replace it (generic Allegra.) But, it's either take it now, or get bronchitis or maybe pneumonia later. Ugh.

Some book recommends from my latest reading frenzy (for school):
How to NOT be Popular by Jennifer Zeigler
**About a 16/17 year old girl who's parents have never stayed in one place longer than eight months. She at first loved the nomadic life, but as she got older she started hating leaving behind friends and boyfriends. So on this newest move to Austin, TX which will only be for four months, she resolves that she is not going to make any friends, because then it will hurt less when they move. Things don't quite go according to her plans though. Smile

The Great Wide Sea by M.H. Herlong
**After the mother dies, the father decides to sell everything and take his three sons sailing in the Bahama's for a year. The three sons aren't exactly thrilled about this prospect - especially the oldest who is almost 16 and looking forward to his first car. The youngest also isn't too thrilled, who at 5 doesn't know how to swim. What does it take to forgive? What does it mean to be grown up?

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
**This is a book that takes a little bit to get into it. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not at first. After about 100 pages though, I couldn't put it down.

Two families lives are irrevocably intertwined and altered one day on the Jellicoe Road. The story of the survivors and the territory wars between Townies, Cadets, and Jellicoe School students show that in the end, there is always the possibility of hope and love.

April is going to be tight

March 29th, 2010 at 04:22 am

It looks like my total income for March is $740. So my April budget is the same. I'd been thinking about getting a hair trim soon, but will put it off till at least May. I can use my tax refund to pay for it. Smile

I sent my sixth grade tutorees mom an email on Thusday letting her know my new policy - pay up front - no refunds. If a sssion is missed - with advance notice, I'll add time to future sessions. I heard back from her today (after texting to ask if shed gotten my email) and she canceled for this week, but will start next week with paying in full. Not quite what I was going for - missing a third full week of tutoring money - but in a way it is good. I have a lot of reading and research to do right now. It just really cuts financially.

I had some brownie mix in my pantry, so made them this weekend. I shared some with my stepdad (a fellow chocolate lover) and put some in the freezer for next weekend. I would be under budget this month for groceries if I hadn't said I'd buy a candybar from two different kids this coming Tuesday. Still, it'll only be a few dollars over. MUCH better than the past few months. For April I need to see if I can go even lower - maybe under $70 would be doable. ( March will be about $93 I think. )

I highly reccomend one of the books I read for my class - teens and up. "how to NOT be popular" by Jennifer Zeigler. Really great book. I was cracking up laughing at some parts.

We've been having some really windy weather here lately. The temperature has been in the high 60's and mid70's, but the wind keeps it chilly. Today was the ten year anniversary of the big tornado in Downtown Fort Worth/Dallas area. I remember when that happened. My parents were almost in the thick of it that night. I think that's about the worst tornado in the DFW area, at least since I've been in Texas (1995).


March 27th, 2010 at 05:17 pm

Um this is interesting. Where's the option to read all entries? You know the paragraph blurbs??? This new setup isn't very mobile friendly.

Eta. Ok. Found out how to get to the all entries list ... Thousnds of entries link.

My First Aldis visit

March 25th, 2010 at 02:14 am

Today I finally had the chance to stop by Aldis. We were out of bananas, so I figured I'd pick some up.

Overall, I wasn't really impressed. The carts were gigantic and the aisles narrow. The aisles didn't seem to have much rhyme or reason for what they had - which meant they couldn't mark them clearly. Some prices were better, but not remarkably so.
It just didn't seem like they'd thought through people flow when designing it. Then I got to checkout with my one bag of bananas. I got in line behind a lady with about 10 items who was behind someone else with 100+ items. While we were waiting another cashier came by and told us to get into a new lane. So we did. He left. 10 minutes later he returned with his cash box. We were basically stuck waiting because all the other lanes were packed. The lady in front of me remarked that she'd made two visits to that store - her first and her last.

As for me, I think I'll wait a few weeks and try again. Maybe by then they'll have gotten more organized.

I'd seriously like to drop my sixth grade tutoring student. Not because of him, but because of his mother. She's so flakey!! Sunday I texted her to dblchk that we were on for Monday as normal (last week was spring break.) She finally replied Monday morning that she was in the process of moving - so could we just do Wed/Th instead? Sure, why not lose $40 of my April budget - just a tank of gas and some groceries. (could've met him at the school)

So today I really wasn't feeling good, but I needed the $30 plus the $40 she owed me from before spring break. So I head out to her new address. Just as I'm about there, I get a call from her saying she'd jet realized it was Wed and that her mom had picked son up from school. She then later had the gall to try and place the blame on me - for not texting her to double check about today!!

Tomorrow I'll meet him at the school and supposedly get the money owed previously, and "take care" of this week. I'm curious if she's planning on compensating me for today - I highly, highly doubt it.

(for reference - the drive is about 30 minutes if I leave at 3 pm. If I leave at 3:08 or later, it will take at least 45 minutes or more. So I either leave at 3 and wait in my car for 30 minutes, or leave 10 minutes later, and sit in traffic for 15 extra minutes.)

Well since I didn't have tutoring, I stopped by the library to pick up the books for my next journal assignment. Oy vey!

I had the titles and the call numbers written down, so shouldve been easy right? HAH!

After the third time I had to ask a librarian (same one) where a book was, she told me I could just put the books on hold so I didn't have to hunt for them. I told her I thought you couldn't do that for books in your home branch - but she said I could!

I ended up finding all but three books I needed, and put the rest on hold! (these were all books showing as having multiple copies checked in at this branch)

Most of these books are *thick*! Ordinarily, I love thick books, but when I have 8 of them to read, plus the research project, plus the asl video project, etc. all due in less than a month ... Ai Ai Ai!!

The good thing though is that after May 2, other than the third cataloging test, I am done with school until June 6(or whatever date is Sunday that week.) So I'll have a few weeks to just breathe - and concentrate on ASL. Smile


March 20th, 2010 at 07:45 pm

This morning as I made the 40 minute drive to church, I heard the usual noises my 13 year old car makes. But I also heard another noise. I'd heard it before, and thought I had a flat tire. But it ended up being the piece of rubber that goes on the upper tire flap had come loose.

So as I cruised down the freeway at 70 mph, I assumed that was the noise I was hearing. Just to be sure, I took my hands off the wheel for a short distance. The car didn't pull, so again I figured it wasn't anything to worry about.

I got to church and put my casserole in the kitchen. By the time church was almost over, I really wasn't feeling good, so told someone I'd get my dish on Tuesday and headed to my car.

As I was backing out, one of my Sabbath School classmates motioned to me. He asked me if I knew about my tire.

It was completely flat.

He changed it for me and told me where to get it fixed, or a used tire. I had a nail in the sidewall, so got a used tire for $25.

I think about what could have happened this morning, and feel sick.

Someone (God, I believe) was really watching out for me.

Aldi's, etc.

March 19th, 2010 at 08:23 pm

This week a number of Aldi's stores opened up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I think they are the first in Texas. Having heard so many people talk about Aldi's before, I am quite curious to check one out.

There is one that is on my way to my morning tutoring student (and on my homeward trek as well). So I will probably stop and check it out on Sunday (doing a Sunday session to make up for tutoring student taking Wednesday off to go to Six Flags).

In order to get to it on my homeward trek, I'll have to do a turn around, so it'll have to be well worth it. Smile (I don't like u-turns - especially on busy roads.)

Yesterday I kind of made a pointless trip. (i.e. wasted gas) I'm doing a research project on cataloging graphic novels. I've found enough journal articles to give me a good background for the paper, but only a blog post dealing with the MARC codes. The author of the blog post pointed me towards a particular book. After much searching, I found that the book was available in the central Fort Worth library, not for checkout.

So, I called and eventually ended up with an appointment to see the book. The person I made the appointment with ended up having been someone in one of my classes last semester - he'd recognized my name (distinctive last name). So, that was fun. Smile

The book itself ended up not being much help after all, but my professor (whom I'd emailed about my problem) gave me the go ahead to use the blog post as a source.

So ... I met one of my classmates in person, got to see the central library, and realized the book didn't have what I needed. I guess not a *totally* wasted trip.

I've completed two barefoot run/walks this week (more walking than running at this point.) I really need to replace my sandals - they both have quarter size holes in them. When I went walking in them on Tuesday I had bad enough blisters form that I had to delay my run/walk till yesterday.

I guess I keep hoping to find another $5 deal on sandals (how much my current ones cost 4 years ago) but I might have to give in and go for the $10 pair. My feet will thank me.

Today I returned the iPhone data cable. No problem whatsoever. I even had taken the wrong receipt with me Blush and the guy had no problem pulling up my info.

Groceries today: $22.58

One of the items I bought seems to consistently be overcharged. Usually I catch it when it goes across, but today I was distracted and didn't think about it till I got out to the car. It was a difference of $.98. I debated about going back in and fighting it out, but in the end decided it wasn't worth my frozen items defrosting on me.

Not terribly exciting weekend plans. Tomorrow is potluck at church. I have the corn pudding casserole I made last month (which I forgot) - need to take that out of the freezer tonight. Then Sunday I have the tutoring appt. Then of course work on school work.

Fun Tuesday :)

March 17th, 2010 at 05:07 pm

Tuesday was a long, yet good day.

It started out with my working on Biology and English with my high-school tutoring student. He asked me if we could just work on English on Friday. I told him sure we could -- as long as he had ALL his Biology vocab cards memorized. Big Grin He groaned. Oh well.

Then I headed off to meet my friend T and her two kids at Ci Ci's Pizza. We ate and chit chatted and goofed around a bit. We still had some time to kill before the movie, so we walked over to Mardel's. It was kind of windy and I didn't have my jacket with me. So T asked me if I was sure I was ok walking over. I reassured her I was fine. She then asked me if I was just being polite. Her 9 year old son then piped up, "I thought being polite meant saying please or thank you?" LOL! Love that kid. Big Grin

At Mardel's (a Christian bookstore) I usually can go in and get out without any financial damage. But yesterday I bought 6 books. Yep, six books. I couldn't resist them .... $1 each!! Of course I probably won't have time to read them till this summer. Smile

After Mardel's we went to the dollar theater and saw "Old Dogs". It was pretty cute and funny, although I have the feeling some of the humor went straight over all but one of the 5 kids heads that were with us (we met with another friend of T's and her 3 kids).

After the movie T, myself, and the kids stopped at the video arcade. The 9 year old boy played Guitar Hero, while the 7 year old girl sat on my lap (so I could push the gas pedal) and played the car racing game. What a blast! Smile

Finally I headed over to my ASL class. Everyone else seemed to be running late. My instructor helped me to translate some more of the book I'm using for my video, and then we had class (half-hour late).

I got home after 10 p.m. and watched Lost, and finally shut out the lights around 11:30. Today I didn't have tutoring, so slept in. Yum. Smile

What a great day. Smile

Spent: $6 -books (movie and lunch were treated by my friend)

Mileage: An extra ... 60 miles or so I think. Well worth it.

Now I need to get busy and make some progress on various schoolwork projects, plus probably ought to do some laundry.

Inexpensive cell phone gadgets & an OOPs!

March 16th, 2010 at 02:12 am

Although this week is Spring Break, I'm still working with my high school student on Biology and English. Thankfully he was focused the entire time today - another session like Friday's session and I would have screamed!

Anyway... my phone had not been updated since the end of January. That means that there were quite a few new apps and other settings which I'd changed around since then that were not backed up. Also, I'd been looking at a couple apps which required the latest software update.

Why hadn't I updated my phone in so long? Because I had left my iPhone charger/data sync cable in my bag on the playground at the 6th grade tutoring student's school. Never to be seen again. That night (after realizing I'd left it there about 9 pm) I had run to Wal-mart and picked up a wall charger so I could at least charge my phone. But they didn't have the sync cable.

Then when my mom got an iPhone a few weeks ago, I thought that if she chose to keep it, I could borrow her sync cable once in awhile. But ... she of course isn't here anymore.

So today after tutoring, I stopped by the AT&T store and picked up a data sync cable for $21.97. (I also stopped at Staples and picked up more index cards for flashcards $3.99 pack of 500.)

When I got home I mentioned the data cable to my stepdad and he asked me if I'd ever heard of this website called Cell Phone Shop. I told him that I hadn't. So he showed me their website and how much the same cable cost there ... $4.99!!

I got on there and looked around, and ended up buying a data sync cable, a mini-microphone (for videos), a car holster/holder (so it doesn't slide around or fall on the floor), and a doohicky to wrap my headphones around (which are constantly getting twisted) all for $24.99 (+$4.99 shipping).

I'm of course going to take the data sync cable back that I bought today (probably on Wednesday because I won't have time tomorrow.)

So, for about $8 more I got 4 items instead of just 1. All of which are items I'd been thinking about, but hadn't wanted to spend the money on.

Yay! Right?

Unfortunately, I decided that as long as I had the data sync cable here, I may as well get my phone updated.

I plugged it into my little 5 port usb hub and started the software update.

Error message. Software update couldn't be completed.


I tried again. Nothing. Message comes up saying "iPhone in recovery mode. Must restore."

I called customer service and am told that yes, I have to restore my phone. Argh!!

So, I click restore. (with great copious amounts of tears and frustration)

Error message. Restore couldn't be completed.


Call customer service again. Got someone who had notes from my previous call (Yay! Didn't have to explain it twice!) Asked me where I had my usb plugged in. Then told me to plug it in to a port in the back and try again.

It worked!

Apparently what happened was the connection was too weak between the hub usb port and the phone for a software update. For normal syncing, it's okay.

Spent a good 3 1/2 hours re-syncing my music (didn't even bother with re setting up my play lists) and re downloading my apps.

Other than my music, everything is completely back to normal on my phone!!

Tomorrow I'm meeting up with my friend T and her kids to see Old Dogs at the dollar theater and eat lunch together. I'm really looking forward to it. Smile It's going to be a LONG day though, with ASL class after wards, but well worth it.

Not much ..

March 14th, 2010 at 10:10 pm

This coming week is Spring Break. At first I thought both of my tutoring students were not going to use me, so, a loss of $225. But, thankfully only the $100/wk student decided to take the week off.

I've not been doing any extra driving - to work and home, to ASL class and home, to church and home. Any grocery or gas stops have been en route. This coming week however I might do an extra trip to meet my friend T and kids for a movie, and perhaps meet with my mom somewhere, then perhaps a third trip to the dollar movies on my own. Kind of giving myself a little "vacation" too.

Last week my storytimes all went really well. I ended up doing 4! Two for my local church's school, and two at my mentor's library.

I'm working on translating a book and poem into ASL for my video blog with my ASL teacher. (found a free download thing that converts youtube videos into windows media files so I can edit the youtube video in movie maker which comes free on PC's.)

Today I bought ($4.99) a running app on my iPhone called "jog log". I'd been wanting to get back with my running, but didn't like most of the apps I saw for intervals (couch to 5k programs). With this app I was able to create my own program. I can progress as fast or as slow as I'm capable. I might try to go out for a run later today. Beautiful weather. (My phone's charging right now.)

This week I need to work on my research project for my cataloging class and my third journal for children's lit. So far I'm making A's in all my classes. Smile

I applied for a bunch of scholarships for next year a few weeks ago. I don't know when they let you know one way or the other, but it would be so great if I could even get $1k in scholarships. It would greatly ease my mind.

I've been feeling really tired and run down lately. I'm hoping that when I get back to running/walking regularly it'll help.

Can't think of anything else right now.

Casa de Frugal Texan

March 6th, 2010 at 09:09 pm

It's been a bit since I last posted. One big reason is because something happened which made me really ticked off, and I didn't want to spew it all out here.

Long story short. My mom has filed for divorce and has moved out. This, after she assured me that she and stepdad had a plan in place if things weren't working between them. So, that leaves me in the very awkward position of renting a room in the home of my soon to be ex stepdad. Yay!

I've been told that I'm welcome to stay. Which is what I've decided to do. One year with four different addresses is way more than enough.


My ankle is pretty much healed. Tailbone, not so much. Today between driving to church, SS, church, then driving home, meant over 4 hours of sitting. Even with the modified donut, it was too much.

Things have worked out with my library mentor. I'll be doing a storytime for the church school on Tuesday - kind of a dry run. Then at my mentors school on Thursday. Tuesday I'm also going to be working with my ASL teacher to start learning the signs for my video blog storytime.

I seem to be back on track with my eating now - which is good, because usually when my eating is off kilter, so are my finances.

April might be a very tight month financially. Although it wouldve been more so if one of my tutorees hadn't decided to not go away over Spring Break.

So, can anyone tell me. What's the point of getting married or being in a relationship??? Seriously, as lonely as I feel sometimes, is it that much better to be in a relationship or marriage where your partner isn't willing or able to give it a chance - to work through the hard times? I know there are people out there who ARE willing to do the hard stuff of relationships/marriage, but how do you know if you found someone who isn't going to just run away when it gets too hard?
I guess you could say I feel ready to give up on the whole idea of another relationship, let alone marriage.

What happened to divorce not being part of a married persons vocabulary? (except in instances of abuse or infidelity)